Sunday, February 26, 2023

I’d have got a medal’: Zachary Rolfe has last word as he flies out

He was a victim of political correctess. Blacks are sacrosanct. If the thug he shot had been white, nothing would have been said

Northern Territory police officer Zachary Rolfe – who fatally shot Indigenous teenager Kumanjayi Walker at Yuendumu – has left the country after claiming that in any other jurisdiction he would have “got a medal” for protecting his partner’s life instead of being painted as a “violent thug”.

Constable Rolfe flew out of Canberra on Thursday after sharing a 2500-word open letter accusing the NT police, coroner and her counsel assisting of trying to publicly vilify him during the “biased” coronial inquest into Walker’s death, which is due to resume next week.

The 31-year-old also accused Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker of refusing to meet with him and called for his resignation.

In the letter, obtained by The Australian, Constable Rolfe says Walker was a violent abuser who tried to kill him and his police partner, Adam Eberl, when their specialist unit was deployed to Yuendumu to arrest him for attacking their colleagues with an axe.

“Walker was a young man with a violent past who abused many in his community, including young girls and boys,” he said. “When he tried to kill my partner and I … I did not think about his race, upbringing or his past trauma, I thought about defending my partner’s life, and that’s what I did.

“In a different state, I would have got a medal for it, and none of you would ever have known my name.”

Constable Rolfe apologised for sending offensive text messages that have been ventilated at the inquest but claims the communications were cherrypicked from thousands extracted from his phone and honed in on at the inquest in a deliberate attempt to paint him as “a racist, violent cop”.

“They had access to every single one of my messages and knew that I did not treat a single race differently from others. In private, I talked shit about nearly every group at times,” he said.

“Yet they released just a tiny snippet to make me out to be a racist. The parties knew that the messages had nothing to do with the death of Kumanjayi Walker.

“They knew the damage they would do once in public – they would hurt the community, the police force and the relationship between them – but they didn’t care. If the coronial’s goal was to ‘heal’, it has failed.”

Constable Rolfe, who grew up in Canberra, said the investi­gations into his actions at Yuendumu on November 9, 2019 had been “blatantly biased”.

“If all you know of me is through the media then you see me as a violent thug, an ex-soldier with a past,” he said.

The former infantry soldier – who deployed to Afghanistan – defended his policing record, ­saying he spent three years ­“protecting people” in Alice Springs before being charged with Walker’s murder. “I was a good cop; I loved the job,” he said. “I did it because I wanted to help people who needed help, to protect those who needed protection; I was good at it.”

He said his three years policing in Alice Springs were spent helping hungry children he found wandering the streets at 3am, stopping teens from committing suicide and protecting the community from violent offenders.

“You don’t see all the countless people I’ve done my best to help,” he said. “I was in the job to protect people, but if you were a violent offender, causing others harm, or you tried to prevent me doing my job to protect and defend, I make no apologies for doing my job.”

Constable Rolfe said police investigating his murder charge ignored advice from the DPP regarding their use of expert witnesses. The Australian has seen a police coronial report, the subject of a coronial non-­publication order, that substantiates this claim.

“After arresting me for murder and attempting to put me behind bars for 25 years, the NT police finalised their investigation into the shooting and decided that the only outcome is remedial advice, which I have received via email,” he said.

“Millions of dollars, thousands of wasted hours, exacerbated trauma for families and community, only for the result to be an email to me providing me with remedial advice – which doesn’t even count as a formal disciplinary breach.

“Despite this, the coronial focus is still on me rather than on areas that could improve the circumstances of the NT.”

Constable Rolfe said two weeks ago the executive tried to “medically retire” him on mental health grounds – despite a police psychologist recently clearing him to return to work – and have since served him with a new disciplinary notice for speaking to Channel 7’s Spotlight program in March last year after he was acquitted of all charges related to Walker’s death.

“As for me, I will continue to help people who need help and protect those who need to be protected; if it’s not in the police, it’ll be somewhere else,” he said. “I’ll live my life knowing I have the loyalty of those I worked with and those who know me … I was a good cop, my integrity is intact, and I am proud of that.”

Coroner Elisabeth Armitage this month extended the inquest to include two more sitting weeks from July 31 and August 21 in an attempt to get Constable Rolfe on the stand should he lose his appeal, being heard on April 11, against a decision compelling him to answer certain categories of questions.

On Thursday night, Richard Rolfe told The Australian he knew where his son was but not when or if he was coming home. “He’s gone overseas to try to deal with the trauma he’s suffered and the continuing attacks by the coroner and commissioner,” he said.


Queensland hoping to attract 500 foreign police officers a year to boost recruitment

Queensland is launching a global recruitment drive for hundreds of police officers over the next five years, as the state's police minister acknowledges difficulties attracting new recruits.

Under an agreement struck between the state and federal governments, the Queensland Police Service (QPS) has approval for 500 international recruits to join the service each year for five years.

