Thursday, February 14, 2013
Nothing to fear from me, says Geert Wilders
CONTROVERSIAL right wing anti-Islamic Dutch politician Geert Wilders says Australia has nothing to fear from him when he visits the country next week.
Mr Wilders, speaking on the ABC's Lateline on Wednesday, said he was on a global jihad to preserve freedom.
He said he wants to warn Australia against allowing the mass immigration of people from Muslim countries "because Islam and freedom are incompatible".
"I believe with mass immigration into our free societies, those societies will change, and they will change for the worse," Mr Wilders said.
The leader of the Party for Freedom holds the balance of power in the Dutch parliament after receiving around 10 per cent of the national vote.
He wants to tell Australians that we must learn from the mistakes they made in Europe and be vigilant of Islam.
"It is not a religion of peace - it is a totalitarian ideology," Mr Wilders said.
He conceded that the majority of Muslims living in Europe were moderates but their religion of Islam was totalitarian that has no room for anything but Islam.
Mr Wilders said that when he visits Australia next week he not only wanted to talk to people who agreed with him but to those who did not.
"I am a lawmaker not a law breaker," he said.
When asked if he would be accompanied by Dutch Security Service he said that he could not talk about security arrangements or he would make himself more vulnerable.
Don't rely on the police for anything
Even a real bad egg is of no interest to them
Police handling of a violent criminal who repeatedly breached parole was grossly negligent, a coroner said.
The man went on a destructive rampage in July 2009, which ended when he shot himself during a siege.
Shane Andrew Robinson, 32, stabbed a police officer on the Barrier Highway in South Australia and stole the officer's car.
He had been pulled over for questioning about suspected criminal activity.
Robinson ran over a pedestrian with the police car, then went to a homestead near Yunta and held a 75-year-old woman hostage.
She was bound and assaulted during the siege, before Robinson shot himself.
Coroner Mark Johns said Robinson's violent actions could have been prevented had police done their job properly and pursued him when he started behaving erratically weeks earlier.
Parole Board executive officer Kevin Hill told the inquest the Correctional Services Department failed to immediately tell the board about a serious breach a month earlier, when Robinson tried to strangle his girlfriend and failed to report to his Corrections officer.
The inquest heard police were alerted, but follow-up of the domestic violence report was inadequate and no attempt was made to identify the parolee involved.
The coroner was told Robinson was not adequately monitored because a Corrections staffer was on leave.
"This is an unsatisfactory situation and has resulted in significant changes within Community Corrections since and because of Mr Robinson's death," Mr Johns said in his findings.
Robinson's mother Jacqui attended the inquest and publicly apologised for her son's horrific crimes.
She said she felt the system let her son down.
"I would like to apologise to the victims of this terrible crime, leading to my son's death. I feel that the system has let my son down, let my family down and let the victims and the police and the community down," she said.
The inquest heard Robinson failed to complete anger management, alcohol abuse and domestic violence courses recommended by his parole officer.
He failed to make appointments with a psychologist, despite counselling being a release condition.
In 2002, Robinson took hostage a teenage boy at a house at suburban Netley, threatened him with an axe and held a knife to the boy's throat.
Robinson was shot in the neck by a STAR Force officer during that siege.
He spent time in hospital, then was sentenced to six years in jail with a non-parole period of four years.
The offender was released on parole in December 2007.
The Coroner concluded there was gross negligence by authorities involved in Robinson's management, particularly SA Police.
"There were opportunities to intervene in the management of Mr Robinson in a way that might have prevented the events culminating in his death, thus saving not only his life but the serious sexual assault of an elderly lady and the serious stabbing wounding of a member of the police force," Mr Johns said.
He said Robinson should never have been allowed to live with his partner and her teenage daughters, given his convictions for serious child sex offences.
Mr Johns also was highly critical of the SA Police call centre's handling of the report Robinson had attacked his partner.
"In my opinion call centre operators and their supervisors must be provided with domestic violence training, which instructs them on how and when to deal with allegations of domestic violence and emphasises that, where it is not known that the victim is actually safe and that cannot be ascertained adequately on the telephone, a police patrol should attend," he said.
"The failure by anyone at the SAPOL call centre to bother to inquire as the identity of the perpetrator of the domestic violence allegation is profoundly disturbing.
"It shows a lack of interest and commitment to the job of policing and keeping South Australians safe. It shows a narrow focus on the immediate task and a desire merely to get rid of a problem with a minimum of effort."
Abbott backs plans to build more dams
A horror moment for the Green/Left
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says Australians need to get over their "dam phobia", amid reports the Coalition is considering a multi-billion dollar plan to build up to 100 dams across the country.
Mr Abbott says there have been too few dams built in recent years, and it is time to throw off the "green extremism" that has prevented new projects going ahead.
"What we want to avoid is the dam phobia which has afflicted our country for at least a generation," he told reporters this morning.
"We currently use about 6 per cent of our available water resources. Nine per cent is the international average.
"If we could lift our utilisation to the international average, our agricultural productivity would be massively increased."
The idea, contained in a draft discussion paper, has the enthusiastic support of the Nationals, but there are differing interpretations within the Coalition of what status the plan for more dams has.
The Coalition's environment spokesman Greg Hunt this morning said no decision had been made on any particular dam proposal, suggesting some may not be viable.
"We have no proposal for 100 dams as such," Mr Hunt told ABC NewsRadio.
"Those are initiatives which other people have suggested to us and we've simply chronicled the submissions."
But Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce has rejected suggestions the draft discussion paper was just a pre-election thought bubble.
"This has been worked on for nearly two years, travelling the countryside, examining sites over the past couple of years," Senator Joyce told reporters in Canberra.
"This is certainly not a thought bubble. This is a key policy.
"It goes to show the Australian people that whilst we have been in Opposition we can be diligently doing our homework and preparing ourselves for that opportunity if it comes, the honour of government."
The Coalition's plan for more dams was initially leaked to News Limited newspapers, prompting ridicule from Labor.
"This is a story about water, dams and leaks," Labor frontbencher Craig Emerson told reporters in Canberra this morning.
"Mr Abbott has had three leaks in three weeks. This is a strange way to release policy."
Dr Emerson says the Coalition now needs to explain how it is going to pay for the mutli-billion dams plan.
"The Australian people expect the release of fully costed policies, so that they know about the policies of both parties, and... where the money is coming from."
Mr Abbott says new dams would only be built after a thorough cost-benefit analysis, but argues many projects would not need government funding.
"The proponents would fund them because the spin-offs - in terms of agricultural development, in terms of hydro electric power, in terms of flood mitigation - are just really too good to ignore," he told Macquarie Radio.
Carbon farm funding arrangements questioned
The Federal Government has been questioned about why it did not demand a management plan before funding a carbon farming project in the Northern Territory.
Henbury Station in Central Australia was purchased by RM Williams Agricultural Holdings in 2011 for $13 million, of which the Commonwealth contributed $9 million.
It was pitched as Australia's biggest carbon farming project.
The plan was to destock the 5,000 square kilometre property, about 125 kilometres south of Alice Springs, and return it to its natural state to earn carbon credits.
After a change of project management late last year, there was talk of incorporating some beef production in the plan.
A draft methodology on running the property was submitted to the Government but this was returned to RM Williams Agricultural Holdings, with a request for more information.
No carbon credits have been earned by the project so far.
This week, National Parks Director Peter Cochrane was questioned about the project during a Senate Estimates hearing in Canberra.
He said a management plan had not been required before the contract was signed.
Mr Cochrane told the hearing a Carbon Farming Initiative methodology has still not been approved.
National Party Senator Fiona Nash described the situation as appalling.
"The whole process seems to be a bit of a shambles and there really is a real lack of transparency," she said.
"To give $9 million of taxpayer money to a private company to purchase a property and not expect something as transparent and basic as a final management plan before that money was handed over, I think, is just an extraordinary state of affairs."
She says running cattle on the property would be a complete breach of the funding agreement.
The Environment Department has been asked to report on what will happen to the Commonwealth money if the project fails.
A spokesman for RM Williams Agricultural Holdings says there is a detailed interim management plan in place at Henbury Station.