I have sent the following complaint to the Sydney Morning Herald and I hope others will do the same. Was unable to use the SMH's "feedback" page, so I sent an email to [email protected]. I complained that their editorial of May 12, 2023, based on their Assange poll and his Kafkaesque incarceration, while widely welcomed, nonetheless contained errors too often repeated which I requested the SMH correct publicly or by publishing my comments.
In person and online event this Saturday 4th of March the Belmarsh Tribunal reconvenes for its fifth session in Sydney University Great Hall.
Julian Assange has been imprisoned through barbaric abuse by powerful people of their positions in government and the law, and through the almost total disorganisation of ordinary people. People's ability to defend themselves at law and find crowd support in England nearly 400 years ago was often more sophisticated and engaged than our own. A famous case was when, in May 1649, Cromwell arraigned John Lilburne for high treason and incitement of Leveller mutinies in the New Model army.
Gurwinder Singh briefly shed tears of relief, as Judge Maidment finally began to describe the case to prospective jurors, today 7 June 2022 at County Court Victoria. Click to watch the trial live here. Mr Singh had waited almost 5 years for a jury trial.
The Victorian Legal Services Commission was created to ensure that complaints against Australian legal practitioners and disputes between law practices or Australian legal practitioners and clients are dealt with in a timely and effective manner and to protect both consumers of legal services and the public interest in the proper administration of justice.
The UK judge had decided to block the US request for Julian's extradition, on medical grounds. Now the US government is seeking to overturn that decision on appeal. Although the District Judge refused the extradition she nevertheless denied Julian bail.
According to the recently publicly released summary of offending, it is still unknown what offences Mr Johns pleaded guilty to, why he was given a term of imprisonment, exactly why the proceedings were conducted entirely in camera, and why even the ACT Attorney-General was never made aware that he was imprisoned in a correctional facility which the Attorney ultimately oversees,” Dr Brasch QC said.
At today’s hearing before the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM), the Law Council of Australia emphasised that trials involving national security need to strike a balance between secrecy and open justice.
The hearing forms part of review into the operation of section 22 of the National Security Information (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Act 2004 (Cth) (NSI Act), as it applies in the ‘Alan Johns’ matter (a pseudonym).
“The Law Council recognises that there may be cases where suppression of information about criminal offending and closure of courts to the public are necessary to protect national security information,” Law Council President, Dr Jacoba Brasch QC, said.
“However, open justice is one of the primary attributes of a fair trial. It is a fundamental rule of the common law that the administration of justice take place in an open court, except in the most exceptional of circumstances.”
“In the example of ‘Alan Johns’, it is hard to see that the extent of the secrecy surrounding the ‘Alan Johns’ case was a proportionate response to the requirements to protect national security.”
“According to the recently publicly released summary of offending, it is still unknown what offences Mr Johns pleaded guilty to, why he was given a term of imprisonment, exactly why the proceedings were conducted entirely in camera, and why even the ACT Attorney-General was never made aware that he was imprisoned in a correctional facility which the Attorney ultimately oversees,” Dr Brasch QC said.
Currently the NSI Act offers accused persons the option of consenting to arrangements and orders under section 22 or enduring a lengthy contested hearing with the aim of securing more appropriate orders under section 31 of the Act.
The difficulty and uneven outcome of this process inherently encourages accused persons to take the option of agreeing to section 22 orders – with likely disproportionate outcomes.
“It appears that the NSI Act requires some reform to recalibrate the balance between the requirements of open justice and protecting the community against the disclosure of information that may genuinely prejudice national security,” Dr Brasch QC said.
“It is concerning that without a change in the law, there is no guarantee that we will not see another secret trial or secret prisoner in Australia.”
For some background on secret trials in Australia see also this article, Kieran Pender,
https://www.smh.com.au/national/australia-takes-china-to-task-for-secret-trials-but-one-could-be-happening-here-right-now-20210605-p57yeh.html, Sydney Morning Herald, June 8, 2021.
See also: Melbourne Vigil to Free Julian Assange at Flinders Street Station this Friday at 7:30pm (10/1.21).
The 210K PDF file, from which the double-sided A5 flyer "Uphold the Rule of Law", about Julian Assange can be printed, can be downloaded from below.
A British Judge has ruled on whether Australian journalist Julian Assange will be extradited to the United States. The WikiLeaks founder is wanted on espionage and computer hacking charges and faces up to 175 years in prison.
As Richard Medhurst, who attended the extradition hearing, explains, the judge's decision to block extradition solely on health grounds still leaves press freedoms at risk and validates the politically charged indictment by the US.
Conceivably, were the prosecution, at a subsequent hearing, to assure Judge Vanessa Barraitser that they would take tender-loving care of Julian Assange during his solitary confinement and 'trial' before a jury packed with U.S. secret service operatives, she could then rule that the health grounds objection to the U.S. plans to extradite Julian Assange no longer holds whilst again disregarding the clear politcal motivation behind the U.S. extradition request.
Here is further explantion of the huge significance of the judgement handed down against the US Democrats' attempt to charge Julian Assange with espionage and somehow prosecute a non-US citizen as if they were a US citizen. That successive Australian governments have allowed the US and the UK to go after Assange in absolute refusal of Assange's human rights is damning of our political class.
In a ruling published late Tuesday, Judge John Koeltl of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York delivered a devastating blow to the US-led conspiracy against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In his ruling, Judge Koeltl, a Bill Clinton nominee and former assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, dismissed “with prejudice” a civil lawsuit filed in April 2018 by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) alleging WikiLeaks was civilly liable for conspiring with the Russian government to steal DNC emails and data and leak them to the public. Jennifer Robinson, a leading lawyer for Assange, and other WikiLeaks attorneys welcomed the ruling as “an important win for free speech.” Article by Eric London, first published on 31 July 2019 at https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/07/31/assa-j31.html. Illustrations by candobetter eds
Judge dismisses lawsuit
The decision exposes the Democratic Party in a conspiracy of its own to attack free speech and cover up the crimes of US imperialism and the corrupt activities of the two parties of Wall Street. Judge Koeltl stated:
If WikiLeaks could be held liable for publishing documents concerning the DNC’s political financial and voter-engagement strategies simply because the DNC labels them ‘secret’ and trade secrets, then so could any newspaper or other media outlet. But that would impermissibly elevate a purely private privacy interest to override the First Amendment interest in the publication of matters of the highest public concern. The DNC’s published internal communications allowed the American electorate to look behind the curtain of one of the two major political parties in the United States during a presidential election. This type of information is plainly of the type entitled to the strongest protection that the First Amendment offers.
The ruling exposes the illegality of the conspiracy by the US government, backed by the governments of Britain, Ecuador, Australia and Sweden and the entire corporate media and political establishment, to extradite Assange to the US, where he faces 175 years in federal prison on charges including espionage.
The plaintiff in the civil case—the Democratic Party—has also served as Assange’s chief prosecutor within the state apparatus for over a decade. During the Obama administration, Democratic Party Justice Department officials, as well as career Democratic holdovers under the Trump administration, prepared the criminal case against him.
The dismissal of the civil suit exposes massive unreported conflicts of interest and prosecutorial misconduct and criminal abuse of process by those involved. The criminal prosecution of Assange has nothing to do with facts and is instead aimed at punishing him for telling the truth about the war crimes committed by US imperialism and its allies.
The judge labeled WikiLeaks an “international news organization” and said Assange is a “publisher,” exposing the liars in the corporate press who declare that Assange is not subject to free speech protections. Judge Koeltl continued: “In New York Times Co. v. United States, the landmark ‘Pentagon Papers’ case, the Supreme Court upheld the press’s right to publish information of public concern obtained from documents stolen by a third party.”
As a legal matter, by granting WikiLeaks’ motion to dismiss, the court ruled that the DNC had not put forward a “factually plausible” claim. At the motion to dismiss stage, a judge is required to accept all the facts alleged by the plaintiff as true. Here, the judge ruled that even if all the facts alleged by the DNC were true, no fact-finder could “draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Going a step further, the judge called the DNC’s arguments “threadbare,” adding: “At no point does the DNC allege any facts” showing that Assange or WikiLeaks “participated in the theft of the DNC’s information.”
Judge Koeltl said the DNC’s argument that Assange and WikiLeaks “conspired with the Russian Federation to steal and disseminate the DNC’s materials” is “entirely divorced from the facts.” The judge further ruled that the court “is not required to accept conclusory allegations asserted as facts.”
The judge further dismantled the DNC’s argument that WikiLeaks is guilty-by-association with Russia, calling the alleged connection between Assange and the Russian government “irrelevant,” because “a person is entitled to publish stolen documents that the publisher requested from a source so long as the publisher did not participate in the theft.”
Judge Koeltl also rejected the DNC’s claim “that WikiLeaks can be held liable for the theft as an after-the-fact coconspirator of the stolen documents.” Calling this argument “unpersuasive,” the judge wrote that it would “eviscerate” constitutional protections: “Such a rule would render any journalist who publishes an article based on stolen information a coconspirator in the theft.”
In its April 2018 complaint, the DNC put forward a series of claims that have now been exposed as brazen lies, including that Assange, Trump and Russia “undermined and distorted the DNC’s ability to communicate the party’s values and visions to the American electorate.”
The complaint also alleged: “Russian intelligence services then disseminated the stolen, confidential materials through GRU Operative #1, as well as WikiLeaks and Assange, who were actively supported by the Trump Campaign and Trump Associates as they released and disclosed the information to the American public at a time and in a manner that served their common goals.”
At the time the DNC filed its complaint, the New York Times wrote that the document relies on “publicly-known facts” as well as “information that has been disclosed in news reports and subsequent court proceedings.” The lawsuit “comes amid a swirl of intensifying scrutiny of Mr. Trump, his associates and their interactions with Russia,” the Times wrote.
It is deeply ironic that Judge Koeltl cited the Pentagon Papers case, New York Times Co. v. United States, in his ruling.
The DNC’s baseless complaint cited the New York Times eight times as “proof” of Assange and WikiLeaks’ ties to Russia, including articles by Times reporters Andrew Kramer, Michael Gordon, Niraj Chokshi, Sharon LaFraniere, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Eric Lichtblau, Noah Weiland, Alicia Parlapiano and Ashley Parker, as well as a July 26, 2016 article by Charlie Savage titled “Assange, avowed foe of Clinton, timed email release for Democratic Convention.”
The first of these articles was published just weeks after the New York Times hired James Bennet as its editorial page editor in March 2016. James Bennet’s brother, Michael Bennet, is a presidential candidate, a senator from Colorado and former chair of the DNC’s Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In 2018, Bennet signed a letter to Vice President Mike Pence noting he was “extremely concerned” that Ecuador had not canceled asylum for Assange, who was then trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
“It is imperative,” the letter read, “that you raise US concerns with [Ecuadorian] President [Lenin] Moreno about Ecuador’s continued support for Mr. Assange at a time when WikiLeaks continues its efforts to undermine democratic processes globally.”
In April 2019, after the Trump administration announced charges against Assange, the New York Times editorial board, under James Bennet’s direction, wrote: “The administration has begun well by charging Mr. Assange with an indisputable crime.” Two weeks later, Michael Bennet announced his presidential run and has since enjoyed favorable coverage in the Times editorial page.
Additionally, the father of James and Michael Bennet, Douglas Bennet, headed the CIA-linked United States Agency for International Development in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
On Wednesday, the Times published a brief, six-paragraph article on page 25 under the headline, “DNC lawsuit against election is dismissed.” In its online edition, the Times prominently featured a link to its special page for the Mueller Report, which is based on the same DNC-instigated threadbare lies that Judge Koeltl kicked out of federal court
Pontius Pilate, of course, was the judge who condemned Jesus Christ to death, according to the bible. The crime Jesus was punished for was that of leading a religion critical of the values of the Roman state. Modern authorities try to defend their right to have criminal secrets in order to justify pursecuting Assange, who has led a world-wide movement for transparent and just government. If UK or Swedish judges deliver Assange to authorities who then deliver him to the United States, they may claim that they are only doing their duty under the law, just like Judge Pontius Pilate. I am not religious, but I think this is a valuable parable for our time.
I first became aware of Julian Assange through Wikileak's publication of the "Collateral Murder" material. [Collateral murder comes from the expression 'collateral damage', a euphemism coined by the US war machine to describe civilian deaths and material damage in war.] I was filled with admiration and relief that someone was exposing the continuing illegal role of the US Army in Iraq and its vicious conduct. I could not understand why the United States had not been universally condemned for the lies it used to illegally invade Iraq and then why a range of US-NATO allies failed to condemn its continuing brutal occupation of that country. I next became aware of the US-NATO horror caused in Libya and then in Syria. As my awareness grew, so did the effrontery of the United States. Soon it was accusing Russia of aggression, as the US itself surrounded Russia with US bases. See the map.
Now, in the ultimate criminal state absurdity, Britain, a major partner to US in weapons sales and war crimes in the Middle East, is aiding and abetting the United States to punish the one man who was able and courageous enough to expose the United States for its war crimes within war crimes. Obscenely, but revealingly, a small-time London magistrate, Judge Deborah Taylor, showed the clay that British "justice" is based on, as she 'diagnosed' [SIC] Assange a "narcissist" [an upstart] and thereby sentenced him to 58 weeks in high security prison, presumably for crimes of personality and class. She completely ignored what ordinary people can see and what she must have seen; that he was correctly in fear of his life from the criminal government of the United States and its vassal, the British government. She had to know that extradition was in the wings, but she pretended that it was not.
It is hard to find out anything about this woman, but, contrary to her supposed impartiality, she seems to me to be either the servant or the dupe of the British upper class. That ruling class considers that it has the right to engage in murder and mayhem all over the world by supplying weapons for cash, but woe-betide any commoner who might expose its crimes for public judgement. Should the US elites succeed in their plans to exact their cruel revenge on Julian Assange, I think that Judge Deborah Taylor may go down in history as the woman who helped send modern civilisation down its final corridor to total enslavement and war.
Julian Assange unlike Jesus won't rise again, so we must protect him
For Julian Assange, unlike Jesus - another 'upstart' - probably won't arise again. You may or may not believe in Jesus, but the crucifixion story is a valid parable nonetheless and it is all about justice and democracy: After Judas identified him, Jesus was convicted by a magistrate, Pontius Pilate, of the crime of trying to lead the jews against the Romans in a revolutionary religion, which preached love instead of war, slavery and pillage. Later the Romans adopted Christianity and when the Roman empire fell, the Holy Roman Empire continued. In the 16th Century Henry VIII took over as head of religion in England and called it the Church of England. The Church of England still claims to believe that Jesus Christ died to save the rest of us from oppression. The queen is supposed to believe that. British magistrates are supposed to act within that paradigm, but we can see that they do not.
In Jesus' case, at the site of crucifixion, the attending crowd was asked who they would prefer to save: Jesus or another revolutionary, Barrabas. The crowd chose Barrabas. We, however, do not have another revolutionary of Assange's extraordinary global profile, but neither is anyone asking us if we want to save Julian Assange.
It is up to us to save ourselves and Julian Assange and the right to shine a light on the crimes that the power elite carry out all the time.
We live in a world, sadly, where electronic technology has reached a point at which people with money can do almost anything. They can launch wars for profit, carry out torture, influence the courts and the media, and then they can secretly try and imprison anyone who attempts to expose what they have done. That's why they are persecuting Julian Assange. They are out to prove that they can silence any protest.
These rich power-elites are networked and they back each other up. Julian Assange, as part of the alternative media, exposed this network - and he did not take sides. Even the cowardly mainstream media that pretends he is not a journalist republished the information he provided. If Julian is extradited to the United States, judged guilty in a secret court (for it will be secret) publishing in the western world will suffer the same fate as publishing in Muslim countries. Remember Charlie Hebdo and "We are all Charlie."
We are all Julian Assange now. Jesus of Nazareth was a local phenomena that went viral. Julian is a global phenomena in a global world - but he may be our last because, after him, what individual will ever achieve such a political profile, if the power-elite get their wish for utter media control and total secrecy?
US-NATO Military Industrial Media Congressional Complex
Humans who live in modern techno civilisations are only apparently better than their ancestors; they are essentially the same, in different clothes, with different technologies. Without those materials and technologies, we are our ancestors. And so are our masters. They can be just as vicious as Attila, just as grasping as the Roman Emperors, and just as cowardly as modern generals who order drone executions without trial on people far away. America's 'Exceptionalism' seems to be no different from Hitler's belief in the 'master race' doctrine. The United States openly uses its Exceptionalist doctrine to justify the invasion, occupation and genocide involved in its multiple regime change projects, which seem to have two aims: to get control of fossil fuel resources and to make money out of weapons in continuous rolling wars. Weapons sales seem to be the most profitable industry in the world. That is what Julian Assange is up against.
Julian Assange's plight shows how little worth Australian citizenship has and how worthless our US subservient politicians
Of course, none of this persecution of one inspired giant of a man could have been achieved if the client vassal state to America, Australia, had not remained collusively silent. Successive Australian governments have pretended that they have provided Assange with 'appropriate' consular support. That is why I say that Assange's plight shows how little worth Australian citizens have in the eyes of the Australian Government. As Assange himself once said something like that it is right for Australians to look at what happens in Washington, because that is where the real government of Australia is. As an Australian, I am ashamed of my government and I cannot understand why my countrymen remain so cowed and confused about what this all means.
The US has 800 to 1000 military bases world wide. Russia has only eight, and these are located close to its own borders. France has nine. The United Kingdom has the most next to the US.
These bases are themselves occupations by the United States of sovereign powers: Here is a list of military bases by country. Australia also has a US base. Citizens in Australia and most or all countries that the US occupies with armed forces have protested again and again, yet their governments have acquiesced to the US, not to the democratic demands of their citizens.
 According to biblical history, Pontius Pilate served as the prefect of Judaea from 26 to 36 A.D. He convicted Jesus of treason and declared that Jesus thought himself King of the Jews, and had Jesus crucified. In the Gospel according to Mark, Pilate’s main question to Jesus was whether he considered himself to be the King of the Jews, and thus a political threat (Mark 15:2). In the Gospel according to Luke, Temple authorities had decided that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy, but brought him to Pilate to accuse him further of sedition against Rome. The Gospel of Luke says that Pilate handed Jesus over to the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas for judgment on the grounds that Jesus was a Galilean and thus under Antipas' jurisdiction. Jesus was publicly flogged and then executed by crucifixion as a traitor to Rome. All Gospels say that it had been a tradition of the Romans to release a Jewish prisoner at the time of the Passover. Pilate offered the crowd at the execution site the choice of releasing either Jesus or another revolutionary named Barabbas. The crowd stated that it wished to save Barabbas. Accordingly, Pilate condemned Jesus to crucifixion.
The most honest man in Britain today is Julian Assange, while the most dishonest are those who are engaged in his ongoing persecution.
(This article by John Wight was first published at https://www.rt.com/op-ed/461768-assange-extradition-justice-british/ on 13 June 2019.)
The latest instalment in that persecution is a court hearing in London on June 14, where details of the request for his extradition to the US, it is expected, will be revealed for the first time.
The formal request for the extradition of the founder of WikiLeaks was made to the UK by US authorities earlier in the week – and with British Home Secretary Sajid Javid signing the relevant papers sanctioning it, the final decision on whether Julian Assange’s extradition to the US goes ahead now rests with the courts.
Also on rt.com
Extradition order to send Assange to US poses existential threat to all truth seekers – Galloway
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Assange’s poor state of health means that it’s uncertain whether he will be able to attend the hearing in person, or whether instead he will address the court by video link from Belmarsh Prison, where he’s been detained since being arrested and forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in central London on April 11.
What the start of the extradition proves is that Assange was right all along in claiming political asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, on the basis that he was under threat of extradition to the US, and that those who rubbished and ridiculed him for doing so stand exposed as charlatans.
Where we are now is that for daring to publish details of US war crimes and atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention later exposing the corruption of Hillary Clinton and the DNC in the lead-up to the US presidential election in 2016, Assange is facing the prospect of being sent into the void that is the US justice system – forever.
Or at least as close to forever as possible, given that he is looking at being sent to prison for 175 years on a raft of espionage charges.
In revealing to the world the beast of US hegemony that resides behind the velvet curtains of democracy and human rights, Julian Assange exposed the lie upon which this American Empire (and make no mistake, it is an empire) depends.
It depends on it in order to persuade its supposed beneficiaries – i.e. people living in the West – to continue to suspend disbelief as to the reality of a system they’ve been conditioned to believe is rooted in values that emanate from the human heart rather than from the heart of the machine.
The end result is that in exposing this lie, Assange and WikiLeaks became a bigger threat to the ability of US hegemony to function normally than a million bayonets. As such, it became imperative that he, as the founder and face of WikiLeaks, be destroyed.
Britain’s role in this process couldn’t be any more sordid or shameful. Its legal system and judiciary has effectively been turned into a subsidiary of its US counterpart; its function not to dispense justice but to deliver a man into the arms of injustice.
The fate to befall Assange proves that there’s a world of difference between believing that you live in a free society and behaving as if you do. He is the canary down the coalmine of Western democracy, signalling the warning that its foundations are rotten to the core.
As I said when I spoke at a recent Imperialism On Trial event in London, I will never forget the chill that slid down my spine as I watched him being dragged out of his political asylum in the aforementioned Ecuadorian Embassy in London and hurled into the back of a van. It was a scene you would associate with a fascist state in the 1930s, not a democratic one in 2019.
It was a vision of the future unless people in the West wake up and stand up.
Compounding the injustice involved in the treatment of Julian Assange has been the complicity of a mainstream media which has, without exception, engaged in an unrelenting campaign of demonization, delegitimization, and even dehumanization where he’s concerned.
These people are not journalists, they are ideological foot soldiers. In fact, they’re not even that; they are expensively educated cranks and hacks – so-called progressives, who with a chai latte in one hand and a signed copy of Campbell’s Diaries or Blair’s autobiography in the other, step over homeless people in the street on the way to their hot yoga classes and sushi bars; there to congratulate one another on the latest offering of vacuous tripe served up to the God of yellow journalism.
Compare and contrast the treatment of Julian Assange at the hands of the mainstream media in the UK, and the treatment of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov in the Russian media.
Also on rt.com
Russian media solidarity for Golunov contrasts with loathsome US/UK press bootlicking over Assange
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Upon what appears to have been Golunov’s unjust arrest and detention by the police in Moscow, the Russian press united in demanding his release. Largely as a result of the media’s stance, which galvanised public opinion in Russia, Golunov’s detention ended in a matter of days. It stands as a pristine example of how a free and independent press functions in holding the authorities to account on behalf of the people.
Today in Britain, in grim contrast, we have a mainstream media that operates more along the lines of holding the people to account on behalf of the powerful; the plight of Julian Assange being a case in point.
From this point on, at every stage of this execrable extradition process, it is British justice on trial, not him. And thus far the verdict tends towards guilty – guilty of being a US vassal; guilty of the violation of Assange’s human rights; guilty of putting truth and justice behind bars and setting untruth and injustice free.
Ultimately, the stakes in this case couldn’t be any more important or higher, and in the last analysis it really is very simple.
Until Julian Assange is free, none of us are.
The dire state of legal assistance funding in Australia has been highlighted as a matter of critical importance in the Law Council of Australia’s 2019-20 Pre-Budget Submission, with a boost of at least $310 million a year required to address critical gaps in the system.
Additional funding should also be provided to introduce Justice Impact Tests, improve resourcing of federal courts, and establish a National Justice Interpreter Scheme, said Law Council President, Arthur Moses SC.
“Legal assistance funding in Australia is abysmal and in need of urgent review. Some of our most vulnerable people are slipping through the cracks, as the Law Council’s Justice Project illustrates,” Mr Moses said.
“At least $310 million a year is needed to provide adequate funding for Legal Aid Commissions, community legal centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services and family violence prevention legal services. This would provide a much needed injection of funds for frontline legal services to increase civil legal assistance and will come close to restoring the Commonwealth’s share of funding for Legal Aid Commissions to 50 per cent.
“Commonwealth legal aid funding is at its lowest in decades. In 1997 the Federal Government spent $11.22 per capita. Today, it is spending less than $8 per capita. Many living under the poverty line are ineligible.
“Disadvantaged Australians are not the only ones impacted by the shortfall. Many Australians simply can’t afford legal representation and if required to attend court, are forced to appear alone. Lives are being destroyed because successive governments have failed to invest in critical social justice infrastructure.”
In the UK, Justice Impact Tests have proven to be a vital tool in facilitating the smoother development of laws and policies with downstream impacts on the justice system and ensuring adequate funding is provided for any repercussions. The Law Council believes such a system should be implemented in Australia.
The Law Council’s submission also calls for urgent additional funding of the federal courts, especially the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
“Australia’s family law system is chronically under-resourced, under-funded and overburdened. Families and children are having to wait up to three years, in many cases more, to have matters heard. As the federal courts’ workloads continue to increase, more resourcing is desperately needed to keep up with demand. This must include appointing further judges and registrars, and additional legal assistance,” Mr Moses said.
“Law Council calls on the Australian Government to commission a review of the resourcing needs of federal courts and tribunals in consultation with the community and key stakeholders. There is also a need for a national interpreter scheme to assist those for whom English is not their first language to access justice.”
Other key funding priorities identified by the Law Council include the need to:
Adopt and adequately resource a transparent judicial appointments process; and
Establish and adequately resource a Federal Judicial Commission to provide training for federal judges as well as a fair mechanism to hear any complaints that may be made against the judiciary.
Australia has horrible inheritance laws. They are the source of terrible injustices and family disputes. Below I quote from Ben White et al, "Estate contestation in Australia: an empirical study of a year of case law," which talks about the non-financial costs as well as public and private costs. It rates the chances of court actions succeeding in different states and describes differences in state laws. It also refers to some suggested reforms, which include making it more difficult for adult children to contest wills. To my mind, this would mean to keep on disinheriting them in the disreputable Anglosphere way. At the moment any adult child can contest a will on the basis of being very poor. One of the reforms this study flags is that a person would have to show they were very poor before they qualified to contest the will. However that would not take much away from all the hurt and jealousy about unequal distributions, so famous in King Lear. I prefer the French Civil code, which says you have to distribute your estate equally to all your children, legitimate and illegitimate, from any marriage. This kind of law also cuts back the expansion of de facto claims, which in Australia, the US, England etc threaten to expand nearly infinitely now that both heterosexual and same-sex liaisons can be interpreted legally as de facto - yet another indicator that marriage is mostly about property in the Anglosphere, where spouses trump children and marriage can bankrupt you. For the rules on this, see, for instance, https://fortefamilylawyers.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FFL_485542_Proving-the-existence-of-de-facto-relationships-in-family-matters.pdf.
"While the potential financial cost to the testator's family and friends (who are generally beneficiaries) through the dissipation of the estate is generally well-known, estate contestation can also lead to other significant adverse outcomes. For example, the distribution of assets after death is not a purely financial or legal exercise, and dispositions in a will can represent a very public realignment of relationship and hierarchies within a family.
These disputes, which necessasrily challenge that statement of family relationships by the testator, are likely to create, or exacerbate, family disharmony and conflict, and/or become a focal point for past injustices or disputes. This is unsurprising given some of the features of a will contest: it occurs during aperiod of grief, pits claimants against beneficiaries, and often brings contact with the legal system (which traditonally has taken an adversarial approach to the resolution of these disputes) [...] This conflict is often not limited to the period of the legal dispute and can persist over time, in some cases across generations.
Engagement with legal processes also shifts private life into the public domain, requiring families to air their 'dirty laundry'. This loss of privacy can cauase not only embarassment adn reputational damage, it can also be a source of further family conflict with the family member who has brought such matters to public view. Estate contestation also has implications for the state through the resources it requires from the publicly funded judicial system." (Source: Ben White et al, "Estate contestation in Australia: an empirical study of a year of case law," UNSW Law Journal, pp880-881.
Fewer will challenges in France than in Australia and other Anglophone countries?
Are there fewer will challenges in France, where inheritance rules are set out in the Civil Code, than in Anglophone countries, where parents can disinherit their children and leave their possessions to a cat charity for example?
In France (and in all Roman law countries) the laws of succession are set out in the Civil code. Children of the deceased share equal parts of the total estate. One cannot disinherit one's children.
In Anglophone countries no laws prescribe that children, young or adult, must inherit the most part of their parents' estates. Recently the French were confronted by the bizarre and heartless practices on the Anglophone side of the Atlantic when French singer and long time narcotics user, Johnny Hallyday, left all his money to his wife in California and nothing at all to his French children.
You can disinherit your whole family and give everything to a second or third wife, to a charity or a passing fancy, or even to a cat in the Anglosphere (although you do have to set up a trust for a cat).
Whilst there are case-law precedents that offer ways to challenge bequests of entire family fortunes to charities or passing fancies, you need to hire an expensive lawyer even to start such a process. If there is any chance at all of success, you are bound to find professional encouragment, but what are your real chances of success? You are risking a lot.
Because of the famous liberty of people in Anglophone countries to dispose of their estates in any way they wish, will challenges are very common and cost a great deal emotionally and financially to families, estates and taxpayers. Lawyers are the winners.
Most wills are contested on the basis of failure to leave money to support children or adult children who have fallen on very hard times or who cannot earn their living because of physical or mental incapacities. This kind of justice has crept into our case law through the back door.
