Hipkins’ ALP colluder has worked for NZ Labour

More details on the Australian Senator’s chief of staff named as the person who colluded with Chris Hipkins over citizenship questions – he was a New Zealander who has worked in Parliament here for Helen Clark, Michael Cullen and Phil Goff.

NZH: Citizenship saga: Man who spoke to Hipkins is a Kiwi

A former staffer for former Prime Minister Helen Clark and Finance Minister Michael Cullen was the Australian Labor Party staffer who spoke to Labour MP Chris Hipkins, prompting questions by Hipkins about citizenship in Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported Marcus Ganley, Australian Senator Penny Wong’s chief of staff, was the Australian Labor Party staffer who had spoken to Hipkins – a conversation Hipkins said prompted him to ask questions of Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne on the legal citizenship status of an Australian born to a New Zealand father.

Ganley was an adviser to former PM Clark and former Finance Minister Cullen during the Labour Government until 2008. He then advised Phil Goff as Opposition Leader.

Hipkins worked as a policy adviser to Trevor Mallard and Helen Clark prior to becoming an MP in 2008, initially under Clark’s and then Goff’s leadership.

In a written statement, Wong said a staff member in her office had “informal discussions with New Zealand friends about domestic political issues, including the section 44 debate.”

She said the questions Hipkins asked were not asked on behalf of Australian Labor.

“At no point did [Ganley] make any request to raise the issue of dual citizenship in Parliament, a fact confirmed today by Hipkins and the New Zealand Labour Leader.”

So, prompted by Ganley, Hipkins did some digging on citizenship here, supposedly  having no idea about the interest in Barnaby Joyce’s citizenship status.

Was it general dirt digging by two individuals independent of their parties? If so they have both seriously embarrassed their parties, and raises questions about the way they operate.

Julie Bishop, the Australian Foreign Minister, has said she would find it difficult to work with NZ Labour, prompting a strong response from Ardern.

Hipkins is currently the sixth ranked Labour MP, he is 7th on the party list for this election, and is Labour’s Shadow Leader of the House.

Julie Bishop versus Jacinda Ardern

Julie Bishop, Australian Foreign Minister, said today in Canberra: Trans-Tasman relationship ‘at risk’

Ms Bishop said Mr Shorten had “sought to use a foreign political party to raise serious allegations in a foreign parliament designed to undermine confidence in the Australian government:”.

“Bill Shorten has serious questions to answer,” she said.

“This is highly unethical, at least. But, more importantly, puts at risk the relationship between the Australian government and the New Zealand government.

“Bill Shorten must reveal who he put up to this dirty task and the details of the urging of a foreign political party.

“We’re used to the dodgy back room deals from Bill Shorten when he was leader of the union movement.

“He’s now brought that not only into Australian politics but now into the international politics and Bill Shorten should be called to account for this appalling behaviour.”

Ms Bishop said she it was “nonsense” that the ALP question had not played a role in the revelation of Mr Joyce’s dual citizenship and that it was actually a media inquiry which kicked off the process.

“I don’t accept that,” she said.

“The New Zealand Labor leader confirmed that a Labor member of parliament was contacted by an unnamed Labor member here in Australia.

“Bill Shorten must reveal the name of that member.”

Ms Bishop said she would find it difficult to trust a future NZ Labour government.

“I would find it very difficult to build trust with members of a political party that had been used by the Australian Labor Party to seek to undermine the Australian government,” she said.

“I would find it very difficult to build trust with members of a political party that had been used by the Australian Labor Party to seek to undermine the Australian government”.

 

Statement on Julie Bishop’s comments

Posted by Jacinda Ardern on August 15, 2017

It is highly regrettable that the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has chosen to make false claims about the New Zealand Labour Party.

I have been utterly transparent about this situation. I stand by my statements this morning that I knew absolutely nothing about the Barnaby Joyce case until it broke in the media yesterday afternoon.

I had no knowledge about the Parliamentary Questions lodged by Chris Hipkins MP.

I have also been clear that those questions were not appropriate.

I also note that Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne has confirmed that the Australian media inquiries were the instigator of this issue and that he has described connections of the New Zealand Labour Party to this issue as “utter nonsense.”

I greatly value New Zealand’s relationship with the Australian Government. I will not let false claims stand in the way of that relationship.

I would happily take a call from Julie Bishop to clarify matters.

I have also contacted the Australian High Commission to register my disappointment and will be meeting with the High Commissioner later today.

Hipkins’ claims over dirty collusion doubted

Chris Hipkins has already put new Labaour leader in an awkward position over his asking questions on citizenship on behalf of the Australian Labor party. Ardern has publicly reprimanded Hipkins.

This has lead to a political spat with the Austrian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, slamming Labour here for (allegedly) trying to interfere with the Australian government. The coalition that Bishop is a part of has a bare 1 seat majority, and if Barnaby Joyce is forced to resign over a ridiculous constitution technicality a by-election would make things difficult there.

Ardern has snapped back strongly, alleging that Bishop had made false accusations. So far Ardern has appeared to deal with things pretty well – much better than Bishop handled the pronunciation of Ardern’s name.

But there could be more problems for Ardern, for NZ Labour, and especially for Hipkins.

Journalists don’t believe his denial he knew what was behind the request from Australia ask questions here about Joyce’s citizenship.

Hipkins appears to want us to believe he asked questions on behalf of Australian Labour acquaintances without knowing it had anything to do with Joyce.

It is questionable enough that Hipkins tried to stir up dirt against a bare majority government. It is very difficult to believe he would do this without knowing what was behind it.

 

I don’t think this story is done yet.

RNZ:  Barnaby Joyce renounces NZ citizenship as spat builds

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says he’s been told New Zealand has accepted his request to renounce his citizenship, as trans-Tasman tension over the situation builds.

Australian media inquiries led to the dual citizenship of Mr Joyce being revealed, but Labour MP Chris Hipkins had also asked similar questions to the Internal Affairs Minister, following discussions with a friend linked to the Australian Labor Party.

Mr Hipkins’ involvement has now led to a diplomatic spat between the Australian government and the New Zealand Labour Party.

In federal parliament in Canberra this afternoon, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull accused the Australian Labor Party and its New Zealand counterpart of collusion.

“No one’s ever doubted the loyalty of the Deputy Prime Minister to Australia, but what about the leader of the opposition, conspiring with the Labour Party of New Zealand to undermine the government of Australia?”

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said she had reprimanded her MP, but Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said this afternoon it would be difficult to trust a Labour-led New Zealand government.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Mrs Bishop said she was disappointed.

“New Zealand is facing an election, should there be a change of government I would find it very hard to build trust with those involved in allegations designed to undermine the government of Australia.”

She said Australian Labor leader Bill Shorten used a foreign political party to raise questions which were deliberately designed to undermine the Australian government.

Ms Ardern came out swinging in response, saying in a statement it was “highly regrettable” that Ms Bishop had “chosen to make false claims about the New Zealand Labour Party”.

“I have been utterly transparent about this situation. I stand by my statements this morning that I knew absolutely nothing about the Barnaby Joyce case until it broke in the media yesterday afternoon,” Ms Ardern said.

She said she had no knowledge that Mr Hipkins had lodged his question.

Ms Ardern said Mr Hipkins exercised a lack of judgement.

“We were asked a question about a point of law, but as I’ve said, regardless of the circumstances it was not appropriate for us to be involved in any circumstances.”

Ardern has clearly distanced herself from Hipkins and from what he did.

Mr Hipkins insisted his friend did not ask him to lodge the question, he had no idea it was related to Mr Joyce, and he was just interested in the topic.

“Had I known that was where things were going to land up, I wouldn’t have got involved in it.

I’m sure he wouldn’t have, but it’s too late to not do it.

“There has been absolutely no collusion between the New Zealand Labour Party and the Australian Labor Party when it comes to the situation the Australian deputy Prime Minister has found himself in.”

But the question of collusion between a NZ Labour MP and someone involved in the Australian Labor Party is unlikely to be left at this.

Labour’s opponents are not letting it rest either.

Australian constitution could be an ass

The third Australian MP to fall foul of their constitution on citizenship is deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, although he is contesting it in court without resigning like the other two.

RNZ: NZ govt says Australia’s Joyce is NZ citizen

New Zealand Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne has confirmed Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is considered a New Zealand citizen.

Mr Joyce is the latest politician to be caught in a dual citizenship controversy across the Tasman.

Several senators have resigned, or are facing scrutiny, over their citizenship status.

Under the Australian constitution, anyone with dual citizenship cannot stand for federal election.Mr Dunne said Mr Joyce’s father was a New Zealand citizen and he passed citizenship on to his son.

His father emigrated to New Zealand and became a citizen here, then moved to Australia and had a child (Barnaby) with an Australian woman. That automatically makes Barnaby a New Zealand citizen. There must be a lot of dual citizens in Australia.

“It’s automatically passed on, I don’t know whether he (Mr Joyce) knew or not,” Mr Dunne said.

“He says he didn’t know, he says he was under the belief his father had renounced the New Zealand citizenship.

“But the fact is it is all irrelevant – if he was eligible to receive the citizenship at the time, under our legislation he does, regardless of his subsequent circumstances,” Mr Dunne said.

Mr Joyce said this afternoon he was asking the High Court to rule on his citizenship status and whether he was eligible to be in Parliament, the ABC reported.

He said legal advice suggested he has not breached the constitution, but the court should consider the matter.

If Joyce is ruled ineligible to be an Australian elected representative then their constitution is an ass.

Section 44 of the Australian Constitution lists the grounds for disqualification on who may become a candidate for election to the Parliament of Australia.

44. Any person who –

(i.) Is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power: or
(ii.) Is attainted of treason, or has been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer: or
(iii.) Is an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent: or
(iv.) Holds any office of profit under the Crown, or any pension payable during the pleasure of the Crown out of any of the revenues of the Commonwealth: or
(v.) Has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company consisting of more than twenty-five persons:

shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

But sub-section iv. does not apply to the office of any of the Queen’s Ministers of State for the Commonwealth, or of any of the Queen’s Ministers for a State, or to the receipt of pay, half pay, or a pension, by any person as an officer or member of the Queen’s navy or army, or to the receipt of pay as an officer or member of the naval or military forces of the Commonwealth by any person whose services are not wholly employed by the Commonwealth.

Almost every part of section 44 has proved difficult to interpret and apply. Its replacement or revision has been frequently considered, particularly by a Constitutional Commission in 1988 and by a parliamentary committee in 1997, but their proposals have not been pursued.

(i) Allegiance to a foreign power

Subsection 44(i) has generally been interpreted by the High Court of Australia as meaning that persons with dual citizenship are not permitted to stand for election and that a person must take “reasonable steps” to renounce their citizenship of the other country. Its interpretation has been difficult. There is the preliminary awkwardness that the Constitution itself does not require a member of the Parliament to be an Australian Citizen, although Constitution s 42 does require members to swear an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the monarch; however, Australian citizenship has been made a statutory condition of eligibility for election.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_44_of_the_Constitution_of_Australia

So this will go to court for a decision to see if Joyce can remain.

 

Migrant populations in OECD countries

On average, migrants make up 13% of the population in OECD countries, up from 9.5% in 2000 – a significant increase.

Some interesting comparisons here.

Not surprising to see Australia and New Zealand near the top.

Surprising to see Switzerland so high.

NZ Herald: Ex pats are choosing New Zealand over Australia as emigration destination

Could beautiful pictures of New Zealand on social media be luring ex pats here instead of Australia?

The latest report from international relocation experts Movehub could be suggesting so.

The report shows for the first time since 1991 more Australians are moving to New Zealand than the other way round, and searches online for moving to New Zealand from the UK have surged upwards.

Australia has seen a five per cent decrease in people moving there.

The report has attributed the rise in New Zealand’s popularity to its economy, scenery, sense of community, and “the Trump and Brexit effect”.

“The EU Referendum was one of the most controversial political events of 201 and its outcome has had global repercussions,” head of Movehub, Ben Tyrrell said in the report.

“There was no shortage of political drama in the US this year either.”

Moves to New Zealand from the US grew by 71 per cent in November 2016.

But New Zealand has more to offer than simply an escape from Trump, the report said.

“New Zealand’s economy is another contributing factor for the surge in immigration; it continues to perform strongly whilst Australia’s mining boom dwindles, pushing up prices and encouraging yet more Australians to seek a cheaper cost of living across the Tasman.

“Though Australians may be moving to a well-known neighbour, Americans and Britons are relocating to a country half a world away, however it is clear that the distance pales into significance for the chance to live somewhere so beautiful with such a strong sense of community.”

New Zealand is ranked as the seventh most popular destination country, but the eighth highest country people are leaving.

Despite this, searches for moving to New Zealand from the UK were up 83 per cent in the 2016/2017 financial year compared to the previous one.

Migration patterns keep changing, but the Internet makes it easier for people who want to move countries to check distant countries out.

 

Emigration rates to Australia

This chart from Stats NZ shows how much of a factor emigration to Australia – or lack thereof – was what is behind the big shift in net immigration.

It has dropped from nearly 40,000 per year to about 15,000 per year in five years.

Australia versus New Zealand

RNZ:  Australia considers NZ ‘soft entry’ point – PM

Prime Minister Bill English says he does not understand why Australia thinks New Zealand is a backdoor route for migrants wanting to get into their country.

New Zealanders living in Australia have been stung by numerous new policies that affect their entitlements and rights in the past few years.

At his weekly post cabinet media briefing yesterday, Mr English said Australian officials believed this country had become a backdoor way for migrants to enter their country.

“We would like to, I suppose, understand precisely what their concern is, because there is no evidence that the New Zealanders moving to Australia constitute some unique or special burden on Australia,” he said.

Mr English said the economic evidence was that they were “good net contributors”.

“This issue around whether New Zealand is a soft entry to Australia is one that in that context has come up.

“But it’s been quite hard to pin down just what exactly they think the problem is,” he said.

Australia stunned the government last week when it announced that from next year, the fees New Zealanders would pay to study at Australian tertiary institutions would more than triple – affecting about 12,000 people.

Following that surprise, Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee met with his Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop, in Sydney where he accepted the lack of a head’s up was a one-off.

But Mr English said Australia gave no assurance similar policies were not on the way.

He said the government had no interest in a tit-for-tat exchange with Australia and it would not be reducing entitlements or rights for their citizens in New Zealand.

This is a big issue for Kiwis in Australia and for many back here in New Zealand. I have three children living and working in Australia.

ANZAC Day 2017

25 April 2017

We all have our own ways of doing ANZAC Day and remembering those New Zealanders (and Australians) who served and died overseas in the two World Wars as well as in other conflicts.

Post what you remember and feel about ANZAC Day here.

(This is a pre-ANZAC post that will be carried forward tomorrow)

ANZAC

Missy posted about a visit to Ypres in Belgium last August:

Past ANZAC Day posts:

“New Zealand Soldier” became the “OFFICIAL SONG” of “THE NEW ZEALAND ARMY”.
Dedicated to all those Men and Women who served in the First and Second World Wars and whom are currently serving in the New Zealand Armed Forces:

Australia threatened with nuclear retaliation

“If Australia persists in following the US moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and remains a shock brigade of the US master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK.”

Hot air probably, but this is getting a bit too close to home.

1 News: Australia threatened of nuclear retaliation from North Korea following sanctions talk

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has reportedly sparked a threat of nuclear retaliation from North Korea after saying the rogue nation will be subject to further Australian sanctions.

North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency yesterday quoted a foreign ministry spokesman accusing the Australian foreign minister of “spouting a string of rubbish again.

“If Australia persists in following the US moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and remains a shock brigade of the US master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK.”

Ms Bishop said on Thursday that the sanctions were to send “the clearest possible message to North Korea, that its behaviour will not be tolerated, that a nuclear-armed North Korea is not acceptable to our region”.

She also urged China to step up pressure on North Korea to stamp out its belligerent and illegal behaviour.

In the report from Pyongyang, the North Korean ministry spokesman accused the Australian government of “blindly and zealously toeing the US line” and said Ms Bishop had “better think twice” about the consequences of her “reckless tongue- lashing”.

“It is hard to expect good words from the foreign minister of such government. But if she is the foreign minister of a country, she should speak with elementary common sense about the essence of the situation,” the spokesman said.

“It is entirely attributable to the nuclear threat escalated by the US and its anachronistic policy hostile to the DPRK that the situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to the brink of war in an evil cycle of increasing tensions.”

This is probably just more rhetoric, hot air, rather than an actual threat.

But if North Korea does try a nuclear strike it would probably be easier to hit Australia rather than the US – it’s closer and probably far less protected.

A Northern Hemisphere nuclear strike would be bad enough, but in the mid latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere New Zealand would be at less risk than most countries.

A nuclear attack on Australia is a different matter. The usual weather drift is from there to here.

North Korea probably doesn’t have the weapons nor the delivery systems to hit Australia.

But if they did, and if they did strike Australia, then things get even more serious for us here in New Zealand. And there’s a lot of Kiwi family in Aus.

Lining up for World War 3?

Suggesting the escalation in Syria is a move closer to World War 3 might be over-dramatic but if the civil war explodes into a wider conflict it will be too late to quibble.

There are already a number of countries who have been directly involved in the Syrian conflict,  including Russia, USA, Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, UK, France, Germany and Australia.

The Herald asks Are these the battle lines for World War Three?

The US airstrikes on a Syrian regime airbase have hardened the dividing lines across the world in regards to the Assad regime.

They link to MailOnline Are these the battle lines for World War Three? Graphic shows which countries are siding with Russia or the US in their support – or condemnation – of Assad

  • President Donald Trump, 70, launched airstrikes on a Bashar al-Assad controlled airbase in Syria on Thursday
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today praised the American airstrike following the chemical attack
  • He said that the strikes sent a ‘strong and clear’ message that chemical weapons will not be tolerated in 2017 
  • Both Britain and Australia praised the US action as an ‘appropriate response’ to what happened in the week
  • Syria and Russia have denounced it as an ‘act of aggression’ with Putin saying it damages relationship with US

The US airstrikes on a Syrian regime airbase have hardened the dividing lines across the world in regards to the Assad regime.

MailOnline has set out world leaders’ positions on the conflict, which clearly shows the split between pro and anti-Assad countries.

It suggests which side of the battle line countries would position themselves on should the escalating crisis turn into an all out global conflict.

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The MailOnline has extensive coverage of the position of countries around the world on Syria.

The also have a time line of the conflict that began six years ago.


The U.S. attack on a Syrian air base came after years of heated debate and deliberation in Washington over intervention in the bloody civil war.

Chemical weapons have killed hundreds of people since the start of the conflict, with the U.N. blaming three attacks on the Syrian government and a fourth on the Islamic State group. One of the worst yet came Tuesday in rebel-held northern Idlib and killed dozens, including women and children.

That attack prompted President Donald Trump, on day 77 of his presidency, to dramatically shift U.S. policy, with the first direct U.S. attack on the Syrian government.

Trump blamed Syrian President Bashar Assad for the attack and called on the international community to join him in trying to end the bloodshed.

A timeline of events in Syria leading up to Tuesday’s attack:

March 2011: Protests erupt in the city of Daraa over security forces’ detention of a group of boys accused of painting anti-government graffiti on the walls of their school. On March 15, a protest is held in Damascus’ Old City. On March 18, security forces open fire on a protest in Daraa, killing four people in what activists regard as the first deaths of the uprising. Demonstrations spread, as does the crackdown by President Bashar Assad’s forces.

April 2011: Security forces raid a sit-in in Syria’s third-largest city, Homs, where thousands of people tried to create the mood of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of protests against Egypt’s autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Aug. 18, 2011: President Barack Obama calls on Assad to resign and orders Syrian government assets frozen.

Summer 2012: Fighting spreads to Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and its former commercial capital.

August 20, 2012: Obama says the use of chemical weapons would be a ‘red line’ that would change his calculus on intervening in the civil war and have ‘enormous consequences.’

March 19, 2013: The Syrian government and opposition trade accusations over a gas attack that killed some 26 people, including more than a dozen government soldiers, in the town of Khan al-Assal in northern Syria. A U.N. investigation later finds that sarin nerve gas was used, but does not identify a culprit.

August 21, 2013: Hundreds of people suffocate in rebel-held suburbs of the Syrian capital, with many suffering from convulsions, pinpoint pupils, and foaming at the mouth. U.N. investigators visit the sites and determine that ground-to-ground missiles loaded with sarin were fired on civilian areas while residents slept. The U.S. and others blame the Syrian government, the only party to the conflict known to have sarin gas.

Aug. 31, 2013: Obama says he will go to Congress for authorization to carry out punitive strikes against the Syrian government, but appears to lack the necessary support in the legislature.

Sept. 27, 2013: The U.N. Security Council orders Syria to account for and destroy its chemical weapons stockpile, following a surprise agreement between Washington and Moscow, averting U.S. strikes. The Security Council threatens to authorize the use of force in the event of non-compliance.

Oct. 14, 2013: Syria becomes a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention, prohibiting it from producing, stockpiling or using chemical weapons.

June 23, 2014: The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says it has removed the last of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons. Syrian opposition officials maintain that the government’s stocks were not fully accounted for, and that it retained supplies.

Sept. 23, 2014: The U.S. launches airstrikes on Islamic State group targets in Syria.

Aug. 7, 2015: The U.N. Security Council authorizes the OPCW and U.N. investigators to probe reports of chemical weapons use in Syria, as reports circulate of repeated chlorine gas attacks by government forces against civilians in opposition-held areas. Chlorine gas, though not as toxic as nerve agents, can be classified as a chemical weapon depending on its use.

Aug. 24, 2016: The joint OPCW-U.N. panel determines the Syrian government twice used helicopters to deploy chlorine gas against its opponents, in civilian areas in the northern Idlib province. A later report holds the government responsible for a third attack. The attacks occurred in 2014 and 2015. The panel also finds that the Islamic State group used mustard gas.

Feb. 28, 2017: Russia, a stalwart ally of the Syrian government, and China veto a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing sanctions against the Syrian government for chemical weapons use.

April 4, 2017: At least 58 people are killed in what doctors say could be a nerve gas attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in the rebel-held Idlib province. Victims show signs of suffocation, convulsions, foaming at the mouth and pupil constriction. Witnesses say the attack was carried out by either Russian or Syrian Sukhoi jets. Moscow and Damascus deny responsibility.

April 4, 2017: President Donald Trump issues a statement saying that the ‘heinous’ actions of Assad’s government are the direct result of Obama administration’s ‘weakness and irresolution.’

April 5, 2017: Trump says Assad’s government has ‘crossed a lot of lines’ with the suspected chemical attack in Syria.

April 6, 2017: The U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria Thursday night in retaliation for this week’s gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians, U.S. officials said. It was the first direct American assault on the Syrian government and Trump’s most dramatic military order since becoming president. Trump said strike on Syria in the ‘vital national security interest’ of the United States.


Wikipedia: Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War