Saturday 24th of August 2019

on the drip feed of the usual excuses...


I’ll keep this brief, because there’s only one thing you can say about the events of the past 24 hours: what a complete shocker.

What was supposed to be a short, sharp, stage-managed morality play about Bill Shorten having “questions to answer” from his days as a trade union official has now blown up, politically, in the Turnbull government’s face.

After telling a Senate committee for much of the day that neither she, nor her office, tipped off the media about controversial police raids on the Australian Workers’ Union, the employment minister Michaelia Cash, has now had to correct the public record, and cop the resignation of a senior member of her staff.

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expecting leadership from malcolm is complete delusion...

Malcolm Turnbull must 'show leadership' and sack Michaelia Cash, Labor says

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash has told a Senate Estimates hearing that she has not considered resigning, after admitting her office leaked news of a raid on the Australian Worker's Union offices.

Labor has called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to "show leadership" and axe Senator Cash

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In the past, Ministers were forced to resign for far less serious charges than those facing Michaelia Cash. Here she is guilty as charged. She has to go, but she wont, nor will Malcolm show any balls nor decency of sorts. He himself survives on stupidity, bullshit, deceit, hypocrisy, lies, porkies, misrepresentations, dishonesty, falsehoods and vilification by the bucket load.

police raids on AWU should raise strong protests...


Police raids on political parties or associated institutions at any time should raise concerns – and the hackles – among democratically minded citizens. The recent raids on AWU offices in Sydney and Melbourne, seemingly in search for “dirt” on Bill Shorten’s time as head of the Union, should be ringing alarm bells. Are the police acting independently, as our weak Prime Minister claims? Is this an attempt to silence one of the country’s most effective political advocacy groups –  GetUp!? Are the Federal Police seeking to curry favour with an incumbent government by going after the Leader of the Opposition? Is it all of the above? Or is it simply Canberra’s latest bureaucratic SNAFU? Dr Allan Patience comments.

WHETHER YOU agree with it or not, GetUp! is one of the most robust and policy-relevant voices in politics in contemporary Australia. That it gets up the collective nose of the government and its clamorous supporters is hardly surprising. Note Herr Senator Abetz’s staccato fulminating against it at every opportunity afforded him by his News Corp supervisors.

GetUp! is routinely challenging the passivity and complacency of the electorate; the falangist tendencies festering within the Coalition, the incompetence of the Turnbull government, and the mindless partisanship of the Murdoch media. It provides invaluable alternative information and analysis to what is offered by our mendicant politicians and their media masters. As such, GetUp! is one of the most necessary and healthiest tonics presently available for Australia’s faltering democracy.

Earlier this year, the Coalition (with the egregious support of Nick Xenophon and Derryn Hinch) passed legislation to establish a Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) — a bureaucratic watchdog basically designed to put the screws on how unions raise and spend members’ funds in political campaigns. The AWU is being investigated by the ROC for alleged improprieties in funding of both GetUp! (to the tune of $100,000) and Shorten’s 2007 political campaign (to the tune of $25,000).

My new editorial 'Amateur hour' discusses AFP and GetUp issues in detail.
Check it out in the IA members only area.

— Dave Donovan (@davrosz) October 26, 2017

The whole shambolic affair suggests either Government conniving with the ROC (whose days will certainly be numbered in the event of a Shorten Labor victory at the next election), or clumsy stupidity among the senior levels of the ROC and the AFP. Either way, this is dangerous. Where will it all end? Will the next raid be on academics’ offices because they offer political analyses critical of governments? Are we going to see the CWA being raided because some of its urban branches support a "Yes" vote in the same-sex marriage postal survey? 

Whoever made the decision to action the raids has demonstrated almost unbelievable heavy-handedness, by adopting this way over the top approach, especially at this time. It looks like we have an ambitious, but numbskull, bureaucrat (or a small number of them) at the top responding to the growing crisis of the Turnbull Government as opinion polls go south and as the decision of the High Court on the eligibility of Barnaby Joyce to sit in Parliament looms darkly above it.

