Friday, August 07, 2009

Melbourne streets frighteningly violent, says Mayor's own daughter

Conspicuously not mentioned below is who the Melbourne steeet thugs are: Mostly ethnics, particularly Africans, Lebanese Muslims and Polynesians (Maoris and other Pacific islanders). Melbourne is paying the price for John Howard's unwise "refugee" policies and open immigration from New Zealand

THE eldest daughter of Melbourne's Lord Mayor says it's not worth visiting the CBD late at night because of violent thugs roaming the streets. Bridie Doyle, 22, said young people across Melbourne were concerned about the deteriorating situation, and "it couldn't hurt" to put extra police on the streets. "I don't think it's necessarily just the city. I think violence in Melbourne is bad anywhere you go," Ms Doyle said.

She was particularly shocked by a recent attack at a Hungry Jack's outlet in Chapel St, Prahran. "You do get worried because I have been there thousands of times," she said. "But I was just up in Queensland and it's bad there too. I wouldn't walk around at 3am by myself regardless of where I was."

Ms Doyle said people her age were constantly talking about the issue because it affected everyone. "I think it's not necessarily that they go out and see it. It's more that it was reported and then you think 'it was near me' and, 'Oh, I could have been there'."

Ms Doyle backed her dad Robert's efforts to help stem the tide of late-night horror. But yesterday she surprised him when she called radio station 3AW to ask him about the value of extra police on the streets. Asked whether she went out in the city, she replied: "The violence has become so bad at night time that it's just not worth it."

Cr Doyle told the Herald Sun his daughter's call highlighted the issues he must concentrate on. "I think that's one of the problems we have, that there are young women who think the city is not a particularly welcoming place at the moment and we have got to fix that," he said.


Another triumph of government healthcare: Hospital delays cost girl her thumb

10 hour bureaucratic delay to get her into urgent surgery meant it was too late to save the thumb

A 14-YEAR-OLD girl has lost her thumb after an air transfer took too long, arriving too late for successful surgery. Teenager Sarah Smith was forced to endure a six-hour patient transfer process without pain relief after medical staff deemed her injury not to be an emergency. Despite getting to Dubbo Base hospital shortly after 9am, it took another 10 hours before the schoolgirl finally arrived at the Royal North Shore Hospital. "You keep thinking this is what they (medical staff) are supposed to do,'' Sarah's dad Malcolm Smith said.

Sarah's thumb was torn off when a horse started while she was trying to tie it up at a pony club gymkhana day. Hospital staff told Mr Smith his daughter would not be allowed on a commercial flight to Sydney - a one-hour journey - and that a patient transfer would be arranged. By 2.15pm, when the aircraft arrived, Mr Smith could have driven Sarah the five hours from Dubbo to Sydney. The plane took off just after 3pm, stopped for 30 minutes in Orange and landed in Bankstown at 4.45pm, when Sarah was taken by road - stopping at Westmead Hospital - arriving for emergency surgery at Royal North Shore at 7.15pm, 150 minutes after the plane landed.

"She had no pain killers from 2pm until she went into theatre at 8pm," her dad said. A hospital manager telephoned Mr Smith last week to apologise for the delay. [An apology! How big of them! An apology won't give her a thumb back, will it? No word that anybody has been disciplined over it, of course. So similar practices can be expected in the future]


Competition 'needed' in childrens' sports

THE state's largest swimming school operator will stage a racing carnival on Sunday which it says goes against the "sanitisation" of children's sport. State Swim chief executive officer Julie Stevens said it was time to listen to children, who wanted to compete. Nearly 300 children have registered for individual events at the carnival.

"I know that some people advocate sanitising children's sport to remove any competitive element, but the fact that the children themselves have asked for this event indicates that this is something that kids want," Ms Stevens said yesterday. "In the past, we ourselves have been mindful of removing the perceived pressure of competition, which saw us rename our squad program, calling it a team program. "However, the feedback we had is that the children liked the idea of being part of a squad and the competitive element that went with that." In previous carnivals, swimmers raced for their team, not for themselves. Ms Stevens acknowledged the move might be unpopular with those concerned about children's self-esteem.

Joanne and Chris Rose have entered daughters Jessica, 10, and Emma, 8, in Sunday's State Swim carnival. Mrs Rose said learning how to compete was a life skill. "You always want your kids to win but they can learn to deal with not winning too," she said.

Office for Recreation and Sport director Paul Anderson said children were naturally competitive. "Kids need to play just for the sake of playing but they also need to have opportunities to compete," he said. "They can learn the lessons that come from that."

Department of Education and Children's Services sport manager Peter Roberts said modified sports, which were less competitive and helped develop skills in beginners, were likely to build confidence. "We believe that any program that engages kids and gives them more opportunity to touch the ball and be involved is going to keep kids in sport for longer," he said. He said most schools still fielded teams for competitive sport as well.


DPP blasts offensive net censorship plan

The NSW Director of Public Prosecutions has slammed the Federal Government's internet censorship policy, saying it will have very limited, if any, success in achieving its aims. Nicholas Cowdery, QC, made the comments in response to a question from a journalist at a conference on e-crime in Sydney yesterday.

"Crime prevention methods need to be practical ... I'm not an expert in the field, but talk of filters, blocking mechanisms and all of that sort of thing, I think, ultimately, in a society like ours, are going to have very limited, if any, success in achieving the aims that their proponents set out for them," he said.

The Government plans to implement mandatory filters in ISPs that would block, for all Australians, sites that have been "refused classification" by Australian regulators. This includes child sexual-abuse imagery, bestiality and sexual violence material but also content that is perfectly legal to view in Australia, such as regular gay and straight pornography, and innocent sites that have been added to the secret blacklist by mistake.

Experts have long warned that filters would inevitably block innocent sites and also inadvertently let through nasty sites, and these concerns became reality last month when it was revealed a year 10 student searching for information about the swallow bird was instead presented with hardcore pornography.

Despite surfing the web with internet filtering mechanisms installed by the Department of Education and Training, the student was unable to view harmless sites such as the Education Minister Verity Firth's own website.

In further written comments made to this website today, Cowdery questioned whether an internet filtering scheme would help him catch and prosecute more criminals such as child porn traders. He said compromises to freedom of expression would also need to be considered.

People looking to view banned material on the web would probably be able to bypass the filters, while those peddling material such as child porn would most likely change their tactics to avoid detection by the filters.

"Theoretically an internet filtering scheme could capture and facilitate the proof of criminal offending [e-crime] on the internet - at least on the 'supply side'," he said. "But it is unlikely that such persons, once they know that such a scheme is in place, would continue to expose themselves to the risk of detection in that way."

Previously, communications experts have said that simply trading illegal images over peer-to-peer software, instead of via web pages, would be all it would take to bypass the ISP filters. And those determined to view banned material on web pages could evade the filtering by accessing the internet through an encrypted proxy server.

Cowdery said some other issues that needed to be considered before implementing mandatory filtering included the level of offending, the ability of such a measure to prevent or reduce such offending, the costs of introducing filtering and "the compromises that would need to be made to the freedom of expression and freedom of association in an open democratic society such as Australia".

"Especially where such compromises would be unpopular and not broadly acceptable to the community, there would be an incentive for persons to avoid or thwart such a measure and to explore and implement such avoidance," Cowdery said.

"With the present and probably future state of the technology of the internet, it seems likely that such avoidance could be achieved and that would reduce the effectiveness of internet filtering accordingly."

A group of mainly smaller internet providers are now finishing their trials of the Government's internet filtering scheme and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has said he expected to release results within weeks.

Senator Conroy has said the results will determine whether the Government proceeds with the controversial election policy. He said there was no silver bullet to protecting children online and that the internet filtering scheme would be complemented by ramped-up law enforcement.

The policy is opposed by web user groups, communications experts, most political parties, the Australian Library and Information Association and even some child-welfare groups, who say education is the key to protecting children online. Last month, the British ISP industry awarded Senator Conroy its annual "internet villain of the year award" for his internet censorship policy.


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