Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Kangaroo court for Cardinal Pell

I am no Catholic but I can see that this is a travesty of justice.  "Victims" are allowed to testify entirely in private, with no opportunity to see them, let alone have their allegations tested in court by counsel.  They are given that license because this is an enquiry not a trial but that is a distinction with ltttle difference.  If the enquiry uses it dubious "evidence" to conclude that a trial is justified, people will take it as evidence of guilt akin to a court verdict.

And when we hear that the alleged transgressions happened 40 years ago and have come to light only now, it is clear that the procedings are thoroughly corrupt.  That Pell is a very conservative priest has to be relevant.  He had to be "got"

The alleged victims of the most prominent Catholic Church leader to be accused of sex abuse began testifying in Australian court via video link Monday.

Australian authorities charged Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’ former finance minister, in June 2017 with sexually abusing multiple people several years ago in his Victoria home. Pell began facing his alleged victims’ testimonies Monday. They testified in court via video link from an undisclosed locations so as to avoid media attention surrounding the courtroom, the Associated Press reported. The testimonies are expected to continue for up to two weeks.

The alleged victims’ names and number have not been released to the public, and their in-court testimonies are being kept private. Authorities have also withheld specific allegations against Pell from the public — noting only the sexual assault charges are “historical,” meaning Pell allegedly committed the acts decades ago.

Pell’s lawyer, Robert Richter, had no objections to the prospect of the complainants testifying via video. Richter did, however, question the rationale for allowing one of the alleged victims to testify with a support dog present, saying, “I always thought that dogs were for children and very old people,” according to AP.

“No,” Magistrate Belinda Wallington replied. “They’re also there for vulnerable and traumatized people.”

Richter also questioned why Pell would not be able to appear in court with a priest’s support. Richter argued Pell’s age and medical problems were adequate reasons Pell should be allowed to appear in court with personal support.

The prosecution “has an objection to that support person being a priest, although I can’t understand that,” Richter told Wallington.

Abuse victims and their advocates cheered the charges against Pell as a sign authorities were becoming more responsive to the voices of the abused. Pell, however, has denied all charges and intimated he will enter a not-guilty plea if put before a jury trial. Pell’s lawyers argued in February the complainants were inspired to bring accusations against Pell not by trauma but by news of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and its 2016 inquiry concerning Pell.

Pell’s first accuser came forward 40 years after the alleged crimes in 2015 and was prompted to do so via reports of the inquiry, the lawyers noted.

Pope Francis has not forced Pell to resign and has not passed any judgement on Pell, saying he will wait for the Australian judiciary to complete their justice process and come to a conclusion his input has not influenced. Pell, for his part, said he will continue his work in ministry and in the church’s finances after the case is resolved.


Kangaroo meat industry slams documentary for 'crazy' claims that the native animals' numbers are plummeting in Australia

The Kangaroo meat industry is up in arms over a documentary that claims the native animals are a 'disappearing resource' in Australia, even comparing them to 'rhinos, tigers, cheetahs and whales'.

The documentary, currently making its way across Europe and the US, shows activists mourning the lives of kangaroos shot in the outback and asks 'how did we get so hoodwinked into believing it was OK to kill our national icon?'.

The documentary called Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story, has enraged the peak body for kangaroo harvesters, with top researchers slamming it as 'dangerous' and a 'major disservice to Australia and the welfare of kangaroos'.

The documentary, which will premiere in Sydney next week, uses 'shock tactics' to ask if harvesting kangaroos is unethical.

The documentary gives voice to a range of people including animal rights activists who claim the industry is 'cloaked in secrecy' and 'local extinction and regional extinction has happened'.

In 2016 there were almost 45 million kangaroos in Australia, almost double the human population
In 2010 there were about 27 million
In 2007 there were 23 million

Government data shows the population neared 50 million in 2017
These claims have been rubbished by ANU College of Science Dr George Wilson, who has worked on kangaroo management for 45 years.

'The film's full of beautiful looking red kangaroos and it pulls at the heartstrings. That affects me just as much as anyone else, but how it relates to population ecology I don't know,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday.

'A lot of these animals are killed every year, but it's not at all connected to whether they're threatened. There are 600 million chickens killed per year, are they seriously going to suggest chickens are in danger?'

