Taxpayers billed $20,000 for Joe Hockey;s VIP flights

Dear Prime Minister,

How hypocritical can your government be if the Liberal Party refuses to pay back the cost of the VIP flight.

Eddie Hwang

President

Unity Party WA

info@unitywa.org

https://uitypartywa.wordpress.com (published)

http://twitter.com/unitypartywa    (published)

Fax/hone: 61893681884

Safe the trees – Use email

UPWA is the only political Party that calls a spade a spade.

Taxpayers billed $20,000 for Joe Hockey’s VIP flights to sell budget to Liberal Party faithful

Date – March 24, 2015 – 11:25AM – Adam Gartrell

Abbott took VIP flight to birthday bash 

Just days after delivering last year’s deeply unpopular federal budget, Treasurer Joe Hockey billed taxpayers more than $20,000 for a series of VIP flights to spruik his economic plan to the Liberal Party faithful.

Mr Hockey told the 850-strong gathering that the budget was ‘right for the nation’ and ‘right for the Australian people’. 

But Mr Hockey’s office has said the 24 hours of travel – to address a lavish Liberal fundraiser in Melbourne and a Liberal National Party gathering in Brisbane – was fully in line with guidelines and entitlements.

Mr Hockey took 11 of his federal Coalition colleagues, plus staff, on the government’s 737 business jet from Canberra to Melbourne on the evening of May 15 last year, shortly after Opposition Leader Bill Shorten delivered his budget reply speech to the Parliament.

The cost of the flight was $2640, in addition to the usual operating costs of the RAAF’s so-called special purpose aircraft. The plane returned to Canberra empty at a further cost of $2310 the same night.

The main purpose of the trip was a breakfast speech Mr Hockey delivered to the Higgins 200 Club, one of the Liberals’ most successful fundraising groups. The club was set up to support the member for the safe Liberal seat of Higgins, currently occupied by rising star Kelly O’Dwyer.

Mr Hockey told the 850-strong gathering that the budget was “right for the nation” and “right for the Australian people”.

Mr Hockey’s office told Fairfax Media he used the VIP jet because he was required to attend Mr Shorten’s evening speech, and had media commitments afterwards, and was therefore “unable to catch a commercial flight that evening to Melbourne”. The office said the breakfast was an open event, with school groups and media. Mr Hockey also had a meeting with the Victorian treasurer.

Mr Hockey’s office also pointed out Liberal treasurers and shadow treasurers have attended the breakfast every year for the last 19 years. Mr Hockey is scheduled to address the club after this year’s budget.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott was hit by revelations on Tuesday he used a taxpayer-funded jet to attend a lavish birthday party in Melbourne for Liberal Party donor Paul Marks on Sunday.

Mr Marks personally donated $250,000 to the Liberal Party in the 2013/14 financial year, while his company donated $500,000.

After the Higgins speech, Mr Hockey and his staff took another VIP jet – a smaller Challenger 604 – from Melbourne to Brisbane. The jet was pre-positioned in Melbourne at a cost of $3300, the cost of the flight itself was $6270 and the plane returned to Canberra empty at a cost of $5610.

That means the cost of getting Mr Hockey and five of his colleagues from Melbourne to Brisbane was $15,180. The total for the two stops was $20,130, in addition to usual operating costs.

Mr Hockey’s office did not provide an explanation as to why he was unable to fly commercially from Melbourne to Brisbane.

In Brisbane, Mr Hockey gave a speech to the Queensland LNP in which he declared the budget was “based on a set of values that I think embody the very best of the Australian community”. He also met the Queensland treasurer and did some media interviews.

Mr Hockey also claimed $1400 for return flights, travel allowances and comcars.

All the VIP flights were approved by the former defence minister, David Johnston. According to the guidelines for the use of the RAAF’s VIP planes, the approving authority is required to consider “the availability of flights on major domestic airlines”.

The Challenger aircraft has a crew of three and carries nine people. The 737 jets have a crew of up to six and are capable of carrying 30 passengers.

“The cost of the Treasurer’s travel was within guidelines and entitlements,” a spokesperson for Mr Hockey said.

A spokesman for Mr Abbott said the Prime Minister had “other work related engagements” in Melbourne on Sunday but did not specify what they involved.

“All travel was undertaken within the rules,” he said.

Labor MP Pat Conroy, who chairs the party’s Waste Watch committee, said Mr Abbott’s flight was an “appalling look” and demanded the Prime Minister detail his work commitments or have the Liberal Party repay the cost of the VIP flight. The VIP jets can cost about $4000 an hour to operate.

It’s not the first time Mr Abbott’s use of the VIP jet has come under fire. When the Prime Minister showed up late to a partyroom meeting last year he admitted to an angry backbencher that he was delayed by a press conference scheduled to justify attending an interstate fundraiser the night before.

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Crackdown on businesses abusing 457 visas

Dear Minister,

The Government is to be congratulated for adopting those recommendations as it is long overdue.

Yours respectfully,

Eddie Hwang

President

Unity Party WA

info@unitywa.org

https://uitypartywa.wordpress.com (published)

http://twitter.com/unitypartywa     (published)

Fax/hone: 61893681884

Safe the trees – Use email

UPWA is the only political Party that calls a spade a spade.

 

Crackdown on businesses abusing 457 visas

By Lisa Martin – March 18, 2015, 7:52 am – AAP

Employers who abuse a scheme allowing skilled overseas workers to take jobs in Australia will face harsher penalties.

The Abbott government has adopted most of the recommendations from a review of the 457 visa scheme, including banning businesses from seeking payment in exchange for sponsoring a worker’s visa.

As well, the immigration department and tax office will cross check records to ensure that visa holders are being paid the correct salary and aren’t being ripped off by employers.

“We will proactively prosecute and name and shame offenders exploiting overseas workers and misusing the program,” Assistant Immigration Minister Michaelia Cash said on Wednesday.

Contrary to claims Labor made in government about widespread rorting, the review did not find that was the case, she said.

The number of cases was under 100.

“The majority of employers do the right thing,” Senator Cash said.

The English language test will be relaxed, however the government has resisted abolishing market testing requirements.

That means employers will still have to advertise vacancies before applying to take on a skilled migrant worker.

Senator Cash said the government’s changes had struck the right balance between strengthening the program’s integrity and cutting red tape.

Some recommendations have been implemented already and others will be rolled out this year.

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS ADOPTED BY THE GOVERNMENT:

  • Relaxing English language testing requirements.
  • Penalties for sponsoring workers in exchange for payment.
  • Cross checking pay records with tax office.
  • Appointment of a skilled migration ministerial advisory council.
  • Better directing money derived from visa scheme to training programs for Australians.

I’ll stick with Clive

Dear Senator Wang,

You are the biggest liar as I am still waiting for you to respond to my email below. Also you are not representing the Chinese community in Western Australia but yourself and shame on you.

Eddie Hwang

President

Unity Party WA

info@unitywa.org

https://uitypartywa.wordpress.com  (Published)

http://twitter.com/unitypartywa      (Published)

Fax/hone: 61893681884

Safe the trees – Use email

UPWA is the only political Party that calls a spade a spade.

I’ll stick with Clive: WA PUP Senator Dio Wang

Shane Wright, Nick Butterly and Andrew Tillett – March 13, 2015, 5:48 am

Clive Palmer’s last senator, Dio Wang, says the party needs to better screen new candidates.

Speaking to The West Australian, Senator Wang this morning pledged to stick by Mr Palmer after the PUP’s Upper House leader Glenn Lazarus quit complaining of bullying by the mining magnate.

With Senator Lazarus declaring himself an independent, Senator Wang is the last Upper House member of PUP.

“As far as I am concerned it is business as usual,” the WA senator said.

Senator Wang said he was disappointed with Senator Lazarus’ decision to quit.

He agreed with Mr Palmer’s comments that the party had been put together so quickly that some candidates had not been properly vetted before being signed on as representatives.

“It’s a fact the party had a very limited time to set up and run,” Senator Wang said.

“We are going to look at how we do better screening (of future candidates).”

Senator Wang said he had seen no evidence of bullying by Mr Palmer against his staff or MPs.

Speaking to Sydney radio host Alan Jones, Senator Lazarus indicated he was deeply unhappy.

“I just felt that in order to be able to serve the people of Queensland and do my job like the way I played footy – I just wanted to do the best job I could … I just felt I needed to resign and move forward as a Senator.”

