Melbourne Member of Parliament accuses judges of 'standing in the corner of terrorists'
This is a lively issue at the moment with overheated claims by some that the politician should be prosecuted for what he said. So the Law Council has emailed out a comment on the matter which begins as follows:
The Law Council, speaking on behalf of the Australian legal profession, is calling for an end to political attacks on the judiciary, especially in cases where they might be perceived to interfere with matters currently before the courts.
Law Council of Australia President, Fiona McLeod SC, said recent comments from Government MPs referring to "ideological experiments" supposedly being carried out by the judicial system were gravely concerning.
“It is inappropriate to suggest that judges decide their cases on anything other than the law and the facts presented to them by the parties,” Ms McLeod said.
“Attacking the independence of the judiciary does not make Australia safer, in fact it erodes public confidence in the courts and undermines the rule of law.
“It is Australia's robust adherence to the rule of law that has underpinned this nation's status as one of the most peaceful, harmonious, and secure places in the world.”
Ms McLeod said the Law Council has particular concerns about comments made in the media today by Government MPs about a terror-related case currently before the courts in Victoria.
Respect cannot be commanded. It must be earned. So Fiona might do well to look at the CAUSES of disrespect for the judiciary. Almost the whole of Australia would find leniency for terrorists obnoxious so it is about time that the judiciary responded to that. They have plenty of leeway in their sentencing options to enable that. And the right to criticize judges is democracy at work too.
If Fiona wants to end "political attacks" on judges, let her urge the judges concerned to come down from their ivory towers. Let her urge them to have discussions with the family members of those who have been killed at random by Jihadis
I am afraid that to me Fiona just sounds like another mentally isolated Leftist twit. She would probably have done better to keep her mouth shut. She herself is provoking disrespect for the judiciary
A federal Liberal Party MP has launched an extraordinary attack on Victoria's Chief Justice and her judges, accusing them of 'standing in the corner of terrorists'.
The state's top judge Marilyn Warren is under fire following a controversial sentence for a teenager who had plotted to behead a police officer on Anzac Day.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is appealing the Victorian Supreme Court's seven-and-a-half year non-parole jail term imposed last year on Sevet Ramadan Besim.
The 19-year-old criminal had plotted to cut off a police officer's head in 2015.
Melbourne-based Liberal MP Michael Sukkar, who is also Assistant Treasurer, said judges needed to be called out for soft sentences when it came to terrorists.
'As far as I’m concerned, we need to be asserting as much pressure as we can on lawmakers and calling out judges who seemingly are standing in the corner of the terrorists and not in the corner of our society and the victims,' he told Melbourne radio station 3AW on Tuesday.
The conservative Liberal PARTY MP, who studied law, clarified his comments to say judges cared more about the welfare of terrorists than the public. 'Seemingly, more interested in their rehabilitation than in the safety and security of our society,' Mr Sukkar said.
'There are multiple numbers of cases where you’ve got people who are planning the most heinous acts and the only reason they’re stopped is because we’ve got amazing law enforcement agencies that stop them from happening.'
He added that as the chairman of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security committee, he believed 'the prospects of rehabilitation, particularly for Islamic terrorists is extraordinarily low'.
Last year, Besim pleaded guilty to an act in preparation of planning a terrorist attack, which would involve running down and beheading a police officer, an offence that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Elite schools set to lose under new Federal funding scheme
Government schools in Australia get most of their funding from State governments so are only marginally affected by the changes. While Americans dream about vouchers, private schools in Australia get substantial direct funding from the Federal government, which helps explain why 40% of Australian teenagers go to private schools
More than 100 prestigious private schools will receive less federal funding as part of Malcolm Turnbull’s education reforms, including the Sydney institutions of Cranbrook, Ascham, Kambala and the Kincoppal-Rose Bay School in the Prime Minister’s electorate.
Under the government’s $18.6 billion changes, 344 schools will lose funding under Gonski 2.0 compared to Labor’s existing model. This includes 24 previously identified independent schools, 27 Catholic systemic schools in the ACT, 151 government schools in the Northern Territory, and 142 non-government schools.
The Greens are calling on the Coalition to ensure the NT does not go backwards, while the government has dedicated $69 million over the decade to help the state adjust to the new arrangements.
Using Education Department data tabled in the Senate, The Australian can today reveal the so-called "hit list" of independent schools to receive less money under the government’s proposed measures than they would under Labor.
The schools — which will only be affected if the reforms to eliminate 27 "special deals" win Senate backing — include those where parents do the heavy lifting with fees, such as the Prime Minister’s alma mater, Sydney Grammar School.
Under the changes, Saint Ignatius’ College, Riverview — the alma mater of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and former prime minister Tony Abbott — will receive $3475 a student in federal funding next year, and $3979 at the end of the decade.
But some school leaders have praised the reforms, including Perth’s Presbyterian Ladies’ College deputy principal Andrew Cousins, who welcomed the prospect of a more equitable funding system. The federal per-student amount will be $3010 next year to $3990 in 2027. "Fundamentally the deals which have been done with the various states and the Catholic education system have led to great inequities in schools throughout Australia," principal Kate Hadwen said. "The more special deals we can eliminate the better. A child’s education should never be dependent upon a sector’s lobbying abilities."
Funding for the 142 independent schools does not go backwards at the end of the decade, unlike the previously identified 24 elite schools. But the 142 independent schools do experience a slower annual growth rate in their funding, receiving an annual indexation rate below 3.56 per cent for the first four years of the changes. The Australian has identified 103 of the 142 schools, and most of the remainder are believed to be Catholic systemic schools which are funded as part of a system.
The Gonski 2.0 changes are designed to fund all schools based on the same formula. Non-government schools will receive 80 per cent of their funding entitlement — called the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) — from the federal government by 2027. State schools would receive 20 per cent. Under the changes, NT would receive 24.4 per cent of its SRS from federal funding this year.
Greens education spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said: "Public schools perform an extraordinary service to struggling communities across the Northern Territory and their funding should not be allowed to go backwards. I call on the government to take some of the money that was going to wealthy private schools under Labor and use that to guarantee that current funding to NT public schools will be maintained and increased annually in line with indexation."
Labor’s Tanya Plibersek said the policy was a "fraud" but Education Minister Simon Birmingham said: "Funding for government schools in the Northern Territory will increase by $39m over the next four years and almost $69m over 10 years."
The National Catholic Education Commission argues that 619 of its systemic schools receive less money next year compared with this year.
The independent Schools Council of Australia believes 400 of its schools will feel the effect of the changes, and executive director Colette Colman said it was "not realistic for the independent sector to call for a level playing field for funding for all non-government schools and not accept the impact of the changes on independent schools".
Australian Association of Christian Schools executive officer Martin Hanscamp supports the changes because they provide fairness, "despite having schools that will receive reduced funding than what they would if it’s status quo … AACS encourages the Greens to get behind this pivotal legislation possibly through negotiating for a quicker transition for ‘needy’ schools and an independent review body, worthy amendments in AACS’s view" .
Bill Rusin, principal of Covenant Christian School in the Sydney suburb of Belrose, one of the 24 independent schools that go backwards, said "for us, we were a little surprised we were going to be almost the worst hit of all the surrounding schools.
"We don’t want to cry poor-mouth. We will survive but we want them to look at the algorithm that they used to calculate the capacity to pay.”
A Senate inquiry report is due today on the changes. Nick Xenophon yesterday said he would like to "think that with some sensible compromises" the government’s legislation could pass the Senate.
Hard questions being asked within the government about Australia's nonsensical climate policy
They are all agreed that the electricity supply must be reliable but can't figure out how you do that amid a switch to renewables. And not all are agreed that there is any point to renewables
The great call worldwide to the effect that renewable targets must be enshrined because businesses need certainty is utter nonsense. Businesses can easily be given certainty by an assurance that arrangements they enter into now will be "grandfathered" in the event of future policy changes
Always up for a brawl on climate change, Liberals and Nationals MPs have thrown themselves into an internal row that tells Australians to look elsewhere for leadership.
In public, MPs assure voters they have a way to keep power bills down. In private they rip each other to shreds because they do not know what to do.
The policy divide at the Coalition party room meeting on Tuesday night came with real personal bitterness.
Tony Abbott interjected so often throughout the meeting that Craig Laundy, a frontbench ally of Malcolm Turnbull, called the former prime minister out and asked that he show respect to those who wanted to speak.
Russell Broadbent, once a strong supporter of Turnbull, warned so strongly about the risk of higher electricity prices that he got a rebuke from Paul Fletcher, another frontbencher very loyal to the Prime Minister. "It was quite ugly,” says one witness.
There can be no long-term solution on energy from a group that will fracture so easily on policies it agreed to less than two years ago, such as a renewable energy target and a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Coalition party room meeting heard MPs who questioned the government’s stated plan to generate about 23.5 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2020 and to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030.
Abbott wants to scrap the RET even though the nation’s chief scientist, Alan Finkel, says this would harm investor confidence. The chair of the Coalition’s backbench committee, Craig Kelly told the meeting the emission reductions should be slowed in the near term to "back end” the cuts in later years. Queensland MP George Christensen told colleagues he regretted agreeing to the emissions targets two years ago.
Consider what this tells energy investors, let alone voters. Even if Turnbull can find a way through this chaos to decide a new energy policy, who can be sure how long that policy would last?
Even if the Coalition holds power at the next election, can investors be confident that the rules set in 2017 will still be in place in 2019 when their new wind farms or gas-fired power stations are meant to be built?
Some Coalition MPs dream of attracting investors to build a new coal power station to last four decades, but their promises of certainty ring hollow. Think of the size of the government guarantee needed to shield an investor from the prospect of a change in policy or a change in government. The Coalition’s internal disputes only add to the risk premium.
Observers should be wary of seeing the dispute as a revolt or backlash. While some MPs described the debate in those terms, others disagreed.
MPs who hate the Finkel proposal for a clean energy target certainly mobilised faster than others, so the story of the revolt was the first story told. Even so, Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg were careful to use the meeting to listen to concerns rather than advance a policy.
That meant the MPs turned their sights on the Finkel report rather than on Turnbull and Frydenberg.
"Nobody from government is proposing anything yet so it can’t be described as a backlash or a revolt,” says Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald, one of those who warned against the clean energy target.
Yet the message was clear and it means Turnbull will steer clear of the clean energy target in the form modelled in Finkel’s report, which assumed an emissions intensity threshold that would knock coal power stations out of the scheme.
The unspoken warning to Turnbull is that he puts his leadership in danger if he goes too far on energy and climate policy, just like he did in 2009 when Abbott replaced him.
Nobody in the party room meeting advanced an alternative to the Finkel plan. Many agreed that doing nothing was not an option — Frydenberg’s key message. While a clean energy target looks almost impossible, some form of energy mechanism is still on the table.
The clean energy target could be structured to offer help to coal as well as wind and solar but it will not be worth the "clean” brand.
Anything that satisfies Abbott is likely to be too generous to coal and therefore rejected by Labor and the Greens. Even if it scrapes through the Senate crossbench, it offers no policy certainty for the long-term.
Australians on disability pensions rise despite fall in mental health symptoms
The authors below avoid mentioning it but the obvious cause of the anomaly is that the workshy have "discovered" mental health claims as a good road to a relaxed life
The proportion of Australians receiving a disability pension for psychiatric conditions has risen significantly despite no increase in the prevalence of mental disorders, a new study reveals.
Between 2001 and 2014, the proportion of the population receiving a disability support pension for a psychiatric condition rose by 51 per cent. Depression is now the fourth highest cause of disability in Australia. However, National Health Survey data also shows that in 2001, conditions such as depression and anxiety affected 13.3 per cent of the Australian working population. In 2014, that percentage had slightly fallen, with 12.2 per cent affected.
The findings come from research published on Monday in the Medical Journal of Australia, pointing to a major public health problem as the cost of common mental disorders continues to increase.
Lead author of the study, Associate Professor Samuel Harvey, said that the research indicates a need to investigate why the number of those on disability support pensions continues to increase so dramatically.
"These two results leave us with a fascinating conundrum," said Associate Professor Harvey. "Why does Australia have increasing numbers of individuals requiring DSP for psychiatric conditions, when the prevalence of underlying mental health symptoms has not changed?"
He and his colleagues suggested a range of reasons why this may be the case, saying that practitioners could be more likely to cite a mental disorder as the main form of disability even if the person also has a physical disability.
They also said government policy could have shifted people away from employment-focused income support or that people with mental disorders have been pushed out of the workforce by employers. They also suggested that effective treatment could have masked a higher rate of disorders.
Associate Professor Harvey said that while there were a range of possible reasons for the increase in disability support pensions, it was clear that mental health would continue to have a serious ongoing effect on society.
"Regardless of the underlying cause of this discrepancy, what is clear is that while Australia has had some success in containing rates of mental health conditions over the last decade, common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety are continuing to have a major impact on the working age population and are creating an increasing cost for the individuals, their employers and for society at large."
He said that despite the large increase in pensions, the study did contradict popular beliefs that Australia was in the midst of a mental health crisis. "There is a common belief that we are in the midst of a mental health epidemic, with ever increasing rates of depression and anxiety. The good news is that, based on the latest National Health Survey data, this doesn't appear to the case in Australia."
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