Sunday 15th of September 2019

equal opportunity for the disabled in high office .....


Terms of non-reference...

From the ABC

Cole to clarify investigative powers
The head of the inquiry into the oil-for-food program, Terrence Cole, is to approach the Federal Government to clarify his investigative powers following a legal dispute with AWB.
An argument has arisen over the investigation into the corporate conduct of the monopoly wheat exporter.
Commissioner Cole says today, eight weeks into his inquiry, is the first time he has understood AWB is claiming he is operating outside his terms of reference.
He says he does not agree but will ask the Attorney-General to clarify his powers so his inquiry is not stultified.
AWB is arguing that directors and its lawyers can only deny knowledge of payments to Iraq but not explain what legal advice they had.
It is also arguing that investigating AWB's response to a critical United Nations report from 2004 is outside the inquiry's powers.
They may take their arguments to the Federal Court.

Gus reports:
we can't let the Cole enquiry expose the whole truth, can we? We cannot investigate all the people who knowingly have advised the AWB on the careful wording of contracts, lawyers etc, and the people who organised the channelling of moneys back to Saddam...? Crickey! We might expose a secret handshake society and a few pollies who may have done nothing wrong but facilitate some commerce with a bit of palm grease... Who knows, many important people lounging in some exclusive business club leather chairs are outraged that the fundamentals of secret business dealing over lunch and service-rendered-under-the-table-payola could be exposed to daylight? Unthinkable!

More amnesia

From the ABC

BHP unable to explain 'gift' debt
The head of corporate development for BHP Billiton, Tom Harley, has been unable to explain why a gift of wheat to Iraq turned into a debt.
It has been revealed at the Cole inquiry that the company negotiated a deal with the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein that ultimately breached United Nations (UN) sanctions.
BHP was told by the Federal Government it could not receive payment, in cash or kind, for a humanitarian wheat shipment.
Mr Harley was involved in the idea of a gift of wheat for Iraq from 1995.
The gift was to establish favour with Iraq and to get access to a huge oil field.
Documentation from around that time shows BHP had planned to collect the debt by 2000 and it shows Iraq agreeing to pay in crude oil when sanctions were lifted.
However, BHP was told twice by Australia's Foreign Affairs Department the shipment was humanitarian and the debt could not be collected.
Mr Harley has denied knowledge of arrangements to collect the $8.6 million.

That's the other Costello...

From the ABC

Costello laments AWB fall-out
The chief executive of World Vision Australia says the AWB kickbacks scandal has ruined Australia's international reputation.
Tim Costello, the brother of federal Treasurer Peter Costello, has addressed a Baptist Church forum in Adelaide.
Reverend Costello says the AWB affair means Australia can no longer take the moral high ground in calling for fairer world trade markets.
"It was [Trade Minister] Mark Vaile arguing not just for Australians but arguing for poor Africans and Asians," he said.
"The tragedy of the AWB is we've thrown away that high moral ground and our voice now just looks as dirty and muddied and sullied as anybody else.
"I literally weep over that."

beyond the pale .....

Whilst Tim Costello is no doubt right that our reputation in international trade has been tarnished, business never lets such things get in the way for long.

And whilst Tim might lament the sordid dealings of the AWB & our federal government, the fact is that our international reputation was sunk long ago, when the rodent & his colleagues abandoned any pretense of Australia maintaining an independant foreigh policy & hitched us to the coat tails of the lunatic war criminal hiding-out in the outhouse.

When Howard ordered our armed forces to engage in this country's 1st war of aggression (apart from the 200 year genocide perpetrated on the Aboriginal nation) against another sovereign nation, Iraq, a breach of International Law - a crime against humanity, our standing in the international community was destroyed.

Our slavish & hypocritical support of the US in the UN should be a source of shame for all Australians.

Ah, the old National Security trick

From the ABC

Govt claims immunity at Cole inquiry
A legal claim from the Government has delayed the appearance of federal officials at the oil-for-food inquiry.
The inquiry had been expected to begin hearing evidence from foreign affairs officials this morning, but is now considering a claim for "immunity in the public interest".
The Government has said it is cooperating fully with the Cole inquiry.
The inquiry has heard that the general thrust of evidence from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials, if they appear, is that they acted as a post box for AWB.
They will tell the inquiry that the Australian wheat export contracts were not reviewed, merely sent on to the United Nations for approval.
Commissioner Terence Cole has heard that wheat contracts paid for from UN oil-for-food accounts were inflated to pay almost $300 million to Saddam Hussein's regime between 1999 and 2002.
The inquiry has examined material collected by intelligence agencies well before the inquiry began.
Counsel assisting, John Agius, SC, says agencies in Australia's intelligence communities obtained some potentially relevant information about possible circumvention of the oil-for-food program.
The commission has looked at the highly-classified material and asked for a limited number of documents it considers relevant.
The Federal Government wants them kept secret in the interests of national security.

Inmates running the asylum

From the ABC

Health system fails mentally ill: Senate
One of the most comprehensive investigations into the mental health care system has found the sector needs a massive funding injection to effectively treat patients.

A Senate committee has found the current national mental health strategy is inadequate.

It says the current system is failing patients, and a move away from institutionalised care has not been supported by improvements to community-based services.

The report recommends governments double the level of funding for the sector.

Committee chair Senator Lyn Allison says extra money should be used to create up to 400 specialised mental healthcare centres across the country.

"Those centres should be staffed by teams of psychiatrists, psychologists, GPs, psychiatric nurses, and social workers," she said.

"We argue that in such integrated teams we would be build expertise and deliver true mental health primary care."

Senator Alison says tackling the massive mental health problem needs government cooperation.

"We found that both the Commonwealth and the states and territories needed to put in place reforms, so it's not a report that says it's all the fault of the states or all the fault of the Commonwealth," she said.

"We found necessary reforms at both levels, and we found that both levels of government will need to put in substantially more resources."

The Federal Government says it will consider the report's findings when it develops a new mental health action plan

Gus is mad of course
see cartoon that heads this line of blogs...


From the ABC

$1.8 billion to boost mental health services
The Federal Government has unveiled a massive funding boost to mental health services under Medicare, and has called on states and territories to match the contribution.

The Prime Minister says the $1.8 billion will go towards frontline clinical and health services, including expanding the Medicare rebate to cover psychologists, and allowing doctors to employ mental health nurses in their practices.


Gus serving suggestion: See cartoon leading this blog line

lost footnote to AWB kicbacks...

From the ABCFederal police end probe into AWB scandal

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has decided to drop its three-year investigation into the AWB wheat-for-weapons scandal.

The AFP, Victoria Police and the corporate regulator ASIC set up a task force in 2006 to consider possible prosecution for offences identified by the AWB Royal Commission.

But the AFP says a review has found there is limited chance of a successful criminal prosecution.

It says it will provide ASIC with any help it needs in its separate investigation.


See all the relevant articles about AWB on this site.... and visit the toons everybloodywhere... Told you so long ago... And by the way, I am sorry I'm not contributing much cartooning at the moment. I'm very very busy... but in a few days time, I'll be back in full swing.