Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Labor Party powerbroker says Greens 'bordering on loony'

KEY Labor powerbroker Sam Dastyari has attacked the Greens for accusing the ALP of having no values, saying the party is "bordering on loony".

The Labor powerbroker last weekend called for his party to no longer automatically favour the Greens in any future preference negotiations.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young responded by saying Labor would be a sell-out if it handed the coalition control of the Senate.

Speaking today, Mr Dastyari repeated claims the Greens were operating in their own self-interest.

"These people aren't our friends, they don't share our ideology, they don't share our values, they don't share our history," he told Macquarie Radio.

"I think for too long the Labor party, particularly in NSW, has really been giving the Greens a free ride. A lot of the Green agenda isn't in the interest of Labor voters."

Mr Dastyari, whose branch holds its conference in Sydney this weekend, said the Liberals, Nationals and Labor should no longer remain silent about the Greens' agenda.

"Sarah Hanson-Young ... started jumping up and down on radio saying 'oh there's no values, they show there's no values'.

"These are the type of people that if you don't have their values, if you don't agree with them, you're automatically discounted in the Australian political debate," he said.

"The biggest problem with the Greens isn't their aspirational policy agenda which is, you know, bordering on loony in half a dozen different areas, it's this refusal to compromise....

"You're not dealing with a bunch of kind of harmless hippies from the seventies anymore, these are a cold-hearted ... political party."


Sydney's Greenie mayor vetoed over traffic

LORD Mayor Clover Moore's utopian dream of a car-free CBD, exorbitant on-street parking and an extensive bike path network has been dealt a crushing blow.

Transport for NSW boss Les Wielinga, now also chairman of Sydney's traffic and transport committee, has effectively run a line through several controversial ideas from Ms Moore, in a bid to bring "some sort of sensible planning" to the city.

Top of his list is Ms Moore's divisive bike paths.

Under Mr Wielinga's new powers - which require the City of Sydney to defer all decisions on CBD roads to his committee for approval - the council must now prove each new bike lane contributes to the economic development of the state and improves movement for the majority of people.

In an exclusive interview, Mr Weilinga also ruled out the city's intention to make on-street parking as expensive as commercial carparks.

"We will always have a situation where cars need to get into a fair proportion of the CBD," Mr Wielinga said.

"At the moment 16 per cent of people choose to come into the CBD by road.

"For many people, the only viable option for getting to and from work is by road. I don't think anybody can dispute that the operation of the CBD is affected more broadly than just by the CBD."

He said existing bike lanes won't be ripped up but future lanes considered on their merits and their impact on "the future economic welfare of the state".

The traffic and transport committee was engineered by Premier Barry O'Farrell, who also introduced laws banning mayors from sitting as members of parliament - effectively terminating Ms Moore's dual role as Lord Mayor and Sydney MP.

"The Sydney CBD is too important to be held hostage to the political constituency of Clover Moore," Mr O'Farrell said.

"It's very clear Clover Moore's pitch for re-election is built around more bike lanes and making the CBD as unfriendly to cars as possible."

Mr Wielinga said congestion on York St was foremost in his mind and suggested running buses down Bridge St or the Cahill Expressway.

Ms Moore has accused the Premier of playing politics and merely adding another layer of bureaucracy. In a mayoral minute about the committee, said she hoped the committee would "rise above politics, headlines and shock jocks".

For Mr Wielinga, there is only one clear goal.

"I would like to see an increase in community satisfaction with how the CBD operates," he said.


Mosque proposal in ACT unpopular

ACT planners have been told that women in burqas will scare children in Gungahlin if Canberra's Muslim community proceeds with plans to build a mosque in the area.

The ACT Planning and Land Authority has received more than 50 submissions in response to the proposed development on The Valley Avenue.

It follows a campaign by a group called the "Concerned Citizens of Canberra" that urged residents to object to the development because of its "social impact" and concerns about traffic and noise.

The Canberra Times revealed on Saturday that the group's spokesman, Irwin Ross, is a Christian fundamentalist activist who describes himself as a pastor with Olive Tree Ministries.

More than 30 submissions lodged with ACTPLA object to the development on grounds including traffic, parking, design, lack of consultation and, according to one anonymous submission, claims the mosque is not "compatible with Australian values and Australian law".

But a further 20 Canberra residents wrote to the government in support of the development, some complaining about the anonymous anti-mosque flyers that were delivered to their homes.

One objection to the mosque asks the ACT government if it can "assure the citizens of Gungahlin that this centre will not be taken over by extremists, bent on bringing chaos to our immediate community".

Another claims the sight of women wearing burqas will be "perturbing" for children in the area.

One Gungahlin resident complains Muslims have to: "obey the Koran and therefore Sharia law. This means that Sharia law will always come first and Australian law second".

"I am particularly worried about the women and girls," the resident's letter states.

"In the DA [development application] several rooms are allocated for weekend classes - which means that all the girls from early age on will have Koran lessons and therefore will have no real chance to get integrated in Australian society."

A number of objections use template letters supplied by the Concerned Citizens of Canberra, while several others complain the mosque will create too much traffic congestion.

However, 20 letters urge the ACT government to approve the development, with one submission stating it will "complement the two existing churches". "As a resident of Gungahlin town centre I would be materially affected by this development," the submission states.

"As such I strongly support this development.

"It is appropriate to the town centre, an appropriate design and the road network is designed to handle the surges in traffic."

Another resident complains about the flyer they received from the Concerned Citizens of Canberra and says the group's objections to the mosque are "flimsy at best and outright bigoted at worst".

"Though I am not a religious person I feel that someone should be just as free to build a mosque as a church and having it near Gungahlin town centre seems as good a location as any in the area," the submission states.

A spokeswoman for the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate said additional submissions were still arriving by post and were being accepted, provided the letter was stamped before the deadline for comment.

Meanwhile, the Australian Motorists Party candidate for Ginninderra Chic Henry said he believed the development would create traffic congestion.


A pedophile  priest with friends in high places?

The NSW Attorney-General, Greg Smith, is under fire for letting a senior staff member with links to Father Finian Egan block the release of government documents relating to the alleged paedophile priest.

Damien Tudehope, Mr Smith's chief of staff, refused access to the documents despite once having worked as Father Egan's solicitor. The priest was arrested in May and charged with multiple sex offences against boys and girls stretching back decades.

Mr Tudehope's brother Anthony Tudehope, a barrister, attended the police station with the Catholic priest when he was charged.

Mr Smith used to attend Father Egan's church in Carlingford and thanked him in his inaugural speech to Parliament for his "Irish wit and pastoral devotion to his flock".

Despite the web of links, it was Damien Tudehope who ruled that an application lodged by the NSW opposition under the Government Information (Public Access) Act was out of bounds. In his response, dated June 14, Mr Tudehope told Labor MP Adam Searle that documents relating to Father Egan existed, but would not be released.

The documents come under the categories of "formal and informal briefing notes concerning Father Finian Egan delivered to or held by the Attorney-General" and "reports from the Director of Public Prosecutions" in relation to Father Egan.

Mr Tudehope said there was an "overriding public interest against disclosure", saying it would result in the release of material "provided to the minister in confidence".

The Opposition Leader, John Robertson, called on the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, to take decisions on freedom-of-information requests out of the hands of people who know the accused priest. "Why on earth would the Attorney-General think it was appropriate for Damien Tudehope to make this decision?" he said. "The Premier should step in and review this decision immediately."

Mr O'Farrell's office declined to comment directly but said there was a "range of mechanisms of appeal" for declined requests.

A spokesman for Mr Smith said: "The chief of staff acted on the advice of the Crown Solicitor."

The question of Mr Smith's support for his former priest was raised earlier in the year when reports emerged he had dismissed the claims of one alleged victim as being motivated by "getting $1 million out of the church". Mr Smith has said that he does not recall making the remark.

Father Egan is on bail and has not entered a plea to the charges.


Public hospital doctors kill seriously ill boy by neglect

A MOTHER has told a coronial inquest how she knew something was "terribly wrong" with her disabled son when he became ill and was subsequently refused a potentially life-saving brain scan at two major Perth hospitals and died days later.

Vaughn Rasmussen, 15, died in the early hours of November 17, 2009 after undergoing brain surgery following days of vomiting and constant pain.

The teenager had developed fluid on his brain because a shunt fitted inside his head when he was a baby malfunctioned, causing the intellectually disabled teenager to vomit and suffer immense pain.

A coronial inquest is examining the circumstances leading up to the teenager’s death because his parents Donna and Richard claim doctors at both Fremantle and Princess Margaret Hospitals refused their requests that a CT scan be performed on their son when they took him to both hospitals several times before he died.

Today the inquest was told that when the teenager’s condition rapidly deteriorated he was taken to Fremantle Hospital on November 15 at which stage “his parents began to panic.”

He was given morphine but went into respiratory arrest and later underwent surgery at PMH where it was discovered the shunt in his head was indeed blocked and had malfunctioned.

His life support machine was switched off shortly after his surgery because his brain had been severely damaged at that stage and was not receiving any blood flow, the inquest heard.

In his opening address to the inquest today counsel assisting the coroner Sergeant Lyle Housiaux said Vaughn lived a fulfilling life despite his disability.

Sgt Housiaux said the inquest would examine a number of things including whether the treatment Vaughn received at both hospitals was adequate, if hospital guidelines with regards to treating patients with shunts was followed and whether a neurologist could have seen the teenager earlier.

The inquest heard that when Vaughn’s parents first took him to Fremantle Hospital on November 12 due to his vomiting and pain, a doctor told them that the shunt in his head was unlikely to be the problem and that he probably had a gastro bug.

Mrs Rasmussen, was the first witness to give evidence this morning.  As she read a prepared statement to the court her voice broke and she paused numerous times to compose herself.

“He was a strong boy,” Mrs Rasmussen said.  “When Vaughn became ill on the 12th of November 2009, my husband and I knew there was something terribly wrong.”

Mrs Rasmussen said that shortly before her son became unwell she had taken him to a chiropractor twice because he had developed a hunch in his back.  She said the chiropractor was patient and understanding of her son’s condition and that she was always present when the appointments were carried out.

However she said she soon began to see a change in her son’s behaviour and his facial structure.  “He was irrational and he was sleeping more,” she said.  “There was just something about his face structure…you learn to read your children.”

The inquest before coroner Dominic Mulligan is expected to finish on Friday.


1 comment:

Paul said...

A pedophile priest with friends in high places.

Why the question-mark?