For those of you who are regular visitors to Wixxyleaks I wanted to let you know that you may be noticing some changes around the joint.

Wixxyleaks has undergone a facelift.

I hope you will find the new look site easier to navigate and a bit brighter to look at.

Alas the move is not without some shortcomings…

Those who have subscribed to Wixxyleaks via email, I have managed to save your details and you will continue to receive updates.

However for those of you who used WordPress or RSS Feeds to follow Wixxyleaks may need to do it again. I am sorry for this inconvenience but it could not be helped I am reliably told by those in the know.

Those who have been following me since Fred Flinstone was in nappies and have Wixxyleaks bookmarked may also need to redo the bookmark, as my old URL http://www.wixxy.wordpress .com will no longer forward to the current one.

The current site URL www.wixxyleaks.com is not changing however so most will be unaffected.

Some of my former faces which may reappear from time to time...

Some of my former faces which may reappear from time to time…

For those who still see the old site format, I am told by people who know about these things that it may take a few days for your browser, router, or server to clear its memory cache, so don’t worry, I haven’t broken the internet or anything (I hope).

While the site has undergone a facelift, my ugly mug remains the same, as does my attitude.

Please feel free to let me know any thoughts, suggestions or criticisms re the new site.

Once again I thank you for your continued tolerance and support.



If there are two industries that need are need of a drastic overhaul it is the liquor and gaming industries.

These two industries are of course closely related it should come as no surprise.

In America, these are the industries that made the mafia rich through bootlegging and casino’s.

In Australia it would seem these industries make themselves rich, buy political candidates and fund election campaigns.

If we cast our minds back to when we had the last real debate over poker machine reform it was when the Gillard Government was in power and it had been pushed up the agenda by Independent MP Andrew Wilkie.

At the time any attempt for meaningful discussion was drowned out by a massive campaign from the clubs. There were television campaigns, there were magazine and newspaper adverts, there was even political commentary by the commentators at a final series Rugby League match. People walking into pubs and clubs were also greeted by a big sign talking of politicians trying to destroy their clubs and a picture of theirs or another Labor MP on it, even Catholic Clubs proving religion and politics do mix, but only when it suits them and their cashflow.

Welcome to your club...

Welcome to your club…

Needless to say it was a dirty campaign, and it would seem the gaming industry won that fight.

For Tony Abbott and his merry bench of opposition men (clearly looking at his front bench now the women didn’t count for much) one would have thought that it may have been tempting to be bi-partisan on something and make a real positive difference to people lives, but alas, ‘twas not to be.

At the time most thought that his opposition to pokies reform was just a chance to say No once again and take once again put a wrecking ball through any hope of a positive agenda under a Gillard government.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Some of you may recall the Young Liberals fundraiser in which Alan Jones made the speech which referring to the death of Julia Gillard’s father that had occurred recently. That event had Simon Berger as its Master Of Ceremonies, Simon Berger worked in political relations at Wooloworths.

Berger even donated a jacket mad of chaff bags for auction in a reference to shock-jock Alan Jones comments encouraging the assassination of our then Prime Minister.

I remember the outrage that this event caused, Abbott trying to distance himself and the Liberals all pretending to be ashamed of what was said.

Woolworths eventually had to dump Berger like the inhuman piece of crap that he is due to the sheer volume of public outrage.

So ashamed were the Liberals of the behaviour at the event, the references to Gillard’s fathers passing and the chaff bag remarks that they hired Berger. His LinkedIn account currently has him claiming to be a “Senior Advisor at Parliament Of Australia”.

So what does all of this have to do with pokies?

Woolworths are huge owners of poker machines in Australia, some say the largest although there are conflicting reports.


Woolworths show of support for Abbott was clear in its political lobbyist MCing a Young Liberal function. Abbott’s show of loyalty for Woolworths staff was shown by the Liberals hiring Berger after Woolworths eventually tried to distance themselves from him.

I also note that during his election campaign Tony Abbott held many press conferences from within Woolworths stores.

However it is not just Abbott and the Liberal Party’s relationship with Woolworths that raises eyebrows, it is the way in which the Liberal Party raise money that is really questionable.

Tony Abbott and Mt Druitt failure Isabelle White, talking the stuff that fertilises the fresh food...

Tony Abbott and Mt Druitt failure Isabelle White, talking the stuff that fertilises the fresh food…

Appearing before the Independent Commission Against Corruption this week was a man by the name of Paul Nicolaou.

Mr Nicolaou was being asked questions about a meeting he set up between Qld Premier Campbell Newman in his previous role as Brisbane Lord Mayor and the head of a company linked to the Obeid family, a meeting that apparently came with a $5,000 price tag.

Paul Nicolaou is the head of the Liberal Party’s fund raising arm The Millennium Forum. This is the group responsible for the fundraising for Liberal Party federal election campaigns including that of Tony Abbott

Paul Nicolaou also has a day job. Nicolaou is the NSW Chief Executive of the Australian Hotels Association.

It is fair to say that Nicolaou is paid to look after the interests of pubs and clubs and what makes the profit. It is also fair to say that the biggest money spinner (pardon the pun) for pubs and clubs is poker machines, and liquor would be clearly second.

Paul Nicolaou suddenly finds himself with a lot on his plate

Paul Nicolaou suddenly finds himself with a lot on his plate

Poker Machines would want to be making them money.

Australia has approximately five times as many poker machines as the United States Of America according to Wikipedia. The NSW AHA has done well for itself with over half of the countries pokies located in NSW, Sydney has more poker machines than Las Vegas.

Restrictions have even been lifted so that bigger and better gambling machines can be rolled out into the suburbs to suck more money out of those who can least afford to lose it.

With the man responsible for more than half of the nation’s poker machines being in charge of the funding of Tony Abbotts election campaign is it any wonder Abbott was resisting change?

Before looking after funding for federal campaigns, the Millennium Forum managed NSW campaign funding for the Liberals. This was until in NSW the former Labor Government made it illegal for the Liquor, Gaming and Tobacco industries to make political donations.

Here in NSW we have seen what many in the police force have described as a bloodbath in our city streets on a Friday and Saturday night, and it is only recently, despite public pressure, that controversial changes have been made by the Coalition in NSW although many say new laws just move the problem to some of the nearby suburbs.

A great night out in Sydney CBD?

A great night out in Sydney CBD?

Many of the new changes have laid the responsibility for behaviour problems back onto the public themselves and a lot onto the city police as well as the court system.

What has been forced to shoulder little of the burden is the pubs and clubs themselves.

Many have suggested that venues should face licensing restrictions and closing down if responsible service of alcohol regulations have been breached. Basically that the pubs and clubs should be made to clean up the mess that they create.

Back before public outcry grew to such a deafening volume that Barry O’Farrell was forced to act, Mike Carlton wrote another of his excellent pieces for Fairfax which finished off with this;


…the O’Farrell government does nothing, apparently terrified of offending the publican lobby, the all-powerful NSW branch of the Australian Hotels Association.

It’s no coincidence that AHA chief executive Paul Nicolaou is a Liberal Party heavy and former election candidate (twice failed), who was once boss of the Tories’ fund-raising arm, the Millennium Foundation. He is also known to be a good mate of his fellow Greek-Australian, George Souris, the Minister for Tourism, Hospitality and Racing, who should be cracking the whip here.

But Souris is not. And nor is the Premier. The government’s inaction is disgraceful.”

We have all seen and hear about how the office of Assistant Health Minister runs under the control of Fiona Nash and the junk food industry.

We have seen the results of a Liberal Party in NSW whose executive until recently was made up of lobbyists who designed party policy to suit their client’s needs rather than the publics. In particular the insurance industry which in NSW has massively benefited from the slashing of workers compensation saving the industry billions while injured workers are left to fend for themselves, the closure of fire stations so that insurance companies could slug us with an increased fire levy, and of course a hefty rise in Green Slip pricing.

While at Federal level it should be no surprise that Medibank Private is being sold off and that there are changes coming to Medicare that will no doubt hurt the consumer while the insurance company CEO’s give themselves another fat pay rise.

What many of us probably didn’t realise is that our Coalition governments at Federal and State level are nothing but puppets of the Liquor and Gaming Industry, and even Fiona Nash would have to realise that isn’t real healthy.

Well we are all starting to see the ugly truth now, and we don’t like what we see.

Even with beer goggles on…

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Like Wixxyleaks on Facebook here

I don’t normally shop at Woolworths if I can possibly help it.

Call me stubborn or perhaps principled, but I have avoided them like the plague ever since the infamous dinner function where one of their executives Simon Berger was Master Of Ceremonies. That infamous dinner function was where Alan Jones made the derogatory and highly offensive comment about the death of Julia Gillard’s father, and Berger himself offered up a jacket made of chaff bags for auction in reference to Alan Jones’s public comments suggesting our first female Prime Minister should be killed by letting her drown at sea in a chaff bag.

The auction items list from the function

The auction items list from the function

Woolworths claimed Berger was there in a private capacity, although given that his job was as Woolworths State Government Relations Manager, you could probably be excused for thinking otherwise.

Woolworths statement to distance themselves

Woolworths statement to distance themselves

Despite this I was in a rush the other day and quickly raced into my local Woolworths as I needed washing powder and some cereal.

I grabbed a packet of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes (a weakness I admit) and seeing that Cold Power was seemingly on special for $7 I grabbed a box and headed for the checkout.

With one item being $6.99 and the other on an “Extra Saver” special for $7 I was rather surprised when I was charged more than $14.

What I was charged in fact was $16.48.

I queried this with the checkout operator who took me back down the aisle and showed me the fine print on the “Extra Saver” shelf-talker that I had not noticed. This fine print explaining that without an Everyday Rewards card I would be paying $9.49 rather than $7 advertised in big bold print.


Beware the fine print...

Beware the fine print…

She offered to refund the item, an offer I accepted and grabbed another brand that was on a regular style special.

I explained to the lady serving me that I thought that the shelf-talker was inappropriate and unclear, although she didn’t give an opinion, she made mention that there had been a significant number of complaints about the campaign from customers.

I have since spoken to many customers and the consensus is that the campaign appears to be deceptive and misleading.

Most people do not read the fine print on a shelf-talker, and if they see a special advertised there then they assume that is what they will be getting when they reach the checkout.

Those who have a hectic schedule, are in a hurry, have children with them, need reading glasses, or don’t wish to bend over to a lower shelf to read fine print on an advertisement are the ones that will be taken for a ride with this campaign.

The only reason I noticed that I had not received the advertised discount is because I only purchased two items and it was clear to me what I perceived to be an overcharge. If I had been purchasing numerous items, I would probably have been blissfully unaware that I had been overcharged anddeceived.

The average person doing their weekly grocery run would be unlikely to notice at all unless they really combed through their receipt and remembered the products they assumed were purchased on special.

The amount we are talking about is not an insignificant amount either. The item I purchased had a perceived discount of approximately 26%. For someone on a weekly grocery shop spending between $200 and $300 it is not hard to imagine how these perceived discounts could add up.

Some of you will probably think “What’s the big deal? Just get an Everyday Rewards Card”

For starters I have enough junk in my wallet without adding to it.

There are however many who don’t like the idea of passing on their personal details to a company like Woolworths and then allowing that company to analyse their purchasing habits.

Although I’m unaware of Woolworths doing this, companies can often sell or pass your details on to other companies that on-sell databases to charities and telemarketing companies, giving you the pleasure of a barrage of unsolicited phone calls. Even if you are on the Do Not Call Register your number may be provided to registered charities to call you given that they are exempt for the Do Not Call Register restrictions and are free to call you up until 8pm.

All my details and all my purchasing history in one card...

All my details and all my purchasing history in one card…

For those who think this may be paranoid behaviour, bear this in mind. In the US the Target chain of stores were able to detect a teenager’s pregnancy before her father was aware of it, this was done via her buying patterns, and Target then aimed advertising at the teenage girl based on her pregnancy.

I should point out here that the US Target is in no way related to the Australian Target.

Nobody should be expected to have to explain their wishes for privacy, although it would appear that Woolworths are comfortable in punishing those of you who wish for privacy by charging you more.

I approached Woolworths for comment and was assured that someone would get back to me. Despite speaking with two people, at the time of publication I am yet to receive an official response.

I also contacted the NSW Department Of Fair Trading for comment.

A Fair Trading spokesperson responded and stated that Woolworths were not breaking any laws as the price for those who didn’t have an Everyday Rewards card was displayed.

However they also added a section of the consumer law which in part states;

“The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) prohibits businesses from making false or misleading representations in regard to:”

• “the price of goods or services”

I would have thought that having a large discounted price displayed, and in italic fine print a vastly more expensive price displayed for those who don’t meet a particular criteria would fall under the category of a “misleading representation”

As we await what is expected to be a painful budget to be handed down by the Coalition, one thing we all know is that things are likely to become tighter as the cost of living and unemployment rises.

The best advice I can give is, spend your dollar wisely.

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There is a saying I have that goes;

“It is better to be pissed off than pissed on”

An undisputable fact I assume, and I use the saying often.

Today I wanted to write about something that fits in with that saying.

Have we become a nation of barbarians?

A brutal nation of bigots, bogans, and bastards?

Because as Australians we are currently pissing on some of the worlds most vulnerable and desperate people and you know what, it is really pissing me off.

The people that I am referring to are asylum seekers or refugees.

Not boat people, queue jumpers, illegals, freeloaders or whatever tag some would like to burden them with, real people with real lives and real families who are really desperate. For real.

Now when I say “we” that is exactly what I mean. Before you climb on the nearest high horse and plead “I didn’t vote for them” we are all responsible. There is another saying that goes “we end up with the government we deserve”.

