Welcome to LazerWikiBlog:

This is where you find out what is ringing my chimes. This is also where you get insights into my life. I rant. I rave. I basically let off as much steam as I want here. You will probably find references to CentreLink, Australian ISP, Ombudsman, Religion, Australian Politics, and Globalisation.

Mostly, being an INFP, the thing that rings my chimes about "Western Democracy" (including Australia) is the obvious "FAIL" that corruption continues to brings to the table. A history of corruption exists in the law making process of most if not all Governments that have or do identify as Democratic nations. Australian Members of Parliament past and present also have a known history of corruption. There are just too many examples in our political past of how corrupted Politicians have done "deals" to get certain "concessions" passed into law. Nice easy passage through Parliament. Cleared along the way by beholden Politicians? Over and over. At all levels of Government. Since the whole system was inherited from the "British" and before. It seems to me that the whole system of "justice" needs a complete overhaul. Complete Overhaul. Starting with the democratic system itself. Should we allow political parties? I believe Political Parties are the means of corruption in the political system. Corporations mostly are the offenders. If we banned Political Parties, I believe we would get a system where MPs are only in Parliament to represent the will of their electorate. Nothing more. Nothing less. One MP. One Vote. None of this "Voting along `party lines` rubbish". In my perfect world.. Politicians pensions, salaries, and entitlements would be completely overhauled and massively reduced. With a brand new "Border Force" squad enabled for the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to assist them in investigating future Political candidates.

Fiasco`s and cover ups have always been the rule of the day in Australian Politics. Special concessions for 'sick old pals' who have been proven to break the laws of the country. But business as usual. Politics and the promotion of disinformation is a dirty business. In Australia, I see no real difference in the direction of travel that the two major political parties participate towards. I would like for Australians to wake up and stop re-electing the obviously corrupt choice that I believe ALP & LNP to represent. Only an Independent stands for their electorate. The problem is when not enough "good people" stand up to do the job of representation.

Seems I used to Blog a bit about the unfairness of city legislated laws on rural people. I do have to wonder when will our political leaders give more than just lip service to the needs for amendments to many of the city legislated laws. Rural living is more expensive right across the board. I believe there should be leeway granted to fines and penalties imposed on those living in rural areas.

Enjoy... Dont forget to leave your comment(s)

2020-01-27 Andrew Forrest

Philanthropy, the Twiggy Forrest way By Grant Turner

27 January 2020, 11:00am

It may be that Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest the “philanthropist” has only one person’s welfare in mind, writes Grant Turner.

ANDREW “TWIGGY” FORREST claims to be a “philanthropist”. He recently, with much fanfare, graced the front pages of our mainstream media for donating $70 million to the horrific bush fire crisis. Many were delighted to see this incredibly wealthy man giving to such a worthwhile cause.

When we look a little deeper into Forrest’s philanthropic donation it’s apparent that his gift comes with conditions. $10 million is for immediate relief of the victims of the bushfires. Another $10 million will go to Twiggy’s “army of helpers” — whatever that means. And $50 million will go to his own Mindaroo Foundation. This is, apparently, to enable his own handpicked researchers to look into “fire mitigation”. A cynic might say that these handpicked researchers are unlikely to come up with real answers and that what recommendations they do come up with are likely to be of benefit to Twiggy.

Forrest recently said, sad as the fires are, he believes that it’s not climate change that is to blame but, instead,

“arsonists have had a horrible impact, the fuel load has probably had the greatest impact.”

Obviously, having loads of money gained through being a mining magnate gives you insight far superior to the 97 per cent of scientists that say climate change is the main contributor to the bushfires we are enduring.

Twiggy is now on a worldwide fundraising tour – on behalf of his own foundation – to raise $500 million to disprove the accepted science of climate change. This is not really surprising from a bloke that joined fellow mining magnate Gina Rinehart on the streets to protest against the mining tax and then challenged the Rudd Government in the High Court in 2013, only to lose. Then in 2014, after his company Fortescue Metals Group earned $9.1 billion, Forrest’s accountants somehow reduced that taxable income to $208 million, which resulted in only $13.2 million in tax being paid.