Senator Lazarus said friends, family and Senate colleagues had been supportive of his decision to quit the party.

Mr Palmer told Brisbane station 4BC it was unprofessional to resign via text message and Facebook and he was disappointed Senator Lazarus did not speak to him face-to-face.

“It’s true that Senator Lazarus has spat the dummy,” he said.

He denied he had bullied Senator Lazarus.

“He is a bit bigger than me. I don’t think I could bully him,” he said.

A former Australian rugby league Test player, Senator Lazarus said he was resigning from PUP to become an independent because of differences over “team work”.

“I have a different view of team work,” he said in a statement released on his Facebook page about 10pm Perth time.

“Given this, I felt it best that I resign from the party and pursue my senate role as an independent senator.”

PUP claimed the resignation has more to do with personal issues than any fracturing of team work.

National director Peter Burke said Senator Lazarus’ resignation was more to do with his wife being sacked from her role with the party.

“This was done primarily because she failed to comply with the terms of her employment. Senator Lazarus’ resignation followed thereafter, with the reason being self-evident,” he said in a statement.

“I note from his statement his reasons were not related to political matters or to the duty he had to promote the party policy and to support its platform, its membership and the thousands of Queenslanders who trusted him to stay strong to these values having elected him to the Senate.”

Senator Lazarus, who described his decision to leave as a difficult one, was PUP’s Senate leader.

There are now just two members of PUP in the Parliament – party leader Clive Palmer in the House and Senator Wang.

Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie left PUP in November, saying she needed to put the best interests of her state first.

This latest splintering means the Government must negotiate with an even more divided Senate cross bench in order to pass contentious legislation.

If Labor and the Greens oppose bills, the government has to win over six of the eight crossbenchers.

The Government still hopes to win support for its contentious higher education reforms. Senator Lazarus had been outspoken in his criticism of the changes, signalling he would never support them.

Assistant treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Government looked forward to dealing with the newly independent crossbencher, describing him as a thoroughly decent and fair negotiator.

He played down the prospect PUP’s depleted voting power would make passing bills easier.

“I don’t think it makes it any more difficult,” Mr Frydenberg told ABC radio.

“I speak for all my colleagues in that we look forward to working with him.”

Mr Palmer also released a statement in which he appeared to take a swipe at Senator Lazarus.

“Establishing the party six weeks before the last election was a difficult process, requiring the endorsement over 200 candidates in a short time,” he said.

“The party endorsement processes were not developed as well as they are now and unfortunately many of the candidates were opportunists interested in themselves more than the ideas the party represented.”

Mr Palmer insisted the party would remain a parliamentary force and survive in the long-term despite the latest ruction.

“We have shown that ideas can make a difference and millions of Australians are better off today because of the party’s determination to protect them,” he said.

“Palmer United has set up three parliamentary committees, reduced electricity prices by 10%, saved the Clean Energy Corporation, saved the Climate Change Authority and ARENA, saved low income super, abolished the mining tax, saved the RET, stopped the Medicare co-payment and opposed reforms which would have denied Australians access to higher education.

“All the major party politicians and senators who have sought to undermine our party would never have left their party because they have the political experience to know that only within a party structure can real change be achieved for Australia.

“I am confident at the next election our team will be stronger, tougher and more importantly, committed to what we stand for without the individuals mainly concerned with themselves and what they can get.”

On Sep 20, 2014 12:18 PM, “Unity Party WA” <info@unitywa.org> wrote:

Dear Senator Wang,

If you said you have apologized to every single one of them, why you have not responded to my email below?

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Eddie Hwang.

“The mistake has been made and the damage has been done. I have received a lot of letters from the Chinese communities expressing their concern and anger and I feel for them and I have apologised to every single one of them.

“I think [what the Chinese community] expect of me is to do a fair job and not screw it up to give others in the Chinese community a chance at politics. It’s only fair that I try my best to represent them but in the end I am here to represent WA.”

Can we afford to sign the TPP?

Dear Prime Minister,

Can we afford to sign the TPP?

Yours respectfully,

Eddie Hwang

President

Unity Party WA

info@unitywa.org

https://uitypartywa.wordpress.com (Published)

http://twitter.com/unitypartywa     (Published)

Fax/hone: 61893681884

Safe the trees – Use email

UPWA is the only political Party that calls a spade a spade.

From: Erin – GetUp! <info@getup.org.au>
Date: 12 March 2015 5:40:24 pm AWST
To: info@unitywa.org
Subject: What you don’t know will hurt you
Reply-To: contact@getup.org.au

Eddie,

We’re running out of time.

Right now government officials from around the world are meeting in Hawai’i, in what could be the last round of negotiations of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

The leaked sections we’ve seen already have millions of citizens around the world worried, and the vast majority of it is still secret; not just to the public, but even to our own Parliamentarians. How’s this for starters: if Australia signs up for the TPP, it will give foreign corporations the power to sue the Australian Government for decisions they claim might impact their future investments in Australia.

We’ve already seen the dangerous implications of these powers play out right here in Australia. Similar provisions in an Australian-Hong Kong treaty are being used by US global cigarette and tobacco company, Phillip Morris, to sue the Australian Government over the introduction of plain-packaging laws. Imagine this sort of multinational interference scaled up involving 12 countries, instead of one?

Forces all around the world are banding together to stop this deal from going ahead. Watch the video that explains why this deal will be bad for all Australians, then sign the petition to sound the alarm:

http://www.getup.org.au/tpp-hawaii

If foreign corporations are given the power to sue national governments when changes to domestic laws affect their profit margins, it will inevitably restrict our government’s ability to make laws to protect our environment and our health. What’s worse, these lawsuits would be played out in secret international courts, which only corporations have access to, with no rights of appeal.

It’s hard to believe this could happen in Australia, but there are already cases around the world of companies using what’s known as Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions to sue governments:

  • A foreign-owned energy company filed a $250 million lawsuit against the Canadian government, when Quebec placed a ban on dangerous fracking processes in a local river.
  • In El Salvador, a Canadian company is suing the government for $315 million in “loss of future profits” because local citizens won a hard-fought campaign against a gold mine that threatened to contaminate their water supplies.
  • An international utilities company sued the Argentinian Government, for imposing a freeze on water and energy bills during the global financial crisis.
  • And in Canada, US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly is suing the government for $500 million in compensation, because the courts revoked two of the company’s patents citing lack of evidence around the drugs’ supposed benefits.

Do we want to live in a country where foreign-owned companies have the right to sue our government for introducing laws to protect our farms, land, water or even our health?

Worryingly, Trade Minister Andrew Robb has indicated that a deal is close and he’s eager to sign Australia up, which is why we need to act quickly. As a testament to just how urgent our voices are needed and how hard the government has tried to keep this deal hush hush, here in Australia, a poll last year found that only one in ten voters had even heard about the TPP.1

If this deal goes ahead, all of us stand to lose – so it’s time we spoke up. We need as many Australians as possible to hear about the dangers of the TPP.

Can you watch and share the video, which explains why this deal will be so dangerous? Click here: http://www.getup.org.au/tpp-hawaii

The deal is still being negotiated, but right now negotiators are meetings in Hawai’i in what could be the last of these meetings – so we need to act fast. The fight to stop the TPP is a huge, coordinated, international resistance and the more people who join the fight, the better our chances will be.

Can you help sound the alarm, before it’s too late?

Erin, Kelsey, Alycia, Leah, Sally and the GetUp team

PS. An opportunity to directly target the negotiators during what could potentially be the last time they all meet has come up. A small team of creatives worked overnight to create an ad to run in Hawai’i’s largest newspaper, just in time for this gathering. Already, more than 1400 GetUp members have chipped in to raise the funds to run this ad. We’re exactly halfway to our target, and need to raise $21,000 before the paper’s deadline tomorrow. Click here to see the ad, and help get us over the line: http://www.getup.org.au/tpp-hawaii

~ References ~
[1] Trans-Pacific Partnership is a big deal, but hardly anyone knows, SMH, 17 February 2014

GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you’d like to contribute to help fund GetUp’s work, please donate now! To unsubscribe from GetUp, please click here.

Our team acknowledges that we meet and work on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. We wish to pay respect to their Elders – past, present and future – and acknowledge the important role all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within Australia and the GetUp community.

Authorised by Sam Mclean, Level 2, 104 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010.