Coming to a workplace near you

The government we deserve?

No matter what Party you support or are a part of, you failed, let’s build a bridge and get over it. We can all piss and moan about Murdoch, bias and fear campaigns, but at the end of it all there are some facts we all have to face.

Tony Abbott was the one of the most unpopular opposition leaders to have become Prime Minister and even as Prime Minister was the most unpopular PM for 25 years in the first polling after the election. Despite that being the case no other Party was capable of putting up a viable alternative, otherwise we’d have a different government.

So what has sparked my anger?

The Department of Immigration published the personal details of some asylum seekers on their website, which is a breach of law and can have the outcome of each of these asylum seekers being granted refugee status. The case is soon to be heard in court.

This is not my issue.

What has got under my skin is the government’s decision to move these asylum seekers from Villawood detention centre to Curtin detention centre the day before the matter is due in court.

For those who don’t know Curtin is widely considered to be the harshest of the detention centres, it is located in remote Western Australia and is the other side of the country to where they are currently located.

Not only is this stressful for the asylum seekers before court, it also vastly restricts the access of their legal representation. Lawyers for the asylum seekers are Sydney based and Curtin has one telephone and no interpretation services.

This comes across to me as nothing short of an act of intimidation by the government which would appear to be a bunch of bullies no less. However not only is it that, but this heartless act is also taking away their rights to access legal representation on a court matter.

As a country of what once were decent people we should be ashamed.

When China’s government, which not long ago were notorious for trying to drive over students with army tanks, condemns our recent record on human rights alarm bells should be ringing.

Suddenly we're the bad guys...

Suddenly we’re the bad guys…

Recently we had the tragic news that asylum seeker Reza Barati had been murdered on Manus Island whilst under the care of Scott Morrison’s department.

Scott Morrison, Tony Abbott and the Coalition were all quick to say how tragic it was and how their sympathies were with the Barati family.

Well, actions speak louder than words, and based on the government’s actions the Coalitions message to the mourning members of the Barati family should have been more along the lines of;

“Reza Barati is dead, and we don’t give a fuck.”

Despite warnings before the riot in which Reza Barati was brutally murdered nothing was done by Morrison’s department. Dire warnings falling on deaf ears. That was the before the news breaking.

During the news breaking we had all the lies disguised as mistakes. The riot was outside the detention centre, then inside. No shots were fired, then someone was shot in the buttocks. Every time you looked at the TV it seemed Morrison had a different story. Reports of conflicting stories were a soft way of putting what seemed a deliberate campaign of misinformation, the  information was often contradictory.

After the news of Barati’s tragic murder right-wing commentators like Gerard Henderson started with the story that Barati was a “economic migrant” backed by Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison. This despite Barati’s refugee status claim not being investigated or assessed at the time.

It came across almost is if they were trying to say it was his own fault he was murdered because they claim without evidence that he shouldn’t have been there.

Since when did unfounded allegations about someones financial status excuse murder?

Scott "Hollow Words" Morrison

Scott “Hollow Words” Morrison

Now when it comes to investigating that murder in our detention centre, the message the Coalition seemingly send to the family mourning for Berati is this;

“The murder on our watch of your family member means jack-shit to us and as such we will not lift a finger to help the murder investigation”

Requests for the assistance of Australian Federal Police in the investigation into the murder of Reza Berati were denied, despite him being murdered whilst under our care in one of our detention centres.

Early reports of a Salvation Army volunteer being involved in the brutality emerged but as yet there has been no confirmation of murder charges being laid against anyone.

The human rights inquiry that was to have occurred in the wake of the tragedy was also scrapped with Tony Abbott’s blessing, and Morrison could hardly hold his trademark smirk.

Reza Barati

Reza Barati RIP

When did we as a nation become so desensitized to racism and the plight of others?

The Australia I used to think I was a part of was proud of our multiculturalism and was always quick to lend a hand.

Now we hear of columnists breaching racial discrimination acts and radio hosts being found guilty of inciting racial hatred in the lead up to race riots.

Instead of embracing multiculturalism we now have a government that is looking to pass legislation to weaken the Racial Discrimination Act so that racists are free to vilify people of the cultures that helped shape our nation.

Instead of lending a hand and helping those oppressed, as a nation we are refusing to back the United Nations call to investigate War Crimes in Sri Lanka. While we provide the Sri Lankan government with military equipment we seek to stop investigations into allegations of the genocide and rape and torture of thousands of its citizens by that government.

In fact when it comes to those war crimes condemned by the United Nations, our Prime Minister Tony Abbott states;

We accept that sometimes in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen”

"We accept that sometimes in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen" - PM Tony Abbott

“We accept that sometimes in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen” – PM Tony Abbott

What a lovely bunch we are becoming, we don’t need a backpacker serial killer to show our disdain for foreigners we’re thinking on a far grander scale now. With Andrew Bolt seemingly in place now as our Attorney General even Australian citizens aren’t safe from vilification if their skin is the wrong shade of white trash.

It is about time we all stopped being pissed off about this change of Australian culture and started pissing all over the government that is encouraging it instead.

Where you see racism or injustice expose it. Retweet it, share it on Facebook, write to your local paper, just tell people about it. We sure as hell can’t rely on the media to do it.

It is a shame it has come to this but we have to shame these people into changing their reprehensible behaviour.

Fight Back Folks.

If we don’t, nobody else will do it for us.

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Whilst many in the Liberal Party duck and dive for cover, George Brandis continues to push for his changes to the Racial Discrimination Act.

There has been an outstanding lack of debate on this issue, it seems to be universally opposed. We have heard of those within the Federal Caucus wanting to distance themselves from Brandis’s talk of people having a right to be bigots.

Here in NSW even Premier Barry O’Farrell came out condemning Brandis’s grand plan.

I thought it may be appropriate with all of the seemingly universal condemnation being dumped at Brandis’s feet for a flashback to an open letter I sent to Liberal MP Ken Wyatt on the matter back on June 4th last year.

Despite sending this to Ken Wyatt’s electoral office I did not recieve any form of response.

However according to recent reports there have been suggestions that this is an issue that may see Ken Wyatt cross the floor. I would certainly hope so.

There has been talk of a watered down amendment with talk of Brandis getting the “balance right”.

If Brandis was that keen to get the balance right, he would leave the Racial Discrimination act alone as hate speech is wrong no matter who is putting it out there.

We cannot stop people being racists just as we cannot stop people from being murderers, however we can ensure that victims have justice available to them through the legal system and are protected through legislation. Any attempt to change this should be seen for what it is, an encouragement of criminal behaviour.

I hope Australia wakes up to itself before it’s too late.

Anyway, here is my letter to Ken Wyatt from last year.


4th June 2013

Dear Mr Wyatt,

Firstly Ken, I’d like to congratulate you on the wonderful example that you have set for other Indigenous Australians. You will go down in history as the first indigenous Australian to hold a seat Federal Parliament’s House Of Representatives.

