Canberra school boys caught driving dangerously on endangered grasslands identified as possible sacred site


Four teenagers caught drifting and doing circlework on a possible sacred Aboriginal site near the Australian War Memorial in Canberra have been fined and had their cars impounded.

The boys, three from Daramalan College and another from Dickson College, were caught by police on Friday as they attempted to leave the site.

Locals said they had called police at least a dozen times in the past year warning that P-platers were using the grasslands near the for dangerous driving, damaging an endangered habitat and risking their own safety.

The land is under assessment by the federal Environment Department for its significance as a sacred Ngambri site.

On Friday, a resident told the ABC that he saw several boys were once again at the site, drinking and swapping cars as they took turns skidding across the wet grass.

He said he became concerned when a car scraped a tree.

A blue sedan skids along wet grass and pavement, as several cockatoos take flight
One witness reported a Subaru lost control while drifting and hit a tree.(Supplied)

“It came out off Quick Street … it spun around on there and went onto the footpath,” he said.

Police officers caught the cars as they were leaving, and fined four of the boys for driving on a nature strip, not displaying P-plates, failing to stop at a stop sign, and improper control of a vehicle.

“Police interviewed all the occupants of the vehicles, and after receiving assistance from the occupants, four of the drivers were issued with Traffic Infringement Notices,” a spokesman for ACT Policing said.

“Further investigations into similar activity identified another driver who has been responsible for similar behaviour in the same area between November 2019 to August 2020.”

Two boys in school uniforms run towards a car drifting on grassland.
The high school boys were seen running between cars as they drifted, reportedly taking turns to drive.(Supplied)

Police said none of the identified drivers returned positive alcohol breath tests.

The resident, who had made multiple complaints to police in the past 12 months — including the previous Friday when a separate car was seen drifting — said government inaction had led to more teenagers abusing the site.

“When one of them, the white four-wheel drive, starts to show it off, the others say ‘well okay, that’s where you can do this kind of thing’, because the ACT Government does nothing, basically.”

A red sedan drives along grasslands.
A red Audi was reported a week before the four teenagers were caught at the site, seen driving dangerously on the grasslands.(Supplied)

ACT Policing said it was investigating other reports into similar behaviour at the site.

“The area is identified as an area of significance to the traditional owners,” the spokesman said.

“Police are urging members of the public with any information regarding dangerous driving of vehicles in this area to contact Crime Stoppers.”

‘Deep-seated frustration’ at destruction of claimed Aboriginal site

The site has been identified by the ACT Government as an important habitat for several endangered flora and fauna, but the grasslands have been significantly damaged by vandalism.

Earlier this year, the ABC reported that claims the land was also a sacred Ngambri site, used for men’s business, had been ignored.

Ngambri man Shane Mortimer, who raised the claim to the site’s Aboriginal significance, said he felt the land had been disregarded.

“It’s a deep-seated frustration, it’s an intergenerational frustration. The land really does need to be cared for,” Mr Mortimer said.

A man wearing stands in a clearing surrounded by rocky outcrops, with Parliament House visible in the distance.
Ngambri man Shane Mortimer said the grasslands had been ‘obliterated’ by P-platers vandalising the site.(ABC News: Jake Evans)

Daramalan College said it could not comment on issues concerning individual students.

However Mr Mortimer said the school had agreed to organise for its Year 12 students to visit the site and learn about its significance.

“We really have to look now for that opportunity out of adversity,” Mr Mortimer said.

The ACT Education Directorate told the ABC that because the incident was outside of school hours and off school grounds, it had not been involved.

Minister agrees to investigate installing bollards

Residents said they had been calling for the ACT Government to do more to protect the site for some time.

A white ute drives along dust and paths.
The same white ute recently photographed at the site has been spotted drifting there before, including here in 2019.(Supplied)

In June, ACT Greens leader and Justice Minister Shane Rattenbury wrote to the City Services Minister Chris Steel asking for them to be installed urgently.

