Rape accuser: “She was someone who suffered from severe mental health illness” The woman had bipolar disorder and had attended a psychiatric hospital in Melbourne in the months before her death aged 49
There is every likelihood she was a fantasist. That is common during manic episodes.
Fantasists can do enormous damage. Cardinal Pell spent months in jail on the basis of testimony that was clear fantasy before he was exonerated. And the case in Britain of Carl Beech and his amazing lies is notorious.
Clearly, the accused politician has no case to answer and the police have concluded exactly that
In 1988, she was a brilliant teenage girl, clever and capable, with the world apparently at her feet.
But the woman who made allegations of rape against a cabinet minister is now dead, having taken her own life in the early days of the pandemic in 2020. She would have turned 50 last week.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday the accused minister “absolutely rejects” the allegations.
“She was extraordinary,” said Jo Dyer, a literary festival director, who had known the deceased woman since they were 15 years old.
“She was someone who was brilliant, acute. She was sensitive and had emotional and intellectual intelligence, and curiosity.
“People had high expectations of her and with that comes pressure. She was mindful of that.”
After losing touch with many of her old friends for years, in 2019 the woman began talking to trusted friends about her alleged rape in 1988, when she was 16 years old.
She said she had been sexually assaulted in Sydney by a man who now holds a senior position in government. The woman knew the man when they were teenagers.
“We had a number of conversations because we were all very mindful of the difficulties of seeking justice through the criminal justice system,” Ms Dyer told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. “It was very difficult for her to be seeing him in the press all the time.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the cabinet minister at the centre of 1988 rape allegations “categorically denies” the claims.
The woman had not spoken to any journalists but going to the media was “definitely something on the agenda as a possibility”.
“How that could have worked with defamation laws, who knows,” Ms Dyer said.
The woman had engaged a lawyer and had a meeting with NSW police on February 27, 2020, before her struggles overwhelmed her. Hours before she died, she reportedly rang police to say she did not want to pursue the police process.
“She was someone who suffered from severe mental health illness,” said Ms Dyer.
“Amongst all that there was a determination and a clear resolve, to tell her story, that she had reached after clear-eyed rationalisation.”
An anonymous letter sent last week to Mr Morrison, Senators Sarah Hanson-Young and Penny Wong detailed the allegations against the federal government minister.
The letter is dated February 23 and states the woman had told six people who she had known at the time, and “all of them believed her account and were highly supportive of [the woman] in her attempt to process the impact of the rape”.
She had also told “numerous other people” from a wider circle, the letter says.
The Herald and Age have seen a copy of the 2019 statement made by the woman, which alleges violent sexual assault.
The statement includes photocopies of what the woman said were 1990s diary entries that mention rape by a person with the same first name as the cabinet minister.
It is not a formal police statement.
Labor MP Daniel Mulino was a friend of the woman from when they were both high school debaters.
“I first became aware of the complainant’s allegation that she had been raped some years earlier, by a person who is now a senior member of the federal government, in December 2019,” Mr Mulino said in a statement.
“She indicated to me that she was determined to proceed with a formal complaint and I supported her in that decision.”
Another woman who knew the complainant as a young debater described her as “very, very clever”.
“She was an outstanding debater,” the woman said.
“She was quite a shy person. She was not the gregarious person you would associate with a great debater.”
*************************************** Another Aboriginal success story turns out to be a white girl
All Paige Birkett ever wanted was a loving family home, but it took her 16 years to find one.
After she was born in prison, Paige spent most of her childhood shuffled between the care of different family members.
"We never had food and our house was always disgustingly messy," she said. "We never had money for school photos, we didn't get new shoes until they were falling apart.
"We were never really forced to go to school, nobody bothered to wake us up."
If it wasn't for her older brother Cody, Paige says life would have been a lot worse. "Cody went without everything for us. He wouldn't eat, just so we would have something to eat for dinner," she said.
"He would walk to the supermarket, back to the house, then to our primary school. "That's an hour-and-a-half walk, just to bring us a Vegemite sandwich."
When she was 12, Paige entered foster care, but the placements never stuck. "I was never very good at being in foster care houses," she said. "No foster carer wants a teenager. They want the young, cute ones that are easy to handle, easy to control."
At 14, Paige became one of the hundreds of young people per year in Victoria to be placed in youth residential care.
Placement in residential facilities is reserved for children at significant risk of harm in their own homes, with complex support needs, or who are otherwise unable to live in foster or kinship care.
Indigenous young people like Paige are disproportionately represented in the system.
Victoria's youth residential care system has been subject to repeated criticism and inquiries over what youth advocates say are systemic failures to provide already traumatised young people with a safe and stable environment.
Paige says her experience in what she calls "resi" exacerbated the trauma she had already been through and led her further down a dangerous path. She said she was frequently moved between facilities and estimates she had 15 addresses in the last three years, and attended eight high schools.
Paige said the conditions in residential care eventually led her to run away, abuse drugs, skip school, and have frequent run-ins with the police. "I was so lost and so broken," she said. "I ended up becoming heavily addicted to ice, getting arrested almost every day, drinking and smoking every day.
The most recent data from the 2018/2019 financial year on children placed in residential care assisted by VLA, shows 51 per cent required legal help for criminal charges within 12 months of their placement, and 12 per cent required legal help for criminal charges and identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
At age 16, Paige's dream of a family of her own was realised.
The deputy principal at her high school arranged for Paige to start a part-time job as a teaching assistant and travel to work with her in the morning.
"It was planned that I'd go there one day a week and stay at her house to go to work," Paige said.
"One day turned into two days, turned into three days, a month. All she ever cared about was helping me pass school.
"She called me every day. She just never left, no matter what I did to push her away, she just didn't go."
The teacher ultimately signed up to be Paige's foster carer. "She showed me sternness but care at the same time," Paige said.
"They always said, 'We expect of you what we do of our own children'. "They saw in me what is in so many other kids as well, which was the potential I had."
After years without a stable home, haphazard school attendance, regular drug use and frequent run-ins with police, Paige has now graduated from year 12.
Now 18, she is clean and sober, lives independently with her pet dog, bird, and mice, and wants to study to be a Koorie education support officer.
*************************************** Anti-Adani activist Ben Pennings in Supreme Court in legal battle with mining giant
Dozens of anti-Adani protesters have gathered outside the Brisbane Supreme Court in support of one of the project’s most vocal critics Ben Pennings who is locked in a bitter legal battle with the mining giant.
Adani lodged a landmark civil damages action against outspoken environmental activist Mr Pennings in August last year, claiming he orchestrated a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation against the company, costing millions of dollars.
The Galilee Basin miner Adani and its Carmichael Rail Network are seeking damages for breach of confidence, intimidation and conspiracy.
The case came before the court today where Mr Pennings’ lawyers argued against confidentiality orders being imposed that would stop Mr Pennings from personally viewing details of the entire case against him.
But lawyers for Adani argued in court against the full particulars of the case being released to Mr Pennings, saying they were concerned the confidential information including plans for the mining project and related supplier contracts would be leaked.
Barrister Graham Gibson QC, for Adani, submitted Mr Pennings could not “be trusted to maintain confidentiality of any material that he’s exposed to”.
In a statement to media, Mr Pennings’ legal team said the activist would struggle to defend his case if the details were kept confidential from him.
“Adani says Ben has taken its confidential information, but won’t tell him what that information actually is,” Marque Lawyers partner Kiera Peacock said.
“This creates a real tension with Ben’s fundamental right to natural justice, to know the case he has to defend.”
Mr Pennings said the confidentiality order sought would hamper his defence. “It’s impossible to defend myself against a multi-billionaire if Adani withholds details of its case against me,” he said.
“I need to know what exactly Adani says I did wrong, so that I can actually defend this case and end the ongoing pain this is causing my family.”
*************************************** Restaurant names and menus come under fire
Dining out tonight? Take care, because you could be guilty of white privilege, casual racism, identity unconsciousness, bias and wilful ignorance before you’ve even ordered the spring rolls.
The restaurant industry, battered and bruised by the events of the past 12 months, is the latest target of the politically correct, with one of Queensland’s most successful eateries skewered in the current edition of a national food magazine.
Sum Yung Guys, which is run by four men who happen to be white, is one of the most popular restaurants on the Sunshine Coast, but is also, it now seems, “symptomatic of a society that weaponises languages against the very people who own them”.
“It’s not the Sum Yung Guys name alone that offends,” complains writer Amy C. Lam in Gourmet Traveller.
“It’s the overall aesthetic, the extra details that bloat the package.
“In multiple iterations, the Sum Yung Guys logo is presented in wonton font – fun and vibrant colourways with the same Orientalist messaging. “It homogenises and flattens Asia’s 40-plus countries and cultures into a kitsch two-dimensional tableau. “It’s lazy. It’s mediocre. It’s a neo-colonial act of erasure.”
I’ve never eaten in the restaurant, but I wonder if all the thousands of people who have were aware that they were contributing to a neo-colonial act of erasure.
There are now those who are so desperate to find a reason to be offended that they seek out evidence to support the belief that they are victims in every corner of our society.
I cannot imagine having a life so empty and bereft of achievement and purpose as to be reduced to seeking proof that Australia is a racist nation because of its restaurant names.
The Sunny Coast chefs aren’t the only ones to feel the heat.
Down on the Gold Coast, the Margarita Cartel restaurant at Burleigh Heads, which promises traditional Mexican street food, also attracted the attention of the magazine, which quoted Swinburne University of Technology senior lecturer in media Dr César Albarrán-Torres as saying: “It’s insensitive naming a restaurant like that because of the stereotypes and racism they perpetuate.”
The name is harmful, it seems, because it presents a parochial view of the diversity of Latin American people and culture.
“If we’re to discuss cartels and drug trafficking, we should do it in a way that doesn’t make a spectacle or entertainment out of people’s suffering,” he said.
Really? Can anyone seriously entertain the belief that enjoying a margarita and hoeing into some tacos on the Goldy is somehow disrespectful to Mexicans and legitimising the drug trade?
Down in Mollymook on the NSW south coast, there’s a restaurant called Gwylo which takes its name from “gweilo”, the Cantonese word for foreigner.
The problem here, as any woke person would be quick to point out, is that Chinese people might feel that they were being discriminated against because the name suggested that only foreigners – white people – would be served there.
“If we’re talking about whiteness, power, and privilege, it’s uncertain how this exercise in language-ownership evens out the field of equality and representation by symbolically shutting out Chinese people,” writes Ms Lam.
“There’s still something discomforting about a white owner, in the 21st century, proclaiming his whiteness in neon lights while cooking and profiting from food cultures that are not his own.”
Given my heritage, I should feel offended by the number of faux Irish bars with names like O’Flaherty and Murphy scattered throughout the land, for surely they suggest that the Irish are a bunch of tosspots who spend their days gargling Guinness.
I’ve tried to feel offended but I just can’t manage it, not being possessed of the necessary degree of wokeness.
If people don’t complain about racist restaurant names it is because, writes Ms Lam, the model migrant complex encourages people of colour to stay quiet and invisible and because it’s a more odious crime to question a person’s racially insensitive behaviour, than to be the instigator of the behaviour itself.
Sum Yung Guys have returned fire to the magazine, with one of their number, Matt Sinclair, saying in a statement that “articles like this are the only problematic medium in society right now.
“Does the world really need another fuse lit to incite hate, now or ever?”
He’s right, of course. People now seek to find offence where none exists, the search for victimhood never ending.
Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:http://dissectleft.blogspot.com
(POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)http://edwatch.blogspot.com
(MY OTHER BLOGS)