Are Australian Governments and Staff Overpaid?

An article which came to my notice today!

(Thanks to the sender)

Adam Creighton THE AUSTRALIAN NEWS is an award-winning economics journalist with a special interest in tax and financial policy.

He spent most of 2016 at the Wall Street Journal in Washington DC.

He won the Citi Journalism Award for Excellence in 2015, and was runner up in the internationally recognised Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2014

Perhaps the government wouldn’t need to crack down on sexual relations between politicians and their staff if there weren’t so many well-kept staff. The Barnaby Joyce saga has awkwardly revealed how the number and pay of political staff is out of control.

Vikki Campion was just one of 155 senior political advisers employed by the Turnbull government last year. Surprised journalists reported her salary of “up to $191,000” for her digital and social media strategy role. That’s actually a considerable understatement.

Such advisers receive a “private-plated vehicle” allowance of $24,600 and “parliamentary staff allowance” of $31,600 too. So the correct figure for senior advisers is a salary of up to $247,000 a year, excluding travel allowance of course, which for a non-­Canberra-based adviser is about $18,000 (untaxed). Then there’s 15.4 per cent superannuation.

The Labor opposition and Greens have about 26 senior advisers as well, suggesting taxpayers have to pony up about $45 million a year for senior political advice alone. It’s the tip of the iceberg. All up there are about 540 advisers spread across the government (442), opposition (95), and other minor parties. These higher paid roles (all six figures) come on top of the four electorate staff each MP and senator receives.

In 2000 the Howard government had 345 advisers, according to the Parliamentary Library, suggesting growth of about 30 per cent. Australian federal politicians had no staff until 1944, when they were allowed a typist. Crossbenchers get advisers now. Last year they each enjoyed three on top of their electorate staff.

Salaries aren’t the whole story, of course. The Australian reported last year that airfares, taxis and untaxed “travel allowance” for the Prime Minister’s 50-odd ministerial staff exceeded $2.13m last financial year or $5840 a day, about 87 per cent higher than Tony Abbott’s staff spent two years earlier. The same documents obtained under freedom-of-­information laws also showed the travel costs of the Opposition Leader’s 35-strong team had increased by 66 per cent to $2.34m, or $6,420.00 a day, over the same period.

Cost isn’t a big theme in Canberra, where even the taxis double the fare if they are carrying two or more passengers. And why not? As if anyone is using their own money!

In 2013, the last year the government published the aggregate figures, the total cost for advisers and electorate staff came to $230m. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest it’s above $300m. The Australian has repeatedly tried to obtain the latest figures.

Similar problems emerge in state governments, egregiously in South Australia, where Labor Premier Jay Weatherill had more than 43 full-time personal staff (not far off the PM), according to the government gazette, including 17 media advisers earning between $115,000 and $157,000 a year.

Ministers and politicians clearly need staff, and quite a few more than a generation ago, given the demands of media. But the question has to be asked whether the numbers and pay have become excessive, and potentially corrosive. If the pay is so good, why risk prosecuting change in the public interest? The highest priority becomes keeping one’s job.

Even ministers’ receptionists now earn up to $100,000 In political la-la land that’s considered a low salary, but it also happens to be 40 per cent higher than median full-time earnings in Australia. British and US political advisers are routinely shocked by the remarkably plush conditions of Australia’s political class.

In Britain only a handful of advisers earns more than 100,000 pounds a year, and there are far fewer of them. The British government employed 82 “special advisers” (32 in Prime Minister Theresa May’s ­office) in 2016; cabinet ministers were allowed a maximum of two. Cabinet ministers in Australia have between 12 and 20 each.

Some allowance needs to be made for the greater proximity of ministers to their departments in Britain. As “Yes, Minister” viewers well know, Sir Humphrey Appleby was just down the hall. In Canberra, ministers have their offices in the parliament, far away from their public servants down the hill.

Even so, it’s not clear the quantum spent on political advice would pass a cost-benefit test. The federal government has more than 150,000 public servants, some of whom are on eye-popping pay deals, to administer policy and provide advice.

We’ll never know how much worse the Nationals’ social and digital media strategy would have been without Campion’s efforts. But even if it were substantially worse, should taxpayers be paying for this anyway? To the extent many staffers are politicians in waiting (just look at the career history of so many MPs), the public is forced to pay costs that should really be borne by political parties themselves.

No one doubts many staff work long hours (I know, I used to be one), but that doesn’t mean the work has to be done in the first place, or paid for by taxpayers. The fact roles can be created, abolished and shifted so easily, as was Campion’s, should be a red flag in any audit.

Nothing much is likely to change. Politicians are reluctant to talk about this because both sides benefit so much. The real power of politicians, after all, is the power of appointment. The more appointments, the more power.

But there are some obvious places to make savings, and boost the public’s respect for the political class. For instance, must staff (and politicians) fly business class for the short flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra? Or why not run a bus between Canberra airport and the parliament, saving many millions a year in taxi fares? The absurdity of separate vehicles and “parliamentary” allowances should be incorporated into salaries to make pay scales clearer.

A future government should also make a hard decision about whether having political advisers in their 20s earning more than some GPs is in line with community standards.

Adam Creighton

Does this not make one think about the homeless, student loans, understaffed hospitals, inadequate education facilities etc., etc.


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Why I Will Not Be Vaccinating My Children

Vaccine criticizers, especially against mandatory vaccinations, exist in huge numbers.
For valid scientific reasons.

Team Free Will

1. The evidence that vaccines cause harm is massive. I highly recommend Miller’s Review of Critical Vaccine Studies by Neil Z. Miller. Dr. John Bergman’s vaccine talks (also here and here) on YouTube also go over portions of the research.

2. The vaccine companies are protected by the government from having to pay for the harm they cause. If you or your child is harmed by a vaccine, it is impossible to sue the corporation that produced it and make them financially responsible for their actions. The vaccine companies are no longer accountable for the harm they cause, and consequently, since this law has been in place, the production of vaccines has exploded. This is an artificial protection that allows medical products that cause so much harm they would not be financially viable in the free market to be administered to hundreds of millions of people. I recommend reading…

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Is False-Flag Attack On US Navy Ship Next?

An interesting opinion and information post.
This creates a picture of a probable reality, given the known history mentioned.


by Nick, via The Saker, April 23, 2018

The USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group left the east coast Naval Station Norfolk, VA on 11th April.

The aircraft carrier is accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy, the guided-missile destroyers USS Burke, Bulkeley, Forest Sherman and Farragut, and the destroyers USS Jason and The Sullivans. The strike group carries 6,500 sailors and Carrier Air Wing One.

Recent announcements about Russia’s hypersonic Kinzhal (‘Dagger’) missile system having made these vessels effectively obsolete, this means that the ships and their crews are essentially being sailed into a bloody scrapyard.

Even without the recent upgrading of the Kinzhal system, the experience of the British fleet in the Falklands conflict illustrates the vulnerability of warships to low-flying missiles. In addition to the sinking of the HMS Sheffield and Sir Galahad, virtually every British ship was hit by at least one of Argentinian’s…

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Australia’s Place in the New World Order | Part I

A powerful Australian alternative media force.


Australia is a key part of the New World Order plan. Photo: SMPH

The world is changing, and is changing fast. A group of international business elites with oligarchic origins continue to manipulate society in hopes of transforming the world in to a vision from Orwell’s dystopia – with Australia seemingly positioned as test dummies for numerous aspects of this system.

In the following piece, Ethan Nash explores Australia’s modern place in this unfolding plan, including the rapid expansion of intelligence communities in the last decade, advancements in smart technology used to develop the concepts and systems involved, and the continued suppression of free speech with topics such as vaccinations and political correctness.


The Australian intelligence community has been well-established over the course of the 20th century and has woven itself into the fabric of Australian society since advancements in modern technology during World War II.


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Sibel Edmonds: The Fog of War – Syria & More

Smart Lady !!!!

(with apologies for the self and program promotion, it gets a bit OTT)

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NASA’s top climate science modeler said…

There is a need to promote this post. A need for the public to be aware of the unscientific bases supporting the unsupportable claims from the top drivers of pseudo science that still is grimly clung to by political agenda mongols.
All their predictions are now shown to be incorrect, yet they still somehow have respect.


On June 24, 2008, Associated Press (AP) and the channels that distribute AP reported that Dr. James Hansen, NASA’s chief climate modelling expert, told Congress, “We’re toast if we don’t get on a different path.”  And, “This is the last chance.” And, “The thing that I think is the most important is to block coal-fired power plants.”

“We see a tipping point occurring right before our eyes,” Hansen told AP.  “The Arctic is the tipping point and it’s occurring exactly the way we said it would,” he said.

“Hansen, echoing work by other scientists,  said that in five to 10 years, the Arctic will be free of ice in summer.”

U.S. Senator Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts (a U.S. Representative in 2008) and head of the committee that heard Dr. Hansen’s testimony, added, “Dr. Hansen was right. Twenty years later, we recognize him as a climate prophet.”

As I write…

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Aussie PM: Coal to Hydrogen Plant Part of the Seamless Transition to Clean Energy

Would be interesting to see the detailed financials. Reading the already many comments, many important factors need to be assessed.
Regarding the costs, Japan receives the energy output but at what costs and benefits to whom?

CO2 generation, apparently the only ‘by-product’, is of course some sort of dilemma, but only if you believe the pseudo science of the alarmists. It might even be welcome if, as some believe, we are entering a little ice age period. and then, only if atmospheric CO2 actually does make a difference!
Hopefully, this energy production will have less of the subsidization required for solar and wind energies.

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Geoff Sherrington – Coal is being rehabilitated as an essential component of the clean energy future.

World-first coal to hydrogen plant trial launched in Victoria

ABC Gippsland By Kellie Lazzaro
Updated Thu at 2:03pm

A world-first trial to use brown coal to make hydrogen has been launched in Victoria’s east as a pilot ‘clean energy’ project that is expected to create 400 jobs — but critics and coal industry experts alike said new measures will be needed to tackle the carbon emissions generated.

A demonstration plant will be built in the Latrobe Valley as part of the $496 million project to develop technology to produce hydrogen from the region’s vast reserves of coal.

The hydrogen would be shipped from the Port of Hastings to Japan under the deal with Kawasaki Heavy Industries, J-Power, Iwatani Corporation, Marubeni and the Japanese Government.

The Federal and Victorian…

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The Path to War ( Courtesy – RT)

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Man’s Inhumanity to Man – Syria Attacks are Potential Trigger to WW III

Citizens Electoral Council of Australia

Media Release Friday, 13 April 2018

Provides two plausible and convincing articles, lengthy but informative, that should be compulsory reading for Australian citizens.

A revelation of “False-Flags”, Lies and Blatant Warmongering.

My emphases in blue!


Australian Alert Service   11 April 2018  Vol. 20 No. 15

Will Trump start WWIII over the least plausible false flag yet?

By Richard Bardon

11 Apr.—US warships are reportedly steaming towards Syria and the Russian military is on high alert, as the world awaits US President Donald Trump’s response to another Syrian Army “chemical attack” that never happened.  If Trump follows through on his threat to exact a “big price” from Russia and Iran for supporting the legitimate, elected government of Syria, he may bring about the nuclear holocaust he himself warned against in February 2017, in his first press conference as President.

The parallels to the events of a year ago are enough to induce déjà vu . On 7 April 2017, less than three months into his presidency and just three weeks after that press conference, Trump reneged on his campaign promise to get out of Syria and his pledge to try to “get along” with Russia, and instead ordered a cruise missile attack on a Syrian Air Force base, ostensibly as retribution for a sarin gas attack three days earlier in the jihadist-occupied town of Khan Sheikhoun, in the Idlib Governorate of western Syria (AAS 12 Apr. 2017, pp. 3-6). Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Gen.-Maj. Igor Konashenkov had explained on 5 April 2017 that the Syrian Air Force had in fact carried out an airstrike—with conventional munitions—on the eastern outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun, which  destroyed “a major ammunition storage facility … [which] housed workshops to produce projectiles stuffed with toxic agents. From this major arsenal, chemical-laden weapons were delivered by militants to Iraq.” Konashenkov suggested that civilians could have been affected by toxic smoke from the burning jihadist facility, and added that all relevant data had been forwarded to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for study. American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh later confirmed Russia’s story via his own contacts in the US intelligence community, who had been advised of the airstrike well in advance via the US-Russian “de-confliction” channel; and this February, Trump’s defence secretary James Mattis admitted to reporters that the USA has no evidence of the Assad government having ever used chemical weapons.

On 29 March 2018, during a speech on his plans to fix the USA’s crumbling infrastructure, Trump again touted an imminent US withdrawal from Syria. With ISIS all but vanquished, “we’re going to be coming out of there real soon”, he said. “Going to get back to our country where we belong, where we want to be.”

The Wall Street Journal reported 31 March that Trump, overruling his advisors’ objections, had ordered the State Department to freeze US$200 million earmarked for operations in Syria.

And at a 3 April White House press conference, Trump reiterated: “I want to get out [of Syria]. I want to bring our troops back home. I want to start rebuilding our nation. … Seven trillion dollars [spent on wars in the Middle East] over a 17 year period, we have nothing—nothing except death and destruction. It’s a horrible thing. So it’s time.” Reports emerged 2 April that Trump had also invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to a bilateral summit in the coming months, potentially at the White House, to begin anew the process of normalising US-Russia relations.

Meanwhile in Syria, with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies on the verge of fully reclaiming Damascus’s Eastern Ghouta region from jihadist occupation, the infamous White Helmets—the same al-Qaeda-linked, US/UK-funded propaganda construct that staged last year’s non-existent sarin attack—on 8 April uploaded video of what they claimed were civilian victims of a chlorine gas attack the previous evening in Douma township, Eastern Ghouta’s last jihadist enclave. And just like last year, Trump turned on a dime to condemn Assad—and this time Russia and Putin personally, to boot. “Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria”, Trump raged on Twitter. “Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal  Assad. Big price to pay. … Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!”   [ A puppet on strings, pulled from ‘above’, obviously. ]

On 9 April Trump announced that he would decide upon a response within 48 hours. (The missile strike on Syria’s Tiyas military airbase earlier that day was launched by Israeli jets operating illegally over Lebanon, and was apparently not related to the situation in Douma.) Sputnik News reported 10 April that the US Navy guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook has moved into Tomahawk missile range off the Syrian coast, while according to the Wall Street Journal its sister ship USS Porter is en route. The Porter was one of the two ships which carried out last year’s strike.

Grave consequences

Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned in an 8 April press release that “military interference in Syria … under contrived and false pretexts is absolutely unacceptable and can lead to very grave consequences”—a warning reiterated by Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya at a UN Security Council meeting the next day.

Already on 13 March Russia’s Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov reported that jihadists in Eastern Ghouta were planning a false-flag chemical weapon attack to justify a “massive US strike” against the Syrian government. According to TASS, Gerasimov stated that there are Russian officials and military police working in Syrian Defence Ministry facilities throughout Damascus, and that “in the event of a threat to our military servicemen’s lives, Russia’s Armed Forces will take retaliatory measures to target both the missiles and their delivery vehicles.”

According to independent journalist and political analyst John Helmer, the longest-serving foreign correspondent in Russia, Moscow’s warnings should be taken deadly seriously.  Alluding to the recent string of Western provocations against Russia, which culminated with the British-engineered travesty surrounding allegedly poisoned ex-Russian intelligence officer turned MI6 agent Sergei Skripal, Helmer wrote 9 April on his blog ‘Dances with Bears’: “When the rule of law was destroyed in Salisbury, London and The Hague, and the rule of fraud declared in Washington, that leaves only the rule of force in the world.

The Stavka [an old term for a High Command comprising cabinet-level civil officials and the General Staff] met in Moscow on Good Friday and is ready. The Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday ‘the gravest consequences’. This means one American shot at a Russian soldier, then we are at war. Not infowar, not cyberwar, not economic war, not proxy war. World War.”

Presuming the Trump Administration does not start WWIII in the coming days, the Douma false flag will likely be proven such in very short order—ironically, for the very reasons Trump railed at in his Twitter rant. In Khan Sheikhoun last year, the jihadists and their Western intelligence handlers controlled the scene; but Douma is now fully under SAA and Russian control, and the OPCW has accepted their invitation to investigate the alleged incident. At the UN on Monday, Nebenzya advised that Russian chemical weapons experts were already on the scene,and had discovered no traces of chemical weapons of anysort, while interviews of local residents, medical personnel and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent had turned up no accounts of any victims having been treated, contrary to the White Helmets’ claims. Whether the Trump Administration awaits the OPCW’s findings, or rushes to war to pre-empt them, remains to be seen.

Israeli atrocities in Gaza expose Western hypocrisy

By Richard Bardon

Western governments refuse to so much as censure Israel for its shocking murder of unarmed protestors in full view of television cameras. This is the very same crime alleged against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in 2011, and the mere allegation supposedly justified the Western-backed regime-change assault against Syria that is still ongoing.

The difference is that what the West called “protestors” in Syria were in fact armed extremists, many of them foreigners, who had infiltrated political rallies; and in many cases the Syrian Army lost men precisely because they refused to risk killing civilians by returning fire. In Palestine, the situation is reversed: Israeli occupation forces, among them fundamentalist Zionist fanatics recruited from around the world, openly massacre men, women and children whose land they have usurped, and get off scot-free by labelling their victims “terrorists”.

The West’s collective failure to condemn Israel’s atrocities is both reprehensible in itself, and renders meaningless all talk of “human rights”, the “rule of law” and other ideals of so-called “Western civilisation”. The fact is that Western governments are perfectly content for civilians the world over to die for Anglo-American geopolitical purposes.

As of 10 April, Israeli forces have killed 30 Palestinian civilians and injured thousands more in the Gaza Strip since “Great March of Return” demonstrations began on 30 March. Palestinians commemorate that date as “Land Day”, the day in 1976 when Israel expelled thousands of Arab families from the Galilee and confiscated their land.

The protests are set to run for six weeks, concluding on Nakba Day (Yawm al-Nakba, Arabic for “Day of Disaster”) on 15 May, the 70th anniversary of the establishment of formal “Israeli” rule over parts of Palestine in 1948.

Israeli forces killed 18 people and injured more than 1,400 on just the first day of the march, using a combination of snipers, artillery, and indiscriminate machine-gun fire, as well as tear gas and so-called sub-lethal munitions.

Al-Masdar News, citing figures from the Palestinian Red Crescent, reported that 800 people were wounded by live ammunition. Videos have circulated on the internet of Palestinian youths being picked off by Israeli snipers as they kneel in prayer in an open field, others as they run for cover. Footage published by the Israelis themselves shows no evidence of firearms amongst the protestors. Some are “armed” with hand-thrown rocks—to which Israeli soldiers respond with automatic rifle fire, on the pretext that they must prevent damage to the steel-and-barbed-wire fence that is Gaza’s border. In the days since, the Israelis have even resorted to airstrikes, supposedly targeting members of the militant Islamic Resistance Group (Hamas).

In a 31 March tweet, since deleted, the Israeli military stated of the shootings: “Nothing was carried out uncontrolled; everything was accurate and measured, and we know where every bullet landed.” According to Middle East Eye, Israeli “Defence” Minister Avigdor Liberman justified the slaughter with the claim, broadcast Sunday 8 April on Israel’s public radio, that “There are no innocent people in the Gaza Strip. Everyone’s connected to Hamas, everyone gets a salary from Hamas, and all the activists trying to challenge us and breach the border are Hamas military wing activists.”

As always, the Anglo-Americans have stepped in to provide Israel with political cover. When Kuwait on 31 March introduced to the UN Security Council a proposed statement supporting UN Secretary General António Guterres’s call for an “independent and transparent investigation” of the violence, affirming “the right to peaceful protest” and expressing “sorrow at the loss of innocent Palestinian lives”, the United States blocked it. The sole member of the US Congress to speak, even weakly, against Israel’s actions was Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who in a 31 March tweet called the killings “tragic” and defended the Palestinians’ right to peaceful protest. In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper the following day, Sanders rejected the Israeli government’s excuse that Hamas fighters had attacked its soldiers from amongst the crowd, reiterating that the protests were non-violent and stating that Israel had “overreacted”.

In the UK, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn stood once again as Westminster’s voice of reason and principle.

In a 7 April message to Palestine Solidarity Campaign demonstrations outside government offices in Downing Street, Corbyn called the killing and wounding of Gaza protestors an outrage. “The majority of the people of the Gaza Strip are stateless refugees, subject to a decade long blockade and the denial of basic human and political rights”, Corbyn wrote. “More than two thirds are reliant on humanitarian assistance, with limited access to the most basic amenities, such as water and electricity. They have a right to protest against their appalling conditions and the continuing blockade and occupation of Palestinian land, and in support of their right to return to their homes and their right to self-determination.”

Corbyn added that “firing live ammunition into crowds of unarmed civilians is illegal and inhumane and cannot be tolerated”, and called upon the UK government to review its arms sales to Israel and support Guterres’s call for an inquiry. According to various pro-Israel lobby groups, this makes him an “anti-Semite”.

Meanwhile, as Israel is committing these atrocities in full view of the world, it is also escalating the regime-change drive against Syria. Israel bombed a Syrian airfield on 9 April following the latest fabricated chemical weapons attack in Douma, which all of the countries that stayed silent about Israel’s killings in Gaza, including the USA, UK, EU and Australia, instantly condemned without evidence. Israel also demanded US President Donald Trump bomb Syria. Israeli government think tanks are on record advocating support for the monstrous ISIS terrorists in Syria, on the grounds that they are fighting Israel’s enemies Syria and Iran.

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Ocean Temps Falling Feb. 2018

Anyone interested in science?

Science Matters


The best context for understanding decadal temperature changes comes from the world’s sea surface temperatures (SST), for several reasons:

  • The ocean covers 71% of the globe and drives average temperatures;
  • SSTs have a constant water content, (unlike air temperatures), so give a better reading of heat content variations;
  • A major El Nino was the dominant climate feature in recent years.

HadSST is generally regarded as the best of the global SST data sets, and so the temperature story here comes from that source, the latest version being HadSST3.  More on what distinguishes HadSST3 from other SST products at the end.

The Current Context

The chart below shows SST monthly anomalies as reported in HadSST3 starting in 2015 through February 2018.
Note that higher temps in 2015 and 2016 were first of all due to a sharp rise in Tropical SST, beginning in March 2015, peaking in January 2016, and steadily…

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