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

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


30 December, 2016

Man unable to read takes University of Sydney to anti-discrimination board after they reject him as PhD candidate

Would ANY university want to graduate a man who can't read? And non-readers don't seem to be a protected group under Australian law

A student who suffers from dyslexia has claimed three universities rejected him as a PhD candidate because of his disability.

James Bond said his Doctor of Philosophy application for a place at the University of Sydney, Macquarie University and University of Newcastle was turned down.

The man with an IQ of 150 has lodged a complaint with the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board alleging there was lack of support services at the University of Sydney for people with dyslexia, Fairfax Media reported.

He claims the university was discriminating against students with dyslexia after he was unable to complete his enrolment because there was no access to a scribe.

Students are required to submit a full research proposal to apply for a PhD.

Mr Bond, who struggles with reading, had used audio recordings and a scribe to complete his Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Research at Macquarie University.

The University of Sydney penned a letter to Mr Bond, encouraging him to resubmit his application with a scribe provided by institution.


Going out with a burn! Sydney to swelter at 42C today as the east coast heatwave rolls on - and it will stay above 40C until New Year's Day

This is a pissant heatwave.  The 42 figure is for Sydney's West only.  Coastal Sydney is 37 degrees.  Coastal Sydney was 42 degrees in 1790

Sydney's extreme heatwave will continue on Thursday as temperatures climb to 42C in the city's west - making it the hottest year in more than 150 years.

The sweltering heat has triggered NSW Police to activate a state heatwave plan for the next five days, advising people to stay hydrated and in air-conditioned rooms.

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast severe heatwave conditions across all of coastal NSW, with the unbearable heat tipped to linger through to New Year's Day.

After enduring its hottest night this year, Melbourne is set to be battered by thunder storms and heavy rain with a chance of flash flooding on Thursday.

Penrith in Sydney's west is expected to hit a 42C maximum on Thursday.

BOM duty forecaster Neale Fraser said it would be a few degrees cooler in the CBD, where a sea breeze expected around 1pm is expected to cap temperatures at 37C.


Pension cuts spark ACTU, One Nation war on Turnbull

The ACTU is going into bat for rich people??

Malcolm Turnbull faces a war on two fronts with aggressive campaigns from the ACTU and One Nation aimed at unwinding his January 1 pension changes that will cut payments for more than 330,000 [rich] Australians.

ACTU president Ged Kearney said the union movement was prepared to force the issue to an election showdown while One Nation warned the move was a "sleeper issue” that could destroy the Prime Minister’s leadership.

The battle over the Age ­Pension follows a demographic analysis of 8508 voters in Newspoll surveys from October to ­December showing a seven-­percentage-point drop since the July 2 election in the ­Coalition’s primary support among those older than 50.

Labor has also warned the overhaul will mean those moved off the pension will be denied key discounts linked to the pensioners’ concession card, which it is labelling a "double hit” for older Australians.

It is estimated about 171,500 part-rate assets-tested pensioners will receive an average of $30 a fortnight extra under the changes. Of those, about 50,000 will now qualify for a full pension.

But about 91,000 pensioners will lose access to the pension ­altogether and 236,000 will have their pension reduced. The changes to the assets test will ­affect three main social security pension types — the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension and the carer payment.

One Nation senator and pension spokesman Brian Burston yesterday argued that the changes to the assets test punished older Australians who had saved for their retirement in a similar fashion to the effect of the government’s super­annuation crackdown at the election.

"I think the government’s ­attacking older Australians rather than those who are ripping the system off," Senator Burston said.

"I think there is a potential disincentive in the future to save for your retirement — similar to the superannuation changes. We’re getting a lot of calls from pensioners who are scared shitless.”

Special Minister of State Scott Ryan said the pensions shake-up was accepted by Labor going into the last election. He ­accused Bill Shorten and the ­unions of running a smear campaign.

"There’s a dishonest scare campaign being run by Bill Shorten and his union mates despite the fact that these are policies they took to the election,” he said.

Analysis prepared by Labor from information obtained at Senate estimates hearings shows that of the top 15 electorates where part-pensions will be cut entirely, 14 are Liberal-held seats. They include Mackellar, Cook, Menzies, Deakin, Corangamite, Flinders, Gilmore, Chisholm, Bradfield, Lyne, Robertson, Goldstein, ­Berowra and Mitchell.

The government’s January 1 pension changes were part of the Abbott government’s 2015 budget and were expected to claw back a budget saving of $2.4 billion over five years.

They passed the Senate that June with Greens support when One Nation was not represented in the parliament. Labor accepted the savings from the government’s pension changes in the lead-up to the July election.

Opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen yesterday linked the pension changes to the drop in support for the Coalition among older Australians but ­argued that it still remained difficult for Labor to reverse the cuts.

"We made it clear we couldn’t repair all the damage,” he said.

"The Liberals and the Greens voted for it. This is not something that we would have done in ­government.”

Opposition social services spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said330,000 Australians would be worse off. She also railed against the introduction of "dis­incentives for people to save for their own ­retirement”. "We need a review into the pension means test,” she said.

Ms Macklin has also seized on the prospect that those moved off the pension in Victoria will miss out on a 50 per cent reduction on council rates, a $50 fire services levy reduction and a 50 per cent reduction on the transport accident charge.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter responded by saying the treatment of concessions for those moved off the pension was a matter for state governments.

The government has defended its shake-up by saying that 90 per cent of pensioners will not be negatively affected, but it has conceded that about 91,000 part-pensioners will lose access to payments and 236,000 will receive a ­reduction in payments.

Senator Ryan said "170,000 of our most vulnerable pensioners (will) see an increase to the support they receive”. They are due to receive an increase of $30 to pension payments.

The January 1 changes to the pension assets test will lift the ­income thresholds for access to the full pension but also impose a lower ceiling on access to the part pension by accelerating the taper rate.

While pension payments are currently reduced by $1.50 for every $1000 assets owned over the ­assets threshold (excluding the family home), the thresholds will change on January 1 and payments will be reduced by $3 for every $1000 owned over the threshold.

For couples who own a home, the new rules mean the income cut-off for the part pension will be reduced from $1,178,500 to $816,000.

At the same time, ­access to the full pension will be improved by lifting the assets threshold from $296,500 to $375,000.

For single homeowners, ­access to the part pension will be cut off at $542,500 instead of the current threshold of $793,750.

Ms Kearney accused Mr Turnbull of "using middle-­income Australians to balance the budget” and said the changes would hurt nurses, teachers and tradespeople.

"This is conservative econ­omics at its worst," she said.

"And yes, we will be campaigning on this until we get a response and, if not, it will be an issue at the next election."

The Association of Super Funds of Australia conducted an analysis last year of the government’s changes showing that a couple with assets (outside the family home) of $400,000 would receive an income of nearly $45,000 a year, assuming a 3 per cent rate of return.

This would ­include a sizeable pension payment, with the increase in the asset threshold to $375,000, making them about $2000 a year ­better off.

But a couple with $800,000 in savings would cop about a $13,590 reduction in their annual income and finish the year with an ­income stream of only $27,700 instead of $39,000 — about a 34 per cent reduction — because of the lowering of pension payments.

The government says those who lose part or all of their pensions will only have to draw down 1.8 per cent on their existing high asset base per annum to offset the changes.

Some Coalition MPs are also acknowledging the pension changes represent a tough political sales job, but have defended the need to make budget savings.

Liberal MP Craig Kelly conceded that the key difficulty with the changes was "that a couple with a million dollars in savings can ­appear to be worse off than someone with no savings who are getting a full pension.”

He argued that those with larger incomes could still draw down on their savings, noting that Australia remained better off than other countries in a negative ­interest rate environment.

One Nation’s Mr Burston said the pension cuts were like throwing "a large rock” into water. "It’s just like throwing a pebble in the water. It’s only a small ­ripple, but you throw a large rock in and you get a large ripple," he said.

"Turnbull cannot afford to lose any more ground. Not only will his leadership collapse, but his government may well collapse.

He said One Nation could "exert pressure” to drive changes once the new pension arrangements were in place.


Renewable energy push to hit Labor’s heartland

Labor’s traditional working-class supporters will bear the brunt of spiking electricity prices and power failures in the fallout from the South Australian, Victorian and Queensland governments’ push towards ambitious renewable energy targets.

Energy experts have warned the shutting down of more coal-fired power plants and the rise of renewables risks leading to a future where wealthier households can pay for better reliability of supply while others are left in the dark.

Most of the impact of the ­nation’s rapidly changing electricity market would be on vulnerable consumers who do not have the resources to invest in technologies to reduce their demand on the grid or generate their own electricity.

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, has warned that a class of consumers could be prevented from adopting new technologies — such as rooftop solar PV or battery storage — by a limited ability to pay large up-front costs or to ­obtain finance.

Dr Finkel, who is conducting a review of the electricity market for the federal government following the statewide blackout in South Australia in September, said people who rented properties or lived in apartments were limited in their ability to install new technologies.

Migrants with limited English, people with poor financial literacy and those struggling to make ends meet were at risk of paying ­increased costs to subsidise households or businesses able to invest in new technologies. Passive or loyal consumers who were not ­engaged in managing their electricity demand and costs were vulnerable too, Dr Finkel added.

The danger was that, as more consumers took greater steps with the aid of technological ­advance­ments to rely less on the grid, the cost of building and maintaining the network would be spread over a smaller number of “vulnerable” users.

The Australian Energy Market Commission has warned that electricity prices are set to surge during the next two years, largely driven by the ­close of coal-fired power stations in South Australia and Victoria and ongoing investment in wind generation.

Australian Stock Exchange data showed yesterday that base future contract prices for March were highest in South Australia, which yesterday had its third major blackout in four months. For companies to buy a megawatt of electricity in March, it would cost South ­Australian buyers almost $152.91, compared with $100 in Queensland, $63.75 in NSW and $54.50 in Victoria.

South Australia, under Labor Premier Jay Weatherill, has a renewable energy generation mix of more than 40 per cent, the highest of any state. The state’s last coal-fired power station closed in May.

Several peak industry groups canvassed by The Australian agreed that, without the correct policy settings in place, there was a danger of large numbers of consumers relying less on the grid.

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Brendan Pearson said renewable energy targets hit low-income households harder, while the wealthy were able to ­access solar and other incentive schemes, the cost of which was then loaded on to other users.

“This is a double whammy for the poor,” Mr Pearson said.

Victoria’s Labor government has set a 40 per cent renewables energy target for 2025 and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has a 50 per cent target by 2030. The federal Labor opposition has a renewables target of at least 50 per cent by 2030 compared with the Coalition’s target of 23.5 per cent by 2020.

Grattan Institute energy director Tony Wood said that, while consumers would not realistically be able to pay directly for more ­reliable supply from the grid, those with the means could install some form of back-up behind the meter, most commonly a generator. “Of course, some consumers can pay more to have their own supply via solar PV and batteries or via gas as did the Coopers Brewery that saved them during the (South Australian) blackout,” he said.

“The critical issue is how the grid is priced as consumers change the way they use it. Volume-based charging just isn’t fair and yet moving to demand-based charging is highly controversial.

“The extreme version is that homes and businesses are charged for the grid being there even if they never use it at all. These are questions that governments and regulators are grappling with and the answers are messy.”

Climate Institute head of policy Olivia Kember said there was a real risk of large numbers of households leaving the grid, which likely would be the result of ongoing policy failure by federal and state governments. “It’s not just a problem for lower-income households, but also apartment dwellers and large industry that needs grid-based power,” she said. “Currently we are seeing coal stations close with only six months’ notice, and no signals to tell the market what is needed to replace them.”

Australian Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said all consumers ultimately would want to be connected to the grid, even as a form of back-up, ­although there was a risk more would be less reliant on it. “The ­reality is if we are going to have a decarbonised system that is going to be reliable, it will cost more and we’ve seen that in South Australia — it is living proof,” he said. “There are a lot of inequities in the system and they are difficult to answer. The inequities can get worse.”

Mr Warren agreed there was a risk that those with the means to invest in new technologies would become less reliant on the grid and leave behind other more vulnerable groups.

“There is evidence that the largest household energy consumers are by far the poorest,” he said.

Warnings by Dr Finkel and the Australian Energy Market Commission that power prices are ­expected to begin rising is being blamed for generator closures, gas supply constraints and international parity gas prices.

The AEMC warned that, by 2018, the national electricity market would be divided into two price regions: cheaper in the north, Queensland and NSW; more ­expensive in the south, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said energy security remained “our number one” ­energy policy priority. “Australians expect access to reliable and affordable electricity and that is what the federal government is determined to provide through the COAG Energy Council,” he said.

“Yes, we have to meet our emissions reduction targets, but it can’t be at the expense of the lights going out or Australians not being able to afford their power bill.”

South Australian opposition cost of living spokesman Corey Wingard said: “The surging price of electricity in South Australia is creating two classes of consumers for this essential service: the haves and have-nots. Sadly many will struggle to keep their airconditioners on this summer … The more consumers that withdraw from the grid the greater the cost that will be borne by those still ­reliant upon it and the greater number of households will be cut off.”

Australian Power Project chief executive Nathan Vass, said ­national energy policy must focus on a low-emissions future that ­included clean coal technologies as well as renewable generation to keep energy prices in check and supply stable. “The closure of the Northern Power Station in SA and Hazelwood in Victoria are driving up power prices and destroying regional economies,” Mr Vass 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

29 December, 2016

Unbelievable:  Yet another blackout in South Australia

This will cap it for some people.  Some will now move interstate.  And who would start a new business there now?  How come the S.A. powerlines are so fragile?  It doesn't happen elsewhere.  Maybe the government has been scrimping on maintenance to finance their big splurge on windmills

Thousands of South Australian homes remain without power after a destructive storm that has badly damaged the state's electricity grid.  Though the worst is over, a final burst of thunderstorms could hamper already daunting efforts to get lights back on for many before Thursday.

SA Power Networks says at least 125,000 properties lost power after winds gusting to 120 km/h and rainfall of up to 110mm hit the state from late Tuesday, as a weather system that caused flooding in the Northern Territory moved south.

Spokesman Paul Roberts says about 13,000 properties had their power returned by Wednesday afternoon but many will remain without services until at least Thursday.

He says the electricity grid took a beating that will be expensive to fix, with at least 350 reports of downed power lines.

The State Emergency Service has grappled with more than 1250 calls, most for fallen trees that damaged homes or blocked roads and for minor flooding.

Several people were rescued from floodwaters, including two young teenage boys who were playing in a storm drain at the Sturt River on Tuesday.

Emergency Services Minister Peter Malinauskas praised SA emergency workers and said power lines had not gone down because the SA power network was fragile.

"When you see incidents like this as a result of a significant wind event resulting in trees falling on power lines there is little that can be done," he told reporters on Wednesday.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the 24 hours to 9am on Wednesday was Adelaide's third wettest December day on record, after 61.2mm of rain was dumped on the city.

After whacking the city, the deep low pressure system at the heart of the event moved towards SA's southeast corner near Mount Gambier.

But the bureau retained a thunderstorm warning for Wednesday afternoon for a large part of SA stretching from north of Port Pirie to the NT border.

The SES continued to distribute sandbags at several depots on Wednesday afternoon and urged people to be careful.

"Please, please, just stay out of the floodwaters. Be aware of our surrounds and keep your kids out of the floodwaters as well," SES deputy chief officer Dermott Barry said.

Thursday is expected to be a far calmer day in Adelaide with a slight chance of a shower in the early morning followed by a sunny top of 29 degrees.


Vic govt loses youth prison appeal

Realism sadly lacking. Perhaps the government should have confined the young wreckers to the premises of the Court of Appeal.  That would have produced a very different judgment, I think

THE Victorian government has lost its challenge to a ruling it illegally detained youths in the state’s most notorious maximum security prison.

The Court of Appeal on Wednesday found Justice Greg Garde was not in error when he declared the decision to transfer youth offenders to Barwon Prison after juvenile detention centres were trashed during riots was illegal. The court dismissed the government’s application to appeal the ruling.

Government lawyers had told the court that youths who spent Christmas in the maximum security adult prison were put there because their security couldn’t be guaranteed at the juvenile justice centres.

Up to 40 youths were transferred to the Grevillea Unit of Barwon Prison in November following riots that damaged the Parkville and Malmsbury youth detention facilities.

Richard Niall QC, for the Victorian government, on Wednesday told the Court of Appeal the youths had been in a facility that met statutory requirements, but had to be moved when it became unsafe.

"Security could not be guaranteed.” The government is arguing that Justice Garde erred in his finding that there had been a failure to take into account certain considerations regarding the rights of the youths.

Mr Niall said the youths’ developmental needs could be catered for in the Grevillea Unit through the provision of services.

"It must have been that the minister was alive to the need to maintain continuing care of the detainees,” Mr Niall said.

"She was advised it was unsafe to continue with the status quo.” "Other places had been considered and rejected,” Mr Niall said.

The Thomas Embling Maximum Security Forensic Hospital and Maribyrnong — where there is an immigration detention centre — were also considered, Mr Niall said. The court heard nobody from Corrections Victoria inspected the Grevillea Unit before the youths were moved.

About a dozen youths are still in the state’s most notorious prison.


Housing affordability: ‘Red tape’ to blame for Sydney property crisis

Malcolm gets it. The NSW government constricts supply and then hits buyers with a huge tax.  No wonder houses have become unaffordable for many

SKY-high housing prices have been blamed on everything from foreign investment to greedy Baby Boomers hogging the market.

But according to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull there’s a more obvious reason behind unaffordable housing — red tape.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Turnbull said NSW councils were taking too long to approve development applications which he believed was fuelling Sydney’s high housing prices.

Mr Turnbull said Sydney councils were taking three times as long to approve DAs than their counterparts in Brisbane.

He also said while stamp duty concessions would help get more people into the market, it wasn’t the only answer.

"We’re not asking people to compromise on planning standards, but it shouldn’t take you 18 months to get a DA if in other cities it can take you six months,” he said.

The Property Council of NSW said Sydney’s DA system was "the worst in the world.”
Auctioneer Adrian Bo from McGrath Coogee sold a unit in Randwick, Sydney, for $1.425 million last August Picture: Adam Taylor

Auctioneer Adrian Bo from McGrath Coogee sold a unit in Randwick, Sydney, for $1.425 million last August Picture: Adam TaylorSource:News Corp Australia

However a spokeswoman for the Local Government of NSW dismissed the idea that councils were behind the property crisis.

"If property developers were genuinely concerned about housing affordability they could always reduce their enormous profits by including more affordable housing in their developments,” she said.

Mr Turnbull’s comments come just days after a new report found it takes around eight years to save up a big enough deposit to buy a median-priced home in Sydney.

The Bankwest report also showed that the average Australian couple spent 4.4 years saving up for a 20 per cent deposit to buy a median-priced house in 2016.

It follows a similar report from CoreLogic and the Australian National University which revealed that it took 139 per cent of a household’s annual income in September 2016 to get that 20 per cent deposit together.

Housing affordability remains a core concern of the Property Council of Australia which is urging the government to tackle the crisis in the coming months.

According to the council, stamp duty is just one of the areas in need of urgent reform with the typical buyer in NSW forking out an average of $40,000.


Here’s why non-government schools work better


In 2004, in Why Our Schools are Failing, I argued Australia’s competitive academic curriculum was being "attacked and undermined by a series of ideologically driven changes that have conspired to ­reduce standards and ­impose a politically correct, mediocre view of education on our schools”.

Three years later, in Dumbing Down, I repeated the claim, arguing that Australia’s cultural-left education establishment, instead of supporting high-risk examinations, teacher-directed lessons and meritocracy, was redefining the curriculum "as an instrument to bring about equity and ­social justice”.

At the time the Australian Curriculum Studies Association organised two national conferences involving leading education bureau­crats, professional organisations, teacher unions and like-minded academics to argue all was well and that critics such as the News Corp’s newspapers were guilty of orchestrating a "black media debate” and a "conservative backlash”.

The Australian’s campaign for rigour and standards in education, especially its defence of classic literature and teaching grammar, was condemned by one critic as a "particularly ferocious campaign” that was guilty of wanting "to ­restore a traditional approach to the teaching of English”.

Fast-forward to 2016 and it’s clear where the truth lies. Despite investing additional billions and implementing a raft of education reforms, Australia’s ranking in international tests is going backwards and too many students are leaving school illiterate, innumerate and culturally impoverished.

In the 2011 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, Australian students were ranked 22nd; in the 2015 Program for International Student Assessment, Australian students were ranked 20th in mathematics; and in the 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, our Year 4 science students were outperformed by 17 other countries.

Australia’s national curriculum, instead of acknowledging we are a Western liberal democracy and the significance of our ­Judeo-Christian heritage, em­braces cultural relativism and prioritises politically correct indi­genous, Asian and sustainability perspectives.

Instead of focusing on the ­basics, teachers are pressured to teach Marxist-inspired programs such as the LGBTI Safe Schools program where gender is fluid and limitless and Roz Ward, one of the founders, argues: "It will only be through a revitalised class struggle and revolutionary change that we can hope for the liberation of LGBTI people.”

What’s to be done? It’s rare that those responsible for failure are capable of choosing the right way forward. Organisations such as ACSA, the Australian Education Union and the Australian Council for Educational Research are part of the problem, not the solution.

Instead of education fads and a command-and-control model mandated by such bodies, where schools are made to implement a one-size-fits-all curriculum, assess­ment, accountability and staffing system, schools must be freed from provider capture and given the autonomy to manage themselves.

As argued by Melbourne-based Brian Caldwell: "There is a powerful educational logic to locating a higher level of authority, responsibility and accountability for curriculum, teaching and assessment at the school level. Each school has a unique mix of students in respect to their needs, interests, aptitudes and ambitions; indeed, each classroom has a unique mix.”

The reason Catholic and independent schools, on the whole, outperform government schools is not because of students’ socio-economic status, which has a relatively weak impact on outcomes, but because non-government schools have control over staffing, budgets, curriculum focus and classroom practice.

In a paper this year — The ­Importance of School Systems: Evidence from International Differences in Student Achievement — European research Ludger Woessmann identifies "school autonomy and private competition” as important factors when ­explaining why some education systems outperform others.

Instead of adopting ineffective fads such as constructivism — where the emphasis is on inquiry-based discovery learning, teachers being guides by the side and content being secondary to process — it is vital to ensure that teacher training and classroom practice are evidence-based.

Not so in Australia, where the dominant approach is based on constructivism.

In opposition, and when arguing in favour of explicit teaching and direct instruction, NSW academic John Sweller states that "there is no aspect of human cognitive architecture that suggests that inquiry-based learning should be superior to ­direct ­instructional guidance and much to suggest that it is likely to be ­inferior”.

American educationalist ED Hirsch and Sweller argue that children must be able to automatically recall what has been taught. Primary schoolchildren, in particular, need to memorise times ­tables, do mental arithmetic and learn to recite poems and ballads.

After citing several research studies, Hirsch concludes: "Varied and repeated practice leading to rapid recall and automaticity is necessary to higher-order problem-solving skills in both mathematics and the sciences.”

Even though Australia has one of the highest rates of classroom computer use, our results are going backwards.

A recent OECD study concludes "countries which have invested heavily in information and communication technologies for education have seen no noticeable improvement in their performances in PISA results for reading, mathematics or science”.

At a time when Australia’s education ministers are deciding a new school funding model after 2017, it is also vital to realise investing additional billions, as argued by the AEU and NSW’s Education Minister Adrian Piccoli, is not the solution. Australia has been down that road across 20 years and standards have failed to improve.

The debate needs to shift from throwing more money after bad, a la Gonski, to identifying the most cost-effective way to use ­resources to raise standards.

As noted by Eric Hanushek and Woessmann in The Knowledge Capital of Nations, the focus must be on "how money is spent ­(instead) of how much money is spent”.

And here the research is clear. Stronger performing education systems embrace competition, autonomy, diversity and choice in education, and benchmark their curriculum and approaches to teaching and learning against world’s best practice and evidence-based research.

Teachers set high expectations with a disciplined classroom environment, students are taught to be resilient and motivated to succeed, there is less external micro­management, and parents are ­engaged and supportive of their children’s teachers.

As argued in the Review of the Australian National Curriculum I co-chaired, it is also vital to eschew educational fads and new age, politically correct ideology and ­ensure what is taught is based on what American psychologist Jerome Bruner describes as "the structure of the disciplines”.


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 December, 2016

Pre-school to prevent delinquency?

The rant below is typical of disassociated Leftist thought. Jacqueline Maley points to problems and just asserts that pre-school will fix them.  Asking for evidence that your "cure" will in fact cure anything is chronically "forgotten" among Leftists.  Evidence connecting the cure to the problem is absent.

She points to the problems that children reared in feral environments pose for both themselves and everyone else and then points out that if you get an infant very early, you may be able to train its brain into more positive behaviour channels.  It's a reasonable conjecture.

So how do we implement this draconian intervention?  The infant brain is at it most plastic when it is youngest.  The plasticity is highest just after birth and declines steadily thereafter. To make Maley's idea work, you would have to take masses of infants away from their families from shortly after birth.  Is that going to happen?  The "stolen generations" furore guarantees that it will not.

So she does not even explore that option.  She just states blandly and blindly that pre-school  will achieve the desired result.  But, for a start, pre-school is far to late to do much good and, secondly, any effect of a  few hours in pre-school will be overwhelmed by the very different experience of the feral home for the remaining 18 hours (or more) of the day.

Maley quotes theories of U.S. educators that say there is a small advantage in pre-school but those theories fade into insignificance when we look at the actual experience with the American "Head Start" program -- now in existence for many decades. It aimed to give a quality pre-school experience to children from deprived homes.  It produced some initially promising results, as new programs often do, but those  advantages rapidly faded away, leaving a program that scholarly analysts see as an abject failure.  The program is now kept going mainly as a means of offering a child-minding service in poor areas

Ms Maley hasn't got a clue.  Like most Leftist writing hers has an initial plausibility until you know all the facts

There is one simple thing politicians could do right now that would save the budget millions, or even billions, of dollars over the next generation.

The evidence is clear that this near-magic initiative works to prevent poverty, illiteracy, social delinquency, welfare dependency, ill health, and even cardiovascular disease and obesity.

Politicians like to talk about there being no "silver bullet" solution to any given problem, but according to economists and doctors, and at least one Nobel prize winner who has devoted his life to this cause, this is as close to it as it gets.

All they have to do is better fund preschools.

After 20 years of solid research into child brain development, scientists now know (and I use the verb "know" in the entirely scientific, evidence-based, non-feelpinion sense) that the human brain in the infant-to-child period is exquisitely sensitive to its environment.

Whatever crappy destiny a child's genes have planned for him or her, it will usually only be triggered in a bad environment, where a child's basic physical needs are not met, or where his or her parents fail to provide a nurturing, stimulating and responsive backdrop.

Professor Frank Oberklaid, a feted paediatrician who is probably Australia's foremost expert in early intervention and childhood development, says none of this research is touchy-feely or vague.

It is "robust and non-contested" neuroscience.

We all know that children who are exposed to abuse or neglect often grow up to have psychological and behavioural problems.

But the research shows there are long-term physical and neurological consequences from what you and I might call a crappy childhood.

The effects from a bad environment are as real and long-lasting as a blow to the head, or a kick to the kidneys might be.

"In situations of extreme poverty, child abuse, substance abuse, or any situation where the child is exposed to unpredictability and a lack of responsiveness, stress levels go up in the brain," Oberklaid says.

"This produces cortisol, and cortisol levels affect the brain's functioning. You get the biologic embedding of environmental events, so after a generation or two you start to see changes in genetic material."

Here's the real kicker: increased stress in those early years resets the body's physiological regulatory system at a sub-optimal level, meaning these children, as they grow up, are more likely to develop disease like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

It also buggers their brain's frontal lobe development, which governs what is known as "executive function" – a trio of cognitive processes that are essential to functioning as a happy and productive adult: working memory, mental flexibility and self control.

Take a survey of your nearest prison population and you will find it full of men and women who have difficulty holding more than a few pieces of information in their minds at once, who are bad at switching between tasks and who have poor or zero impulse control.

Children are not born with these skills, and they are unlikely to develop them in dysfunctional home environments.

That's why compulsory, state-subsided preschool for at least one year, but ideally two, is something economists are switching on to.

The Nobel-winning American economist James Heckman has devoted much of his professional life to researching the economics of early childhood, and has shown that funding early childhood delivers a return on investment.

His analysis of one preschool program estimated a 7 to 10 per cent return on investment. Analysis of another early childhood program, the Chicago Child-Parent Centre, estimated $48,000 in benefits to the public per child from a half-day of public preschool. The estimated return on investment was $7 for every dollar invested.

These savings are based on the greater adult productivity of the kids involved, and reduced costs in remedial education, healthcare and criminal justice participation down the line.

The good news is we know exactly what we have to do in order to prevent a lot of these adverse outcomes.

Oberklaid spends his life advocating early intervention policy, and has advised state and federal ministers on the subject.

If he could make politicians do one single thing, it would be to fund one year of universal preschool education. Even better, fund two years of it.

Preschool helps develop the early building blocks of educational success – learning colours and numbers, understanding patterns, realising that printed words hold meaning. It socialises children. Any language, hearing or developmental problems a child may have are picked up early.


Unsustainable solar scheme being wound down in NSW

Less than a week before the lucrative NSW solar bonus scheme ends, there is still "mass confusion" among the 146,000 affected households, industry figures say.

The scheme, which was launched in 2011 to encourage the uptake of renewable energy, handed homeowners 60¢ or 20¢ "feed-in" tariffs per kilowatt hour, for the solar energy they put back into the grid.

But from December 31 those homeowners are set to face "bill shock", when their tariff rates drop to around 6¢, which is less than the amount they will be charged for accessing electricity from the grid.

The biggest change for all affected consumers has been the need to switch from a gross meter to a net meter, a process that has been beset by lengthy delays.

Michael Furey, the NSW chairman of the non-profit Australian Solar Council, said: "From the customer side there is mass confusion, and also a huge amount of frustration, because customers have been told to get information from their energy retailers and that has been either difficult to access or confusing."

From January 1, households that already have a net meter can use the electricity they generate to power appliances in the home at the time, while any excess energy is exported to the grid, earning the homeowner an unsubsidised feed-in tariff of around 6¢.

According to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, changing from a gross to a net meter could leave NSW customers between $234 and $461 better off each year.

Mr Furey estimates that an average-sized two-kilowatt system that has not been switched to net metering will cost a homeowner around $1.20 a day, from January 1.

An EnergyAustralia spokesperson said that it understood customers were confused about delays, but it expected to have all net meters installed by the middle of 2017.

"We do not think our performance to date has been good enough ... To make sure not a single EnergyAustralia customer is disadvantaged, we're crediting $40 each month to our NSW solar customers who ... haven't yet had their meter installed."

The feed-in tariffs offered by the major providers from January 1 are 10¢ from Origin, 6.1¢ from AGL and EnergyAustralia and up to 12¢ from smaller market players such as Enova Energy.


The Macassar tyranny

Macassar is a small seaport in Indonesia.  So what has that got to do with Warmism?  Nothing at all.  But its namesake does. 

I refer to Rowland's Macassar Oil, a product first marketed by a London barber in 1783.  It was marketed as a way for men to keep their hair in order and in good health.  It soon had imitators and it became a fashion for men to put oil or grease in their hair.  And that fashion lasted into recent times.  I remember going into Woolworths in the 1950s and buying "Californian Poppy" grease for my hair.

Greasing your hair had become virtually universal.  A man who did not grease his hair was regarded as untidy.

The fashion died fairly decisively in Australia in 1972, when a new Leftist Prime Minister gained power -- the haughty Gough Whitlam.  Shortly after his accession, he went on TV to announce that he was abandoning hair grease. Up until that time, he had always greased his hair -- like most of his unionist supporters. The internet has a short memory so does not record the occasion but what Whitlam said ran roughly as follows: 

"I have always used a pomade to dress my hair.  But fashionable people tell me I am behind the times in doing so.  A modern man does not put anything in his hair. I have therefore decided that it is time to cease being a gluggy and become a fluffy".

There was at the time some debate over whether rice should be served gluggy or fluffy.

Even unionists ceased greasing their hair after that.  If they were lucky, their wives now blow-dried their hair -- perhaps with a little help from the lady's hair spray.

So what is the lesson from all that?  It shows that a totally useless belief and custom persisted among us for nearly 200 years until it was laughed to death.  Will the equally foolish doctrine of global warming stay among us for 200 years?  It could.

Senator Rod Culleton declared bankrupt by Federal Court

Besieged senator Rod Culleton has been declared bankrupt in a Federal Court hearing in Perth, jeopardising his position in the Senate.

The decision is the result of legal action brought against Senator Culleton by a creditor, former Wesfarmers director Peter Lester, seeking $280,000.

The constitution prohibits federal parliamentarians from being bankrupt. The judge has granted a 21-day stay on the order.

Senator Culleton recently quit One Nation after weeks of public tension over policy differences and the party's support for an unrelated legal action against him - concerning his eligibility to run at the July election - in the High Court.

If he is thrown out of the Senate as a result of Friday's bankruptcy decision, his former party will be empowered to select his replacement.

The courtroom reportedly became dramatic following Judge Michael Barker's ruling, with Senator Culleton yelling at the judge: "You've just executed me".

Outside the court, he said the stay on the bankruptcy order meant he "was in a legal rip" that he would swim out of by seeking to overturn it in the Supreme Court.

He also claimed the court proceedings were not fair because two people - against whom his wife Ioanna allegedly has violence restraining orders - were present in the courtroom at one point before they were removed by police.

"I'll fight to the end," he said.

The separate High Court decision Senator Culleton is awaiting concerns the larceny charge hanging over his head at the time of the election.

If he is declared ineligible by that jurisdiction, an automatic recount would most likely award his spot to the person who was second on One Nation's Senate ticket: his brother-in-law, Peter Georgiou.

Senator Culleton's former leader, Senator Pauline Hanson said she feels sorry for him "but this was the right ruling".

"I hope he now acts honourably & steps down with dignity," she tweeted.

Senator Hanson has sought to avoid Mr Georgiou emerging as the replacement, suggesting earlier this week that he might not be able to take the job.

"I'm also hearing that his brother may be a guarantor for him in that bankruptcy. So if that be the case, his brother-in-law may not be eligible to stand. So if that be the case, then the seat comes back to the party," she said.

Senator Culleton's chief of staff, Margaret Menzel, rejected this claim.


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 December, 2016

The trick which might get you off flaky DSL onto Telstra cable broadband

I had a similar battle to get cable access some years ago.  I had to write to politicians and threaten to cut the cable to get results.  Saddening to hear that nothing has been learned.  Telstra are animals -- JR

After years of saying no, Telstra finally decided I can access the 100 Mbps HFC cable in my street, and you might be able to do the same.

As regular readers might know, I've been stuck on flaky DSL broadband since I moved house eight years ago, reluctantly leaving behind Optus cable in my old home. The process of moving house turned into a farce that will be all too familiar to Australians who've battled with Telstra and Optus when transferring services.

When I moved into this house I was getting 8 Mbps on the copper line but it's dwindled to 4 Mbps over the years. Before I moved in I asked Telstra about cable broadband access in the new house, knowing there was underground cable in the street, but I was told I had to stick with DSL like the previous owner – a common story in my area where many blocks have been subdivided.

The rule of thumb seems to be one cable connection per block, regardless of the number of dwellings, which is why my next-door neighbour enjoys HFC broadband while I languish on DSL, even though our block was subdivided before the houses were even built.

Several times over the years I've checked back with Telstra regarding cable access, with friends in the know telling me it should be possible, but each time I've been shot down.

I'd resigned myself to the fact that decent broadband would have to wait for the NBN to reach my street, which I thought was coming next year. I'd likely be hooked up to the Telstra cable once it was under NBN control, or I might get shunted to fibre to the node (while friends in the next suburb enjoy fibre to the premises).

My broadband situation became more desperate two weeks ago when my DSL speeds dropped to an unstable 2 Mbps. In the process of getting a line fault repaired I also discovered that the NBN was still two years away from my suburb, not one year, so I started making plans for a high speed wireless broadband connection to supplement my DSL.

A ray of hope

It wasn't the first time I'd written about my broadband woes and lamented the fact that I was denied access to the HFC cable lying only a few feet from my front door, but this time I received a call from Telstra's PR team offering to check again on my behalf. A few days later I was told there'd been a change of heart and I could connect to the cable in the street, Telstra simply needed to update its maps so the system recognised that cable was available to my home.

It was finally hooked up this week – a Christmas miracle – but not before a string of set-backs. The Telstra installers went above and beyond the call of duty but the odds were stacked against them, a situation the NBN admittedly may have encountered regularly had it proceeded to run fibre to every home.

Firstly we couldn't find the pit in the street because the Telstra maps marked it in the wrong place, then we couldn't run the cable to the house because the fools who built my home damaged the conduit when pouring the concrete driveway. We ended up running a new conduit under the driveway, after which the installer struggled to run the cable inside to the wall socket due to the way my house is built.

In a final hurdle, we had trouble activating the cable modem which saw the installer on the phone to get it fixed. When we finally sorted it all out I was rewarded with results of 114 megabits per second – 29 times faster than my shoddy DSL connection.

What's the magic word?

My sense of relief and jubilation was accompanied by bewilderment and frustration – why had Telstra denied me cable access so long? What hope was there for other people in my circumstances with the HFC cable tantalisingly just out of reach?

I put the question to Telstra and was told the key is to ring the call centre and ask them to "submit a request for a service qualification test", if the cable is in your street and you believe you should be able to access it. Even if Telstra runs copper to your home, the cable access maps aren't updated after it's laid in your street so they don't acknowledge the existence of new dwellings. This means if 10 Main Road becomes 10 and 10A, only 10 is recognised as having cable access even if they both face onto the street and each have a copper phone line.

This workaround is no guarantee of success and I can't vouch for how long you'll need to argue with the person on the phone before they'll agree, if at all. From my experience no-one in the Telstra call centre will show any initiative and inform you that such a thing is possible, even when you explain your circumstances. It's up to you to know about it and to ask.

Your mileage may vary

As a test I wandered up my street to another neighbour's house, she's also stuck on crappy DSL and has previously been told by Telstra there's nothing to be done – even though the installer who hooked up my cable also looked at her house and said she should have no trouble accessing the cable.

My friend called Telstra and then put me on the phone, determined to play dumb and see how it went. The Telstra rep initially offered a $10 per month speed boost, which didn't sound right for a DSL connection, but then said he'd check for cable availability before I could suggest it.

After a few minutes on hold he said "sorry, cable is not available". When I pointed out the house next door had cable he insisted there is "no way around it" and when I suggested checking he said it would be "a waste of time".

At this point I played the "service qualification test" card and his tone changed slightly. "Okay, I'll double-check that" and I spent the next 10 minutes on hold before he told me it can't be done. "We can't provide cable if they don't already have cable," he insisted. When I pointed out the cable was already in the street, he actually had the audacity to insist "it must be someone else's cable" – a desperate claim considering he knew full well that Telstra cable runs down the street.

The call centre's solution was to offer to upgrade my neighbour to a new DSL modem, which would do nothing to improve the condition of the copper line, followed by an offer to boost her smartphone mobile data allowance so she can run a hot spot at home.

Talking to Telstra's PR people again, I was told the call centre operator had not followed the correct procedure and if you call you need to insist that they lodge a "service qualification test form" or "dispute form" on your behalf, which takes 24 to 72 hours to process. A 10-minute check while you're on hold doesn't cut it.

My experience in dealing with Telstra over the years is that you can call three times and get three different answers, so your mileage may vary. Across the country there are many thousands of homes in the same situation, stuck on DSL while 100 Mbps Telstra cable runs past the front door. I can't make you any promises, but insisting on a service qualification test could be the key to your own Christmas miracle.


Take note: Australia does secular democracy well

"The world is a fine place,” said Ernest Hemingway, "and worth fighting for.” We would tend to agree, even if the past 12 months too often have seemed more about the fighting and less about the fine. This has been a turbulent year for so many in Australia and around the world, but the nation has just safely and peacefully celebrated Christmas despite the threat of an alleged terror plot in Melbourne.

The fear that church celebrations could be targeted on one of the central days of the Christian calendar was chilling to Australians. The realisation that terror knows no borders is one that must increasingly inform our judgments, just as it colours the politics of societies around the world.

More than ever, it is time to take stock and reflect on the gifts that we as a nation can celebrate together. We speak particularly about the strong values and civil society that not only tie us together under the oft-used rubrics of "mateship” and "a fair go” but also mean that our polity is well equipped to meet the coming year’s challenges head-on. Yes, 2016 is closing with scenes of chaos abroad (Berlin, Ankara, Aleppo) and at home (an ever wobblier budget position, the rise of minor parties, the prospect of a burn-it-down populism bubbling just under the surface, not to mention the increasing threat of terror). But allow us still to make the case for optimism.

To start with our politics: the fact is that we as a nation do — as we have always done — secular, moderate, representative democracy very well. This goes back to well before Federation. Some would say it is in our national DNA. NSW gave all adult males — regardless of property holdings — the right to vote in 1858 when the principle of "one man, one vote” wasn’t fully gained in Britain until 1918; in 1902, Australia was the first nation to give most women the right to vote and to sit in the national parliament.

While the threat of a fine from the Electoral Commission is surely a stick that encourages our high voter turnout rates, the much-celebrated "democracy sausage” of election day is also, so to speak, a carrot. In a society of many and no faiths, the ritual of voting makes for something of a secular feast day. And for all its faults, Australia does social cohesion very well indeed. Since the era of John Howard, who presided over historically high immigration rates while being seen to be firmly in control of the nation’s borders, thus anticipating and neutralising the concerns of Pauline Hanson during her first tilt at politics, we have been a nation on the increase, and with barely a fraction of the sort of friction seen in Europe or the US.

While some were quick to leap on the comments of the UN’s fly-in, fly-out special rapporteur Mutuma Ruteere to the effect that Australia was afflicted by "populism” — a catch-all word increasingly used by those who are uncomfortable with robust debate and democracy — and falling into the snares of "hate speech” and "xenophobia”, the facts would indicate otherwise.

Social cohesion studies undertaken by the Scanlon Foundation show that, overall, ours is a stable and cohesive nation, with positive attitudes towards immigration, multiculturalism and anti-discrimination.

Those such as Ruteere (and many in Australia) who criticise debate about matters such as section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act perversely undermine this sort of trust by forcing difficult questions into the shadows rather than the light where they belong.

None of this is to be Pollyannaish or suggest that we will all be fine with a healthy dose of "she’ll be right”.

Far from it. The bedrock of our society is strong but we can do better, as seen by recent surveys suggesting that Australians, like citizens in so many other countries, are concerned about whether the system works for them. This is particularly the case when it comes to economic participation.

The growth of the urban, hi-tech, knowledge-based economy must not come at the expense of those who live in the regions, work with their hands, and without whose efforts in industries ranging from agriculture to resources society would grind to a halt.

These are not challenges to be shied away from or put in the too-hard basket. We are a fortunate nation — in the genuine rather than ironic "lucky country” sense — but we must ensure that all share in the bounty. Which is why, as Australians go through their rituals today — using up the leftovers from Christmas Day lunch, braving the crowds at the sales or settling in for the Boxing Day Test — we think it is more than appropriate that the optimistic spirit of the season be embraced, despite the challenges. As complex and contentious a year as 2016 was, there is no sign that 2017 will grant any respite. Let us take this holiday period as a time to reflect on our shared values and strengths, which will sustain us as we head into the new year.


Big electricity price rises soon

Thanks to Greenie policies

AUSSIES are about to be whacked with a huge increase in their household bills, with some states forced to pay more than $100 extra a year.

With electricity bills are expected to skyrocket in 2017 due to the closure of Victoria’s Hazelwood Power Station.

The latest Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) 2016 Residential electricity price trends released on Wednesday has warned of price increases across the nation.

South Australians will be hit the hardest, with $150 a year expected to be added onto household bills and Victorians will have to face paying an extra $99 while Queenslanders will pay an extra $28.

Other states could be whacked with a $78 price hike.

NSW residential electricity prices are expected to increase by 3.9 per cent on average for each of the next two years largely due to a 16 per cent increase in wholesale energy costs, AEMC chairman John Pierce said.

Electricity prices are also affected by the price for gas through gas-fired power stations, which is expected to play a larger role in the market in the future.

"Any future increase in the price of gas will result in higher input costs for generators, flowing through to higher costs in the wholesale electricity market,” said Mr Pierce.

The Council of Australian Governments energy council will meet in Melbourne on Wednesday to look at regulations around new interconnectors, and efforts to ensure cheaper gas supplies.

"Across the national electricity market the generation mix is changing — with the large-scale renewable energy target leading to substantial investment in wind generation. This is contributing to the closure of coal-fired plants and increasing wholesale prices,” said Mr Pierce in a statement.


Green deaths: The forgotten dangers of solar panels

In recent years, thousands of solar panels have been placed on Australian roofs, and millions installed around the world. But how safe are they?

According to Safework Australia, each year about 30 Australians die in falls from a height, although the number of people involved in installing or maintaining solar panels is not broken down.

Some falls involving people installing or maintaining solar panels are not reported as part of work-related statistics, and then there are people electrocuted when they come into contact with power lines.

In California, where solar panels have been embraced enthusiastically, there has been a rash of deaths like this one, this one, and another three in quick succession. However, it is a worldwide phenomenon, so much so that statistics show roofing is more dangerous than coal mining.

Because of our propensity to put panels on roofs, solar is in fact, far more dangerous than many forms of power generation,  three times more dangerous than wind power and more than 10 times more dangerous than nuclear power, by comparison to the amount of power produced.

This study puts it in perspective, using figures from the United States:

The fifty actual deaths from roof installation accidents for 1.5 million roof installations is equal to the actual deaths experienced so far from Chernobyl. If all 80 million residential roofs in the USA had solar power installed then one would expect 9 times the annual roofing deaths of 300 people or 2700 people (roofers to die). This would generate about 240 TWh of power each year. (30% of the power generated from nuclear power in the USA). 90 people per year over an optimistic life of 30 years for the panels not including maintenance or any electrical shock incidents.

There is an argument, however, that solar power may ultimately be safer than coal-fired generation because of the reduction in pollution. Ironically enough, however, solar power is far more dangerous than nuclear, even in a year when an accident like the disaster at Fukushima occurs.


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

26 December, 2016


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG has a Christmas message

Thwarted terror plot draws Christmas crowds to St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne

The threat of terrorism at St Paul's Cathedral was not enough to keep the community away from Christmas Day morning services. If anything, it had the opposite effect.

"How dare they," said former policeman Tony Tulloh. "How dare they try to attack such a soft target; not just the building, but this community? They wouldn't try to target a battalion of tanks, would they? That'd be too hard."

Mr. Tulloh was visiting from New South Wales with his wife Trudie and their two sons. They had deliberated between attending an Anglican or Catholic church for Christmas during their five-day trip to Melbourne, and settled on St Paul's. Then, when they heard that a terrorist plot against the cathedral had been foiled, it reaffirmed their choice. "We came in defiance," said Mrs. Tulloh.

Andrew Boyd, who was visiting from Perth with his wife and three children, had not been so confident in his decision to attend. "At first, we were concerned about coming," he said, "but if you don't do this, what else don't you do?" In the end, he and his wife decided not to let fear stop them, "Otherwise the terrorists win."

Nonetheless, he wasn't at ease. "Seeing the police presence outside adds to the concern that there really is something going on here."

Not a moment went by on Sunday morning without at least one group of policemen standing by the stairs to the cathedral. Police vehicles also lined Swanston Street, directly opposite the iconic building, which had been named as one of three targets in what police said was a foiled Christmas Day terror attack.

Victoria Police said they had an "increased visible presence" in the city on Sunday, in an effort to reassure the public of their safety and encourage them to go about their Christmas celebrations as planned.

But a Metro staff member was blase. "Today is just another day," he said. "It's not the stuff you hear about that you should be worried about; it's the stuff you don't hear about."

Back at St Paul's Cathedral, Tracey Gay sat in the third row of the pews to hear her son sing in the church choir. "I wouldn't even consider taking him out," she said. "It's such an important part of his life." Her ten-year-old sang on Christmas Eve and during the morning service, too.

Ms Gay said the increased security presence this year made her feel safe. She was also touched by the overwhelming support the community had received in light of the thwarted attacks.

"There were members of other faiths, as well as the deputy police commissioner and consular general of the UK here last night," she said. "It sent a message of peace and solidarity."

"The message of Christmas is one of lasting peace," reiterated the Dean of Melbourne, Reverend Dr. Andreas Loewe. Yet, while he sought to spread a message of reconciliation, the threat of terror was front of mind.

He gave thanks to those who work to keep the community safe, urged those in attendance to consider their individual roles as peace creators, and prayed for the salvation of "any who would turn against their fellow humans, with hatred, to seek their harm."


Christmas in Adelaide hottest in 70 years

In case the Warmists get excited over this, I might mention that our Brisbane Christmas was unusually cool, helped, perhaps,  by some morning rain

Adelaide has sweltered through its hottest Christmas on record since 1945, while temperatures in some parts of Victoria hovered around the 40-degrees-Celsius mark.

The South Australian capital reached its forecast high of 40 degrees at 2:29pm, recording the city's hottest Christmas Day in 70 years.

Fortunately, South Australians will have a boxing day reprieve with "noticeably cooler" conditions and rain forecast for the capital.

In traditional form Australians have taken to the beach to beat the heat and shared the fun on social media.

Emergency crews were on standby across the country as heatwave conditions continued to impact on large parts of southern and eastern Australia in the late afternoon.

In Victoria, a maximum of 39.9 degrees Celsius was recorded at Hopetoun, while Melbourne reached 35.5 degrees at about 3:00pm.

Firefighters are battling a grass fire at Woomelang, north of Birchip in the state's north-west.

The fire at Kellys Road has crossed the Sunraysia Highway and A Watch and Act warning has been issued for Banyan, Curyo, Hopetoun, Marlbed, Watchupga, Willangie, Woomelang.


Queensland govt red-faced in rail fail

A Leftist government that cannpot make the trains run on time.  Yet they want us out of our cars!

The Queensland government is offering free taxi rides for stranded public transport users after Christmas Day train services were cancelled because of "operational reasons”.

The number of cancellations has been revised up to 235, from the 150 expected earlier.

Queensland Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, already under pressure to retain his job after a series of scandals involving Queensland Rail, said he was "disappointed” by the latest cancellations.

The last-minute disruption to travel plans has impacted services across the rail network, including the airport line, Gold Coast line, Sunshine Coast line and Redcliffe Peninsula line.

Queensland Rail has confirmed the service cancellations were due to "resourcing issues that Queensland Rail have been experiencing over the last couple of months”.

Mr Hinchliffe, who said he was informed of Queensland Rail’s decision to cancel some Christmas Day services yesterday afternoon, described the cancellations as "entirely unacceptable”.

"Today, I have also instructed Queensland Rail to provide me with an urgent and comprehensive report detailing the circumstances leading to the cancelation of some Christmas Day CityTrain services and an explanation for the late notice given to passengers inconvenienced by Queensland Rail,” he said.

"I am disappointed by Queensland Rail’s decision and the inconvenience it will cause for rail passengers on Christmas Day,” he added.

"That’s why I have directed Queensland Rail to provide free Christmas Day travel for all passengers on all CityRail services.”

Queensland Rail acting CEO Jim Benstead said all patrons travelling on trains today would travel free. "I apologise to customers for the inconvenience,” Mr Benstead said.

"On Christmas Day, patronage is about 60 per cent less than an average Sunday, but of course many people will be relying on the train to get to festive celebrations which they won’t want to miss. "We are asking all passengers to check the TransLink website before travelling.”

Mr Benstead has ordered extra station staff work today to guide customers, and said Queensland Rail accepted "full responsibility for these service cancellations”.

Queensland Rail is offering taxi fares at stations for customers who are facing unacceptable wait times.

Shadow Transport Minister Andrew Powell said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk should return from leave and "sack” Mr Hinchliffe, one of her key allies. "What should be one of the happiest days of the year has turned into a nightmare because of this Minister’s complete incompetence,” Mr Powell said.

"Stirling ‘I know nothing’ Hinchliffe has once again claimed he was the last to know, only receiving advice about the major cancellations yesterday afternoon — but Queenslanders are sick of hearing the same old excuse. "150 services have been cancelled, leaving families stranded from their loved ones and all the Minister can do is shrug his shoulders.”

Mr Powell said the Christmas changes, posted on social media by Queensland Rail last night, could mean Queenslanders won’t make it to Christmas events.

The TransLink website blamed Queensland Rail for providing them with late advice, meaning they could not update online journey planners.  "Due to the late receipt of advice from Queensland Rail, these changes cannot be updated in the journey planner,” the TransLink update said.


Video games website Steam fined $3 million for refusing refunds

Gaming company Valve Corporation has been hit with a $3 million fine after the Federal Court found its online games site Steam breached Australian Consumer Laws.

The court imposed the maximum fine requested by Australia's competition regulator because of Valve's disregard for Australian law and lack of contrition.

Valve's general counsel, Karl Quackenbush, told the court the company did not obtain legal advice when it set up in Australia, and did not check its obligations until the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission got involved in April 2014. It only provided staff verbal instructions.

This lack of interest in Australian laws and lack of cooperation encouraged Justice James Edelman to impose a pentaly 12 times more than Valve Corporation suggested it pay.

"Valve is a United States company with 2.2 million Australian accounts which received 21,124 tickets in the relevant period containing the word "refund" from consumers with Australian IP addresses," Justice Edelman wrote in his judgement.

"Yet it had a culture by which it formed a view without Australian legal advice that it was not subject to Australian law, and it was content to proceed to trade with Australian consumers without that advice and with the view that even if advice had been obtained that Valve was required to comply with Australian law the advice might have been ignored."

A court found in May that Steam's website breached Australian Consumer Law because it stated consumers were not entitled to a refund and had no access to minimum quality guarantees.

Steam must now introduce a compliance program and place a notice in size 14 type on its Australia website informing consumers about their rights.

Steam is an online games store where consumers buy access or downloads of games like Doom, Grand Theft Auto, or Fallout. Games cost up to $75.

Justice Edelman found the subscriber contracts on Steam's website were designed to ensure Steam did not offer consumers any refunds. Australian customers ticked a box agreeing to Steam's terms and conditions. It was ticked 24.9 million times between 2011 and 2014 and it was "impossible to calculate the precise number of consumers who were affected by the misrepresentations".

During the case the court heard Valve did in fact offer more than 15,000 refunds if a customer was unable to install a game, or unable to play it, or where a subscriber purchased the wrong version of a game by mistake.

Valve had suggested it pay a penalty of just $250,000 but Justice Edelman noted the penalty proposed by Valve was "not even a real cost of doing business. It would barely be noticed". Valve is a private company and its profits are unknown, but the court noted its worldwide income and revenue was "massive".

When the original decision was handed down in March, chairman of the ACCC, Rod Sims, said it reinforced that any foreign business selling goods or services in Australia is subject to local laws.

"In this case, Valve is a US company operating mainly outside Australia, but, in making representations to Australian consumers, the Federal Court has found that Valve engaged in conduct in Australia," Mr Sims said.

"It is also significant that the court held that, in any case, based on the facts, Valve was carrying on business in Australia."


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 December, 2016

A Lucky country?

The late Donald Horne wrote a book about Australia called "The Lucky Country" in 1964.  He was acclaimed for it despite almost nobody reading his book.  Australians took the title as justified praise of their country and felt no need to read the details.  But it was not praise.  That's how I know that few ever read it.  I have read it.  It is a miserable, carping book which claims that Australia has done well purely out of luck. He calls Australians second rate and unworthy of their good fortune to live in one of the world's most peaceful, advanced and prosperous countries.  It's not so peaceful now with the advent of Muslim and African "refugees" but it was very peaceful, calm, and orderly when Donald wrote.

And Donald committed the common Leftist error of thinking and writing about a country while somehow not realizing that he was not thinking about a country at all but rather about the people of that country.  Leftists tend to talk about the evils of "America", "Australia" etc. as if those evils were an aspect of a geographical location rather than the evil deeds of people.  They deal in abstractions.  It seems to be comforting to them to do that.

So why was Donald so jaundiced about his native land? Why did he loathe his fellow citizens? I knew him slightly and he seemed to me to be a clever but rather mixed-up person.  He was a conservative in his early years but later gravitated to various Leftist positions.  That is of course unusual. The more usual movement with age is to greater conservatism.

So why that movement?  It could have had something to do with his education.  He never completed a degree and I detected some insecurity in him about that.   And that lack would have been a handicap in the  highly educated elite he wished to be part of.

But once he turned Left, everything fell into place.  His Leftism earned him all the acceptance he could have wanted.  He was a smart man so once his unacceptable ideology was out of the way he gained admittance to the gods.  He became one of the great and the good.  And benefactions and honours showered down on him. I noted in 1974 that conservatism was already a heresy in Australia by that time so Donald had to ditch it if he wanted to be heard.

And his book would have been an important part of his "rehabilitation".  It was the sort of haughty thing that any Leftist anywhere would say about their own society.  Australian Leftists would agree with much of it to this day.

But I don't think the book was just for show.  It is so relentlessly negative that it does seem heartfelt.  I suspect that Donald was always an unhappy man.

But unhappy or not, was he right? Is the relaxed, civil and prosperous Australian population, the product of many generations of lazy dolts?

Hardly.  I am a 5th generation Australian who has taken an interest in family history and the early days generally. And I know how hard our forebears worked and what they took on. Most of the land was cleared with axes and crosscut saws. There were no chainsaws. Land in Europe was cleared for human use over centuries.  Our men cleared it in a few generations.  And the only supplement to human muscle up until about a century ago was the bullock team.  My grandfather was a "bullocky" and I have pictures of his team and what he accomplished with it.

And the construction of a prosperous society started from surprisingly early on.  Even while Australia was a  military dictatorship in the early 1800s much was achieved. I have read a lot of old newspapers over the years and one account of the early days is instructive.  The account is in a report of 1828 in "The Australian" newspaper of the day.

We read that the Indiaman (ship) "Margaret" arrived from England with smallpox on board, which was immediately notified to the appropriate authorities. The ship was sent to Neutral Bay in quarantine and the Sydney population warned. Thousands of people had cowpox vaccinations as a result. After official investigations, the ship was allowed to disembark on August 5th. So Sydney was a pretty sophisticated place already by that time.

A "visiting English gentleman" also writing in "The Australian" around that time was surprised to find Sydney comprised of substantial brick and stone buildings instead of the mud huts and log cabins he had expected. He found it "a bustling, elegant and extensive city" with shops as good as London's but with much cleaner air. So the early settlers (many of whom were convicts) had built well in just 40 years. More details here.  I personally am descended from a convict who arrived on the ship just mentioned

An important thing to realize is that England at that time was undoubtedly the most advanced society in the world.  So when they came to Australia, they brought all that was modern with them.  Australia had a flying start into the modern age. And they built well on that. By the year 1900, Australia was, in many accounts, the richest country in the world.

But probably most important of all was the character of the early settlers.  Only 3% of our ancestors were convicts.  The rest were brave and enterprising men who risked the long and dangerous sea voyage from England in search of economic opportunity. Very few were from smart London society.  They were people from the regions: Quiet tough people with an instinctive moderation in their behaviour and a belief that you had to work for what you got. Nothing was handed to you on a plate.

And if you blasphemed against Jesus and their God, they wouldn't want to kill you for it.  They probably did a fair bit of blaspheming themselves at times.

So the plain truth is that Australian society was created by many generations of Australians and what it is today reflects what they were.  Australia is indeed lucky -- with the sort of luck you get when you work hard, think ahead and are resourceful and tough and considerate of others.

Henry Lawson knew what the Australian pioneers were like so I will close with his poem about a class of men from whom I am descended and whom I remember.  My grandfather was very like the men described below. Strong quiet men:

THE TEAMS by Henry Lawson (1867 - 1922)

A cloud of dust on the long white road,
   And the teams go creeping on
Inch by inch with the weary load;
And by the power of the greenhide goad
   The distant goal is won.

With eyes half-shut to the blinding dust,
   And necks to the yokes bent low,
The beasts are pulling as bullocks must;
And the shining tires might almost rust
   While the spokes are turning slow.

With face half-hid 'neath a broad-brimmed hat
   That shades from the heat's white waves,
And shouldered whip with its greenhide plait,
The driver plods with a gait like that
   Of his weary, patient slaves.

He wipes his brow, for the day is hot,
   And spits to the left with spite;
He shouts at "Bally", and flicks at "Scot",
And raises dust from the back of "Spot",
   And spits to the dusty right.

He'll sometimes pause as a thing of form
   In front of a settler's door,
And ask for a drink, and remark, "It's warm,"
Or say, "There's signs of a thunderstorm;"
   But he seldom utters more.

But the rains are heavy on roads like these;
   And, fronting his lonely home,
For weeks together the settler sees
The teams bogged down to the axletrees,
   Or ploughing the sodden loam.

And then when the roads are at their worst,
   The bushman's children hear
The cruel blows of the whips reversed
While bullocks pull as their hearts would burst,
   And bellow with pain and fear.

And thus with little joy or rest
   Are the long, long journeys done;
And thus - 'tis a cruel war at best -
Is distance fought in the mighty West,
  And the lonely battles won.


I first posted the above on Facebook.  An old friend, Alfred Croucher saw it and commented as under:

Before he became too leftist, Horne was hired to lecture on Australian history by the famous conservative political science department of UNSW run by Doug McCallum. His lectures were composed it seemed, by a collage of newspaper clippings and I don't recall any cogent analysis.

In addition to being his student I used to mix with him at faculty social evenings so I thought it appropriate to ask him for a reference. Now I was an advocate of more progressive ideas and frequently criticized the department's conservative agenda. But even so I was shocked to receive the reference worded thus:

"Alfred Croucher was a student of the Political Science Department of UNSW from January 1974 until Dec 1976."

Sadly I threw it away when I should have framed it as a tribute to a mean spirited man. -- JR

Rebel Greens faction to fight police, capitalism

This is not exactly new.  Rhiannon was a Trot long before she was a Green.  And she's not the only Trot who went Green when they saw  a chance of more influence there.  Why they have come out openly now is a bit of a mystery, though.  Frustrated at achieving so little, I guess.

A newly formed hard-left faction within the Greens has publicly stated it does not believe in the rule of law or the legitimacy of the Australian state and says it will work to "bring about the end of capitalism”.

Formed around federal NSW senator Lee Rhiannon and NSW upper house MP David Shoebridge, the "Left Renewal” faction has published a statement of principles that is at odds with its own party and contradicts the Greens’ national policies in several key areas.

In forming the faction, Left Renewal said the Greens were failing those with liberal ­beliefs.

"Positions of power and influence within the party are falling to those with liberal politics, who manipulate party processes and abuse their resources to take and solidify their control,” the new faction’s Facebook page says.

The group opposes market-based mechanisms, such as a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme, as methods to address climate change, and will have a binding caucus in which members will be forced to follow the ­majority view expressed within the faction.

Candidates supported by the hard Left have lost in recent state preselections in NSW, prompting the unified group looking to wrest power from what it sees as a right-wing body.

In a statement of principles, the group describes itself as ­"advocates for peace” and rejects the authority of the police.

"A rejection of class antagonism, and capitalism, also depends on a rejection of the state’s legitimacy and the right of it, and its apparatuses, to impose oppression upon the working class,” it says.

"We further rejected state- mediated oppression in all of its forms, and recognise that violent apparatuses like the police do not share an interest with the working class.”

Former Greens leader Bob Brown previously has called for Senator Rhiannon to bow out of politics to make room for ­"renewal”.


The Premier of Victoria is borderline insane

Lack of contact with reality is the defining symptom of schizophrenia.  Daniel Andrews says that the terrorist attack below planned by a Muslim group "was not religious"

Police have disrupted a terrorist plot to detonate improvised explosive devices at locations in central Melbourne, possibly on Christmas Day, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says.

Seven people were arrested overnight at properties in Flemington, Meadow Heights and Dallas in Melbourne over the alleged plot, which police said was inspired by the Islamic State (IS) group.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews described the plot as an "act of evil", while Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said police had seized "the makings of an improvised explosive device".

Speaking at a press conference today, Mr Turnbull said: "Overnight our police and security agencies have disrupted a very substantial terrorist plot.

"Overnight, the Victoria Police, working with the Australian Federal Police and ASIO, have arrested seven persons, five of whom are still in custody, searched five premises and are continuing to search them.

"What they have uncovered is a plot to explode improvised explosive devices in central Melbourne in the area of Federation Square, on or about Christmas Day. "This is one of the most substantial terrorist plots that have been disrupted over the last several years."

Commissioner Ashton said it was believed a number of people were intending to carry out an attack involving explosives and other weapons.

"Over the last fortnight … we have had to conduct a criminal investigation relating to the formation of what we believe was a terrorist plot," he said.

"We believe that there was an intention to conduct what we call a multi-mode attack, possibly on Christmas Day. Police believe the locations to be targeted include Federation Square, Flinders Street Station, and St Paul's Cathedral.

Commissioner Ashton said: "We believe [the plot] was going to involve an explosive event, the use of explosives, and we gathered evidence to support that.

"There has also been evidence that we will lead around the possibility of an intention to use other weapons. That could include knives and/or a firearm.

"Certainly these [people] are self-radicalised, we believe, but inspired by ISIS and ISIS propaganda."

A 24-year-old man from Meadow Heights, a 26-year-old man from Dallas, a 22-year-old man from Campbellfield, a 21-year-old man from Flemington and a 21-year-old man from Gladstone Park remain in police custody.

A 20-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man, both from Meadow Heights, were released without charge.

The five people in custody were expected to face court this afternoon, charged with acts in preparation of a terrorist event, Commissioner Ashton said.

Commissioner Ashton said four of the five were Australian-born with a Lebanese background.

"The age groups range between 20 and 24 or 25. There is another suspect in this matter who will be charged that was an Egyptian-born Australian citizen. All the others were Australian-born," he said.

Premier Daniel Andrews said there would be an increased police presence at large gatherings in Victoria over the Christmas period.

"This is not an act of faith. What was being planned, what will be led in evidence, what the police will allege, was not an act of faith, not an act of religious observance, it was, instead, in its planning, an act of evil, a criminal act," he said.
Commissioner Ashton said he spoke to Cricket Australia about providing additional security at the MCG during the Boxing Day Test, which starts on Monday.


Lazy Victoria police again

Black guy tries to blow up service station in probable terrorist attack. Victorian Police again just don't want to know about black crime.  With a delusional premier as their boss, you can't entirely blame them

Hero tradie to the rescue to stop service station disaster. The hero sprung into action when he saw a potential disaster unfolding at a St Albans a service station at 5pm last Wednesday.

CCTV footage shows a man walking up to service station bowser.

He picks up the fuel pump, and holding a cigarette lighter in his right hand, tries to set the bowser alight.

When it fails to ignite, he angrily throws the pump onto the ground and moves to another.

A tradesman spots him on his second attempt, and launches into action. The good Samaritan pulls a fire extinguisher from the front of the bowser, walks up to the man and douses him with fire retardent foam.

He then chases the offender away from the service station in a haze of foam.

The 30-year-old hero, who doesn't want to be named, said he believed the man's intent was to kill or injure bystanders. "It looked like he was trying to burn the place down," he told 7 News. "If he had have lit the petrol, I imagine most of us probably would have died or been pretty severely injured."

While the would-be arsonist was forced out of the service station, he remained nearby. That is, before the tradie launched a second counter attack.

"He was still standing over the fence outside the 7-Eleven, so I ran over and gave him another couple of sprays," the man said.

He said he tried to report the incident to two different police stations, but was told they were too short-staffed at the time to take a statement.

He later reported it to a third, in Melbourne's north west, but the tradie said the response he received was inadequate.  "I think [the potential arsonist] is a risk to the public and I do think it needs to be followed up on. "And I just don't think the response I got from that particular officer - not against the station or the force in general - that particular officer, wasn't adequate."

Police told 7 News they would not be investigating the incident as nobody was injured and no damage was reported.


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 December, 2016

Forced "Greenhouse" emission reductions entrench high electricity prices in Australia

Significant economic conse­quences are foreshadowed by several ­reports into the electricity industry that were presented to this month’s meeting of ­federal, state and territory energy ministers. Two of those reports addressed issues stemming from Australia’s ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

One of these, The Future ­Security of the National Electricity Market, was from a group chaired by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel. The other, The Integration of Energy and Emissions Reduction Policy, was prepared by the Australian Energy Market Commission.

The key feature of the Paris Agreement was the pledge by Australia and other developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 26 per cent to 28 per cent by 2030.

Developing countries, which account for a growing 65 per cent of global emissions, have no effective restraints.

Australia ratified the Paris Agreement on the day after Donald Trump’s election victory. The president-elect has pledged to walk away from the agreement, an outcome that would transform it from largely ineffective to totally ­ineffective.

Malcolm Turnbull, however, wishes to push ahead in forcing emission reductions.

But his plans hit a road bump with the release of the draft report from the Finkel committee, which recommended controls over ­future emissions by using a form of carbon tax. When, under media questioning, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg ­acknowledged this, a backbench revolt required Turnbull to ­remove it as a ­policy option.

The same form of carbon tax was canvassed by the AEMC as a means to achieving the planned reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The AEMC costed the measure at $55.4 billion. If, instead, the emission reductions were to be achieved by using a variation of the renewable energy target, these costs would increase to $66.6bn.

Either way, especially in view of the US position, the emission reduction policy is up there in profligacy with two other government spending follies: the National Broadband Network and the submarines.

More immediate energy-­related issues concern the ambitions of Victoria and Queensland to follow South Australia down the renewable path.

Electricity from renewable ­energy costs three times as much to produce as electricity from coal and gas. For this year, the AEMC estimates the cost of existing federal and state renewable energy programs for the average household’s electricity bills at $191 in Queensland (7 per cent of the bill), $109 in NSW, $91 in Victoria and $155 in South Australia.

But these are only the direct costs. The indirect costs, in ­addition to renewable energy’s ­innate unreliability, are greater.

In the first place, this is because electricity market rules mean wind and solar will always run when they are able to do so. This forces other suppliers into stop-start operations, which coal and gas baseload power stations cannot easily accommodate. Those stations are being forced to close and each such closure ramps up the wholesale electricity price.

The AEMC estimates that next year the closure of Hazelwood in Victoria will cause a cost increase of $200 for each household in the state, with lesser cost increases in other jurisdictions.

Second, wind generators ­require increased network spending. The electricity market operator has put a $2.2bn cost on new transmission lines to link Victoria’s proposed wind generators to the grid. This stems from the wind generators wanting to locate in areas where there is weak transmission capacity.

Originally the national electricity market rules required new generators to pay for any addi­tional transmission costs their ­location entailed.

But those sensible rules have gone by the board, hence the costs will be charged to consumers. They amount to about $50 a household a year (and much more than that for businesses).

Third, the AEMC has foreshadowed additional costs, which it is unable to quantify, because of a new back-up power fund to provide system stability to cover wind and solar power’s intrinsic ­inability to offer the same flexibility as the fossil-fuel generators they displace.

Compounding these problems are the measures introduced in NSW and Victoria (and prospectively under a future South Australian Liberal government) to ban or restrict the search for gas.

Households and industry are paying a high price for political meddling reacting to vociferous environmentalists’ pressures and the patronage of renewable ­energy businesses.

Australia has gone much further than any other country with green energy cost impositions.

At the turn of the century, competition reform and privatisations had brought us the world’s cheapest electricity. This has been undone. American and French consumers now pay little more than half our average price and even Japanese households, in a country with negligible domestic energy resources, have electricity cheaper than Australians.

Australia’s low prices were also the attraction for energy-intensive industries, and the news foreshadowing the departure of the Portland Alcoa smelter makes that facility the latest casualty of the nation’s politically induced loss of industry competitiveness.

Sadly, none of the reports before ministers offers a ­return to the low prices households once enjoyed.


Three African Apex gang members 'left female cyclist fighting for life after slashing her with a knife in violent robbery'

A woman riding her bike was ambushed and brutally slashed with a knife during an early morning robbery.

The victim, believed to be in her early 30s, was riding along a street in inner-city Melbourne when two men and a woman confronted her.

One of the men pulled out a knife and demanded her bike.

Her face, upper arms, torso and neck were slashed as she was ambushed at Harker Street in North Melbourne at 2.30am on Wednesday.

The victim rode her bike about 50 metres and walked to nearby Flemington Road to get help from a bystander who dialled police.

A spokeswoman for The Royal Melbourne Hospital told Daily Mail Australia she remained in a serious condition.

Victoria Police are searching for two males and a female of African appearance.

'Investigators are yet to speak with the woman as she is undergoing emergency surgery,' Senior Constable Alistair Parson said.

Their connection with the African Apex gang is being investigated.


Anglican Archbishop warns 'hipster elitists' are ruining Christmas by removing religion from the celebration - after school children were banned from singing carols

The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney has taken aim at 'politically-correct elitists' after traditional Christmas references were banished from the streets.

Archbishop Glenn Davies accused 'left-wing elitists' of being behind the NSW government's decision to remove banners saying 'very merry' and avoid the term 'Christmas'.

It comes amid reports of festive season signs being altered to say 'happy holidays' rather than 'merry Christmas' and carols being scrapped by schools, reports Daily Telegraph.

Dr Davies said the movement threatens to hinder freedom of speech and must be tackled before it spirals out of control. 'This kind of ideology comes from the left or should I say, the far left.'

He said the the removal of traditional Christmas references was a 'great folly'.

'The politically correct vanguard of secularists are basically trying to conform people to their particular pattern of speech and belief.'

Last week Peter Dutton called on Australians to 'rise up' and defend Christmas after a school rejected traditional carols for more secular songs.

Appearing on talkback radio, the furious Immigration Minister said his 'blood was boiling' after learning there was 'not one Christmas carol' at the celebration at Kedron State School in Queensland.

'It is political correctness gone mad and I think people have just had enough of it,' he told 2GB radio host Ray Hadley.

A member of Mr Dutton's Dickson electorate Jim told the radio show the public secondary school ceremony did not have 'one Christmas carol'.

The lyrics to We Wish You A Merry Christmas were replaced with 'we wish you a happy holiday', The Age reported.

'Many of the people, regardless of their religious belief, would be there happy to sing Christmas carols, happy to enjoy the fact that we celebrate Christmas as a Christian society,' Mr Dutton told 2GB


Some reasons for optimism about Australia's future

* While growth in Australia's biggest customer, China, has slowed, this is a needed, and desirable, step towards a more normal rate of growth. China has accumulated much debt, but it also has large foreign reserves and, unless the Chinese Communist Party is feeling particularly self-destructive, it will use them to stabilise any unwinding debt crisis.

* Australia's economic growth cycle is the longest on record, but it's not the best we've seen. Over the past 25 years, the economy has grown 123 per cent. Measured as GDP per capita, living standards have risen 61 per cent. But we've done better. In the 25 years following the end of World War II, the economy grew 230 per cent. Living standards rose 157 per cent. In an odd way, it is reassuring to know we can – and have – done better.

* We are not Americans. US citizens have seen no real increase in the median income for the past two decades. But in Australia, despite two decades of relentless economic restructuring, even the bottom fifth of households have seen a real increase of 60 per cent in their disposable income over the past. The rise in inequality in Australia has been more muted than elsewhere. A progressive tax system and targeted welfare system have shared the gains of prosperity across the income spectrum, even if the top 1 per cent has done particularly well.

* Our government debt is low. The combined net debt position of all Australian governments – state and federal – is still only about 20 per cent of GDP, compared with 80 per cent in the United States. This gives us more fiscal space to move should we encounter another global shock.


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 December, 2016

Less education is associated with more heart attacks, a lot more

This is just the old trilogy of IQ, wealth and health.  IQ is the key variable. Smart people are better at getting rich and  going far in education. High IQ also appears to be in most cases just one indication of general biological fitness.  The brain is just another part of the body, after all. So a well functioning brain and a well functioning heart tend to go together

The lower your education the more vulnerable you are to suffering a heart attack or stroke, according to a new Australian study.

The Sax Institute's 45 and Up Study, published in the International Journal for Equity in Health, found Australians who leave school without a school certificate are more than twice as likely to have a heart attack as those with a university degree.

Lead researcher Dr Rosemary Korda says the findings of the five-year longitudinal study are "disturbing but clear".

Researchers investigated the links between education and cardiovascular disease events - such as heart attack or stroke - by following more than 276,000 men an women in NSW aged over 45.

In adults aged 45-64 years, heart attack rates among those with no educational qualifications were more than double those with a degree.

The risk was about two-thirds or 70 per cent higher for those with some tertiary qualification, such as that obtained for a trade, just not a university degree.

The study shows just how much cardiovascular disease can be prevented. Dr Korda says a similar pattern of inequality existed between household income and cardiovascular disease events.

She also noted there are lots of complexities to this study and their findings could reflect a number of factors.

"It could reflect different lifestyle behaviours, so different levels of smoking in the community, different levels of obesity, so those risk factors that increase your risk of heart attack of stroke."

"It could reflect healthcare, so we know that there could be differences in the uptake of the use of preventative medication to reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke."

What these differences in cardiovascular disease rates between more and less disadvantaged groups show is just how much cardiovascular disease in the population can be prevented, said Dr Korda.

"With better education often you have better income and more resources to draw on so you are in a better position."

Heart disease is the single leading cause of death in Australia, with an average of one Australian dying every 27 minutes.

Heart Foundation NSW CEO Kerry Doyle says this research provides further opportunity to "unpack" the specific relationship between educational achievement and cardiovascular disease risk.

"We know that good education impacts long-term health by influencing what type of job you have, where you live and what food choices you make," Ms Doyle said.


Australia avoids rating downgrade after revised forecasts

AUSTRALIA avoided a feared downgrade of its coveted AAA credit rating Monday after sticking to its ambition of returning the budget to surplus in 2020-21 despite softer growth forecasts.

The country’s resources-driven economy has enjoyed more than 20 years of growth but it is now transitioning out of an unprecedented mining investment boom, and the going has been bumpy with revenues under pressure.

In a midyear fiscal update, the government revised down the nation’s cash deficit of $37.1 billion in 2016-17 — as announced in the May budget — to $36.5 million.

But it forecast widening deficits in the next three years before a return to surplus. "The government’s plan to restore the budget to balance remains on track,” Treasurer Scott Morrison said in a statement.

Higher iron ore and coal prices would help support tax revenues, the update said, but this would be more than offset by weaker wages and non-mining company profits.

After knife-edge elections last year, Standard and Poor’s warned Australia’s rating could be lowered if Canberra did not improve its budget balances and deliver on surplus plans.

It said Monday the update had no immediate effect on its stance but warned the "government’s worsening forecast fiscal position ... further pressures the rating”.

S&P said it would continue to monitor the situation and was "pessimistic about the government’s ability to close existing budget deficits and return to surplus by the year ending June 30, 2021”.

Australia is one of only a handful of countries to hold the top AAA rating from all three major agencies, having dodged a recession during the global financial crisis.

Moody’s and Fitch also kept their ratings on hold, for now. Generally, losing the AAA means the nation would be forced to pay higher interest on its debt.


Steve Price on a year of controversies and giving a voice to ‘white, old men’

STEVE Price doesn’t mean to annoy you. It’s just a perk of the job. "I do like upsetting people who have got thin skins, absolutely. I don’t set out to do it but when I do it it’s very enjoyable,” he tells

It means 2016 has been particularly entertaining for the controversial broadcaster. He’s found himself at the centre of several media storms in the past 12 months — from the now infamous stoush with The Guardian columnist Van Badham on ABC’s Q&A to countless fiery showdowns on Ten’s The Project. Uproar and calls to have him pulled from the air ensued.

While some personalities might read the cues and pipe down for a few months, limiting their appearances and softening their views, the 61-year-old chooses to go full-steam ahead. Because according to Price, it’s about time "white old men” were heard.

"Just because I’m a white old man doesn’t mean that my voice has to be silenced,” he says. "Old white men have as much right to have a view as anyone else. The left seem to think that unless you’re from some lobby group or some feminist action group or an LGBTQI community spokesgroup then that’s the only people who are allowed to have a view about things. Well, that’s not true.”

When that sentiment is repeated back to him — that old white men aren’t allowed to have a voice — he quickly clarifies.

"Well, I’m not because I’ve got a huge audience to express my opinion, I’m very lucky. (And) For a start, I don’t feel old,” he says.

And he’s right. His audience is massive. This week’s final radio survey for 2016 had Price’s nightly program at the top of its timeslot in Sydney and Melbourne for the year. The show is broadcast to 56 stations across the country on the Macquarie Media network and, for the past six years, he’s appeared twice a week on Channel Ten’s The Project.

On the popular current affairs program, it’s easy to pick what side Price will take when an issue is flung his way. His opinions on bikeways and politically correct seasonal greetings are enough to get under people’s skin. But it’s his thoughts on harder issues that see him hit the headlines — and rile the show’s hosts Waleed Aly and Carrie Bickmore.

"Carrie’s had a chip at me a couple of times this year. I must say they’re all very good people to work with, I don’t have a personal issue with any of them. We just have different political views. And I think that helps the show,” he says.

Despite the barbs he regularly throws at Aly on the air — their most recent biff earlier this month was about protesters who descended upon Parliament House — Price admits he has no issue with the host.

"No. It might look it, but no,” he says. "Waleed has very strong views about issues like offshore detention. He has strong views on climate change, he obviously has strong views about the Islamic community’s role in Australia. And my views happen to be completely opposite to that.”

Prior to his mainstream notoriety, Price became familiar with the burn of national backlash. In 2003, he came under fire for comments he made on his 2UE breakfast radio show about a gay couple on The Block. But even by the standards of a controversial broadcaster — he doesn’t see himself as a "shock jock”; he has a "journalistic background” — 2016 was a particularly rocky one.

On a personal level, he doesn’t care. When it comes to work and the controversies that follow, Price says he doesn’t let it affect his home life with wife of ten years, Wendy Black, who’s the Chief of Staff to industry minister Greg Hunt. "We just have to have a fence up between what I do and what she does,” he says. But he does get aggravated when commercial interests are targeted.

"The only time I get concerned is when people try this nonsensical idea of trying to convince advertisers not to advertise on your station — whether it’s radio or television — because of what someone’s said,” he says.

"There was a huge online campaign to try get advertisers not to advertise on Channel Ten — there was a massive campaign to get me thrown off The Project. Neither of those things happened. Not one advertiser cancelled. And not at any time did anyone who was running Channel Ten or The Project do anything but say to me, ‘We’ve got your back, nothing is furthest from our mind than having you on’. And in fact, in the middle of that Van Badham thing, it was contract time for next year and we re-signed.”

Four months after "that Van Badham thing”, Price admits he "should’ve seen it coming”.

He explains the finer details that happened behind the scenes that Monday night in July: He was told Derryn Hinch would also be a panellist. He wasn’t told Van Badham — "who I’d never heard of, quite honestly” — would be a guest. He says he was called that day by a producer who warned him there would be a "question about the Eddie McGuire, Caroline Wilson blow-up in regard to drowning and women and domestic violence” and to have an answer ready to roll out.

"What they do then, of course, is they then plant that question with someone in the audience,” he says. "The bloke who asks the question, he had a tragic story about how his sister had been a victim of domestic violence and been murdered by her partner.

"That question was aimed directly at me right at the end of the program, hoping they would get some reaction from me. I already had a view about Eddie and Caroline. I said, ‘Look we should’ve all just moved on’. And I didn’t recognise the tragedy of this guy’s story — and that’s what became the story, because Van Badham just started shouting at me.”

In the moment, Price told Van Badham: "I think you’re just being hysterical.”

His reply added fuel to the fire and left the audience in shock as they gasped.

Still, there’s only one thing about the moment he would change.

"The only thing I regret about that whole incident is I should’ve acknowledged the bloke’s loss of his sister at the beginning of my answer — that’s the only thing I regret,” he says. "And the only reason I didn’t was I’d already formulated in my mind what my answer to the question about McGuire and Wilson was going to be. So when you’re sitting there on live television in front of an audience ... I mean, I didn’t really hear clearly, as well as what I should have. I didn’t understand exactly what he was saying and I should’ve. I don’t regret using the word ‘hysterical’ because I had no knowledge that it had some historical meaning which people then started quoting at me the next day.”

So, is it too easy for Price to be set up as the bad guy?

"There’s not too much sympathy for me — I think most people realise I’m able to stand up for myself,” he replies when asked if he’s become a human punching bag. "If you have views that are a little bit awkward for people to hear, views that people feel are a little bit too aggressive, it’s easy to portray that person as the bad person. I don’t feel like the bad guy at all, I just stick up for myself. I have consistent views about things and if I need to express them I will.”

And it’s what makes him and Macquarie Media — the network behind his current radio show — money.

In 2002, as the breakfast host on Sydney’s 2UE, he was reportedly sitting on $1 million a year. He refuses to comment on his current salary.

"2GB’s a commercial radio station which survives on provocative content and strong opinions. And it only survives if it rates in the ratings. So what I will say about my show is that we rate number one. We make money and management leaves you alone,” he says.

Given that simple strategy to success, some may question the authenticity of the broadcaster’s "provocative” views. But Price denies ever hamming it up just to engage and enrage audiences.

"I’ve never ever confected an opinion about anything,” he assures. "If you don’t genuinely believe in what you’re saying, it’ll catch up with you. If you’re doing four hours of radio a night five days a week then you have to be true to your opinions. Otherwise, you will stumble at some point and say something and the audience will pick you up and say, ‘Hang on, last year you said this and now you’re saying that’. And saying you’ve just changed your mind is just not good enough.

"If it’s a strong view about something, you’ve got to genuinely hold it.”

Even if it gets you in trouble.


Crazy Queensland cop who pulled his gun on a speeding driver and hurled abuse at him is found guilty of assault

He has been stood down since being charged

A police officer who was filmed pulling his gun on a speeding driver before threatening to 'put a f***ing hole in you' has been found guilty of criminal charges.

Senior constable Stephen Flanagan, 46, was convicted of assault and deprivation of liberty at Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Flanagan tried to argue that he believed motorist Lee Povey was armed and driving a stolen vehicle during the traffic stop in May last year, but his claims were dismissed.

Magistrate Paul Kluck said Flanagan's version of events was 'implausible', adding 'I don’t accept his evidence as being credible.'

Flanagan's defense team produced a psychological report that showed he was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder at the time, the Courier Mail reports.

The officer is scheduled to reappear in court in the new year for sentencing once a full mental health report has been prepared.

Earlier in the trial the court was shown footage of the incident taken from Flanagan's own dashcam and filmed by Anna Cruse, Mr Povey's partner, on her phone.

In the video, Flanagan can be seen pulling up alongside Mr Povey's silver ute, blaring his horn but without using his sirens or lights.

As Mr Povey keeps driving, Flanagan is heard saying: 'F***ing pull over now c***.'

The footage then shows the police car pulled over as Flanagan gets out and walks in front of the vehicle with his sidearm drawn and pointed at Povey. 'Get out of your f***ing car, right now' he can be heard shouting.

Speaking to the court, Mr Povey said: 'I took my seatbelt off, looked over and there he was. 'He said "do you know I could put a f***ing hole in you?"'

Mr Povey said he felt the firearm pressed in between his shoulder blades as he was handcuffed.

The driver told the court he was compliant the whole time and didn't try to argue with the officer.

Mr Povey said he seen a police car driving behind him with no flashing lights or sirens and thought the officer was trying to overtake him.

Miss Cruse added: 'I've been pulled over by the police a couple of times before for speeding ... never been pulled over with a gun before - I thought it was some sick prank that someone had set up.'


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 December, 2016

More wildfires ahead for Tasmania's wilderness as globe warms (?)

Warmists seem determined to turn physics on its head.  The report below is based on global warming causing lower rainfall.  I quote from the underlying bureaucratic report:  "The major impacts projected to occur from climate change are related to increases in vegetation and soil dryness and flammability".

But it's basic that warmer water evaporates more vigorously.  That's why your kettle gives off steam. And that evaporated water comes down soon after as rain.  So warmer oceans should bring MORE rain, not less. Soils should be WETTER, not dryer!  Science flies out the window with Warmists.  Warmism is a cult, not science

Would it have made any difference if this bureaucratic report had undergone peer review?  Probably not

Tasmania's globally recognised and protected wilderness faces a growing threat of bushfire.

That's the worrying revelation of a new report looking at the impact of climate change on the 1.6 million-hectare Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

"This report concludes that the risks of bushfire to the TWWHA will increase in coming years under the influence of climate change," author Tony Press wrote in the document published on Tuesday for the state government.

With less than a month until the mid-January anniversary of devastating fires which ravaged about 19,800 hectares of unique and aged temperate rainforest, Dr Press and a team of experts have made a number of recommendations.

"It is likely that climatic conditions like those in 2016 will re-occur, and other aspects of fire risk will also increase," he said.

"It is therefore important to take the lessons learned from the 2016 bushfires, and the climate projections referred to in this report, to prepare for a future where fire management in the TWWHA is expected to be more challenging.

"The increase in bushfire risk has already started, and changes to management are needed now and well into the future."

Across January and February Tasmania recorded thousands of lightning strikes which started multiple fires in dry conditions, with 145 known blazes affecting almost 127,000 hectares.

It took more than 6,500 local, interstate and overseas professional and volunteer firefighters and up to 40 aircraft, as part of a coordinated effort costing an estimated $52 million.

It also sparked a senate inquiry.

"Increased spring and summer dryness, lower rainfall, higher temperatures and increased occurrence of lightning fires, combined, pose a major challenge to fire management in the TWWHA and the long-term protection of its natural and cultural values," the report said.

Eighteen recommendations include improvements or a review of prevention, preparedness, response and recovery methods.

The state government said changes have already been made ahead of the 2016-17 bushfire season.

"It's important to understand that fires within the TWWHA have happened before and the January event was not an isolated occurrence," a ministerial statement read.


Muslim, 22, accused of bashing his girlfriend's two-year-old had been with the toddler's mother for 'six weeks' - as he fronts court over 'shocking' attack

The man who allegedly bashed a two-year-old girl in a 'shocking' assault had only been dating the toddler's mother for six weeks, police say. Mohammed Khazma, 22, was arrested at Fairfield in Sydney's west just before 5pm on Monday and charged with reckless assault causing grievous bodily harm.

He did not come up from the cells during a brief appearance at Parramatta Local Court on Tuesday. He did not apply for bail and it was formally refused.

The man had been living with the mother, and they had only been together for six weeks, Daily Telegraph reported NSW Police said.

The mother discovered the girl on Monday afternoon at a home in Guildford West and then drove with the child to a relative's home, police said on Tuesday.

Neighbours described how a woman pulled up at the front of a home on Monday screaming 'you've killed my baby'.  She reportedly collapsed with the toddler unresponsive in the back of the car.

Emergency services were called and paramedics commenced CPR on the child who had gone into cardiac arrest.

Acting superintendent Glen Parks said the mother is 'very upset' and is helping the police investigation.  'This is going to be a long process and we need to work with her,' Supt Parks told reporters. He described the assault on the girl as 'shocking'.

'It is a human instinct to care for the young and the vulnerable and when instances like this occur it is often very difficult to comprehend,' he said.  'Any incident like this is very difficult.'

A NSW Police spokeswoman said the girl remained at Westmead Children's Hospital in a critical and unstable condition.

The man is due to appear in Parramatta Local Court on Tuesday.


Trump-style political disaffection taking hold in Australia, review says

Australia is starting to see the beginnings of popular disaffection with the political class which has led to the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote, according to the authors of a major academic review of the 2016 federal election.

Key measures, including satisfaction with democracy, trust in government and loyalty to major parties, are at record lows among Australian voters while party leaders are suffering sustained falls in popularity unlike any other period in recent history.

The Australian National University has been tracking post-election voter sentiment since 1987, and its lead researcher Ian McAllister warned Australian politicians they should address the dissatisfaction because it was a clear trend.

"Dissatisfaction with democracy, lack of trust in politicians, these are reaching historic lows,” McAllister said.

"What it looks to me like is you are seeing the stirrings among the public of what has happened in the United States of the likes of Trump, Brexit in Britain, in Italy and a variety of other European countries.

"Now it’s not a crisis of democracy but what you are seeing is the start of something which has happened overseas. It’s coming here and I would have thought this is a wake up call for the political class that they need to start addressing this or it will continue.”

The latest survey was based on 2,818 people over three months beginning on the Monday after the 2 July election. It has been conducted on a similar basis for 30 years and some of the measures have been tracked back to 1969.

The most recent study found:

    only 26% of people think the government can be trusted, the lowest level since it was first measured in 1969

    40% of Australians were not satisfied with democracy in Australia, the lowest level since the period following the dismissal of Gough Whitlam in the 1970s

    a record low level of interest (30%) in the 2016 election

    a record low number (34%) who followed how to vote cards, a drop of 10% since 2013

    74% think the government makes little difference to household finances

    69% think government policies make little difference to the country’s finances.

On a leadership evaluation out of 10, the three most recent prime ministers – Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull – measured lower than five in the review.

Previous prime ministers, including Bob Hawke, John Howard and Kevin Rudd scored above five, but not Paul Keating, who scored below five. Of prime ministers since the 1980s, Hawke and Rudd enjoyed most popularity, scoring over six.

As leader of the Nationals in 2016, Barnaby Joyce scored lower (4.13) than his predecessor Warren Truss (4.34) in the 2013 election while Greens leader Richard Di Natale (4.13) scored higher than his predecessor Christine Milne (3.81).

Bill Shorten was evaluated more poorly than any other major party leader since the study started asking the question in 1993. The study rates leaders on nine characteristics; compassionate, trustworthy, inspiring, honest, strong leadership, sensible, competent, knowledgable and intelligent.

When compared with Malcolm Turnbull, Shorten only rated better than the prime minister for compassion. In seven of the nine characteristics, Shorten rated more negatively than any previous major party leader throughout the 1990s and 2000s, since the question was asked.

But Turnbull scored lower than any previous election-winning prime minister covered by the survey on characteristics of compassionate, sensible, strong leadership and honest. He scored second to lowest for election winners on trustworthiness (Gillard was lowest) and competence (Abbott was lowest).

McAllister said voters were clearly frustrated at the lack of connection with politicians and broken promises. He named Labor’s broken promise on the introduction of a carbon tax and the Coalition’s broken promise not to change superannuation policy.

He said the practice of government ministers leaving parliament to take plum postings or related jobs had fostered distrust among citizens. "Voters tend to disapprove of this sort of activity and there’s actually quite a lot of it in Australia compared to other countries,” McAllister said.

"We don’t have rampant corruption in the political system in Australia … but we have a lot of this grey area where politicians are perceived to be getting a lot of perks. And in a situation where economic performance is not doing very well, where people are under economic pressure, this is something that grates with a lot of people.”

The study also found attitudes becoming more liberal on various social and economic policies in the past 30 years. For example, there has been a steady decline since 1987 in the percentage of Australians who would prefer to pay less tax while there has been a relative increase in the percentage who favour more government spending on social services.

There is majority support for constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians, marriage equality and legalised abortion. There has been a long-term decline in support for the reintroduction of the death penalty for murder and the continued criminalisation of smoking marijuana.

Immigration and asylum seeker policies were more important to voters at the 2016 election than any other election since the so-called Tampa election in 2001, when John Howard ordered commandos to to steer MV Tampa out of Australian waters.

While immigration and asylum seeker policy were in the top 10 issues, Australians have maintained a positive attitude towards the immigration program with a majority agreeing immigrants make Australia more open and cultured and are good for the economy. Only 30% believe immigrants take jobs from local-born workers and 37% believe they increase the crime rate.

One of the study’s authors, Jill Sheppard, said as the major parties moved closer on economic policies, voters looked increasingly to social issues to determine their vote.

"As voters are increasingly not finding economic differences between the parties – they are increasingly not believing parties can make a difference to the household finances or to the country’s finances in this recent election – that social issues will increasingly play a role in the next few Australian elections,” Sheppard said.


James Ruse Agricultural High School tops the HSC for the 21st year running

The student body at James Ruse is almost entirely Asian.  They're smarter to start with and work hard as well

Selective school James Ruse Agricultural High School has taken out the first spot in the Higher School Certificate for the 21st consecutive year, with an extraordinary 73 per cent of exams taken at the school scoring in the highest band.

Perennial top 10 finishers Baulkham Hills in north-western Sydney came in second spot, while North Sydney Boys took out third, just pipping their neighbours North Sydney Girls.

Sydney Grammar was the top private school at No.6, while Cheltenham Girls was the highest ranked comprehensive public school in the top 100, coming in at No.53.

Within the top 20, independent girls school Wenona gained 17 places, Normanhurst Boys gained 14 places and Reddam House and Conservatorium both leapt nine places into this year's top 10.

The biggest falls in the top 20 this year went to PLC (Croydon), which plunged 16 places and Girraween, which dropped 12 places to fall out of the top 10, and Sydney Girls, which has historically come within the top five, but this year dropped 10 places, from third to 13th.

More than 67,000 students today received their individual marks in their Higher School Certificate, and a record 55,961 of them are eligible for an ATAR, which they will get tomorrow.

James Ruse school leader Justin Wu made the honour roll in five subjects. About 4 per cent of students did not meet the minimum standard and will not get their HSC this year.

About 80 per cent of students took a mathematics course, and 90 per cent took at least one STEM course.

Tom Alegounarias, the head of BOSTES, said the achievement of students receiving their HSC today was a positive counterpoint to the recent bad news around Australian student results in international sample tests like PISA and TIMSS.

"If you're a top achiever in the HSC you're regarded amongst the top achievers in the world, you will go direct from the HSC to places like Oxford, Princeton, Cambridge, Harvard," he said. "If you are outstanding in this credential, you are meeting the best standards in the world.

"That's why it's different to the sampling examinations, because there's no test effect, and everyone steps up to the HSC.

"You'll remember from your own experience, as do I, that you may have been uneven in your attentiveness between Years 7 and 9 and 10, but when you cross that line at the beginning of year 11, you know this is serious, you've got the senior uniform on and you're ready to show what you can do."


Post-truth, and other such falsehoods

Piers Akerman

In the weeks that followed first Brexit and then Donald Trump’s election to the US Presidency it seemed that many in the West thought the world had passed the point of peak civilisation.

In fact, those rending their clothes and crashing on the sidewalk in screaming tantrums were merely reflecting the embrace of post-truth behaviour which, according to the Oxford Dictionary (which gave the term its Word of the Year award) describes circumstances where emotions and personal beliefs are more influential than facts.

Facts and truth are so last century, which is when, again according to the Oxford Dictionary observers, post-truth was first used in an essay by playwright Steve Tesich in the Nation.

Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Dictionaries, told an interviewer: ‘It’s not surprising that our choice reflects a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse. Fuelled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment, "post-truth” as a concept has been finding its linguistic footing for some time.’

Not so fast, Casper. Those most addicted to post-truth are, in my experience, not from the Establishment but from the ranks of NGOs, and other subsidised protest movements; particularly any engaged in pushing the anti-fossil fuel climate change alarmist line, the great open border fallacy and Islam is a religion of peace mantra with its sub-clause (fill in the Islamist terrorist attack de jour) ‘had nothing to do with Islam’.

Trump’s election may well have marked the turning point for these frauds and charlatans given the volume of their protests. Certainly, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s belated revelation that claims that the atrocities of Islamic State ‘have nothing to do with Islam’ were actually harming efforts to confront and combat extremism was a welcome and refreshing indication that post-truth was being shown the door at Lambeth Palace.

The Most Rev Justin Welby put the mullahs (and leaders of other religions) on notice that that they had to ‘stand up and take responsibility’ for the actions of extremists who profess to follow their faith. He didn’t elaborate in his speech, in Paris in late November, on which other religions are known to incite their followers to murder and self-destruct, possibly because the church remains firmly in the mystery business, but his argument that unless people recognise and attempt to understand the motivation of terrorists they will never be able to combat their ideology effectively was more direct than most of the platitudinous murmurings we’ve heard from those who have addressed multicultural, multi-faith happy-clapping gatherings over the past 20 years.

Global figures ranging from the dead duck US President Barack Obama to former UK Prime Minister David Cameron historically waved the ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ flag but Mr Cameron at least reversed himself after the massacre at the Paris Bataclan nightclub and associated attacks which left 130 dead.

The Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, blamed ‘causative factors’ such as ‘racism, Islamophobia, curtailing freedoms through securitisation, duplicitous foreign policies and military intervention’ for the acts but not the ideology.

Rather at odds with Archbishop Welby’s view that it’s essential to recognise extremists’ religious motivation in order to get to grips with the problem.

Which makes me wonder whether our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull actually engaged in constructive conversation with his Muslim guests at the dinner he publicly hosted last year at Kirribilli House, among them Waleed Aly, the award-winning media figure who has described terrorism as just an ‘irritant’.

Mr Turnbull, who appears to be Christian-fluid, shifting between branches and discarding elements of social teachings as they suit, has publicly hardened up significantly since he took office after years of ridiculing his predecessor, Tony Abbott’s, hard-line on extremism.

It may take another Lindt Café or Sari Club attack to shift his soft inner-urban compassionista approach further toward reality.

Archbishop Welby believes it’s time for countries across Europe to recognise and rediscover the ‘Judeo Christian’ roots of their culture to find solutions to the mass disenchantment which led to the Brexit vote in the UK and the rise of anti-establishment leaders in the Continent and beyond. This would be an anathema to Mr Turnbull who regularly delivers encomiums to multiculturalism.

Archbishop Welby on the other hand not only lashed out at the ‘centralisation, corruption and bureaucracy’ rooted in Brussels, but also said Europe appeared to have lost its original vision of how economics could improve people’s lives rather than ‘economic structures enslaving human beings’. But it was his remarks on terrorism which particularly caught my eye, delivered to an audience which had experienced multiple attacks since Bataclan.

‘If we treat religiously-motivated violence solely as a security issue, or a political issue, then it will be incredibly difficult – probably impossible – to overcome it. A theological voice needs to be part of the response, and we should not be bashful in offering that. This requires a move away from the argument that has become increasingly popular, which is to say that Isis is "nothing to do with Islam”, or that Christian militia in the Central African Republic are nothing to do with Christianity, or Hindu nationalist persecution of Christians in South India is nothing to do with Hinduism. Until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, we will see no resolution.’

Quite a turnaround for the Rev. Justin Welby – one which had me reaching again for the Oxford Dictionary which provided the new term ‘adulting’ which it defined as the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.

What we used to call acting maturely, a concept alien to the social media enthusiasts of the post-truth generation.


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

20 December, 2016

Graham Readfearn is very shouty in his latest climate peroration

Graham lives in Australia and makes part of his living by writing articles in support of global warming.  So he is not an impartial commentator.  He is well-funded for his puerile efforts. But he has clearly run out of ideas.  What he writes below is just a shouting match -- a stream of abuse.  It's  totally "ad hominem", which is the antithesis of science. 

He mentions not a single climate statistic.  No mention, for instance, that after all the El Nino excitement, the global temperature has returned to its 21st century plateau level. I guess that would be too awkward altogether.

All he was able to do in his article below was to summon up a host of boogeymen.  You are just supposed to agree with him without any benefit of facts and rational argument.  He comes across in his article as a would-be ecofascist Dr. Goebbels, a propagandist for hire.  If he ever knew any science, he seems to have long since forgotten it

For well over a decade now, Australia’s climate policy has been battered, torn and held back by climate science denial and a broader antipathy towards environmentalism. The same interests and ideologies that have worked for decades to reach the current crescendo in the US have been doing the same thing here.

Neatly connecting Australia and the US is the One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts, who earlier this week met with a who’s who of the climate science denial industry in Washington DC, including Ebell.

Think we’re immune to the Trump denialism? You haven’t been paying attention.

When Malcolm Turnbull lost the Liberal party leadership to Tony Abbott in 2009, it was Turnbull’s then refusal to back away from pricing greenhouse gas emissions that turned the party room against him. From that point onward, pricing carbon became a no-go zone for the Liberal party.

A chief architect of that leadership coup was the then South Australian senator Nick Minchin, who, a month earlier, told ABC’s Four Corners he didn’t accept that humans caused climate change. Rather, Minchin considered the issue a plot by the "extreme left” to "deindustrialise the world”.

After the ABC program aired, the journalist Sarah Ferguson said Turnbull had refused interview requests because he "didn’t want to face the sceptics”.

You might think Turnbull would have learned his lesson. But, from his latest meek surrender to the deniers in his party, it seems not. He still won’t take them on.

Earlier this month, the energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, said a review of Australia’s climate change policy would include a look at an emissions trading scheme for the electricity sector – the biggest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the Australia.

Within 24 hours, Frydenberg backed down and, soon after, Turnbull said carbon pricing was not party policy and this would not be considered – even though all the expert advice tells him that it would be the cheapest way to cut emissions and would likely deliver billions of dollars in savings on power prices in coming years.

That capitulation was another example of Turnbull giving in to the deniers in the right of the party – in particular, another South Australian senator in the form of Cory Bernardi.

Bernardi, too, refuses to accept the mountains of evidence that burning fossil fuels is causing climate change.

The recently appointed chairman of the Coalition’s backbench environment committee is the Liberal MP Craig Kelly – another climate science denier.

Going further back, Abbott’s position on climate science was heavily influenced by the mining industry figure and geologist Ian Plimer’s book Heaven and Earth – a tome packed with contradictory arguments, dodgy citations and errors too numerous to count (actually, celebrated mathematical physicist Dr Ian Enting did count them and found at least 126).

Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior Roman Catholic, also took his lead from Plimer’s book.

And who can forget Abbott’s business adviser Maurice Newman and his claims that climate science is fraudulent and acting as cover for the UN to install a one-world government – the exact same position taken by Roberts and other fake freedom fighters.

Another Coalition MP seen as influential is the Queensland Nationals MP George Christensen.

Like Roberts and Bernardi before him, Christensen has attended US conferences of anti-climate science activists hosted by the Heartland Institute (that group has been heavily funded by the family foundation of Robert Mercer, the ultrarich conservative hedge fund manager whose millions helped get Trump elected and whose daughter Rebekah is a pivotal member of Trump’s transition team).

Just like the US, Australia too has its own "free market” conservative groups pushing climate science denial. Look no further than Melbourne’s Institute of Public Affairs (which only last year was called in to "balance” a climate science briefing to Kelly’s committee).

How about the media? Rupert Murdoch’s outlets the Wall Street Journal and Fox News help to push themes that climate scientists are frauds, that action to cut greenhouse gas emissions will wreck the economy and that renewable energy can’t keep the lights on.

The stable of flagship commentators working on Murdoch’s News Corp Australia, led by the likes of Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine, Chris Kenny and Terry McCrann, are all happy to repeat and embellish those same talking points.

On the radio, the US has popular conservatives such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh pushing climate science denial. In Australia, we have Alan Jones and his stable of shouty Macquarie Radio colleagues.

At this point, some will argue Australia and the rest of the world is investing heavily in renewables. The US, like Australia, is seeing strong growth in the renewable energy sector. That’s all true.

Also true is the progress made through the international agreements made in Paris, even though the climate pledges that make up the deal still fall well short of averting dangerous climate change.

But there’s little doubt that climate science denial is on the march, backed by a conspiracy culture that’s rapidly gaining audiences online.

Trump is climate science denial’s greatest propaganda victory so far. Australia is not immune.


Stop begging, Queensland

Rebecca Weisser

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had her begging bowl out at COAG last week, panhandling for billions from federal taxpayers to kickstart the Queensland economy.

Palaszczuk's pockets are empty because she ruled out asset sales at the last state election. 

Queensland's LNP government wanted to raise $37 billion through the lease of assets to pay down $25 billion of state debt and finance roads, hospitals, schools and public transport. Instead, Palaszczuk promised to hold onto assets and cross her fingers that 32,000 new jobs would somehow materialise. 

Unfortunately, employment growth has been dismal except in the public service, where 6,600 full-time equivalent staff were added in the last six months --, a further burden to state debt already projected to peak at $77 billion. That gives Queensland the dubious honour of the highest debt to GSP ratio in Australia, even after Treasurer Curtis Pitt dumped billions of dollars of debt on government-owned corporations and raided the state's superannuation funds.

Compare this with NSW, where the Baird government will raise more than $30 billion from the lease of its poles and wires. It is now debt free and investing the funds in its $20 billion Rebuilding NSW plan. WA's Liberal Government has also seen the light and is selling Western Power to generate $11 billion. Even Victoria's Labor government is leasing the Port of Melbourne to raise $9.7 billion.

Perhaps if Palaszczuk were not so busy discouraging investment by introducing legislation to ban 100 percent fly-in, fly-out mines, restore objection rights, create chain of environmental responsibility laws, and funding nearly a dozen green groups to oppose the Adani coal mine, the private sector could generate jobs without taxpayers being forced to put state spending on the national credit card.  Luckily, despite the best efforts of activists, the $21 billion Carmichael mine should go ahead -- and Palaszczuk should stop begging.


The Queensland gravy train: Palaszczuk appoints 26 Labor people to plum public postings

One Nation national secretary Jim Savage has attacked the appointment of former politicians to plum taxpayer funded roles as Queensland Labor Party figures cash in on lucrative board jobs.

The Australian can reveal that since taking office last year, the Palaszczuk government has appointed at least 26 Labor Party figures and supporters to government-owned corporations, health boards and other bureaucratic appointments.

In addition, the minority government has appointed former Liberal National Party MPs as part of a long-held process, which Mr Savage said "pisses off” voters.

"I think (these appointments) piss people off. Especially when people are struggling, and ex-politicians, many of them on massive pensions, get handed taxpayer funded roles,” he said.

"These (fees) are more than what a lot of people earn. I don’t believe that just because you’re an ex-politician who retired or was kicked out precludes you from earning an income.

"But, what a coincidence, when you hear some of these people get appointed to these roles.”

Former Labor Brisbane Lord Mayor Jim Soorley pocketed $73,000 package as chairman of government owned corporation CS Energy. Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie (appointed to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Corporation) and former senior ministers Terry Mackenroth (QSuper) and Steve Bredhauer (Trade and Investment Queensland) are expected to receive between $45,000 and $50,000.

Last week, former Labor ministers Mike Reynolds and Paul Lucas were appointed to the boards of Port of Townsville and Powerlink.

Former state ALP president and union boss Dick Williams was earlier this month appointed chairman of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission, alongside former Public Works and Housing Minister Robert Schwarten, named as a director.

Liberal National Party leader Tim Nicholls, who as part of the Newman government was also accused of hiring party apparatchiks, said Ms Palaszczuk had "continually broken her election promise to make merit-based ­appointments”.

"Instead she has decided to appoint former Labor mates and union hacks to taxpayer-funded positions,” Mr Nicholls said.

"It is time Annastacia Palaszczuk put the interests of hard-working Queenslanders ahead of the interests of her own and that of her party.

"Queenslanders deserve better than a government that is only interested in appointing their Labor mates and union hacks to cushy and highly-paid positions.”

Mr Nicholls, who in response to the rise of One Nation has increased his visibility in regional battlegrounds, yesterday declared the major political parties needed to offer voters "real policies and actions that will make people’s lives better”.

A spokesman for Ms Palaszczuk said the government selected members of committees and boards "based on merit and what contribution those appointments can make to the benefit of Queensland”.

"We want the best people working for Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk’s spokesman said.

"That is why we have appointed former National Party minister Vaughan Johnson as a Wild Dog Commissioner.

"He is doing a fantastic job in helping revive the sheep and wool industry by ensuring the government helps landholders protect flocks from the devastating threat of wild dogs.

"The government has also reappointed former Coalition government health ministers Mike Horan and Terry White to chair health and hospital service boards.”

In defence of major parties appointing former politicians, Ms Palaszczuk’s spokesman said "people should not be disqualified from making a contribution because they’ve served in cabinet”.

"Several of these appointments are former cabinet ministers — on both sides.

"These people have a proven track record of administration at the highest level on behalf of Queenslanders, including overseeing significant budgets,” the spokesman said.


Teach for Australia: Turnbull government provides new funding to extend controversial program

This is a clone of an American programme.  The American version has had some success in getting bright university graduates into teaching

A program that parachutes "career changers" and high-achieving university graduates without teaching degrees into disadvantaged high schools will continue for at least another four years thanks to a funding boost from the Turnbull government.

The government will announce in Monday's mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) that it will spend $20.5 million to fund another two cohorts of the Teach for Australia program.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said there was growing evidence that the Teach For Australia program is making a ...
Education Minister Simon Birmingham said there was growing evidence that the Teach For Australia program is making a positive impact on and in schools.  Photo: Wayne Taylor

Launched by the Gillard government in 2009, the highly competitive program provides non-teachers with 13 weeks of intensive training before they begin a two-year classroom placement at a regional or low-socio-economic school. While teaching, the participants work towards a master's of teaching degree.

The program has proved controversial since its inception with teachers' unions decrying it as an "expensive distraction" that undermines the teaching profession. Victoria, Western Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory have signed on to the program but NSW, the state with the country's biggest teaching workforce, has steadfastly refused to join.

The new funding, which runs until the 2020-21 financial year, will allow up to 300 more new teachers to participate in the program.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said: "There is a growing body of evidence that the Teach For Australia program is making a positive impact on and in schools.

"The data shows that after two years in the classroom almost 90 per cent of principals considered TFA graduates to be more effective teachers than other graduate teachers with the same level of classroom experience."

Senator Birmingham said the program focuses on intensive mentoring, classroom observation and professional development – the key features of high-ranking schooling systems of Hong Kong, South Korea, Shanghai and Singapore.

Melodie Potts Rosevear, chief executive of Teach for Australia said: "This funding means we will be able to continue the program and get hundreds of excellent people into where they are needed most."

Teach for Australia received more than 1500 applications for just 130 positions in its most recent round of offers.

Ms Potts Rosevear said participants were evenly split between those who had recently finished university, young professionals and "career changers" who decided to become teachers late in life. Participants come from a wide range of backgrounds including aerospace engineering, atmospheric physics and zoology. There is a particular focus on graduates with science, engineering, technology and mathematics skills given Australia's poor performance in these areas in recent international studies.

Ms Potts Rosevear said 65 per cent of those who complete the program remained in classrooms as teachers in the long term.

She said she hoped NSW would join the program and that it would become truly national. NSW Board of Studies president Tom Alegounarias has said the state opposes the program because student interests should not be "compromised for the convenience of short-term packaged approaches".

The government has commissioned an evaluation of the program which is due to report next year.

A recent review by the Australian Council for Educational Research found Teach for Australia was "generally successful", had a high retention rate and that participant schools had been "very positive" about the calibre of the associates assigned to them. But it found the program was "very costly given the very small numbers of associates involved".


Victorian McDonald’s store closed during African brawl

A brawl involving up to 150 teenagers erupted outside a McDonald's outlet in western Melbourne, terrifying customers and staff.

At least four police cars with a helicopter rushed to the fast foot outlet in Tarneit at about 9.40pm on Sunday to break up the unruly gathering but no one was arrested.

It was just days after a group of at least 40 youths harassed staff and attacked customers last Thursday after damaging nearby cars.

This time there were no reports of injuries and only one broken window, but witnesses said food and broken glass was everywhere and the youths were shouting and threatening to fight each other.

Residents also spotted police helicopters circling the area well into the night and siad police used dogs to help them disperse the crowd.

Video posted on social media shows dozens of teenagers, who appeared to be of African descent, outside the McDonald's with some getting into physical confrontations.

Leigh Meddings, whose 15-year-old son works at the McDonald's, said the scene was mayhem when she arrived to pick him up.

'It was just disgusting, food left everywhere, staff were cleaning up broken glass. It was very intimidating walking through this group of people to pick my son up,' she told 3AW radio.

Police said on Monday they believed they knew who broke the McDonald's window and anticipated making one arrest.

'We understand the community is concerned about large gatherings that can cause unrest but their safety is our number one priority,' Commander Russell Barrett said.

'We will work with community leaders to find alternative activities for young people.'
It was just days after a group of at least 40 youths harassed staff and attacked customers last Thursday after damaging nearby cars

It was just days after a group of at least 40 youths harassed staff and attacked customers last Thursday after damaging nearby cars

Residents posting on social media said youths of African appearance were terrorising the neighbourhood and made them feel unsafe in their own homes.

'And guess what? Yet again, no arrests made. No arrests made when they break in to peoples homes also, 8 people at a time, why? Too young they say,' one wrote on Monday.

Others said the youths sped around the suburb in unregistered cars and banged on doors before running off.

'I’ve called the cops... but seriously, two of them in a van aren’t going to pull them over, they’re scared,' resident Ward Halket told the Herald Sun last week.

'It’s frustrating because I don’t feel safe walking 100m up the road whether it’s day or night when they’re around.'


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

19 December, 2016

An Australian dream that is a Greenie nightmare

Ever since Hitler, Greenies have been doing their best to frighten us into thinking that we are going to run out of food.  Hitler at least had the excuse that there really were food shortages in Germany immediately after WWI but modern-day Greenies live in an era of unprecedented abundance. 

Food shortages -- see Paul Ehrlich -- were the no. 1 scare before global warming came along  as a tool to make us do the Greenie beck and call -- but they still pop out the old scare at times too -- usually presenting it as a result of global warming.  That a warmer world would in fact produce a food bonanza doesn't faze them. Imagine the farming lands in Northern Canada and Siberia that a warmer climate would open up!

But you don't have to imagine anything to realize what Northern Australia does to any food-shortage scare. And it rebuffs such scares in two ways -- both because of its potential and because of its actuality. 

Australia is a continent and as you will read below, there is an area the size of India in Northern Australia which is virtually  unused agriculturally.  And India feeds over a billion people.  As in India, the usability of the land is uneven but with modern farming methods it could undoubtedly produce far more food than the primitive methods used by most Indian farmers do.  So how is that for a potential food bonanza?  Would enough extra food to feed more than a billion people be enough to tone down the scares?

So that is the potential.  The actuality is in fact even more instructive.  WHY has such vast potential gone unused?  We can find out from the one bit of Northern Australia that HAS been developed  -- using a lot of taxpayer money.  I refer of course to the Ord river scheme.  The Ord is a big river that flows through a fertile landscape in North-Western Australia.  And for decades governments have been trying to open it up for farming.  They even built a big dam to ensure year-round water supply.

So what happened?  They succeeded brilliantly at growing all sorts of crops.  They could readily have fed a small nation for a lot of the time.  But most of the crops concerned have now been abandoned.  Just about the only product they export is sandalwood.  And you can't eat sandalwood.  You burn it for incense.

So WHY was the Ord scheme an abject failure?  Because the world is SWIMMING in food.  There are all sorts of clever farmers worldwide who produce food at minimal cost.  So much so that the big costs is distribution: Getting the food into your local supermarket. The farmer gets only a small fraction of what you pay.  And that's not a racket.  Distribution is expensive.  All those trucks and trains and warehouses and wharves and roads and rail lines, loading docks and silos are expensive -- and so are the wages of the men who work in them.  They have to be paid too -- not only the farmer. And the Ord is far away from most potential markets and is connected to none of the existing distribution networks.  Getting food from the Ord into your local supermarket would be way too expensive.  It's all down to those pesky dollars and cents.

The Ord is in fact not far away from some big potential markets in Indonesia, India and China, but those countries, like most countries, want to be able to feed themselves -- and their governments are fixated on that.  The Ord can go hang as far as they are concerned.  And it does. The twin whammy of distribution costs and trade barriers doom the Ord.  And it would be just the same for the rest of Northern Australia. 

Australian politicians have been breast-beating about our empty North for generations and periodically put money into explorations of its potential -- but it never has come to anything and it never will.  The world has TOO MUCH food for that to succeed. So only the cheapest food into your supermarket gets grown.  Famine is not the danger.  Greenies are talking out of their anus gross ignorance

FOOTNOTE:  The Ord is a fascinating experiment in agricultural economics so needs a much longer article than these few notes to discuss it properly but perhaps for those interested I can add a couple more notes:

1.) Given its proximity to Asia and Australia's extensive experience with growing rice economically, the obvious market for the Ord would be the growing and export to Asia of rice.  Rice is a tropical crop and the Ord is in the tropics. Sadly, however, that is a case of "been there, done that".  Many years ago now, in the 1950's the lavishly-funded Humpty Doo experiment in the Northern Territory did prove  that an abundant rice crop could be grown in the North.  Sadly, however, the vast flocks of beautiful Australian native birds, mostly magpie geese, got to the crops before anybody in Asia did.  After the birds had finished, there was nothing much left to harvest.  And the flocks were so big that no deterrent efforts worked. And that was in the days before Greenie restrictions on poisons etc.  Below is a picture of Magpie Geese at the Ord, where they are abundant.  They are supposed to be a living fossil, but nobody seems to have told them that.

2). Given the billions promised for infrastructure provision, might a spur line to the Ord off the Alice/Darwin railway be a good idea?  It would cross some very difficult terrain so would certainly soak up billions and in the end it would give access only to the Darwin and Alice-Springs market, both of which are quite small.  It would not remotely help to get Ord produce into the nearest big city -- Adelaide -- as Adelaide is quite close the the great array of productive farms in Victoria.  So the transport cost of Ord produce would be a lot more than the transport costs from Victoria.

Scientists have been digging up the dirt on northern Australia's potential to become an agricultural powerhouse.

In the biggest undertaking of its kind in Australia, thousands of soil samples were collected from water catchments in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.

The samples are now being analysed as part of the Federal Government's multi-billion-dollar plan to develop the Top End and double the nation's agricultural output.

"Northern Australia is a vast and underdeveloped landscape that's three million square kilometres — roughly five times the size of France, or the size of India," said CSIRO Research Director Dr Peter Stone, who oversees the science body's Northern Australia program.

Over the past five years, the CSIRO has identified 70 crops which could grow in the north and 16 million hectares of land that is suitable for irrigated agriculture.

"If you ... grabbed all the water you could, there'd be enough to irrigate about one and a half million hectares of northern Australia," he said.

"So overlaying the sweet spots — where soil is suitable and water is not only available, but reliable — is part of the key."
Drilling in Northern Territory

In the basement of the Ecosciences Precinct in Brisbane, you could be excused for thinking you had walked into a fanciful coffee roastery.

Grinders are lined up on one side of the room, while on the other, Seonaid Philip stacks trays of the most delectable-looking grinds into an oven for drying.

But the pale greys, rich ochres and velvety chocolates are not coffee, of course, but a collection of outback soils.

"For this project we've collected approximately 4,000 samples," said Ms Philip, who co-ordinated the field trips involving two dozen people in the Fitzroy, Mitchell and Darwin water catchments over 120 days.

"The colours tell us quite a bit about the attributes of the soils. These red ones are highly sought after, highly productive, very good for horticultural development... not the best water-holding capacity, but people can manage around that.

"But this one here is a bit sad," she said, picking up a pot of grey dirt.

"It's leeched, a pale colour, and shows that nutrients have been stripped out of it, probably in a high rainfall area."

Upstairs in the laboratory, the samples undergo a wide range of tests to determine their composition, structure and level of nutrients such as nitrogen, essential for plant growth, and carbon, critical for soil and plant health.

The information is helping to build a detailed map of northern Australian soils, which will be overlaid with a similar map being created for above and underground water resources.

Together the projects form the Federal Government's $15 million Northern Australia Water Resources Assessment.

Developing the north is "vitally important", according to Agriculture Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.  "Mining is great, but it's boom and bust ... but agriculture is a constant flow of wealth that comes back," he said.

"If we can, over time, irrigate one and a half million hectares in the north, that would almost double the amount of land we have under irrigation today ... in the whole of Australia, and that would help us to double agriculture over time," Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan told the ABC.

"We don't have a lot of major dams in the north and in the south, in the Murray Darling and other places, we've kind of exploited the resources we already have, so our future opportunities in agriculture, our future opportunities to develop our water resources do predominantly lie in the north."

Senator Canavan said the Government's $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility would help to ensure that any northern foodbowl could get its produce to market.


Australia should take in more Middle Eastern Christian refugees

This Christmas will probably be the first in almost two millennia when there is no sizeable Christian presence in the Middle East. The situation in that part of the world is the ultimate confluence of religion and politics, two topics Australians do not like to mix. Most of us until recently have had very little understanding of how the two do intersect in the Middle East.

Christian refugees from the Middle East are not just casualties of war, they are victims of targeted persecution. They are fleeing war but, unlike many other refugees, they can never go back. We are not just facing a huge geopolitical realignment in the Middle East but the expurgation of entire Christian populations in the area that gave birth to Christianity: Iraq and Syria, the ancient lands of Mesopotamia.

In Iraq, where the 1987 census estimated a Christian population of 1.4 million, the numbers have dwindled to about 200,000.

Islamic fundamentalism is the cause of this, not just the war. The war has been the means to clear all minority groups, not just Christians but Jews, Yazidis and Druze Muslims. Things were better for religious minorities, particularly Christians, under Iraq and Syria’s Baathist regimes than they will ever be again.

Meanwhile, Australia pursues a religiously "blind” immigration and refugee policy. This is all very well as a general line in a secular society that does not privilege religion. But the Middle East’s Christians are fleeing not simply war but persecution because of their religion. Like it or not, we cannot be religiously blind in our choice of refugees.

Despite this, it is almost impossible to find out how many Christians have been allowed into Australia under the refugee program. When the government announced 12,000 new places, it was assumed they would be filled largely by Christians and other minorities, but the department will not, or cannot, reveal the make-up of these people. From November last year to December 2, a total of 10,092 visas have been granted and 8317 refugees have arrived in Australia.

The announcement of an extra 12000 refugees from Syria and Iraq was generally met with approval by the population. Many Australians had no idea until the conflagration in Syria and Iraq that there were so many Christians in those countries, who were being systematically murdered and forced out of their homes.

Likewise, until the murderous so-called Arab Spring turned to bleak winter for the Copts of Egypt, that large Christian minority, estimated at about 15 per cent of Egypt’s population, was usually ignored by most the world’s media. That changed when church burnings and massacres started to take a toll. Just last Sunday, a suicide bomber massacred 24 people in a Cairo church. The lukewarm response of the Australian government came in a tweet by Malcolm Turnbull condemning the atrocities in Turkey and Egypt. About 300 Egyptian Copts have applied for and been granted asylum in Australia, but at present many are being denied despite the acknowledged atrocities and persecutions.

Even after the latest atrocity, several Egyptians are awaiting deportation. Take, for example, the case of Inas Ghobreyal, who has been given about five weeks before deportation. Inas is the mother of two children and fled Egypt after the firebombing of St George Church by a Muslim mob next to where she lived not far from Cairo. Her husband was attacked and badly assaulted. She came to Australia on a visitor’s visa four years ago, with her two girls, Clara and Marie, now 10 and 7. Recently buoyed by the stated willingness of the Prime Minister to take more Christians from the Middle East, she petitioned Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, who she claims acknowledges the atrocities against the Copts but has refused her a visa. A spokesman for the Coptic Association says there appears to be inconsistency in the granting of asylum for Egyptians. He also claims the situation of the Coptics was more readily acknowledged under Labor.

The reason for this inconsistency is basically that the regime in Egypt has improved the official situation of Copts. However, as the latest massacre shows, this is not necessarily an improvement on the ground. There is a lot of suspicion that, in a country where the churches have X-ray machines to prevent explosives and weapons being smuggled in, some of the police have been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Egyptian Copts fear, with some justification, that it may not be long before they, too, are in the same position as the Syrians and Iraqis. Their fate will echo that of Christians in Palestine, the original Christians. In 1948, when Israel was founded, Christians formed more than a third of the Palestinian population. As Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, told me in 2007, "stuck between the hammer of the Israeli oppression, beaten on the anvil of Islamic fundamentalism”, Christians are now a mere 2 per cent of the Palestinian population.

Islamic fundamentalism is a scourge, even for Australia’s law-abiding Muslims. So we must ask: can Australia afford to be religiously blind in its choice of immigrants and refugees?


"Safe Schools" program to be overhauled and Marxist founder Roz Ward removed

The Andrews Government will overhaul the Safe Schools program and cut ties with its controversial founder Roz Ward amid a public backlash that was set to intensify ahead of the Victorian election.

In a bid to protect the anti-bullying initiative, the education department will be in charge of delivering Safe Schools from next year, ensuring that the government is solely responsibility for rolling it out to every state secondary school by 2018.

Safe Schools co-founder and academic returns to work at La Trobe University after being suspended over comments made on a private social media account.

The move is a significant shift for a program that was co-founded by Ms Ward almost seven years ago and has been delivered through her employer, La Trobe University, ever since.

But in recent months, Safe Schools has come under sustained attack by critics who claim it promotes "radical gender theory" or believe Ms Ward's history as a hardline Marxist is too extreme.

"I think the campaign against Safe Schools has been quite disgraceful from people who should know better and do know better, but are using it as a political tool," said Victorian Education Minister James Merlino, who wrote to La Trobe on Friday to inform the university its contract would be terminated six months early.

"But Safe Schools has always been about more than just one person; it's about stopping the bullying and harassment of young people who are same-sex attracted and gender diverse. We know that it works – and we know that it saves lives."

The Safe Schools Coalition began as a trial under the Brumby Government in 2010, after teachers asked for a specific set of resources to help them support students who were "coming out" as same-sex attracted or gender diverse.

Since then, about 60 per cent of schools in Victoria have signed up, but the government is keen to significantly scale up the program with minimal controversy over the next two years in order to fulfil its election commitment.

Under the new structure, teachers will continue to have access to the same lesson plans to support LGBTI students, but the department will have the scope to review and enhance the material if required in future. "This is about making it better and stronger," Mr Merlino said.

Despite receiving bipartisan support, Safe Schools ran into controversy earlier this year when Malcolm Turnbull initiated a review at the behest of conservative forces within his ranks.

Ms Ward – an active member of the Socialist Alternative – has also repeatedly come under the spotlight over her politics and private antics. In June, for instance, the university educator almost lost her job at Latrobe after describing the Australian flag as racist on Facebook. And last month, she made headlines once again by being photographed trying to remove the cap from a Donald Trump supporter during an anti-Trump rally in Melbourne, while holding copies of the Marxist newspaper, Red Flag.

But on Friday - after hearing the news during an end-of-year lunch with her team - she said she was "shattered" by the government's decision, insisting that the bringing the program "in-house" would do little to end the attacks by critics such as the Australian Christian Lobby or the Murdoch press.

"I don't think backing down helps, it's like giving a drop of blood to a bunch of sharks," Ms Ward said.

"Four people are losing their full time jobs. They have been told they are getting sacked a week before Christmas. We've spent the last six years building relationships with schools in Victoria. We've worked with 280 schools, and with families that rely on and value the trust we had with them, and we don't think that can be replicated."

Equality Minister Martin Foley said making the education department responsible for Safe Schools would strengthen the program in the long term, ensuring that more same sex-attracted and gender diverse students could get access to much needed support.

But opposition education spokesman Nick Wakeling said the Premier should have scrapped the program altogether.

An LGBTI reference group co-chaired by Gender and Sexuality Commissioner Rowena Allen and education parliamentary secretary Judith Graley will also be expanded to include principals, students, parents and anti-bullying experts. The reference group would, in turn, support the education department to deliver the program.

La Trobe vice chancellor Professor John Dewar said in a memo to staff that the university was disappointed by the government's decision but was committed to ensuring a smooth transition "to reduce any negative impact on young people in schools."


An "open sky" agreement bears fruit

Should be more of it

Brisbane now has direct fights to Shanghai, China's biggest city with a population of 24 million, following the first flight on Saturday.

China Eastern Airlines vice-president Liuwen Tian surprised and delighted Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Saturday, announcing the airline would move quickly to begin daily flights in 2017, as their original agreement set out.

Until then, four flights a week - Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday - will operate between the two cities. The first flight from Shanghai touched down about 10am on Saturday to a welcome of koala diplomacy and didgeridoos blended with a mix of Indigenous and Chinese Lion dancing.

The return flight was scheduled to land in Shanghai at 8pm China time.

Queensland industry figures said the direct flights were a "coming of age" announcement for Queensland in the China market and strong news for business, tourists, international students and investors.

China Eastern Airlines is China's second largest airline and the world's seventh-largest airline with a fleet of 440 aircraft that will bring 18,000 extra Chinese visitors to Brisbane each year.

Even without direct flights between Brisbane and Shanghai there were 485,000 Chinese tourists visiting Queensland in 2016, spending more than $1 billion, Ms Palaszczuk said on Saturday.

"And we'd like to see that figure double in years to come," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Mr Tian told hundreds of Chinese and Queensland business figures at Brisbane's International Terminal on Saturday morning that the airline would move quickly to daily flights.

"2017 is the China-Australia year of tourism and with it China sees new opportunity for development in Australia," Mr Tian said.

Mr Tian drew big smiles and applause from Ms Palaszczuk, Tourism Minister Kate Jones and Brisbane Airport Corporation chief executive Julieanne Alroe by announcing China Eastern would move quickly to daily flights.

"We are starting out with four flights a week, but please rest assured we will work very hard to ensure that we stick to our original plan to have a flight between Shanghai and Brisbane every day," Mr Tian said.

Ms Palaszczuk thanked China's Consul-General Zhao Jian for his assistance in establishing the bilateral agreement with China Eastern Airlines.

China Eastern Airlines was courted to begin direct flights to Brisbane by the Queensland government's $10 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund.

"This inaugural flight today is a milestone for tourism in Queensland," Ms Palaszczuk said. "Tourism in Queensland is going from strength to strength," she said.  "And China is one of our key partners to drive our tourism sector even further."

The Tourism Minister said the 485,000 Chinese visitors in 2016 was a 34 per cent increase in Chinese tourists to Queensland. She said the extra tourists from four flights a week would equate to another $22.6 million a year.

The announcement comes after the Australian and Chinese governments signed an "open skies" agreement allowing unrestricted flights between the two countries.

The announcement was made by Gold Coast-based federal Trade Minister Steve Ciobo on December 4. "Under the new arrangements, Australia and China will have an open aviation market, offering boundless opportunities for Queensland tourism and trade," Mr Ciobo said.

"This historic arrangement paves the way to further strengthen the bilateral relationship, two-way trade and international visitor flows, ahead of the Australia-China Year of Tourism in 2017."

Brisbane Marketing chief executive John Aitken said the new flights meant extra investors, international students and tourists to Brisbane. "It is a real coming of age for Brisbane in the China market, because you are connecting into the biggest commerce market," Mr Aitken said. "Chinese businesses and investors are saying when you have direct aviation connection you are a serious player," he said.

"The Australia Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai said five or six years ago that direct aviation links for a city is absolutely critical if you are serious about China. "So that is why the China Eastern flights are critically important to the future of our city." 


The inflexibility of bureaucracy again

Illawarra drivers are spending hours operating empty school buses, under cookie-cutter contract arrangements that have gone unchecked by state authorities.

The so-called ‘ghost buses’, operated by Premier Illawarra, continued their runs to area private schools throughout this week, despite some schools having broken up for the holidays since as early as December 7.

An industry whistleblower says the practice is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

St Mary Star of the Sea College, The Illawarra Grammar School and Edmund Rice College were among the Illawarra schools visited by ghost buses this week, despite classes having wound up on December 8, December 13 and December 7, respectively.

Five 'ghost buses' depart Edmund Rice College on Thursday, more than a week after students began their summer holidays.

The buses arrived at Edmund Rice’s Keira Mine Road turning circle at their scheduled times Thursday afternoon. They paused a while, then departed with only the driver and sometimes an attendant on board.

According to Transport for NSW, the buses are operating according to their usual timetable.

In some cases this would keep them needlessly on the road for more than an hour. The ER6 bus for example, spends 35 minutes getting from Port Kembla to Edmund Rice College in the mornings, and 45 minutes travelling the reverse route in the afternoons, according to Premier’s timetable.

An industry source told the Mercury Transport for NSW should have detected and put an end to the "wasteful” practice.

"The bus contracting system, with GPS-tracked buses and routes to measure on time performance, is insignificant if government-owned buses operated by a private provider for a contract period of four years are being used when they are unjustified to service schools that students have already stopped attending for the school holidays,” the source said.

"This is NSW taxpayers’ money and it is being wasted when [buses are] not required, and there appears to be no checks or balances from Transport for NSW as to what is happening on the ground.”

Premier Illawarra manager Sunny Brailey declined to explain the ghost services when contacted by the Mercury.

Transport for NSW would also not answer questions on the financial arrangement that underpins Premier’s contract.

A department spokesperson said the ghost buses were operating in line with the public school calendar.

"Due to differences in private and public school holiday periods, there can be short periods of time where buses operate at a reduced capacity,” he said. "These periods are rare and only occur a few weeks a year.”

"These services, which are being operated in accordance with the published timetable, will continue until such a time as all public and private schools close so that no school students are disadvantaged or inconvenienced by any changes to the scheduled trips.”

The spokesman said the department would work with Premier Illawarra on "options to improve operational efficiencies where possible”.

The ghost buses observed by the Mercury at Edmund Rice College were not scheduled to visit any other schools, according to Premier’s timetable.

The bus company’s holiday timetable – excluding all school routes – starts on Monday.


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 December, 2016


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG has his Christmas cartoon up

The Premier of Queensland is a liar

In 1911, a conservative Queensland government appointed Eleanor Bourne to head up a new school nursing service -- spurred by concerns over a huge incidence of trachoma in the children of Western Queensland.

Both vision and hearing were to be tested initially and other testing was soon added.  The service had a mandate to test every schoolchild in the State at least once.  As a result, many problems were detected early and referred to doctors.

The service was particularly important to  Aboriginals (native blacks)  as both hearing loss and eye problems are something of an epidemic among Aboriginal children -- and the parents are usually far too timid to do anything about it. Many blacks can see and hear today because of interventions the school nurses spurred in their childhoods.

So what did the Anna Bligh Labor government of Queensland do in 2011?  Abolished the service in its centennial year -- on "funding" grounds. There was next to no outcry as Leftist governments are always right, according to the media.

But it was a vicious and heartless decision so the new Labor Party leader Anna Palaszczuk promised in her 2015 election campaign to restore the service -- including vision and hearing tests plus offering nutrition advice.   But cynicism about a politician's promises is always justified so we read that late this year the service was revived -- but testing for vision problems only.

In between the Bligh and Palaszczuk Leftist governments there was however the conservative government of Campbell Newman.

So when the revival of the school nursing service was being discussed, who did the media blame for its abolition?  Campbell Newman, of course! Bligh was in power until 2012 so there is no ambiguity that Newman was completely innocent of the charge.

But believing anything you read in the newspaper is rightly regarded with cynicism.  More interesting is what Palaszczuk herself said about the matter.  In January 2015, only four years after the abolition of the service, she blamed Newman.  I quote: "Ms Palaszczuk promised to spend $12 million over four years on restoring a school nurses program she says was cut back by the Newman Government"

So she is a barefaced liar.  With the abolition of the service being so recent, a claim of memory failure could hardly fly.

And such lies are Leftist form.  Leftists very rarely take responsibility for their stuff-ups.  All follies are blamed on the other side and the other side's triumphs are claimed by them. 

Note how the abolition of the White Australia Policy is routinely attributed to Leftist eminence Gough Whitlam when it was in fact abolished in 1966 by the conservative Federal government of Harold Holt.

And in the eulogies accompanying the death of Whitlam, I saw nobody admit that  Whitlam's eulogized free university policy was abolished not by the conservatives but by Bob Hawke, a Labor party Prime Minister.  But from all the talk at the time, you would have thought that it was the conservatives who had abolished it.  And so on ...

Festive banners enrage taxpayers - because the word Christmas was left out 'so people wouldn't be offended'

Banners wishing people a 'Verry Merry' have been torn down in Sydney, due to their omission of the word 'Christmas'.

A banner strung up in The Rocks in Sydney's centre was torn down on Tuesday after complaints flooded in from furious taxpayers claiming it was offensive and a misguided attempt at political correctness.

Nearby to the 'Very Merry' sign stands a contemporary statue of a Santa Claus which has been built entirely of plastic crates bearing the message 'Very Merry Crate-mas'.

The contentious 'Very Merry' flag, which was unfurled by the New South Wales finance department, was branded a waste of taxpayer money by one particularly outraged Sydney-sider. 'Stop spending my money denying an Australian (and world) celebration,' The Daily Telegraph reported.

The complainant's view was mirrored by NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet who said the sign was 'nonsense' and the result of political correctness gone mad.

'Very Merry means absolutely nothing to anyone,' Mr Perrottet told The Daily Telegraph. 'When you leave out the one word that matters all you're left with is a vacuous, bland platitude. It's nonsense.'

Mr Perrottet ensured the flags would be replaced on Friday with more straight-forward signs wishing people a 'Merry Christmas'.

The debate surrounding Christmas tradition continues on from the controversial claim made by two Australian academics who said it was unhealthy for parents to lie about the 'magical' story of the holiday.

Professor Christopher Boyle and researcher Dr Kathy McKay said in November that believing in Santa Claus and the mythical stories of Christmas did more harm than good.

'All children will eventually find out they've been consistently lied to for years, and this might make them wonder what other lies they've been told,' they said in an essay titled A Wonderful Lie. 


The green autism

Michael Davis

Dear Leader slayed it on The Bolt Report the other day:

"With the same force we said ‘Stop the Boats’, we have to say ‘Stop the Climate Con’. And by ‘Stop the Climate Con’, we mean ‘Stop lying to the people of Australia on both sides of politics that you can have clean and green energy without destroying the economy. Stop lying. Choose between the two. You either go the Left route and say, ‘We don’t care about the cost, we don’t care how high electricity bills go, we don’t care who goes out of business, we don’t care what happens to the economy or manufacturing. We’re going to pursue our climate change agenda.’ Fine."

He’s right, of course. As it’s oft been noted, environmentalism is a bizarre ideology. On the surface, it makes sense: if we have to suffer a bit now in order to achieve sustainability, future generations will thank us for it. It’s just utilitarianism; the goal is to minimize harm, because we can’t abolish it altogether. But that doesn’t quite explain the greenies’ outright sociopathy. Environmentalists don’t regret the economic damage they cause working- and middle-class Aussies. When they happen upon some uneducated boob who’d rather not sacrifice himself and his family to Mother Gaia, their response tends to be one of mixed annoyance and scorn.

We could chalk this up to the greater hypocrisy of Leftism: just as the partisans of tolerance make the most exacting censors, and the champions of the proletariat are the most unselfconscious elitists, so too our humanist friends tend to value the lives of ferns above those of flesh-and-blood people, let alone unborn babies.

But I couldn’t help but think it was something more than that.

I was still mulling over Rowan’s words when I finally started reading Ryszard Legutko’s new book Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies. As it happens, my ‘something more’ was right there in the introduction. Legutko writes, ‘Although today’s ideology of environmentalism fashioned idolatrous reverence for the earth and its fauna and flora, it did not change the [Lefty] enthusiasm for treating human nature and society in a dangerously technological manner.’

That’s exactly right: it’s the progressives’ unflinchingly materialist view of the world. They see human beings as equal parts producers and consumers – cogs in an economic machine that must be carefully managed, from their work habits to their diet to their recreation. Climate change sceptics, therefore, aren’t to be empathized with, because any harm that comes to them is scientifically irrelevant. This is why climate change denialism is so often likened to creationism. It doesn’t matter that the adoption of Darwin’s theories never led to a tax hike, a wave of unemployment, or skyrocketing utilities bills. That has nothing to do with proper execution of the scientific method.

Seriously, next time an SJW compares climate change to evolution, ask them what the human cost of adopting Darwinism was. The cleverer, more insidious ones will point out that climate change has tremendous human cost. (It set off the Syrian Civil War, after all!) But mostly you’ll get blank stares, like they don’t understand the question. Because they don’t. They are – and I’m trademarking this one – empathetically autistic. They can only ape compassion. It doesn’t come to them spontaneously. And even at that they can only empathize according to predetermined formulae. Refugees, yes; battlers, no. Blacks, yes; whites, no. Gays, yes; straights, no. Eco-terrorists, yes; climate denalists… well.

Admittedly I have my share of greenie sympathies. I think it’s generally a sound idea to not pollute the air, considering how much breathing we do between us. And I’m opposed to deforestation because I was raised on a heavily wooded rural property and I like forests. They’re nature’s playground, minus the dirty needles (usually). But isn’t that incentive enough? Do we really need to approach conservation like balancing a giant carbon-emissions chequebook? Do we need to scare people into thinking their ute’s going to tear a hole in the ozone layer, through which the Whore of Babylon will ride a seven-headed beast and usher in the End Times? I’d think it’d be far easier and more sensible to say, ‘Hey, don’t dump those chemicals in the ocean – we need that water for fish!’


Leftist teachers politicize year 3 students at Sydney school

The education department is investigating teachers at a Sydney school after Year three students were made to launch a petition against child refugees in detention.

The NSW Department of Education is investigating a petition from Year 3 students at Helensburgh Public School, south of Sydney.

In the petition sent to politicians students as young as nine-years-old said they were heartbroken after being told of 'trapped' children living in 'detention like-like conditions,' The Daily Telegraph reported.

The letter from class 3L signed 'Friends of Children in Detention' reads: 'There are more than one hundred children on Nauru, who are living in detention-like conditions, trapped, with no hope for a better life.'

The children also wrote handwritten messages and drew pictures of children behind bars.

The education department has confirmed it was investigating if staff were involved in the matter.

One politician sent the letter, Independent Senator David Leyonhjelm, wrote to NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli asking for an explanation.

'What we've seen is a decline in education standards. What's obvious is teachers are being diverted from teaching useful things to politics,' he told The Daily Telegraph.

The principal at the school, Chris Connor is a councilor at Wollongong Council and a former Labor deputy mayor


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 December, 2016

Heatwaves in Australia: This natural killer just got deadlier (?)

There is actually nothing new below -- just the tired old assertion that heatwaves are linked to global warming, the usual exaggerations and a big dash of prophecy.  Bjorn Lomborg sets out well why extreme weather events can NOT be linked to temperature changes; The  one degree temperature rise over a period of 100 years is trivial; That "15 of the 16 hottest years on record all took place in the past 15 years" omits to say that the years almost all differed only by hundredths of a degree, thus indicating a temperature plateau, not warming

IF YOU think it’s hot now, brace yourselves because heatwaves are not only going to increase in frequency but also intensity, threatening to claim more lives each year.

That is the dire warning from scientists who warn Australia remains grossly underprepared for what is becoming our deadliest extreme weather event.

With reports showing the country was getting hotter each year, many Australians underestimated the dangers heatwaves posed.

Lead scientist at research company Risk Frontiers Dr Thomas Loridan said this comes despite more than a century of data and research showing otherwise.

Speaking to, Dr Loridan said heatwaves remained our biggest killer when it came to extreme weather events (such as cyclones or bushfires).

"It’s not only the biggest killer, but actually kills more people than all the other events put together,” he said.

"The 2009 heatwave that hit Victoria and South Australia killed 432 people, or two and a half times the number of people killed in the Black Saturday bushfires that followed.”

Heatwaves are indeed a killer if statistics are anything to go by. From 1844 to 2010, extreme heat events killed at least 5332 people in Australia.

Dr Liz Hanna of the Climate and Health Alliance said adopting a warning system such as this could save many lives as heatwaves became hotter, lasted longer and occurred more often due to climate change.

And there’s no doubt things are getting a lot hotter.

In October, the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO released its biennial State of the Climate Report which highlighted the impact climate change is having on our continent.

The report found between 1910 and 1941 there were 28 days when the national average temperature was in the top extremes recorded. This is compared to the 28 days recorded in 2013 alone.

Alarmingly the report also found 15 of the 16 hottest years on record all took place in the past 15 years.

Since 1910, the country’s climate including mean surface and surrounding sea surface temperature, has warmed by 1 degree centigrade.

Researchers also found the duration, frequency and intensity of extreme heat events have increased across most of Australia.

This comes on top of a 2014 report by the Climate Council which found climate change is causing more intense and frequent heatwaves in Australia.

According to Heatwaves: Hotter, Longer, More Often, such events are becoming hotter, lasting longer and are occurring more frequently. The number of hot days Australia experiences are also increasing.

"Since 1950 the annual number of record hot days across Australia has more than doubled,” the report found.


Cartoonist Bill Leak compares HRC to Islamist terrorists

Bill Leak has compared the Australian Human Rights Commission to "Islamist terrorists” as he calls for the repeal of contentious race-hate laws, hitting out at the agency for "persecuting” him over a provocative cartoon.

In his submission to the parliamentary inquiry on freedom of speech, The Australian’s editorial cartoonist says the commission’s complaint-handling process was not only "punishing” but acted as a warning "to anyone else still naive enough to believe they lived in a free society”.

All three complaints lodged under section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act against Leak’s cartoon — depicting an Aboriginal police officer handing over a "wayward” boy to his father, who has forgotten his son’s name — have been dropped by the AHRC after two months of investigations.

"While less murderous than the tactics deployed by Islamist terrorists, the actions taken by the AHRC were no less authoritarian and they sprang from the same ­impulse: to use whatever means they have at their disposal to ­silence those with whom they disagree,” Leak says.

"Section 18C … was just the ­ticket. It provided them with the blunt and brutal weapon they were looking for.”

Using his case as an example of why the law should be repealed, Leak said his cartoon was not an attempt to "malign indigenous people on the basis of their race” but to "shine the spotlight on the truth of family dysfunction in indigenous communities”.

"It should never have even been possible for someone like me to be subjected to such illiberal persecution in Australia and if we, as Australians, are to continue to take pride in proclaiming ourselves to be citizens of a free country, I believe we will have to take steps to ensure it never happens to anyone else, ever again,” he says.

Commission president Gillian Triggs has said she must inquire into and attempt to conciliate all written complaints under 18C and the majority of matters are ­resolved within four months.

But Leak said the commission’s investigative procedures were "opaque” and ­"unsatisfactory”.

The Institute of Public Affairs welcomed the discontinuing of the third complaint against Leak but called it a "hollow win for free speech”. "A complaint doesn’t have to be successful for people to feel threatened,” director of policy Simon Breheny said.


Angry Lesbian wants a slice of her former partner's assets -- fails

The Family Court is defending claims it treats same-sex couples differently after a decision in which a lesbian was denied a share of her former partner’s ­assets, despite them having lived together in a bona-fide, legally recognised same-sex relationship for 27 years.

The Full Court of the Family Court has upheld a decision that the woman is not entitled to any of her partner's property, which includes a house, investments, and superannuation, mainly ­because the couple had kept their finances separate.

The couple did not have joint bank accounts or mutual wills, and they did not name each other as beneficiaries on their superannuation policies.

The woman, who cannot be named but is known in court records as Ms Chancellor, ­argued this was because "attitudes to same-sex relationships were less liberal” when the women started living together and "this explained why the parties had kept their financial ­affairs separate, as otherwise ­attention would have been drawn to the true nature of their cohabitation”.

In the Family Court decision, judge Leanne Turner, sitting in Brisbane, said: "It’s easy to assume when parties have been together, whether married or de facto, it automatically flows that a property settlement will occur, but that is not always the case.”

The decision is likely to energise the same-sex marriage ­debate, since opponents have long argued that the Marriage Act need not change while civil unions provide the same legal protections as marriage.

The case, known as Chancellor & McCoy, came before the court in January, with the appeal heard last month. The court heard Ms Chancellor, 59, and Ms McCoy, 55, commenced a same-sex relationship in 1982. Both are teachers; both had superannuation and accumulated property.

However, when the relationship ended in 2011, Ms McCoy’s ­assets were valued at $1.7 million, while Ms Chancellor’s were worth $720,000. The difference can mainly be explained by the fact Ms McCoy decided years ago to salary-sacrifice into super. Ms Chancellor did not. Each had a property, bought in their own name, using their own savings.

Judge Turner said the women were "mature, educated and ­intelligent”. They had "similar employment conditions and ­opportunities”. She acknowledged expenses and bills were split, and that some items for the houses were purchased jointly.

She found a "lack of joint ­fin­ancial decision-making”, while "each party remained respons­ible for their own debts”. The court ruled it was "unfair for Ms McCoy, who has taken steps to maximise her future wealth, to have to share that wealth with Ms Chancellor, who did not ­invest as wisely”.

The court relied on the High Court’s decision in Stanford v Stanford, which found splitting assets is not automatic.

In her appeal, Ms Chancellor argued her relationship had been held to a "higher or different standard” than other de facto couples. The appeals court dismissed the appeal, ruling that ­"although in a committed relationship”, the women had made a "somewhat unusual” ­decision to keep their financial ­affairs ­"almost ­entirely separate”.


Bank and major universities launch Australian-first employment program for PhD students

Westpac and the Group of Eight (Go8) have partnered to offer the first program in Australia for Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) to undertake employment with the Westpac Group during their studies.

The STEM PhD program was established in recognition of the importance of the STEM fields to the future of Australia and offers students paid, part-time employment with the Westpac Group while they undertake their PhD research at a Go8 university.

This joint collaboration between Westpac and the Go8 is the first of its kind in Australia and aims to deliver both greater research outcomes as well as to professionally develop researchers who can make an enhanced contribution to the economy.

Westpac Group General Manager for Enterprise HR Strategy & Services, Shenaz Khan, said the partnership forms part of Westpac Group’s investment in innovation and commitment to diversity. "There are huge gains to be made by connecting some of Australia’s best academic minds with Australian businesses,” said Shenaz. "This is a unique opportunity to develop researchers from our top universities as well as to deliver innovative solutions to the challenges we face in the commercial sector.

"A key requirement for the success of this program is a flexible working environment, where students can work on a part time basis and balance their commitments between Westpac and their university. At Westpac, we encourage employees to take advantage of flexible working and development opportunities so we’re well positioned to be the first to offer such a program. I’m confident our collaboration with the Go8 will lead to increasing engagement between academia and industry to benefit all Australians,” added Shenaz.

Chief Executive of the Go8, Vicki Thomson, said the employment program had been an exciting proposition from Westpac and the Go8 was sure it would now become an exemplar for PhD training collaboration.

"We have seen the economic value of such collaborative programs overseas, and the Go8 looks forward to ensuring this first of its kind in Australia delivers two things – encourages other companies to follow the Westpac lead, and illustrates the commitment to excellence of both Westpac and the Go8,” she said.

The successful students will undertake two 24-month rotations within selected business units at Westpac Group from February 2017. Students will be matched with a mentor who will guide them through their experience, providing mentorship, introductions and advice on how to balance their commitments.

Students will also participate in a professional development program which will be tailored to their skills and the development areas they nominate.

Karina Mak, a first year PhD student at the University of Sydney, Faculty of Science, has been selected to commence the STEM PhD program with Westpac in February 2017. "I’m excited to start at Westpac in the New Year. This is a fantastic and unique opportunity for PhD students to graduate with practical, on-the-job experience.

It’s encouraging to see that a company like Westpac is supporting STEM disciplines and emerging research that align with their commercial interests,” said Karina.

Press release

'We're a Christian society: Furious Peter Dutton unleashes on school that banned Christmas carols to hold a secular celebration

Peter Dutton has called on Australians to 'rise up' and defend Christmas after a school rejected traditional carols for more secular songs.

Appearing on talkback radio, the furious Immigration Minister said his 'blood was boiling' after learning there was 'not one Christmas carol' at the celebration at Kedron State High School in Queensland.

'It is political correctness gone mad and I think people have just had enough of it,' he told 2GB radio host Ray Hadley.

A member of Mr Dutton's Dickson electorate Jim told the radio show the public secondary school ceremony did not have 'one Christmas carol'.

The lyrics to We Wish You A Merry Christmas were replaced with 'we wish you a happy holiday', The Age reported.

'Many of the people, regardless of their religious belief, would be there happy to sing Christmas carols, happy to enjoy the fact that we celebrate Christmas as a Christian society,' Mr Dutton told 2GB.  'It's beyond my comprehension but it has gone too far.'

The pro-Christmas politician likened the current climate of political correctness to when Prime Minister Paul Keating was in charge in the mid-1990s.

Mr Keating was known for his role in social issues - promoting Indigenous affairs, multiculturalism and inclusiveness.

'People had a gutful of it and I think we're back to the same stage now, and I think we need to rise up against it. People need to speak against it as they are,' Mr Dutton said.

'Because the vast majority of Australian people want to hear Christmas carols. They want their kids to be brought up in a normal environment and they don't want to be lectured to by do-gooders who frankly don't practise what they preach in any case.'

Radio host Ray Hadley was also outraged over the rejected Christmas carols, pointing the finger of blame at 'left-wing teachers' and the principal of Kedron State High School. 'It's insulting, it's demeaning and it's a farce,' he said.

The radio announcer had a similar discussion with Treasurer Scott Morrison just days prior to speaking with Mr Dutton.  Mr Morrison also slammed political correctness around Christmas and chimed: 'Have a great Christmas and enjoy the birth of our Lord.'


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 December, 2016

Sydney temperature panic

Every summer Sydney has some very hot days.  And the Warmists at the BoM always announce that some temperature or other was the hottest ever.  They are rather desperate at the moment.  All they have to report is the "highest minimum", which is a long way from the maximum.  And the maximun of 37C was pretty pissant too.  In 1790 (Yes, 1790, not 1970) the Maximum in Sydney was 42C.  How disappointing for them!

SYDNEY sweltered through its hottest December night on record as the mercury refused to budge to acceptable levels. The Bureau of Meteorology confirmed the overnight temperature dipped to 27.1C.

It was the highest minimum on record. The previous record was set on Christmas Day 1858, when it dropped to 26.3C.

The temperature also smashed all but one previous record, making it the second-warmest Sydney evening in recorded history.

BoM forecaster Jordan Notara told AAP they were expecting last night to break the record of 26.3C..

At 6am this morning the temperature at Sydney Harbour was already 29C and at midnight the temperature was still a warm 27C at Observatory Hill.

The mercury hit 37C yesterday with an expected high of 38C today.

The hot night prompted plenty of reaction on social media, with some remarking it is standard Sydney for this time of year.  Others tried to see the lighter side of things.

For those unable to cope with the heat, the good news is a cool change should see the mercury dip to a much more comfortable 22C tomorrow.

"There will be a 5C drop in temperatures within the first few hours, so by early evening people will definitely be feeling the difference,” Mr Notara said.

Sydney’s CBD sizzled at a high of 37.8C — nearly 13 degrees above the city’s long-term average for December — while at Penrith, in the city’s west, the mercury surged to 39.4C.

About 800 people had flocked to the Aquatic Centre at Sydney Olympic Park in the city’s west before lunchtime to seek relief from the city’s hottest December day since 2005.


Do Australian schools need more money, or better spending?

The article below asks the right question but is poor at answering it.  It starts out saying that educational success has little to do with money but then quotes a do-gooder saying that money is the key.  It also breastbeats about the bad performance by poor students and pretends that this can be improved.  It cannot.  Not by very much anyway.  Generally speaking, the poor are poor because they have low IQs -- and there is no remedy for that.

The two things that are REALLY needed to lift standards are:  1). Adoption of teaching methods that work -- e.g. phonics in literacy teaching; and 2). Segregating or effectively disciplining unruly students.  Unruly students take away time that should be used for teaching and make the classroom an unattractive place for potential teachers

It would also help if results from Aboriginal kids were reported separately and removed from the overall data.  School attendance is often very patchy among Aborigines and no teaching method is going to work on students who are not there

The relationship between spending and performance is not a simple one

Many countries that got similar average maths scores spent very different amounts on education — and many countries that spent about the same had very different scores.

For example, Australia's score in maths is better than the UK and the US, which each spent more per student.

But Australia's score is well below Korea, Estonia and Poland, who spent between $12,000 and $28,000 less on each student than Australia did.

Overall, the relationship between spending and results was not significant once spending per student passed above US$50,000.

In other words, take out the countries that are not spending very much, and the correlation between spending and performance disappears.

This tallies with Education Minister Simon Birmingham's comments that Australian school funding is at record levels and the focus can no longer be on how much money is being spent.
So how can Australia improve its schools?

Pete Goss from the Grattan Institute says that what matters most for Australia now is not how much money goes into education, but how the money is spent.

"To make sure money is well spent, step one is to distribute to the schools who need it most," he said.

"Step two is that whatever money schools get, it must be spent as effectively as possible on teaching approaches that have been shown to work and are cost effective.

"One side of politics seems to focus more on step one, where money is distributed. The other side focuses more on step two, how money is spent. "We have to get both right."

Laura Perry, associate professor of education policy at Murdoch University, says Australian education has a "distribution problem rather than an absolute funding problem".

"The biggest problem ... is we don't give as much money to the schools that really need it and we tend to give money to the schools that don't need it," she said.

Globally, the PISA data shows that students who are at a socio-economic disadvantage are almost three times more likely to fail to reach a baseline skill level in science.

A 'fair' education system was defined as one where a student's result reflects their ability, rather than things they can't control, like their socio-economic status.

On some measures of fairness, Australia fell below the average among the 35 OECD countries being compared.

Coming from an advantaged background in Australia adds 44 points to a student's science score for every unit increase in socio-economic advantage.

In many countries, including Vietnam, Canada and China, education was more equal than in Australia.

What's the result of unequal schooling?

The difference in education equality in different countries is most obvious in how the bottom quarter of students fares in each country.

Although Australia's bottom and top quarter of students are performing better than the OECD average, the bottom quarter is performing much worse than the bottom quarter in Singapore, Vietnam, Estonia and Japan.

Professor Perry says Canada is the most relevant comparison to Australia.

"We can say that low socio-economic status students ... perform much better in Canada than Australia," she said.

"If you look at the total average [score] for each country, it's higher in Canada and that's the main reason why."
Australia worst in OECD on staffing gap

Professor Perry says one of the explanations for the poor performance of Australia's lowest socio-economic students is their poor access to qualified teachers.

The gap between rich and poor schools' ability to attract qualified teachers in Australia is the largest in the OECD.

The data was gathered by asking principals how much their school's ability to teach students was affected by having unqualified or poorly qualified teachers.

Australian principals in schools in high socio-economic areas gave very different answers from those in poorer areas.

Shortages of qualified teachers were more likely in Australian public schools than private schools.

The same goes for education materials — things like IT equipment, classroom and laboratory materials. Only Mexico, Spain and Turkey had a more unequal split in terms of access to material.

Sue Thompson, director of educational monitoring for the Australian Council for Educational Research, says lots of students, particularly in junior secondary school, are being taught by teachers out of their field of expertise.

One Australian study showed that about 38 per cent of students were being taught by teachers not qualified in maths and science.

These teachers are limited both in their ability to find ways to teach the bottom-performing students, and to challenge the top students, Dr Thompson says.

"All of the OECD research on disadvantaged students shows that by lifting the success of disadvantaged students, you would increase the system as a whole but also you gain on the performance of the high-achieving students as well, as a result of better teaching," she said.

Professor Perry says the amount of social segregation between schools has become a "vicious cycle" in Australia: as teacher shortages become more pronounced in lower socio-economic schools, parents choose to avoid those schools, perpetuating the problem.

"A low socio-economic school, another word for that is a hard-to-staff school," she said.


An Australian mayor criticized for rejecting race-consciousness

The Lord Mayor of Hobart has been slammed for 'disgusting ignorance' after her comments regarding a proposed Aboriginal memorial in Tasmania.

Earlier this week Sue Hickey said that she objected to a proposal by Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) to build an Aboriginal Memorial in the city because it would create a 'guilt ridden' place and current generations should not be blamed for past atrocities.

'I didn't kill the Aborigines, and nor would I; it was a different era,' she told ABC radio.

Former [black] Labor senator Nova Peris took to Twitter to pronounce her frustration with Ms Hickey's comments.

'Disgusting ignorance by Mayor of Hobart. No doubt (Sue Hickey) is front n (sic) centre of every Anzac Day dawn service w/ a red poppy,' Ms Peris tweeted.

The memorial makes up part of the $2 billion concept plans drafted by David Walsh's MONA for a cultural hub located on the Hobart waterfront at Macquarie Point.

The proposed Truth and Reconciliation Art Park would serve to acknowledge conflict between European settlers and Indigenous people known as the frontier wars and the Indigenous Tasmanian groups that subsequently died out.


Bloody-minded bureaucrats

A SKIP bin operator fined $15,000 for unlawfully stockpiling waste said he had complied with an earlier clean-up notice but was fined anyway because he did not write back to the Environment Protection Authority twice.

West Gosford property owner Anthony Kamper, trading under the business name Ring a Skip, said he was issued two clean-up notices — with the same document number — one for his skip bin company and one to him as the land owner Anthony Kamper Pty Ltd.

He said he spent thousands of dollars getting an independent survey to assess the amount of waste present and cleaned the site as required by the EPA.

Mr Kamper then wrote back under his Ring A Skip letterhead advising the EPA the site was compliant­.

But he said because he did not write back twice, once as Ring A Skip and again as Anthony Kamper Pty Ltd, he copped a $15,000 fine anyway — despite being in regular phone contact with the EPA and there being no confusion that he was the one-in-the-same director of both companies­.

"I think it’s disgusting that they fined me when they’re working with me,” he said.  "OK, if there’s compliance issues, let’s address the compliance and not just fine me over what’s essentially a clerical error.

"They shouldn’t have given me a fine in the first place — the site was clean. I think it’s unfair and to say I’m illegally dumping is not right. Uncompliant maybe, but illegal? No.

"I’m working with them and they shoot me in the back anyway­.”

EPA officers conducted a number of inspections of the West Gosford property after receiving complaints from neighbours.

Mr Kamper engaged the independent survey as he was instructed to do and went back and informed the environment watchdog he had more than 2400 cubic metres of waste on the property including soil, concrete, bricks, garden waste, timber, plastic and household rubbish.

Under legislation it is illegal to receive and store more than 1000 cubic metres, or 1000 tonnes, of waste without an Environment Protection Licence.

Mr Kamper said until he had the survey done he had no idea what "1000 tonnes looked like” and as soon as it was identified, it was rectified.

And while Ring A Skip escaped a fine by complying with the clean-up notice, he as the landowner Anthony Kamper Pty Ltd, was fined anyway.

The EPA said at the time the stockpiled waste exceeded the 1000 cubic metre threshold and was therefore brought onto the site illegally.

A spokeswoman for the authority said the $15,000 penalty was "the appropriate fine for the offence of exceeding more than 2,400 cubic metres of waste on a property without the appropriate licence or approvals”.

"The EPA deals with both the owner and the occupier of a site as separate entities as they have separate obligations under the regulation. Therefore offences are dealt with separately,” she said.

"The EPA applies tough penalties to achieve environmental compliance.

"The fact that Anthony Kamper Pty Ltd is the site owner and company director is not relevant to how the EPA deals with and communicates with each legal entity.”

Mr Kamper said he had written to the State Debt Recovery Office to review the fine.


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 December, 2016

Schools in many parts of Australia are a study in self-segregation

So what?  People are still free to choose the company they keep as far as I know.  It is enforced or legal segregation that is problematical.  The big beef below is that parents avoid sending their kids to schools with big African populations.  That happens in the USA and UK too.  Why?  Because of the high incidence of aggressive and criminal behaviour among Africans.  Even Leftists avoid Africans

Public and private schools in Sydney’s north epitomise a broader racial polarisation within our school system, an ethnic divide that has academics and community leaders concerned we are creating schoolyard monocultures that fail to reflect the increasingly diverse society in which we live and work.

Demographic statistics from My School demonstrate how this polarisation affects academically high-flying as well as low-performing schools, rural schools and campuses in progressive suburbs in inner Sydney and Melbourne. Moreover, researchers warn this ethnic segregation parallels a drift towards private schools and academically stronger government schools that is creating a rump of "residual" public schools in which profoundly disadvantaged students, among them indigenous, refugee or non-English-speaking children, are often concentrated.

All of which raises the question: as the nation becomes more multicultural, are our schools ­becoming more racially segre­gated?

"I think our schools are ­becoming more segregated," says Christina Ho, a University of Technology, Sydney, academic who has investigated ethnic segregation at inner-city public schools, private schools and selective government schools.

Referring to Sydney’s lower north shore, Ho says: "I find it quite staggering that you can have schools that are so (ethnically) different from each other, and yet you can probably walk between two of them in 10 minutes. Why are families self-segregating?"

A senior lecturer at UTS’s faculty of arts and social sciences, Ho says this segregation is also found in gentrified, bohemian ­enclaves in Sydney and Melbourne. In these inner-city areas, the economic and racial divide is not nec­es­sarily the familiar one separating private and public schools; often the gulf is between white-dominated public schools with a privileged parent cohort and highly diverse public schools with economically disadvantaged parents.

During the past year, an incendiary debate has erupted in Victoria about "white flight" from disadvantaged public schools in Melbourne’s trendy inner north. Here, social housing towers built in the 1960s, home to a large population of mostly African refugees, loom sentinel-like over tastefully renovated Victorian terraces worth ­between $1 million and $2m. Fitzroy and Carlton are renowned for their 19th-century architecture, cosmopolitan food cultures, alternative arts scene and ardent support for the Greens — the area’s federal MP is the Greens’ Adam Bandt. Two schools that feature prominently in the white-flight ­debate were polling booths at the July election, and returned the ­nation’s highest two-party-preferred vote for the minority party, which has pro-refugee and asylum-seeker policies. At Fitzroy Primary School, the Greens attracted 82.4 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote, while a short distance away at the whiter, more ­advantaged North Fitzroy Primary School, the Greens won 81 per cent of the two party preferred vote.

The local council, City of Yarra, says the district has been a proud "Refugee Welcome Zone since 2002". Yet in Fitzroy, Carlton and surrounding suburbs, progressive, middle-class families have been accused of shunning public schools with high refugee populations.

"They are fleeing!" African community leader and former refugee Abeselom Nega says of white, inner-city families who apparently are rejecting diverse schools. This year, in a Melbourne newspaper, Nega accused families who avoided inner-Melbourne schools with large African-­Australian student cohorts of ­racism.

"The white parents don’t send their kids to these schools because all they see is black kids," he claimed. Nega admits to Inquirer that this allegation is "a big call. But in the absence of proper explanations as to why this has taken place, it can only be explained in the way I have said it." He chuck­les ruefully as he notes:  The irony is, in these places, the residents can be described as progressive; that is the contradiction."

The latest (2015) statistics from the My School website tell a story of stark ethnic segregation in these Greens-supporting precincts. Low-fee Catholic and public schools located near housing commission apartments in Fitzroy, Carlton and Flemington are clearly out of favour with Anglo parents. Between 90 per cent and 94 per cent of the students who attend Fitzroy Primary, Carlton Primary and Sacred Heart primary are from non-English-speaking or ­indigenous backgrounds. Only 3 per cent of Sacred Heart’s parents are in the top SES quarter, a measure of parents’ social and educational advantage.

Yet at nearby schools Fitzroy North Primary, Princes Hill Primary and Carlton North Primary, about 70 per cent of parents — ­almost three times the national ­average — are in the top SES bracket, while less than one third of students across these schools have LOTE backgrounds.

This ­entrenched racial and class division continues into high school. At the high-performing Princes Hill Secondary College, which hand-picks two-thirds of its student body, just 15 per cent of students are from LOTE families, while 68 per cent of parents are drawn from the top SES quarter.

Roughly 4km away is Mount Alexander College, where Nega sits on the school council. This recently renamed high school is within 500m of the Flemington public housing estate. Last year 71 per cent of Mount ­Alexander’s students were from LOTE backgrounds and 12 per cent of its parents were in the top SES quarter. In 2008, 60 per cent of the college’s parents were in the top bracket, suggesting a radical flight of higher-income families from the school.

While parents jostle to get their children into high-achieving inner-city public schools such as Princes Hill Secondary and Melbourne Girls College, Mount Alexander is only half full. The good news is that under a dynamic new principal, enrolments have risen 15 per cent this year, while the school’s top graduating students regularly achieve Australian Tertiary Admission Rank results in the 90s. Even so, Nega says the risk of the white exodus is that migrant children — in this case, African-background students — graduate from school with no contacts or friendships within the Anglo-Australian community, thus creating a deep sense of isolation.

Nega is the founder and chief executive of iEmpower, an organisation that aims to steer young ­African-Australians away from the justice system and into jobs. Many of his clients are young men who arrived in Australia in the 1990s as orphaned refugees and still live in housing commission flats in inner Melbourne. He ­believes that if the present generation of African school students are confined to schools filled with fellow refugees, while living among other Africans in social housing, "they are missing out. These kids will go into the labour market not having the opportunity to deal with (a diverse environment). I think it’s highly disadvantageous to those communities. We are also hearing some anecdotal evidence that even some exclusive public schools are excluding some sections of our community."

Princes Hill Secondary, one of Victoria’s top-performing government high schools, enrols out-of-area students on the basis of "curriculum grounds". To gain admis­sion, out-of-area students must have studied at least two musical instruments or been immersed in French — the kind of skills a refugee child from a single-parent home is unlikely to possess.

Nega says, "Everyone wants the best for their children; I get that." On the other hand, if even progressive parents avoid diverse schools, "knowing who is going to be left behind, I don’t know whether the response stacks up. You can’t have a voice saying, ‘Well, I am a progressive and I ­believe in multiculturalism and I want to be inclusive,’ and then not practise it."

For Vinu Patel, the decision to send his children to the solidly middle-class North Fitzroy Primary School was "very simple. It was the closest school to our home, so it was the obvious and natural choice, and it had a good name." Patel is president of North Fitzroy Primary’s parents association and he says the school is diverse in ways the My School data fails to reflect — there are same-sex parents, single parents as well as African and Asian parents with children at the school.

"It’s not just racial backgrounds, it’s all types of diversity," he says, adding that this was one of the key factors that drew his family to the campus. "It’s like licorice allsorts around here," jokes the management consultant who is of Indian and Malaysian heritage, and whose children are in Year 3 and Year 6.

Nevertheless, Patel does know of some parents who are in the catchment for the underprivileged Fitzroy Primary but have made a "conscious decision" to go to wealthier, less diverse North Fitzroy. He says accusing such parents of racism is "unfair. To call it ­racism is a big stretch. We are all trying to find the best education and best environment for our kids, and parents will do anything to achieve that as an outcome. It’s a rational response for many parents."

While Ho has documented class and ethnic segregation in Sydney schools, she says "the scale of that division (in Melbourne) did surprise me. I’ve been looking at that in terms of inner Sydney and I haven’t seen it to the same extent." Still, she says the trend is occurring in Sydney’s inner suburbs where, again, many progressives and Greens voters live.

Last year the academic co-authored a study on diversity and gentrifying school communities, focusing on two schools, Glebe and Forest Lodge public schools, in the city’s inner west. These schools, says Ho, are walking distance apart but Forest Lodge is "much wealthier and much more Anglo-Australian" while Glebe, closer to public housing, "is much more disadvantaged, more Aboriginal and has more kids from non-English-speaking backgrounds".

"So you definitely have that segregation, and I think you’d see that in a lot of suburbs, but especially where you have a concentration of public housing in an area that is gentrifying," Ho says. "You literally have these people buying up $1m, $2m houses that are next to social housing."

My School statistics reveal a pattern of racial and economic division across other inner-west public schools in Sydney. Only 16 per cent of students at Annandale North Public School have LOTE backgrounds, while 75 per cent of the parents come from the top SES quarter. It’s a similar situation at Newtown Public School — located in a suburb with a distinct bohemian vibe — where 80 per cent of the student body is white. Contrast these schools’ demographics to that of tiny Catholic school Our Lady of Mount Carmel Primary at Waterloo, which is near a cluster of social housing towers similar to those in inner Melbourne. Of 120 students at Mount Carmel, 71 per cent are Aboriginal and a further 25 per cent are from LOTE backgrounds. Although 90 per cent of this school’s students live in public housing, their academic results are improving significantly.

Ho argues that gentrifiers’ support for multiculturalism rarely extends to school choice. "When we interviewed people who had moved into inner Sydney, sometimes from more suburban areas, they would say, ‘Oh the restaurants and the diversity and we just love the gritty, urban feel,’ but that stops at the school gate," she says.

"They’re happy to eat at ethnic restaurants but they’re not neces­sarily happy for their kids to go to school with minority kids who might be ‘rough’ " — she says this in a sarcastic tone — "or who might be pulling their kids down or who don’t speak English. So there’s an acceptance of diversity that stops when it comes to ‘my own kids’. We saw that a lot."

Is this white flight a form of ­racial prejudice, as has been claimed? "I think that’s simplistic," responds Ho. "Sometimes I think it is overt racism but most of the time I think it’s a lot more complex than that."

She says school segregation is the result of ethnic and class factors that "work in different ways. There are some ethnic minority groups that people see as disadvantaged and dragging down their kids potentially … At the other end of the spectrum, you have avoidance of schools that are seen as Asian because they’re too successful. The students work too hard.

"There’s a strange combination of race and class which operates at different points on the spectrum. I’m quite saddened by both of those (trends), particularly in the inner-city areas where people have moved because they say they like the diversity.

Trevor Cobbold, a Canberra-based economist and convener from Save Our Schools, a lobby group for public education, says segregation in the nation’s schools "creates larger achievement gaps between schools because generally it’s the upper-income people that move. When you have schools with high concentrations of high disadvantage, that makes it really difficult to improve results."

He also warns that "for a highly successful multicultural society this is a very worrying trend ­because it has strong social implications about how our society works in the future". If students don’t grow up with other children of different ethnicities and class backgrounds, "it is going to be hard to expect people to do that in the workforce and in society more generally. In the past, Australia has been pretty successful at that."

What is driving this racial and economic segregation? Cobbold and Ho cite factors including rising parental anxiety about education; government policies en­couraging parental choice and the growth of private schools; ­income inequality; and a loosening of some public school catchments — again, to facilitate parental choice.

Ho says we have long been aware of a racial divide in rural areas between heavily indigenous schools and other schools. But since 2010 the My School website has provided information about the ethnic composition of every Aus­tralian school. "It was a revelation to me when those statistics came out," says the outspoken ­researcher, as the website exposed economic and racial gulfs across the nation. Less positively, she says, the website is "feeding into that culture of school shopping".

Recent research by think tank the Centre for Policy Development reveals a significant shift in enrolments away from disadvantaged public schools towards private schools and higher-perform­ing public schools. The re­searchers, retired school principals Chris Bonnor and Bernie Shepherd, found that parents were using National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy results (also ­recorded on My School) to seek out better-performing schools. They warned this was creating a two-tiered education system comprising advantaged private and public schools and struggling public schools.

Cobbold contends that "unfortunately, I think a certain part of our community wants their children to go to school with kids that look alike or have similar cultural backgrounds. That is a factor, that there are some families who want to get away from the mob — the mob may be low-SES families or families from different ethnic communities." He says that apart from My School’s demographic statistics, "we’ve got no real overview or systematic study of what’s happened with ethnic segregation. I think it involves both race and class and the two factors interact."

When it comes to multiculturalism and independent schools — the least diverse school sector — Sydney Grammar principal John Vallance insists that "you can’t really generalise. Even the most expensive private schools are often far more diverse than you might expect." Even so, he believes "the more diverse a school population, the better the school. This is not just a matter of occupying the moral high ground. A ­diverse student body makes for a richer experience.

According to My School, the academically selective Sydney Grammar has a more diverse student population (25 per cent of its students have LOTE backgrounds) than most other elite private schools and some public schools. This reflects an intentional policy on Vallance’s part. "I have been keen," he says, "to stress the school’s status as an inclusive, secular institution — something unusual amongst traditional private schools — and I think this makes us more attractive to a wider range of people … Throughout its modern history, we have ­always had a high population of migrant families or the sons of ­migrant families." Every year the $32,000 a year school offers scholarships and most of those who sit for the scholarship test are from Asian backgrounds. Does this tell us something about how such migrant families value educational opportunity? "Yes indeed it does," replies the headmaster.

This year, self-described "book whisperer" and "PC lefty" Alice Williams bought into Melbourne’s heated schools and ethnicity ­debate and was surprised to find herself the target of "Twitter hate" from other PC lefties. Williams was called a racist — a charge she vehemently denies — after she took issue with the claim white families bypassing multicultural schools were racist.

The author, blogger and mother of one had argued in a comment piece published in The Age that it was "obnoxious" to argue that high-achieving students should remain in disadvantaged schools and "sacrifice their own education to somehow drag up the level of their peers".

Williams tells ­Inquirer she is no "white apologist". Rather, her point was "that it’s far too simplistic to cry ‘racism’ when parents choose not to send their children to underperforming schools. It ­ignores the fact that some schools are under-performing … (because) the kids there are starting from a lower educational base." She adds: "Of course parents aren’t going to want to send their children to schools where they’re not going to get a good educational outcome. That’s not racist. That’s about them wanting what’s best for their child."

Williams feels strongly about this issue partly because her left-wing parents sent her to a low-­performing Melbourne school with a majority migrant student base and a culture of low expectations. She dropped out of univer­sity "because I didn’t know how to study, I’d never had to study" ­before eventually returning to tertiary education and completing a communications degree. "In my experience, any school that has high levels of non-English-speaking students will have low literacy outcomes, and it’s not because of any race," she says. Some schools handle this challenge well, but "we can’t pretend it isn’t an issue".

Williams’s home is in the catchment for the in-demand Princes Hill Primary. Although her son is only five months old, she finds this school off-putting because it is "so incredibly white" and has a low vaccination rate. "It’s all these Greens voters who don’t vaccinate their children," quips the committed Greens voter. This year, two Princes Hill students contracted measles and a further 21 unvaccinated students were sent home — demonstrating how this overwhelmingly Anglo school attracts many nonconformist parents.


Independent inquiry needs to look at Gillian Triggs’s 18C farce

Gillian Triggs finds it difficult to explain to senators her unforgivable botch-up of a racial hatred case against students for their Facebook posts.

So let the head of the Human Rights Commission explain it under oath to an independent ­former judge in charge of a short, sharp independent inquiry.

It should be an inquiry Malcolm Turnbull can set up now to run the ruler over the many ­inconsistencies, fabrications and denials of natural justice from the commission when it comes to the Queensland University of Technology case and, no doubt, other 18C cases-cum-financial shakedowns that we never hear about.

The well-intentioned but stop-start Senate committees that question Triggs and the parliamentary inquiry established by the Prime Minister to ­inquire into 18C in coming months suffer from being, and being perceived to be, politically partisan.

They lack focus and forensic examination skills.

If Triggs and the commission have been wronged, as she says, by a "high level of misinformation in some sections of the media” (code for reporting by The Australian), she will welcome a fiercely independent investigation of the travesty on her watch.

The more likely reason for Triggs not wanting to explain the QUT case to the ­Senate, in the glare of the public eye, is that it ­exposes shameful negligence and probable institutional bias.

Most rational people should find it hard to explain how highly paid public servants at the commission could give weight, for 14 months, to a racial hatred complaint lacking in merit.

Most rational people who ­believe in natural justice would find it hard to justify why, in the 14 months in which Triggs had the complaint, no one from the commission ever picked up the phone or wrote to the students to tell them a few basic facts they needed to know if they were going to have any chance of a resolution.

Such as: "You are accused by an indigenous staff member of QUT, Cindy Prior, of acting unlawfully — racial vilification under section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. It is a serious allegation. It could escalate to the Federal Circuit Court unless it is nipped in the bud. My job as president when a complaint is made is to investigate and, if necessary, conciliate to try to stop it going to court. You are young and intelligent students who want to be ­career professionals. You may suffer grave reprisals and harm if unfairly branded as racists. What happened?”

Or to Prior: "It is not racial vilification for a student, against whom you had discriminated by asking him to leave the Oodgeroo Unit because of his whiteness, to write ‘Just got kicked out of the unsigned indigenous computer room. QUT stopping segregation with segregation?’ Why are you running this complaint, Ms Prior? We should not waste taxpayers’ money with frivolous cases about students’ Facebook posts, none of which named or disparaged you personally.”

These are the conversations that never happened.

They did not happen because the commission and Triggs failed to do their functions properly — they didn’t "investigate”, and they negligently left it to QUT to ­advise the students of the case against them.

It was always the job of Triggs to "investigate” and tell the students — that’s what her own guidelines state. She wrongfully abrogated these responsibilities.

She and the university kept the students unaware of the existence of the 14-month-old case until three business days before the critical "conciliation conference” run by the commission, which refused to reschedule despite its failures to give fair notice.

Triggs now wants the Senate to believe her reasons for not wanting to talk about this incompetence in the QUT case are ­directly due to legal process — she cited a possible ­appeal by Prior, of the Federal Circuit Court’s ­November 4 decision to throw out the case.

"Were I able to discuss it, I would be pleased to do so because of the high level of misinformation in some sections of the media,” Triggs said. ­

Incidentally, one of the reasons she was in the Senate was to ­explain her misinformation — she had falsely ­accused another media outlet, The Saturday Paper, of dis­honestly verballing her in an interview earlier this year.

This self-imposed gag by Triggs is a disingenuous cop-out. Currently, there is no "appeal”. Prior’s lawyers missed the opportunity to appeal because they failed to lodge it within 14 days of the court’s dismissal of the 18C case against Alex Wood, Calum Thwaites and Jackson Powell.

The lawyers, having tried to sheet some of the blame for their missed deadline to the judge (who last week awarded costs against Prior), are returning to court on Friday to try to persuade it to grant an appeal.

It is not a foregone conclusion.

In the meantime, there is no reason for Triggs to refuse to answer questions about it. In any case, does she really believe that anything she says in the Senate could influence a Federal Court judge in a future appeal?

These are the facts. The spectacular farce that has been the commission’s handling of this 18C case — and doubtless others — needs to be properly exposed in a serious inquiry.

Let a former judge determine the misinformation and its source. How about it, PM?


Unproductive? Go figure....

The Federal Government has asked the Productivity Commission to spend 12 months figuring out how to make Australia more productive.

If the government or the commission wanted to enhance their own productivity, they could get to work on the to-do list left by Gary Banks, the last head of the Commission, in 2012.

Instead, the Commission says "The slowdown in Australia's capacity to 'do more with the same' is puzzling because scientific and technological knowledge advanced rapidly after the early 2000s..." giving us the internet and apps and social media.

Perhaps no-one at the PC has spent hours updating their Facebook page or watching YouTube clips of cats playing drums -- or they might know the internet can empower procrastination as much as productivity. In fact, the real puzzle is why Australia's productivity growth isn't even lower.

Consider. It took six years to approve one new coal mine and dozens of mines are caught up in this regulatory nightmare.  Modelling in 2014 found reducing these delays by just one year would add $160 billion to national output over a decade and create 69,000 jobs.

Billions have been wasted on unnecessary desalination plants that have been mothballed.  Billions more on the construction of wind turbines, even though they are one of the most expensive and unreliable ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Still more has been wasted building a fixed broadband network which is rapidly being made redundant by technological advances in wireless broadband.

Ever more is spent on education per student while their performance plummets against international benchmarks. Asian competitors spend half as much as we do on health but have the same life expectancy.

Extortion and thuggery increase the cost of construction by up to 30 percent but the cop won't be on the beat for two years and has one arm tied behind his back.  Stamp duties, planning controls and regulation have pushed up the cost of housing.

And this is just scratching the surface of government mandated waste and inefficiency. If the boffins and pollies thought about this for 12 minutes, let alone 12 months, they would realise that in almost every case government intervention is the problem; it's high time they were part of the solution.


Africans add multicultural enhancement to St Kilda beach

No police action -- as one expects in Victoria

Up to 30 people were involved in a brawl at St Kilda beach which left five people in hospital.

A teenage boy and two teenage girls were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Two men who tried to assist the teenagers also received non-life threatening injuries and were taken to hospital.

Witness "Brad" told radio station 3AW that two groups of teenagers of African appearance were pushing and shoving each other on the beach before the fight erupted.

The brawl then moved towards the Stokehouse restaurant, he said.

He said one of the youths appeared to be carrying a slingshot and was being held back by a female friend. "All of a sudden, boom, a brawl took place and we bolted," he said. "It just ruined our night."

Brad said his family was enjoying the nice weather by visiting St Kilda beach for some fish and chips.

"To be be honest it's disappointing, I've got my kids asking 100 questions," he said. "My nine-year-old said 'Dad, can you make sure all the doors are locked'. He's never asked that."

"No one has been arrested in relation to the incident and the investigation remains ongoing," Acting Senior Sergeant Kris Hamilton 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

13 December, 2016

Second wave of "stolen generations" in WA (?)

This complaint is thoroughly racist.  Aboriginal advocates are complaining that black kids should not be raised by white foster parents, even though the white carers would be much safer for the child.  Why the emphasis on race?  I would have thought that a kind heart would be the chief qualification in a carer.

And the white woman below claims to be an Aborigine, Why bother?  Why is her race so important that she had to make an absurd claim to support it? Calling white black is something that was once taken as a paradigm of craziness but in Australia it actually happens

And because the rate of child removal from Aborigines is high that is presented as unreasonable.  Why is it not seen as white social workers doing a good job?  To the city ignoramuses who think that Aborigines are just like us only browner, the high rate of child protections must seem unreasonable.  But Aborigines are NOT just like us only browner.  Anybody who has seen Aborigines in action knows how hard Aboriginal males are on women and children -- particularly when they are drunk, which they often are.

The high rate of imprisonment of Aborigines and the high rate at which their children are taken away is just what one would expect of ANYONE who behaves as Aborigines do.  Their race should not be a consideration.

In Ann Oakley’s family, child removal runs four generations deep. Like her mother and grandmother, Oakley, 52, was taken away as a small child and placed in state care.

So when Oakley says an epidemic of Aboriginal child removal still occurs in Western Australia, she speaks from experience. Although she raised her own four children, the fourth "removed” generation is that of her extended family; 11 were removed by the state from their parents. Two of them now live with her, Aaron, under ten, and teenage Nathan, but she has fostered more than 40 other mainly Aboriginal children.

Oakley never met her mother again, and only connected with brothers and sisters when she went in search of them. "I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere, I turned to drink and I habitually ended up in jail for short stints.”

"There were 10,000 Aboriginal children across Australia who lost their identities when they were removed,” she says of an earlier era of formal child removals. "A lot of people my age have not reconnected with family, they’ve suicided or died because of alcohol or drug-related illnesses. They’ve lived what I’ve lived through and not survived.”

Oakley did survive and is now a childcare advocate. She founded Kinship Connections in 2013 to trace family members for Aboriginal children in care to help them be placed close to family and kin. Ironically, she set it up with the compensation payout she received from the WA government for being an abused member of the Stolen Generations.

Western Australia already has the nation’s highest rate of Aboriginal children in care, but Oakley believes a deepening crisis looms. She is not alone. In September, Child Protection Minister Andrea Mitchell admitted it was "a pressing issue” that more than half of all 4660 children held in state care — or 52 per cent — are Aboriginal. The national rate is 35 per cent.

The WA figure is shocking and experts predict it is likely to rise. This week the Department for Child Protection and Family Support will announce the statewide rollout of new intensive family support teams "to divert vulnerable families away from the child protection system and prevent their children entering state care”.

But the WA authority is also planning to enforce permanent placement of children, meaning more children are likely to be removed from their Aboriginal parents for their entire childhoods. The policy will permit a child to be transferred permanently out of their parents’ hands if their birth parents cannot demonstrate within two years — less if the child is under two — that they are fit to raise their child.

"Every effort is made to return children home to their parents, but when this is not possible it is proposed that an application to the court for a more permanent order will need to be made within two years of a child entering care,” says DCP director-general Emma White.

"Local and international research shows that children have better life outcomes if a permanent decision is made about their future in less than two years of entering care.”

But Oakley and a dozen Aboriginal leaders working in welfare believe Western Australia is entering a new era of Stolen Generation children, several decades after that painful policy ended. They formed the WA Aboriginal Child Protection Council to register their alarm that — even inadvertently — "we’re going back to the old assimilation policy but just with different names”.

Evidence that a high proportion of Aboriginal children are taken from birth parents is not hard to find. Across Western Australia, 63.8 per cent of all newborn babies removed last year were Aboriginal. Often the mother was herself removed as a child or already has a child in departmental care. Under Section 33 of the Community and Children’s Services Act, such pregnant women are "red-flagged” as vulnerable to having their unborn child removed.

Indigenous human rights lawyer Hannah McGlade says a number of children from her own extended family are in care at any given time, often placed with non-Aboriginal carers.

"It’s a sick cycle,” says McGlade, who herself spent time in a children’s home and now acts as a respite carer for two children in order to keep them in contact with family.

"We’re like an island away from the rest of Australia.”

Aboriginal child protection worker Donna Kickett has never forgotten the sight that confronted her on her first day of work in 2004 when she was sent to King Edward Memorial Hospital to remove a newborn Aboriginal baby.

"I walked in and the mother was handcuffed to the bed. I asked, ‘What has she done?’ I discovered later that this was this woman’s 10th child and they had all been removed because of the woman’s drug issues.”

Six years later, Kickett met the oldest of the woman’s 10 children with his aunt. "The aunt said something that made me realise she thought the boy had only four siblings. I had to tell her there were nine.” She suspects the boy was never put in touch with his other brothers and sisters.

"This is the lost generation,” says Kickett, who now runs a mentoring program for Aboriginal teenagers. "How come we don’t do what’s happening in Victoria, where every Aboriginal child in care is being transferred to an Aboriginal-controlled organisation?”

Oakley, Kickett and McGlade have, like DCP, acted on a belief that no child should remain in an unsafe setting. But they point to the section of the Aboriginal Child Placement principle that says a child should be placed where possible with an Aboriginal family.

Yet only one Aboriginal-controlled agency exists in Western Australia among 29 external contracting agencies that DCP funds to place children — with mainly white carers.

The women note that DCP has 19 senior Aboriginal staff across the state but only three are involved in a child removal caseload in which 53 per cent are Aboriginal children. Even the review panel to decide on any dispute over a child’s removal has no Aboriginal people on it.

"In the last 18 months, I have found myself advocating for mothers and grandmothers whose children have been taken into care,” says Kickett. "It’s been hugely difficult trying to advocate for these families.

"And no legal service will support these families because they say they don’t have the resources to fight the system.”

Kickett is WA chair of the national child welfare lobby group Family Matters, which last month took their case to Canberra "to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 2040, or within a generation”.

McGlade points to Victoria where an Aboriginal Children’s Commissioner has been appointed. "We have the highest level of removal in Australia but the lowest level of consultation with Aboriginal people.”

Oakley has taken matters into her own hands. Having become an alcoholic at 15 because she felt so alone, she has gone on to help several of foster kids to find and reconnect them with their relatives.

While she endorses DCP’s aim to place children permanently in "safe” homes, she says insufficient account is taken of the long-term trauma for children cut off from kin and the obstacles faced by mothers who’ve lost children. Through Kinship Connections, she traces a wide network of Aboriginal family members with the ability to care for a child, often when Child Protection has insisted none exists.

In a pilot program, Oakley asked the department to refer cases to her. She got only nine referrals during the year, but traced 151 lost family members for eight out of the nine children.

The department ended up placing only one child with their identified relative.

"I sit on foster panels and many of the carers getting approved now are looking for permanent placement,” says Oakley. "I worry that they might not be thinking of reunification for those children — they may never go home.”

Kickett says she was asked recently to help a grandmother who wanted to get custody of her three-year-old grandson after he had been placed in eight different homes in his short life.

DCP staff are told to draw up a "genogram” to identify a child in care’s kinship circle, but Kickett says they’re often limited and don’t involve extensive consultation with family. "But who knows better who is family than the family?”

Mike Clare, former head of Social Work at the University of Western Australia, who sits on the Kinship Connections board, says the trend is concerning. "The model of family placement that Ann is trying to develop is unique and it has huge potential,” he says.

"It comes from an American model of employing detectives to try to find adoption placements for Afro-American kids with disconnected members of their families.

"These family members were unlikely to be known to the child so the scope for weekend placement through to permanent placement with family members is extraordinary.

"There’s potential for shared family care, rather than living with a stranger in what is an additional out-of-home care option.”

Oakley says she witnesses the damage of child separation, past and present, almost every day.

Recently, like a mirror on her own past, she helped a teenage girl who was fostered out and was now suicidal and desperate to find her own "mob”.

"We found her father, aunties and uncles,” Oakley says. "It turned out her dad had grown up on a mission and he’d never seen his own mum and dad


The classroom is for teaching, not indoctrination

One would have expected the article below to come from a conservative but it is from Karen Brooks, an active Lefty. Is the Trump effect making the Left more cautious?

From today "Teachers for Refugees”, a movement organised by Melbournian Lucy Honan, plan to wear T-shirts to work inscribed with slogans such as "Close the Camps, Bring Them Here” in certain Victorian schools.

They also intend to hold informal discussions with their students about Australia’s shabby treatment of refugees.

While there’s no doubt many Australians who support these sentiments, school is not the place for teachers to propagate personal political opinions.

Queensland teachers have been cautioned not to follow suit and all teachers have been told wearing a piece of politicised clothing could be in breach of their code of conduct.

Honan says those involved are committed to raising awareness of the conditions in offshore detention centres and aligning themselves with refugees, and has accused those admonishing teachers of "bullying”.

I’m disappointed the word "bullying” is being deployed to staunch criticism of what is, frankly, an act that defies both common sense and completely undermines the role and credibility of teachers — who already cop so much (unfair) flack.

The classroom is for teaching, not indoctrination. Even if it’s simply in the form of a slogan on cloth. Words, as we know, are powerful and influential. When it comes to young minds, so is the person in the T-shirt.

Let me make something very clear. Like many Australians, I’m completely sympathetic to the teachers’ views. I abhor our treatment of refugees and my heart aches for children in detention centres.

As any regular reader of this column knows, I’m passionately committed to a range of politically fraught issues. But do I want teachers wearing catchphrases addressing these issues to school? Absolutely not.

Just as I wouldn’t want them wearing shirts shouting: "Stop the boats” or, as Channel 10’s The Project suggested, "Kids deserve a mum and dad”, or anti-abortion mantras.

And herein lies part of the problem. If teachers wanting to instigate change and raise awareness about the atrocious plight of refugees start bringing their opinions so overtly into the classroom, where does it end?

What if the political views of the parents, kids, let alone other colleagues, don’t align with theirs? Will a student speak up? An anxious parent?

Appearing on The Project, Honan argued, "It’s definitely a teacher’s job to stand up to the abuse that’s happening in offshore detention; we’re mandatory reporters...”

No, you’re not. You must report suspected abuse of kids in your direct care but expressing your politics in such an overt way by wearing your heart on your sleeve isn’t "reporting”. It’s emphasising a specific political position. Which is your prerogative — in your private life.

It’s also fine for teachers to share their views with students — of course they should — but in context with others’ and invite students to offer theirs. The classroom isn’t a politically neutral space. The government intervenes in curriculum — what can and cannot be taught; it doles out funding, among other measures. Most subjects have political currency — some more than others, and teachers would be doing students a huge disservice if they didn’t encourage the sharing of distinctive facts and alternate viewpoints in order to help shape opinions.

However, there are so many ways of imparting knowledge, teaching respect for diversity (cultural, religious, racial, ecological, economic, sexual), reasoning how compassion and tolerance are worthy emotions and tools for change, and about consequences for inaction, fascism, wilful ignorance etc.

Teaching great literature, world history, geography, global politics, about war and its aftermath, genocide, science, deforestation, industrialisation and encouraging students to critically think, weigh the pros and cons of a debate and offer a range of perspectives on issues, allows them to form their own conclusions.

These teachers claim they’re professional when approaching the politically sensitive topic of asylum seekers and refugees, offering a range of sources. But, when they wear one standpoint over their hearts, then they privilege this above any others and undermine the appearance of heterogeneity.

We want our kids to make up their own minds (and they do) by being informed, stimulated, and challenged, not by having their often-beloved teachers "recruit” them to political causes.

School is about broadening young minds, not turning them into mini-activists. (Though, if that’s the outcome of a whole education, then so be it.)

With Australian students’ recent drop in global education rankings, this teacher-led crusade, as well-intentioned as it is, could not have come at a worse time.

These privately held, fervent political views reflect a personal humanitarianism to which many of us subscribe. But these should not be used by teachers exploiting their trusted position to promote political crusading or to use our kids as fodder in an ongoing ideological warfare.

This merely provides those who look to denigrate and blame teachers for every social ill with solid ammunition


West proves not all cultures are equal

A defence of Western exceptionalism from Jennifer Oriel

Long after the West has defeated Islamic State, the jihadist threat will remain.

For the past 40 years, Western immigration policy has been based on multicultural ideology.

Its consequence is clear: Islamism has become a Western condition. Successive governments have diluted Western values to the point where they are no longer taught in schools. The result is a population unschooled in the ­genius of our civilisation whose youth cannot understand why it is worth defending.

Multicultural ideology must give way to a renaissance of Western civilisation in which Australian exceptionalism is celebrated and Islamism is sent packing.

Multiculturalism is not merely the acceptance of diverse cultures, or open society. It is the a priori belief that cultural diversity has a net positive effect on the West, coupled with a double standard that excuses lslamic and communist states from embracing it.

Thus, Western nations must open their borders while Islamic and communist states remain closed. The West must accept the myth that all cultures are equal while Islamic and communist states celebrate their unique contribution to world history. Under multicultural ideology, the greatest civilisation of the world, Western civilisation, is held in contempt while theocratic throwbacks and communist barbarism are extolled.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al- Hussein, regularly frames the West as xenophobic and racist. In a recent speech, he decried xenophobia and religious hatred. But he did not address the Chinese government’s persecution of Christians, or the governing Islamist regime in Gaza, Hamas, for hatred of Jews. Rather, he took aim at the West, saying: "My recent missions to Western Europe and North America have included discussions of increasingly worrying levels of incitement to racial or religious hatred and violence, whether against migrants or racial and religious groups. Discrimination, and the potential for mob violence, is being stoked by political leaders for their personal benefit.”

Western governments should explain why they continue to send taxpayers’ money to the UN when it has become an organisation expressly devoted to defending the interests of Islamist and communist regimes against the free world.

The growing hatred of Western culture goes unremarked by politicians whose populism is firmly rooted in political correctness. No major political party has calculated the cost of multicultural ideology to Western society. Instead, they extol it as a net benefit without tendering empirical evidence. When politicians claim truth without substantive supporting evidence, ideology is at play. It may be that multiculturalism is a net benefit to the West. If so, why has the evidence been withheld? Without it, minor parties can contend that multiculturalism is a net negative for the West and appear credible.

In the absence of empirical proof that multicultural ideology is beneficial, politicians such as Pauline Hanson, Donald Trump, Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen seek to curb Muslim immigration and deport those who disrespect Western values. Hanson plans to push for a burka ban in the new year. The policy has international precedent as Dutch politicians voted recently to ban the burka in some public places. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also has proposed a burka ban, but it is reasonable to question her motives ahead of the 2017 election. In a state election held in September, Merkel’s party polled below nationalist and anti-Islam party Alternative for Germany. She has driven porous border policy and repeatedly castigated European heads of state who defend their sovereign borders, such as Hungary’s Viktor Orban. Her call for a burka ban is thus viewed by some as blatant political opportunism.

Malcolm Turnbull addressed the issue indirectly by citing poor border controls in Europe as the cause of the problem. However, as with so many issues concerning political Islam in Australia, the question of a burka ban is indivisible from the defence of Western values.

One such value is the universal application of law that requires the equal treatment of all citizens. If Australians are expected to not wear a balaclava in banks, courts or Parliament House, why are some citizens permitted to cover their faces in a burka or niqab? Double standards and preferential treatment of state-anointed minorities is fuelling widespread, and rational, resentment in the West.

Consider retelling the events of the past week to an Anzac just returned from war. We would tell him that a Muslim married to a terrorist recruiter refused to stand in court because she wanted to be judged by Allah. Muslims in Sydney and Melbourne were charged with preparing a terrorist act against Australians. In France, several people were arrested for plotting jihadist attacks. News broke that 1750 foot soldiers of a genocidal Islamic army had entered Europe without resistance from Western armies. As in Australia, many jihadists entered as refugees and lived on taxpayer-funded welfare under a program called multiculturalism.

In the same week, a German politician called Angela Merkel, who ushered Islamists into the West by enforcing open borders, was lauded by a respected magazine called The Economist as "the last leader of stature to defend the West’s values”. Yet men from Islamic countries who allegedly entered Germany under Merkel’s open-border policy were arrested for sexual assault, including the rape and murder of a teenage girl. Asylum-seekers and refugees had assaulted women and children across Europe. Less than a year before, on New Year’s Eve, Merkel’s asylum-seekers had attacked women and girls en masse.

We would tell the Anzac that Britain attempted to acknowledge the negative impact of its undiscriminating approach to immigration. A review recommended a core school curriculum to promote "British laws, history and values” and a proposal that immigrants sign an oath of allegiance to British values. But secularism, private property and Christianity were absent from the principle list and as such, it wasn’t very British at all.

There were few Anzacs left to see what the West has become. I suppose that’s a kind of mercy. We have dishonoured the millions of soldiers who laid down their lives in the 20th century fighting for our freedom and the future of Western civilisation. We should hang our heads in shame for letting the Anzac legacy come to this. We are the descendants of the world’s most enlightened civilisation. It is our turn to fight for its future.


If group differences are superficial, they will fade away

I appear to be part of that coven of demons known as the Alt-Right.  The Alt-Right are those men of Stygian evil who mention the word "race". Just mentioning that word brings accusations that you just need a small moustache to become a new Hitler.

Such accusations are just a method used by the Left in an attempt to shut up conservatives but, empty-headed though the accusations are, many conservatives are cowed by them.  Only we "Alt" folk brave the storm of abuse and continue to talk about one of the most interesting of human differences.

But "Alt" is a broad church and what the various people say about race when they decide to do so is not any one single thing.  There always have been many and various views about what significance race has and that continues.

My view is that racial differences do exist and that they can make a difference. How anyone can behold the black/white situation in the USA today and think otherwise rather stuns me.  People obviously have strong abilities at ignoring reality.

But something I believe does get me into dangerous territory.  It is perhaps an optimistic belief but it is undoubtedly "incorrect".  I believe that racial antagonisms will fade away when there is no strong basis for them.

An immediate example of that is the Chinese presence in Australia.  For the first two thirds of the 20th century the Australian government had what was known as the "White Australia policy". It was a policy forged around conflicts between British and Chinese men on the Australian goldfields of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The aim was to expel "Chinamen" from Australia and keep them out thereafter.

One way or another, however, a Chinese presence not only continued in Australia but grew slightly.  And once goldfield rivalries were out of the way, Australians found that the Chinese were no trouble at all.  They were peaceful hard-working family people who were rather good at business -- particularly restaurants.  Even in the 1890s Quong Tart's grand tea rooms in Sydney were much celebrated and in fact became a social centre. Quong Tart had however taken the precaution of becoming an Anglican.  Religion has always been a rather flexible matter among the Chinese.

So in 1966 a conservative government led by Harold Holt abolished the "White Australia policy".  And shortly thereafter there came to Australia a flood of refugees from the Vietnam war, most of whom were Han Chinese racially.  And migration from other parts of the Chinese diaspora also got underway.  So Australia now is about 5% Chinese ethnically.  You see Chinese wherever you go in Australia's big cities and even to a degree in the country towns.  I grew up in a small Australian town where the local department store was "See Poys" -- owned and run by polite Chinese.

So there have been race wars or even race riots against Australia's new Chinese population?  Not at all.  Chinese schoolkids might be called names by other kids in their schools but there is no adult equivalent.  Australians of Chinese ancestry do tend to be found in occupations that require brains but they go about their lives as peacefully as any other Australian.  There is no discrimination.   A few imbeciles may at times say abusive things but that is the limit of it.  The life of Chinese Australians is as peaceful as anywhere in the world, including China.

So the Chinese are genetically and obviously different from Caucasians but the differences are not anything that disturbs social peace.  They have very low rates of criminality and very low rates of dependency on the welfare system.  And if they show any indication of religiosity, it is generally as converts to one of the more fundamentalist Christian denominations. Chinese religious flexibility is about as far away from Jihad as can possibly be imagined.  They are our allies in the battle against spiritual darkness.

And they do their best generally to adapt to the host culture.  If it were not for their eyes, Australian-born Chinese would be indistinguishable from other Australians.  So we see a huge genetic difference between Chinese and others but that difference does not have anything negative associated with it so no racial antagonisms arise.

Mind you, one has to distinguish between attitudes and behavior -- a difference first highlighted in the 1930's by LaPiere in the USA.  He found that people who had anti-Asian attitudes did not behave towards Asians in an adverse way.  And I have certainly heard on a couple of occasions Anglo-Australians say critical things about the Chinese.  But again they did not discriminate against the Chinese in their behaviour

I have for instance on a couple of occasions known Anglo-Australians to make derisive remarks about "Slopes" (East Asians) who were in fact happily married to Filipinas.  It is reminiscent of Wilhelm Marr, the man who invented the term "Antisemitism" (He thought it was a good thing).  He married three times and on all three occasions he married ethnically Jewish ladies.  Psychologists generally think that it is behaviour that is important and I do too.

And there is one bit of behaviour in Australia that demonstrates vividly how well Asians and Caucasians get along. It comes from the fact that Asian ladies hate being so small amid a population of largish Caucasians.  So they are determined that their sons will be tall.  But the only way to achieve that is to get a tall partner. But nearly all the tall men around are Caucasians.  No problem!  The Asian ladies set theirs caps at tall Caucasian men and get them.  They know how to charm.

It is quite common to see in the big cities tall Caucasian men walking around with a little Asian lady on their arms.  The only time you see an Asian lady with an Asian man is where it is a TALL Asian man.  So both the Asian lady and the Caucasian man  demonstrate clearly that they are not racist in any behavioural sense.  They accept one another without regard to racial differences.  It may be worth noting that in the traditional Bogardus scale of social distance, marriage is the closest distance. So Australia is remarkably non-racist where East Asians are concerned.

A similar phenomenon has been noted in American Ivy League universities. The big sporting guys very often have an Asian girlfriend, which is frustrating to the Caucasian women.  When they go for some big guy they often find that an Asian lady has beaten them to it.  So among themselves they refer to their female Asian fellow-students as "The Yellow Peril".

I now want to go on to another big group difference that was initially quite fierce in its antagonisms but which faded away when the difference turned out to be attractive rather than negative!  Strange but true.  And that difference lives on in me personally -- as it does for most Australians who trace all or most of their ancestry to the British Isles.  I refer to the Irish/English difference, which was and still is also a religious difference:  The Protestant/Catholic difference.  And those were once very important differences indeed.  Large numbers of both English and Irish migrated to Australia over the years and they brought all,their old prejudices with them.  So that surely was a good support for racial separatism.

And I do myself remember the tail-end of that separatism.  When I was young, I remember learning that in Brisbane, Protestants patronized a Department store by the name of "McWhirters"  and Catholics patronized antoher depatment store just down the road in Brunswick St. known as "T.C. Beirnes". And if a Protestant wandered into "T.C. Beirnes" it gave you a funny feeling.  You thought that a nun might suddenly leap out and grab you.  The two stores were as near to identical as could be, of course.

So how come I and a majority of Australians who are ethnically like me have both English and Irish ancestry?  There are few "old" Australians who cannot cheerfully nominate both their English and Irish ancestors.

What happened?  How did this dreadful miscegenation occur? How did our ancestors manage to get into bed together despite their profound racial and religious differences?  The answer is that the differences were not in fact profound.  But for horny young people they were sufficiently great to be interesting.  Young Protestants and Catholics could not keep their hands off one another despite the stern disapproval of both their families.

And I am old enough to remember how it was. We young Protestants felt that Catholic girls were more exciting because they thought sex was a sin.  Protestant teaching was of course also against pre-marital sex but the Protestant churches had a much weaker grip on their people than the Catholic church did. So because there were no real differences between the two groups, the religious difference was a spice, not a barrier, to adventurous young people. Young people like breaching barriers and much barrier breaching did go on. Most of my ilk are the product of it.

So the Protestant/Catholic difference has faded away in Australia.  Australians mostly don't even know one-another's religion -- Muslims excepted, of course.

The important part of the story is of course that the Protestant/Catholic difference was superficial. The two groups spoke the same language, looked the same and both grew up hearing only slightly  different versions of the story of Christ. 

Both Great Britain and Ireland started out with a Celtic population that was later subjected to large invasions of Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians and Normans.  And all four groups differed in little more than culture to start with anyway. So the differences between Britain and Ireland are to this day almost wholly cultural rather than racial.

It's not always so, but in the  British case the language differences appear to be a pretty good index of racial differences.  The language of almost all of both islands is English, with the language of the Celts relegated to Western fringes -- places like Connacht and Donegal in Ireland and the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.  In fact the only substantial Gaelic-speaking population remaining in the British Isles is North Wales, which is an appendage of England.

So there were no significant inborn differences between the English and Irish populations of Australia -- which made the cultural differences vulnerable to challenge and change.

So thus endeth my sermon:  Group or racial antagonisms and separatisms do not persist where the differences are superficial.  The corollary of that is that group or racial antagonisms and separatisms only persist when there are major and important differences between the two groups.  Such antagonisms and separatisms are not silly, ignorant or evil but have real and important foundations -- JR

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

12 December, 2016

The Workforce Gender Equality Agency: More men to be recruited as teachers and nurses -- but how?

This is undoubtedly a desirable outcome but legislating for it is not likely to achieve much.  There were once quite a lot of male teachers in the schools.  I was taught by six of them that I can remember.  Where have they gone?  They have gone where a lot of capable female teachers have gone -- to more pleasant employment.  The undisciplined rabble that teachers in Australia's government schools are often confronted with is a pain which anybody with options would avoid. A restoration of discipline, including corporal punishment for chronically unruly kids, would be the first step to getting more male teachers.

Even that, however, could have quite limited results.  Because in the present climate of political correctness, any male engaging in teaching is a huge risk-taker.  There have been in recent years too many instances of disgruntled teenage female students making false complaints against male teachers after getting a poor grade or some other beef.

And the treatment of the male teacher in  such circumstances has usually been abominable -- with no regard for proper judicial procedures and standards or other protections for the falsely accused teacher.  Even the utterly basic  presumption of innocence is often denied, with feminist influence insisting that the presumption of truthfulness must be given to the female students.  And even after exoneration does finally  occur the teacher is still usually left with a shattered life.

Reviving the presumption of innocence would greatly improve the situation and matching all publicity to the publicity given to the complainant would also have a major effect.  If the complainant insists on public anonymity, the accused should get  that too. One imagines that false complainants would be particularly likely to demand no publicity of their identity so suppressing the identity of an accused teacher would be particularly appropriate in those circumstances.

I have no firm comment on men becoming nurses even though I have met and talked with the occasional "Mister Sister" over the years.  I have however heard reports of feminazi nurses finding ways to harass male colleagues -- with false reports etc. That has had distressing results to the harassed males. Once again, insistence on proper judicial proceedings and standards in assessing any complaints would go a long way to achieving a just outcome

MORE men will be recruited as teachers and nurses, as Australia’s sex equality watchdog pushes for "bloke quotas" in schools and hospitals.

The Workforce Gender Equality Agency — the federal government body set up to promote gender equality and equal ­opportunity at work — wants affirmative action to bring more manpower to the "caring professions".

Agency director Libby Lyons called for male recruitment targets to smash the ­"industrial and occupational segregation" which brands teaching and nursing as "women’s work".

"Set a target," she told The Saturday Telegraph. "That’s how you get cultural change."

Ms Lyons, a former teacher, said boys needed male role models in schools, where four out of five primary teachers and 58 per cent of high school teachers are women.

"Until we encourage more men into teaching we’re not going to see little boys feel more secure and thrive as we do little girls," she said.

"There’s no diversity of thought or innovation happening there in the classroom if we are solely relying on females, particularly in primary school."

Ms Lyons called on schools and hospitals to mimic the mining and rail industries, which set quotas to hire and promote women — and even banned blokes from applying for some jobs — in an effort to feminise the workforce.

She said children were "like sponges" in primary school and picked up on "innuendo and habits and culture" from teachers. She did not want any of her future grandchildren "being taught in schools just by women".

"I’m a woman. I like things that females like — but also let males project who and what they are as well," she said.

Ms Lyons also wants more men in nursing, given nine out of 10 nurses are women. "We need to challenge the norm that says men cannot care," she said. "Men can care — and do the job as well as women," she said.

State Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said he would "like more male teachers in our classrooms" but ruled out targets.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said teachers were role models.

"Ideally we would have both men and women providing outstanding examples to boys and girls in their schools," he said.


Politically correct and risk averse Victoria Police ensure crime thrives

It took an attempted carjacking of a former assistant police commissioner for Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews finally to take his state’s soaring crime rate seriously.

Two weeks ago former detective Noel Ashby was ambushed by four "aggressive African males" who tried to force his Mercedes off the road. Just another day in the socialist state of Victoria, where carjackings and violent home invasions are a constant fear.

So Andrews and police commissioner Graham Ashton last week announced a $2 billion recruitment of 3000 new police officers.

But it won’t matter how many cops they hire, the politically correct, risk-averse culture of Victoria Police will ensure crime thrives.

Crooks and thugs are free to run riot, while police obsess about gender, racism and LGBTI. Rapists prowl, gangs brawl, losers brazenly smoke bongs in CBD parks, drunk drivers speed away from booze buses, while police are busy cracking down on racial abuse on Facebook, or denouncing "language" crimes by Eddie McGuire that "demean women".

Victorians accept a level of lawlessness unheard of in Sydney. It’s a lesson to the rest of the country how quickly life turns sour when you neuter your police force with politically appointed commissioners, and when your justice system is at the mercy of a judiciary stacked with human rights lawyers and former union functionaries.

After Melbourne’s iconic Moomba Festival fireworks in March, Sudanese members of the fabled Apex gang brawled with Pacific Islanders in Federation Square, forcing people to cower behind locked restaurant doors. Only four people were arrested.

When pot-smoking protesters fired up their bongs at a picnic in Flagstaff Gardens this year, police didn’t just turn a blind eye; a spokeswoman condoned the event as "freedom of expression".

When two officers tested positive to drugs on duty a few years ago, not only were they not sacked or charged, but a spokeswoman described their drug use as "no surprise".

No surprise former commissioner Ken Lay is the poster boy for drug decriminalisation. "We can’t arrest our way out of this", he says, which is true if you don’t even try.

Victoria Police don’t enforce the law on union picket-lines, either, but stand sentry in implied solidarity.

And, after a law suit for "racial profiling" young African men, street police now are required to issue "receipts" to anyone they talk to, in a humiliating, time-wasting farce.

Then there is the joke of police chases, restricted last year so 145 a month dropped to five. Crooks just have to step on the gas.

There’s no point wailing about African refugees as if they pose some sort of novel crime challenge. Wrongdoers have been empowered by a police force which has neglected its responsibilities for a decade.

As a result, Victoria’s crime rate keeps rising — up 12.4 per cent in the past year. It’s now the nation’s murder capital.

But the problem is not, as Andrews pretends, a shortage of police. Victoria has more police per capita than NSW, which boasts the lowest crime rate in 25 years. NSW has 218 police per 100,000 people, versus Victoria’s 258.

Victoria has half the imprisonment rate of NSW, a higher victimisation rate and a lower reporting rate for most crimes, a good indication people have lost faith in police.

Even more telling, in the western suburbs of Melbourne, residents are banding together to protect their neighbourhoods with DYI security. Locals in Caroline Springs call it "Criminal Springs" because of the brazen carjackings and home invasions. Fed up with the lack of police protection, they patrol their streets themselves.

But instead of being mortified by this vote of no confidence, Ashton told radio 3AW the patrols should stop "because it becomes vigilantism".

When Jill Meagher was raped and murdered in Melbourne four years ago, no one knew how complicit police and legal authorities were in the crime that shook the nation. Adrian Bayley had been convicted of raping eight women, yet was free on parole. He is suspected of raping at least 16 prostitutes in 2000, but the rape squad wasn’t interested. His DNA, taken in 2001, was lost by the hopeless police forensics lab.

Instead of locking up crooks, Victoria Police have become do-gooder agents of social change. Last year they embraced the gender scolds of the Victoria Human Rights Commission who made the usual "shocking" claims of entrenched sexual harassment and discrimination.

When he’s not pondering gender quotas, Ashton reserves his zeal for a self-serving vendetta against Catholic Cardinal George Pell, which wins plaudits from the ABC.

Rather than playing sectarian games and pandering to identity politics, Ashton might try doing his job. Better yet he could resign.


Outrage over gay protocols for crises

Victorian government funded researchers will investigate the specific experiences and needs of LGBTI communities in the event of an emergency.

Gender-neutral bathrooms in ­crisis evacuation centres and tailored support services to address perceived discrimination against gay and transgender communities are being canvassed under a push to develop "LGBTI-inclusive" emergency management policies.

Victorian government funded researchers will investigate the specific experiences and needs of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) communities in the event of an emergency, such as a bushfire or flood, amid broad questioning about the Andrews government’s increasingly radical social agenda.

The initiative follows research commissioned by several women’s health organisations claiming that disaster impacts are "heightened for LGBTI people".

The decision to investigate these issues in the context of ­disasters such as the 2009 Black Saturday bushfire catastrophe and the 2010-11 Queensland floods has raised questions about the qualification of some academics to inform emergency services social policy.

The new research project will be managed by La Trobe University’s Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria and the Gender and Disaster Pod, an initiative of Women’s Health Goulburn North East and Women’s Health In the North.

Centre for Independent Studies senior research fellow Jeremy Sammut said the concerning issue with such projects was that they were often run by academics with limited frontline experience.

Dr Sammut cited the example of the 2014 Sydney Lindt cafe siege, in which Muslim radical Man Haron Monis took 18 people ­hostage. Monis and two hostages were killed. A recent inquest heard evidence that the NSW police command was concerned with the social and political ramifications while trying to secure the release of host­ages. "The risk is they can end up diverting ­crucial services from the core mission, which is to protect the safety of everyone in the community," Dr Sammut warned.

Noel Ashby, a former assistant commissioner for Victoria Police who forged strong links with the LGBTI community during his 35-year career, expressed concern that policies singling out special-interest groups could have a negative impact on the ability of emergency services to respond to a critical incident. "Operational matters should never be coloured by sexual orientation or race or gender," Mr Ashby said.

"In an emergency scenario, time is often critical and to have further considerations can only prolong decision-making and can hinder the response.

"The key issue must always be the broader issue of safety of all."

Emergency Management Victoria commissioner Craig Lapsley received a backlash on social media this week after he ­promoted the study, which is seeking survey participants.

Mr Lapsley said research in NSW and Queensland had indicated that LGBTI community members caught in an emergency had difficulty in accessing emergency and support services and faced marginalisation or ­exclusion. "Our interest in this ­Victorian research is in understanding if this is the same here and how we can better understand and improve the health and wellbeing of LGBTI Victorians after emergencies," he said.

According to the explanatory statement accompanying the study, "understanding LGBTI marginality, vulnerability and ­resilience helps contribute to ­inclusive and effective emer­gency management policies".

The survey will ask participants about their experiences in an emergency; what assistance they needed and what was ­offered; whether they felt their sexual orientation or gender identity had an impact on the quality of service; and whether they felt discriminated against. Respondents will also be asked to comment on "an ideal response".

La Trobe’s Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria, which also manages the contentious Safe Schools program on behalf of the Victorian government, has been working with GAD Pod, providing training to help emergency services personnel understand issues specific to LGBTI communities. In a video posted to the group’s website, Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria chief Liam Leonard says that in an emergency there is often a blanket ­assumption that victims are ­heterosexual or, if not, they are "out" about their sexuality, and have family support.

"For many LGBTI people, that’s not the case," he says.

The project comes off the back of research commissioned by GAD Pod that found disaster impacts were heightened for LGTBI people. "The usual procedures to secure residences and rehouse those affected by disaster are accompanied by ­additional privacy concerns and risk and experience of discrimination," says the report, Gender and Emergency Management Guidelines: A Literature Review, which was released this year.

"The space of evacuation centres, for example, may be ­experienced as a space of risk by same-sex couples who fear ­homophobic responses from personnel or other evacuees. The lack of privacy in these centres, particularly in bathroom facilities divided only into a male/female binary, is often highly problematic for transgender individuals."

The review pointed to previous research that found LGBTI victims of the Queensland floods reported exacerbated anxiety resulting from having to hide their sexual or gender identity from emergency workers and volunteers, or stay with people who were not accepting of them.

Victorian Emergency Ser­vices Minister James Merlino last night defended the initiative. "We need to make sure all members of the community are prepared and supported when a disaster or emergency strikes," he said. The research project was dismissed by the state opposition as another example of the ­Andrews’ government "dividing communities".


Anger over welfare for multiple wives

Conservative MP Cory Bernardi says the payment of Centrelink spousal benefits to the wives of polygamous Muslim men is political correctness gone mad.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott called for action after learning about the issue, only to be told that it would cost more to pay them the single parent benefit, News Corp Australia reported on Sunday.

Centrelink said it did not hold data based on polygamous relationships or religion. The Islamic marriages are religious unions that are not registered.

"We are always told the data is not kept. I think that is a convenient excuse," Senator Bernardi told News Corp.

"(T)he lack of will to confront some individuals who seek to apply a different law to themselves means politicians are afraid to speak out."

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann dismissed the story, saying the government doesn't recognise multiple marriages. "The proposition that somehow the government is authorising polygamy, that is just completely ridiculous," Senator Cormann told Sly News.

He also rejected the suggestion the government was refusing to crack down on such payments because of some sort of political correctness motivation.

He said there are only two options for these payments - a single parent payment, which is higher than partner payments.

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 December, 2016

The whited sepulchre replies

The Uniting Church has replied below to accusations that it has abandoned Christianity.  And their message is clear enough:  "We are just a do-gooder organization now". 

The central aim of Christians, starting from Christ himself has always been to lead people to salvation from "kolasin", the everlasting cutting off (Matt. 25:46).  We know what John 3:16 says:  "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that those who believe in him will not perish but have everlasting life". Being saved into eternal life is the basic Christian offering. But the very word "salvation" is not mentioned below.  The only mentions of anything religious are the two vague phrases: "faith and life in Christ" and: "the way of Christ in the mission of God.".

The accusations aimed at the church organization are clearly correct. They have lost the faith.  They are not even pretending to be a Christian church now.  People will have to look elsewhere for the evangel of Christ

Today’s Daily Telegraph has run a series of inaccurate and vexatious news items about the Uniting Church and our Uniting community services agency in NSW and the ACT. The accusation on the front page of the newspaper that the Church is removing Christ and religious symbols is totally incorrect.

The explicit Christian commitment to people in the care of Uniting Church agencies remains the same as it has for the last 40 years. Our Church, since its beginning, has borne witness to a unity of faith and life in Christ which transcends cultural and economic, national and racial boundaries. The work of our agencies is a crucial expression of our continuing faith and mission. The Uniting agency in NSW and the ACT states clearly on its website "Christ invites us to serve humanity by creating an inclusive, connected and just world."

Uniting, the largest provider of social services in NSW and the ACT, changed its brand name last year. This decision was taken to ensure that awareness of our services reaches more of the vulnerable and disadvantaged people we seek to serve.

Preparation for moves towards the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the shift to self-managed care were important considerations in this decision. Other church agencies are considering adopting the Uniting brand.

The Daily Telegraph articles also misrepresent the Church’s very real concern for survivors of child sexual abuse. The suggestion that branding decisions are "a desperate bid to distance itself from child sex abuse scandals" is completely false and despicable.

The Uniting Church has acknowledged, apologised and expressed our deep regret to those children who were sexually abused in our care. We are committed to working with survivors to make amends for what happened in the past.

Our formal apologies to survivors predate the Royal Commission by many years. Yet the Daily Telegraph takes survivor group comments out of context to conflate an allegation about a "culture of denial". The representative quoted in the article has since verified to the Church that she told the journalist that she would not provide comment on specific institutions.

I would like to thank the many Uniting Church members and supporters who have condemned the Daily Telegraph for its disgraceful coverage. Their ongoing support and commitment is a significant endorsement of the effectiveness of our work as an inclusive justice-oriented Church seeking to follow the way of Christ in the mission of God. [Christ said to "seek first the kingdom of God" (Matt. 6:33).  THAT is the way of  Christ, not secular do-gooding]


Indigenous man's disability pension claim denied twice despite medical evidence he deserved it

And the Left love bureaucracy!  They must.  They keep creating more of it

An Indigenous man has had his claim for the disability pension refused twice despite having lost an eye, parts of his jaw and his nose as a result of cancer treatment.

The 64-year-old man from a remote community in the Northern Territory never attended school and is unable to read or write in English.

Mr A - as he was identified in a report by the commonwealth ombudsman into accessibility of the disability support pension by remote Indigenous people - had major surgery as part of his cancer treatment which involved the removal of one eye, his lymph nodes, substantial portions of his upper jaw, loss of his nasal cavity and extensive skin grafts from his leg, in addition to undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

He first claimed the disability support pension shortly after surgery.

The claim noted that he was predominantly in a wheelchair, could not eat or drink, had severely restricted breathing and severe generalised weakening.

His doctor noted that he required 24-hour care and needed assistance will all of his daily living activities.

However, a government pension assessor who spoke with Mr A only by phone said "current and future treatment may significantly improve symptoms of (Mr A)'s condition."

The assessor made no attempt to contact medical staff treating Mr A and his claim was subsequently rejected.

Mr A lodged a second claim six months later, when his condition had deteriorated to a point that he was being fed through a stomach tube.

The second assessor looked at Mr's existing file, did not contact any of the medical staff treating Mr A and refused the claim.

It wasn't until a lawyer stepped in to help Mr A that a government review officer granted him a pension, backdating payments to when the first claim was made.

An investigation was never launched with the ombudsman, despite a request from Mr A's lawyer, as his claim had been granted.


Fremantle to reinstate Australia Day citizenship ceremony on January 26

The City of Fremantle has caved in to federal government pressure and agreed to reinstate its Australia Day citizenship ceremony on January 26 rather than on its "culturally inclusive alternative event" to be held two days later.

The backdown came after Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke last week threatened to strip the left-leaning Fremantle council of its power to hold citizenship ceremonies if it went ahead with the move on January 28.

The government stepped in after WA Liberal MP Ben Morton raised concerns that the cancellation of the January 26 ceremony would deny new Australian citizens the honour of having their citizenship recognised on Australia’s national day.

Mr Hawke today welcomed the council’s decision to reinstate the citizenship ceremony on Australia Day.

"The newest citizens in Fremantle will be offered the choice of attending a citizenship ceremony at Fremantle Town Hall on Australia Day, or the next scheduled ceremony at Fremantle Arts Centre on March 14th 2017, as normal," he said.

"I commend Mayor Brad Pettitt on this common sense decision that will ensure our newest citizens will have the opportunity of having their citizenship conferred to them on our national day, Australia Day, alongside thousands of others.

"The government’s view is that citizenship ceremonies are non-commercial, apolitical, bipartisan and secular.

"They must not be used as forums for political, partisan or religious expression or for the distribution of material which could be perceived to be of a commercial, political or religious nature.

"Australia Day is our national day and is a perfectly appropriate and suitable choice for an Australian citizenship ceremony to be held."

Dr Pettit said the City of Fremantle would write to all new citizens to inform them of the option of attending the ceremony on Australia Day or March 14.

He said the council’s alternative Australia Day event on January 28 would include an informal recognition of the many migrants who had made Fremantle their home.

"Our council made the decision to provide the option of attending a culturally inclusive event on 28 January," he said.

"We are receiving strong support from our community, and beyond, about this decision.

"This was never about the timing of the citizenship ceremony — it was included in the ‘One Day’ program as we felt that new citizens would enjoy the opportunity to be welcomed to our community at such a large and exciting event.

"While the feedback from new citizens was that they would be happy to be conferred citizenship at the ‘One Day’ event, the Federal Government has not supported a ceremony on this date.

"We welcome Australians celebrating, in whichever way they see fit, the wonderful and diverse place in which we live."


Why Big Mining loves Big Green

The Labor/Green coalition in Australia has declared war on coal, oil and gas. So why is Big Mining not fighting back?
BHP Billiton is a big producer of coal, oil, gas, iron ore, copper, nickel and uranium. Rio Tinto is a big producer of uranium, coal, iron ore, copper and aluminium. Glencore is a big producer of coal, copper, zinc and nickel. And Shell is big in oil, gas and bitumen, manufactures biofuels, and generates peak power with natural gas.

These companies employ competent geologists, physicists and chemists who could tell them that CO2 is not a pollutant and is not the primary driver of climate. They must know there is no scientific justification for the green war on hydro-carbon fuels - but none of these big miners speak out against this baseless war on their products. Some even waste shareholder funds producing glossy brochures promoting the green agenda.

Big Mining is not that dumb. Their climate concern is more motivated by self-interest - they see long-term profits flowing from the silly green agenda. They are also political cowards.

 Wind and solar power are indeed "free", but to extract electricity from them is not free – it needs turbines and solar panels, generators and transformers, transmission towers and power lines all of which boosts demand for metals like steel, copper, zinc, nickel and rare earths.

Moreover, wind and solar are very diffuse power sources and need large areas of land together with webs of access roads and power lines in order to generate significant power.

The heavy machinery needed for construction, maintenance and dismantling these green power networks provide more demands for petroleum and mining products. Before one watt of green electricity is generated for consumers, green power has boosted demand for most products of Big Mining.

Green power also needs back-up power ready to swing into action immediately the wind drops or clouds obscure the sun. This is great news for reliable energy suppliers capable of rapid backup, which usually means gas. So Big Gas loves Big Green and is secretly delighted by the war on coal. Lead, nickel, cadmium and lithium miners are also delighted with the soaring demand for energy-storing batteries.

Intermittent energy producers like wind and solar also cause destructive fluctuations in electricity supply and prices – prices can fall to zero on a sunny, windy afternoon, but soar during still, sunless periods. Coal power stations cannot adjust quickly to this destructive variability in electricity prices and will be sent broke, thus providing even more markets for gas.

Big Gas is thus delighted to secretly support the war on coal as it will do wonders for the demand for gas; but they fail to understand that once Greens have destroyed coal power, they will then turn their green guns on to gas.

Uranium producers love the greens. They know that if coal and gas are banned from power generation, and all hydro-power sites are "world-heritage protected", all that is left to stabilise the electricity grids of modern society is nuclear power.

Even coal producers see short-term benefits in supporting inane green ideas like carbon capture and burial. This would greatly increase the amount of coal needed to generate the electricity consumed to collect, separate, compress, transport and bury exhaust gases as well as to refine and fabricate all the metals needed for gas collectors, compressors and pipelines. Long term, the main beneficiaries of this industrial silliness will be nuclear power and uranium miners like Rio and BHP.

So Big Mining can extract benefits from green energy while earning political credits. And their PC executives can polish their green credentials in their suburban circles by supporting the silliness.

On the debit side are the usual victims - taxpayers and consumers of coal, oil, gas, electricity and metals; and employees and shareholders of industries being forced to close or emigrate because of expensive or unreliable electricity supply.


Doctor and his wife win $1m after being tasered by W.A. cops

Sheer thuggery. Catherine Atoms and Robert Cunningham were walking past the Esplanade Hotel at night in November 2008 when they stopped to help a man lying in bushes nearby. Police arrived shortly afterwards and tasered the couple, before handcuffing them and charging them with obstructing a public officer. The charges were later dismissed. The biggest disgrace is that all the watchdogs failed to bark.  It should never have got to court. There clearly is an official culture of protecting the police, right or wrong. 

A law professor and his wife who were yesterday awarded more than $1 million in damages after an unlawful arrest have told how they risked going bankrupt to expose how they were treated by police officers.

Robert Cunningham and Catherine Atoms wept in the District Court yesterday as their eight-year battle resulted in a judge announcing the massive payout.

Judge Felicity Davis found they were assaulted, tasered, unlawfully detained and maliciously prosecuted by police after stopping to help a stranger on a night out in Fremantle in 2008.

But it was a hollow victory, with Ms Atoms’ career as a community engagement consultant in tatters.

She was put into "performance management" in her relatively new job after being charged by police and by the time a magistrate threw the case out 18 months later, she was on her way "out the door".

The bulk of damages — $1.024 million — were awarded to Ms Atoms for loss of earnings and the distress and back injury she suffered, with $110,000 awarded to Dr Cunningham.

Judge Davis told the court that she calculated percentages of liability for individual officers and the State and made an order for "aggravated damages" against one officer, Simon Traynor.

The police were represented by government lawyers and supported by the Police Union, which is considering an appeal.

WA Police Union President George Tilbury said:"The WA Police Union will assess Judge Davis’ reasons when they are published on Thursday, December 15. WAPU will consider the merits of an appeal and continue to support the officers involved".

Outside court, the couple told The Weekend West that they would have been financially devastated by legal costs of the other parties if they had lost the case.

"We would have had to file for bankruptcy, that’s what was on the line for us," Dr Cunningham said.

"We had to sue both the State and the individual who had separate legal counsel, so we would have been subject to two sets of legal costs of an 18-day trial."

Dr Cunningham and Ms Atoms took the action after all of their efforts to hold the officers to account failed — a police internal investigation cleared them of wrongdoing and the Corruption and Crime Commission agreed with the outcome, refusing to instigate its own inquiry despite criticism by its then parliamentary inspector.

"I have a great sadness that the legal system pushes you into dollars and cents when that’s not always what it’s about," Dr Cunningham said.

"We were concerned about the systemic issues and how less privileged people in society may be subject to this type of behaviour by the police on a regular basis and all of the consequences that flow from that.

"People lose faith in the justice system. They lose faith in the good police officers serving our State."

Ms Atoms said she would take no satisfaction from the decision unless it sparked change. "I think it’s important to recognise that a lot of people experience far worse," she said.

"If justice is so out of reach for us, how far out of reach is justice for the broader public?"

Dr Cunningham called for the CCC to finally hold its own investigation of the case.

"From our personal experience, we’ve learnt that unfortunately the CCC does not appear to be fulfilling its mandate of successfully overseeing the activities of the WA Police service," he said.

"Until we have some confidence that this kind of thing is less likely to happen as a result of this, through some sort of systemic review, then we haven’t been fully successful in this action."

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 December, 2016

Monash University raises over $200 million in US market in "Green" bonds

This is certainly extraordinary.  Borrowing a lot of money that you may never have to pay back -- because you can "roll over" the debt -- must certainly be superficially attractive but it means that a lot of money will be spent on paying interest -- money that could be used for other things. One would have thought that taxpayer funds given to a university would be spent on buildings, teaching and services only -- without a slice being cut off to pay international financiers. 

But that is what Monash has done.  In order to have the money now, they have agreed to have less of it for their own use. And  because of the immediacy of their thinking, Leftists like borrowing.  They seem incapable of imagining either the past or the future so a loan seems like free money to them.  And the Daniel Andrews government that agreed to this is nothing if not Leftist

What makes the bond "green" is a little unclear.  The money will actually be spent on new buildings.  But perhaps the buildings will have the sort of impractical frills that Greenies like --   Pink batts everywhere and a windmill on top of every building?

In a world first, Monash University has raised A$218 million through a climate bond issued in the US private placement market to fund further sustainable development projects across its campus network.

Monash is the first university in the world to raise funds by issuing a climate bond.

The University’s historic achievement in raising development funds in this way follows its success in 2014 when it became the first Australian tertiary institution to raise debt capital in the US private placement market. The proceeds from the University’s issue were used to construct award-winning student residential buildings at the Clayton Campus.

The climate bond was certified by the 'Climate Bond Initiative' (CBI) and a Green Bond assessment [accreditation] from Moody's Investor Services. The University structured the bond to provide the market with investment options in US and Australian dollars over 15 years, 17.5 years or 20 years.

The President and Vice-Chancellor of Monash University, Professor Margaret Gardner AO said the University’s long-term debt raising initiatives, approved by the Treasurer of the State of Victoria, have provided Monash with secure and cost effective access to development capital.

Professor Gardner said the success of the Climate Bond Initiative reflects Monash as a global University. The funds would add to the university’s transition to net zero emissions.

"As a truly international university, Monash has a responsibility to provide strong and visionary leadership on sustainable development. We want our campus network to be exemplars of environmental, social and economic best practice," Professor Gardner said.

Monash University has an annual operating revenue of more than $2 billion and its total assets are valued at $3.7 billion.

David Pitt, Monash’s Chief Financial Officer said the University was delighted with the outcome of the financing.

"The Monash issue was very well received by the investor community reflecting the University’s high credit quality based on its standing in international markets.  This was a great collaborative effort with Commonwealth Bank Australia receiving in excess of A$900 million of investor bids for the issue," Mr Pitt said.

Professor Gardner said Monash’s investment in sustainable development had been prioritised in the University’s new environmental, social and governance policy statement.

"Monash has a sustainability plan that will include a target date for net zero emissions to be announced next year," Professor Gardner said.

Over the next two years, Monash University will allocate capital raised through the Climate Bond to a portfolio of projects that achieve certification in accordance with the standards of the Global Climate Bond Initiative.

Development projects at Monash to benefit from the climate bond funding will include:

A major new learning and teaching building targeting 5 Star Green Star Certification at the Clayton campus $180 million
Caulfield campus library redevelopment $43.4 million
Solar panel installation $6.6 million
External LED lighting project $3.5 million.

A requirement for issuing Climate Bonds is the capital raised must be spent on projects that achieve measurable sustainability outcomes in line with the global Net Zero Emissions by 2050 target.

The University will outline progress on the Climate Bond projects in its annual report.

Monash was advised on the financing by DTW Capital Solutions.

Press release from Leigh Funston ( on behalf of Monash U.

More deliberate ignorance from the Left

It's been known for years that PISA results are a pretty good proxy for IQ but Leftists hate anything that contradicts their "all men are equal" fantasy.  So differencres below that are largely reflective of IQ are explained in all sorts of other bullshit ways -- not enough money being spent being the front runner, as usual. 

The two main differences highlighted below are both an example of IQ effects:  East Asians are brighter than we are and poor people and their children are a lot less bright than top earners and their children.  That's why the poor are not top earners. Awful stuff to say, I know, but that is the reality -- and disliking reality won't change it

Most of the remaining variance in educational results is probably due to teaching methods.  Australian classrooms are still very low discipline and permissive and that can have a very depressing effect on educational results.  Bringing back corporal punishment for disruptive students would undoubtedly bring standards back up to what they once were

Another bit of bullshit below is the call for "high quality early childhood education".  Have none of these galahs heard of America's "Head Start" program?  It's been going for many years with nil results.  It's kept going mainly as a child-minding service

Spare a thought for Australia's 15-year-olds. If they don't have enough to contend with, between the immediate demands of Snapchat and a future of robots stealing their jobs, now they have to bear the brunt of a nation's slighted pride.

The latest PISA results are out, and they are not good.
What PISA says about Australian schools

The major global test of student achievement reveals just how far Australian high school students are behind their peers in the world's best performing countries.

The real-life problem-solving skills of Australia's teenagers are declining in the fields of maths, science and reading, according to the global Programme for International Student Assessment that's taken by over half a million 15-year-olds.

Australian students have gone backwards relative to their international peers, but also relative to Australian 15-year-olds in 2000 when PISA started.

This has implications for literally everything, from the way we fund schools, to our future competitiveness in the global innovation economy, to the way we market ourselves as a major exporter of quality higher education to the world.

The data churned out by PISA is rich and deep, and education experts will be wading through it for years to come. Rather like the postmortem of an election, interested parties can slice and dice the data in many ways to find evidence to back their preferred argument.

So the federal education minister Simon Birmingham will quite reasonably point out that at a systemic level we have record levels of funding, but that money hasn't led to improved results.

But Labor, who suspects the government of sophistry to justify not funding the full Gonski, will see confirmation of why it introduced needs-based funding in the first place.

Researchers will point out that the money has often not been going where it would make the most difference.

Some will blame teachers, or the shortage of qualified maths teachers, or the education unions, who themselves will point out that our culture undervalues teachers compared with high-performing countries like Singapore and South Korea. And places a higher burden of paperwork on them.

And some will argue with the ref: questioning the cultural bias or methodology or legitimacy of the test.

One problem with that, though. Countries reasonably comparable to Australia did better than us, like Canada and Ireland. (Even though some are sliding backwards too.)

The international league tables get the headlines – can we really have been beaten in maths by obscure upstarts like Estonia? Poland? Vietnam? And, god help us, New Zealand?

But there's actually a bigger problem than being worse at maths, reading and science than literally all of east Asia.

It's buried in the Results by Student Background part of the report.

If you compare Australian students in the top and bottom quarter by their parents' socio economic background, the bottom 25 per cent are on average three years of schooling behind the top 25 per cent.

That's in all three tested areas in PISA: scientific, mathematical and reading literacy. And it means that a kid born poor, by no fault of their own, is on average getting a far crappier education than a kid born rich. The achievement gap is almost as bad for indigenous kids.

You don't need to smash your PISA results to see that's deeply unfair, and a waste of human potential.

As Dr Sue Thomson from the Australian Council for Education Research points out, we're just not dealing with the equity gap.

"I was quite saddened to look at that data," she said. "There's no difference over 16 years of reading, 13 years of maths – no changes. We are still not attending to those gaps."

So why is this everyone's problem? If you're not moved by the fairness argument, try broad self-interest.

The PISA results deal in averages.

"The deterioration in Australia's performance is because we now have more low performing students and fewer high performing students," as Dr Jennifer Buckingham from the Centre for Independent Studies said.

So just leaving the bottom quartile to languish drags the whole system down, and that impacts on everyone.

But there is no future in promoting anti-elitism in the name of egalitarianism, either.

We have to do both: improve Australia's results by lifting the bottom end, as well as the top. An OECD report from 2012 revealed that the world's best-performing education systems actually have both high quality and high equity, or access for all.

As for the top end, most of the states have a gifted and talented education policy, but there's virtually no systemic investment or resources to back it. That needs action. Needs-based funding should extend to the needs of high-potential kids too.

As for the bottom, the evidence suggests two things will make the most difference. Systemic investment in universal high quality early childhood education; and needs-based funding.

So the policy debate circles back to Gonski. A genuine sector-blind, needs-based funding model would distribute government funding by metrics of student need, with additional loading for remote and regional schools, disabled students, indigenous students and low SES students, wherever they are at school.

If there is to be no more money than the government has already committed for school funding, then that means one thing: redistributing the funding available on a more effective and equitable basis.

Easy, right?

But there's logic, and then there's political reality. The school funding debate is at a stalemate.

The country's education ministers have their work cut out for them at COAG next week.


South Australian Left unrepentant about its energy failures

Malcolm Turnbull has launched a strident attack against the South Australian Labor government’s "appalling" approach to energy security, as premier Jay Weatherill warns the states could defy the federal Coalition and introduce their own carbon prices in their respective electricity sectors.

A clash between the federal and state leaders is unfolding after the Prime Minister was forced to clarify there would be no carbon tax, emissions trading scheme or emissions intensity scheme under his government in the wake of an internal revolt over energy policy.

"What South Australia is doing is putting at risk the jobs of South Australians, the prospects of South Australian business. Jay Weatherill’s approach to energy has been condemned by the business community in South Australia, they’re appalled," Mr Turnbull told 3AW radio.

"Major industrial centres — Whyalla, mines, Nyrstar mine and so forth — have had to close down because they don’t get reliable power.

"The South Australian Labor government has delivered an absolute double whammy of not being able to keep the light on and having the most expensive electricity in Australia."

His comments followed a declaration by Mr Weatherill, who will join his state and territory colleagues at a Council of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra tomorrow, that he would be "pressing" for states to implement their own emissions intensity schemes in electricity sectors.

While Mr Turnbull yesterday shifted the spotlight onto Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg’s handling of the climate change review, he defended his minister today, insisting he had not "advocated" a change to the government’s policy.

"I know that everyone wants to jump on Josh Frydenberg, he’s a very capable, very talented minister, he works very hard and he understands that our policy is to support lower electricity prices," Mr Turnbull said.

Mr Weatherill said his warning on carbon pricing came "in the absence of national leadership".

"Our first instinct is of course to seek a national scheme, a national scheme that should be bipartisan in its character so that there can be long-term certainty so that investors can make the much-needed investment in new forms of generation," he told ABC radio this morning.

"Instead we have a federal Liberal government which is very firmly bought and sold by the coal club. We’ve seen that in the space of the last 48 hours. An emissions intensity scheme that they were going to press ahead with, they’ve binned.

"We have in the same few days approving $1 billion worth of investment in a coal mine in Queensland and essentially a government that’s beholden to sectional interests and is not prepared to act in the national interest."

Scott Morrison retaliated, saying the state governments were "running around" with renewable energy targets set at 50 per cent, which he claimed were "completely driven by ideology".

"We’ve got the Labor Party saying the same thing at the commonwealth level. We’re interested in the outcomes, which is lower pressures on energy prices for families and households," the Treasurer told ABC radio.

"If you’re a business in South Australia then the biggest problem you’ve got is the Labor Party’s RET policy."

The states had received advice they could simply "join up together" and exercise their own carbon emissions intensity scheme, the Labor Premier said, but he would not reveal which counterparts he had been discussing the idea with.

A review of the national energy market led by chief scientist Alan Finkel will assess options to cut emissions.

Mr Weatherill said almost any informed commentator was "calling for a clear signal for a price to be put on carbon".

He said he had received advice that household electricity prices in South Australia, which was hit by a statewide blackout in September, would go down under an emissions intensity scheme applied to power generators.

"It would do three things: it would clean up our energy system, it would make it more secure because it would encourage more base load gas generation, which is half as carbon polluting as coal fired generation, and it would put downward pressure on prices because you would introduce more competition into the South Australian electricity market," Mr Weatherill said.

"Our advice is it’s similarly beneficial for other jurisdictions to join with us."

The fight over an emissions intensity scheme comes as deputy leader Julie Bishop dismissed outspoken senator Cory Bernardi’s call for the government to follow the promised lead of US president-elect Donald Trump and abandon the Paris climate accord. The agreement locks Australia into reducing its emissions by 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

"I was a member of the cabinet and the Coalition partyroom in August 2015 that decided on our 2030 targets, which are part of our commitment to the Paris agreement," Mr Bishop told ABC radio.

"196 countries signed up to the agreement, it has been ratified by well over 100 countries so it is in effect now and Australia will meet our targets, our commitments under the Paris agreement."

Ms Bishop also hit out at the South Australian Premier, declaring there had been "appalling examples" of the state government being unable to keep the lights on.

"Energy has to be as affordable as possible for the sake of businesses and families and communities," she said.

"We believe our Emissions Reduction Fund is working well. We’ve beaten our Kyoto target by something like 128 or 130 million tonnes. We’re on track to beat our 2020 target by something like 78 million tonnes and so Australia under the Direct Action Emissions Reduction Fund, which has been part of our policy since 2010 I believe, is actually meeting the targets."


ABC runs bias and weepies in place of news

The nightly ABC News television showpiece — the statewide local half-hour from 7pm — has lost its way, writes Mark Day

I don’t normally pay much heed to the incessant grizzling and grumbling about the ABC and its programming. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions and with 24 million of us accessing five TV networks and umpteen radio outlets, there’s plenty of scope for some folk to find something to complain about.

You’ll never please all the ­people all the time, so incessant grizzling will forever be the default position.

But from time to time events conspire to put the spotlight on Aunty so that we ask whether it’s on the right track, meeting the demands of its charter and meeting the needs of its viewers, who also happen to be its owners.

In the past few days we’ve had Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson excoriating the ABC for what he called its "misery-laden" coverage of indigenous affairs.

Former PM Paul Keating followed up with a blast, saying the ABC’s news services were a throwback to the 1970s and were "full of hard luck stories".

Maverick senator David Leyonhjelm last week exchanged his support for legislation to reinstate the building industry watchdog with a "freedom offset" whereby the boards of the taxpayer-funded ABC and SBS will be bound to hold at least three open public ­forums in various cities and towns around the nation annually, to ensure they keep in touch with their audience and owners.

It was pure political grandstanding, of course, but it may pay dividends if the boards embrace it. The final element that raised the hoary old "whither the ABC" question came from within Aunty.

Last week I was sounded out about addressing an end-of-year meeting of senior ABC news staff — news executives, state editors, current affairs executive producers — to give a "perspective of an informed outsider on ABC News, what it is and isn’t doing well, the ‘elite media’ issue … all off the ­record/Chatham House rules".

I was unable to accept, but what follows is an outline of what I would have said.

The nightly ABC News television showpiece — the statewide local half-hour from 7pm — has lost its way.

Keating is right. Story selection is confused and inconsistent; one night excitedly leading on a truck crash or a breaking news story of no real consequence; the next night launching an expose of misdeeds, such as the maltreatment of greyhounds.

I fully accept that people now have many ways of accessing the news, but older people still like the time-honoured format of a news package that starts with the most important story of the day and then tells us all the significant things that happened in the past 24 hours.

Even if younger people are shifting away from this format to consult their Facebook news feeds, the ABC should maintain its formal bulletin style because it provides an important balance to the drip-feed, multi-source inputs obtainable elsewhere.

Sometimes the influence of 24/7 rolling news coverage takes over. Aunty tries to ape the gee-whiz commercial approach with live crosses — always hard to do and often stumbling because of poor communications backup — which are purely visual window dressing and unnecessary to tell the story.

The main nightly news bulletin should be determinedly free of opinion and bias. It’s not.

There should be no place for questions dripping with opinion, bias, elitism and vitriol like this from Chris Uhlmann to Malcolm Turnbull last week: "You’re planting the flag of victory on a molehill half as high as the one you started on. How is that a victory?" (The PM was speechless … all he managed to say in reply was, "Well, there you go").

Uhlmann, as a senior correspondent, should have known better. He should not have asked the question in that form and his editors should never have allowed it to air.

There is room for opinion in interpretative pieces more ­suited to 7.30 or other current affairs programs, so long as it is clear that reporters state an opinion based on the facts they have revealed. Let’s not allow the post-truth world of emotion to infect the nightly news.

In my view the news/caf executives are bewitched by a perceived need to have at least one emotional story a night.

They’re known in the trade as do-gooder, weepie or gimp stories, highlighting some poor bastard’s misfortune — an invitation to the viewer to slash their wrists or take on the emotional baggage and negativity in the same way that Pearson criticises the ABC’s "misery-laden" indigenous coverage.

The ABC’s vast resources are matched only by its news/caf ­output, so there is great scope for slackness, grammatical errors, laziness and short cuts to creep in. What is needed is a tighter focus and an enforcement of standards — and that has to come from the top. Someone who knows a bit about grammar should start wielding the whip.

Beyond the news and current affairs area lie more complex and concerning issues.

I fully appreciate the need for any media organisation to be noticed, for that is how audiences are attracted. Nobody is interested in the boring middle; you get attention by testing boundaries, pursuing programming that is "out there", controversial and on the edge.

Within the ABC, pursuit of the edge seems to lead us directly into the world of minorities. Most of them settle somewhere in the LGBTIQ world — that’s lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersexual and queer to the uninitiated.

I uphold the rights of minorities. I get it that they have had a case about their past invisibility, but it remains a fact of life that the minorities are not the majority and many people who count themselves in the majority feel they are being forced, or unwillingly led, into minority worlds.

In this era of content abundance, it’s one thing for SBS to take on the Viceland alternative view of the world, but quite another for the ABC to try to ­emulate it. Its first job is to service the mainstream and I don’t believe the mainstream is fixated on minority issues.

I also think the ABC could do much better by telling Australian stories rather than buying so many cheap BBC programs. If Foxtel can make a four-hour series on Australian bushrangers, why can’t Aunty?

There are so many great yarns that are not misery laden, soft-left ideological or raise on-the-edge gender questions, and they’re being ignored.


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 December, 2016

'Remarkable year': What's behind the record low sea ice in Antarctica?

Above is the heading on an article by Peter Hannam appearing in the Sydney Morning Herald on Nov. 27. I dealt with it  on Nov. 29th., using logic alone. 

But Tony Heller has now attacked it using 20th century climate history, which is his specialty.  He shows that the principal area of recent sea-ice loss is a polynya (big hole) in the ice of the Weddel sea.  He then goes on to show that a very similar hole in the same place also occurred in 1976, when it was attributed to global cooling

So which is it?  Does a polynya prove global warming or global cooling?  Neither, of course.  It is just one of the natural phenomena that we do not understand -- though a guess that it is due to an underwater volcano would probably not be far off.  There is a lot of underwater vulcanism at both poles.

Tony also has fun with another claim in the Peter Hannam article that reported ice loss in the Northern hemisphere too.  In commenting on that ice loss, Peter said:  "With less ice to reflect the sun's radiation to space, more heat is absorbed by the oceans, added to the warming".

Tony's reply to that was crushing on two grounds: "If Peter actually knew anything about the earth, he would know that the sun doesn’t shine in the Arctic in November – and open water in the Arctic Ocean in November allows heat to escape to the much colder air."

Malcolm Turnbull rules out carbon price

The Coalition has vowed not to ­introduce an emissions intensity scheme for the electricity sector, as Malcolm Turnbull seeks to quell a backbench revolt over climate change policy and target Labor over its plans for a new price on carbon.

In a reminder of the policy fight that cost Mr Turnbull his job as Liberal leader in 2009, angry MPs yesterday warned of economic "suicide" if the government shifted ground on carbon pricing.

Following a cabinet meeting in Sydney, and in response to questions from The Australian, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg issued a statement ruling out any policy that would increase electricity prices, including an emissions intensity scheme. "The government will not be adopting new policies which increase the already high cost of electricity for Australian families," he told The Australian.

"In particular, the government will not introduce an emissions ­intensity scheme, which is a form of trading scheme that operates within the electricity generation sector. It is the Labor Party which, by putting ideology ahead of ­common sense, promises both more expensive and less reliable energy."

Tony Abbott, who took the Liberal leadership from Mr Turnbull seven years ago last week after the party split over climate policy and 11 frontbenchers resigned, told Sky News’s Bolt Report the "last thing" ministers wanted was to reopen questions "that were settled for our side back in 2009".

"We’re against a carbon tax. We’re against an ETS. We’re against anything that’s a carbon tax by stealth. We are the party of lower power prices and should let Labor be the party that artificially increases prices under Green pressure," Mr Abbott said.

Liberal senator Cory Bernardi warned it would be like " ripping a scab off an old wound" to revisit a carbon price.

Liberal MP Craig Kelly, who chairs the backbench environment and energy committee, said he accepted the need for a review, but if there was any policy that ­increased the price of electricity, "a lot of us in the ­Coalition will not accept that".

"We are nervous about it ­because we think electricity costs, energy costs are such an important factor for every single household, for every single business and we have to be so careful with these schemes," Mr Kelly told ABC radio.

Former Howard government treasurer Peter Costello said people on both sides of politics would eventually realise renewable ­energy was not a cost-effective long-term solution and that there was a duty to ensure electricity prices remained low. "Australia has to look after its interests, of course," he told the ABC’s 7.30 program last night. "One of its interests is to look after the environment but the other is to make sure that electricity is priced at a level that people can get jobs."

As the government sought to bring to an end the brawl over ­climate policy, Bill Shorten reaffirmed Labor’s commitment to a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, and to a "modernisation plan" for the ­energy generation sector which includes an emissions intensity scheme.

"We’ve said, in the electricity industry, that we would support a modernisation plan," he said. "But to do that you’ve got to look at all of Labor’s policy and that involved fundamentally a focus on renewable energy."

Labor climate change spokesman Mark Butler said the opposition remained committed to an emissions intensity scheme, a policy it had come to after "deep consultation" with the energy sector.

The Prime Minister insisted the climate change policy review was "business as usual" and had been promised by Mr Abbott at the 2010 and 2013 elections and by himself at this year’s election.

Mr Frydenberg said that since the Direct Action emissions ­reduction fund was announced in 2010, a review had been part of government policy. He said the Coalition’s energy policy had to deliver three things: secure reliable energy; energy that was "as ­affordable as possible"; and meet the Paris target of a 26 to 28 per cent cut in emissions by 2030 from a 2005 baseline.

Mr Frydenberg said that, when that target was announced in ­August last year by Mr Abbott, then environment minister Greg Hunt and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, the government said it would review Australia’s emissions reductions policies "in detail in 2017-18 in close consultation with business and the ­community".

"We are committed to tackling climate change without a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme that will hike up power bills," the government said in a statement.

Mr Frydenberg said: "That statement of policy and of intent remains unchanged. Our current policies ... are working well.

"We have beaten our Kyoto target by 128 million tonnes and we are on track to beat our 2020 target by 78 million tonnes.

"Our 2030 emissions reduction target to which Australia committed in the Paris climate agreement was agreed to by the cabinet and the Coalition partyroom in August 2015 and was based on a continuation of existing policy."

Backbench MPs criticised the government’s handling of the politics of the scheduled review, saying it had tarnished an otherwise positive end to the parliamentary year for the Coalition.

Nationals MP Andrew Broad, chair of the House of Representatives standing committee on ­environment and energy, said that while a review of policy was important, the politics were "awful".

"Government should ­always look to how to do things better, so if a review gives us a better understanding so be it, but the politics of it are awful," he said.

"People expect the government to know how to govern; they don’t like politics by review."

Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz said the government should consider fast-tracking the 12-month review, warning the Coalition could suffer from the "everything on the table" approach that similarly derailed debate over tax ­reform early this year.

Australian Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren said that an emissions intensity scheme would inevitably lead to price rises, but warned there were very few options to achieve ­energy reliability and afford­ability while reducing emissions.


'Pauline Hanson would win in a canter': Radio host claims One Nation leader would swoop to power if an election was held today

A conservative radio host thinks Pauline Hanson would win 'in a canter' if an election were held in Australia right now.

The comments by 2GB's Chris Smith come as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's support slumps even further in the lastest opinion poll - to its lowest since he ousted Tony Abbott from the top job.

Smith made the claims on Tuesday morning after millionaire Dick Smith said he supported the One Nation leader's conservative immigration policies and committed to backing her party in the next election.

'If we held a poll today of who would be the nation’s preferred prime minister and we included Pauline Hanson in that poll... I’m telling you Pauline would win in a canter,' he said on Tuesday morning.

Dick Smith said the far-right party leader had already won over Donald Trump-esque supporters from traditionally conservative electorates, with the radio host agreeing her controversial policies may appeal to a large portion of the Australian population.

This comes as Malcolm Turnbull's rating as preferred prime minister drops two points to 41 per cent in the latest Newspoll - leaving him in the worst position he has been in since toppling Abbott as leader of the Liberal party in September 2015.

His standing has continued to fall since taking office - tumbling a total of 18 points over the course of this year.

Mr Turnull's margin over Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who is favoured by 32 per cent as the preferred prime minister, has dropped from a 39-point lead in January to just nine points.

The Newspoll of 1629 voters, taken from Thursday to Sunday, shows the government's primary vote has gained one point to 39 per cent and Labor's primary vote fell two points to a two-month low of 36 per cent.

The Greens remain unchanged on 10 per cent while support for independents and other parties edged up from 14 to 15 per cent.


Australian high school students are two years behind the world's best performing countries - and have got worse at maths, science and reading

Australian high school students are two years behind their top international counterparts, a report shows.

Students aged 15 in Australia have not just slipped compared to their international peers, but have actually gotten worse at maths, science and reading, the OECD's Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) revealed.

When compared to teenagers in Singapore, local students were found to be about one-and-a-half years behind in science, one year behind in reading, and two-and-a-third years behind in maths.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham acknowledged Australia's performance was slipping in the three-yearly report, released on Tuesday night.

'Given the wealth of our nation and scale of our investment, we should expect to be a clear education leader, not risk becoming a laggard,' Senator Birmingham said.

'We must leave the politicking at the door and have a genuine conversation that is based on evidence about what we do from here.'

Australia is above the OECD average, but sits equal 10th in science, equal 12th in reading and equal 20th in maths out of 72 countries, according to analysis by the Australian Council for Educational Research, which reports on the study.

'The PISA results are showing that we are getting worse at preparing our students for the everyday challenges of adult life in the 21st century,' the council's Sue Thomson told AAP.

Dr Thomson says there is an issue with the teaching of maths and science in Australia. 'TIMSS has shown that and now PISA has shown it again,' she said.

'Other countries are getting better than we are and we're not even just standing still in this one, we're falling behind as well.'

More than half-a-million 15-year-olds complete the test worldwide, aimed at measuring how well they use their knowledge to meet real-life challenges, with more than 14,000 Australian students taking part.

The 2015 test, which focused on science, asked students about issues such as migratory bird patterns, running in hot weather and sustainable fish farming.

The PISA results come on the back of last week's Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) showing Australian students still middle of the pack after 20 years of testing.

After sitting behind the likes of Kazakhstan and Slovenia in the TIMSS, Australia was outperformed by Finland in all three PISA areas, Vietnam in Science and Slovenia, again, in maths.

Singapore was the highest performer across the board.

'I don't think there is any good news stories out of it because all of the gaps that we measure have continued to have just stayed,' Dr Thomson said.

A more detailed national report will be released early next year.


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 December, 2016

UN "rapporteur"  says Australians (and their leaders) have a big racism problem

This is part of the U.N. -- itself a highly corrupt body -- hiring people from corrupt Third World countries -- in this case Kenya -- to criticize First world countries. But no country is perfect so they will always find something to pick at. 

What is lacking is any metric, any sense of proportion.  Even an ordinal scale might be interesting:  Is Australia the 3rd most racist or the 133rd most racist?  We are not told.  Which makes the criticism pretty meaningless.  The criticisms below are entirely consistent with Australia being the least racist country in the world.  If that is so, it does put a rather different light on the criticisms, does it not?

Even politically correct old Britain has been in their firing line

One wonders at the reasons behind these pointless exercises. Are they meant to make the inhabitants of poor countries feel good?  Are they meant to make the United Nations look good?  Who knows?  There is certainly nothing scientific or even original about them.  They just regurgitate the talking points of the political Left

The United Nations' special rapporteur on racism has condemned Australian politicians from major and minor parties whose statements are contributing to an increase in "xenophobic hate speech" and negative views about migrants.

Mutuma Ruteere has also warned that political leaders who do not denounce such views are tacitly contributing to the normalisation of hard-right and racist opinions.

"If they do not speak out they lend legitimacy to them. It's very easy for darkness to drive out the light. It's very easy for the bad to demean the good. It's much harder to clear out the political space once it's infected by racists," Mr Ruteere said in Canberra on Wednesday.

Mr Ruteere was finishing a visit to Australia, the first by someone holding his position in 15 years. He comments will form the basis of a report he will deliver to the United Nations Human Rights Council next year.

Mr Ruteere said Australia was not unique among western democracies in grappling with popular support for parties with discriminatory policies and racist views.

He said the "danger" for Australia was the experience of other countries where "the fringe elements keep moving to the centre, to the mainstream [and] the fringe becomes the mainstream".

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was criticised in November for comments he made about migrants. "That's a threat not just for Australia but all open multicultural societies. This is something open democratic states need to be aware about and to take pre-emptive action against," Mr Ruteere said.

Western democracies were "reckoning with history", he said, and "have to make the decision whether to confront the bigots and racists who purport to speak for the people but contradict" the values on which those societies were founded, such as equality of all people.

Mr Ruteere's visit to Australia coincided with the final two weeks of Parliament in which Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was criticised by Labor, the Greens, security experts and multicultural groups when he suggested Australia's immigration program in the 1970s had made "mistakes".

Challenged in Parliament to identify the groups he was referring to, Mr Dutton said "of the last 33 people who have been charged with terrorist-related offences in this country, 22 are from second and third-generation Lebanese Muslim backgrounds".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull later praised the performance of Mr Dutton although he stopped short of endorsing his minister's comments.

The visit also coincided with a speech given by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson in which she said she was "fed up" with being called racist and backed the review of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Mr Ruteere said there was no need to change the law.

"Removing this provision would undermine the efforts taken by the various levels of government for an inclusive Australia and open the door to racist and xenophobic hate speech, which has been quite limited thanks to this provision," Mr Ruteere said.

He also praised the work of the Human Rights Commission and its president, Gillian Triggs.

During his visit, Mr Ruteere was briefed on the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.

He recommended Australia re-examine its criminal justice system to "embrace alternatives to detention and avoid mandatory sentences" and urged Australia to grant constitutional recognition to Indigenous peoples as soon as possible.

Greenie panic about Great Barrier Reef could harm tourism and agriculture

The Queensland and Federal Governments' reef 2050 progress report to UNESCO says land clearing is a significant challenge to future sustainability.

Scientists link land clearing to sediment runoff and poor water quality, and the report says it could put the reef on UNESCO's 'in danger' list.

Cynthia Sabag, who runs a tropical fruit farm halfway between Townsville and Cairns, said she is concerned about the health of the Great Barrier Reef, but does not think farming is to blame for its deterioration.

"It seems that agriculture has often been made the scapegoat in this debate," she said. "There was no evidence on our land that any of our farming was causing runoff, which would affect the Great Barrier Reef."

The State Government recently failed to pass laws to stop clearing, and now the Federal Government says it might intervene.

That would be a win for conservationists, but for Ms Sabag a return to more precarious times when she was not allowed to clear land for farming. "The way it was prior to the legislation, we had no hope whatsoever of ever selling our property and no hope of retiring, which is pretty demoralising," she said.

"This sort of has given us some hope, but we've lost 10 years of our life and 10 years of developing a property."

Agricultural industry body AgForce echoes Ms Sabag's concerns.

President Grant Maudsley said some politicians do not understand the challenges of managing rural properties.  "It's easy on the left side of politics ... to point at the bush and say the bush is doing the wrong things," he said. "It's simply not the case."

"We would prefer to go down a policy outcome ... and have a little talk about things, but to keep pointing the finger consistently time and time again at one issue as being the problem is rubbish."

Mr Maudsley hopes the reef will not make UNESCO's 'in danger' list and disputes evidence that land clearing is the problem.

"What we're all looking for is reducing runoff, but you don't do that by having all trees and all grass, you have a combination of both," he said. "If you have a complete tree landscape, you actually end up with a really high density of trees, which actually reduces the cover on the ground and water actually runs off."

Mr Maudsley also points out other sectors, including mining, have a role to play in restoring health to the reef.

Conservationists agree and criticise the report's failure to make any substantial policy commitments to dealing with climate change.

Imogen Zethoven from the Australian Marine Conservation Society said reducing fossil fuels is a key part of that. "We really have to start taking some tough decisions, and one of them is that we really should not be opening up any new coal mines," Ms Zethoven said.

She is concerned about the proposed controversial Adani coal mine in the Galilee Basin, which has just secured a rail line, a temporary construction camp and is now seeking federal government funding. "[It's a] devastating mine that will really spell disaster for the reef," she said.

"We are also extremely concerned that the Federal Government appears to be using taxpayer money to fund this reef-destroying project."

"We know that there is a serious issue with jobs in north Queensland, but it's not about any old job, it's the right job.

"It's about jobs that are in industries that are the future, like renewable energy, jobs that are in the tourism sector, which is growing, that will be terribly hurt if this massive Adani coal mine goes ahead."

If the reef is placed on the 'in danger' list it could potentially lose its world heritage status and that could have devastating impacts on the tourism sector.

Daniel Gschwind from Queensland's Tourism Industry Council said it could deter visitors and undermine Australia's reputation as a tourist destination.

"The money they spend on the visits to the reef, to Queensland, to north Queensland amounts to between $5-6 billion every year," Mr Gschwind said.

"That money circulates through local communities, regional communities, on and on, and it employs and generates employment for about 50,000 Queenslanders."

He said UNESCO's assessment is putting the international spotlight on Australia, and the next few years could see it emerge as either the hero or the villain of environmental management.


Dick Smith backs One Nation leader Pauline Hanson

Dick is probably the most popular man in Australia so this is a huge win for Pauline

Dick Smith Businessman Dick Smith is reportedly planning to lend his support to Pauline Hanson's One Nation party as they launch a major campaign in Sydney at the next NSW state and federal elections. 

The Australian entrepreneur predicted Hanson would be met with a surge of Trump-like support in traditionally conservative parts of Sydney, such as the north shore, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Mr Smith told the Telegraph he supported many of Pauline Hanson's policies, but said he did not agree with her views on Muslim immigration.

"I support her policy on Julian Assange. I support her immigration policy. She says she’s going to have a policy to help general aviation. I’ll certainly support that," he said.

"I agree with her views on immigration numbers, that is about 70,000 a year, not 200,000. But I do not agree with her views on Muslim immigration."

Mr Smith said he had an initial conversation with Hanson last week, where he asked her tough questions about Muslim immigration, and was planning to meet with her again before Christmas to advise her on policy.

He said that with his support he could help her secure tens of thousands of voters from the aviation industry, because they have "been let down by the ALP and the Liberals".

Mr Smith, who in 2011 authored a book titled "Dick Smith's Population Crisis", said he was also drawn to One Nation because it was "the only political party that has a policy on not having perpetual population growth".

"That means we’ll end up stabilising our population so young people will be able to afford houses," he said.

He ruled out financially backing One Nation, saying he had never donated to a political party.


Daniel Andrews’ war on religion falters

The Victorian Labor Government has run into heavy weather trying to convince the Legislative Council to pass its Religious Exceptions Bill.

Most people would agree that an organisation formed to advance a cause or a way of life — whether social, political or religious — should be able to choose not to employ people whose beliefs or lifestyle contradict or undermine the cause. Current Victorian anti-discrimination law permits this type of discrimination.  Political parties can apply a political values and activity filter in employment — the Greens don’t have to employ climate change deniers as fundraisers or in media relations. Imagine if they did. Religious bodies can employ a religious values and activities filter -– they don’t have to employ people whose beliefs or actions flatly contradict the religion. And clubs to preserve minority cultures don’t have to accept as members people who don’t have the attributes of that culture. And fair enough. Organisations which advance a cause or way of life need the freedom to choose to employ people who will be ambassadors for the cause.

As Murray Campbell described on Flat White some time ago, and as the Institute for Civil Society has explained elsewhere, the Religious Exceptions Bill limits this freedom, but only for religious organisations. It will require religious organisations, including schools, to justify to an arm of the government, like the Human Rights Commission or a tribunal, why it is "an inherent requirement" of any position for a potential employee to conform to the values of the religion.

If the government disagrees, the religious organisation will have to take on employees who don’t agree with the basic values of the organisation or pay them compensation. The law will effectively remove the ability of parents to send their children to a religious school where all the staff are selected to express and live out the values of the religion.

The law will make it hard for religious organisations to maintain their religious identity and culture. Why should a church (or mosque) have to justify to the government why its youth leader needs to be a Christian (or Muslim) and follow Christian (or Islamic) teaching on sex and marriage?

Imagine if the Collingwood Football Club were forced to accept one-eyed Carlton supporters as members of the Collingwood cheer squad. How would that work? Or what about a political party? Imagine if the ALP could not refuse to hire a vocal union hater as a fundraiser? It wouldn’t work.

The proposed law also contains a massive double-standard. Churches, mosques, synagogues, religious charities and welfare agencies, and religious schools will all need to justify to the government their "conformity to values" requirements in employment. But not political parties or organisations and not clubs for minority cultures. Only religious organisations.

The Bill looks like it is designed to undercut the ability of religious organisations to continue to be true to their basic beliefs and values. And this, it seems, has not cut the mustard with the cross bench in the Legislative Council. At least so far. The Government seems to know it may not have the numbers to pass the Bill and has adjourned debate without a resumption date.

Thankfully for Victorians, common sense and freedom of association seem to have the numbers so far in the upper house. Let’s hope good sense will continue to prevail and this bill never sees the light of day again or if it comes back it will suffer the fate required by its inherent flaws.


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 December, 2016

Some observations about Aborigines from a very kind Christian social worker who knows them well

To appreciate the latter part of his story  below, you may need to know that he is also an accomplished martial arts exponent

Basically, they are a stone age race, that has had the modern world thrust upon them.  As  they have been in the modern world only 4 x 50 years, we cannot expect them to cover 15,000 years of development in only a few generations.

In life there are problems that can be solved, and there are problems that cannot be solved but they can be managed. We cannot solve the Aborigine problem, but we can manage it. That is all we can do. They are destined, generally, to occupy the lowest rung of our society, and we should make that as comfortable and as helpful to them as we can, alleviating suffering while encouraging their development without too much pressure and stress on them.

And we should just accept that is how it has to be, and they should accept it too. Their men especially, are deeply shamed that they cannot get ahead in our society and do what white men can do and provide a good living standard for their people. They fall into shame and despair, and to relieve it, to live with themselves, they counter the shame with blame, and blame the white man for their failings. Their blaming is a coping mechanism to relieve their shame and sense of inability, which is heavy on them.

They know they are backward compared to us, they know they are ugly, they are a depressed and defeated race. They desperately try to find something they know about that we don’t, so they can feel smart and worthy of living.

Others give up and find a sort of alcoholic/drug addled peace in their failings. Like long term unemployed white men do, eventually to counter their depression and sense of repeated failure which is too unbearable to live with, they give up applying for jobs and become accepting and "contented" with unemployment. It is a survival mindset.

The Aborigine is in a survival mindset too: Just trying to live with himself as a primitive man existing on the lowest rung of a modern world that he cannot get ahead in.     

If an advanced race of humans, 15000 years more advanced than us, came from another planet and colonised this one, then we would find ourselves occupying the lowest rung of their society. That is just how it would be. Nothing the colonisers do would make us as advanced as them or able to function amongst them as equals. They would have to carry us, probably for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, until we gradually adjusted or died out through interbreeding.

Aborigines who marry whites tend to marry whites of similar intelligence to themselves, and also for some reason, it seems there only has to be a little bit of Aborigine blood in them and they easily become what we see as lazy, feral, and prone to alcohol and drug abuse.

I get along with them well. Some of the local ones call me Graymo. I was in one of their homes last week doing an assessment for council services for home maintenance, and dealing with some of the issues they struggle with.

I can’t solve their problems, only relieve the weight of them. So I put in services for them, like grass cutting, home maintenance and such. It is the only way. They do not have the intelligence or the initiative to do themselves what needs doing.

When on or off duty I will often veer my path or cross the road to talk to them because I know they need it. They need sincerity. They like to joke and laugh, and they like affection. I always make them smile and laugh, shake their hands, give them sincere goodwill and smiling eye contact and touch them on the shoulders and back. They love that.

Stupid lefty psychs say not to give them eye contact because they find it threatening, that is bullsh*t, that is because lefties are phony and because most people look down on Abos and it shows in their eye contact. I don’t look down on them. I know they are an inferior race but I don’t look down on them no more than I look down on students in lower classes than higher students. They are just coming along behind, that is all, and may never catch up, but they are no less than me in the creation of their souls. That is how I see it.

The most aggressive ones will warm to me a little, but they can be dangerous, some are ready to kick off any moment, but I am ready for that, if no weapon is involved I would cover my head and vitals and ride it out, as long as its not too savage, I have done it before, then immediately show I hold no resentment, show no fear, just answer with friendliness and forgiveness and reassurance that it is alright.

I don’t like to say it but some can be like an aggressive dog that can snap and attack if its buttons are pushed but is soppy underneath and needs some love and soothing to settle down. When the dog bites there is only two ways to deal with it, either thrash it severely so it never dares bites you again, or let it bite and be unmoved and hold it and stroke it till it settles, which messes up its mindset and resets it.

That is what I try to do with Aborigines. I once got mugged in a park in Rockhampton and could have thrashed them but they could barely mug me well, even with me doing nothing to prevent it, just laying there and covering vitals. My back got very bruised but so what? Then I sat and chatted with them and won them over. They had never experienced that before.  
Via email

Mark Dreyfus, Australia's Jewish outrage machine

Outrage is the Left's routine substitute for rational debate so one can understand his use of it. But for an educated man such as he to mainline on it just exposes him to ridicule. He dishonours himself by his actions. Leftism does seem to fry brains at times. Additionally, one would have thought that a Jew would keep his outrage for the really important challenges Jews face -- such as Islam.  Has he never read the Koran?

Peak outrage is opposition legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus’s stock-in-trade, especially when complaining about Attorney-General George Brandis.

How many times does someone have to call for the resignation of a minister, making outlandish claims of corruption without evidence, before they themselves should resign, or at least dial back the inflated rhetoric?

On no fewer than 41 occasions in the past 20 months, Dreyfus has demanded that Brandis resign or be sacked.

He probably has made the call more times than that, but that’s how many occasions I was able to confirm.

Media releases, doorstops, in parliament, via Facebook and Twitter, and of course in countless media interviews, Dreyfus has assumed the role of the boy who cried wolf.

"It is always the novice who exaggerates," CS Lewis wrote, but Dreyfus is no novice. He’s a former attorney-general, a Queen’s Counsel, no less, and an experienced politician. Frankly, he should know better.

To be sure, Brandis has been involved in some controversies recently, including the present saga regarding the Bell Group litigation.

And there is every chance that Brandis does move on sometime next year. With two significant changes to the High Court announced this week, Brandis has achieved what he wanted: helping to shape the highest court in the land for the decades ahead.

Brandis’s colleagues would prefer he made fewer headlines for the wrong reasons. He has been accident-prone.

And as comprehensive as Brandis’s statement to the Senate this week was when it came to his involvement in the Bell Group saga, questions remain, especially in assessing what discussions Joe Hockey as federal treasurer had with West Australian Treasurer Mike Nahan that led the latter to believe he had a deal, which was never consummated.

But the peak outrage Dreyfus displays time and time again when it comes to Brandis, rushing to extreme judgment before all the facts are in, displays the sort of temperament we don’t need in the senior ranks of any political party.

Dreyfus claimed Brandis was corrupt but failed to produce one shred of evidence to support such a serious accusation. Nineteenth-century American clergyman Hosea Ballou said: "Exaggeration is a blood relation to falsehood and nearly as blamable." Dreyfus is the one lowering public confidence in the body politic, not Brandis. By exaggerating to try to score political points Dreyfus is prepared to tarnish the political class (Brandis in particular) to help achieve the end of winning office. But the office Dreyfus hopes to secure will be diminished because of the distrust he seeks to foment.

If Dreyfus, like a latter-day Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, were revealing a cover-up, then power to him for his persistence in prosecuting the case against Brandis. Were he more considered in his criticisms, Dreyfus would have had a point. (There has been plenty to criticise.) But a glance at the issues Dreyfus has used to demand Brandis be sacked highlights the overreach and the tendency to shoot his mouth off too soon. Dreyfus demanded Brandis be sacked for his last-minute appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal before the July election.

Yet it turned out that most of the "appointments" were simply reappointments as recommended by AAT president Duncan Kerr (who happens to be a former Labor MP appointed to the AAT post by Labor in 2012 when Dreyfus was cabinet secretary).

Dreyfus has called for Brandis to be sacked over his treatment of Australian Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs, yet in the end it was Triggs who was embarrassed by revelations that she boasted about her ability to "destroy" a Senate committee, only to besmirch the journalist who wrote the story by claiming the quotes were inserted by a subeditor. When a recording of the interview emerged, Triggs beat a hasty retreat.

The most frequent issue Dreyfus has used to demand Brandis be sacked is the feud between the Attorney-General and now former solicitor-general Justin Glee­son.

Yet Gleeson lost a lot of credibility in their feud when Brandis was able to prove the pair did meet, as he claimed in parliament, and when it was revealed Gleeson and Dreyfus held talks during the election campaign without informing the government (as convention dictates should happen).

As it happened, Dreyfus put Gleeson in that awkward position when he put through an unsolicited telephone call.

One can only imagine how outraged Dreyfus would have been about such actions were he applying the same standards to himself that he does to Brandis.

While exaggeration may be what the art of politics occasionally calls for, the single-minded obsession Dreyfus is showing when it comes to Brandis is at a point where it needs to be called out. Had his rhetoric been more controlled this column would have praised his ability to keep the heat on a minister under pressure.

Sadly, the overreach has become a parody, giving Malcolm Turnbull the opportunity to start mocking Dreyfus in question time for his "unhealthy obsession".

The art of having an impact when making an argument is not to overdo the outrage.

Dreyfus, by continually overreaching, hopes that political journalists and, by extension, the public have short memories; that we will all approach each resignation demand as though it’s a stunning new moment: a considered call for a political scalp that’s worth reporting and worth considering because it comes from someone well credentialed in the law.

Yet where was Dreyfus during Labor’s time in government, when ministers oversaw the sort of missteps that really do require resignations or sackings? What is now a lion’s roar against Brandis was the timidity of a mouse when the pink batts fiasco occurred. Not a single Labor MP I spoke with this past week could recall Dreyfus raising concerns about the issue within the party even once.

Inflated rhetoric can be tolerated if at least it is consistently applied. On this score Dreyfus isn’t the only offender.

The political class more broadly is upping the outrage when complaining about opponents. It’s designed to create a political advantage, which it may well do.

The unintended consequence, however, is that politicians writ large are damaged in the eyes of voters.


Toowoomba accused by activists of being Australia’s most racist city after chemist shop display

The accusation is just an off the cuff comment by a known whiner.  It has no statistical basis.  Golliwog controversies keep cropping up thoughout the English speaking world as a result of attempts by Leftists to make something offensive out of a children's popular soft toy. I had a golliwog myself as a kid over 60 years ago

TOOWOOMBA has been dubbed the "most racist city in Australia" after a display of nine golliwog dolls appeared at a Terry Whites Chemist store in Clifford Gardens.

The dolls were placed underneath a sign inviting shoppers to "Experience a white Christmas", in a move that’s been slammed by Indigenous activists.

Author and activist Stephen Hagan, who famously campaigned against the "N*gger Brown Stand" in 1999, said the display was offensive.

"Toowoomba is the most racist city in Australia," he told the Sunshine Coast Daily. "Words can’t describe this behaviour in the 21st century. I can understand it in the 1960s but to do it today is inexcusable."

The store’s Managing Partner Alwyn Baumann offered an "unreserved apology" in a statement, saying the store had made a "regrettable error" with the display dolls, which they will "not stock in future".

A spokesman for the store clarified the connection between the dolls and the sign was completely unintentional.

Golliwogs are considered offensive due to their history as a blackface motif, in which people of colour are depicted as comically idiotic and as plantation slaves.


Carbon tax debate revived

The debate over pricing carbon has been reignited after the Government confirmed introducing a carbon price for power companies would be considered as part of a climate change review.

It's a politically touchy topic — the ousting of Malcolm Turnbull as opposition leader in 2009 and Kevin Rudd as prime minister in 2010 can both be attributed in part to positions on emissions trading schemes (ETS).

It's also a topic with a long history. Former prime minister John Howard first floated the idea of an ETS in 2007.

Here are the five things you need to know if you want to join the conversation.

The Government says it's not talking about another carbon tax, but another way to reduce emissions.

Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg announced the terms of reference for a review of climate changes policies, to be undertaken and completed next year.

Mr Frydenberg said there was potential for an "emissions intensity scheme", where power generators could pay for emissions above a set level.

It sounds similar to a standard ETS, where the government caps total emissions and issues permits to emit up to that amount.

Mr Frydenberg has promised any changes would ensure power prices don't skyrocket for consumers and that the "lights will remain on", as part of a shift towards a reduction in emissions.

But it does all sound very familiar.

The carbon tax introduced by the former Gillard government — and scrapped by Tony Abbott — was a scheme that covered the entire economy.

The new proposal being discussed by the Federal Government would apply to individual sectors.

It all hinges on what penalties would be faced by power generators when their emissions go above that set level.

There's no legislation before Parliament and no guarantees anything at all will be adopted.

The Coalition was responsible for axing the carbon tax.

The former Abbott government was responsible for the repeal of the tax in 2014 after the legislation was initially blocked by the Upper House.

It followed an election campaign on the issue with Mr Abbott vowing to have the repeal legislation before Parliament within 100 days of his victory.

You may remember him talking out against the tax in 2011, when he made headlines for addressing a rally in front of a "ditch the witch" placard.

But that was under Abbott, who rolled Turnbull over climate change in 2009.

Mr Turnbull was ousted as Liberal leader in 2009 after a lengthy brawl over climate change policy.

His support for then prime minister Kevin Rudd's amended ETS led to weeks of division within the Coalition.

Mr Abbott, who won the leadership spill by one vote, withdrew the party's support for the scheme and said a Coalition policy would not involve any new taxes.

Abbott instead introduced Direct Action. And that's what we have in place now. Instead of a tax, Direct Action provides financial incentives for polluters to reduce emissions though the Emissions Reduction Fund.

It also included the creation of the Green Army, an employment program for young people. It is reported to be axed in the near future.

Mr Turnbull refused to confirm the reports today, but said the review into climate change policies was "nothing remarkable".


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

5 December, 2016

Weasel words from the Salvation Army

A little while ago, the Victorian branch of the Salvation Army gave unconditional approval to the "Safe Schools" program -- a program that promotes homosexuality and undermines the traditional family.  The Marxist authors of the program smuggled in the propaganda by using the language of "safety" and the Sallies have followed suit.

This sparked outrage from many quarters, including, one gathers, Army members.  Not so long ago the Sallies opposed homosexuality on scriptural grounds but they now have bowed down before the the false god of secularism. The false god who led the children of Israel astray after the Exodus was often Baal of Peor, a god of sexual license.  Not much has changed it seems. Despite their expansive lip-service to Christianity, Bible teachings no longer matter to the Sallies, it seems.  The gods of Canaan are OK for them now.

But in response to the flak that they have received from Godly and family-oriented people the national organization has now done a very half-hearted backdown. In the statement below, the only words of the backtrack are: "The Salvation Army cannot unconditionally support the Safe Schools programs in Australia in their current form".  They don't say why and the ordinary reader would never guess why. For them to say more would expose the hypocrisy of their claim to be Christian.  Clearly, they no longer support the Biblical view of homosexuality.  In Christ's words, they are "whited sepulchres" (Matthew 23:27)

Something else that the Sallies have not learned from their Bibles is the advice that even a fool who holds his tongue will be accounted wise (Proverbs 17:28).  They clearly should have shut up about the whole thing.

As we have seen, their approval of "Safe schools" angered a lot of  Christians and conservatives.  And now their retraction of that approval has angered the Left, who are vowing never again to donate to the Sallies.  It's unlikely that they ever did anyway  but they will undoubtedly find some way to bring heat to bear. So the Sallies are now the ham in a very unhappy sandwich

The Salvation Army is a Christian movement dedicated to sharing the love of Jesus. We purposefully work to reveal this love to everyone by building loving communities combined with the provision of spiritual, emotional and material support. Our compassionate participation has evolved over 136 years of service in all spheres of the Australian community, especially to people who are vulnerable, suffering and underprivileged and we are humbled that our efforts are so widely welcomed, encouraged and supported.

This non-discriminatory commitment to love and serve others is highlighted in our international mission statement which says we are: ‘to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination’. We believe that God loves everyone. We call on all Salvationists and community members to show this same love to others.

We have zero tolerance for bullying and as such, there is no situation where it is acceptable. Every person regardless of race, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or religion has the right to feel safe so they can achieve their full God-given potential. We emphasize that the alarming high rate of bullying and suicide among LGBTIQ school students evokes deep concern within The Salvation Army.

There are many accounts of marginalised students benefiting from aspects of the Safe Schools programs which have resulted in a safer, more caring culture forming in those schools. In this regard, we recognise the program’s intent to address bullying. Whilst acknowledging such positive outcomes, The Salvation Army cannot unconditionally support the Safe Schools programs in Australia in their current form. We believe there needs to be consideration and refinement to the scope and form of implementation.

We believe the availability of support services for every vulnerable student including those identifying as LGBTIQ is vital. We also believe the provision of a government approved anti-bullying program needs to consider all high risk student groups. To this end, The Salvation Army is open to working with State and Federal Governments and other agencies to develop a program that more comprehensively addresses the issues associated with bullying within schools.

We call on all Salvationists and the community at large to treat each other with respect and grace. Jesus said that after loving God, the second most important commandment is to love our neighbour as we love ourself. Everyone has the right to always feel safe and to be treated with respect and grace.


Storage king hits out at gender cop

SELF-STORAGE mogul Sam Kennard has lashed out at the government’s gender equality watchdog after his business was "named and shamed" for not filling a complicated annual questionnaire.

In its latest annual report, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency has published the names of businesses which fell foul of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.

Under the law, companies with more than 100 employees are required to lodge a report with the WGEA every year detailing "gender equality indicators" such as male-to-female ratios and salaries. The WGEA itself, which costs taxpayers $5 million a year to run, employs five male and 25 female staff.

Among the 74 businesses deemed "non-compliant" by the WGEA this year include household names like Kennards Self Storage, Bing Lee, Vittoria Coffee, Palace Cinemas and Sportsmans Warehouse. Also named were the likes of Williams-Sonoma, EB Games, and a number of plumbing, cleaning, freight and transport companies.

"Non-compliant organisations may not be eligible to tender for contracts under Commonwealth and some state procurement frameworks, and may not be eligible for some Commonwealth grants or other financial assistance," the report warns.

Mr Kennard, who contested Joe Hockey’s North Sydney seat in the December 2015 by-election for the Liberal Democrats, said the WGEA was an organisation "dripping with hypocrisy" that "should be abolished".

"My company does not discriminate for race, age, sex or religion," he said.

"If someone has a good attitude, not afraid of work and willing to learn they’re a starter in our view. This is not a particularly profound or enlightened perspective — it is just common sense. It is good for business.

"I can confirm that we do discriminate against time-wasting bureaucracies. The WGEA is a prime example of unnecessary government intrusion into the activities of businesses. My business has much more productive endeavours to pursue than filling out paperwork for government agencies like the WGEA."

Mr Kennard said his company was challenged enough to "make our business better, to give customers a better experience and to operate efficiently without distractions like this". "The WGEA impost is 100 per cent pure overhead," he said.

"While politicians and economists lament the declining productivity in our economy, it is exactly this red-tape and the imposts of these bureaucracies that tax the efforts of enterprise. If the government was serious about tackling productivity it would get out of our way — it would abolish the WGEA and the abundance of other regulations they lay on.

"I am personally driven to the see the best outcomes for my business and believe strongly that good performance should be encouraged and rewarded irrespective of sex. We are conscious of HR shortcomings, appreciate the challenges and work to overcome them."

Mr Kennard added that it was "pleasing that there are plenty of non-taxpayer funded advocates for the success of women, which further emphasises that this is an area the government does not need to participate in".

Meanwhile, Mia Johannsen, head of people and culture at Palace Cinemas, said the company was deemed non-compliant because it wasn’t willing to share "private individual salary information" with the WGEA.

"Initially we did send through some information regarding gender split and the different roles, but we didn’t want to comment with anything confidential such as the private salaries of our employees," she said.

"We employ more females than males, 53 per cent to 47 per cent, so obviously we are completely for gender equality. We have many women in senior management, including myself."

Ms Johannsen said Palace Cinemas "regret being labelled as non-compliant". "It would be a lot easier if the process was simpler," she said.

"The process to be able to lodge all of this information was very long and extensive and it took days for my predecessor to even locate that information, so I think that was the issue [in previous years]."


Candy canes banned for Christmas under Tasmanian Primary School's healthy eating policy

A Tasmanian primary school has banned students from including candy canes and similar treats with their Christmas cards this year.

Bellerive Primary School announced a new healthy eating policy on its school association Facebook page on Wednesday. Under the policy, birthday cakes would also be banned from next year in favour of healthy options.

Reactions at the school have been mixed. Parent Ian Green said the school's healthy eating policy had gone too far. "They are depriving kids of being kids," he said.

"They're not going to get obese because they have a cupcake, they're not going to fall over and have a heart attack because they have a candy cane at Christmas."

Another parent Kirsty Shaw said parents had not been consulted.  "I think the school community is a little bit sick and tired of being told what we can and what we can't feed our children," she said.

But not all parents disagree with the ban. Charrhara Harma said it was a good idea. "Yeah that's good because junk is not good for children," she said.

Student James Overton could see both sides of the argument. "It's not really good for your health, but no because people like them and they don't really want them to be banned from school," he said.

The Education Department has distanced itself from the decision.  It said its policy Move Well, Eat Well encouraged the wider school community to support limiting "occasional" foods. In a statement, the state's Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff urged the school to reconsider.

The Bellerive Primary School Association and the school's principal declined to comment.

Tasmania School Canteen Association executive officer Julie Dunbabbin said she believed eventually all schools would ban confectionery.

She said many schools were trying to address the issue of children being exposed to too many cakes due to classmates birthdays. She said cakes could be healthy if baked the right way. "We certainly promote the more healthier version, the ones with less sugar and saturated fat," she said.


Never, ever, mess with old soldiers, and least of all old artillery blokes

This week the former artillerymen who have raised the money to refurbish an old 18-pounder gun sought permission from the ACT police to attach the "ANZAC Centenary Gun" to horses and a limber and take it for a trundle this Sunday morning around Canberra and Parliament House to commemorate the centenary and also for St Barbara's Day (St Barbara is the patron Saint of artillerymen worldwide). ACT Policing have said, categorically, no. The response of the artillerymen, I am reliably informed, is that they're going to do it anyway.

You can expect to see a refurbished 18-pounder gun like this one trundling through the streets of Canberra on Sunday.
You can expect to see a refurbished 18-pounder gun like this one trundling through the streets of Canberra on Sunday. Photo: Australian War Memorial

"They're going to ignore the protocols," my source says, "take their right to drive horse drawn-vehicles on any road and generally act like Australian soldiers have always done (and still do) – that is, act like larrikins."

Standby, sports fans. I hope the ACT police will reconsider. These are very good people, out to honour the extraordinary soldiers of 100 years ago. Can it really be so hard to put a police car with flashing lights in front, and one behind, and let them go for their lives?

By hook or by crook, they'll be leaving Duntroon at 10.30am on Sunday and heading to Parliament House. Gawd help the government.


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 December, 2016

Total dishonesty about last Thursday's blackout in South Australia

The S.A. government is shrilling that the new blackout had "nothing to do" with the previous big one in September.  I suppose that there is some trivial sense in which that is true but the root cause of both blackouts is the same:  South Australia does not have ANY baseload power of its own.  Had they not decommissioned all their coal-fired stations, neither blackout would have happened.  Their windmills are just not a reliable source of power.  During the latest incident they were delivering only 6% of their capacity. 

When the big wind hit in September and shut down the windmills the South Australians could easily have spun up their coal-fired generators to take the load -- if they still had them.  And the same thing applies to the recent loss of supply. 

You have got to have hydrocarbon or nuclear powered generators to get reliable supply and S.A. just does not have enough.  All they have are some small gas-fired ones.  They rely on importing power from hydrocarbon-powered generators in Victoria but Victoria has its own problems -- and will soon have much bigger ones with the closedown of the Hazelwood generator.

The South Australians were so proud of themselves for having such a "Green" electricity system but it was a fantasy.  They need to get a couple of their coal-fired generators spinning again or businesses will start leaving the state and taking jobs with them. New investments will CERTAINLY grind to a halt now. See below

South Australia's electricity system separated from the national power grid overnight, prompting a stern warning from BHP Billiton about threats to Australian jobs and investment.

About 200,000 homes and businesses lost power for over an hour, but BHP’s Olympic Dam operations in the north of the state were interrupted for about four hours.

BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie issued an urgent warning to policy-makers after the latest incident, which comes two months after the statewide blackout led to about two weeks of lost production at Olympic Dam.

"Olympic Dam’s latest outage shows Australia’s investability and jobs are placed in peril by the failure of policy to both reduce emissions and secure affordable, dispatchable and uninterrupted power," he said in a statement.

"The challenge to reduce emissions and grow the economy cannot fall to renewables alone. "This is a wake-up call ahead of the COAG meeting and power supply and security must be top of the agenda and urgently addressed."

Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said Labor had "chased cheap and reliable power out of South Australia".

"South Australians are now saddled with the most expensive and least reliable electricity system in Australia," he said.

"The statement from BHP this morning demonstrates how dangerous this situation has become. The CEO of the world’s biggest mining company has singled out South Australia’s fragile electricity system as a threat to mining in Australia.

"Affordable and reliable power is critical to running a business – it’s not a luxury, it’s an essential!"


A church that is embarrassed to be a church

They are Australia's successors for the Methodists, who were notably confident in their faith. So it is sad to see how far they have fallen. They even deny Christ.  The Bible has some advice for them: 

Mark 8:38 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." 2 Timothy 1:8 "Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God". Matthew 10:33 "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."

Australia's Uniting Church will avoid using religious symbols and the word 'Christ' as part of it's new advertising campaign to distance itself from child sex scandals.

The survivors of child abuse have hit back at the Uniting Church accusing the change as an attempt to 'disown' the past in a bid to avoid addressing the situation.

But the Uniting Church defended the change claiming it was the right move to no longer use 'overt' faith-based language after the royal commission into child sexual abuse ruined the image of religious institutions, The Daily Telegraph reported.

'You are right to highlight that sometimes we do not mention Christ's name in our advertising,' executive director of Uniting, Peter Worland, said.

'Since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, faith-based organisations like ours are perceived pejoratively. So, sometimes we are overt with our religious language, sometimes we are not.'

However Mr Worland said if you look closely you can still see religious symbols.

‘Sometimes we are overt with our religious language, sometimes we are not…The symbol of the cross at its heart (the ‘t’), with a person either side of it (each ‘i’) to represent this connection and inclusivity.’


Freedom fighters stop free speech. Surprised?

The Fascism of the modern Left again

Melbourne-based group Jews against fascism claims to be standing up for freedom. But stamping out free speech and intimidating fellow Australians are tactics direct from the fascist playbook.

Conservative Jewish gym owner Avi Yemini had every right to invite One Nation senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts to speak at a meeting in Caulfield.

And no surprises for guessing the topics that were likely to be discussed: Islamic immigration, repeal of s18C, Halal certification, and the rest. All fairly mainline topics in conversations around the nation.

You are perfectly free to make up your own mind on any of these issues. Surely the best way of doing so is to listen to opposing points of view and weigh the arguments.

But Yemini’s plans have collapsed into a catfight complete with flying fur, hissing and teeth. Glen Eira — where 4 out of 9 councillors are Jewish — revoked permission for the event.

That, in turn, provoked Roberts to accuse the councillors of anti-Semitism; and then peak Jewish group, the Anti-Defamation Commission, weighed in on the side of the council. It’s a mess.

Victorian Police say they "respect the right of the community to express their views peacefully and lawfully." But now they’ve pulled the plug saying they can’t guarantee the safety of attendees.

 On Facebook, Jews against fascism brag — without irony — that they’ve won a great victory for freedom. "We organised against fascism and we won." Pardon?

In their totalitarian contempt for free speech and for democracy, and in their demagogic drive to stamp out any dissenting views, it is Jews against fascism who are behaving like true fascists.

Whatever you think of Avi Yemini, the man was doing nothing illegal. And One Nation polled nearly 600,000 votes at the federal election. Hanson and Roberts are legally entitled to their Senate seats.

But fascists are quick to identify those they brand the enemy. In Hitler’s Germany it was the Jews who were the enemy, and the engine of the Nazi state was soon turned against them.

When fascists catch the enemy’s scent, they won’t allow the rule of law to obstruct their hunt. They are contemptuous of democracy and insist on total obedience to their own cause.

Violence, intimidation, threats to personal safety, and vilification are all tactics regularly used by fascists to get their own way and to grind down the resistance of their opponents.

And that is precisely how Jews against fascism have won their great ‘victory’ for ‘freedom.’ Even the police gave up on enforcing the law to defend the right of ordinary citizens to meet publicly.

Intolerance is on the march — but it is wearing the disguise of ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’, professing to be concerned only with securing justice and peace.

It’s a lie, of course. The Left is doubling down for a long fight to defeat what it claims to be the capitalist tyranny of hatred and oppression — a fight it is determined to win.

Once victory is secured, it will build a new tyranny of its own. Who will fight against that?


Leftist educators not concerned by the poor results that they have delivered in Australian schools

The latest international maths and science results suggest that Australia is a slow learner when it comes to improving school performance. Our mean maths and science scores in the Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS2015) are the same as they were when TIMSS started 20 years ago.

It’s not just the Asian ‘tiger economies’ that are beating us: England, the USA, Ireland, Russia and Kazakhstan have also improved in the last decade and are now doing significantly better than we are. Australia has dropped down the international rankings to the middle of the pack.

At the same time as the TIMSS results were released, several hundred education academics were in Melbourne at the conference of the Australian Association of Research in Education — our peak educational research body. Given that the downward trend in test results has been apparent for some time, it might be expected that the education academy would be hell-bent on seeking out the best ways to teach maths and science so we don’t end up with a third-world economy.

The pre-occupation of the academy is apparently focussed elsewhere, if the presentation topics at the conference are an indication. They included such critically important subjects as ‘Thinking and doing research on female bodies differently – ‘listening’ to moving bodies’, ‘Nietzsche on aesthetics, educators and education’, and ‘Meet the phallic lecturer: Early career research in a neoliberal imaginary’. Among the several hundred presentations, 14 titles contained the word ‘maths’ or ‘mathematics’, while 10 contained the word ‘neoliberal’, and 18 contained the word ‘gender’.

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), which leads the TIMSS study in Australia, described the results as a ‘wake up call’. The fact is, the alarm about maths and science (and reading) went off a decade ago. We keep hitting the snooze button while other countries stopped crying into their pillows over neoliberal conspiracies, rolled out of bed, and got on with it.


Donald Trump victory shows Tony Abbott could have won 2016 election

Our political/media class seems to have conveniently overlooked the most telling domestic lesson from the Trump ascendancy. Perhaps they worry it exposes their lack of judgment.

Donald Trump’s election triumph buttresses the argument that Tony Abbott’s overthrow was unnecessary — that he would have won this year’s election. It gives weight to the claim his poor midterm polling was meaningless and that his known strengths were electorally compelling.

Those of us who have long made this case believed that, for all his faults, Abbott’s strong positions on border protection, national security, climate caution, union corruption and budget discipline would contrast sharply with Labor. The political/media class, however, declared Abbott an embarrassment and barracked for a coup.

We will never know. But everything that has transpired since Abbott’s knifing tends to bolster the position: from the way Malcolm Turnbull has struggled to display certitude to how Bill Shorten hasn’t had to duck a punch; from the Prime Minister’s own polling and near defeat to Britain’s clear statement of faith in sovereignty through Brexit; and from Trump’s focus on borders and disdain for the dominant media narrative to his victory despite the polling consensus.

Some conservative Liberals and Nationals are still seething about all this and hope for a "Lazarus-with-a-triple-bypass" Abbott comeback. It is unlikely — besides, their sense of injustice tends to overlook the needless errors, self-inflicted wounds and unheeded warnings that saw Abbott engineer his own vulnerability to Turnbull’s understandable aspirations.

So this post-Trump observation is worth making not to stir ­enmities, settle grievances, delegitimise Turnbull or encourage a leadership rethink but, rather, to help identify the lessons Turnbull must heed to succeed.

It is another reminder that contrary to the urgings from the political/media class, Turnbull cannot afford to change the policy direction of the Coalition by softening important policies or drifting to the left. It reaffirms the warning not to believe his own publicity. On climate policy, borders and national security the sensible centre of politics wants the prescription already laid down by the centre-right Abbott government. Turnbull messes with that compact at his peril.

There are encouraging signs he understands this: his new focus on energy security over renewable energy gestures; his strong words in New York on terrorism; and his push for a lifetime ban on unauthorised boat arrivals to help prevent his humanitarian US visa deal from undermining border security. Despite the Senate frustrations, fiscal restraint, budget repair and economic reform must remain top priorities.

Turnbull’s ability to pass his double-dissolution trigger bills and some modest budget reforms enable him to end the parliamentary year with baby steps of purpose — as foreshadowed in this column almost three months ago.

It also provides some vindication for his strategy. Many critics have mocked his double-dissolution strategy because it produced a menagerie of a Senate. This is disingenuous because no serious observer would have said the Coalition had any chance to win a Senate majority.

Turnbull’s Senate reforms, also planned under Abbott, are worthwhile and will eliminate accidental senators in the future. And, notwithstanding shambolic negotiations and side deals, the Coalition is getting some reform through the parliament.

Those who slam the double-dissolution strategy need to ask what Turnbull would have run on without it. He had a thin agenda, was out of time and was losing standing with every dawdling day.

Without this strategy built around the union accountability measures he would have limped through the budget to a predictable spring election, struggling to outline a cause. Instead, he seized the agenda, created a purpose for the election and managed — just — to hold on.

And now he has ushered the trigger bills through the Senate, along with a backpacker tax arrangement. With his team, he shows the adaptability to do deals with One Nation, Nick Xenophon, Derryn Hinch and others, as well as the Greens. The only immovable object (after some early savings co-operation) appears to be Labor.

Turnbull’s error this year was not his double-dissolution strategy but that he didn’t use it months earlier to capitalise on his honeymoon. Also, he ran a poor campaign. The Coalition failed to attack the Opposition Leader and failed to put the most pertinent questions into the daily campaign rhetoric — what was the risk of a return to Labor on border chaos, electricity prices, union behaviour and deeper deficits?

The reason all this is relevant now is that these questions remain palpable for Turnbull. Now that he has begun to display a modicum of governing ability, he must look to accentuate the choice between the Coalition and Labor’s alternative.

Again, thanks to its crack cocaine-like addiction to polls, the political/media class is writing off Turnbull. But, at the risk of repetition, the polls are almost meaningless right now.

Certainly, to become PM, Turnbull exploited the polls and, unwisely, even cited them. But he needs to recognise that conceit now (and hope everyone else does) while comprehending that what matters are policies, conviction and performance.

The most bankable quality for governments is competence. In difficult circumstances — and no doubt with more stuff-ups to come — Turnbull at least has started to claim some ground on this score.

Aside from more of this, he needs to work hard to appear in touch with voters: more interviews, more mainstream public events and more listening.

His budget strategy is vital; Scott Morrison must deliver fiscal restraint and economic reform significant enough to begin the repair task and satisfy ratings agencies, but moderate enough to pass the Senate. It won’t be easy but the welfare reforms being touted by Christian Porter and Alan Tudge provide fertile ground by embedding the mutual obligation and personal investment concepts that are working well in New Zealand.

This is a true centre-right approach and underpins long-term budget recovery.

Under Shorten, Labor has dug itself further in on the wrong side of crucial arguments. On climate policy, it offers a national 50 per cent renewable target that will escalate costs and undermine energy security. On border protection, it has a record of capitulation and mismanagement and it has abandoned its pretence of bipartisanship by rejecting temporary protection visas and the lifetime ban. On national security, Turnbull needs only to utter the words "Islamic extremism" to demonstrate he understands our current threat and smoke out an Opposition Leader unwilling to name our enemy. On union corruption, Labor appoints tainted unionists to the Senate and promises to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission for a second time. And on budget repair, Labor is committed to higher taxes and deeper deficits.

National politics and government are monumentally difficult any time, especially in the contemporary age of hyper-fascination, rampant demands and strained resources. But any right-of-centre government that cannot explain its rationale, embed its policies and win re-election against that Labor agenda has only itself to blame.


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 December, 2016

Reversing Warmist spin

The latest article from shifty Peter Hannam, environmental writer of the Sydney Boring Herald has great but unintended humour potential. He has some boring statistics to convey but by biased language has made them seem to suggest global warming.  Let me use different language to describe the same stats.  I will suggest cooling:

"A long run of overcast days in Sydney has finally come to an end.  Sydney is at last back to where we were in 1990 but will it last?

Last month's temperature had three Novembers warmer than it in the past

"It's been persistently cool, particularly in the West," Acacia Pepler, a climatologist at the bureau, said.

The month had 18 days above 25 degrees, at last breaking a long run of cool days -- going back to 1894

The past six months have also been a standout for Sydney. A relatively wet winter - with rainfall about 250 millimetres above average - switched to sharply drier conditions, with rain tallies sinking 100 mm below average.  But there were similar conditions in 1885"

Contrast the above with what appears below.  Note that I have unspun only the statistics Hannam has chosen to mention.  They were undoubtedly the one best suited to his cause.  If they can be shown to suggest cooling, one wonders what all the unmentioned statistics show. 

Deception is the name of the game for Warmists.  Honest reporting is in general alien to them.  It has to be.  They cannot accept the plain truth of the climate record, which just shows normal ups and downs with no significant trend

Sydney has just capped its sunniest November since 1990, with the relatively warm and dry conditions set to extend well into the start of summer.

Last month was the city's equal-fourth warmest November for maximum temperatures in records going back to 1858, with average temperatures reaching 26.1 degrees, the Bureau of Meteorology said in its latest report. Sydney Airport had an average of 9.5 hours of sunshine during the month.

"It's been persistently warm, particularly in the east," Acacia Pepler, a climatologist at the bureau, said.

The month had 18 days above 25 degrees, the most since 1894 , and its coldest day was a mild 22.7 degrees. All previous Novembers had at least one day below 21 degrees in the city.

The lack of cool days extended across spring, with just six days failing the reach 20 degrees. That's the fewest on record and roughly one-fifth of the average of 31 such days, the bureau said.

The past six months have also been a standout for Sydney. A relatively wet winter - with rainfall about 250 millimetres above average - switched to sharply drier conditions, with rain tallies sinking 100 mm below average.

That's the biggest turn in the weather for the city in 53 years, and the third-most on record with 1885 the other rival year, Brett Dutschke, senior meteorologist with Weatherzone, said.

"Since the start of October, it's been drying out" in coast regions, Mr Dutschke said, adding the western parts of the state had more recent rains and will take longer to cure.


Conservative radio host David Oldfield says Aborigines  'should just be Australians'

It is he who is the non-racist.  Most racial discrimination comes from the Left these days

Former One Nation politician David Oldfield says Aboriginal culture should have 'died out with the Stone Age'.

Oldfield, from Sydney, made the comments on SBS' First Contact program, which deals with race relations issues in Australia by taking well-known white people to experience Aboriginal life.

'Is there something celebratory they lived in the Stone Age longer than anybody else? I can't see it,' Oldfield said.

'It's not actually good for Aborigines to remain Aborigines. They should be Australians. And you just naturally let it die out. I mean frankly it should have died out. Like the Stone Age died out.

Oldfield has been slammed on social media for his comments.

In the first episode of First Contact, aired on Tuesday night the group it centres on - including singer-songwriter Natalie Imbruglia, television personality Ian 'Dicko' Dickson, former Miss Universe Renae Ayris, comedian Tom Ballard, and actor Nicki Wendt - were invited to join a family in a traditional fishing ceremony.

Oldfield refused to participate and during a conversation, Timmy 'Djawa' Burarrwanga told Oldfield: 'You know this country is so racist.' 

Burarrwanga had taken OIdfield's behaviour as a lack of respect for his culture.

'David can I ask you one question? Are you not actually accepting the oldest culture in this country? You're not accepting this. I need to know what's bothering you,' Burarrwanga said.

'I accept this dominant world. I accept your law - your system. And you know, this country is so racist. In the constitution it's so racist. We're not actually in the constitution. It doesn't recognise Aboriginal people,' an exasperated Burarrwanga replied.

Oldfield was not backing down though, and believed that the constitution didn't recognise any group of people or mention any races. [Which is true.  Australia actually had a successful referendum in 1967 to REMOVE mention of race from the constitution]

Comedian Ballard then got involved, making it clear to Oldfield that stating that the omission of Aboriginal people from the the constitution in the first place was 'in itself a racist act'.

However Ballard wasn't about to back down and argued that it was 'an all-encompassing document' for all Australian people whatever their background.

'I'm pretty sure they had white people in mind, David,' Ballard laughed.

When asked by Burarrwanga if he accepted that Aboriginal people were the first people of this country, Oldfield agreed but he stopped short of saying he respected that.

But as things became tense he went as far as saying that if Burarrwanga was unhappy with his presence there he would 'happily leave his land'. 


Is going to uni a waste of everyone’s time and money?

AUSTRALIANS are more qualified than ever. A record number of Australians now have a bachelor’s degree, masters or PhD. But a dangerous idea is out: Degrees might be a big fat waste of time and money.

Thirty years ago you didn’t need a degree to be a journalist, for example. Now? Most job ads demand a degree and plenty of the people applying have taken a masters degree, so they look even more qualified than the competition.

The same "degree inflation" applies in a huge range of fields.


The idea is this: you don’t actually learn much at university. Under this idea, university is a way of showing off that you’re good. It’s like the peacock’s tail — not useful in itself, just a big signal that you’re hot stuff.

Is university just signalling? If it is, it would explain why it doesn’t seem to matter that you forget a lot of what you learned — and perhaps why employers of graduates are always complaining their recruits don’t have any valuable skills

If the signalling theory is right, we would, as a society, be better off making people spend less time in uni. But the reality is the opposite — we are sending more and more people to uni.
More people are graduating with degrees, but do they really need them?

More people are graduating with degrees, but do they really need them?Source:Supplied


As people work harder and harder for qualifications, a backlash is brewing.

Some very powerful businesses have stopped requiring a degree. Professional services firm EY is one. In the UK it no longer looks at academic qualifications in its entry criteria.

Google is also expanding its ranks of the degree-less, according to its head of hiring. Those firms think they can get good value from people without degrees.

US entrepreneur Peter Thiel is famous for questioning the benefit of higher education. He pays scholarships of $100,000 — called Thiel Fellowhips — to brilliant young people in return for dropping out of uni and becoming entrepreneurs instead.


Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to university. Even if it is a waste of time in some ways, most jobs still require a degree. Going to uni is still very much worthwhile for most people.

The data is very clear — people with a Bachelor’s degree will earn $2.9 million over their lifetime compared to $2.07 million for people who finished year 12 without going to uni.

This can’t be used as proof that uni makes you more productive though.

If university is just signalling these people would have been just as useful in the workplace if they hadn’t gone to uni. (And maybe even more useful, because they’d have extra experience instead of a qualification.)

It also implies that plenty of people who didn’t go to uni would do even better at those jobs than the people with degrees. After all, going to university is still mostly for wealthier people, despite the way the HECS scheme has made access way more widely available. (People who are born to rich and well-educated parents are the ones who tend to end up at uni.)


But the problem remains this. We don’t know for sure if this big idea is right. Do people really learn at uni or not? I asked the man who invented the HECS/HELP system, Professor Bruce Chapman, what the evidence had to say.

"We just don’t know," Chapman said. He has trawled through hundreds of studies to try to figure out if university is mostly learning or mostly just signalling. "We don’t have a good measure for it."

Some degrees are more practical than others, Chapman said, for example, dentistry: "Would you want an accountant pulling out your teeth?"

Philosophy degrees, he said, are different. They may be more of a way of showing that you are able to think clearly and obey the rules and requirements of a university environment for three years.

Ultimately, Chapman reckons uni is most likely to be a mix of learning and signalling. "If I had to guess, I’d say 50:50."

Other experts, like Professor John Quiggin of the University of Queensland, disagree, saying the proof is out there and university mostly builds skills.

Debate will continue on whether or not sending more and more Australians to university is a good investment. But one thing most experts agree on is that a very different kind of education is a guaranteed winner. The advantages of early childhood education are enormous, and can last for a lifetime.

One American study found the return on early childhood interventions is $10 for every $1 invested. And the benefits go to everyone, not just the people who are lucky enough to go to uni.

So, maybe, as a society we should worry more about whether Australians go to kindergarten, rather than whether they go to uni.


ABC and SBS to pay price for Senate ABCC victory

The ABC and SBS will be forced to hold special Q&A-style board meetings with members of the public after Liberal Democrat ­senator David Leyonhjelm horse-traded with the government over its key industrial relations bill to re-establish the construction ­industry watchdog.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield last night confirmed the government had agreed to a policy that would "provide opportunities for greater community engagement" with the public broadcasters as part of a deal that will see Senator Leyonhjelm vote for the re-establishment of the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Under the policy, at least half of the ABC’s and SBS’s board meetings each year will be followed by "open community board forums", with at least two to be held in regional areas, in a bid to make the government-owned broadcasters more "representative" and their processes more transparent. "These open community board forums will give the public greater opportunity to provide feedback directly to the boards responsible for running the ABC and SBS, and for the boards to engage directly with their audience," Senator Fifield told The Australian.

"We expect the broadcasters will implement this policy as part of their broader approach to community engagement."

The public broadcasters last night defended the amount of time they spent receiving community feedback.

"The ABC ­already engages with the community and its audiences through regular public events, forums and media appearances both in major cities and rural and regional Australia," an ABC spokesman said.

But Senator Leyonhjelm said he received feedback "all the time" that the ABC — and to a lesser ­extent SBS — was unrepresentative, declaring the policy change would help alter a perception that those who run the broadcasters "live inside the goat cheese ­curtain".

"There is a different point of view to be heard outside those areas and it would be good for the ABC’s diversity and its ability to reflect what taxpayers or shareholders are saying if the boards ­actually went out and listened to them," he said.

"ABC CEO Michelle Guthrie herself has warned … of the perils of political parties failing to ­engage with disenfranchised voters. The same principle applies to the ABC and SBS."

The ABC and SBS held six board meetings in the 2015-16 ­financial year.

The initiative, part of a series of side deals to secure passage of the ABCC legislation through the Senate, comes as the ABC’s news coverage is under fire from a range of high-profile Australians, including former prime ministers Paul Keating and Tony Abbott.

The government has no power to direct the ABC and SBS on programming but controls their funding and appoints board members.

SBS had not received a formal letter from the government alerting it to the plan. If necessary, the government can issue SBS a written direction to compel it to hold the community forums. That process can be replicated with legislation in the case of the ABC.

SBS said it was "committed" to engaging with the many diverse cultures and communities and fostering "vital connections and understanding" between the organisation and those who contributed to "social cohesion" and a multicultural Australia.

Senator Leyonhjelm said he wanted the ABC and SBS board sessions for the public as part of the price for his vote for the ABCC. He said he and the government came up with a list of possible "liberty offsets" or "freedom" changes.


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 December, 2016

When does physical discipline of a child become unlawful abuse?

This highlights something I have long said.  Some, perhaps most, children are tractable enough to diverted from undesirable behaviour without spanking.  But others are so unruly that no control of their behaviour can be achieved without corporal punishment.  All men are not equal nor are all kids equal, difficult to understand though that seems to be for Leftists.

In the case below, a man used very violent behaviour in an attempt to control extremely violent behaviour by two out of five kids in his household.  What else was he to do?  Shut the kids out on the street?  He was in fact being responsible in trying to teach them restraint.

The judge apparently saw that, pointing out that the behaviour was illegal but  taking a very mild view of the matter.  He ruled that the father could have access to his own untroubled son but cut off access to the violent children, who are now in state care anyway. Rather a Solomon-like verdict, I think

The question arose in the case of a father who had beaten his two eldest children with a cricket bat, but who argued he should still be allowed to see his six-year-old son.

The boy lives with his mother, who opposed her estranged husband having any contact with their boy.

Both she and the father had previously smacked the boy, the Family Court in Newcastle heard. But the mother claimed he was at risk of physical abuse if left with the father, because of the way the man punished his older sons from a previous relationship.

Under the NSW Crimes Act, the defence of lawful correction permits a parent, or someone acting with their authority, to punish a child with physical force. But the force must be reasonable in light of the child's age, health and maturity, as well as their alleged misbehaviour. Force applied to any part of the child's head or neck, or elsewhere on their body in a way likely to cause harm "for more than a short period", is not considered reasonable.

The court heard that from around the time they were aged aged six or seven, the father hit his two eldest sons with a cricket bat and once left them with bruises and welts after beating them with a broken broom handle. In what judge Stewart Austin called a description of "cruel brutality", a sibling recalled hearing the boys beg for mercy and scream with pain, saw the bat used with such force it broke and saw welts on the boys' bottoms.

The boys are now in their early teens and in state care. The three other children in the household had not been abused by the father.

In determining the case, Justice Austin said it was necessary "to differentiate between physical 'discipline' and physical 'abuse'".

"Despite modern society's changing opinion about the morality of corporal punishment of children, the law of NSW still envisages the legitimate administration of physical discipline by an adult to a child, subject to certain constraints," he said. "It is only when the discipline transcends those constraints that it becomes abusive and ceases to be lawful correction."

Justice Austin described the two older boys as "very troubled children", throwing objects, damaging property and "using weapons like knives, broken glass, hammers and loaded spear guns to threaten people".

But the fact that their behaviour "presented an extraordinarily difficult parenting challenge was not an excuse for the severity of their treatment", he said. Their punishment amounted to abuse and "criminal assaults".

However, the judge granted the father unsupervised visits with his six-year-old son, ruling it was in the child's best interests.

The father was not "so unfit as a parent that he is utterly incapable of safely caring for the child for short stints", Justice Austin said. He noted that the father had undergone parenting courses and the little boy was unlikely to be as challenging as his older stepbrothers.


African migrants at heart of daycare scandals

Another triumph of multiculturalism

Family daycare operators and teachers from non-English-speaking backgrounds are being targeted by state authorities in a bid to crack down on abuse and bending of rules that have cost taxpayers more than $1 billion in two years and put children at risk.

Senior departmental staff and Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones have confirmed a trend in rorting and noncompliance among ethnic communities, which has resulted in scarce investigative resources being focused on new services and migrant groups. Analysis of state government enforcement action in the past six months reveals family day care services slapped with conditions, suspended or cancelled were almost exclusively run by migrants from Africa, most from Somalia or Sudan.

Sudanese migrant Aluel Mawiir provided false and misleading information and failed to meet service conditions for her Victorian business, Dombai Family Daycare.

In one West Australian case, Sudanese woman Anyieth Makuei had her approval to run her Zebra Family Day cancelled on May 19 because she provided fake documents to the regulator regarding the first aid and asthma training of her staff. Weeks later Ms Makuei lost her ability to be a supervisor in the same industry because, according to the state, she "persuaded family daycare educators to produce false documents and provide false information at the interview" with the state government.

In Victoria, Milky Way Family Day Care, which lists its directors as Ethiopian-born Jale Tujuba and Adnan Yusuf, was put on notice by the Victorian government for providing false and misleading information, not meeting service conditions and failing to run required educational programs.

Family daycare providers fall under the National Quality Framework, introduced by the previous Labor federal government in 2012, and attract federal government child care subsidies.

Queensland’s Acacia Ridge service Maka Family Day Care Scheme has been suspended until Christmas Eve because "there was an immediate risk to the safety, health or wellbeing of children being educated and cared for".

Family daycare services have grown 61 per cent in the past two years, compared with just 7 per cent for ­centre-based childcare operators.

The hike in activity, which has been higher than 300 per cent in some regions, has placed pressure on state governments, which are responsible for making sure the businesses meet stringent rules and regulations under the quality framework.

Ms Jones said Queensland was now rejecting 60 per cent of new applications. "Queensland has put in place the toughest regulation process in the country for family daycare approved providers," she told The Australian.

"In addition (to approval rejections) there are strict conditions on approvals and ongoing monitoring and compliance checks."

Of the 15 most recent compliance crackdowns across the nation, all but one of the services are owned and operated by African directors, with six from Sudan and another six from Somalia.

The Australian revealed the case of Sudanese migrant Ruben Majok Aleer Aguer who received $1.6 million in federal funds over just 16 months to run a network of family daycare educators which authorities could not confirm were officially employed by him.

Nor, during at least 17 inspections, did any of the ACT department staff confirm a single child was ever in care.

Sharing of regulatory responsibility between Canberra and the states means the federal government only investigates fraud offences when it ­suspects money has gone missing. The largest proven case of family daycare fraud ended last week when Albury-based 29-year-old Melissa Jade Higgins was found guilty of stealing more than $3m from the federal government.

Victoria has moved to take the heat out of the market by increasing inspections and investigations.

The family daycare sector in Victoria represents 10 per cent of the total childcare pool but ­accounts for almost 80 per cent of enforcement actions taken by the state. Services have grown by 341 and 339 per cent respectively in Melbourne’s highly multicultural western and northern suburbs.


Australian students are worse at maths and science than children in KAZAKHSTAN

Thanks to "modern" (Leftist) ideas in the classroom

Australian students are worse at maths and science than students in countries such as Kazakhstan, Bulgaria and Serbia.

The latest results from the four-yearly Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), shows Australian students have gone backwards as other countries have improved.

The study looked at how well Year 4 and Year 8 students have mastered maths and science lessons, asking questions like how many legs an insect has, which animals lay eggs and what the angles in a triangle add up to.

The Australian Council for Educational Research, which reports on the study, said it should be a wake-up call.

The council's Sue Thomson said the long tail on results was of particular concern.

Between a quarter and a third of Australian students are still not meeting the proficient standard.

'In terms of children in classrooms, that's probably seven or eight students in your average 25-student classroom,' Dr Thomson told AAP.

'That is a big worry and it's not something that's changed over the last 20 years.'

But Dr Thomson says the results only reveal the problem, not solutions.

It could be that Australia has not set its sights high enough, with the 'proficient' standards here set just above the TIMSS intermediate level.

'Since TIMSS 2011 we haven't really put in much that would lift performance at those lower benchmarks so nothing really has happened,' Dr Thomson said.

She highlighted the huge role socio-economic background - measured by the number of books at home - played in a student's success.

If just the results from the richest students were used, they would be among the top eight countries in the world, whereas those from poorer families are within the bottom quarter.

'I'm not necessarily going to relate it to funding, however we're back at the table insofar as school funding goes and we're still finding that disadvantaged students from disadvantaged schools are those who are not achieving well in these sort of tests,' Dr Thomson said.

'They're the ones we need to be targeting to try and improve their achievement.'

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the fascination of some with how much money was being spent in schools came at the detriment of examining its distribution and what would actually boost results.

He will use the maths and science results as a key part of his mid-December discussions with state counterparts about a new funding agreement.

But Labor said it was disingenuous to use the TIMSS results to say Gonski funding hadn't made any difference because students were tested in 2014, when less than 10 per cent of the total money had gone to schools.

'(The results) show governments must act immediately to break the link between poor performance and disadvantage,' Labor's education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said.

'Both Liberal and Labor state governments know the positive difference extra needs based funding is making in their schools - that's why they have put politics aside to campaign together against Malcolm Turnbull's cuts.'


A big win for Australia

Malcolm Turnbull has hailed Senate approval of the government's plan to restore the building industry watchdog as a vital reform that will benefit every Australian family.

At the same time the prime minister took a swipe at Labor, accusing the opposition of being nothing more than apologists for the militancy of the construction union.

"This is a great day for Australian families - this is not union busting, this is economy boosting," Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

"It is backing the rule of law, it is backing Australians to get ahead."

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, who guided the legislation through the Senate, said the government was restoring law and order to the construction sector.

"Under Labor, with their mates in the CFMEU, this was an industry that was marred by bullying, intimidation and thuggery," she said.

Labor fought passage of the legislation all the way through the parliament, Senator Cash said.

"They continue to put their heads in the sand and deny, despite royal commissions, despite Federal Court judgements, that there is something wrong with the building construction industry," she said.

Mr Turnbull rejected suggestions the concessions the government made to secure passage of the bill meant he was a "hollow man, horse trader".

"We feel pretty good about it, I have to tell you," he said, conceding the negotiations with cross benchers had been "a slog".

"We have always said this is a parliament where we will set out to ensure it works."

Senator Cash dismissed criticism the amendments to the original legislation meant the ABCC was a watchdog without a bite.

"This is all about cultural change within the building and construction sector," she said.


NSW: Ethanol mandates costing motorists $85m

Why do Greenies want ethanol in motor fuel?  It just combusts to give off small amounts of CO2 the way other fuels do.  It makes no sense
MOTORISTS in NSW are spending up to $85 million more on petrol due to the state government’s push to force service stations to sell ethanol-laced fuel, according to the competition watchdog.

In its latest petrol market report, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says the NSW Government’s ethanol mandate has led to less choice and higher costs for Sydney motorists.

Introduced in 2007, the ethanol mandate requires service stations to sell at least 6 per cent ethanol as a proportion of their sales. E10 fuel is a mixture of 10 per cent ethanol and 90 per cent petrol.

Earlier this year, the Baird government ramped up its ethanol push by introducing harsh new penalties of more than $500,000 for service stations that do not stock E10 fuel. Manildra Group, the monopoly provider of ethanol fuel in NSW, is a major donor to state and federal branches of the Liberals, Nationals and Labor.

Former NSW Upper House whip Peter Phelps, who quit in March out of protest against the ethanol fuel laws, told the ABC earlier this year that it was "literally the worst piece of legislation NSW has introduced".

According to the ACCC, the reduced availability of regular unleaded petrol (RULP) has led to higher sales of premium unleaded petrol (PULP) and E10. In 2014-15, PULP made up 54 per cent of total petrol sales while E10 made up 36 per cent. Nationwide excluding NSW, PULP sales were 23 per cent and E10 just 4 per cent.

The ACCC calculates that as a result of the ethanol mandate, Sydney motorists have spent between $75-$85 million extra on PULP, which averaged 11.5 cents per litre more expensive for 95 octane and 18.5 cents per litre for 98 octane than RULP in 2015-16.

"While the use of E10 may be better for the environment, the ethanol mandate has reduced consumer choice and cost Sydney motorists up to $85 million," said ACCC chairman Rod Sims. "It has also boosted Sydney retailer’s profits due to the higher margins on premium fuel."

Mark McKenzie, chief executive of the petrol retailer peak body ACAPMA, said government interference in motorists’ choice of fuel was unwanted and created "perverse economic effects".

"Simply put, people are making a choice as to what product they put in their car and really are thumbing their nose at the government," he said. "We’re talking about a mandate that’s been around for seven years. People have tried E10 and have fled from it.

"The issue here is the arrogance of the Baird government. They think they can make policy to suit themselves and their mates, when there is a broader community they’re supposed to be serving.

"Our view is the choice of fuel is that of the motorist and the government has no place interfering in a core product."

NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said while it was true people were buying more premium fuel, there had been a lot of "misinformation" about E10 and it was "demonstrably not true" that it was bad for engines.

"The majors are advertising premium fuels quite heavily. People can buy regular fuel or E10 but they’re buying 98 octane and paying upwards of 30 cents per litre more for no real benefit," he said.

"About three-quarters of the NSW fleet can run on E10. The remaining that can’t are either cars built before 1986 or they are high-performance vehicles that are mostly imported. The manufacturer will specify if a vehicle must run on premium fuel."

Mr Khoury also disagreed with the ACCC’s finding that regular fuel was harder to find. "There is plenty of regular out there," he said. "When we quote petrol prices we’re talking regular, not E10. People are buying it all over the place."

Queensland is set to become the second state to introduce an ethanol mandate from January. Queensland Biofuels Minister Mark Bailey told The Australian many NSW motorists "wrongly assumed" their car could not use E10 because the NSW government did not roll out a consumer education campaign.

"Our ethanol mandate from January is set at a level that will ensure fuel retailers continue to offer a broad range of fuel grades," Mr Bailey said.

NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello said the ethanol mandate had been a bipartisan policy since 2007.

"The government made changes to the legislation earlier in the year that will boost competition in the marketplace and provide consumers with greater choice," Mr Dominello said.

"The reforms ensure the mandate is focused on the bigger petrol station operators while providing appropriate exemptions for smaller operators.

"Consumers are encouraged to use the government’s FuelCheck website which empowers them to find the cheapest fuel by publishing petrol prices in real-time for every service station across NSW."


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


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Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Most academics are lockstep Leftists so readers do sometimes doubt that I have the qualifications mentioned above. Photocopies of my academic and military certificates are however all viewable here

For overseas readers: The "ALP" is the Australian Labor Party -- Australia's major Leftist party. The "Liberal" party is Australia's major conservative political party.

In most Australian States there are two conservative political parties, the city-based Liberal party and the rural-based National party. But in Queensland those two parties are amalgamated as the LNP.

Again for overseas readers: Like the USA, Germany and India, Australia has State governments as well as the Federal government. So it may be useful to know the usual abbreviations for the Australian States: QLD (Queensland), NSW (New South Wales), WA (Western Australia), VIC (Victoria), TAS (Tasmania), SA (South Australia).

For American readers: A "pensioner" is a retired person living on Social Security

"Digger" is an honorific term for an Australian soldier

Another lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Another bit of Australian: Any bad writing or messy anything was once often described as being "like a pakapoo ticket". In origin this phrase refers to a ticket written with Chinese characters - and thus inscrutably confusing to Western eyes. These tickets were part of a Chinese gambling game called "pakapoo".

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

My son Joe

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

I am an army man. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies or mining companies

Although I have been an atheist for all my adult life, I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak.

The Rt. Rev. Phil Case (Moderator of the Presbyterian church in Queensland) is a Pharisee, a hypocrite, an abomination and a "whited sepulchre".

English-born Australian novellist, Patrick White was a great favourite in literary circles. He even won a Nobel prize. But I and many others I have spoken to find his novels very turgid and boring. Despite my interest in history, I could only get through about a third of his historical novel Voss before I gave up. So why has he been so popular in literary circles? Easy. He was a miserable old Leftist coot, and, incidentally, a homosexual. And literary people are mostly Leftists with similar levels of anger and alienation from mainstream society. They enjoy his jaundiced outlook, his dissatisfaction, rage and anger.

A delightful story about a great Australian conservative

A great Australian wit exemplified

Bureaucracy: "One of the constant laments of doctors and nurses working with NSW Health is the incredible and increasing bureaucracy," she said. "It is completely obstructive to providing a service."

Revered Labour Party leader Gough Whitlam was a very erudite man so he cannot have been unaware of the similarities of his famous phrase “the Party, the platform, the people” with an earlier slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer". It's basically the same slogan in reverse order.

Australia's original inhabitants were a race of pygmies, some of whom survived into modern times in the mountainous regions of the Atherton tableland in far North Queensland. See also here. Below is a picture of one of them taken in 2007, when she was 105 years old and 3'7" tall

Julia Gillard, a failed feminist flop. She was given the job of Prime Minister of Australia but her feminist preaching was so unpopular that she was booted out of the job by her own Leftist party. Her signature "achievements" were the carbon tax and the mining tax, both of which were repealed by the next government.

The "White Australia Policy: "The Immigration Restriction Act was not about white supremacy, racism, or the belief that whites were higher up the evolutionary tree than the coloured races. Rather, it was designed to STOP the racist exploitation of non-whites (all of whom would have been illiterate peasants practicing religions and cultures anathema to progressive democracy) being conscripted into a life of semi-slavery in a coolie-worked plantation economy for the benefit of the absolute monarchs, hereditary aristocracy and the super-wealthy companies and share-holders of the northern hemisphere.

A great little kid

In November 2007, a four-year-old boy was found playing in a croc-infested Territory creek after sneaking off pig hunting alone with four dogs and a puppy. The toddler was found five-and-a-half hours after he set off from his parents' house playing in a creek with the puppy. Amazingly, Daniel Woditj also swam two creeks known to be inhabited by crocs during his adventurous romp. Mr Knight said that after walking for several kilometres, Daniel came to a creek and swam across it. Four of his dogs "bailed up" at the creek but the youngster continued on undaunted with his puppy to a second creek. Mr Knight said Daniel swam the second croc-infested creek and walked on for several more kilometres. "Captain is a hard bushman and Daniel is following in his footsteps. They breed them tough out bush."


Alternative (Monthly) archives for this blog


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"A scripture blog"
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To be continued ....
Coral Reef Compendium
IQ Compendium
Queensland Police
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Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
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Bank of Queensland blues

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