Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hey! A great new way to discourage crime

Just one more of a long line of futile do-gooder fantasies -- This one emanating from the Leftist bureaucracy of Queensland, apparently. Like all such programs -- such as the famous Barlinnie Special Unit -- they tend to create a less stressful and pleasanter atmosphere for inmates and warders alike -- but they do not reduce rates of reoffending and they are costly. They also require especially dedicated staff to work at all. Story of the admittedly brave dreamer behind the Barlinnie experiment here

Convicted criminals are enjoying days out on the Great Barrier Reef, fishing and surfing trips and oyster-gathering at the beach as a reward for good behaviour in a taxpayer- funded program aimed at keeping them out of jail.

Attorney-General Cameron Dick yesterday told The Sunday Mail he has ordered an urgent review of the Government's multi-agency programs that offer offenders a stint in rehab instead of jail.

Drug and alcohol-addicted offenders in the programs have faced court charged with crimes including domestic violence, assault, drug possession and public drunkenness. Offenders are given free surfing lessons on the Gold Coast, fishing trips off Townsville, and crab and oyster hunting near Cairns. The recreational and cultural activities are delivered by non-government agencies in a bid to encourage a new life away from crime and drug and alcohol addiction.

Mr Dick said he was concerned by the recreational content of some programs, and it did not meet community expectations. It was unacceptable for Drug Court offenders to be involved in the activities, he said. "While I'm no expert, I'd like to see more sensible, practical forms of rehabilitation," he said. "I don't think it's what the community expects offenders to be involved in, and neither do I. "I've spoken to my director-general, and I've made it abundantly clear to her that I don't want this to happen again."

Victims of crime and the Opposition slammed the activities, saying the soft approach was a slap in the face for victims. Gindaja Treatment and Healing Centre at Yarrabah, south of Cairns, operates five beds for clients diverted from jail in a $900,000, three-year pilot scheme for men convicted of alcohol-related crimes [i.e. blacks. Yarrabah is a black settlement].

The centre's chief executive Ailsa Lively told The Sunday Mail a cultural program includes trips to beaches to collect oysters, crab-hunting and fishing. Participants are also given accredited training, literacy and numeracy lessons, and taught to sew and tend vegetable gardens. "They're given an opportunity to go back to their roots because they forget about all of their cultural needs when they're caught up in alcohol," she said. "A lot of people - indigenous and non-indigenous - do recreational activities".

Rehabilitation service Ozcare has a program for criminals from the Drug Court and offers fishing trips in Townsville and days at the beach for clients in Cairns. "We've got elements in the programs that are part of the therapeutic and recreational streams," northern region manager Coralie Friend said. "They can't participate in recreation until they've done chores such as keeping the house clean, doing the washing, and grocery shopping. "Recreational activities are things that will use their energy, things they can practise and afford in their life once they complete the program. "It includes normal stuff like fishing and going to the beach. It's an excellent program."

Brisbane's Paul Stanley, who set up a support and education foundation after his son Matthew died after being bashed outside a party in 2006, was disgusted by the soft treatment. "It's another slap in the face for victims," he said.

Opposition police spokesman Vaughan Johnson demanded a review of the program. "It's a blatant abuse of taxpayers' money," he said.

The above story by Gavin King appeared in the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" on May 24, 2009

Australia's conservatives want more Tamils in Australia

I hope this is just a ploy to embarrass the Leftist government because there is nothing cautious about it. The Conservatives are running bleeding-heart Canada at the moment and even they are running away from the same idea. And read this if you want to know how violent Tamils already in Australia can be. And see here for a roundup of the violent reactions of Tamils worldwide. They just seem to be a very violent people and it is their reliance on violence that got them into their present pickle. The Sri Lankan government negotiated with them for 30 YEARS in hopes of a peaceful settlement but got nowhere. Tamil terrorism never stopped for long. The suicide belt was a Tamil invention.

The Federal Opposition says the Government should consider offering temporary protection visas to Sri Lankan Tamils affected by the civil war in their country. Since the war ended, aid groups have warned that hundreds of thousands of civilians are homeless and refugee camps are struggling to cope under the strain. The Australian Government says it too is concerned but so far it is refusing to say whether there are any plans to offer Tamils asylum in Australia outside of the existing refugee program.

Opposition immigration spokeswoman Sharman Stone told The World Today Australia needs to consider responding as it did in the Balkans crisis and in East Timor by offering temporary protection to Tamils. "When we were in government in May 1999 we responded to the Balkan war crisis and we brought out 4,000 Kosovars under what are called 'safe haven visas'," she said. "There's a lot of options for this Government ... to think about and it really staggers me that they don't seem to be talking about the options which are on the statutes in Australia."

She said the Migration Act 1958 has provisions for the "safe haven visas". "These visas give you a period of time in Australia while your country settles," she said. "For example with the Kosovars, they came out in May 1999 and they returned on special flights in April 2000."

She said the Tamils have integrated into Australian society as well as immigrants from other countries have. [Considering the words and behaviour of Australia's various Muslim groups, that's faint praise]

"We have one of the most successful multicultural countries on earth," she said. "Not only have our Tamils been great Australians; we have our people from the Punjab, our people from Africa now. "We are a place that has extraordinary success in offering a tolerant, safe country for new settlers. "I'm quite staggered that this Government doesn't seem to be entertaining any of the options that are available in Australian law and just seems to be talking about, 'oh we need to work out why these people want to leave the country'."

Ms Stone said any worries that members of the rebel Tamil Tigers may infiltrate Australia are unfounded because of the Department of Immigration's procedures. [Forgive me while I laugh!]

"That's always the risk, when you talk about any migration program or refugee humanitarian program," she said.

"That's why our own Department of Immigration has to be very good [It may have to be but it isn't. Why do we now have a huge problem of African crime?] at identifying people according to their security, health and of course identification factors.

"We didn't do so well it would seem after the second World War where it appears that numbers of people who were in fact war criminals ... a few [got] into Australia. "It's extraordinarily hard to be 100 per cent successful in your screening, but every country has to do that." [The woman is a moron. She knows the problem but just waves it away]


Hooray! Health authorities are being ignored in their battle against the mythical obesity epidemic

Average weight increases among children stopped in 1998

HEALTH authorities are losing the obesity battle, with almost one in two children admitting they go to school with a packet of chips in their lunch boxes. A new survey reveals 46 per cent of children take chips to school, while 11 per cent say they eat breakfast no more than once a month. And hot dogs, chips, hamburgers and pies are the most popular with children who buy their lunches - either at school or on weekends. The number of students ordering the fatty favourites is double those buying fruit and salad, the Cartoon Network survey reveals.

In some good news, 59 per cent of children have fruit in their lunch box each day. But lollies and sweets feature in the lunches of one in five students.

Schools across Victoria are introducing eating programs to help parents pack healthier lunches for their children. Nutrition Australia has helped more than 50 schools with Reclaim the Lunchbox sessions to help parents cut high-fat, high-salt snacks. But project officer and nutritionist Linden Clarke admitted there was still work to do to change the eating habits of school children. "Packaged snacks are not healthy and they can be expensive," Ms Clarke said. She said packets of chips could not only cause constipation in children because of the products' low fibre content, but also create litter problems for schools.

In January 2007, the State Government banned soft drinks, hot chips, battered sausages, cakes and ice cream from school canteen menus. Lollies and sweets were banned from canteens from this year. But principals said some students left the school grounds to buy takeaway lunches nearby.

Oak Park Primary School has led the fight against fat by changing its lunch timetable to 11am to encourage children to eat a main meal earlier in the day. Acting Principal Trevor Daly said the scheme meant children ate slow-burning foods earlier so they concentrated for longer. They had their high-energy snacks in afternoon recess instead.


Another damaging tax-office stuff-up

THE Australian Tax Office has dropped a court action against juice company Nudie after accusing the firm of not filing a tax return since 2005. Nudie Foods Australia Pty Ltd was on the case list for the Downing Centre Local Court last Wednesday after ATO allegations that it had failed to file an income tax return for the years 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Court documents revealed the ATO threatened the company with four charges under the Taxation Administration Act and fines of up to $61,600 after warnings about its supposedly late statements. But at Wednesday's hearing, the ATO's solicitors said the matter had been "withdrawn".

Nudie's lawyer Mark Douglas, from Argyle Lawyers, said the ATO had mistakenly launched the action and that Nudie had lodged all the four tax returns on time. An ATO spokeswoman said the ATO could not comment on the matter because of privacy laws.

According to court documents, Nudie was sent a written notice by the ATO on December 12, 2008, demanding it provide the statements by January 23. The ATO ordered Nudie to provide "a complete statement of all income derived from the Nudie Unit Trust from all sources in Australia and elsewhere". When Nudie did not respond by December 12, its owners were given a court attendance notice at their Eastgardens headquarters on April 30. The ATO said Nudie had been given "a reasonable" period to lodge the documents.

Mr Douglas said the matter "should never have started" and that the ATO had contacted him and said a statement would be given in court as to why it was being withdrawn. "It was a complete mistake ... their own systems have let them down," he said. "They've misled me and they've misled the court."

He expressed concern that the court matter would damage Nudie's reputation. "The Australian public takes a dim view of companies that are seen not to be completing their tax and Nudie would not like to be seen like this in the public arena," Mr Douglas said.


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