Friday, January 22, 2021

Would-be Canberra car salesman wins $46k after tribunal finds he was discriminated against over road rage offences

A person with convictions for road rage is fit to be a car salesman?

A Canberra man has successfully sued the ACT Government for more than $46,000 after he was refused a car sales licence because of two prior road rage convictions.

Last week the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) found the ACT Commissioner for Fair Trading had discriminated against the man when they rejected his application for a motor vehicles sales licence in 2018.

The would-be car salesman successfully argued two "irrelevant" criminal convictions were used as basis to reject his application, which he said led to financial and emotional distress.

Road rage incidents

ACAT heard the man had applied for the licence in 2018, but two separate criminal convictions for property damage and assault showed up during a police record check.

The tribunal heard first offence took place in 2016 when the man hurled a small sledgehammer through the front windscreen of another driver's vehicle during a road rage incident.

The second conviction was from an incident two months later where the man spat in another driver's face during a dispute, resulting in a good behaviour bond.

The man told government staff in an email that he suffered from a permanent back injury and had suffered a deterioration in his mental and physical health in the lead up to the incidents.

"Metaphorically speaking, the overloaded ship had set sail and had now entered a storm en route to its destination," the man wrote. "As I reflect on the events and how I handled them, my only option at the time was to hang on to what I could as I embarked through this storm."

The man also claimed he had been "blinded by ego and pride" and had since addressed his behaviour. "I am no longer the invincible young brave man I used to be," he told Access Canberra staff.

"But the hardest battle for me has been to not allow the negative notions of the subsequent criminal records imposed on me to affect me mentally. "I have been a law-abiding citizen … Now I am labelled a criminal and have this stigma attached for the rest of my life."

ACAT heard after discovering the man's criminal record, the Commissioner for Fair Trading refused the man's application due to the seriousness and "nature" of his previous offending.

Senior ACAT Member Heidi Robinson found that amounted to discrimination, and awarded the man $46,766 in damages.

"The intention of the amendments to the Discrimination Act are clear: a person's criminal conviction should not ‘hound' them for their whole life, keep them out of employment, or cause them to be subject to discrimination," she wrote in her decision.

"I am satisfied that the applicant was treated unfavourably because of his irrelevant criminal record."

The government was also warned not to reject any of the man's future applications based on his criminal convictions.

Thousands of tutors register to help kids who fell behind due to coronavirus in Victorian schools

There's growing excitement about the start of the school year as Victorian public school students prepare to return to the classroom on January 28.

Some things will return to normal, like interschool sports and choir practise.

Other things will look very different as schools across the state hire thousands of tutors to help kids who fell behind during remote learning.

Overall, parents, teachers and students are feeling pretty "optimistic" about the new school year, said David Howes, the deputy secretary of Victoria's Department of Education and Training.

Teaching staff were exhausted at the end of the 2020 school year but after a well-deserved break they are "re-energized" and ready to go, he said.

"There's a fair bit of excitement around. There's a lot of enthusiasm just for getting back to school productions, school sport, school concerts — all of those things that were so very difficult last year," he said.

"People are pretty optimistic."

'Huge' interest surrounding tutors in schools program
The Victorian Government is spending $250 million to recruit and deploy more than 4,100 tutors at state schools to help students who fell behind last year.

Catholic and independent schools are getting similar funding.

It is the single biggest boost to individual learning in the state's history.

It is estimated about 20 per cent of children will need help to catch up.

"Schools are going through the process of selecting tutors to match their programs, and particular students," he said.

Mr Howes said there was also a desire to capitalise on the use of digital technology to enhance student learning.

"There's a lot of schools looking forward to taking that learning and putting it into place without the necessity of the pandemic to drive that," he said.

"I think overall, people are reenergised, certainly refreshed."

Teachers will get a mental health checklist to identify any student who needs additional help.

"That checklist is important — teachers are not professional psychologists and we don't want them to be," Mr Howes said.

"What we do want [teachers] to do is look out for any warning signs that students might need that extra support and then they can be referred on."

Mr Howes said it was clear some kids suffered from anxiety last year and schools reported a large number of young people were unsettled when they returned to school.

"There was this pattern that kids were really excited to first come back and then they found they had to adjust … to being around a large group of people," he said.

"Then there were some kids who really thrived and learned at their own pace."

When classes resume, school life will look a lot more normal, Mr Howes said.

Masks will be recommended for secondary school students, but they won't be mandatory.

Things like choir and interschool sport are now back on the agenda.

"Kids can participate in full contact sport and non-contact sports," he said.

"Woodwind instruments — that there was a lot of interest in — will be back.

"We're asking schools to be cautious around that. So make sure there's adequate ventilation, limiting the number of students who might participate at any one time."

Drinking fountains will be working again and parents will be allowed back on to the school grounds — something particularly important for prep students.

"Parents and carers on that really important day when they send their children off to school," Mr Howes said.

Parents will have to register their details if they are at the school for more than 15 minutes in case contact tracing is necessary at a later date.

Virtue signalling does nothing to make lives of indigenous Australians safer

Moves to change the date of Australia Day, or ignore it altogether at the cricket, is pointless, divisive — and won’t help indigenous Australians, writes Aboriginal Jacinta Price

Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon has declared Zali Steggall will only be a one-term MP after her comments surrounding a minute silence on Australia Day clearly “does not reflect the views” of her electorate.

Right now the lives and wellbeing of all Australians depends on a unified nation, and Australia Day is more important than ever.

In Abraham Lincoln’s words: “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” And with the threat of COVID — coupled with the economic damage threatened by China — we have to come together in order to stand strong. To do otherwise would be a deliberate act of narcissistic self sabotage.

Arguing to change the date of Australia Day is arguing to establish yet another superficial and ineffective act of symbolism that will change nothing for the plight of marginalised indigenous Australians.

And virtue-signalling sporting associations like Cricket Australia, who claim to want to make next Tuesday’s Big Bash “culturally safe” by not mentioning Australia Day — perhaps in the spirit of “don’t mention the war” — are doing nothing to make the lives of actual indigenous Australians safer.

Would changing the date have prevented the recent tragic death of an Alice Springs woman, allegedly murdered in a brutal domestic violence attack? Will a different date halt the continued bashings and child sexual assault in our remote communities? Will it stamp out the destructive alcoholism and welfare dependency?

No. It’s pointless window dressing. A curtain that simply works to conceal the real problems indigenous Australian face by giving a superficial matter centre stage under a bright spotlight; while in the wings, women and children continue to be molested, battered and killed.

Nor will making such a change appease the aggrieved and offended minority whose goal is seemingly not to solve our most critical problems or attain unity, but to spark and maintain division.

Along with the continued planning for Australia Day protests, we have the recent example of the rabid campaign to force the makers of Coon Cheese to change its name — which ignored the brand’s innocuous origins acknowledging the cheese process pioneer Edward Coon.

And were the complainants happy when the name was changed to the equally inoffensive ‘Cheer Cheese’? No … they then whinged that indigenous people should have been consulted about the new name. And Sky News has reported the main activist in the case plans to sue for $2.1 million in damages.

This proof that bending to the will of the ‘offenderati’ never appeases them is likely to be repeated if we capitulate to their campaign against our national day.

But the arguments they put forward don’t stack up, in any case.

They claim we Aboriginal Australians, or ‘First Nations People’ as termed by the elitist politically correct, are not recognised enough within our nation.

If you are Aboriginal or of Aboriginal descent you are told by activists and self-flagellating sycophants that we are victims of our colonial past and continued imaginary white oppression. This false depiction removes our agency and fails to recognise our individual abilities as human beings.

It also plays ignorant to the forms of recognition of Aboriginal Australia that Australians participate in whether wilfully or forcefully year in, year out.

There are 11 official days of the year and one entire week all dedicated to recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Not to mention every single event, program, sporting game, theatre performance, school assembly, Council meeting, conference and email salutation where there is a ‘Welcome to Country’ or ‘Recognition of the Land in which we are so very privileged to be gathered on’.

To suggest Australians don’t do enough to recognise Aboriginal Australia is to suggest the sun rises in the west: it simply is not true.

If they can get beyond being perpetually offended, they may instead find they could invest their energy into supporting practical outcomes to overcome family violence, child sexual abuse, youth suicide, alcohol and substance abuse in our indigenous communities and providing genuine help for those who suffer real world disadvantage and trauma.

It would also be wise not to invest in an action that is capable of spreading COVID to some of the most health-vulnerable members of our community — Aboriginal Australians.

Our nation provides the right for us to celebrate Australia Day how we see fit.

No one has the right to suggest on your behalf what you do on this day and why you do it. No one has the right to attempt to gaslight you into believing you are celebrating genocide if you eat some lamb or sport an Aussie stick-on tattoo on January 26.

It is everybody’s choice as to how they choose to recognise what Australia Day means to them.

By all means choose how you wish but do not impose your choices on others; and don’t put others lives at risk.

I will be celebrating Australia Day with my Warlpiri, Celtic, Mauritian, Asian and African family. I urge everybody else to come together with the people most important to them, and celebrate what Australia is and help foster what it can be.

Daniel Andrews opposes Australia Day honour for tennis legend Margaret Court because of her LGBTIQ views

More harassment of Christians

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he does not support former tennis great Margaret Court being recognised with an Australia Day honour.

In recent years, Ms Court has come under fire for her views on the LGBTQI community.

"I do not support that. I do not believe that she has views that accord with the vast majority of people across our nation, that see people particularly from the LGBTQI community as equal and deserving as dignity, respect and safety," Mr Andrews said.

The Order of Australia has four levels, of which Ms Court's new status as a "Companion" is highest.

Ms Court won 24 Grand Slam singles titles and was the first female Australian to win Wimbledon in 1963.

The 78-year-old, who is now a reverend in Perth, wrote an open letter in 2017 saying she would boycott Qantas over its support of same-sex marriage. "I teach what the Bible says about things and you get persecuted for it," she said in an ABC interview last year.

In 2013, Ms Court wrote a letter to the editor in a newspaper lamenting the birth of Australian tennis player Casey Dellacqua's child in a same-sex relationship. "It is with sadness that I see that this baby has seemingly been deprived of a father," Ms Court wrote.

Her honour was supposed to be revealed next week, but news of the decision broke this morning.

Mr Andrews said he would prefer not to be giving oxygen to Ms Court's views. "But I don't give out those gongs, that's not a matter for me, that's for others," he said.

"You might want to speak to them about why they think those views, which are disgraceful, hurtful and cost lives, should be honoured."

One of the main stadiums at Melbourne Park — home of the Australian Open — is named in her honour. Mr Andrews said the name of Margaret Court Arena was a matter for other people




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