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'Julia Gillard knew nothing'

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 25 November 2012 | 23.08

The PM's former lover says she "knew absolutely, categorically nothing" about the union fraud scandal. Courtesy: Weekend Today

Bruce Wilson at his NSW home. Picture: Liam Driver Source: Herald Sun

Mr Wilson says Prime Minister Julia Gillard knew nothing about the AWU scandal. Source: PerthNow

JULIA Gillard's ex-lover Bruce Wilson has declared the Prime Minister knew nothing about a 1990s union fraud scandal.

Speaking out for the first time the former Australian Workers Union boss said Ms Gillard "knew absolutely, categorically nothing" about the affair.

Mr Wilson - who now works as a cook on the Central Coast - said: "They can go on a witch-hunt for as long as they like and they will find nothing that will do her (Gillard) any harm.

"It's just a waste of time, they will find nothing."

Mr Wilson also rounded on the union bagman Ralph Blewitt, attacking his former mate as a "very risky" person for Ms Gillard's critics to rely upon.

"Relying on Ralph to be your star witness is a very, very risky strategy," Mr Wilson told The Sunday Telegraph.

"It's not one I would be prepared to take."

Mr Wilson - referring to those who are pursuing the AWU story - said "there is a group of people who are being funded by God knows who - good luck to them".

"But they are going to come unstuck - big time."

The Prime Minister has consistently denied any wrongdoing in the establishment of a union slush fund when she worked as a lawyer in the 1990s.

As the Coalition warned the issue would dominate parliament during the final sitting week and accused the Prime Minister of "stonewalling", the Treasurer also attacked the credibility of Mr Blewitt.

Mr Blewitt, a self confessed patron of Balinese brothels and union bagman has admitted he's "no angel".

And Penelope Lennon, Mr Blewitt's younger sister who said she been estranged from Mr Blewitt for years, said she wouldn't trust his evidence.

"I haven't changed my mind. He is a crook," she told The Sunday Telegraph yesterday.

"They should lock him up and throw away the key."

Mr Blewitt told The Sunday Telegraph: "I have a sister and others tipping the bucket on me right now. It's a private family matter, we haven't seen each other for 35 years."

Mr Blewitt's Australian ex-wife, who asked not to be named, also confirmed that she had no idea Mr Blewitt had bought a house in Melbourne in the 1990s with union cash despite the fact they were married at the time.

Previously, Mr Blewitt has conceded he has used the services of prostitutes but rejects suggestions he is a "sex predator" as claimed by the humorous political website Vex News.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Toolies target partying schoolies

Police were quick to act after a brawl broke out during schoolies celebrations at Lorne. Picture: Tim Carrafa Source: Herald Sun

TOOLIES have brutally attacked revelling schoolies during a series of brawls early Sunday morning in Lorne's main street as school leavers partied at the popular beach holiday spot.

A Corio teenager carrying a pair of metal knuckle dusters was arrested and charged outside the Lorne Surf Life Saving Club at 12.45am.

Police arrested the man soon after a brawl - involving up to 30 teenagers - erupted on Mountjoy Pde at 12.30am.

Police said seven innocent innocent schoolies were attacked by older groups during the evening. Up to 2000 school leavers had poured into the town of 850 residents.

Lorne Police Sergeant David Cooper said police were still appealing for information in relation to other offenders and said toolies were the attackers.

"We had a number of brawls from poor behaviour by toolies assaulting schoolies," Sgt Cooper said.

"We believe they were toolies (as) seven of the victims were schoolies. We've had trouble with toolies, since the first event in the 1990s."

Police arrest a youth who was taken in for questioning.

When the large brawl began, several witnesses used mobile phones to call police and Herald Sun reporters.

One female was hit in the head during the brawl after trying to help a male friend; two young men came to her rescue.

Another male was allegedly king hit during the fight, while two boys traded blows in the middle of the road.

Police take possession of a knuckle duster.

Bystanders trying to intervene were held back by friends who feared the attackers would turn on them. A male toolie was seen swinging a stake of wood, which he had hidden in his pants.

At 1.10am the same man threatened a Herald Sun photographer by jamming the photographer in his car door and warning him to not take photos of his brawling friends.

The mood had taken a dark turn from the innocent celebrations earlier in the day.

Police arrest a young man in central Lorne.

Only hours before, school leaver Adele Curro played in the surf with six friends from Emmaus College in Vermont South as the mercury rose above 30C.

"We have been hanging at the beach and making new friends, it has been so great," Ms Curro said.

"We have been drinking all day and there is a huge dance party thing at Lorne Hotel later, which we are looking forward to."

A youth is arrested by police at Lorne.

Many teens told the Herald Sun they had fake identification to get into clubs and buy alcohol underage. As night fell teens hit the beach drinking and congregating in groups.

Police issued 16 fines for drinking in public.

At 10pm youths cut a hole in the fence surrounding the trampoline park on the foreshore.

A youth is taken for questioning at Lorne.

Up to 100 teens were playing on the equipment doing flips and throwing bottles before fleeing when police arrived.

Only hours before Lorne Sgt Cooper had visited hotels and private rentals to warn revellers about behaving badly and the threat of toolies.

"If anybody does stuff up you are going home, I will pack your stuff up for you," he said.

"The last couple of years have been good, so do it again this year. We don't want to fine you guys or see you locked up and taken to Geelong."


23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

'Baby boxes' the last hope for the unloved

A baby hatch is fixed in a wall near a hospital in Berlin. The text on the door reads "Only open in emergency." Graffiti on the wall reads in Polish 'I love you'. Picture: AP Source: AP

GERMAN pastor Gabriele Stangl says she will never forget the harrowing confession she heard in 1999. A woman said she had been brutally raped, got pregnant and had a baby. Then she killed it and buried it in the woods near Berlin.

Ms Stangl wanted to do something to help women in such desperate situations. So the following year, she convinced Berlin's Waldfriede Hospital to create the city's first so-called "baby box." The box is actually a warm incubator that can be opened from an outside wall of a hospital where a desperate parent can anonymously leave an unwanted infant.

A small flap opens into the box, equipped with a motion detector. An alarm goes off in the hospital to alert staff two minutes after a baby is left.

"The mother has enough time to leave without anyone seeing her," Ms Stangl said. "The important thing is that her baby is now in a safe place."

Baby boxes are a revival of the medieval "foundling wheels," where unwanted infants were left in revolving church doors. In recent years, there has been an increase in these contraptions - also called hatches, windows or slots in some countries - and at least 11 European nations now have them, according to United Nations figures. They are technically illegal, but mostly operate in a grey zone as authorities turn a blind eye.

But they have drawn the attention of human rights advocates who think they are bad for the children and merely avoid dealing with the problems that lead to child abandonment. At a meeting last month, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child said baby boxes should be banned and is pushing that agenda to the European Parliament.

There are nearly 100 baby boxes in Germany. Poland and the Czech Republic each have more than 40 while Italy, Lithuania, Russia and Slovakia have about 10 each. There are two in Switzerland, one in Belgium and one being planned in the Netherlands.

In the last decade, hundreds of babies have been abandoned this way; it's estimated one or two infants are typically left at each location every year, though exact figures aren't available.

"They are a bad message for society," said Maria Herczog, a Hungarian child psychologist on the UN committee. "These boxes violate children's rights and also the rights of parents to get help from the state to raise their families," she said.

"Instead of providing help and addressing some of the social problems and poverty behind these situations, we're telling people they can just leave their baby and run away."

She said the practice encourages women to have children without getting medical care. "It's paradoxical that it's OK for women to give up their babies by putting them in a box, but if they were to have them in a hospital and walk away, that's a crime," Ms Herczog said. She said the committee is now discussing the issue with the European Parliament and is also asking countries which allow the practice to shut them down.

Ms Herczog also said it's wrong to assume only mothers are abandoning these children and that sometimes they may be forced into giving up children they might otherwise have kept. "We have data to show that in some cases it's pimps, a male relative or someone who's exploiting the woman," she said.

In some countries - Australia, Canada and Britain - it is illegal to abandon an infant anywhere. Yet, in the US there are "safe haven" laws that allow parents to anonymously give up an infant in a secure place like a hospital or police department. A handful of other countries including Japan and Slovakia have similar provisions.

Countries that support this anonymous abandonment method contend they save lives. In a letter responding to UN concerns, more than two dozen Czech politicians said they "strongly disagreed" with the proposed ban. "The primary aim of baby hatches, which (have) already saved hundreds of newborns, is to protect their right to life and protect their human rights," the letter said.

However, limited academic surveys suggest this hasn't reduced the murder of infants. There are about 30 to 60 infanticides in Germany every year, a number that has been relatively unchanged for years, even after the arrival of baby boxes. That's similar to the per capita rate in Britain where there is no such option.

Across Germany, there is considerable public support for the boxes, particularly after several high-profile cases of infanticide, including the grisly discovery several years ago of the decomposed remains of nine infants stuffed into flower pots in Brandenburg.

Officials at several facilities with baby boxes say biological parents sometimes name the infant being abandoned. "The girl is called Sarah," read one note left with a baby in Lubeck, Germany in 2003. "I have many problems and a life with Sarah is just not possible," the letter said.

The secretive nature also means few restrictions on who gets dropped off, even though the boxes are intended for newborns. Friederike Garbe, who oversees a baby box in Lubeck, found two young boys crying there last November. "One was about four months old and his brother was already sitting up," she said. The older boy was about 15 months old and could say "Mama."

Still, Germany's health ministry is considering other options. "We want to replace the necessity for the baby boxes by implementing a rule to allow women to give birth anonymously that will allow them to give up the child for adoption," said Christopher Steegmans, a ministry spokesman.

Austria, France, and Italy allow women to give birth anonymously and leave the baby in the hospital to be adopted. Germany and Britain sometimes allow this under certain circumstances even though it is technically illegal. Eleven other nations grant women a "concealed delivery" that hides their identities when they give birth to their babies, who are then given up for adoption. But the women are supposed to leave their name and contact information for official records that may be given one day to the children if they request it after age 18.

For German couple Andy and Astrid, an abandoned infant in a baby box near the city of Fulda ended their two-year wait to adopt a child nearly a decade ago.

"We were told about him on a Sunday and then visited him the next day in the hospital," said Astrid, a 37-year-old teacher, who along with her husband, agreed to talk with The Associated Press if their last names were not used to protect the identity of their child. The couple quietly snapped a few photos of the baby boy they later named Jan. He weighed just over 7 pounds (3kg) when he was placed in the baby box, wrapped in two small towels.

When Jan started asking questions about where he came from around age 2, his parents explained another woman had given birth to him. They showed him the photos taken at the hospital, introduced him to the nurses there and showed him the baby box where he had been left.

Earlier this year, the couple began the procedure to adopt a second child, a boy whose mother gave birth anonymously so she could give him up for adoption.

Astrid said Jan, now 8, loves football, tractors and anything to do with the farming that he sees daily in their rural community. She said it's not so important for her and her husband to know who his biological parents are.

But for Jan, "it would be nice to know that he could meet them if he wanted to," she said. "I want that for him, but there is no possibility to find out who they were."

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Trio shells out with eggsellent work

Josh O'Meara, Andrew Fincher and Chris Wright are hoping to turn one egg into $1 million for charity. Picture: David Caird Source: Herald Sun

TURNING a single egg into $1 million for charity is the ambitious goal of a trio of Melbourne friends, but it is gaining traction and attention from as far afield as Sir Richard Branson.

Creative consultant Joshua O'Meara said the idea of using a solitary egg to "trade up" has already turned the simple egg - valued at just 40 cents - into $40,000 in just 13 trades.

The 1egg1world initiative has seen the egg exchanged first for a cheap CD, then a board game and later on to a clapped-out Toyota which fetched $500 at a local wrecker's yard after just making the distance.

The money was then traded for a Sir Donald Bradman signed cricket bat, on to a Cathy Freeman signed portrait, then an African safari tour with flights. Currently, deals are in place - perhaps ironically - to trade the current value for 125,000 Farm Pride eggs - 18 pallets worth - to be purchased by Ritchies Supermarkets in a deal which will net approximately $40,000.

Through his marketing group Shades of Green, Mr O'Meara has been in contact with Sir Richard's office about the potential to trade for a seat on one of his Virgin Galactic space flights when the value increases.

"The project seems to be taking off and our latest trade is fairly humorous," Mr O'Meara, 26, said.

"We'll be only a trade or two away from a flight to space on Virgin Galactic, which we've tentatively penciled in after getting in touch with Richard Branson's personal assistant who loves what we're doing.

Farm Pride has actually agreed to brand the eggs for us as well, which we're pretty excited about and they'll be available to purchase through Ritchies Victorian stores if people want to be part of the action," he said.

Josh and his university mates, Chris Wright and Andrew Fincher, both 24, began the project 18 months ago after taking inspiration from a Canadian man who traded one red paper clip all the way up to a house.

The trio hope to reach the magic million dollar mark in another five to 10 trades.

The money will be split between environmental charity Cool Australia, third-world health clinic provider Traditional Health Care, and child poverty group Orphfund, with 10 per cent going to the group's future endeavours.

Click here to visit the 1egg1world website

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Sarah raises her Voice against trolls

Singer Sarah De Bono says trolls wreck the fun for everyone else on social media. Picture: Stephen Cooper Source: News Limited

SARAH De Bono, former contestant of The Voice, says that people who use Facebook or other forms of social media to attack or abuse others - particularly those who victimise people who have died are "disrespecting the system".

"They are obviously going about things the wrong way and ruining it for everyone else," she said.

De Bono's comments come in the wake of a multitude of attacks occurring on more than 500 social media "burn books" of Australian public schools.

News Ltd discovered that more than 500 schools were running Facebook pages dedicated to humiliating their peers, extending the burden of cyber bullying outside the school gates.

''A lot of my fans sometimes they'll have fights - they call themselves the Debonators,'' De Bono said.

''Every time someone behaves that way I'll always be like 'It's not worth it' and every time something like that happens I tell them and they apologise and say they value each other and I'd like to keep it that way.''

Having been cast into the spotlight by talent show, The Voice, the 20-year-old singer - now signed to Universal Records - has had to learn quickly how to cope with a sudden influx of social media fans.

Asked if she had been targeted by trolls, De Bono said only that her experience on social media had been ''very positive''.

In less than a year, the pint-sized pop star has earned more than 91,000 subscribers on Facebook, 70,000 Instagram followers and 88,400 Twitter followers.

She told News Ltd that at first she hated Twitter, but that she learned quickly how to engage with her fans by having them participate in quizzes and have them ask her questions about herself to see if she can get them right.

"I also did a 'Sing with Sarah' competition on Facebook," she said, where she encouraged people to compose their own covers of her songs and upload them.

De Bono's social media activities have seen her invited as an "ambassador" to a Hamilton Island "Instameet" where she spent the weekend taking photos and hanging out with competition winners whose Instagram pictures won them a free trip to the island.

Claire Connelly attended as a guest of Hamilton Island

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Danger as vaccination rates plunge

Eva and Lola with their father Jaime Sanchez. Both girls have been fully immunised. Picture: Tricia Watkinson Source: adelaidenow

LEADING scientists say the anti-immunisation lobby is endangering children's lives because of the soaring number of parents refusing to vaccinate.

The number of Australian babies not fully immunised is now one in 12 and parents registering a conscientious objection has leapt from 4271 in 1999 to more than 30,000.

The figures have prompted 12 top researchers to launch a campaign this week to debunk the claims of groups that claim vaccinations are dangerous.

Professor Ian Frazer, who developed the cervical cancer vaccine, said he feared immunisation levels for some diseases were falling below those required to prevent deadly outbreaks.

And eminent biologist Sir Gustav Nossal has accused the anti-vaccination lobby of preventing the eradication of measles through its false claim that the vaccine against the disease caused autism.

A 20-page booklet to be launched today explains that many more children will die from diseases such as measles, mumps and diphtheria than will be harmed by the side effects of immunisation.

The booklet, launched by the Academy of Science, will also explain why it is better to gain immunity from a vaccination than from the disease.

Professor Frazer, who helped develop the document, warned of a dangerous fall in immunisation levels for diseases such as whooping cough.

Although 92 per cent of 12 to 15-month-old babies have been immunised against whooping cough, Professor Frazer said the disease spread more easily when the rate fell below 95 per cent.

Health Department figures show there were more than 7100 cases of whooping cough recorded across Australia in the first three months of 2012.

Professor Nossal said the anti-vaccination lobby was only able to campaign against immunisation because of its success in reducing the outbreak of infectious diseases.

Professor Frazer said it was because parents no longer saw cases of measles or mumps that they did not understand measles could kill a child and cause brain damage or that mumps could make a male sterile and that chicken pox could be fatal.

"As infectious diseases become less common, people are less aware of the need to vaccinate their children," Prof Frazer said.

And he noted that it was a "brave decision" by parents not to immunise their child when the child could not make that decision itself.

Father of two Jaime Sanchez said he and wife Genevieve felt strongly about immunisation.

The couple's daughters Eva, 6, and Lola, 4, had received all the recommended vaccinations, which meant they were fully protected for school and kindergarten.

"There's probably a few risks with any medical procedure but the risk of not doing it is much, much greater and statistics prove that out," he said.

"I think there's a lot of ill-advised fear-mongering from people who don't know what they're on about.

"But it's a hard one to bring up with people who have decided they don't want to vaccinate their kids."

He was concerned that unvaccinated children could pass on diseases to children who were too young to have been vaccinated.

"If you're not going to vaccinate your kids, that's fine but then don't bring them around mine," he said.

Children must be fully immunised for their families to claim the $726 Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement.

More than 30,000 children have a conscientious objection recorded.

The 20-page booklet explains to parents who may be worried about vaccine side effects that only three in every 10,000 children who receive the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine develop a fever high enough to cause seizures but 100 in 10,000 develop such a fever if they catch the disease.

One in four patients chronically infected with hepatitis B will die from cirrhosis of the liver or from liver cancer.

This risk is reduced to almost zero after the hepatitis B vaccine.

The booklet tackles claims that immunisation is linked to autism and says medical studies show the incidence of autism in people who had the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is identical to that of people who did not have it.

The booklet is produced by the Australian Academy of Science and parents can access the document here.

- with Lauren Novak

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

No soft serve for Mr Whippy's rivals

Stan Gordon is unhappy with George Calombaris (left) using his Mr Whippy name. Picture: Ian Currie Source: Herald Sun

A SETTLEMENT may yet sweeten the sour relationship between Mr Whippy and the Master Chef.

Mr Whippy owner Stan Gordon has been locked in a dispute with TV cook George Calombaris, whose Melbourne restaurant St Katherine's serving a dessert called "Mrs Whippi" - which the ice cream king says infringes his trademarked "Mr Whippy".

But ending the matter is simple if Mr Calombaris is ready to listen, Mr Gordon said.

"Just stop using it! It's not yours!" he said.

"He is a celebrity and I'm not so he thinks he can do whatever he wants but you can't breach someone else's trademark.

"If he becomes a little more humble, I am sure this thing will go away."

Mr Calombaris's lawyer, Nick Zevros, said no settlement had been discussed as yet but the parties would likely meet for mediation ahead of next year's trial.

Mr Zevros said his instructions were to defend against the claim but he remained uncertain about the damages sought.

"He says in his statement of claim that there were 20 to 30 outlets when he bought the business," he said.

"We don't know where they are."

Mr Zevros also ruled out any personal animosity on the part of Mr Calombaris.

"Mr Calombaris thinks very highly of Mr Whippy ice cream," he said.

"They bring back childhood memories."

Mr Zevros's firm this month warned Mr Gordon against discussing the case with the media, Mr Gordon claims, urging him to "sort (it) out through the courts".

But the warning fell on angry ears after the firm described him as having "no relevant reputation" as he had "never sold its desserts in restaurants and especially not in high-profile restaurants operated by celebrity chefs".

Mr Gordon's company, Franchised Food Company, owns the rights to Mr Whippy, Cold Rock, Pretzel World and Nut Shack all part of the "snacks and treats" market he says holds its market in buoyant times and grows when it's tough.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More

Solar and wind may power Australia

Solar power: Australia has an abundance of solar energy that can be safely harnessed. Picture: Dean Martin Source: The Advertiser

SOLAR and wind could become the cheapest sources of energy and almost exclusively power the country in coming decades as carbon prices climb, the Climate Commission says.

A report, to be released today by chief commissioner Professor Tim Flannery, notes the vast potential from sunlight and wind and "solar PV and wind could be the cheapest forms of power in Australia for retail users by 2030, if not earlier, as carbon prices rise".

Prof Flannery said improvements had driven down the cost of renewable energy so much that Australia's uptake had increased more than a decade faster than earlier imagined.

He said people might find it hard to believe communities could one day be powered almost entirely by renewable energy, but people would never have believed they would one day carry around little computers in their pockets.

"It's like anything, computers or mobile phones, they started off expensive and over time the cost just declines and we've seen that with wind and now with solar,'' he said.

But the report The Critical Decade: Generating a Renewable Australia has no detail around how renewable energy and fossil fuel prices might compare in the future. Prof Flannery said technology moved so quickly, it was impossible to form concrete predictions.

Renewables currently make up 10 per cent of Australia's energy mix and the report says growth was subject to innovation, community acceptance and regulation.

23.08 | 0 komentar | Read More
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