Tuesday, November 12, 2013


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG commemorates armistice day, or whatever they call it these days

Greens protest killed my father, man says

GREEN protesters will be subject to workplace safety laws after a Forestry NSW worker was killed while standing guard between demonstrators and a logging site.

John Creighton, 59, who worked in forestry for 39 years, was hit by a falling log while overseeing the work on private land in Whian Whian in the state's north.

His son Russell said while he didn't want to lay blame he knew work practices on the day were changed as a result of the protesters on the site. "He was standing where he was because of that," he said. "He was called into these areas because of his experience - because he followed the letter of the law. That impacts us as a family."

Initial investigations revealed Mr Creighton was standing between a group of protesters and the logging site when he was hit in the head by the log on October 9. He died two days later in hospital.

As a result, Finance and Services Minister Andrew Constance said he and Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson would move to make protesters subject to the workplace and safety laws of any site they enter.

"Enough is enough," Mr Constance said. "Forestry activists need to understand they are entering the worksites of one of the most risky industries that operate in NSW."

Mr Creighton Jr said, while his dad had spent the majority of his career in forestry, he understood the right of people to protest against it.

"He said the majority of people out there had good intentions - but then there's the radical element," he said.

He said he would support any law change that forced protesters to follow work safety rules: "If it was a union picket and blokes invaded a work site they would be hauled away by police and face fines."

Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser last week blamed the protesters for Mr Creighton's death and called them "ratbags".

"Mr Creighton should not have been there. However, because of work health and safety concerns it was deemed necessary for Mr Creighton to be there,'' Mr Fraser said.

"A family has lost their father because greens failed to comply with health and safety regulations."


Australia snubs global climate talks, as Greg Hunt stays home to repeal carbon tax

AUSTRALIA will be represented by a diplomat rather than a senior minister at international climate talks in Poland next week aimed at securing an agreement to cut global carbon emissions.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt won't attend annual United Nations climate change talks in Warsaw, saying he'll be busy repealing the carbon tax in the first fortnight of parliament.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will also not attend. Neither her parliamentary secretary Brett Mason nor Mr Hunt's deputy, Simon Birmingham, have been delegated to attend.

Instead, Australia will be represented by Australia's Climate Change Ambassador Justin Lee, who is based in the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Hunt said through a spokesman that he would be “fully engaged in repealing the carbon tax” while the conference was underway.

The Environment Minister, who'd been expected to attend the talks, yesterday cancelled scheduled briefings on the Warsaw talks with business representatives, lobby groups and foreign diplomats.

Asked about the decision, Mr Hunt's spokesman said the talks were a foreign affairs issue.

Australia's stance at the upcoming meeting was due to be considered by federal cabinet on Monday.

Lobby groups said other nations were anxious to see what role Australia would play in global climate change negotiations under a Coalition government.

Speaking to reporters this morning, Mr Hunt said Australian delegates to the UN climate summit in Poland will seek a “deep, strong international agreement”.  “The first part of the delegation leaves today for Warsaw and I think there'll be plenty of engagement with business and community over the coming weeks,” he also told ABC radio.

But the government's move not to send a minister to Poland has raised eyebrows.  “It's highly unusual,” the Climate Institute's John Connor said.  “Australia's heft is significantly undermined by not having one of its senior elected representatives there.”

A government minister had attended the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks since Ian Campbell headed the delegation under John Howard's first government in 1997.

Labor sent climate change ministers Penny Wong and Greg Combet from 2007, except last year when the Gillard government's parliamentary secretary on climate change Mark Dreyfus stood in for Mr Combet.

Opposition climate spokesman Mark Butler said the move was unprecedented and sent a bad signal. “The political statement that's being made is all negative,” he told Sky News.  “Other countries are going to read into it at best with confusion and at worst that the Abbott government is walking away from global action on climate change.”

While no major decisions will be made at Warsaw, it's expected the meeting will build momentum in the lead-up to major negotiations for a global agreement on cutting greenhouse gases in Paris in 2015.

Mr Connor said other countries were “nervous” about the direction the Australian government was heading on climate change, and they'd have to reinforce their commitment to global action.

Mr Hunt said Dr Lee's delegation would stand by Australia's target of at least a five per cent emissions cut by 2020 and seek a “deep, strong international agreement”.

“In my case, we've got parliament over the next two weeks and I'm dealing with the legislation for repeal of the carbon tax,” he told ABC radio.


A judge with no sense of the real world

Stephen Campbell is a judge of the NSW Supreme Court. I will dispense with the usual honorific ''Justice'' for reasons that will become obvious. Campbell might want to know what happened outside his court last Friday, in the real world, the day he brought the Supreme Court into controversy, earned the ire of the Premier, shattered an innocent family, mobilised the media and generally enraged the community.

On Friday, I spoke to a woman who was manhandled on King Street, outside the court, by one of the retinue who had come to support the convicted killer and serial assailant Kieran Loveridge. This woman was pushed aside by a member of Loveridge's group as he jostled a TV cameraman.

Campbell is a career compensation lawyer. In his first 18 months on the bench he has turned out to be a difficult proposition for the victims of crime and their families. At least Loveridge is in jail, for the time being. And what a hatful of surprises Campbell has delivered during his short time on the bench.

Thomas Kelly, bashed and killed by Loveridge in an unprovoked attack. Campbell sentenced Loveridge to seven years in prison, with a non-parole period of five years and two months. With time served, he will be eligible for parole in four years.

Matthew Serrao, hit by Loveridge in an unprovoked attack. Campbell imposed a penalty of four months in prison, but partly served concurrently.

Rhyse Saliba, punched by Loveridge in an unprovoked attack. Campbell imposed a penalty of four months in prison, but partly served concurrently.

Aden Gazi, punched by Loveridge after an exchange of words. Campbell imposed a penalty of four months in prison, but partly served concurrently.

Marco Compagnoni, punched by Loveridge in an unprovoked attack. Campbell imposed a penalty of six months in prison, but partly served concurrently, giving a total prison term for the five assaults of seven years and two months, with only five years of non-parole time.

There are other Campbell judgments worth considering but space and context preclude their inclusion.

The first sign that Thomas Kelly's grieving family might be smashed again came during the sentencing hearing, after Loveridge had pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Campbell ordered that all the defence's written submissions be read in court, including the statements by his mother and the psychologist who assessed him. The Herald's court reporter who covered this case, Paul Bibby, says he had never seen a judge do that before.

At that hearing, the victim's mother, Kathy Kelly, told the judge: ''All of us have been robbed, not only us left behind but also Thomas. He didn't deserve to die, his brother and sister didn't deserve to lose their older brother, and Ralph and I didn't deserve the life sentence that we have been given.'' She added: ''[The] justice system [is] crying out for sentences that make people accountable for what they've done.''

That didn't seem to register. In his almost 8000-word judgment, Campbell paid lip service to the grief of the victims and the standards of society, then imposed a sentence that made a mockery of both.

At the time of Loveridge's deadly assault he was already on probation for gate-crashing a party in 2011 and punching the host, and his prior record also included assaulting a police officer, theft, malicious damage and affray. In considering this pattern of prior menace, Campbell made this extraordinarily forebearing observation: ''These matters, taken together, lead me to infer that at least to some degree the offender has in the past exhibited an attitude of disregard for the law. He has not always responded to leniency and has required sentences of probation and control orders.''

On Friday, Campbell sent a message to the community: ''The total effective sentence should not be so large as to be crushing to a young offender, stifling his prospects of rehabilitation … I have borne in mind the offender's relative social disadvantage and the difficulties of his upbringing … I find that the combination of the offender's youth, remorse, prospects of rehabilitation and the need to structure sentences for multiple offences constitute special circumstances.''

The message was received. The parents of Thomas Kelly described the sentence as a ''joke'', saying that, in effect, it was a second life sentence, in addition to having lost their innocent son at the age of 18. They said other lives would be broken by violence before judges came to their senses. The NSW Attorney-General, Greg Smith, immediately called for the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider an appeal against the leniency of the sentence. The NSW Police Association said the law regarding unprovoked assaults needed to be revised to prevent judges from trivialising the crime. Premier Barry O'Farrell condemned the message sent by the judge. Sydney's newspapers treated the judgment as so shocking as to be front page news. One headline summed up the general response in four words: ''King hit to justice''.

As I read Campbell's judgment, I looked for some sense that he knew what message he was sending to the community. The judgment can be accessed online here.

The legal industry will condemn the media for its populism and imperviousness to the complexities of the law but what we are left with from Injustice Campbell is this: life is cheap. There is a disconnect here, and the legal industry is not the solution to this problem, it is the problem blocking a solution.


Some multiculturalism in Australia

There is very little gun crime in Australia -- except among  Lebanese Muslims

TWO men were blasted by shotguns and three men were arrested less than an hour later while a house was also shot up in Sydney's west this morning.

The two men were shot near their Holden Commodore in a drive by attack on West Terrace, Bankstown about 12.20am.

The offenders sped off before the victims suffering gunshot wounds drove themselves in their car riddled with bullet holes to nearby Bankstown Hospital minutes later.

Three men were then arrested in Parramatta about 1am on a night where police described the city's west as being "flooded with police" in response to the recent spate of gun crime.

"Police were alerted to about six gunshot sounds in the location of West Terrace at Bankstown and as a result of that police attended," he said.

"While police were attending here two males presented themselves at Bankstown Hospital with gunshot wounds.

"Police at West Terrace located a number of items and police attended the hospital.

"Further than that, three people were arrested in the Parramatta area and are currently assisting police at Merrylands Police Station."

Jason, 21, said one of the victims stripped off his blood-soaked shirt before fleeing.

"I heard six shots and looked outside and a car took off and a guy that had been shot took his shirt off that was covered in blood and threw it on the ground and took off running," he said.

Joel, 40, said he heard shotgun blasts with cartridges littering the roadside.  "We heard six shots and my mate thought it was fire crackers and I said 'nuh mate, it's a shotgun'; I've got a licence so I know what guns sound like," he said.

"I went over and everybody was out on their balconies and two guys came out on the street and were looking at the shotgun shells. You could see one, two, three, four of them in the gutter.

"These guys are idiots carrying on with their guns. It's ridiculous, it's getting worse."

Police said it was too early to establish whether the shooting had any connections with Monday night's Brothers 4 Life related shotgun attack at Blacktown.

A crime scene was established on West Terrace with forensic officers scouring the road for evidence between the Euro Terraces and the Emporium Function Centre.  The victim's blood-soaked blue shirt on the footpath and four shotgun cartridges in the gutter were photographed.

A crime scene was also established in the Bankstown Hospital car park where the men parked their car. The car was later towed for forensic examination.

One of the victims was transferred to Liverpool Hospital for further treatment.

Detectives are waiting to speak with the injured men once they are well enough to be questioned.

Less than an hour later a house was also shot up on Mandina Place, Bringelly about 1am.

The single-storey brick house was fired upon with police finding a number of bullet holes in the front of the house. Nobody was home at the time.

A crime scene was established with police canvassing the neighbourhood. Forensic officers seized a number of items for examination.

There have now been 294 shootings since Premier Barry O'Farrell took office in March 2011.

On Monday night a 13-year-old girl was blasted in the back with a shotgun by three men looking for her brother with alleged Brothers 4 Life links at a house on Sunnyholt Rd, Blacktown.

On the same night a woman's car was fired upon in a road rage attack at Iris St, Riverwood.

On Sunday night Brothers 4 Life gang member, Michael Odisho, 27, was shot in the thighs and arms at his Winston Hills home.

On the same night shots were fired into a three-storey townhouse on Blaxell St, Granville.

Early on Monday morning shots were also fired at a house on McGuirk Way, Rouse Hill about 4am.

Last week Mahmoud Hamzy, 25, a cousin of jailed killer Bassam Hamzy, was shot dead by three gunmen inside the garage of his home at Revesby Heights.

Later in the week Raymond Pasnin, 27, was killed after he was shot five times in the back as he walked towards his Subaru Impreza parked in the driveway of his mother's Pendle Hill home.

Police are appealing for anyone that may have seen or heard anything to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


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