Sunday, January 10, 2010

DNA records kept for some of Queensland's child criminals

Sounds a good idea to me: "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime". If you stop doing crimes you have nothing to fear. DNA might even clear you immediately if you come under suspicion for something you didn't do.

There is some addled talk below about rehabilitation. But rehabilitation is mostly a pipe dream. Lots of people talk about it and propose dreamy ideas about how to do it but nobody has much success at it. Most crime is committed by people who already have a criminal record. They don't rehabilitate.

But rehabilitation is in any case irrelevant to the DNA controversy below. Rehabilitation -- or not -- comes AFTER you catch the criminal. The DNA is used only in catching them. How they are treated once caught is a matter for the courts. Their DNA has nothing to so with it

POLICE have taken DNA samples from almost 1300 children earmarked as the next generation of criminals. Figures obtained by The Sunday Mail under Right to Information legislation have revealed that in less than five years, police have collected DNA from 1275 children aged between 10 and 16. The genetic blueprint may be used to catch them if they reoffend - a likelihood for more than half of juveniles, according to research.

Under state legislation, a DNA sample can be taken by police officers via a court order if a magistrate is satisfied there is reasonable suspicion of an offence.

Police figures show the most common crime committed by juveniles is property crime, including theft and vandalism. Last financial year, the Queensland Police Service caught 33,644 juvenile offenders. Police say DNA has become a vital crime-fighting tool and helps speed up clean-up rates.

But civil libertarians have accused the police and State Government of giving up on Queensland's youth and focusing more on convictions than on rehabilitation. Civil Liberties Australia chief executive Bill Rowlings said it was an infringement of civil rights because, while the law ensured a child's criminal record was not carried through into adulthood, it would not stop their DNA remaining in criminal databases indefinitely. "Some of these children might be guilty of stealing a Mars Bar and for that the Queensland police are prepared to put them on a national criminal register, possibly for life," he said.

The average daily number of juveniles in custody in Australia is 800.

Youth Affairs Network Queensland director Siyavash Doostkhah said he was against taking DNA from children and called on the Government to fund more rehabilitation and youth mentoring programs. "It never brings any safety to the community," Mr Doostkhah said. "If we get more tough, if we collect more DNA and have more cameras out there . . . it doesn't stop crime, it just brings convictions."

A Department of Communities spokesman said there were currently about 139 young people in detention in Queensland and insisted it was a priority to focus on rehabilitation for young offenders. "Research has shown rehabilitation is more successful than detention," he said.


I guess this is "inclusiveness": Australian kids to sing New Zealand national anthem!

I am not sure when inclusiveness became a good thing. I recollect no debate about it and I have been following politics for 50 years. It used to be exclusiveness that was honoured. But asking school students to sing the national anthem of another country on Australia's most solemn day of commemoration is certainly rather odd. Australians, however, generally have positive attitudes toward New Zealanders (though the converse is notably different) so I expect the idea will be accepted to some extent

QUEENSLAND state school students will for the first time be encouraged to sing the New Zealand national anthem to commemorate Anzac Day. Premier Anna Bligh will write to principals asking them to play God Defend New Zealand, along with the Australian national anthem, at school ceremonies. Her request, as chairwoman of the Anzac Day Commemoration Committee, could be controversial considering the rivalry between the Tasman neighbours, particularly in sport.

Queensland continues to be a magnet for Kiwis, with 11,700 settling here in the past year. More than 150,000 live in the Sunshine State, about 40 per cent of all New Zealanders in Australia. Trade between the countries is worth about $2.8 billion.

Ms Bligh said it was time to mark NZ's contribution to Australia by playing God Defend New Zealand. "This would be a fitting tribute and suitable recognition of the members of the New Zealand armed forces who have served alongside the men and women of our Australian armed forces during wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations," Ms Bligh said. "I encourage you to give favourable consideration to this request when planning the 2010 Anzac Day ceremony."

The Premier said schools could obtain free copies of the Kiwi anthem on CD or the sheet music. It would be up to individual schools whether they got the children to sing the song or just listen to God Defend New Zealand.

The New Zealand consulate office in Brisbane said it was unlikely that schools in NZ would reciprocate [THAT'S for sure!], but a spokesman said Ms Bligh's direction to state schools was a "wonderful gesture".

Anzac Day – April 25 – falls on a Sunday this year, so the public holiday will be held the following day.

Queensland Principals Association chairman Norm Hart said it was "an interesting idea". He said Ms Bligh had called on schools to improve numeracy and literacy, with a target of being one of the top three states in the country, and the focus was on that rather that extracurricular activities. "If she is saying our students have to learn the lyrics and sing it, then I am less impressed," Mr Hart said.


Rogue sharks to be killed -- but only if they are small

This is Greenie craziness. ALL sharks found near swimmers should be shot immediately. There is a whole ocean for them to live in. The little strip of it near land should be off-limits to them

Rogue sharks that attack beachgoers this summer will be hunted down, shot in the head and sawed apart until their spines are severed. [Seeing they don't have spines, that could be tricky]

The Sunday Times can today reveal the graphic methods put in place by the WA Government's Shark Hazard Committee for dealing with man-eaters. In a candid interview, WA Department of Fisheries strategic compliance manager and shark committee member Tina Thorne said a rogue shark that attacked a swimmer would be slaughtered if it continued to pose a significant threat to beachgoers and if it could be positively identified as the offending shark. But the kill order would only be given in "extreme circumstances" as a last resort where there was an immediate danger to the public.

Ms Thorne said fisheries officers would first use a baited drumline and put "attractant" in the water to try to hook the shark. Then the creature would be hauled aboard a boat where officers would "have to use a large firearm to dispatch the animal". "That is not an easy task, as sharks have very small brains," she said. Once shot through the head, fisheries personnel would take a final step to ensure the creature was dead by "severing the spinal cord and bleeding it out". "Even if you hook it, you can't just fly over in a chopper and shoot it because of refraction (of the bullets) in the water," Ms Thorne said.

While the shoot-to-kill methods had been put down in policy by the Shark Hazard Committee, Ms Thorne stressed great whites - the species responsible for most fatal attacks - were protected and a special exemption from the law was required by Fisheries Minister Norman Moore to kill one. "It's not something we would take lightly," Ms Thorne said, after a spate of shark sightings and beach closures across Perth this week.

Trying to catch a large shark was extremely dangerous, she said, and in most cases the creatures disappeared into the depths after an attack. Ms Thorne said in three of the past four fatal attacks in WA the shark responsible was never spotted. Only after the fatal attack in 2008 on 51-year-old Port Kennedy man Brian Guest did the shark linger. In that case, there was no immediate danger to other beachgoers, so authorities tried to tag the animal.

The statements about killing sharks angered the family of Mr Guest. A friend of the family told The Sunday Times Mr Guest's widow Charmaine and son Daniel stuck by their comments that sharks belonged in the marine environment and should not be harmed.

Ms Thorne agreed, saying "they live in the ocean and we don't". Six people have been killed by sharks in WA in the past 20 years.


Asylum seeker situation 'an absolute mess'

Like Obama, Rudd lied his way into power

The Federal Opposition is calling on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to act immediately on illegal immigration, as another boat of asylum seekers are processed at Christmas Island. A Customs boat intercepted a boat with 27 people and three crew members off the West Australia coast on Friday afternoon.

The Opposition's immigration spokesman Scott Morrison says in the last six weeks, there has been an average of 100 people a week arriving in Australia illegally.

He says before the last election the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd pledged to be tough on border security. "Before the election Mr Rudd actually said that he would turn back seaworthy boats and he took every opportunity to echo Mr Howard on the issue of illegal boatload arrivals into Australia," he said. "Now in government we've had 75 boats arrive on his watch. We see failed policies, weak decisions and an absolute mess."


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