It may be that Twiggy the “philanthropist” has only one person’s welfare in mind.

Over the years, Twiggy has consistently avoided paying Fortescue Metals’ actual tax bill. Instead, this has been reduced to a pittance, while he has given token amounts to cancer research and other causes.

Forrest’s caring and giving heart has also managed to advertise, via Mindaroo Foundation, lead a review on Indigenous employment and advise the Coalition Government to establish the cashless welfare card, known as the “Indue card”, of which he is the architect. It was adopted by the Government, initially in First Nations communities — whose land he seeks to put his profit-making mines upon.

So, Twiggy’s Indue card gets to label an entire society as drunken abusers and belittle the world’s longest surviving people as beyond self-governing, thereby eliminating resistance to his plans.

Indue Pty Ltd – the corporation awarded the contract to manage the cashless welfare card program and to operate its underlying systems – is a corporation owned by Liberal and National Party members, which donates to various Liberal and National Party branches around Australia.

When someone claims to be a philanthropist and seeks media attention for their deeds, that person is often a self-serving narcissist with a desire for personal power and profit.

What Andrew Forest does is avoid paying tax and instead makes donations, so that he gets to control who and how the money is used, while also building up his reputation as a good Aussie bloke.

Not one Australian has voted for Twiggy and yet he helps set government policy, along with his profiteering climate change denier mates.

A true philanthropist is one that gives; not one who seeks fame and glory or the power to control how their gift is used.

It’s likely that Andrew Twiggy Forest is far from a true philanthropist.

Grant Turner has a strong interest in politics and fairness in society and believes in honest independent media. You can follow him on Twitter @gruntat.

Original Article:,13532

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2018-08-05 Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption

Brilliant analysis from Richard O'Brien.


I’ve posted all this before, but New Corp have posted this headline before too. So once again, here is a reminder of why the true bludgers have nothing to beware of:

The Newstart allowance is nearly $200 per week below the poverty line.

Over 730,000 children are dependent on welfare payments to their parents/careers.

32% of people receiving Newstart allowance are over 50.

50% of Australians and 70% of households have accessed welfare at some time in the last 15 years.

'Welfare dependants' (people who relied on welfare for most of the last decade) make up 0.3% of welfare recipients.

The portion of Australians on welfare today is the lowest it has been in 20 years.

Out of 30 OECD Countries Australia ranks 25th for welfare spending.

The Newstart allowance has not increased in real terms in over 2 decades. In 1997 MPs salaries were twice the average wage, today they are 3 times the average wage.

MP’s claimed a total of over 8000 years’ worth of Newstart allowance in 2016. The minister responsible for welfare at that time, Alan Tudge, claimed the equivalent of 39 years’ worth of Newstart payments.

In 2016 Tony Abbott's expense claims were the equivalent of more than 37 years’ worth of Newstart payments, Peter Dutton's were more than 55 years’ worth, Scott Morrison more than 61 years’ worth and Malcolm Turnbull more than 105 years’ worth!

The biggest claimant for 2016 was Julie Bishop with nearly 113 years’ worth of Newstart payments. Bear in mind, these are expense claims only, they do not include salaries and other allowances.

That year Andrew Robb, the former Trade minister, walked into an $800,000 a year job with a Chinese company for whom he had previously approved a 99-year lease on Darwin Port. Robb claimed 38.5 years’ worth of Newstart allowance in 2016. He resigned from Parliament mid-February that year!

According to 2014/15 tax estimates, negative gearing costs more than $3.6 billion a year in lost revenue.

That's about as the same as the government spends on assistance to jobseekers and vocational training, and twice what it spends on assistance to Indigenous Australians.

Federal MPs own 524 properties. Most of them are negatively geared.

It costs the equivalent of 156.75 years’ worth of Newstart payments to maintain a single federal MP for one year.

In 2015/16 our 226 Federal MPs cost us the equivalent of 36,120 people on Newstart.

Also in 2015/16, the estimated cost of tax evasion in Australia was the equivalent of nearly 400,000 years’ worth of Newstart payments.

The fossil fuel industry in Australia receives the equivalent of more than 350,000 years’ worth of Newstart payments in annual subsidies.

In 2015 it was estimated that Rupert Murdoch’s US media holdings had siphoned off more than 321,226 years’ worth of Newstart allowance from his Australian media businesses virtually tax free."

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2018-07-15 Indue Welfare Card

The Say NO Seven July 13 at 8:22 PM · ⚠🐦 Is the CDC a test pilot for a full scale run on economic freedoms in Australia? You decide.

We were going to send this out privately however we felt it was important enough to get this out there now as we know many are still writing submissions….

We have a point to note for all of the sub writers out there at this time. An issue has revealed itself within the expansion legislation that we feel you need to be aware of and may want to include in your arguments, that is the issue of digital currency as an inclusion on the prohibited list.

Wait…Before you think ’ oh that digital thing. I dont use wont effect me’ think again..and again…please.

This amendment is bad not just because it ‘prohibits’ those on trials from making use of digital currencies, it is evil because it REMOVES OUR RIGHT TO CHOSE HOW WE WILL TRANSACT AT ALL and forces us to transact ONLY with banking insitutions and those institutions empowered by government.

This amendment is a significant power grab!

We’ve told people from begining we would yell out TRUCK! if we saw legislative skullduggery going on and thats all we can do here and now, yell TRUCK! IS! COMING! and hope to god people move out of the way or try and stop it.

If this amendment passes, we have no doubt it will be later used to exclude all Australians who have committed no crime, from exercising basic economic freedoms and will be used not only to shore up the failing centralised banking sector, it will block access to all evolutionary financial platforms and all the choices that go with that. It’s effectively closing the gate on a prison. It’s one step further to the totaltarian state and it wider implications are massive - whether people can comprehend them yet or not.

The LNP are intentionally using the CDC legislation process, to make significant changes to the laws that govern the WAY people transact in Australia, sneaking politically expedient economic ‘reforms’ in the back door - reforms that would otherwise be feircely challenged in the parliament, press and in wider public debate.

Depending solely on the pretext called into play, this legislation, inclusive of this amendment, could at any time be used as ‘precedent’ and expanded to force all non banking currency and trade/exchange forms nation wide through the 4 big banks doors and put an end to actual free and alternate trade. So..yeah. It’s a big deal.

We know the people behind the CDC legislation work incrementally so they don’t ‘scare the sheep’ so to speak, so any wider application or implementation of this restrictive policy would be a fair way off, however it is enough to say that if this amendment is approved, it will set a massive precedent down in law, empowering government to seize control over all currency exhanges in Australia; That’snot just bitcoin either, its every digital currency and means of credit exchange, and could even include ‘currency’ exchanges such as Barter.

As it stands now, on any political whim, under any well massaged pretext, this force may at any time be applied to expand this policy to include ‘other’ groups, and eventualy, impact everyone in Australia be they social security recipient or not. It is a protectionist policy…worse, it we feel, the closeted IPA agenda in action.

It is clear by the manner of this amendments inclusion, meaning, the way it has been added to this CDC Bill rather than others before it or added to a Finance or Economic Bill, that government is trying to avoid wider scruinty of this policy. They are not even trying to guage public reaction, prefering not to highlight this amendment at all. So this issue we feel, is very much about precedent setting for the future. Increasing Governments powers.

Adding this amendment to this Bill ensures focus on this potentially macro-economic amendment is minimal, they ensure it is largely ignored by the wider audience, and even for those who are invested in this struggle, most are so focused on the location expansion issue not the programs financial SCOPE expansion, they havent stopped to think that that this amendment is part of a wider LNP economic agenda.

We see that they are doing more than just controlling social security recpients, or even simply trying to protect the banks from digital economies - they are using the distraction of social security systems breakdown and our national social problems to lay the legislative frame and ground work for wider economic sanctions and restictions - setting the legal precedent for aggressive economic policies that needed a foothold and foundation in law.

So please..think and read and read and think and if you an, add something to your sub about you feel about this too!

Excerpt from our draft submission ( guide only, may not be submitted as is):

“ In terms of real world impact and effect, this amendment will firstly segregate people in receipt of Social Security payments from access to the global crypto-currency economic marketplace and in doing so, it will exclude them from engaging within the currently booming non banking sector jobs market and online dedicated career networks. This will limit peoples employment options, especially within the under 36 yr old age bracket. This is contrary to the stated aims of the CDCT and the goals of this governments ‘welfare to work’ principles.

Most importantly, this amendment if applied will remove the individual right to choice in currency transacting entirely, a completely different intention and premise, leaving individuals solely dependant on banking groups and specifically government authorised institutions such as Indue Ltd.

Far beyond simple mission creep, this amendment is then a critical issue for all Australians as it changes the entire nature of the Cashless Debit Card legislation from being one of simple cash restriction for social security recipients, into one of wholesale economic segregation and limitation based on nothing more than economic and social class.

If approved, and in setting this precedent - legally justifying the removal the economic right of “some” individuals to transact freely in the marketplace in manner of their own choosing - the leap to that power one day expanding to include “all” people is one step closer.

This legislative slight of hand and obvious unchecked mission creep - an expansion within expansion - is simply unacceptable.

This entire legislation has transformed from one that held focus on the issue of social welfare, into a full scale assault upon the economic rights of taxpaying Australian citizens as a whole. It is a clear advancement of the cause of economic protectionism.”

  • SNS.

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2018-03-11 Education

Common Sense that most Politicians Ignore

There was a time when our taxes were used to fund education amongst other things. I attended TAFE 30 yrs ago, it was free. Many politicians in my age bracket attended university, it was free. I truly feel for those who are now lumbered with huge debts because they wanted to better themselves. To my uninformed eyes it seems that successive LNP governments have privatised education more and more, and successive Labour governments have done nothing to remedy this. Where is the political clout demanding common sense government hiding. I can't see them anywhere!
As someone who has worked in the professional sphere across the board in education, training and so on, private and public, one of the saddest things I've witnessed is the killing of TAFE. Removal of funding, unreasonable demands placed on it, and these days, if you're at a jobs expo and so on, there will be private contractors vying for funding, deals etc and right alongside, some poor sod from the TAFE trying to advertise and tender for funding that ought to be guaranteed. It's a public service, for feck's sake. One of the worst parts of this is that there will be the usual privileged berks saying "oh, it's unworkable..." Of course it's become bloody unworkable. If you take the funding out of a public system, if you strip it of workers while increasing the demands on those left over, it will *remain* unworkable. *That's* how they kill off public services and, as Cameron points out, it kills off what can be considered society, for the sake of some false economic arguments. It's a bloody travesty. I've watched it in action, both from within and without. Don't trust anyone who tells you it's "corrupt", it's a "failure" or anything along those lines. Because those people fall under two categories: those who believe the lies as it is being stripped and those who have a vested interest in seeing it stripped and vilified - ie private contractors. How do I know this? I've *met* them.

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2018-03-11 Corporatocracy

Disabled people advocates fight back

Governments stingy, hostile, Social Security system

After two years of failed applications for the Disability Support Pension — as well as numerous appeals — Quang Huynh, a 30-year-old Dandenong man, decided he’d had enough.

Rather than deal with the DHS’ confusing and overly bureaucratic appeals process one more time, he instead turned up at his local Centrelink office, hoping to finally prove once and for all he was indeed “disabled enough” to receive the benefit.

“It was a pretty farcical scene,” Huynh tells Crikey. “I stumbled and shuffled around the office, waving my medical certificates at their officers.”

This was no mean feat. Huynh, who is blind in his left eye from severe diabetic retinopathy, also has serious heart, liver and kidney conditions that routinely land him in hospital. According to his doctor’s notes, he finds it difficult to walk more than 50 metres safely.

“But, they [Centrelink] didn’t even look at my doctor’s statements. One lady said, ‘I can see you walking — if you can walk, you can find work.’”

As reported by Crikey last November, Huynh is one of thousands of Australians with a disability who are being unceremoniously rejected from the DSP and forced into Newstart — an increasingly punitive scheme which imposes extensive job search obligations for nearly 40% less pay.

[Disability support plummets as government turns up heat on the vulnerable]

Delegitimising people’s disabilities has become one of our government’s most determined budget savings drives. In the 2016-17 financial year, the rate of approved claims dropped by more than 50%, with 70,000 claims rejected. As it stands, the grant rate for DSP applicants is now at its lowest on record — around 15% of applicants are currently making successful bids.

According to The National Social Security Rights Network (NSSRN), DSP claimants’ medical evidence is routinely ignored by Department-appointed assessors. In a report released last month NSSRN revealed that, in 85% of cases they looked at, assessors didn’t even contact claimants’ doctors before making rulings against them.

Robert Kalsbeek, a 62-year-old from Geraldton in WA, told Crikey that a Centrelink psychologist ignored medical evidence provided by his GP, and ultimately denied him a DSP “because she watched me bend over and pick up a piece of paper”.

Kalsbeek suffers from chronic fatigue and a serious spinal injury, as a result of a work-related incident that cut his professional life short. Subsequently, he has also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. His file was referred by the psychologist to a DHS-appointed occupational therapist, who, without meeting or phoning him, judged that he had the ability to work 15-22 hours a week and thus wasn’t entitled to a pension. Instead, he was forced onto Newstart payments.

Kalsbeek immediately appealed this decision — only to be rejected again eight months later by two new assessors. He then lodged a complaint with the Perth Administrative Appeals Tribunal. He describes the lengthy and convoluted process of fighting Centrelink’s judgements as an “ordeal” that greatly exacerbated his mental illness and quality of life.

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) — the leading provider of legal services to Victorians with disability and mental illnesses — are helping and advising innumerable clients like Kalsbeek who are experiencing acute distress caused by DSP rejections.

In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the DSP, VLA stated that “better decision-making by Centrelink at an earlier stage would reduce unnecessary hardship to people experiencing disability and would reduce costs to the community.”

Without sufficient expertise, many Centrelink assessors are making decisions that can dramatically impact people’s lives. So we have a situation where, for example, a psychologist can overrule a GP’s spinal injury diagnosis.

Vulnerable people like Huynh and Kalsbeek are being forced to spend years of their lives navigating an unforgiving system of confusing and stressful processes to “prove” and “justify” entitlements.

12 months after making his initial claim, the Adminstative Appeals Tribunal overturned Centrelink’s decision against Kalsbeek, citing the evidence that previously lay dormant in his doctors’ medical reports. After finally granting him the pension, the tribunal also awarded him almost $10,000 in back-pay entitlements.

Kalsbeek is now gearing up to take on the Department of Human Services in the District Court of Western Australia. He is demanding financial compensation for being thrust into distress and destitution by a department which he contends ignored and overlooked evidence he presented in his claims.

Advocacy groups like NSSRN and VLA encourage all failed DSP claimants to make as many claims and appeals as they can. Recent figures show that the tribunal immediately reverses 20-25% of Centrelink’s rulings — yet another indictment on the agency’s stringent and unfair decision-making.

NSSRN have also started meeting with the DHS to help ensure people with disabilities’ claims are being assessed more accurately, fairly and efficiently.

Without input from these advocacy groups, one can’t help but think the government would simply continue on its merry way: stacking the odds against disabled people with ever-tighter restrictions and removing their benefits in order to “unburden” the budget.

Ultimately, these groups, as well as individual claimants like Kalsbeek and Huynh, are fighting back against a culture that puts profit before people. Indeed, they are fighting for a more dignified welfare system that doesn’t scrounge savings by pushing people’s entitlements ever further out of reach.

Jeremy Poxon is a freelance writer and a Media Officer for the Unemployed Australian Worker’s Union.

Original Reference: Crikey:2018/02/27:Disabled people advocates fight back. Governments stingy, hostile, Social Security system.

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2018-01-27 Religion

White Evangelicals, This is Why People Are Through With You


Dear White Evangelicals,

I need to tell you something: People have had it with you.

They’re done.

They want nothing to do with you any longer, and here’s why:

They see your hypocrisy, your inconsistency, your incredibly selective mercy, and your thinly veiled supremacy.

