Australia tortures and sexually abuses refugees.
Bigots are therefore required by the government to work in its concentration camps.
Eight guards from Nauru detention centre have been suspended after they posed for a photograph with Pauline Hanson at a Reclaim Australia rally which was later posted on Facebook.
The members of the “emergency response team” at Nauru, who were hired on the basis of their cultural “sensitivity”, have been stood down pending an investigation into their social media use.
The guards had appeared to endorse Hanson’s anti-immigration politics, and some promoted the Reclaim Australia movement and posted anti-Islam slurs online.
A former employee for Transfield subcontractor Wilson Security told Guardian Australia the guards’ online posts provided a glimpse of the mindset of ex-defence force personnel who “frequently referred to asylum seekers in their care as ‘the enemy’”.
This included Facebook posts of material comparing Islam to Nazism, accusing companies from Cadbury to Krispy Kreme of supporting terrorism by having products certified as Halal, and the embrace of the slogan “infidels” through t-shirts and tattoos.
A spokesman for the detention centre operator Transfield Services, which employed the men, said the matters were “very concerning and not at all what we expect of our staff”.
It follows Transfield’s suspension on Monday of another guard at the Manus Island detention centre who posted links to Reclaim Australia and the boycott halal movements on Facebook.
The Nauru guards posed with Hanson, the controversial former federal MP and One Nation founder who has long called for immigration restrictions, after she spoke at the rally in Brisbane on 4 April.
The rally was one of a string of nationwide events protesting the influence of Islam in Australia, conflating the religion with violent extremism and provoking counter protests by self-described anti-racist groups.
One of the guards, Simon Scott, posted the group photo with Hanson on his Facebook page with the comment: “What more can I say.”
Another guard, Graham Motley, a veteran of a Royal Australian Regiment task force that mentored soldiers in Afghanistan, commented under the post: “Royal Australian Infidels”.
Two others in the photo, Beau James and Dann Connors, sport T-shirts bearing the word “infidel”.
Another guard, Harley Levanic, revealed on Facebook his new neck tattoo bearing the same word. James commented on the picture: “Welcome to the gang… Well done old son. Looks awesome.”
A day before the rally, James, tagged a post likening Muslims to Germans who enabled the rise of Nazis through inaction, with the comment: “See yas tomoz boys!!! Bring your pitch forks.”
Another guard, Simon Scott, posts on the same day: “Let me know when we are meeting in the city. I need someone to help me with a bag of ammonium nitrate.”
Lawyers interview Manus refugees
The Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea is being challenged by a group of asylum seekers who say their detention is a breach of their constitutional rights.
The 25 asylum seekers were detained on suspicion of encouraging protests at the Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island in February.
They are now being represented by human rights lawyer, Ben Lomai, who is preparing an application for release and seeking compensation for breaching their constitutional rights.
The lawyer is now in the province to obtain statements from his clients.
The asylum seekers involved are from Iran, Myanmar, Pakistan, Syria and Lebanon.
Ben Lomai, who was granted entry to the facilities by the Supreme Court, arrived in the province on Sunday with lawyer Greg Toop and a team of paralegals and support staff to interview and prepare affidavits to be filed in court.
Lomai told EMTV News that he will be preparing an application to release the detainees and seek redress for breach of their constitutional rights.
The team commenced their interviews on Monday at the East Lorengau Transit facility.
Lomai says they have spoken to 11 refugees so far, residing at the East Lorengau Transit Centre, who have been processed and are awaiting resettlement in PNG.
There are currently 1,004 asylum seekers detained at the Australian-run detention centre with reportedly more than 80 who have been processed, however only 11 are currently residing at the transit facility.
Due to limited time, Lomai says he does not expect to interview all refugees, however he will be asking the courts to grant him more time to return and finish interviewing the remaining refugees.
Mr Lomai said immigration officers including the Chief Migration Officer, their lawyers and staff on ground at the detention centre have been very helpful in terms of logistics, and hopes this continues for the duration of the period it takes to finish interviewing his clients.
The team of lawyers are expected to conclude their interviews on the 17th of this month, and appear before the Supreme Court in Port Moresby on 22 April, with their findings.
Afghan interpreter refused UK asylum shot by Taliban
An Afghan interpreter who served alongside UK forces in combat, and was later refused asylum in Britain despite the dangers he faced, has spoken out after being been shot by the Taliban.
The interpreter, identified only as “Chris,” the nickname given to him by British troops, was shot in the leg during an assassination attempt near his home in Khost Province, eastern Afghanistan.
The 26-year-old’s infant son was also wounded in what he says was just the latest attempt to kill or capture him by insurgents, who see him as a collaborator with the US-led occupation of the country.
Despite the risk to his life resulting from his work with British forces, Chris claims that the UK government still won’t allow him to resettle there.
He claims he has presented evidence to the UK authorities of the up to 10 attempts to kill him, each time in vain.
He told the Daily Mail: “I worked outside military bases with UK forces where I took huge personal risk on a daily basis – I served with distinction, placing myself in mortal danger to save my British colleagues.
“My family and I have experienced a serious threat to life as a consequence of working for the British, resulting – most recently – in me being shot on December 26 when the Taliban came to my village looking for me.”
“My son was hit too. This only happened because of my work with the British. The government has totally forgotten its allies who helped them during the worst of times here. I have seen British soldiers die in front of me and I have collected soldiers’ remains – now I think I am being abandoned,” he said.
Only one interpreter out of over 300 who served with UK forces has been given leave to resettle in Britain.
Chris claims he has fallen foul of a legal stipulation which dictates that resettlement rights are only available those who contributed at least a year’s continuous service after December 2011. He served between 2008 and 2011.
In January, a British appeal court ruled that MPs must offer a response to claims that the government failed to extend equal treatment to Afghani and Iraqi interpreters.
The allegations were sparked by contrasting resettlement schemes offered to each respective group.
When UK forces withdrew from Iraq, provincial interpreters who had worked for the British forces were offered a special assistance program.
As part of the scheme, they could opt for a one-off financial payment, an open-ended invitation to enter Britain, or long-term resettlement in the UK.