A way for will beneficiaries to counter such claims is to argue that the claimants are such dreadful people that they have no right to make a claim. This is referred to technically as 'disentitling character or conduct'. Since family members are rarely sued for defamation, will contests are often the scenes of Learish character assassinations, like the ones in the stick-figure King Lear illustration above (from Mya Gosling at Tickle Brain's series on Shakespear.)
In France there are far fewer options to dispute wills, although families will sometimes try to prevent their parents from using up entire estates before they die by asserting parental incompetence. Of course this also happens in the Anglosphere.
James Damore was the man who sent a memo in Google in which he suggested that maybe the low participation of women in tech areas was because women in general had less desire to work in those areas. For this he was sacked.
Now for purposes of this article I am not so interested in whether he was right or wrong. I am interested in how he was treated. I think how James was treated in this matter reflects a far deeper malaise within our culture; that malaise is a lack of love and concern for others. If we really want to create a better society, with less conflict, hatred and violence, then we really need to consider deeply why people are punished and to what end.
Do people and organisations in our society seek to punish others as revenge? Or to ‘silence’ them? Either motive is selfish and destructive. Revenge as a motive is just pure hatred and selfishness. Silencing people on the other hand is what organised churches used to do to heretics, and what despots like Stalin did to dissenters. Both were monsters. Do we really want such monsters around today?
So what should be the purpose of punishment? In a system of love any punishment or similar consequences for actions should have the intention of helping the person at fault. The aim of criminal punishment should be to reform offenders, only the unreformable should be exiled, or otherwise separated from their community, for the safety of the community. In all other cases every effort should be made to educate and assist the person towards improvement.
So how did Google act in the case of James? They acted as any despot would, they sought to silence James by sacking him and ‘exiling’ him from Google’s community. Why would they do this? Well I would suggest firstly because they have no love for James, or perhaps anyone else. Think about it – if someone in your family wrote something like that – would you exile them? Punish them with the loss of their income? Only a family with no love for their children would treat their child like that – fully grown or not. Now Google I suspect also had selfish reasons for wanting to get rid of James – and it is a fact that selfishness in its worst forms is a lack of love for others. Google, and the tech area in general have had a bad reputation in relation to the treatment of women. In light of this it seems that Google are seeking – at least some claim they are – to signal the ‘virtue’ of the company for purely profit oriented motives.
When someone, or some organisation, picks on someone like this it is encumbant on others to speak in defence of the victim. Particularly when the victim is an individual. Groups have the benefit of many voices and mutual support, but individuals are vulnerable, and so need others to defend them. Without us supporting each other in this way we have the ‘law of jungle’; the strong can victimise the weak. Such an action as Google’s is a bully’s action. And unless we can stand against such behaviours civilisation means nothing; it is not an adjective we can apply to our society. But yet we see the absence of love and human support for others again and again – we see it with the treatment of refugees, we see it with the treatment of the homeless, and we see it with many individuals: Damore, Assange, Snowden and Manning.
I ask again – would a loving parent treat their own child like this? Would they stand by and watch others treat their child like this? Or would they have patience and tolerance in regard to their perceived faults and transgressions? Then how can we stand by and allow other people’s children to be treated this way?
You can read James' memo here and also Google's public response.
Here's The Full 10-Page Anti-Diversity Screed Circulating Internally At Google ( it is not actually not quite in full - diagrams and hyper links to his references have been removed. The actual complete document is available here).
If you are interested in the argument about whether he was right or not, here is New York Times article on this.
(This article was first published on 6 Sep 2009 & enhanced on 18 Aug 2013.)
Update, 8 Dec 2013 : Keep yourself more informed from these Twitter pages: Women for Schapelle, BobCarr Cover-up & Kim Bax.
Update, 17 Aug 2013 : An ABC radio news bulletin reports: "Convicted Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has not received a sentence cut as part of Indonesia's Independence Day celebrations." This was contrary to earlier reports that she had been given hope of an early release. Unless her sentence is reduced, she is not eligible for release until 24 March 2017. See also: Schapelle to be sent to die in remote Java prison of 5 April 2010, A selective capacity for human compassion? of 24 Feb 2010, Your support for clemency bid needed to save Schapelle's life 12 of Feb 2010, Schapelle Corby's story told on Truth News Radio of 23 Sep 2009.
On 27 May 2005, Schapelle Corby was found guilty not by a jury, but by a judge, of attempting to smuggle 4.2kg of cannabis into Indonesia and sentenced to 20 years' jail. However, even a cursory look at the case against Schapelle Corby, for example on Wikipedia, will reveal that the evidence against her is almost non-existent, whilst evidence, pointing to the guilt of the Balinese Police, a coverup and the scapegoating of Corby, is overwhelming. The newsmedia's failure to make this widely understood is yet another of countless examples of its failure in its duty to the Australian public.
See also: The political sacrifice of Schapelle Corby of 8 Feb 14 (includes video from Expendable Project story), http://www.freeschapelle.com.au (as of 9 Feb 2014, web-site no longer exists), "Your support for clemency bid needed to save Schapelle's life" of 12 Feb 10, http://www.schapelle.net/, "Kevin Rudd gives Schapelle Corby a raw deal" by Jill Singer in the Herald Sun of 27 Aug 2009, "Schapelle Corby paranoid, clutching doll in Kerobokan jail" by Cindy Wockner and Kormang Suriadi in the Daily Telegraph of 25 May 09, "Premier backs call to bring Schapelle Corby back to Australia" in the Herald Sun of 25 Aug 09, "Schapelle Corby 'clinically insane'" by Adam Gartrell in News Ltd online of 24 Aug 09.
For its part, our Government's failure to insist that at least due process and international and Indonesian law be applied in the case of Schapelle Corby is yet another of many examples, stretching back to at least the murder of the Balibo Five in East Timor in 1975, of its failure to act protect citizens of this country.
In fact, the charge of having attempted smuggle cannabis out of Australia and into Indonesia rather than the reverse had always struck me as improbable. However, with so with so many other controversies, which require research and thought to arrive at the truth, going on, I made the choice to put the issue to the back of my mind.
I was made properly aware of the overwhelming evidence of Schapelle Corby's innocence when I attended the Brisbane Forum on Saturday 5 September at public meeting in Beenleigh put on by the Brisbane Forum. The case for Schapelle Corby's innocence of the charges against her was put by Roy.
innocence to Brisbane Forum meeting of 5 Sep 09.
Good day Ladies & Gentlemen.
My name is Roy, I live in South East Queensland, and I am the Captain of an offshore oil rig tender working in the Timor Sea. I have been in the offshore oil industry for 28 years.
There would not be a person in this room who has not heard of Schapelle Corby, a woman made famous for all the wrong reasons, and I have little doubt that some here think she is "Guilty".
I happen to know, however, that Schapelle is "Innocent". It is not my belief or my opinion, it is a FACT, plain and simple, and over the course of this presentation I hope to prove it to you.
Roy's close association with Corby Family
So, what are my credentials? What authority do I have to make such a claim, when everything we see, hear and read about in newspapers tells us that Schapelle is "Guilty" and that her whole family have been dealing in drugs for decades?
I have known the Corby family for 20 years and I am a close family friend. I am also part of a small and trusted group who are regarded as Schapelle's strongest advocates.
I have studied her case for several years now, and I happen to believe there is not too much about it that I don't know.
In March this year I visited Schapelle in Kerobokan Prison, along with her mother Rosleigh, two of her Aunts and a friend of Schapelle's named Katrina.
Katrina was one of Schapelle's travelling companions on that fateful trip to Bali in October 2004.
Thankfully, Schapelle was in a lot better shape then, than she is now.
Having not seen Schapelle since her childhood years, when I visited her in March it was, in many ways, like meeting her for the first time.
I found her to be one of the most charming and lovely persons you could ever hope to meet, and I knew then and there what I had believed all along -- There is NO way that she committed this crime.
Roy's abhorence of illicit drugs caused by personal tragedy
Before I continue, you should know that my Wife and I lost our son to illicit drugs 11 years ago. As such, I have no tolerance for illicit drugs or those dealing in them#main-fn1">1.
As far as I am concerned, you commit the crime, you do the time, providing the sentence is fair and reasonable punishment.
The evidence of Schapelle Corby's innocence
However, by the same token, if you are innocent, you should be set free. "The Innocent Should Not Be Punished".
Prior to her fateful trip to Bali in October 2004, Schapelle had no criminal record and was, to all intents and purposes, a law abiding citizen. Despite being convicted of drug smuggling in Bali, she has no proven association with illicit drugs, or anyone dealing in them, in Australia.
And yet, Ladies and Gentlemen, there was marijuana in her boogie-board bag. This fact is indisputable.
So, apart from the intimate knowledge that I have through my friendship with the Corby family, and Schapelle herself, what else do I have to support the notion that she is "Not Guilty"?
Firstly, there was no motive. The value of the drugs in Australia would have been around $35,000 and in Bali around $5,000. So, who in their right mind would take a chance on receiving a death sentence, or a life sentence in a third world prison, just to lose $30,000?
No one would, which is why marijuana has never been taken to Bali from Australia before, or since. Indeed, if the drugs in her bag really did come from Australia, the event is unique in the histories of both Australia and Indonesia. Quite simply, there is no Australian marijuana on Bali's streets. There never has been, and probably never will be.
Australian marijuana, grown hydroponically, which is apparently much sought after by westerners in Bali and carries the name "Aussie Gold", is a myth.
Schapelle, who had worked hard in her mother's Fish and Chip shop just to save the $1300 for her trip, and who was given a further $1100 by her mother and father to have a good time, would not have had the money to buy the drugs anyway.
Secondly, in the post 9/11 World that we live in, and fly in, with its security cameras, x-ray machines, dogs sniffing for drugs and explosives, as well as random checks of baggage by Customs, the chances of Schapelle getting 4.2kgs of marijuana through two domestic and one international airport terminals in Australia was, essentially, zero.
Let's not forget that the inner of the two plastic bags in which it was packed had been slashed, further aiding in the release of the pungent odour.
As such, questions like: did her father insert the drugs, or did her brothers insert the drugs, cease to be relevant. It wouldn't have mattered if Santa Claus had inserted the drugs, they would not have got through.
Do I suspect her father of being involved in any way? No, I do not!
He loved his daughter and vice-versa. She was his baby girl, the youngest of his children, and they shared a very special bond. She was the one living with him, and caring for him, as he slowly died of cancer. He would never have done anything like this to her.
When he did finally die, in January 2008, she was the one and only family member who could not attend his funeral.
Do I suspect her brothers of being involved? Once again, No! The most admirable thing about the Corby family is their strength in the face of adversity and the way they rally together. They are very close-knit, and not one of them would ever do something like this to another.
Do I suspect baggage handlers of inserting the drugs, for the purpose of getting them interstate, then failing to remove them in Sydney? No, I do not, but having said this, I do concede that it could have happened.
4 months after Schapelle's "Guilty" verdict, a British aviation expert, Sir John Wheeler, did investigate airport security and find that marijuana is moved through Australian airports. This is done with the aid of airport and airline staff who the criminals bribe in order to circumvent airport security.
Do I suspect Schapelle of doing this? No, I do not, and it comes back to motive. Why pay a bribe to ensure the passage of the drugs between Brisbane and Sydney, so they can continue onward to Bali to be sold for a fraction of their original value? Paying a bribe would only compound the loss.
Schapelle's bag was unlocked, so the drugs could have been inserted in Sydney, but there is no evidence to support this, nor a reason for doing so. The only thing we do know is that a major cocaine shipment did come into Sydney International Airport from South America while Schapelle's boogie-board bag was on the ground in the international baggage handling area.
Of course, discounting Sydney, there is only one other place where the drugs could have been inserted and that is, on the ground in Bali, before the boogie-board bag passed through Customs.
This is not only possible but highly probable. For many within the Schapelle Corby support movement, myself included, it is the most credible explanation for the presence of the drugs in her bag.
Regrettably, the truth of the matter is this -- we don't really know who inserted the drugs, and we may never know. Because they were burnt without ever being tested for their country and place of origin, both of which can be established these days in advanced laboratories, there is no way to tell where they came from.
In not knowing this, it is very difficult to establish with certainty the guilty party, or their motive. The only thing we are certain of is this: that Schapelle Corby did not insert them, and neither did anyone else in her family.
Nevertheless, the actions of the Balinese Police, the Prosecution, and the Judges, deserve serious scrutiny. Had they truly suspected that Schapelle was guilty of the crimes for which she was charged, they would have conducted themselves entirely differently. It certainly appears that if the Police were not the guilty party, they colluded with those who were.
Article 8 of the Indonesian Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 18 of the Indonesian Human Rights Law, Article 14 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Indonesia is a signatory, and Article 11 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all state the following in so many words:
"Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to the law, in a public trial, at which he or she has had all the guarantees necessary for their defence."
The Indonesian Code of Criminal Procedure also requires that the Prosecution provide some form of secondary evidence with which to back up the primary evidence, in order to secure a conviction, the primary evidence in this case being the marijuana itself.
As such, it is reasonable to assume that the Balinese Police would have conducted a full investigation into this crime, both to assist the Prosecution in building their case against Schapelle Corby and to catch all those involved.
Fingerprinting the inner and outer plastic bags., both plastic bags were handled without gloves, the outer bag by the Customs Officers and Police, the inner bag by the Judge himself, in court, along with the Customs Officers and Prosecution who he beckoned over to participate. The Judge then denied a request by the Defence to have the inner bag fingerprinted because, as he put it, "Too many people have handled the bag".
Weighing her checked in baggage with the drugs on the scales, and comparing this weight with the checked-in weight. If the two weights were the same then the drugs were in her bag at check-in.
Forensically testing the marijuana to determine its country of origin. This would have been necessary to prove that the drugs actually came from Australia and, had it done so, would have provided the Prosecution with a prima facie case. Furthermore, had Schapelle's DNA been matched against the DNA of any hair or skin fragments found amongst the drugs, she would have had no choice but to change her plea to "Guilty."
They also burned the remaining evidence in March 2006, well before Schapelle's avenues of appeal had been exhausted, to ensure that the drugs could never be tested in the future. They did this in contravention of International Law, which requires at least a sample of the evidence to be preserved, and they did it like criminals with something to hide.
Had forensic testing been conducted, and had it proven that the drugs were Indonesian, Schapelle would have been exonerated straight away and the finger pointed at the Police.
Schapelle begged for these investigations to be carried out and even signed a consent form allowing the Australian Federal Police to forensically test the marijuana, in order to ensure a proper result.
Since when do guilty people beg for further investigations of their crime, knowing full well that the results will only further incriminate them?
Bearing in mind that the results of these investigations could just as easily have proven that Schapelle was innocent, we begin to see a motive for their refusal to do so. However, we have to ask the following question -- how could the Police possibly have known in advance which way the results would go, unless they had inserted the drugs themselves, or were acquainted with those who had?
Last but not least, a Police investigation into how Schapelle had acquired, and intended to dispose of, 4.2kg of marijuana. Since Schapelle was also being charged with trafficking, as well as importation, it would have been necessary to establish that she did, in fact, have connections with a drug distribution network in Bali.
Despite this being alleged as the first time that marijuana has ever been exported from Australia to Bali,, and during the entire case no mention was made of a single person believed to be involved with Schapelle in disposing of the drugs. The Police did not interview Mercedes, her husband Wayan, or anyone else in Bali for that matter, nor did they visit Mercedes' home.
It appears that neither the Balinese Police nor the Australian Federal Police had any interest in finding out who else may have been involved, in order to put a stop to what was, if true, a new and disturbing development in transnational drug trafficking.
The one spin-off from the Balinese Police's refusal to conduct an investigation was the fact that Schapelle's defence case suffered considerably. Indeed, with no evidence forthcoming from their non-investigation, her lawyers were forced to look to Australia for something, anything, with which to mount a defence. This suited the Police very nicely since it took the focus of attention away from them.
Because Schapelle was innocent, and had effectively handed over control of her bags to baggage handlers from the moment of check-in to the time she retrieved them in Bali, the probability that baggage handlers had inserted the drugs into her bag, for whatever reason, was a reasonable assumption. As such, her lawyers examined every aspect of baggage handling practices in an attempt to find a clue which would explain the presence of the drugs in her bag and prove "reasonable doubt," which is grounds for acquittal in any fair minded court in the world.
The "baggage handler defence" was, however, given real substance with the inclusion of the Victorian prisoner John Ford's testimony to the case.
Quite why John Ford decided to give the testimony that he did, I do not know, but his story about the jailed baggage handlers discussing the bungled drug delivery, and of the man lamenting his marijuana loss, came with no supporting hard evidence.
Whether it was the truth, or whether he made it up, we may never know. Schapelle, of course, saw it as her salvation. It made sense of the senseless and vindicated her protestations of innocence, but in the end it did not help her.
So, having ignored all these legitimate avenues of investigation with which to provide some form of secondary evidence, the Police chose instead to resort to underhanded tactics.
They tried twice to trick Schapelle into signing a confession, both times written in Indonesian which she could neither speak nor read at the time, the first one just hours after her arrest.
They also tried to plant drugs on her once in the Polda visitor's room. Fortunately, these measures all failed.
When Schapelle's blood and urine tests returned a negative result for drug use, the Prosecution was in trouble. They had no hard secondary evidence and this is where they too resorted to underhanded tactics.
In a country where bribery and corruption is rife, and the dealings of the Police are above the law, they created their own secondary evidence, based on the testimony of the two Customs Officers and two Police Officers who were present in the airport at the time.
The two Police Officers could not speak English and the Custom's Officer, Gusti Winata, who was their principal witness, chose to use an interpreter when questioned in court. He was also given immunity from hard-line questioning by the Defence.
The testimony they gave was seriously at odds with the testimony given by Schapelle and yet, the CCTV footage from the camera above the Customs counter, which could and would have corroborated their version of events, had it been the truth, was never allowed into the courtroom,.
This footage would have given legitimacy to the Prosecution'ssecondary evidence, and as such, the fact that they did not request it themselves is significant. It leads one to conclude, logically, that the testimony of these men was a pack of lies, and this footage would have rendered it inadmissible as evidence.
Not only should this camera footage have been allowed into the courtroom, the Judge himself should have insisted on it. The testimony of these men was both crucial and damning, and Schapelle had every right to request this footage for the purpose of refuting it. When the Judge failed to comply with the request he sided with the Prosecution, and his impartiality was seriously compromised.
For him and the other two Judges to find Schapelle ‘Guilty' of importing a Class One Narcotic, without any proof that the drugs even came from Australia, and without attempting to confirm that the testimony presented as secondary evidence was actually true and correct, especially when this evidence was being disputed, was an outrageous travesty of justice.
They chose, or were ordered by a higher authority, to believe the lies of these men, yet they dismissed outright not only Schapelle's sworn statements, but also her testimony, and the testimony of every one of her witnesses.
On the charge of trafficking, they found Schapelle ‘Guilty,' even though the Prosecution did not present a single piece of evidence or testimony to support the charge. In so doing, they were then at liberty, under Indonesian Law, to impose a sentence in excess of 10 years, this being the maximum allowable for possession and importation alone.
Is it any wonder that Judge Linton Sirait had never acquitted a defendant in 500 previous drug related cases, when we look at how he handled Schapelle's case?
As to why the Balinese Police would plant drugs on an innocent traveller, if they were in fact the guilty party, we do not know. However, the most popular theory amongst Schapelle's supporters is this -- that the Balinese Police wanted a high profile capital drugs conviction to improve their international standing, and make them eligible for U.N. ‘War On Drugs' funding.
It would not have been Schapelle herself that they targeted, merely her unlocked boogie-board bag, which was the right shape and size for their purpose. Being one of the last items of baggage loaded on the plane in Sydney, it was one of the first items unloaded in Bali.
As there were no previously recorded cases of marijuana importation into Bali from Australia, orchestrating such a case would have given the appearance of a new and disturbing development in transnational drug trafficking, adding weight to their need for the U.N. funding.
Quite why they did not feign a better attempt at an investigation into the case appears hard to fathom, until we understand this very important fact -- Every avenue of investigation would have proven that Schapelle was, and is, Innocent, and they knew this!
The CCTV footage from Brisbane Airport, which would have shown the flatness of Schapelle Corby's boogie-board bag as she checked it in, was never presented and its fate remains a mystery. It is my belief, and the belief of many within the Schapelle Corby support movement, that the AFP seized and destroyed this footage.
The final story given by Qantas, no doubt upon instructions from a higher authority, after several earlier and conflicting stories had failed to deter those seeking this evidence for Schapelle's defence -- "The cameras were under repair." Several people from Security also came forward claiming that the cameras were not switched on.
A former airport Customs Officer who I worked with recently, told me that our major airports could have as many as three security camera systems operating at any one time, and the suggestion that the cameras were all, either under repair or switched off, is complete nonsense.
The cameras at Sydney International Airport cargo handling area were all found to be facing the wall the day Schapelle's boogie-board bag passed through there, no doubt to ensure that the cocaine importation activity that was occurring there that day would not be recorded on videotape.
The AFP Commissioner, Mick Keelty also made a number of unnecessary and extremely damaging statements to the media, during the course of Schapelle's sham trial, which effectively undermined her "baggage handler defence."
Despite contributing $100,000 to her legal expenses, they essentially left Schapelle to her fate, claiming that they could not interfere in the judicial process of another country.
They continued to maintain this stance even when the Balinese Police, Prosecution and Judges were blatantly breaking Indonesian Law in their endeavour to convict her.
They remained silent when her basic Human Rights were being brutally violated, rights supposedly guaranteed by the United Nations through the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Australia was being accused of being a drug exporting nation for the first time, yet they failed to demand a sample of the marijuana for testing to determine if this was true.
They had every right to do this under the Mutual Assistance Treaty that exists between Australia and Indonesia.
They left the job of obtaining a sample to the AFP, when in fact, the Attorney General should have requested it from the Indonesian Supreme Court.
When a sample was denied, they accepted this without question, despite the importance of forensic testing to Schapelle's defence.
When support for Schapelle in Australia was running at 90%, and her case was seriously damaging our relations with Indonesia, they adopted a pragmatic approach.
Even though they knew she was innocent, they decided that our relationship with Indonesia was more important than Schapelle's human rights, so they commissioned the media to conduct the most shameful smear campaign ever waged against an Australian family, a campaign which continues to this day.
They wanted Australians believing that Schapelle Corby was guilty and that members of her family have been involved in the drug trade for decades, and they used the media to "manage" everyone's opinion.
This was done through a process of subterfuge. Little by little, bit by bit, people's perceptions were bent, creating distance between her sham trial in 2005 and the present day.
Using a simple six step methodology they slowly shifted focus from the truth to a false reality of their own creation, and along the way they made a lot of money through numerous fabricated stories. See YouTube broadcast -- Burying The Truth: Burying Schapelle Corby (also embedded immediately below).
YouTube broadcast, Burying The Truth: Burying Schapelle Corby
I say fabricated, because they are. The Corby family are not involved in the drug trade and they do not have criminal records. What's more, I have copies of Police Certificates which prove this.
Yes, Schapelle's two half brothers have had brushes with the law, James only the once, but these matters were totally unrelated to Schapelle herself and did not involve the drug trade.
The government themselves did assist along the way with a number of damaging statements made by various ministers, but far and away their loudest statement came through the confiscation of the royalties from Schapelle's book, "My Story."
By declaring the royalties from the book as being the proceeds of crime, they were stating that a crime had been committed.
And yet, the book was written for the express purpose of telling the Australian people that a crime had not been committed, at least, not by Schapelle Corby.
By confiscating the royalties, the Australian government was sending the people the following message, albeit a lie -- "We accept the verdict handed down by the Judge. We believe she is guilty of a crime, so it's okay for you to believe it as well. Forget her, and move on with your lives."
It was a win-win situation for both the media and the government. The only loser was Schapelle Corby, and being the daughter of a working class family, she was considered expendable.
Now, 4 years later, Snow White has become the Wicked Witch in the minds of most Australians, and yet, she is as innocent now as she was then. Bad things really do happen to good people.
Gandhi once said, "Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth. An error does not become the truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it."
Schapelle's life of comfort behind bars a myth
Ladies and Gentlemen, even when Schapelle's mental state was better, she still suffered immeasurably.
Being a female prison inmate in a Muslim ruled country immediately places you at a disadvantage.
Unlike the men, women are not allowed to play sports, or work out in a gym, they do not have access to television or electricity and there is no furniture of any kind in their cells.
The lucky ones, those with support on the outside, sleep on thin mattresses, the rest sleep on sarongs spread out over the concrete floor.
They do not even have the luxury of darkness to sleep by as the bright fluorescent lights in the cell are never turned off.
The men can come and go from their cells pretty much whenever they want to, whereas the women are locked up for 15 hours a day, sitting around most of the time, barely moving.
The toilet in the corner of the cell occasionally blocks up spewing human waste out onto the floor which can sometimes remain there for days until the problem is fixed and the floor cleaned.
Additionally, the stench from outside, the heat and humidity, the mosquitoes, the red ants that bite at night leaving welts and scars, and the rats, remind Schapelle every day of exactly where she is.
The prison is rife with diseases like AIDS and Hepatitis and Schapelle suffers regularly from severe eye and ear infections. Her hair has gone prematurely grey and has to be dyed constantly to maintain its black appearance.
Schapelle cannot read books anymore due to her inability to concentrate and the phobias she has about practically everything. Even reading short letters from friends is practically beyond her. Until recently she was making beaded necklaces, bracelets and anklets, one of the very few things that the prison authorities allowed her to do, but even this is now almost beyond her.
The simple acts of washing, dressing, eating and using the toilet can, at times, be too much for her to manage on her own, depending on her level of lucidity.
Even if her recent requests to start up beauty therapy classes for her fellow prisoners, and to start an outside garden, were now granted, it is unlikely she would be capable of doing them.
Crushing boredom has been Schapelle's constant companion since her incarceration, and while I am not a psychiatrist, I suspect this may have contributed to her mental illness. A bored mind will wander, and who knows what strange things it may conjure up.
In her four and a half years of imprisonment, Schapelle has witnessed all manner of horrors, horrors that no young woman should ever have to see -- prisoners being bashed to a pulp, kicked in the face until it's just blood and bone, girls attacking each other with broken glass, woman miscarrying in her cell, and several suicides.
She has endured this without the assistance of trauma counselling, which we would all expect to receive for witnessing far less.
She said in her book, written in 2006, "I never know what I'll see next but I do know that in my future there'll be many more grim, disgusting sights I can't yet even imagine."
Schapelle's life now hanging by a thread
I can assure you that the report by Dr Jonathan Phillips on Schapelle's mental condition, presented in the "New Idea" magazine just two weeks ago, is both genuine and correct.
She needs to come home, right now, or she will die in the very near future, possibly before Christmas.
It is time for her innocence to finally count for something. It is also time for Australia to show that we are a compassionate nation.
We did so well in relation to the Victorian bushfire victims, yet we have done so poorly in relation to this innocent woman.#main-fn2">2
Using people power, we must shame the Rudd Government into negotiating Schapelle's immediate release from Kerobokan Prison, not to serve out the rest of her sentence in an Australian prison, but to come home a Free Woman and receive the psychiatric treatment that she so desperately needs.
The support movement currently has a letter writing campaign in progress. The link to this is: www.freeschapelle.com.au/spreadword.htm
We also have a Care2 petition which has been running for nearly two years. We are chasing 50,000 signatures, but to date, have only acquired 8,000 signatures globally, about half from Australia.
The link to this can be found at: www.freeschapelle.com.au/20years.htm
Should you wish to join the support forum, the link to this is:
To close my presentation, I would like to play a video clip entitled -- "Seaweed Monsters". Schapelle, once the girl next door, a fun loving woman who got into trouble because she wanted to body surf Bali's remote beaches, now struggles with the monsters in her mind, monsters that threaten to obliterate the happy memories of her past.
YouTube Link to this Video is
www.youtube.com/watch?v=uobMcrFcUP4. (It is also embedded below.)
YouTube broadcast, "Seaweed Monsters"
See also: http://www.freeschapelle.com.au/ (site no longer in existence - JS, 11 Feb 14), "Your support for clemency bid needed to save Schapelle's life" of 12 Feb 10, "Kevin Rudd gives Schapelle Corby a raw deal" by Jill Singer in the Herald Sun of 27 Aug 2009 (Note: is sympathetic, but fails to clearly spell out the compelling evicence of Schapelle's innocence), "Schapelle Corby paranoid, clutching doll in Kerobokan jail" by Cindy Wockner and Kormang Suriadi in the Daily Telegraph of 25 May 09, "Premier backs call to bring Schapelle Corby back to Australia" in the Herald Sun of 25 Aug 09, "Schapelle Corby 'clinically insane'" by Adam Gartrell in News Ltd online of 24 Aug 09.
#main-fn1" id="main-fn1">1. #main-fn1-txt">↑ Whilst I don't personally use illicit drugs and have rarely derived pleasure on past occasions when I have used them, unlike Roy, I personally believe that laws prohibiting drugs should be repealed, at least in Australia. The harm caused by these laws far exceeds any good that any deterrent effect is likely to have. Indeed, many deaths attributed to drug use would most likely not have occurred if it were not for prohibition laws. I support the harm minimisation approach of groups like the Canberra based Friends and Famlies for Drug Law Reform (see www.ffdlr.org.au) -JS.
#main-fn2" id="main-fn2">2. #main-fn2-txt">↑ This is disputed in other articles on this web site which discuss the Victorian bush fires of 2009. Of course, the inadequate prevention measures and assistance provided to bushfire victims is immeasurably better than the Federal Government's treatment of Schapelle Corby.
A new you-tube film about the forest protectors' camp and community at Goongerah, South East Gippsland, near Brown Mountain. The long trial for the wildife on Brown Mountain has come to an end - all except the final decision by Justice Osborn, which all await with baited breath. This is a land-mark trial where real-life avatars have come out and opposed the 160 year old treatment of Victoria's forests and animals as colonial spoils for the taking and Victorians as mere servants to the State.
Read inside a fascinating summary of the arguments and evidence from either side: Vic Forests (for logging) and Environment East Gippsland Inc. (for nature). Revelatory of Department of Environment and Sustainability.
Court case finishes – summary of the final 3 days.
The final days of summing up both VicForests’ and Environment East Gippsland’s arguments were heard in the Melb Supreme Court on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (23rd-25th March). These were the last submissions presented to Justice Osborn who heard the 17 day trial that started on the 1st March.
Both sides presented their condensed arguments from the past 3 weeks. Early in the case, the economic claims were not allowed as VicForests (VF) had not made any allegations in its defence about economic impact, and there was only summary evidence supplied by VF, without details. The arguments focused on the laws covering protection of threatened species and how VF did or didn’t abide by them. Justice Osborn has reserved his decision . Our legal team have said he could hand this down in a month or two or three ...
Despite some fairly revealing and insightful evidence being given and some quite startling information to come out of cross examination of witnesses, the decision will be looking at the complexities of the laws governing forests and wildlife management.
A new you-tube film about the forest protectors' camp and community at Goongerah, South East Gippsland, near Brown Mountain.../files/Brown-Mt-Supporters-in-Melb-for-trial-.jpg" vspace="13" hspace="13" align="left">
A support team of about 45 people attended the Melbourne start of the case to show that there was widespread interest in Brown Mountain. Thanks everyone who came along and who sat through the proceedings.
1st Day (Tues) – the defence (VicForests) lawyers had the stage on day 1 and delivered their case.
To those who hadn’t heard the facts, arguments and cross examinations of the previous 3 weeks, it could have sounded fairly reasonable and even worrying. Read our responses to their arguments below. VF lawyers’ arguments consisted of the following:
* EEG didn’t have standing to take the case to court as we are too small a group, don’t have a special interest in Brown Mountain, only an emotional or intellectual interest. The fact that we didn’t apply to be on the local Shire environment committee, and the claim that we didn’t take part in the Nat Estate study on 1990 – (but we actually did) and various other arguments were used to attempt to argue we shouldn’t be able to sue VicForests.
* It was DSE that should have looked out for threatened species, not VicForests. VF can’t change zonings.
* The Potoroo wasn’t ‘detected’ within the meaning of the action statement (FFG Act) - although the animals and the sites were confirmed, the full two weeks of footage was withheld by EEG (under instruction from our lawyers) until late 2009 – making the authorities suspicious of possible tampering and was the reason given by VF for not protecting the area.
* Language in the FFG Act and Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act, is not enforceable.
* VF noted that the Forest Management Plan was out of date (ended in 2006), which generated much discussion. Justice Osborn pointed out that if it was no longer applicable, then all logging in EG was illegal as the FM Plan is needed before forest can be logged. That point was then quickly resolved.
* The Precautionary Principle, which was a major argument in the whole case. It was first claimed by VF not to give rise to any legally enforceable obligation against it, and even if it did, VF claimed it had observed the PP even if it wasn’t thought to be regarded as enough precaution.
* VF claim Potoroo wasn’t ‘detected’ to their or DSE’s satisfaction,
* On Quolls - there are 75 already protected in EG and that was enough,
* For the new species of crayfish – it’s still being named and so doesn’t have a prescription for protection and the 100 metre buffer around the creek will protect it
* Sooty and Powerful Owls – only dusk calls detected but no confirmed nesting or roosting sites so no need to protect. Plus there are enough Sooty Owls Management Areas and Powerful Owl Management Areas, despite some evidence from DSE suggesting the protection zone targets had not been reached.
* Giant Burrowing Frogs – even if it is high quality and likely habitat, none have yet been detected.
* Hollow Bearing Trees – logging prescriptions are claimed to look after them.
* Gliders are there in high numbers, yes - but it’s not for VF to protect them and 100 mts along creek should do anyway.
* The Precautionary Principle requires caution, but not total infallibility. Actions to express adherence to the PP can be many. VF argued that a 100 metre buffer along the creek was caution enough for all the species.
2nd day of summing up (Wed) –EEG, the plaintiff’s case was presented.
Debbie Mortimer SC argued that:
* The standards and conditions in the FFG Act Action Statements, Forest Management Plan and the Code of Forest Practices hasn’t been and can’t be complied with by VicForests.
* VicForests was the “agent of harm” about to begin clearfelling when we applied for the first injunction, and VF was as obliged to adhere to the law for threatened wildlife as was DSE.
* VF don’t need to have DSE declare a conservation zone for VF to adhere to the law or decide not to log.
* The Allocation Order (giving forests to VicForests from DSE), Timber Release Plan and the Code (for logging) all mention adhering to the Forest Management Plan.
* The issue of whether EEG has legal standing to bring the case to court was argued well for showing we did have standing. It had not been objected to by VF strongly before we embarked on the 17 day trial.
* If various surveys had not have been carried out (owls, Gliders, Crayfish and Potoroos), the court case would not have commenced. Surveys show a genuine interest.
* Obligation on VF are mandatory – they don’t allow them to ‘duck and weave’ around these obligations.
* The main law is the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act – it deals directly with Threatened Species, and binds the state/crown to protect endangered wildlife. The FM Plan and the Code both refer to it.
* Forests are a community property. Managed for common good into future. DSE’s position in the evidence given by Lee Meizis was that the Timber Release Plan gave ownership of forests to VF to exploit, but with the right to exploit comes responsibilities for conservation.
* FFG Act has strong ‘must do’ language and is imposed on government authorities. Important objectives of FFGA disregarded by VF. Action Statements within the FFGA are enforceable.
* Debbie Mortimer said “In every way, VicForests pushed away from its conservation duties” to benefit its access to forests for logging.
* VF is not abiding by the law by merely reading the Action Statements.
* Logging high quality Quoll habitat is endangering the animal’s survival. At odds with the Precautionary Principle because this species is only found at a functional level in East Gippsland now.
* Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act directly forced VF to adhere to the Code. Allocation Order also states VF MUST comply with CFP, PP, AS and FMP.
* Not complying with the Code was a breach. Acts refer to the Code being adhered to.
* VF must consider advice from relevant experts in Flora and Fauna. The advice of these internal DSE experts were ‘completely sidelined’ during the process that lead to the decision to clearfell Brown Mountain. It was also claimed that the Minister was not given important information on these species.
* The 100 mt buffer offered by VF would not protect the Gliders, Quoll, owls, Potoroo and Large Brown Tree Frog and was unknown if it would adequately protect the Giant Burrowing Frog, Brown Mt Crayfish and Square-tailed Kite. Leaving additional large trees while logging and burning the remainder would be unlikely to protect the habitat values of hollow bearing trees (85 out of 207 was all that survived the logged and burnt coupe across the creek in April 2009).
* The guideline to protect 100 ha for rich populations of gliders is self-regulating and doesn’t need major fuss – just needs to be mapped and complied with.
* Justice Osborn discussed decent reserve designs and ‘whacking in’ some reserve along the creek.
* The oft-cited ‘risk-weighted consequences’ of the precautionary principle the VF lawyers used daily, does not mention social or economic ‘balance’ and in context is only about conservation risks and consequences.
* We are dealing with some species in a demonstrable state of decline. Failure to halt damage is serious. There is lack of scientific certainty as there is no research or info on impact of logging.
* New reserves mean nothing unless we assess the quality and type of the habitat, logging history etc.
* BHP was used as an example of a company which must employ specialist ecologists/biologists if it plans to carry out potentially damaging work. VF either needs to employ biodiversity staff, or get in consultants to survey and advise forest planning.
* Potoroo detections 100% authentic – no questioning by VF of witnesses – fully accepted, yet despite 3 verified detections, VF made no attempt to consult with DSE biologists or protect 50 ha for each as stated in the FFGA.
* DSE set up its own ‘rules’ outside of existing legislation.
* DM asked for full injunction to logging.
Day 3 – Thursday – response from Defendant (VF)
* Having to abide by the SFT Act could mean that every logger, truckie, contractor, roading operator must comply with these laws as well. Does that mean every worker has to set up a biodiversity unit and consult biologists?
* Argues again, it’s all DSE’s responsibility.
* Argues that the words for Greater Glider protection in the FMP says “approximately 100 ha” is unenforceable – how much is ‘approximately’?
* VicForests Lawyers couldn’t find any expert biologists to speak for them. They tried.
* Not being given the entire potoroo footage was the whole problem.
* The 400 ha reserve to the (drier, steeper) west is a benefit for all the species.
* Crays were found in the creek next to a previously logged forest so therefore they can survive OK.
* Potoroo no 2 (on camera) wasn’t used in original evidence (it was actually discovered after writ was served but this was overlooked by VF lawyers).
* The hair tube evidence of the Potoroo near proposed coupe 19 didn’t come with a copy of the note when it was sent off for analysis – so how do we know where it really was?
Final Judgement awaits
This ended the long trial for the wildlife of Brown Mountain. We await Justice Osborn’s final decision ...
Our supporters have been showing astonishing determination to have our forests and wildlife protected! We’ve hit our first minimum target which is really something for a small enviro group. But due to the case having gone for 16-17 days when it was only down for a 10 day hearing, we are still needing some help to cover the extra costs for this time in court with our team, a couple of extra witnesses and various associated costs.
Source of this article was "[EnvEastGipp] Brown Mt Detailed Update, 29 March 2010" , almost verbatim, but without all the photos. The website for Environment East Gippsland is here.
Fini Developer & City of Gosnells West Oz hard on near-extinct Black Cockatoos in Rehab
Glenn Dewhurst, of the Black Cockatoo Conservation Team in West Australia feels harassed and almost despairs in the face of complaints from a developer who lives next door to the 12 Acre Black Cockatoo Rehab facility in Martin, W.A., which Glenn has dedicated years of his life to constructing.
West Australian Black Cockatoos in Rehab enjoying nuts
The developer, David Fini, of David Fini Developments, has complained about noise from nesting birds, Glenn says. Glenn cannot understand why since, he says, only two birds have been born in the rehab facility. "They were accidents. It is not meant to be a breeding facility; it is for rehab. We free the birds when they are well, we don't breed them."
Mr Dewhurst says that Mr Fini has also complained about workers there picking native nuts to feed the birds.
Glenn says, "The collection of nuts is wide and varied, usually covering up to 100kms at a time. We never pick in the same spot and only 20% of any nuts. We have permits. Some weekends we have travelled over 350kms to get food for these birds. It is very important to have the native food and critical for their rehabilitation."
"Mr Fini has complained about the volunteers visiting the rehab centre, too", says Glenn Dewhurst, "Although there are only four volunteer workers at any one time."
In addition, Mr Fini has complained about the noise from the cockatoos that are being rehabilitated.
Glenn Dewhurst says that he does not believe that noise levels greater than those from wild birds in the area can be shown to be coming from the birds his team are rehabilitating.
He says that there are many more wild birds than the few black cockatoos in rehab.
More Noise from wild birds in Perth caused by birds displaced by developers
He explains that the numbers of wild birds moving in and out of the Perth area are constantly increasing because they are being displaced by developers like Mr Fini. "The wild birds don't have enough to eat and so more and more of them are trying to find food in the same place, wherever there are a few trees."
Despite Mr Dewhurst's impression that the Black Cockatoo Rehab Facility is being targeted unfairly, the Black Cockatoo Conservation Team find the local Council seems reluctant to stand up for the Cockatoos.
Council Inflexibility and unhelpfulness could kill these rare rescued birds
The Black Cockatoo Conservation Team say that they have asked the council and Mr Fini to allow them to adopt mitigation strategies which Mr Dewhurst believes have not even been stated in the report to council for the Tuesday meeting. "I have been told that the planner Andrew Bratley has only nominated 3 strategies and recommended that the strategies are refused."
"Ninety-five per cent of the birds will be moved to the other center, when it is ready. The other center is also in Martin and is called Kaarakin, and is located at 1.5km from the 'clone' facility which is the facility that is the source of Mr Fini's complaints."
"If the new facility isn’t ready these endangered cockatoos will be at critical risk. The Shire and the Developer seem to intend not to give the facility any time," says Glenn.
The Team are therefore desperately trying to move the cockatoos at the Martin facility to their other Kaarakin facility, which the Council made available to them some time ago for a pepper-corn rent. Ironically, however, the Council is inexplicably delaying a survey that is necessary before the cockatoos can be moved in.
Glenn writes, "We have fought hard to do what we do; I have personally given all my energy and strength to bring the plight of these birds to every Australian and beyond. I at times have put the birds before my beautiful family and they have been very patient with me, allowing me to follow my passion in saving these endangered birds.
In the five years of her life, my five-year-old has only been on two very short holidays down south. My three and one-year-old have only been on holiday once. Andrea and I spend every spare cent on these birds and she even agreed for us to cancel a holiday to visit her parents overseas, so that we could deal with issues relating to the endangered Black Cockatoos.
We now need your help to help us save the facility that has saved so many endangered Black Cockatoos, Please help any way you can."
These people may have some power to change this situation:
DEADLINE TUESDAY 14TH JULY -
Ian COWIE CEO City of Gosnells, icowie[AT]gosnells.wa.gov.au
Donna Faragher, Minister for the Environment Youth, Minister.Faragher[AT]dpc.wa.gov.au
Premier Colin BARNETT, wa-government[AT]dpc.wa.gov.au
Honourable Brendon GRYLLS MLA, Minister.Grylls[AT]dpc.wa.gov.au
So many contradictions in government behaviour
Glenn says the contradictions are a source of stress in themselves. He describes how, in April 2008, the City of Gosnells gave him a letter of support for the BCCT facility that they now want removed - at the request of the West Australian Department of Environment and Conservation. Only a few months ago, the same government's Minister for Environment had congratulated the BCCT on getting Land for Wildlife for these endangered cockatoos.
"We have all worked so hard for the sake of these special endangered Birds. We cannot lose this fight to the City of Gosnells and Mr Fini, as it is a fight for the survival of these birds. If we lose our 'clone' (secondary) facility then the City of Gosnells may be implicated for the demise of the endangered Black Cockatoo."
“Yes”, says Dewhurst, “The City of Gosnells has given us another facility on a pepper corn rental, for which we are thankful. We are not, however, allowed to build there unless we meet the normal conditions of building approvals. Although we should have no problem in meeting these, we are still awaiting the carrying out of the survey necessary before we can make our application.
"The City of Gosnells is responsible for the survey and for the delay. Because of these delays, we cannot even move the birds in the near future."
"We have also encountered personal hardship over this matter and have felt that we are being persecuted. For instance, Andrea and I believe that we have been subject to allegations of financial impropriety from a councilor at the City of Gosnells and from FINI Developments. To defend our good name we engaged an auditor at the cost $3.500, which we put on our personal credit cards. The complete audit showed no financial mismanagement. We are now in debt and it will take us about four months to pay this off. We estimate that the councilor in question has cost our organization $46,000 because of his allegations which have all been proven false.
Scale of the Conservation Facilities
This rescue attempt of an endangered species is no small affair. Glenn and his team are managing a wildlife rescue of international significance which has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars and many volunteer hours to run. The stakes are enormous for the birds, for their carers, for Australia and the world. At least two large facilities are required. Because of the amount of land and building involved simply to keep these birds, alive, safe and then to prepare them for release, closing down one facility before the other is opened would almost certainly have appalling consequences. Some of those consequences would be financial, of course, but the worst ones would be irreversible species decline, not to mention the extreme discouragement of the workers involved and the message this sends to children, Australians and the world. How sad if we were to lose these amazing, long-lived wise and funny creatures because a council had difficulty understanding the significance of the conservation program. This is not like a development that gets held up and costs some investors money; it is like destroying a part of Eden, never to recover.
Why the Black Cockatoos require two facilities
Mr Dewhurst says that the Black Cockatoo organisation requires 2 facilities in Perth (another is 450km away) for the following reasons:
• some of the injured and young birds require round the clock care. The Martin facilities can accommodate 24 hour volunteer care; and
• some of the research requires round the clock observation for the same reason. The Martin facility can accommodate this; and
• some of the birds housed at the Martin facilities are utilised for community educational purposes and are tame enough for people to interact with. These birds are also utilised by DEC for educational purposes. As these birds are valuable to the open market, for this reason they require secure facility; and
• having two facilities ensures protection from total disaster such as natural events like bushfires; and
• lastly, the Cohuna (Kaarakin) site requires major repairs. These are ongoing and have so far taken more than 7000 volunteer hours, which equates to a minimum of $200,000 in labour. The site is far from being the primary care facility. Currently it can only house around 30 birds.
Please consider emailing the following people who might help if they realise the significance of the problem
Ian COWIE CEO City of Gosnells, icowie[AT]gosnells.wa.gov.au
Donna Faragher, Minister for the Environment Youth, Minister.Faragher[AT]dpc.wa.gov.au
Premier Colin BARNETT, wa-government[AT]dpc.wa.gov.au
Honourable Brendon GRYLLS MLA, Minister.Grylls[AT]dpc.wa.gov.au
See also: http://blackcockatoorescue.com, Threatened West Aust Black Cockatoo gets help and Help save West Australian black cockatoo from extinction, phone Glen on 0417 988 872.
The Black Cockatoo Conservation Team has just pulled off a remarkable rescue of wildlife habitat. One West Australian Black Cockatoo colony has been saved from the developers, in the nick of time, but the species is still not out of danger. Video-link inside article.
Last year we ran an article calling for help to save land for the Black Cockatoo at “Help save West Australian black cockatoo from extinction”. The University of Western Australia had been determined to bulldoze rare bushland in the middle of Perth for future property development, and that would have destroyed the habitat of one of very few remaining West Australian Black Cockatoos. Sixty per cent of pristine 36 hectare bushland was to be razed to make way for offices and housing. The situation looked hopeless, but this area has now been saved.
I was delighted today to receive an email pointing to a video link to a news item which shows David Dewhurst and others from the Black Cockatoo Conservation Team in West Australia reporting on the establishment of that threatened habitat as land for Black Cockatoos under Land for Wildlife provisions on private land.
Having said this, I have to add that I have personally run into trouble over Land for Wildlife in Victoria. The occasion was when a number of people went to the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to attempt to stop intensive development of 9 Diosma Court Frankston, on the banks of Sweetwater Creek. One of our major arguments was the new development would impact adversely on parts of the creek held under Land for Wildlife. We were astonished and dismayed to hear that the Member who presided over the case had never heard of Land for Wildlife and that he held that it had no legal status to protect wildlife from adverse developments.
The history of this struggle and others to do with these birds may be read at this website.
There will soon be a new website. And there are two other struggles to save what remains of these endangered birds' habitat at Perth Airport and Jandakot airport.
These birds take a long time to mature sexually and then they only have a maximum of one baby every two years. This means that as they have already become rare the risk of losing all of them is very serious.