Thursday, November 24, 2022

Lying journalists stripped of Award over lies about conservative politician Andrew Laming

Not before time. They alleged that Laming upskirted a woman. But she was not even wearing a skirt. She was in shorts. Fiction masquerading as news is not new these days but this was blatant

image from


For the first time in its 67-year history, the Walkley Foundation has rescinded one of its prestigious journalism awards, ruling that a report into the alleged misconduct of one-time federal MP Andrew Laming was undeserving of the top industry honour.

Nine Entertainment’s Peter Fegan and Rebeka Powell won the 2021 Walkley Award in the television/video news reporting category for their reports on Dr Laming’s alleged misconduct; the pair also won a Clarion award (at the Queensland media awards) for their investigation into the MP.

One of the central allegations of Nine’s reports, which aired in March 2021, was that Dr Laming had committed the criminal act of “upskirting” – taking a sexually intrusive photograph of someone without their permission.

That claim — that Dr Laming had “upskirted” a woman at her Brisbane workplace — was subsequently proven to be untrue. The politician, who vehemently denied the accusation, was never charged with the offence.

In September, Dr Laming settled a defamation case against Nine in the Federal Court, during which the network accepted that the “upskirting”claim in one of the reports which was included in its Walkley Award-winning entry was untrue.

The Walkley Foundation sought independent legal advice from Will Houghton KC as to whether the award should be rescinded, and Mr Houghton delivered his advice to the journalism awards body earlier this month.

However, the Walkley Foundation opted not to release its decision on the matter until after its annual gala dinner, which was held last Thursday.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Walkley Foundation said: “The Directors appreciate that parties settle defamation proceedings for any number of reasons. The Federal Court proceeding settling on confidential terms and the limited apology by Nine was not decisive by itself to justify the withdrawal of the Award, but in all the circumstances the Board resolved the award could not be maintained in respect of the third report.

“The first two reports in this series contained allegations that were very serious and raised important issues of public interest, but the award could not be maintained solely upon those allegations.

“Accordingly, the Directors have resolved to withdraw the award.


Tropical cyclones reached Sydney in the 1950s and they could return

It's terrible weather but is NOT due to global warming

NSW could be impacted by destructive tropical cyclones this decade, and it's not because of climate change.

While only two cyclones have directly struck NSW since 1974, the state was pounded by a cyclone every two years from the 1940s to the 1970s, many leading to record flood levels and deaths.

What's concerning is the Pacific pattern behind the abundance of cyclones last century has now returned.

Tropical cyclones can reach Sydney

Studying 27 NSW cyclone tracks between 1887 and 2013 shows most storms impacted the state's north-east but some survived down to Sydney and the South Coast.

What's irregular is the majority of cyclones arrived in just a 30-year window from 1945 to 1974, including eight in the 1950s.

While cyclones continue to annually make landfall over northern Australia, during the past 48 years only Cyclone Nancy (1990) and Ex-Cyclone Oswald (2013) reached NSW, both bringing significant flooding and a damage bill in the hundreds of millions.

Where have the cyclones gone?

The inordinate frequency of cyclones from the 40s to the 70s and the disappearance in recent decades is not random variability.

A 2020 report in the Journal of Southern Hemisphere Earth Systems links NSW cyclone activity with changes in the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO).

The current state of the IPO and other cyclone influences has rapidly shifted in the past three years to resemble the 1950s. Meaning, the current phase of the Pacific is conducive to tropical cyclones impacting NSW.

How the IPO can impact weather for decades

The IPO is a shift in Pacific Ocean temperatures but unlike the annual La Nina and El Nino oscillations, the changes extend outside of the tropics and last from years to even decades.

A negative phase of the IPO occurs when waters along the equator are cooler than normal (region 2) while waters are warm off Australia's east coast (region 3) and in the northern Pacific (region 1).

A negative IPO phase was behind the flood dominant 1950s to 1970s and a period when tropical cyclones regularly visited NSW.

A positive phase led to drought dominant weather in Australia from the 1980s to 2000s.

The lowest IPO values during the past 100 years were in the early 50s, and 1950 was not only the wettest year on record for NSW but also a year when a tropical cyclone made it to Sydney.

