Tuesday, September 15, 2009


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG has some thoughts about flogging horses and concludes that the NSW Labor government is a dead one

The charming NSW police again

Female police officers claim harrassment. And now that they have complained, they "face a loss of confidence of the Commissioner". Must not complain, obviously. The normal official bullsh*t is that "These complaints are being taken very seriously" but the NSW cops are too crass even for that

A POLICE command is in turmoil with female officers claiming widespread sexual harassment and intimidation, including being told their place is in the home. The Daily Telegraph has obtained a female senior constable's 30-page complaint against five policemen at the Goulburn Local Area Command in the southwest of New South Wales. In the complaint, the officer alleged colleagues sent sexually explicit emails at her expense, asked her to join a threesome, sacked her locker and intercepted her mail.

Another three officers at the same command's Bowral station have told their local MP they were "demeaned" due to pregnancy or because they were mothers.

Burrinjuck MP Katrina Hodgkinson told State Parliament the women "have always been highly respected members of the communities they have protected".

The alleged harassment of the senior constable and sergeant began two years ago. During one unsavoury exchange in the police station last year the senior constable said a colleague told her a threesome was "every man's dream" and then suggested she "have a go" with the girlfriend of another officer. A sexually explicit email was then allegedly sent to other officers.

When she went looking for support from another female officer, the colleague told her: "If you were female in this LAC and you stood up for yourself and the better you did your job then the more complaints you got."

The policewomen have also made serious allegations a local man was assaulted during an arrest in the middle of 2007 and that it was never investigated, despite his family attempting to make a complaint. The senior constable said the arresting officer told her: "That guy's a piece of shit, he was carrying on like a f**wit and mouthing off, he got what he deserved, we flogged him, he got pile-driven into the ground head first."

Two of the male officers accused of much of the alleged abuse were transferred to the senior constable's station last year and the woman complained: "I felt as though they were detaining me in my own police station."

A police media spokesman said the women, who were unable to comment because of an ongoing investigation, were the subject of a 181D action and faced a loss of confidence of the Commissioner.

"Their reward for a combined 37 years of dedicated front-line service is to be subjected to systematic bullying by male officers because of their gender and because they had the courage to stand up and complain about their treatment," Ms Hodgkinson said. The two women have paid dearly for their service, with the senior constable needing surgery to fuse her spine last year and the sergeant suffering a broken back on duty.


Leftist leader in rare stand against the Greenies

Brisbane could run out of drinking water unless the federal government backs the nation's greenest new dam, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh warned yesterday. "Ultimately the lives of more than two million people and their ability to drink is at stake here," she said. "The next time a drought hits southeast Queensland, and it will, I want to make sure people have got the water they need to drink and to conduct their lives."

Ms Bligh said the state government would have to build two new desalination plants or resort to recycled water for drinking if federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett blocked the proposed $1.5 billion Traveston Dam on environmental grounds. "The ball is now in the court of the federal government," she said. "All I ask ... of Peter Garrett is that they assess this dam rationally and objectively on the best science."

Ms Bligh said she sympathised with residents affected by the Traveston Dam, to be built by flooding the Mary Valley near Gympie, two hours' drive north of Brisbane. "Unfortunately I get the hard decision of making sure everybody has enough water to drink," she said. "We've just been through a period when we came perilously close to running out of it, and I'm not going to be guilty of short-sightedness on the preparation for the future water needs of southeast Queensland."

Ms Bligh said the dam could be functioning by 2017 if the federal government gives the green light before Christmas. The Premier last November deferred the project, which was opposed at the March election by the Liberal National Party opposition.

The dam could have been filled 10times over - providing water for 800,000 people a day - since her government first announced the project three years ago. "This is a dam that will hold all the water southeast Queensland needs for decades to come," Ms Bligh said yesterday. "If the federal government does not give the go-ahead for the dam ... we will have to go back to the drawing board. "I know there are many people who are opposed to this dam, but the southeast corner of Queensland is the fastest-growing part of Australia, and quite frankly it needs water if it's going to survive and thrive."

The Queensland Co-ordinator General has submitted tougher environmental conditions to Mr Garrett's office. Islands and sandbanks would be created for the rare Mary River turtles in the main water storage area, and trees would be planted to increase the area of vegetation around the river and its tributaries from 260ha to more than 2000ha over 20 years.

Ms Bligh blamed farming during the past 150 years for degrading the Mary River habitat to the point of endangering fish, frogs and turtles. Queensland Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said environmental rehabilitation works associated with the new dam "absolutely will provide the opportunity to save those species".

A spokesman for Mr Garrett said yesterday the project would undergo "thorough and rigorous scrutiny" under the national environment laws. Greens leader Bob Brown denounced the dam as "the most damaging project that's conceivable", and said he did not believe Mr Garrett would support it.


Unruly students 'should be sent to brat class'

VIOLENT and unruly students would be isolated in special classes to cool off under a bold plan to tackle worsening violence in our schools. Public school principals fed up with a lack of resources to deal with troublesome kids who endanger others and disrupt classes have called for the changes in a submission to the Victorian State Government, the Herald Sun reports.

Victorian Principals Association president Gabrielle Leigh yesterday said a network of student development centres staffed by specially trained teachers and welfare workers were needed as schools struggled to cope with extreme behaviour. "It starts at primary level and that's why those schools need the support," she told the Herald Sun. "If the behaviour is being exhibited in year 1 or 2 why can't we do something about it rather than wait for it to become a more serious issue later on in schooling?"

Last year, more than 16,000 public primary and secondary students were suspended in Victoria and more than 200 were expelled. In its submission to the Government, the VPA says the centres would provide an alternative to suspending misbehaving students and hopefully enable them to return to normal classes. Students would be sent with the agreement of principals, parents and department officials.

Ms Leigh said the existing system of dealing with troublemakers was inconsistent and lacked resources. "There are centres, but they are few and far between," she said. "A review into the issue has been going on for months, but nothing has happened and in that time students are being lost to our system."

Youth worker Les Twentyman said the idea was long overdue. "We need to give troubled kids another means of learning. We need to keep them in classrooms and out of court rooms," he said.

Ms Leigh said only one-in-two primary schools had full-time welfare officers. "We want one in every primary school," she said.


Amazing incompetence: Australian troops malnourished

SOME of Australia's front-line troops are enduring dangerous weight loss, months after The Courier-Mail exposed their inadequate diets. Some Diggers in Afghanistan have lost 15kg in a month, prompting doctors at the Tarin Kowt hospital to express grave concerns about malnutrition among troops. "There are some serious nutritional issues out there," one medico said.

It follows the revelation that they were forced to pay for their own combat boots and life insurance.

The worst-affected troops are those with 1st Battalion's combat teams, who travel around Oruzgan Province. They are restricted to an occasional fresh meal consisting mainly of meat. But nutrition has improved for those at the main base camp at Tarin Kowt and forward operating bases elsewhere in Oruzgan province. There are now 10 army cooks in the country and US forces have opened one of their dining facilities to relieve pressure on the much-criticised Dutch mess.

Field kitchens feed troops at the forward operating bases, with cooks such as Private Steven Trezise, from Myrtleford in Victoria, and Queenslander Lance Corporal Nathaniel Murdock preparing meals. With limited equipment, their weekly menu includes barbecued spare ribs, pasta in sauces, curries, chicken fillets and bacon and eggs. "It is a juggling act, especially the gas supply," Private Trezise told The Courier-Mail at Combat Outpost Mashal in the Chora Valley as he prepared pasta bolognaise with vegetables and pork spare ribs. "The soldiers are happy to see a fresh feed when they come back from patrol rather than a plastic bag." Private Trezise provides up to two fresh meals a day with occasional treats such as ice-cold soft drinks and ice cream.

In May this year, The Courier-Mail revealed the Defence Department had written to hundreds of Diggers being deployed to Afghanistan, advising them to buy extra life insurance to top up existing "inadequate" compensation. Soldiers were required to sign a form either accepting or rejecting the extra insurance, costing up to $100 a month.

In earlier reports, The Courier-Mail revealed some soldiers were paying hundreds of dollars to replace ill-fitting combat boots with ones that wouldn't hurt their feet.


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