The recruits will complete a fast-tracked training course of three to four months and then be stationed across Queensland. The program will give recruits a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship.

Commissioner Katarina Carroll said those wanting to be recruited would be required to pass testing and vetting in Queensland. "The new labour agreement goes beyond what has been offered by any other police organisation in Australia," she said.

"Allowing experienced officers from any country the chance to work for the Queensland Police Service and bring their own unique experiences, knowledge and skills to our organisation. "We're looking for police across the world."

She said police from the UK, Canada and New Zealand would likely be the most compatible due to similar legislation.

Commissioner Carroll said there would be a social media campaign directing potential recruits to apply via the QPS website.

The Queensland government said it was the largest labour migration agreement of its kind in Australia.

Western Australia is the only other state with a similar agreement aiming to recruit 150 policing staff a year from overseas.

Police minister defends recruitment efforts

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Police Minister Mark Ryan faced questions in parliament from the opposition over Labor's election commitment to recruit 1,450 additional officers by 2025.

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli told parliament leaked information from the service in media reports showed only 92 officers had been added to the force from the 2020 election to the end of last year.

Ms Palaszczuk said under her government "the total police approved" had increased by 1,018.

"Let me say very clearly we absolutely support the police service in this state," she told parliament.

Mr Ryan said those figures put to the government by the LNP were only for divisional police officer numbers. "The QPS has multiple categories of police officers," he said.

"There's divisional officers, who generally wear the uniform and respond to day-to-day calls for services, then there's district officers who are specialists and tactical crime, then there's central functions who might be organised crime."

Mr Ryan said the state government had allocated funding in the budget and forward estimates for the 1,450 positions and it was up to QPS to fill the positions.


Racist Labor?

Foreign Minister Penny Wong recently told an audience at King’s College in London that we should hear uncomfortable stories rather than stay ‘sheltered in narrower versions of our countries’ histories’. Taking Wong’s advice in the context of the Australian Labor Party’s virtue signalling over ‘the Voice’, it seems timely to recall the uncomfortable truths of Labor’s historical support for the White Australia policy.

At Federation, the first Australian government formed with the support of the Australian Labor Party, which insisted on maintaining Australia’s British identity and restricting non-white immigration. Thus was born the White Australia policy, which included the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901. The ALP consistently supported White Australia until the policy was undone by Liberal governments, starting with that of Robert Menzies.

In 1928, Ben Chifley complained that: ‘Australia was supposed to be a white man’s country’ but that the Bruce government was, ‘fast making it hybrid’. Chifley accused Bruce of giving ‘preference to Dagoes – not heroes.’ Indeed, Chifley’s version of White Australia excluded southern Europeans as well as Asians.

In the 1940s, John Curtin declared that Australia, ‘Shall remain forever the home of the descendants of those people who came here in peace in order to establish in the South Seas an outpost of the British race.’

Arthur Calwell promoted a policy of deporting Asian refugees, even those who had served with Australia’s forces and those married to Australian citizens. He even supported the deportation of Chinese refugees who lived in mortal fear of the communists. Calwell held that a safe, sane, and socially just Australia would be tied to its identity, ‘as a citadel of European civilisation’.

In 1947, Calwell made his most notorious statement. When debating Liberal Sir Thomas White about the plight of wartime refugees, he referred to a long-term resident, Mr Wong, and claimed, ‘Two Wongs do not make a White.’

Calwell also opposed the settlement of Japanese wives of Australian servicemen. He said, ‘An Australian marrying a Japanese can live with her in Japan but it would be the grossest act of public indecency to permit any Japanese of either sex to pollute Australian shores while any relatives remain of Australian soldiers dead in the Pacific battlefields.’

It is not without irony then, that when he drafted his War-time Refugee Removal Bill he not only defied the warnings of the High Court, but Calwell also claimed that Robert Menzies and ‘the whole Liberal-Country Party Opposition’ were people ‘who would like to break down our selected immigration policy’.

In 1949, the Australian Workers Union moved to uphold the White Australia Policy at the State conference of the NSW Labor Party, arguing that, ‘Labor policy was to populate Australia from the finest [white] people in the world – the stock from which Australians had come.’

Ironically, Labor and the unions’ White Australia policy excluded Aboriginal people from the nation, even though they had been living in Australia for tens of thousands of years.

Vestiges of Labor’s racism were seen in 1975 when Gough Whitlam refused to support Vietnamese refugees, even those who had worked for the Australian embassy. He is widely reported to have said, ‘I’m not having thousands of f***ing Vietnamese Balts coming into this country with their political and religious hatreds against us.’

Just as it was Liberals who undid the White Australia policy, it was Fraser’s Liberal government that allowed Vietnamese refugees into Australia, despite opposition by parts of the Labor party.

Returning to ‘the Voice’, Labor may have a reputation for social justice, but for those of us who support Aboriginal people, we may want to recall a few inconvenient truths.

