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Friday, February 28, 2014

Lleyton Hewitt's Palm Beach house for sale

Australian tennis star Lleyton Hewitt and his wife, former Home & Away actress Bec Cartwright, have relocated to the Bahamas with their three children Ava, Cruz and Mia.

They spend most of their time over there now, to be closer to the hectic tennis circuit but still come home on a regular basis. The celebrity couple have decided to sell their beautiful home at Palm Beach.

Lleyton and Bec have had a rough time over the years dealing with our own Aussie paparazzi and are sick of the made-up stories the public are led to believe. They released this statement on their website.

The majority of this “imaginary” journalism includes quotes from insiders. It is important to understand that these “insiders” are actually magazine staff, that try to pass themselves off as journalists! 
In this weeks’ Woman’s Day where they stated Bec had a public meltdown and that we had a major argument in the streets of Paris after Lleyton received a phone call, and this all happened whilst Lleyton was still in the tournament. 
The truth is the photos were taken the night Lleyton had lost to David Ferrer and with Mia we headed to a Starbucks that we had frequented during our time in Paris. Unfortunately it was shut so we headed to another Starbucks nearby. Lleyton’s hip was hurting from his match so Bec walked ahead to check that the other Starbucks was open whilst Lleyton rang his coach, trainer and manager who were organized to meet us at that Starbucks that was closed. 
This gives you an idea of what we have to deal with week in week out, reading the lies, manufactured stories and constant attack on our relationship and private lives.
At one stage we did have a contract with Woman’s Day, but even then stories were printed that we had no control over, and the headlines always phrased in a way to create negative innuendo. We didn’t renew the contract, as we decided to take a break from the whole magazine scene, but that hasn’t stopped them.
We know that their research shows their sales increase if they have either of us on their cover. Therefore sales are much more important to them than providing truthful information for their readers. Their philosophy must be that they will do what ever is necessary and make up what ever they like so long as they can sell copies and not worry about the truth, therefore insulting the intelligence of their readers.

Bec knows Palm Beach very well.  From 1998 to 2005, she played Hayley Smith Lawson on the soap opera Home and Away which was filmed there.  They bought the property in  2005 and it's expected to sell for around $5.5 million.  

The agent is asking for expressions of interest for the three level home at 9 Palm Beach Road, Palm Beach, 44 kms from the Sydney CBD and 50 minutes by car on a good day.  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Robert Hughes sexual abuse trial begins

Sarah Monahan and Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes was extradited from the UK to stand trial for sexual abuse when he was the star of a successful television series Hey Dad in the 1980s. He faces 11 charges including sexual assault and indecent assault on girls aged 6 to 15 during the life of the show. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Sarah Monahan told A Current Affair in 2010 that Robert Hughes had sexually abused her for seven years. Former executive producer Gary Reilly said he didn't know what was going on but did hear rumours that when another child complained about his sexual advances, she was given a chaperon.

Sarah, who now lives in the US said "I guess I was the smallest and I know I wasn't the only one. I remember at school they actually demanded that I see a psychiatrist.  In art classes, I could draw perfect penises, and they said there's something wrong with this girl drawing stuff like that at such an early age. I think I was at the point of being suicidal."

Sarah Monahan today

"They said they didn't know, but they knew, and it was always kept quiet because it was the most successful television show and people don't want to know about that" Sarah said.  The abuse began when she was 6 and continued until she was 13 when she finally had the courage to tell him to stop.  Once he realized he'd lost control, she said, he turned nasty and bombarded her with insults.

This week, Hughes is in court.  In her opening address, Prosecutor Gina O'Rourke said three of the offences were committed when the girls were sleeping over at his family home.

Defence lawyer Greg Walsh told the court his client was a victim of rumour and inuendo and reminded the jury not to be influenced by media reports.  "This case is about specific allegations which must be proven beyond reasonable doubt" he said.

Robert Hughes today

On Tuesday, a woman now in her 40s told a Sydney court she was shocked and scared when Hughes came into the bedroom of his house where she was sleeping when she was 14 or 15.  When she first met Hughes, he was "friendly and interested in our lives" but she began to feel uncomfortable when he swam naked in their family pool and began touching her.

"I woke up to Robert kneeling down on the side of the bed and he had his hand down my pants" she said.  "I could see his face really clearly....he was rubbing around my virgina, just inside."  He stopped when she pushed his hand away but before he left the room, he licked the left side of her face.

Her mother told the jury that just before both families were to go on holiday together, her daughter begged her not to and told her everything.  When her mother confronted Hughes about the allegations, he went "blank."

On Wednesday a witness who appeared by video link said that when she was seven and sleeping at his house, Hughes came into her room and placed her hand on his penis.  "He spoke to me....he told me to roll over.....and after he said good girl.....and told me to go back to sleep." On another occasion, the actor came into the bedroom and forced her to "masturbate him" before handing her a teddy bear.  She heard water running in the bathroom straight after.

Her father said "She was seven years old....she came and said words to the effect of "I don't like the games Robert plays with me.....afterwards she said "Robert put some white sticky stuff on my arm."

She eventually told her parents everything and they went to police but decided not to pursue charges because they didn't want to put their child through a trial.  They took her to a psychologist, sold the house, and moved away. But when sexual abuse accusations surfaced in the media in 2010, her mother went back to police.

One day her mother bumped into Hughes' wife Robyn Gardiner. "She asked me why (my daughter) wasn't allowed to go to their house anymore and I said words to the effect of 'Ask your husband.' She said 'Oh we'll have to get him help' and I told her to get away from me".

Defence Barrister Greg Walsh said Ms Gardiner never spoke of seeking help for Hughes.

The trial continues.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Grant Hackett denies Stilnox addiction

Although Stilnox has a bad reputation, it's still being prescribed by doctors, even though they admit addiction can occur after just two weeks.  It's safe, they say, as long as patients don't mix it with alcohol or other drugs.  If they do, that's when horror stories come to light - sleepwalking, driving or making phone calls in the middle of the night with no memory of it next morning.

Hackett travels to Melbourne regularly for visits with his twins and uses a friend's apartment at Crown Casino.  Imagine his ex-wife's horror when she discovered that Hackett had lost one of their children.  The four year old boy was found on another floor of the Casino and nobody knows how he got there, did he use the lift or the stairs?

When Hackett woke to find one of the twins missing, he panicked and rushed out of the room in his underpants and a singlet tied around his waist.  He said he was deeply embarrassed and ashamed of the incident and any pain he may have caused his children and his ex wife Candice Alley.  It's now very likely that his visitation rights with twins Charlize and Jagger have just come to an abrupt end.  

Yesterday his manager, Chris White said Hackett was on a plane to the US.  "Grant is currently in transit to seek treatment for a dependency to Stilnox medication. His family and friends are enormously proud of his courage in pursuing this course of action."  

Today, his manager said it wasn't true and Hackett is in complete denial.  "No, I'm not calling this rehab whatsoever" he said. "This is a retreat, to get away for a while, to recharge the batteries which I have been planning for some time."

In 2011, police were called to his Melbourne apartment to find he had violently trashed his family home while his wife and small children were present.  Shocking photos were released of an upended grand piano, punch holes in walls, doors ripped off, smashed family photos and empty bottles of alcohol on the floor. His family left the same night, never to return.

What's wrong with our elite swimmers?  Ian Thorpe, Scott Miller and now Grant Hackett are all in rehab.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Charlotte Dawson's heartache

When Charlotte Dawson was found dead in her apartment on the weekend, everyone was shocked.  Her neighbour Russell Crowe was in tears when he heard the shocking news and so were her many friends and acquaintances. 

Russell Crowe and his children

Charlotte was in a very bad place.  She had borrowed money from friends, her apartment at Wooloomoloo was to be auctioned the day her body was found, and her future employment was uncertain.

