Thursday, September 20, 2012

'Hateful' Islam critic Geert Wilders wants visa to speak in Australia

If the views of Mr Wilders are "hateful and divisive", what do we call the views of the violent Muslim demonstrators in Sydney recently?  If Mr Wilders is not fit to be here, what of the demonstrators?

A DUTCH MP who is a outspoken critic of Islam is seeking a visa to visit Australia for a speaking tour next month.

Geert Wilders, who has compared the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf, has been invited by the Q Society to give speeches in Melbourne and Sydney.

The Federal Government has not yet made a decision but Multicultural Affairs Minister Kate Lundy described Mr Wilders as "an extreme-right politician promulgating views that are out of step with mainstream Australia".

Mr Wilders, who calls Islam "a retarded culture" is on an international immigration movement red-alert list. The Immigration Department is still considering the case and has not yet presented it to Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi, who is Tony Abbott's parliamentary secretary, has previously supported a bid by Mr Wilders to visit on the grounds of free speech. He said he was not involved in organising any proposed visit but asked on what grounds should a democratically elected member of a foreign parliament be denied a visa.

Victorian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale criticised Mr Wilders. "His hateful and divisive views are not welcome in Australia, but to deny him a visa risks giving him more oxygen and publicity," he said.

Mr Wilders was refused a visa to enter the UK, but appealed and won.

Q Society vice president of community relations Andrew Horwood said his organisation was not political or religious and sought to educate people about Islam and uphold Australian values. Critics call it anti-Muslim.

Mr Horwood said after last weekend's Islamic riot in Sydney it was timely for Mr Wilders to "offer advice about Islam and we need to listen and take note".

He said Mr Wilders had been waiting three weeks for a visa and asked why the government was able to "process visas for Islamic hot heads in a hurry, but leave MPs from friendly European nations hang out to dry".

He sent a letter to supporters calling on them to urge Mr Bowen to approve the visa.

Mr Bowen defended granting a visa to British Muslim leader Taji Mustafa saying he was not on any alert list, not a member of a proscribed terrorist organisation and had no criminal convictions. He said the Howard government had not banned his organisation Hizb ut Tahrir despite the Opposition now calling him a hate preacher.


Federal MPs say no to gay marriage

GAY marriage advocates have urged supporters to "maintain their rage" after federal Parliament delivered a crushing defeat of proposed changes to the law.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and former party leaders Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull all voted against same-sex marriage as it was beaten in the House of Representatives by 98 votes to 42.

It came as Mr Abbott sacked Senator Cory Bernardi as his parliamentary secretary after he commented that the push for gay marriage could lead to legalising bestiality and polygamy.

Senator Bernardi told the Senate the "next step" after gay marriage could be "creepy people" who want "consensual sexual relations between humans and animals".

He said: "In the future will we say, 'These two creatures love each other and maybe they should be able to be joined in a union?'."

Mr Turnbull, who supports gay marriage but voted against it because Coalition frontbenchers did not have a free vote on the issue, blasted Senator Bernardi's comments as hysterical, alarmist and offensive.

Mr Abbott said Senator Bernardi had been "ill-disciplined" but was a "decent bloke with strong opinions".

He said after a fairly forthright discussion Senator Bernardi offered his resignation and he accepted it because it was crucial the Opposition be a "strong and disciplined Coalition".

Labor MP Stephen Jones, who sponsored the Bill to change the Marriage Act, urged supporters to "maintain your rage" and predicted he would be attending gay weddings within 10 years.


Time-wasting red tape leads to exodus of childcare managers

CHILDCARE centre managers are quitting because new regulations are creating unnecessary red tape.

The industry says it fears the exodus could force inexperienced people into management roles, leading to untrained workers caring for children.

The Advertiser has been told some centres have closed, meaning parents will be forced to put their children into unregulated care.

Managers are reporting the new national guidelines, introduced at the start of the year, require them to go above and beyond a normal carer's duty.

The increased red tape means managers are spending the majority of their time filling out paperwork to meet targets and worrying about legal implications of the new rules - rather than the core job of caring for children.

Childcare SA president Barb Langford told The Advertiser she knew of at least six managers who had quit because the new regulations, designed to promote the safety, health and wellbeing of children, were making their job too complicated.  "A lot of the good managers of centres are leaving the industry and saying this is all too hard," she said.

Ms Langford said she had heard of numerous childcare centres closing. "They could see that things were going to get really highly regulated and difficult to maintain so they sold up."

United Voice SA branch secretary David Di Troia said the sector was in trouble. "With 180 educators leaving the sector each week, early childhood education is in crisis."

Goodwood Community Childcare Centre director Lisa Corigliano said she spent hours in the office ensuring guidelines were met.  "We want to just sit and play for a while and enjoy our children (but) a lot of time is taken up with recording, evaluating and doing all that."

Federal Child Care Minister Kate Ellis said centre managers were not required to fill out additional documentation under the new system.


University of Qld. still on the nose

They are still trying to cover something up

GOVERNANCE reforms at the University of Queensland are to come under fresh scrutiny, with two outsiders appointed to conduct an "independent review" of UQ's moves to clean up its act.

But the move immediately faced accusations that the review was premature and being done by the wrong people.

Vice-Chancellor Debbie Terry said former Wollongong Uni boss Gerard Sutton AO and former Queensland Liberal leader Dr David Watson would report in November on UQ's progress in improving its integrity and accountability in the wake of last year's admissions "irregularity".

Professor Terry announced a package of governance reforms in May after her predecessor Paul Greenfield and his deputy were ousted in a nepotism scandal involving a close relative of Professor Greenfield's.

But public sector ethics expert Howard Whitton said it was an "extraordinary" step.  "What are they reviewing?" he asked.  "They've only just put the reform mechanisms in place. You've got to let it sit for 12 months at least."

Mr Whitton, an adviser to the Commonwealth on whistleblower laws, also questioned the choice of Professor Sutton and Dr Watson, particularly whether Dr Watson would be seen as independent.

He noted that Dr Watson is a former member of the finance committee of the UQ Senate and chairs the board of the Translational Research Institute, a $200 million facility under construction at Princess Alexandra Hospital, where Prof Terry is also a board member, representing UQ.

Prof Terry responded by saying TRI was "a separate entity with its own governance and management structures and processes - therefore there is no conflict of interest between Dr Watson's role as independent chair of the TRI board and his role in supporting Professor Sutton".

Prof Terry also announced the appointment of an associate director, investigations.

In June, UQ made redundant its respected former chief misconduct investigator, Phil Procopis, who was the first to inform the Chancellor, John Story, about the Greenfield matter.

UQ has never disclosed what it found during its investigation into the nepotism scandal, conducted by barrister Tim Carmody SC.

The Crime and Misconduct Commission earlier this year launched separate probes of UQ's handling of that matter and its misconduct investigations in general. It has since passed a brief of evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Within ten years? It'll still be a necessary distraction in ten years.

I still don't know why I'm suddenly supposed to want to get married.