Tuesday, May 22, 2012

John So for Melbourne

If John So or a independent candidate of similar standing, who was able to attract 20% primary support and the preferences of minor parties votes ahead of the Greens and Labor, could win the state seat of Melbourne.

Analysis of the electorate vote has indicated that Labor could lose the seat but not to the Greens.

Labor's endorsed candidate Cr. Jennifer Kanis just does not have community profile to win in her own right. Her term on the City of Melbourne Council has been noted for her lack of community engagement in public debate. She has no community base and the electorate is open to contest from a candidate that is better known. A candidate that can attract preferences ahead of the Greens will win the seat provided the Greens will preference them ahead of Labor.

The Greens are not in a winning position to win the seat. Melbourne is a seat for labor to lose to an independent candidate.

Cr Kanis is expected to resign from the City of Melbourne Council if she is to contest the state seat. A count-back of the 2008 preference votes would see  Lisa Muscatello who had the support of 74 primary votes elected to fill the vacancy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Scammers take their toll - Media remiss in its reporting

Late last year we exposed a scam involving a company called TecSavvy who would call prospective victims seeking to gain access to their computers and details related to the financial accounts. This scam came to light when I had the misfortune to purchase a Skype number that was previously used by the scammers as their support hotline and I started to receive to receive the complaints.

I contacted the Australian Federal police and the Media. Journalist, Wes Hosking wrote an article which was published in the Herald Sun. Sadly the article focuses on the Skype number and not the modus operandi of the scam. The name of the scammers was not published.

It is with much sadness and despair that this weeks ABC Consumer Quarter reported on Internet scammers. One of the girls interviewed said that her father's account had been wiped out by a scam that was identical to the one that I had tried to have the media and authorities expose. Even the ABC failed to mention the name of the company involved.

America acted to block the scammer's account why not Australia? I can not help but think the media and the Police failed these people.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Costing Councillors

Source. Sydney Morning Herald

HOW much do the elected members of local councils spend on themselves out of ratepayers' money? In today's electronic world most now have a mobile phone and a computer or iPad at public expense to help them do their job, but what about other benefits such as mayoral cars, taxis, hospitality and trips to conferences?

This information is tucked away in councils' statutory annual reports which must show the cost of facilities provided to councillors and their expenses.

An analysis of these figures - which do not include mayoral and councillor allowances that typically cost a council another $200,000 to $400,000 a year - shows Camden has Sydney's most frugal councillors, spending just $6592.59 on facilities and expenses in 2010-11.

The biggest spender on councillors is Hurstville, which outlaid $390,604.50 on facilities and expenses last year - down from $446,308 in 2008-09. This included $93,144 on office equipment for the dedicated personal use of councillors, $46,511 on conferences and seminars and $48,259 on dinners before council meetings and other catering. The largest council - the City of Sydney - spent less than $4000 on office equipment.

The next biggest spenders were Fairfield ($234,053), Campbelltown ($222,139) and Holroyd ($212,829, after taking out the cost of citizenship ceremonies). Liverpool stands out among the bigger outer-suburban councils with a modest expenditure of $50,826.

Despite a statutory requirement to provide these figures they are not evident in the recent annual report of Botany Bay Council.

Hurstville Greens councillor Anne Wagstaff put forward a motion some time ago that the ''council is neither to make available, nor serve, any alcohol to councillors or staff prior to the conclusion of all council meetings on any given day''. She was the only one to vote for it.

''We need to support the provision of a phone, a computer or an iPad, and reasonable allowances for a carer, transport and sustenance to encourage and ensure people from all backgrounds, in particular women, consider being a councillor,'' Cr Wagstaff said.

''In setting what are 'reasonable' allowances, councils should be guided by the Australian Tax Office or other similar government standards.

''However, the provision of such items should not be abused, such as claiming the full sustenance allowance when at conferences where plenty of food and refreshments are provided.

''Hurstville's weekend workshops at distant resorts at Terrigal and the Hunter Valley and alcohol with dinner before council meetings are not necessary or appropriate.'' Hurstville council provides a sustenance allowance of $154.80 a day at conferences, even when meals are part of the package. Marrickville councillors follow Tax Office guidelines and are not paid if a meal is provided nor reimbursed for alcohol.