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

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


31 August, 2017

Schoolboy sex articles spark review of gay ‘health’ website

HEALTH Minister Greg Hunt has ordered an urgent review of a federally funded gay health website that has published articles about schoolboy sex with men.

The Australian reports the Health Minister was unaware of the Emen8 website, which was established with a federal government grant intended for health promotion.

It recently published an article titled “Who’s the perfect daddy for you?” which provides an analysis of the relationships that can occur between mature and younger men.

The article asks: “Does your fantasy include some condomless after-school action with your papa”, despite the site being restricted to adults.

Other articles reportedly feature tips on picking up at the gym and reviews for kinky sex toys.

Another recent article appears to be at odds with national health guidelines on safe sex. The article titled ‘Australian Opposites Attract study: condomless sex with an undetectable viral load is safe sex’ reports on recent study that found HIV-positive men with an un­detectable viral load were extremely unlikely to transmit the virus to a HIV-negative partner.

The study found no instances of HIV transmissions between more than 300 partners it tracked. It warned however that the “true transmission rate” could be higher at up to 1.56 per cent a year.
The article does not mention the warning and conclude “condomless sex with an undetectable viral load is safe”.

It also does not mention other sexually transmitted infections could be contracted through unprotected sex.

A spokesman for the Health Minister said The Australian that any associations with “underage or unsafe behaviour” was “utterly inappropriate”. “Any funding provided by the Australian government for health education should be used for health education and must be in appropriate context,” the spokesman said.

“This grant was provided in 2016 for health education. Minister Hunt was not aware of the website and has now ordered an urgent review.”

ACON Chief executive Nicolas Parkhill yesterday defended the site.  He told The Australian the organisation was confident it was in accordance with the original tender specifications.“In  rder to effectively target this at-risk population group, the tone and voice of some articles on the site need to reflect their culture, interests and behaviours; the language resonates,” he said. “The content integrates sexual health messages that are familiar to a range of gay men.”

The site was established through money from the Prevention and Service Improvements Grants Fund, which aims to tackle bloodborne viruses and STIs in priority populations.

ACON and the VAC, both majority-funded by their respective state governments, were successful in a joint application to develop resources for “gay men and men who have sex with men”, receiving $1.6m over two years.


Winter rain fills Perth dams to highest levels in decade

Greenie guru Tim Flannery once prophesied that Perth would become a ghost city through lack of water

LATE winter rains have spared the cash-strapped State Government from a potential billion-dollar upgrade to the water network after boosting the city’s dams to their highest levels in almost a decade.

Just weeks after the Water Corporation warned it may have to fast-track a major new source of drinking water amid plunging dam levels, heavy rainfall in July and this month has helped avoid the need for an expansion.

Figures from the Water Corp show there has been 62.8 billion litres of “stream flow” into the city’s reservoirs so far this year after a surge of more than 50 billion litres in the past month.

The run-off has left the dams at 41.6 per cent capacity — or holding 262 billion litres. This is 73 billion litres (or almost 40 per cent) more than at the same time last year.

While the run-off into Perth’s dams is still only broadly in line with the city’s post-1975 average, it is the highest level recorded by the Water Corp since 2009.

The dam boost has prevented the need to bring forward a major new drinking water source such as a desalination plant to prop up supplies.

Under the Water Corp’s planning, the State-owned group still assumes it will receive at least 25 billion litres into the dams every year to ensure it can meet demand from customers.

The corporation said that despite the relatively wet end to winter, Perth’s rainfall levels for the season were still below their long-term average.

Spokeswoman Clare Lugar said the long-term decline in Perth’s rainfall meant its dams were still only at a fraction of their capacity.

In a bid to further bolster supplies, the Water Corp will launch its latest efficiency campaign this weekend, when the winter sprinkler ban ends. “While it may feel like we’ve had a lot of rain this winter, we are still only just above the year-to-date average,” Ms Lugar said.

“As our catchments are so dry following nearly 20 years of abnormally dry weather, we’d need to get double the average rainfall for years on end to fill our dams again.”

‘We are still only just above the year-to-date average.’


Australia Day debate: reclaim history instead of distorting it

By historian Geoffrey Blainey

The move to disown Australia Day has become a minor stampede. Curiously, it comes not from Canberra or Darwin but from gentrified suburbs in the southern cities of Fremantle, Hobart and Melbourne.

Many Aboriginal activists view the national day as a reminder of a painful event, but many others don’t. At the big Garma festival in Arnhem Land earlier this month, the main message sent south was not about Australia Day.

Aboriginal leaders hope for a significant change to the Constitution, and ABC journalist and author Stan Grant is becoming a central spokesman. Some critics wonder about his blunt observations, not realising that he is enlarging on dubious statements in textbooks and some university lectures.

This week he soared into fantasy. He lamented that indigenous people are “a postscript to Australian history”. In fact, an enormous amount of money and talent has gone into researching and teaching Aboriginal history in the past half century, thus increasing Aborigines’ knowledge and self-respect. He laments that Aborigines, “excluded” from the Constitution, were not even worth counting, but in fact a determined effort went into doing so, census after census.

Grant deplores the “belief in the superiority of white Christendom that devastated indigenous people everywhere”. Maybe he forgets that polygamy blighted the lives of countless Aboriginal families, and Christians did more than any group to curtail that practice. Of course, in the past two years Grant has also made valid points, expressing them powerfully.

Until we realise that the initial confrontations between Aborigines and the British were perhaps the most difficult and puzzling in the recorded history of the world, we will minimise the problems faced by those who arrived and those who had long lived here. Some obstacles are still here, 229 years later. Both sides deserve blame and praise.

One of the advantages of Australia Day is that it often throws these important topics into the debating ring. However, the latest move against Australia Day, often led by suburban Greens, is unexpected. At a time when there is a widespread fear that the nation could be weakened by the hidden circles of Muslim terrorists, more social cohesion is essential. And yet the Australian people are now selected as a major cause of disunity. Apparently their failure, visible every Australia Day, is to be ignorant of their nation’s history.

The city council in Yarra, which contains about 90,000 people in Melbourne, hopes to convert January 26 into a day of “community education” about Aborigines. It will run an “education workshop” for young Aborigines (will they attend?). It will abolish citizenship ceremonies for that day and translate a correct “information sheet” into the six main foreign community languages spoken in the Collingwood-Richmond-North Fitzroy area. It hopes to organise a smoking ceremony followed by a “culturally sensitive event”.

There is a hint that, if successful, it will try to smoke out the word Australia from the national day. It claims that January 26 is for many a day of mourning “and the beginning of generations of trauma and suffering”.

Without doubt, most Australians favour the present type of Australia Day. In contrast, the Yarra City Council, after a local poll, insists its residents think differently. But its poll contacted fewer than 300 people, many of whom did not reply. A nearby municipality, Darebin, conducted an even smaller poll.

The fact remains that many Aboriginal people do have a deep sense of grievance. They describe the planting of the British flag in Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788 as “invasion day”. I myself have used the phrase to cover the first Aboriginal settling of the land 60,000 years ago and then the later European inflow. For a whole continent to be embraced by two such distinct inflows — perhaps without parallel in the world’s history — deserves a powerful descriptive word.

Today the word “invasion” is often imagined as denoting a long-term British military conquest of Australia. In fact, the event was usually accomplished by a few civilians and only occasionally by British regiments. It was sometimes supported or carried out by Aboriginal people. In Queensland, the native mounted police killed other Aborigines on a large scale.

In the first decades after 1788, it was not envisaged that the inflow or invasion would cover most of the continent. But in the end it did. Devastating and dislocating, it caused far more deaths through new diseases than through firearms. Alcohol — which was new to Aborigines — strongly increased the death toll.

This sequence of events has sometimes been magnified by the rewriting of indigenous history in recent years. The rewriting, often by television producers and Aboriginal expositors, depicts a peaceful paradise that flourished in the millennia before Europeans arrived.

Aborigines are now depicted as living in peace and harmony, with each other and with nature. In truth, they were human beings: they fought one another. From time to time they invaded neighbouring territory, killing and maiming children and women as well as men. But the words “invasion” and “massacre” are rarely used to describe these Aboriginal attacks. The evidence of their frequency has multiplied in the past quarter century.

Some Aboriginal leaders promote this new interpretation of old Australia. Impressive politicians, they frequently out-argue federal and state leaders. In time to come, various historians, looking back, may well argue that of the 10 most effective national politicians in the early 21st century, perhaps three were indigenous. These champions have no seat in parliament — probably to their advantage.

While they argue, with truth, that many of their kinsfolk are still suffering deeply, it is also true that in many ways Aborigines have gained from events since 1788. Most indigenous people live in cities, large and small: NSW that holds the highest population of Aborigines. They are part of mainstream Australia.

Their success is not often reported in the media, but in each Australian state about 35 to 45 per cent of urban Aborigines are paying off their own houses. They increasingly occupy places in more or less all the professions: perhaps 13,000 of the young are now enrolled in universities. These points are briefly set out in my recent book, The Story of Australia’s People.

The typical indigenous families — and they live in urban Australia — have gained enormously from advances in medicine. Their life expectancy is higher than mine when I was born. Of more relevance, most Aborigines are now, materially, better off than if they had still been living in their traditional hunter-and-gatherer society, with all its distinctive merits as well as its weaknesses.

In contrast, a substantial minority of Aboriginal people today are living in wretched conditions in the outback. Perhaps they constitute one in four or five of all the people who are called indigenous. They love to be close to their own heartland and relatives; they wish for the old freedoms; and they resent the intrusions of officialdom. Some control the use of alcohol on their lands. But the prospects for their children are low — infant health and attendance at school are poor and violence is widespread.

These families pay the high penalty for their determination to live in tiny settlements where civic amenities, health and police services, and even running water are usually deficient. Though out of sight, they are widely seen as a grim advertisement for Australia.

Nothing does more to cloud a discussion of the state of the nation and the role of Australia Day than the existence of two such contrasting indigenous groups. There is even a third, with a very different history and background.

Torres Strait Islanders traditionally do not speak of “invasion day” but rather of the Coming of the Light. Their special day annually commemorates the arrival of the London Missionary Society and its Pacific Islander evangelists in the early 1870s.

On the other side of Australia, in the Pilbara, the Torres Strait Islanders were famous for their feats as railway builders.

Meanwhile, what could we create in place of Australia Day and its genuine but generally subdued patriotism and overall popularity and acceptance?

It would be risky to transfer the day. It is more successful than it has ever been, but real success has come only since the 1990s. When I was a child, Victoria did not even call it Australia Day, preferring the name of the ANA (Australian Natives Association) weekend.

In 1988, the bicentenary of the founding of Sydney, the nation’s leaders did not agree on what they should celebrate. Even Jonathan King’s bold venture in organising a replica of the First Fleet — it sailed into Sydney Harbour on Australia Day — aroused strong official opposition in Canberra.

Some critics even wondered whether Anzac Day, April 25, should become the real celebration. But the original Australia Day at last began to triumph in its quiet way, and is now widely accepted, though it has legitimate critics.

It has been suggested that the day be renamed. I have no objection, so long as the new name has wide public support. After all, it is the Australians’ day.

We have a long history of renaming days and places. Three east coast colonies, now called states, each adopted a new name in the 1850s, and the exotic name of Van Diemen’s Land was one that disappeared. Henry Parkes, NSW premier and the father of federation — what a magician he was — believed that New South Wales could change its name to Australia. In living memory, Uluru has replaced Ayers Rock.

One fact is certain. Aborigines need to celebrate more effectively their own contribution to early Australian history. While some complain about the statue and status of Captain Cook, they have failed to erect a striking monument or memorial in honour of their distinguished heroes, the unknown discoverers of this continent. They made the discovery before the great rising of the seas separated Australia and New Guinea, but it is still the momentous event in the long story of our nation.

A national report in 1975 first suggested a special monument be created. It has been recommended again and again, including by me. The money could easily be found. Nothing has been done. Aborigines must ask themselves: Why?



CONGRATULATIONS to the leading doctor and lawyer who had the intellectual independence and personal courage to condemn the coercive tactics being used by proponents of homosexual marriage.

Those of us who haven’t made up our minds on how to vote may take some guidance from paediatrician Robert Hardwick.

He became the second medic to resign from the Australian Medical Association, claiming its support for same-sex marriage “completely overlooks the best and largest studies that have documented considerable long-term adverse outcomes for children raised in same-sex marriages”.

Hardwick said yesterday the AMA’s position was “flawed, deceitful, unscholarly and unscientific”.

“They have only referenced very poor quality, biased studies to back up their claims,” said Dr Hardwick, who is a specialist at the Sydney Adventist Hospital.

His resignation comes soon after Chris Middleton, a former president of AMA Tasmania, ­renounced his life membership in the national body’s roll of fellows because of a lack of consultation on the issue.

And Sydney solicitor Robin Speed has picked a fight with the NSW Law Society for issuing a press release suggesting 29,000 solicitors supported same-sex marriage.

Speed has given the Law Society a ­deadline of 4pm on September 8 to make it clear that the legal ­profession “is not in unison on the issue and may vote as they choose”, The Australian reported. He may take legal action.

So not all doctors and lawyers have jumped on the same-sex marriage bandwagon.

It seems to me the only organisation is the country in full agreement on same-sex marriage is the ABC.

I suspect that voters who have no dogmatic views on same-sex marriage may vote “No” just to protest at the terribly one-sided debate.


Hundreds of asylum seekers will be booted off Centrelink and out of taxpayer-funded housing

The federal government is moving to cut welfare payments to hundreds of asylum seekers who are temporarily in Australia to receive medical treatment.

The move will slash $200-a-fortnight payments and public housing to up to 400 asylum seekers, forcing them to work or face being sent back to Nauru, Manus Island or their country of origin.

A Department of Immigration document said income support would cease from Monday and a 'final departure Bridging E Visa' would be issued, giving many just three weeks to find their own accommodation.

'What we're saying to these people is that until you leave, we do not want you continuing to be a burden on our welfare system,' government minister Dan Tehan told Sky News.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the party was seeking advice on whether the policy can be overturned when the Senate returns in a week's time.

'This announcement from [immigration minister] Peter Dutton is just unspeakable cruelty. We're talking about people who are traumatised, people that are vulnerable,' he said.

'We do call on members of the crossbench and the Labor Party to support us in doing everything we can to stop this unspeakable cruel act getting through the Senate.

'If this is a disallowable instrument, it simply requires a majority of the Senate to stop it. So the question is for Bill Shorten and Labor - will you end this cruelty?'

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it was a new low for the government of Malcolm Turnbull.

'Malcolm, this is not strong. This is cowardly and cruel. It's your weakest move yet,' he said in a Facebook post.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge could not confirm the precise number of asylum seekers at risk, but said there wouldn't be any further provision of taxpayer support in Australia.

Mr Tudge said the move was consistent with the principle that anybody who arrives by boat would not be settled in Australia.  'They will be settled elsewhere. That's what this is about,' he said.

He did not think it was unreasonable to withdraw taxpayers support if they refuse to return back to Manus or Nauru.

Human Rights Law Centre executive director Hugh de Kretser said the asylum seekers in question have been prevented from working. 

'And now, completely out of the blue, with no notice whatsoever, they've been told tomorrow, you have no income we're taking all of your income away and in three weeks time we're taking your homes away,' he said.

Advocate Natasha Blucher said the asylum seekers were 'very, very employable' and wanted to work.

But with their history of trauma and the short notice, getting on their feet in 'this time frame is absurd and it's impossible and it will end with children homeless.'


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, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG has a word on the statue wars

Experts blame migrants for dramatically rising house prices

How the Devil could it be otherwise?  Australia is bringing in around 200,000 migrants a year but house building is heavily constrained by State and local regulations so nothing like 200,000 new houses are built each year -- leading to a shortage.  And where there is a shortage prices will rise.  At the very least, local councils need to be leant on to release more land for housing

Young people will struggle to break into the property market for the next 40 years, as housing prices in Australia's capital cities continue to surge out of reach.

A new report by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) says the great Australian dream of owning a home is over for many people.

The report, released on Tuesday, claims the federal government urgently needs to build 20,000 new homes to accommodate for low-income people each year.

It also says housing demand in Sydney and Melbourne has been put under a huge strain by an influx in migration resulting in population growth.

'What the CEDA report highlights is that ... the issue is far more complex and without changes now, could have longer-run consequences,' CEDA chairman Rodney Maddock says in the report.

The report finds a decline in interest rates and the end of credit rationing has caused housing prices to surge worldwide, leaving the poorest to struggle finding homes.

The committee's report also suggests long-term housing affordability issues will mean more people enter retirement without owning a home.

'In the long term, this could have budget implications for governments as more people become reliant on government assistance,' Professor Maddock says.

'The shift to a service economy has contributed to a larger population living in our cities and coupled with overall population growth through migration, has impacted housing demand, especially in Sydney and Melbourne,' Professor Maddock says.

'With most Australians choosing to live in our major cities, it is likely the trend of more people living in apartments and more long term renters will become permanent.'

'In addition, we also need to ensure better transport and infrastructure to accommodate increased inner city density and to connect outer suburban developments to employment hubs.


Big floods nothing new

The recent hurricane in Texas has revived the Greenie claim that global warming has increased the incidence of floods.  But if that's a global effect then it should have recently been seen in Australia too.  But it has not been.  The following academic journal article says of floods affecting the East coast of Australia: "Some of the most extreme events identified occurred in the 19th century and early-to-mid 20th century."

Major coastal flooding in southeastern Australia 1860–2012, associated deaths and weather systems

Jeff Callaghan and Scott B. Power

A new historical database describing major floods and associated weather systems that occurred in coastal catchments, from Brisbane in southeastern Australia to Eden approximately 1500 km further south, is described. In order to produce a homogeneous record of major flood and weather-type frequency we restrict attention to the period 1860–2012, when the region (i) is extensively populated, (ii) has an extensive coverage of meteorological stations, (iii) is extensively connected by telecommunication, and (iv) when there is busy coastal shipping offshore. A total of 253 major floods over this period are identified. A flood is considered here to be ‘major’ if it causes inundation of a river within approximately 50 km of the coast or if there is non-riverine flooding over land near the coast, extending 20 km or more along the coast. All major floods are associated with either (a) East Coast Lows (ECLs) or (b) Tropical Interactions (TIs). Three types of TIs are identified and described. ECLs triggered more major floods than TIs (57 per cent versus 43 per cent), but TIs caused more deaths from freshwater flooding (62 per cent versus 38 per cent) and they tended to cause over twice as many deaths per event (3.6 versus 1.7 deaths/event on average). Some of the most extreme events identified occurred in the 19th century and early-to-mid 20th century. If such events were to occur today they would have catastrophic impacts due to the massive increase in urban development in the study region since that time.


Senator Jacqui Lambie clashes with Aborginal musician over the date of Australia Day

What's this rubbish about white settlement in Australia being genocide for Aborigines?  On most estimates there are now more Aborigines than ever in Australia

A fired-up Jacqui Lambie has slammed indigenous singer Dan Sultan over his calls for the date of Australia Day to be changed.

The Tasmanian senator's passionate defence of the current date came after Sultan had described it as 'racist' and a 'day of mourning' for indigenous people.

During the heated exchange Ms Lambie said the date of Australia Day should not be moved from January 26, and called for unity instead.  'Everyone needs to put their difference aside,' she said on the ABC's Q&A.

'You know what? Someone else will pick another day, and then someone, they'll be a minority group come up and say "We don't like that day." When's this going to stop?  'When are we going to stop fighting and arguing and [have] unity?' she asked.

'When we start talking about it, when we come together,' replied the musician.

'We have been talking about it, mate, we've been talking about it for years, it's like reconciliation, and I don't agree with you,' the senator responded.

While she was speaking Sultan said: 'January 26 is the wrong date,' and 'It's not a matter of opinion, it's fact.'

'That is the Australia Day, that's the way it goes, just because it doesn't suit a minority the rest of us should not have to pay the price,' Ms Lambie continued.

'It's history, it's not an opinion,' countered the Aboriginal artist.

Host Tony Jones then interjected and ended the exchange, saying: 'Sorry, we've had this experience before of people talking over each other so we'll try not to let that happen.'

The last time Ms Lambie appeared on the Q&A panel she was involved in a fiery debate about sharia law with Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

The clash between Sultan and Ms Lambie came after the singer had replied to a question asking whether there should be a national day at all.

Sultan said he believed it is important to have an Australia Day, but January 26 'started the ongoing genocide of our people'.  He said the current day excluded indigenous Australians and anyone with 'sympathy or empathy towards our story'.

The singer-songwriter also called the date 'racist' saying it has always been that way, and referred to it as a 'day of mourning'.

Later in the program Sultan praised the senator and said he had a lot of respect for her.  'Although I don't always agree with you, with her, I think she's great, the way she goes about it,' he said. 'I think most of the time she's got a very good heart and I think she wears it on her sleeve.'

Ms Lambie showed a softer tone later in the panel also, saying she would support an additional plaque be added to the Captain Cook statue in Sydney's Hyde Park.


Same sex marriage: Network Ten fake news

Network Ten has admitted to digitally doctoring footage for a news item on the alleged spitefulness of the same sex marriage debate, digitally superimposing a homophobic image sourced online onto a stock image of a random bus stop.

A poster with the phrase “Stop the Fags”, allegedly spotted in Melbourne’s Heffernan Lane earlier this month, was seized upon by marriage equality supporters as evidence that those opposed to changing the Marriage Act were willing to resort to hateful lies and scaremongering to win the debate.

Originally uploaded on Twitter on August 19 by a childcare worker Dan Leach-McGill, the image of the poster soon went viral, sparking extensive news coverage and commentary on both social media as well as in the mainstream press. Even Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition leader Bill Shorten weighed in, condemning the image and its message.

Yet when a Channel Ten news crew visited the alleged site on August 22, there was no sign of the offending poster.

And with a member of a global online forum for fascists claiming credit for the artwork, which has allegedly appeared on flyers across the US in recent months, and Mr Leach-McGill conceding that he had not personally viewed it, doubts have emerged over its existence.

“The poster in question had been taken down when our film crew visited the laneway in question so we were forced to source a copy online,” a spokesman for the network said yesterday.

“Unfortunately, an oversight in briefing our graphics department interstate may have created a false impression about its size and location.

“This was not a deliberate attempt to mislead our audience, but a creative error which we regret.”

The poster in question, which claimed that children of LGBTI parents were likely to be abused and of poor health, appears to derive from the US, with a member of the online fascist forum claiming credit.

Similar posters have emerged recently in various neighbourhoods in Minnesota in the US, according to anti-fascist website It’s Going Down.

Coalition for Marriage, which is campaigning for the No vote and was forced to deny any connections to the poster last week, has expressed disappointment that a major television news program relied upon a photoshopped image as evidence of “hateful” campaigning ahead of the postal plebiscite.

“After an unsubstantiated allegation that anti-LGBTI posters were displayed in Melbourne, Network Ten – instead of doing its job to investigate the facts and report on them – used manufactured images in its broadcast,” coalition spokeswoman Sophie York said.

“Other news outlets, while not as brazen to use manipulated images, still ran with the story without testing the veracity of the claims.

“There is a lot at stake when it comes to changing the laws on marriage. Instead of accurately and fairly presenting the ‘no’ case, including the very real consequences for ordinary Australians if the law is changed, media outlets have instead used manufactured stories to favour the Yes case.”


The Sober Scotsman has some good coverage of what actually went on when Pauline Hanson turned up in the Senate wearing a burka.

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, 2017

PM in waiting Bill Shorten has all the answers, but few ring true

He was a leader in the union movement, but he is not loved like Bob Hawke was. He is not as interesting or as imaginative as Paul Keating. He lacks the conviction of John Howard and the intellectual appeal of Malcolm Turnbull. Yet the completely predictable, politically accomplished, remorselessly ambitious Billbot — Bill Shorten — is on course to become Australia’s prime minister.

The Opposition Leader has a response to every question or every problem that is put to him. Unfortunately, too often his words fail to ring true, or they fall well short of qualifying as answers or solutions, particularly when it comes to policies on — dare we say it — jobs and growth. Inspired by Shorten’s appearance on the ABC’s Q&A, the Liberals’ new federal director, Andrew Hirst, has produced a pointed ad to underline the point.

Shorten’s tactics and positioning are paying big dividends despite the fact his actual program remains problematic. With the collapse of centre-right governments and much of the ideology that went with it, Shorten rightly judged the mood of the electorate, shifted leftwards and fashioned the policies to suit.

For years he had modelled himself as the unionist who could build bridges to business. Billionaires and millionaires were his best friends. Or his in-laws. His union did deals with companies to enrich itself at the expense of the workers it claimed to represent; then later, when he made his run for parliament, union funds were diverted to his own election campaign.

When questioned about this, he said he had answered thousands of questions about it previously. Well, no he hadn’t, actually.

The questions were put to him last week following Brad Norington’s revelations in The Australian, and he couldn’t or wouldn’t answer them, finally dismissing them by saying they had all been dealt with. They haven’t.

For weeks Labor has been running the citizenship campaign against members of the government. Penny Wong’s staff member was caught out asking New Zealand MPs to ask questions about Barnaby Joyce.

Last Friday journalists asked Wong why Labor staff had been “shopping around” information on Nick Xenophon’s citizenship. Wong claimed no knowledge. Of course not.

Subsequently, Shorten was asked his own status. He says his own word that he is dinky-di is all the evidence people need. Then, when he is pressed, without a hint of shame he accuses the Prime Minister of running a birther campaign against him, as Donald Trump did against Barack Obama. He could produce the evidence to prove his renunciation. He is either having too much fun to put a stop to it by making it look as if the government is obsessed with him or preoccupied by this issue, or he is running the protection racket for suspect Labor MPs.

Funny he mentioned Trump. The one leader who has succeeded by running against the establishment while stoking grievance and complaint was the Donald. How is that working out for everyone? When you think about it, no matter what the issue, the Trump experience should provide salutary lessons for Australians. Should Australia become a republic, as Shorten has promised, after a succession of plebiscites? Think Trump. A republic with a directly elected president, which is what every poll shows people want? Again, think Trump. Should the House of Representatives be extended to four-year terms, again as Shorten has proposed? Think at least four full years of Trump.

Whatever his shortcomings, Shorten is no Trump; however, he has borrowed from Trump’s campaign (adopting populist poses and offering seemingly simple solutions) almost as much as he has aped Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders to create his own Australian avatar.

One key difference is that Trump did not campaign against rich people. He promised to create more of them.

As noted, Shorten used to love rich people too, only to refine his narrative to become the enemy of inequality when he became leader, then even more so when Turnbull became Prime Minister.

Shorten has made the most of his amazing run of good luck as Opposition Leader. Tony Abbott’s incompetence as prime minister allowed Shorten to redefine himself, and so did a poor 2016 election campaign. Mediscare and carefully constructed policies that appeared to address problems such as housing affordability, but that were really all about raising revenue, eliminated a healthy majority and weakened Turnbull’s authority.

Then Shorten and Abbott played tag team to destroy Turnbull. While Abbott softened him up, Shorten held back when the other opposition leader was in the ring, then jumped in to deliver a few uppercuts. Shorten’s reward could be the prime ministership.

Abbott, whose own prescriptions for government are even more confused than Shorten’s, will sup on revenge.

Howard was often behind by 10 percentage points for weeks on end and managed to pull out of the trough in time for the election. Turnbull is not as good at politics as Howard was but he is as relentless and he has — barring catastrophes — almost two years to do it, if only the infighting stops long enough to enable Shortenomics to be discredited. Meantime it thrives in the face of orthodox arguments that ever-increasing taxes can damage the economy.

After Shorten claimed inequality was greater now than it had been for 70 years — typically debunked as false but glossed over because feelings trump truth — opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen switched theories: “Now the government, of course, doesn’t understand that growing inequality is actually bad for growth. We do. The government thinks you have a choice; you can have growth or you can have equality. We think you can have both.”

The Billbot hardened it up to justify his plan to tax trusts: “Equality is a precondition to successful growth.”

It sounded good; however, few people understood what he meant and he wasn’t asked to explain. That happens a lot, too. Shorten-omics apparently means tax increases act as stimulus packages.

Shorten also has argued his arrival at the Lodge would lift confidence and that would boost the economy, an outcome difficult to imagine if businesses and their owners are hit with the quadruple whammy he proposes of higher penalty rates, higher top personal tax rates, higher company tax rates and a tax on trusts.

If the polls remain where they are, we may get to find out.


Australian panel would punish priests who fail to report abuse confessions

This is an old controversy but in the end people draw the line at jailing priests.  It was an attack on a priest, Father Popie?uszko, that was instrumental in leading to the downfall of the Communist government in Poland

Priests who fail to tell police about suspected child sexual abuse should face criminal charges, even when they learn of abuse during a confidential religious confession, Australia’s most powerful investigative authority recommended on Monday.

Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse — the nation’s highest form of inquiry — recommended that all states and territories in Australia introduce legislation that would make it a criminal offense for people to fail to report child sexual abuse in an institutional setting.

Clergy who find out about sexual abuse during a religious confession would not be exempt from the law.

"The right to practice one’s religious beliefs must accommodate civil society’s obligation to provide for the safety of all and, in particular, children’s safety from sexual abuse," the commission wrote in a report released Monday.

"Institutions directed to caring for and providing services for children, including religious institutions, must provide an environment where children are safe from sexual abuse," it said. "Reporting information relevant to child sexual abuse to the police is critical to ensuring the safety of children."

Current laws on reporting knowledge of crimes vary across Australia. In some jurisdictions, information received during religious confessions — which are considered highly confidential by churches — is considered privileged, and thus exempt from mandatory reporting requirements.

The royal commission has been investigating since 2013 how churches and other institutions responded to the sexual abuse of children in Australia over the last several decades.

The reporting requirement that it urged Australia to adopt was one of 85 recommendations it made in a report aimed at revamping the criminal justice system to ensure fairer treatment of victims of child sexual abuse.

The reporting mandate would apply to people who failed to tell police that they knew, suspected or even should have suspected that an adult associated with their institution was sexually abusing a child.

If such a law was actually imposed in Australia, priests would ostensibly have to choose between following criminal law or canon law, which forbids them from revealing anything they hear during confession.

In its report, the commission acknowledged the significance placed upon the confidentiality of religious confessions, particularly by the Catholic Church. But the commission also said it had learned of cases in which abusers had confessed to clergy that they had sexually assaulted children and then went on to reoffend, before seeking forgiveness yet again.

The issue of whether religious confessions should be considered privileged has long plagued governments and courts across the world.

In the United States, the Louisiana state Supreme Court ruled last year that state law does not require a priest to notify authorities after hearing evidence of child abuse from a child making a confession. That ruling came amid a lawsuit against Catholic authorities by parents who say their daughter was sexually abused by a parishioner at a local church.

Ireland introduced legislation in 2012 that made it a legal requirement to report knowledge of crimes against children, and made no exemption for priests who received information about crimes during confession. How that law has been applied since then, though, is unclear; Australia’s royal commission noted in its report that the issue has yet to be tested in Ireland’s courts.

Cathy Kezelman, president of the Australian victims’ advocacy group, Blue Knot Foundation, applauded the commission’s recommendations.

"The recommendation around religious confession is most welcome, as although Blue Knot Foundation respects the right of all religions to practice their religion, children must be protected from the insidious crime of child sexual abuse," Kezelman said. "There should be no exemption in that regard, the confessional included." ???Australian clergy have anything to say or Vatican?NOT YET.


Getting Indigenous history right

Before we start tearing down statues of Captain Cook and Governor Macquarie in a misguided attempt to atone for Australia’s racist past, we should get the facts straight about contemporary Indigenous Australia.

The political narrative behind the attempt to emulate the campaign in the United States to remove Civil War memorials is that Indigenous Australians still suffer racism, prejudice, and disadvantage due to the historic legacies of colonialism and dispossession — which the Cook and Macquarie statutes are said to symbolise.

White Australia does have a black history filled with many shameful episodes; the cumulative impact was to exclude and marginalise Indigenous people from mainstream society until at least well into the 1960s.

But since then — beginning with the end of the White Australia Policy in 1966 — attitudes to race, and the place of Indigenous people in the nation, have been transformed.

Even the ABC’s Indigenous editor, Stan Grant has acknowledged in his recent Quarterly Essay that most indigenous Australians now enjoy the ‘Australian Dream’ of the fair go and opportunity for all regardless of colour, caste or creed.

Hence, 80% of Indigenous Australians have the same employment, health, housing and other social outcomes as their non-indigenous peers, and mostly live in metropolitan areas, concentrated in south-eastern Australia.

By contrast, the 20% of indigenous people who are doing badly and have appalling social outcomes, live mostly in rural and remote areas.

These are the ‘homeland’ communities established in the 1970s under the policies of Aboriginal self-determination that addressed the legacies of colonialism and dispossession by enabling indigenous people to return to their traditional lands and live in traditional ways.

Trying to make up for our racist past through ‘separatist’ policies has ultimately made things worse. The minority of Indigenous Australians that live in the homelands have remained excluded from the freedom, equality, and prosperity that other Australians take for granted.

Knocking Cook and Macquarie off their pedestals won’t do anything to ‘close the gap’. It will simply reinforce the flawed kind of thinking about our history and its legacies that has ultimately led to misery and suffering for the most disadvantaged Indigenous Australians in rural and remote Australia.


'British settlement was undeniably very good for Australia'

Former Liberal prime minister John Howard has dismissed calls to change the date of Australia Day in favour of retaining British values brought to Australia during settlement.

Mr Howard argued that British colonisation was the best option for Australia in comparison to alternatives of that time period, The Australian reports.

'Their settlement policies, their colonial policies, were not without fault, but they were infinitely better than the alternatives from around the time, Mr Howard said.

Mr Howard retained his position that colonisation of Australian land was essentially inevitable, and the British settlement was most likely the best outcome.

Slamming campaigns to shift Australia Day from January 26, Mr Howard said the move was merely 'a Green-inspired, left-wing ­exercise in gesture politics'.

Mr Howard also asserted that an inscription on a Captain Cook statue in Sydney's Hyde Park that says Cook 'discovered this territory' should be left as is, despite calls from ABC's Indigenous Affairs editor Stan Grant to have it amended. 

Stating that 'context is everything', Mr Howard agreed with Aboriginal leader Warren Mundine who said: 'if you start mucking around with statues then you might as well start tearing down the Pyramids.'

'I thought that was a good way of putting it because if you look at all the figures of history, if you go back sufficiently in time, you will find people on both sides of politics advocating what would now be seen as racial immigration policies,' he told the publication.

He also defended his attitude against apologising to Aboriginal people during his time as the country's leader, saying modern attitudes were incomparable to previous generations. 

'In some circumstances the behaviour is undeniably evil and unacceptable. But you can't do that, you have to think of the context of the time.'

In terms of history curriculum taught in schools, Mr Howard said he disagreed with the tendency to have British contribution to Australian history 'written out'.

'I don't know how to advance the position of the First Australians by diminishing the benefits of our British heritage,' 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

28 August, 2017

Stan Grant slams ‘disgraceful’ statue vandals

ABC indigenous affairs editor Stan Grant has slammed the vandals responsible for defacing Hyde Park statues, saying their “disgusting criminal behaviour” dishonoured indigenous Australians.

UPDATE: Federal Minister Dan Tehan has today slammed the attack, along with council moves to change the date of Australia Day.

Grant, who sparked fierce public debate earlier in the week when he called for amendments to the inscriptions on colonial statues, said the statues in Sydney’s Hyde Park were a part of the nation’s history and should not be removed.

The Captain Cook statue and a number of other monuments were vandalised across Sydney’s CBD in the early hours of Saturday morning, graffitied with the phrases “change the date” and “no pride in genocide”.

“It is disgraceful criminal behaviour. They (vandals) don’t support indigenous people, they dishonour us,” Grant told The Australian.

“They (the statues) are a symbolic starting point to discuss who we are today and who we wish to be in the future.

“This is a democracy and we should conduct ourselves with dignity and respect. Those statues are our history they tell us who we have been which is why I would not want them removed.

“I want a national story that speaks for us all. You don’t achieve that by illegally smearing monuments.”

In a column earlier this week, Grant called for an amendment to the Captain Cook statue’s inscription, which says that he “discovered this territory in 1770”. Grant said those words ignored the complexity of indigenous Australian history.

“I have advocated freeing ourselves from the damaging legacy of history, not chaining ourselves to the past,” he said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull responded by saying Grant was “dead wrong” and that “rewriting history”, “editing statues” and “deleting Australia Day” was a Stalinist exercise to blank out parts of history.

Grant said he didn’t think Turnbull was responding to what he wrote and that he and the PM were in agreement with each other.

“He says we shouldn’t edit history — I totally agree.” he said. “I think we should enlarge it and include indigenous perspectives.”



Blackface OK if you are a Leftist

The Chaser is an ABC program. Australia's ABC is relentlessly Leftist

Comedian Chas Licciardello has surprisingly revealed that he and his colleagues from The Chaser escaped any criticism for using blackface on national television, despite other entertainers being slammed for the same thing.

In a now largely forgotten skit broadcast on the ABC in 2007, The Chaser case used blackface to parody a Jackson Five song and received 'no blowback' at all, Licciardello said.

'We were blackfaced. There's no other way to describe it. And at the time, it didn't occur to me there was an issue,' Chas said on ABC chat segment The Mix on Friday night.

'There as no [blowback]. None. There was no complaints, there were no phone calls. Social media was around and we got nothing. It never occurred to us...I just hadn't even been aware of it.'

'If I had my time again, I absolutely would not have done it. Not because of the controversy...but because it obviously offended people, and that's wrong.'

Chas went on to say that he thinks what was racist in 1990 is very different to what's racist in 2017.

'As a comedian what I feel you have to do is be skilled at taking the temperature of society and saying, ''What can I get away with?''.'

The Mix's other guest speaker, performing artist Candy Royale, vehemently disagreed, saying that nobody has been doing blackface in America for decades.

'Australia is so far behind in its racial politics that there are people here who think it's okay to do blackface,' she said. 'And it hasn't been okay to do blackface for a really long time.'

The Mix segment has ignited debate about why the ABC stars were able to get away with doing blackface, but when Hey Hey It's Saturday aired a similar skit two years later there was public outrage.

Despite an on-air apology by host Daryl Somers, the skit titled 'The Jackson Jive' featuring a blackface performer was widely slammed.

'I think we may have offended you with that act and I deeply apologise on behalf of all of us - because I know that to your countrymen, that's an insult to have a blackface routine like that on the show, so I do apologise to you,' Somers said to Connick Jr. t the end of the segment.

The skit was also raked over the coals online, with one person writing, 'Nice going Australia, now your [sic] back to being racist again'.

Other praised the singer for 'not just going along with it' and standing up for his belief that black people should not be made to look like 'buffoons'.

Online commentary about The Mix segment has been widespread, with one commenter calling Chas weak and hypocritical.

'The whole point of the chaser was to be offensive, but according to him now causing offence is wrong,' Michael Mahoney wrote on Facebook. 'I think he has no spine and bends easily under pressure.'

His comment was joined by others accusing Australian society of being too easily-offended, whereas blackface is 'pretty damn common' in China and South Korea.

Other wrote that that they don't understand what the 'big deal' is about blackface, because actors change their looks all the time to suit a persona or character.

'If a black fella wanted to White up and demonstrate how I dance compared to him, I'd not have a problem,' Benjamin Smith commented under a video snippet from The Mix.

'Geeez we are all a sensitive lot these days. Let's just have fun and love each other. It's not about offending it's about entertaining!'

Still others wanted to clarify that blackface and 'cultural appropriation' being brought up in the same sentence is inappropriate, they are not the same thing.

'Appropriation means stealing or borrowing depending on how you look at it,' clarified Christian Findlay on the ABC Facebook page.

'But blackface is not appropriation. It's just mockery...Can we please stop conflating the concept of cultural appropriation with mockery?


Sydney public schools record a huge rise in the amount of Muslim and Hindu students - while Christianity continues to decline in popularity

Public schools in Sydney have recorded a huge rise in the number of Muslim and Hindu students with Christianity on a sharp decline.

A New South Wales Department of Education survey found the number of Muslim and Hindu students were standing at 52,000 and 20,000, respectively.

Last year, enrollment for Muslim students in public schools was at 50,000 while Hindu students were standing at 18,600, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The newspaper reports that more than 230,000 students did not identify themselves with any religion at all. 

There was also a sharp decline in the number of Christian students with the number of Anglicans falling from 105,300 students last year to 99,000 this year.

Other forms of Christianity such as Presby­terian, Protestant and Baptist were also on the decline, according to the newspaper.

However, the number of Catholic students were unchanged at 103,000.

Parents and teachers have also called for ethics classes to be more readily available across the state after the data showed 230,000 students identified with 'no religion'.


Australian Muslims charged with terrorism over mosque fires

Muslim on Muslim violence comes to Australia

Australian police have charged three men with committing terrorist acts on suspicion of starting fires at a Shiite Muslim mosque in Melbourne last year, inspired by Islamic State and intending to divide the Muslim community.

Two of the men are already in custody and awaiting trial on suspicion of plotting bomb attacks in Australia's second largest city last year, while a third – a 29-year-old Melbourne man – was arrested late on Saturday.

All three face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment over the arson attack at the Imam Ali Islamic Centre in December 2016.

Australian Federal Police's counter terrorism national manager said that attacking a place of worship had no place in society.

“It is clear that these arson attacks were designed to intimidate and influence those that attend this mosque and the wider Islamic community," Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney said on Sunday.

Australia, a staunch U.S. ally that has sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, has been on heightened alert since 2014 for attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East, or their supporters.

While there have been several "lone wolf" attacks, officials say 13 significant plots have been foiled in that time.

Police say the three men were adherents of militant Sunni Muslim ideology.

Police said the arrest of the man on Saturday came after extensive investigations into fires at the Melbourne mosque – but said it did not relate to any direct threat to the community.

The other two men facing charges are in custody and awaiting trial for allegedly planning militant attacks around Christmas Day 2016 in Melbourne.

The two, a 25-year-old and a 27-year-old, will also be charged with terrorist offences for causing a previous fire at the Imam Ali Islamic Centre in November 2016.

The man arrested on Saturday will appear in Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Sunday, while the other two will appear in court on Monday.

This month, two men were charged with terror-related offences after authorities disrupted what they described as an Islamic State-inspired plot to bomb an Etihad Airways flight.

Another man arrested in relation to the foiled plot was charged with weapons offences and released on bail. A fourth man was released without charge.

A gunman in a 2014 Sydney cafe siege boasted about links with Islamic State militants, although no direct ties with the group were established. The gunman and two other people were killed in the siege.


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, 2017

Silent revolt against homosexual righteousness?

It all started when a contact at the ABC forwarded me a memo which had been circulated to all ABC News and Radio staff. The email reminded journalists that some 40 per cent of Australians do not support same-sex marriage and it was the taxpayer-funded broadcaster’s statutory duty to remain impartial on this matter, including across employees’ social media accounts. This was the second time the broadcaster had issued such a warning; one had also gone out last September, before the first bill for a plebiscite was about to go before parliament. The same contact told me back then, policy staff were ‘harassed’ by their journalist colleagues who disagreed.

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long to find several examples of ABC staff still flagrantly breaching the directive. Hell, in the six hours after the latest memo was sent, ABC News’ own official Facebook page published five posts from the pro-SSM side, one that was neutral and none from the No case. But the most high-profile of those who’d gone rogue was Emma Alberici, the host of Lateline. Days earlier, she’d begun an interview with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann suggesting party room bickering was endangering vulnerable young gay people. She went on to claim the wider public doesn’t want a plebiscite, although anyone who’s taken even a cursory glance at the polls knows this to be patently false. But it was Alberici’s social media activity which proved most illuminating: she regularly lashes out at defenders of traditional marriage and openly admits she can’t get her head around why some may oppose change.It’s a stance you’d expect from an outlet such as the Guardian, whose Australian editor Lenore Taylor declared she would not be publishing balanced journalism on the issue because she couldn’t personally see a reasonable case for No, but not from one whose recently appointed chairman dismissed claims of bias out of hand.

In the same week, comedian Tim Minchin penned a ditty smearing Australians as ‘a little bit homophobic’ and labelling those in favour of retaining the traditional definition of marriage ‘bigoted c—s’, while hundreds of advertisers signed up to a campaign vowing not to work for anyone on the No campaign.

By the time I sat down to write my regular column for the Daily Telegraph, one theory had been percolating in my mind for a while: was gay marriage Australia’s Brexit/Trump moment? Certainly, the arrogance in some sections of the mainstream media about assured victory and moral superiority, coupled with the taunting of those opposed to change as deplorable, were eerily familiar. I watched one openly gay friend post on his private Facebook page that he was abstaining from the plebiscite because he was personally against same-sex marriage. He was so viciously attacked by his own so-called friends, he deleted the post. Meanwhile, Mia Freedman was torn to shreds over a failed attempt to start a viral #marriedformarriageequality selfie movement, all because she wasn’t campaigning in the ‘right’ way. So I knew writing the piece would open me up to similar criticism and pressure from the SSM thought police. I made it clear from the start I was sympathetic to gay marriage, to the point of mentally planning my wedding guest outfits, but went on to point out that some Yes campaigners’ strategy of intimidation and suppression of other views would almost certainly push not just the undecided away, but many inclined to be supportive, too.

I was well-acquainted with Twitter lynch mobs after years of writing columns, but even I was taken aback by the ferocity of the online attacks that ensued. This was more brutal than the times I’d argued the merits of capital punishment, written in support of Israel and taken on bloodthirsty jihadists put together. The flogging kicked off with Alberici posting a tweet about the column complete with the expletive ‘WTF’’ to her 67,000 followers. What was she so outraged over? Did she take exception to the accusation she had been blatantly campaigning on this issue, thereby breaching the ABC’s charter? Nope, she was livid that – according to her, anyway – I’d announced I would be voting No. Aside from the fact I deliberately did not disclose how I would vote (not least because, as a foreign national, I can’t), the personal attacks in Alberici’s countless tweets that followed only served to reinforce the central point of the piece.

When fellow Tele columnist Miranda Devine accused Alberici of acting like a bully, the presenter resorted to every schoolkid’s favoured retort of I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I, claiming I was the real bully. Her echo chamber enthusiastically leapt aboard, some labelling me a ‘closet homophobe’, other humourless scolds blasting me for only caring about my closet.

Speaking of which, is white still considered a faux-pas? Should I go short or long?

But there’ll always be a special place in my heart for the brave soul who trawled through my Instagram feed to find a photograph of my baby nephew under which he could comment: ‘hope he’s not gay’. A casual observer could be forgiven for thinking I’d argued homosexuals should be hanged, drawn and quartered at dawn. My favourite critics, though, had to be the ones who angrily accused me of ‘stereotyping’ my gay friends as fabulous. If it’s any consolation, I happen to harbour the equally insufferable view that my straight friends are pretty darn fabulous, too.

One of my Sky News colleagues also took the opportunity to have a crack online, feigning surprise at the piece and accusing me of ‘voting’ to deny rights to same-sex couples out of spite. But he failed to mention we’d discussed the column the day before off-air, during which I recall him laughing about hoping the Yes vote failed as it would cause havoc for the government. Pots and kettles. In any case, it was when former prime minister Tony Abbott weighed in, calling out ‘bullying’ by the usual suspects, that things really blew up and the Twitter ugliness became the subject of various news reports. An online storm usually passes after a good 24 hours, but the attacks began afresh on Day 2 when high-profile same-sex marriage campaigner Kerryn Phelps rebuked me for my apparent ‘admission’ I was voting No, which she called ‘truly disturbing’.

A public shaming by the rainbow thought police is hardly going to dissuade me from speaking out, but you can bet it will make others think twice about expressing their views openly if they don’t conform unequivocally to the groupthink.

All the more reason to suspect we may well see a silent revolt at the postbox.


Statues vandalised in Sydney’s Hyde Park

A number of monuments across Sydney’s CBD have been attacked by vandals, including a statue of Captain James Cook, following fierce public debate about whether it should be changed.

Police are investigating “a number of incidents of malicious damage” in the park, believed to have happened between 2am and 3am on Saturday.

“Three crime scenes have been established throughout the park and inquiries are continuing,” a spokeswoman said.

The words “change the date” and “no pride in genocide” were spray-painted on the Captain Cook statue, with similar words scrawled on that of Lachlan Macquarie. The graffiti attack comes just days after indigenous broadcaster Stan Grant called for the inscription on the Cook statue - saying he “discovered” the territory in 1770 - be changed.

But Malcolm Turnbull, weighing into the debate on Friday, said Grant was “dead wrong”.

The prime minister said the vast majority of Australians would share his horror at the thought of “rewriting history” by editing the inscriptions on statues.

“All of those statues, all of those monuments, are part of our history and we should respect them and preserve them,” he told Neil Mitchell on 3AW radio.

“By all means, put up other monuments, put up other signs and sites that explain our history.” He denounced such a “Stalinist exercise” of trying to white out or obliterate parts of Australia’s history.

“You don’t rewrite history by editing stuff out. If you want to write a new chapter of our history, if you want to challenge assumptions in the past, by all means do so,” he said.

A City of Sydney spokeswoman said the council was also cleaning up graffiti that appeared overnight in Martin Place and Macquarie Street.

“Sites affected include the Archibald Memorial Fountain, ANZAC Memorial and statues including the Captain James Cook statue,” she said.

“NSW Police have completed forensic work and City cleaning crews have commenced work to remove the unlawful graffiti.”


Fruitcake  pushes politically correct plan to rename Father’s Day ‘Special Person’s Day’

Surely this discriminates too.  Dogs are people, as we all know.  So why not a "Special creatures" day? Why limit it to bipedal persons?

AN EARLY childhood activist has been labelled “offensive” after suggesting Father’s Day be renamed ‘Special Person’s Day’ so kids without dads wouldn’t feel left out.

Dr Red Ruby Scarlet, an activist with a doctorate in early childhood studies, is pushing for the name change to the annual holiday.

During an interview on Today Tonight Dr Scarlet denied it was case of excess political correctness.

“Why are we calling this political correctness when in fact it’s about our rights?” Dr Scarlet told host Rosanna Mangiarelli.

She went on: “There’s a lot of Australian research that has actually informed a lot of international research ... that has demonstrated children’s capacity to be really inclusive once they know about these ideas and they think, ‘Wow, why are people seeing this as a controversy?”

Dr Scarlet, who insisted that was her real name, said that many families without fathers supported the idea.

“We have single parent families, satellite families, extended families, lesbian and gay families,” she said.

Her ideas were met with a stern rebuke from New South Wales Liberal minister David Elliott, who called them “rubbish”.

“Can’t believe that someone who professes to be ‘enlightened’ would advocate such crap,” Mr Elliott wrote on Facebook.

“People still celebrate fatherhood even after their father and grandfathers have passed away, in fact for many people Father’s Day is a wonderful time of reflecting and remembering.”

He went on: “Dr Red Ruby Scarlet — you are the offensive one. Maybe we should start a campaign to address that.”


History lessons teaching children to feel a 'strong sense of guilt' about Australian history

As fights to alter the date of Australia Day and pull down or alter statues come to a head, some experts are warning changes to the history curriculum taught in schools could be to blame.

Kevin Donnelly, who runs education think-tank The Education Institute, says imbalanced teaching is leaving students with a 'strong sense of guilt'.

He told The Australian while some acts committed by the British upon their arrival in Australia were 'wrong', some were 'beneficial and positive' but were not given the same weight in the classroom.

'When you look at the history curriculum part of the problem is students come away with a strong sense of guilt about what we've done as a nation in terms of indigenous culture and history.'

Mr Donnelly went on to explain children would leave school with a 'black-armband view where we feel guilt about something over which we now have no control'.

The senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University's comments were echoed by Professor Ken Wiltshire, who also argued children were not taught a 'comprehensive' version of the nation's history.

Earlier this week, Indigenous leader Stan Grant called for an inscription on a statue in Sydney's Hyde Park, which credits Captain James Cook with 'discovering Australia' to be changed.

The man wrote in a column for the ABC that for Indigenous people, the statue was a reminder of 'the violent rupture of Aboriginal society' – an ongoing issue. 'This statue speaks to emptiness, it speaks to our invisibility,' he said. 'It says that nothing truly mattered, nothing truly counted until a white sailor first walked on these shores.'

Adding fuel to the fire, two Melbourne local councils have responded to protests regarding the date of Australia Day - choosing to cease holding celebrations or citizenship ceremonies on January 26.

The Federal Government responded to the decision by disallowing the Councils to hold citizenship ceremonies in their area at any time of the year.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes said the state had worked hard to pull together an adequate mix of Indigenous history and early European settlement. ' If you're genuine about trying to teach Australian history, it's impossible to have one without the other,' he said.


Nazism is back -- among the hipsters

Joe Hildebrand

WE’VE sure learned a lot about our politicians recently: Nick Xenophon is part Briton, Matt Canavan is part Italian and Pauline Hanson is part Taliban.

But hidden deep beneath the dual citizenship farce is a little kernel of truth about our nation, possibly about the whole world, that is darker and more dangerous than the All Blacks.

While the dual citizenship debacle was going on, asked a data analysis firm to compile the sentiment on social media — especially Twitter, the town hall of the 21st century.

The results were staggering.

It has long been the bugbear of conservatives and the conspiracy theory of the alt-right that Twitter is biased towards the left.

To some extent this is obvious to any reasonably balanced observer — and not in itself a bad thing. All people, and the media they use, have the right to freedom of expression.

But the data gathered by the global firm Meltwater is perhaps the most fascinating proof yet of just how extreme the bias is.

The analysis was first conducted in July over the period that Greens senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters resigned from parliament over their dual citizenship, Nationals senator Matt Canavan stepped down from cabinet and One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts was busted for the same thing.

Then when the Barnaby Joyce bombshell dropped, another round of analysis was done to gauge the reaction to that.

The first key finding of the report says it all: “Positive social sentiment was only generated in relation to the former Greens senators.”

In fact, when it came to Scott Ludlam – the first to fall – there was actually more positive reaction (20.2 per cent) than there was negative (14.6 per cent), the remaining 65.1 per cent being neutral.

For Larissa Waters, who if anything had a stronger case for not knowing she was a dual citizen, there was a 22.4 per cent negative response but still a 14.8 per cent positive response.

Both these senators were born overseas and knew it but sympathy still overflowed. How understanding the commentariat can be.

However for Canavan, a Nationals MP born in Australia whose mother supposedly signed him up for Italian citizenship after the fact — or maybe even not according to the latest argument — there was literally no sympathy at all out of 5473 mentions. Zero, zip, zilch. Social media was 20.8 per cent negative and the rest neutral.

Likewise for Roberts, who is no stranger to extreme sentiment, it was 24 per cent negative and 76 per cent neutral with not a single positive comment.

And for Joyce, the Australian-born deputy prime minister who unknowingly inherited New Zealand citizenship via his father, the result was virtually the same. Out of a whopping 22,689 mentions, 24.6 per cent were negative compared to just 0.4 per cent positive.

For the Turnbull government overall the story was even more bleak. There was literally no positive sentiment at all, with 24.7 per cent negative and the rest neutral. No wonder they are desperately trying to kill off this issue before it kills them.

Again, there is of course nothing wrong with this. An obvious response is: “But Twitter isn’t representative of society!”

And that is exactly the point. It’s when social media gets mistaken for being a political barometer that public debate on big issues can often get distorted.

Indeed, what is most distressing, especially for those of us who want the world to be a fairer place, but also retain some common sense, is when progressive causes get hijacked by extremists and even the most reasonable positions get shouted down as extremism by the very extremists they’re trying to calm.

Confused? Here’s an example.

One night last week I was puzzled to see the name of Triple J presenter Tom Tilley trending on Twitter and clicked on it to see why. Apparently, in a segment about the infamous and ultimately tragic clash between Neo-Nazis and left-wing activists in Charlottesville Virginia, he had interviewed a white nationalist to see what they were all so upset about.

For this most basic of journalistic exercises Tilley was roundly condemned as a Neo-Nazi sympathiser. And if the ABC’s youth radio station was now the new hotbed of white supremacy I knew I had a story on my hands.

One prominent tweet that popped up joked about whether he should be killed – to which many responders enthusiastically offered both endorsement and methods.

Obviously I did not think it likely that Tom Tilley would be literally shot dead by a millennial lynch mob but it still seemed a pretty strange reaction to a guy whose only crime was to take a phone call from an arsehole.

“Wow,” I said, quoting the tweet. “Tom Tilley is getting death threats because he interviewed a Neo-Nazi dickhead? Outrage just ate itself.”

Little did I know the outrage had only just begun. By the time it ended I had met a lovely young lady who told me my wife was currently fellating her boyfriend – an act which, I would have thought, reflected poorly on both of us.

Clearly I am not up to speed with millennial humour.

I was also told that to suggest the original deathly tweet was a tad over the top was in fact a form of bullying. Lord knows how poor Tom Tilley must feel, wherever his body now lies.

But before the obvious backlash to the backlash to the backlash I’ve no doubt already started by criticising the backlash, please don’t get me wrong: I’m not crying foul or saying anyone should be silenced. I’ve made plenty of bad jokes about plenty of good people.

It is however odd that there is such violent language in politics – and in some cases actual violence – that even when someone suggests it’s gone a bit far they are accused of violence by the very people who claim to be denouncing violence.

Because that’s what is most disconcerting about the new left: You expect Neo-Nazis to be bastards, you don’t expect hipsters to be.

I say all this as someone who came from the old left and who is now deeply troubled by what it has become. I thought it was all about helping poor people and having a good time. Turns out it’s all about finding new ways to be offended and shouting people down.

But maybe it was always like this and it is here I must make a full confession: I was the ultimate activist cliché myself. I was a card-carrying student socialist at one of the most elite universities in the country. Oddly, I was one of the few there who had grown up poor and gone to a public school but I was later to learn that I was an oppressive vessel of white male privilege.

A few red flags went up during that time, both literally and metaphorically.

One was when I was a marshal at a march against voluntary student unionism and had to pull one of our guys away from shouting and spitting in the face of a cop. The officer was just standing there, rigid as a Buckingham Palace guard, one of countless cops who just happened to be rostered on and deployed solely to give us safe passage down the very street we were marching along. Our working class warrior ran up to abuse him for it.

Another was when I was a weird kind of “liaison” officer during an occupation of the university admin building, the weirdness being that I didn’t even know it was going to be occupied. Or maybe someone told me and I was just too stoned to remember.

At any rate, while some of the occupiers sat on the floor and took endless votes about how to protest next, others ransacked the offices and threw random documents out the window.

For the life of me I did not know then — and still don’t today — what purpose this served. We were supposed to be protesting against fees for degrees. Now it just felt like a book-burning.

At one point I remember being on the ground underneath the building as the papers rained down, trying to negotiate with the university’s registrar.

“You’ve got to make them stop,” he said.

“That’s the whole problem,” I replied. “I can’t.”

Just then a small horde tore past and invaded the Law Library. Apparently the next step in the campaign was to tear up old texts about tort reform.

Of course, as history shows, it didn’t change much. The only difference was some underpaid cleaner had to fix everything up again and an underpaid clerical worker had to pick up all the documents. And some poor cop had to go home and probably not tell his missus that someone had spat on him that day.

Power to the people indeed.

It’s hard not to feel the same way about the mobs who are going around defacing and tearing down historical monuments in the United States because they object to the history they represent — as nauseating as that history might be.

As I have said before, reaching back through time and erasing remnants of past sins is the worst kind of historical whitewashing. And it is deeply ironic that it is now being perpetuated not by fascist dictators but by those who claim it is precisely those dark pasts which ought to be remembered.

This is a cause as perverse as it is pointless. We need to be reminded of what our society is built on, both good and bad. Indeed, if anything, especially the bad.

It is also important those issues are represented in the public sphere. When one walks past the icon of a liberator or a tyrant one is obliged to reflect upon the bones underfoot. The statue of Oliver Cromwell outside the UK Houses of Parliament is an invitation to conflicted thought.

If that means building more statues of the oppressed then let us do that, but tearing down statues of oppressors a century after their deaths isn’t freedom, it’s censorship.

It is also, to counter a tired argument, entirely different to liberated peoples tearing down images of the oppressors in the here and now. The question is not whether we should have torn down that statue of Saddam Hussein in 2003 but whether, should it so improbably survive, it should be torn down in 2103.

If this is a concept too complex for people to grasp, here is a handy rule of thumb: If everyone involved is long dead, it’s history and you should probably leave it alone. If the guy in the statue is still killing people, feel free to knock it over.

In my younger days I may well have been persuaded to knock over statues of the living and the dead with equal abandon. Fortunately, I grew out of it.

And probably the majority of angry activists out there today will grow out of it too. Wiping out history becomes a little less appealing when you have more of it behind you than in front of you.

The difference between then and now is that these days those youthful destructive impulses no longer sit in our pasts. The limitless lateral reach of social media means that what was once a phase we all went through is now a wave that can be unleashed across continents.

And, once all our mistakes are tallied and we face our final reckoning, I wonder what we’ll regret more: The things we tore down or that last angry tweet.


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

25 August, 2017

A thought experiment: Would blowing up Charlotte St. create any problem?

In my burg -- Brisbane -- there is a skyscraper in Charlotte St which houses most of the State government bureaucracy.  So what would happen if some Muslim blew the whole thing up, killing all the bureaucrats in it?

There would be much wringing of hands of course but what would change in the lives of my fellow citizens?

The supermarkets would still be open; the trains would still be running; the traffic lights would still work; the farmers would still bring their produce to market; the abbatoirs would still be slaughtering and selling carcases to butchers, bakers would still be baking; dentists would still be fixing teeth; the great turbines in our coal-fired power stations would still be spinning; the police would still be attending crimes about an hour late; and doctors would still be handing out prescriptions.

And so it goes.  I cannot see that the inhabitants of the Charlotte St. tower would be missed. Are they any use to us at all?  Why not dismiss them all and leave the tower empty?  I cannot see anything that we need them for -- JR.

Australia is still mining -- with State and Federal support

Copper and gold

THE $916 million Carrapateena mine given the green light by Oz Minerals is set to create 1000 jobs during the construction phase and will support around 400-500 positions over the mine’s 20-year lifespan.

The company on Thursday morning announced the board had approved development of the mine located 160km north of Port Augusta, as it recorded a 51 per cent jump in its first half profit to $81 million.

The Carrapateena project, which is targeting first ore production in the second half of 2019, will become South Australia’s second biggest copper mine after Olympic Dam.

The mine life is 20 years with an estimated average annual production of 65,000 tonnes of copper and 67,000 ounces of gold.

It is expected the project will create about 1000 jobs during construction and 400-500 over the mine’s 20-year minimum mine life.

Premier Jay Weatherill says the project will also provide opportunities for Aboriginal employment and supply contracts in the Upper Spencer Gulf.

“This announcement is yet another vote of confidence in South Australia’s economy,’ Mr Weatherill said.

“This copper project showcases the importance of the resources sector to the South Australian economy with investment in Carrapateena creating local jobs, infrastructure and opportunities for Aboriginal participation.”

OZ Minerals, which is self-funding the project, started construction work on a decline (mine shaft) 1450m-deep to the underground mine last year.

The company has a cash balance of $624 million and no debt. Most of the funding for the project will come from the cashflow generated at its existing Prominent Hill copper mining operations, 130kms southeast of Coober Pedy.

OZ Minerals chairman Rebecca McGrath said it was an exciting time for the company. “Carrapateena will be a robust, cash-generating asset with expansion potential that sets OZ Minerals up for further growth,” she said.

“Our confidence in the economics, constructability and operability of the Carrapateena project as a long-life low cost mine has been further reinforced through the feasibility study phase,” OZ Minerals chief executive Andrew Cole said.

“Strong operating cash flow of $93.5 million in the first half of 2017 continues to support a significant cash balance of $624 .5 million with no debt, allowing for shareholder returns, continued investment in the Carrapateena and West Musgrave projects, and advancement of our growth pipeline,” he said.

The company will begin building an accommodation village, a 550 person camp, called the Tjungu Village and an airstrip in the third quarter of this year.

The mine will be developed in two phases — the first phase starts next month followed by a more intensive second phase in the second quarter of 2018, subject to mining lease approvals.

The group also announced the $150 million concentrate treatment plant — expected to create more than 100 construction and around 100 ongoing jobs — has been removed from Carrapateena’s project financials due to “increased confidence” that the existing copper concentrate will be sought after in international markets.

The company has bought a site near Port Augusta for the plant, which was originally tipped for Whyalla.


Religious freedom at risk in same-sex shift

The myopic failure of parliament to confront the need for broad ­religious-freedom guarantees in association with same-sex marriage laws has produced the inevitable — strong warnings that one right will be won at the erosion of other rights.

This is the unpalatable situation Australia faces with same-sex marriage. Despite claims from George Brandis, Bill Shorten and many others, such warnings are fully justified.

They rest upon three realities: that protection of belief and ­religious freedom in this country is seriously inadequate; the refusal of politicians either to admit or to address such defects; and the abundant evidence at home and abroad that individuals and institutions will be intimidated after the marriage law is changed.

Assertions to the contrary by politicians are worthless. Having been derelict in their duty they now complain about people pointing out the consequences of their dereliction.

Senior Liberals should beware of running a dishonest campaign ­asserting that such freedoms are protected when that is manifestly not the case.

This has been pointed out by many religious figures including the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, human rights lawyer and priest Frank Brennan, a range of Liberal politicians including Tony Abbott, and the chair of the Senate committee report, South Australian Liberal David Fawcett. It was documented at length in submissions to the committee that recommended protections for religious freedom be enhanced. This inadequacy has been raised in many independent reports over the years.

Advocates of same-sex marriage insist the change to marriage law must be the only issue considered at the plebiscite. Anything else is dismissed as a scare or distraction. You can only believe this if you believe the consequences of the change don’t matter or if you don’t care if the price of a new right is the sacrifice of other rights or if, in fact, you actually support the winding back of protections for individual belief and religious freedom.

In his recent article for The Guardian, Frank Brennan said religious freedom in Australia was seen as a “second-order right” while in international law it was a “first order ‘non-derogable’ right”.

While the Liberal Party is desperate to “resolve” the same-sex marriage issue, it should beware presiding over a process that sees the roll-back of rights once believed to be intrinsic to its existence. That will come with a high price in future years.

The tactical mistake the Liberal Party made was seeking to make opposition to same-sex marriage the issue (a losing position) when it should have made same-sex marriage only on the condition of religious tolerance guarantees the issue (a winning position).

Newspoll this week showed strong support for same-sex marriage but the vote was 62-18 per cent for protecting religious freedoms at the same time.

The debate about religious freedom has focused entirely around the ceremony, not the society. But the bigger issue concerns protections for individuals, schools, charities, adoption agencies, businesses and institutions. The politicians will deny it but advocates of same-sex marriage felt religious freedom beyond the ceremony was a non-issue they didn’t have to worry about, a telling conclusion.

The efforts of Senator Brandis and Liberal backbencher Dean Smith to draft bills with protections for ministers and celebrants is important and should be recognised.

Wider guarantees must involve legislation beyond the Marriage Act such as anti-discrimination acts. This recognises that, over time, the main social consequence will not arise from same-sex marriage itself but the wider social, cultural and institutional change it brings.


Now they want to ban the Queen's Birthday: Labor Party calls for public holiday to be replaced with celebration of Aboriginals

The NSW opposition leader says Australians should consider replacing the Queen's Birthday public holiday with a day to celebrate indigenous history as the Australia Day debate rages on.

Two Victorian councils have been stripped of the right to host citizenship ceremonies after they decided to cancel them on January 26 given many indigenous people view the date as 'invasion day'.

The move by the Melbourne councils has led the NSW Greens to back state councils considering taking a similar stance.

But NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley isn't convinced Australia Day needs to moved from January 26, which is when the First Fleet arrived in 1788.

'I'm not in the business of rewriting history but there needs to be a completeness when we tell our history,' Mr Foley told 2GB on Wednesday.

'Whether it's now or when Her Majesty passes away, whether that June public holiday would be best becoming the occasion, the public holiday where we recognise and celebrate 40,000-plus years of indigenous history here.'

Lismore and Byron councils are considering moving celebrations from Australia Day.

'Decisions by local councils to hold citizenship ceremonies and celebrations on dates other than January 26 may be largely symbolic but symbols are powerful and create momentum for change,' NSW Greens MP Dawn Walker said in a statement.

'Local councils have shown incredible leadership in passing motions in support of changing the date of Australia Day.'


Social engineers determined to remove the wonder from childhood

Decades of Increased litigation and skyrocketing insurance premiums have already wreaked havoc with kids’ playgrounds, writes Janet Albrechtsen

Childcare centres, preschools and libraries will be encouraged to scrutinise books, toys and posters to ensure play ­spaces are “gender equitable” in the latest government-led bid to tackle family violence starting in childhood.

Victoria should change its car numberplates to The Social Engineering State. A new guide has been drafted to help its councils conduct a gender audit on children’s playgrounds to ensure that gender stereotypes are not encouraging domestic violence.

Question: what will ensure that children can be children, free from busybody bureaucrats imposing their social, moral and political judgments about kids playing families in the sandpit or race car drivers in the playground?

Decades of Increased litigation and skyrocketing insurance premiums have already wreaked havoc with kids’ playgrounds. These were once ­places of adventure where kids could explore the world beyond their home and parents. It’s where kids first push the boundaries of everyday risk, exploration and initiative, playing freely and making up their own stories long before helicoptering became a parenting technique rather than a feat of airborne engineering. It’s where a grazed knee and a bruise or bump taught kids some resilience; in other words, picking yourself up when something goes wrong. Today most playgrounds are humdrum places for kids. Swings are so safe they have lost their sense of fly-high exhilaration. If you can find a seesaw, it’s a shadow of its former self where squeals of delight once signalled tiny bums knocking on the ground.

Now playgrounds will be measured for more than litigious risk. They will be audited for gendered play so that local councils can think about “not only who is where, and how often, but what are they doing? What are the storylines of their play telling you about what the children think are the normal roles for women and men?” says the Creating Gender Equity in the Early Years guide produced by Melbourne’s Darebin City Council.

It’s bad enough that bureaucracies have built empires of paternalism in the adult world, sidelining the role of civil society and wrecking the symmetry between individual responsibility and individual liberty. Not content with intruding into the adult world, they search for new arenas to impose their activism.

Under the guise of Safe Schools, they injected LGBTI role playing into the classroom. Now, it’s a gender audit of playground. Social engineers of this kind often dress up their effort to regulate using inflated language. Here they are co-opting the emotion around domestic violence to justify policing in a playground to find episodes of a designated new evil of gendered play. Explaining this latest move as good intentions gone awry doesn’t wash any more.

The bureaucratic endeavour to create gender-free playgrounds assumes that this future utopia must be better than what has gone before. It’s a story as old and as flawed as the French Revolution. Just as Edmund Burke, in 1790, predicted that the lofty intentions of that period of social and political upheaval would lead to a worse form of tyranny, it’s safe to predict a new modern form of tyrannical paternalism by bureaucratic edict.

From health to education to human rights, large swathes of social policy have been delegated to unelected bureaucrats, destroying the little platoons of civil society described by Burke as central to a flourishing and free society. That collected wisdom of people, garnered from experience, tradition and custom, has been replaced with a form of mob rule where the claimed wisdom of an elite class is imposed from above.

It’s passing strange that adults cannot conceive that what’s an issue for them becomes an issue for kids only when adults make it one. Then again, maybe that’s the aim, to project adult obsessions about gender on to children. And this playground pursuit of gender equity by taxpayer-funded public servants is enabled by complacent followers of this latest bureaucratic baloney.

We risk losing the kind of adult-free play that emboldened childhood, assuming we haven’t lost it already. I recall a childhood where two working-class parents worked long and hard, and kids after school were left to explore their surrounds free from tightly scheduled afternoon activities. No Kumon lessons to create a maths genius or speech lessons to perfect our voice patterns. No ballet followed by music followed by enforced reading, before a rushed dinner and bed, only to be repeated the next day with a slightly different array of activities.

There was sport organised by schools and clubs, and then the play that kids made up on their own. No gender equity worries, let alone stereotypes. You could play with a Barbie, be a feisty young girl and grow up to be an empowered woman.

When we weren’t in school, a few of us local kids often headed to the local Sturt Gorge, a 244ha adult-free zone a good few kilometres from our home. We were nine and 10 years old; my younger brother, just seven, tagged along. We wandered and explored for hours, pretending to be lost in a big unknown world, with no mobile phones but with a bag of food and plenty of adventures in trees and mucky water. Sometimes we did get lost, but we always managed to be home by dinner, invariably dirty, dishevelled and tired, but also exhilarated by the responsibility and freedom of managing in a world away from parents and teachers.

We also set up stalls in our driveway selling a mix of watery orange cordial and old toys. Try that today. A few months ago a five-year old girl in east London set up a homemade lemonade stand. A half-hour later four council officials approached her father, read from a script about operating a stand without a permit and fined him £150 ($246). Her father, Andre Spicer, who was born in New Zealand and has lived in Australia, told one media outlet that he couldn’t imagine this kind of thing happening here. Except it did, in Bunbury, Western Australia, 18 months earlier when 11-year-old Chelsea-lee Downes wanted to earn some money over Christmas by selling “fresh organic” homemade lemonade, cupcakes and lemon meringue pies. Local councillors shut down her stall, too.

Today, child play is ruined by regulation. That deliciously thrilling and sometime scary dance manoeuvred by kids around responsibility and freedom is being undermined. If not by parents who overthink childhood for their children, then by a broader society that has taken a wholly disproportionate attitude to the normal risks we should expect to confront as children and indeed as adults. Bubble-wrapping kids from the freedom to fall and fail isn’t building resilient young adults if the rising rates of mental illness and childhood therapy are anything to go bycorrect.

Now we’re pushing kids around again, with Victorian social engineers adding their own layer of regulation to audit playgrounds for some lately imagined evil of gendered play. Not only are we imposing adult fixations about gender on kids, we’re regulating the wonder out of childhood. Before we rush headlong into this latest utopian future mapped out by social activists policing modern memes about gender equity, it pays to check whether pushing kids around in this way is moving them and us in the wrong direction.


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

24 August, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG says he is abandoning the leftmedia for The Rebel

Fascinating: A Far-Left journalist, Chris Graham, objecting to exaggeration

Most Leftist journalism would fail on that score.  Also amusing that he admits to being a narcissist, which seems a common and borderline-clinical condition among Leftists. 

His fallacy in this matter is to look at the absolute level of support for Pauline Hanson, rather than at its RATE of increase.  It's true that a 1 percent rise is not noteworthy in isolation  but a one percent rise over a period of only a week or so is a very big RATE of increase -- a rise of 12.5% in this case.  Any political party would rejoice at that.

It is of course true that the rate of increase noted is unlikely to be sustained but, in relative terms, the increase in support for Pauline -- whom I regularly vote for -- is clearly non-trivial. Chris on his high horse below:

I don’t have a favourite Biblical quote, because I don’t believe in God. But if I did have one, it would probably be this: “Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.”

It sounds like something Monty Python would have invented, but it is an actual passage from the Bible – Revelation 1:19.

And as with all things Bible, it can be interpreted in different ways. As a journalist, and a narcissist, I like to think it’s ‘God’ tipping her hat to my craft, which is mainly political reporting: Write what you see, what is, and what you think will come from it.

This morning, here’s the news that we all awoke to:

“Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party has surged in the polls after she wore a burqa in Parliament, as Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberal party slips further behind Labor.

“A Newspoll released by The Australian on Sunday revealed the One Nation party soared in popularity, increasing its primary vote from eight to nine per cent in the past two weeks.

“The results come after Ms Hanson wore a burqa onto the floor of the Senate on Thursday ahead of a debate on full-face covering in Australia.”

Only two of those statements are true… the second and third ones. The first – that Hanson has ‘surged’ in the polls – is obviously complete rubbish, and you don’t have to be an expert in polls to know that. You just need to be able to count to 10.

Actually, just to one

Before I explain why, briefly, Hanson’s stunt was designed to appeal to her base. It obviously worked, because her base like seeing her do stupid shit. Indeed, all she was really doing was, ‘exercising her right to be a bigot’. Which makes Attorney General George Brandis’ reaction all the more hollow. But in any event, the key point is, ‘how big is Hanson’s base’?

Obviously, a rise from 8 to 9 per cent – i.e. a one point rise – does not equal a “surge”. That’s basically akin to claiming that a one-point victory in a five-day cricket test match was a “thrashing”.


Just 81 residents called for Australia Day changes

Melbourne’s City of Darebin faces accusations from the state government, several of its own councillors and a local Wurundjeri elder that it didn’t properly consult the community before it made radical changes to its Australia Day celebrations.

It emerged yesterday that the council’s community consultation was based on 81 responses to a survey issued to about 200 people.

The Turnbull government yesterday stripped the north Melbourne council of its power to hold citizenship ceremonies after it voted to move its Australia Day celebrations and awards ceremony from January 26 to an ­alternative date.

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke announced the move a week after the government revoked the same powers from the neighbouring City of Yarra.

“The Greens political party will not be allowed to hijack Australia Day through a small group of Greens-controlled local councils. The overwhelming majority of Australians support Australia Day remaining on January 26,” Mr Hawke said yesterday.

The actions endorsed by the Darebin council included rebranding the Australia Day awards to the Darebin Community Awards, which will be held as a community celebration on a date other than January 26.

Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Minister Natalie Hutchins slammed the council over the move, arguing that it hadn’t consulted widely enough with residents. “Councils need to take community consultation in line with the importance of the decisions they are making such as ­deciding on how to celebrate Australia Day,” she said yesterday.

“It’s disappointing to hear that the residents of Darebin feel as though they haven’t been ­adequately consulted on this decision and that’s why we’re reviewing consultation policies in the Local Government Act.”

But Mayor Kim Le Cerf maintained yesterday the council had consulted with the community ­before it voted on the changes, which were put to council in an ­urgent motion on Monday night.

A report delivered to council before the meeting cited an “overwhelming majority” of people were in favour of change, however the research was based on a survey of 81 people from 27 council advisory groups and the local Aboriginal Advisory Committee.

The City of Darebin is home to 146,719 residents, according to the 2016 census, with an indigenous population of 1162 or 0.8 per cent.

A number of submissions from the public were received but ruled to be “out of scope” with the engagement plan and therefore not considered before the vote.

Ms Le Cerf backed the council processes yesterday, saying the issue was “too important to be subject to an opinion poll or consultation and we need to show leadership on behalf of our ­community”.

However, Darebin councillors Lina Messina and Julie Williams voted against the resolution on Monday night and slammed the council’s decision-making process.

“Did we follow the proper channels to initiate change? I believe we have not. It does not fall under the umbrella of council ­decision-making,” Ms Messina said yesterday.

Wurundjeri elder Ian Hunter, listed on the Darebin council’s website as an indigenous elder for the community, said yesterday he was not consulted over the move.

“Who did they consult? We are all Australians. We put our differences aside and go forward as one,” he told the Herald Sun.

“I’m celebrating because I’m still here. What would have happened if the Japanese had come here (during WWII)? ... Would we still be celebrating Australia Day?”

Lismore City Council in NSW passed a motion from a Greens councillor this month that it would write to the Prime Minister, MPs and relevant ministers urging them to change the date and work towards “culturally inclusive” Aus­tralia Day celebrations. In nearby Byron Shire Council, Greens mayor Simon Richardson has declared January 26 has “no relationship to being Australian”.


'It's part of history': Aboriginal elder slams left-wing Melbourne councils for scrapping Australia Day on January 26 - and says the move will 'pull everyone apart again'

An Aboriginal elder has hit out at Melbourne councils for scrapping their Australia Day celebrations on January 26 and says the move will 'pull everyone apart again'.

Gordon Workman, a leader in the indigenous community of Blacktown in Sydney's west, slammed the controversial decision and said it would further 'create a divide'.

Mr Workman's critique comes as the City of Darebin is stripped of its power to hold citizenship ceremonies by Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke.

Last week the Greens-dominated Yarra City Council voted to stop referring to January 26 as Australia Day, prompting widespread backlash and condemnation.

Neighbouring left-leaning Darebin Council followed the suit this week, risking being stripped of its power to host citizenship ceremonies by the federal government.

But Mr Workman said the decision to change the date to be more 'culturally sensitive' would do more harm than good with indigenous Australians in the area.

'As far as I'm concerned it's not going to change the day whatsoever, it's part of history,' Mr Workman told the Blacktown Advocate.

'This will create a divide; it's a further nail in the coffin. Instead of bringing everybody together it's just pulling everybody apart again.'

Darebin mayor Kim Le Cerf said the list of councils could grow longer and on Tuesday confirmed there had been discussions with Moreland council in Melbourne's north, Fremantle council in Perth and Hobart City Council.

She said January 26 was inappropriate for a national day of celebration because it marked the anniversary of the British 'invasion' of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands.

Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews said it was a shame.

January 26 celebrations are 'quintessentially Australian' and done in a respectful way that acknowledges the contribution and heritage of the country's first people.

'I think it's a great shame that others are not prepared to do the hard work to get that balance right,' Mr Andrews said.

Ms Le Cerf said the premier's approach was a backwards step.

'The Victorian government has said they're committed to treaty and to true reconciliation with our people and I don't think that's in the spirit of that commitment.'

After Yarra City Council voted for change the federal government stripped its powers to host citizenship ceremonies.

Yarra mayor Amanda Stone said there had been an 'overwhelming majority' of people in the area who backed its decision move.

'That tells us the country is actually ready for this discussion about what's the most appropriate date for a national day,' Ms Stone said.

Darebin plans to replace Australia Day events on January 26 with other community celebrations to be held on another day.

It will include awards recognising community service and the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents.

Residents living in Yarra and Darebin will still be able to celebrate Australia Day on January 26, Victoria's local government minister Natalie Hutchins told parliament.

'There will not be any council officers peering over the fence as they have a barbecue,' she said, adding that wide consultation needs to be undertaken ahead of councils making such important changes.

In a statement, Hawke said the Turnbull Government 'remains resolute in its commitment to safeguard the integrity of citizenship ceremonies in Australia'.

'The Melbourne local authority will be stripped of its power to hold any citizenship ceremonies following its political resolution which cancelled Australia Day citizenship formalities.

'The Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke today issued a new instrument under the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 which removes the ability of office holders at the City of Yarra Council to receive a pledge of commitment at a citizenship ceremony.

'The Government had already issued a warning to Yarra Council that such an action would be viewed by the Government as a significant breach of the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code ('the Code').

'The Commonwealth now will ensure prospective citizens with the City of Yarra are allocated to citizenship ceremonies held by neighbouring councils while the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will hold ceremonies within the City of Yarra as demand requires, including on Australia Day next year.

'Mr Hawke said today the Turnbull Government would not tolerate Yarra Council's use of citizenship ceremonies as a political device in a campaign against Australia Day being celebrated on January 26.

'We are committed to ensuring that citizenship is treated in the 'non-commercial, apolitical, bipartisan and secular manner' which the Code mandates,' Mr Hawke said.

'The instrument I have signed today means there will be no more citizenship ceremonies conducted by the City of Yarra on behalf of the Government.

'Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today expressed his deep disappointment at the Yarra Council decision.

'On Australia Day, we celebrate what's great about our wonderful nation. An attack on Australia Day is a repudiation of the values the day celebrates: freedom, a fair go, mateship and diversity,' he said.

'Yarra council is using a day that should unite Australians to divide Australians.

'I recognise Australia Day and its history is complex for many indigenous Australians, but the overwhelming majority of Australians believe the 26th of January is the day and should remain our national day,' Mr Turnbull said.

'Mr Hawke has also written today to Minister for Local Government and Territories Senator Fiona Nash, asking that the she examine the proportion of Commonwealth Government funding provided to Yarra Council for the purpose of conducting citizenship ceremonies, with a view to that funding being reconsidered following today's revocation decision.

'It is regrettable that Yarra Council has proceeded with this course of action. I note that other Councils, including Fremantle and Hobart made the sensible decision to comply with the Code rather than risk losing their ability to conduct citizenship ceremonies,' he said.

'I am surprised and disappointed that the City of Yarra has chosen to pursue this divisive approach.

'I would again like to thank the overwhelming number of local councils Australia wide which comply with the Code and conduct citizenship ceremonies that are non-commercial, apolitical, bipartisan and secular,' Mr Hawke said.'


Senate slams ABC cut to shortwave radio

I used to listen to Radio Australia as a kid so I am delighted that someone is taking up this issue.  It was always great publicity for Australia

The ABC has been slammed by all sides of politics over its "foolish" decision to cut the transmission of shortwave radio to remote Australia and the Pacific Islands.

The Senate debated a private bill on Thursday by crossbench senator Nick Xenophon to force the ABC to restore transmission after it was cut earlier this year.

"It seems a terrible decision that's been made by the ABC board," Senator Xenophon told parliament, accusing the public broadcaster of ignoring the bush and Australia's neighbours.

The ABC insists listeners can still tune in via FM and AM frequencies, the viewer access satellite television (VAST) service and online.

But senators say the ABC fails to understand those alternative methods are not available to everyone in the bush and the information people are missing out on can be life threatening, such as weather warnings.

Senator Xenophon said the ABC had miscalculated how many people relied on the service.

"There are some question marks over the methodology used by the ABC in relation to this."

The South Australian senator warned Australia was "foolish" to retreat from the Pacific region by cutting shortwave radio just as other countries like China were expanding shortwave services in the region.

"That footprint is a form of soft diplomacy that is very effective, it wins hearts and minds in the region," he said.

Truck drivers in the outback, remote indigenous communities and those in the Pacific no longer had access to Radio Australia.

"But they'll be able to get Radio China - that is wrong," Senator Xenophon said.

Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie lashed out at the ABC's "short-sighted" decision, insisting it had not provided credible evidence as to why the decision was made.

"The ABC has effectively abandoned huge areas of the Northern Territory."

Labor senator for the Northern Territory Malarndirri McCarthy pleaded with the ABC to reverse its "mistake", insisting it had left Australians in remote communities completely isolated and suffering.

"It is absolutely dire."


Let Cook and Macquarie stand: Grant and Taylor are wrong

KEITH WINDSCHUTTLE gives us the history that Leftists can't be bothered to check.  It's much more honourable than they assume

On Monday, Andrew Taylor of The Sydney Morning Herald approached the University of Sydney’s public relations department on an information fishing expedition. He said he’d been thinking about the removal of Confederate monuments in the US and wondered if there were any Australian targets that might deserve the same treatment. He asked the PR people to pass on to the univer­sity’s experts in Australian history the following questions:

 *  Who are the most egregious historical figures in Sydney who have been celebrated with statues, monuments, place names in your opinion?

 *  There are statues, streets, a university and place names dedicated to Governor (Lachlan) Macquarie, who ordered massacres of indigenous people. Should he be commemorated in this way?

 *  Are there monuments to historical figures elsewhere in Australia who have had a similar role in historical injustices?

 *  The inscription on Governor Macquarie’s statue in Hyde Park reads: “He was a perfect gentleman, a Christian and supreme legislator of the human heart.” What do you think of this?

 *  Plaques of Rolf Harris have been removed in WA. Should monuments to Macquarie, Captain Cook, etc be removed or explanatory notes added?

 *  Why isn’t there the same acknowledgment of figures in Australian history who played a role in slavery, killings and land removal as there is in the US?

Taylor’s leading questions were clearly more those of an agent provocateur than that of the “Independent, Always” reporter the Herald proclaims on its masthead. He obviously was hoping to provide fodder for the emergence of a local activist campaign to emulate that in Charlottesville, Virginia, where, amid scenes of street violence that left one woman dead, officials removed the statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, and in Baltimore, Maryland, where, on one night earlier this month, city authorities removed four Confederate statues commemorating the US civil war.

The Australian campaign for the eradication of politically incorrect statues and similar historic symbolism began on the ABC last Friday with a column from Stan Grant, these days the broadcaster’s indigenous affairs editor.

Grant compared the local acceptance of statues of James Cook with what was going on in the US: “Statues are coming down, old flags of division are being put away and the country is tearing itself apart. Fascists, neo-Nazis and klansmen who wrap themselves in the flag of the Confederacy are reigniting the old grievances of the civil war.”

Grant criticised Donald Trump’s attempt to blame both sides and quoted an editorial in The New York Times saying: “There’s a moral awakening taking place across America, but President Trump is still hiding under his blanket.”

But, Grant says, while America cannot avoid the legacy of racism, we in Australia find it all too easy to dodge: “we vanish into the Great Australian Silence”. Anth­ropologist Bill Stanner coined that phrase in the 1960s to describe what he said was “a cult of forgetting practised on a national scale”, but Grant says: “We have chosen to ignore our heritage. So much history here remains untold.”

Grant went to Sydney’s Hyde Park last week and gazed at Cook’s statue. “It has pride of place, a monument to the man who in 1770 claimed this continent for the British crown,” Grant writes. On the base of the statue is inscribed in bold letters the words “Discovered this Territory, 1770”. Grant asked his readers to think about those words, then advised them how to interpret them:

“My ancestors were here when Cook dropped anchor. We know now that the first peoples of this continent had been here for at least 65,000 years, for us the beginning of human time. Yet this statue speaks to emptiness, it speaks to our invisibility; it says that nothing truly mattered, nothing truly counted until a white sailor first walked on these shores.”

However, Grant’s disgust at the inscription on Cook’s statue is completely misplaced. In saying Cook was the one who “discovered this territory” it is perfectly accurate, if we take the word “territory” to mean the eastern coast of the Australian continent. Cook was in fact the first person in history to traverse the whole of this coastline and view its 2000 miles (3200km) of shores and hinterland. No Aboriginal person had done that before — they never had the maritime technology to do it.

On the other hand, if the Hyde Park inscription had said Cook discovered Botany Bay, Port Jackson, Moreton Bay or any other small local area on the coastline inhabited by the Aboriginal people Cook met, it would have been inaccurate and probably worth correcting. The local Aborigines clearly knew their own areas better than any foreign seaman. But in their lifetimes they remained confined to these areas and, although their predecessors had gradually spread themselves across the continent over thousands of years, none of them gained the view of it that Cook had in his four-month journey from Port Hicks to Cape York in 1770. He was the genuine discoverer of the whole entity.

In his moral objection to Cook’s great accomplishment, Grant also creates a straw man to knock down. He claims that no one present when the statue was erected in 1879 questioned that this was “the man who founded the nation”. Well, the statue doesn’t say Cook was the founder of the nation and I doubt any reputable historian would say so either.

At most he might be regarded as one of the founders of the first British colony in New South Wales, but this decision was taken by other Englishmen a decade after his discoveries. In any case, the nation was not actually founded until Federation in 1901, a political event that can hardly be attributed to Cook.

Grant’s column throws up other straw men that also betray his inability to talk sensibly about Australian history.

He writes: “When I drive through the Blue Mountains west of Sydney to return to the country of my ancestors, the Wiradjuri, I cross the Coxs River named after William Cox the pioneer and road builder — the same William Cox called for the massacre of Aboriginal people.”

Grant quotes Fairfax journalist and author Bruce Elder, whose book Blood on the Wattle claims Cox once addressed a crowd at Bathurst in 1824, saying: “The best thing that could be done is to shoot all the blacks and manure the ground with their carcasses.”

Unfortunately for Grant, Elder’s book is notoriously unreliable. It was not William Cox who allegedly made this statement but Mudgee pastoralist George Cox, and it is most unlikely that even he said this. The sole source for the quoted statement was not a report from anyone who attended the meeting in question (held in Sydney, not Bathurst). It comes from a letter to the London Missionary Society written by Reverend Lancelot Threlkeld four months after the meeting.

Threlkeld, a former circus performer turned missionary, had long been generating funds for his mission at Lake Macquarie by reporting to England fancifully gruesome stories about the treatment of Aborigines in the colony, such as “the ripping open of bellies of the Blacks alive; the roasting them in that state in triangularly made log fires, made for the very purpose”. No one should take his claims seriously.

Taylor’s questions to the University of Sydney about Macquarie being a figure of Australian history who played a role in slavery and killings similar to those in the US displays a grasp of Australian history no better than Grant’s.

In fact, rather than being guilty of slavery, Macquarie joined Arthur Phillip in guaranteeing that institution never had any role in the Australian colonies. Macquarie was strongly influenced by both of his religiously devout wives, who supported the abolitionist movement for the end of the slave trade.

His first wife, Jane, was the daughter of the chief justice of Antigua in the West Indies and she owned a small number of slaves there. Jane died of consumption in 1796 and in her will she set her slaves free. Her husband followed her example and emancipated two slaves he had purchased in 1794 when employed in the Indian army, enrolling them in a parish school in Bombay to learn to read and write.

Macquarie returned to England in 1807, the year of the abolitionists’ victory, and caught the enthusiasm for their cause. That year he married his second wife, Elizabeth, and came under the influence of her religious outlook, especially her belief that all human creatures were equal in the eyes of God. These views changed the course of Australian colonial history. Determined to avoid any comparison between convict transportation and slavery, Macquarie radically reformed the punitive regime for convicts, turning it into a program for their regeneration — now widely recognised as one of the few successful rehabilitation programs for prisoners in human history.

The English leader of the emancipist cause, William Wilberforce, had a strong influence on Macquarie. He named a new settlement on the Hawkesbury after his mentor and launched a Wilberforce-inspired evangelical religious revival to reform community morals, especially sexual licence, crime, drunkenness and family neglect. He used the evangelical movement to promote churchgoing, marriage, education and social mobility among the colony’s lower orders.

Macquarie translated Wilberforce’s agenda into policy towards the Aborigines.

He established a Native Institution for Aboriginal children five years before an industrial school for white children; he settled Aboriginal adults on a farm at Georges Head and gave them seed and tools; he built huts for others at Elizabeth Bay and gave them a boat, fishing tackle, salt and casks; in 1814 he inaugurated an annual gathering and feast for all the Aborigines of the Sydney region.

Left-wing historians today record with some satisfaction that all of Macquarie’s Aboriginal policies eventually failed. This is only partly true.

While the Native Institution could not attract enough children to sustain its existence, the farm at Georges Head on Sydney Harbour remained in Aboriginal hands and provided several generations with a living for almost a century. Even though the others were not successful, they still demonstrated Macquarie’s intention towards the Aborigines. He regarded them as his equals and thought that with only a little assistance they could make the transition from hunting and gathering to agricultural society.

The great blemish on Macquarie’s Aboriginal policy in today’s eyes was his military response after Aborigines killed nine settlers in the Upper Nepean River district, between Mulgoa and Appin, in 1816.

Macquarie sent three military detachments to the region to track down and bring in some of the known killers. One military party, commanded by Captain James Wallis, found some of the wanted men of the Gundungurra people on the Cataract River. In the ensuing pursuit, the troops shot and killed 14 of the fleeing Aborigines, including two of the killers.

Now known as the Appin Massacre, the incident was the last major hostility in the Sydney region.

In November that year, Macquarie declared a general amnesty for any other Aborigines wanted for assaults on settlers.

In December he hosted a “general friendly meeting of the natives” at Parramatta that celebrated the end of revenge killings by both sides and the “coming in” of the last hostile tribe to settler society.

None of this Australian history deserves any comparison to relations between indigenous people and white colonists in North America, let alone to the griev­ances of the descendants of African-American slaves.

Grant’s attempt to drag the legacy of the American civil war into Australian history does not fit in any way, and his attempt to promote a political campaign against the public statues of some of the great men of Australian history, especially Cook and Macquarie, is sheer journalistic opportunism.

Grant and others in the media are encouraging racial conflict for no good reason, except for the dramatic news reports they would like to see generated.

They should be ashamed of themselves for their wanton provocation.


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, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is very skeptical about what Victoria's "Safe Schools" programme will achieve

Arrogant Leftist elitists cancelling Australia day

If you disagree with the very superior hater above, you are "uneducated"

Sunrise host Sam Armytage has gone head-to-head with a Melbourne suburban mayor who said those who oppose her council's decision to ditch Australia Day celebrations were 'uneducated'.

The City of Darebin council, which governs several of Melbourne's northern suburbs including Northcote, Preston and Reservoir, came to the controversial decision with a 6-2 vote in favour of the change, following a heated debate among councillors this week.

Armytage confronted Mayor Kim Le Cerf in a heated interview on Tuesday morning, when she persistently pressed the community leader about the tiny survey the council based it's decision on, and her claim that if 'more Australians were educated, they would be ashamed of Australia Day'.

'Why have you decided not to recognise Australia Day? There are 148,000 people that living in your shire, 81 people were surveyed about Australia day. That's 81 people of the 140,000 – why have you decided not to recognise Australia Day?' Armytage asked.

Ms Le Cerf responded that 'there are many issues of social justice that are taken by government,' but said she doesn't believe 'opinion polls should decide what we vote on.'

Armytage continued to push Ms Le Cerf to answer the question, asking how the 81 people surveyed are a true reflection of a community with a much greater population.

'Aren't you elected to make a decision on behalf of the people of your shire?' Armytage said, cutting Ms Le Cerf off mid-sentence. 

'In the best interest of our community yes, and what we are hearing from our Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people is that January 26 marks the beginning of invasion and dispossession,' Ms Le Cerf said.

After a back and forth debate, Armytage confronted Ms Le Cerf about her comments on uneducated Australians.

'Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are quoted as saying that if "more Australians were educated, they would be ashamed of Australia Day." Do you stand by that? Do you stand by that now, on national television?' the Sunrise host asked.

Ms Le Cerf began to speak when she was cut off by Armytage, who asked her point blank if she stood by her comment. 'Yes, I do,' Ms Le Cerf said. 

The mayor said she did not celebrate Australia Day and that she reflects on the day with 'a heavy heart.'

When Armytage asked Ms Le Cerf if she would still partake in the public holiday and have a day off of work, the Darebin mayor refused to answer the question.

'Kim, with all due respect, it is a yes or no. I will be working on Australia Day, will you?' a frustrated Armytage pressed.

'I work every day for our community,' Ms Le Cerf answered, ending the tense interview.  

The Darebin City Council's decision comes one week after Yarra City Council's decision to no longer refer to January 26 as Australia Day. Yarra Council was promptly stripped of its citizenship powers by the government.

Darebin's planned shake-up will see a shift of date for the Australia Day citizenship ceremonies, which will now fall on January 25, ABC News reported.

Ms Le Cerf denied on the claim, but did not elaborate.

The Australia Day awards will be renamed the Darebin Community Awards and an Indigenous-themed event will be held instead of an annual citizenship ceremony on the day.

But the decision, alike Yarra's, has been faced with a wave of residents protesting the move.

'Australia Day is January 26 and it should remain that day. They're doing it without proper consultation and they're just making decisions for us,' resident David Schulz said.

Councillor Trent McArthy argued the changes were needed and disagreed suggestions there was not enough discussion on the matter.

'We are at risk of losing our citizenship ceremonies but we need to make this change to respect our Indigenous people,' he said.

In a statement released onto the council website moments after the Yarra City vote last Tuesday, Yarra City mayor Amanda Stone said the decision was about being 'culturally sensitive'.

'The overwhelming sentiment from our Aboriginal community is that January 26 is a date of sadness, trauma and distress,' Cr Stone said.

But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told parliament the following day the decision was 'utterly out of step with Australian values'.

'Yarra council is using a day that should unite Australians to divide Australians,' Mr Turnbull said on Wednesday.

Darebin council fast-tracked their vote after declaring a prompt decision was required.

'[The decision] is in response to an emerging public debate regarding Australia Day and which Darebin councillors have been actively engaged in', they said in a statement.

The move is now thought to provoke other surrounding councils into similar decisions, with Hepburn Shire Council at Daylesford rumoured to be eager for the switch.


The silly old buggers are voting in droves

Cast your mind back to 1989 and the golden age of political incorrectness when a prime minister could call a pensioner a silly old bugger without being lectured by finger-waggers.

Bob Hawke’s encounter with a curmudgeonly 74-year-old hardly dented his election campaign. It was a sign that Hawke was human, a quality voters seem to like in a prime minister, funnily enough.

Today it would be declared a blunder and subjected to forensic analysis by po-faced writers for Guardian Australia, who would agree with the ABC’s Fran Kelly, as they usually do, that it was a gaffe from which Hawke might never recover.

Seldom, if ever, has age been such an important determinant of political attitudes in Western democracies. Millennials — who for convenience we will think of a voters aged 18 to 34 — behave very differently from the older generations in ways that political science has yet to explain. They are motivated by causes rather than a broad platform of public policy; they are less likely to vote the same way as their parents; identity politics tends to override party politics.

In crude political terms, however, they are leaning further to the left. Had the millennials prevailed in Britain, for example, Jeremy Corbyn would have won by a landslide and the country’s place in Europe would have been assured with a comfortable vote to remain.

The same picture, albeit more ragged at the edges, is emerging in Australia.

Labor holds 42 of the 50 electorates with the highest proportion of millennial voters. The Liberals and the Liberal National Party hold seven while the Greens hold Melbourne, the most youthful seat in the country.

The Coalition, on the other hand, represents 35 of the 50 seats with the highest proportion of voters over 54. Two are held by independents, one by Nick Xeno­phon’s party and 12 by Labor.

Coalition strategists may care to ponder why they lost six of those seats at the election last year and whether it may be evidence of waning support among older voters, who were supposed to be rusted on.

At first glance it may seem that the future belongs to Labor’s bright young things while the Coalition tries to rustle up support in God’s waiting room.

Yet medical science and an ageing population are doing curious things to electoral demographics. The average age of those eligible to vote in the 1975 election was a little over 42. Now the average voter is over 47 and rising.

Australians turning 60 in 1975 could expect to vote in five more elections. Today they can anticipate seven or eight.

In 1975, when Whitlam lost power, 40 per cent of eligible voters were under 35. The over-55s commanded just 25 per cent of the vote. Now the tables have been turned. For the first time, the over-55s were the largest cohort in last year’s election, commanding more than 35 per cent of the vote. The millennials’ share was a little more than 30 per cent.

This curious inversion in the age profile will ensure that the ­oldies have the numbers for a couple of decades at least. Beware the wrath of the silly old buggers.


Pauline Hanson's One Nation party surges in the polls after she wore a burqa in Parliament

Pauline Hanson's One Nation party has surged in the polls after she wore a burqa in Parliament, as Malcolm Turnbull's Liberal party slips further behind Labor.

A Newspoll released by The Australian on Sunday revealed the One Nation party soared in popularity, increasing its primary vote from eight to nine per cent in the past two weeks.

The results come after Ms Hanson wore a burqa onto the floor of the Senate on Thursday ahead of a debate on full-face covering in Australia.

The stunt appeared to have no impact on her popularity, despite it being condemned by fellow senators and critics across the nation.

In the Newspoll survey of 1675 respondents, conducted from Thursday to Sunday, Labor also appeared to have gained more ground on the Coalition.

Labor was ahead of the Coalition 54 to 46 per cent on a two party preferred system.

The results follow a tumultuous two weeks for the Coalition, with the postal plebiscite on same-sex marriage causing tension and in-fighting for the party.

The party was also at the centre of dual-citizenship chaos – with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce revealing he was a British citizen.

With the Labor party's primary vote soaring to 38, Mr Turnbull remained a more popular leader than Mr Shorten.

Mr Turnbull was the favourite with 43 per cent of voters, while Mr Shorten sat at 33 per cent. 


Same-sex marriage: some yes folk are lining up behind the no case

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Brexit, with “noes” in every home …

Or maybe the same-sex marriage campaign is starting to feel a lot like the republic? You’ll remember that campaign: the yes team was headed by a rather more energetic Malcolm Turnbull. They had all the money, all the hepcat supporters, and history on their side. Also, cool T-shirts.

And they went down in a screaming heap, losing a majority of votes in a majority of states and a majority overall.

The campaign for same-sex marriage has the same feel. Everyone you know thinks it is going to go through. In certain circles — media, public relations, advertising, entertainment — no one knows anyone who is voting no.

Yet we know that some people are voting no because the anonymous opinion polls tell us so, which in turn suggests that it has become risky to speak freely against same-sex marriage, and we all know where that road leads. Hell, it has become risky to speak out in favour of same-sex marriage, lest you do it the wrong way.

Let’s take a look at what happened to Mia Freedman. She has more than a million followers on social media and for years has been a staunch supporter of same-sex marriage, which is why the Australian Marriage Equality people went to ask if she would campaign for them on behalf of the white, straight, married brigade. They wanted Mia to say: We’re with you. We, the married, want you to be able to get married, too.

Freedman couldn’t have been more enthusiastic, posting a beaming photograph of herself and her wedding ring on Twitter, saying words to the effect: “Let’s do this.”

And she got completely shredded. Totally smashed. Why? Because she was, get this, flaunting her privilege. Showing off her ring when other people can’t have one. Lust-for-blood commentators wrote her up in an ugly way, holding her feet to the fire for being “tone deaf”.

Freedman told The Australian she was shaken by “the vicious trolling I received” and now believes “there are many, many, many people in the community and people in the public eye who have the ability to influence people to vote yes who saw what happened to me, who are now terrified to say anything lest they be similarly attacked for doing it ‘wrong’.”

She’s still going to campaign for same-sex marriage, obviously. She believes in it with her whole heart. But as journalist and Sky News presenter Caroline Marcus pointed out in The Daily Telegraph this week, plenty of people who may feel some sympathy for the cause are wavering because of bullying.

Marcus describes herself in the column as “someone who is ready to tear up the dance floor at the weddings of my gay friends”. But, she says, the moral unctuousness of the yes activists is “almost certain to push many like me into the negative column”.

Smash, bang, wallop.

A war of words immediately broke out. Some say Marcus started it since she had cited the ABC’s Lateline host Emma Alberici as “one of the worst” offenders because Alberici had started one of her questions to Finance Minister Mathias Cormann with an anecdote about a gay 15-year-old who got thrown out of home when he tried to tell his parents.

For what it’s worth, I thought Alberici’s question was great: passionate and unexpected, which is what we need in these days of heavily scripted answers and well-rehearsed sound bites. Yet the incident set off a tremendous spat between Marcus and Alberici, with supporters on both sides giving us a bitter taste of what’s to come.

Unless, of course, the no side gets totally censored. That is certainly in danger of happening over at Guardian Australia. Editor Lenore Taylor says she will “not be giving equal time or attention” to any “spurious arguments” against gay marriage.

And who decides whether an argument is spurious? Haughty Lenore, of course.

Taylor explained her position in a column, saying: “If there was a reasonable argument to say ‘no’, we’d certainly discuss it. I just haven’t heard it yet.” She went on to list the arguments she doesn’t like, including “that it’s about political correctness”.

But support for same-sex marriage is politically correct. If you don’t believe that, try speaking out against it and see how you go.

Taylor’s position was all very high and mighty — and that is, of course, the problem: people hate high and mighty. They also hate being told what to do and what to think, and how to vote.

They like to have the debate. They want to hear the arguments. They don’t like being told the result is inevitable. The republican debate was like that: nobody who was voting yes knew anyone who was voting no except constitutional monarchist David Flint, who — like, say, Tony Abbott — wasn’t to be taken seriously because who was he anyway? Just some fuddy-duddy with a pocket square and cocked pinkie and a plummy accent.

The yes campaigners had all the cool supporters then, and they have all the cool supporters now: Qantas and H&M and the Ten Network and Virgin and even Ellen DeGeneres, who entered the debate this week by reflecting warmly on her nine-year-marriage to former Geelong girl Portia de Rossi, saying: “We are all equal.”

The other side — the no voters — have no glamour and no money. It seems like a race between a whiz-bang Tesla and your dad’s old Falcon 500, and if Australia doesn’t have a tradition of the underdog bringing it home, I don’t know who does.

Which brings us to the next thing people hate, the idea that anyone voting against the tide is evil.

Remember those blissful days before the postal survey was announced, when everyone was worried about was how ugly the no campaign was going to be? We’ve since been treated to the contribution of entertainer Tim Minchin, who entered the same-sex marriage debate with an expletive-ridden song in which he referred to the no-case people as “c..ts”.

There was huge support for Minchin on his own Facebook page, but also some disquiet, with one commentator saying: “Tim, you are not doing the ‘yes’ campaign any favours. You’re just alienating and angering people with this song of yours.” To which one of his supporters replied: “Go hump ya fist.” Charming.

But what was going on outside the echo chamber? When The Australian posted Minchin’s clip, it attracted an immediate response from readers, many of whom were deeply offended, with some saying: “Well, that’s it, I was on the fence, but I’m now voting no.”

It doesn’t pay to abuse people.

But surely it’s still going to be OK? Every poll says so!

Except that polls are often wrong, sometimes laughably so. In New York, they favoured Hillary Clinton to the point where The New York Times had the likelihood of a Clinton presidency on election day at a touch more than 90 per cent.

Good morning, President Trump.

If all that were not enough, there is yet another problem on the horizon: the yes vote for a republic was lost, in part, because supporters — not opponents — were split. Some republicans voted no instead of yes because they didn’t like the model.

The yes campaign for same-sex marriage is likewise split. Some gay people just don’t get why anyone would want to get married, what with marriage being an outdated, hugely sexist, patriarchal construct designed to control women, property and sexual behaviour.

That camp still may vote yes, but then you’ve also got those such as former High Court judge Michael Kirby who are flat-out opposed to the postal survey and are therefore sitting it out.

Then you’ve got Marriage Equality — the umbrella group for so many of the supporters — which for 18 months campaigned against a plebiscite. It is now completely pretzelled, running on one hand a campaign to encourage people to take part while also running a High Court challenge against the postal vote.

If that sounds like a mess, it is.

Last but not least, for many — maybe even most Australians — the same-sex marriage debate isn’t even very important. It’s niche. They just don’t care, or else they think the nation has bigger fish to fry, like getting the price of electricity down. Yet it’s the same-sex debate that is sucking up all the oxygen.

And where has all the noise got us? In writing to staff this week, the ABC’s editorial policy manager Mark Maley claimed that “approximately 40 per cent of Australians oppose changing the country’s marriage laws”. Forty per cent. That’s after 18 months of campaigning and nearly 40 years of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and it may well be enough to torpedo this thing.

As with the US election, much will depend on how many people turn up to vote, and from which side, which is why the ABC is encouraging its journalists not to get carried away.

This is not a done deal. It never is.


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, 2017

An intensifying grab for our children by the Left

When an opponent declares, "I will not come over to your side," I calmly say, "Your child belongs to us already...What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community." -- Adolf Hitler

Kevin Donnelly

Given the re-emergence of the Safe Schools program, a NSW prim­ary school putting on a Stolen Generations play where children dress as nuns and victimise Aboriginal children, and the Australian Education Union’s campaign to promote the LGBTI Wear it Purple Day, there’s no doubt that the cultural left now dominates our education system.

The overwhelming majority of parents send their children to school to learn the basics, to socialise with other students and to acquir­e the knowledge and skills to be good citizens and to be better prepared for further study or the workforce.

But the cultural left’s Australian Education Union and like-minded bureaucrats and academ­ics are using the education system and schools to radically reshape society by indoctrinating students with Marxist-inspired, politically correct ideologies.

The Safe Schools program indoctr­inates children with the belief­ that gender and sexuality are fluid and limitless, and Roz Ward — who helped design the program — argues, “it will only be through a revitalised class struggle and revolutionary change that we can hope for the liberation of LGBTI people”.

Like the Safe Schools program, those organising the Wear it Purple­ Day are committed to ­“ensuring diverse expressions of sex, sexuality and gender” and it should not surprise that the organisers actively support the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

This Friday has been designated Wear it Purple Day and the NSW Teachers Federation is telling schools they should link “the key ideas of Wear It Purple Day to broader lessons on diversity and difference, to foster safe and supportive­ environments. The event embraces and celebrates sexuality, sex and gender diversity”.

Further evidence of the Australian Education Union’s politically correct ideology is its response to the same-sex marriage postal survey­. The president of the AEU, Correna Haythorpe, argues: “The AEU is strongly opposed to the federal government’s approach, which is more about satisfying the bigotry of sections of the Liberal Party, rather than the interests or will of the community.”

Like so many of the cultural-left elites dominating the public and political debate, the AEU and Ms Haythorpe believe that anyone who disagrees is a bigot and that the people, instead of expressing their views and opinions as is their democratic right, must be silenced­.

And it’s been happening for years. In 1983 Joan Kirner, the one-time Victorian education minister and premier, argued at a Fabian Society conference that education “has to be part of the socialist struggle for equality, participat­ion and social change rather than an instrument of the capitalist system”.

The AEU’s 2003 policy on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people argues that: “Sexuality should be included in all curriculum relating to health and personal development. Homosex­ual­ity and bisexuality need to be normalised and materials need to be developed which will help to combat homophobia.”

As noted, the Australian Education Union has a long history of cultural-left political activism and promoting left-wing causes such as same-sex marriage, gender fluid­ity and a secular curriculum that undermines the value of Western culture by promoting diversit­y and difference — the new code for multiculturalism.

Since the late 70s and early 80s, the left-wing teacher union has ­argued that Australian society is riven with inequality and injustice and that the school curriculum must be used to promote its politic­ally correct views about global­ warming, the evils of capit­alism, that men are misogynist and sexist, and that there’s nothing beneficial about meritocracy and competition.

Such is the success of the AEU to take control of the school ­curriculum that a past president of the union argues that “we have succeeded in influencing curriculum development in schools, education departments and univer­sities. The conservatives have a lot to do to undo the progressive curriculum­”.

Examples of the cultural-left’s takeover of the curriculum include the fact that students are now taught that gender and sexuality are “social constructions” that promote “unequal power relationships” between boys and girls, and that those who believe in tradit­ional marriage are guilty of ­“hetero-normativity”.

While the AEU and like-minded academi­cs argue against schools teaching about Christianity, or having formal religious instruction­ classes, they are happy to pressure schools to worship the Gaia by including Al Gore’s DVDs in the curriculum.

There is an alternative to Marxist-inspired indoctrination, if polit­icians and education bureaucrats have the courage to act. Education should never be confused with indoctrination and the curriculum must be impartial and balanced.

The school curriculum should also teach students the importance of civility, humility and a commitment to being rational, honest and ethical in their behaviour and relationships with others.

Students must be taught the strengths and benefits of Western civilisation, as well as the flaws and weaknesses, and that to be fully and properly educated they need to be familiar with what the Victorian Blackburn report describes as “our best validated knowledge and artistic achievements”.


Preschools and libraries to be forced to vet all books and toys to ensure play spaces are 'gender equitable' and don't stereotype boys and girls

Darebin is run by Green Left fanatics who seem to disagree with just about all normal things

A guide book intended to quash gender stereotypes picked up by children in play areas has been produced by the Melbourne's Darebin City Council.

The Creating Gender Equity in the Early Years guide sets out to help children's services monitor gender equality across resources including books, toys and posters, The Australian reported.

The guide will encourage preschools, childcare centres and libraries to audit tools that may play a part in unbalanced gender roles following research violence against women is connected to gender inequality,  

'It is important to not only think about who is where and how often, but are they doing there?' the guide states.

'What are the storylines of their play telling you about what the children think are the normal roles for women and men?' 

Darebin Council's preventing violence against women officer Teneille Summers said research reflects the link between family violence and gender equality. 

'If girls are interested in playing with dolls, that's fine, as long as we're not preventing them from exploring other interests as well,' Ms Summers said.

She believes it is about creating opportunities for both sex in all areas of the play corners.

'I think early years educators are considering a lot of this ­already but they wouldn't necessarily think about it as preventing family violence. But that is what they are doing.'


Women only have to complete FOUR push-ups to pass Australian Army fitness test as part of effort to double the number of female troops

Reducing physical standards for our tropops has got to be disastrous.  Do we want a powder-puff army?

Women have to finish just four push-ups in order to pass the Australian Army fitness test, as part of an effort to double the number of female troops. The initial test consists of just four push-ups and 20 sit-ups, The Daily Telegraph reported.

If women pass the test they are sent off on a seven-week pre-conditioning course, where they prepare for the formal Army recruit course and more rigorous tests.

After the seven weeks of training they need to complete eight push-ups and 45 sit-ups in order to start proper training.

The fitness tests were created with increased female membership in mind, after it was revealed the Australian Army wanted to double its female intake.

As part of the push for more female recruits, women needed to promise two years while men needed to give at least six years' service once they signed up in the infantry or artillery.

Male army recruits were reportedly upset the expectations for men and women varied so greatly.

Less than one in eight women who try out for a combat position in the military successfully makes it, the publication reported.

When former combat engineer Rod McGarvie studied the percentage of females in defense forces across the world, he found almost none had more than 15 per cent. 'Once you try and artificially push beyond that level you start to negatively impact on your resources,' he told the publication.


ABC online ignores Muslim lawyer Haset Sali’s burka ban support

The story about a well-known Muslim’s support of senator Pauline Hanson’s plans for a burka ban was so counterintuitive to make it a hit on social media.

But more than 2000 shares on Facebook was not enough to see the story picked up by the ABC’s online news site.

On Friday, Haset Sali, a Muslim lawyer and businessman, was interviewed on ABC Sunshine Coast local radio in Queensland.

Mr Sali, described by ABC Sunshine Coast as a “prominent Australian Muslim”, told presenter Jon Coghill in an interview that he supported Senator Hanson’s push to ban the burka.

A former president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils and one of its founders, Mr Sali told the ABC that the Koran did not require women to cover their faces.

“I don’t often applaud Pauline Hanson — whether it’s a stunt or an initiative to highlight something that’s unnecessary baggage that has been dumped in with Islam — (but) it’s about time the myth of the burka being Islamic dress was blown out of the water,” he told the ABC.

“The sooner Muslim women get rid of this hideous garb the better.”

But that, as far as the ABC was concerned, was that. Although the corporation published online reaction to Senator Hanson’s speech from Muslim leaders and community members, it didn’t publish Mr Sali’s comments.

A Facebook post by ABC Radio Sunshine Coast about the interview went viral, however, with 1400 likes, 245 comments and 2000 shares, including a share to the Facebook page of Attorney-General George Brandis, who gave a strong speech in the Senate attacking Senator Hanson’s decision to wear a burka in the chamber.

Mr Sali said the ABC told him that the story did very well, but “didn’t make it online”. “Apparently it was not accepted for online publication,” he said. “I am not going to speculate as to why it didn’t go online as I wasn’t there when the decision was made.

“Nothing surprises me. Unfortunately there is an element of people in the media who don’t want to hear the good news about Islam. They just want to bury it.”

Mr Sali has appeared on ABC Sunshine Coast several times, including when he was board chairman of fruit company SPC, as well as his project to rewrite the Koran. And he is no stranger to the wider ABC: appearing on Radio National Breakfast, 7.30, The World Today and Lateline.

Last week, ABC chairman Justin Milne defended the organisation after an attack by Senator Hanson’s One Nation party that demanded the words “fair and balanced” be included in the ABC charter. Mr Milne responded that more than 85 per cent of Australians trusted the ABC above all other media businesses.

Presenter Coghill joined the ABC after a 20-year-career as a drummer with the rock group Powderfinger. He gained a degree in international relations and politics and served an internship under the guidance of news journalists Bruce Atkinson and Jo Skinner. The Australian was unable to contact him.


Antisemitic ABC shares map of the Middle East but fails to label Israel - as Jewish leader accuses broadcaster of doing 'the dirty work for Islamists'

No mystery that socialists once again dislike Jews.  Karl Marx didn't like Jews, even though he was one.  See his "Zur Judenfrage" essay

ABC News Australia have been called out for running a story with a map of the Middle East which didn't include Israel.

The image of the map aired on Thursday night and labeled all surrounding countries but excluded Israel.

Australian Jewish leader Avi Yemini spotted the oversight and believes the inconsideration was not accidental.

Mr Yemini believes the exclusion was to 'appeal to the Jew-hating crowd,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

In a post on Facebook the Israeli activist uploaded a photo of the map as it appeared on television screens.

'Last night ABC wiped Israel off their map. They're literally doing the Islamists dirty work for them,' he wrote to his near 80,000 followers.

In just over 24 hours the post gathered more than 800 reactions and was commented on by almost 100 people.

Mr Yemini told Daily Mail there is no place in Australian society 'to question or deny Israel's right to exist.'

The pro-Israel figure believes it was a deliberate act to suit the ABC's current viewers and a ploy to attract more.

'The time has come for the ABC to stop its constant attacks on one of our closest allies and the only real democracy in the Middle East, Israel.

'This is yet another great example of why we should defund the ABC immediately,' 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

21 August, 2017

Views which were normal up to a few decades ago are now "sickening"?

A leaflet pointing out a few truths about homosexuality is just beyond the pale, apparently.  I am guessing that there are still a lot of people who would agree with it

An anti-same-sex marriage letter dropped across a Sydney suburb has offended equality advocates.

Human rights campaigner Sally Rugg posted an image of the pamphlet to Twitter. 'Some of the marriage equality "respectful debate" in the letterboxes of Hurstville this morning,' she captioned the photo. 

The A4 leaflet, riddled with grammar errors, is written on one side in Chinese and on the other in English and urges Australians to vote 'NO' to same-sex marriage legislation.

'Homosexuality is a curse of death in terminating the family line and without decedents,' the flyer states.

'The sexual behaviour of a*** sex among some homosexuals is one of the main source of HIV/AIDS transmission.

'Homosexuality is a tragedy of a family, a grave to the family bloodline, a curse of family sonlessness!'

The letter goes on to explain the passing of the law would be a potential safety risk for women, outlining a number of convoluted ideas, including that should the law be passed there would be 'no separate public toilets' for men and women.

Many Twitter users were quick to slam the post with one person citing: 'What vile drongos'.

Another said the group had been door knocking.

One person said: 'If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say they're straight men that only take issue with gay men because lesbian porn is hot.'

A woman under the name 'Sweet lil old lady' wrote: 'I can't believe this garbage. Admittedly I only got as far as the 'no segregated public toilets' before I started frothing at the mouth.' Others said they felt sick. 

The postal plebiscite has been confirmed after the Senate rejected the same-sex marriage vote for a second time.

The Australian public will be able to formally voice their support for the issue later this year through the postal vote. It is non-compulsory and non-binding, and is expected to cost up to $122 million.  


Now they want to ban Australia Day in pre-schools

Push to stop celebrations of national day in child care centres in case it offends Aboriginal people

Activist educators are pushing in support daycare centre's and pre-schools not celebrating Australia Day.

Activists in lobby group Social Justice In Early Childhood are reported to have backed the City of Yarra's decision, in Melbourne, to not celebrate Australia Day because it is a sensitive event among indigenous communities.

The City of Yarra voted to stop acknowledging Australia Day on January 26 this week and the North Fitzroy Childcare Co-operative are reported to not celebrate the event, according to The Australian.

The lobby group has around 4,500 members and is run by prominent academics from the University of Sydney early childhood lecturer and author Red Ruby Scarlet and New South Wales TAFE educator Kathy Gelding.

A worker of an unknown childcare centre wrote on one of the lobby group's Facebook posts claiming 'We never have. We're in Yarra Council', according to the publication.

Other childcare workers came out online to support not acknowledging January 26 as Australia Day, but rather use it as a day of educating children of what occurred on the arrival of the First Fleet.

'I've always taken this day as day to speak the truth about Jan 26th.... that there were already people living here and unfortunately a lot were killed,' another comment read on Facebook.

'You have the right to teach best practice, don't wait for permission, be the change you want to see. And my advice, use this day as an educational day to teach the truth.'

Celebrating Australia Day on January 26 has become an important topic in recent years with many Australians believing the date should be acknowledged as 'survival' or 'invasion day' since it marks the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788.


The LionHelmet speaks

Sea ice a ‘handbrake on global warming’

Something else left out of the global warming "models"

Melting sea ice could help cool the planet by flooding the atmosphere with particles that deflect sunlight.

Australian research suggests climate modellers have under­estimated a natural “thermostat” that helps alleviate the rise in temperatures: immense quantities of reflective compounds, emitted by marine microbes, that act like a handbrake on global warming.

The study, published by the American Meteorological Society, suggests an overlooked source of these so-called aerosols — algae living in ice — could jam the handbrake on even harder. Lead author Albert Gabric said with the Arctic expected to see ice-free summers within a decade, far more of the aerosols would be emitted.

“Whether that can slow the rate of warming of the Arctic is the trillion-dollar question,” said Dr Gabric, a marine biogeo­chemist with Griffith University in Brisbane.

Climate scientists have long known that aerosols help mitigate global warming by bouncing sunrays back into space, and by altering clouds to make them more reflective. Experts believe half of the ­potential warming from greenhouse gases may be offset in this way.

Much research has focused on aerosols produced artificially, through the burning of fossil fuels and vegetation. Scientists worry that if China switched to renewable sources of energy overnight, it could trigger a massive surge in warming.

Aerosols are also produced naturally by volcanoes — such as the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in The Philippines, which is credited with cutting global temperatures by about 0.5C for two years — and by marine ecosystems.

Algae known as “phytoplankton” are a major contributor, with increasingly massive blooms of these marine creatures emerging in the warming Arctic waters.

The new study analysed terabytes of satellite data to track atmos­pheric aerosol concen­trations. For the first time, it identified sea ice as a “very strong source” of the airborne particles.

Dr Gabric said “ice algae” had evolved to tolerate the subzero temperatures of sea ice and the water that formed it. They used a compound called dimethyl sulfide as an “antifreeze” to survive the chill. “When the sea ice melts during spring, these algae don’t need that protection any more. They expel these compounds, which are degassed to the atmosphere and converted into sulfate aerosols very similar to what you get from burning sulphur-containing coal.

“This happens every year as the sea ice melts. The difference in recent decades is that the ice is melting a lot earlier. We now think that within 10 years there won’t be any ice in the Arctic during summer.”

He said the process had “absolutely not” been factored into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change models of global warming. “The whole aerosol question and its relationship to warming is the biggest uncertainty to projecting what’s going to happen this century.

“This is a new area of ­research, primarily because people can’t get up there and measure it very easily. You need an ice­breaker and a big gun to shoot any polar bears that might want to eat you,” he said.


Lefty media elite live cut off from where real life happens

Let me float a theory about how the socialising tendencies of journalists help to ruin our politics. Like any clique, most journalists yearn for peer acceptance and earn it by trying to fit in with their colleagues and floating with the zeitgeist.

Yet one of the most profound influences on contemporary politics is the widening chasm between journalists and the mainstream, the audiences they are supposed to serve. This failing is easily recognised by anyone prepared to join the dots, yet it is seldom addressed by media: it tends to be phlegmatically accepted by the public as a fact of life.

This great divide has played out dramatically of late. The accepted wisdom is that through the election of Donald Trump, the Brexit triumph and the rise of protest parties and figures of the extreme left and right, the established political order has been rejected by large slabs of voters in Western liberal democracies.

That these trends were missed by the vast majority of journalists proves the disconnect. And if we look closer we can see how media coverage actually ­fuelled this backlash.

To see how this chasm is widening we only have to look at how, instead of learning from these mistakes, much of the media is doubling down on the misinterpretations and railing against democratic outcomes.

Hysterical coverage of Trump remains the touchstone on these insights, as does ongoing activism to overturn Brexit. But on our own shores the trends are evident in coverage of gay marriage, climate policy, border protection and, this week, the wearing of the burka.

We can start with Tim Minchin’s musical incursion into the marriage debate. Borrowing the famous Peter Allen song I Still Call Australia Home, Minchin suggests the same Australians who idolised and loved Allen are homophobic. “I’m always travelling but wherever I stay, people love Aussies and they generally say,” sings Minchin, “they think we’re kind of fun and funny, tall, tanned and toned — and a little bit racist, and a little bit homophobic.”

Just in case there were any doubts, Minchin’s ditty goes on to denounce the plebiscite and say, “at least we’ll know how many Aussies are bigoted c..ts.” Now, keep in mind that on the face of it, aside from any self-promotion, this bloke is trying to convince people to vote yes.

This is the sort of hectoring that saw Hillary Clinton canvass for votes by dubbing half of those aligned against her as “deplorables” who were “racist, sexist, ­homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic”.

We saw how well that worked out for her.

Minchin, like Clinton, was playing to the superiority complex of the media/political class and was rewarded with its warm embrace. On ABC TV’s Insiders, host Barrie Cassidy ended the show with a craggy smile to “cue” Minchin’s slur against his compatriots.

When I criticised the singer on Twitter it led to an unexpected exchange. I disagreed with his characterisation of Australians as homophobic and racist, and he urged me to listen again. “I comment on our international reputation for being a bit racist,” wrote Minchin, “I don’t assert it myself.”

So the song is not about what he thinks, it is just what others think. Bit of a cop-out but nice that Tim tried to withdraw his slur.

The point here is the chasm between this progressive media/political class and the mainstream; and the way it is so often expressed in a sneering, insulting way.

In this age of identity politics the easiest way to identify as one of the enlightened ones is to deride the views of others, usually people portrayed as selfish suburbanites or regional rednecks who may vote for the Coalition or even flirt with One Nation.

Obviously Minchin and Clinton and any politician or voter has every right to run any line they like, whether you or I see it as virtue-signalling, self-defeating or not. The dilemma for our politics is that at least part of the reason we are seeing so much acrimony and dysfunction is that the media/political class, including academe, the bureaucracy and large swathes of the corporate world, is at odds with the priorities of the mainstream.

We know most of the population supports strong border protection and cheap and reliable electricity, and is derisory about the false priorities and wasted efforts in social engineering that infiltrate our schools and gov­ernment agencies.

Yet the media/political class is antipathetic to immigration security, committed to climate gestures over practical solutions on energy and fully subscribed to every bit of social engineering that springs forth, from safe schools to Invasion Day, and from the Australian Human Rights Commission to the public broadcasters.

These are the people dubbed insightfully by Robert Manne, from within, as the “permanent oppositional moral political community”. This political/media class, for instance, will welcome an “LGBTQI helpline” to help ABC staff through the gay marriage plebiscite while mainstream voters are likelier to roll their eyes and wonder how governments find such ways to spend our money.

But here’s the thing. Political journalists in Canberra and elsewhere seem to have succumbed to Stockholm syndrome.

They are supposed to hold politicians ­accountable on behalf of the mainstream but they have become captive to the political class.

Journalists want to be respected by politicians who want to be respected by journalists. And journalists write stories to impress other journalists who affirm each other’s view of the world and share a disdain for the rough-hewn logic of the masses they serve.

Social media was supposed to democratise the media and give consumers a direct line into this world. But, log on, it has become an extended echo-chamber where members of the political/media class stroke their egos by agreeing with their shared assessments and deriding any view not firmly rooted in the green left.

It at least gives us a window on their true thoughts and provides an alarming insight into the distance between their views and those outside inner suburbs of the capitals.

So when Pauline Hanson went for the cheap and provocative stunt of wearing a burka into the Senate, we saw over the top condemnation from the Coalition, Labor, Greens and most of the journalists.

Somehow the burka — a medieval garment used by some Muslim cultures to hide women from prying eyes when in public — was given the status of a “religious garment” and apparently was beyond mockery.

Surely it was possible to criticise Hanson’s stunt and oppose her proposed burka ban yet not overreact in a way that offers respect for this uniform of oppression. Most Australians, including most Muslim Australians, surely don’t want little girls growing up in this country to face the possibility of this kind of cultural imprisonment.

Instead of a nuanced response, we had people parading their tolerance by denouncing Hanson. They seemed to accord Islam a level of sanctity or protection that no other religion in this country is given. We can indulge the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Piss Christ but don’t dare question the antiquated dis­crimination of forcing women to cover up.

My Sky News colleague Caroline Marcus dared to write a Daily Telegraph column this week arguing that people such as Minchin and other media haranguers for the yes case may drive wavering voters to the no side. Her harshest critics were fellow journalists. Some of her critics pretended not to understand her point; either that or they didn’t notice Trump’s win, Brexit’s success or the resurrection of One Nation.

As we worry about all the chaos and dysfunction in Canberra, volatility in the White House and uncertainty in Europe, we need to consider more than the voters and the politicians. We need to think about the media’s role as a two-way conduit between these blocs and how they should be aligned with the voters but are more embedded with the ruling class.

What is worrying is not to see journalists in disagreement but to notice how most of them only ever agree with each other. If they dare air a contrary view, like Marcus, they’ll be ostracised or learn to meld their views so they all fit in to the same insiders’ club, and we all lose.


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

20 August, 2017

This is why I'll be voting 'no' to same-sex marriage

Article by Dr Kevin Donnelly below, a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University.  I will also be voting No in the national ballot -- because I don't think a homosexual union can ever be a marriage and because homosexuals can already  enter into other arrangements which give them the normal privileges and obligations of marriage-- JR

There's no doubt that central to the concept of family is a definition of marriage involving a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation. With only minor exceptions over some hundreds of years and across all the major religions, this is how marriage has been, and continues to be, defined.

It's also true that about 98 per cent of Australians identify as heterosexual and according to the 2011 census figures only 1 per cent of Australian couples are same-sex, with surveys suggesting only a minority want same-sex marriage. There are more important issues to worry about.

What exactly would change for same-sex couples if they could marry?

We should also forget the Safe Schools' postmodern, deconstructed definition of marriage where gender and sexuality are fluid and limitless and individuals are free to choose whatever they choose to self-identify as.

No matter how much gays and lesbians might want to wish otherwise from a physiological and biological point of view, only men and women can have children. Such is the nature of conceiving and giving birth that to pretend otherwise is to deny how nature works.

To put it bluntly, gays and lesbians are physically incapable of procreation and having their own children. For them to believe otherwise is to deny the life choice they have made and to believe they should be entitled to something normally associated with biological parents.

It's also true that the ideal situation is where children are raised by their biological parents instead of conception involving a third party donating sperm or paying a surrogate mother. As any parent well knows, the intimate and unique bond between a biological parent and his or her child is primal in its force.

No wonder children conceived by donor sperm now have the legal right to discover their true parentage and less privileged countries such as Thailand and Cambodia are banning surrogacy.
Breaking News Alert

Parents who have conceived naturally as a key aspect of what it means to be married also know that children require a male and a female role model if they are to fully mature and develop as young adults.

Both genetically and emotionally, and what is expected socially, men and women are different. While much has been done to promote equality of the sexes the fact is that boys need strong, male role models.

This I know from personal experience after losing a father to alcoholism and domestic violence as a young child and missing out on the love and companionship that only a father can provide.

In the same way, despite the campaign by feminists to erase gender stereotyping, young girls generally copy their mothers and express themselves in a feminine way. As a general rule, boys are more physical than girls and less emotionally demonstrative.

Forget the mantra that equality only occurs when all sexes are the same – it is possible to be equal but different.

Changing the marriage act to include same-sex couples radically redefines and alters the meaning of a sacred union that provides more than just a physical and emotional connection.

Such is the special union of body and spirit involved in a marriage between a man and a woman that it necessitates a unique ritual and sacred compact that should not be weakened by being radically redefined as argued by same-sex activists.

The argument that the marriage act should not be radically redefined is based on the fact that gays and lesbians already enjoy all the rights and privileges of de-facto couples. Long gone are the days when gays and lesbians were ostracised or discriminated against.

There's no doubt that we are living in a time of significant social change, where social institutions such as marriage that have stood the test of time are being critiqued and undermined.

While some argue the benefits of such change, including increased autonomy, freedom and diversity, there is also an obvious downside. The English poet T. S. Eliot argues, "by far the most important channel of transmission of culture remains the family: and when family fails to play its part, we must expect our culture to deteriorate".

While not being as strident as Eliot it is true that family is central to a society's continued prosperity and growth. And central to the concept of family is the traditional definition of marriage.


‘Utterly out of step’: Turnbull slams council for Australia Day citizenship ban

There are several concentrations of affluent and self-righteous know-alls in Melbourne: Concentrations of tofu, quinoa, lentils, "concepts" and sandals:  Yarra City; Darebin etc.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has criticised the decision of Melbourne’s Yarra Council decision to no longer hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26.

Yarra City councillors voted unanimously on last night to no longer refer to January 26 as Australia Day, and end its tradition of holding citizenship ceremonies on that date in recognition of it being a day of distress for many Indigenous people.

The decision came despite a warning from Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke that councils could have their power to host citizenship ceremonies revoked if they politicise the events.

"They are seeking to take a day that unites Australia, and turn it into one that divides us,” he said.

"To change the date of Australia Day, would be to turn our back on Australian values (and on) the great achievement of 24 million Australians in the greatest cultural society in the world.”

The prime minister also said he recognised that the nation’s history of European settlement had been "tragic and complex for the Indigenous community,” but focused on January 26th being a "day of celebration”.

"Every Australians, our first Australians and the youngest baby in the newest citizens arms, are all part of our great multi-cultural nation.

"We have so much to celebrate, so much of which to be proud. In a world driven by discord and violence, we are united in our Australian values.”

Huge protests were held at Australia Day events this year amid growing calls to find a new date for the national day because January 26 is seen as a day of mourning by many indigenous people given it marks the anniversary of the First Fleet's arrival.

Yarra City mayor Amanda Stone said councillors considered the minister's warning before voting but decided a bold change was required.

"In the last 12 months there has been a groundswell of community support for change from both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people across the country," she said.

"People can still have their barbecues and parties on the January 26 public holiday but I hope our stance encourages people to stop and think about what this date really means in the history of our nation."

Mr Hawke earlier today branded the Yarra Council’s decision as politically motivated.

"The government is today actively considering its options in response to Yarra Council's continued politicisation of Australian citizenship ceremonies in an attempt to undermine Australia Day 26 January as our national day," he said in a statement.

"The Turnbull government has made its position repeatedly clear: councils must not use their ability to preside over citizenship ceremonies or determine the dates upon which they are held to in any way delegitimise Australia Day."

Veteran Liberal senator Eric Abetz accused Ms Stone of being a "tin-pot" mayor and said Yarra City should stick to ”looking after ratepayers.”

"The simple fact remains that Australia Day celebrates the beginning of the new modern Australia right, wrong or indifferent and that is on the 26th of January," he told reporters.

Labor senator Doug Cameron said the democratically-elected council had the right to "do what they like" but was instead being heavied and threatened.


Fresh doubts over BoM records after thermometer read at wrong end

Fresh doubts over Bureau of Meteorology temperature records had arisen because a post office worker read the thermometer at the wrong end when the mercury plunged below freezing.

In a new twist, missing records of low temperatures have spread past automatic weather stations to those collected by hand in ­regional areas.

Taralga Post Office, north of Goulburn in NSW, is the latest unseasonal hotspot in an investi­gation in which several automatic weather stations have been declared “unfit for purpose”.

Human error is being blamed by postal staff at Taralga with a trainee “reading the thermometer on the wrong end”. Every day, a post office employee checks the visibility, wind speed, wind direction, cloud formation, rain gauge and minimum and maximum temperatures at the remote weather station. Staff have been going through a similar routine for 98 years — their oldest recorded measurements go back to 1919.

Julie Corby has been working at the post office for 12 years, and is one of three staff. They sort the mail, record the weather, and act as a community centre for the area. “It was an honest mistake. Everyone makes it once,” she said yesterday, adding that the young person had since been recording the temperatures accurately.

“She was reading the wrong end of the thermometer.” Ms Corby said BoM had alerted them to the problem and that “correct procedure had been put in place.”

But the list of missing temperatures is growing. “Quality assurance processes that apply to all temperature observations are being examined as part of the review currently under way,” a BoM spokesman said.

Hobby farmer Ken Seton provided evidence that temperature recordings of -10C on May 10 and -8C on May 16 had not been carried past the daily temperature recordings on to the official monthly record. As a result, the lowest monthly temperature reading for May at Taralga stands at -4.8C. Minus 10C would have been a ­record low for Taralga.

The minimum temperatures from Taralga are used to homogenise the ACORN-SAT national temperature records for Sydney, Richmond, Nowra and Canberra.

Mr Seton’s screen shots and meteorological interest predates the scandal that has engulfed weather records at Goulburn and Thredbo Top where temperature readings of below -10C went missing. BoM first claimed the low temperatures had been deleted and in one case at least reinstalled due to “quality control” procedures.

The bureau subsequently said equipment at some AWS network stations was “not fit for purpose”. A review is under way, led by senior BoM staff with outside experts.

Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said when the review was complete “in coming weeks”, he would make its findings public.

Mr Seton’s screen-shot evidence from Taralga shifts the goalposts beyond the AWS network in terms of how complete is the BoM record. Mr Seton said he had spent 10 years with the CSIRO in a range of areas, including as an atmospheric physicist.

He said he had owned a property near Taralga for the past 40 years, about 16km from the Post Office where the temperature is still collected by hand.

Mr Seton monitors the BoM website for rainfall and major weather events and in May “happened to notice a -10 and a -8 temperature recording”. “When I looked again a week later they were gone,” he said.

Local farmer Daniel Walsh, who runs sheep and cattle on a property in Taralga, said it had been a cold winter.

“It should go down as a cold winter, and there have been consistently deep frosts overnight,” he said. “No cloud cover, that’s what does it. It’s been a good year though, overall.”


Leftist Victorian government aiming to shaft well-off families

Hurting successful people is the real Leftist priority

Residents of an affluent Melbourne suburb are outraged after the Government revealed plans to move homeless residents into temporary housing on a plot worth nearly $4million.

Livid neighbours in the sought-after area of Brighton have objected to two blocks on South Road being used to help ease Melbourne's ongoing housing crisis.

Temporary units with support services will be built on the site for five people but nearby homeowners now say they fear for their safety.

'These people may have mental illnesses , they could be drug addicts, I can't come home at night and feel safe,' local Rosetta Caponio told Seven News.

'My wife went into a panic mode, you know she really is at sixes and sevens because she is scared,' resident Frank Deak said.

Their anger has been fuelled further by the Government's failure to document their plans effectively, with just a handful of pamphlets handed out with information on the scheme.

'I've had twenty to thirty telephone responses from people who are absolutely shocked at the lack of communication and consultation,' another resident Russell McDonald revealed.

The Government said the proposed homes are its latest attempt to tackle the city's homeless problems since dispersing the Flinders Street homeless camp earlier this year.

'Homelessness and the housing crisis that we are dealing with as a government knows no boundaries in Melbourne. Tonight there will be rough sleepers in Brighton,' Housing Minister Martin Foley said.

Despite the frosty response from nearby residents, the Government still plans to go ahead with the scheme as work is due to begin in the next few months.


Australia wants equal Brexit rights for its immigrants

Commonwealth countries have said that the government should give their citizens the same rights as Europeans to come and live in Britain after Brexit.

Julie Bishop, the Australian foreign minister, has told The Times that her colleagues would be disappointed and concerned if Britain imposed more restrictive conditions for Australian workers than for those from the European Union. An Australian government source said the country’s concerns were shared by New Zealand and Canada and suggested that the issue would be brought up in any trade talks.

The Home Office is drawing up plans for a “light touch” online system for workers applying to come to Britain from EU member states.


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, 2017

Recycled sewerage water will be used to irrigate agriculture and horticulture on the Adelaide Plains

S.A. is a dry State so this has intuitive appeal.  And recycled sewerage water has been used for cropping in Israel with great success. 

But I am suspicious about no mention of a cost/benefit study.  There are all sorts of areas in Australia suitable for irrigated crops -- dare I mention the Ord? -- but few of them are economically feasible, partly due to transport and marketing costs but also due to the chronic wordwide glut of agricultural products. 

But this development will be in close proximity to a major market for its product so it may work at some level.  Recovery of the capital costs or much return to capital are  most unlikely, however. Neither eventuated at the Ord. Governments are dumb investors.  But water is something of a sacred icon in "the dry continent"

AN irrigation project that could create up to 3700 jobs in northern Adelaide will go ahead after the Federal Government promised to contribute $46 million towards building costs.

Despite facing a political crisis after it was revealed he held New Zealand citizenship, Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce has agreed to spend $45.6 million from the National Water Infrastructure Development on the irrigation scheme.

The project will pump recycled water from the Bolivar sewage treatment works to the Adelaide Plains for use in irrigated agriculture and horticulture.

Mr Joyce and Assistant Water Minister Anne Ruston will on Thursday announce the Federal Government’s financial support for the scheme.

"We’re investing in the infrastructure of tomorrow so we can expand our production to meet global food demand that is set to rise by 75 per cent between 2007 and 2050," the Deputy Prime Minister said.

"This project will be key to developing greater market access for South Australian producers to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Singapore. [That didn't work for the Ord and Adelaide is even farther away from those markets than is the Ord]

"This project is a great example of the kind of infrastructure we are delivering across the country.”

Senator Ruston said the irrigation scheme would help unlock the potential of undeveloped land.

"Having already delivered funding of $2.5 million for the feasibility study, I am pleased the Government is continuing our support into the construction stage of this valuable project," she said.

Senator Ruston said access to additional water would create new opportunities for farmers to capture the potential of higher-value crops.

Groundwater in the region is currently over-allocated.

The State Government has already promised $110 million towards the irrigation scheme and had been seeking a federal contribution.

The project is designed to create new job opportunities in the northern Adelaide region after the Holden factory closes in October.

Waste water from the Bolivar plant is currently pumped out to sea. The irrigation project will help SA Water to meet its obligation to reduce nitrogen discharges into the ocean.

The irrigation scheme is expected to operational by early 2019 and will initially deliver 12 gigalitres of water each year. It could eventually be expanded to deliver up to 20 gigalitres per year.

A new water treatment plant, a pump station, bore field and 50km of pipes will supply a new irrigation area.

Irrigated agriculture is worth more than $1.8 billion South Australia’s agricultural production. Vegetables are the most valuable irrigated agricultural commodity in SA and were worth $446 million in 2014-15.

The Federal Government is spending $2.5 billion water infrastructure through loans and grant programs.


Police coverup of attack on Christians

Three days before Christmas, a van packed with gas bottles detonated outside the HQ of the Australian Christian Lobby.
The very next day, after conducting an interview that lasted about 7 minutes with a man suffering from massive burns, the ACT Police made this statement:

"Police spoke briefly with the man before he continued with treatment. Police were able to establish the man’s actions were not politically, religiously or ideologically motivated"

But see the front pages today of The Australian:

"The man accused of driving a burning van laden with gas bottles into the Australian Christian Lobby headquarters was a gay activist who disliked the group because of its "position on sexuality” and had searched online how to make plastic explosives and a pressure-cooker bomb.

Court documents tendered to the ACT Magistrates Court yesterday reveal Jaden Duong had also run searches about gay marriage in other countries and, a month before the alleged attack at 10.45pm on December 21 last year, had searched for the "Australian Christian Lobby”…

…Police allege 36-year-old Mr Duong had stepped up internet searching from July last year for terms including "how to make ammonium nitrate”, "pressure- cooker bomb”, "C4”, "how to buy a gun in Australia”, "gas leak explosion” and "how much gas to cause explosion”…

…His hospital records allegedly showed Mr Duong had attempted suicide previously, had chosen to target the ACL spontaneously and had "quit his job to plan this suicide attempt”.

"He is ‘not a huge fan’ of the ACL, or religion in general, due to their beliefs and position on sexuality,” the records from Sydney’s Concord Hospital state…

…According to documents tendered in court, soon after the explosion, police asked Mr Duong why he had picked the location.
"Because I dislike the Australian Christian Lobby,” he allegedly replied. Asked why, he allegedly said: "Because religions are failed.”…"

One could reasonably form the opinion that the ACT police have  engaged in a political cover up. There needs to be an immediate investigation into its handling of this incident.

And it needs to answer why the ACT police were so quick to rule out any political, religious or ideological motivation when the evidence it had received directly pointed to the opposite conclusion.


Pauline Hanson wears burqa to parliament in bid to ban them

Australian anti-immigrant senator Pauline Hanson wore a burqa to parliament on Thursday as part of her campaign to ban the all-enveloping garment worn by some Muslim women, drawing a quick rebuke from the government and Muslims.

Hanson sat in her seat in the assembly for about 20 minutes covered by the black burqa before removing it to call for them to be banned in public for national security reasons.

"I'm quite happy to remove this because this is not what should belong in this parliament," Hanson, who leads the far-right One Nation party, told the Senate.

"If a person who wears a balaclava or a helmet in to a bank or any other building, or even on the floor of the court, they must be removed. Why is it not the same case for someone who is covering up their face and cannot be identified?"

Hanson, who first rose to prominence in the 1990s because of her strident opposition to immigration from Asia and to asylum seekers, has in recent years campaigned against Islamic clothing and the building of mosques.

Her party has four senators, which gives it influence in parliament when closely contested legislation is being voted on.

Attorney-General George Brandis rebuked Hanson.

"I am not going to pretend to ignore the stunt that you have tried to pull today by arriving in the chamber dressed in a burqa," he said, drawing applause from members of the Senate.

"We all know that you are not adherent of the Islamic faith. I would caution and counsel you with respect to be very, very careful of the offense you may do to the religious sensibilities of other Australians."


Business backs Coalition’s higher education reforms

Business is backing the Turnbull government’s higher education reforms, describing them as modest and a chance to take stock to assess whether Australia’s uncapped demand-driven university system is delivering the best outcomes for students and industry.

Universities are running a fierce campaign against the Coalition’s reforms, arguing they represent the most significant over­haul in the sector for two decades and will result in a "double hit” on students paying more for a lower quality education, staff cuts and jeopardise Australia’s $22 billion a year education export industry.

But the government disputes this, countering the overhaul is necessary because taxpayer funding to universities has been a "river of gold” and the demand-driven system needs to be put on a sustainable footing for future generations.

Jenny Lambert, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s director of employment, education and training, said the business group was supportive of the package because it offered a chance to put "a little bit of brake on the system”, make some modest changes and send further signals about universities being efficient and effective.

The tertiary overhaul — which introduces a 2.5 per cent efficiency dividend on universities next year and in 2019, ties about $500 million a year in university funding to performance improvements and requires graduates to begin paying back their HELP debt at 1 per cent when their income reaches $42,000 — was the largest savings measure in the budget handed down in May. The reforms are worth $2.7bn across five years but are stalled in the parliament.

"We don’t know that those who have been pushed to attend university — who may not have previously done so — do they find their medium to long-term outcomes have justified that decision or have they been disappointed or let down by the system?" Ms Lambert said.

"If the medium-term evidence shows us that they (universities) have been more efficient, they have been more effective, and student outcomes start to go up in this uncapped demand-driven system, then we can say ‘well, we’ve got the settings about right and we need to make sure the universities can afford to deliver the quality of education that everyone expects.’ ”

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the higher education reforms were essential and not onerous.

"We’re confronted with around $50bn of student debt with a quarter not expected to be repaid, taxpayer funding for universities having increased at twice the rate of the economy and per student revenue increases of 15 per cent while costs have only grown by 9.5 per cent,” he said.

"Universities will still see 23 per cent growth in taxpayer funding, all we’re asking is for them to operate within a more sustainable rate of growth. That’s not a cut but it will make higher education more sustainable into the future.”


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, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG mocks intolerance at Google.

Engagement rings -- in Britain and Australia

There is an article here which comments on an English woman who was disappointed that her high-earning fiance gave her an engagement ring that he paid only £1,300 ($2600.00) for.

It got a lot of comments from readers, with not a few of them telling the man he has had a lucky escape and that he should dump her forthwith.  That is certainly my view.

A lot of Australian women went online to say that their ring had cost very little and they liked it that way.  They said the love they had between them and their partner was the thing that mattered. And that is hard to argue with.

The man in the matter has not yet been heard from so I thought I might mention some of the reasons he might have had.  For a small sum, I bought my lady in one of my four marriages a secondhand zirconia that would have been worth thousands had it been a real diamond.  And the lady was happy with that.  Without using special equipment you cannot tell a zirconia from a diamond so she was happy with the social appearance of the ring.  She had an evasive answer ready if anyone asked her directly what it was.  And it is in general crude and boastful to proclaim the cost of a ring anyway.  So unless you are tasteless, it is pointless to buy an expensive ring.

But what about the value of the ring as an investment?  The huge point about that is that what you get on resale will be only a fraction of what it cost.  It is just about the worst imagineable investment.  So wise advice would be to buy a pretty ring with semi-precious stones that you can happily show around -- and use the rest of your left-over cash on a real investment -- or just throw a bigger party.

A young couple I know bought a pretty secondhand ring for $500 -- because both wanted to save all they could to buy their own home.  I wonder that everyone does not do that.

Dangerous air pollution from coal-fired power stations  in Australia?

I am interested in the following claim made below:  "People who live within 50km of coal-fired power stations face a risk of premature death as much as three to four times that of people living further away."

I have read the large and glossy report from which that statistic is allegedly taken but can find no mention of it there.  It must be a very fleeting mention if it is there at all. There was certainly nothing like the formal research report that one would expect to underlie such a claim:  No details of sampling or control for demographic statistics, no table of results etc.

With all Green/Left writing the thing to identify is what they do NOT say.  They regularly just leave out information that would damage their case.  As it happens I have some research background in this field so I know what they have left out.  They did not do an attitude study.  They did not try to find out how bothered people were by the alleged pollution.  They put up a few anecdotes about that but anecdotes prove nothing. You can always find people dissatisfied with anything if you look hard for them.

My survey of the effect of living near a coal mine showed that people did NOT have elevated environmental concerns as a result of that proximity.  And my study was an orthodox and fully described one.  So there is no doubt in existence a degree of pollution associated with Australia's coal mines but it is at a level that is only a minor irritant to those affected by it.  My study was of coal mines in 1980 but, as the report below mentions, the power stations at the time were generally located just about on top of the mines

The report is a beat up. Just more Greenie deception. It was put out by Environmental Justice Australia so I had no real expectation that it would be a work of objective science.  It is just propaganda

AUSTRALIA is trailing behind places like China when it comes to pollution standards and those living near coal-fired power stations are three times more likely to die a premature death, according to a new report.

Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) found Australian power stations are allowed to emit far more pollution than those in the US, China and parts of the European Union, and they are not being regulated well enough to protect human health or the environment.

The toxins produced by coal-fired power stations can have a deadly impact on those living nearby. People who live within 50km are about three to four times more likely to die a premature death as those living further away.

The report looked at four pollutants that are extremely harmful to health and have been linked to asthma, respiratory problems, stroke, angina, heart attack and cancer.

It found coal-fired power stations emitted more than 30 toxic substances and are the biggest sources of fine particles PM2.5, sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.

"The mercury limits for some NSW power stations are 666 times higher than the US limits. This is unacceptable,” the report said.

"In almost all cases the emissions limits applied to Australian power stations are significantly less stringent than the standards in the European Union, United States and China.”

What controls that are in place are also not well monitored and rarely enforced.

The EJA has made eight recommendations including that the Federal Government commission an independent assessment of health impacts, develop national emission standards, ask for better monitoring and commit to not building, financing or approving any new coal-fired power stations.

When it comes to air pollution, the report suggested "ultra-supercritical” or "high efficiency low emission” (HELE) power stations were not very effective at reducing pollution.

"The best improvement ultra-supercritical technology can offer over subcritical is about a 14 per cent reduction in pollution emissions,” the report said.

NSW Central Coast resident Gary Blaschke OAM said a lot of the downside of living close to coal-fired power stations had been swept under the carpet.

"If pollution was purple, people would be up in arms. Because we often can’t see it — whether it’s in the air on in the ground — many people don’t even think about it.”


The report Toxic and terminal: How the regulation of coal-fired power stations fails Australian communities mainly looks at four pollutants. They are coarse particles called PM10, fine particles known as PM2.5, sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.

In particular PM2.5 has been linked directly to health risks including asthma, bronchitis, acute and chronic respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and painful breathing, and premature deaths.

It’s been estimated that PM2.5 exposure has led to 1590 premature deaths each year in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

These particles can travel long distances so Sydney residents may feel the impacts of pollution produced by Hunter Valley power stations, but local communities are the most at risk.

People who live within 50km of coal-fired power stations face a risk of premature death as much as three to four times that of people living further away.

It’s been estimated that 18 people living near the now-closed Hazelwood power station in Victoria died premature death due to air pollution in one year.

"The annual health costs of coal-fired power stations across Australia has been estimated at about $2.6 billion a year,” the report said.

"These costs are not factored into wholesale electricity prices or licence fees, and are therefore borne by the community rather than affecting the profits of the power station owners.”



I received the following email from a reader:

I am a follower of your blog.  I saw that you picked up on the outrageous false claims made recently by Environmental Justice Australia.

You may be interested in the results of the Upper Hunter Valley Fine Particulate Matter Characterisation Study undertaken in 2012/2013 by the EPA and CSIRO.

The EPA found (much to their disappointment) the following things:

1.       The dominant source of fine particulate pollution in Muswellbrook is household wood heaters.  Other significant sources are sea salt and biomass smoke.

2.       There is no detectable sulphate particulate pollution from the power stations

3.       There is no detectable unique fingerprint for coal dust in the Upper Hunter Valley.

Indeed, the PM2.5 levels for the Upper Hunter are not too much different from those found in Antarctica (annual average of 4.3ug/m3) when adjusted for factors like wood smoke and biomass burning. (

Greens should just shut up and listen

They think they know it all but they don't know what is right for Aborigines.  They are part of the problem, not part of the solution.  Article below by Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, an Alice Springs councillor and a research associate at the Centre for Independent Studies

When elders from the communities of Kununurra, Wyndham and Ceduna travelled to Canberra last week with a video revealing the appalling violence on their streets, they delivered a strong message. Those streets are war zones of drug and alcohol-fuelled assaults and child abuse — and they want it to stop.

The video, supported by West Australian mining businessman Andrew Forrest, proves the desperate need for the cashless debit card system that quarantines 80 per cent of welfare recipients’ payments to limit access to alcohol, drugs and gambling.

These elders are crying out for the lives of the children being assaulted and abused. In one of these communities, 187 children are victims of sexual abuse with 36 men facing 300 charges, and a further 124 are suspects.

I know all too well the deep frustrations these Australian citizens feel as they are desperate to save their people from the crisis being played out day after day in their communities. They have long fought for our political leaders to recognise the need to take the tough — sometimes unpopular but necessary — steps to make meaningful change that will save the lives of Aboriginal children, women and men.

So why do large numbers of our media and our political leaders (including some indigenous ones) fail to respond to such clear evidence of assault, child abuse and violence at the hands of our own people but are prepared to call for a royal commission when the perpetrator is a white person in uniform or when institutionalised racism is perceived to be at play?

A television report on the horrendous treatment of juvenile inmates at Darwin’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre swiftly sparked a royal commission. Yet footage of an Aboriginal man stomping on an Aboriginal woman and various other vicious acts — which in my view are far more shocking than that of the Don Dale footage — draws criticism by the Greens that the video was simply propaganda for the cashless welfare card. This is not propaganda; it is proof.

We hear regularly that we should be listening to Aboriginal people on the ground to understand the complexities of the problems and to encourage us to find solutions for our horrific circumstances. Well, here is a video created by Aboriginal leaders in conjunction with the wider community, including the police and a mayor, pleading for the implementation of a practical measure to help curb the purchase of alcohol and drugs so the lives of the most marginalised Australians may be improved. No, it is not a magic bullet, but it is a start towards improving the lives of Australian citizens in crisis.

Forrest has been criticised for telling the world that he has been approached by minors willing to sell sex. A 14-year-old I know who roams Alice Springs streets at night regularly witnesses children selling themselves to "old” Aboriginal men for alcohol and cigarettes. We pass such information on to the police, who already know it is happening, yet the authorities responsible for these children tells us they have seen no evidence of it. Just as there was a conspiracy of silence to deny the reality of frontier violence, now there seems to be a conspiracy of silence on the left to deny what is happening openly in our streets.

The evidence of deep crisis has never been so blatant. This trauma is inflicted on our people by substance abuse and violence fuelled by a taxpayer-funded disposable income. However, if a rich white man throws his support behind a group of frustrated and desperate indigenous leaders living with this trauma their plea simply is dismissed as perverse by the politically correct without offering any effective alternative solutions.

The Greens call Forrest paternalistic, yet WA Greens senator Rachel Siewert has the audacity to tell indigenous people how we should think, what our problems are and what we should be doing about it. Siewert and her party chose not to meet the elders who came all the way to Canberra from their remote communities to communicate the real problems.

The Greens reaction is nothing more than the racism of low expectations and egocentric virtue-signalling of those toeing the line of an ideology that is further compounding the crisis. If the video shocked you, good. It should; and what should follow is an appropriate response that recognises the human right of Aboriginal women, children and men to live in safety, free of drug and alcohol-driven violence and sexual abuse. Sacrificing whole generations to violence and abuse does not help the fight against racism. It reinforces it.


Same-sex marriage: Church warns of ‘same-sex coercion’ for schools

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney has launched an attack on the push to legalise same-sex marriage, warning that a failure to protect religious freedoms will ­expose many Australians and faith-based institutions to the risk of "harassment and coercion”.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher has warned that religious schools, hospitals, charities and welfare agencies could be jeopardised by a Yes vote for same-sex marriage in the government’s postal ballot.

Firing an opening shot in the church’s campaign, the archbishop has laid down battlelines for the No case by linking the ­redefinition of marriage to broader community concerns about ­issues such as the contentious Safe Schools program.

The push to broaden the debate is supported by some ­Coalition MPs, including Tony Abbott and Nationals senator Matt Canavan, who have issued statements about a march of political correctness and the preservation of marriage as an institution for the bringing up of children.

"It’s a pity that there is no settled position on the protections that should be available if same-sex marriage goes through,” Mr Abbott told The Australian. "The advocates of change should ­always be required to make their case.”

The attack by Archbishop Fisher pitches the Catholic Church in a heated battle against Labor and key backers of the Yes campaign, who say there is no need for same-sex marriage to be accompanied by stronger religious protections for faith-based institutions.

In a statement to The Australian, Archbishop Fisher said the exercise of "free religion” would be curtailed and religious protections canvassed so far had applied only to ministers of religion and civil celebrants, a group representing only a "tiny proportion” of believers.

"What protections will be ­offered to people who work for church-run institutions such as schools, hospitals and universities?” he said. "Will teachers be free to teach church teaching on marriage or will they be forced to teach a more politically correct curriculum?

"Will employers of such church agencies be free to choose staff in sympathy with their church’s teachings? Will Catholic welfare agencies be required to provide marriage preparation or marriage counselling for same-sex couples on pain of being dragged before anti-discrimin­ation tribunals?”

Archbishop Fisher also rejected arguments the legalisation of same-sex marriage would not have broader consequences. "Many people believe that redefining marriage won’t affect them,” he said. "Respectfully, I would say they need to take another look — it will affect every Australian.

"In other parts of the world that have legalised same-sex marriage, those who believe in traditional marriage have been harassed or coerced into complying with the new view of marriage. It would be extremely naive to think that won’t happen here.

"Things will only get worse if ­marriage is redefined without ade­quate protections being first put in place.” He challenged political leaders to explain whether a vote for same-sex marriage would ­result in the entrenchment of the Safe Schools program — an anti-bullying scheme that familiarises students with transgender concepts — and prevent parents from objecting to its content.

"Will children in government schools be subjected to propaganda in favour of same-sex marriage and gender fluidity such as the infamous Safe Schools program?” he said. "Will parents be free to take their children out of such classes? Will church schools be expected to toe the line also?”

The refusal of the Senate to pass legislation to hold a compulsory plebiscite forced Malcolm Turnbull to hold the $122 million voluntary postal ballot to be overseen by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the legality of which is being tested in the High Court.

Bill Shorten, while opposed to the ballot on the grounds it could expose gay and lesbian couples to hate speech, has committed to the Yes campaign and told parliament "We cannot sit on the sidelines”.

The ballot will be conducted from September 12 to November 7, with the Yes campaign urging younger voters to enrol before the cut-off deadline of August 24. A result will be determined by Nov­ember 15.

Labor yesterday slammed the attempt to broaden the battlefront over same-sex marriage, with ­opposition legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus rejecting arguments the change would impinge on personal and religious ­freedoms.

"The No campaign know the only way they can win this fight is to make it about topics other than marriage equality,” he said.

"This is about giving LGBTI couples equality before the law. Nothing more, nothing less. ­Religious freedom is not under threat … Any suggestion it is, is nothing but a scare campaign.” Liberal City of Sydney councillor and Mr Abbott’s sister, Christine Forster, also downplayed risks same-sex marriage posed to religious freedom, saying Australia was a fair-minded and egalitarian country. She told Sky News that if she and her partner Virginia ­Edwards wanted to be married by a Catholic priest, he would be entitled to refuse under the proposals being considered by parliament.

But when pressed further, she added: "If same-sex marriage is legalised … then people have to ­accept that it is in law, how our country works.”

Senator Canavan challenged same-sex marriage advocates to bring forward legislation ahead of the postal ballot to reveal how religious freedoms would be treated in any shake-up. "Those advocating change need to show how they are going to protect religious freedoms,” he said. "I’ve never seen proposals to protect the freedoms of Catholic schools and Catholic hospitals or other religious institutions beyond those involved in weddings ­ceremonies.”

A report by a parliamentary committee on the government’s draft same-sex marriage bill found in February that "evidence supports the need for current protections for religious freedom to be enhanced”. Archbishop Fisher’s comments came after The Australian revealed last week the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, wrote to Mr Turnbull ­requesting that any proposed bill on same-sex marriage be released before voting begins.


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, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is not impressed by Sam Dastyari, Australia's own Iranian member of parliament

Dastyari is a former General Secretary of the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labor Party.  Stalin was a general secretary too -- of the CPSU.  Beware General Secretaries.

An amusing Press release from the South Australian government below

They really believe in doubling down on failure. Solar thermal is a great idea -- except everywhere that it has been tried.  Ivanpah in Califiornia sometimes uses more energy than it produces and it absolutely vacuums up money. And Spain's Abengoa project is effectively bankrupt.  How much more can the long-suffering taxpayers of South Australia stand?  They will eventually have to walk away from this white elephant

South Australia’s Weatherill Labor Government today awarded a contract for a new solar thermal power station in Port Augusta, where the state’s last coal-fired power station was shut last year.  The contract is the final piece of the puzzle needed to build a world-leading clean energy generator that will provide desperately needed jobs.

‘Jay Weatherill has today proven his Government to be the unequivocal international leader for clean energy generation and for a just transition for workers and communities affected by climate action,’ said Australian Services Union – SA + NT Branch (ASU) Secretary Joseph Scales.

The ASU has backed the long community campaign to build a solar thermal power station in Pt Augusta.

‘Workers at the coal-fired power station in Port Augusta paid the heaviest price for climate change.  Alinta Energy were corporate vandals, leaving Port Augusta when the markets said there was no more money to be made from coal.  Today’s announcement by the Labor Government makes Port Augusta a centre of clean energy generation in South Australia and a leader in renewable energy internationally,’ said Mr Scales.

The project will see around 700 jobs created during construction and 50 ongoing jobs at the power station.

‘This is a very proud day for the Port Augusta community.  It’s a magnificent victory for community action by locals, workers, their unions and the environmental sector,’ said Mr Scales.

The Australian Services Union was the largest Union at the Alinta operated Augusta Power Stations and has thousands of members in the energy sector around the country.

Via email


Council poised to drop Aust Day ceremonies

A Melbourne council is under pressure from the federal government to drop its bid to become the first in the country to stop holding citizenship ceremonies on January 26 as part of a push to find a new date for Australia Day.

Yarra City councillors are due to vote on Tuesday night on a series of measures that would see the council stop referring to January 26 as Australia Day from 2018 and end its tradition of holding citizenship ceremonies on that date.

Mayor Amanda Stone says if the councillors approve the plans, Yarra City would be the first council in Australia to abandon holding citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day.

The move has outraged Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke, who has fired off a letter to councils across the country warning they could be banned from hosting any more citizenship ceremonies if they stop holding them on Australia Day.

"Local councils are now on notice that if they politicise Australian citizenship, the government will see it as a breach of the (Australian Citizenship Ceremonies) code and take the appropriate action," he said.

But Ms Stone said she can't find any requirement in the code for councils to hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day.

"The code actually says you shouldn't use a ceremony to promote a political agenda or a religious agenda or commercial agenda," she told AAP.

"We wouldn't be intending to do that. We are simply considering changing when we hold our first citizenship ceremony of the year."

Yarra City usually holds citizenship ceremonies every two months.

Ms Stone said if the one on Australia Day was scratched, it could be moved to February or another date such as Australian Citizenship Day on September 17.

She said councillors would take into consideration the ministers' warning before tonight's vote.

"There are a number of options we need to consider and we need to balance the advice from the federal government and what we think is in the best interests of the community," Ms Stone said.

"We don't want to put any members of the community, particularly the Aboriginal community, in the firing line."

Huge protests by indigenous Australians and their supporters were held on Australia Day this year amid growing calls to find a new date for Australia Day.

However, the government does not support the push for change.

A report prepared for Yarra City councillors said consultations with its local Aboriginal community revealed most regard January 26 as a "painful and alienating day" because it marks the arrival of the First Fleet from England.

The report said locals supported the council, which takes in the suburbs of Richmond, Fitzroy and Collingwood, moving citizenship ceremonies from January 26 and holding an event acknowledging the culture and history of Aboriginal people instead.

The council meeting is due to take place from 6pm Tuesday.


Prepare for the hate if you vote to protect traditional marriage

BE warned. If you mention you are going to vote "No” in the homosexual marriage plebiscite you will most likely be branded a bigot.  "Society” will turn on you. You may even be ostracised in your workplace, nursing home or footy club.

So much for freedom of speech.

What same-sex marriage proponents like Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull neglect to tell you is this:

Redefining marriage is redefining parenthood. Homosexual marriage supporters wrongly say that traditional parenting doesn’t matter anymore and that it is OK to bring a child up without a father or without a mother. Same-sex marriage is a misguided concept. And it is not simply a symbolic gesture as the left-wing columnists rush to tell you. It will have far-reaching consequences for children. Here I stress that opponents of same-sex marriage shouldn’t become bigots either.

We all know the intolerances and the gay bashing culture that was commonplace in Australia right up until the 70s. Now homosexual couples are accepted and have full legal rights.  They already have equality and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Former PMs Tony Abbott and John Howard have urged Australians to vote "No”. Abbott was plain-speaking:

"I say to you, if you don’t like same-sex marriage, vote no. If you’re worried about religious freedom and freedom of speech, vote no, and if you don’t like political correctness, vote no because voting no will help to stop political correctness in its tracks,” he said.

I loved this letter in the paper from Stephen J. Fyson from Belmont in NSW: "The same-sex marriage debate is not about equality, it is about redefinition. It is like a triangle saying it has the right to be called a square because they are both geometrical shapes. But that does not make sense, because certain basic properties are different.

"The same applies for the use of the word marriage. Same-sex couples already have equality under the law, but equality does not mean sameness.

"The solution would be for this type of committed relationship to have a different word that gives equivalency, but not sameness. That would protect traditional marriage while giving same-sex couples a word they could use with clarity, and not with the pretence of being the same as something that is different in its basic property.

"To pretend a thing is the same as another thing with different properties is the basis of political correctness. Political correctness takes away freedom from one group while changing the clear meaning of something.”

If you buy have not made up your mind, I suggest you do so quickly.

The postal ballot is due to begin within weeks with the Australian Bureau of Statistics hoping to mail ballot papers to voters in September.

The votes are due back in early November, before a result is declared a few weeks later.

The postal ballot is a fallback option for the Coalition, after its compulsory plebiscite was again blocked in the Senate by Labor, the Greens and members of the crossbench.


Turnbull bid to block super union

The Turnbull government will move next week to block the creation of a CFMEU-MUA "super union” through legislation to be introduced to parliament that would force the Fair Work Commission to apply a public-interest test for any mergers.

A delegation of 30 mining, oil and gas chief executives met senior cabinet ministers in Canberra on Wednesday night and urged ­action from the government to block what they described as a Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union "takeover” that would cause industrial chaos across the supply chain and drive investors away at "the speed of light”.

The Australian understands that a bill to amend the Fair Work (Registered Organisations Act) and apply a public-interest test for union mergers will be introduced next Wednesday.

The government is seeking to impose a new test for amalga­mations of unions that requires the Fair Work Commission to consider the unions’ record of lawlessness and whether the merger served the public interest. It would also seek to make it easier to deregister unions that continually breached workplace rules.

The CFMEU has described the public-interest test as "ridiculous”.

The Turnbull government, however, believes that the laws, if passed by the Senate, would have the effect of blocking the CFMEU-MUA amalgamation that, it claims, would create a super union of 120,000 members in workforces across the construction and mining sectors, as well as on the waterfront.

As the government sharpened its assault on union thuggery, ­the Coalition unleashed an extra­ordinary attack against Bill Shorten in parliament yesterday. Malcolm Turnbull said the Opposition Leader could have been jailed if proposed laws allowing courts to ban union officials for multiple breaches of civil law had operated when Mr Shorten was at the Australian Workers Union.

The Fair Work Commission is still considering the "super union” merger, which would include the smaller Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia. A decision is likely this year.

The Turnbull government will need to win the support of Senate crossbenchers, including Nick Xenophon. The South Australian senator has been the subject of sustained attacks from the CFMEU, which has pledged to target his NXT party before the next election.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the union merger posed a "major threat to Australia’s productivity and economic prosperity”. Last week, Senator Cash said the CFMEU had ­already been hit with $10 million in fines from prosecutions brought against it. "The fact that two of the most militant unions in Australia are proposing to merge is extremely concerning,” she told The Aus­tralian. "The entrenched culture of bullying and intimidation tactics of the CFMEU and MUA have no place in Australian workplaces. At present, there are 93 CFMEU officials before the courts on ­charges of breaching workplace laws. The union recently surpassed a dubious milestone of having ­accumulated $10m in fines.

"At present, there is no requirement for union mergers to be in members’ interests, the interests of the affected industries, or the ­nation’s overall economic interest.

"The government is committed to putting workers and the Australian economy first.”

Australian Mines and Metals Association chief executive Steve Knott said the proposed merger was "alarming”, considering the influence the unions already held over the Labor Party.

"This will drive investors away from this country faster than the speed of light and dry up any pipeline of future investment,” he said.

"The track record of the CFMEU is a national disgrace and that won’t be missed in boardrooms around the globe. If the merger described by the sector as a takeover was to go ahead, investors could put their money somewhere else other than Australia.”

The two unions have argued that the union movement was under threat and the merger would help bolster their financial and legal resources. An official application for the merger was lodged in June following a memorandum of understanding between the unions signed late last year.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin has previously described the merger as a need to build a new union to counter "a lot of adversarial stuff out there, a lot of anti-unionism, there is a political ideology in this country that’s pervasive and ­actively offensive against trade union rights”.

Yesterday, Mr Crumlin told The Australian: "If Michaelia Cash wants to talk about a public-­interest test, it is very much in the public interest to have strong, ­independent trade unions to stand up to egregious ­examples of wage slavery, corporate greed and tax evasion by multinational corporations.”


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, 2017

Rights clash looms in same-sex debate

While the flawed postal vote plebiscite has provoked furious rival responses, the pivotal problem is just emerging — the failure in any draft bill by Coalition or Labor MPs to fully protect religious freedoms once same-sex marriage is legislated.

This is set to become an explosive issue within the Coalition parties. The alarm has been sounded and if, as expected, the plebiscite returns a "yes” vote, it will be triggered. This will become a serious problem for Malcolm Turnbull and Attorney-General George Brandis.

Tony Abbott, a number of other prominent Liberals and church leaders will direct much of their campaign against same-sex marriage on to the failure of the parliament to confront the religious freedom issue and exploit public doubts on this front.

Beyond the campaign lies the great dilemma. The proposition is lethal — that it would constitute a historical betrayal of the values of the Coalition parties if they "backed” a bill post-plebiscite on same-sex marriage that exposed individuals and institutions to retaliation for their beliefs because the government failed to strengthen Australia’s woefully inadequate laws on religious freedom and protection.

Abbott said if people had fears for their freedom, their right to express the traditional view of marriage without retaliation, they should vote "no”. In tactical terms, this shifts the issue from same-sex marriage, which has majority support, to the trade-off of rights ­involved: winning same-sex marriage at the sacrifice of freedom of conscience, belief and religion.

The evidence strongly backs Abbott’s claims. Indeed, it is overwhelming as documented in submissions to and in the February 2017 report of the Senate select committee on the draft bill released by Brandis. The further truth is the political class is split on these protections, with the prospect that passage of same-sex marriage will have a second and far more important consequence — an assault on religious freedoms made possible by inadequate laws that will see a major shift in Australian society.

Since the postal plebiscite was announced, comments by Abbott, ACT Liberal senator Zed Seselja, Liberal backbencher Andrew Hastie, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies and the Moderator General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, John P Wilson, signal they want to enshrine religious freedom as a core issue in the vote. It is likely this will become a universal position of the Christian churches. It would be remarkable if it did not.

Nobody should be surprised by these events. It highlights the essential weakness of the same-sex marriage case, a point obvious for years. Despite the insistence of politicians, religious freedom has not been properly addressed and many inadequate bills testify to this. The draft bill released by Brandis, the subject of the February 2017 report by the Senate ­select committee, was not authorised by the cabinet or the partyroom. It has no standing. Yet this bill was assumed to be the model to inform the original plebiscite had it been approved.

Alarm about this bill and other bills including that proposed by senator Dean Smith, despite the broader guarantees surrounding the same-sex marriage ceremony Brandis and Smith drafted, is obvious from the submissions made to the Senate committee.

Its chairman, South Australian Liberal David Fawcett, tells ­Inquirer: "My concern is that if we don’t get this right, if this issue is just put into the too-hard basket, then we will be left with inadequate state anti-discrimination laws and there will be action taken against individuals because there is inadequate protection for ­religious freedom.”

In his foreword to the report Fawcett says: "If Australia is to remain a plural, tolerant society where different views are valued and legal, legislators much recognise that this change will require careful, simultaneous consideration of a wide range of specialist areas of law as opposed to the common perception that it ­involves just a few words in one act of parliament.”

The Turnbull government has ignored the spirit or letter of this advice. Hastie identified this flaw when he said to this paper during the week: "Will people, churches, schools, charitable organisations and businesses be protected if they hold to the common view of marriage?” The Senate committee report shows they will not. This issue goes far beyond the ceremony itself to wider society.

Saying the Smith bill is defective, Hastie says it "only offered protections to individuals involved in the conduct of weddings” and, as a result, "failed to grasp the far-reaching significance of redefining marriage”.

This is the core point. It is the challenge the Coalition will abandon only at the price of betraying the principles basic to its life since the inception of these parties. Will Turnbull before the next election face the prospect of believers in traditional marriage being penalised or intimidated because his government refused to provide legal protections? If so, how will conservative voters react?

The irony is that Smith agrees religious protections are inadequate and should be addressed. He tells Inquirer: "I think there is legitimacy to a broad discussion of religious freedom in Australia.”

But Smith doesn’t want this to interfere with his bill or the passing of same-sex marriage. He wants this as a separate discussion.

Brandis makes no secret of the approach he took as A-G. His focus was on the same-sex marriage bill itself and he was ambitious in pushing the boundaries against much LGBTI sentiment to ensure that marriage celebrants as well as ministers of religion can refuse to solemnise marriages. Smith also pushed the boundaries with these provisions.

But this ignores the real problem, which far transcends protections around weddings as such. The current law leaves wide open many avenues of intimidation against individuals, schools, charities, businesses, adoption agencies and civic ­organisations. This includes consumer boycotts promoted by ­social media and even commercial boycotts against other commercial entities.

The Senate committee after reviewing the landscape said: "Overall the evidence supports the need for current protections for religious freedom to be enhanced. This would most appropriately be achieved through the inclusion of ‘religious belief’ in federal anti-discrimination law.”

Incredibly, this was the view of the whole committee. Many bodies supported this recommendation in their submissions. Human Rights commissioner Ed Santow said: "You could have a stand-alone statute that specifically dealt with freedom of religion or you could expand the Racial Discrimination Act.” Even the Australian Human Rights Commission agrees there should be a specific protection in federal law protecting religious belief.

Yet nothing has been done. Of course, this is a big project. The Turnbull government should have tied such measures to the same-sex marriage issue from the start, an omission it will regret. Because it is proposing to legislate same-sex marriage before Christmas if the plebiscite is passed, the signal is that the government intends to do nothing, or give an extremely low priority to any further religious protection concerns.

Equally significant, there is no plan within the government if the plebiscite is carried for the cabinet or partyroom to consider any planned private member’s bill that would be the subject of a free vote. Inquirer has been told there would be informal "consultations” over such a bill. That’s all. How satisfactory is this?

It raises a core issue: will the cabinet and partyroom tolerate a situation where their government paves the way for such a historic social change simultaneous with a manifest failure to properly provide for protections in relation to conscience, belief and religion? What would this reveal about the values of the Liberal Party in 2017 or its sense of blind panic about getting same-sex marriage off the political agenda?

University of Sydney law professor Patrick Parkinson welcomes the protections for ministers of religion and for marriage celebrants but says this is far from sufficient. "In certain sections of the community, there is now deep hatred expressed for people of faith,” he says.

"Provisions are required to protect people from discrimination on account of whatever views they may hold about marriage, whether they are opposed to same-sex marriage or in favour of it.”

He says it must be made lawful for any person or entity to express an opinion that accords with a religious or conscientious belief about marriage. He advocates laws to protect people or entities in relation to employment, contracting, academic, trade or professional qualification, accommo­dation, education and adminis­tration of commonwealth laws and programs.

Institute for Civil Society executive director Mark Sneddon summarises his views based on his submission to the Senate committee: "I am extremely concerned about the lack of legal protection across this country in terms of freedom of conscience, belief and religion for people who support traditional marriage.

"These protections are far less than those for people who support same-sex marriage. Yet it is those who support traditional marriage who are more susceptible to ­actions … from government bodies and commercial ­organisations.

"Where persons hold the traditional view of marriage not on grounds of religious belief, they have no protection under federal, state and territory anti-discrimination laws or the Fair Work Act. If they hold the traditional view of marriage on the grounds of ­religious belief they have no protection under federal anti-discrimination law, no protection under NSW or South Australian anti-discrimination laws and some protection under the anti-discrimination laws of the other states or territories but only for individuals and not organisations.”

The Senate committee was provided with examples of prejudicial treatment of people and institutions because they support traditional marriage. Provided by the Institute for Civil Society, it is a long and startling list.

There was the closure of all Catholic adoption agencies in England and Wales or the transfer of their operations to secular entities because their charitable status was removed due to their position and practices on same-sex marriage.

There was the intimidation of Trinity Western University in British Columbia, a Canadian Christian university, in which the province’s teachers board refused accreditation to its graduates on grounds they might discriminate against LGBTI students, a decision reversed by the Supreme Court of Canada after years of litigation.

But when Trinity Western applied to open a law school, Canadian legal institutions including the Canadian Bar Association and a number of provincial law societies voted not to accredit its graduates because they had signed a required university covenant to abstain from sex unless it was between a husband and wife.

The attitude of large corporates is a major concern. Last year ­numerous US companies threatened to boycott the state of Georgia after legislation was tabled seeking to expand religious freedom exceptions in relation to same-sex marriage. The companies included Disney, Intel, Coca-Cola and Unilever. Disney said: "We will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law.”

Given the support Australian companies have offered same-sex marriage, any idea they would not pursue this cause against religious freedom seems forlorn. Indeed, it is hard to find any statement of meaningful support for religious freedom and belief from a senior Australian corporate executive on this issue, a telling omission.

At home there was huge pressure for the sacking by IBM of Mark Allaby and by Macquarie University of Steven Chavura unless they resigned from other bodies perceived to oppose same-sex marriage. A boycott was imposed by hotels against Coopers Brewing because it sponsored the Bible Society, which ran a video not against same-sex marriage but one that put both sides of the debate.

In the US, Chick-fil-A, a sandwich franchise, was subject to consumer boycotts and government and commercial retaliation when a senior executive supported traditional marriage. Brendan Eich, co-founder of Mozilla Corporation, known for its browser Firefox, triggered a consumer boycott because he had supported an anti-gay marriage position. He was forced to step down.

In Sydney the Mercure Hotel, which was hosting an event of various Christian groups to form a strategy against same-sex marriage, was threatened with violent protests such that staff safety could not be guaranteed. It had to cancel the event, an example of how easily the technique of intimidation can deliver. The most celebrated domestic case is the decision by Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner that the Catholic Archbishop of Hobart, Julian Porteous, had a case to answer for distributing a book in schools defending traditional marriage.

The evidence and examples rebuff the lazy response from politicians that this is not a serious issue. Referring to the overseas examples, Sneddon says: "I cannot see why these more extreme actions taken … in North America would not also be taken here.”

The Senate committee report corrects a near universal misconception repeated in this debate: that same-sex marriage is an established human right. This was disposed of in many submissions notably by Mark Fowler, from Neumann & Turnour lawyers.

In international law, the right to marry is contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This provision does not extend to same-sex marriage, an issue tested in the ruling Joslin v New Zealand. This position has been affirmed by the ­European Court of Human Rights in its rulings that there is no such right to same-sex marriage.

Such a right is typically claimed in polemical debate but its legal ­viability does not hold up. The Senate committee accepts this view, saying "under current human rights instruments and juris­prudence there have been no decisions to date that oblige Australia to legislate for same-sex marriage”. By contrast — and ironically — freedom of religion is one of the few non-derogable rights in the ICCPR.

Parkinson says: "While the case in international human rights law for saying that same-sex marriage is a human right is very weak, the case for protecting religious freedom, and in particular freedom of conscience, is quite overwhelming. There have been numerous bills introduced in parliament to enact same-sex marriage over the last few years and what has been common to most of them has been a minimalist protection for freedom of conscience.”

The plebiscite idea originated with Peter Dutton. Its implementation via the Bureau of Statistics came from Brandis. But it will occur only with the approval of the High Court and nobody can second-guess that outcome. Smith is right when he says his bill has more protections than anything likely to come from a Labor government. But this cannot gainsay the gaping hole left in this pivotal area of our national life and values.

For years the typical response from politicians to the religious freedom issue has been patronising and dismissive, buttressed by the claim that religious ministers would be protected. Any notion that will suffice is ludicrous.

The resistance falls into three categories: those who care only about achieving same-sex marriage; those who think protection around the ceremony is the only issue that matters; and those, like the champions of progressive ideology, who see this social change as an integral step in driving religion from the public square.


Same-sex advocates caught out

It really is no wonder so many ­people who consume mainstream media are sceptical about ­journalism.

The press conference held by Malcolm Turnbull and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann in the Blue Room at Parliament House in Canberra last Tuesday on the Coalition’s plans for a same-sex marriage postal plebiscite was the worst kind of media pack performance.

It was a rowdy groupthink rounding on the PM by gallery ­reporters who displayed shared moral outrage at the idea of the voters having a say on one of the most fundamental issues in any society: marriage and the raising of children.

And of course the gallery gave the government no credit for sticking to a plebiscite promise it took to the election just over 12 months ago.

No such confected outrage against Labor, the Greens and the Senate crossbench for an anti-democratic, elitist blocking of a popular vote.

So what to make of the media coverage, the moral posturing of Labor leaders who as recently as the Gillard prime ministership ­opposed any change to the Marriage Act and the hysterical claims by advocates that any plebiscite will unleash a wave of anti-gay ­hatred? How about: "You must all be joking and isn’t this all just ­political grandstanding?”

Penny Wong, Labor’s leader in the Senate, spoke emotionally on Wednesday about her love for her children and complained that the Australian Christian Lobby had compared the plight of children of gay couples to the Stolen Generation. But Wong herself spoke against gay marriage as recently as 2010 when she said religious and cultural issues would keep ­marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

People can change their minds of course but if it has taken until 2017 for a gay woman with a long-term partner and children who is a national leader in progressive ­politics to get to her present ­position, why the opprobrium for people who still share her former ­concerns?

While I would vote for a change on the basis that I support economic and personal freedom and the limiting of big government intervention in people’s lives, I agree with all those who say it is not a first-order issue. And I question advocates who spruik polls citing 60-70 per cent support for reform, but reject polls showing 46 per cent want a plebiscite on the issue compared with 39 per cent who want parliament to decide. If advocates are confident of community support, why not test it now?

There was a clue on The Drum last Tuesday when Sydney’s Fairfield councillor Dai Le, a supporter of SSM and a critic of the plebiscite, said she was worried many migrant groups in her area would baulk at the issue if given a vote. Yes, that’s the nature of democracy Dai.

And the truth is, many recent migrant groups from Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu backgrounds will be among the most passionate opponents of SSM. When will our ABC give spokespeople from those religions airtime to tell Australians what their communities really think instead of alway criticising the Christian churches?

To be fair to progressive journalists, at least some from Fairfax Media have been honest about the political expediency of Labor on the issue and have belled the cat on Shorten’s venal desire to cause political problems for the PM within the Coalition at the expense of the marriage equality issue he supports. Both Mark Kenny and Peter Hartcher pointed to Shorten’s blatant hypocrisy

The ABC has been relentless and one-sided on the issue. By Thursday lunchtime ABC News editorial policy manager Mark Maley had emailed staff warning them of the need to be impartial on the issue.

Emma Alberici on Lateline has been among the worst. On Monday night she started an interview with Cormann with a self-regarding tale about the 15-year-old friend of her daughter who had just come out as gay and been kicked out of home.

As if people’s rights to a democratic vote should be curtailed to protect a daughter’s friend’s feelings. What if the 15-year old wanted to be a priest and was distressed by the ABC’s attitude to the Catholic Church? Does anyone think Alberici would consider reining in the ABC’s war on the church?

The Drum seems to find it difficult not to talk about SSM every day or to get guests who have ­anything positive to say about the government’s decision to keep its election promise. That was until The Australian Financial Review’s Aaron Patrick stood his ground on the program last Tuesday.

But what to make of the drivel from fellow panellist Emma Dawson, of the left wing Per Capita research lobby, who demanded to know why people were calling "marriage equality” "same-sex marriage”? Well that would be to avoid the language spin of the ­advocates who invented the ­marriage equality line. The ABC’s Maley wrote in his email to staff that reporters should start using the entirely accurate term: same-sex marriage.

A range of ABC programs trotted out former High Court judge Michael Kirby about why he would not be participating in the postal vote after 50 years of ­abusive comments for his gay relationship with former Rose Bay newsagent Johan Van Vloten.

Now Kirby, who lived in a magnificent Sydney Harbour waterfront home he sold for $12 million six years ago and rose to the highest court in the land after a glittering legal career, does not strike me as any kind of victim. A graduate of Fort Street High School, society has been very kind to Kirby.

Sure terrible things were done in the past to gay men and women but I see little evidence Kirby, or indeed Wong, are victims of any sort. If they really want to change the law surely it was always ­morally incumbent upon them to participate in the postal plebiscite and campaign for reform, and that is the position they — and most of Twitter — reached after Labor’s backflip.

While not wanting to sign up to the whole mawkish tone of modern offence culture, what about the feelings of people in "de facto” relationships, heterosexual and homosexual? Isn’t all this privileging of "marriage” an implied criticism of the "loving families” and children raised in such relationships?

Of course some people will say silly and offensive things, as former senator Bronwyn Bishop did on Paul Murray Live on Tuesday night when she talked about polygamy and people having sex with animals. But so what? Lots of silly things are said in all debates.

As the Prime Minister said on Tuesday, are we really suggesting that from now on our country can never again hold a referendum on a subject that might generate offensive comments? As someone who grew up during the Vietnam War protest era this seems to me a very soft attitude to democratic debate.

And how to understand SSM advocates rounding on profoundly progressive SSM supporter Mia Freedman for posting a photo of her wedding ring in support of the right of gay people to the same vow?

Just like the social media abuse hurled at Australian Christian Lobby leader Lyle Shelton every day for years, it gives the lie to the notion that the victims of bad manners in this debate will be the families of gay couples.

As usual the social media left will outdo the rest of society in rudeness, and no doubt play into the hands of former PM and SSM opponent Tony Abbott, who could have some success framing the postal plebiscite as a referendum on political correctness and bullying of the left.


Businessman Dick Smith spends $1million on 'chilling' new anti-immigration ad warning Australia is doomed

Businessman Dick Smith is pressuring politicians to slash the number of immigrants accepted into Australia in a $1 million 'disturbing' ad campaign threatening violence and poverty.

The television advertisement, which will air on Tuesday, is based on the 1980s Grim Reaper AIDS campaign and will feature original actor John Stanton.

Using a pitchfork as an ominous symbol for a violent revolution, Mr Smith warns that 'endless growth will destroy Australia as we know it today.'

'Our growth-addicted economic system will see our children living in a world of eleven billion people, consuming and polluting more than our finite planet can withstand,' the millionaire entrepreneur claims in the Dick Smith Fair Go campaign ad.

'It's a path to either more and more inequality, or famine, disaster, war and collapse. Are we that stupid?'

Mr Smith appeals for politicians to cut the annual number of immigrants in half and offers to invest $2 million into marginal seats in the next election for the political party that drafts a population plan.

The outspoken One Nation supporter is also calling to close the gap between Australia's wealthiest people and the poor.

'Australia's wealthiest 1 percent own more than the bottom 70 percent, that's 17 million Aussies,' he said.

Mr Smith said that as a member of that top tier, he knows the group can 'certainly afford to pay more tax,' according to The Daily Telegraph.

A few of his own office staff members have called the ad 'disturbing,' Mr Smith said.

'It is so disturbing people in my office said they did not want their children to see it, but it is what we see on the news every night,' he said, according to the publication.

Mr Smith and radio host Alan Jones will launch the ad campaign at an event in Sydney on Tuesday morning.


Climate of infighting in Greens

Rhiannon is an old Trot from way back and is just using the Greens to further her personal agenda.  She wants to push the Greens even further Left than they already are -- towards Communism

Former Greens leader Bob Brown has accused NSW senator Lee Rhiannon of being a "team wrecker" and urged her to retire, as the party struggles with internal problems.

The ABC's Four Corners program on Monday night features interviews with key players in the Greens, including Dr Brown who says he "looks forward" to the end of Senator's Rhiannon's "reign" in The Greens NSW.

"I've had to take Lee aside when I was party leader and tell her that she was damaging the party through her actions," he says in the program.

Senator Rhiannon was temporarily suspended from voting in the Australian Greens party room in June after insisting she was bound by Greens NSW in opposing a deal with the government on the Gonski 2.0 schools funding package.

In a statement on Monday the senator insisted she was a team player and respected the party's decisions.  "It is disappointing that a senior Greens figure such as Bob Brown should ignite tensions with public attacks," she said.

Senator Rhiannon said Dr Brown had trouble accepting some of the candidates preselected by Greens NSW and its structure, which was not dominated by MPs.  "Our stance on party structure earnt the ire of Bob Brown and he periodically comes out and attacks me. The attacks are not only hurtful, they damage the Australian Greens," she said.

The Greens have since allowed Senator Rhiannon back in the party room.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, who did not take part in the ABC program, said there were "obviously tensions about the processes we use". "We've been up-front about that. The party room is trying to work through a lot of that," she told Sky News.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said he found Dr Brown's criticism "surprising", but correct.  "He's quite right in calling out people who've gone into his party but who aren't really loyal to that party," Mr Albanese told reporters in Canberra.

The Greens were secretive and harboured many former members of "far-left political parties".


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, 2017

Andrew Forrest says the Greens are the ‘party for paedophiles’ for not supporting the cashless debit card

It's a credit to him that Twiggy really cares about the suffering brought to Aboriginal communities by alcohol  Most people, even governments, seem to have given up the Aboriginal situation as "too hard" but Twiggy hasn't given up.  Below is an old Greenie bag nemed Rachel Siewert who rejects Twiggy's concerns.  But Greenies don't care about anyone, black or white.  To them "people are pollution"

BILLIONAIRE Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest has labelled the Greens "the party for paedophiles” for failing to support a cashless debit card for welfare recipients.

Mr Forrest has long supported such a card believing it would stop welfare payments being spent on drugs and alcohol. This week he travelled to Canberra to show Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten CCTV footage of unconscious children being assaulted.

The Greens refused to attend the screening for reasons Mr Forrest dubbed "human rights horsesh*t”.

"I have to hold the Greens accountable here; the Greens might as well be the party for paedophiles, the party for child sex abusers — you’re the party of human rights and you’ve forgotten the human rights of children, just call yourself the party for paedophiles,” he said, according to Fairfax Media. "While we play politics, Bill Shorten, Malcolm Turnbull, the cross benches, kids are dying and the instant someone plays politics, you literally consign another life to being molested, to being abused, to being kept from school, or worse, committing suicide.”

"I’m asking the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition to put wedge politics aside and come out and strongly back the little children in vulnerable communities, because quite literally, while Australia dithers on this, children are dying,” he said. "I want the government to listen to the communities. Governments are flat out listening to everyone else from the community from academics, to green politicians to people who don’t go to these communities, don’t care about these communities, and reckon they’re an authority on them, whereas we should just give the cashless debit card to those communities who are begging for it.”

The cashless welfare card is being trialled at two sites — East Kimberley, WA and Ceduna, SA.

The government has announced plans to expand the trial to two more sites.

The trial has shown a reduction in alcohol and drug abuse and some homelessness but about half of the participants say the card made their lives worse.

Greens senator Rachel Siewert dismissed Mr Forrest’s comments.

"Andrew Forrest tends to run bizarre commentary against people who do not agree with his ideas and this is just another example,” she said. "I will not be bullied into supporting the cashless welfare card and will not be dignifying his absurd and offensive comments any further.”


'My rights are not a game!' Outrage as Sportsbet offers odds on outcome of Australia's postal plebiscite on same-sex marriage

It's one of the most important issues in Australian politics today - but should gambling agencies really be having a bet each way?

Members of the LGBT community and supporters of same-sex marriage have expressed outrage after discovering Sportsbet is now offering odds on the results of Australia's controversial postal plebiscite.

On Tuesday Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed the plebiscite on the issue after the Senate rejected the same-sex marriage vote for a second time.

The Sportsbet wager poses the questions 'Will there be a postal vote on SSM?'  Odds are at $1.27 for 'Yes', there will be, and is paying out $3.50 for 'No' there will not be a vote.

The postal vote is understood to cost tax-payers $122 million and could happen as early as September 12.

A Victoria man was quick to call out the bet citing it was a 'curious' moment when he stumbled upon the bet.

Matt Davis said gambling is known to be a commercial form of entertainment to make a game more enjoyable for participants by creating 'an active element for the spectator'.

'Queer rights aren't a game, nor have human and civil rights ever been a game,' he told Daily Mail Australia. 

'It's outrageous to bet on the odds of something like that and potentially creates an unconscious bias.'

In a post on Facebook he said: 'My rights - my friends' rights, my family members' rights - are not a game; our (the Queer community's) rights are not a joke for you to gamble on.'
The postal vote is understood to cost tax-payers $122 million and could happen as early as September 12

He urged his friends to enrol to vote with the Australian Electoral Commission to voice their stance on the matter. 'Please take this debate seriously. Our rights aren't a silly game for you to play with.' 

One Twitter user who noticed the bet took to the social media platform to claim: 'This is probably one of the worst things I have seen all week.'

In addition to 'Will there be a postal vote on SSM?' there was also opportunities to bet on 'How many votes cast in SSM postal ballot?' with answers ranging from less than 5 million, to more than 13 million and 'How many in favour of SSM?'

James Kennedy, a member of the LGBT community, who is in favour of the same-sex marriage proposal, told Daily Mail he felt the bet was taking away from the seriousness of the issue but wasn't disheartened by it. 'I think it's trivializing the issue,' he said.

'It's really sensitive to the LGBTI community - however the probability is providing a bias I'm not offended by.

'Hopefully the odds are in our favour and the gays will get married soon enough.' 


Far-Left Melbourne municipality to turn itself into a slum

Thanks in part to a peculiar election system, the council is run by a prize collection of Green/Left nuts

A city council's plan for the future will allow the homeless or vulnerable to camp in the street and neighbours to go through each other's garbage bins.

Moreland City Council in Melbourne have drafted a general local law plan which has proven to be quite controversial.

The rubbish law will allow people to pick up items from the side of the road in the annual hard rubbish collection days.

This appears to be a popular move however it would also mean people would be free to rifle through the contents of their neighbours' bins.

People would also be allowed to use anyone's wheelie bins if theirs were full.

'No people should not touching your own bin at all. With hard rubbish yes to people taking away your hard rubbish for a few reasons its saves the rate payers money cos there is less to pick up and people rubbish can be someones gold so play on,' one local said. 'I don't pay rates for my bins to be communal bins,' said another.

'It's funny how attached we all seem to be our possessions even the ones we deem rubbish! Of course one should be able to reuse something that is left out for hard waste.

'One mans trash is another mans treasure after all. As for wheely bins - once it hits the kerb it's public property. I have no problem with anyone using my bin especially if the alternative is littering,' one woman said.

The new draft plan also means changes to who can camp in the street.

Moreland Counci spans from Brunswick East near the CBD to Glenroy near Essendon airport in the west and Fawkner in the east with the Metropolitan Ring Road marking the northern most boundary.

If the local law is passed homeless people could spring up tent cities in the area.

The proposed law states camping must be limited to prescribed council areas unless a person is homeless or is in need of secure accommodation or they are experiencing challenging circumstances and need support.

The proposed plan has been met with some opposition from locals.  'No don't do it, all the homeless people will permanently live in the parklands.....look at Hawaii,' one woman said.  'No ... homeless people will move in and then be hard to move on!' said another.

'No. No rate payers on Moreland will be camping out. But homeless and backpackers will at the expense of ratepayers who pay for the Parklands,' said another.

But others agreed with the proposal. 'Yes. If homeless people find somewhere safe to stay, ... that is a good thing,' one woman said. 'If they're not hurting anyone I don't see a problem,' said another.

The council will make a decision on the plan after August 20.


Ex-presidents demand Australian Medical Association retracts support for gay marriage

Five former state presidents of the Australian Medical Association are among almost 400 doctors who have signed a petition asking the nation’s peak medical body to retract its support for same-sex marriage.

The rearguard group, led by former AMA Tasmania president Chris Middleton, delivered a letter to AMA national president Mich­ael Gannon yesterday accusing him of making "false and misleading claims” about why same-sex marriage should be treated as a health issue.

"In the six days since the ‘medical critique’ was made public a further­ 368 of us, including 26 professors and associate professors and five past state presidents, have added our voices to this sincere expression of concern,” Dr Middleton wrote in the letter.

Among the signatories was Howard government minister John Herron, also a former president of the AMA Queensland.

Former AMA West Australian president Paul Skerritt also signed the petition, along with former AMA Tasmanian presidents Haydn Walters and Michael Aizen. Four of the five past presidents who signed the petition are AMA fellows, which is one of the body’s highest honours.

The Weekend Australian revealed­ last week that Dr Middleton and five other AMA members had compiled a report savaging the body’s processes in choosing to support same-sex marriage.

The report was critical of the AMA for not consulting the membership before it made its position statement on same-sex marriage, as it had done for other controversial issues, such as euthanasia.

The report said the AMA used flimsy evidence to argue children of gay couples had the same health outcomes as those raised by their biological mother and father. It also criticised evidence used by the AMA to claim legalising same-sex marriage would improve­ the health of gay people.

Dr Herron, who was Aboriginal affairs minister from 1996-2001, said the AMA should have consulted its membership base, rather than agreeing to pursue the policy after a meeting of state presidents at the AMA’s federal council.

"It didn’t do any polling on the membership of the AMA,” Dr Herron told The Weekend Australian. "And I don’t agree with the statement because a child deserves a mother and a father, not two mothers and two fathers.”

Dr Gannon said he understood why some members were disappointed with the AMA’s position on same-sex marriage, which was announced earlier in the year.

"I respect their right to have an opinion and it is natural that the AMA will produce position statements which are divisive,” he said.

"I expected a portion of our membership to be unhappy about our statement on marriage equal­ity and I was prepared for some resignations on it. But I am very happy to defend the process.

"It was worked out through a working group made up of federal councillors and other experts.”

He said the body would review whether it should have polled its membership base. "That is something we will reflect on," Dr Gannon said. "We gave ourselves a lot of pats on the back when it came to our process on the physician-assisted­ suicide (position statement), the way we did it so carefully and went to the membership and surveyed them.

"So I think we will reflect on whether we got this one right. But it … would be fair to say that the respon­se ... has been overwhelmingly supportive in terms of our position on marriage equality.”


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

13 August, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG notes several current dramas

'Political correctness gone mad': Australian Army told not to recruit MEN as part of a gender war push to have more women soldiers

The army has definitely gone to the dogs since I was in it. Will they all get powder puff training soon? Will they still be able to fight a war? What is good about female soldiers anyway? Do we want to kill the nation's future mothers?

The Australian Army is turning away male recruits in a 'politically correct' push to increase the number of female cadets.

Recruiters at the Australian Defence Force have been told they will be re-located if they ignore orders to target women for new jobs, The Daily Telegraph reported.

There are no jobs available for men in the in the infantry as a rifleman or as an artilleryman. But these positions are marked as 'recruit immediately' if a female applies.

'This is political correctness gone mad. I don't care if it is a man or a woman- I just want to get the best person for the job,' one army recruiter told the paper.

The female recruitment drive comes from top management.

Chief of Army Lieutenant General Angus Campbell earlier this year said: 'We aspire to have 25 per cent representation of women in Army by 2025.' Woman currently make up 12.7 per cent of the army.

A Defence spokesman said: 'While Defence maintains targets to encourage greater participation of women, every candidate must meet the required standards. 'Successful candidates are selected based on merit and their capacity to do the work, not on their gender.'


That good ol' "sustainable" power in South Australia

Their Greenie strategy goes from disaster to farce.  They now  plan to burn RIVERS of diesel fuel, which -- dare I mention it? -- is a FOSSIL fuel.  Pity they blew up those coal-fired generators, isn't it?

Generators the Weatherill government is buying to prevent blackouts this summer ahead of the March state election will use 80,000 litres of diesel an hour.

The fleet of generators, currently being shipped from Europe to South Australia, have been used for temporary generation around the world. But those behind the South Australian energy security project, costing taxpayers more than $300 million, yesterday could not say if the generators had ever been used as part of a permanent solution.

In a major revision to his $550m go-it-alone energy plan, Premier Jay Weatherill last week announced nine “state-of-the-art” gen­erators providing up to 276 megawatts would be purchased to provide back-up power for the next two summers.

Rather than build a state-owned gas-fired power station, the generators would be moved to one permanent site in 2019 to become a power plant and be switched to gas.

Yesterday, executives from the Premier’s Department and privately owned electricity distribution company SA Power Networks appeared before parlia­ment’s public works committee. The committee was told the nine hybrid turbines, to be installed at the Adelaide desalination plant in Lonsdale and the Holden site in Elizabeth, would involve “fuel costs in the vicinity of about 80,000 litres an hour for all nine turbines”.

Energy Plan Implementation executive director Sam Crafter said the protocols of when and how to turn the generators on were still being discussed by the Australian Energy Market Operator and SA Power Networks.

Mr Crafter said the objective of the generators was to prevent load shedding, rather than reducing the cost of power, over the next two summers. “This was not part of the plan targeted at affordability; it was around security and reliability ­elements of the plan,” he said.

“However, having a more reliable back-up plan does help with the ability for people to have confidence and contracting, and minimising the risk elements that they put into their contracts.”

Mr Crafter said while a permanent site was yet to be chosen, it would require a gas connection. “We weren’t able to get to a site with a gas connection and also connect to the transmission network by December 1, so that’s why we have landed on the two sites here,” he said.

Project sponsor Nick Smith said the ambitious project was a on a “tight timeline”. “It is a tight schedule ... there are a lot of things that need to be pulled together to make it happen by December 1,” he said.

Technical support manager Paul Godden said the generators were “intended for both temporary and permanent solutions”.

Liberal MP David Pisoni said it was “extraordinary that you are not able to tell this committee where this is being used permanently”. Mr Crafter said while the generators operated in 2000 sites around the world, “I do not have the specifics of how they operate in each of those sites”.


Qld: 'no body, no parole' law passed

"No body, no parole" laws have passed Queensland parliament with support from both the government and opposition.

The legislation is designed to ensure murderers who haven't identified the location of their victims' bodies won't be released without serving maximum time.

The opposition had been trying to pass its own amendments to the legislation, but some last minute discussions with the government on Wednesday night saw Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath change the amendments to ensure the legislation passed.

Members of two families affected by the laws, the Pullen family and the Split family, watched the passage of the legislation from the public gallery on Thursday, and applauded when it was passed.

Fiona Split from Cooktown in far north Queensland has been fighting for a version of the laws since her husband was murdered in 2012, with his remains never found.

Gary and Leanne Pullen's son Tim was also murdered in 2012, with one of the men responsible for his death spending only a little more than a year behind bars.

Their story moved opposition MP Tim Mander to tears in parliament on Tuesday as he spoke in favour of the legislation.


Schoolchildren BANNED from inviting friends to church

Kids ordered to stop 'recruiting' classmates to religious events - but they can now send Christmas cards with Jesus on them

Schoolchildren in Queensland could be banned from inviting their classmates to religious events, but will be allowed to hand out Christmas cards in the playground.

The Queensland government had been moving to ban Christian references in the state's schools - including sharing Yuletide messages - as part of an unofficial policy taking aim at young evangelists, The Australian reported last month. 

The idea was widely criticised by religious groups and has now been scrapped, with the Department of Education turning its attention to religious 'recruitment' on school grounds.

A revised version of the Department's review of Religious Instruction Materials warns that students should not be encouraged by teachers to invite their peers to religious classes.

'Instructors should not direct students in their [Religious Instruction] class to try to recruit other students to RI,' the review, released on Thursday, states.

'This is not in accordance with a parents' right to choose whether their child experiences the messages delivered in RI.

'Children in our schools come from diverse backgrounds and it is important that RI instructors encourage respectful relationships.'

Examples had been found where religious students had been told to recruit others, the review said.

'RI instructors should be reminded in the notes that students should not be encouraged to recruit other students at the school,' it read.

The focus on 'recruiting' and apparent backdown on 'evangelising' - explained in the reviews as sharing Jesus-themed Christmas cards and making bracelets to share 'the good news about Jesus' - has caused confusion.

Education Minister Kate Jones and religious groups have asked for further clarity as to what constitutes 'recruitment' in the schoolyard.

'What conduct would it encompass? Is ''recruitment'' meant to cover such innocuous statements as ''my church youth group is fun, come along''?' Mark Fowler, who represents religious groups and charities, told The Australian.


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

11 August, 2017

Vegemite is good for you (1)

I think Vegemite is gourmet food! JR

People who eat Vegemite and other yeast spreads are less anxious than those who don't, new research has found.

A study from the University of Victoria has shown there is indeed truth to the 'happy little Vegemites' jingle - thanks to the high levels of B vitamins in the product.

'There isn't any scientific evidence to back up [the jingle], which is something we were interested in establishing,' Professor Vasso Apostolopoulos told the Herald Sun.

The research found not just any yeast spread would do, with spreads that contained B12 proving to be the most effective.

These included Marmite and a brand of Vegemite marketed to children, called My First Vegemite.

'Those who ate spreads that contained B12, which includes Marmite and the new Vegemite with the orange lid, were even less stressed and anxious than those who ate the other brands,' the Professor said.

Earlier, the Professor told the University she and her team had chosen to examine yeast spreads because of their high levels of B vitamins, which help moderate stress.

'We know these [yeast] extracts contain some of the world's richest sources of B vitamins, which are essential in keeping our bodies energised and regulating the nervous system,' she said.

'What we want to find out is whether consuming these vitamins through yeast-based supplements in an everyday diet improves depression, anxiety and stress scores.'

More than 500 people in Australia and New Zealand were surveyed online. They were asked if they ate the spreads, which ones, and then their moods were monitored.

Despite the promising results, the Victorian Professor said the spreads were not adequate replacements for medical treatment of depression and mental health problems.


Vegemite is good for you (2)

SCIENTISTS in Sydney have made a world first breakthrough in pregnancy research that is expected to save thousands of lives by preventing miscarriages and multiple types of birth defects.

The research team at Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute has also found a remarkably simple cure — a common dietary supplement that contains niacin, one of key elements of Vegemite.

The historic discovery, believed to be among Australia’s greatest ever medical achievements, is expected to forever change the way pregnant women are cared for around the globe.

Professor Sally Dunwoodie from the Victor Chang Institute has identified a major cause of miscarriages as well as heart, spinal, kidney and cleft palate problems in newborn babies.

“The ramifications are likely to be huge. This has the potential to significantly reduce the number of miscarriages and birth defects around the world and I do not say those words lightly,” Prof Dunwoodie said.

Every year 7.9 million babies are born with a birth defect worldwide and one-in-four pregnant women will suffer a miscarriage in Australia. In the vast majority of cases the cause of these problems has remained a mystery. Until now.

The landmark study found that a deficiency in a vital molecule, known as NAD, prevents a baby’s organs from developing correctly in the womb.

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is one of the most important molecules in all living cells. NAD synthesis is essential for energy production, DNA repair and cell communication. Disrupting its production causes a NAD deficiency.

The Victor Chang researchers have found this deficiency is particularly harmful during a pregnancy as it cripples an embryo when it is forming.

Prof Dunwoodie said: “Now after 12 years of research, our team has also discovered that this deficiency can be cured and miscarriages and birth defects prevented by taking a common vitamin.”

At the heart of the paramount discovery is the dietary supplement vitamin B3, also known as niacin.

Scientists at the Victor Chang Institute have discovered how to prevent miscarriages and birth defects by simply boosting levels of the nutrient during pregnancy.

Vitamin B3 is typically found in meats and green vegetables as well as vegemite. However, a recent study found that despite taking vitamin supplements at least a third of pregnant women have low levels of vitamin B3 in their first trimester, which is the critical time in organ development.

By the third trimester, vitamin B3 levels were low in 60 per cent of pregnant women. Researchers said this indicated pregnant women may require more vitamin B3 than is available in most vitamin supplements.

Using a preclinical model, scientists at the Victor Chang Institute investigated the effect of vitamin B3 on developing embryos. The results were astounding.

Before vitamin B3 was introduced into the mother’s diet embryos were either lost through miscarriage or the offspring were born with a range of severe birth defects. After the dietary change both the miscarriages and birth defects were completely prevented with all the offspring born perfectly healthy.


Some things you can't blame Malcolm Turnbull for: the state of the NBN is one of them

Customers who switch to it (and they are being given no choice – their existing services turn off 18 months after they are invited to switch) are greeted with slower speeds, more dropouts, unreliable phone and alarm services, and movies that continually buffer when they try to watch them between 4pm and 10pm.

Many are worse off than they were before.

Importantly, they are worse off whether they are getting the new Turnbull NBN, which is delivered by a mix of technologies, or Labor's original national broadband network, which in cities was to be delivered all by fibre-to-the-premises.

Australia's foremost telecommunications analyst, Ian Martin of New Street Research, says the method of delivery has nothing to do with it.

"Let's be clear, technology is not the issue in slow speeds," he wrote in the Australian Financial Review this month. "Hybrid fibre coaxial and fibre to the node are well able to handle speeds of 50 megabits per second and 100Mbps or more. In some places the copper component is old and slow but this is not an issue across the board and can be dealt with other than by an expensive upgrade to fibre to the home nationally."

Horrendously expensive and unbelievably time-consuming, Labor's original plan was for a technician to lay or string an optic fibre cable into each home and business in each of Australia's cities and big towns at a cost of $4300 per premises. It was essential for Labor to keep the cost off-budget: $49 billion gets noticed when you are running a deficit. So it decreed that NBNCo, the government-owned company that was to build the NBN, would eventually make a profit.

Spending on profit-making companies isn't treated as spending under the oddly-named Charter of Budget Honesty, which is one of the reasons the current government is building the Western Sydney airport and the Melbourne to Brisbane rail freight link that way. As long as it can pretend they'll one day make a profit it can keep the cost of building them off its books.

Dodgy assumptions in its 2010 corporate plan helped. It assumed that no more than 16.4 per cent of customers would abandon fixed lines. It's achieving only a 75 per cent take-up, suggesting the real figure is closer to 25 per cent. It assumed the number of households would grow at a compound annual rate of 1.6 per cent per year. Between the last two censuses it's grown by much less.

It assumed that people would want to pay big-time for more speed, as it had to.

Two million or so customers on, it's discovering that eight out of 10 select the lowest speeds possible: 12Mbps and 25Mbps, turning 50Mbps and 100Mbps into niche products.

    There's nothing inherent in the NBN that's strangling its speed and giving customers grief; it's inherent in the pricing model it adopted to make it look as if it could make money.

It expected customers to upgrade as they became acquainted with the wonders of high speed, but given that many were acquainted with higher speeds before they switched, that's unlikely.

And it adopted a curious method of charging the retailers who sold its connections to the public. It billed them twice. First for speed, under a monthly "access virtual circuit" charge set to reflect the speed provided. It's a silly idea. There's nothing to stop it giving everyone the highest possible speed; it's like constraining a car engine until the owner hands over more. And it charges for "connectivity virtual circuits" which reflect how much data the retailer is able to put through at once. Again, there's no reason for this. There's usually no physical constraint on how much can be put through at once.

Retailers wanting to grab market share have been paying for the first – it's an access charge – and skimping on the second. This means they can claim to offer the quoted speeds at a good price,  but can't deliver them when their cut-price connections become congested in the early evenings and speeds slow to a crawl.

Their customers blame the NBN, the NBN blames the retailers, and so worried is the government it has commissioned the Australian Communications and Media Authority to inquire into the whole mess.

Turnbull's NBN will at least be cheaper. Martin believes that under Labor's scheme the connectivity virtual circuit charge would have been three times higher, making the retailers skimp more and degrade speeds further.

One day it will be sold. That's the policy of both parties. Even under Turnbull's scheme the government will be lucky to get back half of what it spent. Then, when it becomes clear it was never a profit-making concern and the spending gets brought back on-budget tarnishing the financial records of both Swan and Morrison, we'll start wondering why we ever thought we could spend up big replacing what for many is a perfectly good service instead of spending less and zeroing in on the people who needed help.


Churches lay out plebiscite fears for PM

The Anglican Archbishop of ­Sydney, Glenn Davies, and leading Catholic officials have written to Malcolm Turnbull demanding that any proposed bill on same-sex marriage be released before Australians are asked to vote on the issue.

With the Senate yesterday rejecting­ for a second time the government’s preferred option of a compulsory attendanc­e plebis­cite, the first salvos have been fired in a campaign to derail the people’s postal vote, which will begin within five weeks.

Opposing forces in the debate are lining up against the government, with church and Christian schools lobby groups demanding religious and freedom-of-speech protections, both during the public­ debate and in any bill on gay marriage that is put to the ­parliament should a “yes” vote be returned.

Religious figures have raised concerns directly with the Prime Minister about voter fraud, relig­ious protections and public funding for the campaign.

A senior government source confirmed that a letter had been delivered to the Prime Minister’s office and several cabinet ministers, signed by Archbishop Davies and delivering a series of blunt questions that he said the government had yet to answer.

A similar letter is believed to have been received from senior leaders of the Catholic Church.

“This timeframe is inapprop­riately short, particularly given there remain a number of un­resolved questions concerning the postal plebiscite process,” ­Archbishop Davies wrote.

The leading national yes lobby, Equality Campaign, and the Human Rights Law Centre said they were waiting to assess what legal challenge might be mounted against the plebiscite when more details were released.

“If and when we proceed with a legal challenge, it will be considered and based on the details yet to be provided by the government,” said HRLC co-chair and director Anna Brown.

The government released further detail late yesterday, including confirmation that the question to be put to Australians would remain the same as proposed under the plebiscite model rejected by the Senate.

It will ask: “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann confirmed yesterday that he had signed an advance of $122 million to the Australian Bureau of Statistics to begin the first phase of the Plebiscite (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill 2016.

The ABS will begin to post envelopes on September 12, with returns to close on November 7 and a result to be confirmed on November 15.

The Australian Christian Schools Association is planning a campaign to ensure religious protections for schools are guaranteed, claiming neither Mr Turnbull nor Bill Shorten had offered a firm commitment to schools that their teachings of traditional marriage would be protected.

The list of issues raised by Archbishop Davies in his letter to Mr Turnbull included assurances on a previous personal commitment by the Prime Minister to make public funding available to both sides under the original plebiscite.

The letter asked if religious leaders would be engaged in preparation of the bill and “if a postal plebiscite is resolved in the negative, what assurances can be provided that this will be the end of the matter?”.

Archbishop Davies also wanted assurances that free speech would be protected during the campaign, considering activists had used anti-discrimination laws to silence church leaders.

The Opposition Leader called on the government to ensure a “civil” debate after questioning Mr Abbott’s calls for people who had concerns about religious freedoms to vote no. “Today the member for Warringah warned Australians to vote no in the plebiscite for reasons unrelated to marriage equality, claiming if you’re worried about religious freedom and free speech, vote no,” Mr Shorten said.

Mr Turnbull responded by calling on all sides engaged in the debate to act with “responsibility and respect”.

“If we’re seriously at the point where the Labor Party is saying you cannot have a vote on this issue because people will say outrageous things, then how can we have a referendum on any of the issues discussed?’’

Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus suggested Labor would now accept the postal plebiscite, urging voters to get behind the yes campaign.


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

10 August, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is disturbed about a ban on the building of a synagogue at Bondi

Coal, coal, glorious coal! Mining giant Glencore granted big new coal mining permits in Australia

The Queensland government has granted mining giant Glencore leases for a multi-billion dollar coal mine in the state's south west.

Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham has granted Glencore three 27-year leases covering 30,000 hectares for the first stage of its $7 billion Wandoan mine near Roma.

The open cut mine is proposed to operate for 35 years in the Surat Basin, and will require a railway to the Gladstone Port.

Glencore has previously acknowledged the disproportionate risk surrounding new projects.

Doubts about the future of the Wandoan mine have lingered since 2012, amid falling thermal coal prices and a poor market outlook.

The Palaszczuk government's decision to grant the leases has sparked anger among environmental groups, who say it has displaced farmers and poses a threat to the state's agricultural industry.


Martin Place tent city: Premier Gladys Berejiklian announces change to legislation on Sydney Crown land

The NSW state government will seek to change the law to give it the power to send in police to dismantle the homeless camp in Martin Place, effectively bypassing the City of Sydney and its bid to resolve the issue amicably.

The move will pave the way for the eviction of dozens of homeless people who have established a tent city in Martin Place, following a long-running stoush between the government and the City.

At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the proposed legislation would be introduced to Parliament today, and was expected to pass within days, to be enforced by the end of the week.

The legislation would give the government the power to authorise the police "to be able to move in, take property and also ask people to move on if it's deemed to be a public safety issue", she said.

The proposed legislation affects only Crown land within the City of Sydney, and does not extend to other councils.

Ms Berejiklian rejected suggestions the new law could be used to break up other types of protests within the city.  "This relates specifically to unauthorised activity on Crown land. It is not at all interfering with people's right to protest.

"What is happening in Martin Place is beyond protest because it's unauthorised activity which is compromising the public safety of those most vulnerable but also the safety of the community."

The Premier described the new law as a "course of action which I wish I did not have to take," and instead sought to attribute the government's heavy-handed approach to inaction by the City of Sydney.

"We know that the City of Sydney had power to deal with that issue today. They had powers to deal with this issue weeks ago. Regrettably they chose not to use those powers."

The Premier said existing state laws provided the government with limited police powers to break up the camp by issuing the homeless occupants with warrants and forcing them to face court action - a method she said she wasn't prepared to use. "We don't have any powers whatsoever that would provide a satisfactory conclusion."

The government's course of action brings to a head an intensifying political war with the council over the tent city, which emerged at the top of Martin Place in December 2016.

Lord mayor Clover Moore has maintained the council does not have the power to move people on.

Ms Berejiklian's announcement effectively scuppers the approach taken by Cr Moore, who announced on Monday she had brokered a "peaceful" deal with the so-called mayor of the homeless camp, Lanz Priestley, to dismantle the tents and relocate to a temporary "safe space".

Cr Moore, at Monday night's council meeting, represented the deal as having the support of the Premier, and indicated that the state government would match the council's pledge of $100,000 towards a permanent 24-hour "safe space".

However, the deal was immediately rendered flimsy amid confusion about whether people could sleep at the space, and lack of certainty over where the two spaces – temporary and permanent – would be located.

Three council trucks arrived at the site in the early hours of Tuesday to move some of the inhabitants' belongings to storage, but Mr Priestley said the group wouldn't move until the safe space was identified.  "I have no address for it. I have no sense of where it is, or anything," he said.

On Tuesday, Social Housing Minister Pru Goward rejected any suggestion the deal had been agreed to by the state government.

"I have no idea what Clover Moore is referring to. I certainly know that we won't be dealing with an unknown site, an unknown service provided by an unknown provided to do unknown things for homeless people," Ms Goward said.

Instead, Ms Goward said the state government would work with the Wayside Chapel in Potts Point to extend its operations to 24 hours a day to provide a "safe space" for the city's homeless.

Responding to the Premier's announcement on Tuesday, Cr Moore said the new law would set up the "risk of violent conflicts between police and vulnerable homeless people as we saw in Melbourne".

She urged the government to refrain from sending in police until the council had processed the request to extend the Wayside Chapel's operational hours, which it would do so urgently, she said.  However, it remains likely that some of the camp's homeless will be left without immediate shelter once police dismantle the tents.

Ms Berejiklian urged the homeless to urgently work with the department of housing, who have found permanent housing for 73 of the camp's rough sleepers. "Please talk to our people. Tell us what you need and we will make sure you have that alternative accommodation."


High speed rail and the affordability crisis

Australia's high speed rail should be for commuting and not connecting cities

Australia has wasted decades, millions of dollars and countless man-hours pointlessly trying to replace air travel between Sydney and Melbourne with trains, when the only current goal of high-speed rail should be to connect cities with regional hubs. 

The Melbourne and Sydney housing affordability story has become a transport story, because as prices have risen so have commute times – and that severely limits options for those trying to buy on a budget.

The train journey from Newcastle and Penrith to Sydney’s CBD is slower now than it was 30 years ago, according to PwC transport expert Robert Williams, and it’s a similar story with Melbourne’s nearest towns and cities.

Current plans for high-speed rail connecting Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane involve a $114 billion price tag and a 50-year time frame.Current plans for high-speed rail connecting Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane involve a $114 billion price tag and a 50-year time frame. Photo: Chris Ratcliffe

Connecting Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane via high-speed rail is hysterically expensive, but connecting places like Geelong and Ballarat to Melbourne, Newcastle and Wollongong to Sydney, and Toowoomba to Brisbane with trips of around 45 minutes is more doable.

And it’s bait.

Bringing down those commute times from the ballpark of one  to 1½ hours each way to about 45 minutes would offer an attractive opportunity to the huge number of Australians currently locked out of major city property markets. They could move to regional hubs and keep their city jobs without sacrificing three hours or more to the daily commute.

That’s how you ease capital city house prices without having to tamper with negative gearing or capital gains tax exemptions. It’d also help decongest city roads and boost regional development.

Rather than wasting more time and money promising to send trains hurtling up and down the entire east coast, the Department of Infrastructure should strip back its high-speed rail plans and focus only on the area it’d have the biggest impact – everyday commuting.


Marriage plebiscite: Tony Abbott urges a 'no' vote to reject political correctness and protect religious freedom

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has kicked off his campaign for a 'no' vote in a postal plebiscite, urging Australians to reject same-sex marriage if they want to protect religious freedom and reject political correctness.

"Obviously I will be voting no. But in the end this is not about the politicians, this is about the people, it's about your view," he said on Wednesday morning.

The former PM will vote against same sex marriage and has offered up some interesting reasons for people to do the same.

"And I say to you if you don't like same-sex marriage, vote no. If you're worried about religious freedom and freedom of speech, vote no, and if you don't like political correctness, vote no because voting no will help to stop political correctness in its tracks."

The Turnbull government on Tuesday agreed to hold a $122 million non-compulsory, non-binding plebiscite on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. Ballots will likely be posted from September, should the plan survive a likely High Court challenge.

Mr Abbott praised his successor, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, for settling on the policy and said a postal plebiscite would be authoritative. Earlier this week, he had questioned whether a postal ballot would have legitimacy amid concerns the response rate could be low.

The former Liberal leader, who engineered the Coalition's original plebiscite policy in 2015 shortly before losing the top job, promised to respect the result and urged all MPs to do the same.

Mr Turnbull, a supporter of same-sex marriage, has signalled he will not be an active campaigner ahead of the vote.

Opponents of change are gearing up for an all-out campaign for a "no" result, including distributing leaflets claiming the children of gay and lesbian parents are more prone to "abuse and neglect".

While the government believes it is on safe legal ground with its postal plebiscite, the policy could still face a legal challenge from same-sex marriage advocates.


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

9 August, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is cheering now that we are having a national vote on homosexual marriage

We’re squeezing the life out of our cities with excessive immigration

Judith Sloan
I have spent most of my life living in Melbourne. I was born and raised there. I have lived elsewhere, but have made Melbourne my home for at least part of the year, for more than a decade.

Take it from me, Melbourne is in the process of moving from being one of the most livable cities in the world to one of the most unlivable. Mind you, these international comparisons of livability have always been pretty dodgy: having a temperate climate scores a city a whole lot of points.

But would any Australian really choose Melbourne for its weather?

There is no doubt the primary reason for Melbourne’s loss of livability is the excess growth of its population, which has been apparent for at least a decade, but has accelerated in recent times.

Take the latest figures. Victoria’s population grew by 2.4 per cent over the year ending in the December quarter. Most of this growth was in Melbourne. Australia’s population, by contrast, grew by 1.6 per cent. The two states with the closest rate of population growth were NSW and Queensland, which recorded an annual increase of 1.5 per cent.

Last year’s census reported the population of Melbourne as 4.49 million, a figure that shows it closing in on Sydney, which has 4.82 million people.

Between 2004 and 2016, Melbourne’s population grew by almost a million compared with a rise in the number of residents in Sydney of 821,000.

According to Victorian government projections, Melbourne’s population is likely to exceed eight million by 2050.

When it comes to explaining why Melbourne, in particular, is growing so strongly, there are two principal reasons: overseas migration and interstate migration. Note that close to 90 per cent of recently arrived migrants opt for ­either Melbourne or Sydney.

Net interstate migration has also been strongly positive for Victoria in recent years.  While the annual net average figure for Victoria over the period 2005-06 and 2014-15 was 2885, more than 10,000 individuals moved to Victoria in 2014-15.

The 2016 census confirmed the continuation of this trend, with a remarkable number of people from Western Australia relocating to Victoria in the past two years.

For NSW, by comparison, net interstate migration has been consistently negative over the past decade, meaning more people chose to depart the state than ­arrive in it.

So what are the undesirable features of the galloping rate of growth of Melbourne’s population?

For starters, the new infrastructure projects that would normally be associated with such strong population growth have struggled to keep up. Think schools, hospitals, additional public transport and roads, particularly those linking different parts of the city — the list goes on.

The congestion on the roads and public transport at certain times of the day and week is something to behold. If I take the train to the city during peak times, the experience is akin to travelling in a sardine can. Even though we are not many stops from the beginning of the line, there is no hope of getting a seat or even finding a secure standing spot.

Driving is equally unbearable. Consider also the developments that have been allowed to occur in our precinct. On the arterial roads, the big houses have been sold, pulled down and replaced mostly by tacky-looking, albeit expensive, apartment blocks.

Nothing else has changed in terms of the local schools, local transport, local shops and other local amenities. There are many more people living in the area, but none of the supporting facilities has been altered. Evidently, we locals are being unreasonable trying to block this sort of development; we are guilty of selfish nimbyism and we just need to get with the program.

And that program is medium and high-density living, whether the longstanding incumbents like it or not. I used to think that it was our democratic right to express opinions about how our local suburb should develop, but apparently I was mistaken.

Perhaps I am also missing the point about the vibrancy, excitement and entrepreneurship associated with having such strong population growth, most of which is made up of overseas migrants. But it’s not entirely clear that these benefits are showing up in the economic statistics.

While the labour force participation rate in Victoria is slightly higher than the Australia-wide figure — 66 per cent versus 65 per cent — the most recent rate of unemployment in Victoria (5.9 per cent) is above the national average and well above the rate in NSW (4.8 per cent).

And while the rate of economic growth in Victoria on the face of it looks impressive, although not as impressive as NSW, it is per capita growth that is the more reliable indicator. On this score, the performance of the Victorian economy is only mediocre. Also bear in mind that most of the employment growth in Victoria has been in health and social assistance, public administration and safety, and education and training — all sectors dominated by the public sector.

Bear also in mind that the ­diseconomies of strong population growth, coupled with inadequate infrastructure provision, mean many Melburnians simply don’t feel as if their wellbeing is improving. Rather they feel stressed by packed trains and trams, congested roads, schools bursting at the seams and newly built hospitals that are already too small.

The policy implications are clear: there need to be steps taken to limit the rate of population growth in Melbourne, in particular, but also in Sydney. Blind Freddy could have predicted that excessively low interest rates, credit availability and rapid population growth would lead to skyrocketing house prices. For this reason alone, there should be some relief.

While the federal government has altered the provisions related to the entry of skilled temporary workers (the old 457 visas), which may have the effect of reducing the number of these entrants, it is as plain as day that the annual ­migration program — the permanent migrant intake — must be cut from 190,000, the figure that is in place for this financial year and the next three after that.

This number is simply too high given that almost all migrants head for Melbourne and Sydney and there are obviously limits to the extent to which these cities can absorb these extra people without causing serious downsides.

The only surprising aspect is why our political leaders have delayed the decision to cut the number of migrants. After all, Australia has nearly three times the population growth of the average of developed countries. Why this is sensible has never been properly explained.


The airforce fails to learn from the past

Yesterday I wrote about the RAAF’s decision to implement 62 of 65 recommendations from the Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, to lower standards in order to graduate female fighter pilots.

This story is not new. It has happened before.

In fact, the US Navy did just this in the early 1990s so that it could boast about ‘gender equality’. The first female pilot to graduate, Lt. Kara Hultgreen, later died after failing to land safely on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in October 1994.

In the fall out from the accident, a report from the independent Centre for Military Readiness revealed that Hultgreen had been allowed to graduate despite numerous failures that would normally have seen trainee pilots failed.

The report stated:

Late in December, 1994, the Center for Military Readiness (CMR) received credible information from a known source, relating to an extraordinary and unusual pattern in the training of two female pilots for combat aviation assignments. One of these, Lt. Kara Hultgreen, was killed while attempting to land an F-14 on the carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln on October 25, 1994. The second female pilot, identified as "Pilot B" to protect her privacy, is still on flight status.

Because the assertions were very sensitive as well as serious, CMR sought the assistance of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) in obtaining verification from Navy officials. In a January 16, 1995 letter to Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC), Chairman of the SASC, Elaine Donnelly, President of the Center for Military Readiness, presented nine detailed pages chronicling rocky training records for the two women. CMR also quoted a signed letter from a concerned individual who wrote that all of Lt. Hultgreen’s colleagues had great respect for her courage, but as dedicated professionals they could not allow a pervasive climate of political correctness to deter them from initiating a frank discussion of factors which may have contributed to the tragedy:

"In their haste to get women into combat billets as soon as possible, Navy leaders have denied unit commanders the tools they need to make integration workable. Lt. Kara Hultgreen was an F-14 pilot with limited abilities who, had she been a male, would arguably never have graduated to the fleet. (Her colleague, Pilot B, J was a substandard aviation candidate who unquestionably should not have graduated to the fleet, but did so only because of gender.

"…Unfortunately, Navy policy on integration isn’t one of ‘stretching the truth a little.’ With the first two female F-14 pilots, standards weren’t just broken, they were shattered."

From January of 1995 through March 24, Mrs. Donnelly met once at the Pentagon with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jeremy Boorda, and three times with then-Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Stanley Arthur. At the March 24 meeting with Adm. Arthur, which was also attended by Chief of Naval Information Rear Adm. Kendell Pease and an aide for Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI), Mrs. Donnelly was shown a non-published Navy document that confirmed, with only a few minor points of disagreement, that the facts and chronologies presented in the January 16 letter were largely accurate.

CMR’s purpose in releasing this information, presented here in condensed form, is to clarify the issues since the tragic death of Lt. Hultgreen, and to challenge the Navy to be fully candid about current and future training practices that treat women differently. If the Navy intends to defend the practice of extending extraordinary concessions to female aviation trainees-and it appears that they are prepared to do just that-the families involved and the entire nation have a right to know and debate the wisdom of that policy.

The question at issue here is not whether women should serve in combat squadrons, but whether women—and all trainees—should be held to the same high standards that have worked in recent years to reduce accident rates in aviation, the most dangerous occupation in the Navy.

Vehement protestations that both women were technically "qualified" are meaningless as well as misleading, because the definition of that word has been radically changed by practices that forgive low scores and major errors in training so that certain people will not fail. Extraordinary concessions and dual-track standards that treat men and women differently heighten risks because the aircraft itself does not forgive. Even proponents of women in combat should agree that these practices are simply indefensible.

Above all, CMR hopes that disclosure of this information will enable Navy personnel, family members, members of Congress, and the American people to engage in a responsible discussion that leads to constructive reforms, before heightened risks result in the needless loss of more young lives.

Importantly, ‘Pilot B’ challenged this report in court, complaining of defamation. The case was thrown out. And ‘Pilot B’ was also removed from service on aircraft carriers due to performance failures.

All Australians should be greatly concerned about this. We are failing to learn the mistakes of the past. And if the RAAF proceeds with these insane AHRC recommendations we may well see pilots killed because they have been graduated for political reasons rather than performance.

And I’ll just make this point too: it is not just females who are risk from this madness. These recommendations will also see males graduate who cannot pass current requirements…


Australia breaching human rights over same-sex divorce: UN

The United Nations has ruled that Australia is breaching its human rights obligations because it does not allow same-sex divorces.

On Thursday, the United Nations Human Rights Committee ruled the differentiation of treatment based on Ms Campbell's sexual orientation constituted discrimination.

In a statement, the committee added the Australian Government was obligated to provide the author "with an effective remedy".

"This requires it to make full reparation to individuals whose covenant rights have been violated," the statement read.

"Accordingly, the state party is obligated to provide the author with full reparation for the discrimination suffered through the lack of access to divorce proceedings.

The state party is also under an obligation to take steps to prevent similar violations in the future and to review its laws in accordance with the present views."

It made the point that Australian law allows people who entered into a polygamous marriage overseas to divorce, yet does not give the same right to same-sex couples.

Polygamy is when a man is married to more than one wife at a time and is banned in Australia.

Dr Campbell said she was thrilled to hear the decision and is hopeful the Government will act on the UN's decision.

"My status is frozen in time and therefore my options to remarry are closed off," she said.

"Further, my daughter's legal rights around freedom of travel and inheritance are compromised, are unclear."

When she initially lodged her case with the UN five years ago, the only way she could have obtained a divorce was if she moved back to Canada for one year.

That law has since changed but Ms Campbell said it would still be a difficult process in Canada because her spouse is "missing in action".

Rodney Croome, a spokesman for LGBTI advocacy group Just Equal, said case shows banning same-sex marriage is also a breach of human rights.

"At the heart of this decision is that Australia has an obligation, an international obligation to treat same-sex couples equally before the law and particularly to give them equal protection of the law," Mr Croome said.

He said Australia is now the only developed English speaking country that does not allow same-sex marriage.

Mr Croome said it should send a message to the Government that there is no need for an expensive and unnecessary plebiscite or postal vote on the issue.

A spokesperson for the Attorney-General said the Government is carefully considering the UN report.


Amazing! A Solid Journalism Academic

The adage that 'those who can't do teach' might have been uttered with our universities' media faculties in mind. There is at least one exception, however, a Wollongong lecturer who gets students to check facts, especially about climate-change claims. Sadly, he is retiring

blackall smallCan you even imagine it! A  journalism lecturer  shows students how to fact-check the climate alarmists’ wild claims and doom-laden forecasts. And he publishes a peer-reviewed commentary, Environmental  Reporting in a Post Truth World, analysing how the media ignores research that runs contrary to the alarmist narrative.

Lordy! How can this fellow get away with it in our all-pervading Left-alarmist academic establishment?

Meet Dr David Blackall (above), senior lecturer in journalism at Wollongong University. His paper is in the journal Asia Pacific  Media Educator. But since he’s in the process of retiring after 25 years with the university, he can rock the boat without fearing for his career prospects.[1]

“I’m packing up my office right now,” he tells Quadrant Online. “I haven’t had any backlash, even though the climate debate seems to be getting increasingly toxic and nasty. Younger academics can’t call out the fake news on climate like I can, because they’d risk their jobs and mortgages.”

The Wollongong Bachelor of Journalism course takes in about 80 entrants a year, plus others from an allied course, Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies. Blackall’s first degree is a Bachelor of Science (Agriculture), and he taught senior HSC agriculture, biology, physics and chemistry for ten years into the 1980s. This broad science background advantages him over non-science journalism academics, and over scientists so over-specialised that they miss the big picture.

Blackall is an ardent conservationist of biodiversity. He has his own 16ha wildlife  refuge reserve ‘Nadjunuga’ at Cambewarra  Mountain, previously a university field station, which he has managed for nearly 40 years. He has also taught and practiced investigative journalism, and last year co-authored an FOI-based study in the Lawyers Alliance journal Precedent on the Ponzi-style fraud and collapse of the Trio Capital Group during 2003-10.

The Blackall Post Truth paper has been re-blogged by leading European sceptic Pierre Gosselin, who asks, “Would it be so difficult for journalists to actually seek scientific verification of their claims before publishing? Or is the pursuit of real-world scientific confirmation too much to expect from journalists and media sources bent on advancing an agenda in this ‘Post Truth World’?”

Blackall writes that journalism students can be defensive about climate because they want careers in corporate media where the “greenhouse warming” narrative holds sway. “Contrary but accurate science journalism  must be generated for balancing societal discourse and demonstrating the Earth’s natural variability,” he writes. Journalists fail to verify facts, including that polar bear populations are increasing, contrary to what he calls the ‘emotional propaganda’ and ‘fake news’ of alarmists.

To deflect being labelled a ‘climate denier’, he gives students assignments on hypotheticals such as the impact of deforestation on clouds and climate. “In previous epochs, CO2 levels were around 400ppm, as they are now, but never in human history has the Earth’s surface been as denuded,” he writes. He cites a study this year that CO2 emissions from land-use changes –  such as tree harvesting and clearing for shifting  agriculture – have been substantially under-estimated.

“However, as a journalism educator, I also recognise that my view, along with others, must be open to challenge both within the scientific community and in the court of public opinion,” he continues.

“It is my responsibility to provide my students with the research skills they need to question – and test – the arguments put forward by key players in any debate.  Given the complexity of the climate warming debate, and the contested nature of the science that underpins both sides, this will provide challenges well into the future.  It is a challenge our students should relish, particularly in an era when they are constantly being bombarded with ‘fake news’ and so-called ‘alternative facts’.

“To do so, they need to understand the science. If they don’t, they need to at least understand  the key players in the debate and what is motivating them. They need to be prepared to question these people and to look beyond their arguments to the agendas that may be driving them. If they don’t, we must be reconciled to a future in which ‘fake news’ becomes the norm.”

He alerts his students to fake climate pictures, such as the use by Reuters of a 2010 photo-shopped image of two Adelie penguins on a block of melting Antarctic ice. The same faked picture (below) had also been used in 2013 to illustrate arctic warming (notwithstanding that penguins aren’t found in the Arctic). He also directs students to look into the  dubious ‘pause-busting” paper by Tom Karl of NOAA, timed to influence the 2015 Paris climate summit. “There are many agendas at play, with careers at stake,” he says.

Blackall’s paper queries why journalists fail to report the widening gap between climate models’ temperature forecasts and actual temperatures. Similarly, they don’t report the non-acceleration of sea-level rise, a big problem for the alarmist narrative.

His main argument is that human-caused greenhouse gases are not the main source of climate change, as claimed by the climate establishment.  The flat-lining of global temperatures in the past two decades despite massive CO2 increases is an obvious problem for the orthodox narrative, he says. There are multiple interacting and little-understood natural causes, but computer modelling is privileged over other relevant disciplines, such as geology. Alarmists play down the major uncertainties and use ‘consensus’ as a culture of gatekeeping  against contrary views. “Then, and dangerously, dissenters are silenced so that chosen and ‘necessary’ discourses arrive in journals, conferences and boardrooms,” he writes.

Blackall outed himself as a climate sceptic nearly a decade ago. In a 2010 paper also published in Asia Pacific Media Educator   (“Anti-terrorism, climate change and ‘dog whistle’ journalism”) he wrote of the compliant mainstream news media fanning fears on behalf of governments about imaginary climate catastrophes.[2]

Educators of journalists need to give students double skills – of integrity and fearlessness, plus the ability to maintain employability in the mainstream media, he wrote. The students need to become ‘highly adept chameleons’ to further their careers. They are given ‘hypotheticals’ requiring checking narratives against science literature. But the drafts must also be written conservatively. “No newspaper would run anything too removed from the dominant view on climate variability,” Blackall continued.

The media seemed unable to do routine internet searching to act as a ‘watchdog’ on government. This was reflected in its ‘advocacy journalism’ about the 2009 Copenhagen summit and downplaying of the Climategate email leaks, he wrote. [3]

In this paper he was prescient in highlighting the corrupted temperature  data relied on for the alarmist narrative and modelling –  including data from non-existent weather stations and stations affected by the non-CO2 urban heat island effects. In contrast, rural stations typically showed decades of consistent temperatures, he said. “News media have failed to explain or examine  these simple anomalies,” he complained. He also instanced floods being blamed by media on climate change when  the immediate cause was irresponsible local activities upstream, including tree-felling and mismanagement of dams.

He argued that without acutely educated scepticism, journalism graduates fall prey to the seductive and political tune of the dog whistle, such as believing the myth of a ‘climate consensus’.

Blackall’s arguments can be verified by  journalists’ climate ignorance in their use of the nonsense propaganda phrase “carbon pollution” when they actually mean “CO2 emissions”. Not one in a hundred journalists who quote the so-called “97% consensus” on climate alarm would be aware that the John Cook (UQ) study actually found that only 0.3% of 12,000 studies supported the IPCC line that more than half the past 60 years’ warming is human-caused.

Blackall’s critique of journalists can be tested against The Age (Garry Maddox) and The Australian (Rosemary Neill) stories last weekend about Al Gore marketing his climate-alarm film An Inconvenient Sequel in Melbourne.  Neither thought it worth mentioning that anti-emissions campaigner Gore inhabits a 20-room house (one of his three homes) whose pool heating alone uses as much electricity as six average US homes, and whose total electricity consumption is that of 21 normal residences.[4] The Age’s Maddox did not mention that Gore and his business partner from Goldman Sachs, according to Forbes, made nearly $US220m in carbon trading profits from 2008-2011.

The Australian’s Neill commendably reported the accusations of Gore’s enrichment via green schemes, and unlike Maddox, she drew attention to the UK High Court’s 2007 finding of nine scientific and other errors in Gore’s first film. The court also ruled that the film’s partisan stance made it inappropriate for UK school children unless accompanied by balancing  material. Neill should have queried why Gore had not corrected the nine errors or issued an errata, instead permitting the flawed film to mislead further millions of students. The film even asserts in its ignorance that some Pacific nations “have all had to evacuate to New Zealand.”

The Australian, via ex-ABC chair Maurice Newman, reported that Gore’s opposite number, top US sceptic blogger Marc Morano, was in Melbourne concurrently with Gore and promoting his own film Climate Hustle. The Age and the ABC ignored Morano (while the ABC gave Gore blanket coverage) but Andrew Bolt (Herald Sun) gave Morano a prominent interview.

Dr Blackall’s retirement is a loss to journalist education. Let’s hope there are others like him out there, with the guts, smarts and integrity to take on the “kindergarten science” of climate alarm.


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

8 August, 2017

An odd way to fight for equality

Leftists have strange minds.  They all seem to think that you fight racial discrimination by being racially discriminatory ("affirmative action") now one lot  seem to think you fight for equality between the sexes  by treating men and women unequally.  Their devotion to equality is clearly nothing more than insincere propaganda.  It is a convenient pose, not a conviction

A MELBOURNE cafe that caused a social media storm after charging men a tax and seating women first insists it has had a stack of support. And not just from the girls.

Handsome Her, a vegan cafe in Brunswick, said it was charging men 18 per cent more in a bid to address the gender pay gap. The cafe, which clearly advertises its rules on a chalk board, explained men will be charged the premium — and the gap donated to women’s services.

However co-owner Alex O’Brien told Seven News the surcharge, which is in place one week out of every month, wasn’t compulsory. She also said none had so far refused to pay it and in a Facebook post overnight said the idea has been well supported overall.

"If people aren’t comfortable paying it or if men don’t want to pay it, we’re not going to kick them out the door," she said.
"It’s just a good opportunity to do some good."

The idea has caused a mixed reaction on social media, with some supporting the concept.

Others branded it hypocritical and said it would only further widen the gender divide.

Discrimination is illegal, regardless of the spurious intent. Do they hire male staff or do they discriminate there too?

Writing on its Facebook page overnight, the cafe insisted it was jam-packed with customers over the past few days who have supported the cause.

It also insisted it wasn’t just women who were backing the idea.
"We’ve had men travel across town to visit us and pay ‘the man tax’ and throw some extra in the donation jar — guys, you’re pretty neat," the post read.


Australian federal government warns public servants over social media attacks

This is fairly dubious from a free speech point of view but it is true that an employer is entitled to put conditions on the employment he offers

The Turnbull government will today seek to impose restrictions on public servants criticising the Coalition on social media, warning that employees risk disciplinary action for "liking" anti-government posts or privately emailing negative mat­erial to a friend from home.

Documents obtained by The Australian show public servants would also be warned they could be in breach of the public service code of conduct if they do not ­remove "nasty comments" about the government posted by others on the ­employee’s Facebook page.

Under the new policy, liking or sharing anti-government material on a social media platform will generally be taken as an endorsement and as though the public servant had created the material.

Even if a public servant shares a post they do not agree with, and puts an angry face emoji with the post, the employee could still be in breach if their opposition to the post is not made sufficiently clear.

Declaring the code operates "in effect" to limit an individual’s right to freedom of expression, the ­government also warned public ­servants against posting criticism anonymously or under a pseudonym.

Australian Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd said last night that "objectionable material was not miraculously sanitised" by a public servant posting anonymously or using a pseudonym.

"That argument is similar to a burglar arguing that charges should be dismissed because he wore a balaclava," he said.

The Community and Public Sector Union last night accused the government of "overreach".

"It’s completely unreasonable for a worker to face disciplinary ­action over a private email or something as benign as ‘liking’ a social media post," union national secretary Nadine Flood said.

"Of course there needs to be limits but this policy goes too far. The notion that the mum of a gay son who happens to work in Centrelink can’t like a Facebook post on marriage equality without endangering her job is patently ­absurd.

"It is one thing to say that public servants working on a particular government policy shouldn’t be publicly criticising that policy, quite another to say they have no right to engage on social media on anything that could be a community issue."

The policy, which applies across the federal public sector from today, says a public servant could be in breach of the code through material contained in a private email sent to a friend.

"There’s nothing to stop your friend taking a screenshot of that email, including your personal ­details, and sending it to other ­people or posting it all over the ­internet," the policy says.

"Again, the breach of the code is not in their subsequent ­publication of your material, but in your emailing that material in the first place."

The government suggests a public servant could be held ­responsible for "nasty comments" made on the employee’s social media pages by another person.

"Doing nothing about objectionable material that someone else has posted on your page can reasonably be seen in some circumstances as your endorsement of that material," it says. "If someone does post material of this kind, it may be sensible to delete it or make it plain that you don’t agree with it or support it.

"Any breach of the code would not come from the person making the post. It would come from how you reacted to it."

Even if social media pages were locked to a public servant’s friends, the employee would be in breach of the code if the anti-government material was reposted by a friend.

"The breach of the code occurs at the time you made your post," the policy says. It says public comment "includes anything that you say in public or which ends up in public".

"This can include something you’ve said or written to one person,’’ it says. "If your comment has an audience, or a recipient, it’s a public comment."

In relation to posts made after hours, the government says a public servant’s capacity to affect the reputation of their agency and the public service "does not stop when you leave the office". "The comments you make after hours can make people question your ability to be impartial, ­respectful and professional when you are at work," the policy says. "APS employees are required by law to uphold the APS values at all times."

The policy says the common law recognises an individual right to freedom of expression. "This right is subject to limitations such as those imposed by the Public Service Act," it says. "In effect, the code of conduct operates to limit this right."

Mr Lloyd said the government had "not sought to ban ­employees from making public comments, or to limit their access to social media".

"Rather, the guidance sets out the risks public servants need to take into account when they consider what they say and how they say it," he said

Mr Lloyd said public servants needed to think carefully about what they posted and take into ­account whether their comment criticises their agency or their minister, the prime minister or the shadow minister. "The principle that an ­employee should not publicly criticise their employer is a well-established one in both the private and public sectors," he said.

"Public servants should not make comments that could make members of the community doubt either the capacity of the government to deliver services properly or the personal commitment of that employee to their work."


Bill Shorten’s same-sex marriage stance is hypocrisy writ large

Tony Abbott

The real villain in the same-sex marriage imbroglio is Bill Shorten. He is the one who’s playing politics with this issue and stopping it from being resolved in this term of parliament via the plebiscite that people want. It’s Shorten who told church leaders before the 2013 election that a plebiscite would be a good way to resolve this issue and it is Shorten who last week backed a plebiscite to resolve the republican issue, but it is Shorten whose cynical hypocrisy has been ignored because Coalition MPs insist on having public second thoughts about our own policy.

If there is one lesson that MPs and political parties should surely have learnt over the past few years it is that you don’t break promises.

"Say what you mean and do what you say" has to be the cardinal rule and is the only way to keep faith with the electorate. Before last year’s election, the Liberal-National coalition was absolutely crystal clear: there would be no change to marriage laws without asking the people their view at a plebiscite.

This issue, the Coalition said, was too important to be decided just by MPs; all of us would have our say. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull never liked the plebiscite policy but fully grasps the importance of keeping commitments and, to his credit, is now resolute that nothing can change without a plebiscite first.

That’s why the determination of a handful of Liberal MPs to substitute a free vote in the parliament for the promised plebiscite is so fraught. Instead of pointing out to the gay community that it’s Shorten who’s blocking the possibility of change, they want the government to break its solemn pledge to ask the people before changing the law. It’s bad enough that the opposition-controlled senate has stopped the plebiscite from happening. But it would be even worse if government backbenchers used the senate’s intransigence as an excuse to drop the plebiscite altogether. It would dramatically deepen the trust deficit that plagues our public life.

Of course, some Liberals sincerely support same-sex marriage and want it to be available as soon as possible. That’s a respectable minority view inside the Coalition party room.

To accommodate it, after a marathon debate in August 2015, the joint party room decided that MPs would no longer be bound to oppose same-sex marriage — but were certainly bound not to make change without putting it to the people first, preferably through a compulsory attendance ballot that would authoritatively settle the matter.

The careers of both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister demonstrate that Coalition MPs do not and should not face punishment for crossing the floor when they honestly and deeply disagree with the party position. On this matter, though, the cohesion of the government and keeping faith with the electorate should weigh just as heavily as deeply-held personal belief. I respectfully suggest that the commitment that all Liberal MPs made to their electorates should tip the balance in favour of a position that they might not personally support but took to the election as part of a team.

At least for this term of parliament, Coalition MPs must remain committed to the position that they collectively and individually took to the election last year.

I don’t underestimate how torn some of my colleagues are, but ask them to consider how unconvincing it sounds to say that you supported a plebiscite before an election but not afterwards because of circumstances beyond your control. Even worse is the proposition that it would be OK to support a suspension of standing orders moved by a dissident Liberal because that, somehow, wouldn’t constitute losing control of the parliament. Like it or not, Coalition MPs are honour-bound to oppose same-sex marriage in the absence of a plebiscite that’s supported it; and we’re equally bound to oppose any move to bring the matter into the parliament without a plebiscite first. That’s what this week’s party meetings should confirm.

What we might do about same- sex marriage beyond this term of parliament is the outstanding question. But it would be odd, when you think about it, to go to one election saying that this is too personal and too deeply felt to be left to the politicians — and to go to the next election saying it should henceforth be a matter for the parliament only. That would make our current position look mere expedience rather than a principled way to treat a concept of marriage that’s stood from time immemorial and long predates the legislation that gives it expression.

The last thing Australia needs is government by opinion poll. But neither do we need political parties that believe one thing one minute and the opposite the next. No one would be shocked should a government hold a plebiscite on compulsory military service. That, after all, is what we did during the Great War. And I don’t recall same-sex marriage advocates objecting to a plebiscite in Ireland in 2015 that went their way.

The Australian people should be heard and respected on this. If nothing else, a plebiscite would force the advocates of change to lobby the public as whole rather than focus on just 226 MPs. If that means any change is further delayed, people know who to blame. It’s Shorten and the Labor-Green left for obstructing a fair decision.


Support Palestine: Stop the Synagogue! (?)

Julius O’Malley left an informative comment on last night’s post about the synagogue that will not be built in a suburb of Sydney. The planning request for a new synagogue in Bondi was turned down, ostensibly because it would cause an increased risk of terrorism in the area.

Mr. O’Malley’s detailed explanation of the local political currents in Bondi and adjacent suburbs provides some welcome nuance on the situation. It seems the purported fear of terrorism is actually just a cover for the time-honored lefty cause of supporting "Palestine" and keeping the Jews down.

The text below has been edited for punctuation:

Here is the judgment of the Land & Environment Court of New South Wales upholding Waverley Council’s refusal of planning permission for a new synagogue at Bondi.

The sad reality is that Jewish institutions are targets of Muslim hostility. Everybody knows it; they don’t want to acknowledge it and don’t want to assume the personal risk of being collateral damage when a synagogue is firebombed, shot up, etc. Islam wins.

While everything Gavin Boby states in the interview is correct, it has little direct bearing on this case as there was no Muslim opposition to the proposed synagogue — which was a Chabad, ultra-Orthodox, synagogue. What makes this case very interesting is the subtext to the refusal of planning permission by the local council — the Court was merely persuaded by the Council’s security concerns argument, as reading the case will make obvious.

To understand the subtext here, one has to understand the demographics of Waverley, the local government area in which Bondi sits. While there are at least five synagogues, several Jewish primary, secondary and pre-schools in Waverley Municipality and several more just beyond its borders, and there is one street in Bondi where the street name is a local byword for the ultra-orthodox Jewish community and another street nearby is simply nicknamed "Kosher Boulevarde", Bondi is not a Jewish neighbourhood per se. Waverley LGA [local government area], less so again, although another of its suburbs to the north of Bondi, Dover Heights, is nicknamed "Jehovah Heights" and its neighbor, Rose Bay, is nicknamed "Nose Bay". Another suburb adjoining Bondi and Waverley, the very affluent Bellevue Hill, has the highest density of Jews (by postcode) in Australia and is nicknamed "Bellejew Hill". It is the other, non-Jewish, demographic of Bondi and of Waverley that is in play here.

Waverley is home to the iconic Bondi Beach and several other beautiful ocean beaches such as Bronte and Tamarama ("Glamarama"). It attracts "Bo-Bo’s" (Bourgeois-Bohemians) and affluent hipsters and has been gentrified since the 1970’s. Such people vote to give the left wing faction of the Labor Party and the Green Party a very substantial, often dominant presence, in the local council and in state parliamentary representation. The left wing of the Labor Party and the Green Party are both deeply, ahem, "pro-Palestine". They are never "anti-Israel", of course, although they are increasingly willing to go on the record as "anti-Zionist".

A recent representative for the seat of Waverley in the NSW state parliament was the former mayor of Waverley, Paul Pearce, who is a member of the left wing faction of the Labor Party (and inherited the seat from another Left Laborite, Ernie Page). The balding Pearce, now cruising through life on a generous parliamentary pension, sports a ponytail and ear-ring and used to wear Che Guevara cufflinks to state parliament. Pearce bequeathed the mayoralty of Waverley to his left-faction Labor Party girlfriend (they are both in their late 50s-early 60s and have lived in Pearce’s father’s impressive multi-million dollar home overlooking Bronte beach for several decades) Ingrid Strewe, who used to speak glowingly of her years living in East Berlin before 1990 where "there was free childcare so women could have careers" — never mind the Stasi.

Getting the picture of Waverley? The Bo-Bo’s, hipsters and others who vote for the likes of Pearce, Strewe and the former Labor Party (left faction) federal candidate for the area, David Patch, or for the Green Party, would never, ever, come out in the open and state "We don’t like Jews and don’t want them or their schools or places of worship around" but … .

I recently obtained a surprising insight into how some people in the Waverley area feel about the armed security guards stationed outside synagogues and Jewish schools. I accept such a presence as a natural and normal response to danger. The wife of an artist from the area, however, whined to me at a dinner about how offensive it was to her that security guards outside a Waverley synagogue would stare at her as she drove past. When I made the point that they had to be wary of who was passing by their synagogue for security reasons, especially on a Saturday, she responded: "They wouldn’t need security guards if they weren’t doing what they’re doing in Palestine"! It is that type of sentiment and viewpoint amongst (presumably many) of the non-Jews of Waverley that drives the refusal of planning permission for a new synagogue at Bondi.

Interestingly, the group that proposed the Bondi synagogue formally called themselves "Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe"; no doubt in an attempt to garner some of the extraordinary sympathy extended to "refugees" in our era.


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, 2017

Australian Medical Association misleading on gay marriage

A former senior Australian Medical Association official has lashed out at the peak medical body’s campaign for same-sex marriage, accusing it of using false and misleading information in claiming the reform was a public health issue.

Dr Chris Middleton, a former president of the Tasmanian AMA, has joined with five AMA members in penning a 15-page report savaging the credibility of the national body’s Position Statement on Marriage Equality.

Dr Middleton, who was inducted in the AMA Roll of Fellows in 2011, renounced his life membership of the body and was critical of its process to adopt a position in favour of gay marriage, saying the membership was not consulted.

The gastroenterologist, who does not support same-sex marriage, expects hundreds of doctors to join the renegade group in opposing the AMA’s position. Dr Middleton’s report will be sent to federal MPs this weekend.

"The position statement has very little to say about medicine and was little more than a politically motivated, ideologically-driven opinion piece which is dressed up as evidence-based health policy," Dr Middleton said.

"The AMA speaks with great authority and because of that I am so disappointed. "In other position statements they have gone into it in a detailed way, there has been a rigorous dispassionate, careful, sober and professional analysis of all of the arguments for and against and usually what you get is a very thoughtful outcome."

Dr Middleton’s report was scathing of the AMA for its "demonstrably false" claim that children raised by gay parents do not suffer poorer psychological health than children who are raised by their biological mother and father.

The report also said the AMA defended this claim by refusing to acknowledge peer-reviewed research which countered its position.

"Decades of research have confirmed that children do best, on average, when raised by their married biological mother and father," the report said.

"By denying publicly that there is any such evidence of detriment to children, while admitting privately that there is, the AMA has misled the public on a crucial aspect of the marriage debate and must be held to account."

Dr Middleton said yesterday the AMA "suppressed evidence" that didn’t suit its position.

"You would never be able to get away with this is medical literature, leaving out critical references because those references don’t suit your narrative," he said.

Dr Middleton said the AMA also provided "feeble" evidence for its assertion that legalising same-sex marriage would improve the health of gay people and give them better access to healthcare.

"The evidence quoted in their statement is far too weak to support the claims. One of these claims used the Sydney Morning Herald (as its evidence). This is a medical body making a serious politically persuasive claim based on an article in a newspaper," he said.

AMA national president Michael Gannon said that doctors had "overwhelmingly" supported the body’s change in policy. He said the AMA had not suppressed any information.

"There is no lack of diligence by individuals federal councillors in deciding how we arrived at the position statement," he said.


Why the hokum about rape on campus?

The appetite for campus panics is becoming insatiable. In the UK and the US, numerous surveys revealing a high level of sexual harassment at university have gained international attention.

In keeping with this trend, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has this week released a long-awaited report on campus sexual assault. And even before the data was announced, commentators were excitedly predicting the outcome of the report. ‘A wave of victims are expected to come forward following the release of the world’s largest report into sexual assault on campus’, claimed the Sydney Morning Herald. The Australian predicted ‘an influx of historical disclosures of sexual assault and harassment’ as a result of the study. The results of the report were ‘predicted to be damning’, said the Canberra Times.

Commentary on the report was indeed damning. ‘Australia has a sexual-assault problem’, said ABC. ‘Half of all students were sexually harassed in 2016’, claimed the Guardian. ‘One in five university students experience some form of sexual harassment’, wrote the Australian. But, as with so many reports on campus sexual assault, the panicky headlines don’t reflect the reality.

According to the report, 51 per cent of students were sexually harassed on at least one occasion in 2016 (including ‘incidents which took place off campus’), and 21 per cent of students were sexually harassed in a ‘university setting’ (including an ‘off-campus event organised, or endorsed, by the university’, as well as ‘technology-based harassment’). The AHRC survey that informed the report was filled out by 30,000 students – just over two per cent of the student population, according to Universities Australia data on 2017 student numbers.

Furthermore, the AHRC also admits that much of the success of the report is down to the work of advocacy organisations. ‘This report comes after years of advocacy by survivors of sexual assault… to raise public awareness of the issue of sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities’, said sex-discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins. The report even admits this bias on page 226, in a section called ‘caveats’.

But alarm bells really start to ring once you look into what is classified as ‘sexual harassment’. The three most common forms of sexual harassment students recorded were: ‘inappropriate staring or leering that made you feel intimidated’ (32 per cent); ‘sexually suggestive comments or jokes that made you feel offended’ (19 per cent); and ‘intrusive questions about your private life or physical appearance that made you feel offended’ (14 per cent). No sensible person would classify staring, making jokes or asking rude questions as sexual harassment.

In fact, the students who filled out the AHRC’s survey didn’t even consider such behaviour serious enough to report it. Sixty-eight per cent of students ‘did not make a formal report or complaint… because they did not think their experience was serious enough’, and 53 per cent ‘did not think they needed help’. If the study proves anything, it’s that female students don’t need or want universities to act as their protectors.

There is a morbid fascination with sexual harassment on campus. This is despite the fact that there has never been any credible evidence to suggest that female students at Western universities are in danger. Why would there be? Anyone who has visited a campus in the US, UK, or indeed Australia, will be able to tell you that universities aren’t hotbeds of harassment. So why is there this desire to portray campus as a dangerous place for women?

Contemporary feminism has a big problem with women’s autonomy. Feminists have given up on the idea that women should be trusted to be as strong and capable as men. A victim mentality engrained in identity politics has convinced them that women are an underprivileged group, even though all the evidence shows that female university students perform better than their male counterparts, and that the majority do not experience sexual harassment. Rather than dealing with reality, feminists seek to convince young women that the stupid joke a guy tells them at the bar is more than just an awkward encounter – it’s sexual harassment.

This not only terrifies young women, it also infantilises them. The most worrying part of the AHRC survey is its call for universities to do more. The report’s ‘recommendations’ include compulsory consent classes and new regulations to police interaction between the sexes. It even suggests, a la 1950s-style dorm-policing, a review of ‘the level and nature of supervision in a 24-hour residential setting in which large numbers of young people are living away from home’. Implementing such changes would effectively reinstate in loco parentis rules on campus, which would treat women like children who need to be watched and protected.

Those who believe they are fighting for equality by scaremongering about sexual harassment should think again. It only serves to undermine women’s freedom. Past battles for equality weren’t won on the basis of victimhood. Instead, women demanded that their strength and capability be recognised by society. Giving these hard-won freedoms away by inviting the campus authorities to meddle in women’s personal lives would be an insult to the history of women’s liberation. More than that, it would be an insult to all women.


Smart money should go to teach the teachers

Analysing the latest NAPLAN test can be an exercise in frustration. No jurisdiction improved its mean score in any assessment domain from 2016 to 2017. The only break in the statistical monotony was a drop in Year 3 writing scores in South Australia.

Extending the comparison back further gives more reason for hope.

There have been big gains in Years 3 and 5 reading and in Year 5 numeracy in several states and territories since the tests began in 2008, but progress is patchy in other areas, especially writing.

The states and territories that have made the most important gains since 2008 are Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. While it is difficult to pinpoint why, it is reasonable to assume sustained incremental improvements are because of better teaching. There are sizeable pockets of schools in each of these jurisdictions that have embraced explicit instruction, especially in phonics, and have seen their ­NAPLAN scores rise as a result.

The NT Year 3 reading results are especially pleasing. There was a non-statistically significant dip this year, but this was after an upward trajectory in previous years.

Secondary school is a different story. It is a struggle to find any improvement in any area in Years 7 and 9 in any state or territory over the lifetime of NAPLAN.

To some extent this is to be expected: achievement in literacy and numeracy in high school is highly dependent on foundations laid in primary school. Hopefully, improvements in primary will soon flow through, but these gains will be lost if students do not continue to get high-quality teaching.

This year’s NAPLAN data show there is no straightforward relationship between school funding and students’ achievement. There have been substantial funding increases to all states and territories since NAPLAN began, particularly since the "Gonski" funding model began three years ago, but only some states have improved, and only in some areas.

The evidence that extra money has contributed to higher achievement is far from clear. It is well-­established that teaching is the greatest in-school influence on student achievement.

Once high-quality teaching has been established, good teaching costs no more than poor teaching. This is partly why it is difficult to find a consistent causal association between the size of the education budget and results.

Improving results requires schools to use evidence from the best multidisciplinary research on how children learn and the most effective way to teach them. If increased spending is not invested in making sure all teachers have this knowledge and expertise, then it is destined to be wasted.


CFMEU has disgraceful law-breaking record, Federal Court finds

The Federal Court has slammed the construction union’s "disgraceful" and "woeful" record of law-breaking, imposing a $300,000 penalty for unlawful strikes at three Queensland projects, including the state’s children’s hospital.

Handing down penalties today over the unlawful industrial action by 600 workers, a full court of the federal court found the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union was a recidivist which continued to "thumb its nose" at industrial laws.

"No penalties that have been imposed in the past have appeared to reduce its willingness to breach the law," the full court said.

It noted evidence of schedules of prior cases involving the CFMEU "that on any view reveal a lamentable, if not disgraceful, record of deliberately flouting industrial laws".

The court also imposed a $130,000 penalty on the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union, findings its members participated in unlawful action at two of the projects.

"The other significant difference between the CFMEU and the CEPU is that the CEPU’s prior record of contraventions against industrial laws is not nearly as woeful as the CFMEU’s record.

The CFMEU was party to contraventions by 165 workers at the Children’s Hospital project, 260 workers at the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre, and 180 workers at the Queensland Institute of Research.

The unlawful strikes occurred over three days in May 2011 and came as the unions were engaged in a broader campaign against sham contracting in the construction industry.

The unions admitted the contravention and did not dispute that penalties should be imposed.

Court action over the strikes was initiated under the previous federal Labor Government in May 2013.

At the time, the building regulator and the CFMEU filed an agreed statement of facts that said penalties of $105,000 against the CFMEU and $45,000 against the CEPU were appropriate. The statement of claim did not specify how many workers were involved.

Following several court cases including High Court proceedings, the regulator submitted that the appropriate penalty for the CFMEU was between $180,000 to $205,000 and $70,000 to $90,000 for the CEPU.

"One wonders how it was that the Commissioner was originally prepared to agree to and actively advocate penalties that were clearly well below the very bottom of the ranges that, following remittal, were said to be appropriate. That puzzle remains unanswered,’ the court said today.

It found that "about the only thing that could be said in favour of the CFMEU, other than that the conduct was related to genuine concerns about sham contracting, is that it co-operated with the commissioner in relation to these proceedings by admitting the contraventions and reaching agreement in relation to the facts".

"It is, however, doubtful in all the circumstances that the CFMEU’s co-operation with the regulator could really be said to demonstrate contrition or remorse," it said.

"In some respects the co-operation reflects nothing more than an acceptance of the inevitable. The CFMEU did not adduce any evidence of contrition or remorse. Indeed, there was not even an expression of contrition or remorse in its submissions.

"There was no evidence from which it could be inferred that the CFMEU intended to change its ways. There was certainly no suggestion, let alone evidence, to the effect that the CFMEU intended to set up any systems, processes, procedures or education to ensure that its officers did not encourage unlawful industrial action in the future."

ABCC Commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss said the decision reflected a pattern of unlawful behaviour on Australian construction sites.

"The CFMEU and CEPU intentionally organised a halt to work on critical taxpayer-funded projects including a new Children’s Hospital and a medical research facility," Mr Hadgkiss said.

"The ABCC will continue to investigate and act on unlawful conduct in the industry, especially where it impacts major public infrastructure.

"We are committed to bringing to an end the flagrant disregard for the law shown by certain elements of the building industry, whether employers, employees or unions."


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

6 August, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG notes that both Shorten and Turnbull would like to be Australia's first president.

Girls as young as 11 'could be given the contraceptive pill at school without their parents consent' under new regulations

This is typical Leftist authoritarianism:  Designed to divert all authority to themselves.  It goes back to Karl Marx's hatred of the family

Girls as young as 11 could have access to the contraceptive pill without their parents consent under a new school program.

Doctors in Secondary Schools program have updated their guidelines meaning parental consent was not a legal requirement which could mean teachers are able to override a parent's decision for their children not to see a doctor during school hours.

Providing treatment for physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health, the $44 million program involves GP clinics operating once a week in 100 Victorian secondary schools, according to The Australian.

The program is aiming to balance the rights of young people and parental involvement where young people in Victoria are able to give their own consent to their own treatments if a doctor considers them to be a 'mature minor'.

Education Minister James Merlino told the publication the program does not change the current legal requirements in the medical industry.

'Rules around consent are treated in exactly the same way as it would in our community. This gives reassurance to parents and the school that health service being provided is in line with their expectations,' Mr Merlino said.

However, if children are under 14 and listed on their parent's Medicare cards, their parents can access appointment information.

Opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling told The Australian parents should be included in decision making about their own children and it was concerning schools could override parent's consent.


Flirting is part of life, rape culture claims are an abomination

In recent weeks women have been busily debating the ethics of the sex robot, first on Slate’s Double X podcast, then on Mamamia a few days after. Is it dehumanising women? (It’s a doll. Does that mean porn is off bounds too, girls?) Isn’t it just an efficient way of ­deriving sexual pleasure? (Yes.) Does it take rape fantasy over the line? (No, it’s a doll. She’s not real. There is no consent or lack of consent.) All heady stuff if you’re caught up on how sex with a silicon doll is going to change men.

Here’s another way of looking at it: ask not how a silicon sex robot will change men but how real-life women are doing that ­already with their vivisection of men, dissecting what’s bad about them, depicting them as vessels of white, male privilege and likely sexual predators.

Released this week, the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Changing the Course report into sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities is a textbook case of the intersection between the foggy world of sexual politics and the crystal-clear aim of activists to propagate hysteria ­despite the facts. The data from the report simply does not support the existence of a rape culture on campus.

That’s the case even with dodgy methodology aimed at boosting the numbers. Ninety per cent of people did not respond to the survey and the report admits the 10 per cent of self-selecting students who did respond were ­"motivated" to do so.

The finding that 1.6 per cent of students were sexually assaulted was taken over a two-year period and included ­assault in "university settings" such as travelling to and from campus. Even the definition of sexual ­assault was expanded to inflate numbers, yet still the data doesn’t support hyperbole that there is a rape epidemic on Australian campuses.

When it comes to episodes of campus sexual harassment, the devil is in the detail. The report ­defines sexual harassment as ­staring or leering, suggestive comments or jokes, or intrusive questions about someone’s private life or physical appearance. That settles it then. We have surely all been perpetrators of sexual harassment.

In the deliciously confusing, often exhilarating yet frustrating flirtations between the sexes, scrutinising a sexual advance is no easy thing. Some stares, jokes, suggestive comments and questions as to whether you’re single will be welcome sexual banter. In which case, enjoy the evening. Some will be misfired sexual advances, an ­inchoate flirtation that simply wasn’t reciprocated. In which case, no harm done and adieu.

How else does a relationship, let alone a casual hook-up, start if not with a lingering look, a suggestive joke, a question about your private life. Human interactions don’t happen in a sterile test-tube laboratory setting. They occur ­between people seeking sex, love, laughs, people full of flaws and emotions where mixed messages are not uncommon. And as sex therapist and author Esther Perel pointed out in a TED talk a few years ago: "Most of us get turned on at night by the very same things we might demonstrate against during the day. The erotic mind is not very politically correct."

In short, sexual politics are far more complicated than the simplistic findings of the commission’s report and its nine-point plan to stamp out wicked sexual practices on campus. For every claim of sexual harassment and sexual assault, there may be ­another side to the story. If that other side is not sought out or even mentioned as a caveat to the "data", it exposes the report as propaganda rather than a search for truth.

The collection of the commission’s data was inseparable from the politics of the rape-culture ­activists. Nina Funnell, an advocate for rape victims, claimed that "now we have the data to back up our ­assertions". And this from ­Sophie Johnston of the National Union of Students: "It broke my heart to read this report … this is a cultural battle we are fighting everywhere."

Johnston is right that there is a cultural battle under way across society but not in the way she has imagined. This report is more ­evidence that the gathering of knowledge has been bumped aside in favour of the accumulation of power. Here is postmodernism ­unplugged and its belief that truth is a tool of oppression. Hence the hyperbole from rape-culture ­activists that the data confirms their narrative when it does no such thing.

And the years of bullying by rape-culture activists has been ­rewarded. Universities Australia donated $1 million to fund the ­report, human rights bureaucrats have produced the perfect make-work report for themselves and university administrators, too frightened to be advocates for the virtues of truth and reason, have capitulated to the postmodern bullies.

That’s a shame because much is at stake. Not just the reputation of the Australian Human Rights Commission, which sorely needs a boost, or the standing of university administrators who immediately agreed to all recommendations with no analysis of the data. Much more is on the line, too. Like the future of feminism and the wellbeing of women.

As Laura Kipnis, author of the ­recent book Unwanted ­Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, has said: "If this is feminism, it’s feminism hijacked by melodrama. The melodramatic imagination’s obsession with helpless victims and powerful predators is what’s shaping the con­versation of the moment, to the detriment of those whose interests are supposedly being protected, namely students. The ­result? ­Students’ sense of vulnerability is ­skyrocketing."

Kipnis has spent years calling out the false sanctimony and feminist paternalism that conflates bad sex (a common thing on campus) with "rape culture" and treats students as "trauma cases waiting to happen".

In her 1992 book, Sex, Art and American Culture, libertarian feminist Camille Paglia encouraged young women to reassess assumptions about sexual politics.

"We need a new kind of feminism," wrote Paglia. "One that stresses personal responsibility and is open to art and sex in all their dark, ­unconsoling mysteries. The feminist of the fin de siecle will be bawdy, streetwise and on-the-spot confrontational, in the prankish Sixties way."

It’s 2017 and it still hasn’t happened. Instead, there is a sterilisation of the sexes by rape-culture activists and aided and abetted by the taxpayer-funded human rights industry and nervous university vice-chancellors. This motley crew of morality police had better be careful what they wish for. Their 21st-century narrative of women as feeble carries a hefty price at a time when lagging ­self-esteem and insecurities are ­already presenting as serious ­mental health problems.

Overreach hurts even the best cause. Following an alleged case of sexual assault by a male student against a young girl this year, a teacher at an elite private school addressed a group of senior boys during assembly about respecting women.

He told the boys not to use the word moist because it was ­offensive to women. Talk about sweating the small stuff.

Inevitably, many of the boys, well-versed in the Australian art of piss-taking, found a new liking for a word they rarely used. The autumn air was moist. So were the canteen sandwiches. And so on. A teacher made fun of it, too, using the forbidden word in class, much to the delight of the boys. It was a lesson lost on the senior school head that overreach doesn’t help a cause: it undermines it. Reason, on the other hand, is persuasive precisely because it cannot be dismissed as nonsense.

That’s the most wicked part of a report that lumps together real cases of rape and sexual harassment with otherwise warm and messy, complicated interactions that happen between men and women.

Rape is a heinous crime and ought to be punished by the full force of the law. No ifs. No buts. Crying wolf, diluting definitions, confusing bad sex with non-consensual sex, pretending rapists roam campuses only ­deflects the focus away from seeking justice for genuine victims of rape.

The demasculinisation of men, making them feel guilty for being different to women, is equally heinous. Labelling them as perpetrators of sexual harassment if they look at a woman, tell a dirty joke or ask a personal question may lead us into a sexually disinfected world we no longer recognise or wish to live in.

Henry Kissinger wisely predicted that "no one can win the battle of the sexes. After all, there’s too much fraternising with the enemy." And long may the fraternising continue, rather than featuring in junk data collected by the Australian Human Rights Commission and the warped narrative of rape-culture feminists.

If there is a boom in the sales of smiling, voice-recognising sex ­robots, don’t ask how sex with a silicon chick will change men. Better to ask what we did as a society that men might prefer that to sex with the real thing.



Four current reports below

Hundreds of thousands left in the dark as Adelaide suffers ANOTHER blackout

Ain't "renewable" power grand?

Parts of northern Adelaide are without power with police calling on motorists to take care as lights are out. Power is out across the city and early morning commuters are facing delays due to a number of traffic lights not working in the area.

Images have been posted to social media of baristas attempting to make coffee using the lights on their phones as they wait for power to return.

Motorists are advised to avoid O'Connell Street which is without working traffic lights, with Main North Road, Barton Terrace and Chapel Street also affected, South Australian police say.

Street lights are also out in the area, causing extremely dangerous conditions for drivers and pedestrians travelling in the area.

Major traffic delays are expected while the power problem is resolved.

The outage was first reported around 5am on Friday and has left approximately 268 properties without power.

It is the latest in a string of power failures in Adelaide, as the city seeks alternative energy systems including Musk's megawatt battery.

Diesel generators are being rushed to be installed in the city, but The Advertiser reported the nine 'state-of-the-art' turbines will lose 25 per cent of their capacity in extreme heat.

Premier Jay Weatherill said Tuesday the generators would be operational by December, but will lose a quarter of the 276MW production when temperatures exceed 40 degrees.

The forced blackouts Adelaide experienced in February this year were the result of a 41 degree day. South Australia went through a state-wide blackout in September last year.


Queenslanders blame renewable energy for rising power prices, Galaxy Poll finds

QUEENSLANDERS are blaming renewable energy for their surging power prices, forcing them to cut spending on holidays, dinners and clothes to cover the costs.

Most Queenslanders have also backed a proposal for a new coal-fired power station in the north of the state to help drive economic opportunities and bring down prices.

The findings from a new Galaxy Poll, commissioned exclusively for The Courier-Mail, are a bitter blow for the Palaszczuk Government which has hotly pursued a 50 per cent renewable energy target and condemned the costs of new coal-fired power.

Ahead of a crisis meeting on prices next week with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, energy retailers yesterday blamed the lack of a coherent national policy for forcing up costs.

The Reserve Bank also warned the rising price of electricity and gas would put pressure on inflation, hitting households with higher bills as well as increased costs passed on by business.

Queensland’s standard electricity tariff has surged from 14¢ per kWh with a $5.40 a month service fee to almost 26¢ per kWh and 87¢ a day over the last decade.

A typical Queensland customer will pay almost $2000 for power in 2017-18 while small businesses will pay $2550 after rises of 3.3 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.

The Palaszczuk Government spared households from further price pain by absorbing the $770 million cost of the solar bonus scheme’s 44¢ feed-in tariff over the next three years. However, the high-priced home-produced power was forecast to add $4.1 billion to power bills overall.

The Galaxy Poll found 47 per cent of voters believed renewable energy was driving up their prices, while just 14 per cent thought solar, wind and other sources were keeping costs down.

It found 28 per cent believed renewables were having no impact.

One in three of Labor’s own supporters were critical of renewables.

Opposition was strongest at 62 per cent among One Nation voters, the key group both major parties are desperate to appeal to ahead of the looming state election.

The poll found 50 per cent of voters supported a coal-fired power station in north Queensland while 40 per cent were opposed. Support was strongest in regional Queensland and among LNP voters.

Respondents were also asked about the impact power bills was having on their spending. Voters identified little luxuries (43 per cent), holidays (42 per cent), eating out (37 per cent) and purchasing new clothes (33 per cent).

The impact escalated as household income declined, however those on more than $100,000 were also cutting their spending.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her Government had kept the electricity assets and increased concessions. "We kept our power generators in public hands and we are attracting new private sector investment in large-scale projects because we have energy security," she said.

"The LNP liked coal-fired generation so much, they wanted to sell them off to overseas interests and those returns would have gone offshore as well."

Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls blamed recent wholesale power price spikes on Labor’s decision to load up Government-owned generators with debt.

"Queenslanders know Labor’s headlong rush to a 50 per cent renewable energy target will just drive up prices even more, not to mention the risk that we will do a South Australia and battle to keep the lights on," he said.

Australian Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren insisted the best way to put downward pressure on power prices was to introduce a "coherent national energy".  "Recent power price increases are the result of old generators closing and the lack of a consistent plan as to how to replace them," he said. "This is a national policy failure that has been a decade in the making."

In its latest statement on monetary policy, the RBA also blamed a lack of investment caused by policy uncertainty for impacting prices. "Along with the direct effects on household utility bills, there will also be indirect effects on inflation as a result of rising business input costs," it said.


ANOTHER coal mine in central Queensland has been given the green light

Meteor Downs South project had been given the go ahead by Sojitz

Natural Resources and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said the Meteor Downs South project had been given the go ahead by Sojitz Coal Mining and U&D Mining. It follows the green light for the $1.7 billion Byerwen project by QCoal and the restart of the Isaac Plains mine, the Blair Athol mine and Collinsville.

The project, about 45km southeast of Springsure, would be operated by Sojitz Corporation subsidiary SCM which also owns and operates the Minerva Mine, and is expected to generate 40 to 50 full time jobs for the local community when fully operational.

"The decision by Sojitz and U&D is more positive job and economic news for central Queensland communities," he said. "This investment of more than $30 million represents another vote of confidence in our state, as we continue to see the sustainable development of our resources sector.

"For locals and families in towns like Springsure, Rolleston and across the surrounding region, this is a real shot in the arm."

Dr Lynham said preliminary onsite activities for the project were expected to commence later this year, with construction expected to start in January 2018. "Once Meteor Downs reaches the production stage, the mine is expecting to export coal via the Port of Gladstone," he said.

The mine will have an annual capacity of more than 1.5 million tonnes when fully operational and a mine life of about 10 years


Cut power prices or business will go bust, says Glencore boss

The nation’s biggest coalminer and copper producer, Glencore, has called for the abolition of the renewable energy target and suggested delaying Paris climate commitments as Australian industry struggles under the weight of rising power costs.

And in comments backed by big manufacturers, Glencore says Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s proposed clean energy target will not be enough to save heavy industry, which needs pricing concessions from policies designed to tackle emissions reductions.

Speaking in Sydney yesterday, Glencore’s senior Australia-based executive, its global coal chief Peter Freyberg, said 10 years of poor policy development was coming home to roost.

"Electricity prices have got to a level where many industries, both large and medium, are either suffering or are becoming uneconomic because of high energy prices," he said. "Either we intervene now to protect those businesses or we let them go — that’s a government decision."

He said the RET, which was put in place with bipartisan support, and state-based renewable targets needed to be abolished and a national energy policy that allowed exemptions for heavy industry put in place.

"All we have is a renewable ­energy target that is seeing billions of dollars chucked into ­renewables and baseload power being shut down," he said. "We are seeing the consequence of that in elevated energy prices and businesses going out of business."

He said that if something had to take a back seat in solving the so-called energy "trilemma" of ­affordability, reliability and emissions reductions, it should be emissions.

"Let’s get energy and affordability right and then work emissions reductions into that in an orderly way," Mr Freyberg said.

"That way we can achieve emissions reductions by sustaining the economy rather than achieving it by destroying the economy."

If exempting heavy industry from emissions targets meant a delay in meeting Paris climate accord commitments, that should be looked at, he said.

Glencore makes almost all its coal profits from exports so is not overly exposed to reductions in the nation’s coal-fired power use.

But its Australian electricity bill is about $400 million a year and power is a third of the costs at its Mount Isa copper smelter and Townsville copper refinery.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott, who has called for a freeze on the renewable energy target at 15 per cent, said low power prices were critical for industry. "You can’t run a business, you can’t produce a great product and can’t employ people without energy and without power," Mr Abbott said yesterday. "We need affordable, reliable power and policy has to change."

Federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the Turnbull government was committed to the RET. "The government remains committed to the renewable energy target, as legislated in 2015, recognising that it was the Coalition that ensured a 100 per cent exemption for emissions-intensive trade-exposed businesses," Mr Frydenberg said.

He said Mr Freyberg was "absolutely right" that affordable, reliable power must be the number one priority.

"We support his call for the abolition of state-based renewable energy targets which only create inefficiencies across the system," he said.

The Coalition and the Council of Australian Governments Energy Council have supported 49 of the 50 Finkel recommendations.
But the last, the CET, has not cleared the Coalition partyroom, where there is concern it will push up prices by discouraging coal-fired generation.

The Glencore boss said Dr Finkel’s CET was not enough on its own to take care of energy policy, no matter where the target was set and whether or not it encouraged cleaner coal technologies.

"There are a number of unanswered questions in terms of the modelling and analysis in the review, such as ‘what is the assumed make-up and nature of Australia’s industrial base — and, just as importantly — what are the policy recommendations around future energy affordability’?" he said.

This was backed by Manufacturing Australia, which represents the chief executives of 10 of the nation’s biggest manufacturers, including BlueScope Steel, Brickworks, CSR, Rheem, Dulux and Incitec Pivot.

"The Finkel report had some good recommendations with regards to security and emissions, but it really misses the mark on affordability, or internationally competitive prices," MA chief executive Ben Eade said.

Targets had been recommended for emissions, through the CET, and reliability, through obligations for reliability, but none for prices, he said.

"If success is measured in getting electricity prices down from $120 a megawatt hour to $100 a megawatt hour, that’s not going to be good enough for heavy industry," Mr Eade said.

"We need a grown-up discussion about what an internationally competitive energy price is for heavy industry and we think it is in the $60 to $80 range."

Rio Tinto’s global chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques, who has railed against the impact of power prices on his Queensland aluminium assets, said affordability was key.

"What we want is an affordable and reliable source of energy, we want to make sure that Australia is globally competitive," Mr Jacques said.

Mr Freyberg last week increased Glencore’s Australian coal presence by taking a stake in Rio Tinto’s Hunter Valley coalmines.


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, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is irate at the claim that we need Muslims for sperm

External experts in BoM review

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has rejected calls for an independent investigation of the Bureau of Meteorology’s temperature data collection and hand­ling but promises to release findings of an in-house review.

Mr Frydenberg said on Tuesday he had spoken to BoM chief executive Andrew Johnson and instructed that two independent external experts be included on the review panel.

"We are treating this issue seriously and I look forward to a set of recommendations which ensures ongoing public confidence in the integrity of the bureau’s data collection and temperature records," he said. "When the review is complete I will make the findings public."

Dr Johnson said he had initiated an internal probe with outside input after shortcomings were confirmed in recording minimum temperatures at a number of weather stations.

Scientist Jennifer Marohasy, who exposed the failure of two stations to record low temperatures of minus 10.4C, said a parliamentary inquiry was needed. "I have no doubt an inquiry would find major problems in terms of how BoM is dealing with temperature records and data handling," Dr Marohasy said.

BoM has confirmed there were issues with recording low temperatures at Goulburn and Thredbo weather stations.

But in a letter to Mr Frydenberg, Dr Johnson said the bureau did not deliberately limit the tem­peratures recorded: "The ­bureau’s systems are designed to alert us to unusually high or low temperatures so they can be checked for their veracity."

A preliminary review of out­ages at Goulburn and Thredbo Top station had been undertaken. "This identified that the electronic hardware not only at Goulburn and Thredbo Top station, but also a small number of stations in cold-climate location are not fit for purpose and previous outages have occurred at temperatures below minus 10," Dr Johnson said. Steps had been taken to ­replace the hardware at these places.

Dr Johnson said he had initiated an internal review of BoM’s Australian weather station network and associated data quality control processes for temperature observations. The review was expected to take several weeks.

Previous concerns over the BoM’s temperature data handling have caused deep divisions in the federal government.

Documents released under Freedom of Information have shown former prime minister Tony Abbott pushed for a forensic audit of its performance. However, the review was scaled back after lobbying by then environment minister Greg Hunt.


Mark Latham points out Muslim hate and 'anti-white racism'

Mark Latham has slammed controversial Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied for generating 'anti-white racism' and 'encouraging terrorists to do their worst'.

Speaking on Mark Latham's Outsiders on Wednesday night, the former Labor Party leader said there was a powerful connection between anti-white racism in Australia and Islamic terrorism.

Mr Latham highlighted a Twitter conversation between Ms Abdel-Magied and Sydney-based activist Osman Faruqi in which he claimed the pair 'celebrated anti-white racism'.

'The white people are getting f***ed Yas, it's happening,' Mr Faruqi wrote for his almost 14,000 followers.

'Look, they wanted people to go back to where they came from and didn't understand it included them too,' Ms Abdel-Magied wrote in reply.

Mr Latham, who has been outspoken about his dislike of Ms Abdel-Magied and her opinions, said the conversation was 'totally unacceptable'.

'These people are fermenting hatred of white people and as such, they are effectively encouraging terrorists to do their worst,' he said.

'Those fermenting the idea of an Islamic master race in Australia, they are aiding and imbedding Islamic terrorism, they are giving encouragement to terrorist fanatics who want to kill innocent people in this country.'

Mr Latham compared Ms Abdel-Magied and Mr Faruqi to terrorists.  'The rise of anti-white racism is just phenomenally unacceptable, it puts these people on the same page as the terrorists,' he said. 'Abdel-Magied's now in London thankfully.'

Ms Abdel-Magied came under fire in April when she posted an ANZAC Day tweet saying: 'Lest we forget (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine),' the 26-year-old Sudanese-born activist said

Mr Latham said it was time Australian leaders like Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten stepped up.

'Imbeciles, absolute imbeciles perpetrating racial hatred and the idea of a master race have to to pull their heads in and be hauled into line by our national leaders.

Mr Latham invited longstanding MP Peter Baldwin onto the show on Wednesday to discuss his claim 'there was a defacto alliance that has developed between the left and militant Islam'.

'(It's) the most reactionary force in the world today – the strangest and most disconcerting political development in my lifetime,' Mr Baldwin wrote.

Appearing on the show, Mr Baldwin, who was a Labor Party member from 1983 to 1998, stood by his claim. 'I could never have imaged the left could sink so low when I got involved back in the early 70s,' he said.


Casual attitude at government hospital kills two patients

STATE Coroner Mark Johns has questioned the "culture of medical administration" at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, saying the stroke team’s approach was too casual over a rostering blunder linked to the death of two patients.

RAH acting head of radiology, Dr Jim Buckley, has told the inquest he was in charge of rostering the 24-hour Interventional Neuro-Radiology (INR) team, which consisted of two full-time doctors, when there was a four-day gap in coverage.

Both INR specialists, Dr James Taylor and Dr Rebecca Scroop, were on leave at the same time when Michael John Russell and Leslie Robert Graham suffered strokes and died in April.

Dr Buckley told Mr Johns that Dr Scroop spoke with another specialist, Dr Michael Wilks, who agreed to cover the gap before relaying the information back to him.

But the inquest heard there was confusion about what procedures Dr Wilks was required to attend to at the RAH during that four-day period.

Counsel assisting the coroner, Naomi Kereru, asked Dr Buckley if it was his job to fill the 24-hour roster and why it was left to Dr Scroop to organise.

"I think we all had a responsibility to fill the gap," he said.

But Mr Johns said something as serious as ensuring the service had adequate staff coverage should not have been left to an "informal conversation".

"Surely something as crucial as this isn’t the stuff for informal conversations between two staff who didn’t have ultimate responsibility for the setting of the roster — that was your responsibility," he said.

"It’s just not satisfactory, surely, in any view, to leave it to an informal discussion between two staff members. It wouldn’t be acceptable in any organisation, let alone one that provides a stroke service.

"If somebody didn’t turn up to the Adelaide Oval for a football game and it meant the game couldn’t go ahead and the whole crowd was there waiting in the dark, there would be a massive outcry.

"And yet that would be a matter of insignificance by comparison with the absence of the people necessary to carry out a stroke retrieval.

"Is this the culture of medical administration? This is a very casual approach to administration, that’s my view on the matter — I’m giving you the opportunity to persuade me otherwise."

Dr Buckley said he should have personally spoken to Dr Wilks about what was expected of him and clarified the situation.

The inquest also heard that Dr Taylor was the first person called when Mr Graham required an INR procedure — despite being on holiday three hours away.

Ms Kereru said the stroke team was not aware that Dr Taylor would be unavailable to perform procedures over that time, adding to the confusion about who the first port of call should have been.

Mr Johns is holding an inquest into the deaths of Mr Russell, 60, and Mr Graham, 87, in April.


Labor attacking Aust way of life: Abbott

Tony Abbott has accused Labor of attacking Australia's way of life by proposing a public vote on whether to become a republic.  The former prime minister says the republic vote is the federal opposition's latest attack after it vowed to legalise gay marriage with a parliamentary vote.

The proposed republic vote would cost the same $150 million as a plebiscite on gay marriage and would not answer the question of whether a president should be elected by voters or chosen by the government, he said. It could undermine the legitimacy of Australia's system of government without putting anything in its place, he warned.

"This attack on the monarchy is just the latest instalment in the green-left's war on our way of life that Shorten Labor has largely made its own," he writes in The Australian on Wednesday.

Mr Abbott accused Labor of trying to divide and diminish the nation with its "envy-exploiting" campaign against inequality.

He also appeared to take a swipe at his own side. "The argument that `the government should be re-elected because the alternative is worse' is not normally compelling but, thanks to Shorten's latest ploy, it has become a lot more powerful."


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, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is disgusted at the effort to keep Jesus out of Queensland schools

'An extraordinary attempt to cook the figures': Sex therapist rubbishes reports of a rape culture at Australian universities

You'd have to be a chump to believe the hopelesly biased Human Rights Commission

An Australian sex therapist has rubbished claims there was a 'rape culture' at universities across Australia.  Speaking to Andrew Bolt on The Bolt Report on Tuesday night, Bettina Arndt said the figures were 'cooked'.

The Human Rights Commission released a report on Tuesday suggesting 51 per cent of Australian university students were sexually harassed last year.

Ms Arndt said the figures were manipulated and exaggerated the issue.  'If we're talking about being stared at in a way you don't like, I mean it's not so surprising,' she said.

'These are self-selected students who've been encouraged to fill in this survey by a campaign that's lasted for years trying to persuade people there's a rape crisis on campus.'

Ms Arndt, author of The Sex Diaries, said the results did more to disprove there was a rape culture. 'These people who object to being stared at - what most people regard as a very mild form of harassment – they failed dismally to produce any evidence of a rape culture on campus,' she said.

'I think it's a wonderful news story Andrew.'

The sex therapist and clinical psychologist said 'there's been an extraordinary attempt to cook the figures in any way they can'.

The 'Change the Course' Australian Human Rights Commission survey released figures claiming 'women are almost twice as likely as men to be harassed and more than three times as likely to be assaulted'.

The survey was commissioned by Universites Australia after claims institutions were covering up victims' claims. Results came from more than 30,000 students across 39 universities.

Students from the Canberra university participated in a protest after the results were released, wearing black masking tape across their faces and holding banners.  


Political commentator slams Waleed Aly as 'unhinged' after The Aly claims Australian Government has 'over-hyped the threat of terrorism'

An amusing example of Leftists telling only half the story.  Aly says that immigration and multiculturalism used to be celebrated in Australia but are now considered a threat.  Not a whisper about WHY it is now considered a threat. It wouldn't be experience of Muslim atrocities and violent crime, would it?

Political commentator and author Gerard Henderson has slammed Waleed Aly's comments about immigration and terrorism as 'unhinged'.

The Project host Waleed Aly wrote a piece for The New York Times on Thursday titled 'Immigration as a security threat' in which he said Australia 'over-hyped the threat of terrorism'.

Aly called Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull 'extremely weak' and slammed his plan to create a super ministry of Home Affairs to combat terrorism.

Appearing on Andrew Bolt's The Bolt Report on Tuesday, Gerard Henderson rubbished Aly's take on the system.

'I've had a look at Waleed Aly's piece, and for Dr Aly to say that Malcolm Turnbull has debased immigration in Australia to an American and international audience, is completely false,' he said.

'The idea that the prime minister, because he renames a department is debasing immigration, is just a total fallacy.  '[It's] demeaning of the country.

'From a man who holds a doctorate of philosophy and teaches students at Monash University and has a number of programs on the ABC and Channel 10, this is sort of unhinged commentary.'

In his piece for the New York Times on Thursday Waleed Aly detailed Australia's apparent morphing perception of immigration.

He said immigration and multiculturalism used to be celebrated but was now considered a 'threat to be managed'. 

Waleed Aly also claimed Australia was inflating the threat of terror to tighten immigration.

'Every now and then you get the impression that Australia is desperate to be under grave threat,' he said.

'Turnbull last week announced the creation of a super ministry, choosing as his backdrop a mix of military equipment and soldiers wearing gas masks. 'It was a shocking yet predictable moment because it seemed like a sudden escalation for Mr Turnbull who was once a critic of Mr Abbott's tendency to over-hype the threat of terrorism.'


South Australia to buy nine new power generators

A confession of failure. With huge blackouts, "Green" power was a disaster.  They have in fact walked away from low CO2 power sources altogether.  They were going to build a gas-fired generator but have abandoned that in favour of good ol' smoky diesels.  They have clearly lost their mojo

South Australia will buy nine new generators to overcome any shortfalls in electricity during summer. The government says the generators will be installed at two temporary locations for the next two summers before being moved to one permanent site.

They have the capacity to provide up to 276 megawatts but will only dispatch energy to the grid if there are shortfalls that could result in load shedding.

The nine new aeroderivative turbines, which work like jet engines to produce electricity, will be initially fuelled by diesel before being connected to a gas supply.

They replace the government's plan to build a new gas-fired power station and to put temporary diesel generators in key locations across the state.

Premier Jay Weatherill says the generators will be funded within the existing $550 million energy plan, with the bill to be lower than the previous options.

The plan also includes construction of the world's biggest battery in the state's mid-north by tech billionaire Elon Musk and was developed following the statewide blackout in September 2016 and major load shedding in February.

"Rather than purchasing temporary generators before building a new gas plant, this solution will deliver long-term, back-up generation for South Australia before this summer," the premier said on Tuesday. "Importantly, this solution will deliver more generation capacity than originally planned while emitting less carbon pollution."

The temporary locations to be used will be alongside Adelaide's desalination plant in the city's south and on the soon-to-be-vacated Holden car assembly plant in the northern suburbs.

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the existing infrastructure at the two sites made them good strategic locations for connection to the energy grid. He said work was continuing to select the permanent location.


Australian Native Title Act benefits nobody

Author: Ron Manners

To anyone who assumed that the Native Title Act was designed to ‘assist our Aboriginals’, think again. Like most legislation there was much going on behind the scenes that only became obvious after the economic damage was done. To be sufficiently informed to indulge in discussion on this topic there are two books that give insightful background:

    The beginnings and original strategy is outlined in – Red Over Black by Geoff McDonald, and for $10, including postage, you can order a copy here.

    The Fabrication of Aboriginal History Vols 1, 2 & 3, meticulously written by academic Mr Keith Windschuttle – more details here.

Personally, having attended school with young Aboriginals, then providing foster care and later enjoying many prospecting partnerships with Aboriginals during my 65 years on Western Australia’s Goldfields, I’m probably closer to their strengths and weaknesses than many metropolitan armchair observers. Additionally I was a close personal friend of Sir Ronald Wilson who, many years before his knighthood and becoming the author of the ‘stolen generation’ report Bringing Them Home, had extended his friendship and kindness to me.

Native title filesAlso, in Kalgoorlie for seven years, I enjoyed the role of finding guest speakers for the Kalgoorlie Rotary Club’s weekly meetings and on November 21, 1983, I arranged for Mr Geoff McDonald to travel from Melbourne to be our guest speaker. Geoff McDonald had been an organizer for the Communist Party of Australia and had some alarming stories of the Communist Party’s plan to ‘divide’ Australia, in line with their strategies for many other countries. He delivered an intensely interesting story but most of the attendees felt that his scenario for ‘Aboriginal land rights’ were closer to science fiction than reality.

This was my start in collecting material to see if this nightmare scenario would come true; with ‘claimants’ holding projects to ransom at enormous cost to our nation. The developing situation was summarized by me on pages 104 – 107 in my 2009 book, Heroic Misadventures (free e-book download here).

 "In 1979 I purchased a block of land in Hong Kong. I still have the title, headed ‘Document of Land Ownership’ (below), and it certifies quite clearly that: "Ron Manners, the above named honourable person, is a purchaser of a square centimeter of land in the British Colony of Hong Kong entitled under this document." It was purchased from China Square Inch Land Ltd.

Now let me compare that with an application in Western Australia for an Exploration Licence, Prospecting Licence or a Mining Lease. Neither these applications nor the China Land Title give me useful access or rights.

The essential difference is that when I purchased the square centimeter of Hong Kong land I knew it was a joke, simply a clever tourist gimmick and I never had any expectations of claiming the rights to my so called ‘title’, for which I paid very little. However, with the Mineral Tenement Application, that was different. I paid good money with the expectation I could proceed to explore and produce.

The scandal which confronts us now is that any of us applying for a mineral tenement would be lucky to live long enough to go through the various procedures that will give us the access, when in the past we could simply "get on with our job".

I despair at the outcome (or lack of any outcome) of what is mistakenly called Native Title. Australian Aboriginals do not have any title as a result of this and, simultaneously, the system of mining titles that previously gave good title is now severely diminished.

The Act was not well thought through and is poorly drafted. With all due respect to our High Court and Parliamentary scribes, I’m amazed how they can have had so much knowledge, but so little wisdom. Since the High Court judgements, property rights have not only been reallocated without compensation for people’s losses but, worse from an economic perspective, they have been stripped of any useful function—destroyed!

What is called Native Title is inalienable, and therefore cannot be sold or mortgaged. Native Title is unclear as to:


    geographic extent

    rights that it confers

It is of almost no use to the Aboriginal people and an absolute nightmare to investors who must steer clear of uncertainty. It has cost our nation around $60-$90 billion in lost production, lost opportunities and lost employment and gives Aboriginals no rights whatsoever other than to hold projects up.

Let’s think for a while just what momentum and excitement Australia’s mining industry could develop under the rule of law and some form of property rights, where we could quickly drill a few holes on exploration tenements.

No-one wants to talk about the land access problems that plague Australia and have caused so many Australians to seek employment overseas. These are people whom we desperately need to tempt back home.

I raised the question of the badly drafted Native Title Act with our Deputy Prime Minister at a public meeting in October, 2001 and, as someone said later: I didn’t realize that politicians could run so fast!"


(1) Native Title "lost opportunity" cost between $60-$90 billion. A figure of $30 billion was the estimated opportunity cost of the Native Title legislation in its reduction in the value of mining projects, quoted in a paper delivered to the Securities Institute Seminar on Native Title in Perth on June 4, 1996 by, Coopers & Lybrand Partner, Wayne Lonergan (now at Lonergan Edwards & Associates). In delivering the paper Mr Lonergan said, "this is not a comment about the underlying social policy—it is a comment on a tragic and unnecessary waste of money." Only a fraction of this lost value will flow to successful Native Title Claimants. Most of the lost value simply disappears because of the statutory time delays and the increase in risk created by the Native Title Act. I have extrapolated his 1996 figure of $30 billion through to 2004 as "between $60 – $90 billion" for the following reasons:

    Although my extensive files trace the development of Native Title since July 1977, the effects of the Native Title Act were only starting to make themselves felt in 1996 and opportunity costs have compounded since then. No other detailed study of this nature has been conducted since 1996, to my knowledge, simply because it would not be regarded as politically correct to identify such lost opportunity costs to our nation. (Perhaps we need a study to identify the opportunity costs of ‘political correctness’).


So, in conclusion, let me state that it will take a better actuary than me to pick up the 2009 figure of $90 billion in lost opportunity costs for the nation and to extrapolate that right through to 2017 and I hope that someone will take on this challenge. Writing this, short piece, on this long saga reminded me of my May 19, 1999 interview in Kalgoorlie with Swiss National TV involving a respected Aboriginal elder.

I asked him how he felt about being one of the ‘stolen generation’. He replied, with a smile:     "Ron, I wasn’t stolen; I was rescued."


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, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is skeptical about sexual assaults at our universities

Once again we see the Muslim attitude of contempt for the rest of us

A furious mother has claimed a doctor at her local medical centre refused to see her teenage son because he prioritised Arabic-speaking patients.

Nicole Poulter claims her 16-year-old son Ryan was forced to wait an hour and 15 minutes when she took him to a medical centre in Melbourne's north suffering from appendicitis.

Ms Poulter said only one doctor was available at the medical centre and he was prioritising people who spoke Arabic over her desperately ill son.

'I was told by the receptionist that a particular doctor was only going to be treating Arabic-speaking patients,' Ms Poulter told 3AW.

She says a doctor was free when she inquired and was treating walk-in patients while her son sat in the waiting room 'septic' and writhing in pain.

'He was doubled over in his chair and couldn't sit still, couldn't find a comfortable position because of the pain. You could see he was pretty ill and he was going downhill,' Ms Poulter said.

'The doctor would put his head out the door and call other people and we were sitting right there, at his door.'

Ms Poulter said they are regulars at the medical clinic and the staff would be familiar with her family.

'It's unethical,' she told 7 News. 'You can't randomly pick and choose which cases come to you. It's just wrong.'

The 16-year-old was finally seen by a doctor after nearly an hour and a half and immediately was diagnosed with acute appendicitis.

Owners of the medical centre vehemently denied on Monday patients were treated based on the language they spoke.

Ryan has since had surgery and is recovering well.


Plan to punish people who pay in cash and don’t get a receipt

A PLAN to strip consumers of their legal protections if they pay in cash and fail to get a receipt has been slammed as "completely unfair" by leading advocacy groups.

The proposal was one of 35 recommendations contained in the interim report from the federal government’s Black Economy Taskforce, which argued the need for "consumer-focused action" to crack down on cash payments.

According to Taskforce chair Michael Andrew, former global head of accounting firm KPMG and current chair of the Board of Taxation, while current anti-black economy laws focused on businesses, consumers are "part of the problem".

"We intend to examine the merits of consumer focused sanctions, including the loss of consumer protections, warranties and legal rights for people who make cash payments without obtaining a valid receipt," Mr Andrew wrote. "This is not simply of matter of imposing new penalties, but part of a wider cultural change agenda."

But he argued any new penalty regime "should be carefully calibrated", with the strongest sanctions "applying to egregious behaviour or repeat offences". "Lighter touch approaches (including ‘nudge’ techniques) will be more appropriate in many cases," he wrote.

In a joint submission to the inquiry on Monday, the Consumer Action Law Centre, consumer group Choice and Financial Counselling Australia strongly opposed any such sanctions, warning they could cause "significant consumer harm", have "serious economic consequences" and would not have any impact on the black economy.

They argued that such a scheme could actually create a perverse incentive for businesses to operate in cash as a way of stripping consumers of their legal rights, describing it as a "significant loophole" that would be "contrary to the intention of legislators".

"Broadly we support efforts to combat the black economy, because vulnerable or disadvantaged people are often victims, but we think punishing everyday Australians for businesses not complying with their obligations is completely unfair," said Katherine Temple, senior policy officer at the Consumer Action Law Centre.

In the submission, the group also questioned the effectiveness of the proposal in changing consumer behaviour. "[It] is widely accepted that consumers do not have a good understanding of their consumer rights," they wrote.

"Consumers can’t make rational payment decisions based on keeping rights that they aren’t aware exist ... [Policy] that is based on the notion that a consumer will make payment decisions based on rational concepts sets an unrealistically high bar which most consumers should not be expected to reach."

They added that they had been "unable to locate any international precedent or research that suggests this proposal would be effective in tackling the black economy ... both in terms of assisting enforcement agencies, and changing consumer or business behaviour".


The lying BOM again

They can't even keep their story straight

RATHER than admit that temperature dropped to a record low -10.4 degree Celsius on the morning of Sunday 2nd July at Goulburn, the Bureau of Meteorology has come-up with yet another even more absurd story.

Responding to a letter from Josh Frydenberg, the Minister for  Environment and Energy, Andrew Johnson, CEO and Director of Meteorology, has claimed the weather station malfunctioned.  Previously the Bureau claimed that they had placed new limits on how cold it could get at Goulburn.

This is a contrived story, easily disproven with the following evidence.

We know that the Goulburn AWS recorded -10.4 on the morning of Sunday 2nd July from a screen shot taken from the observation page at the Bureau’s website:

The observation sheet shows a minimum of -10.4, this temperature is recorded every second and downloaded every minute. The lowest value recorded normally becomes the minimum for the day.  Contrary to previous policy, on 2nd July, this value was rounded to -10.0, which became the minimum for that day.

Subsequently, the Bureau sent an email confirming:

"The correct minimum temperature for Goulburn on 2 July, 2017 is -10.4 recorded at 6.30am at Goulburn Airport AWS… The Bureau’s quality control system, designed to filter out spurious low or high values was set at -10 minimum for Goulburn which is why the record automatically adjusted."

In short, after initially recording -10.0 in the CDO dataset, this was changed to -10.4 three days later following a blog post (Bureau Erases Goulburn Record Minimum), an outcry on Facebook, and enquires from prominent journalists.

By 28th July when the above letter was sent to the Minister, the correct value of -10.4 had been showing in the CDO dataset for some 23 days.

This is a screenshot from the CDO database taken today, 30th July 2017. Contrary to the letter from the Bureau to the Minister it shows -10.4 as having been recorded on 2nd July 2017.

Yet in the letter from the Bureau’s Johnson to Minister Frydenberg it is claimed that: "the AWS at Goulburn stopped recording when the temperature fell below -10°C."

This is demonstrably false. The Bureau has mislead the Minister – yet again.


The UN doesn’t like this free, liberal world

Jennifer Oriel

The United Nations has become a threat to the liberal international order. It weakens the constitution of liberal democratic states by ­attacking the political and cultural conditions required for their survival. It attacks the security of free-world countries and the common values that underpin free societies. In recent years, UN leadership has become more hostile to free citizens and politicians who dissent from illiberal supranational rule.

The UN often acts against the free world by targeting politicians who defend the liberty, security and safety of free citizens. In particular, UN chiefs target pro-Western politicians who defend the free world by upholding democratic rule over supranational rule and adopt secure border policy to keep free societies free. During the US presidential campaign, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said he didn’t intend to ­interfere with political campaigns but declared Donald Trump "dan­gerous from an international point of view".

UN members attack the free world by smearing pro-Western politicians with propaganda terms such as xenophobia, Islamophobia, racism and populism. Its leadership has framed democratic citizens’ defence of free-world countries as "xenophobia". They call democratically elected politicians who represent their people and protect them from harm "populist". They claim secure border policy is a form of nationalism and by extension (in UN thought), an abuse of human rights. And they depict the UN as a bastion of benevolent internationalism, ­despite its track record.

In the past week, we witnessed the UN act as a seemingly illiberal and dishonest organisation. The High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, accused the Australian government of misleading the UN. He claimed the UNHCR agreed to help facilitate the Australia-US refugee transfer "on the clear understanding that vulnerable refugees with close family ties in Australia would ultimately be allowed to settle there". To Australian ears, the supposed deal sounded improbable. It would under­mine the hard-won border policy developed by the Abbott government. Operation Sovereign Borders broke the business model of people smugglers by refusing to reward them with entry to Australia.

The gravity of the UN refugee commissioner’s claims against the Australian government prompted media to request supporting evidence. On the ABC, Leigh Sales asked the UNHCR’s assistant commissioner for protection, Volker Turk, who had given the "clear understanding" to the commission. After several attempts to clarify what agreement had been made, it appeared that the UN was misleading Australia, not the reverse. We are still waiting for the UNHCR to provide valid evidence or apologise for misleading the international community about Australia’s secure border policy. But apparently, being the UN means never having to say you’re sorry.

Since the election of Australia’s conservative government, the UN has attacked our secure border policy, counter-terrorism measures and attempts to reduce ­unprecedented national debt by curbing expenditure on discretionary foreign aid programs. In 2015, UN migrant rights rapporteur Francois Crepeau claimed falsely that he was denied proper access to offshore immigration processing centres. At the time, I questioned Crepeau’s objectivity given that he was a council member of the Global Detention Project, an activist group highly critical of such centres.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also has a history of left activism. He was president of the Socialist International at its 22nd congress, which resolved that "the goal of the SI must be to parliamentarise the global political system" by the establishment of a "UN Parliamentary Assem­bly". Later, as UNHCR chief, ­Guterres criticised "manifestations of xenophobia … Islamo­phobia, racism" and "xenophobic parties" in Europe. While he praised Australia’s generosity in hosting and integrating refugees, Guterres made the rather extraordinary claim that our issue with boat arrivals was "a kind of collective sociological and psychological question". No, it was a kind of 1200-deaths-at-sea atrocity.

The reason Australia’s conservative government introduced Operation Sovereign Borders was to break the people smugglers’ business model. The smuggling ­industry thrived under Labor’s ­porous border policy, which ­resulted in 50,000 unlawful arrivals and 1200 deaths at sea. Some porous border activists use asylum-seekers dying at sea to push for even more open borders. For conservatives, however, lives and procedural fairness matter more. As Malcolm Turnbull ­acknowledged in London, managing the 50,000 unlawful arrivals under Labor cost Australians more than $10 billion. And it meant more than 14,500 refugees waiting in UN camps were denied a place under Australia’s offshore ­humanitarian program.

The UN rails against conservative party politicians who defend secure border policy so that Western democracy and open society and can flourish. Human rights chief Hussein described right-wing Western politicians as "demagogues" and compared their "tactics" with those of genocidal Islamic State.

However, the UN adopts a comparatively accommodationist approach to closed and illiberal ­societies under Islamist and communist rule. Last year, the UN General Assembly honoured communist dictator Fidel Castro with a minute of silence. On that day, as on so many others, it entertained attacks on Israel’s sovereignty by Islamists. And the UN is yet to explain how its bene­v­olent internationalism includes the ­Organisation of Islamic Co­operation’s redefinition of human rights to disallow freedoms ­"contrary to the principles of the sharia".

As high commissioner for refugees, Guterres said Islamic law and tradition "provide(d) an invaluable foundation for the legal framework" used by his office.

The UN’s capitulation to an ­increasingly illiberal international order manifests in a frontal assault on the core values that form the foundations of the free world. The liberal democratic state is sustained by a society of citizens who are taught to uphold and ­defend such values. They include the separation of powers between ­relig­ious authority and state authority embodied in the secular state; public reason tempered by the mastery of free thought, speech and objective scholarly inquiry; formal equality; the protection of free ­citizens from harm by means of ­secure borders; and the defence of free societies from the tyranny of illiberalism.

It is popular to blame Trump or conservatives for declining confidence in the liberal international order and multilateral institutions. But the decline predates Trump’s presidency by years. Liberal internationalists need to ­acknowledge there’s something rotten in the state of the UN.


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, 2017

Greens plan to curb property investment

There are actually some good points in the plan.  Reverting to inflation adjustment for assessing capital gains rather than giving a fixed 50% discount is much fairer though more complex to administer

The attack on negative gearing is very unrealistic, however. It would simply prevent a lot of property investment occurring so would constitute no gain to the treasury while reducing the supply of rental accommodation.  But it is mostly the poor who rent so the plan would hit the poor while trying to hit the rich.  But maybe that scenario appeals to the elitist Greens.   

The Australian Greens are preparing to unveil the most ambitious plan yet to get young people into homes, costed at an extraordinary $51 billion. The $51 billion figure is a net saving to the budget rather than a cost, calculated over 10 by the Parliamentary Budget Office.

The three-point plan, Houses for Young People: Freeing up Investment Properties, would phase out the capital gains tax discount available to property investors over five years.

During the first year, the standard 50 per cent discount on capital gains tax would shrink to 40 per cent, to 10 per cent after four years and zero after five years.

Income from capital gains would be then be taxed at almost the same rate as income from other sources, except that the inflation component would be tax exempt, as it used to be before 1999 when the Howard government replaced the exemption with a 50 per cent discount.

Reverting to the original means of compensating investors for inflation would bring in an extra $2.75 billion over four years and $16.1 billion over 10 years.

It would make property investment and speculation less attractive, winding back the competition faced by owner-occupiers at auctions.

The plan would also end negative gearing for all new property purchases. Businesses would continue to be able to negatively gear non-property investments.

Landlords would continue to able to write off property investment costs against property investment income, but not against salaries and other income.

His part of the plan would bring in $2.4 billion over four years and $34.5 billion over 10 years.

The third leg of the plan would limit existing negative gearers to one property. Only 583,000 out of Australia's 1.5 million property investors invest in two or more investment properties.

The deductions available for second or more properties would shrink by one-fifth each year until reaching zero after the fifth year.

The limit would bring in an extra $100 million in tax revenue in the first four years and $1.3 billion over 10 years.

Launching the plan on Saturday, Greens leader Richard Di Natale will say it is "time to dismantle the rigged system that privileges investors and landlords over everybody else".

"Australia is facing a housing crisis. Everyone needs a home where they can feel secure, live comfortably and be part of the community," his speaking notes say. "But this is becoming increasingly difficult for millions of average Australians."

Greens Treasury spokesman, senator Peter Whish-Wilson will say the government has "rigged the tax system to favour wealthy people".

"Negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts have driven house prices sky high, making it easier for wealthy people to buy more homes and harder for first home buyers," he will say. "At the same time, stamp duty raises the price of homes and stops people from moving house, even when they're ready to downsize."

The Greens will also push the Commonwealth government to back state governments that replace stamp duty with land tax.

The plan goes further than the one Labor took to the election that retained negative gearing for all pre-existing investors, no matter how many properties they geared.

Labor proposed halving the capital gains tax discount from 50 per cent to 25 per cent rather than abolishing it and replacing it with indexation.

In the budget Treasurer Scott Morrison wound back some of the excesses of negative gearing by withdrawing deductions for things such as the cost of travel to inspect rented-out properties.


‘This is Pink Batts on steroids’: The national harm that lying Leftist historians created

Their "stolen generation" myth means that social workers are now reluctant to take abused children away from Aboriginal families -- and the kids sometimes die as a result

FAMILY: It’s supposed to be the core of society, the thing that protects our children and keeps them safe from harm.

But what happens when the family is the one causing the harm? And what happens when the government steps in and instead of taking the children away, sends them back to the same family that abused them?

This is the national shame that dare not speak its name, because it was born of another national shame. The shadow of the Stolen Generation looms so large over our governments that authorities are now placing children at risk of abuse because they are too scared to be seen as repeating the sins of the past.

And insiders believe the problem has been turbocharged by the mass outsourcing of child protection work to outside organisations.

Now a veteran foster carer is warning that child protection services are facing a looming disaster that will be "Pink Batts on steroids" and she has decided to blow the whistle to in an effort to save children from abuse.

The outsourcing has also prompted the Labor Party to introduce new landmark legislation that would force the Auditor-General to investigate all child protection providers in Australia’s largest state.

Denise Crisp is a former president of the Foster Care Association NSW and finalist for NSW Woman of the Year but has warned that the effective "privatisation" of child protection services, combined with different rules for indigenous and non-indigenous kids, is creating a perfect storm that will put more children in harm’s way.

The first issue, she says, is authorities focusing on either keeping abused or at-risk indigenous children with their parents or, failing that, with other family members, which puts them at risk of similar environments or their parents still having access to them. Unlike for non-indigenous kids, there is a bias against putting them in permanent foster care.

"This is clearly discrimination regarding indigenous children and justified by promoting cultural or country reasons," Denise says.

In one case, an indigenous baby we shall call "Hannah" was removed from her at-risk biological parents at birth and temporarily placed with very experienced carers who wanted to keep her in permanent care until she was 18.

Yet despite these carers being indigenous, the guidelines meant they couldn’t take her unless all family avenues had been exhausted. As a result she was instead placed with her aunt. Three months later Hannah was admitted to hospital with horrific injuries and her aunt’s partner has now been charged with her assault. She was 11 months old.

In another case, a baby we’ll call "April" was removed at birth from her biological parents, who had a long drug and criminal history, and placed with the mother’s mother. It was later discovered during a police raid that the grandmother had been simply leaving April with the very same mother she had been removed from for her safety. The baby girl was found unsupervised by her supposed legal guardian in a home surrounded by drugs, alcohol and domestic violence.

As a result authorities then removed her from her grandmother’s care and placed her with another family member: The grandmother’s sister.

In yet another case, a mother had three children (to different fathers) and Denise was contacted by a carer concerned for their safety. The youngest child was so skeletal that a doctor reportedly warned that if he wasn’t removed from the family within a week "he’ll be coming out in a body bag". He was 18 months old.

Following a direct approach to the then-minister for community services, all three children were removed, as was another baby she gave birth to soon afterwards. The 18-month-old was returned to his father’s care and the other three were placed in kinship care with two highly respected Aboriginal women, one of whom was a cousin of the mother.

The children thrived, however after three years the Department of Family and Community Services as well as the NGO handling the case went to court to have the children sent back to their mother. And they were.

NSW is the worst state in Australia when it comes to the number of kids in out of home care, with around one in 100 kids in court-ordered statutory care. Only the Northern Territory has a higher rate, of 16 out of 1000 or 1.6 per cent.

Denise estimates that around 40 per cent of kids in out of home care are indigenous, and while the number of non-indigenous children is staying relatively stable, the number of Aboriginal kids entering care this year has "skyrocketed".

She has welcomed reforms announced earlier this year by Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister Pru Goward to focus on getting abused kids into permanent "forever" homes, however the new guidelines do not apply to indigenous kids.
In NSW, there are different policies for indigenous and non indigenous kids in state care. Picture: Marianna Massey / AAP

In NSW, there are different policies for indigenous and non indigenous kids in state care. Picture: Marianna Massey / AAPSource:AAP

"These ‘steps’ are very positive steps and very welcomed but are not promoted for or supported in relation to Aboriginal/indigenous children in OOHC," she told

"The main reason for that is based around ‘political correctness’ and the Stolen Generation.

"The sad fact is for many indigenous people, historically there is evidence of two and three generations entering the child protection system due to a long history of abuse/neglect and living in dysfunctional family units."

However Aboriginal groups still oppose placing children under guardianships or adopting them out because of cultural reasons and because the scars of the Stolen Generation are so raw.

The peak body in the field, the Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat says it is vital that Aboriginal groups deal with at risk kids because there is still so mistrust of government and non-indigenous organisations.

"We know what hasn’t worked in the past: the top-down approaches of government control, where Aboriginal people were given little say over issues affecting us," AbSec CEO Tim Ireland told

"We know why Aboriginal people often distrust white organisations, because of a traumatic history which is still very present in the minds of our Stolen Generations.

"Of course, we wholeheartedly support every child’s fundamental right to safety. But no child should be made to choose between their safety and their culture — which is also a basic human right. We need to explore solutions like placing children in the care of Aboriginal relatives or community members, rather than completely removing them from the place and people they know, which are so integral to their identities.

"AbSec opposes guardianship orders and adoptions of Aboriginal children because as they currently stand, these approaches lack the necessary safeguards to keep kids in touch with their culture and community. So many previous generations of Aboriginal people have had to grow up without knowing their family or identity, and it’s had disastrous effects. The last thing we want is to perpetuate that cycle."

The NSW Department of Family and Community services also stood by the policy for "cultural" reasons.

"Open adoption for Aboriginal children is not considered culturally appropriate although legislation does allow it under special circumstances, when it is in the best interests of the child and clearly preferable to any other care arrangement," it said in a statement.

"The law seeks to protect future generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait lslander children from the negative effects of separating children from their families, communities and culture, which were the results of past practices."

The department also said the outsourcing of out of home care to NGOs followed a recommendation from the 2008 Wood Special Commission of inquiry into child protection.

"This recommendation was made on the basis that NGOs were best placed to deliver OOHC services as they had lower casework ratios than the government, and strong links to services and facilities in the communities in which they operate."

However Denise believes many NGOs do not have the experience or capacity to handle these cases and may be susceptible to influence. She has likened it to the companies that sprang up to deliver the Rudd government’s home insulation program, which quickly spiralled into a fatal disaster.

"This is Pink Batts on steroids but at the expense and continued systemic abuse of society’s most vulnerable children," she said.

Now the NSW Opposition is introducing a private member’s bill to force the Auditor-General to audit the performance and effectiveness of all NGO out-of-home care contracts prior to their renewal by the Department of Family and Community Services.

"Labor is urging the Berejiklian Government to offer bipartisan support for this legislation that will ensure non-government organisations are held strictly accountable for every single dollar of taxpayer funding provided to care for vulnerable children," Opposition Family and Community Services spokeswoman Tania Mihailuk told

"Labor’s landmark bill will put the microscope of the Auditor-General through all OOHC contracts to support and prioritise better outcomes for the record number of children and young people now in care across NSW.

"NSW is fast approaching the highest rates of children in out-of-home care in Australia, second only to the Northern Territory, with many of these children staying longer in care and fewer being restored back to their families.

"Child protection has become more about dollars and business models as opposed to achieving the best possible outcomes for vulnerable children."

It is hard not to wonder if in our desperation not to repeat the awful mistakes of the past we are destroying these children’s future. Indeed, one wonders what those children would say if only they could be heard.


Senior Australians say political correctness is ruining society

ATTENTION, Gen Y: Baby Boomers have had it with your political correctness.

New Australian research suggests over 50s are fed up with being told what they can and can’t say, and believe young people are the worst offenders.

The survey of 1000 Australians over 50 saw nine in 10 agree political correctness is ruining society, and thought younger generations were too worried about offending people.

According to the CoreData research commissioned by Australian Seniors Insurance Agency, 86 per cent of seniors believed "having to be politically correct all the time" was ruining society, and 86.6 per cent said it was "inauthentic".

Bathurst teacher Vicki Evans is not afraid to admit she loathes political correctness.

The 55-year-old says she’s constantly being told off by her three children, all in their 20s, for opinions they say she shouldn’t be allowed to express.

"The number of times I saw something and my kids say ‘oh Mum, you can’t say that,’" she says.

"They say you can’t make assumptions about things, but I think you can make observations.

"You can’t say anything that’s offensive and that could be deemed to label anyone. You have to be always aware of perceptions, apparently."

Ms Evans says that her children’s sensitivities are clearly not a product of her parenting, but blames universities and television for encouraging political correctness.

"I do get really cross with the whole idea that children aren’t allowed to talk about anything religious in relation to Christmas or Easter because it might offend someone," she said. "I think if we can’t discuss any of these things we run the risk of losing our cultural identity."

The data also indicated that Aussies grew less concerned about social norms and pleasing others as they grew older.

Almost a third (31 per cent) said they no longer cared about social norms or pleasing others.

Two in five (42.7 per cent) admitted to having shared politically incorrect jokes, and a quarter (24.3 per cent) said they used humour even it they knew it might make some people uncomfortable. One in five admitted they had used politically incorrect humour "among inappropriate company".

Australian Seniors Computer Club Association president Nan Bosler said seniors were resisting societal pressure to be politically correct.

"Seniors are not letting this pressure deter them from staying true to themselves and their beliefs and they should be respected for that attitude," she said.

"Australia’s older generation have been through a momentous amount of change and challenges, and this has made them a resilient bunch who value good humour and are not easily offended by lighthearted teasing.

"Therefore, it is easy to understand why this generation can be frustrated with certain political correct filters that are assumed in modern-day living."


Family trusts run deep

The fact that Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s crackdown on family trust income splitting was being described as "courageous" yesterday is a pretty good indicator of the special place that trusts have in the hearts of Australian business people.

It is, or at least should be, a no-brainer: income splitting is a device that should have been removed long ago, but ever since the failure of John Ralph’s effort to clean up trusts in his Review of Business Taxation in 1999, which was buried by the National Party, trusts have come to be the structure of choice for Australian small businesses, and splitting the income an annual accounting ritual.

These days the majority of business activity now goes through trusts; The Australia Institute reckons a fifth of national GDP sits in them.

And why not? Most small businesses are family affairs: everyone works in the business, or has to put up with mum or dad moaning about it over dinner every night, and one day the kids will be the owners (and moaners). So a family trust, with each family member as a named beneficiary, seems not only a natural way to run things, but a sort of dynastic battlement — our trust is our castle.

Oh, and you get to keep the assets from creditors and decide where the cash goes, and since it doesn’t get taxed until it gets somewhere else, spreading it around — or splitting it — can lower the average family tax rate.

Trouble is that the income tax system is designed around taxing individuals, not families. Maybe there’s a case for averaging taxation across family members, especially in family businesses, but that’s not the way it works and we’re not having that discussion.

John Howard, then Treasurer, made a half-hearted effort to fix the problem 40 years ago by introducing Division 6AA of the Tax Act (1936) which imposed the top marginal tax rate of 45 per cent on trust distributions to dependent children. But he left out spouses and other adult relatives, presumably on purpose.

In 1998 another Coalition Treasurer, Peter Costello, appointed John Ralph to review business taxation. However he failed to abide by the golden rule that you never have an inquiry if you don’t already know the answer, and Ralph proposed uniform taxation of business entities — taxing trusts as companies.

That recommendation went straight to the bin labelled "C" for courageous and from then on, trusts took off.

Perhaps the Rudd/Gillard/Swan Labor Party would have dusted off the Ralph Review after 2007 if they hadn’t been mugged by the GFC, but they were, and they didn’t.

And now, according to the latest Coalition Treasurer, the ALP’s attempt to revive Ralph 18 years later, almost to the day, by applying the company tax rate to trust distributions is a "dark economic vision".

These words may well haunt Scott Morrison. If the Coalition makes allowing income splitting to avoid tax an explicit part of its election platform, and it somehow manages to win the election despite that, the policy will come back and bite it on the budget.

But this political battle over the use of trusts is not superficial. In some ways it is a new front in the eternal war between capital and labour, between business owners and employees, and it’s not entirely clear how it will turn out.

At one level, it is simply about improper tax avoidance: if distributing income to a dependent child is wrong, as decreed by John Howard and embedded in Division 6AA, then so is distributing it to a dependent spouse, or to a brother or sister who promptly gives the distributed cash back as a gift.

But at a deeper level it could be portrayed as an attack on family businesses generally and the organising structure that recognises that it’s a family rather than a company or a business partnership.

At least that’s presumably what the Turnbull Government will try on, unless the Prime Minister overrides the Treasurer again because he decides they need the money.

If he doesn’t, the argument could be an interesting test of both sides’ rhetorical skills, as well as an indication of where Australia sits on what might be called the Jeremy Corbyn spectrum — are we chanting or yawning?


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

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Most academics are lockstep Leftists so readers do sometimes doubt that I have the qualifications mentioned above. Photocopies of my academic and military certificates are however all viewable here

For overseas readers: The "ALP" is the Australian Labor Party -- Australia's major Leftist party. The "Liberal" party is Australia's major conservative political party.

In most Australian States there are two conservative political parties, the city-based Liberal party and the rural-based National party. But in Queensland those two parties are amalgamated as the LNP.

Again for overseas readers: Like the USA, Germany and India, Australia has State governments as well as the Federal government. So it may be useful to know the usual abbreviations for the Australian States: QLD (Queensland), NSW (New South Wales), WA (Western Australia), VIC (Victoria), TAS (Tasmania), SA (South Australia).

For American readers: A "pensioner" is a retired person living on Social Security

"Digger" is an honorific term for an Australian soldier

Another lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Another bit of Australian: Any bad writing or messy anything was once often described as being "like a pakapoo ticket". In origin this phrase refers to a ticket written with Chinese characters - and thus inscrutably confusing to Western eyes. These tickets were part of a Chinese gambling game called "pakapoo".

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

My son Joe

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

I am an army man. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies or mining companies

Although I have been an atheist for all my adult life, I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak.

The Rt. Rev. Phil Case (Moderator of the Presbyterian church in Queensland) is a Pharisee, a hypocrite, an abomination and a "whited sepulchre".

English-born Australian novellist, Patrick White was a great favourite in literary circles. He even won a Nobel prize. But I and many others I have spoken to find his novels very turgid and boring. Despite my interest in history, I could only get through about a third of his historical novel Voss before I gave up. So why has he been so popular in literary circles? Easy. He was a miserable old Leftist coot, and, incidentally, a homosexual. And literary people are mostly Leftists with similar levels of anger and alienation from mainstream society. They enjoy his jaundiced outlook, his dissatisfaction, rage and anger.

A delightful story about a great Australian conservative

Would you believe that there once was a politician whose nickname was "Honest"?

"Honest" Frank Nicklin M.M. was a war hero, a banana farmer and later the conservative Premier of my home State of Queensland in the '60s. He was even popular with the bureaucracy and gave the State a remarkably tranquil 10 years during his time in office. Sad that there are so few like him.

A great Australian wit exemplified

An Australian Mona Lisa (Nikki Gogan)

Bureaucracy: "One of the constant laments of doctors and nurses working with NSW Health is the incredible and increasing bureaucracy," she said. "It is completely obstructive to providing a service."

Revered Labour Party leader Gough Whitlam was a very erudite man so he cannot have been unaware of the similarities of his famous phrase “the Party, the platform, the people” with an earlier slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer". It's basically the same slogan in reverse order.

Australia's original inhabitants were a race of pygmies, some of whom survived into modern times in the mountainous regions of the Atherton tableland in far North Queensland. See also here. Below is a picture of one of them taken in 2007, when she was 105 years old and 3'7" tall

Julia Gillard, a failed feminist flop. She was given the job of Prime Minister of Australia but her feminist preaching was so unpopular that she was booted out of the job by her own Leftist party. Her signature "achievements" were the carbon tax and the mining tax, both of which were repealed by the next government.

The "White Australia Policy: "The Immigration Restriction Act was not about white supremacy, racism, or the belief that whites were higher up the evolutionary tree than the coloured races. Rather, it was designed to STOP the racist exploitation of non-whites (all of whom would have been illiterate peasants practicing religions and cultures anathema to progressive democracy) being conscripted into a life of semi-slavery in a coolie-worked plantation economy for the benefit of the absolute monarchs, hereditary aristocracy and the super-wealthy companies and share-holders of the northern hemisphere.

A great little kid

In November 2007, a four-year-old boy was found playing in a croc-infested Territory creek after sneaking off pig hunting alone with four dogs and a puppy. The toddler was found five-and-a-half hours after he set off from his parents' house playing in a creek with the puppy. Amazingly, Daniel Woditj also swam two creeks known to be inhabited by crocs during his adventurous romp. Mr Knight said that after walking for several kilometres, Daniel came to a creek and swam across it. Four of his dogs "bailed up" at the creek but the youngster continued on undaunted with his puppy to a second creek. Mr Knight said Daniel swam the second croc-infested creek and walked on for several more kilometres. "Captain is a hard bushman and Daniel is following in his footsteps. They breed them tough out bush."

A great Australian: His eminence George Pell. Pictured in devout company before his elevation to Rome


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To be continued ....
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