Topic: aust govt
Author’s general introductory note
This is not a well packaged story. It’s a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies in Big Politics and Big Media.
For actual transcripts and/or video feeds go to the programme web sites quoted including Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.
Other sources of pollie talkies on Sunday include SkyNews paytv Sunday Agenda, Radio National Monica Attard Sunday Profile show. And of course Sunday night shows SBS Dateline, Sixty Minutes and now Sunday Tonight on 7.
Media backgrounders1. Bushfire academic Keith Tolhurst in Sydney Fairfax double page spread way near the end of feature says a new phenomenon needs more analysis – 5 hour long intense burning in one location – shelter becomes the fuel in effect (as per crikey.com.au bushfire writer Frank Campbell (tbc?). Will our concrete pipe on its side and earthen roof do the job … for 5 hours. Will the roof fly off in a fire generated tornado. Mmm.
2. Telstra price gouging, with interesting response from the ACCC here especially re unconscionable conduct of Telstra. They say not (see bold added below), but we wonder:
Sent: Thursday, 23 July 2009 3:39 PM
Subject: Complaint form submission [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
Dear Mr McLoughlin, Thank you for your email of 23 July 2009 to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) regarding the $2.20 fee Telstra is now imposing if customers choose to pay in cash.
The ACCC administers the Trade Practices Act 1974 (TPA) for the purposes of protecting consumers and encouraging a fair and competitive business environment.
From the information you have provided in your email it is unlikely that the conduct by Telstra would raise concerns under the TPA. If Telstra choose to increase their fees for services, they are free to do so. The ACCC is not a price setting body for goods and services at either the retail or wholesale levels. It does not have a direct role in regulating or setting prices except in the case of products or services that are declared under Part IIIA of the TPA. Internet service provision has not been declared under Part IIIA of the TPA. In these circumstances Telstra is free to determine its own pricing policies and provided that it does this independently it is unlikely to raise concerns under the TPA.
Generally speaking, companies are free to set the terms and conditions of their contracts. The issues you raise are very specific matters of a contractual nature. While it is not the role of this office to provide legal advice, I would suggest you put your complaint in writing directly to Telstra in an endeavour to resolve your concerns. Should you still be dissatisfied, you may wish to seek independent legal advice on whether civil action might be appropriate. It is up to an aggrieved party to bring a private action if they believe they have suffered loss or damages as a result of any breach of the terms or conditions of a contract.
Please note however, that Telstra have included a clause in their contracts with consumers that provides for changes to rates and charges provided that they give reasonable notice of the changes. Clauses of this nature are sometimes referred to as unilateral variation clauses and are not, of themselves, prohibited by any provision within the TPA.
That said, this office accepts that unilateral variation clauses can be a factor that the Courts will take into account in determining whether a corporation has engaged in conduct that might be considered to be ‘unconscionable’. In this regard s.51ABof the TPA includes a non-exhaustive list of factors which may be taken into account by the court. It should be noted that unconscionable conduct goes beyond normal harsh dealings and all of the circumstances need to be examined to establish whether a contravention has occurred. The Courts in applying this provision have often stated that simply establishing one of the factors listed in this provision is insufficient to substantiate a claim of unconscionable conduct. In this instance, this office is of the view that Telstra’s reliance on a unilateral variation clause to impose the price increase you complain of would not, of itself, result in the transaction being unconscionable.
It may be of interest to you that Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) administers a code of conduct for the telecommunications industry entitled “Consumer Contracts Code”. Held within this code is specific mention about unilateral variation clauses and it outlines the obligations of telecommunication providers when applying such clauses. To find out more information about this code you can contact ACMA on 1300 850 115 or by visiting their website at www.acma.gov.au.
In addition, if you are seeking to exit your contract without penalty, you may wish to raise your concerns with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). The TIO is an independent, non-government scheme which has been set up to assist consumers with speedy dispute resolution with their telecommunication service providers. Consumers should only contact the TIO if they have already attempted to resolve the dispute with the trader involved. The TIO can be contacted on 1800 062 058, or at www.tio.com.au.
I have recorded the details of your complaint in order to determine whether there is a pattern of behaviour by this particular trader or the telecommunications industry which may raise any broader concerns. Thank you for contacting the ACCC. I trust the above information is of assistance. Yours Sincerely, FraserACCC InfocentrePh: 1300 302 502
Sent: Thursday, 23 July 2009 3:39 PM
Subject: Complaint form submission [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
Complainant detailsMr Tom McLoughlin
Date received: 23rd July 2009Product provider: Telstra
Product description: mobile, wireless broadband package
ComplaintI was a commercial litigation lawyer at Baker McKenzie in another life 1990-91. As per my phone message and email to Choice/policy officer Michael Fromme (spelling?) earlier today, Telstra changing their cash payment system adding a fee for EXISTING (therefore no notice) customers [reported on abc Richard Glover radio earlier this week] looks to me like deceptive conduct (breach s.52 Trade Practices Act). How? Because EVEN IF their contracts have fine print to alter these payment systems adding a $2.20 fee for processing casj (I don't know), it's been no fee FOR TIME IMMEMORIAL. It is totally reasonable for people to assume there will ALWAYS be no processing fee for cash. So they should ONLY be allowed to change the payment system for those who enter A NEW contract of service with NOTICE of potential change in payment system and fee. Otherwise the new fee is a deceptive omission to their original contract, and harsh and unconscionable too. For instance I recently took a mobile/wireless internet package, and I like to pay by cash not by the web because I don't trust it's security with account details and want to minimise that exposure as much as possible. If I had known they would change their account payment system with $2.20 fee when I took the contract/s in March 2009 I may well have decided to go with another provider. At least I would have wanted to know their extra fee per month
IMPORTANT: This email from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), and any attachments to it, contains information that is confidential and may also be the subject of legal, professional or other privilege. If you are not the intended recipient, you must not review, copy, disseminate, disclose to others or take action in reliance of, any material contained within this email. If you have received this email in error, please let the ACCC know by reply email to the sender informing them of the mistake and delete all copies from your computer system. For the purposes of the Spam Act 2003, this email is authorised by the ACCC www.accc.gov.au
3. Rachel Kohn religious show radio national this morning has farmers suffering ‘climatic but not climate change’. Go figure.
4. This dude was mentioned last week, while the new female news reader is also a class act. The Barak Obama factor surely applies here:
10 Meet the Press: 8- 8-30 am
Bonge back in the chair. Press roundup conservative manual Sunday Telegraph says spill on Turnbull on this Tues
‘Talent’ is Senator Joyce. Runs debt line, won’t afford to pay interest soon (?). ays Turnbull bad 2 innings but won’t condemn. Employment Terminator Scheme, Extra Tax System. Says Penny Wong at her word won’t change. Calls ETS a “political fascinator” [and appears to be ranting] [no reference to science]
First break is nurses association advert. Panel John Stanely 2UE, Michelle Grattan Age Fairfax – heavy talent. Tackle Joyce on Nats leadership – confirms in spades but leaves timing up in air. Praises current leader. Calms down when black sheep question comes up. Refuses to bag wild Wilson Tuckey.
2nd ad break has McDonalds little athletics advert [Sydney Fun Run day, but still not a health food chain].
2nd guest is Senator Christine Milne looking sparkly, advert lead in of senator Brown. Refers to science. Need to avoid catastrophic climate change and ALP want to ‘lock in failure’. 25% cut by 2020 offer. Grattan tests re supporters want compromise, Milne quotes poll majority want Senate to toughen it up. Milne broadens our to forests, energy and more. Says vote winner for Greens. Glacier retreat in South America and Himalaya. Scenario in double dissolution – how vote? Election will be post Copenhagen and make clear tougher measures needed. Better to strengthen now. How respond to skeptics re big changes here little or no effect globally. Refers to coal exports missing transformational economy (looking a little prozac about it too).
Grattan looks intrigued in the out take, perhaps impressed by Milne too?
Riley Diary 7, from 8.40am (clash with Laurie Oakes segment).
Master Chef Julia Gillard theme. Gist is Gillard is defacto replacement for Rudd and rival. Riley convinced Turnbull will survive, utegate is over in public mind. http://www.seven.com.au/sunrise/weekend
9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am
Christopher Pyne shadow manager of business, refers to parlour game of leadership issues. First 5 minutes about leadership. Ouch. Make that 7 minutes. At 7 minutes moves to ETS due for vote this week.
Pyne manfully plays dead bat in favour of Turnbull and it’s pretty grim stuff grinding it out.
Economy based on RBA latest is doing better than most countries. Claims economic spin by ALP.
Compere(s) sound unconvinced in out take.
Insiders 2: 9- 10am
Lead in and package on Turnbull crash out on Godwin Grech false email.
Panel is Middleton sbs, Coorey Fairfax, Milne News corp.
Press round up double dissolution hangs on regulations. Grabs from MTP above. To answer is Penny Wong, price of having a voice globally is legislation at home. [Talks big but comes across as cynical and arrogant as usual about failed green policies to date.]
Wong hangs tough on any discussion with disorganized Coalition awaiting next Tuesday party room meeting.
Attacks Greens on interest of a double dissolution election as political. Assuming high moral ground (as if). Cassidy notes renewable energy tied to ETS should be decoupled. [Brute politics and cynical.]
Take environmental refugees from Pacific? Wong applies mogadon with no decent answer, panders to concerns. [She is like a Chinese panda – all symbolism no action.]
Looking and talking like she is quite cocky and full of herself at Turnbull’s expense.
Vox pop – WA in Perth economy, sledging Coalition, utegate is tedious.
Panel on privileges committee – Milne refers to Gretch evidence of email on 20 Feb, claims it would be on PMO server, but deleted from Treasury. Unless it was sent by Charlton from within Treasury? Or else Grech chose a day that couldn’t be cross checked because of IT crash that day?
Costello lauding over Turnbull on Lateline.
[small interruption here]
Paul Kelly soliloquy – Grech evidence could be a trap for Rudd as well as Turnbull. Leadership is a real issue now. Lists Opposition leaders hitting the wall, Howard, Downer, Costello, Nelson, others.
Panel agrees Joyce appears as Nats leader and no pretense at Coalition unity.
NT ructions, NSW ructions also. Federal redistribution favours ALP in NSW, noted Rudd mild support for Rees recently.
Warren on talking pics great combo – prefer to trek across Antarctica with a backpack of funnel web spiders, than hang with Malcolm.
Inside Business with Alan Kohler