Gillard loyalists turning on McClelland? … what the authorities are telling those on Nauru … does this Senate candidate live in his electorate? …
From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
Labor turns on McClelland? A Labor mole tells us “there are several senior people in the Labor Party who are absolutely filthy at Robert McClelland over his get-square with Gillard and the 1990s AWU rubbish” (McClelland, who was demoted by Gillard, raised the issue in Parliament in June this year). The tipster goes on to claim:
“It’s one thing to be pissed at losing your cabinet spot and still pine after Kevin, but it’s another to apparently be involved in a co-ordinated effort to completely destroy the government, from within. When he raised the issue in Parliament a few months ago several people were surprised and annoyed but many were keen to forgive, forget and move on. So a number of McClelland’s colleagues have been particularly outraged to discover that yes, he appears to have been briefing Michael Smith for at least a year on this. Believe me, the audio link below has certainly been doing the rounds in Labor circles for the past nine days.”
The audioboo of Michael Smith (a commentator who lost his job at 2UE over his coverage of the AWU/ Gillard affair, who is continuing to pursue the issue) pays tribute to McClelland, describes him as a decent man, much-missed as Attorney-General, and contains this comment: “I’ve spoken to Robert regularly over, maybe 12 months or so, now”.
We put the tip to McClelland and asked if he had indeed been briefing Smith, but have not heard back yet. We also put this to the PMO (no response). We’ll keep you posted. If you know more on the internal Labor fallout of the AWU / Slater & Gordon issue, drop us an anonymous line …
Missive from Nauru. ”It is not possible to say precisely how long you may need to remain on Nauru.” That what asylum seekers who arrive on the island are being told in this letter from the Australian authorities, sent on to us by someone with an interest in the situation. Asylum seekers also being told that resettlement “takes a long time” because there are millions of refugees worldwide and demand is much greater than places available. No mention of the Australian government deliberately slowing down the process to appease voters, then.
Sandi Logan from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship confirmed the letter was genuine and defended the letter, saying the department was exercising its duty of care to asylum seekers by keeping them informed of the government’s position. Logan told us the department verbally briefed asylum seekers in a multiplicity of languages, then gave them a written letter in their language. He denied claims by refugee advocates that the letter amounted to bullying.
Candidate AWOL? We heard a whisper that Matthew Canavan, a staffer for Barnaby Joyce who’s just been preselected in the third spot for the LNP’s Queensland Senate ticket, doesn’t actually live in Queensland. Our spy reckons he lives in Canberra, and the party’s executive is to investigate. We rang Canavan, who said this used to be the case but he moved to Toowoomba in June. Canavan said he was sometimes in Canberra with Joyce (most staffers have to travel to the national capi-dull for sitting weeks, a heady blur of early mornings, long days and bad food at Parliament’s refectory) and did other portfolio-related travel too — “I’m almost always on the road,” he told Crikey. Canavan offered to show us his driver’s licence to prove his Queensland residency, but we demurred. Seems our would-be spy got this one wrong.
Not so super. An enterprising Crikey reader decided to look into what had happened to her superannuation over the years, and she was shocked with what she found.
“I recently attempted to access my superannuation. I contacted 12 funds that have at some point held my superannuation over a 20-year period, starting when I was 13 years old. Their methods for skimming are creative and very polite. And absolutely shameless! What I uncovered in the last week made my head spin! Methods for skimming:
temporary life or income insurance that is automatically charged to your account for a short period. It falls away after three or four months so that no one can ever claim it. The fees charged are hefty
transferring funds from one fund to another with hefty fees attached (turns out it’s the same company with several different names)
annual fees charged for holding your superannuation even though the balance decreases every year. Where did this concept come from? We take your money. We then invest it, lend it (charging others hefty interest), save it and earn interest on it. We then charge you on top of all that so that in the end we are getting paid to be paid free money. Greed resulting in delusionary behaviour.
Universal motto for superannuation funds and banks: Steal (pinch) the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves. Some of my best friends work in finance (asterisk) so this came from the horse’s mouth. Skimming involves a market analysis of the account holders least likely to notice an additional fee. It is then calculated how much they will not notice … and viola, a large target is achieved by a smarmy financial institution. And poor people with very little money to worry about get hit. This is an institutionalised practice in Australia anyway. And super funds are particularly ‘lucky’ because it’s so hard to get your money out once they’ve got it.”
This Tips scribe has certainly never understood why I get charged so much to lend my money to my super fund in order for my super fund to invest it and turn it into more money. No amount of reassuring Bernie Fraser ads can soothe my rage. Any industry insiders out there who can let us know if this tip rings true? What tricks does the (eyewateringly massive) industry get up to maximise their returns? Drop us a line here — and shhhh, you can stay anonymous.
Rinehart-free zone. Tips has been forced to come to the (rather unsurprising) conclusion that Crikey readers are not in Gina Rinehart’s coterie. We put out a plea for help to send us a copy of her new book, Northern Australia and Then Some: Changes We Need to Make Our Country Rich (or to send us a reader review so we don’t have to read it ourselves). The result? Plenty of gags about Rinehart and colourful commentary on the design of the book’s cover, but no one seems to actually have a copy. Please, readers, put us out of our misery! Have you seen the book for sale anywhere, how much is it, and has anyone actually read it?