Friday, February 26, 2010

UN: Aboriginal program violates human rights

It probably does but just about everything else has been tried and there is nothing that a knowall Hispanic lawyer like the Mr Anaya can say that will help. Maybe Mr Anaya should concentrate on Mexico. He might know something about that and there are certainly plenty of human rights abuses there. Anaya has bloviated on this before. See this reply to him. Mr Anaya seems curiously unconcerned about the rights of the abused Aboriginal children. State and Federal governments of all stripes have been trying for decades to solve the problems of Aborigines, using all sorts of "solutions", and this prick thinks he is wiser than all of them after just a two-week visit. Being a Hispanic-American lawyer must give you special wisdom, I guess -- more likely a chip on your shoulder. He works for the same U.N. that constantly maligns Israel while ignoring huge Arab abuses.

I personally think that the latest initiatives will fail like all others before them. Leave Aborigines to their own devices but provide a high level of policing to protect the women and children is what I would recommend. But I have known Aborigines for years, unlike Mr Anaya -- JR

An Australian government program imposing radical restrictions on Aborigines in a crackdown on child abuse is inherently racist, breaches international human rights obligations and must be changed immediately, a U.N. official said Wednesday.

In an advance copy of a report to be released next week, the United Nations special rapporteur on indigenous human rights, James Anaya, expressed serious concerns over the controversial initiative known as "the intervention." The program forced a series of tough rules on Aborigines in the Northern Territory _ including bans on alcohol and hard-core pornography _ in response to an investigation that found rampant child sex abuse in remote indigenous communities.

"The measures specifically target indigenous people and impair certain rights and freedoms," Anaya, a University of Arizona human rights law professor, told The Associated Press. "It does impair self-determination of Aboriginal communities, their ability to make certain choices about how their communities are run."

In August, Anaya traveled to several Aboriginal communities to hear residents' concerns. His conclusions and recommendations released Wednesday are part of a larger report Anaya wrote on Aboriginal issues that will be released next week.

Aborigines make up about 2 percent of Australia's population of 22 million and are the country's poorest, unhealthiest and most disadvantaged minority. Governments have spent billions of dollars on community programs, housing and education reforms over the past few decades, but living conditions for the nation's original inhabitants remain abysmal.

In 2007, a government-commissioned inquiry concluded that child sexual abuse in remote Aboriginal communities had grown to catastrophic levels, though it didn't provide actual numbers. The government quickly suspended its own anti-discrimination law _ the Racial Discrimination Act _ so it could ban alcohol and hard-core pornography in Aboriginal communities and restrict how Aborigines spend their welfare checks. The restrictions do not apply to Australians of other races.

The measures are "incompatible" with Australia's international human rights obligations, including the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Anaya said. Further, he said, there is no proof any of the measures have actually improved the lives of Aborigines. "Have the alcohol restrictions actually reduced consumption? There's no evidence for it," he said.

Anaya will present his report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva in September. Australia would be given the opportunity to formally respond then.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin's spokeswoman Jessica Walker said in a statement that the government plans to roll out new rules for income management in July that will not discriminate based on race. She also said the government has introduced legislation that would reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act.

In August, Macklin defended the intervention after Anaya criticized the program in an address to reporters. "The most important human right that I feel as a minister I have to confront is the need to protect the rights of the most vulnerable, particularly children, and for them to have a safe and happy life," Macklin said at the time. "These are the rights that I think need to be balanced against other human rights."

Anaya believes there's a way to do both _ by giving Aborigines a say in how they can best be helped.


Your health bureaucrats will protect you (NOT)

What good is a "Medical Board" that doesn't do basic checks? All they had to do was to ask a secretary to make a phone call to the credentialling university but they were too lazy and complacent even to do that. So a fake doctor was found working at a government hospital

POLICE have arrested a man who had allegedly been masquerading as a doctor at a major Territory hospital for about six months. Police were interviewing the man last night. The man had been working as a doctor at Alice Springs Hospital for half a year without holding the appropriate qualifications, the Northern Territory News reports.

He was believed to be a graduate of the University of Adelaide but the facility has confirmed his qualification papers were fake. Senior hospital staff supervising the man were concerned about his performance before raising the alarm to police.

The NT Medical Board suspended the man's registration after the allegations were revealed yesterday.

He received conditional registration to work as intern medical practitioner at Alice Springs in May last year. His qualification documents stated he had completed his university degree in 2008. But the Northern Territory News understands the man attended the course for less than two years and never completed it.

The NT News sent Alice Springs hospital general manager Vicki Taylor several questions to ensure patients had not been put at risk by the man. But Ms Taylor refused to provide any answers. The questions we asked included:

WHAT part of the hospital was the man working in?

WERE any patients put at risk, injured or killed as a result of being treated by the man?

In a short prepared statement, Ms Taylor said: "Because a police investigation is under way the hospital is unable to make further comment at this time pending the outcome of the investigations."

NT Medical Board registrar Jill Huck said the board failed to cross-check the certified copy of his degree. "As far as I know it wasn't cross-checked but it was certified by a justice of peace," she said. "The fraudulent document looked very, very close to an original."

Health Minister Kon Vatskalis has demanded a full explanation from the board and an assurance that similar cases would be avoided.

The allegations come only three months after former Territory doctor John Chibanda was stood down over concerns he was working outside the scope of his credentials at Emerald Hospital in Queensland.


Solar Panels - another Silly Roof Scheme

The Carbon Sense Coalition today called for the immediate suspension of another of Mr Garrett’s silly roof schemes – the Roof Solar Panel Scheme

“This scheme is driven by the Renewable Energy Target Scheme, Renewable Energy Certificates and obligations on power companies to buy the inconsistent dribbles of electricity produced by solar panels on domestic homes.”

The Chairman of Carbon Sense, Mr Viv Forbes, said that like the roof insulation scheme, the Roof Solar Panel Scheme was dangerous, ill planned and a massive waste of community funds.

“There are two aspects of electricity demand. “First is base load demand, which is present 24 hours a day, every day. However, sun power is maximised for only a few hours around noon and fluctuates with the seasons. Thus solar panels cannot replace even one iota of base load generating capacity. Coal, gas, hydro, nuclear or some expensive power storage system must sit there, ready to supply 100% of base load demand every night and on all cloudy days. Any storage facility must be large enough to cope with several consecutive cloudy days.

“The second power consideration is peak load demand, which tends to occur around meal times, night and morning. Solar panels contribute nothing at these times either. “Therefore every dollar spent on roof solar panels duplicates capital already spent on conventional power generation – ie community capital is wasted. And the more panels, the more waste.

“Roof solar panels also induce householders into danger. “Even quite small amounts of dirt, dust, bird droppings, tree leaves or suicidal kites will dramatically reduce the electricity generated by a solar panel. Someone must climb onto the roof to clean the panel. Inevitably, someone will fall off.

“Solar power is not free. Whilst the sunshine is free, it can only be harnessed by the construction, collection, distribution, maintenance and replacement of solar panels and transmission lines, which are not free. Solar power is an expensive option that will always need taxes or hobble-chains on competitors, support from taxpayers or coercion of consumers to survive.

“Surely our parliament cannot be so negligent as to allow rock singers and lawyers to pretend that solar playthings have the reliability, capacity and safety to provide any useful contribution to the future energy needs of our homes, cities, trains, factories, mines and farms?

“If solar panels are so good, consumers will buy them without coercion and subsidies. In reality they are a dangerous waste, so why should other consumers and taxpayers be forced to fund such folly?

“Places like Germany and California have learned to their dismay that massive stimulation of the solar power industry has done three unwelcome things. It has driven up electricity prices, driven away other industries and stimulated the manufacture of solar panels in foreign lands, mainly China. And unless it is propped up by conventional power generation, the inevitable consequence will be network instability and blackouts.

“Solar energy is useful for solar hot water systems, for power in remote locations, for small installations with battery backup and for growing plants. It is not useful for generating electricity for modern power grids.

“The Roof Solar Panel Scheme should be suspended immediately and an independent enquiry made into its engineering and financial feasibility.”


Criminals get it too easy, Victoria's Justice Philip Cummins says

One of the nation's most experienced judges has attacked courts claiming they are being too soft on violent criminals. Victorian Supreme Court Justice Philip Cummins said yesterday the courts had "fallen short on sentence" in cases involving sex offences, violence, and especially domestic violence.

His sentiments were echoed by a veteran magistrate, who this week jailed a seven-time drink driver after lashing out at the leniency shown to him in previous court appearances.

Justice Cummins, 70, in his Supreme Court retirement speech to a packed courtroom of judges and lawyers, said: "I think that sentences imposed should better reflect parliamentary provision and community values." He said he had no doubt every judge respected and was concerned for victims. "(But) with sexual offences, violence, and especially domestic violence, I think courts have fallen short on sentence," he said. "Courts need to give significantly more attribution to personal responsibility and to the consequences of that responsibility," Justice Cummins said. "The even hand of justice requires that victims properly be acknowledged and properly be respected."

Courts had failed to translate respect and concern to action, leaving it to the media, Parliament, and commentators. "It was not the common law or the courts that rid us of the blight of provocation, behind which much domestic and other violence escaped its true consequence," he said.

Justice Cummins has been widely regarded as a champion of victims' rights. Last year, he made a landmark judgment that sex offenders on extended supervision orders should be identified. Yesterday he again called for open justice, saying: "Judges should not sit behind closed doors, hear parties in the absence of each other, or engage in undue pressure."

At Dandenong Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, Rodney Crisp, a magistrate for nearly 25 years, told Michael Sich the public was fed up with drink-drivers being freed on suspended sentences. He jailed Sich, 39, who has six prior drink-driving convictions but has twice been freed on suspended sentences for a year and disqualified him from driving for 10 years. "The community won't tolerate a seven-time drink driver being released. (It) could never stomach it. It would rightly lose all confidence in the system of sentencing," he said. Sich appealed but was denied bail and remanded until his appeal hearing on June 17.


The Leftist love of censorship again

Communications Minister's website removes references to filter

THE minister in charge of the Government's web censorship plan has been caught out censoring his own website. The front page of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's official website displays a list of topics connected to his portfolio, along with links to more information about each one. All the usual topics are there – cyber safety, the national broadband network, broadcasters ABC and SBS, digital television and so on.

All except one. It was revealed today a script within the minister's homepage deliberately removes references to internet filtering from the list. In the function that creates the list, or "tag cloud", there is a condition that if the words "ISP filtering" appear they should be skipped and not displayed. The discovery is unlikely to do any favours for Senator Conroy's web filtering policy, which has been criticised for its secrecy.

According to Google's cache records, the exception has been included on the minister's homepage since at least February 14. A message on the page says it was last updated in October last year.

Melbourne web developer David Johnson told the code was intended to remove references to internet filtering. "The code is a quick fix," said Mr Johnson of creative agency Lemonade. "If the developers of the minister’s site had wanted to do it properly they would have placed the 'ISP filtering' keyword exclusion on the server side where it is inaccessible to the public, instead of the front-end code which can be seen by anyone and understood by people with even a basic knowledge of scripting."


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