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EYE-BALL’s Harry’s Growl – Harry’s Political Updates – June 4th 2012.

June 4, 2012
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Title:
Harry’s Political Updates …
June 4th 2012.

This Weeks Headings:

| June 2, 2012 | Click on Heading’s below  to go to linked story. |

  1. What happened to Peter Slipper …
  2. Poll Results …
  3. Reality TV – Politics is the new show …
  4. Latest on Craig Thompson …

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What happened to Peter Slipper:

Our exiled poofter Speaker – Peter Slipper is back in the news again – be it so briefly – out of sight out of mind as they say – but it is for his usual reason for being in the media spotlight – his expense claims. Whilst all the focus has been on Craig Thompson – Mr Slipper in his hiatus from his Speaker roll now has this new media cycle to overcome – his must be the best lunch ticket in town – perhaps he flys his guests to some lake nearby to frequent a log-cabin with room service catering for all in his ‘sexual’ encounters pursuits with young raw staffers.

Reports out under FOI information show Slipper has spent some $407,000 of taxpayers money performing in his role as the Deputy Speaker, and than in more recent times as The Speaker.  He spent almost $1300 on his new Speaker costume – taxpayer-funded of course, and he has spent some $8500 on catering since he took up the Speaker role.

The Sydney Morning Herald story can be read in full below -

Slipper’s expenses out of the bag … more

| June 4, 2012 | Linton Besser, Matthew Moore |

[Click on photo at right to read the 'SMH' story. In full regalia ... Peter Slipper as Speaker of the House. Photo: Gary Ramage]

PETER SLIPPER’S new coat and tails cost taxpayers $1248. His total travel bill in his first six months as Speaker of the Parliament was more than $18,000. He has spent more than $8500 on catering.

Click Here – to View the full list of Peter Slipper’s expenses

It will be the first – and probably only – time the Parliament discloses what perks it pays federal politicians.

Mr Slipper’s spending figures were obtained by the Herald under freedom of information in what is believed to be the first successful application in the Parliament’s history.

House of Representatives Speaker Peter Slipper participates in the Speaker’s procession with the Serjeant-at-Arms armed with the mace and the Speaker’s Attendant from the Members’ Hall to the House of Representatives at Parliament House Canberra on Tuesday 14 February 2012. Pool Photo: Gary Ramage

But the Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, has said the government will shield remaining MPs from such scrutiny by moving Parliament outside the reach of FOI.

Her office said she was considering a bill to ensure the perks Parliament paid or administered – as well as the $230 million a year its departments managed – remained secret. ”It has been long-accepted practice that the parliamentary departments are exempt from FOI,” her spokesman said in a statement. ”The government is considering its options to correct this anomaly.”

An FOI expert, Peter Timmins, said the planned legislation was a serious setback for accountability, noting that the government had failed to properly overhaul the way politicians were remunerated after a landmark inquiry in March last year recommended root-and-branch reform.

”They receive or administer significant amounts of public money that are not subject to the same standards of accountability and transparency that other government agencies are subject to,” Mr Timmins said.

”Why don’t we have a single system that is transparent so that we can see online how this money is being spent in real time?” he said, citing the Scottish Parliament as an example of where such measures were in place.

Since freedom-of-information laws were introduced in Australia, the Federal Parliament has been considered off limits. The bureaucracy might have to account for its spending but the Parliament and its politicians do not, despite the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission that Parliament should be covered.

But in 1999, when a new parliamentary services law was introduced, the three agencies that run the Parliament were accidentally exposed to the legislation. No one noticed until now.

In late April, the serjeant-at-arms of the House of Representatives, Robyn McClelland, denied the Sunshine Coast Daily access to information about Peter Slipper’s expenses as deputy speaker: ”Such details have not been released previously and we do not propose to make the details that you have requested available to you at this time.”

But the matter came to the attention of the Australian Information Commissioner, John McMillan, who made a surprise ruling that the Department of the House of Representatives, the Department of the Senate and the Department of Parliamentary Services had all been subject to the law since 1999.

On May 1, the Herald tested the ruling. Last Thursday it received a table of all money paid to Mr Slipper first as deputy speaker and then, since November, as speaker.

In all, Mr Slipper has cost taxpayers $407,000 in the two roles.

But on the day the Parliament was preparing to give the Herald this information, Ms Roxon announced the government deemed such disclosure an ”anomaly”.

The Greens senator Lee Rhiannon said all MPs should be covered by FOI and their expenses should be readily available to the public.

“Public money is what keeps the House of Representatives and the Senate functioning and the public have a right to know how that money is spent,” she said. ”Parliament should not be beyond the reach of FOI.”

When Britain passed FOI laws 12 years ago, its Parliament and MPs were included and the media and others sought details of their expenses. The Parliament tried to stop the release but the courts said it was public money and public information.

The Parliament continued to resist until the entire file of MPs’ expense claims and disbursements was leaked to the media in 2009 and caused a national scandal. Some MPs were claiming ”second-home” allowances while renting those properties out, some were inflating council tax rates on these properties and pocketing the difference, and many were claiming inflated costs for renovations or repairs to their properties.

The speaker and several ministers were sacked, the then prime minister, Gordon Brown, issued a public apology and several MPs were prosecuted and given jail sentences.

In case the Australian government does try to move the Parliament out of the reach of FOI, on Friday the Herald asked the Parliament for the expenses of every member of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The bigger story within this story is the revelation that the Government is moving to suppress all Parliamentary expenditures from the FOI list. This is big – and given the $230 million disclosure of public fund spend on Parliamentarians and their expenses – The attorney General Nicola ROXON needs to have a reality check on her reasons for wanting to keep this information out of the public domain. More will be heard on this matter in coming weeks.

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Poll Results:

[Click on photo at right to read the 'SMH story on the latest POLL results.]

The latest poll results read likes a dog’s breakfast – neither Leader is popular with the electorate – the ALP have their asses exposed at 26% of the primary vote – in the Leadership both Rudd and Turnbull have polls of 60% – almost twice that of the their respective leaders. If anyone was to take any notice of these poll results that would be ‘french onion’ soup by dinner time. It’s about tie that the poll agencies started to ask some different questions – you know the saying – if you keep doing the same thing over and over and keep getting the same result – you’re borderline mental … change the tune guys.

Link to SMH story for full POLL results.

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Reality TV – Politics is the new show …

Eery day is a reality show. For 15 years TV studios have given us reality TV shows – som have lasted any seasons, and some are too ridiculous to acknowledge. Yet the public’s thirst is real and they want reality in large doses.

Well the media have given it to them in the form of Politics, Down and Dirty … and what is more – it’s here to stay … very few members of the public truly understand Politics or openly debate the events of the day. Many read it like a gossip magazine and talk about the tit-bits around the water fountain. But as for the House and the behaviour, the cut and thrust of Question time, the doorstop cliché’s and one-liners thrown about to cause media cycles – it is all reality TV and as for the seriousness of Politics – who the fuck cares.

The public largely believe they’re all crooks – when was the last time you saw a poop polly … everybody thinks that if they’re taking a little – then that is OK – it’s only when you step into Craig Thompson’s class that you deserve everything thrown at you. But then the mood swings because the Opposition and Media have gone too far and they think Thompson might be suicidal and begin to ask that the attack dogs lay off for a while. Come-on – this is truly soap-opera stuff and the public can’t get enough of it.

Turn the fuckin TV off … if you’ve seen it once – why do you need to see it a hundred more times … it’s media brainwashing and it’s a deliberate ploy to win public opinion. The Media are just as desperate for the feedback and ‘hits’ public’s approval … so many mainstream stories now have the feedback comment option, or a poll option to voice approval or disapproval.

It’s an insecure world and becoming more so every day.

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Latest on Craig Thompson …

The political blog site titled – “Kangaroo Court of Australia” is a great site for background information on breaking stories. The site published and article over the weekend that is required reading for anyone who has not made up their mind of the Craig Thompson affair.

Slater and Gordon lawyers nail Craig Thomson for fraud.

| June 3, 2012 | Link to on-line story |

Slater & Gordon lawyers and the accounting firm BDO Kendall (now BDO) conducted a forensic investigation into Craig Thomson’s fraud at the HSU in 2009. Below is six pages of their report.

After reading this post what becomes obvious is the Fair Work Australia report is nothing more than a glorified, delayed and rebadged Slater and Gordon / BDO report which was completed in 2009. So why did FWA take so long (28th March 2012) to complete their report?

This report is extremely important as it shows who knew what and when. As far back as 2009 the HSU, Fair Work Australia and the Labor party were well aware that Mr Thomson fraudulently ripped of the union. So why the delay in any action? Also there are a few people who actually believe the lies that Craig Thomson told in his address to parliament and the conspiracy theory he put forward which makes the report relevant.

A brief overview for readers who have not followed the story. Craig Thomson worked for the Health Services Union (HSU) for many years. In 2007 he was elected to federal parliament. After he was elected the HSU did an audit (2008) and found he had ripped off the union mainly using his credit card for such things as prostitutes, Nike shoes, electrical goods, election funding and cash withdrawals etc which totals over $500,000.

The HSU brought in the law firm Slater & Gordon to investigate and then brought in the accounting firm BDO Kendall (now BDO) in February 2009 for a forensic investigation of the fraud. In March 2009 it was brought to the attention of the AIR, firstly by an anonymous tip and then by a formal complaint from the HSU. (Click here to see the FWA report starting at page 26 paragraph 49 for the details) The AIR started making initial inquiries.

“On 8 April 2009 the Sydney Morning Herald published a story alleging that Craig Thomson used union credit cards to pay for prostitutes, withdraw over $100,000 in cash and fund his election campaign for the federal seat of Dobell. Thomson sued the newspaper for defamation, but withdrew proceedings when evidence was produced showing that the payments were made from his credit card, his drivers licence was checked and photocopied, and phone calls to escort agencies were made from his mobile phone and hotel rooms.” (Click here to read more on Wikipedia)

… click here to read more …

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Please – if any of the opinions expressed hereto raises concerns within your own belief about how this Nation is being managed, or any other concern, please contact your State content to your Federal Member via an e-mail or a telephone call to express your concerns.

You’ll find the House of Representatives (HOR) and Senator e-mail addresses via the links below to the Australian Parliamentary website Members and Senator profiles. It is an important aspect that in our form of Democracy, that the people be heard – we should ensure the Government Representatives hear our opinions. If we stay silent, then Democracy is not served.

Use the Federal Member and Senate links below to find your Local Member. If you prefer, you can just post a comment below and let your views be heard.

Link to other most recent Harry’s Growl Posts.

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Harry’s Growl …

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  1. Brian
    June 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm | #1

    Yesterday’s claims by the Federal Attorney General – Nicola Roxon that parliamentary expenses should not be available under Freedom of Information is shameless.

    Over the past 20 years or so we have evolved to the private sector being required to publish full directors and senior executives emoluments and perks in their annual accounts. We have got to the stage where options over stock need to be declared at market value, despite obvious uncertainty in valuing those options. We call it transparency. We call it both open and honest disclosure, and fiduciary duty. At law it can be other things beside fiduciary duty, but as the agent of the shareholder, directors can not make unforseen benefit or profit from their role as agent for the shareholders.

    Fiduciary Duty is one of those legal concepts that makes law confusing.

    Elected officials are representative of the electorate. Sadly fiduciary duty rarely applies to them, where representatives is not deemed to be agency. But we still expect the same high standard of accountability and decency from politicians and senior civil servants. Quarterly disclosure of parliamentary perks is mandatory, and should be available on line, rather than only through requests for information under Freedom of Information requirements. Last Christmas politicians and civil servants received large pay increases to cash out silly expense allowances. That was claimed to be transparent and equitable.

    Simply double standards.

  2. October 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm | #2

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