Thursday, December 13, 2018

Melbourne is the place to be

Gutless gang of up to 20 African thugs knock out three men in Melbourne before stomping on their unconscious bodies and stealing one victim's phone and wallet

Police investigating the brutal attack of three friends in their 20s have released CCTV footage of the moment they were assaulted by an African gang.

The young men were walking along foreshore in St Kilda, Melbourne, at around 11.15pm on December 1 when a group of 12 men approached them. Without warning, the gang started to punch and kick the three friends.

The victims tried to walk away but the group followed them and were joined by several more men.

One victim, a 24-year-old man from Burwood East, was repeatedly punched in the head until he passed out. His mobile phone and wallet were taken from him while he was unconscious and he suffered a broken nose and facial bruising.

The second victim, a 26-year-old Wheeler's Hill man, tried to step in to help his friend but was kicked in the head until he also lost consciousness. He suffered cuts and bruises to his face.

The third victim, 20, from Vermont South, was chased off and suffered only minor injuries.

The 24-year-old and 26-year-old were both taken to hospital after bystanders came to their aid.

The offenders had fled the scene by the time police and ambulance officers arrived.

Port Philip CIU Detective Senior Constable Nathan Sheppard said the victims were doing fine following the incident. 'It's going to take them some time to get over what took place but they're gradually moving on with things,' he said.  The two men were released from hospital the following morning.

No one has been charged or arrested over what police describe as an 'unprovoked, random and brutal' incident. 

'You could speculate that there were drugs and alcohol involved but it's hard to say,' said Senior Constable Sheppard.

Senior Constable Sheppard said Victoria Police have stepped up the amount of patrols at various points of the foreshore.   


Dutton names Operation Sovereign Borders commander and attacks Nauru bill

Peter Dutton has appointed Major General Craig Furini the new commander of Operation Sovereign Borders and argued against changing Australia’s offshore detention policies, saying boat turn-backs by themselves don’t work.

At a press conference on Wednesday Furini and the outgoing commander, Air Vice-Marshal Stephen Osborne, both warned changes to Australia’s harsh policies of deterrence towards asylum seekers could be marketed by people smugglers to sell boat trips to Australia.

Furini received a Queen’s birthday AM honour in 2017 for his role as director of coalition joint strategy on Operation Inherent Resolve fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Furini steps into the role as opposition parties and crossbench independents combine to challenge the immigration minister’s powers to refuse medical evacuations, a move the government paints as undermining one of the central planks of operation sovereign borders.

In the final sitting week of parliament, the Senate passed a bill to allow two doctors to order a medical transfer, a decision that could be overturned by the minister before a final decision by an independent health advice panel.

Osborne told reporters in Canberra the issue was “politically charged” and events in Australia – including on the floor of parliament – are “watched very carefully” by people smugglers.

He said people smugglers can “take a particular comment to spin as a marketing tool”, even where “that is not true”.

Furini said he was still forming his view, but reiterated that “everything in Australia is being watched and could be spun – correctly or incorrectly – to market illegal maritime arrivals”.

Osborne confirmed he had briefed the crossbench last week to explain “the risks that they ran with various options they might consider”. He said he respected it was a democratic decision and did not present any option as “absolutely bad” or “absolutely right”.

“Operation Sovereign Borders does not rely simply on an on-water response – it is a holistic system.”

Dutton said turn-backs by themselves were ineffective. He criticised Labor’s line that “we’ll just turn back boats”, saying “it doesn’t work” because boat turn-backs needed to be accompanied by the message that people who arrived by boat would not resettle in Australia.

The home affairs minister argued if Nauru became a “transit lounge” to Australia, thousands of asylum seekers would attempt a maritime journey.

Dutton also said that more than 810 people had come to Australia from Nauru and Manus Island for medical assistance, “not very many” of whom had returned to offshore detention.

“If [the medical issue is] elevated to the point that they need to come to Australia we bring them here – that’s exactly what happens now.”

The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, said Dutton was making claims “beyond the remit of the Phelps bill” by saying it would apply to future arrivals.

“First of all, we have an issue around the current cohort. Again, what we’re proposing with the medical transfer bill I don’t think is a great departure from [what] already happens,” he said.

“What is does is put down on paper what has been happening in a de facto manner already. I do believe that if a doctor says a very sick person needs to come to Australia, whilst the person is in the minister’s care, we need to operate in a transparent and fair manner. Again, all that we are doing is helping to codify, but we need to make sure it is transparent to all and transparent to the Australian people.”

Recent Senate estimates hearings have revealed the government has spent more than $750,000 in 15 months responding to legal action by doctors and advocates seeking urgent medical evacuations that in many cases were repeatedly resisted by officials.

Almost two thirds of the total amount were for cases in the three months to October.

While some cases resulted in an out-of-court agreement to transfer patients, others were fought – all unsuccessfully – by the Department of Home Affairs. Some judgments included cost orders against the department, and stipulations that patients not be treated by the government’s offshore detention medical contractors.

In November Guardian Australia reported international authorities, with the assistance of Australia, had “disrupted” at least 10 alleged attempts to transport almost 300 asylum seekers to Australia by boat in the past 14 months. Disruptions are the third arm of the Operation Sovereign Borders policy.


Grey army stirs for battle against Labor’s retiree tax

Labor MPs believe turmoil in the Coalition is masking widespread dismay and anger among older voters over the plan to introduce what critics call a “retiree tax”.

“It’s quite polarised,” a Labor MP said yesterday. “You get re­action from self-funded retirees who say, ‘we pay the household expenses out of that cash refund and we’ve looked after ourselves for years’. There’s a little bit of that”.

A special Newspoll conducted for The Australian bears out Labor’s internal concerns over how the policy has been received. Support for the $55.7 billion plan to scrap the refundable tax credits on shares has fallen three percentage points since March, while ­almost half of those surveyed, 48 per cent, were opposed.

An age breakdown reveals the over-65 bracket is most strongly opposed to the ALP’s plan, with 62 per cent of voters in that demographic registering their dis­approval of the Labor policy.

Under the commitment, only pensioners and other recipients of government allowances (such as the carer payment or parenting payment) will still receive the cash refunds after Bill Shorten modified the plan earlier this year, following a backlash led by retiree groups.

But the policy tweaks won’t help John and Jan Bain, who today officially join the ­nation’s grey army of 1.1 million self-funded retirees. Mrs Bain, 74, will today work her last shift as a physiotherapist in their home town of Bunbury, 170km south of Perth, while husband John, 72, left his job as a livestock agent 14 years ago after a stroke, then relied on sound money advice to maintain the couple’s finances on the long road back to good health.

“It’s still a fairly slippery slope that we are walking on moneywise, but I think that’s true for a lot of self-funded retirees,” Mr Bain said yesterday. “The rules have got so bloody complicated.”

Once aligned to the Liberal Party, Mr Bain describes himself as a “drifting” rather than a swinging voter these days. He said he was appalled by the recent chaos in the Coalition and was unsure who to vote for at next year’s election, but felt he could not support Labor’s cuts to the refundable tax credits on shares because it would punish “middle Australia”.

“We think that if this gets in it will end up costing us somewhere between $10,000 and $12,000 a year, somewhere around there,” Mr Bain said. “We have got a very good financial adviser ... but we are not rich.”

Only 46 per cent of Labor voters agree with the plan, while approval drops to just 15 per cent among Coalition supporters. Total support is running at 30 per cent, down from 33 per cent in March when the last Newspoll on the issue was conducted.

Opposition to the policy has also dropped from 50 per cent to 48 per cent while the number of voters undecided on the shake-up has lifted from 17 to 22 per cent. Among Coalition voters, opposition is running at 71 per cent compared with 33 per cent for Labor supporters.

The refunding of franking credits was a system implemented in the Howard government’s 2001 budget, allowing super funds and individuals to receive cash payments if their dividend imputation credits exceeded their total tax liabilities. Estimates suggest about 33 per cent of cash refunds go to individuals, 60 per cent to self-managed super funds and about 7 per cent to APRA-regulated funds.

The Labor policy was framed as a way to close down a “tax loophole that mainly benefits millionaires”. Opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen warned that the cost of refunding the dividend imputation credits had become unsustainable.

The cost of the concession has ballooned from about $550 million when the measure was introduced by former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello — when the budget was in surplus — to more than $5bn a year. Labor’s policy would raise $55.7bn over a decade from July next year if Mr Shorten wins the next election.

The self-managed super fund sector and seniors groups have warned the Labor policy will bring about a number of unintended consequences while continuing to benefit the wealthy who have enough tax liabilities to exhaust the full value of their franking credits.

Dividend imputation was introduced in Australia in 1987 to avoid double taxation of company dividends. It provides a tax credit to shareholders for tax already paid by the company on their behalf. In a submission to the parliamentary standing committee on economics, which is conducting an inquiry into the removal of refundable franking credits, Michael Rice, the chief executive of actuarial firm Rice Warner, warned that there would be behavioural changes arising from the Labor policy.

“The main groups affected would be retirees on modest incomes holding equities directly and many SMSFs which have assets predominantly in pension accounts,” Mr Rice said.

He suggested these groups would shift their assets out of Australian equities, attain higher yields in other assets such as overseas-listed shares or infrastructure trusts or move their assets into unfranked Australian equities.

He suggested that some self-funded retirees would increase drawdowns from their superannuation to preserve their current levels of income, resulting in more people receiving the age pension earlier in life — an outcome that would impose additional costs on the government.

One consequence could see more people closing their SMSF and moving their assets into an APRA-regulated fund where their franking credits could be offset against other taxable income within the fund.


What are they Plotting in Poland?

By Viv Forbes, Secretary of the Saltbush Club

The Saltbush Club today called on the Morrison Government to come clean on what additional burdens for Australians are being discussed at COP24, the UN climate jamboree now taking place in Poland.

The Secretary of The Saltbush Club, Mr Viv Forbes of Australia, said that Australia will suffer badly from the destructive energy policies being promoted by the UN’s war on cheap, reliable hydro-carbon fuels.

“Like the Trump supporters in USA, Brexit in Britain, Solidarity in Poland, the Yellow Vests in France and the new Brazilian government we do not support the UN energy plans and we fear their hidden agenda.

“Australia’s backbone industries were built on cheap reliable power. We have huge overheads in the bureaucracy, academia and the welfare state which must be supported by real industry - mining and smelting, farming, fishing, forestry, processing, transport and manufacturing. These industries rely on hydro-carbon energy – coal, gas, oil, diesel and petrol.

“Because Australia has no nuclear or geothermal power, limited hydro potential, an aging fleet of coal generators and several bans on gas exploration, we are very vulnerable to the UN’s war on hydro-carbons.

“PM Morrison must answer three specific questions:

“Who represents Australia at COP24?

“What instructions have they been given?

“When will he report to the Australian people?

“Australia should sign nothing, agree to nothing and signal its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

“COP24 will produce zero benefits for Earth’s climate, but their goals are economically irresponsible for those selected to pay the bills.

“The Paris Agreement they seek to enforce is negative for the Australian people, and for everyone not on the climate gravy train.”

Via email

 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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