Wednesday, 31 July 2013

$19.5 million for new cancer facilities at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

Media Release.

Prime Minister 

Minister for Health 

Minister for Medical Research


The Rudd Government has announced an additional $19.5 million in Government funding to the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse project at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA) in Camperdown.
The extra funding will allow the fit-out of inpatient facilities, operating suites and procedure rooms to be built faster, allowing cancer patients to be treated sooner on site.

The purpose built centre is part of the Government’s commitment to provide world leading cancer care in Australia. Lifehouse at RPA will ensure better outcomes for people living with cancer.

As an integrated cancer centre, Lifehouse at RPA will deliver a range of vital services in the one location including clinical care, surgery, medical and radiation oncology, research, integrative medicine, and support services for patients, their families and carers.

The new facilities will include 96 inpatient beds, eight operating suites and procedure rooms, and 18 intensive care and high dependency beds.

Since coming to power in 2007, the Government has invested more than $4 billion into cancer care, improving detection and treatment.

Cancer survival rates in Australia are among the best in the world due to our advances in research, development of early detection, improvements in treatment and follow up care.

The additional $19.5 million funding brings the total Commonwealth contribution to Lifehouse at RPA to $169.5 million.

In 2008-09, $50 million was allocated to Lifehouse at RPA through the Health and Hospitals Reform, followed by $100 million in 2009-10 through Round One of the Government’s Health and Hospitals Fund.

The inpatient services unit is now due to open in late 2014 – approximately two years earlier than the original expected date – thanks to the additional Federal funding and matching funds contributed by Lifehouse at RPA.

In the years before his passing, Chris O’Brien worked to transform the Sydney Cancer Centre into a world-class integrated cancer treatment centre.

The Government is honoured to help realise Chris’ vision sooner, and Lifehouse at RPA will be a place where his compassion and skill will live on.

Launch of Cricket World Cup 2015

Media Release.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Don Farrell

Minister for Sport


TUE 30 JULY 2013

The Prime Minister today officially launched the International Cricket Council Cricket World Cup 2015 with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Federal Minister for Sport Don Farrell.
This Cricket World Cup is one of the world’s largest sporting events and will demonstrate Australia’s expertise in delivering outstanding major sporting events.
It is expected to bring more than 50,000 international tourists to Australia, generating about $360 million in direct expenditure across Australia and New Zealand.
The World Cup will also reach a global audience of over 900 million people, putting Australia in the international spotlight as a preferred tourism, trade, and investment destination.
A total of 49 one day matches will be played at venues in Australia and New Zealand.
The Australian Government has made significant investments to upgrade many of the venues hosting matches – including the Sydney Cricket Ground, Adelaide, Bellerive and Manuka Ovals.
For our cricket-loving nation, hosting the Cricket World Cup with New Zealand takes on greater meaning as 2015 also marks the ANZAC centenary.
The Cricket World Cup 2015 is the 11th edition of the tournament and was previously hosted by Australia and New Zealand in 1992.
The Australian Government will work in partnership with the New Zealand Government, Local Organising Committee, the International Cricket Council, States and Territories to deliver a world class event.
The Cricket World Cup is an exciting global sporting event and we are committed to maximising opportunities for Australian businesses and spectators.

Prime Minister Rudd visits troops in Afghanistan

Media Release.

Prime Minister


SAT 27 JULY 2013

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has visited Australian military and civilian personnel in Afghanistan.  
The Minister for Defence Materiel Mike Kelly, the Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley and Australia’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Jon Philp accompanied the Prime Minister. Mr Rudd was also joined by his wife Therese Rein.
Mr Rudd met members of the Australian Defence Force and the Australian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) at Multi National Base-Tarin Kowt (MNB-TK).  He was briefed by Australian and coalition commanders on progress in the military campaign and met the Governor of Uruzgan Province, Amir Mohammed Akhundzada.
Mr Rudd thanked Australia’s men and women in uniform for the vital work they are doing in preventing Afghanistan from again becoming a safe haven for international terrorists by building the capacity of the Afghan security forces.  He paid tribute to the 40 Australian service men who have lost their lives in Afghanistan.
Mr Rudd said, “the Australian people are immensely proud of what our military and civilian personnel have achieved over the past seven years in Uruzgan in difficult and dangerous circumstances”.
Australian Defence personnel have trained and mentored the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) so they can provide security for their people.  This year’s fighting season is the first time in over a decade that the ANSF are fighting the insurgency almost entirely alone.
There are now 38 girls’ schools and more than 200 schools in total, a sixfold increase since 2006.  Up to 80 per cent of pregnant women now receive pre-natal health care and midwives and nurses have been trained to provide further support.
With other donors, we have upgraded more than 200 kilometres of roads and bridges, generating employment opportunities for thousands in the province. 
The Prime Minister’s visit comes as Australia prepares to hand over full security responsibility for Uruzgan province to the ANSF by the end of the year.
In line with the phased draw down of international forces agreed with the Afghan government and Australia’s coalition partners, MNB-TK and the PRT will close and around 1,000 of Australia’s men and women in uniform will return.
Mr Rudd said, “It was an important time to honour the work of Australian personnel in Uruzgan as Australia’s contribution in the province draws to a close.  Australia military and civilian personnel have made real and tangible improvements to people’s lives in the province.”
The Prime Minister reiterated Australia’s commitment to supporting Afghanistan’s future beyond nationwide transition at the end of 2014, including through ongoing training and financial support for Afghan security forces and an aid program.
“The end of our mission in Uruzgan marks a change but not an end to Australia’s engagement with Afghanistan,” Mr Rudd said.  “It is time for the Afghan people to build on the progress they have achieved with the international community’s help and take control of their future”.
Mr Rudd and Ms Rein laid wreaths at a memorial for fallen servicemen at Tarin Kowt.

Pre-Schools & Kindys next education sector to be trashed under Liberals

Media Release.

Having already condemned Australian schools to a broken system, the Coalition last night turned their axe to pre-schools and child care services.

Opposition spokesperson Sussan Ley refused to sign a pledge that would commit the Liberals and Nationals to the National Quality Framework for early childhood education.

Early Childhood and Child Care Minister Kate Ellis said Tony Abbott and the Coalition were not content to stop at trashing Australia's school system.

"There is a substitute for quality - it's called the Coalition," Ms Ellis said.

"Research shows that early childhood education is just as important as schooling, but that means nothing to the Coalition."

"The National Quality Framework is a crucial set of reforms that took years of consultation and negotiations between jurisdictions and is being progressively implemented over a seven-year period."

"It means a more professionalised early education workforce and a best practice approach to teaching in child care services and pre-schools."

"They are important reforms such as improved staff to child ratios and early educators qualification requirements to ensure our youngest children get the best start before starting school."

"If the Coalition say they support the NQF, why won't they support the pledge?"

"If they have plans to change it, they must come clean and be up front before the election."

Ms Ellis said last night's refusal at a Sydney forum debate followed Ms Ley's offensive remarks towards the profession last year, calling them 'so called early learning educators'.

"There's decades and decades of compelling international and domestic research which clearly demonstrates the value in quality early childhood education," Ms Ellis said.

"What happens in these early years, won't just impact on them now, but will in fact impact the social outcomes, on their future health outcomes and the educational outcomes for years and years to come."

Early Childhood Australia has released an evidence brief which shows that higher numbers of staff to children is associated with important learning outcomes including:
  • more extensive language skills through increased opportunities for conversations with adults 
  • increased literacy skills 
  • improved general knowledge 
  • more cooperative and positive behaviour with peers and with adults 
  • better concentration and attention skills. 

"The research also shows that the most significant factor affecting quality is the qualifications and training of staff."

"Children in early childhood education and care settings led by an educator with a bachelor's degree in early childhood show greater progress and achievement in language, in literacy, in numeracy and in learning and are better prepared for school."

State of Australian Cities 2013

Media Release.

