Monday, January 31, 2022

Scandalous deceit of parliament and the public

Bettina Arndt

How can we have trust in our institutions if governments can be hoodwinked into passing draconian legislation as a result of false, misleading statistics? We’re talking about totally wrong figures which claimed five times more sexual assaults than were actually reported and underestimated ten-fold the proportion of such cases determined in court.

This week’s intriguing story reveals how grossly inaccurate data was promoted and correct statistics suppressed whilst the media and feminist MPs scared the public into believing there was good reason to push through dangerous affirmative consent laws in NSW.

In March last year I wrote about the shockingly low figure of 2% which was being claimed as the conviction rate for rape cases in NSW. I questioned how this was possible, since all the data I could find suggested a very different picture, with every effort being made to push sexual assault cases through to trial.

In stepped Greg Andresen, one of the smartest and most tenacious researchers working on men’s issues in this country. Greg spent the next nine months on the case, starting with writing to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) which collects most of the relevant data, seeking clarification. BOCSAR confirmed they had no idea where that 2 per cent figure had come from and Greg embarked on a mighty investigation seeking to work out what the real statistics are and how the parliament and the public came to be so thoroughly misled.

He’s put together a timeline of the resulting paper trail, as he pursued relevant authorities to find out what happened. At the heart of the problem was a 2020 NSW Law Reform Commission report on the proposed sexual consent legislation which actually recommended against the enthusiastic/affirmative consent laws being promoted by AG Mark Speakman and his feminist colleagues. The NSW Bar Association warned that these laws “would potentially criminalise many sexual relations” and were likely “to result in significant injustice.” The purpose of these laws, requiring checking for consent every step of the way throughout lovemaking, is to find more men guilty of rape.

But the Commission’s report served another purpose. It was used with great alacrity by the feminist lobby who seized upon a key statistic included in the publication which claimed that only 3% of people alleged to have committed sexual offences ended up with a finalised charge. NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller was quick to jump on board, being quoted in The Telegraph saying “last year we received more than 15,000 reports of sexual assault. But men continue to get away with it – less than 2 percent of reports lead to guilty verdicts in court.”

Note that he’s talking about guilty verdicts, which are naturally less than the finalised charges which include unsuccessful cases, but either way the tiny numbers are far off the mark. The Commission screwed up big time, misrepresenting the true number of reported sexual assault incidents by a factor of more than five, which meant the proportion of persons of interest who faced a finalised charge for sexual offences was ten times what they claimed.

It took Greg nine months to get the authorities to acknowledge they’d published misleading data. On December 6 the Law Reform Commission finally published an extensive correction on their website, admitting they’d totally stuffed it. (Note – their correction is immensely confusing. If you plan to study it closely first read this guide, otherwise it will do your head in.)

It turns out that our criminal justice system isn’t failing rape victims. The Commission wrongly claimed five times as many cases of sexual assault incidents as were actually reported (14,171 vs 2,549)

The proportion of reported sexual offence cases determined in court was ten times more than the Commission first claimed – a leap from 3 to 30%.

There were 323 sexual assault guilty verdicts: that is, 12.7% of reported incidents led to a guilty verdict, not the 2-3% originally claimed.

Sexual assault is being treated very seriously. BOCSAR figures show mean custodial sentences for sexual assault are among the highest of all offences – three times as long as other assault and greater even than child sex offences. 57% of those convicted receive custodial sentences - about 4 times the rate of other assault and 6 times the rate (9.5%) for all offences. From March 2013 to September 2021 the number in prison for sexual assault more than doubled.

All these statistics are readily publicly available, yet our media and politicians instead chose to spend six months spreading alarmist misinformation based on the Commission’s wildly inaccurate statistics. “Many people [are] screaming for action, screaming for law reform and screaming for cultural change,” claimed Mark Speakman in one of a series of media stories quoting the misleading 2-3% figures. That was used as evidence of the failure of our criminal justice system to deal with sexual assault – all part of the campaign to push through affirmative consent laws.

Check out this sequence of events. Thanks to Greg Andresen’s efforts, the relevant authorities were made aware that the Commission had misled the public in September last year. Despite initial claims from the Police Commissioner’s office that they had used a different data set, Greg used a freedom of information request to obtain evidence that the Commissioner’s misleading statistics came from the Law Reform Commission’s report.

By September 21 the Commission acknowledged that BOCSAR was preparing a response to Greg’s enquiry – a tacit admission that they knew they had got it wrong.

“We expect to have it finalised this week,” a BOCSAR analyst told Greg on October 18 when he asked when he could expect a response. They claimed they still had to “run a few programming requests to extract the correct data.”

Two days later the new sexual consent reform bill was introduced into parliament and politicians lined up to show their woke credentials, one after another quoting the 2-3% figure as gospel, or screaming blue murder about the outrage of 15,000 sexual assaults complaints leading to such a low response. Green’s MP Tamara Smith was quoted in Hansard asking what kind of message is sent by the poor outcomes for this huge number of incidents, “The very architecture and fissures of the law around sexual assault have silenced and re-victimised mostly cisgendered women for so many decades. Where do we start to analyse the layers of patriarchy and marginalisation of women's voices?”

On November 18, Greg contacted BOCSAR to check on progress. The analyst claimed there’d been “some complexity in resolving the differences between the figures” and apologised that it was taking longer than anticipated.

On November 23 the legislation sailed through parliament. Within two weeks, the detailed correction had suddenly appeared on the Commission’s website. Game over.

Not that Mr Persistent has given up. Greg has put in a freedom of information request seeking correspondence between BOCSAR and the Commission over the past few months. And he’s been out there bombarding the ABC, SBS and all the other media sources who used the incorrect statistics alerting them to the Commission’s admission that they got it wrong. Not that they will do anything about it.

Luckily, there’s one politician prepared to stick his neck out. As always, Mark Latham from One Nation is on the case. He’s already posed a series of questions to the Police Commissioner and NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman, one of the key players in forcing the legislation through parliament. Latham plans to raise questions in parliament about the whole saga.

The question is whether the timing of all this was a coincidence or a conspiracy involving key government organisations determined to mislead the public and the parliament to ensure smooth passage of draconian new laws and set up the feminists for a very, very happy Xmas. Take your pick.

Either way, the Law Reform Commission failed in their duty to inform the parliament prior to debate of the sexual consent bill that the report they tabled in November 2020 contained major errors. The Commission was aware this grossly misleading data was being used to manipulate parliamentarians into believing the criminal justice system required drastic reform – and yet they did nothing.

This should be a major scandal and I need your help in ensuring it doesn’t pass unnoticed. Here’s a draft letter which I would like you to send to the NSW Premier and other members of parliament demanding a proper investigation of how this happened. With Victoria promising to introduce affirmative consent legislation this year and pressure for other states to follow suit, people living elsewhere should send the letter to their own parliamentarians and policy makers to warn about the duping of the public which has taken place in NSW.

On a light note, one of my correspondents has sent in this wonderful British television skit about pre-coital agreements from over a decade ago. It’s telling that these comedians assumed a signed and sealed pre-bonking deal would do the trick. Little did they know what the feminists had in store for us all, with the affirmative consent model requiring enthusiastic yelps right through the proceedings to avoid illegal behaviour. Wouldn’t they have fun with that absurd notion?

But sadly, this whole business is deadly serious, speaking to the capture of important government bodies by the feminist lobby which will stop at nothing in their quest to tilt the justice system even further to disadvantage men.


‘Treated like mugs’: Angry homeowners blast ‘farcical’ review

Furious homeowners have lashed out at the “farcical” situation that meant they were unable to post information vital to an investigation into the troubled building watchdog.

The Queensland Government’s review into the troubled building watchdog got off to a bad start when the official online chat room crashed soon after it was launched on Australia Day, January 26.

Homeowners complaining of inaction by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission labelled the review “hopeless sham”.

They’ve taken to social media to blast the “farcical” situation where they were unable to post information vital to the investigation.

“It’s bad enough that the Palaszczuk Government thinks so little of our plight that their review even includes what is basically a chat room,” said Mark Agius, who has spent more than $1 million on his four-year legal battle with the QBCC and the builder of his Townsville home.

“But it gets even worse because the government’s online-forum only runs till Tuesday, February 15 – so a matter of weeks – and then after you register your interest to take part, you can’t because the site can’t cope with the seemingly huge demand and crashed.

“While they eventually fixed the problem, it’s a farce and we’re being treated like mugs”.