If the film gained traction, and brought the production of kangaroo meat to a halt, Dr Wilson (right) said it would have a devastating impact on the welfare of Australia's kangaroo population

If the film gained traction, and brought the production of kangaroo meat to a halt, Dr Wilson said it would have a devastating impact on the welfare of Australia's kangaroo population.

'If this animal rights mob shut it down, populations will get higher and higher to the point they starve to death, and die out during the drought,' he said.

'They're doing themselves, Australia and the kangaroos a major disservice. 'These people are really concerned about animals, so am I, but they're completely off the wall.'

Dr Wilson said the filmmakers were jeopardising the welfare of kangaroos, and hoped viewers could look past the 'shock factor' and 'emotion' of the documentary.

'It's hard to imagine a more animal friendly meat,' he said.

National Farmers Federation President Fiona Simson backed Dr Wilson and said the industry was one of the most humane.

'It is inconceivable to think that anybody would see the humanity in allowing hundreds, possibly thousands of kangaroos die a prolonged and painful death caused by starvation and dehydration, while rallying against a pain-free and instant option available via the controlled, regulated culling,' she told The Australian.

Not only could the film jeopardise the welfare of kangaroos, locals claim it could devastate outback towns and enterprises.

Brad Bales and Chantalle Allwood, who work at a Queensland processing factory, said 'it'd be a shock to the community if it shut down'.

'I've seen the industry through droughts, floods… it's the non-professional shooters, the city people who think they can make money out of it, who ruin it for a lot of people,' Mr Bales told The Australian.

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon travelled to Belgium on Monday to help promote the film in Europe, where Australia exports 1780 tonnes of kangaroo meat funnelling more than $10 million into Australia's economy.

'We will use the evidence to show that kangaroos are in trouble,' Senator Rhiannon said in a statement on Monday. 'There's a big question mark over the data the government uses… I've called for kangaroo protection; what we want is accurate research. '(Near extinction) is a risk, and that's why we need to be responsible.'

The documentary will premiere in Australia in Sydney next Tuesday.


More African vibrancy in Melbourne

A YOUNG couple’s defence with a baseball bat of a terrifying suburban home invasion by a gang of armed teenagers has been caught on dramatic CCTV video footage.

The brazen house robbery, carried out by four youths of African appearance carrying hammers, is the ninth home invasion in just 16 days in what appears to be a Melbourne crime wave.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, Gavin Fry and his fiancee Leah Meurer were asleep in their house in the north-western Melbourne suburb of Kings Park.

It was just before 1am, when four males aged in their teens and wearing hoodies kicked down the couple’s back door.

They entered the couple’s bedroom and, shining a light on Mr Fry and Ms Meurer, they said “give us the money, give us the money” and demanded they hand over their car keys, Nine News reported.

“So two of them have entered our bedroom with torches ... one of them had a hammer and they were demanding cash,” Leah Meurer told Radio 3AW.

Mr Fry fended off the two youths, who tried to fight him back, from the bedroom and the couple managed to barricade themselves inside.

But Ms Meurer was forced to defend the door as Mr Fry dialled triple-0.

In a terrifying few seconds, she had her body weight against the door while the gang began to smash it with the hammer to force their way back in.

Mr Fry grabbed a baseball bat and, with “fear and shock turned to anger”, he decided “I’m going to get them out of my house”.

Chasing the youths down the path, he saw them prepare to steal two cars.

Mr Fry approached the driver’s side and bashed at the window with his bat, which broke.

When the robbers took off in the cars, Mr Fry went back inside to help his fiancee who later broke down as they waited for police to arrive.

Speaking to The Australian, Mr Fry said he and Ms Meurer were “just completely shaken, beside ourselves, traumatised, we don’t feel safe staying in the house.

“It’s disgusting, these kids ... have no regard for anything.”

Victorian Police may know who the criminals are and told The Australian that “repeat offenders” were often involved in aggravated burglaries.

About 18 months ago, police say one group of armed robbers committed up to nine offences in a row.

The latest wave of home invasions began on February 14, when a man had a knife held to his throat as a gang raided his apartment in Albion.

On a second attack in Albion at 1.30am on February 27, a woman had a knife held to her throat while she slept by her son.

Six of the latest crime spree have happened in north-western Melbourne suburbs, including one in Saint Albans, one each in Kings park and neighbouring Taylors Hill, and the Albion attacks.

The others took place in Bayswater in inner western Melbourne, the beachside suburb of Brighton and at Skye in the south-west.


Super union gets green light

The Turnbull government and employer groups have failed in an attempt to derail the merger of the militant national construction and maritime unions into a new super union.

The Fair Work Commission on Tuesday approved the controversial merger of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, the Maritime Union of Australia, and the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia.

Fair Work Commission deputy president Val Gostencnik rejected employer arguments that legal proceedings in relation to alleged workplace and contempt of court breaches by the unions prevented the merger. He was satisfied the unions had fulfilled all other requirements for the merger under the Registered Organisations Act.

However, he stressed his decision should not be interpreted as any kind of approval of the unions' conduct. "Lest it be said that, by discharging my duties under statute which I am bound to do by my oath of office and by law, I condone any of the conduct for which any of the applicant organisations or various of their officials have been held to account by the courts, nothing could be further from the truth," Mr Gostencnik said.

"On no view can it be said that the conduct is acceptable and judicial officers have, particularly over recent years, been unanimous in the strong and unequivocal language used to describe and condemn some of the conduct."

Federal Court judges have blasted the CFMEU's abusive conduct on construction sites and "deplorable" history of breaking workplace laws for which it has been fined millions of dollars.

Employer groups on Tuesday said the creation of a super union "put the economy and jobs in jeopardy” and flagged they would appeal the merger decision.

The federal government had hoped to block the merger with new laws that would impose a "public interest test" for union mergers - something that was scrapped by Labor.

But the Ensuring Integrity Bill has stalled in the Senate, where it is opposed by Labor and the Greens. The government insisted the measures were not aimed at blocking this merger in particular, but the opposition and Greens believe they were.

Workplace Minister Craig Laundy said under the current legal regime the Fair Work Comission "had no option" but to fix the merger date of March 27.

"The government remains of the view that any proposed merger of registered organisations with significant economic power should be subjected to a public interest consideration in the same way that the merger of companies with significant economic power would be," he said.

Mr Laundy said it was "not unreasonable" for the commission to ask if it was in the best interests of the country to have several law-breaking unions consolidate their power.

"It is now up to the union officials to work co-operatively and within the law to ensure the best interests of all its members and the country are represented under the new arrangements," Mr Laundy said.

The new union will have over $310 million in assets and annual revenue of nearly $150 million, according to documents submitted to the court.

CFMEU national secretray Michael O’Connor said the new union - which will have 144,000 members - would be fighting to "restore the fair go" and would focus on turning the country around through a change of government.

"Business has too much power, we have record levels of inequality in our community, and working families are finding it hard to make ends meet," he said.

“It’s time for big business to stop riding on the coat-tails of everyday working Australians, time the banks stopped ripping people off, and time for every business in this country to pay tax. Nearly 700 big corporations pay no tax, which is a national scandal.

“We are absolutely committed to a change of government, to changing the rules to restore balance and fairness into our communities, and to growing our movement."

But the Master Builders Association said the merger would "put the economy and jobs in jeopardy”.  "The creation of a militant 'super union' is a backwards step that will have far-reaching consequences for the construction industry and the community,” chief executive Denita Wawn said.

“No government – Labor or Coalition – would allow a corporate merger which resulted in the formation of an entity with the capacity to shut down multiple supply chains and effectively hold the economy to ransom. But this is exactly what this decision will create."

Resources and energy group the Australian Mines and Metals Association said it would continue to fight the Fair Work Commission's decision. “AMMA, with the backing of the Master Builders Association, will be assessing our options to protect Australian industry and jobs, following today’s decision. We have no option but to do all we can to try and prevent this impending disaster for Australians,” AMMA director workplace relations, Amanda Mansini, said.

The Victoria International Container Terminal is currently suing both the CFMEU and the MUA for potentially more than $100 million over an alleged illegal waterfront picket line that blockaded a major container terminal at the Port of Melbourne for more than two weeks late last year.

The new super union will hold its first meeting in Melbourne on Friday.


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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