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    "What Simon Birmingham has been doing is absolutely fantastic. He has managed to un-mesh the terrible omelette that was created by the Gillard government, the Rudd government in terms of funding; he's undoing all that." 

    Senator Chris Back (Lib. WA) arguing that Catholic schools are getting a raw deal under Gonski 11. AM, ABC Radio, June 19, 2017  ... Read more ... 


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    « Another week - more mayhem | Main | Report card on judicial performance »
    Saturday
    Jan282017

    Murder, mayhem, corruption

    Week @ The Knees ... A weekly round-up of events in the law, January 21 to January 28, 2017 ... Reform the justice system ... Whistle blown at Origin Energy ... Fred Nile a security risk ... Bail reform in Victoria ... East Timor drops spying case ... Brandis firms for London sk ... Bail reform in Victoria ... East Timor drops spying case ... Brandis firms for London 

    IN response to the pedestrian killings in Melbourne's Bourke Street, The Age crime writer John Sylvester said that the system failed - someone who should have been in custody was not.  

    "We have a system that is no longer fit for purpose," Silvester said. Cases are too long and unnecessarily complex and massive delays serve no purpose. 

    "The legal system is far more of a closed shop than the most militant trade union." 

    Every other business has changed the way it operates, but the justice system just drags on. He proposed appointing a British judge to review the way the system functions with a view to cutting down delays.   

    *   *   *

    A former lawyer at Origin Energy, Sally McDow, has filed a statement of claim in the Federal Court alleging that Grant King, the former CEO of the company and current head of the Business Council of Australia, covered-up serious regulatory and legislative breaches. 

    The whistleblower claims that King altered reports to the board, deleting references to issues concerning material risks relating to hundreds of LNG wells.   

    *   *   *

    Nile: head on a platter at Mardi GrasThe Rev. Fred Nile, the aged NSW Christian Democratic MP and god-botherer, and his latest wife Silvana Nero, have been denied entry to the United States because they represented an unspecified security risk.  

    Nile said he had been invited to attend the inauguration of President Trump. He suspects that someone in the Obama administration decided, "we're not going to help this guy". 

    The MP has defended and supported the Assyrian Christian Militia on the basis that Christians are not terrorists.  The Americans later apologised and gave him a visa. 

    *   *   *

    Dimitrious Gargasoulas, 26, has been charged with five counts of murder after he drove a car at speed through an Melbourne city street filled with pedestrians.  

    He did not appear in court. 

    Last year he had been charged with reckless conduct endangering life. In relation to unrelated incidents from January 20 last year he faces charges of car theft, intentionally causing injury, and possessing the drug ice. 

    He was on bail at the time of the alleged murders.  

    Police confirmed they had been monitoring Gargasoulas' car for hours and there had been several opportunities to stop it, but had been instructed by more senior officers not to intercept the vehicle. 

    The State Coroner Sara Hinchey will examine the manner in which the police conduct their pursuit and why it was called off.   

    *   *   *

    The Victorian government has asked Paul Coglan, a former DPP and Supreme Court judge, to give urgent advice about changes to the bail system. 

    The premier Daniel Andrews said two or three additional magistrates would be required as part of a new after-hours bail court.  

    *   *   * 

    East Timor has withdrawn its spying case against Australia that had been filed in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2013. 

    Timor Leste claimed that ASIS bugged the cabinet office in Dili during negotiations for a maritime boundary in the Timor Sea. 

    The case has been withdrawn as a prelude to the renegotiation of the maritime boundary - to be finalised by September.  

    *   *   *

    Graeme Watson, vice president of the Fair Work Commission has resigned saying the FWC is "pro-union and anti-jobs". 

    Business lobby groups and former PM Abbott seized on his resignation insisting that the Turnbull government overhaul the commission to address claims of bias. 

    The Financial Review reports that three more senior members of the commission are considering resigning, adding to the eight members who have quit since 2014.  

    *   *   *

    The Fin Review also reports that ASIC is investigating Tennis Australia over claims of a conflict of interest. Board member Harold Mitchell is said to have influenced the sale of tennis broadcast rights to Seven West Media for $200 million.   

    *   *   * 

    Matthew Perrin, former head of the surf clothing and accessories group Billabong, was sentenced in the Queensland District Court to an eight year prison term

    He had been convicted on nine fraud and forgery charges, involving forging his former wife's signature to secure loans from the Commonwealth Bank of over $13 million. 

    He is to serve four years before being eligible for parole.   

    *   *   *

    Brandis: one journalist thinks he has "skills" The Saturday Paper carries further "exclusive" speculation that George Brandis will be off to London later this year as High Commissioner to the Court of St James. 

    He is to be replaced by social services minister Christian Porter, a former Western Australian attorney general and treasurer. 

    The federal Opposition claims that Porter was deeply involved in the scheme to have the WA government take legislative control of the assets of the Bell Group. 

    This was later thwarted after former solicitor general Justin Gleeson successful moved the High Court to find that the Bell Act unconstitutional.  

    Bizarrely, The Saturday Paper said 

    "In the wake of the Brexit vote for Britain to leave the European Union, the job [Australian High Commissioner to the UK] is being portrayed as taking on a different flavour and one well suited to Brandis's skills." 

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