Friday, March 17, 2017

Did the police kill Corryn Rayney?

The police behaviour throughout this case has been unsatisfactory.  The courts have identified instances of that.  Even more unsatisfactory is the repeated refusal of the authorities to look for the real murderers after the flimsy case against Lloyd Rayney was thrown out. 

It all stinks of a frameup.  And there is a motive for a frameup. At the time of his arrest Lloyd Rayney was involved in a Corruption and Crime Commission inquiry into the misconduct of police officers in a murder investigation.  Did the cops want to get him off their backs and preferably put him away for a long time?

The day police stormed into the home of Perth barrister Lloyd Rayney to arrest him over the murder of his estranged wife has been described by his mother as "terrorism".

Molly Rayney testified for the first time in the WA Supreme Court on Wednesday during her son's multimillion-dollar defamation trial against the state government.

The 77-year-old was at her son's house in September 2007 when she heard banging at the front door and garage for several minutes.

At first, Mrs Rayney thought it was someone seeking refuge or a teenage prank, adding she never heard the doorbell ring or police sirens.

"There was no request or demands to be let in," she said in her statement.  "The whole time the banging was going on but no one was identifying who it was or saying anything at all."

Mrs Rayney said she felt intimidated by the loud banging and terrified.

"They eventually forced the doors open and stormed in. I then realised it was the police," she said. "If they had rung the doorbell or knocked normally on the front door, I would have let them in. "I felt this was a sheer act of intimidation and terrorism.

"I have had nightmares about this incident since that day and the sound of the banging rings in my ears. "I have always had great trust in the police but this has just thrown me."

Under cross-examination, Mrs Rayney was asked why she did not call police if she was so scared. "When you are terrified you don't actually have all your faculties," she replied.

Hours after Mr Rayney was arrested, Detective Senior Sergeant Jack Lee named him the prime and only suspect in the murder of Supreme Court registrar Corryn Rayney, who was found buried head-first in Kings Park a month earlier.

Mr Rayney has denied showing resistance to police during their investigation.

A video of his interview with police was previously played to the court in which he refused to answer questions about his wife's death, citing the legal advice he had received.

Mr Rayney was acquitted of murdering the mother-of-two in 2012 and an appeal was dismissed in 2013.

Prominent barrister Linda Black, who knew the couple, cried on Wednesday as she testified about theories she considered when her friend went missing. She said one theory was Ms Rayney took her own life, but she was a good mother and would not have done that to her children.

"It's horrible reading that now (in my statement) knowing what happened to her," she said.


Undisciplined Australian classroms holding kids back

I have been saying this for years -- JR

Things you would find in a classroom: a student pointing a replica gun at the teacher, an entire class deciding to ignore the teacher in silent protest, chairs thrown, threats and overturned desks.

Teachers came forward to tell the ABC about the biggest classroom disruptions they experienced.

It did not stop there. One teacher had three Year 9 boys skip her class and smear their poo all over the school gymnasium walls, while others had been cursed with the full spectrum of offensive profanities.

The list went on…and on.

Therefore, it would not come as a surprise that two global reports have revealed Australian classrooms are among the most disorderly of the OECD nations.

Australia has a "problematic situation" in terms of classroom discipline, according to the report on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

"About one-third of the students in advantaged schools, and about half of those in disadvantaged schools, reported that in most or every class there was noise and disorder, students didn't listen to what the teacher said, and that students found it difficult to learn," the report said.

Tasmania and New South Wales are problem areas

About 14,500 students from around 760 schools participated across Australia in PISA. Using science classes as a sample, it said on that average:

 *  More than 44 per cent of Australian students indicated there is noise and disorder

 *  Half of students in Tasmania and nearly half of students in New South Wales reported this problem occurring most frequently

 *  Students in Tasmania most frequently reported students don't listen to what the teacher says (48 per cent)

 *  In contrast, students in each of Victoria and Western Australia (30 per cent) and the Northern Territory (29 per cent) were least likely to report the teacher waits long for students to quiet down

Dr Sue Thompson from the Australian Council for Education and Research (ACER) said the environment is challenging for teachers.

"Level of noise and disorder reported in the classroom is one of the highest in the OECD [countries] and it's a problem at grade 4 and grade 8 level as well as at year 9 and 10 level," she said.

The respect is gone

The PISA report stated nearly 40 per cent of students in Australia attended schools where the principal indicated student learning was hindered by "teachers not meeting individual students' needs."

Principals also flagged inadequate infrastructure "hindered teacher capacity to provide instruction", with the issue identified by 25 per cent of principals of students from disadvantaged schools compared to 12 per cent from advantaged schools.

But one caller the ABC said there was another factor at play disrupting the learning process. "I think the respect [for teachers] has gone," she said.

She added that teachers often tried everything they could to engage students. "We split them up, move them around, try and put seating plans in place, engage them one to one. When you've got 30 of them in a class though you've got all different needs at once," she said.

Discipline is the issue

Dr Sue Thompson said the Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) also revealed the impacts of classroom disruption.

According to the TIMSS there was "a clear relationship between the achievement of Australian students and principals' reports of school discipline problems, with fewer discipline problems associated with higher achievement".

The Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said teachers and principals need more support, as well as parents playing their part in addressing the issue.

"Parents must be part of the solution this cannot be something that rests on the shoulders of teachers and principals alone because attitudes, respect are of course formed as much in the home environment and the rest of life as they are in the school community itself," he said.

He said he would examine whether policy needs improving, and discuss the issue with his state and territory counterparts.


Labor's economics expert humiliates himself on share registry ignorance

Federal frontbencher Andrew Leigh has styled himself as Labor's go-to-guy on pointy-headed economic policy, as a Harvard PhD on the subject and a former professor at the Australian National University.

But on Monday, Dr Leigh put on the most incredible display of corporate/financial sector ignorance we have ever seen by a Treasury portfolio frontbencher. Period.

In an opinion piece for The Sydney Morning Herald, the shadow assistant treasurer claimed that "five investors – HSBC, JPMorgan, National Nominees, Citicorp and BNP Paribas" are "the biggest owners" of Australia's largest listed companies. These shadowy "institutional investors" are "the Lexcorps and Cyberdynes of the Australian economy" and "what's surprising about this is that many Australians probably haven't heard of some of them."

Citing research he had conducted alongside ANU's Adam Triggs, he reckons HSBC "in petrol retailing, owns one-third of Caltex and one-fifth of Woolworths. In electricity it owns one-fifth of Origin and one-fifth of AGL. In life insurance, it owns a quarter of AMP and one-fifth of ANZ. In department stores and supermarkets, it owns one-fifth of Myer, David Jones, Wesfarmers and Woolworths."

But anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of Australia's capital market knows that none of these five are major fund managers with mandates in Australian equities. They are nominees, or custodians, for the beneficial owners, or the actual fund managers (AMP, Perpetual) and super funds – including Labor's beloved industry super funds. In particular, you'd think the name "National Nominees" would've been something of a giveaway! And adequately explains why most Australians have never heard of them.

Twitter was quick to pour scorn on the good doctor (for a doctor he is, Gerard). Indeed the new boss of the SMH's bureau in the Canberra Press Gallery James Chessell tweeted him on Monday morning, asking "are you sure you aren't confusing custodians with actual shareholders? HSBC doesn't own 1/3 of Caltex."

Our fellow columnist and fundie himself Christopher Joye followed. "Andrew your research is totally wrong: the 5 firms are all custodians acting as trustees for other investors."

Then came the Menzies Research Centre's economist Andrew Bragg. "Every 2 years a sloppy report appears confusing nominee companies for actual investors."

Except the sloppy reports have never before been authored by the country's next assistant treasurer, responsible for this country's financial services industry. Oh dear.


'Snowy Hydro 2.0': Malcolm Turnbull announces plans for $2 billion expansion

This looks like being a very clever way of bypassing Greenie protest but it is very expensive.  You could build several coal-fired stations for the same cost

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has revealed plans for a $2 billion expansion of the iconic Snowy Hydro scheme that could power up to 500,000 homes through a new network of tunnels and power stations.

The surprise intervention, a potential game-changer in the political brawl over flaws in the nation's electricity system, will increase the scheme's 4100 megawatt capacity by as much as 50 per cent.

The four-year project would massively increase the amount of renewable energy storage capacity in Australia through pumped hydro technology, which involves using cheap electricity to pump water uphill so it can be later released downhill through turbines, creating electricity when demand is high.

No new dams would be built, but a fresh series of tunnels and power stations are on the agenda, at an estimated cost of $1.5 to $2 billion. A feasibility study should be completed by the end of 2017 and the search for expansions sites will led by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. The Tantangara Dam is understood to be an early area of interest.

The Snowy Hydro Scheme as seen from the air. © Supplied The Snowy Hydro Scheme as seen from the air. The Snowy Hydro scheme was instigated under Labor prime minister Ben Chifley in 1949 and completed in 1974. About 100,000 men and women from more than 30 countries helped build a network of nine power stations, 16 dams, 145 kilometres of tunnels, and 80 kilometres of aqueducts.

The Commonwealth owns 13 per cent of the scheme, NSW 58 per cent and the Victorian government 29 per cent. Those state governments could also be asked to assist with funding the expansion.

Mr Turnbull said the Snowy Hydro had been built with the capability to be expanded and his government planned to maximise its capacity.

"The unprecedented expansion will help make renewables reliable, filling in holes caused by intermittent supply and generator outages. It will enable greater energy efficiency and help stabilise electricity supply into the future," Mr Turnbull said.

"By supercharging the Snowy Hydro precinct, we can ensure affordable and reliable electricity for Australian households and businesses."

"It will enable greater energy efficiency": Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said of the Snowy Hydro expansion. © Andrew Meares "It will enable greater energy efficiency": Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said of the Snowy Hydro expansion. Mr Turnbull said the expansion would create thousands of engineering and construction jobs and have no impact on water supplied water to irrigators in New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland.

It would also effectively kill off any short or medium-term to privatise the scheme, which was raised by the Coalition's Commission of Audit in 2014. The Howard government considered privatisation in 2006, but later dropped it.

The proposed expansion could, in one hour, produce 20 times the 100 megawatts of power from the proposed battery farm announced by the South Australian government earlier this week.

Mr Turnbull will make the announcement in the heart of the Snowy Mountains on Thursday morning, a day after meeting the chief executives of major east coast companies and securing guarantees of additional supply for the domestic market during peak periods.

Earlier this week, Mr Turnbull was also briefed by ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht on pumped hydro storage.

Australia currently has 2.5 gigawatts of pumped hydro power capacity, with most of it from three projects: the Tumut 3 plant in the Snowy, the Wivenhoe Dam near Brisbane and the Shoalhaven scheme south of Sydney. All three projects are used for electricity generation, water storage and irrigation and if all operated at full capacity, they could power 3.3 million homes


Breaking ‘unjust’ laws OK: ACTU boss

Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne has described new ACTU secretary Sally McManus’s declaration that she does not have a problem with unions and workers breaking “unjust” laws as “anarcho-Marxist claptrap”.

Ms McManus was last night questioned about whether the peak union body would distance itself from the ­unlawful conduct of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, telling ABC’s 7.30: “There’s no way we’ll be doing that. I tell you this: the CFMEU, when they’ve been fined, they’ve been fined for taking industrial action. It might be ­illegal industrial action according to our current laws, and our current laws are wrong.”

Ms McManus, who intends to lead unions on a campaign to ease legal restrictions on the right to strike, said it should not be so hard for workers to take legal industrial action when necessary. “I believe in the rule of law where the law is fair and the law is right,’’ she said. “But when it’s unjust, I don’t think there’s a problem with breaking it.”

Mr Pyne said Ms McManus’s comments were “the kind of anarcho-Marxist claptrap we used to hear from anarchists at Adelaide University in the 1980s.”  “The reality is the rule of law is required to be followed by all Australians otherwise we’ll have chaos,” he told ABC radio.  “The fact that this new secretary of the ACTU would even say such an absurd thing indicates that she is not capable of doing the job.”

Bill Shorten last night moved to distance himself from Ms McManus, saying that those who thought a law was unjust should try to change it through the democratic process.  “That’s the great thing about living in a country like Australia. That’s what democracy is about,” Mr Shorten said. “We ­believe in changing bad laws, not breaking them.”

But Immigration Minister Peter Dutton hit out at the Opposition Leader this morning for failing to distance himself from the union movement over the comments.  “It’s unbelievable if we look at the words of Bill Shorten overnight, basically he just noted the comments,” he told 2GB.  “He didn’t say that she should retract them, he didn’t say that it was offensive that this woman was saying that people should act outside the law.  “She’s got a leadership position as the head union boss in the country.”

“The CFMEU basically are running around as the modern day Teamsters, breaking arms and extorting money and carrying on across building sites, and Bill Shorten had nothing to say about it.

Mr Dutton said the trade union royal commission had head evidence that hundreds of people within the CFMEU had been charged and convicted of criminal offences.  “This woman says that she won’t distance the ACTU from the CFMEU and Bill Shorten the same, says that they should conduct their activities as they are and continue on,” he said. “In my mind it’s a test of leadership for Mr Shorten and he’s failed yet again.

“He’s got to stand up to these people and surely, if people are advocating that union members should act outside of the law and the CFMEU have been charged and convicted of criminal offences, surely the alternative prime minister in this country has to show some leadership and say that they should be condemned or that they should withdraw comments, and I think again last night Mr Shorten demonstrated how absolutely 100 per cent beholden he is to the union bosses.”

Liberal frontbencher Craig Laundy said he hoped Ms McManus would do as many press conferences and media appearances as possible. “It shows you that it’s a unique set of circumstances. Only the union movement could quite clearly promote an anarchist to its key position, and I just hope she keeps finding the nearest camera every day and telling us what she thinks,” he told Sky news.

“I think the more she does that, the more Australians will see that unions aren’t there for the worker, they’re there for anarchy and lawlessness, and that’s exactly why we had to fight through and get the ABCC through, so that we could bring the rule of law back.  “If you want a more pressing and relevant recent example, look to that interview last night. I hope she keeps talking.”

Mr Pyne said Western democracy depended upon citizens abiding by the law.  “That’s why Australia is a great country and this kind of ideological gobbledegook from the secretary of the ACTU only proves that the ACTU has not changed from their past of trying to disrupt workplaces, trying to disrupt our economy, and if that’s what the secretary of the ACTU thinks, she has no place being there and she should resign and give the job to someone who has a modern, forward-looking view of the relationship between employers and employees.”

South Australian Labor MP Nick Champion urged every unionist in the country to change unjust laws by democratic means.  “That’s at the ballot box,” he told Sky News. “That’s traditionally the way we’ve done it, and these are profoundly unjust laws.  “They give builders, they give plumbers , they give electricians in the construction industry less rights than drug dealers.

“I believe that laws should be changed via democratic means by parliamentarians, by a good Labor government making laws safe and just for workers.”

Questioned about whether the peak union body would distance itself from the ­unlawful conduct of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, Ms McManus told ABC’s 7.30 last night: “There’s no way we’ll be doing that. I tell you this: the CFMEU, when they’ve been fined, they’ve been fined for taking industrial action. It might be ­illegal industrial action according to our current laws, and our current laws are wrong.”

Ms McManus, who intends to lead unions on a campaign to ease legal restrictions on the right to strike, said it should not be so hard for workers to take legal industrial action when necessary. “I believe in the rule of law where the law is fair and the law is right,’’ she said. “But when it’s unjust, I don’t think there’s a problem with breaking it.”

The Prime Minister accused the ACTU secretary last night of seeking to be above the law.  “The rule of law is fundamental to everything that Australia believes in: democracy and freedom,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Militant unions have used bullying and standover tactics to trash the rule of law on worksites, and now one of Australia’s most senior union bosses says the law should only apply when you agree with it.  “Is this what Bill Shorten means when he says he’ll govern Australia like a union boss?

“This flagrant disregard for the rule of law by unions is what has plagued Australian workplaces over many decades. This is an explicit and outrageous ­admission Labor’s puppet masters believe they are above the law. We do not condone breaking the law — not now, not ever.”

While the CFMEU welcomed Ms McManus’s remarks, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive James Pearson said the comments would not be tolerated from a business leader and represented a disturbing signal from the union movement. “It indicates that the spirit of the CFMEU has infected the ACTU,” Mr Pearson said.

He said his initial response to the appointment of Ms ­McManus had been to hope that business could work construct­ively with the ACTU, “but if this is an accurate reflection of her views of the law of the land, then that would make it hard to do that.

“You can only imagine what the reaction would be if a chief executive at a public company said this. It would not be tolerated.”

CFMEU Victorian secretary John Setka told a Melbourne rally last week that “bad laws throughout history have been changed by people like yourselves defying them and breaking them”.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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