Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Villawood Protest "won't stop deportation"

This protest is excellent. It was such protests in the Howard era that did more than anything else to stop the flow of illegals. One hopes that TV coverage of it has gone worldwide.

The suicide is of course sad but the man must have been a bit of a nut. Fiji is a very safe and civil place. Even their military coups are bloodless! So there is nothing there to seek asylum from

THE protest by 11 asylum seekers at a Sydney detention centre, sparked by the suicide of a fellow detainee, will not prevent their deportation, the federal government says. Nine Tamils, one Iraqi and one Afghan began their rooftop protest at the Villawood detention centre in the city's west on Monday afternoon and were still refusing to come down this morning.

A 36-year-old Fijian man facing deportation committed suicide yesterday morning at the centre.

All the men on the rooftop have exhausted the application process for asylum status and face being returned to their homeland.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said their actions would do nothing to prevent their deportation. "I understand that people who are very keen to stay in Australia will in desperate circumstances think of other ways to make their case," Mr Bowen told Fairfax radio today. "Our immigration officials determine who gets asylum after a very rigorous process. "And it's not determined by a protest, and a protest won't change an immigration outcome."

Immigration department spokesman Sandi Logan said negotiators had been on the scene of the standoff overnight and into this morning. The negotiators included local Tamils, he said.

Mr Logan said the men were protesting against the handling of their visa applications, and their actions would neither help nor hinder them. "We continue to be hopeful that reason will prevail, that logic will prevail, and that they will understand that remaining on the roof is not going to change an outcome. It's not going to secure a different outcome to that which they currently have," Mr Logan told ABC television.

Mr Logan said he had not heard about claims the Villawood centre was understaffed, and he believed its manager, Serco, was managing well in a sometimes challenging environment.

Refugee advocate Sara Nathan has been in mobile phone contact with some of the rooftop protesters, who say the rejections of their applications contained factual errors and they were not given legal help during the process. Ms Nathan told AAP: "They're saying, 'Can we have a review of our case because you made a mistake. This is our lives. If you return us, we will be tortured and/or killed'." [Rubbish! They would be welcomed in Tamil Nadu]

Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul says the men want assurance their cases will be reviewed again before they will come off the roof. "They want an independent and transparent review of their cases and they want to meet with the immigration officers," he told AAP. "They've made it clear that they can't go back to Sri Lanka." [But they can go to Tamil Nadu in India, which is in fact their "eelam"]

Mr Bowen said just under 5000 people were being held in detention centres on Christmas Island and the Australian mainland.


Woman charged for false rape report

False rape claims are common in Britain. Is that cathching on in Australia? Feminists used to say that false rape claims don't happen and they probably still do

A 21-YEAR-OLD Melbourne woman who claimed she was raped on a beachside track in broad daylight will be charged with making a false report to police.

The woman told police she was jogging on a dirt track beside The Esplanade in Mount Martha, south of Melbourne, when she was attacked just after 5.30pm (AEST) on September 13.

Police today said detectives had completed their investigation and were now satisfied no such event happened.

"Police wish to allay community fears and reinforce the fact that this incident did not occur and there is no one sought in relation to the matter," a police spokeswoman said. "The 21-year-old woman is expected to be charged on summons with making a false report to police."

The woman had told police she was startled by a man standing on the dirt track exposing himself. She said the man tackled her to the ground, removed her pants and then sexually assaulted her on the track. She told police the attack only stopped when she bit him on the neck. She then fled to a nearby house to raise the alarm.


Top NSW cop tries to bribe TV station over harassment of lawyer

And the dumb copper did it in front of witnesses! The lawyer has repeatedly got big damages settlements from the NSW wallopers over their mistreatment of him so it is clear where the fault lies. They clearly have a vendetta against him and haven't yet learned their lesson. Pic of the genius cop below

A senior NSW police officer has been accused of behaving corruptly in his media management of the force's dispute with the prominent Muslim lawyer Adam Houda. Frank Mennilli, a NSW police assistant commissioner and the South-West Metropolitan Region commander, sought favourable television coverage of police in Mr Houda's case from Channel Seven in exchange for inside information, Mr Houda's lawyer, Chris Murphy, says.

However, Mr Mennilli rejects the allegations and intends to complain to Seven about its report on the case.

The Herald reported on Saturday that Mr Houda was preparing to sue police again after being detained, while walking near his home, for the fourth time in three years.

Mr Houda, 35, who has represented several clients accused of terrorism-related offences and managed the career of the former rugby league player Hazem El Masri, says the arrest was the worst example yet of racial vilification and brutality. Previous incidents have led to an apology and two police compensation payouts.

In a complaint to the NSW Ombudsman, Mr Murphy alleges Mr Mennilli said "a number of things which I believe amount to corrupt conduct" in a conversation with a Channel Seven journalist, Adam Walters, and two colleagues as they prepared the lead story for Saturday's news. Mr Murphy alleges Mr Mennilli said "that if Walters favoured police in his reporting he would be rewarded with future scoops and he was told of a major police operation next Thursday".

Mr Walters "regarded the offer as an attempted bribe and indicated to the assistant commissioner he was insulted and would not be party to it", Mr Murphy said. "He indicated to me [yesterday] that he filed a report with Channel Seven management complaining about the conduct of the assistant commissioner."

Police told the Herald on Friday that Mr Houda was stopped because they were conducting "proactive patrols in the Yagoona area following a series of robberies involving knives". They would not reveal the locations of the robberies or suspects' descriptions.

But Mr Murphy said: "Mennilli showed [Walters] police intelligence reports of crime in surrounding suburbs involving robbery. Interestingly none of the robberies were in Yagoona and three of them involved young people [aged in their teens]."

He also said the two officers accused of using excessive violence in Mr Houda's arrest on Thursday delivered a summons at his home at 9pm on Sunday, an experience that was "terrifying to the Houda family and to Mr Houda, who suffers a serious heart problem". "The police are ganging up on Mr Houda right to the highest levels," he alleged, calling for the Ombudsman to "show some strength".

Mr Mennilli said in a statement yesterday that he "strongly reject[s] the allegations". He said he had instructed police public affairs to lodge a formal complaint with Seven after the Saturday broadcast. But the broadcast did not contain the allegations of media manipulation. [Dumb copper again!]


Kids dying after casual treatment by West Australian public hospitals

Authorities have confirmed that a six-year-old boy died at Geraldton Hospital last Friday, as an investigation was launched into two other deaths at Northam Hospital.

An investigation has begun into how a 12-day-old baby and a teenager could have died soon after being assessed and leaving Northam hospital. The State Government says there is no link between the deaths, after the two children died shortly after being assessed by medical practitioners at the Hospital.

It has also denied there was a doctor shortage at the hospital, saying there was a medical practitioner either present or on call at both incidents.

It comes after the WA Health Department today confirmed a six-year-old boy died after being admitted to Geraldton Regional Hospital on Friday. That death is also being investigated. Health Minister Kim Hames said the boy was undergoing treatment for scarlet fever, a very uncommon infection.

In the past two months, 16-year-old Andrew Allan and newborn baby Lachlan Hughes were found dead less than 24 hours after being seen at the hospital.

Health Minister Kim Hames said the incident does not necessarily mean there is anything wrong happening at the hospital, however he said there will be an investigation into the deaths. "I have got to have a look and make sure things are being done properly but they are two separate, easily identifiably different cases," Dr Hames said.

Lachlan's parents, Sarah and Phillip Hughes, said their son was assessed by a midwife on August 9, when they were concerned he was choking on "phlegmy stuff". "So we took him up there to get assessed and the midwife up there said 'nothing wrong with him, he's got a blocked nose' and that was it'," Mr Hughes told ABC Radio.

"They sent him home with a nasal spray. I went up there the next night and got the same thing but I actually saw a doctor and they did the same thing to me as well. They said there's nothing wrong with him." Their son died shortly after.

Dr Hames said he understood at the time the symptoms of Lachlan were "fairly minimal" and it took an autopsy to establish the baby had whooping cough.

On Friday morning, 16-year-old Andrew Allan was found dead after being taken to Northam Hospital the night before with symptoms of gastroenteritis, including vomiting, sweating and a fever above 40 degrees. After they arrived at the emergency department, they were seen by a nurse who gave Andrew a kids' Panadol, two hydrolite sticks and sent him home.

Dr Hames said that incident could not be linked to the death of baby Lachlan and, as a medical practitioner himself, something unusual had occurred as gastroenteritis was quite common. "Sixteen-year-old boys don't just die from whatever the cause is unless this is extremely unusual," he said. "Normally what would happen with any illness is, even if someone made a mistake and sent home, they'd get worse and their symptoms will deteriorate and go back to hospital and get the treatment they need."

Dr Hames denied there was a doctor shortage at the hospital, saying there was a doctor either present or on call at both incidents.

Mr and Mrs Hughes said they were not satisfied that their newborn son was properly assessed by the medical staff.

Allan's mother Kylie Allan said the family were quickly dealt with once they arrived at the emergency department. "(The nurse) said Andrew just had gastro and gave us a pamphlet on gastro and told us to go home and he would be OK. We were at the hospital for less than 10 minutes," Ms Allan told PerthNow. The next morning Ms Allan found her son dead in his bed.

Mr Hames said he would not speculate on whether the nurse's assessment of the boy was sufficient or whether a doctor should have been called. "We don't have any reason to suspect that they have been doing anything wrong," he said.


Religion and education in Australia

By Jennifer Buckingham

Religious schools have been a major feature of the educational landscape in Australia since British settlement. The first schools in colonial New South Wales were Anglican schools. Despite fluctuating levels of political support and public funding, Catholic schools have survived in large numbers for close to 200 years.

At last count, 1.1 million children (out of a total school population of 3.4 million) were enrolled in non-government schools in Australia. More than 90% of these students were in religious schools.

Over the last two decades, enrolments in non-government schools continued to rise steadily. But more remarkable than the overall growth has been the diversification of religious schools in this period. While the traditional Christian religions remain dominant, their rate of growth has been outpaced by Islamic schools and schools associated with new Christian denominations.

Inevitably, this change in the nature of the non-government school sector has caused disquiet. Some people are worried about the potential negative effects of religious schools on children, such as lower standards of education and religious indoctrination. Others are concerned about the potential negative effects on society, such as social fragmentation and intolerance.

These are all important concerns, but there is little evidence that religious schools are the cause of any of the educational or social ills attributed to them.

Indeed, it is equally plausible to argue that religious schools are an essential part of a free, democratic and pluralist society. A public school system is necessarily secular and therefore cannot make everyone happy. Religious schools can act as an ‘escape valve.’ In the United States, for example, there have been dozens of conflicts between families and public schools over religious principles and that have ended up in court. The resolutions have invariably been unsatisfactory for all parties. In Australia, by contrast, most parents with a religious preference that cannot be accommodated in public schools have the option of choosing a religious school.

All schools should be expected to implement a high quality curriculum and engender in their students a commitment to the values that underpin a harmonious society. At present, there is no reason to believe that religious schools are falling short of these aims.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 17 September. Enquiries to cis@cis.org.au. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.

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