Archive for April, 2019

April 7th, 2019

Gough Whitlam: His life and times

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Gough Whitlam, right, with his father, Fred, mother, Martha and sister, Freda, circa 1924. Gough Whitlam, right, with his father, Fred, mother, Martha and sister, Freda, circa 1924.
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Gough Whitlam marries Margaret Dovey at St Michael’s Vaucluce in 1942. Photo: Fairfax Library

Gough Whitlam, centre, with members of his RAAF bomber aircrew.

The new Member for the Federal seat of Werriwa.

Leader of the Labor Party Arthur Calwell, left, with his new deputy, Gough Whitlam in 1960. Photo: F. BURKE

Meets Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, inset, far right, in Peking.

Gough Whitlam wins the 1972 general election.

Gough Whitlam meets US President Mr Richard Nixon in 1973.

Gough Whitlam meets Chinese leader Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing in 1973.

Campaigning during the 1974 election. Photo: The Age

Gough Whitlam with Lionel Murphy in 1974. Photo: R. Rice

Gough Whitlam stands behind David Smith, the secretary to the Governor-General, as he reads the proclamation dissolving parliament following the dismissal of the Whitlam government. Photo: Peter Wells

The Whitlams attend a farewell dinner at the Blacktown Civic Centre in 1978. Photo: W. Gibson

Gough and Margaret Whitlam Photo: Rick Stevens

1916, July 11: Born in Kew, Victoria.

1921: The Whitlam family moved to Sydney where young Gough attended Knox Grammar.

1926: The family relocated to Canberra and the following year Gough enrolled at Telopea Park Intermediate High before moving to Canberra Grammar.

1938: Educated at the University of Sydney (B.A., 1938; LL.B., 1946).

1938-41: At university he participated in rowing, debating and amatuer dramatics. He edited the college journal, The Pauline and the student magazine Hermes.

April 22, 1942: Married Margaret Elaine Dovey in Vaucluse, Sydney. They have four children: Anthony (1944); Nicholas (1945); Stephen (1950); Catherine (1954).

 1942-1945: Served in the Royal Australian Air Force.

1945: Joined the Australian Labor Party.

1947: Admitted to the NSW Bar.

November 29, 1952: Elected to the House of Representatives for Werriwa, NSW, at by-election following the death of H.P. (Bert) Lazzarini.

1953: Attacked French policies in Indo-China, arguing for self-determination for the Viet Minh.

August 12, 1954: Argued for the recognition of China and its admission to the United Nations.

March 7, 1960 – February 8, 1967: Deputy leader of the Australian Labor Party under Arthur Calwell.

1962: Appointed Queen’s Counsel.

February 8, 1967 – December 5, 1972:  Leader of the Australian Labor Party with Lance Barnard winning the position of deputy leader.

July 1971: Visited Peking and met  Chinese leader Zhou Enlai.

November 13, 1972:  Delivered the famous “It’s Time” speech for the Australian Labor Party at the Blacktown Civic Centre, in Sydney beginning with the Whitlam’s trademark words, “Men and Women of Australia!”

December 5, 1972: Elected as Australia’s 21st prime minister. The ALP won the election and formed the first Labor government in 23 years. Whitlam and his deputy, Lance Barnard, governed as a duumvirate during this first Whitlam Ministry until December 19. They were the only two-man government in Australia’s federal political history. Whitlam held 13 portfolios and Barnard, held 14. Barnard announces immediate end of national service call-up.

December 11, 1972: Announced the withdrawal of the Australian Army from Vietnam, leaving only an embassy guard.

December 15, 1972: The Whitlam Government announced a judicial inquiry as the first move towards the legal recognition of Aboriginal rights in land, with the appointment of Mr Justice Woodward as the Commissioner to conduct the inquiry.

December 1972: The Equal Pay case for  women, which was supported strongly by the Whitlam Government, continues to dominate public debate during this period. The Womens Electoral Lobby (WEL), which was formed in 1972 just before the Federal election, was a driving force in this debate – and strongly supported the Whitlam Government, which was seen by activist feminists as the only public policy force for reform for women.

December 19, 1972: The second Whitlam Ministry was sworn into office, containing 27 ministers. New Department of Aboriginal Affairs established. This decision upgrades the Office of Aboriginal Affairs to ministerial level. Other new departments were established, including the Department of Education, Department of Environment and Conservation, Department of the Media, Department of Minerals and Energy, Department of Northern Development, Department of Social Security, Department of Urban and Regional Development.

