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

The original version of this blog is HERE. Dissecting Leftism is HERE (and mirrored here). The Blogroll. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here. Other mirror sites: Greenie Watch, Political Correctness Watch, Education Watch, Recipes and Tongue Tied. For a list of backups viewable in China, see here. (Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing) See here or here for the archives of this site

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?


31 August, 2016

Australian Report Predicts Global Coffee Shortage Will Get Worse

It's hard to know where to start in dismissing this nonsense.  All that global warming would do for ANY crop is to shift polewards the areas where it was grown.  There is no conceivable reason for an OVERALL shortage.  There are always new areas opening up for coffee growing anyway. 

Secondly, the current problem is described as drought.  Yet a warming world would mean a wetter world so warming could in fact SOLVE problems of coffee growing!

Thirdly, if they understood any economics they would know that any lasting reduction in supply would cause price increases and sustained price increases would then draw out more supply.  Australia's empty North, for instance, could undoubtedly be opened up to coffee growing in some parts.  There is already a small operation on the Atherton Tableland.  They even grow Arabica there

A new report from Australia's Climate Institute predicts that by 2050, global warming will make at least half of the land currently used for coffee production unable to produce quality beans.

By 2080, it cautions, hot temperatures could make wild coffee plants completely extinct. Although this report is projecting what will happen to supplies in decades to come, the coffee shortage isn't really off in the distant future.

It's already started to fall.  Brazil -- the source for over a third of the world's coffee -- has seen its coffee stores dip dramatically in the last two years as the result of a long drought.  So far, unusually large harvests in other world coffee markets helped to make up most of the difference.

But we can hardly expect these big harvests to continue. In fact, their trend may actually reverse.

Much of Brazil's latest shortfall was made up for by a record-breaking coffee harvest in Honduras -- which is a coffee-growing area that this new report says will probably be hit particularly hard in the coming decades.

Even the relatively smaller shift from Brazil's shortage in the last couple years resulted in a price surge and a jump in counterfeit coffee beans (which pretend to be fancier coffee varieties than they are).

With the spread of the shortage, we can only expect to see rising coffee prices and counterfeiting show up as even more of a problem in our daily cups.


African crime out of control in Melbourne

This is the thanks Australia gets for taking them in as refugees

Terrified Melbourne residents are fortifying their homes amid a spree of African Apex gang home invasions

Terrified Melbourne residents are fitting their homes with secure metal doors and sophisticated alarm systems in a desperate bid to remain safe from the Apex gang.

A spree of gang-related break ins and violent carjackings in the city's south-east has seen a huge surge in business for security companies cashing in on the state of fear.

Multifit Security Doors managing director Rick Hyland told the Herald Sun that his company had seen a 30 per cent increase in demand this year alone.

He said most of his clients were from Dandenong and Cranbourne, suburbs where the predominantly Sudanese street gang has run riot the past 12 months.

'The Apex gang has created a lot of issues,' Mr Hyland said.  'Ten years ago home invasions were unheard of but now it's a weekly thing.'  'One of the jobs we have just done was for a pet food supplies store and we had to urgently do a door for them; we have had three cars stolen from our street as well.'

A Melbourne security alarm system business told the Herald Sun that they too had experienced a huge surge in business across the past six months.

The company said that families were requesting to have sophisticated camera and alarm systems installed to keep them safe while they were sleeping.

Earlier this month it was revealed that Melbourne families were resorting to fortifying their homes with barbed wires to protect themselves from the Apex gang.  ‘I will be doing this soon. It's either barbed wire or broken glass siliconed around the top of the fence,’ one resident said in a thread about barbed wire being used on properties in the area.

‘Go the glass. They might see barbed wire and look for another way in but the glass would be easier to keep hidden until it's too late,’ replied one.

Residents in the street where a 12-year-old girl was threatened with death during a violent carjacking linked to the Apex gang last month told Daily Mail Australia they are terrified to leave their homes.

The shocking incident has left neighbours so frightened that one couple, who have lived in the street for 40 years, will not leave the house at night. 'I am a man and I am too scared to go for walks in my own street,' the man said. 'It is scary to even sleep - I am keeping a metal bar beside my bed in case they come inside.'


Leftist hate speech reprimanded

Labor leader Bill Shorten has been confronted by a preacher imploring him not to describe opponents of same-sex marriages as homophobic.

Mr Shorten was addressing reporters after leaving a parliamentary church service in Canberra on Tuesday when the man asked for a word.

He picked up on a comment the opposition leader made after the Orlando nightclub shooting that the plebiscite campaign would "give haters the chance to come out from under the rock".

"Please don't speak like that about other Australians so we can have a civil and tolerant discussion rather than the hate that's been coming," the man said. "That was disappointing, and I like you and I like the Labor party."

Mr Shorten replied he understood people of faith could be opposed to same-sex marriage. "But some people who object to marriage equality do have homophobic attitudes," he said.


Pauline mentions the unmentionable

Note that nobody could refute her.  All they could do was splutter.  What she described is common in Britain and Germany but I don't know how common it is here

Pauline Hanson left her Senate colleagues dumbfounded when she accused polygamist Muslims of rorting the taxpayer during a Sky News debate last night.

While the One Nation senator's assertion that was she was "going to be controversial" initially seemed redundant, her fellow crossbenchers almost fell off their chairs listening to Ms Hanson's remarks.

"You’ve got people out there, of Muslim background, they’re actually having four wives, numerous children, they’re getting into housing commission houses, we’re actually paying for that, and that is not right," Ms Hanson said.

Derryn Hinch, who had jokingly asked earlier if the debate would be protected by parliamentary privilege, could only stare at Ms Hanson with the kind of inscrutable expression usually associated with the onset of an aneurysm.

Nick Xenophon, meanwhile, was quick to remonstrate with Ms Hanson, pointing out that polygamy is illegal in Australia.

"But it's happening!" Ms Hanson retorted.

"You can't single out one religion and pick on them," Mr Xenophon argued.

"I'm sorry, it's happening, that is the religion, so don't bury your head in the sand," Ms Hanson said.


South Australian cop loses it

A SENIOR police officer has been charged with a range of serious offences over a domestic dispute and siege at Blackwood earlier this month that locked down part of the suburb.

Chief Inspector Ashley Francis Gordon, 54, was charged on Tuesday with aggravated stalking, aggravated serious criminal trespass, making unlawful threats, threatening to cause harm, disturbing the public peace and possessing unsecured ammunition in relation to the incident.

Gordon appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Tuesday afternoon where he was refused bail.

The court heard the incident occurred after the breakdown of Gordon’s long-term marriage.

Chief Magistrate Mary-Louise Hribal remanded Gordon in custody, citing the seriousness of the charges.

Police allege Gordon sparked the siege at a unit on Main Rd at Blackwood just after 9pm on Sunday, August 14.

Dozens of STAR Group officers surrounded the home at the height of the siege and paramedics and firefighters were called to the scene on standby.

Main Rd between East Terrace and the Blackwood roundabout was blocked off to all traffic and the public was kept well away from the area until the siege ended about 12.15am.

Gordon was detained and taken to the Flinders Medical Centre for a mental health assessment.

Police also issued Gordon with a Police Interim Intervention Order.

“Police warn that they will not tolerate domestic violence and will take every action available to protect victims,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

Gordon has served in several high-ranking positions over a lengthy career spanning almost 30 years in the force, including as officer-in-charge of the Transit Services Branch and in senior roles with South Coast and Sturt police.


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

30 August, 2016

If they take our concert, what's the point of Australia Day?

I am not sure why the article below is appearing in August when the holiday is in January but maybe it is entirely ironic.  At any event, Australia day was always low-key.  Our real national day is Anzac day.  As I see it, Australia day is becoming more popular.  People fly flags on their cars these days, which they never used to do. It has become a day for reunions over a BBQ and that seems just fine to me

It's bad enough that they've canned Canberra's annual Australia Day Eve Concert on the lawns of Parliament House .

It's worse that they're turning the Australian of the Year Ceremony into a invite-only affair inside the ultra-exclusive, high-security, hermetically sealed Parliament House.

A more un-Australian effort is hard to imagine, but it gets worse. Have the people behind this so-called decision considered the ugly gaping hole they've gouged into the heart of our national holiday?

We go on a lot about the laid-back, low-key nature of the January day-off, how all those scorched sausages, backyard cricket games and beers reflect our easy-going way of life and how we're glad we're not like those chest-thumping Americans.

All true, but isn't that a bit of a cover story for the vacuum at the heart of our big national holiday?

Where, after this appalling decision, are we supposed to gather in our thousands, waving silly little plastic flags and get all enthusiastic about, well, just about being Australian?

Rocking up to the Sydney Big Day Out – before they canned that – in a pair of Aussie-flag boardies doesn't count. Never did.

I'm not saying  Australia Day Live was clever, I'm definitely not saying it's cool, but most other nations around the world get to have a thing, a central thing for their national day.

The French mark their Bastille Day with military parades, fireworks and concerts in major towns and cities, in Ireland St Patrick's Day sees the massive parade through the streets of the capital and have you seen Red Square on May Day?

The Australia Day Concert is daggy, no denying that, but we always accept, even expect a little naffness with our official celebrations. Attempts to be cool at these affairs are best avoided, for all sorts of good reasons.

The kids love the concert, that's important, and while it can't claim the be the only multi-generational event going around, it is nice to see family groups of 8 to 80-years having a nice time on the lawns every January.

If you can't or won't go to Canberra, it's on the telly. Even locals in the capital who wouldn't be seen dead at the thing are still kinda glad that its around.

Compared with the bombast on show at other national days around the world, the concert and its prize-giving is low-key, non-militaristic, has a festival feel and has never lost sight of its central purpose: it celebrates the best thing about Australia, its people.

Now, the bureaucrats of the Australia Day Council  - and I'm suspicious about whether these people are really fair dinkum Aussie public servants – have denied us even that.

To say nothing of what Jimmy Barnes is supposed to do for a gig during that quiet January period.  Who's thinking of Barnsey in all of this?

And as for the excuse trotted out by Australia Day Council chief executive officer Chris Kirby for canning the concert: that this year's storm "brought the event to a standstill and potentially put the public at risk".

Lame Lame Lame. If the Prime Minister can get one of his magnificent suits wet and not mind (that much) then Mr Kirby should bloody well harden up.

Fire and flood and famine, Chris, remember that bit?

No, my friends, this is unacceptable. A nation cannot sustain itself on beer, backyard no-balls and burnt snags alone.

The concert must be restored, immediately, before our already low-profile national day dwindles to nothing.


Turnbull's betrayal on 18c

James Allan

Okay, let’s stop pretending that the Liberal Party has a deep commitment to free speech. We’re now at the stage where ‘Liberal Party’ and ‘commitment to free speech’ go together about as well as ‘European Union’ and ‘democratic decision-making’ or ‘Mike Baird’ and ‘greyhound racing’. It’s plain that a lot of Liberal MPs simply don’t give a rat’s you-know-what about one of the core Enlightenment values that powered the West’s success and prosperity these past couple of centuries. Beyond the occasional Je suis Charlie tweet, to indulge in a little bit of bumper sticker moralising and virtue signalling, these parliamentarians simply don’t get the value of the John Stuart Mill conception of free speech (assuming they know who Mill was) and are not likely to change any time soon.

And it’s worse under Turnbull than it was under Abbott, if you can believe it. I was assuredly one of the loudest and angriest critics of Tony back when he caved in on his attempt to repeal most of 18C, our invidious Labor-legislated hate speech law. I thought at the time Abbott was making a huge mistake by selling out his political base to try and win a bit of slack from the ABC (laughable, when you think about it) and from what he called ‘Team Australia’ which is a euphemism for the ethnic vote, and especially the Muslim vote. Again, on what planet does it make sense to sell out one of your core values – because it was and is a core value for Abbott personally – for such an ethereal and unlikely prospect of getting these votes based on the sole fact you did not press on with repealing 18C?

But to be fair to Abbott it was clear that many in his party did not share his personal desire to be rid of 18C. Whoever the people preselecting Liberal Party candidates are, they don’t care about free speech. Just look at the new intake of MPs. More than a few seem to hold Labor-lite views generally; a bunch haven’t got a word to say in favour of free speech; and of those that do voice support for free speech I’d be surprised if any of them would go to the wall and cross the floor to support it. Okay, maybe one or two. For the rest, the job and a cushy pension come above all else.

So Abbott had to deal with that in caucus. And he had a feral Senate that would never have passed a Bill amending 18C. Nevertheless, it would still have been the politically right thing to do to push on and make the Senate block the repeal of 18C. Right in principle and right politically for the party, and for him in keeping his PM’s job. So Abbott made a huge error in not doing so. Indeed, very recently in his speech at the Samuel Griffith Society he acknowledged this error and that he should have tried.

Which brings us to his successor, the most left-wing Liberal party leader and Prime Minister ever. Mr Turnbull last week laid down the law. Everyone in Cabinet was ordered not to vote for any Private Member’s Bill seeking to water down 18C. This is a disgrace. This isn’t giving up on trying for reform, as Abbott did. This is actively blocking reform.

So out trots Mr Morrison soon after the Turnbull edict on 18C came down to say his focus is elsewhere; it’s on the economy, not on free speech. In themselves those words are pretty frightening, given that Morrison has thus far proven to be a big spending, high taxing, Labor-lite Treasurer. I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty happy if Morrison focused on just about anything other than our economy, given the decisions he’s made so far. I bet not many of you thought that Joe Hockey’s successor could one day make you get down on your knees and wish Hockey were back as Treasurer.

But who’s Morrison kidding? You either decide to support emasculating 18C, and so reinvigorating free speech in this country, or you don’t. Focus on whatever you like. Just vote for Bob Day’s private member’s Bill to delete the words ‘offend’ and ‘insult’ from 18C. Heck, this is a watered-down, half-hearted response to the awfulness of 18C to begin with. There’s nothing taking him away from his core Ministerial responsibilities involved here, and it’s embarrassing that Morrison could pretend otherwise.

Then there is our Attorney-General Mr Brandis. Last year he had some sort of Damascene conversion. Beforehand he’d travelled the country beating the drum for some sort of repeal of 18C, often likening himself to a latter day John Stuart Mill. Today the man can’t even support the QUT students being dragged through Human Rights Commission 18C hell, and through the courts. Brandis has the power to at least indemnify the legal costs of these students. He has decided not to do so. What a disgrace for someone who styles himself a Liberal. Then again, this is the same Attorney General who appointed Ed Santow to replace Tim Wilson on the HRC, the same Ed Santow who has yet to say a word in defence of free speech. Brought to you by your Liberal Party, my friends.

And that brings me to various acquaintances who listed Malcolm’s support for free speech (and Tony’s lack of such support) as the main reason they favoured the defenestrating coup. Still think the shift to Turnbull was a good idea? Still think the massive transaction costs involved in ditching a sitting PM and alienating a million plus party members was worth it? Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were Turnbull doing the undermining of Abbott on 18C back before the latter threw in the towel on this.

Andrew Bolt asks ‘name one thing that Turnbull has done in his year in the job?’ That’s not quite right because he’s done plenty. It’s just that they’re all left-leaning; like throwing more money at renewables and ‘innovation’ (don’t ask me??), trying to buy a few seats in SA by coughing up huge amounts on inferior home built subs, undermining superannuation, doing deals with the Greens, and so on. The actual question should be ‘name one thing that Turnbull has done in his year that a Liberal voter could be proud of?’ Those of you who thought fixing up 18C might be on this invisible list might like to concede you were wrong.


Mapping the Indigenous program and funding maze

Sara Hudson

More than $5.9 billion in government and not-for-profit funding for Indigenous programs is disappearing into a black hole because no one is really tracking what is happening to that money and whether it is delivering results.

Although there is much goodwill in Australia to improve Indigenous outcomes, too many programs are implemented because of their perceived benefit rather than a rigorous assessment of what works.

Of 1082 Indigenous-specific programs identified in a review of government and non-government programs, only 88 (8%) have been evaluated. And of those programs that were evaluated, few used methods that actually provided evidence of the program's effectiveness.  On the whole, Indigenous evaluations are characterised by a lack of data and an overreliance on anecdotal evidence.

But calling for more evidence does not mean adding to the voluminous collection of meaningless data that already exists. Currently there are seven federal government reports reporting on Indigenous outcomes and disadvantage. Together, these reports and the data that accompany them come to more than 7000 pages, with much of the data duplicated across the reports.

Instead of endless data monitoring the lack of progress in 'closing the gap' between Indigenous and non-Indigenous outcomes, the government should focus on making organisations and agencies formally account for how they are spending money. This can only be done by providing credible evidence of the program's impact and whether it is meeting its intended objectives - and making this evidence publicly available.

Because of the lack of accountability there have been cases of outright fraud, such as the 44 organisations being investigated by compliance officers at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's Indigenous Affairs Group for misuse of funds. One organisation had not filed any annual reports for eight years.

If Indigenous people are to ever benefit from the considerable investment by government and the not-for-profit sector, the lack of accountability that has plagued the Indigenous sector must end.


Is the gay marriage plebiscite heading down the gurgler? Bill Shorten indicates Labor will block the PM’s plan

Labor appears set to block Malcolm Turnbull's same-sex marriage plebiscite amid mounting fears a popular vote would set back equality in Australia.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten stopped short of pledging to scuttle the vote, but has stepped up his rhetoric against the planned February poll.

'I'm worried Malcolm Turnbull will just stuff it up,' he told the Sun-Herald.

Labor has not yet reached a final decision on the plebiscite, but it appeared the party was set to vote it down after closed-door discussions over the past week.

The party strongly supports gay marriage, but was worried the plebiscite would fail and make it harder for it to be legislated once it is back in government.

It insists research shows the vote would fail, especially if the vote is not compulsory and the motivated and well-resourced 'no' campaign pulls out all the stops.

There were fears Mr Turnbull would put little or no effort into supporting the 'yes' campaign because of friction in his party, giving opponents the upper hand.

Mr Shorten has instead called for a free vote in Parliament, and hoped Labor's opposition to a plebiscite would pressure him to defy conservative Liberals.

'He's only doing it because he is too weak to stand up to the radicals in his own party. Why should everyone else have to pay for his weakness?' he said.

'The plebiscite is unnecessary, expensive and divisive. There's a better, faster way to make much marriage equality a reality. The Parliament should do its job and deal with a marriage equality bill, with all parties afforded a free vote.'

However, Coalition sources told the Sun-Herald Mr Turnbull was unlikely to reverse his position because of his tenuous hold on the House of Representatives after the close election.

Labor was also concerned the plebiscite would cost as much as $250 million - far more than the frequently cited $160 million - and stretch the Australian Electoral Commission too far.

The Greens have already pledged to oppose a plebiscite, meaning if Labor blocked the poll the government would need the support of minor parties in the Senate.

One Nation has signalled it's support but Nick Xenophon and others want Parliament to decide, leaving Mr Turnbull without enough votes.

There were widespread concerns the campaign leading up to vote could be bitter and lead to 'hate speech' against gay Australians.

Mr Shorten called it 'a taxpayer-funded platform for homophobia' at his election campaign launch in June.

Tony Abbott, who does not support same-sex marriage and came up with the plebiscite idea before he was deposed as Prime Minister, remained staunch in his support for the poll.

'Why do they think the politicians are so much wiser than the public,’' he told the Sunday Telegraph. 'I can’t see why Labor and the Greens won’t trust the people to make this decision.’'


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

29 August, 2016

The fashion for university rape protests reaches Australia

I have followed a lot of these protests but I have nowhere seen a reasonable comparision of university rape incidence with rape incidence for the same age group in the general community.  Rapes do occur at universities.  They occur most places.  But tasking universities with rape prevention may be to task them  with changing human nature -- a notoriously difficult task

University students have crashed a university open day lecture protesting against the against the way sexual assaults are handled at universities.

A group of male and female students entered the Sydney University's Eastern Avenue lecture hall on Saturday during an information session.

They brought with them single sized mattresses with slogans such as 'protect students', 'welcome to the hunting grounds' and 'red tape won't cover up rape' scrawled across it in red and black permanent marker.

The event was organised by Sydney University Women's Officer Anna Hush who said 'We organised this event because we want to show parents that sexual assault and harassment are significant problems for students', in a report by

Among the group were victims of rape who told of their harrowing stories in front of parents and prospective students.

'I lasted three weeks in my first year of university before I was raped. Three weeks. As a first year student. And I'm still studying, but my life is completely different,' one brave female student said. 'I never expected that to happen at my university,' she said.

The student added: 'It's evident, if we want to protect our child and also allow them to have an education at a tertiary level we need to help change the system, revolt against the universities and demand change before we ever decide to sent our brothers, our sisters, our children to university'.

A short time after university security and management interrupted the protest by turned off the lights and ushered parents out of the hall in an attempt to stop the group for reading out their demands.

The 10 demands were for how universities should improvements their policies towards sexual assault and how it should be responded to.

A mother of a prospective student who was at the lecture said: 'It was so moving for me — each of those girls would have gone through a lot to get up there [and talk about their assaults].'


When a Briton defends free speech in Australia

In Q&A, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s flagship political panel show, spiked editor Brendan O’Neill once again prompted the right-thinking first to tweet their spleen, and then to fire off snarky op-eds. And the reason for the riling? Was it O’Neill’s criticism of the Australian state’s incarceration of migrants on the micro-island of Nauru, ‘a kind of purgatory, a limbo where aspiring migrants are stuck between a place they don’t want to be and a place they want to be’, as he described it? Or was it perhaps his criticism of pro-refugee campaigners, whom, as The Australian reports, O’Neill accused of ‘infantilising’ migrants, treating them as weak, helpless, other?

Nope, none of the above. What got up the nose of the unthinkingly politically correct was O’Neill’s attack on Section 18C of Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act, which prohibits speech ‘reasonably likely… to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people’ because of their ‘race, colour or national or ethnic origin’. Or, to put it another way: Brendan O’Neill defended free speech. And, it was this, this defence of one of the cornerstones of radical, liberal, enlightened thought, that outraged the nominally liberal and leftist.

Here’s what O’Neill said: ‘I love hearing hate speech because it reminds me I live in a free society.’ Got that? O’Neill loves hearing hate speech, not in itself, not because he just loves vitriol, as some of his detractors really seem to believe. No, he loves hearing it because of what hearing it means: namely, that we live in a society that is confident enough in itself, in its liberal values, that it can tolerate dissenting and hateful views. O’Neill then went on to explain why freedom of speech is precisely the mechanism through which we can challenge racism: ‘The real problem with Section 18C is it actually disempowers anti-racists by denying us the right to see racism, to know it, to understand it and to confront it in public. Instead it entrusts the authorities to hide it away on our behalf so we never have a reckoning with it.’

For anyone faintly familiar with a liberal and radical tradition of thought, from Voltaire to Frederick Douglass to Karl Marx, O’Neill’s argument shouldn’t be controversial: it is only through the airing of prejudice that it can be reckoned with. And it certainly shouldn’t be difficult to understand. But sadly it seems that, for too many, it is. To these, the liberal-ish and the right-on, it is an anathema, thought from another planet.

First came the high-profile Twitterers, the attack dogs of elite sentiment. Celebrity chef Georgina Dent said: ‘See, if hearing hate speech is the bit you love most about living in a “free country” you’re doing it wrong.’ Commentator Jane Caro quickly joined in: ‘Brendan O’Neill may not be aware of how privileged he is to “like” hearing hate speech. I’ve seen it intimidate people into silence.’ And in chimed the widely retweeted campaigner and columnist, Mariam Veiszadeh: ‘Those who argue that S18C should be repealed have the privilege of never having to seek its protection.’

Then came the op-eds. A Sydney Morning Herald writer declared: ‘The audience of Q&A has exercised its freedom of speech to call BS on a white man who courageously declared, among a panel of fellow white folk, that he loves hearing hate speech.’ And 9News talked of ‘a white male free-speech crusader’ being ‘mocked online after declaring on last night’s Q&A programme that he “loves hearing hate speech”’.

What’s immediately striking about the response to O’Neill’s defence of free speech is the incredulity. ‘An extraordinary statement’, remarked one commentator, as if O’Neill had just proclaimed the Earth’s flatness. Another said it was ‘ridiculous’. All of which shows just how removed today’s liberals and lefties are from their own liberal, left-wing traditions.

Then of course there is the substance, if you can call it that, of their criticism. That is, O’Neill, as a white man, is in no position to criticise the criminalisation of racist hate speech. Why? Because, as a white man, he has not experienced racial hate speech; he does not know how it feels to be subject to racial hate speech, and therefore he has no authority to comment on it. Where do you start with this steaming pile of emotivist, particularist proverbial? First, O’Neill is making a universalist case for free speech. Not for himself. Not for white people. And not for middle-class tweeters. He is making a case for free speech for everyone. Second, O’Neill’s own background – a son of working-class Irish immigrants, as it happens, which is hardly a marker of privilege in Britain - is not important. What matters is the argument, not its propagator. If a ‘person of colour’, as O’Neill’s critics have it, had made the same argument, would it suddenly have become more persuasive, more legitimate?

And third and finally, who exactly do they think is empowered by Section 18C? Is it indigenous Australians? Is it the wretched of the Earth? Or is it the Australian state, complete with its retinue of privileged white judges and civil servants who, thanks to this pernicious bit of legislation, are now authorised to adjudicate on what is illegal and what is legal speech? And here we come to the miserable irony of those who are mocking O’Neill for his defence of free speech: they would rather support the state, the most powerful and, yes, privileged force in the land than give people the freedom to say what they think. It seems there are none so dangerous as the unthinkingly self-righteous.

In his Crikey column, Guy Rundle captured well the irony of the anti-O’Neill, anti-white-privilege backlash, particularly as it came from O’Neill’s fellow panellist, the comedian Corinne Grant: ‘It’s particularly counterproductive when people from a creative background — playwrights, comedians — take so easily to the task of censoriousness and state control of speech. It is an invitation to hand over freedom on the promise that the state will guarantee it for you – and reach the point where you positively welcome having judges “authorising” speech. Nothing much can be achieved while this attitude persists, unexamined, unreflected upon, among people who should be challenging elites, not forming new ones.’

And it’s precisely the freedom to challenge elites and elite views that animates O’Neill’s defence of free speech. As the man himself put it in that heated TV studio: ‘It’s very important when it comes to expressing opinion, even if it’s ugly opinion, to protect people’s right to do that. Otherwise you’ll end up in a situation where the state has the right to decide what’s a good opinion or a bad opinion. And least of all minority groups should support that. Every marginalised group in history has seen free speech as their greatest friend. It’s the means through they can express themselves, can argue against their oppression, through which they can challenge the authorities. We have to defend the right for free speech for everyone, particularly for marginalised groups.’


Cindy Prior: Doctors cast doubts on QUT employee’s 18C racism claim

She's a neurotic and a chronic complainer so her upset in the QUT matter is readily seen as irrational

Comprehensive medical reports question the severity and reasons for a stress disorder affecting an indigenous university staffer who is seeking $250,000 damages from students in a section 18C ­racial hatred case.

The medical reports, introduced to the controversial case as formal public exhibits by the Queensland University of Technology employee and her Brisbane solicitor Susan Moriarty suggest Cindy Prior carries past grievances and overreacted to students’ Facebook posts.

Simone Shaw, a psychologist who conducted a long interview and examination, said in a 13-page report that Ms Prior was “unlikely to attribute personal responsibility to events that occur in her life”.

“As a result of this personality style, she is likely to blame and ­begrudge others when she perceives she has been mistreated, which appears evident in relation to the incident on 28 May, 2013,’’ Dr Shaw reported.

“She may be blindly uncritical of her own behaviour and insensitive to negative consequences ­associated with her behaviour, tending to minimise the negative impact that her behaviour has on others and on herself.

Dr Shaw said Ms Prior ­appeared to have had numerous workplace occurrences that she had perceived as bullying, harassment and racial vilification.

“It appears that these experiences continue to cause distress to Ms Prior in relation to her perceptions of justice,” she said.

“Ms Prior reported an extensive history of experiencing racial abuse from early childhood until the present time. This history of abuse has resulted in a sense of re-traumatisation for Ms Prior in ­relation to the incident on 28 May 2013.

“Ms Prior presents with strong convictions in relation to fairness and equity and her sense of injustice, not only in relation to the most recent workplace incident, but this was also evident through her recollections of her involvement in four previous workplace incidents and two historical personal incidents that subsequently caused her significant distress and she reportedly instigated legal ­involvement on several occasions to resolve those issues.

“Her core belief of fairness and equity justice has resulted in a sense of injustice in relation to the incident on 28 May, 2013.”

Ms Prior has an ongoing Federal Circuit Court action against students under section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which makes it unlawful for anyone to “offend, insult, humiliate or ­intimidate” another person or group on the grounds of race, ­colour or ethnicity.

On May 28, 2013, engineering student Alex Wood wrote on Facebook: “Just got kicked out of the unsigned indigenous computer room. QUT stopping segregation with segregation?”

He wrote it soon after Ms Prior, an administrative officer in QUT’s Oodgeroo Unit, had ­directed Mr Wood and two other students to leave the unit. She had first asked whether they were ­indigenous as the Oodgeroo Unit was established for Aboriginal students. Mr Wood and his friends packed up and left the unit peacefully after Ms Prior’s intervention and questioning.

Another student, Jackson Powell, who is also being sued, read Mr Wood’s post and wrote a sarcastic reply: “I wonder where the white supremacist lab is.”

A third student who is being sued and accused of racial vilification under 18C, Calum Thwaites, said he was not the ­author of a Facebook post which used the word “niggers”.

The 18C case, which has led to confidential cash settlements by several other students in return for their release from the legal ­action, advanced to the Federal Circuit Court after going first to the Human Rights Commission.

Mr Wood said: “I morally ­detest racial discrimination. I made my comment in good faith. I am really struggling to understand how this relatively minor act has left me facing a criminal prosecution for ‘hate speech’ and a claim for damages in an amount well in excess of $250,000.”

The students and their lawyers say the case is a glaring example of how section 18C can be misused to demand money and smear people as racists, while proponents of ­reform have called for section 18C to be abolished. Malcolm Turnbull says he and the government are focused on the economy rather than looking at 18C, but conservative backbenchers and independents want action.

The Weekend Australian has examined numerous exhibits attached to Ms Prior’s affidavit, filed by her solicitor, as judge Michael Jarrett is set to rule on whether her case should be dismissed.

One of the exhibits, the report of Dr Shaw for QUT, was part of a worker’s compensation process that began soon after May 28, 2013, as Ms Prior said she was ­unable to return to the Oodgeroo Unit due to her severe stress and fears of a “Ku Klux Klan” cabal of students.

University executives assured her there was no such group, while Mr Wood, who had not breached the student code of conduct with his comment about segregation, took down the Facebook post as soon as he was asked by QUT.

Dr Shaw said Ms Prior had complained that a short time ­before the May 28 incident she had experienced racism from a QUT tutor. Ms Prior had ceased studying a bachelor of arts course, majoring in human rights and ethics, as she disagreed with an ­assignment requirement to ­observe indigenous offenders.

Dr Shaw reported that Ms Prior’s responses in a comprehensive psychological evaluation were “unusual in that they indicate a defensiveness about particular personal shortcomings as well as an exaggeration of certain problems”.

Ms Prior has refused to accept some of the clinical psychologist’s key findings, adding that “it is clear she is not my advocate” and that she “found it difficult to connect” with Dr Shaw.

“I felt she lacked empathy,’’ Ms Prior states in her affidavit when describing Dr Shaw.

“She appeared to have no grasp or feel for the unique problems which are part of being an Aboriginal person. At the assessment, she pushed me hard to agree to a graduated return to work program when I still felt ­incapacitated by anxiety and fear.

“Her ‘client’ was QUT, not me. QUT’s agenda was to get me back to work as soon as possible and her sole role was to do just that, ­irrespective of how I felt.

“As an example, she told me at one point to have self-defence lessons so that I could feel more confident in fighting back if I was assaulted and mentioned that WorkCover would most likely pay for the lessons.”

Dr Shaw told QUT staff involved in trying to help Ms Prior get back to work that they should discuss the feasibility of safety measures including a security guard patrol, erection of indigenous flags at the Oodgeroo Unit, 24-hour swipe-card access, and fast dial to security

Within two days of the incident, QUT director of equity Mary Kelly was advised by Ms Prior that she would not be returning to her workplace as it was unsafe and she feared verbal and physical attack from students.

Another clinical psychologist, Jonathan Mason, in a subsequent 14-page report stated that Ms Prior told him: “I can’t even think about going back there. They know me, I’m scared I’ll be physically attacked by the students.”

Dr Mason said there were indications that Ms Prior “tended to portray herself as being exceptionally free of the common shortcomings to which most individuals will admit”.

He said she had a post-traumatic stress disorder “with clinically significant symptoms in relation to the workplace incident”, and would need a careful program to restart work.

Documents filed by both QUT and a third medical examiner, psychiatrist John Chalk, report that Ms Prior had begun seeing another doctor for a PTSD complaint several weeks before the students went to the Oodgeroo Unit and put any posts on Facebook.

Dr Chalk reported that Ms Prior was “cagey about what she expected QUT to do”, but he added that she wanted them “to, in some way, punish those who posted what she regarded as ­racially abhorrent comments on Facebook”.

Dr Chalk disagreed with a ­diagnosis of PTSD, finding ­instead “a chronic adjustment disorder with a depressed and anxious mood”. It was at the “mild end of the spectrum and (she) could return to gainful employment”, but not at the same campus of QUT.

Psychiatrist Simone Becker, who had previously diagnosed PTSD due to “years of racial discrimination and vilification” ­(before the Oodgeroo Unit incident), stated that Ms Prior’s work-related condition was “adjust­ment disorder with anxiety” — which exacerbated the PTSD.

Dr Becker said in her five-page report: “Ms Prior’s experience and interpretation of the work-related incident was directly shaped by her past experiences of persecution and helpless vulnerability. Her incapacity is partial and situational in nature.”

The exhibits disclose that a Queensland government Medical Assessment Tribunal made a ­December 2013 decision which stated that “as a result of the racial vilification that occurred in the Oodgeroo Unit”, Ms Prior had ­adjustment disorder with 7.5 per cent impairment. A fortnight later, Ms Prior’s then solicitors, Slater & Gordon, complained to QUT that there had been discrimination, offensive behaviour, ­racial hatred, lax security measures, and a general failure of the university to act appropriately and respond to safety concerns.

Ms Prior discloses in her affidavit that she felt “physically sick and abandoned” at an early meeting with Ms Kelly, adding: “I could not understand how or why the students had not already been suspended or disciplined. I felt as though I had personally been found ridiculous for fearing physical assault and a KKK presence in the university.

“I was never told what action, if any, was ever taken against the students.

“None of them ever offered me an apology for the suffering their conduct and online posts caused me. I felt I had been warned off from pursuing any kind of ­accountability for the students’ conduct …’’


Nyland's heartless attack on adoptive parents

 Jeremy Sammut

South Australia's Nyland Royal Commission has recommended a staggering 260 changes to the state's child protection services.

The sheer number of recommendations indicate a lack of strategic priorities that will address the root systemic reasons why the system fails too many children.

This is typified by the Nyland Report's treatment of the key question of adoption.

In his 2015 report into the death of four-year-old Chloe Valentine, Coroner Mark Johns found that Chloe died because Families SA was obsessively focused on practicing 'family preservation' --  on doing everything it could to keep even an appallingly maltreated child with their abusive and neglectful families.

Hence the Coroner recommended that more children be removed earlier and permanently before they are harmed by their parents, and that the use of adoption be expanded to give more children safe and stable families for life.

Commissioner Nyland, however, rejected increasing the number of adoptions, based on the spurious notion that adoption is somehow not in children's best interests. This is impossible to fathom, given the major and well-documented harm the current system does to children.

But the welfare of children was a secondary consideration, at best. Taking her cue from fanatical anti-adoption academic-activists, Nyland suggested adoption was actually all about the interests of the adults who want to 'own' adopted children.

Adoption, in Nyland's words, is primarily a "means to satisfy the desire of adults to create or expand their families."

This is monstrously absurd given the child welfare issues at stake.  It is also a heartless attack on the motives of adoptive parents accused of being especially selfish.

This is ridiculous and mean spirited given that parents hardly decide to have kids naturally for entirely selfless reasons -- let alone in the 'best interests' of their yet unborn children -- but for a whole range of deeply personal -- and biological -- reasons.

Adoptive parents should not be held to a higher standard in an absurd effort to discredit adoption as an illegitimate practice. Adoption needs to be accepted for what it truly is -- a legitimate way to form families when more adoptions could do so much good for so many children.


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 August, 2016

Now Bunnings is pandering to Muslims

Beef OK, vegetarian OK but no bacon in their sizzles!  And DEFINITELY no pork sausages!   They say defensively they are just trying to keep it simple.  If so, how is vegetarian allowed? And what is complicated about pork sausages?  Good that Woolworths still includes bacon & eggs in their sizzles.  I had some recently

For many Australians, a Bunnings sausage sizzle is an institution, a reminder of being dragged to the hardware store on a Saturday morning by your partner or parents.

Others see the tradition as a way to raise funds for local sports clubs or community groups.

However shoppers have been left confused after it was revealed the sausage sizzles, which are a fixture at the hardware giant, also come with a strict set of guidelines.

The most baffling rule to one social media user was that bacon is not allowed to be sold at the BBQ's.

'I went to Bunnings yesterday and as you do I stopped at the Rotary sausage sizzle on the way out,' Dave wrote on Facebook.

'There was three or four blokes about my age working on the BBQ and I couldn't help myself, I just had to find out if it was true or an urban myth. 'So I asked; Is it true that they can't cook bacon on those stalls?

'I'm sad to say it is true, if you want a bacon sanga don't go to the Bunnings sausage sizzle, anywhere in Australia!,' his post finished.

Bunnings said they keep the barbecues 'simple' to allow all community groups equal opportunity.

'Our reasons behind keeping the offer simple and offering meat sausages is to ensure that all community groups are able to host a fundraiser sausage sizzle with the greatest amount of ease, along with providing a consistent offer for customers across all our stores,' Michael Schneider, Bunnings Managing Director told Daily Mail Australia in a statement.

'On a case by case basis, we also allow community groups to have a vegetarian fundraising sausage sizzle if that is their preference, which is supported by appropriate customer signage,' he added.


It's bad news for democracy when frank discussion is shut down

The great divide in Australia is not the mountain range stretching along our eastern seaboard but the boundary between those prepared to say what they think and those who deign to keep debate within confined parameters.

The country is divided between the political/media class who set and abide by the rules of political correctness, and the mainstream and mavericks who dare to talk outside this artificial range of acceptability.

Climate change, Islamic extremism and immigration are the issues most affected, although discussions on gay marriage, gender and indigenous affairs are similarly constrained. Ask Bill Leak.

Incredibly, in this information age, it is not only certain opinions that are frowned on but unpalatable facts as well.

Evidence and data are shunned in favour of the views preferred by the so-called elites, or the group Robert Manne self-identified as the “permanent oppositional moral political community”. This community commands establishment strongholds in academe, media, political parties and, increasingly, even big business.

From these positions of privilege its members seek to define themselves by opposition to what may be mainstream views. Others who express angst or scepticism about the totemic issues are derided and mocked as racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes and climate deniers.

Up against this sort of intimidation it is little wonder we often see the majority cowed into silence. Aside from noisy fringe-dwellers, most save their voice for the ballot box.

Despite a political/media class preaching incessantly on climate alarmism, republicanism and the need for open borders, the silent majority have used the anonymity of the polling booth to strike down a carbon tax, reinstate border protection and support the constitutional monarchy.

At this year’s election both major parties ignored such voters: Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull fought the election from the same side of the politically correct divide. It probably cost Turnbull a comfortable majority.

Little wonder, then, that unorthodox outsiders with unsophisticated views — such as Pauline Hanson (and three running mates), Nick Xenophon (and three running mates), Jacqui Lambie, Bob Katter and others — were elected airing mainstream grievances without coherent plans to address them.

Elsewhere, politicians won’t entertain a citizen’s right to be concerned about Islamist extremism (let alone Muslim immigration), globalisation or the efficacy of our largely bipartisan climate policy. These are nuanced issues worthy of ongoing discussion but are reduced to binary choices.

They are subsumed by gesture politics in which subscribing to the appropriate postures on climate, refugees or Islam is about defining political character rather than prescribing policy outcomes. In all the years of ongoing debate about pricing carbon, for instance, there has seldom been a word spoken about what practical difference such a move in this country could make to the planet.

Publicly supporting a price on carbon is not about cooling the planet or even, given bipartisan emissions reductions targets, about abating more carbon. It is about adopting a policy position to parade allegiance to an emotional stance — backing a price shows that you care. Real questions about whether the target is worthwhile, cost effective or futile are left aside while a faux debate rages over a mechanism.

The elite discussion on such issues is so constrained that dissenting opinions and frank discussions are left to renegade politicians and outspoken media commentators who win large followings and unflinching loyalty because they dare to say what many may think.

When One Nation senator-elect Malcolm Roberts appeared on the ABC’s Q&A this month and dared to raise the homogenisation of temperature data by NASA (and other climate science centres), celebrity scientist Brian Cox responded not with facts but with mockery. “Just one thing,” he said incredulously, “NASA, NASA, the people that landed men on the moon.”

The crowd laughed, along with the panel, and the case was closed. But many viewers would know there was a serious issue here and might like to hear an intelligent answer.

Some might be attracted to conspiracy theories but with historical temperature records at NASA, Britain’s Met Office and our own bureau being revised, most might have been interested in having someone such as Cox explain how this scientific adjustment apparently improved the data. Pretending the issue away adds nothing to the discussion except suspicion.

The following week on the same program we had a similar disregard for the facts on refugee issues. Leftist comedian and refugee activist Corinne Grant seemed to know enough to be upset about what she knew she didn’t know. “They (government) do not want you to know what is happening in these centres because if you did — if you genuinely knew what was happening to these people — no one in Australia would allow it to continue to happen,” she said. She was not able to impart any knowledge or facts. But she was able to demonstrate her own virtue by suggesting other Australians, Nauruans and their governments were behaving appallingly.

On the other side of the great divide people speak with more frankness. They know the policy is tough, they know it works and they know there are options other than giving in to demands for repatriation of offshore refugees here. They also have enough respect for their fellow citizens to treat claims of routine abuse with some scepticism.

Likewise, while major party politicians, law enforcement officials and public servants struggle to talk openly about the threat of Islamic extremism, people on the other side of the divide know it is vicious and insidious, and can openly discuss it without tarring every Muslim as a terrorist. They even may talk in practical terms about curbing Muslim migration from some countries while we confront the upsurge in terrorism.

Unless the political/media class enters this space and engages in debate we will see extended and divisive debates on these issues, polarised positions shouting across the great divide.

These are strange times. Journalists — who should be professional contrarians — are part of the problem. Many barracked for Labor’s proposed de facto regulation of print media content. Now they dismiss concerns about section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act even though it saw two of Andrew Bolt’s columns banned. And they have signed petitions against Leak’s cartoons.

Bureaucrats, politicians and academics discuss the need for spending restraint while awarding each other unaffordable increases in wages and perks. Even at local government level, those on one side of the divide diss the national day most of us embrace.

The opportunity is obvious for Shorten or Turnbull — or others within either major party — to fill the vacuum in public debate. Mainstream discussion of difficult issues, without condemnation, could help shape sensible approaches and it certainly could replace patronising disdain with real engagement.

We have become used to a privileged minority telling us that the majority on the other side of the divide are getting it wrong — on immigration, climate, the republic and even Brexit. And now they are worried the majority will get it wrong on gay marriage, too. But in democracies the majority tends to be right.


Sir Lunchalot still being pursued by his shady past

He fought to keep criminal charges against him secret but former NSW mining minister Ian Macdonald has been revealed as the second Labor identity charged over a multimillion-dollar coal deal at the centre of an explosive corruption inquiry.

Fairfax Media previously revealed that Eddie Obeid and his entrepreneurial middle son, Moses, were quietly charged last year over a $30 million coal deal involving their family property at Mount Penny in the Bylong Valley.

The charges were suppressed to ensure Obeid snr, 72, suffered no prejudice in his recent criminal trial in the NSW Supreme Court over his business dealings at Circular Quay.

The former Labor powerbroker was convicted of misconduct in public office in June and the Crown is pushing for a jail sentence.

Mr Macdonald, who was mining minister at the time a lucrative coal tenement was created over the Obeids' property, was also charged last year over the Mount Penny deal and faces allegations of misconduct in public office.

His legal team fought to keep the charges secret on the basis it could prejudice his trial early next year on unrelated charges stemming from a separate inquiry by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

But Local Court magistrate Jennifer Atkinson rejected the application on Tuesday, saying there was a "public interest in open justice".


Backpacker sues NSW Police accusing force of cover-up over  alleged bashing

A backpacker who was prosecuted for a petty offence after allegedly being the victim of a serious assault is suing New South Wales Police, accusing the force of an institutional cover-up over the failure to investigate or discipline an off-duty officer involved.

English backpacker Liam Monte claims he was unlawfully imprisoned in 2013 following a fight in the Sydney CBD which broke out after a heavily intoxicated police constable pulled out a police badge and attempted to arrest him at a McDonald's restaurant.

Mr Monte was pursued down George Street by the off-duty officer and his friends following the McDonald's incident, and a witness to the fight said Mr Monte was repeatedly kicked and bashed while he lay on the ground.

According to a magistrate, police initially investigated Mr Monte for assault of the off-duty officer. However, when the evidence indicated Mr Monte had in fact been the victim of an assault, officers charged the backpacker with stealing the constable's police badge.

Mr Monte is now suing the police for damages including assault and battery, misfeasance in public office, unlawful imprisonment and collateral abuse of process.

He said he was pursuing the civil claim against the police because he believed he had been the victim of an injustice.

"I've lost a lot of faith in the police," he said. "I felt like they're meant to be there to protect us, and I didn't feel like they protected me on that night."

How the fight unfolded

The altercation between Liam Monte and off-duty police officer Osvaldo Painemilla began when Mr Monte objected to the behaviour of the off-duty officer and his friends who were dining at a McDonald's restaurant in George Street in Sydney's CBD.

In a judgment delivered in 2014, local court magistrate Michael Barnes said Mr Monte threw a chip at the men, who then pursued him out of the restaurant when Mr Monte went to leave.

At the exit of the McDonald's, Mr Painemilla, who admitted in court to having consumed 16 drinks, produced a police badge and said to Mr Monte: "I'm a cop and you're under arrest."

Mr Monte, who said he did not believe the badge was real, grabbed the badge and exited the restaurant.

According to evidence accepted by the magistrate, Mr Painemilla's friends then dragged Mr Monte backwards out of a cab and chased him up George Street. Mr Monte threw the police badge back, but one of Mr Painemilla's friends continued to pursue him. He tackled Mr Monte to the ground on a footpath, allegedly punching and kicking him repeatedly.

According to the statement of a bus driver who witnessed the assault tendered to the local court, Mr Monte was "punched approximately 10 times to the face as he lay on the ground".

Mr Painemilla and his friends denied the claims and disputed Mr Monte's version of events.

Following the fight on April 19, 2013, Mr Monte was taken to hospital by ambulance with severe facial bruising and a suspected fractured eye socket.

Monte charged over stealing officer's badge

Shortly after he was discharged from hospital, detectives from The Rocks police station in central Sydney arrived at his backpacker's hostel and arrested him.

The case against Mr Monte for stealing proceeded to a full prosecution in 2014, and at the time, the magistrate hearing the case, Michael Barnes, described it as an abuse of process.

Magistrate Barnes said it was difficult not to conclude that police had brought the prosecution in an attempt to "somehow negate the suggestion that the force applied to Mr Monte was otherwise completely unjustifiable". Mr Barnes said Mr Painemilla had abused his powers of arrest.

"In my view abuse of the power of arrest goes far beyond being merely undesirable," Mr Barnes said.

"When the officer purporting to exercise the power is very drunk and in the company of others who have provoked the confrontation leading to its exercise, the arrest can readily be classified as unnecessary and improper."

Mr Barnes found that the facts that supported the police's charging of Mr Monte for stealing a police badge were proven, but he did not convict Mr Monte of the offence, instead giving him a Section 10 bond.

Mr Monte's statement of claim argues that the NSW Police is vicariously liable for Mr Painemilla's actions and that the police officers investigating the 2014 incident failed in their duties.

The claim argues Mr Monte suffered "extreme fear and substantial pain" during the assault, "embarrassment and distress" during his subsequent arrest, and "a strong sense of ongoing injustice" over the failure to investigate Mr Painemilla's behaviour.

"Two things shocked me, first of all that I was arrested on that night, and then that I was handcuffed while I was clearly concussed and had taken a severe beating," Mr Monte said.

"It was clear as day that they had assaulted me and it was a three-on-one situation which was a group beating. So I was incredibly shocked that they weren't arrested at that point."

NSW Police are yet to file a defence in the case. When contacted about the case, a spokesperson said NSW Police would not be making any comment as the matter was before the courts.

Last month, lawyers acting for the NSW Police applied to the NSW District Court for security of costs.

In that application, NSW Police asked the court to order Mr Monte to pay $60,000 upfront to cover the costs of the court case in case he lost the case and was ordered to pay the police's costs. The application failed.

Stephen Blanks, president of the NSW Council of Civil Liberties, said he was disturbed by the legal tactic.

"The police attempted to shut this case down by using litigation tactics of a kind that normally only happens in the big commercial courts," Mr Blanks said. "And they were using it against a victim of their own violence."

"What we need in the NSW Police force is a culture of intolerance of wrongdoing, an intolerance of violence by police against innocent members of the public, an intolerance of using the courts to prosecute cases that ought not to be prosecuted.


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 August, 2016

Homosexual judge dislikes democracy

The people might vote the "wrong" way

Former High Court justice Michael Kirby says a plebiscite on same-sex marriage will create a dangerous political precedent in Australia where MPs avoid making decisions on controversial issues, instead opting for unnecessary and expensive popular votes.

The government is expected to try to pass enabling legislation for a nationwide plebiscite in coming weeks, before a possible vote in February asking Australians if they agree people of the same sex should be allowed to marry.

But Justice Kirby, who served at the High Court from 1996 until 2009, said plebiscite votes were "alien" to Australia's system of representative democracy and the campaign would drive hatred and abuse towards gay and lesbian Australians.

He said Australian voters had rarely supported referendum questions and there was no reason a plebiscite would be any different.

"It will mean any time that there is something that is controversial, that's difficult for the parliamentarians to address or they don't want to address, they'll send it out to a plebiscite.

"I think that's a very bad way. Our Parliament, our parliamentary institutions in Australia and elsewhere are really not working all that well at the moment and what we should be doing is strengthening Parliament and ensuring it gets on with the job," Justice Kirby told ABC radio.

Justice Kirby – who has lived with his partner Johan van Vloten for 47 years – said Britain's Brexit vote had showed unexpected outcomes were possible.

"This is going to be, if it goes ahead ... running out the old issues of hatreds and animosities, abominations and all the old arguments against gay people.

"We didn't do this for the Aboriginal people when we moved to give equality in law to them, we didn't do it when we dismantled the White Australia policy ... we didn't do it in advances on women's equality, we didn't do it most recently on disability equality.

"Why are we now picking out the LGBT, the gay community? It's simply an instance of hate and dislike, hostility to a small minority in our population. It's unAustralian."

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said the government hadn't broken a promise to hold the plebiscite in 2016 but AEC advice had strongly recommend against a vote this year.

"We always said it would be held as soon as possible, so our commitment hasn't changed," he said.

"We always said when talking about this commitment, that we would want to do it as soon as possible, as soon as practicable, as soon as we can, also recognising that legislation would always first need to pass the Parliament," he said.


Turnbull slams Baird ban on greyhound racing

Malcolm Turnbull criticised the NSW Liberal government at a private dinner in Perth for shutting down the greyhound industry, suggesting the shock move was an “over-reaction”.

As the industry in NSW reels from Premier Mike Baird’s decision to end the sport, The Australian can reveal the Prime Minister expressed concern about the move, legislated this week through the Greyhound Racing Prohibition bill.

MPs who attended a dinner with Mr Turnbull at the Chophouse steak restaurant early this month have told The Australian the Prime Minister expressed the view that closing down the industry in response to animal-welfare concerns was not a proportionate response.

He is understood to have told MPs he believed outrage over treatment of rabbits used in live baiting — a key ­reason for the industry losing political support — was surprising, given that rabbits were a feral pest and were regularly shot and poisoned.

It is understood Mr Turnbull expressed his “surprise” and “concern” at Mr Baird’s decision to ban the sport in response to ­issues raised during a commission of inquiry into the NSW greyhound racing industry.

“He was critical of the decision and the message was, ‘If we are shutting down an industry on the basis of what happens to rabbits, well, we are not very nice to rabbits in this country; they are a pest’,” one MP said.  “It was Malcolm Turnbull the farmer talking.”

Another MP made clear that Mr Turnbull was not indicating support for live baiting, but confirmed he had criticised how the state government had handled the issue.

The special commission of inquiry claimed it had found evidence of systemic animal cruelty, including mass greyhound killings and live baiting. The report, which drew on material which has been heavily contested, said the state’s industry had “fundamental animal welfare issues, integrity and governance failings that cannot be remedied”.

Under the new legislation, anyone caught organising a race faces a one-year jail sentence and a maximum $11,000 fine.

The proposed laws did not win uniform support from within the NSW government, with state Nationals MPs Katrina Hodgkinson, Chris Gulaptis and Kevin Humphries choosing to side with Labor to oppose the controversial bill.

Another MP at the dinner, which took place on the eve of the WA Liberal conference on August 5, said there were few federal parliamentarians who supported the Baird government’s decision, and they were pleased that Mr Turnbull “got it”.

Mr Baird said in July that “as a humane and responsible government” he had no choice but to shut down the industry.


Fremantle’s fireworks cancellation ‘likely to cause more division’: Ben Wyatt

FREMANTLE’S decision to cancel its Australia Day fireworks for a more culturally sensitive approach is “likely to cause more division”, indigenous Labor MP Ben Wyatt says.

Council’s decision on Wednesday night divided opinions across the nation on Thursday on social media.

Labor’s Treasury spokesman took to Twitter on Thursday night to claim City of Fremantle’s controversial decision would do nothing for reconciliation.

“The (relationship) between Aboriginal people and Aust Day is profound. Cancelling fireworks a facile response and likely to cause more division,” he said.

“Cancelling popular events in the name of reconciliation does not advance the cause. “If its because of cost, then call it cost.”

But Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt was quick to respond, saying the council’s decision was all about inclusion, not cost saving.

“Ben. Agree this conversation should head towards inclusion not division but it’s a conversation elders in Freo want us to have,” he said.

“Just to be clear, this is not as all about cost saving. All of fireworks budget will go towards new more inclusive events.”


Wind Power Obsession Sends South Australians Back to the Stone Age

Amidst the panic and chaos being experienced by the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers – due to the unfolding and inevitable wind power calamity in South Australia – one of the newly invented catchphrases is “transition”.

It’s a term now employed by wind spinners, dimwitted politicians and gullible journalists; and is often coupled up with lines such as “interconnectors”; “rapidly improving battery technology” and “gas”.  Gas, apparently, is now seen as a “transition” fuel to a … ahem … fossil fuel free future and the interconnectors proposed would connect to coal-fired plant currently chugging away in Victoria and New South Wales [note to Ed is this ‘pure irony’?]

Last time we took a peek at the climate-calamatists’ websites, gas was right up there with coal as the source of all peril and evil on earth, so we’re not sure that the Chicken Littles will buy the line about gas being anything other than a ‘spawn-of-the-Devil’ fossil fuel.

And adding ‘fuel’ to the fire, the gas destined for this “transition” isn’t going to be used in highly efficient Combined Cycle plants, but squandered in gas-thirsty and highly inefficient Open Cycle plants that emit 3-4 times the CO2 per MWh of a modern coal-fired plant.

Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGTs) are literally jet engines, run on gas or fuel oil (diesel) or kerosene. The initial capital outlay is low, but their operating costs are exorbitant – depending on the fuel input costs (the gas dispatch price varies with demand, for example) operators need to recoup upwards of $300-400 per MWh before they will even contemplate firing them into action. For a wrap up on “fast-start-peakers” see this paper: Peaker-Case-Histories As to the insane cost of running them, see this article: OPEN GAS CYCLE TURBINES: Between a rock and a hard place

And the line about “transitioning” to a wind powered future with “rapidly improving battery technology” comes sprinkled with a fair dose of pixie dust: nowhere in the world is there an example of grid-scale electricity storage using batteries (of any description); not in Germany; not in Spain; not in Denmark; not in California; not in South Australia – or anywhere else stupid enough to attempt to run on sunshine and breezes.

Now that the mainstream press have caught up with the energy disaster that is South Australia, journos are, for the first time in their lives, starting to grapple with the tricky concept of electricity generation: terms such as “load following”; “frequency control”; and “grid balancing” are starting to find their way into the pages of the Australian Financial Review and The Australian.

These aren’t just fancy nouns and verbs of recent invention, they go right to the heart of whether customers at the thinnest end of an electricity grid get to enjoy electricity on demand, or at all.

What media hacks are starting to understand is that there is a world of difference between the quality of electricity produced by conventional generation sources; and that thrown occasionally into the grid by a wholly weather dependent source, abandoned centuries ago, for pretty obvious reasons – eg, SA’s wind farm’s efforts in April:

It’s not just a question of delivering power when and where it’s needed; frequency control is a matter that determines whether a grid functions at all (see our post here).

Where the chaos and intermittency of wind power destabilises the grid (see our post here), it’s down to conventional generation sources that can ramp up output at the press of a button to keep the grid alive: “reactive power” that allows for the 50Hz frequency of the grid to be controlled and maintained around close tolerances.

In a place like South Australia, where wind power capacity tops 40% of its entire generating capacity, every time a breeze turns to a zephyr, voltage and frequency drops, which requires an instantaneous response from coal or gas-fired generators (hydro is exceptionally good at responding in an instant) – with recent efforts to rely on the chaotic delivery of wind power, those selling power for frequency control and load following now recoup a very solid premium for their service.

Remove that class of generator from the system and the wind cultist and his fellow travelers are soon left tossing chaff about the wonders of wind, while sitting freezing in the dark.


Probe launched into wrongful conviction of Sudanese refugee jailed over Edward Spowart murder

Released on the grounds of insufficient evidence

The NSW Director of Public Prosecutions has launched an inquiry into a miscarriage of justice that saw a young Sudanese refugee wrongly convicted of murder.

The family of the young man, who spent almost seven years in prison for a crime they insist he did not commit, say their experience in the justice system has destroyed their faith in the rule of law in Australia.

"What has happened to my nephew is something unbelievable," the refugee's uncle told the ABC. "He's an utterly broken man."

The conviction of the Sudanese boy, known only as JB, was quashed in late April by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.

The teenager had been convicted in 2009 of murdering western Sydney man Edward Spowart and sentenced to 23 years in jail.

In submissions to the NSW Supreme Court, the NSW Attorney-General said the Crown prosecutor as well as the prosecuting solicitor, and investigating police had all failed to reveal to the defence that the key witness who implicated JB in the stabbing murder was a registered police informant.

The Crown Prosecutor during JB's trial was experienced barrister Terry Thorpe. However, the court made no findings about who within the prosecution knew about the status of the police informant, when they knew, or exactly what they had been told by police.

The failure to disclose the crucial evidence is now being criticised not just by the young man's family, but also by a retired Supreme Court judge.

The CCA said in its April judgment that JB's trial had miscarried because of "failures of the prosecuting authority".

According to the Attorney-General's submissions, the Crown Prosecutor and his instructing solicitor had met with A107, but notes of that meeting provided to the defence "appear to have been edited" and did not mention that A107 was a police informer.

It is not known who edited the notes, however, the submissions raise questions about who in the prosecution knew about A107's status and why it was not disclosed.

Registered informants receive benefits for their assistance to police and are often given discounted sentences in their own criminal matters.

A spokesperson for the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Lloyd Babb told the ABC a probe was underway.  "This matter is being reviewed internally and accordingly it is not possible to provide any comment at this stage," the spokesperson said.

The NSW Police are also conducting an internal investigation into its role in the matter. In a statement, the force said: "As a result of the acquittal of JB, NSW Police Force has become aware of the apparent non-disclosure connected with the matter.

"NSW Police Force will have to conduct its own investigation and until such time that is concluded it is not appropriate to make comment on specific issues concerning the matter.

Now, the retired Supreme Court judge who rejected a 2012 appeal by JB against his conviction, Anthony Whealy QC, has spoken out to express his concern, saying that, if substantiated, the failure of disclosure would be a "serious dereliction of duty" on the part of the prosecution. "It's a terrible situation where this man has spent nearly seven years in jail as a consequence of a confession that should never have been allowed into evidence," Mr Whealy said.

Mr Whealy said he would have acquitted JB in 2012 if he had known the key witness was a registered police informant. "I'm quite sure that had we known those facts … the appeal would have taken a completely different course," Mr Whealy said.  "That course would have resulted in the conviction being set aside and more than likely a verdict of acquittal being entered on behalf of this young man who has needlessly spent all these years in jail."

The ABC submitted detailed questions to Mr Thorpe. In response, the Crown prosecutor said he had no comment.

JB was sentenced to 23 years in prison, with a non-parole period of 16 years, for the stabbing murder of Edward Spowart. Mr Spowart, 54, was killed in April 2008 during a fight between two groups of young men in the south western Sydney suburb of Granville.

He was not participating in the fight, in which the two groups of men armed themselves with sticks, bricks and street signs.

He was standing by the side of the road carrying a plastic shopping bag when he was stabbed in the stomach, thigh and trunk.

JB, aged 15 at the time, was initially arrested for affray over the incident.

When police seek to interview juveniles, the child must be supplied with a youth support person. When JB was in custody in April 2008, detectives called in a support person who is now known only as A107.

The man entered JB's cell for a private conversation, and after he emerged he told police that the 15-year-old had confessed to stabbing Spowart.

"It was the key plank in the prosecution's case," Mr Whealy said. "The prosecution relied on it even to the absence of other evidence to convict the young person."

A107 avoided jail on fraud charge after police cooperation

In 2014, defence barristers unearthed sensational fresh evidence which revealed the youth support person A107 was a registered police informant.

At the time, he told police JB had confessed to stabbing Spowart, A107 was himself facing charges of having defrauded victims of $40,000.

Police later swore an affidavit that laid out the assistance A107 had given police in the JB case, among others.

Largely as a result of A107's assistance to police, he avoided jail and received a suspended sentence.

Prominent Sudanese lawyer Deng Adut said he had visited JB in prison in the years before he was acquitted. "He told me clearly that he did not kill that man," Mr Adut said.

"He didn't have a knife. He didn't even have anything in his hand. He had nothing in his hand. He never did anything."

In its April judgment, the CCA ruled that without the evidence of A107 that JB had confessed to stabbing Edward Spowart, the prosecution had insufficient evidence to conduct a retrial.

The judges said the case had been a miscarriage of justice. "The trial of JB miscarried because of failures on the part of the prosecuting authority," the judgement said.

"These consisted of an inadequate investigation of the position of A107 and an inadequate disclosure of that position to the defence. "There was no conduct on the part of JB which contributed to the mistrial."

The trial hinged on the evidence of the police informant. The ABC understands that Merrylands detectives never recovered the murder weapon.

The ABC has been told their investigations ceased after the alleged confession was obtained.

It was also revealed in the CCA that the defence lawyer who was on the record as acting for JB, Robert Kaufmann, was also acting for the police informer A107 in his criminal case.

Mr Kaufmann attended the first day of the trial but afterwards relied on a junior solicitor at his firm to defend JB.

Mr Kaufmann said he was unaware A107 was a registered informant and rejected any conflict of interest. "I reject any suggestion that I acted under a conflict of interest in relation to matters for JB, either before his trial, during his trial or for his initial appeal," Mr Kaufmann 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

26 August, 2016

Lying Greenie alarmists found out:  Reef tourism operators find less than five per cent of coral dead under ‘extreme’ bleaching

REEF tourism operators have found less than five per cent of coral has died off — compared to the 50 to 60 per cent estimated by scientists — under “extreme” mass coral bleaching on the northern Great Barrier Reef.

Latest findings exclusively obtained by The Courier-Mail show coral mortality in the outer shelf reefs north of Lizard Island was between one and five per cent with “spectacular” fish life and coral coverage.

Teams of divers in a joint two-week expedition sponsored by Mike Ball Dive and Spirit of Freedom surveyed 28 sites on 24 outer shelf reefs along a 300km section of the hardest-hit part of the reef from Bathurst Head to Raine Island.

Spirit of Freedom owner Chris Eade said reports of 93 per cent bleaching on the 2300km long Great Barrier Reef had made global headlines and damaged the reputation of the $5 billion reef tourism industry.

“Scientists had written off that entire northern section as a complete white-out,’’ Mr Eade said.  “We expected the worst. But it is tremendous condition, most of it is pristine, the rest is in full recovery.  “It shows the resilience of the reef.’’

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions operations manager Craig Stephen, who conducted a similar survey on the remote reefs 20 years ago, said there had been almost no change in two decades despite the latest coral bleaching event.

“It wasn’t until we got underwater that we could get a true picture of what percentage of reef was bleached,’’ Mr Stephen said. “The discrepancy is phenomenal. It is so wrong. Everywhere we have been we have found healthy reefs. “There has been a great disservice to the Great Barrier Reef and tourism and it has not been good for our industry.”

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority estimated a mass coral white-out of between 50 to 60 per cent, on average, for reefs off Cape York under the world’s biggest-ever mass coral bleaching event.

Scientists with the Townsville-based ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies reported about 35 per cent mortality but warned “the final death toll” on some reefs may exceed 90 per cent.

In April, aerial and underwater surveys of 522 reefs in the northern sector showed 81 per cent had been severely bleached and one per cent not bleached.

Professor Terry Hughes, convener of the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce, at the time said “it’s like 10 cyclones have come ashore all at once.”

Professor Hughes yesterday welcomed the positive news but had not yet seen the latest survey findings. “We won’t know the true coral mortality until we can get back up there in October and compare before and after impacts from our March survey,’’ Prof Hughes said.

“Those coral will either survive or more will die.’’

A GBRMPA spokeswoman said they would closely examine the findings of the first independent expedition into the isolated region.  “Obviously if they’ve found reefs with a lower than expected mortality rate that is fabulous news,’’ she said.

“Our initial findings noted that the level of bleaching and mortality was expected to be very variable across the entire reef system.’’


The grievance industry's lust for bigots

It may seem unfair to the 24 million Australians who have yet to master the pronunciation of the six tones of Lao, but as Thinethavone Soutphommasane often tells us, we should always call out racism when we see it.

“If someone says to me they’re not even going to try to pronounce my name, that doesn’t necessarily send a good signal,” the race relations commissioner told The Australian Financial Review in a revealing interview this month.

“It says that they’re not even bothered to treat me with respect. How would they feel if they were told that every day — that people weren’t going to even try to pronounce their name?”

Just when you think the threshold for taking offence could not get lower, the salaried hand-wringers of the grievance industry prove you wrong. Every slight, real or imagined, is tendered as evidence of the bigotry eating away at our society.

It is in the nature of the racism-calling business to imagine the worst in everybody. Like a prosecutor in a Kafka novel, the commissioner is deemed to possess extraordinary powers to examine the souls of others and expose the thought crimes within. To declare oneself innocent or suggest there’s been a mistake is futile for, as Josef K was told in no uncertain terms, “that is how the guilty speak”.

There are many reasons parliament should abolish clause 18C of the Race Discrimination Act, but the most compelling is that the Australian Human Rights Commission has its mitts on it.

The commission’s failure to kill off the sinister Queensland University of Technology case, in which students have been put through the mill for daring to object to being ejected from an indigenous-only computer room, shows that commissioner Gillian Triggs and her team have no regard for natural justice, let alone a sense of proportion.

The chance that a complaint will be dismissed as wobbly is getting smaller every year. Of the 979 complaints finalised by the commission between 2001 and 2005 almost three in 10 were declared trivial, vexatious, frivolous, misconceived or lacking in substance.

In the same period 10 years later, under presidents Catherine Branson and Triggs, the proportion dismissed as insubstantial was less than one in 20.

The commissioners’ inclination to take the grimmest view imaginable of their fellow citizens — those, at any rate, with white skin — is at best uncharitable. At worst it suggests they are subject to the same hidebound prejudice they so freely identify in others. Why else would Soutphommasane believe the election of Pauline Hanson could trigger civil unrest? What else but prejudice would lead him to regard One Nation’s white, non-university-educated voters with such condescension? A few choice words from the red-haired demagogue, apparently, and they’ll be rioting in the streets. “We have plenty of examples about how licensing hate can lead to serious violence and ugliness in our streets and our communities,” Soutphommasane declared. “There’s great potential for harm to be done when you’re talking about inflammatory rhetoric or appeals to xenophobia.”

His attempt to censor an elected politician seems impertinent, but in the racism-calling caper that’s the way they think. Branson, in her farewell speech in 2012, said building a human rights culture was “much too important to leave just to governments”.

To be condemned as a racist is one of the worst slurs one can cast on a fellow citizen, particularly when amplified by the pack-hunting boors on social media. Yet there is no presumption of innocence when one is hauled before the commission, despite the seriousness of the charges, nor any sense that the commissioners wish to be seen as impartial.

It is all in a day’s work for Soutphommasane, who warns: “If you don’t want to be called a racist or a bigot, you can start by not expressing a racist or bigoted opinion.”

In any other context he would be appalled at the kind of extrajudicial vilification he now practices. Indeed, in his former career as a humble columnist for this newspaper, he criticised the “trial by media” of former Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes. Allegations of sexual molestation, published at length by Woman’s Day, had “all but guaranteed Hughes won’t receive a fair trial”.

“Justice is dispensed in the courtroom, not before some cameras in some TV studio, and certainly not in the pages of some trashy magazine,” he wrote.

Six years later the niceties of natural justice appear to trouble Soutphommasane somewhat less.

He has no compunction towards prejudging his fellow citizens on whatever platform he is offered.

When asked to comment by Fairfax about the latest controversy — the one about a feckless Aboriginal father in a Bill Leak cartoon — Soutphommasane happily goes in for the kill.

“Our society shouldn’t endorse racial stereotyping of Aboriginal Australians or any other racial or ethnic group,” he said.

“A significant number” of people would agree the cartoon was a racial stereotype and he urged anyone who was offended by it to lodge a complaint under the Racial Discrimination Act.

Thus the fears of those who opposed Gough Whitlam’s Racial Discrimination Act legislation in 1975 have been fulfilled.

Far from eliminating social tension, the Racial Discrimination Act’s draconian measures have increased it.

We have ended up, as former senator Glen Sheil warned, with an official race relations industry staffed by “dedicated anti-racists earning their living by making the most of every complaint”.

Hughes, for the record, is serving a non-parole period of six years for paedophilia.

His complaint that media coverage had prejudiced his trial was dismissed by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal last September.

Meanwhile a fine cartoonist has had an unjustified slur cast over his name by a 33-year-old with a philosophy degree who is paid more than $6000 a week from the public purse.

Soutphommasane should apologise.


Bob Katter calls for end to Middle Eastern immigration

Pauline is too

Independent MP Bob Katter has said that the 'time has come' to stop people from the Middle East and North Africa coming to Australia, reports Sky News.

The minister’s comments come in the wake of the fatal stabbing of British woman, Mia Ayliffe-Chung in a Townsville Backpacker hostel where the assailant allegedly yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ during the attack.

“The time has come now to stop people from those countries coming to Australia – and if that is an extremist position, is it an extremist position for Saudi Arabia and Dubai… they won’t let any of those people in,” Mr Katter said.

“I think the risk to the Australian people now is so great that that should not occur anymore,” he explained.

The member for Kennedy said he was astounded the Government continues to let “630,000 people into Australia each year in an economy that’s only generating 200,000 jobs.”

Meanwhile the man believed to be responsible for the frenzied knife attack – which also left another victim, Tom Jackson, 30 fighting for his life – is a French national with no known links to terrorism. Smail Ayad was arrested at the scene.

The minister’s comments come in the wake of the fatal stabbing of British woman, Mia Ayliffe-Chung in a Townsville Backpacker hostel where the assailant allegedly yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ during the attack.

“The time has come now to stop people from those countries coming to Australia – and if that is an extremist position, is it an extremist position for Saudi Arabia and Dubai… they won’t let any of those people in,” Mr Katter said.

“I think the risk to the Australian people now is so great that that should not occur anymore,” he explained.

The member for Kennedy said he was astounded the Government continues to let “630,000 people into Australia each year in an economy that’s only generating 200,000 jobs.”

Meanwhile the man believed to be responsible for the frenzied knife attack – which also left another victim, Tom Jackson, 30 fighting for his life – is a French national with no known links to terrorism. Smail Ayad was arrested at the scene.

He may be a French National but he is no Frenchman.  His name is a Muslim one, probably Pakistani


Street preacher continues right to preach fight over Launceston by-laws

A Christian street preacher who created controversy in Adelaide has moved his fight to Tasmania and claims to have achieved some success in the Federal Court on his right to preach in malls.

Caleb Corneloup was a member of the Adelaide Street Church in 2009 when Adelaide City Council took the group to court for preaching in Rundle Mall in the CBD without a permit.

The group then challenged the validity of council by-laws, which they said breached their right to free speech, and the council eventually clarified its permit guidelines for preachers and buskers, which Mr Corneloup claimed as a victory.

Now the controversial preacher has moved to Launceston and fought the local council for the right to preach in the regional city's mall.

"Basically the Launceston City Council created a by-law, similar to Adelaide, and they refused to give us permits," he told 891 ABC Adelaide.

"The by-law says you can't preach without a permit, and then you go to get a permit and they won't give you one."

The street preacher said he took the issue to the Federal Court and there had been favourable outcomes on some of the issues he fought.

"I applied for a permit and was refused so I went to the Federal Court ... and raised a series of arguments," he said.

"Many of them weren't resolved but the court ruled in my favour ... [that] the wrong person had made the decision to deny me a permit."

He said a second ruling in his favour by the Federal Court could have wider ramifications for street preaching.

"When a by-law says you can't do something without a permit, it assumes that a permit can be granted," he said of the court's decision.

In Adelaide, city traders were often unhappy when noisy preaching happened outside their stores, but Mr Corneloup remained adamant his religious group was doing important work wherever it went.  "Basically what we preach is there is coming a day when Jesus Christ will return and he will judge the world," 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

23 August, 2016

Political Correctness Has Skewed Our Understanding Of Racism

By Hsin-Yi Lo, Melbourne-based writer and freelance journalist

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has caused a storm when she posted an edited photo of Usain Bolt carrying her on his back with the tweet saying, "this is how I'm running errands from now on." But critics have taken the post amiss and blitzed the comedienne on social media demanding her to take off the post. Political correctness is once again the culprit that's killed our joy to make witty jokes, and the parameters of what actually constitutes racism.

PC started in the 1970s which was the era that spawned a generation of activists crusading against institutionalised thoughts that discriminate ethnic minorities, and people from different sexual orientations, religion and physical abilities. Credit should be given to the movement since it has corrected derogatory words like the N-word, and replacing it with 'Afro-American'. PC has also encouraged us to use gender indeterminate descriptions for jobs i.e. chairperson and businessperson so we don't subconsciously think that only males dominate particular roles.

As we live in a more pluralistic world, we should try to eliminate prejudice for the sake of social harmony. But PC has inadvertently bred a "I'm so easily offended" culture where we blow things out of proportion. This year Red Cross' pool safety poster for children came under fire because there were more 'coloured children' portrayed as the naughty kids. If we must be PC about this, could this poster be racist when there are 'white children' also illustrated as disobedient and there is a 'coloured' safety instructor?

Like DeGeneres' post, humour, wit or good intentions are mistaken for spite and racism. In Australia we're encouraged to be more culturally aware in our day-to-day interactions. This also extends to avoiding the greeting 'Merry Christmas' because it could potentially offend non-Christians and give out the idea that only Christmas is celebrated across the country. Instead, we should use religiously-neutral salutes like 'Seasons Greetings'.

I don't have a religion myself, but I don't mind when friends and associates say Merry Christmas to me because I know they wish me well. I also remember when I was studying in the UK, one of my flatmates kindly put a small Christmas tree in the kitchen so those who were alone wouldn't feel desolate and bleak.

In the immortal words of George W Bush: "The notion of political correctness has ignited controversy across the land. And although the movement arises from the laudable desire to sweep away the debris of racism and sexism and hatred, it replaces old prejudice with new ones. It declares certain topics off-limits, certain expression off-limits, even certain gestures off-limits".

PC has barred us from openly discussing race, religion, sexuality, etc. If freedom of expression is limited, we lose opportunities to explore more about ourselves, society and the world. Examples include criticism over Hollywood's decision to cast Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko in 'Ghost in the Shell'. According to political correctness, Major Motoko is exclusively Asian even though the character sports a set of blue eyes. I'm also denied the freedom to have open discussions about mixed marriages.

We're also obsessed with finding the perfect description to identify non-white Australians. The word 'ethnic' is considered racist because it implies non-white Australians are 'backwards' and separate from the 'default' Australian race – the white Australians. There are multiple interpretations of the word ethnic, but essentially it describes groups of people who share a common religion, race, cultural heritage and language. To replace it, we used NESB (non-English speaking background) to define non-white Australians.

Unfortunately, NESB didn't fit the shoe because the term hints that second generation migrant Australians could be included. And now, we've got CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse background) – a seemingly immaculate description for non-whites. But with PC's high alert on race and ethnicity – it's hard to address the implications this phrase brings.

I remember I had a debate with a member of the PC brigade who didn't accept that 'CALD' also suggests that Irish-Australians or even Anglo-Australians could be included. And if non-whites have exclusive membership to the CALD club, then we've contradicted ourselves because we're maintaining that there is a divide between whites and non-whites. Since the word ethnic and CALD serves the same purpose, 'ethnic' should be a foul word. As humans we tend to categorise people, who are dissimilar to us, according to their different traits. Through this, this is how we can openly learn about others who are different from us.

Unfortunately, black slavery is part of our world history and it's understandable we're more vigilant when it comes to race relations between black and white people. But now we don't have a proper sense of what bigotry really means, and we've become so preoccupied with taking the self-righteous moral high ground we're carelessly labelling people someone as racist without understanding the full consequences.


Rising sea levels caused by global warming could be GOOD news for coral reefs

It all depends on your modelling

Global warming could do at least as much to protect the world’s coral reefs as it will to damage them, new research from Australia suggests.

Climate change has long been believed to be disastrous for the fragile marine environments, but fresh modelling has predicted that oceanic changes caused by the phenomenon will also work to the reefs’ advantage.

Rising sea levels, caused by melting polar ice caps, could help moderate the extreme and often damaging conditions found in many reef habitats, according to scientists at the University of Western Australia.

By studying reef systems off the coast of north-western Australia, they showed how rapid sea level rise could substantially reduce the volatile daily extremes of water temperatures in the shallow reef habitats over the next century.

The resulting changes, they say, may potentially ameliorate the other effects of global ocean warming.

Mounting levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are predicted to cause substantial changes to ocean temperature over the next 100 years, increasing the frequency and severity of mass bleaching, where corals expel the symbiotic algae living in their tissues, turning them completely white.

In April scientists announced that 93 per cent of the famous 1,500 mile Great Barrier Reef, on Australia’s East Coast, had now been bleached as a result of an underwater heatwave caused by global warming.

The situation caused some scientists to urge the Australian government to decide which parts of the reef it wanted to save.

Reefs in the Caribbean and in other regions such as the Maldives have also been badly affected by bleaching.

Warming seas are part of a “triple punch” said to be hitting coral reefs as a result of global warming, along with ocean acidification, which makes it more difficult for corals to build and maintain their skeletons, and more frequent and powerful reef-wrecking storms.

The new research by Professor Ryan Lowe and his team is the first to attempt to predict in detail the positive effects rising surface levels on reef environments.

Temperatures within shallow reefs often differ substantially from the surrounding ocean, so predicting future patterns of bleaching and other stresses is difficult.

However, recent science has focused on trying to improve predictions of regional ocean warming patterns driven by long-term climate change, as well as by the intensification of short-term climate patterns such as El Nino.

Using a collection of detailed field measurements, Prof Lowe and his team developed a modelling framework for predicting how local temperature extremes in shallow reefs will change in the future as a result of rising sea levels.

They found that even a modest sea level rise could substantially reduce local reef water temperatures in the future, meaning the change may partially contribute to limiting reef heat extremes in an overall warming ocean.

Despite the international carbon emissions caps agreed at the Paris climate talks last year, atmospheric warming is still expected to rise to between 2.7 and 3C above pre-industrial levels, breaching the 2C threshold beyond which many scientists say heatwaves and significant sea level rises are inevitable.

In 2015 the United Nations World Heritage Committee agreed not to list the Great Barrier Reef as an “in danger” site, providing Australia reports back to the committee in December this year with an adequate account of what is being done to preserve the reef.


Dumped files show influence of George Soros on Western politics

In perhaps the biggest political scandal since WikiLeaks, a group of hackers has dumped hundreds of files exposing the influence of socialist billionaire George Soros on Western politics.

The files show Soros has established a transnational network that pressures governments to adopt high immigration targets and porous border policies that could pose a challenge to legitimate state sovereignty. His Open Society Foundations target individuals who criticise ­Islamism and seek to influence the outcome of national elections by undermining Right-leaning politicians. The Australian arm of the Soros network is GetUp!.

GetUp! was established by ­activists Jeremy Heimans and David Madden with funding from Soros. The Labor-affiliated Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union donated $1.1 million to the group. Bill Shorten and John Hewson are former board members. A major funder listed on its 2014-15 Australian Electoral Commission expenditure return is Avaaz, the US GetUp! ­affiliate that has received copious amounts of funding from Soros networks.

Like most NGOs, GetUp! claims to be independent from political parties. Like many NGOs, however, it has close ties to the Left. As Sharri Markson ­revealed in this paper, GetUp! chairwoman Sarah Maddison urged people to vote for the Greens in the past federal election.

In the wake of the election, GetUp!’s Paul Oosting revealed its campaign strategy was to target conservative MPs to reduce their influence. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was a primary GetUp! target. In Tasmania, the organisation spent up to $500,000 to unseat Andrew Nikolic and forked out $140,000 on campaign advertising alone.

GetUp! has engaged in an ­effective reframing of politics by rebranding conservatives as the hard Right while recasting the Left as moderate or progressive. Many sections of the media have uncritically adopted GetUp!’s rhetoric, which effectively divides the ­Coalition by aligning conservatives falsely with a range of hard-Right views that they abhor.

Soros-affiliated organisations follow a well-worn political and rhetorical strategy updated for the digital age. Like the socialists and communists of old, they attack liberal democracy by delegitimising the classically liberal values of ­individualism, free speech, logical argument and public reason. They attack democratic states by advocating a porous border policy, ­reframing illegal immigrants as refugees and degrading critics of totalitarian tendencies such as ­Islamism in orchestrated campaigns of PC censorship. Documents uncovered by Soros leaks reveal a pattern of funding for programs that prosecute porous borders, mass immigration into the Wes­t nations from Islamist regions, and overt campaigns against dissenters. OSF has provided several million to the Centre for American Progress, whose programs ­include the explicit targeting of free­thinkers critical of Islamism. A recent program grant described a strategy to target six critics of ­Islamism and the “right-wing media” in an “audit of Islamophobic activities”.

OSF has extended its reach in the European Union through NGO and human rights networks. It sought to influence EU elections by thwarting the success of candidates it deemed xenophobic or racist. The term xenophobic is commonly applied by the Left to politicians who seek ­rational immigration with a focus on resettlement rather than the disastrous porous border policy championed by the EU’s Green-socialist bloc. The OSF also funded a range of media projects focused on changing how journalists report on politicians and policies cast as xenophobic, intolerant or far Right. Leaked documents reveal OSF’s endorsement of questionable tactics to achieve its aims. A document ­reviewed by news source Breitbart states: “Naming and shaming from us is problematic: we are also in the business of channelling money into other countries for political purposes.”

It is neither uncommon nor ­illegal for philanthropists to fund political advocacy groups and lobby politicians. However, there is an ethical line between evidence-based advocacy by NGOs and disproportionate influence on the democratic process.

Following the Soros leaks, concerns have been raised about the influence of groups claiming to be disinterested third parties and NGOs on core Western values such as free speech and government by the people. In one of the leaked documents, there appears to be a problematic connection ­between Soros funding and campaigning against politically incorrect media. OSF took credit for funding an advocacy campaign in which a group worked to “take away” news anchor Lou Dobbs’s platform on CNN. Dobbs resigned from CNN amid controversy over his critical views on immigration. I would criticise some of Dobbs’s statements but conform to the view that free speech is protected unless an individual or group ­incites violence or engages in terrorist or treasonous activities.

Another leaked report suggests Soros and OSF played a direct role in Barack Obama’s decision to ­increase the US immigration target. Soros wrote to Obama to ­request the increase while OSF advocates organised a group to act. In its 2015 report, the OSF board stated it took “very active efforts … to provide a special allocation of an additional 100,000 refugee slots for Syrians … In the face of this pressure, the Obama administration announced … that by 2017 it would raise to 100,000 the total number of refugees the US takes worldwide each year.”

While NGOs and human rights groups routinely demand greater governmental transparency and accountability, they are rarely required to live up to their own standards. A new global transparency group, Transparify, rated Soros’s foundations zero for transparency among 200 organisations. Ironically, Transparify ­receives funding from OSF.

The belief the NGO sector has been hijacked by interests intent on challenging sovereignty to ­destabilise legitimate states is driving governments to introduce legislation to neutralise the perceived threat. A NGO transparency bill introduced by Israel was condemned by the EU, the UN, US Democrats and many human rights organisations. The law ­demands that NGOs whose primary support comes from foreign political entities publicly disclose the fact. Unsurprisingly, many of the NGOs exposed by the law were left-wing and human rights organisations that challenge ­Israel’s right to sovereign power by attacking its border ­security policy.

Expect NGOs to continue ­attacking conservative MPs who champion liberal democracy by defending Australia’s sovereign border and national security policy. It is perhaps time to rewrite the NGO sector’s demand for government transparency and accountability as a mutual obligation.


Employment surge is mainly in the form of more government employees

Rampant growth in public-sector jobs and wages is exacerbating the nation’s debt and deficit woes and stoking concern among business leaders about continued government borrowing to pay wages bills.

An analysis of jobs data by The Weekend Australian shows that the rapid expansion in public-­sector employment and wages comes as workers in the private sector face increased job insecurity and record-low salary rises.

Tony Shepherd, the chairman of the National Commission of Audit for the Abbott government, said this growth was a “serious concern” because it was underpinned by rising debt levels.

“We have to be very careful as to what is the underlying cause of increased employment and where it is taking place,” Mr Shepherd told The Weekend Australian.

“A lot of that growth is in healthcare, the aged-care sector, and a lot of that is taxpayer funded. It’s recycling taxes. We are borrowing money to fund this. To cover increased and increasing expenditure, we are going further into debt.”

Australian Bureau of Statistics wages data for the June quarter show the public sector is out-­competing the private sector for jobs. While the overall wages growth was the lowest on record, at just 2.1 per cent for the year, public-sector wages grew by 2.4 per cent.

Wages in the retail sector, Australia’s biggest employer, rose by just 0.1 per cent in the quarter compared with 0.6 per cent in the public sector. As secure work in the public sector expands, workers in retail and hospitality face demands by employers to cut ­penalty rates and hire more casual and junior workers.

Private-sector wage growth has stalled amid warnings that Australia’s debt could blow out by more than $100 billion if the budget is wrong in its prediction that the economy will return to pre-crisis growth and if the Turnbull government is unable to win ­Senate support for all of its outstanding savings measures.

Deloitte Access Economics ­director Chris Richardson said part of the windfall gains from the China boom had been spent on more public-sector employees last decade, but these elevated numbers had been maintained after the boom ended.

Prior to 2002, the share of the labour force attributable to core public-administration jobs was about 5.8 per cent. After 2002, when revenue from the China boom began to feed into the budget, it moved to more than 6 per cent of the economy, “and has been on a mild up trend for the last decade and a half’’.

Mr Shepherd, a former Bus­iness Council of Australia president, said there was a “risk of squeezing out” the private ­sector because the public sector could offer well-paid and more ­secure employment. “This does not add much to our national prosperity,” he said.

ABS figures show that hours worked in the non-market economy have grown 1.9 per cent in the year to June, outstripping those in the market economy, which grew by 0.1 per cent. Since March 2008, before the global financial crisis, hours worked in non-market ­industries have grown by 24 per cent, ­compared with 4 per cent for the market sector. Excluding ­educa­tion and training, non-market hours worked grew by 29 per cent over the same period.

The ABS defines the non-­market economy as comprising education and training, public ­administration and safety, and healthcare and social assistance.

The growth in non-market hours worked comes as public-sector salary costs for health and education are rising sharply. Salar­ies paid to public-sector workers in education and training rose 43 per cent to $38bn over the same period, while salaries for health workers rose at the same rate to $35bn.

Wages paid to public-sector employees working in public ­administration and safety rose by 30 per cent to $45bn in the seven years to June 2015, even though the number of workers in this category was unchanged at 580,000.

The strongest growth in job numbers and wage bills has been in state government jobs. The number of state government ­employees grew by 10 per cent to 1.476 million in the seven years to June 2015, while federal public servant numbers were virtually unchanged.

Queensland’s Labor government came into office with a promise to increase public-service job numbers, which have grown by 4000 in the year to March. In Victoria, the Labor government has budgeted for a $3.5bn ­increase in public-sector wage costs over the next four years. The Coalition government in NSW has also ­expanded its ­numbers, by 15,000, to 464,000 in the four years to June 2015. ABS data shows that almost one in three Australian workers is now employed part-time or as a casual, up from 21 per cent in the late 1980s.

ACTU secretary Dave Oliver said increasingly insecure work in the private sector was ­becoming common, and this was reflected in the modest ­increase in wages. He said the slow rate of wages growth was a drag on consumer spending. “Wage stagnation is a remind­er that pressure on business isn’t coming from wages, it’s coming from a lack of confidence and not enough demand in the economy,” Mr Oliver said.

The peak union body has made a submission to the Fair Work Commission to address growing insecurity in the workforce.

The ACTU has called for a minimum four-hour shift and a right of conversion to permanent work for casual workers in a ­variety of awards. It has also called for a requirement that employers offer any additional hours to existing casual and part-time employees before increasing the number of casual or part-time employees.

Mr Oliver said he could not understand why businesses and ministers were calling for penalty rates to be abolished when these benefits were a major source of ­income for many thousands of low-paid workers. “Why would someone suggest a wage cut?” he asked.

Grattan Institute chief executive John Daly said much of the increased public-sector employment cost was people working in the health system. He said every major health ­indicator was improving and life expectancy was increasing.


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

22 August, 2016

Muslim values at work in Australia

On January 16, 2015, a visibly shaken Leila Alavi hung up the phone after taking a call from her estranged husband.

Prosecutors say the 26-year-old turned to a colleague and told him: "He said he is going to kill me and all of us. Probably he is watching too many movies."

By morning, she was dead.

In the carpark below the western Sydney hairdressing salon where she worked, Mokhtar Hosseiniamraei stabbed his wife 56 times with a pair of scissors he had stolen from a nearby supermarket.

"That moment. Like a bomb. It exploded. I didn't realise what I was doing for a moment," he would later tell a forensic psychiatrist.

But in the hours after the stabbing on January 17, 2015, when police asked him through an interpreter why he had killed Ms Alavi, Hosseiniamraei was frank: "Because we were married, and ... she broke the contract. I could not tolerate it.

"And I could not forget it."

Documents tendered in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday tell of the devastating loss suffered by Ms Alavi's loved ones, and the broken logic with which her killer tried to explain what he had done.

"Where did you hit her with scissors on her body?" police asked Hosseiniamraei.

"In her heart and in her neck. Because she did not obey the rule of marriage," the killer replied.

"When we marry we have a commitment, moral commitment towards one another. In this country this means nothing."

He has since pleaded guilty to murdering Ms Alavi.

Hosseiniamraei, a refugee who fled Iran because of religious persecution, met his bride in Turkey and travelled with her to Australia in 2010.

By late 2014 the relationship had broken down and Hosseiniamraei was abusing drugs daily.

A psychiatrist who interviewed the 34-year-old noted he had been using heroin and ice almost every day around that time, and was smoking up to 28 joints of cannabis a week.

Ms Alavi sought a restraining order on October 2014, but documents before the court indicate the couple continued to see one another regularly.

Even after their separation, Ms Alavi continued to visit Hosseiniamraei to cook and clean for him, according to the offender's sister.

Now the dead woman's relatives have questioned why more was not done to keep her safe.

In a victim impact statement tendered in court on Thursday, Ms Alavi's sister Marjan Lotfi wrote that the grief of losing her was "almost unbearable".

"I don't want other women to suffer the same tragedy. I don't want other family members to go through what I and my family have gone through," she wrote.

"I keep thinking: why didn't someone help her? Why didn't she receive the protection she needed?"

Another sister, Mitra Alavi, said she and Leila had left Iran to escape violence. She said she had worried for years about her little sister's relationship with Hosseiniamraei.

"I saw that she was abused both physically and psychologically by him. I believe this man was cruel and dangerous," she wrote.


Rock star-scientist Brian Cox confused on more than global temperatures

By Jennifer Marohasy

Celebrity physicist Brian Cox misled the ABC TV Q&A audience on at least 3 points-of-fact on Monday night. This is typical of the direction that much of science is taking. Richard Horton, the current editor of the medical journal, The Lancet, recently stated that, "The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue."

Firstly, Cox displayed an out-of-date NASA chart of remodelled global temperatures as proof that we have catastrophic climate change caused by industrial pollution. Another panellist on the program, One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts, tried to raise the issue of cause and effect: querying whether there really was a link between rising temperature and carbon dioxide. This is generally accepted without question. But interestingly – beyond experiments undertaken by a chemist over 100 years ago – there is no real proof beyond unreliable computer simulation models.

Indeed, in 2006, John Nicol (a former Dean of Science at James Cook University) wrote to Penny Whetton (then meteorologist-in-charge of the climate science stream at CSIRO) asking if she could provide him with copies notes, internal reports, references ("peer reviewed" of course) which would provide details of the physics behind the hypothesis of global warming. She wrote back immediately promising to find some – which he thought was odd since he had assumed her office was stacked-to-the-ceiling with such literature.

Whetton even went to the trouble of contacting other colleagues – one of whom sent Nicol an inconsequential article in a Polish journal. After eighteen months of their exchanging letters and all of her promises to be helpful, all she could finally offer was the "scientific" section of "Climate Change in Australia 2007". There, to Nicol's amazement he found nothing apart from the oft quoted: "We believe that most of the increase in global temperatures during the second half of the 20th century was very likely due to increases in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide".

"Believe", "most", and "very likely" are jargon, perhaps meaning "we don't have a clue".

The chart Cox held up on Monday night – now all-over-the-internet as proof of global warming – essentially represents a remodelling of observed temperature measurements to confirm a belief, that we most likely have catastrophic global warming.

The accurate UAH satellite record shows a spike in temperatures in 1997-1998 associated with the El Nino back then, followed by a long pause of about 17 years, before the recent spike at the end of 2015-beginning of 2016. The recent spike was also caused by an El Nino event. Global-temperatures have been plummeting since March, and are now almost back to pause-levels. Indeed, Roberts was more correct than Cox, when he claimed there had been no warming for about 21 years – despite the rise in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.

The second misleading statement from Cox on Monday night concerned the nature of the modern sceptic – often harshly labelled a denier. Cox suggested that sceptics were the type of people that would even deny the moon-landing. In making this claim he was no doubt alluding to research, since discredited, funded by the Australian Research Council, that attempted to draw a link between scepticism of anthropogenic global warming and believing in conspiracies.

In fact, astronaut Harrison Schmitt – who actually stood on the moon, drilled holes, collected moon rocks, and has since returned to Earth – is a well-known sceptic of anthropogenic global warming. In short, Astronaut Harrison knows the moon-landing was real, but does not believe carbon dioxide plays a significant role in causing weather and climate change. In fact, Schmitt has expressed the view – a very similar view to Roberts – that the risks posed by climate change are overrated. Harrison has even suggested that climate change is a tool for people who are trying to increase the size of government – though he does not deny that he has been to the moon and back.

Thirdly, Cox has qualifications in particle physics, yet he incorrectly stated that Albert Einstein devised the four-dimensional-space-time continuum. Those with a particular interest in the history of relativity theory know that while Einstein reproduced the Lorenz equations using a different philosophical interpretation, he was not the first to put these equations into the context of the 4-dimensional continuum – that was done by Hermann Minkowski. Minkowski reformulated in four dimensions the then-recent theory of special relativity concluding that time and space should be treated equally. This subsequently gave rise to the concept of events taking place in a unified four-dimensional space-time continuum.

Then again, Cox may not care too much for facts. He is not only a celebrity scientist, but also a rock star. Just the other day I was watching a YouTube video of him playing keyboard as the lead-singer of the band screamed, "We don't need a reason".

There was once a clear distinction between science – that was about reason and evidence – and art that could venture into the make-believe including through the re-interpretation of facts. This line is increasingly blurred in climate science where data is now routinely remodeled to make it more consistent with global warming theory.

For example, I'm currently working on a 61-page expose of the situation at Rutherglen. Since November 1912, air temperatures have been measured at an agricultural research station near Rutherglen in northern Victoria, Australia. The data is of high quality, therefore, there is no scientific reason to apply adjustments in order to calculate temperature trends and extremes. Mean annual temperatures oscillate between 15.8°C and 13.4°C. The hottest years are 1914 and 2007; there is no overall warming-trend. The hottest summer was in 1938–1939 when Victoria experienced the Black Friday bushfire disaster. This 1938-39 summer was 3°C hotter than the average-maximum summer temperature at Rutherglen for the entire period: December 1912 to February 2016. Minimum annual temperatures also show significant inter-annual variability.

In short, this temperature data, like most of the temperature series from the 112 sites used to concoct the historical temperature record by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology does not accord with global warming theory.

So, adjustments are made by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to these temperature series before they are incorporated into the Australian Climate Observations Reference Network – Surface Air Temperature (ACORN-SAT); and also the UK Met Office's HadCRUT dataset, which informs IPCC deliberations.

The temperature spike in 1938-1939 is erroneously identified as a statistical error, and all temperatures before 1938 adjusted down by 0.62°C. The most significant change is to the temperature minima with all temperatures before 1974, and 1966, adjusted-down by 0.61°C and 0.72°C, respectively. For the year 1913, there is a 1.3°C difference between the annual raw minimum value as measured at Rutherglen and the remodelled value.

The net effect of the remodelling is to create statistically significant warming of 0.7 °C in the ACORN-SAT mean temperature series for Rutherglen, in general agreement with anthropogenic global warming theory.

NASA applies a very similar technique to the thousands of stations used to reproduce the chart that Cox held-up on Monday night during the Q&A program. I discussed these change back in 2014 with Gavin Schmidt, who oversees the production of these charts at NASA. I was specifically complaining about how they remodel the data for Amberley, a military base near where I live in Queensland.

Back in 2014, the un-adjusted mean annual maximum temperatures for Amberley – since recordings were first made in 1941 – show temperatures trending up from a low of about 25.5°Cin 1950 to a peak of almost 28.5°Cin 2002. The minimum temperature series for Amberley showed cooling from about 1970. Of course this does not accord with anthropogenic global warming theory. To quote Karl Braganza from the Bureau as published by online magazine The Conversation, "Patterns of temperature change that are uniquely associated with the enhanced greenhouse effect, and which have been observed in the real world include... Greater warming in winter compared with summer… Greater warming of night time temperatures than daytime temperatures".

The Bureau has "corrected" this inconvenient truth at Amberley by jumping-up the minimum temperatures twice through the homogenization process: once around 1980 and then around 1996 to achieve a combined temperature increase of over 1.5°C.

This is obviously a very large step-change, remembering that the entire temperature increase associated with global warming over the 20th century is generally considered to be in the order of 0.9°C.

According to various peer-reviewed papers, and technical reports, homogenization as practiced in climate science is a technique that enables non-climatic factors to be eliminated from temperature series – by making various adjustments.

It is often done when there is a site change (for example from a post office to an airport), or equipment change (from a Glaisher Stand to a Stevenson screen). But at Amberley neither of these criteria can be applied. The temperatures have been recorded at the same well-maintained site within the perimeter of the air force base since 1941. Through the homogenization process the Bureau have changed what was a cooling trend in the minimum temperature of 1.0°Cper century, into a warming trend of 2.5°C per century.

Homogenization – the temperature adjusting done by the Bureau – has not resulted in some small change to the temperatures as measured at Amberley, but rather a change in the temperature trend from one of cooling to dramatic warming as was done to the series for Rutherglen.

NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) based in New York also applies a jump-up to the Amberley series in 1980, and makes other changes, so that the annual average temperature for Amberley increases from 1941 to 2012 by about 2°C.

The new Director of GISS, Gavin Schmidt, explained to me on Twitter back in 2014 that: "@jennmarohasy There is an inhomogenity detected (~1980) and based on continuity w/nearby stations it is corrected. #notrocketscience".

When I sought clarification regarding what was meant by "nearby" stations I was provided with a link to a list of 310 localities used by climate scientists at Berkeley when homogenizing the Amberley data.

The inclusion of Berkeley scientists was perhaps to make the point that all the key institutions working on temperature series (the Australian Bureau, NASA, and also scientists at Berkeley) appreciated the need to adjust-up the temperatures at Amberley. So, rock star scientists can claim an absolute consensus?

But these 310 "nearby" stations, they stretch to a radius of 974 kilometres and include Frederick Reef in the Coral Sea, Quilpie post office and even Bourke post office. Considering the un-adjusted data for the six nearest stations with long and continuous records (old Brisbane aero, Cape Moreton Lighthouse, Gayndah post office, Bundaberg post office, Miles post office and Yamba pilot station) the Bureau's jump-up for Amberley creates an increase for the official temperature trend of 0.75°C per century.

Temperatures at old Brisbane aero, the closest of these station, also shows a long-term cooling trend. Indeed perhaps the cooling at Amberley is real. Why not consider this, particularly in the absence of real physical evidence to the contrary? In the Twitter conversation with Schmidt I suggested it was nonsense to use temperature data from radically different climatic zones to homogenize Amberley, and repeated my original question asking why it was necessary to change the original temperature record in the first place. Schmidt replied, "@jennmarohasy Your question is ill-posed. No-one changed the trend directly. Instead procedures correct for a detected jump around ~1980."

If Twitter was around at the time George Orwell was writing the dystopian fiction Nineteen Eighty-Four, I wonder whether he might have borrowed some text from Schmidt's tweets, particularly when words like, "procedures correct" refer to mathematical algorithms reaching out to "nearby" locations that are across the Coral Sea and beyond the Great Dividing Range to change what was a mild cooling-trend, into dramatic warming, for an otherwise perfectly politically-incorrect temperature series.

Horton, the somewhat disillusioned editor of The Lancet, also stated recently that science is, "Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness." I would not go that far! I am not sure it has taken a turn for darkness – perhaps just a turn towards the make-believe. Much of climate science, in particular, is now underpinned with a postmodernist epistemology – it is simply suspicious of reason and has an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining particular power-structures including through the homogenisation of historical temperature data.


‘Supportive’ Malcolm Turnbull in deal with Bob Day to defer reform of hate-speech legislation

Malcolm Turnbull expressed his “general support” for senator Bob Day’s push to amend section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, and pledged to look at the matter early this year after asking him to delay a vote on the change.

As some Coalition senators rally support for a renewed push to amend section 18C of the law, Senator Day revealed to The Australian that the Prime Minister had phoned him last year during ­debate on the bill and the two “agreed the time (for a vote) was not right for either of us at that time.”

Senator Day said Mr Turnbull indicated his “general support” for the push to amend the contentious section, which restricts speech that is “reasonably likely, in all the ­circumstances, to offend, insult, ­humiliate or intimidate” on the basis of “race, colour or ­national or ethnic origin”.

“Shortly after he became Prime Minister, (Mr Turnbull) rang and we discussed my 18C bill, which I had in the Senate at that time,” Senator Day told The Australian. “We landed at the position where I would not put it to a vote, but would bring it back in the new year and we agreed with that timetable.”

When asked why the bill did not return for a vote in the new year, Senator Day said circumstances, including the election and the debate over Senate voting ­reform, did not allow it.

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm, who was a co-sponsor of Senator Day’s bill, said a vote last October would have “killed the bill”, but he had not ­welcomed Mr Turnbull’s intervention.

“Bob told me that the Prime Minister had called him and asked him not to bring it on,’’ he said. “My answer was to tell the Prime Minister to get stuffed, to bring it on anyway, but Bob is an obliging sort of a bloke and supportive of the Libs and he had made up his mind he would hold back.”

The bill did not have the numbers to pass the Senate, so Senator Day’s assessment was to keep it alive in the hope he could secure the numbers to pass the legislation this year. Senator Leyonhjelm said Mr Turnbull should have sought to advance the issue to try to garner support for the bill, which was also sponsored by Liberal senators Cory Bernardi and Dean Smith.

“I do think the government is going to find it hard to say no to this continuously, this is a small-l liberal issue, and if they don’t take up the cause of free speech then others will,’’ he said.

Two more Liberal senators called yesterday for the government to revisit its position, which is being defended by members of the executive. When asked his position on changing section 18C, Scott Morrison said he was ­focused on budget repair.

“It doesn’t help me to reverse the deficit, it doesn’t help me pay back the debt, it doesn’t help me get one more extra person in a job and it doesn’t lead to one extra company investing more in Australia, so you can appreciate that it is not at the top of my list,” the Treasurer said.

Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz, who will also lend his name as a sponsor to the bill, said cabinet should reconsider its position.

“There is strong support right around the country for this change and I hope that the government might find time to allow it to be debated, especially given that support seems to be gathering among the Senate crossbench,” he said.

Senator James Paterson told Sky News he hoped “to persuade them that it is necessary to make changes”. “I hope, with the right process and the right approach, that this is an issue that during this term we can address.”

While agreeing budget repair was a priority, Victorian backbench MP Michael Sukkar also urged the government to revisit the issue. “Promoting freedom of speech is core business of the ­Liberal Party, but to implement an appropriate change to section 18C, we should be progressing it through our internal party ­processes.”

Arguing that the change was “modest”, Senator Bernardi said an “overwhelming majority” of the Coalition partyroom supported amending the bill.

“I do not understand why the government is not prepared to support it,” he said.


Australia now a nation of office workers

AUSTRALIA’S image as a working class nation that gets its hands dirty and sweats for a living is being lost to a new era of desk-bound professionals and a booming health and social welfare industry.

Those forced to transition out of hard yakka will find demand over the next five years is for workers in health and social work, professional skills such as legal and accounting, followed by education and retail.

Jimmy Barnes’s idealistic song about the Aussie Working Class Man — the “simple man with a heart of gold” who works hard to save overtime for his “little woman” — is now 36 years old.

That little woman may in the current era need to work hard for her man.

New jobs in health and welfare are due to the high ageing population, childcare demands and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Department of Employment says they “will favour part-time and female workers”.

But those switching to the sector ought not bank on decades-long employment. Though many new health and social jobs are described as “private sector”, they are highly reliant on government subsidies, which will not be endless.

Near-term employment growth in Australia will see the government recycling taxes into spending on non-innovative and arguably nonproductive health and social services, yet they will improve lives.

Just as John Howard’s outsourced employment industry at the turn of the century made multi-millionaires out of clever operators such as Kevin Rudd’s wife Therese Rein, who collected government cash for each person placed in employment, the same is happening in health.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s desire for “innovation” will provide no job growth soon and will likely remain the domain of small, specialist businesses.

“There will need to be some adjustment,” says labour expert Professor Jeff Borland, from Melbourne University, referring to how the nation responds to growth in health and social services.

“Either we raise taxes or we need to spend less on other items, or else we need to slow the rate of spending on those items. I guess that is what a lot of the issues in the intergenerational reports and the current budget are to some degree about.”

Overall, the move to white-collar jobs is not only out of necessity but choice.

In Randstad recruiting agency’s 2016 survey of companies or organisations where Australians would most like to work, the top three preferences are airline or aviation related: Virgin, Qantas and BAE Systems, followed by the Seven Network and the ABC.

Apart from BAE Systems, which makes hi-tech parts for jets and drones, the only manufacturers listed among the top 20 are food-related: Nestle, Mondelez and Coca-Cola Amatil.

Workers’ high regard for airline jobs appears to be based on powerful branding, a perception of strong management, opportunity for advancement and a certain amount of associated glamour.

Those surveyed identified good salary, job security and a pleasant work environment ahead of a convenient work location, suggesting people are prepared to migrate to good jobs.

The second most attractive sector is FMCG, or fast-moving consumer goods, which covers a vast array of short shelf-life products. Most of the sought jobs are in accounts, supply and sales.

Government jobs are the next most desired, followed by media.

The Department of Defence, the Australian Federal Police and Border Protection rated top three for providing the best training, job security and career progression.

Defence told News Corp Australia opportunities would come with recruiting drives.  “Currently, the ADF paid strength is approximately 58,600,” said a spokesperson. “As identified in the Defence White Paper, this will increase to around 62,400 over the next decade.”  The public service side of Defence has 17,500 employees, and is looking for 800 new positions in intelligence, space and cyber security.

The overwhelming picture is of a workforce that is switching collar from blue to white.

“That’s exactly what’s happening,” says Jeff Borland, “but it’s not something of recent origin.

“Changes in the labour market where some people are displaced has been continuous. It’s not to minimise the people who are adversely affected and suffer because of it, but people have been forced to adjust for quite a while.”

One of the hardest hit rural cities is Townsville, hurt by the mining decline.

The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) says the town can survive and grow by capitalising on “public administration, health, education and tourism”.

Given all these sectors — excluding tourism — are government-reliant, this sounds like the pillars of a welfare town. But what can they, and other struggling rural towns, do?

New migrants are not taking up the opportunity to head to rural areas, which have faster ageing populations than cities. That makes sense, given the lack of job opportunity. However, the RAI’s chief executive officer Jack Archer argues that young, skilled migrants can “offer population stability and build diversity in these local communities”.

Even though the RAI doesn’t specify what migrants should do once they get there, unless filling existing vacancies, the argument that without new blood rural towns can’t recalibrate and find new ways forward seems logical.

Traditional Aussie manufacturing is not the answer. Heavy transport, metal products, clothing and footwear are gone or going. Food manufacture remains strong, but we sell mostly to ourselves rather than trading it.

In South Australia, the coming of the subs is being seen as a trade-off for the death of Holden. But is it right to see it that way?  “It may be a swap in ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) employment numbers if they are in the same category, but not in terms of workers,” says Professor Borland.

“That would depend on whether the auto workers have the skills or seek to be retrained. I don’t think you can assume workers that get displaced from motor vehicles will move straight into submarines.”

Therefore, the political spin about subs saving SA jobs is just that. Skilled workers may come from other states to fill the vacancies.

People who hold jobs in mining and agriculture should stay put if they can — the industries will sustain current employee numbers but will not grow in the coming five years, or possibly ever again.


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 August, 2016

School students propagandized about "alternative" sexual behaviour

A new sex education guide being promoted by the research institute behind the Safe Schools program provides ­students with explicit descriptions of more than a dozen sexual activities.

La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society this month launched Transmission, a film with related educational activities that introduces its Year 10 audience to a range of highly sexualised terms that have not previously been canvassed in sex education curriculums.

The resource is written by the centre’s Pamela Blackman, a former Department of Education and Training employee who has written or consulted on a range of sex education resources endorsed by the Victorian government.

While the resource is centred on a film about HIV and sexually transmitted infections which was partly funded with a $15,200 grant from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, one of the accompanying activities focuses on sexual pleasure.

In one classroom activity, students are asked to consider a list of 20 ways of “engaging in sexual pleasure” to determine which ­activities they “think might be okay”. They are then asked to sort each sex act by their level of ­comfort.

Ms Blackman acknowledges in the explanatory notes that the exercise might prove confronting for teachers and students.

“Sexual activity, for those ready to engage in it, should be a good experience, not an experience full of fear and guilt,” she writes. “I think it’s important to recognise that sexual activity is pleasurable as well as normal.”

A focus on pleasure in addition to risk appears to be an emerging development in sex education.

As is the widespread acceptance that not all students identify as heterosexual.

Research released by the University of South Australia earlier this year revealed that students wanted less repetition of the ­biological aspects of human sexuality in their sex education classes and more “explicit and accurate” information about intimacy, sexual pleasure and love.

The report, “It is not all About Sex: Young people’s views about sexuality and relationship education’’, claimed that boys in ­particular wanted more information about how to have sex, different types of sexual acts and pornog­raphy.

Those findings contrast ­heavily with research done by the La Trobe centre that surveyed secondary school teachers on the same topic. The accompanying report, co-written by Ms Blackman and ­released in 2011, found that the pleasure of sexual behaviour was taught by less than half the teachers surveyed.

It pointed out that most sex education classes focused on fact-based topics around reproduction, birth control, HIV/STIs, safe sex as well as managing peer pressure, forming healthy relationships and decision-making around sexual activity. Abstinence remains a key theme.

The explicit nature of the centre’s latest resource has been questioned by Australian Catholic University’s senior research fellow Kevin Donnelly.

Among the handouts provided to students is a list of sexual terms including “analingus”, also known as “rimming” and “scissoring”.

“Penetrative sex” is ­described as “when a penis or ­object is inserted into the vagina or anus”.

“Most parents and teachers would feel they’ve really gone overboard with this,” Dr Don­nelly said.

“The reality is the pressure is on young people to be sexually explicit and adventurous already but that doesn’t mean we have to endorse that by what we teach.”

Family Voice Australia ­national policy officer Damian Wyld said that many 15 and 16-year-olds had not engaged in sexual activity and classroom activities like this could be ­distressing.

“The Andrews government should place parents’ minds at ease by immediately ruling out any use of this program,’’ he said.

A spokeswoman for Victorian Education Minister James ­Merlino would not comment on whether there were plans to ­endorse the resource, saying only that it was not part of the department’s resources.

The La Trobe centre and Ms Blackman declined to comment.


PM warns Australians on taxes, services

Australians will face higher taxes, fewer government services and a $100 billion-plus national debt blow-out if the coalition's budget savings measures are blocked, the prime minister warns.

Malcolm Turnbull was discussing the "very big" budget challenge ahead, after new modelling by Deloitte Access Economics pointed to the risk posed by underperforming economic growth and failure to repair the budget deficit.

"There is no question that the debt could blow out by $100 billion or more if the parliament is not prepared to face up to reality and deal with this budget challenge," he told radio 3AW radio on Friday.

The analysis conducted for The Australian considers the impact of Treasury predictions the pace of economic growth will return to pre-2009 pace are wrong and that the government is unable to get its savings measures through the Senate.

"Consistently since 2011, Australia has budgeted that things wouldn't get worse in China and that there would be enough bipartisanship to pass things in the Senate," Deloitte Access partner Chris Richardson said on Friday.

"In practice, neither of those two things has come to pass and the risk is that it stays that way."

Mr Turnbull warned there would be repercussions for Australians.  "It means they won't have the government services in the future that they have today," he said.  "It means the high taxes they pay today will be even higher in the future. "It means governments won't have the ability to fund the social services, the schools, the hospitals, the roads, the public transport."

The coalition continues to pressure Labor to back its measures when parliament resumes on August 30, when the government plans to introduce an omnibus bill covering $6.5 billion in savings.

Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne says the savings include policy decisions Opposition Leader Bill Shorten took to the July federal election. "So it's just the height of hypocrisy for Bill Shorten to now be playing ducks and drakes and saying he may not support that bill when they're Labor's own savings measures," he told Nine Network.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese accused the government of playing politics. "We haven't seen the bill," he said.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann admitted the 2016/17 budget outlook would be different if the savings don't eventuate and growth is lower than anticipated.

"But of course the government is committed to keep passing our savings measures through the parliament," he told Sky News. "We certainly call on, in particular the Labor party, and every party represented in the parliament to work with us."


Coal makes a comeback

Less than a year after the coal industry was declared to be in terminal decline, the fossil fuel has staged its steepest price rally in over half a decade, making it one of the hottest major commodities.

Cargo prices for Australian thermal coal from its Newcastle terminal, seen as the Asian benchmark, have soared over 35 per cent since mid-June to more than one-year highs of almost $US70 a tonne, pushed by surprise increases in Chinese imports.

"Coal markets, after five years of declining prices, appear to have found a bottom in the first quarter," Sydney-based Whitehaven Coal said on Thursday, as its shares hit a three-year high on the release of its annual results.

"Reasons for the increase in prices include mine closures in Indonesia, United States and Australia and policy change by Chinese authorities," Whitehaven said, adding it was confident that coal prices will rise.

China has limited its coal production to 276 days a year, which cut its output by 16 per cent, and provided funding to assist coal miners to exit the industry and shut down mines, Whitehaven explained.

Goldman Sachs, reversing a gloomy outlook it issued last September, said this week restrictions on domestic production by Chinese regulators had turned coal "into one of the best performing commodities so far this year."

Global mining companies like Glencore and Anglo American, but also more regional players like Whitehaven and Thailand's Banpu, are reaping the benefits. All four have seen their shares rise sharply.

Banpu, which operates several export mines across Asia-Pacific, said this week that it expects to sell its 2016 coal supplies at an average price of over $US50 a tonne, up from a previous target of $US47 to $US48 per tonne.

The price recovery is an unexpected boon for miners, who were hit hard by a years-long downturn, and stands in sharp contrast to previous calls by Goldman and the International Energy Agency (IEA), who said last year that coal was in terminal decline.

As a result of China's surprise move, Goldman said there was now "support (for) global prices for the foreseeable future."  The bank raised its three, six and 12 month price forecasts to $US65/$US62/$US60 per tonne for Newcastle coal, up as much as 38 per cent from its previous outlook.

Australian mines the big winners

Coal has also been getting support from Asian industrial powerhouses Japan and South Korea, while demand remains firm in India, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Japan and South Korea have both said they want to expand future coal imports while reducing more expensive imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

China's power consumption has also risen against expectations, jumping 8.2 per cent from a year ago in July to reach 552.3 billion kilowatt hours.

While almost all thermal coal miners were hit by the previous price decline, and most shut or sold assets, those left with the best assets now stand to benefit from the rebound.

And the biggest winners are those with mines in Australia, thanks to the high average quality of its coal.

Whitehaven said it was confident its high quality coal will continue to attract a premium price.

Shares of Anglo American, which is a major thermal coal producer with six mines in Queensland and NSW, have also recovered from record lows earlier this year.

Glencore, the world's biggest thermal coal exporter with huge local operations here, has seen its shares soar from around 70 pence early this year to nearly £2.


A racist who was distraught to be called a racist

She seemed to think that it was reasonable to fight racial discrimination by discriminating racially

Cindy Prior, 49, has bittersweet memories of her childhood in a loving family with nine brothers and sisters.

Her parents were Aboriginal, members of the Noongar tribe. They enrolled her in a primary school in Bunbury, Western Australia, and at a high school in the mining town of Kalgoorlie.

In her affidavit in a Racial Discrimination Act section 18C case she brought against Queensland University of Technology students, from whom she is seeking $250,000 in damages, Prior describes formative experiences and events in her life, including racism, before her employment as an administrative officer in QUT’s indigenous-only Oodgeroo Unit in Brisbane.

Her school years, she recalls, were a “challenging time for me and other Aboriginal students due to the perception and racist attitudes of non-indigenous students and some teachers towards us”. “When I started school I made friends with both white and Aboriginal students. Racism in the playground and in the class was a daily occurrence, but surrounded by my big cousins and sister, we stuck up for each other and supported each other. I was above average in all of my classes but as I looked around there were no Aboriginal students in any of my (high school) classes and I deliberately began to fail so that I could be in the same classes as them. I was a quiet, well-liked ­student and had made friends with both white and Aboriginal ­people.”

Prior, who left at the end of Year 10, describes an “extremely disadvantaged” upbringing of her parents. She says her parents were restricted from going to school (except for mission schools) ­because of segregation policies.

Prior worked in a Kalgoorlie shop. Married at 23, she had three children. She says she became sole carer of her now adult children ­following the 2014 death in a car accident of their father, whom she had divorced. She wanted to do an arts degree majoring in human rights, ethics and Australian studies until illness scotched those plans.

At the heart of her affidavit is the reason for it being sworn in the first place: “the 28 May 2013 incident”, the catalyst for her action against the students in an ongoing case that The Weekend Australian has been reporting since it burst into public consciousness in February this year. It is this vexing case that has begun a public debate about 18C’s impact on free speech, posing a challenge for Malcolm Turnbull as he comes under growing pressure to make good on promises he had quietly made to fellow parliamentarians to reform 18C if he replaced Tony Abbott as prime minister. The QUT case is being cited by ­reform-minded federal Liberal politicians, including Abbott, James Paterson, Tim Wilson and Cory Bernardi, along with independent conservatives such as Bob Day and David Leyonhjelm.

The case confounds some of the arguments of supporters of 18C because, on what is known from public filings and other material, it is still going three years later while causing significant financial, reputational and emotional cost to those caught in it and to taxpayers. The unanswered question is to what extent Prior’s family circumstances have contributed to her ­reliance on 18C against the students, reinforcing concerns of some that the legislative provision can be used to address past hurts and unrelated grievances.

Attorney-General ­George Brandis, a Queensland senator, has been conspicuous by his ­silence on the case and its implications for free speech as a result of 18C, which makes it unlawful for anyone to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” another person or group on the grounds of “race, colour or ethnicity”.

In the beginning, according to Prior, colleague Naomi Franks, a learning support officer in the uni, appeared “hesitant and uncertain” on May 28, 2013. She was worried as she told Prior: “There are some people in the computer lab and I don’t think they’re indigenous. Love, you do it.”

Prior, who oversaw reception for the indigenous-only “safe space”, replied: “I’ll deal with it.’’ She says she saw “three young white men I did not recognise at all”, and to one of them, Alex Wood, a fee-paying student who had unknowingly entered the unit to try to access a computer, she asked: “Hi, are you indigenous?’’

Wood: “No, we’re not.’’

Prior: “Ah, this is the Oodgeroo Unit, it’s an indigenous space for indigenous students at QUT. There are other computer labs in the university you can use.’’

Prior says the students said nothing. They packed their gear. Prior had made it plain that they needed to go, however, she insists: “I didn’t ask them to leave because I didn’t want to embarrass them in a black space. They simply left and I thought that that was that.’’

She says she continued working. A few hours later an indigenous student went to her with concerns that comments had been posted to a Facebook site, called QUT Stalker Space, about the eviction of Wood and his two friends from the Oodgeroo Unit. She says there were tears in the unit as the comments were read by the indigenous staff and students.

Wood, in what he saw as a legitimate, uncontroversial exercise of free speech, had written: “Just got kicked out of the unsigned ­indigenous computer room. QUT (is) stopping segregation with segregation.”

Jackson Powell wrote sarcastically: “I wonder where the white supremacist computer lab is.”

One post that was obviously ­offensive — “ITT niggers” — came from a Facebook profile bearing the name of student Calum Thwaites, who had not been near the Oodgeroo Unit. He immediately reported to Facebook and QUT that the Facebook profile had never belonged to him; he would never write such words; and that someone had set him up as part of a student prank.

In her affidavit of 285 pages, including exhibits, earlier this year, Prior recalls: “I was terribly upset and angry. I dread the word ‘nigger’. It is the ultimate racist taunt.”

She and colleagues had printed and screenshot the thread, which was circulated to university management, including the unit’s ­director, Lee Hong, and Mary Kelly, the director of equity. One of Prior’s contacts in the Faculty of Law Project offered her a “safe space” and observed in an email: “I guess it just reinforces what we all know to be true for this place.”

Prior went home and downloaded the posts. She became more upset as she read some students expressing their opinions that an indigenous-only unit was unhelpful because it perpetuated inequality, and resulted in “chronic self-consciousness and feelings of inferiority for Aboriginal people”. She says she became anxious at work the next day. “I had barely slept.” The reference to “white ­supremacists” in the sarcastic post of Powell left her, she says, with a “visceral reaction”, and a “primal fear of images of white hoods and burning crosses”. She says she feared being physically assaulted “if word got out that I was the person” who had turned away Wood. She raised with five managers her security needs as “interim measures for our safety and students” including the activation of swipe-card access. She says she felt “at risk of imminent but unpredictable physical or verbal assault”.

Prior says she was “furious, distraught, upset and emotionally drained” after she had read that QUT academic Sharon Hayes had speculated in an online post that Prior could have breached regulations by questioning Wood and the other two students about whether they were indigenous. Prior went to a doctor and was medically certified as unfit for work. Her initial doctor wrote: “Cynthia feels unsafe and frightened to return to work.”

Ten days after the students walked into the Oodgeroo Unit, a second doctor issued a workers’ compensation certificate declaring her unfit for work due to “nightmares, fear and sweating”. Four days later, Prior, who has not returned to the unit in the three years since the incident, told QUT she would be taking the matter to the Human Rights Commission. She felt “disheartened and powerless” because the university and its vice-chancellor, Peter Coaldrake, had made public statements about the incident and directed new strategies, which did not go far enough in her view. She felt “the critical issue of how to get me back to work and feeling safe once again” was being avoided.

Prior says she was too stressed to meet Kelly at QUT so they met elsewhere, where the director of equity told her and a witness friend “there were only two or three comments that were clear-cut racist”; “you might wanna check out what racial vilification is before you jump in”; and “with the small amount of contact I’ve had with these students it is very clear that they were not racist”. Prior says she felt “physically sick and abandoned”; she “could not understand how or why the students had not already been suspended or disciplined”; and “felt I had been warned off” from taking it further.

On August 1, 2013, Prior described her anxiety and workplace fears to another doctor, who wrote she was “reporting extremely ­severe levels of depression and anxiety, and severe levels of stress”. A subsequent medical tribunal assessment concluded Prior was “not feeling good about her identity, her people, or her culture”, as she accepted the incident had ended her career.

After going in 2014 to the HRC with her formal complaint against seven students under the Racial Discrimination Act’s section 18C, Prior and her Brisbane solicitor, Susan Moriarty, prepared for confidential settlement talks, and commission-sponsored conciliation. The Weekend Australian has established that a number of students in the original legal action, helped by their parents in some cases, paid thousands of dollars to be released from the complaint.

The students strenuously denied being racists or expressing racist views, but before their ­careers had started they feared their reputations and job prospects would be destroyed by anything linking them to the mere ­accusation of racism. The three students left in the case — Wood, Powell and Thwaites, who also deny racism — were not told by the commission until shortly ­before a compulsory conciliation conference in August 2015 that they were accused of racial hatred and faced public naming and shaming. The three students had minimal funds and could not ­afford legal representation. Their lives have been disrupted by the threat of being effectively convicted of racism with all of its attendant ugliness.

The commission ruled last year there was no prospect of a resolution, resulting in the case being advanced to the Federal Circuit Court where the students are being represented pro bono by Tony Morris QC and Michael Henry, both of whom have taken a robust approach to Prior, QUT and the commission over their conduct, evidence and actions. This has led to HRC president Gillian Triggs appointing an external lawyer at taxpayers’ expense, Angus Stewart SC, to run an inquiry into allegations that the commission itself had breached the students’ human rights, with Triggs and her staff acting “disgracefully” — claims they deny.

For Prior, who faces potentially massive orders for legal costs as Federal Circuit Court judge ­Michael Jarrett prepares to rule on whether her action under section 18C should be dismissed, and her lawyers, the case is black and white. But whatever the hurt and offence she insists she felt in late May 2013 over some Facebook posts, public responses to the subsequent 18C legal action and its demand for $250,000 in damages from the students have been significantly more frank and unsympathetic. Many people believe the students were the victims of ­racism because of their eviction.

The words “free speech” are not a feature of Prior’s affidavit, but in the last paragraph she says: “I am deeply disappointed that my private case has now become public, and I have been publicly vilified by people I don’t even know or who know me, or who don’t know the full story which led to the ending of my career at QUT. Whilst I desperately wanted to return to work it became clear each day that passed that this might never happen. I used to check my email every day to hear from somebody until in the end I just gave up.”


Direct interference: Cape York Academy’s good work under threat

When Cape York Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson first published his small book Our Right to Take Responsibility in the late 1990s it was immediately welcomed by thoughtful conservatives as a way out of the blind gully of calls for symbolic apologies that followed the Stolen Generations debate and the white middle-class orgy of moral superiority that was the “sorry walk” across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2000.

Pearson has expanded his intellectual output into many other spheres of black and white life since that first pamphlet, but he has remained steadfastly wedded to the responsibility agenda. This is the agenda he and his Cape York Academy give practical shape to in the Queensland primary schools of Aurukun, Coen and Hope Vale, run as partnerships between the CYA under Pearson’s “Good to Great Schools” banner and the Queensland Department of Education and Training.

The CYA also manages Djarragun College, south of Cairns, which provides quality education up to Year 12 for day students and boarders from the Cape.

So when the Queensland DET shut the Aurukun school in May over incidents that involved intimidation of young teachers and two attempts to steal the school principal’s car this was a matter that looked very different to politicians in Brisbane compared with the point of view of the people on the Cape who have toiled to put flesh on the bones of the responsibilities agenda.

Pearson, his supporters and the school community are under siege from local critics, rival family groups who have always opposed the Pearson clan, the DET, older educators who disapprove of the school’s teaching methods and the Left of the Aboriginal lobby, which opposes the CYA’s focus on merit.

The CYA pulls together much of Pearson’s thinking on boarding schools and his work with mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest on GenerationOne, the Australian Employment Covenant. So not only does the CYA attempt to imbue children of the Cape with a sense that their community is involved in, and taking responsibility for, the education of its children, it then builds on Pearson’s work with boarding schools around the state to make sure those kids who show promise go on to a mainstream education up to Year 12.

Some of those who don’t make boarding school are channelled into work in projects around the country under GenerationOne, which seeks to place 50,000 indigenous people in jobs in partnership with big business and the federal government under a deal negotiated in 2008.

The boarding school side of the plan is not unlike the thinking behind Andrew Penfold’s Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, which is backed by some of Australia’s most powerful businesses, to make sure bright Aboriginal kids get the same sort of opportunities bright white children often take for granted.
Aurukun principal Scott Fatnowna and his students are back at school after it was temporarily closed. Picture: Brian Cassey

Aurukun principal Scott Fatnowna and his students are back at school after it was temporarily closed. Picture: Brian Cassey

While Pearson’s thoughts on sending children from remote areas to boarding schools were initially met with howls from the Left about another Stolen Generation, such schemes have now achieved wide acceptance. And, of course, there is a real racism in the culture of low expectations that says poor Aboriginal children should not have the same opportunities through scholarships to prestigious boarding schools as poor white children.

Pearson himself left home as a child on a scholarship to board and study in Brisbane at the prestigious St Peters Lutheran College. He is well aware many of those who go on to boarding school will leave the Cape forever, but also knows any hope of creating a generation of new leaders depends on breaking free of the culture that dominated Cape education for most of the 20th century.

Aurukun is a troubled place and has been throughout its history since it was founded as a mission by the Presbyterian Church in 1904. The community has long been plagued by substance abuse and introduced an alcohol management plan in 2009. It is a community in which 10 per cent of all residents are on parole.

Yet despite the furore over Aurukun since the school’s May closure, the results being achieved under Pearson’s favoured Direct Instruction teaching model are good. Direct Instruction involves a traditional “chalk and talk” approach by a teacher at the front of a classroom focusing on literacy and numeracy. Older readers who remember rote learning from their own primary school days will be familiar with the concept.

A review of the Aurukun school commissioned by the state government after the closure and released early last month made 27 recommendations, including the reintroduction of high school years 7 and 8, and the introduction of more national curriculum work in the final two years of primary, years 5 and 6. The state government says all 27 measures will be adopted, and the school reopened last month. Teacher numbers are up from 19 at the start of the year to 26 in term three. Full-time enrolment at the start of the year was at 208, though attendance rates vary and are sitting at about 130 to 140.

Recent disruptions aside, the school at Aurukun has cause to be optimistic. When the University of Melbourne’s John Hattie, the doyen of educational standards measurement in Australia, examined National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy results for Aurukun earlier this year, he was impressed with the school’s achievements, which show Year 3 reading and numeracy improving at a faster rate than the national average.

Said Hattie in June: “The program is truly making a difference; the sobering news is that the students have to make three-plus years’ growth in a year to catch up. There is more to do, but the nay-sayers want to destroy an evidence-based program because it has not performed magic.”

As CYA former manager Danielle Toon, now a Melbourne-based education researcher, points out, these children are unlikely to be getting the encouragement at home about their education that they might expect from their parents if they lived in Brisbane.

One of the more vocal critics of Pearson and Direct Instruction since the Aurukun closure, Aboriginal educator Chris Sarra, began his career as a principal in an area of Queensland, Cherbourg, that more closely resembles what most Australians would recognise as a traditional country town than the sometimes vicious life of the old Cape mission towns.

One of the most experienced high school principals in Australia and the head of Pearson’s Djarragun school, Don Anderson, has known Sarra for years and considers him a friend. He supports Sarra’s “stronger, smarter” classroom strategies for indigenous children but believes the kids Sarra designs his programs for are more like those from an underprivileged outer suburban school than the traumatised kids at Pearson’s primary schools.

Anderson, 62, is scathing of what many see as bureaucratic “arse protection” and believes this is threatening to undo some of the good work at Aurukun.

“Listen, I have been working with Aboriginal kids for decades. What the department does not realise is these kids come from a war zone and for the first time in my life they are making real progress. Just as Noel has managed to put the primary education, boarding schools and employment covenant together and it is paying off, along comes a bunch of bureaucrats wanting more paperwork. They do not give a stuff about the kids,” Anderson says. He is referring to the recent review and moves by the bureaucracy to impose workplace health and safety changes at the Aurukun school.

As with any community, educational results in Aurukun depend on diligent parenting. Kerrie Tamwoy, a senior Wik woman who has a nine-year-old son, Gerald, at the Aurukun school and children at university and boarding school in Brisbane, is clear. “The Aurukun school is being scapegoated,” she tells Inquirer. “I have been happy with the school for the last couple of years. A lot of what has happened is a law-and-order issue. The kids who stole the principal’s car are just not being engaged with anything by their parents. What are the parents doing, really, when young teenage kids are out on the street all night?”

Tamwoy is a strong supporter of Direct Instruction and is proud of the way Aurukun school has managed to reinforce Wik values while focusing tightly on educational basics. “I have seen the results of Direct Instruction in the children. Not only with my own children. I have seen the confidence the children have when they are doing their work.”

Tamwoy, like most Cape parents, many in the education bureaucracy, at the CYA and inside the teachers union, suspects the government has an agenda to gut the CYA partnership and take back control of the Cape’s schools. It is feared the violence of a few youths who are unemployed and not in the education system is being used as a Trojan Horse to this end.

State Education Minister Kate Jones and her department director-general, Jim Watterston, insist this is not true and point to concerns about teacher safety and other workplace practices as the reason for their recent interference. But despite their protests to the contrary, there is strong evidence the bureaucracy is winding back Direct Instruction and the role of the CYA as a partner in the Aurukun school.

A statement by the Wik Women’s Group, which supports the school, was released on August 4. The women complain that the extended school day at Aurukun has been cut back from a finish time of 4pm to 2.30pm. Toon says the extended day has been crucial in allowing the school’s children to catch up to educational levels in mainstream Australia.

“The extended school day en­abled the kids to receive the literacy and numeracy hours needed to accelerate progress while still receiving high-quality, teacher-led instruction in other areas of the national curriculum,” Toon said this month.

The Wik women complain that DI also is being cut back, and not just in the last two years of primary school as the department had suggested following the mid-year review. Says Toon: “DI now only goes until lunchtime (as opposed to 2.30pm) and children who are years behind are missing out on crucial instruction time to catch up. I can confirm they have cut back DI so far this term across all years.”

The original memorandum of understanding between the CYA and the DET signed in 2009 committed the state to work in partnership with the CYA to imple­ment the academy’s model, including DI programs, “to the fullest extent and highest fidelity to facilitate maximum outcomes’’.

The original executive principal (at the time Anderson) under the 2009 MOU was the linchpin, making decisions about academy schools based on advice from a subcommittee of equal CYA and DET representatives who were “philosophically aligned to the academy”. A critical component was the participation of the CYA (Pearson or his delegate) in the recruitment and selection of teachers. Under recent negotiations related to the reopening of the school, that all goes by the wayside and the assistant regional director or deputy director-general will make all decisions in relation to the school.

The recent government review says on page 7: “DET to develop and oversee a school improvement action plan responding to the recommendations of this review.” There is no mention of doing this in partnership with the CYA. The review also says DET will “strengthen its support for the governance and day-to-day operation of the school, with the CYA contracted to provide professional development, curriculum and pedagogy licensing and design”. The academy quite reasonably sees this as relegation to the status of service provider rather than the equal part­nership envisaged in the original MOU with the Bligh Labor government.

Jones does not seem keen to move too far from the Pearson agenda, but it is unclear if she is on the same page as her DG. For instance, Jones is completely committed to the CYA partnership: “There is good work happening in ‘Good to Great’ (Pearson’s education program for CYA),” she tells Inquirer.

But she cites two audits conducted before her time as minister, the first in 2014 and the second the following year, which found certain matters constituted high risk in terms of the department’s legal obligations.

“Some of these go to the basics of how you run a school,” she says. “Like making sure you have a hazardous chemicals register, that you actually do have a workplace health and safety committee, and that you undertake annual safety assessments. All those sorts of things every school in Queensland is required to do.”

Jones does not allege any financial impropriety but the view in the department is that payment records have not been maintained in sufficient detail. “The director-general has to ensure every school is meeting the requirements under the Workplace Health and Safety Act,” Jones says.

The DG has certain legal requirements under the act that Jones as minister has to respect, but she says she wants the community at Aurukun to know she supports the work of “Good to Great”.

She is also a supporter of what she calls Explicit Instruction, and cites the success of the DI school at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast. “There is a place for Direct Instruction,” she says. “It’s working in Hope Vale and Coen. If they keep direct instruction in place and put more support in place to have a broader curriculum we should also think very strongly about having more access to Wik language and culture.”

She is pleased with the NAPLAN analysis by Hattie but does express concern at the number of young teachers with little experience on staff at the school. Jones has set up a taskforce within the department to try to get more experienced teachers out to rural and remote Queensland.

But the problem in Aurukun with teachers is less about the classroom and more about living in the town. If young teachers spend their spare time locked up in their houses, too scared to get out and about in the community, this naturally breaks down trust with the locals. Watterston is more guarded than Jones when it comes to Aurukun. Asked about a comment he allegedly made at a private meeting about the department taking over the school, he told a parliamentary hearing late last month, “I am not aware the department ever relinquished control of the school.

“There has been no misunderstanding from my point of view that ‘Good to Great’ will be required and it is necessary that they play a role in that school going forward. The pedagogy and the curriculum that they have brought to the school, Direct Instruction and the program that they use, is one that we would like to continue with and that we see great merit in, in terms of building on the gains that those children have already made.”

But whatever the department and the minister say publicly in terms of their support for CYA’s reforms, it is clear any new MOU will be very different and will reduce CYA’s control of the venture. In other words, the government is taking away at least part of Pearson’s “right to take responsibility”.

Some see this all as no more than a power grab by Watterston, whom education insiders say has been more focused on building bureaucracy than fixing schools.

Originally from Western Australia, Watterston spoke at length to Inquirer about his thoughts on DI and the Aurukun school. He says the department wants the school’s children to go to boarding school, “but they need to be able to cope in an environment out of Aurukun. For some of those kids their experience out of Aurukun is very, very limited.”

This is why the department is offering the new years 7 and 8 option. Watterston says there are other options such as distance education for children beyond Year 8 who do not make it to boarding school.

“One of the issues in transitioning to boarding school, whether at Weipa or at Brisbane Boys Grammar, is that the kids are quickly exposed to a much wider variety of subjects than just literacy and numeracy.

“The Direct Instruction pedagogy is a really strong scaffolding … but you can’t take the Direct Instruction with you and when you move into the next phase of your education or when you move into employment.

“We need to make sure that in the upper years of primary and now in years 7 and 8 we start developing some capacity for kids to be able to apply those skills in an open environment.”

He says the whole country is struggling in indigenous education but Queensland is doing the best, even though there is a long way to go. He thinks the DI results in Coen and Hope Vale are better than in Aurukun because there is more community buy-in. And he believes the lack of secondary education in Aurukun does leave too many kids “with idle hands”.

“There needs to be a pathway for those kids to give them a way forward for later in life,” Watterston says. “We have to make sure we are giving kids second, third, fourth and 10th chances in life, and I don’t think we have been doing that in Aurukun.”

He says part of the problem is the small-P politics of previous educators in Aurukun. People need to get over the educational politics and concentrate on what is best for the children.

Asked specifically about critics who claim he has an agenda to take the CYA schools back under the department, he says the schools were and always have been state schools.

“I am being deliberately misrepresented. It’s my role and moral objective to make sure that every single kid in Queensland gets the best opportunities from the education system that they can get. I am really committed to making sure that Aurukun is the best school it can be.

“I don’t care how much people want to debate this review that we had … that was conducted by 11 professional, high-performing educators who have got credibility who say that what’s going on in Aurukun could be done better. We are not raking over the coals of history. We want to make it better.”

It is not only political and educational resistance that threatens Pearson’s responsibilities agenda at Aurukun. As usual on the Cape, family and local rivalries fester and in most disputes Pearson and his brother Gerhardt manage to attract more than their fair share of critics.

Aurukun’s former mayor Neville Pootchemunka was a big supporter, but he died in April 2012. His successor, long-term health worker Dereck Walpo, is not a supporter of the CYA or DI and has made his position clear to the state government. Pearson still has support from former deputy mayor Phyllis Yunkaporta and the powerful Wik Women’s Group.

Walpo has made it known he supports a return to a traditional secondary school in Aurukun. Pearson refused to be interviewed for this piece and is believed to be concerned about alienating Watterston or the mayor.

Like Walpo, there are those in the Queensland education system who agree the lack of a secondary school option has left those without the ability to make the boarding school transition with little real education option.

Some of Pearson’s critics, but especially former state teachers union secretary Ian Mackie, believe this is at the core of his problems. Yet Pearson did initially try to make secondary school work, and does use the employment covenant to find work for kids who will never make boarding school. And the CYA has no issue with the state system expanding its footprint into secondary school in Aurukun.

There is no doubt the state’s decision to move Year 7 from primary to high school last year as Queensland joined the rest of the country in having a kindy year and 13 years of schooling has hurt the CYA in Aurukun this year as the first year of CYA primary has graduated. This change has left a gap for kids who do not go on to boarding school.

Mackie, who was also the state’s assistant director-general for indigenous education and director of the Western Cape College in Weipa, agrees this is a problem.

“I don’t see Direct Instruction as the problem at Aurukun,” he says. “The central problem is the lack of a secondary school.

“That is where Noel Pearson got caught up in a perfect storm. At the same time they moved grade seven to secondary and Noel launched, they now leave at 12 and have no school.

“Then they are supposed to go off to boarding school, and a number do succeed. But what of those who don’t go boarding? In my day, two-thirds would have remained (at school) to 15.

“This (lack of secondary schooling) developed recently into the gang-style behaviour and it was something the community could not keep a lid on. The state went along with this (ditching secondary) because it was held over a barrel by the commonwealth.

“First under Jenny Macklin and Labor, and then under (Tony) Abbott, Noel cultivated high-level relationships and they supported his plans. Most of the funding in this area comes from the commonwealth.

“What is required for these kids who don’t go to boarding school is a mapping back of the job opportunities on the Cape. They need to provide an education for these opportunities, of which there are many. They will always need teacher aides, nurse’s aides, low-level clerical jobs, land management jobs and tradies.

“There is a real fourth estate question here. The partnership model was only meant to last a decade. Why aren’t more serious questions being asked?”

Another former senior education bureaucrat, who asked not to be named, also thought there should be the option of a more practical secondary education after Year 8 for children not equipped for boarding school. This would need a real focus on vocational education and training.

But he supports DI: “When Noel came to see me about his plans seven or eight years ago the model of education being used at the time did not seem to be delivering for the kids there. Why not give something else a chance to succeed?

“My opinion is it has been reasonably successful and last year it was delivering education better than it had been. There might be a case for transitioning to a more typical curriculum in the two years ahead of high school. But the determinant in Aurukun is social disadvantage.

“My understanding is the minister and the Premier want to work with Noel Pearson to get the school back on track. I am not sure that is the view of the director-general. I think he wants to get control over the school back.

“Have a look at the expansion of the senior bureaucracy under this DG and you will see what’s going on. He has surrounded himself with a little kingdom and in that is a classic bureaucrat.”

Back up 18 years and Pearson was a columnist for me at Brisbane’s The Courier-Mail. He did not know the then premier, Peter Beattie, and wanted to talk to the Labor leader about his ideas on welfare reform.

I introduced them. We listened to Pearson for more than an hour. Beattie was mesmerised.

His first response was that he wanted to help. His second showed a wisdom that probably explains the success of his long term as premier. Beattie wanted Pearson to repeat everything he had just said for the director-general of health right away.

“Because, mate, no matter how much I or the media support you, it is the bureaucracy that will undermine this if it is not onside. They will kill any reform they see as against their interests,” Beattie said.

Late last month, the former premier took up the theme again in the context of Aurukun. “We used to encourage the DGs to maintain personal relationships with the remote communities,” he said. “The real problem at the time we began engaging with Noel was that no one really understood these communities, which were well over a thousand miles away.

“The whole thing about change in the end, like the alcohol management plan we did, is that it is very difficult. There is a lot of division and not a lot of understanding of the issues in Brisbane. The principles that apply in the cities just don’t apply on those communities.

“Change does require a local partnership with direct engagement. Without that nothing works. One of the reasons policy failed for so long is we had a one-size-fits-all approach. These com­munities are as different from the Aboriginal communities on the fringes of provincial towns as chalk and cheese.”

Pearson must feel like he is stuck in the movie Groundhog Day. Having persuaded Beattie, signed the MOU with the CYA under Beattie’s successor Anna Bligh and then had to win over the subsequent Newman government, he is now back having to sell the merits of his venture all over again.

And while he is a controversial figure on the Cape, with many enemies on both sides of politics, there is no doubt he has succeeded at something the mainstream education system of a state department with 1600 schools has never been able to do. As Hattie says, Pearson’s NAPLAN improvements are real and he is being attacked for not producing a miracle.

Unfortunately, at Aurukun at least, the DET seems to have forgotten the lessons of its own history in a race back to a one-size-fits-all approach.

The last word goes to Djarragun’s passionate principal, Anderson. “The whole time I was executive principal at the Cape York Academy from 2009 I was used as cartilage by senior people in the education bureaucracy whose only aim was to prevent me doing what the then premier, Anna Bligh, had asked me to do.

“Every step forward was a fight.”


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 August, 2016

Critical time for parliament on economy:PM

Mal is right.  The debt keeps piling up due to unstoppable programs tracing back to the Rudd/Gillard years

Malcolm Turnbull has warned the nation risks falling to the back of the pack of leading economies if the new parliament fails to pass tough savings measures, saying it's a critical time for change.

The prime minister is set to deliver his first major economic address since the election in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Mr Turnbull will paint a bleak picture of the global economy saying it's more fragile than at any other time since the 2007 global financial crisis.

He'll warn protectionism and inward-looking policies are starting to gain a foothold as political divisions pick up on disenfranchised people feeling left behind by rapid economic changes.

"Political responses to this mood of disaffection can have the potential to destabilise global growth, perhaps even reversing some of the spectacular gains we have made over recent decades through open markets and free trade," he will say, adding job creation would counter the trend.

The prime minister will argue it's a critical period for the parliament.

"Nobody should underestimate the importance of this moment as a test of the capacity of our political system to make the right calls on the nation's behalf."

The government is set to introduce an omnibus bill amalgamating all the government savings Labor was prepared to support.

Mr Turnbull says the coalition is ready to take up Labor's offer of a more co-operative parliament - but it must bring an open mind and fiscal rationality to talks, and a pledge to back spending cuts already committed to.

"If we see this plan through over the next three years, I believe Australians will have every reason to approach the decades ahead as they do today -- confident, outward-looking, secure and self-assured.

"If, on the other hand, we falter in our plan to transition the economy, there is a real risk of Australia falling off the back of the pack of leading economies."


Bill Shorten kills hope of deal on $6bn budget savings

Bill Shorten is holding out against $6 billion in budget cuts he "banked” in Labor’s election platform only weeks ago, shattering talk of a consensus on fiscal repair as he blasts Malcolm Turnbull for trying to legislate the savings.

Labor prepared the ground to reject or amend the most controversial measures, including cuts to renewable energy funding and welfare programs, despite renewe­d calls for both major ­parties to find common ground to fix the nation’s $37bn deficit.

Scott Morrison accused the Opposition Leader of "budget sabotage” by questioning the plan for an omnibus bill to legislate government savings that were made clear during the election campaign and adopted in Labor’s alternative budget.

Mr Shorten came under pressure from environmental groups to block one of the biggest savings, a $1bn cut to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, while social service groups warned against cuts to welfare services.

The Opposition Leader accep­t­ed the savings in his election platform after telling voters during the campaign that he did not have a "magic wand” to reverse every Coalition spending cut, but yesterday he attacked the Prime Minister for proceeding with the savings.

"If he just expects Labor to dance to his tune and ignore our values and ignore our prior­ities, well, he’s got another thing coming,” Mr Shorten said.

"In a negotiation, it’s not a matter of he gets everything he wants and Labor and the people get none of what we think is ­important. Mr Turnbull’s got to come to the party and give up some of the things he thinks are important.”

The Labor approach rings the death knell for the government’s 10-year company tax cut, which has enough support on the Senate crossbench to enact only the first phase helping small business, rather than the full $48.7bn cut for companies of all sizes over a ­decade.

With the federal government’s net debt due to exceed $330bn this year, Deloitte Access Economics director Chris Richardson warned that an agreement on the $6bn savings package would be a test of parliament’s ability to ­confront bigger challenges.

"My assessment is that mere nanoseconds ago we had an ­election in which both sides agreed on something. And when both sides agree, it should be something that goes to parliament early,” Mr Richardson said.

"No, it does not solve Australia’s budget problems. It’s only a drop in a big bucket.

"But if we can’t do the simple things, how in hell is our finely balanced ­parliament going to achieve the harder things?”

Mr Turnbull used a major speech yesterday to call on Mr Shorten to vote in favour of the savings already assumed in Labor’s costings and to act on a promise to be "constructive” and "positive” on budget repair.

The government has released a list of the savings, including the renewable energy agency cut and the halt to the clean energy supplement paid to welfare recipients, on the grounds that they are ­"implicitly” supported by Labor, which did not reject them in its election campaign.

While the list includes 21 measures that save $6.5bn over four years, several measures including welfare debt recovery do not need legislation and cannot be rejected by Labor or the crossbench, which means the omnibus bill is likely to total about $6bn.

The Treasurer said it would be "budget sabotage” if Labor blocked the savings after adopting them in its election policy costings.

Mr Morrison rejected Mr Shorten’s complaint about the lack of consultation, arguing there was no need to consult on measures that had been widely debated and included in Labor’s own election documents.

"We see the $6.5bn as the starting point, the things of no dispute,” he told The Australian. "Frankly, Labor should pass them as a matter of honour based on what they said at the last election.

"They’ve already let us know their position on these measures, and that is that they support them.

"They are trying to play a clever game on this but there is no leave pass on it; if you put it in your ­numbers, you support it.”

Mr Shorten said Labor’s decis­ion on the savings would be "consistent” with what he said before the election.

When asked about the energy agency cut during the campaign, he said: "We’ve got to make tough decisions." But he avoided a firm commitment on whether Labor would accept or reject the saving.

Labor Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen sidestepped five questions on ABC Radio Nation­al yesterday on whether he would support the government in the cuts to the agency.

"I haven’t seen what cuts the government is proposing and Scott Morrison in particular has a track record of verballing the Labor Party,” Mr Bowen said.

Environmental groups called on Labor to block the cut while Greens leader Richard Di Natale attacked both major ­parties for agreeing to scale back the renewable energy sector.

Mr Turnbull has warned Labor against repeating history by backflipping on policies it previously proposed, reminding the oppos­ition of $5bn in savings on research and development tax concessions, higher-education efficiencies and the cancellation of tax cuts linked to the carbon tax that Labor took to the 2013 election but then voted against the following year.

The government is preparing an attack on Mr Shorten’s ­personal credibility if Labor adopts the same approach this year by ­rejecting the agency cut.

Mr Morrison met ­senator-elect Pauline Hanson on Monday to seek her support for budget repair, but the government is yet to secure crossbench ­support for the $6bn package. Ms Hanson’s colleague senator-elect Malcolm Roberts said yesterday the party had not made a decision on the measures.

Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm said the government was yet to consult him on the changes.


Gas crisis fears drive reform on CSG projects

Bans on coal-seam gas projects would be relaxed and a "use it or lose it" threat would force pipeline operators to keep gas flowing, under a national plan to prevent a predicted east-coast gas shortage that would cause prices to skyrocket.

State and federal energy ministers will tomorrow debate the ­biggest reforms to the national ­energy system in more than a ­decade, which would create an open and transparent market with two new gas trading hubs to eliminate the current practice of secret deals between suppliers and users.

The plan will be contentious, with NSW indicating it will ease restrictions on new coal-seam gas development, moving to case-by-case assessment of projects, while Victoria will remain the only state with a statewide moratorium.

Tomorrow’s meeting in Canberra, to be chaired by Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, comes amid fears that predicted gas price rises by the end of the decade could cost thousands of jobs.

The ministers will debate solutions to the gamut of problems facing the energy sector, including the integration of renewables with the existing power grid, which has caused disruption in South Australia, where prices for electricity have spiked to as much as $14,000 per megawatt hour when the state’s interconnector was not working.

The meeting will also be briefed on how to obtain emission reductions in the power-generation sector, which is the nation’s biggest source of carbon pollution.

Gas pricing figures for the largest industrial users prepared for the federal government show ­increases of up to 113 per cent in some parts of Queensland ­between 2002 and last year. The food and grocery lobby has warned that the forecast tripling of gas prices between 2014 and 2021 would cost its members $9.7 billion and result in 3000 job losses, "significantly larger than the output impacts of the carbon tax”.

Australia is on the brink of ­becoming the world’s largest ­exporter of liquefied natural gas, with an investment of $200bn into the sector during the past decade.

The shift toward exports, however, has fundamentally changed the domestic market and forced industry to compete increasingly against exporters for supply, pushing prices higher and shortening the length of contracts.

The case-by-case assessment of CSG projects for approval was a key recommendation of an ­Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s review of the gas industry. Adoption of the measure by all states except Victoria is expected to ignite a furious row with environmentalists.

Governments will argue that gas is a key transition fuel for the nation as it moves to cut greenhouse emissions and that its ­supply must be guaranteed.

The energy ministers’ plan will also threaten a showdown with pipeline operators, who could fight the new competition rules and the ultimate threat of a "use it or lose it" clause to force them to move gas through their pipes.

Under the plan, pipeline capac­ity would be subject to a daily ­auction to ensure capacity was not tied up in a bid to hamper competition. If this measure proves in­effective, ministers have reserved the right to force operators to make capacity available for others.

Ministers are expected to discuss changes to the so-called coverage criteria that regulate pricing for monopoly operators, a mechanism that has been criticised as ineffective in its aim of enforcing competitive pricing for users. The meeting will also support the establishment of two primary trading markets in eastern Australia: a northern hub based at Wallumbilla, in southwestern Queensland, and a southern hub in Victoria.

Ministers have already flagged support for that proposal, which was put forward to support a transition to a exchange-based trading market, improving pricing transparency and reducing barriers to participation.

The Grattan Institute’s energy program director, Tony Wood, told The Australian the gas market was "very tight” and would remain so without significant reform.

"There is no physical shortage of gas, but what we need are commercial agreements that will deliver gas where it’s needed, and we do need government seriously looking again at the supply of unconventional gas,” he said.

"A shift to a project-by-project assessment would potentially improve the supply of gas on the east coast of Australia, in particular it may open up new coal-seam gas developments currently stopped by a moratorium on such development.”

NSW had in place a moratorium on CSG mining, but now allows exploration in about 8 per cent of the state, compared with about two-thirds under the former Labor government. The change would allow mining outside that area as long as it met stringent environmental, social and economic standards.

The Baird government is preparing a new strategy for gas mining in the state, likely to be completed this year.

Victoria has a moratorium on unconventional gas exploration as it decides whether to implement a permanent ban, with a decision to be announced this month.

The most significant proposal is for the introduction of day-ahead auctions for pipeline capacity and the requirement for operators to publish financial information.

"Shippers and customers have complained among others to the ACCC that getting access to pipeline capacity is difficult if not impossible at times, and that those who hold that capacity do so inappropriately, that’s the problem,” Mr Wood said.


This is not about bigotry or homophobia. This is about fact

Should the Australian people, rather than politicians, decide if their children are subjected to compulsory gender theory

Primary school children should be educated with a rainbow world view where mothers or fathers might need to go to the doctor to change their gender.  That’s right kids, your daddy might actually be a lady who needs surgery to affirm this "reality”.

This is according to recent research on children as young as five conducted by Safe Schools advocates from Adelaide’s Flinders University.

We should not be surprised at this. After all, one of the most relentless political debates of the past six years has been about removing the gender requirement from the legal definition of marriage.

If gender matters not in marriage, how can it be a requirement for parenting? Never mind biology folks, that is irrelevant. And if gender matters not in parenting, we must not allow young minds to think it matters to them.

If we don’t join the dots between the rainbow political agenda for same-sex marriage and compulsory public funding of Safe Schools gender theory, then we should not be surprised when our kids come home confused.

This is not to make light of bullying. Bullying is serious and must not be tolerated. But we know that Safe Schools is not an anti-bullying program. It’s founder Roz Ward, a La Trobe University academic, has said same-sex marriage is about sending a message that "transphobia” and "homophobia” is unacceptable.

Surely bullying attitudes towards other students could and should be dealt with without telling the rest of the children in the class that their gender is fluid, as Safe Schools teaches. A child struggling with gender identity issues should be given all the love and professional support we, as a society, can muster.

But this doesn’t mean telling Year 1 kids that their mum really should be allowed to be a bloke. We have been told for years that changing the legal definition of marriage is a no brainer, that affects no one else except the loving couple.

The discourse has been emotional and it has been powerful. None of us want to see our fellow Australians suffering discrimination. But what many Australians do not realise is that all discrimination against gay couples was removed in 2008 when the Federal Parliament changed 84 laws to grant equality.
For marriage equality to be realised, Australia must lift its prohibition on commercial surrogacy and that will be ethically problematic, argues Lyle Shelton. (Pic: Getty)

Sure, it stopped short at changing the Marriage Act, but that is because equality was achieved without redefining marriage. The then Rudd Labor Government recognised that marriage was different and that gender complementarity was essential. Difference is not discrimination.

If gender is removed from marriage, it follows that same-gender married couples must be allowed to participate in the benefits of marriage equality. The United Nations — and common sense — recognises that marriage is a compound right to found and form a family.

Two people of the same gender are biologically incapable of producing children. That is not a statement of bigotry or homophobia, it is simply fact. For marriage equality to be realised, Australia must lift its prohibition on commercial surrogacy.

How else can a married gay couple have children? Surrogacy and anonymous sperm donation, in all its forms, is ethically problematic.

These technologies close the door on a child’s right to be raised and loved by both biological parents, wherever possible.

But unleashing a brave new world of assisted reproductive technology combined with the confusing influence of Safe Schools are not the only consequences of same-sex marriage. Already, we are seeing the rights of Australians who wish to hold on to the timeless definition of marriage being taken away.

Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous fell foul of Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commission simply for disseminating this view of marriage to Catholics. Such is the intolerance of those pushing the rainbow political agenda that they took legal action.

Overseas florists, bakers, wedding chapel owners and photographers have been sued, fined and hauled before courts for exercising their sincerely held beliefs about marriage.

If anyone thinks this is just for the ‘only in America file’, think again.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has said that if he was Prime Minister, business owners who exercised their freedom of conscience about marriage by declining to participate in same-sex weddings would be fined under state-based anti-discrimination law. This is chilling stuff.

All of this is reason why the Australian people should be allowed to decide this issue.

They — not politicians — should decide if their children are going to get compulsory gender theory education in schools. They should decide if children will be denied the right to be raised and loved by their biological parents. And the Australian people should decide if their fellow Australians will be fined for holding a dissident view of marriage.

A respectful plebiscite campaign, with equal public funding to both sides, is the best way to settle this long running community debate.


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 August, 2016

Brian Cox believes

The TV debate between climate skeptic Roberts and the credulous Prof. Cox

The key moment making headlines from the Q&A "Science Weak” episode — Brian Cox shows a temperature graph. Malcolm Roberts said the GISS temperature data has been "manipulated”. The Particle Physics Genius’ reply was argument from incredulity:  gushing, gratuitous astonishment spread over six attempts to form a complete sentence:

By who?    NASA?   The people the…  Hang on a minute.   No, no, see this is quite serious.    But can I just – just one thing. NASA, NASA…     The people that landed men on the moon?

In a blink of reductio ad absurbum, Cox sweeps aside a potentially useful discussion about thermometers near car-parks, airports, skyscrapers, and mysterious 1,200 km homogenized smoothing. In its place he gives cheap theatrical tricks. Follow his thought to its logical conclusion — everything that NASA does (or presumably will ever do) must be 100% correct. NASA becomes an apostle of the holy order. He treats the brand name as untouchable, but NASA is not just Neil Armstrong and a Big Step, it’s an agency with 17,000 employees. But hey, none of them have ever produced a manipulated graph.

Since experts matter (so Cox tells us) let’s ask the experts — like say, Buzz Aldrin, Charles Duke and Harrison Schmitt — three guys who actually walked on the moon, or another 47 scientists and astronauts that helped them get there.  They’re all skeptical. They wrote to NASA to protest at the lax standards of GISS:

"We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.”

Walter Cunningham circled the moon on Apollo 7,  and as one of the men who helped earn NASA it’s brand name, he now says trust in NASA and science has been abused.

Then there are a guys like Roy Spencer and John Christie who didn’t just work at NASA, they won prizes there — and in climate research. To this day, in an enduring mystery GISS (the Goddard Institute of Space Studies) doesn’t use satellites to measure temperatures, but Spencer and Christie do. Using Cox logic, these guys outrank him, he ought be rushing to copy their views… but they are skeptics. In the last 20 years the UAH graph looks quite different to the GISS graph — though it’s more true to say that even the GISS graphs look different to the GISS graphs, as they transform year after year. Amazing how the thermometer readings are still changing 30 years later. (BTW, even the pause is there in the UAH graph. Thanks Ken. Not that it matters whether it still is — the models were already proven wrong).

Things got so far from a science discussion Cox even asked Malcolm Roberts if he believed that "men landed on the moon”. Cox was either fishing for irrelevant ad hominem attack points or it suggests that Cox has read  more on climate psychology than on the climate. Being a particle physics guy perhaps he was fooled by studies with only ten anonymous internet responses. Psychology is a bit outside his expertise.

Cox takes on the role of conversation vandal (with Lily-the-future-PhD-in-eco-something as the backup "the debate is over”). He dumps logical fallacies in, trades on his own media gloss and does his best to stop an open-minded, rational discussion. The ABC fosters this sort of interaction, like a twitter conversation with cameras. Linda Burnley’s "proof” was that people shouldn’t go swimming at Maroubra in August. Like that’s meaningful. (Poms have been coming to Perth and swimming here in July since forever…) Neither Cox, Jones, Hunt or Lily scoff or laugh at that comment. They could’ve done the full Scoff-Scorn and Riotous-Laughs, but …meh… wrong target.

One day Cox will understand cause and effect:

Here’s the most important point in the whole last twenty years of debate — credit to Malcolm Roberts for hammering it home. We need empirical evidence, and we need "cause and effect” links.  So here is Cox finally pressed to give his Big Empirical Evidence declaring that climate models are useful:

"Let me just – all right, I’ll just give you one snapshot. So, I took a snapshot of the different bits of evidence for 2015. So global ocean heat content highest on record in 2015; global sea level highest on record in 2015, 70 millimetres higher than that observed in 1993; global surface temperature highest on record, El Nino something like 10 to 40% contribution to that; tropical cyclones well above average overall, as you said and even the anecdotal data. …

…. So the point is you go evidence, evidence, evidence, arctic continue warm, sea ice extent low, artic land surface temperature in 2015, 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit above 1981’s 210 average.

 All of that would happen no matter what caused the warming. Cox hasn’t even thought this one through at a baby basic level. If the solar wind changed clouds and warmed the world, the seas also rise, the ice also melts, blah blah blah. Same for magnetic fields changing cloud nucleation. Same for UV solar cycle changes shifting jet streams and altering cloud formation.

O’but it’s hot says Cox. It’s hot!  Yet correlation is not causation. It’s fallacy after fallacy.

And some people call this man a "renown” scientist. Embarrassing.


World will start COOLING DOWN in 2017, claims Australian climate change expert

ONE of the world's leading climate change experts claims to have discovered mathematical anomalies which effectively 'disprove' global warming

Dr David Evans, a former climate modeller for the Australian  Government’s  Greenhouse Office, says global warming predictions have been vastly exaggerated in error.

The academic, from Perth, Australia, who has passed six degrees in applied mathematics, has analysed complex mathematical assumptions widely used to predict climate change and is predicting world temperature will stagnate until 2017 before cooling, with a 'mini ice age' by 2030.

He says fundamental flaws in how future temperatures may rise have been included in the 'standard models' and this has led to inflated mathematical - and therefore temperature - predictions. 

He said: "There is an intellectual stand-off in climate change. Skeptics point to empirical evidence that disagrees with the climate models.

"Yet the climate scientists insist that their calculations showing a high sensitivity to carbon dioxide are correct — because they use well-established physics, such as spectroscopy, radiation physics, and adiabatic lapse rates.

He said he "mapped out" the architecture of the climate models used and found, that while the physics was correct, it had been "applied wrongly".

He claims to have found two reasons for it being wrongly applied, the first being a vastly over estimated impact on our temperature from CO2.

He said: "There is no empirical evidence that rising levels of carbon dioxide will raise the temperature of the Earth’s surface as fast as the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts. "Yes, CO2 has an effect, but it’s about a fifth or tenth of what the IPCC says it is.  "CO2 is not driving the climate; it caused less than 20% of the global warming in the last few decades”.

He said the other problem was the predictions had no reflection on changes that have actually been recorded and never saw the current 18-year temperature stagnation we are now in.

"The model architecture was wrong,” he said. "Carbon dioxide causes only minor warming. The climate is largely driven by factors outside our control.

"As such, the wind farms and solar panels are not just bad at reducing carbon dioxide — even if they did succeed in reducing carbon dioxide they’d be useless at cooling the planet. It is only four billion dollars a day worldwide, wasted."

Although he is convinced he is right, he fears it will not be taken on board by world governments. "These findings here are unlikely to be popular with the establishment. The political obstacles are massive,” he said.

Dr Evans says historic global warming has been down to solar activity - a process called  "albedo modulation” - the waxing and waning of reflected radiation from the Sun.

Between 2017 and 2021 he estimates a cooling of about 0.3C before the mini ice age in the 2030s.


Turnbull must reform 18C now, as free speech is no ‘gimme’

In March, the Attorney-General said there were more important issues on the agenda than reforming free speech laws.

Last week George Brandis again ruled out removing "insult” and "offend” from section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act.

A focused government can fix both the budget and free speech. With the Turnbull government floating around with no economic or cultural ballast, reforming section 18c might repair some of the brand damage done to the Liberal Party in the last three years. If not now, when?

Speaking in Adelaide at the annual Sir Samuel Griffith Society conference last Friday, Tony Abbott admitted he was wrong to walk away from a pre-election promise to reform section 18c which prohibits words that are "reasonably likely … to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people” because of their "race, colour or national or ethnic origin”.

Here are five reasons why Turnbull should do what Abbott refused to do as PM. First, the country is crying out for sensible cultural leadership. As Turnbull told The Bolt Report last year, it is entirely sensible to excise "offend” and "insult” from section 18c.

Second, Senator David Leyonhjelm has lodged a complaint against Fairfax journalist Mark Kenny for writing a column that likely breaches section 18c. Kenny described Leyonhjelm as an"angry white male,” a "boorish, supercilious know-it-all”. Why shouldn’t Leyonhjelm claim Kenny’s words are reasonably likely to offend? Or is the law seriously saying white people don’t have feelings?

And that raises the third reason why Turnbull should act. The Federal Circuit Court will soon decide whether a section 18c case against three young students from Queensland University of Technology will go to trial. Three years ago, a few students were evicted from an indigenous computer lab by indigenous woman Cindy Prior for not having the right skin colour. In response, one student wrote on Facebook: "Just got kicked out of unsigned indigenous computer room. QUT stopping segregation with segregation.”

Prior lodged an 18c complaint against the boys because she says her feelings were hurt. Some might find Kenny’s criticisms of Leyonhjelm far more insulting than anything a few students wrote on social media. Yet Prior claims she has been so hurt by their words, even words directed at QUT not her, that she hasn’t been able to work for three years. Leyonhjelm’s section 18c complaint is a useful stunt. But a stunt nonetheless. Prior’s case isn’t a stunt. Hence it provides an even more cogent reason for reforming 18c. Whether it goes to trial or not, everyone is a loser in this case. First and foremost, the students for posting innocuous comments. These young men simply want to study and work and forge a career without being branded bigots. They don’t want to be cultural warriors fighting to defend their right to free speech. But that’s what they have been forced to do, engaging lawyers, spending time and energy on a case that makes no sense.

The second loser is Prior. A law that encourages a person to become a hapless victim by claiming her feelings have been hurt by a few words on Facebook is a law that infantilises that person. It encourages Prior to see herself as weak and vulnerable, incapable of dealing with the most trifling of words.

And the third loser is us. Laws that infantilise Prior also infantilise us by allowing feelings to trump reason. Laws that slap a bigot label on students for a few words posted on Facebook are laws that stand ready to label any of us bigots should we deviate from the stifling orthodoxy of political correctness. Laws that stifle free speech soon strangle debate and then progress is shackled too.

The brouhaha over a cartoon in The Australian by Bill Leak provides the fourth reason why 18c must be reformed. Leak’s cartoon about family dysfunction in indigenous communities should have raised intelligent questions about family dysfunction in indigenous communities. Instead of confronting the real issue, ABC radio’s Jon Faine immediately encouraged offended people to lodge a complaint under section 18c to establish that Leak’s cartoon is prohibited by law.

Curious about Faine’s attempt to stifle free speech, I contacted the Australian Human Rights Commission that same day for comment. What did the new Human Rights Commissioner, Edward Santow, have to say about this uproar that was now raising questions about free speech?

The commission’s media adviser advised me this was a race issue and accordingly the Race Commissioner would comment. Sure enough Race Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane said that "Aboriginal Australians who have been racially offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated … can lodge a complaint under the Racial Discrimination Act”.

With calls even from the Race Commissioner for people to complain under section 18c, I suggested to the commission’s media adviser that it was also a free speech matter. I repeated my request for a comment from the Human Rights Commissioner, who is charged with responsibility for the human right to free speech. There was only silence on that front. The Commission decided it was a race issue. End of story.

When claiming money for hurt feelings under section 18c takes precedence at the Australian Human Rights Commission over defending the human right to free speech, it’s clear our culture is being corrupted by the very institution charged with protecting human rights.

The foyer of the commission’s offices in Sydney openly exhibits that corruption. A floor-to-ceiling glass wall adjacent to where visitors sit says: "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families.”

Do I really have a human right to demand a certain standard of living from the government? Who determines what that standard of living is? Me? You? Some make-work bureaucrat at the commission trying to justify a sky-high salary? What about my responsibility to create a standard of living for myself?

Speaking at the Sydney Opera House last week, PJ O’Rourke identified the core of this rights corruption. He pointed to the trumping of gimme-rights over get-outta-here rights. Gimme-rights are when you claim you have a human right to get something — like more than $240,000 for having your feelings hurt. The get-outta-here rights mean you have a right to get government out of your life — say a student who expects to be able to freely post a few pointed comments about QUT’s boneheaded segregation without being hauled before a court. Too many politicians are also consumed with gimme-rights. Promising people things under the banner of gimme-rights rather than defending get-outta-here rights gives politicians things to do. When was the last time a politician with real power promised to get out of our lives and deliver on that front?

The new Senate offers Turnbull additional heft to defend free speech. Re-elected senators Bob Day and Leyonhjelm are on board. So are new senators Derryn Hinch, Pauline Hanson and her three One Nation senators. Maybe a decent debate can entice Nick Xenophon and his senators to defend principles rather than pursue populism. Turnbull should make the case for what he called sensible reform of section 18c, not as a sop to conservatives, but because it is the right thing to do in a Western liberal democracy committed to free speech. So let’s ask again, if not now, when?


A record six Australian universities gonged by Jiao Tong

Monash University and the University of Queensland are the big Australian winners in the new global top 100 list from the Chinese-based Academic Ranking of World Universities, increasingly regarded as the world's most prestigious list for higher education institutions.

In the 2016 rankings, released on Monday, Monash went from outside the top 100 directly to 79th, only two points behind the Australian National University which has been in the top 100 ever since the ranking was first published by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2003.

The University of Queensland moved from 77th last year to 55th, in keeping with its reputation as the most rapid improver among Australia's top universities.

"It's an incredible achievement, given the domestic policy difficulties the Australian higher education sector has faced for a very long period," said University of Queensland vice chancellor Peter Hoj.

The Academic Ranking of World Universities, often known as the Shanghai ranking, rates universities solely on their output of high level research, with science, maths and medicine taking precedence over other disciplines.

It rewards universities strongly if its staff or graduates win Nobel prizes or Fields medals in maths, and also rewards publication in the top research journals Science and Nature. It does not measure teaching quality or the employability of university graduates.

The University of Melbourne remains Australia's top university in the ranking, lifting from 44th last year to 40th this year. The University of Sydney also did well, returning to the top 100 at 82nd after dropping out two years ago. The University of Western Australia just scraped in at 96th place.

This year was a landmark for China which, for the first time, saw its universities enter the Shanghai top 100 list. In a very strong performance Tsinghua University vaulted into the list directly to 58th, and Peking University moved straight to 71st.

Professor Hoj contrasted the tight funding for universities in Australia with China, which was making "massive and strategic investments in higher education and research".

Singapore is also celebrating a notable achievement. Only days after Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling won the country's first-ever Olympic gold medal, the country saw its first ever university listed in the Shanghai ranking top 100.

National University of Singapore, long recognised as south-east Asia's best academic institution, entered the list at 83rd.


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 August, 2016

The Warmist answer to climate skeptic Senator Roberts

The Warmist just misrepresented what was at issue.  Showing that there was a slight temperature rise in the last century is not in dispute.  Nor is it in dispute that CO2 levels rose in the last century. What is in dispute is that the two are correlated.  They are not.  During a major period of CO2 rise - 1945-1975, the temperatures were static. So one did not cause the other.  There has been a similar disjunction in the 21st century.

And the graphs were presented as great leaping lines -- but that is pure chartmansip:  Exaggerating tiny differences.

The report below is presented as a defeat for Senator Roberts but that is just the usual media bias.  Fortunately, people can listen for themselves and may conclude that the Warmist failed.  See here

The celebrity physicist Brian Cox came prepared to the ABC’s Q&A on Monday night with graphs, ready to counter claims by his co-panellist, the climate denier and Australian senator-elect Malcolm Roberts.

Roberts, one of four senators elected from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party, took the first opportunity to espouse long-refuted climate-denialist claims, including that warming stopped more than 20 years ago, starting the so-called "hiatus” or "pause”.

But Cox produced a graph of global surface temperatures of the past century and immediately debunked the myth, pointing out it is a misunderstanding caused by looking at a small sample, starting from an unusually warm year two decades ago.

Cox didn’t stop there. "Also, secondly, I’ve brought another graph. It is correlated with that, which is the graph that shows the CO2 emissions parts per million in.”

Viewers on Twitter joined in. When Roberts argued that sea level rises had been "entirely natural and normal”, a number of people posted graphs showing the steep rises.

Roberts repeatedly said he wanted to see "the empirical data”. But when the data appeared to refute what he said, he argued that scientists had conspired to manipulate it.

"The data has been corrupted,” he said at one point, arguing that Nasa and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology had manipulated data to make warming look unusual. That led to questioning about whether he was sceptical that Nasa landed people on the moon, which Roberts denied.

Greg Hunt, the former environment minister and current minister for industry, innovation and science was also on the panel and was asked about the CSIRO’s move to climate research cutbacks.

Hunt said the CSIRO had made that decision but that he had reversed it: "I made the decision that under our watch it would be given priority.”

But the host, Tony Jones, pushed Hunt on how many climate scientists would be lost from the CSIRO after the changes were complete: "Very briefly, give us some numbers. How many were sacked, climate scientists and how much did you re-employ?”

Hunt refused to answer, saying: "I’ll let others go over the history of that.”

As the Guardian has previously reported, the CSIRO will sack 35 climate scientists but there will be 15 new hires. The organisation will therefore lose 20 of its roughly 110 climate scientists.


Australia’s multicultural face is changing

By Bernard Salt, demographer.  His claim that the Chinese make up only 2% of the population seems low to me.  He is probably not counting Han Chinese who come from the Chinese diaspora -- Malaya, Indonesia etc.  ABS figures are much different from Salt's figures. They show that in the 2011 census, the proportion of the Australian population of Chinese origin was 4%.

There are 24 million people living in Australia including about seven million who were born overseas, which equates to about 30 per cent of the population. This is high by international standards. At the last census, 42 per cent of Sydney’s population was born overseas. This proportion for Paris is 22 per cent; for New York it is 29 per cent and for Tokyo it is 2 per cent.

But immigrants aren’t the only contributor to Australia’s extraordinarily cosmopolitan demo­graphy; at any point in time there are international students and visitors based here even if only for a short period. And then there is the Australian penchant for travel overseas. We are a prosperous nation with a rising appetite for travel. Who is coming to Australia and where are Australians heading overseas?

The immigration debate over the past decade has been framed by the Big Australia issue. In the 1990s and earlier the average annual level of net overseas migration to Australia was about 100,000.

This escalated early this century peaking at 300,000 in the year to June 2009, well above the number required (240,000) to deliver the Big Australia projection at 2051 of 38 million. Net immigration for the year ending June 2015 was 186,000; currently we are headed for a Moderate Australia.

The dominant migrant segment is, and has been every year since European settlement, from Britain and New Zealand. They comprise 8 per cent of the Australian population or about 1.8 million residents. The Chinese are third with 2 per cent and the Indians are fourth with 1.8 per cent. Australian-born residents of British, Kiwi, Asian and Indian extraction make up a far greater pro­portion of the population.

Over the past decade there has been a shift in the migrant mix as post-war immigrants die off and as the source of our intake reorientates towards Asia. Italian-born Australians dropped 23,000 between 2005 and 2015 whereas the number of Australians born in India increased by 284,000 and the number born in China increased by 254,000.

The inflow of Kiwis has slowed dramatically as their economy continues to surge. If the Kiwi economy remains strong it is not inconceivable that China will overtake New Zealand as Australia’s second largest immigrant group at some stage in the 2020s.

There has also been a shift in tourist and visitor flows both into and out of Australia. Traditionally more overseas visitors have come here than we have visited destinations overseas. But this changed in 2008 as our prosperity soared and the dollar strengthened against the US dollar. A decade ago Aussies took five million trips overseas for business or pleasure; today it is closer to nine million trips.

The number of overseas visitors on the other hand has jumped from five million to seven million over the decade to 2015. Visitors today are most likely to come from New Zealand, China and Britain. Overseas visitor numbers are largely tied to Australia’s immigration mix: most tourists come to visit friends and family and perhaps to bolt on a holiday.

If this is the case then there should be a rise in visitors from India and The Philippines in the 2020s because these ethnicities are significant and rising forces in the population.

New Zealanders make up the largest international visitor market to Australia with 1.3 million ­arrivals over the year to February 2016 followed by the Chinese with 1.1 million arrivals. Tourism spending data suggests that Chinese visitors outspend Kiwi visitors by a factor of 2:1. There will be more direct flights between China’s second-tier cities and Australia’s capital cities and lifestyle destinations in coming years. Over the decade to 2015 the number of Kiwi visitors jumped 11 per cent or 121,000 visitors. Over the same period the number of Chinese visitors jumped 258 per cent or 718,000.

By my reckoning China will be Australia’s largest international visitor market by 2020. China probably already is Australia’s most important international visitor market by overall spending power having evolved to this position earlier this decade.

Let’s look at the our market for international students. One way to measure this is via the number of student visas held. International student visa numbers peaked in 2009 at about the time of the Big-Australia peak migration. Resident numbers then were distorted by student populations remaining in Australia for more than 12 months. And indeed some student courses were being used to gain permanent access to Australia.

Corrections to the way in which students are counted in the population, better regulation of student courses, a strengthening in the dollar as well as some ugly racism incidents in the late 2000s all resulted in a contraction in the market. However, the number of international student visas has steadily increased since June 2013.

There were 375,000 student visas at June 2015, up from 209,000 a decade earlier. Most are held by Chinese (83,000), Indians (49,000), Vietnamese (21,000) and South Koreans (17,000).

Over the decade to 2015 the Chinese student market increased by 35,000, the Indian market increased by 24,000, the Vietnamese market increased by 17,000. And whole new markets are now opening up with international students now also coming from Brazil (10,000 visas held in 2015) and Nepal (16,000 visas held).

China replaced Japan as this nation’s leading trading partner at about the time of the global financial crisis in terms of both imports and exports. The extraordinary boom that carried prosperity in the years following the GFC was not effected by Australia’s superior economic management. It was effected by the rise of China and the consequential demand for Australian resources, commodities, education and lifestyle.

China is now the third most important contributor to the Australian population mix and may well replace the Kiwis within a decade to claim second spot. China will probably replace New Zealand as this nation’s leading source of international visitors by 2020 and is already our most important market by spending value.

Stand back and take a global view and there can be no other conclusion than the Australian trajectory is shifting mightily towards Asia generally and towards China specifically. We can expect airline linkages to strengthen connectivity with China over the coming decade. We can expect universities to even more aggressively court Chinese students as the middle class seek out education opportunities for their kids. Perhaps it’s time for the education system to respond with an expansion of Mandarin programs?

By any measure Australia is and most certainly has been thus far this century extraordinarily generous in the scale and breath of our immigration program. Our economic interests and the source of our prosperity has shifted towards China to the extent that should China falter or change its relationship with Australia then large swathes of our economy would suffer. The impact would be felt not just across the resources, energy and commodities sectors but also across the education, tourism, aviation and property.

This is a risk that can be managed not so much by limiting trade with China but by broadening and strengthening our ties with other rising forces in the region such as India, Vietnam and even The Philippines. Australia cultivated the Japanese market when Britain joined the EU in the mid-1960s. Perhaps it’s time to up the ante with more targeted trade missions to Asian cities other than China over coming years.


Funding fails to pay off in student results

Jennifer Buckingham 

While there has been some improvement in mean scores in Years 3 and 5 since NAPLAN began in 2008, the latest results show there has been no improvement to speak of in Years 7 and 9 -- and their writing scores have declined since 2011 in several states.

In terms of the proportion of children who failed to achieve even the National Minimum Standard (NMS) -- which is low compared to international benchmarks -- there has been no improvement anywhere.

Billions of dollars of extra funding has gone into schools in recent years, yet there appears to have been little pay-off in what should be the core job of schools -- teaching children to read, write and do maths. This is because extra funding has little impact on student achievement if teachers are not using the most effective teaching methods.

For example, the NSW government Early Action for Success central literacy program, 'L3', was not properly trialled and tested before being implemented to more than 400 schools. It does not meet the criteria for evidence-based reading instruction identified in scientific research, including an absence of systematic phonics instruction.

Funnelling more money into programs that are not truly evidence-based will not help children achieve higher literacy levels.

The NAPLAN reading assessment is a broad measure that flags only that a student is having difficulty, but not why. The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check (PSC) proposed by the Australian government earlier this year will be an early marker of which children are struggling with this fundamental skill and which schools are not teaching it well. Since the Year 1 PSC was introduced in English schools in 2012, the failure rate in Year 2 reading comprehension tests has declined by 30%. We can only hope it will have the same effect here.


Australians face more frustration as Census servers continue to fail despite repeated attempts

FRUSTRATED Australians are still trying, and failing, to use the Census online days after the Australian Bureau of Statistics claimed to have fixed it.

Meanwhile, two Queensland University of Technology students at a student hack-a-thon on the weekend designed their own version of a Census system using an expandable cloud server able to cope with four times the traffic of the IBM-designed Census system and survive a denial of service attack.

The students, Austin Wilshire and Bernd Hartzer, told tech commentator Trevor Long they built their system in 54 hours for a cost of $500 — just $9,606,252 cheaper than the system IBM built that failed on Tuesday night.

In the past 24 hours, a steady stream of people have complained to the ABS Census that repeated attempts to use the site using every connected device in their home has resulted in error messages.

There is also a swag of complaints from people saying a simple email from the ABS requesting that the password for their online application has taken days to arrive.

The advice online from the Census staff has been to turn on JavaScript in your browser options, although several people online say following that advice still does not work.

As for the delayed emails, the advice from the Australian Bureau of Statistics office has been that people write their password down on a piece of paper _ which breaks one of the basic rules of password security.

News Corporation Australia has contacted the ABS asking for clear and simple explanation on what browser and settings Australians should use if they want to be able to complete the census online.

The ABS has not replied to the request, however repeatedly online the response to people unable to access the site is try another device or ring the ABS and get a paper form.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has not updated the number of people who have successfully lodged their Census form although head of the census program told Sky News last night that it was "making up lost ground”.


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 August, 2016

Shocking moment a Manus Island refugee collapses in a police station after being bashed with an iron bar

As usual, you are not given any context below.  The context is that the refugees on Manus are Muslims and treat non-Muslims with the usual contempt.  Australians generally ignore that but slight one of the Melanesians who live on Nauru and you are likely to get thumped.  Melanesisans are a notably warlike and aggressive people and they now know what the Afghans think of them.

And let us not forget that all the "refugees" are there of their own accord.  There is a standard offer open to them of an airfare back to their own country if they want to go.  Only problem:  They would have to work if they went back to Afghanistan. Getting free food and lodging on a pleasant tropical island is much more relaxing.  The natives are pesky but not nearly as pesky as their fellow-religionists

Two refugees on Manus Island who were attacked by locals wielding an iron bar have been pictured with deep gashes and blood dripping down their arms.

The Afghan refugees were set upon by several men as they walked from the beach to the bus stop in the main city of Lorengau on Wednesday around 5pm.

The refugees, who were verbally abused, robbed and beaten, were taken to a local police station and CPR was performed on one of the men after he collapsed on the station floor.

'They were surrounded by a group of seven locals who shouted abuse at them, demanded their clothes and shoes, and beat them up, and the attack ended when another local intervened to save them,' Human Rights Law Centre spokesman Daniel Webb said.

Shocking photos show the men walking to the station bloodied and in shock. One of the men held his arm up to stem the blood gushing down his wrist.

Bystanders helped to carry one of the men out of the police station and to hospital after he passed out from his injuries.  Both men were later returned to the detention centre, the Guardian reported.

Police believe there may have been a third refugee with the men as they walked from the beach, but he reportedly ran and hid in bushes during the attack.

'These guys have been on Manus for three years. They have seen their friend beaten to death in front of them,' Mr Webb said.

'One refugee has been shot. Another has had his throat slashed. They've been bashed by guards. They've been attacked by locals. They are genuinely fearful'.


Australia 'has lost moral compass' over immigration detention say various Leftists

What about the moral compass of the "refugees" who barge through the door of someone else's  home uninvited?  What about the moral compass of the "refugees" who come here and repay our hospitality with hate?  What about the moral compass of the people who already have refuge in nearby Pakistan but come all the way here because the handouts are better?  There are a lot of directions in which moral compasses can point -- depending on who is doing the pointing

Australia has "lost it's moral compass" when it comes to immigration detention according to New Zealand Labour foreign affairs spokesperson David Shearer.

The comments came as the leader of Britain's Liberal Democrats party Tim Farron called on the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to speak to Australia's high commissioner about immigration policies.

Mr Shearer, a former Labour leader and United Nations humanitarian worker, said Australia's offshore detention regime was abysmal and unsustainable, and said Australian voters were prepared to "push under the carpet" knowledge of conditions on Nauru and Manus Island, in contrast to public condemnation of mistreatment inside the Northern Territory's Don Dale Youth Detention Centre that prompted a royal commission last month.

The comments came as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten prepares to push for a Senate inquiry into offshore detention in the new Parliament.

Mr Shearer has written to Australia's high commissioner in Wellington calling for a change in approach by the Turnbull government after more than 2000 incident reports from Nauru were published last week, arguing 150 refugees should be quickly resettled in New Zealand on the condition Australia's offshore detention camps were closed.

The leaked reports detailed sexual violence, child abuse, mistreatment and self-harm on Nauru, dating from 2012 until last year.

"They highlighted the fact that this policy is unsustainable," Mr Shearer said. "I mean it's almost like Australia has lost its moral compass in terms of where it's going.

"I really do think New Zealand, however it can, should make the offer to say 'look, what is it we can do to short-circuit this and bring these kids' detention to an end'."

"I do think Australia's reputation is being diminished as a result."

New Zealand offered to assist Australia in resettling asylum seekers in 2013 and 2015, but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ruled out co-operation amid concerns it could give encouragement and "marketing opportunities" to people smugglers.

Mr Shearer linked the possible assistance to New Zealand's role in resettling asylum seekers caught up in the 2001 Tampa refugee crisis, who he said were doing "fabulously well" in New Zealand today.

"If we were to intervene and get involved in this, it would have to be on the basis that these camps are going to close down and we are helping to do that," he said.

"Their seeming indefinite detention is the most damaging for their medical and psychological health. Added to that is the fact it's illegal under Australian law for any doctor or health worker to speak publicly on the health or treatment of these people.

"Ultimately, the decision on what to do will be Australia's to make but there's no doubt the policy is unsustainable, and New Zealand needs to help bring a resolution in any way it can."

Last year, New Zealand suspended some assistance payments to Nauru over concerns about civil rights and the rule of law in the island nation.

Mr Farron told The Guardian detention of asylum seekers, including children, should be a last resort.

"I have written to Boris Johnson urging him to meet urgently with the Australian high commissioner to express deep concern about the situation in Nauru, and stress that their responsibilities under the 1951 convention apply the same in Nauru as they would to refugees in Australia," he said.


Volunteer firefighters vow to fight back after CFA board agreed to controversial pay deal

Leftist Premier Andrews has leant over backwards to help an extremist union but has just put the volunteers offside by backing their egregious claims.  Victoria will burn if the volunteers stay home but that is what the union leaders want:  More paid firemen, a bigger empire

The body representing volunteer fire brigades has responded to the CFA board’s decision to endorse a controversial pay deal with fury, promising the drawn-out dispute is far from over.

The nine-member board split five-four to endorse the enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) after a meeting at the headquarters in Burwood yesterday, which Emergency Services Minister James Merlino said would mean "the time for division is over”.

Mr Merlino urged firefighters to back the deal, saying legal action was unnecessary given the agreement would protect volunteers.

"It's disappointing that an organisation that receives taxpayer funds for the welfare of volunteer firefighters are using those resources to pursue unnecessary legal action," he said.

Volunteer Fire Brigade Victoria (VFBV) CEO Andrew Ford last night labelled the decision "a day of infamy that will burn in to the memory of every CFA volunteer”.

"We have instructed our legal team to take further action immediately… [after] Board members betrayed volunteers and ignored their responsibility and obligations to the public of Victoria,” Mr Ford said in a statement. "We now have no other choice if the real CFA is to be defended.”

CFA chief officer Steve Warrington said volunteer firefighters should move on from the dispute, and would still be lauded. "Our volunteers are some of the most battle-hardened, experienced firefighters,” Mr Warrington said.

The organisation will go to the Supreme Court on Monday to ask for an injunction to stop the deal, as fears grow that the EBA will hand too much power to the United Firefighters Union at the expense of the CFA’s 60,000 volunteers.

United Firefighters Union Secretary Peter Marshall said they had prevailed despite the "Liberal Party’s opportunistic attempt to manufacture a conflict between career and volunteer firefighters”.

The federal government has confirmed that in line with the Prime Minister’s promise, legislation to protect the volunteers will be introduced into the new parliament as soon as it starts sitting in a fortnight.

Opposition leader Matthew Guy accused the CFA board of being a "puppet” of the government. "The EBA is a disgrace. This EBA endorsed by this puppet board will do over volunteers, the 60,000 Victorians who protect us every fire season,” he said.

The EBA must now be voted on by UFU members, then ratified by the Fair Work Commission. The injunction would mean there can’t be a vote until the VFBV has been consulted over the deal, which it argues has not occurred.


Senator David Leyonhjelm files racism complaint because he was called an 'angry white male'

Leftists frequently refer to "white males" in various contexts, apparently quite unaware that they are being racially discriminatory

Senator David Leyonhjelm has lodged a complaint under the Racial Discrimination Act for comments made about him by a journalist.

The Liberal Democrat senator, from New South Wales, submitted the complaint last week after a Fairfax media article was published referring to him as a 'boorish and gormless as a result of being an angry white male', reported the Daily Telegraph.

It is reportedly the first complaint of its kind for the Australian Human Rights Commission (HRC) under section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Under this section, it states it is unlawful to commit an act which would reasonably offend or insult someone because of their race, colour, national or ­ethnic origin.

The Fairfax article reportedly criticised Senator Leyonhjelm for his traditional views on free speech and his campaign to revoke Section 18C.

In a bizarre turn of events, it means Senator Leyonhjelm is using the provision he wants to abolish to launch the action, in a bid to prove what he initially said was the absurdity of the law.

In his complaint to the HRC Senator Leyonhjelm said his colour was one of the reasons the comments were made.

'Other characteristics referred to in the article include being a boorish supercilious know-all with the empathy of a Besser-Block, hate speech apologist, wacky, a self-promoting misanthrope and a practitioner of infantile reasoning,' he said.

'The comments are reasonably likely in all the circumstances to offend or insult some white males.'

His complaint comes as pressure is building inside the government to re-examine repealing the law because of concerns it stifles free speech.


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

15 August, 2016

Cruelty to dogs

Woof woof! I can never understand it when people are cruel to dogs.  Dogs are such friendly creatures towards their owners that they are a major source of comfort and companionship to a lot of people.  I have not myself owned a dog for years now but I was once a registered dog breeder.

I always think that a man who is cruel to his dog reveals himself as a depraved human being.  Being cruel to a creature that gives you so much love reveals you as a very dangerous and undesirable person.  It's a lot like the way Muslims give hatred to Western societies who give them homes, sustenance and refuge when they are fleeing their own depraved societies -- a towering  ingratitude that makes them just the lowest of the low and barely human.

It is my view that crimes against dogs should be treated as if they were crimes against people.  In both cases innocents suffer because a basic part of being human was missing in the offender -- JR.

Leaked crisis memo shows ABS officials were worried about the census months before disastrous meltdown

Seems that the reason why ABS did not provide enough resources was that they did not have enough funding.  So instead of cutting back on bureaucracy they just crossed their fingers and hoped that the available resources would be enough.  I note that they are still blaming mysterious "hackers" -- diverting attention from their own failures

Officials with the Australian Bureau of Statistics were concerned about the success of the 2016 census months before hackers crashed the website for two days, a leaked memo has revealed.

Program manager Duncan Young wrote in an email to his colleagues in February: 'As most of you are aware, the census program has alerted its steering committee and board that is has assessed its status as RED,' according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

'This means that we have assessed that the program will not be able to deliver on the current scope, timetable and/or budget. This status is as a consequence of both budget reductions since program commencement and program delays during 2014,' he said. 

Mr Young offered up five suggestions on how to cut back on the Census' budget, including asking fewer questions or less people. 

ABS boss David Kalisch proposed his own solution called 'Project Arthur,' which would postpone the census to every 10 years instead of five years, freeing an extra $200 million in the ABS website to upgrade their office computers.

Some of the ABS computer's code is up to 30 years old. 

It comes as it experts say the cyber-attacks which halted the census website on Tuesday were the work of by amateur 'hacktivists', rather than advanced organisations.

Cyber security insiders have formed theories about the origin of the 'denial of service' attacks which prompted authorities to shut down the website.

Others have suggested an organised cyber-crime gangs which offer attacks for payment were using Australia's census to showcase the havoc they can wreak, reports Sydney Morning Herald.

Tobias Feakin, a cyber-security expert with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the crises indicated a lack of preparation from the ABS.

'My gut instinct is it's some sort of hacktivist group not at a terribly high level. The most serious issue in my view is there was an apparent lack of strategies in place. This is all about Australia raising their game.'

Gideon Creech, a lecturer with the Australian Centre for Cyber Security at the University of NSW, said they could be using the attack as a testament to their cyber attacking power.

'It shows everybody they've got this massive weapon. The world's talking about it.'

On Thursday Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull warned there will be 'serious consequences' for those who failed to prepare and prevent cyber attacks which halted the census website on Tuesday.

 Mr Turnbull admits there were 'serious failures' with the national survey, which was conducted on an opt-out online basis for the first time by the Australia Bureau of Statistics, costing taxpayers $272 million in operational costs.

'There is time for a review and an inquiry. There are lots of people out there trying to find out who's to blame and which heads should roll and so forth,' Mr Turnbull told 2GB on Thursday.

'My calm demeanour on your radio program is disguising the fact ... that I too am very angry about this. I am bitterly disappointed about this.''

The 'denial of service attacks' that caused the census website to crash were 'absolutely commonplace, highly predictable' and inevitably going to happen, Mr Turnbull said.

'Measures that ought to have been in place to prevent these denial-of-service attacks interfering with access to the website were not put in place. That is a fact.'

The failure of prevention measures was compounded by hardware problems, he said - pointing to 'big issues' for the ABS and IBM - which was contracted to carry out the census.

Mr Turnbull's comments come after it was revealed the census hacking disaster was covered up for up for nine hours while the government advised Australians to continue lodging their forms online.


Outspoken Tony Abbott flies the flag for conservative reform agenda

Signalling the role he will play in the new parliament, Tony Abbott delivered a message yesterday to Malcolm Turnbull and the nat­ion, saying the coming parliamentary term must tackle a strong reform agenda of budget repair, federation renewal, prod­uctivity and tax changes.

Excluded from cabinet by the Prime Minister, Mr Abbott will raise his voice in the public arena to identify what he believes are necessary and aspirational tests for the government, a process that will delight some Liberals but infuriate Mr Turnbull. After listing reforms he believed were essential this term, Mr Abbott said they "can’t stay in the too-hard basket for the whole term of this parliament”.

"We can’t take our strength and prosperity for granted,” he said. "Every day we need to ask how we can be better, smarter, stronger, and adjust as circumstances require.”

Mr Abbott intends this parliament to act as the advance guard for the economic reform cause. His underlying political message is that Mr Turnbull must not be intimidated out of bold actions by the difficult situation he faces in parliament after the election.

Having been excluded from cabin­et, Mr Abbott will become a public force asking the government to do better.

In a reflective speech to the Samuel Griffith Society’s annual conference in Adelaide last night, he admitted responsibility for two failures he identified from his time as prime minister — his inability to reform Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act in the cause of free speech and to achieve "the beginnings of federation reform”.

In a remarkable concession, Mr Abbott also admitted he may have been at fault in opposing so strongly the Gillard government’s Malaysia deal on asylum-seekers. While he still doubted the scheme would have worked to halt the boats, letting it stand "would have been a step back from the hyper-partisanship that now poisons our public life”.

Mr Abbott’s purpose in reflecting on his own failures and urging the Turnbull government to be bold is to project the idea that the nation and the Coalition government needs to do better.

This speech is the first post-election signal of how Mr Abbott interprets his mission as a ­banner-carrier for the conser­v­ative wing of the party.

On reflection, he said his ­effort to reform Section 18C might have "fared better” if his ­initial bid had been merely to drop "offend” and "insult”, while ­"leaving in place prohibitions on the more serious harms”. He ­lamented that there was still "no real prospect of change” even though several Queenslanders now faced "official persecution for questioning reverse discrim­in­­ation on social media”.

Making clear he would ­continue the campaign for ­reform of this section, Mr Abbott complained that the Australian parliament "prefers to tolerate an over-the-top prosecution than to upset thin-skinned activists”.

With the Turnbull government having abandoned the ­federation reform process, Mr Abbott is putting the idea back on the agenda. He wants a federation that allows "different levels of government to be more sovereign in their own sphere”.

He has defended his government’s decision to reduce federal funding support to the states for the Rudd-Gillard spending agendas on schools and health.

"Our idea, the constitutionally correct idea, was to have the states and territories that run public schools and public hospit­als take more responsibility for funding them,” he said.

"The commonwealth can’t be the states’ ATM if our federation is to work. Government can’t continue to live beyond its means.

"I did make these points, but not often enough or persuasively enough to bring about the changes I sought. You won’t be surprised that I have been reflecting on my time as opposition leader as well as prime minister.”

His main concession on this front was to say that while the Malaysian deal negotiated by the Gillard government involved only 800 boatpeople to be returned, he felt there was a political argument for allowing Labor in office the opportunity to implement its policy.

This reappraisal is driven by the highly partisan and destruct­ive climate of current politics and involves a degree of self-criticism on Mr Abbott’s part.

He said the current imperative for economic reform meant "the sensible centre needs to focus even more intently on what ­really matters to middle-of-the-road voters”.

Mr Abbott said: "We have to keep reform alive, because it’s the reforms of today that create the prosperity of tomorrow.”

Yet the agenda he proposes would be very difficult for Mr Turnbull — it is hard to imagine the Prime Minister going beyond his election tax agenda based upon corporate tax cuts. Federation reform is currently off the table. And productivity reform is typically a hard political ask.

It is apparent Mr Turnbull’s decision to keep Mr Abbott on the backbench guarantees that the latter will increasingly promote his own reform agenda.


The top university degrees that could leave you jobless

THEY take a whole load of brainpower and several years of study, but a new report reveals a series of top science university degrees could leave you jobless.

Science and IT are the courses business people and politicians tell students to study, but they just might be blinding them with science.

Only half of those who graduated with science degrees in 2015 found fulltime employment within four months: 17 per cent below the average for all university graduates, the Grattan Institute’s Mapping Australian Higher Education 2016 report found.

They found it a struggle to find work when compared to fellow-students in other science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) disciplines.

And despite increasing demand for Stem skills, IT graduates also have patchy prospects in the job marks.

The findings have prompted a warning from one of the report’s authors, Andrew Norton, that extra courses might be needed to increase graduates’ job chances.

"Students thinking about studying science need to know that a bachelor science degree is high risk for finding a job,” he said.

"Often students need to do another degree to improve their employment prospects.”

The report added that while recent science graduates struggle early on in the jobs marker "things improve over time”.

"For 2011 bachelor degree science graduates, their fulltime employment rate four months later was 65 per cent, but three years later, in 2014, 82 per cent of those who were looking for fulltime work had found it,” the report notes.

"While this is a considerable increase, it is below the 89 per cent rate for all graduates.”

The early employment prospects fly in the face of the demand for science courses, which continues to grow. And the number of science graduates is up — with more than 15,500 graduating annually — 4000 a year more than in 2009.

IT graduates also seem unable to take full advantage of job growth in the IT industry.

While there’s no shortage of IT jobs relative to the number of graduates, IT students still find the going tough initially — with a third of recent graduates unable to get fulltime work.

The report says that’s due to "weaknesses in IT university education, and strong competition from a globalised IT labour force”.

Engineering jobs are in decline, but new engineers have good job prospects compared to other graduates.

And overall, despite the slower moves from university to career, the report found unemployment rate for all graduates remains low.

Over their working lives, graduates on average earn significantly more than people who finish their education at Year 12. The median male with a bachelor degree will earn $1.4 million more over his lifetime compared to the median male with no higher education past Year 12. For women, the figure is just under $1 million.

Other findings in the report, which is based on unit record data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey were:

 *  For domestic students, humanities and commerce are still the most popular fields of study. Health and science enrolments have the fastest growth.

 *  Graduates with bachelor degrees in health, education and law had the highest rate of professional and managerial employment — all above 80 per cent.

 *  The most common average mark reported by students is between 70 and 79 per cent, with domestic students doing better than international students.


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 August, 2016

The senseless census

I was one of the many who criticized in advance the arrangements for this year's census.  Retaining names and addresses instead of anonymizing the data is a basic breach of good survey practice and would significantly degrade the quality of the data, as people become less frank about their replies.  So the claim that the new system would yield better and more useful data was an obvious lie.  It would do the opposite.

I was also derisive of the claim that the data would be hacker-proof. Just making that claim would undermine it.  It would be like a red rag to a bull to all the world's hackers. It was an almost certain invitation to hacking.

So when the system failed long before the census was complete, I initially felt rather pleased.  It suggested that my prediction of hackers treating it as a challenge had been vindicated

As soon as a bit more information came through I abandoned that thought, however.  And the initial claim by the government -- that the system had been hit by a DDOS attack seemed informative.  My conclusion then was that the system had not in fact been hit by a DDOS attack but rather by something very similar to a DDOS attack: A meltdown caused by large and unexpected numbers of legitimate users trying to log on.  In short, the system ran out of capacity.  All the good and dutiful Australians logging on to do their duty once the evening meal was cleared away were the problem.  They should not have been the problem.  They were the people the system was built for.

So the problem was not any politician or bureaucrat but rather the firm -- IBM -- that had the contract to provide and operate the system. They totally goofed.  Their estimate of the resources that would been needed was way too low.  And I think a lot of people are now converging on that as the explanation. I think that that will soon become the accepted explanation for the meltdown.

IBM are a famous company so it is no discredit to Malcolm Turnbull or anyone else in the government that IBM was given the job.  Champion whiner Bill Shorten seem to think that the government was at fault in the matter but had he won the recent election, he would have found himself at the nominal head of exactly the same IBM-run system.  What would he have done differently?  He does not say.

That IBM made a huge mess on this occasion was however not without precedent. A few years ago, they totally stuffed up the  payroll program that they provided to Queensland Health.  You would think that a payroll program was such a routine thing now that nobody could stuff it up.  But IBM did.  A program that had to look after only 40,000 people took years to get right and ended up costing the Queensland taxpayers ten time what it should have.  One suspects that IBM is now not the company it used to be.

Presumably, the system will in due course be modified so that the census can complete.  The question then is whether or not we should boycott the whole thing.  I think it is clear that we should give them as little information as possible.  Governments are champion misusers and losers of all kinds of data, so the less they have the better.  And the current chaos is surely excellent evidence of that.  Other disastrous mistakes will be made and any one of us could become a victim of that.  Anyone who trusts governments is a fool.

And on this occasions there is an extra reason to tread carefully.  After this census each of us will be given a permanently identifying code-name linked to our natural name.  And that code-name will become the core of a vast data-sucking apparatus that will work silently for the rest of our lives.  It will be used to search through all existing government and non-government databases -- Centrelink, Medicare, Telstra, the courts, the hospitals etc -- to form an absolutely huge body of information about each of us.  We will have a new national ID no. that will follow us everywhere.  Anyone with access to a government computer will know everything about us that has ever been written down.  To think that such access will never be misused would be very naive indeed.

Let me give an example of a problem.  Say that one of us just once has an episode of depression and visits a doctor about it.  That will be known.  Even if the problem was transitory -- due to a relationship breakdown or some such -- it will be there on record to be used against us.  And if a government wants to discredit a whistle-blower who is revealing important and embarrassing information about that government, it has the tool it needs to hand.  It can say that "He has a history of mental illness and what he says should therefore be disregarded".  That fleeting depressive episode will be used to discredit anything we might say.

I a personally am a most buoyant person but I am not made of stone so I did once have such a episode at the end of a valued marriage.  Eventually the local doctor I consulted gave up his business.  And at that time he gave all his record cards back to the patients concerned.  It was with some satisfaction that I burnt mine.  You won't be able to burn any present-day records.

And an interesting thing is that our new personal ID no. for everything would resurrect Bob Hawke's "Australia card" of a few decades ago.  Bob Hawke nearly got that through to great and widespread consternation.  Fortunately, the project fell at the last hurdle amid widespread relief.  But the snoops never go away.  This is their second chance to get all the information they need to control us.  They must fail -- JR.

Army modernises ceremonial uniforms in recognition of Anzac centenary

The word "modernize" puts me on suspicious alert. Too often the change is a step backwards in some way rather than any improvement.  And in this matter I have some interest. As a former army man, I think the uniform should be treated with respect.  So I am pleased to say that the new attire looks good.  I am a bit nonplusssed about the colourful transverse sashes, however. They are common in the attire of European nobility but how did they get into the Australian army?  Australia is a monarchy, I suppose

The Australian army has begun a subtle makeover, modernising its ceremonial dress uniforms in recognition of the Centenary of Anzac.

The darker brown khaki look was chosen in a nationwide survey of soldiers, who say it better reflects their proud heritage.

Last month the new dress uniform made its public debut in Paris when members of Australia's Federation Guard led a march down the Champs Elysees for Bastille Day celebrations.

Corporal Jeremy Wikner has just returned from commemorative duties in France, and is full of praise for the new threads.

"Whilst over there it was very hot, in the low 30s but hundred percent humidity. We were wearing this new uniform and it was a lot more comfortable than the previous one," Corporal Wikner said.

"It's a lot thinner, wears a lot nicer when you're doing commemorative tasks, it's a lot better."

Army members based in Canberra are the first to be issued the new uniforms which will be rolled out for all 43,000 regular and reservist soldiers by the end of 2017.

The Army's Regimental Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Don Spinks, said soldiers would wear the dress uniform mainly for ceremonial occasions, commemorative events and special occasions.

"It's a uniform off the rack as opposed to the previous uniform which was made to measure and there are certainly economies and benefits for us there," he said.

    "The trouser is a more modern fit, more modern look. It has an elastic waistband and allows for that little bit of expansion or contraction. The jacket is a much better fit around the shoulders and tailored for both women and men."

The head of military heraldry and technology at the Australian War Memorial, Nick Fletcher, said while the new darker brown dress uniform was closer to what the original Australian Imperial Force wore, it was not an exact copy.

"The colour seems a little browner. The early khaki as it came out of Australia for these AIF uniforms was very much a pea soupy colour," he said.

"The new colour adopted seems to have more brown to it.

"I think the reasoning behind it which is that it should match the colour of the slouch hat which the Australian Army has worn for so many years is very, very clever and it ties the uniform together and makes it look really smart."


Australians have shied away from discussing how Indigenous culture normalises violence

There is a deep silence that envelops domestic violence in Aboriginal communities, Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has outlined in her lecture Homeland Truths: The Unspoken Epidemic of Violence in Indigenous Communities

Delivered as the Centre for Independent Studies’ inaugural Helen Hughes Talk for Emerging Thinkers, Ms Price’s lecture examined a topic many people have shied away from discussing: how traditional Aboriginal culture normalises violence.

Instead of looking for constitutional recognition or treaties or governments to solve the problems, ownership, responsibility and constructive criticism must take place, Ms Price says.

"The conventional belief is that prior to the ‘invasion’ of British settlers, Aboriginal people lived a harmonious existence with very little violence,” she says.

"However, under customary lore, Aboriginal women could be raped and killed even just for accidentally disturbing men’s sacred ceremonial parties.

"Too often we women are part of the huge problem. In my culture men are hardly seen as being capable of doing anything wrong — and women are the ones to blame if they should.

"As long as this logic exists within the hearts and minds of the women who are related to the perpetrators we will not gain leeway in the fight against physical and sexual violence against women.

"This was and still is the norm for Aboriginal women whose cultures are intact, whose cultures have been maintained, whose cultures are steeped in tradition … and maintain the rights for men to control them.

"Aboriginal culture is a culture that accepts violence and in many ways desensitises those living the culture to violence.”

If Aboriginal people are to successfully address the high rates of intrapersonal violence in Aboriginal communities, they need to acknowledge the real causes of this violence, Ms Price says.

"This means not excusing perpetrators’ behaviour by blaming the victims and or colonisation, but taking a long hard look at the aspects of Aboriginal culture that need to change.”

"It is not good enough when Aboriginal women are 35 times more likely to be hospitalized from violence perpetrated by those who are related to them. It is easy to stand on the outside and make excuses rather than condemn acts of violence.

"Help my people understand the necessity and value in constructive criticism and self-reflection. Please don’t encourage us to remain stagnant, instead encourage us to ask questions and challenge long held beliefs so that we may determine the way forward, with that, which enriches our lives.”


Lying Leftist newspaper

Legal cleverness no substitute for integrity

Fairfax Media has been ­ordered to pay a $300,000 in a defamation case brought against the newspaper ­publisher and columnist Peter FitzSimons.

Personal trainer Sean ­Carolan sued Fairfax and ­FitzSimons over a series of ­articles that implied his business Nubodi had conducted tests on Sydney Roosters rugby league players without their consent and he had passed on the results to an organised crime figure.

In a judgment handed down by NSW Supreme Court judge Lucy McCallum on Tuesday, Mr Carolan was successful in establishing he was defamed by all four of the articles published online by The Sydney Morning Herald.

Mr Carolan and his wife said they became the subject of hate forums, their house had stones thrown at it and their children were bullied at school as a result of the articles.

The initial articles, first published on September 25, 2013, about Mr Carolan’s involvement with the Roosters were written by investigative journalist Kate McClymont.

FitzSimons picked up on the reports in a column on ­September 26.

Justice McCallum found Fairfax had failed to prove the imputation that Mr Carolan conducted tests on players without their consent to be "substantially true”.

"Truth defence was misconceived from the outset,” she said. "While other issues were raised, that contention was the principal focus of the truth ­defence in respect of both ­imputations.

"Inexplicably, however, Fairfax did not seek to prove that contention by calling a single football player to give evidence that he did not consent to have his blood tested in the manner that occurred.

"Rather, the defence rested on a complex and ultimately unconvincing series of premises as to the process by which player consent could be taken to have been obtained (or not).”

A decision on costs will be made a later date.


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

No posts August 9-12 because of illness

8 August, 2016

Another census protest

Open Letter to David Kalisch of the Australian Bureau of Statistics from Tom Sulston of "Thoughtworks" below.  He knows what he is talking about. 

In defence of their Fascist policy, the ABS, like Fascists everywhere, assures us that keeping our data on file will be "for your own good".  A great gaping hole in that story, however is that they have yet to give us one single example of a good thing that the data retention will enable.  I can think of nothing legitimate that just recording the suburb would not achieve

ThoughtWorks is a global software consultancy, with strong capabilities in data management, security, and privacy. We would like to make comment on the running of the Australian Census in 2016.

We are huge fans of the census and are proponents of its use for evidence-driven policy. Because of this, we are unable to remain silent while the 2016 census threatens this excellent policy tool.

By choosing to retain the names and addresses of about 24 million people in 10 million households alongside their sensitive demographic data, the ABS is taking risk with the privacy rights of all Australian residents. It is our belief that claims that the risk of data leaks are low may not be correct, as the ABS has reported 14 data breaches in the last 3 years. In light of the security threats observed in recent years, we are afraid that no matter how strong the security capability of the ABS, the risk is real and should this data leak the impact would be immense. As one example, consider the impact on an individual should their information end up with a fraudster or violent ex-partner.

Holding any data brings with it the responsibility of securing it and bearing the risk that it is compromised. In our commercial work, we practice datensparsamkeit – the principle of holding as little personal data as needed.  Not only is securing data difficult, when it is leaked it is impossible to retrieve. Consider that the NSA, one of the world’s most well-funded and capable security organizations, was unable to prevent the leaking of thousands of documents about its operations. It is only by reducing the amount of data that we hold that we can reduce the impact when it leaks.

The ABS’ collection of personally-identifying and sensitive data needlessly puts the private lives of Australian residents at risk. Many people recognize this and may refuse to engage with the census or provide accurate information as an act of civil disobedience. The collection of excessive personal information may have some unintended repercussions for the quality and integrity of census data not only in 2016 but beyond. The ABS may be able to force compliance with some of those who choose not to complete the census form, but they will have no way to verify the answers provided by those who do complete the form as accurate.

We believe that, given these concerns and strong community opposition to the retention of personally-identifiable information, the 2016 census results will be insufficiently accurate to justify the collection of such personal information.

We urge the ABS to commit to the following:

Accepting census submissions without names or addresses as legitimate;

Not to seek to fine people who choose not to submit their identifying information;

The destruction of all personally-identifiable information, such as names and addresses, within 6 months of taking the 2016 census;

Independent scrutiny and verification that this information has been destroyed.

To address the concerns of the Australian community and to encourage participation and provision of quality information for the 2016 census, we urge the ABS to make this commitment before 8th August.


City of Fremantle considers cancelling Australia Day Skyshow fireworks

No prizes for guessing that Fremantle is under Leftist influence.  It is a peculiar Leftist idea that the wishes and interests of the majority should be subjugated to the the wishes and interests of minorities

FREMANTLE is considering ditching its popular Australia Day fireworks in favour of a more “culturally sensitive celebration”.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said Australia Day was painful for some people and celebrating it with fireworks “had an uncomfortableness about it”.

“Celebrating with fireworks what is great about Australia on the very day when the dispossession of our nation’s original people began is something that sat uncomfortably with many of us in Fremantle,” he said

“Doing it on a day of English arrival or settlement certainly doesn’t feel like the most appropriate day given the mixed messages and mixed consequences of that.”

City of Fremantle council will decide whether to replace the annual fireworks with “a more cost effective, environmentally friendly and culturally sensitive celebration” on Wednesday.

If approved, Fremantle would instead mark Australia Day with a citizenship ceremony at Fremantle Arts Centre, including a speech on the tradition of multiculturalism.

That would be followed by a family picnic and concert in Esplanade Reserve on the following Saturday and an indigenous music celebration on the Sunday.

Dr Pettitt said the council had received community feedback about different ways of marking January 26.
Fremantle’s Australia Day fireworks have become a popular family tradition. Picture: Faith Moran

“We wanted to find a way where we acknowledge both the great things about Australia, and that we’ve been given a peaceful prosperous country, but we also think at the same time that we do have a dark past,” he said.

“We also want to do something that’s more culturally sensitive and acknowledges that challenge around our history and our relationship with indigenous people in this place.”

About 50,000 people a year attend City of Fremantle and City of Cockburn’s Indian Ocean Skyshow. Fremantle has held Australia Day fireworks for more than a decade at a cost of $145,000 each year.

Dr Pettitt said the fireworks had become a much-loved family event.  “That will be part of the challenge for council,” he said. “It will be weighing up the fact people love fireworks and the family tradition that’s been running over the past decade.

“The challenge is — if you’re not going to celebrate what’s great about Australia on Australia Day, then which other day do you do it?”

Whadjuk elder Len Collard, an indigenous studies professor at the University of WA, said more people were considering colonisation and its associated atrocities on January 26. “I think people are reviewing the traditions in Australia,” he said.  “I think we’re at a stage now where we’re thinking if we’re going to move on in the future, what are the sort of attributes we might visit around how we do celebrate Australia Day.”


Poor teachers produce poor students

Jennifer Buckingham

The NAPLAN results released this week tell an all-too-familiar story: in most states there has been little or no improvement in literacy and numeracy. Too many children are failing to achieve even a basic level in the fundamentals of educational achievement.

Changing this will require a relentless focus on effective instruction — especially in the early years — and adoption of teaching methods backed by the best evidence.

The statistics suggest that around 5-6% of Australian primary school students were below the National Minimum Standard on average in 2016, and this figure has barely shifted since NAPLAN began in 2008. Another 8-10% are just on the minimum standard. But it would be a mistake to assume that this figure represents the situation in individual schools. The My School website shows there are suburban schools where 50% of students have reading skills at the bare minimum or less.

If that is not bad enough, the NAPLAN minimum standard is well below what would be considered an adequate standard in international tests, meaning that it underestimates the true number of children struggling with basic skills. The Grattan Institute’s Peter Goss has suggested that a new benchmark be added to the NAPLAN reports to account for this discrepancy.

The reason so many students cannot read at a proficient level depends who you ask. Some say that insufficient resourcing of those schools with large numbers of disadvantaged students is to blame. Some say that teaching quality is the main contributing factor, including the trend toward low entry scores in initial teacher education (ITE) courses. Certainly, 256 school leavers entered ITE courses in 2005 with ATARs of less than 60. In 2013, it was 979. This may be a small proportion of the overall ITE cohort, but is still a lot of new teachers whose academic aptitude is relatively low according to their Year 12 performance.

Just as questionable is the quality of the ITE courses they complete. A number of studies have found that Australian ITE students and graduates have poor knowledge of the structure and rules of the English language. According to Professor Pamela Snow from LaTrobe University, there is an ‘intergenerational effect’ whereby new teachers are themselves the product of teaching methods that have failed to provide them with the linguistic knowledge necessary for explicit instruction in reading, spelling, grammar and writing — and their ITE courses have neglected to fill this gap.

Typically, there has been no measure of how well prepared ITE graduates are to teach, but school principals seem to have a low opinion. In the Staff in Australia’s Schools survey, only about one third of principals said they thought recent teacher graduates were well prepared to develop strategy for teaching literacy and numeracy. New ITE accreditation standards have been developed by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership to try to rectify this problem.

On the same day Australian newspapers and talkback radio waves were full of NAPLAN stories, it was reported in the New York Post that the city’s schools made large gains in the state literacy and numeracy tests, and that charter schools — which enrol mainly low income and black and Hispanic students — were largely responsible. Across New York, 76% of charter schools outperformed their public school districts in maths and 71% in English.

Charter school quality varies, but some achieve remarkable results. High-performing charter schools tend to have some common characteristics, including selectively recruiting the best teachers and investing their instructional efforts heavily in literacy and numeracy. Many, if not most, use traditional teaching methods, including direct instruction. And their strong results can’t be attributed to higher funding — New York state charter schools, for example, are funded at a per-pupil rate 30% lower than district public schools.

Charter schools in the US and high-performing, low SES public schools around Australia show that social background need not be a barrier to literacy, but more funding will not automatically lead to better outcomes.

Only with effective, evidence-based instruction, including systematic, synthetic phonics, will all children learn to read.



Judge Anti-discrimination law by results, not good intentions

Helen Andrews

In the midst of public debate about exemptions to anti-discrimination law and whether they should be expanded or eliminated, we often forget to take a step back and ask the larger questions.

Like "Does anti-discrimination law work?".

Thousands of complaints are filed every year under the various anti-discrimination provisions in Australian law, from the Racial Discrimination Act to the Fair Work Act.

But do these laws ultimately help the groups they are intended to?

Not always. The wage gap between men and women, for example, narrowed dramatically prior to the passage of the Sex Discrimination Act 1983 and plateaued after it. The law ratified larger cultural changes that were already well in motion. It was not itself an engine of change.

Sometimes these laws can even hurt the groups they are supposed to help. Workforce participation among the disabled went down after the passage of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

The same thing happened in the United States after the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 --workforce participation among the disabled went down.

The laws themselves are partly to blame, since they incentivize employers to act defensively.

If there is a risk that hiring an employee who belongs to a protected class will leave an employer vulnerable to a lawsuit (or, in the case of disability, an expensive accommodation claim) sometime in the future, it makes sense for managers to err on the side of caution.

Too often, discussion of anti-discrimination law gets bogged down in culture war battles and ostentatious moralizing, and no one stops to consider these laws in a pragmatic light, on the basis of evidence.

Any future reform or consolidation of anti-discrimination law should begin with weighing the costs and benefits -- especially since it turns out the benefits may be a lot fewer than most people assume.


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 August, 2016

Australians threaten to take leave of their census

The plans to retain name and address are clearly an excess. I gathered and used a lot of survey data in my research career and recording name and addresss is egregiously bad practice.  It guarantees inaccurate responding.  All that would have been needed for any conceivable research purpose would be to retain the name of the suburb.  Seeking any more than that is definitely fishy. 

And the claim that the data can't be hacked is laughable.  Even highly secured American military sites have been hacked.  The very claim that the data cannot be hacked will get all the world's best hackers onto the problem in a race to be first to crack it

Any ANY government data is subject to bureaucratic carelessness.  A few years ago in Britain there was a spate of government employees leaving DVDs of sensitive data on trains.  We don't hear of that now but only because such reports are probably now hushed up.  Public servant attitudes are unlikely to have changed

Next Tuesday is the day Australians must fill in—correctly—their census forms, or face a fine. However, many may be willing to take that risk as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will rather extraordinarily be storing names and addresses in addition to the usual census results.

Previous census forms have collected this information, but respondents were allowed to opt-in to having personally identifiable information retained. This time, the ABS wants to keep the information on record until 2020. This has provoked both privacy and security concerns. The bureau's former chief statistician Bill McLennan called it “the most significant invasion of privacy ever perpetrated on Australians by the ABS,” and even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak weighed in to say the data retention plans were “unethical.”

Others claim the ABS cannot adequately protect sensitive data. According to reports the ABS has had 14 data breaches since 2013.

The bureau says none of the breaches were related to census information, but the Australian Privacy Foundation said it still highlights how difficult it is to secure vast amounts of personal information once collected. Others pointed out that in the past names and addresses were not retained, making the census data a less attractive target for hackers.

Australian Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack told reporters on Wednesday that there has “never been a breach of the actual census data, [and] the ABS assures us that this won’t happen into the future. They have assured me as the minister responsible, they’ve assured the government, that they have every protocol in place, every process in place to ensure that there isn’t a breach this time.”

Not everyone is convinced. Software consultancy ThoughtWorks published an opinion saying that although the census is good for evidence-driven policy, the 2016 census threatens confidence.

“It is our belief that claims that the risk of data leaks are low may not be correct. In light of the security threats observed in recent years, we are afraid that no matter how strong the security capability of the ABS, the risk is real and should this data leak, the impact would be immense. As one example, consider the impact on an individual should their information end up with a fraudster or violent ex-partner,” said the company while advocating data minimisation.

“Not only is securing data difficult, when it is leaked it is impossible to retrieve. Consider that the NSA, one of the world’s most well-funded and capable security organisations, was unable to prevent the leaking of thousands of documents about its operations. It is only by reducing the amount of data that we hold that we can reduce the impact when it leaks,” said the ThoughtWorks statement.

IBM security architect Philip Nye tweeted that the census was almost certain to be hacked. He later deleted his comment—IBM has Australia's census security contract—but not before media grabbed a screenshot.

Meanwhile, data scientists are concerned data integrity will be harmed as many people may refuse to complete the census or deliberately provide false information as an act of civil disobedience, even though it is illegal to do so. “Even on a relatively small scale, acts of civil disobedience with regard to the census could seriously skew the data,” warned privacy advocacy group Electronic Frontiers Australia.

The ABS will certainly try to force compliance—fines range from AUS$1800 (~£1,000 or ~$1,370) for providing false information to AUS$180 per day for failing to submit the form. But the agency will have no real way to verify the answers provided by those who do complete the form as accurate. Failure to vote in the Federal Election last month resulted in only a AUS$20 fine.

Electronic Frontiers Australia has set up a website,, to give advice to Australians concerned that their personally identifying information will be linked to other sensitive information such as religion, income, etc., in the census form.

The ABS says it will store names and addresses separately from other census responses, with names replaced by “anonymous linkage keys." However it is not clear how these will be generated. According to Electronic Frontiers Australia, the keys are likely to be a “14 character alphanumeric string made from components of your first and last names, birthdate, and sex.”

“Please note the authors of this site do not advocate that any person provide false or misleading information on their census form,” continues the organisation before proposing “hypothetical” scenarios: “Without falsifying data, if you were to accidentally enter your first name where it asks for a surname (and vice versa) you can see this would have a significant effect on the identifier created. Similarly, Wliliam Smiht, who suffers from some mild dyslexia, or Jaane Thhompson, who has an annoying, sticky keyboard may also find their data is matched to a smaller number of external datasets.”

Around 66 percent of Australians will answer the census online—provided they have Windows XP (Service Pack 3), Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion or later, Android 4.2 or later, or iOS 7.0 or later. However this will allow the bureau to store even more information as it retains IP addresses, and requires all questions apart from religion to be answered: blank fields are not an option.

The ABS says that filing in the form online “helps improve your security.” According to the law, the bureau is obligated to comply with both the Census and Statistics Act 1905 and the Privacy Act 1988, which mention the words “Web," "Internet," and "online” exactly zero times.

Nonetheless, Australia’s chief statistician and head of the ABS, David W. Kalisch, believes that Australians will “willingly and even eagerly” complete their census forms.

“The Census guides Government funding for essential services and infrastructure and is crucial in setting electoral boundaries, allocating Australian government funding to states and territories, planning educational and health services, and other infrastructure for local communities,” he wrote on July 22.

“I urge everyone in Australia to join me and share in the excitement of this once-in-a-five-year opportunity. Australians have no cause for concern about any aspect of this Census, and can have ongoing trust and confidence in the ABS,” he continued before addressing the elephant in the room.

“In 2016, I’ve decided to keep names and addresses for longer. This is for statistical purposes only, and will increase the value of census data. This will enable the ABS to produce statistics on important economic and social areas such as educational outcomes, and measuring outcomes for migrants. My decision followed community consultation, direct engagement with the Australian Information Commissioner and each State and Territory Privacy Commissioner, and a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA),” said Kalisch.

“Key measures to safeguard information include strong encryption of data, restricted access on a need-to-know basis and monitoring of all staff, including regular audits,” explains the ABS website.

“No one working with census data will be able to view your personal information (name or address) at the same time as your other census responses (such as age, sex, occupation, level of education or income). Stored separately and securely, individuals' names will also be substituted with a linkage key, a computer generated code, completely anonymising the personal information. The security measures in place have been independently tested and reviewed to ensure that your personal information is secure. The connection from the user’s computer to the online form is protected using, at a minimum, 128-bit TLS encryption,” says the ABS.

Ars has asked IBM for more information about security measures, but had not received a response at time of publishing.


New movie about the Cronulla disturbances

The Left cannot let the 2005 Cronulla events go.  It's one of the few hooks on which they can hang a claim that Australian are racist.  What actually happened was a reaction to very offensive behaviour on Cronulla beach by young Lebanese Muslim men.  Women were being harassed and the Lebanese were in effect claiming the beach as their territory.  Had the police done their job  nothing would have happened but for them to do anything might have been seen as "racist" so they did nothing. 

So when the men of the Shire saw the offensive behaviour going unchecked, a few of them reacted with a deliberate attempt to chase away the Muslims.  And that is the whole of it

IT’S one of the most confronting few minutes of a film you’re likely to see this year, showing Australia on one of its darkest days.

But, initially at least, it looks like the Australia of so many tourism commercials. Sun glistens down on a blue ocean in December. A chap dressed as Santa strolls along the sand as smiling swimmers bob up and down in the warm water. The tune of ‘we wish you a merry Christmas’ can be heard.

But something’s just not right. In footage, all taken from real news reports, there’s way too much booze. Police are on horseback. A helicopter buzzes overhead.

Two men, friends perhaps, shake hands and smile for a camera. All looks well. And then, out of nowhere, one of the two — the one who isn’t white — is attacked.

“That was the moment it stopped being the happy gathering and it just took that one aggressive action,” Abe Forsythe, the director of Down Under, which opens next week, tells

From there, it goes downhill fast. Car windows are smashed and police struggle to hold the crowd at bay. One man’s T-shirt reads ‘ethnic cleansing unit’; a tattoo across a chest says “We grew here, you flew here” while the crowd chants “f**k off wog, f**k off Leb”.

The film is sent in the immediate aftermath of the 2005 Cronulla race riots when Sydney was on tenterhooks waiting to see what would happen next.

“It’s incredible when you look through the footage. At the beginning of the day it was meant to be a peaceful protest and, as it built up, the mood changed.

“This act of solidarity, of an Anglo and Middle Eastern person, who were trying to help stop it spilling over, and all it took was one push for them to just flick a switch.”

And yet maybe the most surprising thing about the film, which follows two car loads of hotheads from each side of the divide, is it’s a comedy.

Mr Forsythe said it was a deliberate strategy. “We’re using comedy to shine a light on this issue in a way you probably wouldn’t if it was a straight drama because by making people laugh it makes it more accessible.”

But the opening scenes play an important role in providing the far from amusing context. “I felt people would go in knowing it was a comedy but I wanted to make clear upfront that even though it is, the subject isn’t taken lightly.”

Mr Forsythe says his film “doesn’t point fingers” at either side but rather, “it tries to encapsulate this mess and how, all of a sudden, things tip over.”

He started writing Down Under six years ago and say he did so because Australia wasn’t talking about what Cronulla meant.

“This is our way as nation, to pretend it didn’t happen, say ‘let’s not talk about it’ and hope it goes away.”

Last December, Australia did start talking about Cronulla again, on the 10th anniversary of the riots. Fears of a full scale riot didn’t eventuate but anti-fascist and anti-immigration protesters did come face-to-face on the beach once again.

While the film was ready to go, the makers decided not to release it last year for fear of being seen to cash-in on the anniversary or even provoke trouble.

Nonetheless, Mr Forsythe says the timing of the film’s release now has unintentionally coincided with the revival of Pauline Hanson’s career.

“I’d like to say its unsurprising but it’s not, it’s a repeat of the same problem we had before, that parts of society feel like they are not being heard and when you have someone like Pauline Hanson back into power they feel they have a voice.”

Nonetheless, Down Under runs the risk of poking the bear by getting a release in Cronulla itself, as well as a number of screens in western Sydney. Mr Forsythe said he was confident the comedy would bring people together.

“So much of what happened before was because we weren’t talking and even with Pauline in power, whether we like it or not, we have to listen to her and hopefully there is some way of finding common ground and moving forward,” Mr Forsythe said.


Bill Leak cartoon: what are you tweeting about?

Bill Leak was indeed writing of the real world in his cartoon.  That Aboriginals are sometimes very neglectful of their children is a fact.  Something I have heard from a few people who worked with Aborigines (not social workers) was that if Aboriginal families went on walkabout they would sometimes "lose" a child on the way.  The family might have (say) six children and, after a stop, they would go on with only five, making no attempt to shepherd all six.  It took whites to reunite the "forgoten" child with its family.  It would take an anthropologist to work out why that happens but it does

The Guardian Australia’s media correspondent Amanda Meade sent me an email yesterday morning, telling me the cartoon I had drawn for the same day’s paper was being slammed on Twitter and, incredibly, asking me to ­explain what I was “trying to say”.

While I can accept that a ­firestorm on Twitter might be of some interest to The Guardian’s media correspondent, what I can’t understand is that someone in her position would need to have the meaning of a cartoon spelled out for her when it was so glaringly obvious.

And it wasn’t only Meade and god knows how many sanctim­onious Tweety Birds that couldn’t work out the meaning of my ­cartoon without external assistance.

By lunchtime, a quick Google search showed people working at any number of media organisations all over the country were struggling to understand it too.

When little children can’t understand things, they often lash out and throw tantrums.

Workplace and safety considerations prevent adults stamping their feet and hurling themselves onto the playground, so they have to content themselves with spewing invective all over the virtual playground of Twitter.

They take aim at whoever confounded them, claim to be offended and engage in a cathartic process of name-calling and abuse.

This therapeutic process is effect­ive, but flawed. By enabling tantrum-throwers to re-establish their feelings of moral superiority they can walk away purged, but it doesn’t get to the root of their problem: Chronic Truth Aversion Disorder.

The CTAD epidemic that is raging unchecked through Australia’s social media population is rendering impossible any intellig­ent debate on serious social issues, such as the rampant violence, abuse and neglect of children in remote indigenous communities.

The reactions of people in an advanced stage of the condition to anything that so much as hints at the truth, while utterly irrational, are also so hostile that anyone ­inclined to speak the truth understandably becomes afraid to do so.

The cartoon I drew for yesterday’s paper was inspired by indig­enous men and people who, without regard for their ­personal safety, feel compelled to tell the truth whether it incites the CTAD sufferers to attack them en masse or not.

It’s their prescriptions for ­improving the lives of Aboriginal Australians that inform my own understanding of the subject.

Before the howls of outrage and accusations of racism that were directed at me started filtering through into my Twitter-free world yesterday, I received an email from Anthony Dillon — whose father Colin was Australia’s first Aboriginal policeman and whose evidence was pivotal to the Fitzgerald inquiry into police corruption in Queensland — ­congratulating me on the cartoon.

In it, Dillon included a message he’d written to his father, in which he said: “Have a look at Bill’s latest cartoon. “Half of me was crying and the other half was laughing. He has an incredible talent that enables him to blend humour and tragedy without losing the seriousness of the situation.”

So, Amanda, in answer to your question, I was trying to say that if you think things are pretty crook for the children locked up in the Northern Territory’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, you should have a look at the homes they came from.

Then you might understand why so many of them finished up there.


QLD police threatening to charge parents for letting kids walk to school

This is ridiculous.  When I was a kid I always walked to school by myself. Most of us did. It would not be wise in a large city these days but is still reasonable in a small country town where everybody knows everybody

DO your kids walk or ride to school by themselves? If so, you’re breaking the law, as one Queensland parent recently found out the hard way.

A parent in the small rural Queensland town of Miles, which is near Chinchilla, has recently been charged by police for breaching the criminal code in relation to child supervision.

Other parents have reacted strongly after a police notice about the crime, and the charge, was included in a newsletter at a rural Queensland school.

The notice from Miles police said that in the first few weeks of the school term, they had noticed a number of children under 12 walking or riding to school without ‘proper’ supervision.

It then goes on to quote section 364A of the Queensland Criminal Code, which says: “A person who, having the lawful care or charge of a child under 12 years, leaves the child for an unreasonable time without making reasonable provision for the supervision and care of the child during that time commits a misdemeanour. Maximum Penalty — 3 years imprisonment.”

The notice said police had laid criminal charges against a local parent and warned that others could face prosecution. “We are determined to provide the safest possible environment for our kids and our community and we ask everyone to play their part,” the notice said.

A Facebook post on the issue from a shocked Miles mum has been shared almost 1000 times.

Among the comments on the post is speculation about a possible specific reason for the police action.

Responding to a tweet from The Today Show, which aired a segment on the issue this morning, Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said there was “more to this story”.

He defended the officer who placed the notice, saying they were trying to “be proactive & keep kids safe”.



Michael Darby

More than a month after the Double Dissolution Election, the Senate Count has been finalised. For the growing number of Australians worried about the harm being done to our economy and our future by the Global Warming Cult, the result has been worth the wait.

On the Senate cross-benches there are now seven Senators who simply will not accept the official line that our liberties and our economic future should be seriously constrained for the sake of meeting arbitrary emissions reduction targets. There are seven senators who will not be bullied by the Global Warming Cult. As time goes on, more and more Australians will acknowledge these Senators as “The Magnificent Seven”.

I’ll mention firstly the re-elected senators.

Senator Bob Day AO of Family First has been re-elected in South Australia. On 30 November 2015 Senator Day told the Senate: “As for calling CO2 pollution, that is the most ludicrous, unscientific statement one could possibly make.”

Senator Jacqui Lambie is back in Tasmania for the Jacqui Lambie Network. Here is an extract from her speech to the Senate on 17 March 2016: “It is clear that a government making Australian pensioners, businesses and families pay more for their energy will never stop world climate change. It will only increase the cost of living for our families and kill off Australian jobs and businesses, and for no return.”

New South Wales has re-elected the veterinarian Senator David Leyonhjelm. In his Maiden Speech on 9 July 2014, Senator Leyonhjelm said: “Environmental fanatics are not omniscient geniuses: they do not know enough to tell other people how to live their lives any more than I do.”

In the biggest and most welcome surprise of the election, to those three stalwart senators have been added four new Senators, all representing Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. Senator-elect Pauline Hanson will be supported by her fellow Queenslander Malcolm Roberts, Senator-elect Brian Burston of NSW and Senator-elect Rod Culleton of Western Australia. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation missed getting a fifth Senate place in Tasmania, by only 141 votes.

Unlike the leaders of larger political parties, Pauline Hanson respects scientists and upholds science, as evidenced by her inspired choice of Malcolm Roberts as her running mate in Queensland. Malcolm Roberts as the leader of the Galileo Movement made a great contribution to the defeat of the Carbon Tax.

Yesterday at his Press conference with Party spokesman James Ashby, Malcolm Roberts wasted no time in stating that there is not one piece of empirical evidence anywhere to support the theory of man-made climate change. Malcolm Roberts is in no doubt that the United Nations is attempting to impose global government through climate policy.

The Turnbull Government cannot afford to ignore Pauline Hanson and the other Senators who comprise the Magnificent Seven. Australian politics has been dramatically changed, and changed for the better.

Via Facebook

5 August, 2016

Census 2016: Malcolm Turnbull says privacy 'absolute' in ABS survey

I am optimistic enough to accept Mr Turnbull's assurances. But a huge concern remains.  What if hackers get to the data?  They have got access to heavily secured military sites before today so I imagine the ABS would be a snack.  I have grave reservations about giving my address if it is going to be retained.  I am not one to encourage lawbreaking but I doubt that I will be participating in this deeply flawed process

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has moved to alleviate worries about the security of personal details gathered in the Census, after independent senator Nick Xenophon called for the national survey to be delayed over privacy concerns.

The compulsory survey has been under fire from privacy advocates since the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announced it would, for the first time, retain all the names and addresses it had collected "to enable a richer and dynamic statistical picture of Australia."

The Australian Privacy Foundation last month called on the ABS to stop using people's names for data analysis, but Mr Turnbull today said the organisation "always protects people's privacy".

"The security of their personal details is absolute and that is protected by law and by practice," he said.

"That is a given."

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull © AAP Image/Andrew Taylor Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull Concerns have also been raised over the changes in completing the form, with independent Senator Nick Xenophon calling for the Government to delay the Census amid confusion over the shift to an online form.

This year Australians have the option of either filling in the Census online using a 12-digit identification number, or calling a phone hotline to request a paper copy.

However, some people who are seeking a paper form have been unable to get through on the phone line, as it struggles to keep up with the huge demand.

Census 'headed for a debacle'

Senator Xenophon, his party's Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie, and independent Member for Denison Andrew Wilkie said the transition had been mishandled.

In a statement, Senator Xenophon said his office had received numerous complaints from people who had not been able to access the form, or had fears over being fined for not completing it.

"Right now it seems to be headed for a debacle," he said.

"The unintended main statistic from this census might be the huge number of Australians who can't complete it through no fault of their own."

Wilkie seeks assurances on fines

Mr Wilkie also issued a statement, citing a "broad feeling of confusion in the community".

"I do not doubt the importance of the Census and I commend the vast majority of ABS staff for doing the very best they can," he said.

"But the Government needs to step up and listen to the concerns in the community and provide an assurance that no one will be fined if they haven't been able to complete the census."

Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh defended the process, but called on the Government to support it.

In a statement, Dr Leigh said the Census should be a "first order issue for the Turnbull Government".

Census boss defends privacy record

Duncan Young, the head of the Census Program, told The World Today that Australians had always provided their names and addresses as part of the Census. "It's been the bread and butter of our business to protect that information," he said.

"We can assure Australians that they have legal protections, so it's illegal for us to release identifiable data to anyone, not even courts or tribunals or other government agencies.

"We have the best-practice security protections in place to protect the data."

The Census office has also carried out extensive testing of its technology to see if it can cope with demand.

It said the data required to fill out the Census was small, and should not add too much pressure on internet providers.


NO to a racist constitution

Australia's basic law should treat all Australians equally:   No special favours for one race.  Fortunately, controversial referenda are usually lost in Australia.  The 1967 "aboriginal" referendum was unopposed and functioned by REMOVING references to Aborigines.  So blacks and whites are now treated equally.  Let us not backslide

Malcolm Turnbull is facing a fresh outbreak of internal dissent over the proposal to recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution before talks about the referendum on Thursday with the Labor leader, Bill Shorten.

The South Australian Liberal senator Cory Bernardi told Guardian Australia on Wednesday “no case had been made” for recognising Indigenous people in the constitution.

Bernardi said years of discussion about recognition had failed to yield a concrete proposal to put to a referendum and as he was a “constitutional conservative ... it’s highly unlikely I’d agree”.

Fellow Liberal senator James Paterson told Sky News on Wednesday he was yet to be convinced constitutional change was the appropriate way to proceed.

“There is no place for race in our constitution,” Paterson said. “There should be no negative references to race, there should be no positive references to race. [The constitution is] the rule book of Australia. I think there is a role for symbolism in public life but I’m yet to be convinced the constitution is the place for that.”

The new bout of restiveness has been triggered by a proposal in Western Australia. The WA branch of the Liberal party’s youth wing wants to bring forward a motion at the state conference next week calling on the federal government to oppose recognition and campaign against constitutional change.

Bernardi told Guardian Australia a binding motion such as the one envisaged in WA would go against the culture of the Liberal party but, with that said, he was not, intrinsically, a supporter of the constitutional recognition proposal.

The prime minister will meet the Labor leader on Thursday to discuss both constitutional recognition and also the marriage equality plebiscite.

Shorten has been flagging a treaty as the next logical step after recognition and a number of Indigenous leaders are no longer interested in the incremental step of recognition.

At the Garma festival over the weekend, Noel Pearson, who is on the referendum council, called for a synthesising of the treaty and constitutional reform arguments.

“If we think they are somehow separate agendas, this whole agenda will fail,” Pearson said. “My synthesis is simply that constitutional recognition provides the hook that enables agreements to be made, and a Makarratta, a national settlement, to be made.”

The Labor senator Pat Dodson, who was a co-chair of the referendum council until he decided to stand as a Labor senator in the recent election, also spoke of a post-recognition settlement. “If there is no preparedness to do that, we are all wasting our time and the tax payers have been dudded,” Dodson said.

On Wednesday the prime minister was asked whether he was worried that the middle ground on this debate was being lost, given members of the government were digging in their heels, and Labor, with the backing of some Indigenous leaders, was already pitching about the next stage.

Turnbull told reporters it was “very hard” to change the constitution. He said he “earnestly” sought to achieve constitutional recognition.

“But there are some important steps that need to be achieved,” the prime minister said.

“Firstly, there needs to be agreement coming from the [referendum] council as to what language they would propose to put into the constitution and then we have to be satisfied, as I believe as all of us are in the parliament, people of goodwill be satisfied, that that language is language that meets the purpose, and of course is capable of winning support in the referendum.

“It is a very, very difficult business. Changing our constitution has proved very challenging and we shouldn’t underestimate the difficulty but we are committed to doing it, but we have to make the first step is to see the proposed language, proposed amendments from the council.”

The referendum council meets again next week.


Bill Leak cartoon in The Australian an attack on Aboriginal people, Indigenous leader says

A political cartoon portraying an Aboriginal man with a beer can and not remembering his son's name is an "attack" on Indigenous Australians, a community leader says.

The cartoon by Bill Leak was published by The Australian newspaper on Thursday, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Day.

Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency chief executive Muriel Bamblett said it depicted Aboriginal people as "not knowing about their children and not having any role in raising their children".

"You feel quite oppressed when these things happen, I think that we everyday have to battle with direct racism and indirect racism," she told 774 ABC Melbourne.

"In the media, I think they have a public responsibility. That's obviously one of the opportunities to get good messaging about Aboriginal people.

"But if you're constantly stereotyping us as second class then it's about profiling us as second-class citizens in our own country."

Ms Bamblett said she would speak with outgoing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda about the cartoon.

"I'm going to ring Mick Gooda later today ... and talk to him about how we can actually take some action to stop this kind of constant attack on Aboriginal people because most Australians would not condone that," she said.

The Australian's editor-in-chief Paul Whittaker defended the paper's decision to publish the "confronting" cartoon.

He cited comments made by Indigenous leaders this week, including Noel Pearson on Lateline who said: "Blackfellas have got to take charge and take responsibility for their own children. That part of the message really struggles to get traction."

"The Australian is proud of its long-standing and detailed contribution to our national debate over the crucial issues in Indigenous affairs," Whittaker said in a statement.

"The current controversy over juvenile detention in the Northern Territory has lifted these matters to the forefront of national attention again.

"Too often, too many people skirt around the root causes and tough issues. But not everyone. Bill Leak's confronting and insightful cartoons force people to examine the core issues in a way that sometimes reporting and analysis can fail to do."
Cartoon 'discriminatory and racist'

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council said the cartoon was racist and has filed a complaint with the Australian Press Council.

"It was absolutely disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful. I can't believe The Australian, a national newspaper, would be so insulting to us as Aboriginal people," the council's chairman Roy Ah-See said.

Mr Ah-See said while the paper had published many strong Indigenous affairs stories, the cartoon went too far.


Trainee teachers flunk mandatory literacy and numeracy tests

HUNDREDS of student teachers have flunked basic literacy and numeracy tests required to graduate and work in school classrooms.

The two hour mandatory tests show between 5.5 per cent and 6.9 per cent of graduates cannot read or write well enough to teach despite spending up to four years studying at university. Those who fail to pass will have to resit the tests.

About 265 trainee teachers — one in 14 — failed to pass the numeracy test and 210 — one in 18 — failed to correctly answer the literacy questions, data released by the Federal Government shows.

Student teachers marked with a fail did not meet a standard which included questions about working out percentages, spelling frequently used words and identifying common grammatical mistakes.

The strict new standards have been imposed on trainee teachers as Naplan scores have flatlined and writing scores for students in the early years of high school plummeted over the last five years despite record government spending on education.

In pilot tests last year 500 of 5000 university students did not make the grade, the results suggesting thousands of new teachers are fronting classrooms without the proper skills to teach.

The tests aimed at ensuring future teachers have literacy and numeracy skills in the top 30 per cent of the adult population have been rolled out nationally in a bid to arrest Australia’s slide down the international rankings.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham yesterday said 94.5 per cent of candidates in this year’s tests — conducted in May and June — met the standard for literacy and 93.1 per cent reached the numeracy benchmark.

“Families rightly expect their children to get the best possible education from teachers with the best possible skills … no new graduate should be registered to teach without meeting these standards,” Senator Birmingham said.

“Australians want to know that school students are learning from teachers with strong personal literacy and numeracy skills.

Sen Birmingham said the results — better than last year’s trial tests which up to 10 per cent of student teachers failed — were “extremely encouraging”.

“Today’s results are an improvement on the voluntary trial that was run last year and show through this laser focus on literacy and numeracy that our new teachers are graduating with better skills,” he said.

President of the Australian Council of Deans of Education Professor Tania Aspland said the “right mix of both personal and academic traits” was needed to make great teachers.

“This is why universities use a variety of means, not only academic scores, to select teacher education students,” she said.

“We also work hard to ensure our students can combine theory with strong practical school experiences during their studies.”

The test data shows that Victoria and NSW have the most students who have completed or registered to sit the test but hundreds of trainee teachers in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland still have to comply.

The tests were a key recommendation of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group and have been endorsed by all state and territory education ministers.


One Nation's Malcolm Roberts vows to halt 'ridiculous lies' on climate change

Roberts wins second seat in Queensland for Pauline Hanson’s party and calls for government to abandon all policies that aim to reduce greenhouse gases.  A big moan from the Guardian below

On the day the government moved to save 15 of 35 climate science positions planned to be cut at the CSIRO, the Senate election results in Queensland showed One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts had won a second seat for the party in that state.

He stood in front of the media and denounced the government for taking part in an international climate change conspiracy and called for all policies that aim to reduce greenhouse gases to be abandoned.

Roberts is the “project leader” of a group called the Galileo Movement. It launched in 2011, with the aim of exposing what its leaders described as the “political fabrication of global warming alarm”.

He claimed in 2012 in an interview with Fairfax Media that climate science is controlled “by some of the major banking families in the world” who collude “in a tight-knit cabal with the United Nations”.

Those comments were one step too far even for News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt, who himself has argued that climate change is all a big conspiracy.

But now, elected to federal parliament, Roberts did not shy away from this statement.

“I’ve done a lot of research into climate,” he said at a media conference on Thursday. “I went looking into the agencies that have been spreading the climate science. I started finding out things about the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology. That led me then to the UN, which has been driving this. Then I started following the money trails.”

He went on to explain that they could be traced back to a few families who are making “trillions” of dollars.

When One Nation announced its policies for this year’s election, an attack on climate science was strangely prominent.

Alongside a “royal commission to determine if Islam is a religion or political ideology” the party has also called for “a royal commission (or similar) into the corruption of climate science”.

“Climate change should not be about making money for a lot of people and giving scientists money,” the party’s website says.

This renewed focus on climate change had the fingerprints of Malcolm Roberts all over it.

Roberts says he is a scientist (he has a mining engineering degree) and that the CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology are no longer involved in science, since he says there is nothing to support the climate science they do. “All we need to do is stop these ridiculous lies based on climate,” he said.

Whether Roberts will have any impact on the functioning of the new parliament is not yet clear. But he said he has been called by both Malcolm Turnbull and attorney general, George Brandis.

“They offered their congratulations and then said they would make sure they would get the resources to us so we could do our jobs,” 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 August, 2016

Deadbeat parents failed the Don Dale Detention Centre boys

A week on, there is still a huge hole in the miserable story about young boys in the Northern Territory’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre. Four Corners challenged our emotions, asked searching questions and created a furore about who is to blame for the mistreatment of young boys who deserve better. A job well done by the public broadcaster. But not that well done.

The ABC’s documentary Australia’s Shame only scratched the scab from a national wound with far graver, more enduring and complex causes. The shame runs deeper than a detention centre or even a culture within the Territory’s wider detention system and so the Prime Minister’s rushed royal commission promises to be a Band-Aid, at best.

More than a week later, the politics and the hyperbole continue. Many in the media, the law, the medical profession, those at human rights commissions, in politics and indigenous affairs are rushing to name and shame. Witness the confected calls for the Northern Territory government to be sacked. When the PM announced the royal commission, the first question from the media was a pot shot about racism. Witness, too, the politically charged indignation from Labor and various NGOs that more indigenous leaders were not consulted.

And, predictably, there was concentrated pomposity from Australian Human Rights Commission boss Gillian Triggs, who declared breaches of human rights even after her own warning seconds earlier that it would be “foolish” to prejudge these matters as they will be decided by the royal commission. Equally predictable, there has been daily media outrage at the ABC, from Michael Brissenden on AM to Emma ­Alberici on Lateline, hunting for “gotcha” moments against politicians. And the rent-a-crowd protesters chanting about racism don’t even try to get close to the real issues.

Decades of misguided policy have entrenched welfare dependency and promoted symbolism over substance. Apologies and talk of treaties and indigenous recognition suck up more oxygen than the grassroots things like the toxic cycle of welfare dependency; getting indigenous kids to stay in school, not just for one-third of a year but for the entire school year; getting young people into real jobs, not make-believe ones. And then there’s the ­violence and the drug and alcohol abuse.

Speaking to The Australian, Marcia Langton distils simple truths others shy away from. She points to absolute failure of indigenous leadership to speak about personal responsibility.

“Instead of talking about personal agency, these people talk about self-determination. It drowns out any message about personal agency,” she says.

Self-determination means nothing if it is uncoupled from personal responsibility. “The parasitic NGO sector lives off a large population of victims who really need to be told: stop sitting around waiting for handouts,” she says.

Instead, behind closed doors, newly minted “diversity” leaders direct bitter words at scholarship programs that have been fantastically successful in educating indigenous children. Is it the private school education or boarding school or both that offends the chip-on-the-shoulder denigrators? Whatever it is, get over it. These brilliant, engaged and friendly students, some the first in their family to finish high school, many the first to go to university, are setting an example for the younger kids in their families and communities.

If indigenous progress is your aim, shouldn’t this path be celebrated rather than denigrated? Will the royal commission explore these cultural and systemic failures by elites that explain why too many indigenous kids are in detention instead of school?

Yes, we have seen a long line of well-meaning, hardworking child advocates, nurses, psychologists, indigenous leaders and, yes, politicians talk about the boys in Don Dale, explain what has gone wrong in detention, how the system needs to change and how they are working on that. But where were, where are the parents of these broken boys? Where are the fathers and mothers? This is the gaping hole in this horribly sad story. That we haven’t heard from the mothers and ­fathers of the boys in Don Dale tells its own story. It’s a story of generational dysfunction that a royal commission into Don Dale won’t fix.

When 97 per cent of children in detention in the Territory are Aboriginal, we should ask about more than just getting rid of that restraint chair and those spit hoods or punishing the guards who struck the young boys, hosed them down with water and subjected them to teargas.

Surely we have to ask about the families of these boys to understand why so many young boys end up in a youth detention centre. We have to ask how they became violent, why so many take drugs, don’t go to school and end up unemployed, why they witness so much violence and dysfunction and end up being victims of the same tragic cycle of despair.

How is it that Dylan Voller, the boy at the centre of the Four Corners episode, had been found guilty of 50 criminal offences before he was sentenced to three years and eight months jail in ­August 2014 at the age of 16? How is it that he was high on ice and drunk? Why did he try to run over a policeman and bash a young man in a hospital carpark during a 24-hour crime spree?

As Langton tells me, “It’s a very complicated issue but taking personal responsibility for raising your kids is a basic norm that has been lost sight of amid the faux outrage.

“What is the first thing you would be saying if you were a real leader? Making a call out to the parents to lift their game,” says Langton, one of our most courageous voices in this complex area.

In the absence of those calls, it’s hardly surprising the wrong kind of behaviour has become normal in many indigenous communities. The most basic norms, caring for your children, taking responsibility for them, have been destroyed. Instead, the wrong kind of behaviour has become normative.

Who is protesting about the breakdown of parenting norms and parental responsibility? And at what point do parents say: “I am going to take responsibility for my kids”, rather than try to lay the blame on others?

It’s true that parenting is one of the hardest things we can do. There’s no rule book and most of us blunder through guided by our own common sense, plenty of advice from others and the love, the unconditional love we feel for our children. The love for a child is different to other kinds of love. It’s a responsible love, exhausting, rewarding, nurturing, a privilege.

The reality is that not every parent is up to the job. We have become so hopeless, so scared of making judgments about other parents, we would rather turn our eyes away from children whose life chances are dashed by dysfunction than ask parents to do the best they can by their child. We seem more at ease making judgments about the owners of mistreated greyhounds than parents who mistreat their kids.Four Corners didn’t explore these questions. Neither will the royal commission. So who will start asking the right questions, the hard questions?


Noel Pearson: Royal commission won't fix problems facing Indigenous Australia

Noel gets it right again -- as he usually does

Indigenous leader Noel Pearson has made an impassioned plea for Australians to channel their outrage into more than just another royal commission into Indigenous incarceration.

The royal commission comes after a Four Corners report aired shocking images of young detainees being mistreated in Darwin's Don Dale detention centre.

A royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody was held 25 years ago and Mr Pearson says like that one, this one will not address the forces driving Aboriginal people into incarceration in the first place.

"We can't allow our outrage to be selective. We should be outraged about those things that are driving the large numbers of those tragic juveniles, who were once little babies, who were once little toddlers and who have ended up with a bag over their head being abused in an institution," he said.

"I'm interested in the question of how do we stop these children from entering that system? How do we make sure that the children are protected at the earliest of stages from ever leading that kind of life?

"I can tell you those kids with a bag over their heads in the institutions that are coming in and out of Townsville and Aurukun or Don Dale and Yirrkala, those kids are going to end up in prison as sure as night turns to day."

'Blackfellas have to take charge'

When asked about the cases of abuse aired on Four Corners last week, Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion initially said they had not previously "piqued" his interest".

Mr Pearson described the comment as unfortunate.

"It spoke to the tenor of the times. I think we've grown so immune to the Indigenous problem here, this outrageous overrepresentation. You could have an inquiry into any of those three subjects; child protection, juvenile detention, imprisonment, the story leads from one to the other," he said.

"Australians have become so inured to this problem that it is literally something that unless you see very graphic images in television, we are largely unmoved."
Mr Pearson said instead of a royal commission, more should be done to empower Indigenous communities.

"Blackfellas have got to take charge and take responsibility for their own children. That part of the message really struggles to get traction," he said.

"We're united in relation to the outrage about the end consequences, but we're divided over the question over whether Indigenous responsibility is a crucial part of the solution. And I say it is."

Pearson says Native Title is 'architecture for treaty'

Mr Pearson also said Australia should not let the Indigenous constitutional recognition debate be derailed.

He said while recognition was purely symbolic, it should be seen as an "enabler" for further reform.

"I call it putting a little plaque into the constitution. A plaque's not going to do anything. Rather I propose a modest enabling clause, one of which I've been championing over the last few years, which is an advisory body, a voice to the Commonwealth Government and the Federal Parliament," he said.

He said that on the issue of a treaty, Australia had provisions for such agreements under the Native Title Act.

"We have agreement, a quasi treaty-making process going on under Native Title. The city of Perth, that whole south-east corner of Western Australia, is now the subject of what in another language might be called a treaty," he said.

"Essentially we have an architecture under the Native Title act that allows these types of agreements to take place, and they're happening all over the countryside."


Time for Malcolm Turnbull to take action on criminality in union movement

SO Malcolm Turnbull won. Just.  It means the Prime Minister has a mandate to tackle the most insidious, most under-reported problem in Australia.

I am referring to the seemingly inexhaustible criminality in the union movement that has been a stain on the national character for half a century. Australia the land of the Fair Go? Hardly.

Turnbull’s victory will be a hollow one unless the Coalition can rally the numbers in the Senate to tighten the building code and give legislative teeth to the workplace watchdog, the Australian Building and Construc­tion Commission.

The numbers are fascinating. And two “outsiders” from Queensland may well save the day and help rein in union law-breakers.

Come on down, Pauline Hanson and Gabrielle Buckley.

Gabrielle who? Gabe is a 40-year-old Bracken Ridge father-of-three, a web designer and frontman in a cowboy rock band. He plays guitar and harmonica and rattles out melodies by Johnny Cash, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Dylan.

I’m beginning to like him already. Gabe was also David Leyonhjelm’s Liberal Democrat Senate candidate in Queensland. Gabe is a veteran of four campaigns.

Last night, there was speculation he just may grab a seat. In what may have been a line from a Kenny Rogers ballad, Buckley told me he rated his chances as “somewhere between the flip of a coin and roll of a dice”.

If Buckley doesn’t win, the seat is likely to go to One ­Nation’s Malcolm Roberts, a mining engineer with an MBA.

Leyonhjelm has voted with the Coalition on industrial relations reforms in the past and is expected to do so again, perhaps with some tweaking of the proposed laws.

Hanson’s One Nation team likewise is expected to back Turnbull. Others, including “Human Headline” Derryn Hinch and the Xenophons, see the obvious merits in an ­industrial watchdog.

So there is some optimism on the conservative side that Turnbull may win the ABCC vote in the Senate, obviating the need for a joint sitting.

If there is a joint sitting, Bob “Silver Bodgie” Katter may also back the reforms ­although I regard him as ­untrustworthy since elect­oral commission disclosures showed he got large sums from the CFMEU ($150,000) and the ETU ($50,000).

But Turnbull will need the support of Pauline and Gabe and maybe others to defeat the combined might of Labor and the Greens, who have for years turned a blind eye to union thuggery and criminality in the building industry, especially in Queensland. Why? Is it because the CFMEU has pumped $7 million into Labor coffers since 2007?

So why do we need a watchdog? The building and construction industry employs a million Australians. It generated $300 billion in total income last year. Unfortunately the ­industry is plagued by widespread disregard for the law. No less than 68 per cent of all work days lost during the December 2015 quarter were in the construction sector.

The royal commission by former High Court judge Dyson Heydon showed existing laws covering unions that were introduced by Labor are hopelessly inadequate in preventing corruption and bullying. Said Heydon: “The industry is marred by unlawful and inappropriate conduct. Fear, intimidation and coer­cion are commonplace.

“Contractors, subcontractors and workers face this culture continuously.”  And: “At the centre of this culture and much of the unlawful and inappropriate conduct is the CFMEU.”

The planned Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Bill would impose the same ­requirements of honesty and fair dealing that already exist for companies.

Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash says new laws are also needed to stop union bosses rorting members’ money.

It amazes me how the Labor Party fails to see it has a moral and ethical responsibility to act in the best interests of its union members.

Meanwhile, the building ­industry is under siege in Queensland and you are paying for it.

The spotlight was back on Queensland again after the CFMEU targeted the Commonwealth Games site at Carrara on the Gold Coast.

The Federal Court heard the crippling campaign left tradesmen with as little as two hours’ work a day. Some snoozed, others had barbecues.

The Turnbull Government’s plan to amend the building code and restore the ABCC was discussed at the stop-work meetings.

Fair Work Building and Construction told the Federal Court the meetings were “unlawful, illegitimate and unconscionable”. The stoppages were aimed at intimidating the venue developer, Hansen Yuncken, into signing a new enterprise bargaining agreement, the court heard.

The Queensland branch of the CFMEU has strong links with the ALP.

Union chiefs are facing charges over allegations of ­improper document destruction, the building of an official’s home, and questionable strike action.

In his final report, Heydon said the conduct of the CFMEU in Australia featured “unlawful behaviour” and “systemic corruption and unlawful conduct, including corrupt payments, physical and verbal violence, threats, intimidation, abuse of right-of-entry permits, secondary boycotts, breaches of fiduciary duty and contempt of court”.

And he said the wrongdoing identified was not new. He said similar criminality was found at three separate royal commissions conducted over the past 40 years: the Winneke Royal Commission in 1982, the Gyles Royal Commission in 1992 and the Cole Royal Commission in 2003.


Australia headed for recession next year, says false prophet

He's right that housing prices will fall and construction will falter as the huge boom in apartment building has its inevitable effect but iron ore prices are rising again so another shift into mining should take up at least some of the slack.  And lower housing costs should free up significant consumer spending, part of which could go on debt redemption

Australia's credit binge will lead to a bust as soon as next year, with house prices to fall between 40 and 70 per cent and unemployment to rise sharply, Professor Steve Keen says.

The professor famously lost a bet when he predicted a catastrophic crash in Australian house prices following the GFC and had to walk from Canberra to Mount Kosciusko as a result.

But he says, this time, he is right and does not have his hiking boots at the ready.

"We have borrowed ourselves so much to the hilt that we are now dependent on that continuing to rise over time and it simply won't," he told the ABC's The Business.

Many believe the Reserve Bank has been a steady guiding hand to the Australian economy in the years since the GFC, but Professor Keen believes it has guided the economy "straight toward the shoals" by encouraging households to borrow with low rates which has led to asset bubbles.

"They don't know what they're doing," he said.

"Our debt level according to the Bank of International Settlements, private debt level, has gone from 150 per cent of GDP to 210 per cent of GDP."

He argued that means a large part of the growth that Australia has enjoyed since the GFC, while many other countries plunged into recession, has been fuelled by a 60 per cent rise in household debt.

"Ireland did the same thing when they called themselves the Celtic Tiger and they don't call themselves that anymore," he said.

"Spain was doing the same thing during its housing bubble and we've replicated the same mistakes.

"It is even worse for us, we are the last idiot on the block."
He believes the Reserve Bank will be forced to take rates down to zero from their current level of 1.75 per cent as the economy continues to slow, but that will not stop the collapse of the credit binge that has kept the country afloat until now.

"[Lower rates] will suck more people in, it will suck more people in for a while and the [Reserve Bank] can delay this for a while by cutting the rates," 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

3 August, 2016

Beware PFOS! A big, loud, extraverted, blonde publicity hound comes to Australia to warn us about it

Have you ever had your carpet or your uphostered chairs Scotchguarded?  If so, you are probably pleased with the results.  The stuff tended to make dirt and stains just slide off.  What you did not know is that you probably were a user of the deadly PFOS!

And Erin Brockovich is here to alarm you about it.  The big scare by which she first made her name eventually proved to be without foundation so we must be suspicious of her latest pronouncements.  She cost the company she targeted $600 million or so but that's fine because companies are evil

That the chemical underlying Scotchguard gets into people and animals one way or another has been known for decades.  But the concentrations are extremely minute -- measured in a few parts per billion. -- and, as always, the toxicity is in the dose.  So how toxic is it?  It certainly seems to be seriously toxic to a range of animals but evidence of toxicity to people is slight.  And don't forget that this has been under investigation for a long time.

Additionally, it has been estimated that there is by now some PFOS in every American, so bad effects should be pretty evident by now.  But they are not.

But the scare has been sufficient for American manufacturers to stop production of the stuff and the levels in people have gone into steady decline.  So if it is a problem, it has been dealt  with.  But publicity-seeker Brockovich is telling you none of that.  She has done very well out of her scares, so why would she?

You can still get Scotchguard but they have taken the zing out of it

ENVIRONMENTAL activist Erin Brockovich has described Oakey’s groundwater contamination crisis as worse than what she witnessed in the United States, as she called on the community to speak up for change.

Ms Brockovich, 56, flew into Brisbane this week to speak with Oakey locals about the spread of toxic PFOS and PFOA from firefighting foam used by the ­Defence Force for decades.

The activist consults on environmental pollution cases in the US and Australia, and has most recently worked as an advocate for communities, such as Oakey, poisoned by PFOS and PFOA.

Speaking exclusively to The Courier-Mail, Ms Brockovich said the same contamination crisis was unfolding in several US states but that Oakey’s critical plight had not received the urgent government attention it deserved.

“These are toxic compounds that can wreak havoc with your health, and once they’re in you, they won’t leave,” she said.

“People (in Oakey) are sick, they have been harmed, and their property values have been degraded.”

According to Ms Brockovich — who is also an ambassador for Shine Lawyers, who is working with locals — the people of Oakey deserve to be heard by authorities.

“People need to get blood tests and arm themselves with information to make choices for their families,” she said.

“The Government’s job is to listen to these people and to let them know they’re not going to be ignored.

“This is going to blow up pretty quickly, but before we see a potential health crisis, we need to wrap our arms around this.”

Ms Brockovich visited Oakey last year to hear locals’ concerns and said today’s public meeting would educate them about the problem and the best way forward.

“There are innocent children in Oakey who are four years old with blood levels 10 times higher than the national median average … what will their futures look like?” she said.

“Australia has higher blood levels than I’ve seen in the US.”


Teenager loses testicle after government health bureaucracy sent him to another hospital, delaying surgery by two hours

The bureaucracy was very "rational".  It just assumed that everybody was the same -- which they are not

A TEENAGER has lost a testicle after his surgery at Modbury Hospital was delayed and transferred to Lyell McEwin Hospital under SA’s new Transforming Health protocols.

The delay of about two hours was a factor in the devastating outcome, multiple sources have told The Advertiser.

An investigation into the incident has now begun.  It is understood the young teenager, who is disabled, presented to Modbury Hospital about six weeks ago with a twisted testicular problem.

Prior to Transforming Health changes he would have undergone the emergency surgery at Modbury Hospital.

However, under the controversial changes Modbury Hospital is being wound down to a same-day elective surgery hospital

Any urgent cases or cases likely to result in being hospitalised for more than 24 hours are transferred to Lyell McEwin or the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

The Advertiser has learnt the teenager was being prepared for surgery at Modbury, that a theatre was available and the surgeon was ready to perform the surgery.

However, because it was both emergency surgery and likely to result in lengthy hospitalisation with follow-up work, the surgery was cancelled and the boy moved to Lyell McEwin Hospital at Elizabeth Vale.

Medical sources have told The Advertiser the case was complex and there was no guarantee the teen’s testicle would have been saved even if the surgery had been carried out at Modbury Hospital.

They noted any delay can have an impact on the outcome of emergency surgery.

It is understood SA Health staff met with the teenager’s family this week.

The case first surfaced last week when a prominent critic of the Transforming Health reforms, Flinders University Emeritus Professor Warren Jones, said a surgeon and anaesthetist were prepared to operate on the patient when he arrived at Modbury’s emergency department six weeks ago but were not allowed to under reforms.

Prof Jones said by the time the patient had been transferred to Lyell McEwin Hospital — and surgeons there were ready to operate two hours later — his condition had deteriorated and required more radical surgery that left him with a permanent disability.

The Advertiser subsequently reported a patient had been left with a permanent disability after he was denied emergency surgery at Modbury Hospital, citing two doctors who asked not to be named.

Health Minister Jack Snelling denied the allegations when questioned in State Parliament on Thursday, saying they were “incorrect”.

The reforms at Modbury Hospital came into effect in March this year despite written warnings from 30 Modbury Hospital doctors, who said the changes would “deliver poorer patient and health system outcomes”.

SA Health is preparing a statement for The Advertiser on the incident


Sonia Kruger has questioned a school scholarship aimed at LGBTI students

SONIA Kruger has unleashed controversy on morning television yet again, this time laying into a scholarship program for LGBTI high school students.

The television host slammed the scholarship as “reverse discrimination” on the Today Extra show this morning, two weeks after her call for a ban on Muslim immigration sparked a widespread backlash.

Dubbing the program “odd”, Kruger said she did not understand why a $7000 scholarship was being reserved for a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex student.

“I don’t think it should have anything to do with the awarding of a scholarship,” Kruger said. “I thinks scholarships should be given on merit.”

Her comments followed today’s front-page story in The Australian, which revealed that the Australian Business and Community Network Scholarship Foundation had reserved a place in its Year 10 scholarship program for an LGBTI student.

Family Voice Australia criticised the scholarship as “another example of ideological activism making its way into schools”.

The lobby group’s national policy officer Damian Wyld argued it was inappropriate for children to “be asked to declare their sexuality or gender identity”.

“Why should children, especially in a school setting, be asked to declare their sexuality or gender identity? Many 15-year-olds are still working through issues around sexuality,” Mr Wyld told The Australian. “Offering a financial ­incentive to identify as ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or intersex’ is completely inappropriate.”

The scholarship application form, which must be filled out by the school principal, includes a question about sexual orientation. Applicants have the option of choosing “prefer not to say”.

Kruger’s co-host David Campbell disagreed with her position, arguing that the ABCN’s decision to allocate a single scholarship for a LGBTI student was “hardly a big deal”.

“There are tonnes of other scholarships that are set aside for kids who are supremely talented,” Campbell said, rattling off a number of sport-based programs.

Chris Pycroft from the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby applauded the ABCN and its corporate backers, saying that the socio-economic disadvantage suffered by LGBTI students often went unrecognised.

“The research shows that the significant majority of these high school students do experience abuse because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Mr Pycroft told

“The impacts of homophobia, discrimination, harassment is often not considered and the implications are not often realised.”

According to Beyond Blue, LGBTI young people have dramatically higher rates of depression and anxiety than their heterosexual peers, with same-sex attracted Australians up to 14 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.

Mr Pycroft said school bullying remained a major stress for young people grappling with their sexuality, and that while there was “more of a general acceptance of gay people within society”, this had not filtered down to the schoolyard.

He dismissed criticisms of the scholarship program as being part of an LGBTI push to expose school students to “politically motivated ideologies”, and argued that it was wholly appropriate for Year 10 students to discuss their sexual identities if they chose to.

“There’s a difference between a politically motivated ideology and people simply being who they are,” Mr Pycroft said.

ABCN offers mentoring and financial assistance to students across Australia, with financial backing from companies including Optus, Microsoft and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Scholarship Foundation has awarded 41 scholarships since its inception in 2013.


Students asked about their sexuality for scholarships

A leading education scholarship provider backed by some of Australia’s biggest businesses has begun quizzing high school students on their sexuality as part of its application process, sparking fresh concerns about the creeping influence of LGBTI rights activism on schools.

The Australian Business and Community Network Scholarship Foundation is inviting appli­cations for its 2016 grants program and, for the first time, is offering a grant targeted at Year 10 students who “identify as lesbian, gay, ­bisexual, trans and/or intersex”.

As a result, the application form inquires as to whether the candidate is male, female or transgender and whether they are gay, lesbian or bisexual. In past years, candidates were simply asked whether they were male or female.

The move means the program, chaired by prominent businessman Michael Hawker and fin­ancially backed by corporate heavyweights Microsoft, Optus and PricewaterhouseCoopers, strays from its original purpose of helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds with education-related costs.

The scholarships, each valued at $7000 over three years, are open to Year 10 students, who are typically 15 or 16.

The shift comes as the LGBTI lobby has become increasingly ­influential, including within schools, where programs such as the government-funded Safe Schools Coalition has sparked fears about young people being ­exposed to politically motivated ideologies around gender and sexuality.

Many of the ABCN’s board and council members head up organisations that have publicly backed the marriage equality push, such as Paul O’Sullivan of Optus, Microsoft boss Pip Marlow and Luke Sayers, who runs PwC in Australia.

PwC, which proudly declares ­itself as “one of the first private ­sector organisations to sign a letter of support for marriage equality in Australia”, courted controversy earlier this year when it released a report claiming that the cost of the planned plebiscite on same-sex marriage would exceed $500 million.

Damian Wyld, national policy officer for Family Voice Australia, criticised the awarding of education scholarships based on sexuality as another example of ideological activism making its way into schools.

“Why should children, especially in a school setting, be asked to declare their sexuality or gender identity?” Mr Wyld said yesterday.

“Many 15-year-olds are still working through issues around sexuality. Offering a financial ­incentive to identify as ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or intersex’ is completely inappropriate.”

According to the latest National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health, ­released in 2014 and billed as the most comprehensive insight into the sexual behaviour and attitudes of young people, 23 per cent of Year 10 students reported engaging in sexual intercourse. “Surely merit or financial disadvantage are more appropriate criteria for scholarships,” Mr Wyld said.

According to the ABCN’s latest annual report, 15 scholarships were awarded last year, with $52,000 paid out to students. The foundation received more than $300,000 in donations last year, and more than $330,000 in 2014.

Launched in 2013, scholarships have traditionally been targeted at high-potential students from ­disadvantaged schools who were experiencing “significant economic, family or social challenges” that could impact on their education, particularly their ability to complete secondary school and graduate on to tertiary education. Grants must be spent on items that assist the student complete Years 11 and 12, such as books, stationary, computer equipment, tuition costs, uniform and transport.

For the first time, this year all applications are required to be submitted by school principals on behalf of applicants.

The scholarship foundation’s application guide says the group is offering a “targeted scholarship” for a student identifying as LGBTI “in addition” to its regular scholarships. It stresses that the grant recipient would not be identified without their consent.

The foundation, Microsoft, Optus and PwC did not respond to requests for comment.


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 August, 2016

A moderate weather event

It is midwinter in Brisbane where I live.  The temperature at my place with doors open and no heating in operation was 28 degrees C at 3pm yesterday.  Britons would call that a heatwave.  So how come such heat in midwinter?  Brisbane is, after all, in a sub-tropical latitude, not the tropics.  Could it be that global warming is catching up with me?

Not quite.  You see, we also had a very cool summer at the beginning of this year.  So instead of extreme weather events, we are having a moderate weather event -- where summer and winter temperatures converge to an unusual degree. 

I am sure the Warmists could explain it.  They can explain everything "post hoc". But it's certainly pretty weird in an opposite direction to what the panic merchants have predicted.  If this is global warming, I love it!

A poisonous Leftist myth is hurting black kids

The Leftist myth of a "Stolen generation" has by now been pretty well debunked but Leftists are immune to facts so still believe and preach it.  Aboriginal families are often highly dysfunctional, with childen being seriously abused and neglected.  In such circumstances, social workers would take ANY child (black or white) off its parents and foster it out.  So they did that a lot with black kids.  Such kids were the allegedly "stolen" generation, though there was never anything remotely like a whole generation being "stolen". 

When Leftist historians created the myth, however, it generated a great uproar -- with social workers being much demonized.  Guess what?  Social workers effectively went on strike when it came to Aboriginal families.  To avoid being demonized they largely  ceased taking black kids into custody, leaving them to suffer and die at the hands of their neglectful families.

Something I have heard from a few people who worked with Aborigines (not social workers) was that if Aboriginal families went on walkabout they would sometimes "lose" a child on the way.  The family might have (say) six children and, after a stop, they would go on with only five, making no attempt to shepherd all six.  It took whites to reunite the "forgoten" child with its family.  It would take an anthropologist to work out why that happens but you can see that social workers would be horrified by such behaviour.  Now they don't want to know

THE real concern with Malcolm Turnbull’s hastily arranged royal commission into youth detention in the Northern Territory isn’t whether it will do any good, it’s how much harm will it do – and to whom?

This may sound counterintuitive, but as has been the case in similar inquiries, a few words cherry-picked from the findings can have enormous, damaging, long-term ramifications for indigenous Australians.

The 1997 Stolen Children report is the most obvious example. It contained the killer phrase: “The policy of forcible removal of children from indigenous Australians to other groups ... could properly be labelled ‘genocidal’.”

Thanks to that lethal finding, subsequent generations of indigenous children have arguably been condemned to a higher risk of sexual and/or domestic abuse. Why? Because the “system” today prefers to leave indigenous children with their own parents, even when those parents are total basket cases.

Adopting or fostering out such children, as Jeremy Sammut wrote in The Weekend Australian, is only a “last resort”. What Sammut describes as the “scandalous state of child protection systems” is often driven by the fear of creating “another stolen generation”.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that hundreds – possibly thousands – of abused indigenous children suffer unnecessarily because of political correctness.

The 1991 report from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody made more than 300 recommendations, including No. 92: “Imprisonment should be utilised only as a sanction of last resort.” There’s that deadly phrase again – “last resort”.

This may appear to be a logical conclusion from the commission’s main finding that: “Aboriginal people do not die at a higher rate than non-Aboriginal people in custody, but the rate at which Aboriginal people are taken into custody is overwhelmingly different.”

But “last resort” is a pretty loose term. If all judges apply recommendation 92 literally to all indigenous criminal cases, it is unavoidable that many Aboriginal thugs who should be behind bars are not, with potentially lethal results for themselves and their communities.

The risk is that Turnbull’s royal commission will, unavoidably, end up recommending that incarceration for young indigenous Territorians should equally only be a “last resort”.

Royal Commissioner Brian Martin, QC, in his former role as Chief Justice of the Northern Territory, made headlines when he sentenced an indigenous 55-year-old man to only one month in jail for having assaulted and sodomised a 14-year-old girl the man claimed was his “traditional” wife. The reason Martin’s sentence was so lenient (it was later increased on appeal) was sympathy to Aboriginal “customary law”.

Given that the majority of juvenile inmates in the Territory are black, and the majority of guards white, it’s likely that “racial abuse” will feature prominently in the commission’s testaments, anecdotal evidence and possible findings.

One former NT correctional officer told me: “Juvenile detention centres everywhere in Australia tend to be, in general, a bit more brutal and chaotic than adult facilities. That’s partly because ‘juvies’ can often be harder to manage than adults.”

This officer fervently hopes the inquiry results in clearer, more comprehensive rules and guidelines.

“It’s not the use of spit hoods and restraints and uses of force that’s disturbing in the ABC footage, it’s the way there seems to be no standard procedure. The gas is the worst: you shouldn’t just be able to get it out of the cupboard and use it whenever you want,” he said.

“A thorough investigation – if done right – can set the rules in a way that few other mechanisms could. When the rules are clear, most correctional officers are happier and more effective, and it is easier to spot the thugs and weed them out.”

Yet the risk is that the political correctness industry and the Aboriginal grievance activists will seize on key phrases in Martin’s eventual findings that pin the blame for certain “bad” practices on “racism”. Inevitably, this will lead to judges and magistrates hesitating to lock up juvenile indigenous offenders.

The fear is that Turnbull’s royal commission will – again – become a rallying call for strident Aboriginal activism and the “anti-racist” brigade.

Political correctness may, once again, prove lethal to young indigenous Australians.


Recognition not about concession: Dodson

Call for a constitutional amendment to "recognize" Aborigines has been rumbling on for some time.  That the 1967 referendum long ago recognized Aborigines seems to be forgotten.  So what do they want?  Money, as far as I can see. 

Aborigines seem to feel that they have some rights that other Australians do not and that a formal recognition of those rights would enable them to sell those rights for money.  The Left encourage them in that view, even though six years of ALP rule from 2007 to 2013 did not result in any action in that direction

The 1967 referendum was actually a very interesting one so I follow the news report below with an account of a major lesson  we can learn from it

Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal people is not about a "concession to the natives" but how Australia can embrace its multiple heritages and forge a unified view, says Senator Pat Dodson.

Discussion of constitutional recognition of indigenous people is beginning to pivot to a consideration of what it will really offer, as a grassroots movement for a treaty builds momentum.

Cape York leader Noel Pearson said at Garma Festival in northeast Arnhem Land on Saturday that the two aren't mutually exclusive.

"If we think they are somehow separate agendas this whole agenda will fail," he said.  "Constitutional recognition provides the hook that enables agreements to be made... and a national settlement to be made."

Senator Dodson said the matter concerned all Australians.

"It's not some concession to the natives," he said.

"It is about this nation coming to terms with its dark, desperate and miserable history and yet being able to celebrate... the British tradition, the multiculturalism and the indigenous heritage, and to intertwine that in a way that gives this civil state we call Australia a new identity, a new capacity to do things differently."

Recognition would help Australia come to terms with itself, he said.

"Not only with its truth... that underlies the dispossession and the truth that pertains to the racism that underpins public policy and the ignorance that goes with that, but it also goes to the fatigue, the wearing down of indigenous peoples because bureaucracies and governments can do that.

"They have energy, they have resources, the time; they can gloat in the forms of their conservatism and frustrate the energies of the leaders that seek to make things better for indigenous people."

He warned parliament that it was not engaging in a parallel education process with indigenous people.

"Parliament has to prepare itself, not only for constitutional recognition but the agenda that has to flow through there... The need for post-recognition settlement, for the capacity to reshape the relations and reprioritise the programs and capacity of Aboriginal people in the delivery of those services and development of those mechanisms," he said.


Psychological implications of Australia's 1967 "Aboriginal" referendum

Psychologists have long taken an interest in intergroup conflict, with racism being the major instance of that.  And they have laboured mightily to understand it and hence hopefully contribute to its amelioration or eradication.  One look at the world around us today tells us that they have not been successful.

One of the earliest proposals put forward by psychologists was  what was called the "contact hypothesis".  Put crudely, the proposal was that the more whites got to know blacks the more hostility between them would disappear.  The origin of the hypothesis was an influential book by Stouffer et al. called "The American soldier".  The book was based on studies of what had happened in the American armed forces during WWII, when around a million blacks were enlisted plus many more whites.  The authors interviewed many of the men concerned after the war and concluded on rather dubious grounds that being together during the war had improved white attitudes towards blacks. 

This sunny conclusion was much seized on by psychologists and many supportive studies were produced.  After a while however, dissent emerged, particularly but not exclusively from Britain.  Many studies showed that contact did NOT improve interracial attitudes and some even found that interracial contact WORSENED racial attitudes.  And so the matter remains to this day:  With no fully agreed resolution.  In some circumstances, contact seems to be beneficial and in others it seems to be detrimental. And often it has no effect at all.

Almost all of the studies on both sides of the question have however had two large defects:  1).  They studied expressed attitudes only, not behaviour;  2).  The "samples" of people that they used were almost always  non-samples, making generalizations from them precarious.  Psychologists base most of their conclusions about humanity on studies of white rats and available groups of Tertiary students, which would be hilarious if it were not so disappointing. 

And that is where Australia's 1967 referendum comes in.  It offered a remedy to both those defects.  The hope or idea that one could obtain useful data not from a sample but from an entire national population is usually an impossible dream. Yet the 1967 referendum offered just that.

To recap.: In 1967 Australia held a constitutional referendum in conjunction with a Federal election (voting in Australian elections is compulsory so turnout was around 98%) which was designed to allow the government to make laws specifically about Australia's native black population (the Aborigines). Rather like native Americans ("Indians"), the Aborigines at the time lived to a considerable extent on reservations and were mostly poor, ill-housed, unemployed and prone to serious health problems. I lived just down the road from an Aboriginal settlement during my teens in the '60s so I saw with my own eyes how they lived.

That is not to say that all Aborigines lived poorly.  Some had assimilated and become much like other Australians but at that time they were few.

The main aim of the referendum was to give the Federal government the power to improve their lot.  The constitutional change could in theory have allowed the government to make laws AGAINST the interests of Aborigines but that was not foreseen.  There was much enthusiasm to "do something" to improve the state of Aborigines.  So even at that time 91% of Australians were NOT racist. They wished the Aborigines well.  And the right to vote had already been given to Aborigines a few years earlier.

Aborigines are, however, unevenly distributed throughout Australia. They are largely unseen in the big cities and those Aborigines who are city-dwellers almost invariably live in just one semi-slum suburb. They mostly come into contact with whites as fringe-dwellers around country towns. Additionally, some Australian States have few Aborigines at all (e.g. Tasmania, where they were mostly wiped out in the last century) while others (such as Queensland and Western Australia) have a disproportionately high number of blacks.  The outcome of the referendum was overwhelming (91%) support for the referendum proposal. Australians overall wanted blacks to be helped in any way by the government.

One social scientist, however delved more deeply.  Ian Mitchell noticed that most of the "Yes" vote seemed to have come from the big cities where blacks were largely unknown. He therefore correlated the size of the "No" vote in Australia's various electoral districts with the proportion of the population in those districts that was of Aboriginal origin. No matter how he analyzed the data, he found a correlation of .9 between the number of anti-Aborigine votes and the density of the black population. The more white Australians had been in a position to see, get to know and evaluate blacks, the less they wanted them as equals.

The behavior involved (the voting) was undoubtedly of an extremely significant and important kind as far as discriminatory practices are concerned and the correlation with opportunity for contact was of a magnitude seldom seen anywhere in the behavioral sciences. Compare more than 80% of the variance explained with the 8% explained by Studlar's (1979) multiple regressions in England. When we turn to the strongest body of data we have on discriminatory practices, we find extraordinarily strong evidence that contact with black culture is highly aversive for members of the majority white culture.

There are four reasons why Mitchell's data is particularly strong:

1). He used a full population, not a sample; 2). Behaviour (vote) was studied rather than a (possibly insincere) expression of attitude. 3). The relevant behavior could be emitted privately (in the ballot booth) with little obvious room for peer or social pressure to be exerted. 4). The effect (r = .9) revealed was very strong.

Thus, although the study is the only one of its kind, it is one of a kind largely because of its unusual strengths.

The reasons behind the findings are far from mysterious if one knows a little of the ethnography concerned: Aborigines as encountered by whites seemed to be almost invariably unemployed and living on welfare. They are generally encountered by whites as vagrant street-dwellers being drunk and quarrelsome. They show quite often signs of fearsome disease (e.g. leprosy) and venereal diseases such as syphilis are endemic among them. They show little or no adherence to white ideals of hygiene. Again those things were not true of all but they were the things that whites usually saw at that time.  Many Aborigines today are  clean, sober, hardworking and reasonably healthy but it is the opposite that is most usually seen.

Drunkenness, unemployment, poor hygiene and bad behavior are not, however, part of the original Aboriginal culture. They are the result of loss of culture.  But there are real cultural differences that are just as difficult to bridge: the imperative to share vs the individual ownership, the importance of extended family, the importance of religion, the interconnectedness of all things.

So even if you disregarded modern-day trends and searched the world for the two most dissimilar sets of cultural beliefs you wouldn't go past Australian Aboriginal versus Northern European.  Aborigines do have their own ways but in our society the results are markedly dysfunctional and put them at odds with the society in which they live.

They are also in fact a generally kind and friendly people who feel that they have been robbed of their country but it would only be with a considerable act of will that most whites could bear to interact with many of them at all. Most whites would avoid a drunk, dirty and white hobo so it is precisely because they do NOT discriminate racially that they also avoid and tend to be disgusted by drunk, dirty and quarrelsome black hobos. The most usual state of the Aborigines to this day does have to be seen to be believed. See Cowlishaw (1986) for a fuller description.

The point of all this is that neither whites nor blacks are to blame for the obviously strong dislike that many whites feel towards blacks in general. When large numbers of Aborigines behave "badly" by white standards and large numbers of whites dislike them for it, members of both groups are simply acting as normal carriers of their own culture. The problem lies in the fact that the two cultures are juxtaposed and yet are so different. What is normal in the one is reprehensible in the other. If white culture did not embody a respect for hard work, hygiene and control of alcohol intake, it would not be white culture as it is today. It would be something else. But it is not something else. It is a highly successful culture (in at least material and technological ways) that dominates the world. It will not go away overnight. To tell most Australian whites who know Australian blacks not to dislike Australian blacks is to tell them to forget in an instant their own core values.

So have Mitchell's findings revolutionized thinking in the area?  They are so strong that they should have done but instead they have been sedulously ignored.  I have mentioned them many times in the academic journals but they are not what people want to hear.  Anti-racism is something of a religion in the post-Hitler era and Mitchell's findings do not suit that at all.  Far from adverse racial attitudes being deviant, ignorant, evil, maladjusted or stupid, the findings tell us that such attitudes can in fact be both normal for their community and understandable.

A common psychological claim is that the "other" is disliked out of fear.  Differences in others are feared so defensive mental walls go up.  Is that what Mitchell's findings show?  It's possible but I have yet to hear a white express dislike of Aborigines out of fear.  The reaction instead is invariably disgust.  And Aborigines are simply not fearsome.  They are placid, very polite people and are most certainly not likely to compete your job away from you.  I cannot think of anything about Aborigines that might be feared.  There are good reasons why American whites fear American blacks but none of that applies to Aborigines.

So the outlook for equality between whites and blacks in Australia is very dark indeed.  Aborigines are not going to change, whites are not going to change so nothing will change.

Do the findings suggest anything about the USA?  I think they do.  Australian Aborigines and Africans are different in many ways but what American whites encounter from American blacks also has large aversive elements -- the high rate of violent crime among blacks, for instance.   So despite all the Procrustean efforts of the American Left, equality between blacks and whites in America is almost certainly chimerical.

The statistics -- An ecological fallacy?

Discussion of the assumptions underlying methods of statistical analysis probably makes rather dry reading for most readers but it nonetheless needs to be covered in order to protect one's work from apparently devastating demolition by subsequent, statistically sophisticated writers.

On the present occasion, it must be pointed out that Mitchell's (1968) correlations were "ecological" ones in Robinson's (1950) sense -- i.e. the units for analysis were not indivisible. As Robinson shows, such correlations can easily be beguilingly high, particularly where the units for analysis are few, and such correlations are not estimates of individual correlations. As Menzel (1950) has pointed out, however, ecological correlations do not have to be estimates of individual correlations to be of interest.

Furthermore, it should be noted that Mitchell analyzed his data two ways: once using large (and hence few) units for analysis (the State by State comparison) and secondly using smaller (and hence much more numerous) units for analysis (comparison of electoral districts). Unlike the cases discussed by Robinson, the correlation did not fall markedly on the second occasion. It in fact fell not at all. This suggests that taking the analysis down to the smallest possible unit of analysis (the individual) might not have made a big difference either.

Whether or not that would have been so, however, it does need to be pointed out that ecological correlations tend to tell us more about broad processes than details within such processes. On the present occasion what the correlation tells us precisely is that areas where there are a high proportion of Aborigines are also areas where Aborigines are actively discriminated against. It may tell us nothing about the attitudes that are voiced by whites in such areas and it may tell us nothing about who does the discriminating. It does, however, demonstrate a broad social process. It tells us about societies rather than individuals.


Cowlishaw, G. (1986) Race for exclusion. Australian & New Zealand J. Sociology 22(1), 3-24.

Menzel, H. (1950) Comment on Robinson's "Ecological correlations and the behavior of individuals" American Sociological Review 15, 674.

Mitchell, I.S. (1968) Epilogue to a referendum. Australian J. Social Issues 3(4), 9-12.   

Robinson, W.S. (1950) Ecological correlations and the behavior of individuals. American Sociological Review 15, 351-357.

Stouffer, S.A. et al. (1949) "The American Soldier: Combat and Its Aftermath".  Princeton U.P., Princeton, NJ

Studlar, D.T. (1979) Racial attitudes in Britain: A causal analysis. Ethnicity 6, 107-122.

Easier access to university has devalued degrees, created huge debt and made some feel like failures

AUSTRALIA’S university system is letting students down and pumping out graduates with “broken dreams and a large student debt”, the head of a body representing the country’s most prestigious institutions has noted.

Group of Eight chief executive Vicki Thomson has highlighted the broken state of the system in a wideranging speech she delivered today at the Graduate Employability and Industry Partnerships Forum.

She said the removal of caps on student numbers and the introduction of a “demand driven” system, had led to unintended consequences.

Universities were now pumping out an oversupply of graduates, making it hard for some to get jobs despite spending significant time and money on their education.

Ms Thomson also noted that the value of vocational study had also been eroded, with people forced to consider going to university “or be labelled a failure”.

Almost 40 per cent of Australians aged 25 to 34 years old now had an undergraduate degree, an achievement helped by the world’s most generous income-contingent student loan scheme (HELP).

But Ms Thomson said reaching this goal had not led to the “career utopia” many graduates dreamt of, and had come at enormous financial cost to the country.  “Personally we all know the barista or bartender, with an honours in law,” Ms Thomson said.

“The young guy serving in Officeworks who is a mining engineer; the young woman in the bakery with two degrees in the marketing space. None of us are happy with those outcomes.”

Not only was this a big expense to students, but the economy was also paying. Student debt from HELP will be almost $200 billion in 2024-25, something which universities know is unsustainable.

It comes as the government tries to find ways of raising money to cover this increasing burden. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is looking at allowing universities to set their own fees for some “flagship courses”, as an alternative to the unpopular proposal put forward by ex-PM Tony Abbott that all university fees be deregulated. Universities could also see their government funding cut by 20 per cent.

The idea released in an options paper with the Budget suggested allowing universities to set their own fees for courses in which up to 20 per cent of their students were enrolled.

But the Group of Eight (representing Sydney University, Melbourne University and others) and the Australian Technology Network of Universities (representing RMIT, the University of Technology, Sydney and others) have criticised the idea.

The network said there could be an “inequitable drift” of those who could afford to pay to attend certain “prestige” courses at particular institutions, making similar courses at other universities seem less attractive.

Student debt is already a growing problem, especially as degrees no longer guaranteed jobs. This could potentially saddle the government with writing off bad debts if students could not afford to pay their loans back.

Encouraging more students into the university system had also led to businesses no longer valuing bachelor degrees because they had become a base level of achievement in many areas.

“More graduates feel they have to keep studying, to seek out a masters — and with it more student debt — to give them a career edge — or even parity in some cases,” she said.

Ms Thomson said there was an “uncomfortable trend” of employers asking job seekers for university qualifications even if they are applying for non-professional jobs that previously would have required a TAFE certificate or less.

“Over past months my staff have pointed various examples out to me, including advertising for a recruitment team co-ordinator, an admin co-ordinator and a PA in a property development firm who had to have completed a bachelor with a major in property,” she said. “Each of these noted that a degree qualification was a must.”

She said asking people to get university degrees for jobs that didn’t need them risked diminishing the value of university education. “University isn’t for everyone. It was never intended for everyone,” she said.

“Equally there should never have come a point where entering a ‘trade’ was seen as a lesser pathway.

“This nation is built, literally, on its trades and its TAFE diplomas. Enormous economic value. Irreplaceable in the past, present and the future.  “We should be encouraging vocational study, not allowing it to be seen as a consolation prize.”

She said under the demand-driven system, those studying degrees had increased but those doing other qualifications had languished.

“I doubt it was ever intended that the demand driven system would set up society to consider the lack of a degree as a failure,” she said.  “But that is what has been occurring. There is anecdotal evidence of family aspirations leading to students being channelled away from TAFE and a trade into a degree program.”

She said more opportunities should be opened up for students who did not want to complete degrees.

Ms Thomson said universities shouldn’t just be degree factories that aimed to teach narrow skills.

This was more important than ever as degrees no longer guaranteed jobs and someone graduating today would likely have 17 jobs across five careers in their lifetime.

She said teaching was one example of a career that was pumping out way more graduates than could realistically get jobs.

Quoting an article in The Australian from the University of Melbourne Vice Chancellor Glyn Davis, Ms Thomson noted there were 80,000 students studying teaching but only 7000 full time jobs on offer each year.

In another example, Ms Thomson said other graduates may begin a degree with good career prospects at the time, but the job market could be very different by the time they finished a four-year degree.

Ms Thomson used the mining boom as an example.  In 2007, 100 per cent of mining engineering graduates who wanted fulltime work were employed but by 2013, this had dropped to 83 per cent.

The numbers are even starker for geology students.  In just two years (from 2012 to 2014), those working fulltime fell from 84 per cent to just 57 per cent.

“Universities must play a vital role in making a graduate more generally employable, and knowledgeable,” she said.

She said students needed to be taught portable skills such as research, teamwork, analytical thinking, problem solving, communication and project management.

“And it is a fallacy to assume that such generalist degrees do not lead to good employment outcomes,” she said.

Ms Thomson pointed to a US study that showed liberal arts majors with an advanced or undergraduate degree were making more money on average than those who studied in professional or pre-professional fields by their mid-50s. They were also employed at similar rates.

She said the key was finding a balance between graduates who do end up working in specific careers, and those who don’t. “Both are essential, as I say — the key is finding the balance.”

While many graduates did not end up working in the field they studied for, universities played a role in giving students the confidence to venture into self-employment, and/or diverse employment.  “The cost to the nation of their degree has not been wasted, nor has the cost to themselves,” she said.

“We have provided them with a strong foundation to contribute to the economy — as they are doing — and will increasingly need to be able to do, if they are to be successful in a career that will increasingly be marked by technological breakthroughs and disruption.”

Ms Thomson said universities were often criticised for not turning out work ready graduates but said there should also be discussion about whether businesses were asking more of today’s graduates.

She said part of the problem may be that businesses could no longer afford to give graduates the time to adjust to their roles, or to give them old-fashioned on-the-job mentoring.

“Which leads me to repeat — that universities have a far broader role in society, and for our students, than being a degree factory for jobs.”


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

1 August, 2016

Lenient judge in prison enquiry is too lenient according to some Leftists and Aborigines

Abuse of Aboriginal women (bashing, rape etc.) in Aboriginal settlements is rife and the law in the Northern Territory does little to help them.  When cases do get to court Northern Territory judges give out only token penalties to the men concerned.  And judge Brian Martin is the chief offender in that.  Read here, here and here of his woeful record.

But it depends whose ox is gored, as the saying goes.  The Left is fine about his leniency towards Aborigines but they are steamed that he might also be lenient to white officials.  Hence the rant below

Brand-new royal commissioner Brian Ross Martin says he’s the right man to look into allegations of abuse of young prisoners at the Don Dale facility, and that neither he nor any other Supreme Court justice had any inkling of what was going on there. But that turns out not to be true. In June 2014, the NT Supreme Court upheld the not guilty verdict of a guard at Don Dale — who had been accused of assaulting none other than its now most famous inmate, Dylan Voller.

And there are other thorny questions. Tucked away at page 240 of Brian Ross Martin’s 570-page door-stop report of the Inquiry into the establishment of a Northern Territory Anti-Corruption, Integrity and Misconduct Commission is the Instrument of his Appointment, dated 14 December 2015.

Consistent with the appointment of Commissioners in similar inquiries in the NT–reference the appointment of former Federal Police Deputy Commissioner John Lawler to the NT’s Stella Maris inquiry–Brian Ross Martin’s appointment was made by the Administrator of the Northern Territory following the receipt of advice from the NT government’s Executive Council.

So far, so good.

The appointments of John Lawler and Brian Martin to their respective inquiries share another element. Below the signature of the NT Administrator on both Instruments sits another, larger and more florid signature. That signature–perhaps an affectation, perhaps adopted from a nickname–simply reads “Elf.”

Brian Martin appointment 14-12-2015

The “Elf” is Johan Wessel “John” Elferink, the NT Attorney-General and, until Tuesday this week, the NT’s Minister for Corrections at the centre of the scandal that saw him sacked by NT Chief Minister Adam Giles following the broadcast of the 4 Corners report last Monday night.

To be fair, the Elf was, as Brian Ross Martin’s Instrument of Appointment makes clear, acting on behalf of Chief Minister Adam Giles. But it was John Elferink as Attorney-General who three and a half months earlier on 26 August 2015, introduced a Motion in the NT Legislative Assembly that led to the establishment of the Inquiry he signed off on in mid-December that year. Brian Ross Martin’s report on the Anti-Corruption, Integrity and Misconduct Commission inquiry was tabled in the NT Legislative Assembly by Adam Giles on 27 June 2016, the last day of sittings for Adam Giles’ troubled minority government.

Yesterday afternoon Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that Brian Ross Martin–known as the “Black Prince” in some circles–had been appointed as Royal Commissioner to inquire into the NT’s youth justice system.

I’ll bet London-to-a-brick that Elferink will be called to appear before the Martin Royal Commission as a witness. Elferink’s involvement in the establishment of the anti-corruption body inquiry, and his role in the appointment of Martin as Commissioner to lead that inquiry–may well result in some uncomfortable moments in the commission–both for Commissioner Martin and for Elferink.

The NT Supreme Court website records that Brian Ross Martin continues to serve as an additional Judge of the Supreme Court of the NT since his appointment in December 2010.

None of this should be seen as a reflection on Commissioner Martin’s capacity to conduct a thorough and rigorous Royal Commission. He is widely regarded as a jurist–particularly in relation to criminal matters–of the highest order.

That does not mean that Commissioner Martin cannot misstep or mistake. His appointment has already attracted criticism and will no doubt attract more in coming days.

Aboriginal organisations in the NT have lined up to demand some role in forming the composition of the Commission and in the drafting of the Terms of Reference. There have been any number of calls for the Commission to cast a wider net and examine similar concerns about youth detention outside of the NT.

There were also early suggestions that this Royal Commission provided Turnbull with an opportunity to cast a wider net of his own in choosing a female Commissioner–former High Court Justice Susan Crennan has been mentioned–to run the Commission. And rightly or wrongly, Adam Giles will–by the appointment of an NT judge to oversee a narrowly focussed and “quick and dirty” inquiry–be seen by many as having very much got his way.

But Commissioner Martin may have already made at least one misstep. A transcript of the joint press conference held by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Attorney-General George Brandis and Commissioner Martin yesterday afternoon announcing Commissioner Martin’s appointment has this question directed to Prime Minister Turnbull.

    REPORTER: Prime Minister, given nine out of 10 children in the Northern Territory in the detention system are Indigenous and I haven’t heard the word ‘racism‘ once in the terms of reference, are you all satisfied racism doesn’t play a role here?

    BRIAN ROSS MARTIN: Look, I think it is appropriate for me to answer that question. Whether racism does or doesn’t play a role will be part of the inquiry.

It is a brave man indeed who presumes to answer for a Prime Minister.

Later a reporter posed this question of Commissioner Martin aimed directly at his familiarity with the NT and the potential for claims of bias:

    REPORTER: Given you have spent so much time in the Northern Territory in this justice space, are you concerned there may be any perception of conflict of interest?

    BRIAN ROSS MARTIN: I don’t think so. I can’t see how that would arise. There’s never been any suggestion that this sort of treatment was brought to my attention or the attention of other Supreme Court judges. I don’t see that at all. I see the advantages of a knowledge of the Territory. And to answer the question earlier, those who are disillusioned I encourage to come forward. There’s their way in to make their views and their concerns known so that they can be properly assessed, and addressed, as best we can. (emphasis added)

There is no reason to doubt Commissioner Martin’s statement–made presumably in relation to his time sitting as a judge of the NT Supreme Court–that he had not dealt with any matters involving claims of abuse of youth in detention, but in the course of his duties as a Supreme Court judge he would have invariably received pre-sentencing reports from Corrections officers and had young defendant’s before him facing serious charges.

But the underlined statement above–that concerns about the treatment of juveniles in detention had never been brought to the attention of his colleagues on the NT Supreme Court–is wrong.

As 4 Corners showed on Monday night 13 year-old Dylan Voller was assaulted while in custody at Aranda House in Alice Springs in December 2010.

Three years later, in December 2013, Derek James Tasker appeared before NT Stipendiary Magistrate Daynor Trigg in the Court of Summary Jurisdiction in Alice Springs charged with the unlawful assault of Dylan Voller, with the aggravating circumstances that Dylan Voller suffered harm, that Dylan Voller was under 16 years of age and that Derek Tasker was an adult and that Dylan Voller was unable to effectively defend himself due to age and physique.

In finding Derek Tasker not guilty as charged Magistrate Trigg held that in all of the circumstances of the case he was not satisfied that the prosecution had proved beyond all reasonable doubt that Tasker applied unreasonable and/or necessary force to Voller, leading to the conclusion that he could not find that Tasker “unlawfully” assaulted Dylan Voller.

In June 2014 the prosecution appealed to the NT Supreme Court before Justice Peter Barr, who dismissed the appeal, finding that the appellant had not established any error in Daynor Trigg’s findings or in the conclusions he reached.

Late yesterday the Northern and Central Land Councils* and the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT) released a statement condemning the Martin Commission as being “compromised from the start.”

AMSANT Deputy Chair Olga Havnen said that:

    The appointment of Brian Martin does not satisfy any threshold of independence.  On the facts and on perception, the appointment is unacceptable.

    Only a few weeks ago Brian Martin delivered to the NT Government a report about the establishment of a regime to investigate corruption, at the instigation of the now disgraced and former NT Corrections Minister, John Elferink.  Mr Martin accepted that commission and was paid for it, so how can Mr Turnbull boast his independence from government?

    This appointment is wrong for all manner of reasons, and Aboriginal people in the Territory will not have confidence in the appointment of Brian Martin. As Chief Justice, he sat at the apex of the NT’s justice system.  He presided over all judicial officers who sentenced young Aboriginal offenders to detention, and he knew them all; he himself sentenced juveniles to detention.


Turnbull does the right thing to block Rudd's UN bid

Rudd's own party booted him out of office -- so Turnbull should be more lenient??

There is no question that Kevin Rudd was the wrong person to be UN Secretary General. But that has never been a disqualification for consideration for political preferment. The shock is that Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has dispensed with the old rules and done the right thing.

"Suitability" for such a high office was his No1 consideration in declining to nominate Kevin Rudd as a candidate to lead the UN.

What a fantastic example to those actually selecting the next Secretary General.
There is a ring of hollowness to those in Labor who claim partisan politics is at play. Rudd divided the Labor caucus as much as the current Government and the public of Australia.

Turnbull points out that the Coalition renewed the term of Kim Beazley, another former Labor leader, as Ambassador to Washington. This was not about Rudd being a former Labor leader and Prime Minister.

The fact is this is all about Kevin.

You just needed to follow the public debate over the past two weeks to know that the guy remains a magnet for vitriol and conflict, not someone respected enough to be the world's top diplomat.

The public debate may have been decisive for Turnbull.
Until the debate went public, there had been a conventional wisdom that despite his failings, it would be unthinkable, even "unpatriotic" for Turnbull not to nominate Rudd.

It has reportedly been the view of Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and so Turnbull's decision was not without some cost. But it was going to be a costly decision politically either way.

The pro-Tony Abbott faction in his Government would not sit by quietly if Turnbull had given the nod to a clearly unsuitable opposing Prime Minister when he could not find a place for Abbott within his newly formed cabinet.

Assuming that merit played at least a tiny part in the selection process, Rudd stood no chance of winning the job.


Ricky Muir calls out “political correctness gone mad” after advertising watchdog upholds complaint against golliwog ad

Victorian politician Ricky Muir has come out in support of a Beechworth Sweet Co’s television advertisement that featured an animated toy golliwog, labelling a decision by the Advertising Standards Board to uphold a complaint against the ad as “political correctness gone mad.”

Muir, a representative of the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party who appears unlikely to retain his Victorian Senate seat, posted a photo of him with his childhood toy golliwog named “Wally”, stating, “the sheer notion that somehow my childhood toy or mothers hobby is ‘racist’ is simply ridiculous”.

Speaking to SmartCompany, Muir says that the situation was “really political correctness gone mad” and that it was clear the advertisement was not intended to offend or hurt.

“The company had this in place for a very long time, it’s clear they mean no ill intent at all,” Muir says. “It’s very disappointing to see this very extreme measure be made.”

Muir believes that the Beechworth Sweet Co should appeal the decision by the Ad Standards Board, and also encourages the company to seek public support. “I’ve had lots of responses on social media, and many people agree that it’s nothing more than a doll and a fond childhood memory,” Muir says.

“My mother was a keen collector of golliwogs, I would go as far to say even a bit fanatical. At one point we did a count, and there were in excess of 200 dolls in the house.”

Muir says he is “disappointed” that one complaint could “stamp out the voice of the rest of the nation”.

“The people who dwell on this are those with a strong politically correct nature about them,” he says.

“It’s a childhood memory associated with fun and acceptance, as a child you don’t discriminate.”

New South Wales politician David Leyonhjelm was among those that commented on Muir’s post, expressing his support for the company’s advertisement saying it is “insane” to claim golliwogs were racist. “For those who choose to take offence by assuming it is racist, I recommend they choose another feeling,” said Leyonhjelm.

The advertisement depicts an animated version of the confectionary company’s logo, which features a number of animals and toys surrounding a lolly jar with the golliwog character reaching in.

The complainant who contacted the Ad Standards Board said the golliwog is a “racist symbol” and it had “shocked me deeply. I truly believe casual racism like this is so damaging to the community and this commercial should never be aired again,” said the complainant.

In their response to the complaint, the board agreed that the golliwog “represents a symbol that humiliates and ridicules a person on account of the colour of their skin” but clarified that the animation of the logo is the reason the advertisement was pulled down.  The board holds no jurisdiction over company logo designs.

After SmartCompany first reported on the board’s decision, a number of readers posted comments in support of the company and expressed their concerns over the board’s decision, also labelling it “political correctness gone mad.”

“I saw this complaint and immediately ordered online a quantity of sweets from the Beechworth Sweet Company. Strike back against political correctness gone mad with the most powerful weapon at your disposal – your own money,” said one commenter.

“Maybe everyone should buy a golliwog and sit it on the idiot that made this complaints doorstep. So many bad things happening in this world and they get offended by a golliwog, what a fool,” said another.

In response to the complaint, the Beechworth Sweet Co told the Ad Standards Board golliwogs “were very popular toys at the beginning of the 20th century and were characters in many children’s books.  We believe we represent gollies as part of happy childhood memories in a tasteful [and] respectful way,” the company said.

Beechworth Sweet Co has stopped the TV advertisement, pursuing “further correspondence regarding the processes and the possibility of a review”. On contacting the Advertising Standard’s Board, SmartCompany was told that there would be no public comment made until the case is resolved, implying that the company may be still pursuing a review of the decision.

Advertisers and marketers have a 10-day window to appeal board decisions after a ruling is made, and appealing costs advertisers $1000 or $2000 if they do not pay the Advertising Standards Bureau’s levy. An independent reviewer is assigned to undertake a review of the board’s decision.


How one school ditched drugs and violence to became a "grammar school"

Sounds like a big committment of personnel worked.  Would have been expensive

Just days into his new job as principal of North Geelong Secondary College, Nick Adamou was calling the cops on his students.

Students showing up to school, supposedly to do their VCE, were skipping class to deal drugs in the corridors. "When I say it was visible, I mean visible," Mr Adamou recalls.

But cleaning up the school's drug problem didn't prepare him for the challenges ahead.

In 2014, a female student was stabbed with a knife at the school, for which a fellow student was charged.

Violent and aggressive parents regularly descended on the school grounds, threatening to beat either their own children or other kids they didn't like (invariably, those from ethnic minorities).

The principal was soon in court, seeking restraining orders against the parents.

Eating an orange during an interview with Fairfax Media, Mr Adamou reflects on just how far his school has come.

In the five years since he took the job, the public school has earned the reputation as a "grammar school" among locals, with the VCE completion rate leaping from 50 to 93 per cent.

Over the same period, student numbers have nearly doubled, and the school which was once avoided like the plague is now over-subscribed.

Mr Adamou believes that in revolutionising his school, he is offering a brighter future for his students. "Education is the only way out of poverty, and we do have a lot of that here," he said. "This is why I work in schools."

A Fairfax Media analysis has revealed that schools which have most improved their VCE completion rate – that is, the number of students starting their VCE in year 10 that actually finish the course in year 12 – are located in working class areas.

The most improved schools (nearly all are state schools) have improved by up to 10 per cent over the past five years. They include Carrum Downs Secondary College, Epping Secondary College and Wyndham Secondary College.

These schools are not snagging the state's top VCE marks.

But they're quietly raising the profile of their students, by boosting the number of students doing their VCE, and by extension, broadening their students' tertiary and career options.

They're doing this by offering students mentors, introducing helpful learning apps and computer programs, applying principles of "positive education" (a fusion of positive psychology and best practice teaching), and with the help of Gonski funding, investing in youth workers and education consultants.

Teaching experts also believe that the sector has experienced a "sea change" in the past decade, as younger teachers adopt a practice Melbourne University's senior lecturer in education policy, Dr Glenn Savage, called "clinical teaching".

"It's this idea of diagnosing and understanding where a young person is at, and taking them forward using strategies that are based on evidence. Across Victoria and nationally, we are seeing a difference in the way principals are trying to measure the impact of learning in the classroom."

Dr Savage said teachers are being held "more accountable" by principals and parents, for their students' results.

"Teachers are being asked to provide evidence to show how young people are going, and how the evidence can be used to plan ways forward and make improvements for those students. While this should always have been the bread and butter work of teachers, I don't think it has been."

Mr Adamou admits that he expects a lot from his staff.

As the school grew in size, he hired a fresh crop of talented teachers, and asked them to start tracking their students' performance from year 7 to year 12, in order to identify areas where students were consistently struggling.

The teachers would involve careers counsellors in the process of working with students and their parents, in helping them develop their strengths.

Mr Adamou also launched an accelerated program and a vocational course for non-English speaking students, and word quickly spread about changes at Geelong North.

Families from Golden Plains, West Geelong, Manifold Heights, Essendon, Reservoir and Dandenong started enrolling their students.

The school still has a "long way to go" in terms of achieving competitive grades, the principal said. But to have catapulted from a 50 per cent participation rate in VCE to achieving VCE marks that nudge the top ten per cent in the state, is no small feat.

"We are now concentrating especially on getting students study scores above 40. It's not going to be long, this year will be the beginning of outstanding results."

Education academic Dr Savage said there was a common misconception that teachers at poorer schools had low aspirations for their students.

While there were unfortunate cases of this occurring, he said many schools in poorer areas were being run by passionate principals and teachers who were trying to change the culture in their community.

The best teachers were continually changing their teaching methods to suit the individual needs of the students, he said. 

Richard Jones, who has been principal at Laverton College P-12 for the past 14 months, applies that principle at his school, where 30 per cent of the students are refugees from Sudan and war-torn countries in the Middle East.

These students come to class with varying levels of knowledge, and yet the school's VCE completion rate hit 100 per cent for the first time in 2014.

Mr Jones said the key was constantly seeking student feedback – asking students to rate how well they understood a lesson at the end of each class, and explain topics in their own words.

Teachers at Epping Secondary College dealt with a 30 per cent VCE drop out rate and chronic absenteeism using different strategies.

In a bid to appeal to tech savvy students, they rolled out programs called Edrolo and Your Tutor, which give students 24/7 access to teachers and tutors online. The virtual teachers answer questions and offer supplementary classes that revise class content.

The school also runs tutorials teaching about the power of positive education – a technique increasingly used by educators (including at elite private school Geelong Grammar) to encourage students to focus on their strengths and build motivation.

"A lot of students think maths is not my forte," said principal Helene Alamidis. "The philosophy of positive education is about changing that, and showing them that they can. It's about the effort that they put in, and the strategies that they put in place to achieve."


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

HOME (Index page)

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

A great Australian wit exemplified

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."


Alternative (Monthly) archives for this blog


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral Reef Compendium
IQ Compendium
Queensland Police
Australian Police News
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

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)

Mirror for "Dissecting Leftism"
Alt archives
Longer Academic Papers
Johnray links
Academic home page
Academic Backup Page
General Backup
General Backup 2

Selected reading



Rightism defined
Leftist Churches
Leftist Racism
Fascism is Leftist
Hitler a socialist
What are Leftists
Psychology of Left
Status Quo?
Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism

Van Hiel
Pyszczynski et al.

Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)

Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following: