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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Are the TPP and TiSA the beginning of the globalisation of health care? - The AIM Network

Are the TPP and TiSA the beginning of the globalisation of health care? - The AIM Network

Are the TPP and TiSA the beginning of the globalisation of health care?

“It’s hard not feel that we are
being attacked at from all angles with corporations eying off developing
and developed countries public health services for profit. With an
Australian government seemingly hell bent on dismantling its Medicare
system with outsourcing payments while introducing co-payments, it’s
looking clearer now as to what the current Australian government has
planned” writes Mel Mac.

I recently wrote
about the TPP and now I think it’s time that we take a look at the
Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). It’s a services-only free trade
agreement (FTA) that began in 2012 with exploratory discussions between
Australia, US and the European Union (EU) for a year and with formal
discussions beginning in early 2013. Australia, US and the EU take it in
turns to chair the negotiations in Geneva. The services sector
accounts for around 70% of Australia’s economic activity and accounts
for around 17% of Australia’s total exports. Current countries
negotiating the TiSA are Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei,
Colombia, Costa Rica, The European Union (representing its 28 Member
States), Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New
Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Korea,
Switzerland, Turkey and the United States. These countries also account
for around 70% of global trade in services. China and Uruguay have
expressed interest but have yet to be invited, it’s also worth
mentioning that the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) bloc have not been invited.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) deals with the global rules of trade between nations and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) came
into effect in April 1994, and involves all WTO members. The TiSA’s aim
is to be compatible with GATS yet, set a new standard in services trade
that covers all service sectors including health and public services;
financial services; ICT services (including telecommunications and
e-commerce); professional services; maritime transport services; air
transport services; competitive delivery services; energy services;
temporary entry of business persons; government procurement; and new
rules on domestic regulation to ensure regulatory settings do not
operate as a barrier to trade in services. The discussions are held
behind closed doors as per other trade agreements, Wikileaks
managed to leak draft text from the April 2014 round of discussions
involving further deregulation of global financial services markets,
despite the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). The draft Financial Services Annex
sets rules to assist the expansion of financial multi-nationals into
other nations by preventing regulatory barriers. The leaked draft also
shows that the US is particularly keen on boosting cross-border data
flow, allowing the uninhibited exchange of personal and financial data.

The Australian government has a web page for it’s involvement in TiSA
and in the sixth April/May round that Australia also chaired, more than
140 negotiators and sector-specific government experts attended. There
were advanced discussions in all areas of the negotiations, including on
new and enhanced disciplines (trade rules) for financial services,
domestic regulation and transparency, e-commerce and telecommunications,
and maritime transport. TiSA parties also agreed to move to a
negotiating text for air transport and market access negotiations also
continued. The Global Services Coalition or “Team TiSA”
organised a substantial industry presence in the margins of the
negotiations and as the name suggests is pro the TiSA for the
US. Trading in services has grown at a faster pace than trading in goods
since the 1980s. The United Nations Conference on Trade And Development
estimates that in 2013 global services exports reached $4.7 trillion
and grew at an annual rate of 5%.  Overall, the services trade has grown
by 95% since 2000. World Bank research shows that the services sector
has become the dominant driver of economic growth in developing
countries, delivering both GDP growth and poverty reduction.  In 2011,
the services sector accounted for a massive 49% of GDP in low income
countries and 47% in least developed countries. Team TiSA has every
right to be cheering for it as it would benefit the US greatly. The US
is the world’s largest single-country exporter and importer of services
and they generate more than 75% of their national economic output. In
2013 the US exported over $681bn in services, resulting in a $231
billion surplus. Services exports in 2013 grew by $31.8 bn and services
imports in 2013 grew by $12.9bn.

Australia chaired the ninth round early last December and this time
it was attended by more than 200 negotiators and sector-specific
government experts. Good progress was made in advancing the enhanced
disciplines (trade rules) for e-commerce and telecommunications,
domestic regulation and transparency, financial services, temporary
entry of business persons, professional services, maritime and air
transport services and delivery services. There was also further
discussion of proposals on government procurement, environmental and
energy services, and the facilitation of patient mobility. Parties
reported on progress in bilateral market access discussions held since
the September round and committed to advance these further in 2015.
Besides the vagueness and secretiveness above and what it all means for
every day Australians, one thing leaps out and that is the facilitation of patient mobility. Luckily another leak was sprung, the proposal was titled ‘A concept paper on health care services within TISA Negotiations’ and it states there is ‘huge untapped potential for the globalisation of healthcare services’ mainly because ‘health
care services is (sic) funded and provided by state or welfare
organisations and is of virtually no interest for foreign competitors
due to lack of market-orientated scope for activity’. It was
allegedly a proposal put forward by Turkey, and was discussed by TiSA
members in the September round of discussions. And there are justifiable
fears that they want to commodify health services globally as well as
to promote “medical tourism” for patients.

Experts, such as Dr Odile Frank of Public Services International (PSI) say, ‘The
proposal would raise health care costs in developing countries and
lower quality in developed countries in Europe, North America, Australia
and elsewhere’. Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary, also commented that ‘Health
is a human right and is not for sale or for trade. The health system
exists to keep our families safe and healthy, not to ensure the profits
of large corporations’. The proposal could see patients being
treated in other TiSA countries for reasons such as long waiting times
in their home country or a lack of expertise for specific medical
problems. The patients’s costs would need to be reimbursed through their
own countries social security system, private insurance coverage or
other healthcare arrangements.

The beneficiaries of this are the large health corporations and
insurance companies, the ones actually behind the negotiations, that
would benefit from an approximate $USD 6 trillion business.
Public services are designed to provide vital social and economic
necessities such as health care and education affordably, universally
and on the basis of need. They exist because markets can’t produce these
outcomes. Furthermore, public services are fundamental to ensuring fair
competition for business, and they provide effective regulation to
avoid environmental, social and economic disasters, such as the GFC and
global warming. Even the most die-hard supporters of FTA’s admit that
there are winners and losers.

New South Wales (NSW) Australia, Nurses and Midwives’ Association organiser Michael Whaites said: “Prime
Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey have been saying that
healthcare expenditure is unsustainable, but Trade Minister Andrew Robb
is quietly engaged in negotiations that could potentially see scarce
healthcare dollars going overseas”, and that “You can
ask whether the government is working in a co-ordinated manner, and
indeed what is their real intention on the future of Medicare?” Professor
Jane Kelsey, an expert on trade in services at the University of
Auckland, warns that health-service-exporting countries such as
Australia could find qualified staff being diverted to health export
services “that often have better pay and facilities, eroding the
personnel base for public facilities and perpetuating inequalities in
the health care system”. Education and training investments could also be diverted “to benefit foreign healthcare users, rather than local citizens and taxpayers”.

In August 2014 the Australian Health Department called for
expressions of interest from private players interested in taking over
the payments of $29bn each year in health and pharmaceutical benefits
currently being managed by the Human Services. Human Services Minister
Marise Payne said much of the Department of Human Services (DHS) IT
infrastructure for processing the payments was old and needed to be
replaced and that the private sector might
have cheaper solutions. The government claims it is merely testing the
market with an initial expression of Interest process, not via cost
analysis or efficiencies already provided. Australia Post stuck it’s
hand up from the get go and other Australian corporations that are keen
are – Eftpos and Stellar (Telstra) with overseas companies being Oracle,
Fuji-Xerox, SAP, Accenture and Serco.

It’s hard not feel that we are being attacked at from all angles with
corporations eying off developing and developed countries public health
services for profit. With an Australian government seemingly hell bent
on dismantling its Medicare system with outsourcing payments while
introducing co-payments,
it’s looking clearer now as to what the current Australian government
has planned. The rise of corporations and their lust for profits no
matter what the cost is, has to stop. Governments must get out of bed
with them and understand that they don’t know best and an even mix of
private and government is required sometimes, but not all of the time.
The people elect governments to govern and make decisions, we do not
elect corporations. Take some advice from them but if you give them an
inch they will take a mile as we have been seeing in recent years. Greed
is worming it’s way in globally under the guise of competition and job
creation. I find this very hard to believe for your average person, for
the corporations yes, they keep getting richer and the equality gap
wider. Low income countries delivering GDP growth and poverty reduction
will be hardest hit and that’s not fair with many only just recovering
from the GFC. The US has the most to benefit from this and all other
FTA’s, this also needs to stop, they aren’t the biggest power anymore
and even if they were why should they get all of the advantages? People
over profits, after all you can’t make profits without us and there’s no
need to ruin everyone globally once again for it.

This article was originally published on Political Omniscience as Corporations want to profit from global health with TiSA and the TPP.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

The chilling reality of the TPP - The AIM Network

The chilling reality of the TPP - The AIM Network

The chilling reality of the TPP

What could the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP) – currently being negotiated by the Abbott Government –
mean for Australia? Of concern, reports Mel Mac, is that it means our rights are being secretly traded away.

The TPP was conceived in 2003 as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP)
as a path to trade liberalisation in the Asia-Pacific. The original
participating countries were Chile, New Zealand and Singapore with
Brunei joining in 2005. In 2008 the United States of America (USA),
Australia, Peru and Vietnam joined, followed on by Malaysia, Mexico,
Canada and Japan. China and Korea have expressed interest but the USA
did not bring it up when President Barrack Obama last visited the
Chinese President Xi-Jinping in November 2014. This was puzzling to most
as the USA has made so much of the TPP and it’s nervousness about China’s growing might economically and militarily.

Free Trade Agreements (FTA) deal mostly with goods being imported at a
certain price as long as certain environmental and labour standards are
met. What’s different about the TPP is that the treaty has 29 chapters,
dealing with the whole scope of tariff and agricultural quota removal
and market access on sensitive products, but in particular agricultural
goods. It also includes provisions over nontariff issues such as
intellectual property rights, the environment, state-owned enterprises,
and investment. Japan was the last to join in 2013, and agriculture as
well as the auto industry has long been a sticking point in Japanese
trade liberalisation and held up the TPP negotiations with the USA.
However recent agricultural reforms by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
has tipped the power of balance back into the governments favour and
away from Japan’s most powerful farm lobby, the Japan Agriculture
Cooperative (JA). In January this
year Japan offered to import more rice from the USA while keeping
existing tariffs in place, and the USA agreed to stop demanding that
Japan ease its car safety standards. In early February this year,
progress was made on issues such as state-owned enterprises,
environmental protection, and investment. This not only paves the way
for greater market liberalisation and deregulation in Japanese
agriculture but enables Mr Obama’s plan to “fast track” push for Congress approval to conclude the TPP within the year.

What is of the most concern is the provisions over not only the
aforementioned non-tariff issues of intellectual property rights, the
environment, state-owned enterprises, and investment but the Investor
State Dispute Settlements provisions (ISDS). ISDS allows multinational
corporations to sue governments if they’re deemed not to be acting in
their best “interests”. It can potentially place limits on governments
being able to develop their domestic laws and policies in areas such as
public health, patents on medicine, the environment, food labeling,
Internet use and privacy and even local media content. Australia for
example is currently entrenched in it’s first investor-state dispute since November 2011 with Philip Morris Asia, due to the introduction of the ‘Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011′ (TPPA).
The laws were introduced by the former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s
government, as a health measure but Philip Morris Asia amongst the many
breaches, believes that it infringes their intellectual property.
Previous Australian Labor Party (ALP) and Liberal National Party (LNP)
governments have in the past only included ISDS in trade agreements with
developing countries that don’t have investments in Australia and they
weren’t included in the US-Australia FTA. American corporations are the
most frequent users of ISDS and the “safeguard” clauses countries employ
to protect themselves can and have been re-interpreted and over-turned
through the arbitration process. Philip Morris International Inc in the
Australian case for example is challenging the tobacco plain packaging
legislation under the 1993
Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of
Hong Kong for the Promotion and Protection of Investments
(Hong Kong Agreement) by using it’s Asian arm to circumnavigate them.

The former Gillard government also decided to ban the inclusion of
ISDS in future trade agreements, they didn’t think that it harmed
investment as did the Productivity Commission. Even
where corporations do lose they have dragged governments through
lengthy and expensive legal processes with dispute settlement cases
being heard by tribunals of three private-sector lawyers
whose decisions are beyond appeal. The tribunals tend to be more
concerned with assessing potential damage to corporate investments over
the protection of government or public interest. There are more than 500
of these disputes being launched globally and more than $3bn being paid
by out governments, meaning taxpayers, to corporations under existing
US trade and investment agreements alone.

Not only is there strategic litigation employed by corporations but there is a concept known as “regulatory chilling”,
which is the alleged case with Philip Morris Asia suing Australia for
example, they’re able to put pressure on other countries considering
plain packaging regulations too. According to Dr Kyla Tienhaara: “The
Australian government has suggested that Philip Morris is currently
engaged in trying to achieve global regulatory chill through its case by
basically showing other countries that might want to introduce plain
packaging legislation ‘Look what we’re doing to Australia.’ This is
actually working because countries are saying, ‘We’re going to wait to
find out what happens with that case before we go ahead with our

Lone Pine Resources
filed a $250m lawsuit against the Canadian government when Quebec
placed a moratorium in June 2011, which was expanded into 2012, banning
drilling and fracking processes for oil and gas underneath the St.
Lawrence River, until a strategic environmental evaluation was
completed. “Based on the principle of precaution, the Quebec
government’s response to the concerns of its population is appropriate
and legitimate,” said Martine Ch√Ętelain, president of Eau secours! (Quebec based Coalition for a responsible management of water). “No
companies should be allowed to sue a State when it implements sovereign
measures to protect water and the common goods for the sake of our
ecosystems and the health of our peoples,” Ms Ch√Ętelain added.

Again back in Canada, they are popular with these disputes unfortunately, is the case of Eli Lilly and Company,
which is an American global pharmaceutical company (and it’s fifth
biggest). They filed a $500m law suit against Canada for violating its
obligations to foreign investors under the North American FTA for
allowing its domestic courts to invalidate patents for two of its drugs.
Canadian courts found that there was a lack of evidence supporting the
drug’s alleged benefits.

According to Forbes in 2013
the biggest profit margins produced be USA corporations were in the
Pharmaceuticals, Banks, Car makers, Oil and Gas makers and Media
industries. In 2013, US Pharmaceutical Pfizer, the world’s largest drug
company, made 42% profit margin. As one industry veteran put it: “I wouldn’t be able to justify [those kinds of margins].” In the UK that year, there was widespread anger when the industry regulator predicted energy companies’ profit margins would grow from 4% to 8% for the year.
Last year, five pharmaceutical companies made a profit margin of 20% or
more, these were – Pfizer, Hoffmann-La Roche, AbbVie, GlaxoSmithKline
(GSK) and Eli Lilly.

The problem isn’t just with the massive amounts of seeming
profiteering but the fact that the drug companies spend far more on
marketing drugs, in some cases twice as much, than on developing them.
Johnson & Johnson (US) total revenue for 2013 was $71.3bn with a
profit of 13.8%, it only spent 8.2% on research and development,
yet 17.5% was spent on sales and marketing.  Drug patents are usually
awarded for 20 years, but 10-12 of those years are spent developing it
at a cost of up to $2.5bn, leaving eight to ten years to make money
before the formula can be taken up by generic drug companies. Once this
happens, sales fall by 90%-plus. Joshua Owide, director of healthcare
industry dynamics at research company GlobalData, explains, “Unlike other sectors, brand loyalty goes out the window when patents expire.”
This is why pharmaceutical companies go to such extraordinary lengths
to extend their patents, a process known as “evergreening”, employing “floors full of lawyers”
for this express purpose, one industry insider has said. And with a
drug raking in $3bn a quarter, even a one month extension can be worth a
lot of money. Some drug companies, including the UK’s GSK, have been
accused of more underhand tactics, such as paying generics to delay the
release of their cheaper alternatives. This is a win for both
industries, as it has been said that the loss of the big pharmaceuticals
far outweighs the generic industries revenue.

