01 November 2014

Bypassing encryption: Italian firm ‘sells global spyware to police, govts’

AFP Photo
AFP Photo
The latest encryption measures adopted by Google and Apple to beef up users’ security seem futile in light of firms like Hacking Team, which are offering software that allows authorities to bypass encryptions on personal devices, The Intercept reported.

READ MORE: Australian police spend millions on spyware – WikiLeaks
The manual for one such program, titled 'Remote Control System,' has been published online.

“We’re publishing in full, for the first time, manuals explaining the prominent commercial implant software ‘Remote Control System,’ manufactured by the Italian company Hacking Team,” The Intercept wrote.

Hacking Team proudly advertises that its software can “defeat encryption.”

“You cannot stop your targets from moving. How can you keep chasing them? What you need is a way to bypass encryption, collect relevant data out of any device, and keep monitoring your targets wherever they are, even outside your monitoring domain. Remote Control System does exactly that,” reads the firm’s brochure.

The software is reportedly capable of remotely turning on cameras, opening up emails, recording Skype calls, monitoring keystrokes, and collecting passwords.

The manual explains that targeting a digital device is quite easy – whether it is via a wifi network, USB stick, a video, or an email attachment.

Following step-by-step installation instructions, the software buyer can record and monitor activity without leaving a trace.

Hacking Team customers reportedly reside in Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Oman, among other countries.

The US is also a prominent user of the software; Hacking Team has attended American homeland security trade shows and conferences and put on training exercises for police, including one titled 'Cyber Intelligence Solutions to Data Encryption,' according to The Intercept.

Co-founder and CEO David Vincenzetti told l’Espresso in 2011: “We sell Remote Control System to institutions in more than 40 countries on five continents.”
Hacking Team describes its products as “lawful intercept” technology, maintaining that all of its customers are government institutions. It says it would never sell software to countries which are on international “blacklists” or involved in “gross human rights abuses.”
But Citizen Lab, a digital research unit at the University of Toronto, revealed that its customer selection policy has its shortcomings. After learning of 21 buyers, nine are among the “authoritarian” rating in The Economist’s 2012 Democracy Index.

READ MORE: Government-operated spyware on the rise around the world – report
There is an increasing interest in tech firms that offer spyware, but their names remain under the radar. FinFisher is another such company that offers “IT intrusion and remote monitoring solution” which is “solely offered to law enforcement and intelligence agencies,” according to its maker, Gamma International.

FinFisher has been criticized for dealing with countries such as Bahrain and Ethiopia.
In September, WikiLeaks revealed that governments spy on journalists with weaponized malware produced by FinFisher.

rt.com 31 Oct 2014

All part of the Police State agenda, where the people are the enemy.

31 October 2014

Australian police spend millions on spyware – WikiLeaks

Police officers stand outside the Sydney Opera House March 19, 2003. (Reuters / James D Morgan)
Police officers stand outside the Sydney Opera House March 19, 2003. (Reuters / James D Morgan)

Police in the Australian state of New South Wales have spent over $2 million on powerful spy programs to monitor the smartphones and notebooks of Australian citizens, according to the latest revelations from WikiLeaks.

The spyware for NSW police was developed by a German company.

The new batch of documents published by the whistleblower on Monday maintains that Australian police have used spyware from Gamma International, a German company specializing in developing spyware for remote computer monitoring, while conducting some investigations.

Sophisticated German-made software known as FinSpy enables spacious access to computer records, including full chat communications (e.g. Skype) and email monitoring, extracting files from hard drives, logging keystrokes and grabbing images of computer screens. FinSpy is allegedly capable of operating under all major desktop and mobile OS, namely Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile.

Reuters / David Gray
Reuters / David Gray

An unidentified NSW police officer wrote in a communication with the software developers that there is a risk that the program can garb really sensitive data – such as confidential communication with a lawyer.

“The captured information needs to be able to be identified as legal privilege and not used in any further intelligence capability as it is considered private. There are other categories that may come up so it would be useful if the categories could be implemented at the user level rather than hard coded by Gamma,” a document revealed by WikiLeaks claimed.

“When FinSpy is installed on a computer system it can be remotely controlled and accessed as soon as it is connected to the internet/network, no matter where in the world the target system is based,” WikiLeaks said.

NSW Police used a set of spy programs developed by Gamma International, which cost the budget more than $2 million (1.8 million euro). WikiLeaks alleges that there are no online tender records of either Gamma International or any of its subsidiaries holding contracts with NSW Police - despite the substantial costs of the spyware.

Still from wikileaks.org
Still from wikileaks.org

NSW Police confirmed the use of spyware to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Given this technology relates to operational capabilility [sic], it's not appropriate to comment,” a police spokesman said.

To get remote access to a personal computer legally, NSW Police could apply for a special covert search warrant, obtained from an ‘eligible judge’ on Australia’s Supreme Court bench, empowered to grant those types of warrants.

The ‘SpyFiles 4’ WikiLeaks publication also names police forces of the Netherlands, Singapore's PCS Security Pte Ltd and intelligence arms of the Hungarian, Italian, and Bosnian governments as buyers of FinFischer malware.

According to WikiLeaks estimates, all in all Gamma international could have earned from 48 to 98 million euro on FinFisher licence sales.

The developer of FinFisher became a target of hacker attack in August, which resulted in the leaking of client lists, price lists, source code, an effectiveness report of Finfisher malware, support documentation and a list of tutorials being now distributed via BitTorrent.

The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, locked up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for two years now, made a statement, claiming that the latest FinFisher hack makes it possible to develop protection from this malware and even track down the command and control servers it is used from.

“This full data release will help the technical community build tools to protect people from FinFisher by tracking down its command and control centers,” he said.

Assange also maintained that the German government is well aware of the spyware developed and is protecting FinFisher.

“FinFisher continues to operate brazenly from Germany, selling weaponized surveillance malware to some of the most abusive regimes in the world,” Assange said. “The Merkel government pretends to be concerned about privacy, but its actions speak otherwise. Why does the Merkel government continue to protect FinFisher?”
Yet in the case of Germany the spyware cuts both ways, ZDNet informed, as reports over the weekend have claimed the Five Eyes intelligence group, consisting of the US, Australia, UK, Canada and New Zealand, had been using an internet mapping program dubbed Treasure Map globally to spy on networks of German telecommunication companies, though the US government assured that this program had no surveillance capabilities.

In the meantime, investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald promised make public information about the New Zealand government’s spying on its own citizens, which could potentially result in Prime Minister John Key’s resignation.

Key immediately rejected all such accusations, saying that national communications security agency GCSB had considered implementing mass surveillance following a series of cyber-attacks, but after all the plan was rejected and never implemented.

rt.com.au 16 Sep 2014

In Australia the real criminals are the police.

The police are there NOT to 'protect and serve' the general populous, nor are they 'public servants'.

The police are [factually] a corporation subservient to corporations.

Australian schools to run ‘Northern hemisphere’ VCE timetable to attract foreign students

Year 12 student Kimberley Jurcan 18, during the English exam at Bentleigh Secondary Colle
Year 12 student Kimberley Jurcan 18, during the English exam at Bentleigh Secondary College. Picture: David Caird
SCHOOLS will be able to offer the VCE according to a US-style academic calendar in a major shake-up. 

The new option, touted as an Australian-first, would see school timetables run from September to June.

To start next year, both local and overseas schools can adopt it.

It comes as more than 46,000 VCE students today begin their exams.

Hard at work: a student tackles the English exam at Bentleigh Secondary College. Picture:
Hard at work: a student tackles the English exam at Bentleigh Secondary College. Picture: David Caird
Education Minister Martin Dixon sad the new “northern hemisphere” VCE option was expected to increase the number of overseas students studying the certificate overseas in particular.

About 680 are already enrolled across 15 schools, most in China.

“This is something that overseas students will be very, very attracted to and even more countries now will take it on,’’ he said.

Kimberley Jurcan 18, uses a dictionary. Picture: David Caird.
Kimberley Jurcan 18, uses a dictionary. Picture: David Caird.
“There is interest around the world for the VCE — it’s well renowned as a very, very strong qualification in its own right — but it also helps with entry into Victorian and Australian universities.

“It also means that students may be able to move from hemisphere to hemisphere without any interruption in those very important senior years.”

The new timetable — which would run parallel to the existing VCE schedule in Victorian schools which take it up — will initially be offered with 12 subjects including English, English as an Additional Language, maths, physics, Chinese and Arabic.

Examinations would be first held in June 2017.

The announcement came as thousands of students this morning sat exams in English and English as an Additional Language, signalling the start of a three-week test fest.

Students at Bentleigh Secondary College took the three-hour ordeal in their stride, most saying the exam was what they expected.

The language analysis component of this year’s English exam asked students to analyse a piece about space exploration.

They also wrote two essays on their selected texts.

Student Lachlan O’Brien, who hopes to study nursing and paramedicine next year, said: “I am feeling really confident about it — the questions were pretty much perfect for what I’ve been studying. I’m really happy.”

Michelle Kulik, who will sit her next exam tomorrow, said she was also feeling confident.

“It really does show preparation does pay off in the end,’’ she said.

But there were still a few nerves.

“I was nervous since last night so I could barely eat,’’ Michelle said.

“When I got into the exam my hand was shaking when I started to write down the first couple of words but then after 20 minutes I was like: “I just need to get this down on paper”.

“I’m proud with what I’ve done and I’m also really excited it’s over with — I never have to worry about another English examination again and I’m all good with that.”

Principal Karen Wade she was always a little nervous for her students.

“They have all put in the hard work and they will do extremely well,’’ she said.

heraldsun.com.au 29 Oct 2014


The inconveniencing of 46,000 students for a few hundred (temporary) foreign students.

Why does not America change its whole curriculum for Aussie students abroad???

Still not convince the corporation conglomerate (the government) is not a corporate whore?

The Australian government is not in governance for the people.

Criminals for Hire - Labour hire firm KPI has staff with criminal convictions working on $1 billion Melbourne Airport project

Kevin Ramsay
Kevin Ramsay
A LABOUR hire firm with criminal links has been contracted to work in secure airside areas of the $1 billion Melbourne Airport redevelopment. 

Matching of court records with CBUS superannuation contributions made by construction company KPI shows that KPI staff have serious criminal convictions.

These include armed robbery, making threats to kill, assaulting police, and drug cultivation.

The Herald Sun understands that the Royal Commission into union corruption, which has been granted a 12-month extension, has been investigating KPI.

KPI company director Kevin Ramsay, who has convictions for stalking and unlawful assault, told the Herald Sun to “f--- off” when asked about his staff’s criminal history.

“I’m trying to run a business,” he said.

Construction under way at Melbourne Airport. Picture: Angie Basdekis
Construction under way at Melbourne Airport. Picture: Angie Basdekis
The lists of KPI’s CBUS superannuation contribution lists, seen by the Herald Sun, are dated August 2013 and March 2012, and include dates of birth.

A search of court records revealed up to 10 KPI staff members employed during those months had faced court.

FIRM EYED: Docklands taskforce probes black wages

Leighton Contractors has hired KPI to work on both the airside development of terminal four, which will be home to Tiger Air’s new base, and the car park redevelopment at Melbourne Airport.

KPI has links with the CFMEU and has rapidly expanded since it began its first lucrative job at the Victorian desalination plant in 2010.

Aaron Ramsay at court
Aaron Ramsay at court
Mr Ramsay’s son Aaron, a former Williamstown VFL premiership player, works for the business.

Aaron and his cousin, Collingwood player Dane Swan, were involved in the bashing of a security guard in Federation Square in 2003.

Both were given community-based orders after pleading guilty to affray.

KPI has also hired career criminal Daniel Heaney, who has convictions for armed robbery, assaulting police and stabbing a woman in the lung and pancreas in 2004.

Heaney was jailed for nine years with a minimum of six years for the stabbing.

Senator Eric Abetz has raised concerns about the revelations.
Senator Eric Abetz has raised concerns about the revelations.
“The wound to the abdomen passed into the pancreas ... The pancreas is situated just in front of the spinal column,” a Supreme Court judge said in sentencing him.

Heaney was also sentenced in 1984 to 13 years’ jail for nine armed robberies.

Under Victoria’s tough state construction code, construction contractor McConnell Dowell has been banned from State Government jobs for using KPI.

The Federal Government’s own hard line construction code is still awaiting Senate approval.

Federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz said: “The Government is extremely concerned at these latest revelations, which once again demonstrate the disturbing links between the CFMEU and criminal elements in Victoria.

“These revelations once again show the urgent need to have strong building industry regulators to deal with dubious conduct in the industry, such as the Australian Building and Construction Commission and the Victorian Construction Code Compliance Unit.

“KPI Labour has previously been the subject of adverse findings by the Victorian Construction Code Compliance Unit.”

Melbourne Airport spokeswoman Anna Gillett said contractors who regularly worked “airside” were required to obtain an aviation security identification card.

“For a KPI employee to gain airside access, they would have had to go through the stringent Federal Government security process,” she said.

Leighton Contractors declined to comment.

heraldsun.com.au 30 Oct 2014

Australia is truly a country run by criminals.

As long as the police are catching (road) criminals, you know, the ones who 'drive' 5km/h over the speed limit, that's all that matters.

Telcos cautious on Coalition's metadata push

The Coalition government’s surprise move to introduce the draft mandatory data retention laws to parliament has elicited a cautious response from the telecommunications industry, with the telcos urging further clarity on the technical and financial details underpinning the proposed regime.

The proposed laws will require telcos and internet service providers to keep, according to the Coalition, a limited set of metadata for two years.

Under the laws, a person's web browsing history would not be captured, nor would service providers be allowed to keep detailed location records tracking a person's movements.

“Service providers will not be required to retain the content or substance of any communication, including subject lines of emails or posts on social media sites,” Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Thursday.

“The Act will expressly exclude a person’s web-browsing history, and providers will not be required to keep detailed location records that could allow a person’s movements to be tracked, akin to a surveillance device.”

The government has also said that the bill does not provide any additional powers to law enforcement or intelligence agencies and does not give them any capacity to access metadata beyond what they already have.

The government’s commitment to make a "substantial contribution" to cover company costs, along with the reduction in the range of agencies which can access metadata have so far been the two components the telcos are most pleased about.

Communications Alliance chief executive John Stanton said the government is at least taking the concerns of the industry seriously.

“We welcome the move to restrict the number of agencies that can access metadata and the indication from government that it is willing to make a substantial contribution to the cost imposts on service providers that may flow from the creation of the data retention regime,” Mr Stanton said.

Scope creep a real worry

However, there’s evidently plenty of ground that still needs to be covered, with many issues still in need of refinement before any regime can be put in place.

“These might include whether it is necessary or appropriate for all data to be stored for as long as two years, and how to adequately deal with the complexity of over-the-top services such as messaging platforms which generate many forms of metadata that originate and terminate on many different applications,” Mr Stanton said.

He also warned that there was a legitimate fear of ‘scope creep’ over time that merits serious consideration.

It’s a sentiment shared by the most vocal critic of the Coalition’s proposed laws- iiNet.

The internet service provider’s chief regulatory officer Steve Daly warned that the ‘devil is certainly in the detail’ with an urgent need for clear definition of terms, including what type of personal information may be captured by this proposed legislation.

“Although we are encouraged by a move away from some more Orwellian aspects of the government’s data surveillance proposal, we maintain there is no urgency for this bill to be passed,” Mr Dalby said.

However, there’s evidently plenty of ground that still needs to be covered, with many issues still in need of refinement before any regime can be put in place.

“These might include whether it is necessary or appropriate for all data to be stored for as long as two years, and how to adequately deal with the complexity of over-the-top services such as messaging platforms which generate many forms of metadata that originate and terminate on many different applications,” Mr Stanton said.

He also warned that there was a legitimate fear of ‘scope creep’ over time that merits serious consideration.

What the big 3 have to say

The big three carriers – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone- are also toeing the line carefully for the time being.

Telstra said that in a sector with rapid technological change, it makes sense to look at clarifying the obligations on industry.

“In introducing the legislation today we welcome the process outlined by the Government to resolve outstanding issues.  It continues the commitment they have shown in industry consultation in recent weeks to meet national security objectives, while minimising the impact on industry and consumers,” a Telstra spokesperson said.

Optus and Vodafone have been somewhat less effusive with their praise with both pushing for further resolution off concerns around the scope of data retention.

According to The Australian Financial Review, Vodafone Australia’s director of strategy and corporate affairs Dan Lloyd has warned that the implication of the regime on the Internet of Things (IoT) need to be taken into account

Speaking at the Ovum 2020 Telecoms Summit, Mr Lloyd warned that details from automated systems, known as machine-to-machine, could potentially be captured under the regime, the AFR reports.

'Surveillance tax' fears sprout 

While the Coalition has taken some of the telco industry’s concerns on board, communications minister Malcolm Turnbull’s words have done little to placate those incensed by the implications of the law on civil liberties.

Greens senator Scott Ludlam told reporters in Canberra that the proposed data retention regime will not only mean ‘mild, real-time, passive surveillance’ but also inevitably hurt consumers financially.
"It's imposing a cost on people that they don't want to pay," Mr Ludlam said.

Senator Ludlam believes the legislation goes too far, even though he acknowledges intelligence agencies are seeking greater surveillance powers for anti-terrorism and law enforcement operations.

"At some point you have to draw a line. We are drawing the line at mandatory data retention."

With a draft data set and the bill set to be referred to the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security for review before it’s passed, the opposition has also weighed into the debate, with opposition communications spokesman Jason Clare saying that the complexity of the proposed regime warranted stringent scrutiny.

"We need to look at this over a couple of months, not a couple of weeks, and the parliamentary committee will have myself on it as well as Mark Dreyfus," Mr Clare said.

Mr Clare said that the data retention issue was broader than national security, with privacy implications and the potential to increase the cost of internet bills.

He added that it was disappointing that the Coalition decided against consulting the opposition and the Australian people before introducing the bill.

heraldsun.com.au 30 Oct 2014

Unbeknown to the general populous, but well known within the legal community, another UNLAWFUL law being passed through.

Part of the Police State agenda to monitor then later control the movements of the masses.

Australia the modern day Alcatraz.

29 October 2014

Abbott Government’s fuel tax raid on drivers

MOTORISTS will be forced to pay up to $325 more for petrol over the next four years after a sneaky $2.2 billion tax grab by the Abbott Government. 
The Government, which is exploiting a loophole to bypass Parliament with its petrol tax hike, claimed it would add “just” 40 cents to the price of a tank.

But a leading motoring group said the true cost would ultimately amount to up to $3 a tank.

EDITORIAL: Denis Napthine’s poll poison as Abbott excise hits
PETROL PAIN: Tax grab puts lead in Labor’s state election pencil
ANALYSIS: Fuel tax rise no help to Denis Napthine

Motorists reacted angrily last night. South Melbourne mum Bianca Abbey said the excise hike would force her to tighten her belt further.

“It will affect us financially, especially with some of the other taxes,” she told the Herald Sun.

Craigieburn nanny Emel Direk, who already pays $70 a week for petrol, said the hike would cause stress.
“It doesn’t help,’’ Ms Direk said.

From November 10, Victorian drivers will pay half a cent more tax on every litre of petrol — a figure that will rise every year, and which the Australian Automobile Association says will cost $135 a year by 2017.

Petrol was selling in Melbourne yesterday for around $1.43 a litre — of which 38.14c is fuel excise.

A furious Premier Denis Napthine, who goes to an election 19 days after the tax hike begins, said he would take his concerns directly to Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

What the decision means.
What the decision means.
But the PM, insisting he had a mandate to fix the Budget, denied he had broken a no-new-taxes election promise, saying: “It’s not a new tax. It’s the indexation of an old one.”

“Any increase in fuel excise hurts Victorian families and hurts Victorian businesses and any such proposal … should go through the proper parliamentary processes,” he said.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann claimed the tax hike would cost only 40 cents a tank.

“The impact on households will be modest,” he said.

The surprise move by the Government to raise the petrol tax without first passing legislation came after Labor, the Greens, the Palmer United Party and the crossbench refused to back the tax rises in the Senate.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten called the move “outrageous”.

“Today he (Mr Abbott) ambushes Australian motorists, ambushes the parliament of Australia and through the back door has launched a sneak attack on the wallets and cost of living of every Australian,” Mr Shorten said.

The tax used to rise every year until former prime minister John Howard froze it in 2001.

The Government’s move effectively reinstates twice-yearly indexation.

The Australian Automobile Association called Senator Cormann’s claims of a 40-cent rise a “gross understatement” and “propaganda”.

“If you look at what the Government is projecting over the next three to four years over the forward estimates it is substantially more than that,” AAA chief executive Andrew McKellar told Sky News.

“It will be adding two to three dollars each time you fill up the car.”

He said it wouldn’t be long before motorists were stung an extra $2 each time they filled up.

AAA modelling shows filling a 60-litre tank once a week will cost an extra $66 in 2015-16, $100 in 2016-17 and $135 in 2017-18, totalling $325 over four years.

The Government plans to use the revenue to fund its infrastructure program.

Frustrated by five months of blocking by the Senate, Senator Cormann turned instead to a legislative loophole — used by the previous Labor government to introduce a new tax on alcopops — to ram the tax increase through.

Senator Cormann said he hoped the Senate would “see sense” in the next 12 months and validate the move.
If the Senate does not retrospectively approve the hike, the money would have to be reimbursed — but Senator Cormann confirmed it would go to the fuel companies, not the drivers.

“It will go back to fuel manufacturers and to fuel importers who would essentially have a windfall gain at that time,” he said.

Greens Leader Christine Milne accused the Government of employing “sneaky tricks” but did not reveal whether her party would ultimately allow the move.

Motorists groups called on the ACCC to guard against price gouging as costs go up.

heraldsun.com.au 29 Oct 2014

Another criminal action by the 'government' / Abbott, where the police lay idle.

There are many (invalid) laws in Australia / Victoria that are hidden in plain sight and that are current that are designed to protect the people from the criminal actions of the 'authorities' but the courts do not abide by them.

The tax that they are implementing is actually unlawful.

The implementation of GST (Goods and Services Tax) is UNLAWFUL.

These are the criminal action of the people in government.

The Royal Family - Corporate Warmongers

Another criminal family supporting the act of war, where the motto "for Queen and country", means government sponsored killing of [civilian] people, by sending out the children of the masses to become cannon fodder, for political and financial gain of their corporate 'brethren'.

The corporate warmongering criminal pictured (circled in red), Prince Charles Arthur Phillip George, of the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha family is a product of inbreeding cousins.

There is never a court for this calibre of war criminal.

The brainwashed masses continue to idolise this criminal family.

27 October 2014

Kris Jenner’s cookbook savaged: ‘Eat the book itself, it will taste better’

ACCORDING to some very unsatisfied customers, Kris Jenner’s new cookbook is a kitchen nightmare. 

The reality TV star recently released In the Kitchen with Kris: A Kollection of Kardashian-Jenner Family Favourites but customers have since savaged the book on Amazon for it’s “garbage” recipes and expensive table setting advice.

Here are some the harshest reviews:

- “Eat the book itself, it will taste better than the recipes within.”

Stick to TV Kris.
Stick to TV Kris.
- “Jenner, do you realise that maybe two per cent of folks in this country can afford your Hermes dinner settings (around $500.00 per place setting). A setting for 8 would be $8,000.00.”

Customers who bought the book think Kris should stick to reality TV.
Customers who bought the book think Kris should stick to reality TV. Source: Splash News Australia
- “These recipes in here are bland and tasteless, I made the macaroni and cheese and you would think with all the different varieties of cheese used it would be flavourful but instead I got a very expensive unedible mass of oily noodles.”

- “Just embarrassingly awful. Even the cover photo looks like she had to be shown where the kitchen was in her house. Write what you know, sweetie, like instagramming selfies and pimping out your soulless children.”
- “And the award for the worst cookbook in existence goes to ...”

- “Absolute trash. I’d rather eat McDonald’s every single day for dinner then one of Jenner’s pretentious recipes.”

- “I would rather read a cookbook written by ISIS.”


news.com.au 27 Oct 2014

This is apparently news.

More like (useless) information that belongs at the bottom of a trash tabloid publication.

This is how the masses are distracted from the 'real' news.

Victoria's birth rate falls to lowest in Australia

Victoria has the lowest birth rate in Australia and is well below the level needed to sustain the state's population without migration.

It is part of a national trend where the fertility rate has declined in Australia since the global financial crisis, with Victoria last year replacing the Australian Capital Territory as the state or territory with the lowest rate, according to Bureau of Statistics data.

In Victoria, the fertility rate is 1.76 babies per woman - well below the replacement rate of 2.1 babies per woman, the level where the population sustains itself. But despite the birth rate falling to its lowest level since 2005, Victoria's overall population is growing strongly due to migration.

Professor Graeme Hugo, a demography expert from the University of Adelaide, said Australia-wide the fertility rate had fallen since the economic crisis in 2008 when the national birth rate peaked at just above two babies a woman. He said fertility rates grew strongly from the early 2000s.

"Some people like to suggest it was due [to the Howard government's baby bonus]; the reality was the upturn in fertility started before the baby bonus was introduced," he said.

One factor, he said, was the booming economy at the time, which gave young people confidence to start a family rather than wait.

Ellen Kwek with baby Zoe at home in Carlton North. Ellen Kwek with baby Zoe at home in Carlton North. Photo: Paul Jeffers

Professor Hugo said historically Victoria has had a lower birth rate due to relatively higher incomes and the high proportion of the state's population living in the capital city. People with higher incomes tend to have fewer children, while people from rural areas tend to have more children.

That trend is evidenced in Victoria where towns such as Robinvale and Yarrawonga have some of the highest birth rates. Within Melbourne, suburbs such as Pakenham and Truganina have fertility rates well above replacement levels. But in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, the fertility rate is on average just 1.3 babies per woman - lower even than Japan, with its shrinking population. It is particularly low in Parkville, St Kilda, East Brunswick, Docklands and East Melbourne.

Mothers also tend to be older in the inner suburbs, with a median age of 33.6 years old compared with 31.6 for the state as a whole.

Ellen Kwek, 34, an architect from North Carlton, has just had her second child, a daughter named Zoe, with a gap of four years from her son.

"Because I had my first child when I was about 30, I didn't feel in any particular hurry to have the second one so soon after ... this is about when it seemed right for us," she said.

Ms Kwek said along with her partner Mick she had always thought of having a maximum of two children. Her career was a consideration as she wanted to avoid taking "another chunk" out of it. If they were to consider a third child, housing costs and size would be an issue.

"I don't think we could imagine having another child in the same size house we have," she said.

Professor Hugo said despite Australia's fertility rate declining to 1.88 births per woman, it is still at a level envied by countries such as Singapore, Japan or much of Europe. Fertility rates of 1.3 or 1.4 babies per woman create economic problems from declining populations and how to fund large numbers of retirees.

"What it means is that ageing, although we talk about it as a significant factor, it is not nearly as dramatic [an] impact as it has been in places like Japan, or in a place like China, where they'll suffer some really significant problems," he said.

theage.com.au 27 Oct 2014

Somewhere along the line there is a deliberate policy of false information being given out to the masses.

The authorities are saying that in Victoria there is a skilled workers shortage and a housing shortage due to a huge population growth, where today The Age publication reveals that the population growth rate is at 1.76 hardly a figure that is economy changing.

The 'authorities' are importing approximately 1000 migrants (many illegal workers) per week into Victoria in an effort to bring down the hourly rate of workers, a move that is supported by businesses and corporations alike.

This economic destruction of the workforce with cheap unskilled overseas labour also has damaging effects on the family unit of hard working Australians, sending many Aussies to the 'dole' queue, where the results in many cases are the loss of the family home, due to being unable to pay the bills.

The government, which is a corporation conglomerate supports the destruction of the family unit not by the word of a 'conspiracy theory' but rather by its actions.

26 October 2014

Coles held illegal 'profit day': ACCC

SUPERMARKET giant Coles held an annual "profit day" to illegally collect payments from suppliers, according to the consumer watchdog.

THE allegations are contained in Federal Court documents lodged by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in its second case brought against the retailer in six months.
The latest case involves accusations Coles engaged in unconscionable conduct and breaching consumer law in 2011.

Coles has rejected the allegations, and says it has since improved its ways of working with suppliers.

The ACCC's case will include emails from managers ordering lower management to chase food suppliers for money to meet profit gap budgets, on what was also called "perfect profit day".

That meant ordering suppliers to pay Coles to make up the difference if the retailer had not made enough of a profit on the suppliers' products.

Suppliers were also retrospectively penalised or fined when products Coles had already accepted were marked down or unsold, despite it being out of the control of suppliers, the ACCC says.

Coles will be accused of ending supply contracts if they did not comply, which led to the collapse of many suppliers, while others were too scared to complain to the ACCC.

The ACCC's previous case, brought in May, concerned Coles allegedly squeezing $16 million a year out of suppliers through the Active Retail Collaboration program.

The ACCC's latest action involves day to day dealings with suppliers.

Coles argues the ACCC's allegations concerned a limited number of its suppliers - only five of more than 4,000.

The "profit day" involved discussions aimed at ensuring suppliers delivered stock on time, as well as ending high levels of waste or the poor performance of products, which would contribute to higher prices for customers, Coles said.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said not every supplier that complained was part of the legal action, because that would waste the court's time.

"The noise from the complaints was deafening," he told AAP.

"This has got nothing to do with prices at the supermarket at all, that's not right ... we allege this is about unfair shifting of profits from suppliers to Coles.

"This is a matter of significant public interest involving allegations of unconscionable conduct by a large national company in its dealings with small business suppliers in the highly concentrated supermarket industry."

The ACCC is seeking pecuniary penalties, declarations, injunctions and costs.

It is due to be heard in the Federal Court in Melbourne on October 24.


" ... our profit position still well behind budget we now need to be chasing all suppliers for any profit gaps we have to sales" - business category manager Philip Reidy, Oct 5, 2011

"I want to get out of the Friday morning "panic" please. Our profit budget is a given .... ring suppliers today if you are short on profit." - business category manager Philip Armstrong, Nov 8 2011

"We have been set a target of money we need to secure as a team for the day, as this number is $750,000 which is just over $100,000 per category ... Let's aim to secure one million dollars for our profit day." - Mr Reidy, Nov 11 2011

Source: ACCC filing with Federal Court
new.com.au 16 Oct 2014

Let's see the results of the spineless ACCC being a corporation working the benefit of corprations and NOT consumers.