Monday, September 16, 2019

Union Wages Push Would Sabotage Economic Growth
“The economy and the community cannot afford the economic vandalism that the CFMMEU is pursuing in through its proposed pattern agreement in New South Wales,” Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

“It is highly irresponsible of the CFMMEU to propose an agreement that will threaten infrastructure investment, discourage business investment and choke productivity at a time when the economy is experiencing low economic growth,” she said.

“Wages in our industry are hardly low by community standards or stagnant but the proposed CFMMEU agreement in NSW is beyond a joke. For example they want to ban concrete pours after 11.00am while claiming a ‘productivity allowance’,” Denita Wawn said.

“This is just another example of the CFMMEU treating the community with contempt. This union already bullies and intimidates small businesses on a daily basis construction sites, its officials remain in their positions of power and privilege regardless of how many laws they break and now they are seeking to bring in an agreement that will undermine the economy. The community cannot afford the CFMMEU,” Denita Wawn said.

Via email.  For more information contact: Ben Carter, National Director, Media & Public Affairs, 0447 775 507

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s recommendations for discrimination law reform — which look like they wish to reverse the onus of proof — should concern everyone

In their pursuit to achieve a society devoid of discrimination, they risk undermining natural justice.

Discrimination laws exist to provide redress for victims of egregious acts of discrimination. Given the potential consequences (stress, loss of time and money) that both a plaintiff and accused endure, the process should be appropriately difficult.

However, according to a recent Australian Human Rights Commission discussion paper, the complaints handling process “…should operate in a manner that ensures the availability and accessibility of the process.”

Seemingly innocuous but — when taken in conjunction with their recommendations in the same discussion paper — it reads as if they want to make it easier for people to bring complaints.

The AHRC believes “Consideration should…be given to whether there should be any change to discrimination laws regarding the evidentiary onus of proof.”

Details on this point are scarce. However, previous attempts to alter Australia’s federal discrimination laws provide an insight into the potential make-up of such changes.

A clause proposed in the Gillard Government’s Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 was interpreted by many as reversing the onus of proof.

That is, once a prima facie case has been established — although Labor could not say definitively if it was a prima facie test — respondents would need to prove their conduct was not unlawfully discriminatory.

Under this model, those accused of discrimination would be required to prove their innocence. This unacceptable infringement on the presumption of innocence was thankfully avoided at the time.

The aim of discrimination law should not be to make it easier to make complaints.

Any suggestion that the evidentiary burden of proof needs amending should be immediately abandoned


World class education needn’t cost the world

This year's educational testing isn’t cold yet, but we already have more evidence that we are doing it wrong when it comes to schooling.

For those who swallowed the Gonski hoax, an apparent lack of funding is the culprit for our educational malaise.

But the OECD’s annual Education at a Glance report released this week conclusively shows we spend considerably more per student than the OECD average — even after taking into account differences in costs and teacher wages between countries. Many nations that achieve better than us spend less than we do.

By any measure, there is no denying Australia is a big spender, despite having little to show for it.

However, there is one exception — we spend the least in the OECD on vocational education. This makes it all the more disappointing that COAG last month decided to kick the VET can to 2020, rather than get to work now on the fix. According to Australian data released last week, the number of students taking VET in schools decreased by 7% since 2014, and school-based apprenticeships have declined by 13%. Despite schooling being awash with cash, it would seem that VET is being left behind.

We are also spending more time in class than our OECD peers, but appear to have the wrong priorities. We spend relatively less time on reading, writing, literature, and science — while we are dedicating more time to technology. At secondary level, we also spend less time on mathematics. Little wonder Australian students have performed poorly in the international PISA tests covering reading, mathematical, and scientific literacy.

To right the ship, we might heed the OECD’s Education Director, Andreas Schleicher’s, advice on what makes school systems ‘world class’. He includes: spending money wisely (rather than spending more); setting and delivering high expectations; recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers; aligning incentives; school autonomy; and developing capable school leaders.

If we are to take an honest look at ourselves against these traits, we are tracking well off course from the world class trajectory.

However, Australia can — and arguably should — have a world class education system. High performing countries that spend considerably less than us have shown it doesn’t have to cost the world.

Yet, this goes against the grain of our discourse — which foolishly assumes that the level of funding is the benchmark for educational success. Shifting the mindset from inputs to outcomes is a place to start if we genuinely aspire to be world class.


Hanson calls to overhaul child support system: Wants to help men

Senator Pauline Hanson has intensified calls to overhaul the child support system, claiming non-custodial [mostly men] parents are struggling to survive.

Senator Hanson called on the government to change the rules so child support owed by non-custodial parents would be based on a 38-hour week.

This would allow overtime payments and earnings from a second job to be quarantined.

Attorney-General Christian Porter has been sent the Senator’s terms of reference.

An inquiry into family law has been high on One Nation’s agenda since before the May federal election.


Australian justice in the dock

by George Weigel

Consider this sequence of events, familiar to some but evidently not to others:

March 2013: Prior to any credible reports of misbehavior being made against Cardinal George Pell, police in Australia’s state of Victoria launch “Operation Tethering,” a sting aimed at the former archbishop of Melbourne (who by this time is prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the economy). “Tethering” includes newspaper ads seeking information on previously unreported, untoward goings-on at the Melbourne cathedral in the past.

Early 2017: The office of Public Prosecutions in Melbourne twice returns a brief to those who mounted “Operation Tethering,” criticizing the Victoria Police brief as inadequate for a prosecution.

June 2017: Charges of “historic sexual abuse” from 20 years prior are announced by the director of public prosecutions and Pell is ordered home. The cardinal vehemently denies any misconduct and, despite his Vatican diplomatic immunity, immediately returns to Australia to defend his honor and that of the Church.

May 2018:  At the “committal hearing,” a magistrate dismisses several charges against Pell but sends others to trial, saying that, whatever their arguable plausibility, they should be aired publicly in a criminal court. Meanwhile, a vicious, lynch-mob atmosphere continues to surround Cardinal Pell, in public and in much of the Australian media.

September 2018: At the trial, the prosecution presents no corroborating evidence that the alleged crimes ever took place; the prosecution’s case is the tale told by the complainant, who only appears on videotape. Numerous witnesses for the defense testify that the alleged acts of abuse could not have happened in a secured area of a busy cathedral immediately after Sunday Mass, with then-Archbishop Pell fully vested and surrounded by liturgical ministers, in the time frame alleged. After several days of deliberation, the trial judge tells the jury that he will accept an 11-1 verdict, if one juror is blocking unanimity. The jury then returns a hung verdict—10-2 for acquittal—the jury foreman weeping when announcing the jury’s inability to reach a legal conclusion; other jurors are also reported in tears. 

December 2018: At Cardinal Pell’s retrial, his defense team further demolishes the prosecution case, for which, again, no corroborating evidence is presented. The jury then returns a 12-0 verdict of guilty, shocking virtually everyone in attendance at the trial (and, according to some present, the trial judge).

March 2019: While sentencing the cardinal to six years in prison, the trial judge never indicates that he agrees with the second jury’s verdict, stating only that he is doing what the law requires under the circumstances. 

June 2019: At an appeal hearing before a three-member panel of the Victoria Supreme Court, the judges sharply criticize the flimsiness of the prosecution’s case.

August 21, 2019: The appellate panel rejects Cardinal Pell’s appeal by a 2-1 vote. The dissenting judge, Mark Weinberg, is Australia’s most prominent criminal-law jurist; the two judges rejecting the appeal have little or no criminal-law experience. Judge Weinberg’s 202-page dissent eviscerates his colleagues’ position, which raises the gravest questions as to whether “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” remains the standard necessary for conviction in Victoria—not least on a completely uncorroborated charge.

In the wake of last month’s incomprehensible and (as measured by Judge Weinberg’s dissent) dangerous rejection of Cardinal Pell’s appeal, Catholic voices were heard expressing (or demanding) respect for the justice system in Australia. Perhaps the Vatican press spokesman must say such things for diplomatic purposes, although the reason why diplomatic concerns trump truth and justice in the Holy See Press Office is unclear. But as this chronology indicates, there is no reason to respect a process that reeks of system failure at every point, from the dubious and perhaps corrupt police investigation through the committal hearing, the two trials, and the appeal. There are guilty parties here. But Cardinal George Pell is not one of them.

As this scandalous process approaches the High Court of Australia, friends of Australia, both Down Under and throughout the world, must send a simple message, repeatedly: George Pell is an innocent man who was falsely accused and has been unjustly convicted of crimes he did not commit. It is not George Pell who is in the dock, now, but the administration of justice in Australia. And the only way to restore justice is for Cardinal Pell to be vindicated by the highest court in the land.

Those who cannot bring themselves to say that, in Australia or elsewhere, necessarily share in the ignominy that Australian criminal justice has, thus far, brought upon itself.


 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...

I know someone who has had a frivolous and crazy accusation made against her to AHPRA (the health practitioner licensing body) and the process is quite completely a guilty unless you can prove yourself innocent process. I guess they get around it by claiming it not to be a legal/Judicial process but an administrative one.

That actually does happen....someone doesn't like someone so they get denounced to AHPRA, usually something about drug-taking (easy to suspect but hard to prove). The career and personal damage lies in the fact of the process more so than the outcome and some bitches know this.