Sunday, March 08, 2015

An email to the Indonesian embassy in Canberra

Forwarded to me by my Charters Towers correspondent

These two convicted drug smugglers were found guilty in a fair trial nearly ten years ago. The appeal process has been long and drawn out, no fair person would deny that they have not had a fair hearing, in fact probably too many hearings. There is no doubt that in other Asian countries such as Malaysia or Singapore they would have long since been hanged.

 In this case the appeal process has been drawn out to an extraordinary degree, their sentence has been confirmed by the President of Indonesia and if he relents at this eleventh hour he will be the butt of many critical jokes in this country and be made out to be quite gutless.

Australian political leaders in government and opposition are a weak-kneed lot, they are doing Australia a disservice. Even our Australian federal police have no confidence in our political leaders or our judiciary and that is why they asked their Indonesian counterparts to intercept the drug smugglers.

If Sukumaran and Chan had been caught in Australia they would have been released from jail now, definitely no wiser. Many say they are now rehabilitated however for them it should be too late. Let them pay for their crimes and they will never do anything criminal again.

Too many of these people or their parents were welcomed to Australia and in gratitude become criminals. In conclusion, please be advised that at least 50% of the population here think you are doing the right thing with these proposed executions. The convicted convicts are at least dying like men by being shot by the firing squad. Hanging is definitely a more unmanly humiliating end.

Greenie hypocrisy about law enforcement

Sr is an abbreviation for "Senator".  In the days before Environmentalism, Sr Rhiannon was on the far Left, a Trotskyite.  She still is, with the Green party simply being a convenient way into parliament for her.  And she retains all the old Trotskyite sympathy for union thuggery.  Trots see union militancy as a way of breaking down "the system" that they hate

And Sr Cameron is an old Clydeside unionist -- and there is no-one who hates "the bosses" like one of those.  It's a great pity that he did not remain in Scotland among his fellow destroyers of jobs.  A considerable fraction of the world's ships were once built on the Clyde but union demands and delays drove away orders to the Far East and not much is built there now

For the past week we've heard the Greens rage about the supposed character assassination of Professor Gillian Triggs, the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, because her performances before Senate hearings in November and February have received legitimate cross-examination, which never crossed over to personal attacks.

It was the Greens who chose to cross that line. The line was not just crossed, it was obliterated.  Senator Lee Rhiannon, Greens NSW, delivered a speech on Tuesday night that was smearing at its most abject.

Under the privilege of Parliament on Tuesday night, Sr Rhiannon began a speech with these words:

"Nigel Hadgkiss, director of the Fair Work Building and Construction inspectorate, has framed his career and, indeed, his life, as a crime fighter, exposing corruption, drug runners and criminals."

"[But his career] is about reducing the pay workers take home at the end of the week and reducing the rights of workers to ensure they have a safe workplace …"

"It is only legitimate that Australians know who he is ... In 1989, as a Winston Churchill Fellow, the Hadgkiss CV tells us he studied methods for combatting organised crime in Northern Ireland …

"The Royal Ulster Constabulary - known as the RUC - was the local police force in Northern Ireland until 2001… In 1989, the RUC… was involved with paramilitaries in carrying out brutal crimes, including murder… There is no suggestion that Hadgkiss was involved in crimes committed by the RUC. However, why does he promote this visit as a study trip to examine methods of fighting organised crime?"

"When one reads about the extent of collusion between the RUC and paramilitaries, it is hard to imagine what form combatting organised crime could have taken in Northern Ireland in 1989 and what a visiting police officer from Australia would have studied… I urge Hadgkiss to provide details about his past… We do know that Hadgkiss' career has been under a cloud at least since the 1990s …"

Here is Sr Rhiannon's logic: Nigel Hadgkiss studied in Ulster in 1989. Paramilitants committed murders in Ulster in 1989. Paramilitants were linked with the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Therefore Mr Hadgkiss needs to explain what black arts he was studying in Northern Ireland.

Worse, the smear was delivered in support of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, which for decades has been riddled with systemic corruption, intimidation and violence. This is the union that has sub-contracted bikie gangs as enforcers.

Sr Rhiannon's brazenness shocked the government member on chamber duty, Nationals Senator Barry O'Sullivan: "I have only been here a year, but tonight's presentation was one of the most scurrilous abuses of the protection of this Senate I have seen."

A similarly methodical attempt at character assassination of Hadgkiss had been made last Thursday by Labor's designated parliamentary apologist, rationaliser and attack dog for the CFMEU, Senator Doug Cameron.

The senator engaged in yet another tortuous inquisition of Mr Hadgkiss, asking 128 questions, all suggestive that he has colluded with construction companies. Labor's tactics are a clear message of intimidation to senior public servants whose jobs involve investigating union corruption and intimidation.

Sr Cameron: "Have you attended a board-room meeting and that company has been involved in litigation that the fair work building commission has taken, against, say, a union?

After about an hour of this, Sr Cameron suddenly fell silent when the subject turned to the intimidation of Mr Hadgkiss' staff, especially his female staff.   

Mr Hadgkiss: "We have 25 documented cases of serious security matters involving my staff in recent years. Invariably these involve 'scab sheets' where the identity of investigators is put up - their personal details, their home and their telephone numbers - particularly female staff members are rung at home at night and abused.

Sr O'Sullivan: "You are sitting awfully quietly there, Doug."

Sr Bridget McKenzie (committee chair): "What about social media - Facebook or Twitter?"

Mr Hadgkiss: "Yes, that obviously is used, references such as 'dogs' and other delightful terms towards my staff."

Sr McKenzie: "It is clear that the CFMEU and its ilk are actually engaged in behaviour that is very likely to destroy people's lives."

Mr Hadgkiss: "It has destroyed people's lives."

Sr Cameron remained silent.


Constitutional recognition of Indigenous people 'racist': David Leyonhjelm

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm has come out against the Federal Government's push to recognise Indigenous people in the constitution.  Late last year, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was prepared to "sweat blood" to ensure Indigenous people received constitutional recognition.

But Senator Leyonhjelm has told the Upper House the proposed legislation singles out Aboriginal people on the basis of race.  iving legal recognition to characteristics held by certain persons — particularly when those characteristics are inherent, like ancestry — represents a perverse sort of racism," he said.

"Although it appears positive, it still singles some people out on the basis of race."

He also described the bill as divisive, quoting part of the legislation, which reads: "The Parliament, on behalf of the people of Australia, acknowledges and respects the continuing cultures, languages and heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples."

"This is divisive," Senator Leyonhjelm said. "It is likely that some Australians do not respect the cultures, languages or heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

"What is the Parliament doing to these people when it asserts that the people of Australia respect Aboriginal cultures? It is casting them as 'un-Australian'."

Senator Leyonhjelm also quoted part of the legislation which read: "The Parliament, on behalf of the people of Australia, acknowledges the continuing relationship of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with their traditional lands and waters."

He warned that it stereotyped Indigenous people.  "It is likely that some Aboriginal people do not have a relationship with traditional lands and waters," he said.

"What is the Parliament doing to these people when it asserts that Aboriginal peoples have such a relationship? It is denying their Aboriginality."

Current constitution allows for racial discrimination: Gooda

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda said recognising Indigenous people in the constitution is about "removing the existing race discrimination from the constitution".

"If you support race equality, it's important to understand that the Constitution doesn't currently reflect that. It allows for race discrimination today," he said.

"It's too early for anyone to be so trenchantly opposed to this. Let's remember this is an opportunity to make progress in the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

"I encourage all Australians to get across this issue so they can make an informed decision."

The push to recognise Indigenous people in the constitution has bipartisan support.

The Prime Minister has said he would like a referendum on the issue to happen on the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum.


Muslim man, 27, sentenced to 10 years jail for persistent sexual abuse of 12-year-old child bride

A MAN who married a 12-year-old child bride in an Islamic ceremony and got her pregnant has been sentenced to at least seven-and-a-half years in jail.

The 27-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced to a maximum jail term of 10 years with a non-parole period of seven and a half years in the Downing Centre District Court today.

The pair “married” in an Islamic ceremony in the girl’s living room in the Hunter region last January and the man later pleaded guilty to one count of persistent sexual abuse of a child.

In sentencing the man, Judge Deborah Sweeney said the man “deliberately” pursued the girl despite two imams telling him that marrying her was illegal in Australia.

The imams had told him “it is illegal here, you will get in trouble” and “it is not allowed”.  “He was well aware that his conduct was illegal,” Judge Sweeney said.

The man began sending the girl a flood of text messages which the girl initially ignored.  She then texted back and eventually agreed to marry him.

After a living room ceremony performed under sharia law the pair had sex, including oral sex, several times a day for about a month.

“This type of intercourse with a child is considered to be the most serious type,” Judge Sweeney said.

In addressing the defence’s point that the girl was mature, sophisticated and intelligent for her age, Judge Sweeney said “she may be intelligent for a 12-year-old girl but she was still a 12-year-old girl”.

Judge Sweeney said young girls like her needed protection from the “sexual exploitation of adults”.

The statement of facts has revealed that soon after the man was charged, the child was taken for a medical examination.

The girl, who is now 14, was suffering from “sharp right lower abdominal pain” and medical tests revealed that she was having “an ectopic pregnancy and miscarried”.  An ectopic pregnancy is when the pregnancy develops outside the uterus and in many cases in one of the fallopian tubes.

The man will be eligible for parole in 2021.


Number of new Australian millionaires hits five-year high

Australia minted 43,500 new millionaires in 2014 because of strong equity and investment property markets, representing the biggest growth of high net worth investors in the past five years as the rich comb for new areas to park their funds, Investment Trends research shows.

The country is home to 443,500 "high net worth" (HNW) investors; those with investable assets of more than $1 million.

This group controls $1.6 trillion in assets, nearly equivalent to the entire retirement savings industry. There are also 580,000 "emerging" high net worth Australians with $500,000 to $1 million in investable assets.

"If asset values continue to increase, then we can definitely also expect to see the growth in the number of high net worth investors in Australia continue," said Recep Peker, senior analyst at Investment Trends, adding that strong returns from the equities market and property last year helped propel the growth of HNW investors in the market.

Despite their booming wealth, the research found that only 40 per cent of high net worth individuals sought professional advice last year, down from 44 per cent in 2013, and more than 250,000 of these investors had unmet financial advice needs.

Irene Guiamatsia, an analyst at Investment Trends, said high net worth investors would be prepared to spend an additional $560 million annually on advice, on top of the $1.9 billion they were already paying, providing "a tangible opportunity for the financial advice industry".

The research found that ANZ Private Bank took the lead in client satisfaction for private banking last year, edging ahead of NAB Private.  ANZ has been concentrating on more personalised services and access to relevant technical specialists.

Companies such as Perpetual are also ramping up their efforts to focus on HNW clients.  Perpetual chief executive Geoff Lloyd said the company had about 50 advisers who focused onHNW investors with an average balance of $2.5 million.  Perpetual had the capacity to grow its client base by a further 15 per cent to 20 per cent as demand for advice ramped up, Mr Lloyd said.

The data also comes as advisers grapple with a series of scandals that have rocked the sector in the past year. These include Commonwealth Financial Planning and Macquarie Private Wealth planners who were embroiled in cases of dodgy advice that cost investors millions of dollars, and, more recently, National Australia Bank sacked 37 financial planners for bad advice.

Despite the negativity, demand for advice remained alive and well across the HNW sector and planners were ramping up their focus on these investors, Investment Trends argued.  "Since 2011, there has been a 66 per cent increase in the proportion of financial planners who are HNW focused," Mr Peker said.

The largest barrier preventing rich investors from taking up investment advice was the preference for control.  "Advisers need to spin their proposition in a manner which also gives their clients the confidence that they'll be able to maintain some degree of control," he said.


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