Friday, June 06, 2014

Team full of Leftist hate at public broadcaster

THE Chaser team has defied the ABC managing director Mark Scott by declaring it will never apologise to The Australian columnist Chris Kenny for its offensive skit, thus flouting the terms of a defamation settlement.

Nine months after the skit depict­ing Kenny as a “dog f. ker’’ first aired on the election-night edition of The Hamster Decides, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the ABC had mishandled the affair and former ABC chairman Maurice Newman said the Chaser team was defying management.

Hours before the ABC broadcast an on-air apology last night to Kenny, the Chaser presenter named in the defamation suit, ­Andrew Hansen, appeared to defy the terms of the settlement in a tweet: “ABC’s apologising to Chris Kenny, again. The Chaser isn’t, again. But we’ve agreed not to make more pictures of ABC execs shagging hamsters.”

The Chaser’s Chris Taylor posted on Facebook: “Just to be clear. The Chaser team is not apologising, and will never apologise to Chris Kenny. Tonight’s on-air apology is from the ABC, not us.”

Both statements appeared to breach the terms of the ABC’s settlement with Kenny that specified members of the Chaser team would not make public statements that “detract” from the apology.

This clause in the settlement, which also included the ABC paying Kenny’s legal fees and some damages, was intended to prevent a repeat of the way The Chaser’s Julian Morrow undermined Mr Scott’s personal apology to Kenny in April. Mr Scott refused to respond to questions yesterday about whether statements made by the Chaser presenters breached the terms of the settlement. A source close to the ABC said, “If management is not able to insist that its instructions be followed then what you have is anarchy.”

Mr Turnbull welcomed the apology but said the entire affair had been mishandled by the ABC. “My only regret is that immed­iately following the tasteless skit the ABC did not apologise to Mr Kenny,’’ he said. “I have no doubt that would have settled the matter. As it is, the only winner out of this mishandled episode has been the legal profession.”

Mr Newman said the “arrogant” Chaser team clearly thought it was “above and beyond the authority” of ABC management. “The Chaser team’s arrogance knows no bounds,’’ he said. “I think it shows defiance for whatever authority the ABC management has.

“If the terms of the settlement are correct, they are disregarding the authority of the ABC management. I don’t know what other conclusion you can reach.”

Last night, Morrow said he did not think the comments by Taylor and Hansen were in breach of the settlement. “They are consistent in every respect,’’ he said. “I don’t think anything I’ve done today detracts from the settlement or the apology and I don’t think any of us have. I think the idea that we allow or don’t allow people to comment on Facebook is a little misguided.’’

Kenny said he was disappointed. “Like most taxpayers, I have high expectations of the ABC, not of the so-called Chaser boys,’’ he said. “If Mark Scott is encountering resistance to his obedience training, that is his problem.”


Dead koalas and possums found in refugees' car blamed on cultural misunderstanding

Four Burmese refugees have avoided convictions after being caught with three dead koalas and 14 dead possums in their car in South Australia.

Cho Win Aung, Htay Aung, Eh Nay Moo and Mwee Say Htoo faced the Magistrates Court at Mount Gambier in the south-east of South Australia charged with possessing carcasses.

The court heard police pulled over a utility last February and officers noticed a strong smell of burnt flesh.

In the rear of the vehicle they found two dead adult koalas and a baby koala, along with 14 dead ringtail possums.

The animals had no fur and were charred.

The group's lawyer told the court the four were unaware they were committing an offence, as in refugee camps in Thailand the hunting of animals to supplement the diet was commonplace.

The magistrate expressed confidence the offence arose from a cultural misunderstanding and that the group would not reoffend.


Retailers warn of job cuts after Fair Work Commission lifts minimum wage by $18.70 per week

Roughly double the U.S. figure.  Compare with the SeaTac experience

Retailers have warned that staff will have to be sacked in the wake of a decision to raise the minimum wage by $18.70 a week.

Unions, however, say the increase of 3 per cent from July 1 - a rise to $640.90 per week - will not be enough to help workers cope with extra costs stemming from the federal budget.

The decision by the nation's industrial umpire, the Fair Work Commission (FWC), will directly affect around 1.5 million Australians on award wages.

FWC president Justice Iain Ross said there had recently been almost no growth in the real value of award wages while other employees had enjoyed substantial pay increases.

"The deterioration in the relative living standards of award-reliant workers, the needs of the low-paid, the recent widespread improvement in labor productivity growth, the historically low levels of real unit labor costs, and the absence, in aggregate, of cost pressures from the labour market, are all factors favouring a real increase in minimum wages," he said.

One moderating factor was the 0.25 per cent increase to the superannuation rate to apply from July 1.

The ACTU had been pushing for a weekly rise of $27, but employers said they would not be able to afford an increase of anything more than $8.50 a week.

Business groups have criticised the decision, with the Australian Industry Group saying it will put more pressure on "struggling" employers, particularly in the manufacturing, retail and tourism sectors.

"Many industry sectors and particularly those exposed to import competition are experiencing very tough business conditions," AiGroup chief executive Innes Willox said in a statement.

And the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) said it would "destroy" job opportunities.

"There is no generosity in raising wages to the point where people can't find work when they need it," ACCI chief executive Kate Carnell said in a statement.

Unions warn of class of 'working poor'

Retailers have warned that it will "stress" and "damage" businesses already dealing with sluggish retail figures and lower consumer confidence.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman says the decision will prompt many businesses to sack staff.

"The retail industry is more reliant on pay scales than any other industry, and also suffers a highly disproportionate effect in minimum wage increases ... due to deregulated hours and penalties across all retail awards," he said in a statement.

But unions are worried the widening gap between the minimum wage and average earnings means Australia could go down the same path as the US and create a class of "working poor".

ACTU secretary Dave Oliver said the decision was "particularly unfair" given today's National Accounts figures showed stronger-than-expected economic growth.

"Hardworking Australians are not benefiting from the strong economy and they don't stand to benefit from the federal budget," he said.

Rise 'barely keeps pace with inflation'

The United Voice union, which represents many low-wage workers, says the rise announced today is not enough.

Acting national secretary David O'Byrne says with new costs like GP co-payments and an increase in fuel prices, the poorest paid workers will suffer.

"Every time they go to a doctor, every time they put petrol in their car they are being hit by this Federal Government with increased cost of living," he said.

"This minimum wage decision does not only not deal with that, it barely keeps pace with inflation."

Opposition employment spokesman Brendan O'Connor says the warnings of job losses is "always" put forward by employer groups.

He has welcomed the decision but says it does not take into account extra cost-of-living pressures associated with the federal budget.

"It won't be able to mitigate the impact of the measures of the budget on these low-paid workers - the tax on visiting a doctor ... the tax you have to pay when you pick up your medicine when you visit a pharmacy means the pressure on low-income families is going to be very, very difficult indeed," he said.

"The budget measures will soak up the increase and will in many cases exceed the increase."

The Federal Government had urged the commission to consider that Australians would be netting an extra $550 a year when the carbon tax was abolished - though its repeal is yet to pass the Senate.

Employment Minister Eric Abetz has put out a statement saying the Government "recognises" the decision.

Last year the minimum wage rose by $15.80 a week.


Large-scale "multicultural" crime

Police claim to have cracked a major methamphetamine trafficking syndicate after a four-month probe netted more than $8 million of the drug.

Detectives from the Organised Crime Squad led the protracted sting with a series of raids on properties in Kewdale, Munster and Bibra Lake and say they have seized four kilograms of methamphetamine.

Five men and a woman have been charged, including the president of the WA Islamic Council Dr Rateb Jneid, 43, who faces a firearms charge. Two of his brothers, Ziad and Rabih Jneid, have pleaded not guilty to drugs charges.

Detective Inspector Chris Adams said police had effectively cracked the back of a national drug smuggling racket and the methamphetamine seizure was one of the "most significant" in recent times.

"This is a sophisticated and complex organised crime syndicate... To be able to distribute large quantities requires detailed planning, co-ordination and a tight-knit syndicate," Detective Inspector Adams said on Thursday.

"When you are caught in possession of up to four kilograms [of methamphetamine] are significant importer of crystal methamphetamine."

Police said the operation began in January when a vehicle stop in Kewdale allegedly uncovered two kilograms of methamphetamine. Further investigations allegedly led police to another two kilograms of the drug several weeks later.

Police believe both methamphetamine hauls were produced by the same criminal syndicate, and in April launched a series of six raids in Kewdale and Bibra Lake, leading to the alleged seizure of more than $380,000 cash, two firearms, ammunition, steroids and pepper spray canisters.

Detective Inspector Adams said the scourge of methamphetamines had a grave impact on the WA community and stressed that police would continue to target traffickers.

"I think it's important for the community to understand that kids and adults of all ages are injecting this drug into their arms and/or smoking it and consuming it, which is not good,” he said.

“It has an impact on our health, an impact on the community. The Organised Crime Squad will continue to fight organised crime syndicates that operate in Perth, Western Australia.”

Detective Inspector Adams said police were also reviewing intelligence holdings to determine links between the accused and gangs in WA, including Lebanese crime gang, the Sword Boys.

He made no apologies about the raids and refuted claims by the Jneid brothers that they had been the target of corrupt police. He said further charges may be laid.

Three men - 38-year-old Kewdale man Ziad Jneid, a 40-year-old from Kewdale and a 40-year-old man from Bibra Lake -  face a raft of charges, including conspiracy to sell or supply prohibited drugs, and are scheduled to appear in Perth Magistrates Court on July 24.

A 33-year-old Munster man has been charged with supplying a prohibited drug and possessing a firearm or ammunition without a license and is scheduled to appear at Perth Magistrates Court on August 15.

Two other people, including Dr Jneid, 43, have been charged by summons with firearm and weapon offences in relation to licensed firearms that were allegedly not adequately stored.


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