-- R.G. Menzies
LIBERTARIAN/CONSERVATIVE DIGEST AND COMMENTARY FROM AN ACADEMIC PSYCHOLOGIST in Brisbane, Australia. My academic publications are widely read
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Climate change to blame for early cherry blossom season in Japan
Queensland Public Trustee denies making profit from clients, despite report criticising high fees and charges
They might not make a profit in any accounting sense but they are a bloated bureaucracy with well-feathered nests for their bureaucrats
They are run for the benefit of their employees, not for those they are supposed to serve. They have been left basically unsupervised for far too long
People on disability support and aged care pensions with assets will continue to be charged up to 40 per cent of their low incomes for financial administration services by the Public Trustee of Queensland, despite a report criticising the practice.
Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman tabled the Public Advocate's report into the Public Trustee in state parliament earlier this month.
It documented high fees for asset-rich pensioners, fees for no service and charging multiple sets of fees on managing the same funds, like superannuation.
In response, the state government announced that a board would oversee the Public Trustee.
However, the government has not yet set a timeframe for when this would occur and what authority it would have.
The Public Advocate's report also exposed routine profiteering from cash assets that were funnelled exclusively into the Public Trustee's own investment products – something called the "interest differential".
"The practice of directing all client funds into Public Trustee investments also means that the Public Trustee earns income and fees additional to the general Asset Management Fees it charges clients for providing administration services," the report stated.
"This practice raises questions about whether the Public Trustee is fulfilling its fiduciary duties to avoid conflicts with its clients' interests and not to make unauthorised profits from clients."
The report found that in 2019-20 alone, the Public Trustee kept $12.9 million in interest earnings from the cash assets of clients.
"The conflicts inherent in this funding arrangement appear to be incompatible with the duties and obligations of a trustee and fiduciary to not profit from its clients and to avoid conflicts," it said.
Public Advocate Mary Burgess made 32 recommendations and in a statement responding to the report, Ms Fentiman said the majority of the recommendations were primarily the responsibility of the Public Trustee to implement.
One of the recommendations included changing the legislation to clarify when and how the Public Trustee could invest client funds.
Another was to ensure the Trustee does not profit from administration clients unless expressly permitted by law.
Ms Fentiman did not say whether the government would review its legislation to determine whether profit was permissible under the Public Trustee Act, and she denied the report's finding that the Public Trustee profits from financial administration services.
"A moratorium on fees and charges would impact on the Public Trustee's ability to provide important services to vulnerable Queenslanders," Ms Fentiman said.
She also said many of the reforms had already been implemented or were underway.
The Public Trustee said a review on fees and charges was already underway but would not be completed for another six to eight months.
The Public Trustee denied it made a profit.
Sue Nunn, who has a person close to her who has been under financial administration, said she was sickened by the way they had been treated.
Ms Nunn said her complaints and concerns about the Public Trustee had fallen on deaf ears.
The Guardianship and Administration Act prevents the ABC from disclosing anything that could identify a person under a financial administration order — something that critics said prevented them from speaking out.
The person Ms Nunn is advocating for is paying close to 40 per cent of a disability pension in Public Trustee fees for financial and asset management.
"They're taking 40 per cent of his income – how can you say that's not profiting from somebody with a disability?" Ms Nunn said.
She said she was disappointed by the response of the state government to the Public Advocate's report. "At what point do we matter?" Ms Nunn said. "How many people have to be gouged of their finances?
"How many people have to lose everything they have, before we become important, and before it's enough to say 'stop, things need to change'."
Ms Nunn said she had lost count of the number of complaints she had made to assorted government bodies and ministers, and in her view, Ms Fentiman had downplayed the extent of the issues in her response to the parliament.
Steven Collins is another person with multiple family members who either are, or have previously been, under financial administration.
Mr Collins said he had observed questionable financial decisions being made for a family member, including trying to sell their house for more than it had been valued.
He claimed the family member was moved into rental accommodation that was costing more per week than the mortgage repayments had been. The person was moved back into their house when it had not sold.
The same family member was being given just $100 a week to live on at one stage, once the Trustee had extracted its fees and charges.
"The way it looks to me from things that have happened is it's just about getting money at any cost and from any angle — it's not about the client," Mr Collins said.
Mr Collins said when he started advocating on his family members' behalf, and asking questions of the Public Trustee, they stopped responding. "The letter I got back from them was actually quite appalling — it was a generalised, bureaucratic letter, and it really didn't get into the heart of any of the questions I asked," Mr Collins said.
"From there, they really stopped talking to me and wouldn't communicate with me from then on out."
Shadow attorney-general Tim Nicholls is now calling for an independent audit of the Public Trustee, and for the legislation that governs it to be either rewritten or amended substantially.
"It's really the case that the report has been done, the government has looked at it, and then handed it to the Public Trustee and said, 'You solve your own problems'," he said.
"There's no clarity about the [fee] review and what the changes are likely to be. "The Public Trustee continues to milk those clients for every cent under a flawed system that sees the most disadvantaged people paying more and getting less."
Veteran Adelaide radio host Jeremy Cordeaux sacked over Brittany Higgins tirade
Must not question St. Brittany
Veteran radio broadcaster Jeremy Cordeaux, who called Brittany Higgins a “silly girl who got drunk” and questioned her story, has been sacked.
The award-winning host was branded a “dinosaur” online over the appalling comments on air on FIVEaa over the weekend about the alleged rape at Parliament House in 2019.
“I just ask myself why the prime minister doesn’t call it out for what it is. A silly little girl who got drunk,” Cordeaux said at 6.26am during his weekend breakfast show.
“If this girl has been raped, why hasn’t the guy who raped her been arrested? Apparently everyone knows his name.”
“Security, you know, should never have let these two into the minister’s office at two o’clock in the morning. Never,” Cordeaux said.
“The defence minister. Can you imagine security taking someone who was obviously drunk, so drunk I think that the young lady, during the week on television, said she couldn’t get her shoes on.
“My advice to the prime minister – as he was sort of monstered by A Current Affair – my advice would be to stop worrying about offending somebody.”
‘It feels very political’: Principals sorry schools rushed to sign plan to tackle consent
One of the state’s longest-serving independent school heads says a cross-sector “statement of intent” to improve consent education was driven by political expediency rather than a desire for change, and she wishes her sector had not signed it.
Several other principals privately agree with her, with one saying “it feels very political”.
The statement, which has been signed by the public, Catholic and independent sectors, commits all schools to taking “concrete actions” to strengthen their students’ ability to form healthy relationships and prevent harmful situations.
However, it does not include parents’ groups as signatories as originally proposed by the Association of Independent Schools NSW, which came up with the concept three weeks ago. Parents’ groups told the Herald they would have signed it.
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the statement was intended to be signed by the three school sector heads individually, with further collaboration with other key groups to follow.
“While this is a whole-of-society challenge, the statement signed by the three education heads acknowledges the key role schools and teachers, in partnership with parents and parent organisations, will play in supporting change,” she said.
But Jenny Allum, who has led SCEGGS Darlinghurst since 1996, said while she supported the ideals articulated in the statement – which included hearing the voices of students and basing decisions on evidence – parents should have been signatories even if their involvement delayed the process.
“I am very sorry that we rushed to sign the statement of intent after it had been made clear that some parent groups would also like to sign the statement,” she said. “The signing of the statement in such a rushed fashion has more to do with political expediency than any desire to actually affect change.
“There is no quick fix here, no short-term critical incident to manage and wait for it to go away.
“A better course of action would have been to have a continued dialogue about consent and sexual coercion, as well as sexual assault and abuse, violence against women, gendered stereotypes, sexualisation of girls and women, and so on.”
Ms Allum said parents were the primary educators of their children, and so needed to be involved in conversations about respect, consent and violence towards women.
“Why was it important to sign something by yesterday afternoon, except that either the minister wanted it that way, or the [school] systems could look like they were doing something?” she said. “From what I can tell it’s relatively cosmetic. What practical solution does it offer?
“If you can’t name a practical solution, you’ve got to think it was political.”
Another principal, who did not want to be named, said the problem of sexual assault ran much deeper than students’ understanding of consent. “I don’t think [the statement] is the answer,” she said. “I don’t know how a statement of intent even begins to address it.”
Another said the document was “full of motherhood statements” but signing it did no harm and sent a positive message.
Julie Townsend, from St Catherine’s School, said it was appropriate for schools to work together. “Parents’ organisations can similarly unite with a common intent,” she said. “Both the school sectors and parent organisations can work side by side.”
Other principals, who also did not want to be named, said they would have preferred to wait for guidance from the Australian Human Rights Commission, which consulted with the sector at a roundtable on Friday.
They believe that a firm set of guidelines or recommendations from the commission, which has also helped the university sector and defence force, would be the most likely avenue to create lasting and meaningful change.
The AISNSW board voted to sign the statement after discussing it on Thursday night, AIS chief executive Geoff Newcombe said. “The board noted that this should be seen as a first step in dealing with what is a whole-of-society issue,” he said.
“The association also is currently in discussions with the NSW Parents Council so that we can recognise the critical role that parents will play in trying to resolve this problem.”
Muslim haters tracked down
A Queensland dog trainer and a Melbourne gemstone trader have been arrested as “senior players” of a sophisticated Australian terror network paying for foreign fighters to travel to Syria to join Jabhat al-Nusra.
Joint counterterrorism teams from Queensland and Victoria yesterday pounced on the men in co-ordinated raids, charging them over their alleged involvement in a sophisticated terrorist network being run out of southeast Queensland.
Gabriel Crazzi, 34, from Chambers Flat in Logan, and Ahmed Talib, 31, from Melbourne, are alleged to have been key players in the religiously-motivated extremist organisation.
The network is understood to have been responsible for funding Queensland man Ahmed Succarieh’s 2013 trip to Syria where he became Australia’s first suicide bomber.
The former schoolboy from south of Brisbane is believed to have blown himself up when he drove a truck loaded with explosives into a military checkpoint in Syria in September, 2013.
The explosion killed 35 people.
It will be alleged Crazzi and Talib developed networks in Australia, Turkey and Syria that helped Australians get into Syria to fight for Jabhat al-Nusra in 2012 and 2013.
Crazzi has been charged with seven foreign incursion related offences, while Talib is facing one charge.
Talib appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday and is facing extradition to Queensland.
Crazzi is due to appear before the Brisbane Magistrates Court today.
AFP Commander Stephen Dametto said the arrests were a culmination of the AFP, Queensland Police Service and ASIO working together to keep the community safe.
“Today is an example of our commitment to discourage Australians from fighting overseas and holding people to account for their involvement in supporting terrorism and terrorist organisations,” he said.
Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:
http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)
http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE TIED)
http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)
http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)
http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)
https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)
Calls for Australia’s ‘racist’ laws which can send young criminals to prison aged just 10 to be scrapped – as activists call for offenders to have no responsibility until 14
What Australians really think about climate change
High-profile Qld eisteddfod’s sudden shut down
Greens senator retracts rape claim against Home Affairs Minister, apologises
This would normally be a matter of no general interest except for one thing: It is an example of the lie about rape that regularly sprouts from Leftist women: The lie that women do not lie about rape. "Believe the woman", they say.
‘Life-threatening’: Fears as downpour continues, causing floods, landslides
Bipartisan motion calls out China’s treatment of Uighurs
I guess it is very wicked of me but I feel no regret about China's treatment of the Uighurs. Have we forgotten the Ürümqi riots of a few years ago in which Uighurs attacked Han Chinese? The Uighurs were making a nuisance of themselves in a typical Muslim way before the Chinese government (composed of Han Chinese) aroused itself to do something about them.
China wants a permanent solution to Uighur aggression and they rightly see that any solution will have to be a cultural one. So they are trying to knock their primitive Muslim religion out of the Uighurs. If the Uighurs abandoned their religion in favour of Confucian ideals, their oppression would end.
Muslims have done plenty of attacking us -- remember 9/11/2001? So it is plenty time for them to get some of their own back
Australian Uighurs are urging all federal MPs to support a bipartisan motion in Parliament which criticises China for “serious and systematic breaches of human rights” in Xinjiang.
The government has allowed debate on the motion put forward by veteran Liberal MP Kevin Andrews and Labor MP Chris Hayes, which will mark the strongest ever condemnation by the Australian Parliament of the Chinese government’s treatment of Uighurs.
The motion, introduced on Monday, urges the United Nations to investigate Beijing for its re-education camps and calls on the Australian government to ensure the country is not profiteering off forced labour in Xinjiang.
The Chinese government has repeatedly denied accusations of human rights abuses, including genocide, in the far western province.
Independent senator Rex Patrick last week accused the Australian government of failing to call out China’s mistreatment of Uighurs after it blocked his attempt to push through a Senate motion that would have recognised the Chinese government’s actions against the Muslim minority as “genocide”.
While not going that far, the resolution debated on Monday acknowledges parliaments and governments of other countries - including Britain, Netherlands, the United States and Canada - have recently said China’s actions in Xinjiang amount to genocide under international law.
The Australian Uighur Association’s Bahtiyar Bora said all members of Parliament should support the new motion and demand the Australian government “take much stronger action on what many believe is genocide taking place in plain sight”.
“At least one million innocent civilians have been locked up for no reason in a network of several hundred prisons,” he said. “This is beyond the usual left=right divide - this is about basic human dignity and the future of the entire Uighur population.”
Ramila Chanisheff from Australian Uighur Tangritagh Women’s Association said democratic nations such as Australia had a duty to call out China for its actions.
“The Chinese government has also separated thousands of children from their parents and placed them in special orphanages, in order to indoctrinate them,” she said.
Private members’ motions do not normally go to a vote, but it was given an hour of allocated time for debate from 10.15am. The Coalition and Labor were given 12 speakers each to debate the motion.
Mr Andrews said there was “overwhelming evidence of the cruel, inhumane and brutal practices of the Chinese Communist regime”.
“The most egregious, systematic abuse of human rights in the world is occurring in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of western China,” Mr Andrews said during his speech. “It has been occurring for several years. It involves the imprisonment, torture and enslavement of millions of ethnic Uyghurs, who comprise some 90 % of the population in the southern region of Xinjiang.”
Earlier this year the BBC reported first-hand accounts of systematic rape, sexual abuse and torture in Uighur detention camps.
Philip Citowicki, who was a policy adviser to former foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop, said the motion was a reminder that many federal MPs were deeply concerned about the situation in Xinjiang.
What are Magnitsky sanctions and why does Russia oppose them?
″This bipartisan motion was long in the making and acts as a release valve for many MPs who have wanted to speak up but have been rightly carefully managed by governments and its desire to limit commentary outside of the control senior officials,” he said.
“Airing their grievances on the floor of the house offers an opportunity for many MPs to push the conversation on a recognition of genocide and similarly speak out as other parliaments around the world have....Without a doubt, the government would be very mindful of just how this would play out diplomatically and seek to carefully manage escalating tensions.”
Infidelity is natural for females too
A penalty of being good-looking
It may help to understand the teenage Kate Jones story if you know that she had well-developed breasts from an early age. That was bound to attract frequent male attention, not all of it sophisticated. She hersef diagnosed that problem by having her breasts reduced when she was 20 -- a most regrettable recourse
Aboriginal distrust of the police
Aborigines have a lot of contact with the police because they commit a lot of crimes. Those encounters often end up badly so there are calls for the police to "do something" about that.
They seem to overlook that they have in their own hands an excellent way to improve their relationships with the police: Stop committing crimes. Their high rate of criminality -- particularly among young Aborigines -- is bound to create dislike of them among the police and that will show, one way or another
"They don't like me, and I don't like them".
In one simple sentence, a young man laid bare his experience of the often fraught relationship between Indigenous children and police.
His words weren't said in a casual conversation on the street but in a courtroom — and that scathing statement is forming part of a high-profile coronial investigation.
Three years ago, when that young man was 17, he watched his two friends drown in front of him while they were all trying to escape from the police.
A group of youths ran into Perth's Swan River trying to outrun two police officers pursuing them after a nearby break and enter.
This week, that young man was forced to relive those traumatic moments for the coronial inquest into their deaths in Perth. His anger was palpable, his distrust of authorities clear.
The man, who for legal reasons was referred to only as "P", watched footage showing the police officers entering a powerful, wide stretch of the Swan River in a rescue attempt.
His response to the video of tactical response officers in the water was blunt: "He [the officer] could've gone in sooner."
The young man's words made it clear that he was unconvinced any police officer might try to save the life of someone from his community.
The coroner will eventually make recommendations about how to heal this relationship between the community and the police and ways to avoid such tragic deaths, but for the families involved it will never be enough.
If you can't understand that young man's anger and distrust, let me try to explain.
It's not just him, but his immediate circle and the broader Indigenous community who are angry that their people are still dying this way, despite decades-long calls for change.
In the past month alone, there have been several painful reminders for Indigenous Australians that reinforce their beliefs they can't always trust the state to keep them safe.
This month, there were three deaths in custody within weeks of each other, 30 years on from the royal commission that handed down 339 recommendations to stop this from happening.
Just months ago, tens of thousands of Australians took to the streets in Black Lives Matter protests, calling on the nation's leaders to change the record on Indigenous deaths in custody.
The most recent deaths were compounded by the bruising findings of a separate coronial inquest handed down this month into the 2018 death of Anaiwan-Dunghutti man Nathan Reynolds in a Sydney jail.
The coroner concluded that he died from an asthma attack but that the prison's health response was "confused, uncoordinated and unreasonably delayed."
Put simply, the state "deprived him of any chance at survival", the coroner said.
These recent deaths show us what lessons have been lost with the passing of time.
For years, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody made national headlines, led news bulletins, exposed a nation's cultural and legal shortcomings.
The hope was that the findings in 1991 could heal the fractured relationship between the Indigenous community and the authorities they had learnt not to trust.
But recent weeks have shown that many of those lessons of honesty, transparency and accountability have faded, along with the hope of meaningful change.
Report after report investigates Indigenous over-incarceration, the causes and solutions repeated time after time — yet the situation does not improve and the community's trust erodes.
Since that royal commission, there's been an explosion in the number of Indigenous Australians locked up.
Back then they made up 14 per cent of prisoners, now it's almost 30 per cent.
Despite some moves to make prisons and police cells safer, there have been hundreds of Indigenous deaths in custody since that report was handed down three decades ago next month.
Two of the most recent deaths that happened in recent weeks were only made public under intense questioning in a parliamentary estimates session.
The New South Wales Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin defended the move to keep them private, but for the Indigenous community, the secrecy was salt in an old wound.
It was a reminder that after all these years the relationship hasn't changed.
Again, for the community, it was a reason not to trust; a reason to be angry.
'Soul-crushing' search for justice for families
Waiting for months or years to hear about the last moments of your loved ones has become a well-worn path for Indigenous families relying on the coronial process to deliver the truth.
The result can be "soul-crushing", according to Taleah Reynolds, who has lived through this harsh reality during the coronial inquest into her sibling's death.
Her 36-year-old brother Nathan died in his prison cell, just one week before he was expected to be released.
The coroner's report this month found "numerous system deficiencies and individual errors of judgment" contributed to the death and provided her family with little comfort.
"This can't just be treated as an accident — it must be recognised as a huge institutional failing and people must be held responsible," Ms Reynolds said outside court at the time.
March for justice: World’s media reacts to Australia’s big moment
Grace Tame, As a troubled teenager she was abused by a male teacher