Sunday, November 05, 2023

Tracking men likely to kill: The radical proposal after five women dead in nine days

The proposal below is way over the top. It is a basic principle of natural justice that you cannot punish people for things that they have not done. That someone thinks you MIGHT do something does not alter that.

The big deficit in the article below is that it shows no real understanding of the psychology behind domestic homicide. What women need to be told is that rejection by a woman can be deeply and dangerously distressing to a man, engendering a huge sense of loss. And that can make him very angry with the perceived perpetrator of the loss. And anger very commonly results in violence.

So for a woman to save her life she may need to compromise with the rejected man in some way, difficult though that may be. At a minimum, she could offer a guarantee of continued friendship, even if cohabitation is no longer possible.

In short, to save their lives, women may need to be acutely aware of the huge pain rejection can lead to in some men. It is really important for the man not to feel completely cut off. Sorry if that is not the authoritarian solution the nitwits below were looking for. Human problems require human solutions, not ankle monitors

Men flagged as potential killers would be GPS-tracked and monitored online under a radical proposal family violence experts want governments to consider after five women were killed in nine days.

As despair mounts about the failure to curb the numbers of Australian women seriously injured or allegedly killed by men, experts are calling for more direct intervention with “fixated” men – who stalk, harass, monitor or threaten intimate partners, but may not yet have offended.

They say a program designed in the UK to protect public figures, which is now also being trialled there for potential domestic violence perpetrators, should be introduced and trialled in Australia to de-escalate potential violence against women.

It would involve intelligence gathering by specialist police to find and observe men, possibly including GPS tracking of them and monitoring their online and social media activities, and bringing them in if their behaviour indicated they had moved into a violence-planning stage.

Experts including violence researcher Dr Hayley Boxall, formerly of the Australian Institute of Criminology and now with ANU, say rather than working with offenders to reform their behaviours after violence has commenced, more direct methods such as this could help stop violence before it happens.

National Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commissioner Micaela Cronin said the proposal, included in Boxall’s homicide research for Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), is worth considering given the “devastating” deaths of women in Australia this year.

The spate of women’s alleged murders around the country had distressed her deeply, and “it is very clear this year we’ve seen rates [of violence against women] increasing, not rates decreasing”.

“That’s what keeps me up at night; what is it we can do that will shift the dial?” said Cronin from the Northern Territory, where she will attend a landmark coronial inquest on Monday into the violent deaths of four Aboriginal women, allegedly by domestic partners.

Women including Perth family lawyer Alice McShera, 34; Bendigo mother-of-four Analyn “Logee” Osias, 46; and Lilie James, a 21-year-old water polo coach at a Sydney private school, all died violently between October 25 and 29.

Men have been charged in the cases of Osias and McShera and are on or awaiting trial, but the suspected killer of James was found dead by police.

In 2023, 43 women have allegedly been killed in domestic and family violence incidents, along with 11 children.

The number of women who have died in intimate partner homicide per year in Australia has hovered about 68 since 1989-90, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data shows, and intimate partner homicide is the country’s most common form of homicide.

This week the Australian Institute of Family Studies found one in three Australian teenagers had experienced intimate partner violence, and the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics released data showing rates of domestic and family violence had not decreased in the last 12 years.

‘What we need to do in this country more is to really understand, and focus on, the men who kill women and use violence against women.’

“What we know from Australian Institute of Criminology research [the Pathways to Intimate Partner Homicide] is that there are pathways into perpetration … and what we need to do in this country more is to really understand, and focus on, the men who kill women and use violence against women,” she said.

“We’ve moved women around, removed women from their homes to safe houses, we tell women not to go walking at night; all the attention is on what women can do to keep themselves safe rather than holding men who use violence accountable.”

Boxall’s proposal to introduce a system of monitoring and intervening with men who had not yet committed violence, but whose actions suggested they were likely to, “could be worth exploring”.

One-third of perpetrators of intimate partner homicides in Australia fit the “fixated threat” category of men who have not previously come to the attention of the justice system, Boxall found.

“Despite being jealous, controlling and abusive in their relationships, (fixated threat) offenders were relatively functional in other domains of their life,” she wrote.

“In many cases they were typically middle-class men who were well respected in their communities and had low levels of contact with the criminal justice system.“

She found their behaviours escalated as the victim was perceived to withdraw from the relationship.

Boxall said a dedicated family violence Fixated Threat Assessment program, staffed by specialist intelligence-gathering police, would help to “keep eyes” on such men and allow police to gauge if and when they may pose a lethal threat.

Many men who go on to commit murder, but had not yet used violence, did show signs that could have helped prevent deaths, Boxall said. Dedicated threat assessment structures could give bystanders a way to get interventions started.

“In 25 per cent of cases, the perpetrator [of intimate partner homicide] has told friends and family members he was going to murder his partner,” Boxall said.

“In a number of cases there was evidence this was followed up with a police report: in one case, he [the eventual perpetrator] told his golf buddies, ‘I’m going to kill her by smashing her head in with a golf club’, and he did it a few months later – but nobody had done anything.”

“We think we know that guys who will murder their partner look a certain way; but these are guys living among us.”

The death of Lilie James highlighted that progress is needed to understand who is capable of violence against their partner, and a more sophisticated threat assessment would be a tangible way to help find out.

Professor Michael Flood, a researcher sociologist at Queensland University of Technology who has written about engaging men and boys in violence prevention, agreed with Cronin and Boxhall that earlier intervention with men at risk of murdering their partners or ex-partners is “entirely warranted”.

He agreed that the focus had been primarily on victims and how they could avoid victimisation, and far more effort needed to be placed on changing young men’s attitudes towards women.

National Community Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women Survey data had revealed this year that, “a substantial proportion, particularly of young men, think it’s legitimate for men to dominate women in relationships,” he said.

“There is still a level of social tolerance of dominance and abuse in relationships that we have to address.” This would mean more education on healthy masculinity, and “the way harmful forms of masculinity feed into perpetration … we still need to scale the work with men and boys up much more”.

On the ground, police forces in New South Wales and Victoria have made strong, one-off family-violence blitzes this year, in which hundreds of people, many with outstanding warrants, were charged with various offences including weapons, firearm and drug offences.

But existing fixated threat assessment is focused on lone-actor, “grievance-fuelled violence” perpetrators such as terror offenders, not family violence prevention.

“Police will of course act if we identify a threat to any individual including a current or former partner,” a Victoria Police spokesman said. There are no plans to create a similar centre specifically for family violence.

“Any decisions around fitting trackers to family violence offenders is a matter for government,” the spokesman said. “Police see the devastating impact of family violence every day.”


ABC chief content officer Chris Oliver-Taylor warns that it does not have enough colleagues from ‘a diverse background’

Intellectual diversity in partiular is missing. At the moment the ABC is a sheltered workshop for Leftists. How about a few conservatives influencing the output?

ABC management is concerned it does not have a diverse enough workforce and said action must be taken to ensure it reflects “modern Australian in our content and staff.”

On Thursday, the ABC’s chief content officer Chris Oliver-Taylor sent an email to staff and warned that action must be taken to ensure diversity and inclusion is made a priority at the taxpayer-funded broadcaster.

Mr Oliver-Taylor spoke at the ABC’s Diversity and Inclusion Symposium at ABC’s Ultimo’s headquarters alongside news director Justin Stevens on Wednesday as part of the discussion, “Change takes action – how do we drive change?”

The discussion was moderated by the ABC’s Taiwanese-Canadian-Australian presenter Beverley Wang and live-streamed to ABC staff around the country.

In his email correspondence to staff on Thursday Mr Oliver-Taylor said: “It’s an absolute priority for us to ensure that our workforce and content reflects modern Australia.

“We have to forge a pathway and continue to create and cultivate a workplace culture that supports the talent and diversity of our people.

“Diversity and inclusion are part of the fabric of the ABC, and a big part of this for us is about creating a diverse workforce.”

Mr Oliver-Taylor also told staff in his email: “The reality is, we don’t have enough colleagues that come from a diverse background joining the ABC, and we need to deliberately make that happen.”

The Drum host Dan Bourchier, an Indigenous man, has been among some past and present employees critical of the ABC about diversity, and he said in May regular invitations he received to appear on Insiders were tokenistic and done to simply tick a diversity box.

“I’m dismissed as your diversity pick or a box ticker, that comes from within our organisation and that sends a message that that type of language is normal. It’s not, and it’s unacceptable,” Bourchier said.

In the ABC’s Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Plan 2023-26 that was published earlier this year, managing director David Anderson said the public broadcaster would focus on the following key areas over the next three years: inclusion in practice, a diverse workforce, inclusive content, products and services, connection with Indigenous and diverse communities and accountability and transparency.

“We are committed to better reflecting social and cultural diversity in our workforce,” he said.

“Our teams help drive the national conversation on inclusion, for example through innovative content for International Day of People with Disability, Harmony Week, and mardi gras.”

Among its targets include having 50 per cent of executive roles filled by women, 8 per cent of staff with a disability and 30 per cent of content makers filled by CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) employees.

Under the previous diversity and inclusion plan which finished in 2022, the ABC said it rolled out many changes including in its content areas by featuring acknowledgements of country and Indigenous location names across ABC screens and Mr Anderson also held diversity and gender discussion sessions to assist staff.

Mr Oliver-Taylor urged staff on Thursday to complete an “employee diversity and inclusion data collection form” to ensure “the ABC is supporting its people and making our workplace as inclusive, accessible and representative as possible.”

“We’re passionate about this country, and we must reflect the diversity of our community,” he said.

“This also means we’re bringing our audience with us as well.”

In the form it asks staff what language they speak, their country of birth, cultural/ethnic background, sexual orientation, whether they have a disability and if they identify as CALD.

He also urged staff “to be inspired to contribute to the ABC’s vision and speak up if something is not right.”

Under the ABC’s Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging plan, it is also in the process of rolling out cultural guidance advisers to ensure they are the “first point of contact for enquiries about diversity in content, centralising the process and ensuring that advice is consistent.”


Robert Menzies v ‘Doc’ Evatt: political triumph and disaster


Anne Henderson has given us a lively account of political triumph and disaster; of how one public life flourished and another collapsed into ignominy, with much to instruct anyone interested in the ingredients of political success. Both Robert Gordon Menzies and Herbert Vere (Bert) Evatt were brilliant students marked early for big futures, both were highly successful lawyers, both served in state and then in federal parliaments, and both led their respective parties. There the similarities end. Menzies grew and matured into becoming our longest-serving prime minister while Evatt’s self-regard and lack of judgment caused Labor to split with disastrous consequences that are felt to this day.

In a telling sign of zero self-awareness, the workers’ party leader was always the “doc”; using an academic handle that even John Hewson in different times and circumstances never insisted upon.

Apart from the election campaigns where they faced off, Menzies and Evatt fought three mighty battles: over bank nationalisation, banning the Communist Party, and the Petrov defection. The two versus one scorecard to Menzies, though, understates the magnitude of his triumph. Menzies learnt the right lessons from his defeat and Evatt manifestly didn’t. For Evatt, in the end, it was all about him and nothing is more fatal to a democratic politician than narcissism. Even if propitious circumstances lead to some success, the final outcome is not just failure but a dishonourable one and the pity or contempt of fair-minded observers.

In 1947, Menzies was an ex-PM on probation from the new party he’d founded, due to the widespread sentiment that “you can’t win with Menzies”. But in a big error of political judgment, the depression-scarred then-Prime Minister Ben Chifley announced bank nationalisation. It gave Menzies the issue he needed to rally his own side, barnstorm the country, and secure a thumping win in the 1949 election. In the first of many ego-driven decisions, under the delusion that he could simultaneously be both an effective party politician and a forensic courtroom advocate, Evatt appeared personally before the High Court to argue the constitutionality of the government’s plans – and not for the first time or the last, bored and annoyed the judges by not knowing when to stop.

In 1951, it was Menzies turn to overreach. Having previously argued that communism should be defeated by argument not law, he sought to ban the party using the defence power. It was Evatt who successfully argued before the court that the Cold War’s internal subversion couldn’t justify it and then out-campaigned Menzies to defeat the subsequent attempt to amend the constitution. But added to Evatt’s obvious infatuation with the UN – whose initial General Assembly president he’d been – his insistence that even possible traitors deserved procedural justice enabled his internal and external opponents to paint him as soft on communism.

Then came the succession of paranoid mistakes that demonstrated how unfit he was to lead a party, let alone a country. First, he was convinced, without any hard evidence, that Menzies had somehow orchestrated the Petrov defection to sabotage his chances of winning the 1954 election; second, he made a fool of himself appearing before the subsequent royal commission to defend his own staff, at least one of whom was a Soviet fellow-traveller; and finally, and fatally, debating the commission’s report in parliament, he thought to refute its findings by trumpeting a denial from the Soviet foreign minister.

To any but the most prejudiced reader, Henderson shows that Evatt had no evidentiary basis for his paranoid suspicions and persisted in these delusions long after any sensible person would have conceded error. Menzies might have revelled in humiliating “the learned doctor” in the parliament but he’d quite properly handled the defection and its aftermath. Menzies was then a bemused spectator to Evatt’s vengeful expulsion from Labor of the anti-communist industrial “groupers” in another massive demonstration of his blindness to any fault in himself. This was the catalyst for the migration of Catholics from the politics of helping the underdog to the politics of upholding freedom and respecting tradition.

The wonder is that, mesmerised by his supposed intellectual brilliance, the federal Labor caucus persisted with the Doc as leader for two elections post-Petrov. And that to move him on, NSW Labor appointed him as Supreme Court Chief Justice, despite his obvious mental decline.

Two key truths shine through this masterly account of a transformative time: the human factor in history and the role of chance. But for bank nationalisation, Menzies might have missed his chance at political redemption; if Chifley had lived, Menzies might have lost the 1954 election; if Arthur Calwell, Evatt’s deputy, had been of different mettle, and challenged for the leadership, Labor might not have split. Six decades on, it seems we’re as fascinated with the brilliant and unstable failure as with the no less brilliant and much more steady success. Is this the genius of the political left to make martyrs out of losers; or some instinct that it’s defeat that’s more instructive?


Rare profit miss reveals Macquarie’s green energy indigestion

For years Macquarie was seemingly able to defy gravity, but it seems even the investment bank can’t outrun the bigger forces upending green energy markets.

Indeed, the first-half profit was down 39 per cent on the year to $1.4bn, hobbled by surging staff costs, softer revenue and writebacks. The profit collapse makes Macquarie more like a sleepy big four bank rather than a global cash machine commanding a sharp share premium.

One of Macquarie’s core businesses - the buying and selling big infrastructure and energy assets has ground to a halt, given the slowdown in dealmaking globally as markets globally hobbled by the prospect of higher for longer interest rates. The uncertainty on global outlook and higher financing costs has kept buyers away, leading to more assets sitting on the books than what it would normally want.

And green energy, an area where Wikramanayake has staked ground as an early mover by driving big bets on offshore windfarms and solar projects around the world, is delivering a new problem for the bank.

The economics of renewables is starting to become deeply challenged and this is having a dramatic impact on the value of projects springing up around the world.

As more renewables flood the grid it is becoming clear they produce much of their electricity, usually at a time when it is not needed. This is seeing the unit pricing for green electricity projects collapse, particularly in Europe, although the cost of building remains sky high.


In recent weeks oil major BP has written more than $US540m from two US offshore wind projects with inflation-linked construction costs soaring but offtake pricing collapsing. The cost of wholesale pricing on offer in the UK has come down 65 per cent in a short space of time, leaving few willing buyers to commit capital for new projects.

Macquarie has some $2.1bn of green energy investments underway with two-thirds of this at development stage which also means it is exposed to construction risk. Most of the funds are allocated to offshore wind and the rest is mixed between solar and small allocation to battery.

Wikramanayake acknowledges there is some concern about the direction of the green energy book given where unit pricing is going. She says Macquarie has taken a conservative view on projects and much of its offtake agreements underpinning projects were pitched pre-Covid when prices were higher.

Macquarie is confident about demand for its green energy and other infrastructure assets in the coming six months.
Macquarie is confident about demand for its green energy and other infrastructure assets in the coming six months.
Speaking to The Weekend Australian, Wikramanayake is still a believer in green energy with the longer term thematics stronger than ever. There’s still massive demand among governments and other operators to move out of carbon producing coal into green energy. The UK government wants 50 gigawatts by 2030 and have so far only hit less than half that. In the US, the Biden administration is targeting 30 gigawatts.

“This journey will not be a straight line like every other journey. But I think the important thing is a structural response needed, and the opportunity remains,” Wikramanayake says.

The recent shake-up in pricing has “given a bit of a wake-up call to people that are putting these off-take (agreements) in place that if they’re going to get the supply, they’re going to need to offer pricing that will attract private capital”.

She is more confident about demand for Macquarie’s green energy and other infrastructure assets in the coming six months, adding the bank is prepared to wait out the downturn.

“Plainly, we don’t want to sell these assets at less than their fair value. We don’t we don’t feel like we need to sell them if we feel like they’re good quality assets.”




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