Anthony Albanese
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Infrastructure & Transport

30 July, 2013

While Australia’s major cities remain among the world’s most liveable with bicycle use at the highest level in 40 years, changing work-force patterns pose future challenges for transport infrastructure planning.
Those are a few of the trends detailed in the State of Australian Cities 2013 report which I’ve released today.  Compiled by the Major Cities Unit within my Department, this latest ‘report card’ builds on the previous three, providing an even more comprehensive analysis of the progress and performance of the nation’s 18 biggest cities.
The first three editions of this publication generated enormous interest and have been downloaded more than three million times.
A summary of the key findings is attached, with the full State of Australian Cities 2013 now available at:
As well as giving us a better understanding of how our cities work, the report also identifies the specific initiatives of local councils and state planning authorities which are proving effective at promoting more productive, sustainable and liveable urban communities.
Today I am also releasing a second report, Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport which sets out the simple steps that governments and employers can take to increase the proportion of people walking and riding for short trips, and to connect to public transport hubs. For its part, the Federal Government has agreed that all future urban road projects must include a safe, separated cycle way, where practical.
As one of the most urbanised societies in the world, and with our cities generating 80 per cent of our national income, our continuing prosperity largely depends on the productivity, sustainability and liveability of our cities.
When it comes to infrastructure, there is no starker difference between Federal Labor and the Coalition than our respective approaches to cities and the importance placed on investing in public transport.
Federal Labor has a plan to keep our cities moving, one that involves investing in both road AND rail infrastructure.  That’s why we’ve doubled the roads budget and committed more to urban public transport infrastructure than all our predecessors since Federation combined. Right now, major projects are underway in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and on the Gold Coast.
Contrast this to the Opposition which simply believes the challenges confronting our cities and their residents are someone else’s problems to fix.
The Opposition says urban congestion is “a big economic problem”, which is “costing our economy a lot of money”.  But at the same time, Tony Abbott has ruled out providing Federal funding to help fix the nation’s public transport infrastructure, one of the most effective ways of reducing congestion and preventing traffic gridlock.
We need better cities for the people who live in them, for the people who work in them and for the people who depend on them. Only Federal Labor has the track record and investment to make our cities work better.

Australia’s eighteen major cities are:

  • Adelaide;
  • Albury-Wodonga;
  • Brisbane;
  • Cairns;
  • Canberra-Queanbeyan;
  • Darwin;
  • Geelong;
  • Gold Coast-Tweed;
  • Hobart;
  • Launceston;
  • Melbourne;
  • Newcastle;
  • Perth;
  • Sydney;
  • Sunshine Coast;
  • Townsville;
  • Toowoomba;
  • Wollongong.

LNP Deliberately Misleading Queenslanders On Hospital Privatisations

Media Release.

A deliberately misleading taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign by the LNP government is attempting to dupe Queenslanders over the privatisation of public hospitals, Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller says.

Mrs Miller said the advertisements broadcast last night and today clearly showed the Newman government is implementing a program of privatisation, starting with the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

She said the advertisements were a political tool which used deceptive language to con Queenslanders by saying: “No existing public hospital will be privatised.”

“What that says – particularly to Sunshine Coast residents – is that your hospital does not yet exist, so expect it to be privatised,” Mrs Miller said.

“The same goes for the new Queensland Children’s Hospital and the new Gold Coast University Hospital that opens in two months’ time."

“The Health Minister Lawrence Springborg could not have been clearer last week when he said the government had asked private providers for expressions of interest in the management of clinical and non-clinical services at the new Sunshine Coast hospital."

“And what that means is that anyone turning up for treatment when the doors open should be ready to open their wallet."

“The former Labor government funded and built this $1.8 billion hospital with the clear intention it remain a traditional public hospital where health services would be – as they should be – free."

“The current LNP government will now take Sunshine Coast residents for a ride by selling off this facility to the highest bidder and charging locals for basic health services."

“The government and the Health Minister are also admitting in this new series of political advertisements that they want private companies to take over health facilities when they state that the government will continuing to open the doors to businesses."

“This is the first step in the Americanisation of our hospital system."

“It is the next step by a government which has sacked nurses and cut frontline health services to deny Queenslanders the basic right of a free health care service."

“I challenge the government and the Health Minister to come clean and stop sending vague and misleading and deliberately deceptive messages on privatisation."

“And I call on Sunshine Coast residents and the residents of all other areas to demand that this government show some honesty and tell the truth about what they intend to sell off.”

Environment Must Come Before Mining As Government Ignores Wild Rivers Advice

Media Release.

The Newman government has ignored the advice of its own advisory panel in an act of environmental vandalism which will see CSG and oil shale mining open up in one of the state’s most pristine areas.

Shadow Environment Minister Jackie Trad said the decision to wind back landmark Wild Rivers protection by the Natural Resources and Mines Minister would see CSG and oil shale extraction allowed in the Channel Country in western Queensland, proving the government valued profits over environmental protection.

“The Minister Andrew Cripps has ignored the advice of his own Western Rivers Advisory Panel which just last month called for a total ban on mining in major rivers and on floodplains and lakes,” Ms Trad said.

“He has ridden roughshod over this group so that oil shale extraction and CSG mining can take place in what is some of the most significantly unspoiled country in the continent, if not the world."

“What’s happening here needs to be made very, very clear – this not only crushes some of the most significant environmental protection legislation in a generation, it is a blatantly broken promise."

“The former Labor government introduced Wild Rivers legislation to protect regions like the Channel Country and other vast areas throughout the state because they require protection from the types of activities that Mr Cripps is determined to allow."

“Wild Rivers contained perhaps the most extensive protections in Australia."

“The LNP promised before this government was elected that it had no plans to repeal or replace any of the Wild Rivers declarations in Western Queensland. Mr Cripps’ claims that the oil and gas industries will now face even tougher protections in these areas is fanciful at best."

“This Minister is allowing this because he is simply more interested in mining companies turning a profit and allowing development in these pristine areas than he is giving them protection."

“And it is extremely telling that he has had to go against the advice of a panel he hand-picked.”

Ms Trad said environmentalists around the country and around the world would be horrified by the Newman government’s complete disregard for Queensland’s unique environment.

“This is the same government that is opening up 700,000 hectares of forest for clearing, the same government that has hastily given the go-ahead for uranium mining – another broken promise."

“With this latest move, its record of environmental disregard speaks for itself.”

Elmes Reveals What Nicholls Won’t

Media Release.

Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says a member of the Newman Government Cabinet has revealed the truth Treasurer Tim Nicholls has been denying about the state of the Queensland economy.

Mr Pitt said while the Treasurer was continually trying to hide his failings as the state’s economic manager, fellow Cabinet Minister Glen Elmes had confirmed the Opposition’s view that Mr Nicholls had presided over a dramatic slide in the state’s fortunes.

“Glen Elmes has experienced a sudden burst of honesty by confirming our state ‘is not performing well economically’,” Mr Pitt said.

“Mr Elmes cited the state’s poor economic performance to justify the Newman Government’s appalling handling of wage negotiations with its own public sector employees.”

Mr Elmes said wage negotiations depended on the state’s economic performance and added: “….it’s no great surprise the state is not performing well economically…” (ABC TV News 30 July 2013)

Mr Pitt said the statement by Mr Elmes was diametrically opposed to those of the Treasurer who continued to claim the lower economic growth of 3% he had delivered for the state economy was better than the 4% rate he inherited from Labor.

“Mr Nicholls called Queensland a ‘basket case’ when growth was at 4% under the former government,” he said.

“In addition Queensland’s unemployment rate has increased from 5.5% at the 2012 election to 6.4% — a decade high and up with levels not seen since the GFC."
“ABS Labour Force statistics show that there are 13,700 fewer full-time jobs in Queensland than when the LNP were elected despite our growing population and the number of unemployed people in our state as confirmed by Queensland Treasury Corporation is at a 15-year high."
“In its first full financial year in office the Newman Government was responsible for the weakest jobs growth in more than 20 years."

“All of these indicators and more show how badly Queensland has fared under the Newman Government with Tim Nicholls as Treasurer."

“The only bright spot is that at least one Cabinet Minister has had the guts to admit the truth,” Mr Pitt said.


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Child Care in New South Wales strengthens under Labor

Media Release.

An additional 100,000 more New South Wales children are now in child care under Labor, a massive surge which has dwarfed the growth overseen by the previous Coalition Government.

Early Childhood and Child Care Minister Kate Ellis said the number of children in child care in New South Wales had grown 41 per cent to 332,150 between 2007 to 2012. It only grew by 12 per cent during the previous six years under the Liberals.

In addition:

" There are now 5,180 child care services in NSW - a 46 per cent increase on 2007. Between 2001 and 2007, it grew by just 6 per cent.
" There are now 240,960 families using child care services - a 35 per cent increase on 2007. Between 2001 and 2007, it grew by just 12 per cent.

"Child care has grown substantially in New South Wales during a period when Labor has boosted child care assistance and implemented major reforms," Ms Ellis said.

"Labor funds an unlimited number of child care places and costs for those places are now lower as a proportion of disposable income than in 2004.

"That's created a positive environment for families to seek out child care so both parents are in the workforce.

"There are now some 60,000 more New South Wales families using child care now than what there was in 2007.

"However, the surge has created record demand in Australia, which supply has struggled to meet, particularly in New South Wales. We know there remain major challenges in boosting availability and that this requires all levels of government to act.

"We are committed to taking real action to improve quality affordability and flexibility of our child care system unlike the opposition who after six years can't come up with a single policy except to do a review.

50 new child care places in Sydney's Inner West

Media Release.

Deputy Prime Minister and Member for Grayndler, Anthony Albanese, and Early Childhood and Child Care Minister Kate Ellis today welcomed 50 new child care places for Sydney's inner west.

The additional places have been provided courtesy of $3 million in capital works funding from the Australian Government towards the building of a new early learning and care centre and expansion of existing services at Ashfield.

Mr Albanese said the expansion of Ashfield Early Learning and Care Centre means it will be able to accommodate a total 283 children.

"There is a shortage of child care places in the Inner West so it is great to see more places for local families, Mr Albanese said.

"This is great news for local families and expands the availability of quality early childhood education options in the area, especially for those children with special needs.

"Of course, not only has the Government funded this new facility, it funds record child care fee assistance for families.

"We will invest more than $22 billion over the next four years on child care fee assistance, including Child Care Rebate and the Child Care Benefit.

"The 50 extra places at this centre, means potentially 50 more parents being able to return to the workforce with the confidence their children are being cared for by a high quality facility.

"That's what Labor Governments do - invest in child care and early childhood education in record levels - because it gives our youngest children a great start in life and it increases workforce participation, particularly by supporting women to return to work."

Ms Ellis said the Government's Early Learning and Care Centres were designed to provide children with the best opportunities to learn, targeted at areas with the highest demand and tailored to meet the individual needs of those communities.

"The Ashfield Early Learning and Care Centre is owned and operated by The Infants Home - one of Australia's leading providers of early childhood education, care and health services for children," Ms Ellis said.

"I believe that working families, no matter where they live, have every reason to expect and demand a child care place."

"That's why our Labor Government has established the Child Care Accessibility Fund to help local governments deliver more child care places for communities with the longest waiting lists.
"We're providing funding to expand centres, cut planning and development red tape, free up vacant land for child care centres, or incorporate child care into schools and TAFEs."

I encourage all local governments with child care shortages in their communities to apply by 2 August 2013.

For further information on Early Learning and Care Centres see: 

Rudd Government backs Australian live music

Media Release.

Federal Member for Sydney, Tanya Plibersek, today welcomed the announcement that the Rudd Labor Government, supported by some of Australia’s best live music acts, will help revitalise our live music scene.

Arts Minister Tony Burke has announced the Government’s support for Australian live music through the creation of a new National Live Music Office.
“Live music is a vital part of the local music scene in Sydney. This announcement gives much needed support for live acts in our local community”, Ms Plibersek said.
Live Music Ambassadors including Katie Noonan, Suffa from the Hilltop Hoods, Stavros Yiannoukas from Bluejuice, Kav Temperley, Kevin Mitchell from Jebediah, Dave Faulkner from the Hoodoo Gurus, Leah Flanagan and Dwayne Everett Smith will support the new national office.
The National Live Music Office will partner with governments, local councils, communities, businesses, musicians and songwriters on how to lift barriers to ensure more acts can perform at venues around the country.
The National Live Music Office will be supported by $560,000 in funding over three years from 2013-14 with the specific aim of developing practical strategies for promoting collaboration and cooperation to make sure that we can find the right environment for live music that benefits everyone.
“This announcement gives our vibrant local music scene every chance. It supports Australian live acts and but also preserves the liveability and amenity of our local neighbourhoods.” Ms Plibersek said.
The National Live Music Office will be administered by APRA (Australasian Performing Rights Association) and managed by the recently appointed National Live Music Coordinator, Dr Ianto Ware.
Dr Ware, a musician for 15 years, was appointed Live Music Coordinator by the Australian Government in March 2013 and has extensive experience supporting artists, venues and industry associations in tackling regulatory issues.
Based on APRA’s recent research the venue-based live music industry contributes around $1.2 billion to the economy, servicing almost 42 million patrons and supporting nearly 15,000 full time jobs Australia-wide.
Further information about the National Live Music Office can be found via the website of the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and sport at

Media contact: Michael Vaughan – 0413 473 773

New appointment to ACARA Board

Media Release.

Bill Shorten
Minister for Education

Minister for Education Bill Shorten today announced the appointment to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) Board of Ms Susan Bowden and the reappointment of Deputy Chair Mr Tony Mackay.
ACARA is the independent authority responsible for developing the foundation stones of Australia’s modern education system including the nation’s first National Curriculum, the National Assessment Program (including NAPLAN) and a national data collection and reporting program (including My School).
Through the dedication and hard work of all those at ACARA, including the Board, Australian schools are now implementing the first national curricula for English, mathematics, science and history.
We also now know more about the performance of each and every school in Australia and can develop a needs based funding model which aims to make every school in this country a great, high performing school.
It is a great pleasure today to announce the appointment of Ms Susan Bowden from the Northern Territory to the Board of ACARA and the reappointment of Mr Tony Mackay as Deputy Chair.
Ms Bowden is currently Executive Director Education Services for the Department of Education and Children’s Services in the Northern Territory. She brings a wealth of expertise to the Board from her various roles including most recently the foundation Senior Director for the Centre for School Leadership, Learning and Development at Charles Darwin University.
Ms Bowden’s portfolio also includes Curriculum, Teaching and Phases of Learning, ICT for Learning, Student Services and NT Music School. Prior to her work in the Northern Territory she worked in both the schools and corporate areas for Education Queensland.
Mr Tony Mackay is Executive Director of the Centre for Strategic Education, Melbourne, Australia, and Chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership and will continue his great work which focuses on strategic thinking and facilitation for Government bodies, education agencies and think tanks.
Professor Barry McGaw AO is Chair of the Board, which was announced in 2009 and has 13 members in total, representing the Australian Government and all education streams (independent, government and Catholic) across all states and territories.
For more information please see and extended biographies below.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Porter 0419 474 392
Ms Susan Bowden
Susan Bowden is currently Executive Director Education Services for the Northern Territory Department of Education and Children’s Services where she has worked for the past nine years. Her portfolio includes Curriculum, Teaching and Phases of Learning, ICT for Learning, Student Services and NT Music School.
Her roles included Principal, General Manager Student Services, Director School Performance and more recently as the foundation Senior Director for the Centre for School Leadership, Learning and Development at Charles Darwin University. Prior to her work in the Northern Territory Ms Bowden worked in both the schools and corporate areas for Education Queensland.
Mr Tony Mackay
Tony Mackay is Executive Director of the Centre for Strategic Education, Melbourne, Australia; Deputy Chair of ACARA; Chair of the recently announced Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, immediate Past President of the Australian Curriculum Studies Association; Board Director of the Australian Council for Educational Research; Board Member of the University of Melbourne, Graduate School of Education and Australian College of Educators 2006 medallist.
Internationally, Mr Mackay is President of the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI); Founding Member of the Governing Council of the National College for School Leadership in England; Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Innovation Unit. Ltd; England. OECD Senior Consultant for Projects on Schooling for Tomorrow, School Leadership and New Models of Learning; and a DEMOS International Associate.
He is currently working on ‘Next Practice Projects’ on educational reform in Australia/New Zealand, UK, Europe, US/Canada and Asia.

Tony’s work focuses on strategic thinking and facilitation for Government bodies, education agencies and think tanks.

Better Schools to lift literacy and numeracy skills

Media Release.

Bill Shorten
Minister for Education

Jul 29, 2013

Australian students are reaching for the stars in reading, writing and mathematics during National Literacy and Numeracy Week.
In 2013, National Literacy and Numeracy Week will be held from 29 July – 4 August. Schools will be able to take part in literacy and numeracy activities, with participating schools going into the draw to win lots of great prizes provided by sponsors.
In its 15th year, National Literacy and Numeracy Week is an Australian Government initiative which aims to celebrate students learning basic reading, writing and mathematics skills.
Minister for Education Bill Shorten has used National Literacy and Numeracy Week to recognise the important contribution parents, teachers, principals and the school community make to the development of literacy and numeracy skills in our young people.
It is only by working together that we will achieve the Government’s ambitious target for Australia to be in the top five in the world in reading, math and science by 2025.
Currently, the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results show one in 12 of our kids are not meeting minimum standards in reading, writing and mathematics.
In the OECD PISA tests Australia has slipped from equal 2nd to equal 7th in reading and from equal 5th to equal 13th in mathematics.
The average 15 year old math student in Australia is more than two years behind a 15 year old in Shanghai.
Four of the top five school systems in the world are in our region (Hong Kong, Korea, Shanghai and Singapore) – and we want to match them.
Better Schools is about more one on one, individual attention so for every kid can reach their full potential.
This is not just an investment in schools, this is a down payment on the long-term strength of the Australian economy.
Better Schools is about more help for kids struggling with literacy and numeracy to ensure they don’t fall behind as well as supporting our high achieving student to do even better.
Better Schools is about more support for kids with disability or learning difficulties and about providing a safe environment for every Australian student.
We want to make every school in this country a great school and every Australian child gets a world class education by investing in the tools we know deliver improved learning outcomes, especially in literacy and numeracy.
Mathematics comedian, Simon Pampena, and children’s book author and illustrator, Kerry Argent, are the National Literacy and Numeracy Week Ambassadors for 2013 and will be visiting schools to participate in events around the country.
At 2pm on Wednesday 31 July, a simultaneous mass read, Read for Australia, event will be held in participating schools around the nation. Teachers and students will read aloud from the selected book titled Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon.
Herman and Rosie has also been made available in AUSLAN for Australia’s deaf community on the website
For more information on NLNW activities, including Reach for the Stars numeracy activity and Poem in Your Pocket literacy activity, visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Porter 0419 474 392

$3.2 million for the latest online resources for teachers

Media Release.

Bill Shorten
Minister for Education

Jul 29, 2013

After speaking at The Learning Convention today in Melbourne today, the Minister for Education has announced that the Rudd Government will provide an extra $3.2 million to help put the latest teaching resources at the fingertips of all Australian teachers.
The Learning Convention, hosted by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, was held simultaneously across five capital cities and live-streamed online to teachers and school leaders around the country.
The dynamic professional learning event was held to celebrate outstanding teacher practice and provided a platform for collaboration and ongoing professional learning.
The Government’s $3.2 million commitment will make the latest teaching resources and good teaching ideas more easily available to teachers in every school through the national online teaching resource sharing tool called ‘Scootle’.
As the digital age meets the Asian Century, we have to pull out all stops to ensure every Australian kid gets the world-class education they need for the high-skill, high-wage jobs of the future.
That’s why we are developing Australia’s first National Curriculum, that’s why we have a Better Schools Plan that will inject an extra $15 billion into schools, and that’s why we invested more than $2 billion to deliver nearly a million computers into the hands of Australian students.
Today we build on these investments by providing extra funding to ensure that, for example, when a teacher in Broome develops a great lesson to help students understand long division, that lesson can be shared with teachers in every school in Australia.
Education Services Australia (ESA) will use the extra funding to maintain and expand the use of online services developed for Scootle under the $32.4 million Supporting the Australian Curriculum Online (SACOL) program.
ESA will ensure Scootle services are available to all teachers across Australia, provide teachers and students with access to a new Language Learning Space for Mandarin Chinese (and other languages into the future) and provide information and training sessions for teachers on how they can benefit their students by making the best use of the resources on Scootle.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Porter 0419 474 392

Monday, 29 July 2013

Tony Abbott’s broadband plan: $9.5 billion hit on small business

Media Release.

27 July, 2013

Small business in Australia will be slugged billions of dollars to access superfast broadband if the Coalition wins the next election.
Council of Small Business of Australia Executive Director Peter Strong told ABC1’s The Business that the Coalition’s plan will cost businesses more:
“At the moment under the NBN everybody gets connected. Under the Coalition’s approach, of course, it’s going to cost you more money to have it connected to your business. And that’s an extra cost to business.”
The Coalition has confirmed that under its second-rate broadband plan it would charge small businesses ‘some thousands of dollars’ to connect fibre all the way to their premise.
Malcolm Turnbull’s fibre-on-demand service is based on the United Kingdom model, where homes and businesses are charged as much as 3,500 pounds ($5,000) to have fibre connected.
For Australia’s 1.9 million small businesses, this would be a disaster, delivering them extra costs that could hit as high as $9.5 billion.
As well as promising to eliminate the instant asset write-off, the Coalition now wants to shift the cost of accessing this vital piece of infrastructure back onto small businesses themselves.
It is clear that the Coalition’s broadband plan is bad for small business and bad for the economy.
Small businesses in regional Australia will be particularly hard hit – slugged twice by the Coalition.  They will have to pay as much as $5,000 to connect to fibre and will then have to pay more for their broadband services than their competitors in the cities.
Small business in Australia should not have to operate with one hand tied behind their backs because they are stuck with unreliable broadband using last century’s copper technology.
Federal Labor’s National Broadband Network will deliver fibre to the home or business to 93 per cent of Australian premises with no connection cost.

If Australian business is to compete in the Asian Century, superfast broadband is essential.  That is what Labor is delivering as it rolls out the National Broadband Network.

Anthony Albanese
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Broadband, Communications  and the Digital Economy

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration

Brisbane October 20, 1894.

Compulsory Arbitration.

In the course of an address on the subject of “Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration” Dr. Garran, who is an ex-editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, was also chairman of the late N.S.W. Council of Arbitration, said:
There is a widespread opinion that seems to have grown up naturally that what needs to be done to make arbitration more generally useful is to insist on having the merits of all important disputes investigated. At present the consent of both parties is necessary. The natural step, therefore, seems to be to cause the inquiry to be made on the application of one party alone, that is of the party anxious to make the inquiry, and which, if not the more convinced of the rightous of its cause, is at least sufficiently so to challenge investigation. In our civil courts in case of non-appearance the judgement goes by default. As a matter of fact, a non-appearance is the exception. When an inquiry has become inevitable a defendant has generally faith enough in his own case to see that a defence is better than no defence. We may reasonably presume that it would be the same with regard to trade disputes, and that it would be the exception when either party would voluntary stand aloof from the inquiry. It would be unfortunate should it prove to be otherwise. All who have practical acquaintance with civil trials know that expert evidence when unchallenged has a very limited value, and I am quite sure that a court of arbitration would be very sorry to have adjudicate on a trade dispute if only one side had been heard and there had been no cross-examination. It will be very desirable, therefore, in case of an obstinate refusal to attend, that somebody should be provided to represent the absent party – some one interested in the defendant's side of the question, and with sufficient knowledge of the trade to be able to cross-examine with effect. It must be admitted, however, that a one-sided inquiry would, even at its best, be unsatisfactory. In such a case the award would simply go for what it was worth. It would be based on the evidence so far as it was obtainable, and so far as it could be sifted, and it would not pretend to be more than that. The arbitrators would do their best possible, and would not pretend that they had done the impossible.

