Monday, May 28, 2018

Secret trial for Cardinal Pell

The Star Chamber lives on in Australia. Wikipedia: "The term star chamber has come to mean any lawless and oppressive tribunal, especially one that meets in secret".

The Victorian Department of Public Prosecutions has narrowed its application for a complete ban on media reporting of the trials of Cardinal George Pell, but is still seeking an order that will have the effect of a ‘super injunction’.

Yesterday, New Matilda reported than the DPP was seeking a complete ban on any media reportage of Cardinal Pell’s upcoming trial related to a number of offences. The application was so broad that if granted, it would also have the affect of banning any reporting of the ban itself – known legally as a ‘super injunction’.

However late this afternoon, the DPP submitted an amended application, which narrowed the ban on media.

Cardinal Pell is facing two separate trials related to allegations of a number of historical sexual offences.

The DPP is currently only seeking to ban media coverage of the first trial, although if granted tomorrow morning, it will still have the effect of banning reporting of the trial and the injunction until the second trial concludes.

At this stage, media may be able to report some of the second trial as it proceeds, provided the DPP does not seek a fresh suppression order.

The application, to be heard in the Melbourne County Court tomorrow morning before Chief Judge Peter Kidd, requests that:

“Publication is prohibited of any report of the whole or any part of these proceedings and any information derived from this proceeding and any court documents associated with this proceeding.

“The order will expire upon commencement of the final trial save that publication of any report of the whole or any part of previous proceedings and any information derived from previous proceedings and any court documents associated with previous proceedings will be prohibited until verdict in the final trial.

“For the avoidance of doubt, publication is prohibited of the number of complainants, the number of charges, the nature of the charges and the fact of multiple trials.

The DPP will argue that the order is “necessary to prevent a real and substantial risk of prejudice to the proper administration of justice that cannot be prevented by other reasonably available means”.

Further it is “to ensure that jurors and potential jurors in the prosecution for alleged sexual offences against George Pell do not become aware of the matters the subject of these proceedings other than those in which they are directly involved”.

In other words, the DPP appears to be trying to ensure that potential jurors in each of the trials are not made aware of the trials in which they are not participating. Reporting of the details of the first trial during the course of the second trial would ordinarily be limited on account of contempt laws, regardless of any suppression order.

While ‘super injunctions’ have, traditionally, been a relatively uncommon mechanism in the courts, they’re becoming increasingly popular, particularly in Victoria.

If granted, this story and other New Matilda reporting from earlier in the week will have to be removed from publication.

Cardinal Pell, aged 76, is the most senior Catholic charged with sexual offences anywhere in the world. Cardinal Pell has strongly denied the allegations leveled against him, and has already formally pled ‘Not Guilty’.


Our delightfull Middle-Eastern "refugees"

A baby and four adults are lucky to be alive after a military hand grenade was thrown at a Melbourne home as part of a feud involving Middle Eastern organised crime figures.

Police said a Yugoslavian M52 hand grenade was hurled at the home in Yuonga Court, Lalor last November, causing significant shrapnel damage to the house, fence, and two parked cars.

"It could have been fatal. That's what a grenade is designed to do," Detective Sergeant Anthony Gasparini told reporters on Tuesday. "We are extremely fortunate no one was injured, only property damage."

Det Sgt Gasparini said police believe the incident is linked to a number of ongoing feuds between Middle Eastern organised crime groups. "It does not just happen randomly, that a hand grenade is being thrown at your front door," he said.

An image has been released of a man believed to have thrown the grenade and the car believed to be involved in the attack.

"We would like to obviously identify this individual so that we can link it back to a Middle Eastern organised crime syndicate and that'll fill in a little bit more in relation to the feud," Det Sgt Gasparini said. "In general terms, when we are talking about Middle Eastern organised crime figures, it is about drug trade. There are a number of non-fatal shootings that have occurred."

Det Sgt Gasparini said a man drove up to the house just before 2.30am on November 19, in a dark coloured Toyota Hilux before hurling the grenade and hiding behind a parked car to watch the explosion. Witnesses saw the man flee, but he returned later, only to do a u-turn and leave again.

Police said the attack was not random and assured locals the investigation is ongoing. "We are doing all we can to bring this person to justice," Det Sgt Gasparini said.

"It is quite concerning organised crime entities do have their hands on this type of weapon."

