Friday, October 29, 2021

University professor avoids jail after admitting sending threatening letters and underwear to HERSELF

Fake hate speech. It happens in America too

A former university dean has been spared jail time over her 'bizarre' fake letter campaign and will serve her custodial sentence within the community.

Judge Ian Bourke sentenced Diane Jolley on Friday in the District Court to serve an intensive corrections order of two years and six months for committing her 'somewhat bizarre offences,' he said.

The judge said he was unable to arrive at a clear conclusion as to why the academic had gone 'to such extreme measures' as cutting up her own clothes and sending herself her own underwear.

He could not find she had shown genuine remorse given she proclaimed to have only sent herself one of the fake letters, despite a recorded phone call of her admitting to being 'naughty twice'.

'At first blush' her scam seemingly arose from some sort of psychological impairment, however her maintenance of a very senior position at the university meant it was implausible for her to be so affected by a mental impairment, the judge said.

It was submitted that Jolley had suffered significant extra curial punishment by way of 'literally hundreds' of online media articles, damaging her reputation and preventing future employment opportunities.

'I am satisfied that it was the offender's own actions that brought these adverse consequences upon her,' Judge Bourke said.

However, the judge ultimately found she did not pose a genuine risk to the community and her rehabilitation would be better served outside of a custodial setting.

The former University of Technology Sydney professor was found guilty in July of 10 charges of conveying information likely to make a person fear for their safety, knowing that it was misleading.

The 51-year-old academic was also found guilty on one charge of causing financial disadvantage by deception to her work after UTS spent more than $127,000 in security measures protecting her.

For months Jolley pretended to find alarming notes, one reading: 'Goodbye, cya and good luck,' with her photograph and a red line drawn through her face. Another read: 'Chop our future we chop yours'.

The elaborate ploy between May and November 2019 included shredding nearly $2000 worth of her own clothing, and sending herself underwear.

Her employer racked up an expensive bill providing CCTV cameras installed in her home and office, monitoring alarms, private security chaperoning her around the university, and hire cars driving between home and work.

She gave evidence she had deliberately been caught writing the final letter so that UTS would dismiss her, saving her a three-month notice period if she resigned.

But she denied sending all the other threats, telling the court at one point she had been left 'horrified and then I was concerned for my (family's) safety'.

The crown case was she orchestrated the scheme to garner sympathy from the science faculty as she tried to close down the university's traditional Chinese medicine course.

The prosecutor said she was pushing for a performance-based reward of $40,000, on top of her $320,000 yearly salary, by having one of the most financially unviable courses in the faculty shut down.

However the judge did not agree this was the case given there was no evidence the bonus would be linked to the shutting down of the TCM course, nor did she have a history of being overly motivated by financial gain.


Must not approve of conservative policies on the ABC

ABC TV political reporter Jane Norman is once again in the firing line of social media critics for 'gushing' coverage of Scott Morrison's net zero climate plan.

On Tuesday, Ms Norman said the plan was 'practically achievable' while covering the announcement of Mr Morrison's plan to net zero emissions by 2050.

'There are a few heroic assumptions or statements made in this new plan,' she told the audience.

'The fact that Scott Morrison got a deal on climate, the fact he's still the prime minister, is a significant achievement given Australia's long and tortuous history with climate policy.'

Social media critics were quick to jump on Ms Norman's characterisation of the plan, focusing on use of the word 'heroic'.

'For the ABC to use the term "heroic" re the nonplan, it must have been in the [Prime Minister's Offce] media instructions,' one commenter on Twitter wrote.

'Jane Norman's relentless cheerleading for Scott Morrison is just embarrassing,' wrote another.

Twitter account @medianalystoz said Ms Norman had 'gushed' about the plan. 'LNP spin from the ABC,' it concluded.

Others noted, however, that an 'heroic' assumption in the sense in which Ms Norman used it generally means there is doubt about the accuracy of that assumption.

Contacted by Daily Mail Australia, Ms Norman said she had no comment to make on the backlash but that trolling of her on social media was 'nothing new'.


Big reaction in Australia to defiant South African cricketer

Waleed Aly has jumped to the defence of one of the world's best cricketers who refused to take a knee for the Black Lives Matter movement.

South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock made headlines around the world on Tuesday when he refused to take a knee at the T20 World Cup.

His refusal to participate in the anti-racism gesture sparked an explosive reaction in Australia, where indigenous ABC Breakfast presenter Tony Armstrong 'saw red' and blasted the South African's actions as 'racist' live on air.

De Kock, who comes from a mixed race family, issued an apology and explained his actions by saying he felt his rights were 'taken away' after players were instructed just hours before the game to take a knee.

The Project co-host, who is of Egyptian background and is Muslim, leapt to de Kock's defence and said he understood the cricketer's reluctance.

'Especially when it came out that he was just told on the way to the ground and all of that sort of stuff,' Aly told the program on Thursday night.

'I think that there's a thing that sport has to think about here, which is, it's one thing for sport to take a stand...

'It's another thing when you compel every player to take the same stand, especially when you compel them a couple of hours before a game.'

Aly said it was unfair of Cricket South Africa to spring the directive on players and that though he himself would have complied by taking the knee, he understands why de Koch took a defiant stand.

Indigenous ABC Breakfast presenter Tony Armstrong 'saw red' and blasted the South African's actions as 'racist' live on air

He has backed down from his fiery rant and described de Koch's apology as 'incredible'.

'Full credit it to him for coming out with such a strong statement, really explaining what it was all about,' he said.

Earlier in the segment, Armstrong, a former AFL star, explained why he 'saw red' and reacted so strongly to the controversy a day earlier.

'I felt so visceral about the fact that this player was not going to take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement,' he said,

Armstrong accepted de Kock's explanation and admitted he made a mistake by assuming the cricketer was racist for not taking a knee.

'I'm so glad that he's come out and said what he said. Because I think what he might not have realised in the moment was - just what it means to so many people,' he said.

All players and staff were directed to take a knee before the T20 World Cup match between South Africa and the West Indies on Tuesday night.

De Kock refused and instead pulled out of the match altogether for 'personal reasons'.

He has since apologised to his teammates and fans, saying it was never meant to be a 'Quinton' thing.

'I felt like my rights were taken away when I was told what we had to do in the way that we were told,' he said, adding he thinks other players were also uncomfortable with the order,' he said.

'I did not, in any way, mean to disrespect anyone by not playing against West Indies, especially the West Indian team themselves.

De Kock´s refusal to play because of the Black Lives Matter gesture sparked fierce reaction at home in South Africa, where issues of race and racism are constantly in the headlines because of the country´s history of forced segregation under the apartheid regime, which ended in 1994.

At the toss, South African captain Temba Bavuma said de Kock had withdrawn for 'personal reasons', but, after his side defeated the West Indies, Bavuma said he had been 'surprised and taken aback' by the development.

He said it had been 'one of my toughest days to deal with as a captain', but added: 'Quinton is an adult. You have to respect his decision, whether you agree with it or not. I can't force others to see things the way I do, and neither can they force me.'


Sequestration is a win for farmers

As COP26 in Glasgow fast approaches we see an increased media focus on achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and what can be achieved by 2030.

While net-zero by 2050 might be a legitimate goal much of the debate has tended to use it as a slogan in what is really a political campaign.

The debate is also focused on only one side of the net-zero equation, reducing emissions. Yet in Australia we have a huge opportunity to drive outcomes on the other side of the equation, capturing carbon which is why the Govt’s recent decision to include soil carbon sequestration as a key element in its net zero 2050 plan is a very positive move.

The solution is right under our feet – soil and soil carbon sequestration – Australia has an abundance of soil and soil that has been depleted of carbon over the past two centuries. At the Mulloon Institute we have a strategy to not only address this issue but in doing so help deliver potentially substantial financial returns for Australian agriculture and Australian farmers.

Since 2018 significant parts of Australia have experienced what Dorothea Mackellar described in her poem “My Country” as a land of “droughts and flooding rains” and “flood and fire and famine”.

When “My Country” was first published in 1908 Mackellar wasn’t focused on CO2 emissions and its ramifications on climate. She was simply recording what she experienced. We now have similar experiences albeit arguably more intensive. But Mackellar also wrote “green tangle of the brushes, where lithe lianas coil, and orchids deck the treetops and ferns the warm dark soil”.

With those words she was experiencing soils rich in carbon and that is certainly something we now have much less of. Scientists estimate we have lost between 40 per cent and 60 per cent of our soil carbon over the past 200 years. Herein lies the opportunity with a net-zero goal. Unfortunately, much of our farming sector has been spooked into thinking that working toward net-zero will be detrimental to their livelihood. The opposite is the case.

With so much soil carbon lost over the past couple of hundred years, the opportunity is now there to transfer it from the atmosphere and put it back where it belongs, in the soil. Carbon sequestration means healthier soils and more nutrient dense food. Increasing soil carbon is one of the substantial strategies required to reach net zero. Globally, soils contain more carbon than plants and the atmosphere combined. By regenerating our soils, we can sequester more carbon underground and slow climate warming. And our farmers can earn income by doing that through the selling of carbon credits.

Key to carbon sequestration is water. A hydrated landscape will speed up carbon sequestration. The recent IPCC Report particularly highlighted a future with less rain overall but more intensive events risking flooding and erosion. Therefore, the better utilisation of what rain does is crucial. Currently in Australia 50% of all rain that falls is lost through rapid run-off or evaporation due to poor ground coverage. Rectifying this can be straightforward and not necessarily expensive.

The Mulloon Institute (TMI) is demonstrating the potential in this approach in the Mulloon Creek catchment comprising 23,000ha with the support of more than 20 landholders. It is also one of just five global projects selected by the UN to assist in the development of guidelines for sustainable, profitable and productive farming.

TMI’s work has expanded to catchments in many parts of NSW, in North Queensland, WA, NT and soon Victoria. Demonstrating this work on the ground in partnership with communities helps farmers to understand the opportunity that landscape rehydration in conjunction with regenerative farming practices provides. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) soils, if managed sustainably, can sequester up to 0.56 petagrams of carbon (or 2.05 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent) per year, having the potential to offset yearly as much as 34% of agricultural global greenhouse gas emissions.

In Australia agriculture comprises 13% of our total emissions, so with our landmass, our farmers can contribute significantly to its reduction and at the current price of carbon of around $20 per tonne, but rising very quickly, that is not just a goal or a slogan, it is a great opportunity for our agricultural sector to get on board for net-zero.


Exclusive boys’ school dodges mask rule

A prestigious Sydney boys’ school has avoided health guidelines requiring high school students to wear masks indoors.

The NSW Education and NSW guidelines apply to both public and Catholic schools and also “strongly recommend” primary school students wear face masks as well.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the majority of independent schools have also decided to follow the guidelines, but King’s School in Parramatta has chosen not to mandate masks for its students.

A letter from headmaster Tony George said the NSW public health orders don’t require students to wear face coverings, and that the school would give students the choice of whether or not they wear masks indoors.

“It is important to note that the NSW Education Department guidelines are primarily intended for NSW public schools,” the letter read, according to the publication.

“The King’s School seriously considers all the advice and guidelines provided by all relevant authorities … it is the Public Health Orders that provide the express direction to independent schools.”

NSW Education’s guidelines also say singing is not permitted in schools, but King’s has said ti will allow singing if it is consistent with their educational programs.




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