For eight years they watched you relentlessly demonize a black President; a man faithfully married for 26 years; a doting father and husband without a hint of moral scandal or the slightest whiff of infidelity.

They watched you deny his personal faith convictions, argue his birthplace, and assail his character—all without cause or evidence. They saw you brandish Scriptures to malign him and use the laziest of racial stereotypes in criticizing him.

And through it all, White Evangelicals—you never once suggested that God placed him where he was, you never publicly offered prayers for him and his family, you never welcomed him to your Christian Universities, you never gave him the benefit of the doubt in any instance, you never spoke of offering him forgiveness or mercy, your evangelists never publicly thanked God for his leadership, your pastors never took to the pulpit to offer solidarity with him, you never made any effort to affirm his humanity or show the love of Jesus to him in any quantifiable measure.

You violently opposed him at every single turn—without offering a single ounce of the grace you claim as the heart of your faith tradition. You jettisoned Jesus as you dispensed damnation on him.

And yet today, you openly give a “mulligan” to a white Republican man so riddled with depravity, so littered with extramarital affairs, so unapologetically vile, with such a vast resume of moral filth—that the mind boggles.

And the change in you is unmistakable. It has been an astonishing conversion to behold: a being born again.

With him, you suddenly find religion. With him, you’re now willing to offer full absolution. With him, all is forgiven without repentance or admission. With him you’re suddenly able to see some invisible, deeply buried heart. With him, sin has become unimportant, compassion no longer a requirement. With him, you see only Providence.

And White Evangelicals, all those people who have had it with you—they see it all clearly.

They recognize the toxic source of your duality.

They see that pigmentation and party are your sole deities. They see that you aren’t interested in perpetuating the love of God or emulating the heart of Jesus. They see that you aren’t burdened to love the least, or to be agents of compassion, or to care for your Muslim, gay, African, female, or poor neighbors as yourself. They see that all you’re really interested in doing, is making a God in your own ivory image and demanding that the world bow down to it. They recognize this all about white, Republican Jesus—not dark-skinned Jesus of Nazareth.

And I know you don’t realize it, but you’re digging your own grave in these days; the grave of your very faith tradition.

Your willingness to align yourself with cruelty is a costly marriage. Yes, you’ve gained a Supreme Court seat, a few months with the Presidency as a mouthpiece, and the cheap high of temporary power—but you’ve lost a whole lot more.

You’ve lost an audience with millions of wise, decent, good-hearted, faithful people with eyes to see this ugliness. You’ve lost any moral high ground or spiritual authority with a generation. You’ve lost any semblance of Christlikeness. You’ve lost the plot. And most of all you’ve lost your soul.

I know it’s likely you’ll dismiss these words. The fact that you’ve even made your bed with such malevolence, shows how far gone you are and how insulated you are from the reality in front of you.

But I had to at least try to reach you. It’s what Jesus would do.

Maybe you need to read what he said again—if he still matters to you.

Original Source:

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2018-01-27 Corporatocracy

Simple Trickle down Bullshit explained

When you think about it..

The right wing “GIFTS” to the wealthy under the heading of “Job Creation” is total shit if you actually had a single thread of knowledge about how businesses operate.

It is all about SUPPLY and DEMAND.

If there is a DEMAND.. they SUPPLY (just enough manpower to cover that demand.. The spreadsheet is king..)

They DO NOT OVER SUPPLY.. Because that is wastage..


To employ MORE PEOPLE there needs to be INCREASED DEMAND..

But the greedy capitalists have NO INTENTION of employing more people.. Because there isn’t more DEMAND..

If FACT there is less demand.. Because the LNP are making sure it is DAMN HARD to collect unemployment benefits..

Many who WERE classed as DISABLED and were getting a PENSION are now back on Newstart and classed as A1 ready for work..

That means LESS money flowing in the economy and LESS DEMAND FOR NON ESSENTIAL PRODUCTS..

LNP made sure PENALTY RATES were chopped.. and they aren’t finished there.. They want MORE CHOPS to penalty rates..

That means LESS money flowing in the economy and LESS DEMAND FOR NON ESSENTIAL PRODUCTS..

LNP don’t want to collect taxes from corporations..

That means less SERVICES provided by the Government..

That means LESS money flowing in the economy and LESS DEMAND FOR NON ESSENTIAL PRODUCTS..


Do you see it yet? The LNP are #TRAITORS IMO. They happily sell us out to corporate slavery..



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2018-01-22 Religion

The rise of “The Christian right” (in the USA) within political parties.

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2018-01-22 Malcolm Turnbull

Malcolm Turnbull linked to mass logging operation in Solomon Islands

By Linda Silmalis

February 28, 2009 10:00pm

JUST as Malcolm Turnbull tries to outsmart Labor on environmental issues, a file of documents has emerged linking the Leader of the Opposition to a mass logging operation in the Solomon Islands.

The tiny island of Vangunu is a speck on the world map; a dot in the Pacific and home to just over 2000 people. It forms part of the collection of thousands of land masses that make up the Solomon Islands.

Once covered in pristine rainforest, the island and the surrounding Marovo Lagoon were the subject of lobbying by the New Zealand government and environmentalists to have it World Heritage-listed in the late 1980s.

Logging Operations in Vangunu Island

Almost two decades later, the island is again being talked about - only this time for different reasons.

The emergence of a carefully-documented file detailing mass logging operations and the ongoing impacts in the region has Vangunu back in the spotlight.

More specifically, the file - obtained by The Sunday Telegraph - records the involvement of Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull over that time.

Mr Turnbull was the chairman of a company called Axiom Holdings after he and fellow investors purchased a 16.21 per cent stake in the company in 1991.

The company was one of several companies with logging activities in the Solomons.

It was also one of the largest.

According to the documents, it was under Mr Turnbull’s time as chair that the company boosted its activities and profits, with devastating consequences on the environment.

It is not the first time that the former environment minister has been scrutinised over the issue.

His critics began digging around his past business interests during the battle for the seat of Wentworth in 2004.

With environmental issues a key issue at the time, his opponents were keen to challenge Mr Turnbull’s green credentials.

It emerged that he had been chairman of Axiom Forest Resources from late 1991 to to July 1992 – a company that had earlier been the subject of a series of damning AusAID reports.

Published in the early 1990s, the reports likened Axion and its operations on Vangunu to “a clear-felling operation” that made little attempt to be sustainable.

Responding to the issue at the time, Mr Turnbull told ABC radio that he had had no hands-on role in the logging operations on the Islands.

Describing himself as a “corporate doctor”, Mr Turnbull said that after he saw the consequences of poor forestry he had tried to encourage local owners to change their ways. Mr Turnbull said he was unaware the companies had been described as having some of the worst logging practices in the world.

He said he was aware of some companies having “difficulties” and that Axiom had acquired them to clean up the mess.

“The vision of the founders of Axiom, of which I was not one, was to acquire these logging companies and then restructure them and sort of reposition them so that they became sustainable operations,” Mr Turnbull said. “My only involvement with the company was as a corporate doctor.”

Three years later, when John Howard announced plans to help fight deforestation in South-East Asia and the South Pacific, the issue again arose as Labor circulated press clippings in Parliament House, again detailing the AusAID reports.

The clippings were an embarrassment for Mr Turnbull who had just described forests as “lungs of the world”.

When questioned at the time, Mr Turnbull said he had visited the Solomons but never been to the site of the logging operations. The issue again disappeared.

However, just as Mr Turnbull struggles against internal critics and tries to shift the focus onto his policy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, documents about his Solomon Islands dealings have surfaced.

So just what do they contain?

Plenty. Enough, to suggest Mr Turnbull may have been driven more by profits than saving forests.

Mr Turnbull was chairman of Axiom for almost seven months.

In July 1992, the South China Morning Post published an article that states Mr Turnbull sold out of Axiom for HK25c per share, or a representing a sale return of over $A4.3 million.

While it has never been confirmed just how much Mr Turnbull pocketed from the venture, it is speculated that the profits from the exercise may have been as high as $25 million.

Three months after the sale, the Australian-government funded AusAID study was released which catalogued the logging activity of Axiom and its subsidiaries: Integrated Forest Industries, Rural Industries, Silvania Products and Isabel Timber Co. The report found that the companies had massively increased logging activities in the region while Mr Turnbull was chairman.

Specifically, Axiom increased its production from 25,500cum to 40,900cum between 1991 and 92.

Production was able to be increased because of a new Silvania operation that had begun on the island of Vangunu, it said. The operation had contributed an additional 70,000cum to its quota.

“The degree of canopy removal and soil disturbance was the most extensive seen by the authors in any logging operation in tropical rainforest in any country,” the report said.

Asked about the details of the report, Mr Turnbull’s office referred The Sunday Telegraph to an e-mailed transcript of his earlier interview with the ABC.

Labor has long believed Mr Turnbull has failed to explain his role as a corporate doctor and, specifically, what he did to improve logging practices given production effectively doubled under his watch.

As a Labor source said: “Malcolm’s biggest problem is everyone’s let him off the hook because it has been written about before.” However, he has never confessed that things actually worsened under his watch.

As the file states: “Malcolm Turnbull has repeatedly said that he’s an environmentalist, particularly during his hard fought election win in 2007 in his leafy and well-educated seat of Wentworth.

“He’s also sought in recent days to position himself as an active campaigner against climate change. But Malcolm Turnbull’s past as a logger in the Solomon Islands calls into question how strongly he really holds these views.”

More embarrassingly for Mr Turnbull, the file also contains scientific articles published in international journals detailing the impact logging has had on the local Solomon Islands community.

A 2002 report by marine biologists published in The Status of Solomon Islands Coral Reefs said the unique reef and Marovo lagoon system was still suffering from the effects of logging.

“Villagers report huge sediment plumes following heavy rain,” it said. “Once the rain has stopped, the water may clear within 24 hours to a week. In the rainy season that means the plumes are a semi-permanent feature.”

A 2005 Melanesian Geo article by local resident Douglas Pikacha said the lagoon may never recover from the damage.

A further paper published last year said large algal blooms from sediments in the catchments were wreaking havoc on the delicate reef system.

Mr Turnbull may believe he has already dealt with the issue in the past but, so long as the devastating impacts of the logging activities on the islands keep emerging, Labor will be ensuring it won’t go away.

At the very least, the file is an embarrassment for a leader trying desperately to out-green Kevin Rudd on environmental policy. Coming smack bang in the middle of the debate over an emissions trading scheme, it is an unwanted distraction.

At worst, it suggests profit has been placed over the environment and with devastating consequences.

In the same way Environment Minister Peter Garrett and Midnight Oil frontman wishes he had probably never penned US Forces, Mr Turnbull might well be wishing he had stuck to banking.

Mr. Turnbull’s connection to the logging industry in Solomon Islands began in 1991 and 1992.

Chairman and share holder of the then Hong Kong listed Axiom Forest Resources that own logging operations and forest concessions in the Solomon’s was operating under the trading name, Silvania Forest Products in Western Province and other parts of the country.

Mr. Turnbull claimed in a media interview with ABC last year that “his attitude towards forestry today was informed by his involvement in the (Solomon Islands) logging industry”.

He rejected accusations that he had once played a huge role in bad logging practices

in Solomon Islands, claiming “he was trying to encourage local landowners to change logging practices and ways”.

Mr. Turnbull then further claimed “…. the company (Silvania) brought in some of the best foresters in the world. There was a lot of work done on reforestation, on plantations”.

A report by the Australian International Development Aid Bureau – now Ausaid – in 1994 described the logging practices of Axiom subsidiary Silvania Forest Products as:”…more like a clear-felling operation and bearing little relation to an attempt at even retaining a token sample of future commercial crop on the site.”

A separate report also described Silvania’s forest practices as “amongst the worst in the world”.

Following the reports, the Solomon Islands government then, which was led by a Prime Minister with logging interests and ownership, the former and late Solomon Mamaloni, threaten to close down Silvania’s operations due to constant breaches of logging practices.




Daily Telegraph:

Original Source:,21598,25119923-949,00.html

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