Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Australians cooling on global warming

AUSTRALIANS are becoming less concerned about the threat of global warming, pushing environmental issues down the list of threats. Climate change is no longer rated the top foreign policy issue for the Federal Government, a Lowy Institute poll will reveal today. It was top of the list in 2007 but now is ranked seventh out of 10 policy priorities. Out of 12 possible threats, Australians rated global warming the fourth most critical, the survey found. However a significant majority of Australians, 76 per cent, still saw climate change as a problem.

The poll follows comments from Professor Ross Garnaut, author of the federal Government's climate change review, who claims the rancorous debate on an emissions trading scheme (ETS) is one of Australia's worst cases of policy making on a major issue. "I think this whole process of policy making over the ETS has been one of the worst examples of policy making we have seen on major issues in Australia,'' he told ABC television. "It is a very difficult issue so I suppose it was never going to be easy. But the way it has broken down is extraordinary.''

Professor Garnaut recommended the Labor legislation be passed. "If we could find it within ourselves to pass the ETS - and everyone knows that I don't think it is perfect - and then lay the base for implementing earlier rather than later, that would remove one bit of uncertainty in what is a very difficult and uncertain international climate for discussing these issues,'' he said.

The Government knows how difficult it would be to get its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme legislation, which would set up an Emissions Trading Scheme, through the Senate. Preliminary negotiations underlined that the Government will need Opposition support if it is to get a moderate version of the Bill approved.

The Greens produced amendments - almost certain to be rejected by the Government - which called for harsher treatment of fossil fuel users, and Family First's Steve Fielding accused the Greens of wanting to send Australia back to the Stone Age. "If we did what the Greens propose, Australia would no longer exist because there'd be no industries left to drive our economy," he said. Their amendments yesterday called for limited compensation to emission-intensive industries.


Lenient treatment of black rapists again

Who cares about victims when you can show how politically correct you are? Too bad if the offender goes on to commit more horrendous crimes

A FOUR-year-old Broome girl was lured from her home and allegedly raped by a man bailed only six weeks earlier on child-sex offences. The 23-year-old indigenous man, described as a "serial sexual predator", was granted bail by a magistrate 220km away in Derby, despite facing three child sex offences, including a count of sexual penetration of a child under 13 years. He had been ordered out of the Kimberley town by the magistrate and reported to Broome police as part of his bail conditions 30minutes after the alleged rape of the four-year-old on October 4. He is in custody and will face Broome Magistrates Court next week.

It will be alleged the man lured the girl away from outside her Broome house where she was playing with other children. He took her to a deserted state housing home 200m away where he allegedly sexually assaulted her in a storeroom before spraying her with a garden hose. The girl's 30-year-old mother told The Australian her daughter was left "like a dog".

Criminologist Carol Ronken of Bravehearts said the incident highlighted an urgent need for a government inquiry into bail conditions involving child sex offences. "And to release offenders charged with those types of offences is just insane," she said. "Our criminal justice system needs to get so much more serious about the way it handles and manages sex offenders."

Had the Derby magistrate ordered the man to be remanded in custody, he would have been held in the Derby police lock-up pending transfer to Broome regional prison until his court date. Broome police said the man was also forbidden from unsupervised contact with children under the age of 16 by the Derby magistrate on August 20.


Pedophile rapist jailed -- but still OK for a senior police job!

A FORMER police chief inspector - who kept his job despite admitting sexually assaulting two girls - has been jailed for nine years for his "loathsome" criminal offending. Graham Bennett Fraser was imprisoned for nine years by the District Court today after pleading guilty to seven counts of indecent assault. Judge David Smith said Fraser's two victims were aged nine and 14 when the sexual abuse started in 1980. "The offending was loathsome ... you exploited and harmed them for your own sexual gratification," Judge Smith told Fraser.

Most of the offending occurred in Fraser's northern Adelaide home during a three-year period but Judge Smith said the crimes were part of persistent sexual abuse, some of which had not been subject to criminal proceedings. "The offending conduct is not to be regarded as ... out of the ordinary," Judge Smith said.

Fraser, now aged 68, sexually abused his victims in his shower, shed and pool, with one victim telling the court she was assaulted daily. The victims initially contacted authorities in 1986 but a statute of time limitations meant criminal charges could not be laid.

Fraser admitted his guilt in 1986 and was demoted as a SA Police chief inspector to the rank of inspector. Judge Smith sentenced Fraser to nine years' jail with a non-parole period of six and a half years.


Catholic pharmacist refuses to sell the pill

Good to see someone not intimidated by the prevailing wisdom

A PHARMACIST in western NSW has banned the sale of condoms, the contraceptive and morning-after pill because it is against his beliefs as a Catholic. In a move that has angered health experts, Griffith pharmacist Trevor Dal Broi has refused to sell the oral contraceptive pill, the morning-after pill and condoms, referring customers to other chemists in the area.

Mr Dal Broi, who runs the East Griffith Pharmacy, told The Sunday Telegraph he was strictly against the use of artificial contraception. "As a practising Catholic, it is my obligation to accept the official teaching of the Catholic Church against the use of artificial contraception," he said. "When I dispense an oral contraceptive pill I will ask the lady to sit at our counselling desk where I explain that there is a leaflet in the box regarding our pharmacy policy on the pill. "It explains that I accept the teachings of the Catholic Church against the use of artificial contraception, and asks the lady to respect my view on the use of artificial contraception and have it filled elsewhere next time if it is being taken for contraceptive purposes."

Mr Dal Broi said the pharmacy would continue to dispense the pill to women taking it for other medical purposes, such as painful or irregular periods, and hormonal and skin problems.

Family Planning NSW CEO Ann Brassil said contraceptive options should not be taken away by a health-care professional's personal beliefs. "We strongly believe contraception should be freely available at all pharmacies," she said.

A spokesman for the Pharmacy Guild of Australia said individual pharmacies were entitled to sell, or not sell, any product or medication they liked: "Pharmacists, like anyone, are entitled to hold ethical, religious or moral views."


Another Australian blackboard jungle

A TEACHER was attacked at school by a nine-year-old pupil who kicked her, threw rocks in her face and dragged her by the hair to the staffroom floor. Recalling the incidents yesterday in evidence to the District Court, Margaretta Slingsby said the boy threatened her: ''I'm going to get you, Slingsby slut.''

Ms Slingsby, 58, is suing the Department of Education and Training for negligence over the attack on May 30, 2005, which she says left her with post-traumatic stress and unable to return to her job. She had been teaching Italian at Lismore Heights Public School. Her barrister, Andrew Lidden, SC, said the school had more than its share of unruly children. While the pupil involved - known for legal reasons as B - had a history of ''at times quite violent misbehaviour'', the school had no plans in place to manage his extreme behavioural problems, Mr Lidden said.

The principal at the time, Trevor Pryor, had informed staff that B was coming to the school ''for a new start'' but said he had no records from the boy's previous school, Ms Slingsby told the court. She had taken time off work in March 2005 after B verbally abused her in the playground, an incident she reported to the principal. Two months later, she saw B chasing a girl into the library, screaming, ''You f---ing slut, I'm going to get you.''

When she and the librarian restrained him, the boy kicked them both and punched the librarian. He was taken away by the principal but returned and again attacked Ms Slingsby. ''He came up behind me and tried to push me down the stairs,'' she said. ''He grabbed me by the hair and was dragging me. I could feel my hair being ripped out of my scalp.'' The boy punched a female staff member who tried to intervene and threw rocks and dirt in Ms Slingsby's face.

Later, she said, she was sitting in the staffroom when B ''came tearing in'' with the principal in pursuit. The boy ''grabbed me by the hair and he threw me down on the ground''.

In a statement of claim filed to the court, Ms Slingsby alleges the department was negligent in failing to determine that the boy had a history of verbal and physical violence, and enrolled him when it was not safe for teachers or other students. It breached its duty of care by failing to remove B from the school or notify police after she was first assaulted, she claims.


Qantas does it again

Qantas passengers stranded for 26 hours. TWO planes faulty. When will they get back to their old maintenance standards? Do they have to have a crash first?

FRUSTRATED passengers have been stranded in Sydney for more than 26 hours following problems with two Qantas planes. Around 120 passengers on flight QF31 experienced the lengthy delay on the Sydney-Singapore-London service.

The flight was originally delayed for over five hours due to a hydraulics issue, a Qantas spokesperson said. A replacement aircraft also experienced technical problems, forcing it to be returned to the terminal. “The flight was originally delayed by just over 5 hours... a replacement aircraft was allocated," the Qantas spokesperson said. "In the early stages of its take off roll just before 11pm, the flight crew received an engine control message which required a return to the terminal and a night stop."

The passengers were provided with overnight accommodation and meals, and have been booked on other flights later today. However frustrated passengers have told of their anger over the extensive delays. “They don’t understand that time is precious,” one passenger told Channel Seven.

Passengers flying from London-Singapore-Sydney on flight QF32 will be delayed by approximately 22 hours as a result of the incident, the spokesperson said. The spokesperson has apologised for the delays. “We regret any inconvenience this delay has caused but will always put operational safety before schedule.”


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