Sunday, 18 February 2018

My s44(i-v) submission

I was totally unaware of the inquiry into s44(i-v) I would like to make a submission on the matter as I feel it is a very important issue.

My opinion is the events that have occurred in relation to s44(i-v) compliance not only vindicate those who wrote the Australian Constitution, they also highlight the lack of oversight some of our laws have. The behaviour of our parliament regarding compliance has been ad-hoc at best.

I was a candidate in the 2016 federal election for the Senate in Victoria. As a political candidate, I looked over s44(i-v) Seeing how many have failed to exercise the same care when making their declaration is upsetting on a couple of fronts.
The first being ineligible candidates that are elected take up positions that are not rightfully theirs. They also are able to game the system & remain in our parliament unchallenged unless caught in the window that disputed returns currently allows. I know of several MPs & Senators who are ineligible yet still collect the pay knowing they are not compliant.
Depending on rulings & interpretation up to 70 could be ineligible. Then there are the MPs & Senators using family trusts and offshore tax havens. How can anyone know definitively that they are not winning contracts subsidies and grants as their investments are more clandestine than most?

My suggestion would be to keep the laws as they were written. They are doing their job. The oversight is what needs to be addressed. I am of the opinion every candidate should go through an audit to prove they are compliant with s44(i-v). If you cannot show you comply you should not be signing a declaration.

                                                       
                                          Thank you regards, Mark Dickenson

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Report a crime AFP Barnaby job scandal.

I find it bemusing that this isn't already being investigated. Defrauding the Commonwealth is a serious offence. It has become blatantly apparent over recent Months that Barnaby Joyce has been involved with a woman in his office. Evidence suggests that after intervention from the Prime Ministers Office a job was created in an endeavour to hide the relationship. The job involved a promotion of approx $110,000. The fact that the PMO was involved suggests the PM knew of the relationship. Even if he wasn't aware Barnaby most certainly was. This job was in Canavan's office. When Canavan stood down there was another job created in the office of the whip Damian Drum. Again Ms Campion was employed as a media advisor. This time the office already had a media advisor. The media advisor already employed had very little to do. The office did no television or radio interviews and did 3 Tweets in December 2017 & 3 again in January 2018. The Prime Minister signed off at least on the Drum role if not both positions. If the Drum role was a genuine role and not blatant nepotism I question why was Ms Campion not replaced when she went on stress leave. She remains on stress leave still today if media reports are in fact accurate. I think the funds used for the roles of Canavan's office & Drums office warrant investigation as many believe it constitutes defrauding the Commonwealth. Barnaby cannot deny knowledge of a relationship he was in therefore any jobs created for the woman break the law. There was a high-level meeting between the Joyce office & Turnbull office that resulted in the creation of a role with no advertising no interview and only one candidate. the same appears to be the case in the role of Drum's office. Politicians have no right to wantonly waste money on bogus roles in an endeavour to cover up their sexual relationships nor should they be able to conspire to do so.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

This is more than sexual misconduct.

During the by-election campaign for New England, social media lit up with stories about Barnaby Joyce having an affair with a staffer. At the time it wasn't reported by mainstream media. At the time I thought it was strange but I wrote that off, putting it down to the lack of opposition Barnaby had in the election. Once Tony Windsor dropped out there was really no contest to be seen.

I heard a story about a daughter driving through town in a vehicle with a megaphone around one of Barnaby's offices. I did later see some poor quality footage of this on social media. It was common knowledge that Barnaby was having an affair, in parliament house & the press gallery. There is an unwritten code in Canberra that says personal matters are off limits. Although occasionally & hypocritically this goes out the window.

