Sunday, February 24, 2008

Must not tell the truth about blacks

BRISBANE magistrate Walter Ehrich has been criticised for claiming Aborigines do not follow court-imposed orders. Magistrate Walter Ehrich told a Brisbane Magistrates Court hearing last weekend: "Aborigines don't report." He was referring to bail conditions requiring defendants to report to police. "It is very dangerous to put them on reporting conditions because you can set them up to fail," Magistrate Walter Ehrich later told The Sunday Mail.

Mr Ehrich made the comment when asked by prosecutor Sgt Kerrilee Lovaszy to impose a weekly reporting condition on an Aboriginal man about to be bailed. The comment was made on February 16, just days after the Federal Government's apology to the Stolen Generations. A reporting condition requires a defendant on bail to report regularly to a police station. Lewis Desmond Saunders, 39, was charged with assaulting police, obstructing police and a public nuisance offence on February 15 at Stafford, in Brisbane's north. Mr Ehrich released Saunders on bail, without any reporting conditions, to reappear in court on May 6. There was no discussion with Saunders' Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service lawyer about his ability to report to police. Mr Ehrich told the lawyer: "You'll look after him."

Aboriginal community spokesman Sam Watson said the magistrate's comment about Aborigines was "appalling" and indigenous academic Prof Boni Robertson said it was "crazy" as well as "inappropriate". "To a hear a magistrate make such a comment from the bench is appalling. It's condemning an entire race of people," Mr Watson said. Prof Robertson said there were no cultural or community factors substantiating the claim that Aborigines did not report. "It's a very generalised assessment of us being irresponsible about meeting obligations," she said.

But Mr Ehrich defended his statement saying "it's not inappropriate at all". "You don't want to set people up to fail," he said. "At no stage was there any intent to make any derogatory remarks about any particular group of people."

Queensland's Chief Magistrate, Judge Marshall Irwin, said indigenous offenders were not habitually given lesser bail conditions than others. "It is certainly not a situation that depends on the defendant's race," Judge Irwin said.


Shockingly low levels of literacy in Australia

AUSTRALIANS are putting their lives at risk because they can't understand medical prescriptions or basic health information, a new study has revealed. The Adult Literacy and Life Skills survey, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, found six in 10 people aged between 15 and 74 do not have the basic knowledge and skills to take care of their health and prevent disease. The findings reveal too many people are:

* Unable to perform basic health checks for diseases such as breast, skin or testicular cancer.

* Not aware when they need to contact a doctor.

* Unable to understand instructions on prescribed medication.

* Unable to interpret food labels in order to follow a special diet, such as low fat or low sugar.

The survey, the first of its kind in Australia, has alarmed health experts, who are calling for the Federal Government to introduce a national focus on "health literacy". Prof Robert Bush, director of Queensland's Health Communities Research Centre, said people were putting themselves in danger. "This information should send alarm bells ringing," he said. "Many of our health-promotion initiatives assume a basic level of literacy, such as reading a prescription label so people don't overdose, following a basic health promotion guide, or deciding when it's time to consult a doctor. "Without this basic knowledge then people are putting their lives at risk."

Prof Bush urged the Government to launch a health education program to run in schools, workplaces and aged care homes. "Achieving even a basic level of health literacy to join in ways to better health would seem a fundamental aspiration for Australia," he said. The Adult Literacy and Life Skills survey was completed by 9000 Australians living in urban and rural areas across all states and territories.


Too many dickless Tracys

Another example of the stupid old politically correct pretense that a woman can do anything a man can do. A female cop facing a violent male in a punchup just puts others at risk as they try to rescue her

Former assistant commissioner Noel Ashby has questioned Victoria Police's policies of seeking equal numbers of men and women in the force and of bringing in older recruits. Mr Ashby said older and female recruits were unlikely to remain in the force as long as traditionally recruited young males and were often unwilling or unable to fill important operational roles. He suggested a better gender balance of 60% male and 40% female might be "more realistic".

Mr Ashby, who faces possible charges of perjury and misconduct in public office following an Office of Public Integrity inquiry, said the gender balance and age policies could lead to a drain of officers within seven to 10 years. He also said the current gender quota was preventing good male candidates from becoming policemen. "On pure quotas it's a fact that men are trying to join Victoria Police in far greater numbers than women, but women are joining in far greater numbers because of the quota."

Earlier this week Mr Ashby revealed that operational police numbers had been secretly cut back in a number of areas since Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon took office. There are 28% fewer transit police on public transport; 13% fewer traffic police; and the force response unit, which provides back-up to operational police, had been halved.

The age and gender policies were issues that "need to be thought out very carefully", said Mr Ashby. "It's a fact that we don't keep women, as a general rule and aged recruits, obviously, as long. And that could mean a serious further downstream problem in staffing." "That's not a discriminatory statement; it means we need to look at the demographics and age profile in a way that plans for delivery of police services seven to 10 years hence. It causes long-term planning risks." He said people who joined the force at a later age were often reluctant to do a range of duties such as regular night shifts. "That is also an issue for young mums because they don't want to be away from their kids. We're already seeing those stresses come into the organisation where we're unable to attract women to some areas. "It's difficult to attract women to some of the specialist traffic areas, such as booze buses because seven shifts out of nine are late, after 6pm, for obvious reasons. It's also very difficult to attract women to specialist taskforces because of the periods of time they have to be away."

Mr Ashby said he was not saying the force did not have to do more to make the environment easier for women or for special interest groups. "But should it therefore follow that quotas of 40% would be more realistic?"

A spokeswoman for Ms Nixon said the ratio of women within Victoria Police was currently low compared with other states. "We are working hard to change that. The fact is that everyone who comes into the force does so on the basis of merit." She said the current attrition rate within the force was only 2% a year. "So the perception of people leaving the force in droves is just not right."


Australia: Disgusting Muslim child molester gets off free

Note that the garbage was in a position of trust

Queensland's Attorney-General has failed to secure a criminal conviction for a Brisbane medical student who tried to give an 11-year-old boy a penis "massage". Shakee Mirza, escaped with only 12 months probation over his attempt to molest the boy in the child's bedroom in February 2006, sparking outrage that without a black mark against his name, the 27 year-old would-be doctor would be allowed to treat children once qualified.

Attorney General Kerry Shine launched an appeal against the leniency of the sentence earlier this month, but it was dismissed by the full bench of the Supreme Court of Appeal this morning, which found Mirza had suffered enough. "The recording of a conviction for this offence could well have an impact on Mr Mirza's economic and social wellbeing and his chances of finding employment," Justice Margaret McMurdo said in sentencing remarks, handed down this morning. [Too bad about the kids, apparently] "That, placed together with the circumstances of the offence and Mr Mirza's character and age, placed the matter into that rare category of sexual offence against a child where the recording of a conviction, although certainly open, was not mandatory."

In the Brisbane District Court in October, Mirza pleaded guilty to the attempted indecent treatment of the boy, who he had been assigned to as a mentor by charity organisation the Lions Club of Australia under its Aunties and Uncles program. The court heard he had been in the family home, rubbing the child's head to relax him when he offered to massage the child's penis instead because "it would feel better". The boy managed to fend off Mirza's advances.

It was later suggested Mirza had been inspired to touch the boy after watching the comedy film Spaceballs, which had been playing in the room at the time. Lawyers for Ms Shine had argued the disparity in age and Mirza's "gross breach of trust" warranted a jail term. However, the Court of Appeal today found that the third year University of Queensland medical student would still have to inform the university and any future employer of the offence, which was "an adequate deterrent for minor offenders like Mr Mirza". "A significant consideration in this case is that there was no actual physical indecent touching of the compalinant," Justice McMurdo said. "The offence was not premeditated and was comitted in front of others."


A farcical public hospital

Even under great public pressure, the bumbling NSW government still manages to do zilch

THE state of the disastrous new $100 million Bathurst Base Hospital has descended into farce after a head doctor bought an air horn from a sports store so he could be summoned in an emergency because he did not trust the alarm system. It was hoped that non-urgent surgery - suspended indefinitely more than a week ago because of safety concerns - would resume yesterday but doctors instead voted to postpone all operations booked for the next week, calling the situation a "crisis".

A representative on the Medical Staff Council, Dr Stavros Prineas, said the alarm system had serious communication problems, putting patients at risk. The emergency alarm could not be heard across the theatre complex - despite sounding in other areas of the hospital - so nurses had resorted to running through corridors looking for doctors during an emergency, he said. He said Telstra was working yesterday to give the hospital mobile phone coverage. Surgery lists would be reviewed weekly but operations would probably be suspended for at least a further three weeks, Dr Prineas said.

The Health Minister, Reba Meagher, has agreed to a potentially multimillion-dollar redesign because the hospital does not meet national health standards. The co-director of the intensive care unit, Brendan Smith, said nothing had improved after Ms Meagher's visit on Thursday. "We still do not have an effective alarm system in the theatres and recovery. Yesterday we did a couple of cases in the theatre and the only way we were able to do it was because I went to the shop and bought an air horn," Dr Smith said.

"We actually gave it to the director-general [of NSW Health], Professor Debora Picone, and said this was what we've been reduced to and she looked shocked and there were a few comments from her minions in the hospital that said, 'I don't know if that's legal', and we said, 'It might not be legal but it's effective', and they got the message loud and clear."

He said doctors were also considering closing maternity because anaesthetists felt they could not provide a safe service. "Everything but the most dire urgent surgery is being cancelled and it's probably that the obstetrics unit will be closed down because we can't give anaesthetic cover," Dr Smith said.

The doctors have issued a list of demands to Ms Meagher including that a purpose-built annex be urgently constructed for services they say were promised but not delivered such as the ambulatory care unit and outpatient clinics.

The State Government yesterday tabled its response to the Nile inquiry into Royal North Shore Hospital and said it would implement all but two of the 45 recommendations. Doctors say the recommendations do not address the basic problems of bed and staff shortages.


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