Monday, October 06, 2014

Couple told to take down Australian flag because of “current political climate”

A DARWIN couple say they have been ordered to take down the Australian flag from their front yard because of the “current political climate.”

But homeowners Paul and Julie Lucas have refused to do so, instead choosing keeping their flag flying.

The pair finished renovations at their Stuart Park property complete with flag pole earlier this week.

Body corporate Castle Real Estate Managing Director Daniel Ferguson has denied he said it was because of the political climate.

“It doesn’t matter what the structure is,” Mr Ferguson said.  “Paul and Julie failed to apply to the body corporate for permission to erect a structure, no application has been made.”

Mr Lucas did not believe had to apply for permission.

On Wednesday morning, the body corporate from their unit complex - Castle Real Estate - told them to pack away the flag.

“We’re patriotic people, I’m proud of my forefathers and what people continue to do for us in this country,” he said.

“It’s not there to upset anyone, (but) why do we have to be like this in our own country? People come here because they like the way we live.”

Mr Lucas said he served his country in the Defence Force and so did his father and grandfather.

Ms Lucas said she could not believe when she heard they had to remove the flag.  “I honestly thought it was a joke,” she said.

She said the flag was intended to be welcoming not excluding. “I embrace everybody no matter who they are, we work in a multicultural industry, it’s political correctness gone mad.

“Until you can show me a written law that says it is illegal to fly the Australian flag on your property that flag will remain.”


There is no 'right' to help yourself to the taxes of others

This week a parliamentary committee accused the Abbott Government of violating international human rights obligations because it wants to limit the hand out of tax-payer funded welfare benefits.

Welfare changes included in the May Budget set tough conditions for the payment of unemployment benefits to people under the age of 30. Failure to meet those conditions by hopeful recipients would mean no social security payments for six months.

But the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, set up under the
Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 ruled that the measure was "incompatible with the right to social security".

The so-called "right to social security" is set out in Article 9 of the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights created in 1966. The Australian government signed up to the ICESCR in 1975, thereby committing to an endless, expanding provision of welfare benefits.

Today, many on the Left affirm the ICESCR provision on social security because of their commitment to alleviating suffering and need. Others on the Right are skeptical because of growing public expenditure, a rising tax-burden, and the erosion of incentives to obtain employment. 

But the reality is that human rights - as defined by the Covenant and applied by the Parliamentary Committee in relation to welfare - is a corruption of the true meaning of the term. There is no such thing as a human right to free-flowing and unrestricted welfare.

Human rights, as properly understood, grant individuals specific and important freedoms so that they can pursue their own life and well-being. These rights include the right to the freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience, as well as important rights such as the right not to be enslaved or tortured.

This is to say that human rights are intended to stop governments from acting at the expense of the well-being of its citizens. They create a space for freedom to live under the rule of law. In other words, human rights stop governments from interfering in our lives.

The problem with the 'right' to social security is that it sets out to alleviate a burden borne by some individuals by imposing a duty or obligation on other individuals. It is therefore not a right at all. The parliamentary committee's report criticizing the government for doing what it was elected to do is nonsense. The right to help yourself to the taxes of other people is no right at all.


Newington College cadets told not to wear uniform in public

Army cadets at a private Sydney boys' school have been told not to wear their camouflage uniform on public transport or in public spaces after the Australia Defence Force urged military personnel to avoid being in uniform in public.

Newington College has issued an "urgent cadet announcement" to parents of the school's cadet unit ahead of its promotions camp and parade next week.

The note urges the cadets to travel to the camp in their PE uniform and change when they arrive rather than travelling in their camouflage uniform.

"Please be advised that the college will follow the Defence Department's recommendation that ...uniform not be worn on public transport nor in public spaces," the note from the unit's Major Rod Wood said.

"We will continue to monitor developments and re-assess this directive if and when required."

The Defence Force last month urged its members to carefully consider wearing uniforms in public in the wake of increased terror alerts.

Newington has one of the longest continuously running cadet units in Australia, but many other schools also have cadet units, including The Kings School and Scots College.

A Defence spokesman said the Chief of the Defence Force had advised Defence members to be diligent with personal safety and to "exercise commonsense and judgement when considering wearing uniform in public".

Similar advice has been issued to Army, Navy and Air Force Cadets, the spokesman said.

"Cadets have been urged to be proud of their uniform, but vigilant about where and when they wear it," the spokesman said.

