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Various Articles on Local / National Issues - #3

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Bleijie’s old boss links new anti-bikie laws to Nazi era

Tom Huntley  - Daily Mercury.  18th Oct 2013

THE man who moved Jarrod Bleijie's admission as a solicitor has likened new anti-bikie laws to the Nazi era and says the Attorney-General has forgotten the basics of the law.

Kyle Kimball, a senior director of Sajen Legal where Mr Bleijie worked from 2006 until his election to Parliament in 2009, said new laws eroded civil liberties.

The State Government's new Vicious Lawless Associations Disestablishment Bill and the Criminal Gang Destruction Bill have been criticised by civil libertarians and legal experts who say they give the government the power to declare groups and people to be criminals without a trial.

The Attorney-General will also have the power to keep people in jail indefinitely under other legislative changes.

Mr Kimball took to Facebook to challenge Mr Bleijie's sweeping new laws.

"Nothing like removing judicial discretion eh JB? And your very own star chamber to boot?" he wrote.

"Are the constabulary so woefully inefficient that they are unable to prove a case and secure a conviction without a coerced confession by some throwback process from the middle ages?

"What's on the agenda after bikies? Who else will be for the truth serum?"

Mr Kimball told the Daily that the new laws showed disregard for laws developed over hundreds of years to protect people from persecution.

He pointed out fascist governments had been empowered by similar laws.

"The Nazis came to power with pieces of law like this," he said. "It may seem melodramatic but it's not."

Mr Kimball said the legislative changes also disregarded principles of sentencing which required consideration of the circumstances of the case and consistency of sentencing.

"I thought my partners and I had taught him better, but what we taught him seems to have vanished," he said.

Mr Kimball said the Attorney-General had not responded to any of his Facebook posts.

He said Mr Bleijie would not be surprised that he had challenged him as the Sajen legal office had always been a scene of debate.

"I'd just like to get Jarrod to think about it from a different perspective."


Kevin Rudd loyalists hit back after Nicola Roxon's 'bastard' attack on former PM

By chief political correspondent Emma Griffiths, ABC News, Updated Thu 17 Oct 2013

Kevin Rudd supporters within the Labor Caucus have slapped down a scathing assessment of the former prime minister, saying the comments should be kept "behind closed doors".

Former attorney-general Nicola Roxon last night described Mr Rudd as a "bastard" as she delivered the John Button Memorial Lecture.

In a lengthy critique of Labor's six years in power, Ms Roxon called on the former leader to quit parliament.

But senior frontbencher Chris Bowen, who served as treasurer under Mr Rudd, says all former leaders are "deserving of respect".

"The Australian people are over a discussion about what happened over the last six years and interested in a discussion about the future," he told AM.

"I think the Labor Party has a very fine tradition of respecting its former leaders and that should apply to former leaders from the last Government as well.

Read the full text of Nicola Roxon's John Button Memorial Lecture exclusively at The Drum.

"I think it's a matter for Kevin Rudd as to how he would choose to make his contribution to the Labor Party and going forward."

Western Sydney MP Ed Husic, who backed Mr Rudd in the party's leadership battles, was more forthright in his criticism of Ms Roxon.

"The type of free analysis and free public commentary that should be reserved for behind closed doors is not welcome publicly," he told Sky News.

"Labor voters and members want to see us focus on our job at hand which is to be an effective opposition.

"I just don't see how it helps.

"I think people are sick to the back teeth of that type of commentary."

Ms Roxon was heavily critical of Mr Rudd's leadership style, saying he had been reluctant to allow Cabinet to make strategic decisions, instead focussing on minutiae to avoid "harder decisions".

A close ally of Julia Gillard, Ms Roxon slammed Mr Rudd's infamous temper and said the government was left weaker because he ignored the advice of his colleagues.


Wayne Swan used VIP jet to fly to grand final with his daughter

WAYNE Swan charged taxpayers more than $12,000 to fly him and two of his children to the AFL Grand final by VIP jet when he was acting prime minister in 2010.

The following day the then treasurer and his advisers took a taxpayer-funded RAAF flight from Brisbane to Sydney to watch the NRL Grand Final.

The Australian has checked Mr Swan's travel records, confirming he took the trips on October 2 and October 3, 2010.

Details of the flights have emerged amid heightened scrutiny over MPs' entitlements, particularly those of Tony Abbott.

Mr Abbott has admitted charging taxpayers to participate in a wide range of sporting events, including the Port Macquarie Ironman event.

He also claimed thousands of dollars to take family members to AFL grand finals, Derby Day and the Tamworth Music Festival.

Mr Swan, who is on a taxpayer-funded study trip to New York, said the travel was “entirely within the guidelines”.

“I was invited as the acting prime minister. For decades, the prime minister has been to both of those grand finals, and it is a requirement when you are prime minister or acting prime minister, because of security, to travel in the way that I travelled.”

He said there was a “world of difference' between those travel claims and others currently under the spotlight by other MPs.

There were six people aboard the VIP RAAF jet, including Mr Swan and two of his children, on the October 2 trip to Melbourne for that year's Grand Final replay between Collingwood and St Kilda.

The flights cost taxpayers $12,136.

Mr Swan travelled to Sydney with three others on October 3 to watch St. George Illawarra play the Sydney Roosters in the NRL Grand Final. He flew back to Brisbane that night with an additional passenger.

Taxpayers paid $5576 for the round trip.

Mr Abbott claimed more than $1700 worth of entitlements to attend the 2011 AFL Grand Final with family members, and about $2450 to attend the game with family the following year.

He claimed $2730 worth of entitlements to attend the 2010 Melbourne Cup with family members, and $2495 to attend Derby Day with family in 2012.

A charter flight to the Tamworth Country Music Festival, which the Prime Minister attended with one of his daughters last year, cost $8800.

Yesterday, Mr Abbott resisted calls for the rules covering MPs entitlements to be tightened.

“It doesn't matter what the rules are, there's always going to be an argument at the margins,” he said in Bali, where he was attending the APEC conference.

“The point I make is people should be careful and cautious when they claim entitlements. If there is any doubt they should resolve the doubt in favour of the taxpayer, and that's exactly what I've done.”

The expenses furore is the first scandal to confront the Abbott government. Former prime minister John Howard lost three ministers in his first term of government as a result of travel rorts.