Monthly Archives: August 2011

No politics

No politics until further notice. Honeymoon to consider. New wife to keep happy. Sorry..

UPDATE

After discussions, I now feel free to speak my mind. So I shall. When we return to Melbourne. I apologise for the mysteriousness, but I did not want to act in anger or before matters had been resolved. I had to be fair to my employer and to my reader, and I apologise if you think I’ve had the balance wrong over the past 24 hours.

Thank you to everyone who has rung, emailed or commented on this post, here and whilst listening to the radio.

Out of office message

Getting married today to my beloved.

Will see you all online when we’re back in early September.

PS: WOOOOOO!

Dinosaur retailers turn on Australia Post rather than ripoff local distributors

Check out the old retail dinosaurs whinging about competition and demanding government put an end to it:

AUSTRALIA’S biggest retail lobby group has scathingly attacked Australia Post action that it believes helps offshore online retailers at the expense of local shops and jobs.

In a submission to the Productivity Commission, the National Retail Association also singled out Visa and eBay for their stance on the shaky Australian retail sector, arguing Visa’s position that it could not collect GST on online purchases was driven by self-interest.

The association, which represents big retail chains such as Target, Myer and Country Road, dismissed submissions to the inquiry that argued the cost of collecting GST on incoming goods worth less than $1000 would exceed any tax revenue.

They’re complaining about Australia Post making it easy for consumers to buy goods like DVDs and videogames overseas where they’re half the price because of the fat margins local distributors and retailers gouge from Australians. For some reason the retailers would rather attack Australia Post than demand a better deal from distributors, and the distributors would rather lose sales to piracy and overseas sales than charge anything approaching a reasonable price.

Fortunately there’s no Australian government at the moment dumb enough to piss off voters by shutting down their access to overseas goods. If the retailers want to compete, then they’ll have to actually compete, rather than just demanding the competition be shut down.

How many will collapse before they realise that? I’m mildly curious.

London Riots caused by people doing that thing I don’t like

We’ve discussed that thing I don’t like many times here, and had some fairly vigorous debates about it.

But the riots in London over the past week prove that I was right.


This is what happens when a country accepts that thing I don’t like.

It was impossible to watch the outbreak of lawlessness, of both the poor and middle class looting shops, and not think how it could all have been avoided if people had listened to me and stopped doing that thing I don’t like.

It’s just common sense. I’ve raised my children knowing right from wrong, and they have never done that thing I don’t like. And they are now some of the most well-adjusted, decent young adults you can ever hope to meet. They would never rob an injured person or smash a shop window. Because in our family, there was none of that thing I don’t like.

You can’t have failed to notice how that thing I don’t like was getting more prevalent in the years leading up to the riots. More and more of the people from the social groups connected with the violence were brought up in an environment where the importance of doing what I insisted was necessary was no longer emphasised. Where were these young people to learn the importance of society, of community, of respect for their fellow citizens, if this behaviour was accepted? Not just accepted, but encouraged.

And we know by whom. Encouraged by the very people who disagree with me.

Well, they should be hanging their heads in shame, now. It is obvious that their prescription for the UK, which the country has been slavishly following against my advice, is responsible for the predicament in which the English now find themselves.

Look at the result. Buildings set on fire. Property stolen. Lives ruined.

And it all could have been avoided if they’d listened to me. If they’d stopped doing that thing I don’t like.

Well, we here in Australia have a chance to avoid going down the English path. Our country has not yet sunk so low that we’ve had riots here.

But if we don’t heed the warnings, if we don’t learn from the mistakes of our cousins in the UK, then it is inevitable.

Please, I beg of you. Save our country by doing the things I have long argued we should do and banning the thing I don’t like that has clearly caused all this destruction.

Let’s make sure this never happens again.

Robert Clark isn’t the stupidest person ever to be state Attorney-General, is he?

Two inspiring court-related incidents in Victoria, although both start with something depressing.

The first is the news that at least one Magistrate is prepared to speak out against the ridiculous situation in which we charge teens with child pornography offences for “sexting” and then put them on a sex offenders’ register regardless of the fact that THEY ARE CHILDREN TOO.

He presided over the case of the country youth, then aged 18, who was sent four uninvited text message pictures of girls, aged between 15 and 17 years, topless or in their underwear. Police found the pictures on his mobile phone and laptop and charged him with child pornography offences.

On legal advice the youth pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a one-year good behaviour bond without conviction. The magistrate refused the prosecutor’s application for the young man to be placed on the sex offender register but police later realised his guilty plea resulted in mandatory registration for eight years. Magistrates have discretion for those aged under 18, but none for adults.

”These people shouldn’t be regarded as sex offenders. It’s going beyond the pale in relation to the imposition of long-term penalties which are not judicial penalties, they’re not fines or community-based orders or even sex offender treatment programs. This is a limitation on what a person can and can’t do for the next eight years of their life, for God’s sake,” the magistrate said.

Of course, the relevant Liberal minister just refused to comment. But at least pressure is building for a common-sense reform – even if it might have to wait till the Baillieu government is kicked out.

Which leads me to state Attorney-General Robert Clark’s utterly moronic failure to understand just how much of a problem it is for his plan to lock up children for a minimum two years regardless of circumstances that the Appeals Court has just clarified, again, that, under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005, general deterrence is NOT a relevant factor for sentencing child offenders:

He said the judgment made clear that ”protecting the community from further violent acts by the offender and deterring the offender from re-offending are appropriate criteria in sentencing juvenile offenders”.

”The government sees no inconsistency between the CYF Act and its statutory minimum sentence initiative.”

Except for all the general deterrence rhetoric with which you were justifying it, eh Robert? So now you’re going to pretend that specific deterrence and protection of the community will justify mandatory two-year jail sentences for any child who recklessly causes a serious injury regardless of prior criminal history or any other factors relevant to their specific circumstances?

Honestly, the legal system in this state is being presided over by a vandal who doesn’t know or care what he’s wrecking, or what the unfortunate long-term consequences will be.

Then again, the worse he makes it, the more lives he wrecks, the more crime will rise and the more Hun readers will think they need his “tough on crime” medicine. Despite it actually making the problem worse.

Good news for us lawyers, though, I suppose. There’ll be plenty of work. And in the meantime, at least the Court of Appeal is prepared to stand up for reason.

The UK Government’s Marie Antoinette moment

Says the ironically-named UK “Community” Services Minister, asked about his government’s monstrously unjust and unbelievably stupid plan to impose extra punishment on the poorest rioters and looters by kicking them (and their parents) out of their homes, and cut them off any welfare:

Asked how those penalised would live, Mr Pickles responded: ”They could get a job.”

LET THEM EAT CAKE.

Seriously, how out of touch are these muppets?

Stay strong, UK Magistrates – your job is to uphold actual justice, not mob “justice”

There’s apparently a great deal of pressure being applied to Magistrates and Judges in the UK to throw aside years of legal precedent and understanding and, if the person in front of them has committed a crime during the time of the riots, LOCK THEM ALL UP REGARDLESS OF ANYTHING ELSE SHUT UP I DON’T CARE ABOUT CIRCUMSTANCES LOCK THEM ALL UP:

…it is clear magistrates and judges are under intense pressure to come down harshly on anyone convicted over the riots.

“It’s fairly obvious that David Cameron saying what he said about the way in which these people would be come down upon, senior police officers: we will find you, we will track you and you will be convicted etc,” he said. “This big rhetoric was designed to put pressure on the judges to make sure that they act within their discretion, as forcefully as they can and with as little leniency. The extent to which that will work is debatable but when we are seeing these sentences which I say must be unrepresentative, this is not what’s happening in most courts.

“But the fact that we are seeing it at all when press agents are in public galleries, in courts, all waiting to see what happens and judges know that their names will be published; they will be named and shamed as being too lenient if they don’t show a disproportionately harsh response.”

Screw the independence of the judiciary! We don’t know or care why that’s important! We demand the right to rack up huge bills for prisons that will require tax increases or futher service cuts! We demand that minor offenders who could be rehabilitated be turned into lifelong criminals! We demand that the offenders who are poor be turned into an army of homeless people with no chance of a job and no lawful means of obtaining money to live! We demand that you make us feel avenged by taking this situation and making matters worse!

Unfortunately, the idiots and shysters demanding destructive revenge aren’t just damaging their own country – they’re wrecking the country for everyone. Worse, and with more long-term damage, than the rioters.

Here’s hoping the independent judiciary, which is independent precisely for times like this, when the mob is lashing out in anger and demanding “action” which it hasn’t thought through, withstands the pressure and upholds actual justice. It’s going to be difficult for these Magistrates and Judges, being smeared by the disingenuous and the stupid and the spiteful, and not being permitted to respond – but that’s their job. It’s a tough job, but an honourable one.

And much depends on their holding fast.