Thursday, February 18, 2010

Who is Michael Atkinson?

More slanderous garbage against gamers has once more been flowing from the mouth of South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson.

In an interview on ABC’s Good Game TV show, Atkinson alleged receiving “hate material” from gamers.
"I don't know who sends me this filthy material but I get my electorate office email spammed, about 2 o'clock in the morning I had a threatening note from a gamer shoved under my door."

"I feel that my family and I are more at risk from gamers than we are from outlaw motorcycle gangs, who also hate me and are running a candidate against me."

"The outlaw motorcycle gangs haven't been hanging around my doorstep at 2am - a gamer has."

This is the ABC’s recreation of the “threatening note”

WTF? It says "CAN HAS R18 RATING PLZ?" That’s the meekest threat I’ve ever seen, it even has the good manners to say please.

As for a gamer hanging around his doorstep at 2am, I assume Mick is referring to his office door step although he ambiguously does not say. His private residence boasts an 8 ft tall, 1 ft thick brick wall, and there are a couple of guard dogs to get past between that wall and his front door. Perhaps that note was the work of super Mario? So how is it again that he and his family feel threatened?

In light of all the poorly chosen remarks and eyebrow raising allegations against his opponents of late, I believe Mr Atkinson has earned a case for some detailed scrutiny.

I will do him the courtesy of not assuming that his campaign will involve criminal activity and dirty tricks, and I will not say that is what I’ve come to expect from the SA Labor Party.

Mick may be doing his best to impersonate Mr Magoo, but appearances can be deceiving. Not in this case however, I believe he really is Mr Magoo but there is much more than meets the eye when it comes to dealing with Mick.

Michael Atkinson is a practicing Catholic and a founding member of Labor Unity. Labor Unity or the Labor Right is an organized faction of the Australian Labor Party (ALP).

Labor Left has in the past criticized the faction (Right) for being beholden to papal authority.

Atkinson has become infamous for many a scandal and blooper since taking government in 2002.

There was the “Ashbourne affair” – Premier Mike Rann’s former media adviser Randall Ashbourne allegedly made offers to former Labor deputy leader Ralph Clarke to settle defamation actions between Clarke and Atkinson, in exchange for lucrative statutory board positions for Clarke. Clarke testified at a committee hearing that Ashbourne was never in a position to disclose or decide anything relating to the alleged offers he was negotiating without first phoning Mick for direction.

see - Select Committee on the Atkinson/Ashbourne/Clarke Affair.PDF

As Minister for Justice, Atkinson became slightly flustered when his Dept Chief Executive Kate Lennon, was sprung trying to hide $6 million under her bed from unspent treasury.

Premier Mike Rann has gone on record in the past saying he is tough on crime and that he will “rack’m, pack’m and stack’m” in jails. In 2008 Atkinson called Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Cannon “daft” and “delusional” for his suggestion that overcrowded jails could justify lighter prison sentences. Mr Cannon consequently sued Mr Atkinson for defamation.

Magistrate Cannon won a cool $175,000.00. Cabinet thought the defamation was a simple blooper anyone could make and decided therefore that tax payers would pick up the tab for Mick, which ended being $211,000.00 after interest and government costs.

Mick caused outrage once again in 2009 with more stupid comments, this time in relation to a group of Aboriginal gang members whom he said were "pure evil" with no hope of rehabilitation.

Atkinson said he was weary of "hand-wringers" with a "1960s hippie" outlook on life who were stopping the state Labor government from giving young Aboriginal boys a better life behind bars.
"Among the gang of 49, there are a hard core of about 12 offenders who (Catholic priest and social policy leader) Monsignor Cappo, not just me, say are beyond redemption."

Let’s have a brief look at one example of the influence the Catholic Church wields on Government with its commercial activities led by Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Adelaide Monsignor David Cappo. This gives insight into one of the forces propping up our Attorney General.

The legal fraternity is dominated by Catholics and Catholics are a big part of the right wing of the Labor party. Remember Mick is a practicing Catholic, has a law degree (goes without saying being the AG and Minister for Justice), and was a founder of the modern day Labor Right (Unity) faction.

From the Independent weekly
by Bill Nicholas
March 2008
VS1 is the new corporate headquarters for SA Water, one of the largest SA government departments, which is bringing people from three sites to the new tower. It is built on land that fronts Victoria Square which included a two-storey office block and the old tram barn.

The Rann Government sold the block of land, comprising some 8000 squ m, to the Catholic Church Endowment Society Inc. in December 2005 for $5.874 million.

That's around $734 per square metre. This compares with an average price of around $1500 per square metre that was the going price at the time.

The Deed of Agreement was signed in October 2003. The purchase price was $5.34 million exclusive of GST (included a contribution by Government of $160,000 toward remediation of soil pollutants on the site).

So the Catholics bought well. "Fair enough," everybody said. "They need the land for a gymnasium and to give the St Aloysius College girls a bit of room to swing a cat."

But the next step was what caused a swarm of developers to take a collective jealous sigh: the Rann Government prepared a select list of three developers to come up with a new home for SA Water. And guess who won the competitive tender? The Catholic Church Endowment Society.

The new SA Water building is thought to have more than 20,000 squ m of lettable space. At $350-400 per square metre - the going rate - the annual revenue to the church will start at around $7 million a year and may be as high as $8 million.

If you assume a yield of six per cent on the sale of the developed property, the capital value on completion will be somewhere in the vicinity of $120 million.

But the question on many minds is whether the terrific deal that Monsignor Cappo's church has pulled off with the SA Water building is a function of his honorary position as a member of the Executive Committee of Cabinet.

Cappo, the second highest ranking Catholic in SA, along with super-rich mining entrepreneur Robert Champion de Crespigny were appointed to the Executive Committee of Cabinet in June 2005.

Interesting stuff, but there is even more behind our Catholic Mick than the world’s most powerful church.
Atkinson has a good law degree from ANU but has never practised as a lawyer. After graduation, Atkinson worked as a political staffer and was recruited by Don Farrell's 'Shoppies'. As well as being politically Labor Right, the Shoppies - more correctly the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association - is Australia's largest union by numbers and is also very stable, having had the same management for decades until the elevation of Peter Manilauskas to the local throne, replacing Don Farrell who finally got his Senate seat.

It's interesting to see how bulletproof Attorney-General Michasel Atkinson is. Rann has wanted him out for years, but Atkinson is backed by the all-powerful Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association. Rann is only the junior partner in the SDA/Rann government, with former SDA boss Don Farrell still calling many of the shots.

Another very important aspect of the SDA is that it carries the mantle of the late departed DLP - the formidable Democratic Labor Party, aka the Catholic arm of the Labor Party. Atkinson's father was the leader of the DLP in SA, which gives Michael Atkinson dynastic protection.

Atkinson isn't going anywhere, whatever he does. If the SDA deserted its men, it would have no business being in government.

Most schoolchildren would see through Atkinson's bumbling defences against the accusations against him in the "Randall Ashbourne Affair" and in the Kate Lennon "Stashed Cash Affair", and the Wasted Quarter Million affair.

Generally, the charge against Atkinson is basically of lying and dishonesty. In no case has Atkinson been able to clear his name - the disputes have generally been 'closed down' by government action.

The SDA seems to see the government as a job network. If you are close to the SDA, your chances of getting a comfortable well-paid job within a Minister's office, or on boards and committees is maximized.

Peter Louca, a former SDA heavy, is now chief of staff to Michael Atkinson and was a candidate for Mayo in 1996. Shannon Sampson, a former industrial officer for the SDA, is an adviser to Michael Atkinson.

SDA boss Peter Manilauskas, now one of the most powerful men in SA, was appointed at the age of 27 to the board of WorkCover.

Peter's young brother Rob, sister Elizabeth and his ex-girlfriend Elizabeth Hollidge are on the public payroll. All three dragged from dreary, difficult jobs in private enterprise and now grazing peacefully on the sunny pastures of the land of the free lunch, fat government pay packet and not much work.

Come on in - there's still plenty of room at the trough, and the money's fine! Just leave your ethics at the door if you don't mind.

Rob Malinauskas was in his early 20s and employed as a cadet journalist at The Advertiser when he was appointed to a position in Deputy Premier Foley's office with a salary of almost $90,000 pa.

Elizabeth (Peter’s sister) scored a job in Attorney-General Atkinson's office as a liaison officer. Elizabeth Hollidge (Peter’s ex) managed to find employment as an adviser in Michael Atkinson’s office (and a rewarding gig on the Development Policy Advisory Committee).

Michael Atkinson's wife is an employee of the SDA.

Given Atkinson's associations, and given the Federal Communications Minister’s very similar associations, it all becomes remarkably clear why Australia has no adult ratings for video games and is about to become retarded with nanny state internet filtering, despite these policies being in complete opposition to all common sense.

No comments: