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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte ‘could face international court’

by admin on 04/12/2018

Bangkok: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte could face international criminal charges as the death count in his relentless war on drugs tops almost 2000, human rights advocates say.

Comments by the tough-talking former provincial mayor such as “all of you are into drugs, you sons of bitches … I will kill you” could be used as evidence to prosecute him, they say.

Sam Zarifi from the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) says it is likely that as the killings continue lawyers will gather evidence to initiate legal proceedings against Mr Duterte like 9541 victims of the late Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos did in the United States in the 1990s.

In 1995 a US court awarded the victims $US1.9 billion after finding that Marcos, who died in exile in 1989, was responsible for massive human rights abuses, including torture, murder and “disappearances of fellow Filipinos”.

At the time lawyers said the verdict set a ground-breaking precedent upholding the principle that military “command responsibility” for wartime misconduct is applicable in a class-action suit alleging peacetime human rights abuses by the agents of a political leader.

Mr Zarifi, the ICJ’s regional director for Asia and Pacific, told the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand that the killings in the Philippines since 71-year-old Mr Duterte was swept into office at May elections are widespread and systematic, meeting the criteria under international law of crimes against humanity that could be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

He said while anyone can submit a case to the International Criminal Court, prosecutors there would be unlikely to initiate proceedings unless pressed by a global political movement.

But he said criminal charges could be laid against Mr Duterte in any country.

“I am not holding my breath for international action but if these (killings) continue at the same velocity I would expect cases to start popping up,” he said.

Mr Zarifi said Mr Duterte has made many comments that could be used against him in foreign courts, including several weeks ago declaring: “My order is to shoot to kill. I don’t care about human rights … this is a war against drugs and we have to fight it.”

Phelim Kine, Human Rights Watch’s Asia director, described the first weeks of Mr Duterte’s rule as “nothing less than absolute human rights disaster”.

“We have the highest elected official of the land openly, actively, aggressively calling for the extrajudicial killing of criminal suspects,” he said.

“The numbers are absolutely shocking.”

Mr Duterte promised during the election campaign that 100,000 people would die in his drugs crackdown and that fish in Manila Bay would grow fat from eating bodies.

But amid condemnation from human rights groups, the United Nations, the United States, the Catholic Church and some politicians, Mr Duterte has in recent weeks denied security forces have carried out extra-judicial killings, saying police have only killed in self-defence.

The latest police data shows that around 1000 accused drug suspects have been killed in police operations and another around 1000 in shootings by unidentified assailants.

Opinion polls show approval of Mr Duterte continues to hover around 90 per cent in the country of 100 million people with one of Asia’s highest rates of illegal drug use and crime.

Mr Duterte claims there are more than three million drugs users in the country.

More than 600,000 have surrendered to police since July 1, packing prisoners into already overcrowded jails.

Claudia Karvan to star in new ABC drama; Are You Being Served? remake savaged

by admin on 04/12/2018

Brett Tucker, Claudia Karvan and Toby Schmitz will star in Newton’s Law for the ABC. Photo: Lachlan MooreDrama for Judge Judy

Television judge Judy Sheindlin, who presides over the long-running televised small claims court show Judge Judy, is to become the subject of a scripted drama. Her Honor will be based on Sheindlin’s own life as a young New York judge who presides over a turbulent family court. The pilot is being developed for CBS Studios by Law & Order writer Michael Chernuchin; Sheindlin is credited as a story co-writer on the project. Though her earlier career as a serving judge was legendary, television has been generous to Sheindlin: the deal for her daily court show Judge Judy is worth more than $US50 million ($66 million) per year and is secured until 2020 under its present agreement. The 73-year-old Brooklyn-born Sheindlin has also written several books, including the memorably named Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining. (The sequel: Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever.) Spin on music awards

In a dramatic demonstration of the shifting sands between traditional and streaming television, the MTV Video Music Awards posted a steep decline of roughly a third of their television audience. The music network spun the bad news to say the streaming numbers were up, but when coupled with audience declines for the Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes overall, it signals a weakening in the power of “live television events” – once billed as traditional TV’s salvation – on the digital landscape. MTV roadblocked the telecast across 11 channels and drew just 6.5 million viewers; compare that with 2013 when, with just the one channel, they managed to pull 10.1 million viewers. The good news was all social media: trending on Twitter, record Facebook streams and almost all TV-specific social media posts while they were on air. Now someone just has to work out how to turn all that noise into money. Top cast for ABC series

Claudia Karvan will headline a new Australian drama, Newton’s Law. The series, from Every Cloud Productions, the company behind the ABC’s hit series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, will also star Toby Schmitz, Georgina Naidu, Sean Keenan, Brett Tucker and Miranda Tapsell. Karvan will play Josephine Newton in the series, a “suburban solicitor with an over-developed sense of responsibility who attempts to return to her briefly glorious stint at the Bar.” The series will be produced by two of Australia’s best drama producers, Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger, whose collective credits include SeaChange, Crash/Burn, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, The Gods of Wheat Street and The Society Murders. Newton’s Law will be filmed in Melbourne and will air on the ABC in 2017. ‘Dreadful’ remake

The BBC’s remake of the iconic comedy Are You Being Served? has made its debut in the UK to scathing reviews. The remake was one of several one-offs commissioned to mark the 60th anniversary of sitcom as a form, but even when the plan was announced last year it was met with some scepticism. The reboot was well cast – notably John Challis from Only Fools and Horses and Niky Wardley from The Catherine Tate Show – but that wasn’t enough to save it. Fans of the original series piled on social media to voice their objections (“Unfunny, canned laughter, dreadful acting. Why do they think they can do it?” said one) and London’s venerable Daily Telegraph newspaper punished it with two stars and said it was loaded with “mothball-worthy gags”. Footnote: the BBC’s comedy commissioner Shane Allen said the script was “a riot”; one imagines he didn’t mean would literally provoke one.

‘Woefully inadequate’: lack of text message policy for NSW Police criticised in budget estimates

by admin on 04/12/2018

NSW Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn leaves the Lindt Cafe siege inquest earlier this month. Photo: Michele Mossop Commissioner Andrew Scipione and Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn fron a budget estimates hearing on Thursday. Photo: NSW Parliament

Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn has revealed she has a setting on her mobile phone that automatically deletes text messages.

The revelations came in a budget estimates hearing on Thursday in which Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the police force has no policy or rules to stop officers from deleting work-related texts.

Ms Burn and Mr Scipione were grilled on the subject after Ms Burn deleted two potentially-important text messages from the night of the Lindt Cafe siege.

The deleted messages became the subject of intense scrutiny and criticism earlier this month as the inquest into the December 2014 siege examined possible failings by police during the 16-hour standoff.

In an unexpected and embarrassing twist, they were discovered in Ms Burn’s email inbox on the morning of her second day in the witness box.

In several fiery exchanges with Mr Scipione on Thursday morning, Greens MP David Shoebridge asked whether the police should have a policy for not deleting work-related text messages.

“To the extent that they’re records for policing work, they could well be essential,” he asked.

Mr Scipione said officers must keep emails, under the State Records Act, but text messages are often private, short or inconsequential texts such as “see you in five minutes”.

He said it wasn’t always necessary to keep texts.

Mr Shoebridge suggested it was “woefully inadequate” for the police to have no policy on retaining text messages.

“Given the nature of the 21st century, often critical information is retained by way of text message. It may well be ‘I will see you there in half an hour’ but that may ultimately be critical information,” he said. Crucial police information is no doubt communicated in police text messages, but there is no policy to protect this information #nswpol— David Shoebridge (@ShoebridgeMLC) September 1, 2016

He then asked Ms Burn if she had a policy of routinely deleting text messages. She replied that she retains very few texts.

“Those that I retain are normally retained in hard copy or email format,” she said.

Asked why she routinely deletes messages, she said one reason was that phones can be set to automatically delete text messages.

On an iPhone, it can be set to 30 days or one year.

“I don’t keep emails either but there’s a storage system that retains them,” she said.

Mr Shoebridge suggested it was “grossly inadequate” for her to be routinely deleting text messages that may be essential.

The State Records Act does not include any reference to text messages.

Mr Scipione said he would look into whether they should be any guidance on the issue for police officers.

Divisive Mao Zedong concerts in Sydney, Melbourne cancelled

by admin on 05/03/2019

Cancelled: Advertising material from the commemorative event. Photo: SuppliedBeijing: A planned concert series glorifying the life of Chairman Mao has been cancelled in Sydney and Melbourne after strong backlash within the Chinese community prompted police concern over public safety were it to go ahead.
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The tribute to Mao Zedong, marking the 40th anniversary of his death, touched a raw nerve among many Chinese-Australians, whose families suffered under the former Communist Party’s brutal legacy, with the Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward contributing directly to the deaths of tens of millions.

Demonstrations had been planned for outside the Sydney and Melbourne town halls, where the concerts were to be held next week.