Det Sgt Gasparini said police are narrowing a long list of suspects and urged anyone - even those reluctant - to speak to police.


Senator slammed for saying Australia can't be racist because Aboriginal Johnathan Thurston has succeeded at football - as he encourages the NRL star to have a run at politics

The popularity of indigenous footy player Johnathan Thurston has been pointed to as evidence of the lack of racism in Australia.

Liberal senator Ian Macdonald questioned in Senate estimates on Thursday whether Australia needs a race discrimination commissioner to replace Tim Soutphommasane once his term ends.

'I might live in a bubble perhaps but I find it very difficult to find any but very rare cases of racism in Australia,' the senator for Queensland said.

'In my own society... the greatest hero, in fact the king of Queensland, is Johnathan Thurston. 'If only I could get him to run for a political party, he'd walk it in.'

Mr Macdonald argued Thurston's popularity as a star rugby league player for the North Queensland Cowboys and Queensland in State of Origin was an example of the lack of racism in the state.

'I just don't know - there are obviously isolated aspects of racism in Australia but I would think across the board they're very isolated.'

Mr Macdonald describes himself as a 'proud and passionate North Queenslander' who lives in Ayr, 80km south of Townsville.

In response to Mr Macdonald's comments, Michaelia Cash - standing in for Attorney General Christian Porter - said the government intends to appoint a new race discrimination commissioner.

Mr Macdonald, 72, has served in the Senate since July 1990 and is one of the oldest politicians in Australia.


Wait for the green WOMAN! Council plans to scrap male pedestrian crossing symbols and replace them with women

An Australian council has announced it plans to replace male pedestrian crossing symbols with female signs.

Brimbank Council in Melbourne has asked for female 'walk and don't walk' figures at crossings in a move to 'improve gender equality'.

Mayor Margaret Giudice told the Herald Sun the initiative would 'show women and girls that they are important and valued in our community'.

An Australian council has announced it plans to replace male pedestrian crossing symbols with female signs    +3
An Australian council has announced it plans to replace male pedestrian crossing symbols with female signs

'We know that improving gender equity leads to very positive outcomes for organisations and for our community… research shows societies with greater gender equity have lower rates of violence towards women and children,' she said.

The council has put forward Perth Ave and Ballarat Rd as the first crossing to get the new female lights.

The request will be submitted to VicRoads this week.

But Ratepayers Victoria vice president Frank Sullivan said the council was 'out of touch' and needs to address more pressing issues.

'Councillors have got to realise what they are elected to do... they are completely out of touch and they're moving into things that don't concern them,' he told the Herald Sun.

The push comes after the installation of 10 female pedestrian lights in Melbourne's city centre year.


Say you want a revolution — listen to the online freethinkers

The revolution has started. In the US a group of articulate free thinkers has stormed the barricades of political correctness, identity politics and anti-intellectualism to form the Intellectual Dark Web. They’re articulate, funny, respectful people, and their killer weapons are words, ideas and ­curious minds. If you’re listening to them, you’re part of the revolution, too.

If you haven’t heard of the ­Intellectual Dark Web, don’t worry. Neither had I until barely a week ago, preparing to speak to a room full of eager young students in Melbourne as part of the Institute of Public Affairs’ Generation Liberty program. They wanted to know what to do about rising and stifling anti-intellectualism in Aus­tralia. I pointed them to this loosely aligned group of cultural disrupters from left-liberals to libertarians to conservatives who have set up home on YouTube and podcasts.

Raked over the coals of orthodoxy, these online revolutionaries now routinely attract many millions of people each week. The IDW is the new, nimble and cheeky competitor to the mainstream media. No sound bites or 60-second videos, no talking points or catchphrases, these are long, meandering conversations about culture, science, politics, history, religion and more. You name it, they’re talking about it online because they can’t do it at universities or in the mainstream media.

Who are these subversives? Some you know. Jordan Peterson, for one, who rose to fame for ­rejecting forced speech rules that Canada has set down for trans­gender people. If you missed that ­intellectual melee, you, along with 9.8 million others, may have seen Peterson on BBC Channel 4 this year when host Cathy Newman exposed her ideological blinkers to his ideas, not to mention her cluelessness about free speech.