January 9, 1973: Cabinet acts on 10 election pledges and authorises preparations to abolish the death penalty in Federal territories; remove excise on wine; remove sales tax on contraceptives; provide contraceptive pills as pharmaceutical benefits; provide social service benefits to people overseas; improve Commonwealth employees compensation provisions; extend Aboriginal secondary grants scheme to include all children of Aboriginal descent attending secondary schools; provide maternity leave (a total of 12 weeks) to Commonwealth employees; legislate to lower the voting age to 18, and the age of candidates to 18.

October 31, 1973: Whitlam became the first prime minister to visit the People’s Republic of China. In January 1973 had Australia re-opened the Australian Embassy in Peking, resuming diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.

January 1, 1974: Tuition fees for students at tertiary institutions were abolished; the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme was abolished and replaced by the Tertiary Education Assistance Scheme.

April 8, 1974: Advance Australia Fair replaced God Save the Queen as Australia’s national anthem.

May 18, 1974: Election of Federal Parliament. The Whitlam government was re-elected, an election so frequently ignored that Whitlam termed it “the election that never was”.

August, 1974: After a long political battle and a historic Joint Sitting of both Houses of Parliament, legislation was passed establishing the Health Insurance Commission.

December 14, 1974: A meeting of Whitlam, the Minister for Minerals and Energy, Rex Connor, Treasurer Dr Jim Cairns, and Senator Lionel Murphy to raise an overseas loan of $4 billion was set to become the political scandal called the “Overseas Loans Affair”.

February, 1975: Whitlam appoints Attorney-General Senator Lionel Murphy to the High Court of Australia.

July 1, 1975: Medibank started operating in Australia.

November 11, 1975:  Dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr and both houses of parliament were dissolved. Kerr appointed Malcolm Fraser as “caretaker” prime minister. Whitlam remains the only Australian Prime Minister to have been dismissed from office.

 

December 13, 1975:  Election for Federal Parliament. ALP suffered its greatest electoral defeat under Whitlam. Liberal-Country party coalition formed government.

January 27, 1976 – December 22, 1977: Whitlam was leader of the Australian Labor Party.

July 31, 1978: Whitlam resigned his parliamentary seat.

1978: Made a Companion of the Order of Australia.

1979: Published his own account of the events of 1975 entitled The Truth of the Matter.

1980-1981: First  National Fellow of the Australian National University.

1983-1986: Australian Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris.

1986-1991: Chairman of the Australia-China Council.

1987-1990: Chairman, National Gallery of Australia.

1997: Named a National Living Treasure by the National Trust.

2000: The Whitlam Institute was established within the University of Western Sydney to foster the development of public policy through scholarship and debate and inquiry into the grand themes championed by Whitlam.

March 17, 2012: Margaret Whitlam died in Sydney.

October 21, 2014: Gough Whitlam died, aged 98.

Compiled by Fairfax Research Library

April 7th, 2019

New Bitcoin exchange launches in Sydney

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The Australian Taxation Office ruled in August that Bitcoin, which trades uses mathematical code, is a commodity, not a currency and people who transact using Bitcoins will have to pay goods-and-services tax on the Australian dollar value of the transaction. Photo: Jim Urquhart The Australian Taxation Office ruled in August that Bitcoin, which trades uses mathematical code, is a commodity, not a currency and people who transact using Bitcoins will have to pay goods-and-services tax on the Australian dollar value of the transaction. Photo: Jim Urquhart
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The Australian Taxation Office ruled in August that Bitcoin, which trades uses mathematical code, is a commodity, not a currency and people who transact using Bitcoins will have to pay goods-and-services tax on the Australian dollar value of the transaction. Photo: Jim Urquhart

The Australian Taxation Office ruled in August that Bitcoin, which trades uses mathematical code, is a commodity, not a currency and people who transact using Bitcoins will have to pay goods-and-services tax on the Australian dollar value of the transaction. Photo: Jim Urquhart

The hype around digital currency Bitcoins continues to defy the expectations of investment professionals as another Australian-based exchange opens today, promising to give investors faster trading access than ever before.

Bitcoin company, Independent Reserve, has launched the country’s newest exchange, based in Sydney. It is understood there are now two in Australia.

Unlike the two main Australian-based stock exchanges, Independent Reserve is not regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, which means the company has had to take investor protection into their own hands.

“Price Waterhouse Coppers are auditing all of our finances,” said the company’s chief executive Adam Tepper.

“We are trying to mitigate risks to ensure people think their money is safe and secure. We have done everything we could possibly do to minimise risk to our clients,” he said.

The Australian Taxation Office ruled in August that Bitcoin, which trades uses mathematical code, is a commodity, not a currency and people who transact using Bitcoins will have to pay goods-and-services tax on the Australian dollar value of the transaction.

Independent Reserve said it will not charge GST on the funds sold through its exchange.

Wild fluctuations in the price of a Bitcoin – which is currently trading at $US380 and was once as high as $US1000 – as well as heightened level of risk and lack of formal regulation are often cited by professional investors as the reasons why they will not invest in the digital currency.

Among the skeptics on Bitcoin include legendary investor Warren Buffett and Peter Schiff, who have questioned its value. Mr Schiff however recently announced that he would partner bitcoin payment processor BitPay to allow investors to buy and sell gold and silver.

Attitudes do appear to be changing and more and more entrepreneurs like Mr Tepper are eager to find new ways of tapping into demand for Bitcoins and the opportunities attached.

“Other exchanges I have looked at have taken two or three months to create an account, but more stereotypical is one week. I think that is a long time so I think what people will notice when they use Independent Reserve is that they can be up and trading in a matter of a few minutes, which is great,” he said.

Melbourne-based Bitcoin Group is hoping to be the first Bitcoin company to list on the Australian Securities Exchange in November.

It comes as a Senate inquiry into the regulation of Bitcoin chaired by senator Sam Dastyari opens for submissions to develop a regulatory framework around the cryptocurrency.

“In Australia, Bitcoin is classified as a digital asset. I think we will probably see a change in the attitude towards Bitcoin. I think after this Senate inquiry I think we should probably see more in the Bitcoin space,” said Mr Tepper.

This week, London-based Bitcoin company Coinfloor and also the biggest Bitcoin-to-sterling exchange in terms of volume of currency traded, will launch a wider range of currencies, according to the Financial Times.

It will also raise money from its investors to launch a bitcoin fund next month, taking the company’s value up to £8million.

In Japan, Bitcoin exchange Kraken will start operating by the end of this month, and will become the latest crypto-currency service to launch in the country since the collapse of Mt. Gox – which was previously one of the world’s biggest crypto-currency market places.

Mt. Gox went bust at the start of this year and lost half a billion dollars’ worth of bitcoin belonging to 120,000 creditors.

Technology giants like Apple have been increasingly looking at Bitcoin as an alternative payments system.

Independent Reserve said that its servers are securely located at two Tier 3 data centres in Sydney, allowing for synchronous replication of all data across both locations in real-time to ensure zero data loss.

The exchange will charge a flat fee of 0.5 per cent on all trades, however Mr Tepper said the company is open to negotiation with market makers and heavy volume traders.

April 7th, 2019

Qantas engineers reach pay deal, agree to 18-month pay freeze

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More than 87 per cent of the 942 votes received were in support of the enterprise bargaining agreement, which includes an 18-month wage freeze, followed by annual increases of 3 per cent. Photo: Glenn Hunt More than 87 per cent of the 942 votes received were in support of the enterprise bargaining agreement, which includes an 18-month wage freeze, followed by annual increases of 3 per cent. Photo: Glenn Hunt
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More than 87 per cent of the 942 votes received were in support of the enterprise bargaining agreement, which includes an 18-month wage freeze, followed by annual increases of 3 per cent. Photo: Glenn Hunt

More than 87 per cent of the 942 votes received were in support of the enterprise bargaining agreement, which includes an 18-month wage freeze, followed by annual increases of 3 per cent. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Aircraft engineers represented by one of the Qantas unions at the centre of the 2011 industrial dispute that grounded the airline have agreed to a new four-year wage deal that includes a pay freeze for the first 18 months.

The settlement is a major step towards achieving the goal of Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce to freeze pay across the company as part of efforts to strip $2 billion in costs from the business within three years.

More than 87 per cent of the 942 votes received were in support of the enterprise bargaining agreement, which includes an 18-month wage freeze, followed by annual increases of 3 per cent.

About 1500 Qantas licenced engineers are covered by the agreement. As part of a side deal, about 50 engineers who were forced to take redundancy this year will have the chance to return to Qantas. The number was initially higher but some of the engineers have since decided to take voluntary redundancy.

The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association has also agreed to drop legal action in the Federal Court against Qantas for allegedly breaching the consultation provisions of the Fair Work Act.

Steve Purvinas, the federal secretary of the engineers’ union, said he hoped the settlement signalled a new era of co-operation between the engineers and the airline management “where our contribution is valued”.

“Our members are pleased that over the life of their agreement none of them will be retrenched so long as others have outstanding leave,” he said. “It means leave will be taken before anyone is sacked.”

The airline’s engineers have on average about six months of accrued leave.

Qantas said in a statement that the agreement was “fair and reasonable, giving more certainty to both the business and our employees over the next four years”.

The engineers union last month told its members that they could fight for a pay rise but “we expect that the government would intervene again and order us to Fair Work Australia for them to determine our pay outcome”.

Qantas’ short-haul pilots have also begun voting on whether to accept a new agreement which will result in them giving up 18 months of back pay. It would count as an effective pay freeze similar to that for other parts of the airline’s workforce, including the engineers.

Unlike the wage deal with the engineers, a number of short-haul pilots doubt their in-principle agreement will gain approval. Voting for the short-haul pilots’ deal closes on October 31.

Despite the settlement with the engineers, talks with the Transport Workers Union, which represents about 2000 Qantas ground staff whose three-year agreement expired on July 1, are showing no signs of an early resolution.

April 7th, 2019

Ice: A Shoalhaven mother’s story

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ADDICTION: Ice, also known as crystal meth, is a new menace in regional areas like Shoalhaven, posing challenges for law enforcement and mental health services, while wreaking havoc in the lives of those who fall into its grip.
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Eighteen months ago, he was a hardworking, respectful and loving son with a steady girlfriend and a good job.

Today, the young man in his early 20s is unemployed, living from couch to car and, his mother can only guess, associating mostly with criminals and addicts.

The changes in the life of this young man are a result of the frightening new drug on our streets, ice or methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth.

The young man’s mother has spoken about the nightmare ice has wrought on her family in the hope that other parents may spot the signs of addiction in their children and be able to intervene before it’s too late.

She is also pushing for a crack-down on the number of ice affected drivers on the road and lobbying for better access to rehab facilities for Shoalhaven users who have become addicted to this insidious drug.

By KATHY SHARPE

The first changes in the behaviourof the normally quiet and friendly young man could probably only ever have been detected by a mother’s eye.

Ice: A Shoalhaven mother’s story “We can’t put our head in the sand and hope it goes away – it won’t.“This drug has a detrimental effect not only on the user and their families – it is far reaching and has massive impacts on communities as a whole.”Shoalhaven Police Inspector Steve Johnson

“One of the big problems with ice is kids can die from a single dose and they die a horrible death over a few days. “It’s a poison. It gets to me when people call it a drug overdose, it’s not, there is no safe dose.”Shoalhaven Paramedic, Susan Gow,

“Crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride or ‘ice’ seems to be the drug of choice at the moment. A lot of the crime we deal with in regards to theft, break and enter and robberies can be attributed to the drug.”Retired Shoalhaven police inspector John Behrendt

“One in three men applying for treatment (at Oolong House) are addicted to ice. It’s frightening, the increase in this drug. It is just so prevalent in the local area, especially in Nowra.”Ivern Ardler, Chief Executive Oolong House

TweetFacebookMy son, who was a deeply caring, empathetic person has become someone who is very cold.

“Naively, I never thought about ice, even though I’d heard about how bad it was,” she said.

Finally, after weeks of sleepless nights and worry, her son opened up to her.

“He came in and sat down and said ‘Mum, I’ve been taking ice’.

“He was crying and very upset. He said he needed help.

“At the time I thought, OK, so we know now so we can do something about it.

“But once I knew it became apparent to me that he was taking it every day, in his car, at home or when he was out.

“I did a fair bit of research and realised the addictive nature of it. That really scared me. He told me he was taking it as soon as he got up in the morning. Every single cent of his pay was going on it.”

But finding help for her son proved to be much harder than she thought.

After two failed stints at rehab in Wollongong, she became convinced that a facility closer to home which allowed more contact with family may have been more successful for him.

The first time he was sent home for breaking two of the strict house rules of the facility.

On the second attempt, he was one day away from being allowed to have his first contact with family when he broke down and said he couldn’t cope anymore and left the facility.

“He’d never really been away from his family before, and he found himself the youngest one in there with hard core drug addicts. It was very tough.”

She also believes that his own disappointment in himself after every failed attempt refuelled his need to take the drug to erase the pain.

“He’ll talk sometimes about his disappointment in himself and how he wants to stop. He will talk for half an hour but then go out and get high.”

As he sank back into familiar patterns, his mother’s greatest fear was that he was driving under the influence of ice.

“There had been times when I found him asleep behind the wheel of his car,” she said.

The trauma of his addiction has reverberated throughout the whole family, with his mother in a constant state of anxiety about his future.

“I stopped being able to sleep. I was always worried about him.

“Would the police come knocking on my door because he was in an accident or had been found lying dead somewhere?

“I’m frightened he’s going to end up in jail. I’m frightened he’s going to kill himself.

“It got to the point where I was always cranky with other family members because I was always worried about him. I became depressed.”

Eighteen months since her son started using, she says she has no idea what the future holds, and her son’s personality has completely changed.

“He was a naïve young man with a very big heart. He was used to a close family and mates he’d had from school.

“Now he has become very detached. He’s unemotional and dismissive.

“My son, who was a deeply caring, empathetic person has become someone who is very cold.

“I never thought I would be in this situation.

“I’m told it’s freely available and that ice wasn’t even in Shoalhaven four years ago, and now it’s everywhere.”

Source: South Coast Register

April 7th, 2019

When a late-night Macca’s run turns into a life and death experience

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It was the Macca’s run that turned ugly for three Wagga friends who were threatened with knives and had their ute stolen from the car park of the fast food chain’s Fox Street store at the weekend. File photo”HE ASKED us ‘do you want to die?’ and I said no, not really”.
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It was the Macca’s run that turned ugly for three Wagga friends who were threatened with knives and had their ute stolen from the car park of the fast food chain’s Fox Street store in Wagga Wagga at the weekend.

Just hours before the horrific ordeal unfolded, about 12.15am on Sunday, the trio had celebrated a friend’s 20th birthday and visited the Victoria Hotel for a couple of drinks.

The designated driver of the Holden Rodeo ute had stopped so they could to grab some food when three figures were seen lurking around the Edward Street side of the car park.

The silhouettes, first thought to be McDonald’s employees, suddenly surrounded the ute.

Inside, 18-year-old Jade, 20-year-old Justin and Nick, 21 – whose surnames have been withheld – feared for their lives as weapons were produced and demands were made for them to get out and hand over the keys.

“They all had one,” Jade said when asked about the knife police say was used to threaten them.There were three shadows in the dark … they came over and asked us if we were being racist.

“I had no idea who they were.They dragged Nick out, but me and the other bloke stepped out of the ute.

“He (one of the men) asked us ‘do you want to die?’ and I said no, not really.

“He told me to get out.”

Jade’s mother, Marg, said she was disappointed with how the situation was handled by McDonald’s staff.

Marg claims staff didn’t assist Jade when he ran to the closed fast food outlet for assistance.

Jade, a former McDonald’s employee, was reportedly escorted from the store.

“What would have happened if one of them had been stabbed?” Marg said.”Inside McDonald’s would have been the safest place for them to be, not in the car park.

“It happened in the car park, he went in there and was thrown out.

“They didn’t even get a chance to explain why he went in there.”

Jade said he knew the manager, but it didn’t make any difference.

“He was more worried about me being in the store … than what was going on outside,” he said.”He just kicked me straight out.”

In the minutes that followed, Jade frantically tried to get help.

“I whistled out to them (passing police) and tried to wave them down and they turned around,” he said.

Marg described the shock of what happened and warned others to take care.

“Wagga’s not safe anymore for kids,” she said.”I’d expect that (the armed robbery) to be done in Sydney or Melbourne, not in Wagga.”

The ute was stopped by police near Yass, where four people were arrested.

Two 18-year-old men and another, 19, were charged and granted conditional bail, to appear in Wagga Local Court on December 3.

The fourth was released pending further inquiries.

STAFF of the Fox Street McDonald’s at the centre of Sunday’s armed robbery were simply following procedures, the owner/operator of the Wagga fast food chains says.

Tony Aichinger said employees had acted by the book when they refused a victim of the ordeal entry to the store.

For safety reasons, staff aren’t permitted to allow anyone into the restaurant after it has closed, Mr Aichinger said.

“At that time, the police had already been called and the offenders had already gone,” he said.”McDonald’s safety and security procedures were maintained to ensure the safety of our staff.”

Mr Aichinger said Jade’s mother, Marg, met with the store manager about the matter yesterday and staff had also been spoken to.

Source: Daily Advertiser, Wagga Wagga