Commonwealth Ombudsman investigating @AFPmedia’s handling of #Choppergate affair: @Jansant reports

The Commonwealth Ombudsman is investigating the Australian Federal Police (AFP) (@AFPmedia) over their handling of the Bronwyn Bishop MP, #Choppergate affair, after a complaint was lodged by No Fibs co-publisher, Tony Yegles (@geeksrulz). The Ombudsman probe will include: “the AFP’s use of discretion in relation to its application of the Minchin Protocol” “the AFP’s explanation to you of the reasons why your complaint has not been accepted as a complaint”. In November last year, the former Federal Parliamentary Speaker, Bronwyn Bishop MP, chartered a helicopter to fly from Melbourne to Geelong to attend a Liberal Party fund-raiser, claiming the $5000 trip as official parliamentary business. The Hon. Bronwyn Bishop MP, […]

#choppergate ‘investigation’ Fact Check by @margokingston1

The AFP and the Department of Finance are playing pass-the-parcel on investigating the legality of Bronwyn Bishop’s helicopter trip to Geelong for a Liberal Party fundraiser. It’s a complicated game of obfuscation that counts on confusing voters. So here are the facts. 1. Applicability of the Minchin Protocol to the AFP When Labor and several members of the public referred the matter to the AFP for investigation it said no, because the Minchin Protocol demanded that Finance had carriage of such matters. Under pressure, the AFP altered its line to insist that it had “not refused to investigate”, had “sent these complaints to Finance for assessment” and “awaits advice from the Department of […]

Reporting grassroots greenshoots when faith in establishment politics dies: @margokingston1

Margo: A version of this column appeared in the Byron Shire Echo – @Echonetdaily – on 29 April as a substitute for Mungo McCallum’s weekly column while he recovered from surgery.    Mungo and I last discussed politics just after the federal election on Late Night Live. We both knew what Abbott would do – seek to close down free speech and climate change science information and further corporate interests at the expense of community. The bottom line was that a disenchanted public had voted in a climate change denying Government at a time when climate change amelioration and adaptation was crucial to the survival of our species. I felt lucky to have co-ordinated the […]

Getting #leardblockade arrested, WTF is journalism and who’s the extremist: @margokingston1 interview with @dailytelegraph

[clear]   My third trip to #leardblockade last week helped me clarify my vision for No Fibs (see Mass arrests at #leardblockade: @margokingston1 Twitter report and Picnic at boundary of Whitehaven State Forest: @margokingston1 April Fools Day Twitter report). I’m happy to answer your question in comments. I’ve never been an ‘embedded journalist’ before, and it’s testing. I was allowed inside the #leardblockade camp and was privy to its plans and problems, most of which I could not report as it would tip off the other side. The journalistic upside was being able to report and photograph the camp and the people who had come along to help. Since no-one else was reporting them, this […]

Reporting Indi: A reflection by Margo Kingston

[clear] By Margo Kingston, 1 December 2013 I take the Gold Coast train to Brisbane airport, the plane to Melbourne, the sky bus to Southern Cross Station, the train to Seymour, and the bus to Wangaratta train station. Wayne Jansson leads me to his battered old car and drives me to the hamlet of St James. A late frost has killed the canola oil crop, and the farmers who couldn’t afford to let the crop rot as fertilizer for next year have rolled it up into hay. The cherry trees look good. Wayne says his Mum Glenys and step father Mark will host my stay because he lives in a ramshackle […]

It’s time, Finance and AFP: Randall’s Cairns claim must be investigated

[clear] By Margo Kingston 20 October, 2013 OK, we’re starting to get to the pointy end of the political travel rorts scandal. My understanding of the Don Randall matter is this. In November 2012 the Perth MP and a family member flew to Cairns for an overnight stay. . He claimed the $5259 trip was “electorate business”. A week after returning from Cairns, on November 26, he updated his pecuniary interests register, saying:  “My wife and I have taken possession of the house at the Cairns location. We intend to rent the house as an investment.” When Fairfax revealed this after a tip-off from a citizen journalist, he said: “The claims […]

The fruitless push for a Parliamentarians’ code of conduct

By Rose Iser 16 October 2013 The latest spate of entitlements scandals is unlikely to bring about a code of conduct for federal parliamentarians given that, for the past 40 years, multiple attempts to enact a code have failed. Since 1975, federal leaders and parliamentarians have investigated the possibility of a code of conduct, but reports and proposals have never resulted in a wide-ranging code covering the behaviour of MPs. In 1980, the House of Representatives noted a report from the Bowen Committee, chaired by the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, Sir Nigel Bowen, recommending changes to Standing Orders to enforce a code of conduct – a breach of which […]

How will Media, Finance and AFP handle the evidence that the PM is a cheat?

By Margo Kingston, 8 October, 2013 It looks like the Prime Minister is a serial cheat. It’s hard to imagine a bigger test of the integrity and fairness of our democratic institutions than that. Will the press gallery get forensic and press for answers from the PM and action from the authorities? Will the AFP investigate? Will the Finance Department audit his enormous expenses claims while in opposition to search for more rorting? The AFP chose to prosecute Peter Slipper for falsely claiming less than $1,000 for an alleged private tour of wineries. It has now been revealed that Tony Abbott falsely claimed more than $1600 to attend the wedding of […]

New No Fibs citizen journalism project: The CSG social movement

By Margo Kingston 7 October 2013 I knew I wanted to do journalism differently after experiencing the disconnect between the reality on the ground and the closed world of insider political reporting while covering Pauline Hanson’s 1998 election campaign. My idea was to live in the north western NSW town of Bourke to report rural and Aboriginal issues outside the bubble, compare the realities with the big picture policy and politics, and question the powerful armed with that information. Instead the Sydney Morning Herald gave me Webdiary, and from 2000 to 2005 I collaborated with readers to report, explain and investigate federal politics. This year I returned to my vocation, practicing […]

Pissed off with LibLab? Don’t make them happy by voting informal

By Margo Kingston 29 August 2013 I’ve had several Twitter discussions with people who don’t think either big party deserves their vote and reckon voting informal is the way to stick it up both of them. It’s not. In fact, if the big two can’t get your first preference their next best option is for you to vote informal. Don’t make them happier than you have to! Your vote has the power of money, and money talks. This election your House of Representatives vote is worth $2.48 to whoever gets your first preference and $2.48 to whoever gets your first preference in the Senate. So you have $4.96 in your pocket […]