Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tasmanian lobster fisherman has no case to answer

This nonsense originated under Greenie influence.  The State government in 2011 was a Green/Left coalition.  Greens hate fishermen.  Why?  Because they kill fish!

HIGH-profile fisherman Mark Eather has been cleared of fisheries offences he has been fighting for more than three years.

Appearing in the Supreme Court in Hobart this morning, he was found not guilty of trafficking fish after a judge found he did not have a case to answer.

The verdict comes after a three-and-a-half year legal battle for Mr Eather, who was well known throughout the industry as a champion of sustainable practices.  Mr Eather pleaded not guilty to trafficking in 624kg of untagged rock lobster between January 2011 and October 2011.

Supreme Court Justice Shan Tennent directed the jury to return the verdict after an eight-day hearing.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Eather said he was charged on the day he was involved in a high-profile event with celebrity chef Kylie Kwong at MONA.

“What ensued was me spending three and a half years of being labelled a trafficker and poacher and $200,000 I didn’t have and had to borrow purely because I wanted to make a stand,” he said.

“This is a gorgeous state, lots of beautiful people and this industry is full of hard working, salt-of-the-earth people.

“The nature of our work involves lots of peril but what scares us the most is the plethora of legislation that in this case the upper echelons of the law and even the compliance manager of the fishery didn’t understand.”

“How the hell is a fisherman supposed to be across them?

“This disgrace could have been prevented by one phone call.

“This state deserves better. Is it any wonder we’re permanently broke when we have administrators and legislators acting in this Machiavellian way?”

Mr Eather said such treatment was likely to scare off people considering investing in the state.


ABC chiefs duck for cover over Zaky Mallah appearance as crisis grips network

Zaky Mallah’s trip to and from the Q&A program, which is facing an independent review for allowing him to appear, was paid for by the ABC.

Mallah told 2GB broadcaster Ben Fordham today he was taken in a shuttle bus from Parramatta to the Sydney-based ABC studio, in a bus paid for by the national broadcaster.

Later this afternoon the ABC’s spokesman Nick Leys confirmed this to Fordham, with a statement saying: “Every Monday night Q&A provides a free bus service from Western Sydney for audience members attending the show. This week, Zaky Mallah was a passenger on that bus.”

The news has angered Liberal MP George Christensen, who has called for the ABC’s free bus service to be scrapped.

The latest development in the Q&A crisis comes after Prime Minister Tony Abbott has blasted the ABC for today repeating a screening of a controversial episode where it allowed a former terrorism suspect to appear on Q&A.

The Q&A program, which first aired on Monday night, had already come under fire for giving one-time terror suspect Zaky Mallah publicity.

Mr Abbott continued to apply pressure on the ABC this morning, as the furore over its decision to allow Mallah to appear on Q&A shows no signs of dying down.

He labelled the second screening — which gave a national platform, and even a global platform — to Mallah, as “unacceptable”.

“The ABC has compounded this problem by again airing this disgraceful individual’s views,” he said.

“This is unacceptable. The ABC has once again given a platform to someone who hates us, who hates our way of life, who supports terrorists, and again, I ask of the national broadcaster: whose side are you on?” he added.

During an interview on Today, the PM was unrelenting in his criticism of the ABC, which yesterday said it “made an error in judgment” for allowing Mallah to confront federal MPs on Q&A without any security checks.

Mr Abbott repeated his concerns that the ABC had given a national platform, and even a global platform, to Mallah.

He said it was interesting that when Mallah was sentenced in 2005, the judge was critical of the platform the media had given to him.

“Now of course our supposed national broadcaster is giving a platform to someone who hates us, who hates our way of life, supports the terrorists that would do us harm,” he said.

“The issue for the ABC, our national broadcaster, is whose side are you on?

“Because all too often the ABC seems to be on everyone’s side but Australia’s.”

The ABC’s spectacular own goal in allowing Mallah on the air has plunged the $1 billion taxpayer-funded network into crisis and left Q&­A facing investigation.

The public broadcaster is dodging questions about why it gave Mallah a nationally televised platform to accuse the Federal Government of pushing young Muslims to join deadly terrorist cult Islamic State.

The Prime Minister yesterday accused the ABC of betraying Australia, and described Q&A as a “Leftie lynch mob”.

“What our national broadcaster has done is give a platform to a convicted criminal and terrorist sympathiser,” Tony Abbott said.

“They have given this individual — this disgraceful individual — a platform, and in so doing I believe the national broadcaster has badly let us down.”

ABC management failed to answer 10 questions from the Herald Sun about Mallah’s appearance, merely acknowledging an error of judgment. Scroll down to see the questions

But Mr Abbott said: “I think that the ABC does have to have a long, hard look at itself, and to answer a question which I have posed before: Whose side are you on?”

The Prime Minister said: “I think many, many millions of Australians would feel betrayed by our national broadcaster right now.”

Mallah was acquitted of terrorism charges but served 2½ years’ jail for crimes including buying a gun and threatening to kill ASIO officials.

The Australian Federal Police will be called in after it was discovered that Monday night’s show did not employ physical security screening of the studio audience, which included Mallah.

ABC TV director Richard Finlayson said that allowing Mallah on the show had been an “error of judgment’’.

It is understood that he went through the usual process of applying to join the audience in the Sydney studio and of submitting questions.  He was chosen as an audience member and further chosen to ask questions.

It is understood that the ABC had been aware of Mallah’s history.

During the show, Mallah verbally attacked the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Steve Ciobo, and admitted that he had gone to the front line in Syria.

He later tweeted that he would “pay to see that Minister dumped on #ISIS territory in Iraq!’’.

Mallah questioned Mr Ciobo about the Government’s anti-terrorism laws, then commented: “The Liberals have just justified to many Australian Muslims in the community tonight to leave and go to Syria and join IS because of ministers like him.”

Host Tony Jones apologised for the comment and shut the debate down.  “Tony Jones correctly and immediately ruled a statement made by Mr Mallah as out of order,’’ Mr Finlayson said.

“Q&A will continue to raise issues that are provocative and controversial. There is always risk in undertaking live television. That is the nature of the Q&A program since it first aired in 2008.”

An external review was already under way into Q&A topic choices, and the makeup of its panels and audiences, after complaints of Left-wing bias.  It will now examine how Mallah was allowed on the air.

Adding to the furore, Mallah on Tuesday night made another media appearance on Channel 10’s The Project, saying he stood by “everything I said” on Monday night.

Presenter Waleed Aly said that Mallah had “done more harm than good”, inflamed the situation, and was now refusing to take responsibility for his “call to arms”.

Mallah replied: “I bear no responsibility. I expressed my views last night. I was entitled to express my views just like everyone else did last night.  “Australia champions freedom of speech, and ... I expressed my views … in the best way I could.

“Maybe the tone of voice was a bit harsh, but I stand by my words. I stand by everything I said last night and I’m willing to have round two with this minister.”

Mallah also urged young Muslims not to travel to Syria or Iraq or join IS.  “I don’t support IS, I don’t support anyone leaving Australia,” he said.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who phoned ABC managing director Mark Scott and chairman Jim Spigelman to complain, told Parliament the broadcaster had made a “very grave error of judgment”.

“A person with those opinions being allowed to express them without any hindrance on live television raises very real — very real — concerns. Secondly, I have grave concerns, too, that Mr Mallah was there without any thorough security checks.

“I have asked the chairman of the ABC to ensure that … the Federal Police are consulted, because I think this incident … does raise issues about … the way in which the physical security of audiences and guests is protected.”

He said he was not suggesting the show be dumped.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the ABC “got it wrong” and there was “ no excuse for allowing someone convicted of such serious offences airtime to peddle this kind of extremism.

“Labor expects the ABC to fully investigate what went wrong here to ensure it doesn’t happen again.’’

Of Mallah, Mr Ciobo said: “I think, frankly, he is clearly a pretty sick and twisted individual. Clearly, he should be subject to a lot of scrutiny. At best, he is a sympathiser; at worst, he is a participant in an organisation that is attempting to do Australia harm.’’


Labor, coalition close detention loophole

LABOR has helped the federal government fast-track a bill to put beyond doubt Australia's authority to enter offshore processing agreements with other countries.

THE Australian Greens and human rights lawyers claim the government rushed the bill to try to circumvent a future decision of the High Court regarding a challenge over the spending of taxpayers' money on the Nauru detention centre.

The bill, which took just over an hour to be introduced and pass the lower house, authorises Commonwealth actions and spending on regional processing dating back to August 18, 2012.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told parliament the bill doesn't change or expand regional processing, but merely gives "clear express statutory authority" for the government to provide assistance to other countries.

"Regional processing helps combat people smuggling," Mr Dutton said. "It is an important solution for maintaining Australia's strong border protection policies."

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told parliament Labor objected to having so little time for caucus to consider the bill. But it supported the laws because regional processing was Labor policy.

"We come to this decision ... guided by our compassion," Mr Shorten said. "Our compassion demands we prevent drowning at sea, just as our compassion demands the humane treatment of all those in our care."

Mr Shorten said Labor did not believe the government was running offshore detention in a way the Australian public wanted it to.
"They (detainees) are not illegals and fleeing persecution is never a crime," Mr Shorten said. "There is no place for violent, inhumane or degrading treatment."

The Human Rights Law Centre, which is bringing the High Court action, said the laws contradicted the government's claim that its actions running and funding offshore detention centres are legal.
"A government confident its actions are lawful doesn't suddenly change the law when its actions are challenged in court," said HRLC director of legal advocacy, Daniel Webb.

The case began on May 14 on behalf of a group of asylum seekers and their families, but a hearing date has not been set.

Mr Webb said newborn babies, people with serious medical issues and women who have reported being sexually assaulted on Nauru deserved to have the lawfulness of their treatment considered by the courts.

While Mr Dutton did not mention the High Court case in his speech, Liberal backbencher Andrew Laming told parliament the bill would "close a loophole opened up by the High Court".

Outspoken Labor MP Melissa Parke, while acknowledging her party's role in re-establishing offshore processing, said she was uncomfortable with the bill. She criticised the "awful, ugly, illegal" treatment of asylum seekers under the Abbott government.  "This is a matter of national shame for which one day there will be a reckoning."


The Killing Season: Rudd’s charm trumps Gillard’s grimness after three episodes

Malcolm Farr

UP UNTIL the final scenes of The Killing Season, Kevin Rudd presented himself as the cuddly puppy savaged by a pack of political death hounds.

He started the series, which concluded last night, lamenting that he had been the target of ambush and deception. He was a victim to the end.

However, while it was not mentioned in the three programs, there are many in politics, and many who have reported on politics, who recall Mr Rudd’s unrelenting bitterness and the energy he directed at his own vindication.

He was known in public to refer to his successor as “that f***ing bitch”.

To that extent, the excellent ABC series did not deliver a complete picture. The Rudd charm outplayed the Gillard grimness.

In the final episode, Julia Gillard accepted her defeat by Rudd forces in 2013 and was shown enjoying a drink with friends before leaving the Lodge. Mr Rudd was unable to accept his fate back in 2010 and, right up to the last minutes of the three-part series, he pleaded a case as the wronged political partner.

He readily regretted that he and Ms Gillard could not have continued as a team, when they were an effective unit.

“Of course we were! We were a very effective team. And I wanted her to succeed me. I really did,” Mr Rudd told the program.

On the other side of this impossible relationship was an ambitious Julia Gillard. During the series, she pleaded that she had been tossed into hard decisions by unremitting circumstances, painting herself as someone who acted to save the party in government.

But the most important reason why she couldn’t be the ALP’s salvation by winning a workable majority in the 2010 election was because she could not condemn Mr Rudd’s leadership while also pointing with pride to Rudd government achievements.

It became an election about her and a significant number of voters didn’t like Julia Gillard or what she had done to the prime minister they had elected in 2007.

As an ALP official told the program: “The language on Gillard in focus groups was really harsh. It was amazing that you could have, you know, six or seven strangers who didn’t know each other in a room and Gillard would come up and it would be full on and nasty.”

The notion that Ms Gillard would make the nation swoon at election time was one of the first political mistakes that doomed her in 2013.

Labor’s six dismal years in government consisted of a succession of political decisions inexplicable in hindsight. It was political failure on a number of fronts.

As Anthony Albanese, one of the few to emerge with dignity from The Killing Season, said of the 2013 push against Ms Gillard: “I have argued against this sort of action before, on the night of 23rd June, 2010. I believe the government’s difficulties can be traced to that night.”

There are broader questions remaining, and they are outlined by Alan Milbourn, a former British Labour MP Ms Gillard brought over to help in 2010.

If blame has to be handed out, it shouldn’t just go to Rudd and Gillard.

“The hard question that the Australian Labor Party has to ask itself is this: How is it possible that you win an election in November 2007 on the scale that you do, with the goodwill that you have, with the permission that you’re gifted by the public, and you manage to lose all that goodwill, to trash he permission, and to find yourself out of office within just six years?” he told the ABC.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like it in any country, anywhere, anytime, in any part of the world. No one can escape blame for that, in my view.”


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