SINGLETON ARGUS COLUMN 14 JULY 2015

The Westminster system of government affords Barnaby Joyce only two options; back the Government’s decision on the Shenhua coal mine or resign from the Cabinet.

 

The Agriculture Minister has already made his position clear on the project so only one option remains; resignation.

This position is also supported by Senator Abetz who has publicly stated that “if you're a frontbencher and you cannot agree with policy, that you should resign”.

It is good advice for Barnaby.  With Tony Windsor snapping at his heels in New England, the National’s Deputy Leader’s only chance of re-building support and credibility in his local communities is to resign.

His problems are compounded by his recent ABC radio comments where he said that he was “agnostic” about whether the mine is in his electorate or not. 

His credibility is also in doubt following his decision to invite Environment Minister and decision-maker Greg Hunt to the proposed mine site just days before the NSW election to announce he was “stopping the clock” on the project.

Barnaby Joyce is receiving an additional $141,469.25 salary annually to sit in Cabinet.  By his own account, the Minister is from a wealthy family.  He can afford to act on his criticism of his own colleagues.

Resignation is Barnaby Joyce’s only change of political survival.

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Scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels across Australia. There is no one group of people who are more likely to become a victim of a scam.

My office has received reports of scammers impersonating government officials who advise that you have overpaid GST and are eligible for a refund.

Anyone who receives this type of call should ignore the demands to provide personal details and hang up. Scammers may try to pressure you by repeatedly calling and harassing you. Scammers will go to great lengths to steal your personal details to commit fraudulent activities such as making unauthorised purchases on your credit card, or using your identity to open accounts such as banking, telephone or energy services, take out loans or carry out other illegal business under your name. They may even sell your information to other scammers for further illegal use.

You may not know you have had your identity stolen until you check your bank account, or find out that your credit rating has changed.

Having your identity stolen can be both financially and emotionally devastating. It can take months to reclaim your identity and the impact of having it stolen can last for years.

Don’t be fooled because someone has your personal information such as address or birth date because these details can be collected online through websites and social networking forums.

Never send money or give your account details to a stranger. Alarm bells should go off if you are asked for international wire transfers as these transactions are almost impossible to trace. Scammers may not only steal what’s in your account but use what you have provided to steal your identity.

To report a scam, contact the ACCC on 1300 795 995.

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It’s tax time again and many of you will be poring over your yearly accounts wondering whether you should save some money and do your own tax return.

If this is you, make sure you are aware of any changes that have occurred to tax rules since your last claim.  Don’t assume that something you claimed last year will be claimable again this year. Changes this year include the removal of the mature age worker and the dependent spouse tax offsets, and further changes to the net medical expenses tax offset.

My office has a small supply of paper tax returns available for readers. For more information log on to the ATO website at www.ato.gov.au/individuals/lodging-your-tax-return.

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Multicultural NSW is pleased to announce the opening of the first round of 2015-16 Multicultural NSW Grants Program – Celebration.

Celebration Grants of up to $5,000 are available for events and festivals that bring communities together, showcase the benefits of cultural diversity and promote social cohesion and community harmony. Celebration Grants open three times per year and are open to community organisations and Local Councils.

Further details including eligibility criteria, closing date and application forms can be found on the Multicultural NSW website: www.multicultural.nsw.gov.au/grants .


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