You can hold your head high and join the elite club started by the country’s first Indigenous Australian MP the great Linda Burney, currently Deputy Leader of the Labor Party in NSW.

I would also like to congratulate you on having the good sense to not take a partisan approach, and having the decency and good judgement to thank the Labor Government and in particular Kevin Rudd for the apology to the stolen generation that your parties former leader, John Howard had refused to offer for the previous 13 years. I note Howard’s refusal to do the decent thing was backed by his front bench and caucus, many of whom are still there now, including your party’s leader Tony Abbott, Deputy Leader Julie Bishop, and your parties entire front bench.

It is that decency and good judgement I wish to appeal to now.

Ken Wyatt outside Parliament

Ken Wyatt outside Parliament

I can understand why you joined the Liberal Party back when they were a party with a bit of integrity, not the “Party of slogans aimed at bogans” that they have become now.

Back when you joined the Party I’m sure they were thought of as the financially responsible Party.

Currently they are financially crippled, starting with an estimated $70 Billion black hole before they even really start having to explain costings for policies they have yet to announce. In fact, such a good job is being done that the accounting firm that provided the Parties costings which were audited last election were charged and fined by the industry watchdog.

I believe that it was the first and only time in Australia’s history that someone has been charged and fines handed down for a major political party’s attempts to deceive the public with dodgy figures.

Damn those industry watchdogs...

Damn those industry watchdogs…

It could be you joined the Party because they were considered the Party who looks after small business. That is a distant memory as it is now all about supporting big business as those on the big end of town crush and absorb small business.

Maybe because you are from Western Australia you support the Party’s stand for the big miners. Not wanting to put a further tax burden on the mining industry.

I guess that would be fair enough, although your Party seems more than happy to up the royalty rates at state level. Add to that your Party’s parental leave policy which will also add 1.5% to the miners company tax rate, representing an increase in tax of 5% for them and it seems your party is intent on a mineral resource tax, just by a different name.

It is however your leader Tony Abbott’s attitudes towards discrimination that I find the most worrying, and I am sure it must have also been a concern for you from time to time.

Firstly I’m sure that when applying for the role of Parliamentary Secretary to a Party’s leader I’m sure there is quite a bit of scrutiny, a lot of questions asked, and a substantial amount of character assessment that goes into any appointment. I know that the Labor Party certainly view it that way.

This calls into question Tony Abbott’s judgement in appointing Cory Bernardi as his former Parliamentary Secretary. Cory Bernardi is a man who although best known for his comments on same-sex marriage leading to bestiality, is also well known as a promoter of racial and religious intolerance. This is the man who was to promote the Australian tour of the European politician Geert Wilders, promoter of hatred and an influential person in the life of Anders Breivik, who massacred 77 people, many of them children, in Norway in 2011.

The excuse that Geert Wilders is an elected politician is a lame one, Adolf Hitler was an elected politician. Would Bernardi and other Liberal Party members feel the same way if it were the leader of Hamas coming to town?

Geert Wilders not looking happy, maybe its the cold-sore...

Geert Wilders not looking happy, maybe its the cold-sore…

On its own I thought this would raise question marks on Abbott’s judgement and stance on racism. Evidently not…

Then at a Qantas function on 18th April a fellow by the name of Mark Roberts made the gesture of cutting his throat at Andrew Penfold , Chief Executive of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation. Mark Roberts was Tony Abbott’s Policy Director, isn’t that heartening?

The man Tony Abbott hired as his lead policy advisor seems to have as much respect on racial matters as his former Parliamentary Secretary Bernardi.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m starting to detect a pattern…

However what startles me the most is Tony Abbott’s promise to his cheerleader and hate-peddler pal Andrew Bolt to repeal a section of the Racial Discrimination Act should he win this September.

Andrew Bolt as I’m sure you would remember lost his case in Federal Court in September 2011, where it was found that he breached the racial discrimination act. This was due to two articles that he had written that were published in 2009 and caused widespread offense throughout indigenous communities around the country.

Andrew Bolt always treats racism seriously

Andrew Bolt always treats racism seriously

It is one thing to have racist friends and appoint them to senior positions within government, it is quite another to actually tamper with the Racial Discrimination Act.

My question to you is why in the light of this why you have not chosen to run as an Independent rather than an endorsed member of the party that looks to set racial harmony back 30 odd years?

Racial Discrimination Laws? Not for long...

Racial Discrimination Laws? Not for long…

If you are unwilling to become an independent, would you consider backing the Attorney General Mark Dreyfus in his call to Tony Abbott not to alter the Racial Discrimination Act?

I hope this much you would consider.

The vast majority of the country supported the apology made on the 13th Feb 2008 whole-heartedly.

My fear is that after an Abbott led government, the next Federal  Labor Government will have to make another one.

I know you wouldn’t want to be part of the Party responsible for that.

Yours Sincerely

Peter Wicks

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The word on everybody’s lips at the moment is corruption.

The corruption scandal involving the likes of Eddie Obeid, Joe Tripodi, Tony Kelly, and Ian MacDonald was an anchor wrapped around the ankles of the NSW Labor Party during the last state election campaign, and it also helped pull down the last Federal Election campaign under its enormous weight.

The Labor Party was punished for the wrongdoings of a few, and rightly so as well.

Now it seems that the concrete shoe is on the other foot with the Liberal Party suddenly on the defensive with allegations of corruption coming left, right and centre.

I have spoken to several Coalition supporters who point out that there are differences between the corruption allegations against those in the Labor party and those in the Liberal Party, and this is true.

The dollar figures involved in allegations concerning former members of the Labor Party are much greater is one difference. However given ICAC are only just starting to delve into the Liberal side of things it is likely to early to tell.

Another difference that Liberal supporters point out with glee is the lack of a prostitute named Tiffanie.

Ian MacDonald some may recall was apparently suffering from a bad neck, and in return for setting up some meetings with a state-operated power company, businessman Ron Medich helped him out. Medich allegedly opted for a prostitute named Tiffanie and drove MacDonald to a luxury hotel where Tiffanie was waiting in her underwear.

Although it was claimed that they never had sex, spending some quality time with MacDonald was apparently enough to make an experienced prostitute like Tiffanie feel like vomiting. I dread to think why…

As for MacDonald’s neck issue, it is unclear how his healing process is progressing.

But I had a sore neck...

But I had a sore neck…


As I said, it is true that there are these stark differences but there are also others some forget to mention and I have yet to see referred to in the press.

The corruption that plagued the Labor Party came from the right faction of the NSW state branch, and involved serving state members, and former Ministers.

ICAC is currently investigating three NSW Liberal Party MP’s including the former Energy Minister Chris Hartcher, as well as Chris Spence and Darren Webber.

However one of the most startling differences between the corruption scandal of Labors versus the Liberals is that the Liberal Party scandal now involves a Federal member, Labor’s woes were only NSW based and did not involve Federal Members.

Not only does the ICAC corruption scandal involve a Liberal Federal MP, but he is also a Federal Minister, until he stood down Arthur Sinodinos was the Assistant Treasurer no less.

Not only that, Arthur Sinodinos is the former treasurer as well as the former President of the NSW Liberal Party.

If corruption allegations are proven against Mr Sinodinos, rather than just a few MP’s like in Labor’s case, this would show a State Branch of the Liberal Party that was rotten at its very core.

Most alarming is that the involvement of Arthur Sinodinos also brings along with it connections to the offices of two Prime Ministers.

Sinodinos was John Howard’s right hand man, he was Howard’s chief of staff for nine years from 1997 through to 2006. Since the allegations have emerged John Howard has come out in Sinodinos’s defence.


Stand by your man...

Standing by his man…

More recently there is the behaviour of Tony Abbott in regards to this matter.

Since the news of ICAC’s interest in Sinodinos and his business affairs has been made public, it has emerged that discussions had taken place between Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan and Arthur Sinodinos on the goings on with the firm in question Australian Water Holdings prior to Sinodinos’s appointment to Federal Parliament.

According to News Corp, Bill Heffernan had set himself up as a kind of “self-appointed corruption buster” and grilled Sinodinos as part of a Liberal Party Nomination Review Committee, a committee set up for the vetting of candidates in a bid to avoid the situation they now find themselves in. Findings from this committee were likely reported back to Tony Abbott or his chief of staff Peta Credlin.

As Senator Penny Wong put it when interviewed on the ABC’s Insiders;


“…it just beggars belief that this information wouldn’t have been passed on to the Prime Minister’s Office or the Prime Minister.”

 Damn right Penny.

Coming to a workplace near you

Single-handedly trashing the office of Prime Minister

On Monday during question time, Tony Abbott when asked about what he knew and when he knew it, had the option of either being honest and explaining his actions (or lack of), or misleading parliament.

Abbott instead made up an option C and gutlessly avoided the numerous questions on the subject, stating instead;

“I don’t believe that it is the job of the Prime Minister to comment on gossip and scuttlebutt.”

He’s right, that isn’t the Prime Minister’s job. However this isn’t gossip or scuttlebutt. This is a member of his frontbench being summoned before the Independent Commission Against Corruption with some serious questions to answer, and it would appear our Prime Minister may have known about this before Sinodinos’s appointment.

Tony Abbott did all he could to trash the office of Prime Minister when Julia Gillard was PM, he continues to trash it today by his own actions and with nobody else’s help.

Another difference is what I would refer to as the “Rees Factor”.

The Rees Factor

The Rees Factor

The “Rees Factor” is the bravery of someone within the ranks willing to take on corruption.

That man for Labor in NSW was Nathan Rees who as the NSW Premier attempted to rid the Labor Party of the influence of Eddie Obeid, Joe Tripodi & Co and paid the ultimate price by losing his Premiership, some would say he is still paying the price today.

In fact in his earlier role as Water Minister Nathan Rees referred to Australian Water Holdings as a” bunch of crooks” ICAC was told previously.

In the Liberal Party unfortunately there is no such person.

Instead we have Joe Hockey returning donations but doing nothing else, Tony Abbott refusing to answer simple questions in parliament, and a string of MP’s, Ministers, and Senators all singing the praises of Arthur Sinodinos even after spending years condemning his business partner Eddie Obeid.

It is clear in politics these days we need to see more of the “Rees Factor”, but alas with a Coalition government at the helm it is nowhere to be found.

Nothing that even comes close.

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Today in Melbourne Magistrates Court Craig Thomson faced the Magistrate and the media once again.

Magistrate Rozencwajg handed down a sentence of one year in prison to Thomson in a packed court room.

Thomson had been found guilty of several counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception in court last month, despite those charges not being on the list of charges at the time of the trial, something that has baffled many.

At the start of the trial Magistrate Rozencwajg had told both the Prosecution and the Defence that the whole case was a matter of authorisation. Upon hearing that the Defence based their case on proving authorisation, however in his findings after the case had been argued the Magistrate chose not to take the matter of authorisation into account at all.

Then between the trial and sentencing the police were given permission to “re-word” the charges before sentencing. This effectively created new charges that Thomson would not be given a chance to defend before being sentenced on them.

Thomson, was now facing sentencing for these new undefended charges and was in court to hear the sentence handed down. The total dollar figure relating to the charges is $24,538.42, which Thomson has agreed to repay.

Greg James QC had last week urged Magistrate Rozencwajg to not sentence Thomson to prison as he has suffered enough after his very public ordeal.

James had also claimed that Thomson is suffering from a major depressive illness.

Today the Magistrate ignored those pleas.

craig thomson

Thomson has spent the best part of four years being attacked in the media and being turned into a punchline for any joke involving brothels, prostitutes, or even credit cards. He has suffered humiliation after humiliation.

The attack from the media on Thomson has been relentless and often seemed to be more about a vendetta than straight reporting of facts.

There have been that many cases of sloppy journalism, deliberate printing of lies, distortion of facts, and plain negligence in the media trial of Craig Thomson that it has kept me busy writing for years.

It is clear that this hasn’t stopped.

The way the last weeks events were reported in the press one could have easily assumed that Thomson had admitted through his lawyer to what he had been accused of and was throwing himself at the mercy of the court.

There were reports of admissions of his client using union funds to pay for escort services from Thomson’s lawyer Greg James QC.

What the mainstream press ignored is that this is a sentencing hearing, not a part of trial as such. Thomson had no options to plead innocence as he had already been found guilty.

The so-called admissions were actually submissions based on the findings of guilt by the court.

For the layman they are scenario’s that are offered up as explanations in order to reduce a sentence that is based on behavior that the court has assumed as factual. What they are not, are admissions of guilt.

Those reporting events seemed to have forgotten that Thomson still had the option of an appeal open to him, and those reporting incorrectly about admissions from Thomson would have their articles exposed as either enormous errors or intentional misrepresentations of events should Thomson appeal the charges.

Today they have been reminded.

Sources close to Thomson have stated that there will be an appeal on both the sentence and the charges.

Why would someone admit to something and then launch an appeal?

I would assume the media will distance themselves from their earlier comments.

Last week Prosecutor Lesley Taylor SC stated last week that anything less than jail would be

Manifestly inadequate”

Taylor went on to say that Thomson had shown no remorse for his actions. It has been my experience that most people don’t tend to show remorse for something they claim they haven’t done and seek to raise a legal appeal against.

Personally I always thought that a jail sentence would be quite perverse even if Thomson is in fact guilty and had chosen not to appeal his sentence. Not for the reasons that Greg James QC has spoken of however, as if there are any mental health issues to speak of they should have been brought up years ago, and if he is guilty after all, then the years of attacks from the media could have been avoided by an earlier admission, say around three years ago.

A jail sentence would be perverse because the attack on Thomson was led by a few people in particular.

Tony Abbott for example, has defrauded the taxpayer of a similar amount of money to what Thomson is accused of, some of it has however since been repaid after it was exposed to the public. Abbott did performed his alleged crimes via expense claims for weddings, claiming travel from the taxpayer to go on fun runs and cycling events, and even for the marketing of his book Battlelines. Apparently on Planet Abbott, the public should foot the bill for these things.

Tony Abbott appears to look out the closed window of a private jet whilst shining a light into his own face

Another book to promote Tony?

George Brandis who interfered with the police by continually pushing them to make a case against Thomson was pressured to finally pay back to the taxpayer the money he claimed to attend the wedding of former shock jock and right-wing blogger Michael Smith.

Speaking of Michael Smith, he was there in court last week to see the event unfold accompanied by none other than Kathy Jackson and Marco Bolano, two others who have led the attack on Thomson.

These three showing up together like the Three Musketeers on crack is a clear indication of Smith’s bias in the case and also exposes the political leanings of Jackson and Bolano.

Should Jackson or Bolano (or his partner for that matter) run in the upcoming HSU elections members would be wise to remember that they accompanied Smith, a notorious cheerleader for the right-wing who seek to destroy both union movement and workers rights to court in a desperate bid to find a camera or microphone they could stand in front of.

Jackson is yet to be held to account for the allegations of vast amounts of spending of union members funds whilst she was secretary, amounts that make the allegations against Thomson seem like pocket-money by comparison.

Jackson and Bolano were in court again today to hear the sentence handed down to Thomson, Jackson making the interstate trip for the occasion, and Bolano taking time out from his busy schedule of being on workers compensation at the taxpayers expense.

Marco Bolano - struggling at home on a huge compenstaion claim at the taxpayers expense

Marco Bolano -hard work this workers comp gig…

There was some good news for Thomson last week however, the media attention was somewhat diverted away from his sentencing hearing by the shocking allegations of corruption against Arthur Sinodinos.

The allegations against Sinodinos have served to highlight the hypocrisy of those in the Coalition and in particular Tony Abbott.

Abbott and the Coalition you may recall wanted Craig Thomson removed from parliament as soon as the allegations were made against him, even before charges were laid.

With Arthur Sinodinos it is different apparently. In fact he has the total backing and support of Tony Abbott and the Coalition.

Allegations against Thomson total $24,538.42, Sinodinos allegedly stood to make a tidy $20 Million. Rather than Thomson’s alleged $24.5K over 5 years, Sinodinos was collecting $200K per year

Those expecting to see another childish bolt from parliament by Liberal Senators when Sinodinos casts a vote like Abbott and Pyne did in 2012 need not hold their breath waiting, tainted votes are OK when they come from a Liberal MP apparently.

The ICAC investigation into Sinodinos will take a while to run its course and just like Thomson, all of the Liberal MP’s that are now facing ICAC should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Arthur Sinodinos - In the $20 Million hotseat

Arthur Sinodinos – In the $20 Million hotseat

Innocent until proven guilty is a concept that Craig Thomson has only been able to dream about.

Those who profit from his trial by media have not allowed this basic human right be granted to Thomson.

In fact, contrary to what Lesley Taylor SC may claim it is the press that has shown no remorse when it comes to reporting falsehoods, and the justice system that has shown no remorse for allowing the charges to be changed and denying Thomson the civil right he has to defend himself against the charges.

Let’s hope next time around his basic human rights are respected.

Guilty or not, everybody deserves that right. Even the worst of Nazi war criminals was given the opportunity to defend the charges against them without them being changed after the event.

No matter what you think of Thomson personally the legal process that he has been forced to endure should alarm anybody who believes in both justice and the possibility of a fair trial.

Today those in the media who reported events falsely last week were exposed, however it remains to see if they will learn a lesson from it. Given the history of reporting from those in the main stream on this case, I have my doubts.

They can be measured by the truckload.

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Some of you will be shocked by what I am about to say, shocked and appalled.

The main stream media are letting us down.

I know it’s something I don’t often say, but it is true we are seemingly  being drip-fed a distorted view of the news.

The commercial TV networks all seem to sing the same tune, except for the occasional blip which is probably intended to provide the illusion of balance.

If the ABC step a fraction too far towards the centre Tony Abbott comes out saying things like…

“This is the kind of thing I will recall when the ABC comes looking for funding”

…cheered on by shock-jocks and right-wing columnists.

As for those in the printed press, News Ltd is something we don’t expect a lot from but despite low expectations they continue to disappoint.

The Australian has continued to show itself as having about as much relevance as a safety warning label on a AK47. They may as well rename themselves the Far Right Daily.

The irony of a newspaper that wastes so much ink and paper dehumanizing asylum seekers, who are foreigners seeking to become Australian citizens is not lost on me. After all a foreign-owned newspaper that calls itself The Australian can’t really be too critical of those seeking to be Australian I would have thought.

As for the Herald Sun and the Telegraph, they seem to have become the essential reading of the average bogan. Nothing more than rags of propaganda full of anti asylum seeker drivel, climate change denial, and the reprinting of Coalition members press releases. But with a bit of news thrown in somewhere, probably because they kind of have to.

I’m only surprised the page three girls haven’t made a comeback in the Tele and the Herald Sun, as that seems the demographic being aimed at by News Ltd with it’s back pages full of brothel and prostitute adverts.

I have no issue with political bias at all that would be rather hypocritical of me, however at least be upfront about it instead of trying to portray balance.

Fairfax for what it’s worth, if we ignore the rantings of their shock-jocks on the radio stations they own, has been the beacon of light amidst the fog for many including myself.

The problem with Fairfax is not so much what they report and how they do it, but often when they report it or if they report it.

Examples of this would be the travel rorts saga that plagued the Abbott government in its early days.

Details of Abbotts spending of the taxpayer dollar on travel to fun runs, bike rides, weddings, and even the marketing promotion of his book were known long before the federal election, yet Fairfax chose to wait until after the election to run with it.

Don't knock my togs, your paying for me to be here wearing them...

Don’t knock my togs, your paying for me to be here wearing them…

Online news has yet to hit its stride in Australia, with most of the traffic going to the online versions of Fairfax and News Ltd.

New online player The Guardian is showing great promise but as yet doesn’t seem to have the Australian resources for complete coverage of Australian events.

As for Crikey, they have shown themselves to be a fantastic spamming organization, with inbox’s around the country filling up with desperate bids to make you pay for their version of the news at 25% off, or 30% off depending on what day you look at your spam folder. Unfortunately, aside from a great cartoonist they have little that would make you visit their site for free, let alone pay for.

So, what has made me vent about the media today you may well wonder.

For starters the coverage of the March in March was abysmal, inadequate and completely at odds with coverage given to similar events in the past.

The events in the past I speak of are the Carbon Tax Rally, and the Convoy Of No Confidence.

The Carbon Tax Rally is something that made front page news and was discussed weeks and months afterwards, even still spoken of today. 4 Corners even dedicated an entire program to the event.

Attendance at the Carbon Tax Rally was estimated at around 5,000 although organisers optimistically claimed 10,000.

The Convoy Of No Confidence attracted a handful of trucks and around 300 people showed up, although many of those were actually press. The press attended despite shock jock Alan Jones’s best efforts to scare them off, berating Fairfax’s Jacqueline Maley for asking a reasonable question, and then being caught out lying about a police blockade that turned out to be a police escort.

Estimates have the March in March attended by over 100,000 yet it has not received even a fraction of the attention.

In Melbourne alone an estimated 30,000 people marched in protest, despite the talk of protesting being made a criminal offence by the Victorian Coalition government the week before, despite it being a violation of international human rights.

An apparently insignificant number of people gather in Melbourne

An apparently insignificant number of people gather in Melbourne

That is six times the number of those who attended the Carbon Tax Rally, or triple the number at the most optimistic of counts by those with seven fingers. It is also 100 times the number that attended the Convoy Of No Confidence.

That is also just one of the March In March locations. There were March in March protests in capital cities and regional cities and towns all over the country, in fact there were more protest sites for the March In March than there were trucks in the Convoy Of No Confidence.

Yet where is all the coverage? Where is all the press outrage over Abbotts many lies and broken promises already?

Tony Abbott brushed off the protest saying with an arrogant giggle

“I thought the only march in March was the St Patrick’s Day March”

I notice he neglected to mention the Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras that attracts thousands and provides a huge boost to Sydney’s economy and also occurred in March. Then again in Abbott’s world, people of that type don’t count…

Another group of those insignificant to Abbott marched earlier in March

Another group of those insignificant to Abbott marched earlier in March

The most interesting side note has been the comments on one of the banners at the Melbourne march that simply read “Resign Dickhead” from Andrew Bolt of all people, with the laughable mock outrage covered in a great response from the banner waver at Independent Australia.

Like Tony Abbott however the main stream media seem to have also brushed the event aside and told those who attended they don’t count. Well not as much as those who attended Carbon Rally’s anyway.

Another story which still has a long way to travel as yet and will be interesting to watch will be the turn of events surrounding the current ICAC investigation that has seen Arthur Sinodinos step aside from his position as Assistant Treasurer.

When former State Labor MP’s Eddie Obeid, Joe Tripodi, and Ian McDonald were being exposed by ICAC and having details of their corruption laid out for the world to see, the press were all over it like a rash and rightly so too.The coverage was massive and seemed never-ending.

In Sydney, for added effect News Ltd decided to use a bright red graphic to brand the actions of a few corrupt individuals “NSW Labor Inc” in the Telegraph for each article on the hearings and their findings.

The damage done to the Labor Party by these individuals was enormous, across the country Labor has been forced to take a huge bite of shit sandwich and yet keep on smiling. Now that sandwich sits on a plate in front of the Liberal Party.

Heath Aston of Fairfax has written an excellent background piece linked here that gives a great overview of the case Sinodinos has to answer before ICAC.

Arthur Sinodinos for those who don’t know is a Federal Liberal Senator, and until stepping aside this week he was the Assistant Treasurer, he is also the man responsible for the upcoming changes that take away the protections that investors have from predatory financial advisors.

Sinodinos looking far more comfortable than he does now

Sinodinos looking far more comfortable than he does now

Sinodinos was John Howard’s right hand man after Graham Morris fell on his sword after Howard needed a scapegoat after his own travel rorts scandal cost the jobs of three Coalition Ministers. Morris is a man most remember as the guy who made the “kick the crap out of her” comment about Julia Gillard.

Sinodinos was also the former Treasurer and also President of the NSW Liberal Party.

In the last year we have seen a string of NSW Liberal MP’s hauled in by ICAC and even seen a raid performed on a serving Liberal Ministers electorate office, that Minister Chris Hartcher was forced to stand down.

Despite this we have yet to see News Ltd start using a graphic branding the articles “NSW Liberal Inc”.

It is not only Sinodinos that is implicated in this corruption inquiry, there are also Liberal lobbyists such as Michael Photios who was formerly a member of the Liberal Party State Executive.

With the Liberal Party State executive involved one would expect that there may be far more people involved in this scandal than we are currently aware of, and I expect many more tough questions to be asked of many current and former Coalition MP’s.

Given that the alleged corruption centered on the infrastructure needed for water supply in the Liberal Party member dominated North West of Sydney, and the firm was based in Rouse Hill, I suspect there may be questions asked of Liberal MP’s and perhaps councilors in the area, particularly those with previous or current connections or influence over the Liberal Party State Executive.

I just hope that those in the Coalition members who are dragged before ICAC are blessed by News Ltd with the same style and amount of coverage that former Labor MP’s received and continue to receive.

However, I won’t be holding my breath.

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There are many words I could use to describe the man I’m writing about today, most of which are not fit to print here.

Andrew Istephan is someone who is below trash, he is someone who total bastards look down at, if you had a septic sore weeping puss on your arse it would deserve more respect than Andrew Istephan.

Andrew Istephan is someone who should be in jail with the worst of the worst.

Some of you may be wondering what Andrew Istephan has done to earn himself my scorn, well allow me to explain briefly.

There are acts that are pure bastardry, acts that murderers and rapists frown on. Acts such as paedophilia or the assaulting a disabled child, those kind of things. Pretty much anything that involves abusing those who are helpless.

Perhaps the most helpless amongst us are the elderly. Frail, brittle, bedridden and suffering dementia, these are the people Andrew Istephan sought out and preyed upon.

Andrew Istephan was a dentist who used to visit elderly patients in retirement and nursing homes in Sydney’s Hurstville area and treat them.

Istephan was also a Councillor on Hurstville Council, he was also the Deputy Mayor. Istephan was proudly endorsed by the Liberal Party.

Istephan was performing dental work for Elderlink Consolidated Services on these patients as part of a government-funded scheme.

I’m sure providing cheap dental work on the elderly sounded great come campaign time for Istephan and the Liberal Party.

What hasn’t sounded so great for Andrew Istephan or the Liberal Party that endorsed him is the fact that Istephan was performing unnecessary and unwanted procedures on his unwitting patients.

Andrew Istephan - lowest of the low and proud Liberal

Andrew Istephan – lowest of the low and proud Liberal

In a bid to make a few extra quid off the taxpayers, Istephan had been filing down the teeth of his patients and then claiming crowns or bridgework was required, this then of course meant extra money for Istephan after billing the government and taxpayer for the work he created.

This is akin to a doctor stabbing elderly patients with a carving knife and then billing the taxpayer for treating the wounds.

There aren’t many acts lower than to intentionally inflict damage on the body of an elderly person, particularly ones suffering the humiliation of dementia just to make a few extra bucks.

In October last year a jury found Istephan guilty of five counts of assault despite facing charges of twelve counts.

In November last year the government was forced to issue a health warning that claimed that 66 patients across 4 elderly facilities may have been impacted by Istephans callous disregard for human rights. In fact of those 66 victims, 49 were deemed incapable of providing consent according to the Department Of Health warning, showing the predatory nature of the crimes.

Dental files similar to those used to file down elderly patient teeth by Istephan

Dental files similar to those used to file down elderly patient teeth by Istephan

Despite his ghastly crimes Istephan was not sent to jail as he should have been instead being given a two-year sentence to be served as an intensive correction order for what the judge described as the;

“deliberate, callous and systematic exploitation of the residents with the view of financial reward”.

As this happened quite a while ago some may be wondering why I am bringing this up again now.

The answer is simple. This weekend is the council bi-election for the position that was held by the gutless, evil assaulter of the elderly, the former Liberal Deputy Mayor and Councillor Andrew Istephan.

For those fortunate enough to live in the area and have an opportunity to vote against the Party that endorsed the dentist of doom that terrorised the elderly, I wanted to offer a timely reminder that the Party that endorsed Istephan for all those years whilst he was abusing the elderly was the Liberal Party.

For those who don’t live in the area, it may serve as a reminder to look closely at candidates when voting, not just the political spin behind them.

I also wonder if Istephan is still a member of the Liberal Party or if they’ve had the decency to kick him out yet.

Nothing would surprise me.

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There is a debate going on currently within the community about workplace relations and in particular penalty rates.

I am sure that many of you that are unfortunate enough to be represented by a Coalition MP will have a similar tale of woe.

Those that don’t should take note on this attack on working families and working conditions by a government that seems to care nothing for the 99% and greatly for the profit margins of the 1%.

Recently my local Federal MP, Liberal Party member Alex Hawke threw his considerable lack of weight into the debate.

Alex came out as supporting those within the Liberal Party who would like to see the penalty rates axed or lowered to make thing easier on business. Alex claims to have spoken to several small businesses who are finding it hard to open on a Sunday, or not opening at all on the Sunday as they are doing it tough.

Easing the penalty rates that these businesses are legally obliged to pay will clearly lower the costs for these businesses, that much is obvious.

What this issue highlights to me is that whenever there is an issue that is too complex or too hard to address the Liberal Party always seems to come down hard on the worker.

Do working families mean that little to the Liberal Party?

It seems hypocritical of them to always be claiming to be looking out for working families when they seem to attack their hip pocket at every available opportunity.

Once again Alex Hawke has tried to tackle a topic that is above his pay grade and intelligence level, and once again it would seem that Alex’s research on the matter has likely been whatever he has not had to get out of his comfy office chair to find.

Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz and the Coalition, as well as glove puppets like Alex Hawke would like the working families of Australia to know that they have been put on notice.

What they are seeking to do is attack your salaries as we have seen with SPC Ardmona, attack your penalty rates as we are now seeing, and attacking those who will seek to defend your working rights for you by smearing the union movement via a Royal Commission.

Meanwhile “cutting red tape” as they put it has now made it easier for employers to bring in and exploit foreign workers on 457 visa’s.

The Coalition want you to know that if work hard and do the extra hours to raise your family, put the kids through uni, or just to pay the mortgage that they don’t think you should be rewarded for your efforts.

Those relying on penalty rates to survive through university and still have time to study, the Coalition would like you to take out a bigger loan to get you through, work extra shifts and cut back on your study, or bleed your family dry.

I understand that paying workers for working on their weekends and late at night can be expensive for employers. I realise that it makes it hard for struggling companies like McDonalds, Woolworths and Coles to report profits measured in trillions of dollars rather than the billions that they have to suffer under this cruellest of legal requirements.

An empty car park outside a struggling Woolies store.

An empty car park outside a struggling Woolies store.

The inconvenient truth that these Liberal Party puppets and puppeteers don’t want to talk about is that it is a far more complex issue than just paying someone extra to give up their Sunday.

The reason that shops are busiest on Saturdays and Sundays is because people like their weekends. It also stands to reason that asking somebody to give that up weekend is a bigger ask than asking someone to work 9 to 5 on a weekday.

As someone who has worked in the retail supply chain for around 25 years I have a vastly different understanding of what is making the small retailer do it tough.

One of the big issues facing small business when it comes to weekend staff is actually finding reliable staff. Staff that will not chuck a sickie or show up hungover after a big Saturday night, staff that can often be trusted with the keys to the premises, and staff that can be trusted to manage not only other staff often, but also deal with large volumes of customers.

In the real world you don’t attract better staff by offering less money. Look I know it is not rocket science, but sometimes people like Alex Hawke and his Coalition compatriots need a lesson in the bleeding obvious.

There is an old saying;

“If you pay peanuts you end up with monkeys.”

One of the other issues that the small retailer faces is skyrocketing rents, an issue that the Coalition seem to ignore.

In my area I know of small retailers that have seen their rents increase by over 20% with landlords charging extra because of the North West Rail Link. This is despite the rail not being expected to open for another decade yet.

There is also the issue of eroding margins. As the larger retailers use their buying power to squeeze out the little guy.

Putting it in the simplest way I can major retailers use their buying power to ensure better terms of trade with suppliers, which is only natural. They then go into war with each other on price and leave the small business behind. I have seen many examples of products that can be purchased at a major retailer cheaper than an independent store can purchase the product from the supplier directly.

In one category I supplied products into an independent retailer was given approximately a 25% discount off rrp on products and paid freight for deliveries under $1,000 and had no option of returning unsold items.

Major retailers on those same items were given free freight, around 40-50% off rrp for a buy price, then paid a rebate of anywhere between 17 and 25% and often given marketing funds on top.

If these chains sold at cost they sold at least 15% cheaper than an independent’s buy price, and still made around a 20% profit via their rebate.

How the hell does the small business compete with that?

These are just three of the many issues.

Debates on penalty rates are nothing more than a smoke-screen.

Coming to a workplace near you

I’m coming for your wages…

It is not only about the retail chain however.

Those who come to your rescue in an ambulance at 3am on a Sunday morning deserve to be paid a bit extra for being on duty while most of us sleep.

Without penalty rates you may find it takes hours longer for someone to come out and turn the power on after a blackout.

Without penalty rates you may be lying in a hospital bed in agony at 11pm on a Friday night buzzing for nurse that doesn’t come because none of them will work until 9am Monday morning.

Without penalty rates restaurants may become self-service at night and on weekends.

Without penalty rates we may be pushing our cars around at night as nobody will be willing to risk a gun in their face late at night at the service station making fuel impossible to purchase.

Premiers like Barry O’Farrell won’t have to stress about alcohol fuelled violence on weekends due to his government’s failure to enforce liquor licensing and responsible service regulations, because nobody will be serving drinks, and even if they were, public transport would have nobody willing to see that they can travel to the city due to the lack of drivers.

But never mind, I’m sure if all of this happened the Coalition would continue to blame the workers.

The funny thing is, a year ago under a Labor government businesses were doing well enough to be happy to open on a Sunday.

What’s changed?

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