Category: TAFE News

Labor romps in to government in WA

Premier-elect Mark McGowan after declaring victory on Saturday night, March 11, 2017.

By Ejder Memis

The Labor Party won a resounding victory in the West Australian election on Saturday securing 42.8 per cent of the vote to Liberal’s 31.4 per cent.

The new government is expected to win up to 41 seats in the parliament to Liberal’s 13 and the National’s 5 seats according to ABC election analyst Anthony Green.

“Today we showed we are a state of decency and intelligence, not a state of stupidity and ignorance. Today, as always, West Australians showed the way for the rest of the country,” the premier-elect Mark McGowan said in his victory speech.

Liberal/National coalition in Canberra was in damage control yesterday dismissing the implications of the result for the federal government.

“I think [outgoing WA premier] Colin [Barnett] summed it up very well when he said overwhelmingly it was the ‘it’s time’ factor,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

“It was a government that, as he said, had been in for eight-and-a-half years. The history is that it’s very hard to win re-election after that period of time.”

Pre-election polls indicated a change of government was probable but the scale of the Labor victory surprised most election analysts.

Meanwhile, Pauline Hanson blamed the “scare campaign” for her party’s poor showing in the polls.

Premier-elect Mark McGovern is expected to be sworn in to office within days.


TAFE News Conference Journal

News Conference classes are mostly about the basics of news production in texts and it has been one of my favourite classes whenever I have been able to attend.


In the first few weeks, we learned what an editorial conference is and who participates. Here we also learned of the type of news and who the target audience is. It is important that news is produced with a particular target audience in mind. Stories must be pitched to the editor before produced.


In the following weeks, the basic inverted pyramid shape was drilled into us. The most important information is at the top while the least important one goes to the bottom. The reason for that is that the editor who may be short on space may cut out the final sentences and paragraphs without losing the essence of the news item.


We also learned the basic questions a news item must seek to answer: who, what, when, where, why and how, the 5W and 1H.


In the weeks after that, we learned the importance of grammar, correct spelling and punctuation. A reader who encounters sloppy writing may get distracted and move on to other news whereas a news item that begins with catchy, succinct and flawless sentence is likely to hold the reader’s attention for longer.


In later weeks, we learned how to produce news items from press releases. This is a lot easier than sounds since most press releases are written as though they are already fit to print. A journalist’s responsibility is to check the facts and re-present the press release for the particular target audience.


The final weeks were mostly about putting in practice what was learned and crown it with a feature article which was done just in time.



On Policing


For most members of the community Police is a source of protection and comfort. Most citizens have dialled 000 emergency line at some stage to report an incident, be it a traffic accident or direct and indirect threats or disturbances from individuals.


Police services are the instruments of the state and are responsible for keeping peace. They are the only instrument that can legally use force proactively. Their powers are strictly defined as well as wide-ranging, and the application of the force by the police is expected to be reasonable and proportionate.


There are times however members of the Police can be overzealous, careless or reckless in the use of their powers. They have wide-ranging discretion. Sometime they force the legal limits, at other times they do intentionally break it. In latter instances they know, like a good criminal does, that they can get away with breaking the law as long as they don’t get caught.


The doctrine of habeas corpus requires that no person can be held against their will without court order, so when a person is detained by the police they must be brought before a judge as soon as practicable. What happens between the time of arrest and the appearance before a court however is wholly up to the police acting according to the laws and regulations governing detention.


In this writer’s experience, individual officers do exercise police powers as a form of punishment. Where summoning a suspect before a court is feasible, the police may instead choose to arrest that person at an inconvenient time, handcuff them, publicly frog-march them to their vehicles, interview, fingerprint, strip-search and keep overnight custody. This writer experienced it all except the interview early last week whereas a court summons would have been sufficient for the alleged trifling offence.


Each one of these acts, individually and in totality amount to punishment. For example, the entire process associated with strip search is rarely about search and safety of the detained. It is rather about ensuring the obedience of the detained person to police authority. It is about stripping the detainee naked not only of clothing but of dignity also, and making them feel defenceless and reliant on the good will of the police for safety. The process is not only about punishment but about creating conditions that cause Stockholm Syndrome as well.


There are however good justification for strip search. If a person is detained for drug charges, careful handling of each item of clothing becomes necessary to ensure that nothing remains on the person. If a detainee has shown suicidal inclination, it becomes incumbent upon the police to ensure their safety by checking for instruments that may be used for self-harm. Even a small pencil can be used to cause death, as the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody found in 1991. Detainees are rightly stripped of their belts and shoe laces as these can be used to harm others as well.


Abuse of police powers is widespread but that should not distract from the fact that a society without a police force is an anarchical society. Having a badly trained and led state institution to ensure peace and security is better than having none at all. Barring for a few, or more, ‘bad apples’ most members of the police use their best judgement in the circumstances they find themselves in. And if they make mistakes, that is because they are only human like all members of the community.

Hard fights begin in Mosul

Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR)
A U.S. Army artillery fires on ISIS at Qayyarah West, Iraq, in support of the Iraqi security forces’ push toward Mosul, Oct. 17, 2016. Photo by Pfc. Christopher Brecht

Iraqi and Kurdish forces backed by the US-led coalition are facing stiff resistance from Islamic State jihadists as the first forays into Mosul city begin.

The government forces, which had until now cleared villages and towns surrounding the city of 1.7 million people, have entered urban areas from the East and have taken control of the state TV building, reports say.

Fighters belonging to Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, are using vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, roadside bombs, mortar fire, and snipers to counter the advance of Iraqi and Kurdish forces but have failed to slow down the momentum.

“There’s no question that counter-ISIL forces continue to have the momentum in this fight,” Pentagon spokesman,  Peter Cook, said at yesterday’s press briefing in response to questions about difficulties faced by the coalition forces. “The campaign is on track and moving forward according to plan,” Cook added.

The offensive to liberate the city from ISIS may cost many non-combatant lives as ISIS refuses to allow safe passage to civilians. Coalition forces will continue to advance with an “eye toward protecting the innocent lives ISIL is putting at risk in the course of this fight,” Cook said.

“The progress we have made to date is a testament to the bravery and dedication of the Iraqi soldiers, the Peshmerga fighters, the federal police and the others on the front lines,” he said. The Kurdish and Iraqi forces are also approaching the city from the south and the north and are within 1 KM of the city in both directions.

Since the beginning of the offensive on October 17, the coalition has assisted local forces with 2700 air and artillery strikes and continue to transport supplies to the front lines and help with medical evacuations.

ISIS captured the largely Sunni Arab-populated city of Mosul in June 2014. The increasingly sectarian Shia-led Iraqi army fled in the face of lightning strike, abandoning a vast arsenal of US-supplied arms to jihadists who later declared a so-called Islamic caliphate in the city.

While Mosul is under pressure, the international coalition is preparing to open another front in Syria. Local anti-ISIS forces, consisting mostly of Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces are preparing to launch an assault on the capital city of ISIS, Raqqa.