The one year average IPO in 2022 is running at the lowest value since 1917 and the 11 year average is plummeting as a result.

Deadliest cyclones to reach NSW and Sydney

Before tropical cyclones were regularly named a system in January 1950 — labelled TC119 — made landfall on the Gulf of Carpentaria coast then tracked south and reached Sydney as a category 1 system about three days later.

Sydney recorded its second lowest pressure on record at 988 HPa and 114mm of rain in 24 hours. Ten people died and seven yachts were wrecked in Sydney Harbour.

This kicked off what became the wettest year on record, before 2022.

In February 1954, TC137 also dropped more than 100mm on Sydney after crossing the coast near Tweed Heads as a category 3 cyclone with wind gusts in excess of 165 km/h.

TC137 caused disastrous floods in Lismore and Casino, destroyed houses and led to 30 fatalities, the deadliest cyclone in NSW post 1900.

Dorrigo received 809mm in 24 hours from TC137, a NSW 24 hour rain record which still stands today.

Going back even further to 1911, a tropical cyclone made landfall in the Gulf of Carpentaria on January 5.

It travelled south to NSW before moving out to sea again near Wollongong about the 15th.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology wind gusts of 137 km/h were recorded in Sydney, equivalent to the speed of a category two cyclone.

Could cyclones return to NSW this year?

There is obviously no guarantee, especially considering the recent climate change induced reduction in cyclone numbers around the world.

However, if the IPO remains strongly negative for several years, a major cyclone striking NSW would be far from unprecedented. And with the population more than double that of the 1950s the potential damage from a tropical cyclone is higher than ever.


Senator Kerrynne Liddle warns of huge rise in Indigenous heritage claims

Liberal Senator Kerrynne Liddle claims the long-accepted test to establish whether a person is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australian is being “tinkered with” in favour of self-identification.

Senator Liddle, an Arrernte woman from Alice Springs, told parliament on Wednesday she was concerned that an “astonishing” increase in the number of Australians who consider themselves Indigenous would have consequences for government policies and programs and the people who needed them most.

The South Australian senator made her remarks as a regional NSW land council pushes for Labor’s proposed National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate what it says is the scandal of non-Indigenous people and organisations claiming contracts, jobs and benefits ­intended for ­Aboriginal Australians.

Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council chief executive Brendan Moyle has asked the joint select committee on the ­National Anti-Corruption Commission Bill to insist the watchdog has a mandate to pursue what he says are clever workarounds by enterprising individuals.

Mr Moyle believes some government agencies are accepting statutory declarations from job applicants as proof of Aboriginality, a breach of rules in departments that are supposed to abide by the accepted three-part test.

That three-part test says a person is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander if they have Indigenous heritage – sometimes this is confirmed in writing by a land council or other Indigenous organisation – if they consider themselves Indigenous and if the community in which they live accepts they are Indigenous.

Senator Liddle said the test was not perfect but there was no evidence that it was broken, nor was she aware that it had become irrelevant.

“I am alarmed at tinkering with this definition and its impact and consequences for program and service delivery for the people who need it most,” Senator Liddle told parliament.

“There should be no place in government or in policy for a self-identification test or for fluidity in the definition, depending on program or policy application.

“With self-identification, there’s no validation, no accountability. It counts people who should not be counted; it relies on the box-ticker having a moral compass.

“It risks greater access to specialist services by charlatans to those services designed for the those who need it most.

“It fails, fails, fails every test.”

Ms Liddle cited the most recent most recent Census which showed an increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians that was far greater than the birthrate. On June 30, 2021, there were 984,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, 3.8 per cent of the Australian population. This is an increase of 185,600 people – or 23.2 per cent – since June 30, 2016.

“That is possibly explained by the reply email sent from Ancestry tracing sites that tell people they are indeed Indigenous through a relative where there is no lived connection, no lived experience, no life experience and not for maybe even more than a century,” she said.

“What should be occurring is accountability of the government its agencies and community organisations ensuring the bona fides of Indigenous claims and we better get it right before we ask Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to elect representatives to the Voice, should that be successful at referendum.


Insane video from the height of the Covid pandemic reveals the absurdity of Australia's overzealous lockdown laws - as a man is thrown to the ground by cops for sitting on a park bench without a mask

In an authoritarian State even sitting on a park bench can be a crime. More Pol Pot than Soviet, sadly

image from

A newly released video of police body camera footage has exposed the extremes Australia's lockdown laws during the Covid pandemic.

Two police officers on July 24, last year, approached Edwin Paz, 31, and another unnamed man sitting on a bench in Victoria Park, Camperdown, in Sydney's inner-west.

There had been a Rally 4 Freedom protest in Sydney earlier that day when the virus was spreading rapidly and the Harbour City was under strict stay-at-home orders and mask mandates.

What started out as a general enquiry ended with Paz on the ground shouting out 'I can't breathe', while surrounded by police officers.

On Tuesday at the Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court, Paz was sentenced to an 18-month community corrections order (CCO) for assaulting an officer and a 12-month CCO for resisting an officer.

He was also fined $2,000 for not wearing a face mask and not complying with a Covid direction.

The footage played in court begins with one of the officers telling Paz their conversation was being 'audio and video recorded' and that he was allowed to do so in a public place.

Paz refused to cooperate with the police, telling them 'I can't hear ya'.

The officer informs Paz to 'get up and leave or I'm going to place you under arrest.'

'Are you trying to intimidate me?' Paz asks. 'I do not consent to talk with you, I haven't entered into a contract with ya, so stop speaking with me.'

Paz then asked the officer what crime had been committed.

The officer replied that 'If you're not within your local LGA (local government area) or you're not exercising, you are not in a public place with a reasonable excuse.'

It later turned out that Paz, who is from Smithfield in Sydney's west, was out of his LGA.

The officer told him he was placing him under arrest and that Paz was also committing an offence by not wearing a face mask.

Paz said that he didn't have to wear a mask, but would not produce an exemption, which was another reason for getting arrested.

He then said 'I'm free to do whatever I want, I'm a free man.'

The other officer then spoke and told Paz to stand up so he could be handcuffed, while the first office said they did not want to use force. But they did use force as Paz continued to refuse to cooperate.

As the police picked him up he can be heard saying 'Don't you dare f****** touch me' and threw a punch at one of the officers.

The scuffle continued for another two minutes as more police officers arrived to help their colleagues.

After handcuffs were finally put on him, one of the officers said 'We've got control here,' while Paz can be heard saying 'I can't breathe.'

He was then told that he was also under arrest for assaulting police.

Paz is heard calling the officers 'f****** criminal c***s' after he was handcuffed.


Let’s hear it for legal equality instead of a voice

If you think the race-based voice will be divisive, just wait until it starts negotiating a treaty to rip apart a nation that we’ve collectively spent generations in trying to unite. As Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney was forced to concede recently, a referendum that fails will set back the cause of reconciliation. And she’s right. But that’s why a referendum doomed to fail should not be put up, rather than, as Burney intended, trying to use the prospect of failure as a weapon to shame Australians into supporting the indefensible.

Already the idea that the voice will merely be an advisory body on legislation has been shown up as a lie. The Prime Minister has conceded only a “brave” government would go against its recommendations, meaning it will have a virtual veto over what the government and parliament does. But it’s Burney who has belled the cat on its real work with her admission last weekend that the voice would play a leading role in any negotiations for a treaty or series of treaties between the commonwealth and Australia’s 500-plus Indigenous tribes or clans. This is already happening in Victoria, which has created a First Peoples’ Assembly to be a voice to government and to “design a framework for future treaty negotiations”. The assembly was set up in 2019, although fewer than 8 per cent of Victoria’s 30,000 eligible Indigenous voters cast a vote.

Then, last year, the Andrews government set up a “truth-telling inquiry” to examine the “ongoing effects of colonisation” on Indigenous Victorians. And in August, at the behest of the assembly, the government established a Treaty Authority to “address the racist legacy of invasion” to be funded to the tune of about $20m a year until a statewide treaty is achieved, plus an extra $65m tipped in last month in a pre-election push.

