Friday, November 26, 2010

Newspaper editor to sue over Warmist lies

As is normal with Murdoch media properties, "The Australian" tries to give both sides of politics a run. But ANY covering of climate skepticism evokes rage and abuse from devotees of the Warmist religion

The Australian's editor-in-chief, Chris Mitchell, said he will sue journalism academic and prolific twitter user Julie Posetti for defamation.

This follows Posetti’s tweet yesterday from a journalism conference at the University of Technology Sydney in which Posetti quoted The Australian’s former rural reporter Asa Walhquist as allegedly saying "in the lead up to the election the Ed in Chief was increasingly telling me what to write".

Mitchell rejects the allegation and Walhquist has also denied it, saying she has never spoken to Mitchell about climate change.

Mitchell said his lawyers were given a brief yesterday. Posetti is a journalism lecturer at the University of Canberra. "I am not one who believes new media should be exempt from the normal laws of the land," Mitchell said. "Asa may or may not have said what the tweeter alleges. She denies to me that she did. But either way the allegations are a lie and Asa has admitted as much.

"There is not protection from the law in repeating accurately allegations falsely made. Asa works from home and I have neither seen her nor spoken to her in years, as anyone on the paper would attest."

The legal action comes after Mitchell contacted Walhquist yesterday after seeing the reported comments, also saying in an email to her that he had "never spoken" to her about climate change and “have never stood over you about ANY of your stories". "Indeed, I have not spoken to you in at least eight years. And I have never stood over people writing stories in 19 years as an editor."

Mitchell adds he is proud of the paper's environmental coverage. He said The Australian's editorials on climate change "would make it clear that for several years the paper has accepted man-made climate change as fact".

"It has supported market mechanisms to reduce carbon output for the best part of a decade. What people do not like is that I publish people such as Bjorn Lomborg. I will continue to do so, but would suggest my environment writer, Graham Lloyd, who is a passionate environmentalist, gets a very good run in the paper."

The tweets from Posetti yesterday included her quoting Walhquist as saying that writing on climate change for The Australian was "absolutely excruciating. It was torture".

Walhquist responded to Mitchell she had been quoted inaccurately and taken out of context and adding that "I do not think twitters from unnamed third parties should be regarded as an accurate news source. As a journalist I would never rely on information from such a source." "I would like to place on record the fact I have never had a conversation with the Editor-in-Chief of The Australian, Chris Mitchell, about climate change," Walhquist wrote. "In fact I have not had any conversations with Mr Mitchell on any subject for a number of years."

SOURCE. The tweets concerned are at the moment here

NSW poised to reject 'underprepared' national curriculum

NSW is set to upset plans for a national curriculum by refusing to sign up to it at a meeting of education ministers next month. The Education Minister, Verity Firth, received advice from the NSW Board of Studies that more time was needed for consultation in response to concerns raised by stakeholders.

It is understood Ms Firth will heed the advice and is preparing to reject the curriculum, which the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority will present at the meeting on December 8.

The Herald understands the Board of Studies has responded to concerns about a lack of consultation by the authority and the overall curriculum structure, including the times allotted to teach each subject and the capacity to cater for all students.

Ms Firth's decision is a blow to the federal Education Minister, Peter Garrett, as the meeting is the last chance for ministers to reach agreement before the NSW election in March.

The Coalition is widely expected to win power at the election, making the prospects of an agreement more difficult.

The federal government was counting on all education ministers signing up to the curriculum by year's end so that it could be implemented around the country by 2013.

The Board of Studies has consistently criticised drafts of the curriculum, saying it is inferior to the existing NSW curriculum.

Mr Garrett said last night that he had not seen the detail of the board's decision, but urged it to work with the curriculum authority to resolve problems. "This reform is too important to let it slide because of some minor concerns about one aspect. The Australian Curriculum will be a basic learning entitlement for all students in Australia, no matter where they live."

Barry McGaw, who chairs the authority board, said he had received mixed messages from the NSW government. He believed its stance would amount to a delay in introducing the curriculum rather than to its abandonment. "The other states are keen to sign up," he said.

A coalition of seven national principals' associations, representing public, independent and Catholic schools, issued a statement in support of a "truly national Australian curriculum".

The group, which includes the Australian Secondary Principals Association, is scheduled to meet with the curriculum authority in Sydney today to discuss the future of the proposal.

Sheree Vertigan, the president of the Secondary Principals Association, said the associations were "definitely committed to a national curriculum". "It will be really sad if one state is rejecting it," she said.

But Christine Cawsey, the president of the NSW Secondary Principals' Council, said she supported a delay in the introduction of a curriculum as it was important to give stakeholders more time for consultation to improve the content.

"The Board of Studies would not recommend such a serious decision to the minister without serious consideration about what still needs to be done."

The NSW opposition spokesman on education, Adrian Piccoli, said if the curriculum was not signed off by March 26, a Coalition government would support the development of a national curriculum in principle, but it would need to be as good as the NSW curriculum. "It needs more work," he said.


Federal government agency blew $10m pursuing Paul Hogan over tax case

All based on allegations about Hogan's "state of mind", would you believe?

THE Australian Crime Commission spent $10 million pursuing actor Paul Hogan, John Cornell and their financial adviser Tony Stewart, during its five-year criminal investigation into the trio.

The figure is more than half the total amount of $17.3m allocated to the ACC to investigate all Wickenby cases over that period.

The probe into Hogan, Cornell and Stewart was dubbed "Operation Youghal" within the ACC, and was one of nine separate probes into individuals or groups that it undertook.

The ACC announced this week that it had dropped its investigations into Hogan and Cornell, saying there was "insufficient prospects of securing convictions".

However, they are still being pursued by the Australian Taxation Office. The ACC told The Australian yesterday that it had spent "in the vicinity of $10m" on Operation Youghal, but an exact figure could not be given because some of the money overlapped with the other eight "operations".

Mr Stewart is believed to be still under investigation.

ACC chief executive John Lawler said yesterday: "It should also be noted that Operation Youghal is an ongoing criminal investigation. In my statement earlier this week, I made it clear that I was discontinuing the criminal investigation of Mr Hogan and Mr Cornell, but the investigation of the suspected facilitators of the tax-evasion schemes will continue."

The latest figures reveal that, as at the end of last month, Wickenby targets had been hit with $951.61m in tax bills, while $229.52m had been recouped. Taxpayers associated with Wickenby have since paid an additional average of about 276 per cent in tax, according to the figures.

Cornell and Hogan are considering seeking compensation from Canberra for the money they have spent on legal bills and the damage done to their "trashed reputations", according to their lawyer, Andrew Robinson.

While Hogan and Cornell are still being pursued by the ATO for massive tax bills, the decision by the ACC to drop its case could have an impact on talks that are under way with the tax office.

The bills date back to 1985, but the ATO is relying on Hogan's "state of mind" at the time - as told to the ATO by a former employee, John Gibb. Mr Stewart, who replaced Mr Gibb as Hogan's and Cornell's main financial adviser, recently told a court Mr Gibb was upset at being replaced.


Parents finally beat notorious Qld. Health bureaucracy and get to see top doctor

Marvellous what publicity will do

A COUPLE who fear their daughter could die from a mystery illness that killed their four-year-old son will this weekend meet the specialist they have been waiting months to see.

Andrew and Trudy Olive, from the Sunshine Coast hinterland town of Mooloolah, have been overwhelmed by support following their heart-wrenching story in The Courier-Mail on Thursday.

Their son Tom died three months ago from an attack in which his body "turned on itself", destroying his muscle tissue.

They live in fear because their daughter Laura, 3, is showing some of the symptoms that Tom had, including aches and pains and bladder problems. Their heartfelt plea to Queensland Health and Health Minister Paul Lucas has resulted in a meeting being set up with the doctor they believe is "the best" to see regarding their case.

Mr Olive said they had been trying unsuccessfully to get together with Dr Jim McGill, Director of the Department of Metabolic Medicine at the Royal Children's Hospital, for months after being referred to him by their GP. Dr McGill is a paediatrician, clinical geneticist and Clinical Liaison for Division of Chemical Pathology, Pathology Queensland.

"This man is regarded as the best and we can't wait to meet him and give him all the information we have," Mr Olive said.

Sunday's meeting was arranged by Sunshine Coast Health Service district executive director Piotr Swierkowski who contacted them on Thursday. The Olives want everything possible to be done to safeguard Laura from the unidentified disease that killed their son.

Mrs Olive is also pregnant with their third child, adding to their concern.

The couple have been told that Tom died because his muscle cells were destroyed by an "episode", one of six they say he had in two years. Damage to his muscles was so acute, testing was of no use.

The Olives have learnt a sample had been sent to Paris, where scientists would look for a link to the LPIN1 gene, believed to have caused a handful of deaths in children.

The status of this testing is something that the Olives hope to raise with Dr McGill.


Another amazing government bungle

Bureaucrats just don't give a sh*t

On Friday, November 12, electrician Phil Cullen drove through the M2 toll plaza. His tag made four beeps, something Mr Cullen had never heard before.

He went home and logged on to his My RTA e-tag account and discovered his credit of $388 had disappeared, his credit card had been debited for more than $1000 and he had a debt of about $800. "To finish it, my tag was invalidated. All without my knowledge," Mr Cullen said.

On Monday, he rang the RTA contact centre. After what he said was two hours on the phone, he was told his e-tag had never been properly validated and he owed $2148.

Given Mr Cullen always paid his tolls and the error here was not his, he was understandably aggrieved. "I feel something has gone very wrong internally with my e-tag account," said Mr Cullen, who has four tags linked to his account.

A RTA spokeswoman said: "The RTA apologises for this initial error. The RTA is investigating the system error to ensure this problem does not occur again."

That reads like "newspeak" from the novel 1984. Something "ungood", as George Orwell would say, happened and the RTA's response was to raid Mr Cullen's bank account. Imagine if you or I did that -- helped ourselves to more than $1000 without asking? But the RTA thought nothing of it, even though it was their mistake.

When I said the RTA didn't think anything of it, that's not strictly correct. One person at the RTA thought something of it, advising Mr Cullen to contact the NSW Ombudsman about the matter. Which he has.


Vicious Asian bus driver gets away with it

Yet another rogue Brisbane bus driver. This is just going to encourage more of them

A BRISBANE City Council bus driver has been jailed, but released immediately, for causing horrific injuries to a 79-year-old passenger he assaulted for coming up 60 cents short on his fare.

The Brisbane District Court was today told Dennis Fath Chow assaulted Mato Plazino shortly after he boarded a bus at Chermside West and the pair argued after the pensioner failed to pay the full $1.20 fare about 9.30am on September 18, 2008.

The court was told Chow even refused to accept a 16-year-old school student's money -- when she tried to chip in $2 to cover Mr Plazino's fare.

Prosecutor Amanda Meisenhelter said Chow became enraged when Mr Plazino walked toward a seat after high school student Jacqueline Williams helped pay his fare and the pensioner accused Chow of wanting to "keep the money for himself."

She said Chow then blocked Mr Plazino from taking a seat, then remonstrated with the pensioner and pushed him. The court was told Mr Plazino then lost his balance, tumbled out of the bus on to the concrete footpath and fractured his skull, eye socket and sinus bone.

Chow, 40, a father of three, was sentenced to 12-months jail, to be served by way of intensive corrections order. In Queensland a person placed on an ICO is in effect being handed a jail sentence. However, an ICO allows the person the freedom to return and live as a normal member of the community, but under strict supervision by the Department of Corrective Services.

The court was told Mr Plazino was rushed to the Royal Brisbane Hospital where he was treated for the skull and facial fractures, lacerations to his face, hand and leg and various bruises. Ms Meisenhelter said after the incident Mr Plazino was diagnosed as suffering from mental health problems and has since been hospitalised.

More HERE (Mostly bullshit)

1 comment:

Paul said...

That article about the faulty E-tag reminds me of the story of the "faulty" speed cameras in Victoria. All these Government controlled pieces of equipment seem to "fail" in the favour of the Governments harvesting the money.