Thursday, October 01, 2015
State denies duty of care to injured police
This appalling story is from over a year ago but I can find no advance on it since then. Is the state using the costs of legal proceedings as a roadblock to proper consideration of these claims? Will the new ALP government go along with this sliminess? -- JR
The state government and Victoria Police are using an arcane legal technicality to block seriously injured police officers from suing the force for compensation, claiming they owe no duty of care to members hurt in the line of duty.
The use of the contentious tactic comes as Victoria Police are fighting at least three lawsuits from former officers who allege they received permanent physical and psychological injuries on the job.
In a bid to avoid a payout, the government is claiming that police officers are not technically employees of the state but "public officers" conducting "independent duties", absolving the government of civil liability for their injuries.
The defence has been filed in a lawsuit brought by former mounted police officer Justin Boyer, who alleges he sustained severe psychological trauma at the hands of fellow officers after he reported allegations of corruption to authorities.
The government’s argument is based on an interpretation of the wording of a police oath written more than 56 years ago which sees Victorian officers sworn into service of "our Sovereign Lady the Queen".
"[The government] denies that [Mr Boyer] was employed by [the government], and says further that at all material times [Mr Boyer] was executing independent duties cast upon him by reason of his oath taken under the Police Regulation Act 1958," the defence filed in the Supreme Court says. "[The government] denies that it owed a duty of care to [Mr Boyer]."
Police Minister Kim Wells and Chief Commissioner Ken Lay have refused to comment on whether they personally authorised the defence used by the external law firm hired to represent the government because the matter is currently before the court.
A source said the government has used the defence in the past in a bid to block civil claims despite police officers being apparently recognised as employees in some industrial relations legislation and by WorkSafe.
But Giuseppe Carabetta, senior lecturer at the University of Sydney Business School, said the government’s defence could be difficult to refute because police have long been recognised in law as “office-holders” rather than employees.
“Essentially the Crown is denying that the plaintiff is an employee in the strict common law sense. As the law currently stands, the Crown will, in my view, succeed,” he said.
The decision to fight the claim also comes despite the government acknowledging Mr Boyer had received a "serious injury certificate" early last year.
Mr Boyer claims to suffer from a knee injury and severe post-traumatic stress disorder and depression after being subjected to a campaign of "harassment, discrimination, vilification, intimidation and bullying" by fellow officers for reporting allegations of misconduct and corruption. He is seeking more than $250,000 in damages.
The government has denied the allegations but also claimed that Mr Boyer could be "guilty of contributory negligence" for failing to report to superiors that he was allegedly being victimised.
The Police Association has declined to comment on the government’s defence because the case involves a former officer making claims that include other members of the force.
Man bashing feminists answered over domestic violence
Miranda Devine replies to the hate-filled sisters
It is a marvellous irony that the domestic violence activists who have spent the week abusing and misrepresenting me claim to be champions of “respect” for women.
My sin was to point out the incontrovertible truth about domestic violence, that it is overwhelmingly concentrated in dysfunctional remote indigenous communities and public housing estates.
The response from femi-fascists was to try to get me sacked, silenced and banned from twitter.
They called for my “sterilisation”, branded me a “murder apologist”, a “troll”, a “sicko”, an ”idiot”, “a bimbo”, “a vile creature dangerous to kids”, “nasty and vicious”, “stupid”, “a disgrace”, “rabid old hatemonger”, “a typical Australian”.
“Your victim blaming has done almost as much harm to victims of Domestic Violence as the abusers,” read one email.
Yes, the faux-rage meter was at full tilt.
But I value these intemperate expressions, because they provide evidence of a concerted attempt to cover up the truth.
Domestic violence is the last frontier of feminism. You might think women had already achieved equality in the traditional markers of status in our society, most obviously in higher education, where 60 per cent of university graduates last year were female.
But for feminism to remain relevant, it needs to extend victim status even to the most affluent, pampered women of the chattering classes.
Thus the feminist dogma about domestic violence is that all women are equally at risk and all men potential perpetrators.
In the words of Natasha Stott Despoja, Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, and the Chair of domestic violence lobbying organisation Our Watch: “Violence against women does not discriminate, regardless of ethnicity, social status and geography.”
Only, actually, it does.
This is what I pointed out in the column that has enraged the sisterhood, that domestic violence is concentrated in communities where the underclass lives, where welfare dependency has emasculated men, where drug and alcohol abuse is rife, and intergenerational social disadvantage is entrenched.
I cited the latest data from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics, showing the rate of domestic violence in Bourke, with its large indigenous population 60 times higher than in affluent north shore Sydney suburbs. The housing estate welfare traps concentrated in Campbelltown and Penrith are similar hotspots.
The evidence is everywhere if you care to look, that poverty, intergenerational dysfunction, mental illness and substance abuse are preconditions for a domestic violence hotspot, with chronic underreporting in indigenous communities hiding the level of distress.
Take the NSW Coroner’s Court’s annual reports of the NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team which invariably involve welfare dependent couples in and out of jail, with “cumulative social issues in both cases”.
The cases are marked by “serious social disadvantage including in many cases poverty, substance abuse issues, violent coping mechanisms, intergenerational violence”.
Or take the 2011 BOSCAR report Personal stress, financial stress and violence against women which shows “risk of violence increases progressively with the level of financial stress (and) personal stress”.
For pointing out these inconvenient truths, I was accused of “blaming victims”.
Fake quotes attributed to me, such as: “Rich men don’t hit women.”
The classic modus operandi of feminist outrage sites such as MamaMia is to make up a line, pretend I said it and then attack me for (not) saying it.
This is the intolerance of the femi-fascist. They ignore BOSCAR statistics but trumpet every half-baked internet survey which makes a ludicrous claims such as that a quarter of young Australian men don’t think there’s anything wrong with beating women.
When the Our Watch group, which receives $8 million of federal funding each year to “change attitudes”, wrote a rebuttal to my column this week, it airily claimed that “the latest international evidence shows that factors such as low socio-economic status or harmful use of alcohol do not have a constant or predictable impact on levels of violence against women”.
Yet, when challenged to provide this evidence, Our Watch cited a UN report on domestic violence in other Asia-Pacific countries such as Indonesia, PNG and Bangladesh. When further challenged to provide research from comparable countries to Australia, Our Watch cited a European study which contains Australian criticism of “the lack of attention to social class and to working class community norms and pressures” in domestic violence cases; it also cited a study which found that lower socioeconomic status was more frequent among men enrolled in “batterers’ programs”.
Campaigns such as Destroy the Joint’s Counting Women project insist on making domestic violence a gender issue. It claims 66 women are victims this year, with the implication these are all “intimate partner” homicides, perpetrated by males.
In fact, only about half of the homicides cited could be classified as having a male partner or ex-partner identified as the killer.
Some of the 66 victims were killed by women, by sisters, daughters, a female neighbour or, in one case, a female ex-lover of the victim’s husband, as well as by brothers, fathers, and sons.
Domestic violence is a serious enough without exaggerating.
The activists cherrypick facts to support their dogma, rather than using statistics to better target scarce resources to help the most vulnerable victims, and to address the root causes of domestic violence.
To break the intergenerational cycle of violence, I wrote that we need to “end the welfare incentive for unsuitable women to keep having children to a string of feckless men”. This was twisted to claim that I had called victims of domestic violence “unsuitable women”.
The dishonesty is clear. The aim is to avoid the obvious, that boys brought up in an environment of chaos, dysfunction and violence, who are neglected and abused, are more likely to become abusive, violent men with poor impulse control.
But these are not facts the man-bashing femi-fascists who control the domestic violence industry want to hear.
Malcolm Turnbull Calls Summit on Reforms
Worth a try, I guess
New Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called a snap summit with unions and business leaders in an attempt to break an impasse over reforms that is adding to worries of a recession in Australia’s faltering economy.
Mr. Turnbull, a millionaire former businessman who ousted Tony Abbott in a party coup two weeks ago, said he had called the Thursday summit to canvass ideas from businesses, unions and the broader community. His conservative government is trying to build a consensus on policies sought by business but viewed with unease by voters.
“Our Government is focused on the opportunities arising from technological disruption and in creating an environment for strong, innovative industries to grow,” Mr. Turnbull said in comments emailed to The Wall Street Journal. “I want to…work towards a practical set of reforms that will help to create jobs, drive innovation and stimulate growth.”
Mr. Turnbull persuaded colleagues to oust Mr. Abbott as leader of the ruling conservative Liberal Party, and therefore as prime minister, because of his inability to turn around polls pointing to defeat for the conservative Liberal-National coalition government in elections next year. He hammered Mr. Abbott’s inability to persuade voters to accept changes in labor laws and taxation, as well as cuts to social spending to help the deteriorating budget return to surplus.
The Thursday summit, Mr. Turnbull said, would cap a rare opportunity to achieve consensus on the most pressing economic and social reform issues facing Australia, including a 1.6 trillion Australian dollar (US$1.12 trillion) economy still adjusting to the end of a mining boom three years ago that for a decade helped the country avoid financial downturn.
But a collapse in iron ore and coal prices as a well as a slowdown in China, the country’s biggest trade partner, has exposed vulnerabilities in the economy that some economists fear could usher in the first recession in a quarter century next year.
Falling foreign currency earnings are driving up debt and government borrowing. The economy expanded by an anemic 0.2% last quarter, well below the decade average of 2.8% a year. Unemployment is also relatively high at 6.2%, while real domestic income has fallen by 0.2% over the past year.
Business groups want Mr. Turnbull to pursue reforms that could help spur employment, including reducing the country’s tax rate of 30% for larger companies and more flexible employment laws. The government is also being urged to consider expanding the 10% consumption tax to help a budget ravaged by falling revenue, and to close loopholes in taxation of the country’s A$1.6 trillion pension system.
“Australia is a prosperous country with high wages, a high standard of living and a generous social welfare safety net. To secure and enhance our prosperity we must be more productive, competitive and innovative,” Mr. Turnbull said Tuesday.
Mr. Abbott, in his first interview since the dramatic ouster that gave Australia its fifth leader in as many years, said Tuesday that the country also needed to address political instability and “revolving door prime ministership”—something that has also dented business and consumer confidence, as well as helped deter business investment amid uncertainty over the future of the government.
“We’ve had five prime ministers in five years; that’s bad, that puts us in the league of Italy and Greece. In fact, we’re worse than Italy and just better than Greece,” Mr. Abbott told Sydney radio station 2GB, arguing Mr. Turnbull had adopted most of the same policies he had.
Stephen Walters, an economist at J.P. Morgan, said that while some economists now estimated the risk of recession in Australia at as high as 30%, the country was still likely to avoid it as most recessions were triggered by domestic policy errors rather than international troubles.
The consensus among most economists, he said, was for 2.7% growth in 2016, better than the expected 2.3% full-year outcome for this year. The government will deliver a midyear budget update in December.
“It’s difficult to make the arithmetic of recession stack up when we currently are exporting record volumes of commodities,” Mr. Walters said in a research note. “Maybe we are the lucky country, after all.”
Story below from the far-Left New Matilda, which is a bit surprising. The Left normally hate nukes. Rob Parker, president of the Australian Nuclear Association is however invoking global warming and anti-capitalism so I guess that's how you sell nukes to the Left. Reason is pointless. You've just got to push their buttons -- JR
My concern about climate change was ignited in 2005 when climate change awareness was growing and people were angry. We had a general revulsion against consumerism and rampant consumption. Corporate greed and ineffectual politicians were the enemies of the people and the environment and renewable energy solutions were thought to restore some level of control over our lives and return us to living in harmony with nature.
A wave of behavioural doctrines and solutions spread through the climate change movement. I researched alternative energy solutions and found that rarely was any analysis done to justify their adoption. At times perverse outcomes have resulted.
A notable example is that of biofuels, where markets have determined that more money can be made by displacing food production or by destroying tropical habitats, especially of the Orangutan.
But regardless of the evident failure of “renewables” to make any real dent in our greenhouse gas emissions, the ‘back to nature’ movement would brook no opposition. For some, science and technology were seen as a part of this attack on our environment, and so, conceptually straightforward technologies harvesting nature’s free energy became the vogue.
Typically we saw the large scale adoption of de-centralised power systems, such as roof top solar. The intermittency of these systems - which entrench the use of emissions intensive gas turbines - was and remains an inconvenient truth.
We will only get one chance to refashion our economy around low carbon technologies, and people need to be held accountable for their opposition especially when it has no analytical basis.
Typically terms such as "sustainability" are frequently used without any reference to careful life cycle analysis that really should be carried out to justify their validity.
As James Hansen has recently observed:
“People who entreat the government to solve global warming but only offer support for renewable energies will be rewarded with the certainty that the US and most of the world will be fracked-over, coal mining will continue, the Arctic, Amazon and other pristine public lands will be violated, and the deepest oceans will be ploughed for fossil fuels.
Politicians are not going to let the lights go out or stop economic growth. Don’t blame Obama or other politicians. If we give them no viable option, we will be fracked and mined to death, and have no one to blame but ourselves.”
I detect similarities in science denial between the anti-nuclear power brigade and the climate change sceptics.
Again as James Hansen points out “There is no reciprocity from the supporters of renewable energy” with their preferred option being fossil fuel backup of renewable energy. “In other words replace carbon free nuclear power with a dual system, renewables plus gas. With this approach CO2 emissions will increase and it is certain that fracking will continue and expand into larger regions.”
The case I am making is for a clean, low carbon industrial future being in harmony with and nurturing nature. And I recommend reading the "Ecomodernism" thoughts of the Breakthrough Institute at for it is nature in the wondrous cosmic events such as the implosion of giant stars that gave our planet those elements essential to life, such as iron, chromium, molybdenum or cadmium.
These were created when stars in their final death throes fashioned and expelled these elements, along with uranium and thorium, into the cosmos. By a massive fluke, these then aggregate into structures such as the Earth to enable life to flourish.
Mankind’s creativity can harness these elements from the magic furnace of the cosmos and use them to protect rather than assault our environment.
My desire is to stop the industrialisation of our landscapes and to never entertain the massive and "unsustainable" network of towers and transmission lines that typify wind farms and solar plants.
In an increasingly stressed landscape I wish to see nuclear-powered desalinated seawater pumped inland so that we can remove many of the dams currently choking our increasingly climate stressed rivers.
As an engineer, I became concerned that harvesting wind and solar power could not provide the amount of energy required to refashion our industrial economy around low carbon technologies. Nor could they do it in the time frame or within the carbon budgets that are required.
We know the targets. We’ve been told often enough that a stabilisation target of 450ppm carbon dioxide equivalent gives about a 50 per cent chance of limiting global mean temperature increases to 2 degrees. This means Australia would need to reduce its annual emissions by 90 per cent by 2050, which means that our electricity must be generated with emissions less than 90 grams per kilowatt hour.
Importantly, we need to drive carbon out of our electricity generation. It’s no good claiming that we need to de-industrialise or have large cut backs on consumption. The scale of the industrial transition required to achieve a low carbon economy will dwarf our current production.
Meaningful reductions will, for example, result in the use of hydrogen or molten electrolysis to replace coal in the smelting of steel with the result that carbon dioxide emissions are eliminated.
Likewise aluminium, known as “canned electricity” has to be smelted using massive amounts of reliable, clean, low carbon electricity. Our heavy road transport needs to move to electrified rail and our light car fleet converted to electricity.
It’s obvious that we have not even started the process of real carbon reductions and all this needs to be done with speed and with massive energy density.
We will only get one go at transforming our energy base and any system that is unproven or has massive redundancy and does not stand up to analytical rigor must be excluded. No nation has yet made any significant greenhouse gas reductions using wind or solar power, and certainly not with expensive storage systems.
France and Sweden are two standout examples whose nuclear powered electricity generation meets the levels required by 2050. This has resulted in electricity being generated with carbon emissions of 71 and 22 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour versus our 992.
France achieved their transition in 22 years with almost double Australia’s generating capacity. The contrasts of two neighbours in Germany and France could not be more stark - refer to Figure 3 and Figure 4 with France producing electricity with about one tenth of Germany's emissions.
Germany has gone down a failed intermittent renewables route, and the risks to Australia if we follow this route as shown in Figure 5 are obvious.
We have on this planet enough uranium to power the globe for tens of thousands of years. Nuclear power stations utilise materials some 20 times more efficiently than wind or solar power and in nations that embrace the technology. 1200 megawatt reactors are now built in around 4 years.