There was a couple of independent media outlets who chased the story down. This gave the story legs. Allowing it to bubble away. When the decision was made to create another role because the relationship was causing issues in Barnaby's office the story started to spread. The young lady gets moved to Matt Canavan's office in a promotion. When Canavan stands down over s44 referral the young lass lands in Damien Drum's office as a media advisor. There is already a media advisor in this office on considerably less than Barnaby's mistress. The latest role was signed off by the Prime Minister. That is significant as there are rumours the PMO inquiries was what prompted the initial move away from Barnaby's office. The Prime Minister & Barnaby are close. Barnaby lived on the Turnbull estate a while back. Did the Prime Minister know about the relationship before he signed off on the second job with Damian Drum? I find it difficult to believe he didn't.
                                                                           
Then throw into the mix the free accommodation Barnaby & his new love interest are sharing and the plot thickens. This was only recently put on the register of gifts after it appeared on social media. This property is owned by a man who has a chequered political history that goes all the way back to 2004 in New England. Once accused of bribery.

Then there are stories of another office romance & other sexual misconduct including a story about some unsavoury incidents at the 2012 Rural Women's Awards. If true the awards night display puts most of the other stuff in the shade.
                                                             
This should all be investigated. It is important because jobs created with taxpayer funds must be above board and they generally get very little oversight. It throws into question the hundreds of millions of dollars spent every year on consultants. Jobs for the boys/girlfriends/boyfriends might bring this government down and destroy the coalition forever. 


Friday, 26 January 2018

Respect

Present day politics aside I think we have lurked in the shadows as a nation for long enough. We will never be all that we can be until we embrace who we are, our history and our future.
Without reliving the sordid details of the slaughter that came with colonisation. It is abundantly clear reading transcripts of conversations between those British gentries, they were adamant that aboriginals were regarded as a sub-species. How wrong they were. They were considered to be in the way of any plans. It was this skewed view that led to the slaughter of many indigenous people around the Eastern & Southern Coast of Australia. Survivors appear to have been driven inland to regions that were less desirable to Settlers.                                                     
As a white Australian, I read about these abuses & atrocities with great sadness. I don't feel responsible yet I do feel ashamed. Ashamed that anyone with my blood could do such things and find it in any way justifiable. We are different now yet not so different that many indigenous Australians still live in remote areas. While today they do not live in fear of being slaughtered they do not have the same rights that most of us take for granted. Kids growing up in poverty. Families being used as guinea pigs for welfare trials. Life expectancies that are a decade shy of white Australians living, under the same sky.
I cannot speak for all Australians but I can speak for myself. I am sorry. Sorry for what was lost. The lives the opportunities the gifts that this culture has. I do not take the blame for the actions of others but I do want to go that extra yard in addressing those wrongs. These remedies are not in any way absolution. They are an olive branch for want of a better description.
I want Australia to be strong & proud not of who they were of who they are and who they can be. I want indigenous Aussies to drive this with us. Create something that we can all be proud of. I know through a friend on Twitter I have never met just how much heritage means. A man by the name of Paul Dutton who recently saw a photo of his old man for the first time. A photo of my old man is something I would have taken for granted. Paul's reaction was really poignant to me.
I want us to be the Republic of Australia. I want us to live in harmony with the indigenous culture. I want them to be connected with us, not a separate entity. They are the oldest living culture in the world. What a wonderful tourism opportunity. What a wonderful thing to learn about in our schools. Taking a step back to move forward is a good thing as a nation. We must not leave people behind.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

A government without a vision leads you nowhere.

Since September 2013 the nation has had two Prime Ministers and many cabinet reshuffles. Observing these events in real time has been painful for me. The reason I find it so arduous to watch is I have ideas that I know would have had better outcomes for so many people who are suffering as a direct result of the current regime. How does a political party after years of opposition win government & have no vision for the future?

 They won government with a Jobs & Growth slogan & a claim they were, star economic managers. 52 Months in they have failed dismally in both. There are 15,300 more people unemployed than in September 2013. There are 151,000 more people underemployed. When they took office government debt was  $226 billion as it stands now it is just over $604 billion.

What do we actually have to show for this huge rise in debt? A third world NBN? An enormous offshore detention problem that seems to have no solution. A shortfall in power supply. High-cost gas that is this nation's resource. A long list of corporations using the nation's resources & paying no taxes. In 2013 there were 579  now there are 732 paying no tax. 
                                                                       
Ordinary working people are generally paying the advertised tax rates same to small businesses while millionaires & big corporations get a free pass using various advantages wealthy people have. The government's turning a blind eye to the problem as they cop political donations & various other gifts when required. The working people struggle to meet the rising cost of living a poor government provides. They are treading water at best, many are going backwards as wage growth is at a 30 year low.
The government's solution is a failed economic policy called trickledown economics or Reaganomics. Giving a $65 billion tax break to corporations who contribute nothing to society in the hope that some of the profits will spill out of their pockets. A hope that would be completely out of character for any corporation I have seen.
We are just losing position on the rest of the world. We seem destined to be in huge government debt with an alternative government waiting in the wings with a line up that has some talent but a poor record in government. I fear for Australia we are well on the way to being tenants in our own land. Nobody offers any hope of servicing the government debt in the short term & none have the courage to govern for the long term.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Religious freedoms submission.

This is a submission I have made regarding religious freedoms. 06/01/2018.
I am vehemently opposed to any changes being made to religious freedoms by the Australian parliament. This issue seems to have been stimulated by a failure to block, Marriage Equality in a recent postal survey & then again in our Australian parliament. There are several reasons why the parliament should not be introducing anything that changes religious institutions rights in any way. The first is fundamental to the parliament's existence. The Australian parliament is supposed to be secular irrespective of the personal views or beliefs of incumbent membership. I believe this is to ensure all Australians are represented without prejudice. I think this right is eloquently protected in the Australian Constitution s 116 & so are the rights of those who practice religion. This protection is moderate yet sufficient & is in step with other laws we have in Australia. To impose any extra freedoms or restrictions specifically based on religious beliefs would most likely be unconstitutional or would require that document to be amended lawfully. I also believe that our politicians are failing in their role by bringing their own personal views into the parliament. They are views they are entitled to have but have no right trying to force them onto the Australian public. I think this began with the 2004 amendment to the Marriage act & has gone unchallenged sadly.

                                                     Thank you regards, Mark Dickenson.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Letter to Senator Penny Wong regarding s44 compliance.

                                                                                                                                   Sent 30/12/2017


Dear Senator Wong,

 I am writing to you to raise an issue I believe has been overlooked either deliberately or inadvertently by many politicians past and present. It regards s44 iv-v & eligibility to be an MP or Senator.

What constitutes an office of profit under the crown? It has already been established that it includes jobs in the public service & probably would extend to anyone paid by the government.

My question is does it extend to politicians using Commonwealth revenue to generate profits? Do MPs & Senators use LAFHA to negatively gear Canberra properties breach s44 iv? They profit via increased equity reduced personal taxation & often via a capital gain. Over 50 current federal politicians use their allowance this way. It is important to note that when LAFHA was introduced it passed both houses. There was no referendum. It was never intended to be a source of profit for politicians.
                                                                                 
It has been written about extensively that MPs & Senators use family trusts to hide their investments the Prime Minister hides his in the Cayman Islands. What if these investments were to be awarded Commonwealth grants contracts or subsidies? How would we know if the 70 plus MPs & Senators using these methods are not awarding themselves secretly?

There are also questions over the eligibility of Dutton, O'Sullivan & Robert with investments receiving, contracts, grants or subsidies from the Commonwealth.

The parliament's handling of s44(i-v) compliance has been the worst governance of an issue I have ever seen by a government anywhere in the world. How an honesty audit of 20% of the law meets any standards escapes me. Particularly when the s44 issue began with Senators Day(v) & Culleton s44(ii-iii). It seems our laws are being selectively applied at best.

                                                                                       regards Mark Dickenson