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Subject: Reforms behind Defence leak, Joel Fitzgibbon suspects
Volkodav    3/26/2009 6:27:08 AM
Christian Kerr | March 26, 2009 Article from: The Australian DEFENCE Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has hinted that his efforts to reform his big-spending bureaucracy may have provoked allegations departmental officials have spied on him. Play 12345Loading…Please login to rate a video.You can't rate an advertisement.(no votes yet) Minister speaks out Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon defends his relationship with Chinese-born businesswoman Helen Liu.... Views today: 85Sorry, this video is no longer available.Reports today claim unnamed department officials have used the Defence Signals Directorate spy agency to tap into computers in Mr Fitzgibbon's office to gain information about his relationship with a wealthy Chinese-born Sydney businesswoman, Helen Liu, and whether it constituted a security risk. HOUSE RULES BLOG: Etiquette lesson for Joel Fitzgibbon Kevin Rudd told reporters in Washington today Defence Department secretary Nick Warner had ordered an internal investigation into the allegations. The Prime Minister said he would “await the outcome of that investigation,” adding there was “nothing particularly unusual” about tensions between defence ministers and their departments. But Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has demanded an independent inquiry into the claims by the Inspector-General of Intelligence. “Mr Rudd seems to be trying to brush this under the carpet,” he said. “There needs to be a thorough and independent inquiry into these matters. There is an office able to do that appropriate to the task, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security. “He should be asked immediately to investigate this matter and to provide a full report on it. These are very serious allegations and they need to be addressed urgently.” Mr Fitzgibbon told reporters this afternoon his family had been friends with the Liu family for 16 years. “No one has ever raised any concern between that relationship and if anyone has concerns about that relationship they should have come forward and shared them with me,” he said. The minister recently rebuked his department publicly over bungling of SAS pay, calling it “incompetent”. Mr Fitzgibbon suggested his reform agenda may be behind the recent troubled relationship with Defence. “I am driving the biggest reform project in the history of the defence organisation and I know that's really hard for some elements of that organisation. “But I'm doing so in close partnership with the chief of the defence force and the secretary of my department,” Mr Fitzgibbon added. “It is very important in ensuring the defence organisation works as effectively and as efficiently as is possible, that taxpayers are getting value for money and our people on the front line are getting all the protection, training and capability they need to do their jobs effectively and as safely as is possible.”
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Aussie Diggermark 2       3/26/2009 9:42:38 AM
This shows how inept Fitzgibbon truly is. Not only as Defmin but as a politician. This is nothing more than internal Labor Party Political bun-fighting.

No-one gets to be a Minister of ANY Government in Australia without vetting. 
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Volkodav       3/27/2009 5:16:32 AM
If there is any substance to the allegations then forget about sacking those responsible, they should go to gaol!
Whether Fitzgibbon is the right person for the role of defence minister or not is irrelivant as the real issue is whether or not members of the department have betrayed the trust of the Australian people.
If it is ok to spy on a minister they don't like what is next, removing a government they don't like?
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gf0012-aust       3/27/2009 5:34:44 AM
except anyone who has had anything to do with security knows that whats been explained and promoted to date is a nonsense.

It's a crock.  DSD/DSA can't and don't operate without direction from the AG when these things are concerned - apart from the fact that things are setup to provide a trace. I worked in a Ministerial Security Support area for over 4 years.  The way that this has been sold to the public is absolute rubbish.

This is more probably an issue of political faction payback.   There are two other departments that have access to this info - and both are also hurting - either of them could have looked at his computer without any problems.

Part of my MSS job was to review and sanitise official and private computers when people came back from overseas.  

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gf0012-aust       3/27/2009 5:45:24 AM
Whether Fitzgibbon is the right person for the role of defence minister or not is irrelivant as the real issue is whether or not members of the department have betrayed the trust of the Australian people.

 without wanting to get dragged into this debate (because I think it's pretty obvious that Defence is not involved) - lets look at whats happened..

No evidence that anyone from DSD or DSA has initiated a search on tyhe Ministers computer
No evidence to date that anyone from DSD or DSA has acted at direction (and that would have to be via the civilian side of the duopoly)
DSD and  DSA have no vested interest in the outcome of any reforms as they are not effected - they also don't act on behalf of any other Divisions - they can only invoke electronic sweeps and searches at the direction of the delegate (who acts on behalf of the Mnister)  
The overarching body will run a separate investigation and report to the AG and the PM

on the other hand:

The Minister has misled parliament by not declaring sponsored trips
The Minister has misled the parliament by not declaring gifts
The Minister leases a property from someone who's country of birth is on the Hostiles list - if the Minister does work from his home - was the property properly vetted and cleared by DSD once his Govt came to power and he became a Minister?

In the real world - if any public servant committed the same number of breaches they would be dismissed (3 breaches and you're gone)
If any contractor committed 2 breaches they would be gone.

He's misled parliament - been smacked by the PM and DPM   and yet has not had then sense to keep his mouth closed while a proper investigation is underway.  he's now making things worse as he is denying natural justice to all the people in the ADF who he accuses of running this to get back at him

Now, I hope that he has the balls to apologise to everyone in defence that he's impugned with his comments  that the Dept is trying to bring him under due to reforms.

what a ztupid dick.  

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gf0012-aust       3/27/2009 5:49:38 AM
finally.  this is my last comment on this until the formal investigation runs its course.

I will reiterate that I think he's a stupid dick because he's backed himself into a corner by making allegations that any fool with a basic comprehension of DSD and DSA would be able to counter.

Fitzgibbon has just demonstrated a biological association with how random particles behave.  No sense of order, discipline and logic at all. 
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gf0012-aust       3/27/2009 6:30:03 AM

The Defence Department today welcomed the announcement made by the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), Mr Ian Carnell, to hold an inquiry into media allegations about the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) improperly accessing the IT equipment used by the Minister for Defence, and related matters.

?These are serious charges and the Chief of Defence Force (CDF) and I welcome Mr Carnell?s independent scrutiny of these matters? said the Secretary of Defence, Mr Nick Warner.

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security provides independent assurance for the Prime Minister, senior ministers and Parliament as to whether Australia's intelligence and security agencies act legally and with propriety by inspecting, inquiring into and reporting on their activities.

?Defence supports and will fully cooperate with Mr Carnell?s investigation,? Secretary Warner said.

?As soon as CDF and I became aware of these allegations, I directed the Defence Security Authority (DSA) to prepare an interim report as soon as possible.

?The DSA has now provided an initial assessment to the CDF and me, which we have passed to the Minister.

?The DSA?s initial assessment is that:

* no investigation of the Minister, his personal relationship with Ms Helen Liu or of Ms Liu herself has been conducted by any element of Defence;
* prior to the current media articles, no Defence investigative authority was aware of Ms Liu, and;
* neither the Defence Signals Directorate nor any other part of Defence has had any access, authorised or unauthorised, to personal information within the Minister?s office, including telephone contact numbers.

?These are preliminary findings and Defence will continue to investigate further, in cooperation with Mr Carnell.?

?I have provided this initial assessment to Mr Carnell to assist his investigations,? Secretary Warner said.

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Volkodav       3/27/2009 6:59:47 AM
Fair call gf, I didn't think for one moment that the uniforms would have initiated anything but rather that someone with a vested interest from the civilian side, assuming anything happened at all that is. I hope you are right and Defence had nothing to do with it at all as the thought of the department turning on its self make me feel sick
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gf0012-aust       3/27/2009 8:15:57 AM

Fair call gf, I didn't think for one moment that the uniforms would have initiated anything but rather that someone with a vested interest from the civilian side, assuming anything happened at all that is. I hope you are right and Defence had nothing to do with it at all as the thought of the department turning on its self make me feel sick

Its far easier to get sacked as a civilian than as a uniform. again, anyone who was familiar with how DSD or DSA worked, and the fact that the details did not make sense as an issue of process would have known that this was a crock and started from outside of defence.

So, yes, I'm prett confident that a formal investigation was not triggered from within to burn the Minister - similarly, my own view is that anyone involved with intel gathering within the organisation is not stupid - and DSD and DSA have no axe to grind.

If someone went off the reservation then it's possibe - but i have serious doubts as the audit and investigation trail is far too obvious and you'd get caught.  the gathering and collection processes, the audit trails, etc... make it virtually impossible for someone to conduct this and get away with it.  it all points for me to the Minister copping a t-bone from within his party. 

whats more dissapointing for me is that he hasn't had the sense to wait for a formal investigation to run its course - and he's walked right into a setup by committing perjury and by misleading parlt. that makes him a moron.  lets see if he has the decency to apologise to everyone he's impugned to protect his own arse.

whoever did it knew exactly what they were doing - he's been set up big time and he's shot himself in the foot by his behaviour.

he's lost credibility, and more to the point, he has now poisoned (all by himself) the relationship between himself and the organisation by accusing them of malicious behaviour without waiting to get all the results in.

Bring Combet in - he is a smart operator and could do a much better job at reform. 

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Volkodav       3/27/2009 8:35:56 AM
Bring Combet in - he is a smart operator and could do a much better job at reform.
The sooner the better!
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bigfella       3/28/2009 4:21:31 AM
I suspect that Rudd will take a leaf from the Howard (2nd-4th term) playbook & tough this out. Unless Fitzgibbon is caught spying for the Chinese they will wait for it to blow over. In the current climate people will move on pretty quickly.
As I've said elsewhere, Rudd is not far off a major reshuffle - perhaps 12 months out from the election. I suspect some of the poorer performers will get shunted. Swan is probably safe (though not necessarily on performance). Gillard & Macklin will stay where they are, likewise Tanner & probably Roxon (if anything she will move up). Ludwig & Albanese are too powerful to move anywhere but sideways. Garrett & Fitzgibbon haven't impressed & Wong bores me too badly to actually tell if she is doing a good job. Anyone know how Shorten & Mike Kelly have been doing? Haven't been keeping track of folks like Carr & Conroy too carefully
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