Walgett Community College, the 'worst school in the state' gets a fresh start
Wotta lotta ... ! How are new buildings going to solve behaviour problems? Politicians don't or won't understand Aboriginal behaviour problems so they do the one thing they can: Build things
A school with a long and troubled history of violence and disadvantage has been given a fresh start as students moved into brand-new $9.2 million school facilities.
A viral video of teenage girls fiercely attacking a classmate in a classroom last year brought infamy to the remote north-western NSW school, Walgett Community College.
Students at Walgett High say their school has seen a dramatic turnaround since a time when regular fights left them feeling unsafe.
There were crisis meetings with the minister and education bureaucrats, more student fights during their visits and police were stationed in the school, which found itself thrust reluctantly into the media spotlight.
This was after Education Minister Adrian Piccoli had declared it "the worst school in the state" over the ruinous state of its buildings and facilities.
It wasn't just that. Attendance rates were abysmal, violent fights were common, teachers were subject to verbal abuse by students and the high turnover of principals had left a leadership gap and sour relations with the mostly Indigenous population in the town.
The students were hurt by the video and the media coverage. "That was just embarrassing," year 9 student Abbey Ashby, 14, told Fairfax Media this week. "It was pretty sad. It just made Walgett look bad."
But the school community celebrated a rare bright spot this week as they moved into brand new facilities built by the Department of Education under its Connected Communities Strategy, after what department officials say has been a stabilising year under new executive principal Karen McKinnon.
Year 9 student Raylene Kennedy, 14, said "It's better than how it used to be, it's safer. The learning, it's getting better. Nobody used to feel safe, 'cos there used to be so many fights. But now there's none."
The students are still the same, she adds, but they're behaving better.
Abbey, who wants to study nursing at university when she finishes school, said the new buildings were a major improvement on the old school. "It's just more like a learning space, [compared with] over there. You felt real crowded in."
The executive principal Karen McKinnon, who took over in October 2015, is being credited by the department for turning things around
in the school. She has worked in several remote and Indigenous schools, mainly in Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Making the school safer, she said, is "about expectations and being consistent. There are rules and students know the rules and they know there are consequences if those rules aren't followed, and they know there's a consistency in the follow-up.
"So in this school, fighting has been reduced almost to none this year. That's because the consequences are out there, kids know, and they don't like to be suspended. In the end they recognise fighting isn't the answer."
The victories are small – Mrs McKinnon cites a year 10 student who was virtually never at school last year, who shows up "almost" every day now. They have been given the budget to hold a breakfast club every day at the primary school to make sure kids get a decent feed so they can concentrate in class. Staff say they are committed and feeling positive. And overall attendance rates have lifted a little from 68.9 per cent last year to an average of 72.5 per cent for 2016.
There are just 98 students enrolled in the gleaming new school which could house three or four times the number. But there are hopes for a resurgence. Walgett has a potential high school population of around 350 according to a census by the department last year, most of whom attend high schools elsewhere, driven away by the school's terrible reputation.
Signs of the old problems were scarce for Education Minister Adrian Piccoli's visit on Wednesday – his fifth as minister – but a groundsman let slip he'd been hard at work the night before scrubbing off graffiti and laying neat astroturf in the outdoor learning area.
New buildings can't fix everything, the minister conceded, but they make a difference. "I think you would walk in here as a student and feel like the system values you," he said.
"Aboriginal people on many occasions have been treated like rubbish and when you saw this school in its original state, given the vast majority of students were of Aboriginal background, you can't not make that conclusion.
"So here we've turned that around. I'd like to think that the students see this is an investment in them."
The minister said needs-based funding in NSW had seen an extra allocation of essential resources to schools like Walgett.
"They'd been able to get out of this crisis mode they've often been in. Lots of drama comes into these schools because of what's happening in children's homes and a lot of the time was taken just dealing with that stuff.
"A principal said to me recently we've been able to get out of our welfare mentality and into a teaching and learning mentality. That's music to my ears."
Trent Graham, the acting head of teaching and learning, said the staff saw the new buildings as an "positive opportunity to continue the change" they'd been working for. Time will tell if they can maintain it.
The intensive, individual approach is a lot of work for the teachers, he conceded. "But the kids are worth it."
Foreign-funded green groups could take whole swathes of Australia out of the productive economy
Hillary Clinton and Julia Gillard have a lot in common — and it’s not just the ladylike shoes and matching pearl earrings.
They both love to play the gender card, turning their immense privilege into victim status and dividing the electorate by sex.
Thus, Gillard nobbled Tony Abbott with her fabled misogyny speech and Clinton’s machine manages to drown out every Wikileaks embarrassment with a new Donald Trump bimbo eruption.
The other thing the two ladies have in common is the Clinton Foundation, which Wikileaks emails now show is an influence-peddling political slush fund.
And guess which country was one of its biggest donors? Australia. Yep, we’re up there with Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The Australian taxpayer shovelled at least $88 million into the Clinton Foundation and associated entities from 2006 to 2014, reaching a peak of $10.3 million in 2012-13, Gillard’s last year in office.
On the Clinton Foundation website, AusAID and the Commonwealth of Australia score separate entries in the $10 million-plus group of donors, one rung up from American teacher unions.
In 2009-10 Kevin Rudd handed over another $10 million to the foundation for climate research, part of $300 million he squandered on a Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute.
Gillard also donated $300 million of our money to the Clinton-affiliated Global Partnership for Education.
Lo and behold, she became chairman in 2014 and has been actively promoting Clinton as president ever since — in a campaign video last December slamming Trump, in opeds trumpeting the next woman president and in appearances with Clinton spruiking girls’ education.
The Abbott government topped up the left-wing organisation’s coffers with another $140 million in 2014, bringing total Australian largesse to $460 million, according to a press release from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
And yet, apart from the beautiful friendship with Gillard, what did Australia get from the Clintons for all that cash? A whole lot of trouble is what.
The latest treasure trove of Wikileaks emails released last week shows that Australian green groups have been secretly funded to destroy our coal industry by environmental activists connected to the Clinton campaign.
The email account of Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta reveals extraordinary details of the sabotage of the $16 billion Adani coalmine in Queensland, which has damaged Australia’s national interest and denied cheap electricity to millions of poor Indians.
Last August John Hepburn, former Greenpeace activist and founder of Australian anti-coal group the Sunrise Project, sent a crowing email to his American paymasters, the Sandler Foundation, which is also a major donor to the Clinton Foundation. (Founder Herb Sandler and mate George Soros funded another Clinton-aligned progressive group, the Centre for American Progress, previously chaired by Podesta.)
“The Adani Carmichael mine and the whole Galilee Basin fossil fuel industrial complex is in its death throes,” Hepburn wrote in the email forwarded to Podesta.
“I am going to buy a few bottles of bubbly for a celebration with the (Environmental Defenders Office) legal team, our colleagues at GetUp, Greenpeace, 350.org, ECF, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Mackay Conservation Group, Market Forces and the brilliant and tireless Sunrise team.”
In another email forwarded to Podesta, Hepburn panics about an Abbott government inquiry into environmental charities and discusses hiding Sunrise’s sources of funding to safeguard its charitable tax status.
Hepburn boasts about the latest legal blow to Adani, when the Federal Court overturned its approval and the Commonwealth Bank quit the project. In it he now wants to “escalate the campaign towards the other 3 big Australian banks”.
And he mocks miners who “try to claim that there is some kind of foreign-funded and tightly orchestrated conspiracy to systematically destroy the Australian coal industry. (I seriously don’t know where they get these wacky ideas from!)”
As if it’s not bad enough that foreign-funded activists are meddling with our largest export earner, Podesta’s emails also detail their insidious influence on indigenous land owners who blocked the Adani mine using powerful native title rights.
This alliance of green groups with native title owners is a frightening development detailed in a new book by historian Keith Windschuttle, The Break-up of Australia: The Real Agenda behind Aboriginal Recognition.
He reveals the imminent expansion of native title claims, either approved or quietly being processed, stretch across a whopping 60 per cent of the Australian continent, an area twice the size of Western Europe.
Already 6000sq km of the Kidman cattle empire in the Kimberley has been given, via native title, to green activists to be converted from productive cattle country to a wildlife conservation area.
“In return, the Yulumbu people get a paltry $50,000 a year royalty,” Windschuttle writes. “As a flora and fauna sanctuary it is economically defunct for the foreseeable future.”
At worst, writes Windschuttle, the upcoming referendum for indigenous constitutional recognition, proposed by Gillard in 2012, could pave the way for a separate Aboriginal state on native title land, funded by taxation, royalties and lease payments — passive welfare in another guise.
At the very least, the alliance between foreign-funded green groups and indigenous owners gives environmentalists the opportunity to take whole swathes of Australia out of the productive economy and shut down industries they don’t like, from coal mines in Queensland to cattle farms in Western Australia.
Thanks for nothing, Hillary and Julia.
Open borders inevitably stoke xenophobia
The Western world is edging towards a precipice. The postwar consensus that cast internationalism as a global ideal is unravelling. The Muslim migrant crisis has revealed that the political ideals of the West’s ruling elite and the people they govern are not simply different but apparently opposed.
Historically, such a clash of ideals between the governing and the governed tends to produce the mass suppression of dissidents by the elite, or a grassroots revolution from below. Each tendency has become amplified in the battle between sovereign citizens and supranational elites over border policy.
In previous centuries, mass revolt usually has been caused by a combination of economic inequality and political disenfranchisement. The modern trust deficit between the rulers and the ruled is civilisational. It arises from a widespread belief that Western elites are ruled by and ruling for foreign interests against the sovereign wealth of their states and the sovereign interests of their people.
Historian John Fonte offers a scholarly account of the development of supranational elitism in his book Sovereignty or Submission. He analyses the emergence of a transnational system of unelected officials populating the UN, the EU and NGOs, who believe in imposing rule from above on sovereign states and citizens.
Recent evidence supports Fonte’s analysis of emergent supranational rule. Documents published by WikiLeaks and DCLeaks have exposed the influence of unelected elites, NGO networks and so-called human rights activists on Western politics. In particular, the leaked files illustrate a pattern of supranationalists funding Western political parties and civil society organisations that back open-border policy, complemented by the organised mobbing of freethinkers who dissent from the Left party line.
The old term used to punish Western dissenters from the UN’s porous border policy and PC politics was Islamophobia. The new thought crime is xenophobia.
At the September UN meeting attended by Malcolm Turnbull, the General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. The UN aims to develop a global compact for migration in coming years. The declaration’s introductory paragraphs outline the contours of the new thought crime: “in many parts of the world we are witnessing with great concern increasingly xenophobia and racist responses to refugees and migrants. We strongly condemn acts and manifestations of … xenophobia and related intolerance against refugees and migrants … we deplore all manifestations of xenophobia.” To solve the UN’s problem, its members endorsed a new global campaign to “counter xenophobia”.
There should be no need to state the obvious truth that immigrants make great economic, social, intellectual and cultural contributions to their nations. There are innumerable examples in Australia including last week’s heroic act by taxi driver Aguek Nyok, who saved passengers from a burning bus. Nyok is an immigrant from Sudan. However, it would benefit social cohesion to celebrate the contributions of immigrants not as immigrants, but as citizens who have an equal share in advancing our great country and the civilisational values that sustain the free world.
The problem with the UN’s demand that only positive stories about migrants and refugees should be promoted as a part of its anti-xenophobia campaign is that it requires the censorship of truth, thereby deepening the trust deficit between supranational organisations and sovereign citizens. By permitting only positive reports about the effects of porous border policy, the UN has become a propagandist of PC ideology.
The politically incorrect truth is that people entering the West as asylum-seekers also commit serious violence against our citizens and undermine our civilisational values.
Soeren Kern, senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute, has reported on several rapes of German women and girls by migrants, including teenage boys. In October, a 19-year-old Moroccan migrant was arrested on suspicion of raping a 90-year-old woman as she walked home from Sunday mass.
Speaking to Britain’s Sunday Express newspaper, German police union chief Rainer Wendt notes that criminal migrants from North Africa “despise our country and laugh at our justice”.
Journalist Ingrid Carlqvist has documented a shockingly high number of arrests and convictions of asylum-seekers in Sweden during May. Their crimes include extraordinarily brutal rapes of women and children.
Norwegian police inspector Thomas Utne Pettersen reports that mass immigration has led to an increase in the rape of women and children. Speaking to Breitbart media, he cites the high incarceration rate of some migrant groups and cases of rape committed by asylum-seekers from Afghanistan and Syria, concluding: “People’s xenophobia in relation to this group is highly rational and justified”.
Despite the reports of horrific violence against Western citizens arising from open-border policies, the UN and activist groups continue their campaign to demonise sovereign governments that support a rational immigration policy.
The Australian’s associate editor Chris Kenny analysed open-border activists’ response to Australia’s offshore immigration processing on Nauru. In short, green-Left politicians backed by the activist press lie by portraying offshore processing as “torture” while demonising Nauru’s decent citizens. Like their supranational comrades at the UN, Australia’s open-border activists are shameless propagandists for PC ideology.
The Australian Human Rights Commission has a history of agitating against the Coalition government’s immigration policy. However, the commission’s supposedly landmark report on children in immigration detention was methodologically unsound and biased. Documents revealed the inquiry’s main conclusion that Australia’s immigration system is non-compliant with UN conventions was stated in a 2013 work plan before the main investigations had commenced. Yet the Left media continues to laud AHRC opinion on border security and immigration policy.
Popular support for Brexit and figures like Donald Trump is driven by the lies and propaganda of supranational elites. Their hostility toward the creed, culture and citizens of the free world is evident in their campaign to enforce open-border policy on Western states and demonise dissenters.
Politicians who believe in democracy, human rights and the rule of law should resist the corrupted ideology of a once great UN. Instead, they should fulfil their primary duty of care to citizens by defending their peoples’ sovereign right to safety and security against the elitism of unelected ideologues.
Corruption in high places? NSW Police dropped drug charges that allowed a violent criminal to kill
Glen Roberts served in the Cronulla riots and survived being mowed down twice by the same car during a dramatic police pursuit.
Yet his professional career – and his personal life – will forever be defined by a drug exchange he wishes he had never, by chance, witnessed.
One of the two people he arrested and charged that night in April 2011, Wayne Edward Jones, was a major crime figure who, already serving parole, was sent straight back to jail – where he should have remained for several years.
Yet for reasons known only to a select few officers within the NSW Police Force, he did not.
Michelle Reynolds with one of her young sons. © Janie Barrett Michelle Reynolds with one of her young sons. Six months later, the charges against Jones were inexplicably withdrawn and he was freed - with deadly consequences.
Jones later booked into a Coffs Harbour motel where, high on ice, he hogtied, tortured and strangled to death a mother-of-four, Michelle Reynolds. He then ordered take-away pizza beside her broken body before dumping her in bushland the following day.
Senior Constable Roberts, meanwhile, found himself charged with having fabricated "false evidence" in the drug case against Jones.
A Fairfax Media investigation has now found that the force appeared so determined to discredit the officer over what he saw that night, it broke the law by withholding two crucial pieces of evidence from the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Senior Constable Roberts' defence lawyers which proved his innocence.
As a magistrate was still getting his head around the prosecution's case against Senior Constable Roberts, which he later remarked "should never have started", the worst possible news surfaced in court.
The same violent offender whose drug supply charges had strangely evaporated 14 months earlier had since become the subject of another serious criminal case at Coffs Harbour.
"Sorry your honour … I just have a question," said a court assistant about what first appeared to be a mix up with files. "The case … is for a murder charge."
"We all looked around in disbelief," recalled Senior Constable Roberts.
"The man whom I had charged, who should still have been inside, and for whom I was now in court, had killed someone. I was absolutely devastated."
On April 4, 2011, Senior Constable Roberts and a colleague were patrolling Sydney's Kings Cross where they observed Jones and three young women in a situation that prompted concerns of underage prostitution. Senior Constable Roberts then observed Jones "clearly and without obstruction" place both his hands down the front of his pants and remove "a plastic item" before transferring the object into the co-accused's hands" which she swiftly stuffed down the front of her shorts.
They called for back up and a a female officer searched the girl and located the package inside her pants which contained bags of heroin, ice and marijuana.
However, back at the station, the seemingly straightforward arrest started to unravel when the 21-year-old woman divulged that she had been assisting Newcastle-based detectives with classified intelligence about Jones and his bikie gang associates, describing scenes involving big silver cases and "pounds of drugs" laid across tables. "He is part of the Nomads ... they all are," she said. The woman went on to explain how the previous evening Jones had rounded her and two teenage girls up, conducted an ice deal at a service station and then bashed her and forced her to drive, unlicensed, to Sydney for the purpose of prostitution.
"He had sexual intercourse with me even though I tried to stop him ... and then after that he forced me to do two jobs …otherwise he was going to do it again." She also alleged he had raped one of the other girls.
Throughout the interview, the woman said she was "scared", adding: "Once he overdosed me on heroin and just left me there. Other days he just belts me."
The drugs that led to the arrest of Wayne Jones in 2011. © Supplied The drugs that led to the arrest of Wayne Jones in 2011. Years earlier, Jones had smashed a woman so hard with a car "club lock", it caused the left side of her face to collapse. He received a seven and a half year sentence with a non-parole period of four and a half years.
He was still on parole for that horrific attack when the drug exchange took place. He was now served with three drug possession charges, one count of dealing with suspected proceeds of crime and an additional charge of supply of an indictable quantity of drugs, which carries a maximum 15 year prison term.
Yet six months on, some shadowy element in the police force set wheels in motion to withdraw all those charges and have Jones freed.
In turn Senior Constable Roberts was suddenly accused of lying about what he'd observed on the night and was charged with "fabricating false evidence with intent to mislead judicial tribunal".
When the case was heard in Sydney's Downing Centre in April 2013, it emerged that the prosecution's case against Senior Constable Roberts hinged on one statement from a senior constable who said Roberts had told her he "hadn't actually seen" the drug transaction that led to Jones being charged.
Yet two pivotal pieces of evidence, which the force had failed to produce for two years, proved otherwise. The first, an official record of interview in which Jones' co-accused acknowledged she personally saw Senior Constable Roberts witness the exchange. "I know you saw me," she said, adding: "I spotted that."
The second testimony came from the female constable called to the sceneto search the three women. In her statement, which police did not disclose, the officer recalled Senior Constable Roberts saying: "I've seen her hug the accused and possibly put something down the front of her pants."
Under the Director of Public Prosecutions Act 1986, police are legally bound to "disclose" to the DPP "all relevant information, documents or other things obtained during the investigation" that might reasonably be expected to assist the case for the prosecution or that of the accused person.
Magistrate Graeme Curran said it was that "critical" evidence that not only favoured the "truthfulness" and "accuracy" of Roberts' observations, but "founded" the supply charges then laid against Jones.
"For reasons which just remain completely inexplicable and quite strange … this document was not provided to the DPP. This is despite a request that it be made available to the DPP."
Michelle Reynolds was dumped in bushland by Wayne Jones. © Frank Redward Michelle Reynolds was dumped in bushland by Wayne Jones. He added: "It seems quite exceptional, quite unacceptable, and as far as I am concerned, quite inexcusable in relation to the conduct of this matter before the court."
NSW Greens justice spokesman David Shoebridge said on Saturday: "This was either the grossest incompetence or, these actions were conducted with the clear intent of delivering a serious miscarriage of injustice. Either way, the consequences have been deeply tragic."
Senior Constable Roberts has had plenty of time to speculate on why someone in the force freed Jones and then attempted to "throw him under a train". But central to the grief that still consumes him is the question of what might have unfolded, had he never made the arrest that night.
"I'm still plagued by the thought that I may have saved the lives of those three young girls, but I cost another woman hers."
On Saturday, the force released a statement to Fairfax Media acknowledging "the seriousness of this issue."
How the bizarre sequence of events unfolded
Feb 2003: Wayne Jones bashes a woman so hard with a car "club lock", the left side of her face collapses. He already has convictions for armed robbery, possession of a pistol and numerous drug-related charges. At the end of the year, he receives a 7year sentence with a non-parole period of 4years.
Apr 2011: Kings Cross Senior Constable Glen Roberts witnesses a drug exchange involving Jones and a woman who he allegedly brought to Sydney to prostitute. Jones' parole is revoked and he is returned to jail. It emerges the woman has been forwarding classified intelligence about Jones' involvement with a major drug supply and the Nomads motorcycle gang.
Oct 20: All charges against Jones are withdrawn. He is freed.
Nov: Within weeks of being released, Jones is charged with possessing a knife in public, driving while disqualified, dealing with proceeds of crime and possessing identity information to commit an indictable offence. He again avoids jail and is placed on good behaviour bonds, the last of which expires on November 18, 2014.
October 10, 2012: Senior Constable Glen Roberts is charged with "fabricating false evidence with intent to mislead judicial tribunal".
December 11-17: Jones tortures, bashes and strangles Central Coast mother Michelle Reynolds in a Coffs Harbour motel room, then dumps her battered body in bushland.
June 6, 2013: A judge dismisses the case against Senior Constable Roberts and is scathing of police after they were found to have concealed "critical" evidence from the DPP that verified the detective's "truthfulness" and the case against Jones.
October 2014: Jones is sentenced to minimum 20 years jail for murder.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here