Mayor guilty of drink-driving when council purchased alcohol

The Mayor of Redland City Council, Karen Magdalina Williams, pleaded guilty on 1 Aug. 2022 to a drink-driving incident which occurred on 23 June 2022. The drink-driver damaged a council owned vehicle, crashed it into a fence and a tree. Fortunately nobody died this time! The mayor had a blood alcohol content of 0.177 (over 3 times the 0.05 general alcohol limit currently in Queensland) following the council-approved purchase of “limited amounts” of alcohol. After pleading guilty at Cleveland Magistrates Court, Williams now returns to her job as mayor, plus 80 hours of community service, and six months without driving. But there is no imprisonment (up to 9 months in Queensland), no $4,025 fine, and not even a conviction recorded for the mayor. (Before the court date, she stood down temporarily and agreed to repay the council for the damaged vehicle if convicted.)

A petition (signed by 6,697 people) called for Queensland’s Minister for Local Government to dismiss the mayor. Another petition calling for a zero-alcohol workplace for elected representatives was referred to the Redland City Council CEO Andrew Chesterman.

Then on 28 June, the Council CEO said about the existing Entertainment and Hospitality Policy: “Limited amounts of alcohol are purchased, on rare occasions, and only to mark significant events, in accordance with the Entertainment and Hospitality Policy. On Sunday I asked for this Policy to be reviewed.”

Irony

Ironically, the Mayor’s drink-driving incident occurred on the same day as a Zoom meeting where she chatted with the families of people killed by drink-drivers.

Judy Lindsay was among the families of victims who chatted with Mayor Williams that day. Her 20-year-old daughter Hayley had been killed by another drink-driver. Senior Sergeant David Candale has said of the drink-driver that killed Hayley: “He told the group that he was right to drive. He had severely underestimated how much alcohol he had in his body.” Now Judy became the principal petitioner for the mayor’s dismissal, sponsored by Don Brown MP.

Zero-alcohol workplace for elected representatives

Williams admitted that she made “a serious error of judgement” on 23 June 2022. Correct. But without a zero-alcohol workplace for elected representatives, the errors of judgement were waiting to happen! Even low levels of alcohol affect judgement.

Remember: do not have that first drink!

Some countries have a much lower blood alcohol limit than Australia. Queensland’s current general alcohol “limit” of 0.05 increases the dangerous complacency about drink-driving.

Even below this [0.05], your judgement, reaction times and driving skill are not as good as you think they are. For example, you are twice as likely to have a crash when driving with a BAC of 0.05%, versus no alcohol. If you’re a learner driver, provisional or probationary driver (regardless of age), truck and bus driver, driving instructor or convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), you must have a 0.00% BAC in most Australian states or territories.”

(“Blood alcohol levels“, Australian Drug Foundation, 14 Feb. 2017.)

However, I am concerned when a politician referring to Mayor Williams, said “not to have that extra drink.” This part of what Peter Dutton MP said is certainly not strong enough! “My message, particularly as a former police officer, is to not have that extra drink. Don’t drink and drive. I mean, there’s no excuse for it, and the consequences can be deadly.”

(Lillian Rangiah and Julius Dennis, “Peter Dutton and Meaghan Scanlon weigh in on calls for Redlands Mayor Karen Williams to resign” 26 Jun 2022.)

But it is good that he said, “Don’t drink and drive”! Remember: do not have that first drink!

Mayor called for tougher sentencing of a young driver. But what about drink drivers of any age?

The mayor herself had petitioned called for tougher sentencing for a young drink-driver, who killed three people: Matthew Field, Kate Leadbetter, and Miles (the unborn child). (He has turned 18 since the tragedy on 26 Jan. 2021 when he was influenced by alcohol and other drugs. His sentence is for 6 years (6-10 years) imprisonment, despite “two counts of manslaughter, burglary, stealing, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while adversely affected, unlawful use of a motor vehicle, excessive speeding, unlawful entry and wilful damage – all offences from that deadly day.”)

