Monthly Archives: November 2018

COPY AND WASTE: Wodonga CEO’s ‘cut and paste’ report on $13.6k trip

Wodonga chief executive Patience Harrington.A REPORT submitted toMonday’s Wodonga Council meeting by chief executivePatience Harrington was almost entirely plagiarised and copied from several websites, including Wikipedia.
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Ms Harrington’s report related to her attendance, and that of Cr Lisa Mahood, at a social enterprise world forum in South Korea in October, which came at a cost of about $13,600 to ratepayers.

But the three-page delegatesreport tendered to the council on Monday night by Ms Harrington was mostly cut and pasted from other sources.

Just four paragraphs in the report, which lists Ms Harrington as the author, were actually written by the chief executive.

SEE THE REPORT HERE:Chief’s “cut and paste” report on Korea trip

EDITORIAL: Report long on pirated waffle but short on answers

Report found general favour

Late yesterday she explained away her actions as “an oversight on my behalf” not to reference “some” of the research that made up her report.

“This will be rectified on the council’s website as we treat very seriously the need to acknowledge the work of others,” she said in a statement, issued more than six hours afterThe Border Mailput in a request for comment.

Ms Harrington said the purpose of the report was as “a summary explanation of the meaning of social enterprise”, including examples and “widely-used terminology”.

But the agenda item on the Seoul trip on Monday night’s meeting agenda clearly describes the report as a“delegates” report.

And it says the intention of this was in fact “to provide a report of the attendance of Cr Mahood and the chief executive officer” at the forum.

The concluding points in the report in which Ms Harrington outlines “a threefold” approach by Wodonga was lifted almost word-for-word from a Scottish government website.

Another section in the report, which lists social enterprise as being “critical to the economy of Wodonga”, has also been copied from the Scottish site, which lists social enterprise as being critical to the economy and society of the Highlands and Islands.

Three sentences in the council report have been copied from The Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Alliance website, and another section detailing what a social enterprise is has been lifted from Wikipedia.

Another section is quoted word for word from a 2011 report written by former Democrats leader Cheryl Kernot and Joanne McNeill, from the University of Western Sydney.

The key themes from the conference have also been taken directly from the Social Enterprise World Forum website.

While much of the information is copied word for word, some phrases have been copied with minor alterations, including in one instance replacing the phrase “the broader Australian economy” with “the Wodonga economy”.

About 200 words in the council’s report are original, with the rest of the almost 900 words coming from seven websites.

The ratepayer-funded trip to Seoul cost $13,600, including business class flights worth about $8700, $2000 in hotel fees, $1500 for food and $1400 in conference fees.

The Border Mail submitted questions to the office of Local Government Minister Natalie Hutchins yesterday, with a spokesperson responding that “councillors and council staff are responsible to local residents and should hold themselves to the highest standards of professionalism”.

Cr Mark Byatt was the only councillor to vote against the trip when it was approved last June, and Cr Mahood was absent from the meeting.

Mayor Rodney Wangman said at the time the trip was “a response to the changing concerns and issues in our society” and defended the decision to fly Cr Mahood and Ms Harrington in business class.

Ms Harrington said Monday night’s presentation that accompanied her report addressed what she and Cr Mahood experienced.

That included what they intended to do with the information on their return, plus examples of social enterprise from an online video.

“The conference was invaluable in giving us key contacts that can help us promote the opportunities for social enterprise in our city and build on the great work of organisations such as Westmont, UnitingCare and Aware Industries,” she said.

“As indicated on the night, this was the first report and a follow-up session will be provided regarding how we can build our community through social enterprise here in Wodonga.”

Casterton district fatal crash victims mourned

Majaliwa Kizumba, 39, his wife, and their baby daughter were killed early Sunday morning when their all-wheel-drive slammed into a large gum tree on the Casterton-Penola Road at Lake Mundi.THE Mount Gambier community is rallying behind a refugee family after two young children were orphaned in a horrific triple fatality west of Casterton.
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Majaliwa Kizumba, 39, his wife, and their baby daughter were killed early Sunday morning when their all-wheel-drive slammed into a large gum tree on the Casterton-Penola Road at Lake Mundi, near the South Australian border.

The two surviving children, a boy aged 9 and a girl, 3, were airlifted to the Royal Children’s Hospital with injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.

Grief-stricken family members and church leaders travelled to Melbourne on Sunday to be with the children.

The family — who were part of Mount Gambier’s tight-knit Congolese community and had escaped a troubled life — settled in Mount Gambier in 2013.

It is understood the family had flown into Tullamarine airport from Queensland early Sunday before attempting to make the trip to Mount Gambier.

Migrant Resource Centre of South Australia chief executive officer Eugenia Tsoulis said the organisation was offering support to the grieving family.

She said the family and the extended Congolese community were “traumatised” by the sudden loss.

“This is a very big tragedy for a very new community,” Ms Tsoulis said.

She said the accident was heartbreaking given the community had braved danger and refugee camps to find peace and freedom.

“They had escaped danger and came to Australia to watch their children grow up in peace — now that’s never going to happen,” she said, adding the Mount Gambier Congolese community — which represented up to 200 people — was tight-knit.

Ms Tsoulis said the Migrant Resource Centre would work with the family regarding preparations for the funeral, care of the two children and language barriers during this time.

People can donate money for the funeral or the family through the Migrant Resource Centre.

Meanwhile, Mount Gambier North School principal Jane Turner yesterday expressed her deep sympathy to the family and the wider Congolese community.

“It is a very tragic situation, we now have two orphaned children,” Ms Turner said.

She said the family was well-known in the school community and the young boy was in junior primary at the school. Ms Turner said the pupil, and his father, was a vibrant and energetic member of the school community.

Explaining the family had come from a refugee camp, she said they had finally found some self-determination and a better life.

“They were enthusiastic and really wanted to make the best of living in Australia after living a troubled life in a refugee camp,” Ms Turner said.

Source:The Border Watch

Pirate hunter Daniel Macek’s evidence, integrity under fire in Australian landmark web piracy case

Hollywood is demanding that Australian internet providers hand over details of people who illicitly downloaded the film Dallas Buyers Club. Photo: Anne Marie Fox Web piracy hunter Daniel Macek arrives at court on Wednesday. Photo: Ben Grubb
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Web piracy hunter Daniel Macek arrives at court on Wednesday. Photo: Ben Grubb

iiNet v Dallas Buyers Club: day one of court case

Online piracy hunter Daniel Macek didn’t have the best day in the witness box of Sydney’s Federal Court on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old technical analyst, employed by German-based firm Maverick Eye UG — which claims it can identify the modem IP addresses of those who share unauthorised movies and TV shows using file-sharing technologies such as BitTorrent — had his integrity and evidence attacked like never before.

It was revealed under cross-examination that he didn’t prepare his own expert witness affidavit, which was instead prepared by the firm involved in the case that is trying to protect its copyright.

And it was also demonstrated that he simply did not know how to interpret the log files generated by his own company’s software that will be key to the judge overseeing the case, Justice Nye Perram, determining whether it should proceed.

The matter involves Dallas Buyers Club LLC, the rights holder to the movie with the same name, taking a number of Australian internet providers (ISPs) to court to get them to divulge the contact information of thousands of account holders behind the IP addresses they allege shared their movie without authorisation on the internet.

The ISPs in the firing line include Adam Internet, iiNet and Dodo. But the nation’s largest providers — Telstra and Optus — have not been targeted by the legal action.

Once Dallas Buyers Club LLC gets the details, it plans to contact infringers, as it has done overseas, and demand that they pay a fee to settle the matter or instead go to court.

In some jurisdictions the fees sought have been large, which has in turn seen some judges impose caps on the settlements.

To understand how the alleged pirates were uncovered, you need to go back to 2013, when Dallas Buyers Club LLC, through its parent company Voltage Pictures, tasked Maverick Eye UG to go on a piracy-hunting expedition that sought to identify who was sharing its movie online.

Maverick Eye UG provided Dallas Buyers Club LLC with the IP addresses of alleged infringers. It then contacted iiNet and others, asking them to divulge customer details without a court order — but they refused.

Now Dallas Buyers Club LLC hopes it can gain access to these details through what’s known as the court’s “preliminary discovery” process. This requires companies to hand over any documents they might have that could identify a person who has, as in this case, allegedly breached copyright.

According to Maverick Eye UG’s website, it is able to provide “world-class surveillance” of intellectual property “within the most prominent peer-to-peer” file-sharing networks on the internet, including BitTorrent and Emule. Using “highly sophisticated software”, its “highly trained staff” are then able to identify llicit distribution of their clients’ copyrighted material.

The .pcap question

But the integrity of the system — which has been relied upon in many other jurisdictions —  all appeared to come undone at Tuesday’s hearing, where iiNet’s defence barrister Richard Lancaster, SC, asked Maverick Eye UG’s Mr Macek, flown from Germany to be at the case, to explain in detail how it worked.

At issue, Mr Lancaster said, were timestamps in so-called “.pcap” files the Maverick Eye UG system generated that were given as evidence to the court in addition to Excel spreadsheets that made the data easier to read and understand for the purpose of identifying alleged infringers.

“Are you familiar with the information in the .pcap files themselves?” Mr Lancaster asked Mr Macek during cross-examination.

“Not in detail,” Mr Macek replied, adding that this was because he relied on the Maverick Eye UG system doing most of the work for him.

Following this exchange it was then put to Mr Macek that the timestamps in the .pcap files were not the times the BitTorrent files were “transmitted” or “transferred” from the alleged infringers to the Maverick Eye UG system, but the times of “reassembly” of the BitTorrent traffic data on the system.

Mr Macek could not answer whether this was the case because, he said, “I don’t understand this .pcap [file] in this detail”.

“I know how the Maverick software works in general but I’m not aware of the .pcap [files],” he added.

Prompted to explain again, he replied: “I can explain this without details … I can’t read .pcaps.”

Mr Lancaster then asked if Mr Macek agreed it was “very important” that the time was “precisely accurate” because IP addresses issued to customers often changed.

“I agree,” was the response from Mr Macek, who added that he did not write the code behind the system.

The judge also seemed to agree on the importance of the timestamps.

“If the IP [address] switched midway through one of these transmissions it just occurs to me that that change would have some impact on your cross-examination,” Justice Perram remarked to Mr Lancaster.

Staff of four

But as Tuesday’s hearing drew to a close, the question of whether the timestamps were accurate remained unclear. If they are not, the entire case could potentially be thrown out if the evidence is ruled not to be reliable enough and therefore inadmissible.

There were “basic defects” with Mr Macek’s evidence — and that of another witness yet to appear in court — that warranted both “being rejected”, Mr Lancaster said.

Mr Macek also revealed on Tuesday that he worked only 40 hours a month at Maverick Eye UG and that it was a four-person operation.

In addition to employing Mr Macek as technical analyst at Maverick Eye UG, there is an accountant, a systems administrator, and chief executive officer Thomas Novak, who is the main shareholder.

Mr Macek said he didn’t hold a university degree but had completed an apprenticeship where he learned the computer programming language Java.

Vice-president of royalties for Voltage Pictures, Michael Wickstrom, was also cross-examined on Tuesday.

“I think the ease of [illicit] downloading [has meant] that people have become so desensitised [because it’s so] easy to do … [and] so convenient to do it,” he said.

Online piracy was “eating into the profits” of film companies, he added.

The case continues on Wednesday, the last day of the two-day preliminary discovery hearing.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Greyhound industry whistleblowers ‘intimidated, threatened and ignored’

A still from the ABC Four Corners program exposing live baiting practices in the greyhound racing industry. A screenshot of the Four Corners program on the greyhound racing industry. Photo: ABC
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A still from the ABC Four Corners program exposing live baiting practices in the Greyhound racing industry. Photo: Four Corners

Rob Zammit: Tried to reveal the crimes. Photo: Jane Dyson

Allegations of systemic cheating, live baiting in greyhound industry uncoveredLive baiting: Mike Baird vows ‘absolute zero tolerance’Comment: New laws could stop revelations of animal abuse

Whistleblowers in the greyhound racing industry who have tried to raise the issue of live baiting and other illegalities claim they have been intimidated, threatened or pushed out of racing circles as concerns escalate that the crimes against animals are much more widespread than originally feared.

Evidence about the barbaric practice of live animals including guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, kittens and possums being mauled to death in greyhound training sessions was given to a parliamentary inquiry into the industry in 2013.

But Fairfax Media has been told those submissions were never followed up by the state’s industry regulator, Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW). The inquiry also found there was “alarming” treatment of whistleblowers and internal critics who wanted change.

Among those trying to reveal the horrific crimes was celebrity TV vet Rob Zammit who told the inquiry live baiting was still occurring. Other submissions offered the names and addresses of those suspected of involvement. They all told Fairfax Media on Tuesday that GRNSW had never even called them. Dr Zammit has said every time he had spoken out about problems in the industry he has been ostracised.

But animal welfare groups have also been told by greyhound industry participants that although they were appalled at what was going on inside their industry, they were too scared to speak because of threats of retribution against them or their dogs.

There has been a steadily growing public outcry after an investigation by Animals Australia and Four Corners screened vision obtained by covert surveillance revealing explosive evidence that live baiting is going on openly in at least three states and involves some of the biggest names in greyhound racing.

State and federal Greens MPs John Kaye and Lee Rhiannon have been joined by independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie in calling for an immediate suspension of the industry. NSW state Opposition Leader Luke Foley said anyone convicted of live-baiting should be banned from the sport of greyhound racing for life.

State Minister for Racing Troy Grant said “like most people, I am shocked and appalled by the absolutely abhorrent and distressing footage”.

He said the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR), which is reviewing the industry, has extended the time for submissions for a further two weeks to March, 2 2015, and the “government is open to legislative changes to ensure we stamp out this abhorrent behaviour”.

The footage follows investigations by Fairfax Media into the industry in 2012 and 2103 which led to the parliamentary inquiry being established.

Last week more than 20 greyhound racing dog owners and trainers across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland were suspended after a series of raids by the RSPCA and police which allegedly discovered the illegal use of live animals being used to bait and lure dogs.

GRNSW has suspended six people in the wake of raids including one of the biggest trainers in NSW who has an estimated 1200 dogs go through his property in a year.

GRNSW chief executive officer Brent Hogan announced they had set up a taskforce headed up by former High Court justice Michael McHugh, AC, QC, to examine training methods in NSW and arrangements for the supervision of trial tracks and training facilities.

But the Greens want a government appointed independent taskforce. Dr Kaye said greyhound racing in NSW has been profoundly and fundamentally corrupted by the practice of live baiting

“The industry regulator Greyhound Racing NSW has lost any credibility it might have once claimed,” said Dr Kaye.

“Both NSW Labor and the Coalition must commit to legislation to abolish Greyhound Racing NSW on the very first day Parliament sits after the election.”

NSW Premier Mike Baird has promised to get to the bottom of live baiting and said  there will be “zero tolerance” for such abuse.

Fairfax Media exposed allegations of race-fixing, drug use, alleged criminal activity within the industry in 2012 despite reforms that had been aimed at cleaning up the sport.

Stakeholders had raised concerns that it had returned to its murky past because of poor transparency and independent oversight and the privatisation of the industry.

At the time Mr Hogan told the parliamentary inquiry that he hoped it didn’t get sidetracked by “outlandish, hysterical and ridiculous allegations”.

Mr Hogan said Tuesday that at the time of the inquiry they did not have any evidence about live baiting; Mr Hogan has also denied that the practise is systemic or widespread.

However, he revealed there are another six separate cases under investigation, and they were looking to prosecute with the RSPCA.

“We need to stamp out live baiting once and for all. Not only is it illegal but it is sickening and we are disgusted with what we have witnessed on air,” said Mr Hogan.

He said that GRNSW had done a lot in the five years since it was set up to improve animal welfare and investigate claims of animal cruelty.

With James Robertson

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Promises, promises: lifts at Unanderra station needed – now

The NSW Transport Minister has labelled footage of a double amputee crawling up the stairs at Unanderra train station as ‘‘distressing’’. Transport minister Gladys Berejiklian has labelled video footage of a double amputee crawling up the stairs at Unanderra train station as ‘‘distressing’’.
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There were two videos of the incident filmed last week.

The first video shows a man with no legs pushing himself backwards with his hands up the platform stairs at Unanderra station.

While he makes his way up the stairs on the left, grimacing at times with the effort, stroke victim Bec Schmidt slowly climbs on the right holding tightly to the railing while her partner watches on carefully.

Near the top is a senior citizen – well-known Illawarra playwright Wendy Richardson – struggling to carry a bag up the stairs.

As an illustration of those affected by the difficult access to the station platform, all that is missing is a parent with a pram.

The second video starts with Ms Schmidt coming down the stairs, holding the railing with both hands.

As she nears the bottom, the man appears at the top, this time in his wheelchair.

Alarmingly, he turns and heads down the stairs backwards, holding the railing and almost losing control at least once.

A wheelchair-bound man struggles down the stairs in the video.

Eighty-one year -old Ms Richardson, best-known for her play Windy Gully, said Unanderra is her closest station and she always had trouble negotiating the stairs.

‘‘I have had incredible trouble with the stairs,’’ Ms Richardson said.

‘‘Until I had a hip replaced in June last year, I struggled up those stairs, it would take me ages.

‘‘I often felt quite precarious, particularly coming down the stairs.’’

The footage was concerning for Ms Berejiklian.

‘‘It’s distressing to see anyone in the community struggle to access public transport – whether they’re elderly, customers with a disability or families with prams,’’ Ms Berejiklian said.

‘‘I want to see every station on the network accessible with ramps or lifts and that’s why since coming to government, we have worked hard to upgrade stations as part of the Transport Access Program.

‘‘When we came to government nearly two thirds of all stations on the network were not accessible via ramps or lifts.’’

When asked if the video made the case for lifts at Unanderra station more urgent, Ms Berejiklian said the government took an ‘‘evidence-based approach’’ to determine which transport upgrades will be delivered next.

‘‘Unanderra Station is being considered as part of this ongoing work and I will continue to listen to the concerns of the community and our hard-working candidate on the ground about this issue,’’ Ms Berejiklian said.

Bec Schmidt says she’s overwhelmed by the response to her Facebook page. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

A former Transport for NSW employee is behind a Facebook page calling for lifts to be installed at Unanderra train station.

Transport for NSW oversees the Transport Access Program, which aims to provide ‘‘stations that are accessible to the disabled, ageing and parents with prams’’, according to its website.

Bec Schmidt worked under contract as an administration assistant until late last year. After she left, she dedicated more time to the campaign for the installation of lifts at Unanderra.

It’s an issue that affects Ms Schmidt – she suffered a stroke on Easter Monday, 2008, and her ability to walk unaided is limited.

‘‘I only use the station if I have someone who can assist me,’’ Ms Schmidt said.

‘‘I wouldn’t be able to use it on my own because I have a walking frame that I use when I go out on my own in public. I would not be able to carry that up the stairs and walk up at the same time. I wouldn’t be able to use the station if I needed to catch the train to go to work or anything like that. I can drive as well, so at the moment, if I do need to go on the train, I have to drive to Wollongong to do that.’’

As part of her campaign, she launched the Facebook page Elevators for Unanderra Train Station on Saturday. The page has really struck a chord – as of midday on Tuesday it had 1487 likes.

‘‘I put it up on Saturday and it’s blown out of proportion,’’ she said.

‘‘I did not expect to get that much response. It’s been overwhelming and I’m glad to see that so many people are getting on board to support it.’’

Ms Schmidt believed it was the recent video, which shows a man with no legs climbing up the stairs, that had sparked the support from the community and the politicians.

Ms Schmidt is also in that video, climbing the stairs with the help of the railing, followed by her partner.

She said was ‘‘appalled’’ to see the man forced to make his way up the stairs on his hands.

‘‘A lot of people would hear about these things previously and think they were bad but it’s a little different when you actually see it with your own eyes,’’ Ms Schmidt said.

‘‘I think seeing that footage has made people think ‘hang on, that’s not the best thing for him to have to do’. I think it makes a big difference that people can see it with their own eyes.

A manreverses his wheelchair down the steps at Unanderra station, the wheelchair threatening to flip over and tumble down at every precarious step.

One strong hand on the railing is all that keeps him alive. He is literally hanging on for grim life.

Going back up, he ditches the wheelchair and hauls himself up step by arduous step using only his arms. He has no choice, for he has no legs.

A woman who has suffered a stroke hobbles down.

An old lady struggles up, exhausted.

For more than 20 years, disabled residents and the community have campaigned for lifts at Unanderra.

The steps, which are exposed to the elements, are the only way in or out of the station’s island platform.

And for all that time, politicians from this party and that party have argued about it incessantly.

About promises. About funding. About blame.

And yet still today, if you’re in a wheelchair, or you’ve had a stroke, or you’re simply old, getting in and out of Unanderra station is your problem.

Deal with it if you can. If you can’t, too bad.

This week, as another state election hurtles towards us, the politicians have been at it again.

All three main candidates for Wollongong have pledged support for lifts.

Sitting Labor MP Noreen Hay says the lifts will be funded with $25 million.

Her Liberal opponent, Cameron Walters, promises to talk to his Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian.

And independent candidate Arthur Rorris says the lift will be his first order of business.

But now the time for promises is over. You are all on notice. Unanderra is watching.

And so are we.

Unanderra lift gains support of NSW election candidates