Episode 274 – Gladys, Deb and Dan

Gladys was responsible for funding ICAC while her boyfriend was being investigated, Deb met with Qld developers and Dan needs to rethink his numbers and lift restrictions now.

State leaders in the news

Daniel, Gladys and Deb

Deb Frecklington

From the ABC

LNP Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington campaign in crisis after being referred by own party to election watchdog

From The Courier Mail

Election Corruption Alert. This is your final notice. Revealed CCC warns of blurred lines.

The Australian

LNP leader Deb Frecklington’s secret meetings with property developers

Gladys

When should we care about sleeping arrangements?

The ICAC is investigating Daryl Maguire, the former MP for Wagga Wagga, for a second time. In 2018, he was caught up in an inquiry into claims of improper conduct by former Canterbury City councillors. ICAC is yet to table its report into this long-running inquiry to Parliament.

Maguire resigned from the Liberal Party and Parliament after telling the commission he had sought payment to help broker a property deal with a Chinese developer.

This time he is at the centre of investigations that he used his position as a member of Parliament to improperly gain a benefit for himself or entities close to him including the company G8wayInternational.

The time in question is between 2012 and 2018. His relationship with the Premier began in 2015. The current investigation is ongoing and is due to report its findings at a later date.

2014 NSW Ministerial Code of Conduct-extract:

Ministers have a responsibility to avoid or otherwise manage appropriately conflicts of interest to ensure the maintenance of both the actuality and appearance of Ministerial integrity.

Definitions

Family member, in relation to a Minister, means:-

(e) any other person with whom the Minister is in an intimate personal relationship.

Conflicts of Interest

A Minister must not knowingly conceal a conflict of interest from the Premier.

A Minister must not, without the written approval of the Premier, make or participate in the making of any decision or take any other action in relation to a matter in which the Minister is aware they have a conflict of interest.

A conflict of interest arises in relation to a Minister if there is a conflict between the public duty and the private interest of the Minister, in which the Minister’s private interest could objectively have the potential to influence the performance of their public duty. Without limiting the above, a Minister is taken to have a conflict of interest in respect of a particular matter on which a decision may be made or other action taken if:
(a) any of the possible decisions or actions (including a decision to take no action) could reasonably be expected to confer a private benefit on the Minister or a family member of the Minister, and
(b) the nature and extent of the interest is such that it could objectively have
the potential to influence a Minister in relation to the decision or action.

My Interpretation: Ministers have to declare interests of immediate family members but not if just intimate partner.

From Crikey

The New South Wales premier’s secret relationship with former MP Daryl Maguire led to a fundamental but undeclared conflict of interest at the top of the government, with Gladys Berejiklian controlling the funding of the very body which revealed Maguire’s corruption.

That conflict has been made more pressing over the past 18 months, as the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has pleaded with the premier’s office for extra funding for its survival.

ICAC made its case in increasingly desperate terms in late 2019 as the government’s funding cutbacks over successive years hit hard. It warned that without a funding boost it would be forced to make 31 full-time employees redundant from its 120-strong workforce with an “immediate and devastating” impact on its ability to fight corruption.

As ICAC made its case to Berejiklian, no one was aware that she was in a close personal relationship with Maguire who had already been the subject of an ICAC investigation and public hearings in 2018. (Maguire admitted trying to earn payments by setting property developers up with investors, particularly large Chinese firms.)

In May this year, with Berejiklian still secretly seeing Maguire, ICAC released a report from leading NSW SC Bret Walker which said the government’s funding arrangements exposed it to the risk of undue influence, given the central role of the premier’s office in deciding funding.

It said the Department of Premier and Cabinet had “reluctantly” agreed to provide an extra $2.5 million in 2019 so its work could continue.

ICAC’s relationship with the NSW government took a sharp turn for the worse in 2015-16 when the government slashed its funding by more than 25% — from $27.5 to $20m. It has still not recovered.

Berejiklian was then treasurer and deputy leader of the NSW Liberal Party. The cuts came at a time when the budget was more than $5 billion in surplus and were widely seen as payback for a series of high-profile investigations which had exposed staggering levels of corruption in the Liberal government.

Between 2011 and 2015, ICAC investigations forced the resignation of more than a dozen Liberal MPs, including two ministers. Most were revealed to have accepted or arranged secret donations from property developers in the 2011 election which brought the Coalition to power.

The most senior ICAC casualty was then premier Barry O’Farrell who resigned after admitting he had received a $3000 bottle of vintage Grange as a gift from Australian Water Holdings, which he had initially failed to declare.

The same inquiry implicated senior NSW Liberal Party identity and then federal senator Arthur Sinodinos.

O’Farrell’s resignation in April 2014 was a cataclysmic event for the Liberal government.

Yet the ICAC’s high-impact investigations appear not to have alerted Berejiklian to the risks of corruption.

The evidence shows that in February 2014 Berejklian was told by Maguire that he had received a $5000 commission from his role with a business partner in selling a motel. She greeted the news with a “woo hoo” and lots of exclamation marks. And then kept her relationship with Maguire a secret for the next five years as he continued to tell her news she apparently didn’t want to know.

That decision is proving fateful and it raises serious questions about the public’s right to know.

Here are some:

  • The ICAC first conducted hearings into Maguire in July 2018, revealing a level of corruption which shocked the premier. Eight months later, in March 2019, there was a state election. Why didn’t Berejiklian declare the relationship prior to the election? Was it to avoid potentially fatal publicity?
  • Did the ICAC have surveillance material on Berejiklian before the election? And if so, why didn’t it hold hearings back then? (The ICAC told us it didn’t comment on investigative matters.)
  • When it came to pleas for increased funding, did Berejiklian excuse herself from discussions given she was determined to keep the relationship to herself?

We have approached the premier for answers.

Daniel

Patience must be wearing out. Time for more nuance?

From Crikey

For the second time in a week, yesterday NSW recorded more new daily COVID-19 cases than Victoria.

In Sydney, masks have all but been abandoned, with restrictions on outdoor venues and concerts about to be eased. In Melbourne, residents are still confined to their houses for 22 hours a day.

Greater Melbourne has been subject to one of the longest and harshest lockdowns in the world, despite case numbers dropping to single digits. This morning, the state recorded seven new cases in the past day.

There’s still a way to go before Melbourne reaches a rolling 14-day average of five new cases, which was the trigger point Premier Daniel Andrews had set for the lockdown to be eased.

This benchmark will now be reviewed, after harsh criticism of Andrews, who conceded the current case numbers may be “as good as it gets”.

What should Victoria’s benchmark be, and is Andrews’ approach more politics than science?

 

The Legalise Cannabis Qld Party

Frank is having another go.

The fledgling Party now has candidates standing in twenty-three seats with three last minute additions in the seats of Miller, Pumicestone and Toohey, which is great news for those seeking serious change and actual action on many issues, not just Cannabis relegalisation. The Party has policy statements on a whole range of areas including: Agriculture, Manufacturing, Job Creation and a Stronger Economy; Health; Policing, Justice, Law and Order; The Environment; Human Rights Issues; and Recreational Issues.

Of the ten seats highlighted as battleground seats across the State, the Legalise Cannabis Qld Party have candidates in six of them, with three in ‘pole’ position, bringing the newest Queensland political party to the forefront of the fight for REAL change across the Sunshine State!

Kevin Rudd’s Petition

He is such a wanker but his petition is worthy of support

Petition Reason

Our democracy depends on diverse sources of reliable, accurate and independent news. But media ownership is becoming more concentrated alongside new business models that encourage deliberately polarising and politically manipulated news. We are especially concerned that Australia’s print media is overwhelmingly controlled by News Corporation, founded by Fox News billionaire Rupert Murdoch, with around two-thirds of daily newspaper readership. This power is routinely used to attack opponents in business and politics by blending editorial opinion with news reporting. Australians who hold contrary views have felt intimidated into silence. These facts chill free speech and undermine public debate. Powerful monopolies are also emerging online, including Facebook and Google. We are deeply concerned by: mass-sackings of news journalists; digital platforms impacting on media diversity and viability; Nine Entertainment’s takeover of the Melbourne Age and Sydney Morning Herald; News Corp’s acquisition (and then closure) of more than 200 smaller newspapers, undermining regional and local news; attempts to replace AAP Newswire with News Corp’s alternative; and relentless attacks on the ABC’s independence and funding. Professional journalists further have legitimate concerns around unjust searches, potential prosecution, whistle-blower protection, official secrecy and dispute resolution that should be comprehensively addressed. Only a Royal Commission would have the powers and independence to investigate threats to media diversity, and recommend policies to ensure optimal diversity across all platforms to help guarantee our nation’s democratic future.

Petition Request

We therefore ask the House to support the establishment of such a Royal Commission to ensure the strength and diversity of Australian news media.

 

The Cost of University Degrees

From The ABC

The Senate has passed contentious laws that will dramatically increase the cost of some university degrees, while cutting the cost of others. Under the changes, the cost of a social sciences degree will more than double, while nursing, mathematics and teaching degrees will become cheaper.

The Changes

NTOS Go Fund Me

The link to Go Fund me

The Noosa Temple of Satan will be hosting Australia’s first-ever public Satanic Black Mass on the Friday 30 October 2020.

To help celebrate our freedom of speech and religious freedom, we want to proudly fly this sky ad over the principality of Noosa on Saturday 24 October. But we’ll need your help to make it happen!

The Black Mass has been sold out for weeks now but our sky ad will help promote the event which will be live streamed from our Facebook page

We would also like to use this opportunity to thank PM Scott Morrison and the LNP Government for the recent work they have been doing around the issue of Religious Freedoms. Thanks to the concerted efforts of our PM there has been a phenomenal growth in Satanism in Australia.

The sky ad is going to cost us an additional $1800 bringing the new total of our fundraising to $2430.
The deadline to raise the money and pay the amount is Sunday 18 October. So please act now and chip in a dollar or two to help us get this baby flying!

The banner will be flown North up the whole length of the Sunshine Coast, then do 2 laps of Noosa, before flying back South above the Bruce Highway.

Satan has great plans for the principality of Noosa and Australia.

Hail Satan!

Thank you to everyone who voted in our Facebook poll – slight adjustments had to be made to the wording of the winning banner because of limited character spaces.

We wish to thank our contributors who have already helped raise $1000 for the production of the Black Mass including for security guards. If we do not reach our funding goal by our deadline then the remaining funds will be donated to our charity children by choice

The Great Barrington Declaration

From Spiked

As much of the world gears up for a second round of lockdowns, and restrictions on everyday life grow ever tighter, a group of infectious-disease epidemiologists and public-health scientists have come together to propose an alternative. The Great Barrington Declaration was spearheaded by Martin Kulldorff from Harvard Medical School, Sunetra Gupta from Oxford University and Jay Bhattacharya from Stanford University Medical School.

The declaration was bound to cause controversy for going against the global political consensus, which holds that lockdowns are key to minimising mortality from Covid-19. Instead, the signatories argue that younger people, who face minimal risk from the virus, should be able to go about their lives unimpeded, while resources are devoted to protecting the most vulnerable. The lockdowns, they argue, have not only caused an intolerable amount of collateral damage, but have also contributed to a higher number of Covid deaths. But for making this argument, the declaration has been censored.

Tech giant Google has decided that the view of these scientists should be covered up. Most users in English-speaking countries, when they google ‘Great Barrington Declaration’, will not be directed to the declaration itself but to articles that are critical of the declaration – and some that amount to little more than smears of the signatories.

Among the top results Google would prefer you to read is a hit-piece from the ever-conspiratorial Byline Times, which insinuates that the scientists have an ulterior, shady motive for challenging lockdown. Google is also happy for you to read about pranksters signing up to the declaration using fake names like ‘Dr Johnny Bananas’, as well as critical commentary from the Guardian and Wired. But it does not want you to read the declaration for yourself and make up your own mind.

Censorship of the declaration has also spread to Reddit. The two most popular subreddits for discussion of the coronavirus – r/COVID-19 and r/coronavirus – have both removed links to the Great Barrington Declaration. The moderators of r/coronavirus, a forum with 2.3million members, have declared it to be ‘spam’.

The Text of The Great Barrington Declaration

Gbdeclaration.org

The Great Barrington Declaration – As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection.

Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.

Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.

Fortunately, our understanding of the virus is growing. We know that vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young. Indeed, for children, COVID-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.

As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e.  the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.

The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.

Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19. By way of example, nursing homes should use staff with acquired immunity and perform frequent PCR testing of other staff and all visitors. Staff rotation should be minimized. Retired people living at home should have groceries and other essentials delivered to their home. When possible, they should meet family members outside rather than inside. A comprehensive and detailed list of measures, including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented, and is well within the scope and capability of public health professionals.

Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.

On October 4, 2020, this declaration was authored and signed in Great Barrington, United States, by:

Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist with expertise in detecting and monitoring infectious disease outbreaks and vaccine safety evaluations.

Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, vaccine development, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician, epidemiologist, health economist, and public health policy expert focusing on infectious diseases and vulnerable populations.

FIRIS Reported

FIRIS REPORTED TO THE NSW POLICE’S COUNTER TERRORISM UNIT: OR, A CLASSIC CASE OF SHOOTING THE MESSENGER.

On 20 August 2019, the Christian lobby group ChristianSRE shared a post claiming that NSW’s 19th Century practice of dividing public school students up according to the religion of their parents for SRE (aka ‘scripture’) “strengthens social cohesion in multicultural Australia.” The post included a photograph of the NSW Minister for Education, Ms Sarah Mitchell, and others promoting the biased and questionable Study of Special Religious Education and its value to contemporary society (see Appendix 1 below)

On 23 October 2019 FIRIS published a post on Facebook countering ChristianSRE’s claims by pointing out how the provisions for SRE in the NSW Education Act 1990 enable religious groups that promote religious intolerance and extremism to gain access to NSW public school students (see Appendix 2 below). The post was accompanied by a meme (see Appendix 3 below) including the following statement from Mr Keith Piper of the approved SRE provider Liberty Baptist Church –

Islamism is a cancer. We must destroy the cancer or the cancer will destroy our society and our freedom…the Quran is the enemy.

Despite FIRIS bringing this statement, as well as other anti-Islamic beliefs, statements and activities of Mr Piper, to the attention of the previous current and NSW Ministers for Education, both Ministers did not revoke their approval of Liberty Baptist Church to deliver SRE in NSW Government schools. (See Appendices 4, 5, 6 & 7)

On the contrary, it seems the NSW Department of Education is more interested in shooting the messenger.

On 29 November 2019, FIRIS was contacted by the NSW Police’s Counter Terrorism Unit in response to a complaint from the NSW Department of Education regarding FIRIS’ post dated 23 October 2019.

The NSW Police alleged that FIRIS’ post could be interpreted as ‘hate-speech’. FIRIS replied by saying that FIRIS did not endorse the statement of Pastor Piper included in the meme and that the intent of the meme was easily identified in the text of the post that went with it. FIRIS said any issues with the statement made in the meme should be raised with Liberty Baptist Church.

On 3 April 2020, in response to a complaint sent to the Secretary of the NSW Department of Education that his staff responsible for SRE were failing to uphold the values of the NSW public service (see Appendix 8), the Director responsible for SRE informed FIRIS that –

Due to the nature of the social media posts by Fairness in Religions in Schools, the Department will not respond to any communication and/or correspondence from Fairness in Religions in Schools.

See Appendix 9 below.

NOTE: Despite FIRIS not deleting the post or the meme until May this year, there was no further contact with the NSW Police or any other Government body, apart from the Department of Education, regarding the meme.

NOTE: Liberty Baptist Church continues to be an approved provider of SRE.

Now what conclusions might we draw from all of this?

FIRIS believes that the failure of both Ministers for Education to revoke their approval for Liberty Baptist Church to deliver SRE seems to demonstrate that either –

  • the previous Minister for Education, Mr Rob Stokes, and the current Minister, Ms Sarah Mitchell, believe the values, views and beliefs of Liberty Baptist Church are in alignment with the values of NSW public education, or
  • the provisions for SRE in the NSW Education Act 1990 render any Minister for Education powerless to prevent religious organisations with values and beliefs contrary to the values of NSW public education from gaining access to NSW public school students.

Whatever the case may be, it is clear that the provisions for SRE in the NSW Education Act 1990 need to be removed.

An education in world religions and beliefs is too important to be handed over to people like Mr Piper.

It is time to take SRE out of NSW public schools and let the professional teachers do what they do well.

Transgender women in rugby union: Mixed reaction to World Rugby decision

World Rugby’s decision to prevent transgender women from competing at the highest levels of the women’s game has provoked a mixed reaction.

From the BBC

The move has been criticised by LGBT charity Stonewall, while some women’s rights and gay rights campaigners have welcomed the decision.

New guidelines published on Friday “do not recommend” transgender women play contact rugby “on safety grounds”.

National unions can be flexible in their application of the guidelines at community level.

Stonewall says it is “deeply disappointed” with the decision, but Fair Play for Women – which “works to protect the rights of women and girls in the UK” – thanked World Rugby “for not trading away women’s safety”.

“The proposals were based on hypothetical data modelling that has little relevance to the questions of fairness and safety in rugby that the policy review sought to address,” said Stonewall chief executive Nancy Kelley.

“Important policies like this should be based on robust, relevant evidence and work closely with trans people playing in the sport.”

However, Bev Jackson, co-founder of the LGB Alliance, said the organisation “applauds World Rugby for conducting a thorough, evidence-based study and making a decision on that basis to protect safety in women’s rugby. We are very pleased that they resisted political pressure and kept to scientific facts. Many lesbians play this sport and they are enormously relieved.”

She added that “judging by the reactions we have received, a great many LGB people and indeed many trans people think this was the right decision”.

Dr Nicola Williams, director of Fair Play For Women, said: “World Rugby have taken a transparent and evidence-based approach and we welcome their decision to prioritise safety and fairness for elite female players.

“We now look to Rugby’s national governing bodies to follow their lead and guarantee the same protections for the thousands of women and girls who play at club level.”

Transgender men remain permitted to play men’s contact rugby union, but the sport’s governing body says a review of its existing guidelines had concluded that “safety and fairness cannot presently be assured for women competing against trans women in contact rugby”.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “We recognise that the science continues to evolve and we are committed to regularly reviewing these guidelines, always seeking to be inclusive.”

Speaking to BBC Sport in August, Grace McKenzie, a trans woman who plays for Golden Gate Women’s rugby club in San Francisco, said she was worried “that other sporting federations will look at World Rugby and begin to second-guess the existing science that supports trans women’s inclusion in sport, and begin to make policies based out of a place of fear instead of a place of logic and reason”.

“I want to be able to participate fully with my team and in the sport that I love. I think that there is still a path forward to allow us to do that,” she said.

Former Great Britain swimmer Sharron Davies, who has been vocal on the issue of trans women in elite sport, also welcomed World Rugby’s decision.

The 57-year-old, a silver medallist at the 1980 Olympics, posted on social media: “If we, as a fair society, want equal opportunities for females to medals, team places, safe sport and scholarships, with all the associations, rewards and careers, sport must be based on biological sex.”

Thanks From Mattockman

Fist … glove … 12th man … MattockMan here,
Firstly, a message of appreciation, I do enjoy your podcast, my Wednesday morning walk is a high point of my week though not this coming week of course.
Secondly, a couple of things to add. Towards the end of your last podcast, nuclear power came up. I believe the reason we haven’t gone down this road here is cost. Howard when PM got Ziggy Switkowski to look into nuclear power and he came up with two main points. Firstly, it would take between 10 and 15 years to get anything going. Also, because of the cost there would need to be a price on carbon in order to make it competitive. We actually had a price in carbon, the Gillard government brought it in and the Abbott government abolished it. (Gun, foot, bang, ouch).
Also I think the poor showing in the lower house of the Greens was mentioned. This reminded me of a Rear Vision podcast I listened to about the NZ system, which I think is more representative than ours. There are electoral areas but also extra seats to top up so parties get closer to what they deserve in terms of their primary vote. I had a quick look at the tallies for the last federal election and here’s what I got –
Liberals 27.99% vote. They got 44 seats but that % actually gives them 42.26 seats
Lib Nat (Qld) 8.67% and 23 seats. 8.67% of 151 seats is 13.09 seats
Nat 4.51% got 10 seats but 4.51% of 151 is 6.8 seats
Labor 33.34% got 68 seats but 33.34% of 151 is 50.34 seats
Greens 10.4% got 1 seat but 10.4% of 151 gives them 15.7 seats
I haven’t done the rest but you get the picture. Not much chance of the major parties wanting to change the system closer to the NZ model, but I think it would work better, Be more representative, favour the middle and encourage smaller parties and cooperation.
The podcast in question is the one on Sunday 5/05/19.
And in other news, another new and excellent podcast is Conversations with Coleman. Coleman Hughes is the guy, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of him and the guests and topics are both top notch and he asks great questions.  Also, I’m listening to Capital and Ideology by Thomas Piketty. It’s a tome, but really interesting. And in things Trump, I get Letters from an American by Heather Cox Richardson. She’s quite partisan but objectivity is difficult with the current fellow. Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before. It’s just a daily email you can subscribe to. I’ll send you one.
I’m sure there’s more but that’s plenty for now. Hope all is well with you and your friends and families.

Cheers,
Dave B (MattockMan)


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