Tuesday, October 21, 2014

African brutes traumatize SA police

Isn't it wonderful how many "refugees" we let into Australia?

A POLICE officer who was stabbed so forcefully that the knife tip had to be surgically removed after an unprovoked attack by three men will likely quit the force, a court had heard.

Yohana Nyawenda, 21, Patrick Nyandwi, 22, both of Davoren Park and Paul Kabura, 26, of Parafield Gardens, have all pleaded guilty to multiple aggravated counts of causing harm with intent over the incident in September 2013.

The District Court today heard that Nyandwi was assaulting his partner, who had a newborn strapped to her back, when neighbours approached and tried to calm him down.

Prosecutor Kelly Smith said that instead of backing off, the men then assaulted a male neighbour by punching him several times in the face and twisting his testicles, causing him to be hospitalised, and then Nyandwi punched another female neighbour in the stomach.

She said that, when police officers Barry Purnell and Stephen Page arrived, Nyawenda got a knife from the house while the other men attacked.

“The knife used by the accused Yohana Nyawenda was thrust with enough force to cause the tip of the blade to break off while the blade was still inside officer Purnell’s cheek,” she said.

She said the blade would later need to be surgically removed from Constable Purnell’s face.

Ms Smith said both officers were also punched and bitten during the assault while Kabura tried to grab Constable Page’s gun from his holster.

In his victim impact statement read to the court today, Constable Purnell said he was still suffering from complications with his jaw over the attack and was advised by a doctor last week it was only going to get worse.

“The incident was over a year ago but my recollection is as clear as it was that night,” he said.

Constable Purnell said the ongoing trauma had forced him to consider abandoning his duties with SA Police and return to Ireland after immigrating to Australia in search of a better life.

The incident took place six months after Kieran David Cregan had doused another officer, Senior Constable Matthew Hill, and tried to set him alight at Camden.

Constable Purcell’s fiancee, Leone Magu, told the court she had became anxious whenever he went to work.

“I am nervous about staying in Australia as I fear everyday he leaves for work he will encounter the characters that he fought with on that night,” she said.

Constable Page, who was badly bitten during the assault while Kabura tried to take his gun, said he had undergone blood tests and had to wait more than three months to be told he had not contracted HIV or hepatitis.

His wife, Anita Page, told the court she now also fears her husband will be killed at work.

“I’m angry because those men thought it was OK to attack my husband for no reason,” she said.

“I ask myself everyday, what if he (Kabura) had been successful, what would he have done with that firearm?”

Lawyers for the men told the court their clients all suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder stemming from horrific childhoods in the African nation of Burundi.

The court heard that all three had seen family members murdered during brutal civil wars.

A psychologist report on Nyawenda tendered to the court said his past had left him vulnerable to “exaggerated and aggressive responses when he feels his family is being threatened”.

Judge Michael Boylan remanded the men in custody to be sentenced next week.


Big dam building programme

The Greenies will be livid

PLANS  for the biggest dam-building and irrigation program in decades will be unveiled today in a major policy blueprint for the ­future of the nation’s agricultural sector that identifies 27 water projects for potential commonwealth investment.

The agricultural competitiveness green paper will outline a ­nation-building agenda that contemplates dam expansions, infrastructure development and greater access to ports.

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce will declare the government is moving to reinvigorate the dam-building agenda, arguing that it must recapture the vision and purpose of the post-war Snowy Mountains Scheme.

“Water is wealth and stored water is a bank,’’ Mr Joyce will say. “Sometimes the biggest impediment to our nation returning to the vision and purpose that built the Snowy Mountains Scheme is ourselves ably assisted by the ­caveats of sacred invertebrates, amphibians and molluscs.

“Chaffey Dam (in NSW) was almost stopped by the booroolong frog, Nathan Dam (in Queensland) was stopped by the boggo­moss snail, yet Lake Argyle (in Western Australia) created two RAMSAR wetlands that would prevent us getting rid of that dam, not that we want to.’’

