There are some extremely controversial but legitimate questions arising from Tony Abbott’s recently announced Civil Conscription welfare policy. Strangely, this Liberal Party policy blatantly ignores the multi-billion dollar burden imposed upon the federal budget by Middle Class Welfare and instead focuses exclusively upon Australia’s most impoverished and vulnerable battlers, the disabled and the unemployed.
What is the underlying motive that drives Tony Abbott’s seemingly maniacal antipathy towards incredibly vulnerable Aussie Battlers who are unemployed?
- Is he just another insensitive, hard-line right wing politician who believes that a balanced federal budget is far more important than sharing the national wealth with the nation’s most impoverished and vulnerable citizens?
- Alternately, is he a closet sociopath who really enjoys sinking the boot into the disabled and the unemployed without any regards for the consequences?
One crazy welfare policy does not a sociopath make. However, there is a truckload of documented evidence that Tony Abbott has on previous occasions got stuck into the unemployed. For example, he has never the reported the appalling death toll caused by his enforcement of the Howard Government’s Breaching Quotas ‘campaign’. Unlike Peter Garrett’s ‘secret’ death toll of four insulation installers, the unreported breaching quotas death toll may be a 4-digit number and it is those deaths that add weight to the possibility that Tony Abbott is a closet sociopath.
Tony Abbott’s antipathy towards unemployed people (and now disability pensioners) appears to be based upon the misconception that these people are completely marginalized and totally powerless. Nothing could be further from the truth and his failure to appreciate this fact has, perhaps ironically, in the last 12 months or so made his own political party the biggest looser! Whilst the impoverished unemployed may have been deliberately marginalized by Liberal-National Coalition propaganda, this not-so-minority section of Australian society is most definitely not powerless. By failing to appreciate this fact, Tony Abbott cost the Coalition the win in the August 2010 federal election, and most probably the next federal election as well.
- Over the last 25 years almost 30% of formerly unemployed voters have been breached at least once in their lifetime. The 6% of unemployed voters in August 2010 were also unlikely to vote for Tony Abbott’s Breaching policy.
- In that election a sizable number of these voters either declined to vote or deliberately voted ‘Informal’. Prior to the election, Tony Abbott’s well publicized hankering for a return to the good ole days of Breaching galvanized enough of these disenchanted voters into opting to support independents and minor parties. (Julia Gillard’s “Me too” policy statement also killed the ALP’s hopes.)
- The failure of Abbott and Gillard to appreciate the size of the 36% Anti-Breaching vote thus played a significant role in causing the hung parliament.
- To this 36% figure can now be added the 6% of voters who are on a disability pension. It is just about a 100% certainty that these voters will definitely not support Tony Abbott at the next election and there is also no guarantee that they will give their support to Labour.
- Having done a fantastic job of alienating some 42% of voters, this leaves the Coalition and the ALP to fight over the remaining 58% of voters. The one certainty about Mr. Abbott’s March 31st Civil Conscription outburst is that he has effectively ensured that there will almost certainly be yet another hung parliament with yet another minority government controlled even more strongly by even more independent MPs and minor parties like ‘The Greens’.
However, these not the only unintended consequences of Tony Abbott’s ridiculously stupid Civil Conscription policy.
- Two weeks ago, if you had Googled the 4-word phrase, tony abbott breaching fatalities, you would have scored over 560,000 hits on Tony Abbott. Today, you will find that your number one hit is a report on Tony Abbott’s failure to report the previously mentioned breaching fatalities.
- Welfare recipients are alarmed by the disgraceful Civil Conscription policy and are using the Internet to find ways to fight back. Click on the first link that Google lists for tony abbott breaching fatalities and on the webpage that is displayed, there is a link to a YouTube video of a submission made to the Disney Review Panel.
- Embedded within that YouTube video webpage is another link to literally dozens of pages of videos in which welfare recipients express their contempt, in both word and song, for Centrelink.
A recent media report indicates that some 8 million Australians are too illiterate to successfully undertake TAFE courses. It is therefore no surprise that hundreds of thousands of welfare recipients are having problems with Centrelink. In FY 2008-09 Centrelink investigated 628,987 “compliance failures”. “10%” or 8-week “penalties” took money from people who needed every last cent just to survive. These staggering Compliance Failures investigation rates represent almost 12,100 impoverished battlers being investigated every week of that financial year. This raises the critical question of just who is really failing whom?
- Is it the Centrelink clients who are failing? Or is the core problem that Centrelink’s management team hasn’t a clue about the problems that confront their impoverished clients every day as they struggle to survive?
- Is it any wonder that welfare recipients are using the Internet to network and to vent their frustrations at Centrelink’s structural inability to recognize and deal with client problems in a compassionate and caring manner?
In a conversation with a welfare recipient who is apparently being investigated by Centrelink, I suggested that he ask his lawyer to subpoena the documents shown in the previously mentioned Disney Review Panel video.
- These documents need to be subpoenaed because some of the documents displayed in the video are the subject of a secret Howard Government parliamentary privilege suppression order that was issued in an attempt to gag me (and probably many other with similar suppression orders) so as to prevent public awareness of the huge death toll caused by breaching activity.
- Due to of the “gravity/sensitivity” of the deaths caused by the enforcement of breaching quotas back in FY 2000-01, on July 7th 2004, the Australian Federal Police flatly refused (in writing) to investigate these deaths. However, Commissioner Mick Keelty then more than tripled the number of Federal Police Officers who were assisting Centrelink to investigate fifty thousand or more anonymous and unsubstantiated calls to Centrelink’s ‘hot-line . So much for the democratic principle of Equality before the Law!
Brendan O’Connor, the current Justice Minister, even went so far as to suggest (in writing) that investigating these deaths was not the job of the Federal Police because they occurred outside the ACT and therefore the Federal Police had no authority to investigate them!
- I believe that the families of the breaching quota victims who died in the ACT will not be pleased that the Federal Police flatly refused to investigate these breaching quota fatalities because of their (political) “gravity/sensitivity”.
- Whilst I am totally disgusted with Mr. O’Connor’s clumsy attempt to dodge and conceal the issue of breaching fatalities, one piece of (written) advice from Mr. O’Connor that I will be implementing in the near future is to raise the matter with the South Australian Police. South Australia has a rather weird criminal law that in 2006 saw a 20 year old man receive a 14 year sentence. In February 2006, Josiah Finch was convicted of Felony Murder, not because he killed anyone, but because he allegedly concealed the details of just ONE unlawful killing. (Just how many has Tony Abbott & Centrelink concealed?)
- This Felony Murder law is not good news for the politicians, public servants and senior federal police officers who have been involved in maintaining the 25-year long secret Wall of Silence that still surrounds breaching fatalities.
Not one of the 87 deaths allegedly caused by Queensland’s Dr. Death, Jayant Patel, was originally classified as an unlawful death. It was only after the scale of the death toll became public knowledge that the Beatty Government was finally forced to investigate the political and bureaucratic cover-up of these deaths. This resulted in some of the 87 surgical fatalities being subsequently reclassified as unlawful killings.
- In the same manner, regardless of the actual cause of death, it is possible that every breaching triggered fatality (other than perhaps the very first couple of fatalities that occurred 25 years ago) can be reclassified as an Unlawful Killing, e.g. Manslaughter, once the scale of the death toll is revealed.
- In my state of South Australia, many of the breaching triggered deaths that occurred may have to be reclassified as unlawful killings, i.e. Manslaughter due to Criminal Negligence caused by a reckless indifference to human life.
- It is highly likely that every one of the Breaching Quota deaths that occurred in SA can be reclassified as Felony Murders.
- There is no Statute of Limitations on Felony Murders so that every one of the Breaching Quota fatalities that occurred in South Australia, that Tony Abbott never reported, is potentially a criminal offence that really could really ruin his political ambitions by landing him the same predicament as Josiah Finch.
In a direct parallel with the Queensland ‘Dr. Death’ case, fearful of the political repercussions and legal consequences of exposing breaching fatalities, federal government ministers have hidden these deaths behind a bureaucratic Wall of Silence and, as a direct consequent, this death toll also continued to rise for two decades or more. Thanks to Centrelink’s “10 prosecutions a day” campaign”, there is now a very good chance that a scores of politicians, bureaucrats, federal police officers, and even Director of Public Prosecutions officials, may be cross examined and required to explain why the steadily rising death caused by breaching activity has never once been reported in departmental or agency reports.
- It was not until 1st July 2009 that Breaching legislation was finally abandoned and administrative measures were put in place to minimize or prevent further fatalities amongst welfare recipients.
- The Breaching process involved welfare recipients being accused of an alleged Breach of Contract by the Department of Employment and then immediately convicted, without consultation or a trial, by Centrelink.
- This administrative farce was/is both a Denial of Natural Justice and a serious violation of over 20 Basic Human Rights that are set out in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
- Yes, Australia is a signatory to that UN Declaration (and six others) but legislation setting up the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission specifically prohibits this agency from dealing with human rights violations involving the breaching process. I believe that it is significant that both the legislation establishing the Human Rights Commission and breaching legislation were drawn up at the same time in 1986.
- This means that the inhumane consequences of breaching activity were clearly foreseen and thus any fatalities were essentially an ‘Acceptable Consequence’. Legally, this represents “A Reckless Indifference to Human Life” which means that every fatality was and still is, a major crime. It is therefore no wonder that the breaching triggered fatalities have never been reported by politicians or bureaucrats in the last 25 years.
- Does anyone disagree that allowing people to die for allegedly breaching their job search contractual obligations is totally amoral and sociopathic, especially when the rational is Sound Economic Management?
Anyone who checks out the ( tony abbott breaching fatalities ) website link will discover that it was not until May 10th, 2010 that a very senior Centrelink official, Neil Skill, finally admitted (in writing) that Centrelink had never counted the “Post Breaching Terminal Outcomes”, i.e. the breaching triggered fatalities.
- Now that the secret of the breaching triggered fatalities finally is out of the box, the next task is to overcome massive bureaucratic, legal and political inertia created by the political “gravity/sensitivity” of these deaths.
- Bundaberg Hospital whistleblowers like Toni Hoffmann found out the hard way that getting action to deal with ‘Dr. Death’ (Jayant Patel) was a truly awesome task. In the case of Dr. Patel, it would be 5 years after he was exposed before he would be brought to trial in 2010. Even now the case is not over as there is currently an appeal against the leniency of the 7-year sentence that was imposed for the unlawful killing of three of his patients.
- Testifying in court about the refusal of the Federal Police to investigate political corruption and the official concealment of breaching triggered deaths by former and current government ministers is just one of many actions that I am undertaking in an effort to overcome this secrecy.
In the long run, Justice is best served when welfare victims are empowered with the information that will enable them to make informed decisions about how they can best achieve a satisfactory resolution. Perhaps the ultimate irony in this process of empowerment is that Mr. Abbott’s proposed Civil Conscription policy may unintentionally kill off one more victim, the proposed Carbon Tax!
- Last year the West Australian Government paid $3.2 million in compensation for one unintended but negligent death in custody.
- How much compensation should therefore be paid for easily preventable deaths that were secretly classified as “confidential” and then “irrelevant” by federal politicians and which were also ignored by the Federal Police because of the political “gravity/sensitivity” surrounding these unlawful killings?
- For us poor taxpayers who will foot the massive compensation bill, the key question for these deaths is just how big a federal tax levy will be needed to pay this compensation?
- I suspect that the levy will be big enough to see the proposed Carbon Tax; killed off, if not by the Gillard Government, then by hip-pocket injured voters.
- Both the now defunct Breaching legislation which caused so many deaths and the current “Compliance Failure Penalty” legislation are unconstitutional but that still has not stopped both Liberal and Labour politicians from putting their ideological agendas ahead of such inconvenient constitutional constraints.
For those people who are prepared to ignore all of the above mentioned issues and still support Mr. Abbott’s proposed Civil Conscription policy, there is something else that you won’t want to know; Paragraph 51(xxiiia) of the Australian Constitution specifically prohibits Tony Abbott’s proposed civil conscription policy:
Paragraph 51. The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make
laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with
(xxiiia) The provision of maternity allowances, widows’ pensions, child endowment, unemployment, pharmaceutical, sickness and benefits, medical and dental services (but not so as to authorize any form of civil conscription), benefits to students and family allowances:
The constitutional constraint embedded into Paragraph 51 (xxiiia) of the Australian Constitution was placed there because of a genuine concern by at least two thirds of the nation’s voters that at some future point in time, an uncaring or penny-pinching Federal Government may try to ruthlessly exploit the unemployed.
How right they were!
POSTSCRIPT: Is Tony Abbott the front runner in a Melbourne Cup sized field of runners for the dubious title of Australia’s Minister for Mass Murder?
There are numerous reasons why I believe that Tony Abbott must be held accountable to welfare recipients for his actions:
- FY 2000-01 – a record number of breaches issues, i.e. 346,078, which represented a rate of 3 per minute during public service working hours.
- FY 2000-01 – an unknown number of breaching fatalities concealed. A statistical probability analysis using recent data suggests that the median probability for the breaching death toll is in the range of 350 – 700 fatalities.
- April 2002 – Tony Abbott accidentally helped to define Breaching as “the targeted, and therefore deliberate, removal of the only means of support, from people who have no other means of support, so that (for three months) they are unable to meet their basic costs of living”.
- Breaching Quotas meant that Aussie Battlers were allowed to die by deliberately depriving them of their most basic means to survive.
- Tony Abbott then displayed total indifference to the sometimes fatal consequences of Breaching by supporting the doubling of Breaching from 13-weeks to 26-weeks. Surely, that was the act of an amoral Sociopath?
- In early 2010, Tony Abbott suggested that the Environment Minister, Peter Garrett should be prosecuted for “Industrial Manslaughter”; an extremely risky suggestion that, at the time, made have been justified by the possibility of winning the federal election. However, it was extremely risky because of precisely the same secrecy that surrounded the breaching quota deaths.
- Some of our political leaders have declared War on Poverty but Tony Abbott is uniquely different in this respect. As his March 31st policy statement made quite clear, he appears to prefer declaring War on the Impoverished!
- It is no longer appropriate for any federal politicians, especially Opposition Leaders like Tony Abbott, to blithely trot out unconstitutional policies and to promote or implement them just because they have popular appeal with the prejudices of Australia’s all too easily manipulated middle class voters.
- Announced just 6-months after the federal election, the real purpose of Tony Abbott’s Civil Conscription policy may simply be about reinforcing the Coalition’s scurrilous ideological myth of The Dole Bludger. This blatant propaganda deliberately vilifies the unemployed so that they are perceived as a worthless drain on the economy and therefore ‘deserved to be punished” for being unemployed. The policy thus helps to ‘legitimize’ the unconstitutional and unlawful breaching fatalities, especially the Breaching Quota Deaths.
Sometime between March 1996 and October 2007, the Liberal Party became totally addicted to Absolute Power. Still blinded by their former political magnificence and suffering acute withdrawal symptoms from their loose of power, the Liberal Party was desperate enough to grasp at the Tony Abbott straw. That was not a good idea, for in doing so, they appointed a leader tainted by the Breaching Quota fatalities.
Are you being prosecuted by Centrelink?
Then you need to contact me as soon as possible for it may be possible to convince Centrelink that if you go on trial, Centrelink’s senior management will wind up being convicted.
Have you ever had the dole cut off?
- You may have been ripped off and could be entitled to both COMPENSATION & RESTITUTION (with compound interest).
- Even if you were not the victim of a breaching scam, the bottom line is that Breach of Contract is a matter for the High Court, not Centrelink. If enough of you get together, you could force a class action for compensation. How many is enough? Depends on the lawyer.
- Read some of the other blogs listed at the top right of this blog and decide what you should do.
Has a family member died after being breached?
You may be entitled to COMPENSATION for the UNLAWFUL DEATH of this family member but you will have join with others and fight for this compensation.
CLASS ACTIONS are all about NETWORKING with one another so that lots of people with same claim can sue Centrelink and the government.
NETWORKING starts when two people get together, perhaps on the Internet and look for others with the same problem.
PRO BONO: Some lawyers will take a case Pro Bono which means that they work for free “in the public interest”. How they get paid varies, e.g. a large class action with lots of people that can produce a huge payout or a Landmark Decision can be worth millions in free publicity that attracts well heeled clients. In the public interest,
A teacher, not a lawyer, I am willing to volunteer “in the public interest” to coordinate setting the up of a welfare victims network for free. You can network with me at:
P.S. I am in the Adelaide white pages if you are really, really desperate to talk to me. Leave a message on the answering machine if I am grand parenting and cannot talk to you immediately.