Wednesday, February 03, 2016
Politically correct do-gooder doesn't care about the statistics
But the statistics are the facts of the matter. And the statistics show that domestic violence is mainly a problem of the poorest suburbs and of Aboriginal communities. Firing scattergun rhetoric at the whole community is misconceived and therefore unlikely to help much. General Morrison is good at emoting but not good at thinking.
It's all just show-boating. It's just a way of saying: "Look at how wonderfully caring I am". If the emoters had any serious desire to reduce domestic violence there are clear measures that would help. No. 1 would be to put more police into Aboriginal communities. But you will hear no whiper of a suggestion about that. It would roughly halve the problem but who cares about blacks? Not the emoters
Australian of the Year David Morrison has dealt a blow those who deny domestic violence is an epidemic, calling it the 'greatest social challenge in this country'.
He appeared on ABC's Q&A on Monday night alongside other panelists, playing down his recent award saying: 'I was the most surprised person probably on the planet when my name was read out'.
However when asked by an audience member whether controversial former Labor leader Mark Latham was right when he claimed in a podcast on Triple M that domestic violence figures were improving, General Morrison pulled no punches.
'It's not about the statistics, it's about the lives that are being taken and damaged,' Morrison said. 'What do you want to do? You want to compare a particular figure from a year to a year?
'We are as a society becoming more aware of - I think - the greatest social challenge that we face and that is domestic violence in this country,' he added. 'And nothing should be said to take our attention from it.
'Get real Australia. We run the risk of being a nation of bystanders comforted by a few statistics. There are people dying and people whose lives are absolutely ruined as a result of domestic violence and what's more, we are all as a society the victim.
That's bull****,' Morrison said.
He also went on to detail the extent to which first response services were stretched and under-funded.
'We are all stretched to deal with this but if we don't deal with it, what is the legacy we leave for those who follow us?'
'There is no level that's okay,' Australia's Local Hero 2016 Catherine Keenan added. 'Even if it has gone down, it is still not okay. It is still something we have to argue about. There are women dying every day. It is something we have to as a society address.'
Gordian Fulde head of Emergency at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney's Kings Cross and Senior Australian of the Year said the statistics are 'soft'. This is because so many people who go to hospital don't report their abusers or accept counselling, according to Mr Fulde.
The backlash across Europe to a surging tide of refugees is an opportunity for Australia
Angela Merkel threw open Germany’s doors to refugees half a year ago in a moment of national exuberance. Germans went to the railway stations to welcome exhausted Syrians with flowers.
“If Europe fails on the question of refugees,” said the chancellor, “then it won’t be the Europe we wished for.” The polls showed public opinion on her side. More than a million refugees entered Germany last year.
Merkel, who was born into repressive East Germany and understands the plight of people fleeing tyranny, was confident.
There was some public anxiety, anger. Assaults of refugees flared. The number of arson and other attacks on asylum seeker accommodation soared to 1,005 last year, a fivefold increase on the year before. Merkel appealed for a solution across all of the European Union governments but held firm: “Germany is a strong country,” she said. “We can handle this.”
New Year’s Eve in the German city of Cologne marked a turning point in the debate.
The crowd of about 1,000 men who made co-ordinated sexual assaults on women at Cologne railway station generated 560 formal complaints to the police that night.
An internal police report said: “Women, accompanied or not, literally ran a ‘gauntlet’ through masses of heavily intoxicated men that words cannot describe.”
Most of the assailants, according to a senior German official, Ralph Jaeger, were Arab or North African. Some were newly arrived. One reportedly told the German police: “You can't touch me. I'm Syrian: Merkel wants me here.”
Alan Posener wrote in Britain’s Observer newspaper: “German railway stations were symbols of Willkommenskultur [welcome culture], with crowds welcoming refugees from Syria and elsewhere. Now a station has become a symbol for what some are calling Islamic ‘rape culture’.”
News emerged of similar, co-ordinated attacks on the same night in Austria, Switzerland, Finland and Sweden.
Coming after the Paris terrorist attacks last November conducted mostly by immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, these attacks seemed to vindicate the anti-immigration parties and the far-right demagogues.
A backlash is under way. The polls have reversed. Most Germans now oppose Merkel’s stance, and over 60 per cent say the country has too many refugees already.
The general secretary of Merkel’s own party, the Christian Democratic Union, Peter Tauber, has called for 1000 refugees to be deported every day.
And on the weekend the leader of another German political party said that the police should shoot asylum seekers to stop them entering Germany, if that’s what it takes.
The head of the far-right Alternative for Germany Party, Frauke Petry, said that the police must stop refugees crossing into Germany from Austria: “I don't want this either. But the use of armed force is there as a last resort.”
She was condemned by other political leaders, but her remarks show how the far right is capitalising on public fear and anger. Merkel has taken a tougher line, saying that refugees who break the law will be deported. She now faces rising opposition in her own party and across Europe.
Across the continent, attitudes have hardened, fences have been built, laws toughened. Germany, Austria, France, Sweden and Denmark have all suspended the Schengen zone system of free movement across borders.
Central Europe's response has been harsh - the "Visegrad group" of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic has been unified in opposing any move to liberalise immigration laws. But xenophobic and far-right parties across Europe are on the rise.
The refugee flow, says Merkel, may be Europe’s “next great project”, but it is Europe’s present great crisis.
“It’s always been that nation states have finite boundaries that they defend in some form,” says James Jupp, an immigration expert at Australian National University.
“That’s broken down in the EU, which means that the European community starts to break down.”
But it’s also much wider than a European phenomenon. There is no precedent since World War Two for the number of displaced people in distress and seeking haven.
“We are witnessing a paradigm change, an unchecked slide into an era in which the scale of global forced displacement as well as the response required is now clearly dwarfing anything seen before," the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, said last year.
His commission said that the number of people forcibly displaced at the end of 2014 was 59.5 million, an increase of over 8 million in one year. It compares to 37.5 million a decade earlier.
One way of conceiving the scale of the problem – one in every 122 people on the planet is a refugee in her own country or abroad. “If this were the population of a country, it would be the world's 24th biggest,” the UNHCR said.
Syria is the biggest new source of refugees, but in the last five years 15 wars have started or resumed, eight in Africa, three in the Middle East, plus the Ukraine crisis in Europe and three in Asia – in Kyrgyzstan, and in parts of Myanmar and Pakistan.
In the face of this rising tide of distressed and displaced people, attitudes everywhere are hardening. It’s no coincidence that Donald Trump’s very first policy announcement in declaring his bid for the presidency was his proposal to wall off Mexico.
Australia, by hardening its borders to refugees two years ago, has been largely immune to the latest global upsurge in asylum seekers.
The Coalition’s boat turnback policy was harsh, ugly and effective, so effective that Labor has now adopted it too. Because of this, Australia is now in a position to make measured responses from a position of strength, by gradually increasing its refugee intake and helping alleviate the greatest human suffering since the Second World War. [Good point. Australia could take the most endangered refugees: Middle-East Christians and Yazidis. Let Muslims look after their own]
Muslim Brothers arrested in big police raid
Wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have these individuals here?
Two brothers accused of standover tactics in Sydney's west have been charged following dramatic scenes that shut down a western Sydney street.
A convoy of police vehicles, including the armoured Bearcat truck, descended on Albert Road at Auburn on Monday afternoon with the focus on a multi-level family home.
Heavily-armed police piled out of the truck and used a megaphone to tell the resident inside to come out with his hands above his head.
Within minutes, Ahmad Abdullah emerged and was handcuffed and placed on his knees on the ground.
Police allege Mr Abdullah, 25, robbed a man of $300 in Guildford on January 10 before going to his home and extorting the man further.
It is alleged the victim had carried out work on the Abdullah home and a dispute stemmed from that.
Mr Abdullah was also the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant for the alleged extortion of a man with cerebral palsy in September, 2013.
It is alleged Mr Abdullah and two others extorted $15,000 cash from the man, who lived in Greystaynes.
Mr Abdullah's brother Mohammad Abdullah, 23, who was arrested at Auburn Police Station on Monday afternoon, has been charged with demand property in company in relation to the January 10 extortion.
At one point Ahmad Abdullah began yelling as police surrounded his home on Monday and Tactical Operations Unit police led him to the other side of the road and made him lay on the footpath.
Two women and children also emerged from the house and sat on the back of the police truck.
The operation played out in full view of a childcare centre across the road. Many parents were anxiously waiting at the road block at the end of the street for the road to reopen so they could collect their children.
Neighbours say the police have visited the seven-bedroom home, which is currently on the market for $1.5 million, before.
Mr Abdullah was laid with five charges overnight, including take and detain in company with intent to get advantage.
New figures show one in five children starting school don’t have the skills to learn properly
LITERACY levels of Australian children are worsening in a "slow motion disaster", with new analysis revealing one in five children who started school this year already don’t have the skills to learn properly.
The shock finding is contained in yet-to-be-released work by the Centre for Independent Studies that cements the fact a young child’s vocabulary is one of the most powerful predictors of later school success.
But 20 per cent of students, and 30 per cent from disadvantaged areas, don’t understand enough words when they enter school to be able to learn how to read or follow other subjects properly.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham has seized on the new findings to call on parents to make reading a priority, saying they have to be part of the solution to Australia’s lagging literacy levels that have fallen behind other countries since 2000.
"We’re absolutely at a critical point where we do need to ensure that Australian parents recognise that they all have responsibilities that sit alongside what happens in an early learning context and in a school environment," Senator Birmingham said.
Centre for Independent Studies research fellow Dr Jennifer Buckingham dubbed the slide in literacy as a "slow motion disaster rolling on" and is working on new analysis for a "Five from Five" launch in March of reading resources for parents, schools and governments.
She said children being read to learnt vocabulary; concepts like "under" and "over"; word sounds and exposed them to new words and meanings that spoken language didn’t.
"They have built up this store of knowledge so that then when they learn to read ... it really is just unlocking the codes to words they already know," she said.
"In the same way you immunise your child against infectious disease, the best way to immunise your child against future reading failure is to read to them every day from a very young age," Professor Oberklaid said.
Professor Oberklaid said it was not about "hot housing" or creating "baby Einsteins", but feeding the developing brain.