The last major greenfields dam completed in Australia was the Wyarolong Dam in southeast Queensland, finished in 2011.

The pace of dam development has slowed significantly across the ­nation since the 1980s amid increasing opposition from envir­onmentalists to new projects.

The green paper identifies six irrigation projects in Tasmania and Victoria that could be considered for federal government ­investment within a year.

Five of these are Tasmanian ­irrigation projects — Southern Highlands, Scottsdale, Circular Head, Swan Valley and North Esk — and the sixth is the southern pipeline project in the Macalister irrigation district in Victoria’s Gippsland.

Four projects — the Emu Swamp dam on the Severn River near Stanthorpe in Queensland, an expansion of the Nathan Dam on the Dawson River in Queensland, the Wellington Dam ­Revival Project in Western Australia and the Lindenow Valley Water Security Project on the Mitchell River in Victoria — are identified as potential candidates for federal funding, pending further investigation.

Another 17 projects are flagged as likely to be suitable for further consideration for assistance to ­accelerate feasibility studies, cost-benefit analysis or design.

These include the water infrastructure components of stage three of the Ord irrigation scheme in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Four projects in NSW have been identified, including an ­enlargement of the Lostock Dam in NSW’s Hunter Valley, Apsley Dam at Walcha, the Mole River Dam in northern NSW and ­Needles Gap on the central ­tablelands.

A string of major water projects have been identified in north Queensland: the Burdekin Falls Dam expansion; the Fitzroy Agricultural Corridor; the Mitchell River system; Nullinga Dam near Cairns; and Urannah Dam near Collinsville.

Further study is slated for a north Queensland irrigated agriculture strategy around the Flinders and Gilbert river catchments. In South Australia, upgrades to dams in the Clare Valley and the use of waste water in the northern Adelaide plains are under consideration.

While emphasising not every project will get federal funding or go ahead, Mr Joyce says the government’s dams program has ­already started. “In the last month we have started the construction of the Chaffey Dam upgrade (in NSW) and allocated $15.9 million for the continuation of the piping and capping of the Great Artesian bores,” he says.

Mr Joyce will say the nation must drive down transport costs to make the rural sector more ­effective and leverage the mining sector’s common interest in requiring water and the movement of bulk commodities. He will highlight the government’s $300m to start the inland rail line between Melbourne and Brisbane and say he hopes it is later ­extended to Gladstone.

“We must work with the mining industry to see the transport capital and water capital built that is in both our interests as bulk commodity producers and users,’’ he will tell the National Farmers Federation congress in Canberra today.

The green paper will argue that improving access to reliable water supplies and better managing existing water resources is ­essential for the continued growth of the agricultural sector.

Water resources in northern Australia are less developed than in the south, meaning opportunities exist for strategic developments to support the development of water-dependent industries. About 65 per cent of Australia’s run-off occurs in far north Australia and coastal Queensland, and only 6.8 per cent in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Declaring farming and “primary and overwhelming ownership” of farms by Australians to be a national good, Mr Joyce will argue that if the nation wants to increase its agricultural output, it must motivate and send the right signals to make people want to do that.

This will involve cheaper and more effective ways of getting products to market.

The paper will argue that while a market solution is preferable, monopolies and oligopolies must be closely monitored and a fair return to the landholder is essential to the future of the industry.

The paper will back the controversial “effects test’’ supported by the chairman of the government’s competition review, Ian Harper.

Mr Harper, in his interim ­review, backed an effects test that would prohibit business and trading conduct that would have the effect of substantially lessening competition.

The 27 water projects listed in the green paper were identified after Mr Joyce chaired a ministerial working group to identity how investment in water infrastructure, such as dams and groundwater storage, could be ­accelerated and to identify priorities for investment. Tony Abbott put dam building on the national agenda prior to the last election, at the height of the Queensland floods in 2011.

The green paper will argue that government involvement in water infrastructure development should be directed to activities that are in the national interest, deliver net economic and social benefits, and broader public benefits. But given the states and territories have primary responsibility for water resources, strong state government support for a project is also a prerequisite.


Private views create no public harm

THE Barry Spurr affair is terrifying in the shoddy treatment of Spurr; in what it says about our universities; and in the lack of outrage that either has evoked.

What is certain is that there was a gross invasion of Spurr’s privacy. To that must be added the likelihood that his emails were obtained illegally and used when it was known, or should have been known, that that is how they had been obtained.

Moreover, that use was by a publication, New Matilda, that had only recently committed the same offence; and whose journalists hypocritically denounced the wrongdoing at the News of the World and, since then, have attacked the government’s metadata proposals, with all their checks and balances, as an assault on privacy.

Of course, one expects nothing better from Wendy Bacon, who demands a moral right to invade the private emails of others without providing public access to her own. But it is disappointing that Bill Shorten, who repeatedly invoked the presumption of innocence to shield Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper, failed to show the same concern for Spurr.

And it is a scandal that the University of Sydney has suspended Spurr despite there being no claim, much less evidence, that his teaching, supervision and research have been anything but exemplary.

To make matters worse, the university has set aside Spurr’s explanation that the emails were parodies without according Spurr the prior opportunity to have that explanation tested. Whatever one may think of his emails, that explanation is scarcely implausible: parodies, satires and burlesques, often in poor taste, have peppered the correspondence of literary figures since time immemorial.

Indeed, some of the English language’s earliest comedies were private communications making fun of religious services in terms then considered blasphemous. And one does not need to dig deep in our language’s treasure chest to savour such politically incorrect gems as Paul Dehm’s parody of Robert Herrick (‘‘Whereas in jeans my Julia crams/her vasty hips and … diaphragms’’); Cyril Connolly dispatching James Bond in drag to seduce General Apraxin (‘‘one of those’’, warns M, listing the general’s hobbies as nerve gas, germ warfare and sodomy); or Alan Bennett’s brilliant spoof of James Buchan (in which Hannay decries the possibility of ‘‘a div­orced woman on the throne of the house of Windsor’’ as a ‘‘feather in the cap of that bunch of rootless intellectuals, Jews and pederasts who call themselves the Labour Party’’).

It scarcely takes much imagination to think a professor of poet­ics might similarly revel in using off-colour, if not frankly offensive, language in intimate communic­ation. But assume Spurr’s claim is a sham; that far from being banter between old friends, the emails reflected his innermost views. So long as those views do not intrude on the way he exercises his academic responsibilities, they are no more relevant to his role than the fact that TS Elliot (on whom Spurr is a world authority) was an anti-Semite.

To believe otherwise is to discard the distinction between vice and crime that is at the heart of a free society. Aquinas, although no liberal, put it well when he argued that rather than forcing men to be virtuous, laws exist to enforce the rules of justice; they should therefore not condemn mere vice but conduct ‘‘without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained’’.

Locke then made that distinction central to the philosophy of liberty, when he noted that ‘‘many things are sins which no man ever said were to be punished’’, for while objectionable, they were neither ‘‘prejudicial to other men’s rights, nor break the public peace’’. And Adam Smith, in terms familiar to JS Mill, emphasised that it was therefore crucial to ‘‘carefully distinguish what is only blamable from what force may be employed to punish or prevent’’.

In other words, Spurr is entitled to his private vices, even if repre­hensible, so long as they do not inflict public harms. Instead, the real question is how Australia’s oldest university could believe otherwise.

At the most immediate level, the answer lies in what Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a great scholar and long-time Democratic senator for New York, diagnosed as the ‘‘authoritarian Left’’ spreading throughout academe. Ignorant, intolerant and incapable of contesting ideas, its only weapon is the ad hominem attack.

