Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Refugees" at work

No-one who knows the African crime-rate will be surprised

A YOUNG Adelaide woman has lost an eye and narrowly escaped permanent brain damage after she was stomped on with a stiletto shoe during a vicious assault in a popular city nightclub.

The attack was believed to have been sparked after the 25-year-old victim accidentally stepped on another girl's foot in the women's toilets of the West Tce venue during an African-themed Rugby Sevens party last month.

The victim, who would give only her first name, Tash, has described how she thought she was going to be killed as up to four women of African descent bashed her in what she maintains was an unprovoked attack in the early hours of March 21.

The retail worker said she was bashed and knocked to the ground in the toilets at about 3am by a group of women, before one stamped on her face - plunging her stiletto heel into Tash's left eye, missing her brain by millimetres.

"I remember getting smashed (on) either the sink or the hair-dryer and (I) went straight to the ground," Tash said. "They were kicking my face and I remember the heel going in, I felt the heel going in. "I was basically three millimetres away from permanent brain damage - the heel went in 23mm."

She said she could not think of anything that may have provoked the attack but recalled she may have stepped on the foot of one in the group when she entered the toilet.

The western suburbs woman later underwent 90 minutes of surgery at Royal Adelaide Hospital but doctors could not save her sight. Her eye was removed on March 26 and she will shortly be fitted with a prosthetic eye.

The incident was reported to police but Tash said she believed her attackers were from interstate, complicating the task of identifying them.

Three days after the attack, HQ applied to the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner to trial a six-month lockout banning people from entering the venue between 3am and 8am, to tackle alcohol-related crime. It is understood the application was not related to the assault. HQ licensee Rod Rose could not be reached for comment.

Details of the incident emerged after the Sunday Mail last week reported on a surge in crime among young women, including a 40 per cent increase in assaults.

The viciousness of the attack has left Tash shell-shocked. She said she is now too scared to go out at night and wears sunglasses every day to hide her disfigurement. "It's not human (what they did), especially females," she said.

"I've never heard of something so vicious . . . I had a feeling I was going to die; as soon as I tasted my own blood, I thought `I'm gone'.

"It's awful out there; I'm scared in years to come people are going to start carrying guns into clubs."

Tash said she was "trying to be strong" despite her life-changing ordeal but desperately wanted justice over the attack. "They (the attackers) don't deserve to live a happy life; I don't know if they realise what they have done . . . maybe they have done this before," she said. "I have my down days; it took me a week to cry after I got out of hospital, I was just really angry.

"I would really like to speak to anyone else who has gone through what I have."

Tash's mother said nothing could justify what the women had done to her daughter. "Hopefully they get a conscience and give themselves up, and somebody who knows them does the right thing and reports it to the authorities," she said.

"She's got a strong family unit supporting her and good friends; she's got a battle in front of her but she's a fighter. She's not going to bury her head in the sand and will carry on the best way that she can."

Eastern Adelaide CIB Senior Constable Christian Ruckert said police were appealing for anybody to come forward, as CCTV footage seized from HQ had offered no leads.

"This was a pretty brutal attack and I've never heard of anything like this before," he said. "You don't expect females to do that to each other; blokes glass each other but you don't expect this from girls."


The age of bureaucracy

I make this point in trying to fathom the catastrophic failures of leadership we keep seeing lately - from the billions wasted on pink batts and school hall rorts, to the 173 deaths in the Victorian bushfires last year. Even more unfathomable is that no one seems accountable. Failed leaders can't explain what went wrong and are showered with sympathy. We seem destined never to learn from our mistakes.

When the former Victorian police commissioner, Christine Nixon, 56, admitted in the bushfire royal commission this month that she was getting her hair cut, meeting with her biographer and having dinner at a restaurant with friends on Black Saturday last year, she was enveloped in a warm group hug.

A few troglodytes, such as the former premier Jeff Kennett and the Liberal MP Fran Bailey, said she should be punished for dereliction of duty, and sacked from her $8000-a-week position as chairwoman of the Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority.

But they were quickly drowned out by Nixon supporters, such as Heather Ridout and Joan Kirner, who claimed the criticism was a sexist plot. The sisterhood enveloped her. After being forensically eviscerated by counsel assisting the commission, Rachel Doyle, SC, Nixon appeared unperturbed, saying she had been buoyed by the support from Black Saturday families.

We seem to be impressed by leaders skilled at looking confident and brazen through catastrophe, as incredible amounts of money are wasted, their core business disintegrates and, sometimes, people die. What was most telling about Nixon's testimony to the royal commission were the mundane details of her performance that day and how she perceived her role.

