Australian Federal Police

Plain packaging an abject failure in Australia, consumption and illicit tobacco increases

Anti-tobacco advocates here are still pushing for Sam Lotu Iiga to implement a plain packaging regime like Australia. This is despite the fact that there is still an ongoing WTO court case and worse that there is no evidence to suggest it is working.

In fact the evidence, produced by KPMG, suggests the opposite, that plain packaging is contributing to an increase in consumption and illicit trade.

THE BILLION dollar illicit tobacco black market has hit a record high as Australian smokers baulk at the price of legal cigarettes.

Criminals are exploiting the high price of legal smokes to make massive profits by smuggling in cheap tobacco from overseas.

Last year 14.5 per cent of all tobacco consumed was illegal, according to a new report.

The Illicit Tobacco in Australia 2014 report states nearly 2.6 million kilograms of illegal tobacco was consumed last year alone with the tobacco black market rocketing by 30 per cent since 2013.

The report by KPMG, commissioned by the world’s biggest tobacco companies, concludes the black market costs the Federal Government $1.35 billion in lost taxes.

The black market boomed during a period when the government increased tobacco excise by 25 per cent.

Legal cigarettes in Australia are among the most expensive in the Asia Pacific region, costing about seven times more than in countries such as China or South Korea.

John Gledhill, managing director of tobacco giant Philip Morris Limited, said: “The government’s excessive tobacco regulations are providing incentives for the black market.

“As cigarette smuggling continues to grow in Australia the government must enforce the law and prosecute people caught selling illicit tobacco.”

Read more »

ISIS comes to Sydney? – gunman takes hostages, Jihadist flag on display [UPDATED]



UPDATE:  We’ve switched to a live blogging tool.  All the old information will be below.   Read more »

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to die we go

How long before New Zealand has our very own jihadists leaving for foreign wars.

In Australia four brothers have set off to join ISIS…they aren’t likely to be returning in one piece I would imagine…if at all.

Four brothers slipped out of Australia last week to join the fight with Islamic State (Isis) in Syria.

As authorities attempt to contain home-grown terrorists from leaving Australia, the latest recruits from Western Sydney have been labelled “cleanskins” by police agencies because they were completely unknown to intelligence.

The brothers – aged 17, 23, 25 and 28 – told their parents they were going on a holiday to Thailand, according to Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.

The siblings are believed to have travelled to Turkey and crossed the Syrian border in the past week.    Read more »

State funded trougher advocates banning tobacco without understanding the consequences

I abhor the state funded troughers who have built little niches for themselves and in many cases little empires off of the back of advocating law changes for their pet hates.

One such bludging ratbag is Professor Richard Edwards from Otago university.

He has produced a treatise suggesting the banning of tobacco as the final step in the war against tobacco. He suggests massively tightening up tobacco control processes and ultimately banning the product altogether.

I oppose this, not because I am a fan of smoking or tobacco, but because these wowsers are manipulating public policy against their pet hate and once they have finished with tobacco they will move on to the next ‘evil’, which is looking more and more likely to be sugar.

His justifications are:

To assess the feasibility of the introduction of a policy of this nature, the broader context need to be considered. In many ways this appears highly favourable. For example,

  • Smokers are a steadily shrinking minority, albeit still a substantial one. In the 2013 census only 15% of adults were regular (daily) smokers, and 62% of adults had never been regular smokers;
  • An extraordinarily high proportion of smokers regret having started, and around half have tried to quit in the last year;
  • There is widespread public support for the Smokefree 2025 vision and ‘endgame’ ideas to achieve it. For example, in a recent survey 79% supported the Smokefree 2025 goal, 71% agreed that they want to live in a country where hardly anyone smokes, and 50% agreed with a ban on tobacco sales in 10 years time (1);
  • Use of tobacco among politicians, teachers, health professionals the media and other opinion formers, decision makers and influential occupational groups is low and decreasing (2);
  • The Government has recently introduced strong tobacco control measures with overwhelming parliamentary support. These include large increases in tobacco taxation and the point of sales display ban (passed 117-3 in July 2011);
  • The tobacco industry is largely viewed as a pariah, and has little public or political support. For example, 65% of smokers (higher among Māori and Pacific smokers) think the industry should be more tightly regulated (3).

Note how the anti-tobacco industry has created pariahs and demonised smokers…they will do this to those who enjoy sugar and use sugar in products. Instead of Philip Morris or British American Tobacco being evil corporates it will Coca Cola, Pepsi, Chelsea and Frucor. They will be labelled drug dealers, diabetes causing poisoners and much the same titles currently put against the tobacco industry.

His main suggestion is to ban tobacco altogether:

However, there is a theme in New Zealand’s current political discourse which favours minimal intervention and has a low threshold for labelling regulatory or legislative interventions as manifestations of a ‘nanny state’. If a policy to end tobacco sales became viewed in this way then it could quickly become politically unpalatable and implementation unfeasible. Indeed, if seen as too radical and punitive, a proposal to end tobacco sales could conceivably intensify and expand the breadth of opposition to tobacco control. If so, advocacy for such a measure might be counter-productive by discrediting and derailing less radical tobacco control approaches and even the Smokefree 2025 goal itself.

Overall the social and political environment appears favourable. However, the small risk of a political and publish backlash suggest that if advocacy for a policy ending tobacco sales is to be successful and not counter-productive, then its merits must be carefully explained and debated.

Ending tobacco sales could also greatly reduce the current tobacco control policy agenda, saving legislative time and resources. Measures such as licensing of retailers, restrictions on location of retail sales and increases in tobacco taxation would be redundant if the products cannot be legally sold. Nevertheless, assuming importation or cultivation for personal use was permitted, policies mandating smokefree outdoor public places and smokefree cars would remain relevant.

He helpfully has an image from Bhutan, but fails spectacularly to understand what has happened in Bhutan since the total ban on tobacco products.

For a professor who deals in information you would think he wouldn’t have failed to mention that Bhutan had to lift their blanket ban due to skyrocketing criminal trade. A simple Google search could’ve told him that.

Bhutan – the only country to have banned the sale of tobacco

Bhutan – the only country to have banned the sale of tobacco

Bhutan’s second parliament is likely to set the history of ‘ban lift’ as it takes steps to do so one after another. Very recently the country lifted ban on import of furniture and alcohol.

Now the country’s Upper House resolves that ban on import of tobacco must end. In a majority resolution on Monday (3 February 2014), the house said ban on import and sale of tobacco products must end to control the black market.

Bhutan had gained fame for being the first country to completely ban on manufacturing, import and sale of any tobacco products. However, the government also received harsh criticism for sending a monk behind bar for years on charge of carrying tobacco products worth Nu 120.

After public outcry over the harshness of the law, the first elected parliament of the country showed some leniency towards tobacco consumers. Many send to jail for selling tobacco were subsequently released on king’s order.

Read more »

More pedos than the catholic church?

A massive child porn ring has been busted, 40 of the 348 paedophiles arrested were school teachers…I’ll bet they were registered too.

Six Australian children were either filmed or photographed as part of a global child pornography ring allegedly operating out of Canada.

Australian Federal Police said a three-year worldwide investigation, one of the largest of its kind ever carried out, had resulted in 348 suspects being arrested, including 65 Australians.

Those arrested in Australia were aged between 25 and 72 and included teachers and priests. They have been charged with 399 offences, including accessing, possessing, producing and distributing online child exploitation material.

Six Australian children were removed from harm, including one in the ACT and five in Western Australia.

Abbott sets a good example

Tony Abbott, like Julie Bishop, also sets a good example.

Let’s hope they have started as they mean to go on.

A room at the Australian Federal Police College in Barton, Canberra. Tony Abbott can expect to live in something like this while the Lodge is being renovated. Source: Supplied

A room at the Australian Federal Police College in Barton, Canberra. Tony Abbott can expect to live in something like this while the Lodge is being renovated. Source: Supplied

TONY Abbott has decided to bunk with Australian Federal Police recruits in a $120-a-night flat while renovations are conducted at the possum-infested prime ministerial residence The Lodge.

The modest and unusual digs, in a red brick AFP building close to Parliament, will feature a kitchenette and around-the-clock security from his AFP security officers and their junior colleagues.  Read more »

Peter Slipper is a dodgy bastard

The Peter Slipper fiasco continues on in Australia. Julia Gillard’s government is in disarray, propped up by crooks, liars and dodgy bastards, and one by one they are being picked off.

Slipper was summonsed to face court next month for alleged breaches of federal criminal laws, further destabilising Julia Gillard’s minority government in an election year.

The police statement said it was ”in relation to three offences of dishonestly causing a risk of a loss to the Commonwealth”.

The Queensland MP is due to appear in the Canberra Magistrates Court on February 15, where he can expect to be formally charged.

The Australian Federal Police have not confirmed what the summons is about, but court documents show that they relate to Mr Slipper’s alleged misuse of travel entitlements. The alleged offences carry a maximum five-year jail term.

He is alleged to have rorted his expenses to pay for cab charges carting his arse around vineyards.  Read more »

Independent Commission Against Corruption

Sydney Morning Herald

In Australia the news has all been about dodgy politicians, corrupt union leaders, rorts, frauds and other corrupt behaviour. In each State they have an Independent Commission Against Corruption, and they are very effective and since being established have been run off their feet dealing with corruption. So much so that there are now valid calls for a Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption.

In New Zealand we have a similar stench pervading our halls of power now. Winston Peters donations, constant Electoral law breaches by Labour mostly, The Bill Liu case, Philip Field, Kim Dotcom…then there are the dodgy activities and strange financial arrangements of many of our unions.

The only overriding concern I have heard from politicians is how such an organisation could be funded under out tight fiscal constraints…personally I don’t think that we can afford not to have one.:

The debate over allegations of misbehaviour by our federal politicians has an important subtext. Does Australia have the right laws and institutions in place to deal with accusations of corruption, including misuse of travel entitlements and electoral fraud?

Unfortunately, we do not. The lack of a national anti-corruption body means that dishonesty and breaches of public trust by parliamentarians and Commonwealth agencies may never be detected, let alone addressed.

Improving the accountability of our politicians has focused on the idea of a new code of conduct. Such codes usually amount to grand statements about how politicians ought to behave. They are generally unenforceable, except through the actions of other politicians.

Advertisement: Story continues below

Although there is no harm in having a code of conduct for the federal Parliament, it is likely to be ineffective.

The federal opposition has understandably been critical of a new code of conduct. What has been surprising is that they have not taken the lead in arguing for stronger mechanisms to oversee the work of parliamentarians and public servants. The running on this has instead been left to the Greens, who late last week reinvigorated their 2010 bill in the federal Parliament to establish Australia’s first national anti-corruption body.

The Greens’ bill would create a national integrity commissioner responsible for preventing and fighting corruption by parliamentarians and in federal agencies. At present, such anti-corruption powers are held nationally by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, which can examine only bodies such as the Australian Federal Police.

One of the great political videos of all time

Sydney Morning Herald

This was one of the greatest political videos of all time…utterly devastating and the result of a judiciously timed leak designed to do the most damage.

It is still being played out as Police investigate:

THE Australian Federal Police have moved to a full-scale investigation of the leak of damaging video footage of Kevin Rudd repeatedly swearing and banging a desk, which helped trigger February’s leadership spill.

The federal police at first said it was not investigating the leaked video, which showed out-takes from a recording made within the prime minister’s office during Mr Rudd’s leadership, which were anonymously uploaded on YouTube.

Later, the federal police said it had received a referral and was ”evaluating the information provided”.

No Name Suppression for this guy

In Australia of course, there is no such thing as name suppression, even when it is a celebrity and they are charged with child pornography offenses. If this was in new Zealand he would for sure be hiding behind the burqa of name suppression.

A computer held by the Australian Federal Police is to be analysed for the defence of  former ABC host Andy Muirhead, who has faced a fresh charge in his child pornography case.

Muirhead appeared in Hobart Magistrates Court charged under state law with possessing child exploitation material, after earlier being charged under federal law with using a carriage service, the internet, for child pornography material.

Prosecutor Ian Arendt  told the court that, in effect, the second count arose out of material provided by the AFP.

Meanwhile here in new Zealand we have endless amounts of court time being wasted by a dirty pilot trying to keep his identity quiet.

A former Air Nelson pilot who was fired for having sex with a younger flight attendant and drinking excessively before a flight has lost a Supreme Court bid for name suppression.

The pilot, who has interim name suppression until September 7, has made three applications- to the Employment Court, the Court of Appeal and to the highest court in the land – to stop the publication of his name, all of which have been dismissed.

He appeared before the Employment Court in Auckland last week to try to overturn his sacking following a drinking and sex session during an unscheduled stopover in Napier in 2008.

He was said to have invited a 19-year-old flight attendant to his bedroom where they had sex.

The woman claimed the sex was not consensual but he argued she had actually initiated it.

The Supreme Court said in its judgment released today the pilot needed to show “extremely compelling circumstances” for him to be granted leave to appeal, but there were none.

So it appears that extremely compelling is now the test to get name suppression? Good to see that some judges at least get it.

Of course, there doesn’t appear to be any attempt here to protect the alleged victim or Air Nelson. The victim would be easily identifiable locally, as there are only a limited amount of hostesses are on that route, ie 1. Of course the stupid pilot is in a small sub-set of people himself, pilots who fly that route meaning his identity is probably already known around the community.

The simple point is this, you can’t keep secrets in New Zealand. End the suppression already.