Wednesday, August 06, 2014


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG mocks the Left for their love of Muslims and their hatred of Israel

Leftist Aboriginal senator calls constitution 'white fella rulebook', makes impassioned plea for recognition

I competely fail to understand this.  Australia has already had a (successful) constitutional referendum in 1967 which explicitly recognized Aborigines as citizens and which gave the Federal government the power to legislate on their behalf.  Agitators such as the one below apparently know no history or law.  If they do, all I can make of it is that they now want something official that praises them, which would be blatantly racist

Nova Peris has told the Garma Festival in East Arnhem Land that constitutional recognition of Aboriginal people will have to become a cause for white Australians, not just Indigenous people.

The Northern Territory's Labor Senator and first Indigenous woman elected to federal Parliament was speaking on a panel about the push for a referendum.

The panel included a range of political figures including former deputy prime minister John Anderson, the first Indigenous person elected to the House of Representatives Liberal, MP Ken Wyatt, and the head of the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council, Warren Mundine.

Senator Peris told the gathering she wanted to speak from the heart.

"As an Aboriginal person and a politician, there's a saying, 'you lead first with the heart then with the head', and I have to refrain myself at times from saying the things I really want to say because of my political hat," she said.

"So I'm going to take the political hat off for a moment, because what we're trying to do is to get an entire country to recognise 2 per cent of the population."

Senator Peris raised the high rate of Indigenous incarceration and wider public perceptions of Aboriginal people.

"This is a problem we're going to face because white Australia think we get too much, but every single day we're going to need a helping hand because for too long we have been squashed from the earth we came from," she said.

"Until you truly shift the mindset of white Australians and make you realise that everyone is here, you've all benefitted from 200 years of systemic injustices that have occurred in this country."

She compared the constitution with Aboriginal culture and traditional law.

"This constitution is a white fella rulebook, it's Australia's rulebook, our rules are unwritten laws, and we've had that for thousands and thousands of years," she said.

Senator Peris said the drive for constitutional change would have to come from white Australians.

"This movement needs to come from white fellas, because you need to realise that you're here in this country and us as Aboriginal people, we are prisoners in our own country," she said.

"And until you realise that we are literally just wasting our efforts... it's not a wrong made right.

"I don't want to be an Aboriginal politician going out there or a traditional owner and begging white fellas to recognise us, because you're killing us, you're killing our spirit."

Senator Peris said the push for constitutional recognition could not afford to fail.

"We've been talking about this for decades and decades and decades, and it can't fail. It simply can't," she added.

"If this is about anything it's about Australia acknowledging and recognising the true history of this country.

"Because in the wider community it's irrelevant, when we've got chronic disease, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, high incarceration, low education - you list it, it could go on forever and ever.

"It can't from us, it's gotta come from you, the non-Indigenous people, who call this place home."


Biased and hyocritical attack on judge Carmody

FEW political commentators try as hard as Tony Fitzgerald to present their own political views as non-partisan.

Fitzgerald’s frequent press releases have for some time carried express disclaimers, that he has “never been a member or supporter of any political party” and doesn’t know “any member of any Parliament anywhere”.

He has now abandoned this practice and with good reason. Were he the official leader of the Opposition, he could not have done a better hatchet-job on the Newman Government.

Which is fine. In a democracy, all citizens are entitled to push the barrow for whichever side of politics they support. What sticks in my craw, however, is the gobsmacking hypocrisy from the once-celebrated corruption-fighter.

Fitzgerald obsesses over the youthfulness of the state’s Attorney-General. He does not mention that, in his early 30s, Jarrod Bleijie is about the same age as Fitzgerald was when appointed the state’s (then) youngest-ever QC.

Fitzgerald says that Chief Justice Carmody “had briefly been a Family Court judge”. In fact, Carmody’s five years on the Family Court is double Fitzgerald’s time as a Federal Court Judge before appointment as Court of Appeal president.

Fitzgerald describes as “startling” and “politically charged” Carmody’s recommendation to prosecute Goss government ministers who (as he concluded) acted illegally in deciding to shred the Heiner documents. Yet Fitzgerald himself recommended “startling” and “politically-charged” prosecutions of ministers in the Bjelke-Petersen government.

Fitzgerald describes Carmody’s appointment as “opaque”, but few judicial appointments could rival the opacity of Fitzgerald’s own. An unprecedented legislative amendment empowered the Governor in Council to fix Fitzgerald’s remuneration package, making his salary a state secret.

Fitzgerald says that Carmody was promoted “without plausible explanation”. But he never made similar comments about appointments – equally lacking any “plausible explanation” – by the Goss, Beattie and Bligh governments.
Justice Tony Fitzgerald in his Brisbane chambers in 1998, prior to taking his position on

Justice Tony Fitzgerald in his Brisbane chambers in 1998, prior to taking his position on the NSW Supreme Court bench.

In 1998, no “plausible explanation” supported the appointment of a junior District Court judge to replace Fitzgerald as president. Justice Margaret McMurdo has turned out to be (in Fitzgerald’s own words) “one of Queensland’s most respected judges”.

But Carmody is streets ahead of where McMurdo was at the time of her elevation to the state’s second-highest judicial office. Both were educated at highly regarded secondary schools, Brisbane Girls’ Grammar and Nudgee College. Their first legal jobs were each with the Public Defender’s Office where McMurdo chose to spend most of her practising career.

When appointed, McMurdo had just two years’ experience of the rigours of private practice. Carmody has practised at the private bar for about 20 years.

In 1999, Carmody received the ultimate professional recognition when Chief Justice de Jersey appointed him Senior Counsel. Thereafter, he conducted cases of sufficient size or complexity to warrant leading counsel. McMurdo was never a silk, and had no such opportunities to conduct large and complex civil cases. Unlike Carmody’s experience on the Family Court, McMurdo had never been a judge of a superior court of unlimited monetary jurisdiction. Nor had she ever carried the responsibility for heading a court, which Carmody did as Chief Magistrate.

Nor did McMurdo have a track record to compare with Carmody’s, whether as a meat packer, as a sworn officer of the Queensland Police Service, as one of the counsel assisting the Fitzgerald inquiry, as a special prosecutor, as counsel assisting the Connolly-Ryan inquiry, as Queensland Crime Commissioner, or as head of the Child Protection Commission of Inquiry.

Each has an impressive extrajudicial curriculum vitae. McMurdo is on the Law Faculty Advisory Committee at QUT; QUT appointed Carmody as an adjunct Law Professor. Both were awarded the Centenary Medal in 2003. The difference is that few such professional or community accolades preceded McMurdo’s appointment as president. Again, Carmody begins well ahead of where McMurdo was at that time.

Admittedly, McMurdo had one advantage over Carmody. She hails from a distinguished legal family. Her father was a solicitor; her uncle a Supreme Court judge; a cousin was a respected barrister; and her husband, then a leading commercial silk, is now also a judge. Carmody could not boast any similar connections.

If Carmody is underqualified for the position of Chief Justice, then, applying the same reasoning, McMurdo was totally unqualified for elevation as Court of Appeal president. Yet Fitzgerald saw no reason to defend the office which he had recently vacated from being “demeaned”; nor, apparently, did it occur to him that other judges of the Supreme Court were “grossly insulted” to be leapfrogged by a junior District Court judge.

Given that Carmody starts with far greater advantages than McMurdo ever did, one can feel optimistic he will confound his critics, as McMurdo has done. He deserves the chance to do so. It will be better for everyone concerned if that happens without sniping from the sidelines, even on the part of the most distinguished of has-beens.


Victorian laws to put neglectful parents on notice

The Victorian Government is putting neglectful parents on notice with new laws designed to make it easier for foster carers to become permanent carers to the state's most vulnerable children.

The parents of children placed into state care will have to prove within a year that they can properly care for their children or risk their children being placed into permanent care with other families.

The ABC can reveal that the Napthine Government will introduce new laws into Parliament tomorrow which are designed to reduce the reliance on residential care places for the state's most vulnerable children.

The move comes after the ABC revealed shocking details of the sexual and physical abuse of children in residential care, and of paedophiles trading cigarettes and alcohol for sex with children living in the units.

The Government will double the penalty to six months jail for those who lure children away from state care.

The offences relate to harbouring or concealing a child in care or inducing a child to be absent from care without lawful authority.

The Minister for Community Services, Mary Wooldridge, says the amendments to the Children, Youth and Families Act are designed to give more certainty to vulnerable children, who currently spend an average of five years inside the child protection system before a final decision is made about where they should live.

"This is about young people in the out of home system having greater stability, permanency and a plan for the future and putting that in place," she said.

While the Government still prefers to place children back with their families where possible, if parents are unable to show that they can clean up their lives within 12 months the children will be permanently housed with their extended families or another family altogether.

Further attempts to return the children to their parents will not be made, but if the parents are making significant progress, they could be given an additional 12 months to show that they can care for the child.

Ms Wooldridge told the ABC the changes were designed to give more stability to children, and encourage more families to become carers.

"It's very clear, if you become a permanent carer you are a carer with exception over all others, you do maintain contact with the parents but it is a long term care arrangement," she said.

"That will mean people will be more prepared to transition from foster carers to permanent carers, some people may come into the system and chose to become permanent carers straight off the bat."

The CEO of MacKillop Family Services, Micaela Cronin, welcomed the new measures but said they must include greater support for carers and parents who are trying to prove they can look after their children.

"At the moment there's not a lot of resourcing for permanent placements, once someone becomes permanent the state tends to step out," she said.

"If we are going to move to permanency much faster then we'll need to know how we're going to support those carers in an ongoing way."

Critics of the new measures say they fail to address the reasons for abuse and neglect in the child protection system.

Howard Draper, a lawyer with over 30 years experience in the children's court, says that speeding up the decision making over where a child should live won't prevent abuse. 

Mr Draper criticised the government for relying on what he calls "well meaning amateurs".

"Even if you do reduce the timescale from five years to six months, I can't see it's going to make any difference," he said.

"The sort of children we're talking about, these extremely vulnerable children, they're not going to be permanently placed anyway because they are so damaged."


Joe Hockey accuses Fairfax Media of ‘malevolent’ attacks

JOE Hockey has accused Fairfax Media of spreading “malevolent”, “deliberately misleading” and “deceptive” claims about his government’s budget and his use of ministerial travel perks.

The Treasurer’s extraordinary attack focused on two articles published today in Fairfax newspapers, including one based on Treasury advice that low-income households would lose most from his government’s welfare cuts.

The other article claimed senior government ministers, including Mr Hockey, appeared to have “a taste for VIP jet travel similar to that of the previous Labor government”.

Mr Hockey, who is already suing Fairfax Media for defamation, accused the newspapers of “misleading and deceptive information provision to the general public”, at a time when it was apologising for an allegedly anti-Semitic cartoon that prompted a Jewish community boycott.

Mr Hockey claimed Fairfax Media’s coverage of the Treasury analysis, also published in The Australian, failed to take account of the higher rate of income tax already paid by higher-income households, or the pensions and subsidies already paid overwhelmingly to low and middle-income families.

“The information as presented is deliberately misleading and it does not represent the true state of affairs,” Mr Hockey told the Nine Network.

Mr Hockey also denied excessive use of “special purpose” flights since winning government.

“I’m prepared to match my bills with any of my predecessors at any time,” Mr Hockey said.

“So, once again, the same newspaper engages in misleading and deceptive information provisioned to the general public.

“I saw that they were apologising for one of their cartoons on the weekend and, you know, there’s a lot of misinformation that is coming out and I think sometimes it is quite malevolent out of those papers.”

Opposition treasury spokesman Chris Bowen told ABC Radio of the Treasury documents, obtained under freedom of information: “Of course you’ve always got to look at the budget in total but this is quite strong data that the government wanted to keep hidden.

“Of course there’s a whole range of matters right across the government which impact on families, but this (Treasury advice) is the direct impact of decisions in his budget.”

The opposition declined to comment to Fairfax on the government’s use of VIP aircraft. In the Rudd government’s six weeks leading up to last September’s election, Labor ministers took 42 flights on routes that are covered by Qantas and Virgin, Fairfax reported.


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