You can’t blame the drought for corrupt water management.

No doubt by now you have all seen this photo, and others like it. That’s a Murray cod, like all its relatives it has survived droughts, damming of rivers, irrigation pumping and more. But this summer it died, along with thousands of other fish, because river flows in NSW are so depleted there’s just no oxygen left in the water.

Australians, or most of them, tend to go around with their heads up their bums most of the time, until a disaster grabs their attention for a few minutes. After a brief flurry of outrage and a bit of “they have to do something about this” comment on social media it’s all quickly forgotten. After the five seconds of outrage at least  45% of  Australians will keep on voting for the same conservatives who are responsible for the disaster.

The current crisis with the rivers in the eastern states has been developing for a few years now, but until this week’s fish deaths hardly anyone noticed or cared.

I blame it all on Barnaby Joyce, David Littleproud, their water-hoarding cotton-growing mates and above all, on the NSW government.

In this video Menindee resident Dick Arnold and Rob stand in the Darling river above weir 32 each holding a hundred year old fish. These Murray cod have lived through the highs and lows of this system however could not survive this man made disaster.

The NSW “Liberals and Nationals” government decided to reconfigure the Menindee Lakes last year. Part of the process involved the decommissioning of the pipeline that fed Broken Hill from the lakes. Instead of providing water to Broken Hill and Pooncarie, and a thriving irrigation farming industry, the water would be diverted to cotton farmers upstream. Many of those huge, water-guzzling cotton farms are overseas owned.

Others that are Australian-owned have had their CEOs charged with corruption.

The Menindee pipeline was to be replaced by a pipeline carrying water from the Murray River to Broken Hill. A pipeline from an already depleted river, placing more strain on a river already struggling to cope with demands on its flow.

Only a government as incompetent and as corrupt as the Berejiklian government could come up with such a stupid idea.

In 2017 Four Corners ran this program –

Pumped: Who’s benefiting from the billions spent on the Murray-Darling?

As usual with exposes like this there was the usual brief spate of outrage and then everyone – or almost everyone – went back to sleep until this week, when all those images of dead fish were all over the media.

The Australia Institute didn’t go back to sleep. They produced this, in June 2018, on mismanagement of the scheme . Result? Crickets from those in a position to make changes.

The Basin Files
Maladministration of the MurrayDarling Basin Plan: Volume I
“Since allegations of large-scale water theft were aired on Four Corners in 2017, a flood of media reports have shown that the $13bn Murray-Darling Basin Plan is not being well implemented: agency coverups, political and regulatory capture, agencies with cultures of non-compliance, dodgy water deals, alleged fraud and unlawful amendments.”

This file contains a huge amount of relevant links.

The Murray-Darling Basin Plan was yet another Labor initiative destroyed by the ATM government.

Residents of Walgett are living on the banks of a dry river. Water that would normally flow down the Barwon River, even during a drought, has been diverted and hoarded by upstream cotton mega-farms. They are relying for water on a rather dodgy bore that produces water too saline for drinking. The bore was taken out by a lightning strike a week ago and the residents had to go without any water at all for a day. That meant no air conditioning in almost 40 degree heat. Walgett residents use evaporative air coolers, they need water to run. No water = no air conditioning. I’ve lived out west, just under 150 km east of Walgett, , and I can tell you cooling is essential in summer out there. So is drinking water. The situation is so bad in Walgett that private citizens are appealing for funds to buy bottled water which they will drive to Walgett. The NSW government doesn’t want to know and won’t help.

You can’t blame Walgett’s water problems on the drought. You can, however, blame them on corrupt water management and on the interventions over the past five years of Barnaby Joyce, his successor, David Littleproud and the rotten-to-the-core NSW government, with willing help from the Queensland government. Littleproud, until his marriage fell apart, was married to the second cousin of one of the owners of Norman Farms, a cotton-growing mega-company and a very corrupt one. A responsible Prime Minister would never have made a man with such an obvious conflict of interest his Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, but Turnbull did exactly that. Morrison kept him in that position and gave him the added responsibility of  Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Drought Preparation and Response. Talk about putting a fox in the henhouse!

Meanwhile, much further south in NSW, the coal-loving NSW government is refusing to admit underground coal mines have been stealing Sydney’s water for years. ‘No place for mining’: coal mines drain water from dams.

Gas drilling companies across NSW and Queensland are still being given unlimited access to water, especially artesian water, and their drilling is damaging the Great Artesian Basin, but our governments, state and federal, just don’t care.

What will it take to make our state and federal governments wake up? When will they realise this is a very dry continent and our water resources are precious,too precious to be frittered away on industries we simply cannot support, industries like cotton growing and gas mining.


698 thoughts on “You can’t blame the drought for corrupt water management.

  1. I really feel for our satirists, it’s getting so hard to come up with decent satire without it sounding like the truth.

    From “The Shovel” –

    Australians Who Don’t Have Fun On Australia Day To Be Fined, Morrison Says

    Australians who are caught not revelling in the delight of Australia’s national day will receive a $149 on-the-spot fine, the government has confirmed.

    Announcing the new measures, Mr Morrison said 26th January was a special day for our nation and people better bloody well enjoy it.

    “Australia Day is an absolute privilege and I would be very disappointed, furious in fact, if it wasn’t the highlight of the summer for each and every one of you,” Mr Morrison said.

    Mr Morrison said Border Force and other national agencies would be used to personally ensure both citizens and permanent residents were having an absolute blast. “I don’t care what your excuse is. If you’re not having a fair dinkum crack at having a bonza time, then you better bloody well start enjoying yourself quick smart,” Mr Morrison said.

    Those not showing outward signs of enjoying themselves will be given one verbal warning, before being issued with the fine

    • Leone! I am still not sure if PM Morrison really said this, or is it only Shovel satire? Can you help me?

      ……..“Australia Day is an absolute privilege and I would be very disappointed, furious in fact, if it wasn’t the highlight of the summer for each and every one of you,” Mr Morrison said……….

    • It’s satire, but I have to say I was imagining FauxMo doing something similar. Forcing everyone to attend Australia Day “celebrations” is right up his street.

      I’m finding it increasingly difficult to tell satire from fact these days.

  2. On Twitter, I got a pretty good response to this one. I must admit that Shouty’s advisers made it easy for me

    • McGowan had a life before politics and has a beef farm to run in Indigo Valley
      She earned an Order of Australia for her work with indigenous women farmers in PNG

  3. At least Charles II had one thing going for him: “Whose word no man relies on; He never said a foolish thing, Nor ever did a wise one.”

    The Chief Muppet has none

    As voters return from summer holidays Morrison attempted to reframe the Coalition government as the champion of “quieter Australians”, promising in a Daily Telegraph opinion piece that he “won’t be dragged off to the right or left” of politics.

    • Sunrise is just a government propaganda machine, I don’t trust any “news” they churn out.

      Funny though, it’s only the Murdoch media and TV news reporting this story, and it’s not all that coherent.

      The truth is quite different to the lies given in the Sunrise tweet. The AFP, who have no jurisdiction in Malaysia anyway, do not seem to have been involved. It was the Royal Malaysian Police who caught this crew, the guilty parties were trying to buy new boat engines. It sounds like a chance event, not an organised raid. We only have hearsay to go by.

      Here’s a Murdoch version, talking up the alleged role played by the AFP.

      This is a non-Murdoch article, it seems less fanciful than the other reports and there is no mention of the AFP.

      It is thought the boat would head for Australia or New Zealand, but my guess is it would have been lucky to get to Indonesia.

      Meanwhile planes arrive every day carrying clients of people smugglers and our government says nothing about that.

  4. Fingers crossed this optimistic view of the Democrats is a) True b) Applies here. A bit less having to chose between neoliberal and ‘At least we are not as bad as that lot’.

    FINANCIAL TIMES › Annotations
    The Clinton-Obama era ends as US Democrats seek a radical new voice

    Listen carefully and you can hear the retreat of the Democratic establishment. Incrementalism served its purpose: it made Democrats electable again and safe for Wall Street. But it has had its day. The generation of Democrats that downplayed concerns about inequality and embraced global markets is being replaced by a far bolder political voice………………………Either way, for the first time in decades, America’s intellectual energy is now on the left. Some liken the ferment to the “bold persistent experimentation” of Franklin Roosevelt, author of the 1930s New Deal. Doubters compare it with the false dawn of George McGovern, who lost in a 1972 landslide to Richard Nixon. Whichever view proves correct, the Clinton-Obama era is drawing to a close. A new one is just beginning.

  5. Is this a pertinent concern of mine? Boat people seem entirely different from air travelers.

    I can’t help wondering if the government’s apparent lack of concern about air travelers to Australia who can easily ‘overstay’ and hostility to the potential ‘hordes’ of hungry boat people who threaten our shores is more about the differences in their economic and social class than anything else?

    Or is that my long ago pommie red neck persona re-emerging to show where my sympathies lie?

    • It really goes back to the Howard days. Most Talk Radio in those days (still does I think) copied the US radio model of Fear & Loathing, appealing to people’s prejudices. Downward Envy was a key component of it.

      Most so-called Shock Jocks wouldn’t know if their arse was on fire and are dependent on others for news and current events. Boat People became an easy target just through the constant repetition of Boat arrivals, then mostly on remote stretches of WA and Qld coastlines. It was an easy issue to stir up a storm about on talkback radio because the jocks loved stirring up anger in the same way as the HUN has tried to beat up African Gangs into an issue today.

      Howard had looked for a way of exploiting the issue for years, but was slapped down at his earlier attempt on Asian immigration. Hanson was a gift for him as soon as he worked out how to exploit her, and refining his Dog Whistle approach, He was very good at stirring up disgust against the defenceless. So Boat People became his target, dramatized by the arrival of Tampa.

      Downward envy and appeasing the Shock Jocks was always his highest priority. So air arrivals abusing their visa restrictions and overstaying their time limits was no use to him, even though they vastly outnumbered the Boat Arrivals.

      When Abbott took over, he really had nothing going for him apart from making climate change denialism an issue plus Murdoch backing, But he quickly saw Boats! as another exploitable issue and ran with it, to much media support. A great pity because even aside from the inhumanity it costs us a fortune which goes to rent-seeking multinationals like Serco. It could’ve been better used investing in country hostels providing accommodation, training and possibly employment. Labor (given a fairly young. largely female Caucus) will surely move towards that once in office, but they won’t mention a word of it until the change of government.

    • I think it is easier to demonise “boat people” than it would be for people who come by air. There would a bit to do with “class”, but when most people travel by plane nowadays, to demonise “plane” arrivals would piss off a lot of tourists, and tar anyone that travels by plane as doing something bad wouldn’t go down too well with the general public.

      This would have to be the third or fourth election that they are trying this on. I would love to think most people are over this sort of rubbish by now. Unlike climate change, which people are now seeing and feeling the hotter summers, a lot of people have now come to realise it is happening.

    • I don’t know why the government ignores “plane people”Asylum seekers who arrive this way will be non-white and will have much the same economic status as those who try to come by boat. If you have the money to pay a people smuggler for passage on a boat then you probably also have the money to pay a people smuggler to get you on an aircraft.

      Maybe the government just doesn’t want to talk about this.

  6. This Leaked Hillary Clinton Memo Killed Half a Million People

    A Hillary Clinton memo that Wikileaks made public in 2016 has not gotten the attention it deserves. It takes us back to 2012 and the early phase of the Syrian war.

    At that point, it was largely an internal affair, although Saudi arms shipments were playing a greater and greater role in bolstering rebel forces. But once the Obama administration decided in favor of intervention, the conflict was quickly internationalized as thousands of holy warriors flooded in from as far away as western China.

    The 1,200-word memo by then-Secretary of State Clinton begins with the subject of Iran, an important patron of Syria.

    She dismisses any notion that nuclear talks will stop Iran “from improving the crucial part of any nuclear weapons program—the capability to enrich uranium.” If it does get the bomb, it goes on, Israel will suffer a strategic setback since it will no longer be able to “respond to provocations with conventional military strikes on Syria and Lebanon, as it can today.” Denied the ability to bomb at will, Israel might leave off secondary targets and strike at the main enemy instead.

    Consequently, Clinton argues that the U.S. should topple the Assad regime so as to weaken Iran and allay the fears of Israel, which has long regarded the Islamic republic as its primary enemy. As the memo puts it:

    Bringing down Assad would not only be a massive boon to Israel’s security, it would also ease Israel’s understandable fear of losing its nuclear monopoly. Then, Israel and the United States might be able to develop a common view of when the Iranian program is so dangerous that military action could be warranted.”

    This document making the case to arm Syrian rebels may have been largely overlooked because of the dates, which appear to be inaccurate.

    One line gives the time as “2001-01-01 03:00” even though Clinton was still a New York senator-elect at that point. That date is also out of synch with the timeline of nuclear diplomacy with Iran.

    Another contains a State Department case and document number and a date of Nov. 30, 2015. But that’s incorrect as well since it postdates Clinton’s resignation as secretary of state by better than two and a half years.

  7. Israeli Supreme Court Refuses to Allow Discussion of Full Equal Rights & ‘State of All Its Citizens’ Bill in Knesset

    The Israeli Supreme Court early this afternoon, Sunday, 30 December 2018, dismissed the petition filed by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel on behalf of Knesset Members Jamal Zahalka, Hanin Zoabi, and Joumah Azbarga (Joint List) against the Knesset Presidium’s decision to reject their proposed bill Basic Law: State of all its Citizens. In doing so, the Supreme Court refused to even allow a discussion of equal rights and a state for all of its citizens in the Knesset.

    The Knesset Presidium refused to allow the submission of the bill – which declares Israel a “state of all its citizens” – based on the claim that Israel is a Jewish state. This bill was initiated by Zahalka, Zoabi, and Azbarga in response to the new Basic Law – The Nation State of the Jewish People, passed by the Knesset in mid-July 2018.

    The judgment follows a hearing on the petition last week, Monday, 24 December 2018, during which the justices received an announcement of early elections, and the decision to dissolve the 20th Knesset.

  8. Heh, still buying cheap cookbooks and some not quite so cheap.

    Spent some time in op shops today, got some cooking and gardening books, 50¢ to $2.00, good value. Also 2 Earth Garden magazines with 3 articles on gardening in clay. These mags were free: I will write down any info and pass them on to another op shop.

    Today I received through the post a really nice book: “A bowful of broth” by Miranda Ballard. Also received “Johannes Kepler and the new astronomy” which should be interesting. Kepler had a medieval mind yet his astronomy, reformulated by Newton is very modern, dispensing with the whole geocentric astronomy and it s fiddly rubbish to try to make it work.

    Politics isn’t that interesting ATM, all waiting for the starter’s whistle, the visit to Yarralumla.

  9. Another day, another stuff-up.

    Whichever the bill he was talking about, it doesn’t seem to warrant high priority

    Scott Morrison has elevated an obscure bill to ban cosmetic testing on animals to one of the top two legislative priorities for the Coalition in 2019, according to his office.

    Speaking to ABC News Breakfast on Monday, the prime minister cited “environmental legislation … [that] is important for native species” as among the government’s priorities for the new year, second only to national security.

    There is no major environmental legislation before parliament and the prime minister’s office was unable to immediately identify what he was referring to.

    Morrison’s comments also caught conservation groups offguard.

    Five hours later, a spokesman for Morrison told Guardian Australia the prime minister was “referring to the agricultural and veterinary chemicals legislation amendment”.

