Monday, August 26, 2013

Multiculturalism thriving in Melbourne:  Woman badly beaten up on bus by African thugs

Melbourne has seen a lot of violence from Africans

A 26-YEAR-OLD woman is in hospital after being beaten unconscious by a group of people on a full Melbourne bus early on Sunday morning.

The 26-year-old St Kilda woman complained to the driver after the rowdy group boarded the bus in the city, because they were being boisterous and knocking into other passengers.

After she complained, one of the women in the group threw a drink over the St Kilda woman then punched her in the face, police say.

Other group members then dragged the woman to the ground where they punched and kicked her body and head until she was unconscious.

Several other people had also complained to the driver about the group, which was standing in the aisle because the bus was full.

The group fled after the bus driver opened the door on Swanston Street.

The victim was treated at the scene and taken to hospital for treatment where she is in a stable condition.

Police say the group of six or seven males and two females boarded the NightRider in the city about 2.30am (AEST) on Sunday morning and are perceived to be of African appearance.

They will review CCTV as part of their investigation.


The cost of waiting for education can be $4500 for parents wanting their children to attend private schools

What does that tell you about "free" government schools?

PARENTS spend up to $4500 to secure a private school place in Queensland, with many putting their children's names on multiple waiting lists.  Some schools send out bills of more than $1500 years in advance.

An investigation of enrolment application, confirmation and advance school fees shows parents pay the most, between $4000 and $4500, to secure and keep a spot at Brisbane Grammar School, the state's most consistent top academic performer in NAPLAN and OPs.

The $4000-$4500 includes a $400 application fee, which does not guarantee a place, and a $1600 confirmation fee, which confirms enrolment and is payable up to three years before a student starts. The fees are non-refundable.

Parents are asked to pay an advance fee of $2500 for Years 8 to 12, or $2000 for Years 6 and 7, depending on when they start.

The fee, which is charged once and is non-refundable, apart from exceptional circumstances, comes off a student's first year of school fees.

Brisbane Girls Grammar School (BGGS), another consistent top academic performer, also charges a $2000 advance fee, which comes off the first year of fees, but is refunded if the school finds a replacement.

Families of girls starting Year 7 in 2016 at BGGS have received an invoice already for their $1600 confirmation fee, while the advance fee for students starting next year had to be paid by June 10 this year.

Most Independent schools analysed charge non-refundable application or confirmation fees.  But some did not charge any. 

In the Catholic sector, application and confirmation fees range from $0 to more than $2000, with St Joseph's College, Gregory Terrace, charging an enrolment bond of $2200 for Year 8.

Most state schools do not charge fees before a student starts.

An Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) survey What Parents Want in 2011 found just over one-third of parents had their child's their name on a waiting list for more than one school, with about 13 per cent choosing three or more.

ISQ executive director David Robertson said enrolment fees were fair given schools' administration costs and to ensure parents were serious about enrolment and "actually making a commitment".

"In proper planning terms, a school plans their forward enrolments by several years ... So I think, in that respect, it is justifiable," he said.

Mr Robertson said the fees were also small in comparison to what parents would pay overall during their child's time at the school.


Former water polo champ adds daughters' names to private school waiting list at eight weeks of age

HARPER Miller is only 10 weeks old but she is already on a high school waiting list.

For some parents, deciding where to send their child to school is a vexed process but not for Carly Miller.  The former Australian women's water polo squad member and Brisbane Girls Grammar School (BGGS) student has fond memories of inter-school sports carnivals and of camaraderie and competition among every girl, every day to be their best, whether it be in the classroom or on the sporting field.

"I do think that everybody strives to be the best that they can be," she said of students at her former school.

"I think that there is a healthy competition at Grammar, so you are encouraged to give it your best shot and, obviously because your parents are paying a lot of money for you to be there, you want to do the best you can.

"I revelled in the sporting side of things at Grammar and made some really good friends that I am still in contact with today and I also think it is just a great school. It offers something to everybody, I believe."

The mother-of-three put her two daughters' names down on the BGGS waiting list within eight weeks of their birth "just to ensure that we didn't miss out".

"I would hate them to miss out on the opportunity if that is where we can afford to send them one day," she said.

"I had such a great time there. It's just a great environment to be in."

She said a good education was extremely important, providing a great foundation in life, which opened up doors and she wanted that for her children.


Grass versus Kangaroos

Kangaroos lost.  It's not only people that Greenies don't like

Animal welfare activists are using the federal election to punish the ACT Greens for last month's kangaroo cull.

The Animal Justice Party - which secured the ideal "A" spot on the ACT Senate ballot paper - has placed the Greens last on its preference list.

ACT Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury, who is the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, oversaw the shooting deaths of about 1450 kangaroos last month to protect rare grasslands from overgrazing.

The Greens' lead Senate candidate, Simon Sheikh, said on Sunday the Animal Justice Party's "silly decision" was disappointing.  "Many of the party's supporters have found out about this and told me they are deeply disappointed."

Yet the fledgling party's national campaign director, Willow Sloane, said the Greens had betrayed voters and must be sent a strong message.

