Saturday, November 12, 2011

Insane murderer free to drive a Melbourne taxi

All on the basis of a prophecy. It is a disgrace to Victoria's legal system that a man who spent six years in the nuthouse for murder is considered safe to drive a taxi. They say his insanity is unlikely to recur. How do they know? Do they have the gift of prophecy? I am a qualified psychologist and I am sure that I could not give such an assurance. I would in fact say that the past is the best guide to the future.

It's that insane VCAT again. It was VCAT who penalized two Christian pastors for laughing at the Koran. They should be disbanded. The murderous taxi-driver is an African. That alone would explain the VCAT decision. They are enforcers of political correctness, not any sort of an impartial tribunal. And, sadly, the Court of Appeal has backed them up.

Hopefully no taxi company will hire the murderer. But in the meanwhile, would you take a cab in Melbourne? I wouldn't -- unless I had a long sharp knife on me for self-defence. Or maybe VCAT wants us to avoid getting into cabs driven by Africans. That would be the sort of "unintended" consequence of this biased and irresponsible decision

THE Transport Department has abandoned its long-running legal battle to prevent a killer taxi driver from getting back behind the wheel. The deadline for a last-ditch appeal to the High Court to stop the man, known only as XFJ, from regaining his taxi licence expired this week.

The decision clears the way for the former refugee, who butchered his wife in a fit of insanity 21 years ago, to hit the road.

Last month the Court of Appeal rejected a bid by the Director of Public Transport to overturn an earlier VCAT decision granting the man the right to drive taxis. The department said it would consider an appeal to the High Court.

After already spending more than $500,000 on the four-year legal fight, a department spokesman confirmed authorities would not pursue the matter. "Having examined the Court of Appeal decision carefully, it was apparent there were no grounds on which to seek special leave to appeal to the High Court and, accordingly, the Department of Transport did not seek special leave," spokesman David Stockman said.

Victoria's taxi industry watchdog has refused to confirm if the cabbie has already applied to regain his licence or embarked on a training course. Victorian Taxi Directorate spokesman Bob Nielson said: "We suggest you contact XFJ's legal representative, as disclosure of whether or not he is accredited is a matter for XFJ." The cabbie's lawyer, Barbara Shalit, of the Victorian Mental Health Legal Centre, declined to comment.

XFJ repeatedly stabbed his wife in 1990. A jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity.

Crime Victims Support Association chief Noel McNamara said the public had a right to know if a violent killer was driving them home. The public should not only be told when XFJ hit the streets as a cabbie, but also know what he looked like. "It was a horrendous crime," Mr McNamara said.

Taxi Association spokesman David Samuel indicated Melbourne's cabbies might not welcome XFJ back. "The safety of drivers and passengers is important," he said.


Julia is pro-American in an unmistakeably heartfelt way

Very rare in a Leftist leader. Her speech to Congress in March was also notably warm. Her speech yesterday in Hawaii:

Ms Gillard paid tribute to America's war dead at a moving Veterans Day ceremony. The ceremony at Honolulu's picturesque Punchbowl Cemetery was Ms Gillard's first official engagement of her trip for APEC.

Just a few kilometres from the site of the infamous Pearl Harbor attack of World War 2, Ms Gillard was given a 19-gun salute as she arrived at the cemetery.

She told the crowd of veterans and their families it was a great privilege to be with them. "In this beautiful and hallowed American place where so many of America's own lie in graves which they found too soon you would be well entitled to say: They died for us. This is a day and a place for ourselves alone," she said.

"But we Australians know that this is not your way. "Because we know that so many of these buried here died for us too. "When we were under attack in the Pacific, so many of these buried here were among those who came to our aid. "They fought with us, together, side by side, step by bloody step."

It was US sailors during the Battle of the Coral Sea that eliminated Australia's fears of a Japanese invasion, she said. "It is a battle which is immortal in Australia," she said.

The importance the US places on Veterans Day says something about the country's peace-loving nature, she said. "It is not the anniversary of the onset of a great conflict. "Not the commemoration of a great victory or great feat of arms, it is the day and the hour of the end of the Great War.

"You remember your veterans in the moment to which each one of them dedicated their dearest hopes - you remember them at the moment when peace began."

Australia will never forget the sacrifices the US has made for peace, she said.

Ms Gillard and her partner Tim Mathieson then joined local luminaries and veterans in laying wreaths at the memorial.


Even government schools no longer "free"

THE cost of a "free education" is spiralling out of control, with parents paying for staff wages, safety upgrades, ICT, grounds maintenance and major building works in state schools.

In 2010 alone, parents of state school students paid and fundraised more than $170 million in fees, charges and contributions, Department of Education and Training figures show.

At least $16.2 million of that was through P&C fundraising and voluntary contributions, with the rest made up of school charges and levies.

It comes as the Queensland Council of Parents and Citizens Associations says families are being put under increasing pressure to fund items that should usually come out of the state and federal budgets. "It is a sad state of affairs that we have got to that point," QCPCA president Margaret Leary said.

"I think the State and Federal Governments perhaps need to realise that there is increasing pressure put on schools to manage the budgets that they do have and the amount of increase in costs of running a school."

Ms Leary said she would love to see an increase in education funding but recognised governments also had their own finite budgets to manage.

Queensland Teachers Union president Steve Ryan said his members were increasingly putting their hands in their own pockets because of parents' socio-economic circumstances. In the latest QTU journal, Mr Ryan wrote that state schools had reported to the Federal Government funding review "a heavy reliance on fundraising, particularly by P&Cs.

As one submission states: 'The school and its community are being asked to bear the shortfall in government funding'. "P&Cs are raising money for major building works, airconditioning, shade areas, playground equipment, sports equipment, walkways, port racks," Mr Ryan wrote of the submissions.

"They pay for basic classroom materials ... even schools in traditionally high socio-economic areas say parents are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the cost of these valuable learning activities/resources."

An investigation by The Courier-Mail has found parents being asked to pay levies - some listed as voluntary, and some not - for staff wages, subjects, curriculum support materials, buildings, airconditioning, language programs and ICT, plus the new take-home laptop levy for high school students next year.

Parents of high school students face the greatest costs. At Brisbane State High School, all subjects have levies - including English, mathematics and science, which remain free at most others. In 2012, BSHS parents will also pay a $150 ICT fee, $200 general levy, $220 for students to take home laptop computers in Years 9 and 11 and $250 for a blazer, while textbooks cost up to $270 per subject.

DET acknowledges parents could pay more than $1000 annually for textbooks.

Queensland Secondary Principals Association president Norm Fuller said the government provided the basic costs of a good education and if schools and parents wanted enhanced resources they could contribute towards them.

DET director-general Julie Grantham said they provided "access to a high-quality, free education for all Queenslanders of school age". "State schools provide free instruction, administration and facilities to students at state schools ... Parents provide their children with the resources necessary to participate in the curriculum."

Education Minister Cameron Dick said Queensland's commitment to funding education had "never been stronger" with a record budget of almost $7.4 billion in 2011-12. "Any suggestion that the Government is short-changing state school students has no basis," Mr Dick said.

"Many parents are prepared to raise extra funds through their P&C to provide their children with an even better education - and this stance should be applauded."


Greeks escaping to Australia

The Australian economy is in infinitely better shape than Greece's

AFTER decades of low immigration, the number of Greeks interested in heading to Australia has risen sharply, according to the federal government.

As the Greek debt crisis worsens and unemployment rises, some of the most skilled professionals are seeking to join one of the biggest expatriate communities in the world, based largely in Melbourne and Sydney.

A recent "skills expo" in Athens, hosted by the Australian embassy, attracted 773 young professionals interested in moving under the skilled migration program. For country with a population of 10 million, the figure is significant.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said the most recent statistics were not yet available. "But we are able to say that, anecdotally, there has been an increase in Greek inquiries about immigration to Australia, via our embassy in Athens and via the website," she said.

Over the past decade, immigration from Greece has been low. In 2001, there were 92 migrants; in 2006, there were 112 people; in 2009, after the global financial crisis hit, there were 132 people; and in the year ending June 2011, there were 134 migrants.

This is despite Australia being home to almost 400,000 people who claimed Greek ancestry in the 2006 census, which contains the most recent data. The biggest influx of Greeks came after World War II, when the government looked to Europe to help populate the country.

But since Greece joined the European Union in 1981, and became a signatory to the Schengen Agreement in 2000, allowing the free movement of labour across the union, many young Greeks - fluent in English and other European languages, and equipped with strong qualifications - have emigrated to France, Germany and Britain or the United States, says the Australian Hellenic Council.

The council's spokesman, Panayiotis Diamadis, told the Herald the "tyranny of distance" had limited the number of Greeks moving to Australia. "That's the biggest obstacle," he said, especially if migrants leave elderly family members behind.

Dr Diamadis said, however, that in the past year about 2500 Greeks who have dual citizenship had returned to Australia, largely because of the economic crisis.

He said that while his organisation was willing to help resettle Greeks, it was not actively encouraging the large-scale immigration of young professionals at this time. "We're very worried about the outflow from Greece of the best qualified people because they're the ones - the engineers, the accountants, the doctors - that the country will need to get themselves out of the mess," he said.


1 comment:

Paul said...

The Greek exodus of today would be of people who want to work for a better life, and are (hopefully) all European. I welcome them. I wonder if it will be made as easy for them to come here as its been made for third world mental cases and functional illiterates.