Tuesday, August 27, 2013

More multiculturalism in Melbourne:  African Muslims jailed over violent Vic taxi robbery

The brave Mr Farah

The brave Mr Hersi

The brave Mr Muse

TWO men have been jailed for the violent robbery of a Melbourne taxi driver which a judge described as degrading and chilling.

Husni Mohamed Muse, 23, of Carlton, and Abdi Mohamed Farah, 30, of Preston, robbed cab driver Ravinder Singh at knifepoint in Carlton in December 2011.

When Mr Singh attempted to run, Muse chased after him, wrapped a belt around his neck and dragged him back to the taxi.  The men then told Mr Singh they would kill him if he tried to run.

The two were found guilty in the Victorian County Court last month of armed robbery, false imprisonment and making a threat to kill.

They both pleaded guilty to a charge of obtaining property by deception relating to the later use of Mr Singh's credit card.

Victorian County Court Judge Gerard Mullaly on Monday sentenced both men to three years and nine months in jail, with a non-parole period of two years.

Judge Mullaly said it was not clear how much was stolen, but said Mr Singh was traumatised by the ordeal. "The whole experience was frightening, the use of the belt was degrading, the threat was chilling," he said.  "Taxi drivers are entitled to get through their shifts ... without being subject to violence."


Fuller report here.  The above was only one of two taxi robberies committed by the charmers above

Deceptions galore from Rudd

The government is not running on its record. The Prime Minister is not focused on his achievements. He is running a campaign built on fabrications and future glory. He has been caught lying, without compunction, on multiple occasions. This is not even the most insidious mischief.

The government has manipulated the official statistics. It has compromised the reputation of the Treasury. An example of the endless spin cycle is the manipulation of the unemployment rate, a basic measure of the economy and thus, indirectly, a measure of the government's performance. The official rate is 5.7 per cent. It has been trending up for a year, from 5.2 per cent, a 10 per cent rise in 12 months. The real unemployment rate is higher, about 6.2 per cent according to a study by Andrew Baker of the Centre for Independent Studies.

Baker found that more than 100,000 job-seekers had been moved out of the unemployment ranks by shifting them into training schemes. "An astonishing 360,000 unemployed people are classified as non-job-seekers," Baker wrote in his centre's monograph. "The number [in training schemes has] skyrocketed from 62,500 in 2009 to 150,000 in 2012 … People on welfare who are not required to look for work will stay on welfare longer." He estimates that if the unemployed who are classified as "non-job-seekers" was included in the unemployment baseline number, the rate would be 6.2 per cent.

Even the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) finds something is amiss with Australia's unemployment data, noting recently: "The non job-seeker population is so large that it needs more analysis and attention."

Not good, considering that when Rudd came to power in 2007 the official, uncooked, unemployment rate was 4.5 per cent. Despite a resources boom and $300 billion in government deficit spending, the unemployment rate has risen about 37 per cent under Labor.

Manipulating the unemployment rate is a subtle lie. There are unsubtle lies, also funded by taxpayers. The government has spent $30 million in the run-up to the election on a saturation ad campaign stating that boat people who destroy their documents will never be settled permanently in Australia. It is a fantasy. Since Rudd announced that boat people will be sent to Papua New Guinea and never see Australia, his ploy has collapsed. Three thousand boat people have arrived since then and most are being warehoused in Australia. Based on Labor's policies, they will spend years in the Australian legal system at an average cost to taxpayers of roughly $200,000 a person. Madness.

Then there are the outright lies by Rudd, which he keeps repeating even after they have been discredited: the Coalition does not have a secret plan to increase the GST. Tony Abbott did not strip $1 billion out of the hospital system. The opposition does not have a $70 billion deficit in its costings. The Liberals did not do a secret deal with News Corporation over the national broadband network. Those arriving by people smugglers' boats will not be sent to Papua New Guinea and never reach Australia. Millionaires will not be the primary beneficiaries of Tony Abbott's paid parental leave scheme. The price of Vegemite is not going up 50¢ a jar.

And the woman in the Labor TV ads saying she does not trust Abbott is not a concerned citizen. She is a professional actress working off a script, another cog in the giant spin cycle. Unfortunately for Rudd and Labor, the millions of dollars spent on that TV campaign has been more than offset by a real civilian making a real protest about Rudd's conduct and character. A classic ordinary Australian, Brisbane make-up artist Lily Fontana, used her Facebook account to make a spontaneous personal observation which emphatically confirmed the hundreds of media reports about Rudd's private personality.

If you missed her words it is worth reading them because they are so telling and they have gone viral: "Just finished doing Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott for the leadership forum at Broncos Leagues Club. One of them was absolutely lovely, engaged in genuine conversation with me, acknowledge that I had a job to do and was very appreciative. The other did the exact opposite! Oh boy, I have ever [sic] had anyone treat me so badly whilst trying to do my job. Political opinions aside … from one human being to another … Mr Abbott, you win hands down."

Embarrassed by the attention her comments received, Fontana removed them from Facebook, but not before another make-up artist, Abigael Johnston, added this: "I second that Lily. I have had a very similar experience." These are real political civilians, not paid actors.

Call it blowback, call it karma, but in Australia's longest-running election campaign, Julia Gillard and then Rudd both sought to make Tony Abbott's character the central issue and both saw their own reputations wilt instead. Rudd, with his distinct combination of owlish face, preachy persona, punctilious speech and negative tactics, is in danger of becoming what politicians most dread, a joke.


Rudd’s class war leave is hogwash

KEVIN Rudd is struggling to connect to Labor’s traditional blue-collar base with a blatant appeal to hate-filled class warfare not seen in Australia since the pre-Whitlam days and laid to rest under Bob Hawke.

"I have never believed in class warfare," Rudd said at the National Press Club in July during the first major speech of this turgid election campaign.  "I think some of the politics of class warfare, however exaggerated or not exaggerated, have not served us well in the past," he intoned.

Just last Wednesday, he adopted his folksy guise and proclaimed: "Mate, I’ve never been one that’s engaged in class warfare and whether it is the ol’ Twiggster or whether it’s Gina, I don’t care. I am about Australia. I’m about whoever wants to push the country forward and invest and be confident in the country’s future, and get out there and grow the economy."

It was his goal, he said, to bring about a more productive relationship between Labor and business and end the days of so-called class warfare.

Like many of his campaign statements, it was hogwash. He’s been vigorously demonising Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer (both job creators) as frequently as opportunity permits ever since and has now widened his attack to include working women who earn less than $150,000 a year.

How many women earn more than $100,000 in Australia? According to the statistics 1.7 per cent of all taxpayers are women aged 18 to 45 who earn over $100,000 a year, quite a number of whom would be employed in the public service.

Rudd is trying to undermine Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme by ignoring the fact women at the lower end of the pay spectrum will receive a more generous allowance under Abbott’s plan than they do under Labor, and disguise the fact that under Labor’s scheme some women in the public service - bloated beyond belief under Labor - could be more generously rewarded than under Abbott’s scheme.

Every woman in the federal public service earning less than $150,000 is eligible to receive the national entitlement of 18 weeks leave on the minimum wage - a payment of about $11,200. All federal public servants earning up to $150,000 get the 18 weeks on minimum wage payment and extra entitlements depending in which department they work. Hence the double dipping.

In the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, for example, the total available maternity leave runs to 18 weeks. In Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace, it runs to 17. Members of Parliament Staff, those employed in Finance, Treasury, the Bureau of Statistics and the Public Service Commission have 16 weeks, and so on. Under Kevin, it’s a fat cats’ heaven.

Chaotic Kevin is delivering an incoherent message about Abbott. On the one hand, the trim, well-exercised Rhodes Scholar with three daughters and a loving wife hates females and on the other, he is trying to make welfare queens out of professional women who want to start families.

As Rudd said about Abbott’s parental leave scheme in last week’s Broncos Leagues Club debate: "It’s a huge, huge, humungous policy which gives $75,000 to millionaires."

Not surprisingly, the supine Left-leaning media largely prefer to accept Rudd’s peculiar view than actually look at the policy detail - despite Abbott repeatedly pointing to the unjust anomalies in Labor’s plan.

As for MPs, two Labor women gave birth during the last parliament - Tanya Plibersek and Michelle Rowland.

Plibersek gave birth to her third child in October 2010 and took three weeks leave. Rowland gave birth to her first child in February 2012 and took maternity leave following the birth. She didn’t return to parliament until August 2012.

Both would have received their salary on leave (because there is no formal process for MPs to take leave, they are paid their salary regardless).

Neither would have received any benefits under the parental leave scheme because an MP’s salary is too high to be eligible for any benefits under the government’s scheme.

Why doesn’t Rudd think all Australian women deserve the same sort of benefits enjoyed by those employed by the Commonwealth? As Abbott said in response to a loaded question during last week’s debate: "If my staff … and Mr Rudd’s staff get their wage when they go on parental leave, why shouldn’t the factory worker and shop assistant also get their wage when they go on parental leave?
"If we get our wage when we go on holidays, when we go on long service, why shouldn’t we get our wage when we go on parental leave?"

As he said, he’s been upfront about his position. He wrote about it in his book on policy four years ago. It was the Coalition policy going into the last election and it’s "absolutely" Coalition policy going into this election. Further, it is fully costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

Rudd and Labor are campaigning on promises and lies, not their record. But we know from their record that Labor promises are worthless.  This latest Labor lie on Abbott’s parental leave scheme has been nailed.


Big spending Beattie and Rudd perfect partners

WHETHER you call it hide, chutzpah or the Dunning-Kruger effect, Peter Beattie's decision to run for the seat of Forde reveals a man who refuses to take responsibility for the disaster he wreaked on Queensland.

Having spent his early years as premier distracted by the Shepherdson inquiry into ALP electoral fraud and trying to broaden the "Smart State" from "rocks and crops" to "electronic games and biotechnology", Beattie settled into his true passion: spending tens of billions of dollars on poorly thought-through infrastructure adventures.

To do this, Beattie centralised power and sidelined naysayers. He achieved this objective on September 13, 2006, when he claimed he had "reshaped the government so that it is ideally positioned". What that meant was reducing the number of decision-makers to just two, himself and Anna Bligh, who became deputy premier, treasurer and minister for infrastructure.

Beattie's kitchenette cabinet was the forerunner to Kevin Rudd's Gang of Four, aka the Strategic Priorities and Budget Committee of Cabinet. According to Gang Member No 4 Lindsay Tanner, the SPBC usurped the role of cabinet and, by early 2010, "too much was being dealt with by SPBC, in an increasingly erratic fashion, and there were too many major items on our agenda".

If only Beattie and Rudd had read James Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds. The author argues that non-expert "crowds" often produce better decisions than a few experts. That is because they draw on a diversity of independently formed opinions that are aggregated into a coherent decision: precisely the advantages of a properly functioning cabinet process.

Without that process, and with all other constraints removed, Queensland's Gang of Two managed to max out the AAA credit card in just four budgets. Beattie-Bligh grew the state capital program by 26 per cent per year in real terms for five years from $6 billion in 2004-05 to $17bn in 2008-09, or by $57 billion in total.

Did Queenslanders get value for money? Sadly, no. For starters, Beattie built during an unprecedented mining construction boom in Queensland where the costs for materials and labour were running at 25 to 50 per cent above long-run trends. And they had a complete disregard for cost-benefit analysis. Take the $9bn SEQ Water Grid, for example.

The most muddle-headed piece of that grid, the now fully decommissioned $2.5bn Western Corridor Recycled Water Scheme, had just two customers - the Swanbank and Tarong power stations. Beattie forced these power stations to buy western corridor recycled water for $3200 per megalitre when the going rate for regular dam water was $380 per ML. To call this scheme hare-brained would be to insult any self-respecting hare.

With a slew of such decisions, Queensland lost its AAA credit rating in February 2009, just 18 months after Beattie's retirement.

Having been left to clean up the mess, Campbell Newman is being cast by Labor as the bad guy who created "a make-believe crisis, a Trojan horse for the programs of cuts, sackings and sell-offs". Newman is not the first premier elected who will spend most of his watch on cleaning duties and get no thanks from dopey opposition leaders.

On coming to power in October 1992, Victorian premier Jeff Kennett inherited an economy in deep recession, and a total state debt of $68bn. Kennett's interest bill was about $7bn a year in today's dollars, similar to that which Newman faces in Queensland. The ratings agencies downgraded Victoria three times between 1990 and 1992.

Forced into a corner by the bad decisions of his Labor predecessors, Kennett seized the opportunity to reduce expenditure and modernise Victoria's economy.

It has been the same story for Newman. Stuck with Beattie's borrowing legacy and bloated bureaucracy, Newman had no choice but to stop the unsustainable growth in the public service wage bill, which had increased by more than $1bn in Beattie's last three budgets, and cut annual capital spending to realistic levels.

The difficulty of Newman's task reflects the extent of the wreckage he inherited. In total, Beattie's follies cost Queensland more than $50bn.

Thanks to Pete, the electors of Forde are $922 million worse off - almost $12,000 per voter. This includes additional electricity charges of $1300 per voter, including for the network overbuild, the five per cent super profits that Beattie guaranteed to energy retailers and the mandated Queensland Gas Scheme. Add to that $1700 per voter for the water grid, the green schemes, the Smart State waste and the health payroll debacle. Then there are the interest payments and the standard cost of taxation. Those costs combined amount to $8500 per elector.

Yet Beattie remains delusional, arguing in these pages on the weekend that he invented the coal seam gas industry in Queensland by mandating the 13 per cent gas scheme. In reality, all that scheme did was to increase electricity costs to households by $523m.

But Beattie can't face up to any of that. Endless ambition, and an addiction to the public teat, preclude even the basic honesty to accept responsibility. Little wonder he has teamed up with Rudd. It's the marriage made in heaven of the nation's two ultimate Hollowmen - who would take the country to hell.


No comments: