Wednesday, December 31, 2014

ISIS extremists living in Queensland are being 'closely monitored' after returning from conflict in Syria and Iraq

Islamic State fighters who have returned from the conflict in Iraq and Syria are living in Queensland, but are being 'closely monitored' by officials.

Australia is currently facing a 'high' threat of terrorism according to the government, with a number of Islamic State extremists currently on the ASIO anti-terrorism radar.

A senior Police Commissioner has warned that the experience these fighters have gained from the conflict in makes them a major concern for Australian authorities, reports Courier Mail.

When asked about the number of extremists living in Australia, Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said 'I can't confirm the number because it can change in a heartbeat – and the risk can change in a heartbeat. Today it (the number) might be five. Tomorrow it might be 10,'.

'Obviously you don't go off fighting in foreign lands – not as a member of the Australian Defence Force – and come back and think you are not going to be on our radar,' Mr Stewart said.

'And that's because of the experiences that they have, and the skill set that they pick up by being involved in fighting elsewhere.'

Mr Stewart said while the Police strive for the utmost safety of Australians, there is always a risk of acts of terror.

It is believed that 12 Queenslanders are among the 70 identified Australians fighting in Iraq and Syria.

Some of them are hiding in Syria, fearing if they come back to Australia they will be prosecuted by severe new anti-terror laws that could see them jailed for up to 25 years.

Among the Australians who have flown to Syria are brothers Taha, Hamza, Bilal and Omar from Yagoona in Western Sydney.

The four men, aged between 17 and 28, told their parents they were taking a holiday in Thailand after winning their tickets in a competition, before revealing via text message that they had arrived in Syria.

Before they were due to come home last month, the parents received a text stating: 'We made it to Bilad al-Sham, we will see you in paradise'. Bilad al-Sham is a region in Syria. Despite the text, the parents went to the airport to pick up their sons but they never arrived.

Authorities tracked the sons down in Turkey after the family alerted them but it is believed they have since crossed the border into Syria.

Unlike some before them, the siblings were 'clean-skins' and had not been on any watch-lists that would have alerted immigration controls.


What Victoria's new Labor government has in store

Daniel Andrews’ Labor Party defeated the Liberal-National coalition at the Victorian election on November 29 and will hold a majority of about six seats, although the ALP had a swing of only about 1.3 per cent on primary votes.

So what policies can be expected from the new Labor government?

It has promised to enact a radical social agenda, including an extensive gay and lesbian wish-list, for Victoria.

Under the guise of tackling bullying, the government will require every government secondary school to have programs to support and celebrate “gender and sexual diversity” through a state-wide rollout of the Safe Schools Coalition initiative.

It has promised to repeal the criminal offence of intentional infecting of another person with HIV; to establish a GLBT Ministerial Advisory Committee within the Cabinet; and to create a dedicated Gender and Sexuality Discrimination Commissioner in the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

The ALP has also pledged to recognise foreign same-sex marriages as registered relationships under the Victorian Relationships Register Act. The proposal is to allow same-sex couples to describe themselves as “married” on the application form.

Labor is also committed to granting adoption rights to same-sex couples.

Its proposed changes to Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act constitute an attack on freedom of religion. Under the promised changes, faith-based schools, youth clubs, charities, welfare agencies, hospitals and counselling agencies could be forced to employ people hostile to their beliefs.

Hypocritically, Labor’s proposal will not force Labor MPs to employ Liberal supporters.

In the closing stages of the Victorian election campaign, leaders of the major churches called for no changes to be made to the Equal Opportunity Act, in the interest of maintaining a fair balance between the right to equality, freedom of association and religious liberty.

Also, it can be expected that the abortion lobby will be pushing for “bubble zones” around abortion facilities to prevent pro-lifers praying for and approaching women entering an abortion facility.

The upper house losses suffered by both Labor and the Coalition to the Greens and the micro-parties highlight a major issue that has been developing over the past few decades.

Since the early 1990s, planning by successive governments has focused on a concentrated high-rise residential building spree in central Melbourne.

Hundreds of thousands of people are now living in one- and two-bedroom units. They are single-income or dual-income-no-kids households.

Coalition and ALP governments have poured billions into infrastructure support for metropolitan Melbourne. What they have created is a concentrated constituency of people inclined to vote Green.

Meanwhile, regional economies have been suffering from a lack of infrastructure development.

This has been made worse in central and northern Victoria from the huge loss to farmers of irrigation water that has been diverted to the environment under the Commonwealth government’s Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

This failure to pursue sensible decentralisation policies has left Labor bleeding to the Greens in Melbourne and the Coalition bleeding to micro-parties in the regional areas of Victoria.

The result is likely to leave Victoria with similar problems to the Abbott government, which is struggling to get its legislation though a divided Senate. The one difference in Victoria is that the upper house cannot block supply; so the Andrews government, with its control of the lower house, can easily pass its budgets.


Queensland teaching graduates heading to UK after failing to land job locally

QUEENSLAND teaching graduates are heading to the UK in droves, with nine out of 10 failing to get a job with the state’s education department.  About 230 teaching graduates this year have been offered and accepted a permanent position with the Department of Education — despite more than 2080 applying for a job.

Almost 590 of the graduates from 2014 were offered and accepted temporary positions.

But recent reports out of England have suggested there could be a deficit of almost 30,000 teachers in 2017 with Queensland teachers rushing to fill the positions.

Mitch Jones, who recruits Australian teachers to work in the UK, said there was a rush to attract not only experienced teachers but also new graduates.  “The demand for relief teachers are also so high we can guarantee every teacher regular relief work each week,” he said.  “Some teachers also choose to work casually so they can spend more time travelling through Europe.”

The agency, Protocol Education, works with about 4000 public, religious and private schools across England, and currently sends over about 500 Australian teachers each year.

The Queensland Education Department has an active applicant pool of 13,917 seeking employment for next year, the number a combination of graduates from Queensland, interstate, overseas and general experienced teacher applicants.  More than 2080 of the applicants are straight out of university.

Teaching graduate Kristen Doherty is heading to Milton Keynes in the UK next year after studying a Bachelor of Primary Education, specialising in middle years.  “I am so excited, it’s going to be so good,” she said.  “I wanted to do a bit of exploration for me.”’

She said she was extremely nervous about the move but had studied up on the curriculum for her future Year 6 class.

Queensland Teachers Union president Kevin Bates said graduates were often lured overseas for a taste of adventure.  “Some people are finding it’s difficult to get work and not willing to move outside the southeast corner,” he said.  “The other reason is that people, particularly Gen Y, are very much into this idea you go and work overseas for a few years — it’s a rite of passage.”

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said Queensland schools were under a strong plan.  “We are working hard to make Queensland the best place to live, work and raise a family,” Mr Langbroek said.

“There is always demand for high-achieving professionals to teach in our state schools.  “We appoint a large number of teachers each year and have a range of initiatives to attract the best teachers to our schools, including those in remote locations.”


Teachers suffering under bureauracy and an old-fashioned industrial relations regime

Teachers in Australia's schools are suffering under an old-fashioned industrial relations regime and an out-dated salary structure according to new research published today by the free market think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs.

“Teachers are paid according to a ‘one size fits all’ model that pays the best and the worst teachers the same,” says John Roskam, Executive Director of the IPA.

“Promotion is based on time-served and the completion of box-ticking exercises rather than on the quality of teaching in the classroom.  For example, under existing regulations a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who wants to be a teacher must be paid the same as a 22 year-old inexperienced graduate.”

“The industrial relations regime that teachers work under means they sacrifice salary in exchange for more time off work.  For example, a teacher earning $75,000 a year has 11 weeks away from work and 17.5% holiday leave loading.  On a ‘standard year’ of 48 weeks work this equates to a salary of over $95,000 a year,” says Mr Roskam.

The report Freedom to Teach by IPA Research Fellows Vicki Stanley and Darcy Allen documents the 600 pages of regulations that stifle schools, teachers and principals.

“Teaching in Australia is managed as an industry according to systems established in the nineteenth-century.  If we are to provide young people with the best possible education we must think of teaching as a profession in which teachers are rewarded on the basis of their ability,” says John Roskam.

Key recommendations from the report include:

·       removing restrictions limiting the maximum amount classroom teachers can be paid

·       removing restrictions limiting the number of hours teachers can teach

·       allowing schools to make incentive payments to attract teachers to hard-to-staff schools


1 comment:

Paul said...

Nurses and other health workers are all being employed on temporary contracts instead of being granted permanency in QLD. It saves some money, and it allows people to be put off at will (which has its benefits with some of the twits we get), but for those employed this way, the banks won't look at them for loans because they can't prove secure employment.

A couple of years back the banks were giving loans to baby factories because their lending algorithms were satisfied with the volume of pension "earned", yet now a qualified radiographer can't get a loan.

Anyway, if I go back to Victoria I can become a protected species under the CFMEU' I mean Labor's Gay agenda. The Yanks were right after all this time, there really is one. I don't know where it come from, and I suspect angry Lesbians had a hand in it (no pun intended), but there it is. Happy new year. Its already looking even crazier than 2014, and that was off the charts.