Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

Jail Time and Debt Recovery using the powers vested in Senator Ryan, then Special Minister of State

First published November 15

It appears from the statements issued by a Senator Scott Ryan, then Special Minister of State, and Antony Green, the ABC guru on election matters, and Senator George Brandis, the Attorney-General, that they all consider those who fail the dual nationality test are liable to repay their salary and entitlements.

This is hardly surprising since that is the law!

In particular the Attorney General Brandis’ dictum over Ludlam, as quoted below and applied out of hatred for the Greens, nails all those who have now lost their jobs as professional politicians.

The Australian Electoral Commission, in its briefing paper for all candidates, makes the situation quite clear …

42. It is a candidate’s own responsibility to ensure that his or her qualifications for candidacy meet the requirements set out in the Constitution and the Act. With respect to s. 44(i) of the Constitution, intending candidates holding dual citizenship should take ‘all reasonable steps’, as per the ruling of the High Court in Sykes v Cleary, to renounce their other citizenship before nomination……In all other cases of possible disqualification under s. 44 of the constitution, it is recommended that intending candidates seek their own legal advice.

Failure to do so incurs penalties under the Criminal Code Act 1995 – and rightly so.

The taxpayers have incurred considerable costs in the case of a new election for the House of Representatives, as for example, those incurred by negligence in the case of Joyce and Alexander.

Part 7.4—False or misleading statements
Division 136—False or misleading statements in applications
136.1 False or misleading statements in applications
Knowledge
(1) A person commits an offence if:
(a) the person makes a statement (whether orally, in a document or in any other way); and
(b) the person does so knowing that the statement:
(i) is false or misleading; or
(ii) omits any matter or thing without which the statement is misleading; and
(c) the statement is made in, or in connection with:
(i) an application for a licence, permit or authority; or
(ii) an application for registration; or
(iii) an application or claim for a benefit; and
(d) any of the following subparagraphs applies:
(i) the statement is made to a Commonwealth entity;
(ii) the statement is made to a person who is exercising powers or performing functions under, or in connection with, a law of the Commonwealth;
(iii) the statement is made in compliance or purported compliance with a law of the Commonwealth.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 12 months.

Senator Ryan: I ask – will you please put your hounds onto Senator Abetz, Mr Joyce and Mr Alexander by using your powers as the Special Minister of State?

Additionally, I ask you to demand that all their documentation be placed before the Parliament – with prosecution for their having made any statement which may construed as false and misleading.

Bear in mind that they all declared [i]nothing to see here[/i] on their nomination forms – while knowing that they had a parent who gave them their inherited dual nationality.

For this, use the same eagerness exercised by those robots acting on behalf of your government to enforce the Centrelink purges over payments to the poor and deserving.

Members of the Australian Parliament are not above the law, and in the interests of fairness they must be made subject to its demands.

These parliamentarians should not be allowed to stand again until the matter is settled by the courts under the requirements of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 – as administered by one Senator Ryan.

If no action is taken I will consider initiating a Crowdfunding project, through the good offices of Tasmanian Times and Getup, over Senator Ryan and his dereliction of duty as the responsible minister. This will bring you and your party, and all our pollies, into even further disrepute.

It will enable those burnt by the Robots from Centrelink to gain some revenge for it will show that in egalitarian Australia there is [i]not[/i] one rule for the rich, powerful and politically protected – and another for the poor and downtrodden.

Events are moving fast in Canberra.

Since the above was written Senator Scott Ryan has become the President of the Senate.

This removed Ryan from Cabinet thereby preventing him from prosecuting the matter of Joyce and Alexander in the Lower House suggested by him in his press release below.

Ryan can now ensure that his statements from a former life are only effective in the Senate – I suggest that his powers have been greatly curtailed.

The right wing conservatives in Parliament – out of a hatred of the Greens – brought down Ludlam and Waters; now all around them others are self-immolating.

Keep up the good work Erich … you set the standard.

http://scottryan.com.au/homepage/media-statement-arrangements-regarding-debts
Media statement – Arrangements regarding debts – Senator Scott Ryan
Posted on Nov 3, 2017 in Homepage, Media, Media Releases |
I wish to correct erroneous reports regarding the arrangements around possible debts for parliamentarians ruled ineligible by the High Court.
Consistent with previous cases, where the High Court has ruled a parliamentarian ineligible, consideration will be given to the potential debt to the Commonwealth that arises from past payment of salaries and allowances, and other costs of office.
The Department of Finance, the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority and the Department of the House of Representatives (for Members of the House) or Department of the Senate (for Senators) will determine the appropriate action regarding each debt – pursuant to requirements in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.
The process is underway to calculate debts, with officials currently working to determine the relevant details for each individual involved.
In similar cases earlier this term, these debts have comprised salaries and electorate allowances, as well as non-salary expenses, including superannuation, staff expenses and travel expenses.
Any action relating to debts to the Commonwealth are the responsibility of the relevant department and officials, not parliamentarians or ministers.
For any debts that the former parliamentarians owe to the Commonwealth, they will be eligible to apply for a waiver of debt, as can anyone with a debt to the Commonwealth.
I regularly receive and consider applications for a debt waiver from Australians with debts to the Commonwealth, to agencies such as Centrelink or the Australian Tax Office.
I consider each case on its merits. I intend to continue this practice.

Is a disqualified Member or Senator required to repay salary and entitlements
In the past Parliament has requested repayment from disqualified Members and Senators, but always waives the requirement on request.
As noted above, the votes of a disqualified Senator still stand and their service is still recognised. That means the Parliament recognises the Senator was working as a Senator and was entitled to their payment, and also acknowledges that the Member or Senator was engaged in their work as a representative of their constituents.
The Vardon ruling mentioned above also decided that the replacement Senator does not become entitled to salary of the disqualified Senator from the start of their term. So even though Irina Dunn was elected by a re-count of votes from the 1987 election as a replacement for Senator Robert Wood, she was not entitled to salary from the date of the election, her service only recognised from the date the High Court ruled her as Wood’s replacement.
It is the government and parliament that is responsible for the payments made to disqualified Members and Senators and it can choose to allow payments even when the High Court has ruled disqualification.
Contact Antony Green

SBS News …
Attorney-General George Brandis has no sympathy for Scott Ludlam who he said had been extremely negligent when he ran for the Senate at three elections despite still being a New Zealand citizen,
Mr Ludlam resigned his West Australian senate seat on Friday when it was brought to his attention that he still held dual Australian-New Zealand citizenship, making him ineligible to hold office.
Senator Brandis noted Mr Ludlam had been “very ungracious” and “extremely mean-spirited” when former South Australian senator Bob Day was also found to be ineligible for election earlier this year.
“So I don’t think we should shed too many tears over the consequences of Mr Ludlum’s own negligence,” he told Sky News on Sunday.
He expects the High Court will order a “countback” of the vote for the WA senate election last year, which will “almost certainly” result in the election of another Greens senator.
Senator Brandis said Mr Ludlam could face a substantial debt repayment for the salary and allowances he received during his tenure as a senator.
He said there is also a “100 pounds” fine for every day that a person not eligible to sit does sit in the Senate.
“Whether or not debt would be waived as it has been on previous occasions is a matter for the Special Minister of State, Senator Scott Ryan,” he said.
The former deputy Greens leader was first elected in 2007 and retained his West Australian seat at the 2013 and 2016 elections.

*John Hawkins was born and educated in England. He has lived in Tasmania for 13 years. He is the author of “Australian Silver 1800–1900” and “Thomas Cole and Victorian Clockmaking” and “The Hawkins Zoomorphic Collection” as well as “The Al Tajir Collection of Silver and Gold” and nearly 100 articles on the Australian Decorative Arts. He is a Past President and Life Member of The Australian Art & Antique Dealers Association. John has lived in Australia for 50 years and is 75 this year. In two of the world’s longest endurance marathons and in the only teams to ever complete these two events, he drove his four-in-hand team from Melbourne to Sydney in 1985 and from Sydney to Brisbane in 1988.

ABC: Citizenship saga: Why disqualified MPs and senators won’t have to repay their salaries … But how is it fair when taxpayers are forced to repay welfare debts all the time? That is a fair point. With eight MPs ensnared in the crisis, and possibly more to come, the government could in theory claim back millions of dollars in salaries …

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. philll Parsons

    November 14, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Part of S44 allows for a recovery by each voter who sues of $200 per day for each day a member who is disqualified knowingly sits.

    Its a maximum of lots were each voter to join a class action and remains a lot even if it was only a partisan divide.

    Yet only the Greens resigned immediately they became aware before the HC ruling. Now nobody hangs around waiting for a judgement.

    Only one successful case involving a big payout would ensure it would be extremely unlikely that anyone would make the Joyce choice.

  2. Peter Bright

    November 14, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Philll Parsons at #1 speaks of payback.

    It won’t happen.

    Here’s why …

    https://tinyurl.com/nopayback

  3. Simon Warriner

    November 14, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    The standing of our elected representatives is intimately tied to us being treated as their equals.

    When my partner and I fell foul of Centrelink we were hounded by debt collectors, most of whom could barely speak English. It turned out that the root cause of our strife was because information had not been correctly transferred from the Tax Office to Centrelink. We were still expected to pay back the “over-payment” and then sort out the mess.

    In treating our elected representatives as a special species immune from consequences, we set them apart from us, and we engender a sense of separation that does a massive disservice to democracy.

    This is compounded by the dynamic that party politics generates, with its “in” and “out” group strategies and tribalistic nature.

    The arguments given for not recouping illegitimately gained remuneration fail to address the damage done to democracy, egalitarianism or a sense of a fair go, and should be seen for the utter tripe that they are.

    Had repayment of remuneration been on the table it is a very safe bet the matter would have never arisen in the first place.

  4. Jon Sumby

    November 14, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Re. 1, Philll … No it doesn’t. That part of the constitution was replaced years ago – in the mid-70s – IIRC.

  5. Lyndall Rowley

    November 14, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    John – you highlight only three s.44 breachers i.e. Abetz, Joyce and Alexander. But may I assume you expect this offence under the Criminal Code apply to all those elected who’ve now been found ineligible?

    Going by Peter #2’s link I’m guessing means the ‘traditional’ waiver of repayment will apply again – this sticks in my craw. But, to be fair, I suppose working “in good faith” is a reasonable assessment of these politicians’ situations. (Tks for the link Peter #2).

    So, that leaves two things still to play out, doesn’t it?: (1) Will all those who provided false s.44 info be charged with an offence? If so, who actions this? (2) Do disqualified politician’s votes on Bills still count? (Labor seems keen to test this and contest penalty rates).

    As to the timing of any charges being laid under the Criminal Code … I agree with your view that these expected-to-be-pending legal matters should prevent recontesters like Joyce from standing until they’ve had their day in court, so to speak. But I think we’re both dreamin’. There’s no way the Coalition (ditto Labor if in power) would endanger the opportunity to reinstate ‘their man’ to retain a seat. And the Coalition numbers are way too borderline in the Lower House to risk a court case with all of the delay and embarrassment it would bring. There are Bills to pass and a country to run … (she sighs) – so it seems it’ll be business as usual.

    I suspect they’re just keeping this quiet and toughing this out and hoping Division 137 of the Criminal Code remains a sleeper. (But I’m now a complete cynic in regard to the integrity of modern-day politicians as a class and politics in general).

    btw – Yesterday I emailed George Brandis in his capacity as Attorney-General on this matter, and cc’d Speaker and President. I figured one or more of these would be responsible for upholding the law as well as the rules of Parliament and ‘good governance’ but I’m not holding my breath for a reply; not realistic to expect one really.

  6. Lynne Newington

    November 14, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Senator Ryan: I ask – will you please put your hounds onto Senator Abetz, Mr Joyce and Mr Alexander by using your powers as the Special Minister of State?

    I would hate to be any of the names mentioned, especially Senator Abetz.

    It’s a wonder no-one’s been hauled over the coals for stalking!

  7. John Hawkins

    November 14, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    If I was contesting the seats of New England or Bennelong against either Joyce or Alexander I would take out an injunction against them for making false and misleading statements under Division 136 of the Crimes Act, and I’d bring them to trial before the courts.

    Then if they are elected and later found guilty and imprisoned they either cannot take up their seat or they can be removed from Parliament.

    You only have to jail one pollie under the this existing law of the land and we will never have to bother with his matter again.

    They were warned by the AEC and chose to ignore the warning and as a result they are about to cost the taxpayer a great deal of money in election expenses. They should now both be prosecuted under the Act.

    The act of prosecuting should win the prosecutor the election.

  8. Lyndall Rowley

    November 15, 2017 at 12:14 am

    Simon #3 … I agree with your sentiments. I’ve become pretty frustrated and disillusioned with it all lately, and now the news about the legal clearing of known habitat for the Critically Endangered Swift Parrot at Tyler’s Hill has added to my mood. So be warned of my soap-boxy rant that follows.

    The arrogance and double-standards shown by our PM and politicians regarding this whole s.44 matter has been the final straw for me. The Constitution, normally, is held in great respect, taken verbatim and treated very seriously. Any suggestion to change it is usually met with much resistance and skepticism. Yet all of a sudden (very conveniently and expediently) s.44 of the Constitution is being framed by politicians as some old, musty, obsolete rule that needs a modern makeover.

    I’m astounded at the arrogance in some politicians’ dismissive attitude towards these founding rules; the lack of accepting responsibility for their own actions; and the absence of any real accountability or consequences for those that have committed an offence. The high office of politicians brings with it an expectation of exemplary conduct and adherence to high standards (or at least, it used to, didn’t it?). So they, of all people, should be setting the example for the rest of us to follow. But, as some have already said elsewhere: it seems there’s one rule for them and another for us.

    In my opinion, and as the handling of this s.44 debacle demonstrates, the current political cohort and its operations are highly dysfunctional. I don’t think the Federal Government has really governed the country competently for some time. The country is now being practically left to run on auto-pilot. With carbon emissions still a-rising; the Great Barrier Reef still a-bleaching; fire, flood & severe weather events still a-worsening; economic rationalism still a-ruling; a clean energy future, technology & resources still being a-squandered; the unsustainable global human population still a-growing; the gap between haves & have-nots still a-widening; threatened species , their habitat and native vegetation cover/quality still a-dwindling; and the inevitable global movements of unvalued people in an over-populated world still a refuge a-waiting – all this and more whilst our politicians sit in Federal Government otherwise preoccupied with counting their numbers & political game-playing. If this toxic malaise is left without remediation, I think it bodes for a significant erosion of our social order. That is, fueled by our learned disrespect for our political leaders because of their behaviour and priorities, over time, our civil society will suffer with a more widespread contempt for authority, rules and the law.

    I don’t want this democracy to be afflicted with growing unrest. But I don’t know what to do to fix the current political environment either. And, strangely enough we’re not alone; we seem to be following the general trend experienced by other Western democracies at the moment. As I stated in another thread, “Beam me up Scotty…”.

  9. Simon Warriner

    November 15, 2017 at 6:33 am

    That is not a bad rant, Lyndall.

    You go directly to the reason I go on and on about party politics being the carcinogen in which our body politics is soaking itself.

    We as the electorate have a clear choice. Either improve the standard of representatives we elect to govern us or suffer a descent into something nasty, violent and chaotic.

    Leaving things as they are, with an increasingly dysfunctional party dominated polity at the helm, is not an option if we wish to leave anything decent for future generations.

  10. Peter Bright

    November 15, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Anger at what some parliamentarians failed to do, or failed to do thoroughly, is misplaced.

    The weight of responsibility for securing compliance with law in this case rests upon Parliament itself, and for two main reasons ..

    The first is that those relevant laws as devised decades ago were devised for extant circumstances and beliefs. Failure to update s.44 at intervals of not less than one decade (and preferably at five year intervals) makes Parliament as a whole derelict in its duty where the nation’s welfare is so important.

    Also rooted in dereliction of duty is the second reason .. Parliament’s failure to thoroughly check the credentials of every Applicant.

    The Australian Parliament itself has more international clout than any person, and a telegraphed request to the relevant overseas authorities would have been taken most seriously and searches for proof of eligibility would consequently have been more thorough.

    Whereas I suspect that a few snared politicians knew more than they wanted anyone to know, I feel sure that the Parliament itself is by far the more blameworthy.

    Good people have been scapegoated, particularly the Greens, and that’s been at their own expense and that of the nation’s welfare.

  11. John Hawkins

    November 15, 2017 at 11:14 am

    The plebiscite over same sex marriage has seen the people, for the first time, exert power over the entrenched party political system if only in a crude 20th century way by virtue of the Royal Mail, yet we have regained the reins and the pollies have woken up with a start – see how they now all rejoice in our success.

    Yet we elect them to govern.They have abdicated that role and handed it back to us.

    A bad mistake for the plebiscite indicates that we do not need them.

    The days of the moronic Lib/Labs and others elected not on ability, but for their contribution to a party and its ethics, are drawing to a close as their system implodes.

    Those who cannot fill out a simple form with integrity are set to vanish from the political scene as we the people, using our computers, smell them out as they spin around and around in their corridors of power protected by their own.

    Internet newspapers such as Tasmanian Times backed by the investigative power of the Web will soon enable the people to create an electronic system allowing the people to govern themselves.

    The plebiscite and the stupidity of dual nationality are real chinks in the political armour that is rusting before our eyes in Canberra.

  12. Steve

    November 15, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    I would have to agree with the waiving of debts for those who simply overlooked a fairly obscure point. They still did the work and there doesn’t appear to be any suggestion that they deliberately set out to deceive.

    I would however expect full debt recovery of moneys paid after the possibility of ineligibility was raised. The correct action in that situation was to stand aside whilst the court determined the question. Those who chose not to should not benefit.

  13. Leonard Colquhoun

    November 15, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Empathise strongly with the first two of Comment 8’s three points in “I’m astounded at the arrogance in some politicians’ dismissive attitude towards these founding rules; the lack of accepting responsibility for their own actions; and the absence of any real accountability or consequences for those that have committed an offence”, but not so much with “the absence of any real accountability or consequences” – haven’t they just lost their seats, for starters?

    That so many federal MPs have been shown to have been ignorant of, and careless, in fulfilling the entirely appropriate s.44 criteria, to me, stinks of contempt for us, especially as the AEC hands out (two lots of?) info to all prospective MPs.

    ‘Suffer in yer jocks’, I say. And their failures don’t seem enough of a reason to change s.44, either: it seems reasonable for a nation’s constitution or basic law to see that those who govern it have no allegiances to foreign powers whether national, ideological /religious, or supra / transnational. Which is clearly very distinct from what citizenships individual Australians may hold.

    Interestingly, Wikipedia reports that anyone standing for election to the GB House of commons “must be a citizen of the United Kingdom, of a British overseas territory”, as most of us would expect; however, citizens “of the Republic of Ireland, or of a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations” can also stand for election. Readers may know of other examples.

    About 1900-1400 years ago, most of the emperors of Rome after the founding dynasty of Julio-Claudians were ‘non-Romans-by-birth’: there was even a British bloke born in York! If you don’t count the current ChCP quasi-dynasty, the last ‘Chinese’ emperor of the Celestial Kingdom died about 500 years ago.

  14. Simon Warriner

    November 15, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    if my son had come up with the reasoning used in #10 I would have been looking very hard at what he was being taught, and been asking for an IQ test to be performed.

    It may have escaped Peter Bright’s attention, but “the Parliament” is made up of precisely the same sort of idiots that got caught out. A collection of idiots, predominantly comprised of individuals who had previously shown no regard for the risks that come with conflicted interests.

    Not that this comes as any surprise. We are at the tail end of an exponential decline in capacity where our party politicians are concerned, due to the refusal of intelligent and competent individuals to have a bar of the conflicted interests demanded by the party dynamic. Expect the offering at the next election to be even more pathetic, if that is possible.

  15. philll Parsons

    November 17, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Thank you #4. The Constitution as shown on the APH site show Section 46 in full. Perhaps it is a copy of the original, not the current law.

  16. Jon Sumby

    November 17, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Re 15, Philll, I couldn’t remember exactly so I looked it up. New legislation was enacted in 1975 and there is a hearing on this very law on the 12th of December against Nationals MP Dr David Gillespie:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_46_of_the_Constitution_of_Australia

  17. Lyndall Rowley

    November 17, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    John H – There’s been recent news items about Dr John Cameron, a Perth barrister, who first broke the story on Scott Ludlum. He’d been working previously on this citizenship issue back in 2011 looking into Julia Gillard & Tony Abbott. You might be interested to read that he does think MPs who were duel citizens should pay back their pensions; and he also highlights the penalty for an s. 44 offence.
    Interestingly, he also advocates a national corruption watchdog to look into these matters: “Mr Cameron has called for the establishment of a national corruption watchdog to probe issues including the citizenship of MPs, saying it would help overcome roadblocks like those he had endured in doing his research.”
    Given your very keen interest and work, I was wondering if it’d be useful for you to correspond with John Cameron?
    Here’s his twitter account: https://twitter.com/drjohncam
    Here is the news item I’ve used for this comment: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-16/john-cameron-says-labor-liberals-colluded-over-citizenship/9157920

  18. John Hawkins

    November 17, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    #17 … Dear Lyndall,

    Thankyou for that, and your common sense approach to this complex matter. Your comments are greatly appreciated.

    John

  19. john hayward

    November 18, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    It is extraordinary that there is such enormous significance attached to the birthplaces of MPs or their parents when the intelligence and integrity of some of Parliament’s most prolific liars and palpable morons is no more important than the colour of their hair tint.

    John Hayward

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