Mr Agius, a telecommunications engineer, fears his Mount Louisa home will blow away in a cyclone after an independent expert pointed to 75 major defects, including structural defects.

He is furious with the state government building watchdog, the QBCC for dithering and then “agreeing to retrospectively downgrade wind speed cyclone safety standards without my knowledge”.

Mr Agius fears the speedy review will not have the time to process complex cases of botched building by hundreds of disgruntled homeowners.

The review into the QBCC is being headed by Jim Varghese, the newly-appointed Chancellor of Torrens University in SA who is also a member of Springfield City Group’s management team.

It was announced after serious allegations of ministerial intervention, conflicts of interest of board members and a lack of transparency.

Mr Agius says his home does not meet legal wind classifications, and insists a Royal Commission should be conducted into the QBCC.

“It is completely unreasonable that a consumer, a first homebuyer, has had to spend nearly $1.4 million to fight his case simply for choosing to build in a state that the regulator has lost touch,” he said.

“The public has lost confidence in the regulator. I have completely lost confidence in the regulator and its ability to perform its statutory obligations effectively.”

QBCC ‘fails’ to act over safety breaches and house collapse
“My home is entirely unsafe to occupy and is a significant safety risk not only to my family but to every member of the public living nearby,” he said.

“I believe the residential construction industry watchdog is failing Queenslanders, homeowners and tradies alike.”


Australia's health dictatorship and an Israeli critique

Australia seems to be sharing with the world novel ideas about how to persecute the unvaccinated. So far, it has been a raging success. France and Spain are now also considering banning unvaccinated tennis players from their tournaments and there are obstacles to competing at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Domestically, the decision of Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to revoke the visa of the world’s No. 1 tennis player has met with widespread approval. Australians have a tradition of cutting down tall poppies, hence the howls of outrage that Novak Djokovic had got special treatment in being allowed to enter the country unvaccinated. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are provisions for vaccine exemptions which Djokovic met — because he had had a recent Covid infection — as the Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke conceded on making his second attempt to deport the tennis champion.

In a wonderful display of Australia’s Catch 2022 Covid rules, tennis coach Darren Cahill said that an exemption for a recent Covid infection should exist only for people who want to be vaccinated, but in the end, it didn’t matter. Even though Djokovic had a valid medical exemption to compete in the Australian Open and had been granted a valid visa to enter the country, he was deported not because he was infected with a dangerous virus, but with a dangerous idea.

What idea? That he, Djokovic should be allowed ‘to choose what’s best’ for his body. Not in Australia. Echoing former prime minister John Howard, who said, when facing thousands of asylum seekers arriving on Australia’s shores, ‘We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come’, Prime Minister Morrison showed the world that he would decide what is injected into our bodies, and the circumstances in which it is injected. Sure, the federal government’s health website proclaims that ‘vaccination for COVID-19 is voluntary’ and people have the option to choose. But as thousands of doctors, teachers, paramedics and now Novak Djokovic have found out, choosing not to be vaccinated means choosing to lose your job.

Mr Morrison now finds himself in the tricky situation of having to explain why it is intolerable to have an unvaccinated tennis player in the country, when he has unvaccinated parliamentarians in his own party. Shadow Home Affairs Minister Kristina Keneally tweeted: ‘Mr Morrison cannot pretend that he is a wolf, tough on Novak Djokovic and his anti-vaxx stance, but a lamb in front of his own party room, unwilling to tell people like George Christensen, Senators Antic, Rennick and Canavan to pull their heads in.’

Since Mr Morrison relies on those parliamentarians to retain his own employment as prime minister, he finds them easy to ignore. After all, he only deported Djokovic to try to hang on to his job.

Australians, for their part, feel relieved that, even wearing their woke straitjackets, there is at least one minority that they have licence to loathe, to fire from their jobs, ban from social gatherings, and blame for everything that they hate about the pandemic.

Yet for all the self-righteous outrage about Djokovic, there is also a sense of discomfort.

‘If anyone is looking for a place to isolate, Melbourne Park looks like a great spot,’ tweeted one person. ‘No one is at the Australian Open.’

It must be galling for Australia’s political leaders and health advisers that, having bludgeoned and bullied almost every Australian into getting vaccinated, the country is second only to Israel, which this week broke the global record for daily Covid cases.

