Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The mother of the boy accused of race-hate attack in Bondi works in a Jewish nursing home

Because the assailants were NOT Muslim, we are told about their ethnicity.  Polynesians do have a high incidence of crime in Australia.  They have very little respect for the law

THE mother of a boy accused of an anti-semitic bashing in Bondi has denied her son is racist, citing she works in a Jewish nursing home.  The 17-year-old is accused of being among a group of boys who viciously bashed a Jewish family at Bondi at midnight Saturday.  They allegedly called the group "f...ing Jews" before allegedly bashing them.

Yesterday the mother of one of the two boys arrested moved to defend her son from the racist accusations.  Asked whether her son was racist, she said "no".  Then, as evidence, she said she worked at a Jewish nursing home.

"When he's at home he's not racist but when they get together they like to pick on people - it only takes drinking," she said.

The two boys, who cannot be identified as they will appear before a children's court, were already on bail for assaulting a police officer when they allegedly attacked the family at Bondi Beach.

They were charged with using unlawful violence against Constable Chun-Yuan Shieh and a number of others at Coogee beach on Saturday, September 7. They were also charged with affray for assaulting the officer in the execution of his duty.

The boy's mother confirmed that her son has been in trouble before and said he hung out with a "gang" that often used her home to sleep.  "He's been in a lot of trouble," she said.

The mother said her son, who is addicted to alcohol, only got out of juvenile detention last week.  "When he was 16 he was in there for a very long time ... for robbery at a train station."

The two boys were part of a group of eight mainly Pacific Islander youths charged with attacking the family, including a 66-year-old father and a 62-year-old mother, and friends walking home from a Sabbath dinner.

Five of them were hospitalised with broken bones, concussion and bleeding on the brain.

The two 17-year-olds were arrested and charged with affray. They were refused bail in court yesterday.  A 23-year-old was also arrested and charged but was released to appear in court in December.

Senior police said those allegedly involved in the attack had no connection to Islam.

The pair were part of a group of eight mainly Pacific Islander youths who have been charged with attacking the family and friends walking home from a Sabbath Dinner just after midnight on Saturday morning at Bondi. A 23-year-old was arrested and charged on the night before being released to appear in court on December 3.

The remaining five are still being hunted by police who are now scouring CCTV footage in the area near Blair and Glenayr Streets where the attack took place.

A 27-year-old man, his father, 66, and mother, 62 along with two other males aged 48 and 39, all ended up being hospitalised after the attack suffering from concussion, fractured bones, bleeding on the brain and serious abrasions

The family also released a statement calling for tolerance.

"We thank God that we are alive," the family said.

"Our overriding concern is that such an attack should not happen again - to anyone. Our objective at this time is not vengeance, but justice and concern. We want justice to be done in regard to the perpetrators. And we are concerned about the need for the education of future generations about the importance of goodwill and tolerance, and the need for society to embrace those concepts. We would like to see proactive measures in that regard.

"People should be free to walk the streets in safety, without fear of being attacked because of the colour of their skin or the race to which they belong.

"We wish to thank the police for their fast response on the night of the incident, as well as St Vincent's Hospital emergency staff, the ambulance service, the shopkeepers who offered assistance, the locals who tried to help, the hotel bouncers who eventually came to our aid. We also thank the Premier, Opposition Leader, ministers, shadow ministers, MPs and leaders of the many faith groups and organisations across the wider community which have expressed support and concern. We also thank friends and members of the community. The support is deeply appreciated and reminds us that what occurred is not what Australia is about.

The Jewish community is still in shock over the attack."


Labor needs to ditch the Greens and embrace the facts

In February, Senator Christine Milne announced that the Greens would be unilaterally junking their alliance with Labor. The Labor-Greens agreement, which was formalised in September 2010, did the ALP a lot of political harm. So it is possible that the then prime minister Julia Gillard and her treasurer Wayne Swan were not displeased with Milne's decision.

So the Greens publicly dumped Labor. But the ALP has found it difficult to distance itself from the Greens. Towards the end of her prime ministership, Gillard overturned Labor's policy on asylum seekers and adapted a position closer to that held by Tony Abbott and the Coalition. Kevin Rudd embraced the Gillard position when he resumed as prime minister in June. He went on to renounce Gillard's carbon tax, which he planned to replace with an emissions trading scheme. And then came Labor's defeat.

As opposition leader in the aftermath of a devastating defeat, Bill Shorten faces obvious problems. Some commentators have been heard to suggest that, in the modern era, no opposition leader has taken over after a serious loss and gone on to become prime minister.

This overlooks Gough Whitlam, who took over as Labor leader in the wake of Arthur Calwell's defeat in February 1967 and led the ALP to victory six years later. Whitlam and Tony Abbott are the most successful opposition leaders since the end of the Second World War.

It would be foolish to predict that, under Shorten's leadership, Labor has no hope. Yet Shorten Labor clearly has serious policy difficulties. They mainly turn on the policy legacy of the Greens-Labor alliance: namely, carbon pricing and asylum seekers.

The latter issue presents obvious predicaments since it brings into play Labor's diverse base. There are the inner-city working professionals, many of whom are dependent (directly or indirectly) on government funding. Then there are those who live in the suburbs and regional areas, many of whom are in the private workforce or self-employed.

Rudd Labor's decision to wind back John Howard's strong border protection policies appealed to many inner-city types but did not go down well elsewhere and was a factor in Labor's near loss in 2010 and its bad defeat last month. If, under Shorten, Labor appears to embrace the Greens' position on asylum seekers it is difficult to see how Labor can win back many of the suburban and regional seats it lost in the past two elections.

Labor's chance of developing a considered and effective policy on asylum seekers will be enhanced if it is informed by fact rather than by sentiment. This requires that prevailing myths be challenged and demolished.

Myth one: the Vietnamese boat people came to Australia by boat. Not so. Q&A presenter Tony Jones made this howler last week when he confidently declared that "we took an awful lot of Vietnamese" in the 1970s and "they came here on boats". According to Malcolm Fraser, about 70,000 Indochinese came to Australia during the period of his government - from November 1975 until March 1983. However, just over 2000 asylum seekers arrived in Australia by boat during the entire seven-year period of the Fraser government. The remaining 97 per cent arrived in Australia by plane with valid visas. This compares with an estimated 45,000 boat arrivals during the almost six years of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd governments.

Myth two: people arriving in Australia by boat are fleeing persecution. Not necessarily so. The overwhelming majority of boats arriving in Australia unlawfully contain people who have made secondary movements. Many have travelled freely to Indonesia or Malaysia where they buy spaces on boats from people smugglers. Their immediate fear of persecution is no greater than that of established refugees waiting for placement in United Nations-run camps in Asia, Africa and elsewhere.

Myth three: until recent times, there was a bipartisan approach on asylum seekers. Novelist Tom Keneally made this point on 7.30 last week. Not at all. During his final year as prime minister in 1975, and as opposition leader in 1976 and 1977, Whitlam opposed Vietnamese refugees settling in Australia. Labor's position only changed when Bill Hayden succeeded Whitlam. Moreover, since Labor changed its policy under Gillard, there is now a degree of similarity in the position of both the Coalition and Labor.

Myth four: only the hard-hearted lack sympathy for boat people. This is special pleading. At present rates, 4 per cent of boat people die at sea. The only way to stop the drownings is to stop the boats.

Labor's best chance of handling the asylum seeker issue turns on its ability to demolish the myths and establish the facts. This will have the effect of distancing Labor from myth-loving Greens.


Labor set to bury carbon tax

Labor is expected to support axing the carbon tax, with senior figures - including leader Bill Shorten - now convinced that its case for action on climate change will be more easily sold if the politically toxic tax is abolished.

The opposition has been wrestling with what to do on the repeal of the tax, with some saying it must hold the line to show voters and demoralised supporters that it still stands for something.

They argue that Labor proposed to "terminate" the tax at the last election and to simply block its repeal would allow the government to continue to punish it politically.

Mr Shorten is also worried that continual focus on the tax will distract from serious flaws in the government's $3.2 billion "direct action" policy, which Labor will oppose.

Under direct action, taxpayer dollars are used to pay polluters to reduce emissions and to fund other initiatives in forestry, carbon capture and recycling.

A survey of economists by Fairfax Media found only two of 35 supported direct action over an emissions trading scheme, which uses a floating carbon price driven by the global market.

Labor will continue to back some form of carbon pricing but reserves the right to deliver its policy closer to the election. Meanwhile, it will scrutinise direct action.

Independent analysis of direct action suggests it will not be able to reduce emissions by the bipartisan target of 5 per cent by 2020 without more funding - which has been ruled out by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

A senior Labor source said the party would not countenance weakening the target, amid concern that the legislation to repeal the carbon tax will change the status of the 5 per cent target from a legally enforceable cap to merely an aspiration.

"We are happy to get rid of the tax but we do think there should be a cap on pollution," said one Labor insider.

Mr Abbott has made the repeal of the tax his legislative priority when Parliament resumes in two weeks. He has urged Labor to "repent" and support the government.

A number of Labor sources acknowledge there has been a shift in sentiment since the election. Even so, the shadow cabinet is yet to finalise Labor's position and wants to see the final shape of the government's legislation before making any commitment.

Labor's climate change spokesman, Mark Butler, hinted strongly at the weekend that the option of backing the repeal bills was being considered, saying that the final policy "will be informed by the fact that we took to the last election a commitment ourselves to terminate the carbon tax".

John Scales of JWS Research said polling showed that the carbon tax had dominated the climate change debate in recent years and undermined support for action.

He said the tax was widely seen through the prism of former prime minister Julia Gillard's broken promise when she introduced the impost, and through its impact on electricity and other prices.

Mr Abbott has already begun to call Mr Shorten "Electricity Bill" as he goads him to support the repeal of the tax. With it gone, Mr Scales said Labor would have clear air to make direct action its target and to develop its alternative.


War Memorial to keep 'Known unto God' on tomb of Unknown Soldier

The Australian War Memorial (AWM) has dropped plans to remove the phrase "Known unto God" from the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Canberra.

Last month the memorial's governing council decided to replace two inscriptions on the tomb with words from a eulogy delivered by then prime minister Paul Keating during the re-internment of the Unknown Soldier 20 years ago.

Rudyard Kiplings's words "Known unto God", which are on the headstones of thousands of soldiers in war cemeteries worldwide, were to be replaced with "We do not know this Australian's name, we never will".

But AWM director Brendan Nelson says the decision prompted about 40 complaints from Christians, historians, politicians and other interested parties.

He says there will now be a compromise.

"Obviously sensitive to the concerns, the council's then said right well we will leave 'Known unto God' but we will replace at the other end of the tomb the words 'He symbolises all those Australians who've died in war' with 'He is one of them, and he is all of us'," he said.

There are reports the backdown was prompted by intervention by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Minister for Veteran's Affairs Michael Ronaldson.

"I'm not going to discuss whether the Prime Minister or indeed the Minister for Veteran's Affairs have had conversations with me or anybody else here or indeed what the content of that is," Dr Nelson said.  "But I think it would be fair to say, knowing Tony Abbott as I do so very well, I suspect he'd be quite comfortable with where we've landed."

Dr Nelson says political correctness had nothing to do with the initial decision to remove "Known unto God".  "Historically, Charles Bean ... who conceived and drove the memorial, his ambition was always that there would be no religious symbols or references in the memorial or indeed in the hall," he said. "It was not until 1999 that the words 'Known unto God' were placed."

He says the change was designed to give permanence to Mr Keating's 1993 eulogy.  "This was never driven by some suggestion that we should remove God or political correctness or anything of the sort," Dr Nelson said.

The remains of an unknown Australian soldier killed in World War I were returned from France in 1993 and buried in a tomb within the memorial's Hall of Memory to honour all Australians who have died in wars.


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