Friday, August 28, 2009

Two-week "expert" says Australia is "racist"

He should be sued for defamation. State and Federal governments of all stripes have been trying for decades to solve the problems of Aborigines using all sorts of "solutions" and this prick thinks he is wiser than all of them. Being a Hispanic-American lawyer must give you special wisdom, I guess -- more likely a chip on your shoulder. He works for the same U.N. that constantly maligns Israel while ignoring huge Arab abuses -- JR

The intervention into remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory is clearly discriminatory, and that there is "entrenched" racism in Australia, the United Nations special delegate on indigenous rights says. James Anaya didn't pull any punches after his two-week visit of the country.

He said the Rudd Government should reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act in the NT "right away" because the intervention was discriminatory. "It undermines the right of indigenous peoples to control their own destinies, their right to self-determination," he said. He also said the Stolen Generations should be paid compensation.

Prof Anaya said that while there was no doubt special efforts were required to combat indigenous disadvantage and abuse of women and children, the intervention's "broad sweep" went too far and was incompatible with various international conventions, covenants, treaties and declarations.

"Some kind of special measures could be justified but they need to be narrowly tailored to the specific circumstances that exist," he said. Compulsory income management and blanket bans on alcohol and pornography were "overtly discriminatory" and further stigmatised already stigmatised communities "People who have a demonstrated capacity to manage their income are included," he said. "It's inappropriate to their circumstances but is also, as expressed by them, demeaning."

The indigenous rights expert was also scathing of federal Labor's insistence that housing funds would only flow if indigenous communities signed over their land. "It's a mistake to assume that indigenous peoples ... aren't capable of taking care of their homes," Prof Anaya said. [What would HE know? Has he SEEN how Aboriginal housing deteriorates?] "Indigenous control can be appropriate to indigenous peoples' development, to their aspirations, to indeed being in control of their lives like all others."

As for compensation for indigenous people taken from their families by government agencies, the UN rapporteur was unequivocal: "There should be reparations," he said.

But it wasn't all negative news for the Rudd Government. Prof Anaya praised Labor for taking "significant steps" to try and improve the human rights and living conditions of indigenous Australians. He also congratulated the Government for supporting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples earlier this year and officially apologising to the stolen generations in 2008. There was hope, he said. "I have been impressed by the strength, resilience and vision of indigenous communities determined to move towards a better future despite having endured tremendous suffering at the hands of historical forces and entrenched racism."

SOURCE. A couple of replies to this heap of U.N. sh*t here

Everyone's ABC? Only if you lean left

By Peter Costello

Different views would spark up our predictable national broadcaster

I WAS doing an ABC radio interview last week and a listener sent in a text message, which was read out, suggesting the ABC should engage me as a radio host. ''I don't think I have the right political views for the ABC,'' I told the broadcast audience. It was not said with any malice, just an observation of an obvious fact.

If I had been on my guard I would not have said it. The ABC does not like the idea that its presenters have a common political outlook. Although the media likes to give criticism it does not like to receive it. And if you criticise the media you can expect rough treatment in return. Experienced media hands will always advise you that no matter how bad your treatment, never complain about it: that will only lead to worse.

But I was not on my guard. I am not now at the mercy of the media so I can afford to say what everyone on the conservative side of politics knows - the ABC is hostile territory.

One time I walked into ABC headquarters in Sydney and was confronted by an employee who began hissing at me. The station manager, who was there at the time, was so shocked he organised a written apology from management. He told me the employee would be ''counselled''. I wasn't shocked, I knew I was on foreign soil. I never worried about what occurred off-air. I was always worried about what would be broadcast.

The on-air interviewers for the ABC are generally aggressive, which is a pity. In my experience, if a subject is relaxed and lulled into dropping their guard, they are more likely to make revealing disclosures. With the ABC the line of questioning is always predictable. It always comes from the Labor/Green perspective.

Now Labor will tell you that sometimes it gets a hard time on the ABC - and sometimes it does if it is perceived to be betraying ''true Labor principles'' or being too ''pro-business'' or being insensitive to the environment. But Labor will never be criticised for entrenching union power, or going soft on law enforcement, or spending money it doesn't have.

There are rural and regional programs that stick to local issues and leave the politics aside. But the flagship national current affairs programs - AM, PM, The 7.30 Report - have a consistent editorial perspective. The 7.30 Report has been a good training ground for politicians, producing the West Australian Labor premier Alan Carpenter and the former chief minister of the Northern Territory, Clare Martin.

Labor Ministers Mary Delahunty and Maxine McKew also worked for the ABC in news and current affairs. The 7.30 Report is hosted by former Labor staffer Kerry O'Brien. I have no objection to former staffers working in the media. It's just that you notice the preponderance of those from a particular side at the ABC.

When I dropped my inconvenient truth in last week's interview it didn't provoke any outrage or comment. It just hung there. There was a mild effort by my interlocutor to defend the corporation. He pointed out there is a Liberal employed on ABC local radio in Perth, which says it all. It is quite an oddity really - so odd that they know about this man in Melbourne. Out of the 4500 employees in the ABC they know there is one Liberal. The ABC would do well to get a second or a third (and, no, I am not interested).

I have no doubt that opening up the airwaves would open the ABC to wider sections of the public. There would be screams of protest from the true believers who want no plurality to the current line. But some different opinion would spice things up. It is possible to have divergent views in an organisation that broadcasts 24 hours a day seven days a week.

Five nights per week Phillip Adams broadcasts on Radio National. Adams claims that he has been close to every Labor leader from Whitlam to Beazley. Robert Manne has described Adams as ''the emblematic figurehead of the pro-Labor left intelligentsia''.

Back in 2001 the then managing director of the ABC declared he would look for a right-wing Phillip Adams to balance up that program. It must be an exhaustive search. The new managing director is now in his fourth year of office. Apparently the corporation is still looking. I will make the prediction they will still be looking under the next managing director.

It appears there is nothing urgent about the task of getting balance into the ABC. Imagine if the corporation did find a right-wing Phillip Adams? Then we would have a Liberal in Perth and one in Sydney, too.


The "Green jobs" go to China

JUST before the passage of the Rudd government's renewable energy target legislation, which was designed to ensure 20 per cent of our electricity came from solar, wind and geothermal sources by 2020 and to foster Australia's renewable energy industry, Australian Greens leader Bob Brown reassured the public about the viability of the renewable energy industry.

In Canberra on August 19 Brown responded to a statement by the ABC's Lyndal Curtis that "you can't export the sun or the wind, you can't export those renewables" with the confident declaration that indeed you could export renewables. "Oh yes, you can, and the Germans have made a feast of it and of course they've got a multi-billion-dollar export industry in renewable energy with 250,000 jobs created," Brown said.

Brown, like Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and other government ministers, was reassuring the Australian public that creation of a target for renewable energy made economic sense and would be the source of jobs, jobs, jobs.

After a compromise was reached with the Coalition in the Senate on reassurances for compensation for existing industries to protect existing jobs in Australia, the RET legislation passed, to the great relief of the Rudd government and the opposition.

Despite serious misgivings within the Coalition about supporting an RET, a political compromise was reached. Malcolm Turnbull was given credit for holding together his troops and Kevin Rudd was given credit for being prepared to negotiate and not hold national policy to ransom over the calling of an early election.

As the mid-November deadline nears for the second debate on an emissions trading scheme, it is worth considering the political processes of passing the RET and some of the policy implications in the real world of market economy and government subsidy distortions. These will end up limiting competition, pushing up prices in the long term and not cutting global greenhouse gas emissions. Which brings us back to Brown's glowing reports of renewable energy industry jobs in Germany.

Brown was right, Germany has made a feast of renewable energy. Its largest producer of solar cells, Q-Cells, indeed the world's largest producer, had been exporting huge amounts of cells, employing thousands and making millions of euros. In the first half of last year Q-Cells made a business operating profit of E119.1 million ($204m). But, six days before Brown spoke, Q-Cells announced a first-half operating loss of E47.6m, laid off 500 workers, closed a plant, put a further 2000 workers on short shifts and stepped up plans to establish a solar cell plant in Malaysia employing 2000 workers. Q-Cells production had remained almost constant, according to its business statement.

In Spain, one of the leaders in the installation of solar panels, the industry came to a halt and the main panel maker cut the shifts of 400 workers to a few hours a week. Other manufacturers simply shut down. The Wall Street Journal has reported that the collapse in Spain's photovoltaic sector "has been so drastic that jobs plunged from a peak of 41,700 early last year to 13,900 in the spring of 2009".

So what happened? In one word: China.

In its efforts to supplement its energy needs from renewable sources and fulfil its highly ambitious targets to feed in energy to supplement its growing coal-fired and nuclear-powered electricity sources, China has provided lavish subsidies to solar industries. Under these subsidies and ultra-cheap loans from Chinese banks a plethora of Chinese manufacturers has sprung up and flooded the world market with solar cells and panels, which vary remarkably in quality. (It must be said that some of the best use Australian technology.)

The biggest Chinese company, which is about to become the world's biggest solar company, Suntech, has cut the price of its panels and cells across the world. That's why Q-Cells in Germany has lost so much while maintaining the same production: cut-price Chinese products are driving down returns and making production in Europe unviable without continuing heavy government subsidies. The price of solar panels in some markets in the US has halved in the past year and in the past six months the cost of some solar panels has dropped by one-third in Australia.

This week Shi Zhengrong, chief executive and founder of Suntech Power Holdings, told The New York Times Suntech was selling solar panels on the US market for less than the cost of materials to build market share. This sounds suspiciously like dumping into a market, but there is no doubt Californian producers are pointing the finger at Suntech's prices as a reason for the global collapse in solar cell production. Another reason is that some European governments are beginning to wean the renewable energy industry off subsidies and sweetheart deals with inflated returns on rooftop electricity fed back into the national electricity grid.

All of this occurred in a two-week period when Australia's politicians were breaking their necks to do their own political deals over renewable energy, and to encourage homegrown solar industries and create instant jobs as part of the economic stimulus. The combination of a Chinese-induced price slump in Australia and the Rudd government's green stimulus, which includes roofing insulation subsidies, is that consumers have rushed to buy solar panels that may be of lesser quality and haphazardly installed because they are effectively free.

But the jobs created are for people bolting on the panels; the longer-term incentive for establishing solar cell production in Australia is diminished. Even some solar panel outlets are struggling because they have been caught with higher-priced European panels.

The supporters of the RET legislation argue that without a target and government support such industries will not get under way without a high price being set for carbon in the emissions trading scheme. This is true. The problem is that the promises of new green jobs to replace all the old brown jobs lost will be difficult to fulfil while China, for strategic reasons - not environmental sympathy - is prepared to open its bottomless pockets and distort a world market.

You'd think the global financial crisis would teach people a lesson about markets, government subsidies and intervention.


Yet another serious Queensland ambulance bungle

These episodes just keep coming

TAPES of a 000 emergency call reveal how a Wynnum family was put on hold by an ambulance dispatcher who bungled a response to a man suffering a stroke. Marcia Fielder, 80, said her son had to be privately transported to hospital after the Queensland Ambulance Service decided it could take up to one hour to respond.

The 44-year-old man, whom the family does not wish to name, suffered an embolic stroke in July last year and has since lost his job and become reclusive.

In a letter to Mrs Fielder the QAS admitted their response was "regrettable" and advised that the dispatcher had been removed from his position. Mrs Fielder called 000 last July after her son complained of a severe headache and not being able to see "the bottom half of the room". She said his mind then appeared to go entirely blank and he didn't even recognise her or know what room of the house he was in. "I must admit I became hysterical. I had never seen him that way before," she said.

The incident has raised more questions over the standard of training being offered to QAS dispatchers. The Courier-Mail has listened to tapes of the 000 call, which confirm the QAS dispatcher did not understand the urgency of the condition.

Mrs Fielder had to wait for her other son to drive from Salisbury to Wynnum to take them to Redlands Hospital. The next day a brain scan showed her son had suffered two strokes. He has lost his ability to read and is no longer employed.

Mrs Fielder believed her son, whom she described as a gentle giant who always cared for her, didn't want to speak out because he was embarrassed over the incident. "You have no idea how he's changed. It's like his life's lost," she said. "He stays in his room and when people ring up he says to tell them he's not home."

In a letter to Mrs Fielder, Queensland Ambulance Service medical director Stephen Rashford said paramedics were struggling with a high workload on that night. "The EMD (emergency medical dispatcher) should have provided you with more assurance and empathy," Dr Rashford wrote. "It was also found that the manner in which the EMD spoke to you was extremely inappropriate. "I apologise that the level of service provided by the EMD was not at the level of your or your son's expectations." [Does this asshole thinks lack of politeness was the only problem??]


Incompetent rape investigation costs Victoria police $20,000

(In the hope of shutting the woman up)

POLICE have reacted angrily to "hush money" TV claims by a woman who claims she was raped by a Carlton footballer. “Kate'', who alleges she was raped at a party after Carlton's 1999 Grand Final loss, claims she was originally offered $20,000 “hush money” by police to keep quiet before reaching a settlement with police. "They offered me some money... $20,000... on conditions that I don't proceed with having it heard it court," she told the ABC.

"You think you can pay me off with $20,000? $20,000 is nothing, not that it was ever about money. But I think in some way they owed me more than just 20 grand. They owed me - doing their job properly."

Victoria Police today confirmed they had reached a settlement with Kate, but said in a statement the offer of $20,000 was a show of good faith after legal advice provided to the force found they had no legal liability in relation to the matter. "She refused the offer and engaged in legal action against Victoria Police. That action was unsuccessful, however Victoria Police did not choose to pursue costs, even though we were within our rights to do so,” the statement said. “In a further show of good faith and for compassionate reasons, Victoria Police again offered the woman $20,000 because we believed it was the right thing to do. This offer was accepted and did include a confidentiality clause which is standard in government litigation.”

Kate says she had consensual sex with one player but later woke up to find another raping her.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland, then an assistant commissioner, later admitted detectives had botched the case. A damning Ombudsman's report into the investigation found that police had failed to take DNA tests or interview key witnesses. Mr Overland said there had been an “almost total failure'' by investigators on the case and apologised to the woman.

Police said one member involved in the investigation was subject to disciplinary action while two other members have resigned from the force due to unrelated matters.


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