“The International Cultural Exchange Association’s booking at Sydney Town Hall on 6 September is not going ahead due to concerns over public and patron safety,” a spokesperson for the City of Sydney said, adding it had concerns over the “potential for civil disturbance” after consulting with NSW Police.

“The organiser’s plans for ticketing are also of concern to the City, with many tickets already having been distributed for free through community networks, with no standard controls such as numbering, bar-coding and/or counterfeit prevention and no specified conditions of entry.”

The Melbourne concert has also been cancelled by organisers.

The row has highlighted the widening divide within the local Chinese diaspora, with some seeing the Mao concerts as the culmination of an increasingly pro-Beijing tone in their community brought on by an influx of Chinese migrants and business interests in recent years.

The schism is broadly between two camps: those who migrated in the 1980s and 1990s with the spectre of the Tiananmen Square crackdown of 1989 fresh in their memories, and more recent emigres who have been enriched by China’s economic development and are emboldened by their country’s rise as a major international power.

“As Australian-Chinese, we see this trend happening as Chinese-language media in Australia become largely influenced by Chinese government with all sorts of commercial linkages; pro-China groups emerge in Sydney and Melbourne; the incoming of Confucius Institutes in our universities which have spread to high school and primary schools in the name of teaching Chinese,” Embrace Australian Values Alliance spokesman John Hugh said.

“We are not here to be against certain groups, we are here to protect our Australian values. We choose to live in this country so we need to protect our home.”

The concert organisers, the International Cultural Exchange Association Australia (ICEAA), was also behind a high-profile commemorative event last year marking the 70th anniversary of China’s war against Japan, coinciding with a massive military parade in central Beijing.

But Christina Wang, chief executive of the ICEAA, denied any links with the Chinese government and said all key organisers had been in Australia for decades. “We are artists, we just want to put on a good display of song and dance,” she told Fairfax Media.

Just as there was freedom to protest in Australia, she said, people had the right to choose whether to like Chairman Mao. She said she had filed a police report after her car was vandalised.

“We don’t want there to be a split in the Chinese community. If this does cause a divide we are willing to abandon the performances.”

A-League: Melbourne City sign Danish international defender Michael Jakobsen

by admin on 05/03/2019

Danish defender Michael Jakobsen is the latest European recruit to Melbourne City, the 30-year-old joining up with his former international teammate Thomas Sorensen as John van ‘t Schip looks to strengthen his defence for a tilt at the A-League title.
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With the retirement of captain Patrick Kisnorbo, the departures of Alex Wilkinson and Michael Zullo to Sydney FC and the long-term injury to Socceroo fullback Ivan Franjic, Melbourne City’s rearguard has been in need of an off-season shake-up.

The club has already brought in Manny Muscat, the ex-Wellington Phoenix defender, and former Central Coast left back Josh Rose, but Jakobsen’s recruitment will increase competition for places in a team that was last season renowned as much for their porous defence as their freewheeling attack.

Only the bottom-of-the-table Mariners conceded more goals than City, although their potent attack, led by Bruno Fornaroli, managed more than two goals a game on average.

Jakobsen is, at 30, a good age – not too old to be slow and injury-prone – and he has experience not just on the international stage, where he won five caps for Denmark, but in his own domestic league and in Europe.

The left-footed central defender was signed from Danish Superliga team Esbjerg but has also played for  Aalborg BK (Denmark), Almeria (La Liga), and Lillestrom (Norway).

He has joined the Melbourne City on a two-year deal after being scouted by the Manchester City-owned club’s scouts in Europe. City said on Thursday that the defender had been seen as a priority by the Melbourne team’s director of football, Michael Petrillo, when he attended a recent scouting summit in Manchester.

Jakobsen won the Danish title with Aalborg in 2007-08 and qualified for the 2008-09 UEFA Champions League. He was there at the same time as another former Melbourne Heart/City defender, ex-Socceroo Michael Beauchamp.

Following 153 appearances for AaB, Jakobsen secured a permanent move to Spanish La Liga side Almeria, before returning to Denmark with Esbjerg fB.

City has been busy discarding players and signing new ones, headed by big name arrival Tim Cahill. As well as the Socceroo talisman, Jakobsen, Muscat and Rose, van ‘t Schip has brought in Neil Kilkenny, Bruce Kamau, Daniel Arzani, Ruon Tongyik and Luke Brattan, as well as re-signing of Dean Bouzanis, Nick Fitzgerald and Anthony Caceres.

The Dane will occupy one of the club’s visa spots, and will join his new teammates during the pre-season tour of Townsville next week.

Dougie Heywood named Volunteer of the Year at Hunter New England Health Excellence Awards.

by admin on 05/03/2019

Douglas “Dougie”Heywood Heart of gold: Cardiac rehabilitation volunteer Dougie Heywood was honoured for his dedication and service at the Hunter New England Health Excellence Awards.
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WHEN Douglas Heywood had a heart attack in 2005, his doctor recommended he do six week’s worth of cardiac rehabilitation at the John Hunter Hospital.

After he had finished the program, the Windale man fondly known as “Dougie” asked the staff if they’d like him to stay on and give them a hand as a volunteer.

He has been helping out “the girls” – the nurses and physios – who work in cardiac rehabilitation for the past 10 years.

“I asked the girls if they’d like me to hang about and help them out with moving around some of the weights and things like that. They said yes, and I’ve been with the girls ever since,” he said.

“You do get a male nurse or physio in there occasionally too though, by the way.”

Mr Heywood was recently recognised for his contribution to the hospital at the Hunter New England Health Excellence Awards, where he was named Volunteer of the Year.

Having recovered from a heart attack himself, Mr Heywood hoped he provided cardiac patients with peer support, an understanding of their physical and emotional needs, and a healthy dose of good humour.

“Going through it motivated me I suppose,” he said.

“At the time, you’re thinking, ‘I’ve just had a heart attack, am I going to die?’ You get a bit frightened.

“Of course I got through it alright, and there is other people coming in – men and women too – and you can tell they are frightened and a bit scared about what’s going to happen.”

Mr Heywood, 77, said the gentle exercises in the rehabilitation program helped patients start moving again in a safe and monitored environment.

“I just more or less calm them down and show them that it’s alright to do the exercises because the girls are always there, and if they feel any pain at all, to just stop and sit down and the nurses will check them out,” he said.

Mr Heywood also offers help and support to the carers and families – whether it is getting them a cup of tea, or a shoulder to cry on.

“I’ll put out the weights and make sure the machines are on,” he said.

“I’ll walk around and talk to everyone, and offer cups of tea or coffee to their partners. And a drink of water for the patients. If the girls need any help with a patient, like if someone collapses, I’ll help out.”

Cardiac patients who did not take up the opportunity of doing the rehabilitation course were doing themselves a disservice.

“If they do it at the hospital, and feel a bit weak, then at least they can get looked at straight away,” he said.

He enjoyed helping out.

“I feel like I’m giving back something,” he said.

Productivity Commission draft findings call for recreational fishers survey

by admin on 05/03/2019

TIGHT LINES: Recreational fishers could soon have to spill their guts on their catch habits.A NATIONAL survey could aim to determine the size of the recreational fishing take.
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While recreational fishers have long pointed to the commercial sector for taking the lion’s share of stocks a draft Productivity Commission report suggests otherwise.

The Marine Fishing and Aquaculture report will aim to strike a balance between community benefit and industry profitability.

But the survey threatens to open a “tin of wriggling grubs”.

“You can talk to a fisher and he’ll have 10 snapper in his bag, but all he’ll say is, ‘oh, no I didn’t have a real good day’,” Port Stephens fishing columnist John“Stinker” Clarke.

“You’ll ask him whereabouts and he’ll just say, ‘up north’.”

The Productivity Commission’s best guess is that the number of recreational fishers nationally runs into the millions.

And it’s alleged their catching more fish duetothe rising sophistication and affordability of fish finding sonarthat has “increased recreationalfishers’ ability to fish further offshore and more intensively”.

Commissioner Melinda Cilento saidhistorical attitudes thatprefer one group over another will need to change if Australia is to sustain both recreational and commercial fishing into the future.

“Controls over commercial fishing in most fisheries are too prescriptive,” she said.

“Conversely, there is an attitude of almost benign neglect toward recreational fishing.

“This is despite there being millions of recreational fishers in Australia and that, with the help of technology such as relatively cheap locating sonars, recreational catch now rivals or exceeds commercial catch for some species.”

The commissionerrecommends that regular and systematic collection of evidence on recreational fishing is required every five years. And it’s proposed a national surveyin 2017-18 with the state and territories to meet the cost.

Mr Clarke disagrees.

“If they’re going to do a survey it needs to be done right; you can’t just ask a dozen fishers on one day what they’ve caught, it’s always changing,” hesaid.

“In NSW they need to start at the Tweed and work their way south past every estuary. It would take a year to do it right and it would cost a fortune.”

The draft report also notes the growth of aquaculture as a food source. In 2001 aquaculture produced 30 per cent of the national catch but now stands at 40 per cent.

That’s expected to grow, albeit modestly,with projects like the Port Stephens kingfish farm in the pipeline.

A final report to the Treasurer Scott Morrison is due in December.

A series of public hearings are scheduled nationally includingSydney onOctober 5.

For more information go towww.pc.gov.au.

Save our Rail face decision on court costs

by admin on 05/03/2019

Save our Rail head Joan Dawson.SAVE our Rail were trying to “save our parliament”, lawyers for the group have argued.
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The group is seeking to have theCourt of Appeal judgement in favour of the governmentset aside,along with an order that the community group pay the government’s legalcosts, thought to be more than $800,000.

Save our Rail’s lawyers have arguedthat last November’s judgementshould not have been givenbecause the government passed legislationto close the line in the meantime.

In a Notice of Motion hearingin Sydney’s Supreme Court on Thursday, Save our Rail’s barrister Shane Prince arguedthe matter had become “moot” before the judgement, and that the group would never have brought the case before the courtif the legislation had been brought to the parliament.

Mr Prince said it was “not correct” that the group’s legal case –launched in late December 2014 –was designed to stopthe closure of the rail line, rather it was to “ensure compliance” with the Transport Administration Act.

“The litigation was to preserve the sovereignty of the parliament, and to ensure compliance with [the Act],” Mr Prince said. He said Save our Railhadbeen“vindicated” by the government’s decision to pass legislation.

Justice Robert Macfarlan asked Mr Prince whether the group’s name –Save Our Rail –undermined that argument, at which one of the government’s lawyers remarked “save our parliament”.

But Mr Prince disagreed.“It was always our position that, had the legislation which has been passed been passed, then proceedings would never have been commenced,” he said.

In Thursday’s hearing Acting Chief Justice Margaret Beazley suggested both parties could “walk away” if they could agree on costs.

“If [the government parties] had come to the court and said don’t worry about it, this was fixed up in some other way, we could have walked away,” she said.

But the government–led by the Transport department and Hunter Development Corporation–want the judgement to stand, and for full costs to be paid.

Save our Rail head Joan Dawson told the Newcastle Herald before the hearing that the group’s lawyershad made a number of attempts to settle the matter of costs.

After a two-hour hearing on ThursdayJustice Beazley reserved judgement for a later date.

A key issue was whether the court had been given advice prior that the legislation had made the issue “moot” prior to the judgement.

Both parties disagreed about the result of an email trail that discussed informing the court about the legislation, butJustice Beazleysuggestedthe court had not been given sufficient adviceabout its impact prior to the judgement.

“I think there was a single letter to the court saying the Act had been passed [there was] no suggestion as to what the court ought to do, or not to do,” she said.

Mr Prince arguedthat he had asked the court not to deliverthe judgement before the hearing was closed, but Acting Chief Justice Beazley said that was “another matter”.

“This case had gone right through…the parties had incurred every aspect of cost by the time the legislation was passed,” she said.

One of Asia’s most powerful women used to get confused for the ‘secretary’

by admin on 05/02/2019

Singtel group CEO Chua Sock Koong: ” The larger the company, the less likely the head will be a woman.” Photo: Nicolas WalkerWhen she first started in business, Singtel’s chief executive Chua Sock Koong used to get mistaken for the ­secretary.

“When I was younger, I remember stepping into many meetings, particularly in Asia, where people would immediately assume I was the secretary standing by to serve the tea,” said Ms Chua, who today is group chief executive of global telecommunications giant Singtel.

“But you learn to laugh these things off.”

As head of Singapore’s largest listed company – Singtel has 600 million subscribers across 25 countries, a market capitalisation of over $64 billion and 23,000 employees – she’s often asked how she’s managed to make it this far as a woman, but that “as most women in business will tell you, you get used to this line of questioning.”

Ms Chua told her story at the Chief Executive Women’s annual ball in Sydney on Wednesday night before some of the nation’s top chief executives including Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, ANZ boss Shayne Elliott and Broadspectrum chair Diane Smith-Gander.

Ms Chua joined Singtel – what was then Telecommunications Authority of Singapore – in 1989 as its treasurer and worked her way up the chain. Today she’s accredited for driving the company’s digital transformation including the group’s move to take a stake in Optus in 2001.

Singtel Optus is the second-largest telco in Australia after Telstra, and is fiercely competing to take over the number one spot.

Ms Chua said at 18 she had no burning ambition to be a CEO but she learned that the best way to overcome gender stereotypes was to deliver. She also said that in her life she had to make hard choices about how much time she devoted to work and family. “No one can tell you what’s best for you or your family – whether you should ‘lean in’ or ‘lean away’… you have to decide what work/life balance you want to strike.”

She was disappointed that globally there were not more women in leadership or CEO positions. “The reality is that while the number of women in senior and middle management around the world has increased over the last two decades, women are still under-represented in top management,” she said.

Only 5 per cent or less of the CEOs of the world’s largest corporations were women. “And the larger the company, the less likely the head will be a woman. The telecoms industry is no exception,” she said.

Ms Chua wants Singtel to be a “gender-neutral employer” where equal opportunities are given to women and men.

“We conduct periodic health checks to ensure healthy gender diversity ratios,” she said. “But we know it is still a work in progess.”

She noted 31 per cent of the company’s top management was female compared to the Singaporean average of 25 per cent, and one-third of its board was female compared to 9.5 per cent representation on boards in Singapore generally.

Ms Chua said that the Singtel group does better than its Australian subsidiary Optus when it comes to diversity. “In Optus, the figure [of women in top management] is lower at 16 per cent… We know more work needs to be done at Optus to improve representation of female leaders, and we have said as much in our annual sustainability report.”

She said Singtel had set up diversity committees to combat gender bias and “educate leaders on inclusive leadership” and was also running mentoring programs.

The reporter was a guest of Sydney Airport at the Chief Executive Women annual ball.

Two boys charged with sexually assaulting girl at primary school on Sydney’s northern beaches

by admin on 05/02/2019

Two 12-year-old boys have been charged with the aggravated sexual assault of a female student at a primary school on Sydney’s northern beaches.

The six-year-old girl reported the incidents herself, Fairfax Media has been told.

It is understood she was raped on two separate days at school in mid-August.

Both boys were allegedly present during both incidents but only one of the boys raped her in the second incident, police allege.

The primary school immediately notified the Department of Education, which immediately notified the NSW Police’s Child Abuse Squad.

After a two-week investigation, the two boys were arrested at Chatswood police station on Tuesday.

One boy has been charged with four counts of aggravated sexual assault and two counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 10.

The second boy was charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault and sexual intercourse with a child under 10.

Both have been granted bail and will appear in a children’s court over the next two months.

“Parents and carers of students at the school are in the process of being notified, and police request the community respect the privacy of the young people involved,” police said in a statement on Thursday.

It is understood a letter has been sent to parents.

“NSW Police Force works closely with the Dept of Education and Family and Community Services to ensure the safety of all students, and additional support has been made available at the school,” the police statement said.

“The Child Abuse Squad is comprised of detectives who are specially trained to investigate crimes against children, including sexual assault, physical abuse and serious cases of neglect.”

[email protected]杭州m.au

Novelist Barry Maitland wraps up Belltree Trilogy with Slaughter Park

by admin on 05/02/2019

THRILLER: Maitland novelist Barry Maitland with his new book, Slaughter Park, which will be released next month. Picture: Jonathan CarrollHarry Belltree’s quest for justice will take some final twists next month, when Maitland novelist Barry Maitland releases Slaughter Park –the much anticipated thirdinstalment of The Belltree Trilogy.

It follows the story of Sydney homicide detective Harry Belltree, whose wife and father–the state’s first Aboriginal Supreme Court Judge –are run off the road at Thunderbolt’s Way, between Gloucester and Armidale, with devastating consequences.

Despite police and the coroner dismissing the crash as an accident, Harry is determined to prove his family was targeted and expose those responsible.

Mr Maitland, a celebrated crime author who was born in Scotland and raised in London, setthe trilogyin Sydney, the Hunter and regional NSW.

He said he used published sources, including articles from Fairfax Media investigative journalist Kate McClymont, to delve into Australia’s underbellyand had extensive help from detectives in Newcastle and Sydney who spoke to him about their work.

“It’s been kind of like a romp through the underworld of NSW,” he said.

“All the corrupt politicians, property developers, bikie gangs –all the usual suspects.”

Next, he plans to write another installment of the popularBrock and Kolla series. Then he hopes to bring his characters back to an Australian setting.

“I’ve really enjoyed writing the Australian books,” Mr Maitland said.

“I’ve been here for 30 years –it seems much more relevant to me now.”

Slaughter Park will be released on October 3 and McDonald’s Booksellers in The Levee will host a book signing on October 8.

Anthony Albanese’s very personal reason for opposing a gay marriage plebiscite

by admin on 05/02/2019

Anthony Albanese explains why he opposes plans for a same-sex marriage plebiscite. Anthony Albanese with former prime minister Bob Hawke at Parliament House on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Anthony Albanese, the knock-about politician who lists his life-shaping faiths as the Catholic Church, the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Labor Party – not necessarily in that order – has no time for those who might judge the worth of a family by the number or gender of the parents in it.

He was raised by a single mother at a time – the 1960s – when a woman who had a child out of wedlock was socially unacceptable in Australia.

The memory of his mother’s sacrifice and her unconditional love has led Albanese to scorn those who would denigrate a family because it has only one parent, or two fathers, or two mothers.

Love is all that’s needed, he says.

All of which, he revealed on Thursday, adds up to his reasons for rejecting the idea of a plebiscite on marriage equality.

“We shouldn’t be having a public vote where we get to judge other families,” he said at the launch of a biography that traces his own search for identity and family.

Albanese, Telling it Straight by Canberra journalist Karen Middleton, was launched by former prime minister Bob Hawke.

“You are,” said Mr Albanese of Mr Hawke, 86 now, “Without doubt the father of modern Labor. You are a giant of the movement.”

The quest for another father – Albanese’s own, who he had believed for his first 14 years to have died in a car accident overseas – sits at the heart of the book.

Even deeper in its heart is Albanese’s mother, Maryanne, who wove the fiction of the death overseas of a man she had married and who was Albanese’s father.

The fiction was necessary if Maryanne was to be able to keep her son Anthony from being taken from her and adopted in those far-away years.

Maryanne waited until her son was a teenager before revealing she had not married his father, an Italian steward aboard a cruise ship with whom she had a brief fling, and that he had not died.

A child born outside marriage in the 1960s – Albanese was born in 1963 – was declared illegitimate.

“Illegitimate. Not real,” Albanese marvelled.

He could not let go of the idea he might have a father still living somewhere. And finally, years after his mother had died and he had become a father himself, Albanese found his father in southern Italy, allowing a relationship to build before the old man died in January, 2014.

The biography ranges much further than that, of course.

Albanese has been a highly influential Labor politician for decades, and was deputy prime minister during 2013. He stood against Bill Shorten for the Labor leadership, and is considered to still harbour leadership ambitions. Shorten did not attend the launch of the Albanese biography, citing other duties.

But those searching the book for leaks about political intrigue will be disappointed, Albanese said.

“I believe if you have a private conversation it stays private.”

Former Newcastle bishop Michael Malone admits church ‘cover-up’

by admin on 05/02/2019

THE Royal Commission has heard that bishop Michael Malone intervened to stopa priest later convicted for paedophilia being appointed as principal of St Francis Xavier College in 1997.

Although he did this, he told the commission he did not report the priest, Brother Dominic, to the police, and left it to others to deal with.

He also defended alerting his colleague Brother Michael Hill about two other suspect priests, brother Patrick and brother Romuald, and describing their conduct as unlikely to be “criminal”.

He told the commission he said this because he thought their actions were more “touchy feely” than “penetration or masturbation publicly or anything of that nature”.

Romuald was later jailed and Patrick, although deceased, was accepted by the church as a paedophile.

The Thursday afternoon session of the commission also heard more about bishop Malone’s handling of notorious paedophile Vince Ryan.

Resuming after lunch,Bishop Malone told the commission that once Ryan was arrested, bishop Leo Clarke asked him to take over the running of the case from the church’s perspective.

Bishop Clarke had told him that Ryan had offended many times and that Ryan had been sent to Melbourne for therapy but that no therapy had taken place and that Ryan was returned to the ministry about a year after he left in 1976 without any checks and balances.

Bishop Malone said how much the church had known about Ryan at the time of his arrest was not “an immediate concern” of his because most of his effort had gone into handling the fallout “from a priest’s arrest”.

He said he had been given the name of a Melbourne psychologist, Shane Wall, who had told him his first priority had to be the victims of sexual abuse.

Bishop Malone said Dr Wall told him: “There’s going to be an enormous fallout around the whole diocese with tregard to this matter, but your first priorities must be to the victims.”

Counsel assisting, Stephen Free, took Bishop Malone to a media statement the diocese had put out about Ryan, which said priestly abuse had previously been treated as a “moral problem”.

Soon after, the commission’s chair, Justice Peter McClellan, asked about the phrase “moral problem”, asking whether the anal penetration of a 10-year-old boy had previously been thought of as “a moral problem”.

“I would think not, but . . .” bishop Malone said.

