Sunday, July 05, 2015

The shabby treatment of Tim Carmody by Queensland's snooty legal eagles

The "Courier Mail" apparently got a lot of letters to the editor about the forced resignation of Queensland Chief Justice Tim Carmody.  The selection they published is below.  Clearly it is the legal eagles who refused to work with Carmody who have come out smelling bad.  Carmody was too much a man of the people and not a silvertail.  He has himself been gracious and said he is happy in his new job

YOUR Editorial (C-M, Jul 3) was correct The resignation of Tim Car-mody as chief justice ends a sorry saga in what should be the most trusted institution of ouistate's legal system. That Justice Carmody was seemingly bullied into resigning casts a pall over our judicial  system. The serious nature of Justice Carmody's departure points to the flaws in our judicial system. That 23 out of 27 Supreme Court judges can go on leave at the same time shows that those in positions of power are seemingly granted special rights compared to other public servants. Major reforms should come from this Carmody saga. The petulant schoolyard antics of our top legal minds are dear to see and undeniably Premier Annastacia Pal-aszczuk and Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath have some difficult times ahead in cleaning up this sorry saga. This matter has shown that the common sense, decency and integrity of our top legal minds has been superseded by petty mind games.

Paul Henderson, Wynnum

TIM Carmody's resignation was acclaimed while the Supreme Court justices were castigated in your editorial. What action can be taken to obviate grievances over the outcome of legal appointments? On any inference of other agendas or a politically motivated appointment, rather than one made on merit with due deference to separation of powers, the principle of natural justice should apply. This rule against bias and the right to a fair hearing is up-held in the opinion pieces of Terry Sweetman, and Bill Potts and Rebecca Fogerty, in the same edition. The Westminster system in Australia would be strengthened by an independent commission for judicial appointments, with the Attorney-General exercising discretion on the final decision. Such a process would preclude criticism of and protect judicial appointments.

Roslyn Smith. Middle Park

TERRY Sweetman was incorrect in his column "Justice must now be served". Tim Carmody was qualified for the position of chief justice and capable of doing the job. The issue was that the other silver-spoon justices were not happy as he was not one of their crowd.

Laurence Rucker, New Beith

TIM Carmody can at least take comfort from one thing. He will be relieved of being stabbed in the back by the pack of judges and barristers who set upon him and plotted to railroad him out of the job of chief justice from the moment he was controversially appointed by former attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie. Justice Carmody's biggest weakness is that he's too human for his own good. He wears his character flaws on his sleeve. Unlike his peers in the upper layer of the judiciary, he is not elitist, fake or pretentious. That is what his subordinates saw as a threat. Okay, at times his conduct was ill-advised and unorthodox and he probably shouldn't have had that meeting with Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston last year. But he didn't deserve to take the fall in the manner in which he did.

Tim Badric, Toogoolawah

IT WOULD appear that Queensland has far too many judges if 23 out of 27 of them are on walkabout for their "winter break". Is this a low point in the season for crime and other issues requiring the presence of members of the justice system? One of the claims made against Tim Carmody was that he did not shoulder a fair share of the work. It would appear to me that a fair share of the work amounts to little time indeed, if the system functions with only 14 per cent of judges available for duty.

Mike Heap, Dicky Beach

AFTER their schoolboy per-formance over the Carmody affair it is nice to see that the judges have gone on their school holidays along with all the other children.
Nola Croucher, Kenmore

Not previously online.  Scanned in from The "Courier Mail" of 4 July

Islamic State: Member of Australian charity charged with raising funds for jihadists and recruiting for IS

Members of an Australian charity are under investigation for alleged links to Islamic State (IS).  The charity, Dar al Quran wa Sunnah, was set up to help Syrian orphans, but it has come under scrutiny from Lebanese authorities after the arrest of one of its members, Ibrahim Barakat, in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli on May 2.

Barakat appeared before a military court in Lebanon on Friday. He faces charges of fundraising for jihadists, recruiting for IS and fighting against the Lebanese army.

The ABC understands two other dual Australian-Lebanese members of the Sydney-based charity are under investigation in relation to the fundraising charges.

Susan Pascoe, the commissioner for Australia's charity watchdog Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC), said the allegations against Barakat of fundraising for jihadists and recruiting for IS would "absolutely" trigger an investigation.

"That would be a very serious matter and, I might add, that would be a matter not only of interest to the ACNC, but the intelligence and security agencies," she said.

For large-scale investigations, ACNC cooperates closely with financial intelligence agency the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), as well as the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

Security sources have alleged Barakat is the religious leader for IS in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli and accused him of recruiting for the group.

He also featured in a video thanking Australians for their donations towards Ramadan food packs distributed in northern Lebanon last year.

The charity is registered with the ACNC and continues to fundraise in Australia for its operations in Tripoli, Turkey and Bangladesh.

Adnan Baradaaji, a dual Australian-Lebanese citizen, is listed on the ACNC website as the charity's president and lives in Sydney.

Lebanese security sources said he was also known as Adnan Baradei and was under investigation.

Ahmad Taleb, the lawyer representing Barakat, said Mr Baradaaji was frequently mentioned in Barakat's file.

Mr Taleb told the ABC that Mr Baradaaji had sent money to Barakat for a long time, but it was unknown whether that money was legitimately used for the purposes of aid, or if any of the money was used to fund jihadist activities.

Mr Baradaaji declined repeated requests by the ABC for an interview but said Barakat was innocent, and maintained his charity did not support terrorism.

The charity has no known office in Australia but operates one branch in the poor Lebanese neighbourhood of Quibbi in Tripoli.

The English Facebook page of the charity regularly posts images of the group handing out aid in Tripoli, Lebanon, but its Arabic Facebook page makes regular references to martyrs who have died fighting in Syria.

One post, uploaded in 2013, features Osama bin Laden with the caption "of the faithful men".

The group was seen in June raising funds from a shopping centre in the south-western Sydney suburb of Bankstown, asking interested individuals to give their bank details for regular direct debits.

It is not known how much money the charity has raised in Australia, with the majority of their fundraising thought to happen online.

The charity has been operating since December 2012 and is due to submit its first financial statement with ACNC in January next year.

Security sources in Lebanon said one other member of the charity, a Sydney-based, dual Australian-Lebanese citizen, was arrested around the same time as Barakat.

He appeared before a military court and was charged with "funding jihadist groups".

The dual-national was then moved to Lebanon's central prison Roumiyeh with other jihadists.

About one month after his arrest, the man was released and it is understood he made his way directly to Australia and is thought to be living in Sydney.

Financing terrorism has been included in the Government's proposed laws, which would see dual nationals stripped of their Australian citizenship if they engage in financing terrorist activities inside or outside Australia.

Barakat will appear again before the military court on November 11.  If convicted, the charges against Barakat carry a prison term of seven to 10 years.

In a statement, Dar Al Quran Wa Sunnah sought to distance itself from Ibrahim Barakat.  The charity said it "completely disavows and rejects" Barakat's alleged actions.

It said the Lebanese man is a "former teacher" of the group, and his actions are "not representative of the organisation itself in any way, shape or form".

"Dar Al Quran Wa Sunnah prides itself on its transparency, robust corporate governance and meeting the objectives for which it was established. It will continue its work in providing education and aid to the poor, needy, widows and orphans in the countries in which it operates", the statement said.


Shock, horror!  The Salvation army are Christians

An internal investigation has been launched at The Salvation Army's much-praised Oasis Youth Support centre in Surry Hills amid claims of homophobia after a young woman was advised to "pray" away her attraction to other women.

The incident has also been blamed for the sudden resignation of the centre's general manager Michelle Bryant, who has been a central figure in promoting the services helping the homeless and disadvantage youth – services that have won the support of many high-profile people, including Hollywood heavyweight Cate Blanchett.

Bryant, who joined the Oasis centre from the corporate world, declined to comment when contacted by PS this week, however she is understood to have described the incident  as "horrific" to friends, who say she has long harboured concerns about how troubled youth, especially those struggling to deal with their sexuality, were being "evangelised" by Salvation Army officers.

In a statement, a spokesman for the Salvation Army said: "The incident relates to alleged comments made to a client in relation to 'sexual orientation'. The Salvation Army is conducting an investigation into the alleged incident and is providing counselling support to both the client and staff of the Oasis Youth Support Network at this time. Salvation Army officers and staff treat every person who comes into our care with non-judgmental respect and acceptance no matter what their situation or circumstance."

However, non Salvation Army staff at the centre were this week questioning exactly how impartial the "non-judgment" claims are given the incident and previous well-documented controversies the organisation has become embroiled in when it comes to gay and lesbian issues.

In 2012, the Salvation Army was forced to make a public apology after one of its majors stated that the Salvation Army believed gay people should die. At the time Major Andrew Craib was the Salvation Army's spokesman in several states and was being interviewed on Melbourne radio station Joy FM about the organisation's Handbook of Doctrine, which refers to the Romans book from the Bible.

The Oasis Ball will be held at Town Hall next month to raise money for the Surry Hills centre. Photo: Kitty Hill
When asked directly whether people who identified as gay or lesbian should "die", as written in Romans, Craib responded on air: "We have an alignment to the scriptures, but that's our belief."

The Salvation Army later claimed the "death" inferred was a "spiritual death" rather than a physical one, but the comments had already generated a national outcry.


Not so little Lambie compares Greens to Islamic State

She's got a point

INDEPENDENT senator Jacqui Lambie's comparison of the Greens to Islamic military extremists has left the political group demanding an apology

ADDRESSING a mining conference in her home state of Tasmania on Friday, Senator Lambie opened her speech with "a little joke".

"What's the difference between the Greens and ISIS?" she asked an audience gathered for the third and final day of the Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council annual conference.

"Not very much. They both want to take us back into the dark ages."

Pre-empting a backlash, Senator Lambie said she was not talking behind the Greens' backs.  "I told the same comments (to) a group of Green senators at the last sitting of Parliament. "I make no apologies. They need to be told, and often."

However, Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O'Connor took offence.
"It is outrageous to compare Greens and conservationists with murderous terrorists," she told reporters.  "It's unnecessary, divisive language and she should apologise."

Senator Lambie's comments came in response to a United Nations committee decision in Germany on Thursday to uphold protection measures across Tasmania's 1.5 million hectare Wilderness World Heritage Area.

"The people from the UN would be better off listening to the average person from northwest Tasmania than the environmental zealots and alarmists like the Wilderness Society's Vica Bayley, who will never be satisfied until we're all living in caves, burning candles and eating tofu," she said.

The first-term senator renewed her call for an upper house inquiry into the activities of the Greens, citing the party's move to shut down Tasmania's mining and logging industries. "The key question is: did they use taxpayer funds to kill off Tasmanian jobs and sabotage a sustainable, environmentally friendly industry?"

Senator Lambie went on to tell the conference that she struck a deal with federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, that guaranteed Tasmania the right to burn wood waste to produce energy, in exchange for her support of the renewable energy target legislation.

"Let's see if he keeps his word," she said, according to News Corp.


Taxing Bank Deposits

In the current economic climate of grossly indebted governments and faltering economies, it is imperative that policy for the medium to long-term should focus on wealth-creation, major reductions in government expenditure and a structure of incentives for entrepreneurship, production and savings. Tax reductions have a crucial role as incentives and capital accumulation and savings support investment. The federal government has taken a bold step along these lines in encouraging investment and innovation by small businesses through concessions and tax reduction.

It therefore beggars belief that the government should now be considering imposing a tax on bank deposits. Rather than encouraging enterprise and production by tax reduction, it now proposes to take more money out of the private sector instead of reducing its own expenditures. This will be done by punishing those who save the capital that may be applied to private investment and production - savers whose interest earned on their savings is already taxed to the point of exploitation.

Current monetary policy entails low interest rates for prudent savers, on the one hand and, on the other, encourages the search for higher savings to combat this low rate of return and a degree of inflation that further reduces returns. Savers have therefore turned to the stock market in search of better returns, but at high risk. That high risk has now eventuated and billions of dollars are being lost.

To overfill the cup of dismay, those who have rescued a fraction of their investment from the stock market face the prospect of another smack in the eye if they put their remnants into a bank account.

The proposal to tax bank savings, therefore, is not only bad economic policy it is also bad social policy, and, at the margin, will make some victims candidates for welfare support.

It is said that the government's back-benchers are challenging the proposal. Good luck to them!


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