Inside the system

Newman’s G20 police state, VC’s collusion with police at Sydney Uni, Taxpayer junkets, Australia’s role in Pinochet coup and BHP boss’s $700,000 payout to move house

Cracking bones then cracking out the milkshakes at Sydney Uni strikes

Emails obtained under freedom of information laws have exposed beyond all doubt that the University of Sydney worked hand in glove with police to try to break the inspiring wave of strikes at the university. During the seven days of strike action, cops brutalised staff and students on the pickets—a leg was broken, students were strangled and a staff member suffered internal bleeding.

Previously the Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence tried to give the impression that police and management were acting independently, saying police “have the authority to act as appropriate to deal with issues of public safety without any invitation”. He even said, “I deeply regret that anyone was injured”. But the leaked emails show the opposite.

In an email to Superintendent Simon Hardman of Newtown Local Area Command, after the May 14 strike where a student’s leg was broken, Morgan Andrews, Manager of Campus Security, actually says “[w]e have received another note of thanks from the VC who also asked that we re-lay [sic] on to you and your team our thanks for all your support during these events”, “[p]ersonally, let me know when you want a milkshake.”

At our expense: MPs taxpayer-funded junkets

It started with the revelation that Coalition MPs George Brandis and Barnaby Joyce had used taxpayer money to attend the wedding of their racist, shock jock friend, Michael Smith. Then it was found Tony Abbott used $9400 of taxpayer money in travel to promote his book, Battlelines, in 2009. He has also paid back $1065 he claimed to go to Liberal hack Sophie Mirabella’s wedding seven years ago.

Now, Fairfax has shown that three Coalition MPs, Julie Bishop, Barnaby Joyce and Teresa Gambaro, claimed expenses for attending a junket with mining magnet Gina Rinehart in India: a lavish wedding of her business partner’s granddaughter. All up they charged taxpayers $12,000 for their return flights (Gina covered the other leg). They chalked it up as a “study tour”.

Brandis is also in hotwater for spending $13,000 of taxpayer dollars on his eclectic book collection. The rorts are not confined to one side of parliament—Julia Gillard was also accused of using her private jet and taxpayer funded cars for personal use. The embarrassment has meant many MPs have now paid back their expenses.

Liberal Malcolm Turnbull’s explanation was that the rules for expenses are “ambiguous”.

“Wrongful detention” payouts hit $21 million

Documents released under freedom of information show that the Immigration Department has been wrongfully detaining people on a massive scale. Since financial year 2000-01 there have been 299 wrongful detention claims and compensation payouts have reached $21 million. Recognised refugees with security clearance have been left to rot for up to 22 months in detention for no reason. There has been 15-20 cases of negligence or breach of duty of care every year.

Immigration Officers have ignored professional advice that detainees either need to be released or receive medical or psychiatric treatment. An Immigration spokesperson responded to the revelations by saying the department was “doing an excellent job”.

Campbell Newman’s G20 police state

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman plans to play despot for the G20 Summit in Brisbane in 2014. Under the proposed G20 Safety and Security Bill cops will get carte blanche, being granted draconian emergency powers. Anyone “suspected” of planning to disrupt the event can be locked up without bail for a week and cops can publicly broadcast the names and photos of anyone they arbitrarily decide to blacklist from entering the city.

Inside the Brisbane City “exclusion zone” itself, which surrounds the Convention Centre, police will have the power to strip search. On the spot fines for public order offences will be $11,000.
Up to 5000 officers, 1500 Queensland, interstate and overseas “security specialists”, the army and 12 sniper teams will be mobilised to turn Brisbane into a mini police state, at a cost of $370 million. There will also be a bizarre list of “prohibited items” that includes baked beans, surfboards, reptiles and insects or “other animals capable of causing physical harm”.

$700,000 to move house for BHP boss

BHP’S NEW boss Andrew McKenzie was spared no expense when he moved from London to Melbourne this year. The company paid him an unbelievable $700,000 relocation allowance on top of his U.S $12.7 million pay packet. The Man With A Van removal company said they could move 1000 of his employees for the same price. McKenzie has brought the axe down on BHP employees in Queensland and WA this year, citing “unnecessary expenditure”.

Details of Australian role in Pinochet coup still secret

2013 MARKS 40 years since the democratically elected left-wing Allende government of Chile was overthrown by a military coup launched by General Augusto Pinochet on September 11, 1973. CIA involvement in the coup is well known. It is less widely known that they enlisted the help of Australia. By 1972 there were two officers from ASIS, Australia’s overseas intelligence agency, based in Santiago, Chile’s capital, working with agents to relay information to Washington.

At the time Labor’s Gough Whitlam, who is now remembered for his progressive reforms, was Prime Minister. In 1977 he told parliament: “I cannot deny it … Australian intelligence personnel were working as proxies of the CIA in destabilising the government of Chile.”

According to Whitlam’s memoirs he ordered the officers out as soon as he was told, but a memo published by then ASIS chief Bill Robertson says Whitlam was given a submission to withdraw the men and never signed it. Until classified government documents are released we will never know.


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