Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Veteran principal who tackled a student to the ground to break up a schoolyard brawl is accused of assault and stood down

This is a great way to encourage chaotic schools.  The man deserves a  medal, not being stood down.  The police have cleared him, which makes the bureaucratic intervention even more obnoxious

A deputy school principal who tackled a student to the ground before being circled by other pupils with their fists up has been stood down over allegations of assault.

Associate principal Grant Walton was stood down from Perth's Eaton Community College following the incident in March, and an investigation by the Education Department was underway.

It's understood Mr Walton was trying to break up a brawl between current and former students on the school's oval.

Dramatic footage showed Mr Walton kneeing a student in the back to bring him to the ground, keeping his body weight on the boy's back as other students surrounded him.

'Get off him! Get off him!' students shouted at Mr Walton, before he stood up and released the boy.

The student then started swinging his arms at the principal while getting off the ground.

The video cut out briefly before showing the boy square up with his fists raised to Mr Walton, who shouted at him to 'get lost' and 'go away'.

Mr Walton had worked at the school, near Bunbury, for 15 years. 

Last week, the Department of Education confirmed Mr Walton was under  investigation for allegedly physically assaulting a student. 

The schoolyard brawl was reported to police by a parent, but Bunbury Detectives cleared Mr Walton of any charges after investigating the incident.

Kylie, the mother of the boy who was brought to the ground in the confronting footage, claimed her son was wrongly targeted. '(He was) grabbed from behind... for basically no reason,' she told The West. 'He did turn around and tell the teacher involved to 'F... off' and walked away, that's when it happened,' she claimed.  [Mothers always believe their children]

'As my son was walking off, the teacher involved came up behind him and kicked him, kicked his leg out from under him and threw him to the ground pretty much, and jumped on top of him.'

She said she had written a complaint to police after they cleared Mr Walton of any wrongdoing in the altercation. 

State School Teachers Union president Pat Byrne told the South Western Times that staff were encouraged to avoid any physical contact with brawling students. 'What they are required to do is do what they can to get help and issue verbal instructions to stop the fight,' she said.

Ms Byrne said the sequence of events that led up to the video footage being filmed needed to be established before a judgement could be made.

More than 300 locals and parents of students had taken to Facebook to defend Mr Walton's actions, saying he's the 'heart and soul' of Eaton Community College.

'Mr Walton has given everything to that school and the community. Behind him all the way as an ex student,' one comment read.

'This man is outstanding as an educator and principal!!! If he had to intervene it would be to save a child's life and for the safety of the other students. This is a huge mistake and mis justice (sic),' another read.

'Nothing but praise for Grant Walton he always has the kids best interest in mind. Hopefully he can return to his position as soon as possible.'

'As a parent of a child in ECC I stand behind Mr Walton. His actions are just protecting children. So with this rule does that mean if a student is bashing another student they will just let it play out?' another woman said.      


Queensland approves Pembroke’s giant $1bn coal mine at Olive Downs

Why approve this one and obstruct Adani?  Would it be that Adani is Indian?  The ALP has always been racist

Queensland has approved one of the country’s biggest coalmines, Olive Downs, with the private equity-backed owners Pembroke Resources expecting to spend up to $1 billion on the project in the state’s Bowen Basin near Moranbah.

Pembroke, run by former Gloucester Coal managing director Barry Tudor, will employ up to 1000 people with the 15 million-tonne-a-year mine to produce coal for export to customers in Japan, South Korea and China.

The project was approved by Queensland’s independent Co-ordinator-General with construction to start in 2020 subject to sign-off from the federal government.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the approval underlined the state’s strong resources pipeline across mining and energy.

“My government has helped facilitate more than $20bn in resources projects since January 2015,” Ms Palaszczuk said. “This has helped the Queensland economy continue to grow and it has helped contribute to the 192,000 jobs that have been created in Queensland since January 2015.”

While Queensland continues to sign off on major mine approvals like Olive Downs, the decision may rankle Adani, with construction of its proposed $2bn Carmichael thermal coal mine in the Galilee Basin hamstrung by a decade-long court and approval battle.

The latest hitch for Adani is a further review of its groundwater plans, forcing Ms Palaszczuk yesterday to deny her government is delaying the Indian company’s mooted coal mine.

Pembroke — controlled by US private equity player Denham Capital — bought Olive Downs in 2016 from Peabody Energy for $120m as part of a set of deals struck during the coking coal downturn when some legacy miners struggled with cashflows.

Olive Downs is expected to be in the lowest quartile of global mines in terms of operating costs with exports to be shipped out of Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal.

The construction phase of Olive Downs will encourage workers to live in towns, including Moranbah, Nebo, Dysart and Middlemount, to cut reliance on fly-in, fly-out staff.


ALP franking credit plan on nose in key Tasmanian marginals

And let's not forget Tasmania's disproportionate influence in the Senate

A growing revolt at Labor’s franking credits policy is threatening to cost it two key marginal seats in Tasmania, as MP Justine Keay revealed­ she took concerns about the plan to the ALP frontbench.

In Tasmania’s knife-edge northern electorates, where the political contest can swing on a handful of votes, Labor has alienated as many as 7000 voters over its policy to remove franking credit tax refunds, a key part of many retirees’ income.

An estimated 3700 voters are impacted in Braddon, where a uCommons poll earlier in the campaign had Liberal candidate Gavin Pearce leading sitting Labor MP Justine Keay 51-49 per cent on a two-party-preferred basis.

A further 3600 retirees are said to be impacted in Bass, which News­poll yesterday showed Labor holding 52-48 per cent two-party-preferred, despite a big swing to the Liberals. Some polls point to a possible Liberal win.

Anne Sadler, the president of the north Tasmania branch of the non-party-political Association of Independent Retirees, said “not many” retirees in the region would still be open to voting Labor, due to the policy.

“There is an enormous number of people badly affected,” Ms ­Sadler said. “Bill Shorten suggests we are the top end of town but we’re not, and that really hurts. We are just ordinary people who as a result of this are not sleeping at night, worried and concerned about our retirement income.”

Ms Sadler and husband Tim, who live in the Labor-held margin­al electorate of Lyons, stand to lose 30 per cent of their retirement incom­e under Labor’s policy.

In Lyons, which Labor’s Brian Mitchell holds by 3.8 per cent, Liberal candidate Jessica Whelan was disendorsed over anti-Islamic social media posts. But the Nationals and now independent Ms Whelan insist it is still in play.

Further north in Bass, which Labor holds with a margin of 5.4 per cent, and Braddon, Labor’s with a 1.7 per cent margin, retirees are increasingly vocal, storming into MPs’ offices and asking pointed questions at candidate forums.

“We’re going to lose $14,000 a year in franking credits. For all the taxes we’ve paid all our lives, we’re going to get a 20 per cent decrease in our income,” said Launceston resident and Bass voter Shane Dennington. “Bill Shorten is callin­g it a gift. It’s not a gift.”

After 45 years working, mostly self-employed in retail and wholesaling, he and wife Jenny, a retired aged-care worker, are angry. “I’m sick of being called a rich bastard by Labor,” Mr Dennington said.

The couple, in their mid-70s, say without the $14,000 in franking credits they would have to eat into their nest-egg, further eroding their income at a time when low interest rates made it impossible to survive on interest alone.

In neighbouring Braddon, ­fellow retirees John and Philippa Gray, of Port Sorell, fear the loss of $3000-$3500 a year in franking credits.

“It’s probably 10 per cent of our income — we will have to cut back on expenditure and eat into our savings,” said Mr Gray, 75.

The couple had been in “mixed minds” about which party to back. “But with Labor coming up with this policy, it definitely swings our vote,” he said.

Sitting Labor MPs Justine Keay in Braddon and Ross Hart in Bass defend the policy, arguing it was about “priorities”, with the $6 billion saved allowing greater expenditure on health and education.

But Ms Keay did not deny the policy was harming her chances of holding the seat. “I have had peopl­e contact me about franking credits,” she said. “I think where you have a significant number of people on lower incomes and retireme­nt incomes (it will be an issue).”

She had lobbied Labor’s frontbench about the policy on behalf of constituents. “It’s what I do with any issue when I have people come to me with concerns,” she said.

And she recognised that some of the voters impacted were far from wealthy. “In this electorate … they are probably getting less than maybe someone in Sydney and Melbourne,” Ms Keay said.


Bush jobs unfairly targeted as so-called big polluters to be punished

I have been around the climate change debate for quite a while and more tan a decade ago I was one of the first parliamentarians to ask questions about who would bear the burden of Kevin Rudd’s flawed carbon pollution reduction scheme.

And there is one thing that has never changed. Those in the cities who demand big cuts in emissions will be insulated from any direct impact other than the warm inner glow that comes from feeling virtuous and superior. Those in the inner city will feel good. Those in the country will feel the consequences.

If Bill Shorten wins on Saturday, regional Australia is in for a hiding. The evidence is in plain sight. Labor has confirmed that it will require 250 firms, which it calls “big polluters”, to slash emissions by at least 45 per cent by 2030.

If they fail to do so, they will be forced to buy domestic or international carbon credits to make up the difference.

Let’s take a look at what Labor considers are “big polluters”. It regards beef, dairy and chicken processors as big polluters. Labor considers Bega Cheese a big polluter. Queensland sugar millers Mackay Sugar and Wilmar are big polluters, according to Labor.

Alumina refiners that employ thousands of Australians are big polluters. The firms that produce toilet tissue are big polluters.

Incredibly, Labor considers Wagga Wagga City Council a big polluter.

You’ll have detected the trend here. The overwhelming majority of Labor’s targeted 250 firms are located in the bush.

Guess how many companies on Labor’s top 250 “big polluter” hit list are based in Shorten’s inner-Melbourne electorate of Maribyrnong? Not one. Guess how many in Labor’s deputy leader Tanya Plibersek’s inner-city seat of Sydney? Not one.

How many in Adam Bandt’s cafe-dense seat of Melbourne? You got it.

Compare this with the seat of Flynn in central Queensland. There are 22 firms in Flynn that will be hit by Labor’s new carbon tax. Those firms employ 14,283 Queenslanders.

Add to those an abattoir in the small town of Biloela that employs 450 workers, an ammonium ­nitrate plant in the even smaller town of Moura that employs 75 workers, two alumina plants in Gladstone that each employ ­almost 1000 workers and provide business to hundreds of local ­businesses.

Then there is the seat of Braddon in northwestern Tasmania. There are nine firms there facing new costs. Those firms employ more than 2400 Tasmanians in regional towns and include the Spirit of Tasmania ferry, which faces a $22 million hit across the decade to 2030.

Then there is the Fonterra dairy processing plant in the pretty town of Wynyard, which has 89 workers, and another one in Spreyton that employs 144. That’s important to a community just south of Devonport with a total population of 1660.

And in Western Australia, Labor’s climate policy burden is also stacked against the bush.

Labor’s policy will hit the state hard. Almost 50 WA companies are on Labor’s hit list and not just resources companies, though there are dozens of them. Almost every sector of the WA economy will take a hit: food processing, freight transport, waste management, minerals processing and manufacturing, public transport, water and building materials.

It will cost, on very conservative assumptions, these firms more than $7.5 billion across the decade. Most of this will go to buy international carbon credits.

These firms and councils employ at least 108,000 West Australians. And on top of the state impacts, WA will feel an out-sized hit from many national firms on which the state depends, such as Qantas, Virgin Australia and ­Alliance Airlines, which will face an additional $1bn hit.

Labor says the cost impact on firms will be limited and that the 250 companies will be able to reduce their emissions and thus avoid or limit any purchases of carbon credits. But Labor knows that is not true.

It contradicts all the evidence provided by business to recent climate policy reviews.

Qantas says “with domestic and international traffic expected to continue to grow, airlines have limited capacity to bring emissions below set baselines in the short term”.

Virgin Australia has warned there is a “lack of available technology to significantly reduce emissions”.

Steelmakers BlueScope and Arrium say technical improvements would deliver just a 1 per cent reduction in emissions.

Larger emissions cuts would be “unviable and risky” and a 5 to 10 per cent cut would cost up a prohibitive $200 per tonne CO2 saved.

Rio Tinto also has signalled emissions in mining operations will rise rather than fall, saying “increasing effort and therefore energy is required to extract ore, which leads to an increase in emissions intensity of operations over the life of the mine”.

Labor’s policy will divide Australia down the middle. Labor will sell regional blue-collar workers down the river.

The bottom line is that regional Australia will do all of the heavy lifting to meet targets designed and influenced by those who will do none of it.


Nissan Leaf electric car: too little, too late?

Nissan Leaf, $49,990

It’s annoying waiting at the Caltex counter while someone fumbles about for their credit card, and it’s even more frustrating to be behind umpteen cars in a bowser queue. Patience is a virtue unknown to motorists and our inner alarm clocks are calibrated in milliseconds. Fail at a tight parking space, or react slower than a drag racer to a green, and other drivers will lean on their horns impatiently.

So it’s a mystery why anyone thinks motorists will have the stomach for EV recharging times. Best-case estimates, for an EV with the fastest wiring hooked up to the most powerful DC supercharger, suggest 10-minute refills will be possible. Ten minutes? To most drivers that’s an eternity.

Of course, actual times will stretch much longer – 20, 30, 40 minutes or more. So you’ll park, plug in and seek a distraction. Well, good luck. There’s nothing about the average petrol station that says, “Hey, come and relax in our comfy coffee lounge” because there isn’t one. You get a paper cup and run.

Perhaps the recharging network – when we have one – will be different. Maybe it will spawn its own ecosystem of small businesses catering to heel-kicking EV drivers. Smoothie and a massage while you charge? Or a fitness circuit? Yeah, and maybe we’ll all become Buddhist monks.

This was front of mind while I was recharging this week’s electric buggy, the Nissan Leaf, at the NRMA unit in Sydney’s Olympic Park, the only convenient supercharger within cooee of where I was heading. Admittedly, it was a sleepy public holiday weekend and little was open. But even on a good day, the discount chemist would have been one of the highlights and once I’d restocked the bathroom there was little to do but wait.

It charged at the rate of almost 3km a minute – not bad, considering – but EVs don’t fill up like regular cars. They’re more like your smartphone: once the batteries hit 80 per cent capacity, recharging slows to a crawl. This is essential to avoid damaging or degrading the batteries. In fact, the NRMA unit stopped once it hit that figure and if there’s a way of over-riding it, I didn’t have the patience to find out.

Now you’ll need some endurance, because I’m going to rattle on about range.

If you own an EV, you’ll routinely recharge overnight at home and (possibly) fill the car completely by morning. The new Leaf, a tad optimistically, claims 270km fully amped – a huge leap over the first generation’s 175km. In reality, the Leaf’s range depletes quicker than the miles you cover and it’s line-ball with its sole rival at this level, the Hyundai Ioniq, which claims 230km. However, since on-the-move refills deliver only four-fifths of the stated range, I had 200km to play with.

It gets worse, because you’d be mad to run your EV down to zero – it’s impractical and doesn’t help battery longevity. So the 80 per cent ceiling has a corresponding floor figure of about 20 per cent; go below that and you’ll understand the true meaning of range anxiety. In the Leaf, you wouldn’t want to be stuck in traffic 40km from a plug.

Factor all that in, and without another refill I could afford to go about 80km in the Leaf before turning around and heading home.

In many markets, the first Leaf was the sole mainstream EV and with more than 400,000 sold, it’s the planet’s battery best-seller. The second generation has been available overseas for some time, and ahead of its local launch here in August, the test car was UK spec.

It’s affordable by EV standards but, of course, still not cheap. When the Hyundai Ioniq arrived a few months ago it reset the starting price at $45k. The Leaf comes in $5k higher and compensates with features such as intelligent cruise control and mild autonomy. It’s slightly longer than before, has a larger boot and, as well as increased range thanks to more battery capacity, also has more power (110kW, up from 80kW) and torque (320Nm, up from 280Nm). It can recharge using a home wall-box in 7.5 hours.

The Leaf is a pleasant enough car for shuffling around town, with the same virtues evident in any EV. It’s quiet, responsive and driveable thanks to maximum torque arriving from the off. With its low centre of gravity, it irons out most road bumps – although its suspension struggled once or twice with Sydney’s city tarmac.

But a few high-tech features aside, it’s been built down to a price. The cabin feels low-rent, despite heated seats and other comforts. There’s only one USB port in the cabin, when most new cars these days are bristling with them. The control screen can be invisible in bright light and the dash-top throws reflections into the driver’s line of sight. The driving position seems unnaturally raised yet the corners of the car are difficult to gauge – not helped by its over-large turning circle.

It steps off the line smartly, but without the surprising shove-in-the-back some EVs deliver. An e-pedal delivers lift-off braking a bit too aggressively, while the steering and brake itself are vague. And there’s one giveaway: the park brake is foot-operated, an antiquated device more at home on a cart than an EV with ambition. Most cars now use electric push-buttons instead.

The Leaf has carried the banner for “affordable” battery cars for some time and this second-generation model could have moved the game along. But the Ioniq is more appealing, and most new EVs are targeting a range of 400-500km.

So this feels like a missed opportunity and perhaps Nissan already knows it. Available in Japan is a Leaf e+ with about 40 per cent more range. It reaches Europe later this year but if this Leaf is any guide (it’s been delayed several times), Australia will be waiting a while. And who has the patience for that?


 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

1 comment:

Paul said...

Labor doesn't want to admit that it was a State Labor Government that put its hand up for Adani, and so they are trying to make it appear a Federal Liberal issue among the hairy armpits and Cafe lattes.

Labor owns Adani completely as a project.