Sydney’s conduct, coming after the ANU’s witch-hunt against fossil fuels, is a disturbing sign of how far the spread Moynihan feared has gone. The university’s support of Jake Lynch’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, whose anti-Zionism verges on anti-Semitism, only leavens with hypocrisy its disregard for justice.

But there are also deeper forces at work. Historically, intellectual elites had every interest in freedom of expression: no matter how strongly they favoured regulating other markets, they gained from freedom in their own. Now, reduced to mere wards of the state, they clamour for restrictions on competition that enforce conformity, protect mediocrity and entrench their claim on the public purse. And they find in the similarly placed ABC, as well as in publications such as New Matilda, plenty of fellow travellers to speak on their behalf.

Set against that milieu, Spurr stood no chance. By collaborating in the Abbott government’s review of the national curriculum he signed his own death warrant. From that moment on, it was only a matter of time before he paid the price.

None of that is to give Spurr the seal of approval. He may, for all I know, hold beliefs I find abhorrent. But universities need scholars, not saints; and if integrity, in Rawls’s words, means ‘‘defending the principles of morality even when to one’s disadvantage’’, his treatment is not merely a shame: it is a disgrace.

Reversing it should be an oblig­ation, as well as a priority.


Union corruption:  Do no work, still get paid

WHISTLEBLOWER Kathy Jackson made a secret deal with the now jailed fraudster Michael Williamson to pay $240,000 over two years to one of her union allies — with a requirement that the recipient of the money do no work.

Under the confidential arrangement, Jackson ally and friend Jamie Martorana agreed to resign from his position as assistant divisional secretary of the Health Services Union in October 2010.

For the next two years, however, he remained on the union’s payroll, with pay-as-you-go tax deducted from his gross weekly “wages” of $2307.69 as though he was still a regular full-time employee turning up for work.

Details of the arrangement have emerged in Federal Court proceedings as union opponents of Mr Martorana try to block his attempt to take over the HSU’s Victorian No 1 branch by challenging his eligibility to contest looming elections.

The 2010 deal for Mr Martorana is the latest and possibly most extraordinary of confidential fin­ancial arrangements uncovered during an investigation by lawyers for the HSU’s current leadership into a merger that year between Ms Jackson’s and Williamson’s union branches when they formed a joint entity called HSU East.

Along with other side-deals reached by Ms Jackson and Williamson around this time, it shows how tightknit the pair was in forging lucrative one-on-one arrangements for allies and friends before Ms Jackson turned on Williamson, now serving five years in jail after pleading guilty to large-scale fraud.

It appears Ms Jackson and Williamson made these arrangements — using union funds — without authority from other officials. They remained confidential until later exposed.

Ms Jackson has been praised as “heroic” by Tony Abbott and others for exposing Williamson, but the outspoken whistleblower is now battling allegations that she, too, misused large sums of HSU funds.

Earlier this month, HSU lawyers lodged a claim against Ms Jackson in the Federal Court for more than $660,000 that the union wants repaid after she allegedly used this amount from union credit cards, cash cheques and general accounts for personal expenses — but never repaid the money.

The $660,000 demand is on top of an existing court claim to ­recover $1 million that the union alleges Ms Jackson was not authorised to spend.

There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Mr Martorana, who co-signed a deed of agreement with Ms Jackson and Williamson in October 2010 after “differences” arose about whether his position should continue — just five months after he started in his new role as assistant divisional secretary.

In return for receiving $240,000, Mr Martorana was required to not represent any member of the union for two years. Nor was he permitted to work for any entity competing with the HSU. His name appeared on weekly pay documents with union employees for a further two years — although he did not show up.

Mr Martorana was an assistant secretary of the HSU branch No 1 in Victoria in May 2010, then headed by Jackson-supporter Marco Bolano, when this branch merged with Ms Jackson’s and Williamson’s branches to become HSU East.

It appears Mr Martorana was a victim of the merger leaving too many officials competing for a smaller pool of senior positions — five months after serving as “assistant divisional secretary” of the now disbanded HSU East.

The Jackson-Williamson leadership duo did not offer Mr Martorana a redundancy — with a transparent termination, a different tax treatment and considerably less than two years’ pay, considering his short length of ­service — or simply secure his ­resignation. Instead, the leadership pair created the highly unusual $240,000 payment deal in which Mr Martorana received a salary for not showing up.

He was not available for comment yesterday but he has told others of his belief that the payment was fair in the circumstances of his departure from the HSU.

The Australian revealed in Aug­ust that Ms Jackson signed another such deal with Williamson on March 3, 2010, to put Melbourne barrister and longtime friend David Langmead on a $150,000-a-year retainer as a legal adviser for eight years in the newly formed HSU East branch.

Under Mr Langmead’s retainer, which was paid monthly, he charged $2700 a day, and $385 an hour for legal advice. He was to bill the union for extra services if the annual sum exceeded $150,000. Mr Langmead, who is not accused of any wrongdoing, previously had a long association with Ms Jackson from 1996 to 2010 as a barrister retained for her branch.

His services included legal advice on a $250,000 payment to Ms Jackson’s HSU No 3 branch by the Peter MacCallum cancer hospital in Melbourne after a confidential settlement over workers’ backpay in late 2003.

Mr Langmead’s wife, Beth Jensen, another close Jackson friend, was used by Ms Jackson and Williamson as a consultant around the time of the union merger for a report that recommended big pay rises for them and other officials based on linking their salaries to the senior executive service of the NSW Public Service.

Another Jackson ally and friend, Rob Elliott, scored a $150,000-a-year consultancy deal with the HSU, signed by Ms Jackson and Williamson just a week before the Langmead deal. This arrangement was shorter than the Langmead agreement but similar.

The Australian reported late last month that Ms Jackson also collaborated with Williamson to “retrospectively authorise” the suspected misuse of union credit cards by now convicted former HSU official and federal Labor MP Craig Thomson in March 2008 — despite Ms Jackson later taking credit for ordering an exit audit of Thomson’s dealings.

Mr Martorana is a former hospital orderly whose late mother worked for Labor senator Stephen Conroy and whose stepfather, Peter Clelland, was a federal Labor MP.

The current HSU No 1 branch leadership team, headed by Bill Shorten ally Diana Asmar, is now challenging Mr Martorana’s eligibility to run in coming elections.


Palmer in real trouble

Two Chinese companies suing federal MP Clive Palmer have a genuine dispute against him, a judge says.

Subsidiaries of Chinese government-owned company CITIC Pacific are suing Mr Palmer and his company Cosmo Developments over claims $12.167 million was misappropriated by the MP's company Mineralogy.

CITIC Pacific subsidiaries Sino Iron and Korean Steel claim money deposited in an administrative fund and intended for the day-to-day running costs of a West Australian port was redirected to Cosmo Developments ($10 million) and Brisbane advertising firm Media Circus Network ($2.167 million).

Lawyers for Mr Palmer applied to strike out or permanently stay the Chinese companies' claim for compensation, claiming their wasn't reasonable grounds for the legal action.

But Justice David Jackson on Monday dismissed the application, meaning the matter will proceed to a three-day trial beginning on November 26.

Justice Jackson said one of the arguments used in the application was that the case was brought on a "feigned issue" and was really about "showing up" the defendants.

However, in his written judgment published on Monday, Justice Jackson rejected the argument.

"In my view, there is nothing fictitious about the causes of action pleaded in the claim and the statement of claim filed by the plaintiffs in the present case," he wrote.

The trial will determine whether payments made to Cosmo Developments and Media Circus Network formed a breach of trust and whether CITIC Pacific's subsidiaries are owed compensation.

A CITIC spokesman said on Monday: "We welcome the court's decision and now look forward to having this matter progress to trial."


1 comment:

Paul said...

I've always maintained that allowing Black Africans into a modern Western economy makes as much sense as putting crude oil into your car and expecting it to work.