Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lots of relieved people in W.A. today

Judge Sleight is now a PROVEN fool.  Why has this scum been allowed to get away with so much?  My guess:  He is Aboriginal

One of Western Australia's worst sex offenders has been arrested for allegedly breaching a supervision order condition, just days after being released from prison.

Police arrested the man, known only as "TJD" for legal reasons, on Wednesday afternoon after alleged breaches of his reporting conditions.

The man was being "processed" by police late this afternoon. Charges have not yet been laid.

A WA Police spokeswoman said officers from the sex offender management squad were advised by the Department of Corrective Services about the alleged breach.

She said specific details about the allegations and when the alleged incident happened were not yet available.

On Wednesday, the offender's release from jail on a 10-year supervision order provoked community outrage, while the state's Attorney-General says he wouldn't have let him out.

The offender was last week freed from prison by a Supreme Court judge.

Commissioner Kevin Sleight revoked an indefinite detention order handed to "TJD" in 2011, after he attacked 13 women, including seven occasions when he used a weapon or replica weapon to threaten his victim into submission.

Mr Sleight said he was satisfied "TJD" - who has a history of assaults on women dating back to when he was 15 - could be released under a strict 10-year supervision order, which will include wearing a GPS tracking device.

He will have to abide by a night-time curfew and is banned from unsupervised access to children.

As talkback radio airwaves were swamped by callers horrified by the man's release, WA Attorney-General Michael Mischin said he had "an awful lot of sympathy" for people who felt the man presented too high a risk to the community.

"I share the community's concerns about this," Mr Mischin told Radio 6PR on Wednesday.   "This man has a very bad record."

Mr Mischin also said he felt for the man's victims, who would be fearful of running into him.  "I am very sorry that they are being put through this."

He said he couldn't tell the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions what to do as it was independent, but had asked for more information about the matter.

"Probably, on the material that I've seen, I would have come to a different decision.  "What I can do is get a report from the DPP's office as to the reasoning underlying the decision.

"If there is a systemic problem there, I will address that. If there has been a bad judgment call in this case, then I will take what steps I can in discussions with the director to ensure this judgment call is not repeated."

WA opposition leader Mark McGowan said that, if he was the attorney-general and knew the offender's indefinite detention order was coming up for review, he "would have had words with the DPP about the approach".

"I don't think that is inappropriate and I think it's a gross failure and a gross negligence on the part of the attorney-general not to have done so," Mr McGowan said.


Why did this lying woman get a cent?

A young woman claiming she suffered debilitating back pain in a car crash was caught out after boasting about her active social life online.

Monica-Leigh Reitano's compensation claim in the Supreme Court in Mackay serves as a cautionary tale for social media users.

Ms Reitano was 17 when she was taken to the Mackay Mater Hospital with back pain after her car was rear-ended by a four-wheel-drive at a roundabout in 2008.

The now-23-year-old sought compensation from RACQ Insurance in July last year, saying she suffered ongoing back and chest pain, which worsened with certain activities.

Ms Reitano said she suffered intermittent spasms, numbness, tingling and sleep issues, which severely hindered her home, social and academic life.

But Justice David North expressed doubts about both her mental and physical injuries, saying her conversations on social media and her highschool blog posts presented a very "different picture".

"The plaintiff admitted that she told doctors that she had become scared to go out, but it was plain from her evidence and from other documentary sources that the plaintiff attended music festivals, events at hotels, and that she had been a bridesmaid," he said in a just-published judgment.

Ms Reitano claimed her injuries had robbed her of the opportunity to pursue a career as a foreign correspondent.

However, Justice North said Ms Reitano had blogged as a schoolgirl about her ambition to be a psychologist and listed journalism as her third preference on her application for university admission.

The court also heard Ms Reitano had also made false claims about purchasing a house, planning a trip to the UK and receiving job offers on social media.

Justice North said he accepted some social media accounts "might be attributable to the vagaries of youthful and forgivable exuberance or indiscretion".

Ms Reitano was awarded $139,026 damages, although Justice North said her account of her "pain and suffering" could not be accepted.

The payout included general and special damages, past and future economic loss, interest and lost superannuation.


Abbott sweeps the podium

THE really big and largely unheralded winner from the elections in South Australia and Tasmania was Tony Abbott.

Importantly, he won on two subtly different levels — as Abbott the politician and Abbott the prime minister. That is to say, he is now impregnable as party leader; and he will be even more the dominant determinant of policy.

This might seem an odd thing to claim as neither election had anything much to do with federal issues or with Abbott’s leadership, but rather utterly inept (especially south rather than west of Victoria) state governments.

And, yes, I know, as politicians and commentators claim repeatedly, state elections are not about federal issues. That voters always distinguish between the two, frequently electing opposite parties at the two levels.

Well, that’s ‘always’ claimed by those ‘insiders’ — when they are not claiming the exact opposite. The alternative claim is usually of the variety.

Or when they try desperately, as both Labor and the Greens did in these two state elections, to make them about the dreaded ‘AbbottAbbottAbbott monster’ — to paint the possible local Coalition government as a future working partner of ‘the evil one.’

Well, let’s take Labor at its word. These elections were all about Abbott: South Australian voters backed him 53-47 per cent; and Tasmania even more resoundingly with 53 per cent of first preferences. Labor and the Greens were shredded.

Also, add that to the Griffith by-election where the Prime Minister (and true, a very good local candidate) scored a rare by-election swing to the Government — and they did so, against Labor’s imprecations, and the easy option of being able, to ‘send a message to Canberra’, and to Abbott in particular.

Arguably, the mindless March ‘march’ madness protests on the weekend made Abbott’s indirect but utterly decisive victory all that sweeter; underlining as it did the fringe nature of street noise. Along with, an awful lot of media so-called commentary.

Gee, you’d think the Liberals would take the advice and finally learn just how awful Abbott’s been for them.

Ever since he won leadership of the party, all he’s done is lose. Not content with ‘losing’ one prime minister, Kevin Rudd, he was so careless that he ‘lost’ a second, Julia Gillard. What on earth would Oscar Wilde have said about him ‘losing’ a third, recycled Rudd?

Now, he’s proved such a ‘successful’ focus of Labor attack, that he’s managed to ‘lose’ Labor every state and territory government, bar the ‘beltway cocooned ACT’, and if not also South Australia, only because of an outrageous gerrymander that would have sent the already ruddy-faced, the late Tom Playford, even redder with grudging admiration.

The more the crazies outside parliament scream against Abbott, the more the ‘smarties’ on the Labor benches inside parliament target Abbott, the more they succeed in cementing his dominance of both party and Cabinet room, and the more they extend his support in the broader community.

We’ve already seen one big policy consequence — the government’s ‘tough decisions’ to refuse SPC and Qantas what they wanted, after the ‘easy ones’ to not embark on a, almost certainly fruitless, chase after Holden and Toyota.

What’s again got lost in the hysteria, is that Abbott’s tactical instincts proved best. To have taken the all-too easy path of handing SPC $25 million and Qantas a ‘costless’ debt guarantee would have undermined the necessary tough decisions those companies had to make.

Another big policy consequence is the paid parental leave scheme. Whatever the arguments of equity and budget discipline against it, if the Prime Minister wants it, and he does, we are getting it.

If he doesn’t already appreciate it, and I suggest he does — his body language at the Qantas policy announcement spoke volumes — Treasurer Joe Hockey better factor the cost into his budget.

The big thing that flows from all this, is that the Prime Minister has gained an increasingly powerful mandate to take tough and decisive action.

The two state elections and the Griffith by-election have given him the most useful mandate of it all — one where the voters have had a second, and all-too easy, chance to fall prey to scare campaigns, and instead increased their support.

Clearly, the success in ‘stopping the boats’ has been of huge, huge, benefit to the Government and to Abbott in particular, in winning post-election respect and confidence.

The message is twofold: deliver on your promises, and we’ll cop the tough decisions.

Importantly, Abbott clearly knows better than critics and (genuine, if gratuitous) advisers alike, that both sides of this are critical.

He must deliver on his promises, as a non-negotiable precondition to good government and winnable elections. It is simply not an option, to welsh in the name of budget difficulty.

Equally, the opposition in the broad and the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten specifically are proving very slow learners.

The more they demonise and abuse ‘the AbbottAbbott’ the more they cost themselves. The whole ‘misogyny thing’ certainly worked a treat for Gillard. It’s still working a treat, for this PM.

The Opposition’s virulent determination to prevent the Government delivering on its promises, just adds a further layer of help — to the Government; as it keeps announcing the Opposition’s sterility and hopelessness.

The only surprise is that Shorten hasn’t gone back to Kim Beazley’s promise to abolish the GST when and if it wins government.


Tony Abbott stands up to colleagues, critics on free speech

TONY Abbott has resisted Coalition rebels and defied criticism from ethnic communities over looming changes to racial discrimination laws by insisting the reforms will “reconcile” support for freedom of speech and the rejection of racism.

Acting to limit Coalition dissent, the Prime Minister intervened in a dispute between his colleagues yesterday to declare the reforms would “proscribe” racial vilification while amending rules that led to the prosecution of News Corp Australia columnist Andrew Bolt.

Mr Abbott tackled the Coalition concerns in a partyroom meeting that heard calls to maintain the section 18C provisions of the Racial Discrimination Act, which make it unlawful to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate a person on the basis of their race.

Mr Abbott issued a firm statement opposing racism but in favour of free speech and amending legislation to prevent a repeat of the 2011 judgment against the popular columnist and broadcaster. The robust discussions followed a report in The Australian yesterday suggesting Attorney-General George Brandis was considering a proposal to remove the words “offend”, “insult” and “humiliate” from 18C but keep “intimidate”, and amend the “good faith” provision in section 18D, a key part of the law that led to the finding against Bolt.

Mr Abbott pledged in 2012 he would amend or repeal 18C “in its current form” if elected.

Queensland backbencher George Christensen and Sydney MP Alex Hawke spoke in support of his stand yesterday. “Freedom of speech is a God-given right - if we don’t allow the things we don’t want to hear, we don’t really believe in free speech at all,” sources claimed Mr Christensen said.

But West Australian Ken Wyatt, the first indigenous member of the House of Representatives with a long association with his home state’s equal opportunity tribunal, warned he could cross the floor if anti-vilification provisions were watered down. Queenslander Ewen Jones backed his stand.

The partyroom clash came as representatives of the indigenous, Greek, Jewish, Chinese, Arab, Armenian and Korean communities expressed their “vehement opposition” to the mooted changes to 18C and D. “These changes would mean that the federal government has decided to license the public humiliation of people because of their race,” the group insisted.

“It would send a signal that people may spout racist abuse in public, no matter how unreasonably and dishonestly. It would be astonishing if an Australian government in the 21st century was prepared to embrace such a morally repugnant position.

“It would be utterly indefensible. The suggestion that section 18D might be amended by deleting the threshold of reasonableness and good faith comes as an especially unpleasant surprise to us.”

The Human Rights Law Centre also spoke against the suggested amendments. “These proposals would substantially weaken the current laws and should be rejected,” executive director Hugh de Kretser said.

Senator Brandis said late yesterday that the government was committed to “rebalancing” the human rights debate in Australia to better protect freedom of speech.

“Accordingly, the government is considering amendments to the Racial Discrimination Act that will strike the right balance between freedom of speech and the need to protect people from racial vilification,” he said.

“Racial vilification will never be acceptable in Australia. However, laws which are designed to prohibit racial vilification should not be used as a vehicle to attack legitimate freedoms of speech.”

Senator Brandis said the government was aware of the concerns among ethnic groups. It had the matter under “active consideration” and would announce a decision shortly.

A Coalition partyroom spokesman said yesterday’s debate was based on speculation rather than any firm knowledge of the government plans.

The spokesman said there was no statement to the meeting from Senator Brandis about amendments to the act, while Mr Abbott did not indicate any timeframe for changes.

The spokesman noted in relation to Mr Wyatt’s comments “there is no commonwealth statute that prohibits racial vilification in those words”.

“At the end of the discussion the Prime Minister addressed the issue and he said everyone in this room believes in freedom of speech,” the spokesman said. “(Mr Abbott) said, ‘Everybody in this room is against racism’, and he said, ‘Everybody in this room thinks Andrew Bolt should not have been prosecuted’.”

The spokesman said Mr Abbott had continued: “This is a debate in which there is a unanimity of opinion about three important values or ideas. The question is how to reconcile those three.”

After the meeting, western Sydney MP Craig Laundy, who had defended Section 18C in the partyroom, told The Australian he was not necessarily opposed to changes to Section 18D. “I don’t have a problem with D being tweaked,” he said.

Section 18C criminalises acts “reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people”. Section 18D ensures that “section 18C does not render unlawful anything said or done reasonably and in good faith”.


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