Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Just a "boy". No mention of a terrorist suspect's religion. How strange!
The "extremist" literature he had was Presbyterian, perhaps? Presbyterians can be pretty extreme about discouraging gambling
A 16-year-old boy has been charged with planning to carry out an Anzac Day terrorist attack in Sydney. The teenager was arrested near his home in Auburn, in Sydney's west, on Sunday by counter terrorism police.
On searching his home, police did not find any weapons or explosives but they did uncover extremist propaganda, 9News reported. They also allege the boy was trying to source the method and the equipment for carrying out the attack.
The boy was charged with one count of acts in preparation for or planning a terrorist act, which carries a maximum penalty of a life imprisonment.
Police say he was acting by himself and he was refused bail to appear before Parramatta Children's Court later on Monday.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said it was 'really concerning' to see a 16-year-old charged with the offence.
'We will be suggesting that there was a proposed attack to happen on this day [Monday] and that being Anzac Day, it is very, very concerning,' he said.
Comm Scipione would not reveal which suburb the boy had targeted but he did confirm the attack was planned for Sydney.
He also urged families heading to Anzac Day services not to be deterred by the incident.
'The risk from this particular threat has been thwarted... Do not let an event like this stop you from going out,' Comm Scipione said.
'So, please, don't be perturbed. We are doing absolutely everything we can to keep people safe. This threat has been dealt with. Enjoy your day.'
The boy appeared to have been acting alone in planning the alleged attack.
'People shouldn't have concerns that this person may have other associates out there that may have been joining in the threat,' Comm Scipione said.
'We believe it was one person by himself and at this stage we are satisfied.'
Comm Scipione said NSW Police had increased their presence around the state following the arrest.
'At this stage it is a noticeable increase... we are not leaving anything to chance at the moment,' he said.
Comm Scipione said counter terrorism police were forced to act on Sunday afternoon in order to ensure public safety.
'Clearly we have taken swift action to ensure community safety on the eve of a sacred day on the Australian calendar,' Commissioner Scipione said.
'I want to assure the NSW community that our counter terrorism capability is such that we were able to move quickly to prevent harm.
'The age of the individual is obviously a concern for us, and it remains a measure of the ongoing task facing law enforcement and the community.'
AFP State Manager Sydney Office, Commander Chris Sheehan, said family and friends are vital when it comes to connecting with those young people who may be susceptible to carry out criminal acts that attract significant penalties.
African gang members who attacked Chinese students during a spate of home invasions were out on bail for similar attacks
"Suspected Sudanese Apex gang members who were arrested after allegedly assaulting a group of Chinese international students were released on bail for similar attacks.
Five teens - aged 16 to 19 - of African background were arrested on Saturday night over a recent spate of violent home invasions and car thefts in Melbourne's south-east over the weekend.
According to the Herald Sun, several of the youths were freed on bail accused of carrying out similar violent offences.
The revelation comes after detectives from the Taskforce Tense arrested five teens over an alleged crime spree in Brighton East and Ormond in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Investigators executed warrants at neighbouring suburbs Cranbourne and Hampton Park later that night, and allegedly recovered a stolen BMW, Honda CRV, mobile phones and a computer.
According to the Herald Sun, five Chinese nationals living at the Ormond home were awoken at 6am on Saturday when six African youths broke into their townhouse.
'I thought, why did they choose our house? What's their aim,' one of those Chinese students, named Tony, said. 'One or two of them had weapons — hammers. I don't want to die, I thought about that,' he said.
'I've got no idea why they picked here. I now think Australia's not a safe place. I thought it was safe before, but not now.'
The rampaging youths allegedly demanded car keys and sped off with a stolen Honda SUV and white BMW 7 series car.
Two of the arrested men have been charged with aggravated burglary, assault, theft of motor car, handle stolen goods and possess proceeds of crime.
They remain in police custody and will appear at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Sunday.
A third man, 17, will appear at a children's court at a later date to face the same five charges. Two more men, 18 and 16, were released without charges.
The Herald Sun reported that Chinese nationals were being targeted by the infamous Apex gang because they are seen as unlikely to fight back when threatened by gang members.
Victoria police say the arrests are 'part of an ongoing commitment toward dealing with violent gang-related offending seen across southern metro region suburbs in recent months.'
Last month, a violent gang-related riot in Melbourne shut down parts of the city and terrorised the public.
The Apex gang were filmed causing chaos on March 12 as more than 100 members clashed in Federation Square and on Swanston Street in front of families attending a Moomba community event.
The Apex gang had threatened on social media to return and run amok again on Sunday night but police managed to disperse the group.
Channel Seven slammed for crossing to an ad break while the Last Post was being played
Leftists have long mocked ANZAC day so I think we can guess the politics of the person who did this
Channel Seven has come under fire from viewers after the broadcaster cut to an ad break during the Last Post before the Richmond-Melbourne game on Sunday night.
The Last Post was being played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) when Seven cut to an ad for one of its other programs, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.
The bugle call, which signifies the end of the day's activities in military tradition, is sounded at commemorative services such as Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.
Seven reportedly cut to an ad for an episode of My Kitchen Rules.
Viewers took to social media to share their disappointment at the broadcaster's action.
One person wrote: 'An actual human being, made a conscious decision, to press a button, to interrupt The Last Post'.
Another questioned where Channel Seven's Anzac spirit was, while a further person commented that they 'weren't surprised'.
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison defends anti-gay commentator at Australian Christian Lobby event
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has defended the right of a Christian commentator to make controversial statements concerning homosexuality, which have included likening the advancement of gay rights to the rise of Nazism in pre-war Germany.
"I respect everybody's opinions, I just hope and wish others would do the same," he said, after speaking at the Australian Christian Lobby conference. "I have always respected everybody else's faith and always sought to respect everybody else's view."
The ACL has been criticised for inviting conservative American commentator Eric Metaxas as keynote speaker at Saturday's event in Sydney. The author and radio host has drawn parallels between the current push for equality and the Church failing to stand up to the Nazi party.
He is also a supporter of gay conversion therapy and claims "normalising" homosexuality is an attempt to break down all sexual boundaries.
The Treasurer's speech to the 600 people attending the ACL's "Cultivating Courage" conference focused on the importance of marriage and the family, which he called "the most sacred national institution". "To protect our country, to protect our society, to protect our economy and to protect our children, we must protect the family," he said.
He thanked the "millions of people … who I know pray earnestly for our political leaders".
"I'm a big believer in prayer, I've seen the impact of it in my own life and I know it works," he said.
But the Treasurer declined to discuss further his own strong Christian beliefs. "My faith is not my politics. My faith is an important part of who I am, as it is of every human being, whatever their faith might be. Judge me on my policies. My faith is my business."
ACL managing director Lyle Shelton told the conference that it was becoming harder to be a Christian in Australia. "We face false slurs and labels, designed to demonise us into silence," he said.
"Bigot, homophobe, hater, are just some of the pejorative terms that have been used to characterise us ordinary Australians, who simply believe that marriage [should be] between a man and woman."
A small group outside the Wesley Conference Centre staged a protest in favour of same-sex marriage and gay rights. Cat Rose, from the Community Action Against Homophobia, criticised Mr Morrison's decision to speak at the ACL event. "We've got no problems with the Christian lobby but all they do is talk about gay rights and how to stop them," she said.
Conference attendees were asked to "refrain from going outside at any time" to avoid protesters.
Mr Shelton also criticised public support from large corporations, including Telstra, for marriage equality. "If you work for a big corporation like Telstra, you'd better keep your head down because you might end up with a tap on the shoulder by the diversity officer," he said.
"Such has been the capitulation and capture of corporate Australia by rainbow politics."
In 2014, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten used his appearance at the ACL conference to make a case for marriage equality and argued that freedom of worship did not mean freedom to vilify.
Labor is taking Europe’s road to ruin
It is easy to understand why Labor wants to increase taxes on higher-income earners. And it does not take much nous to figure out why the government might feel under pressure to do so too. But what does require explaining is how the need to raise taxes in next month’s budget has become an unchallenged part of the conventional wisdom.
After all, we are hardly slouches in the revenue stakes. On the contrary, data from the International Monetary Fund shows Australia is exceptional in the reliance we are already placing on higher revenues, rather than on better controlled public spending, to restore budget balance.
Taking the advanced economies as a whole, about 25 per cent of the projected fiscal improvement over the decade will come from increasing the share of taxes in GDP, with the remaining 75 per cent being achieved by slowing the growth of outlays. In Australia, however, virtually all the fiscal effort will be on the revenue side, with public spending growing at a rapid rate.
Yet there is little reason to think that our lopsided emphasis on raising revenues makes any sense. Rather, simple economics suggests the emphasis should lie squarely on public expenditure restraint.
An example illustrates the point. Assume the last dollar of public spending yields 10c in net benefits, but that by reducing the incentives to work, save and invest, the additional dollar in taxes required to make that spending fiscally sustainable would impose 30c worth of costs. In that case, cutting spending would clearly be preferable to boosting taxes. Conversely, it is only if the net benefit from the last dollar of public spending exceeds the cost of raising taxes that a tax hike might be justifiable.
The question, in other words, is how the social loss from higher taxes compares with the social benefit of sustainably higher expenditure. And while such comparisons are inevitably fraught, the former is likely to greatly exceed the latter.
That is partly because the options for tax increases have been narrowed to the point where only the most inefficient possibilities remain on the table. Obviously, no tax is costless, but some are plainly more distorting than others. And with the top rate of income tax already at 50 per cent (and closer to 58 per cent when the GST is taken into account), plugging the deficit by raising that rate could reduce national income by up to 60c for each additional dollar in revenue raised. Such a tax increase would therefore only be sensible if each dollar of public expenditure yielded $1.60 in benefits.
The hurdle would not be any lower were taxes hiked on superannuation or capital gains. An efficient tax system should be neutral between consuming today and consuming tomorrow; ours isn’t, taxing many savings heavily.
Aggravating those distortions would have substantial economic costs. That doesn’t mean total savings would necessarily fall were taxes on savings raised. Rather, just as higher income taxes — by making taxpayers poorer — may force them to work longer hours, so taxpayers, faced with steeper taxes on savings may offset some of the impact on future incomes by maintaining their savings effort.
But much as it would be absurd to believe the longer working hours meant the higher income taxes had not distorted decision-making, so it is foolish to claim, as the Grattan Institute’s John Daley regularly does, that the near constancy of total savings implies raising taxes on savings is harmless.
Instead, put in the jargon of economics, the “income” effects of the tax hike — which raise savings — disguise the “substitution” effects, which reduce them; but it is those “substitution” effects that measure how seriously efficiency is being undermined.
The efficiency losses would be every bit as great were negative gearing abolished. In simple terms, this would raise the cost of providing rental housing, compared with the cost of owner-occupancy, by a further 6-10 per cent in a market where that choice is already severely distorted.
Of course, those costs could be worth bearing if the spending they made sustainable had high net benefits. In reality, as public spending has burgeoned so its quality has deteriorated, to the point where its benefits are far below the thresholds needed to justify raising taxes.
For example, real commonwealth expenditure on childcare has increased from $1.8 billion in 2002-03 to just less than $7bn, so that spending per child under the age of five has literally trebled; yet there are few signs of any social returns from massively boosting outlays. Merely reversing that increase would yield savings that exceed the revenues that could plausibly be obtained from abolishing negative gearing and halving the capital gains tax concession.
Equally, real commonwealth school spending per school-aged child has doubled since 2002-03, but the proficiency level of lower performing students has barely increased, while that of higher-performing students has dropped. And in healthcare too there is a great deal of “flat-of-the-curve” spending, which yields no health benefits, and evidence of widespread waste.
Obviously, reforming spending programs is tough. But it is not the substantive difficulties that impede reform: it is the fact that in those areas and others the benefits of the spending have been captured by producer lobbies, going from the teacher unions to the self-appointed welfare advocates, whose swarms of petty appetites are as vicious as their rhetoric is sanctimonious. Taking them on is far harder than shafting taxpayers, all the more so when the slugs can be cloaked in the mantle of “fairness”.
That has been Europe’s road to ruin. And it has long been Labor’s chosen road too. The test for Scott Morrison is whether the Coalition can do better.