Let us admit that it will be a novelty to set up a system of adjudicating on trades disputes at the instance of one party only; but under the circumstances novelty is unavoidable. We are feeling our way towards a better state of things, and in doing so we have to make experiments. There is no sound political objection to such experiments, so long as there is a fair presumption in their favour, and so long as no fundamental rights or principles are infringed. This proposal to force a hearing of the merits of trade disputes is not in any way a revolutionary proposal. It in no way tends to discourage enterprise or hamper industrial energy; it in no way detracts from the liberty of the employer or wounds the self-respect of the employe'. When a strike or lockout is imminent, it simply calls a halt, and endeavours to ascertain what is the justice of the case. What person, what principle, is injured by such an attempt?

But there is one general conclusion to be drawn from the study of the situation, and it is this – that Parliament is justified in making such further arrangements as will enable a qualified board to get at the rights of every industrial dispute of any magnitude, so far as it can do so without infringing on the liberty of the subject. We may fairly say that we have reached the stage at which our experience has made this clear, and if so, the next forward movement is no longer doubtful.

* * *

The Sydney Daily Telegraph approves of Dr. Garran's utterances. The Brisbane press in all liklihood would condemn them. When it is a question of industrial conciliation or arbitration in this province, the Queensland Fat Man editors write in a “how not to do it” strain.

Fitzgerald Inquiry: Lyons

Section: 2.4.2 Transactions by some Ministers and Others

Part: (c)

In 1977, Sir Edward Lyons was knighted. In 1978, he was appointed a trustee of the National Party. In 1981, he was made the chairman of the T.A.B. Later, when the Mortgage Secondary Market Board was created, he became its initial chairman. He was also the first chairman of the recently failed merchant bank Rothwells Limited, a director for a period of Queensland Television Limited, a director of East-West (Operations) Limited and East-West Airlines (Queensland) Pty. Ltd. and then, after those companies had been disposed of by the Stowe group, a director of Griffin Holdings Limited, the former holding company of that group. He may well also have had other outside directorships. At the same time, Lyons had substantial private interests. Additionally, he had an exceptional relationship with Bjelke-Petersen and extraordinary influence upon him. Some instances have already been mentioned. As has been noted, Bjelke-Petersen regarded Lyons as “his most valuable adviser”. Although Lyons did not always get his way, particularly in more recent years, he received Bjelke-Petersen’s support, on occasions to an extraordinary degree even in relation to matters where Lyons had no legitimate interest or where his personal interests were involved and should have been disregarded. A few of the instances which emerged in the course of the evidence at the public sittings of this Inquiry can be briefly summarised. It is unnecessary to comment on the merits of the respective proposals advanced by Lyons to the Government in order to notice the practical operation of his relationship with Bjelke-Petersen.

(i) A Judicial Appointment

In late 1981, the then Chief Justice, Sir Charles Gray Wanstall, and the Senior Puisne Judge, Mr. Justice Lucas, were due to retire. Politics intervened and the appointment of the new Chief Justice dragged that office into public controversy. By the time this issue arose for consideration at this Inquiry, the Parliamentary Judges Commission of Inquiry had been appointed. Accordingly, the issue was by no means fully investigated and only brief mention of it is appropriate. It should be emphasised that nothing emerged which cast any shadow over any of the judges involved; for example, there was no evidence that any of them was involved in, or promoted, lobbying on his behalf.A number of circumstances seem to have coincided.
The then Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, the Hon. Samuel Sydney Doumany, M.L.A., a member of the Liberal Party, recommended that the late Mr. Justice James Archibald Douglas, the next most senior judge after those retiring, be appointed as Chief Justice. Bjelke-Petersen agreed before this Inquiry that Mr. Justice Douglas had the overwhelming support of his fellow judges, the Bar, and the Attorney-General, and that he was a man of unquestionable ability and integrity. Bjelke-Petersen would not accept Doumany’s recommendation of Mr. Justice Douglas, whom it was rumoured had voted for the Australian Labor Party in a previous State election. Instead he advocated a more junior judge, Mr. Justice Dormer George Andrews, a friend of Lyons, who had discussed the appointment with Bjelke-Petersen. Bjelke-Petersen’s refusal to appoint Mr. Justice Douglas and his nomination of Mr. Justice Andrews met with determined opposition from the Liberal members of his Cabinet. On 12 January, 1982, the matter was resolved when Cabinet unanimously decided that Sir Walter Benjamin Campbell, then a puisne judge of the Supreme Court, be the next Chief Justice. At the same time, Mr. Justice Andrews was appointed Senior Puisne Judge. Liberal Ministers noted their objections to the latter appointment on the Cabinet minute. Superimposed upon the other factors were the influence of Lyons and Bjelke-Petersen’s wish to have his way and not to yield to the junior coalition partner. The respective merits of the prospective appointees and other considerations were subordinated to Bjelke-Petersen’s determination to show his support for Lyons and the appointee whom he desired and that he and his party were pre-eminent in the Government of Queensland.

(ii) The T.A.B. and Rothwells

In August 1983 Lyons was chairman of both the T.A.B. and Rothwells Ltd., the merchant bank. The T.A.B. controlled large funds which, pursuant to its legislation, could be invested upon any security or in any investment approved by the Treasurer. On 19 August 1983, Bjelke-Petersen assumed the Treasury portfolio. Within a month, Lyons, as chairman of the T.A.B., wrote to Bjelke-Petersen as Treasurer, seeking approval for the investment of T.A.B. funds with Rothwells Ltd. as well as other institutions. Two days after the application was sent, Lyons told Bjelke- Petersen in a letter dated 15 September 1983 that he had omitted to mention that he and the T.A.B. deputy chairman were both board members of Rothwells. The letter was seen by the Under Treasurer, Leo Arthur Hielscher, and he noted on it, for the attention of a Treasury official: “Draft reply please. (It would be unwise for this investment to proceed)”. Rothwells made donations to the National Party, including one of $25,000 in October 1983. Lyons probably told the Premier of the donation “because of his knowledge of me and knowing I was on both boards ... it would be more likely that I did”. On 7 November, 1983, Lyons again wrote to Bjelke-Petersen in the terms similar to the original application. Hielscher saw that letter, too, and again noted on it an instruction for the Treasury official: “Urgent. See me please.” About 15 November, 1983, a letter responding to Lyons was drafted by a Treasury official. The draft concluded that the overlapping board memberships raised a potential conflict and that Rothwells should not be authorised a s a T.A.B. investment. However, that draft letter has been ruled through by hand and, on 22 November, Hielscher noted upon it:

“Not signed. The Hon. Premier requires Rothwells to be included in the list of
approved institutions ... ”.

Rothwells Ltd was subsequently approved by the Treasurer as a T.A.B. investment and the T.A.B. invested funds with it. According to Lyons, the approval of Rothwells was sought for “the good of the T.A.B.”. Bjelke-Petersen could recall little of his involvement in the matter.

(iii) Janian-the Southport Private Hospital Proposal

In 1983, Lyons’ family company, F. & H. (No. 8) Pty. Ltd., held a 50% interest in Janian Pty. Ltd., which owned an area of land near the Southport General Hospital. In that year, Janian Pty. Ltd. applied to the Health Department for its approval for the construction of an 80 bed private hospital and nursing home. The application contained little information, although the Health Department was advised that Janian Pty. Ltd. had conducted a survey. The Director General of Health requested the results of the study in order to assess the need for the proposed private hospital and nursing home but received no reply.Later, the Gold Coast City Council approved the rezoning of the land for “Special Purposes”. The likely result was to depreciate its value unless approval was obtained for the proposed private hospital and nursing home, in which case the property would have appreciated very considerably in value. Janian Pty. Ltd. received expressions of interest from potential buyers, and, in 1987, it again applied to the Department of Health for the approval which was required, this time for a 250 bed private hospital. The second application was more detailed. It spoke of permanent employment of 350 people, part-time employment for another 150, and expenditure of a total of $40,000,000. The application stated:

“We have recently completed research into the necessity of such a complex, finding
it of great importance, in fact it is imperative, in our opinion, for an area such
as the Gold Coast ... ”

On 24 February, 1987, the Health Department advised it would undertake an assessment of the proposal and asked for copies of Janian’s “recently completed research”. Lyons’ partner in Janian Pty. Ltd. Responded to the request in a manner which indicated that its research had been limited. “Regarding our recently completed research, it is based mainly upon both my and my company’s judgment. I have been involved in the building and running of private hospitals, especially in New South Wales, over the last 20 years. Over that period we have not only built and sold numerous private hospitals, but also a large number of nursing homes ... during the past few months we have made numerous visits to the Gold Coast to assess its medical requirements ... ” Lyons kept Bjelke-Petersen informed about the proposal. On 3 August, 1987, Cabinet considered the application for the first time, together with three other applications for private hospitals in the Gold Coast area. The then Health Minister, the current Premier, had considered the four applications, and his advice was to reject them all. The Minister justified his opposition to the Janian Pty. Ltd. application on a number of grounds. A Health Department Research and Planning Division analysis showed that none of the hospitals proposed was needed on the Gold Coast; the hospital proposed by Janian Pty. Ltd. would seriously jeopardise the economic viability of two existing private hospitals; and it was believed that Janian Pty. Ltd. only intended to obtain the permit and then sell the land at a profit. Cabinet rejected all four applications. Bjelke Petersen informed Lyons of what the Health Minister had told Cabinet, including his concern that all Janian wished to do was obtain the permit and then sell the land at a profit. At Lyons’ suggestion, his partner in Janian Pty. Ltd. wrote another letter, which disavowed that intention but stated:

“However, should we receive an offer for the project either during its construction
or on or after its construction, we must reserve the right to accept such offer
should we consider it to be in the best interests of our company.”

On 26 October, 1987, the matter was again raised in Cabinet, this time at the request of Bjelke-Petersen, who sought, unsuccessfully, to have the previous decision reversed.

(iv) East-West Airlines

In 1985 East-West Airlines (Operations) Ltd. held a licence issued by the State Commissioner of Transport permitting it to carry passengers and goods by air only between Brisbane and Coolangatta. Stowe was a director of that company and its associates, including the holding company, Griffin Holdings Ltd. in which his family company was a major shareholder. With the intention of extending its limited operations, East-West had made a number of unsuccessful applications to increase its landing rights in Queensland. Its most recent application had been with drawn earlier that year because it considered it futile.In the same period, East-West was seeking to acquire Lindeman Island in order to develop it. Although at that time he had not been formally appointed a director of any company in the group, Lyons requested a map of Lindeman Island from the Department of Lands, Forestry, Mapping and Survey in late November, 1985, and a private firm of mapping consultants was requested to carry out work to produce what was needed at the expense of a company in the Griffin group. On 27 December, 1985, Lyons was appointed chairman of the board of East-West (Queensland) Pty. Ltd., a company associated with East-West (Operations) Ltd. Shortly afterwards, Lyons introduced Stowe to Bjelke-Petersen, and they discussed Stowe’s hopes for expansion in Queensland. Bjelke-Petersen said that he would take up the possibility of a further licence with the then Minister for Transport, Lane, although, as he knew, no application was current. Thereafter, Bjelke-Petersen was kept informed. On 23 January 1986, Lyons was appointed to the board of East-West Airlines (Operations) Ltd., and, on that day, it applied for the issue of a further licence to provide airline services to a number of additional Queensland ports. The application was fairly terse. It was unsupported by economic reports, feasibility studies, environmental assessments, or financial analysis of the applicant or the proposed services. After Bjelke-Petersen had spoken to Lane, an appointment was made for East-West Airline representatives to see the Commissioner for Transport. On 25 January, two days after the application had been lodged, Bjelke-Petersen and Lane issued a press release foreshadowing the granting of the licence. Five days later, on 30 January, the extra licence was granted to East-West (Operations) Ltd., allowing it to
operate between Brisbane, Cairns, Mackay, Mt. Isa, Proserpine, Rockhampton and Townsville. Meanwhile, East-West’s move to acquire Lindeman Island in order to develop it was also proceeding. The proposal would have necessitated the revocation of a declaration of part of the island as a national park.

On 29 January, 1986, East-West entered into a conditional contract to purchase its leases on the island from the State Government Insurance Office (Queensland), and, on 7 February, an application was made for approval of the transfer of the leases. On 27 February, the relevant Minister, the Hon. Peter Richard McKechnie, M.L.A., told Parliament that he proposed to seek the approval of the Governor in Council to the revocation of part of the national park on the Island.There was a public outcry. Bjelke-Petersen supported the proposed development. Lyons said in evidence that he kept Bjelke-Petersen fully informed and that Bjelke-Petersen:

“. . . could see two and a half thousand, two thousand people being employed
there for a period of three years. He also foresaw a very safe seat for the National
Party . . . an extra safe seat for the National Party. It was all very good, but our
President opposed it bitterly”.

Due in part to Sparkes’ opposition, East-West withdraw from its attempt to acquire Lindeman Island, but it had its additional licence for its air service. In May, 1986, another company in the Stowe group, W.R. Carpenter Australia Ltd., lent $600,000 to Lyons’family company, F. & H. (No. 8) Pty. Ltd., on an “unsecured, interest free” basis, repayable on demand, according to the scanty documentation at that time.
Lyons used the money to pay off his bank overdraft and buy shares. He would have had no difficulty in raising such an amount from a bank or other financial institution. Further, the company, F. & H. (No. 8) Pty. Ltd. had substantial assets. The effect of Lyons’ evidence to this Inquiry appeared to be that he did not want to grant any security over any assets of the company or use its money to discharge his personal debts. However, on the face of the company’s transaction with W.R. Carpenter Australia Ltd., he caused it to borrow and did use its money to discharge his personal liability. In July that year, East-West began its first service between Cairns and Brisbane, and offered discounts to aged pensioners and young people. In January, 1987, Lyons, his wife and daughter, Bjelke-Petersen’s son, John, who lives on the “Ten Mile”, and Lewis flew to Western Australia in Stowe’s private jet to view the America’s Cup yacht races. An English accountant, Mr. John Wosner, a member of the firm Pannell Kerr Forster, the auditor of the companies in the Stowe group, was also there. Lyons knew Wosner very well, he said. In his evidence to this Inquiry, Lyons said that he asked Wosner whether he could arrange a substitute loan to enable W.R. Carpenter Australia Ltd. to be repaid by July, 1987. He said that he told Wosner that he needed approximately $720,000.00, and that Wosner did ,not ask for details of the exact amount required, a statement of Lyons’ assets and liabilities, or details of any security which might be provided for the loan. Later that year, one of the major airlines acquired East-West (Operations) Ltd. The price paid reflected its
increased competitive capacity due to its additional licence. On 9 July, 1987, the secretary to W.R. Carpenter Australia Ltd. requested Lyons to confirm with its auditors, Pannell Kerr Forster, that the terms of the loan from W.R. Carpenter Australia Ltd. to F. & H. (No. 8) Pty. Ltd. required repayment within 12 months from the date of the loan with interest at 14.75% per annum and that the total amount outstanding as at 20 June 1987 was slightly in excess of $700,000. Less than a week later, an officer of Lyons’ Brisbane bank wrote to its London associate stating that Wosner would be calling to discuss the transfer of approximately A$750,000 to the Brisbane bank account of F. & H. (No. 8) Pty. Ltd.A few days later the arrangement changed. Wosner was to deposit the money in the bank in London in the
name of F. & H. (No. 8) Pty. Ltd. and the interest payable on the deposit was to be credited to the Brisbane bank account of that company, which would borrow an equivalent amount in Brisbane on the security of the deposit in its name in London and pay interest in Brisbane on the moneys which it borrowed there.

The interest differential was less than 1%. There was never any suggestion that Lyons or F. & H. (No. 8) Pty. Ltd. would pay interest to the person or company which made the deposit in the name of F. & H. (No. 8) Pty. Ltd. in the London bank. Effectively, the transaction appeared to involve a borrowing by F. & H. (No. 8) Pty. Ltd. of over $700,000 at an interest rate of less than 1%. The Brisbane end of the transaction had been concluded by 24 July. F. & H. (No. 8) Pty. Ltd. had available approximately A$750,000 on the security of a lien and charge over the deposit which had been or was to be made in its name in London. Part of the money was used to repay the original loan to W.R. Carpenter Australia Ltd. At about that time, Lyons and F. & H. (No. 8) Pty. Ltd. had approximately $575,000 of their own money on deposit with their Brisbane bank. On 26 July, 1987, Lyons left Australia for London. Thereafter, the overseas component of the arrangement changed again. The sum of approximately A$750,000 was not deposited in a London bank in the name of F. & H. (No. 8) Pty. Ltd. but in Guernsey in the Channel Islands in the name of a company with which Lyons had no connection, Drama Lease Ltd., which had to undertake to the bank that it would not deal with the funds deposited without the bank‘s consent. On 5 August, 1987, the sum of $720,000 was deposited in the name of Drama Lease Ltd. in the bank in Guernsey for a fixed term of 12 months, and, on 24 August, the bank received a form of assignment signed by Wosner on behalf of Drama Lease Ltd. which provided that the sum deposited was to be held by the bank to the order of the bank in Brisbane as security for the repayment of all sums advanced by it to F. &H. (No. 8) Pty. Ltd.The security given to Drama Lease Ltd. was a letter from Lyons to Wosner while Lyons was in London,which was written out in Lyons’ hand on his Brisbane letterhead in the following terms:

“Claridges Hotel, London, 1.8.87,
Mr J. Wosner,
Pannell Kerr Forster,
Chartered Accountants,
Dear Mr Wosner,
Re Drama Lease Pty. Ltd. and F. & H. (8) Pty. Ltd.
To secure the supporting of the $720,000.00 loan by the A.N.Z. Bank, Brisbane,
Australia to F. & H. (8) Pty. Ltd. of Brisbane, Australia, I hereby undertake to
have F. & H. extinguish the loan from the A.N.Z. Bank Brisbane as soon as the
1.5 acre property situate between Nerang and Cougall Street, Southport, Queensland,
is sold which should be within two years. It is also agreed F. & H. will pay
accrued interest to Drama Lease Pty. Ltd. at the same time as the debt to the
A.N.Z. is extinguished. The property to be sold is worth at least $4 million. ...”

On 22 October, 1987, Lyons became a director of Griffin Holdings Ltd. Lyons told this Inquiry that Wosner has instructions not to disclose the identity of the ultimate source of the funds deposited in the name of Drama Lease Ltd., and swore that he had no knowledge of that matter himself. Although he was unable to be compelled to attend to give evidence, Wosner stated on 22 November, 1988, that his firm, Pannell Kerr Forster, acted on behalf of several clients, including Drama Lease Ltd., in the management of investment funds. He also stated:

“I also confirm that the investments of Drama Lease Limited are not pledged as
security and that the company’s officers are at liberty to reinvest their funds. The
company has no legal responsibility for any liabilities of F. & H. (No.8) Pty. Ltd..”

Lyons expressed surprise at what Wosner had said. Although the deposit in the Guernsey bank was made only for a period of 12 months from August 1987, the situation was unchanged when Lyons gave evidence at a public sittings of this Inquiry late in 1988. F. & H. (No. 8) Pty. Ltd. continued to have the use of over $700,000 provided by an unknown stranger and involving F. & H. (No. 8) Pty. Ltd. in only a very small liability for interest to its bank.

Friday, 26 July 2013

New affordable housing in Logan

Media Release.

A new affordable housing development was officially opened in Logan Central today, giving the growing number of low income retirees, newly-arrived migrants and local hospital workers access to more housing options. The Tallowwood on North complex was partly funded by the Federal Government’s Liveable Cities program and is an innovative response to the region’s housing needs, incorporating five star energy efficient design, appropriate building orientation, insulation, cross ventilation and shading.
Located less than 5 minutes’ walk north of the Woodridge Train Station and close to  local shopping facilities and schools, the new development will provide great amenity and convenience to future tenants.
Logan has a high concentration of social housing built in the late 1960s and providing new, high quality affordable housing will improve the city’s capacity to meet its residents’ needs and quality of life.
This project is part of a longer term plan to rejuvenate Logan Central by attracting a wider range of affordable housing options,  jobs, public transport, shops and recreational activities.
The six unit complex consists of 2 one bedroom units, 3 two bedroom units, and 1 three bedroom unit.
This exciting $1.4 million development was made possible through a partnership between the Federal Labor Government, Horizon Housing and Logan City Council.
Federal Labor has made unprecedented investments to help make housing more affordable.

We have already delivered 21,000 new social housing homes and refurbished a further  80,000.  Another 50,000 homes will be built before June 2016 under Federal Labor’s National Rental Affordability Scheme.

Anthony Albanese Deputy Prime Minister, Subjects: Affordable housing development; Queensland infrastructure projects; Cross River Rail; Asylum seeker policy; Second Sydney airport

Transcript of doorstop interview – Logan, QLD

ANTHONY ALBANESE:  I’m joined by Jim Chalmers, who is the Labor candidate for Rankin, here at the opening of an affordable housing project in Logan Central.
This is a part of Federal Labor’s Liveable Cities program. That’s a program that acknowledges that we need to improve the productivity, sustainability and liveability of our major cities right around Australia.
Here in Queensland, particularly south-east Queensland, projects such as this and the Pacific Motorway, the Ipswich Motorway – and of course our commitment to the next section of the Ipswich Motorway – to the Gateway Motorway north and the Cross River Rail project, underline Federal Labor’s commitment to improving productivity and lifestyle here in Brisbane.
The Cross River Rail project in particular is a vital project. It has been agreed to by Federal and State Governments.
We agreed to both put in $715 million and then make available an availability payment on a 50-50 basis with private sector funding to attract superannuation funds.
What we know is that Brisbane will grind to a halt in terms of urban congestion in 2016. We know that because state government reports tell us that’s the case.
And yet, in spite of the fact that the Queensland Government have been given everything they have asked for with this project, it’s listed on the Infrastructure Australia national priority list as number one, and it will help – not just people in Brisbane – but people on the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, the Queensland Government has stalled at the barrier when it comes to supporting this vital project.
So I’d say to the Queensland Government, it’s time to put politics aside. When politics are put aside, different levels of government can achieve good outcomes.
That’s what we see here with this small project that has made a big difference. One block, taken, renovated with a DA through in three weeks, with an affordable housing project behind me that shows that you can have good quality as well as affordable housing to help renew communities such as here in Logan Central.
So it’s an exciting approach that the council has led that the Federal Government has been happy to be in partnership with.
We want to partner with local and state governments right around the country to improve the productivity, sustainability and liveability of our cities – whether it be small projects or whether it be major public transport projects.
And we know that Tony Abbott has said that under his government, if he is to be elected later this year, there will be no funding for any public transport projects ever under his government.
We are already investing in the Gold Coast Rapid Transit System. We are already investing in the Moreton Bay Regional Rail Link. And we want to partner with Queensland on Cross River Rail.
QUESTION: The Queensland Minister says he is ready to sign up to a 50-50 deal as soon as it’s on the table. Why hasn’t there been an agreement?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: He’s got it. He has got everything that he asked for and frankly this is nonsense.
I’ve released the correspondence whereby he asked for the Cross River Rail project to be treated the same as funding for the Bruce Highway, the same as funding for any other infrastructure project.
If he is consistent, and he acknowledged this I understand in estimates in the Queensland Parliament, he will say that the Bruce Highway funding isn’t 80-20, it’s only 40 per cent if he’s going to just cut in half the funding.
It’s embarrassing. I can understand Mr Emerson’s embarrassment having asked for a range of agreements to be included on the Cross River Rail project, having a Federal Government that has said yes to everything that was asked for, he then at the very last minute walked away from the project.
This is a project in which we had actually even agreed the timing and the details of the announcement in Budget week.
QUESTION: Minister, when does the Government believe the asylum boats will actually slow down coming into Australia? Will it be weeks, will it be months?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: We said very clearly when we announced this policy that you wouldn’t change things immediately. That there would be ups and downs, there would be difficulties, that the people smugglers would test our resolve.
What we didn’t anticipate is Tony Abbott sending messages to the people smugglers to try and undermine the strategy.
It really is quite extraordinary that after coming out to welcome the agreement on the day that it was announced, he has done since then everything he can to undermine the agreement between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Even to the point whereby we’ve had attempts at verballing Papua New Guinea, just as we saw attempts at verballing Indonesia.
It is beyond me how the alternative government thinks it will be able to negotiate with our nearest and most important neighbours.
QUESTION: If that is the case, then we’re not likely to see a slowdown in boats before the election, and this mean it’s a blow to the government and its policies.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: This isn’t about politics. This is about policy. This is about stopping people drowning at sea. This is about getting a solution – a solution that is not an easy one.
A solution however that does break the people smugglers’ model. We know that already people are saying that one, they are not getting on boats, that they are joining the UN processes.
We know also that there are people smugglers who are saying that they have been put out of business. That they have made a lot of money but the business model is over.
And the message is very clear: if you come to Australia by boat without a visa, you will not be settled in Australia. You will be treated under the UN Convention in an appropriate way under the UN processes, but you will not be settled in Australia.
What that does is it breaks the model. That’s what we need to do. Not come up with simple three word slogans, and we had another three word slogan from Tony Abbott yesterday with a change from a two-star to a three-star person in charge of our border command somehow making a huge difference.
That has already been rejected by senior retired defence personnel.
What we have is a plan that will work. It’s about time that Tony Abbott stopped playing politics and acted in the national interest.
QUESTION: You are committed to building a second airport in Sydney. Where will that airport be built?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: We have proper processes to determine those issues. Those issues are not determined politically. They are determined by those proper processes.
We’ve had a joint Federal-State Government review in terms of the need for a second Sydney airport. What that found is that for future jobs, economic growth and for Sydney’s position as a global city into the future, we do need a second airport.
QUESTION: If you can’t say where it is going to be built, how can you guarantee it is going to be built, or started within the three-year time frame you promised?
ANTHONY ALBANESE:  What I’ve said is very clear. Have a look at what I said, not what you say I’ve said.
What I have said is that it would be my intention to want to see construction start on a second airport during the next term. In order for that to happen there is a range of processes that need to be concluded.
The first is the firm identification of a site. The second is, because of the former government’s legislation which gave a right of refusal – not a right of veto but a right of refusal – to the existing owners of Sydney Airport, there is a notification period that has to be given to them.
And what it also requires is bipartisan support. That’s why we need to remove politics from this issue, because politics has got in the way in the past.
QUESTION:  Concerns about the militarisation of your management of the asylum seeker influx – putting aside the Opposition’s plan – how do you respond to that issue? What is the military’s role within the asylum seeker debate?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: When we have had issues of people seeking to come to Australia, without a visa, on a boat, the military have been involved.
Naval personnel have been involved too many times in recent days and weeks. And what we’ve seen when you have a tragedy at sea, you have Naval involvement and involvement of Customs personnel, involvement of personnel from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
What we need to do here is to stop people risking their lives by getting on boats. That’s what we need to do; to have orderly processes.
My ideal is that no one comes on a boat to Australia without a visa, therefore no one gets sent to Papua New Guinea for processing and settlement, and Australia takes an increased number of refugees. We now take 20,000, up from 13,750, we can take more, and we have flagged that we would consider increasing that up to 27,000, which was the number recommended by the Houston panel.
Australia is a generous country. We can have good outcomes for refugees by taking people in an orderly way in which they do not have to risk their lives at sea.
And in an orderly way that ensures that whether you are in a camp in Indonesia, whether you are in a camp in Africa, or whether you are someone who is fleeing the very real conflict and tragedies that we see being played out in Syria at the moment, you have an opportunity for a safe-haven here in Australia.
It’s not either or. There is nothing compassionate about allowing a policy to continue that is seeing the tragedies that we have seen. There is nothing compassionate either about playing politics with this issue as we’ve seen Tony Abbott do.
We have the Papua New Guinea Government saying they are in favour of this agreement, indeed that they proposed to Australia this agreement. They are saying yes, Tony Abbott says no to Papua New Guinea.
The Indonesian Government have said very clearly a number of times they will not accept the so-called tow-back policy. It will simply not work. And yet Tony Abbott insists that their views are irrelevant to the implementation of that policy, in spite of the fact that we know from experience and from the experts that it simply won’t work.
What we need to do is move beyond politics on this issue.
Thanks very much.

Seeney Must Explain Hockey’s Claim

Media Release.

Deputy Opposition leader Tim Mulherin  says Acting Treasurer Jeff Seeney must immediately rule out the use of Queensland Government resources to cost federal Coalition election policies.

“On ABC radio today the federal Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey suggested the resources of Liberal or LNP state governments are being used by the federal Coalition to cost its election promises,” Mr Mulherin said.

“Mr Seeney must immediately explain exactly what use Mr Hockey and the federal Coalition parties have been making of taxpayer-funded resources in the state government."

“As Acting Treasurer Mr Seeney  must explain if Treasurer Tim Nicholls has been allowing state resources to be used as Mr Hockey suggests."

“Queensland Treasury and other departments should not be subsidising the federal Liberal and National Parties."

“Taxpayers deserve to know if that has happened on Mr Nicholls’s watch or is still happening under Mr Seeney as Acting Treasurer."

“If it has been happening then the Premier needs to outline what action he plans against Mr Nicholls or Mr Seeney,” Mr Mulherin said.

Extract of comments by Joe Hockey from today’s AM program on costing election promises:

NAOMI WOODLEY: So will you rely on the independent pre-election update issued by Treasury?

JOE HOCKEY: We are using the Parliamentary Budget Office, we are using State Government colleagues, we are using independent advisors, we have a range of different sources…….

Former Defence chief sceptical of Coalition's plan to use military commander to combat people smugglers

Extract from ABC News Website:

Updated 5 hours 28 minutes ago

Former Defence Force chief Chris Barrie does not think the Coalition's plan to use a military commander to combat people smuggling will make much more than an "incremental" difference.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott yesterday released the Operation Sovereign Borders plan, which would see a senior military officer put in charge of securing Australia's borders.
The three-star commander would have the powers to bypass normal Defence command structures, and would report directly to the immigration minister.
But Mr Barrie says a two-star admiral already coordinates border protection, and the Coalition's policy amounts to little more than a pay rise.
"We're going to pay someone a little bit more to do a similar job. It doesn't sound to me like a way of solving this problem," he told PM.
"How will a three-star appointment of this nature improve things when we've got a two-star admiral already assigned in border protection command, and a different agency and slightly different responsibilities?

Mr Barrie says the Coalition's policy will also involve the Australian Federal Police, but the border control response "is not going to change because we've change things in Canberra".
"This is all happening out near Christmas Island, it's not happening in Canberra."
"Looking at trying to resolve this problem by improving coordination in Canberra might make an incremental difference, but I don't think it's going to make a huge difference - certainly not along the lines which are outlined in the policy statement that has been issued."
Australian Defence Association executive director Neil James has also questioned the plan.

He says there are concerns about putting the military at the forefront of a civil law enforcement issue.
"We tend to use the military for short-tem help to the government in emergencies," he said.
"Whether this is an emergency or not is a party political dispute, we're not going to get involved in it, but even if it was an emergency you would only use a military officer for the shortest term possible, not on a permanent basis."
Mr James says many retired senior military officers are "puzzled" by the suggestion of appointing a military commander for the Coalition's taskforce.
"I think the plan is mostly workable but there are bits that haven't been thought through well enough," he said.
"It's certainly a national security problem - whether it's a Defence problem is a separate argument," he said.

Where do the parties stand on asylum seekers?

"Whether it's an emergency is also, to a large extent, a party political argument and as a bipartisan organisation, we are not going to say one way or the other.
"It's an unusual situation the country is facing at the moment."
Mr James says the requirement that the military commander be of a three-star rank would not be possible because there are only six people who fit that profile in Australia and they are all "very busy".

"The heads of the Navy, Army and Air Force and two other people [have a three-star rank]. It would have to be someone else," he said.