Inside the system

Corruption case a national embarrassment says DFAT

WikiLeaks has exposed a blanket censorship order which bans the Australian media from reporting key details in Australia’s largest financial corruption case. The order bans the media from naming people who received or tried to secure bribes, including current and former heads of state of Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and numerous other senior officials.

The court order was granted in June on “national security grounds” to “prevent damage to Australia’s international relations” following a request from the government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and is punishable by imprisonment. But it back-fired following the exposure by WikiLeaks, with overseas media in the countries where the unidentifiable figures live reporting widely on the allegations.

Enraged, Indonesia’s outgoing President Yudhoyono demanded “to hear directly from Australia” and said there should be no “cover up”. In response the Australian government rushed out a remarkable statement saying that the “Indonesian President and the former president are not the subject” of the court proceedings that the Australian media are otherwise forbidden from reporting.

The case itself is related to a bribery scandal of epic proportions that has so far seen seven executives arrested and charged. All seven are linked to the Reserve Bank of Australia.

They were involved in paying multi-million dollar bribes to high level officials in order to secure contracts for the production of Australian style polymer bank-notes in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Zionist killers escape Libs’ anti-terror campaign

The Australian government is whipping up hysteria about the threat of would-be Jihadists leaving the country for war-zones in Iraq and Syria. New powers to restrict travel, cancel passports and extend surveillance are all being proposed as the solution to what Attorney-General George Brandis has described “wicked and evil” terrorist recruitment.

But no such fear campaign is being waged about Australians leaving the country to fight for Israel. Two Australian men have already been injured fighting as part of the Israeli military in the latest onslaught against Gaza.

Human Rights Watch has reported that during the current attack Israeli troops have knowingly murdered unarmed civilians, including children, in what are nothing less than war crimes.

Despite this, the Department of Foreign Affairs doesn’t even keep figures on how many Australian citizens have gone to Israel to fight.

Charges over Frances Abbott scholarship leak help hide corruption

A former librarian at Sydney Design School has been charged and threatened with jail time after allegedly accessing documents relating to Tony Abbott’s daughter Frances Abbott. The news caused a scandal when it reached the media.

Ms Abbott received a rare $60,636 scholarship to the Whitehouse Institute of Design. At the time the Institute was chaired by Les Taylor, a personal friend of the Abbotts and Liberal Party donor.

New Matilda has reported that the Institute pursued Ms Abbott for the award enthusiastically, contacting her four times as well as waiving her fees for a Masters Degree.

It’s no surprise that Tony Abbott and his mates want to keep their culture of corruption and personal favours covered up. But we shouldn’t let them get away with it.

Detroit Mayor shuts off water supply

Detroit’s Mayor has begun shutting off the water supply to citizens owing over $150 or over 60 days behind in payments. Between 17,000 and 18,000 residents have already been shut off. The aggressive actions are part of a plan to recover $89 million in overdue bills in a city declared bankrupt after the collapse of the once-booming auto industry. In response to outrage, the city has halted further disconnections until 25 August.

But there is anger over the decision to target residential properties, where many people already live in poverty, ahead of the 21,000 business, schools and non-residential properties also behind on their bills.

Three UN experts have said the shut-off could constitute a violation of the human right to water.

In the richest country in the world, this is how the government treats its own people.

Budget cuts leave firies with no truck as hostel burns

Four full-time firefighters at Concord Fire Station in Sydney were left unable to respond to a blaze just two kilometres away because their fire-truck had been “moved-up” to cover a shortage elsewhere. The truck was shifted as part of a cost-cutting policy introduced by the NSW Liberal government.

Four people had to be rescued from a three storey boarding house as part of the operation, but a truck had to be brought in from Ashfield, almost twice as far away as the Concord station. NSW Fire and Rescue are facing tens of millions in budget cuts after being demoted from the status of a “frontline service” by the NSW Liberals.

Victorian education bosses wield axe and pocket millions in bonuses

Over the past two years Education Department Executives in Victoria have been stuffing their pockets with millions in bonuses while jobs are slashed and school programs are cut.

Documents obtained under freedom of information laws show that senior department staff received bonuses totalling $2.1 million between 2011 and 2013 and spent millions more on expenses, meals and overseas travel.

Six hundred jobs were cut across the Education Department in the same period. It must be tough work handing down all those job cuts.

Research and writing by Adam Adelpour


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