Monday, April 07, 2014

Perth's Aboriginal gangs again

ONE COUPLE’S dreams of a perfect wedding were crushed when a gang of youths attacked wedding guests in Perth’s southern suburbs last night.

A WA Police spokeswoman said guests at a reception party in Bicton were assaulted by 50 youths who turned violent when refused a cigarette.

Police allege a small number of youths had requested a cigarette from guests outside the Point Walter Cafe early last night, but were rejected.

The spokeswoman said about 50 dark-skinned youths aged between 16-22 returned to the venue about 9pm and started to brawl with guests.

The group then tried to force their way into the cafe and hurled bricks, injuring seven guests.

Police say the youths left before officers arrived.

Four men and three women were taken to Fremantle Hospital for treatment.

The spokeswoman said police will review CCTV footage which captured the incident.


Selective schools 'the most socially exclusive' in NSW

Brains rise to the top

Para Parameshwaran was not interested in fancy sporting fields when deciding on a school for his children.

For the civil and chemical engineer and his wife Yogarani, also an engineer, the focus for their family was for the children to study with "like-minded" students.

Their son, Kajanan, 17, is vice-captain of James Ruse Agricultural High and their daughter, Balaki, is in year 10.

"For us, we gave little thought to private schools because we researched schools and we knew we wanted them to be with like-minded kids and where they could be challenged," Mr Parameshwaran said.

Highly educated parents such as Mr Parameshwaran, who migrated from Sri Lanka in 1998, are increasingly sending their children to the state's best selective schools rather than some of Sydney's most elite private schools, the latest My School data reveals.

The top selective schools, including James Ruse, Baulkham Hills, Hornsby Girls and North Sydney Boys, have families from the highest social and educational backgrounds, the index measuring social advantage on My School shows.

As well as the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage, My School also publishes every school's distribution of students across the quarters of social advantage. At James Ruse, which has consistently topped the Higher School Certificate results for almost 20 years, 85 per cent of students come from the most advantaged backgrounds and none fall into the most disadvantaged quarter. James Ruse's ICSEA ranking is 1249, while Baulkham Hills has an ICSEA of 1200, Hornsby Girls 1229, North Sydney Boys 1216, North Sydney Girls 1216 and Sydney Girls 1196. The average rank is 1000.

Mr Parameshwaran sent Kajanan and Balaki to their local primary rather than a school with a selective opportunity class but the couple always intended to send them to one of the top-performing selective schools for high school.

An education academic at the University of Sydney, Craig Campbell, who has written a book called School Choice, said private schools considered selective schools a threat and they tried to attract students from advantaged backgrounds

But Dr Campbell said selective schools were "the most socially exclusive schools of any in NSW".

As well as a high level of social advantage, many of the selective schools have an extremely high proportion of students with a language background other than English. At James Ruse it is 97 per cent.

"But they also have a very high proportion of parents who are tertiary-educated and also from professional middle-class backgrounds so there is a huge pull of cultural capital," Dr Campbell said.

"A lot of the families who were sending their kids to selective schools tended to see some of the wealthier non-government schools as too rich, too privileged."


Equal under the law - and no exceptions

Claims that cultural identity mitigates legal responsibility for criminal acts pose a threat to Australia's legal norms.

'Identity [emphasises] the idea of certain reservations which one is entitled to insist on and which others have to recognise as constraints,' warns NYU's Jeremy Waldron.

Far from increasing social cohesion, identity politics makes living with difference harder.

Recent efforts by Australian courts to reconcile the cultural practices of minority groups with the rule of law have produced contrasting results.

In February, a Victorian magistrate accepted 'cultural differences' as a mitigating factor in a case of the attempted kidnap of a child in Geelong by a 35 year old Afghan man.

The magistrate's decision was roundly criticised by Daily Telegraph columnist, Miranda Devine. 'How can "cultural differences" be an excuse for child sexual offences?' Devine asked.

But in NSW, Parramatta local court took no account of differences in culture, practice or belief in sentencing a Muslim cleric charged with solemnising an underage marriage.

The cleric pleaded guilty, was fined, and now faces deportation after performing a 'marriage' between a 12 year old girl and a 26 year old man. The 'husband' faces criminal charges too.

The Marriage Act 1961 stipulates that you have to be 18 years of age to get married. In exceptional circumstances, the age can be lowered to 16. The Act makes no provision for lowering it to 12.

Nor has any Australian parliament made allowance for cultural differences in dealing with another practice that evokes great concern - female genital mutilation (FGM), which is banned outright in Australia.

'Whatever the cultural practice, whatever the religious practice, there is no law above Australian law,' declared NSW Minister for Community Services, Pru Goward.

Advocates of identity politics argue that such laws are racist because they have an unequal impact. But this is to mistake the cart for the horse.

Law is one of the ways a society orders itself and maintains a commitment to justice and dignity for all its citizens. The role of law is to protect without distinction or favour.

By arguing that they identify with their cultural or religious practices, members of minority groups attempt to claim more protection for their interests and practices than they are entitled to.

The demands of minority groups to exemption from laws that apply to everyone else do nothing to strengthen the liberal state.

An authentically liberal approach to living with diversity must resist the claims of group-specific identity and insist on the equal standing of all citizens under the rule of law.

Yet the pressure on Australian local courts to recognise cultural differences when dealing with minority groups is unlikely to ease.


Union thugs pay for bully boy tactics

SHOCKED unionists in the building industry are just discovering they can no longer expect to be protected from the full weight of the law by compliant union-friendly Labor governments in Canberra. The union thugs are being chased down, prosecuted, fined — and in a new twist — actually being made to pay up.

Spearheading the overdue drive to ensure union heavies and their moronic members are given the same treatment as other criminals is Nigel Hadgkiss, the director of Fair Work Building & Construction (FWBC), who returned to the agency last October.

A former assistant commissioner with the AFP and national director of intelligence in the Australian Crime Commission, he gained first-hand experience into union rackets as deputy commissioner of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) — the successful watchdog set up by the Howard government in the wake of the Cole Royal Commission into the industry in 2005.

Seven years later, the Gillard government pulled its teeth, collapsing the ABCC into its timid FWBC. Those teeth have now been restored by the Abbott government and they are biting.

Last September, 117 members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) who took part in unlawful industrial action on a West Australian business site in 2008 were fined more than $1 million.

Federal Court judge John Gilmour found their eight days of unlawful industrial action had resulted in significant economic losses and project delays to a Woodside LNG project on the Burrup Peninsula. He said the action was in defiance of an Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) return to work order issued after the first day of the action.

He ordered that $680,125 be paid within 60 days, with the remaining $387,875 to be suspended. Workers who obeyed the AIRC injunction and who did not subsequently break the law had 50 per cent of their penalties suspended for three years.

The penalties were apportioned according to the number of days on which the 117 individuals had taken unlawful industrial action.

When I called to see whether they had paid or whether they had ignored the Federal Court ruling, Hadgkiss said: “We have collected $488,125. This leaves $196,375 outstanding.

“Thirty-three workers are yet to make any payment.” But he’s not giving up.

“In relation to the workers with outstanding amounts we have commenced taking action,” he said. “Where we have been able to identify property — most commonly cars and houses — we have filed and served property search and seizure orders.

“The bailiff is currently executing those orders. This has already resulted in further payments, plus additional amounts to cover costs. Where we could not identify property we are going to require those workers to attend means examination in the Federal Court.

“Proceedings have been filed and are in the process of being served on the workers. Hearings in early May have already been scheduled by the court. This process is also likely to incur costs that will need to be paid by the workers, as well as their penalties. This is a warning to all workers that if they breach workplace laws, FWBC will not hesitate to enforce penalties imposed by the courts.”

Yesterday, FWBC launched proceedings in the Federal Court in Brisbane against the rogue CFMEU and five of its officials over a picket that prevented work on the Common Ground Project site — a housing development for the homeless.

On Wednesday, FWBC sought an urgent hearing in the Federal Court of Australia to prevent further disruptive conduct by the CFMEU at the $400 million Bald Hills Wind Farm construction site at Gippsland, in southeast Victoria.

Last month notorious CFMEU boss Joe McDonald was banned by the Federal Court from Brookfield Multiplex sites for three years and fined $30,500 — with the CFMEU also fined $143,000 as a result of appalling bullying and intimidation by McDonald on Perth building sites.

It’s a new ball game.

With federal Labor out of office, union thugs and bullies can no longer run their protection rackets with impunity and those who want to work will be free to do so.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Polar bear hunting getting closer to Australia now. The Perth event is a warning to all of us. Expect no protection from Government, media etc.