The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on September 2, 1996 · Page 7
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The Age from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia · Page 7

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Issue Date:
Monday, September 2, 1996
Page 7
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MONDAY 2 SEPTEMBER 1996 THE AGE A 7 WA police ctteff M New policy neglects long-term jobless, says Opposition row, oyer depmty The Federal Government's radical pollcle risked the future Of the long-term unemployed, the Opposition spokesman on employment, Mr Martin Ferguson, said yesterday. Mr Ferguson said the long-term unemployed could be denied training because of funding cuts and denied jobs because they lacked training. . "They will be in no man's . land, going nowhere fast," Mr Ferguson said. ; . . -. ;.. He said private agencies recruited by the Government to . match the jobless to vacancies were likely to avoid difficult, time-consuming clients in their enthusiasm for making profits. "They will wash their hands of the difficult, long-term unemployed," he said. "They will pick those that are already job-ready, the easy targets. That Is the problem with the new system." But a spokesman for the Employment Minister, Senator Amanda Vanstone, said the Government-would still direct most assistance to the long-term unemployed. "We will be offering approximately $10,000 for the placement of people with multiple barriers to employment, he said. As a first step In its shake-up of employment assistance, the Government advertised tenders this weekend for private organisations with expertise in case-management of the long-term unemployed. And in separate .newspaper advertisements, the Government called for interested parties and those likely to be affected by the new arrangements to submit their views by 27 September. By the end of next year, private recruitment companies and charities such as the Salvation Army will have the task of matching about 50 per cent of the unemployed to job vacancies on the Government's behalf, j - They will form part of a network of Employment Placement Enterprises.the largest of which will be government-owned. Enterprises will paid a fee for each client matched to a job. To be eligible for individual case management and entry into training programs, how ever, unemployed people will need to demonstrate their capacity to benefit from them by passing a test Senator Vanstone's spokesman said only a tiny proportion of unemployed people would have difficulty passing the test. Those who failed would be people whose problems were so serious they could not benefit from training, anyway. The spokesman said the Government was not giving up on difficult cases, but instead trying to deal with other problems first. 11 DfnUi ' EmptoyiDMit jl Assistance . A b iww a a i a Ci, im M c mi , i . dB I raM to to- 9 nt BMll. w ba M MMt M rTi.i-n "i"iiiM nftTi -tr? By DUNCAN GRAHAM, Perth Two years after moving from the number two position In the Victoria Police to the top police job in Western Australia, the police commissioner, Mr Bob Falconer, is at the centre of a storm involving his former deputy and a diamond theft inquiry. Mr Falconer won the WA job in 1994, breaking a tradition of recruitment from Inside and beating the favored local contender, Mr Les Ayton, who then became deputy commissioner. Mr Ayton, 55, resigned last month after 30 years' service. Last year, Argyle Diamonds called in a Victorian private company, Forensic Behavioural Investigative Services, to report on botched police investigations of diamond thefts. The company is run by Mr Falconer's former boss, the former Victorian police commissioner Mr Kel Glare, and a for-mer Victorian detective sergeant, Mr Claude Minisini. The company also has a $400 an hour contract with the WA Police to advise on suspected criminal activity. , Argyle claimed it had lost diamonds worth about $50 million. Three police investigations were held over six years, but only the third yielded results. Earlier this year, a diamond dealer, Mr Lindsay Roddan, was jailed after being found guilty by a WA District Court jury of conspiring to steal diamonds. His co-conspirator had already been sent to prison. He is Mr Barry Crlmmins, who spent IB years as a Victorian policeman before becoming senior security officer at Argyle. During the trial of Mr Rod-dan, the jury was told that one police inquiry into the thefts was halted when Sergeant Robin Thoy was ordered off the job by his superiors. ' - He was then transferred out of the CIB and back to uniform. Another Inquiry was headed by Detective Sergeant Jeffrey Noye. He has been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, but has yet to be tried. After reading the FBIS report commissioned by Argyle, Mr Falconer called in the Federal Police to Investigate allegations of state police corruption. When Mr Ayton heard from the Federal Police that 11 allegations had been made against him in the FBIS report, he accused Mr Falconer of denying him basic fairness and justice. The FBIS report has not been released. The police and Argyle say it is a private document commissioned by Argyle. Mr Falconer, who has taken a high profile since