What can all of this mean potentially for my native country Australia
and more so in my current home state of New South Wales (NSW)? NSW
regulations that prevent coal seam gas (CSG) recovery near residential
areas could be subject to law suits if the TPP goes ahead with these
murky investor-state dispute settlement provisions. If it affects their
profit margin you can be assured that a law suit will eventuate as will
tricks from corporate lawyers trained in this specific area. Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb has assurances of a deal being finally struck within weeks. “Mid-February to mid-March: that’ll be, I think, the timeframe,” he said. “We
might have to come back again to conclude some things, but that’s the
intent. The final issues, as always, are the most difficult. But
everyone seems to be in a mood to find some common ground so that we can
get this major, major agreement off the ground.”

The current Australian government has an appetite for signing FTAS as
seeming proof of their economic prowess. The TPP has been years in the
making and fraught with difficult negotiations especially in regards to
the ISDS provisions that could impact on us really hard, and we have
barely even touched on them. The secrecy in an Australian political
environment, let alone with a disillusioned public, couldn’t come at a
worse enough time. I would think now is the time for the Opposition,
Independents and the Senate to come together and put the public’s
interests first and put it first every time, no matter the high level of
Investment interest in our country. It is apparent that the current
government wants to dismantle our Medicare and even introduce a medical
tax. Can you imagine what could be in store for us if we allow
multinational corporations or investors with trade ministers, not
governments mind you, to ultimately decide our economies, laws and
policies? I will leave you with the global spend on medicines projected
to be worth up to $1.2 trillion for the year 2017.

This article was first published as ‘We can not allow the TPP with no transparency & clauses to sue us‘ on Mel’s bog, Political Omniscience.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Your Power Bill Is Not Real

Published on 28 Jan 2015

Rigged prices, fudged figures, and the unchecked electricity industry. Brought to you by The Undercurrent.
News. Satire. Centred.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Australia's imminent TPP disaster: Crowning corporations

Australia's imminent TPP disaster: Crowning corporations

The TPP: written by big corporations for big corporations, says Dr Mitchell.
The controvsial top-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership is due to be signed very soon and is likely to have negative impacts upon many areas of ordinary Australian's lives without any financial gain whatsoever, writes Dr Matthew Mitchell.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a global trade agreement being pushed by the United States onto nations around the Pacific.  What is so disturbing about the TPP compared with other trade agreements is that it covers so many areas. Its breadth means it will affect many aspects not only of Australian business, but also of everyday Australian life.
How will the TPP affect Australians? Well, for one, it has the potential to make people much more wary about using the internet. I say potential, because we do not really know what will be in the final agreement as it is all being discussed in secrecy, but thanks to some brave leakers we have some idea of what to expect — and what we have seen is very disturbing.
In relation to internet use, there is potential that laws regarding fair-use may be changed so that even downloading a web page could be considered a breach of copyright and a punishable offence. Now, it is not likely that corporations are going to go around and fine people for accessing their webpages — unless perhaps you are involved in public campaign against that corporation for some reason and then accessing and using information from that company’s web-page may be something they decide to prosecute you on. Sounds unbelievable doesn’t it? Yet, this is a possibility evident from the leaked text.
Another risk is that the TPP will require internet service providers to police copyright infringements — that is, inform companies when users download illegal copies who in turn may require the internet service provider (ISP) to terminate your account.
But the TPP is not limited to digital goods and copyright. It ranges across areas from agriculture to other areas of intellectual property, thereby impacting on many industries, including food (and food labelling) and pharmaceuticals. Thus, another risk is that the price of medicines may rise.
Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz argues that pharmaceutical companies will the use the TPP to block the release of cheaper generic drugs. 
Stiglitz points out the undemocratic nature of the TPP negotiations , saying that:
“Powerful companies appear to have been given influence over the proceedings, even as full access is withheld from many government officials from the partnership countries.”
This is one of the most controversial aspects of the TPP — it seems to be written by big corporations for big corporations. 
In Australia, the final decision will made by the executive — our prime minister (a walking timebomb recently declared 'shockingly incompetent' by a U.S. think-tank) and his cabinet. Once the executive sign the TPP, then some Australian laws will be passed through Parliament as required by the legislation. Once these laws are passed, then the TPP agreement is ratified and will come into effect.
You may well ask: “So, then the TPP will be debated in parliament?”
Not necessarily so. Only the required legislation will be debated, but there is the risk the TPP will be cleverly written so that some of the most controversial aspects do not require legislation, so will not be debated, yet will come into effect when the required laws are passed.
Civil society groups (47 of them) have written to  the chief TPP negotiator, Trade Minister Andrew Robb, stating that they do not think Australia should sign the TPP as it is not in Australia’s interests. Some of these groups speak on behalf of our most vulnerable and marginal people, who are likely to feel the effects of the TPP more than most — for example, through higher prices for medicines.
Now, you may legitimately ask: “But surely there will be benefits?”
The prospective member nations are Australia, the US, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Japan and Vietnam. According to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, by 2025 the TPP will contribute 0% increase to Australia’s GDP. In fact, for most of the member nations, there is a zero, or marginal GDP growth predicted as a result of the TPP:

The highest GDP growth is predicted for Vietnam, which is expected to gain a 0.1 percent increase in GDP. So, according to this study, the TPP is all risk and dislocation, but without any foreseeable benefit. 
In fact, Australia’s own Productivity Commission suggests that the benefits of trade modelling tend to be overstated in general. The Commission also recommends that openness and transparency are necessary elements of quality trade agreements — something that is distinctly lacking in the TPP process.
So, with no benefits to the nations involved and with no transparency in the process, you may well ask: “Why are we doing this?”
Dr Richard Denniss from the Australia Institute has pointed out the real agenda of these "free trade" agreements is about creating a list of exceptions to free trade. It makes sense, since free trade is a relatively straightforward concept — removing barriers to trade.
The dangers of an agreement that restricts local lawmaking ability are highlighted by George Monbiot with respect to the TTIP — a similar trade agreement to the TPP being negotiated for the Trans-Atlantic region:
You think that getting your own government to regulate bankers is hard enough? Try appealing to a transnational agreement brokered by corporations and justified by the deemed consent of citizens who have been neither informed nor consulted.”
Monbiot also points out another dangerous element of the TPP: a parallel legal system implemented just for multi-national corporations called an Investor-state Dispute Settlement (ISDS) syste.
Monbiot says that problem with ISDS is [IA emphasis]:
“... the remarkable ability it would grant big business to sue the living daylights out of governments which try to defend their citizens. It would allow a secretive panel of corporate lawyers to overrule the will of parliament and destroy our legal protections. Yet the defenders of our sovereignty say nothing.”
Certainly, there are concerning precedents for ISDS where companies have sued governments for compensation over perceived losses when governments have changed their laws. 
The most well-known case in Australia the one in which multinational tobacco company Phillip Morris sought compensation for bans on tobacco advertising under a trade-agreement. Phillip Morris pursued this case through an ISDS even though Australia’s High Court had ruled that it was not entitled to compensation.
Such challenges to the sovereignty of nations and their legal systems are issues that arise when ISDS clauses are included in trade agreements.
Important dates in relation to the TPP are as follows (courtesy of AFTINET):
  • Feb 27 - Senate Inquiry into Trade Process submissions close
  • TPP Trade Ministers’ meeting March 14, possibly Australia
  • China FTA possibly signed and text tabled in Parliament. JSCOT Inquiry and possible Senate Inquiry (1-2 months)
  • Formal signing of TPP text and tabling in Parliament for 20 sitting days. TPP JSCOT and Senate Inquiry
  • June 18 - Report of Senate Inquiry into Trade Agreement Process. China FTA JSCOT report and implementing legislation debated in Senate
TPP Implementing legislation debated in Senate
Please contact your local MP to express your concern about this undemocratic trade deal, clearly designed to favour foreign multinationals for no benefit to ordinary Australians. Also, join GetUp!'s campaign against the TPP.
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

Friday, 6 February 2015

Up in flames: Kathy Jackson's bid to delay Federal Court snuffed out

Up in flames: Kathy Jackson's bid to delay Federal Court snuffed out

435 6


Kathy Jackson fails to persuade the court that a
suspicious fire ate her homework and is set down by the Federal Court to
face allegations she defrauded the HSU for $1.4 million. Peter Wicks from Wixxyleaks reports.

They say “everybody has their day in Court”, however most of us have lost count of Kathy Jackson’s days.

Today, however, was another one to add to the tally as the matter of the $1.4 million of
allegedly misappropriated member funds was once again due before
Federal Court and another attempt was to be made for Jackson to answer
the questions of her accusers.

Along the way, in this case there have been numerous breaches of
court orders from Jackson, changes of legal representation, an admission
to a psychiatric facility and last week a fire at Jackson’s residence. However, that is just the events related to the Federal Court case.

Since the Federal Court case commenced, almost two years ago, there have been some other significant events in Jackson’s life.

There has been a Royal Commission where she claimed she was ambushed. There
has been the recommendation by Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission
that she be deferred to the Department of Public Prosecutions for criminal investigation and charges. There has been the exposing of her $250,000 NHDA private bank account care of cancer workers. There has been the flaunting of her sex life all over the media. There has been the decision from her own union to report matters to Victorian Police for investigation. She was portrayed as a crook in
an election campaign by the Victorian Liberal Party and the Federal
Liberal Party have all but deserted her — tossing her aside like
yesterday’s garbage.

Today the question on everyone’s lips was: Would Jackson use last Friday’s small fire as a means to further delay proceedings?

The answer to that question is that, yes, she attempted to — however she completely and utterly failed.

Jackson’s psychiatrist, prior to the timely fire, had declared that Jackson was mentally fit to instruct her lawyers.

However, in true Jacksonville
style, it would appear that her lawyer may have been instructed to
plead that she was now possibly unable to instruct him since the fire.
However, given there was no evidence given to show from any medical
practitioner, Justice Tracey’s response was that the fire at the Jackson
house had “no bearing” on the matter before the court.

The claim from Jackson’s lawyer Philip Beazley
via videolink was that the fire may have had an impact on Jackson’s
psychiatric state due to the stress and it was mentioned that the fire
had destroyed some of her personal effects, such as clothing, leaving
her nothing to wear to court.

Despite the fire occurring a week ago, Jackson claimed she hadn’t
been able to find suitable clothing in the meantime, nor been able to
find time to see a doctor to assess her mental state.

Justice Tracey dismissed the bid for an adjournment on these grounds
and set a trial date for 27 June 2015, setting aside 10 days for the

It is expected Jackson will face trial for the full  $1.4 million,
after the Health Services Union were given seven days to amend their
claim to include some further findings of alleged financial

Beazley has indicated he may try for eighth time lucky, with a desperate plea to claim the case against his client is an “abuse of process”.

The last seven times similar actions have been attempted by any of Jackson’s legal representatives they have been withdrawn.

Justice Richard Tracey said that there would be no delay to the case by this kind of action, as the matter had dragged on for two years already.

For union members seeking answers, 27 June can’t come fast enough.

Catch up on the full Jacksonville saga on our dedicated page. Follow Peter Wicks on Twitter @madwixxy.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Kathy Jackson back in Federal Court this week

Kathy Jackson back in Federal Court this week

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(image courtesy John Graham)

Will Kathy Jackson finally run out of excuses and front
up this Friday at the Federal Court to explain the alleged
misappropriation of approximately $1.4 million in union funds? Peter
Wicks reports

ON FRIDAY this week, the Federal Court once again catches up with Kathy Jackson.

Jackson will return to court to attempt to explain the alleged misappropriation of approximately $1.4 million in union funds.

This case has dragged on for close to two years now and attempts to
have Jackson actually explain herself have been met with excuse after
excuse along with numerous failures to comply with court orders. Enough
failures to comply to prompt Justice Tracey to state:

"I am conscious of the many inexcusable failures to comply with
the court's orders. It's a matter that I have taken very seriously."

Let’s hope Justice Tracey is still in that frame of mind on Friday.

On Friday, Jackson is due to appear in court for the first time since
she checked into a luxury psychiatric facility last October just before
she was due in Federal Court.

Most people thought this was a weak excuse — an attempt to delay
proceedings. However, she had a letter from a doctor that despite being
described as “vague” by the Court, won her an adjournment until this

Whilst apparently being mentally unfit to instruct her lawyer, she
was out on the town with blogger, Michael Smith, on the night of the
Martin Place siege, and was also able to head into town for a pedicure
while most people thought she was in hospital.

Jackson out on the town! The above photos were posted on her friend and house-mate Michael Smith's blog

During the time she was deemed mentally unfit to give legal
instruction, Jackson's legal representation also made a lengthy
submission to the Royal Commission. It has also been alleged that her
legal team also made queries regarding workers’ compensation for their

This would make Jackson the third member of the faction to seek
workers’ comp payments on mental health grounds related to work with the
union — the other two being Marco Bolano and Leonie Flynn.

In an event that may see Jackson call the shrink once more, a suspicious fire was reported last week at Kathy Jackson’s Wombarra house on the NSW South Coast.

The fire which started in a wheelie bin was confined to one room of the house and was being treated as suspicious,

“because the occupants said it was suspicious”,

the Wollongong police told The Australian.

Many people I have spoken to also think that the fire was suspicious, however, no doubt, for different reasons to Kathy.

I was at a function on Friday night and lots of people I spoke to mentioned the mystery blaze.

“It’s a bit like the shovel in the yard myth that Jeff Jackson claimed was crap”

someone said.

Another said:

 “This is like the flood of great convenience that destroyed Jackson’s documents but left Thomson’s untouched”. 


One bloke said:

 “Is this another case like the exercise book being stolen or abducted by aliens?”

Someone else laughingly added:

“… or maybe the missing tin with all the receipts?”

I actually thought it bore remarkable similarity to Jackson’s NSW ally, Katrina Hart’s mystery fire last
year when Hart claimed someone had set fire to a tree next to her house
using wood-chips and kerosene — perhaps an arsonist from the 18th Century?

I can understand people’s scepticism after Kathy Jackson's long
string of excuses to avoid any scrutiny of her behaviour along with her
seemingly remarkable wealth for a union employee.

In fact, when we look at Jackson’s own report of the flood that she
claimed at the Royal Commission had destroyed all her financial
documentation, she seems to have neglected to mention something.

In the Union branch minutes linked below, Jackson’s official report states:

'She (Kathy Jackson) advised that carpets had been damaged and
needed to be replaced; that some computers and copiers were damaged; and
that the ceiling in parts of the building was damaged.'

The minutes make absolutely no mention at all of any financial
records being destroyed, something most people would consider to be
worthy of mention.

See HSU Branch 3 Minutes of 23 March 2010 here.

Jackson’s property is in Wombarra, which I believe is an Indigenous name meaning “black duck”. Quite fitting really.

The local paper reported that the wheelie bins were, apparently, in a different location to where they had been left.

Did someone jump the fence or gate with the intent of burning down
the house, then decided that moving a wheelie bin and setting the
contents alight was the best way? Clearly this is an arsonist with the
same skillset and talent as the one Katrina Hart claimed set fire to her
tree conveniently around the time of her election campaign launch.

Whatever the reason for the bin fire – reportedly virtually
extinguished with a garden hose before firefighters arrived – we can be
happy for some things.

First, that nobody was injured.

Secondly, that lawyers will, no doubt, have had a copy of the legal
documentation at their offices, and with the smouldering bin occurring a
week before Jackson’s court appearance, there'll be no shortage of time
for lawyers to fill in any gaps and for Jackson to recover from any
shock that might prevent her from finally appearing in Court.

Whatever you think of the fire, one thing is for sure…

There is rarely a dull moment in Jacksonville.

You can follow Peter Wicks on Twitter @madwixxy.

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