Archive for December, 2013

OSCARS LAW, deserves better, so do the animals

December 30, 2013

Debra Tranter of Oscars law, labels animal welfare activist “supporter of animal & child abuse and paedophilia”, for rescuing animals and protecting children?

I used to hold Miss Tranter in some esteem, and the idealism behind Oscars law is a very good one, but recent interactions have muddied the water.
It was such a shock to see a person I held in high regard, attacking my good name with accusations I supported animal abuse and even more so that I supported child abuse and pedophilia, because I have been a very loud advocate for child welfare for over a decade.
In the past few years I have held a series of South Australia’s largest rallies to bring attention to short falls in support services for both children and the companion animal sector.
A few calls later and most of those I look up to in animal welfare have also fallen victims, in her latest tirade she attacks The Australian Alliance animal welfare division, with out even knowing who the advocates are with in the organisation, so what is Miss Tranter up to?
In her her most recent tirade, she attacks rally’s being held to support children with disability’s, as if that offends her, where I have always believed empathy for animals and children went hand in hand.
It is still hard to believe that by asking people not to terrorize disadvantaged children in their own home, would start so much abuse from a person who comes across and a very educated and compassionate woman.
Animal welfare has always had a place in my heart from a young age, my mother reminds me often of how I was always bringing home stray animals, in recent years it has become a big part of my life, resulting in me taking a very strong interest in most aspects of animal legislation.
My wife also holds these same values, and as a result we help many in need, including Willow grove sanctuary of Peg Solomon, when willow grove was forced to shut due to Peg’s age and general health, and we heard many of the animals would be put down, our hands went up, and we built a sanctuary on our property “Willow wood” hence Willow wood native wildlife sanctuary.
My wife is the real hero of the sanctuary; I just get easy jobs doing the rescues, the repairs and finding the funds, through opening a second business.
When the QLD floods destroyed so many smaller rescues and sanctuary’s like ourselves, I used my political profile and media contacts to raise both money and food donations, which were to be shipped up by truck, when the truck let us down, I was forced to drag out my hot-rod, borrow a huge trailer and head up myself.
It was here I realised how many great people we have in animal rescue.
My wife and I have worked with many groups over the recent years, making many friends in the animal rescue and welfare industry, and we were also big supporters of the RSPCA and the AWL, for us it has always been about the animals and their right to life.
My varied political interests have covered a range of issues over the past 15 years, but rights and liberty based debate is the easiest way to cover them all in short.
It wasn’t until I intervened as spokesperson for Moorook animal shelter, to deal with an RSPCA intervention, that I realized just how many problems we had when it comes to transparent and educated support for our companion animal sector.
The issues became many, and most were coming from the very people most Australians would see as the leaders in the industry.
It has taken some time to realize that most if not all of the issues stem from the same idealism, that of those in positions of power being blinded by a very narrow view of how an animal should be treated, a very sterile one indeed. On top of this support services are now pushed aside in favor of prosecution which undermines the best interests of the animals themselves.
Coming from the political arena, these same views are apparently adopted by many in positions of power, one of knowing better, and taking the approach that if they believe any person is in the wrong based on their narrow views, it is their duty to spin their position regardless of the facts.
I will apply my views on this issue to Miss Tranter, but they could also be applied to the RSPCA, a complaint is received,  she heads out to investigate, and ensures her time results in a story, rather than taking a proactive approach, like educating, supporting or even embracing the whole truth.
I can see where she is coming from, exposing issues in the animal welfare to further her stance and objectives, in the same way the RSPCA will spin a story painting them as the national heroes, does open peoples eyes but at what cost to genuine animal welfare?
The problem here is that justice plays no part in the story, only the worst pictures are published to paint a picture, the victim is never allowed to tell their side of the story, and neither Tranter or the RSPCA offer support services where they would result in the best outcome for the animals.
In most recent interventions by Tranter, animals supposedly rescued that end up in the RSPCA could be euthanized at a rate of around 50 to 70%, rather than any short comings in their housing being addressed. Obviously when it comes to puppy farms the issue is what is a puppy farm, and what should be legal and the like, it is here that Debras voice is most needed.
If there are 5 tubs of water, the empty one is photographed, if the animals are well kept, the one cage that is the dirtiest is the one that makes the headlines, in fact I have seen credible evidence that some photo evidence is deliberately doctored at times to support their allegations.
Where this makes a mockery of animal welfare, is in many cases the owners are animal lovers with the resources and will to help animals in need, this is very evident in many recent cases. It seems puppy farms are not the only agenda, So let’s look at Miss Tranters attacks on my good name.
Some time ago a woman came to see me about issues she was enduring with the RSPCA, I looked at her supporting evidence, and could see that some intervention was necessary; I had doubts that the RSPCA would indeed do the right thing, but she had council, so I decided not to intervene.
Several months later, having run out of funds, this woman was left to plea bargain with the RSPCA, and as a result was convicted of several accounts of animal cruelty relating to horses that had arrived in poor condition, an issue for all animal carers in recent times.
The information relating to the case in question clearly indicated that intervention was warranted, and Tranters intervention was indeed worthy.
She was allowed by the court to keep many animals, which shows clearly that her intention was not to cause intentional abuse, more so that she needed guidance, and just maybe a fairer hearing or at least professional representation until the end of the court procedures.
Debate on what we label animal abuse appears just as pertinent as the question “What is a puppy farm”, failure to mitigate harm takes its place at the top of animal abuse cases, but rarely accepts the ideal some people were just doing their best. When intention is no longer a part of the process, neither is justice.
The original complaint supposedly came from Debra Tranter of Oscars law, who all but admitted on twitter to breaking into the property and taking photos for the RSPCA. Many of Debra’s raids result in animals being seized by the RSPCA, even though the facts are clear, that up to 70% can be killed by them.
The court orders infuriated Debra Tranter, as they were not in line with her expectations, so she posted on line selected photos and the woman’s details, which sparked public outrage and of course increased support for Oscars law, the first issue here is that this was not a puppy farm.
The issue that drew me in was a call from the woman in question, because people were threatening her in her home and driving past terrifying her children, making it worse this was a very quiet rural location, so I went to the Oscars law page and read hundreds of threats supporting vigilante actions against this woman.
Similar vigilante approaches through social networking are known to have dire consequences as seen in many similar cases exposed in a variety of recent media articles.
What made all this worse is only a narrow view of the truth was being presented by Oscars law, painting the picture of what this woman had done in its worst light, I chose to ignore that fact, and only made comment that such threats and vigilante actions were not in the best interests of justice, as there were young children in the home..
That was all that was needed for Debra Tranter and some of her supporters to attack me on line through social networks and twitter, calling me an animal abuser and a support of the same.
Debra Tranter accused me of supporting animal abusers, puppy farms and even that I was supporter of pedophilia, and outrageous accusation of the worst kind, all this for wanting to protect children from fear and intimidation.
This only goes to prove a point; people must always hear both sides of a story to ensure the truth is their only motivator.  I messaged Tranter to have a chat as adults, this made her even angrier, so from the onset, mediation and support was not on the agenda, and this attitude is also a strong part of how her friends at the RSPCA also work.
So here we have a person supposedly into animal welfare attacking another with the same interests, all because I simply asked that people not terrify innocent children, the RSPCA have taken the same approach with me, more so in relation to my position as spokesperson forMoorook Animal shelter.
The RSPCA entered the shelter, took 9 animals based on behaviour, and existing health issues, which were all being treated, killed most then went on to charge the owner under animal cruelty, sending a clear message that rescuing animals can result in charges by the very organisation we would have expected to step in and support or congratulate the owner.
There should be no place in this fine nation for authorities or activists that think they are the law or even worse are above the law, full stop.
If Debra Tranter is willing to attack innocent people, even those she has never met in such a vile manner, can we trust any evidence she puts forward?
Miss Tranter has been before the courts on many occasions, convicted of many issues and supposedly banned in her home state from being near some property’s that have animals, other charges easily found through Google searches include recklessly causing injury, assault with a weapon and reckless conduct endangering life.
She has stolen dogs and had to return them, and convicted of theft, including Oscar himself, which she is purported to have purchased back 18 months later.
It is also interesting to note that Miss Tranter works closely with the RSPCA in most states, in fact very well with the RSPCA in SA, the very people who kill more healthy animals than they re-home.
When this occurred I contacted many good friends in animal welfare, only to find they also had been attacked in a similar way to what I have endured, which to be honest is very sad for animal welfare.
The other common message was that all of us in animal welfare that dare question the RSPCA, have also been targeted by Tranter, which paints a sorry picture of her intentions.
The law is what needs addressing and exposing the truth is the right thing to do, and I applaud Tranter for going to such lengths to bring the truth out in the open, but it must be the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or her actions become unacceptable.
Oscars law deserves better, it needs to take a proactive and honest approach, to define what is a puppy farm, to educate at all levels about the need to take the right to life of all animals seriously, and to help promote legislative change based on educated debate.
It is a no brainer that Tranter has huge support as does the ideals of Oscars law, no one wants to see photos of animals living in horrid conditions, or bread like farmed animals, but that support appears to have gone to her head, time for her to reflect and look seriously at what she hopes to achieve, because unity is by far the best way forward, tempered with humility and truth.
The RSPCA also need to return to their grass roots, step up and support animal carers, and use their funds in the best way possible to overcome short falls in animal welfare, rather than misusing their awarded powers.
Debra Tranter calls me a supporter of animal abusers and child abusers, where I simply stepped into ensure the safety of children being intimidated and threatened as a result of Tranters own actions, the same person who breaks into peoples property’s and steals animals, that may end up being killed or abused as a result, some thing is very wrong in animal welfare.
We must take a united approach to animal welfare, and all this could have been avoided by a simple phone call, it is this division that undermines progressive reform, and it is the “I know best approach” that undermines justice.
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Labor party in SA take an Axe to Democracy

December 1, 2013

The day the government destroyed democracy

By the Australian Alliance

 The south Australian government take to democracy with an axe, having only scraped in to government over the past few terms; the Labor party in SA push though laws to ensure they face less opposition.

New laws passed last night will limit the number of candidates on the ballot. The changes will mean only registered parties or groups with 500 nominees can lodge a preference ticket. Independent candidates will now need 250 nominees, instead of just two.

 

This is a massive change when you add in the fact that our electoral rolls are a mess and electors are reluctant to endure the scrutiny of the electoral commission if they dare endorse a candidate, would mean minor players would need double this amount of nominations, the major parties would need NONE.

The cost to nominate has also increased from $450 to $3,000. And the existing parties that passed these laws will be given preferential placement on of the left of the ballot paper, over independents, undermining any resemblance of fair play or democratic practice.

This massive increase in costs on top of the huge costs of trying to compete with the 2 major parties makes ones candidacy basically out of reach, more so when we add in time of work, petrol and the many other costs associated with running as a candidate.

The massive issue here that goes beyond this attack on our democratic process and the virtue of our constitution is that these very changes were sought by the very party that dared use dodgy tactics to gain power in the first place.

With the major parties also using their political connections with in local councils, to even attack vote one poster placements of minor players, it is all but game set match in their favour.

The upper house is indeed the house of review, the very place that independent voices are needed, and these recent changes replace the fact the government have wanted to abolish it for year, now they just want to make it their own rubberstamp.

 It also takes time to get the true results of an election, well for the people, and even then it is never made public, seems it is best we don’t know what happens in our Democracy.

The last SA state election was in March 2010, some of the true facts were uncovered in the court of disputed returns a few months later, but there remains little to no reporting of the facts. 

Only a year later, facts on the huge multiple voting that occurred were published in a back room article, but the tens of thousands of missing ballot papers and the fact over 77,000 missed out on their vote, because their names went missing of the electoral roll, uncovered within a couple of months of the election is seemingly not newsworthy.

The electoral commission would have been well aware of such a huge mistake, but chose not it appears to make this fact public.

It is also not worthy of exposure that the court confirmed “regardless of the conduct or count of a general election, the results cannot be invalidated, something I find atrocious, let alone the many other hidden facts, like the governments own crown solicitors arguing that our common law rights of elections no longer apply to have my case struck out, even though they bloody well do and parliament had confirmed that! 

So let’s get down to the facts and figures; 

1,093,316 people were enrolled to vote in South Australia by the latest reports, yet during the election the figure was 1,015,386. The AEC confirming that over 77,000 names went missing of the rolls, and many who did vote received fines for not voting, in fact had voted? Was this the result of the introduction of the new I-rolls or simply total mismanagement? 

“I believe the new I rolls being used for the first time, resulted in these 77,000 long term voters missing out on their vote, either way, the amount of people who missed out is unacceptable, and the results of the election should therefore be invalid”.

Multiple voting ran rife, but the figures have not been published, just as the many dead people who voted, or the many registered at addresses that no longer exist. 

For me it was the lack of information on how to vote and who was running, my how to vote website went from 50 hits a month to over 30,000 in a couple of days, the Electoral commissions web services went from 70,000 at the 2006 election to near 250,000 in 2010, coincidently the same year the how to vote booklet was no longer sent out, even though the Act itself demands the electoral commissioner ensures you are well informed.   

“No Person, government department or the media are expected in any way to inform people of their choices, not even the electoral act ensures that” 

Declared institutions were reduced, resulting in many of our most vulnerable missing out on their vote, let alone the many reports of undue influence. Some voters in Hospitals and nursing homes, reported they were asked the question “Labor or Liberal” from their room door, and the ballot filled in for them? 

Postal voting had a major increase due to the major parties sending out hundreds of thousands of postal vote applications, up near 40,000, of which over 6,500 applications were dismissed as dodgy, and over 16,500 ballot papers that were sent out simply went missing, a number far in excess of the winning margins. (25,000 applications failed or ballots went missing, enough to change the results of many seats) 

I note here the state Labor party had registered the name of the opposition leader “Isobel Redman” as a reply paid address, so as to intercept voter information, prior to the election, this it seems is acceptable practice to the Labor party officials, in the same way as dressing up as another party and deceiving voters at the polling booths.

The 2 party preferred counting, a system resulting from the structural biases of letting the 2 major parties control electoral law, resulted in 48% to Labor and 51% to Liberal, despite that fact Labor were elected, against the preference of the South Australian people. (1250 votes the winning margin)

44,100 people failed to vote, 22,807 were excused and 21,293 were fined, add these figures to the missing ballot papers, the invalid votes, the 77,000 missing names and the any other abnormalities, then consider the result votes wise now matches the electors, and something sinister has occurred. (Over 10,000 people were send enforcement orders)

“Consider these figures when we take in the fact, many attended to vote and found their names missing of the rolls, the new I-rolls, and the many reports of those who did vote, receiving letters from the electoral commission saying they did not”?

“Just a note here, the recent bi-election for Ramsay was decided on 70% of the vote, because around 30% of people entitled to vote, either did not show up, their vote was informal or more likely conduct issues arose, the media in this case again ignored the outcome and indeed any other candidates besides the Labor candidate” google and see for yourself, articles in the Ramsay election only covered the Labor candidate!

The political parties themselves handled over 58,632 postal vote applications, remembering the Labor party had the name Isobel Redmond registered as a reply paid address, so information sent to Isobel, actually ended up with in the Labor party offices, so they knew the preference of tens of thousands of voters. 

There was also a 71% increase in complaints received by the commission, plus a vast amount of complaints of an ethical nature, a clear indication, and the election strayed from what we believe to be a democratic process. 

In the legislative council ballot, near 6% of votes were informal, a massive figure even though the Electoral commission made it clear many of these people had tried to cast a valid vote, again in excess of winning margins, and many voters simply didn’t even try to cast a vote. 

Over 20.5 % of informal votes, would have been formal under optional preferential voting, consider; our chief justice Murray Gleeson, confirmed our entitlement “if change be necessary, must be made by the Freewill of an Informed electorate” interesting enough, the Act actually says such votes should be counted, but that would offend the 2 party systems? (38% in the Adelaide district alone) 

The Electoral Act clearly states “if a ballot paper is not filled in a manner required by this act, but the voters intention is clear, then the vote will count” yet the voters intention is able to be guessed by the commissioner, who the hell can guess a person’s intent beyond what they have marked?

“And yes this guess favours the 2 party system”

58,714 upper house ballot papers were informal; with get this a 2.2% Administration error?  34.6% informal votes again were confirmed as attempts to vote formally, enough votes in doubt to change the government is SA in many ways on its own. 

Total costs to us of this debacle 8.9 Million   Labor dressed up as another party, and gave out dodgy information on the day of the election to dupe voters, and this is the party leading our state, deplorable.

I took all this to court self represented to try and restore democracy, not only was my hard work ignored by our media, after I lost on a technical issue, which was later found wanting, some of the media labelled me a nut job.

This raises and question of ethics, if a journo lives in SA, one would think that such abhorrent practices would affect themselves and their family?

 For the next 2 years, I received letters from the court offering me money, even though I supposedly lost, raising another question also ignored by the media.

During the trial I was shown video that would have resulted in jail terms for many members of a particular party, but this was only offered as evidence if I could secure a trial, because the person that had it, feared reprisals.

The Outcome is simple the Labor Party won by a hand full of votes, yet informal votes massively exceeded their winning totals, dodgy postal ballot applications also far exceeded their win, missing ballot papers could have well changed the outcome, let alone a host of other major issues, even the multiple voting standing alone could have changed the result.

I was contacted by Electoral staff on a variety of issues, yet they are signed to confidential clauses, so could not come forward in public, one of those was the checking of the rolls where they found massive issues during spot checks, again this was silenced.

The Labor party were caught red handed impersonating another party to dupe voters, and their registering of the opposition leaders name as a reply paid, also allowed them to intercept voters information, statutory decelerations in the hundreds described a mired of other dodgy practices, which never made court scrutiny, therefore remaining un proven, including undue influence, misleading advertising and many other issues. 

The Electoral Commission is well aware of all these issues, and I can only assume dozens more, the list of departures from ideal and legislated conduct are huge including;

  • People being turned away from the polling booths based on the dress standards.
  • Polling booths running out of ballot papers.
  • People being denied their right to both replacement ballot papers and absentee ballots.
  • Dodgy practices outside the polling booths.
  • How to vote information and preferencing information absent from the booths.
  • The How to vote guide which used to be posted to every home was dropped.
  • Candidate access to other candidates information for Preferencing unavailable in time.
  • Previously declared institutions missed out on mobile polling.
  • People were asked to vote under others names.
  • The list is endless and I mean it

Under Common law the people have certain voting rights, yet this election was not one that was comfortable at law, it strayed so far from the legislated requirements it was not in fact a legal election, so the results should have been invalidated and a new and honest election ought to have been held, while we are at it, let’s debate reforms, so future elections are democratic.

1.   77,000 long term voters missed out on their vote (ask your friends)

2.   16,500 postal ballot papers went missing

3.   6,500 postal ballot applications were invalidated

4.   An unknown quantity of people were turned away for various reasons and many did not receive a ballot paper

5.   Many made mistakes and were refused replacement ballot papers

6.   People who did vote were fined for not voting (what happened to their votes?)

7.   58,714 upper house voters ballot papers were deemed invalid and not counted, even though most tried to cast a vote (if the information was available to assist them what would have happened to their votes and the outcome in general?)

8.   Nearly 200,000 extra on line hits seeking how to vote information, proves the electoral commissions lack of information expected under the Act, had an influence on the outcome.

  “So much for our entitlement to a free and informed vote”  

Compare the results of the election with the above figures:

1.   In the upper house count candidates were excluded by votes as low as 17 in total

2.   In the lower house seats were won by votes of around 2000 in most cases, from 167, many under 1000 votes, so the swing created by a legal and fair election, could change the whole political landscape

3.   There are well over 120,000 votes in doubt.

The state election was not a valid election by way of either the dodgy legislation or our common law right to a vote, even our constitutional entitlement was ignored well in excess of the winning margins, the State Labor party have NO right to lead this state, and the tens of thousands of voters who missed out or had their ballot papers go missing, deserve their right to a free vote!

We now see issues with missing ballot papers finally in the news, albeit minor cases, the 2013 federal election appears to have endured similar diversions from democratic practice, but I note facts and figures for most seats are now NOT BEING RELEASED to the public or the candidates!

All preference flows and final results for the federal election from south Australians federal electoral commission are not to be released, even upon request from the candidates themselves.

So our constitution is now so down trodden, that its values are extinct, to run as an independent or minor party is now out of reach, which results in the genuine voice of the people all but banned from parliament.

This ensures applications to the court of disputed returns cannot be lodged in event of irregularities.

The sad fact is this; if this conduct explained here is to remain covered up, what conduct will we expect to see during the South Australian 2014 state election?

Mark M Aldridge

Independent candidate and spokesperson for the Australian Alliance (electoral reform division)

82847482 / 0403379500