She was the No.1 person in the state with operational responsibility, yet she didn't know what to do. When she dropped into the State Emergency Response Co-ordination Centre about 3pm on Black Saturday, February 7, after meeting in her office with her biographer, she seemed to just float around, lost, not asking for a briefing, observing that people seemed "very busy".

"I thought the people in those areas were carrying out their responsibilities effectively, the best I could tell, and that they were very busy trying to respond to a range of issues." But, asked Doyle, "What were they busy doing?"

Good question. As for her role, "I would look at computer screens over people's shoulders. "And what," asked Doyle, "what did you glean by looking at … screens over people's shoulders?"

"I just saw that they were very busy, that people were working on a range of issues … and that people were going about their work."

"It sounds rather passive, Ms Nixon."

So it does. What the people in that control room weren't doing, for example, was warning towns in the path of the fires that they were next in line. Asked if she had "considered" whether the towns might have been warned, Nixon said she "assumed" they had.

The paralysis in the co-ordination centre on Black Saturday, as revealed in the commission testimony, is a textbook demonstration of what managerialism or bureaumania does to organisations. It causes everyone to lose sight of their core aim, which is to run an emergency response system that warns people a fire is on its way, or a police force that protects good people from bad people, or a land management system that doesn't allow fuel to build up to lethal levels in the bush.

As police commissioner Nixon became the posterchild for bloated bureaucracies everywhere.

And the media adored her. She was progressive! She took part in the gay and lesbian pride march! She was a woman! She was consultative! She relaxed uniform standards! She recruited women and minorities! She answered emails, had lots of meetings and set up myriad committees. She was the nana feminist, who humbled the most masculine, testosterone charged militaristic symbol of the patriarchy itself. She was perfectly chosen and trained to spend her days being busy doing her job, whatever that was. Busy, busy, busy. The truth is her defenders are right, she can hardly be blamed.

Christine Nixon is the perfect leader for our age.


NSW Government staff paid $11.8 million to not work

THE State Government is paying staff a staggering $11.8 million every year to sit around and do nothing. It can be revealed that 164 Government workers remain on the payroll although their jobs are redundant.

The struggling Transport and Infrastructure Department accounts for almost a quarter with 40 workers paid to do nothing, including three who have been on the payroll for seven years.

A Freedom of Information document reveals there were 164 excess employees across the government agencies in December. But a former HR manager still employed with a government department said the the real figure was much higher.

Under the FOI, the Service Technology and Administration Department has eight excess employees listed. "I know for a fact they have in excess of 30 staff, however they fudge the figures by saying they are doing meaningful work inside or outside their department," the woman said. "A person could be on a salary of $90,000 and doing the work of someone who is paid $50,000."

"Taxpayers would be appalled to know millions are being wasted paying public servants for jobs they don't have," NSW Shadow Treasurer Mike Baird said. "It is extraordinary some public servants are being paid for up to 7 years to float around the bureaucracy. The frightening thing is that this is clearly the tip of the iceberg. "Not only is this taxpayers' money pouring down the drain, these workers would have zero job satisfaction so it is a lose-lose situation."

The FOI shows in June 2009 there were 253 employees on the Excess employees list which was cut in December to 164. The Justice and Attorney General Department had 22 people.


Too-hot topics out of NSW secular ethics course

THE state government made a last-minute decision to remove a hypothetical scenario involving designer babies from secular ethics classes being trialled in public schools as an alternative to scripture classes.

A hypothetical terrorist hijacking has also been removed from ethical scenarios put to students.

The baby scenario was removed some time between late last week and early this week after the Herald reported the Anglican and Catholic churches had lobbied the Keneally government over the ethics trial as a threat to the future of religious education.

Phil Cam, an associate professor of history and philosophy at the University of NSW, who developed the ethics curriculum, confirmed the two scenarios had been omitted, saying they were considered "age inappropriate".

The Catholic Bishop of Wollongong, Peter Ingham, the spokesman for the NSW and ACT bishops on the ethics trial, said he was not aware that the designer baby and terrorist scenarios had been part of the original draft and their inclusion was not something the Catholic church had lobbied against.

A spokesman for the Anglican church also said the Anglican church had not been aware of these topics in the curriculum.

A spokesman for the NSW Education Minister, Verity Firth, confirmed that the controversial topics had been removed.

The NSW Greens MP and spokesman on education, John Kaye, said: 'There are no reasons why these issues should not be discussed in primary school classrooms as students are exposed to them through news reports and television."

Bishop Ingham said he did not oppose the teaching of ethics in schools but did not want children enrolled in scripture classes to be excluded from them. He said he would call on parishioners of the Catholic diocese to sign petitions asserting the importance of scripture classes.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Bloody Joan Kirner back at it again. If anyone was duty bound to defend incompetence it would be her.