As Peterson said recently, his audience came for the scandal and stayed for the content. In his case, hours of religious-based conversations reminding us that our everyday decisions pivot the world towards heaven or hell.

These IDW thinkers have a flashpoint in common. Cast out by the left, labelled racists, Islamophobes, misogynists and more, merely for challenging orthodoxy about everything from Black Lives Matter to Islam to the gender pay gap, IDW members are rebelling against the anti-intellectualism of academe and mainstream media. There is no formal membership card or club house, just an assortment of free thinkers with different politics but a common cause.

Feminist Christina Hoff Sommers is a member of the IDW. Routinely howled down for introducing facts into feminism, she speaks freely online to millions of listeners who are searching for reason about feminist causes. Conservative Ben Shapiro is there, too, an anti-Trump Republican bringing conservative ideas to a younger generation of listeners. Shapiro attracts 15 million downloads to his podcast a month.

Joe Rogan, comedian and cage fight commentator, brings his special mix of genius interspersed with profanities to the IDW. The Joe Rogan Experience ambles ­between two and three hours of commentary about everything from martial arts to arts to transgender politics and classical liberalism — and has stratospheric audience numbers. His most ­recent 2 ½-hour YouTube conversation with Peterson has attracted more than 3.3 million views. In Australia, The Joe Rogan Experience is the fifth most popular podcast on iTunes.

Dave Rubin is on the IDW, too. A progressive until he noticed how retrograde the left had become, he is now a classical liberal who wants to build bridges in places where others would reflexively burn them down. Rubin has 720,000 subscribers to his live-streamed The Rubin Report and has attracted more than 150 million views.

Neuro­scientist, philosopher and bestselling author Sam Harris is another IDW member, a left-­liberal who supported Hillary Clinton with solid instincts for liberty, free speech, intellectual curiosity and civil debate: everything that is under attack at American colleges. His Waking Up podcasts attract more than a million downloads per episode.

The Young IPA Podcast

We diss millennials for their short concentration spans, but millions are listening to these conversations, and turning up to subversive live shows when the ­intellectual rebels go on tour.

Speaking to Inquirer yesterday just minutes before going on stage with Peterson in Los Angeles, Rubin is full of optimism: “I’m on this tour with Jordan Peterson and thousands of people are coming to these events, 3000 to 5000 people per show, all of them are sold out. And I would say the average age is probably mid to late 20s.

“I said to Jordan on stage last night, I actually have more hope now, just in the few weeks that we’ve been doing this (tour). I think we’re turning a corner here, something really incredible is ­happening.”

There is a thirst for learning, he says, and the mainstream media treats people as if they are dumb. “We treat people as smart and that they want to learn, and we’re learning right next to them. We don’t know everything but, wow, let’s find out what a biologist thinks about this, what a mathematician thinks about that, what a psychologist thinks about this, and, for me, I’m learning every day.”

Even though Rubin was ­shouted down at a university a few weeks ago, he is upbeat about the change he sees: “It’s changing ­because this group of social justice warriors, cultural Marxists, collectivists, progressives, the reason they’re screaming louder and louder is because less and less people are listening to them.

“I am a firm believer that most people in society, and most people in college, are good people who want to engage and learn, and this loud, hysteric group of people, they’re on their way out. I don’t know how you reach them specifically. But I think by being calm, measured and decent, and listening, you can reach the people on the fence.

Rubin tells Inquirer that if you take all the people on the fence and all the people open to learning, “you’ve got 80 per cent of people right there”. But he is adamant that the hysterical sliver needs to be exposed so it doesn’t grow ­bigger. You don’t need to mock the people. Just ­attack their ideas, he says.

What must infuriate left-­liberals most about these cultural rock stars is that their fame and fortune are the unwitting creations of the left. Shapiro has ­described their various confrontations with the left as gateway drugs to longer conversations about values.

Here’s an example. A year ago this month, professor of evolutionary biology Bret Weinstein was hounded from his tenured position at Evergreen State College, one of America’s more progressive colleges. Weinstein is so progressive he supported the Occupy Wall Street activists. He wanted Bernie Sanders to be president. He has been fighting racism his entire career. When he called a planned “Day of Absence” at Evergreen — when white students were told to stay home — a racist act, student crowds bayed, police couldn’t ­secure his safety and he no longer teaches at Evergreen. Say thanks, then, to the postmodernists and the moral relativists for devouring its own. Weinstein is now a prominent member of the IDW along with his brother Eric, who coined the phrase intellectual dark web in January.

At a deeper level, the rise of the IDW is explained by a fault line between liberty and justice. The liberal democratic project was premised on liberty of the individual, every human being of equal moral worth, regardless of colour, creed, sex or sexuality, with minimal intervention from government. Forty years ago, the left cast off classical liberal ideas of liberty in favour of subjective social justice agendas that put people into groups, creating minority groups defined by race, sex, sexuality and religion, demanding special fav­ours from government and others to deliver justice. Once identity politics took hold, the locus of concern became the group, not the ­individual, as Harris said recently on The Joe Rogan Experience.

“So they will sacrifice any number of individuals to make the political case,” Harris explained. “That’s why they are completely unrepentant even when they are shown to be wrong.” (That YouTube video has attracted 1.3 million views.)

The IDW has come under ­attack, especially by left-liberal critics who don’t know how to ­respond to articulate free thinkers with politics that span the spectrum from progressive to libertarian to classical liberal and traditional conservative. The creator of the slick IDW website that gathers all these online conversations, known only as @edustentialist, says these critics simply hit the default button: they scream and label the rebels as alt-right.

Other more thoughtful critics such as Bari Weiss in The New York Times have ruminated over whether these cultural rebels who have broken through the gates of orthodoxy may need a gatekeeper of their own, so people aren’t led down rabbit holes to rotten ideas.

Rubin responded to this last week, telling his YouTube audience that it’s not his job to guard people from ideas. “I, as an individual, make the choices which I think are intellectually honest, and then it’s on you, as an individual, to decide which people and ideas you like or dislike. There are plenty of people who wouldn’t want me to sit down with Jordan Peterson because they say he’s alt-right. This is the dangerous place we are all in when we all act like the gatekeepers of other’s capacity to make decisions for themselves.”

Rubin, who is planning a tour to Australia later this year, predicts 2018 will be the year of unusual ­alliances. Let’s hope so because this is not an American problem. Right across the West, the liberal democratic project is under attack from illiberal intellectuals, weak-kneed vice-chancellors, poorly ­educated students, political chief executives, misguided politicians and a whole bunch of people who have become what John Howard once called the self-appointed cultural dietitians.

Just ask Peter Ridd, a professor of physics and a greenie environmentalist who was sacked from James Cook University last week because he spoke out about science that is not properly checked, tested or replicated. He said that some people pushing our research funding are not very objective: “They’re emotionally attached to their subject and you know you can’t blame them, the reef is a beautiful thing.”

Ridd is headed to court, determined to expose JCU’s trumped-up charges of misconduct. The university says Ridd criticised and denigrated published work. If you’re an academic or a university vice-chancellor, surely your wheelhouse is a robust market place of ideas. As they say in the military, toughen up, Princess.

This scandal, or variations of it, have happened in Australia ­before. From professor Bob Carter to Bjorn Lomborg, and right back to March 1984 when that great gentleman of Australian history, Geoffrey Blainey, was forced to withdraw from talks at the University of Melbourne over his comments that the rate of Asian immi­gration was getting ahead of public support for immigration. At the end of the year, it was still deemed unsafe by the vice-chancellor for Blainey to speak.

There is a backlash to illiberalism in Australia. Ridd has raised more than the $260,000 from Australians on the GoFundMe website so he can pay for his legal travails with JCU. On Friday, ­Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg defended Ridd. The previous day Frydenberg delivered a withering rebuke in parliament to an uneducated branch member of the National Tertiary Education Union who said: “Western civilisation is often used as a rhetorical tool to continue the racist prioritisation of Western history over other cultures.”

The NTEU and some students want to stop a multi-million-dollar donation by the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation to the Australian National Univer­sity for a new course in Western civilisation. Alas, their ill-­inform­ed comments prove why it’s needed more than ever. More Australian academics also are signing up to the Heterodox Academy, a group of academics committed to intellectual freedom and open inquiry.

And in Melbourne last Friday night, questions came thick and fast from young students, some still at high school, eager to confront political correctness, identity politics and stifling illiberalism. Right there, packed into a room upstairs in Campari House, were the green shoots of a renewed liberalism in Australia. Our very own revolutionaries.


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

No comments: