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Thursday, 19 April


Turnbull Government will ignore this call to extend Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry at its own electoral peril "IndyWatch Feed"

Remember When Australian Prime Minister and former merchant banker Malcolm Bligh Turnbull ruled out a bankig royal commission?

Telling the nation; "I can tell you wehave as a government decided not to have a royal commission, we made thedecision a long time ago, not because we don't believe there is nothing goingon in terms of problems with the banks, it is because we want to take actionright now and we are".

Recall the time and other limits placed on the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry when it was finally established on 14 December 2017? Giving it the power to ignore anything that it wanted to that would otherwise be within its scope. 

Well things did not go entirely to plan for Malcolm and his banker mates.

Because since13 March 2018 the curtain has been drawn back revealing the systemic unethical, deceitful, rapacious, sometimes fraudulent and, in certain instances criminal behaviour, of the financial sector.

National Australia Bank, Westpac, St George, Citibank, ANZ, AMP Insurance and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, along with their financial services spin-offs, had all come under some degree of scrutiny by mid-April with more hearings still sheduled.



A measure of justice for an Australian tweeter "IndyWatch Feed"

The win wont eradicate the sustained personal stress or financial difficulties that such an unfair dismissal imposed still it was pleasing see this tweeter's actions recognised as the right to freedom of political expression.

Hopefully Comcare will not be so bloody minded as to appeal the judgement,

A  former Immigration official sacked over tweets critical of Australia's asylum seeker policy has won a fight for compensation, after an appeals tribunal found her dismissal was unlawful and described government efforts to restrict anonymous comments from its employees as Orwellian.

The decision on Monday will redirect scrutiny to the Immigration Department's dismissal of Michaela Banerji for tweeting criticisms of detention policies, and challenges Australian Public Service rules stopping public servants from expressing their political views on social media.

Ms Banerji took the government to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal after federal workplace insurer Comcare refus...


African Gangs Makes Melburnians Afraid To Go Out, But AMP And The Banks Make People Unsafe In Their Houses "IndyWatch Feed"

Now, I know that Im meant to write satire but sometimes I just have to use my language skills to point out what is probably bleedin obvious. Compare the way the conservatives among us thunder on about burglaries and carjackings to the way they respond to people who are prepared to steal your life-savings No,

The post African Gangs Makes Melburnians Afraid To Go Out, But AMP And The Banks Make People Unsafe In Their Houses appeared first on The AIM Network.


Emissions and the meeting of energy ministers "IndyWatch Feed"

Ben Potter, who as a useful idiot, was leaked a copy of the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) report by the Victorian Government, reports today that the states are likely to sign off on the NEG at their meeting tomorrow. Potter is excoriated by Terry McCrann in todays Herald Sun for his pandering to green energy myths.

NEG has twin features of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector together with a measure that ensures wind supply has a firming contract to compensate for its inherent unreliability.

Former Senator Ron Boswell entered the fray with a piece in todays Australian calling for Liddell to be replaced saying,

Some have likened the option to socialism. Rubbish. The energy market was socialised by intervention a long time ago. A $45bn subsidy and guaranteed market share for renewables is not socialism? Would the car market be a real market if the government said 23 per cent of cars sold had to be a Tesla and that Tesla would receive a subsidy of $30,000 for every car sold?

Boswell also argues that under the amended section 44 of the trade practices act AGL could be forced to sell since its closure would be substantially lessening competition in a substantial market.  And the Acting NSW Premier, John Barilaro, today came out in favour of a forcible acquisition of the Liddell plant.

Hardly any MPs Craig Kelly being a notable exception have undertaken the laborious research necessary to understand the energy market and its many faceted regulations; most accept the bromides that demonise coal and promote the need to reduce emissions to save the world.  But politicians do recognise the fact that prices have risen and voters are not pleased.  Moreover, voters have no allegiance to private property rights that are not their own as this recent Yougov survey illustrates.



Has World War III started or did the Great War never really end? "IndyWatch Feed"

Has World War III started or did the Great War never really end?Many fear that the Alliance missile strikes on Syria on the weekend utilities will trigger another world war, however contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence says the first one never ended. read now...


Economics in Two Lessons, Chapter 9 "IndyWatch Feed"

Thanks to everyone who the first eight chapters of my book-in-progress, Economics in Two Lessons. Ive found the comments on Chapter 8 valuable, but havent yet found time to edit in response to them. Soon, I hope!

In the meantime, Ive posted a draft of Chapter 9: Market Failure. Comments, criticism and praise are welcome.

The book so far is available
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: What is opportunity cost?
Chapter 2: Markets, opportunity cost and equilibrium
Chapter 3:Time, information and uncertainty
Chapter 4:Lesson 1: Applications.
Chapter 5: Lesson 1 and economic policy.
Chapter 6: The opportunity cost of destruction
Chapter 7: Property rights, and income distribution
Chapter 8:Unemployment


In which the pond spends quality time with Ronnie and the onion muncher ... "IndyWatch Feed"

Somebody had to crack the joke

As for scientists debating the cause of the reef toll, when the pond dropped in it seemed clear enough, whether at the ABC here, or at Fairfax here

The Federal Government's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority concluded the bleaching in 2016 was caused by a record-breaking marine heatwave, caused by a combination of climate change and the El Nino weather cycle. Water on the reef was more than a 1 degree Celsius warmer than the average for that time of year, and for much of it there was little cloud cover that would offer corals respite from the heat stress. "We're anticipating more of these events as global warming continues," Professor Hughes said. "We're into a new system. " Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick from the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales recently published work showing underwater heatwaves have increased in both their duration and frequency over the past century, with a sudden uptick since the 1980s. As a result, on average around the globe, there are 54 per cent more days each year that are subject to a marine heatwave.

There doesn't seem to be much debate about it, except in Lloydie's octopi-fevered imagination.

The pond has no idea how Lloydie lives with himself, and the dissembling crap that he peddles for the reptiles, but thankfully doesn't have to care, because this day the onion muncher was out and about tweeting to promote the reptiles and his good mate Ron - apparently they can do a form of stuffing these days which allows mummies to stroll out of the museum as if they're alive



The world is about to end! "IndyWatch Feed"

By Anthony Andrews The world is about to end! Not really, its just that, like on the TV news or at the box office, real world events that arent at the extreme ends of the spectrum dont grab anybodys attention we want monsters. We want heroes and villains. We want drama! Unfortunately, most of the

The post The world is about to end! appeared first on The AIM Network.


Ken Henry "IndyWatch Feed"

I can almost forgive Dr Henry for his recent tantrums about the lack of progress on tax reform which he had neglected when Treasury Secretary for 10 years.

But his latest comments are absolutely outrageous. He blames investors for the poor behaviour of banks and investors also for driving up banker bonuses.

Here he is the chairman of NAB which has enjoyed far flung board/executive retreats on his $790,000 salary and responsible for the setting of executive remuneration for NAB and its culture.

Investors have no control over remuneration or culture and limited control over the Board after all under the three strikes rule it is just about impossible for a diverse range of small holdings to sack a board.

The largest shareholder in NAB is HSBC custody nominees. That is a proxy for other investors and while listed with 23.9 per cent of the shares, HSBC does not have 23.9 per cent of the vote. But in any case, is Ken Henry complaining that banks own banks? So even if his arguement was correct, it is the banks themselves with the control.

And if the Board of NAB does not in fact control the decisions of the banks strategy, risk appetite, policy, governance and remuneration, why dont they resign?

Because his argument is crap. The Board is responsible for all of that and he is the chairman. Stop blaming others Ken for your own errors.

If there is a complex remuneration policy with over 30 pages in its annual report it is because the Board agreed to it. The Corporations Act makes quite clear that the Board has responsibility for the actions of the bank. If Henry wants to abdicate that responsibility he should resign or ASIC should act against him for neglecting his directors duties.

The biggest problem in the banking sector is certainly not investors. It is the principal-agent problem where the Board and Executives are extracting rent from the owners. The terrible behaviour observed at the Royal Commission is due to poor behaviour by Boards and Executives, not investors.

Ken Henry its time you accepted responsibility rather than shirking it. If the remuneration practices at NAB need to change, that is something you can act upon. Otherwise step aside and let someone else take over who is willing to act.




When extension becomes effective refusal "IndyWatch Feed"

I've had a lot of bad OIA experiences, and my fair share of Ministers and officials playing games with extensions to delay access to documents until an issue is out of the media. However, I've never had anything as bad as this Canadian requester, who had an agency give itself an 80 year extension on an Access to Information Act request:

A federal institution has given itself what may be the longest-ever time extension to respond to a citizen's request under the Access to Information Act at least 80 years, which will delay the delivery of documents to 2098 or beyond.

"I may get those records in my next lifetime," 70-year-old Michael Dagg, the requester and longtime user of the act, said in an interview.

Dagg asked Library and Archives Canada (LAC) for files from Project Anecdote, an RCMP investigation into money laundering and public corruption that was launched in May 1993.

No charges were ever laid in the massive probe, which concluded in 2003. The voluminous Mountie files were eventually turned over to the government archives.

"You will note the extensive list of responsive records and we will need up to an 80-year minimum (bringing the due date to the year 2098)," LAC advised Dagg in writing last week, warning that consulting other departments would add more time.

This seems to be the longest AIA extension in Canadian history, and it effectively amounts to a refusal. There's good reason - the file is 780,000 pages, so there's a lot to go through and redact - and in New Zealand it is likely that it would simply be refused as requiring substantial collation and research. That at least would be honest; instead Library and Archives Canada is pretending that they're going to grant the request, while pretty obviously having no intention of doing so in practice - the files will be released when they would be required to be made public under public records law, and not before. Which means this "extension" is simply an official exercise in deceit.


In which the pond visits the bromancer and Dame Groan for a little catechismal refresher course ... "IndyWatch Feed"

It occurred to the pond that perhaps there were many scandals in the middle east, not limited to, but including the behaviour of the British empire, assorted forces in the second world war, the Russians, the Americans, the Iraq war and all the fellow travellers who cheered it on in the lizard Oz, or those like the dog botherer were in the game, and assorted slaughters over the years, not limited to the terrorist Zionists who suddenly became statesmen, but also the Arab terrorists who played the same game

Ah remember the olden days, when The Age's editorialist railed at the Jewish thugs and worried about the Jews in the mother country (the pond has joined the date to the editorial - the first piece was some hand-wringing about Britain's then economic crisis roll on Brexit and the need for the colonies to step up ...) 

Scum from the ghettoes of Europe

Well you wouldn't be saying that these days ...

Sorry, whenever the pond stumbles across the bromancer talking about the suffering of Xians, it's always drawn back in time to the suffering of displaced others but perhaps it's best to get on with the current bout of paranoia and persecution complex ...



Less than open II "IndyWatch Feed"

Back in March, I received some OIA'd documents from Clare Curran, the Minister of Open Government. Among other things, they showed that SSC had presented her with an draft open government strategy in November. Naturally, it was kept secret. I was curious about this, so sent in a followup request seeking information about this strategy. Today I received the response. Despite at least four months having passed since it was given to the Minister, the strategy is still being kept secret, supposedly because it is under "active consideration" (as opposed to under a desk somewhere being ignored). One thing that is clear however is that SSC's proposal that the strategy be consulted on at the same time as the Open Government Partnership action plan was rejected - that consultation is currently underway, and there's no mention of the strategy at all.

SSC did release some pretty powerpoint slides, including one of "actions taking place in the open government system". Naturally, this includes something secret. But it also mentions under international actions the idea of "New Zealand taking a leadership role in the Open Government Partnership". Of course, to do that, we'd have to start by developing an action plan which actually displayed some ambition, rather than just being a grab-bag of unambitious business-as-usual policies. And they'd need to walk the talk on consultation, rather than treating it as a box to be ticked. Whether they're actually doing that is left as an exercise for the reader.


EDITORIAL: The 'shocking' Royal Commission and the banking mafia "IndyWatch Feed"

EDITORIAL: The 'shocking' Royal Commission and the banking mafiaThe most shocking thing about the Banking Royal Commission is how shocked so many profess to be by its findings. read now...


Tony Shepherd is well paid to tell the government what it wants to hear "IndyWatch Feed"

Tony Shepherd has been paid $55,000 for 17 days work producing a report which recommended that the rules governing the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund be changed to allow the government to pretty much do what it likes with its five billion dollar slush fund. Thats the same Tony Shepherd who was paid $85,000 for a

The post Tony Shepherd is well paid to tell the government what it wants to hear appeared first on The AIM Network.


Tools of the trade: Australias new investment in global health R&D "IndyWatch Feed"

The global market for medical products is shaped mainly by the demands of wealthy consumers. It rarely calls into being the tools needed to combat diseases that afflict primarily poor countries therapeutics, diagnostics and vaccines, as well as technologies that prevent the spread of disease such as insecticide-treated bed nets. Where such products do exist, its often down to the needs of tourists and soldiers and those products tend to fail over time as microbes and vectors evolve to evade our defences.

At the same time, governments and publicly or philanthropically funded research institutions generally do not have all the expertise required to discover, develop and create production pathways for such products.

Thats where Product Development Partnerships (PDPs) come in. PDPs are lean, not-for-profit public health intermediary organisations. They catalyse the discovery and development of global health products by bringing together public and private sector research and development expertise across a broad portfolio of product candidates. Some candidates succeed, some fall by the wayside.

The net effect of the 16 major PDPs work over the past two decades has been an impressive reinvigoration of the pipeline of tools for global health. Most importantly, a growing number of these tools have been approved for use, are under consideration by regulatory agencies, or are in late-stage trials.

When the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, launched Australias Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific region in October 2017, she announced that Australia would commit $75 million over five years to support the work of PDPs from 2018. This represents the Australian aid programs single largest commitment to global health research and development, and a 50% increase in PDP funding in annual terms.



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