Occupy this. Tips are flowing thick ‘n’ fast from the Occupy protests that were broken up by police on Friday in Melbourne and in the early hours of Sunday in Sydney. The first is particularly interesting, given it comes from someone badging themselves as a Victorian policeman:

“Hi, I’m a Victorian policeman so I can’t comment on Occupy Melbourne publicly. I was disgusted and ashamed at VicPol’s decision to follow the orders of a minor public official and use force to move on what was a harmless bunch of wastrels with some tents and a live feed. I have many questions about the legality and the policy motives behind it (the enterprise bargaining that’s been dragging on for nearly a year? Senior men jockeying for favour for the chief commissioner vacancy? There’s a couple of questions that could be asked).

“Just as concerning, though, was the type of force deployed — a friend who was there tweeted that he’d been ‘pepper-sprayed’ and I immediately called bullsh-t — OC Spray is absolutely NOT to be used at demos or on passive resisters (resistors? isn’t that an electrical component?) … that’s how I was trained, anyway. Turns out, though, that OC spray was in fact used, enough that one member copped a secondary dose and had to be hospitalised to have his eye flushed.

Here is a link to an OPI report to parliament (I hate and despise the OPI, but this was the only place I could find OC Spray policy online without going into work and committing a crime by releasing it to you).  On page 26 it lays out what VicPol policy is regarding OC spray/foam deployment. I’m wondering why the hell no media outlet has asked anyone at VicPol about this? Please be the first.”

Meanwhile, on the the other side of the fence, a protester claims that they were treated to some pretty heavy-handed tactics: “Riot police tried to ‘subdue’ my peaceful though vocal sitting by twisting of thumbs and knees in the guts. Later singled out by riot police who tried to drag me behind regular police lines without verbal or other warning.”

And this, from an amused observer who has cherry-picked from the official minutes of Occupy Melbourne to come up with this exchange — a consensus is not reached on use of the term “scumbag”:

Rob

That we ask a radio station to come and broadcast live from occupymelbourne

We shouldn’t be vilifying anybody by calling them scumbags. Alienating our audience is not a good idea

Speakers called for and against

Alex speaks against

It just seems a cool thing to do. The people we are targeting are scumbags

Grahame speaks for

Scumbag is an inappropriate word. Using words like that will create a division that cannot be overcome

Rachael speaks against

Corporations are evil and Rachael has personal grievances AND is opposed to slave labour

Another speaking for

It’s not a smart idea to alienate people who will become our allies

Julia speaks against

Those people ARE scumbags and deserved to be called such. We are standing together against the 1%

Consensus not reached.

And finally, there was this very strange experience. Sources tell of a group of women arrested at the protests being bundled into a divvy van. Then, the police cranked up the van’s heat to sweltering conditions before driving around in circles for 40 minutes. Then, the van then stopped with no explanation, heater running, for another 40 minutes. No water was provided at any point. Eventually, after nearly two hours, the women were dumped in St Kilda — many kilometres from the CBD and their homes.

Keep an eye out for fauxmember. Seem there are still rumblings around Jeff Kennett’s leadership of beyondblue, despite the board’s recent vote of confidence. This just in from an observer: “As November approaches, there are rising concerns around Jeff Kennett’s leadership of beyondblue, particularly his public statements on gay parenting and the conflicts of interest arising from his multiple interests in gaming machines. In response to this, a bunch of formerly enthusiastic supporters of Movember are putting together fauxvember.org.  A donation site will be up soon.”

Oxfam constitutional change? We’re on it. To the tipster who sent this message in re: Oxfam:

“You should pursue your investigation into Oxfam Australia’s latest constitutional changes. As a staff member I, like a lot of staff and ordinary members, think the organisation — particularly its board and (some of its) executive management — needs a really good shake up. Not, however, to the detriment of our supporters and the work we do. It’s a fine line but I think public, critical analysis has a role to play. I’ll be in touch. Love your work.”

Our journalist Amber Jamieson has a story on the subject today, but please do get in touch with any information we should follow up.

For or against? This just in from the halls of Parliament, a mind-bending glimpse into the efficient system that is Canberra bureaucracy:

From: Davies, Patricia (Sen G. Humphries)
Sent: Friday, 21 October 2011 14:28
To: SEN-Senators; SEN-SenStaff; REPS-Members; REPS-MemStaff
Cc: Lundie, Rob (DPS)
Subject: INVITATION – CROSS PARTY WORKING GROUP ON THE DEATH PENALTY

The Co- convenors of the Parliamentary Cross Party Working Group on the Death Penalty have requested that the attached Invitation / notice of meeting for the above group to be held on 2 November 2011, be circulated.

Please advise acceptance only.

Regards,

Pat Davies OAM
Office of Senator Gary Humphries
SENATOR FOR THE ACT
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Attorney-General Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Materiel

Then, a minute later:

From: Davies, Patricia (Sen G. Humphries) [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Friday, 21 October 2011 14:29
To: SEN-Senators; SEN-SenStaff; REPS-Members; REPS-MemStaff
Cc: Lundie, Rob (DPS)
Subject: Recall: INVITATION – CROSS PARTY WORKING GROUP ON THE DEATH PENALTY

Davies, Patricia (Sen G. Humphries) would like to recall the message, “INVITATION  – CROSS PARTY WORKING GROUP ON THE DEATH PENALTY”.

Ten minutes late:

From: Davies, Patricia (Sen G. Humphries)
Sent: Friday, 21 October 2011 14:41
To: REPS-Members; REPS-MemStaff; SEN-Senators; SEN-SenStaff
Subject: CLARIFICATION–INVITATION – CROSS PARTY WORKING GROUP AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY

Please note Clarification of Working Party Title

The Co- convenors of the Parliamentary Cross Party Working Group on the Death Penalty  have requested that  the attached Invitation / notice of meeting for the above group to be held on 2 November 2011, be circulated.

Please advise acceptance only.

Regards,

Pat Davies OAM
Office of Senator Gary Humphries
SENATOR FOR THE ACT
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Attorney-General Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Materiel

But wait there’s more … five minutes later:

From: Davies, Patricia (Sen G. Humphries)
Sent: Friday, 21 October 2011 14:46
To: SEN-SenStaff; SEN-Senators; REPS-Members; REPS-MemStaff
Subject: INVITATION – CROSS PARTY WORKING GROUP AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY

***attachment included***

The Co-Convenors of the Parliamentary Cross Party Working Group  Against the Death Penalty  have requested that  the attached Invitation / notice of meeting for the above group to be held on 2 November 2011, be circulated.

Please advise acceptance only.

Regards,

Pat Davies OAM
Office of Senator Gary Humphries
SENATOR FOR THE ACT
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Attorney-General Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Materiel

Your tax payer dollars at work.

Competitive neutrality in the public service. Speaking of Canberra, this tip seems to have come from a cranky consultant. Any more of you out there pissed off about this?

“The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) is breaching competitive neutrality rules by offering commercial training services and using tax payers funds to compete against non-public service businesses. The APSC raises 48% of its operating revenue through their learning and development programs. The Australian taxpayer is the loser in all of this because the APSC mark-up the scheduled rate of consulting firms by up to 30% and passes this onto other departments/agencies. The Public Service Act 1999 Section 41 (i) clearly states “to co-ordinate and support APS wide training and career development opportunities in the APS”. This does not include using taxpayers’ money to establish a commercial monopoly and compete against private sector companies.”

More bang for your buck. And a response to Margaret Simons’ Friday article entitled ‘Troubled SBS needs $50m government handout in a hurry’:

“As an independent contractor to SBS it does appear that the financial problems it now faces are directly a result of the previous Howard government setting SBS upon a quasi commercial path that was bound to fail. An over-enthusiastic management prematurely announced Dusty, a drama project that it couldn’t reasonably finance even with Screen Australia’s assistance and that squandered hundreds of thousands of development funds. It also tried to browbeat Conroy with a bombastic ask for more funds in its last triennial round. It now seems that SBS equipped with a new chair and new CEO could be well placed to set SBS on a more viable path, which would stimulate some new local production. Frankly with an outsourced production model akin to Channel 4 in the UK, such a model would provide far more bang for your buck than the ABC.”

Peter Fray

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