Morrison is desperate to point out that it’s not his fault. There has been no policy to let Covid ‘rip’. Regulations are still in place enforcing masks, distancing, density limits, isolation, testing and vaccination. What is painfully obvious is that they are not working.

NSW and Victoria have announced that booster shots can now be given every three months in a desperate attempt to stem the tide of infections. Good luck with that. A clinical trial in Israel has found that a fourth dose of the Pfizer vaccine doesn’t prevent infection by Omicron any more than did the third.

The avalanche of cases has prompted Professor Ehud Qimron of Tel Aviv University and a member of the Israeli government advisory committee on vaccines to deliver a devastating critique to the Israeli government in an open letter published in an Israeli newspaper. He slammed Israel’s Ministry of Health for pursuing ‘destructive policies’ such as lockdowns, restrictions and vaccine mandates out of a ‘lust for power, budgets, and control’, while ignoring epidemiological science, and refusing to adjust policies in the face of real-world data and ultimately to ‘admit failure’.

Professor Qimron criticised the refusal of the government to acknowledge that recovery from infection is more protective than a vaccine, that the vaccinated can catch and transmit Covid and that as a result Israel’s vaccine passport system made no more sense than branding people who chose not to get vaccinated as ‘enemies of the public and as spreaders of disease’.

He also deplored the fact that the government failed to adopt the ‘Great Barrington Declaration’ written by Sunetra Gupta, Jay Bhattacharya, and Martin Kulldorff of the universities of Oxford, Stanford and Harvard respectively which called for an end to ‘devastating’ lockdown policies. Instead, the Israeli government had chosen to ‘ridicule, slander, distort and discredit’ the academics and burn ‘hundreds of billions of shekels’ destroying the education of children, harming livelihoods, the economy, human rights, mental and physical health, slandering colleagues who did not surrender to the government narrative, turning people against each other, dividing society and polarising discourse.

The skyrocketing Omicron cases were not an emergency he said, the only emergency was that the same people who created these destructive policies were still in charge and held huge budgets which they would spend on propaganda and psychological engineering instead of strengthening the health care system.

Every word of this searing critique applies equally to Australia and to most of the Western world. How long before government advisers elsewhere start telling the truth to their masters? Now there’s a dangerous idea that our political leaders must desperately hope isn’t contagious.


When a corruption watchdog is itself corrupt

Tony Fitzgerald will be one of the chairs of a royal commission-style inquiry into the structure of Queensland's anti-corruption body, the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC), Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced today.

The bipartisan Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee (PCCC), which oversees the anti-corruption watchdog, recommended such an inquiry late last year in a scathing report to parliament.

That report stemmed from an examination of the CCC's investigation and decision to charge eight Logan City councillors with fraud in 2019.

It found CCC chair Alan MacSporran did not ensure the watchdog acted independently and impartially at all times.

Mr MacSporran, resigned last week – saying his relationship with the PCCC had broken down irretrievably which saddened him deeply, and defending a decades-long career where his honesty and integrity had never been questioned.

An earlier report on corruption by Tony Fitzgerald led to the creation of the anti-corruption body.(1 News Express)
Mr Fitzgerald conducted the landmark Fitzgerald Inquiry in the 1980s, which revealed systemic corruption in Queensland and led to the creation of what is now the CCC.

Retired Supreme Court judge Alan Wilson QC will also chair the inquiry which is expected to take six months.

'Very serious allegations'
Its terms of reference include a review of the CCC's structure in regards to its investigatory and charging functions, and the role of seconded police officers at the CCC.

Ms Palaszczuk said cabinet considered the PCCC's report into the CCC "at length".

"The CCC has enormous power. The check on its power is the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee," she said.

Integrity issues simmering away in the background for the past year have come to the fore this week for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's third-term government.

"These are very serious allegations and the report was given very serious consideration by cabinet.

"Who better to oversee an inquiry into aspects of the CCC than the man who created it?

"We believe in the checks and balances that are put in place as part of our democracy."

There have been calls for a wider inquiry into integrity matters within Queensland supported by two top bureaucrats — outgoing Integrity Commissioner Nikola Stepanov and former State Archivist Mike Summerell


Australia ready to fill gas gap in Europe if Russia-Ukraine tensions explode

Australian LNG exporters are preparing to fill energy shortages across Europe if Russia cuts off gas supplies, with the federal government pledging to support “friends and allies” caught up in the escalating stand-off over Ukraine.

As US officials scrambled to source alternative energy supplies for countries heavily reliant on Russian gas, Trade Minister Dan Tehan and Resources Minister Keith Pitt said Australia was ready to ship LNG exports to Europe.

European nations on ­average draw more than 40 per cent of their gas imports from Russia – Germany’s reliance is even ­greater – sparking growing concerns that Moscow could limit supply to the continent in ­response to the Ukraine tensions.

Amid reports US officials were holding talks with Australian and Qatari gas suppliers, Mr Tehan said the nation stood ready “to support our friends and allies in the current challenging and complex geostrategic environment”.

“The current geostrategic environment that Australia faces is the most complex since the Second World War,” Mr Tehan said. “This environment will continue to present both challenges and opportunities to Australian exporters now and into the future.

“As Australian LNG exports are expected to grow this financial year, Australian LNG exporters are ideally placed to meet any ­demand that may arise globally.”
READ MORE:Trappett: Putin’s move matters to us too|Jennings: There is still a slim chance to stop war with Russia|Boyes: Russia-Ukraine conflict may trigger global famine|Ukraine’s blacklist: Killers, lawyers, writers and spies

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday threatened to slap sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s financial accounts and interests if any ­attack on Ukraine were made, as Russia said it was conducting new drills with 6000 troops near Ukraine and in the Crimea.

Moscow, which already has 100,000 troops near Ukraine, has demanded in recent weeks that the country, a former Soviet republic, never be allowed to join NATO and a stop to Western drills near the Russian border. The Biden administration has rejected those demands.

With Canberra already threatening to impose economic sanctions and assist Ukrainian officials to repel cyber attacks, former ­Australian ambassador to Ukraine Doug Trappett warned Mr Putin was attempting to ­restore the Soviet Union’s “status and influence”.

“Certainly the effort and ­resources he has invested in ­rebuilding the Russian military and ­trying to make Russia a seemingly indispensable part of various ­conflicts – from the Middle East and northern Africa to northeast Asia – would seem to indicate it,” said Mr Trappett, writing in The Australian.

Mr Trappett, Australia’s first resident ambassador in Kiev between 2014 and 2016, compared Mr Putin’s tactics with those of China’s “ongoing grey zone activities and incursions with Taiwan”.

“As daunting as it is, only ­robust and united diplomacy from NATO leading to a clear Russian understanding of the penalties at stake for any aggression might circumvent the situation,” Mr Trappett said.

“Australia may not want this to occupy too much US focus, but nor should we underestimate what neglect by NATO might mean for the credibility of the ­global rules-based order.

“For these reasons, we should also not underplay Australia’s role. Our own vast security challenges and limited resources preclude the provision of significant military support. But we have more skin in the game than we might realise. We should be vocal and active.”

The Australian understands European and British authorities have been investigating alternative energy, gas and LNG sources in response to tensions with Russia over cyber attacks, militarisation and espionage activity not seen since the Cold War.

While local gas producers were unlikely to become long-term mass LNG suppliers to ­Europe, Australian exporters could help plug emergency shortages and attract premium prices.

Global demand for Australian gas is already at an all-time high, with LNG export earnings forecast to increase from $30bn to $63bn in 2021-22.

Mr Pitt said that as a world-leading, reliable gas exporter, Australia was “ready to assist with any request for further supplies” from European nations. “This shows how important Australian resources are to energy supplies around the world,” he said.

He warned that ongoing “lawfare” by activists threatened “not just Australian jobs, but energy security in countries that rely on our gas exports”.

The US government on ­Tuesday revealed it was in negotiations with “multiple” governments and energy companies around the world to prepare for a co-ordinated “surge” of output, in case Russia reneged on repeated promises not to cut off power to NATO members in Europe. ­“Disruption in physical energy supply transiting through Ukraine would acutely affect natural gas markets in Europe, ­including how they deploy ­existing energy stockpiles, which are at low levels,” a senior US ­official said.

The official said Australia and Qatar were party to these discussions but didn’t provide further details given the market sensitive nature of the talks




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