The Mayor commented on 16 Jun. 2022:

“As a community, we stand with the families of Matthew and Kate. Today’s announcement from the Attorney General that she will appeal this completely insufficient sentence is a good start. But it is far from the end of this fight. Today’s decision shows what can be achieved when the community stands together. And we need that to continue, to ensure the Youth Justice Act is amended. We do not want any other family to go through what Matthew and Kate’s parents have been through. They shouldn’t have to petition and lobby for justice. There needs to be legislation that guarantees justice for victims and their families. So our fight is not over. Now more than ever, we need the community to stand strong with us to change the law. And the best way to do that is to sign the petition calling for tougher youth justice laws. Let’s make sure that the deaths of Matt, Kate, and the unborn child Miles are not in vain.”

“I will now read a statement that’s been provide to me by Ann and Russell Field: ‘On behalf of Kate and Matthew’s families and friends, we welcome the Attorney General’s decision to appeal the sentence of the driver responsible for the deaths of Matthew, Kate, and Miles. We thank the Attorney General, and hope the appeal is swift, and results in a more appropriate sentence, in line with the community’s expectations for the three beautiful lives that were so tragically cut short, as well as the countless others that have been destroyed as a result. We also want to thank Mayor Karen Williams, David Crisafulli, Don Brown, and the many other community leaders for signing our petition, calling for an appeal, and for tougher youth justice laws. This is not a political issue; it is a moral issue. Every family deserves justice, and we appreciate the bi-partisan support we have received to our petition. While today’s decision is a good start, there is still a long way to go to change the laws so that other families don’t have to go through what we have been through. The deaths of Matthew, Kate, and Miles must not be in vain. This tragedy must prompt the lawmakers of Queensland to change the Youth Justice Act and persuade judges to hand down sentences that match community expectation. They don’t only owe it to Matthew, Kate, and Miles. They owe it to every family who have lost a loved one, or suffered in some way as a result of a repeat juvenile offender. We need as many people as possible to sign this petition to state parliament, calling for the Youth Justice Act to be changed. And then we need our state leaders to stand up, to be counted, by making those changes as soon as possible.'”

(Mayor Karen Williams, “Redland City Mayor Karen Williams calls for tougher youth justice laws“, Redland City Council, 16 Jun. 2022)

(Mayor Karen Williams, “Help petition for change and justice for Matthew Field, Kate Leadbetter and their unborn son Miles“, Redland City Council, 17 Jun. 2022)

Liquor & violence: big increase after alcohol bans end in Northern Territory. Predictable results.

(22 Mar. 2022) “Liquor sales are skyrocketing in Alice Springs after long-term alcohol bans across hundreds of remote communities came to an end, with one bottle shop reporting a near tripling of sales.”

“NT Police said there had been a spike in anti-social behaviour and domestic violence incidents involving alcohol.”

“Police [in Alice Springs] on Thursday said officers had responded to 30 domestic violence incidents in the previous 24 hours.”

“Labor Member for Lingiari Marion Scrymgour said the issues facing the region were ‘playing out as we all feared’.”

“Ms Scrymgour slammed the NT government’s handling of the expiry of the Stronger Futures legislation, which saw previously dry communities made to ‘opt-in’ if they wanted to keep alcohol bans in place.”

“Ms Scrymgour said it was her understanding that only one camp out of 20 around Alice Springs had opted to remain dry.”

“Communities across the Northern Territory have until January 31, 2023, to apply to stay dry.”

(Abridged extracts from: Lee Robinson and Stewart Brash, “Alice Springs stores rushed with customers as intervention-era alcohol ban expires in NT”, ABC Alice Springs, 22 Mar. 2022.)

“Michael Liddle is an Alice Springs Councillor, an Alyawarre man from the remote eastern Barkly Region, and he’s worried lifting alcohol bans will do more harm than good: ‘When you’re consistently going to funerals because of alcohol, because of drunk driving, domestic violence, abuse, and we just haven’t gotten on top of alcohol abuse.’ Stronger Futures laws introduced by the Labor Gillard government a decade ago, expired at the weekend [17 Jul. 2022], making it legal for residents in dry communities and town camps to purchase and consume alcohol again. [Councillor Michael Liddle:] ‘There are people who have concerns, and there are people that cause havoc.’”

(Jon Daly, “NT alcohol bans end”, ABC Radio News, 18 Jul. 2022)

[Within a few days of the alcohol bans being lifted] “Alice Springs Mayor Matt Paterson called the 2GB open line earlier in the week, desperate to get the message across that crime rates in the Northern Territory are skyrocketing. Luke Grant spoke with him about the criminal activity, and the Intervention alcohol ban being lifted that could see more alcohol-fuelled violence.”

“In this week alone, there’s been as many as 28 domestic violence cases reported in one night (one night!) and a murder suicide that’s left a 17-year-old in a critical condition on top of that. The Northern Territory has rescinded its intervention bans on alcohol.” [Alice Springs Mayor Matt Paterson says:] “One of our bottle shops had an increase 300% sales in the very first day that the intervention had lapsed. So, you know, we’ve got Aboriginal peak health organizations screaming out, that have been screaming out for a long time, don’t let the legislation lapse! We’ve just opened the rivers of grog in central Australia, unfortunately! We’re seeing, as you said, … domestic violence … we’re up to over 50 in two days… We’ve had police spat on attending domestic violence incidents, someone up in Katherine in D.V. who was also killed. Unfortunately we’re a part of time that’s stepped back 10 years.”

(Luke Grant, “Alice Springs Mayor voices concerns on escalating crime rate”, Radio 2GB, 23 Jul. 2022)

Timeline

2007: Northern Territory National Emergency Response Act (Commonwealth). Object: “…to enable special measures to be taken to reduce alcohol‑related harm in Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.”
2012: Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Act (Commonwealth). Object: “… to enable special measures to be taken to reduce alcohol‑related harm to Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.”
2022: rivers of alcohol to return to many Northern Territory communities, with the expected domestic violence too. Unstated object: to enable the predatory alcohol industry to profit from the misery of everyone in the Northern Territory.

Flight attendants outraged by resumed alcohol sales at Southwest Airlines

Southwest had postponed serving alcohol due to the spike in unruly passengers.

“More than ever, flight attendants have been dealing with unruly passengers fighting against mask mandates, and now, they’re saying enough is enough.”

“Southwest flight attendants are ‘outraged’ after the airline announced on Thursday that it is planning to resume on-board alcohol sales…

The airline had postponed the return of alcohol sales in late May, citing the uptick in unruly passenger incidents.

The decision to pause alcohol sales came less than a week after a Southwest flight attendant got her two front teeth knocked out by an unruly passenger on a flight from Sacramento to San Diego.

85% of flight attendants have dealt with an unruly passenger in 2021: Survey.

‘It tops the chart of the most egregious things I’ve ever heard of,’ Lyn Montgomery, a spokesperson for the union that represents Southwest flight attendants, told ABC News at the time. ‘It’s unbelievable and really hard to understand the level of aggression that has been exhibited towards our flight crews.’

Montgomery said that many flight attendants felt ‘leery about beginning to sell alcohol onboard the aircraft again because alcohol always intensifies an event.’

The union says it still feels it is too soon to begin serving alcohol again eight months later….

The Federal Aviation Administration has seen a record spike in unruly behavior on board since the start of 2021. The agency’s investigations into the surge in aggressive behavior on-board has shown that alcohol is often a contributing factor.

In July, the FAA urged airport bars and restaurants to stop serving alcoholic drinks to go…”

Abridged quotes from article: Mina Kaji, “Flight attendants outraged at Southwest’s decision to resume alcohol sales”, ABC News, 5 Feb. 2022.

Comment: Flight attendants know that removing alcohol from flights and airports will always improve the safety of passengers and staff. The prevention of alcohol-related violence should always trump profits (regardless of when temporary mask mandates may apply). Therefore it is not good enough only to ban specific convicted passengers from flying again.

Did you know? During flight, air pressure is reduced and blood oxygen levels decrease. This affects how someone feels even worse drinking during a flight than drinking on the ground.

Shame! Governments divert thousands & millions of tax dollars to alcohol industry!

Sadly the governments of Queensland and Australia offer tax dollars to the criminal alcohol industry: thousands and millions of your tax dollars are wasted.

Surely there are more creative ways to promote tourism without the poor taxpayers forced to underwrite the fortunes of the destructive alcohol industry.

“Funding will support plans to get Central Western Queensland (CWQ) Brewing up and running so locals and visitors can enjoy beers named after some of the region’s great towns.”

“The government will provide $90,000 to further develop CWQ Brewing’s beer brand designs and an investment plan to establish a regionally-owned manufacturing company.”

(Hon. Dr. Steven Miles, “Funding brews up a thirst for Outback opportunities”, Queensland Cabinet and Ministerial Directory, 26 May 2022.)

“The Queensland Palaszczuk Government is investing $1.1 million over five years to deliver Australia’s first BrewLab, where Aussie craft brewers can test their products.”

(Doris Prodanovic, “Cheers to new Queensland craft beer lab”, Food & Drink Business, 21 Nov. 2019.)

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged $20 million to assist breweries, wineries and distilleries if the Coalition government is re-elected, in a bid to boost domestic tourism.”

(“PM pledges $20m for breweries and wineries in bid to boost domestic tourism”, Sky News, 7 May 2022.)

Stephen Ferguson (chief executive of the Australian Hotels Association) met with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, trying to get him to reduce the beer tax by half in the 2022 federal budget.

The alcohol industry must quit pretending it somehow helps Australia’s economy. It costs Australians much more.

“…the societal costs of alcohol (eg in this case direct costs) outweigh the revenue generated from alcohol taxation by a ratio of 2:1. That is, the direct societal costs of alcohol, estimated to be approximately $14.352b (2010 dollars), are more than double that received by the Commonwealth ($7.075b) in total tax revenue in 2010. This estimate includes costs to the criminal justice system, costs to the health system, costs resulting from lost productivity and costs included with respect to alcohol-related road accidents. As stated above, this estimate does not include the indirect costs such as pain and suffering, which could conceivably more than double this estimate…”

(Manning M., Smith C. & Mazerolle P., “The societal costs of alcohol misuse in Australia”, Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 454. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, 2 Apr. 2013)

Legal crime is crime nonetheless. The taxpayers of Australia have every right to demand governments will never again fund the destructive alcohol industry which causes the unjustified pain and suffering of many Australians.

Sometimes drinkers loose senate preselection fairly!

“Jacinta Price, the deputy mayor of Alice Springs council … defeated first-term Country Liberal incumbent Samantha McMahon, who was last week asked to leave the Senate chamber because her colleagues believed she was heavily under the influence of alcohol. She denied she was drunk and later said she was ‘unwell.’”

(Rob Harris, “Conservative Indigenous activist Jacinta Price emerges victorious in NT preselection battle”, Sydney Morning Herald, 26 Jun. 2021.)

“Senator McMahon’s spokesman, Ashley Manicaros, said the Senator had only one drink with her Nationals colleagues earlier in the evening.”

(Jano Gibson, “NT Senator Sam McMahon’s office says she was ‘unwell’ in Senate, not intoxicated”, ABC News, 24 Jun. 2021.)

Reminder: everyone in parliament should always be sober, with no exceptions, no “only one drink!”

“She [Jacinta Price] has seen too many of her people poison themselves to death from alcohol consumption.”

(Lyle Shelton, “What I learned from Jacinta Nampijinpa Price”, 16 Sep. 2019.)

But sometimes drinkers GAIN preselection unfairly: says Senate Candidate Amanda Stoker

“Australia’s Assistant Minister for Women believes party preselectors did not give her the top spot on the Queensland LNP Senate ticket because her male rival drank beer with them more often.”

(Lydia Lynch, “Snubbed Stoker says rival won top spot by drinking more beer with preselectors,” Brisbane Times, 20 May 2021.)