The Commonwealth Electoral Act (1962) that recognised the right of Aboriginal people to vote, and the referendum and constitutional change (1967) to count Aboriginal people in the census occurred under Liberal governments.

As for voices to Parliament:

The first Aboriginal Senator, Neville Bonner, was appointed, then elected, as a Liberal.

The first Aboriginal Member of the House of Representatives, Ken Wyatt, was a Liberal.

Liberal Ken Wyatt was also the first Aboriginal Minister for Aboriginal people.

The first Aboriginal Head of Government in Australia was Adam Giles, a member of the Country Liberal Party.

The first Aboriginal State party leader in Australia, Zak Kirkup, was also a Liberal.

To use Minister Wong’s words, it would seem that Labor’s rhetoric regarding the ‘Voice’ may be an example of taking shelter in a narrow version of her party’s history. Indeed, before we again divide our nation by race, we should call to mind the uncomfortable stories about Labor’s racist history and ask ourselves which political party has done more for racial equality in this country.


Landholders offered $8000 sweetener for power line disruption

The good old generous taxpayer again

Victorian landholders forced to accept massive electricity transmission lines across their properties will be paid $8000 per kilometre per year for 25 years, as the Andrews government ramps up efforts to soften community concerns.

The scheme, to be announced on Friday, follows warnings that hundreds of kilometres of new high-voltage, high-capacity, power lines will be needed to cope with the supply variations of wind and solar energy. These renewable technologies are coming online as we approach the looming closure of the state’s three remaining coal-fired power stations.

Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the first payments under the new compensation scheme would go to landholders who host transmission easements along the proposed VNI West and Western Renewables Link transmission corridors. Victorian landholders affected by the Marinus Link to Tasmania will also be eligible.

It is unclear how many kilometres of power lines will be the subject of compensation, as the exact route of the VNI West link is not yet finalised. But the plan is likely to cost less than $4 million a year, and is expected to add just 55¢ to annual household power bills.

The grid upgrade, however, is almost certain to prove controversial, as some regional communities caught in the path of big transmission projects are already preparing to fight the prospect of long stretches of large above-ground cables hanging from towers looming to 85 metres in height.

The $3.3 billion VNI West project, also known as KerangLink, will involve about 450 kilometres of high-voltage transmission lines, connecting Victoria’s Western Renewables Link (potentially at a terminal just north of Ballarat) with a new interconnector at Dinawan, in the NSW Riverina region, via new stations near Bendigo and Kerang. About 240 kilometres of the link will be in Victoria.

The project will mean power stored by the Snowy 2.0 hydropower scheme in the Snowy Mountains can be sent south to Victoria, while power generated by Victoria’s wind farms can be sent north, and improve the overall stability of the east coast grid.

The 174-kilometre Western Renewables Link, designed to carry energy from wind and solar farms in western Victoria, will start at Bulgana, near Stawell, and connect to Sydenham in Melbourne’s north-west, via a new terminal north of Ballarat.

The three projects, including a 90-kilometre easement on Victorian land for the Marinus Link to Tasmania, will involve a total of 504 kilometres of new transmission lines in Victoria.

D’Ambrosio, who is meeting with state, territory and federal energy ministers in the NSW Hunter region on Friday, said the plan would mean “an equitable approach” for projects spanning the Victorian-NSW border.

“These new payments acknowledge the hugely important role landholders play in hosting critical energy infrastructure – a key part of Victoria’s renewables revolution,” D’Ambrosio said.

“We want to get the process for planning and approving new infrastructure right, so we can make sure the renewables revolution is a shared, equitable legacy for all Victorians.”

The state government this week also announced it has given the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) the green light to start early planning work on the VNI West link, which is expected to unlock between 1900 and 5000 megawatts of renewable energy.

The move, which will bring planning work for the project forward by about a year, follows warnings from the AEMO that Victorian households and businesses will face electricity reliability gaps as early as 2024, with minimum reliability standards expected to be breached in Victoria from 2028, as shortages of gas potentially collide with the closure of coal-fired plants.

The AEMO has become increasingly vocal about the need for thousands of kilometres of new transmission infrastructure to strengthen the reliability of the grid, as the Andrews government has promised to be 65 per cent reliant on renewable energy by 2030 and 95 per cent reliant by 2035.

But the push will also be politically tricky.

AEMO chief executive Daniel Westerman warned in a recent speech that without “social licence”, crucial electricity infrastructure might never get built. “No one likes to feel railroaded,” he said.

“If we ... don’t get this right, infrastructure will cost more, take longer to build, and ultimately may never be completed.”

The issue is already a flash point in regional and outer suburban communities. During last year’s state election, a group of angry farmers and landowners in the seat of Melton, on Melbourne’s outer western fringe, campaigned for the high voltage to be used in the western renewables project to run underground, and warned the government hadn’t taken its concerns seriously.




No comments: