South Australia’s 12 senators are the recipients of this blog posting but anyone struggling to pay their bills should read it for it is about forcing these politicians to face 8 ugly real-life issues such as 20% of South Australians live below the Poverty Line whilst another 35% suffer Mortgage and Utility Stress!
To add insult to injury, as the letter below makes quite clear Centrelink’s Breaching/compliance Failure penalties are “ultra vires” i.e. unconstitutional. However, the Ombudsman is not allowed to challenge federal legislation!
Dear Senator, this email covers the following issues:
- Poverty levels rising;
- Mortgage and Utility Stress rising; In May 2012, an Ombudsman’s official agreed that Centrelink’s Compliance Failure penalties legislation is unconstitutional and need to be challenged in the High Court;
- Craig Thomson’s ‘courtesy letters’ and their political ramifications; Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, Saney Edoe Aweys and Nayef el Sayed; what Craig Thomson has, these gentlemen are about to receive.
- The Neil Skill Letter: Centrelink’s failure to report Breaching Performance Indicator Target Quota fatalities to be challenged in the Federal Court;
- “Serious” Socio-Economic Vilification (i.e. welfare bashing) is a very nasty form of vilification that is still lawful. (ACMA Report #2729- May 2012.)
- The Digital revolution and its potential impact upon the next election – a new way to hold politicians accountable for their decisions.
REALITY #1 FOR POLITICAL PARTIES. (The continuing rise of Poverty.)
Since March 1996, i.e. 16 years after John Howard became Prime Minister, the level of Poverty has risen from about 12% of the population to 20%. This represents an extremely disturbing annual growth rate of 0.5% and so the obvious question from my perspective is, “What are YOU going to do to reverse this alarming trend?” (NOTE: giving yourself a huge pay rise for helping to create this massively increased level of poverty does not count as affirmative, effective action!)
Have you seen this community welfare advertisement on television?
Pay the electricity? Buy urgently needed medicine? Buy food?
Were you aware that 1 voter in 5 in South Australia constantly makes that sort of decision.
NO! They have far more compelling issues to deal with, e.g. Economic SURVIVAL.
Add in the voters who suffer from Mortgage Stress and Utility Stress and you have a not to be ignored 55% of voters do not care two hoots about Yuppie issues, e.g. same sex marriage?
(A political reality: In a recent Advertiser survey: 92% of respondents were opposed to Same Sex marriage.)
5 years ago, using the electoral data on the CD’s that the Australian Electoral Commission used to give away for free, I spent a lot of time analyzing the voting trends of welfare recipients and some interesting trends were glaringly apparent:
In electorate booths in areas of high poverty, up to 10% of voters were deliberately voting informal. (Many refused to accept ‘How to vote cards; they collected their voting slips but did not complete them – some left very explicit messages on these ballot slips!)
- Impoverished people do not support the major political parties. As poverty increases, the level of support for major parties declines and so the balance of power falls into the hands of the minor parties.
- BUT: Impoverished people only support minor parties until those parties are perceived as being out of touch with the plight of these voters.
- ‘Out of touch’ results in these impoverished voters promptly dumping minor parties.
The fate of the Australian Democrats is a more recent salient reminder that when political parties loose contact with their core base, they cease to exist. Their vote plummeted from 16% (in SA) to the 1.6% of vociferous, but electoral insignificant, core voters. The Australian Democrats leadership wrongly believed that the micro-minority opinions of their core voter base accurately reflected the opinions of the Silent Majority. They were wrong!
Reality for the impoverished 20% of voters is survival, not same sex marriage; not the carbon tax; not even “sound economic management”. SURVIVAL! Just plain and simple survival.
REALITY #2 FOR POLITICAL PARTIES. (The downside of Privatization.)
Privatization of utilities is proving to be a massive social disaster.
South Australia has the highest electricity prices in the world, a full 10% ahead of the next highest country, Denmark.
- The 20% of impoverished voters who are forced to make choices between food, medicine or paying utilities are not alone.
- The 35% of (lower middle class) voters who suffer with the problem of ‘Siamese Twin’ mortgage and utility stress also do not care for vocal minority issues.
- The just released census data reveals that income is up 18% but mortgages are up by 47%. Mortgage stress is a massive problem for many voters and Utility Stress is another straw truck load of bricks that Privatization has dumped upon struggling household budgets.
- Tell me what you intend to do to fix these far more urgent problems. (That is not a rhetorical statement, you are part of the problem and so I expect an informed, detailed answer.)
REALITY #3 FOR POLITICAL PARTIES. (Compliance Failure legislation is unconstitutional.)
Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman complaint #2012-109928 is of extreme important to all 226 federal politicians and political parties.
After 9 years of lobbying, an OCO official has finally admitted that Centrelink’s “Compliance Failure Penalties” legislation is unconstitutional. The OCO will not act on this fact because it does not challenge federal legislation in the High Court. My personal challenge now is to find a way to get this legislation to the High Court, and that is already in the works.
REALITY #4 FOR POLITICAL PARTIES. (The Craig Thomson ‘courtesy letters’.)
On May 12th 2012, the Australian Federal Police were against asked to investigate the fatalities caused by the Howard Government’s enforcement of Breaching Performance Indicator Target Quotas.
Between 1st July 1999 and 30th June 2002, over 900,000 Breaches were issued!
- The death toll from this activity was never reported to Federal Parliament by Tony Abbott, Jocelyn Newman and Amanda Vanstone.
- The misuse of lawful authority (breaching legislation) to defraud welfare recipients of legitimate welfare entitlements is FRAUD.
- Under the SA Consolidate Criminal Law Act (1935), fatalities stemming from the commission of a crime are Felony Murders, a crime with NO STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.
- On May 18th 2010, a senior Centrelink official wrote a letter that explained how DSS and Centrelink officials had successfully concealed these fatalities from parliament, i.e. the simply never “collected” the data so they did not have to report these fatalities.
The OCO could not act on previous refusals of the AFP to investigate these fatalities because the decisions were made more than a year ago. In addition, the secret Senate suppression orders that prohibit the copying and distribution of the AFP decisions are outside the powers of the OCO. However;
The May 12th 2012 request to the AFP does fall within the powers of the OCO and if the AFP once again refuses to investigate these murders, then the door is open to a new complaint being lodged with the OCO.
- If the OCO refuses to act, then the OCO decision can be appealed to the Federal Court as a major Human Rights violation.
- CRAIG THOMSON – being an MP, the secret Senate suppression orders do not apply to him and so he has certified copies of more than a dozen documents that, if tabled in court as part of a “Manifest Ostensible Bias” defense, court bring down the Federal Parliament.
REALITY #5 FOR POLITICAL PARTIES. (Tony Abbott’s b-a-d judgment call.)
Tony Abbott has a bad dose of running off at the mouth with his “Industrial Manslaughter” comment. Even worse, he allowed a senate inquiry into ‘Roofgate’ with the 3rd term of reference being “Any other matters”, e.g. “Any other fatalities caused by any other fraudulent activity in any other government program under any other government minister of any other government.” How dumb can you get! T.o.R. #3 was just asking for trouble and the committee got it in spades as the following points made quite clear to them:
Over 900,000 impoverished people breached in just 3 years and Tony Abbott never said a single word about the post-breaching fatalities.
However, what he had done was unintentionally define breaching as an easily foreseeable Criminal Act of Reckless Endangerment,
On 1st April 2002, Tony Abbott and Senator Amanda Vanstone released the 2002 Welfare Reform Discussion Paper. Paragraph 47 of this document described a welfare allowance as,
“…a targeted payment to financially impoverished people for the purpose of assisting these people to meet their most basic living costs.”
This meant that Breaching was now definable as an unlawful activity;
“Breaching is the targeted and therefore deliberate removal of the only means of support, from people who have no other means of support, so that for a period of 3 months they are unable to meet even the most basic costs of living.”
The problem with the paragraph 47 definition of statement was that it opened the door to a chilling Mens Rea (malicious intent) question:
How dangerous is it to deliberately stop impoverished people from meeting their most basic living costs?”
Breach 900,000+ vulnerable, impoverished people in just 3 years and thus deliberately prevent them from meeting their “most basic living costs” and you don’t need a university degree to work out that in all probability, lots of these people would die.
Tony Abbott’s solution to the problem of breaching triggered fatalities? Very simple; just double the breaching penalty from13 weeks to 26 weeks. (Check the Hansard record!) This ‘solution’ raises a simple question that is based upon the following 3 facts about Closet Sociopaths who often have the following 3 personality traits:
An above average intelligence ranking;
- Excellent leadership or inter-personal relationship skills;
- A totally amoral lack of concern for any fatalities that they may be responsible for.
So, how well does Tony Abbott rate? Is the man who believes that he should be the Prime Minister ‘now’, a Closet Sociopath, or is he merely a run-off-the-mill, ultra-right-wing politician who is more concerned with Power than people?
When Centrelink is finally forced to divulge the post-breaching fatalities statistics, will Tony Abbott become the Prime Minister or will he be lodged in less salubrious accommodation?
Only time will tell.
REALITY #6 FOR POLITICAL PARTIES. (Issues for the Federal Court to determine.)
If the AFP again refuses to investigate the breaching Quotas fatalities, i.e. “Quotagate” then the decision goes to the federal Court for an impartial determination.
- If Centrelink again refuses to hand over the statistics, not the names, re breaching fatalities, then the issue also goes to the Federal Court.
- How many fatalities have occurred since the 1st post-breaching fatality ever occurred? Unknown at this stage, but probably between 2 – 4 times the 9/11 death toll.
- With the WA Government paying $4.3 million for one unintended fatality in custody, what is reasonable compensation for fatalities that were an “irrelevant*”, acceptable consequence for politicians?
- Perhaps more importantly for you, how many politicians and bureaucrats will face prosecution over this hidden humanitarian disaster?
REALITY #7 FOR POLITICAL PARTIES. (ACMA endorsement of “Severe” welfare bashing.)
37 years after racial vilification was made unlawful. Why is serious Socio-Economic Vilification, i.e. welfare bashing, by the mass media at levels officially classified as up to “Severe” still lawful?
1. Federal and State/Territory laws have “Zero Tolerance” trigger levels for sexual harassment or vilification in the workplace but the ACMA, in Report #2729, officially set the trigger level for welfare bashing by commercial broadcasters at “Intense”. “Severe” levels of vilification are not enough to justify the ACMA taking action!
- 2. Incredibly, this level also does not take into consideration the impact of deliberate, targeted vilification by commercial broadcasters.
- The ACMA decision is totally inconsistent with court decisions dealing with vilification issues, e.g. the Eackot Decision, the Cornes Decision or even the 2005 Keating v Morris;Leck v Morris Decision before Justice Moyniham in the Queensland Supreme Court.
- Totally ignoring the “Zero Tolerance” principles implicit in statute laws and case law decisions, the ACMA opted to go with the “principles” set out in the ‘self-regulating’ code of practice in which broadcasters gave themselves the ‘right’ to engage in welfare bashing at levels up to “Intense”!
- 5. Do you endorse this self-given ‘right’ by the nation’s commercial broadcasting industry to vilify a vulnerable targeted minority, or do you believe that the ‘Zero Tolerance’ trigger levels should also apply to the 20% of voters who lack the financial resources needed to fight back in the courts.
- I ask that question expecting a specific, detailed answer. My appeal to the Ombudsman totals some hundreds of pages of material and is intended to “pre-position” my case if I am forced to seek a resolution of the issues covered in ACMA Reports 2729 and 2780 by challenging these reports in the Federal Court.
- You do not need to be a genius to work out that silence is a real-world form of tacit approval of the ACMA’s “Severe” welfare bashing is OK viewpoint and voters who are currently struggling to survive are not going to be impressed by senators and MPs who deliberately ignored the appalling official attitude to welfare bashing that the ACMA currently has.
REALITY #8 FOR POLITICAL PARTIES. ( The Digital revolution and its potential impact upon the next election – a new way to hold politicians accountable for their decisions.)
Fairfax and News Ltd may disagree about the timing of the demise of printed newspapers, but both recognize that the 21st century is the age of digital communications. Until now, welfare recipients were isolated and faced their problems alone. Today, they share their problems via the Social Media networks, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress, Oovoo and other social networking channels.
The door is open to coordinating action against politicians and political parties that fail to meet the needs of impoverished voters. Why vote informal, or not vote at all, when coordinated voting can be used to destabilize the political parties or independent politicians who have a track record of sinking the boot into impoverished voters.
- What happened to the Australian Democrats, One Nation and the almost extinct Democratic Labour Party could now just as easily happen to politicians who serve major parties rather than the people who elect them.
- Accountability is about informed decision making and the Internet is the world’s best source of information; just ask the US Government which is so desperate to ‘nuke’ WiliLeaks founder, Julian Assange.
If it is held in August 2013 or later, the 2013 election may well be fought on welfare rights issues, e.g. the ACMA reports, the unconstitutional Breaching/Compliance Penalties legislation and the responsibility for the concealment of post-breaching fatalities by politicians, Senate committees and bureaucrats. The Anti-Terrorism Bill #2 legislation may well have been the pay-off for a secret dirty deal that may have been done between the Howard Government and the AFP leadership, i.e. no investigation of the Quotagate fatalities in exchange for the draconian police powers contained in the Anti-Terrorism Bill #2 legislation. Who cares about that issue? How about Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, Saney Edoe Aweys and Nayef el Sayed, whose 14-year convictions may well be legally invalid and thus might be overturned upon appeal? (What Craig Thomson has, these gentlemen are about to receive.) If these three gentlemen do mount an appeal based upon that legislation being the proceeds of a crime, win or lose, the Coalition is going to have some significant problems justifying why thousands of un-reported post-breaching fatalities were officially classified as both “confidential” and “irrelevant” by three Coalition dominated senate committees.
One thing is certain, between now and the 2013 election, it is going to be an interesting time for everyone who has helped in any way to conceal any of the post-breaching fatalities.
Ron Medlicott. GDA (Ag), Dip T, Cert FLM.
*“irrelevant” EWRE Committee correspondence – March 2006.