Friday, March 04, 2016
American Leftist hysteria comes to Australia
The alleged rape epidemic on American campuses is all unproven allegation. Whenever rape claims are examined they fall apart --e.g. in the cases of Crystal Gail Mangum, Sabrina Rubin Erdely and Emma Sulkowicz
The Hunting Ground Australia Project, a collaborative, comprehensive campaign around the incidence of, and responses to, sexual violence in Australian universities, launches in Australia this week.
Central to the campaign is a university screening program of The Hunting Ground, the critically acclaimed US feature documentary film. Screenings have begun at universities across Australia. Released in the US in early 2015, The Hunting Ground has had a remarkable impact there, helping to raise awareness of sexual assault on hundreds of college campuses across America.
The film chronicles the personal stories of students who have reported sexual assault on campuses, and the failure of a number of American universities to respond effectively and appropriately to these reports.
While there are significant cultural, financial and structural differences between American and Australian universities and student life, The Hunting Ground Australia Project has confirmed in consultation with the Australian university sector and the National Union of Students (NUS) that there are issues raised by the film that are relevant in the Australian context.
The Hunting Ground Australia Project has bought together a coalition of partners to develop and implement a proactive impact strategy around the film.
The strategy includes a partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Australian Human Rights Centre to develop a national survey tool on the prevalence of and institutional responses to sexual harassment and sexual assault in Australian universities. The survey will be undertaken by the Australian Human Rights Commission with the implementation supported by Universities Australia.
The Australian Human Rights Centre is also undertaking a research project, Strengthening Australian Universities’ Responses to Sexual Assault and Harassment, to develop a model protocol and policy framework. Research for this project commenced in September 2015, with a review of recent policy developments and academic research in America, Canada and the UK. Final policies and protocols will incorporate best practice aspects of this research and the analysis of the national survey data.
Andrea Durbach, Professor of law and Director of the Australian Human Rights Centre has been working on the development of the survey, and the research project directed at developing best practice policies and protocols. “Given the concerning statistics on violence against women in this country, it’s not completely out of the question that these stats might be replicated to some degree at tertiary institutions. At the very least The Hunting Ground and the work of the National Union of Students has triggered the need to do the research to see if that is the case and how we can start to
remedy deficient reporting processes and ensure effective and appropriate redress. We requested the Australian Human Rights Commission’s involvement in the design and implementation of the survey because we want the survey to be conducted at arm’s length from the universities and by an independent, authoritative, objective expert in this area.”
"In 2015, the NUS ran a nation wide survey of women students which resulted in some really valuable statistics at Australian universities," said the NUS National Women’s officer Heidi La Paglia. "In the survey, over 70% of women said that they had experienced some form of unwanted sexual encounter; and perhaps even more alarmingly, the vast majority of these individuals also said that the response they received from their university and or the police was inadequate"
"It's great to see that stakeholders across the sector are taking steps to address the issue "
A further element of The Hunting Ground Australia Project is the development of training resources in sexual ethics, consent and bystander strategies. These are being developed by experienced national experts in sexual assault prevention education, in partnership with the leading national sexual assault and domestic violence service. These programs will be available to universities for both staff and student training.
The Hunting Ground’s Producer Amy Ziering has been closely involved in the Australian project. Ms Ziering says “We’re thrilled that our film, The Hunting Ground, is being released in Australia. We are impressed and heartened by the leadership role that Australian universities are taking on these issues – and hope that their efforts will inspire their global peers to demonstrate similar moral courage and follow suit.”
The campus screening program of The Hunting Ground gives all universities and tertiary institutions the opportunity to use the film to begin the conversation on their campuses. Anyone interested in hosting a community screening of the film is encouraged to register their interest via The Hunting Ground Australia Project website (see below).
“Administrators and staff from many Australian universities have recognised the important opportunity the film offers to continue a conversation about sexual violence by scheduling screenings early in the 2016 academic year. We encourage all tertiary institutions and interested community groups to screen the film and engage with The Hunting Ground Australia Project,” said the Project’s Impact Producer Allison Henry.
In a statement posted on La Trobe University’s website, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Dewar, outlined his support for a series of campus screening events: “I encourage you to attend one of The Hunting Ground screenings and to be part of the positive changes that are needed to ensure that our campuses are safe places for everyone. Together, we can help to eliminate violence from Australian society”.
The Hunting Ground was one of six documentary films selected for the 2015 philanthropic Good Pitch2 Australia initiative held at the Sydney Opera House. The leading international forum for documentary filmmaking, Good Pitch brings together filmmakers with foundations, not-for-profits, campaigners, philanthropists, policymakers, broadcasters and key players in the film industry, around leading social and environmental issues, to forge coalitions and campaigns that are good for all these partners, good for the films and good for society.
The Hunting Ground is the latest film by Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, who made The Invisible War – a film directly responsible for influencing
government policy and laws on how the US armed forces respond to and prevent sexual assault within their ranks.
Cyclists are up in arms at new laws which will see them treated equally with motorists
Complete madness! So started the up-in-arms Facebook post I read last week - one of many deriding police action in recent days to crack down on cyclist behaviour and safety in NSW and Queensland.
The first hot winds of contempt started blowing on Wednesday after it emerged, shock-horror, that police were finally starting to treat cyclists like the equal road users they have long lobbied to be by enforcing signposted speed limits and a stop sign in Centennial Park.
From today, new fines have come into effect meaning cyclists will be penalised to a similar extent to motorists, althought they have won a battle to delay the requirement for them to carry ID.
“F--k the police!” cried one cyclist on Facebook, beneath a story link outlining the action. The post was a reference to the NWA song made famous recently by the acclaimed film Straight Outta Compton.
That outlaw bikie echoed the sentiments of many complaining about this affront to freedom and common sense.
Others said the park’s 30km/h speed limit was ridiculous, and that the intersection in question didn’t require a stop sign at all.
Cyclists urged their brethren to contest any fines issued in court, both to avert the financial penalty and to clog up the justice system in a show of two-wheeled solidarity.
But since when did personal opinion give road users the right to flout the law?
Motorists have long been penalised for not sticking to seemingly silly speed limits, or running through stop-sign intersections at a snail’s pace with not another car in sight.
Welcome to life on the road.
As far back as 2014, The Daily Telegraph reported an average two cyclists were being hospitalised every weekend after accidents in Centennial Park.
Cyclists were being clocked at the time travelling almost 50km/h in the park’s 30km/h zone.
I’m a frequent and avid cyclist, though admittedly not of the lycra-clad variety.
Often, I have my four-year-old son riding along in a child seat on the back of the bike.
Increasingly, he’ll be weaving drunkenly beside me on a scooter or on his own bike supported by trainer wheels.
I’ve lost count of the times we’ve had a near-miss with clusters of much faster cyclists approaching silently from behind on our local shared bike/walking track, before overtaking at pace.
A simple ring of a bell would have been sufficient both to warn us of their approach and move us to the far left of the path.
But they don’t have a bell!
In their unending quest for streamlined efficiency (and image, I suspect), the cycling elite remove the bell their bike came with, or fail to install one on those models that don’t include them.
This is against the law in NSW and Queensland, but it is the absolute norm.
It came as no surprise this morning that there’s equally hot-headed upheaval about Brisbane police issuing fines to cyclists whose bikes don’t have bells.
These people will argue that a shouted warning is equally effective. From personal experience, I can tell you it’s not.
If it were, cops would probably drop the lights-and-sirens business and just start yelling out their highway patrol windows.
I hear a voice directed at me, and I instinctively turn my head to see who is talking. I hear a bell, and I know it’s a warning.
I don’t resent cyclists – I am one.
But I do resent when other road users – on two wheels or four – think they are above the law, or think they are being victimised simply because they’re not sticking to the rules.
Business investments smashed under Labor's policy: Malcolm Turnbull
Malcolm Turnbull has unleashed a massive new attack on Labor's negative gearing policy, declaring its hidden effects would be much broader than has been admitted and that it would not merely hit real estate but would decimate investments in shares and small businesses.
After weeks of attacking the policy as a shock to house prices and the property sector, a newly energised Mr Turnbull used Parliament on Thursday to open a new front on the opposition's plan to restrict the tax deductibility of interest to new homes only from July 2017, rather than existing housing stock purchased after that date.
The Prime Minister said Labor's policy is actually a plan to end tax deductability on all business expenses against ordinary income, including margin loans used to buy shares, and even basic small business acquisitions such as a truck for a freighting partnership.
The assault came after the government was embarrassed when a report by the firm BIS Shrapnel, which Treasurer Scott Morrison claimed had modelled Labor's negative gearing policy, was found to have been done before the opposition policy was released.
Mr Morrison said the economic modelling, commissioned by an unknown third party, had found the policy would cause economic mayhem by sending rents soaring by $2600 a year, costing as many as 175,000 new jobs and wiping $19 billion from national earnings over a decade.
"It is a credible report and it shows what we said would happen with Labor's policy," he told the ABC's AM program.
"It would have a significant impact on property values, it's going to push many people into housing stress."
However, the economic consultancy later admitted its modelling had not been based on Labor's policy at all, and was also forced to explain a significant under-estimation of Australia's national income as a typographical error.
Labor pounced, claiming Mr Morrison had been caught peddling nonsense. In Parliament, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen pressed Mr Morrison.
"Will the Treasurer admit his claims are entirely wrong and will he also acknowledge that he attached himself to a report with a $1 trillion error?" he said.
However, Mr Turnbull had largely moved on from the politically compromised report, to sharpen his attack on Labor's policy on the new grounds. "This is an assault on private enterprise, it's an assault on economic freedom," Mr Turnbull said. He said the totality of Labor's proposal was "so much more extreme" than that modelled by BIS Shrapnel.
He said the effect of the policy would be to bring about "extraordinary" restrictions on investment "under the cover" of a housing affordability policy.
Deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce went further, accusing Mr Bowen of practising "Zoolander economics" and orchestrating a "complete re-engineering of the Australian economy".
Labor concedes its new policy does apply to other investments such as the interest payments on borrowings to purchase equities, which it deems passive investments, but distinguishes those from active investments.
Mr Bowen described the Prime Minister's claim that it would stop business owners deducting expenses as "trucking lies".
"In using the example of a truck purchased by a partnership, he asserted that Labor's policy will impact upon business investment assets. This is wrong, he said.
"There is no change to the current rules for business investment deductions.
"This means that net losses from carrying on a business (including related interest expenses) can be offset against other income."
Magistrate Joan White slammed for crucial errors in sentencing man for domestic violence
A JUDGE has slammed as “manifestly inadequate” a $750 fine handed by soft-touch magistrate Joan White to a convicted armed robber who subjected his elderly father to repeated domestic violence, and instead sent him to jail.
Police appealed the penalty given by Ms White to Shane Kassebaum, 37, last year and Southport District Court judge Clive Wall, QC, yesterday set aside the fine and sentenced him to six months’ prison.
The court heard Kassebaum breached a domestic violence order taken out against him by his father seven times, bombarding the 66-year-old with threatening texts and phone calls, slashing his car tyres and smashing his house.
Before Ms White, Kassebaum pleaded guilty to seven counts of breaching a domestic violence order, wilful damage and possessing a drug utensil.
During the four-month domestic violence spree, he sent his father up to 40 texts a day – including one threatening to kill him and another warning he would make him “wish I was never born” – and made demands for money to buy drugs.
Some of the domestic violence offences were committed when Kassebaum was on bail for the other charges and after being warned multiple times by police, the court heard. He was also on probation for previous damage to his father’s car.
Judge Wall ruled that Ms White made several crucial errors in letting Kassebaum walk free from court, including failing to take into account his extensive criminal history and relying on “tenuous” medical evidence that he was mentally ill.
The judge was critical of Ms White’s comments that Kassebaum had a “very, very serious mental illness” and that “probably half the time you didn’t know what you were doing”.
Judge Wall noted that Kassebaum had failed five drug tests while on probation and it was more likely he was drug-affected rather than mentally ill when he committed the offences.
He said even Kassebaum’s own lawyer had acknowledged that domestic violence was an “abhorrent act” that should be “stamped out”.
Judge Wall said although there was no evidence Kassebaum’s father was vulnerable, he was elderly and worried enough to take out the domestic violence order and call police when his son breached it.
Legal Aid barrister Ed Witton described Kassebaum’s conduct as “toxic” but said jail was no place for the mentally ill.
He said Ms White had been correct in “joining the dots” between Kassebaum’s offending and schizophrenia. But Judge Wall rejected that argument and sentenced Kassebaum to six months’ jail, to be released after two.
Outside court, Kassebaum’s mother said she was disappointed and believed the court had not taken into account her son’s genuine mental illness.
Queensland schools with highest High School grades revealed
QUEENSLAND’S leading OP schools have been revealed and just four state schools made the top 30.
Brisbane Grammar School topped the list with 56 per cent of its 2015 Year 12s achieving an OP1-5.
But the top three schools were split across the three education sectors of private, Catholic and state, with more than 50 per cent of 2015 Year 12 students at both St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace and Brisbane State High School achieving an OP1-5. State High is a selective school
Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Robertson said parents were choosing private schools due to how the schools prepared their students, good discipline and high-quality teachers.
Brisbane Grammar School headmaster Anthony Micallef said its students had strong outcomes across academics and co-curricular activities. “We feel that we offer the boys the best chance to flourish across the full spectrum of activities on offer,” he said.
The recent results, published in the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority 2015 Year 12 Outcomes Report, showed 370 schools had at least one student with an OP1-5.
Of those students receiving an OP, 80 per cent achieved an OP1-15, with 96 per cent of those applying to the Queensland Tertiary Admission Centre receiving a tertiary offer.
Brisbane State High School executive principal Wade Haynes said it had been building momentum to achieve strong academic results.
“We have been focused on two key things – really sharp, focused teaching and having students take ownership of their work with the right mindset,” he said. “We are always looking to improve and do that little bit better.”
Queensland Catholic Education Commission executive director Lee-Anne Perry said school choice was a complex decision for parents.
“Parents need to consider those choices carefully, but just as importantly they need to consider the individual needs of their children,” she said.