Because the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart didn’t just call for a constitutionally entrenched Indigenous voice to the parliament, but also for “truth-telling about our history” and for treaties “between governments and First Nations”, and because what happens in Victoria tends to be the template for other Labor governments, it’s almost certain any federal voice would follow the same pattern. Only a national voice, unlike its Victorian counterpart, would be entrenched in the Constitution, making it effectively impossible to abolish. Once something is in the Constitution, it’s beyond the ordinary reach of our democracy because no parliament can repeal it and no government can ignore it. The precise meaning of anything that’s entrenched in the Constitution is simply what the High Court says it is: seven unelected judges accountable only to their own professionalism, unless, of course, one constitutional change is trumped by a further one.

So, here’s the question: do we really want the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia, including the establishment of treaties, the rewriting of history, and eventually reparations for dispossession – because according to the Uluru Statement sovereignty “has never been ceded or extinguished” – to be more in the hands of the High Court than the parliament? If this is too important to be decided by judges, then any Indigenous voice should certainly be left out of the Constitution.

The almost unavoidable consequence of establishing a constitutionally entrenched entity that only Indigenous people can vote for, that only Indigenous people can run for, and that deals with whatever impacts Indigenous people, which is everything, is a form of co-governance.

This is already happening in New Zealand, where the Maori are about 15 per cent of the population and where the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi has always been part of the founding compact.

Only in our case, co-governance would mean that everything our government does for 100 per cent of the population would have to be negotiated with the representatives of just 4 per cent of the population.

Liberal democracy rests upon the equality of citizens. Rich or poor, old or young, male or female, immigrant or native born, religious or not, all have equal standing to vote, equal responsibilities to contribute, and equal rights before the law. This was the principle that human rights campaigners fought for generations to achieve; and finally did, in countries such as ours, over the course of the past century. Now though, if the voice proponents have their way, the old discriminatory hierarchies will be replaced by a new one based on how long a citizen’s ancestors have been in Australia. It would upend decades of multiculturalism that’s told us we are Australian not by dint of time here, but by our willingness to join the team.

Voice proponents say it’s simply a matter of courtesy. We need a voice to ensure Indigenous people are properly consulted over decisions affecting them. But does anyone really think there’s not an abundance of consultation already, especially now there are 11 individual Indigenous voices in parliament ranging from Lydia Thorpe to Jacinta Nampijinpa Price? Already we can see how much their views differ, as they do among non-Indigenous MPs, but somehow this voice will all just agree? It’s racially offensive.

With $2 trillion a year in climate reparations now being demanded of richer countries by poorer ones, the supposed victims of the global West’s environmental vandalism, it’s hard to imagine any voice not soon insisting upon reparations for the Indigenous people dispossessed by settlement. Already federal spending on Indigenous citizens is roughly twice that for everyone else with an aggregate of $30bn a year spent on about 500,000 Aboriginal Australians, as confirmed by the Productivity Commission.

Naturally, the Albanese government will deny that the voice would have any such consequences. But it won’t be up to it or its elected successors. If the voice demands treaties or makes reparations claims, it will be up to the High Court to decide whether the government or the parliament has adequately dealt with them. And make demands the voice most assuredly will.

While it’s conventional wisdom that referendums fail without clear bipartisan support, don’t be so sure on this one. The government will try to shame people into voting yes on the basis that anything else is somehow disrespectful to Indigenous people and perhaps even racist. There will be massive funding for the Yes case from woke public companies and billionaires eager for the public acclaim they think it will bring. Plus, the indications are that the government won’t fund either the Yes or the No campaigns, preferring to fund instead, a supposedly neutral education campaign. This will be end up being as neutral as the government’s recent decision to give tax deductibility for donations to bodies in favour of Indigenous constitutional recog­nition but not those against.

This will leave the No case scrabbling for support from those quiet Australians who could be bothered to send in their modest donations to defend the system that has served us well for over a century and that has made us less racist than ever before and less racist than almost any other country on earth. I can’t think of anything we could do to ourselves that would damage our country more than dividing ourselves by race, and entrenching that division in our founding document.




No comments: