Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Australian Islamic College bans Afro hairstyle

For disciplinary reasons it has long been held that schools have the right to set standards of dress and presentation for their pupils so I fail to see anything that this school did wrongly. I think the school was rather tolerant in putting up with it as long as they did, in fact. If it is good enough for Obama to keep his hair short, it should be good enough for this kid. And why does Obama keep his hair short? Because an Afro is widely seen as unattractive

IT was the fro that had to go - but the fuzz about this teenager's hairstyle has gone all the way to the Supreme Court as his father claims he was cut off from friends at the Islamic school even after he trimmed his afro.

Mazen Zraika is taking the Australian Islamic College in Rooty Hill to court over the treatment of his son Billal, 13, who was ordered away from the school earlier this year until he changed his afro hairstyle, The Daily Telegraph reported.

After six months of asking him to cut his hair, the Year 8 student and his parents were sent a letter in April advising them that he would be suspended from school until he cut his hair into a style that wasn't in breach of its appearance code. Principal Yasmin Gamieldien told the family the hairstyle was deemed a "mop" and needed to be cut shorter.

But Mr Zraika says Billal - who is of Lebanese and Ethiopian descent - was simply being punished for his natural hairstyle. "His mum Mary is Ethiopian so it's not his fault he's got the fuzzy hair," Mr Zraika said following the school's order.

"They said it's a mop hair- style but that's something Zac Efron has. "He doesn't have to style it or anything. When he gets out of the pool and shakes his head a few times it automatically comes back into shape."

Billal returned to classes following the Easter holiday break, but the family claim they were then sent another letter by staff saying he would be expelled if it wasn't cut within a week, while Billal was left sitting in the front office in "isolation" from his friends.

The teenager had a crew-cut in order to avoid expulsion, but the family claim that he was still forced into "isolation" and kept away from classmates while being told to "catch up" on schoolwork he'd missed.


University of Queensland warned of loss of donors over enrolment scandal

THE University of Queensland risked losing major philanthropic donations as long as it failed to deal with favouritism allegations, a leading Queensland solicitor said yesterday.

David Muir, chairman of the estate of former Lord Mayor Clem Jones and a partner in HWL Ebsworth, said there was disquiet in the business world about allegations of nepotism involving a family member of UQ vice-chancellor Paul Greenfield.

He said: "Vice-chancellor Paul Greenfield ... should resign but has elected to stay on as CEO for a further six months, without giving any explanation about why he should stay on, or detail about what actually happened. "What is the example to the staff and other academics in taking this course?"

Longreach-born Muir, who set up Crime Stoppers and was a long-time state president of Amnesty International, is a director of the Foodbank charity.

He deplored the lack of transparency. "The university is a big business, dependent upon in excess of $700 million of Commonwealth funding each year, as well as significant funding by philanthropists," Mr Muir said.

"Disquiet is developing among those who provide funding, in particular those who are concerned about accountability and transparency. Accountability and transparency are essential ingredients.

"Philanthropists are generally focused on outcomes and want to be able to measure success. "After all, many philanthropists have earnt their wealth through this approach and may be as demanding of those who receive their funds as they are of themselves."

Mr Muir said: "Funders of the university are among the most significant of stakeholders.

"Risk managers of major corporations in Australia recognise that any diminution of brand reputation may impact seriously on financial performance of the business. "In the modern information age, brand reputation can be lost more readily than in previous times. Brand reputation is vital because it is the catalyst for why people want to work for the business and why people are attracted to and want to support the business. "The culture of any major business is set by the chief executive officer.

"Those who give away money are usually concerned to ensure that they maximise the impact of their giving. Accountability and transparency are critical elements in demonstrating that the giving is the most impactful. Can they be confident that these values are being upheld at the University of Queensland?

"Competition for funding among universities is highly competitive. Large sums of money are at stake, particularly in regard to the fields of medical research. "It is in the hands of the University of Queensland to ease the disquiet that may be growing among the ranks of those who fund it.

"It is the way in which the CEO of a business responds to an 'irregularity', just as much as the 'irregularity' itself that is important. Most people will forgive mistakes. What is not forgiven is a denial or cover-up of a mistake.

"The University of Queensland is in command of its own culture and of its own message. It is not in command of its stakeholders and they may vote with their feet."


Julia Gillard hits families, but won't stop Gold Pass travel scheme for retired politicians

MOTHERS who give birth before September 1 will beat a $437 cut to the baby bonus being imposed by the Government to help deliver its promised Budget surplus.

Treasurer Wayne Swan yesterday said the bonus for stay-at-home parents would be cut from $5437 to $5000 and then be frozen for three years to save the Budget $358 million. There is no change to the paid parental leave scheme for working parents, worth about $590 a week before tax for up to 18 weeks.

The surprise cut to the baby bonus came as Mr Swan also said foreigners would pay more for visas and $2.1 billion worth of promised tax breaks, including incentives for savings, would be delayed.

The Government will take a $1.5 billion axe to the public service, which Finance Minister Penny Wong said would mean slashing travel, consultants, hospitality and advertising, but unions said could mean 3000 job losses.

Mr Swan unveiled net cuts to spending of $6.8 billion as he revealed a $15 billion blow-out in the deficit for this financial year to $37 billion due to Europe's financial turmoil causing "storm clouds on the global horizon" and weaker economic growth.

Mr Swan insisted the cuts were "fair and equitable" as he revealed the $3.5 billion surplus he announced six months ago for 2012-13 would be now just a wafer-thin $1.5 billion. Economists warned it could easily be wiped out.

The Treasurer rejected suggestions he had inflicted pain and brought forward some spending and delayed other outlays just to meet a political promise to deliver a surplus. He said it was important to send a message to the world that Australia had a strong economy

But, despite the pressure on the Budget, the Government made no change to the Gold Pass free travel scheme for retired politicians, although Special Minister of State Gary Gray said he wanted to scrap it because it was"an unjustifiable perk".

The Budget update revealed economic growth is tipped to be 3.25 per cent, down from the 4 per cent expected six months ago. The jobless rate is tipped to rise from 5.2 to 5.5 per cent.

Mr Swan said while unemployment would "tick up a little", it was much lower than the 9-10 per cent jobless rates in the US and Europe, and in Spain, where 50 per cent of young people were out of work.

Mr Swan was buoyed by ratings agency Fitch upgrading Australia to AAA, the same level as Moodys and Standard & Poor's.

He defended cutting the baby bonus, saying it had risen from $3000 just a few years ago and it was time to "reset" it to make the payment sustainable over time.

He said the change would not happen until September "so people clearly know what it is going to be in nine months' time".

The Government defended its record for families saying this year it had introduced paid parental leave, increased family benefits for parents with kids aged 16-19 and delivered more childcare assistance.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott attacked the change to the baby bonus. "This is a rip-off of the forgotten families of Australia. Let's not forget that the baby bonus is there to help stay-at-home mums and I think this is a Government which has never had much respect for the stay-at-home mums," he said.

Opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb accused the Government of creating an "illusory surplus". But the Opposition refused to say if it would oppose any of the cuts or announce what savings it would make to deliver its promises.


South Australian private schools six times safer for kids

PUBLIC school students are six times more likely to be assaulted than private school students.

Figures released through Freedom Of Information show there have been 2049 assaults (1 for every 81 students) reported to police in state government schools since 2006, compared to 195 (1 per 472 students) in non-government schools.

Last year, 65 assaults in government schools involved weapons, compared to seven in non-government schools.

The figures follow the vicious bashing of Hamilton Secondary College schoolboy Callan Wade last week. The 14-year-old was so badly bashed that his spleen was ruptured and he was treated at the Women's and Children's hospital intensive care unit.

Opposition Education spokesman David Pisoni said school safety had deteriorated to unacceptable levels under the Labor government.

He said the disparity between the number of assaults in public and private school proved the best results come when communities are allowed back into schools and principals are given the autonomy to decide what works best.

"Under Labor there has been a significant drift in the number of South Australian students choosing to attend non-government schools over government-run schools," Mr Pisoni said.

"A Liberal Government would tackle school violence head on by ensuring principals and school communities are adequately resourced to deal with bullying and violence."

The number of students attending private schools has increased 10 per cent in the past decade while public school numbers have decreased about five per cent.

Education Minister Grace Portolesi said every student and teacher had the right to go to school or work in a safe environment and the government would not tolerate people who acted in a violent or disorderly way.

"The drift from public to the private sector had slowed in the past two years and figures show government school enrolments have increased consecutively each year since 2008," she said.


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