Inside the system

Get out of jail free card for rich drunk drivers

NEW FIGURES from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that rich, white people from Sydney’s northern suburbs are escaping jail for drink driving, while rural drink drivers and many others are ending up in jail.

Fifty per cent of people caught drink driving in Moree were locked up, while none of the 124 people in Northern Sydney convicted of the same offence ended up doing time. In June, Jodi Meares, former model, singer and ex-wife of billionaire James Packer, flipped her Range Rover while three times over the legal blood alcohol limit. Despite being on her sixth driving suspension when she rolled her car in Bellevue Hill, and despite the offence carrying a maximum penalty of 18 months jail, she escaped with an $1100 fine.

Contrast this with the experience of Stanley Allen Lord Jr, an Aboriginal man. He died in a Sydney Hospital recently after falling ill while doing time for driving while disqualified.

Be alarmed—AFP leave a bomb at Sydney Airport

THE AUSTRALIAN Federal Police (AFP) has been forced to issue an apology on their website after accidentally leaving a bomb at Sydney Airport after a dog training exercise.

The 230 grams of plastic explosive was hidden in an unclaimed suitcase. The bomb was only found after a woman whose suitcase was damaged was issued with a replacement at the airport in August. She discovered the explosives after actually taking them home to Cessnock and handed them in to her local police station early this month. AFP Sydney Airport Commander Wayne Buchhorn has reassured the public that the bomb wasn’t “live” and that the incident will be investigated.

NSW police remove Aboriginal children at gunpoint

FOOTAGE PROVIDED to National Indigenous TV on SBS shows police in riot gear raiding a home in Moree to remove several children from one family earlier this year. The 6:30am raid saw police and Department of Family and Community Services burst into the home, round up the parents at gunpoint, handcuff them and remove the kids due to “safety concerns”. The children were aged between one and 13. They were temporarily placed in foster care, but no charges were laid and they are now back with their parents. Would this ever happen to a non-Aboriginal family?

PM for Indigenous Affairs axes Indigenous tutoring program

THE ABBOTT government has axed a program to help undergraduate Indigenous students with their studies. The Indigenous Tuition Assistance Scheme has been running for two decades.

The scheme will be dissolved and funding made accessible only through competitive grants, rather than allocated to universities in line with Indigenous enrolments. The funding was used for 1-to-1 tuition programs that could potentially disappear completely from some universities, leaving Indigenous students to without the necessary support to complete their studies.

Muslim banned from speaking at Sydney Uni

UTHMAN BADAR, a representative of Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, was prevented from speaking on campus by the Sydney Uni Vice-Chancellor on 11 September. Invited to speak as part by Sydney University Muslim Students’ Association, he was denied a platform when the University bowed to demands from The Daily Telegraph.

Badar was controversially dumped from the Festival of Dangerous Ideas program this year over his scheduled talk “Honour killings are morally justified”. But he says the title was not his idea and he believes “Islam does not condone any form of abuse or violence towards women.” Hizb ut-Tahrir is a propaganda organisation that advocates an Islamic state, an aim no one on the left can support. It has often been the target of Islamophobic hysteria but says it does not advocate violence.

In contrast, former PM John Howard was allowed to speak freely on campus on 14 August this year. Howard hasn’t just talked about killing, but participated in it on a massive scale. Under his government Australian troops joined the illegal war in Iraq that killed up to a million people. But the logic of Islamophobia, accepted by Sydney Uni’s administration, judges Badar guilty and Howard innocent.

Government funds Israeli fortifications for Sydney school

Israeli expertise has been used to construct a concrete and steel bomb proof wall at the Yeshiva Centre in Bondi, Sydney.

The ultra-Orthodox Jewish centre encompassing a school and Synagogue erected the wall with private donations and $519,000 in government money granted under Labor’s Secure Schools program. It is designed to survive the explosive impact of a car bomb, despite being constructed in response only to verbal threats made against students. Director Rabbi Dovid Slavin said, “The expertise which was needed for the wall wasn’t found in Australia, we went to Israel’’.

Sex industry workers excluded from welfare benefit

ABBOTT’S CHANGES to the welfare system introduced on 1 July claim to offer “incentives” for people to stay in paid employment. These include a “job commitment bonus” of up to $6500 for those that are employed for at least 12 months after being on welfare for at least the same period. Certain categories of work are excluded from the incentive however—including work that “involves nudity or the sex industry”.

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