Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Cop to stand trial for murder after an Aboriginal teenager was shot dead as prosecutors allege he was right to pull the trigger once - but not three times

It's easy to miss when firing a pistol so it is normal to fire off a string of shots to ensure an effective hit. And a person who is hit often does not react immediately so may give the impression that further shots are needed to subdue him

All that is perfectly normal and unremarkable so why is this phony charge being levelled at the cop? It is just to placate black activists who are baying for blood. It reflects the huge racial sensitivities of the era. The authorities have to be seen as taking the death very seriously

The deceased was an habitual law-defying criminal so his aggressive behaviour was in keeping with his record. But because he was black there is a furore. He was released from prison in October last year after serving eight of a 16-month sentence for unlawful entry, property damage and stealing offences with the remainder suspended. But he had allegedly breached his parole by removing an electronic monitoring device, among other offences.

There was “face-to-face combat” between him and the two officers. One officer was reportedly stabbed, which allegedly led to the teen being shot.

A Northern Territory police officer who shot dead an Aboriginal teenager will stand trial for murder, with his lawyers arguing he acted in self-defence.

Constable Zachary Rolfe, 29, was charged with murder after shooting Kumanjayi Walker, 19, three times during an arrest in the remote community of Yuendumu in November last year.

The teen's death was protested at rallies around Australia in the wake of African-American man George Floyd's death in the United States in May.

Judge John Birch on Monday ordered Mr Rolfe to stand trial following a three-day preliminary hearing in the Alice Springs Local Court.

Prosecutors agree that the first shot fired at the teenager was self-defence, after the officer was stabbed and attacked with scissors.

But they claim the second and third shots, fired just 3.6 seconds later, were murder.

Mr Rolfe was part of a four-member elite Immediate Response Team that drove 290km from Alice Springs into the Tanami Desert to arrest Walker.

The preliminary hearing in September heard evidence that Mr Walker wounded Mr Rolfe and his partner Adam Eberl with a pair of scissors in a darkened room.

Mr Rolfe allegedly shot Mr Walker with a Glock pistol three times as Walker grappled with Eberl.

Prosecutors alleged the second and third shots were not justified, arguing the IRT 'disregarded' an arrest plan by Sergeant Julie Frost from the Yuendumu police station.

A criminologist said that two of the shots were 'excessive, unreasonable and unnecessary'.

The case comes amid rising tensions about the treatment of black and indigenous people by police.

Scientists all at sea with alarmist barrier reef warning

Fancy theories preferred to the real world

A new scientific paper, received with great fanfare among inter­national media and Australia’s public broadcaster, the ABC, claims half the corals of the Great Barrier Reef are dead.

The paper is by academics at James Cook University’s ARC Centre for Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. It is a scary headline. But is it true?

This finding is not based on any tried and proven method. Rather, the researchers from James Cook University have come up with a new method of statistical analysis based on a complicated “proxy” to estimate “colony size”.

The study itself was undertaken in 2016 and 2017, just after a coral bleaching event at cyclone-damaged reefs. If they had used traditional methods and longer time frames, it would likely be found that there is actually nothing wrong with the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef photographer Julia Summerling wrote recently about how a section known as North Direction Island, saying that the island’s corals were “savaged beyond recognition” due to Cyclone Ita in 2014, cyclone Nathan in 2015, and a coral bleaching event in the summer of 2016. So it was probably not the most representative time to be sampling. But the headlines are based on proxy measures from just a few reefs at that time.

She now says those areas have since recovered. “What I saw — and photographed — I could hardly believe. Young dinner-plate-sized corals were crammed into every available space on the limestone plateau as far as I could see, bristling with iconic fish life, from maori wrasse and coral trout to bumphead parrotfish and sweetlips. I swam a long way on the dive, checking to see how far the coral shelf stretched. The further I swam, the denser the coral fields became.”

For a new Institute of Public Affairs film, in January this year I visited the Ribbon reefs with Emmy award-winning photographer Clint Hempshall to follow the edge of Australia’s continental shelf to find and film coral bleaching. It was meant to be one of the worst-affected regions — 60 per cent dead from bleaching, which the same scientists say is caused by climate change. But we could not find any significant bleaching. We mostly found jewelled curtains of coral, appearing to cascade down underwater cliff faces. So colourful, so beautiful, all in crystal clear and warm waters.

The problem for Professor Terry Hughes, who co-authored the research, is that his study was undertaken in 2016 and 2017 then extrapolated out to cover other years. All of the research and subsequent media attention points to a narrative that the Great Barrier Reef is at risk of imminent collapse from climate change.

It was for questioning this claim, and the quality of science behind it, that Dr Peter Ridd was eventually sacked from James Cook University. Part of those claims by Ridd were that a lot of the science coming out of JCU’s ARC Centre for Excellent in Coral Reef Studies “is not properly checked, tested or replicated, and that is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions, and the fact is I do not think we can anymore.”

Neither James Cook University, nor Hughes, have ever rebutted Ridd’s criticisms of the research.

This is what objective observers need to put into context when examining Hughes’s most recent claims. Ridd also said: “I think that most of the scientists who are pushing out this stuff, I think that they genuinely believe that there are problems with the reef, I just don’t think they are very objective about the science they do. I think they’re emotionally attached to their subject and you can’t blame them the reef is a beautiful thing.”

One quick glance at Hughes’s Twitter account and you will find he is critical of the Morrison government’s gas-led recovery, cheerleading for a royal commission into the Murdoch media and constantly criticises the Adani Coal mine.

The new paper by James Cook University scientists claims both the incidence of coral bleaching and cyclones is increasing, but there is no evidence to support ­either contention. The available data from 1971 to 2017 indicated there has actually been a decrease in both the number and severity of cyclones in the Australian region.

Coral-bleaching events tend to be cyclical and coincide with periods of exceptionally low sea levels. As discussed in a new book, Climate Change: The Facts 2020, there were dramatic falls in sea levels across the western Pacific Ocean in 2016. These were associated with an El Nino event.

Until recently, coral calcification rates were calculated based on coring of the large Porites corals. There are well-established techniques for coring the Porites corals and then measuring growth rates. So why do Hughes and his colleagues stray from these tried and tested methods?

Since 2005, the Australian Institute of Marine Science has stopped using this technique to measure how well corals are growing at the Great Barrier Reef. The few studies still using the old technique suggest that, as would be expected, as water temperatures have increased marginally, coral growth rates have also increased.

But rather than admit this, key Great Barrier Reef research institutions have moved from such ­direct measures to new and complicated “proxies”. They thus have more flexibility in what they find because the measurement is no longer one that represents coral growth rates or coral cover.

As proxy votes are something delegated, this gives the researchers at JCU the potential to generate what might be considered policy-based evidence. And yet without question, the media reporting of the most recent research is that “there is no time to lose, we must sharply decrease greenhouse gas emissions”.

Far too frequently, climate science has demonstrated noble cause corruption — where the ends justify the means. We will only know exact coral calcification rates, and changing trends in coral cover, when our once esteemed research institutions return to more traditional methods of measuring such important indicators of coral health and growth.

We need a return to real science that is based on real observations and real measurements and then we may find written in journals what we see in the real world when we jump off boats and go under the sea.

Elite $33,000-a-year grammar school enrages parents and students with new ecological uniform design - as it is slammed as being ‘reminiscent of wartime Europe’

image from

An elite $33,000-a-year grammar school has come under fire from some parents and students for the 'dowdy' look of its new eco-friendly uniform.

Firbank Grammar School in the affluent bayside Melbourne suburb of Brighton last week unveiled an Eco Uniform designed from fully biodegradable materials like nut corozo buttons in place of plastic and 'upcycled polyester'.

Firbank touted the outfit - made in collaboration with designer Kit Willow - as the world's first sustainable school uniform but the big reveal on its Instagram page attracted criticism.

One unhappy student set up a petition to protest the design, saying the new uniform was 'reminiscent of wartime Europe', 'impractical' and 'unflattering.'

The petition has garnered almost 900 signatures since it was first launched over the weekend.

'I fully support sustainable uniforms, but please listen to the people wearing them to make the uniform appropriate for the 21st century,' one person wrote.

'I graduated 33 years ago and our uniforms were less, dare I say it "dowdy",' another added.

An e-brochure released by Firbank last week showed a complete overhaul to the existing uniform in both the senior and junior school - covering winter and summer - plus student sportswear.

Willow became a household name in Australia in the early 2000s before making a comeback with her KitX label in 2015 - a brand priding itself on sustainable materials.

The school's principal Jenny Williams told parents in an e-mail the school board would meet on Monday to review the feedback to the designs.

'Changing a uniform is one of the most controversial things a school can do,' she said in the email seen by the Leader.

'All I ask is you remember our values and respond in a manner expected from members of our community.'

Firbank is a co-educational school at primary level, and a girls-only school at secondary level.

AFL Grand Final sees Qld lockdown hypocrisy hit new heights

As political rallies go, it was one of the better ones, with live music, fireworks, television coverage and a wildly enthusiastic crowd of tens of thousands.

The venue was the Gabba and the event was the AFL Grand Final, presided over by an empress-like Annastacia Palaszczuk smiling benignly from the grandstand as a conga line of players and officials read from their cue cards and thanked the Queensland Government for allowing them to play footy in the Sunshine State.

Thirty thousand people poured into the Gabba, and it was plain to see from the broadcast that many of them were packed shoulder-to-shoulder, caught up in the euphoria of the moment.

The state’s strict entry restrictions for Victorians were bent so far out of shape as to be barely recognisable to facilitate this one game of Australian rules.

Taxpayer dollars had been thrown at the AFL to facilitate it.

When asked on which date the Premier would prefer the game to be played, she indicated that she would prefer October 24, precisely one week before the election.

October 31 would hardly do, as the polls would have closed.

Her Government’s ineptitude plunged the pre-COVID state economy into a debt spiral that will make the post-pandemic recovery that much more difficult, but it can help organise a football match.

We should be thankful for small mercies.

My mother didn’t watch Saturday night’s game.

She passed away quietly in her sleep the previous evening at the ­tender age of 93, God bless her, and is now in a better place.

We are in the process of organising her funeral, but when it is held those attending will, by state government decree, be limited to 100.

There will be hundreds more who will wish to pay their respects to a woman who touched so many in her long life, but they will be forbidden from doing so.

Tens of thousands can hug and ­celebrate and slurp beer in a football stadium, but only 100 can stand in prayer, 1.5m apart, in the respectful ­silence of a church. What towering hypocrisy.

We will never know how the ­number of 100 was decided upon.




1 comment:

Paul said...

....about the treatment of black and indigenous people by police...

Its called having a ticket in the ghetto lottery.