moving to WA, has advised Mr Ayton to lodge his complaints with the state ombudsman. ' ' ' ' Mr Ayton says there should be a police anti-corruption commission: vi The WA Government, facing an election early next year in which law and order is certain to be a big issue, has not taken any decisive action other than to deplore the continued sniping between Mr Falconer and his former deputy. Private hospitals hit back on premiums By KAREN MIDOLETON, ' Canberra ,' ',, ,Jl ; The Australian Private Hospitals Association yesterday hit back at claims by the health insurance industry that high hospital charges were partly to blame for the rise in insurance premiums. The association's executive director, Mr Ian Chalmers, said it was the drop-out rate of young and healthy people from ' health funds that was the real cause of the rising consumer cost of private health. He said the average daily benefits the health funds paid to private hospitals had increased by only 3 per cent In the year to the end of June, one percentage point less man the annual inflation rate. "In fact, over the last two years the increase in average benefits paid to private hospi tals has been consistently less than increases' in the CPI," Mr Chalmers said. ' "Total health insurance benefits paid to private hospitals have Increased by 8 per cent the last 12 months, but more than half of this increase is due to the transfer of insured ': patients from the public to the ' private hospital system." The Australian Health Insurance Association last week blamed rising private hospital costs and doctors' fees for the increases in premiums that , have embarrassed the Federal Government by virtually cancelling out the tax concessions offered in the Budget. The Australian Medical Association disputed the association's claim, calling for deregulation of the health insurance market picture tony Mcdonough aa-J 1 vv ; i- it" . Other finds include a hippo-like marsupial, Tasmanian tigers, marsupial lions and other lost species. Lindsay Hatcher holds a jaw of an extinct short-nosed kangaroo. Caver By DUNCAN GRAHAM,' ' ' Perth Unlike most amateur cavers, high school teacher Mr Lindsay Hatcher knows his bones. So while exploring a limestone cave near Margaret River, about 300 kilometres south of Perth, he noticed something his fellow speleologists had Ignored since the cave was discovered In 1973. He was sitting recovering from the nausea of breathing carbon dioxide generated by water running through humus and rock, when he saw a colleague playing with something round. An Intact skulL And unearths the tomb of lost species "underfoot, 'bones. "Buckets of them," he said. "It was the best and biggest site of them alL" Leg bones of all shape and sizes, jaws and teeth. The cave, the size of half a football field, was a giant ossuary. How big and how Important has only now been realised after further exploration last month by a South Australian palaeontologist, Mr Gavin Prides ux. The cave is more like a subterranean failed Noahfe Ark, with the fossilised remains of thousands of animals from 35 species including an entirely ' new genus of extinct bettong (a small kangaroo-like animal that builds nests). The remains which are yet to be accurately dated but are believed to be up to 100,000 years old Include sygomaturus, a cow-sized marsupial built like a hippopotamus and with no known modern relative. There are marsupial lions, similar to leopards because they could climb trees, Tasmanian tigers and devils. Sharing the tomb are giant blunt-nosed browsing kangaroos' with faces more like koalas, and bettongs almost a metre high, three times the size of . - todays animals, Birds also tumbled Into the trap, including genyornls, an emu-like creature. There were several hidden holes In the ground, though all but one are now sealed, Mr Prldeaux said after returning to Flinders University school of biological sciences. "It seems that these animals had been just bounding through the bush and bang, down they went. It's the best deposit of fossil marsupials in the western half of Australia." The one remaining hole Is a solution' pipe about half a metre across which descends seven metres. Then there's a 50 metre squeeze-and-crawl tunnel to the cave. Mr Prldeaux said the bones had been preserved by layers of sediments. He said the animals had probably been driven to extinction by a combination of climate change and hunting when humans arrived about 50,000 years ago. About 5 per cent of the material In the cave has been brought to the surface for further study and to determine dates and climate changes. An ad in Saturdays Age. Call for inquiry on bogus sex abuse memories A researcher has called for a government inquiry into how Australian prosecutions for child abuse were launched based on discredited psychological theories. The author and journalist Richard Guilliatt said hysteria about satanic ritual abuse of children over the past 10 years had produced some of the biggest prosecution cases in Australia. Mr Guilliatt said prosecutions were based on either the repressed memories of adults who under therapy recalled childhood abuse, or on the evidence of children gathered using suggestive techniques discredited in the United States. "The bottom line is that people were being thrown . in jail, people were committing suicide," Mr Guilliatt said. "That to me is quite disturbing when you consider that the psychological theory that was at the heart of the case against them was really the subject- of quite a lot of controversy. , "One of the things that's happening now is that police and prosecutors are beginning' to realise that they can't just accept the repressed memory of someone at face value, which is what they were doing." Mr Guilliatt said prosecutors only last week dropped a case where a teenage girl accused her parents and 71 -year-old grandmother of sexual abuse. The parents had lost custody of their other three children for more than two years and were considering suing the Department of Community Services. Mr Guilliatt examines ritual abuse and repressed memory court cases in his book, Talk of the Devil, published this week. He said that, in general, prosecution cases dealing with ritual abuse had little or no corroborating physical evidence. "There certainly should be some kind of government inquiry into the way that sexual assault services have been set up and allowed to run." "The services in New South Wales for instance have been spreading absolutely bizarre theories about satanic cults, brainwashing and mind control, lust completely ill-conceived ideas which have no factual basis at all (and) which were debunked years ago in the United States." AAP Colston to get $1.2m pension payments By KAREN MIDOLETON, Canberra The newly Independent senator who defected from the Labor Party and became Deputy President of the Senate . through coalition support is expected to receive $1.25 million in parliamentary pension payments when he retire. . The Inside Canberra newsletter, which recently analysed the superannuation payouts of prominent for' mer politicians, revealed that Senator' Mai Colston, from Queensland, would be well-rewarded for his 21 years as ' backbencher. Senator Colston left the Labor Party after it refused to support hint for the deputy presidency.. - Inside Canberra reported at the weekend that as well as the $16,500 increase In annual salary, the new job would add $3093 a year to Senator Col- ston's superannuation. - .. . - Senator Colston is now believed to be contributing $5563 a year to his superannuation, or 5.75 per cent of his annual salary of $96,751 because of his length of service.,, r .. The newsletter calculated his whole-' of-life benefit would be $58,000 greater as a result of having secured the second-highest Senate post Inside Canberra said Senator Colston's super-.' annuation payout would total $1,251 million to be taken In the form of an annual pension of $65,887 plus a lifetime gold travel pass allowing the senator and his wife 25 first-class domestic air trips a year. Senator Colston is one of the five parliamentary trustees of the superannuation scheme, which was recently criticised for its extreme generosity to former parliamentarians. - The former Prime Minister Mr Paul Keating is believed to have become eligible for $2.7 million on his exit from . politics after the March election. . Since the publication of the superannuation details two weeks ago, the '. Treasurer, Mr Peter Costello, has indicated that the Government will ; review the parliamentary scheme to ensure it is fair. Green thumbs volunteer to -rejuvenate parkland - - Picture: JERRY GALEA By TIM WINKLER, What better way to spend a sunny . Sunday afternoon than to match 1000 . trees with 1000 holes In piece of under-used parkland? About 60 volunteers yesterday put , thoughts about the tangled masses In their own backyards behind them as they helped kick off the Spring Planting Festival at Heidelberg. - .'X Gatherings of volunteers hell-bent on sticking growing twigs In the , ground also helped start the 10-week festival In locations from Puckapunyal ' to Leongatha to Boort . - A festival organiser, Ms Sara Mln-' chinton, of Greening Australia, said t, the festival had been conducted in Victoria over the past five years, but this yeari planting binge was expect- -ed to be the biggest ever." . v At Heidelberg, more than 60 people . , planted 1000 trees In parklands near ' tributary of the Yarra. ."The council were very keen to do a - - if ' .. lib A-v'-v a I v-LL blunteert take part In the Spring Planting Festival In Heidelberg yesterday. bit of planting, because people weren't using the park much and Its a way of rejuvenating the area," Ms Mlnchin-ton said. ,;.. ., . , , ; : Among the volunteer were about 20 Methodist Ladies College students ' and their friend. Their teacher, Mr Ian MacDonnetl, said the student had ' just formed a voluntary environmental group called Ecocare and had Immedl- ' atefy looked to the festival as an outlet for practical environmental action. ': . This Is Ideal this is the sort of thing they want to be doing," he said, . Areas to be revegetated Include Royal Park, Tikalara Park In Templestowe, Braeside Park In Dlngley, jells Park. In Glen VMiverley and sites around Pow-lett River. - ' The organiser matched labor donated by community groups with trees donated by councils, Melbourne Parks and Waterways and other organisations; Ms Mlnchtnton said. ImMv wMvS i IMI II INI,. 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