Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Token jail sentence for a violent black

Sounds like "multicultural" bulldust to me. I wonder what the victim thinks of it? Apparently unlawful carnal knowledge ("Statutory rape") is OK if you are black too

A VIOLENT man convicted of a series of horrific assaults on a 15-year-old girl he held prisoner has been freed from jail because he is an Aborigine. The Herald Sun reports the Court of Appeal ruled that participating in a Koori Court, where offenders discuss their crimes with a judge and Aboriginal elders in a room that has been traditionally "smoked", can lead to a lighter sentence.

Court president Justice Chris Maxwell and Justice Peter Buchanan said the 18-month minimum term imposed on Steelie Morgan, 26, was manifestly excessive because he took part in a "sentencing conversation" about his crimes. "His active participation in the process was a factor that mitigated punishment," the court said. "The sentencing conversation is designed to further the reformation of an Aboriginal offender through a unique blending of Aboriginal customary law and the English common law." Morgan has served seven months of the term but the appeal judges said the rest of the sentence should be wholly suspended.

During a 10-week reign of terror Morgan, of Moama, subjected the girl, who was his under-age sexual partner, to a series of attacks, where she was bashed, stabbed, humiliated and held captive. He threatened to kill her, smashed a full plastic water bottle over her head, threw a knife at her, which struck her on the neck, and bit her nose. Morgan made a weapon of a water hose and repeatedly struck her on the legs, threw a heavy tool, cutting her head, and forced her to stay in a bedroom for nearly a month.

Morgan pleaded guilty at La Trobe Koori Court to eight counts of causing injury intentionally, two of assault, one of making a threat to kill and one of false imprisonment.

The offences occurred between December 2007 and March 2008 and each count of intentionally causing injury carries a 10-year maximum term. After he was caught Morgan "sought reconciliation with his indigenous heritage", the court said. Justices Maxwell and Buchanan said Morgan was shamed by admitting his crimes before Aboriginal elders.


Bad likely to get worse for the Labor government

Rudd has now said the he is responsible for the failed insulation scheme so just one more house fire will expose him as the careless steward of the public's money that he is

Peter Garrett's political future, tenuous as it is, has entered a new phase that is even more politically fraught for him and the Rudd government than the past 10 months, which culminated in the collapse of his flawed and dangerously rushed $2.45 billion roofing insulation scheme.

Given that the Environment Minister faced a censure motion in parliament yesterday over a scrapped scheme under which 160,000 homes have been given shoddy ceiling batts, 80,000 homes have been installed with potentially dangerous insulation, 1000 roofs have been electrified, 93 houses have caught fire and four people have died, it may seem hard to believe things could get worse.

But there are almost a quarter of a million households adversely affected by the mishandled scheme, which has put roofing insulation into one million homes, and the government is unable to say whose house is at risk, when the risk will be assessed and when it will be fixed.

These numbers of households in danger are estimates based on samples. The government doesn't know if there are more than 1000 potentially fatal electrified roofs, or fewer, and it certainly doesn't know where they are.

Garrett was unable to offer any reassurances yesterday in answer to repeated questions as to when householders would know if their roofs were electrified, a potential fire hazard or just shoddy, or when any of these errors would be rectified.

Into this vacuum, Coalition environment spokesman Greg Hunt was able to extrapolate, based on the time it's taken to check some roofs, that it could "take 12 years to find and fix, through the 48,000 houses, all of the 1000 potentially deadly roofs". "One thousand deadly electric roofs are potentially out there. One thousand home owners are at risk. It is extraordinary that there is no plan to find and fix the thousand deadly roofs immediately," Hunt said.

Tony Abbott said the minister who made the mess was the last person to be trusted to fix it.

What's more, as the government spends millions to rectify the mess and left Garrett to defend himself, there are no more excuses if there are any more deaths, injuries or house fires. This issue is no longer within the confines of parliament -- it's out in the community. It can get worse, much, much worse.


Australia's State governments to choose immigrants

I wonder how many illiterate Afghans they will choose -- or won't they be given a choice about that? When the Federal government does not choose many of our migrants -- the "asylum seekers" -- giving the States power to choose seems a bit of a joke, if not a total illusion. It should be a good recipe for corruption, though

THE Bligh Government is set to draw up a migration plan for the state that could act as a brake on southeast Queensland's rampant population growth while ensuring regional centres receive a steady supply of skilled workers. Premier Anna Bligh said the plan would allow Queensland to choose which skilled migrants settled in the state.

Under new processing arrangements to be introduced by the Rudd Government, migrants nominated by Queensland would receive priority over applications by independent skilled migrants. "The State Government for the first time will have some influence on the migrant intake," Ms Bligh said. "It will ease some of the pressure off the southeast corner and ensure migrants are taken with the skills the state needs."

She said some significant new industries would emerge over the next five years and be big job drivers. She said over the next 10 years, cities such as Gladstone, Rockhampton and Toowoomba were likely to experience high population growth due to the ongoing resources boom. "The requirement of the LNG industry alone means Queensland will need more skilled labour, and the timing of these projects will be influenced by the access to skilled labour," she said.

Ms Bligh was speaking ahead of tonight's Our Future, Your Say public forum, sponsored by The Courier-Mail, where she will debate issues surrounding population growth with Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman, Sunshine Coast Mayor Bob Abbot and Griffith University urban planning Professor Brendan Gleeson. The Government's southeast Queensland regional plan envisages another 2 million people making the region their home over the next 20 years, sparking concerns about whether the state's infrastructure will be able to cope. Statistics show that net overseas migration is now Queensland's biggest source of population growth, followed by natural increase.

Ms Bligh said that 48 per cent of the state's population growth was due to overseas migration, while 35.5 per cent was due to natural increase and just 16 per cent was due to net interstate migration. "In the last five years, Queensland's net overseas migration has more than doubled while net interstate migration has almost halved," she said.

Ms Bligh said she understood why many people felt the pressure of population growth. "It's putting pressure on our roads, on our health services, on all sorts of areas of our lives," she said. But she said the growth was also a chance to build a vibrant city with more jobs, better productivity and more opportunities for children. "It really is a double-edged sword and the question of when is enough enough is a pretty hard one to answer."

She said state and local governments could introduce a population cap by ceasing to approve housing developments but such a move would have "diabolical" consequences. Housing would become unaffordable for essential workers such as nurses, teachers and police officers, she said.

She said regional Queensland still offered many opportunities to absorb population growth. "The challenge is to spread that population around the state in a more even way so that we don't overload some parts of the state and see the pressures build up to an unsustainable level," she said.


Australian "aid" to Pacific Island countries is a disaster

An army of well-paid advisers keep the Pacific poor

Taxpayers should be extremely concerned that egregiously high salaries are paid to aid-funded advisers, not because they are earning more than the Prime Minister but because the aid is being wasted. Capacity building has not merely failed to get Pacific islands to grow, but is responsible for their lack of development.

Some of these advisers do a reasonable enough job, though many do too little to earn any salaries. Many of the useful ones, for example, in finance departments, are not advisers at all. They manage budgets and expenditures. The islands have thus avoided the inflation and excessive borrowing of previous decades. But countries cannot develop unless their own nationals learn by doing. Nationals may initially make more mistakes than advisers, but only by actually doing a job without someone looking over their shoulder can a cadre of public servants be created. Yet 30 years after independence, key public service posts throughout the islands are held by expatriates. Solomon Islanders welcomed the pacifying functions of the Regional Mission to the Solomons, but they now seethe with resentment because they have no role in their own country. There is also almost no indigenous private sector in the Pacific. Australian expatriates dominate large business and the professions and Chinatowns handle the luxury trade that caters for them. In Fiji, which relied least on expatriates, they are flocking back. They are now Chinese rather than Australians.

Most of the Pacific graduates trained in Australia do not seem to be working in the Pacific. They resent advisers in positions they could fill that are being paid salaries they can earn only by working abroad. They find jobs in international organisations or the Middle East. In Papua New Guinea particularly, stratospheric expatriate salaries are justified by the personal danger arising from the violent crime that has grown steadily despite 30 years of advice.

Progress is inverse to the number of advisers. There are relatively few advisers in Samoa, which pulled itself together in the 1990s to achieve a decade of low but steady growth. Advisers are most numerous in the Solomon Islands and PNG where standards of living for more than 80 per cent of the population remain at bare subsistence level. Women work in the gardens struggling to get some cash crops to the market. Boys and men hang around smoking ganja and drinking beer. There are no jobs. There is no running water or electricity. Women give birth in the bush. Literacy is estimated to be 25 per cent, principally in urban areas. The more enterprising lads drift to towns where there are also no jobs. Crime is the realistic alternative. In Port Moresby and Lae, expatriate triads run gangs of Raskol that manage the breaking-and-entering, gambling, prostitution and illegal immigration. They probably earn more than the Prime Minister of China.

Capacity building runs in tandem with the UN Millennium Development Goals that have been adopted by AusAID. Capitalist development pursued by Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, up to a point even Indonesia, China and India - where there is not an expatriate in sight - has been abandoned. The Millennium Development Goals reject rigorous education, hard work, savings and investment that lead to improvements in living standards, for the socialist objectives of abolishing hunger (which the Pacific has never experienced), postmodern education that has empowered Pacific children but not taught them to read, write or count and minimal health targets that are clearly not going to be achieved. Tragically, a demographic transition to lower population growth is being achieved in PNG by the high death rates of the HIV-AIDS epidemic.

As Peter Bauer saw in the 1950s in Africa, aid supports elites who live comfortable lives while most of their peoples remain in poverty. The Pacific elites send their children to international schools or to boarding schools in Australia. Expatriates support golf and tennis clubs, cafes and restaurants. Locals are encouraged to steal to keep up with these Joneses.

Pacific islands have rich agricultural land and forests, marine resources and minerals. Their beauty is legendary so they are ideal for tourism. The Pacific has received more aid per capita than any other region in the world.

Barnaby Joyce may not be across the development literature but he can smell a rat. Australian aid to the Pacific indeed has been an example of transferring funds from low-income earners in Australia to high-income Pacific elites.


1 comment:

Paul said...

traditionally smoked? I think someone has been smoking something.