"Mr Rattenbury signed off on the murder of up to 1600 kangaroos, despite extremely credible scientific evidence showing that a no-kill alternative was [preferable] and also far cheaper for taxpayers," she said.

Her party was right to be "totally uncompromising", she said.  "Until now, people concerned by the treatment of animals usually voted for the Greens," she said.  "They were probably just as shocked as us by what we saw last month: their blatant disregard, their lack of compassion and their lack of ethics."

Mr Sheikh said Canberrans should "reject the preferences that parties tell them" and decide for themselves whom to preference.

He was proud of his record on animal rights in his former role as national director of GetUp! - which campaigned to ban live exports.  "I worked alongside the leaders of the animal rights movement in Australia and I'm convinced voters will realise the Greens are the party best placed to champion these issues," Mr Sheikh said.

After last month's cull, Mr Rattenbury said he wanted to explore alternatives in future, such as tranquilising and moving kangaroos to other parts of the ACT.

Yet Animal Justice Party ACT candidate Marcus Fillinger, an air force marksman who also runs an animal shelter, dismissed the minister's change of heart as a late attempt to win preferences.

"[The Greens] wanted to talk preferences while kangaroos were getting their heads blown off," Mr Fillinger said. "It's a dirty, dirty game.  "When Mr Rattenbury is rubber-stamping a permit to kill, I take it personally."

In Senate elections, most voters - about three in four in the ACT - take the simpler option of voting "above the line". The party that wins an above-the-line vote gets to decide how these voters' preferences flow.

When choosing which of the larger parties to favour, the Animal Justice Party settled on Labor, the Liberals and then the Greens. The Bullet Train for Australia Party opted for the Greens, Labor then the Liberals.

However, the Stable Population Party split its vote three ways, giving the three larger parties an equal share of preferences.


Fishermen slam radical catch limit plan in NSW

A review of recreational fishing rules in NSW, which includes recommendations to halve the allowable daily catch for many popular south coast species, has been widely condemned by angling groups as lazy, poorly timed and lacking in science and logic.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries has received more than 3500 submissions on the discussion paper which recommends a 50 per cent reduction in fishing bag limits for species such as snapper, flathead, tailor, trevally, luderick and bream.  The review also recommends a combined total daily catch limit of 20 or 30 saltwater finfish.

President of the Canberra Fisherman's Club, Glen Malam, said the recommendations had no conservation basis and the review was poorly timed ahead of a major survey of recreational anglers due next year.

"Our main view is that there is absolutely no science behind it – there is really no logic behind it."  "For some of these species there really isn't any logical reason [to reduce bag limits].

Mr Malam said the recommendations might achieve the [department's] aim of reducing the complexity of fishing rules for different species, but that was no basis for the intelligent management of a fishery.

He said if the department was serious about conservation and managing fish stocks for the future it should examine bag limits on larger fish.

"You can wipe out a couple of hundred small fish that are undersize and it doesn't have much impact.  "Take out two or three really big fish and that could mean several thousand fish won't be there next year."

President of the Australian National Sportfishing Association (ANSA) NSW branch, Stan Konstantaras, described the review process as "lazy" and lacking any solid science.  “The first question you have to ask is 'are recreation fishing stocks in danger?' That question hasn't been answered ever," he said.

Mr Konstantaras said the review ignored community concerns about commercial fishing activities such as the netting of estuaries.

"Instead it has just proposed a broad-brush 50 per cent reduction in recreational fishing bag limits."  "They have taken the easy option. It's no different to the debate we had around marine parks. And the sanctuary zones – there was no science there either."

Mr Konstantaras said he wouldn't be against changes if there was evidence to suggest they were necessary.

“If our bream are in danger or under threat from recreational fishing activity then tell us why and tell us what we need to do," he said.  “We are sustainable anglers and if we need to change our activities and curtail what we take then so be it.  “But as far as we know our fish stocks are healthy and there is not any recreational fishing species under threat."

The review recommends even tougher bag limits for some deep-water species.  A reduction of 60 per cent (five to two) in the daily catch limit is proposed for blue-eye trevalla, banded rockcod, hapuka and gemfish.

Mr Malam said anglers spent hundreds of dollars travelling well out to sea to chase these species.

"To spend an hour travelling out to sea to catch two fish in 10 minutes then turn around and come back – it's just silly really."

The office of NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson declined a request to speak to the minister about criticisms of the review. Instead, Fairfax Media was referred to the department's manager of recreational fisheries, Bryan van der Walt.

"We've developed the discussion paper in light of a lot of issues," Mr van der Walt said. "The recreational sector in NSW is a large sector – there are one million fishers in NSW – so we do these reviews periodically – the last one was in 2007. Between reviews we get a lot of representations from the community about various things.

"One of those things is the potential reduction in bag limits which provide for greater conservation of our fish stocks but also a fairer sharing of the catch between fishers."

He said the department used all of the scientific information available to it. "We try and undertake assessments of around 100 different species every year. Our scientists undertake these assessments with the information that is available to us and we assess the status of those stocks. For most of the stocks we do have information, but for some species, there certainly are some information gaps."


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