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Worrals in the wilds 22nd Dec 2012 11:40

The Customs scandal, (which we're already been told we are to blame the Liberals for)
Really? I missed that piece of Ministerial duckshoving, dunno how it works. Border Security was annihilated by Kevin 07; prior to that the border agencies were Howard's chosen people. IMO that didn't help them come 07, but that's only my opinion.

That said, it is a scandal. It's worse than that, it's a travesty. While the ABC has been beating it to a pulp like a failed racehorse at the doggers it's Bad News. Two officers of the Commonwealth (and an Inspector) have been charged with what is the worst crime second to harming someone; they have (allegedly) used their positions of trust to run gear for their own petty little profit. :yuk:

I can't tell you how much this disgusts me, and so many current and former border agency staff I know too well. I can't find words that the forum or the law will allow. Any border agency official knows how to run drugs/cash/weapons/people/ today's valuable contraband; it's part of their training. You can't train people to look for it without training them how to do it. Allegedly three little squeezers (and maybe more :() decided to forgo their promise to protect the people of the Commonwealth of Australia from illegal imports. They not only failed that promise, but they allegedly aided and abbetted the people who would cheerfully watch the harm and devastation caused by narcotics use for :mad:ing money. For kickbacks. For dollars. They betrayed 20 million people for petty cash.

I can respect the 'honest' criminal, the underworld leader, the Mafia Don (and there are Aussie Dons :8) and the OMCGs. They are what they are and they do what they do. The crim and the officer fight an ageless battle, but in its own funny way it's an honourable battle. Neither side pretends to be anything other than what it is (let's forget about the undercovers because TBQH they're kind of weird anyway :}). The person who carries the badge and the search privileges granted by the Commonwealth and gains knowledge of the system's many weaknesses, only to use that for their own personal gain (not even for any higher political or religious motive, just for the cash) is nothing more than a traitor to their community. :yuk:

The fact that this happens so rarely is a tribute to the thousands of averagely paid and underappreciated border officers who do their thing day after day with minus support from the current federal government. Having undergone relentless budget cuts, staff cuts and credibility cuts (remember Bob Brown's assessment of DIAC wrt refs) since 2007 the only surprise is that more of them aren't taking advantage of their position.

They don't do that because by and large they're still the good guys. They might be the rude guys, the lazy jobsworth guys or the guys who had the audacity to question you about your four bottles of whiskey :}, but they're not bad. They don't abuse their position of trust. They don't carry bags of narcotics through the primary line for their little friends.

Hated and despised by the current federal government and the public, underfunded and ignored, most of them still do their thing, in the face of far greater monetary gain from the Dark Side of the Force. Despite what the 7:30 Report's self congratulationary broadcast suggested, three arrests from thousands of staff in one port is not indicative of a nation wide conspiracy, much as they'd like to portray it as such.

Customs management deserves a bollocking over this for allowing the rot to set in. My opinions on Customs management are best left unsaid, but I have a futile hope that this incident will change them. It won't though. They'll weasel out of it by blaming their largely blameless workforce as the Minister has already done, by duckshoving responsibility to the officers who were never granted any, and by doing what they've done over the past two decades; spending all their time on their individual career development and none on protecting our borders.

In his own way the Minister has also been traitorous to his own people. He has failed to defend the 99% or more of Customs Officers who are not corrupt. His message to those officers has been simple; you're all a bunch of :mad:tards and I've finally nailed two of you c:mad:ts. Minister, I can tell you that your message is clear and recieved; the Customs and Border Protection Service now knows that it not only lacks your support but has gained your hatred. Two Officers have done the worst possible thing in any federal department; made you look like a f:mad:king dork.

Never mind the other thousands minus two; your pressers and lack of support have also tarred them as criminals in the eyes of the public. There are 165,000 federal public servants in this country and I trust they will remember how the Minister treated his thousands of honest Customs Officers. He let 'em swing and insinuated they were all crims for a press oppportunity, so he could weasel out of any budget cut questions. That's what the current government thinks of its people. That's how they treat the frontline border protection officers who do the right thing. If they'd spent a little more time hunting down the minority who do the wrong thing none of this would have happened. :ugh:

Fliegenmong 22nd Dec 2012 13:28

"you look like a fking Mong."

You say 'Mong' like its a bad thing WITW! :O

OK!...I'm guessing you've essentially told us what you do at BNE day in day out....

Bon Giorno 22nd Dec 2012 13:30

The Customs scandal, (which we're already been told we are to blame the Liberals for)
Really? I missed that piece of Ministerial duckshoving, dunno how it works. Border Security was annihilated by Kevin 07; prior to that the border agencies were Howard's chosen people.
Yes really. You somehow do seem to have missed it although it was a huge story at the time.

This didn't start with the current Minister Worrals. Before berating him perhaps next time you are riding the outrage bus you could profit from updating yourself on the disgraceful persecution of the honourable Customs Officer Allan Kessing by the previous Howard Liberal Government.

And also noting the comments of the spokesman from the Customs Officers Association.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
LATELINE Broadcast: 22/06/2007
Reporter: Michael Edwards

ELEANOR HALL: A former customs officer convicted of leaking confidential reports to the media has narrowly avoided going to jail, instead receiving a nine month suspended sentence.

In 2005, Allan Kessing leaked the customs reports to The Australian Newspaper. They detailed widespread security problems at Sydney Airport.

While maintaining his innocence, Mr Kessing's defence argued that the leaking of the reports constituted a public service because it prompted improvements in security.

Michael Edwards has our report.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Allan Kessing arrived at court today already convicted and in the eyes of some, a national security risk for leaking to the media confidential customs reports about security breaches at Sydney Airport.

But while he came prepared for prison, he emerged with a nine month suspended sentence.

ALLAN KESSING: Two years of investigation and thousands and thousands of hours of AFP work. It is the most outrageous waste of money and resources...

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Mr Kessing played a key role in the preparation of reports but maintains he's innocent.

The basis of his defence was the leaks led to a security overhaul at Sydney Airport.

There are those who agree.

ROBERT SPANSWICK, CUSTOMS OFFICERS ASSOCIATION: He should have got a medal for writing and report and if he did release it, he should have got a second medal.
Not only did Kessings reports get pigeon holed by the Liberals but they then hypocritically went on to commission their own report - the Wheeler Report.

Then turned around and splurged $200 million of taxpayers funds on airport security. Most of it by all accounts a wasted effort, notable only for its aggravation to staff and users alike and lack of any real improvement in security.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: But Mr Kessing believes his prosecution served a deeper purpose for the Commonwealth.

He told Lateline in an interview conducted at his home before his sentencing that his case has been used to deter whistle blowers.

ALLAN KESSING: It sends the message- you'd have to be a fool to take a call from the media or anybody else because you'll always find incompetent people able and willing and eager to hide their incompetence by being vindictive, I think is the only way of putting it.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: The leaked reports prompted the Wheeler review into security at airports. In turn, this led to a $200 million security upgrade.

But he remains unconvinced the lax security culture at airports has changed.

ALLAN KESSING: My ex colleagues tell me very little has changed. I haven't been back since I quit in 2005. My ex colleagues tell me the only thing that's changed is spiffy titles for senior officers and nothing else.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Journalists say Mr Kessing's conviction is indicative of an ongoing trend to muzzle public servants and reporters.

CHRISTORPHER WARREN, MEAA: It's a refection (sic) of a clamp down that has been going on within this Government for about 10 years now.

The federal police are used to investigate leaked information, both to penalise individuals who leak but also to send a climate of fear through the public service.

Buster Hyman 22nd Dec 2012 13:37

Of course, the current governement hold ticker tape parades for whistleblowers now....:rolleyes:

CoodaShooda 23rd Dec 2012 00:10


Why is it when a story breaks alleging a significant failing by the labor government, the first response is to dredge up an unrelated incident from a previous government?

The "12 years of neglect" approach wore thin two weeks after the 2007 election - but labor still thinks it's a winning tactic?

Worrals has touched on the strategy that a clever government, not suffering from a siege mentality when it comes to its public service, should adopt.

I.e. Border Control and Customs is a large and complex area, essential to the protection of Australian society. (Throw in some large dollar figures)

It employs hundreds of thousand people directly and indirectly. (Throw in more large dollar amounts)

As with any regulatory process, there is potential for corrupt behaviour and the government is vigilant in trying to prevent this from occurring.

We have identified an area where organised crime has managed to infiltrate the process and have moved quickly and decisively to shut it down.

Those involved will face the full force of the law!

Simple spin but, I'd suggest, likely to be damned more effective than the undergraduate smear tactics so beloved of current government practitioners.

The recent reaction by the Minister blows the event out of proportion and the inevitable proposal to form a committee of inquiry smacks of panic and lack of control.

Captain Sand Dune 23rd Dec 2012 00:46

and the inevitable proposal to form a committee of inquiry
Because Heaven forbid any of these numpties would just MAKE A DECISION!:mad:

sisemen 23rd Dec 2012 00:53

If the problem was systemic and widespread then maybe an inquiry would be justified but in this case it would appear to be a basic inability to make a decision and to duck-shove the problem as far away from a possible election as they can.

This lot aren't governing they're simply going through the motions - and not very effectively at that.

Worrals in the wilds 23rd Dec 2012 01:12

This didn't start with the current Minister Worrals. Before berating him perhaps next time you are riding the outrage bus you could profit from updating yourself on the disgraceful persecution of the honourable Customs Officer Allan Kessing by the previous Howard Liberal Government.
G'day Bluey, how nice to see you again.
I am well aware of the Kessing case, as several people here know. Over the years I have posted at length on DG&P about the witch hunt Customs instigated to find Kessing, while the Minister was publicly saying how grateful he was that all the allegations had come to light. Maybe we're travelling on the same outrage bus. Won't that be fun; and no, I'm not doing your ironing. :}

It was Rudd who promised pre-election to remove the imprisonment and reverse onus of proof from S70 of the Crimes Act. As the current Act shows, that never happened. :bored:
CRIMES ACT 1914 - SECT 70 Disclosure of information by Commonwealth officers

For all their many failings Howard's government gave Customs and the other border agencies enough money to function. Apart from anything else, it suited their political message. The current government has not. It continues to cut staff from the backroom alphabet agencies such as Austrac, and wherever else it thinks people won't notice.

OK!...I'm guessing you've essentially told us what you do at BNE day in day out....
Once were warriors. :}
P.S. apologies all for using the M word, I realise it's offensive to a lot of people. I've edited it out.

FullOppositeRudder 23rd Dec 2012 01:53

Thank you Worrals for your recent contributions on this one. You speak for many of us whose disgust at the things are moving in the country is matched only by our deep worry and concern about how this is all going to be reversed to somehow regain the Australia we were once proud of. I despair for the future, I really do!

Bon Giorno 23rd Dec 2012 03:48


Why is it when a story breaks alleging a significant failing by the labor government, the first response is to dredge up an unrelated incident from a previous government?
Unrelated?? Get real CoodaShooda - of course it is related!

Absolutely 100% directly related!

It was on the Howard Liberals watch in 2002 and 2003 when Mr Kessing was working in the covert Air Border Security Unit, that he compiled his reports on the potential for corruption and systemic issues of security within Customs.

And despite the standard shoot the messenger tactic which prevails here the first public response was from the author Allan Kessing himself.

Mr Kessing appeared with Independent Senator Nick Xenophon at a press conference this morning.

"The government says it was surprised by the extent of these arrests. Well, they should not be surprised," Senator Xenophon said.

"This report has been known about for a decade. Both the Howard government and the current government should be embarrassed by this."

Mr Kessing was convicted of leaking the suppressed reports but maintains he was only the author and that somebody else handed them to the press.

"I investigated at the time and found security personnel with criminal convictions, some who were illegal residents and some who had no documentation whatsoever, such as bank accounts or drivers licences," Mr Kessing said.
But rather than acting on the findings instead Howard sooled the AFP onto Kessing in a bizarre witch hunt costing thousands of policing hours.

Senator Xenophon said the greatest scandal of all was Mr Kessing's treatment and asked what the ramifications of the saga meant for innocent victims.

"How many Australians have died of narcotics overdoses in the past decade as a result of corrupt customs officials?" he asked.

"How many Australians have been killed by guns brought into the country as a result of corrupt customs officials?"

THE real problem highlighted in this guilty verdict concerns the Howard Government's authoritarian approach to the free flow of information.

Public servants who reveal information about flawed public administration deserve medals - not criminal convictions.

Their actions force embarrassed governments to remedy their incompetent administration of the community's assets.

Punishing whistleblowers such as Allan Kessing for protecting the public interest reeks of the vengeful act of a political pygmy.

That's bad enough. But so long as federal law forces juries to impose guilty verdicts on good citizens, the law itself will come into disrepute.

Juries are not fools. They know right from wrong. And in this case, the long delay in reaching the verdict strongly suggests at least some members of the jury agonised about allowing themselves to be part of such a repugnant process.

Whistleblowers serve the public interest. Yet in case after case, the Government has refused to distinguish between high-minded actions such as Kessing's and mischievous leaks that can damage the public interest.

The politicians and bureaucrats forget that the public interest is not always aligned with the interests of the government of the day.

The flaw in the Howard Government's desperate efforts to control the free flow of information has long been apparent. The Australian March 28, 2007
How quickly people forget. :ugh:

Buster Hyman 23rd Dec 2012 03:55

Hey, this smoke & mirrors is fun.

"How many Australians have died of narcotics overdoses in the past decade as a result of corrupt customs officials?" he asked.

"How many Australians have been killed by guns brought into the country as a result of corrupt customs officials?"
How many people died as a result of the Whitlam ALP's cowering subjugation towards Indonesia's invasion in East Timor? Your turn...

sisemen 23rd Dec 2012 04:43

Unrelated?? Get real CoodaShooda - of course it is related!


Worrals in the wilds 23rd Dec 2012 05:00

It was on the Howard Liberals watch in 2002 and 2003 when Mr Kessing was working in the covert Air Border Security Unit,
The ABS teams are not covert. They are uniformed officers who work in airside areas. They may conduct surveillance or do some plain clothed stuff occasionally, but they're not spies. It's been a while since I've read all that stuff, but IIRC his report was more to do with systemic corruption and criminals working in the airport for airline and GHS companies, rather than specific corruption within Customs.

From The Australian;
"This is the second time information that was withheld from the jury has come to light about the Kessing case.

In September 2009, Mr Kessing revealed one of the factors behind his decision not to give evidence during the trial. While continuing to deny he leaked the reports to The Australian, he said he had secretly provided access to one of the reports to solicitor Nathan Cureton, a staff member who had been employed in the Sydney office of Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese, who is now Infrastructure Minister. Mr Kessing had hoped in vain that Mr Albanese would use parliamentary privilege to expose security flaws at Sydney Airport.

The meeting with Mr Cureton took place in April 2005, about two months before details of the reports were published in The Australian. Mr Kessing did not take the stand at his 2007 trial over the leak to The Australian in order to ensure his leak to Mr Albanese's office remained secret."
Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian
Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian

How quickly people forget. :ugh:
I agree.

sisemen 23rd Dec 2012 05:31

Spotted this on the internet. Reminds me of another dog but I can't think which :E


CoodaShooda 23rd Dec 2012 06:12

Agreed Buster. It's more fun when an alternative viewpoint arrives on the scene. :E

So while we are into selective quoting BG

the Howard Government's authoritarian approach to the free flow of information.
How would you describe the Rudd/Gillard approach to the free flow of information; which I would expand to include thought, opinion and, dare I say it, speech?

Or, how is reversing the right to the presumption of innocence less authoritarian than the libs governance?

Buster Hyman 23rd Dec 2012 08:11

Yes Cooda, and I also wonder how Whistleblowers would fare under the attacks on our freedom of speech?

Dark Knight 23rd Dec 2012 22:44

Says it all Really!!

A Merry Christmas to All Here

Dark Knight 24th Dec 2012 03:50

Amanda sums it all, neatly..
It's Gillard who's slinging mud in this 'parliament of filth'

Amanda Vanstone: December 24, 2012

On the issue of trashing rivals,the PM says one thing and does another.

LAST week our national leader decided to sum up the year by announcing that, due to Tony Abbott's efforts, we were blessed with a parliament of filth. Julia Gillard decided, it seems, that to use her position to make some positive and uplifting remarks was a little too passť.

Daily the opposition must count its lucky stars for having a PM who steadfastly refuses to step into the shoes of gravitas that her office allows. The rest of us, I suggest, are bemused.

After all, it was Gillard who helped set up a union slush fund without the knowledge of her legal firm partners. It was Gillard who was unable to categorically say whether all the work done on her house had been properly paid for and it was Gillard who had a relationship with one of the key players in the sorry saga.

Oh, and it was Gillard who, in effect, confirmed there was a whole lot of sleaze going on when she told us that as soon as she became aware she had been deceived, she broke off the relationship. In other words, what she allegedly discovered was ugly enough for her to end a relationship.

That Gillard's account appears to many to be completely unrealistic is not surprising. Yes, it was 17 years ago.But she is not being asked about any one of a potentially large number of legal files she handled in that year. She has been asked about work on a file that was created for her boyfriend. Unless she would like to tell us otherwise, I think, or at least hope, we can assume she did not regularly do this kind of work without the knowledge of her legal partners and particularly not for her lover at the time.

Accordingly, this file was not run of the mill, it was unusual.

Anyway, she was the one in the relationship doing work on a fund about which the union movement was concerned- but apparently it is all Abbott's fault everyone is talking about it.Apparently, he is the sleaze.

An inference of guilt by association is not something the Prime Minister endorses - in relation to herself. But the other side of her face says that Abbott, because he knows Alan Jones, was as guilty of besmirching her father's memory as the radio presenter had been.

Without wishing to be unkind, I think it fair to say the death of the PM's father was no more deserving of parliamentary time than the death of any other Australian. One hopes it was out of grief rather than a calculated call for sympathy that the Prime Minister chose to raise the issue of his passing in Parliament. She had other options,yet chose to do it right before question time.

Abbott made no issue of this and in fact spoke positively about the man who fathered our first female PM.Indeed, in relation to her father's death, I thought Abbott behaved in an exemplary fashion. Yet, when he was talking on another matter and understandably used the words he had used time and time again over many months, which happened to be the ones Jones used in relation to the PM's father, quick as a whip she took the opportunity to portray the Liberal leader as referringt o her father.

Our Prime Minister has a bit of history of saying one thing and doing another. She would have us believe she is opposed to the trashing of reputations for political advantage but her behaviour towards Abbott is testament to the opposite.

Perhaps there is no clearer example of what Gillard is prepared to do for political advantage than immigration policy. When I was immigration minister for some years and responsible for that area for the Coalition in the Senate for a few more, I experienced daily a barrage of bile and invective from the then Labor opposition.

The Howard government was endlessly portrayed as mean and nasty, as racist and uncaring. This was as relentless a campaign as I experienced in a long period of government.Australians were told we were mean to refugees and lagged behind the world in caring for their plight. We were told to feel bad about ourselves. The world was told we were a bunch of racists.

In fact, Australia was and remains the second or third-largest taker of refugees for permanent resettlement in the world. Yet our nation's reputation and our pride inourselves were trashed for Labor's advantage.

Now many of those policies have been adopted by Labor. Has there been any apology, expression of regret or remorse?

Gillard was as guilty as the rest of them. She is no doubt looking forward to May next year, when we will all be able to lift a glass in celebration of her foresight and clear-headedness. For it was Gillard who, in May 2003, said: ''No rational person - I would put it as highly as that - would suggest that in 10 or 20 years we would still be processing asylum seeker claims on Nauru.''

Age columnist Amanda Vanstone was aminister in the Howard government.

And we will no doubt also recall Gillard's statement: "Another Boat; Another Policy Failure"

A whole lot of boats; A whole lot of policy failures!!

Worrals in the wilds 24th Dec 2012 05:17

And the ALP and their supporters used to slag Vandstone with all manner of bile and filth. Cracks about her weight, her appearance, her clothes, you name it they lobbed it :ouch:. All the talk from Roxon and Co about being nice to female pollies only seems to apply to ALP female pollies. :hmm:

On a cheesier note; Merry Christmas all War in Oz regulars, both local and remote commentators alike. Hope you all have nice weather, good lunches and a glass or three of your favourite bevvie.

I reckon one of the year's greatest political achievements is that we've kept the thread going without being shut down since February, which must be a JB Aus Politics thread record! :ok::}
Thanks CFI for stepping up to the lion-tamer job.


Cheers to a heatedly debated 2013. One way or another, it should be a doozy! :)

CoodaShooda 24th Dec 2012 05:46

Seasons greetings also from the Bore from the North. :ok:

Labor's style always strike me as being akin to that nasty little kid in the school playground.

You know the one.

Niggles, pinches, makes nasty comments and eventually goads its victim into retaliating.

And then runs screaming to the teacher..."Miss, Miss, they're picking on me...."

Let's see if we can remain unlocked through to the election.

Game on! :E

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