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September 2019

August 2019

Victoria Police recruits won't have to pass initial fitness test so female recruit targets can be met

It's a well trodden path for Social Justice Warriors - when your target group doesn't meet the standard, drop the standard!

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Victoria Police recruits will be given more support to pass an initial physical fitness test to get into the force under reforms designed to get more women in the ranks.

The force's approach to the strict pass/fail fitness test will be modified so recruits who fall slightly short of the grade can be accepted as long as they meet other key criteria.

Those recruits will be given extra training so they can pass the fitness test at a later date.

The force is changing its approach after it failed to reach a target of 50 per cent female recruits, despite vowing to tackle a culture of sexism in its ranks. Only 30 per cent of current police recruits are women.

Victoria Police will also revise its recruitment criteria to include an emphasis on skills including empathy, ethical decision-making, communication and interpersonal skills.

The changes are part of a raft of reforms following the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission's third and final review on gender equality, sexual harassment and predatory behaviour in Victoria Police. A 2015 investigation found "everyday sexism" was entrenched in the force.

"At present they are missing out on some really good candidates," said Kristen Hilton, the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner.

The tough fitness course involves a beep test, doing five successive push-up on toes, holding a plank for 60 seconds and a 30-kilogram grip test in each hand.

It also tests recruits' ability to climb over fences, disarm offenders and rescue unconscious victims. Police officers are subject to biannual fitness testing throughout their career.

A police spokeswoman said the force was not changing the requirements of the physical fitness test, "however we are looking at ways to strengthen our support for those who fall short".

"We don’t want any applicants ... to be discouraged if they don’t pass the physical aspect of the recruitment on the first try," the spokeswoman said.

"Instead, we want to ensure they are provided with increased opportunities to develop their strengths in key areas so they have the encouragement and support behind them to hopefully succeed on the next attempt."

The commission's latest review found more than one in four women in Victoria Police have been sexually harassed in the past three years, and only 11 per cent of those women reported the behaviour.

Ms Hilton said that rate was unacceptable, but said there had been improvements in gender equality.

"Victoria Police plays a critical role in responding to gendered violence in the community. On any given day, 40 to 60 per cent of Victoria Police callouts are in response to family violence," Ms Hilton said.

"Addressing gender inequality in its workplaces is not just vital for improving the experience of individual employees, but also for improving the organisation’s ability to serve the Victorian community.

"While there is a long way to go there has been a tremendous investment in improvements. There is also a greater awareness of what sexual harassment and discrimination looks like."

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The global coordination behind a week of so-called news stories on climate change

Stand by for Lefty media to turn the Climate Catastrophe dial to Eleven!

Columbia Journalism Review, part of the US Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism is behind a plan to saturate us with alarmist coverage during the week 16 to 23 September.

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I think seeding, resourcing and promoting so-called 'news' stories - months in advance - so as to create the appearance of an unfolding catastrophe goes against everything real journalism should stand for.  Rather than participating, news media should be doing all it can to expose this blatant activism - and media organisations who buy into it should be loudly discredited.

Here's an extract from Columbia's website.

A focused week of coverage

We’ll work to organize as much of the news media as possible—large and small, national and local—to commit to one week of focused coverage of climate change this September. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, is convening a summit in New York on September 23, where nations are urged to show how they will limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We propose a week of concentrated climate coverage in the lead-up to the UN summit, beginning September 16.

We believe that every news organization in America, and many around the world, can play a part. Sometimes that will mean committing your newsroom to important and high-impact stories. Other times it will mean sharing your content, engaging your community, or adding a few lines of climate information to stories that wouldn’t otherwise have them. The answer lies in your creativity and participation.

We can only do these things if a critical mass of journalists and news outlets come together to talk about how to make them happen, and if our work is informed by engagement with everyone who cares about this problem.

That’s where you come in.  How this conversation unfolds and ultimately affects overall media coverage of the climate crisis  depends on who gets involved and how well we all rise to the challenge.


Ongoing newsroom support

We see the week of focused coverage not as an end in itself, but as the beginning of the work to transform how newsrooms conceive of their climate coverage.

To help them in that effort, we will provide substantial resource guides for journalists, tutorials, source lists, and web briefings; we’ll gather the best of climate coverage in an online blog, and provide commentary on how other reporters can replicate it; and we will increase our own reporting on how news outlets are covering the climate crisis, highlighting what is working and calling out what isn’t.

In the most dramatic cases, we’ll deploy Rapid Response Teams to newsrooms tasked with covering extreme weather or disaster in their own backyards. In those cases, we’ll assist newsrooms, either in person or remotely, with additional reporting help as well as whatever scientific or other resources are needed for them to fully tell their story.


But there's more!  Here's an email Columbia has sent to newsrooms everywhere - you can imagine the glee accompanying the forwards, plans and proposals at the ABC!

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We're writing from Covering Climate Now, a new project of the Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation aimed at dramatically improving journalism’s coverage of climate change.  We invite you to join us.

The science is beyond clear: humanity faces an emergency situation. Rising sea levels and record heat waves, wildfires, and floods are unleashing devastation worldwide, and much more is in the pipeline. We have 12 years to radically change course, UN scientists warned last October, or face catastrophe.

As journalists, we have a professional responsibility to report on the urgency of this moment. Despite good coverage by some news outlets, climate silence still reigns in much of the media. For example, only 27 percent of Americans knew in election year 2016 that virtually all scientists agreed that climate change is human-caused, happening now and very dangerous.

Previous reasons for underplaying the climate story—fears of alienating audiences, losing money, or appearing partisan—no longer hold. Most people under age 40 care intensely about climate change, irrespective of their political outlook—even Republicans and independents want action, while Democrats call it their number one concern. That may help explain why The Guardian, our first partner at Covering Climate Now, has found that its extensive climate and environment coverage is making, not losing, money.

We describe our plans for Covering Climate Now in this FAQ, which links to the April 30 conference at the Columbia Journalism School that launched this project and where iconic TV newsman Bill Moyers announced a $1 million pledge from the Schumann Media Center to fund the first year of our work.

Our ask of you is simple: commit to a week of focused climate coverage this September. We are organizing news outlets across the US and abroad—online and print, TV and audio, large and small—to run seven days of climate stories from September 16 through the climate summit UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres hosts in New York September 23. The stories you run are up to you, though we can offer ideas and background information and connect outlets looking for content with content providers looking for outlets.

We'd be happy to schedule a phone call to discuss this further.  Thanks for considering, and we look forward to hearing from you.


Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope

This is blatant activism masquerading as news.  Columbia's material also contains plenty of false and easily disproven assertions.

For a reasoned, scientific debunking of many of the claims Columbia makes go to Jo Nova.  And remember this story when you're watching the "news" in a few weeks.

Sam Dastyari to appear before ICAC Labor/Chinese donations enquiry

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Here's an extract from today's ICAC public hearing - Counsel Assisting Scott Robertson speaking:

A review of NSW Labor and Country Labor disclosures for the year ended 30 June, 2015 indicates that $100,000 was disclosed to have been received from 12 donors, most of whom were said to have donated $5,000 in cash to NSW Labor, and a further $5,000 in cash to Country Labor. At the relevant time $5,700 was the applicable cap on donations to a political party under New South Wales electoral law.

Further investigations by the Electoral Commission revealed that the majority of the putative donors, that is the majority of the 12 donors I’ve just identified a moment ago, were persons associated with Jonathan Yee, who as I indicated a moment ago was the General Manager of Emperor’s Garden Restaurant in Chinatown. Five of the putative donors were employees or former employees of Emperor’s Garden: Johnnie Lin, Lei Mo, Wei Shi, Patricia Siu, and Teresa Tam. A further two were family members of Mr Yee – his mother, May Ho Ye, and his brother, Valentine Yee – one was Emperor’s Garden Pty Ltd and one was Jonathan Yee himself.

Those associations, along with the implausibility that restaurant workers would have the financial capacity to make lump sum donations of $5,000 or $10,000, as well as other factors, led the Electoral Commission to suspect that the $100,000 in cash was donated on behalf of a person or persons other than those who appeared on the NSW Labor and Country Labor disclosures.

Also of concern to the Electoral Commission was the fact that two donations were disclosed as having been made by persons associated with Wu International Investments Pty Ltd, namely Mr Quanbao Liao, who is also known as Leo Liao, and Mr Steve Tong. Wu International is a property development company based in Chatswood and property developers are prohibited donors under New South Wales electoral law and they were so prohibited at the time of the supposed donations in 2015.

.....during an interview with Kenrick Cheah, the Community Relations Director of NSW Labor, Mr Cheah stated that Mr Huang Xiangmo attended New South Wales head office a few weeks after the Chinese Friends of Labor dinner in 2015 and gave the then NSW Labor General Secretary Jamie Clements $100,000 in cash. Mr Cheah stated that after his meeting with Mr Huang, Mr Clements handed the $100,000 in cash to Mr Cheah.

At that time, Mr Huang, who is also known as Changran, was a director and chairman of Yuhu Group (Australia) Pty Ltd, a property development company. As a close associate of Yuhu Group, Mr Huang was a prohibited donor under the Electoral Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981, and therefore was prohibited from making political donations for the benefit of state political parties in New South Wales.

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Mr Huang is, however, known to have been a significant donor both of the 10 Australia Labor Party and to the Liberal Party of Australia, at least on the federal level, and sat at the head table of the Chinese Friends of Labor function on 12 March, 2015, along with then federal leader of the Australian Labor Party, Bill Shorten and then state leader Luke Foley

At its meeting on 13 December, 2017, the Electoral Commission decided to refer to this Commission, the conduct that it had investigated because it 20 considered that here were reasonable grounds to suspect that the conduct that it investigated may involve a criminal offence under the Electoral Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act.

MR ROBERTSON: For your assistance, Chief Commissioner, and for that of those behind me, can I outline in general terms the proposed program of evidence for this week, after we deal with some procedural matters, I propose to call Mr Cheah, the Community Relations Director of NSW Labor. I anticipate that my examination of him won’t finish today, but will spill over to tomorrow morning. After that, if any party wishes to apply to cross-examine Mr Cheah, that will be a convenient time to deal with that matter tomorrow. I apprehend that subject to the extent of questions of that nature, we may well finish early on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I will call Mr Steve Tong to conduct part of his examination. I deliberately underline the word “part”, and I’ll recall him probably next week for the purposes of adding to the examination that I intend to conduct on Wednesday morning. Immediately after Mr Tong I’ll call Ms Kaila Murnain, which I expect to be on Wednesday afternoon, again to examine her, and I intend to call her again during the course of next week to make her available for cross- examination by anyone who makes that application.

After Ms Murnain, I intend to call Mr Sam Dastyari. Mr Dastyari doesn’t appear on the present version of the witness list that’s been uploaded, but an amended one will be uploaded shortly. I apprehend that that will happen some time during the course of Thursday, and then after that I’ll call Mr Wong and I apprehend that there won’t be sufficient time this week to call any further witnesses after Mr Wong, but if that indication or my impressions of that change during the course of the week, I’ll let you know, Chief Commissioner, and I’ll let those behind me know as well.


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Viv Forbes & plans to drain Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin - same's been done to Menindee

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Canberra Water for Environmental Flow?


A delegation of people from waterless western NSW is planning to come to Canberra to demonstrate to the people of the ACT how they are destroying lives and businesses across the Murray-Darling Basin.

“We intend to drain Lake Burley Griffin as an environmental flow down the Murrumbidgee River.
Just as the MDB Authority did with the Menindee Lakes.

“Then to add more volume to this environmental flow we will also drain the Cotter dam.
Just as the MDB Authority did with Keepit and Burrendong Dams.

“Then when the people of the ACT have no water for basic needs we will try to get you some bottled water.

“You must make-do with bottled water until there is rain in the catchment.

“We are very angry people so do please do not get in our way.”

(129 words)

Ron Pike

Sapphire Beach, NSW, Australia

Ron Pike has spent a lifetime in the Murray Darling Basin. He is water spokesman for the Saltbush Club.

Some reading:

A Basin Plan that works for all: