Saturday, November 21, 2009

Must not say anything harsh about Muslims

But you can say anything you like about Christians, of course -- and Muslims often do. I gather that Mal Mac Rae is a recent Muslim convert and there are some remarks of his online that are too obscene and disgusting for me to reproduce here. It appears to me that young Douglas Darby was simply paying Mal Mac Rae back in his own coin -- not that that is wise or Christian. Disclosure: Michael Darby is a friend of mine but I do not know his son

ABUSIVE emails written by the son of the campaign manager of the Christian Democratic Party containing anti-Muslim and homophobic comments have embarrassed the party's president, the Reverend Fred Nile, only two weeks before the December 5 Bradfield byelection, in which the party will field nine candidates.

Mr Nile has been forced to apologise to dozens of recipients of the emails, which also attack the Reverend Gordon Moyes, the CDP-turned-Family-First MP in the NSW upper house. Their author, Douglas Darby, the son of the former Liberal identity Michael Darby, who is the CDP's campaign manager, has been expelled from the party.

In one email Douglas Darby attacks a Muslim activist, Mal Mac Rae, as a "stupid moslem c---" and says "muslim scum are too busy stacking ALP branches and raping Aussie chicks".

In another, Douglas Darby suggests Muslims "who habitually engage in child molestation, incest, pack rape … obey the laws of this country or f--- off to Afghanistan where Australians are allowed to shoot you people". Yet another urges Mr Mac Rae to become a suicide bomber. "Please do it inside either a Sunni or Shiite mosque."

The emails are part of a bitter exchange between Mr Darby and Mr Mac Rae that appears to have begun when Mr Mac Rae wrote questioning an aspect of Mr Nile's military service record.

On Tuesday Mr Nile wrote to recipients "on behalf of the Christian Democratic Party to sincerely apologise for the appalling emails you have received". He told them that the CDP "disassociates itself completely" from the comments, "which we totally reject", and apologised to Mr Mac Rae. "No one deserves to be subjected to such language and insult," Mr Nile wrote.

Douglas Darby did not respond to a request for comment, and Michael Darby declined to comment.

Mr Nile said Douglas Darby had begun working for the party but was soon "upsetting people left, right and centre" and was banned from the parliamentary offices of the CDP and its headquarters a year ago.

One of the CDP's campaign slogans for Bradfield is "Stand your ground in defence of Christian values".

Mr Nile and the NSW upper house Liberal MP David Clarke are advertised to speak at an Australian Christian Nation Association conference today which has the theme "Australia's Future and Global Jihad".

Mr Mac Rae said yesterday he had accepted Mr Nile's apology. "However, the vilification of the Islamic community in the party continues behind closed doors." Dr Moyes said he had asked Mr Nile for an apology, "which I haven't received".


Limited public radiotherapy services add to cancer trauma

Australians are given to believe that they can rely on their State government for "free" medical care. "Free" does not mean "available" or "high quality", however. What it DOES mean is that what you save in money, you pay in time

THE last straw for Angela Baines came when she arrived at school 45 minutes late and found the police had been called to collect her children.

The Umina single mother of four had struggled to Royal North Shore Hospital on the train every day for five weeks for radiation therapy after breast cancer because no public facility was available locally and she could not afford private treatment. But any wait for her radiation doses or a missed transport connection could scupper her tight timetable.

"I said, 'That's it. I'm going home. I'm pulling out. I cannot endure another day of this possibly happening again,' " said the 39-year-old of her experience two years ago. Ms Baines told the hospital she was cancelling her last week of treatment, but a doctor immediately called to promise that she would be treated the moment she arrived. She completed the course and is now in good health.

Inequitable provision of radiotherapy services across NSW is resulting in serious emotional trauma to patients already vulnerable from surgery, drug treatment and a potentially life-threatening diagnosis, according to a survey released today by the Cancer Council NSW.

Its Roadblocks to Radiotherapy report collects stories of the practical, financial and psychological hardships experienced by people who have to travel long distances for radiation or miss out on the treatment - which can prevent recurrence and is recommended for at least half of cancer patients but in NSW is received by only 36 per cent.

Based on a telephone call-in earlier this year, the survey found rural and regional patients were impressed and grateful for their treatment, but were distressed by practical difficulties. "We hope showing the human element adds urgency to the need for reform," the council's manager for policy and advocacy, Anita Tang, said.

The Auditor-General concluded in a June report that NSW Health needed to intensify its long-term planning for radiotherapy services, especially in high population growth areas including the Central Coast, Hunter, New England, Illawarra and Shoalhaven areas. The department has prepared a draft Radiotherapy Services Plan 2007-11, but has never released it.

In his landmark report on NSW public hospitals a year ago, Peter Garling identified services for patients outside cities as a major problem, recommending revitalised training for doctors outside urban centres and improved travel provisions for people treated far from home.

The Opposition spokeswoman on health, Jillian Skinner, said: "Labor has failed to match radiotherapy services with population growth, with the result that many families are undergoing extreme hardship just to get access to treatment. Cancer cases are predicted to grow by 30 per cent over the next 10 years … what is Labor waiting for?"


Climate change negotiations hit stumbling block

CLIMATE change negotiations between the Rudd Government and the Opposition have hit a stumbling block just days before an agreement was to be taken to the Coalition party room.

But problems at the negotiating table are being dwarfed by the groundswell of climate-change sceptics and growing speculation that Malcolm Turnbull's leadership could be challenged by Liberal frontbencher Tony Abbott.

It comes as Liberal negotiator Ian Macfarlane, who met Climate Change Minister Penny Wong twice yesterday and will again tomorrow, has admitted for the first time he was facing hurdles. "It's (the negotiations) really got complicated," Mr Macfarlane told The Courier-Mail. "We've had a setback. But I remain optimistic." Mr Macfarlane would not delve into the specifics of the negotiating hurdle, although questions have been raised within Labor and Liberal circles as to how the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme could afford to have expensive amendments.

Mr Macfarlane has taken to the negotiating table five "buckets" with core issues. With agriculture sorted out late last week, it leaves Coalition demands for more money for electricity generators, big polluters, small-to-medium business and coal.

D-day is approaching for the Coalition, which wanted amendments presented to shadow cabinet on Monday. Mr Turnbull has said the Coalition would support amendments only if he had the majority support of the party room. There are only four sitting days left this year and the Government has demanded a vote be taken before Parliament rises.

Former Liberal MP Bruce Baird yesterday said Mr Abbott might have his eye on the top job, but a spokesman for Mr Abbott outrightly rejected any suggestion of a leadership challenge. Mr Turnbull would not answer questions about Mr Abbott, but on the CPRS said: "Our support for the Bill will depend on the outcome of these negotiations. "The idea that you take a unilateral view and either wave it through willy nilly or knock it back willy nilly regardless of how it might be amended, I don't take that view."


Stabbed 5 times -- "unintentionally"!!

This verdict should be set aside as manifestly misguided

The acquittal of a woman who stabbed a teenage girl in an after-school brawl sends a dangerous message to students that fights can be settled with weapons, not words, a police officer says.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been facing trial for wounding with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm after she stabbed the year 12 student five times in the chest during a fight between the two sets of sisters, opposite a school in south-western Sydney last year. But this week a jury found the 21-year-old not guilty on the grounds that she did not intend to inflict grievous bodily harm when she stabbed the 17-year-old. She was also acquitted of the lesser charge of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm in company.

Her younger sister, a year 11 student, had also been due to stand trial, but pleaded guilty to reckless wounding.

"I am concerned about what message the decision sends to our youth in as far as it was clear that more than one weapon was taken to what was supposed to be a fist fight," said the officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Senior Sergeant Stephen Crews.

But the woman told the Herald that police and the school had not done enough to combat bullying and a gang culture and that she was forced to take matters into her own hands. "I don't condone people carrying weapons … that is the wrong thing to do, but sometimes in situations like that you don't have much time to think about it," she said. "All that is on your mind is ensuring your family member's safety."

During the trial the woman's barrister, Graham Turnbull, SC, argued she had been protecting her sister against two other sisters at the school who had singled her sibling out after an argument over a boy, at Westfield Shopping Centre in Liverpool. Suggestions had been made during the trial that the victim and her sister were affiliated with gang members who carried weapons. But both denied this.

Shortly after the stabbing the woman's sister left the school and their family moved out of the Liverpool area when "weird cars" started to drive up and down her road at night, she said.

Four days after the stabbing, while the victim was still in intensive care, the boy at the centre of the argument was beaten up by two boys. "My friend got stabbed five times because of you and you're going to pay for it," one of the boys allegedly said during the attack.

While Sergeant Crews acknowledged the bashing was "no doubt" connected, he denied the school had a problem with bullies or gangs. "This whole case wasn't about a gang war. It was what should have been a high school fight that went horribly wrong."


Watchdog slams Queensland police corruption

ANTI-corruption watchdog chief Robert Needham has slammed police mishandling of the Mulrunji death in custody, unleashing his most scathing attack yet on an internal police investigation. The Crime and Misconduct Commission is expected to release its report on the police investigation into the 2004 Palm Island death in custody of Cameron Doomadgee, 36, known by his tribal name as Mulrunji, next year.

Mr Needham, the CMC chair, said yesterday the CMC was less than happy with the handling of the police probe into the death of the Aboriginal man inside the Palm Island watchhouse five years ago. "What we've done is go back to ground zero," he said. "We've gone right to the primary documents. We went to every interview that's ever been had with all the relevant officers and gone back through every single thing in great detail."

The CMC report is expected to recommend disciplinary action against senior officers who investigated the death in custody and to criticise the case as an example of police protecting their own. Mr Needham said he would wait until the report was finished before going any further.

Yesterday he released the three-year investigation into policing in remote indigenous communities ordered after the infamous riots and burning of the police station on Palm Island, five years ago today, and another 2007 riot in Aurukun.

The CMC report calls on the State Government to make finalising all outstanding legal matters in the affair by the sixth anniversary of Mulrunji's death next year a high priority "goal".

But the man's family remains sceptical. "It's not over yet,"' said sister Lizzie Doomadgee. Yesterday Lizzie and two sisters admitted to a case of deja vu as they sat in the front row of Townsville Magistrates Court. They sat, resolute, as they did through a first coronial inquest, a CMC inquiry, a Department of Public Prosecutions decision, an Attorney-General's appeal, a manslaughter trial, and now another inquest. "We're waiting for justice," said Ms Doomadgee. They still have a civil damages suit pending against Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley and Queensland Police.

Five years ago, Mulrunji died of internal bleeding with four broken ribs and his liver cleaved in two after a jailhouse tussle with Sen-Sgt Hurley. Sen-Sgt Hurley was tried and acquitted of the manslaughter of Mulrunji in 2007.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Brian Hine yesterday ordered the second inquest be held over 10 days on Palm Island and in Townsville from March 8. The second inquest comes after a Court of Appeal ordered the findings of the 2006 inquest that Hurley caused the injuries to Mulrunji by punching him be set aside.

It later emerged Mulrunji probably died as a result of a catastrophic injury caused by compressive force to his stomach, most likely a knee. [The knee of a hulking cop by the name of Hurley, to be precise]

Counsel assisting the coroner Ralph Devlin said there had been "many conflicting and inconsistent accounts of witnesses".


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