'There is a refugee and migrant crime wave ... no-one is doing anything about it'
Commentators slam courts for giving Chinese driver BAIL before his footpath rampage in Melbourne
A man who caused chaos in the heart of Melbourne after driving his car on footpaths and smashing into two banks before crashing into Crown Casino was on bail.
Chen Jie Xu, 34, believed to be a Chinese national, allegedly struck three buildings on Swanston Street, including the ANZ and Commonwealth banks, while driving on the footpath at 11pm on Tuesday night.
Commentators have slammed Victoria Corrections for not keeping the man off the streets, in light of a string of recent disasters in the city caused by criminals on parole.
'(Police need to) stop playing a PC game. There is a refugee and migrant crime wave in Melbourne, and no one's doing anything about it,' media personality Prue MacSween told 7 News.
'Mohammed Moron and Jihad Jerk will continue getting behind cars and using them as weapons until somebody recognises that we have a problem,' MacSween added.
'We also have people out on bail who shouldn't be out on bail as this bloke was.'
Questions have also been asked about why police waited for the man, believed to be a Chinese national, to race on foot into the foyer of Crown Casino before arresting him.
But Victoria Police Inspector Stephen Cooper defended the actions of responding police officers, saying 'our response was timely.'
'We made sure that we had a cordon up in place to ensure that the person wasn't able to leave any further places and impact on the public any further,' he said.
'(The car) did stop on three occasions to cause damage to three buildings.
'But we are assured because of the fact that the vehicle did stop that the intent was not to cause harm to any of the pedestrians.'
Xu stopped earlier for a pedestrian to let them cross, before continuing.
Police on Wednesday charged the 34-year-old with five counts of criminal damage, endangering life, dangerous driving and a weapons offence.
He was on bail at the time of the alleged offences, police said.
He was meant to face the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Wednesday but his appearance was moved to July 3.
It comes just a week after the city placed concrete bollards in Bourke Street Mall to prevent cars from being able to drive up onto the pedestrian area.
In January six people were killed when Melbourne man Dimitrious Gargasoulas allegedly drove onto the footpath near Bourke Street Mall in his car.
No free speech about the judiciary?
Members of Malcolm Turnbull's cabinet have rushed to the defence of their ministerial colleagues over remarks about the judiciary that have landed them in court and facing possible contempt charges.
Comments from three politicians criticising Victoria's judicial system could see them face contempt of court charges.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar have been ordered to front the Victorian Supreme Court on Friday to explain "why they should not be referred for prosecution for contempt".
It is understood the ministers will not attend the Victorian Supreme Court on Friday, but will be represented by Commonwealth Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue, for whom taxpayers will foot the bill.
The matter relates to criticism of the Victorian judiciary made by the three men in The Australian newspaper, which were seen by the court as relating to a live Commonwealth appeal challenging the 10-year sentence of convicted terror plotter Sevdet Ramadan Besim.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham came to his colleagues' aid, insisting they had not just a right but a duty to represent their constituents' views on issues of importance to the community.
"I think when Australian people vote for their elected representatives, they expect their elected representatives to speak their mind, and they expect their elected representatives to stand up on issues that the community are concerned about, that the community might think are unfair or bad outcomes," Senator Birmingham said.
"That applies as much in relation to sentencing decisions of courts as to any other issue."
He conceded MPs needed to be "mindful of all of our different responsibilities", referring to the duty to not prejudice cases before a court.
"But our first responsibility as members of parliament is to the people who send us here, to the voters who send us here, and to stand up for their interests, for their expectations," he said. "And I'm quite confident that that is all my colleagues were doing."
Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos said he was "surprised" to see his colleagues hauled before a judge to explain themselves, because "this is a country which prizes free speech".
"Politicians from time to time will say some pretty colourful things and I believe that politicians should have the right to do so," he told ABC Radio National on Wednesday night.
"If they say something that's obviously defamatory or libellous or whatever, that's a separate matter, but politicians have got to have a right to make commentary on matters of public interest and public policy."
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce declined to comment other than to say: "the whole issue about contempt of court is you don't talk about court proceedings".
The ministers are believed to have the strong support of their colleagues from throughout the Coalition.
"We're all on the same page, this is outrageous," one MP said. "The judiciary is not above criticism. If they're suggesting they're above criticism that's a big problem in our democracy. I think they know this isn't contempt but I think they want to send a message."
The trio also won the backing of crossbench senator and free speech crusader David Leyonhjelm, who lambasted "unelected" judges as "dear little daffodils" who couldn't handle criticism.
"Frankly, I think contempt of the court is when you do a brown eyes," he said, referring to the practice of removing one's trousers and pointing one's posterior in someone's direction.
In a letter obtained by Fairfax Media, Judicial Registrar Ian Irving said comments by the three ministers published in The Australian, accusing the judiciary of going soft on terrorists, would appear to bring the court into disrepute.
Mr Hunt reportedly said: "The state courts should not be places for ideological experiments in the face of global and local threats from Islamic extremism that has led to such tragic losses."
Mr Sukkar was quoted as saying: "Labor's continued appointment of hard-left activist judges has come back to bite Victorians". He also said the soft attitude of judges "has eroded any trust that remained in our legal system".
Minter Ellison partner Peter Bartlett said judges were rightly subjected to public criticism from politicians and the community for their decisions.
But he said some of the ministers' comments had gone too far by suggesting the judges were ideologically motivated. "That's crossing the line. That's suggesting bias with judges," he said.
However, Mr Bartlett said it was disappointing the ministers had been required to explain their actions in the court. He believed it was unlikely they would be charged.
"I would hope that the ministers apologise to the court and get a rap over the knuckles and nothing more," he said.
It is understood Labor MPs have been told to exercise caution on the matter. But opposition whip Graham Perrett said the episode was at the very least a good lesson for all involved.
"Generally the Parliament and executive at any level of government should be respectful of the judiciary," he told Fairfax Media.
"Unless you are aware of the individual facts, how could you possibly comment with any authority on a decision handed down by the court?"
Greenies lose another attempt to block a mega coal mine
ANTI-Adani activists have lost another case in the courts after the Supreme Court today dismissed an appeal against the approval of the Abbot Point coal terminal expansion, near Bowen.
The expansion project, which went through three environmental impact studies, will be expanded as part of the $US16.5 billion Carmichael Mine, port and rail development.
The appeal was brought by the Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping, which said the decision meant it was a dark day for the reef.
The defeat of the appeal means that the only remaining case against the mine is the Australian Conservation Foundation’s appeal against the Federal Government’s environmental approval.
Native title issues were resolved by legislative amendments passed by the Federal Senate yesterday.
WRAD’s spokeswoman Sandra Williams said her group would continue to fight for the reef, but her lawyers said it would have to consider the judgement before deciding on any further appeals.
Imbecilic call for all Australians to graduate High School
That one in eight fail to pass High School is pretty much what you would expect from the distribution of IQ -- so is changeable only by dumbing down the courses, which are already far too dumbed down
The latest report by Mitchell Institute at Victoria University finds large numbers of young Australians are not succeeding in education and training, and it’s costing taxpayers billions of dollars each year.
The findings reveal one in eight Australians will never attain a Year 12 qualification, and some of these people make up the one in eight Australians who will be disengaged from the workforce for most of their lives.
Victoria University’s Vice‐Chancellor, Professor Peter Dawkins said when young people aren’t supported to find success later in life it leads to enormous costs for everyone – through wasted tax dollars and lost chances to build safer communities, a stronger workforce and a richer economy.
“When we fail to set young people up for success, they are not the only ones affected – the impact stretches to all corners of society,” Professor Dawkins explained.
“The size of the impact, we’ve discovered, is staggering. Poor investment in our education system, especially in areas that help young people transition to careers, is costing our country billions of dollars every year.”
The are problems in key areas of education that lead to more people entering a life of crime, clogging public health services and relying on government support payments to get by. This also means people pay less taxes, and make less of an overall contribution to our economy and communities.
The fiscal and social costs associated with these issues are enormous.
For taxpayers, having 38,000 people aged 19 who will never achieve Year 12 or equivalent costs $315 million each year, and more than $12 billion over a lifetime. Having 46,000 people aged 24 who will be disengaged for most of their lives costs taxpayers $472 million each year, and almost $19 billion over a lifetime.
From the social perspective, the group of early school leavers costs governments and communities more than $580 million annually and more than $23 billion over a lifetime. The figures are even larger for the disengaged 24 year olds – $1.2 billion each year and more than $50 billion over a lifetime.
These costs are based on cohorts from just one year and they are conservative: actual costs are likely higher.
Professor Dawkins said governments need to prioritise system changes to ensure all Australians have equal education opportunities, while industry leaders, educators and communities can also help drive change.
“Universities and training institutes can be part of the solution by partnering with employers, understanding community needs and providing better opportunities for more young people to gain the skills and knowledge they need to find success.
“It is a matter of urgency to pay attention to the problems in our system that are letting down so many people. In the meantime, we’ll all keep paying the costs.”
Counting the costs of lost opportunity in Australian education is available at www.mitchellinstitute.org.au
Media release via email
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