Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

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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Monday 3rd March was to be D-Day for Michael Williamson, and in a way I suppose it was.

Williamson has had his bail revoked and has been remanded in custody while awaiting his sentence to be handed down on the 28th March after which it is expected to be spending even more time in custody.

The court heard how Williamson grew up in poverty and wished to spare his children the hardship of a life like he had as a child.

That to me seems like a totally plausible explanation for working hard to achieve a position and wage that would allow Williamson to bring his family up in the manner he desired.

What it does not justify is the ripping off of millions of dollars from union members who are merely working to provide for their own families.

The court also heard that Williamson claimed to have been sexually abused as a child by a priest, and at one point during the police investigation into his activities also considered suicide.

Williamson in court with a face that says it all

Williamson in court with a face that says it all

There to take part in the festivities and catch up with some media pals was Marco Bolano.

Some were concerned about Bolano’s mental status because of his alleged fragile state of mind that he claims causes him great stress due to the bullying he received when being stood down from his position as union secretary by a Federal Court Judge and then losing an election that was free of tampering.

Those fears were proven ill-founded as Bolano happily sat through the proceedings.

Others like the moronic shock-jocks who continue to sing Bolano’s praises and were concerned for his finances now that he is out of a job also need not lose sleep.

It seems that the $200,000 plus per annum compensation payments funded by the taxpayer were enough to cover his flight, probably a first class one at that.

It is not just Bolano that has been fronting up at court sessions either.

Some may remember when Craig Thomson was found guilty in Magistrates court in Melbourne that there were a handful of protesters/attention seekers outside court waiting to hurl abuse at Thomson for the TV cameras.

The ringleader of this rent-a-crowd or motley crew, whom some may remember hearing screeching like some sort of demented bogan banshee on the 6pm news was none other than Kylee Brehaut, Marco Bolano’s partner, who can also be seen brawling whilst pregnant at union meetings in video’s I’ve posted in the past. Classy.

There is a level of hypocrisy, or at least double standards when one stands in the street abusing someone accused of taking less than $20K a year from members while their partner sits at home with his feet up collecting compensation of over $200K per annum. Alas Kylee does not see that.

Members who have contacted me claim that Bolano’s name is so far below the level normally associated with mud in Victoria that Brehaut will be campaigning for the position of Secretary of number 1 branch in his place.

I don’t think the members will be fooled by that.

Bolano and Brehaut pose for a pic

Bolano and Brehaut pose for a pic

Another friend of Brehauts and Bolano’s was also there to see the Williamson court appearance.

Kate McClymont was there to report on the events and at the same time give herself credit for her part in the story, despite much of her part not stacking up.

Some may remember McClymonts article on the sorry plight of Brehaut and Bolano from July 2012, or my reaction to her disgraceful cheerleader antics.

McClymont even started that article claiming Bolano had lost his job, he was in fact stood down from his position by a Federal Court Judge.

On March 1st McClymont again gives herself a bit of a pat on the back, stating in her article:

“Strike Force Carnarvon was formed in 2011 after Fairfax Media revealed both men received American Express cards from a major supplier to the union, which may have constituted a secret commission, a jailable offence.”

McClymont has often written about the “Fairfax Investigation” that uncovered these credit cards.

Call it a hunch, or call it logic but I don’t think there was an “investigation” as such. I am of the opinion that McClymont’s investigation went about as far as a conversation with Kathy Jackson.

If there was an investigation why did Williamson’s mistress Cheryl McMillan’s name not surface? She too had one of the cards and I would assume McClymont would have been all over that like rash were it uncovered.

The reason McMillan’s name didn’t come up is because Kathy Jackson would have had no idea of McMillan’s involvement with the cards.

Anyway for those wondering why McClymont is suddenly using the word “may” in relation to the secret commissions it is because they ended up being invoiced services, as my investigations showed. Some of those invoices are on my Jacksonville resource page, and all of them are with Strike Force Carnarvon. My investigations weren’t that complex, all I did was ask the question.

This would be the reason why John and Carron Gilleland from Communigraphix were never charged with anything, despite McClymont’s series of articles portraying them as the villains.

I note with amusement that McClymont in her March 1st article now has the Gilleland’s helping police, stating;

“After the police investigation started, Williamson instructed the suppliers, John and Carron Gilleland, to destroy any American Express card statements. They refused and instead assisted police.”

Perhaps the Gilleland’s then are the real whistleblowers in this sorry saga?

McClymont’s mission however is ongoing.

Not one to let a sleeping dog lie, McClymont can’t resist using Williamson’s guilt as an excuse to have another shot at Craig Thomson.

McClymont, on a mission?

McClymont, on a mission?

Thomson as we know is awaiting sentencing which is due to be handed down on the 18th March.

I don’t think that there has ever been anyone in Australia undergo the level of investigation that Craig Thomson has. This has come from police in two states, journalists, private detectives, Fair Work Commission, political opponents, and the union itself. It has also been an ongoing investigation that has been more intensive and more expensive than the investigation into serial killer Ivan Milat and the backpacker murders.

However in her March 1st article McClymont makes this bold claim;

“The truth of the matter is that he and Craig Thomson, his (Williamson’s) former underling at the union, who is also facing imprisonment, got away with far more than they have been pinged for.
This is not a criticism of police, who have done a remarkable job, it is just a reality. Potential witnesses have died and documents have been destroyed.”

Really Kate?

A reality?

Do you have anything at all to back that claim up? Names, documents, photo’s, video, affidavits, any evidence whatsoever?

Is it now the accepted practice to just make shit up, throw it out in print and hope some of it sticks?

In another recent article of McClymont’s she talks of accountability and how the main stream media is more accountable than those in the “blogosphere”.

I have a page specifically to post up the evidence and documentation to back up my work, something lacking from MSM. If I made a wild claim like the above claim from McClymont I would soon find myself in court defending a defamation suit.

McClymont used to hold the title of “investigative journalist” at Fairfax, that title has now become “senior reporter”. Perhaps it should be updated to say “opinionated columnist”.

Personally I’m not surprised at McClymont’s obvious bias and cheap shots but I do expect a higher standard from Fairfax.

However I find myself once again let down.

Just as well we have McClymont’s much despised “blogosphere” to rely on I guess.

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As we wait to hear whether Craig Thomson will appeal the verdict handed down in Magistrates Court last Tuesday, I thought it may be timely to clear a couple of things up.

The articles I have written regarding the HSU saga which is ongoing have been grouped under the title Jacksonville for a reason. That reason is because they primarily relate to the evidence against Kathy Jackson and her factional support network.

Those who claim that the articles published here have been primarily about Craig Thomson are either flat-out lying or are perhaps not so blindly supporters of Kathy Jackson for whatever reason, be it politically or financially motivated support.

Clearly Craig Thomson and his ongoing legal issues are a part of the HSU story and as such I have written many articles on his continuing legal battle.

However my position on Thomson’s case has never been that he is innocent, my position has always been, and continues to be that he deserves a fair trial and that should not involve a trial by media.

Another day another prosecution delay

A fair trial, I’ve heard of those…

As a part of my coverage I have endeavoured to show the aspects of the case that the main stream media have decided you are not worthy of hearing, and much of that would involve Thomson’s defence and reporting on some of the issues and errors with the case against him.

However what I could not ignore was what appeared to be a campaign of completely false claims, selective reporting of facts and blatant lies in the main stream coverage of Thomson’s case.

I thought that the public should be aware of the fiction that was being published as fact and started reporting on the media.

For this I have been called a Thomson cheerleader and flag waver by imbeciles that appear to like being misled and lied to by elements of the mainstream press. Then again, perhaps they are just Jackson cronies and hangers-on or right-wing nutjobs.

However I was not alone in my condemnation of the mainstream, some of you may recall the opening statement of Magistrate Rozencwajg during the trial regarding the shameful coverage of The Australians coverage of events by Pia Ackerman and Ean Higgins.

“Before we commence. At the outset I feel it is necessary to state that the article on the front page of The Australian last Tuesday reporting on the mention held on the 2nd September was factually incorrect in several significant respects. The court certainly made no determination as declared in the blaring headline, in fact I made no determination whatsoever. I have requested the Court Strategic Communications Advisor to take this issue up with the editor of The Australian newspaper and if necessary the Australian Press Council.”

I didn’t hear cries about the Magistrate being a Thomson cheerleader however.

An example misleading and deliberately incorrect coverage would be how long it took for the media to stop reporting that Thomson was facing charges totalling over $500,000, despite that number having dropped to less than $30K.

The continual reporting of Thomson facing 173 charges despite many of them already being dropped by the magistrate.

The reporting of admission of facts by Thomson when it was in fact facts admitted into evidence that were in fact still disputed by Thomson.

One of those in the mainstream quick to blow her own trumpet after Magistrate Rozencwajg gave his verdict was Fairfax reporter Kate McClymont who came out patting herself on the back and condemning what she referred to as the “blogosphere”.

McClymont came out in an interview describing the blogosphere as

“a fascinating beast which doesn’t seem accountable as we are in the main stream. They think it’s all right to defame Kathy Jackson and her husband….all in blind support of Craig Thomson”

For starters Kate, Kathy Jackson does not have a husband but let’s not let facts get in the way.

McClymont is right, we lowly souls in the blogosphere are definitely not accountable in the same way you are in the MSM.

We don’t have a watchdog like you do, one that is primarily funded by the media itself and enjoys a reputation as a toothless tiger.

I can only speak for myself and my accountability on this matter. I have fought off two defamation actions so far and one threatened defamation action regarding my HSU coverage. Unlike those in the mainstream I have had to do this on my own and at my own expense without the benefit of a highly paid legal team in my office and another in my insurance companies offices as those in the MSM enjoy.

I’d actually say that makes us more accountable.

If reporting facts on Kathy Jackson’s spending habits with union funds and reporting Michael Lawler’s direct links to the case can be considered defamation then that would lead one to believe they are doing something wrong or else these facts would not be defaming.

I would also point out that none of the defamation actions have related to any of the documentation involving Jackson’s alleged misuse of union member’s funds, or been anything to do with anything I have written about Craig Thomson.

Jackson and Lawler share a moment after Kathy made a fool of herself in Federal Court

Jackson and Lawler- bad habits and direct links

She went on in the interview to say that she had to threaten a member of the blogosphere legally because it;

“…can be frightening but you can’t let these people get to you”.

Well, I know a quite a bit about the legal threat that McClymont speaks of as Independent Australia and I were the target of these threats, but I didn’t let it get to me.

I was not going to write about McClymont and her husband Graeme Brosnan’s threats that came from their lawyers as it was requested that the action not be referred to publicly. However I’m glad McClymont has opened it up for discussion.

In her interview McClymont told Fran Kelly that a picture of her house with her address had been published online, and insinuated that she had needed legal threats to have it removed. The way that McClymont told it was as if it had been done in some kind of threatening or intimidating fashion.

I was contacted by McClymont and Brosnan’s lawyer regarding the picture and address which I had posted online in an article as a link to document, not as a picture as McClymont portrayed it.

The linked document was actually a real estate document showing ownership of a property owned by McClymont and Brosnan which I posted as evidence of their relationship which was not widely known at the time. Their lawyer sought the removal of the address, and as a gesture of good will I actually removed the entire document immediately, although McClymont neglected to mention that in her interview.

As it turned out their chief concern seemed to be that I had pointed out that McClymont was married to a private investigator and author.

The lawyer was also insistent that the private investigator and investigative reporter didn’t compare notes and worked completely separately, or as their lawyer put it they

“… each conduct their professional endeavours completely professionally and appropriately, and independently of one another.”

Independently of one another? Like when they edited a book together? Or perhaps Ms Alice Kate McClymont is a relative?

Still I am a frightening figure as McClymont tells it, although I’m not exactly sure why.

She didn’t seem to think so when she shouted me morning tea at Fairfax’s offices when we sat down and discussed the HSU case together.

Could it be because she feels threatened by the blogosphere as she calls it?

It could be, we do enjoy a growing audience whilst those in the printed media suffer a declining readership. I won’t go so far as to call the printed media the Dead Zone, but it is certainly the Dying Zone.

Maybe it is because Jackson’s work colleagues chose to trust me to report on the documentation and not send it to her?

She certainly has been loathe to report anything negative about Jackson, Lawler, or Bolono.

However what made me really question the motives of McClymont was when a couple of blokes from downtown Bathurst decided to raise money for Thomson’s legal battle in order that he be able to afford a decent defence.

McClymont came out swinging seemingly adamant that Thomson not be able to afford that decent defence. McClymont was so fired up she showed no regard for facts stating that Thomson should get Legal Aid to defend him knowing full well that on his salary this would not be possible. She then went on to lie and state that those raising the funds were ALP members, it turns out neither had ever been members of the ALP.

No other journalist took such a stand against this which made me wonder why McClymont seemed to have such a vendetta against Thomson, surely a fair trial is in everyone’s best interests including the media.

Kate & Craig - No love lost there...

Kate & Craig – No love lost there…

It seemed to me that McClymont, who was supposed to be an unbiased journalist was acting and talking more like a right-wing columnist such as Andrew Bolt or Piers Ackerman, whose daughter Pia was the court reporter writing the articles that were being slammed by the Magistrate in Thomson’s trial for “gross inaccuracies”.

I decided to look back at some of McClymont’s articles on the HSU saga and was shocked to find some major inaccuracies. Claims of secret commissions that turned out to be invoiced services, and talk of overcharges what McClymont refers to as a newsletter that turned out to be a 48 page colour magazine. Not only do her claims regarding this magazine that was direct mailed to roughly 60,000 members not make sense mathematically, her claim of 10 editions conflicts with the Temby report’s claim of 11 editions.

I have praised McClymont in the past for some of her coverage and investigations into Michael Williamson.

Her relentless pursuit of Williamson is understandable, and her persistent attacks on Thomson although seeming to be personally motivated are also understandable.

What is not understandable however is how someone who has seen the documentation on Jackson and writes for a paper that boldly claims “Independent Always” has chosen to ignore the allegations against her which dwarf claims against Thomson.

But enough about Kate, what never ceases to amaze me is the scale of the public crucifixion of Craig Thomson when compared with others involved in the case.

Bear this in mind, Craig Thomson is due to be sentenced in just under a month for charges that now total less than $20,000. This total includes the cash withdrawals from union funds.

His accuser Kathy Jackson is praised by right-wing press as some sort of hero despite questions being raised over her cash withdrawals of hundreds of thousands of dollars of union funds amongst a mountain of other allegations

In the Michael Williamson case, Williamson’s lover Cheryl McMillan had not been spoken of lately. Sources report that McMillan has been given immunity from criminal prosecution despite being a hostile witness and personally collecting $1.2Million in cash payments in paper bags in a car park, apparently pocketing $600,000 herself for her troubles. She is however open to civil claims which the union look forward to starting.

Is it just me or do the scales of justice seem a little unbalanced?

To me this is the real “affront to common sense“.

More on this soon.

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I’ve been putting off writing about this subject, biting my tongue, however I am tired of the continuing attack on the good name of our defence force.

The allegations against our Navy of the torture of asylum seekers by forcing them to burn their hands on hot pipes that we have seen recently are disturbing and no doubt do our armed forces no favours in the public relations  department.

Some may disagree, but we do by and large have a noble defence force, and that is why it is a shame that we are now seeing it being made a mockery of.

The attack I speak of is not the apparent attack that the ABC launched by doing their job and reporting something that was and clearly still is in the public interest. Nor is it the follow-up bombing raid by the Fairfax media who did what our government is not willing to do by actually investigating the claims and talking to witnesses.

The utterly gutless attack I speak of is from Scott Morrison and the Abbott Government.

burns-hand-asylum-main-620x349

If Scott Morrison truly believes that these claims are outrageous and false then he would give his blessing to an investigation into the alleged incident.

For Morrison to deny the Navy this opportunity to clear its name encourages the public to have an element of doubt over our armed forces and I don’t believe that Scott Morrison has the right to make decisions like that on the military’s behalf.

2e2fc7b7-2db9-4d55-a0cb-6cc557791ab8-460x276

As we all know the Coalition have lied to us before on the asylum seeker issue, who could forget the infamous children overboard scandal from the John Howard era?

Morrison’s take on this incident is that reporting an allegation made against the military is an attack on Australia’s armed forces, more on that later.

On Friday Defence Minister David Johnston whom many thought must have died or resigned and left Morrison in charge of the Defence portfolio also, finally surfaced and weighed into the debate.

Johnston stated several times when interviewed regarding Operation Sovereign Borders

“This is a civil public policy issue, it is not a military exercise”

Not a military exercise?

I thought that was Morrison’s reason for the North Korea style secrecy?

This leaves two possible scenarios, either Johnston has no idea what is going on in his Ministerial portfolio, or Scott Morrison is lying every time he tells us this is a military exercise.

Scott Morrison also likes to tell us repeatedly that their policy of stopping the boats in working or has worked.

Scott Morrison - Mr Smug

Scott Morrison – Mr Smug

If the boats had indeed stopped there would be no asylum seekers, no asylum seekers would surely mean no torture claims, but alas the claims remain.

Since the election there have been 45 boats enter Australian waters, that is 45 times that the Coalition policy of stopping the boats has failed.

So rather than let the public be informed Morrison blocked the media from the information sources essentially censoring them, and now holds a press conference on Fridays so it misses the weeks media cycle. At these media conferences Morrison refuses to answer many questions under the guise of it being a military operation despite the Defence Ministers repeated statements to the contrary.

I thought that it was Labor and the ABC that were supposed to be communists?

In North Korea the news is controlled by the state.

In China if you Google Tiananmen Square you won’t find images of riots or a lone man standing in front of a tank, it’s all very picturesque and postcard perfect.

In Australia, the state now attempts to control asylum seeker related news, and publicly condemns the news it doesn’t like on the subject.

If Morrison and Abbott have their way when we Google Asylum Seeker we will find images of people at the immigration desk at the airport, and when we Google boat arrivals we will only find images of the QE2 or the Fairstar.

So why are we really seeing the media blackout from the Coalition? Is it really because it is a military operation despite the Defence Ministers statements?

Many of us have a vivid memory of the Gulf War. Many of you may even remember that we had Navy warships in the Persian Gulf at the time. We watched the artillery and missile attacks live on TV as it happened.

Most of us will recall hearing the shocking news of an Aussie Diggers death in Afghanistan and the circumstances that led to it, sadly this has happened many times.

By the same token we sometimes hear of a success story regarding our troops efforts in Afghanistan.

These are military exercises I would assume, unless Scott Morrison classes wars as something different.

As I mentioned earlier Scott Morrison has also set about attacking those who criticise our military in any manner and those who report anything that may make them look bad, as he has apparently absolute faith in them and it would seem he is under the impression they can do no harm.

In Morrison’s world the military are faultless and can do no wrong. This is despite the navy vessels involved in Operation Sovereign Borders not having the foggiest idea of where those borders actually are.

Searching for the sign that says Indonesian Border

Searching for the sign that says Indonesian Border

In fact the notion of Australia’s military doing anything wrong is so ludicrous that they have now been given immunity from prosecution for their actions at sea, or as a military spokesman puts it;

‘…not face individual criminal sanctions under the Act for giving effect to Government policy”

Fairfax ran a report recently on  an investigation that the Defence Force is launching into an online racist group that is allegedly made up of serving members of Australia’s military, including some who serve in Operation Sovereign Borders.

Given this news  I’m waiting for Morrison to attack the Defence Force for investigating itself and bringing itself into disrepute.

One of the members of this bunch of bigots who is allegedly a part of Operation Sovereign Borders posted on his Facebook page regarding asylum seekers;

”…they come to jump on Centrelink and get free government housing”.

”I’m about to head out today to deal with these fuckers.”

Doing our nation proud I’m sure…

The online group call themselves the Australian Defence League and are made of racists who post hate filled drivel online. Although these allegations are only being looked into now it is to be noted that the blog site The Anti Bogan has been reporting on this groups online activities for over a year, once again what is known as the Fifth Estate is ahead of the news cycle.

In fact if Morrison thinks calling for an investigation into the military is an attack on them, then our military seems to do a fine job of attacking itself.

The military have also begun investigations into their own securitywhich was shown to be lacking after an attempted terrorist attack at Holsworthy Army Barracks in 2009.

Even this week the Air Force are looking into their security after an armed bank robbery at Richmond Air Force base. An armed bandit got into the base past security, robbed a credit union at gunpoint, and then left the base past security.

I didn’t hear cries of protest from Morrison when a Judicial Inquiry and an Australian Defence Industry Taskforce was set up in 2012 to investigate approximately 775 cases of sexual assault and abuse within the Australian Defence Force.

I guess the military aren’t beyond reproach after all, only when it suits Morrison and The Coalition.

Allegations of torture are important to investigate, particularly when it is alleged to have been done by those acting on the countries behalf.

Look my hand isn't burnt...

Look my hand isn’t burnt…

Still we understand that the Navy has a difficult job to do, we are constantly told how difficult it is by both Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison, even Malcolm Turnbull on Q&A last night used the word “difficult” when describing the issue of asylum seekers and how to deal with them.

So what is the Abbott government’s position on torture by the military?

Perhaps his comment when asked about allegations of torture by the Sri Lankan military were raised at CHOGM earlier this year will shed some light on the Coalition position.

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

A difficult job our guys are doing eh?

Hmmm , I wonder.

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Barry Bunnings

There are a few people in the main stream media who I admire and right up at the top of that list would have to be Derryn Hinch.

I am well aware that opinions vary on Hinch, he tends to be one of those guys you either love or hate.

Hinch is one who wears their heart on their sleeve, no matter how ugly it may look on the day. He never minces his words, and very few show the passion that he does on the issues he feels are important. Seldom has there been someone in the media driven by such determination, and whether right or wrong you know that he has his heart in the right place and his motives are pure even if on occasion his logic isn’t. Unlike most other journalists Hinch puts himself on the line for what he believes.

For that you have to respect him.

Derryn-Hinch

As I write this Hinch is settling in for what is now his 13th night in prison. Hinch is currently spending 23 hours a day in solitary confinement and is allowed one hour a day for exercise.

So why does Hinch find himself languishing in a jail cell until 12pm 8th March 2014?

Hinch was charged with contempt of court for the breach of a court suppression order related to the Jill Meagher murder case, a case which had a profound impact across the country but particularly in Melbourne where Hinch is based.

Hinch was fined $100,000 for contempt of court and told he faced 50 days in jail if he failed to pay the fine.

Now I am not going to go into the debate on whether Hinch should have breached the court suppression or not, I tend to think he shouldn’t have, however it was an emotionally charged issue at the time, and while that may not be an excuse it could be a part of the reason.

For what it was worth however Hinch apologised for his actions and was prepared to cough up the $100K and cop it on the chin.

But then something changed.

As Hinch puts it on his website

“…Simon Cooper, the predatory pervert, who sexually assaulted the two teenage sons of a friend. And walked free with a three-year totally suspended jail sentence.”

So who is Simon Cooper?

Simon Cooper is anex-Magistrate who was convicted of sexually assaulting two teenage boys.

The convicted paedophile Cooper was handed down a three-year suspended sentence after receiving a pile of character references from judges and crown prosecutors and the like. Rock Spider, kiddie-fiddler and sick fuck Simon Cooper didn’t spend a night in jail or even pay $1 in fines and due to “judges discretion” didn’t even get put on the sex offenders register.

Given Hinch’s history of getting locked up, forking out for fines and his outspoken stance on paedophiles he thought that it was about time a stand was taken over sentencing.

Hinch shows off his ankle jewellery from his 2011 home detention for naming 2 sex offenders

Hinch shows off his ankle jewellery from his 2011 home detention for naming 2 sex offenders

It seems perverse in the extreme that a paedophile like Cooper can be let off completely while someone like Hinch has spent time in jail and paid fines for simply naming convicted paedophiles in an aim to protect the community.

As we all know Hinch has always had a special pit of bile at the bottom of his stomach reserved for paedophiles.

Never one to let an opportunity pass him by, Derryn decided to make a point of highlighting the stupidity of many of the sentences such as Simon Coopers that are coming out of our legal system.

The best way that Hinch had at his disposal to highlight this was to create publicity by electing for imprisonment rather than paying for a fine.

And highlight the issue he has done.

Hinch by choosing to spend 50 nights in the prison cell that those like Cooper should have been in is also hoping to highlight another issue that is close to his heart, the need for a public register of convicted sex offenders. After all if we do not see the protection of our children from harm as a priority then we have clearly taken a wrong turn somewhere.

The protection of the civil rights of convicted perverts is a noble thing to uphold, but not at the expense of our children.

Hinch has a petition on his website calling for a national sex offenders register and is hoping his long days and nights in a jail cell may attract others to sign it, a link to the petition is below.

Petition For A National Sex Offenders Register.

The preamble on the petition states

“In Australia, the rights of convicted sex offenders seem to take precedence over victims’ rights. Especially with paedophiles. Serial sex offenders have their names, photos and addresses, suppressed by the courts on release.”

I hope that Hinch’s expectations of how many signatures the petition receives pales in comparison to what he actually achieves, after all nobody is putting more into this campaign than Hinch himself.

I know there has been a lot of negativity around the choices that Hinch has made in this case, however rather than trying to be above the law I firmly believe that Hinch is making a huge sacrifice to highlight flaws within it.

For those reading this who have not yet signed the petition I hope that you will take the minute of your day that is required to sign it, after all Hinch has given up 50 nights to ensure it finds you and no matter which way you lean politically the protection of children should always be above politics.

To keep up to date on events and read Hinch’s posts on the matter you can check out Hinch’s website here.

Although I know Derryn can’t read this in the slammer, if he happens to stumble upon this after he is released I would like to say this to him.

Your efforts have not been in vain, you have created the awareness you set out to raise and I hope you feel comfortable knowing that your nights of discomfort were worth the sacrifice.

Either way for your continued dedication and relentless pursuit of a safer world for our children you have my utmost respect.

In an industry full of wally’s, wankers, and wannabe’s, you are the real thing.

Don’t let the bastards get you down.

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Those who were waiting for some kind of grand finale or fireworks display in Magistrates Court on Thursday after lunch in the Craig Thomson trial, were not unlike those yelling for an encore at a Justin Bieber concert.

Setting themselves up for disappointment.

Despite a line up of Kathy Jackson and the head of the Victorian Police investigation John Tyquin the afternoon session was a bit of a fizzer by all accounts.

Kathy Jackson was the key prosecution witness for the day and despite saying that she thought there were things that seemed odd in Thomson’s financial records she really was not a good witness for the prosecution, quite the opposite in fact.

She seemed to be a far better witness for the defence.

As I wrote about on Thursday, Jackson confirmed in court that she made hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash withdrawals from union members funds whilst Secretary for BBQ’s and the like, all apparently with the blessing of her ever faithful BCOM and Trustee’s.

If I was one of the BCOM or trustee’s responsible for approving Jacksons spending, I’d be bracing to blow the whistle or grab my passport and run.

The sheer amount and volume of cash withdrawals from Jackson make those Craig Thomson is facing charges look like milk money.

Jackson was also kind enough to explain the $22,000 trip to Mt Hotham that the union members footed the bill for whilst on the witness stand. The amounts involved are shown on the GST reporting statement to the Tax Office below.

2005 BAS GST reporting

Apparently it was not a private holiday it was a union staff event. Something that was to benefit the staff of her branch, Marco Bolano’s branch, as well as another branch. Some kind of bonding or training type event I gather.

If this was indeed the case, I wonder if those from her BCOM approving all the spending also attended the trip. I am also left wondering, if it was for training purposes what the point of being at a snow field is? Was she just looking for the most expensive location possible?

Anyway, those members wondering about their funds being squandered on a ski trip junket need not fear, the staff all benefitted greatly I’m sure.

So immense was the staff benefit in fact, that the event was not even given the tiniest of mentions in the Unions Health Professional magazine/newsletter  for the entire year 2005 when the event occurred or indeed 2006.

Hmmm

photo

Jackson also brought a friend along with her for her court appearance.

It was a sight that many in the court found quite amusing, Kathy Jackson was leading David Rofe QC around by the hand as if he was some kind of blind invalid, something he most certainly is not.

Although Rofe QC claimed to be there as a friend, I don’t think he is someone Jackson usually goes to the pub with or holidays with or even has chats with on the phone regularly, although I could be wrong. However I’d go so far as to hazard a guess that perhaps he was there to ensure Jackson did not incriminate herself on the stand, or perhaps even to ensure that the Lawler family name was not brought into the matter, but again that is just a guess.

Either way proceedings had to be stopped twice when his mobile phone rang, that’s right twice. He didn’t turn it off after the first time.

Still what was probably the most important thing that Jackson swore under oath to was that a credit card was a part of Thomson’s salary package.

This is odd indeed as it completely supports Thomson’s entire defence, as how can anybody require authorisation to spend their salary how they see fit?

Some have suggested that this is a complete backflip from her earlier statements involving claims of improper spending, and this may indeed may be the case, however I am of the opinion that this admission is a tactic to set up a defence for her own spending which is coming under increased scrutiny and she will perhaps one day find herself in court explaining.

The blogospheres got me down

The blogosphere’s got me down

So where to now for the trial?

This is the end of the witnesses, any smoking gun that was to have existed has been presented by now in either a written statement or on the witness stand.

On Tuesday final submissions will be made by both the prosecution and the defence teams and after that we will wait for the Magistrate to come back with a decision of guilty or not guilty.

No matter which way Magistrate Rozencwajg decides there will still be questions in the minds of most. These are the questions as to whether Thomson visited brothels or used escort services.

On this matter the opinions seem to differ just as much as the evidence.

However what this case comes down to and will eventually be decided upon is authorisation, and did Thomson have the authority to use his credit cards as he wished.

As much as the media may like to portray that the case is all about brothels and hookers, that is not the case.

Still, the media and the prosecution seem to have decided to have an each-way bet, if they can’t destroy Thomson in court then they will ruin his life via the headlines.

Going by the sworn testimony of the witnesses, the question of authority seems to be shady to say the least, with the prosecution’s star witness even going so far as to say it was part of his salary package.

The case against Craig Thomson, as much as the shock-jocks might like to think so is nothing at all like the case against Michael Williamson, not even remotely despite them often being referred to together. His case is also minor in comparison to the investigation into Kathy Jackson

Williamson and Jackson - Close links

Williamson and Jackson – Close links

Thomson’s entire case equates to less than $6,000 of questioned spending per year during the five years he was Union Secretary.

By comparison in the case against Michael Williamson the total figure exceeds $20 Million so far.

The investigation into Kathy Jacksons time running Thomson’s former branch are looking at allegations of improper spending that are measured in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Michael Williamson had other companies set up such as CANME that invoiced the union for services that were questionable.

Kathy Jackson you may recall also had a similar setup with companies such as Neranto #10 Pty Ltd and Koukouvaos Pty Ltd.

Neranto #10 cheque requisitions

Neranto #10 cheque remittances

Koukouvaos Consulting Payments

Craig Thomson had nothing of the sort.

Michael Williamson had the advice of expensive legal teams and I’m sure many contacts within the political and legal world to rely on for support.

Kathy Jackson had the support of Michael Lawler, Vice President of the organisation that investigated Thomson FWA, to lean on. She also had the support of all of her new-found friends within the Liberal Party such as Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz, and of course Peter Reith. As mentioned earlier she even took a QC along while she appeared as a witness.

Ah, all the jitters of a first date...

Ah, all the jitters of a first date…

By contrast, Thomson has been almost bankrupted and has even been forced to partially rely on the financial support of the public to mount a decent defence, something the media clearly didn’t want to see him have given their reaction.

What has also become apparent during the Thomson trial is that the partnership between Jackson and Williamson was closer than Jackson would like us all to believe. In fact the measures that were put in place by Thomson to increase the levels of financial accountability of union secretaries made him the enemy of both Williamson and Jackson.

Thomson arrives at court last year with his support

Thomson arrives at court last year with his support

What I have attempted to do in my writing is not to prove Thomson innocent as many have mistakenly assumed. I have always felt my role is to serve those who seek to know all of the facts involved in the case, not just the ones that suit the main stream media agenda.

Call me naive, but I am just one of those nostalgic old souls that still believes in a fair trial.

Along the way I have highlighted misreporting, half-truths, and blatant lies within the mainstream media. I have also highlighted evidence that has been ignored and reported on witness statements and testimony the main stream don’t want us to hear about.

Overall I suppose I have done my best to provide a little balance to what has become a trial by media, something that even those participating in claim to be against.

If indeed Thomson has defrauded the union members, I will be the first to say he should be held to account and the members retrieve their money.

I also strongly believe that allegations against Kathy Jackson need to be scrutinised as intently as those against Williamson and Thomson and I will continue to pursue this matter, as the long-suffering union members deserve nothing less.

So there you have it, it’s almost over for Thomson.

Let’s hope that once this is over that our main stream journalists can lift their game and start reporting from the street, not the gutter.

It would make a pleasant change.

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This week as the Craig Thomson trial draws closer to finalizing, the lesson to be learnt is that there are serious flaws in the way our media report important events.

While Independent Australia has someone who assumes the whole days events may be worth reporting on and stays in court to relay it all, the vast majority of the mainstream press seem to be off at the café, the pub, or gone for a round of golf by lunch.

How is this in any way in the interests of their readership?

It is no wonder the Magistrate has been so critical of particularly The Australian’s coverage of the court proceedings in the past.

The testimony of former Sydney brothel owner Peter Lazaris was widely reported by all of the mainstream press like it was the major event of the day.

What wasn’t reported is that in a full day in court Mr Lazaris testimony lasted less than ten minutes, nor that he was asked to step down from the witness stand by Magistrate Rozencwajg.

Mr Lazaris leaves the set of Miami Vice

Mr Lazaris leaves the set of Miami Vice

The reason he was asked to step down is that his testimony was for the most part irrelevant to the case as it had no link to Craig Thomson, and most of what he was saying was just reading aloud on the stand, with Magistrate Rozencwajg explaining

“I can read just as well as he can”

That was not reported anywhere that I saw.

My humble opinion and I am not an expert in the area, is that brothels advertise, promote and promise discretion. I would not consider going on a witness stand in Magistrates court before a salivating press pack discreet, but that is just me.

Given this it would lead me to assume one of two things, either Mr Lazaris has no integrity, or alternatively that Thomson was never a client. There was certainly nothing that Mr Lazaris presented that gave any confirmation that Thomson was indeed a customer, only excuses as to why he could not offer evidence of what Thomson claims never occurred.

As we have seen from Umberto Ledfooti’s court coverage on Independent Australia there has been a long list of witnesses that have appeared that have painted a clear picture that there were no official guidelines around credit card usage within the union, with one of those witnesses being Jeff Jackson who’s alleged improper spending on a union credit card vastly exceeds that of Thomson.

There has been testimony from Belinda Ord that the documentation  that Kathy Jackson has claimed was destroyed by Thomson was in fact under a desk in Jacksons office. These documents included financial details, credit card details and copies of signatures and drivers license details, everything that one would require to set someone up.

This too was ignored by the mainstream

Today it was time for Kathy Jackson to finally take the stand.

Jackson is in the box seat today

Jackson is in the box seat today

Jackson as you are probably all aware is the self-proclaimed whistleblower whose allegations started the entire circus that we have witnessed for the past few years.

Jackson as you are also likely aware is the fiancée of Michael Lawler who is the Vice President of Fair Work Commission (formerly FWA) whose investigations based on the evidence that was hand delivered by Jackson seemed to target Thomson. Kathy Jackson’s branch during her time as secretary was conveniently excluded from the investigation.

She is also the one who was in partnership with Michael Williamson, who employed her, to form the ill-fated HSU East. So strong her relationship with Williamson was before she betrayed him that she even purchased his wife Julie a $3,000 pair of earrings as a gift. Not bad on a union salary…

Kathy Jacksons Bulgari Earring Purchase

In her testimony before lunch Jackson often referred to what she called information from the “blogosphere”. Jackson has clearly been infuriated by the fact that her own actions have brought her under police scrutiny and documentation that has exposed her lies has been made public.

Today Jackson confirmed that Craig Thomson’s salary package included a salary, a car, a mobile phone for personal and business use and a credit card. A credit card as part of a salary package?

If this is the case then it would suggest he can spend on that card however he likes surely, as no employer can tell you how to spend your own salary.

Jackson also confirmed before lunch that the child care payments for her children were made well beyond her return from maternity leave by around four years. This is the same child care that she told Chris Uhlman when interviewed on the ABC’s 7 30 was not paid for out of union funds.

Too bad the “blogosphere” exposed that lie I guess…

Another alarming admission from Jackson is that she spent over $100,000 per year of union funds by withdrawing cash.

That is a lot of cash to spend, certainly far more than Thomson’s withdrawals which now find him facing charges in court.

When queried about her $22,000 ski trip to Mt Hotham in 2005 shown on the branches GST reporting document below, Jackson claimed she was attending a union conference there.

2005 BAS GST reporting

I guess it was lucky it was in the middle of ski season and that her and Jeff are both keen skiers.

The circus continues after lunch…

More tomorrow.

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