The Royal Commission into Union Corruption, set up by the Abbott Government, failed to deliver the expected hobbling of the trade union movement and the nailing of Bill Shorten as a creature of corrupt and violent union officials. Given this failure, whoever is in now charge (if anyone is in charge), he, she or they are apparently going after Shorten again, raising doubts about the legality of AWU political donations made a decade ago. The whole affair stinks to high heaven.

However, this mad dog strategy is already seriously backfiring on the Government. Minister for (Un)Employment Michaelia Cash’s strident parliamentary denials that her office had managed the media’s reporting of the police raids on the AWU have now been revealed as total falsehoods. If the Westminster tradition means anything at all these days, Cash must take full responsibility for the involvement of her staff member in alerting the media to the police raids and resign immediately. Whatever spin she and the Prime Minister try to put on the whole affair is now unbelievable. The affair has taken on the appearance of a particularly desperate political witch-hunt.

Employment Minister @SenatorCash is facing growing calls to resign over police raids on the @AWUnion@telester

— 7 News Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) October 26, 2017

The Labor Opposition should keep their powder dry over this issue. They would be wise to respond with dignified indifference to the provocations they are receiving from both the ROC and the Government. Let them remain aloof from the pettiness and nastiness that is motivating these raids. For it is not impossible that the raids will either be found to be illegal by the Federal Court, or that they will yield about as much as the Royal Commission into so-called union corruption. The ALP should wait patiently for the Government to dig itself into a hole on the issue and use this ridiculous imbroglio as grounds for abolishing the ROC as soon as it comes to power. Then they should proceed to a Royal Commission into the Finance Industry in Australia with wide ranging terms of reference and plenty of resources to go after the banks and others in the industry.

For we of the voting public, this grubby little affair – apparently initiated by the ROC, possibly in cahoots with the Government – confirms the cynicism and contempt we rightly feel for all that is going on in the Federal Parliament and politics generally in this country right now. And we will so look forward to voting against this kind of politics at the next Federal election.

Bring it on!

Allan Patience is a principal fellow in Political Science at the University of Melbourne.

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a political act of bastardry...

I've never understood how it is that media crews seem to be present for so many police raids. Maybe I have this all wrong, but I always figured the point of a raid was to surprise the target; to catch them unawares before they have a chance to hide or destroy evidence, or perhaps even to escape arrest.

Surely media knowing ahead of time only compromises this, turning secret into spectacle. Whatever the case, though, these things always seem to go nowhere.


Cash finally admitted this after a day of fiercely denying her staff had any involvement. And with that the government's attempt to render this substantially more than a politically driven exhibition came crashing down.

The trouble here is not the AFP, whose independence is not in question (Bill Shorten's description of the police as Malcolm Turnbull's "plaything" is hopelessly overblown). No, the trouble is with everything else around it. That the initial complaint came from the government itself, and was directed at the leader of its main political rival makes this an instantly political act.

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raided and not... cash has no credit left...




The Government tale about the AFP raid on the AWU is riddled with holes and looks likely to completely fall apart, says political editor Dr Martin Hirst.

This is looking like a septem diebus for Malcolm Turnbull and the COALition.

While we all await the High Court’s decision later this morning on the Citizenship Seven, the Prime Minister is still hosing down spot fires over the bungling of an AFP raid on the Australian Workers’ Union on Tuesday afternoon.

So far, Fizza Turnbull has refused point blank to demand the resignation of his troubled Employment Minister, Michaela Cash, despiteher lame admission in front of the Senate Estimates committee on Wednesday evening that a media advisor had misled her about media leaks prior to the AFP raid.

What a mess Minister Cash has made of what should have been a routine publicity stunt to take the heat off Turnbull over the failure of the NBN roll-out and the damaging story on this farce aired on Monday night’s Four Corners.

We’ve been saying for some time that the Turnbull Government is built on distractions, but now, it seems, it can’t even get this part of its ragged strategy right. Nobody, not even Malcolm Turnbull, I would venture, believes the concoction of obfuscations that has been thrown up, like a smokescreen created from a dumpster fire.

If we run through what we know, it seems fairly obvious that Michaela Cash misled the Senate and did so on five separate occasions — despite being given ample time to get the story straight.

