Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ethicist calls for corrupt University of Queensland boss to release scandal details

It grieves me that this greedy and corrupt Jewish man seems to be doing everything in his power to reinforce hateful old stereotypes about Jews

UNIVERSITY of Queensland vice-chancellor Paul Greenfield should reveal all about the nepotism scandal or face a Commission of Inquiry, a leading jurist said yesterday.

James Thomas, a retired Supreme Court judge, urged Prof Greenfield to waive his rights to privacy and tell all. "His right to privacy is questionable, especially when there is an allegation of nepotism," Justice Thomas said. "High public sector ethics are the least that should be expected from the chief executive officer of such an institution.

"The lack of information about what the vice-chancellor and his deputy actually did continues to worry a significant minority of persons interested in university's welfare. "If there has been no more than an administrative blunder or error of judgment, it would be heartening to be told the facts."

Prof Greenfield and his deputy Michael Keniger offered to stand down after in independent barrister found "irregularities" in the enrolment process of a student. The student was a "close family member" of Prof Greenfield.

Prof Greenfield, who was paid $1,069,999 last year, said the incident arose as a result of a "misunderstanding". A relative of his was able enter a course for which they had not qualified. He has failed to elaborate.

The university Senate has decided Prof Greenfield will stay until June next year after his 65th birthday, while Prof Keniger will leave in December. There have been calls for Prof Greenfield to leave the campus immediately to avoid further tarnishing the university's reputation.

Justice Thomas, 76, lectured in ethics at the university and in 1988 published a textbook, Judicial Ethics in Australia. He was a member of the university's faculty board.

He said he could appreciate how the university's disciplinary system should ordinarily be internal and private. "It settles grievances and punishes misconduct of its students and staff through internal reviews which are not carried out under the glare of publicity," he said. "Without the protection of guaranteed privacy, many complaints would go unreported and the system would be the worse for it.

"Most issues that arise within the university are better dealt with in this way than by trial by media where there is public exposure, and public arguing of the case as it comes out piece by piece. "It is to the credit of the university that a proper inquiry was conducted and its outcome announced.

"To that extent the vice-chancellor was subjected to the same disciplinary process that applies to students, staff and university officers.

"But no charge was proceeded with following the barrister's report, and the only action taken by the university was the "standing down" announcement. "It was not regarded as sufficiently serious to require anything more than a public slap on the wrist.

"The vice-chancellor is of course legally entitled to require all information that was obtained during the investigation, and its findings, to be kept in-house. "That is his legal right.

"But it is strongly arguable that his ethical duty as leader of a great public institution demands more from him than sitting on his legal rights.

"A vice-chancellor is in a different position to a lowly student. "The university is a great institution, bigger than some government departments. "Thousands of citizens aspire to enter it.

"They need to know that its entry requirements are publicly stated and rigidly applied, and that entrance will always be on merit, not favour. "Concerns of this kind are currently held by many, and they tend to affect the reputation of the university. "His is the public face of the institution."


Win for the Greens, but a loss for Australia

Huge fishery locked away

The Government’s decision to release the proposed maps of the million square kilometre Coral Sea Marine Reserve was a great victory for the American environmental group, PEW foundation, and their public relations tactics. But it has been a huge loss to the Australian fishing charter boat industry and will have an effect on recreational fishing, Queensland Senator Ron Boswell said today. “Charter boats, trawlers, fishermen, are going to bear a very heavy cost for the government and the 'green movements' decision.

And the processors, slip ways, refrigeration operations industry and all other supporting industries, are going to take a huge hit." “There is a thirty boat, charter industry that operates out of Cairns. It pumps about sixty million dollars into the local economy every year. It brings wealthy international travellers in to enjoy the North Queensland Marlin fishery. It is tag and release fishing, and is one of the most sustainable in the world," Senator Boswell said. “The charter boats, and the small number of fisherman, will be excluded from the massive green zone."

Both the Greens and the Minister recognise that the Coral Sea is in a pristine condition. This is due to the charter boats and fishermen who fish in the green zone and monitor any illegal fishing methods, such as drift nets, super seiners, and long liners mass destructive methods, and report any illegal fishing in the area. They also monitor catches and pass that information on to government.

Senator Boswell also said that, “this decision will leave the Coral Sea with no monitoring, there will be no observation of illegal fishing, and if the Coral Sea is in pristine condition, the Greens can thank the charter boat and fishermen who work the area for keeping it so."

“There will be no activity out there in the Coral Sea to observe, it will be an open invite to illegal fishing in the Coral Sea."

“Trawlers will also be completely excluded from the marine park. Forty deep sea trawlers that work in the southern end of the marine park, and a hundred other east coast licences that work on an irregular basis will be excluded."

Press release dated 25 Nov. from Queensland Senator Boswell above

New twist on a stupid Greenie scheme

These "public bicycle" schemes usually suffer from a low uptake and theft of the bicycles. Brisbane's council has increased the uptake only at the expense of another loss

THE CityCycle trial of free helmets and more flexible subscription packages has been a success with a 72 per cent increase in the number of weekly trips since the changes were made by Lord Mayor Graham Quirk three months ago.

But council audits have found about 250 of the initial 400 courtesy helmets had been "misplaced" during the trial.

The loss of 250 helmets is the latest issue to plague CityCycle, which has faced a host of problems since its conception. Originally planned to be launched in 2009, the initiative was delayed a year when the operator couldn’t find enough free space around town to install the cycle stations.

Within three months of its launch in 2010, the amount of annual subscribers plummeted dramatically from 1251 when it started in October to just 131 in January 2011.

With less and less people subscribing, the Council dropped the daily charges from $11 to just $2 in August and offered free helmets as an incentive. The helmets cost around $10 each for the Council to replace.

The CityScycle scheme has cost ratepayers around $300,000 as of August.

Public and Active Transport Chairman Julian Simmonds said the weekly average of the scheme during its first 10 months was 1,470 trips. During the past three months the average had jumped to 2,530 trips per week.

CityCycle last week celebrated its 100,000th trip since its launch in October last year and often reaches 500 trips a day.

“Every CityCycle trip is potentially one less vehicle on the road and it is part of Brisbane’s overall public transport infrastructure and offering residents and visitors an alternative, sustainable mode of travel in the inner-city," Cr Simmonds said.

“Courtesy helmets and cheaper subscriptions have clearly made it easier for people to hop on a bike so we’re going to distribute an extra 500 free helmets at no additional cost to ratepayers and also introduce a more affordable package for students.”

Cr Simmonds said the 500 new helmets would be jointly provided with operator JC Decaux. Council’s $2,500 share of the cost would come from the existing CityCycle marketing budget.

Construction has commenced on stage two of CityCycle which will see a further 46 stations rolled out across Milton, Auchenflower, Toowong, St Lucia and Dutton Park.

Six new stations have already opened, including new stations at South Bank’s Maritime Museum, at the popular cafĂ© precinct in Park Road at Milton, as well as a new station on the Bicentennial Bikeway.


"Asylum seekers" in Australia's suburbs

THOUSANDS of asylum seekers are expected to flood the suburbs as the Federal Government rolls out bridging visas allowing boat people to live and work in the community and collect welfare.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has handed out the first bridging visas for 27 men, mostly Afghans and Sri Lankans, whose refugee claims are being assessed. Mr Bowen said the men would be released from detention centres, including Melbourne, in coming days - with 100 a month to follow.

It comes as a secret government briefing note seen by the Herald Sun suggests thousands of boat people will soon be transferred into the community.

The NSW Government note reports a warning by the Immigration Department this week that arrivals will balloon when word spreads that asylum seekers arriving by boat are no longer to be held in detention. "Once it is widely known that IMAs will live in the community while being processed, the level of entries into Australia are very likely to escalate," the note said.

The majority are expected to be housed in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

The note followed a meeting between Department of Immigration officials and the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The radical move to a softened onshore processing system comes after the collapse of PM Julia Gillard's Malaysia deal and after the arrival of more than 300 asylum seekers this week.

Mr Bowen said the first batch of asylum seekers to be given bridging visas were long-term detainees who have cleared health, security and identity checks, and will live with friends or family. From next month, at least 100 people a month will be released while their asylum claims are processed.

A person's time in detention, their behavioural record and their family's ability to support them will decide who is chosen. "People who are assessed to pose an unacceptable risk to the community will remain in an immigration detention facility," Mr Bowen said.

Those released will be able to get jobs and up to $215 a week in means-tested payments, but will not qualify for Centrelink benefits.


Another bungled helicopter purchase

YET another big-ticket military helicopter project is about be added to the Government's defence project list of shame.

The $2 billion contract to supply the army and navy with 46 MRH 90 European-built multi-role helicopters will become the latest to make the so-called "projects of concern" list.

High-level military sources told The Courier-Mail that the project would be added to the list provided Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare accepted the recommendation of the latest "diagnostic review" of the project.

So far only 13 of the 46 machines have been accepted by Defence and deliveries are more than 18 months late.

A source said the chopper still had major problems with its navigation systems.

The MRH 90 will be the second helicopter project to make the list of shame following the Sea Sprite navy helicopter debacle that cost taxpayers more than $1 billion before being abandoned.

There are nine projects on the current list ranging from submarine sustainment to standoff missiles and all companies involved, including multinationals such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, are barred from further taxpayer-funded contracts until their project is removed from the list.

The hi-tech, fly-by-wire, composite, twin-engine MRH 90 helicopter is built by European giant Eurocopter and assembled in Brisbane by its subsidiary Australian Aerospace.

The project has been dogged by serious technical issues including an engine failure due to overheating, cracked windscreens, soft cargo flooring and avionic and navigation problems. It is the latter that continues to cause difficulties, especially for navy versions operating from ships.

A well-placed source said technical issues such as the navigation problems had been addressed and would soon be rectified.

Former commander of the navy's 808 Squadron, Commander Tim Leonard, last year said there had been poor system reliability or design on cabin floors, windscreens, main gear box, machinegun mounts and engines.

Due to regular groundings of the 13 choppers already delivered to Defence, the pilot training schedule had also been thrown into disarray.

The Government and Australian Aerospace are reportedly about to sign an agreement with a new timetable for fixing the outstanding faults and getting deliveries back on track by March next year.


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