    The bill – introduced by the agriculture minister, David Littleproud, in October – makes minor changes to the regulatory scheme for agricultural and veterinary chemicals to provide simpler processes for chemicals of low concern.

    The federal policy director of the Wilderness Society, Tim Beshara, told Guardian Australia the bill had “stuff-all to do with native species”, a sentiment echoed bythe Australian Conservation Foundation nature campaigner, Jess Abrahams.

    An hour after this story was published, the prime minister’s office clarified the first statement was in error and claimed Morrison had in fact been referring to the Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017.

    That bill establishes a new regulatory scheme including banning animal testing for new chemical ingredients of cosmetics from 1 July 2018. It passed the lower house and was introduced to the Senate in October 2017 but appears not to have been debated since then.

  10. I don’t think shouting “Boats!” has actually worked for the Liberals for a long, long time. I’m fairly certain that ever since Morrison came up with the “on-water matters” tactic to stifle talk about asylum seekers (what was that, 2014?), it’s been a bit of a poisoned chalice for them. The idea of attacking Labor on the topic, while at the same time stifling media access to what they were going, created a double-standard that the electorate has subsequently been quietly uneasy with. Most Australians seem to not want to think about the subject at all – creates feelings of vague guilt. Liberals bringing it up thus works counter-productively. Those who vote Lib/Nat have the opinion that if the government are going to be bastards about it then they’d better keep their mouths shut.

    They’re looking very much as if they’ve run out of ideas completely. They’ll just run through all the old discredited tactics from here on in the desperate hope that something, anything, will stick. Events are destined to overtake them, though. News will keep rolling in, and with the prevailing opinion being that the Morrison government is stuffed, nothing they say about anything is going to help them.

    • I mean, you can just imagine him saying it’s a ‘security matter’ which can’t be discussed owing to the need to maintain the safety of the nation, can’t you? It’s not a million miles away from the old “on-water matters” thing he foisted on us. Temporary measure at first, with an announcement as to when it’s safe to return to democratic status, and then that date keeps pushing further into the future. He’s already stripped most of the Parliamentary sittings out of the year.

  11. However – (and I’m only being a bit facetious here) – the way the media are tiptoeing around the landmines on behalf of the Morrison government, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Morrison simply didn’t call an election and dared somebody to do something about it, and for the MSM to simply say, “Gutsy move by Morrison, let’s see where he’s going with this…”

  12. Dumber than a box of really, really dumb rocks –

    NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair called for an end to blame-shifting, saying the Murray-Darling Basin Plan was settled in December.

    “Holding a talk-fest that does not identify any new water solutions to help the Menindee community, does not help anyone,” Mr Blair told AAP.

    He said managers should look at options in southern NSW, where there may be water in environmental accounts

    Juggling environmental water accounts in southern NSW is not going to fix the mess the NSW government has made of the Menindee Lakes. It won’t fix the dry rivers in Northern NSW caused by massive irrigation pumping in Queensland.

    There is no water flowing down the northern parts of the Murray/Darling system. What little water there is in oxygen-depleted and riddled with blue-green algae. Taking entitlements from farmers in southern NSW cannot possibly help those in the north.

    Maybe Blair is thinking of forming a bucket brigade to transfer water from southern NSW to the Queensland border. Maybe he thinks te problem can be solved by laying a super-long garden hose from Albury to Menindee and sucking hard on the northern end, just like siphoning petrol. He’s certainly stupid enough to believe such tactics are possible.

    And just as stupid – Gladys saying her government was not to blame because for years their advice on water management has been led by “scientists”. I think she’s confused. She is thinking of science fiction writers.

  13. Definitely drowning. The EU hasn’t given 2.54 centimetres

    The government has now published an exchange of letters between Theresa May and Donald Tusk, the European council president, and Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, about the withdrawal agreement and the backstop.

    The letter from May is here (pdf).

    And the response from Tusk and Juncker is here (pdf).

  14. I’m feeling left out – I haven’t had one of Clive’s messages yet.

    No 2 Son was here today on his annual visit, we were talking about phone scammers and he gets a message from Clive.

    If you get one of these unwanted texts and want to retaliate here’s Clive’s number – 0409 044 489. His message bank was full on Saturday though.

    He should be paying his former workers the millions in entitlements he still owes instead of spending on unwanted texts..

  15. Is BK eaten by the spam monster?

    Re Clive Palmer, I think that his UAP might be the successor to the Liberal Party

    Clive is the former head of Qld Liberal Party and he is familiar with party machinery

    I replied to his SMS that he was a bankrupt and a disgrace but he says that 250,000 looked up his website from 5.6m texts

  16. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. I went for 53/47 because Morrison was hardly seen over the break. (Sorry it’s a bit late – I had the best night’s sleep I’ve had for ages!).

    Here’s the guts of the essential poll.
    Hamish McDonald tells us that Dutton insults our intelligence.
    Morrison’s “Stop the Boats” policy is an abusive, expensive disaster — and it hasn’t stopped them, says Jade Manson,12277
    Meanwhile David Wroe reports that the Australian Human Rights Commission has urged Parliament not to pass the new law in a submission to the intelligence and security committee.
    Would Cathy McGowan help to sink Morrison over the refugee bill? That is if Morrison fronts up to parliament again.
    A New South Wales Liberal branch president has declared war on the National party in the heart of Michael McCormack’s own seat, organising with Anyone But Nats to help defeat the Coalition partner at the NSW election.
    Theresa May appears to be on course for a crushing defeat in the House of Commons on Tuesday, as Britain’s bitterly divided MPs prepared to give their verdict on her Brexit deal in the “meaningful vote”.
    Jenna Price wonders if Morrison passes the pub test.
    Saudi Arabia has just revealed it has enough crude to pump at current rates for at least another 70 years. So much for peak oil.
    The SMH editorial goes to a clear point of difference that Michael Daley has opened up on planning for Sydney’s growth.
    John Lord looks at narcissism and the LNP rabble.,12275
    The CPSU’s Melissa Payne laments the level of domestic violence that is coming to the union’s attention and calls for action.
    Jennifer Wilson writes that the list of Liberal National Party Federal Government atrocities is long and growing daily. It is fertilised by the combined manures of neoliberalism, nationalism, ignorance, incompetence and utter disregard for the fate of those who differ in any way from the prescribed white, heterosexual paradigm of Western civilisation.,12278
    According to The Australian engineers investigating defects at Sydney’s Opal Tower have raised doubts about errors in the design of key horizontal support beams. It doesn’t read well.
    Emma Kroen writes that insolvency experts are warning a potent cocktail of factors, including softening property prices and a federal election, will hit smaller construction companies and subcontractors hard in 2019.
    Professor Ron Levy tells us that populism’s problems can be fixed by getting the public better-informed. And that’s actually possible.
    The Greens have accused the federal government of hiding critical information from the Senate on why the Menindee Lakes were drained twice in the last four years, as investigations get under way into what caused around 1 million fish to die.
    This fish kill is a tragedy – but it is no surprise. It’s a failure of governance and policy.
    The New Daily explains what’s behind the promises Clive Palmer has texted to one-third of voters.
    The Australian Public Service Commission is moving to centralise merit lists for the most senior executive roles, as debate around how to identify and keep talented executives forms part of the independent review of the public service.
    The power grid operator has called on energy companies to step-up generation to fill a reserve shortfall and avoid the risk of blackouts in Victoria, which is in the grip of a record heatwave.
    Potentially deadly heat on Tuesday has sparked a “Code Red” alert in South Australia, amid dire warnings that catastrophic temperatures are set to become much more common.
    Stephen Bartholomeusz writes that an uncharacteristically poor performance from Kmart in the December half and a near debt-free balance sheet pose some significant questions for Wesfarmers chief executive, Rob Scott, and his board.
    The federal government would host competitive tenders to manage default superannuation investments for workers to try to deliver higher returns via a system involving the Future Fund, under an option being canvassed by the Morrison government.
    Bloomberg wonders what would happen if Mueller proves Trump collusion and no one cares.
    Aspiring teachers will be barred from working in Victorian classrooms if they fail a literacy and numeracy test. Henrietta Cook looks at the test.
    Pressure is building on the Morrison government to beat Labor’s proposed $10 billion in accelerated tax breaks for capital expenditure that will reward manufacturers, oil and gas producers, miners and other firms.
    I have to agree with much of what Melissa Singer has written here about slow walkers.
    Sydney commuters will be able to catch driverless metro trains between Sydney’s north west and Chatswood as early as April or May after the first train successfully completed running on the entire length of the 36-kilometre line.
    And for “Arsehole of the Week” we have . . .

    Cartoon Corner

    David Pope ridicules Morrison’s Australia Day dress standard. And it’s quite a shipwreck in the background!

    A couple from Mark David.
    Cathy Wilcox details the dress standard.

    As does John Shakespeare.

    Peter Broelman and the NDB.
    From Matt Golding.
    Oh dear!

    Glen Le Lievre and Sky News.

    From the US.

    • Thank goodness!

      Funny, our local paper has not mentioned this news at all, but they lean heavily to the right, so when they do bother to run something it will be biased rubbish.

      I notice the ever-Lib-friendly SMH could not end on a positive note, they just had to include that “he’s only in it for the money” comment. Rob said in 2016 that money would be used to pay bills from that campaign, and anything left would go towards the next campaign. I don’t think there would have been much left.

  17. No criminal charges laid over media tipoff for Australian Workers’ Union raids
    Federal police say ‘no prospects of a conviction’ for unauthorised leak of AWU raids despite the resignation of a senior adviser to Michaelia Cash

    No charges will be laid over the tipoff to the media of the raids on the Australian Workers’ Union headquarters, the federal police have confirmed.

    The AFP told the federal court on Monday the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has concluded there are “no reasonable prospects of a conviction” for the unauthorised leak despite the resignation of a senior adviser to then-employment minister Michaelia Cash over the matter.

    A spokeswoman for the AFP told Guardian Australia it now “considers this investigation finalised”, six months after a brief of evidence was sent to the CDPP which the deputy AFP commissioner, Leanne Close, had said indicated the police thought a crime may have been committed

  18. Labor has questioned the eligibility of the energy minister, Angus Taylor, to sit in parliament, citing an apparent discrepancy in the date he sold shares in a recruitment company that did work for the federal government.

    Taylor has brushed off the complaint, saying that he contracted to sell his shares in the Sydney-based recruitment company Derwent Executive in January 2016, months before the nomination date for the 2016 election.

    But at a press conference on Tuesday, the shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, said that Taylor’s eligibility was “under a cloud” because that account was “inconsistent” with what Taylor had declared on the members’ register of interests and Derwent’s disclosure to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

    In a declaration stamped 27 September 2016, Taylor stated that he and his wife owned shares in Derwent Recruitment Associates and Derwent Executive International.
    Read more

    According to a report in the Australian, the talent advisory firm had a $30,000 contract from March to July 2016 with the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, and had won federal government contracts worth $500,000 since late 2016.

  19. The controversial construction industry watchdog has defended spending more than $6000 of taxpayers’ money on a lockable coat cupboard and shelving for its boss’s office.

    The cost of the furniture was revealed in an answer to a Senate estimates question on notice released this week.

    The Australian Building and Construction Commission billed taxpayers $6314 for the delivery and installation of the cupboard and shelving during the 2017/18 financial year.

    While the ABCC insists it was the cheapest option, long-term adversaries in the union movement seized on the cost.

    Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus slammed the ABCC over the cupboard, calling for commissioner Stephen McBurney to repay taxpayers for the works.

    “It’s unbelievable that the boss of the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government’s building industry secret police thinks it’s okay to spend more than $6000 of taxpayer money on a place to put his coat,” Ms McManus told AAP.

  20. That should be interesting

    Labor says an attempt to strip terrorist Neil Prakash of his Australian citizenship has backfired badly, leaving Scott Morrison to smooth over his “incompetent” minister’s mistake.

    Fijian officials are furious with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton for stripping Prakash of his Australian citizenship and trying to palm the terrorist off onto their Pacific nation.

    Mr Morrison is making an official visit to Fiji this week, where the matter will be discussed.

  21. Scott Morrison Has Released Another Deeply Cringey Video In An Attempt To Seem Like A Human

    Still nothing about policy, absolutely not a word about dead fish and dying rivers, just more threats and lies, and yet 47% of voters still say they will vote for his government.

    Speaking of rivers – why hasn’t Michael McCormack stopped poncing around Parkes in an elvis outfit and visited Menindee? He’s leader of the party that is supposed to represent rural voters, FFS! He’s deputy PM. You’d think he might be just a tiny bit interested in a disaster. But no, nothing. Instead he chose to go to the annual Elvis festivities in Parkes. Nice priorities he has.

    • Nice, but I’m sure I’ve seen them overseas.

      I’ve “twitched” before, with limited success – I’d rather put the money towards a holiday with DW somewhere that we haven’t been (with lots of new birds.)

  22. An excellent article by Stephen Gowans on the fundamental reasons for the hostility of the US and US aligned Western governments towards China:

    The US war on China’s economic model

    what’s left
    The US war on China’s economic model

    The growing hostility of Western governments to China is more about the interests of Western investors than legitimate security fears

    December 30, 2018

    By Stephen Gowans

    What has China done to make successive US administrations see it as a major external threat and the real enemy? The answer is that China has developed a state-led economic model that limits the profit-making opportunities of US investors and challenges their control of high-technology sectors, including artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, essential to US military supremacy. Washington is engaged in a multi-faceted war “to prevent Beijing from advancing with plans … to become a global leader in 10 broad areas of technology, including information technology, aerospace and electric vehicles.” [7] Washington aims to “hobble China’s plans to develop advanced technology” [8] and to “force China to allow American companies to sell their goods and operate freely” in China, under conditions conducive to maintaining US economic and military supremacy. [9]

    For its part, China seeks to alter a global economic system in which it is allowed only “to produce T-shirts” while the United States produces high-tech, according to Yang Weimin, a senior economic adviser to China’s president Xi Jinping. [10] Xi is “determined that China master its own microchips, operating systems and other core technologies” [11] in order to become “technologically self-reliant.” [12] But self-reliance in industries like aerospace, telecommunications, robotics, and AI means removing China, a large market, from the ambit of US high-tech firms. [13] Moreover, since Western military supremacy has always relied on Western technological superiority, Chinese efforts to challenge the Western monopoly on high-tech translates directly into an effort to challenge Washington’s ability to use the Pentagon as an instrument for obtaining investment and trade advantages for US investors.

  23. Social Security official: Married working mothers hurt society, condoms rob women of “remarkable chemicals” in semen

    Robert W. Patterson also suggested that homosexuality is a mental disorder and sexual orientation can be forcibly changed

    Before joining President Donald Trump’s administration, right-wing commentator Robert W. Patterson argued against contraceptives because “condom use robs” women of the “remarkable chemicals” in semen; said married women in the workplace have undermined society; and suggested that homosexuality is a mental disorder and sexual orientation can be forcibly changed.

    Patterson is now the acting associate commissioner at the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Office of Strategic and Digital Communications. He has avoided scrutiny despite working in the administration since spring 2017. A notice about his hiring on the SSA’s website touted Patterson’s “wealth of experience in communications and public engagement,” including “as a policy expert, professor and op-ed contributor.”

    • I don’t think he’d be any good at screwing on jam jar lids, he’s try to do it the wrong way.

      His ideas aren’t all that different to the crap we get from men like Eric Abetz and wanna-be politician Lyle Shelton, and the silly old men who will soon be retiring from the Senate. . I often wonder how these dinosaurs ever attracted their wives. Surely no sane woman would want to have anything to do with them.

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