“Last week, I became aware that there has been regular illegal driving on a piece of ACT land adjacent to the CSIRO site in Campbell,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“The area is natural temperate grassland with significant geological features onsite. It is an important ecosystem incorporating significant Aboriginal heritage [and] susceptible species such as the Canberra spider orchid, sunray daisy, golden sun moth and button wrinklewort.

“I write to request that you consider asking City Services to erect a series of bollards on Quick St in Ainslie, where vehicles are gaining access to this site in order to protect the significant ecology and cultural significance as a matter of urgency.”

A spokesman for the ACT Government said it would undertake an assessment of vehicle access through the section, and work with the owners of the adjacent land, now Doma Group, on options to limit access for vehicles.

Mr Rattenbury said it was disappointing to hear the site had been damaged again since he first raised the issue.

“This area should be protected, and the solution here isn’t complicated. Bollards along the border of the site could have prevented this unnecessary damage from taking place,” he said.



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She boasted about drunk driving. Then she killed a cyclist. Then she got parole. She was just sentenced to 18 months for driving drunk again


A Richmond Hill woman who celebrated drunk driving in social media posts before killing a cyclist with her car in 2015 has been sentenced to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty to new charges of impaired driving — her third such conviction in five years.

Darya Selinevich, 27, was arrested in June when she was pulled over after swerving erratically on Highway 400 south of Barrie with twice the legal alcohol limit in her blood. Police found 12 empty beer containers and two passengers in the car.

Appearing remotely in a Newmarket court due to the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Selinevich pleaded guilty to the criminal charges of impaired driving and driving while disqualified. She had initially also been charged with additional driving offences and cocaine possession, but those counts were dropped.

Three years ago, Selinevich received jail time and a 10-year driving ban for killing Zhi Yong Kang as he rode his bike on Finch Avenue West on June 11, 2015. Selinevich had been drinking heavily before she slammed a BMW into Kang, a 44-year-old father of one, while going almost twice the speed limit. She fled the scene and led police on a chase through a residential neighbourhood.

At the time of that arrest, her social media accounts glorified drinking and driving with photos of a wine bottle in a car, a speedometer at 202.5 km/h and a RIDE poster with her added joke that options to get home after drinking included “option 5, my car.”

One month before killing Kang, Selinevich received a one-year driving ban for speeding with double the legal limit of alcohol in her system.

Selinevich’s seven-year sentence for Kang’s death was reduced to 4 1/2 years for time served. But in January 2018, she was granted day parole after telling parole board members she would never drink alcohol again and hoped to prevent future tragedies by sharing her story through Mothers Against Drunk Driving. She was later granted full parole with conditions, including no alcohol or driving.

Those conditions were still in place when she committed her most recent offence. According to an agreed statement of facts, another driver called the police after 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 21, when Selinevich almost hit his car on Highway 400. The witness reported she was “swerving from side to side” in heavy cottage country traffic, and almost struck the median “on multiple locations,” according to the statement.

When OPP officers caught up with Selinevich she initially denied she had been drinking, despite the dozen empty beer cans in the car, an odour of alcohol emanating from the vehicle, and two passengers who appeared to be intoxicated. A breathalyzer test determined her blood alcohol level was more than 160 milligrams per 100 millilitres.

On Thursday, Crown attorney Robert De Chellis asked Justice Amit Anil Ghosh to impose a jail sentence of two years less a day, arguing Selinevich poses “a real danger.”

“She’s already killed somebody when driving drunk, and was actually on that sentence when she committed this offence,” he said. “She just does not seem to get it.”

Selinevich’s lawyer, Jeffrey Stone, countered that she had taken responsibility for her crime by pleading guilty, and asked the judge to sentence her to no more than 15 months.

“She wants to accept her responsibility and move on to the difficult task of acknowledging that she is an alcoholic and acknowledging that she has to deal with that,” Stone said, adding that since being re-arrested she has lost her job at a North York law firm.

Ghosh said that while he could “empathize” with Selinevich’s struggles with alcohol, “there is no question she must be removed from society for a significant period of time.”

“The risk to other vehicles and their occupants was not an abstract risk, it was a real one that could have resulted in catastrophic consequences,” he said of her most recent offence.

Selinevich said little during the proceeding. Asked by the judge whether she had anything to say before he sentenced her, she responded “Not right now.”

Selinevich’s parole was revoked when she was arrested two months ago and she has been detained at the Central East Correctional Centre in Kawartha Lakes. She will serve her new jail time after completing her sentence for the Kang case.

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In addition to jail time, the judge also ordered Selinevich to undergo counselling for alcohol addiction, serve three years probation, and be prohibited from driving for 10 years. Ghosh acknowledged it was likely the ministry of transportation would revoke her licence for life as a result of her third impaired driving conviction.

Andrew Murie, chief executive officer of MADD Canada, said the sentence was just about “adequate,” but predicted that “families who have been impacted by impaired driving will think this is outrageous” and “too low.”

He described Selinevich’s promise to the parole board that she would work with MADD as a clear attempt to use his organization to secure leniency. He said her behaviour, particularly her celebration of impaired driving on social media, was “deplorable,” and “there’s not a chance in a million years we would work with anyone like this.”

With files from David Rider.

Ben Spurr is a Toronto-based reporter covering transportation for the Star. Reach him by email at bspurr@thestar.ca or follow him on Twitter: @BenSpurr





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Adelaide drug driving mum spared jail for new charges


A South Australian mum who killed her daughter while driving high on ice was dealing the deadly drug while she waited to be sentenced for the crash, a court has heard.

But Kylie Anne Hie, 38, will be allowed to serve her latest sentence on home detention, after a judge found she had undergone a “remarkable process of rehabilitation”.

Hie’s four-year-old daughter, Charlotte, was killed when her van crashed into the back of a truck on the South Eastern Freeway, in Adelaide, in November 2013.

In 2017 she was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to an aggravated count of causing death by dangerous driving.

But on Wednesday – just 9 months after being released – she faced the possibility of going back behind bars for drug trafficking while she was out on bail.

Adelaide District Court heard that Hie was caught trafficking drugs to an undercover police operative on several occasions in 2016 while she was awaiting sentence for the crash.

She pleaded guilty to four counts of drug trafficking as well as a dishonesty charge.

In handing down his sentence for the drug charges on Wednesday, Judge Rauf Soulio said she had suffered significant grief and trauma after the crash.

He sentenced her to a non-parole period of two years and two months, but allowed her to wholly serve the term on home detention.

Hie was to live with her parents in Mount Gambier, where she has found work and is saving to buy a house.

However, the matter was adjourned for four weeks after it was brought to the court’s attention that the address may not be suitable for home detention.

It is a condition of the sentence that Hie wear an electronic monitoring bracelet, but the Mount Gambier property does not have the required phone reception.

Judge Soulio ordered a home detention report and an alternative residence will be considered if necessary.



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Workplace coronavirus transmission driving Victorian case numbers, including in aged care


The recent rise in coronavirus cases in Victoria has been attributed to the virus spreading in workplaces, including aged care facilities.

The state recorded 368 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday, while 217 were announced on Saturday and a record-high 428 on Friday.

The latest wave of infections has been much more deadly than the last peak in March and April.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said “about 80 per cent” of the state’s new infections since mid-May “are being driven by transmission in workplaces, including private-sector aged care”.

The Government has announced Victoria Police, WorkSafe and Department of Health and Human Services officers will be focussing on high-risk workplaces.

This will include distribution centres, call centres and meat processing facilities.

An outbreak at a JBS abattoir in Brooklyn is linked to 35 infections, while a cluster linked to Somerville Retail Services has risen to 53 cases.

But the Premier said a law firm which did not allow staff to work from home was also linked to a number of recent cases.

A row of empty office chairs facing a window.
Victorians are told if they can work from home, they must do so.(ABC News: Jack Fisher)

Businesses found to breach physical-distancing guidelines or other coronavirus restrictions already face an on-the-spot fine of nearly $10,000 and the possibility of further legal or financial penalties.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the state’s new mandatory masks rule would help reduce the risk in workplaces.

Visitation limits for aged care, plan to limit staff to single facilities

Hospital staff in PPE at a dedicated COVID-19 testing clinic.
A number of health and aged care workers have contracted the virus in recent weeks.(AAP: David Mariuz)

Hospitals, medical facilities and aged care homes have been linked to a number of Victoria’s recent cases.

Three new aged care facilities — Bluecross Ruckers Hill in Northcote, Villa Maria Catholic Homes in Alphington and Japara Highbury in Glen Waverley — have detected a single case each.

All up, the virus has infected 112 staff or student staff, 93 residents and 11 household contacts across 40 aged care facilities.

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said there had been incidences in recent days of staff linked to outbreaks who had worked across multiple facilities.

Aged care workers are some of the lowest-paid in Australia, making about $23 an hour, and workers last week told the ABC they would suffer financial hardship if they could not work across multiple jobs.

The Victorian and Federal Governments announced an aged care funding package on Sunday aimed at keeping aged care staff working in single facilities.

The package will include additional entitlement funding, infection control training and five mobile testing sites targeted at aged care.

It will also provide an additional 1 million masks for regional Victorian aged care facilities and 1 million more masks for disability workers across the state.

The State Government already provides a $1,500 one-off hardship payment to Victorians forced to miss work due to coronavirus quarantine.

From July 22, visitation will be restricted to those defined as carers only, with a limit of one hour per day.

Mr Hunt said the “challenging” restrictions were something people would never want, but “we recognise they are necessary”.

Union concerned aged care workers will be ‘forced onto the poverty line’

The secretary of the Health Workers Union, Diana Asmar, said the single-site policy had been announced with “no consultation” with the union.

“Over half of the aged care members we represent are casual or part-time, which is reflective of the broader industry,” Ms Asmar said. “

“Working across multiple worksites for multiple employers is widespread, particularly amongst kitchen and food staff, cleaners and leisure and lifestyle workers.”

She said it was “highly unlikely” any government could cover the cost of lost wages, but it was more likely workers “will be forced onto the poverty line”.

Ms Asmar said until the detail of the announcement was made clear, the news “has created uncertainty for the industry and anxiety for thousands of low-paid aged care workers”.

She called on governments to provide more personal protective equipment for workers in health and aged care settings.



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Media must inform public of true ‘values and interests’ driving foreign policy


The mainstream media has a obligation to see by our government’s political smokescreen when it comes to national curiosity, writes Timothy Ginty.

Saying THE Federal Government’s $270 billion dollar program of armed service expansion, Key Minister Scott Morrison shipped a speech thick with the language of “values”.

Morrison explained:

“…our conclusions as a country are a reflection of our character and our values and so are these conclusions these days. What we think in. And if need be, what we will protect.”

Those selections he was referring to include the buy of prolonged-variety missiles, the improvement of cyber-warfare capabilities and the investigation of hyper-sonic weaponry.

This radical expansion of Australia’s ability to inflict violence, we have been assured, was to guard Australian sovereignty:

“Sovereignty indicates self-respect, liberty to be who we are, ourselves, independence, free-thinking. We will in no way surrender this. Under no circumstances. Ever.”

That politicians routinely use the liberal discourse of “values”, an imagined “rules-primarily based order” and an undefined “national interest” to justify belligerent overseas coverage is not shocking.

And that politicians speak of states that, like men and women, have character, gather buddies and enemies, that they have school for psychological qualities like self-respect and that a country as a complete might make conclusions that mirror shared beliefs, is hardly new.

But what is disappointing is how substantial sections of the Australian media echo this discourse with scant room for significant reflection or questioning.

This tradition of homogenising a population’s conflicting communities, ideologies and practises through the embodiment of a residing, wondering point out is a extensive 1, especially popular in liberal intercontinental relations principle. And it is a risky a person.

It is perilous because these language defers authority for deciding such “values” and the “national interest” to an elite team of politicians and bureaucrats.

It assumes that there is no dissent in figuring out what exactly are this sort of items as nationwide pursuits and values and that there are no other a lot more distinguished passions to citizens, this kind of as content and course passions.

Associated Article content

Is it not a risk to our nationwide fascination to participate in a regional arms race? Is it in our countrywide desire to lower humanitarian aid and advancement paying to a mere .19 for each cent of Gross National Money? These concerns almost never filter into the pondering of Australian mainstream media practitioners.

As an alternative of parroting such noble-sounding principles as “the liberal, principles-based order”, in which our government is assumed to defend our “national interests” and job our “values” via acquiring perfectly-viewed as strategic doctrine, the Australian media need to talk to vital questions of our elected reps.

The discussion around what constitutes Australian and democratic values and how to realise them does not quit at our border.

Australian journalists know that:

  • the War on Iraq represented the biggest trashing of the intended “liberal, regulations-primarily based order” because the Vietnam War
  • this authorities is a person of only two countries to oppose a June 2020 U.N. vote condemning Israel’s unlawful annexation of one-third of the West Financial institution
  • the latest governing administration is seeking to dilute the impact of the Paris Climate Agreement by employing “have around credits” from the Kyoto Protocol to stay clear of lessening genuine emissions and it is the only country in the world seeking to do so
  • this authorities has slash funding to the diplomatic corps from $8.3 billion to $6.7 billion
  • our governments have illegally spied on our neighbour East Timor in an endeavor to block its respectable aspirations for source sovereignty
  • our governments, of the two big events, systematically breach the spirit and letter of the U.N. Refugee Convention and its principles of non-refoulment, the correct to request asylum, the suitable to a fair demo and the flexibility from arbitrary arrest
  • the recent authorities actively undermined the global campaign to create a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
  • the Australian Defence Power is at this time currently being investigated for 55 separate “incidents” of war crimes in Afghanistan
  • our govt has chosen silence in the face of Indonesia’s brutal military services suppression of free speech in the occupied territory of West Papua
  • our federal government supplies opaque military assist and coaching to some of the region’s most infamous regimes, such as Myanmar and the Philippines
  • the line concerning governing administration and the war marketplace is expanding ever more blurry, epitomised by former Defence Minister Christopher Pyne’s recruitment to the consulting business EY to develop its army contracts and previous Overseas Minister Julie Bishop’s perform for the personal contractor Palladium
  • our federal government permits the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, an authoritarian governing administration which is responsible for fiscally and ideologically supporting Salafist and Wahhabist terrorists throughout the Center East and for driving the devastating war in Yemen
  • the latest federal government also permitted the sale of weapons to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates, countries uncovered to be responsible for war crimes and systematic human rights violations and
  • a person of their have, Julian Assange, has been deserted by his federal government and is at present in a state of psychological breakdown as he contemplates extradition to the U.S. from a maximum-security London prison.

Australian journalists should to know, then, that Australian governments systematically sacrifice our meant “values” in a trade-off for gains in company fiscal passions, domestic political factors and minute geopolitical calculations.

There are couple spots of politics in which hypocrisy is far more evident than international affairs. And in an age of nuclear sabre-rattling, it is paramount that the questioning, creating and broadcasting of Australian media highlights this hypocrisy, lest the general public once once more destinations badly-informed rely on in a governing administration to declare and wage unjust wars that threaten our most elemental interests: the lives of ourselves, our people and our buddies abroad.

https://www.youtube.com/observe?v=wvb4XAeHSms

Timothy Ginty is a freelance journalist dependent in Sydney. You can study more from Tim on his weblog, Life and Moments: Writing on the World Close to Us or follow him on Twitter @TimGinty.

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Team GB sprinter considers stop and search legal action, as scenes of ‘driving while black’ spread across social media – Channel 4 News


The Metropolitan Police have urged the Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner to get in touch – and discuss an incident where they were stopped and searched while driving in west London.

The couple claim they were racially profiled – and while the police say each stop is made on its own merits, they are confident there were no misconduct issues but want to consider what they could have done differently.

This programme has also learnt that the Met have made a voluntary referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct – following a separate complaint by a 21-year-old key worker accusing the same unit of racial profiling.



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Is the Morrison Government driving the economy off a cliff?


The Morrison Government has begun pulling back stimulus measures, despite the coronavirus outbreak still wreaking havoc across the globe. Tarric Brooker takes a look at the economic warning signs.

AS THE Morrison Government resumes its push for a return to a “balanced budget”, despite the coronavirus outbreak still wreaking havoc across the globe, we are reminded of an old episode of The Simpsons.

In the episode, the Simpson’s home town of Springfield is hit by a hurricane, during which Homer unwittingly leaves the shelter to go outside during the eye of the storm, believing the worst was already over, despite repeated warnings from his daughter Lisa, until the storm comes back and he is almost blown away by the wind.

Australia now arguably finds itself in a similar position to Springfield. Our economy is in the eerie calm of the eye of the storm, as JobKeeper, government stimulus programs and mortgage deferrals cushion the blow of the crisis.

Unfortunately, these months of relative calm have seemingly had the same effect on the Morrison Government as they did on Homer Simpson. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has recently confirmed that his Government were pressing ahead on balancing the budget and returning it to surplus, despite the fact that the number of new global coronavirus cases is hitting record highs and China is showing a worrying trend toward a second wave.

Economists have been warning the Morrison Government of the threat of a “fiscal cliff” in September/October as more $12 billion-a-month in stimulus measures expire.

The Morrison Government, however, is seemingly not only paying little heed to these warnings but also potentially removing stimulus measures early — as evidenced by childcare workers having their JobKeeper support payments cut off in July.

What does the data say?

Despite the growing sense of positivity about the economy from the Morrison Government, most economic indicators continue to remain extremely poor.

This month’s jobless data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has the headline unemployment rate at 7.1 per cent. However, the true rate of unemployment is likely far higher once Australians who have left the workforce are factored into the numbers.

When these workers who were in the labour force back in March are factored in, the true jobless rate is more likely around 11.5 per cent.

Source: ABS

The Australian Industry Group’s construction and services indexes are both at record lows, despite the pace of contraction in the respective sectors slowing slightly.

Source: ABS
Source: ABS

These key internal indicators of the economy, along with a long list of others don’t support the Morrison government’s optimism that it’s time to begin removing support measures and returning to their usual focus on attaining a surplus.

The difficult reality

Unfortunately, Australia now finds itself between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, the economic crisis beyond our borders has seemingly only just begun and is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. On the other, the Morrison Government appears reticent to engage in further large-scale stimulus measures in the coming months, just as the warning of a “fiscal cliff” is predicted.

Within the Coalition party room, there has long been discontent about JobKeeper, JobSeeker and other stimulus measures, with some MPs including Barnaby Joyce and Jason Falinski calling for an earlier than scheduled end.

In the coming months, the ongoing lifting of coronavirus containment measures and likely improving retail sales – due to billions of dollars a week in stimulus measures – are going to create a mirage of a much stronger economy than we actually have, even as other key indicators continue to flash warning signs.

Hopefully, the Morrison Government doesn’t make the same mistake as Homer Simpson in the hurricane, thinking that the crisis is over prematurely. Because if they do, we may all end paying the price for their overconfidence.

Tarric Brooker is a freelance journalist and political commentator. You can follow Tarric on Twitter @AvidCommentator.

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