Friday, March 19, 2010

Racist brawl in Melbourne

The races are not named, of course but the "very tall fellows" would undoubtedly be East Africans (e.g. Sudanese) and the other group were probably Polynesians (e.g. Maori, Samoans). Polynesians tend to be very aggressive. A fighting response to any mockery would be absolutely normal for Polynesians

Six men have been charged over a terrifying brawl at a shopping centre in Melbourne’s east yesterday. Police said the fight erupted at the Whitehorse Plaza shopping centre in Box Hill and involved nine men from two groups.

Reports allege some combatants carried knives and used chairs to attack the second group, with the fight spilling on to Whitehorse Road and surrounding streets.

Paramedics were called but treated only one man, a 19-year-old who claimed he had not been injured but was vomiting. He was taken to Maroondah Hospital in a stable condition. One bystander suffered a cut to the head but did not need medical treatment.

About 5pm, police arrested nine men over the fight. Six men, aged 18 to 23, from the eastern and south-eastern suburbs, were charged with affray. The three other men were released without charge. The six will appear in the Ringwood Magistrates Court at a later date.

Witness ‘‘Kelly’’ told Radio 3AW today ‘‘some very, very tall fellows were whistling and calling out’’ when another group responded to the noise. ‘‘Eventually it turned into a bit of a face off, a bit of a face off, and then it turned into a full-on brawl,’’ she said. She said the two groups were from different cultural backgrounds [i.e. races] and the fight went on for ‘‘10 to 15 minutes up and down the mall’’.


Rest easy. Your airline "security" staff will protect you from iced tea!

Filipina woman spends five days in jail after iced tea mistaken for drugs. They're deep thinkers, our security personnel

A TOURIST from the Philippines has been cleared of wrongdoing after she spent five days in custody on drug charges due to a mix-up over packets of tea she brought into Australia. Customs had detected amphetamines in three 800g packets of lemon-flavoured ice tea brought in by Maria Cecilia Silva, 29, at Melbourne airport on March 13 and handed her over to the Australian Federal Police.

In the Melbourne Magistrates Court, magistrate Jack Vandersteen ordered the Director of Public Prosecutions pay Ms Silva $5000 for her ordeal.

When her bags were searched at the airport a drug detection dog had reacted to the iced tea containers and further testing of one of the containers came back with a positive result for amphetamine.

Ms Silva was released after the prosecution withdrew a charge of importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug. Her barrister Michael Penna-Rees said the packets of tea, which she had bought in a Philippines supermarket, had never been opened.

Mr Vandersteen took the unusual step of releasing Ms Silva inside the court instead of having her returned to the cells and released at the side entry of the courthouse. Once freed, Ms Silva was in tears and clung to a female prison guard who led her through the court to a friend who was waiting to embrace her. "She's traumatised, she's lost a lot of weight and she'll be seeing a doctor," Mr Penna-Rees said. "She's a wedding planner in the Philippines, her mother is a wedding singer and her father is a wedding musician - it's a family business. "She's a totally innocent young lady who has experienced five days in an horrendous situation having her liberty taken away and placed in cells with some serious offenders."

Mr Penna-Rees said he understood that there have been similar problems with packets of iced tea on previous occasions. [But no ability to learn from that??]


A new low for the ABC

"Comedian" Fiona O'Loughlin says Bindi Irwin 'creepy', needs slap in face. One hopes that the ABC has enough remnants of good taste not to employ the garbage ever again

RECOVERING alcoholic comedian Fiona O'Loughlin has sunk to a new low, calling Bindi Irwin a creep who needs a slap in the face. Viewers branded O'Loughlin spiteful and hateful after her performance on Wednesday's episode of ABC music quiz Spicks and Specks.

O'Loughlin described 11-year-old Bindi as a "bit creepy" before doing an over-the-top impersonation of the child star's voice. She then made a gesture indicating Bindi was crazy, before miming a slap across the child star's face.

The bitter outburst stunned fellow panellists, particularly Chris Durling, a former member of Bindi's Crocmen. Durling said working with Bindi was a great experience, describing her as "gorgeous" and down-to-earth. "What you see is what you get," Durling said of Bindi.

A laughing O'Loughin replied: "Yeah, a freak show."

Series regular Alan Brough waded into the awkward discussion, joking that O'Loughlin was spiteful and hateful for getting stuck into a little girl.

Viewers were quick to voice their outrage, with the ABC's online message board awash with criticism, saying the show had lost the plot. Viewers said O'Loughlin was "tasteless", "un-Australian" and a bully....

O'Loughlin discusses her battle with the booze in an interview to be published in Saturday's Herald Sun.


Whistleblowers get protection in federal legislation

THE federal government has accelerated its push for a more open system of government by introducing the first federal law protecting public servants who reveal maladministration. It plans to reverse decades of government secrecy by protecting public servants who reveal serious wrongdoing to the media. The new scheme is intended to encourage whistleblowers in the federal public service by giving them the nation's most extensive system of legal protection and support.

Cabinet secretary Joe Ludwig, who unveiled the scheme in parliament yesterday, was praised last night by whistleblowers and legal academics for delivering a scheme that goes beyond the more limited schemes in force in the states. "It is close to world's best practice," said legal academic A.J. Brown. "It will change the culture of government," said Peter Bennett, president of Whistleblowers Australia.

The scheme will be contained in a planned public interest disclosure act that will fulfil Labor's promise to address the problems in the legal system highlighted by the case of convicted whistleblower Allan Kessing. Senator Ludwig declined to discuss the Kessing case last night, but lawyers believe the government's scheme could have been enough to prevent Mr Kessing being convicted in 2007 over the disclosure of long-ignored flaws in security at Sydney Airport. "This is not a scheme to legitimise leaking in general - it is a scheme to protect whistleblowing through appropriate channels," Senator Ludwig said.

The government plans to introduce an internal system for handling public interest complaints within the bureaucracy that will involve every agency in the federal public service. If that system fails to address concerns about serious matters in a "reasonable" time, public servants will be given legal protection if they tell the media or anyone else.

The scheme would also protect what is expected to be a smaller category of public servants who bypass the internal system and go directly to the media with public interest disclosures about serious matters. Direct approaches to the media would be protected whenever exceptional circumstances exist, in cases where a public servant believes on reasonable grounds that there is a substantial and imminent threat to people's lives, health or safety.

Senator Ludwig said the scheme would be the first stand-alone system of whistleblower protection for the commonwealth public service. It has been unveiled a week after Senator Ludwig and Attorney-General Robert McClelland welcomed a report from the Australian Law Reform Commission calling for the repeal of part of the Commonwealth Crimes Act that imposes criminal penalties for unauthorised disclosures by public servants.

The whistleblower scheme would mean complaints about wrongdoing would usually be made to a public servant's own agency and if necessary to an external agency such as the Commonwealth Ombudsman or the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security. The government aims to have the public interest disclosure act in force by next January.


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