But those who knew her well said the love of her life, Olympic swimmer Scott Miller was at the centre of her despair.  She never fully recovered from the breakdown of their marriage, fifteen years ago.

Wedding in 1999

She was happy when she realised she was pregnant, but Scott wasn't. "I could sense some hesitation in Scott" she said.  "My due date would clash with the 2000 Olympic Games and this was very concerning. Everything Scott had done was leading up to this moment and nothing could stand in his way so it was decided that we would terminate the child and try again later."

On the day of the termination, Charlotte said she was in "total turmoil." Her husband went with her to the clinic but he "couldn't cope with the atmosphere" and left.  When she got home she pretended that everything was alright but she knew that it wasn't. "I felt a shift" she said. "Maybe it was hormonal, but I felt the early tinges of what I can now identify as my first experience with depression."

Although she hadn't seen her ex husband for ten years, she found out that Miller was about to take part in a tell-all interview with 60 Minutes last Sunday night.  She knew she shouldn't watch it but couldn't resist, and a close friend said it shook her to the core.

It was a depressing interview.  Miller talked about his sordid past and his crystal meth addiction;  how he lost the money his father game him to start a business in Kevin Rudd's insulation scheme; how he became a pimp and went into the escort business and his final arrest for dealing drugs. Viewers were left with only one conclusion - this man is a drug addled loser who will spend the rest of his life in and out of rehab.

It may have been a coincidence but Charlotte's death came one week after seeing that interview and her body was found one day after Miller's 39th birthday.

When her marriage ended, she was so distraught, she left Australia to try and forget.  "My entire being was broken and that was the beginning of the end for me.  The marriage started my depression and I was fired from all my jobs.  It was the downslide."

Charlotte's body was found in her apartment at 11.15 am on Saturday. She was 47 years old. Her sisters Vicky and Robin are on their way to Sydney to take her body back to her native New Zealand.  

Loving someone too much is risky, better to hold back just enough, so rejection doesn't ruin your life.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Rare pink diamond snatched

A rare pink diamond from the Argyle Mine in the Kimberley has been stolen.  It's been kept in a jeweler's safe in Cairns for the past nine years and when a male customer asked for a closer look, store owner Keith Bird took it out to show him.  That's when the would-be customer snatched it out of his hand, ran out of the store, jumped on a mountain bike, and took off.

Police arrested a British man who has been living in Australia for about five years, 29 year old Matthew Osborne.  They think he may have swallowed the gem valued at $200,000, although nothing has shown up on x-ray.  He was arrested at Melbourne Airport about to board a flight to New Zealand.

Police are waiting on further developments.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Living through the drought 2014

Farmers are a special breed of people at the complete mercy of the weather. Floods ruin their crops and drown their livestock and they watch in horror as their animals die a slow death in drought. Yet they persevere.

Although drought has always been a common occurrence in Australia, past governments, and indeed this one, have not had the foresight to fix the problem once and for all. A huge amount of water pours out of the sky in the wet season up north every year, yet no one is suggesting we catch it and keep it for future droughts.  

When the rain finally comes and thousands of cattle and sheep have been shot and a few depressed farmers have ended their life, there will inevitably be another drought just around the corner, and things will go on exactly the same.

Tony Abbott is now under pressure to give assistance to those who desperately need it and Charlotte Gerhardt's account of what's going on in her world, is a good reason to do it. She's from Talwood in Queensland and her letter is part of the ABC's Voices From The Drought.

Hearts are breaking on our property. Our cattle, beloved as they are, are literally staring down the barrel of a gun as we wait and pray for rain. If it has not rained and filled our dams by the end of the week or sooner, my dad will begin to cull the weakest, and most drought affected stock.
 I sent video footage of our land to Channel 7 and was told the footage of our dying was too traumatic to show on TV. Too traumatic for TV. When war and death and blood and gore is shown freely on TV, our cattle are too emotionally distressing to be seen. That is what it is like on our property right now.
The entire cattle market has collapsed and cattle are worth little to nothing. It costs money to sell them, so who will sell something when you are likely to receive a Bill from the yards as a result. We have tried that. It didn't work, now we will shoot cattle instead.
 The drought is not just natural, this drought is financial and blame must be laid on government and animal rights activists. If something isn't done soon, our industry will fully collapse and all good production will go offshore.
There is no emotional support available for us. My brother is 19; his job is to destroy the cattle in distress. While other 19-year-olds are spending their money on fun and travelling, he is busting his guts on a farm.
My sister is 21, she works her butt off to mix the grain feed and try to get it out to the cattle. Other girls her age are in front of a mirror fixing their hair, going to the beach, having fun enjoying life. Not her.
 I am 24, my job is to cart the dwindling supply of water around our farm. I am watching our cattle die slowly. My parents are even worse off. Nobody is supporting us. We rely on friends in the city, the phone calls to check we are ok. The government is failing us.  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bob Kernohan drops a bomb on Bill Shorten

Bob Kernohan

On 11th February, Michael Smith published a statement from Bob Kernohan, former Victorian AWU President.  His statement is in response to Tony Abbott's announcement that he intends to hold a Royal Commission into union corruption and Bill Shorten's reaction.  It's quite shocking.  I hope he's telling the truth and doesn't have a personal vendetta against the new leader of the Opposition.  It reads: 

I congratulate PM Abbott on the announcement of a Royal Commission into corruption in trade unions. I am perplexed however at Bill Shorten’s opposition to a Royal Commission and his claim that a police taskforce should investigate corruption in unions.   Bill Shorten knows a lot of the detail about Julia Gillard and Bruce Wilson’s corrupt activities involving the AWU because he was there at the time it happened.   So was I.  
 Bill Shorten’s had 18 years to go to the police if he was serious about helping police investigate corruption and he hasn’t lifted a finger.   So Bill, I can only think that you oppose a Royal Commission because you’re afraid of what it will report.
I recruited Bill Shorten into the AWU in 1992. Bill was my campaign manager in AWU union elections for the leadership of the Victorian Branch. My opponent was Bruce Wilson whose de facto Julia Gillard was a partner at the AWU’s law firm Slater and Gordon. My bitter campaign against Wilson was focused on serious financial irregularities in the union books. In 1996 the then AWU General Secretary, Ian Cambridge called for a royal commission into the AWU. I supported Ian Cambridge at that time. 
Bill Shorten knew at least as much as I knew about the frauds - we discussed it at the time, but since then I’ve seen no positive actions at all from Bill to bring offenders to justice, in fact Bill's done the opposite.

 Bill Shorten urged me to participate in the cover up - "think of your career, Bob” he said.   I know that Bill Shorten has not assisted either the Victoria Police or the WA Police to bring offenders to justice.   He did nothing as State Secretary in Victoria, nor as AWU National secretary in 2001 thru 2007.  He never called in the police to investigate. Bill Shorten chose to cover the fraud up; and to add insult to injury, he was a key player in installing Julia Gillard into the Lodge!
 A Royal Commission where persons of interest are compelled to give sworn evidence is the only way that corruption in unions will ever be fully exposed and people made to be accountable for their criminal actions.
I can be reached on 0438901594 and I am happy to talk on the record.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Craig Thomson should go to jail

Former Labor MP Craig Thomson should go to jail.  He had the audacity to live the high life off the backs of the hard working union members of the Health Services Union and as national secretary, he thought he could get away with it.   

He made a very bad choice.  He could have owned up and offered to pay back the money but instead, he looked the Australian people in the eye, both in and out of Parliament, and swore he was innocent.  He lied so well and protested his innocence so much, at times there was actually an element of doubt.

But his day of reckoning came yesterday and what the general public hoped for, actually happened - he was found guilty of theft and using his union credit card to pay for the services of prostitutes. There is only one thing left to be done - the judiciary should send him to jail, a suspended sentence just won't do.

When the court heard that Thomson paid a prostitute $770 and called it a "dinner function", Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg said it was a clear example of his dishonesty and an "affront to common sense" that payments to escorts could be considered a legitimate expense."

Chris Brown, HSU's acting national secretary said "The union will now seek restitution to recover some or all of the funds he stole from the union.  These civil proceedings run to around $400,000 and include cash withdrawals, personal expenditure and more than $100,000 Thomson used in his election campaign."

Labor Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's popularity has slipped in the polls recently.  Prior to entering Parliament, he was the National Secretary of the Australian Workers' Union from 2001 to 2007.

He doesn't support the government's plan to launch a Royal Commission into union corruption and it's not a good look, nobody would know more about the union movement than Bill Shorten.  It makes you wonder - could the Craig Thomson affair be just the tip of the iceberg? 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Permissive Parenting

British Judge Laura Harris

A British mother has lost custody of her two sons aged 11 and 14 because she was deemed by Judge Laura Harris to be a "permissive parent."

She refused to discipline her sons and allowed them to do whatever they liked which included staying up late every night playing video games.  She wasn't prepared to be the "bad guy" and come down hard on her children when they needed it, she wanted to be their best friend, her ex husband said.

Judge Harris said the mother had 'significantly failed' her children and their behaviour towards adults showed a lack of discipline and structure.

In 2012, the father asked the court to allow the boys to live with him because regular contact with them was constantly refused.
His ex was still angry with him for having an affair before their relationship ended.  

"So preoccupied is she with her own sense of grievance that she completely overlooks the effect of her behaviour on her children.  In my judgment, she has prioritized her own needs and feelings at the expense of her children. That is not to say that she does not love her children, I have no doubt she does, although I find her love to have something of a possessive quality about it.
I consider that she does have a very permissive style of parenting and I accept the father's evidence that she is more like a friend than a parent.
I am satisfied that there is a failure to provide proper guidelines and boundaries essential for the social and emotional development of these pre-adolescent and adolescent boys.  Further, I have real concerns about her as a role model.
I am sad to come to the conclusion that I find on all these fronts, this mother has significantly failed these boys.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Steve Handley, shearing legend dies

The shearing world was shattered to learn that Steve Handley was found dead at Charleville last week.  He was a ranga of Scottish descent from Chinchilla.  He left home at 15 and started shearing at 17.

Steve Handley was a shearing legend.  He could shear 400 sheep in one day and was able to work flat out from 7.30 am until the final bell went at 5.30.

Better known as the "Chinchilla Killer" he's been described by everyone who knew him as a humble, gentle man who was proud of his reputation.  He prided himself on being asked back to the same properties year after year, he was good and he knew it.

The man who employed him and became his good friend and confidant, National Grazing Service's Noel Dawson said that as his reputation grew, other 'guns' from all over Australia and New Zealand were tested and struggled to keep up.

"If it wasn't bad enough to try and shear more than, or as many as Steve for a full eight hour day, it was most demoralizing to look out after work and see him riding away on his bike for a 15 kilometre ride, or strapping weights to his chest and doing 200 sit-ups" Mr Dawson said.

Queensland wool-classer Bob Tully remembers when he was shearing at Kapunda in South Australia and they were "chipping the wool off" the sheep.  "It was incredibly tough - we went down for nine days and were there for what seemed months" Bob said.  "I rang Noel and he said he would get Steve onto the job.  That was 2pm on Sunday - Steve drove all the way from Blackall (a small town 960 kms from Brisbane) had an hour's sleep and pulled into gear by 3.30 pm Monday.  By 5.30 he had 101 sheep done and we cut out in two days instead of six."

He didn't like competitions and only entered one - a Quick Shears in Blackall - and 650 people came to watch him in action.  He won.

In December 2003, Steve married his sweetheart Monica and daughter Rhianna was born in 2007.  The family travelled around the sheds until Rhianna started school and they settled in Charleville.

A few months ago Handley suffered a back injury that ended his career. Despite medical help, he fell into a deep depression and died last week. He was only 49 years old.

His funeral will be held in the cemetery chapel in Chinchilla at 2 pm today, Saturday February 15.

The arrogance of Oscar Pistorius

It's beyond belief that Oscar Pistorius has the gall to release a Valentine's Day message he wrote to the woman he murdered exactly 12 months ago.  But what's even worse - he's still calling it an "accident."

Surely he must realize that nobody in their right mind believes his story - that he thought she was an intruder - and you have to wonder if this hollow love note was released to the media in an effort to sway the jury when his trial comes up next month.  He wrote:

No words can adequately capture my feelings about the devastating accident that caused such heartache for everyone who truly loved - and continues to love Reeva. The pain and the sadness - especially for Reeva's parents, family and friends consumes me with sorrow. The loss of Reeva and the complete trauma of that day, I will carry with me for the rest of my life.  Oscar.

Reeva Steenkamp was found on the bathroom floor with gunshots to her head, elbow and hip.

His trial will begin on March 3 and prosecutors will try to prove him guilty of premeditated murder.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Luke Batty killed by father at cricket training

British woman Rosie Batty and son Luke

They were at cricket practice with lots of other children and parents so when Rosie Batty's 11 year old son asked if he could spend a few more minutes with his dad, she said yes.  What could possibly happen with all these people around?  Then Greg Anderson bashed and stabbed his son to death.

Luke was playing with his father just moments before he was killed. "From what I could see, I thought it was an accident, I had no reason to think otherwise", his mother said.

Luke's mother Rosie said his father had a mental illness.  "He was in a homeless situation for many years, his life was failing, everything was becoming worse in his life and Luke was the only bright light in his life. No one loved Luke more than his father - no one loved Luke more than me - we both loved him."

Witnesses said that when Anderson turned the knife towards them, police shot him in the chest and he died soon after.

Australian cricketers pay their respects to the memory of Luke Batty.

Tyabb is a small town on the picturesque Mornington Peninsular, 75 kilometres from Melbourne.  Luke was a sixth-grade student at Flinders Christian Community College.

Luke Batty should still be alive and mental health professionals should be feeling pretty guilty right now.  They didn't speak up when the government decided to close down all the mental hospitals and went along with the policy of putting crazy people back on the streets, without supervision.

Luke Batty is the latest victim of Australia's inadequacy in looking after people with mental illness.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Schapelle Corby free at last

Although Schapelle Corby left prison on Monday, she can't come home to Australia until 2017.  She must stay in Bali and report to police every month until 2016. But it doesn't end there, she has to stay another 12 months under supervision.

Nobody, including the media, has a clue what's going on.  When she walked out of Kerobokan Prison, the anticipated media circus was waiting but Schapelle's head and face were completely covered so there was no photo opportunity for anyone.

Reporters were stunned to see veteran journalist Michael Willesee waiting in a van that whisked her off to a private, luxury venue in Oberoi.   The obvious conclusion was drawn that Willesee and Channel 7 had arranged an exclusive interview worth millions to the Corby family.  But what could Schapelle possibly say that would warrant a $2 or $3 million dollar price tag?

Channel 7's David Koch said he was disgusted that his network was prepared to pay a fortune to a convicted drug smuggler and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman sought advice yesterday on how he could confiscate any monies paid to Corby for a TV interview.

When Schapelle was first arrested, a poll revealed that 75 per cent of Australians believed she was innocent, now it's only 10 per cent. It's been a long time and interest has waned and her father's reputation as a drug trafficker didn't help.

Ratings for Channel 9's telemovie Schapelle were disappointing, coming in second to Channel 7's two part teleseries INXS: Never Tear Us Apart.

But Corby still has plenty of loyal supporters, including Channel 9's 60 Minutes producer Kathryn Bonella who wrote Schapelle's book My Story.  After all this time, she is still totally convinced of her innocence.

Corby also has a large following on the website The Expendable Project and its official Facebook group People for Schapelle Corby headed by Kim Bax, a Queensland nurse. 

Understandably, the Indonesian people are upset that a drug smuggler is about to be rewarded with millions of dollars for a single interview. Yesterday the head of the Bali Parole Board visited Corby and warned her about breaching parole conditions in any future interviews and Kerobokan prison boss Farid Junaedi said it would be "stupid" for Corby to speak to the media. 

I hope she heeds their advice.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Imam charged over marriage of 12 year old girl

Riaz Tasawar

Police have charged Pakistan-born imam Riaz Tasawar for performing the unlawful marriage ceremony - not recognised by Australian law - between a 26 year old man and a 12 year old girl.

The Muslim community is denying all knowledge of the marriage and say they are shocked, yet marriages like this one are going on all over Sydney, according to the Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward.

Police allege Tasawar performed the mock marriage ceremony in the living room of her parents home in the Hunter region on 12 January 2014.

An Islamic spokesman said the imam conducted the marriage in secret, without the knowledge of the mosque's governing body - the Islamic Centre of Newcastle.  The Centre's President, who didn't want to give his name, said Tasawar's employment was terminated immediately from the mosque where he has been resident imam for four years.

The 26 year old student

The 26 year old student arrived in Australia last year to further his education and is sponsored by the Islamic Centre of Newcastle.

It has been reported that the girl's father, who allowed the marriage to proceed, is an Islamic convert.

Edit 12 February 2014 at 2 pm.  The man responsible for allowing his child to enter into a marriage with an older man has finally been held to account.   The 61 year old was arrested at his home at Raymond Terrace this  He is charged with procuring a child under 14 years for illegal sexual activity, and being an accessory. He was refused bail and will appear in Raymond Terrace Local Court today.  Police say investigations are continuing.

And now the socalled husband.

Edit 7.3.2015:  The 27-year-old man was sentenced to a maximum jail term of 10 years with a non-parole period of seven and a half years in the Downing Centre District Court today.

The pair “married” in an Islamic ceremony in the girl’s living room in the Hunter region last January and the man later pleaded guilty to one count of persistent sexual abuse of a child.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Muslim father marries off 12 year old daughter

I can't believe this is happening in Sydney in 2014.  A 26 year old Lebanese man has been arrested for sexually abusing a 12 year old girl.  Surely he must have known that although marrying off children is okay under Sharia, in Australia it's a crime.  Nothing is above Australian law.

But the person responsible for this outrage in my view is her father, who arranged an Islamic marriage ceremony in his home.

The 26 year old arrived in Sydney last August with the intention of furthering his education at Newcastle University.  Instead, he's under arrest charged with 25 counts of sexual intercourse with a child aged between 10 and 14. 

The girl was taken into the protection of Family and Community Services and will stay there until a permanent home can be found for her. She has received counselling.

Commander of the Child Abuse Squad, Detective Inspector Peter Yeomans said "You have to take religion and culture out of it and see it for what it is - a sexual assault of a 12 year old child."  At the time of his arrest, the girl had turned 13.

When the man tried to enroll the child in a school close to their home in Sydney, he found he couldn't do it without the signature of a guardian. So he went to Centrelink to find out how to become her guardian and a government worker called police.

Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward said she was horrified by the case but knows there is a large number of unlawful, unregistered marriages taking place to under age children in Sydney and the Blue Mountains. 

"Whatever the cultural practice, whatever the religious practice, there is no law in Australia above Australian law" she said.  "In this country, little girls have rights and in particular, they have the right to a childhood free of this sort of abuse, that's what we are here as a community to uphold."

But there is still a glaring injustice still outstanding in this shocking case.  The man who is supposed to be her protector - her father - should be in prison too.

Edit 11 February 2014:  Late yesterday afternoon in Parramatta, police from the Child Abuse Squad arrested a 35 year old imam who performed the wedding ceremony.

Edit 21 February 2014:  Riaz Tasawar, the imam who married the pair, is now being held at Villawood Detention Centre after the sponsorship of his visa was cancelled.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Russian MP's insult to America

Russian MP Irina Rodnina, who had the honour of lighting the Olympic flame, has shamed her country and her party - Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party - by posting an image of the Obamas on Twitter, photoshopped to include a banana.

The sad thing about this offensive tweet is that she doesn't see anything wrong with it.  Rodnina, a triple Olympic champion figure skater who spent many years living in the US has taken down the photo but refused to apologise.  She wrote "Freedom of speech is freedom of speech and you should answer for your own hangups."  

The US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul was mortified and said she had brought shame to her Parliament and her country. 

Black footballers in Russia suffer the same fate as black footballers in Australia.  Brazilian Roberto Carlos, playing for a Russian team, left the pitch when someone threw a banana at him from the stands.

In Australia, an Aboriginal player left the field after a young girl yelled out "monkey" loud enough for him to hear.  You expect that sort of behaviour from uneducated, ignorant people, but not from a member of the Russian Parliament.

A pro-Kremlin television presenter Vladimir Soloviev said "What Irina Konstantinova put on Twitter is her business, it's her personal space - this is not a big scandal."  Oh really?  He claims the reaction was oversensitive and the photo was not racist.  "I advise everyone who attacked her that the next time they go for a coffee, they should not call it black coffee but an African-American coffee."

So there we have it - the Russian mindset in action.  Nuff said.

Edit 11 February 2014.  Yesterday Rodnina tweeted:  I respect the Obama family and apologize for not clearly stating earlier that I don't support the tweeted photo or racism in any form.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Sochi Winter Olympics embarrassed by foreign journaists

How embarrassing it must have been for the Russians when they read what foreign journalists were saying about their hotel accommodation at the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi. Some members of the press were shocked to find there was no heat, dirty water, doors without doorknobs or locks and toilets that didn't work. And it didn't take long for them to send those images around the world.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister  Dmitry Kozak, the man responsible for the Olympic preparations made an awful blunder. "We have surveillance video from the hotels that show people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day" he said.  Videos in the bathroom?

Dmitry Kozak (left)

It could have been an honest mistake and to give him the benefit of the doubt, apparently there were cameras installed during the construction period of the city and he could have been referring to those, but memories of Putin and the antics of the KGB still linger on.

A spokesman for Mr Kozak said later there was absolutely no surveillance in hotel rooms or bathrooms occupied by guests and when asked directly about the problems of unfinished rooms, he said "We've put 100,000 guests in rooms and only had 103 registered complaints and every one of those is being taken care of."  What Mr Kozak probably doesn't realize is that people looking at these pictures still want the Games to be a success and wish them well.

Anti-gay Russian culture forced Putin to push through a new law. Anyone found guilty of supplying propaganda to a minor (under 18) carries a prison term. Russian police also have the right to arrest any foreign national they suspect is homosexual or pro-gay, and detain them for up to 14 days.  Although homosexuality is legal in Russia and has been for years, this new law has outraged the West.

The Russians don't seem to understand what freedom is all about and are not prepared to put it to the test. At the moment, the future of Ukrainians lies in the hands of only one country - mother Russia - and Putin wants to keep it that way. Common sense tells them they have to reach out to the rest of the world for better prospects but in Putin's mind, he sees the possibility of an important ally being wooed away by the West.  

One of the most distressing things about Suchi for the athletes is the stray dog problem.  They are everywhere.  There were some horror reports circulating that the animals were being poisoned and left to die in agony on the street, although I doubt that would happen.

On top of everything else, they also have the Muslim terrorist threats coming from the Caucasus Emirate and when you put it all together, Russia has one major headache on its hands.