Asked how paedophilia could ever be seen as a moral problem rather than a criminal act, bishop Malone said the church was “a bit of a strange beast” that had operated its structures outside of wider society so that “civil law somehow was not seen as impinging on the life of the church, in the past”.

He said the church had changed since then, giving the second Vatican Council as an example.

When Justice McClellan asked him if there had been “a retreat” among the clergy from Vatican II, bishop Malone said it might be the case with some conservative people but the majority “would see the value of it”.

Questioned again by Mr Free, he was asked about the steps he took in 1996 to get to the bottom of what had happened with Ryan in 1975.

He did not recall talking to Sister Evelyn Woodward about Ryan but she was someone he relied on as a psychologist and as someone who had “knowledge in the dealings with these sorts of issues”.

He said he spoke with bishop Clarke but “as I mentioned earlier, he didn’t reveal a great deal”.

Justice McClellan then asked bishop Malone about a second 1996 media statement that contained a timeline detailing the church’s response to abuse by clergy.

Justice McClellan said the church knew a lot more than it had revealed in that document, to which bishop Malone said: “Yes.”

The chair: “And you didn’t tell the public that you knew that.”

Bishop Malone: “I didn’t tell them, no.”

He was also shown the transcript of a radio interview he gave in 1996 in which he admitted that:“In retrospect, with the knowledge we have now, no we didn’t act with integrity.”

Justice McClellan asked if bishop Malone now accepted there had been a cover up but the bishop said that wasn’t a word he would use.

Asked again, he said there had been a sense of needing to look after the church but after more priests were charged during his time he said he had an epiphany and that he could no longer sit on the fence.

“You either had to try to defend the church or you had to try to serve the needs of survivors and I chose the latter, so . . . ,” bishop Malone said.

Questioned again by Mr Free, he said he understood by mid-1996 that there was a deep sense of concern in the community that things had been covered up in the past.

He agreed he did not get to the bottom of what church figures including Monsignor Patrick Cotter and bishop Clarke –who were there in the 1970s –knew about Ryan.

“Look, yes, but I’m very fresh in the job by this time and I’m just sort of running by the seat of my pants,” bishop Malone said.

Asked if he wished he’d done more, he said: “Definitely. I often wish I had been more decisive and more aware of a forward plan than I was.”

Bishop Malone was then taken to an independent report commissioned after Ryan’s arrest that said although the church had stood Ryan down in 1976 and sent him for treatment, “the fact that there was no followup up, whilst regrettable, could well by explained by lack of understanding of paedophilia and the change in diocesan leadership during the period Ryan was in Melbourne”.

He was also asked about a statement of his from 1997, in which he had describedRyan’s crimes as “misdemeanors”.

That statement also said that: “It was not until 1995 that a tragic scenario of sexual abuse emerged.”

Questioned by Justice McClellan he agreed that this was incorrect, because church leaders had known back in the 1970s.

Justice McClellan: “And to say, as you have done, it was not until 1995 that a tragic scenario of sexual abuse emerged, that’s not right, is it?”

Bishop Malone: “Well, it’s not right. I know I can speak personally, I didn’t know anything about it until later in 1995.”

He was then taken to some letters he had written in response to the Newcastle Herald’s coverage of the Ryan matter, in which he criticised journalistJeff Corbett for accusing the church of a cover-up.

Questioned repeatedly by Justice McClellan he eventually accepted that there had been a cover-up.

Where bishop Ryan had written: “For Mr Corbett to accuse church authorities of covering up is both incorrect and a sluron the integrity of those authorities.”

Justice McClellan said: “That statement by you is not correct, is it?”

He said: “No, it is not correct, your honour.”

Bishop Malone was also forced to concede that church officials had known what was happening with Ryan in 1975 and that to tell parishioners otherwise was “not true”.

Taken to a 2007 letter from aparish priest, Maurice Cahill, bishop Malone said he had “a sense” thatbishop Clarke had known more about Ryan than he had let on.

Bishop Malone defended not defrocking Ryan because to do so would have simply “released a paedophile into . . . the midst of the community”.

Justice McClellan said the church still could have laicised or defrocked Ryan, but bishop Malone said if they did that, the church would have no further call on him.

Commissioner Andrew Murray asked bishop Malone whether he was concerned that some people might think the church was giving Ryan a “safe haven”.

He said some people “still think that, yes” and it was a dilemma whether to “keep him in or cut him loose”.

Ryan has not been defrocked but he is not allowed to act as a priest and has a range of conditions on him. He came of jail in 2010 but was sentenced again last month for the assault of a boy he had previously “forgotten” about.