Thursday, May 09, 2019

Church body apologizes to former principal over 2017 exit from Presbyterian school in Brisbane

The PMSA put Ms Kearney in an impossible situation that could only lead to her resignation. The dramas were sparked when Somerville House senior executive Rick Hiley was axed by Ms Kearney over an alleged IT data breach but then promoted by the PMSA to become their executive manager, effectively overseeing the school's governance. 

Hiley was subsequently held to have been innocent in his actions but throwing him in Ms Kearney's face like that was offensive and arrogant in the extreme.  A proper enquiry should have been held before any action was taken. Just a bit of Christian humility would have gone a long way. So the apology from the PMSA is long overdue.  One hopes that they have learned that they are not gods

Ms Kearney had launched legal action against them so this apology may be a forced one designed to avoid a large legal bill.  If so, it would indicate that they have learned nothing and should resign

A church body overseeing four of Queensland’s top private schools has publicly apologised to the former principal of the prestigious Somerville House girl’s school for the “part we played’’ in her 2017 resignation.

The PMSA said it was aware of “ongoing misconceptions” regarding Ms Kearney’s resignation and that “after discussions’’ with the former principal had agreed to issue a statement.

“Ms Kearney led Somerville House as Principal with distinction from 2011 to 2017,’’ PMSA Chairman, Greg Adsett said in the statement.

“During that time, Ms Kearney’s many achievements advanced, and continue to enhance, the culture, performance and reputation of the school as providing the finest opportunities for girls’ and pre-prep education.

“Ms Kearney resigned her position in October 2017, to take effect at the end of the 2017 school year.

“We are sorry for the part we played in, and regret the circumstances leading to, Ms Kearney’s early departure.

“We would like to make clear that those events should not in any way be perceived to reflect poorly on Ms Kearney or negate her outstanding performance as Principal and lasting contributions to Somerville House.”

According to the statement, Ms Kearney has recently been appointed as Head and CEO of The Women’s College at the University of Queensland.

It has been reported that a group of parents and alumni had filed complaints against the PMSA with the Office of Fair Trading.

The 4500-strong “Beyond PMSA” is fighting for the PMSA to give up its incorporation under Letters Patent and be reincorporated under the Corporations Act, which they say would ensure greater transparency and accountability.

The application claims “unacceptable organisational failures exist because of Letters Patent”, and that “the future viability of PMSA schools is at significant and imminent risk”.


Alan Jones slams Israel Folau verdict

If Rugby Australia have any brains, they will impose no penalty

Former Wallabies coach Alan Jones has blown up in a furious on-air tirade after Israel Folau was found guilty of a “high level” breach of his contract last night before the rugby star sent the broadcaster a message, breaking his silence on the verdict.

A three-person independent panel of chair John West QC, Rugby Australia (RA) representative Kate Eastman SC and the Rugby Union Players’ Association-appointed John Boultbee handed down the verdict and have now retired to decide on Folau’s sanction following an epic code of conduct hearing in Sydney.

RA boss Raelene Castle issued Folau with a breach notice last month following his controversial social media posts about homosexuals and other “sinners” and threatened to tear up his four-year, $4 million contract.

The 30-year-old devout Christian took to Instagram to proclaim “hell awaits” for “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators”.

While Folau may yet be spared the sack, termination of his contract is now a possibility.

After defending Folau on the airwaves this morning, Jones — who coached the Wallabies in the 1980s and now hosts 2GB’s popular breakfast radio show — relayed a message he said he’d received from the Wallabies star.

“I’ve just had a note from Israel, he won’t mind if I’m sharing it with you because I said to him, ‘Hold your head up’,” Jones said.

“He said, ‘Alan, I’m at peace, mate. My head is held high’.”

That message came after Jones said the “Orwellian treatment” of the rugby icon, combined with various recent attacks on politicians, painted a grim picture of the state of Australia.

“The Australia that our Anzacs fought for seems to be disappearing before our very eyes,” Jones said. “It prompts you to wonder what kind of society we’re living in.

“Nothing wrong with Israel, it’s the society and those who prosecute him who are sick.

“But the cancer won’t kill us, it’s the cancer that will be removed, not Israel. The Australian people won’t accept this.

“This is not the Australia our veterans fought for and we’re going to have to take our country back by argument and by the democratic and peaceful process — not by hate and revenge or vilification and intimidation.”

Jones also read from a speech politician Mark Latham is scheduled to give today in NSW parliament, calling it “one of the most magnificent political speeches I’ve read”.

In the speech, according to Jones, Latham says: “How did our state and our nation ever come to this?

“Those claiming outrage have fabricated their position solely for the purpose of censorship.

“By excluding a committed Christian, they (Rugby Australia) are making their game less inclusive.

“No Australian should live in fear of the words they utter.

“This is a stunning intrusion on workers’ rights.”

Jones continued his attack on the Folau decision after reading Latham’s words, saying he is now “ashamed” of the sport which he once played an integral role in.

“Israel Folau, with my support and the support of millions of Australians, will take this fight every inch of the way,” Jones said.

“Rugby union preaches diversity — they really mean uniformity. They preach inclusion but they exclude Israel.

“We take oaths of office in every court of the land. The Prime Minister is sworn in with his hand on the Bible — the same bible which Israel Folau has quoted and he’s now had his dignity, his integrity, his employment, his vocation and his income stolen from him.

“I coached Australian rugby, I was proud of it, I was proud of the boys and I was proud of everything we stood for. Today, I’m ashamed of the people who’ve inherited our proud legacy.

“The battle has just begun, and it’s a battle for all Australians. If we’re not free to articulate our religious beliefs and quote from the bible, and if we’re not free to speak for fear that someone affects a hurt or is part of the offence industry, if that’s where we’ve reached in this country, we’ve reached a dark place and we are all at risk.”

The best punishment Folau can now hope for is a suspension and/or a fine. The sanction is not expected to be handed down for several days, with RA not offering a timeline on any decision.

Folau also has the right of appeal, a process that would involve a completely new three-person panel being selected.

Should he be sacked, Folau — Super Rugby’s all-time leading try-scorer and a 73-Test stalwart for the Wallabies — would be the first Australian athlete dismissed for expressing fundamental religious beliefs.

Even before it potentially reaches the courts, the Folau hearing has developed into one of the most drawn-out legal stoushes in Australian sports history. The hearing stretched 22 hours over three days, with any hopes of a “common sense” settlement — as NSW Waratahs chairman Roger Davis had hoped for on Monday — blown out of the water by Tuesday night’s sensational development.

Folau spent more than twice as long holed up at the hearing than he has played for the Waratahs in 2019.

RA initially anticipated all evidence being heard in one day, with Sunday also reserved if more time was needed. The decision was expected to be handed down on Tuesday.

Instead, the hearing resumed at the offices of Herbert Smith Freehills in Sydney’s CBD on Tuesday after some of the brightest brains in the land spent the weekend arguing the complex case at RA headquarters.

As well as the extraordinary length of the hearing, the cost of the case is also mounting, with the two parties thought to have shelled out an estimated $300,000 on legal bills since Saturday alone.

Regardless of the panel’s ultimate decision, the expenses are almost certain to keep piling up.


Australia hit with icy blast: Temperatures plunge 8C in 24 hours as Antarctic chill sweeps across the entire country - and it's about to get even colder

Above is the headline originating from the BoM that appeared in many newspapers yesterday (Wednesday 8th)

At 2pm on Wednesday 8th in Brisbane I was sitting around at home  wearing only undershorts with the front door wide open.  I checked my thermometer and it read 31.5C. 

And even at 9pm that night it was a little cooler but I was still wearing undershorts only

Don't believe ANYTHING the BoM says

Green eggs and Di Natale’s team of haters

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has been accused of double standards as he stands by two of his candidates who made racist jokes on social media despite condemning other parties over hate speech.

The Greens candidate for the seat of Lalor, Jay Dessi, joked about having sex with children and dead people, made a racist joke about an Asian man’s eyes, posted a cartoon about oral sex and liked a post about abortion and child pornography. Next to a photograph of an Asian friend wearing a frog hat, Mr Dessi wrote: “Which eyes are the real eyes?”

In the Northern Territory seat of Lingiari, Greens candidate George Hanna has refused to apologise directly for sharing a meme in which Liberal candidate Jacinta Price was called a “coconut”

When asked if he would disendorse the candidate, Senator Di Natale told the ABC: “I’m getting a briefing on that. They have given a full apology, in particular the gentleman in the Northern Territory, himself an aboriginal man.”

Senator Di Natale also downplayed links between his party and the woman who tried to egg Scott Morrison yesterday at a Country Women’s Association event.

Amber Holt, who was tackled by secrutiy staff immediately after throwing the egg, has shared numerous Facebook posts in support of the Greens and labelled all right-wing Australian politicians Nazis.

Senator Di Natale distanced himself from the protester, telling the ABC: “There are millions of people who vote for the Greens.” He branded the attack on Mr Morrison “disgraceful”.

“We’ve made it very clear that the way to defeat a rotten government - and this has been one of the most rotten governments in this country’s history - is in 10 days’ time at the ballot box,” he said.

Mr Hanna, who is Aboriginal, told Darwin radio he did not believe the meme he reposted was racist. “It (coconut) is a derogatory term used by Aboriginal people against other Aboriginal people that they feel don’t do the right thing by them,” he said.

He said the Liberals were “pulling for the race card because they’re ­struggling in this electorate”.

Resources Minister Matthew Canavan urged Senator Di Natale to sack his candidate. “I’m not going to hold my breath, but if Richard Di Natale had any standards over his party then this ­candidate would be ­immediately sacked,” Senator Canavan said.

Mr Dessi’s online conduct came to light after the Greens member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, said last week his Labor ­opponent Luke Creasey’s decision to resign was the right one. Mr Creasey was caught having made offensive posts on Facebook.

Labor MP Joanne Ryan, who holds Lalor, said Mr Dessi’s comments were insensitive, offensive and demonstrated poor judgment from someone seeking public ­office. “Adam Bandt and Richard Di Natale need to explain why there is one standard for Greens candidates and another for everyone else,” Ms Ryan said.

Mr Dessi, a financial technology developer, said he was “truly sorry for the language used” in ­social media posts he made years ago and comments he shared.

“The language and content was plainly offensive, and doesn’t reflect who I am today,” he said. “I apologise unreservedly to anyone that it may have hurt.”

A Greens spokesman said the party was disappointed by his language. “The content of these posts and ‘likes’ is contrary to Australian Greens social media policy, and he has apologised for that,” the spokesman said.

Josh Frydenberg, whose campaign material has been defaced with Nazi symbolism, said the Greens, who are running high-profile candidate Julian Burnside in Kooyong, were “extreme, ­aggressive and intolerant of views that don’t match their own”.

Senator Di Natale yesterday condemned Ms Holt’s alleged ­attack on the Prime Minister. “We think the way to defeat a shocking government is at the ballot box,” Senator Di Natale said. “We can have a fierce contest of ideas but we shouldn’t resort, no one should ­resort to these sorts of attacks.”

Scrutiny of Senator Di Natale’s candidates comes after the Greens leader pushed for legislation to regulate the media and stamp out alleged hate speech, targeting Sky News and News Corp commentators ­Andrew Bolt and Chris Kenny and 2GB radio host Alan Jones.

In the wake of the alleged egging attempt on the Prime Minister, Senator Di Natale agreed there had been a disturbing trend of physical attacks on politicians.

Ms Holt, 24, was charged with common assault and possession of a prohibited drug (cannabis) by NSW Police yesterday after allegedly approaching Mr Morrison and attempting to throw an egg at the back of his head as he mingled with elderly women.

She has “liked” the Albury Greens Facebook page and shared numerous posts from Senator Di Natale and NSW Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi but the party said she was not a member of the ­Australian, NSW or Victorian Greens.

Ms Holt said on Facebook she studied at Charles Sturt University but the university said she was not a current student. It would not confirm if she was a former student.

“The university does not condone or endorse Ms Holt’s behaviour. The university will not be making any further comment on the matter,” a spokeswoman said.

After the Christchurch terrorist attacks on two mosques and Queensland senator Fraser Anning’s comments blaming the atrocity on New Zealand’s immigration program, Ms Holt posted: “This is actually outrageous. My heart goes out to all impacted by today’s events in Christchurch. Why is every right-wing politician in Australia a Nazi?”

Senator Anning was later egged in an unrelated incident.

Ms Holt also shared an Internat­ional Women’s Day message from Senator Di Natale and urged her Facebook followers not to let the Prime Minister’s “bigoted views bring you down”.

Mr Morrison described the ­alleged egging attempt as an “ugly type of protest”, and called on Australians to disagree better.

He compared the incident to vegans who invaded farmers’ land and members of militant unions who “stood over” small business owners and employees.

Senior sources in Mr Morrison’s office said there would not be a review of the Prime Minister’s ­security detail, which had “acted very quickly”.

A woman who Mr Morrison ­referred to as Margaret was knocked over during the incident. The CWA said she was “shaken, but she is OK”.

Bill Shorten said the incident was “appalling and disgraceful ­behaviour”. He said any protests approaching violence were “completely unacceptable”.


Labor is making no sense.  Why would Labor be proposing immediate tax hikes if they really think the economy is so weak

Changing the cash rate by the Reserve Bank is always a big call during an election campaign. But it has happened in the past. After all, the RBA is an independent entity governed by its own act and its agreed letter of understanding with the government.

Labor, it would seem, was wishing for the RBA to cut, allowing Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen to further talk down the economy and to blame the government for this state of affairs.

Here’s the thing: it’s actually Labor’s lack of expertise in economic management that is on display at the moment. If Shorten and Bowen really think the economy is so weak, why would they be proposing immediate tax hikes, including the abolition of cash refunds for franking credits? It makes no sense at all. Bowen declares budget surpluses have to be achieved to build up a buffer. But again, if economic conditions are so soft, why would you not propose to use fiscal policy to boost the economy? Building up a buffer at this time is completely illogical if you are worried about the state of the economy and sluggish wage growth.

It’s important to note the RBA clearly sees some green shoots in the labour market that are generating pressures for higher wage growth. It talks about a strong labour market, significant increases in employment, a high vacancy rate and some reported skill shortages. The rate of unemployment is expected to remain where it is before declining to 4¾ per cent in 2021.

It is noted wage growth has begun to pick up, with the recent movements in the wage price index showing annual growth above 2 per cent. But there are lags in the process, with many wage outcomes locked in by three-year enterprise agreements. It is clear the bank thinks that wage growth will increase further, but bear in mind with inflation so low, real wages are actually increasing at a reasonable clip.

The final issue is what would actually have been achieved by cutting the cash rate by 25 basis points to reach another ridiculously low rate. It’s not as if there has been any demonstration of a strong positive link between investment and interest rates in recent times. In this context, doing savers and retirees further in the eye would achieve very little.


Australian Taxation Office lashed over handling of disputes

The Australian Taxation Office has been savaged over its treatment of small business amid accusations it used excessive means to recover debts even when tax disputes were being appealed.

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell called for the ATO to immediately cease debt recovery against any small business with a dispute before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal after finding debt recovery still took place in 12 per cent of cases before the appeals body.

To recover tax debts from small businesses the ATO issues garnishee notices to people who owe the taxpayer money, or banks that hold their accounts.

The notices compel their recipients to make one-off or continuing payments to the ATO.

But Ms Carnell said in a report released today that the ATO had overreached with its actions, which could cripple the ability of a small business to prosecute its case and keep trading at the same time.

“Strong forms of debt recovery action by the ATO, such as garnishee notices, can destroy a small business because it effectively strips funds from a small business’s bank account,” Ms Carnell said.

“Consequently, the small business is not able to pay wages, rent, suppliers or bank loans and the follow-on effects of this — bad reputation, no credibility and potential bankruptcy — are significant.”

The ATO chased debts from small businesses in 17 of 143 AAT matters and Ms Carnell stressed debt recovery action needed to be proportionate, fair and consistent.

“Although departure from policies and procedures may not be deliberate, small business cannot always rely on consistent and predictable treatment when there is a tax debt involved, and the consequences can be severe,” she said.

“Immediate action to improve ATO approaches is critical since heavy-handed enforcement action, such as a garnishee notice, effectively freezes a small business’s bank account and can … mean the end of that business.”

In April last year ABC TV’s Four Corners program aired allegations of “cash grabs” and heavy-handed tactics, including that the ATO rated staff on how much money they collected.

An ATO whistleblower featured in the program, Richard Boyle, was charged in February with 66 offences and may face years in jail if convicted.

The ASBFEO and Taxation Ombudsman were tasked with conducting inquiries in the wake of the revelations by former financial services minister Kelly O’Dwyer.

A watchdog last month cleared the Tax Office of allegations it conducted a “cash grab” using garnishee notices in 2016-17, finding instead that an IT meltdown was partly to blame for inappropriate use of the mechanism in its Adelaide office.

Acting Inspector-General of Taxation and Tax Ombudsman Andrew McLoughlin made four recommendations to improve how the ATO uses garnishee notices and deals with small business, all of which were accepted by Chris Jordan, the Tax Commissioner.

The ASBFEO issued eight recommendations including the right of a small business to seek a stay of order of any ATO debt recovery action when it’s before the AAT, and introducing external oversight and approval of garnishee notices.

It also called for any small business tax debt — whether disputed or not — to be able to be paid in line with the cash flow of its business.

“A solution is for clear and open communication between the ATO, the small business and their professional representatives to arrange a payment plan.”


 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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