22 December 2014

Australian Health Spending

'Health expenditure Australia 2012–13: analysis by sector' from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare indicates that
In 2012–13, $55.9 billion was spent on hospitals in Australia, $52.9 billion on primary health care and $29.9 billion on other areas of health spending.
Capital expenditure accounted for a further $8.6 billion.
All funders increased their expenditure on Hospitals between 2002-03 and 2012-13; however, growth in state and territory government funding, at $10.6 billion (a 78.6% increase), was almost double the growth of Australian Government expenditure ($5.4 billion or 37.2% growth).
Non-government expenditure grew by $5.6 billion (88.6%).
Over the decade, total spending on Primary health care grew from $32.7 billion to $52.9 billion. Primary health care spending is shared relatively evenly between Australian Government (about 43%) and non-government sources (about 41%).
In 2012-13, the Australian Government accounted for $17.9 billion, or nearly 60%, of the total recurrent expenditure in Other recurrent areas of health care. Individuals provided the next largest source of funds, with an expenditure of $5.4 billion in 2012-13.
In the past 5 years, from 2008-09 to 2012-13, the share of recurrent expenditure on Primary health care has increased slightly from 37.1% to 38.1%, whereas expenditure on Other recurrent areas has declined marginally from 22.2% to 21.5%. There has been no clear trend in the Hospitals proportion over this time, beginning at 40.5% in 2008-09 and ending at 40.3% in 2012-13.
The ratio of Australian Government expenditure on health to tax revenue was 24.8% in 2012-13, down from 26.9% in 2011-12.
The ratio of state and territory government expenditure to tax revenue rose from 17.7% in 2002-03 to 24.5% in 2012-13.
The ratio of non-government health expenditure to individual net worth varied throughout the decade, beginning the period at 0.61% in 2002-03 and ending the period at a decade high of 0.66% in 2012-13.
In 2002–03, medical services attracted the highest share of primary health care funding at 21.9%. This was a change from previous years, where benefit-paid pharmaceuticals had tended to attract the most spending. This change occurred as a result of a decline in the benefit-paid pharmaceuticals proportion between 2009–10 and 2012–13.
The share of recurrent funding for All other medications in 2002–03 was 10.2%. Over the decade, the share increased to 17.5% in 2012–13. All other medications includes pharmaceuticals for which no Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) or Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) benefit was paid, such as private prescriptions, under copayment prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines.
Public health and Other health practitioner services attracted the smallest share of primary health-care funding, at around 5% and 10%, respectively, across the decade.
The share of primary health care funding for dental services was 18.1% in 2012–13. This share gradually declined to 15.9% in 2007–08 before rising to 17.2% in 2009–10. In 2012–13, the share was 16.4%.

21 December 2014

Normalisation

The 57 page  2014 Public Perceptions of Privacy and Security in the Post-Snowden Era report [PDF] from the Pew Research Center Internet Project comments
More than a year after contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents about widespread government surveillance by the NSA, the cascade of news stories about the revelations continue to register widely among the public. Some 43% of adults have heard “a lot” about “the government collecting information about telephone calls, emails, and other online communications as part of efforts to monitor terrorist activity,” and another 44% have heard “a little.” Just 5% of adults in our panel said they have heard “nothing at all” about these programs.
The Center's conclusions are - 
Widespread concern about surveillance by government and businesses
Perhaps most striking is Americans’ lack of confidence that they have control over their personal information. That pervasive concern applies to everyday communications channels and to the collectors of their information—both in the government and in corporations. For example: 91% of adults in the survey “agree” or “strongly agree” that consumers have lost control over how personal information is collected and used by companies. 88% of adults “agree” or “strongly agree” that it would be very difficult to remove inaccurate information about them online. 80% of those who use social networking sites say they are concerned about third parties like advertisers or businesses accessing the data they share on these sites. 70% of social networking site users say that they are at least somewhat concerned about the government accessing some of the information they share on social networking sites without their knowledge.
Yet, even as Americans express concern about government access to their data, they feel as though government could do more to regulate what advertisers do with their personal information
80% of adults “agree” or “strongly agree” that Americans should be concerned about the government’s monitoring of phone calls and internet communications. Just 18% “disagree” or “strongly disagree” with that notion. 64% believe the government should do more to regulate advertisers, compared with 34% who think the government should not get more involved. Only 36% “agree” or “strongly agree” with the statement: “It is a good thing for society if people believe that someone is keeping an eye on the things that they do online.”
In the commercial context, consumers are skeptical about some of the benefits of personal data sharing, but are willing to make tradeoffs in certain circumstances when their sharing of information provides access to free services.
61% of adults “disagree” or “strongly disagree” with the statement: “I appreciate that online services are more efficient because of the increased access they have to my personal data.” At the same time, 55% “agree” or “strongly agree” with the statement: “I am willing to share some information about myself with companies in order to use online services for free.” There is little confidence in the security of common communications channels, and those who have heard about government surveillance programs are the least confident. The public feels most secure using landline phones, least secure on social media
Across the board, there is a universal lack of confidence among adults in the security of everyday communications channels—particularly when it comes to the use of online tools.
Across six different methods of mediated communication, there is not one mode through which a majority of the American public feels “very secure” when sharing private information with another trusted person or organization: 81% feel “not very” or “not at all secure” using social media sites when they want to share private information with another trusted person or organization. 68% feel insecure using chat or instant messages to share private information. 58% feel insecure sending private info via text messages. 57% feel insecure sending private information via email. 46% feel “not very” or “not at all secure” calling on their cell phone when they want to share private information. 31% feel “not very” or “not at all secure” using a landline phone when they want to share private information.
Americans’ lack of confidence in core communications channels tracks closely with how much they have heard about government surveillance programs.
For five out of the six communications channels we asked about, those who have heard “a lot” about government surveillance are significantly more likely than those who have heard just “a little” or “nothing at all” to consider the method to be “not at all secure” for sharing private information with another trusted person or organization.
Most say they want to do more to protect their privacy, but many believe it is not possible to be anonymous online
When it comes to their own role in managing the personal information they feel is sensitive, most adults express a desire to take additional steps to protect their data online: When asked if they feel as though their own efforts to protect the privacy of their personal information online are sufficient, 61% say they feel they “would like to do more,” while 37% say they “already do enough.” Just 24% of adults “agree” or “strongly agree” with the statement: “It is easy for me to be anonymous when I am online.”
When they want to have anonymity online, few feel that is easy to achieve.
Just 24% of adults “agree” or “strongly agree” with the statement: “It is easy for me to be anonymous when I am online.” Not everyone monitors their online reputation very vigilantly, even though many assume others will check up on their digital footprints Some people are more anxious than others to keep track of their online reputation. Adults under the age of 50 are far more likely to be “self-searchers” than those ages 50 and older, and adults with higher levels of household income and education stand out as especially likely to check up on their own digital footprints. 62% of adults have ever used a search engine to look up their own name or see what information about them is on the internet. 47% say they generally assume that people they meet will search for information about them on the internet, while 50% do not. However, just 6% of adults have set up some sort of automatic alert to notify them when their name is mentioned in a news story, blog, or elsewhere online.
Context matters as people decide whether to disclose information or not
One of the ways that people cope with the challenges to their privacy online is to employ multiple strategies for managing identity and reputation across different networks and transactions.  ... users bounce back and forth between different levels of disclosure depending on the context. This survey also finds that when people post comments, questions or other information, they do so using a range of identifiers—using a screen name, their actual name, or posting anonymously.
Among all adults: 59% have posted comments, questions or other information online using a user name or screen name that people associate with them. 55% have done so using their real name. 42% have done so anonymously. In some cases, the choices people make about disclosure may be tied to work-related policies.
Among employed adults: 24% of employed adults say that their employer has rules or guidelines about how they are allowed to present themselves online. 11% say that their job requires them to promote themselves through social media or other online tools.
Different types of information elicit different levels of sensitivity among Americans 
Social security numbers are universally considered to be the most sensitive piece of personal information, while media tastes and purchasing habits are among the least sensitive categories of data. Social security numbers, health info and phone conversations among the most sensitive data. At the same time that Americans express these broad sensitivities toward various kinds of information, they are actively engaged in negotiating the benefits and risks of sharing this data in their daily interactions with friends, family, co-workers, businesses and government.
Relatively few report negative experiences tied to their digital footprints.
11% of adults say they have had any bad experiences because embarrassing or inaccurate information was posted about them online. 16% say they have asked someone to remove or correct information about them that was posted online.

Chills

The PEN American Center Chilling Effects: NSA Surveillance Drives U.S. Writers to Self-Censor [PDF] report from last year offers a perspective on responses to news of pervasive surveillance in the US.

The report was based on 528 interviews conducted online with PEN members between 10 and 21 October 2013.

