Wednesday, March 22, 2017
In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is cynical about reform to the hate speech law going through
Infanticide law in Victoria: How is this not murder?
Comment from a reader involved in social work:
I have a particular dislike of the infanticide law. I personally know of several cases where mothers have deliberately killed their baby and never went to gaol for it. They simply got counselling.
Men are charged with murder and get 20 - 25 years for killing their babies, but women can drown them, stab them, dash their brains out on a door frame and get off free, and often without any publicity at all.
The only reason this one got publicity is because the woman was caught on tape, otherwise, like all such cases we would probably not know about it unless we worked in a counselling facility.
Feminists love the infanticide law, they want it extended to the killing of 5 years olds in states where it is only for killing up 1 and 2 year olds. Yet they protest when a father who killed his baby is released after 18 years gaol.
I have silenced a few groups of feminists -- when they are griping about the patriarchy and planning some silly protest -- by saying to them, You women want more rights but without accountability. When you are marching in the streets demanding the infanticide law be scrapped and women who kill their babies be charged with murder and sentenced just like men are, when you are demanding equal accountability with men, then I will be marching in the street with you. Until then, I find your talk about equal rights disgusting
IN THE days leading up to April 10 last year things had got out of hand for Sofina Nikat, a court has heard.
According to a summary of her police interview from that day, which was last week read out in court, the 23-year-old mother was struggling to cope with her 14-month-old baby girl Sanaya Sahib.
She told police the baby would “look at the roof and cry and growl”, and that she had been advised by a priest that she and her baby were possessed and had negative energy.
After initially claiming her daughter had been snatched from her pram by an African man who reeked of alcohol, Nikat later admitted to police she had put her hand across Sanaya’s mouth and nose, and hugged her tight until she couldn’t feel her daughter moving.
Nikat had killed her baby, she told police, then dropped her daughter’s body in Darebin Creek.
Yet when she answered a charge of murder in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, she pleaded not guilty. Psychiatrists agreed.
Her defence lawyer Christopher Dane QC presented the court with two psychiatric assessments by different psychiatrists who independently concluded what Nikat did was not murder, but another charge.
“The balance of mind of Sofina Nikat was disturbed,” consultant psychiatrist Yvonne Skinner wrote in her report. “She is guilty of infanticide, and not murder.”
Mr Dane told the court if Nikat had been charged with infanticide, she would have likely pleaded guilty.
In Victoria, the charge of infanticide carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment, however it is believed no Victorian woman has been jailed for infanticide. A murder accused is up for 25 years behind bars.
The charge can only be applied to a woman — a mother — who “carried out conduct that causes the death of her child (under two) in circumstances that would constitute murder”, and, whose balance of mind is disturbed because she’s either not recovered from the effect of giving birth, or as a result of “a disorder consequent on her giving birth to that child”.
It’s a rare crime and one that carries different meanings and consequences in different jurisdictions. In New South Wales a mother can only be found guilty of infanticide if she has killed her child under 12 months, under similar circumstances as in the Victorian law, only the punishment will be the same as if it was manslaughter. The partial defence of infanticide is also available in Tasmania, but doesn’t feature in the remaining Australian states’ criminal codes.
When infanticide does come up in a high profile case, confusion and outrage often comes with it.
How is this not murder? Why is the sentence so light? Why should it be any different?
Lock up dodgy union officials: Turnbull
Turnbull grows a pair
Union officials who carve out pay deals laced with a "corrupting intent" would be thrown behind bars under new laws proposed by the Turnbull government.
The prime minister wants employers or union officials found making secret payments other than for clearly legitimate purposes jailed for up to two years.
"Trade unions have a solemn, legal, moral, fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of their members," Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Monday.
"We have seen through the Heyden royal commission and subsequently unions have let their members down and big unions have traded their rights away in return for payments."
Mr Turnbull and his workplace minister Michaelia Cash outlined the proposed penalties as the government seeks to gain the front foot in the penalty rate debate.
Ms Cash said there was no consistency across Australia's bribery laws, and the offence was often difficult to prove.
"Employees should be aware and should have full knowledge of any payments that are made between their employer and a union," she said.
"When you look at the level of penalty, it should send a very, very clear message to any employer or any union who wants to indulge in secretive payments.
"It is wrong and compromises the integrity and lawfulness of the workplace."
Hazelwood's closure raises threats of east coast blackouts and manufacturers quitting Australia
The head of the Food and Grocery Council says manufacturers will quit Australia if affordable, reliable energy cannot be guaranteed, as concern grows about the cost of power and the stability of the electricity grid with Victoria's Hazelwood power station due to close in a fortnight.
The ageing brown-coal-fired generator in the Latrobe Valley will begin the staged shutdown of its eight units from March 27. The final boiler will go cool on April 2.
With it will go 22 per cent of Victoria's power supply and just over 5 per cent of the energy on a grid that runs from Port Douglas in far north Queensland to Port Lincoln on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula.
The wholesale price of power spiked across the National Electricity Market in November on news that Hazelwood would shut.
Retail prices will follow the rise.
Food and Grocery Council chair Terry O'Brien said his industry had been caught in a pincer movement, unable to pass on power price hikes because of discounting by the two major supermarkets chains.
As many local manufacturers were arms of international companies, pressure was mounting for some to quit the country.
"The decision to stay or go gets more and more marginal as the days go on," Mr O'Brien said. "And there's not a heck of a lot of sentiment in these internationally managed companies. They go where it makes sense. And if it's not going to make sense here, they leave."
The closure of Hazelwood raises an even larger threat: blackouts. "To stop production through a lack of energy is just a disaster," Mr O'Brien said.
The threat of east coast blackouts is now real because of the disorganised disconnection of coal-fired generation without any new investment in base-load power.
Hazelwood will be the ninth power plant to close in five years, removing a combined 5,400 megawatt of generation from the grid. The Australian Energy Market Operator is now predicting electricity reserve shortfalls in Victoria and South Australia from December.
Prime Minister Turnbull commits to 18C race-hate law reform
MALCOLM Turnbull has been shouted down in Question Time after saying changes to race-hate speech laws announced today would strengthen the Racial Discrimination Act.
The Prime Minister was asked why he chose to make the announcement on Harmony Day.
“We are standing up for the freedom of speech that underpins our society, the greatest multicultural society in the world,” Mr Turnbull said.
He accused the Labor Party of painting Australians as racists, only held in check by section 18C. “We have more respect for the Australian people than the Labor Party does,” Mr Turnbull said. “We know that our precious freedoms, our freedom of speech, is the very foundation of the nation.”
Speaker Tony Smith was forced to warn MPs about the “ridiculously high” level of interjections.
Labor MP Anne Aly then asked the Prime Minister to clarify which forms of racial discrimination he wanted people to be able to say that they could not say now. Ms Aly said she had been “subjected to racism time and time again”.
Mr Turnbull responded: “I believe all Australians are absolutely opposed to racism in any form.” “The suggestion that those people who support a change to the wording of Section 18C are somehow or other racist is a deeply offensive one.”
The bill will be introduced to the Senate.
The Prime Minister said the language in a contentious section of the Racial Discrimination Act has lost credibility and will be replaced.
Under the changes approved at a joint party room meeting in Canberra on Tuesday the words “offend, insult and humiliate” will be changed to “harass and intimidate”, making claims harder to prove.
The test to be applied in complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission will be the standard of a “reasonable member of the community”.
The commission will also have greater powers to filter complaints which are deemed to be frivolous or without merit and those who are the subject of the complaint will get an early warning when a complaint is lodged.
“We are defending Australians from racial vilification by replacing language which has been discredited and ... has lost the credibility that a good law needs,” Mr Turnbull told reporters.
“We need to restore confidence to the Racial Discrimination Act and to the Human Rights Commission’s administration of it.”
The changes struck a balance between protecting people from racial vilification while defending and enabling free speech, and had support across the political spectrum, he said.
“There will be many critics and opponents but this is an issue of values,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Free speech is a value at the very core of our party, it should be at the core of every party,” he said.
“What we presented today strikes the right balance, defending freedom of speech so that cartoonists will not be hauled up and accused of racism, so that university students won’t be dragged through the courts and have hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal costs imposed on them over spurious claims of racism.”
Opposition to free speech won’t end happily
Democracy should always be defended. The essential ingredient of a true democracy is freedom of speech: that freedom is under attack from the left and even, at times, the right.
When those opposed to marriage equality tried to hold a meeting at the Mercure Hotel near Sydney airport, supporters of marriage equality so pestered and threatened the hotel that they cancelled the event. Just as I have been critical of the left for preventing Israeli speakers from going to any university in Australia to put their case, this and every attack on free speech must be resisted. If you won’t let the other side speak, you must have limited confidence in your own argument.
This week saw two attempts to further muzzle free speech on marriage equality. The fiasco at Coopers says so much about intolerance. The performance of LGBTI activists over Coopers Brewery and the Bible Society video was as cruel as it was anti-democratic. Directors Tim and Melanie Cooper looked uneasy as they tried to distance the company from the video and stave off the rapidly growing boycott of their beer.
The video itself is merely an attempt at sane, sensible and orderly debate. The reaction of totalitarians with such outrage is really sad to see. The viciousness suggests that they will never allow the slightest hint of a view different to their own to see the light of day.
This blind insistence against the exercise of the right to free speech has been on graphic display in recent times. I attended the Bill Leak memorial on Friday to honour a great and talented Australian genius. One of the kindest men I ever met had been the subject of a bitter, savage assault on social media. The attack from the Human Rights Commission had accused him of racism and one commissioner called on people to lay complaints against him.
Just to make sure that the right got in on the anti-free speech bandwagon, Peter Dutton bucketed the CEOs who had the temerity to lend their support to an open letter calling for an early start for gay marriage.
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