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Essential Reading

Triggs' one achievement: leaving

triggs and turnbullPoor Bill Leak didn't live to see it, but Gillian Triggs is finally gone from the Human Rights Commission, leaving as her legacy a record of, well, often curious awards and edicts. From the HRC's online case summaries, there is this:

The complainant is in her fifties and of Indian Fijian background. She had been employed as an executive assistant with the respondent community organisation and claimed her manager sexually harassed her, including by referring to her breasts as "big tits" and "nice pears" and putting his hand on his crotch and making thrusting gestures.  She also claimed her manager talked about finding her a boyfriend if he was under 60 and said ‘Indian food looks like vomit’. The complainant said she resigned because of her manager’s behaviour.

The organisation claimed the complainant never made a formal complaint against her manager, despite being aware of relevant grievance policies and processes.

The complaint was resolved with an agreement that the organisation pay the complainant $15,000, provide her with a Statement of Service and write to her expressing regret for the events giving rise to the complaint.

One gathers the complainant provided no supporting witnesses or evidence, while her employer noted that internal avenues she might have pursued to seek redress were not explored.

On the strength of that accusation and despite the employer's denials, the complainant left the HRC with the tidy sum of $15,000. Why is it that those students who paid $5000 apiece to make the Queensland University of Technology's Cindy Prior and her HRC abetters go away spring immediately to mind?

To see what the HRC gets up to (other than harassing cartoonists) logs of complaints and resolutions are posted online. Even the most cursory reading will identify a definite pattern and sequence: First the complaint. Then the denial of that complaint, to no avail. After that, the money shot.

The link below leads to a series of cases in which convicted criminals turned to the HRC for relief, and mostly obtained it, after being denied employment or fired, often after being found to have concealed miscreant pasts.  All the different topics of complaint can be viewed here. The most recent, those pursued under Ms Triggs' stewardship of the HRC, are referenced in a series of links at the foot of the page.

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Aldermen and aldermaniacs

madder hatterSome time ago a Quadrant reader invested in the construction of a new apartment complex. Given all we hear about the housing shortage, one might assume officialdom would encourage entrepreneurs such as he. Alas, no. He writes of his experience learning what is behind the local-government looking glass:

1. It took 8-months for the council to approve a fully-compliant complex, before we could even start.

2. The rules have been changed  several times after the approval, requiring expensive rework.

3. We must be 'NBN capable' to receive sign-off for occupancy.  The nearest NBN cable is over 1km away.  In a stroke of bureaucratic genius (and I really do admire it!) after 16-months and three orders by the Telecom Ombudsman, NBN turned up, dug a one-metre hole and put an NBN cover over it, then signed off that we were 'NBN capable'.

The nearest NBN cable remains over 1km away, but honestly I do really, really appreciate what they have done for me as it saved a call to Julia Gillard at 'Beyond Blue'

4. The council (after the event) decided that one of the sub-division boundaries should be moved 87cms.  Why not 86cm or 88cm I hear you ask? But ours is not to reason why. That cost $1,600 in survey fees for no known purpose.

5.  The first property was sold in early June for $1.8M, but my blood pressure has not yet returned to normal, as we are awaiting a council 'Certificate of Occupancy' before we settle and receive the balance.  Here are some delays  -- and bear in mind, the buyer can repudiate the sale if the CoE is not received by mid-September:

(a.) The council has demanded that we provide 'professional' photographs of the landscaping, as only native plants are allowed.  They want to make sure we do not sneak in a dastardly 'rose bush by any other name' at a later date.

I recommended  we plant native poisonous oleander and poisonous berry plants, but the builder overruled me.

(b.) They are querying how we connected to the sewer without opening the road.  The builder tunnelled.  Now, in retrospect, we find we:

(i.)  did not seek approval to open the road
(ii.) did not have a 'tunnelling' license or approval for the three-metre tunnel, which that did not require disrupting traffic
(iii.) the inspector is considering his options as he did not see the connection (which he is not required to do.)

This is not the Australia I grew up in. It is an Oz I no longer know, nor want to recognise.

For more on the antics of local councils, follow the link below.

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Western civilisation country

abc news watch

The blogger behind ABC News Watch enjoys a good Welcome to Country as much the next person but wonders if some cultural mutuality might be in order. The suggestion is that, after Indigenous elders and ancestors have been thanked, a further manifestation of gratitude would be very nice and inclusive:

I acknowledge and pay respect to the actions, sacrifice, wisdom, traditions and curiosity of our ancestors. Their collective efforts over centuries helped evolve our western civilisation, giving birth to the liberal society that makes this meeting possible.
Mind you, were that to become a regular feature of public gatherings, various public institutions' protocols would need to be further expanded. In the case of the University of Wollongong that would likely see its Guidelines and Protocols for Welcome to Country, Acknowledgement of People and Country and Aboriginal Cultural Performances expanded to somewhere near the length of War and Peace.
The current and voluminous guide can be read in full via the link below. And remember, any number of university bureaucrats laboured long and hard on the document, so show some respect to the authors and their ancestors too.

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The Howard Era

Edited by Keith Windschuttle, David Martin Jones and Ray Evans

Essays by Tony Abbott, James Allan, Chris Berg, Ian Callinan, Sinclair Davidson and more.

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