Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Politically correct court puts toddler in danger
A MOTHER with a troubled past has won access to her daughter, 2, after a court ruled concerns for the girl's safety had to be balanced against her right to know her indigenous culture.
The girl has been cared for by her non-Aboriginal father since she was five months old, after her Aboriginal mother was admitted to hospital with drug-induced psychosis.
Three other children of the woman, who has a history of drug abuse, violence and mental illness, live with a previous partner and his family.
"(The father) continues to hold many concerns about the mother's mental health and her propensity to abuse a wide variety of substances ... to help her deal with stresses and problems in her life," the Federal Magistrates Court said. "He believes the mother has a flawed level of insight into the responsibilities of being a parent.
"More importantly, he is fearful there will always remain the possibility the mother will have a relapse of her mental illness and this (could) pose a significant threat to (the girl's) wellbeing, both in a psychological and physical sense."
The mother argued the father was once also a heavy user of cannabis, and was "controlling" and had used a family violence order to shut her out of her girl's life.
The court ordered the mother have access to her daughter for four days a month, rising to six days when she turns three.
Magistrate Stewart Brown said he had reservations about the stability of the mother's home and the durability of her recovery from substance abuse.
"The essential nub of the case is how best to balance (the girl's) need for security and safety ... with her right to maintain and enjoy strong cultural connections to the indigenous peoples to whom she is matrilineally related," Mr Brown said.
"The mother ... argues that (the girl), as an Aboriginal child, needs to be with other relatives who similarly identify, so she can be exposed to strong role models who will assist (her) to understand who she is culturally. "Given the contemporary history of this country, these are significant and compelling concerns."
Mr Brown said changes to family law in 2006 recognised racism was prevalent, particularly towards Aborigines.
Auditor attacks Gillard government competence over TV tender saga
They gave a TV contract to the Left-biased ABC instead of a more neutral contractor recommended by advisers -- and had to hand the recommended contractor millions in compensation.
Cabinet's deep distrust of former foreign affairs minister Kevin Rudd has been laid bare with the release of a scathing audit report into the bungled tender for the Australia Network.
And in an unusual step, the Auditor-General has questioned the ability of the Gillard Government to handle sensitive decisions, pouring scorn on the shambolic processes that led to permanent control of the television network being handed to the ABC.
The Australia Network is a taxpayer-funded broadcaster that beams news, sport and drama to Asia and the Pacific.
In November 2010 the Government opened up the contract to run the service to competitive tender but Cabinet twice overruled a panel of bureaucrats that recommended Sky News over the ABC as preferred operator.
In November last year the Government abruptly scrapped the tender and handed the network to the ABC, complaining media leaks had corrupted the process.
The audit report released yesterday showed how Cabinet appeared suspicious of the panel process Mr Rudd had set up as foreign affairs minister to decide the tender.
Auditor Ian McPhee warned the processes for deciding the tender were never clearly spelt out and the saga had cast the Government in a "poor light".
Or as The Australian summarizes it:
THE Auditor-General has driven a stake through the heart of Julia Gillard's claims of cabinet competence and exposed a government that is prepared to manipulate, dissemble and scheme to defeat honourable commercial and public service processes to advance Labor's political prejudice.
In a scarifying inquiry into the tender process for the $223 million contract for the Australia Network international TV service, the audit office has condemned the Gillard government for acts of incompetence and a lack of due process that have endangered Australia's commercial reputation.
Feds reducing Climate Dept. staff
MORE federal public service job cuts are expected to be announced today after the Department of Climate Change said it would shed a third of its staff.
Department secretary Blair Comley reportedly wrote to staff yesterday calling for voluntary redundancy applications due to the "conclusion of a range of programs".
Mr Comley said the Federal Government's efficiency dividend - a measure to generate savings - was one of the reasons for the cuts.
The Gillard Government imposed an extra efficiency dividend of 2.5 per cent on public departments in the 2012/13 financial year, on top of an existing dividend of 1.5 per cent. The measures are forecast to save the Government $1.5 billion over three years.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) expects government agencies to announce more job cuts today and tomorrow.
The Federal Government's promise to bring the Budget back into surplus in 2012/13 was one of the reasons behind this, CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood said. "I think we're going to see further job losses and it's going to be pretty tough," she told ABC Radio.
Staff at the climate change department were shocked by news of the cuts. "Cuts of this scale are going to have an enormous impact on the department's capacity to lead our efforts on climate change and obviously have a very major impact on staff," Ms Flood said.
Gillard propaganda campaign snookered by radio talkers
NBN Co pulled advertising from radio station 2GB after Ray Hadley and another presenter prefaced paid "live reads" with negative comments about the government's broadband project.
Mr Hadley repeated criticisms last week about the project's "cost to the Australian taxpayer" before disclosing that he was about to live-read a scripted commercial.
"NBN Co has asked me to read a commercial - not about how wonderful it is, which I would not do - but [because there is] some confusion about how it is going to work."
Andrew Moore, filling in for Alan Jones, prefaced his ad with: "This is a paid announcement on behalf of NBN Co and in no way reflects my views and I am most definite that it in no way reflects the views of Alan [Jones] but this is a paid announcement on behalf of NBN Co."
NBN Co commissioned five days of commercials from 24 announcers around the country last week, but pulled advertising from Hadley's and Moore's shows after two and three days respectively. It had no problems with other presenters.
The live-reads stated NBN Co was building a wholesale-only network and would improve competition in the telco sector.
However, 2GB's owners, the Macquarie Radio Network (MRN), said that NBN Co was warned the announcers might editorialise. Presenters did not have to "stick literally to a script" for NBN Co or any other advertiser and 2GB could not ask Mr Hadley to change his editorial tone, MRN's executive chairman, Russell Tate, said. Other advertisers had pulled out because of negative editorial comments over the years, he said.
"If you pay Ray Hadley to do a live-read, Ray does a live-read the way Ray does a live-read," Mr Tate said.
NBN Co and 2GB were yet to sort out payment for the live-reads, MRN's sales manager, Mark Noakes, said.
The radio advertising campaign continues this week with pre-recorded ads on AM and FM stations.
A very distinguished appointment to the Roman Catholic Archbishopric of Brisbane
THE Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane will be led by a bishop from outside the state for the first time in nearly 50 years.
Melbourne-born and educated Mark Coleridge, 63, currently Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, is to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Brisbane's Archbishop for 20 years, John Bathersby, in November last year.
Bishop of Lismore Geoffrey Jarrett took on the caretaker role of Apostolic Administrator of Brisbane from November 14.
Brisbane's last non-local archbishop was Irish-born Patrick O'Donnell, leader of the church in Brisbane from 1965 to 1973.
Archbishop Coleridge was ordained in 1974 and had a number of early appointments in Victoria, including a year as the media spokesman for the Archdiocese of Melbourne in the mid-1990s.
He is said to be very well regarded in the Vatican, where he served as an official in the Secretariat of State before he was appointed Bishop in 2001.
He served as chairman of the international editorial committee responsible for the new English translation of the Roman Missal, which came into use in Australian parishes last December.
Archbishop Coleridge said in a prepared statement he was, "heartened that Pope Benedict and others have chosen me as Chief Pastor of the Archdiocese of Brisbane."
"I will be following in the footsteps of some remarkable men," he said.
Archbishop Coleridge will be formally installed at a mass at St Stephen's Cathedral on May 11.