Encouraging unlimited alcohol increases deaths during COVID isolation

In Queensland, the LNP’s top spot went to James McGrath: he was someone who defended the predatory alcohol industry against NSW Health when they wanted to have any cap on the amount of alcohol delivered to social housing apartment blocks! Does McGrath not know that unlimited alcohol will cause unlimited social problems? Alcohol, and even unlimited alcohol, is supposedly a good way to cope with COVID. Nonsense. Let senators forever quit defending the predatory alcohol industry!

(“‘Un-Australian’ for NSW Health to limit residents’ alcohol”, Sky News Australia, 10 Sep 2021, Liberal Senator James McGrath interviewed by a hotel manager Cory Bernardi.)

In USA, “after increasing around 2.2% per year over the previous two decades, deaths involving alcohol jumped 25.5% between 2019 to 2020, totaling 99,107 deaths.”

(“Deaths involving alcohol increased during the COVID-19 pandemic”, NIAAA, 15 Jul. 2022)

Yeast, fermentation, excluded from offerings on the altar (Leviticus 2:11)

“No present which ye bring near to Jehovah is made {chametz/chometz} fermented, for with any {seor} leaven or any honey ye perfume no fire-offering to Jehovah” (Leviticus 2:11, Young’s Literal Translation).

(Sometimes chametz may be permitted — specifically when in bread לֶחֶם lechem (bread) — only when the leavened bread is for less important purposes (Lev. 7:12-13). But no type of fermentation whatsoever is appropriate for the very holy burnt offerings.)

This verse (Lev. 2:11) is also relevant when considering the type of wine suitable for nesek ( poured offerings / libations) at the Jewish Temple. Maimonides (writing in 12th century A.D.) noted the Maghrebi Jews understood Leviticus 2:11 to exclude even a tiny amount of yeast put into a large volume of wine. Nevertheless, others preferred instead to disregard this verse of Scripture.

“We may only make Kiddush upon wine fit for libations on the altar. Hence, if honey or leaven was mixed [with the wine]—even if only a drop like mustard seed into a large barrel—we can not make Kiddush on it.” (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Sabbath 29.14, referring to Leviticus 2:11)

Excluding leaven (yeast) would be to avoid fermentation.*

An obligation to sin? What?!

But a certain rabbi Rava unwisely ignored various Scriptural warnings against intoxication (e.g. Deut. 21:20; Prov. 23:31) – even daring to proclaim an “obligation” to sin against God! For example: “Rava said: A person is obligated to become intoxicated with wine on Purim until he is so intoxicated that he does not know how to distinguish between cursed is Haman and blessed is Mordecai.” (Megillah.7b.7)

*(See also Num. 6:3 which lists both yayin and chometz yayin (wine and fermented wine) because Nazarites have neither.)

New Testament: obligation to clean out the yeast, evil, wickedness!

Again in the New Testament, we are reminded of leaven excluded in Lev. 2:11:

“cleanse out, therefore, the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, according as ye are unleavened, for also our passover for us was sacrificed — Christ, so that we may keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of evil and wickedness, but with unleavened food of sincerity and truth. I did write to you in the epistle, not to keep company with whoremongers — and not certainly with the whoremongers of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, seeing ye ought then to go forth out of the world — and now, I did write to you not to keep company with [him], if any one, being named a brother, may be a whoremonger, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — with such a one not even to eat together.” (1 Cor. 5:7-11, YLT)

Big Alcohol delays pregnancy warning labels about alcohol

The many victims of preventable Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder are outraged by the alcohol industry’s conspiracy of silence and deceit. Australian regulators had planned mandatory pregnancy warnings for 2022. But it was further delayed until 2023 after alcohol industry lobbying. This delay is outrageous and insulting to the victims!

Conspiracy of Silence

Why the further “extended transition period for implementation, from two years to three years”?

https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/senator-the-hon-richard-colbeck/media/pregnancy-warning-labels-for-alcoholic-beverages

Deceit

“In 2018, DrinkWise, a responsible drinking campaign largely funded by the alcohol industry, distributed a poster to hospitals and GP clinics around the country that said: ‘It’s not known if alcohol is safe to drink when you are pregnant’. This was widely criticised; even the New York Times ran a story.”

https://fare.org.au/despite-industry-objections-alcohol-and-pregnancy-warnings-will-be-mandatory-in-australia-and-new-zealand/

Isaiah 62:8-9 tirosh grapes, not alcohol, in the holy places!

Certainly tirosh in Isaiah 62:8-9 cannot be alcohol because of the penalty for drinking any alcoholic yayin in the holy places (Lev. 10:9-11).

Isaiah 62:8-9 does NOT contain the word wine (yayin) in the original Hebrew text, despite some of the English versions today (e.g. NLT, CEV) very needlessly adding “wine” into verse 9.* Verse 8 merely says תִּירוֹשׁ tirosh (grape) which is the same word tirosh as in Isa. 65:8 where the tirosh (grape) is found in the cluster! The Wycliffe translation says “grape” for tirosh in Isa. 65:8 (and the CEV says “grape” for tirosh for Isa. 62:8).

The ASV usually translates tirosh as “new wine” (or “vintage” in Mic. 6:15). The Temperance Bible Commentary (Appendix A) renders tirosh consistently as “vine-fruit” in all 38 instances, such as Isa. 62:8 and Isa. 65:8. “And the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy vine-fruit, for which thou hast laboured” (Isa. 62:8). “As the vine-fruit is in a (single) cluster” (Isa 65:8).

Tirosh originally meant solid grapes, as noted by the Babylonian Talmud. “During the time of the Mishna, tirosh meant sweet fruits; the term included grapes but not wine.”
(Yoma 76b, Babylonian Talmud (c. 450 – 550 AD), English translation by William Davidson)

Isa. 62:8 Jehovah hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy grain to be food for thine enemies; and foreigners shall not drink thy {tirosh} new wine, for which thou hast labored:

Isa. 62:9 but they that have garnered it shall eat it, and praise Jehovah; and they that have gathered it shall drink it in the courts of my sanctuary.

(ASV)

Lev. 10:8 Then the LORD spoke to Aaron, saying:

Lev. 10:9 “Do not drink {yayin} wine or {shekhar} intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations,

Lev. 10:10 that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean,

Lev. 10:11 and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.”

(NKJV)

* P.S. If somebody today needlessly inserts the word “wine” into Isa. 62:9, then this would confuse readers today who are not aware that juice was ready to be called {yayin} wine in Isa. 16:10 even at the very time when it was squeezed from grapes.

In Isa. 62:8, the Greek Septuagint translated tirosh as oinos, just as it usually did elsewhere (e.g. Judg. 9:13; Prov. 3:10; Zech. 9:17). These verses show that:

  • Solid grapes are on the grapevine (Judg. 9:10; tirosh translated as oinos).
  • Solid grapes overflow the press (Prov. 3:10; tirosh translated as oinos).
  • Solid grapes are eaten by young girls (Zech 9:17; tirosh translated as oinos).

Churches need to be safe from alcohol says Anglican bishop

Bishop Al Stewart [Bishop of Woolongong speaking at the Anglican Synod] suggested church grounds should be safe places. “I definitely want to see Aussie men converted, I’ve dedicated my life to that. But our churches need to be safe places. And if you don’t know what I mean about a safe place in terms of alcohol, then I think you’ve lived a very sheltered life.”

(Parishes to decide on drinking, Joshua Maule, 28 October 2009, Sydney Anglicans. Al Stewart was bishop of Woolongong)

However, another minister at the same Synod meeting even dared to boast about an “international beer tasting event he ran at his church [in Miranda] last Friday night” What?! This resembles the unscrupulous politicians who buy cheep votes by shouting beer. This explains why Aussie men today resembling Arthur Stace do not get soundly converted like him. Arthur was sick of his old life – so he was looking for what was DIFFERENT – not more of the same old booze – which God denounces, calling it the cruel venom of cobras (Deut. 32:33)!

‘Well look at them and look at us. I’m having a go at what they have got.’

—Arthur Stace “Mr. Eternity”

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)

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