TUESDAY, February 9
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced tough new measures to combat youth crime including a trial of GPS tracking devices, increased police powers, strengthening anti-hooning laws and reversing the presumption of bail for serious indictable offences, the ABC reports.
It comes as a new task force was set up to tackle youth crime with Assistant Police Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon announced as the head of the taskforce overnight.
The new measures announced today include;
- A presumption against bail for serious offences
- Seek assurances from parents and guardians that bail conditions will be complied with before an offender is released
- Legislate a common law principle that offending on bail is an “aggravating circumstance” that must be considered by courts during sentencing
- Police on the Gold Coast will be given metal detector wands to target knife crime
- Registered vehicle owners will be responsible for how their car is used under anti-hooning provisions, unless the car has been stolen or the owner can identify another driver
Assistant Police Commissioner Scanlon has worked with the Queensland Police Service (QPS) for 33 years, including several roles in Child Safety.
She was recently appointed head of Queensland’s Security and Counter-Terrorism Command.
“The loss of four innocent lives cannot go unanswered,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“It is clear to me and to the community that some young offenders simply don’t care about consequences — it’s this 10 per cent who are responsible for 48 per cent of the crime.
“They’re the ones we are going to target with all the force and resources at our disposal.”
The deterioration of the seasonal workforce is having devastating impacts on the Australian horticultural industry, and with the worse yet to come, it is consumers who will wear the cost , an ABC report says.
Last week, the National Lost Crop Register surpassed $45 million in losses at farmgate value, writes James Liveris.
The most concerning factor is the register has only been open since December last year.
Imported food only accounts for 15 per cent of Australia’s daily food supply, meaning the tightening of supply will likely be felt across major retailers, with supermarket prices tipped to increase.
Watermelon grower Tony Vrankovich has been growing for the past 30 years in the Carnarvon Horticulture District, but after slashing and ploughing in his crop, the demoralisation is too much.
Mr Vrankovich said he would look for another job.
“It’s been pretty hard; we’ve all struggled big time with labour and a lot of us have lost a lot of crop,” he said.
At Mr Vrankovich’s plantation, there was one hectare worth of watermelons, with more than 100 tonnes of fruit to be picked.
More than 40 per cent of that went to waste and was ploughed into the ground, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in loss.
Mr Vrankovich said it was disheartening.
“It is something you’ve looked after for three months, poured a lot of money into it and in the end, you can’t pick it,” he said.
“It seems like it just disintegrates in front of your eyes.”
Due to the climate in the Gascoyne region, Carnarvon can pick up windows in the fruit and vegetable market where other areas are unable to produce, however, Mr Vrankovich said he would not take that opportunity.
“I am not going to plant, I can’t, I can’t take that chance,” he said.
“I am pretty sure there are going to be less workers in the future and I am very sceptical that I’d be able to even plant a crop, let alone pick it.
“Seriously, at the moment I am cleaning up, but then I’m going to go to Perth to try find a job, and if I like it, I will leave the farm.”
The loss of Mr Vrankovich’s watermelon crop is not a one-off story — every week the horticultural industry bears the brunt of a dried-up workforce.
Richard Shannon is manager of policy and advocacy at Growcom, a peak industry body who represent the National Farmers Federation Horticultural council, he said the worst is yet to come.
“To date, Queensland has recorded losses of up to $33 million, New South Wales $8 million, and Western Australia $2 million,” he said.
“We expect the numbers to be far greater.
“I know personally there are larger growers that have not made reports to the register.”
Mr Shannon said he expected the situation would continue to deteriorate throughout the year.
“Until we get to the point that more people are joining horticulture than leaving, our situation is going to get worse,” he said.
Lawyers for Donald Trump have blasted the impeachment case against him as an act of “political theatre” as they accused House Democrats of exploiting the chaos and trauma of last month’s riot at the US Capitol for their party’s gain.
In a brief filed on the eve of the impeachment trial, lawyers for the former president levelled a wide-ranging attack on the case.
In it, they foreshadow the claims they intend to present when arguments begin on Tuesday on the same Senate floor that was invaded by rioters on January 6.
His lawyers suggest Mr Trump was simply exercising his First Amendment rights when he disputed the election results and argue that he encouraged his supporters to have a peaceful protest and therefore cannot be responsible for the actions of the rioters.
They say the Senate is not entitled to try Mr Trump now that he has left office, an argument contested by even some conservative legal scholars, and they deny that the goal of the case is justice.
“Instead, this was only ever a selfish attempt by Democratic leadership in the House to prey upon the feelings of horror and confusion that fell upon all Americans across the entire political spectrum upon seeing the destruction at the Capitol on January 6 by a few hundred people,” the lawyers wrote.
Donald Trump has declined to give testimony.
The trial will begin on Tuesday with a debate and vote on whether it’s even constitutional to prosecute the former president.
That argument could resonate with Republicans keen on voting to acquit Mr Trump without being seen as condoning his behaviour.
There will likely be no witnesses, and the former president has declined a request to testify.
Mr Trump’s second impeachment trial is opening with a sense of urgency by Democrats who want to hold him accountable for the violent Capitol siege and Republicans who want it over as quickly as possible.
The proceedings are expected to diverge from the lengthy, complicated trial that resulted in Mr Trump’s acquittal a year ago on charges that he privately pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on a Democratic rival, Joe Biden.
This time, Mr Trump’s rally cry to “fight like hell” and the storming of the Capitol played out for the world to see.
According to his lawyers Mr Trump’s words “could not be construed to encourage acts of violence.”
Mr Trump very well could be acquitted again, and the trial could be over in half the time.
Opening arguments would begin on Wednesday, with up to 16 hours per side for arguments.
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