Monday, November 07, 2022

‘A state of disrepair’: Australia's Home affairs minister slams immigration system

The Home Affairs minister says the system has been 'run down' and needs a shake-up.

In her strongest comments yet about the failings in the system, O’Neil blamed her predecessor, Liberal Peter Dutton, and revealed she had received expert advice that “tens of thousands of people” might be unlawfully in Australia, including many who are exploited foreign workers.

“We’ve ended up with a system where there’s massive visa queues and where the people who actually legitimately want to use the system can’t properly use it. And yet criminals who want to bring people into the country as slaves are able to somehow do it,” O’Neil said.

“We’ve got to change the way that this system operates.”

O’Neil made the comments after she was privately briefed by Australian Federal Police commissioner Reece Kershaw and Border Force commissioner Michael Outram in response to a series of reports in this masthead about organised crime exploitation of the visa system.

O’Neil was responding to Trafficked, a project led by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, 60 Minutes and Stan’s Revealed documentary program which casts a light on visa rorting, sex trafficking and foreign worker exploitation in Australia.

Among the reports was that of a human trafficking boss who entered Australia in 2014 and built a criminal underground sex empire despite having previously been jailed in the UK for similar offending.

“The migration system is in a state of disrepair,” said O’Neil said, blaming Dutton, now the opposition leader, for the problems.

The Trafficked “investigation has uncovered, repulsive criminal wrongdoing in our country”, she said. “There’s some systemic issues here about the way that our migration system has been run down … creating direct criminal conduct in our country and putting Australians in danger.”

The minister said it was vital to get “independent eyes on what’s happened here”. She wanted “answers to why various law enforcement bodies within the Australian government had information that was needed to prevent harm occurring in the Australian community, and that information didn’t get to the right people at the right time”.

O’Neil has already commissioned a review of how problems in the migration system – including huge backlogs in visa processing – are denying Australia access to desperately needed foreign skilled workers.

Trafficked has revealed how state and federal agencies have spent years issuing confidential warnings of migration rorting, involving syndicates gaming the visa system to bring criminals or exploited workers into Australia. This is facilitated by networks of corrupt federal government licensed migration agents, education colleges, fixers and people who rort the English language test.

Border security failures enabled human trafficking boss Binjun Xie to allegedly set up an underground sex network across Australia, and authorities have also uncovered repeated rorting of visa streams by Vietnamese cannabis crop producers and traffickers in Australia.

O’Neil said the revelations had highlighted “the failure of our visa system” as well as “dodgy educational institutions that are clearly set up as fronts to bring people into the country, some of whom go on to commit crimes”.

“And the question is, why was this problem let run for so long?”

“There are systemic problems ... It’s not about a bad apple here or there, but in fact this interaction between education providers, between visa systems that aren’t working properly and between migration agents, who are not properly regulated. There is a real problem here and that’s why I think this needs to be properly looked at and properly addressed.

“Criminals are coming into our country operating with impunity and no one’s doing anything about it.

“The expert evidence does suggest that during that nine years that the Coalition was in power, literally tens of thousands of people came into our country. They might be exploited farm workers, they might be women who are trapped in sexual slavery. The human consequences of these problems are enormous, and we’ve got to change the way that this system operates so we can have a properly run migration system.”

In a statement, Dutton said he had “zero tolerance when it comes to any attempt to exploit our visa system and vulnerable individuals”.

“As minister for immigration and border protection, I oversaw establishment of Taskforce Cadena … which specifically detects and disrupts criminal syndicates who seek to profit off vulnerable foreign workers,” he said.

He said he would support any further measures “to combat visa fraud within the Australian migration system”.


AIDS to language?

During the height of the Aids epidemic a body was established called the ‘Aids Council of NSW’. I’m sure in fighting that awful illness they did splendid work. But that epidemic is now over. So, was the ‘Aids Council of NSW’ thanked politely and dissolved?

Oh, no. Like too many organisations set up for a special purpose it just changed course, kept getting taxpayers’ money and did other things. Its current project seems to be to undermine the English language.

They now appear to see their role in Australian life as wiping out of the dictionary any words to do with normal family life. They are now telling employers to ban the words ‘mother’ and ‘father’. According to the Daily Telegraph Acon encourages:

‘…using terms like “primary caregiver” (and) “secondary caregiver” making sure we’re not referring to partners using gender terms like “mother” and “dad” is really important’.

Well, no. What is really important is that we ignore knuckleheads like this. But here’s what’s really alarming – up to sixty government departments and agencies including the prime minister’s office, schools, universities, police, the ABC as well as private businesses have signed up as members to the training schemes they run.

And who is paying for this? You are. They receive $13 million in taxpayer funding a year. I hereby call upon governments to withdraw all this funding. The Aids epidemic is over. Acon is no longer needed, and appears to have been taken over by fanatics. The public should not be funding the enemies of the English language!


How former NSW Police Officer Ben Smith was betrayed by the force he once trusted

All due to police fear of feminists

It began with a troubled, young girl infatuated with a slightly older, rising teenage football star, who was popular, good looking and not short of female attention.

The sports star, Benjamin (Ben) Gregory Smith, viewed the girl as a sort of little sister figure. Nothing more.

He had no idea of her secret obsession with him until nearly 20 years later, when it manifested in claims he had sexually assaulted her.

Smith, now 43, had been a NSW police officer for almost 10 years and had joined the Australian Crime and Intelligence Commission (ACIC) as a covert intelligence officer when the by then, grown woman, walked into his former workplace, and made her claims.

The fallout blew apart his life and career as a law enforcement officer and up until then, his steadfast belief in the justice system.

“I no longer trust the police, even though I was one of them,” said Smith.

“The complaint made was complete and utter rubbish. I thought naturally they (the police) would put the jigsaw puzzle together and I honestly believed that the matter would be withdrawn,” Smith said.

But it wasn’t. From that awful moment it took more than three years and two trials, which cost the better part of his family home to finance, for Smith to finally be acquitted of all 14 charges.

The first trial in ended with a hung jury. The second in came in with a unanimous jury verdict of not guilty. While being found innocent brought Smith great relief, the father of three says it did not bring him closure.

That, he says, would only come if action were taken against the detectives involved in the failed prosecution.

“Until people like this are held accountable and made an example of, things like my case will continue to poison and clog our justice system,” he said.

The torturous road to being found innocent laid bare what Smith and his criminal lawyer Danny Eid argue were conflicts of interest and misleading evidence.

The two trials revealed, Smith and Eid argue, the investigating detectives had not disclosed exculpatory evidence that negated the woman’s allegations, had not undertaken a proper investigation and had lied about evidence from material witnesses.

“I still to this day believe that they jumped the gun way too early and or were forced to lock me up by a senior police officer,” Smith said.

Mr Eid is adamant if police had done their job properly in the first place, Smith would never have been charged.

But Smith’s ordeal is not over. His attempts to raise complaints with the police watchdog, the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC), about the conduct of the detectives have become nothing more than a Catch 22 situation.

His complaint in March 2021 was referred back to the same police command he was complaining about - to investigate themselves. The police declined to investigate a number of complaints and found the others were not substantiated.

The failure of police complaint processes has been the subject of widespread criticism recently.

Samantha Lee, the head of Redfern Legal Centre’s police accountability practice has said the complaints system is failing to provide just outcomes and is perpetuating “an insidious culture of impunity among police.”

Gregor Husper, the principal lawyer for the Inner Melbourne Community Legal Police Accountability Project said the lessons for police investigating colleagues are universal.

“The Police Accountability Project has long advocated about the failings of police investigating themselves, and the resultant lack of accountability and risks of police impunity,” said Mr Husper.

“Misconduct needs to be independently investigated by a body like a Police Ombudsman, otherwise rogue behaviour by police will never be addressed.”


It is hard to imagine that police could get it so wrong, but right from the get go there were glaring problems with the allegations of sexual assault against Smith.

Senior law enforcement officials openly comment there is a current culture of prosecuting all sex assault allegations and letting the accused beat it - for fear of being criticised publicly for not doing enough.

Barrister Greg Barns SC, the National Justice Spokesman for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, agrees and said the case is an illustration of a trend which has gone from one extreme to the other.

“The police have gone from too readily disbelieving female complainants, to the other extreme where cases are often put up with inadequate forensic investigation, and that is not helpful to anyone, said Mr Barnes.

It is a culture and attitude that might explain what happened to Smith. But in his case NSW police took this to a new level.

The detectives charged Smith in December 2016 without conducting prudent cursory investigative background checks of the woan’s allegations, according to Mr Eid.

The detectives did not interview Smith before he was charged. They also failed to take a statement from the only “eye witness” nominated by the complainant before charging Smith.

If they had, the police would have discovered the eyewitness instead of corroborating her allegations - actually negated the woman’s claims, Mr Eid believes.

The detective on the case also failed to interview a second witness who could have given important information about the woman at the time she alleged she was sexually assaulted.

If the police had bothered to check the dates the woman said he assaulted her, they would have found Smith was not even the same postcode at the time.

At least seven of the 14 offences she accused him of were at a time he was suffering from a broken leg and Medicare records proved he was hundreds of miles away.

At this point, Smith said they should have been critically assessing the complaint.

“Our job as police is not to run cases with no evidence, Smith said.

“It was sickening to think that the police and the local area command that I worked at could attempt to create a narrative, rather than a search for the truth and the facts, to try and have me convicted of something I did not do.”


Living in the Latter Days

Viv Forbes

Australians are living in the latter days of the Anglo/American Empire.

For centuries, world power centres have been moving west – from Mongolia, to Europe, to Britain, to North America, and now Eurasia beckons.

The Anglo/American Empire today resembles the decadent dying days of Rome. Europe is becoming a green energy wasteland, the British Empire died with Churchill, and America has dodderers and adolescents in charge. Australia plans to defend the outback with battery-powered Bushmasters (good for battlefields with plenty of power points). The new Defence Minister has restored ‘rainbow morning teas’ (banned by Peter Dutton), and an Australian iron oligarch and green hydrogen speculator, Andrew Forrest, aims to de-power Xi Jinping by inviting him to the Climate Summit.

Every chapter of history ends with a flood of barbarians.

Australia has never seen the campfires of an invader – but our wealth and our powerful friends have bred a dangerous complacency in this fat lazy land.

Australians have always been sustained by hunter-gatherers, farmers, and miners.

Our farmers and miners produced wool booms, gold rushes, silver booms, coal bonanzas, and a cornucopia of meat and butter, iron and steel, oil and gas, copper, lead, zinc, nickel, aluminium, lithium, cobalt, manganese and uranium. But now green dreamers think we can afford to destroy our processing and manufacturing industry with solar/wind dreams, shut the gate on mining and exploration, and turn farms, forests, and grassland into industry-free world-heritage and first-nations wilderness.

The Comrade Societies have mastered one thing – conscripting all their resources to construct colossal war machines. And naive democracies are easily lulled into inaction by paper treaties such as the Munich Pact of 1938 signed by Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain, and Daladier.

In November 1938, just after the signing of the Munich Pact, John Curtin (Leader of the Labor Party in the Australian Parliament, and later Prime Minister), made this statement:

‘…I say that any increase in defence expenditure appears to be an entirely unjustifiable and hysterical piece of panic propaganda.’ Source: Hansard p1095, Nov 2, 1938.

Just ten months later, in September 1939, Germany attacked Poland. Then Japan attacked the US base at Pearl Harbour in 1941. By 1942, the British Navy had lost their prized battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse, Singapore had fallen, Darwin had been bombed, and Japanese troops crested the Owen Stanley Ranges and looked across the shallow sea to Australia. Surrender of Australia north of ‘The Brisbane Line’ was discussed.

Then US General Douglas Macarthur came to Brisbane with men and weapons.

Of the billions of people who live in the Asia/Pacific region, less than one percent are Australian. Australia has enormous natural assets with identified but undeveloped resources of uranium, oil shale, green metals, coal, timber, sea foods, and gas. Our only real title to this land is our willingness to use it and our ability to defend it.

Australia is surrounded by a marvellous moat – we need bayonets on the beaches, eagles in the sky, killer whales on the seas, and lots of savage piranhas underneath.

And we need an armed population. John Howard needs to be forever condemned for disarming honest people and then destroying all those confiscated guns. One day we will need them. (No gangsters or terrorists surrender their arms.)

In 1181, Henry I made it obligatory for every able-bodied man to keep arms. America won the war of independence with an armed militia. In the early days of the second world war, the British trained with shotguns and broomsticks and Churchill pleaded with America for arms. Yet Australia pretends we have decades of time for labour unions to build our own submarines and some politician felt secure enough to scrap and bury 23 old but airworthy F111 aircraft at Swanbank in Queensland.

Politicians love costly high-tech stuff, but numbers play a key role in any battle. Thousands of armed drones controlled by scattered individuals may be more effective than one massively expensive high-tech fighter plane. Soon a sailor with a rocket in a row boat may be able to threaten an aircraft carrier.

Effective defence needs community involvement and self-sufficiency

If today’s Australia was involved in an armed engagement we would rapidly exhaust fuel and ammunition supplies. For these there are only two options – make it here, or store it here. It is too late to look for it even one day after a war starts.

Australian politicians have ‘solved’ the looming fuel famine – they negotiated to buy crude oil stocks. But we will need a very long fuel delivery hose because these stocks are in America, part of their strategic stockpile. And is anyone keeping an eye on what Biden is doing with that oil?

Australia at war would soon face a manpower crisis. We cannot find people to harvest our food, so the flat-white brigade is unlikely to line up for military service. Hopefully, we can rely on bikie gangs to step up? They can probably bring their own guns.

The cadet movement has been a valuable prep-school for recruitment and training for the armed services since 1903. But it has been gutted. Gough Whitlam disbanded the cadet corps in 1975 and since then it has been a political plaything. Judging from its website, it is now a toughened-up girl guides unit.

Officialdom has also been largely hostile to rifle clubs that teach small arms skills, the Army Reserve is just a plaything, and today’s youth are told it is wrong to fight, no matter how provoked.

Timid Tim was taught

‘It is wrong to fight’,

But Roaring Bill who killed him,

Thought it was all right

Undoubtedly there is a place for women in our armed forces, but not in mixed-sex units where some men are likely to be either over-protective or over-amorous to the female members. An Aussie Amazon Battalion armed with machine pistols and lasers could be a formidable force, but no bi-sexual platoons thanks.

Russia and China recently signed a defence alliance. Will we take notice when they are joined by Iran and North Korea, or even Turkey, Afghanistan, Argentina, Syria, or Pakistan?

Australia is a ripe melon defended by a small population, many of whom are chatting on social media, basking at the beach, or drinking in the pub. We waste resources in pointless climate wars, pacifists infect our Parliaments, and Green politicians want to slash defence spending by 50 per cent.

We need international friends and allies. The recent treaty with Japan and the Aukus treaty are worthwhile, and good relations with Indonesia are essential.

But when the chips are down, we will have to defend ourselves. That will require tough troops, with big guns, little guns, motor fuels, ammunition, allies, and treaties.




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