In the end, all the Minister could do was shoot the messenger to keep him quiet.

Cash won’t resign and Turnbull won’t sack her.
The COALition is the turd in the sandwich

— Doc Martin Ph.D (@ethicalmartini) October 26, 2017

The raid on the AWU offices in Sydney and Melbourne was ostensibly to look for documents that would incriminate the Union’s national executive in mishandling union funds. The Union maintains it has done nothing wrong, but the Government – via the Registered Organisations Commission – is arguing that a ten-year-old donation the political ginger group, Get Up!, might not have been properly authorised according to union rules.

However, it doesn’t matter to Turnbull that what unions do with their funds, collected from voluntary membership dues, should really only be a matter for them and not interfering political industrial overlords with the bosses’ interests at heart. All the PM wants is a diversionary stick to thump Opposition Leader Bill Shorten over the head with and deflect attention from his own collapsing poll numbers and the fact that a significant proportion of his own front bench now hates him almost as much as the electorate does.

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Meanwhile in order to kill off a Senate enquiry:



The Australian Federal Police have begun investigating the leaking of information about Tuesday's raids on the Australian Workers Union (AWU).

Key points:
  • Leak of AWU raid details came from Michaelia Cash's office
  • AFP is investigating after Senator Cash requested police involvement
  • Attorney-General George Brandis said it would not be appropriate to discuss the issue further


Employment Minister Michaelia Cash's senior media adviser has resigned for tipping off the media off that police were about to swarm on AWU offices in Sydney and Melbourne.

Senator Cash has been under pressure to resign too because she repeatedly told Senate estimates her office did not leak, but later corrected the record when her staff member confessed.

It is not yet clear who told the media adviser that the raids would happen.

Labor senators had hoped to ask more questions during an estimates hearing in Canberra today, including to find the original source of the leak.

But as soon as the committee started, Attorney-General George Brandis said the AFP were now inquiring into the leak.

He said that meant it was not appropriate to discuss the issue during today's Senate estimates hearing.


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Of course Brandis make sure a Senate enquiry is shut down so "it would not prejudice the investigation into the (already prejudiced) source of the leak and of the raid itself". Now the point is not WHO leaked the news about the raid to the press (something this Turdshit government does all the time) but WHO organised the raid and WHY — upon which information was the raid organised? And the Federal Police investigating itself? Blimey....

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cash lied?????...


The Canberra press gallery is split over whether journalists who were alerted to imminent police raids on the Australian Workers’ Union should have revealed the source of the information.

The furious debate over ethics – which has seen the Australian Financial Review’s Laura Tingle on the same side as News Corp’s Sharri Markson while leftwing journo Margo Kingston lines up alongside Sky News reporter Samantha Maiden – broke out when BuzzFeed’s Alice Workman revealed that it was an unnamed staffer in MichaeliaCash’s office who tipped off the media to the raids.

“BuzzFeed News has spoken to journalists who claim they received a phone call from Cash’s office an hour before the raids, to make sure there would be cameras outside the AWU offices in Melbourne and Sydney,” she wrote on Wednesday.


As our own Katharine Murphy wrote, Cash had spent most of the day telling a Senate committee that neither she, nor her office, had tipped off the media – and then had to correct the public record when it was revealed to be one of her own staffers.

The press gallery divided over whether those journalists should have given Workman the information about their source and even if Workman, once she had confirmed the minister’s office was the source, should have written the story.


Tingle and Markson have said it is unethical for a journalist to “shop their sources” no matter what the justification.

“Quite a lot of journalists have apparently rewritten the ethics code to say it is OK to shop your source once matters enter the realm of the ‘public interest’,” Tingle wrote on Friday. “Political journalism can be as compromising a job as politics itself. But like a political party which misuses state power against its political opponents, its practitioners only look worse for suggesting the unethical is being pursued for higher purposes.”

Markson, the Daily Telegraph’s political editor, praised a piece by Channel Seven senior reporter Robert Ovadia which also slammed the ethics of revealing that the source was the minister’s office.

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Even if the minister "did not know that the leak came from her office", she is responsible for that office. But there is 99 per cent chances that she knew her office "had leaked" and "had instructed her office to leak" in order to get some kudos in the media — which backfired nonetheless. What should be investigated is who gave the information to the Federal Police that a union might have given some money to another organisation ten (10) years ago... 



the grubby hand of god malcolm...


The request from Christopher Pyne was simple but unexpected. Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership was in trouble, and he was hoping GetUp! might help do numbers for him.

It was the last Saturday of November in 2009 and the phone call was to Simon Sheikh, then national director of the activist group.

“He complained that conservative organisations, particularly the Australian Christian Lobby, were contacting MPs to advocate support for Abbott,” Sheikh says. “He asked if I could organise for people to email or call MPs in support of Turnbull.”

Pyne had specifics in mind. He offered to provide GetUp! with a list of about 10 undecided MPs, whose votes might be swayed by a lobbying campaign. Given the events of this week, it seems particularly curious in hindsight.

Sheikh and Pyne had established a reasonable relationship, although the MP had expressed his frustration that GetUp! did not sufficiently distinguish between moderate Liberals such as himself and the party’s conservatives.


But Sheikh had some sympathy for Pyne’s request: the progressive agenda of GetUp! would likely fare better under Turnbull’s continued leadership than it would under Tony Abbott’s.

Ultimately, however, Sheikh declined. As an excuse, he said GetUp! could not organise it in the available time. The truth was he didn’t want GetUp! involved in the Liberal Party’s internal machinations. A few days later, on Tuesday, December 1, Abbott won the leadership by just one vote.

In retrospect, Sheikh thinks he made the right call.   

“I doubt that GetUp! could have had any impact,” he says, but concedes also that given “how bad” the Abbott government subsequently proved to be, he sometimes wonders “if we should have done anything we could”.

The call did plant the seed of an idea, however. The following year, GetUp! first contemplated a strategy of targeting individual politicians. They got as far as drawing up a hit list of those they saw as “holding back change”.

According to Sheikh, the list was not bound by party: “We identified people like Martin Ferguson in the Labor Party as well as some in the Coalition.”

But the organisation had other priorities at the time, and the targeting campaign went on the backburner. Five years and two directors later, though, the current head of the organisation, Paul Oosting, revived it. Once again, factional tension within the Coalition provided the impetus.

Shortly after Turnbull seized back the Liberal leadership – and the prime ministership – from Abbott in September 2016, the organisation polled its members on their views.

“We found something like 70 per cent of our members preferred Turnbull and 12 per cent preferred Bill Shorten,” Oosting says.

The thing that struck Oosting was that Turnbull and his previously articulated progressive views did not enjoy nearly such strong support within the government as they did with the general public and with GetUp! members. Turnbull had only beaten Abbott 54-44, and had been forced to adopt more right-wing positions to get the numbers.

So the targeting strategy was dusted off. The rationale was simple: the Turnbull government would be better if there were fewer right-wingers in it. Before last year’s federal election, GetUp! identified a dozen seats held by “hard right” Coalition MPs: Bass, Dickson, Dawson, Macquarie, Macarthur, Deakin, Mayo, Cowper, Page, Braddon, Grey, Gilmore and, to a lesser extent, New England.

What began was the biggest campaign ever undertaken by an organisation not affiliated with a political party. It involved 40,000 phone calls – not robo-calls but live conversations – as well as extensive doorknocking, letterboxing, online advertising et cetera.

In almost all the targeted seats, the swings against the government were higher than the national average. The government lost Bass, Braddon, Macarthur, Macquarie and Mayo. GetUp! went close to claiming another very significant scalp, in Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s seat of Dickson, where the margin was slashed from 6.7 to 1.6 per cent.

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, whose fiefdom of hard-right loyalists was particularly hard-hit by the loss of Bass and Braddon, called the GetUp! campaigners “grubs”. He has since devoted great energy and significant parliamentary time to alleging non-existent conspiracies involving GetUp! and various dark, anti-democratic international forces.

There is little evidence of this. Nonetheless, GetUp! is in a fair measure of difficulty right now, largely as a consequence of its intervention in the 2016 election.

This week’s story begins on Tuesday, when 13 federal police officers raided the Sydney and Melbourne offices of the union Bill Shorten used to lead, the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU), in search of documents that could show the union had disbursed funds improperly. The raids were ordered by the government’s new Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) – set up after a $46 million royal commission failed to find any dirt on Shorten – which in turn was acting on a referral by Employment Minister Michaelia Cash.


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her lies are on fire...


The Cash saga reminds that a great many journalists are content to allow politicians to repeat lies unchallenged — even during close election campaigns. EBA Truth recalls the whopper that turned the 2016 Federal election.

IS IT EVER OKAY for journalists to protect politicians who have lied?

Media figures were divided on this question this week, in the wake of Michaelia Cash’s AWU raids scandal. After Buzzfeed reporter Alice Workman exposed the fact that Employment Minister Michaelia Cash’s office had tipped off the media prior to Cash’s hamfists-and-jackboots propaganda stunt, some opined that it was unethical for journalists to expose "sources". Others retorted that it was unethical for journalists to protect a politician who has given every appearance of telling a bold-faced lie. 

At least some journalists understand their overarching duty to report the truth. I would like to ask: where were these journalists during the federal election campaign?

At the centre of the Coalition’s campaign in Victoria was a bogus narrative of a so-called hostile union takeover of the Country Fire Authority and at the core of that narrative was a preposterous lie. That lie framed the Federal Coalition as the heroes who would save the Victorian public from a villainous union’s reckless disregard for public safety and volunteer self-worth. The lie  –  a complete fabrication  –  went like this: professional firefighters were demanding that volunteers stand and watch fires burn, for minutes or hours, until seven union members arrived to supervise them.

Michaelia Cash eventually repeated that lie in an op-ed published in the Herald Sun on 22 August 2016. Satisfyingly for firefighters, Cash was pulled up on the lie that so many before her had got away with. Greens MP Adam Bandt called her out in a media release and the media took it up. Bandt elaborated on his complaints on Sky News and Cash was forced to retract the lie. 

Later in the day, armed with a copy of the proposed Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, Sky host David Speers used an interview with Michaelia Cash to thoroughly demolish the Coalition’s narrative of a hostile union takeover. 

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porkies! cameras! sources!


THIS WEEK we have learned a lot about the way that the political media operates.

That’s not to say any of us were surprised to see behind the curtain and find journalists complicit in a union-bashing charade.

The surprise is the way these journalists have responded to the one among them who had the integrity to do the right thing: Alice Workman from BuzzFeed. The surprise is that they can argue with a straight face that their priority is always to protect their sources. And that this two-dimensional moral code is how they have been doing their jobs for so long, they’ve lost the ability to look at it objectively and ask if it’s really in the public interest.

Source whisperers: press gallery divided over revealing raid leaker + the destruction of the ABC | The Weekly Beast

— MSM Watchdog (@MSMWatchdog2013) October 27, 2017


The surprise is that they’re willing to defend themselves speaking untruths on behalf of power instead of doing their jobs — the jobs they no doubt expected themselves to do as idealistic 22-year-olds: speaking truth to power. The surprise is the total lack of self-reflection and the hostility towards Workman when Workman has done them all a favour. Have they ever wondered why they are at the bottom of the trust scale, trusted only slightly more than their political allies, the politicians they receive leaks from?

The natural state of affairs would have unravelled as it usually does, had Workman not had the bravery to smash the racket. Allegedly, a media staffer working for the Liberal Minister for Employment  – I say allegedly as Senator Cash claims the staffer acted without her knowledge – tipped off journalists to be at the ready when the offices of the Australian Workers Union (AWU) were raided by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) on behalf of the Senator’s latest publicly-funded-union-bashing organisation, the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC).

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These days journos rely on the press release, the directive from the government and the memo to do the pitiful thing they call their job. Long gone has their understanding of the devious reality of some ministerial offices. We've seen attack on Craig Thomson.

See the entry in Wikipedia:


Succeeding Thomson as general secretary of the HSU in January 2008, Kathy Jackson identified financial irregularities in the union's accounts and engaged external auditors to investigate. Reporting in May, the audit raised "concerns about evidence of misuse of union funds by Mr Thomson."[14] In December, the union engaged tax specialists BDO Kendall to "conduct an investigation" over the alleged improper use of Thomson's union-issued corporate credit card. The Sydney Morning Herald revealed the allegations in April 2009; Thomson denied all wrongdoing and stated that an independent audit had not identified any inappropriate use of the card, noted that other people would have been able to incur charges on the account, and said the accusations had been fabricated by rivals within the HSU.[20]

Fair Work Australia, the federal workplace relations tribunal, conducted a three-year investigation into improprieties in the use of union funds which was tabled in the Senate on 7 May 2012. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) commenced investigations, but Thomson said he was not one of the five people of interest.[21][22][23] On 15 October 2012 Fair Work Australia launched civil proceedings against Thomson related to his use of HSU funds. Thomson stated that he would contest these charges.[24]

On 24 October 2012 members of the NSW Police conducted a search of Thomson's residence and electorate office on the Central Coast. Eight officers loaded vehicles with computers and five large boxes of evidence. Thomson said the search was "routine" and "They took a couple of documents, I volunteered a couple of documents."[25][26] Thomson was arrested at his Central Coast electorate office on 31 January 2013. He faced 173 fraud and theft charges[27] relating to his time at the Health Services Union. NSW Police carried out the arrest warrant on the request of the Victoria Police. Thomson was granted bail and was required to appear before the Melbourne Magistrates Court in early February.[28] Thomson denied the allegations, and said that he would be "vigorously defending these charges."[29]

On 18 February 2014, Thomson was found guilty of defrauding the HSU.[6][7][8][9] Thomson returned to court for a plea hearing on his sentence on 18 March. He is also facing civil proceedings to repay $28,000 stolen from the HSU; and the Fair Work Commissioner is considering commencing civil proceedings on matters where the magistrate dismissed the criminal charges.[9]

On 25 March 2014, Thomson was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment with nine months suspended for two years. Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg said Thomson had shown "arrogance in the extreme", a "breach of trust of the highest order" in misusing members' funds and said Thomson had shown no remorse. The magistrate also said "Nothing has been put before me to suggest that these offences were committed for anything other than greed".[10] Thomson was granted bail to appear in the Victorian County Court on 24 November to appeal both his conviction and sentence.[11][12][13] On 15 December 2014, Thomson was found not guilty of 49 charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception because of a prosecution error.[30] Thomson was proven guilty of thirteen charges of theft, convicted, and fined A$25,000.[3][4][5] In the plea hearing, and handing down the fine and conviction Judge Douglas said that: "Whether it's sex workers or a bottle of wine, it seems to me both of those are self-indulgent," and "It's none of my business that he used a sex worker but it's my business that he used other people's money."

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But the articles in the Sydney Morning Herald (The Sydney Morning Herald revealed the allegations in April 2009) were written by a "senior" journalist, Kate McClymont, who got her information nearly exclusively from Kathy Jackson (Kathy Jackson (born c. 1966)[1] was the national secretary of the Health Services Union of Australia (HSU) between January 2008 and February 2015. In August 2015, Jackson was found by the Australian federal court to have misappropriated union funds and was ordered to repay $1.4 million in compensation, with a criminal investigation pending.) who herself has embezzled more that $1.4 million from the said-union. As well, according to Thomson, his credit card was used for a sex worker in Sydney while he was in Perth and he claims he had been set up by Kathy Jackson and her beau who worked for Fair Work Australia (both "working" on behalf of the Liberal CONservative party to unsettle the Labor government of the time) who spent his time defending Jackson while on sick leave for nine months until he was "sacked". The whole affair has been exposed at:



mad cash...

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash was quick to wield the threat of airing rumours about Bill Shorten and his staff.

Under pressure in a Senate Estimates hearing about her own staffing arrangements, she turned the tables.

Loudly and forcefully, she declared she would be "happy to sit here and name every young woman in Mr Shorten's office over which rumours in this place abound".

Initially bemused, then annoyed and ultimately angered, Labor demanded she withdraw the comments, which Senator Cash eventually did.

The Federal Government's plans to focus on its corporate tax policy was overrun by the news of a minister spoiling for a brawl.

The rules in Canberra have changed.

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mad cashmad cash


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a minister who knew nofin"...

After hiring private investigators to track down Ben Davies, the union has now requested subpoenas be issued in his name, compelling him to appear before the court.

It is over a year since the Australian Federal Police (AFP) raided the Sydney and Melbourne offices of the AWU, during an investigation by union watchdog the Registered Organisation Commission (ROC) into donations the union made to activist group Get Up.

Senator Cash, then jobs minister, and her office came under fire when it was revealed her media adviser at the time, David De Garis, had tipped off television networks that the raids were about to begin, putting them in prime position to record plain-clothed officers entering the union offices.

The AWU launched proceedings in the Federal Court to have the investigation halted and seized documents returned.

Union lawyers have already filed subpoenas demanding Senator Cash, Mr De Garis and ROC media adviser Mark Lee give evidence when the Federal Court hears the case in early 2019, after a number of delays pushed the trial date back from August this year.

On Friday, the AWU added Senator Cash's former chief of staff, Mr Davies, to its list.

The AFP launched an investigation into the media tip-off shortly after the raids, and delivered a brief of evidence to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) to consider charges.

Senator Cash has consistently and vehemently argued no wrongdoing in the matter, telling both the Senate and Senate Estimates she was not aware of her staff's actions.

The AFP has repeatedly refused to comment on their investigation when questioned by Labor senators, arguing it would be inappropriate to do so given the CDPP is considering the merits of any further action.

Senator Cash also promised to have her lawyers request subpoenas demanding she give evidence to the court be set aside.


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Senator Cash should resign. When a minister DOESN'T KNOW what her staff is doing, it shows she's as useful as a plastic canary in a coal mine. 


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protecting the varnish on the ugly furniture...

Borenstein questioned De Garis’s evidence, saying he was “loth to do this” before asking Bromberg whether he could cross-examine the witness.

“You have not been loth to do this,” De Garis replied, before he was asked to leave the courtroom briefly.

Borenstein said: “There is a real question about whether he’s trying to answer the questions truly and frankly … or hiding behind a mantra of not being able to recall.”

The push to cross-examine De Garis was opposed by the commission’s lawyer Frank Parry SC. Bromberg is yet to rule on this question.

De Garis has been granted a certificate that prevents the evidence he gives from being used against him in a future court hearing.


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lost the paperwork...

The government ministers Michaelia Cash and Michael Keenan twice declined to be interviewed by federal police about the leaking of the dramatic 2017 raids on the Australian Workers Union’s offices.

Australian federal police officials also told a Senate estimates committee on Monday morning they formed the view while investigating the leaks that evidence “may have been destroyed”.

The statements from police came as Cash’s former chief of staff Ben Davies told a court on Monday he had learned of the raids from the union regulator’s then media adviser Mark Lee while the pair made arrangements for Lee’s new job in Cash’s office.

The AWU is seeking to quash the Registered Organisations Commission’s (Roc) investigation into donations made to GetUp while Bill Shorten was its leader. The union cites referrals from Cash and her staff leaking news of the raids as proof the probe was politically motivated.


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politically motivated...

A former senior staffer in Federal Minister Michaelia Cash's office has told a court he knew a media tip-off about police raids on union offices would be politically damaging for Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

Key points:
  • The AWU is seeking to shut down the ROC's investigation into donations the union made to GetUp! in 2006
  • Senator Cash referred the donations to the ROC in two letters in August 2017
  • Her then-media advisor alerted media outlets to the raids before they started

Australian Federal Police raided the Sydney and Melbourne offices of the Australian Workers' Union (AWU) on October 24, 2017, as part of an investigation by the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) into $100,000 in donations made by the union in 2006, when Mr Shorten was its national secretary.

Ben Davies, who was Senator Cash's chief of staff at the time of the raids, is giving evidence in a civil trial brought by the union against the ROC, which has been investigating the union's donations to the activist group GetUp!.

The court has previously heard that on the day of the raids, Senator Cash's then-media advisor, David De Garis, contacted media outlets to give them advance warning of the raids.


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