Sunday, March 12, 2006

Between The Lines

Papers this morning are reporting the accidental deaths of three children after being struck by a train at Goodna, west of Brisbane. The children were playing on the tracks.

However, the Brisbane Sunday Mail also reports:

Police said that 20 minutes before the accident there had been a report of children throwing rocks at trains in the area. QR (Queensland Rail) confirmed the report.

I'd say odds are the deceased children - aged only five to 10 - were among the rock throwers. Hello, parents?

Meanwhile, Ipswich councillor for area and constant troublemaker Paul Tully:

...said a fence beside the rail line was in poor repair "with many gaps young people could get through".
Blaming Queensland Rail fits right in with the 'it's always someone else's fault' mindset but the fact is that the state rail authority, undoubtedly along with every other in Australia, fights a ludicrous on-going battle with trespassers in which the law most frequently sides with the law breakers.

Among the occasions on which QR has been sued for compensation have been the case of a teenager who fell from the 12-foot fence he was trying to scale so he could vandalise rolling stock with graffiti (he said there should have been more signs telling him not to) and that of a young man who was seriously burned while 'train surfing' (riding illegally on the roof on a carriage).

Tully would serve his constituents better and contribute to work already done to reduce problems in his high crime, high welfare electoral division by not saying QR should have done more to keep the kids out but by joining Ipswich Deputy Mayor Victor Attwood in his comment:

"...I would just urge parents to always be aware of where their children are and where they are playing."
Amen to that.

-- Nick

Update: The boys are now reported as 'Two brothers aged eight and ten and another nine-year-old boy'. Transport Minister Paul Lucas is questioning 'what three young boys, ten years and younger, were doing on a rail track at night time (6.45pm)'. Paul Tully is still trying to blame QR for holes in fences but Lucas has said, surprisingly sensibly: "If someone wants to gain access to a rail track hard enough they can do that."

Update II: Seven's TV news is reporting that the Duncan family whose sons were killed lost another boy in a police chase last year. The third boy killed on the rail tracks was their cousin. Tragedy strikes those who seek it out.

Update III: Victim vultures circle:

Boni Robertson from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Board says she is disgusted by Peter Beattie's comments about parental responsibility after three boys were killed by a train at Goodna on Saturday night.

Associate Professor Robertson says she will visit the families today to lend support in their time of grief.

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