Looking at Australian politics from a libertarian/conservative perspective...
R.G.Menzies above

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Two of my ancestors were convicts so my family has been in Australia for a long time. As well as that, all four of my grandparents were born in the State where I was born and still live: Queensland. And I am even a member of the world's second-most condemned minority: WASPs (the most condemned is of course the Jews -- which may be why I tend to like Jews). So I think I am as Australian as you can get. I certainly feel that way. I like all things that are iconically Australian: meat pies, Vegemite, Henry Lawson etc. I particularly pride myself on my familiarity with the great Australian slanguage. I draw the line at Iced Vo-Vos and betting on the neddies, however. So if I cannot comment insightfully on Australian affairs, who could?


30 April, 2017  

A government-sponsored bank won't help social housing

Just over 400,000 Australian households live in social housing, comprised mainly of public and community housing. Tenants pay on average $9,444 per year below market rents: the main reason for the lengthy queue to get into social housing - at least 10 years wait for most of Sydney.

My latest research report, Reforming Social Housing: financing and tenant autonomy, states many other issues face the sector including poor maintenance, mediocre tenant satisfaction, and many dwellings inappropriate for tenant needs. The sector is arguably financially unsustainable; gives tenants almost no choice over accommodation; and is beset with substantial inequities and poor incentives.

These problems won't be fixed by the latest proposal for a government-backed bond aggregator - effectively a government bank for social housing. An aggregator without government sponsorship could be worthwhile, but government backing brings with it many problems; particularly discouraging necessary reform of the sector.

Any government backing for the aggregator is only worthwhile if the benefit is fully passed on to housing providers. So why not give the benefit directly to social housing instead of using a costly and non-transparent intermediary? And if government-backed lending is good for social housing, why not do it for schools, hospitals, roads, and infrastructure more broadly?

Governments should instead pursue other reforms. Funding to state governments for public housing should be replaced by funding direct to tenants, while the remaining funding should strongly encourage other state reforms.

These reforms include allowing new social housing tenants to choose accommodation; differentiating rent by dwelling quality; ensuring policies treat public and community housing similarly; and transferring public housing to the community sector.

States should also have incentives to remove restrictive planning laws that cause housing unaffordability and increased social housing costs.

Such reforms offer more value than a government-sponsored bond aggregator, by giving tenants much more autonomy over their lives, making the sector more efficient and responsive to tenant needs, and doing much more for social housing affordability.


Penalties make hospitals accountable

Sooner or later the medical profession is going to have to realise that health funders are serious about no longer simply paying for medical `inputs' but are serious about paying for `outputs' - quality outcomes for patients.

Aided and abetted by an increasingly health literate population, with smart watches and mobile internet, both consumers and funders want to know more about the care being provided. And why shouldn't they?

The government's proposal to penalise hospitals for preventable mistakes which cause death or serious harm - i.e. `sentinel events' such as operating on the wrong person, a newborn being sent home with the wrong family, patient suicide and fatal medication errors - will launch on July 1 of this year.

Public hospitals will not receive funding for any episodes of care that contain a sentinel event, potentially saving taxpayers millions of dollars.

The real objective, of course, is to improve safety and quality across Australia's public hospitals - which still fail to meet benchmarks and demonstrate significant clinical variance.

State health departments maintain that half the sentinel events to attract a penalty are "not preventable" and the list should be narrowed. Nevertheless, it is anticipated the policy will be extended to include other hospital-acquired complications; a step the AMA is hoping to delay until 2020.

Other critics argue the new regime will encourage hospitals to hide mistakes: so much for open-disclosure and patient-centred care, not to mention the integrity of health professionals.

More alarmingly, some commentators have suggested that sentinel events (even if they are acknowledged) don't reflect hospital quality. The argument that financial penalties are unlikely to significantly improve "the bottom line" on health spending misses the point about greater demands for the transparency of health outcomes.

A good way to improve outcomes - and one that has been successful in other sectors of the economy - is consumer feedback. Penalising hospitals for medical errors is just a different, and very valuable, kind of feedback. And one that holds hospitals accountable for the care they provide.


Why Tasmanian Taxpayers Should Not Fund MONA

The Australian Christian Lobby has condemned the latest horrific and debauched `art' spectacle proposed by Hermann Nitsch at Tasmania's MONA attraction and has called on Premier Will Hodgman to withdraw taxpayer support of it.

"Like so much of MONA's `art', this production is an affront to civil and decent society. It is a debased occultist ritual clothed in the guise of art," ACL Tasmanian director Mark Brown said.

The 150.Action `blood ritual' is scheduled to take place at Macquaire Point, Hobart in June.

"MONA has yet again pushed the boundaries too far and our political leaders must show courage, as Federal MP Andrew WIlkie and Hobart Lord Mayor Sue Hickey have done, by standing up to such depravity," Mr Brown said.

"I applaud Lord Mayor Hickey and Mr Wilkie for their clear and uncompromising opposition to the event," Mr Brown said.

"As the Lord Mayor pointed out, many religious people would especially find this imagery highly offensive.

"Drinking blood, mock crucifixions, naked bodies oozing blood out of their genitalia and frenzied "disciples" cavorting in blood, semen and guts while church bells chime in the background - who in their right mind would think this is acceptable in a modern civil society?

"If MONA want to put on shows like this, they should do so without State Government partnership and taxpayers' money."

Mr Brown said it was disappointing to hear Mr Hodgman say that the State Government was partnering with Mona because "it brings extraordinary economic returns for our state".

"Most Tasmanians would agree that just because something may support the economy it doesn't mean it should happen," Mr Brown said.

"As Tourism Minister and Premier, is this really how Mr Hodgman would want our beautiful state to be known and remembered by tourists?"

More than 12,000 people have signed a petition opposing the show.

"Taxpayer funding of this type of event reflects poorly on our community's core values and our image of what it means to be human," Mr Brown said.


Vic to get justice overhaul, more cops

Violent criminals will be subject to the same post-sentence monitoring and as sex offenders and some will even remain locked up, in Victoria's $308 million justice overhaul.

Those deemed by a court as unsuitable for release into the community at the end of a prison sentence will be sent to a 10-bed facility to be built within the existing prison system.

Others will be subject to electronic monitoring, curfews, no-go zones and strict reporting requirements, it was announced on Thursday.

The Sex Offender Response Unit, made up of police, intelligence analysts and corrections staff, will manage the expanded scheme and a new authority will be created to oversee unit.

It will all be a part of $308 million package to implement the recommendations of the Harper Review.

The review was prompted by the murder of 17-year-old Masa Vukotic at the hands of Sean Price, who was in the community on a supervision order in 2015.

Law and order was the major theme of the government's pre-budget announcements on Thursday.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Police Minister Lisa Neville also announced where some of the first 300 new frontline officers will be walking their new beats.

More than 100 new officers will go to west to Wyndham, Maribyrnong, Melton and Brimbank; 89 are headed north to Hume, Moonee Valley and Moreland; 50 are going to the southeast; 45 to Whittlesea and 10 to Geelong.

The new recruits are a part of a $2 billion announcement made last year, with the funds set aside in next week's budget.

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

28 April, 2017  

"I was born in Australia and I don’t want to assimilate"  -- but integration and assimilation are not the same thing.

Koraly Dimitriadis does make an important point below but it may not be the one she has in mind. For a start, she is clearly reflecting the views of her Greek parents. Greek immigrants of yesteryear typically saw Australians as a low lot with no morals or standards. They fitted in very well to Australian society with the fish-shops, greengrocers and milk bars that they set up (among other things) but were very strong on maintaining their cultural separateness. "Separateness" in Afrikaans is "apartheid". So they were clearly racists in a loose application of that term and Ms Dimitriadis clearly has a similar view of "old" (Anglo-Celtic) Australians.

Amusingly, as time has gone by, the lack of "standards" that older Greeks deplored in Australia has turned up in Greece also. So young Greeks who return to Greece to absorb their heritage tend to find that modern Greece is much more like Australia than it is like the Greece of their parents' description. I believe that even "hooking up" has arrived in Athens, which would be anathema to older Greeks.

But the underlying fact that Ms Dimitriadis seems not to realize is that integration and assimilation are not the same thing. Australia has absorbed vast numbers of immigrants from Europe and Asia with only minor frictions. The migrants concerned often did not assimilate in that they retained much of their own culture and customs but they integrated into Australian society by working for their living and not making waves. They rarely did break and enters and they don't go around shooting and bombing people in the name of Allah. So no-one was bothered by them and very little was required of them if they wanted to become citizens.

So the recently proposed citizenship test is not remotely aimed at Greeks, East Asians or Hindu Indians. Almost nobody is concerned about them gaining citizenship. There is nothing to be concerned about. What the tests are aimed at is the two groups of recent arrivals that I mentioned: Africans and Muslims. It is they whom the government wants to crack down on. But in an era of political correctness, they do not feel able to be frank about their aims. If they made the citizenship test applicable to Africans and Muslims only, there would be a huge uproar about "racism" from the Left. So a test designed to restrict Africans and Muslims has to be made applicable to all immigrants.

And, reasonably, some people, such as Ms Dimitriadis, feel the test is not and should not be applicable to her or her relatives. Ms Dimitriadis is undoubtedly a good citizen of Australia and deserves no special scrutiny of herself or her culture. So what she has highlighted is the difficulty that political correctness imposes. It causes her and her relatives to be treated like some very obnoxious groups are treated. It removes an important opportunity to make reasonable distinctions.

Just a small aside in conclusion: At the end of her article, she says:

"I’ll be proud to call myself Australian, to follow Australian values, when I see some values I’d like to follow, until then, I’ll stick to being myself"

She might more frankly have said, "I’ll stick to being a Greek Australian". And there is no reason why she should not do that. Greek Australians have made great contributions to Australia. The only difficulty is that political correctness would have made that statement racist

ASSISTANT Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke said something on the ABC’s Q&A this week that did not sit well with me.

When asked about recent swift changes to obtaining Australian citizenship, he responded:  “… if you want to become Australian you have to assimilate and integrate into Australian society.”

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I was born in Australia and I am not interested in assimilating.

Assimilate and integrate into what? Australian society? Isn’t Australia a multicultural society made up of different people, cultures and faiths? Maybe what the government actually means is Anglo Saxon Christian Australian society.

“Australian values” and fluency in the English language will be some of the revamps to the new citizenship testing. Anglo Saxon English migrants will do just fine then. Migrants where English isn’t their first language will be at a disadvantage.

Just off the back of the Senate rejecting the proposed changes to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and racist Australians crying out “freedom of speech”, in conjunction with the recent skilled migration visa changes, it seems our government this year has adopted Pauline Hanson-style discrimination politics.

While the list of questions for the test has yet to be finalised, whether or not it is appropriate to hit your wife is an example being thrown around. Apart from the ludicrous idea that someone applying for citizenship would tick “yes”, wouldn’t appropriate police checks be done when applying for permanent residency and citizenship?

“Membership of the Australian family is a privilege and should be afforded to those who support our values, respect our laws and want to work hard by integrating and contributing to an even better Australia,” Mr Turnbull said.

Since when is knowing fluent English proof you’re a true blue Aussie? Isn’t the language of Australia the hundreds of indigenous languages? Lucky Section 18C is still intact and the words “insult”, “offend” and “humiliate” were not replaced with “harass” because I am terribly offended right now.

Many members of my extended and immediate family who migrated to Australia in the 70s don’t know fluent English and they are prouder Aussies than I am and I was born here. From the day their ship docked, they have worked hard creating flourishing businesses, they have purchased their own home, educated their children to university level, and contributed not only to the economy but to the face of Australia’s multicultural society. It seems when it comes to appreciating different cultures, Anglo’s are good at appreciating the cuisine, not so much the customs and language.

See, this is why I don’t sing the Australian national anthem. Why would I want to pledge my allegiance to a racist country? The only Australia I am interested in is multicultural Australia. Not racist Australia, not Anglo Australia, but multicultural Australia. But all this government has shown me is they are interested in fuelling segregation. Just from the changes to the skilled migration visas and citizenship changes, racist Australians are getting validated by our government.

I can just hear it already: “Stop stealing our jobs, learn English or go back to where you came from, and give us our freedom of speech to offend you out in public rather than discretely behind closed doors.”

If the government really wants to keep jobs for Australians, maybe they could start by banning big companies from outsourcing their call centres to third world countries.

The government needs to realise that the words “assimilate” and “integrate” can be highly offensive to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Because assimilate means integrate into the dominant power and that dominant power is Anglo.

The entire parliament of Australia needs a lesson in multiculturalism, in unifying communities rather than tearing them apart. I’ll be proud to call myself Australian, to follow Australian values, when I see some values I’d like to follow, until then, I’ll stick to being myself.


Queensland police 'soliciting' victims to withdraw complaints in bid to cut crime rate, report finds

Police are "soliciting" victims to withdraw complaints in an effort to keep a lid on rising crime rates, Queensland's auditor-general has found.

The auditor's report says pressure from the police hierarchy to cut crime rates has left the Queensland Police Service (QPS) "open to claims of manipulation".

The ABC revealed in January that two police crime managers on the Gold Coast had raised concerns legitimate crime reports were being labelled "unfounded" to keep offences off the books.

Their allegations were passed onto the Queensland auditor-general after their superiors failed to act on their complaints.

In a report about criminal justice data tabled in Parliament, the Audit Office said police crime statistics were "questionable at best and unreliable at worst, and should be treated with caution".

The report focused on the Gold Coast police district, finding officers there used various methods to try to get victims to withdraw their complaints.

The methods included "soliciting victims to withdraw complaints" and sending victims letters requiring them to respond within seven days.

If they failed to respond, police would "presume" they wanted the complaint withdrawn.

The complaints related to offences including assault, burglary, stealing and wilful damage.

"Our analysis of statewide crime statistics indicates that the inappropriate practices and attitudes identified on the Gold Coast regarding changes to crime data are unlikely to be isolated to that district," the report stated.

Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan told the ABC inappropriate police conduct would be investigated. "I would say to anyone who feels like they've been inappropriately contacted by police to let us know. There is a complaints process," he said. "We expect the highest standards, the very highest standards from our Queensland police.

"If there are shortcomings in those behaviours in respect of any aspect of their role, then those shortcomings will be investigated and we will hold those officers to the highest standards."

The latest QPS crime figures reveal the rates of assault, fraud, robbery and unlawful entry on the Gold Coast in 2016 rose from the year before.

Police detective turned criminologist Terry Goldsworthy believes the concerns raised by the auditor-general should be referred to the state's Crime and Corruption Commission.

"It's not just the fact it's sloppy bookkeeping. What's seen here suggests there's been deliberate manipulation. In other words, a process has been undertaken to mislead," he said.


WA man wrongly convicted after DNA error

A DNA profiling mistake that led to an innocent man being convicted has been referred to WA's Corruption and Crime Commission a year following the discovery of the error.

The man was charged in 2004 over a home invasion and despite protesting his innocence, agreed to plead guilty because his lawyer told him he risked jail time if he lost a trial on the back of strong DNA evidence.

The Department of Health's forensic testing service, PathWest, had incorrectly matched him to DNA belonging to another man with the same name.

Health Minister Roger Cook and Attorney-General John Quigley say it is understood the error was not identified until April 2016, when PathWest notified police.

But the Director of Public Prosecutions was told only last week.

Mr Cook has requested the public sector commissioner conduct an immediate inquiry into PathWest's operations and Mr Quigley has referred the matter to the Corruption and Crime Commission.

"This is a very serious matter," Mr Cook said on Thursday.

"The North Metropolitan Health Service is also undertaking its own audit to determine whether any other errors of this nature could have occurred."

Mr Quigley said the man who the DNA belonged to had an extensive criminal record and went on to commit other crimes.

He wants the home invasion case reopened and said the wrongly convicted man wanted to clear his name.

Mr Cook said he spoke with the man on Wednesday and offered him an apology on behalf of the state.


Lisa Oldfield has joined a chorus of voices lambasting Yassmin Abdel-Magied for her highly political Anzac Day post

The Real Housewives of Sydney star added her two cents to the debate that has swept the nation since Abdel-Magied posted a comment to Facebook on Tuesday.

The Muslim author and activist caused a national stir when she suggested Australians should spare a thought for those on Manus Island and in Syria instead of Anzacs.

In the post, the 26-year-old author and activist wrote: "Lest We Forget (Manus.Nauru. Syria. Palestine)".

She apologised for comments in a follow up post after the original one was deleted. "It was brought to my attention that my last post was disrespectful, and for that, I apologise unreservedly," she wrote.

During a panel discussion on Sky News overnight, Ms Oldfield appeared to sympathise with Abdel-Magied before ultimately unleashing on her. "At the end of the day I don't like what she said, I was offended by what she said," Ms Oldfield, the wife of former One Nation co-founder David Oldfield, said.

"But I still support her right to freedom of speech and my right to say Lest We Forget Yassmin that you are brown, you are Muslim and you are a girl and that's the only reason you have a job at the ABC."

Ms Oldfield is not the first to vent their anger at the situation, with Broadcaster Alan Jones describing Abdel-Magied as "un-Australian".

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has also joined in the tirade, demanding Abdel-Magied be sacked. "After a very special day yesterday I am disgusted to actually hear about Yassmin Abdel-Magied's comments on social media," Ms Hanson said in a Facebook video.

"I just think she has no understanding, she has no idea, yet the federal government's paying her to travel the world to promote her book and she's been on the Australian 100-year commemoration to represent the youth, she wouldn't have a clue.”

In the days since Abdel-Magied's post, a number of petitions have popped up online calling for the presenter to be fired. One petition has more than 20,000 supporters.

Meanwhile, outspoken feminist author Clementine Ford has thrown her support behind the young presenter by starting an online petition defending the presenter against "d---heads".

"Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a deadset legend. She puts herself on the line and cops a lot of crap from racist bigots and Strayan dickheads," she said. "Yassmin does not deserve this hatred. Yes, this is a meaningless petition - but so is the one circulating demanding the ABC fire her."

The ABC has backed Abdel-Magied saying it would not take any action against the "part-time presenter". "Her views and opinions in that capacity are her own and do not represent those of the ABC," the broadcaster said in a statement.

Abdel-Magied is not shy of controversy; in February this year she engaged in a screaming row with Senator Jacqui Lambie on Q&A.

During the verbal stoush Abdel-Magied said Islam was a feminist religion and also appeared to condone Sharia Law.

Abdel-Magied also has alleged links to anti-gay and anti-women group Hizb ut-Tahrir, who she made contact with in the wake of her on-air fight with Ms Lambie. The Australian claims Abdel-Magied made contact with the group for advice on how she could have presented her argument on the panel show.

Last month, Abdel-Magied arbitrated a show on SBS called ‘The Truth About Racism’ which featured an African, Asian, Aboriginal, Muslim and a white Australian male with far right views – Nick Folkes.

But the show was quickly denounced by Mr Folkes who told The Australian he was “stitched up” and the show was really about proving the white guy to be a racist.
Like the ABC, the SBS stood by Abdel-Magied, saying Mr Folkes was given ample time to air his opinions.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

27 April, 2017  

Property Council urges more urban land, low-deposit loans in housing affordability plan

Nobody can repeal the law of supply and demand so what the rising prices clearly reveal is that supply is not keeping up with demand. And that is so.  With Australia taking in a couple of hundred thousand immigrants in every year, something like a couple of hundred thousand new houses need to be built.  Because of the slowness of local councils to release more building land, that is not happening.  Councils are the choke point.  But how anybody can squeeze their balls remains to be seen

The lobby group representing property developers has unveiled a "10-point plan" to boost housing affordability in Australia's major cities, urging an increase in the availability of urban land, a system of low-deposit home loans and incentives for older home owners to downsize.

The Property Council, which has been a high-profile opponent of Labor's proposals to curb negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions, has released its plan two weeks out from the government's budget, which will outline a suite of housing affordability measures.

Released on Wednesday, their plan reiterates the council's opposition to negative gearing reform, and calls for an increase in housing "supply, diversity and choice" through a strategy that increases the amount of land for new homes supported by infrastructure in capital cities.

It wants charges and "red tape" to be reduced to make it cheaper for property developers to build, incentives for states to reform competition policy, risk-assessed low-deposit loans for owner-occupiers, the creation of "built to rent" housing, and the phasing out of stamp duty.

The low-deposit loan scheme would be based on Western Australia's Keystart program, which has been accessed by 85,000 people and results in fewer defaults than the market average, according to the Property Council.

The council also suggests boosting the supply of fit-for-purpose retirement living, and protecting some surplus cash from the pension-assets test.

Winding back stamp duty, the group said, would make the tax system more efficient and increase economic growth.

Average dwelling prices were 6.9 times average wages in 2016, up from 4.3 times average wages 15 years ago. In 2001, it took 85.9 per cent of the average household income to pay for a home deposit. This rose to 138.9 per cent in 2016.

"For 20 years we have had a logjam of costly regulation, poor planning decisions and excessive taxation across all levels of government. This has driven up construction costs, impeded supply, and resulted in the dramatic increase in house prices in our major cities," Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison said.

"Our plan seeks to support housing construction, broaden housing choice, reduce unnecessary construction costs, incentivises the states to undertake planning reform, induce institutional investment in new rental stock, and help first home buyers bridge the deposit gap."

The report outlines lagging supply, strong population growth, monetary policy, strong employment levels, low inflation, low interest rates and increased competition in the mortgage market as drivers of house prices.

Mr Morrison said negative gearing underpins the rental market and warned the government to "tread carefully otherwise it runs the risk of undermining the flow of jobs and investment throughout the economy".


Vic Police have 'lost the plot': Glare

Former police commissioner Kel Glare says he's prepared to be labelled "mongrel of the month" by saying Victoria Police has "lost the plot" when it comes to crime prevention.

Mr Glare says the "crime tsunami" hitting Victoria wouldn't have happened under his watch.

"When it comes down to it, we need a radical change from what we are seeing now," he told reporters in Melbourne.

"Victoria Police has withdrawn most or if not all of their crime preventative measures."

The Community Advocacy Alliance, which Mr Glare heads, released its Plan 100 for law and order in the Victoria on Wednesday with the backing of opposition leader Matthew Guy.

It focuses on crime prevention through programs for youth and making the victim the centre of the justice system.

Mr Glare was the state's chief commissioner from 1987 to 1992.


ABC presenter savaged for 'disrespecting Anzacs'

ABC presenter Yassmin Abdel-Magied has been savaged on social media after suggesting Australians should spare a thought for those on Manus Island and in Syria instead of the Anzacs.

The host of the ABC 24's Australia Wide program fell afoul of Facebook users today when she posted "Lest We Forget (Manus.Nauru. Syria. Palestine)".

She was forced to delete the post after receiving a barrage of comments from irate social users. "It was brought to my attention that my last post was disrespectful, and for that, I apologise unreservedly," she wrote in a follow up post.

While the 26-year-old author may have hoped her apology would be taken for what it was, Abdel-Magied found herself the target of venomous, racist abuse.  "You disgusting piece of low life. Disrespecting our country's veterans. You aren't Australian. Go to hell," one incensed Facebook user wrote.  "Too late now you best leave you are hated in this country, your ISIS brothers will take really good care of you," another wrote.

While another wrote: "You are utter filth. I hope you get sacked for your disgraceful ignorance and insolence. Pig!"

Ms Abdel-Magied is not shy of controversy; in February this year she was engaged in a screaming row with Senator Jacqui Lambie on Q&A. The verbal stoush was triggered by a debate on US President Donald Trump's proposed Muslim ban.


Family First takeover: Cory Bernardi looks for more mergers after 'great day for conservatives'

Breakaway senator Cory Bernardi says he will pursue mergers with other conservative parties and seek more defections from the Liberal Party after Family First folded its operations into his nascent Australian Conservatives party.

Family First, a socially and economically conservative party launched in 2001, will no longer exist from Wednesday and its two South Australian MPs will switch to serve under the Australian Conservatives banner.

With Senator Bernardi set to gain thousands of members, finances and two state MPs, how will the new conservative marriage between him and Family First impact the federal political landscape?

The merger will give Senator Bernardi access to Family First's party infrastructure - including mailing lists - but will not boost his party's representation in the Senate.

While welcoming the merger, Family First senator-elect Lucy Gichuhi said she planned to serve as an independent rather than join forces with Senator Bernardi.

Senator-elect Lucy Gichuhi with former Family First senator Bob Day during last year's election campaign.
Senator-elect Lucy Gichuhi with former Family First senator Bob Day during last year's election campaign. Photo: Facebook

"While I respect the decision of Family First to join with Australian Conservatives, given the circumstances and the time frames, I have not been able to determine if joining this new entity is the best way for me to serve the people of South Australia," Ms Gichuhi said in a statement.

"It is on that basis that I have decided to serve as an independent senator for the time being."

Ms Gichuhi will be sworn into the Senate next month after the High Court decided Family First senator Bob Day's election was invalid because he had an indirect pecuniary interest with the Commonwealth.

Mr Day, who has bankrolled Family First in recent years, gave a curt "no comment" when asked by Fairfax Media on Wednesday whether he supported the merger.

Speaking at a press conference in Adelaide, Senator Bernardi said: "I hope it's not the last amalgamation. "I welcome minor parties, I welcome former colleagues [and] existing colleagues, who want to be part of a team that really, genuinely wants to make politics different."

Senator Bernardi said the two parties were a "natural fit" and the merger would strengthen the conservative movement across Australia. He wished Ms Gichuhi well with her career.

South Australian Family First leader Dennis Hood said it was a "great day for Family First and we believe it is a great day for those on the conservative side of politics in Australia". "Finally, those on the conservative side of politics will have a united conservative voice in which to support and park their vote," he said. "We are excited about the prospect that holds."

Mr Hood said all of Family First's state branches and its federal executives agreed to join forces with the Australian Conservatives. "This is a unanimous decision," he said. "There has been no dissension within the Family First party at all."


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

26 April, 2017

Immigrants advance Australian economy, but what happens if we 'close the door?'

The discussion below has some reasonable points but it comes from the Left-leaning ABC so commits the usual Leftist error of treating all immigrants as the same.  There has long been a broad consensus that Australia should prioritize immigrants with useful skills and that implies that all immigrants are NOT the same.  So the Left are being deliberately obtuse about this.  The truth is that immigrants from both ends of the Eurasian continent  -- Europe and East Asia -- have indeed assimilated well and made a great contribution to the development of Australia.  But that is NOT so of immigrants from the Middle East and other Muslim lands.  So to apply the lessons from past immigration to the inflow we are getting those days is totally invalid and deceptive.  Muslim and African immigrants are largely parasitic and are not even grateful for their reception.

And the claim that hostility to Muslims is our fault and not theirs rests not only on a refusal to look at Muslim behaviour but also rests on an accusation that Australians have always been hostile to immigrants.  That is nonsense. 

The example that always comes to my mind concerns the government of NSW a few years back.  Under the Iemma administration an Italian Premier was assisted in government by a Greek finance minister and several other Italians. NSW was run by what some would once have called "wogs" with hardly any consciousness of that.  All the politicians concerned were born in Australia of immigrant parents and were freely elected by the people of NSW to run Australia's most populous State.  Where did the racism go in that?

There will always be racists in every community but to point to a few isolated examples of it does not establish a generalization.  My example of what millions of NSW people did with their vote does, however, tell you much more about the attitudes of Australians in general

For a nation built mostly on newly-arrived immigrants, it's an issue guaranteed to inflame heated and at times vicious debate.

Outright distrust and opposition to anything "foreign" was part of our social fabric until 70 years ago, and at one stage was enshrined in our political system via The White Australia policy.

Then, the post war immigration boom saw waves of European refugees flee their war-torn homelands in search of a better life.

Those new arrivals changed Australia forever, overwhelmingly for the better, as did the influx of Asian immigrants fleeing conflict in the 1970s.

But despite the proclamations from our leaders that we are a tolerant mob who embrace cultural diversity, the deep-seated distrust among established Australians never really evaporated, as evidenced by the animosity towards new arrivals from the Middle East.

So inflamed are passions, it is nigh on impossible to have a sensible debate over levels of immigration whether it be in regards to the continent's environmental sensitivities or on the impact on the economy.

Those who raise legitimate concerns often are accused of racism.

That's understandable given environmental protection and the economy have become convenient smokescreens for those who harbour deep prejudices.

From around 90,000 at the turn of the century, our annual intake of immigrants has risen to more than 200,000 a year.

That's put a rocket under our population growth rate, which has surged to 1.8 per cent over the past 15 years, way above the OECD average of 0.7 per cent.

From a humanitarian perspective, it's allowed us to strut the world stage from the vantage of the high moral ground.

However, from an economic viewpoint, it's delivered our leaders a convenient buffer with which to hide a multitude of fiscal sins and allowed them to shirk making tough decisions.

How immigration boosts GDP

There's a fairly simple relationship between immigration and economic growth. The more people you have, the bigger your economy. More people buy more goods and services.

There's nothing inherently wrong with boosting your growth through immigration.

But the crime committed by Australian governments of all persuasions in the past 20 years is that, while they've been happy to accept the kudos for economic growth, they've been totally unwilling to spend the necessary cash to ensure the economy can cope with such a dramatic influx of new arrivals.

In essence, they've cooked the books.

As a result, many of our major cities are choking. Our infrastructure is obsolete. Utilities are struggling. That, in turn, has adversely affected our productivity and led to further distortions in how our wealth is distributed.

The laughable illusion of our economic miracle — the nation that fuels and feeds the world — is highlighted by looking just one small step beyond the raw GDP data.

If you simply divide our economic growth performance by the number of Australians, our growth doesn't look anywhere near as flash.

On an annualised basis, our per capita GDP growth has never been much above 2 per cent since the last recession 25 years ago, and that was for just a few years around the new millennium.

Most of the time it's been around 1.5 per cent and more recently 1 per cent. That's tepid at best.

That's the reason why, in recent years, it often has felt like a recession. In fact, during 2009, the economy was in reverse when measured in per capita growth terms.

Once you spread the extra wealth around all those extra people, we've been barely marking time. So much for the boom.

More people, less pay, same old infrastructure

Most new arrivals head to where they can find work. That's meant most immigrants have headed towards the biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne.

Since around 2003, Melbourne's population has swelled by almost 1 million, with Sydney not far behind.

All those extra people have to live somewhere and that puts pressure on housing.

Despite the common misconception peddled by shock jocks that new immigrants flock here for social security benefits, most in fact are desperate for work. That puts pressure on wages.

It is little surprise then that in the past decade, housing prices, particularly in the major centres have soared while wages growth now is the slowest since the last recession.

It's never a simple, linear argument. Immigrants are amazingly adept at starting their own businesses, thereby creating employment.

And record low interest rates combined with tax incentives that have transformed housing into a preferred investment vehicle have been the primary drivers in inflating the east coast housing bubble.

But there's no denying the failure of successive governments to develop infrastructure that would have facilitated new housing, thereby helping alleviate the dangerous east coast property bubble, and maintained productivity.

Immigration crackdown — Where now for growth?

In the past week, there has been a clear shift in Federal Government thinking. The scaling back of 457 visas — which undoubtedly have been rorted — and the tougher approach to citizenship appear to herald a new approach to immigration.

Once again though, the motivation appears to be more on pandering to electoral and party room prejudice than being sourced in sound economics or environmental grounds.

Political posturing aside, it would appear Canberra unwittingly has exposed itself to a far greater problem.

Without the immigration sugar hit, what will drive the Australian economy into the future?

Most of our economic growth forecasts have been based on population growth of around 400,000 a year; almost a new city.

With the mines now running at peak capacity, resource prices in decline and the east coast housing boom on its final doomed run, a pull back on immigration — the secret weapon in our economic miracle — will leave our leaders with nowhere to hide.

To further complicate matters, if productivity is to be lifted, a major infrastructure spend is required; the money that should have been spent all along to cope with the immigration intake.

Perhaps they will be forced to confront serious fiscal issues if they truly want to bring the budget deficit back under control instead of simply relying on endless numbers of new arrivals to inflate the economy and the tax base.

Maybe they will get serious about a resources rent tax, rather than idly standing by and watching the nation's riches hauled off for little return.

Tax cuts for foreign corporations may take a back seat to enforcing the law on company tax. And they might even question whether we can afford the enormous tax breaks on superannuation and property investment for the wealthy.

Maybe. But it will probably take a recession to do it.


A French lesson for Australia

The comparisons made by Robert Gottliebsen below are a little strained but I see some truth in them

Now for a different twist on the French Presidential election.

In a strange way, many of the problems facing France are incredibly similar to those facing Australia. On the economic front (aside from refugees and terror) in the looming Presidential run off, France is being given two very different solutions to its version of the problems. Down the track we will face similar choices, so let’s compare our two nations.

Both of us find that our employment creating industries suffer from a high currency. France has 10 per cent unemployment. We are at 6 per cent, mainly thanks to our building industry and housing boom. If this sector falters, we will find ourselves in an unemployment situation that’s not much different from France.

The French currency is high because it uses the euro rather than the franc, and the euro is boosted by the inclusion of Germany.

Our currency is high because of our iron ore and LNG exports, which are commodities produced by industries that are not big labour employers and, in the case of LNG, it is damaging the economics of our energy-reliant labour-employing industries.

Both of us have labour laws that restrict employment and are not consistent with the currency. The French situation is far worse than Australia but, as so often happens in France, the French have found ways to mitigate the problem.

They try to restrict the size of their businesses to less than 50 people (and sometimes even lower) to avoid the worst of the labour laws and that creates entrepreneurialism.

Here in Australia we mitigated the shift allowance and penalty rate part of our labour problem by large corporate deals with the unions which covered a huge portion of the workforce, and another big slab was covered by the use of the cash economy.

Although our official penalty rates were high, in reality relatively few paid them. Fair Work Australia tried to bring the official penalty rates closer to what people were actually being paid but were ambushed by Opposition leader Bill Shorten and the Prime Minister did not know how to bring the debate back to reality.

As a result, a large number of large and small enterprises, particularly large retailers and small cafes, may end up increasing their weekend/public holiday shift allowances to the official rate which will make the problem a great deal worse. We are heading in the French direction.

Both our countries have a serious Muslim terror problem although the French one much is worse than ours.

Both countries have horrific debt, although ours comes via the banking system rather than the government.

Both countries are becoming sick of the existing political parties that have not been able to grasp the state and national problems.

The French have a presidential system which has enabled them to easily dump both traditional parties in the latest election in favour of people outside the traditional political arena — exactly what the Americans have done when confronted with their version of the same problem.

If the next French president is Emmanuel Macron, then he is promising to reduce unemployment from ten to seven per cent by changing the labour laws. He will slash the public service to reduce the deficit. I wish him luck. The unions in France are ferocious.

The other candidate Marine Le Pen is planning to take the French out of the euro, which means the labour problem will be solved via the currency. If Macron wins and he fails to change the labour laws and/or his measures do not reduce unemployment, then there will be no alternative for France but to leave the euro and adopt a version of the Marine Le Pen solution.

The French are being given a real choice as to which solution they pick.

In Australia, an effective leader has not yet emerged from the left or right in the conventional parties. If a leader willing to tackle the issues does not emerge from one of the conventional parties, then voters may well go elsewhere as France has done.


Fairy tale revisionism

Disrespect for children's traditional fairy stories will always grate on those of us who grew up with them and enjoyed them but there is a defence of that disrespect below that does have something in it.  It is an attempt to attack sentiment with logic, however, so will not do much to shift attitudes. That there are important life lessons embedded in the stories will however always be their strongest defence.  For children they a way of learning important lessons about reality in an enjoyable way

This year, the Respectful Relationships curriculum was rolled out in Victorian schools. As part of it, children are taught to think critically about traditional fairy tales by looking at the gender roles they contain.

But not everyone likes the idea. When we asked our readers to give their thoughts, many felt that fairy tales should be left alone:

    "They are cliched romantic tales for children, meant to be taken as fantasy."

    "If we start mucking around and changing stories to make them politically correct we will destroy the joy of reading."

    "PC gone mad. How bout the Government concentrate on real things, not damn fairy tales."

    "Give us a break. They are beautiful fairy tales. Let kids be kids and have their childhood memories."

What exactly does the Respectful Relationships curriculum teach?

The curriculum was devised to address gender-based violence.   According to the teaching materials, gender norms "influence beliefs about how girls and boys should act, speak, dress and express themselves", and are often "reinforced through popular television shows and story books".

    "Analyses of popular books have found that central characters are more likely to be male, female characters are more often in nurturing roles, and occupations are gender stereotyped," the teaching materials state.

To get primary school children thinking about this, the program gets them to look at traditional fairy tales and identify their "gendered messages".

Students are asked to take on the role of a "fairy tale detective" and consider, for instance, what would happen if the characters swapped roles — "if the girl had the sword and the boy waited for her to rescue him".

They are then asked to look at more modern fairy tales to see how they compare.

If you're curious, the teaching resources are all available online.

Here are just a few sexist tropes as identified by Dr Lauren Rosewarne, a social studies expert at the University of Melbourne:

    women being saved by men

    women's value being attached to how beautiful they are

    old women being witches

"Fairytales have long been in the crosshairs of feminists who have considered the presentations to reiterate antiquated stereotypes," Dr Rosewarne said.

Is this teaching program an example of political correctness?

Dr Rosewarne doesn't think so. "I see this as being about a culture that has become savvy about identifying where stifling gender roles come from and how they get reinforced by our culture," she said.     "It's about thinking critically about material we too often dismiss as 'just entertainment' or 'just children's stories'."

Dr Matthew Beard, from the Ethics Centre, says there's a difference between sanitising texts and critically looking at them. "If children are being told, 'This story is bad, stop enjoying it,' then that's a problem, there's a genuine reason why parents would be concerned," he said.

But he says simply thinking critically about a story doesn't stop you from enjoying it.  "We can revel in the excitement of a prince that's fighting a dragon but also think, 'Hmm, I wonder why it had to be a man?'," he said. "I don't think criticism or reflection is the enemy of entertainment."

Are we breaking with tradition?

Dr Rosewarne says no, because what we think of as "traditional" fairy tales are actually recent inventions anyway.  "The fairy tales so common in storybooks and cartoons are actually already heavily sanitised versions of the stories original circulated by the Grimm brothers," she said.

Dr Beard also notes that the nastier aspects of fairy tales have already been washed out.   "The little mermaid in the Hans Christian Andersen version kills herself at the end because she doesn't actually find true love," he said.

A couple years ago, we took a closer look at the surprisingly dark and gruesome stories behind Disney's fairy tales.

Aren't fairy tales supposed to be all about teaching values in the first place?  Dr Beard says they are, and that looking at gender stereotypes adds another dimension to this. "Fairy stories have always been about teaching moral lessons, that's the entire purpose of these morality tales," he said.

"They're meant to teach about courage, they're meant to teach about humility, or patience."

Dr Rosewarne says fairy tales and folk stories should adapt over time to reflect changes in our culture.  "Holding tight to some notion of 'tradition' isn't about authenticity but rather about rigid adherence to conservative values that have, historically, limited women," she said.

She points to Frozen and Tangled as examples of modern fairy tales that challenged gender stereotypes and were still popular with children.


Q&A: Citizenship, visa changes dominate program forcing Alex Hawke to defend policies

Changes to Australia's 457 visas and citizenship tests dominated Q&A on Monday night, with Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke spending most of the program defending the Government's policies.

Last week Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the Government would abolish the 457 visa, replacing it with two new visas, and introduce sweeping changes to the nation's citizenship laws, including a tougher citizenship test.

On Q&A immigration lawyer Sarah Thapa challenged Mr Hawke to justify what she said was a "sudden" decision to scrap hundreds of occupations allowed under current visas.

"Many of these occupations are relied upon by my clients in the [information and communication technology], medical research and renewable energy sector," she said.

But Mr Hawke said the overhaul had faced "extensive public reviews" and was about "Australians getting access to the Australian labour market first".

"When you look at the kinds of occupations that are there, when you look at the requirements that are there, too many Australians are being overlooked for jobs and too many Australians in those fields that have been mentioned right there haven't been offered those jobs, whether they are new graduates out of our universities or if they are people older in life that get redundant and are replaced," he said.

He said would have been unwise to announce the changes ahead of time because it could have led to a rush on positions from foreign job seekers.

Questions over racism, Islamophobia

Audience member David Butt opened his question with a line from the film, The Big Short:

"I have a feeling in a few years people are going to be doing what they always do when the economy tanks — they will be blaming immigrants and poor people." He asked if last week's announcements were the Government's first step in pointing the finger of blame at immigrants.

But Mr Hawke rejected the suggestion. "It is not about any ethnicity or any immigrant," he said.  "These are temporary visas. These have never been about permanent visas. This is a temporary skill shortage program.

"There are pathways to permanent residency that have been attached to it [to recognise that] when people come and work for substantial periods of time they should be able to have a pathway to permanent residency, but the changes that I am making are non-discriminatory across the board."

Labor spokesman for business Tony Burke, who was also on the panel, said he was yet to see the detail of the changes but he questioned their motivation and highlighted what he said was a focus on immigrants.

He also questioned how citizenship test changes could improve Australia's national security.

"How on Earth can it be we are making a decision about whether or not somebody should be in Australia as a citizen when the only people we are talking about have already decided to be permanent resident?" he said.

"Of course it is not about national security."

"It [the overhaul] might still be sensible and there might still be aspects that are sensible, but the rhetoric claiming somehow people who are permanent residents and they've had their security checks and we have decided that are fine to live here but if we make them citizens and they are suddenly dangerous, it is absurd."

Migrants 'work hard to grow'

Debate continued with fellow panellists Senator Derryn Hinch and author and prominent feminist Germaine Greer before Zimbabwean activist and social entrepreneur Chido Govera was asked for her outsider's view.

She admitted she found it surprising Australia was having what appeared to be an insular debate in an increasingly global world.

Ms Govera said she also feared the changes were motivated by xenophobia.

"It feels like it is all geared to isolate a certain group of people from coming to Australia and that if they come, there was a mention they come to work in rural Australia and they should not be in the city.

"So they come from other countries and then we keep them in a small spot where they cannot grow. They stay in the rural areas and they cannot come into the city.

"That is a bit difficult to digest for me, knowing that this is maybe part of my people who are being spoken about in this way, when they work very hard to be in a space where they can also grow, but there is no chance for that. "Rules that are made like this are a little bit difficult because, again, it will lead us to the whole cycle of blaming, so it is blaming the immigrants, blaming the poor people.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

25 April, 2017

Police misbehaviour in Australia

Most times that I see them, I put up here reports of police misbehaviour.  As well as posting them here, I have a separate site that records reports about police only.  I have recently brought it up to date and the overwhelming feeling I got from it was shock about how frequent such behaviors are.  For anybody with concerns about the police, it could be a useful resource

Holocaust denial materials prompt concerns after distribution at Australian universities

Posters questioning the historical accuracy of the Holocaust have sparked concerns among students at the Australian National University (ANU) and at least two other universities where they were distributed.

On Friday students found flyers and posters at the ANU campus that give support to the views of controversial British writer David Irving, who has questioned the overwhelming body of evidence supporting the existence of the Holocaust.

The materials point to a website that includes questions about whether gas chambers existed at concentration camps.

ANU Students Association president James Connolly said the posters made reference to the new movie Denial, which dramatized a court case involving Mr Irving.

"There were a series of flyers and posters that had been found around the gym ... that challenged the historical authenticity of the Holocaust," Mr Connolly said.

"The impetus for the posters had come from a new film called Denial — the subject of the film was about Holocaust denial.

"It was challenging whether that film had resolved the matter of whether the Holocaust had actually happened."

Mr Connolly said it was not clear who distributed the flyers, but they were similar to ones that appeared on campus last year.

University 'appalled' by flyers

Mr Connolly said the materials were taken down immediately. "I was aware that it had happened in Victorian Universities," he said. "Holocaust denial is hate speech — it's usually peddling an agenda of anti-Semitism and it really has no place in an environment which values tolerance and inclusion."

A statement from the university also condemned the materials. "The University is appalled by the distribution of derogatory material on campus," it said. "The Vice-Chancellor has made it clear that the distribution of derogatory and inappropriate material is completely unacceptable. "ANU Security removed the fliers, and is reviewing CCTV footage to identify the perpetrators."

Melbourne University confirmed similar flyers were also distributed on its campus two weeks ago. A small number of flyers were also found in a carpark at Monash University. Police were notified of both incidents in Victoria.


Bob Katter 'doesn't want Muslims coming to Australia'

Queensland MP Bob Katter has been accused of racism after he was filmed admitting he opposed Muslim immigration to Australia.

The video, filmed in a New South Wales pub, shows a man quizzing the leader of Bob Katter’s Australia Party on his stance towards Muslims. “You don’t like much, do you really?” the man asks.

“We’re nice to you white blokes, I think we are,” Mr Katter replies.

The man then demands to know whether the Federal Member for Kennedy is “in bed with One Nation”.

“I don’t want any Muslims coming here,” Mr Katter says, before backtracking. “I shouldn’t say that.”

“You don’t want any of them coming here at all – do you, Bob Katter?” the man taunts.

Mr Katter then walks away.

Mr Katter today responded to the video taking aim at the media storm. "There is something wrong in the media when you can address this issue formally and intelligently in the Parliament with reason and you get absolutely nothing; and some loud mouth Bludgerigar  puts a video out and we get nation-wide publicity.  I’ll be writing Pauncho a letter of thanks," he said.

"We will say again, and again, bring in the tormented, not the tormentors.

"As I’ve said on the public record many times, it is imperative the people from the Middle East and North Africa are barred from entering Australia. The time is long overdue to stop people from terrorist regions coming to Australia," Mr Katter said.

"Why we say the Middle East and North Africa, the case cannot be made against Albania, Indonesia or Malaysia – they are not terrorist countries, even though they are Muslim countries.

"The exception of course are the persecuted minorities... We must, and please god will always, welcome them."

The politician is the grandson of a Lebanese migrant widely known for his socially conservative views.

In August last year, Mr Katter told Sky News the “time has come” to stop immigration from the Middle East and North Africa, citing terrorism fears and alleged migrant reliance on welfare.

In 2011, Mr Katter also dismissed same-sex marriage as something that deserved "to be laughed at and ridiculed".


Australia Institute examines Pauline Hanson's One Nation's performance in WA

Although it was widely written off as an embarrassing failure, One Nation's campaign in the Western Australia election was a considerable victory in which the party positioned itself to seize long-term balance of power in the federal senate, according to a new analysis.

In the March state election, One Nation secured three upper house seats, but failed to secure any in the lower house, as had been widely expected. The final days of the campaign were derailed by the resignation of some of its candidates and a disastrous interview in which Ms Hanson question the safety of vaccinations.

Many commentators suggested that it was the high tide mark for One Nation's electoral surge over recent years.

But a research paper to be published by the progressive think tank The Australia Institute finds that One Nation's result has been broadly misunderstood and the party underestimated.

In the election, One Nation candidates received 65,192 of a total of 1,321,640 valid first preference votes cast in Legislative Assembly districts, or 4.86 per cent. This was the figure focused on by most analysts after the election.

But in the paper, entitled One Nation in Western Australia: Epic fail or huge win?, Philip Dorling writes that many commentators failed to note that One Nation had run candidates in just 35 of the state's 59 lower house seats. In the seats it contested, the party won 8.47 per cent of first preference votes and in 10 electorates it won more than 10 per cent. This is the figure analysts should have emphasised, says Dorling.

The perception that the party lost ground in the election is a result of its failure to manage expectations, he told Fairfax Media.

Dorling notes that, when this 8.47 per cent figure is compared with One Nation's result in the 2016 federal election, the party has effectively doubled its vote in just seven months.

"Doubling of support and the election of three new parliamentary representatives (compared with zero representation previously) can hardly be described as a 'disaster' or an 'epic fail'."

If One Nation maintains support at this level, Dorling argues, it will be in a position to take a Senate seat in WA in the next federal election, when its current WA senator will face the polls again.

"Irrespective of One Nation's performance in other states, this would ensure a One Nation presence of at least two senators in the Senate after 2019. (Senator Hanson was elected in 2016 to a full six-year term until June 30, 2022.) In the event that One Nation's support increases in other states, notably in Queensland and NSW but also elsewhere, the party could anticipate Senate representation of five and possibly six or seven senators between 2019 and 2025."

The WA victory has other national ramifications for One Nation, Dorling notes. "One Nation now has a stronger political machine in Western Australia. The party is registered with an office that has supported a statewide political campaign. Having polled above 4 per cent in all of the upper and lower house seats it contested, the party and its candidates are eligible to claim up to approximately $320,000 in public funding to reimburse campaign expenses," he writes.

"One Nation now has four parliamentary offices in Western Australia (one senator's office and three legislative councillors' offices) with staff, administrative resources and travel entitlements. As a consequence, One Nation in Western Australia will be much better placed to campaign in the next federal election."

Dorling expects the party to perform well during its next electoral test, which will be in its home state of Queensland.

He believes that, far from being a disaster, the WA poll may prove to be a "harbinger to the party's long-term presence on the national political stage with consequent impacts on public policy across the board".


Budget to have another go at dole bludgers

The Turnbull government is going back to basics with its May 9 budget and having another crack at dole bludgers.

After weeks of speculation over what the budget might bring to ease housing affordability pressures, Malcolm Turnbull has attempted to tone down expectations despite a red-hot property market in Sydney and Melbourne.

A new poll has found voters agreeing with the prime minister about housing affordability, saying while it's an important issue it isn't necessarily a top priority.

The government will crack down on people who claim welfare but won't participate in work-for-the-dole schemes, closing a loophole that allows payments to continue despite people refusing interviews or placements.

Employment Minster Michaelia Cash says there is a cohort of people in Australia that actively says no to suitable work

"I think all taxpayers would rightly expect that those who can work should work and our welfare system should be there as a genuine safety net, not as something that people can choose to fund their lifestyle," she told reporters in Brisbane on Monday.

Labor frontbencher Katy Gallagher is a "bit suspicious" when a coalition government attempts to demonise and attack those who rely on welfare.

"We support rigour around people being responsible for the money they receive and actually having to play by the rules. There is no problem with that," she told reporters in Canberra.

But Labor wants to make sure the government isn't being "harsh and unfair" by attacking those who are most vulnerable.

However, Senator Gallagher welcomed a backflip by the government that will enable Australia's most vulnerable people access to legal services under new funding arrangements.

The government will provide $39 million for community legal centres and $16.7 million for indigenous legal services in the budget.

"We're actually announcing this in advance of the budget because we want to send a very clear signal about where the government's priorities lie," Attorney-General George Brandis told reporters in Brisbane.

The coalition has come under sustained fire from Labor, minor parties and community groups for not guaranteeing ongoing funding to the legal services, with previous commitments set to end on July 1.

Senator Gallagher said it was a humiliating about face by Senator Brandis.

"Just eight weeks out from these cuts taking effect, for those who have campaigned against the cuts, the victory is theirs today," she said.

A new survey found a majority (57 per cent) of voters regard Medicare and hospitals as their top priority.

The polling, by JWS Research for the Australian Financial Review, found stimulating economic growth and employment came second on 48 per cent, followed by welfare and social issues on 46 per cent and then housing affordability and funding for education and schools, both on 41 per cent.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

24 April, 2017

March for Science participants hoping to send strong message to political leaders

I heartily endorse this march.  We do need more science in public life.  More attention to the scientific fact that there is no correspondence between global temperature levels and global CO2 levels would be a start

Thousands of people have rallied across Australia as part of a global movement calling on political leaders to focus more on science.

Crowds gathered in cities and towns including Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Perth, Brisbane and Townsville as part of the inaugural March for Science, which is taking place in 500 locations worldwide.

The movement was started by scientists sceptical of the agenda of US President Donald Trump, but Stuart Khan, one of the organisers of the Sydney march, said it quickly went global.

He said marchers were calling on politicians to take note that the public wanted policy based on fact.

"The gaps that we see between what science tells us and what we actually see being translated into policy is very large, particularly when you look at things like climate change and the Great Barrier Reef," Professor Khan said.

"We're calling on politicians to make laws that are based on evidence that are appropriate for our future … Australians want to understand how science and how evidence is being incorporated into policy.

"Disease, famine, communicable disease, pollution of the ocean, climate change, all of these challenges are addressable by science."

Professor Khan emphasised that the march was not for scientists, but for anyone. "I'm participating as a community member, I'm participating as a dad," he said. "It is very important that the March for Science is a community-led march, it's a statement that is coming from the community.

"It's not led by the academics, it's not led by eminent scientists because it's not about them, it's about the community saying 'This is what is important to us'."

Among the thousands attending the Sydney rally was former Liberal leader John Hewson, who told AM ahead of the march he was concerned about "the lack of evidence being used as the basis of public policy".

"I think science is probably more useful and more relevant to society today than it's probably ever been. But there's been a widening gap between science and the public," he said.

"We need to stop and recognise the significance of science and the importance of funding it properly and using the evidence that it produces as the basis of good public policy."

Scientist and Macquarie University Associate Professor Josh Madin attended the Sydney rally with his young family and said politicians needed to pay attention to scientific evidence.

"We do a lot of work on the Great Barrier Reef and we've seen first hand the devastation up there and I just think there are some decisions being made that don't have the best interests of our children's future in mind," he said.

Among those throwing their support behind the March for Science is Luke Briscoe, chief executive of Indigi Lab, which works to get more recognition for Indigenous science.

Ms Briscoe said Indigenous science, a form of science in its own right, needed to be better understood in Western culture.

"The honeybee dance from where I'm from in Kuku Yalanji country in far north Queensland, that dance talks about how the bees are sustaining our ecologies," he said.

"It's passing on those customs and traditions that our sciences are embedded in and … it's hard to really put value and monetise the importance of that in a Western world."

Mr Briscoe said having Indigneous participation in the decision-making process would be the only way to ensure better recognition of Indigenous science.

"I think it's important that we ensure that Indigenous voices are heard in the science sector and are at the table in decision-making processes for how we roll out science programs," he said.

"In terms of the workforce, making sure that that it's not just a one-way science understanding — it's looking at two ways of learning and two ways of teaching science and practicing science."


US will honour refugee deal with Australia, Vice-President Mike Pence confirms

US Vice-President Mike Pence has reaffirmed that the Trump administration will honour the controversial refugee deal struck with Barack Obama, despite not liking it.

Made in the last days of the Obama administration, the United States agreed to resettle refugees from Manus Island and Nauru, as Australia seeks to close its off-shore detention facilities.

The US Vice-President has arrived in Sydney for talks with Malcolm Turnbull, with growing military tensions on the Korean peninsula expected to dominate his three-day visit to Australia.

In a phone call to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull shortly after his election, President Donald Trump referred to it as the "worst deal ever" in a conversation later described as "tense".

Speaking to media following his bilateral meeting with Mr Turnbull in Sydney on Saturday, Mr Pence said the deal would go ahead, despite doubts over what Mr Trump had publicly labelled a "dumb" agreement.

"President Trump has made it clear we will honour the agreement, but it doesn't mean we admire the agreement," he said.

"Frankly looking back at the last administration, the President has never been shy about expressing frustration with other international agreements, most notably the so-called nuclear agreement with Iran.

"Rest assured, as I confirmed today with the Prime Minister, the United States of America will honour the agreement and actually we have initiated the process of fulfilling that agreement, subject to the vetting processes that now apply to all refugees in the United States."

Mr Pence also appeared to confirm Mr Turnbull's role in ensuring the deal would still go ahead under a Trump administration, which was pinpointed as the cause of the now-notorious phone call.

"As this topic came up early in this administration, Prime Minister Turnbull made the case for the agreement with the President and the decision to go forward, I think, can rightly be seen as a reflection of the enormous importance of the historical alliance between the United States and Australia," Mr Pence said.

"And whatever reservations the President may have about the details of agreements reached with the prior administration, we will honour this agreement out of respect for that enormously important alliance."

Neither Mr Pence nor Mr Turnbull would say how many refugees would be resettled, under the agreement.

US Homeland Security officials have travelled to Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea to begin interviews with those who have applied under the deal.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was recently criticised for claiming fears over a five-year-old local boy, who was allegedly led into the Manus Island detention centre, sparked a recent violent outburst at the facility, an account which has been disputed by PNG officials.

The Manus Island facility has been marked for closure in the second half of this year, after the PNG Supreme Court found it to be unconstitutional.


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull doubles down on 'Australia first' message

Echoes of Mr Trump

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has taken to social media to promote his citizenship push and migrant worker crackdown, as the government works on selling its "Australia first" agenda.

It was all rolled out after the Easter long weekend.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has posted this video on Facebook saying his government is standing up for Australian jobs and values.

On Tuesday, Mr Turnbull announced the government would axe the 457 foreign worker visa program, and replace it with two new temporary visas, which would impose tougher qualification tests, while cutting down on the number of occupations open to international workers last week.

He followed that announcement up on Thursday with changes to the citizenship rules, which will see would-be Australians subjected to tougher language and "values-based" tests, and much longer waiting times before becoming eligible to apply for citizenship.

Now comes the sell, with Mr Turnbull releasing a short video on his Facebook page espousing the benefits of Australian values – and the policy changes – intersected with images of him meeting people on the street, being mobbed by school children, wearing an Akubra and talking to first and new Australians.

Mr Turnbull released the video shortly after his media conference with US Vice-President Mike Pence, who was elected, along with Donald Trump, on an "America First" platform.

"Australia is the most successful multicultural society in the world," he said.

"We do not define our national identity by race or religion, but by a commitment to shared Australian values. "Those Australian values define us. Australian values unite us.

"Freedom. Parliamentary democracy. The rule of law. Mutual respect. The equality of men and women and a fair go. The opportunity to get ahead, but lend a hand to those who fall behind.

"Our reforms will put these values at the heart of our citizenship requirements. Membership of our Australian family is a privilege and it should be afforded to those who support our values, respect our laws and want to integrate and contribute to an even better Australia."

Using the same language he used during the week, Mr Turnbull said the migration law changes would ensure "temporary worker visas do not become passports to jobs that should or could be done by Australians".

"Yes, businesses require access to the skills they need to grow, but Australian workers should always have priority for Australian jobs," he said, against a backdrop of native trees.

"My government is standing up for Australian jobs and Australian values."

When announcing his changes to the citizenship rules earlier in the week, Mr Turnbull appeared to struggle to name the Australian values he said were at the core of the reforms, saying there would be public consultation.

Facing pressure in the polls and within his own government, Mr Turnbull has sought to re-set his government's message in recent months, as it attempts to appeal to voters it lost at the last election to parties such as One Nation.


Symbolic domestic violence 'a blessing'

Peter Kurti

'Women of Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia' provoked controversy recently by giving the go-ahead for Muslim men to strike their wives -- but only in a symbolic way, they insisted. It must be done in a "managed" way with a short stick, a scrap of fabric, or a coiled scarf.

In the course of a panel discussion, two women agreed that discipline was "a beautiful blessing" and sometimes necessary to "promote tranquillity" in the family home. A husband is entitled to discipline a wife, the women said, if she has been disobedient or acted in an immoral way.

Prominent Australian Muslims, including Waleed Aly, condemned the video, as did Muslim MP, Ed Husic, who stated that any form of striking -- "either between husband or wife or anywhere" -- was "not acceptable." The Prophet, they all said, condemned violence.

Australian Muslims are in a tight spot when it comes to the rights of women. Sheik Shady Alsuleiman, a leading Muslim, has asserted the right of a husband to demand sex from his wife. But Yassmin Abdel-Magid, says domestic violence is unacceptable. Which, of course, it is.

Muslim leaders prevaricate whenever Islam rubs up against Western rights, values and laws. Some claim the Qu'ran says one thing, while others deny it and declare that it says another. Multiculturalist policies have inhibited us from judging other cultures. But not all cultures are equal.

This is the social price we are paying for striving to stamp out racism and discrimination. Promoting 'diversity' has long trumped affirming the primacy of our national culture. Now we are remembering that every Australian, regardless of race or creed, has full protection under the law.

Diffidence in the face of the illegal and the unacceptable leads not to liberty, but to tyranny. 


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

23 April, 2017

Citizenship changes revealed: Fluent English, four years of residency, Australian values

That fluency in English requirement is a bit of a fantasy.  The low-IQ wogs we have been getting lately will simply be unable to do it.  To learn a new language in adulthood is hard for anybody and few can do it.  People from Northern Europe can do it because they learned English throughout their schooldays.  How much English do Afghan goat-herders learn in their childhoods?

Prospective Australian citizens will need to have fluent English, four years of residency, Australian values, and a demonstrated capacity to integrate as part of an overhaul of the citizenship test announced by the Turnbull government this morning.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says there is “no more important title in our democracy than ‘Australian citizen’, and the institution of citizenship must reflect Australian values.

“We’re not defined by race or religion or culture, as many other nations are,” he said. “We’re defined by commitment to common values, political values, the rule of law, democracy, freedom, mutual respect, equality for men and women ... and our citizenship process should reflect that.”

The current system sets a good “character test” which rules out anyone with a conviction of a serious offence. For the first time domestic violence, gang related activity and organised crime associations will be included in more forensic police checks.

A government source claimed that the new test would look more deeply into people’s history for even minor offences which were not consistent with Australian values such as social welfare fraud and abuse.

New questions that would target religious extremism will be designed to demonstrate appreciation of Australian values, with potential questions to include whether the principle of religious freedom allowed for children to marry, genital mutilation, striking a spouse and prohibiting girls from school.

A position paper to be released today and obtained by The Australian cites national security and the global threat of terrorism as factors in the decision to update the Citizenship laws to re-affirm a commitment to democracy and bolstered Australian values.

“Recent terrorist attacks around the world have justifiably caused concern in the Australian community,” it says. “In the face of these threats, there is no better time to reaffirm our steadfast commitment to democracy, opportunity and our shared values.

“The Australian community expects that aspiring citizens demonstrate their allegiance to Australia, their commitment to live in accordance with Australian values and their willingness to integrate into and become contributing members of the Australian community.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the government made no apologies for wanting new Australian citizens to integrate. “We want people to be able to send their kids to school, to take advantage of a great education system,” he said. “We want people to be able to work if they’re of working age and to make sure that if they have a capacity to work, they’re contributing and not leading a life on welfare.

Mr Dutton outlined the four key aspects of the overhaul:

* The current residency requirement to be eligible for citizenship will increase from 12 months to four years;

* Applicants will be required to pass an English language test equivalent to IELTS level 6 equivalent, or a “competent” English language proficiency level;

* The government will make changes to the pledge of Australian citizenship and add questions to the current test aimed at cracking down on inappropriate attitudes on issues such as violence against women, child and forced marriage, female genital mutilation, etc;

* Applicants must provide evidence of integration including employment, tax payments and schooling for children;

Mr Dutton said the government would consult around the changes to questions and pledge and the values requirements between now and June 1.

The new requirements will also limit the number of times an applicant can fail the citizenship test to three (at present there is no limit), and introduce an automatic fail for applicants who cheat during the test.

Mr Dutton said the current multiple-choice test was essentially a civics test, that asked questions of people.

“What we’re saying is that we want people to demonstrate the fact that they have, if they’re of working age, that they have worked over that period of four years, that they have sent their children to school,” he said.

“We would ask questions for example, as we’re seeing in Melbourne at the moment, if kids are roaming the street at night as part of gangs in the apex gangs or elsewhere in cities like Melbourne, whether or not that is adopting an Australian value. Clearly it’s not.

The Immigration Minister said he believed there was a deficiency in the way the current test was applied, and said the new test would work alongside current laws to crack down inappropriate conduct.

“For example, a perpetrator of domestic violence,” he said. “My view is that that person shouldn’t become an Australian citizen. We can ask that question but we can also undertake our own checks in relation to police checks or whatever the case might be. So that’s how you can adopt, apply the test.”  Mr Dutton said there were currently criminal background checks for applicants, but the current checks were “clearly insufficient”.

Mr Turnbull conceded that practices such as genital mutilation and forced marriage are already illegal, but said questions on such matters in the new test were necessary to reinforce Australian values.

“Are you proud of our Australian values? Are you a proud Australian? You should stand up for it. You should stand up for those values and that’s what we’re doing,” he told a journalist.

“You see if we believe that respect for women and respect for women and children and saying no to violence against women and children, if we believe that that is an Australian value and it is and every one of you does believe that, then why should that not be made a key part, a fundamental part, a very prominent part, of our process to be an Australian citizen?

“Why should the test simply be a checklist of civic questions, all very important, about the parliament and how many senators there are from each state. These are all important things to know, no doubt, but fundamentally, the values which bind us together are those ones of respect, the rule of law, commitment to freedom, democracy, these are the key elements in our Australian identity and our citizenship should reflect this.”

Mr Turnbull said members of the Labor Party were criticising the proposition that prospective citizens should have competent English.

“Really? Are they serious?” he said. “I mean does anybody doubt that if you want to succeed, if you want to even have a chance of succeeding in Australia, you need to be able to speak English?

“It is the single best thing any person coming to this country can do is learn English and that’s why Peter’s department put such a big effort into it.”

Mr Dutton said people would lie on the new citizenship test in relation to issues such as domestic violence. “I mean they lie now in relation to citizenship tests and in relationship to laws that exist now,” he said. “That is not an argument for us to do nothing in this space.

“Domestic violence is a significant issue in this country, and we shouldn’t tolerate one instance of it, and the fact that somebody might fudge an answer on a test or an application is no argument against us asking people if you want to become an Australian citizen, abide by our laws and our norms.

“If somebody lies in an application, if they are fraudulent in their application for Australian citizenship, there is an existing power under the act in certain circumstances to revoke that citizenship.”

Mr Turnbull said the government would be briefing the Opposition and crossbench about the new laws “today or as soon as possible”, subject to their availaibility.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the new citizenship would ask a series of questions to highlight inappropriate attitudes.

“I don’t think anyone could seriously defend an attitude that says women are not equal to men, or that violence against women is acceptable, so we’re looking to test attitudes to ensure that people who take out Australian citizenship, and it is a privilege to become an Australian citizen, so it has responsibilities and obligations with it, that they are prepared to embrace the values, the laws, the attitudes that we have as a society that’s made us so successful,” Ms Bishop said.


'Don't be scared of being called Islamophobic'

Christian minister calls for a BAN on extremist Muslims coming to Australia - and only those who reject sharia law should be accepted

A Baptist reverend born in Egypt says Australia needs to deport radical Islamists and stop taking in so many fundamentalist Muslims.

While outspoken church leaders are saying conciliatory things about migrants, Sydney minister George Capsis said the large-scale migration of hardline Islamists from the Middle East was a threat to Australian democracy.

He made a clear distinction between Islamist extremists, from places like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria, and secular Muslims from Turkey who reject sharia law and fundamentalism.

'We can't have open slather like we used to. We've got to be more discerning,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.

'We mustn't be afraid to be called Islamophobic. We've got to be more careful in our immigration policy.

'If we do not protect the freedoms we have in this country, they'll be eroded.'

Mr Capsis, a minister at Croydon in Sydney's inner west, said Islamist migrant preachers were radicalising the children of migrants and needed to be deported, echoing a call from Adelaide imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi.

'We probably should deport some people who preach hate. You hate to do that but you've got to make a stand,' he said.

His call comes only weeks after Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar, who was born in Pakistan, told a forum at Bankstown library, in south-west Sydney, that ex-Muslims deserved capital punishment.

This same Islamist group, which wants a Muslim caliphate based on sharia law, also produced a video last week justifying domestic violence.

Earlier this month, a Christian man claims a group of Muslim teenagers of Middle Eastern appearance ripped off his silver Greek Orthodox necklace during an alleged attack on a Sydney train to Bankstown.

'They ripped the cross off me, threw it to the ground, they said 'f**k Jesus, and then said they said 'Allah' after that,' the man, who chose to remain unnamed, told Daily Mail Australia.

'I thought I was going to die. The next victim might not be so lucky, they might be killed or seriously injured.'

Sydney's west is home to the hardline Sunni Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah Association, whose preachers have described as sinful attending non-Muslim events, having non-Muslim friends and even using a public urinal.

This fundamentalist group runs the Bukhari House Islamic Bookstore at Auburn, which has been linked to Farhad Jabar, the 15-year-old boy who killed accountant Curtis Cheng outside police headquarters at Parramatta in 2015.

Mr Capsis, the 70-year-old son of Greek Orthodox parents who moved to Australia at age four from Egypt, said Islamic fundamentalism had never been a success.

'Unlike Christianity, which has brought prosperity and civilization wherever it is established such as the U.S., the United Kingdom Australia, Islamic fundamentalism takes communities back to the dark ages,' he said.

He added that Islamist fundamentalist migrants, unlike secular Muslims from places like Turkey, had no interest in integrating into Australian society.

'The evidence is pretty clear: the red flag is waving in our faces,' Mr Capsis said. 'None of us want to be vilifying any race of people because every race has its good and its bad but unfortunately as a religion, it's very culturally based. 'Islam is now more culturally political than religious.'

A tipping point with radical Islamism had been reached in Australia, he said, with many people determined not to follow examples set in Europe. 'The tide has turned. We're going to see more Christian leaders come out and make a stand,' he said.

'We've got to protect ourselves. Australian society is not going to tolerate this anymore.'

Mr Capsis has previously spoken out about Muslim attacks on Christians in Sydney.


Peter Dutton signals room to move on work visas for universities

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has signalled he is willing to compromise on the Turnbull government's tough foreign labour regime, assuring universities they won't be hamstrung by new work experience requirements.

Vice-chancellors, academics and the powerful Group of Eight universities were alarmed the Turnbull government's abolition of the 457 visa may prevent them hiring overseas researchers straight out of a PhD program.

Antique dealer, jockey and judge are just some of the occupations now unavailable to foreign workers after the Turnbull government announced the abolition of the 457 visa program.

In a letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Go8 chairman Peter Hoj warned the changes could be "extremely damaging" to Australia's reputation for welcoming international academics.

Particular concern surrounded the introduction of a two-year work experience prerequisite for temporary work visas, which universities feared would stop them hiring researchers who had spent their adulthood studying.

A spokeswoman for Mr Dutton told Fairfax Media it was not the government's intention to stop universities bringing talent into the country, and the new rules would be flexible.

"Universities will continue to be able to attract the best and brightest minds from Australia and the world," she said.

"The government recognises that work experience may take different forms for different occupations, such as research and teaching experience accumulated by PhDs.

"The government will work with the university sector to define what constitutes work for this cohort."

Belinda Robinson, chief executive of peak body Universities Australia, welcomed the development and said high-level talks with the government indicated it was prepared to compromise.

The election of Donald Trump as US President, and the fallout from Brexit, have prompted scores of overseas academics to express interest in moving to Australian universities.

Ms Robinson said it was "absolutely crucial" Australia stood ready to exploit "the window of opportunity that we have" to attract new talent.

"We want to encourage them, not deter them," she said.

Sydney University quantum physicist Michael Biercuk, who came to Australia on a 457 visa and has been a vocal critic of the changes, said the newfound flexibility was "a great first step in alleviating our concerns".


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

21 April, 2017

Melbourne's black terror goes on

So much for the police chief's claim that black crime is under control.  It never is

This is the chilling moment a gang of five Sudanese teenagers allegedly bashed their autistic classmate, 17, in a horrific attack on a Melbourne bus on Saturday.

Josh*, 17, was travelling alone on the bus at Tarneit, west of the the city's centre, when five boys approached him and told him to hand over his mobile phone and new Nike shoes.

When he refused, the group allegedly attacked him, kicking him in the head so hard he suffered a concussion and required a CT scan to check for permanent damage, his mother Sarah* said.

CCTV footage from inside the bus obtained by 9 News shows the group of boys surrounding Josh and taunting him before one allegedly launches a flying kick.

'The kid who bullied me at my school, he said to me, "Do I know you?" [And] I'm like, "Well yeah you're the kid who bullied me",' Josh told 9 News.

'As soon as we turned the corner I got one kick to the face straight across from me, and then one kick to the face from in front of me.'

Josh's mother Sarah told 3AW on Tuesday her distressed son called him in tears. 'He said, "Mum I'm scared",' Sarah said.

'It has taken a lot out of him because he doesn't want to go on public transport again.' 

Sarah said she immediately drove to meet her injured son where the bus pulled over at Tarneit McDonald's. Within minutes, she said the group of five Sudanese men grew to a group of about 30.

'When we drove past the McDonald's, they spotted my son in the car. They [five offenders] chased the car so I drove off and waited for police on the side of the road,' she told 9 News.

Sarah said Tarneit was 'overrun by Sudanese' people and claimed they often gathered at the local McDonald's. She said reports of violent behaviour from young Sudanese men in the area left her feeling scared for her son and the larger Melbourne community. 

'It's not safe for anyone, let alone for someone with a disability, they put so much trust in everybody,' she said.

A spate of criminal activity has swept across Melbourne in the past 18 months, with a series of carjackings, armed robberies and home invasions, blamed largely on the notorious Apex gang. Apex gang members are primarily from a Sudanese refugee background.

Sarah called on the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to take action. 'For Christ's sake, just open your eyes and see what's going on around you, there will be more than one life taken soon,' she said.  'My son was lucky he got out of it the way he did.

'When is the Government going to wake up? I'm very angry, very very angry.'

Wyndham North police have charged a 16-year-old boy with attempted robbery and assault over the incident. Police arrested the teen at the scene and he's been bailed to appear at a Children's Court at a later date.

The police investigation to identify others involved in the incident is continuing.


ABORTION: Vic, Law condones the act as it criminalises the image

On March 21, 2017, the Supreme Court of Victoria handed down a decision that related to protesting outside a fertility clinic.

This decision of the Supreme Court of Victoria arose from the appeal of a previous judgement in the County Court of Victoria in November 2015.

In a nutshell, the Court argued that images of dead unborn babies cannot be displayed in public because they are too disgusting and “may be so distressing as to be potentially harmful”.

The case upheld the criminal conviction of Michelle Fraser, a pro-life woman, for displaying an image of a dead foetus in public at a peaceful demonstration against abortion in 2013.

The effect of the decision is that showing any image of a dead foetus is obscene and therefore its display is a criminal act under laws that ban obscenity in several Australian jurisdictions.

I am unable to ascertain at this point whether there will be an appeal to the High Court from such an ill-conceived decision.

If the photo of a dead unborn baby is distressing, then is it not distressing to realise that 100,000 babies are brutally murdered in the womb in this country every year?

This ruling means that the truth about abortion practices can no longer be freely exposed.

Despite it being a Victorian decision, similar laws exist in other Australian jurisdictions that can be applied in the same way to stifle this type of political discussion.

This only goes to show that many judges in this country are more concerned about dead babies being shown in public than being concerned about protecting communication concerning political matters that is constitutionally protected.

It is a basic principle of constitutional law in Australia that no law can unreasonably burden free communication on political matters among voters. This implied freedom is a strong constitutional guarantee that has been developed by the High Court to recognise that this is so even where communication might be seriously offensive.

However, the confronting reality of abortion has now been (unconstitutionally) stifled by the unelected judiciary in the name of political correctness. There is much to be said about judges ignoring an important element of the Australian Constitution.

As Human Rights Law Alliance director Martyn Iles points out: “Often it is the shocking nature of a political communication which is the very thing that makes it effective, especially where, far from being gratuitous or unrealistic, the images are shocking precisely because they portray the truth about abortion to the public.”

The truth about abortion may be uncomfortable to many, but the solution is not judicial censorship of political communication. Instead, the solution is more public debate coupled with critical thinking about the seriousness of the problem.


Teacher flaws stifle students, say principals

A survey has found nearly two-fifths of students attended schools in which principals perceived learning was hindered by teachers not meeting individual students’ needs.

Teachers who fail to meet the needs of their students, resist change or are unprepared for ­lessons are doing more to hinder learning in Australian classrooms than teenagers who are dis­respectful or skip school, a worldwide survey of principals has revealed.

School leaders were asked to report on the extent they believed learning in their schools was set back by teachers and students, as part of the triennial benchmark of global educational performance, the Program for International Student Assessment.

An in-depth look at Australia’s PISA results details a range of complex, diverse factors thwarting student achievement, from abysmal classroom discipline to resourcing and the learning environment.

“Overall, principals in Australia perceived that teacher-related behaviours were more likely to hinder student learning in their schools than student-related behaviours,’’ said the Australian Council for Educational Research report. It found nearly two-fifths of students attended schools at which principals thought learning was hindered by teachers not meeting individual students’ needs — a result higher than the OECD average. Only principals in Japan gauged teacher-related ­behaviours to pose more of a ­hurdle than in Australia.

School leaders were asked about teachers not meeting individual students’ needs; teacher ­absenteeism; staff resisting change; teachers being too strict with ­students; and teachers not being well prepared for classes.

They were also questioned about student truancy, skipping classes, students lacking respect for teachers, using drugs and alcohol, and bullying other students.

Australian Education Union federal president Correna Haythorpe said the results could not be looked at in isolation, and principals were most concerned about the resources they had available to them, including a lack of teachers.

“Australian teachers are amongst the most highly qualified and effective anywhere in the world and as the PISA report makes clear, the most significant teaching-related issue affecting student results is the shortage of teachers in Australian schools,’’ Ms Haythorpe said.

The union and experts also point to the chronic problem of out-of-field teaching: for example, about one-third of Year 7 to 10 maths classes are taught by teachers without maths qualifications.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham’s spokesman said the government had long recognised teachers were the most important in-school influence on students’ results, which was why it pursued stronger quality assurance of teacher-education programs and entry standards. New teachers were also tested to ensure their ­literacy and numeracy skills were in the top 30 per cent of the adult population.

He said the government’s ­reforms also focused on: rewarding teachers for competency and achievement, not just length of service; having minimum proportions of trainee teachers specialise in literacy and numeracy; and ­setting recruitment targets for teachers qualified in science, ­technology, engineering or ­mathematics subjects. The government is working to finalise plans to ditch the so-called fifth and sixth years of Labor’s Gonski needs-based funding approach and replace it with a more nationally consistent agreement.

PISA, conducted by the OECD, measures the ability of 15-year-olds in science, maths and reading.

Last year, the results of the 2015 PISA round revealed Australian students had slid 12 months ­behind where they were in maths in 2003, seven months behind in science compared with 2006, and about 10 months behind in reading since 2000, when PISA began.

ACER’s in-depth report, released last month, found principals judged student-related behaviours such as truancy and skipping classes to occupy their time and hinder instruction, particularly in the Northern Territory and in disadvantaged schools.

There was a “moderate negative relationship’’ between staff shortages and science performance, and a “weak negative relationship’’ between teacher behaviours and science scores.

Ms Haythorpe said principals were “most concerned about the overall level of resources in schools and that is why principals across the country are so strongly advocating for the federal government to deliver the final two years of Gonski funding’’.

Geoff Prince, director of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, which runs the Choose Maths awards, said: “The parts of Australia where there is significant out-of-field teaching — lower SES (socio-economic), regional, remote areas — are also the areas that have the highest turnover of staff.

“This tells you that not only do we have to do something about working with these out-of-field teachers but we’ve got to do something about leadership, and creating teams and doing it in a strategic way for the schools that don’t have the resources.’’

Australian Catholic University senior research fellow Kevin Donnelly took issue with the PISA survey, arguing that it lacked validity and reliability because it was a subjective and self-selecting questionnaire.

He pointed to international research that argued that while teacher quality was important in explaining variants between student results, it amounted to only between 7 and 10 per cent of the factors, and student ability, intelligence and prior achievement were critical.


It shouldn’t be Australia’s job to liberalise Muslims

There is a fascinating struggle taking place in Australia over the soul of Islam. The women of Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia, acting out their pantomime of “permissible” discipline in a Muslim marriage, set tongues wagging.

I say pantomime because surely no one believes the event was not set up to mask the true level of male control in Islam. If you doubt it, look at the laws on marriage, or succession, or rape in marriage among our key migrant source Islamic countries: Lebanon, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia. A striking feature of the laws is that they distinguish the application of the law by religion. Religion first; the rule of law second.

The struggle over the soul of Islam in Australia is taking place in the mosques, in the universities and in public life.

In his book Islamic Exceptionalism, Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institute argues that “because the relationship between Islam and politics is distinctive, a replay of the Western model — Protestant Reformation followed by an enlightenment in which religion is gradually pushed into the private realm is unlikely … We aren’t all the same but, more important, why should we be?”

Hamid’s call to “respect” Islamic exceptionalism was taken up by the darlings of the ABC, who gave it plenty of coverage.

Hamid also wrote: “If it were destroyed tomorrow morning, the Islamic State would still stand as one of the most successful and distinctly ‘Islamist’ state-building projects of recent decades.”

This is a liberal scholar from a US think tank. Is this the liberal society’s burden, to suffer those who would do us harm?

But even the enemy can reveal truths. Hamid made the point that hoping for the liberalisation of Islam is false. “Liberalism … needs liberals to survive and prosper.”

In this, Hamid is dead right. Importing illiberal minds is not smart. While Muslim immigrants to Australia may want to escape Islamic laws, to what extent do they carry the habits and mindset of authoritarian Islam?

Why should Australia take on the burden of liberalising Muslims? In a multicultural policy setting and amid identity bellicosity what happens when they tell us to get stuffed?

A 2014 study of Muslim communities that have settled around Brisbane’s Holland Park mosque, reported “a marked shift” in the community following the large-scale migration of Muslims from the 1990s. They observed a more conscientious practice of Islam, and a tendency to “Arabise everything”. Some of the (Muslim) participants resented the overt Islamist identity and hostility towards Australia.

A 2014 study in Melbourne reported that 18 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds conducted their daily life “strictly in accordance with sharia law”.

Others grafted environmentalism to Islam. “It makes me a better neighbour and environmentally aware as there’s an Islamic element to it.” One suspects that Muslim students are now primed to talk of love, social justice and environment to help align Islam and left-greens politics.

As Kenan Malik, in his book From Fatwa to Jihad, observed in Britain: “It is not mosques but universities that provide the real recruiting ground for Islamists.”

Seven imams instructed their flocks in the West Australian election to vote Greens. Today, in Indonesia, imams are instructing their flock to vote against the Christian candidate for mayor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja “Ahok” Purnama, who is on trial for blasphemy.

Some people are leaving Islam in Australia because they find it too oppressive, but others are joining.

Silma Ihram is a Muslim convert and featured last week on an interview with a perplexed David Speers of Sky News over the Hizb ut-Tahrir ladies’ panto. Silma was born Anne Frances Beaumont on Sydney’s northern beaches. Her journey has been a long one: Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist, born-again Christian, including missionary work, and finally, after a trip to Indonesia, to Islam. At the other end are those jumping ship, which in Islam can have nasty consequences. Ibn Warraq’s book Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out is revealing. Australia has its version at the website, Australian Ex-Muslims.

In Australia, the Atheist Helper website responded to my requests as follows: “With respect to Islam, the problem we almost invariably find is that they have left the religion, no longer believe in it, but are unable to tell their family and friends for fear of ostracism and retribution.”

The struggle within the Muslim community, between liberals and authoritarians, between leavers and joiners, influenced by source-country politics, and local politicians trawling for advantage, is a plague. What Australians must decide is, why is this our struggle?


Organic 'greenwashing' prompts push for tighter food labelling laws

Australia's certified organic industry is expected to be worth more than $2 billion by next year but it is fighting to ensure fake organic claims do not damage its reputation.

Export volumes rose nearly one-fifth last year, and demand for Australian organic products continues to outstrip supply both at home and abroad, according to the latest report from industry and certifying group Australian Organic Ltd.

But Australian Organic chairman Andrew Monk said the industry faced two big challenges:

    Fixing chronic shortages of organic grain, which is restricting the growth of cereal markets and the supply of organic pigs, chickens and eggs

    Fighting for tighter labelling laws to ensure only certified products can be sold as organic

"It's the one missing chink in the armour to protect consumers outright in terms of claims for organic," Mr Monk said.

We are "absolutely concerned about greenwashing" and the use of words such as organic, sustainable, natural and free-range by non-certified producers, he said.

Greenwashing is the practice used by companies to make unsubstantiated claims about the origin and the environmental sustainability of their products.
Certified organic producers demand stricter labelling laws

In Australia, companies do not have to be certified to label their products as "organic".
What's in a name?

ABC Rural investigates Australian farmer accreditation for organic, biodynamic, free-range and grass-fed food labels.

The market report said that "two-thirds of organic shoppers rely on the word 'organic' on the product label to assure them it was organic".

However, it said that "an increasing percentage check for a certification logo on the product (44 per cent, up from 34 per cent in 2014)".

Certified producers and processors are concerned that consumers are getting ripped-off and paying premium prices for products that do not meet Australian organic standards.

Jamie Ferguson from the Arcadian Organic and Natural Meat Company, a red meat processor in Toowoomba in southern Queensland, wants only certified organic businesses to be able to use the word "organic".

Quentin Kennedy, managing director of Kialla Pure Foods, an organic grain processor south of Toowoomba, agreed that current laws were too weak.

"I think it would be much clearer for the consumer if there were mandatory requirements around the use of the word organic," Mr Kennedy said.

Australian Organic chairman Andrew Monk said the Federal Government has resisted the industry's long-term lobbying to legislate changes to labelling laws.

"I think the challenge is that the [Federal] Government wants to push back on that … claiming that the industry is self-regulating very well and there is no systemic market failure," Mr Monk said.

"Our response to that is there are still parts of the market that are not complying with those requirements and we would like the ACCC to take a more active stance in that space."

Australia accounts for more than half of the world's organic farmland, most of which is used to produce beef and lamb.

Organic sheep and lamb meat exports grew 80 per cent last year, while beef — the largest single export item — declined 14 per cent.

Other sectors showing strong growth were cosmetics, wine and dairy products, while bakery items rose four-fold, with growing demand from South Korea.

North America and East Asia were Australia's largest organic markets, with Hong Kong showing the greatest growth.

Andrew Monk said there was plenty of opportunity for growth, as the red meat sector had shown over the years.

Arcadian Organics began processing 66 organic cattle each fortnight in 2005 and now processes as many as 900 cattle a week.

Sales Manager Jamie Ferguson said the organic market was growing strongly in Asia with young families wanting to buy healthy food for their children and elderly parents.

"Our most innovative new product is around organic and paleo sausages," he said, adding that it was just about to launch a grass-fed organic hot-dog in Australia.
Chronic undersupply of organic grains a big challenge

The added costs of growing grain organically without the use of traditional chemicals and pesticides makes growing grain one of the biggest challenges in the organic industry.

"Ultimately weed management is one of the biggest challenges," Andrew Monk said.

"That can add really considerably to the price, we're talking double, maybe even triple the cost of production (of conventional growers)."

He added: "It had downstream ramifications" for organic pig, chicken and egg producers who need organic grain for feed.

Organic grain miller Quentin Kennedy said the grain industry needed to spend grower levies on research and development of weed control measures to encourage farmers into organics. "Supply has been an issue with us forever," said Mr Kennedy, the owner of Kialla Pure Foods. "We are regularly knocking back export quotes," he said.

His business mills 20 different organic cereal grains for the domestic and export market, but one of the biggest growth areas of his business is providing organic feedstock


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

20 April, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is dubious about abolition of the 457 immigrant visa

Landmark case tests pre-nup law in Australia

Feminist-inspired divorce laws are already a large deterrent to marriage.  Living together is now roughly as common as marriage. The ladies complain that their man "won't commit".  He would be most unwise to do so given the legal hazards. If pre-nups are invalidated, that will be a further deterrent

A widow who claims she was made to sign a prenup under "duress" has gone to the High Court over the $11 million estate left behind by her property developer ex-husband.

The woman, a foreigner who cannot be named for legal reasons, received legal advice before her wedding in 2007 that the agreement was "no good" but signed it anyway, The Australian reports. She also signed a second agreement after the wedding against further advice she received.

The High Court agreed to hear the case last month.

The judgment could affect the strength of prenuptial agreements in Australia, as well as what constitutes as "duress".

Four days before her wedding, the widow had been told she must sign the agreement "or the wedding is off", her barrister Matthew Foley has told the court. Her lawyers will also argue she had no bargaining power at this point, given she had "no job, no home, no visa, her parents brought out from (their country)."

According to The Australian, the widow began her fight for the two agreements to be nullified a year after separating from her husband in 2011. He died in 2014 but his two adult children are now continuing the legal fight as the estate's trustees.

Lawyer representing the two children Robert Lethbridge told the court the woman "got the bargain that she indeed wanted".

The couple reportedly met through an online dating website in 2006, when she was 36 and living in her home country overseas and he was a 67-year-old father of three. He was then worth more than $18 million.

They began living together in Australia a year later but six months after she arrived she was asked to sign the agreement. Receiving independent advice, she was told she would be entitled to only $50,000 if they broke up after three years or nothing if they broke up earlier. 

In 2015, Brisbane's Federal Circuit Court ruled that both agreements were signed under duress, citing the woman's lack of financial equality and visa status.

However, this was overturned by the Family Court last year, which found there was no duress given she had received her own legal advice but "went ahead regardless".

The High Court has now been asked to determine principles surrounding such agreements in the appeal by the widow.


'We're putting Australians first': Malcolm Turnbull ABOLISHES 457 visas for foreign workers

Malcolm Turnbull's government is scrapping 457 visas for foreign workers. In a video statement posted on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said the visa would be replaced by a new program.  'Australian workers must have priority for Australian jobs,' Mr Turnbull said. 

The 457 program, introduced by John Howard's government in 1996, allowed overseas workers to stay in Australia for up to four years.

Businesses could sponsor 'skilled' foreign workers to come to Australia for work - as long as they couldn't find a citizen or permanent resident to do the job instead.

But Mr Turnbull said the program has 'lost its credibility'. He said his new visa scheme will attract the 'best and brightest' to Australia and target regional skills shortages. 'We're putting Australians first,' he said.

Mr Turnbull's plan involves a short-term two year visa, with the number of available occupations cut from the current list of 200.

His program also includes a longer-term four year visa where workers will need to meet a higher standard of English.

People will need to undergo a criminal record check and show work experience.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the shock decision won't affect current Australian visa holders. 'There will be a grandfathering arrangement. They will continue under the conditions of that visa.'

Political reaction was swift. 'Make no mistake, the only job Malcolm Turnbull cares about saving is his own,' tweeted Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

One Nation senator Pauline Hanson claimed credit for the decision. 'The Government will deny their tough talk on immigration & plan to ban 457 visas is because of One Nation but we all know the truth!,' she said on Twitter.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the visa abolition sounded 'more like a dog whistle than a genuine policy to grow jobs for young Australians.'

The announcement came just weeks before Treasurer Scott Morrison hands down the Federal Budget.

And it comes less than a day after Mr Turnbull's predecessor, Tony Abbott, warned Australians were 'sick of governments that don't deliver


Shark cull on agenda after WA teenager Laeticia Brouwer's death

Leftist State Govt. putting sharks first

FEDERAL Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has accused WA of not doing enough to protect ocean users from shark attacks.

Mr Frydenberg levelled the claim while repeating his invitation for the WA Government to submit proposals to introduce further shark mitigation measures which would require federal approval.

“I feel the WA government could do a lot more,” Mr Frydenberg told The Australian adding the Commonwealth had already given prompt approval for the use of shark nets in New South Wales.
Family speak out

The reported criticism is an escalation of Mr Frydenberg’s signalling on Wednesday that he would welcome any proposal to keep ocean users safe, including shark culls.

“In light of the recent shark attack, the Commonwealth would welcome any proposal to protect human life first and foremost,” he said.“This could include the newest drum-line technology, shark exclusion nets, culling or other measures which WA sees fit.”

But WA Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly has appeared to dismiss the invitation to take drastic steps such as shark culling, questioning how it would make beaches safer.

Speaking on radio Wednesday morning, Mr Kelly again focused on the State Government’s policy of subsidising personal deterrent devices such as shark shields, claiming the measure would make a “genuine difference”.

He said the policy, under which the Government will set aside $200,000 for $200 rebates, would help drive down the costs of the products by increasing demand.

“The objective of a subsidy in these circumstances is two-fold,” Mr Kelly told 6PR. “By giving these products a subsidy you increase the brand awareness that they’re out there because there are lots of people out there saying they can deter sharks.

“But which ones work?

“If they then get more market awareness and the number of sales increases then, like most things, the price will come down as volumes increase.”

In rejecting Mr Frydenberg’s offer Mr Kelly described it as a “disappointing” media ploy but he would call the Federal Environment Minister to “see what his thoughts are”.

“Even if you accept that there are more great whites in the ocean than there used to be, the question is ‘what do you do about it?’

“I find it quite insulting that anyone could suggest that anyone could put human life below the value of a shark. “That’s just a cheap political line. “I would like to do something that actually makes a difference.

“For the Federal Environment Minister to make those comments to the media I find a little disappointing. “He didn’t ring me. It’s easy to say ‘let’s have a cull’.

“But if you have a cull how many sharks are you going to kill in order to actually make a difference, how are you going to do it, how are you going to pay for it?

“Whether great whites are endangered or not is a decision of the Federal Government. “It’s not a decision for the State Government.”


New puritanism at work in refusals to show pro-men film

The liberal democratic model doesn’t need a tune-up; it needs a full body overhaul. Increasingly, the university campus — the very place where young minds should be challenged and provoked, where preconceptions should be tested and the notion of intellectual comfort zones should be anathema — is becoming a symbol of the dismal future of liberal traditions.

Warning signs from the US are bad enough. Safe rooms allow young students to escape confronting ideas in the lecture room. Inside lecture halls, students demand trigger alerts for literature that has been taught, without warnings, for hundreds of years. Students revel in their no-platforming to stop even Germaine Greer talking on campus because some of her views don’t comply with campus orthodoxy. Other speakers are drowned out by drums and saucepans and banging sticks to stop them being heard, in front of cameras, with no shame over the illiberal antics. Complaints about cultural appropriation are aimed at authors such as Lionel Shriver, a fiction writer, on the grounds a white woman should stick to her own white story. Where would this leave Shakespeare? On it goes, the push in one direction to shame those who express different views and to shut down debate we once took for granted in a liberal democracy.

The same virus is closing down Australian minds. Last week the University of Sydney Union board withdrew funding to show a documentary called The Red Pill. Young filmmaker Cassie Jaye was researching rape culture when she came upon a website for men’s rights activists. The feminist, who had previously reported on issues such as single motherhood, LGBTI rights and marriage equality, had her own preconceptions challenged. The result is a thought-provoking exploration of issues that confront men, from ­unequal custody outcomes to male suicide rates, from male deaths in the workplace to inequalities in the criminal justice system, from dismal health statistics affecting men and more.

The film takes its title from the red pill reference in The Matrix where the protagonist is given a choice ­between taking the red pill that opens the mind to explor­ation or the blue pill where the story ends. Clearly the USU board chose the blue pill. And why wouldn’t it? It seems Dendy Cinemas may have swallowed a blue pill too, apparently telling organisers last week they were cancelling a screening of the documentary in Sydney’s Newtown theatre. Dendy have gone curiously quiet, perhaps hoping it will fly under the radar.

The most compelling parts of The Red Pill are Jaye’s video diaries where the filmmaker thrashes through the strictures of her own feminist training. Here on film is the opening of a young feminist mind — precisely what most frightens the feminist ideologues and the cultural Marxists. Having lost control of the economic ­debates, the left’s shift into the cultural sphere has been underway for more than four decades. Daily assaults on basic freedoms, such as the freedom to speak, attest to their domination of this sphere.

Parroting the dogma of feminist academics who admit they haven’t seen The Red Pill, the USU board justified its decision by ­arguing the film promotes “sexual violence”. No one who has seen the film could make such a ridiculously dishonest claim. The film does no such thing. It explores ­issues affecting men.

Today’s cultural dietitians seek to control debates by slapping a nasty label on those with different views, repeating it over and over again, regardless of whether it fits. The aim of using vile labels is to strip opponents of credibility and, even better, censor their views.

Former prime minister Julia Gillard labelled her then opponent Tony Abbott a “misogynist” when her own power was under threat, providing zero evidence of such an evil claim. To coin a phrase from Helen Garner’s nuanced look at sex and power in The First Stone, Gillard had a grid labelled “misogyny” and she resolved to apply it to the broadest possible field of male behaviour. The late Bill Leak was labelled a “racist” by critics to delegitimise and shut down his cartoons about dysfunction in some indigenous families. Enlightenment thinker and former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali was ­a peddler of “white ­supremacy” for challenging sharia law and demanding a reformation of Islam for the sake of Muslims.

By all means, review Jaye’s documentary. Critique it, pan it if that’s your view after seeing it. But banning it is another chapter in the left’s cultural strangulation of liberal values.

This is a return to another era when puritanical ­hysteria banned DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Back then the objection was to words deemed too rude to publish. The modern puritans treat different views as rude enough to censor. Opposing views have become the newest taboo. Sydney University screened The Hunting Ground documentary about sexual assault of women on American campuses, even though 19 Harvard professors challenged some of its claims. The same university refuses to finance the airing of a documentary raising serious issues afflicting men.

The same pusillanimity was on show last year when The Palace Kino cinema in Melbourne banned The Red Pill, making Australia the first country in the world where it was banned. That move led Ultima Function Centre manager and businessman Nick Georgiades to show the film. ­Online protests ­attacked his business, a death threat was made against him, yet Georgiades aired the film, pointing out that those trying to shut down the film were “proving the very point the director is trying to make”.

I’m ashamed to say that before seeing The Red Pill, I wondered whether the documentary was ­really one for me. But as the ­mother of a teenage boy on the cusp of manhood, I should have been more curious. This is a brilliant documentary that touches on so many issues that may one day confront our sons. Too many of us think we know enough, or at least we are comfortable with what we already know about certain issues. Worse, the USU decision shows stubborn and ideological blindness to information that challenges preconcieved positions. The consequences of the closing of young minds won’t be healthy, given that this generation will shape society in a few short years, which is why fighting against every episode of censorship is a worthy battle.

The Red Pill, with the help of an organisation called Fan Force, will be screened across Australia if enough people sign up on its website to see it. And why shouldn’t we be curious to learn about Jaye’s journey to a more open mind? Why shouldn’t we explore the pressures on boys and men, consider their vulnerabilities and ask how they are faring in a world where women’s issues attract most of the attention? What on earth are we afraid of?


Brakes put on young hoons with new laws to crack down on motorists evading police

A CRACKDOWN on drivers who evade police will target youth offenders with plans to treat them as adults before the courts.

The State Government will urgently table the legislation this week, labelling the problem — set to balloon to 1700 police evades this year — an “epidemic”.

The new laws come 14 months after the tragic death of Sarah Paino, who was pregnant when her car was struck by a youth driving a stolen car and evading police. Despite Ms Paino’s death, surgeons miraculously delivered her 32-week-term baby.

Police Minister Rene Hidding admitted being “deeply, deeply affected” by the crime.

“As a Police Minister who got the phone call in the middle of the night as to what took place … that’s clearly in our minds,” he said.

“But it’s not safe to keep that in the front of your mind. When you’re forming legislation, you have got to deal with every particular circumstance.”

Mr Hidding also signalled potential changes to youth bail provisions which were “a factor” in Ms Paino’s case.

“What happens now, particularly younger people in fact, drive around in a car often stolen trying to bait police into chasing them because they enjoy the notoriety of getting away,” he said.

“The message to anyone: ‘When the blue light goes on, you’ve got a choice between the accelerator and the brake. You choose the accelerator and you’re going to be in a world of hurt’.”

The new legislation hits offenders with minimum jail time, fines of up to $38,500, vehicle seizures and gives police greater powers to arrest drivers up to a month after they evade cops.

It will also amend the Youth Justice Act to include evading police as an offence for which a youth may be dealt with as an adult.

Causing injury to others while trying to flee police would attract a stiffer penalty.

Police chiefs backed the changes while the union has given in-principle support.

“Things are happening and hopefully the community will be a safer place at the end of the day,” Police Association of Tasmania president Pat Allen said.

But the crackdown has drawn criticism from the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

“These reforms are inconsistent with fundamental human rights,” alliance president Henry Pill said.

“The situation of young people involved in the justice system is often complex and it is vital that they have access to a system which recognises that.”


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

19 April, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is celebrating the demise of the "Safe Schools" program in NSW

Homosexual promotion project to lose Tasmania funding too

Following NSW

Tasmania will scrap support for the contentious Safe Schools program, opting to focus on a comprehensive anti-bullying scheme for the schoolyard.

Tasmania’s Education and Training Minister Jeremy Rockliff has confirmed that his government would not fund the program — which has so far been adopted by 22 Tasmanian schools — once federal funding stops mid-year.

“The Tasmanian government is committed to providing a safe and inclusive school environment to support student learning and wellbeing, which is why we have invested $3 million over four years as part of the Combating Bullying budget initiative,” Mr Rockliff said.

“It is up to each Tasmanian school to make their own decisions about the programs used in their school, and government schools are encouraged to use the Department of Education’s own program.

“Given the significant investment in our own anti-bullying ­initiative, the state government has no plans to take over funding for the federal program.”

Tasmania’s defection follows the weekend’s announcement from NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes that his government would introduce a broader anti-bullying scheme to replace Safe Schools, leaving support for the La Trobe University-developed program resting largely with the Labor-governed states.

Financial support for Safe Schools was a key part of West Australian Labor’s successful election campaign last month, while a spokeswoman for Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones said yesterday that there were no plans to ditch the program.

In South Australia, the government is weighing up whether to take over funding the program, in much the same way the Victorian Labor government has done.

“We see value in having a specific program to support schools to tackle bullying against LGBTI ­students,” said a spokeswoman for the SA Department of Education and Child Development. “We expect to make an ­announcement shortly about the future of the safe schools program.”

While Victoria has committed more than $2m to roll out the program to all state schools by the end of 2018, questions are being asked about the level of its commitment following the decision to sever ties with La Trobe and run Safe Schools directly from its own Education Department.

Previously vocal supporters of the program Premier Daniel ­Andrews and Education Minister James Merlino have lately left the job of defending it to departmental staff and media advisers. And following widespread criticism over Safe School’s promotion of contested gender ideology and sexual politics, the department has taken to describing the program as a “pledge” or a “policy” to create a safe and inclusive environment, with schools having discretion over how “this commitment is ­realised”.

Victoria’s opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling said it was time for Mr Andrews to “admit he got it wrong on this discredited program”.

He said the Liberal Party would scrap the program if elected and ­replace it with a program “that teaches kids the importance of ­respecting people of all appear­ances, sexuality, gender, religion and ethnicity”.

“Daniel Andrews is very naive if he thinks school bullying is only confined to sexuality and doesn’t include appearance, religion, ­ethnicity or gender,” Mr Wakeling said.

A spokeswoman for Safe Schools Coalition Australia, which is convened by the Foundation for Young Australians, declined to comment on the NSW decision, other than to say the organisation ­remained committed to supporting LGBTI young people.


Shark attack: conservation policies value sharks over human life

Our insane shark-conservation policies have cost another life, this time a 17-year-old girl who was attacked in front of her parents and siblings.

I would like to say that this incident will be the turning point in this debate, that our politicians will finally realise we need to reduce the increasing number of aggressive, lethal sharks in our waters, but this is unlikely.

The forces against such action are deeply entrenched in all our major organisations. For example, Surf Life Saving Western Australia, where yesterday’s attack occurred, recommends six responses to sharks: research, education, surveillance, communication, preventive action (“shark barriers”, which can be built only in placid waters) and emergency response. It does not recommend the reduction of sharks, despite many fishermen in the state saying the size and abundance of large sharks, especially great whites, off WA are alarmingly high.

Researchers and academics whose careers depend upon continued funding into the behaviour and fragility of these “apex predators” long ago convinced politicians and large sections of the community that to reduce the number of sharks in our waters would be an ecological disaster.

So a teenage kid, doing what Aussie teenagers have done for more than a century, has died instead. She won’t be the last.

The Senate’s environment committee, chaired by Green Tasmanian Peter Whish-Wilson, will coincidentally hold public hearings into shark mitigation strategies in Perth on Thursday. If, when the hearings begin, the committee expresses sympathy for the latest victim’s family, it will be an act of breathtaking hypocrisy.

As reported in The Australian this month, the committee has already reached a conclusion that its job is to help revive the number of sharks in our waters, downplay the dangers they pose, dismiss methods that have proven successful in Queensland and Sydney, and educate the public about these “wonderful” and “extraordinary” animals.

Its priority is the safety of sharks first, people second.

Of the six people invited to the Perth hearings, two are conservationist academics (UWA professors Shaun Collin and Rebecca Meeuwig); one is selling an unreliable personal electronic deterrent (Shark Shield); one advocates the immediate abandonment of drumlins and nets in Queensland, the presence of which has coincided with an almost complete absence of fatal attacks for 50 years (Sea Shepherd); and another is SLSWA, whose timid six-point plan is outlined above.

The committee’s hearing in Sydney last month repeatedly heard witnesses say that surfers and other ocean users must accept the risk of entering the water. Even surfers are spouting this line these days.

“Real surfers understand that sharks are extraordinary beasts and that we are in their environment,” Surfrider Foundation representative Brendan Donohoe, from Sydney’s North Narrabeen beach, told the committee during its Sydney hearings last month.

Whish-Wilson jokingly responded: “I would be more scared of the locals at North Narrabeen than I would be of sharks.”

Mr Donohoe also told the committee that “there are a lot of morons around”, by which he meant there were many people who blamed governments for the shark crisis currently affecting Australia. “The idea that it is someone else’s fault is astounding to me. Everyone knows the risk, and the risk is not statistically lessened by anything we do.”

Committee member Lee Rhiannon responded by saying: “Thanks very much. It is a really interesting discussion.”

Rhiannon’s concern was not reducing the increasing number of aggressive sharks in our waters, but making surfers “alert to the environment”.

This is another example of how dramatically this debate has shifted towards shark, not human, safety. Originally, the opposite was the case.

In 2000, the CSIRO’s chief great white researcher, Barry Bruce, told the ABC he was conducting research that hopefully would “predict the areas where encounters… are more common and understand more about their populations”.

He said something similar in 2006, that his research might predict “where sharks are likely to be” so resources for “looking after people” could be “better targeted”.

Researchers, including Bruce himself, last year conceded that such predictions are impossible. A report for the WA Department of Fisheries, co-authored by Bruce after conducting one of the biggest shark tagging and tracking projects in history, found that great white behaviour is “highly variable” and “not consistent”.

Similarly, Bruce’s counterpart in NSW, the Department of Primary Industries’ Vic Peddemors, compared shark movements to a dropped bag of marbles - “they go everywhere”.

The focus among researchers and politicians now is to find ways that minimise attacks without killing sharks or other marine creatures. Many of these methods are astonishingly expensive and mostly unproven.

All this research and inquiry has achieved little for beach safety. Meanwhile, Australia’s international reputation as a great coastal tourist destination is dying. So too are our formerly happy coastal surfing towns.

It would be encouraging if the Senate committee shifted its focus towards reducing the number of sharks off our waters, but the signs suggest this is extremely unlikely.


Leftist leader's stance on new coalmine doesn’t stack up

Just because you’re spending other people’s money doesn’t ­excuse you from making choices.

Should the government lend $900 million to help lay 189km of heavy rail track in central Queensland capable of transporting 60 million tonnes of premium thermal coal a year?

Or would it be better to splash out on a 12km tram line to convey beret-clad Canberrans between coffee shops on Northbourne ­Avenue?

The carbon fearmongerers are implacably opposed to the first ­option but are crazy about the Gungahlin tram, a green vanity project adopted by the ACT Labor government that will fleece an ­estimated $937m from taxpayers during its lifetime.

It is the type of project that ticks all the boxes for the modern Labor Party, satisfying the romantic yearnings of its progressive base and the anti-competitive tendencies of its union sponsors. Construction work on Capital Metro is effectively a Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union closed shop — inflated pay packets, fanciful allowances and abundant rostered days off.

Fixed point-to-point transport projects are unlikely to “stack up”, as Bill Shorten would put it, in a city with a population 12 times smaller than Melbourne and one of the highest car ownership rates in the country.

Even on the most optimistic ­assumptions the line is expected to generate less than $340,000 a month in revenue across its first 20 years, meaning that for every dollar a passenger pays, the taxpayer will be throwing in a tenner.

If there were a prize for egregious public investment, the Gungahlin tram, cruising at a stately 29km/h across broad acres of Canberra’s median strips, would be hard to beat.

Enter Shorten, the leader of what was once called the workers’ party, who raves about public transport but is unsure if the business case for the Adani Carmichael line “stacks up”. “I am not convinced the taxpayer of Australia should underwrite the risk of the project through a billion-­dollar loan,” he told reporters in Brisbane last week.

Shorten’s decision to align himself with the fanciful claims of the fruitcake fringe and against the interests of private industry is a seminal moment for the ALP.

Labor’s ideological journey from a socialist party that merely wanted to take over the means of production to a deep green party that wants to close down the whole lot is complete.

Construction of the Carmichael mine would boost sluggish ­regional economies from Gladstone to Townsville, lifting wages and employment. A concessional government loan for the rail link would mean that up to five more mines might follow.

Yet Shorten is content to let the green reactionaries triumph and leave the Galilee Basin coal ­reserves untouched. The interests of the workers are sacrificed for environmental populism.

Labor’s flirtation with the green movement began in the early 1980s when Bob Hawke ­decided to stand with Bob Brown in opposing the Franklin Dam. It was a popular move on the mainland, where Hawke won the 1983 election with a 4 per cent swing. There was a 4 per cent swing against Labor in Tasmania, however, where the dam meant pro­gress and jobs.

Hawke’s finance minister, Peter Walsh, warned that no good would come from trying to satisfy the insatiable demands of ecological activists. Labor, he wrote in his memoir, had knowingly put Tasmanian blue-collar workers out of work “to appease the bourgeois left and middle-class trendoids in the gentrified suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne”.

What Walsh and others did not predict was that the workers would eventually be squeezed out by the middle-class trendoids, just as they were squeezed out from the workers’ cottages in inner-Sydney Chippendale.

Nor could anyone have foreseen in 1983 that the kayak-paddling nature lovers blockading the Franklin would spawn a protest industry with a nine-figure turnover, or that demonisation of dams would be eclipsed by the ­demonisation of coal, a combustible sedimentary rock that gave us modernity.

By the mid-1980s, the green movement, radicalised by its own success, was congratulating itself on locking away every hectare of untamed wilderness and was looking for new targets for its righteous anger.

The marginal, drought-prone pastures of the Galilee Basin ­became a cause worth fighting for once the Greens had succeeded in portraying coal as public enemy No 1.

The anti-coal campaigners met their match in Gautam Adani, a university dropout from India’s Gujarat state who set up his own diamond brokerage at 20 and traded his way to become a multi-billionaire.

The Adani Group’s stubborn refusal to let green spoiling tactics stop its plan to open Australia’s largest coalmine makes its tenacious chairman a true Aussie hero.

There is far more at stake in this fight than the fate of one coalmine, just as more rested on the Franklin campaign than the ­future of one dam. It is a test of strength between ideology and pragmatism, a choice between deep-green dogma and progress.

If the environmentalists were to win this fight it would put an ­effective moratorium on the ­expansion of coal for the next 30 years, just as Franklin put a stop to large-scale water storage.

By ­refusing to offer material support to the project, Shorten, on behalf of Labor, has effectively thrown in the towel. He presumes to know better than private sector ­investors prepared to risk billions of dollars of their own capital in the project by declaring that the project doesn’t stack up.

He is prepared to fight Malcolm Turnbull over the allocation of money from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility, controlled by an independent board charged with offering concessional loans to projects that pass a public interest test on which they can reasonably expect a return.

In his 2016 book, For the Common Good, Shorten dismissed the future of thermal coal and instead declared his ambition to make Australia a “clean energy superpower”. The growth in mining ­exports is fading, he declared. ­Renewable energy is “the biggest business opportunity in the history of business”, and Labor, in time, will be shown to be “on the right the side of history”.

Now that Shorten has revealed his intention to put the kybosh on Adani, the portent of his extravagant rhetoric is a little less opaque.


Two Vic cops in court on assault, perjury

Two Victoria Police officers who allegedly assaulted a pair of teens and lied about it are expected to front court in Melbourne.

Senior Constables Simon Mareangareu and Dennis Gundrill face charges of assault, false imprisonment, perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice over an altercation involving two teenage boys near a Vermont convenience store on Christmas Day 2014.

The pair are expected in Melbourne Magistrates' Court for a committal hearing on Tuesday.

Court documents allege the officers deleted a video and audio recording from a mobile phone belonging to one of the teens, made a false statement and compiled false evidence against the teenage boys.

Among seven witnesses listed to testify is the father of one of the boys.

Mareangareu, 52, and Gundrill, 58, were initially charged with assault, but conversations between the OPP and Professional Standards Command found it would also be appropriate to lay other charges, police have previously said.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

18 April, 2017

Housing:  Should the capital gains tax be increased?

Economist Jason Murphy below doesn't seem to know what he is talking about.  The reason not all capital gains are taxed is that most of them are simply an inflation effect.  He does not seem to know that.  Without the discount people would be paying for illusory gains. 

The discounts is certainly badly targeted in that it does not allow for how long someone has owned the property.  The previous system of discounting the value gain by a price deflator was much better.  I would certainly back a return to that.  But the present system does foster a quick turnover of property ownership, which should free up more housing for sale. So the solution offered by Murphy could make the situation worse  rather than better

THE pre-Budget period is a fun time.

The government is busy trying to make sure it won’t be another stinker like the one that brought down Abbott and Hockey. So its ministers are testing out ideas. They leak them to the press and watch: Does the idea get a bollocking?

In the case of using your superannuation to buy a house, the bollocking was good and proper.

Most people noticed the idea would add money to the housing bidding war while simultaneously draining people’s super balances. In my opinion the idea was a dud — a great way to transfer young people’s super balances to old people’s bank accounts.
And their bank accounts are big enough. This two bedroom house in St Kilda just sold for $1.35 million, $150,000 over reserve.

And their bank accounts are big enough. This two bedroom house in St Kilda just sold for $1.35 million, $150,000 over reserve.Source:Supplied

The government is now acting coy about the idea, so the chance of actually seeing it in the Budget papers on the second Tuesday in May must be skinnier than before.

Nevertheless they’re still promising a housing package. Doing something to make housing more affordable. The Treasurer has been out there saying he’s worried about the falling rate of home ownership.
The proportion of households that are homeowner households, by state.

The proportion of households that are homeowner households, by state.Source:Supplied

He is going to try a few things, and you can expect him to hit a soft target — vacant houses.

A tax on vacant houses is good in theory. There’s lots of stories in the press about vacant flats. But I have strong doubts about whether it will make a real difference.

The most widely-cited data are based on water use patterns, which suggest 4.8 per cent of all homes are vacant. That number depends on analysis that says if you use less than 50 litres of water a day, you count as vacant.

There’s plenty of reasons a house might use less than 50 litres a day and not be vacant in the classic sense, including weird people with a phobia of showers, or because of tank water, ill health, or frequent travel. If someone’s away for work every week and only home on weekends, is that house really vacant?

If you live alone in a flat, use a communal laundry, and sometimes shower at the gym, it’d be easy to come in under 50L a day. And it’s worth noting that most of the empty places they identify are right in the inner city. Most of those places are probably occupied, at least sometimes.

So a vacant property tax is likely, but it will mostly be for show. What we need is something effective. The Treasurer has ruled out negative gearing changes, and the super for housing idea is teetering on the edge of the bin, but there is one good idea he hasn’t ruled out.

Changing capital gains tax. Negative gearing gets all the limelight, but this is actually the big one. The capital gains tax discount came in 1999 (marked by the vertical line in the graph below) and you can see that across Australia, houses started getting more expensive shortly afterwards.

That’s circumstantial evidence, to be sure, but there is no question that the CGT discount makes investing in housing more attractive, and Australians have invested so much in housing that we’ve pretty much stopped investing in anything else.

The CGT discount works like this: An investor buys the property for $400,000, sells it later for $500,000 and gets a $100,00 capital gain. Instead of paying tax on the $100,000, they effectively “discount” the gain by 50 per cent. So they only pay tax on $50,000. It’s a pretty nice way of making money without paying much tax, especially if you’re buying property and flipping it quickly.

The government has mentioned the idea of cutting the capital gains tax discount from 50 per cent to 25 per cent (i.e. the investor would pay tax on $75,000 in the above example).

That could be a good way of getting housing out of the hands of investors and into the hands of owner-occupiers. (You don’t pay any capital gains tax on the family home.) But it will only work if ScoMo gets a few things straight.

The Treasurer hasn’t ruled out this change, but he seems nervous about changing CGT. He says mum and dad investors are important for increasing supply of rental properties, and he says the reasons they own those houses is for capital gains. He’s worried that if he makes them pay tax on capital gains, they’ll stop providing rental properties.

But he may be getting a bit mixed up. Whether they are rented out or owner-occupied, those properties exist. If they’re not owned by investors, they’ll be owned by someone who lives there. Most investors already have a house. So a renter will probably move in and become an owner-occupier in the process.

Of course, some caution is required. I’ve written before about the economic consequences of a housing crash. ScoMo is probably worried about pushing house prices — which are frothier than a beer in a dirty glass — into a downward spiral and getting the blame.

One way to make the change would be to do it slowly, reducing the capital gains tax discount from 50 to 25 per cent over time. Whether even that is too courageous for ScoMo, we will find out on Budget night.


Tony Abbott’s five point plan to regain voter trust

FORMER prime minister Tony Abbott wants Cabinet to consider his five point plan to reclaim the electorate’s trust, and called on Treasurer Scott Morrison to do more to balance the budget.

Speaking to Ray Hadley in his first spot as replacement to Mr Morrison who was dumped last week by the 2GB broadcaster, the former PM said Australia “is going to go badly” unless it takes urgent action.

“Everyone needs to live within their means government is no different than business and households,” Mr Abbott told 2GB radio.

“Our country has been living on the credit card and sooner or later it is going to go badly unless we take action.

“This budget is better than any time to get on with it.”
Former PM Tony Abbott has a plan. Picture: Hamish Blair

Mr Abbott’s call-to-arms comes as Mr Morrison prepares to hand down the federal budget in May.

Writing exclusively to the Daily Telegraph today, Mr Abbott outlined an alarming diagnosis of widespread voter malaise, saying politicians on all sides have lost the trust and respect of the people.

Mr Abbott says he took the temperature of a broad range of voters during a recent charity cycle ride and discovered that most Australians are sick and tired of politicians on all sides.

People are fed up with MPs saying one thing and doing ­another, he says, warning the situation is so dire, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten “could soon be in The Lodge”.

In a direct attack on Mr Shorten — and a thinly veiled swipe at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull — Mr Abbott says: “People are sick of politicians that are more talk than action and are especially sick of politicians who change their policies to suit their political convenience.”

Significantly, he ruled out seeking revenge for Mr Turnbull rolling him as leader and instead called on the government to lift its game.
The former PM said he’s been in touch with Middle Australians as part of his ride around the country. Picture: Ray Strange.

“The best way to keep Shorten out is not to sack an elected prime minister yet again but to ensure that the government does its job better,” Mr Abbott writes.

In what was being seen as a passionate call to arms, the former PM outlined his five-point plan for getting the government back on track, including dumping the Human Rights Commission, cutting renewable energy subsidies in order to reduce power bills and reforming the Senate to end the policy gridlock.

“People aren’t happy. There’s an added dimension of frustration with everyone in politics: with governments that don’t deliver, with oppositions that oppose just to score political points, and with minor parties that are all grievance and no solution.”
The problems with politics — and how to fix them.

Mr Abbott’s most recent attempt to steer the Turnbull government to the right was with a speech in February that was met with vehement criticism from his Coalition colleagues.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said at the time he was “flabbergasted” by that intervention, calling it “deliberately destructive” and “completely unhelpful”.

In response to Mr Abbott’s latest article in the Telegraph, some of his colleagues said while he was right about politicians failing to stick to their convictions, becoming more conservative would not work.

“Let Malcolm be Malcolm is ultimately the strategy we should pursue,” one said.

Mr Abbott has also taken aim at Mr Shorten and the “union-controlled, Greens-influenced Labor Party that still thinks Rudd and Gillard had good policies”.

“People seem to be working out that Labor is at least as responsible for our problems as the government,” he writes.

“In fact, not only did Labor create the debt and deficit disaster and the political correctness epidemic, but it’s now making it impossible to fix through its intransigence in the Senate.”


Greens urged to get real and  join farmers in push for quarantine improvement

Feral predators and introduced diseases have done more damage to Australia’s biodiversity than land clearing, fire or habitat loss, and it’s time the environmental movement joined farmers in pressuring the government for better quarantine laws, a new report says.

The study’s author, biologist and writer Tim Low, said green groups that put all their efforts into trying to halt environmental degradation would get more benefit per dollar spent from worrying about stopping the next lantana or cane toad as well.

“Australians think they’ve got the world’s best quarantine system, but really it’s a disaster in slow motion,” Mr Low said. “The conservation movement should be talking more about quarantine, even if that means saying a bit less about habitat loss.”

He pointed to the recent discoveries of myrtle rust (affecting trees) and white spot disease (at prawn farms) and said the Asian black-spined toad (a possible cold-climate cane toad) had been spotted in Australia. “There’s a widespread misconception habitat loss is causing most extinctions in Australia, but evidence doesn’t back that up,” Mr Low said.

He has recently produced a soon-to-be-released report for the Invasive Species Council showing that feral animals and introduced diseases pose a greater threat to Australia’s most vulnerable native wildlife than do most other factors.

The 20-page document, entitled “Invasive Species: a leading threat to Australia’s wildlife”, obtained by The Weekend Australian, summarises the work of dozens of authors. It shows that introduced feral animals, weeds and diseases pose a severe risk to more than three-quarters of all amphibian, mammal and bird species on the threatened species list and to more than half of all types of threatened plants, fish and reptiles.

Australia has lost more mammal species than any other country; feral cats and foxes are considered mostly to blame. The study points to only one extinct animal (the toolache wallaby) for which habitat loss is considered the primary driver of its demise.

Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said the danger was “not just ongoing, it is increasing”.

“The size of the threat is far bigger than what most people had believed. It is largely invisible and slow moving. As a result, government responses have been poor and often misguided, long after it is too late,” he said.


WHAT’S the most transgressive, the most dangerous thing a teenage girl can do in 2017? Have a baby — and want to take care of it herself

These kids knew enough to be rightly afraid of authoritarian social workers

In an era when teenagers are piercing and inking and Snapchatting and live-camming their naked bodies, there is one young western Sydney girl who chose to go ahead with a pregnancy nearly everyone else in her situation would have terminated.

Jenifer Morrison, 15, gave birth to baby Aria in hospital, and then — apparently motivated by terror of having her baby taken away by authorities — she ran away with her child and the ­father, an almost shockingly young-looking 14-year-old boy named Jayden Lavender.

Jenifer and Jayden are engaged and wanted to marry before the baby’s birth, but were legally unable to wed because they are both under 16.

Together with their tiny infant, they camped in the bush on a cold autumn night and, when police found them the following day, they said they were heartbroken at the prospect they would not be allowed to take their baby home.

There’s something deeply troubling about all this.

What is really best for baby Aria? To be shuffled between a dozen homes for the next decade? Even in the best-case scenario, to be adopted by strangers and to wonder for the rest of her life what would have happened if she’d been able to grow up with her own mum and dad — is that best? To be denied the chance to be with her mother and father — the two human beings with whom she has an unbreakable biological connection — ­because they happen to be young?

Aria has two parents who love her and want her. That makes her richer than a lot of children born in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

I have no doubt that the officials who want to take Aria from her parents are motivated by the best intentions, and I’m not for a moment arguing they should have been simply left to look after Aria by themselves.

Jayden and Jenifer are, of course, still legally children. They removed the child from the hospital and took her into the freezing night air, which reflects about the level of commonsense you’d expect from a couple of young teenagers. There is no way they are capable of caring for a tiny baby without some serious adult intervention.

But don’t they get a chance to try?

I think it’s safe to say, without harming anyone’s reputation, that Jenifer and Jayden have not been the beneficiaries of outstanding parenting, given the fact they fell pregnant in the first place.

But someone has to break the cycle of slack parenting. And so why shouldn’t it be a 15-year-old girl and her 14-year-old boyfriend?

I think the desperate motivation to try, indicated by their terribly sad attempt to take Aria from the hospital, should earn Jayden and Jenifer a little credit.

There’s a reason we don’t hear these kinds of stories very often. It’s not because Jayden and Jenifer are particularly wicked or wild. In fact, it’s the opposite. Most young girls who get pregnant have abortions. Their babies get no chance at life whatsoever.

And the children born to dysfunctional or chaotic households — the ones who are taken away — are so often re-victimised by a care system that fails to give them the stability or the protection they deserve.

We let little children down all the time. It looks like more than a few people have let Jayden and Jenifer down. And now, when all they want is to live up to the opportunity they’ve been given in the snuggly pink form of baby Aria, we’re going to let them all down again.

I hope with all my heart Jayden and Jenifer get the chance to learn how beautiful and how hard parenting can be, with the support of people who know what they’re doing.

Surely, if our gleaming safety-net state can achieve anything, we can support these two and their baby to be safe, happy and together.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

17 April, 2017  

The pot calls the kettle black

A violent brawl between four men has been captured by a passenger on a train in Melbourne.  The footage shows a group of men arguing on a Sunbury line train, before three men appear to attack one man who is left slumped on the floor, reported 7 News.

A witness who spoke to 7 News however, said there was more to the scenario than it appeared. The witness said the man on the ground who was being attacked was the one who initiated the fight.

'He was bleeding from his lip because he suffered a lot of punches. And he deserved it too,' the witness said.

He explained the altercation began with insults between the three Arabic men and the African man.

'He (the African man) said ''Go back to where you came from'' and ''All immigrants are a problem to this country and you bring all the crime here'',' the witness said.

After this, the insults turned to terrorism.

The witness said the African man told the three other men that all Arabic people were part of ISIS, and that's when the physical fight began. He said: 'They just wanted to beat she s*** out of him and they did.'

Other passengers sought help from transit guards when the train pulled into Tottenham station.

One man was seen getting off the train and yelling 'Look here, they're fighting on the train. There's one down on the ground now. They seem to be affected by alcohol.'  Transit guards are then seen rushing into the carriage.

According to 7 News police and transit guards spoke to the four men but none of them wanted to press charges or take the incident further, with each group blaming each other for the violence.

The witness to the incident said he thinks public transport needs more security.


Qld. Police 'too busy' to answer TWO domestic violence calls for help as 'woman is repeatedly knocked to the ground'

The Gold Coast cops are notorious.  They were probably just sitting in front of their computers

A Gold Coast man who twice called police to report domestic violence was both times told officers were 'too busy'.

A man, only identified as Marcus, had been walking along Surf Parade just after midnight earlier this month when he saw a man and woman fighting. Footage taken on his phone and shared with 7 News showed the man push the woman down, and grab her handbag when she didn't get up.

He says he made two phone calls to police - one at 12.32am and one at 12.49am, each lasting about two minutes.

Each time, he says he was told officers could not immediately attend as they were busy. 'To get the reply that I got was just beyond belief,' he said.

The video also shows Marcus approach the woman and ask if she is okay. 'Yeah I'm okay, please just keep walking, please,' she responded.  'I could tell that she was scared that her life might have been in danger,' Marcus told the broadcaster. 'I waited a further 20 minutes and no police arrived.'

A spokesperson for Queensland Police confirmed to Daily Mail Australia no officers were available on the night to attend the scene immediately.

'Police were tasked to several other urgent jobs, and a primary response unit was not immediately available,' they said. 'A crew was tasked at 1.58am and patrolled the area shortly afterwards.'

John-Paul Langbroek, the Member for Parliament for Surfers Paradise, told 7 News it was an issue that required an investigation.  'No-one should ever be told when you ring 000 we're too busy to help you,' he said.


Schools program promoting homosexuality to be dumped by NSW Government

THE controversial Safe Schools program is set to be axed with the NSW government replacing it with a ­broader anti-bullying program.

To be implemented in the third term, the proposed new resource will equip teachers with tools to target all kinds of bullying and discrimination, while also empowering vulnerable students from becoming radicalised.

State Education Minister Rob Stokes has already sounded out stakeholders, including in the Catholic Schools sector, about the design of the new program that will be peer reviewed over the coming weeks.

Unlike the sexual diversity and gender fluidity focus of the Safe Schools program, the new resource will aim to equip teachers with tools to target all kinds of bullying.

A government source said the shift to a broader-based program was being done in recognition that homophobia was not the sole cause of bullying in the playground. “The new program is about stopping all kinds of bullying,” the source said.

“It could be bullying ­because someone is overweight, or wears glasses, or is transitioning sex, but the overwhelming message is that it is not OK (to bully). The program will include lesson plans and material that can be tailored by teachers as required.”

Dedicated funding for the anti-bullying strategy is ­expected to be put aside in the next state Budget, with federal funding for Safe Schools due to run out on June 30.

Still in draft form, the NSW program will be peer reviewed by child psychology experts such as Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, retired school principals and various education stakeholders.

However, the State government faces a battle with the Commonwealth government, with federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham understood to have refused to decommission the Safe Schools website.

The move to a broader anti-bullying program in NSW comes as the Victorian government expands on the existing Safe Schools models for continued use in its schools.

The Victorian model retains the focus of the original program of ensuring schools are safe places for all students, ­“including LGBTI students”, and are “free of homophobia and transphobia”.

The Safe Schools program was widely condemned for the appropriateness of its teaching material, such as The Gender Fairy story where primary schoolchildren as young as four were advised that only they could know whether they were a boy or a girl.

Supporters of the Safe Schools program accused its critics of being “homophobic” and “transphobic”.

Mr Stokes declined to comment last week.


A Dead Man Warns of a Dying Grid

Not long before his sudden and premature death, Australian Energy Market Operator chief Matt Zema spoke candidly at a private conference of power-industry executives. The enormous subsidies heaped on renewables, he said, mean one thing and only one thing: “The system must collapse”

Matt Zema, inaugural head of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), attended a meeting a year ago of the Regulation Economics Energy Forum at which a number of prominent electricity industry executives were present. Proceedings at the meeting were private, but the need for confidentiality was removed with Matt’s sad death three months later. The following were among his remarks:

“The renewable developments and increased political interference are pushing the system towards a crisis. South Australia is most vulnerable with its potential for wind to supply 60% of demand and then to cut back rapidly. Each new windfarm constrains existing ones and brings demand for more transmission. The system is only manageable with robust interconnectors, but these operate effectively only because there is abundant coal-based generation in Victoria…

… wind, being subsidised and having low marginal costs, depresses the spot price and once a major coal plant has a severe problem it will be closed…

… wind does not provide the system security. But the politicians will not allow the appropriate price changes to permit profitable supply developments from other sources. And the original intent of having the generator or other beneficiary pay for transmission and services over and above energy itself has now been lost so there are no market signals, just a series of patch-ups that obscure the instability and shift the problem to include Victoria. In the end the system must collapse…”

A month later South Australia’s coal-fuelled Northern Power Station was disconnected from the network because it was unable to operate profitably against subsidised intermittent renewable energy that has priority over other supplies.

In September, 2016, as a result of this capacity reduction, South Australia lost all its power when storms triggered outages and several wind generators were unable to “ride through”, causing the main interconnector with Victoria to shut down. A more limited loss of power took place in February, 2017, when wind supply dropped from 800MW to under 100MW in four hours.

The September, 2016, blackout is estimated to have cost the state $367 million. BHP, whose senior executives have long engaged in virtue-signalling in favour of carbon taxes and exotic “clean” renewables, reported a loss of $US105 million with their Olympic Dam project — a loss magnified by the company being forced to suspend its proposed doubling of the mine’s capacity as a result of power uncertainties.

Engie, the owners of Hazelwood announced in November, 2016, that the 1600 megawatt facility (supplying between 20% and 25% of the state’s power) will be the fourth big coal-fired power station to close. Hazelwood had been allowed to deteriorate as a result of subsidised wind making the plant unprofitable, which did not stop Engie being ordered to complete major repairs to at least five of the eight boilers in order to meet occupational health and safety regulations.

The bottom line is that the loss of the coal-powered stations has resulted in at least a doubling of the wholesale electricity price in the southern states and the concomitant loss of reliability.

Blame shifting between politicians has characterised the various events. Reliable coal plants are being forced to close due to competition from renewables which currently enjoy a subsidy of $84 per MWH, double the actual price received by coal plants. The forced closure of these plants has compounded the cost impost by forcing up pool prices. The subsidies favouring renewable energy include several put in place by state governments, but the most important regulations are at the Commonwealth level — especially those requiring increasing shares of wind and solar within the supply mix. These regulations give rise to the current subsidy for wind and solar, currently at $84 per MWh and capped at $92.5 per MWh.

The roll-out of new subsidised power is on-going. And various schemes are being floated for buffering and overcoming wind’s intrinsic lack of reliability. Among these is the mooted South Australian battery investment using the technology developed by Elon Musk and the proposal floated by the Prime Minister to augment the Snowy hydro system with “pumped storage”. These measures, should they go ahead, allow the transfer of power over time and, in doing so, reduce the gross power available.

New “solutions” using subsidised wind and solar abound.

Last week, for example, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill announced a new solar-battery combination, Lyon Solar in the Riverland, which promises 300 Megawatts of capacity. This is the equivalent of perhaps 80 megawatts of coal fuelled electricity and comes at a cost of one billion dollars.

The now-shuttered Northern Power Station had 540 megawatts, yet Weatherill declined to take up an offer that would, for a mere $25 million, have kept it open. Instead, he plumped to spend $500 million-plus on a gas generator of half that capacity and, plus Elon Musk’s much bally-hooed batteries!

On paper, the new Lyon Solar facility is profitable only because of the penalties imposed on coal. These include the subsidy under the Renewable Energy Target of $84 per MWh. In addition, the facility benefits from the forced closure of the coal-fired stations. This has resulted in the wholesale price of electricity rising to a new norm of $130 per MWh, compared with the average price in the four years to 2015 of $50 per MWh. The bottom line is that the consumer will pay $214 per MWh for $50-per-MWh worth of electricity from the new facility.

With that sort of money being littered around the industry for gee-whizz exotic projects it is little wonder that moochers are circling the state like moths round a candle. In the end, renewables require at least three times the price of the supposed dinosaur facilities they are displacing; consumers and industry will need to pay this and, in addition, fork out for grid additions to offset some of the inevitable deterioration of reliability the brave new energy world entails. Obviously many outfits, especially those in the energy intensive mining and smelting and agricultural processing sectors will not find it profitable to remain in an Australian market where wholesale electricity prices have more than doubles and the system’s reliability has deteriorated.

We are seeing the future with these renewable energy facilities and it is not working. The contagion that is undermining the South Australian economy and impoverishing the state’s households is spreading to Victoria.

Ominously, on the very day that Hazelwood closed, Victoria evidenced what will be the new norm.

Incredibly, with no heatwave or any other factor to inspire a spike in electricity demand, it had to import electricity from New South Wales and Tasmania.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

16 April, 2017  

Hostility to African "refugees" growing in Melbourne

Refugees from South Sudan have been particularly troublesome

THE racist note displayed at a Melbourne milk bar was bad enough - but then came the online comments from ordinary members of the public.

A notice stuck to a window of a milk bar in the western Melbourne suburb of Melton caused outrage for many when it became public on Friday. The sign said black teenagers aged between 14-18 were not welcome because they "always steal".

Many were outraged at the racist tone of the note. But others who left comments online were supportive, some making shocking remarks that were even more offensive than the original note. The majority cannot be published here.

"I can't blame the store owner if being targeted by these A**s," said one commenter. "Wouldn't you put a stop to it if a certain group came to your home and stole from you regularly?"

Another added: "Yes we have gone back in time. We have let primitive Africans into the country who rape steal and assault people. What a lovely situation we are in. At least we don't offend anybody...."

One particularly vile post said: "Its not racist because blacks aren't humans."

The milk bar owner initially tried to explain the note by releasing CCTV footage of eight dark skinned youths in the store, some of who menaced him while their mates stole from the shelves. He told 7 News they always came into his shop and stole things which made him "very angry".

The note was an impulsive reaction to the incident with the eight youths, he said, but claimed there had been at least 20 other similar incidents in the past.

A common theme from many Australians on various forums was that it wasn't racism if Sudanese people had stolen from him.

Many people made direct links to Melbourne's youth gang crisis and spiralling crime rate. "The black c**** are on the news rioting and rampaging every night," wrote one. "Assimilation, and they don't do it."

Some used the incident to call for greater controls over who could come to Australia. "The immigration restriction act of 1901 was this countries greatest achievement."

Another man added: "At least the Aboriginals are getting left alone now ha oh well the Govt opened the doors for everyone to come here to freeload off the Lucky Country & it's free for all by the looks."

Other offensive posts included, "Shoot the C#### first then the dogs," and, "Shoot the lot of those African scumbags terrorising Melbourne."

Some of the messages were not overtly offensive or racist but supported the store owner's actions and the right to defend his business.

A typical response was: "Should he just fling open his doors and say help yourself? Obviously there's a hell of a lot more to this story than is here. He's been driven to this no doubt. The police have probably done little to nothing to help him."


Another Greenie lie about coal

Green groups opposed to the $16.5 billion Adani coalmine have been accused of propagating “fake news” after circulating images of “coal dust” on beaches near the Abbot Point coal ­terminal that was revealed to be black mineral sand called ­magnetite.

Queensland government environment officials yesterday confirmed they had “no immediate concerns” about environmental damage near the north Queensland port, noting that beaches had “regular depositions of minerals”.

Aerial images depicting black streaks on Dingo Beach near the coal terminal were released by the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australian Marine Conservation Society and splashed across the front page of The Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday.

The picture ran under the heading “black tide” and environmental groups used the photograph to rail against “Adani’s coal spill”.

They said the beach appeared to be “scattered with lumps of coal” that threatened a turtle ­nesting ground and the nearby habitat of the Australian Painted Snipe.

Green groups also warned about a “thick black sludge of coal” flowing from the Abbot Point ­terminal after satellite images, ­released by the Mackay Conservation Group, purported to show coal-laden water spilling into the neighbouring Caley Valley wetlands following tropical Cyclone Debbie.

The Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection said “no conclusions can yet be made”, but initial monitoring results indicated releases into the wetlands were “in accordance with temporary emissions ­licence conditions”.

A coalition of politicians, ­resources groups and Queensland’s peak environment agency yesterday dismissed suggestions that coal had washed ashore.

A spokeswoman for the Australian Marine Conservation ­Society said it was unable to verify the presence of coal on the beach before releasing the images.

Mike Brunker — a former mayor and current Whitsunday councillor who is tipped to win ALP preselection for the new north Queensland state seat of McMaster — said yesterday there was no coal in the wetlands.

He said the black deposits on the beach were magnetite and naturally occurring. He added that locals distrusted the claims made by the ACF and AMCS.

“I understand they are on the opposing side,” Mr Brunker said. “They want to save the planet but it’s the extremes they go to prove a point. They are losing credibility.

“It’s naturally there. You can see the formation of the sand. It’s a naturally occurring thing. If you get a magnet on it, the magnet picks it up.”

The Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection debunked the environmental groups’ claims, saying it had “no immediate concern regarding images in the media showing black deposits on beaches adjacent to the Abbott Point coal terminal”.

“Regional shorelines are known for regular depositions of minerals in sand,” a department spokesman said. “The department is undertaking sampling to confirm that it is mineral sand.”

Resources Minister Matt Canavan attacked the integrity of the groups campaigning against the Adani mine. “Unless Cyclone Debbie was so powerful it changed the chemical composition of coal, there’s no evidence at all that coal has washed up on the beach,” Senator Canavan said. “These green groups have absolutely no credibility now. And nothing they say can be trusted.”

AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign director Imogen Zethoven yesterday defended the decision to release the images, saying no one had yet tested the sand for traces of coal. “The purpose of us releasing those photos ... was to draw public attention to the issue and to call for an urgent transparent and independent investigation,” she said.

Ms Zethoven said the head of corporate affairs at Adani had ­offered the conservation group an opportunity to visit Dingo Beach, but withdrew the offer after AMCS asked to bring an ecologist, soil scientist and a photographer.

Adani spokesman Ron Watson said the sand along the beaches in the area varied between white and black. He also said preliminary testing of the Caley Valley Wetlands by the environment department, following the release of the satellite imagery, had found “the water quality was within the ­required limits”.

“It’s a basalt magnetite mix,” he said, describing the black sand. “It’s very heavy and magnetic in parts which is what Captain Cook discovered in 1770 when he sailed by the nearby Magnetic Island. We offered to take one of the environmentalists. But they refused on the basis that we wouldn’t allow them to take water samples.”

An Adani spokesman said last night police were called after an unknown vessel arrived at Dingo Beach yesterday, allegedly breaching security conditions.

Whitsunday Regional Council mayor Andrew Willcox took a magnet with him to inspect the beach on Thursday “to prove a point” after he heard about the aerial photographs. “What they need to do is just stick to the actual facts ... I took a magnet with me because coal is not attracted to a magnet but magnetite is,” he said. “I just ran it over different sections of the beach and that black stuff there is definitely magnetite.”

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane rubbished the claims.

Andrew Morrell, who is a Juru traditional owner and part of a nat­ive title claim covering one third of the wetlands, said he thought there “could be some coal among the magnetite” and pushed for an investigation because traditional owners were concerned.


Insurance companies’ secrets spilt

THE actuarial voodoo of the insurance industry exposed before a Senate inquiry will add to the cynicism of policy holders.

In just one round of questioning in Sydney a committee has heard of policies being shaped according to the time of day, the colour of a vehicle, or marital status of a customer.

Actuaries are paid to reduce or preferably eliminate the risks of having to make a payout.

But these practices sound more like prejudice rather than sophisticated prediction, more make-believe than metrics.

And the clear message to consumers is that they might end up paying more should they apply for a policy at the wrong time and like the wrong shade of vehicle.

All of which adds to scepticism towards our major institutions of daily life.

Last November the Senate’s economic reference committee began an inquiry into the general insurance industry to report late June, running parallel with a longer inquiry into consumer protection in the insurance, banking and financial sectors.

Yesterday it held a public hearing in Sydney and today will be in Melbourne.

The inquiry has heard owners of white cars made fewer claims than those with brighter hued vehicles.

And so they were rewarded with lower premiums.

No such relief is offered to someone owning a coloured vehicle who turns up at the insurance office in the afternoon.

Apparently people who do their business in the morning are better risks.

And bachelors and spinsters who arrive late in distinctive wheels have, it seems, little chance of a bargain. Marital status is a risk indicator.

And so is geography. Where you live can increase your insurance costs, and might mean you are ineligible for any cover at all.

Some of this sounds dubious, but of greater importance is the lack of transparency. Customers are not told of the factors which will decide the size of premiums. For example, no company advises that turning up before noon could save money.

And the odd equations of risk could been seen as signs the insurers rely more on voodoo than science.


New progressive morality rapidly taking over from Christian beliefs

As Christians celebrate Easter under threat and persecution in many countries, Christian tradi­tion faces erosion in Australia from an array of forces — the ­failure of its churches and clerics, the march of secularism and the rise of an alternative progressive morality.

The new morality arises from neither dogma nor revelation. Its focus is diversity, human rights, self-expression and identity politics. It is a set of values and a way of relating to others. Its essence is the discarding of the worth of trad­ition and enshrining in law rules and procedures for contemporary cultural norms. It is best seen as the comprehensive politicisation of our culture.

British sociologist Frank Furedi recently captured its manifestations: “Conflicts over values have acquired an enormous significance in political life. Recent debates on abortion, euthanasia, immigration, gay marriage and family life indicate that there is an absence of agreement on some of the most fundamental questions facing society.

“The contestation of norms and values has politicised culture and often people’s lifestyles — who you sleep with, what you eat and consume, how you feed and bring up your child, the language you use — are interpreted as political statements.”

The upshot is a society in confusion and dispute over the meaning of virtue. For much of its history, Australia, along with other Western nations, was a society that agreed on core values arising from Christian tradition and this was a unifying factor during bitter disputes over class, income and economic organisation.

But as the Christian tradition weakens and the progressive morality rises, our society is divided at its heart, a process that few want to discuss yet which is set to intensify.

As Furedi says: “Advocates of cultural politics have succeeded in marginalising the influence of traditional values and their outdated language. In contemporary soc­iety, moral statements are rarely taken seriously and have the form of a plea.” Disciples of the new morality have brilliantly manipulated and expanded the range of cultural issues on which to moralise — their ultimate success being the moralisation of “space”, witness the sanctity of the “safe space” for the protection of the individual.

Politics is intruding into private and family life. Value judgments are being made about how you live in a way inconceivable two decades ago. Politics is driven by belief in an expanding space for human rights, notably the right of individuals to control more and more of their lives from birth to death. This equates to a new social etiquette and moral code. As the culture is endlessly politicised, the scope for disputes escalates.

The Western secular democratic state was founded on a ­­neg­otiated harmony between sec­ularists and Christians about the ultimate questions. The model allowed homage to both God and Caesar. Contrary to current misconceptions the secular state was neutral between believers and non-believers and between different believers — a system that allowed religion to flourish. The laws of the state and the laws of the church co-existed in a tolerated and often fruitful settlement that facilitated a successful society. But this is now collapsing. The emerging differences are fundamental given the promotion of gay marriage, the push to legalise killing in the cause of humanitarianism, the restriction of free speech on the basis of causing offence, the promotion of gender fluidity and rejection of the boy/girl gender paradigm, and the manipulation of schools for ideological, sex, gender and climate programs.

The scope of the new morality extends even further — into how children should be raised, the structure of family life and the deployment of multiculturalism to weaken Christian symbols.

Sociologists describe this phenomenon in terms of diversity and inclusion but miss its ideological essence — the crusade to liberate the individual from the Western tradition with its Christian moral straitjacket. The incubator of progressive ideology is the education sector — universities and schools. It is founded in the belief that new-world societies such as America and Australia have failed to come to terms with the racism, indigenous exploitation, sexism, patriarchy and monoculturalism at their core.

Because these traits are seen as endemic, the effort to purge them becomes an endless task requiring a wider politicisation of the culture. The end point is never reached. And that is the real point, the campaign is a perpetual process. Because the Christian ethos is identified with the past and tradition — part of the problem — it becomes a priority for the purging.

As the sharp end of the progressive agenda is gradually enacted, part of the contemporary zeitgeist, the Western democratic state will face a dilemma it has never before encountered: a conflict in the domain of human relations between the laws and values of the state and the laws and values of the church (or most religions in our multicultural polity).

How Australia manages this defies prediction. How will the previous compact allowing people to honour both God and Caesar work in future? There is one certainty, it won’t be the same any more. State and church will not be at war physically but they will be in conflict in moral and intellectual terms. They will disagree on the core moral principles of society.

You can be pretty certain this historical challenge will be messy, divisive and debilitating. The grim forebodings of the Catholic Church were signalled by Archbishop Anthony Fisher in his 2015 lecture on Religion and Freedom for the Centre for Independent Studies when he projected out to 2025 based on current trends.

Fisher speculated about an amended Marriage Act where references to man or woman had been removed; changes to other laws deleted references to mother and father; religious freedom was seriously limited so faith schools had to teach a gay-friendly state-imposed curriculum; teaching children the Christian view of marriage was outlawed and members of the clergy who defied the state risked imprisonment.

To simplify a complex situation, the new morality has two sources — the broad-based credo of diversity and inclusion as a public and private good and the smaller ideological movement at its core, best described as secular fundamentalists who want sweeping changes to the principles governing our society. In Australia, the Greens are home to many of these secular fundamentalists.

New York University social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind, says the campaign for social justice or the new morality in the US is akin to a secular religion. He warns “this new religion is causing an existential crisis” within the US university sector.

While Haidt’s work focuses on the US university his diagnosis captures the essence of the new morality, branding it “an extremely intense, fundamental social justice religion”. This point is basic to what we have seen in Australia — the rising intolerance of the secular fundamentalists and their determination to silence, censor and repress the individuals and institutions they oppose.

Fundamentalism is tied to identity politics. The core issue at stake is whether minority causes and interests should override nat­ional standards and values. This is now happening. A fortnight ago the Senate majority was explicit, the test for section 18C of the racial Discrimination Act cannot be Australian community standards. This idea was repudiated by a Senate majority that said the test must be the standards of the offended minority.

Corporates are now intimidated by minorities, witness the Coopers beer boycott when the company backed down from being associated with a model debate on gay marriage between Liberal MPs Andrew Hastie and Tim Wilson. State power is being used aggressively to promote the new morality under false pretences, witness the Victorian government campaign to promote a gender fluidity agenda in all public schools under the anti-bullying rubric. Similar ideological campaigns are being waged in schools and preschools as part of anti-violence programs. The role of educational institutions is paramount.

Earlier this year the same-sex marriage plebiscite was rejected mainly because it would cause offence to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community. This was a first for our politics — coupled with claims by ALP figures it would be a licence for homophobia, with the gay community willingly embracing the mantle of victimhood this involved. Claims of mental damage have become a core political tactic.

The lesson seemed manifest: government cannot take actions that offend minorities. Greens leader Richard Di Natale has repeatedly branded as “homophobic” critics of the Safe Schools program in Victoria. When has any federal political leader resorted to such unjustified denigration and abuse of his critics?

This is a huge and amusing irony. The Catholic Church in Australia is a fusion of Irish practice, Greek rationality and Gospel revelation with few traces left of any fundamentalism (unlike US Evangelicals). The point, however, is that fundamentalism is now rising and conspicuous, notably among the new moralists.

It is one thing to look back and applaud the centuries-old magic of church and the Western state living together but separately when the differences between them were reconciled, but it is another situation completely when they constitute rival moral sources on the most fundamental and emotional issues governing personal virtue in our society.

Yet this is the future we face. The Greens, the vanguard of progressive thinking in Australia, offer a clue to the next step. At the 2016 election the party ran on far-reaching changes to anti-discrimination laws to curtail the freedom of religious institutions, schools and charities. Former Greens senator Robert Simms said churches enjoyed a “get out of jail free” card to discriminate against people on gender identity. This is consistent with the position of a section of the progressive movement — to drive religion from the public square.

This is one response to the coming ideological clash between church and state. It is, however, complicated by the rise of Islam and the position of many progressives who support Islam in the spirit of multicultural identity politics and decline (so far) to depict it as a religion best kept away from the public square.

Given the rise of Islam and its more assertive character, the role of the Islamic theocratic state will become even more prominent, begging the question: what sort of Western state will it face?

There are two options. One is a Western state where secularist ideology has become more assertive and intolerant as Christianity is rendered more vulnerable and marginalised. The other is some form of new settlement that retains the key to Western success — homage to God and to Caesar — in a secular state that still remains neutral between believers and non-believers.

At one point Archbishop Fisher said the Australian desire to “get along” may mean “we give each other space to do our own thing”. In the next breath, however, he was sceptical of such optimism because under the new morality “as conscience reduces to personal tastes, respect for its claims is harder to sustain”.

The Christian definition of good and evil, right and wrong, is regarded as obsolete by much of the culture, replaced by an obsessive focus on individual wants, identity and self-expression. You might have thought Australia was becoming a less racist, less sexist, less patriarchal nation as Malcolm Turnbull calls us “the most successful multicultural nation on earth”. But you are wrong.

The tenor and content of our public debate, more than ever, is about racism, sexism and patriarchy. Indeed, in the recent section 18C debate much of the argument for the status quo was that racism in Australia is increasing and this law is essential to save the nation from its racist outbreaks.

The push for euthanasia is explicit — the law originating in Christian ethics is now obsolete and must be replaced by a new individual-centred morality to permit state-sanctioned killing for humanitarian purposes.

What happens when state and church disagree on the core principles of society? It would be nice to think nothing much would happen. But ideological movements never settle for compromise: they understand only total victory. For example, the triumph of marriage equality will never be complete as long as the church is allowed to deny same-sex marriage in its own domain. Laws that authorise same-sex marriage will not end this struggle; they will merely take the struggle to another plateau.

The vanguard of the new morality are the elites. Indeed, capture of the elites has been a triumph for the broad and disparate progressive tide. In Australia, like the US, elites in government, business, the public service and civic organisations are embracing progressive ideas on the basis of social etiquette, personal respect and organisational protocols. There are some golden rules: all cultures are equal; the historically disadvantaged must be affirmed; concern for the feelings and identity of others must be prioritised. The need to respect identity politics is captured by Furedi in ­describing why a world-leading institution like the University of Cambridge feels obliged to organise events “to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month, Black and Ethnic Minority History Month, International Women’s Day, International Day of Persons with Disabilities and Holocaust Memorial Day”.

Furedi says: “The university offers training programs and online courses to help people acquire the skills of ‘managing diversity’. Such courses presume that the management of diversity and relationships between people requires professional expertise.”

The sheer size of the professional class now dealing with the new morality is immense. Such professionals have a strong self-­interest in the cause and earn high salaries (check the Australian Human Rights Commission among others). Indeed, the status and social standing of many professionals is a function of the spread of the new morality. The sense of self-interest is pervasive and big money is involved.

It is assumed, naturally, the new morality is a plus for institutions. But this is not necessarily true. Enter Haidt and his revealing work on the American university system: he has identified what constitutes institutional moral corruption at the heart of the US educational establishment.

If you want to grasp the origins and power of the new morality in the US, there is no better place to begin. Haidt has produced staggering figures on the revolution of the past 20 years in the US university system. It is basic to the culture war now raging in America.

Haidt (not a conservative) says “very few people” in the US know the extent of left-wing conformity entrenched in the humanities and social sciences in the US academy. As late as the 1990s the left-right ratio in the academy was only 2:1 but 15 years later there has been a “transformation” with the ratio now 5:1, with “almost everybody on the left” — and this includes professors from dental, engineering and agricultural schools.

The bias is much worse in the humanities. Taking his own field of social psychology, Haidt found the most recent data was 17:1. He quoted one survey with 291 respondents showing 85 per cent left-liberal and 6 per cent identifying as conservative, a ratio of 14:1.

He then followed a more extensive survey (William von Hippel and David M. Buss) involving members of the academic body of social psychologists. Of the 326 respondents, 291 identified as left of centre, which was 89 per cent, and only 2.5 per cent identified as right of centre. This gives a left-right ratio of 36:1.

Asked who they voted for or would have voted for at the 2012 presidential election, 305 out of 322 said Barack Obama (94.7 per cent), four said Mitt Romney (1.2 per cent) and 13 said another candidate (4 per cent). This meant a Democrat-Republican ratio of 76:1. When a series of political questions were put and scaled the result was a left-right ratio of 314:1.

Haidt calls this an “existential threat” in his field. “I don’t mean to single out social psychology,” he says. “It is the field that I know best. But what we have learned is this rapid shift to political purity has happened to most fields in the humanities and social sciences in just the last two decades.”

He is blunt about the implications: this had to call into question the integrity of academic research and scholarship. He says “scholarship to support a political agenda almost always succeeds” and the scholar “rarely if ever” believes they are biased. The truth, he argues, is that “a motivated scholarship often propagates plea­sing falsehoods”. He says US undergraduates are “exposed to less political diversity than ever before in the history of this country”.

Why is this relevant? Because educational institutions are the originating impulse for the new morality and its secular fundamentalism. America, of course, is not Australia. Is Australia different or the same? It would be nice to know. Haidt warns about the wider dangers of the new fundamentalism: “We can expect political polarisation to get steadily worse in coming decades as this moral culture of victimhood spreads.” History tells us the new moral­ity is merely the latest in the periodic and messianic quests to remake society, an ingrained feature of the human condition. It is a function of the post-ideological age and acts as a replacement for the demise of Marxism and widely assumed failure of socialism.

It is true the Christian churches carry the main responsibility for their failures. It is also true that as the new morality gains sway and secular fundamentals make advances, the tension and conflict between secular norms and church norms will intensify.

There will be no settlement or social harmony from the agendas of the new moralists — just a fragmented society, the demise of the long narrative that has bound our communities together, a conflicted moral order and the fracturing of the church-state compact so vital to our success.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

14 April, 2017  

Apex crime gang declared a 'non-entity' by Victoria Police

So all the people who reported being robbed and assaulted by Africans were colour-blind?  Give us a break!  Victoria police are notorious for cover-ups so the report below should be taken with a shaker full of salt.  But you can to some extent read between the lines.  Take this neat little utterance:

"Predominantly, a large cohort of that gang was in fact Australian-born offenders," Deputy Commissioner Patton said

Maybe they were.  But who were their parents? Africans?

In any case, the problem is African crime, not one particular gang.  And African crime is huge in Melbourne, as it is wherever there are Africans

Victoria Police have declared the Apex crime gang a "non-entity" saying it is no longer and never was predominantly African.

Giving evidence to a Parliamentary Inquiry into Migrant Settlement Outcomes, Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said at its peak the gang consisted of about 130 people who loosely claimed to be members.

He said it was now in recession and was not made up of one or two ethnicities, but from people from a range of backgrounds.  "Predominantly, a large cohort of that gang was in fact Australian-born offenders," Deputy Commissioner Patton said

Police said they now believed they had "broken the back" of the gang. "We have charged the leaders of that gang and imprisoned them," he said. "We would call them a non-entity in terms of a gang."

The spectre of Apex came to prominence at the Moomba riots in 2016, when youths ran amok in the CBD and thrust the idea of migrant crime to the forefront.

In its first incarnation, the gang was named after a Dandenong Street and was made up of South Sudanese and Pacific Islanders.

The inquiry is being chaired by Liberal MP, and former police officer, Jason Wood who has been outspoken about the so-called threat of Apex and migrant crime gangs in Melbourne and called for the Federal Government to crack down.

However, the inquiry heard after the Moomba riots it morphed into an all encompassing group loosely linked through social media.

Deputy Commissioner Patton said the carjackings, home invasions and jewellery store robberies that have plagued Melbourne are being carried out by criminals from all backgrounds. "Over 50 per cent of them are Australians," he repeated when questioned by Mr Wood.

Commander of Victoria Police's anti-gangs division, Peter De Santo, said there may be "some remnants" of the Apex gang but they have morphed into "networked offending" linked by social media.

He added that Middle Eastern crime gangs had recruited some "disadvantaged youth" but it was the exception to the rule.

University of Sydney investigates tutor’s racial attack on a News Corp reporter

Mr. Tharappel tutors human rights at Sydney University. He is involved with the Centre for Counter Hegemonic Studies, a far-Leftist outfit.  So racist bigotry from the Left is no surprise.  The Left are obsessed with race. 

The name Tharappel is mainly from the Southern Indian State of Kerala, India's most Leftist state.  About a quarter of the population of Kerala is Muslim. In Kerala they speak Malayalam, not Hindi so Tharappel is himself from an Indian minority

Whether or not Syrian president Bashar al-Assad ordered a chemical attack is having repercussions in Australian academia and media. The University of Sydney is investigating a casual tutor, Jay Tharappel, who launched a racial attack on a News Corp reporter to defend his mentor, pro-Assad lecturer Tim Anderson.

Anderson is a routine defender of the Bashar al-Assad government, and has dismissed any suggestion it was responsible for the recent chemical attack on civilians in rebel-held territory.

The academic said allegations the Syrian government was responsible were a “hoax”, and that Assad has been framed by the west.  He has visited Syria numerous times during the war, and met Assad in 2013, describing him as a “mild-mannered eye doctor”.

In an interview with state-run television posted online last year, Anderson praised “martyrs who died defending their beautiful country” in the bloody six-year war.

News Corp published a series of articles critical of Anderson this week. That prompted Tharappel, to attack a News Corp reporter, Kylar Loussikian, on social media.

“Devastating intellectual critique by Kylar Loussikian, the traitorous scum who desperately wants a second Armenian genocide. How much did they pay you, traitor? I guess stabbing Syria in the back with that surname is the best way of telling the world that you’re for sale, right?”

Loussikian is of Armenian descent.

The university confirmed on Wednesday that it was investigating the comments. “The University of Sydney has commenced an investigation into the behaviour of a casual staff member who is alleged to have made offensive comments to a journalist on social media,” a spokeswoman said.

“The university takes the allegations very seriously and is examining whether any breaches of its code of conduct have occurred.”

The code of conduct requires staff to act “fairly and reasonably” and treat people with respect and sensitivity. The spokeswoman said the university did not endorse Anderson’s pro-Assad views, but was committed to the “expression and protection of free speech”. “This means tolerance of a wide range of views, even when the views expressed are unpopular or controversial,” she said.

Tharappel was contacted for comment on Wednesday, but did not respond.

He posted on Facebook thanking people for their “overwhelming” support. “People ask me if I have been receiving threats. No, I’ve actually received nothing but love and support,” Tharappel wrote.


A new shriek from an old shrieker

Prof. Lowe has long been a critic of Australia and a proclaimer of climate doom but has shown no prophetic skill.  An amusing thing about him is that he was taken in by the Chief Seattle hoax, a speech really written by Ted Perry for a film script.  That shows you how careful he is with checking the facts. He is a pseudo-scientist.  His statement that opening one more coal mine will “effectively guarantee the frying of the planet” shows you how loony he is

UNLESS the Australian government fully embraces renewable energy and moves to decarbonise our energy supply in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, parts of Australia like Bourke and Alice Springs will become unlivable in our lifetime.

That’s the warning from the highly decorated Professor Emeritus of the School of Science at Griffith University, and former president of the Australian Conservation Foundation, Professor Ian Lowe.

As public debate rages over the potential opening of the Adani coal mine in Carmichael, Queensland, Prof Lowe believes the government’s dedication to fossil fuels is taking the country in a troubling direction.

Speaking to he worried that the government’s intention to not only open up the controversial Carmichael coal mine but also open up the Galilee basin will “effectively guarantee the frying of the planet”.

“If we continue to expand fossil fuels — which is what things like opening up the Galilee Basin means — by 2050 the average global temperature will be at least two degrees more,” he said.

Under such a scenario, he expects parts of inland Australia to see average temperature rises that would make them virtually unlivable by the second half of the century.

“It’s difficult to imagine how life will continue in places like Alice Springs and Bourke under that sort of regime.”

In the coming decades, he believes countries including Australia who are not doing enough to combat global warming will receive backlash from the international community. “I think there’ll be increasing international pressure for Australia to get into line,” he said.

“I think there will be political and trade sanctions on countries that are not seen to be pulling their weight.”

Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition government is backing the Adani coal mine, claiming it will provide 10,000 jobs for the state of Queensland. However other reports put that number as low as 1,464.

Union leaders and regional mayors in Queensland as well as the Labor state government have also thrown their support behind the project, despite federal opposition leader Bill Shorten’s opposition to it.


Australia’s jobs report for March smashed expectations

According to the ABS, employment increased by a massive 60,900 in seasonally adjusted terms, easily surpassing the 20,000 increase expected by economists.

February’s decline, previously reported as a drop of 6,400, was also revised higher to show an increase of 2,800.

The lift in employment was the largest since September 2015, and the sixth consecutive month with an increase.

The ABS said that an increase in employment was observed across the survey’s eight sample groups, including the incoming rotation group. Total employment now stands at 12.06 million, the highest level on record.

From a year earlier, employment grew by 146,000, or 1.22%, the fastest percentage increase since September last year.

Over that period, full-time employment increased by 67,800, or 0.8%, marking the first time since August 2016 that it rose from a year earlier. Part-time employment grew by 78,100, or 2.1%, the slowest increase since March 2015.

Making the headline jobs figure all the more stronger, and perhaps stirring up renewed scepticism about the ABS’ seasonally adjusted data, it said that full-time employment surged by 74,500 over the month, offsetting a 13,600 drop in part-time workers.

Females accounted for the vast bulk of the lift in full-time employment recorded, soaring by 48,200. It was the largest increase since January 2009.

Male full-time employment rose by a smaller 26,300, marking the strongest monthly gain since October last year.

Female part-time employment fell by 12,800, while that among males dropped by a smaller 800 workers.

Fitting with the surge in hiring recorded, total monthly hours worked increased by 3.2 million hours to 1.66642 billion hours.

Despite the mammoth increase in employment, the unemployment rate held steady at 5.9% courtesy of a lift in labour market participation which rose to 64.8% from 64.6%.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

13 April, 2017

WA Court of Appeal overturns conviction of Aboriginal man  for manslaughter of Josh Warneke

The W.A. police are a pretty rough lot at the best of times so when it comes to Aborigines they are severely lacking in their approach. They seem not to know that under any sort of pressure at all Aborigines will say whatever you want them to say.  Interviewing them requires a special technique if you are to get at the truth

JOSH Warneke's mother says the decision to overturn the conviction of the man who had been jailed for killing her son was one of the most "profound moments" of her life after WA’s highest court ruled he had suffered a miscarriage of justice.

Gene Gibson, a 25-year-old illiterate Aboriginal man, had been serving seven-and-a-half years for the manslaughter of Mr Warneke, who was found beaten to death on a Broome highway in 2010.

That sentence was handed down after Gibson pleaded guilty to manslaughter, after a murder charge was dropped following a WA Supreme Court judge finding serious flaws in the police investigation.

Even then however, serious doubts lingered over Gibson’s guilt - including from Mr Warneke’s mother, Ingrid Bishop.

Last week, during a hearing at WA’s Court of Appeal, some of WA’s leading lawyers – acting without pay for the Pintupi man – argued that Gibson’s own confession should be deemed unsafe.

They said his plea was induced by “false or materially unreliable evidence”, and Gibson’s “cognitive defects” and language difficulties “significantly compromised” his ability to understand what was happening to him after he was arrested, charged and remanded.

The three judge panel headed by Appeal Court president Justice Michael Buss unanimously agreed on Wednesday that the conviction should be quashed. With no prospect of a retrial, that means Gibson is a free man and will be released from Casuarina prison as soon as today.

Mr Warneke's mother said the freeing of Mr Gibson was one of the most "profound moments of my life."

"Today is a great day as it’s the beginning of the next stage of Gene Gibson’s life as a free man after nearly five years in jail," she said. "I am so happy for Gene and his family."

Ms Bishop was not in court to witness the decision handed down. She has previously said she wanted to be outside the prison when Gibson is released.

The long-running case into Mr Warneke’s death, codenamed Operation Aviemore, was beset by bungles and led to 11 police officers facing disciplinary or managerial action over their conduct.

A scathing report by the Corruption and Crime Commission found the problems with the case were a symptom of wider “failures and weaknesses” in the WA Police handling of major cases.

The original murder charge against Gibson was downgraded to manslaughter after video-recorded interviews conducted without an interpreter or lawyer present were ruled inadmissible.

A guilty plea to manslaughter was accepted, despite Gibson persistently maintaining that he did not kill Warneke as he originally said he he had. The Court of Appeal last year granted leave to appeal and fast-tracked the hearing.

Last month, Mrs Bishop said she now felt “completely and utterly hoodwinked by WA Police.”

“There is no one else who will fight for justice for Josh and to get Gene Gibson out of jail,” she said.  “It has to be done and if no one else is going to do it, I’ll do it.”

“I think 2017 is going to be a great year because Gene Gibson is going to go free and there will be another investigation. I can’t wait for the new team to be appointed. Then we can start from scratch.”

After the decision was handed down, Mr Gibson’s family left court smiling but saying little.

Michael Lundberg, solicitor and partner at law firm King Wood and Mallesons, who took up Gibson’s appeal case, said the 25 year-old was “very happy” with the decision, and also thanked Mrs Bishop for her support in the appeal.

“There are no winners in this case. And although Josh and Gene have never met, their lives are now forever intertwined,” Mr Lundberg said.

Speaking to reporters after the news broke, Premier Mark McGowan said he was aware of criticism of the Police handling of the case, but added it was too early to comment on the potential for compensation.

"I think there was obviously some serious concerns that the court has taken account of," he said. "We need to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again.

"I don't know what the court has determined but you should never, in a modern community like WA, have miscarriages of justice against people simply because they don't understand the language or they suffer from a mental impairment and if the outcome today guarantees that that hasn't happened in this case and hopefully guarantees it doesn't happen in future cases, well then that's a good thing."


Greenie policy puts people in danger of crocodile attack

There are 100s of thousands of crocs in Qld. but Greenies don't want crocs disturbed, and certainly not shot.  And Qld. has a Green/Left government

IN THE latest instalment of sometimes-offbeat Queensland politics, the state’s upcoming May budget is being held hostage by two men from the outback.  And they are refusing to release it until the Premier agrees to start killing crocodiles.

The Sunshine State’s two cross bench Katter’s Australia Party MPs, Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth, helped Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk form a minority government in the state’s hung parliament in 2015.

The pair has largely supported the Labor Party in the ensuing two years, but over the issue of crocodile culling, they have put their collective feet down.

Mount Isa MP Mr Katter and Dalrymple’s Mr Knuth say they will not let Ms Palaszczuk’s May budget pass, unless she agrees to crocodile population control measures in the state’s north.

Among the measure the pair want the Premier to agree to are crocodile hunting safaris, similar to African big game hunts that attract tourists from across the globe.  “People think it’s unreasonable making threats on the budget, well how else do you get people to listen?” Mr Katter told reporters in Cairns.

“Our obligation is to go down there and vote for the interests of north Queensland, and if people are dying and you can’t get them to listen, what are you supposed to do?”

Queensland’s Labor government relies on the crossbench in the hung parliament, in particular the KAP, for support to pass supply bills.

The unusual ransom follows a number of crocodile attacks in north Queensland recently.

Cairns spearfisherman Warren Hughes, 35, was killed by a crocodile in shallow tropical waters near Innisfail last month, just hours before a teenager was mauled in the same area.

Wildlife authorities killed a four-metre crocodile believed responsible for Mr Hughes’ death.

Mr Knuth also released an image last week of the remains of a pet dog being consumed by one of the massive reptiles on a farm near Innisfail.

The KAP’s proposal includes managed culls, egg collection and movement strategies.

In particular, they are calling for local indigenous groups to run safaris for tourists, as a way of generating income while keeping crocodile populations in check.

They said they had the support of fellow northern Queensland crossbencher, Cook MP Billy Gordon.

“Attacks are on the rise, the crocs we’re seeing are big, aggressive and territorial, and crocs are surfacing in places they’ve never been before,” Mr Katter told the Cairns Post.

“People are petrified to get out and enjoy the waterways, even in safe areas, with membership dropping in water sport clubs and iconic events cancelled due to croc sightings.”

The issue of crocodile culling arises frequently in Queensland, however, Ms Palaszczuk has previously ruled adoption of the measure out.


Australia urged to use phonics in reading strategy as British schools minister tours country

Amazing that this is still controversial.  All the studies show that phonics is a big help

British schools minister Nick Gibb is urging Australia to embrace phonics as part of a national strategy to help children read.

He is here to meet educators, teachers and politicians as the Turnbull Government moves to introduce literacy screening in Year 1 across the country.

Mr Gibb has toured a specialist literacy laboratory at Macquarie University in Sydney ahead of a meeting with federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham in Adelaide later this week.

Seven years ago, the UK Government embraced the explicit method of instruction known as phonics at a national level amid concerning national statistics.

Mr Gibb is responsible for English schools.

"We were worried that one in three primary school students were still struggling with reading, the basic building blocks of an education," Mr Gibb said.

"We wanted to make sure that schools were using systematic synthetic phonics in the way they taught children to read, because all the evidence from around the world showed that was the most effective way of teaching children to read.

"So we introduced this very simple check: children reading to their own teacher 40 simple words to make sure they were on track for Year 1 readers."

The idea is being considered by Mr Birmingham, who has appointed an expert advisory panel to give advice.
Phonics highly political in UK amid 'reading wars'

Mr Gibb's tour is being hosted by the conservative think tank, the Centre for Independent Studies, which wants Australia to follow the UK example of more explicit instruction in schools.

The so-called reading wars have raged in the UK for more than half a century, and the phonics debate is highly political. The Conservative Government's schools reforms have been controversial.

There is also debate in Australia over the best way to teach reading to children, and while phonics is part of the teaching methods employed, critics say it is mechanical and does not help with comprehension.

Anne Castles is the deputy director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders.

The Macquarie University-based centre runs a reading clinic that examines children's cognition.

"The evidence is that a really key part of learning to read is learning the links between letters and sounds — what we might call phonics," Professor Castles said. "And what that allows a child to do is go from those unfamiliar squiggles on a page to the knowledge in their head, because they can sound a word out and get to its pronunciation.

"That's really important for getting children started in reading. It's not the only part of reading instruction, but it's a really important key part and lots of the research tells us that."
Calls for national conversation on phonics

Professor Castles said she supported moves towards more explicit instruction in our classrooms and said a national conversation about how reading is taught would be productive.

"Phonics is certainly not the only thing we should teach in teaching reading," Professor Castles said. "The controversy I think is because some people think that's what's being proposed.

"It's just one very small part of reading instruction, but it's a very important foundational part because that's what gets children on the path to reading independently."

Mr Birmingham's expert advisory panel is due to deliver its report by the end of April.


Why Pauline speaks the way she does

FOR a decent chunk of 1998, Simon Hunt spend hundreds of hours locked in a small Sydney studio listening non-stop to only one sound: The voice of Pauline Hanson.

Cutting up audio files that he would then arrange into the catchy satirical tracks he released as Pauline Pantsdown, the artist and academic got to know the One Nation party leader’s speaking style better than just about anyone.

There was the high-ish pitch and the subtle quaking quality, as well as that particular nasal tone. And the jumbled, sometimes garbled, sentences.

But in identifying Senator Hanson’s most distinctive vocal qualities, Mr Hunt thinks the most important part of creating her speaking style, is her breathing.

“She runs all the words together and that’s where the breathlessness comes from,” he tells “It keeps going and going and when you speak like that, the more you speak the more uneasy you get and the more the words get muddled and that’s where the uneasiness starts to show.”
Pauline Hanson’s maiden speech in 1996 was the first time most Australians heard the politician’s voice.

Pauline Hanson’s maiden speech in 1996 was the first time most Australians heard the politician’s voice.Source:News Corp Australia

Almost 20 years later, after several attempts at political rehabilitation and one great comeback for the now Senator Hanson, one of the most interesting qualities in such a seasoned politician is that she sounds so completely unseasoned.

Despite years in front of the camera, sometimes in incredibly hostile interviews, Hanson does not sound much different from the political newcomer who made a quavering maiden speech in 1996.

“She’s got better at breathing, better at deflecting, but the uneasiness is still there,” says Mr Hunt.

Mr Hunt says what he hears from Senator Hanson today compared to the newcomer whose voice he listened to all those years ago is a product of “a lot of media training”.

But he believes there is a strong element of strategy in retaining the small unsteady voice and the Queensland twang.

“I think Pauline’s uneasiness attracts uneasy people — people who are not quite comfortable about things in the world and don’t quite know how to put it — those are her followers,” he says.

Political communications expert and senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne David Nolan says not appearing too polished is an important part of Senator Hanson’s image.

“As a populist politician, Hanson’s support has always been based around the idea that she speaks on behalf of ordinary people,” he says.

“Donald Trump has certain similarities. People have talked about the way in which Trump uses simple language, coming across as off the cuff, and that makes people feel he is somebody who is genuine and relatable.

“Despite all this he is a billionaire and moves in circles that are far from ordinary people.

“Style does matter in politics and style can be the basis of populist appeals and I think Hanson also plays that game.”

Dr Nolan says Senator Hanson has always been subject to a lot of mockery for the distinct way that she speaks and even the way she stumbles over her words, but it has also worked to her advantage.

“To her supporters, part of what they hear in that mockery of somebody who is like themselves and who is an ordinary person. It kind of adds to that construct of the ordinary person that is a strong part of Hanson’s appeal,” he says.

“Approaches that deride her as somehow stupid or lacking credentials actually play in her favour because they reiterate a narrative that elites are trying to exclude the voice of ordinary people.”

Pauline Hanson’s delivery has developed, but her voice and other elements of her speech aren’t going anywhere. They’re part of the act.

They’re not things that aspiring politicians would work to imitate — more than one media training service uses her style as an example of what they can cure in their online promotional material.

But for one politician, it just works. As Mr Hunt says: “That’s just her.”

Senator Hanson declined to comment on this story.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

12 April, 2017

Falling Sea Level was the Critical Factor in 2015/2016 Great Barrier Reef Coral Bleaching!

That sea levels could fall is of course be unthinkable to a Warmist. In their religion sea levels only rise.  In fact sea levels both rise and fall all over the place worldwide.  There has even been a fall in recent decades in Moreton Bay, near where I live. 

And are we allowed to mention the remarkable sea-level testimony of Tasmania's Isle of the Dead?  Read the late John Daly on the matter.  He knew where all the skeletons are buried.  There's a whole graveyard of them. 

It is only highly theoretical isostatic "rebound" adjustments to the raw tide gauge data that enable  Warmists to produce any picture of global sea level rise. 

Sad below that it took Indonesian scientists to face what was actually going on

It is puzzling why the recent 2017 publication in Nature, Global Warming And Recurrent Mass Bleaching Of Corals by Hughes et al. ignored the most critical factor affecting the 2016 severe bleaching along the northern Great Barrier Reef – the regional fall in sea level amplified by El Niño. Instead Hughes 2017 suggested the extensive bleaching was due to increased water temperatures induced by CO2 warming.

In contrast in Coral Mortality Induced by the 2015–2016 El-Nino in Indonesia: The Effect Of Rapid Sea Level Fall by Ampou 2017, Indonesian biologists had reported that a drop in sea level had bleached the upper 15 cm of the reefs before temperatures had reached NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch bleaching thresholds.

As discussed by Ampou 2017, the drop in sea level had likely been experienced throughout much of the Coral Triangle including the northern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), and then accelerated during the El Niño. They speculated sea level fall also contributed to the bleaching during the 1998 El Niño.

Consistent with the effects of sea level fall, other researchers reported bleaching in the GBR was greatest near the surface then declined rapidly with depth. Indeed if falling sea level was the main driver in 2016’s reef mortalities, and this can be tested, then most catastrophic assertions made by Hughes 2017 would be invalid.

Indeed the Great Barrier Reef had also experienced falling sea levels similar to those experienced by Indonesian reefs.  Visitors to Lizard Island had reported more extreme low tides and more exposed reefs as revealed in the photograph above, which is consistent with the extremely high mortality in the Lizard Island region during the 2016 El Niño.

Of course reefs are often exposed to the air at low tide, but manage to survive if the exposure is short or during the night. However as seen in tide gauge data from Cairns just south of Lizard Island, since 2010 the average low tide had dropped by ~10 to 15 cm.  After previous decades of increasing sea level had permitted vertical coral growth and colonization of newly submerged coastline, that new growth was now being left high and dry during low tide. As a result shallow coral were increasingly vulnerable to deadly desiccation during more extreme sea level drops when warm waters slosh toward the Americas during an El Niño.

Furthermore, an El Niño in the Coral Triangle not only causes a sudden sea level fall, but it also generates a drier high-pressure system with clear skies, so that this region is exposed to more intense solar irradiance. In addition, El Niño conditions reduce regional winds that drive reef-flushing currents and produce greater wave washing that could minimize desiccation during extreme low tides. And as one would predict, these conditions were exactly what were observed during El Niño 2016 around Lizard Island and throughout the northern GBR.

Aerial surveys, on which Hughes 2017 based their analyses, cannot discriminate between the various causes of bleaching. To determine the cause of coral mortality, careful examination of bleached coral by divers is required to distinguish whether bleached coral were the result of storms, crown-of-thorns attacks, disease, aerial exposure during low tides, or anomalously warmer ocean waters. Crown-of-thorns leave diagnostic gnawing marks, while storms produce anomalous rubble.

Furthermore aerial surveys only measure the areal extent of bleaching, but cannot determine the depth to which most bleaching was restricted due to sea level fall. To distinguish bleaching and mortality caused by low tide exposure, divers must measure the extent of tissue mortality and compare it with changes in sea level. For example, the Indonesian researchers found the extent of dead coral tissue was mostly relegated to the upper 15 cm of coral, which correlated with the degree of increased aerial exposure by recent low tides.

Unfortunately Hughes et al never carried out, or never reported, such critical measurements.

However a before-and-after photograph presented in Hughes 2017 suggested the severe GBR bleaching they attributed to global warming primarily happened between February and late April. Their aerial surveys occurred between March 22 and April 17, 2016. And consistent with low tide bleaching, that is exactly the time frame that tide tables reveal reefs experienced two bouts of extreme low tides coinciding with the heat of the afternoon (March 7-11 & April 5-10). And such a combination of sun and low tide are known to be deadly.

A study of a September 2005 bleaching event on Pelorous and Orpheus Islands in the central GBR by Anthony 2007, Coral Mortality Following Extreme Low Tides And High Solar Radiation, had reported extreme deadly effects when extreme low tides coincided with high solar irradiance periods around midday. As in Indonesia, they also reported bleaching and mortality had occurred despite water temperatures that were “significantly lower than the threshold temperature for coral bleaching in this region (Berkelmans 2002), and therefore unlikely to represent a significant stress factor.” Along the reef crests and flats, “40 and 75% of colonies in the major coral taxa were either bleached or suffered partial mortality.

In contrast, corals at wave exposed sites were largely unaffected (<1% of the corals were bleached), as periodic washing of any exposed coral by waves prevented desiccation. Surveys along a 1–9 m depth gradient indicated that high coral mortality was confined to the tidal zone.”

The fortuitous timing of Ampou’s coral habitat mapping from 2014 to 2016 in Bunaken National Park (located at the northwest tip of Sulawesi, Indonesia) allowed researchers to estimate the time of coral mortality relative to sea level and temperature changes. Ampou reported that in “September 2015, altimetry data show that sea level was at its lowest in the past 12 years, affecting corals living in the bathymetric range exposed to unusual emersion. By March 2016, Bunaken Island (North Sulawesi) displayed up to 85% mortality on reef flats” and that almost “all reef flats showed evidence of mortality, representing 30% of Bunaken reefs.” Based on the timing of reef deaths and changes in temperature they concluded, “the wide mortality we observed can not be simply explained by ocean warming due to El Niño.”  They concluded, “The clear link between mortality and sea level fall, also calls for a refinement of the hierarchy of El Niño impacts and their consequences on coral reefs.”


And the fraud goes on: 2016/2017 bleaching on GBR

It seems that the 2015/2016 summer bleaching was repeated in summer this year (2016/2017).  Since water levels change only slowly, that is to be expected. 

But note the dishonesty below.  They are still attributing the bleaching to global warming -- while giving not a single number for either the global water temperature or the North Queensland water temperature. 

So let me supply some numbers: NASA/GISS Tell us that the global December 2016 temperature (mid-summer) was .77, which was DOWN on December 2015 (1.10)and even slightly down on 2014 (.79).  So in the period at issue, there was NO global warming.  So the guys below are lying through their teeth.  They say that the bleaching was caused by global warming but there WAS no global warming in the period concerned.

And they also don't give numbers for sea levels in the area.  They are zealously hiding the real cause of the bleaching

BACK-to-back bleaching is killing huge tracts of the Great Barrier Reef, with almost none of the coral effected in 2016 expected to recover.

Recent aerial surveys by the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies have revealed only the southern third of the reef is unscathed from the bleaching events.

Researcher Terry Hughes said mass bleaching happened in 2017 even without the assistance of El Nino, which normally brings warmer sea surface temperatures.

“The bleaching is caused by record-breaking temperatures driven by global warming,” Professor Hughes said.

“Ultimately, we need to cut carbon emissions, and the window to do so is rapidly closing.” Warmer water temperatures cause coral to expel their algae, turning them bright fluorescent colours and eventually bone white.

Marine biologist James Kerry said bleached corals were not necessarily dead but it was anticipated high levels of coral would be lost in the central region of the reef, which experienced the most intense bleaching this year.

“It takes at least a decade for a full recovery of even the fastest growing corals, so mass bleaching events 12 months apart offers zero prospect of recovery for reefs that were damaged in 2016,” Dr Kelly said.

Tropical Cyclone Debbie also destroyed parts of the reef around the Whitsundays, a popular tourist destination that had largely escaped the worst of the bleaching so far.

While cyclones normally cause the water temperature to drop, Prof Hughes said any cooling effects were likely to be negligible in relation to the damage caused by the slow-moving Category 4 system.

“Clearly the reef is struggling with multiple impacts,” he said. The Great Barrier Reef is known to have experienced four bleaching events in 1998, 2002, 2016 and 2017.


The multiple implications of Australia's high rate of immigration

With less than a month until the federal budget, a host of issues loom large on the Australian political landscape. Housing affordability, economic growth, the return of right-wing populism, groaning infrastructure, environmental stresses and the pressures of an ageing society.

They make headlines, divide communities and define elections. And they are all connected. The thread that links them is arguably the most important, and most sensitive, factor in Australian politics: immigration.

Migration to Australia currently sits at double the long-term average, down from triple during the last years of the mining boom. The bulk of this influx comes from the government's permanent migration program, currently pegged at 190,000 people a year and mostly comprising skilled migrants.

As the natural growth rate from births is low, it's immigration that takes Australia's population growth to 1.5 per cent, higher than the global average. Last year, the natural increase was 155,500 and migration amounted to 193,200.

 The advantages, disadvantages and question of whether the intake should be reduced are deeply complex, and they are being discussed publicly and privately ahead of the budget. This is in part thanks to former prime  minister Tony Abbott, who said the government should promise to "cut immigration to make housing more affordable".
House prices

The debate over the explosive growth of house prices in urban areas, especially Sydney and Melbourne, rages on. Various federal and state government measures - like changes to stamp duty, raiding super and caps on capital gains tax - are routinely tossed around and sometimes tossed out. But there's always the elephant in the overly-priced room.

"High rates of immigration put upward pressure on land and housing prices in Australia's largest cities," a 2016 Productivity Commission report into the migration intake said, noting that poor urban planning and zoning laws compound this.

"While this is beneficial to property owners," the report said of the demand introduced by migration, "it increases costs and thereby reduces the living standards for those entering the property market."

But even if reducing the migrant would reduce demand for housing, Reserve Bank chief Philip Lowe has called immigration a source of national strength.

"To give that advantage up just so that we can take some pressure off housing prices, I find kind of problematic," he said last year.

However, the pressure does remain and a recent NSW government forecast found Sydney will require 726,000 new dwellings by 2036 to keep up with growth.
Boosting the economy

The Productivity Commission found new migrants boost economic growth through consumption and the supply of labor, particularly jobs that struggle to get filled otherwise.

The valuable increase to gross domestic product has been a crucial ingredient in Australia's 25 years of unbroken economic growth and continues to mask other vulnerabilities in the economy.

At an aggregate level, recent immigrants had a negligible impact on wages, employment and participation of the existing labour force.

Groaning infrastructure

"We do not have the infrastructure capacity to support today's population, far less the population of the future."

That is what the former secretary of the Treasury Ken Henry told the Committee for Economic Development of Australia in February amid ongoing frustration about Australian roads and public transport.

"On the basis of official projections of Australia's population growth, our governments could be calling tenders for the design of a brand new city for two million people every five years" he said.

Both Mr Henry and the Governor of the Reserve Bank Philip Lowe agree: these are growing pains that we are not prepared for.

"This imbalance is compounded by insufficient investment in the transport infrastructure needed to support our growing population," Dr Lowe told a meeting of the Reserve Bank governors this week.

The Committee for Economic Development of Australia has questioned "whether the current settlement patterns of migrants, predominantly into Sydney and Melbourne, can continue indefinitely with these figures."

Environmental pressure

The more people you have, the more pressure is placed on the natural environment. This means that more work is required to protect it, particularly in urban areas.

In Sydney, more than 70 green spaces - the "green grid" considered a crucial part of a liveable city - have been identified as under threat from the booming population. Australia's largest city will pack in another 2.1 million people over the next two decades.

The gravitation of of migrants to urban areas, alongside the natural population growth in these areas, means that effective urban planning and environmental regulations are required to preserve local ecosystems, open spaces, clean air and clean water and minimise the impacts of waste and garbage.
An ageing society

It is one way to sell a migration boom, who is going to pay the taxes to look after an ageing population?

On this the Productivity Commission is clear: "By increasing the proportion of people in the workforce, immigration can reduce the impacts of population ageing," it found.

Accordingly, the government places an emphasis on skilled migrants with an age limit of 50. Last year, these migrants accounted for 128,550 of the 190,000-strong migration program while 57,000 came to join family.

But this "demographic dividend" does not offer a panacea, it delays rather than eliminates population ageing.

Based on the current rate of migration, Australia will still have 25 per cent of the population aged over 65 by 2060 when the population hits 42 million.

The figure is set to become far worse if the the intake is cut, as has been speculated, putting generations at risk of billions of dollars in higher health care costs and the burden of the aged pension.

Anti-immigrant sentiment

There has always been a segment of Australian society opposed to immigration and hostile towards people seen as different.

According to the Scanlon Foundation's Mapping Social Cohesion survey, at least 30 per cent of people consistently feel immigration is too high, including a core that are staunchly opposed to immigrants on ethnic and cultural grounds. Built on top of this is sentiment driven by economic uncertainty and concern about the infrastructure and environmental impacts.

Professor Andrew Markus, author of the Scanlon report, says there has been no demonstrable boost to anti-migration sentiment in recent years. He argues those voices are now just louder and better represented in political discourse.

"If there are problems that are of concern to people that flow from population growth, such as infrastructure or housing, then governments need to deal with that. It's primarily a function of growth, not primarily immigration," Professor Markus says, asserting that government policy needs to keep up


Justice targets won’t help Indigenous incarceration rates

Pressure is mounting for the Prime Minister to introduce Indigenous justice targets. But having targets for other social indicators hasn’t helped improve them. Ten years have passed since the Closing the Gap campaign was launched and only one of the seven targets is on track to be met — Year 12 attainment.

There is no doubt Indigenous incarceration rates are unacceptably high. Indigenous people account for a quarter of the prison population in Australia and the situation is even worse for Indigenous youth.  According to the latest AIHW report, 59% of juveniles in detention are Indigenous, despite Indigenous young people only making up 6% of the population aged 10-17.

Having a target to aim for may make people feel they are doing something to address these appalling statistics, but there is little evidence to suggest it will help reduce the number of Indigenous people going to jail. If the government is serious about lowering the Indigenous incarceration rate, it needs to focus on strategies that will actually help reduce offending and reoffending.

The rise in Indigenous incarceration rates is often attributed to institutional racism, with the popular narrative being police unfairly target Indigenous people, particularly youth. But while this may sometimes be the case, it is not the underlying reason behind the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in jail.

The only way to reduce the incarceration rate is to reduce the number of Indigenous people committing crimes. The best way to do that is by improving Indigenous education and employment outcomes. Unemployment is a greater risk factor for offending than being Indigenous — with unemployed Indigenous people 20 times more likely to go to jail than Indigenous people who are employed. Latest statistics also indicate that there is no employment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians with a University degree.

If the government was actually making headway on its Closing the Gap targets, the Indigenous incarceration rate would be going down.  Rather than introducing yet another target, the government should try to achieve its existing ones.


‘Sick and tired’ of hospital’s Islam bias

The new $2.3 billion Royal Adelaide Hospital will open this year with a prayer room for Muslims but without a “chapel” after ­bureaucrats opted for a “spiritual care” area to cater for “multiple faiths”.

The move has angered Australian Conservatives senator Cory Bernardi, who says Aus­tralians are “sick and tired” of ­accommodating a minority religion while undermining Christian traditions and heritage.

The hospital’s new “spiritual care” room is a departure from other major hospitals in the state, including the Queen Elizabeth and Flinders Medical Centre, which have chapels.

A chapel and a separate prayer space for Muslims exist at the current Royal Adelaide Hospital, while the Women’s and Children’s Hospital has recently opened a “sacred space” for all ­religions.

South Australian Health Minister Jack Snelling, a key figure in Labor’s Catholic right faction, told The Australian yes­terday in a brief statement that arrangements for the chapel at the new hospital “are the same as they are at the current RAH (Royal Adelaide Hospital)’’.

However, the new hospital is yet to be opened and SA Health has spruiked its still unveiled ­religious areas as “a dedicated space for private, individual or group prayer, meditation and quiet reflection” on level three of the vast building. Both spaces — the prayer room and the spiritual care area — are understood to be devoid of religious symbols.

The prayer room has separate washing facilities for men and women, and compass points to show the direction of Mecca.

Senator Bernardi, a South Australian, said the new hospital’s arrangement was “everything that’s wrong” with the approach to integrate other cultural groups, and the prayer room was “clearly designed for Islam”.

Separate washing areas were “all the symbolism I need that this is tailor-made to accommodate to a tiny minority’’, he said yesterday. “We’re bending over to ­appease a minority for fear of causing offence while undermining our tradition and heritage.

“In a hospital environment, catering to all faiths is important, but what’s happened here is all faiths are supposed to share the space except for those of Islam, who once again want to exclude themselves and be granted ­special status.

“If you’re going to give priority to a particular faith, it should be to the Christian faith because that’s the overwhelmingly dominant ethos and part of our cultural ethos.”

The 2011 census showed that 61.1 per cent of Australians identified as Christian and 2.2 per cent as Muslim, with the Christian majority higher in South ­Australia.

The Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth has a multi-faith prayer room and a dedicated room for the Muslim community. Similar facilities are planned for the delayed new $1.2bn Perth Children’s Hospital, not expected to open until later this year.

Perth church leaders lobbied the then Barnett Liberal government in 2015 for a Christian chapel to be built at the Perth Children’s Hospital. Now retired Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft called the Perth hospital’s multi-faith centre “an empty shell for people who are grasping for hope”.

Muslims Australia president Kayser Trad said Senator Bernardi’s concerns were “further evidence of (his) paranoia and narrow-minded bigotry”. He said decisions about prayer spaces related to the needs of the hospital’s demographic, with Muslims requiring wash facilities for a variety of limbs, including feet.

“Many non-Muslims find using a wash basin to wash the feet objectionable,’’ Mr Trad said.

Anglican Diocese of Adelaide administrator Bishop Tim Harris said he understood the new hospital provided areas that would be “genuinely multi-faith’’.

“While the Christian presence is still significant, and numerically still the majority, we recognise we are no longer living in times of the church receiving privileged status in public space, nor do we seek such privileged or priority treatment in publicly funded facilities.’’

The hospital was supposed to open in April last year before a legal dispute between government and builders delayed it; now it is a year overdue and $640 million over budget.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

11 April, 2017

Dutton: No asylum seeker on Manus Island, Nauru will come to Australia

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is adamant that no asylum seeker currently housed on Manus Island or Nauru will come to Australia, and that the Manus facility will close by October at the latest.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met with his Papua New Guinea counterpart Peter O’Neill on Saturday to discuss how to resettle asylum seekers who are not accepted into the United States under a controversial deal.

Mr Dutton reiterated Mr Turnbull’s comments about the importance of Australia’s relationship with PNG, particularly around the resettlement arrangements, and stressed that the deal the two countries currently operate under was brokered by Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2013.

“The big difference of course now is that we don’t have new boat arrivals, we don’t have people drowning at sea and we’ve got control of our borders,” he told Sky News.

“The art here is to make sure that we don’t do anything that restarts boats because we have said that we want to close the Manus detention centre, the regional processing centre by the 31st of October and we’ll work with PNG.”

The PNG Supreme Court ruled in April 2016 that the Manus Island centre breached the nation’s constitution, prompting Manus Island governor Ronnie Knight to say he expected the facility could “close by tomorrow” to meet the court order. Mr O’Neill has since nominated October this year as the deadline for closing the centre, which currently holds 850 asylum seekers.

Despite labelling the Obama Administration’s deal with the Turnbull government for the US to take an unspecified number of refugees from Manus Island and Nauru the “worst deal ever”, US President Donald Trump has committed to honouring it.

Homeland Security officials have been dispatched to Nauru and Manus Island as recently as last week to see whether the refugees pass President Trump’s promised “extreme vetting”.

“Obviously both homeland security and state departments are looking at each individual case at the moment and we hope that many of those people can be resettled in the United States and we’ve said that we will have an enduring need for Nauru because the threat from people smugglers and boat arrivals will never go away, it will always be a latent threat to us, so we need to have that capacity,” Mr Dutton said.

He said he did not know how many refugees the US would take, but was hopeful it would be a “large number”.

“The officials are working in good faith and we’ve been very encouraged by the approach of the officials both from the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

“As you’d expect, we’ve been able to work up a package around each of these people and provide that to the US, and these people will travel under the existing refugee program presided over by the US government, so we think there’s significant scope for a large number of people but we don’t have an exact number as yet.”

Mr Dutton said that under the deal struck by the Rudd government, PNG has a responsibility to settle any genuine refugees not taken by the US. “On Nauru people can go to a third country like Cambodia and some have done that,” he said.

“On PNG there have been some 36 people or so that have already settled. They’ve been found to be refugees and they’ve settled in the PNG community.”

Mr Dutton said those who were found not to be refugees were expected to return to their home countries. He said those who were refugees but were not taken by the US would stay in PNG.

“They are not coming to Australia and the advocates can bleat all they want, they can protest all they want, we have been very clear,” Mr Dutton said.

“Those people are not going to settle in our country because that would restart the people trade, and we are not going to allow women and children to drown at sea again.”

Mr Dutton indicated it would be up to PNG to resettle any asylum seekers still there after October.

“We’ll be withdrawing the assets from Manus Island. We are not going to have a detention centre there for other use. We’re not going to have facilities being used or repurposed. The centre will be dismantled,” he said.

“There is a facility at East Lorengau close by where some people are currently residing, those people that have been found to be refugees who are transitioning into PNG society, so there are facilities available and there’ll be resources available to provide people with settlement options, but we’ve been very clear, clear from Day One that they are not coming to Australia.”

Mr Dutton said the Turnbull government had brokered a deal with Nauru those found to be refugees but not taken by the US, and those who were not refugees whose home country’s would not take them back, to be given 20 year Nauruan visas.

“Those people will remain on a 20 year visa if they wish to stay on Nauru, but there is no prospect at all for them to come to Australia and we’ll help them with third country settlements otherwise including to Cambodia,” he said.

Mr Dutton said hundreds of people on Manus Island and Nauru had returned home in recent months after they were found not to be refugees. “In some cases, for example Iranians, they can’t be sent back against their will, and that’s the determination of the Iranian government and others,” he said.

“Where you’ve got a situation where people won’t volunteer to return, then that’s the difficulty, and we offer settlement packages, we pay for return flights.

“Ultimately it’s cheaper for the Australian taxpayer to do that, but in a circumstance where people refuse to go, we can’t get travel documents out of that country of origin, that makes it very difficult and we need to deal with those individual circumstances.”

Dutton defends prioritising Christians and other non-Muslim religious minorities in Syrian intake

Mr Dutton defended the fact that the government had given Christians and other non-Muslim religious minorities priority in determining its intake of 12,000 Syrian refugees.

“The reality is that people of Christian belief are being massacred and we saw in the pages of The Australian only a couple of weeks ago, the details about Yazidi women that we were able to bring out, who had been tortured and raped, people who had come from a part of the world where frankly they’d been targeted in a way that hadn’t been seen at least in many decades if not in centuries,” he said.

“The reality is that we have brought people out who are persecuted minorities, priority of women and children, and we were very clear about that when we announced the program.”

“Prime Minister Abbott was very clear when he announced it. Prime Minister Turnbull has been equally determined to make sure that we bring out those people who are most in need, those people who are facing persecution, those people who had lost family members, those people that have been targeted by Islamic extremists and the terrorists within that part of the world.

“I think we should be very proud of the fact that we have scrutinised each application to make sure people are not going to pose a security threat to us, and to make sure that the people we’re bringing are genuine refugees so that we’re not displacing those people most in need from the queue.”

Mr Dutton said the government had based its decisions on referrals from the UN, family, church and other community groups and on people’s capacity to assimilate.

“I do want people to fit into Australian society. I want people when they come to our country to take the opportunities that we’re putting on the table.”

“We’ve rescued people from terrible circumstances. We don’t want people to bring the problems of their old country to our country. We want people to respect and honour their heritage, we want them to be proud of that heritage, but we want them to abide by Australian laws, we want them to embrace Australian culture, and we want people to work hard, to educate their children, because that’s been the history of migration in this country.

“I don’t want people coming here if they’re of working age, have the ability to work, the capacity to work, to end up on welfare. I don’t want their kids to be involved in gang violence. I don’t want their sisters to be involved in any sort of crime, I want them all to be properly engaged in Australian society, and I think when we do that we have maximum support from the broader community to bring people in on a continuing basis through the refugee and humanitarian programs.”

Migrants encouraged to move to regional areas

Mr Dutton said the government would try to encourage migrants to move to regional areas where work was available to ease the burden on housing and infrastructure in larger capital cities.

“There’s a lot of work that we’ve done between my department, Treasury and Finance to look at the economic input of people particularly if they’re going to settle in Sydney and Melbourne, what that means for those cities, what it means in terms of infrastructure and housing supply,” he said.

“There are plenty of examples around the country at the moment where companies can’t engage workers, abattoirs that are completely reliant on workers from overseas, from 457 visas or other student visas, whatever the case might be, and so those communities are great to raise families in as well, so if we can look at ways in which we can encourage those families to go and live beyond just the city limits then there may be a good outcome on a number of fronts.”

Mr Dutton said most migrants went to capital cities for “good reasons” such as work and family or expat connections.

“The argument is how could we marry them up with regional communities where there is a supply of work, where there is an ability to send kids to school and to be a part of the community,” he said.


Time for Australians to invest in emergency power, as coal-fired power stations shut down with no replacements

Robert Gottliebsen

All businesses and households in Victoria, NSW and South Australia need to seriously consider investing substantial sums in diesel generators, batteries or other sources of emergency power. Banks need to be ready to fund the massive investment required during the next nine months.

It is now absolutely clear that each of the state governments have not invested in sufficient emergency power to back their wind and solar installations and now have a network of wires that is unsuitable for the power generation grid they have established.

And the Commonwealth promises a partial solution in two or three years via the Snowy but has washed its hands of the looming disaster next summer.

That means that businesses and residents who need power in hot summer days are on their own. Prepare for massive food rotting and equipment (including computer) disruption for those who did not recognise the extent of the destruction of power security by three state governments.

Last week I wrote a three-part series stating that NSW, Victoria and possibly South Australia face a 75 per cent chance of blackouts because their once great networked power systems had been vandalised by politicians who made the easy decisions of plonking solar and wind generators in their state but not the hard and expensive but essential decisions of investing in the grid and providing back up. It was rank irresponsibility, although decisions were made complex by the different owners of the various parts of the network and the need to earn a return on investment.

Following my series, The Australian Energy Market Operator took the unprecedented step of announcing that Victoria faced an incredible 72 days of blackouts and power shortages if Hazelwood was shut this week (April 1).

Businesses in Victoria from restaurants to supermarkets and offices/factories that do not respond to the combination of my warning and that of the Australian Energy Market operator have only themselves to blame. Meanwhile, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews walks around with his proverbial fingers crossed hoping Victoria will have another cool summer.

But NSW is not much better. It went very close to blackouts last summer but was saved by Victoria’s Hazelwood power station, which is set to close on April 1. Assuming Hazelwood is shut should it be Sydney or Melbourne that gets hit by the likely combined power shortages? Last summer when Sydney ran short of power Bendigo was scheduled to be blacked out to cover the NSW government’s failure to ensure adequate power for a hot summer. Bendigo residents were outraged that they should pay the price for NSW mistakes but they were lucky and kept their power.

NSW made its own Hazelwood mistake three years ago by allowing the Wallerawang power station to shut (it was about two thirds the size of Hazelwood) without ensuring the necessary investments were made to ensure supply during a hot summer. The owner of Wallerawang found that for long periods during the year the station was not required so made a commercial decision.

So if it’s a hot summer in 2017-18 who should be blacked out – Sydney or Melbourne? It will actually be determined by how the grid is operating but let me hypothetically intervene. I think it fair that NSW suffer one third and Victoria two thirds of the blackouts given that the Hazelwood closure is bigger than Wallerawang

The NSW and Victorian governments are also presiding over the fastest growing populations in the country, which is multiplying the effect of their vandalism.

South Australia made similar gambles and was caught with blackouts last summer (partly storm related) but now says it will go alone to secure its power. Businesses in South Australia have to decide whether to punt their government’s assurances or do what the businesses in NSW and Victoria must do and invest in back-up generation and/or batteries.

As I emphasised in last week’s series that it’s not a question of carbon or non-carbon energy. If governments want to go non-carbon then they must do the job properly and change the grid and have back up.

Both the NSW and Victorian governments need to get hold of the world’s best engineers to see what can be done to repair their vandalism. As I understand it there are alternatives even at this late stage. Meanwhile when the lights, computers and refrigerators go down at Point Piper, Cronulla and Kooyong I suspect the Commonwealth members for those areas (Turnbull, Morrison and Frydenberg) will get a big chunk of the blame for not declaring a state of emergency and keeping Hazelwood open by giving the French owner of the station some relief on the $1 billion rehabilitation that is required.

Turnbull needs to warn power users that prices must rise much further to cover the state government mistakes. Instead, he talks about lower prices.


Newspoll: ‘oldies’ deserting Malcolm Turnbull

Older Australians are deserting Malcolm Turnbull’s government in a powerful swing that is fuelling the rise of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, with the federal Coalition suffering a 10 per cent fall in support among voters older than 50 since the last election.

The government is also under threat from a backlash in Queensland and Western Australia, where voters are recording the strongest shifts in a nationwide trend that has the Coalition trailing Labor by 47 per cent to 53 per cent in two-party terms.

Bill Shorten is failing to capitalise on all of the Prime Minister’s woes, with Labor gaining just a fraction of the national swing against the Coalition in first-preference votes and making no headway in NSW and South Australia.

An analysis of 6943 voters in Newspoll surveys taken between February and April reveals a deepening frustration with both major party leaders, with Mr Turnbull’s net satisfaction rating declining by five percentage points since August while the Opposition Leader’s fell by nine.

The discontent has helped lift Senator Hanson’s party to 10 per cent support in primary vote terms as a result of increases across every age group, although its strongest gains were among voters older than 50.

The quarterly analysis, conducted exclusively for The Australian, highlights the shift in the electorate since the July 2 election and the crucial role One Nation prefer­ences could play when Australians next go to the polls.

One Nation support has surged in Queensland from 5.5 per cent at the last election to 16 per cent this year, despite a furore over Senator Hanson’s factual errors on vaccination, calls for an investigation into the party’s finances and complaints from a former candidate that the party was “just another grubby, dirty, bloody political party” out to serve its own ends.

Mr Turnbull has vowed to focus on the “sensible centre” of Australian politics in a warning to colleagues against a “reactionary” message to voters, telling a Liberal Party conference last weekend that the future lay in bringing ­people together.

With Mr Shorten appealing to “working and middle-class families” by pledging to defend penalty rates and attacking the Coalition’s business tax cuts, the quarterly Newspoll analysis shows voters in WA have shifted strongly to Labor but the gains have been more modest in other states.

Australians older than 50 make up the single largest voting demographic and have emerged as a big problem for the Coalition over the past two years, given they have been hit by increases in super­annuation taxes, cuts to pension supplements and tighter rules on the Age Pension assets test.

The Coalition enjoyed almost 50 per cent primary vote support among the 50-plus age group last July but this is now 40 per cent, deepening a trend revealed in The Weekend Australian in December.

While the Coalition’s support among older voters has slipped in the past — including a fall from 51.8 per cent at the 2013 election to 45 per cent in the months before Tony Abbott was replaced as prime minister — the slump in recent months is an alarming low for Mr Turnbull.

Voters aged from 35 to 49 have also turned against the Coalition but the decline is smaller — from 38.5 to 34 per cent — while younger voters aged from 18 to 34 have recorded a fall in support from 32.4 per cent to 30 per cent.

In a sign Mr Shorten has struggled to capitalise on all of this shift, Labor’s primary support among voters in the 50-plus group has climbed from 30.6 to 34 per cent since the election and not changed among the other age groups.

The Newspoll analysis, which has a margin of error of only 1.2 per cent on national figures, confirms that 29 per cent of voters are not giving their primary votes to either of the major parties — up from 23 per cent at the election.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton yesterday said the government could win the next election and “win it well”, despite making comments last week linking Mr Turnbull’s hold on the prime ministership with the Coalition’s poor Newspoll results.

Mr Turnbull cited the ­Coalition’s loss in 30 consecutive Newspolls when he rolled Tony Abbott for the leadership in 2015.

“I think Bill Shorten, as each day goes by, people’s doubts about him grow,” Mr Dutton said.

He said that when he was preselected in January 2001, John Howard was “gone for all money”.

“With two years to go, we have the ability to turn the polls around, to win the election well under Malcolm Turnbull,” he said.

“On policy fronts including nat­ional security and border sec­urity, as well as economic security and energy security, this government can win the next election, and win it well.”

The Greens have held their primary vote at 10 per cent while One Nation has more than doubled its support to 10 per cent since late last year, with another 9 per cent of voters backing others.

With voters marking down the government after its narrow victory at the election, the Coalition’s primary vote has fallen from 41 per cent to 35 per cent since a similar Newspoll analysis from August to September last year. While One Nation’s support has climbed sharply, Labor’s primary vote has not changed.

As a potent force in Australian politics with four senators, One Nation has broken out in Newspoll results since November. Its support has climbed to 7 per cent in Western Australia and South Australia, 8 per cent in Victoria, 10 per cent in NSW and 16 per cent in Queensland.

Support for the Greens ranges from 12 per cent in Victoria to 6 per cent in South Australia, where the party struggles to match the ­appeal of the Nick Xenophon Team. Senator Xenophon’s party has maintained its strong support in the state, despite his ongoing role as a key powerbroker in the Senate.

Men have turned against the Coalition slightly more strongly than women, but today’s analysis highlights challenges to both leaders and their parties.

The Prime Minister’s net satisfaction rating — the difference between those who are satisfied and those who are dissatisfied with his performance — has weakened slightly from -21 points to -26 points over the period from August to April.

Mr Shorten’s net satisfaction rating has weakened from -15 points to -24, with a strong trend emerging from male voters. Among men, Mr Shorten’s net ­satisfaction has slipped from -12 to -27 points.


We rush to condemn Islamophobia. What about anti-Christian attacks?

WHILE we constantly are lectured about Islamophobic violence, despite little evidence of its existence, there is official silence about its flip side: religiously motivated attacks on Christians.

One Greek community leader, Rev George Capsis, has gone so far as to warn Christians not to wear overt religious symbols when they are travelling though Muslim enclaves of southwestern Sydney.

But last Tuesday afternoon, 30-year-old Greek Orthodox Christian, Mike, discovered too late the risks of wearing a large cross outside his clothing while travelling on the train from Campsie to Bankstown with his girlfriend.

He says he was minding his own business talking on his mobile phone, when four young men of Middle Eastern appearance allegedly violently ripped the crucifix off his neck, and stomped on it while swearing “F*** Jesus” and referring to “Allah”.

He says they punched him and kicked him in his face, back and shoulders during the attack which began about 3pm, just after the train left Belmore station.

When his girlfriend tried to defend him, two Arabic-speaking women also allegedly hit and kicked her.

The crucifix, which his mother had given him, was bent, and the silver chain broken in two places.

“I was born in Australia of Greek heritage,” says Mike. “I’ve always worn my cross. For him to rip it off and step on it has to be a religious crime... It’s not on to feel unsafe in your own country.”

He says the men also destroyed his Ray-Ban sunglasses.

Mike has a doctor’s report cataloguing his injuries, which include abrasions and bruises on his face, left shoulder, and upper and lower back.

He claims that five uniformed railway “Transport Officers” watched the attack and did nothing to help him, although police were waiting for the train when it reached Bankstown station.

Two police officers took the names of three alleged assailants and a statement from Mike, photographed his injuries, told him they would review CCTV footage from the train and that he should expect a letter in a month, which may require his attendance at court.

After the assault, Mike was so shaken up that he contacted Baptist minister Rev Capsis, a pillar of the local Greek community, and former deputy mayor of Sutherland Shire Council.

Capsis claims Mike is the fourth Christian who has complained to him of a religiously-motivated attack in the past six months.

“This is not an isolated incident. There are gangs of these young fellows of Muslim background who have been harassing people they identify as Christian… You don’t hear about it because no one’s reporting it.”

The other three attacks Capsis says have occurred around public transport in southwest Sydney: “It’s like their territory; they don’t want Christians or other types of infidels there…

“People like Greek Orthodox carry a big cross. I tell them to be practical and if they’re in those areas and wearing a big cross and a group of young guys comes, hide it in your shirt. Why provoke it?

“If this keeps up, someone will be hurt. It’s got to be nipped in the bud.”

After our media inquiries, police contacted Mike and reinterviewed him yesterday.

A spokeswoman confirmed that detectives from Bankstown Local Area Command are investigating “reports of alleged religiously-motivated abuse on a Sydney train this week”.

“The incident has prompted police to remind the community that any bias-motivated crime will not be tolerated.”

Sydney Trains yesterday defended the inaction of its Transport Officers, with a spokesman saying they are not authorised to intervene in assaults and their primary responsibilities are customer service and fare evasion.

If an incident takes place, such as the attack on Mike, they are trained to stand back in a “safe space” to observe, and contact police, if necessary.

He confirmed that Transport Officers conducting operations on a train between Campsie and Bankstown stations on April 4 “requested Police assistance in response to a physical altercation between two groups of people”.

Apart from the fact that this description of an unprovoked attack of six people against two is a curious downplaying of its seriousness, why are ticket inspections deemed more important than passenger safety? Surely, if taxpayers fund dedicated Transport Officers to ride the trains all day, they should be authorised to do more than just observe crimes and call police. Anyone can do that.

In any case, Mike says he and his girlfriend are now too scared to catch the train.

He doesn’t want his surname published because he fears for his safety, but has decided to speak out because he wants the attack to be taken seriously.

“It’s a multicultural society. I don’t attack anyone’s beliefs but if they attack me for no reason, justice has to be served.”

There have been isolated reports of anti-Christian abuse in recent years, such as churchgoers in Sydney’s west copping death threats from men driving past in a car bearing the Islamic State flag.

Christians also increasingly are fair game for intimidation by the militant LGBTI lobby, but for the most part, Christophobia is downplayed.

When the Australian Christian Lobby was car-bombed late last year, for instance, ACT police within hours made the extraordinary declaration that the attack was not religiously, ideologically or politically motivated.

And, while the Executive Council of Australian Jewry has reported a 10 per cent increase in anti-Semitic threats or acts of violence last year alone, the only religious bigotry we hear about is Islamophobia.

Police take it so seriously that during the Lindt cafe siege, they launched Operation Hammerhead to combat “bias crime” against Muslims, which didn’t occur. While the lives of the hostages were still at risk, hashtag activists sprang to the defence of theoretical victims of Islamophobia with the “I’ll ride with you” hashtag.

But there are no hashtags for Christians like Mike when they ride on Sydney trains.


Adelaide special school teacher Jemima Raymond falsely accused of assaulting disabled girl by ‘reprehensible’ colleagues

One hopes she sues for damages

A MAGISTRATE has blasted the failed prosecution of a special-school teacher wrongly accused of assaulting a disabled child by “reprehensible” and jealous former colleagues, declaring it to be an “extremely distressing and unnecessary” episode.

Teacher Jemima Alice Raymond, 28, says she has lost “my career, my job and my house” over the case, which Magistrate Susan O’Connor branded a “travesty”.

“I would like to say that after 25 years of doing this job, this must be one of the most unmeritorious prosecutions I have ever seen,” Ms O’Connor said, in an extraordinary attack on the three teaching staff, the Education Department and prosecutors over Ms Raymond’s “shoddy treatment”.

Ms Raymond stood trial in the Adelaide Magistrates Court charged over the playground incident at Errington Special Education Centre, Plympton, on December 8, 2015.

But the prosecution collapsed after it emerged jealous and malicious colleagues at the centre — formerly known as Ashford Special School — had colluded to ruin her career.

Ms O’Connor said that support worker Georgia Delaney, colleague Irene Halikias and “unprofessional” teacher Stephen Duck also wanted to “dispose” of Ms Raymond’s mother, the western suburbs R-12 school’s then-principal, Jen Mathwin-Raymond — who still remains suspended from her job.

Prosecutors suddenly withdrew the aggravated assault charge midway through trial last month.

Ms Raymond, who denied the claims but was suspended without pay, insisted she protected the non-verbal, vulnerable and “extremely fragile” girl, who cannot be named, from danger after she pulled her away from a swing.  She said she did not physically hurt the child, as was claimed.

Ms Raymond wept in court as Ms O’Connor formally dismissed the charge, after finding the teacher was not “involved in a malicious act of physical violence”.

In her scathing reasons, released to The Advertiser last week, Ms O’Connor said: “I do not sit up here usually giving sermons from the mount — I could have dismissed the charge and just walked out of this courtroom.

“There has been a fundamental error in putting trust in the chain of paperwork between three potential prosecution (witnesses) who felt justified in ruining professional careers, seemingly motivated by the fact that a headmistress was thought to have been too strict and her daughter was seen to be in a position of advantage. This jealousy was reprehensible.”

She said Ms Raymond had been left without a job and penniless in an “extremely distressed state, financially insecure and worrying about her future because this prosecution was considered meritorious”.

Ms Raymond, of Seacliff Park, told The Advertiser how her life had been destroyed.

“I am absolutely devastated, emotionally exhausted, mentally and physically drained. It has been very traumatic for not only me but my entire family,” she said.

“I never got to say goodbye to my beautiful students, I was just ripped away with no explanation. It’s really very sad and something I’ll never forget.

“I have lost everything; my career, my job and my house. (The Education Department) decided to no longer pay me when I was accused of something I didn’t do and I had to give up my house that I worked so hard for.”

Ms O’Connor condemned the prosecution “travesty”, which generated an “unreliable mush of tainted evidence” amounting to 4800 pages — equivalent to the material usually generated in murder trials.

She described Duck as “unprofessional” and dismissed Delaney as an unreliable witness who had sought help to back her false claims. The magistrate said listening to Delaney was a “chilling experience” as she delivered “crushing blows” to the case.

“This witness is insecure and considers that she has the right as a support staff to run her playground without interference,” she said. “For reasons unknown, except a complete lack of self-esteem, she decided to embark upon this prosecution.”

The magistrate was surprised that “well-intentioned” managers could “accept what they are told at face value without much forensic skill or logical evaluation ... which is against usual principles of open justice”.

She said the case was a lesson for schools to call police at the earliest opportunity.

An Education Department spokesman said: “The department makes every attempt to provide all relevant evidence.”

Ms Raymond said her future was now “unclear”.  “I have always loved teaching,” she said. “I have wanted to be a teacher ever since I was in primary school and now I’m not sure what the future holds for me.

“I am very grateful to the strong support network who believed in me from the beginning that I did nothing wrong and I can never thank them enough for what they have and continue to do for me.”

Ms O’Connor said it was “not usual in criminal trials for it to become so apparent that misguided attempts, or mischief or inappropriate motives lead to a prosecution”.

“The motivation was probably a wish to topple a principal and her daughter, an act of malice brought about by the fact that they were thought to be too strident, too bossy or not liked by people who were, in most cases, casual employees,” she said.

“Had there not been malice, had there not been a number of people at this school ganging up on their principal ... (and her daughter), this would never have become a criminal case. I do not know who thought that this was a positive and appropriate outcome for such a sad event.

“This case would never have come to trial … had anyone used reason, rational thought, seen things forensically, relied on the police, done a proper evaluation and stopped the prosecution witnesses building their own case by texts, by Facebook and by comparing statements.

“This has been an extremely distressing and unnecessary episode for a young woman who has my sympathy.

“But I want those present to know that when I look at what is rational, what is plausible, what is worthy of trial, how people should be treated (and) how people should be given natural justice.”


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

10 April, 2017

Defence Force chief promotes gender diversity as crucial to Australia's military capability

Politically correct rubbish.  Women should be free to try for any job but it is just ideology to say that they must be equally represented in all jobs.  How about treating people just as individuals, regardless of what they have between their legs?  Neither sex discrimination nor race discrimination has any place in the official policies of a just society

A gathering of women who work in defence and national security has been told their participation in the traditionally male-dominated sector is crucial to Australia's military capability.

Addressing the inaugural Women and National Security Conference in Canberra today, Defence chief, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, stressed the importance of a diverse workforce for the ADF.

"A diverse workforce is all about capability. The greater our diversity, the greater the range of ideas and insights to challenge the accepted norm, assess the risks, see them from a different perspective, and develop creative solutions," he said.

"I've seen this on operations but I also see it every day in my own office.  "Right now 57 per cent of my personal staff are women. This is no mistake. In fact, I hand choose everyone for that office.  "They are the first to tell me how it really is in their candour on behalf of their peers and the networks that they represent.

"Combined with the mix of unique insights, [it] helps me see issues from a different point of view, and in my experiences, our differences make a stronger team."

Asked when Australia might have its first female chief of Army, Navy or Air Force, the Defence chief declined to nominate a date, but singled out the Royal Australian Navy for praise in allowing women to rise to leadership positions.

"The area that is leading most is Navy. We have some very talented senior Navy females who have commanded ships, they've commanded on operations," he said.

"So without making a prediction about where this might go, you can get an idea of where I'm thinking.

"The other two services are behind in that area but we're growing women with the appropriate experience through those roles and you'll see that come out.

"But a generational change takes a generation and so if you rush it you sometimes force people into a point of failure, not because they're not capable of doing but they just don't have the experience.

"So you've got to watch that as you're looking to progress anyone through the organisation."

Air Chief Marshal Binskin, who once served as a fighter pilot, said he was surprised and concerned he still had not seen an Australian woman in that role.

"Air Force have done a good assessment of what's there and what might need to change culturally, as well as the professional development in looking to develop females in the fighter pilot community.  "I'm confident we'll start to see women flow through that stream soon."


Dear Australia: Stop being a bunch of f**king sooks

Joe Hildebrand customarily writes in a rather florid way but he has a point below

WELCOME to Earth in 2017, a world where university courses need trigger warnings, Hillary Clinton supporters need safe spaces, emergency evacuation centres need transgender toilets and everybody has a right to everything — except of course free speech, because words are violence.

Granted, this doesn’t apply to most of the world, because it’s still got shit like war and poverty and death to worry about.

It only applies to Western civilisation, which is in itself now considered an oppressive colonial construct by the petals who are protected by it.

It has now been seven decades since the last world war and almost every adult in every developed country has equal rights, equal pay and basic access to food and shelter.

In Australia we are probably doing better than any of them, with free health care, free education, a welfare safety net and a democratic government so stable that even after a decade of both major parties completely f***ing it up there still hasn’t been a revolution.

Critical to this has been the incredible advance of technology. We have put so many people on the Moon that one day we just got sick of it and stopped bothering. Then we invented the internet, probably the most revolutionary development in all of human history.

But what do we use it for? To whinge our bloody arses off. To get offended and outraged by anything we can find to offend and outrage us. Oh, and porn.

Consider a story this week in the UK where a bartender saved a hotel guest’s life as he was having a heart attack, only to have the man’s family later complain on TripAdvisor because breakfast wasn’t included.

Or in the US, where social media has deadset sharted itself because a semi-Kardashian made a Pepsi ad featuring a bunch of ethnically diverse models holding corflutes.

Or here in Australia, where an online activist group is vowing to inflict “real pain” on a mild-mannered centrist crossbencher because he agreed to a tax cut for medium-sized businesses.

Seriously, if that’s where the revolution is at we have run out of real problems.

The irony, of course, is that there are still a lot of real problems to get outraged about. It’s just that they never seem to be the ones to attract the outrage.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a protest march against terrorism or a trending hashtag about homelessness yet as soon as some poor sod says the wrong thing on Q&A their name explodes onto the internet like a dose of salts. And half the time it’s spelt wrong.

This is the “Outrage Tardis”. We have just as much anger as we’ve always had but less and less to get angry about. As a result we have to squeeze all our outrage into ever more extreme and diminishing problems, whereupon it becomes more and more hysterical and ridiculous.

For example it recently emerged that IBM Australia was one of many major companies to actively endorse same-sex marriage. Great! So do I!

Yet instead of welcoming this, activists simply turned on the fact IBM happened to employ one Christian executive who didn’t. Presumably if IBM had sacked him they would then protest the fact he was still alive — although even dying didn’t save Bill Leak from their wrath.

Nothing, it seems, is ever enough. It’s not progress they want, just protest.

We know this because the complaints get louder and louder and more and more specific even though the world has never been more progressive — especially in the West, which is the part the activists hate the most.

Yes, there is still poverty and violence and oppression but the fact is that for most people life is simply not that bad and, certainly as far as tolerance and equality is concerned, it’s getting better and better. Society’s only fault, it seems, is that it isn’t perfect.

In fact this is the massive disconnect between the radical left and the retrograde right. Revolutionary ideologues imagine their theoretical utopia and then get upset when the real world falls short of it. Meanwhile arch conservatives pine for a golden age that for many people felt more like a golden shower.

The truth is that if you are lucky enough to live in the West, right here, right now is probably the best time in history to be alive. Want proof? Let’s take a walk down memory lane.

Just to make it fair, let’s ignore the caveman days, human sacrifices in Mesopotamia, the dark ages and the bubonic plague. Let’s just take the last 100 years.

Exactly one century ago World War I hadn’t even ended. By the following year it would have claimed 16 million lives, including seven million civilians and nine million combatants slaughtered on such an industrial scale it was referred to as “the meat grinder”. It was supposed to be the war to end all wars. It wasn’t.

Then, as the world was still reeling from the loss, it was hit by the so-called Spanish flu which killed three times as many people again — an estimated 50 million deaths. Up to one third of the world’s population was infected.

A decade later, in 1929, the global stockmarket crashed, plunging the world into the Great Depression. In the 1930s the unemployment rate in Australia hit almost 32 per cent. It’s currently 5.9 per cent, in case you were wondering.

Everyone thought this was pretty much as bad as it could get. Little did they know a certain politician was building up quite the following in Germany.

World War II broke out at the end of that decade. It ended up killing between 50 and 80 million people, the deadliest conflict in human history. This of course included the mass genocide of some six million Jews — including 1.5 million children. Whole cities were incinerated.

OK, who am I kidding. The 1990s were pretty much the perfect decade — the world had all the technology it needed to function but not quite enough to 3D-print handguns or give every last hand-jammer a platform on which to complain how much they’d been violated.

Instead we used to do that by marching to Parliament House every second Wednesday, which was just as pointless but at least annoyed far fewer people.

Of course the funny thing is that the world is still potentially on the brink of nuclear war, but nobody’s out in the streets protesting against Iran or North Korea. They’re all crying into their iPhones because some red-headed reality TV star was so stupid he managed to win a US election.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter because China’s going to take over the world in about 10 years and crying will no doubt be banned as a sign of bourgeois Western decadence. So at least some good will come out of it.

In the meantime, can every overindulged oversensitive sookerati please stop whining about every single thing that upsets them in their overprivileged lives?

Thanks very much for that and a big “Ni hao!” to our future masters. [Ni Hao is a Chinese greeting]


Parents' outrage as schools remove the word Easter from their annual hat parades to be more 'inclusive'

Sydney schools have come under fire from angry parents after removing the word 'Easter' from annual hat parades to be more 'inclusive'.

Public schools including Bondi and Batemans Bay caused controversy after changing the event's name to call it 'happy hat day' or 'crazy hat day'.

Some schools have reinstated the wording this year in response to parents' criticism, while others have stood by the decision, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The newspaper reported that Bondi Public School is among those to backflip on their decision.

Reports last year said the school's principal Michael Jones changed the wording in 2011, telling parents the decision was made to be more 'inclusive'.

'As we are an inclusive community which celebrates our diverse range of cultures and beliefs, I have not called it an Easter Hat parade,' Mr Jones wrote in the school's newsletter in 2011.

'Many religious celebrations occur at this time of year but we want to include all students in any celebration at school.'

Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph reported Batemans Bay Public School principal Tom Purcell has held firm on his decision, despite an online petition with 600 signatures to reinstate the hat parade's original wording.

Sarah Culic created the petition, slamming the wording of 'happy hat day' as 'nonsensical political correctness'. 'The claim that celebrating Easter in a public school is exclusive of other religions is simply untenable,' she said. 'Everyone has and should have the right to partake in [Easter] according to our constitution and tradition.'

Mother Danielle Stevenson said she would like to meet the parent who made a complaint to Batemans Bay Public School, and called the decision to rename the event as 'pathetic'

The petition has 620 signatories from people who downplayed the connection of the event to the religious celebration. 'I went to this school and [Easter hat day] was a massive memory I still have,' one signatory said.

'If it had a different name I would have most likely remembered it as just another crazy thing we did at primary school, the name itself holds value to memory, and tradition.'

'It is a parade with an Easter theme that is held just before the Easter weekend. No matter what the reason for the change is, it is an Easter Hat Parade,' another person said.

Batemans Bay Public School renaming of their hat parade reportedly came after a parent complaint, saying it was offensive and not inclusive of all cultures and religions.

One mother said on Facebook she would like to meet the parent who made the complaint and called the decision 'pathetic'.  


Mark Latham calls for 'whites' and 'straights' to take back Australia

As a reaction to unfair discrimination against the majority under the guise of affirmative action, this is a reasonable response

Mark Latham has allegedly taken to social media to unleash a bitter and racist tirade against his political peers by claiming "white people" and "straight people" must stand up and reclaim their country.

The controversial former Labor leader posted the string of bizarre comments to his Twitter account today, just hours after boasting about streaming his first 'Outsiders' show on Facebook Live.

"Facebook an amazing technology: can create free TV shows, no ads, lots of free speech. By-pass the elites and confected outrage industry," he wrote to his @RealMarkLatham profile.

Mr Latham turned to the social media platform to resurrect his 'Outsiders' program after he was dumped by Sky News last month for commenting on the sexual orientation of a Sydney schoolboy.

He called on his 5480 followers to "fight for the people" so they can take back "our country. He then went on to say that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is a "waste of space".

"White people must fight against the Left's new anti-white racism," he added, naming [Iranian] Senator Sam Dastyari and his "grubby mates".

Not to outdo himself, Mr Latham then wrote: "Straight people must fight the new militant gay-left, seeking to sack those who believe in God and man-woman marriage. No persecution."

During his Sky News show late last month, Mr Latham said he thought Hugh Bartley, Sydney Boys High School captain, was gay after he fronted a social media video involving the school.

"I thought he was gay. Well, yes, who wouldn't think that? Only later in the video did it become clear the students were reciting the words of women as part of some strange social media presentation," he said.

The video, which the school posted to Facebook, featured Mr Bartley and a number of his fellow students putting a male voice to the answers to why feminism is important to the women in their lives.

"Feminism is important to me because a few months ago a guy decided for me that I wanted to have sex with him. I didn't want to," Mr Bartley says in the video.

Mr Latham was savaged by members of his party-faithful, namely Labor leader Bill Shorten and deputy Tania Plibersek over the remarks.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham and NSW state minister Rob Stokes also took issue with his comments.

A spokesman for the school told they had no further comment to make on the matter.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

9 April, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG approves of Trump's strike on Syria

Cyclone Debbie snookers reef panic merchants

There had been daily predictions of doom for the GBR from the usual suspects.  It turns out that the cyclone was actually GOOD  for the reef. But false prophecies are a dime a dozen from the Green/Left so that is just a minor thing.  Far more interesting is what current tourist divers on the reef are saying.  It turns out that the Greenies declare a stretch of reef as bleached even if the bleaching is confined to a few small patches.  When have you ever heard mention of patchwork bleaching from Greenies? And what is left once you stop obsessing about those patches is still magnificent: "A million times better than the Mediterranean."

CYCLONE Debbie has been a breath of fresh air for coral bleaching on the hardest-hit parts of the Great Barrier Reef.

As the category-four storm wreaked havoc on Australia’s east coast, it also brought blessed relief to a mass coral die-off on prime tourist dive sites in the Coral Sea.

Surveys of the Ribbon reefs off Lizard Island this week show a dramatic drop of up to 3C in coral-killing sea surface temperatures off the state’s ­remote far-north.

“Cyclone Debbie looks like the turning point to allow the Reef to bounce back from this mass coral bleaching event,’’ marine biologist Jess Walker said. “With water temperatures down to about 28C, there will be less stress on the coral, less chance of bleaching, and less chance of coral mortality.’’

Free-diver Audrey Buchholzer, of France, on a three-day dive expedition aboard the Spirit of Freedom in the Coral Sea, said she was stunned by the “flashy” colours and ­kaleidoscope of marine life on the outer reef.

“I had to see it with my own eyes,’’ the 24-year-old said. “I’d heard negative reports the Reef was dead. That’s not true. There are patches of dead and bleached coral, but so much of it is alive and thriving. “It is an underwater wonderland,” she said.

Fellow diver Jennifer Petrie 31, of London, was disappointed to see the Great Barrier Reef is not like it was depicted in Finding Nemo.

“There was lots of dead bits, but still a lot of beauty,’’ she said. “It’s a million times better than the Mediterranean.”


Court win for megamine in central Queensland

THE mining industry has won a key victory against activists, with the High Court ruling it would not hear an appeal against the approval of the GVK-Hancock Alpha megamine in central Queensland.

The Alpha project, part-owned by billionaire Gina Rinehart, has been in the approval process for nine years.

“This has been a project of state significance since 2008 and so here we are in 2017 and it clearly shows that the environmental activists have the ability to hold up projects and seem to have more power than any premier in our state,’’ spokesman Josh Euler said.

“We have three successive governments that wanted to open the Galilee Basin,’’ he said.

The environmental approval has been through the Land Court, the Supreme Court and the Queensland Court of Appeal.

The High Court action was taken by environmental group Coast and Country, led by Derec Davies, which argued the Environmental Planning Act should have considered the greenhouse emissions from burning the coal, even though that might occur in another country.

Mr Davies said he was disappointed by the decision but would continue the fight.

“It’s quite clear the legislation is not capable of dealing with climate change issues at the moment and we look forward to a day when emissions from coal mines and other fossil fuels are clearly in the public realm of decision making for Ministers to refuse projects,’’ he said.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said Coast and Country, through the taxpayer-funded Environmental Defenders Office, had repeatedly failed in their combined attempts to argue that a coal mine in Queensland would increase global emissions.

“The activists’ tactics mean that the only jobs being created are for lawyers,’’ he said.

“The activists don’t ever expect to be successful with their layer after layer of appeals. Their interest is only in further delaying projects from delivering real construction and production jobs. And don’t forget, last year WikiLeaks revealed that Australian green activists have morphed into foreign-funded radical activists.’’


Hirsi Ali’s critics show intolerance

Self-identifying promotors of ‘tolerance’ have shown, once again, they’re only willing to tolerate that which they deem worthy of being tolerated. If you’re not on their list, you don’t get a say.

Prominent critic of Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, wasn’t on the list. She was forced to cancel her speaking tour of Australia due to concerns about her security and the security of the venues hosting her.

“Islam is not a religion of peace,” Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim, has said. In her book, Heretic, she calls for Islam to have a reformation to counter what she names as the religion’s endemic violence.

Opposition to Hirsi Ali’s Australian visit was led by the Council for the Prevention of Islamophobia and a petition denouncing her for inciting division and fuelling hatred of Muslims.

She acknowledges her frank views have earned her condemnation from many orthodox Muslims, as well as from the so-called “regressive” Left — those on the Left who appear to excuse intolerable Islamic practices, such as child marriage, in the name of multiculturalism.

None of these reactions to Hirsi Ali’s proposed visit are a surprise. Activist campaigns to silence and censor dissenting views — always conducted in the name of ‘tolerance’ — are now a mainstay of daily politics.

But this is not the live-and-let-live form of tolerance and multiculturalism that used to describe how people from different backgrounds took their place in Australian society at their own pace and in their own way.

‘Multiculturalism’ is now used in a new, prescriptive way that emphasises the importance of allowing communities to preserve all their cultural and ethnic practices in the name of inclusion — even if some of those practices are considered abhorrent in our Australian society.

Activists censoring Hirsi Ali claim to be fighting Islamophobia. But their own intolerant attitudes — and their refusal to judge Islam as they judge the rest of us — might do more harm to the standing of Islam in Australia than any visiting speaker ever could.


With heroes including Donald Trump, meet conservatism's new, telegenic talking heads

Their heroes include Trump and Thatcher, yet they’re not the usual angry older men.

For Daisy Cousens, there is more than one reason to celebrate the ascendancy of Donald Trump – or "Uncle Donny", as she refers to the US president.

First and foremost, it is good to wake up in the morning and know that a man of his calibre is in the Oval Office. The bonus? Knowing lefties worldwide are still sobbing into their pillows. "Hilarious," is her summing-up of the situation.

Cousens, 28, is a right-wing political pundit, frequently invited to air her opinions in print and on television talk-shows.

Besides being forthright, she is "smart, hard-working, and extremely well-educated" – at least, that is how she described herself in an article she published online late last year. In the same piece, she attributed her professional success in part to her sparkling personality and attractive appearance.

"Funny and conventionally pretty is a winning combination," she pointed out, "and although looks and charisma won't help me do the task, they assist immeasurably in gaining me the opportunity."

On a warm afternoon, I visit Cousens on Sydney's North Shore, where she lives with her parents and two younger sisters in a pleasant house surrounded by towering gums.

She comes to the door wearing a fulllength dress with a fitted bodice. Her skin is pale, her hair dark, her smile coquettish: she reminds me of Vivien Leigh playing Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. We take cups of tea to an outside table and I ask how she got into punditry. "I've always been conservative," she says. And confident, obviously. Also – she doesn't mind admitting it – contrarian. "I kinda like arguing with people. I like to talk."

She laughs when I mention that I saw her make a determined effort to speak over the top of host Tony Jones on ABC TV's Q&A earlier this year.

"I was just really annoyed," she says. "I'm like, 'No, let me talk, dammit!' It was very funny." On ABC's The Drum, Cousens was even more assertive. "No-no-no-no-no-no-no," she told a fellow guest who tried to get a word in edgeways. "Don't interrupt me." Both performances drew a big response online. "I didn't read any of it," she says. "But my friends were like, 'Er, Daisy, people are calling you a Nazi.' "

There's nothing like the presence of a Trump supporter to spice up on-air debate.

The problem for TV producers aiming for demographic diversity on their discussion panels is that conservative commentators tend to be middle-aged men. If you are a right-wing pundit who happens to be young and female, you're as popular as Scarlett encircled by vying suitors at the Twelve Oaks barbecue.

While I am working on this story, Cousens accepts requests to appear on Sky News' The Bolt Report, Paul Murray Live and Jones & Co, Channel Ten's The Project, as well as Q&A and The Drum. No one could accuse her of shrinking from the spotlight, but even she is surprised by how much screen-time she's getting. "They keep calling me," she says.

I think nowadays, being conservative, it's kind of like the new rebellion.

Helen Andrews, a 31-year-old columnist and commentator, sees it as a simple case of supply and demand. "Scarcity drives up the price of something," says Andrews, "and certainly young women for Trump are a scarce commodity." The political figure Andrews most admires is Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's far-right National Front party, but Trump is not far behind in her estimation. "I know a lot of people in the US like him because he's a bomb-thrower, speaks his mind, upsets the establishment," she says. "Those are things about him that I like, too. But I guess I'm probably in the minority of people who gravitated to Trump primarily based on policy rather than style."

His immigration policy, for instance. Andrews wholeheartedly approves of it, and on Q&A defended his (since frozen) executive order banning the citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US. When a softly spoken young Syrian man in the audience asked why people like him and his family should be victimised in this way, Andrews was polite but unmoved. His tale about having been shot and tortured in his homeland and making a new life in Australia seemed to her irrelevant. As she puts it to me: "You can't make policy based on sentiment."

Of course you can't, says Georgina Downer, 37, another of right-wing punditry's rising female stars. Downer, an adjunct fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, a Melbourne conservative think-tank, and a frequently heard voice on TV and radio, may be even less likely than Andrews to be swayed by sob stories. Take the debate about the reduction of Sunday penalty rates, which effectively cuts the wages of some of the country's most poorly paid workers. When I hazard a guess that Downer is in favour of lowering the rates, she replies crisply: "I think we should abolish them." While we're about it, she says, we should think about getting rid of the minimum wage.

Downer tells me she has never known such demand for her services as a commentator, particularly from the national broadcaster. "I think it's because the ABC is responding to public expectations that they have a more balanced approach to political discussion," she says.

But Peter McEvoy, executive producer of Q&A, says the aim when selecting panellists for ABC programs has always been to ensure that a range of views is represented. "There's no new pressure to do this," he says. McEvoy explains that on most Q&A episodes, two of the five places on the panel are taken by politicians: "And because so many of our politicians are older men, we're slightly more likely to favour women and young people to fill the non-politicians' spots."

Young Australian women tend to be leftleaning. According to the 2016 Australian Election Study published by the Australian National University, almost 60 per cent of female voters aged from 18 to 34 favoured Labor or Green in the federal election last year. Only 25 per cent voted for the Liberal or National parties. (Among men in the same age bracket, the difference was much less pronounced: 45 per cent voted Labor or Green, 35 per cent Liberal or National.)

What is it that makes some young women see the world in a different way from their female contemporaries – not just embracing the Right but dedicating themselves to spruiking for it? "I think you are very much informed by the views of your parents – the values they instil in you growing up," says Downer, who is the scion of a conservative political dynasty. Her father, Alexander, currently Australia's high commissioner to the UK, was federal Liberal leader and foreign minister; her grandfather was a minister in the Menzies Liberal government; her great-grandfather was a conservative premier of South Australia. For Downer, dashing off firmly worded right-wing opinion pieces and taking to the airwaves to push the conservative cause feels like the natural thing to do. "It's very much in my DNA," she says.

Helen Andrews, on the other hand, was born in the US state of Mississippi into a family of liberals in the "small l" American sense. "My father is a southern liberal lawyer – think Atticus Finch," she says. "My mother is a hippie, bless her heart. She has a degree in pottery." Her mother, in particular, is bemused to find that she has raised a standard-bearer for the Right. "She thinks the bassinettes were switched or something," Andrews says.

Daisy Cousens' parents are actors. (Her father, Peter Cousens, is also a producer and director whose film credits include Freedom, starring Cuba Gooding jnr.) "I think they're a bit more centrist than I am," says Daisy, as we sit drinking tea in their sun-dappled garden. She herself dreamed of becoming a musical-theatre star, and spent the best part of a year trying to conquer Broadway. She says she had $10 in her pocket when she returned from New York. What's nice, from her perspective, is that she has ended up in the spotlight any way – even if she finds herself playing to tougher crowds than she encountered in her song-and-dance days. "They booed me!" she says of a section of the Q&A audience. A small pause. "I was really pleased."

CONTROVERSY IS, of course, the pundit's stock-intrade. When Cousens says things like, "I called myself a feminist before I started, you know, thinking," you get the impression she is hoping for a sharp collective intake of breath. She tells me that she and fellow members of the cohort she calls the "millennial Right" aim to be "very, very outrageous … We like to shock people".

In the Trump era, conservatism has lost its fuddy-duddy image, she says. "I think nowadays, being conservative, it's kind of like the new rebellion."

Cousens, who likes that Trump is "very anti-politicalcorrectness", was just 15 the first time she gave us the benefit of her assessment of a US president. It was 2003, a few months after the invasion of Iraq, and US president George W. Bush was visiting Canberra. Cousens, in the national capital on a school excursion,was one of 40 students selected to sit in on his address to federal parliament ("You had to be the worst kind of teacher's pet to get picked for that," she admits).

Interviewed for the next day's newspapers, she said Bush had convinced her that starting the war was the right thing to do: "When he talked about Saddam's torture chambers, I thought, 'Oh my God, this man is trying to defend all of us.' "

Looking back, she is impressed by the chutzpah she showed when the press pack approached. "They said, 'Do any of you girls have anything to say about the speech?' And everyone was quiet except me. I just kept talking and talking." She beams. "Nothing has changed."

After Cousens accepted that her future was not on the stage, she obtained a master's degree in creative writing and began contributing articles to an online women's magazine, SheSaid. She also started writing about tennis, a sport she has always adored. Then she knocked out a piece called "Islam and Sexual Slavery", which the conservative journal Quadrant published in November 2015 under the pseudonym Victoria Kincaid (because it was so "controversial", she says). This was her break. She landed a job as an editorial assistant at Quadrant, later joining The Spectator Australia's stable of columnists.

Cousens' political pieces invariably excoriate the Left. "I wait to write things until I'm in a terrible mood," she says. "It's usually 2am and I have a block of chocolate and I'm irrationally annoyed because Rafael Nadal, who's my favourite tennis player, has lost in the early rounds." Her objective when she composes a column is "to make people think, and to make them laugh, and to punch a hole in something that hasn't had a hole punched in it before".

Factual accuracy isn't necessarily a top priority. "The single mother, popping out children at 16 for government benefits, is hailed as a 'working-class hero'," she writes. (Really? By whom?) In spoken commentary, too, Cousens can seem to have an airy disregard for detail: she has claimed, for instance, that Trump's Democrat rival for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, "sort of like robbed Haiti of all this stuff after the earthquake". Sometimes, Cousens' main aim looks suspiciously like self-promotion. In a widely derided Spectator article last month about the late cartoonist Bill Leak, she wrote that he referred to her as "beautiful Daisy" and ended their only face-to-face meeting by predicting: "You'll go far, my girl."

WHEN HELEN Andrews was 22, a blogger asked her to name commonly enjoyed activities she regarded as a waste of time. "Anything to do with cats or dogs," she replied. I am thinking about that when I arrive at Andrews' apartment in Sydney's inner-west, and wondering whether a furry friend has inveigled its way into her life in the intervening nine years. No, is the short answer. Andrews is warmer and softer than she appears on television but her attitude to domestic pets remains as resolutely unsentimental as her approach to immigration policy. The only other living creature on the premises is her partner, Tim Andrews, executive director of the right-wing Australian Taxpayers' Alliance – and he is on his way to a dental appointment. "Husband, farewell!" she says as he ducks out the door.

Andrews makes coffee and tells me she is the last person she would have expected to end up holding forth on panel shows. "I never watch talking-head TV," she says, explaining that she finds it neither edifying nor overly entertaining. "If you want to learn something about an issue, go read the newspaper, go read a book. If you want something entertaining, watch something scripted."

For Andrews, who was born Helen Rittelmeyer (she changed her name when she married Tim), the path to punditry started at Yale, the Ivy League university in the US state of Connecticut. She joined the Yale Political Union and, in her words, "developed a certain taste for disputation and conflict and public speaking". After graduating with a degree in religious studies, she wrote articles for various conservative American magazines, then in 2010 contributed an essay to a book called Proud to be Right.

I know what Andrews means about talk-shows, but the discussion broadcast by the US network C-SPAN to launch the book is as riveting as anything I have seen on screen, scripted or otherwise. On the panel with Andrews was Todd Seavey, a fellow contributor and – this was the problem – her ex-boyfriend. "He's a fundamentally really nice guy who was in a lot of pain," she says, recalling the mounting dismay with which she listened to him dissect her character, essentially calling her crazy and cruel.

Seavey claimed, for instance, that she had opposed the Obama administration's proposed Affordable Health Care Act on grounds that it would alleviate suffering. "I think you'll find a lot of Helen's positions are actually guided by the desire to increase suffering," he said. Over nervous laughter from the audience, Andrews replied: "It builds character."

The whole thing was ridiculous, she says, but the clip went viral, and when she moved to Australia in 2012 and started applying for jobs, she knew anyone thinking about hiring Helen Rittelmeyer would Google her and find it. Even so, she says, "I never could bring myself to bring it up in an interview: 'I'm not a psycho-bitch, just in case you were wondering.' " Looking back, she supposes there was a bright side to the episode. "It did fortify me for any future TV appearances, because I figure no matter what they throw at me, it can't possibly be worse than that."

At the time of our conversation, Andrews is preparing to return to the US, where she hopes she and Tim eventually will settle permanently. From the point of view of an American-born pundit, she says, Australia is a bit, well, dull. "The politics of this country aren't nearly as ideologically driven as they are in the US, and that is wonderful for your citizens, but terrible if your business is ideas in politics."

BRITISH POLITICS have fascinated Georgina Downer since she wrote a fan letter to Margaret Thatcher at the age of six. "I loved her so much," says Downer, face alight with fond memories of the conservative prime minister known as the Iron Lady. "I had a photo of her in my room that Dad put on one of those chipboard mounting blocks." As a grown-up, Downer is an exponent of Thatcheresque conservatism. She believes Australians pay too much tax, for example. "A lot too much. And I think we have an overly generous welfare system."

Downer admires Donald Trump's policies, even if she isn't keen on his personal style. "I find him a bit vulgar, to be honest," she says, as we sit in her comfortable livingroom in an affluent inner-Melbourne suburb. She cheered when Trump won the presidential election, but for her the most thrilling event of 2016 was Brexit. In a newspaper column, she described Britain's decision to leave the European Union as "the most important victory for freedom and democracy since World War II".

A lifelong Anglophile, Downer first made the news in 2005, when she won one of the British government's $50,000 Chevening scholarships for postgraduate study in the UK. The entry form had stipulated that applicants needed at least an upper second-class honours degree, and Downer had only a third-class honours degree in law. She tells me she got the scholarship because she was seen as a person who could make a positive contribution to the relationship between Australia and Britain. "That was really the criteria," she says.

At the time, a British Council spokesman denied there was anything irregular about her selection, or that her father, then Australia's foreign minister, had influenced it in any way. Alexander Downer was still in the job two years later, when Georgina was awarded a graduate traineeship in the foreign affairs department. According to media reports, she was one of 40 people selected from a field of 1695 candidates.

Many expected her charmed run to continue when she stood for Liberal preselection for the blue-ribbon Melbourne seat of Goldstein before last year's federal election. But, despite endorsements from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett and other party heavyweights, she was beaten by former human rights commissioner Tim Wilson.

Downer is married to corporate lawyer William Heath, a partner at King & Wood Mallesons, and has two children. She hasn't given up on standing for parliament, but in the meantime is happy to do valuable work on the sidelines – combatting "the zealotry of the climate industry", for instance. Despite the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence, Downer remains unconvinced that global warming is caused by human activity, and argues that even if it is, Australia has no obligation to reduce carbon emissions. Better to pragmatically adapt to the new reality, she says. "I'm of the view that you've got to adjust to a changing climate, regardless of the cause of the change."

Both on air and in person, there is a note of utter selfassurance in Downer's voice that I imagine could rub some people up the wrong way. I ask if she has many fights at dinner parties. "My modus operandi is not to get into a huge emotional argument," she says. "I don't want to get into personality attacks or, you know, ranting and raving." 

Daisy Cousens echoes the sentiment. "I'm happy to have a political discussion with people who disagree with me, because that's interesting and I don't take it personally," Cousens says. "But the psychology of the Left is different. They get very, very emotionally attached to what they believe."

To Matthew Ricketson, professor of communication at Melbourne's Deakin University, it is hardly surprising that tempers flare over subjects like global warming. "It's not simply a matter of scoring points in a debate," he says. "There is so much more at stake. The future of the planet would seem to be a pretty big issue." Ricketson worries that pundits can lose sight of such realities. Still, "the fact that you've got young women who are confident, assertive and willing not only to express an opinion but really take a place at the table and push their view – that's a good thing," he says.

Pundits aren't in it for the money, Helen Andrews points out. "You could write as fast as a ticker-tape machine and still never produce enough columns to make a living as a freelancer, not even in the US where it pays better." As for television, "the ABC paid me in cab charges!" Andrews says. "I never made a dime from TV." Daisy Cousens agrees punditry doesn't pay bills. "I do it because I'm strong on my convictions," she tells me. "I have something to say and I'm grateful to be given the platform to say it."

What concerns writer and social commentator Jane Caro, herself a talk-show veteran, is the amount of online vitriol directed at outspoken women, particularly young ones. "I find some of their opinions quite obnoxious," Caro says of the right-wing pundits, "but that doesn't mean they should be personally crucified." Downer tells me her social media feedback is almost entirely negative. "A good day is 1 per cent positive," she says.

At my first meeting with Cousens, she says becoming a political provocateur has lost her about a dozen friends. "It's a shame," she says, sounding not particularly despondent. And yes, she gets plenty of online abuse from strangers, but she doesn't allow that to upset her: "It's an occupational hazard."

When we talk again a few weeks later, her tone has changed. The volume and intensity of the online criticism has risen to the point where it is regularly reducing her to tears, she says. Only the previous night, she told a friend that she didn't think she could continue to handle the stress.

Not that Cousens seems to be seriously planning to quit punditry. "It would be hypocritical of me to say I can't do it any more because I can't take the heat," she says. More likely she will follow the advice she dispenses to whimpering lefties: "Steel up, snowflakes!"


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

7 April, 2017  


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG thinks that the world is obsessed with trivialities

Battery Baloney: Playing Snakes and Ladders with Australia’s Electricity Supply

Every day some green energy promoter or a battery salesman tells us how green energy with battery backup will supply Australia’s future electricity needs.

A battery stores energy. Energy can be stored using lead-acid, nickel/cadmium, lithium, molten salt, pumped hydro, hydrogen, flywheels, compressed air or some other smart gizmo. But NOT ONE battery produces new energy – they simply store and discharge energy produced by other means. They all deliver less energy than they consume. Moreover, to manufacture, charge, use and dispose of batteries consumes energy and resources.

The idea of producing reliable grid power from intermittent green energy backed up by batteries looks possible in green doodle-diagrams, but would be absurdly inefficient and expensive.

Solar works a Six hour day

Consider a solar panel which is rated to collect say 100 units of energy per day at full capacity, in full mid-day sunlight, with a clean panel, properly aligned to face the sun.

No solar energy arrives overnight and only minimal amounts arrive during the three hours after dawn or before dusk. That means that significant solar energy can only be collected for about 6 hours per day, providing it is not cloudy, raining or snowing. No amount of research or regulation will change this – the solar energy union only works a six-hour day and takes quite a few sickies. So instead of feeding 100 units of energy per day into the grid, at best, the panel supplies just 25 units.

Can the addition of batteries give us 24/7 power from solar?

To deliver 100 units of energy in 24 hours will require an extra 75 units of energy to be collected, stored and delivered by the batteries every sunny day. This will require another three solar units devoted solely to re-charging batteries in just 6 sunny hours.

Cloudy/wet days are what really expose the problems of solar plus batteries. (This is why isolated green power systems must have a diesel generator in the shed.)

To insure against, say, 7 days of cloudy weather would require a solar/battery system capable of collecting and storing 700 units of energy while still delivering 100 units to consumers every day. However if several consecutive weeks of sunny weather then occur, this bloated system is capable of delivering 7 times more power than needed, causing power prices to plunge, driving reliable generators out of business and wasting the life of solar panels producing unwanted electricity.

Solar energy obviously does best in sunny equatorial deserts, but that is not where most people live. And the huge Desertec Solar Power Dream for the northern Sahara has failed.

The report card on wind energy is different, but equally depressing.

When Australia had reliable, predictable coal-gas-hydro power in every state, the need for heavy interstate transmission was minimal. But green power will require robust and costly interstate transmission facilities to send large amounts of power at short notice from sunny coal-rich Queensland to cloudy Victoria, windless South Australia or droughted Tasmania.

We are told that wind/solar plus pumped water storage will provide adequate grid power. Unfortunately those huge hydro-pumps need steady continuous power – something not provided by intermittent green energy. So are the zero-emissions politicians planning to install huge chemical batteries or diesel motors to steadily re-charge the elevated water storages in order to get back less energy than was consumed by the pumps?

Both wind and solar are unpredictable, unreliable, intermittent and weather-dependent energy sources. They require large collection areas with a cob-web of access roads and transmission lines. Their output can change suddenly and cannot be managed easily to meet demand fluctuations. They need flexible backup power able to swing in quickly to maintain stability and supply.

Gas provides the easiest back-up for green energy, but gas exploration is banned in many areas of NSW, SAust and the whole of gas-rich Victoria. Canny residents of the green states are now investing in diesel generators.

Mother Earth has already given us the perfect solar battery for long-term storage of energy: it is called "Coal". Solar power from sunlight is converted by photosynthesis into wood, and thence into coal for high-density long-term solar energy storage. The downside to this system is that it has tied up large quantities of carbon that is therefore unavailable to the natural world. The upside is that releasing the energy from coal also releases life-giving CO2 back into the biosphere, where it belongs.

Our growing energy crisis was caused by political interference – Australian politicians have not learned last century’s lessons of central planning in the comrade societies.

Robert Gottliebsen writing in "The Australian" 21/3/2017 puts it succinctly:

"The looming crisis is much worse than I expected. Three state governments, Victoria, NSW and South Australia, have vandalised our total energy system. The Premiers of each state clearly had no idea what they were doing. . ."

He also wrote: "My information from the best possible sources is that if Victoria’s Hazelwood power station is shut on April 2, there is a 75% chance of blackouts in NSW and Victoria next summer."

The best solution would be to cease all government force-feeding of intermittent green energy, get politicians out of the energy business and allow the construction of any gas/coal/nuclear or hydro plants that stack up for energy companies, investors and consumers. This will eliminate all the land-loss, materials and labour involved in building, running and maintaining an unreliable, unpredictable, uneconomic, intermittent and absurdly expensive solar/wind/battery/hydro/diesel monstrosity?"

Intermittent energy with batteries or back-up should be used and paid for by those who find them useful. They should not be subsidised or forced onto power grids or reluctant consumers.

Society has better things to do with community cash than squandering it on massive green energy toys and battery baloney.


Multiculturalism comes to Rockhampton

Rockhampton is a small city in regional Queensland.  Even Bangladeshis look down on Burmese Rohingyas

Muslim refugee and expert halal butcher accused of murdering and decapitating his fishing buddy 'could kill animals with one cut to the neck'

The headless body of Syeid Alam was found in a tidal creek running into the Fitzroy River at Rockhampton last April after he failed to return from one of his regular fishing trips with Mohammed Khan.

The men, both Burmese Rohingya refugees, had met in immigration detention and had been employed at the local meatworks and were housemates for two years.

'I would describe us a friends,' Khan said in an affidavit sworn on March 8. 'I was saddened and shocked to hear about Syeid's death.'

A search was sparked when Mr Alam's tearful wife contacted police, concerned about his absence. Ten days later SES volunteers made a gruesome discovery.

'Observations of the torso indicated that the victim's head had been decapitated and the body was in an advanced state of decomposition,' Brisbane Supreme Court documents state.

Nearby, a small tomahawk and an item wrapped in black jeans were found. 'The item appeared to be of similar size, shape and weight as a human head,' the documents state.

It was confirmed as such in an autopsy, which also revealed Mr Alam's head was severed with a small axe or similar weapon.

The major wound, however, was to the front of Mr Alam's neck and the incision was caused by a sharp blade, the documents state.

In a number of witness statements, Osman Chena, the head halal slaughterman at the meatworks where Mr Alam and Khan were employed, describes how he taught the accused murderer to efficiently slit the throat of animals.

Khan, who had worked there for about four years, was 'very practised' and could usually kill an animal with one quick cut, Mr Chena said. 'The cut severs the windpipe, both arteries and weasand (gullet),' court documents state. 'The actual cut takes only one second.'

Proficient halal slaughtermen, such as Khan, were also good at avoiding blood flow, Mr Chena said.

About six months before Mr Alam was killed he told his wife, Ferdous Ferdous, he couldn't afford to support the family and had lost between $20,000 and $30,000 gambling. 'She states that (he) gambled a lot with other Rohingyans,' court documents said.

Another witness, Nor Alam, met Khan and the victim in a card-playing group, and he stated Mr Alam owed him 'a few hundred dollars'.

It's expected 68 witnesses, including friends, family, co-workers and forensic experts, will be involved in legal proceedings.

The 35-year-old, who is in custody, maintains his innocence and was expected to face Rockhampton Magistrates Court on Wednesday afternoon.


Happily never after: 'Gender bias' fairytales facing the chop

"Children as young as four years old can show signs of sexist behaviour".  They sure can.  But it is inborn.  Even mothers of toddlers will often refer to their son as "my little man" -- indicating a recognition of sex-specific behaviour even at that young age.

Much loved fairytales and toys are at risk of being chopped from Victoria’s public schools after they were accused of promoting gender stereotypes.

The Respectful Relationship program wants the likes of Cinderella, Snow White and Rapunzel analysed and compared to modern stories that challenge gender norms.

The program argues that traditional tales can create unrealistic standards as well as a "sense of entitlement in boys and lower self-esteem in girls".

Children are set to play a decisive role in what gets the chop too, acting as "fairytale detectives" to compare the roles of male and female characters in their favourite stories.

It’s a message that is set to go begging on the young audience, according to one Melbourne teacher. "I would rather be teaching them how to read, write and count," the teacher told News Corp.  "We really don’t need to crowd out the curriculum with this social engineering."

The controversial program, which claims children as young as four years old can show signs of sexist behaviour, was introduced on the advice of the royal commission in to family violence.

"Men are supposed to be strong and brave and women are supposed to be beautiful and need rescuing by men," children are taught according to the study.

"If a man or woman does not fit this description, they are usually made out to be the ‘baddies’ or the villain — like a witch or an evil prince."

The program also encourages discussion of "gender bias statements" such as "good morning, princess", "boys don’t cry" and "girls can’t play with trucks".

The concept has so far been met with heavy criticism, with many insisting it is unethical to subject children to such political discussion at such a young age.

"My concern as an educator is, there is no real balance in the program. It is pushing a cultural left argument," Australian Catholic University senior research fellow Dr Kevin Donnelly said.


Preschools focus on non-gendered play "to eliminate family violence"

Early childhood teachers will be encouraged to intervene in "gendered­ play", identify toys and books that reinforce gender ster­eo­­types and avoid gender-specific language under a Victorian govern­ment plan to tackle family violence through preschools.

Teachers will also be asked to reflect on their own "conscious and unconscious biases", "unpack their understanding of gender and gender identity" and avoid using terms such as "good morning princess" or "boys don’t cry".

Fresh details of the respectful relationships training the government plans to provide to 4000 preschool teachers have emerged, with the public release of a professional learning kit that was used in a trial late last year.

As The Australian reported last month, the Victorian Department of Education is seeking a provider to further develop and deliver training to boost the capacity of early childhood educators to imple­ment respectful relationships into their programs.

The $3.4 million initiative is part of the Andrews Labor government’s $21.8m Respectful Rela­tion­ships education package for schools, inspired by the Royal Commission into Family Violence and set to be rolled out to schools over the next two years.

Challenging gender stereotypes appears to be the centrepiece of the preschool program.

"Do you critically reflect on or intentionally observe gendered play?" trainers were instructed to ask participants. "Can you or have you worked with children to devel­op different storylines in their play? Have you intervened to change gendered play?"

According to the training kit, evidence suggested that strict ­adherence to gender stereotypes contributed to gender-based and family violence, of which most victims were women. "As rigid attit­udes toward gender are shifted through respectful relationships education, evidence suggests that family violence will reduce," it said.

However, critics of the program have queried its preoccupation with masculinity and gender stereo­types, particularly when applied­ to children as young as three or four years of age.

As the federal government’s own guidelines on infant and childhood developmental milestones point out, a typical three-year-old can label their own gender and demonstrate knowledge of gender-role stereotypes.

By four or five, a child may show a stronger preference for same-sex playmates, may have been seen reinforcing gender-role norms with peers and may show bouts of aggression with peers.

All behaviours are considered developmentally normal.

Centre for Independent Studies senior research fellow Jennifer Buckingham described the program as "objectionable". "Firstly, no evidence is provided to show that gender norms are the key contributor to domestic violence and that this can be fixed by ­encouraging kids to play with gender­-neutral toys," she said.

"Secondly, it is pretty patronising to preschool teachers to think they have to be trained out of having unconscious gender biases."

Dr Buckingham said research had shown that behavioural issues in preschoolers, such as aggression, were often the result of poor oral language skills.

Opposition spokeswoman for early childhood Georgie Crozier said there was "something truly Orwellian in auditing children’s toys and games in kindergartens".

Early Childhood Minister Jenny Mikakos said the program would give teachers the tools to treat children equally, and to help them build politically correct healthy friendships.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

6 April, 2017

The ‘longest war’ that Australia is not prepared for

It might more aptly be described as the "phoniest" war. The blurb below is inspired by a visit to Australia by a prominent  American Warmist and elitist schmoozer.  Her claims are at least mostly reported cautiously below.  It is all "is believed to have been" and "is thought to have created".  One is of course equally at liberty to believe and think the opposite.

It is true that poor cropping conditions in the Middle East led to food shortages but that was  not because of global warming.  Why?  Because there was no global warming during the period concerned.  The drought (roughly from 2005 to 2011) behind the crop failures occurred in the middle of the 21st century warming "hiatus". So nothing at that time CAN be attributed to warming.  Neither droughts in the Middle East nor anything else can be caused by something that does not exist.

And so it goes.  It is all false attribution below.  She predictably blames recent Barrier Reef bleaching on global warming.  And it may be true that waters in Northeastern Australia are warmer than usual at the moment, but that is NOT any part of anthropogenic global warming.

Why?  Because anthropogenic global warming is said to be caused by increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere.  But there have been NO increases in CO2 in the atmosphere recently. Cape Grim tells us that CO2 levels have been plateaued on 401ppm since last July (midwinter)  So anything -- including coral bleaching -- that happened in the recent summer is NOT due to a rise in CO2. 

It's all just BS unfounded assertions below

CLIMATE change is already acknowledged as a national security risk in the US but Australia seems unprepared for what some experts are calling "the longest war".

Sherri Goodman, a former Pentagon and US Department of Defence official, has helped to develop groundbreaking reports on the links between climate change and national security.

While Australians may not yet recognise the risks, Ms Goodman told that in the US, the link was widely accepted within the military and national security leadership.

Even Donald Trump’s new Secretary of Defence James Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee last month that climate change was a threat to the country’s troops.

"Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today," Mattis reportedly confirmed in a statement.

Ms Goodman, who coined the term "threat multiplier" to describe the climate change risk, said Australia is not immune to its potentially devastating impacts.

So far, climate change is believed to have been a factor in conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Egypt.

Ms Goodman said climate change would create prolonged instability and cause underlying tensions to seep out through a variety of conflicts.

Extreme drought is thought to have created conditions in Syria and Iraq for the rise of Islamic State, as well as the Arab Spring in Egypt.

"The food crisis was the spark that lit the match for the Arab Spring because there were wheat shortages in Russia and Ukraine, and Russia stopped exporting wheat after a prolonged drought," Ms Goodman said.

"That led to a food shortage in Egypt and in other Arab Spring nations."

Ms Goodman said Australia needed to better understand these types of connections so it could prepare and take steps, not just to respond when people’s lives were at risk during a natural disaster.

"We need to understand where droughts and water scarcity and extreme weather events are becoming forcing factors in conflicts," she said.

"The climate is continuing to change because of the carbon that we’ve put into the system and so we need to understand these changes and then we need to be able to respond to them."

She said Australia was not well prepared for this "longest war", particularly as many political leaders did not accept climate change posed any problem to future prosperity.

Ms Goodman said she hoped recent extreme weather events like Cyclone Debbie, heatwaves and bushfires would be a "wake up call".

"You have the capability, you have the power within in Australia to make the country more resilient," she said.

"You’re already sort of a resource power house, but you want to be one that’s sustainable and continues its economic vitality for the rest of this century, and the way to do that is to appreciate the full range of both risks and opportunities."


Australia has already been given a recent taste of the havoc that extreme weather can bring, with homeowners complaining of looting in the aftermath of flooding and wild weather created by Cyclone Debbie.

But while Australia is a robust economy and has a stable political regime, many of our neighbours are not so lucky.

"The Asia Pacific region is ‘disaster alley’ for extreme weather events and natural disasters," Ms Goodman said.

"The intensity of these events have been increasing in recent years, most likely fuelled by higher Pacific Ocean temperatures," she said.

As one example Ms Goodman highlighted the situation in the Philippines, which was one of the countries most at risk of climate change due to sea level rise and storm surges.

Importantly, it was also politically unstable, where insurgents are creating problems for an authoritarian government.

"It wouldn’t take that much to push that country over the edge and these are countries right in your region," she said.

Climate change has also been established as the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef, which supports 70,000 jobs within the region.

"I had the great privilege 20 years ago ... to dive in the Great Barrier Reef and it’s one of the most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen in my life," Ms Goodman said.

"Now that I know that the bleaching has changed the corals, I don’t know that I’d come back here right now. And I’m sure I’m not alone in my thinking."

While Australia’s economy may be able to survive the loss of tourism if the Great Barrier Reef was to die, Ms Goodman said other countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, may not.

"Australia is a robust economy and a resilient society but you are here as part of the coral triangle," she said.

"Can their economies withstand long-term and perhaps, permanent bleaching? I don’t know. But I think we should be all very concerned about that."

Australia is also surrounded by low lying Pacific Islands where whole populations are at risk of being flooded and losing their sovereignty within our lifetimes.

"People get desperate when they lose their homes, their food, their shelter, their water," Ms Goodman said.

"Climate change acts as an accelerant of instability," she said.

While it may not be the only cause acting to create this, climate change can aggravate existing threats like terrorism, the development of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, corruption and political instability.

"So climate becomes a threat multiplier on all of these existing threats," she said.


Ayaan Hirsi Ali slams protesters who prevented her visit to Australia

A "horrible alliance" at work

Controversial activist and former Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali has launched a scathing critique of the protesters who prevented her visit to Australia, arguing freedom of debate has been shut down by a "horrible alliance" between the far left and radical Islamist voices.

Ms Hirsi Ali was due to arrive in Australia for a speaking tour this week, which would have included an appearance on ABC’s Q&A program, but cancelled at the last minute citing concerns about security and the organisation of her trip.

While she refused to elaborate on the reasons for the cancellation, Ms Hirsi Ali has told Channel Seven on Tuesday evening she wishes to "defy" her opponents and "come and expose them for what they are."

"These are people who are far more interested in defending sharia Law, that’s Islamic law, and the doctrine of radical Islam, over human rights," she said of her opponents, which included a Victorian group called Against Islamophobia who reportedly called venues at which she was booked to speak and threatened mass protests.

Ms Hirsi Ali also hit back at the group of Australian Muslim women who accused her of being a "star" of Islamophobia and stirring up hatred.

"Today you have this horrible alliance between the far left and the Islamists and they’re using the modern media tool to shut people like me out by smearing us," Ms Hirsi Ali said.

In their video the six woman said Ms Hirsi Ali — who was raised a Muslim but renounced her religion as an adult and became a fierce critic of radical Islamists and sharia law — was a "star of the global Islamophobia industry" and did not speak for them.

They criticised her for past descriptions of Muslim women as docile and irrational, accused her of using the language of white supremacists and profiting from "an industry that exists to dehumanise Muslim women".

But Ms Hirsi Ali says the women are "carrying water" for radical Islamic organisations like the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State and Boko Haram because they have done little to defend women with few rights under Islamic law.

"I have seen the video that was put together, it looks really like a slick propaganda thing, by these women who are saying ‘you don’t speak for us’," Ms Hirsi Ali told Channel Seven.

Ms Hirsi Ali also likened the burka to wearing a large swastika while responding to Pauline Hanson’s calls to ban Muslim immigration.

"It’s the assumption that all immigrants are bad and all Muslims are bad, I don’t hold that view," Ms Hirsi Ali said. "But the burka that covers the face, and that is really very much in your face, that kind of thing is just like the ISIS flag, it’s like wearing a very big swastika."

Ms Hirsi Ali expressed her disappointment over her tour cancellation and apologised to all the people who had bought tickets.

"I am very, very sorry. I really think it’s terrible that they have become victims of this."

Ms Hirsi Ali earlier hit back at a group of Australian Muslim women who accused her of being a "star" of Islamophobia and stirring up hatred.

The women took to Facebook on Monday when Ms Hirsi Ali was due to arrive in Australia for a speaking tour but cancelled at the last minute citing concerns about security and the organisation of her trip.

In their video the six woman said Ms Hirsi Ali - who was raised a Muslim but renounced her religion as an adult and became a fierce critic of radical Islamists and sharia law - was a "star of the global Islamophobia industry" and did not speak for them.

They criticised her for past descriptions of Muslim women as docile and irrational, accused her of using the language of white supremacists and profiting from "an industry that exists to dehumanise Muslim women".

But Ms Hirsi Ali says the women are "carrying water" for radical Islamic organisations like the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State and Boko Haram because they have done little to defend women with few rights under Islamic law.

"I just want to point my finger at all the places in the world today where Islamic law is applied and how women are treated and I want to say to these women, ‘shame on you’," Ms Hirsi Ali told AAP today.

"Shame on you for carrying water for the Islamists, shame on you for trying to shut people up who are trying to raise awareness about sharia law."

Comment was being sought from a representative for the women, who posted their video message on a Facebook page titled Persons of Interest. Ms Hirsi Ali rejected their claim that she was trying to be a spokeswoman for all Muslim women, saying she was simply "speaking up" against how sharia law degraded women by allowing beatings, stoning, slavery and female genital mutilation.

She declined to go into the reasons behind her decision to cancel her trip to Australia, where she was due address crowds in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne this week before heading to New Zealand.

The US-based, Somali-born activist who was subject to female genital mutilation as a child and became an MP in the Netherlands after seeking political asylum, has for years lived with tight security as a result of her stance on radical Islamists.

She had hoped during her visit to Australia to highlight the need for Western countries to educate themselves about dawa, or how radical Islamists spread their ideology.

Ms Hirsi Ali says while the West should continue its military battles against terrorists, it needed to focus on the spread of Islamic ideology through schools, mosques and non-government organisations that on the surface appear non-violent but ultimately act as a "conveyor belt" for violence. She argues such organisations can flourish in Western countries by exploiting laws safeguarding freedom of religion, expression and association. "I don’t believe individuals are born wanting to join the jihad. It’s a process, a long process," Ms Hirsi Ali said.

Security concerns forced Hirsi Ali to pull out of her planned speaking tour. Ms Hirsi Ali, who lives with around-the-clock security protection due to her criticisms of radical Islamists, was due to speak at events in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland this week.

She was also due to appear on ABC TV’s Q&A panel last night. About 2000 tickets had been sold to Ms Hirsi Ali’s speaking events in Australia.

Ms Hirsi Ali’s trip to Australia had sparked protests from a group of Muslim women who accused her of hate mongering and bigotry.

Nearly 400 people signed an online petition against Ms Hirsi Ali’s speaking tour.

"Against a backdrop of increasing global Islamophobia, Hirsi-Ali’s divisive rhetoric simply serves to increase hostility and hatred towards Muslims," the petition, posted on, said.

Ms Hirsi Ali has repeatedly criticised radical Islamists and sharia law and wants moderate Muslims to reform their religion.

She was raised a Muslim by her family in Somalia, but later renounced her religion after seeking political asylum in the Netherlands in the early 1990s in an attempt to escape an arranged marriage.

Ms Hirsi Ali joined VVD, the People’s Party for Freedom, which is a Liberal party in the Netherlands.

She moved to the US after receiving death threats for helping to make a short film that showed images of violence against women alongside verses from the Koran.

In a paper written for the Hoover Institute at Stanford University last month, Ms Hirsi Ali argues the public needs to be better educated about the political ideology of Islamists and the ways they recruit and finance their operations so they can reach their ultimate goal of imposing sharia law.


Upskilled survey: Aussie workers happy

Registered training organisation, Upskilled, has today released the Annual Australian Career Survey of 3,418 Australians, revealing most Australians (82 per cent) "enjoy" their jobs, a third (29 per cent) "love" their job, and only a very small percentage "hardly ever" liked their job (3 per cent) or "actively hated" it (4 per cent).

The Survey also revealed that happiness at work or earning enough to stop working was the most important career goal of all for many (28 per cent each), with few motivated to start their own company (13 per cent), run the company they’re currently at (3 per cent), or leave a legacy (3 per cent).

"Running the Survey each year is a way for Upskilled to better understand the sentiment driving Australian workers, and assess whether we’re on track to compete in a global workforce and marketplace," said Jon Lang, CEO of Upskilled.

"The results are great in that the first step towards creating a productive and engaged workforce is obviously to have workers enjoying what they do on a day-to-day basis.

"However, it’s less encouraging to note the low level of entrepreneurial drive – particularly in this age of disruption and innovation, and with the increasing importance of startups."

The national online study of 1,860 women and 1,558 men covered a wide range of industries, age groups, and employment types, including students, senior management, the unemployed, and retired workers.

Overall, the biggest indicators of workplace happiness were liking the workplace (66 per cent), feeling valued at work (62 per cent), and having an enjoyable job (59 per cent).

Northern Territorians were the happiest state (92 per cent), self-employed were the happiest employment type (92 per cent), women were the happiest gender (82 per cent), and those in Arts & Recreation Services were the happiest industry (93 per cent).

The lowest levels of happiness were found in NSW, Victoria, ACT and Canberra (80 per cent each), casual employment (79 per cent), and manufacturing (74 per cent).

Happiness levels interestingly didn’t indicate satisfaction with remuneration, with happy workers being more likely to want a pay rise than unhappy workers (68 and 63 per cent respectively). Surveyed women also earned a lot less than men (18% of females earn over $70k compared to 34% of males) but were still slightly happier (82 per cent compared to 80 per cent of men).

It was also not a simple ‘flip’ for the indicators of unhappiness: inadequate workplace training (67 per cent) was a bigger issue than not enjoying the job (64 per cent) and not feeling valued (55 per cent).

In fact, education was a topic of great interest to workers, with 70 per cent wanting to undertake further study, with the primary reason cited (58 per cent) being to advance their career options.

However, despite 74 per cent being aware there were funding options available to support this further study, and 52 per cent stating that access to financial support would encourage them to study, only nine per cent had actually had their course subsidised.

Findings also supported a desire for education options that allowed for full-time work to continue unaffected, with 44 per cent of respondents wanting to study completely online, 26 per cent wanting a blend of on-campus and online delivery, and only 6 per cent wanting study full-time study on campus.

"Though it appears we are interested in bettering ourselves through education, there seems to be a large gap between awareness of the subsidies that could make this happen, and actually taking advantage of these subsidies to become better qualified and more highly skilled.

"This might be rectified if employers were more fully engaged in educating their employees on the funding options that are available to help them increase their skill levels and do their jobs better.

"This could be improved if employers were made aware of the many ways their workers could complete these additional studies in a strictly online format, which would provide minimal disruption to their jobs," concluded Jon Lang.

Founded in 2009, Upskilled is a leading  Australian  Registered Training Organisations, delivering more than 100 Nationally Recognised Qualifications  across a wide range of industries to working professionals, job seekers and school leavers around the country.

Media release from

Judge attacks feckless heirs

Grown-up children hanging around waiting for elderly parents to die so they can inherit the estate should consider themselves warned: nobody has an automatic right to the fortune amassed by hardworking parents - and at least one NSW judge appears determi-ned to uphold the right of those parents to disinherit feckless children

In a series of scathing judgments over the past 18 months, the most recent made on March 7, NSW Supreme Court judge Michael Pembroke has backed those parents who speak from the grave, in denying greedy, dysfunctional or spoiled children a windfall from their estate.Justice Pembroke has repeatedly lashed what he described as "a cohort of independent, self-sufficient 50- and 60-year-olds wanting to get more of the pie from their parents, notwithstanding that the parent had made a conscious decision that they had already had enough

One of the freedoms that shape our society, and an important human right, is that a person should be free to dispose of his or her property as he or she thinks fit", he said. This means that parents may dispose of their estates as they see fit and that siblings have no automatic right to equality between them. That may be the system in European countries, but it is not the law in Australia.

The most recent case to come before Justice Pembroke, Kraljevic v Kraljevic, involved a family with three children. The parents came to Australia from the Balkans in the 1950s, and established a mushroom farm.One son, Mario, stayed on the property after his father died in 1991, helping his mother to keep the business alive. When the mother died, the land upon which the farm was built was sold for about $14 million.The mother decided to leave three-fifths of her estate to Mario.

His siblings, Vili and Vesna, promptly went to court, where they ran into Justice Pembroke. Each plaintiff in this case has received more than $3.2m from the estate of their late mother, he said in his judgment. They are not satisfied with that amount and want more.He refused to give them more, saying the siblings were motivated by little more than an underlying desire to obtain more money and their mother was well within her rights to leave a greater slice of the pie to Mario.

In a previous case from last year, known as Revell v Revell, Justice Pembroke rejected a claim by a 60-year-old son against the estate of his father, whose story he described as one of survival, hardship and determination.The son's life, on the other hand, seems like a modern urban fiasco, for which no one else is to blame and certainly not his father, Justice Pembroke said.

The father, known as Tibby, was a Hungarian Jew who survived the Holocaust before making his way to Sweden, where he met his future wife. They came to Australia in 1953, where Tibby eventually built a $10m fortune. He left $1.5m to his son, who tried to get more, but Justice Pembroke found Tibby had deliberately capped the amount he wanted his son to get, having complained to friends that his son was always in financial trouble; that he is a parasite; that he doesnt do anything with his life; that he is useless; that he doesnt like hard work; and that he only wants money.

In a third case, Justice Pembroke dealt with a Sydney man, Robert Wilcox, 46, and his younger brother, Benjamin, who sued their elderly mother, Patricia, after their grandfather left his rural estate to her, and not to them.

Justice Pembroke said that no one is responsible for the (impoverished) position in which Robert Wilcox now finds himself, except himself and he doubted that he was sufficiently motivated to find work.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

5 April, 2017  

Political correctness largely self-defeating


In this postmodern, politically correct, post-truth, post-Trump age, we are encouraged to forget facts, ideas and arguments, and just speculate on identity and motives. So I guess I’m the token white, middle-aged, heterosexual, right-of-centre, cisgendered male in this debate.

The question tonight is not whether I am politically correct or you support political correctness, but whether political correctness has failed itself.

Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and I contend the answer is unambiguously in the affirmative. Political correctness exists to shape our thoughts; as George Orwell explained in detail, control language and you control thought. But it is failing. Dissent is rudely breaking through.

The agenda of political correctness is that of the left — the green left, the socially progressive left, the virtue-signalling left. The politically correct pretend gender away, reducing heterosexuality to just one of a suite of options; they want us all to pretend we are saving the planet; they’d like to eliminate borders and nationality; and they decry organised religion — well, organised Christian religion.

But in all these areas the more the PC mob imposes strictures through universities, bureaucracies and the media-political class, the more the mainstream resists. The primacy of sovereignty is reclaimed by the masses through Brexit, European politics and the rise of Donald Trump. Climate gestures are under attack and the Paris Agreement seems increasingly likely to be ignored. It has been Trumped.

Intolerant anti-Muslim parties are on the march in Europe and Australia, and walls and bans figured prominently in Trump’s ascendancy. Not only is this happening despite a regime of political correctness in liberal democracies, it is largely a backlash against political correctness. "I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct," said candidate Trump — he was that blatant.

So, too, is resurrected renegade Australian politician Pauline Hanson, who runs anti-Muslim and anti-immigration lines. "The problem is," Hanson says, "we have not had leaders with the foresight or intestinal fortitude to cast aside political correctness."

If political correctness aided the rise of Trump and Hanson — or indeed the success of Brexit or Marine Le Pen — it has ­failed itself. It has provided a springboard for all that it despises.

The moral, ideological and political cowardice of centre-left and centre-right parties in the face of the politically correct thought police has created an extreme backlash. This happens because political correctness has become an absurdity; a perversity. Instead of railing against indigenous dysfunction and disadvantage, it attacks a cartoonist; instead of saving rivers, it attacks coal companies; it boycotts a beer to shut down debate on gay marriage. Political correctness has divorced the media-political class from the mainstream, creating a chasm between political posturing and common sense.

It is worse than you think. When a radicalised Muslim cleric pulled a gun, said he had a bomb and took 17 people hostage in a cafe near here — claiming allegiance to Islamic State — the politically correct started a social media campaign trumpeting care and solidarity, not for the hos­tages but for Muslims on public transport. The "I’ll ride with you" hashtag started when a former Greens candidate in Brisbane tweeted about a fabricated incident on a train — this was virtue-signalling to combat an anti-Muslim backlash that never happened. The media loved it; one ABC presenter said it was the only "bright spot" of the siege. Imagine that: a "bright spot" in a terror attack.

Real people held at gunpoint — two innocents were later killed — while the Twitter PC brigade pretended mainstream Australians and Islamophobia were the real threat. And it was all fake.

At the inquest we learned that while police waited, preferring not to launch an operation against the terrorist, they did launch Operation Hammerhead, which put police on the streets to protect Muslims from this imaginary backlash. This is political correctness gone mad.

Politicians often talk in riddles to avoid mention of Islamism; in response to jihadist terrorism Barack Obama held a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism. People see this weakness and vote for the hardliners who at least recognise a serious threat. Political correctness fails itself.

Let’s look at feminism. Confronted by the subjugation of some Muslim women — sequestered under the burka or subjected to female genital mutilation and forced child marriages — the politically correct don’t protest but don scarfs to show solidarity. Again, that’s a fail.

On border protection the politically correct campaigned against tough laws and got their wish in Australia in 2008. This restarted the evil people-smuggling trade, saw at least 1200 drown, tens of thousands go into detention and left those who couldn’t afford a people-smuggler stranded in camps, sliding further back in the queue. Fail.

The politically correct want gay marriage but didn’t like Australian voters having a say, so they campaigned against a plebiscite; if not for the PC brigade gay marriage would be legal. Fail.

The politically correct believe it is more important to display moral superiority than confront reality and get things done. The evidence is all around us: political correctness has failed itself. But of course practitioners, such as our opponents, can’t admit that — because that would be politically incorrect.


Our teens are out of control. Why? Because parents are too weak

Angela Mollard

Among parents of teens, talk has been of nothing else this week. A 15-year-old boy allegedly filming another 15-year-old boy allegedly raping a girl who had passed out drunk. Apparently she wasn't aware of what had happened until video emerged of the attack.

Cranbrook student charged with aggravated sexual assault

The response has been predictable: shock, horror, revulsion, fear, incredulity and blame.

The fact is teenage girls are being sexually assaulted every weekend at parties, according to drug and alcohol campaigner Paul Dillon.

"It literally happens every single weekend and the saddest part is that girls very rarely report it because they think it's part of the alcohol experience," he told me this week.

"I can't tell you the number of girls who've told me they've blacked out and only found out there's been a guy on top of them or having sex with them when they've been shown a photograph."

Consent, alcohol, morality, social media - all are at the heart of this growing social problem but the issue none of us are willing to discuss is this: parental meekness.

Parents have become like mice, scurrying around trying to keep their children happy yet willing to disappear into a hole when their lion-like teens demand it. "Can I have a party?" inquires the teen. "There's 80 people coming. Some will sleepover. Don't worry about food. Oh, and can you and Dad stay upstairs all night?"

And what do parents say? "Well, OK, but make sure things don't get out of hand."

But things do get "out of hand" because, as Paul Dillon tells me, in teenage brains the desire for reward outweighs the sense of risk.

We talk about parental neglect in Aboriginal communities and yet in metropolitan suburbs all over the country parents - including the wealthiest - are turning a blind eye to what their kids are doing. Dillon tells me about the rise of the "mixed sleepover"; of parents hiring security guards for a party then thinking they can go out themselves; of a teenager being encouraged to drink by her parent even though she doesn't want to.

He tells me of an incident he couldn't believe "didn't make the papers". A 13-year-old girl had 20 friends to stay for a sleepover and the parents went out to the movies. Apparently they came home to find an ambulance in their driveway and other parents in uproar because one of the kids had slipped over and badly smashed her head on the concrete. Fortunately the girls had the wherewithal to contact emergency services.

Another mum contacted him, beside herself after her daughter had been sexually assaulted at a mixed 14th birthday sleepover.

"The mum had dutifully rung the parents to check they would be home, how many kids would be staying and to leave her contact number. The one question she'd neglected to ask was if boys would be staying. Her daughter had woken in the night to find herself being sexually assaulted. She was mortified so said nothing until she got home."

When I was a teen parents were a tribe. They'd call each other and if one said "no" they'd all say "no". Nobody gave their own teen alcohol let alone anyone else's. And no one let school-age boyfriends or girlfriends sleepover.

On one occasion when I wasn't home at 11pm, aged 16, my Dad drove over to my boyfriend's house where we were standing outside kissing. He shone the car lights on us, yelled at me to get home and told me I was grounded for a fortnight.

Now, as a mother of two girls aged 16 and 13, I - along with my friends - are dealing most weekends with parties, sleepovers, alcohol, and how to keep our kids safe. A friend who had a successful 15th party for her son - no alcohol, everyone checked off at the door, all bags locked in the spare bedroom, extra parents for security, and a finish time of 10.30pm, told me she recently agreed to a small "gatho" a year later.

Big mistake. There were only 15 kids but some brought alcohol, a couple disappeared into a bedroom and, monitoring alone, she spent the evening feeling as if she barely had control.

As Dillon, who heads up Drug and Alcohol Training Australia (DARTA) tells me: "A trained publican finds it difficult to effectively monitor a room full of drinkers so how can parents expect to control 40, 60 or 80 teens when alcohol is tolerated."

Dillon advises making it as "bloody difficult as humanly possible" for teens to drink. If you won't supply alcohol or let them drink at home and they threaten to go and drink in the park, don't cave. As he says, most won't.

Likewise, I believe parents need to lose our meekness and work together like the mafia. We have the mature brains so we make the rules. We need to monitor, to shine torches into the dark recesses of the garden, to tell groping teens to cut it out, to alert the parents if a teen we've collected from a party is drunk.

We need to be there as a deterrent and a sounding board. We need to have each other's backs as we strive to teach kids to protect their own.


Beware the barge of bullies trumpeting diversity

There is only one upside from the recent attacks and unprecedented abuse directed at an academic and the directors of Christian organisations: people are beginning to wake up and take notice. They are starting to understand that the campaign for same-sex marriage is not sailing on a raft of rainbows but on a barge of bullies.

Last week there was the IBM executive whose position was questioned because he was a ­director of the Lachlan Macquarie Institute. He was the subject of attack in his previous employment as well.

Then there was the Christian academic who had not even entered the same-sex marriage debate, whose university was pres­sured over his employment which, it was claimed, conflicted with its membership in the so-called Pride in Diversity campaign. What kind of diversity is so monochrome that it does not allow differing expressions of opinion in the debate?

Not only has this minority view tried to swamp the public debate with its introspective, ­authoritarian denial of free speech, it has struck at the heart of Australian democracy and the freedoms that we all cherish.

This narrow-minded, freedom-restricting carping is what the same-sex marriage campaign has come to. At the beginning, the promise seemed to be innocent enough — change one word in the marriage legislation and there would be equality for all. Now, as people start to digest the magnitude of such a social change and the ramifications that would follow for families and the rest of the community when marriage is cut adrift from the significance of gender distinctiveness (the Safe Schools Coalition program is only one of these side effects), other voices are starting to speak up.

But, just as quickly, they are shut down in the name of diversity. I was one of the Christian leaders who convened a meeting of church leaders in Sydney last year, to be held at the Mercure Hotel. No sooner had we set the venue than staff were subjected to an ugly campaign of harassment and threats.

For the safety of staff and guests, the hotel cancelled the booking. Were we not harangued by political leaders opposed to a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, that such a debate would incite hate speech from those defending the traditional definition of marriage? Yet this has not happened. On the contrary, it is those who have been frustrated by the government’s determination to adhere to its election policy to allow the citizens to have their say who have taken the opportunity to harangue, marginalise and ostracise those who do not support a society where gender is interchangeable.

Catholic Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous was taken to the brink in Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Tribunal for espousing views on marriage that accord with Australian law, let alone being the view of his church, as well as all churches and that which civilisations have held for millennia. The avant-garde opponents of these time-honoured mores had hoped to silence him.

What kind of a society calls someone before a tribunal because they are defending the law of the land? What kind of state legislation allows such a travesty of justice to occur? Has our society been that deprived of common sense and love of freedom that a carefully ­articulated defence of commonwealth legislation can be deemed offensive merely because someone wants the law changed and is offended because their views are at odds with the current law?

It was revealed this week that the real fear on this issue is not "homophobia", which has become a slur against those who hold a different view from this regressive minority, but "plebiphobia", fear of the people: the fear that a popular vote may be lost.

Now the corporate world has been press-ganged into that same cause. It is a regrettable state of affairs that executives of some the large public companies have been too weak-kneed to resist the attacks of a strident minority via social media platforms. The way it has been presented is "diversity".

Just a quick look through the diversity policies of the companies that wrote to the Prime Minister on same-sex marriage recently shows focus on gender, cultural background, disability and sexual orientation. Spot the gap: faith. Such a large part of the lives of millions in our multi-faith country is nowhere to be seen.

This contrasts sharply with the US. In a 2015 survey, 36 per cent of US workers reported experiencing or witnessing workplace relig­ious discrimination. In re­sponse, many US companies have signed up to the Corporate Pledge in Support of Freedom of Religion or Belief.

In what kind of "diversity" do we as Australians really believe? I want to live in a land that respects the individual, that allows freedom of expression and freedom of faith. I want to be able to be free to convince my fellow Australians that Jesus Christ is Lord of all creation and that true freedom is only to be found in him. I also want to live in a land where others can contradict my views and espouse their own beliefs without fear of persecution or intimidation. That is true diversity. That is true freedom of speech and freedom of religion of which we ought to be justly proud and that I would happily defend with my life.


Greenies using paid protesters for anti-Adani campaign

THE Adani coal mine is already creating an employment boom – but for "professional protesters" based in Sydney and Melbourne.

The Stop Adani campaign is the latest green group to hire employees or contractors as part of a campaign to block the $21 billion central Queensland coal mine, which is expected to create thousands of jobs.

The group is advertising for a "digital ninja" and "basic-level meme-slinger" to be paid up to $65,000 for working fulltime on the campaign against "their dirty coal mine (which) is the fight of our times", to be based in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, according to the ad.

It follows US-backed hiring professional protesters in Sydney and Melbourne.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan said "online inner-city activists" needed a reality check. "Here we go again, with professional protesters wanting to trample on jobs for regional Queenslanders," he said.

"It’s a bit rich for a so-called ‘digital ninja’ to attempt to manufacture opposition to resources jobs in regional Queensland, all from the comfort of a Sydney office."

He said eight regional mayors representing 500,000 ­people travelled to India last month to encourage the Adani board to sign off on the mine.

Despite the advertisement, Stop Adani Alliance spokesman Peter McCallum said the organisation had no paid fulltime or part-time employees.  "This position is for a consultant, paid for by the Alliance," he said.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

4 April, 2017  

Mark Latham’s sacking more to do with free market than free speech

I don't necessarily agree with Caroline Overington (below) but she has a point about legal liability.  Latham is a well-known figure on the political Left but he absolutely abhors political correctness, particularly feminism. So he is a most refreshing voice in the media.  Like Trump, he is a bit rough around the edges but people forgive him that for the basic rightness of his messages.  One hopes he reappears somewhere in the media soon.  Fuller details of some of his "offences" are here and here

Mark Latham was sacked from Sky News this week and plenty of people are cross about it, especially our readers. This I know because I took the time to go through the comments under the story that announced his departure from Sky (which, for the record, is now 100 per cent owned by News Corp, which also owns The Weekend Australian.)

People are saying he has been sil­enced. They’re angry about the way he has been denied his right to free speech.

OK, so before we get to whether Latham should or should not have been sacked, here’s some background. Latham was this year hired by Sky to host a program called Outsiders, alongside the editor of The Spectator Australia, Rowan Dean, and former MP Ross Cameron. These three made a big song and dance, right from the start, about how their show was going to be different from all the other panel shows on TV. They weren’t going to be all leftie PC. They were going to call it like they saw it, without fear or favour.

They were going to offend, and why not? There’s no law against it, and plenty of people are thirsting for a show that has some flame-throwers on it.

And so the show began, and Latham — once the leader of the opposition, who came really close to winning the Lodge — started attacking people. His first target was Sky colleague (and this paper’s contributing editor) Peter van Onselen, whom he called a man toddler. Next was van Onselen’s wife, Ainslie, for the work she did on diversity projects while at Westpac; then he went for another Sky colleague, former Labor premier of NSW Kristina Keneally, whom Latham described as a "protege of Eddie Obeid".

Wait … what? Obeid is a former Labor minister who is now in jail on corruption charges. So what was Latham actually saying when he described Keneally was Eddie’s "protege"?

He must have known he was sailing close to the trip wire that is defamation law in Australia with that one, and if not, well, he should have known, because Keneally promptly lodged a complaint with Sky management.

This was the moment for Latham to pause and reset. But Latham doesn’t seem to have a pause and reset button. He kept going.

His next target was the ABC’s Wendy Harmer. She had tweeted that she didn’t like Latham’s show, so he said: "Wendy, of course, we know her well. She’s a proven commercial failure, so naturally she got a job at ABC radio at the sheltered workshop there for all the lefties.

"She fits the criteria: she’s female, she’s got a disability — that’s what they mean by diversity."

Now, I’m not a defamation lawyer, but surely even people who aren’t trained journalists can see what he’s done there. There’s a difference between expressing an opinion and saying something that isn’t true, and what Latham said wasn’t true. Harmer doesn’t have a disability, and even if she did, so what? That’s not why the ABC hired her. She’s also not a commercial failure. She’s a successful stand-up comedian, radio broadcaster, TV host and author. That’s why you know her name.

At this point, somebody should have realised that Latham was in trouble. The rules of defamation law are fairly simple. You can be offensive. You can be rude. You can be biased and revolting. But you can’t be wrong. (For the record, Harmer did not want him sacked; she wanted an apology.)

But it was already too late, since reporters had found, or been alerted to, yet another clip of Latham being offensive on Outsiders — and this time, the target was a schoolboy.

He picked on a schoolboy, saying he thought the kid, who had made a YouTube video for International Women’s Day, was gay.

OK, you wouldn’t put up with that on the school grounds, so why did Latham think he would get away with it on TV? Which of course he didn’t: as soon as Sky News chief executive Angelos Frangopoulus became aware of the comments, he sacked Latham.

And here is where it gets tricky. This is a free-speech newspaper, and if the comments on the story about Latham’s sacking are a guide, many of our readers don’t believe he should have been sacked. Here’s a sample: "I cannot tell you how appalled I am at this decision on Latham. It’s Orwell’s 1984 being played out for real."

There have been reports of people cancelling their Foxtel subscriptions, such as reader Lyn, who wrote: "Rang Foxtel this morning, advised I was cancelling. The bloke at the end of the line was horrified that such a long-term customer would do such a thing."

And this: "Pathetic from Sky News! What a disgrace. No such thing as free speech any more. Mark Latham was one of the best and most entertaining presenters. The thing we loved most was he was NOT politically correct."

A petition has been launched to try to get the decision reversed. It says: "Mark Latham’s commentary on Sky News has been a breath of fresh air. He’s always called it as he’s seen it and many of us have appreciated his non-PC approach to current affairs. Far worse things have been said by the ABC’s Chaser boys over the years and the worst that they’ve ever copped has been a one-off two-week suspension of their show."

The feeling is that Latham has been silenced for being politically incorrect. Now I don’t expect many people to agree with me, but I’m sorry, that’s just not so.

Latham was sacked because he picked on a schoolboy. To make the point more plainly: he’s an adult with a TV show, bullying a kid about his sexuality, or perhaps his manliness, because the kid spoke up for women on International Women’s Day.

It’s wrong for adults to try to humiliate kids. Do I really have to explain why? Should Sky have fired him for it? In my opinion, no, but I can see why it was thought he was just too loose a cannon to keep on contract.

Yet he still doesn’t seem to get it. In the days after he was sacked, his Twitter account, @RealMarkLatham, came back to life, and it is now full of complaints about how the PC warriors are winning the free speech war.

One of his followers asked him: "So where to now Mark? You have loyal followers who still want to see & hear you. Don’t give up please." He Tweeted back: "Already fielding offers … to continue important work, free from those who cave in to pathetic PC outrage industry."

But that isn’t what happened. Latham wasn’t sacked by Sky for speaking his mind. They let him go because they thought the risk of having somebody saying something defamatory was too high, and ultimately the costs of that outweighed the benefits. That’s not about free speech. That’s the free market.


Energy 'crisis' predictable, says former Origin Energy boss

The so-called "crisis" confronting the energy sector was predictable and stemmed from the push for renewable energy as well as restrictions on accessing domestic gas reserves, Business Council of Australia president Grant King said on Friday.

"The first of those choices relates to the RET scheme," Mr King, the former boss of Origin Energy, told a business lunch.

The scheme was intended to prompt spending on renewable energy "to a level that equalled the expected growth in demand for electricity".

"As the growth in energy demand flattened, the scheme no longer provided the new energy investment we needed, rather it displaced existing generation – a risk that was understood because there was a loud call for the scheme to be reduced," he said.

The excess capacity resulted in baseload coal-fired power stations being closed earlier than many expected and the rise in intermittent energy such as wind and solar, which had reduced the reliability of the system and increased the cost of energy, he said.

The second choice was to start gas exports from Queensland, which was based on the expectation that there would be ongoing access to domestic gas reserves to be able to "develop it ... in an effective and timely basis", Mr King said.

"This did not occur, with access being frustrated or denied, particularly in Victoria and NSW," he said.

"The result was the delayed development of [gas] resources, the result of which is a market that is now short of gas, threatening the reliability of electricity supply (because gas is the balancing fuel for more intermittent renewable generation), and eroding Australia's competitive advantage in the cost of energy.

"These two choices more than any other explain why we are in the position in respect of energy that we are today."

But even though the reliability of supply in the national energy market remained high, the rising price of energy and the rising difficulty of accessing competitively priced gas meant "it should be no surprise we think the system has failed us", Mr King said.

"The key lesson must be: Why do we need a crisis before we listen to our experts?" he asked.

"When faced with important choices, we often take the easier path on the day (something we might call populism), yet find that in the fullness of time that path often comes at enormous disruption and cost to the community (something we might call a crisis)," he said.


Evidence needed before education changes

The working lives of people entering the Australian workforce in 2017 are different to those of the previous generation. Technology and automation, as well as the decline in industries where entry level positions have a low skill requirement, are reducing the employment options for people with low academic achievement and without post-school qualifications.

These developments have had several flow-on effects. Youth unemployment has been increasing, going up to 14% in February, putting pressure on job services and the welfare system. Rather than be unemployed, more young people are staying at school to Year 12 (84.3% of youth in 2016 compared to 75% in 2006), compelling schools to accommodate a cohort of senior secondary students who are not academically motivated. More young people are going to university, many of whom are not well-equipped for university level study, which perhaps helps explain the recent data showing around one-third of university students drop out of their degrees. In addition, they often choose degrees that have low prospects of employment.

The obvious reasons for these problems are structural change in the Australian economy, and a mismatch between the industries that have employment demand and the education choices being made by prospective employees. Indeed, the bright light in the current employment situation is apprenticeships — 92% of individuals graduating from apprenticeships and traineeships are employed full time post-completion. It is not difficult to understand why: there is a direct match between training and employment.

These are real problems and require a response from our education and training systems. A recent report from the Mitchell Institute sets out the problem well and acknowledges the reasons posited above, but devotes much of its space to arguing that the most ‘ready solution’ is for schools to prioritise the development of ‘competencies’ and ‘capabilities,’ like creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking.

It is hard to argue that these are not important capabilities but it is easier said than done. Schools are still struggling to teach the core curriculum, as shown by the decline in Australia’s results in international assessments. It is not at all clear that ‘capabilities’ can be taught in a general way, and whether they can be assessed. Further, no evidence is presented that employers see the lack of these capabilities as key impediments to youth employment.

A wholesale refocusing of the education system amidst the disruption of twenty-first century globalisation and automation without solid evidence is a big risk.


More "takers" must become earners

Our tax base is concentrated in an ever-diminishing group of lifters. Nearly 60 per cent of corporate tax is paid by just 0.1 per cent of companies whilst nearly half of all personal tax is paid by nine per cent of earners

Cory Bernardi

The "Statement of National Challenges" report was released this week by the Menzies Research Centre. It is very sober reading for anyone concerned about the future of our economy and our quality of life.

The subtitle of the report is ‘why Australians are struggling to get ahead’ and I think that is a sentiment shared by many of us.
The report’s author, former head of the National Commission of Audit, Tony Shepherd AO states:

"For generations the great promise celebrated in our national anthem - wealth in exchange for toil - has given us an enviable lifestyle. Yet Australians are beginning to doubt that promise…they have become distrustful of government and nervous about the future."

It’s a message that regular readers of this column have heard repeatedly over the years. The question remains, why aren’t the political class doing much to fix it?

At some levels, I don’t think many in politics are equipped to see the long term implications of their decisions. They justify our escalating national debt as less bad than others and therefore ok. They legitimise our high taxes by comparing them to socialist countries. They excuse the rorting of our generous welfare system as a human right rather than a hand-up.

It’s as if living beyond one’s means is a moral obligation for government.

The Shepherd report also contains some telling statistics under the heading ‘a strong economy is the basis of a just and fair society’; highlighting our borrowing for recurrent spending and our ageing population.

We currently spend in excess of $155 billion annually on welfare and $72 billion on health. That’s over half the budget on these two measures alone and both are growing well in excess of inflation.

Alarmingly, our tax base is concentrated in an ever-diminishing group of lifters. Nearly 60 per cent of corporate tax is paid by just 0.1 per cent of companies whilst nearly half of all personal tax is paid by nine per cent of earners.

Clearly this is not sustainable and makes a mockery of the cacophony of chanting ‘make the wealthy pay their fair share’ mantra. These lifters are doing that - and more.

I realise such statistics may not sit well with those who see others doing better but we have to confront the reality of the problem facing our nation.

Too many are expecting too much from government. Unfortunately too many in government seek to placate those demands for political expediency.

The real price of that opportunism will be borne by the next generation.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

3 April, 2017  

Greenie opposition to big new coal mine (of course)

All reasonable objections have been taken into account by years of investigation by State and Federal governments.  But Greenies are not into "reasonable".  Note that it is a LEFTIST State government which has just given approval

SOON Australians will be asked to take sides as the opposition to the Adani coal mine reaches a crucial crunch point.

The owners of the proposed Carmichael coal mine in Queensland are due to make a final decision on its future after six years of delay caused by legal challenges to the $21.7 billion project.

The State Government this week gave Adani the final approval it needs to go ahead with the mine, a water licence that will give it access to 9.5 billion litres of groundwater.

A Department of Natural Resources and Mines spokesman said modelling assessed by the department found up to 4.55 gigalitres of groundwater could be taken per year.

"In granting this licence, the Department of Natural Resources and Mines has carefully considered a broad range of information," he told in a statement.

He said Adani would have to fairly compensate landholders for impacts on water resources, and there were 100 conditions relating to groundwater.

On Friday, the head of Indian mining giant Adani said the company was ready to start construction this year.

Adani Mining chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj told a business lunch in Brisbane that the company expected to start engineering work on a rail line the mine needs to transport its coal to Abbott Point by June, and to start major construction by September.

While he was defending the mine against environmental concerns, about 200 protesters gathered outside the Hilton Hotel in Brisbane’s CBD to voice their opposition.

It’s just the first stage in what is expected to be a relentless battle.

While the "lawfare" may be wrapping up, environment groups say the matter is far from over, and will actually ramp up their efforts in coming months.

More than 4000 people attended #StopAdani roadshow events across Australia., with dozens of new groups forming to stop the mine from going ahead.

Former Greens leader Bob Brown is leading the next stage of the fight against the mine and has described the campaign as this generation’s Franklin River, referring to the decades-long protest movement that eventually stopped the Tasmanian river being dammed in 1983.

"This is the environmental issue of our times and, for one, the Great Barrier Reef is at stake," Mr Brown recently wrote in an opinion piece.

Alongside millionaire businessman Geoff Cousins, a former Howard government adviser, Mr Brown announced that 13 community groups would form the Stop Adani Alliance to oppose the mine.

If the previous track record of the two leaders is anything to go by, Adani should be very worried.

Mr Cousins was also involved in the successful campaign to stop the Gunns pulp mill in Tasmania and the proposed Woodside gas hub in the Kimberley.

Before he was the Greens leader, Mr Brown led the non-violent campaign against the Franklin Dam.

Now the duo have their sights set on Adani.
Dr Bob Brown speaks to Tasmanians at a protest rally in 1983 to stop the Franklin Dam being built. Picture: Andrew de la Rue.

Dr Bob Brown speaks to Tasmanians at a protest rally in 1983 to stop the Franklin Dam being built. Picture: Andrew de la Rue.Source:News Corp Australia

They are already being supported by prominent Australians including Australian Test cricket captains Ian and Greg Chappell, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks and rock group Midnight Oil, who signed a letter to Adani chairman Gautam Adani, urging him to abandon the project

Adani however rejected the demand as "a motivated attempt by a very small group of 76 misled people", the Press Trust of India reported.

While there are a couple of outstanding legal issues, including an appeal in the Federal Court and a bill that needs to be passed in Parliament, the mine looks to be on track.

The last major government approval needed is a water licence and the State Government is expected to announce its decision in the next few days.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland said the mine would be a big win for the state’s central and northern regions, particularly for Townsville where the project’s headquarters is expected to be located.

Charters Towers and Moranbah have also been earmarked as service centres for the mines, while Bowen is expected to be the base for rail construction.

"It’s about supporting our regions and not leaving them behind, creating new jobs and supporting our youth," CCIQ policy adviser Catherine Pham said.

"Projects such as Adani is definitely a win for our regions, but all Queenslanders should see the positive economic impacts of the project once it kicks off."

Not everyone agrees. GetUp environmental justice campaign director Miriam Lyons said Adani was a reckless company that threatened people’s lives and livelihoods across Australia.


What happens when you are kind to Sudanese

They came to Australia as refugees.  Below is the thanks Australia gets

Six [African] teenagers as young as 16-years-old are being held in custody after being charged over a string of Melbourne home invasions and carjackings that involved a gang of youths brandishing an array of weapons.

Four juveniles and two men were charged following the crime spree which occurred during the early hours of Friday morning around Melbourne's north and west.

The gang, who targeted homes in Caroline Springs and Greensborough, were reportedly armed with a range of weapons including a machete, poles and wooden stakes.

They managed to steal an unknown sum of money and four cars, with two of those being recovered.

Police failed to comment on whether the burglaries were related to notorious Melbourne gang, Apex.

A Greensborough resident, whose home was subject to one of the attacks, described the ordeal to 9 News after hearing 'intense smashing' shortly before the invasion on her home.

'They couldn't get in straight away and so I quickly grabbed my phone,' 28-year-old resident Jade said.

'I wasn't quick enough and then five Sudanese men stormed into my room – next to the front door – holding weapons and were threatening to kill me if I didn't give them money.'

Police say the gang also made failed attempts to break into homes in St Albans and Truganina.

 Following the burglaries, the youths allegedly sped off in the stolen vehicles - which included a black Volkswagon, discarding their weapons  by launching them out of the windows.

Two men are due to appear before the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Saturday, while four teens will face a children's court at a later date.

All six were held in custody on Friday night following the arrest of seven teens in Kings Park.

A 19-year-old Taylors Hill man and 18-year-old Kings Park man face charges of attempted aggravated burglary, attempted burglary, attempted theft and committing indictable offences while on bail.

Three 16-year-old boys and a 17-year-old boy face similar charges.


Leftist racism is now acceptable in Australia

IF you don’t think that multiculturalism and the politics of identity have become instruments of division in Australia, then you need to hear Tara Coverdale’s story.   

Like most mothers with young children, Coverdale enjoys opportunities to socialise with other mothers of children the same age while on maternity leave, especially in her neighbourhood in inner-city Sydney.

So when a Russian-born friend mentioned a playgroup on Thursdays, at the Alexandria Park Community Centre, she was enthusiastic.

Two weeks ago, on a humid Thursday morning, she bundled her eight-month-old baby in the pram and walked with her four-year-old son the short distance to the community centre.

When she arrived, her red-haired son raced off to play while she looked around for her friend.

That was when a staff member approached and asked if it was her first day. Coverdale thought how nice that she was so attentive.

"I’m sorry you can’t come here. It’s a multicultural playgroup."  But then the woman said: "Can I ask what your cultural background is?" Taken aback, Coverdale, who has blonde hair and freckles, said: "I’m Australian".

Immediately, the woman said: "I’m sorry, you can’t come here. It’s for multicultural families and people who speak languages other than English at home."

Coverdale stood her ground: "I said ‘I’m not leaving’. My kids were playing. My older son was having such a good time with his buddy, and I thought, ‘Why should I leave?’"

But then the centre "facilitator", aka manager, Jo Fletcher, confronted her: "Can I just ask what your cultural background is." When Coverdale said she was fourth-generation Australian, Fletcher said: "I’m sorry you can’t come here. It’s a multicultural playgroup."

This conversation is an account from Coverdale’s recollection. Fletcher did not respond to phone calls and a text message last week, but she confirmed to the NSW Department of Education, which funds the centre, that such a conversation had taken place.

Coverdale said she tried charm in a bid to be allowed to attend the playgroup, but Fletcher insisted it was exclusively for "multicultural" mothers who "might be lonely and might want to build a network of people who speak the same language".

Coverdale asked wouldn’t it be better for those mothers to meet someone like her, who knows a lot of people in the community.

"What if I was really lonely and I get sent away from a play group?"

Then she asked what playgroup would she be allowed to join.  "We don’t have one here for you," said Fletcher. "You’ll have to go up to Erskineville or Newtown."

Erskineville’s playgroup is for "Rainbow babies and kids", and Newtown is a 30-minute walk.

The only other playgroup offered at Alexandria Park is on Wednesdays but it is reserved for "Swedish-speaking families", according to a timetable Fletcher provided.

"We’re in a pretty progressive area," says Coverdale. "It’s very accepting of all people. But I feel like I’m excluded."

And she asks: "How does that help Australia help people to integrate speak English and build a life…

"I pay a lot of tax. I pay my rates. To think I’m actually not welcome is unfair."

The other mums thought her treatment was "terrible… They think it’s a great facility and appreciate it but they don’t want to exclude people".

While she was at the centre she saw other mothers walk in and, "they were made to feel very welcome. Because they didn’t look ‘Australian’ they didn’t even get asked about their background."

So Coverdale and her red-haired sons were ejected from the playgroup.

Ironically enough, it was just a few days before Harmony Day, a big event at Alexandria Park, "to celebrate our country’s cultural diversity", with a free halal beef and chicken sausage sizzle. To twist the knife a little deeper, this year’s theme was "We all belong".

Just not if you are of "Anglo-Celtic" heritage.

Anti-Discrimination Board Acting President Elizabeth Wing confirmed on Friday that "on the face of it", exclusion from a playgroup "on the basis of race or ethnic background... would appear to be a breach of the [anti-discrimination] act".

After being alerted to the problem on Friday, Education Minister Rob Stokes and his department, to their credit, instructed Fletcher to allow all families to attend the playgroup.

"I was disappointed to hear that a mum and her young child felt they were not welcome... This is not acceptable. Everyone, regardless of their background, should feel included in these wonderful community activities."

The Education Department also has "counselled the program facilitator [Fletcher] regarding the requirement of the program to be inclusive", said a spokesman late Friday.

A good result, but Fletcher is a creature of her milieu. It is politically incorrect to say so, but anti-white racism is now acceptable in Australia, in the name of diversity and "celebrating difference".

In the ADF, for instance, there are attempts to erase the "Anglo-Saxon" warrior culture, and a recent lamb advertisement stated there are "too many white people" on TV, and lined up caucasians sneeringly labelled "white-whites, translucent whites, beige whites, red whites, and dark whites".

Bigotry is condoned as a corrective to so-called "white privilege".

But reinforcing separate cultural identities inevitably leads to the balkanization of Australia and the disowning of our national identity.

Thankfully, Zed Seselja, Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, last month reset national policy, with an approach which emphasises unity and shared values. It’s about time.


Babies are dying because of narcissistic activists. It must stop

SITTING by the bedside of your baby in intensive care knowing that nothing more can be done and your precious child is going to die is the most hideous experience a parent can ever face. I know, I have been there.

The devastating helplessness and abject failure you feel as a parent, whose most basic task is to keep your child alive, is excruciating, like a living death, and so my heart breaks for a family I know that has been living that very hell this past week.

Just over a week ago, their tiny month-old baby suffered a massive and irreversible brain haemorrhage due to what is known as vitamin K deficiency bleeding or newborn haemorr­hagic disease.

Newborn haemorrhagic disease is caused by a deficiency in vitamin K and it used to kill about 15 newborn babies a year in NSW in the late 1960s and early 1970s ­before routine vitamin K injections given at birth reduced the incidence to near zero.

Breastmilk is low in vitamin K and babies take some months to produce enough to ensure the blood clots. This simple injection has saved thousands of lives.

Just two weeks ago we wrote about the anti-vaccine movement driving a rise in ­vitamin K deficiency bleeding in babies because, even though it is only a vitamin supplement, the anti-vaccine and wellness industry has lumped it in with lifesaving vaccines as somehow not natural, and therefore dangerous, scaring vulnerable new parents away from a harmless but possibly lifesaving treatment.

This baby and the parents, who reside in the anti-vaccine heartland of northern NSW, are victims of the anti-vaccine movement’s stupid, deadly and irresponsible misinformation.

The child is not expected to survive. No doubt they thought they were doing the right thing by their child but whoever gave them misinformation on vitamin K should be culpable. It is another example of a devastating disease making a re-emergence because of narcissistic activists who ­imagine their twisted agenda is superior to hundreds of years of scientific research.

They use the internet to spread their mischief, fake news and junk science — dressed up with scary anecdotes — and unchecked by the rigour that binds both the scientific and legitimate media professions.

Some are even midwives and doulas working in homebirth circles.

There have been six deaths from the disease in babies whose parents refused consent in the past two decades, including one in 2013 and another in 2012. A NSW Health study also showed thousands of ­babies were being denied the shot because their parents ­refused consent.

The Sunday Telegraph revealed six babies were admitted to hospital for the condition in 2013. The parents refused consent in five of them.

Meryl Dorey, founder of the anti-vaccine movement in northern NSW, has sold "information packs" on the harms of vitamin K for $10. "Breastmilk is low in vitamin K, but this is not a deficiency, nor is it a hazard for newborn," she writes, before dredging up outdated, superseded and withdrawn studies.

This woman has no qualifications, medical or otherwise, although I am not suggesting Dorey had any involvement in the cases outlined above.

This has got to stop. What are our health authorities doing to counter this endemic rubbish proliferating online, in mothers’ groups and homebirth circles?  Why isn’t the information given to mothers at the 19-week scan or even earlier?

Every week Lismore paediatrician Dr Chris Ingall is faced with parents refusing the vitamin K shot. They are also refusing the hepatitis B shot.

He has previously cared for babies who have faced an ­unnecessary and cruel death from this.

We are calling on both federal and state politicians to step up and save lives by ­investing in a targeted information campaign to where it is needed.

They need to listen to the pleas of the doctors and vaccine campaigners, who are begging for more help in areas such as northern NSW.

They must think of the plight of the tiny bub who never had a chance because a noisy minority has been hard at work spreading lies in an ­information vacuum.



NSW: Higher School Certificate students to study classic literature including Shakespeare and Austen - alongside Australian cinematic gem The Castle

Students studying for their Higher School Certificate (HSC) will now explore some of history's greatest works of literature - including the Australian classic The Castle.

High school students' minds will be broadened by literary gems from classic authors Shakespeare, Dickens and Austen as the Year 12 curriculum is given a new lick of paint.

A new list of prescribed texts for students was revealed by Education Minister Rob Stokes as a response to critics who claimed school kids could complete the HSC without reading a single novel.

The texts that will be devoured by teenagers includes work from literary talents Dylan Thomas, T.S. Eliot and George Orwell to modern writers and filmmakers including George Clooney, Al Pacino, Che Guevara and Australia's very own Rob Sitch.

Lovers of classic Australian film will be thrilled to learn the iconic movie The Castle is also on the list of prescribed texts.

The Castle had previously been studied in lower level English subjects during the HSC for the unit 'experience through language' - but it will now be a major component of the English course.

Australian novelists Henry Lawson, Tim Winton and David Malouf also made the list of texts HSC students will study from October next year.

'I am very pleased important works of literature by writers such as George Orwell, Virginia Woolf and Albert Camus ­remain part of the HSC English syllabuses,' Mr Stokes said.

'Quality literature has ­always been a key component in every student's study of English and this will not change.

This decision makes clear that under the new syllabus students of year 12 English will have to study at least one novel.'


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

2 April, 2017  

African Melbourne again

There's nothing like a bit of multicultural vibrancy

A Melbourne woman woke up to find five men armed with wooden stakes and machetes surrounding her bed – who threatened to kill her if she didn't give them money.

The woman's terrifying ordeal was revealed by her father Tony who spoke to 3AW's Neil Mitchell about the 'brazen attack.'

He said the men, who looked African, stormed into his daughter's shared house in Greensborough by kicking in the door.

Tony said the men 'kicked their door in, entered her bedroom towering over the top of her with wooden stakes demanding money.'

He added: 'They kept saying, 'if you don't give us your money, we're going to kill you.'

When his daughter handed over her money, Tony said they ransacked the property with machetes.

They also stole car keys and made their getaway in 'two or three' cars – including his daughter's.



How governments have destroyed the world’s most efficient energy market

The nation’s energy policy is in the hands of ideological tyros.

At the federal level Malcolm Turnbull is running the show with the equally green evangelist, his Departmental Secretary Martin Parkinson.

At the state level, we have a Victorian Government desperately promoting wind, to match Greens policies in the hope of retaining threatened inner city seats, while also killing coal, conspiring with the Liberals to close down gas supplies and otherwise using the electricity supply system to provide favours to key support groups.  And in South Australia we have a Premier who has drunk deeply from the well of Commonwealth subsidies, declared his jurisdiction at the cutting edge of the global renewable movement and, in denial of the evidence, is desperately trying to demonstrate the wisdom of this.

Electricity supply.

In a statement plumbing the depths of credibility, the electricity market manager, AEMO, maintains that  the closure of Hazelwood will not compromise the security of the Victoria electricity system nor the broader National Electricity Market (NEM) next summer.  Looking around it says that there are adequate supply sources available to cover the loss of Hazelwood’s 1600 MW of reliable baseload power.

Hazelwood’s closure takes out 11 per cent of the Victorian-South Australian capacity of fossil and hydro availability, 19 per cent of the total if the now short supplies of gas are excluded.  Hazelwood’s closure, having already triggered a doubling of the average wholesale price, places supply on a knife edge, especially when the 2900 MW of wind is not available.

In its final analysis of the events leading to the September 2016 South Australian black-out, AEMO re-affirms that the failure of the wind generators was the cause.  It argues that there are measures that can be taken to mitigate this.  Among these are payments to consumers to lower demand at crucial times and re-engineering the grid to accommodate the policy-induced reduction in fossil fuel energy.

One such proposed grid re-engineering is the South Australian plan to spend $150 million on short term battery storage.  But this would provide a buffer of just 4 seconds; fully supplying itself with wind energy buttressed by battery storage would according to Miskelly and Quirk cost $180 billion – about twice South Australia’s Gross State Product!

South Australia deliberately chose to close off its options of retaining a back-up supply of coal when it prevented the Northern power station from remaining open.  It now says it will build a new gas plant at a cost of $350 million to be used as a reserve unit only.  Good luck with getting the gas for this and in getting a return for the state citizen owners!

South Australia also intends to over-ride the AEMO allocation of electricity between different jurisdictions to ensure that power is delivered from Victoria in time of need.  Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosia may be clueless in the economics of electricity supply but she understands the political penalty of Victoria facing black-outs due to electricity being exported to another jurisdiction.  And so the national market would quickly unravel into state autarkies, at least until the Commonwealth invokes Freedom of Trade provisions of the Constitution (s 92) and takes over the market management.

Malcolm Turnbull’s "nation-building" proposals to create a pump storage scheme for the Snowy is an alternative to batteries smoothing the supply but, by losing 20 per cent of available energy in the pumping process, actually reduces the available resource.  Snowy Hydro already has pumped storage and has the option of increasing this but has never done so simply because it makes no commercial sense.  Turnbull’s costing of his proposal at $2 billion is ridiculous and the five year time frame would outlive his tenure of office.

Energy retailing: a smoke screen for policy incompetence

Perhaps under orders, Energy Minister Frydenberg has given the ACCC, under Rod Sims an institution marked by hostility to normal market operations, a task of finding out if the retailers are price gouging.  Frydenberg has cited an analysis from the government’s political adversaries at the Grattan Institute in support of this, saying there could be savings of $250 million a year for Victoria alone if the market was working properly.

With more retailers than in any other electricity market in the world, and with easy entry and smaller retailers going out of business, monopolistic price gouging possibilities defy rational analysis.

The cause of retail margin increase are solidly down to government regulations which involve costs that must be passed on.  Among these for Victoria are:

"Customer protection" requirements and hardship provisions
Disallowance of exit fees

Requirement to pay above market rates for solar buy-back

Support for the compulsory roll-out of "smart" metering

Various regulatory requirements to offer long life lighting and other virtue-signalling favours to customers

The fact is that government policy forcing the replacement of reliable coal plant by unreliable wind at three times the cost is at the heart of the energy crisis we face and Commonwealth measures along these lines are exacerbated by those of the states.

The Trump administration is pushing ahead with policies that will reduce energy costs.  Australia by contrast remains on the path of further penalizing coal and incurring additional costs to facilitate the growth of wind which already requires a subsidy that provides it a price three times that of coal power.  These policies are already exacting huge costs on consumers and industry.


Student racism ousts news editor at Australian National University paper

The unending Leftist obsession with race again

When Alex Joske was elected late last year to the board of ANU student newspaper Woroni, he was proud and excited about how as news editor he would transform its coverage to make it more professional and relevant to the students who ultimately paid for it.

Joske, a hard-news aficionado who had been a reporter on the paper covering stories such as Chinese government influence on campus, felt he could steer Woroni towards solid news-breaking and beyond what he saw as the editorial board’s preoccupation with gender politics, ethnicity, the nuances of being gay, and tips from its sex correspondent.

It all ended in tears last month when Joske decided he had no ­allies on the paper and was beating his head against a brick wall in trying to promote professional journalism. The last straw for Joske, who is half-­Chinese, was when the editorial board commissioned a special issue to be written and edited only by ­"ethnocultural self-­identifying students", excluding any involvement of students who were white Anglo-Celts.

The plans for a non-white ­ethnocultural issue, to be published on May 1, has ignited fierce debate on campus about ­ethnicity, freedom of speech and alleged reverse discrimination, with some parallels with the storm raging in federal politics about the ­Coalition’s attempt to change section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Joske remonstrated with one of the Woroni editors. "I said, ‘most of my reporters are white’," he said. "She said, ‘well, I’m so sorry, I guess you’ll have to get some ethnocultural reporters for that edition’."

Joske quit; he was not going to start selecting reporters on the basis of race designated by the editorial board as acceptable.

In his letter of resignation to fellow editors, Joske, who spent part of his childhood in China, wrote of how he knew about being a bullied racial minority, having been called a "mixed-blood dumb" something-or-other. "I lived an outsider in Beijing for almost seven years and know more than a little about discrimination," Joske wrote in his resignation letter. "It disturbs me to see Woroni leap to discriminate under the banner of a corrupted and misguided conception of ­tolerance and diversity."

Student Nick Blood said he was an earlier victim of Woroni’s "institutionalised discrimination" when the editorial board called for opinion pieces to "break the echo chamber" following the election of US President Donald Trump. Five students sent in contributions for what was called the "Echo 360" project, which were in turn sent to each other for comments. But then the process stopped, Blood said, when "something strange happened". The sub-editor in charge of the section said there was a concern about "a lack of diversity with the authors we had so far".

Blood questioned the sub-­editor and established the perceived problem was "not about diversity of opinion" of the contributions, but the fact that they all came from white male students.

That was bad enough, Blood said, but it became worse, when "the discrimination I experienced individually, was extended institutionally, to a full paper".

Woroni last month announced plans for "our very first ethnocultural edition". It posted on its Facebook page: "For our 5th edition, we will be taking on a team of guest sub-editors who identify as Ethnocultural and we will be sourcing contributions solely from students on campus who identify as Ethnocultural."

The issue was to be organised with ANU’s Ethnocultural ­Department. One of its members, Aditi Razdan, expanded on the call for four temporary sub-­editors in a Facebook post: "Only students of the ANU who identify as ‘ethnocultural’ (self identifies as a person of colour/minority ethnocultural background/Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander, and may have been marked by white supremacy) can apply."

The call drew a flurry of posts, mostly negative. Ollie Webeck posted: "What kind of mental gymnastics is required to think that excluding 85 per cent of the population is conducive to constructive dialogue." This attracted 32 "likes".

Shamim Mazari wrote: "So basically, an issue of Woroni which excludes white contributors as a matter of principle? I don’t see how that’s a good idea."

Jacob Li posted: "Because being marginalised just isn’t quite enough, minorities must now also be patronised … this kind of ­tokenism and gross generalisation of people is actually worse than having nothing at all."

Many students were outraged that the Woroni editors, whom they had elected and whose salary they paid, had taken upon themselves the right to disenfranchise a major ethnic group on campus. Joske said Woroni’s $200,000 ­annual budget, which enabled the editorial board to produce a 64-page paper each fortnight and pay each editor $1500 a quarter as a stipend, was paid through the compulsory services and amenities fee levied on students.

"I did not feel it used this money in a fashion that was worthwhile," Joske said.  "It seemed to me it was a bit of a clique of the people who ran it."

In his early, energetic days as news editor, Joske, a 20-year-old third-year arts and economics student who wants to get into professional journalism, nurtured a team of student reporters and tried to run more online, fast-moving breaking stories about what was happening on campus.

But the rules of Woroni, in which every story had to be ­approved by six of the eight members of the editorial board, gave him little autonomy and kept power concentrated with what he regarded as the clique.

Woroni editor-in-chief Bronte McHenry said the editorial board had decided not to publish the "echo chamber" series when it found the contributors were all white males because "the purpose of the Echo 360 was to reflect different identities and different lived experiences".

Other non-white contributions were later sought and obtained, she said, and some of the original white male contributors had their articles published.

McHenry said the ethnocultural issue would go ahead but the ban on contributions by white students would apply only to the comment section, not news, and both white and non-white sub-editors will work on it. She insisted this had always been the intention, despite the clear ­"ethnocultural-only" wording of Woroni’s original Facebook post, how it was taken by those who read and commented on it, and the experience of those directly involved including Joske and Blood. "There was a lot of miscommunication," McHenry said.

In her fourth year at ANU studying politics and indigenous affairs, McHenry, 21, defended the motivation for the ethnocultural issue, and rejected suggestions it was discriminatory or racist. "In recent times Woroni has been a bit one-sided in its political views," she said. "We want Woroni to be a snapshot of ANU. My definition of racism is excluding a group of people because you think another group is superior; we are reaching out to people who often do not have their voices heard."

The May 1 issue would follow previous special issues such as one with a comment section exclusively written by gay and transvestite student contributors called the "queer pull-out", and a further special issue would be about "unpacking masculinity", McHenry said.


Bonsai business

Michael Potter

Do we want a bonsai economy for Australia? Everything in miniature, with growth actively discouraged. This is what many Australian politicians apparently want, through explicit government policy that supresses business growth. Payroll tax and land tax rates are higher for big business, and there are moves to restrict corporate tax cuts to small business.

This adds to the 1,001 existing small business exemptions and concessions. Big business can pay lower penalty rates, a flexibility that should be available to small business, but in almost all other areas regulations are a larger hit on big business.

But this comes at significant cost, as big business often performs better. Larger businesses pay more, provide better work conditions, collaborate more and export more. Innovation is stereotyped as coming from small start-ups, but 73% of the largest businesses actively innovate while 37% of the smallest businesses innovate.

This is not to denigrate small business, as larger businesses started out small at some stage. But discouraging business growth is the wrong approach, sending the wrong signal that the best outcomes should be penalised.

A failure to cut big business tax also ignores the fact that big business tends to be financed from global capital markets , which are more sensitive to tax rates, while smaller firms tend to be locally owned and therefore less affected by company tax because of imputation. Big business tends to use more capital, which suggests they will respond more to a tax cut.

The failure of big business to invest argues strongly for the tax cut, as investment is likely flatlining right now because of Australia's high tax on investment. And supposed excessive market power of big business enhances the case for the tax cut: higher company taxes exacerbate the distortions from market power, with the tax having a more harmful effect on wages in concentrated industries.

If the tax debate doesn't recognise the benefits of growth, Australia will need to get accustomed to our economy becoming more miniaturised, at great cost to us all.


Sir Lunchalot found guilty

Corrupt Labor party politician

AT the height of Ian Macdonald’s ministerial career, the man dubbed "Sir Lunchalot" for his love of fine dining enjoyed a salary of $250,000 and pedalled influence through a network of powerful mates.

Macdonald tucked into feasts of suckling pig and champagne in Sydney’s best restaurants, and in possibly his most colourful moment was sprung having a dalliance with a call girl named Tiffanie at a five-star hotel.

As a Labor "fixer", the former minerals and primary industries minister carried political nicknames such as "Eddie’s (Obeid’s) left testicle" and "Della’s (John Della Bosca’s) pet crocodile".

Now a jury’s guilty verdict on two counts of wilful misconduct in public office means Macdonald, 68, faces the prospect of joining his political bedfellow Obeid in jail.

It is a long fall from Macquarie St’s halls of power, swanky dinners at Catalina in Rose Bay and the orchard where he tended apple, pear and cherry trees in an idyllic valley outside Orange.

As a raft of allegations were levelled at him, Macdonald was forced to sell the orchard and farm and move to a cottage in the Blue Mountains.

"My income dried up as I lost potential jobs, not related to the inquiries, and I worked cleaning (accommodation) units in Orange," he said.

"All of these attacks on me of having wealth, living overseas are absolute nonsense.

"I do not believe that I have done anything wrong or engaged in criminal activity."

ICAC blew the lid on the seamy side of Macdonald’s life six years ago when it emerged he had accepted a night with Tiffanie as a gift from a wealthy property developer. But the beginning of the end came in 2010 when he was forced to resign from government for rorting travel expenses.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Most academics are lockstep Leftists so readers do sometimes doubt that I have the qualifications mentioned above. Photocopies of my academic and military certificates are however all viewable here

For overseas readers: The "ALP" is the Australian Labor Party -- Australia's major Leftist party. The "Liberal" party is Australia's major conservative political party.

In most Australian States there are two conservative political parties, the city-based Liberal party and the rural-based National party. But in Queensland those two parties are amalgamated as the LNP.

Again for overseas readers: Like the USA, Germany and India, Australia has State governments as well as the Federal government. So it may be useful to know the usual abbreviations for the Australian States: QLD (Queensland), NSW (New South Wales), WA (Western Australia), VIC (Victoria), TAS (Tasmania), SA (South Australia).

For American readers: A "pensioner" is a retired person living on Social Security

"Digger" is an honorific term for an Australian soldier

Another lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Another bit of Australian: Any bad writing or messy anything was once often described as being "like a pakapoo ticket". In origin this phrase refers to a ticket written with Chinese characters - and thus inscrutably confusing to Western eyes. These tickets were part of a Chinese gambling game called "pakapoo".

Two of my ancestors were convicts so my family has been in Australia for a long time. As well as that, all four of my grandparents were born in the State where I was born and still live: Queensland. And I am even a member of the world's second-most condemned minority: WASPs (the most condemned is of course the Jews -- which may be why I tend to like Jews). So I think I am as Australian as you can get. I certainly feel that way. I like all things that are iconically Australian: meat pies, Vegemite, Henry Lawson etc. I particularly pride myself on my familiarity with the great Australian slanguage. I draw the line at Iced Vo-Vos and betting on the neddies, however. So if I cannot comment insightfully on Australian affairs, who could?

My son Joe

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

I am an army man. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies or mining companies

Although I have been an atheist for all my adult life, I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak.

The Rt. Rev. Phil Case (Moderator of the Presbyterian church in Queensland) is a Pharisee, a hypocrite, an abomination and a "whited sepulchre".

English-born Australian novellist, Patrick White was a great favourite in literary circles. He even won a Nobel prize. But I and many others I have spoken to find his novels very turgid and boring. Despite my interest in history, I could only get through about a third of his historical novel Voss before I gave up. So why has he been so popular in literary circles? Easy. He was a miserable old Leftist coot, and, incidentally, a homosexual. And literary people are mostly Leftists with similar levels of anger and alienation from mainstream society. They enjoy his jaundiced outlook, his dissatisfaction, rage and anger.

A delightful story about a great Australian conservative

Would you believe that there once was a politician whose nickname was "Honest"?

"Honest" Frank Nicklin M.M. was a war hero, a banana farmer and later the conservative Premier of my home State of Queensland in the '60s. He was even popular with the bureaucracy and gave the State a remarkably tranquil 10 years during his time in office. Sad that there are so few like him.

A great Australian wit exemplified

An Australian Mona Lisa (Nikki Gogan)

Bureaucracy: "One of the constant laments of doctors and nurses working with NSW Health is the incredible and increasing bureaucracy," she said. "It is completely obstructive to providing a service."

Revered Labour Party leader Gough Whitlam was a very erudite man so he cannot have been unaware of the similarities of his famous phrase “the Party, the platform, the people” with an earlier slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer". It's basically the same slogan in reverse order.

Australia's original inhabitants were a race of pygmies, some of whom survived into modern times in the mountainous regions of the Atherton tableland in far North Queensland. See also here. Below is a picture of one of them taken in 2007, when she was 105 years old and 3'7" tall

Julia Gillard, a failed feminist flop. She was given the job of Prime Minister of Australia but her feminist preaching was so unpopular that she was booted out of the job by her own Leftist party. Her signature "achievements" were the carbon tax and the mining tax, both of which were repealed by the next government.

The "White Australia Policy: "The Immigration Restriction Act was not about white supremacy, racism, or the belief that whites were higher up the evolutionary tree than the coloured races. Rather, it was designed to STOP the racist exploitation of non-whites (all of whom would have been illiterate peasants practicing religions and cultures anathema to progressive democracy) being conscripted into a life of semi-slavery in a coolie-worked plantation economy for the benefit of the absolute monarchs, hereditary aristocracy and the super-wealthy companies and share-holders of the northern hemisphere.

A great little kid

In November 2007, a four-year-old boy was found playing in a croc-infested Territory creek after sneaking off pig hunting alone with four dogs and a puppy. The toddler was found five-and-a-half hours after he set off from his parents' house playing in a creek with the puppy. Amazingly, Daniel Woditj also swam two creeks known to be inhabited by crocs during his adventurous romp. Mr Knight said that after walking for several kilometres, Daniel came to a creek and swam across it. Four of his dogs "bailed up" at the creek but the youngster continued on undaunted with his puppy to a second creek. Mr Knight said Daniel swam the second croc-infested creek and walked on for several more kilometres. "Captain is a hard bushman and Daniel is following in his footsteps. They breed them tough out bush."

A great Australian: His eminence George Pell. Pictured in devout company before his elevation to Rome


Alternative (Monthly) archives for this blog


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"Education Watch International"
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"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
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To be continued ....
Coral Reef Compendium
IQ Compendium
Queensland Police
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Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Bank of Queensland blues

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