The Center comments -
1. There is widespread concern among writers about government surveillance. Few dismiss it as a trivial or unavoidable matter.
  • 85% say they are worried about the current levels of government surveillance of Americans – 51% very worried and 35% somewhat worried 
  • 73% say they have never been as worried about privacy rights and freedom of the press as they are today – 46% very close and 27% somewhat close 
  • 89% are concerned about the government’s secret program to collect and analyze metadata on phone calls, e-mails, browsing, and other activity of Americans – 66% very concerned and 23% somewhat concerned 
  • 83% are following news stories about US government surveillance – 33% very closely and 50% somewhat closely 
  • There is outright rejection of the notions that:
  • “Surveillance is something that all governments do – there’s really nothing new or worrisome about what’s happening now.” Nearly 8 in 10 (78%) reject this view. 
  • “The government’s primary concern is monitoring communication with foreigners – it’s not really interested in domestic eavesdropping.” Nearly 8 in 10 (78%) reject this view. 
  • “Widespread data surveillance is an absolutely essential tool for the government in the fight against terrorism.” Nearly 3 in 4 (73%) reject this view.
2. Writers are especially concerned about the impact of government surveillance on their ability to do their jobs.
  • The vast majority of survey participants self-described as writers (86%); the remainder are editors, translators, and agents. A comparison of responses of writers vs. not writers indicated no substantive differences in opinions or experiences, so we use the term “writers” throughout this report as a general descriptor of survey participants. 
  • 81% are very concerned about government efforts to compel journalists to reveal sources of classified information (another 15% are somewhat concerned) 
  • 76% believe that increased government surveillance is especially harmful to writers because it impinges upon the privacy they need to create freely
3. As a consequence, self-censorship among writers is now commonplace. Sizeable – perhaps even alarming – numbers say they have altered their behavior (or seriously considered doing so) in the following ways because they thought the government was monitoring their communications:
  • Curtailed or avoided activities on social media – 28% have done this and 12% have seriously considered it (40% total) 
  • Deliberately steered clear of certain topics in personal phone conversations or e-mail messages – 24% have done this and 9% have seriously considered it (33% total) 
  • Avoided writing or speaking on a particular topic – 16% have done this and 11% have seriously considered it (27% total) 
  • Refrained from conducting Internet searches or visiting Web sites on topics that may be considered controversial or suspicious – 16% have done this and 12% have seriously considered it (27% total) 
  • Took extra steps to cover or disguise digital footprints – 13% have done this and 11% have seriously considered it (24% total)  Took extra precautions to protect the anonymity of sources – 14% have done this and 6% have seriously considered it (20% total) 
  • Declined opportunities to meet – physically or electronically – people who might be deemed security threats by the government – 3% have done this and 4% have seriously considered it (6% total)
4. Writers are self-censoring because they genuinely believe that government surveillance has touched them directly. Sizeable numbers are either certain or suspect that the following things have happened to them in the past year or two:
  • Donations and organizational affiliations have been monitored by the government – 16% are certain this has happened and 41% suspect it (57% total) 
  • Metadata from phone calls or e-mails has been collected and analyzed by the government – 17% are certain this has happened and 34% suspect it (51% total) 
  • Things like Internet searches, Web site visits, and book purchases have been tracked by the government – 13% are certain this has happened and 36% suspect it (49% total) 
  • A personal profile has been built by the government that diagrams relationships and connections to others – 10% are certain this has happened and 23% suspect it (32% total) 
  • The actual content of phone calls or e-mails has been listened to or read – 7% are certain this has happened and 20% suspect it (28% total) 
  • The numbers of writers who say they are certain or suspect that these things have happened to “a friend or colleague” in the past year or two are even higher:
  • Donations and organizational affiliations have been monitored by the government (64% total) 
  • Metadata from phone calls or e-mails has been collected and analyzed by the government (65% total) 
  • Things like Internet searches, Web site visits, and book purchases have been tracked by the government (63% total) 
  • A personal profile has been built by the government that diagrams relationships and connections to others (56% total) 
  • The actual content of phone calls or e-mails has been listened to or read (54% total)
5. Writers believe that the data-trove of personal information now being collected about Americans will be mishandled by the government. This is not to say that they think data are being collected for the express purpose of wrongdoing; but rather that massive data collection of this nature will inevitably lead to mismanagement or abuse, regardless of intent.
  • Virtually all (92%) believe that personal data collected by the government will be vulnerable to abuse for many years because it may never be completely erased or safeguarded – 68% very close and 24% somewhat close 
  • The overwhelming majority (88%) also say that what really worries them is that a vast amount of data is already in government hands and vulnerable to bureaucratic bungling, misuse, and partisan abuse – 64% very close and 23% somewhat close
6. In qualitative interviews conducted prior to the online survey, PEN members indicated that they are cautious when communicating with people outside the US, because they believe those exchanges are especially susceptible to government monitoring. The survey, which asked respondents to respond to hypothetical scenarios, indicates that such concerns are widely shared: 
  • 4% say it is very likely – and 48% that it is realistically possible – that their own e-mail message to someone abroad who was affiliated with an anti-American organization would end up being read by government officials 
  • 39% say it is very likely – and 52% that it is realistically possible – that a phone call they would make to someone living in an area of the world known for its antipathy toward the US would be monitored and recorded by government officials 
  • 35% say it is very likely – and 49% that it is realistically possible – that if they were to (hypothetically) publish a story or poem depicting anti-American militants in a positive light, it would place them on a list of people to be tracked and monitored by government officials 
  • Even among writers who communicate regularly (weekly or more than that) with people who live outside the US, the percentages in the three hypothetical scenarios described above are virtually the same
7. We hypothesized that writers would be more sensitized and worried about the issue of government surveillance than the general public. Comparisons with recent Pew Research Center surveys of the general public support this hypothesis.
  • By a margin of 22 percentage points, writers are more likely than the general public to disapprove of “the government’s collection of telephone and Internet data as part of anti-terrorism efforts” – 66% vs. 44%. Only 12% of writers approve, compared with 50% of the general public. There’s also a wide gap in the percentage saying “not sure” – 22% of writers vs. 6% of the general public. 
  • Similarly, writers are far more likely than the general public to say they would feel that their “personal privacy had been violated” if they knew that the federal government had collected data about their telephone or Internet activity – 81% vs. 63%. Just 10% of writers say they would not feel that their privacy was violated, compared with 36% of the general public. Again there’s a wide gap in the percentage saying “not sure” – 10% of writers vs. 1% of the general public. 
  • 78% of writers believe that most Americans are unconcerned and uninformed about government surveillance
8. Writers are troubled by other ways in which people’s privacy has eroded – their unease is not restricted to surveillance by the US government. 
  • 57% are very concerned about corporations gathering data to track and analyze consumer behavior and preferences (and another 33% are somewhat concerned, for a total of 89%). 
  • 78% are very concerned about technology companies collaborating with the government to provide vast amounts of personal information on Americans (and another 17% are somewhat concerned, for a total of 94%). 
  • And – not surprisingly given that this is a survey of PEN members – the overwhelming majority of writers surveyed (72%) is also very concerned about suppression of free speech and press freedom in countries other than the US (and another 24% are somewhat concerned, for a total of 97%).
9. The vast majority of these findings are consistent across demographic categories – whether young or old; journalist or not; frequent communicator overseas or not; professional or associate member status; female or male; or those who follow the news very closely and those who don’t. Here are a few areas where noteworthy differences were found:
  • Younger writers (under 50 years old) sometimes differ from their older counterparts (50+). They are less likely to express concern about surveillance and more likely to take precautionary measures in their work. Younger writers are:
  • o Less likely to “very closely” follow news stories about government surveillance efforts within the US (22% vs. 37%) 
  • Less likely to be “very concerned” about corporations gathering data to track and analyze consumer behavior and preferences (47% vs. 60%) 
  • Less likely to say this statement comes “very close” to their view: Most Americans are unconcerned and uninformed about government surveillance (24% vs. 36%) 
  • Less likely to be certain or suspect that a personal profile has been built by the government that diagrams their relationships and connections to others (25% vs. 35%) 
  • More likely to have done or seriously considered avoiding writing or speaking on a particular topic (38% vs. 23%) 
  • More likely to have done or seriously considered curtailing or avoiding activities on social media (51% vs. 36%) 
  • More likely to have done or seriously considered refraining from conducting Internet searches or visiting Web sites on topics that may be considered controversial or suspicious (37% vs. 24%) 
  • More likely to have done or seriously considered taking extra steps to cover or disguise digital footprints (35% vs. 20%)
  • Journalists differ from the non-journalists (other types of writers and/or editors, agents, and translators) in that they are more attuned to issue around sources. Journalists are:
  •  More likely to be “very concerned” about government efforts to compel journalists to reveal sources of classified information (93% vs. 78%) 
  • More likely to have taken extra precautions to protect the anonymity of sources (30% vs. 11%) 
  • Writers who communicate frequently with people living outside the US differ from those who do not. Frequent communicators are more likely to have self-censored in these three ways and to believe the government has monitored them: (Comparison is between those who communicate overseas weekly or more vs. a few times a month or less)
  • More likely to have done or seriously considered avoiding writing or speaking on a particular topic (34% vs. 22%) 
  • More likely to have done or seriously considered deliberately steering clear of certain topics in personal phone conversations or e-mail messages (38% vs. 29%) 
  • More likely to have done or seriously considered taking extra precautions to protect the anonymity of sources (29% vs. 13%) 
  • More likely to be certain or suspect that metadata from their phone calls or emails has been collected and analyzed by the government (58% vs. 47%) .

Unions Royal Commission

The two volume interim report by the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption states that it is structured as follows -
Part 2: The legal landscape
69. Part 2 sets the legal landscape by providing an overview in respect of the duties of officers of registered organisations, the use of union resources in elections, and financial reporting obligations on registered organisations.
Part 3: Generic slush funds
70. Part 3 considers funds with variety of purposes. The most notorious fund, the Australian Workers’ Union – Workplace Reform Association, is considered in Chapter 3.2.
71. Funds of this kind pose significant governance issues. The officials who operate those funds owe statutory and general duties to the union. On the other hand, the officials deploy their energy and sometimes their employer’s resources for the benefit of the fund. This gives rise to actual or potential conflicts of interest. Often these funds have no or no adequate record keeping. Management decisions are made informally or without due process. Directors’ or shareholders’ meetings are not held. If they are held, minutes are not kept. Transactions are often effected by cash. When records are maintained, they are often maintained in a haphazard fashion.
72. The Australian Workers’ Union – Workplace Reform Association case study concerned allegations of fraudulent and other misconduct by Bruce Wilson and Ralph Blewitt, former officials of the AWU. A recommendation is made that this Interim Report be referred to the relevant prosecuting authorities in Western Australia and Victoria to consider whether Bruce Wilson and Ralph Blewitt may have committed criminal offences. Findings are made that Julia Gillard did not commit any crime and was not aware of any criminality on the part of these union officials.
73. Industry 2020 is another generic fund. It was associated with Cesar Melhem, the former State Secretary of the Victorian branch of the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU). Industry 2020 organised lucrative fundraisers by using the name, influence and resources of the AWU. The AWU or its members received no recompense or benefit from Industry 2020’s activities. The funds raised were deployed to support political causes associated with Mr Melhem, including members of the Labour Unity faction of the Australian Labor Party (to which Mr Melhem belonged) and the Asmar campaign for the HSU.
74. Other generic funds examined in Part 3 are Building Industry 2000, IR 21 and TLATA. The issues arising for consideration in relation to these funds include the fiduciary duties of union officials, conflicts of interest and corporate governance.
Part 4: Fighting funds
75. These are the most common type of relevant fund considered by the Commission so far. Commonly an election fund is maintained by a union through amounts deducted automatically from the salaries of members and paid into a designated bank account. On its face there is nothing objectionable about such a fund. A member who decides voluntarily to contribute to an election fund is free to do so.
76. However, a number of problems with such funds in practice have emerged. Often there is no or insufficient disclosure to contributors or union members as to the activities of the fund. Record keeping is commonly very limited. The voluntariness of members’ decisions to contribute to a number of funds is questionable. A fund may give rise to a lopsided election or no election at all. An incumbent may have a disproportionate benefit if he or she has significant resources which are not available to his or her opponent. Candidates for election can close their eyes to the sources, propriety and legality of funding received for their campaigns and disclaim responsibility for that funding on the basis of ignorance.
Part 5: Income protection and redundancy funds
77. Funds of this kind are significant sources of union revenue. The two funds considered in Part 5, the BERT Fund (Chapter 5.2) and the Protect scheme (Chapter 5.3), both illustrate the problems that arise when unions are too closely connected with the governance of important income protection and redundancy funds.
Part 6: Superannuation
78. The two case studies considered by the Commission in this Part vividly illustrate the difficulties which employees face in light of the current lack of choice of superannuation fund available to workers under an enterprise agreement.
79. Chapter 6.2 concerns Paul Bracegirdle’s Herculean attempts to choose his own superannuation fund, rather than having his superannuation contributions made to TWUSUPER. TWUSUPER is a fund associated with the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU): approximately $2 million has flowed from TWUSUPER to the TWU over the last two financial years.
80. Chapter 6.3 concerns Katherine Cole’s similar struggle. She was required to join the Labour Union Co-operative Retirement Fund (LUCRF), an industry superannuation fund associated with the National Union of Workers (NUW). Her attempts to get out of the fund were rebuffed. Ultimately, Katherine Cole she took the drastic step of resigning her position, rather than continuing in LUCRF.
Part 7: Training funds
81. The only fund examined in this Part of the report is TEACHO, a fund associated with the TWU. Issues arising in connection with other funds, such as METL, a fund associated with the Maritime Union of Australia, will be considered in more detail next year.
82. As with many of the other funds already mentioned, the relevant arrangements in respect of TEACHO came into existence as part of the enterprise agreement bargaining process. In part the problem with TEACHO derives from a lack of clarity as to the appropriateness or efficacy of its functions. Another problem involves the fact that Toll agreed in a side deal, negotiated at the same time as its EBA with the TWU, to make payments to TEACHO provided that the TWU in return supplied reports to Toll concerning the activities of competitors. The information required for the purposes of the reports would be obtained by the TWU in pursuit of its statutory functions as a trade union. Toll sought to keep this information suppressed at the hearings of the Commission, an application which was refused. In his evidence Damian Sloan of Toll, a very impressive witness, accepted that Toll had agreed to provisions in the EBA relating to TEACHO in order to achieve industrial peace.
Part 8: CFMEU
83. Part 8 is the largest part of the Interim Report. It contains a number of case studies associated with the CFMEU. Together they raise fundamental issues about the regulation of the building and construction industry, and the culture of wilful defiance of the law which appears to lie at the core of the CFMEU.
84. Chapter 8.2 concerns Boral Ltd. Boral is a multinational company listed on the ASX. It was the victim of a ‘black ban’ imposed by the CFMEU. The evidence of the conduct of the CFMEU and its officers towards Boral and its customers has led to findings that blackmail and contraventions of the Competition and Consumer Act may have been committed.
85. Chapter 8.3 concerns Cbus, which manages employees’ superannuation. Senior executives at Cbus, namely Ms Butera and Ms Zanatta, covertly provided contact information for Cbus members employed by the Lis-Con companies to Mr Brian Parker, the NSW State Secretary of the CFMEU. This was done at the request of Mr Parker, who wanted the information to cause employees of Lis-Con to be personally contacted to make trouble with their employer.
86. Chapter 8.4 deals with the question of whether, on 27 March 2013, Mr Darren Greenfield, a CFMEU official, made a death threat to Brian Fitzpatrick, another CFMEU official. The finding is that the conversation was as Mr Fitzpatrick described in his evidence.
87. Chapter 8.5 deals with the unsavoury views held and expressed by Mr Parker about another member of the Branch Committee of Management who had been compelled to give evidence to the Commission and who, when called, gave truthful evidence.
88. Chapter 8.6 addresses two case studies relating to the unacceptable way in which the CFMEU has dealt with its records, including those which may have been relevant to the Terms of Reference.
89. Chapter 8.7 is devoted to the Universal Cranes case study. It raises similar issues to those in respect of Boral, and thus involves issues of extortion, unlawful threats and breaches of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth). Officials at the CFMEU in Queensland embarked on a campaign against it by banning it from sites, and threatening to continue the ban unless Universal Cranes signed the CFMEU’s form of enterprise bargaining agreement.
90. The Hindmarsh case study is dealt with briefly in Chapter 8.8. There are two reasons for brevity at this stage. The first concerns the fact that there are Federal Circuit Court proceedings due to be heard shortly which raise some of the issues raised in the Commission hearings. The second is that, in relation to the remaining discrete issues, it is desirable to afford the CFMEU and its officers a further opportunity to provide submissions which they have so far chosen not to provide.
91. Chapter 8.9 concerns the treatment of FWBC Inspectors by CFMEU officers. There was evidence of intimidating, abusive and verbally violent treatment towards FWBC inspectors by members of the CFMEU. In one case the verbal violence was captured on video. It involved a CFMEU official standing in close proximity to an FWBC inspector and screaming abuse of a particularly insulting and violent kind. Other evidence, equally insulting although not captured on video, related to the treatment of FWBC inspectors at the Barangaroo site.
92. Chapter 8.10 concerns the Pentridge Prison site and activity by the Victorian branch of the CFMEU. The activity in question included the making of abusive and threatening calls by union officials, and the application of improper pressure on subcontractors to sign the CFMEU’s form of enterprise bargaining agreement and on workers to become CFMEU members.
93. Chapter 8.11, which is extremely brief, relates to allegations made by Andrew Zaf. As those allegations remain under investigation, no findings are made at this stage.
94. The final chapter in Part 8 is Chapter 8.12. It concerns relations between the Lis-Con companies and the CFMEU in Queensland.
Part 9: HSU
95. The only issue relating to the HSU considered in this Interim Report concerns the activities of the HSU Victorian No 1 Branch (now named the Health Workers’ Union). A number of officials at this branch have alleged that their Right Entry Permit tests were undertaken by others on their behalf. This issue is considered and resolved in Chapter 9. As noted above, other issues concerning the HSU which have also been the subject of evidence before the Commission to date will be addressed in a future report.
Part 10: TWU
96. A number of funds associated with the TWU or its officials – namely the McLean Forum, the New Transport Workers’ Team, TWUSUPER and TEACHO – are dealt with in the Parts summarised above.
97. This Part also considers questions relating to the NSW Branch of the TWU’s electoral roll. For a number of years the NSW Branch of the TWU provided documents to the ALP which overstated the number of members of the NSW Branch eligible to vote in a ballot for an office in the union. The significance of this matter is that the TWU was exercising voting rights at ALP conferences based on an inflated number of members.
Part 11: SDA
98. This case study involves the then Secretary-Treasurer of the Queensland Branch of the Shop, Distributive, Allied and Employees’ Association terminating the employment of an organiser because – on the evidence, although this was not the stated reason – the organiser had decided to run against him at a forthcoming election. Confidential Report
99. There is a recommendation that one volume of this Interim Report be kept confidential. On 12 December 2014 an order was made directing that any information in the Confidential Report that might enable a person named in that report who has given evidence before the Commission to be identified not be published. That recommendation and that order were made because the confidential volume deals with threats to witnesses. It is necessary for that volume to be confidential in order to protect the physical well-being of those witnesses and their families. This is unfortunate, because the confidential volume reveals grave threats to the power and authority of the Australian state.
Recommendations for referral
100. It is recommended that this Interim Report and any other relevant materials be referred, pursuant to s 6P of the Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cth) and every other enabling power, to the:
(a) Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions in order that consideration may be given to whether:
(i) the CFMEU should be charged with and prosecuted for cartel conduct contrary to ss 44ZZRF and 44ZZRG of the Competition Policy Reform (Victoria) Act 1995 (Vic) (Chapter 8.2); (ii) Darren Greenfield should be charged with and prosecuted for using a carriage service to make a threat and/or to menace, harass or cause offence contrary to ss 474.15 and 474.17 of the Criminal Code (Cth) (Chapter 8.4); and (iii) each of John Perkovic, Luke Collier, Rob Kera, Brian Parker and Michael Greenfield should be charged with and prosecuted for obstruction of a Commonwealth public official contrary to s 149.1 of the Criminal Code (Cth) (Chapter 8.9); (iv) each of Diana Asmar, David Eden, Darryn Rowe, Nick Katsis, Saso Trajcevski-Uzunov and Lee Atkinson should be charged with and prosecuted for making a false statement in an application or recklessly making a false statement contrary to ss 136 and 137 of the Criminal Code (Cth) (Chapter 9); and (v) Kimberly Kitching should be charged with and prosecuted for aiding and abetting the contraventions of each of Diana Asmar, David Eden, Darryn Rowe, Nick Katsis, Saso Trajcevski-Uzunov and Lee Atkinson (Chapter 9);
(b) Australian Securities and Investments Commission in order that consideration may be given to whether:
(i) Michael Ravbar should be charged with and prosecuted for breaches of his duty as an officer contrary to s 184 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), and whether a civil penalty proceeding should be commenced and carried on against Michael Ravbar for contraventions of ss 180, 181 and 182 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Chapter 5.2); and (ii) the exemptions granted to employee redundancy funds by ASIC Class Order CO 02/314 remain appropriate (Chapter 5.2);
(c) Fair Work Building Inspectorate in order that consideration may be given to whether proceedings should be commenced and carried on against:
(i) each of Michael Ravbar and Peter Close for coercion to the existence, exercise or refusal to exercise a workplace right contrary to s 343 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Chapter 8.7); (ii) each of Michael Ravbar, Peter Close and Andrew Sutherland for taking adverse action against another person as a result of the existence, exercise or refusal to exercise a workplace right contrary to s 340 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Chapter 8.7); (iii) each of Anton Sucic and Ivan Dadic for taking adverse action against a person because they were not a member of an industrial association contrary to s 346 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Chapter 8.10); and (iv) each of John Setka and Gerard Benstead for coercion by allocating duties to a particular person contrary to s 355 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Chapter 8.10);
(d) Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in order that consideration may be given to whether proceedings should be commenced and carried on against:
(i) the CFMEU for conspiring with others to contravene s 45E of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) contrary to ss 45E and 76(1)(e) of that Act (Chapter 8.7); and (ii) each of Michael Ravbar, Peter Close, Andrew Sutherland, Ben Loakes and the CFMEU for a secondary boycott for the purpose of causing substantial loss or damage contrary to s 45D of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (Chapter 8.7);
(e) General Manager of the Fair Work Commission, or a delegate of the General Manager, in order that consideration may be given to whether a proceeding should be commenced and carried on against the TWU for a pecuniary penalty order for failing to hold records for 7 years contrary to s 231 of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (Cth) (Chapter 10.2);
(f) Australian Information Commissioner in order that consideration may be given to whether the Queensland Branch of the Shop, Distributive, Allied and Employees’ Association contravened National Privacy Principle 10.1 or any provision of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Chapter 12);
(g) New South Wales Director of Public Prosecutions in order that consideration may be given to whether Darren Greenfield should be charged with and prosecuted for common assault contrary to s 61 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) (Chapter 8.4);
(h) South Australian Director of Public Prosecutions in order that consideration may be given to whether:
(i) John Perkovic should be charged with and prosecuted for assault contrary to s 20(1) of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) (Chapter 8.9); (ii) John Perkovic should be charged with and prosecuted for accosting or impeding another in a threatening manner contrary to s 20(1)(e) of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) (Chapter 8.9); and (iii) John Perkovic should be charged with and prosecuted for the common law offence of assault (Chapter 8.9);
(i) Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions in order that consideration may be given to whether:
(i) each of Michael Ravbar and Peter Close be charged with and prosecuted for extortion contrary to s 415 of the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld) (Chapter 8.7); and (ii) each of Michael Ravbar and Peter Close be charged with and prosecuted for threats to cause detriment to another person contrary to s 359 of the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld) (Chapter 8.7);
(j) Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions in order that consideration may be given to whether:
(i) each of Ralph Blewitt and Bruce Wilson should be charged with and prosecuted for obtaining financial advantage by deception and conspiracy to commit an offence contrary to ss 82 and 321 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) (Chapter 3.2); (ii) John Setka and Shaun Reardon should be charged with and prosecuted for blackmail contrary to s 87 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) (Chapter 8.2); and (iii) Shaun Reardon should be charged with and prosecuted for being an accessory to blackmail contrary to s 323 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) (Chapter 8.2);
(k) Western Australian Director of Public Prosecutions in order that consideration may be given to whether each of Ralph Blewitt and Bruce Wilson should be charged with and prosecuted for:
(i) fraudulent conduct contrary to s 409(1) of the Criminal Code (WA); and (ii) conspiracy to commit an indictable offence contrary to s 558 of the Criminal Code (WA) (Chapter 3.2); and
(l) Divisional Branch Management Committee of the New South Wales branch of the Construction and General Division of the CFMEU in order that consideration may be given to whether any action should be taken against Brian Parker under r 51 of the Rules for the Construction and General Division of the CFMEU to investigate whether Mr Parker:
(i) has engaged in gross misbehaviour; (ii) has grossly neglected his duty; (iii) has conversed in an abusive or derogatory manner towards any person; (iv) has made statements which impugn the character and integrity of fellow officials; or (v) should be removed from office (Chapter 8.4 and 8.5).

18 December 2014

SNS Terms of Service

'Terms of Service on Social Media Sites' by Corinne Hui Yun Tan in (2014) 19(2) Media and Arts Law Review 195-220 considers
 the provisions within the terms of service (‘TOS’) of the social media behemoths of today — Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the Wikimedia Foundation. In particular, it examines the main provisions that purport to regulate, from a copyright perspective, generative activities on social media sites. This empirical work is undertaken so that the article can shed light on the relationship between the contractual and copyright regimes. To do so, the article identifies the instances where the contractual regime is to some extent aligned with the copyright regime, and further, where there are potential incompatibilities between the two regimes. It also refers to the legal position in the United States, as a result of the nationality of the companies operating the social media sites examined. Additionally, this article makes references to the legal positions in the United Kingdom and Australia, to draw attention to the potential implications of the TOS on social media site users in other jurisdictions. The discussions in the early part of the article lead readers to its conclusion on the appropriate role for TOS, vis-à-vis the copyright regime, in regulating generative activities on social media sites. Its concern is a real one and can serve as a platform for future scholarly contributions to the field, given the worldwide usage of social media sites.

14 December 2014

Indigenous Expenditure

The Productivity Commission has released its 2014 Indigenous Expenditure Report, providing estimates of Australian, State and Territory government expenditure on services provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Highlights are
  • Total direct expenditure on services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in 2012-13 was estimated to be $30.3 billion, accounting for 6.1 per cent of total direct general government expenditure. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians made up 3.0 per cent of the population in 2013. 
  • Indigenous expenditure increased in real terms by $5.0 billion (19.9 per cent) from 2008-09 to 2012-13, while non-Indigenous expenditure increased by 9.0 per cent. Expenditure per Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person increased by 10.3 per cent, and expenditure per non Indigenous person increased by 2.2 per cent. 
  • Estimated expenditure per person in 2012-13 was $43 449 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, compared with $20 900 for other Australians (a ratio of 2.08 to 1 - an increase from a ratio of 1.93 to 1 in 2008-09). The $22 550 per person difference in 2012-13 reflected the combined effects of: greater intensity of service use ($15 438 or 68.5 per cent) - because of greater need, and because of the younger age profile of the population higher cost of providing services ($7112 or 31.5 per cent) - for example, because of location, or because targeted services are provided in addition to mainstream services (for example, Indigenous liaison officers in hospitals). 
  • Total direct expenditure on services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in 2012-13 was made up of: $24.7 billion (or $35 313 per person) on services where expenditure is directly related to service use (a proxy for 'on the ground' services) $5.7 billion (or $8137 per person) on services where expenditure is attributed on the basis of their share of the population (expenditure in areas such as defence, foreign affairs and industry assistance, which benefits all Australians equally). 
  • The Australian Government accounted for $14.1 billion (46.6 per cent) of direct Indigenous expenditure in 2012-13 (an increase of $2.4 billion (20.3 per cent) in real terms from 2008-09) with the remaining $16.2 billion (53.4 per cent) provided by State and Territory governments (an increase of $2.6 billion (19.5 per cent) in real terms from 2008-09). 
  • Mainstream services accounted for $24.7 billion (81.4 per cent) of direct Indigenous expenditure in 2012-13 (a real increase of $5.1 billion (26.0 per cent) from 2008-09) with the remaining $5.6 billion (18.6 per cent) provided through Indigenous specific (targeted) services (a real decrease of $0.1 billion (1.2 per cent) from 2008-09).

13 December 2014

Media

'Enhancing Press Freedom through Greater Privacy Law: A UK Perspective on an Australian Privacy Tort' by Paul Wragg in (2014) 36(4) Sydney Law Review comments 
In light of previous inquiries identifying areas of concern in Australia’s privacy law provisions, the Australian Law Reform Commission (‘ALRC’) recently devised a new tort that, if implemented, would better protect individuals from serious invasions of privacy. Although the tort was designed principally with new technologies in mind, there has been vociferous concern that such a tort might unduly inhibit press freedom. This response is familiar to United Kingdom (‘UK’) commentators who have seen the press, in particular, react similarly to common law developments in privacy law. Yet that experience has not been entirely unfavourable to the UK press; indeed, the jurisprudence discloses a generous treatment of the term ‘public interest’, which has kept interference with press activity to a minimum. In light of the reference to press freedom within the ALRC’s proposed tort, and given the absence of an express constitutional provision protecting Australian press speech, this article argues that the UK experience shows how, counterintuitively, the ALRC’s proposed tort could actually enhance, rather than diminish, press freedom protection in Australia.