Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New Matilda ignores a very large elephant in the room

I always enjoy the bulletins I get from the devious far-Leftists at New Matilda.  Wendy Bacon, scion of the old Communist Bacon family, is writing below.  The elephant she ignores is the horrendous Sydney traffic congestion.  Traffic jams waste huge amounts of time for millions of people -- and anything to relieve it has to be seized upon. 

And time is of the essence.  Any major infrastructure project is treacle-slow in getting done these days so the way to speed things up is to do things simultaneously rather than sequentially.  And that is exactly what the breakfast lady is whining about.  If all the paperwork had to be done before anything else happened, the project would be delayed for years.  But gumming up the works is what Communists have always aimed at so that motivation is clear here too. If she had her way, traffic congestion in the affected area would last years longer than it needs to

NSW Labor and NSW Greens are calling on the Baird government to halt all forced acquisitions until the business case for its WestConnex motorway is made public, environmental assessments are complete and planning approvals are granted.

This is the opposite to the planning approach being taken by the NSW government for tollway planning.

NSW Shadow Minister for Roads, Jodi McKay and Greens WestConnex Spokesperson Jenny Leong are also concerned about potential conflicts of interest involved in WestConnex contracts awarded to engineering company AECOM, revealed by New Matilda last week.

On Thursday, the WestConnex Delivery Authority (WDA) announced that a Leightons, John Holland and Samsung C&T consortium has been awarded a $2.5 billion contract to build the M4 East tunnel from Homebush to Haberfield in Sydney's Inner West. At the same time, 180 households were being issued with forced acquisition notices.

Other residents learned that they would lose part of their gardens, leaving them living on the edge of the motorway, or that their children would be attending a public school near an unfiltered ventilation stack or motorway portal.

In Sydney's south west, the small community of St Peters has been campaigning since last November against the forced acquisition of scores of homes, which would leave their neighbourhood decimated and its school close to the massive M5 interchange. Residents in Beverly Hills are facing imminent expansion of the existing M5 toll road to within a few metres of their fences and the removal of local open space and vegetation in preparation for a second M5 tunnel.

This massive community disruption is happening without the business case for the WestConnex being completed or made public, or a draft EIS released for either the M4 tunnel or duplicate M5 toll road. Almost nothing is known about Stage 3, which is a tunnel that would link the M4 and M5.

Jodi McKay told New Matilda that "neither the planning process nor property acquisitions should go ahead until the completion and release of the business case". She said the rush to issue the contract and acquire houses was "poor governance" and that "the project should not progress any further until the EIS is released for extensive consultation, which I doubt is what the government has in mind. This government has shown time and time again that they will go out of their way to shut down transparency.”

Greens WestConnex spokesperson, Newtown MP Jenny Leong’s first act in NSW Parliament after becoming MP for Newtown was to call on the Government - in the interests of good governance and financial accountability - to suspend all activity on the WestConnex project until the full business case and Environmental Impact Statement are made public. She told New Matilda that "in the interests of transparency and the public interest, until the business case and EIS is released there must be a halt to acquisitions, exploratory works and construction”.

“The current crash-through approach by Roads Minister and WDA shows a blatant disregard for good planning, the community interest, the health and safety of our communities and our environment. Now the contracts have been signed, what happens if the EIS discovers that there will be dangerous levels of pollution delivered right into residential areas in Concord, Homebush or Haberfield?” Leong asked.


Rapists, paedophiles, killers, wife beaters and baby bashers cleared to work with children

Who are the people making these decisions about the safety of children?   Remnants of the NSW Labor Govt?

A WOMAN on parole for a bashing murder. A man convicted of incest against his 14-year-old daughter. A swimming coach who fondled boys in a public toilet.

These are some of the convicted criminals, including rapists, paedophiles and killers, who have been awarded a Working With Children Check (WWCC) over the past 12 months, despite being deemed unsafe to work with children by the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian.

After being rejected by the Children’s Guardian, the disqualified applicants took their cases to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), which overturned their cases on appeal.

The Sunday Telegraph today launches a campaign to protect our children from violent offenders and ensure the Children’s Guardian can do its job without interference.

Our analysis of NCAT ­appeals finalised over the past 12 months shows a small but significant number of individuals being granted clearances against the express wishes of the Children’s Guardian, which denied the clearance and then asked the Tribunal not to grant it on appeal.

These include at least 15 cases ranging from instances of child abuse, violent sexual assaults and, in one case, the murder of a police officer.

Family and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard said the cases identified were both “deeply concerning” and may have failed the “commonsense test”.

Mr Hazzard said he would ask the state’s Attorney General Gabrielle Upton to review the decisions.  “Logically, there can’t be too may circumstances where allowing a murderer to work with children could be considered a sensible option,” Mr Hazzard said, referring to the case of a woman recently awarded a WWCC, despite being on parole until August 30, 2017 for a bashing murder.

The tribunal heard the woman, whose identity is suppressed, was a reformed drug addict who had changed her life while serving a 12-year jail sentence.

Ms Upton said the 15 cases highlighted were concerning and that she had requested a “full report into the circumstances” of each matter.

Only a small number of cases are heard at the tribunal, according to the Children’s Guardian’s most recent annual report.

During the 2013-2014 period there were 420,499 ­applications for a WWCC, of which 221 cases were barred or queried.

The report stated that 83 cases went for appeal and of the 44 cases heard during the reporting period, 16 clearances were granted.

In many cases, the people applying for a WWCC already work or come into contact with children.

Under new WWCC laws introduced in 2013, anyone volunteering or working in a paid capacity with children, including foster carers, must obtain a WWCC.

The ­influx of applications — more than 700,000 — has seen some people facing sudden uncertainty with their careers or personal lives as they become flagged for historic offences.

One case identified is a 72-year-old man who is a priest’s assistant in his local Catholic Church and vice-president of his swimming club.

He came to the guardian’s attention when he recently applied for a new WWCC after more than a decade with the club.

He has been working with the club and other organisations for more than a decade but was only ­recently flagged when applying for a new WWCC.

In 1963 he was convicted of fondling two 13-year-old boys in a toilet ­cubicle, but the tribunal said it was comfortable he was no more a risk to children than any other male his age.

While each appeal judgment is a public document, the names of people seeking a WWCC are anonymised to protect the identities of their victims and children involved.

The tribunal ruled that in another case a man convicted of having sex with and indecently assaulting a 13-year-old girl in 1989 should be granted a WWCC because the incident was “opportunistic” and did not involve any force.

In many of the appeal cases, the tribunal found the applicants were no longer an ­“appreciable risk” to children because, in some cases, decades had passed since their ­offences.

Other factors taken into account were whether they remained on the police radar for other convictions, or whether they continued to use drugs or alcohol, both seen as triggers for offences.

One case involved a man who physically assaulted a 17-year-old victim, then, a year later, dangled his partner’s baby by one leg (he claimed the baby was laughing).  Years later he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison.

The tribunal awarded him a WWCC after finding he had sufficiently rehabilitated himself and ceased using ­alcohol.  This was despite him suffering an ­alcoholic relapse in 2006 and assaulting a police officer.

Asked to comment, the tribunal said there were avenues of appeal available to people who believed the body had “erred in its decision”.


ACCC claims CFMEU bosses ordered ban of Boral

CFMEU secretary John Setka ordered a systematic black ban of concrete company Boral during a meeting of 200 union leaders, Federal Court documents claim.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s statement of claim reveals the mechanics of the alleged boycott, which has cost Boral up to $28 million and remains in force.

The ACCC is seeking heavy fines against the union and undertakings to advertise its error and the proposed end of the ban in the Herald Sun and The Age newspapers and on its website.

The CFMEU allegedly banned Boral because it refused to stop supplying concrete to the union’s arch enemy Grocon.

The documents alleged that the ban of Boral products was set up at a union shop stewards meeting at Trades Hall on February 14, 2013.

“During the February Trades Hall meeting Setka said words to the effect that Boral was a ‘Grocon friendly supplier’,” the documents state.

“The CFMEU gave an instruction to shop stewards and CFMEU organisers to not allow Boral to supply concrete to commercial construction sites in metropolitan Melbourne.”

CFMEU assistant secretary Shaun Reardon was also at the meeting and was named in court documents as allegedly being involved in setting up the boycott.

Following the meeting, Boral’s deliveries were stopped at 13 sites across Melbourne.

The CFMEU has denied claims it was responsible for the ban, a copy of its defence states.

Mr Setka and Mr Reardon have both declined to enter a plea, claiming privilege, their defence filings state.

The union also allegedly introduced truck checklists that were allegedly designed to allow union delegates to turn Boral trucks away under the guise of safety concerns.

Gary Ayers, the CFMEU’s safety unit manager, told union occupational health and safety representatives to target Boral, the documents alleged.

“The March checklist was to be applied particularly to Boral trucks,” the documents state. The ACC alleged the checklist was “unnecessary, unreasonable or excessive.”

The CFMEU also faces Supreme Court action, with Boral seeking damages for the black ban.

The Boral dispute began in the months after the CFMEU had a 16-day walkout on Grocon’s Myer Emporium site in 2012.


Female teacher who was wrongly imprisoned for TWO YEARS for 'having sex with two eight-year-olds' demands investigation into those who falsely accused her

A female teacher who spent more than two years in jail after she was wrongly accused of having sex with two eight-year-old boys has demanded an investigation into those who blamed her for such hideous crimes.

Josephine Greensill was jailed in 2010 after two former students accused her of sexual abuse, including full intercourse, when she was their year three teacher in Melbourne back in 1979.

The retired teacher, who always denied any wrongdoing, has spoken out for the first time for Australian Story saying she still hasn't received an apology following her acquittal in 2012.

'I try not to feel angry because I don't think it's helpful. I feel sad and upset that my life has changed. I don't know if I'll get back to the happy person I was,' Ms Greensill told the program.

'I just want answers I want to know why this has happened to me. Why would someone make accusations that weren't true?'

Ms Greensill was found guilty by a jury of nine of 20 sexual abuse charges after two men made police statements in 2007 accusing their former teacher of assaulting them in a tent in her backyard.

She was sentenced at Victorian County Court to five years with a minimum of two years and eight months, with the judge saying her premeditated crime had 'poisoned and eroded' much of the victims' lives.

Prominent criminal lawyer Robert Stary took on her case after she was jailed and all of her convictions were eventually quashed in 2012 after serving two and a half years.

The appeal judgement concluded there was a 'real likelihood' the two complainants had 'collaborated, and a real possibility of concoction' in the evidence.

'The evidence in this case just didn't stack up,' Mr Stary said. 'It 'just didn't ring true.'  'There was no medical evidence, no forensic evidence and no eye witnesses. There were inconsistent accounts provided by the accusers.'

Mr Stary said it was unacceptable there were no consequences for those responsible for what happened to her.

Ms Greensill was 61 when she was released, but her mental health had suffered and she was diagnosed with post traumatic stress syndrome.

She missed the birth of three grandchildren, her son-in-law's funeral and various milestone birthdays, including her own 60th.

Ms Greensill said she might have well have languished in prison for the full five year sentence had it not been for the determination of sisters, Annette and Mary Toohey.

They want those responsible for what happened to Ms Greensill to be held accountable.

'She feels like she's been acquitted but not exonerated... her reputation has been shattered and that's the most important thing to her,' Annette Toohey said.  'She was innocent. If it could happen to her, it could happen to anybody.'

Victorian Police advised last year that a Special Crime Investigation unit would consider the possibility of investigating the two accusers for possible perjury and perverting the course of justice.

Ms Greensill says she hasn't heard anything from police since January.


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