Wednesday, August 11, 2010

'N*gger' slur offensive, says Qld. Premier

Ms Bligh is not the brightest so may have been unaware that on March 19, 2002, in the "N*gger Brown" case, the High Court of Australia rejected the allegation that the word "N*gger was offensive in Australia. Under the doctrine of "Stare decisis" that finding was binding on the magistrate

Note: I use an asterisk in order to avoid falling foul of Google

PREMIER Anna Bligh has taken issue with a Gold Coast magistrate who ruled the term "n*gger" was not offensive and suggested his views are "last century". Ms Bligh also says Queensland's racial vilification laws may need looking at at in light of the ruling.

Southport magistrate Michael O'Driscoll on Monday threw out a charge against a Gold Coast man charged with sending an offensive fax to local Labor MP Peta Kaye-Croft's office. In the fax, 62-year-old Denis Mulheron called on the ALP to tighten immigration laws against 'niggers' and "sandnigger terrorists". He also described indigenous Australians as "Abos".

Mr Mulheron argued he was was using "everyday English" but Ms Kaye-Croft's electorate officer, who received the fax, said she was disturbed and offended. However, Mr O'Driscoll ruled that Mr Mulheron's words were "crude, unattractive and direct ... but were not offensive to a reasonable person".

Ms Bligh, who was on the Gold Coast yesterday to announce Queensland had secured three-year hosting rights for the NRL's Indigenous All-Stars match, said she found "n*gger" to be a "highly offensive" word. "I think most Australians would find that kind of language highly offensive. I certainly find it highly offensive," she said. "They're the sort of words that I don't think have any place in modern Australia. They're not the sort of words I hear most reasonable people using. "Most reasonable Australians would find it not only offensive but a part of the last century."

Ms Bligh said while she had her 'own views' on Mr Mulheron's language, it may not have met the standard of proof required by the courts. "The test is, from the courts, whether they think this would meet (the views of) the reasonable person in the street," she said. "There'll always be a difference of opinion about what that might be."

Mr Mulheron was charged with using a carriage service, namely a fax machine, to menace, harass or offend - an offence which carries up to three years' jail. The Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act says serious racial vilification is a criminal offence, with a maximum penalty of a $7000 fine or six months' jail.

Asked whether Queensland's racial vilification laws needed changing, Ms Bligh said she would need to seek legal advice. But she believed the laws were as "as strong as anything in the country".


Happy birthday, Flo!

As a 5th generation Queenslander and a former member of the Qld. National Party, I think I have some right to publish that wish. She's a great old Queensland lady

Turning 90 today, Flo Bjelke-Petersen still drives her car and follows politics. Speaking from her Bethany home near Kingaroy this week, the widow of former Queensland premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen said she felt "very blessed" to have reached such a milestone.

"God's been very good to me, I've been well looked after," Lady Bjelke-Petersen said. "I have had a few falls here and there and stays in hospital. But my health has been fairly good and I thank the dear Lord every day that he has given me 90 years."

Born in Brisbane, Lady Bjelke-Petersen turns 90 today. A great-grandmother, she has family travelling from Russia, England and the US to celebrate the occasion, which includes a dinner on Saturday in Coolabunia, close to her home.

The former senator said she was thrilled to have her driver's licence renewed this week and still made regular trips to Kingaroy. "I went and got my doctor's certificate so I can keep on driving," she said. "I just drive to town and back, I used to drive to Brisbane but I called that off."

Still following politics closely, she shared her thoughts on this month's election. "It all depends on whether people think Tony Abbott will make a better prime minister than Julia Gillard," she said. "I think he'll do a good job, I certainly hope he gets in and gets a chance – that would be wonderful – but we'll just have to wait and see.

"I don't know about Julia, they say all the women love her but I don't think so myself."

Asked to name the greatest event of her life, she nominated marrying her husband, who died in 2005. "I thought I'd reached the stage where I was going to be on the shelf," Lady Bjelke-Petersen said. "Joh's father in the early days said to him, 'Now Joh, don't be in any rush to get married, take your time and choose wisely'."

They married when she was 31 and Sir Joh was 40. The couple had four children – Meg, Ruth, Helen and John – 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Plans for her birthday will likely include tucking into her famous pumpkin scones and playing the organ – a regular event at Kingaroy's Canowindra nursing home.

And therein lies her secret to reaching 90 years: "Keep active." "Keep your brain working and I do believe that is good, instead of having it rusticating at home here all the time," she said.


'You've left your children home alone with a paedophile'

DOCS had the information but passed it on to the mother way too late -- and guess who got penalized. DOCS? No. The mother!

TO the unsuspecting young mother he was the man who promised a bright new future for her and her daughter. They fell in love and she had three more children.

It was only when she was in hospital with complications with her pregnancy late last year that a DOCS caseworker told her: "You have left your children home alone with a paedophile."

The woman checked herself out of a hospital in the NSW Mid-North Coast only to discover her now 10-year-old daughter from a previous relationship had been raped by the pervert.

The woman said DOCS, initially called in to investigate her for allegedly yelling at her toddler, then removed all four children on the grounds that she had failed to protect them from a sex offender.

It was not the first time the man, while on the child protection register, had moved in with a woman and abused her daughter. His last victim was just 13 months old when he committed an act of indecency on her.

In that case, the police had previously warned the baby's mother that her new partner was a registered child offender - but she stayed with him.

The man has another unrelated conviction for indecent assault of a child under 10. In the past decade he has worked in a childcare centre, as a cleaner in shopping mall toilets and as a community volunteer.

NSW Police Minister Michael Daley refused to comment on whether police could tell the new partners of paedophiles that they were on the child protection register, to which only some police have access. A spokesman said: "By law, I cannot confirm or deny the identity of anybody on the child protection register."

The woman's eldest daughter is now living with her grandmother in Port Macquarie but she is struggling to come to terms with her rape. "She's not even close to wanting to talk about it, we have been taking her to counselling since January," her grandmother said.

The offender is due to be sentenced in Newcastle District Court on September 9.

Police said those on the child protection register were required to tell police their address, where they work, travel plans, whether they have contact with children and the details of their car.

The commander of the sex crimes squad Detective Superintendent John Kerlatec said there was almost 100 per cent compliance with legislation.

Opposition Community Services spokeswoman Pru Goward said: "I think we need to review the laws to ensure that every new partner is checked to make sure there are no children living there."


Greens want to tax death

“There are only two certainties in life: death and taxes.” It’s a phrase that originated more than 200 years ago (first attributed to Benjamin Franklin) and it still holds true today. But did you know an Australian political party is trying to combine life’s two certainties?

The Australian Greens advocate the re-establishment of an estate tax as part of their economic platform, which the Greens are taking to the upcoming federal election. Estate taxes, otherwise known as death duties, were a common part of Australian life for most of the 20th century, and forced individuals to pay tax on a deceased family member’s estate, mainly their property and other valuable possessions. The United States still enforces an estate tax today.

Exemptions and thresholds were implemented to spare low and average income earners from much of the burden, but Queensland abolished estate taxes in the late 1970s, and by the mid 1980s, the Commonwealth and other states had followed Queensland’s lead.

The Greens’ proposal to reintroduce an estate tax promises to “protect the family farm, the family home and small business with a threshold of $5 million”, but it is hard to understand why a party so strongly dedicated to protecting vulnerable members of society plans to tax the dead in order to enforce its social policy.

Also, in contrast with both major parties’ pledges to cut company taxes once the budget bottom line improves, the Greens plan to increase the company tax rate to 33 per cent, which would irreparably harm productivity and lead to a death of a different kind: the figurative death of the Australian economy. They also seek to impose a higher rate of tax on the Australian mining industry.

For a party growing in influence and poised to hold the balance of power in the Senate from July 2011, the Greens’ policies warrant further examination. Their estate tax plan is nonsensical and would only increase the hardship and sorrow suffered by grieving families after the death of a loved one, and force many sons and daughters to either sell their business, bring in partners, borrow more, downsize or lay off staff.

As US magazine Investors Business Daily editorialised this year, people “should not be punished because they work hard, become successful and want to pass on the fruits of their labour, or even their ancestors’ labour, to their children”. An estate tax can also be a disincentive for people and businesses to save and invest, and, rather ironically, can even be considered harmful to the environment, as an American review argued in 1998.

Perhaps it’s time to add a third certainty to the list to join death and taxes – bizarre Greens economic policy.


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