The Afghan redundancy scheme was highly inferior, lawyers argue.
Japan court issues
injunction to halt restart of Kansai Elec's Takahama reactors - plaintiffs
A Japanese court has issued an injunction to halt the restart of Kansai Electric Power's Takahama No. 3 and No. 4 nuclear reactors, plaintiffs said on Tuesday, siding with local residents worried about the safety of the plant.
The order by the Fukui District Court comes as the government seeks to restart Japan's idled nuclear plants four years after the Fukushima disaster. But the majority of the public remains opposed to restarting reactors due to safety fears.
The Takahama reactors, on the coast of Fukui prefecture in western Japan, have met safety regulations set by Japan's nuclear regulator and were expected to be restarted some time this year.
Tsipras says Greece has lost 'valuable friend' after death of writer Gunter Grass
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Monday that the death of German author Gunter Grass meant that Europe had lost a “cultural point of reference” and that Greece had lost a “valuable friend.”
“Greece has lost a valuable friend that was not reluctant to stand next to the Greek people in the difficult times of the Greek crisis, when the use of stereotypes against Greece was at its peak,” said the Greek premier in a statement after it was announced that Grass died at the age of 87.
In May 2012, Grass published a poem called “Europe’s Shame” in the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung that blasted the way the Greek crisis had been dealt with.
Greece was being disparaged as a country “below junk value,” Grass wrote in his poem. He said Greece was being “abandoned as a naked debtor in the dock, a country suffers and is condemned to poverty.”
Grass was lauded by Germans for helping to revive their culture in the aftermath of World War II, and giving voice and support to democratic discourse in the postwar nation.
A trained sculptor, Grass made his literary reputation with The Tin Drum, published in 1959. The book follows the life of a young boy in Danzig who is caught up in the political whirlwind of the Nazi rise to power and, in response, decides not to grow up. His toy drum becomes a symbol of this refusal.
Three decades after its release, in 1999, the Swedish Academy honored Grass with the Nobel Prize for literature, praising him for setting out to revive German literature after the Nazi era.
With The Tin Drum, the Nobel Academy said, “it was as if German literature had been granted a new beginning after decades of linguistic and moral destruction."
In his condolences, Tsipras noted that Grass had a considerable political and social impact.
“Gunter Grass was not just a virtuoso Nobel laureate of the written work but also an intellectual who fought for democracy and social activism,” said the Greek premier.
“The Tin Drum is an indelible landmark
in European political and anti-fascist literature.”
Yanis Varoufakis in discussion with Joseph Stiglitz [VIDEO - 9/4/15]
Federal Government to blame for job losses
It was a real thrill to ring the closing bell at the @nyse today, a definite sense of economic optimism here ...
Image: @JoeHockey [13/4/15]
Senator Lazarus Media Release [14/4/15]:
Independent Senator for Queensland, Glenn Lazarus, today blamed the Abbott Government for the decline in renewable energy jobs across Australia.
“The role of Government is to support the economy through the development and implementation of clear, forward thinking, growth oriented policies – not to undermine it,” Senator Glenn Lazarus said.
“Since coming to office, the Abbott Government has demonstrated a clear lack of commitment to the RET and the renewable energy sector in general.
“The Abbott Government has deliberately undermined market confidence in the renewable energy sector by failing to commit to the RET.
“As a result, investment has dried up, projects have stalled, businesses have downsized or closed and jobs have been lost.
“Queensland has been hit the hardest.
“Queensland has recorded the biggest fall in employment numbers in the sector with jobs falling from 3,820 to 2,520 between 2011/2012 and 2013/2014.
“We cannot rely on dirty coal forever.
“The rest of the world is moving to clean energy solutions.
“Australia needs to act in a responsible and forward thinking manner and support the renewable energy sector to help our country to reach the RET of 20/20.
“I polled the people of Queensland in relation to the RET and 97% supported retention and increase of the RET.
“The Abbott Government has got this issue wrong and let the people of Queensland down.
“Tony Abbott urgently needs to commit to the RET to stop the loss of more jobs across Queensland and the rest of Australia.
“If the Abbott Government reduces the RET, we will become the only country in the world to reduce a RET.
“I will not be supporting a reduction in the RET. In fact, based on feedback from the people of Queensland and taking into consideration trends across the world, I will be advocating for an increase in the target for 2030.
“I strongly support retention of the RET as it currently stands.”
Some domestic RET statistics
South Australia (Labor Government) aiming for 50% by 2025
Queensland (Labor Government) aiming for 50% by 2030
ACT (Labor Government) aiming for 90% by 2020
Tasmania (Liberal Government) is already close to 100%
Young mum-of-two dies in Darling Downs house fire
A mother-of-two who was always the first to help others in tough times has tragically died in a Darling Downs house fire.
The small farming community of Brymaroo today rallied around the family of Melissa Dorries.
The 38-year-old was unable to escape a blaze that destroyed her family's Jondaryan-Nungil Rd home late on Monday night.
She made a desperate 000 call from inside the burning house.
Mrs Dorries' husband Danny, who she married in 2006, was away truck driving at the time.
He raced home from Dinmore and was by his grief-stricken family's side by midnight.
Mrs Dorries' mother-in-law Roanne Dorries struggled to fight back the tears as she described the thoughtful, generous mother-of-two.
"She was just so caring - such a good girl," she said.
"I am going to miss her so much."
Roanne explained how Melissa, who had grown up in the Goombungee area, was always there to help her family, friends and even complete strangers in times of need.
"When her friend lost her house in a fire not that long ago, within hours Melissa was there collecting stuff for her and making sure she was alright," she said.
Investigations will continue tomorrow.
Man awarded $700k over boat explosion
A man has won a $700,000 law suit against the business that repaired his boat before its engine exploded.
Colin Leo Ireland became an alcoholic and suffered ongoing physical and psychiatric injuries after his Haines Hunter caught fire while launching at Port Hinchinbrook in far north Queensland in April 2006.
The explosion, which occured when a fuel leak was sparked by the battery, threw Mr Ireland backwards into shallow water where he landed on his neck.
He took Townsville company B&M Outboard Repairs to court, alleging they had breached a duty of care when they installed a non-marine grade fuel pump and parts in mid-2004.
During the hearing in the Supreme Court in Townsville last year, the court was told Mr Ireland had authorised the work to be done, but had rarely used the boat since.
The fire occurred when Mr Ireland was taking the boat for a final seaworthy trip before selling it.
He told the court he suffered continuing neck and head pain, had trouble sleeping, and had started drinking heavily as a result of the incident.
In a written judgment published this month, Judge David North found B&M Outboard Repairs had failed in its duty of care by not warning Mr Ireland that the new parts were prone to rust and should be regularly inspected and maintained.
He ordered B&M Outboard Repairs pay Mr Ireland $703,721 in damages for economic loss and medical bills.
Child sex abuse inquiry: Rockhampton priest 'raped me well over 100 times', witness says
A witness at a child sex abuse inquiry says she was raped "well over 100 times" by a priest at St Joseph's Neerkol Orphanage Rockhampton in central Queensland.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard the treatment of children at the orphanage was "vicious and sadistic", while an earlier inquiry found hundreds of children were sexually abused, beaten and forced into hard labour there.
The inquiry has begun hearings into how the Sisters of Mercy, the Rockhampton diocese and the state government responded to complaints made by former residents of St Joseph's Neerkol Orphanage.
The orphanage has already been the subject of several police and government investigations, and a 1999 inquiry led by former Queensland governor Leneen Forde.
After the so-called Forde Inquiry, the Queensland government at the time offered ex gratia payments of up to $40,000 to people as long as they dropped other legal action against the state.
Over the next two weeks, the royal commission will hear evidence from 18 witnesses, with 13 being former residents of the orphanage, who say they were abused by priests, workers, and nuns there from 1940 to 1975.
A witness, known as AYB, today told how she was abused by a former priest at the orphanage, Father Reginald Basil Durham.
She said the abuse started when she was 11-years-old and Father Durham came to the family home on Christmas Eve.
"Father Durham had sexually abused and raped me well over 100 times," AYB said.
"I felt so powerless, so robotic. He had so much power over me.
"I believed that I did not have choices. It was almost like being enslaved."
AYB recalled one incident in which Father Durham forced her to kiss him while he fondled her.
She said Father Durham would sometimes take her down to an old toilet block.
AYB said she was forced to rub his body and Father Durhan raped her — which he said was to prepare her for when she had a baby.
"Even today there are times when I experience nightmares and call out in my sleep 'go away, stop and don't touch me'," she said.
"I am doing this so we can claim our lives back to try and live out the rest of our lives with courage and peace and without the demons from the past dominating our memories with shame, guilt and regret."
Mary Adams, a former resident at Neerkol and the second witness to give evidence at today's inquest, described being sexually abused by a priest, Father John.
"All I could focus on was the crosses on his shirt, so I yelled at him, 'Father, you are committing a mortal sin'," she said.
Ms Adams also broke down as she addressed the hard punishments dished out by nuns.
She described one beating by a sister who belted her with a rubber rope.
"I had welts on my body for days after," she said.
A 67-year-old Woodgate man has been committed to stand trial on more than 20 charges including incest, rape and indecent treatment of children under 16 in relation to the alleged sexual assault of his daughter, adopted daughter and grandson.
The man, who can not be named to protect the alleged victims, appeared in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court on Tuesday where an application for bail was refused by Magistrate Aaron Simpson.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens told the court police officers started investigating the defendant in November 2013 after responding to an alleged domestic violence assault against the man's wife.
Sgt Stevens said when police spoke with the man's wife - a Thai national - she told them her herself and the defendant adopted a three-year-old girl from the slums of Thailand in 2001. ... [News Mail - 14/4/15]
Surfers Paradise dad to stand trial over baby death
A Surfers Paradise father accused of murdering his four-month old baby daughter will stand trial in the Supreme Court.
Shane Quinn appeared in Southport Magistrates Court on Monday, following his baby’s death in September 2013.
The court heard about the numerous injuries his daughter had suffered prior to her death, including fractures to her ribs, arms and legs.
According to police, Quinn was at home with his daughter when the alleged murder occurred.
The 27-year-old was committed to stand trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court on a date to be fixed.
The baby’s mother was charged with child cruelty at the time of the baby’s death and was last year committed to stand trial in Brisbane District Court.
John Chardon lawyers argue victim is not ‘credible’
Lawyers for a Gold Coast businessman who was jailed for child sex offences claim they have new evidence which could have affected the outcome of his trial.
John Chardon was convicted and sentenced to six years jail last August for the rape of his teenage daughter’s friend in the late 1990s.
The 67-year-old appealed the case earlier this year, and today his lawyers were back in court arguing that the hearing be reopened because of new evidence – claiming the victim is not credible.
The decision for Chardon’s appeal was reserved.
Immigration lawyer to stand trial over allegations he raped, assaulted asylum seeker clients
Sydney Morning Herald [13/4/15]:
A prominent Sydney immigration lawyer has been committed to stand trial over allegations that he raped and indecently assaulted six male asylum seekers whom he was meant to be representing.
After a marathon committal hearing which ran sporadically over the course of six months, David Bitel was on Monday committed to the District Court to face 18 charges, including multiple charges of sexual intercourse without consent and indecent assault.
The six alleged victims of the abuse, who cannot be named, are of Nepalese, Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi origin and were seeking asylum in Australia at the time the alleged incidents occurred.
The hearing was told that the alleged sexual and indecent assaults by Mr Bitel, 63, took place between 1995 and 2008 when the men came to his Sydney office to discuss their claims for asylum.
The assaults allegedly included oral sex and fondling the men's genitals.
Mr Bitel has pleaded not guilty to the charges, with his barrister, Murugan Thangaraj, SC, asserting that the complainants had colluded against their former lawyer.
This alleged collusion took place either directly between the men, or through a rival immigration lawyer.
But Downing Centre Local Magistrate Kate Thompson did not accept that there was sufficient evidence of this to prevent the matter proceedings to trial, finding that there was a "reasonable prospect that a jury, if properly informed, could convict the accused".
However, she did not commit Mr Bitel to stand trial on a further two charges which arose from allegations made by one of his alleged victims during cross-examination.
She found that these allegations had been "vague and unclear" and that the alleged victim had not provided a convincing explanation as to why he had not told police about the alleged incidents earlier.
Mr Bitel is undergoing intensive cancer treatment and will begin a round of chemotherapy on Tuesday.
He is due to be arraigned in the Downing Centre District Court on May 1, at which point it is expected a trial date will be set.
An Auckland woman who made an employee work as a prostitute, and who wrote a contract threatening staff with fines if they gossiped about her has been jailed.
Naengnoi Sriphet has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for five immigration offences. ... [RNZI - 14/4/15]
Four-wheel drive towing caravan crashes at Biggenden
News Mail [14/4/15]:
The Isis Highway at Biggenden was closed after a single vehicle towing a caravan came to grief not far from the Mines Rd Turnoff.
The cause of the crash is unknown.
Both occupants were taken to Biggenden Hospital by ambulance.
After trucks and cars were let through, the highway was closed again to retrieve the vehicle and the remains of the caravan.
This was the second crash in just three days in Biggenden.
Driver, passenger escape Mataranka road train rollover
Katherine Times [14/4/15]:
A truck driver and his passenger were lucky to escape without injury when a trailer of the road train they were travelling in rolled south of Mataranka in the early hours of April 14.
Shortly after 5am on Tuesday, the accident, which occurred 48 kilometres south of the township on the Stuart Highway, was reported to emergency services by another truck driver.
It is believed the third trailer of the truck rolled and hit a tree after it left the bitumen.
The driver and his passenger were transported to the Mataranka Health Clinic by paramedics but later discharged.
A Northern Territory police spokesperson said it is alleged that fatigue played a part in the accident.
Pedestrian hit by car and killed outside Perth hospital
WA Today [14/4/15]:
A pedestrian has been killed after being hit by a car near the entrance to the Armadale Kelmscott Memorial Hospital.
The incident, near the intersection of Albany Highway and Haslemere Drive in Mount Nasura, was reported at 10.42am on Tuesday morning.
Firefighters called in heavy rescue equipment to try to free the person, who was trapped under the vehicle. St John Ambulance and staff from the hospital's emergency department are on site.
Officers from the major crash squad are also in attendance.
Police have warned motorists to expect delays in the area as Albany Highway has been closed in both directions.
Ex soldier convicted of trafficking methylamphetamine avoids jail as he seeks treatment for PTSD
A decorated war veteran convicted of drug trafficking has avoided jail time as he seeks treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Kent Justin Adcock, 43, spent 16 years in the military including two nine-month deployments to both Iraq and East Timor between 2000 and 2008.
He was discharged for medical reasons in 2010 after developing an alcohol dependence that later worsened to include drugs.
In 2012, Adcock was charged with one count each of trafficking and possession of methylamphetamine after police intercepted his phone calls.
He pleaded guilty to those charges and was sentenced on Tuesday in the Supreme Court in Brisbane.
His barrister, Catherine Cuthbert, told the court Adcock was trying to rehabilitate and had attended various mental health facilities.
She said he was now an in-patient at a specialised unit for veterans at the Greenslopes Hospital in Brisbane.
Justice Peter Lyons noted Adcock, who wore his military medals in court and rocked back and forth in the dock, was clearly anxious.
A report from Adcock's treating doctor noted exposure to 'stressors' during his tours of service including dead bodies, exchanges of fire and life-threatening situations.
Justice Lyons warned Adcock that drug trafficking is destructive to the community.
"It can result in a long time in prison and you, no doubt, are conscious of that," he said.
"It seems to me the quite unusual circumstances of this case warrant a relatively significant departure from the sentence which would otherwise be imposed for trafficking," he said.
Adcock received a three year sentence but his parole date was set to Tuesday so he can continue treatment in the mental health unit at Greenslopes.
Driver fined for false declaration
… Dylan Shane Brailsford, 21, appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday where he pleaded guilty to one count of making a false declaration.
He was given a ticket for driving within one metre of a group of cyclists in Bray Park, north of Brisbane, in February this year but signed a statutory declaration saying his mother was behind the wheel at the time.
The court heard Brailsford was completing a good driver behaviour period at the time and losing his licence would mean also losing his job as a Qantas storeman.
Magistrate Jeffrey Clarke said Brailsford's behaviour was disgraceful.
"To take the conscious effort not only to lie to weave your way out of your own trouble but then to also blame your own mother is pretty appalling conduct," he said.
"I understand she's here and I hope that you've done your best to make amends with her and apologise."
The magistrate warned that police may still pursue the original traffic offence and Brailsford was at risk of losing his job.
He fined Brailsford $750 but did not record a conviction.
Mt Isa woman who questioned police harassment gets 50 hours community service after spending 3 days in custody
North West Star [14/4/15]:
A woman who grabbed a police officer’s stun gun in Pioneer during a riot involving 300 people escaped conviction in the Mount Isa Magistrates Court on Monday.
Dakota Kelsy Jane Major, 19, struggled to take the stun gun from a police officer arresting her for public nuisance in Abel Smith Parade at 4.30am, March 28.
But the defendant’s legal representative said she was not part of the riot.
Police Prosecutor Sergeant Heather Whiting said Major head-butted a police officer in the throat and jaw when handcuffed after grabbing for the stun gun.
She was found with a flick knife after [being] searched by police and afterwards gave a false name.
Sergeant Whiting said the struggle happened during a highly publicised riot in Gardner Street and the nearby area, in which 300 intoxicated people caused a disturbance.
Multiple emergency phone calls were made by residents.
“Police tactically withdrew, waiting for additional resources to arrive,” Sergeant Whiting said.
“This is the first time in (at least) three and a half years police were called to duty to maintain safety of officers and people.”
Major pleaded guilty to five charges; two counts of serious assault, obstructing a police officer, public nuisance, ignoring directions given by police, and having a knife in a public place.
Magistrate Stephen Guttridge took into account the three days Major spent in custody when ordering her to perform 50 hours community service within a year.
No criminal conviction was recorded but the knife was forfeited.
Solicitor from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service, Tim Carberry, said his Townsville based defendant had no criminal history.
“She was not part – on my instructions – of the 300 strong group but she was in the area walking around the area with friends,” Mr Carberry said.
“A large group of people came out of Gardner Street fighting among themselves.”
Major accused attending police officers of harassment and asked them for their names.
They refused to give them which was why she gave a false name.
Major had a negative blood alcohol reading, Mr Carberry noted.
Imaginary Queensland journalist asks the Premier and/or Police Minister: Wouldn't the fact police pursuits are apparently only necessary in certain localities be class/race based policing?
High-end speeding, Springfield Lakes [QPS Media - 14/4/15]:
Police have charged a 26-year-old man with high-end speeding and drink driving after POLAIR tracked his motorcycle on the Centenary Highway at Springfield Lakes on Sunday night.
Around 9.30pm the male rider was recorded travelling on the highway between Progress Road at Richlands and Springfield Lakes Boulevard at Springfield Lakes, allegedly reaching a speed of 248km per hour.
A short time later, Springfield Police attended the man’s residence and conducted a breath alcohol test where the man allegedly returned a concentration of 0.06 per cent.
The 26-year-old Springfield Lakes man was charged with high-end speeding and drink driving and is expected to appear in court at a later date.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Queensland police undertaking a "covert hooning operation" in Yatala provoke a pursuit ending in a serious crash and hospitalisation.
Business as usual as Premier says she'll speak to the police minister about rolling out body cameras (as if that will offer some kind of protection from class and race harassment).
Feel safe Queensland?
Brisbane Times [14/4/15]:
... "I think all Queenslanders would have been absolutely alarmed to see the images that we have been shown on our television screens over recent nights," she said.
"People have an enormous responsibility when they are behind the wheel of a car, an enormous amount of responsibility - not just to yourself, not just to your passengers, but everybody else who is on the road.
"And what we are seeing is people who are not observing the rules, who are breaking the rules, and who are putting not only their lives but the lives of others at risk." ...
QPS Media [12/4/15]
Private schools show same results as public schools
UQ News [13/4/15]:
Birth weight, the amount of time a mother spends with her child, and the education level of both parents will have more impact on a child than whether they attend a private or public school.
Those are the findings of a study co-authored by University of Queensland Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences duo Professor Luke Connelly and Dr Hong Son Nghiem.
The research, involving four waves of Australian primary school-aged children born since March 1999, supports similar studies in the United States and United Kingdom.
“Our results show that sending children to Catholic or other independent schools has no significant effect,” Professor Connelly said.
“Any differences we see in test results are not due to the school type.
“Rather, they reflect the differences between households and students that already exist in society.
“The work adds to a growing literature from three different continents that the returns from attending independent primary schools are no different from those of attending public school.”
The research – Does school type affect cognitive and non-cognitive development in children? – tracked more than 4000 Australian primary school children between Years three and five.
While a paid education was not indicative of a child’s school success, there were some clear factors that had an influence.
Children with a birth weight of less than 2.5kg achieved significantly lower test scores, especially in grammar and numeracy.
And children’s test scores decreased as mothers’ work hours increased, but the working hours of the father were found to have no statistically significant impact.
Children of parents who had both completed Year 12 had significantly higher test scores on all subjects.
Mean scores were lower for all children who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in Year three, although there was marked improvement by Year five testing.
Observations were based around performance in the Australia-wide National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), tests held in May each year.
The research is published in the Labour Economics journal, and features contributions from Dr Ha Trong Nguyen of Curtin University and Dr Rasheda Khanam of University of Southern Queensland
Dr Hong Son Nghiem now works at Queensland University of Technology.
Newington College has become the latest private boys school to be embroiled in claims of child sexual abuse.
In an email sent to parents and former students on Monday, headmaster David Mulford said an upcoming court case involved allegations of abuse at the school. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 13/4/15]
Airnorth to stop Mount Isa-Gold Coast direct flights
... Regional airline Airnorth has announced it will stop direct flights between Mount Isa and the Gold Coast Airport, at Coolangatta, this week.
The service has been running since 2009 and is due to finish on Thursday.
Airnorth chief executive officer Michael Bridge said demand for seats on the service had declined and revenues had weakened over the past six months.
He said there were not enough non-business passengers to make up for the drop in fly-in, fly-out workers and the route was no longer financially viable.
The company said it was looking at several initiatives for Mount Isa residents, to be announced over the next few months.
Gold Coast Metermaids: Happy 50th anniversary MeterMaids
The Iconic Surfers Paradise Meter Maids Since 1965:
Come and Join Us For Our 50th Year
The Surfers Paradise Meter Maids were introduced to the Surfers Paradise landscape on the 13th April 1965 to address the bad image created by the installation of parking meters on the tourist strip in December 1964 by the then City Council. This was a controversial promotion, using young women dressed in gold lame bikinis and tiaras, who strolled the streets of Surfers Paradise feeding coins into expired parking meters, but quickly became an international celebration of Surfers Paradise. Now in our 49th year we remain 'the face of Surfers Paradise' after 6 decades. In 2014 we celebrate our 50th year culminating in a golden anniversary party in April 2015. Despite six decades of constant change in Surfers Paradise the Metermaids not only remain relevant, but have established themselves as a tourist favourite and expectation.
We Love Australia!
(it's just the arseholes who run the place we can't stand)
Surfers Paradise [14/4/15]
Why have I kept silent, silent for too long
over what is openly played out
in war games at the end of which we
the survivors are at best footnotes. …
'What Must Be Said', Günter Grass 
Hiroshima survivors: Haunted 70 years on, determined to remember [Japan Today – 14/4/15]
Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano dies at 74 [La Prensa – 13/4/15]
... “The world and Latin America have lost a maestro of the liberation of the people,” said Bolivian president Evo Morales.
“His messages and works have always been oriented towards defending the sovereignty and dignity of our peoples.”
Galeano was best known for his 1971 book Open Veins of Latin America, which rocketed to the top of US bestseller lists after the Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez presented a copy to President Barack Obama in 2009.
Subtitled “Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent” the book argues that Latin America has been consistently impoverished in order to feed the prosperity of Europe and the US.
In his chronicle of centuries of economic exploitation, Galeano wrote: “The human murder by poverty in Latin America is secret. Every year, without making a sound, three Hiroshima bombs explode over communities that have become accustomed to suffering with clenched teeth.”
Speech at Summit of the Americas, Raul Castro Ruz [ICH – 13/4/15]:
... Cuba shall continue advocating the ideas for which our people have taken on enormous sacrifices and risks, fighting alongside the poor, the unemployed and the sick without healthcare; the children forced to live on their own, to work or be submitted to prostitution; those going hungry or discriminated; the oppressed and the exploited who make up the overwhelming majority of the world population.
Financial speculation, the privileges of Bretton Wood, and the unilateral removal of the gold standard have grown increasingly suffocating.
We need a transparent and equitable financial system.
It is unacceptable that less than ten big corporations, mostly American, determine what is read, watched or listened to worldwide.
The Internet should be ruled by an international, democratic and participatory governance, particularly concerning its content.
The militarization of cyberspace, and the secret and illegal use of computer systems to attack other States are equally unacceptable. We shall not be dazzled or colonized again.
Alan Turing's notebook sold for $1m in New York auction [BBC - 13/4/15]
We'll take banks all the way to the High Court, says Katter
Media Release [14/4/15]:
Federal member for Kennedy and KAP Leader Bob Katter today signalled the intention of farmers to take banks all the way to the High Court in order to win the battle against intimidatory banking practices in the farming industry in Australia.
Mr Katter’s calls came after the airing of a 60 Minutes story this week, featuring Mr Katter, which showed the techniques used against farmers in an effort to get them to ‘voluntarily’ give up their properties.
“Banks do not just foreclose, they’re using duress and even mis-representation to get people to agree to terms without putting them into receivership,” he said.
“The veil of secrecy which surrounds their dealings with farmers when taken away will reveal, in my opinion, gross obscenities.
“We are determined that it will be illegal to get people to sign contracts of confidentiality using inducement and duress. We will see them (the banks) all the way to the High Court”.
Mr Katter has already asked the Treasurer to require all banks and lending authorities to provide to Parliament the full and complete wording of confidentiality clauses inserted into lending documentation in the last two years.
Last week a Senate Committee quashed hopes of an ARDB (Australian Reconstruction and Development Board) at the Federal level but at the same time some Government members called on cabinet to introduce further drought assistance measures. Bob Katter today supported comments by State Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter that the Government’s actions demonstrated nothing but total hypocrisy.
“They’re just show ponies. So far all this Government has done for farmers is offer another $100 million in concessional loans. At the “Last Stand” meeting in Winton in December last year farmers overwhelming rejected concessional loans as they don’t want more debt.
“It is a waste of time having white papers and green papers into agricultural debt, all that politicians are doing is making themselves look like they care. I defy anyone to point out to me a white paper that has produced a positive result in the last 20 years and they have cost tens of millions of dollars.”
Mr Katter said that to him the answer was simple and very much alive at the State level where KAP members Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth hold a strong position in the Queensland Parliament.
“For all of Australian history governments have set up ARDBs authorised to prudentially borrow money at the Government rate, currently 2.25%. The Government takes over the bad debt of the bank, at a reduced sum, and then loans the money back to the farmers at the Government rate of 2.25%.
“We’re not asking for a bailout, in fact the last time this was done in Queensland on a major scale in sugar, the government made a profit. But this is the first time in Australian history where a crisis of this size has arisen without the remotest effort to put in place an ARBD.
“I don’t mind free market fundamentalists the LNP and ALP saying paddle your own canoe, we’d be happy to paddle our own canoe, I just wish we weren’t up the creek in a barb wire canoe,” Mr Katter said.
Australia tortures refugees: Christmas Island refugee concentration camp has a solitary confinement unit known as the "red compound"
An asylum seeker on Christmas Island was placed in solitary confinement without approval being granted by the immigration department, in breach of its own policy.
Guardian Australia understands the asylum seeker was placed into a part of the Christmas Island facility previously known as the “red compound” overnight last Thursday, where they were left in isolation for at least 12 hours.
The room has been described by the Australian Human Rights Commission as “essentially a small cell” with CCTV cameras and furniture that is nailed to the ground, and has previously raised concerns about the use of the room.
A spokeswoman for the immigration department said: “The person was placed in the support unit for their own protection and was subsequently moved on Friday morning once other accommodation allocations were completed.
“The regional manager subsequently reviewed this placement and endorsed that it was appropriate.”
The revelation comes before a Senate inquiry that is set to hold hearings on Thursday into a bill that would allow immigration staff to gain greater powers to use force – which would include the use of restraints and seclusions – on asylum seekers in immigration detention.
The bill would also grant immunity to the federal government and private contractors in instances where force was used “in good faith”.
The department has strict policies around the use of solitary confinement in detention centres, which were not followed for the asylum seeker on Christmas Island.
The most recent version of the department’s policy on the use of seclusions says that for placement in these types of centres “approval is required from the DIAC [Department of Immigration and Citizenship] regional manager or DIAC centre manager for an initial placement period of up to 24 hours”.
Placements exceeding this timeframe must be escalated to an assistant secretary for approval.
The use of solitary confinement in immigration detention centres has faced heavy criticism from health professionals and the United Nations. Unlike in mental health facilities, approval is granted by department staff rather than officers with medical training.
In mental health facilities there is a clear commitment to reduce the use of seclusion, but documents obtained freedom of information laws show that seclusion use has risen in immigration detention facilities such as Villawood in Sydney.
In a 2012 report on Christmas Island, the Australian Human Rights Commission wrote it had “concerns that people with vulnerabilities could be detained in such a restrictive facility for any period of time”.
The use of the isolation room follows a period of heightened tensions at the Christmas Island centre, with the risk rating of the centre upgraded to medium last week.
Italy’s Coast Guard helped save 144 migrants Monday from a capsized boat off Libya and spotted nine bodies. It was the most dramatic of numerous rescue operations that brought thousands to safety in recent days, as good weather has encouraged the desperate to set out on smugglers’ vessels.
The overturned boat was spotted 80 miles north of Libya, Coast Guard Cmdr. Filippo Marini told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. Rescuers were not yet able to determine from survivors whether some other migrants might be missing, he said. Nationalities of the migrants were not immediately made known. ... [Japan Times - 14/4/15]
More than 170 migrants rescued off Tunisia [Zee News - 13/4/15]
In three days, over 5,600 people fleeing from extreme conditions in their countries of origin were rescued from 22 different vessels between April 10-12, Italy's coastguard reported Monday. ... [teleSUR - 13/4/15]
Australia sends more troops to participate in latest US invasion of Iraq [Prime Minister of Australia Media Release - 14/4/15]
Statement on Productivity Commission's report into gas markets in Australia
Senator Lazarus [14/4/15]:
I have just read the Productivity Commission's report into gas markets in Australia which is now available online.
I have included the link to the report below.
The report states and I quote excerpts 'the expected benefits from reducing the environmental and public health risks from CSG activity should be assessed against the expected costs to the gas industry'... (page 87) AND in relation to states that have responded to community concern by putting in place a moratorium on CSG mining activity, and I quote excerpts 'the expected benefits of the moratoria must be weighed against their expected costs - reduced royalty and taxation revenue for governments' (page 2).
It is clear to me, the Productivity Commission and the Abbott Government do not genuinely care about the human impact of CSG mining and its impact on the health of our people and the depletion and contamination of our water and other natural resources - to them it is all about dollars and nothing more.
The problem is these people in positions of power will be long gone by the time so much permanent damage is done to our people and our environment and the devastation will not be reversable.
I found the report insulting - absolutely insulting. http://www.pc.gov.au/research/completed/gas-markets
Be part of Australia's LONGEST roadside demonstration AGAINST CSG mining - Goondiwindi to Chinchilla, 10am - 2pm, Sunday 19 April 2015
Woman's body found in ashes of Darling Downs home
West Australian [14/4/15]:
The body of a woman has been found in a house that was destroyed by fire in Queensland's Darling Downs.
The woman was missing and feared dead after a blaze overnight destroyed the farmhouse.
Seven fire crews fought the fire at the house in Brymaroo, near Dalby, on Monday night, but could not save the home.
Forensic officers found the woman's body on Tuesday morning.
House Fire, Brymaroo (Dalby) [QPS Media - 14/4/15]
Cairns man killed after being hit by car
A 45-year-old Cairns man has died after being hit by a car in north Queensland.
Police said officers were driving through Weipa, western Cape York, on Monday night when they saw a pedestrian thrown by a car travelling in the opposite direction.
He died at the scene despite resuscitation attempts.
Police said the man might have been walking on the road at the time of the incident.
Log falls off truck on Yaamba Rd, Rockhampton
Morning Bulletin [14/4/15]:
A log has fallen off the load of a truck along Yaamba Rd.
Reports indicate the log is in the northbound lane, opposite Emmaus College.
Truck rollover in FNQ, woman injured
A cattle truck has rolled in far north Queensland, seriously injuring an elderly female passenger.
Police say the truck rolled on the Peninsular Development Road near Laura around 2pm on Monday.
The 73-year-old female passenger was airlifted to Cairns Hospital in a serious condition.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating and police say one lane of the Peninsular Development Road is expected to remain closed overnight.
Four injured in bus crash on Sunshine Coast
Brisbane Times [14/4/15]:
Three people have been taken to hospital after a bus crashed into a ditch on the Sunshine Coast.
A Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman said a 60-year-old man suffered head injuries during the crash at Weyba Downs about 6.45am on Tuesday.
A 30-year-old man also received rib injuries, while the third patient, whose age and gender is unknown, sustained abrasions.
All three were transported to Nambour Hospital.
A fourth person was treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Police are investigating the cause of the crash.
Child sex abuse inquiry: Royal Commission investigates Neerkol Orphanage
A Queensland orphanage at which hundreds of children were sexually abused, beaten and forced into hard labour will be the focus of royal commission hearings in Rockhampton today.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is examining how the Sisters of Mercy, the Rockhampton diocese and the state government responded to complaints made by former residents of St Joseph's Neerkol Orphanage.
The orphanage has already been the subject of several police and government investigations, and a 1999 inquiry led by former Queensland governor Leneen Forde.
After the so-called Forde Inquiry, the Queensland government at the time offered ex gratia payments of up to $40,000 to people as long as they dropped other legal action against the state.
Over the next two weeks, the royal commission will hear from 18 people who say they were abused by priests, workers, and nuns at the orphanage from 1940 to 1975.
Sunshine Coast Daily [14/4/15]:
At 23, Tommy Connolly could be hanging out with his mates, training in hope of realising his dream of being an elite athlete, and enjoying the freedoms of youth.
Instead the bright, enthusiastic young man is looking after his homeless, illiterate 17-year-old cousin and her newborn baby boy after rescuing them from the streets when she was pregnant.
"Sarah" (not her real name) was 16, pregnant and living on the Gold Coast streets when she reunited with her cousin over Facebook.
Mr Connolly said he had not seen her for 10 years.
He said the decision to do for her what her misfit parents never had was easy.
He would protect her, provide for her, respect and nurture her.
Possible threat to homes due to grassfire on Mount Archer
Morning Bulletin [14/4/15]:
Fire crews are at the scene of a grassfire about 1km up Pilbeam Drive, Mount Archer.
QFES spokesman said a number of units have been sent to the blaze which has been described at this stage as medium size.
QFES were unaware of any threats to homes, however, Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow has told this morning council's meeting that there was potential threat to homes in the area.
Firefighters are expected to stay at the scene for two hours.
Break and enter, Southport
QPS Media [14/4/15]:
Police are investigating a break and enter at a jewellery store at Southport in the early hours of this morning.
Just before 4am a man has used a hammer to gain access to a shopping complex at Marine Parade.
Once inside the complex he has walked to a jewellery store where he has again used the hammer to gain entry.
While inside the jewellery store the man has stolen a large quantity of watches and rings before fleeing the scene.
Police investigations are continuing.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
New Zealand: McDonald's accused of dirty tactics
A workers union is accusing fast food chain McDonalds of resorting to dirty tactics amid negotiations to scrap zero-hours contracts.
McDonalds this morning put out an offer, ensuring that all employees receive 80 percent of rostered hours up to a 40 hour cap.
Restaurant Brands, which owns KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr and Starbucks, has agreed to end zero hour contracts by July.
Unite Union's national director Mike Treen said McDonalds wanted to be seen as doing the right thing but its offer was meaningless and far from genuine.
"I thought it was a dirty way of doing it to be honest because they issued a press statement which didn't make clear this difference between rostered and hours worked, they put this our at 11.30 whilst we were in bargaining."
Mike Treen said there were several gaping holes in McDonalds' offer, and negotiations are set to continue tomorrow.
McDonald's said having reviewed the way its contracts are structured it understands that having security of hours was important to workers.
Follow the money: Vaccines, and why this conversation should not be so polarised
Nancy Tanner [4/2/15]:
... All of the screaming going on right now is just a DISTRACTION. It isn’t what is really going on. Anytime the media gets everyone riled up, and spreads fear, you need to STOP, and look past the hysteria, and you will find the cause. And it’s usually one corporation becoming bed partners with a politician, another corporation, or one of our government agencies.
Always look past the distractions. Dig a bit deeper and read more.
In the animal world for example. The pharmaceutical companies came out with a ‘suggested vaccine schedule’, it was untested, not proven, just a suggestion. The AVMA said, “fabulous, lets go with it”. Dr. Ronald Schultz, Pathobiologist, University of Wisconsin Madison, is THE, not the, but THE leading expert on immunology and vaccines for our domestic animals. His articles, videos, and position statements should be mandatory for all pet owners to read. Period.
We have his links on our RESOURCES PAGE.
He is not anti vaccine, but he has been calling for a safer vaccine schedule for years and years. Please keep in mind he is THE leading expert, and has no financial gain whether people listen or not. He is speaking his scientific research truth without big money backing him. And therein lies the problem. Big money has a big voice. Fact. ...
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Sacramento, CA Press Conference - No On SB277 [VIDEO - 9/4/15]
Vaccine exemptions: California SB277 against opt-outs advances in 6-2 Senate Health Committee vote [Mercury News – 8/4/15]
Bipartisan dismantliing of Australia's universal health care continues
Private health insurers will work directly with GPs and hospitals for the first time, running programs with the aim of keeping patients healthy.
The Federal Government has announced the winners of the 28 new "primary health networks" which will receive up to $900 million in government funds.
Health Minister Sussan Ley said the networks, which replace Medicare Locals, would improve frontline services for patients and better coordination between hospitals and GPs.
But Australian Medical Association spokesman Dr Brian Morton said involving private health insurers in GP care meant the uninsured could lose out.
"The conflict of interest for a private health insurer may be [that] they provide better access to their members," he said.
"It may be preferential access to services, rather than making it equitable in [terms of] access for every Australian."
Dr Michael Armitage from Private Health Care Australia, the peak body for insurers, said increased private sector involvement was key to improving quality and consistency in the health system while reducing costs.
NDIS neoliberal scam confuses Australians [Canberra Times - 14/4/15]
United States, “allies” continue bombing Iraq and Syria
Coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria and Iraq between 8 a.m., April 12, and 8 a.m., April 13, local time.
In Syria, Coalition military forces conducted three airstrikes, using bomber and fighter aircraft.
Separately in Iraq, Coalition military forces conducted 14 airstrikes approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense using fighter, attack and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.
"These strikes on Daesh formations near Bayji reduce their numbers and limit their ability to conduct operations," said Col. Wayne Marotto, CJTF-OIR Spokesman.
"Coalition strikes continue to degrade Daesh's capabilities across Iraq and Syria. We will continue to support the ISF and the Government of Iraq against this threat.”
The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:
Near Kobani, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed five ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.
Near Al Huwayjah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
Near Bayji, six airstrikes struck six ISIL tactical units, destroyed an ISIL VBIED, an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL mortar system.
Near Ramadi, four airstrikes destroyed seven ISIL buildings, an ISIL checkpoint and an ISIL fighting position.
Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed two ISIL buildings and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
Near Tal Afar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and two ISIL heavy machine guns.
Top DoD attorney charts evolution of use of force law [Centcom - 13/4/15]:
... Preston then turned to current discussions over an AUMF aimed directly at ISIL. President Barack Obama wants ultimately to repeal the 2001 AUMF and to tailor its authorities to better fit the current fight and the strategy going forward, he said. In February, the president submitted draft legislation authorizing use of “the armed forces of the United States as the president determines to be necessary and appropriate against ISIL or associated persons or forces.” ...
A federal court in Washington, D.C. has sentenced a former Blackwater security guard to life in prison and three others to 30 years in jail for their roles in a 2007 shooting that killed 14 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad and caused an international uproar. ... [Al Jazeera - 13/4/15]
UN: Majority of Yemen war victims are civilians [Al Jazeera - 14/4/15]
Nearly 800,000 children forced to flee violence in Nigeria and region – UNICEF [Media Release – 13/4/15]
Iran suspends pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia over ‘sexual assaults’ of teen boys [RT – 13/4/15]
Normandy Four backs withdrawal of tanks, small artillery from Ukraine ceasefire line [RT – 13/4/15]
Two award-winning journalists have shed light on the story of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s journey to Hong Kong and Moscow, when his revelations on US government surveillance shook the world, in a new documentary presented in Moscow by RT.
The documentary, made by German investigative journalist John Goetz and Danish documentary filmmaker Poul-Erik Heilbuth, tells Snowden’s story from the moment he left the US for Hong Kong to his arrival to Terminal F at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport in 2013.
Snowden tells the story himself, along with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks Legal Defense, who helped Snowden to escape from Hong Kong. ... [RT - 13/4/15]
14 April 2015