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107 responses to “44/28 Watch: oops! sorry about those travel expense claims”

  1. paul burns

    I’ll repost this one. Spose all it means is they’re going to be the usual pack of bastards.

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/credlins-star-chamber-rewarding-liberal-party-loyalists-20131004-2uzyu.html

  2. paul burns

    This is a very interesting report on the circumstances surrounding the West Papuan protesters at the Australian consulate in Bali.

    http://www.news.com.au/national-news/west-papuan-trio-leave-after-climbing-into-the-australian-consulate-in-bali/story-fncynjr2-1226733628149

    Since Abbott apparently knew in advance that the protesters were going to seek refuge at the Consulate, one can safely assume the protesters were threatened with the Indonesian police on Abbott’s instructions. And Abbott is not so wet behind the ears in foreign affairs as to not know West Papuan protesters are regularly subjected to beatings and torture by the Indonesian police when apprehended. So presumably he ordered the Consulate to ditch the protesters out on the street, even though he knew how they might be treated.
    Apart from demonstrating the already well-established fact that Abbott has no moral fibre whatever, one wonders exactly how heavy the Indonesians were with him about refugee policy last week in Jakarta. Very, very heavy, I’d infer.

  3. faustusnotes

    It would be great if Crean were still in parliament – he could appear at a doorstop interview, shaking his head and sighing and looking all patrician and sad, and say “I thought we settled this 15 years ago when I last worked my way through the coalition front bench. Do I have to go through it all again just because the naughty rich kids couldn’t learn from their own mistakes?”

  4. Chris

    So why didnt these expense claim issues come up while the LNP were chasing Slipper? This information has been public for a while – why weren’t the ALP highlighting the hypocrisy of the LNP?

  5. paul burns

    That Mirabella wedding cost the taxpayer a fortune.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/attorney-general-george-brandis-checks-on-second-wedding-expenses-claim/story-fn59niix-1226734104763

    Its in the GG so I don’t know if its paywalled.

  6. Helen

    Claiming Mirabella’s wedding as a “business expense” and claiming business was actually conducted is a glimpse into the hollowed-out personal lives of these politicians.

  7. Russell

    It’s kind of unbelievable that this still goes on: recently in W.A. our Tourism minister lost the portfolio because his claims for accomodation were wrong. Actually, when they went through all his claims there were more days he could have claimed for and hadn’t, than days he did claim for and shouldn’t of!

    But in the case of claiming for trips to weddings, then paying it back, how come there isn’t some knowledgeable person receiving the claims who can just send them back if they don’t neet the guidelines?

  8. Paul Foord

    Tony Abbott attended Peter Slipper’s wedding, was it on the public purse? If so can someone refer it to the AFP before he pays it back?

  9. paul burns

    It is interesting as Peter Slipper claims he is being dragged through the court for a smaller amount of money and was not allowed to pay it back, while Abbott and Brandis and others pay back the larger amounts years later and don’t end up in court. Nor have their political careers been destroyed. Now, I wonder why that is?

  10. Craig Mc

    Because [potentially defamatory statement redacted] isn’t the same thing as attending a sitting member’s wedding?

  11. Sam

    Because [potentially defamatory statement redacted] isn’t the same thing as attending a sitting member’s wedding?

    If it’s not official business, it’s not official business.

    how come there isn’t some knowledgeable person receiving the claims who can just send them back if they don’t neet the guidelines?

    Because it isn’t a matter of Brandis and others putting the expenses on their own credit card and getting reimbursed if the expenses get approved. What they do is put it on the parliamentary Amex and it all goes through without question.

  12. Liz

    Why should it be any different, Craig Mc? The point is they’re personal matters that shouldn’t be claimed for.

    It’s kind of sad reading about these people going to weddings for business reasons only. Don’t they have personal lives, real affections?

  13. paul burns

    Na, Liz. they’re rorting the system. And now they’ve been caught. I’m sure there were a few on the Labor side too, though they probably cleaned up their acts when the Slipper scandal broke. Glass houses, stones, etc.

  14. Ronson Dalby

    “PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has paid back entitlements he claimed to attend Peter Slipper’s wedding in 2006. ”

    http://www.news.com.au/national-news/tony-abbott-pays-back-peter-slipper-wedding-costs/story-fncynjr2-1226734223895

    This type of corruption seems to be a natural gene in the ‘born to rule’ LNP types.

  15. Helen

    I don’t think there’s anything sadder about visiting [redacted] than, as I remarked before, about having such hollow personal lives that you count a wedding as nothing more than a networking opportunity. Unless, of course, they’re lying.

  16. Russell

    Personal matters? Surely attending a colleague’s wedding could be seen as a team building exercise, just with better food and a lot more grog.

  17. Katz

    Craig Mc:

    Tell us about how much happier we taxpayers should be about pollies attending random weddings in various parts of the eastern hemisphere on the public purse than about pollies [redacted] on the public purse.

  18. Tim Macknay

    Because [potentially defamatory statement redacted] isn’t the same thing as attending a sitting member’s wedding?

    Using Brandis’ own logic, if other clients of the [potentially defamatory statement redacted] were influential media personalities, lobbyists or politicians, and [potentially defamatory statement redacted] thereby offered opportunities for networking, it would be perfectly reasonable for Brandis to claim his [potentially defamatory statement redacted] on expenses.

  19. Katz

    Abbott attended the weddings of Slipper and Mirabellaon the public dime.

    Where are they now?

    Perhaps Abbott should be subsidised to attend many weddings.

  20. Brian of Buderim

    I have three questions to ask about the allowances rort.
    1. Why did this not surface before the election?
    2. Why is Peter Slipper being prosecuted/ persecuted for cab-charges one-tenth of the “Prime Minister’s” expenses when he has offered to pay them back a number of times, and
    3. Why are parliamentarians being allowed to accrue such large debts over such a long period? Any one else would have to pay the money out of their own pocket and produce receipts for reimbursement.

    Good to see the born-to-rort crowd are in good shape.

  21. Chris W

    Didn’t Abbott have the same problem back in 2009 ? …

    http://www.australiantimes.co.uk/news/news-from-australia/news-in-australia/tony-abbott-denies-wrongly-claimed-travel-expenses.htm

    Our beloved PM looks for all the world like an unreconstructed serial expenses rorter!

  22. Robert Merkel

    I must admit that I don’t care that much about this nickel-and-dime expense rorting. While highlighting this stuff makes for brilliant practical politics, it’s peanuts compared to the rorts on the rest of us that the LNP organizes for their rich donors.

  23. Jess

    Out of curiosity, why are there so many potentially defamatory statements redacted above? Has LP been served?

  24. Paul Foord

    Robert,
    3 things.
    1. Yes the amounts are piddling for well off people, but we put people in gaol for fraud of the cash amounts mentioned.
    2. I wonder what organisations such as Transparency International will make of the bigger picture, it does point to a larger issue addressed by Bill Mitchell (billy blog), http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=25608
    3. What are the implications of an acquittal for Peter Slipper or a conviction? I expect that Brandis et al would be hoping for an acquittal, admittedly they will look silly but it will avoid more serious questions regarding the disparate treatment of Slipper vs Abbott, Brandis, etc.

  25. Tim Macknay

    Jess @23 – sorry, the large number of redacted’s is my fault. Rather than repeat a statement that the mods had considered potentially defamatory, I just used the expression [potentially defamatory statement redacted] repeatedly in my comment. I’d hoped the result would be amusing. I guess I was wrong. Discounting my comment, I think there are only two instances that were genuinely redacted by the mods. I imagine the redaction was cautionary, rather than prompted by actual threats.

  26. tigtog

    Jess,

    Out of curiosity, why are there so many potentially defamatory statements redacted above?

    One commentor published a remark that we chose to redact, then another commentor chose to pre-emptively redact themselves for comic/rhetorical effect.

    In general, LP attempts to avoid publishing potentially defamatory remarks. Lawsuits are a pain in the arse, and LP makes zero money to cover legal costs.

  27. PavCat

    I’d hoped the result would be amusing. I guess I was wrong.

    You weren’t wrong. I thought it was very funny.

    Like Robert I’m not that fussed about the travel rorts as such and wish they would all get on with important things like running the country, but given the constant niggling and hammering away from the LNP about Labor rorting (not to mention Slipper) when Labor was in government, I must say I’m enjoying watching all this egg on Tory faces. What goes around, etc.

  28. jules

    According to one website which reckons its documented its claims (I didn’t check all of them), Abbott has rorted thousands, possibly tens of thousands of dollars. He definitely claimed for Pollie pedal, which might technically be official business but its sposed to be a fracking charity, and for a couple of swimming events where he did no official business, unless competing a race is now official business.

    It was possible to cross check Abbotts expense claims against his diary’s and media releases on his old website, but he’s taken the old site down, along with the record of all his media comments etc while in opposition.

  29. wpd

    While I also agree that expense claims are really trivial in the whole scheme of things, Abbott’s victory, in part at least, was all about ‘never letting a chance go by’. And I’m not talking about the Newcastle Song.

    Total warfare, not only in the past but in the future (watch the number of inquiries to be launched in coming weeks), seems like the new political reality and the ALP has some real political and ethical decisions to be made.

  30. Sam

    wpd 29

    Parliament has not even reconvened and already there have been two damaging leaks about George Brandis. He has clearly been targeted as a weak link and won’t get a moment’s peace.

  31. drsusancalvin
  32. mindy

    Reported in the Oz? How interesting. Is journalism rearing its head again?

  33. Tim Macknay

    Parliament has not even reconvened and already there have been two damaging leaks about George Brandis. He has clearly been targeted as a weak link and won’t get a moment’s peace.

    It just brings a tear to the eye, doesn’t it?

  34. Brian

    Sam @ 30, my impression is that there aren’t too many strong links.

    And Tony abroad looks a bit like a doormat to me.

  35. jules

    drsusancalvin @ 31 – Thats right, forgot about that one.

    Here is the reporting page if anyone’s bored.

  36. jules

    I’ve come in to have lunch and Abbott is on TV trying to justify travel expenses for Pollie Pedal. No one thought to point out how dodgy a look it is for someone to claim expenses to raise money for charity.

    I can’t wait to see if he claimed travel expenses to go fire fighting last summer.

  37. paul burns
  38. David Irving (no relation)

    I read somewhere that Abbott had also claimed expenses when touring around promoting Battlelines.

  39. Ambigulous

    oops, not another Dreyfus Affair ……

  40. paul burns

    http://imputeation.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/abbotts-age-of-entitlement-tonys-top.html

    Apart from all that stuff he does to prove he’s a man, Abbott has also charged attending sporting events and the Tamworth Country Music Festival to the taxpayer.

  41. Ronson Dalby

    I can’t vouch for the veracity of the figures on this chart which is doing the social media rounds, but if true just how much of a future does Abbott have as PM?

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BWAoYYVCQAA-fD6.jpg:large

  42. Sam

    oops, not another Dreyfus Affair ……

    J’accuse the media of a beat up.

  43. jules

    Wow Paul.

    I honestly never even thought seriously that he’d do that. It started out as a throwaway line while making the last post, but as i was typing it struck me that he may well have claimed expenses. But part of me still thinks he wouldn’t do that.

    I’ve been in the RFS for nearly 20 years. We get billeted when we’re out of area, and all travel is payed for. He really shouldn’t have any expenses, unlike the other events he appears to have claimed for. Volunteers firefighters have food travel and accommodation provided for them. Honestly I just can’t believe he’s that stupid. I’m sure he’d know that sort of claim is bound to cause trouble – even if he claims it as official business using the spurious standard he has at the moment – cos there should be no expenses. Unless beer counts. (After the firefighting obviously.)

  44. paul burns

    RD,
    Hard to say. Just recently I’ve started to think about the UK Ministers Expense Scandal that happened a couple of years ago. I didn’t follow it closely at the time cause back then I was mostly reading the Guardian for book, TV and film reviews, but, IIRC it was a major contribution to the downfall of the UK Labor Government. And there were some Tories involved too I think.
    While we don’t have the MSM here to pursue this against a Tory Government, the way they would pursue a Labor Government (in fact the MSM, including the ABC would actively work against it) social media OTOH is powerful. We may learn from this controversy exactly how powerful, because I think there comes a time when a controversy on the blogs, Facebook and Twitter gets so huge the Gate-Keepers can’t ignore it and have to pursue it. We’ll see.

  45. wpd
  46. paul burns

    jules,
    That’s handy info to have. I got the impression the last time he turned up for volunteer fire-fighting he was there in the uniform for a few hours for a photo-op as a political stunt. I think that might be why people are curious.
    And at 9 million dollars, yes, he is that stupid.
    I’ve been to the Tamworth Country Musical Festival – its just down the road from Armidale, and its a huge piss-up with songs. I’m sure he went just to one-up Tony Windsor, who, one notes, hardly touched the public purse. Last on the list.

  47. jules

    Ronson many of those are true. I looked thru Abbott’s expenses myself when I first heard about this stuff – and I recognise heaps of them. Check the link I provided at 35 and compare the dates if you want to see for yourself.

    At many of them he made media appearances, usually related to the event, probably to make them “official business”.

    According to the Phony Tony Abbott site which documents stuff here, Abbotts expense for the last 6 months of 2012 were $529,019.19, whereas Gillard’s were $647,717.54. Gillard is PM and part of the job involves overseas travel. So taking out both their overseas travel costs Abbott outspent Gillard $463,863.69 to $222,274.97. Tho Abbott had to spend $53,573.68 on domestic travel – it appears some of that was to see the grand final and some horse races.

  48. jules
  49. Ambigulous

    Not $9 million, ….. yet.

  50. paul burns

    Seems the News Limited journos were trying to pursue Dreyfus for a $400 oversight he’s paid back. The Murdoch press must be getting worried. I do hope the ALP has clean hands. Still, $400 paid back is not $9 million more or less not paid back.Maybe the expenses will bankrupt Abbott and he’ll have to leave. He’s made the BBC on this, btw.

  51. Liz

    I have heard rumours about the expense claims for volunteering at the Indigenous community. Doesn’t volunteering imply the costs come out of your own pocket?

  52. paul burns

    $9397 on Battlelines promotion, DI (nr). Apparently. Cf Ronson D. @ 41.

  53. Ambigulous

    Liz,

    It usually implies the volunteer isn’t being paid wages/salary.
    But minor expenses might be reimbursed.

  54. jules

    9500 + bucks to chart a plane to Aurakun seems a bit steep imo.

    Paul @ 46 i think there is some provision for a firey to receive lost wages, under some circumstances, especially if they miss significant amounts of work and are in financial difficulty. But its rare, not a regular thing.

  55. paul burns

    Correction. $90,000 approx. Not 9 million. Blame it on my innumeracy.

  56. paul burns

    And he’s still that stupid at 90,000 +

  57. tigtog

    In 44/28 news other than expense claims: Sycophantic monarchism unbecoming of Australian PM

  58. Helen

    Meme on Facebook today:
    Wills to Harry: “How was the visit to the Colonies?”
    Harry: “Dude. There was a creepy old guy with big ears and a bald spot who kept trying to fix me up with his daughters.”
    [/derail] [sorry, couldn’t resist]

  59. drsusancalvin

    Syphilitic monarch? Nah, apparently it was the Kell antigen.

  60. Helen

    Back onto 44/28, I was incandescent with rage this morning listening to Fran Kelly (yeah, so what else is new) reporting that Abbott is saying he is going to have to change a few pre election promises because, you know, the need to negotiate with the minor parties.

    HOW IS THAT ANY DIFFERENT TO THE LAST BUT ONE INCUMBENT who was bagged every which way for “lying” and “backflipping”.

    Disgusting!

  61. paul burns

    He’ll get away with it? Prime – Channel 7 – was reporting this morning that the expense account controversy was over as Abbott moved on to Brunei etc etc.

  62. drsusancalvin

    Why Slipper’s Cabcharges may be different to PM’s weddings In the Age online. “He must therefore, it says, have had the requisite knowledge or belief of his alleged wrongdoing.” This seems the key point of difference. The LNP pollies weren’t to know that their claims were “wrong”. For realz?

  63. paul burns

    drsusancalvin @ 62,
    The difference being that Peter Slipper had absolutely no moral compass while the other LNP pollies simply had no moral compass. Which is why neither was truly capable of realizing their claims were “wrong.”

  64. Moz of Yarramulla

    I like that, drsusancalvin. It always pleases me when people in positions of power plead incompetance or stupidity. In this case “I can’t understand rules” from someone who is supposed to be making rules for a living… gold.

  65. paul burns

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful to the victims of the Bali bombing, but this kind of egging it by Abbott is just, you know, kinda wrong. It doesn’t just make me annoyed, it makes my skin crawl.

    http://www.news.com.au/national-news/tony-abbott-tells-of-2005-bali-bomb-terror/story-fncynjr2-1226735443437

    The man has no sense of propriety whatever.
    He should have just paid a quiet respectful visit, with photographs, and left it at that, not try to make himself and his family the centre of the story.

  66. drsusancalvin

    I hesitate to link to independentaustralia dot net as it is a tad loopy and hyperbolic, (and is it just me but is Tess Lawrence verging on being “ist” in writing “Condoleezza_Rice, prone to tickling the ivories…” ?) but they have a Bali Bombing/John Howard/ Tony Abbott/Andrew Wilkie security warning story that hints this issue might have special significance for TA or something… I can’t really work out what she’s alleging ….

  67. Mindy

    Tim Dunlop in fine form.

    I think this is my favourite bit:

    If you think Julia Gillard would’ve got the same brown-nosed treatment, I’ve got a bridge you might want to buy. She would’ve been accused of selling out, of backflipping, of grovelling to Indonesia and showing her foreign policy inexperience. Greg Sheridan would’ve given birth to a column of venom so grotesque it would’ve blocked out the sun.

    I think you could safely say the same would have happened to Rudd as would have happened to Gillard, except for the foreign policy inexperience bit.

  68. paul burns

    Agree, Mindy @ 67.
    Which leaves me wondering, what, if anything, is Abbott getting for all this grovelling, or have the Indonesians got the Abbott/Bishop combination in such a bind over their shenanigans over the “boats” while in Opposition they both have no choice but to be inoffensive apologetic suppliants?
    (I could put that in stronger language if you like.)

  69. paul burns

    drsusancalvin,
    i think Tess Lawrence is saying the Howard Government knew the Bali bombing was going to take place and warned defence personnel to stay away from the bar but not civilians, presumably for protection of its intelligence sources.
    If true, Howard no doubt decided to go all Winston Churchill like and give us our Coventry in the GWOT.
    Staggering if she’s right.

  70. Russell

    Kind of related … Brian Toohey gave this paper at a conference last week – if this link works, just scroll down, down ’till you come to Brian Toohey

  71. paul burns

    Now Abbott’s lying about the sityation in West Papua. Is there no limit to his mendacity.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbotts-claim-west-papua-getting-better-rejected-by-experts-20131009-2v85h.html

  72. jules

    I’d like to see evidence of this alleged classified intelligence warning to defence personnel.

  73. Ronson Dalby

    I think we need a federal equivalent of NSW’s ICAC.

    “If the Pilliga scrub is not much good for farming, why did Barnaby Joyce, the National Party Senator now standing for the seat of New England, and his wife Natalie pay $572,000 for two blocks of land there in the space of 18 months between 2006 and 2008?”

    http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/politics/barnaby-joyces-pilliga-pillage/

    “In late 2011, Eastern Star Gas was bought by giant gas company Santos for a reported $739 million. John Anderson, former deputy prime minister and leader of the Nationals, was appointed chairman of Eastern Star Gas in 2007 — while still sitting as an MP.”

    While still an MP?

    So many questions need to be asked and answered.

  74. jules

    RD – didn’t Eddie Obeid just get into trouble for something very similar to what joyce did?

    Possibly MacDonald and Anderson’s roles are similar too.

    Finally it was Eastern Star Gas that was responsible for the leaks of tailing wasn’t it? And aren’t they responsible for the poisoning of ground water in the Pilliga?

  75. tigtog
  76. drsusancalvin

    @73 Jeez Ronson. Barnaby does the right thing, leaves the good farmland for the other bloke, takes on a rubbish block and you get all suspicious.

  77. Doug

    Senate recount in WA – all the above the line votes

  78. Helen

    Ricky, we’ve got the numbers, we don’t want to call nobody else
    (Apologies to Steely Dan)

  79. Katz

    Ricky and Clive.

    You despair of politics as usual, until you witness the alternative.

  80. drsusancalvin

    With apologies to The Beatles/Paul McCartney:

    Palmer has his barrow in the market place…
    Ricky’s now a singer in his band….
    Palmer says to Ricky “now you know your place”…
    And Ricky says I’ve always been a fan….

    O bla di, O bla da. life goes on, bra!
    Lala how the life goes on.

    Ludlum takes his ballots to the AEC…
    Argues for “above the line” recount,
    Takes it back again when they refuse to see
    And when he wins he’ll feel he’s climbed the biggest mount.

    O bla di O bla da life goes on bra,
    Lala how the life goes on.

    In a couple of years Tony’s built a Government,
    With a couple of seat in Senate yet,
    The ETS he’ll circumvent. (ha ha ha ha ha )

    Happy ever after in the market place…
    Tony lends all businessfolk a hand…
    Women stay at home because they know their place
    And having babies pays as much as 75 grand….

    Oh bla di oh bla da life goes on bra!
    Lala how the life goes on

  81. Tim Macknay

    [email protected]: Spectacular!

  82. Ronson Dalby

    Get stuffed you inverts in the ACT! You’re not going to destroy the sanctity of marriage!!

    “Same-sex marriage law High Court challenge confirmed

    Federal Attorney-General George Brandis informed the ACT government of the legal challenge in a phone call on Wednesday night before confirming the move at a meeting of federal, state, and territory attorneys-general on Thursday.”

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/samesex-marriage-law-high-court-challenge-confirmed-20131010-2vaqe.html

  83. Katz

    Clive Palmer, his PUPs and Toad of Toad Hall — a Tom Sharpe novel has escaped into real life.

  84. Moz of Yarramulla

    drsusancalvin: Magic. Now youtube!

  85. Katz

    Wednesday morning at five o’clock
    As the day begins
    Silently closing his 4×4 door
    Leaving the note that he hoped would say more

    He goes business class to Coolangatta
    Clutching his kangaroo poo
    Looking for the limo, a burgundy Bentley.
    Slipping inside he is free.

    He…(we never guessed he was Clive’s)
    Is leaving (his votes weren’t meant to be Clive’s)
    Home (we sold ourselves to the Preference Guy)
    He’s leaving home to be a Senator for six long years (bye bye)

    The Victorian Executive, sacked after a dressing down
    Picks up the letter that’s lying there
    Standing forlorn at the top of the stairs
    They break down and cry to the media
    “Sadly, our Ricky’s gone.
    “Why would he treat us so thoughtlessly?
    How could he do this to the party?”

    He…(we never thought of ourselves)
    Is leaving (never a thought for ourselves)
    Home (we struggled hard for a deal with the Preference Guy)
    He’s leaving home to be a Senator for six long years (bye bye)

    Friday morning, at nine o’clock
    He is far away
    Waiting to keep the appointment he made
    Meeting a man with views retrograde

    He (what did we do that was wrong)
    Is Having (we didn’t know it was wrong)
    Fun (fun is the big thing that money can buy)

    That vehicular bush bashing will not be his passion for six long years…
    He’s leaving home…bye, bye.

  86. Ronson Dalby

    “Second Sydney airport site to be identified within months, Deputy PM Warren Truss says”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-11/second-sydney-airport-site-to-be-identified-in-months/5016174

    “…Mr Truss says the final master plan from Sydney Airport Corporation is due in December, and it will guide the construction timeline for a second airport.”

    This is the same Sydney Airport Corporation that hasn’t paid any tax for ten years:

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/airports-pot-of-gold-20130822-2segw.html

    Why is the second airport not going out to tender? Did Howard give the SAC some kind of monopoly about the second airport when his government sold it?

  87. zorronsky

    Ray Of Light – Fair Work Commission drops its civil case against Craig Thomson
    http://wixxyleaks.com/2013/10/11/ray-of-light-fair-work-commission-drops-its-civil-case-against-craig-thomson/

  88. Brian

    Interesting, zorronsky. I always thought that depending on the word of Kathy Jackson was a bit of a worry.

  89. Liz

    I think there’s a huge book to be written one day about this case and the Ashby/Slipper case. There is so much which hasn’t been properly investigated here. So much back room wheeling and dealing in an effort to bring down the last government. And so much of the story that hasn’t been told yet.

  90. zorronsky

    Agree Liz and the Press played a big part in each case probably with the full co-operation of the LNP and including the Julia Gillard beat up by this vermin http://www.independentaustralia.net/2013/business/media-2/press-council-finds-fairfax-fabricated-awu-gillard-stories/

  91. zorronsky

    So not just Murdoch but Fairfax too were in it up to their ears with editor at large Baker and daily priming of his venomous diatribe.

  92. GregM

    [email protected] the article you link to does not say that the Fair Work Commission has dropped its case at all. It says that it is seeking resolution of the case through mediation.

    This is a common practice in civil matters and is encouraged by the courts because if the parties can agree on terms on which to settle the matter that saves the courts the time and trouble of settling the matters in contention through what is often protracted adjudication. If the parties cannot agree in mediation the matter can then proceed to adjudication by the court, often with the matters to be adjudicated clarified and reduced in the mediation process.

    If, as you stated, the Fair Work Commission had dropped its case against Craig Thomson then there would be no mediation.

    You should draw no conclusion from the article stating that the Fair Work Commission having proposed mediation is a sign that it has a weak case. A decision to pursue mediation is just as likely made on commercial considerations (e.g. the expense of running a case where the person who you are running it against would have little prospect of making any court ordered payment at the end it) as upon any asessment of the legal and evidentiary merits of the case.

    You should also draw no conclusion from the course of the civil case as the the merits of the criminal case against Mr Thomson. They are entirely different matters and in different jurisdictions.

  93. Mindy

    I do find it interesting though that now Craig Thomson is no longer a sitting MP suddenly mediation is on the table. Why wasn’t that an option when he was in Parliament. I still smell a rat.

  94. GregM

    I do find it interesting though that now Craig Thomson is no longer a sitting MP suddenly mediation is on the table. Why wasn’t that an option when he was in Parliament. I still smell a rat.

    While I haven’t followed the case its timing is more than likely just a product of where the case has proceeded to.

    In civil matters after an action has commenced there are usually extensive interlocutory procedures such as claims for further and better particulars, discovery of documents and interrogatories of witnesses. It is only when these are completed that both sides have a firm grasp on the matters which will need to be litigated and the likely course of the case. Usually the judge then orders the parties into mediation to see if they can reach a settlement to end the litigation.

  95. Liz

    Yes. And it’s just complete coincidence that it’s happened now.

  96. GregM

    Are you suggesting, Liz, some impropriety on behalf of Justice Jessup of the Federal Court in ordering the parties into mediation at this time?

    Do you hold the judiciary in contempt generally or is it just that judge?

  97. Liz

    No to your questions. I think it’s questionable how this being handkedand reported. I actually have huge respect for barristers and the legal process. But, this is dodgy.

  98. GregM

    Liz what is dodgy is that Fair Work Australia, under its then General Manager, Tim Lee, now a Commissioner of the Fair Work Commission, and then his successor, Bernardette O’Neill, strung their investigation of Craig Thomson’s tenure at the Health Services Union out for three years. Lee’s predecessor as General Manager, who had the handling of the case until his retirement when he handed it over to Lee, estimated that there were only six months needed to wrap the investigation up. Lee and O’Neill strung Thomson out to dry. There is a book in that all by itself.

    If you want to look for what is questionable don’t look to the judiciary or Justice Jessup. They have been left with the stinking carcass.

    Look to Fair Work Australia and its General Managers. No sensible person could conclude that they conducted themselves appropriately in allowing their investigation to take as long as it did.

    Then consider this. The argument you advance is that Craig Thomson should have had the avenue of mediation long before. When? Two months ago when he was fighting an election in order to retain the seat of Dobell? How fair would that have been to him to be engaged in mediation, or other judicial action, with all of his time and resources that that would have involved, while he was contesting an election?

    Six months before when he was preparing to contest the election? Would that have been any fairer?

    So when?

    Is it not more likely that the Federal Court held the case off, on Craig Thomson’s submission, until the election in which he was a candidate was out of the way?

  99. Liz

    I think Thomson would have liked the mediation to occur before the election, to get it over and done with. That seems obvious to me.

  100. jules

    Why is no one talking about the possible consequences of signing the trans pacific partnership?

    Surely the negotiations for these are a public interest matter and should not be confidential.

  101. Russell

    Jules – I just looked from reading an article in the latest MJA to see your comment. The article is titled: Retaining our right to regulate alcohol warnings – the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement must preserve Australia’s options”. As the authors say “The draft TPP text is confidential …” and their concern is that the agreement may limit our ability to create effective warnings on labels (should we want to get around to doing that). So some people are talking about it.

  102. Chris

    jules @ 100 – definitely! There has been talk on Twitter but I haven’t seen anything in the mainstream media. I wonder if we’ll end up with worse copyright and patent legislation.

  103. jules

    There is allegedly a provision in the TPP to enable foreign investors to sue govts when any law limits profits. One reason the Gillard govt didn’t agree to the TPP was it opened them to legal liability re plain packaging on tobacco products. I presume that potential is still there.

    I wonder are state govts open to liability over no smoking in buildings, including licensed premises? Surely that’d cut intoi tobacco company profits. Lone Pine resources sued the govt of Quebec when a moratorium on unconventional extraction was implemented. the Quebec govt had serious concerns about the safety of the process and wanted to ensure it was actually safe.

    Could Dyncorp apply to compete with law enforcement re the marijuana eradication operations that take place every year? Could they sue cos broadscale spraying of glyphosate is illegal?

    I know that is an extremely unlikely scenario, but the trouble with confidential negotiations is we just don’t know is allowed and what isn’t. I doubt a state govt could be sued for banning smoking in licensed premises, but without an open process whotf knows?

  104. jules

    Chris – from what i understand the TPP copyright provisions are full on, more draconian than even the current ones agreed to by Roxon. but again I don’t know enough to really say.

  105. paul burns
  106. Paul

    Paul, sounds to me that on reading that article, all is not well in the coalition.

  107. paul burns

    That’s why it sounds good. 🙂