Fascism is the combination of force, fraud, and propaganda which replaces constitutional rule by parliament and the rule of law.
Spain under Franco, Portugal under Salazar, Germany under Hitler, Italy under Mussolini, and Greece under the Colonels, are 20th century examples in Europe. There are more recent and current ones — Ukraine since the putsch of February 21, 2014, is the obvious example. Another is French President Emmanuel Macron’s rule by decree, without the National Assembly, which began in 2020 with the emergency powers of the pandemic, and accelerated last week with the imposition of “pension reform” by decree, instead of parliamentary vote.
Outside Europe, there are the Australians who have been testing, training and practising fascist rule since the beginning of the pandemic. So successful were they at that, they managed to keep several hundred thousand of their own citizens out of the country on a deception, unvoted by parliament, untested in the courts, but approved by the mass media. They are now preparing the population to go to war against China.
One of the chapters of the Australian story has just been reviewed by Evan Jones in Independent Australia, an internet site published in Brisbane.
On 27 February 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared that COVID-19 in Australia now had the status of a pandemic. On 27 March, Morrison imposed compulsory quarantine on travellers arriving from overseas. The 2015 Commonwealth Biosecurity Act was claimed to provide the legal basis for the compulsion. Returning travellers were to be incarcerated for 14 days at Her Majesty’s pleasure. In reply to a reporter’s question about costs, Morrison claimed that the costs were to be ‘managed’ by the States and Territories.
On 30 June 2020, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews closed Melbourne Airport. Sydney was to be, de facto, the destination for travellers returning to South-Eastern Australia, the majority of the returnees.
On 12 July 2020, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that those quarantined were going to be charged for the service. It is ‘only fair that that they cover some of the costs’ of their accommodation, she said. Berejiklian, Police Commissioner Michael Fuller, Revenue NSW’s Chief Commissioner Scott Johnston (recently appointed), and NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet presided over the decision. The program lasted until 30 April 2022.
Except that charging for the ‘service’ was illegal. Much bureaucratic preparation and subsequent cover-up went on to keep the details behind the establishment of the operation secret. Berejiklian had previously organised a cessation of Parliamentary conventions by which the State’s finances were reported monthly and even to have presentation of the annual budget deferred.
In March, Morrison had banned foreign nationals from entering the country. In July, Morrison and Berejiklian decided to ration the number of Australians permitted to return. Intending passengers were lied to regarding their inability to get on a successful flight home. By contrast, the Indian government had organised and financed a procedure to facilitate the return of its own nationals to India.
Moreover, the charge regime has been unequally applied. Some returnees were not billed (a ‘separate approval arrangement’ had been established). Some were ultimately given waivers. Some were charged but didn’t pay. Those who didn’t pay were not consistently pursued. Revenue NSW’s data base has been seriously incomplete. However, the agency disclosed to a newspaper that $264 million had been collected to the date of the program’s cessation. The risk of pursuing those who hadn’t paid was that the illegality of the scheme would be exposed.
Then there’s a certain Novak Djokovic. Djokovic apparently went through all the proper channels and achieved formal assent by the Australian and Victorian governments to travel to Victoria and play in the 2022 Australian Open. However, on arrival in the very early morning of January 6 (after flying for 25 hours), Djokovic was subject to interrogation, because of the hour denied access to assistance, and held in detention. On 10 January, a judge had overturned his planned removal, but the relevant Minister appealed. Three compliant judges of the Federal Court ho [?] ratified the removal on 16 January, and Djokovic was duly flown out the next day. The Appeal Court was presided over by Chief Justice James Allsop, coincidentally awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia in the 2023 Australia Day Honours for ‘eminent service to the judiciary and to the law …’.
The Australian public weren’t informed of the terms on which Djokovic’s entry was approved. Morrison’s popularity was then in decline, and Djokovic became road kill to boost Morrison’s falling popularity – a political, not a medical decision. The popular Djokovic’s public stance on vaccination had him seen as a danger in corrupting youth regarding the legitimacy of vaccination and lockdowns.
Late in the evening of 14 December 2020, Australian citizen Tatiana Turitsyna arrived in Sydney from [erase her native] Moscow. Turitsyna had temporarily departed from Australia on 26 February 2020 but had long been prevented from returning. Along with the Australian Border Force checking documentation, there was the Australian Army. When Turitsynaanswered a question from the person in front in the line, an Army person told her that talking wasn’t allowed.
Each passenger was handed a form signed by the NSW Police Commissioner Michael Fuller, citing authority that persons arriving in New South Wales by aircraft were compelled to undertake mandatory quarantine for 14 days. The letter also claimed that that such people would be charged a mandatory quarantine fee for quarantine accommodation. The authority had expired in early December but it was enforced regardless. A separate document expanded on the fees payable. Turitsyna was, remarkably, not tested for Covid at the airport.
Turitsyna was taken to the Novotel Hotel, and retained there for not 14 but 15 days, in the process missing her booked flight to Melbourne. She was threatened for opening the door slightly for fresh air, as she couldn’t breathe. It was management policy to turn off the air conditioning overnight.
The quarantine was claimed to be overseen by health services, under the auspices of the Sydney Local Health District. This was a lie. The SHLD was merely a front.to give a police operation the appearance of legality. Turitsyna was subject to a brusque test by people designated as nurses, but received no accompanying information, with the procedure entirely contrary to protocol. Local operatives were employed by a company called Healthcare Australia (NSW Liberal Party grandee Nick Greiner had been the company’s Chairman ten years previously), which does not provide health care, but is a personnel recruitment agency.
We know these details of Turitsyna’s experience and the background to mandated quarantine because Tatiana Turitsyna is the wife of one John Helmer.
Helmer usually spends his time on things Russian, documenting the business dealings of and spats between oligarchs, interrogating the presumed Novichok poisoning of Sergei and YuliaSkripal, the presumed underpants poisoning of claimed ‘Opposition leader’ Alexei Navalny, the presumed Russia-backed shootdown of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 and the subsequent Dutch court attribution of guilt, etc.
Helmer’s customary forensic attention to detail has also been applied here to the case of mandatory quarantine. It’s in a 300-page book called Australian Fascism: How it destroyed the courts. No bedtime easy read this. Helmer admits: ‘There’s a thicket of bureaucratic detail, legal rigmarole, and courtroom tactics for you’. Quite. But Helmer wanted to have the stakes behind the litigation available in full for an uninformed public and for posterity. The mainstream media has stayed far from the scene.
On 21 January 2021, Turitsyna received an invoice for her quarantine, to the sum of $3000. Turitsyna and Helmer set about challenging the fee, subsequently experiencing a full-blown bureaucratic and judicial run-around.
On 20 July 2021, Turitsyna filed suit against Revenue NSW in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), a court endowed with the appropriate powers. The NSW powers that be, centred on Scott Johnston, Chief Commissioner of State Revenue, attempted to deny that NCAT had jurisdiction – seeking (then and continuously) dismissal of Turitsyna’s suit. They attempted to have Turitsyna withdraw her application as ill-judged. Coincidentally, Revenue NSW stepped up the pressure, with threats, to have the free paid. It was imperative that the secrecy (from 12 July 2020) that covered the misrepresented and illegal character of the arrangements behind the mandated quarantine fee (also discretionary and thus discriminatory) could not be allowed to become public.
On 21 October 2021, Turitsyna submitted a response comprising 84 clauses (reproduced in eye-watering detail) outlining the legal background to her claim and the lack of legal substantiation for the Respondent’s attempted dismissal.
Then something fell off the back of a truck, on 28 October 2021. This was the record – the ‘Workplan’ – of the 12 July 2020 meeting at which the illegal plan was hatched – apparently released by an innocent staffer. Turitsyna and Helmer dissected this document as part of a lengthy memorandum to the Tribunal on 4 November. The document highlights that those creating the procedure knew that it was a police action (necessitating state budget funding) masquerading as a health service, and that such personnel knew that such deception required that the plan’s origins and character be maintained in secret. Secrecy also required that a necessary parliamentary debate on a statutory amendment be avoided. The document also provides prima facie cause as to the NCAT’s rightful jurisdiction over the contestation.
Helmer notes (p.141): ‘This new evidence was to be ignored in every ruling the Tribunal judges were about to make.’
The first Tribunal hearing before Senior Member Jill Gatland took place on 12 November 2021. Helmer, acting for Turitsyna, asked Gatland that if she had a conflict of interest, having had any engagement with the state instrumentalities before the Tribunal, she should recuse herself. Apparently, Gatland immediately went into a funk but, in regaining composure, denied any such engagements.
The Respondent asserted that this and subsequent hearings were not about the substance of Turitsyna’s suit (the legality and discriminatory character of the quarantine fee) but a denial that NCAT had jurisdiction. Turitsyna’s 4 November deposition emphasised that discovery had been wholly inadequate and that a hearing on questions of fact precluded any dismissal application from the State’s representations.
Under pressure from Turitsyna, Gatland agreed at a 17 November hearing to the authorisation of a summons for all records identified or implied in the Workplan. Gatland was sceptical that there was anything of substance to be learnt from further discovery. Turitsyna and Helmer, with police expertise, ensured that the wording of the summons was all-encompassing of relevant documentation – a demand missed by Gatland.
On 30 November, the State’s Crown Solicitor’s Office (CSO) replied for Revenue NSW’s Johnston that the Tribunal had no jurisdiction and that, in any case, no document ‘responsive to the summons’ were held by the Respondent.
Gatland presided over a third hearing on 10 February 2022. She had difficulty confronting that multiple documents were required by the summons, referred to Helmer’s insistence on the meaning of the material as intemperate (“You will need to stop shouting.”). Gatland later, out of the blue, claimed that “Unless there is an identifiable decision which is amenable to the review of this Tribunal [and there isn’t], then there is no requirement for any agency to further answer the summons …”. Gatland accepted the Crown Solicitor’s claim that the Chief Commissioner of State Revenue (Johnston) had no summoned documents in his possession.
Notes Helmer: ‘The judge had stopped the trial in its tracks.’
A ‘callover hearing’ (i.e. directions hearing) was held on 18 March, before NCAT Principal Member Aaron Suthers. Suthers’ formal task was to direct traffic but the intent was to stop it dead. Suthers failed to stop an Appeal because days before, Turitsyna had submitted her appeal on 6 March. Suthers did throw a legal spanner in the works by refusing to ‘give any directions for substantive material to be heard in the Appeal’ (Helmer).
The State’s lawyers wanted to use the procedure to stop Turitsyna/Helmer from gaining discovery and to accelerate a summary dismissal of the case — without the evidence. Helmer refers to this persistent attempt as ‘putting the cart before the horse – or rather, the donkey.’ Suthers also neglected to call to account the Registry which had consistently failed to forward then available material to Gatland.
The next hearing before Senior Member Gatland was on 29 March 2022. At this hearing, Helmer claimed that there could be no progress because Gatland had made no written statement regarding her inaction (implicitly her dismissal of the Applicant’s summons) at the previous hearing on 10 February.
The State’s agents were still confident that at this hearing Gatland would dismiss the Applicant’s demands, making any Appeal hearing moot.
Gatland produced a written statement on 1 April as to her reasons for accepting Revenue NSW’s Chief Commissioner that no records summoned for the secret 12 July 2020 meeting were held, other than the Workplan. Turitsyna and Helmer found that the written statement differed from Gatland’s stance on the 10 February 2022 hearing recording, so an additional element was included in a new list of Appeal grounds which went to the Tribunal on 10 April. They added further grounds on 5 May.
Quoting Helmer (p.208):
The purpose of this appeal and these preliminaries is exactly this – fact-finding for a determination of the evidence and case law applicable to the quarantine fee and fee waiver scheme planned, administered and enforced by Revenue NSW.
The Respondents had demanded that Turitsyna’s claim of discrimination was heard separately. Helmer turned to the 1977 Anti Discrimination Act and the Anti-Discrimination Board that oversees it. On 2 November 2021, Turitsyna had filed against Johnston to the Anti-Discrimination Board (ADB), charging that the arbitrariness of the quarantine fee and of the fee waiver violated the antidiscrimination law. The ADB delayed its obligatory response, then demanded evidentiary details, with several case review staff replacing each other alongthe way. Four months later on 8 March 2022, the Turitsyna/Helmer claim was dismissed by the ADB as lacking substance.
This discrimination case then went to the Tribunal on 18 May 2022 before Senior Member Amanda Tibbey. The Crown Solicitor’s solicitor had been changed; he objected to Helmer as Turitsyna’s representative in court; he submitted the requisite papers after the deadline (but they were ruled as legitimate); and the judge assigned to the case was replaced at the very last minute by Tibbey. She then claimed that her brief was solely to determine on the fact of discrimination against Turitsyna.
Helmer had to reiterate to Tibbey that ‘the illegal discrimination was in the fee and the way it had been administered, not in the quarantine requirement’. Tibbey reserved her decision and promised, responding to Helmer’s request (as required by the Tribunal’s statute), a written statement of reasons. Two hours later, the court clerk sent an email with Tibbey’s judgment dismissing the case. There was no accompanying written statement, and none has materialised after ten months.
The Appeal hearing itself took place on 24 June 2022. The ‘panel’ consisted of one person – Member Ian Coleman – with a mute colleague – Gail Furness (her CV does not include NCAT Membership status) – presumably to give the one-person Appeal court apparent legitimacy.
The state’s agents were still arguing that the Tribunal has no jurisdiction, that the summons for discovery should never have been issued and, in any case, Revenue NSW did not hold the documents demanded.
On 10 August, Coleman dismissed the appeal. Coleman repeated Gatland’s determination that the material sought by the Appellant was ‘not in [Chief Commissioner Johnson’s] possession or control’. Said Coleman: ‘The Appellant bears the onus of establishing that the Tribunal erred by accepting the Respondent’s denial that he had the CSO advice in his possession.’
Helmer’s analysis of Coleman’s determination is that ‘the appeal failed because it had not provided evidence of the obvious. The onus of proof had been on Turitsyna to prove the opposite of common sense’. Helmer, with expert forensic advice, also inferred that an unknown third party (not the invisible co-signed Furness) had a significant role in the wording of the determination. More, Helmer infers that the determination was written soon after the 24 June hearing, but not issued until almost six weeks later. There was to be no discovery (save for the accident of the tell-tale Workplan) and no cross-examination of Johnston.
In early 2022, NSW Revenue’s Johnston had faced public exposure over a related issue – fines issued for alleged breaking of lockdown rules. Questions were asked in the NSW Parliament (not least regarding a Robodebt-type personal account garnishee process), litigation was being pursued in the NSW Supreme Court by victims, and the fracas was reported in the media. Soon after Johnston was served court papers Johnston apparently ‘stopped enforcement and withdrew the fines’ (Helmer).
The 1996 Fines Act applies to both the Supreme Court and NCAT. The only litigation regarding the legitimacy of quarantine fees, the Turitsyna case, was continuing at NCAT.
Following the dismissed Appeal, Gatland returned for a final hearing of the Turitsyna case on 14 November 2022. Gatland was free to rule anew that ‘the Applicant has still failed to establish the Tribunal’s jurisdiction …’ and to dismiss the suit, ignoring all evidence to the contrary. The Respondent was still claiming that the police operation was a health service operation.
Helmer notes (p.272): ‘So what is this combination if not force, fraud, propaganda? What does the state become when the state rules by these lawless methods?’ Hence the title of Helmer’s book.
When Gatland retired from this last hearing, Helmer asked her when they could expect a determination, accompanied by a written statement. To this date, no determination has beenforthcoming. It is not impossible that there will be no determination, and Tatania Turitsyna’ssuit will have disappeared into the ether – unprecedented.
If not for Daryl Maguire and the Wagga Wagga shooting complex, Gladys Berejiklian would still be NSW Premier. The illegal quarantine fee (with over $320 million at stake), and the machinations behind it, are more serious than a textbook instance of pork barrelling.
Also of relevance is the subjugation of hordes of people to Berejiklian’s nefarious scheme. Senior officials in Revenue NSW, NSW Police, the NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office, the NSW Health Ministry, the Anti-Discrimination Board and the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal – have all been complicit, all compromised, all sacrificing both personal and organisational integrity. With this particular spreading virus of moral decay, Gladys Berejiklian, whose initiative spawned it, managed to distance herself considerably from the implementation of the dirty deed and its aftermath.
Helmer notes that NCAT (and their comparable State bodies elsewhere) are formally a key instrument for giving access to those without power to redress grievances against powerful bodies, both state and private. NCAT’s website brandishes the slogan: ‘NCAT provides specialist tribunal services to help you resolve an issue or dispute fairly and according to the law.’ In the Turitsyna case, there has been to date (two years on) no resolution, no fairness and in a process contrary to and in defiance of the law.
My own experience with NCAT (strata schemes disputes), and my indirect awareness of a current case before QCAT, the Queensland equivalent, highlights that these State Civil & Administrative Tribunals can be readily compromised by the bodies which the Tribunals were created to offer a counterbalance to. In one strata scheme dispute in which I was intimately involved, the ultimate determination against the victim could only be interpreted as pure corruption.
A comparison with the degradation of public administration involved with the conception and administration of the federal Robo-debt scheme is apt. The machinations of the Robo-debt scheme, courtesy of media exposure and a subsequent Royal Commission, are being well aired publicly. Gladys Bereklikian’s quarantine fee and its discriminatory application are a well-kept secret. John Helmer’s Australian Fascism aims to prise that secrecy open.