Thursday 28th of August 2014

le chocolatier...



A Liberal backbencher has accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey of lying about union conditions at SPC Ardmona.

Sharman Stone, the federal Member for the Victorian seat of Murray, says her senior colleagues are using excuses that are "wrong" to justify the decision to reject a bid for $25 million in government assistance from the food processor - which is based in her electorate.

Union conditions of workers have come under fire from the Government for being too extravagant, with pay well above the award.

In an extraordinary outburst, Dr Stone says the leaders of her party are deceiving the public debate.

"It's not the truth. That's right, it's lying," she said.

"The independent panel, their own independent panel, I understand recommended that this industry be supported."

This morning on AM, Dr Stone was pressed on her use of the word "lying" - and whether she believed Employment Minister Eric Abetz's statement that workers' allowances also represented a lie.

"Well, you could use that word if you like," she said. 

She later added that "it is a complete furphy what is being said about the troubles of this last fruit-preserving industry."

The Prime Minister’s office has declined an ABC request for comment and Mr Hockey’s office has not yet responded.

Worker says $45k a year is fair for conditions in factory

Worker Sarah Ross-Edwards says employees are paid fairly to work in hot conditions in a factory that is not air-conditioned.

"Mr Abbott has got it wrong, we're on the proximity of $45,000 a year," she said.

"Of course, in the summer time when there is extra work, we work it, and we get paid accordingly for that."

Once again, an election could decide the fate of the food processor.

The Victorian Opposition has committed $30 million for fruit processor SPC Ardmona, should it win the November state election.



overgenerous rorts in the Canberra cannery...


Liberal MP Sharman Stone has launched an extraordinary attack on Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey, accusing them of "lying" in defending their decision not to give $25 million to fruit processor SPC Ardmona.

Mr Abbott, Mr Hockey and Employment Minister Eric Abetz have all suggested it was the fruit cannery's "overgenerous" workplace conditions with unions that had contributed to its financial woes.

Read more:

Meanwhile at the rort capital of Orstralya, Canberra cannery, the Libs (CONservatives) have had a field day with can of worms entitlements and library books, fake study tours and friends' weddings and other stuff like "pedalling for charity", while the taxpayer funds the largess... 
See also:,6121


fishy entitlements...

Within minutes of Treasurer Joe Hockey declaring an end to ''the age of entitlement'' on Monday, assistant Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs stood on a highway on the outskirts of Hobart and announced a grant of $3.5 million to a Tasmanian seafoods manufacturer, Huon Aquaculture.

It would help ''provide the equipment to process fresh fish, as well as smokehouses and other machinery for boning, skinning, portioning and mincing'', he said.

The Tasmanian government was kicking in $1.5 million, the Commonwealth $3.5 million and Huon Aquaculture $7 million.

As it happens, the proportions are roughly similar to those asked for by SPC Ardmona to save its fruit canning plants in Victoria. SPC had suggested $25 million from the state government, $25 million from the Commonwealth and $90 million from itself. In fact, as a proportion of the total, SPC had asked the Commonwealth for less than Huon - $2 in every $10 rather than $3.

Read more:

the human costs...

Federal Liberal backbencher Sharman Stone is increasing pressure on her Coalition colleagues over a decision not to give taxpayer support to the troubled fruit processor SPC Ardmona, stating in an email that orchardists are committing and attempting suicide.

The company had asked for $25 million to help it upgrade its Shepparton plant, which is located within Dr Stone's northern Victorian electorate of Murray.

But last week Tony Abbott announced the government would not help, arguing the company needed to renegotiate workplace conditions which were "way in excess of the award" and "extraordinary".

Dr Stone has written to the Prime Minister urging him to reconsider the decision, and in an email to her party room colleagues she has cited the personal impact on families.

"I do not intend to speak in the media about the suicides and attempted suicides now occurring particularly among the orchardists, and for the sake of the families I will not talk about them publicly," she says in the email.

"But believe me the loss of the last Australian fruit processor would be a human as well as a regional economic and national tragedy."

Nationals MP Darren Chester, who holds the federal Victorian seat of Gippsland and is in the outer ministry, says Dr Stone is right to draw attention to the human element of the debate.

"There's very much a human dimension to this debate where she would be approached by people in the street raising the issue with her," he said.

"So I can understand fully the approach Sharman has taken to present her views strongly as she possibly can."

conservative contradictions

The Federal Government is considering bringing forward a new system of drought relief assistance for farmers.

The previous Labor government brought in the changes to drought policy, which were due to begin on July 1.

But Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the "problem is now".

"There is a new package of drought assistance coming and what we're looking at is bringing that forward because the problem is now," he told ABC Local Radio in Brisbane.

Treasurer Joe Hockey has given his strongest warning yet that the May budget will contain cuts to welfare, warning "too many tax dollars" have been spent on family payments as well as corporate handouts.

In a speech to the Lowy Institute in Sydney that laid out the strategic direction for his first budget as well as the Government's agenda for its presidency of the G20 this year, Mr Hockey said the "cashed up private sector" would also be asked to do more.

"The structural position of our budget is unsustainable... Individuals must do more for themselves, they must become more self-reliant," he said.

"What we've got to do is have the domestic reforms that make us more resilient in what is going to be a very lengthy period of unwinding of some of the measures that needed to be taken during the GFC (global financial crisis).

Meanwhile Joe gave tax cuts for the rich and other concessions at the beginning of the year... Meanwhile the prick is saying "measures that needed to be taken during the GFC...  I say prick because all along, he and his mob of loonies were panning the measures that Labor had taken and that worked so well the Aussie economy stayed afloat...

sweet chocolate...

Cadbury's parent company granted more generous employee conditions than SPC-Ardmona, including more than twice the redundancy pay, 10 days a year paid leave for union delegates for training, and even a confectioner's dust allowance.

Mondelez's new Suttontown Production Agreement, struck with the union United Voice, says employees at its Mount Gambier plant are also able to cash out their accrued sick leave in some circumstances. The potentially embarrassing revelation comes within days of the Abbott government confirming that Cadbury's Tasmanian plant will receive $16 million, while SPC-Ardmona has been denied a requested $25 million to stay afloat.

Read more:

tony wonky and the chocolate factory...

A  poor boy wins the opportunity to tour the most eccentric and wonderful candy factory of all. Tony Abbott leads the entitlement parade... But loose the by-election...


From Bob Ellis

ABOUT FIFTEEN THOUSAND BRISBANE PEOPLE did not vote in the Griffith by-election yesterday and will cop a fine for it.

This can be looked at in different ways.

One way is disgust at Rudd for vowing to serve out his term as their local member and then scarpering.

Another was a weary, holiday wish for a private life over summer.

But a third was hating what was happening in Queensland and not wanting to vote Labor or Green — but not wanting to vote Abbott/Newman either.

The drought-parched farmers no-one was going to help; the hottest weather on record, which Abbott called God’s will and not man’s doing; the greedy, stumbling Bjelke-like sarmajor now goosestepping through paradise; the Navy involved, perhaps, in torture and the government refusing to investigate; the towing back of boats we are gifting to smugglers and getting away with it...

All of this added up to a kind of paralysis, tinged by disgust, and the kind of electoral nausea that, in Bjelke’s days, and Russ Hinze’s, and the days of theMoonlight State, caused people of the civilised middle to migrate south or take drugs or enter academia.

They didn’t want to think about it anymore and, yesterday, chose not to turn up and vote, and pay a fine for the biliousness they were feeling.

In any other circumstances, former AMA national president Dr Bill Glasson ‒ a hero to some ‒ would have been a shoo-in. Had he run as an Independent, he might, like Tony Windsor, have avalanched in.

But something was rotten in the state of Queensland and fifteen thousand calm, intelligent Brisbane people did not vote.

It’s possible the Corby release story gave them pause. Here was a Queensland girl, who was ‒ or may have been ‒ guilty of something drug-related, about to make millions out of her ‘confessions’ in the way Americans do.

And it was a nice warm day for not voting, and for swimming instead, or eating grilled salmon with friends by the beach; and who, on a day like that, was keen to line up and vote for the LNP, a party as vain and foolish as Enron, or OneTel, orLehman Brothers.

No, the big news of yesterday was not how fifty-five thousand voted — but why fifteen thousand abstained.

They were not abstaining from the Rudd-Gillard legacy.

They were abstaining from Abbott and Newman — who had promised much and let them down and told them that what they thought was a fair go was an ‘age of entitlement’ about to end, and recoiling as well from the bad news that Barnaby Joyce didn’t have the numbers to help them when they were down. Not now. Not ever.



Homes lost as fires burn across Victoria, South Australia - live updatesLIVE

Residents in Victorian towns told it’s too late to leave as fires threaten homes and lives across the state amid the most dangerous threat since 2009’s devastating Black Saturday fires, and firefighters in South Australia are battling an emergency level fire for 26th consecutive day...



flying cans loosing chocolate...

Regional Express has warned its first-half profits will slump due to fewer business travellers, and urged the Abbott government to intervene to help an aviation industry that is ''financially haemorrhaging and approaching collapse''.

Days after Virgin Australia was forced to confirm it would post a large half-year loss, the nation's largest independent regional airline has forecast a fall in pre-tax profits by 60 per cent to about $5 million for the six months to December after business travel ''really plummeted''.

Leisure travel also declined slightly during the first half, a period when Australian airlines typically make the bulk of their earnings.

Rex chief operating officer Garry Filmer said regional airlines were harder hit than Qantas and Virgin, which would both post big half-year losses. ''The entire aviation industry is financially haemorrhaging right now and approaching collapse. Regional aviation is even harder hit [than large domestic airlines] as the profit margins are slimmer,'' he said.

''We have already seen the collapse of two of Australia's oldest regional carriers during this financial year, Aeropelican and Brindabella.''

Mr Filmer urged federal Transport Minister Warren Truss to make ''immediate and forceful efforts'' to fulfill his pre-election commitments to regional aviation.

''The Abbott government to date has not made any significant inroads to reversing the devastation inflicted to the economy by the previous government,'' he said.

''Many regional carriers have little time left before they face the same fate as Brindabella. For many parts of regional Australia, this would spell the end of regular air services forever and it would be ironic if it were the Nationals that presided over this outcome.''

Read more:

the senator should resign...


Pressure is building on Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash's chief of staff to resign after allegations he did not disclose financial ties to the junk food industry.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has not commented publicly about Alastair Furnival's involvement in high-level negotiations over a healthy food rating system. Neither Mr Furnival nor Senator Nash revealed Mr Furnival's shareholding in a company that lobbies for the Australian Beverages Council, Kraft peanut butter, Cadbury and Oreo, among others.

Read more:

One can ask a few questions here — all of them leading to the assistant health minister Fiona Nash, who should resign for being inefficient, for having misled (lied to) the senate by not knowing what she was talking about and for plain incompetence at being "advised"(?) by her chief of staff who for all intent and purposes appear to have been a mole from the powerful food lobby APA. I could be wrong looking at this from a fair distance, but I don't need glasses... The fact "that there was no income received from the shares in APA does not fill a bag of peanuts. To note that the chief of staff's wife is also the "owner" of APA stinks of conflict of interest, especially after the government food website was taken off with flimsy "reasons" offered.


corporate welfare...


Take the distinctions the Abbott government is trying to draw between the corporate welfare it is willing to pay and that which it is not. It insists that Cadbury (welfare application successful) is different from SPC (welfare application denied).

In an important way, Tony Abbott is right. Cadbury is different from SPC. Cadbury is being paid to build "tourism infrastructure". Tourism is a bottomless pit of government spending: A unique policy area where no spending can be too much and where no evidence needs to be produced that the spending is effective.

In this way Australian governments have camouflaged traditional industry assistance to fit the economic philosophy of the times.

After all, it wasn't an accident Kevin Rudd recast car subsidies as "green" car subsidies. He wanted to pretend Labor's customary support of automotive unions was instead part of its climate change plan.

Likewise, the government's drought assistance package is old industry policy in a new guise. 20th century Australian governments aggressively regulated and protected the agricultural sector. They controlled production volumes, stabilised prices, and imposed marketing boards.

Most of those direct interventions have been eliminated. Now agricultural subsidies come at arms-length, disguised in the form of periodic drought packages, and wrapped in rhetoric about national disasters.

Yes, we have learned a lot since Adam Smith's day. But economic knowledge and political incentives are very different. The government simply cannot resist the political demand for corporate welfare.

Chris Berg is a Research Fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs.


Here at the Drum, as usual, Chris Berg writes shit... He forgets that all governments around the world protect their industry with hidden "concessions" (welfare for companies). Recently, in the US, the BIGGEST WELFARE given away by governments to businesses has been HUGE salvation of banks with "loans" that got repaid by the banks as the government lowered interest rates to near ZERO, while the banks were cashing back up...

In Australia, the mining industry receives "welfare" by the taxpayers footing the bill for some "infrastructure" such as ports AND by making HUGE concessions on environmental protection. Often, the cost of clean up after industry exhausts its resources is paid up by "taxpayers". This is a form of welfare. In America, the sugar industry is sponsored by the government to the eyeballs.

In Australia the mining industry is also getting tax concessions on fuel that are worth billions. All this is industrial welfare, banking welfare. And the rich individual dudes get tax concessions on "trust" funds, including family trust funds. This is welfare for the rich. 

In the US, firms like Boeing had contracts with the government in which invoices were discreetly "loaded" by around 15 per cent. Other aeronautical firms get contract to develop airforce planes for a particular set sums, but often (always) they end up asking for more cash as they cannot deliver what they promised to do in the first place. This is a form of underhanded welfare. Once the contract is signed, keep milking the cow.

We know that German and American car manufacturers get some "incentives" from government that are forms of corporate welfare... That Berg makes a distinction between Cadbury and SPC is highly ludicrous. Tony Abbott is a little choosey shit...

this chocolate mousse is a fudge...

chocolate mousse

Senator Nash's chief of staff, Alastair Furnival, resigned this month when it was revealed by Fairfax Media that he had retained ownership of a lobbying company in breach of the ministerial staff code of conduct. This followed a decision by the minister's office to take down a healthy food website seen as hostile to the snackfood industry.

Mr Furnival had worked for Cadbury and months earlier had lobbied the Tasmanian government on behalf of the company to secure $400,000 for a visitor centre.

Pictures located by the Seven Network show Mr Furnival was at the Cadbury announcement in August sitting with Mr Abbott and other senior figures.

The pictures suggest Mr Furnival, who went on to hold a key post in the Abbott government with critical responsibility for food policy, was central to Coalition discussions resulting in a promised transfer of taxpayer funds to the company.

Mr Abbott announced the $16 million pledge during the election campaign. He has since refused to say what links he had to Mr Furnival and what role Mr Furnival might have played in brokering the proposed transfer of millions in taxpayer funds to a multinational-owned company.

Also sitting with the pair was Liberal Senate leader, Eric Abetz, and Liberal veteran Philip Ruddock.

Mr Abbott had told Parliament on Tuesday that Mr Furnival had resigned a fortnight ago because he had been ''dilatory'' in his requirement to divest himself of shares in the company.

But Senator Nash said Mr Furnival ''complied with all the requirements to ensure there was no real or perceived conflict of interest. He resigned because - given this issue was creating a degree of media interest, was causing a distraction for the government, was also having other impacts - he felt it appropriate to offer me his resignation,'' she said.

The different accounts by Senator Nash and Mr Abbott prompted the opposition to ask Mr Abbott whether he or the senator had misled Parliament. Mr Abbott deflected the detail and said both he and his minister were correct.

Read more:

Of course Nash and Abbott are BOTH WRONG... The Abbott Regime has trained in the art of thick fudge, hard nuts, chocolate fluffs, double entendre cake layers, caramel fakes and sad porkville sauce since Abbott took over the leadership of this fibbing lot...