"Cadet activities will continue wherever possible without unnecessary disruption. Cadets or their parents can seek further advice from their local chain of command."


Ashton Wood destroys his ‘lemon’ Jeep after viral campaign

ASHTON Wood bought a $49,000 Jeep - and hated it so much he demolished it.  Stuck with a “lemon” that Fiat Chrysler won’t refund or replace, the Wood family today staged a protest by smashing, burning and destroying the car.

Starting tentatively, they ripped out seats and shot arrows to deflate the tyres.

As the destruction ramped up, the windows were shattered with crowbars and the doors ripped off.

Then it was time to bring out the heavy machinery. Angle grinders cut off the roof before a 35 tonne excavator ripped out the engine and dashboard.

The excavator ceremonially dumped the crumpled remains onto a wood pile for the raging bonfire finale on the rural Sunshine Coast property.

The Wood family organised the “Destroy My Jeep” demolition to highlight the need for laws forcing car companies to refund or replace problem vehicles.  So-called lemon laws would mean drivers who had suffered more than three faults would not be left with a useless car.

The Wood family jeep suffered 22 faults starting on the night they collected it from the Noosa dealership in 2010.

Before they had even left the showroom, the engine had stopped and fuel was gushing from underneath.

Despite relentless breakdowns, meetings and mediation, Vanessa Wood said Fiat Crystler had refused to replace or refund the faulty vehicle.

“It has been a problem ever since we picked it up from the dealership,” said Mrs Wood.  “The kids were sitting in the car ready to go, the gentleman was showing us the controls on the steering wheel and all of a sudden it stopped.

“The engine stopped, he was looking at it and I heard this gush and all the diesel was coming out of the car.  “So it had to stay and we had to go home without a car, and here we are 22 issues later and many many breakdowns.”

Mrs Wood said lemon laws would protect consumers who had been sold a dud.  “We want lemon laws like they have had in America since the early 70s, so if there are three major faults you either get your money back or you get it replaced, it’s as simple as that.

“Apart from your house, your car is your next biggest purchase. “You buy any white goods, whether it’s a toaster or a kettle, if there’s anything wrong with it, they just replace it so why can’t they do that for cars?

“These are legitimate issues. The Jeep should have been replaced or we should have got our money back, but the law doesn’t support that at the moment and it’s not good enough.”

According to Mr Wood, the 4WD has been towed four times and has 20 defects including windscreen wipers that triggered by turning corners.

A spokesman from Chrysler Australia said the company had fixed any issues under the car’s warranty.  “We have, and always will, treat Mr Wood and his concerns in a fair and professional manner.

“Mr Wood’s concerns have been resolved under warranty, free of charge. We have also extended the warranty on Mr Wood’s vehicle an extra year as a gesture of goodwill,” he said.

“Mr Wood has also sought independent ruling on his concerns through the Queensland Office of Fair Trading. The Office found that there was insufficient evidence to require any action by them.”

When Mr Wood asked Chrysler Australia for a refund or replacement vehicle they said they could only repair the car.  Unsatisfied Mr Wood flew to Chrysler Australia head office in Melbourne.

“We talked for two hours at the end of that time they said they’d replace the battery and I’d be good to go, that’s all they were going to offer us.”

The next week Chrysler offered to buy Mr Wood’s car at market price, $22,000, less than half of what he bought it for. Earlier this year a Chrysler spokeswomen told the ABC the offer was fair and “well above the market rate” for a car that had travelled more than 50,000km.

After the Queensland Office of Fair Trading did not rule in Mr Wood’s favour, he decided to launch the Destroy my Jeep campaign.

About 150 people donated generously to the Kickstarter appeal raising $18,956 to fuel Ashton’s fire.

Supporters were rewarded with special wrecking privileges like using a hammer to create dents or smashing the headlights with a crowbar.

The Jeep has also been covered in the names of pledgers, drawn on with permanent marker.

“I have been totally consumed by this,” he said. “I travel a lot for work and spend a lot of time wondering if my wife’s going to get stranded again while I’m away. 

Mr Wood hopes the stunt will ultimately result in the creation of a Lemon Law in Australia.

“Since I went public I’ve had a lot of vehicle owners come to me and say good on you fight the good fight for us, we’re all in the same boat,” he said.

“I think I have to go through this to make a very, very big point and get people talking about it and get the State Government to seriously consider making the law.”


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