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

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


31 December, 2017

Tesla’s giant lithium-ion battery in South Australia outperforms Gladstone Power Station

The quick response that a battery offers is useful in some ways but nobody seems to be mentioning that the battey concerned can deliver full capacity for only a matter of minutes.  It is no substitute for a real power source

GLADSTONE Power Station is making news across the world - but probably not in the way it would have preferred.

The 1,680MW coal-fired plant was outpaced by tech billionaire Elon Musk’s giant lithium-ion battery when Victoria’s Loy Yang A3 unit failed early on December 14, The Gladstone Observer reports.

While Gladstone’s number 1 unit was contracted to provide backup power – and did so four seconds later – the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia beat it to the punch by injecting 7.3MW into the national electricity grid just 140 milliseconds after Loy Yang began to trip, according to data from the Australian Energy Market Operator compiled by energy analyst Dylan McConnell.

The speed at which the Tesla-made battery kicked in shocked national energy operators, according to the South Australian Government.

But Gladstone Power Station acting general manager Nigel Warrington said it had to be remembered that Gladstone was capable of generating 16 times as much power as Hornsdale.

“The total output of the Hornsdale battery storage is 70-100MW, whereas Gladstone generates up to 1,680MW, or 16 times more than the battery storage,” Mr Warrington said.

“Hornsdale could not, for example, support the Boyne aluminium smelter with that level of output.”

While the Hornsdale Power Reserve isn’t designed to provide large-scale, base load power - but rather to kick in quickly to stabilise the energy grid - the point is an important one.

It means the success of Mr Musk’s $50 million project - built as a result of a bet he made with the South Australian Government on Twitter - is unlikely to spell the end of Gladstone’s role as a contingency provider of backup power any time soon.

Even Romain Desrousseaux, the deputy chief executive of French renewables company Neoen which operates the Hornsdale battery site, believes it is too early to talk about a 100 per cent renewable energy mix - a sign plants like Gladstone will still have a significant role to play for some time to come.

“You need to be able to bring peaking capacity and firming capacity,” Mr Desrousseaux told the Financial Review.

Mr Warrington said Gladstone was recognised as one of the most responsive coal-fired power stations in Australia in terms of its ramp rate - or its ability to scale up and down quickly.

“We don’t see the move to renewables as an ‘us and them’ argument, it is about working hand in hand and last week was a good example of that,” he said.

NRG would not confirm whether Gladstone Power Station’s number 1 unit - the same unit contracted to provide back-up on the night of the Loy Yang failure - had itself tripped on Tuesday.

“There are no current issues at Gladstone and in fact all six units are operating at high load,” Mr Warrington said yesterday.


'African' thugs linked to Menace to Society gang terrorise family meeting spot 'smashing and destroying' homes and a community centre in Melbourne

A gang of thugs of African appearance have trashed a brand new housing estate's community centre and now use it to take drugs and peddle ice.

Once a tranquil space fro western Melbourne families to congregate, Ecoville Community Park in Tarneit is now a no-go zone. Furniture, windows, and even walls were smashed, rubbish strewn everywhere, and graffiti covered every surface while residents live in fear.

Police make frequent arrests at the park but appear to have little effect in making them leave the area and stop destroying the centre.

The rampaging youths appear to be from numerous gangs, including Menace to Society with its 'MTS' initials tagged on walls around the centre.

Wyndam Police described a disturbing scene last month when they arrived at Ecoville after reports of antisocial behaviour. 'Whilst there conducting a recon of the area, the officers were approached by a large group of youths demanding to know what the police were doing in 'their park', among other pleasantries,' they said.

Police had to radio for backup and two youths were given infringements for behaving in a riotous and offensive manner and a 17-year-old boy charged with resisting arrest.

Residents near the community centre say they are fearful as African teens go on nightly rampages through the area, damaging nearby homes.

'We don't feel safe at all. I want to take my children to the park but it's too dangerous. Gangs show up here all hours of the day and night,' new resident and father-of-two Manish Kinger told the Herald Sun.

Fellow resident Linah Simukai said: 'You don't know what they're capable of doing and that's the scariest part about it.'

Wyndham Local Area Commander Inspector Mary Allison said police continued to patrol the park, make arrests, and issue infringements.

'Property damage, drug activity and anti-social behaviour at the park have been our main concern. The community deserves to feel safe in their local park,' she said.

'Members will continue to patrol the area and anyone found conducting criminal activity will be held to account for their actions.'

MTS is linked to the infamous Apex gang and last week trashed an Airbnb property in Werribee with an out-of-control party.


Victoria Police chief says force ‘not afraid’ to call out African youth violence

A welcome change

VICTORIA Police is not afraid to call out high crime rates among African youth after a spate of violent incidents, according to its acting chief commissioner Shane Patton.

An attempted ambush on officers, a shopping centre cop bashing, an out-of-control house party riot which forced heavily-armed police to retreat and a mass brawl at St Kilda beach have been reportedly linked to youth groups this month.

The police have played down the claims — saying it is too early to confirm whether the incidents or offenders are linked.

However, Mr Patton distanced himself from a local superintendent who downplayed the issue after a violent attack on a sergeant who was trying to arrest an African boy accused of shop­lifting.

“The leaders in the African community readily and openly say they do have issues with a small cohort of African youth who are committing high-end crimes,” Mr Patton told The Australian.

“We acknowledge that, we don’t shy away from that at all. We will target anyone who’s involved in any criminal activity and if that’s African youths, so be it.”

It comes as fresh reports claim that the Ecoville Community Park in Tarneit, in Melbourne’s west, has been turned into a no-go zone by a youth group calling themselves Menace To Society — the same Apex-linked group which was thought to be behind the carnage at a Werribee Airbnb property last week.

The Herald Sun spoke to residents who say the offenders hijacked Tarneit’s community centre and park, going on nightly vandalism sprees, trashing homes, and terrorising families.

However, Mr Patton has previously said Menace to Society are nothing but an “alcohol-affected mob”.

“These people probably are a menace to society in the way that they have conducted themselves,” he told 3AW last week. “But, we have no intelligence to say such a gang exists.

“It’s young people trying to claim some esteem and we shouldn’t be acknowledging that. They’ve performed criminal acts and we’re hunting them down.”

Police Minister Lisa Neville also told The Australian that African-born young men were over-represented in crime statistics and were causing “great harm and fear in the community”. “We are not trying to cover this up,” Ms Neville said. “It has been of significant concern to us and to Victoria Police.

“We’ve had additional investment in the gang squad (and) in intelligence measures in order to try and disrupt their behaviour.”

Officers have, so far, only arrested one teenager in retaliation to the chaotic scenes in Werribee last week.

Heavily-armed riot police were forced to retreat as rooms were trashed, neighbours terrorised and officers pelted with rocks after they rushed to the out of control house party.

Detectives have charged a 15-year-old Kurunjang boy with aggravated burglary, criminal damage and armed robbery.

“Police continue to investigate the criminal damage to the home and anticipate making further arrests while the investigation takes place,” a spokeswoman for Victoria Police said.

“Police will make an application to remand the 15-year-old to appear in court at a later date.”

Police told last week that officers in Melbourne were sent a memo earlier this month saying they are at risk of being lured into ambushes by violent teenagers.

The memo states officers in a patrol car in Tarneit tailing a ­vehicle driven by a boy as young as 13 saw up to 40 teens of African appearance running towards a laneway, the Herald Sun reported.

“Wyndham Crime Investigation Unit sent a circular to all members within their police service area earlier this week following an incident in Tarneit on December 11,” a spokesman for police told

“During the incident police believed the behaviour of the youths at the location may have been a deliberate lure, in order to compromise member safety.” However, he added that the incident was isolated and nobody was injured.

Mr Patton said the problem wasn’t solely a policing issue.  “We continue to work with the African community to try and address the root causes, which isn’t just a policing issue,” he told the Herald Sun.

“It’s about disengagement, it’s about employment, it’s about a whole range of things.”


Average Australian forks out $83 a week to pay the nation's growing welfare bills and government debt

Australians who are gainfully employed spend nearly three hours each week working to pay off the country's welfare commitments, new data from the Treasury has revealed.

More than half of the average worker's taxes will be spent on social security and healthcare. The Daily Telegraph calculated $83 a week of taxable income goes straight to welfare payments.

Of this $83, only $6.30 is given to those on unemployment benefits. The majority - $35 – is spent on aged pensions, $20 goes towards family benefits and $17 is paid out to people receiving disability payments.

A further $20 each week is given to the Defence Force, and $42 goes towards Australia's enviable public healthcare system.

While many of these payments seem reasonable, it may outrage some to learn $9 a week of their taxable income goes towards paying off only the interest on government debt.

Australia's debt has skyrocketed to $531 billion, and is Treasury predictions see the number expected to further rise $684 billion in the next 10 years.

The high debt is a result of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott abolishing the debt ceiling in 2013 – when it was at $300 billion.

Eric Abetz, a Liberal Senator in Tasmania, has called for a new debt ceiling, to cover future generations from a debt they can never pay off.

'More savings need to be made so we don't leave our children with an incapacity to pay for education or hospitals,' he told the Telegraph.

'They are the people who will have to pay off the debt that the current generation of leadership has incurred. They will be paying for the rest of their lives.'


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, 2017

Attack on free speech means university is no longer a place to learn life lessons

I did an English degree in the 90s and as far as rites of passage go, it was awesome. It was for the most part, uncomplicated. It was wholly free from a dialogue of victimhood, political correctness and timidity of thought.

Now, as my 17-year-old nephew prepares to go to university in a month or so, I confess to being a little nervous about the environment he and hundreds of thousands of Australian young adults are going into.

For some time at least anecdotally there have been concerns about the erosion of critical thinking at Australia’s universities. The odd opinion piece, like this one, the occasional news report, all hinting at, warning of an odious slide into mental protectionism.

What do I mean by that? Well, campuses have seemingly become overrun by the notion of providing a “safe space” either in word or in deed, where nobody disagrees, nobody is allowed to get offended and truly diverse ideas inevitably die like dogs in the gutter.

Now, let me be clear from the get-go. This is not about curriculum, although that’s one for another day. It is about social engineering and deliberate restriction of free speech.

Research conducted by the Institute of Public Affairs and published at the end of last year in the Weekend Australian paints a clear and frightening picture of just how real this issue is. The IPA conducted an audit and analysis of university policies, procedures and guidelines. It found 81 per cent of Australia’s 42 universities are actively hostile to free speech. Actively hostile. That means the people running these joints are actively trying to restrict intellectual freedom.

At universities. Let that sink in for just a minute.

The IPA also found that 17 per cent go so far as to threaten free speech. It found hundreds of policies, including in one case, a 1600-word “flag policy” (the mind boggles), yet the majority of unis fail to comply with their legislated obligation to have a policy that “upholds free intellectual inquiry”. Only eight universities complied.

It went on to describe an environment in which there have been violent protests against certain speakers, and students instructed not to express their viewpoint. Violent protests.

Apart from violence being, you know, a criminal activity, does that not just scream a lack of intellectual depth? If the best response students have to a differing view is to torch the joint or belt someone with a piece of 4x2, you’re not really talking about our nation’s brightest. What is even more sobering is that the audit found almost all of the regulations and restrictions extend beyond the law itself. Students are more censored, restricted and gagged by their universities than in real life.

It seems the culture behind all of this has been allowed to quietly thrive and spread like lantana on your gran’s back fence because nobody thought they’d ever need to prune it.

I know it’s the habit of every generation to look back and think they did things better. I’m not so foolish nor blinkered to suggest it was perfect, because it wasn’t.

But what it was, was an environment in which we learnt not just in lectures (and let’s be clear, sometimes not even in lectures) but in the day-to-day social navigation around differing views, ideas, cultures and beliefs and the basic life skills that navigation teaches a person.

The reason we should be taking notice of this lies in the black and white numbers of the IPA’s audit. Sure, it backs up a view I’ve held and many of my peers and mates have held for some time, but it’s not about being right, it’s not even about that. It’s about the kind of place a university should be.

It’s about the systematic removal of circumstances in which young people can, through normal, everyday life, develop independent and critical thinking by dealing with people who hold opposing views — even ones most of us might find a tad gauche.

I’m going to go a step further. Learning to deal with offence — rather than the offence itself, is a gift. It’s a life lesson. It teaches you to think for yourself, toss out the garbage, keep what works, listen with an open mind, and respectfully walk away without setting fire to something or calling a lawyer.

And if university isn’t one of the places young people get to learn this, then change is way overdue.


Politically correct Victoria Police insist they DON'T have an African gang problem despite the blight of Apex, an officer being kicked in the face and 100 'South Sudanese' youths trashing an AirBnB

Victoria Police insist they don't have an African gang problem in Melbourne after an officer was kicked in the face at a shopping mall and 100 youths of Sudanese appearance trashed an AirBnB house.

The comments from Superintendent Therese Fitzgerald came after a boy kicked a police officer in the head as he crouched down attempting to arrest a 16-year-old youth for alleged shoplifting on Boxing Day.

The scuffle at Highpoint Shopping Centre, at Maribyrnong in Melbourne's west, was caught on CCTV on Tuesday afternoon.

However, Superintendent Fitzgerald said this latest incident involving African youths was not a sign there was an ethnically-related gang problem, amid a spate of crime linked to Apex gangs.

'We have problems with youth crime across the state and it's not a particular group of youths we are looking into. It's all youths. It's youth crime,' she told reporters.

Superintendent said 'youth crime in general' was to blame - a week after police were pelted with rocks after being called to an AirBnB house at Werribee, in Melbourne's west.

Officers were forced to retreat from the house, trashed inside by a party, when more than 100 youths of primarily South Sudanese appearance turned on them.

Photos taken from inside the house show walls kicked and punched in, mattresses thrown on top of furniture and pepper spray splattered across bedroom curtains.

Neighbours say they were left terrified when youths from the house started roaming the streets, throwing rocks and smashing cars.

Less than a week later, a police officer was kicked in the face as he crouched down trying to arrest a 16-year-old boy for alleged shoplifting at Highpoint Shopping Centre.

The scuffle, which was captured on CCTV, unfolded in front of shocked Boxing Day shoppers before the assailant ran from the centre into the car park.

The senior constable sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to hospital as the youth who assaulted him remained at large. 'It could have been a lot worse and I'm pleased to report he's returned to work today,' Superintendent Therese Fitzgerald told reporters on Wednesday. 'He's got bruising to his eye but is in very good spirits.'

A 16-year-old Flemington boy was arrested over the alleged theft but he was released pending further inquiries.

Police are wanting to speak to a teen who is described as African in appearance and was wearing a white top and black bandana.

In June, at nearby Footscray, a man was struck in the head with a tomahawk as a gang of 15 African youths burst into a barber shop and began rioting.

In April, a gang of five Sudanese teenagers allegedly bashed their autistic classmate, in a horrific attack on a bus at Tarneit, in Melbourne's west.

The 17-year-old student was travelling alone to the city centre, when five boys approached him and told him to hand over his mobile phone and new Nike shoes.


'Ongoing erosion of legal rights': Government slammed for ignoring key report for two years

The Turnbull government has been slammed for ignoring a major legal report for more than two years, while continuing to enact laws that erode fundamental rights.

The Law Council of Australia and the libertarian Institute of Public Affairs have urged the new Attorney-General, Christian Porter, to curb what the think tank called "the ongoing erosion of legal rights" in Australia.

In its annual audit of the nation's laws, released to Fairfax Media on Tuesday, the IPA identified another 19 breaches contained in statutes passed this year – taking its count to 324.

And the organisation fingered Treasurer Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and recently-departed attorney-general George Brandis as the ministers behind many of the problematic provisions.

Six new items breached the presumption of innocence, largely impacting employers who are sued under the Fair Work Act, while seven provisions compromised people's right to silence, the IPA found.

One such law, introduced by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, forces a person to answer questions about boats if a biosecurity officer believes they possess relevant information.

IPA research fellow Morgan Begg said the breakdown of basic legal rights "seems to be entrenched in the law-making process" in Australia.


Coalition close to point of no return

The writer is well informed but making prophecies is a mug's game.  Note what happened to prophecies that Trump would never become president

Only a dramatic turn of events is likely to rescue the government and address what appear to be embedded structural problems for the Coalition.

These problems are as deep as they are widespread and are reflected across every state and in key Coalition demographics.

There is little evidence that the government has attempted to address this fundamental problem in any significant way. What it has tried obviously hasn’t worked.

Any hope that 2018 will be a banner year for Malcolm Turnbull, rather than a repeat of the horror year of 2017, rests with his ability and willingness to make meaningful change.

The quarterly analysis of Newspoll, the final instalment of the year, bears this out. The Coalition ends the year in worse shape than it began, trailing Labor on a two-party-preferred split of 54/46.

This will be deeply vexing for Turnbull, who would rightly believe he finished the year well having dealt with same-sex marriage, survived the citizenship crisis by winning two by-elections while claiming the scalp of a Labor senator in controversial circumstances.

None of this has made the slightest bit of difference.

The loss of primary votes in Queensland and NSW is critical. Between them, the two states hold 87 of the 150 seats in the country.

While things are still dire in Western Australia, on the pure numbers, NSW and Queensland would produce a bigger loss on a much smaller swing. And if the apparent internal analysis by the LNP is right, suggesting that the preference flow from One Nation at the Queensland election was at best 50/50 in some seats, then the problems are even more profound.

The latest numbers reveal two disturbing trends for Turnbull. For the first time, Labor is ahead of the Coalition when it comes to voting males. Support among the over 50s is also down 10 points since the July 2016 election.

Nothing could provide more evidence that the Coalition base has jumped overboard and that the theory Turnbull should be chasing a younger demographic is a deeply flawed one.

This is being played out no more intensely than in the regions. Labor’s gains here are significant and would be confounding for the Nationals.

Having started with a 14 per cent deficit at the last election, Labor has lifted six points to be one point ahead of the Coalition.

While Shorten is deeply unpopular more generally, he is only three points behind Turnbull as preferred prime minister in the regions defined as non-capital cities.

The fact that blokes in the country are pissed off shouldn’t be a great surprise. This is where the loss of economic activity in the post mining boom era is felt most keenly. But the size and dimension of the disaffection would be a considerable worry for the government.

The people are cranky and the government, occupied for the past three months with same-sex marriage and determining the genealogy of every MP, is being blamed for it.


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, 2017

Showdown over casual workforce as unions, bosses clash

As usual, unions want to restrict jobs to their members only.  There will be a leap in unemployment if they get their way

Unions will launch a national campaign to restrict rising casual employment across the workforce, pressing for significant changes to the federal workplace laws that will be fiercely resisted by the business community.

The bid has set up a showdown between unions and industry groups opposed to changing the flexible working arrangements of 2.5 million Australians.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus said unions would push federal Labor to commit to two key changes to the Fair Work Act: a new “proper” definition of casual work, and the option for casual workers to convert to permanent positions after six months of regular work with one employer.

Under the union claim, employers would not be able to reasonably refuse a request by a casual to convert to permanency, a proposal rejected by the Fair Work Commission in July.

“The issue of casualisation, the casualisation of jobs, is going to be a key focus of the whole trade union movement next year in 2018,” Ms McManus told The Australian.

“One of the key things we want to change for working ­people is turning around or reversing the casualisation of jobs.

“That goes to properly defining what a casual is, which is a real weakness in the Fair Work Act where there is no proper definition and there used to be.

“That’s allowed employers just to call people casuals even though they have been in ongoing employment for a long time.

“What we would want is the commonly understood and old definition of what casual employment is: if you have a reasonable expectation of ongoing work, you have been working regular shifts, you shouldn’t be defined as a casual, you should have all the rights of permanent employees.

“Secondly, changing the act to allow people who have been in these positions for a long time to be able to convert (to permanent positions).”

Employers attacked the union push, with the Australian Industry Group claiming the proposed changes “would be harmful for employees, businesses and the broader community”.

Stephen Smith, the group’s head of national workplace relations policy, said the ACTU bid to restrict casual employment was part of a broader union push to convince the public that the Fair Work Act was unfair on workers.

“The proposition is ridiculous," Mr Smith said. “The Fair Work Act was im­plemented by the former Labor government. “It increased union power in more than 100 areas and markedly increased employee entitlements.

“Changes are needed to the act to increase flexibility, not to remove essential existing flexibility.

“Casual employment suits a very large number of people, who prefer this form of employment because it gives them the flexibility that they want or need.”

Retail trade, accommodation and food services account for about 38 per cent of casual workers across Australia.

Federal Labor has committed to examining the definition of casual work and to set an objective test for determining when a worker is casual.

Opposition workplace relations spokesman Brendan O’Connor said Labor would have further talks with unions and ­employers, and take into account the commission’s decision on ­casual employment.

The commission put a casual- conversion clause in modern awards that allows casual employees engaged in regular patterns of work to request permanent positions after 12 months, but it said that employers should have the right to refuse the conversion requests.

Ms McManus said properly defining a casual would ensure “we don’t have situations where ­people end up being in casual work for 20 years”.

She said her preference was to have the definition become part of the national employment standards. “We prefer a universal ­application because some people fall out of the award system. “We would want this extended to everyone, so probably the best sol­ution is having it in the NES,” she said.

Ms McManus said she was confident Labor recognised that insecurity of work was “a high-order issue for working people and they are open to looking at ­solutions for that”. “I believe the issue of insecure work and wages not keeping up with the cost of living are universally felt," she said. “If you are in casual work, or other forms of insecure work, the so-called gig economy, every single worker worries about it.

“Either you’re in it, or your kids are in it or you worry about being in it.”

She said workplace laws were not strong enough to combat the growth of insecure work. “There have been too many loopholes, too many ways for employers to get around ensuring people have rights and security at work," she said.

“We believe it should be a high-order issue for all political parties but most obviously for the Labor Party to address.”

Mr Smith said the current standard definition of a casual employee was “an employee engaged and paid as a casual employee”.

“If an employee is engaged as a casual and paid a casual loading then they are a casual — regardless of the pattern of hours they work," he said.

“If casual employment is to be defined in the Fair Work Act, it is vital that the standard definition be used. “Any change to this definition would disrupt a very large number of casual employment arrangements that suit the needs of the employees and businesses that they work for.”

Mr Smith said casual-conversion clauses were common in awards, with the employer having the right to refuse on reasonable business grounds.

“Few casuals are union members and this is perhaps the reason why unions are so focused on restricting this form of employment," he said.


Teaching spoon-fed students how to really read

Writing below is Tegan Bennett Daylight, a Leftist lady with a love of literature, Australian literature particularly.  Her essay is very long-winded in the usual Leftist way so I have just picked out below some paragraphs that may summarize what she is driving at.  To be rather cliche about it, she seems to think that reading creative fiction broadens your horizons.  I think it does too but would choose quite different books to the ones she does.  Some of the books that have interested me are  listed here and here.  She refers to the novel "Monkey Grip" below.  It is about druggies, dropouts, single mothers and "arty" types. Not my scene

I’ve recently finished marking 40-odd exams, mostly written by people between the ages of 18 and 21. In them our students had to answer questions about aspects of literature, such as free indirect speech or genre. They also had to write an essay of 1,000 words, on the work of Helen Garner, Christos Tsiolkas, Judith Wright, Jack Davis or Tim Winton.

My students are, for the most part, education students who live in regional Australia. If they get their degree, they are bound for early childhood centres, preschools, primary schools, high schools. These are our new teachers.

If you have little to do with tertiary education you might not have noticed this: that there is a whole new cohort of young people attending university, people who might not have done so 30 or 40 years ago. Our economy has been transforming itself from blue to white collar for decades; an education that relies on the written word is newly necessary.

The first time I taught "Monkey Grip" in English One I was struck by two things. First, by how many of my students were offended by it. They found it too sexually explicit, too full of “profanity”, and they deplored Norah’s method of parenting: the shared household, the children exposed to drug taking and other radical behaviours.

The second thing that struck me was how difficult my students found the 10-page extract. They didn’t know who Helen Garner was, the 1970s were too far away to mean anything to them, and they couldn’t locate themselves in the story. They didn’t know who was speaking, and who she was speaking to. How old was she, where was she, what was happening?

Well, there is only one way to go on, as I tell students – and that is to go on. This is the first and greatest difficulty they face. There’s no reason for them to continue reading. There is so much else to read that is shorter, and not just aimed at them, but, in the case of their Facebook feed, tuned to their experience. Marketed to them. Why would they bother reading something that was neither for them nor about them?

But then there are moments like this one, early on in my English teaching, when my class were reading and struggling with Les Murray’s The Cows on Killing Day. I’d always loved this poem. In it the poet imagines the death by knife of an old cow, from the point of view of the herd. Murray uses a first person compound pronoun, all me, to speak in the cows’ collective voice:

All me come running. It’s like the Hot Part of the sky

that’s hard to look at, this that now happens behind wood

in the raw yard. A shining leaf, like off the bitter gum tree

is with the human. It works in the neck of me

and the terrible floods out, swamped and frothy.

I had a student who had already responded very positively to Helen Garner’s Against Embarrassment, a simple essay that makes a plea for unselfconscious pleasure in performance. Like many students would after her, she had read Garner’s essay in the light of her university enrolment; it made her determined to enjoy herself, to unselfconsciously engage in learning, to stop being critical of herself. She’d worked several years as a dairymaid after leaving school early, thinking she was “too stupid” for university. As we read The Cows on Killing Day aloud, her voice came ringing from the desks at the back of the class: “But this is exactly what it’s like!”

The Cows on Killing Day elicits a variety of reactions from my students, many of whom have been brought up on farms. I’ve had young people furious with me. They say, “I hate this poem. This shouldn’t be written about,” or, “No one likes it. But it’s a part of life.” I’ve also had city or mountains-bred students – there are a couple of them each year – who’ve never killed an animal in their life, and self-righteously feel that the poem is a paean to vegetarianism.

But this student, the ex-dairymaid, read the poem as it is meant to be read. Murray doesn’t ask for sympathy for the cow: his job is simply to use his art to show what it’s like. After this class, my student went from a pass for her first assignment to a distinction for her second. At the end of the semester she told me she’d decided to switch her teaching specialisation to English.

This is what my students have learned: how to read more than 200 words of a text at a time. How to write something about the way they feel. And, finally, how to notice that a text is doing something. Not to simply slump, bored, in front of a block of writing and hope that it goes away. How to notice that it is up to something. Perhaps, in the future, to read a little differently. To feel those ideas about literature, so angrily learned, change the way they see.


Bigotry is one thing, but let’s not attack free speech

The debate about religious freedom in the wake of the enactment of legislation for same-sex marriage is in many ways misconceived. The real issue is freedom of speech and this arises whether or not the statements made have a religious basis, even though the problem is likely to be largely one for religious bodies.

It seems unlikely there will be any long-term problem with the fabled baker who does not want to supply the wedding cake for a same-sex function. As it happens, this would amount to discrimination — that is, differential treatment — and so be unlawful conduct under the Sex Discrimination Act.

But the real problem for religious bodies is whether they can teach in schools and churches their belief that same-sex marriage is wrong. This is because all states and territories have anti-discrimination legislation that makes it unlawful to offend or insult various community groups, including effectively same-sex couples.

The broadest of these statutes is the Tasmanian legislation, which makes it unlawful to offend, humiliate, intimidate, insult or ridicule a person on the basis of various attributes, including sexual orientation, marital status and relationship status, in circumstances where a reasonable person would have anticipated that the subject of the statements would be offended or otherwise affected.

This leaves it open to a same-sex couple to complain if, for example, a statement is made that children are better off in a family constituted by the traditional marriage of a different-sex couple. It would, of course, be equally open to a different-sex couple living together but not married to complain about the same statement.

It may be that such statements are based on a religious belief as to the role of traditional marriage but it is obvious that this is not the only basis on which they might be made. Some non-religious individuals might simply have a view that traditional marriage provides the best environment for children for social and economic reasons.

Many people would disagree with these opinions but the question is whether it should be unlawful to express them. Like most of its state and territory counterparts, the Tasmanian legislation considers an otherwise unlawful publication defensible if it is produced “in good faith” for a purpose in the public interest. It might be thought that this would protect statements made in the course of religious teaching in church services and schools, as well as non-religious publications produced during debates on social issues.

There are, however, two problems with this defence. The first is that the notion of good faith is a subjective one and it is impossible to be certain what view the court or tribunal hearing a complaint would take of this question. The second is that the defence has little utility for an individual who may succeed in making that case only after proceedings have gone on for years in tribunals and courts. In addition to the heavy legal costs of such an exercise, there is the enormous stress that litigation causes any normal person who is subjected to it across a long period.

The difficulty with all laws of this kind is that they inevitably stifle public debate on contentious issues in the community. Advocates of these laws suggest they are necessary to deal with “hate speech”. No one argues that incitements to violence against any section of the community should not be unlawful and such conduct has always been unlawful under the criminal law. But such “hate speech” is hardly the same as expressing opinions in the course of a robust political debate that some people may find offensive.

The same advocates argue that freedom of speech is not an absolute value. Quite right. It has always been subject to various qualifications including, for example, the law of defamation, the law of contempt and publications that endanger national security. But these are different from laws that are designed to protect a person’s feelings from being offended.

It must be said that neither of Australia’s main political parties has a serious commitment to freedom of speech. Many politicians on both sides do not seem to understand how easily public debate can be stifled by laws affecting freedom of speech and how easy it is for these laws to be expanded once they are on the statute books.

Much the same can be said of the community in general but its awareness of this issue may be raised during the next few years if complaints against religious bodies are actively pursued because of their teachings on the role of marriage in society.


Pardon me, Canberra, your hypocrisy is showing

Corrupt politicians

On November 30 the government announced the establishment of a royal commission into the financial services sector.

In a joint statement, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison said the inquiry would consider “the conduct of banks, insurers, financial services providers and superannuation funds (not including self-managed superannuation funds). This will be a sensible, efficient and focused inquiry into misconduct and practices falling below community standards and expectations.”

Did the Prime Minister and Treasurer shuffle about as they made this announcement? Did they seem shifty in their ill-fitting self-righteous clothing as they took to the moral high ground? Did they give a second’s thought to an independent investigation into parliamentary practices that fell well “below community standards and expectations”? Answer: not on your life.

The sins of the financial ser­vices industry are one thing but, unlike their political masters, business leaders are governed by many layers of regulation and civil processes that offer recourse through prosecution, individual claims and class actions for suspected or proven misconduct.

Yet should anything threaten the Canberra collective, it simply closes ranks. After all, with so many privileges and the prospect of superannuation benefits beyond most Australians’ dreams of avarice, this cartel is impregnable.

Take the citizenship crisis that began last July. It continues to shine an unwelcome light on politicians’ links to other countries. Australia’s Constitution expressly bans parliamentarians from being entitled to the rights or privileges of, or to be a subject or citizen of, a foreign power. Yet 10 per cent of the parliament has resigned or remains under suspicion for just that.

Meanwhile, Turnbull and Bill Shorten are locked in a standoff over which MPs whose citizenship is in doubt should be referred to the High Court. How dare they sit in judgment when they have tried to cover up the ineligibility of some colleagues, pushed a “don’t ask, don’t tell” agreement and scoffed at each other’s “carelessness” in a calculated attempt to deceive the public.

It explains why Turnbull supporter and Liberal frontbencher Arthur Sinodinos has yet to be referred to the High Court. Born in NSW to Greek parents, he may not be registered as a Greek citizen but neither has he renounced that citizenship and therefore may be lawfully bound by the policies and rights conferred by the Greek government.

Shorten factional ally David Feeney claims he renounced his British entitlements in 2007, but neither he nor the British Home Office can find the papers. The same Feeney forgot to declare a $2.3 million house in his register of pecuniary interests. Yet Labor sheltered him.

This is the Canberra culture. Do as I say, not as I do.

Take our jetsetting Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop. She claimed $1.2m in expenses last year, including a trip to Sydney for a film premiere and a day at the polo. She charged taxpayers $7000 for four trips to Adelaide that coincided with her older sister’s birthdays. The Herald Sun also found eight occasions when official business took her to the same city her beloved Eagles were playing away games. Nothing to see there.

Nor when Labor frontbencher Tony Burke was forced to declare two undisclosed separate stays worth thousands of dollars at Eddie Obeid’s luxury Perisher ski lodge in 2004 to 2006. Or when Burke took his family on a taxpayer-funded business class trip to Uluru during the 2012 school holidays, or used a family reunion entitlement to take four family members from Ballina back to Sydney during the 2010 school holidays. To be fair, he did repay $94 claimed as travel expenses to attend a Robbie Williams concert.

In a seven-year period, Burke claimed more than $4.6m, or almost $60,000 a month in expenses. He is now manager of opposition business. Go figure.

But even this “anything goes” culture has limits. When Labor senator Sam Dastyari allowed a Chinese government-linked company to pay off a $1600 travel debt, give him two bottles of Grange worth $1400 (disclosed as “two bottles of wine”) and meet a $40,000 legal bill, the obvious conflict finally became too much for him to remain on the frontbench and then in the Senate. That’s how low the bar is. No wonder Donald Trump’s “drain the swamp” resonates so strongly with the electorate.

If companies gave false profit guidance the way governments promise a return to budget surplus, boards and management would face serious Australian Securities & Investments Commissions charges. If a business claimed it could deliver a new broadband network for $26 billion when the ultimate cost was about three times that, then those responsible would be sued for negligence. But not in politics. Politicians take big bets using other people’s money. They take credit for successes while taxpayers underwrite their mistakes. This is a bad deal for taxpayers.

The financial services royal commission is a rank political exercise that serves to remind us of the double standards and questionable competence of those who have commissioned it.

It will make recommendations that politicians, who thrive on populism and headlines and, whose priority is tenure, will implement.

It’s the risk we run when our parliament consists of careerists whose real-world experience is limited to being a political staff member or a trade union official. It’s an unpredictable mix of ambition and dangerous ideology. It highlights a crisis in governance and a crying need to widen the gene pool of our elected representatives. What was once a noble pursuit of public service has being corrupted by mercenaries. If liberties have to be taken, the ends justify the means.

Political parties may compete for the spoils of office, but ideologically their differences are blurred, and when push comes to shove they have demonstrated where their loyalties really lie. And it’s not with the Australian people.


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

27 December, 2017

Australia closes in on joint defence force deal with Japan

Tokyo: Japan and Australia are close to agreeing a visiting forces agreement (VFA), which would foster smooth military operations between the two countries, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull plans to visit Japan and hold talks with his counterpart Shinzo Abe to confirm the agreement ny mid-January, according to sources close to both governments.

With an eye to starting talks on a similar pact with Britain by the end of 2018, Tokyo intends to deepen international security cooperation through multiple avenues by strengthening coordination with "quasi-allies" – in addition to the United States – should circumstances on the Korean Peninsula and in the East and South China seas grow more severe.

A VFA comprehensively stipulates the legal status of foreign forces engaged in temporary activities, such as joint exercises and disaster-relief missions, in a nation's territory.

The broad agreement with Canberra would be Tokyo's first-ever VFA accord, though it has concluded a status of forces agreement with the United States premised on the long-term presence of its ally's forces in Japan.

In the talks between Japan and Australia, which began in 2014, the two governments agreed to implement such measures as simplifying procedures when Japan's Self-Defence Force (SDF) or the Australian military temporarily stay in either country for joint exercises and other missions, by exempting customs on carried items and granting permission to bring arms and ammunition.

In cases where relevant parties including defense forces personnel commit crimes in either country, the law of the country in which the crime was committed, in principle, will take priority. Tokyo and Canberra will continue talks on such cases, as additional time is necessary to clarify details on exceptions and the specific scope of the rules, among other issues.

The two governments aim to officially reach an agreement on the VFA and begin implementation by the end of 2019.

Behind Tokyo's effort to develop VFAs lies its recent focus on conducting joint drills between the SDF and foreign forces.

In 2015, the Ground Self-Defence Force participated in US-Australia joint exercises for the first time. The Air Self-Defence Force also plans to hold its first joint drill with the Royal Australian Air Force in Japan next year.

In the meantime, Japan and Britain agreed to aim to conduct joint drills on a regular basis at so-called two-plus-two talks between their foreign and defense ministers on December 14. They are pursuing a conclusion to the VFA with an aim to expand the drills.

A VFA is expected to have the effect of "demonstrating a bilateral relationship of trust both within and outside" the two countries, according to a senior official at the Defense Ministry.

Tokyo intends to expand its security cooperation network based on Abe's "free and open Indo-Pacific strategy" in a bid to strengthen deterrence against North Korea and to warn against China's maritime advances.


Australia abstains from UN vote calling for the US to drop its recognition of Jerusalem

Australia’s decision to abstain from a controversial United Nations vote on a US move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was “disappointing”, the Palestinian Authority’s representative in Canberra said.

But the Israeli embassy has welcomed the move, saying the Jewish state “appreciated” the gesture.

SBS News contacted both embassies in the wake of the vote, in which an overwhelming 120 countries opted to urge the United States to reverse Donald Trump’s decision.

Only nine countries voted against the resolution, including Israel and the US. Most of the other seven countries were small island nations, including Nauru.

A further 35 counties abstained, including Australia and Canada.

The United Kingdom was of the majority of countries that voted Yes, despite threats from the United States that it would take the result “personally”.

The Palestinian Authority’s ambassador to Australia, Izzat Abdulhadi, said the result was disappointing, especially given that Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop had said on Thursday the UN motion did not “conflict” with Australia’s position of supporting a two-state solution.

“It was disappointing, a little bit. Because… Ms Bishop said just three or four days ago the position of Mr Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will increase tension,” Mr Abdulhadi told SBS News.

Mr Abdulhadi said the decision to abstain was “very obviously” driven by a desire to appease Australia’s ally, the United States.

In a statement, Ms Bishop told SBS News the decision to abstain was consistent with Australia’s position. “Australia’s voting position… concerning Jerusalem reflected our assessment that it did not materially advance the peace process,” the statement read. “We do not wish to see any party isolated from the process through this resolution, so we abstained on this occasion.”

But Israel’s ambassador to Australia, Mark Sofer, said the decision to abstain was welcome. “There are enormous amounts of constraints and pulls and pushes, and we appreciate the Australian vote,” Mr Sofer said. “Australia didn’t find itself drawn into yet another Israel-bashing resolution.”

Mr Sofer said it was inconsistent that the UN General Assembly had dealt with 21 resolutions on Israel, but only a handful about states like North Korea, Iran and Syria, where human rights have been abused on a massive scale.

“Does it mean anything? No it doesn’t, to us. It’s non-binding. Jerusalem has been the capital since time immemorial,” Mr Sofer said.

“The truth is the United Nations, the General Assembly I’m talking about here, has really become an impediment to peace in the Middle East rather than something that’s going to assist and move us along in the direction that we need to be.”

While the US has committed to moving its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, Australia will keep its embassy in Tel Aviv, the foreign minister said.


NSW teachers behind homosexual "education"

We were told during the same sex marriage postal survey that the issue had nothing to do with what our children were being taught in schools and that concerns about the expansion of the Safe Schools Program and promotion of gender theory were red herrings.

However no less than 24 hours after the passing of same sex marriage into law op-ed pieces appeared online claiming that the next cause the movement should champion is LGBT inclusive education in schools.

What many people weren’t aware of during the postal survey was that many teachers and education unions support the yes campaign. The most prominent supporter was the Australian Education Union which represents school teachers at both primary and secondary level and is the largest union in the education sector.

State governments can remove Safe Schools type programs and ban the teaching of gender theory, but they cannot stop activist teachers from inserting their political agenda into the everyday classroom. This something that parents should be aware of as teachers’ political agendas are not exactly hidden.

The latest display of their agenda is that the New South Wales Teachers Federation wants to have a float in the 2018 Sydney Mardi Gras which has been the case in previous years. The organisers of the Mardi Gras appropriately declined with the official reason being that next year being the 40th anniversary of the parade they are already over their float capacity and can’t approve all applications.

Despite the inappropriateness of the teachers marching in what is a blatant political event not to mention contains explicit sexualised content the New South Wales Teachers Federation is not taking no for an answer. They have launched a petition on to pressure the Mardi Gras to accept their application. So far it has gained 1800 signatures.

Parents should be deeply concerned about any teachers marching in such a parade and what it means for the education of their children. If teachers believe that the Mardi Gras is an event they should participate in a public capacity, then what does it mean for how they approach their job in the classroom?

Developments such as this certainly point to the fact that more radical aspects of the LGBT agenda are being pushed after the legislation of same sex marriage especially to our youth by the people we entrust with their education. Teachers should be sticking to the three Rs and if they want to be politically active do it in their own time and not in a capacity as an educator.


Stand up to thugs, Kevin Rudd tells Bill Shorten

Kevin Rudd has declared the Labor Party must reject the dictates of “factional thugs” and union powerbrokers if it is to regain government, and he accused Bill Shorten of a “lack of leadership” over maverick former CFMEU leader Joe McDonald.

The former Labor leader and prime minister responded angrily yesterday to the awarding of a Labor “outstanding service award” to the West Australian Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union delegate who has convictions for assault, threats, trespass, contempt of court and industrial breaches.

Mr Rudd told The Weekend Australian Mr McDonald, whom he forced from the ALP in 2007 for threatening behaviour on a Perth building site, was damaging and destroying Labor values and dictating to the parliamentary party.

Mr Rudd also accused the Opposition Leader of “cowering” to “faceless men and factional thugs” who had narrow individual and factional interests and were undermining the authority of the ALP.

For the past two weeks, Mr Shorten has been deeply involved in political factional deals in NSW and Victoria involving union demands to nominate ALP candidates, conference delegates and union posts. “For the Labor Party to return to office in Australia, it needs to have a political authority above and beyond the dictates of factional thugs and faceless men,” Mr Rudd said yesterday.

“That’s because the Labor Party stands for basic values of freedom and a fair go for all Australians — values which have nothing to with the narrow interests of individual factional and certain industrial powerbrokers.

“In fact, these are the sort of men who damage and destroy our basic values as a movement through their behaviour,” he said.

This week, Mr McDonald, who was awarded an ALP outstanding service award despite being the most prosecuted union leader in Australia, taunted the former Labor prime minister and his then deputy and leadership contender against Mr Shorten, Anthony ­Albanese.

He said he would like to see the look on the faces of Mr Rudd and Mr Albanese when they heard of the award honouring his lifetime contribution to the ALP.

“I might send them a photo of me with my certificate and they can use it on their Christmas cards,” he said.

“Rudd got me expelled for swearing, but he wasn’t too bad with the four-letter adjectives himself. I am still a member of the ALP and I am a CFMEU delegate to the Labor Party, so I’m still here and he (Mr Rudd) is long gone,” Mr McDonald said.

Yesterday, Mr Rudd said one of the reasons Labor won in 2007 “was because as leader I refused to cower to these faceless men and factional thugs”.

“I’m proud of the fact I demanded the expulsion of Dean Mighell in Victoria and Joe McDonald in WA. They resigned as a result. These two are bad for the public standing of the Labor Party, the labour movement and the vast bulk of the trade union membership and leadership,” he said.

Mr Rudd said “that my successors presided over the readmission of McDonald, and others, reflects a lack of leadership”.

“For McDonald to be given an ‘outstanding service award’ is particularly interesting. Outstanding definitely. Outstandingly destructive for the party,” he said.

“These sort of awards should be for ordinary branch members who put their life and soul into the ­values of the movement,” Mr Rudd said.

West Australian Deputy Premier Roger Cook presented the award to Mr McDonald on Monday after he was welcomed back into the ALP’s WA branch in 2013 while serving as assistant state secretary of the CFMEU.

WA Premier Mark McGowan, who has said he will not be influenced by Labor-linked militant unions in government, did not ­attend Monday’s meeting.

During his contentious career, Mr McDonald has been fined over incidents that have cost the CFMEU’s rank-and-file members more than $1 million in penalties.

According to the Australian Building and Construction Commission, Mr McDonald holds the record for the highest total of penalties awarded against an ­individual.


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

24 December, 2017

‘Criminal sanctions are available for false statements’: ATO tools up for empty house crackdown

An attack on property rights. Pure Communism.  Why can I not leave my own property vacant if I want to?  Private housing is not collectively owned.  It is not public property. This whole thing is just green-eyed jealousy

WOULD you dob in your neighbour for leaving their home unoccupied? That’s the hope of federal and state governments as they prepare for a major crackdown on houses and apartments sitting empty around the country.

In November, federal Parliament passed legislation giving the Australian Taxation Office power to fine foreign investors up to $5500 a year if they leave their properties empty, plus up to $52,500 for failing to lodge their forms.

Meanwhile, the Victorian state government’s vacant residential land tax kicks in from January 1, with owners in 16 council areas facing potential fines equal to 1 per cent of the property’s value.

In 2016, 11.2 per cent of private dwellings were unoccupied on Census night, compared with 10.7 per cent five years earlier, totalling 1,089,165 dwellings. In Melbourne and Sydney, the number of empty properties increased by 19 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.

But according to UNSW professor Hal Pawson, those figures “substantially overstate” the true number because they include temporarily empty dwellings.

“Lack of reliable data on empty homes is a major problem in Australia,” Prof Pawson wrote in The Conversation. In 2014, an analysis of water usage data by Prosper Australia estimated that about 82,000 homes in Melbourne were vacant — about half the Census figure.

“Applying a similar ‘conversion factor’ to Sydney’s Census numbers would indicate around 68,000 speculative vacancies,” Prof Pawson wrote.

“Considering that thousands of people sleep rough — almost 7000 on Census night in 2011, more than 400 per night in Sydney in 2017 — and that hundreds of thousands face overcrowded homes or unaffordable rents, these seem like cruel and immoral revelations.

“Public awareness of unused homes has been growing in Australia and globally. In London, Vancouver and elsewhere — just as in Sydney and Melbourne — the night-time spectacle of dark spaces in newly built ‘luxury towers’ has triggered outrage.

“This has struck a chord with the public not only because of its connotations of obscene wealth inequality and waste, but also because of the contended link to foreign ownership.”

A spokeswoman for the ATO said foreign investors with Foreign Investment Review Board approval would be required to lodge an annual “vacancy fee return”, currently being designed, which will consist of an online declaration and payment system.

“If the fees and charges accumulate and remain unpaid, a hold can be placed over the property so that unpaid amounts are recouped when the property is sold,” she said.

“The Treasurer can also have a property sold to recoup unpaid fees if required. The ATO expects that the severity of the penalties for non-lodgement will encourage foreign investors to lodge the vacancy fee return.”

Shukri Barbara, principal adviser at the Property Tax Specialists, said it was unclear exactly how the policy would be enforced but that “the artificial intelligence capability of the ATO in data matching is absolutely sensational”.

“They’re able to match every field of tax return information with outside data, particularly as it relates to local government,” he said, adding international data sharing agreements between OECD countries would also play a role.

“In my experience, in our practice, it’s had an impact. The market has slowed down as far as prices are concerned.”

Mr Barbara added that, anecdotally, Chinese buyers — who would until recently have bought properties without even seeing them — had dried up. “That’s all gone now,” he said.

The spokeswoman said the ATO would establish the identity of foreign investors “through the FIRB application approval process, land titles information, community referrals, information from various state and federal agencies, and our existing data matching processes, which have a high detection rate”.

“A comprehensive communications strategy is in place to raise awareness and to assist foreign investors and their intermediaries understand the requirements of the vacancy fee including a suite of online products and web content,” she said.

“The ATO is also reminding foreign investors of their reporting requirements and the penalties for non-lodgement of the vacancy fee return through the FIRB application approval process, email notifications and a targeted communication campaign.

“Through our existing data matching capabilities together with increased community awareness the ATO is confident that the risk of non-identification of foreign investors subject to the vacancy fee is low.”

She added that if there were doubts about the validity of the vacancy fee return, the ATO would check the claim through “tax return data, immigration data and information from electricity and other utility providers”.

“If the foreign investor claims that they have rented the dwelling or made it available for rent then the ATO can check against the data detailed above as well as lease and real estate agent agreements, internet searches and records of rental tenancies authorities,” she said.

“If the foreign investor claims the dwelling is rented, but this is through short-term leases of less than 30 days, even if this totals over six months ... the foreign owner will still need to pay the vacancy fee as the law requires leases to be of a residential nature of at least 30 days duration.

“Criminal sanctions are available for false and misleading statements.”

The Victorian State Revenue Office simply said it “undertakes monitoring and compliance activities to ensure that vacant residences are being declared”. “Our compliance program includes comparing our data with that of other state and federal agencies, and conducting investigations,” the SRO said.

The issue of vacant houses with missing foreign owners has cropped up twice in recent months. In November, a top-floor unit in inner-city Darlinghurst was put up for sale after a protracted legal battle, and earlier this month a notorious squatter’s house in Redfern also went under the hammer.

Faiyaaz Shafiq, a strata law expert from JS Mueller & Co Lawyers, said at the time the problem would only get worse. “A lot of people are buying properties from overseas and leaving them,” he said. “So many owners are out there with units locked up, empty, and no one can find them.”


Call it for what it is: an Islamist terror attack

We have all been knocked off kilter by this terror attack in Melbourne, another cowardly, vicious and sickening attack using a car to mow down innocent civilians.

The police arrested an Afghan migrant who according to their own reports cited the treatment of Muslims as his grievance and his motivation.

Yet Victoria Police waited five hours before sharing any of the ­detailed information and even then denied any link to terrorism.

This denial is so worrying so ­ignorant and so dangerous, yet even the Prime Minister adopted this same ridiculous line.

They tell us a Muslim migrant from Afghanistan has mown down people and raved about the treatment of Muslims yet they say there is no link to terrorism.

How can the public feel safe if the authorities and politicians won’t even confront the very real enemy of Islamist extremism terrorism.

This is the evil whose name they dare not speak — they are in jihad denialism.

And this is not about demonising our Muslim Australians they understand this threat better than most. They don’t want their lives ruined or threatened by these extremists any more than you or I do.

Many political leaders, some security agencies and much of the media are too timid to even discuss the ideology that wishes us ill. They prefer to talk about methods or weapons. Hosting a global summit on the threat in 2015, Barack Obama talked about “countering violent extremism”. Don’t mention the religion. Avert your eyes from the inspiration.

When a Muslim extremist invoked Islamic State and took ­people hostage in a Sydney cafe, journalists and activists tried to redefine it as a mental health episode.

When a teenager walked from a Parramatta mosque and shot a stranger dead while yelling “Allahu akbar”, the police said, hours later, there was nothing to suggest terrorism.

Even ASIO head Duncan Lewis called on politicians to refrain from linking Islamism and terrorism.

It is difficult for most of us to comprehend this determination to deny or play down how Islamist extremism foments these attacks. Do people believe if we ignore the jihadists they will go away?


Turnbull defends Snowy Hydro's high price

Another burden imposed on us by the Warmist hoax

Malcolm Turnbull has defended the ballooning cost of upgrading the Snowy Hydro scheme, arguing the "vitally important" project is financially viable.

The plan to increase capacity of the iconic scheme by 50 per cent will make up to 2000 megawatts available to the national electricity market.

A feasibility study has found the project, while financially and technically viable, is likely to cost between $3.8 billion and $4.5 billion, far outweighing the initial estimate of $2 billion.

"Of course it is an expensive project, but any big infrastructure project has a price tag," the prime minister told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

Mr Turnbull said the total cost would only soar to $12 billion if the Commonwealth bought out Victoria and NSW's ownership of the scheme.

"We certainly would welcome that, but that's really two different transactions," Mr Turnbull said.

The study uncovered more complex geology than expected, pushing the cost estimate higher.

Mr Turnbull said the project would ensure reliable and affordable energy while helping Australia to meet emissions reduction obligations.  "The project is vitally important," he said.

"As we move to energy mix in which we have more and more intermittent sources of energy, you've got to have something to back it up when the sun isn't shining."

Labor have pounced on the higher price estimate, with energy spokesman Mark Butler saying the prime minister had painted an unrealistic picture of the project earlier in the year.

"This project only stacks up if it is put alongside an ambitious renewable energy program, like Labor's 50 per cent renewable energy target," Mr Butler told ABC radio.

While the opposition is supportive of the overall concept, it wants to see the modelling behind the feasibility study.

The project will link two major dams in the Snowy Mountains with 27kms of tunnels. If it goes ahead, it won't produce power until 2024.


Parents accuse high school of 'indoctrinating' their children after teachers gave them assignments on changing the Australian flag and criticising President Trump

A Brisbane high school has been accused of 'indoctrinating' students by asking them to complete assignments on changing the Australian flag and criticising US President Donald Trump.

Parents of students at Kenmore State High School in Brisbane, Queensland, have complained of overtly political homework assignments which they say have no place in the classroom.

One particular assignment asked students to argue 'persuasively' in favour of Australia having a new flag, Sky News reports.

'I was really incensed because all these reasons for changing the flag were very political,' said Marion Tomes, grandmother to a male student at Kenmore State High School.

The criteria of the assignment read as followed: 'Write a persuasive speech that explains and justifies the design of your new flag and how it represents contemporary Australia.'

Another 'politicised' assignment Ms Tomes objected to was her grandson's English homework which asked him to write about saving Antarctica from melting.

The woman's granddaughter also previously attended the high-school, but she has since left after Ms Tomes took issue with the curriculum. 

She claims the teacher threatened bad marks to anyone who had positive things to say about the US President. 'The teacher did say that anyone who says a good word about Donald Trump won't get a good mark,' Ms Tomes added.

Author and former teacher Mark Lopez echoes Ms Tomes' concerns and said is it not uncommon for Australian students be taught with a fierce political bias.

'Absolutely typical of what goes on in the Australian education system... one side only. Politically correct left-wing view,' Mr Lopez told Sky News.

However the Queensland Department of Education and Training said in a statement that the examples of study are 'aligned to the intent of the Australian curriculum'.


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, 2017

Australia records its highest ever immigration rate – with the population tipped to reach 25 million in months

This is insane. What will we do with them all?  Housing prices will be pushed up.  Traffic congestion will increase. Law and order will decline and hospitals will be stretched even more. Time to move out of Sydney and Melbourne if you want a convenient life

Australia's population is set to reach the 25 million milestone within a matter of months.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates the nation adds a new person every one minute and 26 seconds, making Australia the world's fastest growing developed nation.

With Australia's population standing at 24,772,437 people as of Tuesday night, the 25 million milestone is set to be reached in 2018.

Australia's net immigration soared by a record 27 per cent in the year to June 30, 2017, compared with the previous year, as 245,400 new foreigners arrived.

Sydney and Melbourne are choking with new residents, with the ABS's director of demography Beidar Cho pointing out overseas migration grew by 31 per cent in New South Wales and 23 per cent in Victoria.

Both states recorded their highest ever net immigration pace surpassing a growth level last experienced in 2008, the ABS said.

In the year to the end of June, NSW added 98,600 new migrants while Victoria absorbed 86,900 new overseas residents.

Growth was slower in the other states, with Queensland's net migration rate up by 31,100 while Western Australia took in 13,100 new migrants.

Australia has the fastest population growth pace of any developed nation in the Organisation for for Economic Co-operation and Development with an annual growth pace of 1.6 per cent.

That is more than double the annual population growth pace of the United States (0.7 per cent) and the U.K. (0.6 per cent), and above the expansion rate of The Philippines and Singapore (1.5 per cent).

Only Papua New Guinea, a poor nation to Australia's north, posted a faster population growth pace, expanding by 2.1 per cent.

Australians are also retiring later, with the ABS's chief economist Bruce Hockman revealing on Tuesday the planned retirement age for those aged over 45 had stretched out to 65, up from 63 in 2007.

'This is consistent with the continuing trend of people staying in the workforce for longer,' he said. 'A decade ago, around 9 per cent of people aged 65 and over were employed. This has increased to around 13 per cent in 2016-17.'

In 1998, the ABS forecast Australia's population wouldn't reach between 23.5 and 26.4 million until 2051.


Bill Shorten working on secret deal with thug union in a bid to secure leadership

BILL Shorten is working on a secret deal with the grubby CFMEU and the hard-core left to secure his leadership in return for giving the union spots in his federal Labor team.

The Daily Telegraph has obtained a leaked working agreement of a deal currently being negotiated between Mr Shorten, the CFMEU’s Victorian Assistant Secretary Shaun Reardon, who is facing blackmail charges, and the Industrial Left (IL), which includes the Maritime Union of Australia, Rail Tram and Bus Union, the Financial Sector Union and the Health and Community Services Union.

A day before the crucial Bennelong by-election last weekend, Mr Shorten met with factional players Adem Somyurek, who was forced to resign from Victorian cabinet over bullying claims two years ago and the Plumbers Union’s Earl Setches as well as factional ally Andrew Landeryou in his office to discuss the agreement, which has not yet been signed.

A key part of the deal Mr Shorten is broking with the militant unions to give them more power in federal Parliament — including a safe seat.

“This agreement replaces the previous ‘Stability Deal’ which allocated held seats to individual factions over many years, fettering the democratic rights of the membership and affiliated trade unions,” it states.

“It is, however, recognised that the IL (which includes a significant number of unions and rank and file members) is not adequately represented in state and federal parliamentary or party structures due to the operation of the Stability Agreements. The IL will also be supported for a safe seat in the round of 2022 federal seat preselections … ”.

The agreement states its “focus” is to re-elect Bill Shorten, and his Centre Unity (CU) faction, at a federal level.

“The focus of this approach and this Alliance is to ensure a re-elected Andrews Labor Government in Victoria and a Shorten Labor government nationally,” it states.

“Where seats become vacant or new seats created, CU and the IL will support each others’ candidates.”

It comes with the NSW right furious at Mr Shorten’s decision to dump Sam Dastyari from the Senate. The move threatens to rock the stability of his leadership.

A senior NSW ALP source said Mr Shorten’s move against the right by walking away from Mr Dastyari left him vulnerable. “There was no one more loyal to Bill than Sam and now that he’s gone, who is there to hold back the floodgates?” the source said.


Queensland property chiefs warn rise in land tax will hurt more than the rich

NEW Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad has defended the Government’s planned “Robin Hood” property tax ahead of her first Budget update tomorrow.

Ms Trad dismissed claims from the Property Council that the planned 2.5 per cent land tax on properties worth more than $10 million would hurt jobs growth and property values.

“This is a very modest increase... we think it’s fair that those that can pay a little bit more, do pay a little bit more,” Ms Trad said.

Overnight, The Sunday Mail quoted property chiefs as warning Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s last-gasp election tax grab would destroy jobs and wipe more than $41 billion from land values in Queensland.

A 2.5 per cent extra slug on owners of land worth more than $10 million was part of a suite of tax measures in Labor’s final campaign announcement, two days before last month’s state election win.

The Premier compared herself to Robin Hood, targeting only the richest.

But the Property Council says ordinary Queenslanders will pay the price, with a risk to employment and businesses forced to pass on the cost to consumers.

The land tax measure will be included in the Mid Year Fiscal and Economic Review to be presented tomorrow by Ms Trad, who was handed the role of treasurer in last week’s Cabinet reshuffle.

It is expected to raise an additional $227 million for the state’s coffers.

“The inconvenient truth for the Government is the vast majority of properties that will have to wear this tax are commercial, retail, industrial and tourism properties," Property Council Queensland executive director Chris Mountford said.

“We heard all through the election campaign that business cost pressures are particularly acute because of price increases like electricity ... making it tougher for businesses to employ people. Now Queensland businesses will need to add land tax to their list of concerns before they think about hiring staff.”

Economist Nick Behrens said the amount raised through land tax had risen faster than any other tax in Queensland in the past decade – up 108 per cent, compared to the 66 per cent Australian average.

The new measures mean only South Australia and Western Australia will have a higher rate. That will make it harder to lure businesses to set up in the Sunshine State.

“We’re in a race to attract and retain investment. Now we’re putting lead in our saddlebags that will impede our ability to compete,” Mr Behrens said.

Ms Trad said the extra land tax would apply only to the wealthiest 850 payers of land tax.

“It does not include farms, and it does not impact on the family home. The land tax ensures that those who are benefiting most from our growing economy and rising land values make a fair contribution to frontline services in Queensland.”


Another disgraceful Sydney cop

An off-duty Sydney police sergeant who was found guilty of using her rank and authority to avoid being randomly breath tested by a junior colleague has been jailed in a Sydney court.

Sarah Louise Johnston, 50, drove away from the RBT site without having been tested after a short conversation with the rookie officer at North Sydney on January 8, 2016.

She wept in the dock on Friday as Judge Christopher Hoy sentenced her to 16 months in jail with a non-parole period of 12 months.

'I consider the offender's conduct was disgraceful,' he said at the Downing Centre District Court.

The trial heard Johnston drank at least one schooner of beer while celebrating the new year with colleagues from North Sydney Police Station at two nearby pubs.

She was driving home to the Central Coast when she was pulled over at a random breath testing site on the Pacific Highway at Crows Nest.

Two junior officers conducting the RBTs - Constable Cameron Brooks and Constable Tugcan Sackesen - immediately recognised her.

Const Sackesen gave evidence at the trial that Johnston first pulled her car up alongside Const Brooks but rolled forward towards him before Const Brooks could breath test her.

'Hi sergeant, you've just been stopped for a random breath test,' Const Sackesen told her. He said she replied: 'You're not going to breath test me are you?' 'Yes sergeant I am,' he said.

She allegedly said: 'No because that would be a conflict of interest.' 'Imagine if I blew over, which I won't, because I'm not.' He said she told him it would put him in an 'awkward situation'.

On Friday Judge Hoy said the experienced and well regarded supervisor set a 'disgraceful example' that night. He said she 'brought shame upon herself... and to all honest members of the police force'.

'This is misconduct the community would expect honest and upstanding members of the police force... to abhor, resist and report,' he said.

Judge Hoy commended the two junior officers for courageously reporting her misconduct. Johnston will be eligible for release in December 2018.


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, 2017

Panic that foreign boats are set to fish in Australian waters

They always have done -- on case by case arrangements.  Some good fishing grounds are remote from Australian fishing ports so are "under-fished".  In those cases selected foreign boats that comply with Australian crewing and other standards are allowed catches by the Australian government.

The panic is to distract from the Turnbull government's move towards unlocking big fisheries that were locked up for no good reason by the last Greenie-influenced Labor government.  There are at the moment very few areas of Queensland waters where fishing is allowed, leaving a valuable food source unused

Australia has vast areas suitable for sustainable fishing but Greenie inspired fishing bans mean that Australia imports a lot of its table fish-- particularly from New Zealand

The federal government is stripping marine protections from remote waters off the Australian coast because it plans to change the law to allow foreign fishing boats with low-paid crews to fish there, a leading fisheries expert claims.

The suggestion, backed by conservationists, has been rejected by the government as "unsubstantiated scaremongering".

However the Australian Fisheries Management Authority says some waters are being under-fished and they are in talks with several operators about allowing foreign boats to operate in Australia's fishing zone under existing laws.

The Turnbull government has proposed changes to the 3.3 million square kilometres of Australia's protected offshore regions, allowing commercial fishing in a host of sensitive marine areas.

Dr Quentin Hanich, head of fisheries governance research at the University of Wollongong's Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security, said many of the proposed changes were in distant waters far from port and "it had never been profitable for the fishers to go there".

"But if you allow cheap distant-water vessels to come in ... those vessels won't come into port. That combined with subsidised fuel, a $1000 annual wage and a whole bunch of problems with the way they treat their crews means they have incredibly low costs and can fish those remote areas," he said.

"Not only does that undermine the protection of those conservation values, it will return incredibly little benefit to Australia."

Dr Hanich, who advises international organisations and governments on fisheries governance and marine conservation, said such a scenario would require law changes allowing cheap foreign boats.

He believed the government's proposed weakening of protected marine areas was based on "hypothetical future changes in Australian regulations on foreign vessels [that] may enable industry to reduce business costs and fish in these previously economically marginal zones".

Dr Hanich questioned the economic need to relax marine protections, saying official estimates showed that under current laws, it would result in a mere $4 million gain to the Australian fishing industry.

There are no foreign boats operating in the Australian fishing zone. Foreign boats can be deemed Australian, and allowed to fish in Australian waters, when there are no domestic boats of that type available – such as large distant-water boats that can deep-freeze fish and stay at sea for long periods. Such boats must operate under Australian standards.

AFMA confirmed it has been in "discussions with a number of operators this year about deeming boats to be Australian across several fisheries".

At a Senate estimates hearing in October, AFMA chief executive James Findlay said there was "significant underfishing ... going on in a number of quota-managed fisheries."

"We're only taking about half of the quota that we've scientifically demonstrated is sustainable. Understandably, quota holders are looking to explore opportunities to harvest that quota ... they're looking at opportunities on the global market to bring in cheap capacity," he said.

Mr Findlay said the moves were not linked to the wind-back of marine protections.

However Pew Charitable Trusts oceans director Michelle Grady insisted the "ambition of the tuna industry to see very deep water remote areas fished" was driving the marine park changes.

This could lead to increased bycatch of threatened species, depleted fish stocks and the loss of large conservation areas, she said.

Water Resources Minister Anne Ruston said such claims had "no substance".

"Of course it is not the intention, nor has it ever been the intention, of the government to allow foreign fishing vessels to fish in Australian waters as a result of changes to marine park zoning," she said.

Tuna Australia chief executive David Ellis described as "absurd" the claim that the Australian fishing industry required foreign vessels to access fishing areas, and said Australia was "recognised worldwide as a leader in sustainable fishery management".

Maritime Union of Australia national secretary Paddy Crumlin said cheap foreign labour "results in a race to the bottom rather than decent wages for all", and unions would fight any such move in the fishing industry.


Conservative Liberal Party members the big winners in Turnbull’s reshuffle

Rising conservative stars Christian Porter and Dan Tehan have emerged as the big winners in Malcolm Turnbull’s cabinet reshuffle, as the Prime Minister moves to renew his frontbench.

Mr Turnbull is expected to announce today the make-up of his new ministry, which will leave the majority of his senior leadership team unchanged.

The Australian has confirmed that Mr Tehan, a regional Victorian MP who is currently Veterans Affairs Minister, will be elevated into cabinet following demands from country Liberal MPs for representation at the cabinet table.

Mr Porter, the Social Services Minister from Western Australia who has been lauded for his work on welfare reforms, has been confirmed as the replacement for Attorney-General George Brandis who will retire and replace Alexander Downer as the High Commissioner in London. Mr Porter’s promotion opens the possibility that Mr Tehan will take over the critical role of social services minister.

The Australian also understands that cabinet secretary Arthur Sinodinos, who stepped down due to ill health, will not return to cabinet, leaving another vacancy.

Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce will, as revealed by The Australian, take over the critical transport and infrastructure portfolios from Victorian Nationals MP Darren Chester in an attempt to boost the government’s stocks in regional Australia.

There was speculation last night that Mr Chester would be dumped from cabinet by Mr Joyce to make way for another Nationals MP, with the junior Coalition partner set to retain its quota of five cabinet positions. This would leave Mr Joyce, who has ultimate say over which Nationals MPs go into cabinet, to try to resolve demands by the Queensland Nationals for greater representation.

NSW senator Marise Payne will keep the defence portfolio, ­despite speculation she would seek appointment as the Australian ambassador to NATO and suggestions that she had not performed well in defence.

Treasury, health, education, and foreign affairs will all remain unchanged. Speculation that sacked former ministers Stuart Robert and Sussan Ley would be returned, were last night dismissed by senior government sources.

It has also been speculated that NSW conservative MP Angus Taylor will take the second cabinet vacancy left by Mr Sinodinos, ­although this had not been confirmed last night.

In a reshuffle that will avert major ructions at the same time as promoting new talent, the Prime Minister is believed to be promoting Queensland LNP MP John McVeigh, who served as agriculture minister in the state government of Campbell Newman from 2012-15, into the ministry.

The shake-up of ministers under new Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is believed to include a security minister and an immigration minister. Justice Minister Michael Keenan, another name being speculated on for a promotion into cabinet, would otherwise be a candidate to take on the security role.

Bridget McKenzie, the new deputy leader of the Nationals whose predecessor Fiona Nash was forced from parliament over dual citizenship, goes straight into cabinet and is tipped to take Mr Joyce’s portfolios of agriculture and water, despite never having held a ministerial portfolio.

A senior government source said there would be no “purge of cabinet” but the changes would not be insignificant, with new portfolios expected to be named. A senior Liberal MP said Mr Turnbull needed the reshuffle to “reset”.

Queensland LNP sources were warning last night that Mr Turnbull faced triggering a fresh round of hostilities with the LNP if he failed to elevate Queenslanders in his reshuffle, amid bitter feelings the state had been overlooked in previous frontbench shake-ups.

The departure of Senator Brandis is set to reduce Queensland representation in cabinet to just three MPs: Mr Dutton, Trade Minister Steven Ciobo and ­Resources Minister Matt Canavan. There are 26 Queenslanders, including Senator Brandis, represented on the government benches across both houses, with 21 in the lower house and five in the Senate.

LNP sources said the Prime Minister needed to work on ­refining his political message in Queensland, given the poor state election result, the defection of conservative voters to alternative parties such as One Nation and the possibility of a by-election in the marginal seat of Longman held by Labor MP Susan Lamb.

Ms Lamb, who holds Longman by a margin of 0.8 per cent, could be referred to the High Court in the new year over concerns she may have been a British citizen when she was elected, in breach of section 44 of the Constitution.


Welfare payments stripped from migrants

Newly-arrived migrants will have to wait longer before receiving a range of welfare payments under a hardline new approach expected to save $1.3 billion.

It will be three years before migrants can receive family tax benefits, paid parental leave or carer allowances.

The push to "encourage self-sufficiency" among new migrants was one of the headline savings measures announced by Treasurer Scott Morrison in a mid-year budget outlook on Monday.

Vulnerable people as well as New Zealanders who enter the country under a special visa stream will be granted exemptions.

The Turnbull government also expects to save about $1 billion over the forward estimates by cracking down harder on family daycare payments.

Money has been set aside for a controversial plan to drug test welfare recipients, despite the trials being put on ice.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the divisive drug testing regime remained coalition policy.

"We remain committed to it and we continue to work with all non-government senators in order to a secure majority (support) for what is a very, very important welfare reform measure," he told reporters in Canberra.


IPA calls for 27,000 public service job cuts

THE federal government has been urged to slash the size of the public service by more than 27,000 jobs to bring numbers back to 2001 levels.

But the public sector union argues any further cuts would have “disastrous consequences” for ordinary Australians and further degrade access to services including Centrelink and Medicare.

In a parliamentary research paper distributed to federal MPs on Monday, free-market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) argued a “substantial reduction” in the size of the public sector was required to tackle the national debt, which is forecast to hit $1 trillion by 2037.

Based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Australian Public Sector Commission (APSC), the paper puts the number of Commonwealth public servants as of June 2017 at 239,800, down 1.4 per cent on the previous year when there were 243,200 employees, and down from a peak of around 250,000 during the Rudd and Gillard governments.

“Official data shows that public sector employee numbers are declining, but the public sector wage bill continues to increase,” IPA legal fellow Aaron Lane said in a statement. “Although progress has been made, further consolidation is needed.”

The Liberal-aligned group has previously called for the public service to be reduced to “at least” the 2001 low of 212,784. On current figures, that would require a reduction of 27,016 positions, or approximately 11.3 per cent.

“Worryingly, at a time of perennial budget deficits, the cost of the public sector continues to increase,” Mr Lane said. “This means that a reduction in the number of public sector employees has not led to overall budget savings.

“Annual wage and salary costs amounted to $21.1 billion for 2016-17. This is up approximately $95 million on the previous year, and an increase of $5.75 billion since 2007-08.”

Mr Lane said the increased costs had been fuelled by pay increases locked in by “generous” public sector bargaining agreements, and by a growth in the proportion of executive and senior executive positions.

“For instance, in 2002, 19.4 per cent of APS employees were engaged at executive level classifications — in 2017 the proportion is 26.2 per cent,” he said.

“ABS figures show that average weekly earnings in the public sector are consistently higher than that of the private sector. The latest figures report that average weekly earnings in the public sector were $1410.60 compared to private sector earnings of $1123.50 — a difference of $287.10.

“The gap between public sector and private sector pay has widened over the last decade, indicating that wage increases in the public sector are outpacing those in the private sector.

“Of course, pay increases in the private sector are funded by businesses earning revenue through creating value — pay increases in the public sector are funded through higher taxes or larger deficits.”

Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood hit back at the research. “Seriously, what planet does the IPA live on? They really need to get out more if they think cutting more Commonwealth jobs is a good idea,” she said.

“The Turnbull government’s shortsighted job cuts might have curried favour with extreme elements like the IPA and [Liberal Senator] Eric Abetz, but they’ve had disastrous consequences for ordinary Australians as public service standards have fallen.

“IPA-style cuts are the reason why you simply can’t get through to Centrelink on the phone, as 55 million calls went unanswered last year alone. They’ve also led to an ever-growing list of policy disasters for this government, from Census fail to the tax office’s online woes.”

Ms Flood said the IPA wanted public sector jobs cut “so that money can instead be handed over to consultants like KPMG, Deloitte, EY and PwC”.

“Outsourcing is the Turnbull Government’s dirty secret, downgrading public services so they can line the pockets of corporations that often pay little or no tax,” she said.

“Billions of dollars is being wasted on outsourcing, which is why a Parliamentary inquiry was launched just last week. There’s been a deafening silence from the IPA on this shameful waste of taxpayer money, which makes their real motivations crystal clear.”

Shadow Employment Minister Brendan O’Connor said, “You can tell a lot about a government by how it treats its workers and Turnbull and his Liberals have presided over deep cuts to public sector jobs.

“Is it any wonder we have regularly seen critical tax office system crashes, millions of unanswered Centrelink calls, long waits for Medicare and gaps in our crime fighting capability? More cuts to our public service would further erode the expertise and experience of our public servants.”


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, 2017

At last! A start on reducing the national debt

It is a common situation in Australia and elsewhere for a new Leftist government to implement big new spending policies without raising taxes to pay for them.  New welfare programs are popular but new taxes are not.  So the Left just borrow the money and pile up debt year after year. And it is left to the next conservative government to clear up the mess.

In 2007 the Labor party inherited a treasury  from the conservatives that had ZERO federal debt.  When they were finally booted out, the debt had ballooned to $400 billion. So in a vicious circle, a lot of taxpayer money had to go to the banks in interest payments and so made constructive spending even more difficult to fund. 

The incoming conservative governments under Abbott and Turnbull found it politically difficult to abandon all the new spending that the Left had put in train so had to continue borrowing for some time.  That has now come to an end

IT’S a tiny figure of a few decimal points but it represents a change the Government says will save taxpayers billions of dollars over a few years.

In fact, the savings could reach $1 billion a year, Treasurer Scott Morrison will argue today.

The Treasurer will release the Midyear Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) — the half-yearly progress report on the Budget delivered last May.

The updated calculations will highlight a projected fall in government debt, compared to the total announced in the Budget. That debt currently stands at just over half a trillion dollars and has steadily been rising.

But today, the Government will boast that by keeping “expenditure under control” it no longer has to borrow to pay for the recurrent bills of the business of government such as wages.

Its new calculations raise the prospect of a $40 billion cut in debt over 10 years, a reduction necessary for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to fund in part at least promised income tax cuts and massive tax relief for big business.

Net debt is now expected to peak next financial year — in 2018-19 — at 19.2 per cent of GDP, or national output.

This would be a 0.6 percentage point improvement on the 19.8 per cent forecast in the Budget. And the difference amounts to $11.9 billion.

The Treasurer will forecast that in three years gross debt will be $2.3 billion lower than calculated last May.

The smaller debt will mean the Government’s interest bill will be lopped by $2.3 billion over three years, reaching $1 billion a year in savings by 2020-21, the Treasurer will announce.

Mr Morrison said in a statement yesterday the MYFO figures would show the Government was “deliver on our prudent and responsible economic management, staying the course to keep expenditure under control and return the Budget back to balance”.

“We are making real headway, bringing down our expected gross debt by $23 billion, meaning lower interest payments of up to a billion dollars a year,” he said.

“In the years ahead we intend to make further progress on bringing down the debt as we get the Budget back into balance as promised.

“In MYEFO, over the next 10 years we expect gross debt to be $40 billion less than we were projecting in May.”

Mr Morrison said the debt reduction this financial year was the equivalent of putting the national grocery bill on the credit card.

“Our responsible budget management means we are now in a position to no longer be borrowing to pay for everyday [recurrent] expenditure, like schools funding, Medicare and welfare, a year earlier than forecast,” he said.

“We are acting, as we promised, in a fiscally responsible way to reduce our debt so that we can sustainably fund the essential services like health, schools as well as infrastructure, that Australians rely on.”

Labor leads the Coalition on a two-party preferred vote by 53 per cent to 47, representing a national swing against the Government of three per cent, the last Newspoll for the year shows.

The poll of 1669 voters across the country, conducted exclusively for The Australian, shows the Coalition has made no ground in the past two weeks with Labor maintaining a one point primary vote lead of 37.

The poll conducted over the weekend shows the major parties have not shifted since the last poll held between November 30 and December 3. The Greens remained steady on 10 per cent while One Nation dropped a further point to seven per cent.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull maintained his narrow lead over Opposition Leader Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister, lifting two points to 41 per cent while the opposition leader lifted a point to 34 per cent.


We have to move away from the worship of university entry as the only path to success in life

In education I worry there is too much competition. Students compete from the days of the National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy right through selective school and scholarship exams, the Higher School Certificate, and their courses at university.

Academics at university compete for tenure-track jobs, for grants and for papers in high-impact journals.

Universities compete with each other globally, and even compete against the vocational education and training sector here.

Competition drives us to be better. Life is competitive, and I enjoy the striving and fulfilment that comes from healthy competition. I, more than most perhaps, have engaged with metrics as a university manager and I never tire of the data and statistics.

But even I worry when the competition becomes too intense. I worry for the mental health of students and the futures of our staff. I worry when everyone dreams of being president — top dog — and when every university wants to be Harvard.

I worry about what I call the witch’s hat type of competition, where everyone is converging on the same goal and competition intensifies as one ascends. There isn’t much room at the top of a witch’s hat.

Globalisation is driving the same dreams and uniformity is taking over from diversity. I worry that people increasingly will be lured into a futile race up the witch’s hat. Most people are bound to fail.

I envisage another type of competition, the ice cream cone view of life. Here individuals spread out as they climb to achieve their goals. There is room at the top in an ice cream cone because everyone is doing something different. One person aims to be the best mathematician, one the best plumber, another the best ballet dancer.

Some universities want to be like Harvard but others want to be small teaching communities with a focus on values.

One doesn’t need to get to the top to reach fulfilment. Ice cream trickles down to the various ridges that cover the cone. Eventually some melts and nourishes those who are still at the bottom. In an inclusive society one climbs up the inside of the cone.

So what magic will invert the witch’s hat to make an ice cream cone? Many of the elements are already in place. In addition to academically selective high schools, we also have high schools that concentrate on sports, or the performing arts, technology, or ostensibly even on agriculture. We might think about establishing more science, technology, engineering and maths senior high schools, and perhaps arts and humanities high schools, too.

We have to move away from the worship of university entry as the only path to success in life. The university sector, the vocational education and training sector, and the government must work together to sort out how to help students find their way into the system that suits them best.

Existing mechanisms that encourage diversification of the university sector could be strength­ened further. Funds should be allocated to reward true excellence in teaching as well as true excellence in research, so institutions make choices rather than everyone aiming for the same thing.

We have systems for measuring research excellence and for rating the student experience, but perhaps because we know these systems will never be perfect we lack the confidence to attach significant funding to them.

What about those young academics who are trapped in the race up the slippery slope of the witch’s hat, completing PhDs and aiming for fellowships and grants, or struggling to survive on casual or sessional teaching?

Some of these might thrive in educational-focused roles where they could concentrate on building a career through teaching without having to compete for the fixed pool of research grants. Others might benefit from focusing intensely on research supported by Australia’s fellowship systems.

Some might move to high schools or into the vocational sector, if these parts of our education system were better supported.

Most of all we must not lose our nerve when other countries post on their Facebook pages that they are having fun.

While globalisation has many benefits the uniformity of thinking is a risk. We should remain confident that we can find many different ways of being happy and prosperous.


Green Party's war on Christmas annoys even their own supporters

A Greens senator has annoyed even his own supporters by posting an image with the word 'Christmas' scrubbed off a banner.

Nick McKim, his media adviser Patrick Caruana and fellow Tasmanian Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson stood in front of a modified 'Merry Christmas' sign, with the word 'Christmas' crossed out and replaced with, 'Non-denominational seasonal festivity'.

The Greens' attempt at trolling conservative Liberal Party politicians on Facebook appears to have annoyed even their own supporters, with one supporter of the far-left party expressing his annoyance.

'I'm a Green voter, an atheist and totally against all this 'religious freedom' bulls*** but can we stop with this PC crap?,' he said.

Senator McKim, a Hobart-based federal politician who had initially sought to annoy conservative Liberal senator Eric Abetz, copped a serve from Treasurer Scott Morrison.

'What a bunch of pathetic muppets,' the senior Liberal wrote on Facebook. 'The Greens are actually opposed to Christmas. For many millions of Australians Christmas is a very spiritual time of year and central to their religious faith.

'For members of parliament to treat this important religious occasion with such disrespect is as offensive as it is disappointing.'

Several other people also expressed their annoyance on Senator McKim's Facebook page. 'Attention seeking clowns,' one man wrote. 'Greens have nothing to add.' He added he was glad the Greens, who have 10 per cent support in the latest Newspoll, were a minority.


Police face charges for 'leaving an overdosed teenager to die' - and he would have survived if they'd taken him to hospital

The Gold Coast cops have a very bad reputation

The death of a Gold Coast teenager from a drug overdose in 2015 could lead to charges against police officers who attended the scene.

Coroner Terry Ryan delivered his findings at Southport Courthouse on Thursday into the death of 19-year-old Charlie Robertson at his Miami apartment in June.

Mr Ryan found Mr Robertson's death was preventable and said police had 'acted inappropriately and incompetently' in their care for the young man.

Mr Robertson was unconscious in his bedroom when seven officers from the Gold Coast's Rapid Action Patrol raided the property, looking for one of his flatmates.

Despite being unable to wake Mr Robertson, the officers left without providing him with medical assistance despite the presence of paramedics at the property, the inquest heard.

The inquest found Mr Roberston would 'very likely' have survived had he received treatment.

'I consider that the attending police officers who witnessed Charlie's condition acted inappropriately and incompetently with respect to his presentation,' Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan added evidence given at the inquest that officers lifting a mattress the unconscious Mr Robertson was lying on was 'inappropriate' while laughter heard from officers when Mr Robertson fell from the mattress reflected 'very poorly' on the officers involved.

Mr Ryan said he will refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions, meaning the officers could be potentially be charged for their actions.

Charlie's father Graham Robertson told reporters outside court the inquest had shown his son would be '100 per cent alive today' had police acted 'accordingly'.

The inquest heard at the time of Mr Robertson's death, frontline officers had not been trained in recognising signs of drug overdose but that this training has since taken place.


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, 2017

Safe Schools is gone, but its influence remains

Miranda Devine

EDUCATION bureaucrats keep trying to find ways to get around the NSW government’s ban on the “sexual and gender fluidity” sex education program known as Safe Schools.

This time it’s an attack on special religious education (SRE) classes. New education department guidelines issued in September banned volunteer scripture teachers from referring to sexual and gender issues.

In a letter this month responding to complaints from Presbyterian minister Rev Dr Peter Barnes, and Anglican minister Rev David Milne, Rod Megahey, assistant director of primary education, cited a departmental review of the SRE program which had elicited complaints from a “small number” of parents who “objected to secondary school SRE teachers addressing issues of sexuality and expressing homophobic views.”

Rev Barnes, of Revesby, and Rev Milne, of Panania, are insulted by the charge of homophobia. They want to know whether the new policy means that SRE teachers are not allowed to teach the seventh commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”, or the Sermon on the Mount, which includes the line: “everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart”.

Rev Barnes asks if the Ten Commandments has to become the “Nine Suggestions”.

“Such a policy would clearly hand over the teaching of sexual ethics to those of the same mindset as the one who brought in the Safe Schools Program. “So much for freedom of religion, even in voluntary SRE classes.”

That’s the point. Religious education classes are voluntary, and if parents want their children to learn Christian ethics, that is their right. Parents who object to Christian teachings equally have the right not to allow their children to attend the classes.

But they don’t have the right to force their values on to other people’s children.


"Incorrect" joke about disability car stickers

It's apparently incorrect to say that a disability is a disability

BENNELONG winner John Alexander is again in trouble from his idea of what’s funny.

What has offended was a disjointed story he told as he accepted victory last night. In his victory speech Saturday night he appeared to tell how he was entitled to an invalid’s parking sticker because of a sore back, even though he was ranked 14th tennis player in the world.

He said: “The doctor at the time said, ‘You have eligibility for a disability sticker’.

“I said, ‘I still have some pride.’ That was before I entered politics.”

Wheelchair Paralympian Kurt Fearnley was among those not impressed. “I’m not one to get offended, and I’m not offended. Cause I choose not to be offended by the ignorant,” tweeted Mr Fearnley.

“But I spend my life convincing disabled kids that they are awesome. Then they hear that. You’re kidding yourself if you think that language is OK.”



This was an election that could have changed the government so both parties put a big effort into it.  As John Howard's old seat, it was basically a conservative seat so it is no great surprise that the conservatives won.  Three reports below

Labor lied their way through Bennelong campaign

IS the ALP going to lie and lie and lie its way to power at the next federal election?  It certainly looks that way. If you don’t believe me just take a look at the party’s shameful record during the Bennelong by-election.

First there were deceptive “robocalls” disguised as a community service call urging people to vote without indicating the announcement was being made on behalf of Labor.

The call recommended a visit to the website linked to NSW Labor and its how-to-vote information for failed candidate Kristina Keneally.

Then came a new version of Labor’s old favourite “Mediscare” scam that almost cost Malcolm Turnbull the last election.

Unions put out ­brochures claiming cuts were planned at Concord Hospital in NSW. It was a big fat lie. In fact the State Government recently announced an upgrade for Concord.

Then came the spurious claims the government has raised prescriptions by $5 a script — a move jettisoned in this year’s budget.

The brochures, titled Under the Liberals, our hospitals and Medicare are under threat, proclaim “Bennelong deserves better” were authorised by ACTU secretary Sally McManus.  The brochures said: “Save our Hospitals, save our Medicare — Bennelong deserves better.”

Frankly, the unions behave with such anti-social behaviour in this country, I wouldn’t believe anything they said. And neither should you.

The government rejected the falsehoods but the rebuttals got little traction in media.

John Alexander’s victory was a much-needed boost to the embattled PM Malcolm Turnbull. It has won two by-elections in a fortnight and next week’s MYEFO statement is also expected to show an improvement in the government’s finances.

The big loser in Bennelong was, of course, Bill Shorten. But it is a story you are unlikely to hear on the ABC. It must be a great encouragement that voters did not buy his spin.

Backhander Bill’s true character is beginning to surface. He showed great weakness by moving too slowly to oust Slippery Sam Dastyari who was forced to quit parliament over his links to China.

Shorten was also left with egg on his face when he insisted no Labor MPs had dual citizenship problems.

And he has failed abysmally to rein in unions.

It also has to be said that Labor blundered badly picking Keneally as the ALP candidate in Bennelong. Voters did not forget that she led one of the most corrupt government in NSW history

Perhaps the tide is turning in Malcolm’s favour.


Lessons for Labor from Bennelong defeat?

Labor got a swing towards them but it was no more than a normal by-election swing.  From the words of their spokesman below, no change in their message or policy seems imminent

Labor frontbencher Tony Burke has said the lesson out of Bennelong is how difficult it will be to win the next election and the party needs to focus on their policy agenda.

“The message for us - there’s a few different issues I think that come for us out of this,”

“One is the next election will be hard. It will be hard. But certainly, there are enough people willing to change their votes that with the right work and the right policy, we can get there,” Mr Burke told Sky News.

“But certainly, the policy work that we’ve continued to do since we came into Opposition, we can’t hit the brakes on that yet. We need to keep pushing our own policy agenda through this as well.”

Mr Burke talked up the swing, which some Labor insiders expected to be stronger considering the resources thrown at the seat, and said if replicated across the country it could cost the government the election.

“I think this by-election when you look at it that way was closer to a general election than you would ordinarily get, and if that is the case, then in a general election, we wouldn’t have won Bennelong but we may well have won Government.”

Mr Burke said there was “no doubt” the resignation of powerful NSW Right Senator Sam Dastyari from parliament hurt the party’s vote.

He said, however, the government’s push to oust the Senator set a precedent which could come back to bite the government.

“It’s also true that the rules effectively in terms of when you’re calling for someone’s resignation have now changed. “

“[Liberal MP] Stuart Robert, he’s on the backbench, for a scandal that involved dealing with Chinese donors and his ministerial office. There is pressure at the moment on Michaelia Cash over questions regarding respecting the integrity of an AFP raid.”

“We are in a world now, which I kept warning against, because I didn’t want this to be how we operate.”

“I think that the Government may end up regretting that they went to that extreme.”

Labor claims Bennelong voters have delivered a rebuke of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his government despite not electing their star candidate, Kristina Keneally.

Ms Keneally, a former NSW premier, conceded defeat in the high-stakes by- election about 8.30pm on Saturday, admitting it had been an intense campaign and thanking volunteers and her family.

There was a swing against Liberal candidate John Alexander of about 5.5 per cent and even though it wasn’t enough to secure victory for Ms Keneally, she claimed it was a success for Labor.

“I am here to claim success for the Labor movement,” Ms Keneally told supporters at Club Ryde. “The people of Bennelong have had their say on Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals. The verdict is in, the message is clear: we have had enough of your lousy leadership.”

Ms Keneally claimed if the result was replicated in a general election, Labor would claim up to 28 seats.

She said Mr Turnbull had “injected himself” into the campaign by admitting it was a vote on his government. “There is no doubt that he owns this result. There’s no escaping it.”

The party had been “energised and electrified” by the result, she added.

Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten agreed the swing against the Mr Alexander, who had to recontest the seat after doubts over his citizenship, was all about the prime minister, not Mr Alexander who has a strong personal vote. “That entire swing is attributable to Malcolm Turnbull and his rotten policies for this country,” Mr Shorten said.

“(Mr Turnbull) said this was a poll on him and his government. Malcolm Turnbull, you are correct. It was.” He said it gave Labor an election-winning swing at the next federal poll. “Friends, Labor finishes 2017 with a most remarkable wind in its sails, not the least because of the effort of people in this room,” he said. The mood at the Labor Party by-election night event turned from optimistic to subdued when it became clear Ms Keneally could not win, with many long faces staring at TV screens as the news sank in.

It regained energy when Ms Keneally and Mr Shorten entered the room and there were chants, cheering and loud applause.

Ms Keneally called the result “extraordinary” and insisted the by-election was “a big fight, but a fight worth having”.


Labor and friends serve up another helping of bile and hate

The debasing of our national political debate continues, the ABC is complicit and the Bennelong by-election has proved to be a case study of how this plays out. Labor’s so-called star candidate, Kristina Keneally, has embraced a now familiar tactic of the left: claiming victimhood while spouting vicious and baseless attacks on her opponents. Her willing accomplice has been Bill Shorten.

Along the way, national ­cohesion has been undermined as imaginary racist backlashes have been drummed up for political ­effect, tensions in our relationship with China have been inflamed, and the bar has been lowered yet again for the standards of our ­national political discourse. The damage will be bad enough if, as expected, Liberal backbencher John Alex­ander is returned by ­voters today. But ­imagine if ­Keneally wins — ­imagine the ­implications if this sort of shameless and reckless mudslinging is proven to be successful.

Many commentators and ­players lament the incontestable decline of public debate but most — presumably in the interests of demonstrating their even-­handedness — tend to address it with a pox-on-both-their-houses denunciation. Putting the lunatic fringes on the right and left to one side, it is the hateful rhetoric of the ­mainstream left that is most corrosive on politics. Transgressions by any people from any party should ­always be called out but, perhaps largely because of its ­preoccupation with identity politics, it is the mainstream left that engages in the most bilious and ­destructive attacks.

On Tuesday the Opposition Leader stood in the Sydney suburb of Ryde, in Bennelong, with Keneally and said this: “I think the Chinese community in Bennelong would be ­unimpressed by the constant, rampant China-phobia from Malcolm Turnbull — let’s call it as it is.” Shorten accused the Prime Minister and his government of racism without citing a word they had ­uttered to justify his claim.

“They will pay any price and make any slur or smear because they’re worried by Kristina Keneally and what happens in the by-election of Bennelong.” The alternative prime minister went on to say “Labor welcomes” all Australians whe­ther by birth or by choice, in a sin­ister inference that the govern­ment didn’t.

The following day they were at it again. “What we see from Malcolm Turnbull every single day is an assertion that our Chinese Australians, the people of Chinese ­descent or Chinese who are here studying or working on temporary visas, are people to be suspicious of,” Keneally said with Shorten by her side. “That is what Malcolm Turnbull’s doing.” Again, there was not a single shred of evidence proffered.

“We know that they’re getting tired by Malcolm Turnbull’s ­assertion that Asian Australians are not fully fledged members of Team Australia. You know, the last time we heard this rhetoric was from Pauline Hanson and One Nation 20 years ago and people think that we were all well ­behind it, but Malcolm Turnbull is reviving it.”

We all understand the tantalising prospect this by-election holds for Labor — the chance to force the Coalition into minority government — and with such high stakes we expect tough campaigning. Some may complain about how the Liberals have focused on Keneally’s past as the titular head of what transpired to be a corrupt and chaotic NSW Labor government. But it has been no more than scrutiny of her record. (Turnbull erred when he said she ­appointed Eddie Obeid to cabinet — she never did. Rather, Obeid and his acolytes thrust her into the leadership and she recalled Ian Macdonald to cabinet.)

We know Shorten was knocked off balance by the controversy over senator Sam Dastyari’s personal payments from a Chinese benefactor while spruiking Chinese foreign policy and tipping off his benefactor to the possibility of surveillance by intelligence agencies. Dastyari’s forced resignation during the Bennelong campaign showed how his double-dealing had hurt Labor and exposed the lack of action by Shorten. So Labor’s “China-phobic” attacks on the Coalition were a transparent attempt to deflect the heat.

All voters could see what was going on. Yet surely most of us were surprised that when placed under this sort of pressure by the obvious misdeeds of their own colleague, the knee-jerk reaction of Shorten and Keneally was to make the most vile accusation against Turnbull. Short of behaving in a racist fashion, seeking to dishonestly tar someone as racist has to be about as reprehensible as you can get. Turnbull was right to point out his own granddaughter was a Chinese Australian.

Given the vital foreign policy ­issues at the heart of the Dastyari scandal — no less than the ­allegiance of our politicians to this nation — it is extraordinary also that Labor would seek to play politics in a way that would recklessly imperil our bilateral relationship as well as risk stirring up resentment within the Australian Chinese community.

Beijing reacted with fiery rhetoric and diplomatic representations. It is hard to ­fathom whether Labor aped Beijing’s inflammatory words or vice versa, but the line that Australia’s public warnings on foreign interference were motivated by Sino-phobic ­racism was similar from China and Labor. Whether this reaction was cooked up in Beijing or Sussex Street, or both, it was appalling and should never have passed Shorten or Keneally’s lips.

The Opposition Leader might have done better to say he had learned the lessons from Dastyari’s diplomatic two-step and taken steps to ensure it would never happen again. He might then be taken ­seriously on the challenge confronting both sides of politics over accepting Chinese donations too willingly and perhaps having been too unquestioning about allies and former colleagues profiting as ­lobbyists for Chinese interests.

It should go without saying that our national interest takes precedence over that of any other ­nation and that the focus is on China only because of its economic weight, strategic posture, ­intense lobbying activity and the Dastyari disaster. Race has precisely nothing to do with it.

Still, it has become common for the aggressive left — particularly when losing policy debates on border protection or indigenous ­affairs — to use the slur of racism to silence or intimidate anyone who disagrees with it. In its world of identity politics and virtue signalling, political views are ­indistinguishable from individual iden­tity, so anyone holding an ­opposing view becomes a worthy target for character assassination.

It is a depressing descent from political debate into personal abuse. Sadly it is facilitated, if not encouraged, by much of the media debate. On ABC television news this week a reporter told us “both sides” were “playing the race card” in Bennelong. Say what?! Labor played the race card, as evidenced above, and the Liberals defended themselves. And just this week we saw the ABC continue to promote people who spew hate at their ideological enemies (yes, this invariably means leftists attacking people on the right of centre).

Sami Shah is a Pakistani-Australian comedian given a plum ABC radio job in Melbourne. “Does Peter Dutton wake up every morning with a hard-on for abusing refugees?” is the sort of thing he tweets. “It’s not Peter Dutton’s fault. His grandfather was an asshole,” is another in his Twitter feed that is peppered with all the standard anti-American and anti-Israeli fare. The ABC also has promoted Benjamin Law despite — or perhaps because of — his tweeting about how he would like to “hate-f..k” politicians ­opposed to same-sex marriage.

If this is the hate and abuse that wins promotion at the public broadcaster — if this is the invective that is deliberately amplified through publicly funded platforms — what hope do we have of ­improving the national debate, let alone our political outcomes?


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

17 December, 2017

The African jungle comes to Melbourne

A 16-year-old boy who was allegedly robbed of his phone, watch and shirt by a gang of brawling youths on a beachside rampage in Melbourne has been left traumatised.

Locals and tourists were allegedly attacked by close to 200 youths of African appearance who were involved in the violence at St Kilda beach early on Thursday morning.

Police struggled to contain the fighting, overwhelmed by the huge numbers of teen thugs.

Alex Carter, the father of one teenage victim, said not only were his son's belongings taken but claimed he was punched over and over again.

'They left them standing half nude in the street,' Mr Carter told 7News.  'These guys are so clever the way they do it [the robberies], that it just sort of looks like a couple of teenagers having a bit of fun.'

Police are now appealing for witnesses  to come forward and urging the offenders to turn themselves in.

Footage of the rolling brawls shows young men and women trading punches and kicks on the beachfront.

Shocked bystanders said close to 200 youths of African appearance were involved in the violence at Melbourne's St Kilda beach early on Thursday morning

Up to 60 youths clashed at a McDonald's restaurant on The Esplanade, and police were called at 2:55am.

Inspector Jason Kelly called the actions of the teens unacceptable and said police are now hunting those responsible.

'Unfortunately last night we had a large number of youth attend, of African appearance, who have engaged in anti-social behaviour,' he said.

'They've committed crimes, they've been involved in a number of assaults on the foreshore of St Kilda.'

Beachgoers eating at nearby restaurants applauded police for their efforts to keep the rampaging teens under control, but said there were simply too many involved.

'Police officers handled it the best that they could, I think they were really outnumbers and struggled to get a handle on it,' said one witness.


Apex gang-linked thug, 20, spared jail despite terrifying series of ice-fuelled jewellery heists

And with sentences like this, there is no hope of restraining African criminals

A young man linked to the notorious Melbourne Apex gang has been spared jail and allowed to travel overseas on a lavish holiday.

Akon Mawien was high on ice and armed with a hammer when he helped steal about $200,000 worth of goods from multiple jewellery stores.

But the 20-year-old has won the freedom to travel to Sudan while on bail, the Herald Sun reported.

Police said his victims are furious they are repairing their businesses while he will be living it up overseas.

County Court Judge Elizabeth Gaynor said Mr Mawien's recent behaviour had been 'impeccable'.

Before the jewellery heist Mr Mawien has been an upcoming cricketer for Sunshine Heights.

He smoked ice for the second time in July 2016 before he and two other teenagers robbed a number of jewellery stores armed with hammers.

The heist was allegedly organised by long-time Apex gang member Mahmoud Taha, who promised them women and a hotel room.

Judge Gaynor said she was worried the victims would think the court was allowing the offender to go an 'exotic holiday'. But she said his recent good behaviour needed to be considered.

'This is a matter of honour… people are putting a lot of trust in you,' Judge Gaynor said.


IT WAS supposed to be the ultimate victory for love, so why has Australia’s joyous embrace of marriage equality resulted in so much hate?

Leftism runs on hate

Joe Hildebrand

Not towards the gay community — if anything the most high-profile opponents of same-sex marriage have slipped quietly into the shadows. Indeed, when the final vote came to parliament Tony Abbott was literally nowhere to be seen.

Instead, the most vocal vitriol came from the winning side. The side that was supposed to be all for love and tolerance and acceptance. The side I voted for.

Just after the new marriage law became enshrined in law last week I was intrigued to see the word “Lyle” trending on Twitter. Being a shameless country music fan I assumed it must have been in reference to the great Texan crooner Lyle Lovett, whom Julia Roberts shamelessly married just to advance her Hollywood career.

In fact it was a massive social media tsunami driven by thousands of users all posting the words “Eat s**t Lyle”, directed at the Christian lobbyist Lyle Shelton. I have never seen a more hateful celebration of love in my life.

This included, it must be said, many people I know and like and some whom I love. They probably just thought it was funny, and maybe it was on the screen.

Still, I thought about Charlotte Dawson, I thought about that porn star who killed herself after being hounded online for some dopey comment and I thought about Adam Goodes, who had to suffer the same baying mob mentality not just online but live in the arena. I went from shameless to ashamed.

Yet even more baffling was the outpouring of rage against the nation’s most high-profile Yes voter in the days after the marriage bill passed to laughter and tears in a near-unanimous vote in the House of Representatives.

It should have been an unprecedented celebration of national acceptance and unity — probably no vote has received such overwhelming support since the 1967 referendum to formally include Aboriginal people in the census. Yet how quickly did it descend into blame-making and name-calling — even after a victory that had been so emphatically won.

The target this time was Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who was variously chastised, mocked and abused for celebrating the win. I won’t repeat the worst insults here but it’s a fair bet anyone engaged in the debate has either seen them or hurled them.

The staggering thing of course is that Turnbull has been a public, vocal and longstanding supporter of same-sex marriage. In fact in 2016 he became the first sitting prime minister to attend the Sydney Mardi Gras, a milestone that was applauded at the time but has been conveniently forgotten since.

Whatever other faults he may have, homophobia is certainly not one of them. In fact his biggest fault is probably that he joined the wrong party.

Either way, the elation and relief Turnbull felt at the same-sex marriage survey result and subsequent parliamentary vote was obvious to anyone who saw or heard him. There were literally hugs, and that’s not something you see politicians doing too much these days without a knife in one hand.

Yet still he has been cast as a pariah by the extreme elements of the same sex marriage campaign. And why? Not because he opposed it, nor because he championed it, but because the result they wanted and that he delivered wasn’t achieved exactly the way they wanted.

Winston Churchill once described a fanatic as someone who can’t change their mind and won’t change the subject. Yet it is a frightening new kind of fanaticism when that same someone gets everything they wanted but still howls in retrospective protest at the way it was achieved. How excruciatingly precious politics has become.

And, most depressing of all, how ignorant.

But, least surprising of all, it is those who consider themselves the most politically aware who are most ignorant of how politics actually works. Or indeed the basic facts of the matter.

Let us take the various scattered complaints one at a time.

Perhaps the most prevalent is that Turnbull deserves no credit for the postal survey result, that the magnificent turnout of almost 80 per cent and overwhelming Yes vote of over 60 per cent occurred despite rather than because of him.

Well, no. Without the Coalition and the weird internal machinations that Turnbull was lumped with there would have been no result at all because there would have been no vote. There would have been no survey, there would have been no act of parliament and same-sex marriage would not be legal today.

Indeed, if there is anyone for whom the Yes vote win occurred despite rather than because of it is the Yes campaigners themselves, who even after the vote being called were not just opposing it but fighting its very legitimacy all the way to the High Court. If anything, it is despite that bizarrely contradictory move that overwhelming numbers turned out to vote and vote Yes, not despite the people who merely held the ballot in the first place.

Of course there are plenty of valid arguments as to why the postal survey was silly, compromised and unnecessary — and it is a matter of public record that I made many of them myself — but once a vote is on, it’s on. It’s pretty rich for one side to oppose the process, attempt to derail the process, in some corners threaten to boycott the process and then when the process turns out in their favour claim all the credit and slag off the people who started the process in the first place. I don’t think I can recall any other landmark political battle in which the winning side so vocally hailed themselves as legitimate victors while at the same time declaring the game was hopelessly rigged.

So there is that. Then there is the argument that Malcolm Turnbull should have just stuck to his principles, defied the binding vote of his party room, trashed the deal he made with the Nationals when he became PM and broken the promise he made to the Australian people when he went to the election and won, albeit by the slimmest of margins.

In other words he should have crossed the floor of parliament and voted against his own party’s official position.

This would have been what Sir Humphrey Appleby calls “a courageous decision”.

For one thing, Turnbull’s own vote would mean nothing were it not accompanied by every single member of the opposition and all the crossbenchers. This would have to have included several Labor MPs of the Catholic variety who may not have been so brave, as well as several whose electorates we now know were of the Muslim and Orthodox variety and also may have thunk twice without a thumping national mandate behind them. It would also have to have included Bob Katter, and frankly I’m not too sure he’s “all in” on the whole gay rights thing. Call me crazy.

If the Liberal party room had allowed a free-conscience vote on what should obviously be a conscience vote issue then that would have probably liberated enough other Liberal MPs to also cross the floor and carry the day. But the fact is the Liberal party room didn’t and so they wouldn’t. That’s the problem with facts, they get in the way of everything — except, of course, a good story.

And yet people who claimed to believe in the “old” Malcolm Turnbull were still calling for him to cross the floor. If only they believed in history too.

The problem is the old Malcolm Turnbull did cross the floor. He did it in 2010 just after he got knifed as Liberal leader for supporting an emissions trading scheme.

As for the emissions trading scheme, we still don’t have one. The Greens ended up blocking it because it didn’t meet their exact ideological standards.

And so Turnbull has much experience in standing on principle. It cost him his leadership, his support base and his credibility — and thanks to the Greens it was all for nothing.

Little wonder he is reluctant to once more march to the guillotine to satisfy the hard left.

But he still could have done it. He could have made a symbolic stand that would have achieved nothing but to show the world how virtuous he was, which now seems to be the cause du jour.

And to be fair it would not have been entirely symbolic. Depending on the timing, the practical impact would be that Tony Abbott would have remained prime minister or Peter Dutton would become the current one.

The amazing thing is that this would be a major victory for the new hard left, who prefer a right-wing prime minister they can protest against than a moderate leader who actually helps the disadvantaged people they pretend to care about.

For while Turnbull has had abuse hurled at him by the trendies for not saying the right things about same-sex marriage, he has been quietly implementing Labor policies that Labor itself failed to bed down.

In what are unquestionably the two most vital areas to address poverty and disadvantage — education and disability — Turnbull has implemented the true Gonski revolution with the blessing of the man himself and fully-funded the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

But it is not just deeply ironic that a Liberal PM is delivering Labor’s two most important and iconic reforms. What is more staggering is that Labor’s supposedly right-wing leader Bill Shorten is opposing them for cynical political reasons while the left-wing Anthony Albanese believes they should be embraced for the greater good.

The truth is that Turnbull is the best Liberal PM the left could ever hope for, and yet they still seek to destroy him. Indeed, there is only one group that hates Turnbull as much as the hard left and that’s hard right — and if that’s not a wake-up call to both of them then God help us all.

The problem with fanaticism is that if you always demand everything, pretty soon people will stop bothering to give you anything. That’s why Santa has a naughty list.

Indeed, what better gift could the nation give itself than a resounding declaration that love is love, that all of us are equal and that in a free and fair vote Australians overwhelmingly came out — even those who thought they shouldn’t have to — and flocked to the side of simple decency.

If that’s not a gift to be grateful for then nothing will ever be good enough.


‘They’re Trying To Change Our Holidays’: What Drew Young Australians To Milo Yiannopoulos?

By Max Koslowski. Max Koslowski is an 19-year-old student at the Australian National University

Max Koslowski spoke to supporters of Milo Yiannopoulos outside his recent Melbourne talk. Brace yourself.

Lauren has just left Milo Yiannopoulos’ show, and is still buzzing when her Mum texts. She turns her phone to me: “Don’t post anything about tonight on Facebook if you’re looking for a job”.

Lauren laughs. “It’s true. We are afraid of what to say because of these people,” Lauren waves to protesters on the other side of the road.

“I just went and saw a show, and I’ve been told that I’ve gotta be careful because of these people. And that really annoys me”.

The 22-year-old bartender has just finished watching Yiannopoulos, right-wing British-born provoker, perform in front of around 800 supporters.

“I’ve been called a Nazi. I sat down to listen to a dude speak and now I’m a Nazi. I honestly want to know why!”

Lauren, from Wodonga, 300 kilometres north-east of Melbourne, has come to the Milo show with her boyfriend David. Her main political worries stem from modern day feminism, Australia’s lack of free speech, and the increased power that Sharia law has in her country.

I ask how Sharia law is rising in Australia.

“They’re trying to….” she turns to her partner. “What are they trying to do?”

“I don’t really know what Sharia law is,” David replies.

“They’re trying to change our holidays… yeah, like Australia Day – which is ridiculous. And I don’t like the fact that they are trying to say their culture is very feminist – their law basically shuns women. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe they don’t. But that’s how I see it”.

David fits the profile of a typical attendee at Milo’s show – he’s a 23-year-old who works at a McDonald’s in Geelong while finishing his degree. Most of Milo’s supporters here are young and male, and some have turned up as couples, or as part of a whole family. But most rock up in small friendship groups.

Like Harry and Simon – two 19-year-old high school leavers, who first got into Milo after seeing videos online. They tell me about how they lost friends when they started to support the controversial figure.

“Most of my guy friends are pretty fine with it. A few of my girl friends, I feel like they misunderstand what views on the right of politics are,” Harry explains to me. “Because they’ve got such an agenda being pushed down their throats, the minute you say something against feminism, all of a sudden you’re against all of women”.

But he was hopeful that his strong beliefs weren’t for nothing.

“The political landscape is shifting a bit now. With guys like Milo coming over, there’s a lot more attention being given to these viewpoints, I think people are drifting over and somewhat being converted.

“A lot of kids – we just finished Year 12 – a lot of kids in our year are attracted to him because he’s funny and charismatic.”

Part of the Victorian Police contingent at the protests against neo-Nazi booster Milo Yiannopoulos in Melbourne recently.
Part of the Victorian Police contingent at the protests against neo-Nazi booster Milo Yiannopoulos in Melbourne recently.
I ask them whether they think that Milo galvanises those on the far right.

“I think a lot of them hate him. There’s no Charlottesville-type protests going on here,” Harry replies, referring to violent protests in the Charlottesville, Virginia that lead to the death of one.

“There’s no Antipodean Resistance, or stuff like that,” Simon jumps in.

The Antipodean Resistance are a small Australian neo-Nazi group. I point out that Blair Cottrell, the infamous co-founder of United Patriots Front who once said that there should be a copy of Mein Kampf in every classroom, had attended the protests, and note that he was joined by far right groups True Blue Crew and Sons of Odin.

“But the vast majority were probably normal people,” Harry responds.

“Yeah, I didn’t think it was a genuine concern for people to say that Milo is going to bring out all the racist rednecks, because if he were to, then they’d turn up tonight,” adds Simon. “Maybe there was Blair and a couple of his mates, but I don’t really think it’s a big deal”.

Some rocks and water bottles are thrown in our direction by the protestors on the other side of the road. A police officer asks us to move on, so we head towards the group of Milo supporters who are starting to line up for the next show. One fan, who is wearing a Make America Great Again cap, sits on his friend’s shoulders and holds up a pro-Trump flag. The protesters across the road boo. I realise that the supporters aren’t lining up, but instead voluntarily waiting outside, enjoying the spectacle.

I ask some others waiting outside how they first got interested in Milo. Anna and Harrison, 19-year-old siblings who travelled an hour and a half from Ballarat, say they “probably just saw him on social media or something”.

Duncan, a 16-year-old who is here with his Mum, says the same thing.

I move inside. I try to listen to what people are saying – one supporter asks his friend where all the “beautiful blonde Aryan chicks are”. His name is Carlos, and he is here with his friend Hayden – both are in their 20s, and both work at the same pizza shop.

“He’s for freedom of speech,” Carlos tells me, speaking of Milo. “I’m a bit worried about this country – I feel like I can’t state the wrong opinion or look in the wrong direction without having the wrong intention. I feel like I can’t manspread. I get looks – it’s a bit disconcerting to me.

“I started liking Milo when Trump was going for the presidency. He started calling Trump ‘Daddy’, triggering people and showing their hypocrisy. I just identified with that point of view that hadn’t been stated so bluntly before”.

Carlos had also lost friends because of his support for Milo.

“I don’t have friends anymore. Most of my friends don’t talk to me anymore. Our point of views changed – it came to a breaking point, where I agreed with the right-wing stuff more. I started learning more about the ideas, and everything just changed. They stopped being friends with me,” he said. “Even on little arguments and disagreements, they would think I am implying something, but I wasn’t. I lost a lot of my friends because we were disagreeing. Daily interactions changed.”

The foyer is starting to get packed – a lot of people are holding on to a copy of Milo’s new book, ‘Dangerous’, and many are wearing Donald Trump’s iconic red caps. It feels festive. Someone laughs as they say that they hope a car runs over some of the protesters outside.

It’s a couple of minutes before the show’s start time. The crowd is waiting to be let through the doors. Hayden shouts “Make Australia great again!”, and some clap and whoop in response.

When the doors finally open and the show begins, Milo plays the room well. He doesn’t say much for the first couple of minutes, and then kicks things off by asking a question:

“Australia, what have they done to you?”


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, 2017

China businesses wary of Australia's 'suspicious attitude' amid political row

Beijing: Chinese businesses are concerned that "anti-China" sentiment in Australia will put investments at risk or block Chinese energy deals, it has been reported.

However tourism to Australia is unlikely to be hit over the peak Australian summer season, as tours are already fully booked.

Chinese state-owned company China Energy Reserve and Chemicals Group has bid $463 million for Australian natural gas company AWE, but is facing resistance from AWE which has pointed out the Chinese offer would require approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board. On Monday, a rival bid was made by Australian company Mineral Resources.

Northern China is facing an acute natural gas shortage this winter, in the wake of coal bans for heating to combat air pollution. Australia is the second largest exporter of liquified natural gas and was expected to become the largest within a year.

Chinese newspaper The Global Times reported concerns that, following Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's statement that Australia would "stand up", the Chinese bidder may not be treated fairly.

"It is natural to wonder whether energy acquisition deals can be implemented smoothly at a time when anti-Chinese sentiment is on the rise," the paper wrote.

The deputy director of the information department at the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, Wang Jun, told the newspaper that a shift in Australia's political attitude may bring changes to the business environment in Australia in the long term, and Chinese companies should watch out for "risks".
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However a property developer and a clothing factory manager interviewed by the newspaper said they had seen no impact.

A real estate executive for a company that specialises in sales of Australian houses to Chinese families said Chinese economic sanctions against Australia were more likely in other sectors, such as resources, Australian products and tourism.

Jane Lu, head of Australia for, said: "We believe this row will remain confined to the diplomats and don't foresee any impact on the property market.

"Even if China were to express its unhappiness with economic measures, the most likely targets would be on consumer goods, resources exports, and tour groups. That is what we've seen in the past when China has had serious diplomatic disputes with trading partners."

The People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, rarely ventures into reporting on foreign affairs, but carried a prominent story on the Australian diplomatic row for a second day in a row.

Under the headline "Remain vigilant on Australia's biased speech and action against China", People's Daily reported that Labor's candidate for Bennelong, Kristina Keneally, had accused Mr Turnbull of deliberately spreading "Sinophobia".

At a regular press conference on Monday, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said comments by "the Australian leader have drawn attention in China.

"We advise the relevant personnel to stop making comments which undermine their own image and the China-Australian relationship".


The drop dead drug that creates ‘zombies’ tightens its grip

IT’S a drug so potent that it’s being considered for use in death row executions, and it’s strengthening its grip on Australia.

A string of recent drug deaths in Melbourne and Sydney are believed to be connected to the dangerous “zombie” drug Fentanyl. Fentanyl, in it’s illicit form, is being blamed for the worst opioid crisis in America’s history.

In Australia, the horrible irony is, as users die of overdoses of illicit fentanyl in our streets, hospitals have this year been forced to ration due to shortages of the drug in its clinical form.

Fentanyl, 50 times more potent than heroin, and much cheaper to make, already has the US in its death grip. Also known as the “drop dead” drug, it’s now creeping steadily into Australia’s streets — courtesy of a black market in prescription versions, and, perhaps even more deadly — the fact it's being added to heroin by illicit drug makers and dealers.

Many users think they’re buying heroin. Until a hit prompts an overdose which leaves them unconscious. Or at worst, dead.

Fentanyl was blamed for 13 deaths in Sydney in early 2015, and ten deaths by overdose in Melbourne in late 2015 were linked to the drug.

At first they were put down to a “bad batch” of heroin. Now it’s been discovered the “bad batch” contained the much more powerful opiod fentanyl.

The abuse problem isn’t confined to the cities — rural and regional areas are also in the grip of opioid addiction. Last week, an under-resourced Townsville Hospital complained it was turning away addicts of all types — including those addicted to opioids, who were doctor-shopping to get their fix.

Deaths from fentanyl in Australia increased 1800 per cent in 15 years, ABC’s Background Briefingreported in November.  A report from the National Coronial Information Service (NCIS), revealed 498 fentanyl-related deaths occurred between January 2010 and December 2015. That was up from just 27 in the previous decade.

In the US, opioid abuse — including that of fentanyl — kills 142 people a day and is so bad the President has declared it a national health emergency.

Senior doctors say the trend in Australia points to a similar emergency. Few know better the power of fentanyl than Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) president, Professor David A Scott. As director of anaesthesia and acute pain medicine at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne he has seen and administered the drug in the clinical setting for which it’s intended.

Everything that makes it a brilliant choice as an anaesthetic or painkiller makes fentanyl deadly on the streets, he says. “(Fentanyl) has commonly been used in anaesthesia and for more than 30 years. But the dose we administer is tiny, compared to when it is used as an illicit drug,” he said. “Anaesthetists like it because it comes on quickly and wears off after a relatively short period of time.

Fentanyl has also been used for the treatment of chronic and severe cancer pain, with a patch form listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for other types of chronic pain since 2006.

There are claims some GPs, emergency doctors and specialists are overprescribing the opioid, and that they are turning up on the black market. “The patches can be quite high levels of the drug, but the intention when they are used in palliative care is to dispense a low, slow dose so it provides a constant background level of fentanyl.

“Certainly, the opioids that are out there now are causing more harm than any good. In some cases they’re causing death — and that’s completely unacceptable,” Prof Scott said. “People take it for the same reason they take other opioids like heroin: it is a potent narcotic and so you have a euphoric high from using a large dose.”

He says those in the greatest danger are illicit drug takers taking fentanyl either unknowingly — when it is mixed with the less potent heroin — or in ignorance of how much more powerful it is. “The high would not be dissimilar to heroin or morphine — they get a euphoric feeling,” he said.

“You must remember some people aren’t actively choosing to take it — they are buying heroin for the heroin euphoric feeling, and then are overdosing because someone at some point has cut in fentanyl as well.  “And if you get a big dose, especially one mixed illicitly where there’s no quality control — it’s even more deadly.”

“It slows breathing. They fall unconscious. And then it stops the breathing.”

Ironically, Australian hospitals have this year suffered shortages of clinically-supplied fentanyl, after the main pharmaceutical supplier, Aspen, could not meet demand. “Shortages which meant it was rationed peaked midyear. That problem was because Aspen got a number of new contracts across the eastern seaboard and suddenly couldn’t fulfil their requirements,” Prof Scott said.

He says it’s a bitter irony that the drug seems at times harder to get it in a legal and safe manner than it is on the street.  “It just goes to show that path ways for illicit drugs are sometimes more established,” he said.

“We should be very afraid of fentanyl in its illicit form. Used illegally, it’s very potent. “The gap between getting the high they are after and having their breathing stop is just too, too narrow. The risk of death is just too high.”


Bennelong: kids caught in campaign crossfire as Keneally loses cool

Kristina Keneally was showing the strain of the battle for Bennelong yesterday, labelling Malcolm Turnbull a “fool” who had “nothing to offer” and chiding a former media colleague who questioned Labor’s “Mediscare” attack. But as the by-election race entered its final days, it seemed Ms Keneally’s team was generating its own share of anger among the residents of the northwestern Sydney electorate who have endured weeks of saturation political campaigning.

Furious parents at Melrose Park Public School in the electorate this week complained to police and Ryde Council when Keneally campaigners “accosted” children with pamphlets as they walked into school on Tuesday.

Disgruntled parents said the volunteer campaigners, had “gone too far” and shown “a lack of ­integrity and ethics” by parking a billboard criticising the Prime Minister outside the primary school.

Jackie Hadley, who was picking up her granddaughter Laeticia, 11, from the school, said campaigning had been “much more aggressive than usual”.

“I’ve been receiving four calls a day from each party with recorded messages telling me how to vote,” she said. Laeticia said “it was just wrong,” describing the volunteers’ campaigning outside her school as an “invasion of privacy”. Another parent, Deborah Riley, said that in her 40 years living in the area, she had never seen an ­election campaign like this. “It’s been so intense. They’re manipulating children as part of their ­campaign ... it’s really dirty tactics. Anyone who is under 18 and can’t vote should not be approached.”

School principal Clare Kristensen said Ms Keneally’s volunteers had a “legal right to be camped outside the school” and “it was the parents who were ­aggressive”. Ryde Council confirmed it had received 11 formal complaints about by-election campaigning.

Labor and Liberal acknowledge the importance of winning Bennelong, with the government poised to lose its one-seat majority in the lower house if its candidate, John Alexander, is defeated.

The Liberal Party is spending about $1 million on its Bennelong campaign and has conducted four electorate-wide direct mailouts worth $110,000 each. Labor sources claim they have spent far less than the Liberals but a Liberal source said when the union and Labor spending on the campaign were combined, they were spending “bucketloads more than us”.

Every campaigning tool has been used. John Howard ­robocalled voters on Tuesday night and both sides have bombarded letter boxes with flyers in both ­English and Chinese in an electorate where more than 20 per cent of voters are of Asian heritage.

Mr Turnbull said it was a “very tight contest”, arguing that a loss for Mr Alexander would mean Bill Shorten would be “one step closer to being prime minister” and unleash a “catastrophe for Australia”.

But despite enlisting the help of Mr Turnbull on the hustings, the PM is nowhere to be seen on his party’s how-to-vote cards, which are written in both English and Chinese and have been widely ­distributed.

The ACTU will today launch an online “cost-of-living tool”, which claims to calculate rises in housing, electricity, gas, healthcare, education and childcare costs. The tool asks users: “Can you afford another term of Liberal government … Send Turnbull a message on 16 December. Vote the Liberals out in Bennelong.”

With internal polling suggesting the Liberals are ahead in the race but published polling indicating a dead heat, Ms Keneally and Mr Alexander were both looking for knockout blows yesterday.

Labor yesterday seized on the Liberals’ use of a website,, which attacks the Labor candidate’s record. “Today we see a Prime Minister who is making a fool out of himself,” Ms Keneally said yesterday flanked by Mr Shorten at Ryde Hospital.

“Turnbull has stood up in front of the nation and admitted that he bought a website in my name for the purpose of smearing me, of spreading lies. Malcolm Turnbull’s website is wrong in his facts and he’s just wrong for the country. He’s acting like a fool, he doesn’t have anything to offer the people of Australia.”

She chided her Sky News colleague Caroline Marcus when asked to clarify her much challenged story about being turned away from a Medicare office and later tweeted that Mr Turnbull was “embarrassing himself”.

Mr Shorten echoed these sentiments, accusing Mr Turnbull of being “up himself” and called his Coalition colleagues the most “grumpy group of people”.

Speaking at a defence event in Macquarie Park yesterday, Mr Turnbull admitted his party had purchased a domain name — ­ — which contains a series of attacks on her record as premier and ties to disgraced powerbroker Eddie Obeid.


Australia enjoys another big lift in jobs

New figures show another 61,600 people found work in November, three times the size expected by economists.
Updated Updated 2 hours ago

Treasurer Scott Morrison has been handed an early Christmas present with news that a further 61,600 joined the workforce in November, a 14th straight month of gains.

The rise, which was three times the size forecast by economists, comprised 41,900 full-time workers and 19,700 part-timers.

It kept the unemployment rate at 5.4 per cent, the lowest level in almost five years.

Thursday's labour force report also included the latest quarterly reading for those people considered underemployed - employed but seeking more hours of work.

The underemployment rate eased further to 8.4 per cent in August, accounting for just over one million workers, after hitting a record high of 8.9 per cent in February.

Mr Morrison will hand down his mid-year budget review on Monday, which is expected to show a smaller deficit than predicted in May, partly as a result of a revenue windfall from a strong labour market.


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, 2017

Australia still ‘totally radioactive’ 60 years after Hiroshima-scale nuclear tests (?!)

This is hysterical rubbish. A few sites in the desert were  decades ago used for small nuclear tests.  But due to their isolation, very little radiation "leaked" far from the original sites.  Some desert-dwelling Aborigines living near the sites were however affected.

Radioactivity levels in 99% of Australia today are no different to anywhere else.  And the tests have long ago been stopped so have no relevance to current uranium mining. And Australia has no nuclear weapons. The guff below is just irrational attention-seeking, mixing up totally different things

AUSTRALIA is a “totally radioactive” country riddled with hidden cancers and birth defects that risks becoming worse for future generations if the government does not limit uranium mining and the use of nuclear weapons.

That’s according to nuclear test survivor Sue Coleman-Haseldine, 67, who was raised in the shadow of British nuclear tests carried out at Emu Field and Maralinga in the 1950s and 1960s, where bombs on the same scale as Hiroshima were detonated and led to fallout known as “black mist”.

The Kokatha woman grew up in a community where people were blinded, killed or made sick from radiation poisoning with fertility problems and birth defects now common in the district.

The devastating effects she’s witnessed first-hand drove her to advocate for an end to weapons and mining on an international stage.

“Australia is totally radioactive,” she told “There’re so many deaths from different cancers. Myself and my granddaughter don’t have thyroids as they’ve been removed. The defects in newborn babies are heartbreaking.

“If you ask one of the young ones [in her South Australian community], ‘What do you think you’ll die from?’ they’ll say ‘cancer’ because that’s what everyone else dies from. The government is doing nothing at all. They don’t want to know.

“As people of Australia, we all need to join forces — everybody: black, white and brindle — and shame the government to sign this treaty to ban nuclear weapons.”

The stark warning has helped capture global attention, with the Australian International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) recently scooping the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo for their efforts. Coleman-Haseldine said it was “absolutely wonderful” to travel with the group of around 100 non-governmental organisations and gain global recognition for those sent like “lambs to the slaughter” to work on nuclear testing sites during British operations in Australia.

“People hadn’t even heard of Maralinga, which was absolutely mind-boggling,” she said. “We’ve been poisoned once, no more. I’ve lived under the shadow of Maralinga all my life. I don’t want the future generation living under a toxic waste dump that they wouldn’t even see coming.”


The British government carried out 12 nuclear tests, including seven at Maralinga, two at Emu Field, both of which are in South Australia, and three at Monte Bello in Western Australia, over the 1950s and 1960s.

The first “operation buffalo” at Maralinga involved a 15 kilotonne atomic device that was the same strength as Hiroshima, to test the “red beard” tactical weapon. It led to radioactive clouds being sent towards the east coast with subsequent clean-up operations in 1964 and 1967 only making the contamination worse according to Dr Liz Tynan, who wrote a book about the Maralinga story called Atomic Thunder.

More than 60 years on, the Australian-founded group won the world’s top peace prize despite problems that persist in Australia. The win was based on ICAN’s work persuading the UN to adopt a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which provides a “pathway” to a nuclear-free world.

ICAN’s Asia-Pacific director Tim Wright has been involved with the campaign since its inception and Australia remains a “big part of the problem” when it comes to nuclear weapons. While the country does not have its own, it is protected under the US “nuclear umbrella” that would mean the US retaliating with nuclear weapons if Australia was attacked.

“We believe that Australia should take a principled stand against them just as it’s done for biological, chemical weapons, cluster bombs and landmines,” he said, adding that “you can’t have 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world” and avoid them being used.


Power bills prices to fall after Australia receives unexpected gas surplus

A big new gas mine was about to come on stream in Queensland about now so that may be a large part of the change

Australia has narrowly avoided a crippling gas crisis that would have forced multiple businesses to close their doors, according to a new report by a consumer watchdog.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says wholesale gas prices have fallen by about 50 percent since September, with a forecast shortfall turning into a potential surplus.

Australian families can eventually expect to see benefits of this surplus with reduced power bills, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said.

“We will see reduced pressure on power bills for Australian families,” he said.

“We’re already seeing more gas being made available as a result of the intervention of the domestic gas market. This is very significant. “But we’re not out of the woods yet.”

It follows threats by the Turnbull government to impose export controls on gas giants, diverting gas to domestic markets.

The ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the companies had taken action to address a looming shortfall, claiming “things have improved significantly” since. “We now have a situation where a potential shortage seems to have disappeared and companies are able to get gas,” Mr Sims said.

“So that’s more supply, lower prices and that’s good news. But the market is still tight and prices are still probably higher than they should be.”

Mr Sims said a number of industrial companies had narrowly avoided going out of business, calling the situation “extremely dire”. “You’ve got a lot of commercial industrial customers making glass, bricks, paper, fertiliser – a whole lot of products we take for granted – if they didn’t get gas by January 1, 2018, they (would have) had to close,” he said.

“Virtually all of the companies that were struggling to get gas now have gas.”

Shadow Energy Minister Mark Butler said the government had failed to deliver on its promise to halve gas prices for Australian manufacturers this year.


Hysteria over Beijing’s influence can be costly

EARLIER this year a Newcastle University lecturer complained about being “confronted” by a Chinese student during a discussion about the status of Taiwan.

In a lecture, the academic had called the island off the Chinese mainland “a country”, which does not reflect the view of most Chinese or many Taiwanese.

After the lecture, the student approached the academic and complained. There is no evidence of anything amounting to intimidation – no raised voice, as has been suggested.

This is one of four recorded occasions when Chinese students have “waged war” against “politically incorrect” lecturers in Australia.

Some perspective is needed. As academic James Laurenceson points out in a Lowy Institute post, there are, right now, 108,269 Chinese students studying at more than 30 Australian universities.

Despite this, only four events classed as intimidation or other threatening behaviour have been reported, including the Newcastle example cited.

This kind of over-reaction is all too common in Australian-Chinese relations.

We fret about the Chinese buying all the property in capital cities, making housing too expensive for our sons and daughters.

There are breathless reports of the Chinese wanting to buy our farming land and scoop up minerals and other resources.
Chinese tourists, students and business are worth billions to Australia’s economy. Picture: AAP Image/Josh Woning

There’s no doubt the Chinese have interests in Australia and look at our myriad resources as targets for investment and purchase.

After all, China has one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, estimated at about $US3 trillion.

However, as suggested by the facts about Chinese students, the reality often does not match the common perceived wisdom.

At the moment there’s a mild panic spreading through the political and intelligence communities about the Chinese.

There’s no doubt we should be vigilant about possible Chinese interference and any attempts to meddle in our politics.

Like other countries, they will be in it if there’s an opportunity and, with useful idiots like New South Wales Senator Sam Dastyari – who was yesterday forced to quit Parliament because of his careless associations with the Chinese – there’s an abundance of potential.

The Chinese crave attention and influence. They want to have their interests heard and reflected in policy-making in other nations.

They also aren’t very good at working the system. As a one-party state they think they can snap their fingers and get their way.

It can be ugly, as it was when the bussed-in Chinese students disrupted the 2008 Olympic torch parade in Canberra with red flags.

It can also be comical, on a Peter Sellers “Inspector Clouseau” level, as we saw with the Dastyari autocue news conference on the South China Sea.

The danger in all this is that we overreact and unnecessarily put the Chinese off-side.

After all, as the Parliamentary Library reminds us, we can’t do without China economically.

“Today, China is Australia’s largest trading partner in terms of both imports and exports,” says a recent Library report.

“Australia is China’s sixth largest trading partner; it is China’s fifth biggest supplier of imports and its tenth biggest customer for exports.

“Twenty-five per cent of Australia’s manufactured imports come from China; 13 per cent of its exports are thermal coal to China.”

The Chinese have reacted very negatively to comments from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and resulting media reports about proposed laws to curb foreign interference in Australia’s politics.

While Turnbull said these laws were “not about any one country”, there has been an anti-Chinese flavour about the Government’s rhetoric which has not gone down well in Beijing.

Following Turnbull’s statements last week the Chinese Canberra Embassy took the extraordinary step of issuing a formal response.

Attacking claims of “so-called Chinese influence and infiltration”, the embassy said they were made up and reflected an anti-Chinese hysteria.

The embassy argued recent reports had “unscrupulously vilified the Chinese students as well as the Chinese community in Australia with racial prejudice, which in turn has tarnished Australia’s reputation as a multicultural society”.

The danger in loose words about China is that the reaction can be unfairly harmful.

China is a Communist command nation and economy. They can turn taps on and off, whether they are for resources or services.

It is easy for the rulers in Beijing to get the word out that Australia is not a good destination for tourism or the best place to send children for tertiary studies.

In respect of tourism, about 1.4 million Chinese visit Australia each year resulting in an average spend of about $8000 for each visit. This is serious money.

Education services for Chinese students are worth more than $6 billion a year for Australia and this figure is expected to climb significantly under the new China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

Yes, Chinese activity in Australia should be closely monitored, and Beijing should be kept in line on all fronts, whether it’s donating money or seeking influence.

However, the short step to hysteria can carry a very heavy cost.



NSW govt won't back down on shark nets

Once again the Green/Left want to toy with people's lives by introducing unproven safety measures.  The whole point behind their activism is to save the lives of other creatures that get caught in the nets.  Who cares if a few people get attacked?  Greenies think people are pollution

The NSW government won't stop its shark net meshing program despite a Senate inquiry report finding nets provide a false sense of safety.

A shark expert has called on the NSW government to change its approach to shark prevention, insisting shark nets can't be relied upon to provide safety to beachgoers.

The criticism follows the release of a Senate inquiry report on Tuesday, which had been charged with examining shark mitigation and deterrent measures.

The report recommended shark nets across NSW beaches be phased out as their effectiveness was difficult to evaluate, but the significant damage caused to other marine wildlife was clear.

The NSW government has refused to put an end to its controversial netting program, noting on Wednesday there had only been one shark attack fatality at a meshed beach in NSW since the 1930s.

University of Sydney shark bite researcher Christopher Neff has slammed the government's decision, insisting the nets are not a "reputable approach" to beach safety. "If the government ignores the most comprehensive study on shark prevention in Australia, they need to rethink their approach," Dr Neff told AAP on Wednesday. "There is absolutely no evidence to support that shark nets are the leading beach safety option."

He urged the government to consider drones as an inexpensive early warning direction system that would work "phenomenally" with shark shields on surfboards.

The Greens-dominated Senate committee found the measures implemented by some governments, including mesh nets in NSW, provided beachgoers with a false sense of security.

But NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair has remained firm in the government's decision to keep the meshed nets in place.

"I find it insulting to the staff that have been researching this area, insulting to the investment we've put in and more importantly it's insulting to the communities that have been affected by shark attacks," Mr Blair told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

Following concerns about the amounts of by-catch caught up in the nets, the government made modifications to reduce the effects on marine wildlife and continues to investment in SMART drumlines and drone technology as part of a suite of measures to make beachgoers safe, Mr Blair said.

Marine conservationist and drone operator Dean Jefferys also championed the use of drones as a "ridiculously cheap" option but said it was about time the government came on board and phased out the nets.

"If the government refuses to implement the recommendation of the Senate inquiry, we will launch an international social media campaign urging tourists and locals to not swim at beaches with shark nets," Mr Jefferys told AAP on Wednesday.


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, 2017

Malcolm Turnbull opens door to national anti-corruption body but dismisses ICAC model as beset by 'hearsay and rumour'

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has for the first time suggested he is prepared to consider creating a federal anti-corruption watchdog.

Mr Turnbull said he is not yet persuaded the case has been made for such a body but that "the policy objective is zero tolerance, I take that very seriously".

With all other parties in the Federal Parliament prepared to support such a body, Mr Turnbull's government – which has thus far resisted calls from the crossbench, Greens and Labor – is the final obstacle.

And in an interview with Fairfax Media to mark the end of the Parliamentary year, Mr Turnbull also ramped up pressure on Bill Shorten to sack embattled NSW senator Sam Dastyari, arguing to do otherwise was a failure of leadership.

The Prime Minister also played down the impact on Australia-China relations of the government's new foreign interference legislation, arguing the furious reaction from Beijing was "of a kind that we have seen before".

Mr Turnbull said that if a federal anti-corruption body were to be created, he favoured something modelled on Victoria's IBAC, the independent broad-based anti-corruption commission, rather than New South Wales' ICAC, the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

The ICAC has been criticised for having powers that are too broad; the IBAC has, conversely, been criticised for powers that are too narrow and do not allow it to fully investigate suspicions of corruption or misconduct in public office.

After a difficult 2017 that saw the Coalition consistently trail Labor in published opinion polls – and his government beset by divisions over same-sex marriage, the citizenship crisis and energy policy – an optimistic Mr Turnbull said he had dealt with those three large "barnacles" attached to the ship of state.

Heading into 2018, his focus will be on delivering personal income tax cuts for middle Australia and trying again to cut company taxes for businesses with a turnover of more than $50 million a year.

But it is his failure to rule out a federal anti-corruption watchdog that is most significant.

"New South Wales, we all understand the problems that arise if these things turn into places where hearsay and rumour can be thrown around free of any responsibility," he said, referring to that state's anti-corruption body.

"So you have to make sure that you re-assess these agencies, reassess the work they are doing, ask the question if they are adequate to the task – there has been a Senate Select Committee recently [looking] at a National Integrity Commission."

"I am considering that report very carefully and if the government's conclusion is that there are gaps in our armoury, then we will look at the best way to fill them. But you have just got to make sure that you get it right, as the experience has been mixed."

The Senate inquiry, which concluded in September 2017, recommended the Commonwealth give careful "consideration to establishing a Commonwealth agency with broad scope and jurisdiction to address integrity and corruption matters", as well as a Parliamentary Integrity Commissioner.

It also suggested additional resources be allocated to the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI), which monitors police agencies.

There have already been discussions in the public service about transforming a "super-sized" ACLEI into an anti-corruption body.

On Senator Dastyari, who is under mounting pressure to quit Parliament over his links to Chinese Communist Party-linked political donor Huang Xiangmo, Mr Turnbull said it was "absolutely screamingly obvious that Dastyari should not be in the Senate".

"The Dastyari episode is a shocking one, I think it will provoke nothing less than contempt in Beijing that an Australian senator would behave in this way – and it's a terrible indictment on Shorten and his failure of leadership," he said.

The proposed foreign interference laws were not about China, he said, but simply focused on ensuring that anyone who sought to influence Australian politics and decision making did so openly.

"There is no taint about representing the interests of a foreign government in Australia, as long as you do so transparently and honestly."

Mr Turnbull would not comment on whether any state or federal politicians had been identified by government agencies as possible agents of foreign influence.

Mr Turnbull suggested that the significantly changed complexion of the Senate crossbench – six senators, including two from One Nation, two from the NXT, one Family First senator and Jacqui Lambie have all gone – could open the door to his government successfully steering the company tax cut through.

But in a direct pitch to middle Australia, Mr Turnbull said "the next priority is personal income tax cuts, middle income tax cuts – the timing and extent [of which] is obviously a question of affordability".


Electricity and gas bills take up to 12 per cent of household budgets

Large low-income families, pensioners and indigenous Australians have been hardest hit by the rise in energy costs and face increasing difficulty paying electricity and gas bills that could consume 12 per cent of their household budgets.

Research to be released today by KPMG, using census data and the Household Expenditure Survey published this year, pinpoints the impacts of “energy poverty", suggesting about 42,000 families are struggling to deal with rising power costs.

The paper, authored by demographer Bernard Salt, who acted as special adviser on the research, and Cassandra Hogan, KPMG’s national sector leader for power and utilities, suggests that spending on energy rises only modestly as income rises.

Per-person spending in the lowest income bracket averaged $15.57 a week compared with $18.91 in the highest income bracket. This meant low-income families had limited ways of reducing energy costs and large families and pensioners were most vulnerable to rising bills.

A low-income family of five with an estimated weekly energy cost of $77.85 would be spending about 12 per cent of their weekly income of about $650 on energy. A pensioner couple’s weekly energy costs of about $31 would be 5 per cent of a weekly income of $650.

Ms Hogan said the rising cost of energy could affect a household’s quality of life “in a very real way since energy is a fixed, as opposed to a discretionary, cost". “And the reason why it is devastating is because it exposes no less than 1 per cent of the Australian nation, including no less than 200,000 kids, to the bruising effects of energy poverty,” Ms Hogan said. “Poor households with big families in the public housing estates of our biggest cities are most exposed. For these Australians there is no defence."

The impact of energy poverty includes about 10,000 low-income families in the western Sydney suburbs of Fairfield and Liverpool. Energy poverty hot spots in Melbourne include about 9700 families in the city’s north at Hume and the southeast at Dandenong. In Brisbane, the impact is clustered around Logan to the south of the city, affecting 3700 families. In Perth about 3000 families, centred on Gosnells, are affected. And in Adelaide, the impact is on about 2400 families around Salisbury.

The research found that weekly average household spending on domestic energy had risen 26 per cent over six years to $40.92 from $32.52 in 2010.

Ms Hogan said better targeting of relief payments and hardship schemes was required from government and retailers. She said customers facing hardship could be automatically placed on the best available energy offers. She also called for improved efforts to offer early assistance to customers struggling to pay.

“The federal and state governments need to develop a national concessions framework to ensure a consistent and transparent approach to customer assistance that minimises costs for retailers and hence consumers," she said.

Smarter technology enabling customers to understand where costs were escalating quickest would help them manage. They would also benefit if retail plans were made easier to understand and to compare like-for- like.

While new technology such as gas and battery storage and more energy-efficient appliances could help, gas remained a potential problem. There were insufficient options to alleviate gas consumption, which represented a large proportion of household energy usage.


Whistleblower compensation is sorely needed

I was a teenager working at Walton's department store when, in 1986, one of Walton’s senior managers discovered that the store's new owners, the Bond Corporation, had embarked on a creative method of recognising revenue.

As he had repeatedly reported the matter internally without a response, the manager felt there was no other option but to report the transactions to the company's external auditor.

The following morning he was greeted by this auditor and Alan Bond. And, just like that, this senior manager’s 25 year career at Walton’s was over.

The auditor had told Bond, one of Australia's most powerful businessman, that this manager had blown the whistle. Eight months later, he left the business. He was 51 years old.

This story stayed with me after I left Waltons and became a policeman. In 1992, while I was investigating a major drug syndicate, a whistleblower came forward providing important details of the syndicate’s supplier.

The whistleblower was registered as a confidential informant and in return for his information, he was entitled to a monetary reward.

The cops, not known then for progressive thinking, had nevertheless worked out that for a person to risk their safety or career to help catch a bad guy, something more than the warm, fuzzy feeling of helping expose corruption was needed.

Fast forward to 2015. Sixteen years into my career as a forensic accountant and I was interviewing a minor player in the centre of large corruption scheme which ultimately led to seven executives being charged and convicted.

Not benefitting from the scheme personally, but aware that the conduct of his executives was wrong, the employee said he had helped cover up their misconduct for fear of losing a job he had held for 12 years.

Asked to co-operate and provide evidence, the employee asked: "what is in it for me?" The only honest answer I could give was: 'nothing.'

Decades after the cops twigged that rewards were needed to solve crimes, our corporate crime busters, the federal police and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, can offer little to entice potential whistleblowers to risk their career to help expose corporate corruption.

Yet think of the benefits of exposing corruption before it causes a major scandal. The impact on a company, its employees and shareholders if this is not done can be significant, causing major damage to reputation, share price and company morale.

The impact can shudder through the economy. Thousands of mum and dad investors or policy holders were adversely impacted by scandals involving Enron, OneTel and HIH.

Whistleblowers represent the innate part of the human spirit where there is value placed on doing the right thing.

Society needs to protect these people who often risk more than they will ever gain by speaking out.

They represent the honest and decent core of our community, often protecting shareholders or the general public from the fallout if corruption is not exposed before it spreads.

In October, the federal government released the first of what will hopefully be a much wider program of legislative reform aimed at encouraging corporate and tax whistleblowers to speak out.

The draft legislation, which is currently before the Senate, aims to protect whistleblowers who may expose themselves to significant personal and financial risk.

The bill has received mixed reviews with some proponents suggesting the proposed reforms are limited and in some cases unworkable for many companies.

As part of the wider reform program, the federal government is expected to review the recommendations from the parliamentary inquiry into whistleblowers, including the consideration of a reward program and establishing an independent Whistleblower Protection Agency.

I largely agree with this report's recommendations, but I do not subscribe to the 'US bounty' style payments for whistleblowers.

I was not surprised that this has not found its way into the draft legislation.

Still, some form of compensation scheme is badly needed.

The introduction of a Whistleblower Protection Agency with independent members and the inclusion of judicial experience could help manage this, ensuring appropriate compensation is delivered for the loss of future earnings (rather then a US style cut of any penalty faced by the company).

Strong penalties for those that fail to protect whistleblowers are also necessary to ensure corporate Australia takes notice.

The scheme should be designed to protect the senior manager who blew the whistle at Waltons and to punish those in the company who destroyed his career.

For those wondering what happened to this maligned whistleblower, after leaving Waltons he focussed on raising his seven children. A whistleblower scheme could have seen this man prolong his professional career.

But my father told me that if he had his way again, he'd still have spoken out. I don't doubt him for a moment.


The Dystopia in the Desert: Australia’s Remotest Aboriginal communities

In the clear-skied springtime of 2010, an enthusiastic new recruit to desert life named Tadhgh Purtill clambered aboard a light plane and took the long flight out to Warburton community, the little capital of the Ngaanyatjarra Aboriginal lands in Western Australia. He was a true believer, a robust advocate of strong self-determination, a supporter of the idea that indigenous people should be free to live on their ancestral lands.

Purtill felt these people had “every right to place themselves at a distance from mainstream Australian society, even to opt out of it, and that their cultural interests and rights might be best served by such a situation”.

He spent 2½ years in the remote world of the Ngaanyatjarra, first as a community development adviser and then as a managerial mentor to the region’s staff. None of his initial convictions survived his time in the bush: in fact, he found the opposite of his dreams.

His account of this remote community sojourn, The Dystopia in the Desert, brings together what he saw, heard and learned, and builds a theory from his observations. It is a detailed and disquieting narrative, at once an adventure of personal discovery and an exercise in wild social analysis. He plunges into delicate terrain, and deals in explicit fashion with matters that are usually airbrushed out of view. This is a work to set beside the darker texts of modern anthropology, and one that reveals a good deal about its author as well as its ostensible subjects.

It is a mark of Australia’s lack of serious attention to questions about remote Aboriginal life that this book has been ignored while headlines have been devoted to the elusive dream of indigenous constitutional recognition. For Purtill, the realm of the Ngaanyatjarra, a quarter of a million square kilometres inhabited by some 2000 people, is a place unlike any other:

The region is home to a social and organisational event of disorienting complexity. It is also home to a culture of deep darkness, one that is not seen in the official and statistical registers. This culture is not the Aboriginal culture. It is an operational culture that has grown up within the region, partly through what is perceived to be necessity, partly through convenience, partly through neglect, but in all cases through a strange encounter between Aboriginal culture and whitefella culture, and the contrary expectations of each.

The “region” is, in other words, a modern frontier zone, an ambiguous, shifting domain where policy ideas and strategies clash with each other, and interest groups and individuals strive for advantage in an ill-charted murk.

The rules are elaborate, and unwritten: Purtill sets them out. In this era of self-determination, those who run the communities, the “staff”, must appear to consult their Aboriginal subjects and obtain a degree of consent for the regulations they impose and the initiatives they advance. Welfare and municipal funds provide the life blood of the system: access to and control over the money flow equates to power. Administrators naturally seek accommodations with community leaders; they tend to favour their clients in return for expressions of support. Locals give lip service to the outside staff in return for benefits such as access to vehicles, housing, travel funds, store and fuel vouchers, all the items that lubricate remote community life and contribute to status and advantage.

This kind of patronage system is familiar enough in authoritarian regimes around the world, where power decides resource allocation. The novel element in the Australian remote indigenous community context is that the entire system is itself dependent on dependency. Locals depend on administrators and their service organisations, and service organisations depend on government. Worse is better: the poverty and dysfunction of the Aboriginal bush is what generates the necessary funds. Hence a premium is placed on the absence of progress.

“It is reasonable,” writes Purtill, “to ask whether any organisation that depends on government money, and whose entire existence therefore depends on a demonstration of its own need, is likely even to have the operational capacity to develop the independence, capacity and power of its own constituents.” Purtill came by his interpretation of the system through a hard exposure to its workings. He took up his initial post in a tiny Ngaanyatjarra community that he is careful not to name. It was in fact Tjirrkarli, one of the grittiest Aboriginal outposts in the Western Desert.

His experiences there and more broadly through the lands were exorbitant: he reports that violence and bullying were endemic. Advisers like him were regularly abused, threatened and on occasion assaulted by Aboriginal community members seeking money or protesting against local regulations and rules: “Most staff have witnessed violence among community members, or have dealt with its immediate aftermath, and perceive that threats made against them are not idle.”

In his 19 months at Tjirrkarli, a place with fewer than 25 residents, he saw a community member bashed outside his office, a man attacked with a machete, and a woman assaulted with rocks and projectiles by a group of eight or 10 assailants. He saw an older woman threatened with a brick by her own son after she refused him money; he found a man wandering about the community with a deep cranial gash and a piece of stick protruding from his forehead after an attack by a petrol sniffer. Death threats came his way from time to time. Sometimes tensions ran so high, he felt it best to spend his nights away from his house in the community.

One natural result of this pervasive atmosphere of threat and aggression is a high turnover of outside staff. Other writers seeking to convey the texture of remote community life tend to present this in oddly humorous terms, as a token of the amusing incompetence and ­naiveties of incoming do-gooders. Purtill provides a more sombre anatomy of the standard cycle of community employment. The new staff member arrives with much enthusiasm and sets to work with a will, determined to improve things. Over time they experience various stressful, disappointing or even frightening situations involving other staff or locals, and from that point on the person lives in “an emotional state in which his private tension never completely ­subsides”.

Then comes self-questioning, disillusion or a sense of defeat. Decision time now looms: either leave, or stay and accept that this is how things are in the bush communities.

Often this second course of action gives way to a position of acceptance: the staff member ceases to be offended by the social dysfunction and comes to see it as legitimate, as somehow authentic, as “the way the locals want to live”.

At this point the staff member has become part of the system, and even comes to resist any attempts at reform.

The missionary — nowadays the well-meaning secular idealist — becomes the disillusioned but well-remunerated mercenary and then, having lost his moral and ideological bearings, morphs into the ensconced misfit. The transformations are never witnessed or recognised by others because the others are not there long enough to see all three phases occur in the same person; and the eventual misfit himself continues to believe that he is still acting from noble motives.

Perverse progression! But perverse incentives and consequences, and ill-kept secrets and half-articulated compromises, are endemic in the portrait Purtill presents of the lands. This is a realm where staffers can forge the signatures of community leaders, where some shopkeepers feed themselves from the stock of the community store, where staff administrators running a strict alcohol-free zone drink in their homes and where spending public money irresponsibly is an art form. Purtill gives, again, examples from his own experience: a plumber based in Kalgoorlie is sent 900km to fix one pipe in a community, does the job and then, without offering his services to anyone else there, turns around and drives back. A school has too much food for its breakfast program, but reducing the oversupply is bureaucratically impossible and the surplus food mountain continues to grow. A plane flies in from Alice Springs to take a girl to boarding school, but no one has arranged the pick-up and it flies back without her.

Episodes of this kind are familiar features of remote community life. What is less familiar is Purtill’s willingness to describe the pattern.

His observations lead him to his theory: the entire Ngaanyatjarra region, he argues, has now become a special “operational space” where a greatly transformed post-traditional Aboriginal society interacts with the Western administrative culture. Much of this interaction is nominal, rather than real.

Training, employment, schooling, governance — the Ngaanyatjarra themselves tend to be apathetic towards these activities, and participate only when benefits, in the form of a barbecue, perhaps, or a sitting fee, are on offer. New programs aimed at community development come and go in quick succession. Work by ­locals on local projects is often skipped or poorly done, school attendance is low, the official claims of success and progress in economic or educational ventures are facade claims, quite at variance with reality.

“What we now have,” writes Purtill, “is a general image of disorder, imbalance, pointlessness, confusion — in its essence, futility.” It is a “carnival” of administered chaos, there is “the swirl and lurch of different people and processes, the cross-surgings, the many goals of a motley system”.

Deceptions and self-deceptions are everywhere, dewy reports to government that misrepresent the dire condition of the communities are routine. Meanwhile the entire frontier zone operates to maintain the dystopian status quo. Not only do Aboriginal people not run their communities, they do not have the capacity to run them.

The polite story locals and administrators profess to believe is that the whitefella staff carry out the wishes of Aboriginal leaders, but this is “simply a myth”. Aboriginal leaders have influence, of course, but that influence falls far short of self-determination, and the powerful “custodial class” of long-established whitefellas in the region has no desire to surrender control.

Hence the unspoken arrangement in place, the “implicit moral contract in which whitefellas gain professional status, salaries and operational power while Aborigines retain formal pre-eminence and personal freedom from the burdens of operational responsibility”.

What has developed in the far desert Ngaanyatjarra lands is not, then, a society that is in a state of dysfunction but a smoothly running mechanism, a successfully dysfunctional little state.

This is quite a charge sheet, made yet more potent by its evident relevance to scores of other similar groupings of remote indigenous communities strewn across the centre and the tropical north: Aboriginal people viewed as indolent, manipulative, violence-prone and devoid of any serious commitment to economic or educational advancement; whitefella staff as mediocre, profiteering, hypocritical basket cases, presiding over a failed, chaotic network of human zoos. The whole remote community world as a long-running enterprise of conspiracy devoted to propagating a profitable lie.

A handful of the key administrators and anthropological specialists who work in the Ngaanyatjarra region have read The Dystopia and, unsurprisingly, disagree with the harsh contours of Purtill’s analysis. No doubt Ngaanyatjarra men and women would be wounded, if they read it, by certain aspects of the frontier portrait the book sketches out.

No work of such critical intensity has been published to date on the modern remote community system, and while there is much in the portrayal that is frank, fearless and precise, there are aspects of it that invite modifying commentary. This is a work pitched, for all the specifics and case examples, at a high level of abstraction, an elegantly written intellectual jeremiad rather than a standard memoir of a season spent in the indigenous bush. This its besetting difficulty.

Purtill seems not to have learned any Western Desert language, and not to have enjoyed close relations with any local informants. The Aboriginal figures who appear in the narrative are ghostly shadows, rather trapped and exploited by their compliant-seeming whitefella custodians.

The view of Western Desert traditional culture that is presented is at once respectful and elegiac. Yes, there are times of “creativity, joy, celebration, happiness” in the communities, and these are often related to ceremonial life, but regional bodies in the desert are seen as overplaying the cultural strength of the locals because they know that their own legitimacy is strongly tied to that culture’s continuing resilience.

The truth, for Purtill, is that the culture is fading away, and “to admit the true extent of cultural depletion” would be “an embarrassment”. And of course by some fundamental, pre-contact benchmark, indigenous culture is changing, adapting, becoming a less potent dilution of what it originally was, and in a fateful way all Aboriginal societies are following this trajectory.

But if there is one place in Australia where the picture is a little different, it is the deep Western Desert region centred on Warburton and the Ngaanyatjarra lands.

From this January to May, a vast ceremony cycle bringing more than 200 desert men together unfolded smoothly, in secret, free from all outside involvement, at sites in the vicinity of Warburton.

Once the enduring position of ceremony, ritual, law and the bonds they forge is given its central role in desert community life, Aboriginal behaviour begins to look slightly less inexplicable, less feckless and perverse.

For many of the current generation of senior men and women leading traditionally accented lives, religion and law provide the heartbeat for their world, and the administrative presence and the programs and incentives that seek to usher them into a modern existence are mere distractions from the true, fulfilling purpose of their lives.

Resistance and noncompliance with the dreams of mainstream Australia for a placid, integrated Aboriginal society in the remote bush thus have a certain logic. It is a resistance that runs paradoxically alongside submission to welfare dependency and to the encroaching blandishments of Western influence, its alcohol, drugs and tidal waves of mass entertainment.

It’s a resistance that has the strategy of exploiting its masters and the effect of subverting their reforms.

Purtill himself hovers close to this more nuanced analysis in his final pages, as he describes the limits that inevitably preclude full comprehension by outsiders of the desert world: “That world, a foreign domain of thought and feeling, novelty and inheritance, with its seething weave of the tragic and the beautiful and the intriguing — its different notions of what is — can it ever be really understood?”

There is an unknowable hinterland that he sees stretching out beyond his compass of desert life. “It is in that hinterland that the communities of the Ngaanyatjarra region are functioning, and creating, and defying. The defiant creation, the dystopian system, caters to inextinguishable Aboriginal instincts — the instinct to survive as a people, to refuse to become something else.”

And refusal helps create the present impasse, and invites the ever more concerted policies of surveillance and supervised community-based work governments are now mandating in a bid to promote change.

But the present landscape contains a double bind: the remote Aboriginal frontier, ­chaotic as it is, offers no obvious prospect of constructive evolution in conformity with mainstream desires. Hence the vital, unask­able questions: How long can the bush communities continue to exist in their present form? How might they develop, and under what terms? And who, what kind of people, will live in them in generations to come?


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, 2017

No-vote MPs put the pressure on Ruddock

The conservative pushback to same-sex marriage has begun with No-voting MPs seeking to influence a review of religious freedoms led by former Liberal attorney-general Philip Ruddock.

Conservatives yesterday said the substance of unsuccessful amendments to protect religious freedoms — defeated on the floor of parliament despite the passage of a historic gay marriage bill last week — needed to be revisited by the Ruddock review or risk being seen as an affront to No voters.

South Australian Liberal senator David Fawcett, who helped devise five of the unsuccessful amendments to the bill that passed the parliament last week with overwhelming support, yesterday signalled his interest in ­resurrecting his changes through the expert panel review process.

“Having been involved in this since the Senate select committee which I chaired that led me to become one of the leading advocates for amendments for protections in the actual same-sex marriage bill, I’m clearly disappointed that they were voted down,” Senator Fawcett told The Australian. “And I’ll be looking to work with Mr Ruddock and the government to ensure protections are put in place."

Labor MP Chris Hayes, who used his speech in the House of Representatives to argue for religious freedoms to be examined in the Ruddock review, said there was a need to consider enshrining Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Australian law to better uphold religious liberty.

“I think there’s some utility in investigating the application or bringing into Australian domestic law the tenants of Article 18 of that convention,” he said. “I would think that it would be one of the areas that the expert panel might care to look at.”

Other Coalition MPs who supported religious freedom amendments voiced concern they had not been consulted over the decision to announce the expert panel, which includes Australian Human Rights Commission president Rosalind Croucher, retired judge Annabelle Bennett and Jesuit priest Frank Brennan.

“The inquiry panel was selected without consultation and largely reflects the biases and relationships of the Yes voting cabinet members,” one Coalition MP said. “I hold little hope after a close look at the voting patterns of both the Senate and the Reps with respect to the amendments (being revisited).”

A spokesman for the postal survey No campaign said supporters of traditional marriage remained “hopeful but extremely concerned” about whether religious freedom protections would be secured through the Ruddock review, which is due to report at the end of March.

“Not only has there been a lack of consultation, there is no clear understanding that this process will lead to an actual legislative outcome that provides protections for Australians of faith,” the spokesman said. “The absence of a prominent No voice on the inquiry is of concern, and does not send a positive message to the millions and millions of No voters.”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said he supported the Ruddock review, and schools should have the ability to “teach in accordance” with their religious world view. “Once we’re out of the shadow of the marriage debate, the sorts of protections we talked about in the last parliamentary sitting week, I think it is proper for those to be considered,” he said.


Is this how we stop Sudanese Apex gangs? Boot them out

Violent migrant youths could be kicked out of Australia on their 16th birthday under a hardline proposal to stop African Apex gangs from terrorising neighbourhoods.

Federal Liberal MP Jason Wood, a former police detective, made the recommendation for unprecedented action as the chairman of a parliamentary inquiry into migration settlement.

The Melbourne-based backbencher, whose electorate of La Trobe is home to Sudanese Apex gangs, said the mandatory deportation of youths convicted of violent crimes, when they turned 16, would 'stop crime and keep communities safe'.

His report also proposed the compulsory cancellation of the visas for those convicted of sexual assault, serious assault, home invasion and carjackings when they became an adult at 18.

'We need to make it clear to those who commit serious and violent crimes that their actions will have consequences,' he said. 

'I have seen this in my own electorate with the rise of the Apex Gang, a group of young people with a Sudanese background terrorising suburban Melbourne with riots, thefts, carjackings and violent home invasions.'

Cabinet ministers were told about the recommendations and had offered their support, New Corp reports, however Labor members of the committee accused Mr Wood of 'hijacking' the report to win political support in his electorate.

The recommendation follows the pending deportation of Sudanese-born former child refugee Isaac Gatkuoth, now 20, who was imprisoned for an armed, ice-fuelled carjacking committed in November 2015.

Gatkuoth was last year jailed for 14 months in a youth detention centre for pointing a sawn-off shotgun at a driver in Frankston, south-east of Melbourne, as the youth rode in a stolen BMW with four others when it rammed another car.

The youth, who came to Australia as a nine-year-old refugee, was given a deportation order for being linked to the Apex gang, along with three New Zealanders.

Labor members of the parliamentary committee released a dissenting report, accusing Mr Wood of 'hijacking' the report for political purposes.

'Despite minimal or no evidence the report focuses on young humanitarian entrants from Sudanese backgrounds who engage in criminal activity,' they said.

The Labor MPs, including Melbourne-based Maria Vamvakinou, also disagreed with Mr Wood on the idea of amending the Migration Act of 1958 so visas would be automatically cancelled for youths, aged 16 to 18, convicted of serious violent crime.

'The current character and cancellation provisions in the Act were an adequate method of addressing non-citizens who have been involved in criminal activities,' they said.

When it becomes to radicalisation, the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 already contains provisions to cancel a dual national's citizenship, for those aged 14 or older, if they engaged in terrorist acts.

Ahead of the report's release, Mr Wood last month released date showing Sudanese youth as young as 10 had committed 400 per cent more violent burglaries in just three years.

It showed the number of Sudanese-born criminals, aged 10 to 18, committing aggravated burglary in Victoria surging from 20 in 2014-15 to 98 in 2016-17, with Apex gangs particularly active in south-east Melbourne suburbs like Frankston and Pakenham.

The data he released also showed a 55 per cent increase in serious assaults by Sudanese youth, between 2014 and 2017, from 29 to 45.

Sudanese-born youths, aged between 10 and 18, are the most represented ethnic group when it comes to aggravated burglaries, car thefts and sexual offences.

Victoria's Crime Statistics Agency last year released data showing aggravated home invasions by Sudanese-born youth, aged 10 to 18, had risen 10-fold between 2012 and 2016, to 40 incidents

Apex-linked gangs are notorious around the Frankston, Sandringham and Cranbourne/Paken­ham rail lines, the Victorian police revealed in 2016.

But there have also been incidents in Melbourne's inner-west and western suburbs.

In June, a man was struck in the head with a tomahawk when a gang of men burst into a Melbourne barber shop and started brawling.

Up to 15 men, many who are believed to be of African descent, entered the shop in inner-city Footscray and began fighting.

In April, a gang of five Sudanese teenagers allegedly bashed their autistic classmate, in a horrific attack on a bus at Tarneit, in Melbourne's west.

The 17-year-old student was travelling alone to the city centre, when five boys approached him and told him to hand over his mobile phone and new Nike shoes.


Hefty Yiannopoulos bill shows Victoria Police has taken sides with the Left

THE last group you’d expect to indulge in victim-blaming is Victoria Police. Our police force is meant to protect and serve, not fine victims of lawlessness for needing police protection.

That is essentially what happened last week when police command decided to send a hefty bill of at least $50,000 to the organisers of the Milo Yiannopoulos tour.

Not only does the decision set a dangerous precedent for free speech in Victoria, but it also reveals a perverse lack of fairness.

The enormous bill reflects the significant police resources that were needed last Monday night when feral mobs rioted for five hours in the streets of Kensington while trying to stop ticketholders from entering the Australian Pavilion.

Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane first threatened to fine the venue before it was determined that the organisers would foot the bill. Police Minister Lisa Neville said: “For these sort of rallies, but also for the AFL and those big events, there is an agreement around the costs.”

This attempt by the minister to compare the charges to what sporting bodies routinely pay is disingenuous nonsense.

A law-abiding crowd of 3000 attending a ticketed event would not require 300 police officers, including dozens in riot gear.

That came about purely because violent far-Left activists converged on the venue to try to shut down the event — an all-too-regular occurrence in Victoria.  Not satisfied with hurling vile abuse, the protesters also threw rocks, sticks, bottles, and even street signs.

If it were the ticketholders rampaging, then I’d have no qualms about saddling the organisers with the bill.

However, the small number of police that would normally be needed, and paid for by organisers, at an event of this size ballooned to something entirely different thanks to the actions of extreme Left agitators.

Anyone who has seen footage of the mayhem would be surprised to learn that police arrested only two people that night.

Victoria Police may have created a rod for its own back by punishing the injured party and effectively rewarding the thuggish louts who want to use violence and intimidation to shut down events, meetings and rallies of their ideological opponents.

Today, the event organiser, Penthouse publisher and free speech advocate Damien Costas, spoke of his dismay over “political grandstanding” in Victoria.

“Our attendees did nothing wrong. They lined up quietly and looked on as the protesters that weren’t invited and, frankly, weren’t welcome, threw rocks and bottles at police,” Costas told the Herald Sun.

“We negotiated in good faith with the Victorian police and we reached an agreement as to what was required and what we needed to pay for.” Mr Costas also revealed that he was yet to receive the bill, and would refuse to pay it if it did arrive.

“This is nothing more than political grandstanding … we haven’t received a bill and there’s been no talk from police on our end to even suggest we’re getting one,” he said.

But last week, Ms Neville warned that the bill had to be paid, saying: “(It’s a) big call to say you’re going to ignore a bill from Victoria Police.”

Yiannopoulos’s events in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland went ahead with little trouble. In NSW, demonstrators were aggressive, but not as violent or as destructive as their Victorian counterparts.

NSW police arrested seven protesters, who were charged with offences including assaulting police, hindering police, affray, failing to comply with directions, and breaching the peace. It seems they take upholding the law and protecting the peace a little more seriously north of the border.

In one sense, we shouldn’t be surprised with the climate of censorship in Victoria, where conservative commentators have had to cancel book launches, and members of the Jewish community cannot meet with MPs due to fears of violence from far-Left activists amusingly calling themselves “anti-fascists” or “anti-racists”.

Meanwhile, Melbourne’s CBD is regularly thrown into disarray by activists who block traffic to protest over a variety of national and international issues.

When have the socialists, anarchists and other assorted fringe-dwelling malcontents ever been sent a bill for the police presence needed at their rallies, or a bill to cover the cost of the loss of productivity that comes about as a result of CBD streets being blocked for hours at a time?

The desire to silence opposing views is a phenomenon of the Left.

You don’t see speeches by visiting Left-wing commentators with far more outlandish views than Yiannopoulos — who was farcically misrepresented by much of the media — being subjected to violent protests.

Look at the extraordinary measures the organisers of the Yiannopoulos tour went to, to minimise the violence of the Left.   The venues were kept secret until a couple of hours before each event, to prevent activists from monstering the venue and intimidating the staff and business owners.

Those same activists now have another weapon in their arsenal to silence opposing views.  By rioting and causing maximum mayhem, they can financially punish their political opponents.

Who will bother to bring out any speaker with Right-of-Centre views when the threat of violence from a small group of pests could result in an enormous bill from the police?

This decision will embolden totalitarian thugs to behave even more violently.


Antifa Australia goes for the jugular

They are so filled with hate that anyone who disagrees with them is a "Nazi".  That is a problem

The first rule of antifa is you do not talk about antifa. Not to a journalist, at any rate. It is less an organisation than a broad objective across the radical left; a determination to block, frustrate and ultimately silence far-right politics. It is fundamentally illiberal and necessarily secretive. For these reasons, it is poorly understood and readily mischaracterised.

Antifa activists are not mindless thugs. They are well organised and, generally, experienced political and social activists who are prepared to resort to violence — they say reluctantly — to deny the far right any platform from which to promote its ideas. In Melbourne and Sydney this week, they mobilised more than 100 supporters within an hour to shout down a speaking event by the alt-right’s charismatic bomb thrower, Milo Yiannopoulos.

Yiannopoulos was not stopped from having his say but the fact he was unwilling to publicise the locations of his shows in advance is being celebrated as a victory of sorts across Australia’s anti-fascist network. The morning after anti-fascist activists and right-wing “patriots” traded blows on the streets of Kensington and police were pelted with rocks, the group that organised the Melbourne protest, the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism, heralded it as a success.

The following night, seven people were arrested in Sydney when protesters tried to disrupt a Yiannopoulos speaking event in the inner-west suburb of Lilyfield. Speaking to Inquirer shortly before the protest, organiser Omar Hassan explained that although he was not looking for a fight, he was ready for one.

“Primarily, the way the far right can be beaten is not through individual acts of violence but collective empowerment and the building of mass movements,” he said. “These mass movements have to do what is required to stand their ground and challenge bigotry. Sometimes that involves a physical altercation, but that is not of our choosing, that is just something we are prepared to do.

“We know from history that when the far right organises, the violence that is inflicted on communities is much more severe than anything we have seen at any of these protests.”

Tess Dimos, a spokeswoman for the Campaign against Racism and Fascism, argues that when you’re confronting white nationalists on the streets, violence is part of the gig. “They are not the kind of people you can stand quietly next to and have some kind of vigil,” she says. “These people go to these demonstrations intending to pursue violent acts. We do whatever we can to try to keep everyone safe and together.”

The antifa view of the world is that far-right politics — particularly white supremacy, nationalist chauvinism and the kind of fascism that tore Europe apart in the middle of the 20th century — is again on the rise across Western democracies.

In the US, this conviction has made bedfellows of anarchists, Marxists, socialists, anti-racists and other militant activists beneath the antifa doona. In Australia, existing left-wing groups such as Socialist Alternative have diverted resources from other campaigns to fight what they describe as the fascist menace. New groups, such as Jews Against Fascism, have formed to fight the far right.

The start of this counterculture war can be traced to the Easter weekend two years ago when a large Reclaim Australia rally took over Melbourne’s Federation Square. Hassan is a 31-year-old bartender and events manager. He is also an active member of Socialist Alternative who contributes regularly to its online publication, Red Flag. “The size and breadth of that mobilisation of the far right shook many of us up,” he says. “Nationally, we decided to prioritise anti-fascist organising.”

The same event prompted Jordana Silverstein, a University of Melbourne academic, to form Jews Against Fascism. “We fundamentally disagree that if you ignore fascists they will go away,” she tells Inquirer. “They don’t. They become emboldened.”

Asked when violence is acceptable, Silverstein’s response is instructive: “We don’t have a strict line on that. My grandparents were in concentration camps and ghettos from 1939 to 1945. The focus needs to be on the violence that fascism perpetrates and the racist violence that the state ­perpetrates against marginalised groups. That is the more pertinent question for the media to be dealing with it.”

The antifa armoury includes more than protest chants and punches. Mark Bray, formerly an activist in the Occupy Wall Street movement, is the author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, published in Australia by Melbourne University Press. In interviews with anti-fascist activists in Europe and the US, Bray explores antifa tactics including the dark art of doxxing, a form of online sabotage pioneered by computer hackers.

In the antifa context, doxxing means the outing of Nazi sympathisers — the publication of ­information that identifies anonymous far-right bloggers or activists, which in turn puts pressure on employers to sack them. This year a University of Nebraska philosophy student, Cooper Ward, was doxxed and unmasked as the voice on an anti-Semitic podcast, The Daily Shoah. Bray says he was driven off campus and into hiding.

“Despite the media portrayal of a deranged, bloodthirsty antifa … the vast majority of anti-fascist tactics involve no physical violence whatsoever,” Bray writes.

“Anti-fascists conduct research on the far right online, in person and sometimes through infiltration; they dox them, push cultural milieux to disown them, pressure bosses to fire them and demand that venues cancel their shows, conferences and meetings; they organise educational events, reading groups, trainings, athletic tournaments and fundraisers; they write articles, leaflets and newspapers, drop banners, and make videos … But it is also true that some of them punch Nazis in the face and don’t apologise for it.”

The antifa doctrine on violence, justified loosely as a form of first-strike, preventive defence, is summed up for Bray in this billboard quote from Murray, an Anti-Racist Action member in Baltimore: “You fight them by writing letters and making phone calls so you don’t have to fight them with fists. You fight them with fists so you don’t have to fight them with knives. You fight them with knives so you don’t have to fight them with guns. You fight them with guns so you don’t have to fight them with tanks.”

The contention here is that antifa resorts to violence only when earlier tactics fail to achieve its aims. If this were true, and if antifa were fighting only Nazis, many people wouldn’t have a problem with the occasional push turning to shove. There is a reason we laugh during The Blues Brothers when Elwood guns his Dodge Monaco across a bridge and forces a hapless band of Illinois Nazis to leap into the river. There is a reason the blood-spattered scenes in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds seem a little less gratuitous when it is a Nazi skull meeting a baseball bat. There is a reason footage of American white supremacist Richard Spencer getting punched in the face on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration went viral. After all, they’re Nazis.

A problem for the Australian antifa, and indeed for anti-fascist groups in Europe and the US, is that few people and organisations they oppose here have much to do with Nazism. Consider the rollcall of hard-right leaders who turned out in Kensington in support of Yian­nopoulos. Neil Erikson, a far-right agitator and leader of a small group known as Patriot Blue, used to be a Nazi but in recent years has publicly disavowed his former beliefs and now says he is a supporter of Israel.

Blair Cottrell, the hulking former leader of the defunct United Patriots Front, is fascinated by Adolf Hitler as a historical figure but ridicules neo-Nazism as a contemporary political movement.

Avi Yemini, a tough-on-crime activist, is a former Israeli soldier. He recently joined Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives and hopes to stand as a candidate in next year’s Victorian election.

As for Yiannopoulos, although some of his supporters are Nazi sympathisers — Inquirer was sent a picture of a man giving a Nazi salute as he walked out of his Kensington speaking engagement — there is scant evidence that he is.

When Yiannopoulos was preparing a treatise on the alt-right for the Breitbart website early last year, he sought the input of a white nationalist blogger and self-described Nazi, Andrew Auernheimer, and forwarded it along with contributions from other hard-right figures to his co-author, a Breitbart staff journalist. When the Buzzfeed news site obtained emails exchanged between Auernheimer and Yiannopoulos, it reported them as proof that “Breitbart and Milo smuggled Nazi and white nationalist ideas into the mainstream.” There was no smuggling involved, Nazi or otherwise; Yiannopoulos’s treatise was a rambling cook’s tour of right-wing groups, with Auernheimer quoted as an on-the-record source.

Yiannopoulos’s presence here was bound to provoke antifa. The term has been in use in Europe since the 1980s but it first pierced the American public consciousness last February when black-clad violent demonstrators trashed the University of California’s Berkeley campus and forced the cancellation of a Yiannopoulos show. The demonstration, which caused $US100,000 worth of damage, was a tactical success but, arguably, a strategic failure.

Since Berkeley, Yiannopoulos has found it difficult to find venues in the US willing to host his show. He quit Breitbart after a video emerged of him appearing to condone sex between men and 13-year-old boys. His supporters say his star is rising. His opponents argue he is already flaming out.

The fallout for antifa has been mixed. Speaking to Inquirer from New York, Bray says the movement is stronger and better organised than it was a year ago. “The spectacle of Berkeley and the precedent it set emboldened a lot of anti-racists and anti-fascists," he says. “It was a call to arms for the movement."

Berkeley also set in train a series of events that last week culminated in FBI director Christopher Wray announcing that antifa activists were the subject of a counter-terrorism investigation. Wray told the US House of Representatives homeland security committee: “While we are not investigating antifa as antifa — that’s an ideology and we don’t investigate ideologies — we are investigating a number of what we would call anarchist-extremist … people who are motivated to commit violent criminal activity on a kind of antifa ideology."

Now that Yiannopoulos’s tour has ended, antifa in Australia will readjust its sights to homegrown targets. Hassan makes clear this will not be limited to the extreme right: “It is about building an anti-racist movement with the confidence to challenge bigotry in all its forms,” he says. “That includes taking on the far right but it also includes the establishment right as well: Cory Bernardi, George Christensen, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull.”

The risk here is that, in the absence of genuine Nazis to punch, antifa will employ its tactics against people who hold legitimate conservative political views.

Bray, who introduces his book as a “unashamedly partisan call to arms”, defends militant anti-fascism as a “reasonable, historically informed response to the fascist threat”. If that threat in Australia is more perceived that real, where does that leave antifa?


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, 2017

That "vibrant" African culture in Melbourne again

A man has been killed and another left seriously injured following a horror machete attack in Melbourne on Saturday night.

Police have reported a brawl broke out between two groups of men on Castley Crescent, in Braybrook, around 9.30pm. A car full of machete-wielding men allegedly used their vehicle to hit the two men, before assaulting them with weapons.

The gang of four to six men are believed to be of African appearance.

The violent offenders then fled the scene in a silver or grey hatchback, striking both victims as they left.

A 40-year-old man was taken to hospital with life threatening injuries, where he later died. A 44-year-old man was also taken to hospital with life threatening injuries.


'Put an end to hate speech': United Nations issues warning to Australia over 'rising racism against Aboriginals and Muslims'

One will believe in their sense of proportion when they criticize the hate in Muslim countries.  The report is in fact a prime example of Leftist one-sidedness.  Matthew 7:5 applies

The United Nations has warned Australia that discrimination against Muslims and Aboriginals is 'on the rise' and it must 'put an end to racist hate speech'.

The damning review was blasted by Multicultural Affairs Minister Zed Seselja, who lashed out at the global organisation's 'bizarre criticism', the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The report outlined 16 areas where improvement was needed including the welfare and status of Indigenous Australians, asylum seekers and migrant workers. It also claimed Arabs, Muslims, Africans, South Asians and Indigenous Australians were 'particularly affected by racist hate speech and violence'.

A number of proposals to remedy the issues were put forward including one recommending to effectively censor aspects of the media and public commentary.

The document put forward an idea to take another look at section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act which should be better policed by 'law enforcement officials'.

The UN report also questioned whether the lack of racial discrimination complaints that made it before the high court were due to high costs and the burden of proof required.

Section 18C says it is unlawful to offend, insult or humiliate someone on the basis of race.

Following the review released in Geneva on Friday, the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination stated 'expressions of racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia, including in the public sphere and political debates as well as in the media, are on the rise' in Australia.

The findings were put together off submissions and testimony from non-government organisations, communities and Australian governments.

Senator Seselja said the Turnbull government 'completely rejects this bizarre criticism' and that a successful multicultural Australia 'is only possible, if at the same time, our borders are secure and our nation is safe'.

Politicians were singled out in the report, stating Australia could fight against xenophobia by ensuring public servants 'not only refrain from such speech but also formally reject and condemn hate speech'.

The media was also recommended to 'put an end to racist hate speech' in print and online while ensuring a 'code of good conduct' with clear restrictions on racism.


National Museum of Australia council member 'fangirls' in a photo with Milo Yiannopoulos shortly after the controversial right-wing 'internet villain' said Aboriginal art was 'crap'

My liking for Namatjira is looked on with scorn by the arty farties so I imagine the comments by Yiannopoulos might be endorsed by the art establishment if they dared to.  Most Aboriginal art is undoubtedly technically primitive compared to traditional European oil paintings

A council member of the National Museum of Australia has posed for a photo with right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos shortly after he said Aboriginal art was 'crap' and 'really s**t'.

Janet Albrechtsen posed for a selfie with Mr Yiannopoulos and Michael Kauter, former deputy campaign director for the National Party, reportedly after the controversial commentator's show in Sydney on Wednesday night.

During his performance in Melbourne two days earlier Mr Yiannopoulos said Aboriginal art was 'crap' and 'really shit', according toThe Guardian.

He posted the photo to his Instagram account, tagging Mr Kauter in the caption.

In addition to being a council member of the museum Ms Albrechtsen was appointed as an ambassador for the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation by then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2015.

In the photo which was posted to social media both Ms Albrechtsen - a prominent conservative newspaper columnist - and Mr Yiannopoulos are wearing large reflective aviator sunglasses.


Australian Universities becoming ‘increasingly hostile to free speech’

Australian universities have become increasingly hostile to free speech, with an audit finding most campuses have instituted policies, guidelines or charters that prohibit students from making “insulting” or “unwelcome” comments, telling “offensive jokes” or, in some cases, engaging in “sarcasm”.

Analysis by the Institute of Public Affairs has revealed 81 per cent of Australia’s 42 universities are actively hostile to free speech on campus as a result of censorious policies or actions taken by administrators or students.

A further 17 per cent potentially threaten free speech by maintaining policies that could stifle student expression.

Only one, the University of New England in Armidale, NSW, actively supports free speech on campus and is among a handful of institutions with a policy upholding intellectual freedom.

The University of Sydney has been named as the most hostile ­university. It topped the ranking, scoring 36 — more than double its nearest rival, Charles Sturt University.

Rather than its policies, it was Sydney University’s role in ­numerous censorship scandals, largely led by student activity, that had contributed to its score.

IPA research fellow Matthew Lesh, who carried out the audit, said many policies appeared to extend beyond the law, meaning students were more restricted as to what they could say or do on campus than out in the wider community. He cited the Racial Discrimination Act, which makes it unlawful for a person to commit an act “reasonably likely … to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate ­another person or a group” on the grounds of race or ­ethnicity.

“The vast majority of universities seem to have introduced policies that prevent behaviour without applying that reasonable person test,” he said. “They also extend the idea of offence to hurt feelings, or emotional injury or unwelcome ­behaviour.”

Sydney University vice-chancellor Michael Spence said he believed it was the role of a university to host debate on difficult topics and to encourage ­people to disagree. “While I recognise not everyone will agree with the university’s decision not to take a position on issues … I do believe that the right to express a view must be defended; this is codified in our charter of academic freedom,” Dr Spence said. [but not acted on]

“The University of Sydney supports academic freedom,” a spokeswoman said. [For Leftists only]


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

10 December, 2017

Milo Yiannopoulos promoters won’t pay $50,000 Victoria Police bill

I can hardly believe how far left Victoria is veering: State police charging a conservative to protect him from Leftists. Charging protection money is what criminals do. The next step is refusing protection and letting harm happen. 

The whole rationale for government is that there are some things that should not be user-pays, but which the State should pay, like roads and infrastructure, defence, police, search and rescue, and emergency services, certain amenities ... etc. If the police don't think it is part of their job to prevent criminal assault, what are they good for?

The only consolation is that this is probably a try-on

THE ORGANISER behind controversial Milo Yiannopoulos’ Melbourne event is refusing to cough up $50,000 to cover the cost of police after a violent protest broke out.

Penthouse publisher Damien Costas, the man who organised Milo Yiannopoulos’s tour, told 3AW he had no intention of paying the five-figure bill from Victoria Police, following the Kensington clash.

“I can’t imagine we would (pay the larger bill),” he said. “In Melbourne they were talking about a user pays model but a particular sergeant at our head of security we were dealing with said ‘We’d like you to pay for the barriers, bollards etc’.”

“I think the entire thing was about five or $6000.” “I paid what I was asked to pay. Anything over and above that we can determine.” “This is actually asking the victim to pay the bill.”

He said user-pay models were discussed in every state and he’d paid about $9000 for police in the Gold Coast and nothing in New South Wales.

Supporters of the far-Right figure were involved in violent clashes with left-wing protesters on Monday night in Kensington.
Hundreds of police were called in with some using capsicum spray to subdue rioters.

Mr Costas said the 3000 attendees didn’t do anything wrong rather those uninvited threw rocks.

Police Minister Lisa Neville told the radio station on Wednesday the event’s promoters would have to foot the bill, which would be at least $50,000. She said billing event organisers for police resources was commonplace.

“For these sort of rallies, but also for the AFL and those big events there is an agreement around the costs,” she said. Ms Neville said she was confident Mr Yiannopoulos would cough up.
“(It’s a) big call to say you’re going to ignore a bill from Victoria Police,” she said.

Mr Costas said the police presence was executed with “military precision” and there were also 70 security guards at the event.


Bill Shorten panicked by "no" vote in heavily Muslim electorates

Pandering to Muslim beliefs about homosexuality might give Christians protection as a side-effect

Bill Shorten has reached out to religious leaders and No voters to reassure them that Labor, in ­“opposition or government”, wants to ensure religious liberties remain protected.

The Opposition Leader made the move within hours of Malcolm Turnbull taking the same-sex marriage legislation to Government House to be written into law. While still celebrating the passage of the same-sex marriage laws, Mr Shorten immediately addressed concerns by Christian and Islamic leaders, specifically in nine Labor-held electorates in western Sydney that voted No, about “their freedom to practise their religion”.

On Thursday, Mr Shorten told parliament in his final speech on the same-sex marriage bill: “I say to those who voted No, I recognise that now is the time for healing, to put this debate behind us. And when this law is passed, we should declare that we are no longer a nation of people who voted No or people who voted Yes — we are simply Australians, one and all.”

In the wake of the 60 per cent Yes vote in the postal survey — now revealed to have cost $80 million, $42m less than expected — Mr Shorten has repeatedly expressed “respect” for No voters and declared that as someone who was “raised a person of faith”, he wants to ensure ­religious protections.

In a letter to 12 religious ­leaders including Christian archbishops and bishops as well as muftis and imams in southwest and western Sydney, Mr Shorten said Labor understood their concerns, believed the ­legislation protected religious freedoms but offered to make ­himself available “to work through any concerns you may have in relation to religious freedoms around Australia”.

“I can assure you that Labor understands your concerns, and takes them most seriously,” Mr Shorten said in a letter written yesterday and obtained by The Weekend Australian. “In the event that Labor forms the next government, I can guarantee that I will continue to be available to work through any concerns that you may have in relation to religious freedoms in Australia. In government and in opposition, I intend to continue to work collaboratively with religious leaders around Australia to ensure religious liberties remain protected.”

Mr Shorten offered to meet the religious leaders “as early as next week” to discuss their concerns. He also urged them to work with the Coalition’s religious freedoms inquiry headed by former federal attorney-general Philip Ruddock, which is due to report next year.

Mr Shorten offered to consider more protections for religious freedom. “Given the importance of the issue of religious freedom, and the need to give any changes proper consideration, we believe this is an appropriate mechanism for determining whether changes might be required to enhance protections for people of faith and religious institutions,” he wrote.

“Should the expert panel into religious freedoms find gaps in the legal framework for protecting ­religious freedoms more broadly, Labor will carefully consider those when they are delivered next year.”

Labor was attacked during the debate on religious freedom this week for not allowing a true free vote on amendments and denying its MPs the chance to support religious protections. Labor MPs have denied there was a direction denying them a chance to vote on amendments and said they wanted to use the ­religious freedom inquiry to ­rectify any shortcomings.

Mr Shorten has campaigned strongly for same-sex marriage and all Labor MPs voted for it but there was a political backlash when the postal vote showed that nine Labor-held electorates in Sydney with large migrant communities and committed religious groups voted No against same-sex marriage.

The Labor electorates of Barton, Blaxland, Chifley, Fowler, Greenway, McMahon, Parramatta, Watson and Werriwa in NSW as well as Calwell and Bruce in Victoria voted No.

Three Liberal Sydney seats — Bennelong, Mitchell and Banks — and three rural Queensland electorates — Groom and Maranoa held by the Nationals and independent Bob Katter’s Kennedy — also had a majority No vote.

NSW Liberals believe the No vote in the western Sydney electorates, some in areas once held by the Liberal Party under John Howard, gave the Coalition an opportunity to regain ground in western Sydney at the next election by campaigning as a defender of religious rights after Labor’s blanket refusal to vote for any amendments this week.

Mr Shorten’s letter seeks to reassure leaders including Bishop Antoine Taraby, the Maronite Bishop of Australia; Bishop Robert Rabbat, of the Melkite Catholic Church; Sheikh Yahya Safi, imam of the Lakemba mosque; and Sheikh Malek Zeidan, the Australian representative of the mufti of Lebanon.


Militant unions escalate picket at Webb Dock

MORE than 1000 fired-up union workers have walked off the job in an industrial dispute over a casual worker denied shifts at the Victorian International Container Terminal.

In an expletive-ridden speech, CFMEU boss John Setka declared the company was in “big trouble” as workers stood together to protest their rights. “I almost feel sorry for the VICT,” he said.

The stoush is over a Maritime Union of Australia member, missing out on casual shifts after being denied the security clearance required to work in a restricted area.

 MUA Deputy National Secretary Will Tracey claimed a security audit identified over 20 workers who did not have the correct clearances, but the worker in question was excluded because of his union membership. “His only crime was pushing the union membership inside the dock,” he told workers.

The dispute has been going for over a week, during which time more than 1000 containers have sat idle at the dock.

A VICT spokesman previously told the Herald Sun the picket was costing the company big money, and legal action would be pursued to reclaim $100 million in dam­ages for harm to its reputation and lost revenue.

VICT also plans to make a complaint to police about vile abuse and harassment that it alleges has been hurled at executives and their families.

Mr Setka said: “If the laws are s***, why play by them?” He said workers were “effectively slaves” to big companies which “criminalise unionism.”  “If we follow the laws, we will never win,” he said.

The Herald Sun can reveal the man who was not granted security clearance failed in two appeals to overturn the decision.

The man excluded from work has a criminal conviction. He has been denied a Maritime Security Identification Card, which is required for all people who work in secure areas on Australian docks under laws to protect against terrorism and other crimes.

VICT said it was not about to break the law and allow the man on site to keep the union happy.

Australian Logistics Council Managing Director Michael Kilgariff said the illegal blockade at Webb Dock is a taste of the “industrial mayhem” that would be unleashed if the CFMEU and MUA merge.

“These events are reminiscent of the bad old days on the Australian waterfront, with the MUA and the CFMEU undertaking pickets based on spurious grounds, and operating in the misguided belief that they are above the law,” he said.

“ALC is deeply concerned that if the MUA and CFMEU are allowed to merge into a militant mega-union, the sort of wilful illegality we are now witnessing at Webb Dock will spread throughout the nation, and across our supply chains

“The actions of the MUA and the CFMEU at Webb Dock are not only an attack on businesses, but on the entire community. Fresh produce is rotting on the wharf, and merchandise that includes Christmas gifts for children is unable to move.”

Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Robert Clark said: “This picket is hurting farmers and businesses across Victoria and is doing huge damage to Victoria’s international reputation, and to confidence, investment and jobs,” he said.

Australian Council of Trade Unions Secretary Sally McManus said workers need “stronger, better rights” to protect their “vulnerable workforce”.

The Supreme Court has ordered the Maritime Union of Australia to stop the picket, but other unions have taken up the fight.

Terminal officials say the action is being captured on CCTV to monitor who attends the protests and in case the court order is breached. It is also considering further legal action.

The union earlier this week resorted to using the troublesome oBikes in the illegal blockade leaving thousands of goods, including Christmas presents, seafood and lifesaving EpiPens, stranded in containers.

The imports affected include pharmaceutical goods, including EpiPens, prawns and other seafood, toys, Christmas decorations, including artificial trees, and machinery parts, including conveyor belt parts.

But exports have also been sidelined during the dispute, with the list including wine, cheese, frozen meat, oranges, stone fruit, pears, cotton, clay, and large amounts of milk destined for China.

Victoria Police said it was aware of the ongoing protest and would monitor it. “Victoria Police respects people’s right to protest peacefully, but will not tolerate those who break the law,” a spokeswoman said.


The root of the left’s anger lies in our universities

As excited crowds of people lined up around the block to attend Milo Yiannoplous’ first Sydney talk last Tuesday, dozens of riot police corralled into a local park the large crowd of furious left-wing activists who were doing their best to stop the event happening.

Stirring them on were young women, mainly students from Sydney University, screeching into their megaphones while their frustrated audience entertained themselves taking selfies, brandishing crude signs and doing their best to provoke police.

It can’t have helped when they heard the 2000-plus crowd roar their approval as Milo attacked feminists and gender studies courses, debunked myths about wage gaps and campus rape crises, and challenged his audience to stand up to bullying leftists.

Milo has spent the past week giving interviews about his recent activities, including his tours of American universities which are successfully forcing administrations into allowing more free speech on campuses.

Key groups are now planning similar activities for Australian universities.

Milo announced this week in our YouTube interview that he was keen to return and take part. He’s just one of many social media heroes soon to be invited to these shores as part of a concerted effort to wrestle back higher education from what Milo describes as a “stiflingly homogenous leftist grip which is undermining the foundations of free society.”

While our Coalition politicians spent their time plotting changing captains on a sinking ship, they’d be well advised to take note of this proposed counter-revolution. Therein lies the only hope of rescuing their political parties from a very real threat to the future of conservative parties both here and abroad — the sharp turn left in women’s voting preferences.

Startling new data from the Australian National University, to be revealed in Inquirer in tomorrow’s The Weekend Australian, shows it is young women who are driving a major shift towards left-wing parties. Midst the complex reasons for this shift, left-leaning university education is at the heart of this trend — with women most likely to take the humanities subjects now stepped in Neo-Marxist and postmodernist ideology.

Those ferociously leftist young women trying to shut down Milo’s talks are set to join successive generations of women already voting conservative parties out of office — unless efforts to reclaim the universities prove successful.


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, 2017

Sirius building finally goes on the market -- in defeat for the Green/Left

Pru Goward has "driven past" the landmark Sirius building at the Rocks for 35 years but the NSW social housing minister only relatively recently got to take a look inside.

"My breath was taken away by the incredible views," she said.

Those sweeping views, taking in the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, are what the NSW government hopes will deliver revenue of $100 million, or possibly more, from a developer when Sirius - home to public housing tenants since 1980 - officially goes on sale on Thursday.

Ms Goward's controversial announcement three years ago that Sirius would be sold - with the proceeds used to build new social housing - has been met with fierce opposition from tenants, community members, architects, the Labor opposition and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

Despite a Heritage Council recommendation calls to have the distinctive example of brutalist architecture placed on the heritage register have been rejected, most recently by environment minister Gabrielle Upton in October.

Ms Goward will announce that the new owner will have the option of retaining the existing structure and benefit from its current height.

But cabinet has decided any redevelopment must be smaller, limited to the height of the Sydney Harbour Bridge deck, following concerns about the loss of sight lines to the Opera House and the impact on the character of the local area.
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Asked if she would be disappointed to see Sirius razed, Ms Goward said: "I think it depends what it's replaced with.

"There's no doubt it's a part of a memory of Sydney from the last century that people probably do have some affection for," she said.

"But in the end what matters to me is that we are able to build a lot more social housing. This will certainly boost the number of properties that we can build."

In March 2014 Ms Goward announced the plans to sell Sirius and about 290 historic housing commission homes in Millers Point to fund construction of new social housing.

Ms Goward said the "legacy" of the Sirius sale would be "hundreds of brand new homes built for our most vulnerable".

"Improving their lives was always at the heart of this decision," she said. "I have met some of the tenants who have already moved into new homes across NSW and heard wonderful feedback."

The government says more than 700 new dwellings for social housing tenants have been built with money from the Millers Point sales and that 372 are under construction.

"For each Millers Point property sold we are building close to five new homes," Ms Goward said.

Planning minister Anthony Roberts said the Sirius site would be declared a state significant precinct, via an amendment to the policy put out for public feedback until February 16 next year.

"Any new building proposed for the site would need to meet design excellence standards for its architectural, urban and landscape plans so that we can ensure we are creating a great place that fits well with the surrounding area," he said.


Charities express alarm as long-time 'foe' Gary Johns is appointed as their regulator

Definitely one of Turnbull's better appointments

Charities and non-government organisations have expressed alarm at the Turnbull government's appointment of controversial former Labor MP Gary Johns as the head of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

The selection of Dr Johns, according to representatives of the sector, is "bizarre" and forms part of a wider effort to clamp down on criticism of government policy and the public advocacy work of charities, which the incoming commissioner has previously targeted.

But Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar has rejected the concerns, saying Dr Johns will merely apply the law as an "independent regulator" and downplaying the contentious views he has expressed about activism and broader social issues.

Dr Johns, who was an MP in the 1980s and 1990s and a minister in the Keating government, has criticised how registered charities lobby for their causes and receive government funding. He has also said poor women who have children – singling out those who are Aboriginal – are "cash cows" and argued people who rely on welfare payment should be forced to use contraception.

A former senior fellow at conservative think-tank the Institute of Public Affairs, Dr Johns has also been a critic of environmental groups who campaign against fossil fuels and charities who send money overseas and "give aid to Third World kleptomaniacs".

The appointment has shocked Community Council of Australia CEO David Crosbie, who said it was "bizarre" as Dr Johns was a campaigner against charities.

"It's a continuation, for us, of a theme that says the government wants to silence the voice of charities," Mr Crosbie said.

"Gary Johns has made numerous public statements that clearly indicate he is opposed to many charities and their work. Only a government committed to attacking the charities sector would put someone like Gary Johns in as head of the ACNC."

Mr Crosbie also said the writer and former MP was not qualified to lead 100 staff, administer complex laws and regulations, reduce red tape in the sector and build the community's trust and confidence in charities.

Responding to the concerns, Dr Johns said he would be "neither friend nor foe".

"My job is to apply the law and advocacy is a charitable purpose when taken in conjunction with other charitable purposes," Dr Johns said.

Mr Sukkar added: "I don't think we ever should require that we expunge views or comments that have been over a 30 or 40 year career. But as Dr Johns has pointed out, he is here to apply the law as it is contained in the [Charities Act] and the fact that he has a deep understanding of these issues in a more philosophical sense is a strength."

The government says his appointment is the result of a merit-based process that involved a selection panel drawn from the public service.

But Mark Purcell, CEO of the Australian Council for International Development, which represents NGOs in the aid sector, expressed concern that the government would now be looking to change the law in an upcoming review, empowering Dr Johns to launch a crackdown.

"We're concerned that the government's game plan is to have to the charity regulator tie up charitable critics of government policy between now and the next election," Mr Purcell said.

Earlier this week, the government also unveiled new donations laws that will ban foreign contributions to charities for social and environmental advocacy deemed to be political.

Mr Purcell said the appointment and foreign donations ban looked like efforts in "Putin's Russia and Modhi's India" to silence critics.

Labor charities and not-for-profits spokesman Andrew Leigh said the appointment was "like putting Ned Kelly in charge of bank security".

"Mr Johns has been a foe of charities and he has been one of the strongest critics of charities in Australia. He has attacked Indigenous charities, he has attacked mental health charities and he has attacked charities that attempt to engage in advocacy," Dr Leigh said.


China blasts Australia over Turnbull Government's foreign interference laws

China is right.  There is no evidence of Chinese interference.  The hysteria about it is just racist and is totally deplorable.  Antagonizing China is super dumb

China has reacted furiously to proposed foreign interference laws, accusing the Australian Government of making "irresponsible" comments which have hurt "political mutual trust".

The Turnbull Government on Tuesday unveiled the biggest overhaul of espionage and intelligence laws in decades amid growing concerns over international interference in Australia's democracy.

In a terse statement issued on Wednesday, the Chinese embassy in Canberra declared Beijing, "has no intention to interfere in Australia's internal affairs or exert influence on its political process through political donations".

"Some Australian politicians and government officials also made irresponsible remarks to the detriment of political mutual trust between China and Australia," an embassy spokesman said. "We categorically reject these allegations."

The embassy has also attacked what it described as "fabricated news stories" in recent media reporting of "so-called Chinese influence and infiltration in Australia".

"Those reports, which were made up out of thin air and filled with Cold War mentality and ideological bias, reflected a typical anti-China hysteria and paranoid," the spokesman said.

"The relevant reports not only made unjustifiable accusations against the Chinese Government, but also unscrupulously vilified the Chinese students as well as the Chinese community in Australia with racial prejudice, which in turn has tarnished Australia's reputation as a multicultural society."

Earlier, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing, Geng Shuang, gave a more mild response to the Turnbull Government's announcement.

"China always follows the principle of mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs when it comes to developing friendly cooperation with other countries, and this principle holds true for developing bilateral ties with Australia," Mr Geng said.


Furious Labor could dump David Feeney in Batman

Labor strategists have held discussions about replacing MP David Feeney and standing a new candidate if the High Court orders a byelection in the seat of Batman.

Fairfax Media has been told that Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is "absolutely furious" with Mr Feeney, who revealed on Tuesday that he was caught up in the citizenship fiasco sweeping Federal Parliament.

Clare Burns, the recently defeated Labor candidate in the state byelection for the seat of Northcote, which is within the seat of Batman, has been discussed as an alternative to Mr Feeney. 

Both Ms Burns and Mr Feeney have been contacted for comment on Wednesday.

Batman was one of the safest Labor seats in the country 10 years ago, but Mr Feeney barely scraped home in the 2016 election against Greens candidate Alex Bhathal.

Victorian Labor was fuming on Wednesday after news broke that Mr Feeny was likely to face the High Court over his eligibility to stand, after the right faction power broker filled in nomination forms in 2007, 2013 and 2016 stating that he had renounced his entitlement to British citizenship.

A Victorian Labor MP told Fairfax Media there was widespread anger in party ranks at Mr Feeney's predicament.

"When this started to blow up months ago he should have been looking for his documents," the MP said.

"It's up in the air at the moment, I'm not sure if he will be the candidate."

To add to the embattled MP's troubles, the Victorian Liberals are poised to vacate the field and leave Labor and the Greens to slug it out if a byelection is called.

The absence of a Liberal candidate, denying Mr Feeney the preferences that saved his seat in the last election, would seal his fate.

Labor operatives think Mr Feeney will be ruled ineligible by the High Court and have no confidence he could win a byelection against the Greens, who were given a massive confidence boost by the win in Northcote. 

His 2016 campaign veered off course after Fairfax Media revealed he had failed to declare ownership of a $2.3 million home in his electorate.

Mr Feeney is a sometime factional ally and good mate of his party leader Bill Shorten, the MP was best man at Mr Shorten's wedding, but the Opposition Leader stopped short of endorsing the former state Labor Party Secretary when asked in Canberra on Wednesday.

Mr Shorten was asked three times if he would endorse Mr Feeney to stand again as the Labor candidate for Batman.

The Opposition Leader stopped short of offering that endorsement, stating he "won't start predicting what the High Court will do" and that at this point, a byelection had not been ordered.

Fairfax Media has learned that Victorian Liberal Party director Nick Demiris has told colleagues he will recommend the Coalition do not stand a candidate in the seat if a by-election is ordered.

In the 2016 election, Liberal candidate George Souris attracted a 19.9 per cent primary vote and about 17 per cent of that vote flowed to Mr Feeney, allowing him to sneak over the line and win 51 per cent to 49 per cent over Mr  Bhathal.

Ms Bhathal has a high profile locally and will be the Greens' candidate again if the by-election is ordered.

Labor spent an estimated $250,000 to hang on to Batman in 2016 and it is likely it will have to spend even more if a by-election is ordered.


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, 2017

Patients waiting four times longer than private patients for some operations at public hospitals

Note that this report refers to two classes of patients accommodated in public hospitals -- public patients who are not charged and "private" patients who pay for better accommodation etc. (e.g. single rooms).  For the patient, the system offers a low-cost alternative to private hospitalization and for the hospital, the system brings in much needed revenue

Waiting times in private hospitals are another matter altogether and are often close to zero.  When I presented with kidney stones at about midday to a private hospital a few years ago, I was on the operating table only hours later.

So if they had any health insurance at all, "private" patients kept waiting would be likely to desert public hospitals for the private sector.  That is the reality behind the differences described below.  Even at their best, however, public hospitals impose long waits for treatment

The rules are simple. It doesn't matter whether you're a public patient or a health fund member, if you're a patient in a public hospital, treatment should be delivered based on clinical need not insurance status.

But the latest figures in the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's Private Health Insurance Use in Australian Hospitals report tell a very different, and worrying, story.

Public patients, for some elective operations such as a cataract extraction, are waiting four times longer than privately insured patients in public hospitals – 113 days compared to 29 days.

Waiting for a tonsillectomy? Public patients have to wait three times longer – 138 days compared to 49 days.

In violation of Medicare principles enshrined in Australian health care agreements, public patients had a median waiting time of 42 days for elective surgery in 2015-16, compared to 20 days for patients who had opted to use their health insurance to cover all or part of their admission.

Health Minister Greg Hunt holds "real concerns" that the practice of public hospitals' "harvesting" private health insurance is driving up the cost of insurance premiums and pushing out waiting lists.

And the situation is getting worse. The number of privately insured patients in public hospitals has doubled in the past decade to 872,000 admissions in 2015-16.

"Data also shows that private health insurance premiums would be around 2.5 per cent lower if this practice wasn't running rampant," a spokesman for Mr Hunt said.

Hospitals are in their rights to treat privately insured patients as a means to raise revenue. However, they shouldn't be giving a certain group of patients preferential treatment. They've long insisted that the money raised is ploughed back into services, benefiting everyone.

NSW, compared to all other states and territories, had the highest proportion of privately insured patients in public hospitals, 19.9 per cent, compared to the national average of 13.9 per cent.

"The government will continue to work with the states on how we can fix this problem because nobody wins with longer waiting times," Mr Hunt's spokesman said.


That African talent for destruction on display in Melbourne

Detroit is not alone.  Earlier versions of the report below said "70 youths, of African appearance" caused the damage.  Censors unknown have since deleted the African reference but it could at my time of writing still be found here.  Australia too has a "swamp" that is determined to keep us in the dark

Guests have trashed a million-dollar property on Melbourne's beachfront, causing upwards of $150,000 in one night.  The waterfront home in Altona, south-west Melbourne, was destroyed when about 70 youths rented out on Saturday.

Victoria Police were called to the four-bedroom home on three separate occasions on Saturday night as fights spilled out onto the street.

One neighbour described the house as a 'write-off'. 'The damage inside the house is incredible. There's not a room or place in the house that isn't destroyed, including the garage,' he told Seven News.

'It's absolutely senseless and useless vandalism, without any need,' another said.

Residents said they confronted the group early in the night, but retreated back inside their homes when pleas for order fell on deaf ears.

Photos showed massive holes in the walls, shattered glass and damaged furniture overturned and strewn throughout.

The rental, advertised as a 'beach holiday house' cost $255 per night. The house rules included 'quiet hours between 10pm and 8am'.

One neighbour claimed young men even threw rocks at passing cars on the street.

Another said the young party-goers were so out-of-control, the police 'didn't have a chance in the world'. 

Victoria Police said they were still searching for those responsible for the senseless vandalism.


'Why are a rapist's rights more important than a victim's?'

Senator Derryn Hinch has named a convicted rapist who is feared to be stalking female doctors after escaping a transitional facility dubbed the 'Village of the Damned.'

The 40-year-old sex offender slipped away from supervision at Corella Place, on the outskirts of Ararat in south-west Victoria in August.

Since then, he has repeatedly travelled to Melbourne demanding to see only female doctors at clinics since August, according to the Herald Sun.

After a number of female GPs were put in 'dangerous' situations, Victoria Police and the Australian Medical Association issued a warning – however they are unable to name him.

But on Tuesday night, Senator Hinch used his parliamentary privilege to reveal the sex offender's identity.

'Why are a rapist's rights more important than a victim's or possible victim?' he told the Senate.

'Although he has a history of raping, stalking and assaulting women, court orders – which I believe to be dangerous, irresponsible, court orders – prevent the AMA revealing his identity to medical centres so they can stop his appointments,' he added, according to the Herald Sun.

AMA Victoria issued warnings for the convicted criminal in August and again in November after 'several' GPs had appointments with the man.

Early on Tuesday, Senator Hinch told 3AW he would name the 40-year-old in the Senate and he has previously named other sex offenders using his parliamentary privilege.

Convicted paedophiles and sex offenders are sent there where they live freely but are monitored with GPS ankle bracelets

Parliamentary privilege means members of Parliament cannot be sued or prosecuted for anything they say in debate in the houses.  But for legal reasons, the man cannot be named or pictured by the media.

The man has a history of raping, stalking and assaulting women, the Herald Sun reports. He was convicted on two counts of rape in 2008 after sexually assaulting his housemate's partner. He was also convicted of assault in 1995 and has a background of violent crimes, stalking and breaching intervention orders.

Since August, has repeatedly travelled to Melbourne demanding to see only woman doctors at clinics since August.

Victoria Police and the Australian Medical Association are warning people after several female doctors found themselves in 'dangerous and unacceptable situations'.

AMA Victoria president Lorraine Baker said more needed to be done to protect doctors from the convicted rapist. 'The police have been informed, but appear limited in their powers to assist,' she said.

'During August and November 2017, AMA Victoria has been contacted by some of our GP members who work in Melbourne's northern suburbs.'

In August, AMA Victoria sent out a short alert to members warning them of the man's behaviour.

'The male usually rings and says: 'Dr X has seen me in the past and can I make another appointment to see her',' the warning read.

'This is a serious issue. Female GPs are being exposed to dangerous and unacceptable situations in their workplaces.'

Orders demand that the man is accompanied by a supervisor when seeing female doctors but it is alleged he showed up without a supervisor to at least one consultation.


Protesters arrested after clashes with police, fans at Milo Yiannopoulos' Sydney event

Seven protesters have been arrested after clashing with police and fans of controversial British commentator Milo Yiannopoulos at his secret Sydney event.

The protesters were later charged with offences including breach of the peace, assault police, hinder police, affray and failing to comply, a police spokeswoman said.

The function venue Le Montage in Lilyfield was heavily guarded with mounted police, officers on bicycles, riot squad, marine police and police vans barricading the event after several arrests were made at his Victorian event on Monday night.

The venue wasn't revealed until an hour before the event was scheduled to start and the surrounding streets were all closed off in the hours leading up to his scheduled speech.

The rally became violent as some protesters tried to break through police surrounding the venue and refused to listen to officers who ordered them to move off the street.

Tensions rose between police and protesters as they chanted insults at the officers and called the alt-right British speaker "Nazi scum".

Some Yiannopoulos supporters were also chased off by officers after brief conflicts with the protesters and anti-fascists.

Fans of the controversial commentator were heckled by protesters as they entered the venue, with police having to stand between the two groups.

Earlier on Tuesday, Yiannopoulos attended a Q&A session at Parliament House.

He was heckled as he entered the packed room of fans, journalists and the morbidly curious in Canberra, but there were no security issues.

The self-described "one-man wrecking crew" and "internet supervillain" was there at the invitation of Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm?.

Fights broke out at Yiannopoulos' event in Melbourne on Monday, with police forced to use pepper spray.

Mr Yiannopoulos's speeches on university campuses in the United States have sparked violent protests, and he was banned from Twitter last year amid a barrage of racist abuse directed at Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones.

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, 2017

'It's very difficult to find normal women who call themselves feminists': Milo Yiannopoulos

Right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos has launched a scathing attack on modern feminism during his speech at Parliament House.

The controversial figure labelled the movement 'vindictive' and 'man-hating' as he addressed MPs and journalists in the Mural Hall in Canberra on Tuesday.

'Feminists like to say that feminism is about equality for women - about giving women equal standing with men. They have it,' Yiannopoulos said.

'What feminism has become - since it has run out of things to complain about - is a mean, vindictive, sociopathic, man-hating movement.

'You'd be hard pressed to find a journalist who doesn't describe themselves as a feminist these days. But it's very difficult to find a normal woman who does.'

Yiannopoulos said Western women should be 'enormously proud' of the advances they had made, but said there is 'no place left for an organised feminist movement'.

'[Women] now have equal access to education, equal access to the workplace - they get paid the same for the same work.

'A female Harvard economist attempted to establish the existence of a wage gap last year and failed to do so.

'When you take in women's different educational choices, different preferences and the fact they have to have children... the wage gap narrows to almost nothing.'

Yiannopoulos argued there is a divide in how modern-day feminists describe themselves and the way they behave.  

'The horror of mainstream media companies employing people who tweet things like ''kill all white men'', ''I bathe in male tears'' and ''masculinity is so fragile''.

'People just don't want to be around that kind of thing... it has alienated an entire generation of women who realise the great victories that feminism fought for in previous generations have all been won.

'There is no place left for an organised feminist movement in society because, thankfully, we won.'   

Greens leader Richard Di Natale launched an unsuccessful bid to have the British-born commentator banned from making the Parliament House speech.

Senator Di Natale last week wrote to the Presiding Officers of the House of Representatives and the Senate to revoke his invitation from Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm.

He wrote that Yiannopoulos is 'an individual who has become notorious for his racist, sexist and abusive behaviour'.

Though the request was unsuccessful, he did manage to have a Senate motion passed condemning the 33-year-old author.

'Good on the Senate for passing the Greens motion condemning Milo Yiannopolous,' Senator Di Natale tweeted. 'His desperate attempts to seek attention through vile and hateful rhetoric has no place in the Australian Parliament.'

Meanwhile, a police officer was hit by a rock and two protesters were arrested for 'discharging a missile' during violent clashes outside Yiannopoulos' Melbourne event on Monday.

Scores of protesters from left-aligned Campaign Against Racism and Fascism and two right-wing groups, Reclaim Australia and the True Blue Crew, rallied with a heavy police presence attempting to maintain order.

Dozens of officers worked to keep the groups separated, but still had to use pepper spray.

Protesters could be heard chanting 'Milo is a w**ker' before the clash, which lasted nearly five hours, turned physical.

Yiannopoulos spoke of the ugly scenes on Tuesday morning.  'There was a lot of kerfuffle out front,' he told Alan Jones on 2GB Radio.

'It was not as the newspapers reported ''a clash between the far left and far right'' it was the left, showing up, being violent to stop freedom of speech.

'The left really showed us who they are. They attack the police, they attacked other people, they attacked journalists - they showed us they are petulant babies.'


Violent protests outside Milo Yiannopoulos' Melbourne show

The founder of the controversial Safe Schools program was among those involved in a violent protest outside Milo Yiannopoulos' event in Melbourne yesterday.

Roz Ward stood side-by-side with Campaign Against Racism and Fascism supporters and starred down fans of the right-wing firebrand outside his event on Monday night.

During her time as leader of the Safe Schools program, Ms Ward was criticised over her political views and hardline Marxist opinions. She was sacked in December 2016.

But she wasn't the only big name to be brought out by Yiannopoulos' event, with top figures from both sides of the online political divide putting themselves right in the midst of the mayhem.

Violent scenes erupted about 6pm on Monday as opposing crowds gathered at the intersection outside the Melbourne Pavilion, in the inner-city suburb of Kensington.

The police riot squad was forced to keep the opposing sides at bay as mayhem broke out, with rocks, street signs, punches and verbal abuse being hurled.

Scores of protesters from left-aligned Campaign Against Racism and Fascism rallied with Ms Ward against Yiannopoulos, who they called 'racist', 'sexist' and a 'w**ker'.

Among those standing opposite and praising the political commentator were right-wing figures Blair Cottrell, Avi Yemini, Neil Erikson and the Soldiers of Odin group.

Footage shared online showed convicted stalker Erikson wrestling with protesters as the mayhem broke out.

The 'Patriots Blue' leader, who abused Sam Dastyari at a pub last month, was joined by his co-founder Ricky Turner.

Turner was involved in a skirmish with an opposing protester before being covered in pepper spray by police and later arrested.

Regarded as one of the original leaders of the alt-right movement, Cottrell appeared to be keeping his distance as the violence broke out.

Prominent Sydney-based martial arts expert Avi Yemini also made the trip down to Melbourne in support of Yiannopoulos, broadcasting live online from the event.

Among those standing alongside Ms Ward was rocker Ezekiel Ox, with the left-wing supporter hanging up on Neil Mitchell in a phone interview on Tuesday morning.

During the confrontations a police officer was hit by a rock and two protesters were arrested for 'discharging a missile'.

Speaking of the ugly scenes on Tuesday morning, Yiannopoulos accused 'the left' of inciting the violence.


Wide focus for foreign donations ban

Organisations which have spent more than $100,000 on political purposes over the past four years will be governed by proposed electoral spending laws.

Australia is to ban donations from foreign bank accounts, non-citizens and foreign entities to all types of political campaigning - such as GetUp! - not just political parties.

Political parties, independent candidates, trade unions, interest groups, advocacy groups and others spend millions of dollars each year to influence voters.

However, the Turnbull government is concerned about the growing influence of third-party campaign groups, which in the 2015/16 financial year spent almost $40 million on political advertising, polling and campaigning - some of which came from foreign sources.

There are also concerns foreign donations could influence political party activity and policy.

Organisations which have spent more than $100,000 on political purposes over the past four years, or $50,000 or more where it is at least half their annual budget, will be captured under the proposed new laws and defined as "political campaigners".

Acting Special Minister of State Mathias Cormann said advocacy group GetUp!, which spent more than $10 million in the year leading up to the 2016 federal election (twice as much as the next biggest spender) would come under the new definition and would have to comply with the same transparency and disclosure requirements as political parties.

Senator Cormann said it was about shoring up the integrity of the electoral system

"To ensure that there is no inappropriate foreign interference in our democratic system, we are banning all foreign donations, not just for political parties, but also for candidates, Senate groups, and for political campaigning organisations," Senator Cormann told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

A GetUp! spokesman said over the organisation's 12-year history 99 per cent of its donations came from Australians. "Despite this, the far right is seemingly obsessed with mythical tides of foreign funding," he said.

The organisation received four foreign donations totalling $312,047 since 2013/14, with $95,633 spent during the 2013 election campaign, $99,985 on Great Barrier Reef campaigning and $116,000 on non-political activity.

Senator Cormann said the changes would not unduly impact on charities, he said. "Contrary to what has been asserted by some, this does not prevent charities from receiving and using the foreign donations for non-political activities in Australia," Senator Cormann said.

"Similarly, it does not prevent charities from engaging in political activities in Australia, as long as the political expenditure incurred to fund that political activity is raised from Australians."

Labor has yet to see the legislation but has previously expressed concern charities would be caught up in the new rules, despite the government's assertions.


Dual-citizenship debacle catches up with Shorten

Labor’s vaunted citizenship vetting process was under attack last night as Bill Shorten resisted moves to refer senior frontbencher Katy Gallagher to the High Court despite her admission to contesting last year’s election as a dual British citizen.

Senator Gallagher, manager of opposition business in the Senate, became the Opposition Leader’s first MP embroiled in the scandal, which is expected to capture more Labor politicians by the end of the week, following the publication of parliamentarians’ citizenship ­documents.

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce labelled ­Mr Shorten a “total and utter unrepentant hypocrite” over the dual-­citizenship crisis after yesterday’s confirmation Senator Gallagher was British until two months after nomin­ations closed for the 2016 election.

The New England MP-elect — who was kicked out of parliament by the High Court alongside his deputy Fiona Nash following revelations they were New Zealand and British citizens respectively — said Mr Shorten had been exposed over his earlier claims that no Labor MPs would be caught up in the citizenship scandal.

In August, Mr Shorten said Labor had “strict” vetting pro­cesses and there was “no cloud over any of our people”.

Mr Joyce, who won back his NSW seat on Saturday in a crucial by-election for the government, declared Senator Gallagher’s status was proof Mr Shorten was “shifty”.

“Watch this guy, he’s shifty, you can’t trust him,” Mr Joyce told The Australian after addressing the Nationals partyroom as an escorted visitor. “He wouldn’t let me speak in the parliament (while Mr Joyce was under a citizenship cloud) — it was a disgrace, I wasn’t allowed to speak.

“And Katy Gallagher has been speaking all the time. You total and utter unrepentant hypocrite.”

Documents tabled in the upper house yesterday showed that ­Senator Gallagher did not cease being a British citizen until ­August 16 last year.

Labor’s lower house MP Justine Keay and the Nick Xenophon Team’s Rebekha Sharkie are expected to provide documentation by 9am today showing they were British when they nominated for parliament despite taking steps to renounce, potentially setting up a round of by-elections early next year.

The government has singled out the MPs for referral and will target Labor’s Susan Lamb after she revealed last month her application to renounce British citizenship was refused by the UK Home Office because it could not determine her status from the documents provided.

Government sources said any referrals of lower or upper house MPs would likely happen on Thursday, the last scheduled sitting day of the year, but they did not confirm whether Senator Gallagher would be included.

The government ramped up pressure on Mr Shorten, saying Coalition MPs in doubt had ­resigned or been referred and he should follow suit with Senator Gallagher. The citizenship register for senators also revealed Labor’s Louise Pratt, Lisa Singh and Alex Gallacher, as well as Liberal Dean Smith and the Greens’ Nick McKim, had been dual citizens when they first nominated for parliament at previous elections. Only dual-citizenship cases relating to current Senate terms will be referred to the High Court.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan — who was deemed eligible to sit in parliament after the High Court said it was not satisfied he was an Italian citizen — launched an attack against Mr Shorten and Senator Gallagher, declaring the only body to finalise the matter was the High Court.

“Senator Gallagher’s position is much different than the other Labor MPs, Justine Keay and Susan Lamb,” Senator Canavan said. “Ms Gallagher was a senator when she became aware she was a British citizen and did nothing to tell the public or others about that position. She has sought to wilfully hide important details from the Australian public and then Bill Shorten is running a protection racket to try to stop her from going to the court just like others have who have been in similar ­situations.”

Mr Shorten has repeatedly talked up Labor’s vetting processes of candidates under section 44 of the Constitution, which prohibits dual citizens and entitlement to foreign citizenship, but last week he could not rule out his MPs being referred to the High Court.

Senator Gallagher began her renunciation process on April 20 but was informed on July 1, a day before the election, that the British government required more documents. Advice the senator obtained from immigration lawyer Adrian Berry, an expert in British nationality law, says “this request for specific forms of evidence was unnecessary” and she had already supplied what was needed when she sought renunciation in April.

A stamp of registration of her renunciation shows she ceased being British on August 16.

“I have acted, at all times, with the legal advice provided to me,” said Senator Gallagher, who was on leave yesterday.

“Based on all the advice I have available to me I do not believe that I should refer myself to the Court of Disputed Returns however ultimately that will be a matter for the Senate to determine.”

She argues she took “all reasonable steps” to renounce her British citizenship by beginning the renunciation process in April 2016 but constitutional lawyers are split over whether she could be disqualified by the High Court because this particular issue has not been tested.

Liberal frontbencher Arthur Sino­dinos sought to clarify his status after he referred to formal legal advice from the Greek government on his citizenship form but failed to provide documentation. He tweeted a letter from the Greek government confirming he was not a citizen, as well as providing The Australian with a copy.

Labor sources said ACT Liberal senator Zed Seselja was under a cloud after he said he did not gain citizenship from Croatia or the federal Republic of Yugoslavia but did not provide documentary proof. Senator Seselja said it was merely a distraction from Senator Gallagher’s status and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic had confirmed to Malcolm Turnbull in August that he was not a dual citizen.


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, 2017

WA rivers losing climate change battle

This is utter rubbish.  Rainfall in WA is notoriously variable, with many long dryish periods and some periods of flooding.  Rainfall has in fact been quite good in recent years, thus raising the average for recent years.  To compare that recent average with current falls tells us nothing.  Note below no comparison with the long term average

Rivers in the southwest region of WA are struggling to cope with the impact of climate change despite average winter rainfalls returning to the area.

A good dose of winter rainfall has failed to save rivers in WA's South West region from the impact of climate change, the state's water minister says.

Despite improvements in overall rainfall, most rivers recorded below average flows compared to the period from 1975 to 2016, according to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

It comes as winter this year was WA's hottest on record, with average winter rainfall the 11th-lowest since 1900 when records began.

Gingin Brook in Perth's north continues to be one of the areas most affected by climate change, Water Minister Dave Kelly said on Monday.

Unusually heavy rainfall in February, combined with last year's winter rains, has given a short-term boost to Perth's main groundwater supply, which is currently at levels not seen since 2009.

Known as the Gnangara groundwater system, it supplies around 40 per cent of Perth's drinking water each year.

Mr Kelly said the February rainfall was another example of climate change where more extreme and unusual weather is predicted.

"River flows are one of the best indicators for measuring the effects of reduced rainfall," he said.

"What this year shows is there is no escaping the impact of climate change, which is not only reducing flow to our water supply dams but to our rivers as well."


University boffins want to scrap sporting terms like 'ruckman' in favour of 'ruckperson' to tackle rigid gender stereotypes

University researchers have recommended terms like 'ruckman' and 'batsman'  be scrapped in favour of 'ruckperson' and 'batter' to help fight against gender stereotyping.

The push for 'gender-neutral' language in sport has been proposed to help reduce violence against women and follows research by Swinburne and Latrobe University researchers .

 A key recommendation of the research, according to the Herald Sun, was to employ gender-neutral language across the sporting sector at every level, in a bid to 'discredit rigid gender roles and stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity.'

Since a roundtable last week, there has been plenty of debate about the effectiveness of the move in dismantling gender stereotypes.

Dr Lauren Rosewarne told Neil Mitchell on 3AW on Monday morning that she thinks gender-neutral language is important, but we should also be focusing on non-sporting terms - like 'chairperson' instead of 'chairman' as well.

'I'm always a supporter of language that can be inclusive, [but] I don't think it's going to have the impact the researchers think – I think that's a very long bow to draw,' she explained.

'But I am a supporter of gender neutral language,' she added comparing the recommendation to the recent adoption of gender-neutral language in maths, science and technology.

'If we identify that we want everybody to feel included, then we have to use language that includes everybody - and that means women,' she said.  'It's not as difficult as you're making out.'

Dr Rosewarne, a senior lecturer in the School of Social and Political Sciences, writes, researches and comments on sexuality, gender, feminism, the media, pop culture, public policy and politics.

'I've never seen any research that domestic violence occurs because somebody is calling them a ruckman,' she elaborated.

'While I'm passionate about gender-neutral language because I like to be inclusive, I'm not sure in this example that it's the way to solve the problem.

She said that better terms to work on would be 'spokesperson' and 'chairperson'  - 'they are examples of words that make assumptions that men are in a position of power always.'

The project was initially commissioned by the Andrews Government's Office of Prevention and Women's Equality.

It is being spearheaded by Swinburne's Dr Emma Sherry, who believes sport plays a significant role in reducing violence against women and promoting gender equality.

The first stage of was to convene a panel of experts in sport and active recreation, women's equality, and prevention of violence for the round table.

An in-depth summary of the findings will be presented to the Office of Prevention and Women's Equality later this month, according to Swinburne University, and will be put into effect in 2018.


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he's 'confident' he will remain Liberal leader

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he has "every confidence" his leadership will survive to the next federal election as the government sheds "barnacles" and welcomes back Barnaby.

Mr Turnbull is trumpeting Barnaby Joyce's thumping victory in Saturday's New England byelection as evidence there is still strong public support for the Coalition, despite its recent woes.

Mr Joyce is expected to return to Canberra this week after securing a massive 64 per cent of the primary vote in the byelection, which was ordered after the High Court found he was a dual citizen.

Mr Turnbull admitted the government had faced some "tough issues" in 2017 but said Saturday's result was a "big vote of confidence" in the government. "The swing to Barnaby was higher than the Labor Party's primary vote. So it was a very emphatic swing," he told Sky News.

The Prime Minister says he has a big agenda for 2018 - including personal income tax cuts - as he seeks to put the divisive debates over same-sex marriage and the banks, not to mention the citizenship crisis, behind him.

"Step by step we're getting barnacles off the boat, we're making real changes that are resulting in real jobs and real investment," he said.

"I have every confidence that I will lead the Coalition to the next election in 2019 and we will win it. Because we are putting in place the policies that deliver for the Australian people."

Mr Joyce has vowed to reinstate discipline in his party's ranks when he returns to Canberra but also suggested there is "jealousy" among some Liberal colleagues over the Nationals' influence over recent policy debates.

Mr Joyce said the Nationals "stand up for themselves" and would continue to drive "the day-to-day iterations within the policy debate which we put our fingerprints all over".

Mr Joyce said it wasn't clear when he would resume his seat in Parliament but he was "not in a big hurry". Party sources say it could be as soon as this Wednesday.

"I just want to take a day off. It's a hectic time, a campaign. But no doubt people want me down there as quickly as possible," he said.

He said he'd already started helping stitch Coalition relations back together, having most of his Nationals team in Tamworth on Saturday night to celebrate his victory alongside Mr Turnbull.

The Prime Minister has been battling rebellion from a number of Nationals MPs in Mr Joyce's absence, particularly over the banking royal commission. Mr Turnbull announced a royal commission on Thursday after it become clear the rebels had the numbers in Parliament to set up an inquiry without the executive's support.

"There are 226 individuals and each of them will from time-to-time express views that are not necessarily ideal from their leaders point of view. But that's democracy," Mr Turnbull said.

"Having Barnaby back as leader is obviously very important," he said. "I am very confident we will be able to see a disciplined approach to teamwork within the coalition."

In a lengthy interview on Sunday morning, Mr Turnbull also promised that "there will be no preference deals with One Nation at the next federal election, full stop."

Mr Joyce reiterated his call for a referendum on changes to Section 44 of the Constitution dealing with citizenship - suggesting a model in which someone born in Australia could sit in Parliament unless they had actively sought a second citizenship. He said the current situation was "patently absurd".


Penalty rate changes to go ahead

LABOR’S push to reverse cuts to Sunday penalty rates appears to be doomed after Nationals MP George Christensen rebuffed an Opposition challenge to cross the floor.

A bill reversing the industrial umpire’s decision cleared the Senate on Monday. The Greens and several crossbench senators supported Labor’s amendments to legislation scrapping four-yearly reviews of modern awards.

Labor frontbencher Doug Cameron said there was “no excuse” for Mr Christensen to abandon his support for penalty rates.

In July, the maverick Queensland MP introduced a private bill to wind back the Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut penalty rates for hospitality, retail, pharmacy and fast-food workers.

But Mr Christensen won’t back Labor’s amendments when the legislation enters the lower house. “Amendment from the Senate does not guarantee no back-pay costs for small business. I can’t just go on Dougie Cameron’s say so,” Mr Christensen tweeted on Monday.

“As such, I can’t support the amendment as it is.” Labor’s move — labelled a stunt by Employment Minister Michaelia Cash — forced the government in the upper house to oppose its own bill.

With Mr Christensen’s support, the government has the numbers in the lower house to defeat the penalty rates reversal.

Senator Cameron says 700,000 workers have been affected by the commission’s decision since it took effect on July 1. “This is exactly why people see the coalition as not being fit for government,” Senator Cameron said.

“They do not support penalty rates for workers. They want to attack working people in this country every opportunity they get.” Senator Cash accused Labor of holding otherwise non-controversial legislation hostage to another stunt on penalty rates.

“They would put political point-scoring ahead of the interests of employers, unions and everyday workers,” Senator Cash said.

She says the original bill, which also allows the Fair Work Commission to overlook minor and technical errors when approving industrial agreements, made common-sense changes.

Mr Christensen has broken ranks with the government this year over establishing a banking royal commission and restoring penalty rates.

He has admitted he was the anonymous MP last week threatening to quit the party if Malcolm Turnbull continued as prime minister.


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, 2017

PM wants changes to homosexual marriage bill

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has endorsed amendments to the same-sex marriage bill to ensure religious freedoms for celebrants and charities are protected.

Malcolm Turnbull wants to make sure celebrants don't have to preside over same-sex weddings and religious organisations don't lose charity status if they believe marriage should only be between men and women.

The prime minister will support changes to same-sex marriage legislation - similar to those moved unsuccessfully by Attorney-General George Brandis - for these religious protections when the bill comes before the lower house this week.

But he acknowledges the legislation put up by Liberal senator Dean Smith, which has passed the Senate, doesn't have anything in it that would force celebrants to oversee weddings against their will or strip charities of their legal status.

"A lot of the amendments we're talking about are really providing assurance that things that are unintended consequences are not going to occur," Mr Turnbull told Sky News on Sunday.  "(We should) make it clear there is nothing in the bill that prevents or inhibits or hinders anyone from expressing their views about what is the ... morally right form of marriage."

Manager of Opposition Business Tony Burke said on Sunday the bill should be moved through the House of Representatives this week in the same form it passed in the Senate.

"It would be absurd if we end up with the Senate approving marriage equality in one form, the House of Representatives approving marriage equality in a different form, and we will still not get the change through," he said.

He told reporters in Sydney his own view had long been that any amendments to the bill should be dealt with in the Senate rather than the House of Representatives.

The same-sex marriage bill passed the Senate 43-12 last Wednesday. Debate on it is expected to dominate the lower house's program for the entire next sitting week, the final one scheduled for the year.


Arrow Energy gas deal to generate 1000 new jobs

TWO Queensland natural gas companies have stitched together a $30 billion gas deal that will generate more than 1000 jobs in the Surat Basin.

The deal between Shell and Arrow Energy will mean the untapped gas reserves in the Surat Basin owned by Arrow will flow through Shell’s QGC LNG project, and will be sold into the export and domestic market from 2020.

It means the end of any ­ambition for Arrow to build its own LNG project and will allow QGC to sell some of the gas to the two other LNG companies, GLNG and APLNG. But it will reignite tensions with farmers in the Cecil Plains area, near Dalby, who have been fighting off CSG companies for years.

Basin Sustainability Alliance chairman Lee McNicholl said there were concerns the project would not mean cheaper gas for Queenslanders, but would further threaten agriculture’s priceless Great Artesian Basin water source.

“Most of the gas will be exported to the highest bidder, while landholders relying on the Hutton’s aquifer, which underlies the Taroom CSG zone, could see this vital resource permanently damaged,” he said.

He said Shell and Arrow had to disclose how much fracking would be done, and Origin’s APLNG had advised BSA members that it could frack up to 40 per cent of wells in its Taroom CSG zones.

The development will take place over 27 years and is likely to be done in a series of staged developments, each one creating about 800 construction jobs. About 200 operational jobs will be created.

It comes just days after QGC turned on its $1.7 billion Charlie gas project in the Surat. The deal will be a significant benefit to Queensland, but is unlikely to resolve the immediate gas shortage.

EnergyQuest’s Graeme Bethune said the deal represented about 12 per cent of Queensland’s known gas reserves. He said the collaboration was a good way forward. Shell owns 50 per cent of Arrow and is the parent company of QGC.

Shell chairwoman Zoe Yujnovich said gas from Arrow would provide more gas to Australian customers. “When more gas is developed, everyone wins. Australians win again because there is more gas to heat our homes and provide energy to our factories, and exporters win because they have more gas to feed their job-creating export projects.”


Club owner removes pizza ad after complaints to the Advertising Standards Bureau

The dishy club owner

A STRIP club owner has been forced to remove an advertisement from one of Brisbane’s busiest train stations after the advertising watchdog found it debased women by comparing pizzas to breasts.

Owner of The Grosvenor topless bar and strip club Jasmine Robson was stunned by the decision from the Advertising Standards Bureau who received complaints about the ad.

The poster shows two pizzas with pepperoni clustered in their centres under the words: “Pizzas or Jugs? Grab both for just $25”.

Ms Robson said the ads were displayed in Central Station recently, but were due to be removed yesterday following the ASB’s finding.

“Now I think this is political correctness/censorship gone absolutely mad,” she said.

“I am shocked that the ASB would determine that this ad is exploitative or demeaning to women in any way, especially considering there isn’t even a woman on the billboard.”

In their ruling, the ASB noted the image used in the ad was of a picture of pizzas with “strategically placed pepperoni for the purpose of creating the impression of breasts with pronounced nipples”.

“The Board noted the placement of the pizzas side by side was an element also adding to the suggestion that the pizzas were a depiction of breasts,” they found.

“The Board considered the use of the term pizzas or jugs and noted that the colloquial definition for jugs can include breasts.

The ASB found that the representation of womens’ breasts as pizzas did reduce women to an object which was exploitative by way of purposefully debasing women.


Australia is the new frontier for battery minerals

FORGET the "resource curse". Australia is blessed with the stuff. For more than a quarter of a century it has not had a recession, thanks largely to Chinese demand for its raw materials. It is only a few years since the end of one such China-led boom, in base metals such as iron ore. A new speculative flurry has started in minerals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel to feed another China-related craze-making batteries for electric vehicles (EVs).

Ken Brinsden, an Australian mining engineer, says he pinches himself over these remarkable turns of fortune. Until 2015 he was a boss at Atlas Iron, which shipped low-grade iron ore to China. In 2011, at the height of the China-led supercycle, it had a valuation of A$3.5bn ($3.8bn). This has now shrunk to A$167m. But he now heads Pilbara Minerals, whose Pilgangoora lithium mine in the outback of Western Australia lies so close to two of Atlas's former iron-ore mines that he can see them from the top of the dusty-red escarpment.

Since 2015 Pilbara Minerals' market capitalisation has jumped from A$25m to A$1.5bn, as the soaring price of battery-grade lithium has made the economics of producing it from Australia's spodumene, or "hard rock" reserves, more attractive. Great Wall Motor, a Chinese carmaker, recently bought a small stake in the firm and agreed to take a large share of its spodumene concentrate. Altura Mining, another favourite of speculative investors, is also developing a lithium mine in Pilgangoora, with much of its production already earmarked for China.

Clean TeQ, whose big shareholders are Robert Friedland, an American-Canadian billionaire, and Pengxin International Mining, a Chinese firm, is also on a battery-powered roll (see chart). Its value has soared by 240% this year to A$838m, based on its plans to produce nickel and cobalt sulphates, both key raw materials (along with lithium) for lithium-ion battery cathodes.

In most of the world cobalt is extracted as a by-product of copper and nickel, but it has recently become more valuable than nickel because of its scarcity. Such is the anticipated demand for it in the lithium-ion battery industry that shortages are expected within a few years. Clean TeQ says that at today's prices of $27 a pound (compared with $10 a pound in 2016) cobalt would be a bigger source of revenue from its mine in New South Wales than nickel.

In each case, the companies argue that they offer a more secure source of raw materials for Chinese battery manufacturers than foreign competitors. First, consider lithium. Although the raw material can be produced more cheaply from brine in South America, political, business and legal risks are lower in Australia. Moreover, Mr Brinsden argues that spodumene can be processed directly into lithium hydroxide, which is preferred by battery-makers to the lithium carbonate that comes from lithium chloride in brine.

Phil Thick, boss of Tianqi Lithium Australia, the majority-owner of Greenbushes, a lithium mine in Western Australia that is the world's largest, foresees no shortage of lithium itself-especially metal that is lower grade than that mined from Greenbushes. But he says there is a lack of processing capacity, so Tianqi, which is Chinese-owned, and its American partner, Albermarle, have plans to lift production of lithium hydroxide in Western Australia for export to China.

As for cobalt, Clean TeQ says that its production will have none of the ethical issues associated with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), from where 60% of today's supply comes. DRC cobalt is partly produced by "artisanal" miners that often use children with pickaxes to produce the metal. (This week it emerged that the London Metal Exchange has launched an inquiry into whether cobalt mined with child labour is trading on its exchange.) Ben Stockdale, the mining firm's chief financial officer, quips that the biggest risk with Clean TeQ is that its miners "die of boredom"-the mine is on flat, featureless land.

In fact, the biggest risk for all these projects is price, which in turn hinges on whether car firms make good on their plans for a big increase in investment in electric vehicles. That is still an open question. Though Mr Brinsden is convinced China will "surprise the world" with its role in the battery revolution, he also says Chinese carmakers such as Great Wall and Geely see hybrid vehicles as a stepping stone towards EVs, implying that full electrification will still take time to develop.

Another risk is that mining giants such as Rio Tinto will muscle in. Rio was recently rumoured to be contemplating a bid for SQM, Chile's biggest lithium producer, which the rest of the lithium brigade is uneasy about. Mr Thick, though, is confident: "It's a tough business. Even Rio with its huge chequebook won't find it easy."


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

3 December, 2017

NSW National party pushes for new coal-fired power station

NSW Nationals will push Premier Gladys Berejiklian to build a coal-fired power station in the Hunter region using proceeds from the $2.6 billion sale of the Land and Property Information service.

Ms Berejiklian announced on Friday that $2.3bn would be spent on Sydney stadiums — using the proceeds from the sale of the LPI service — but under the agreement on asset sales with the ­Nationals, one-third of sale proceeds needs to be spent in the bush.

The Restart NSW fund, topped up with money from the sale of the state’s electricity and port businesses, as well as NSW government windfall gains, is distributed two-thirds to the city and one-third to the bush. Deputy Premier John Barilaro is said to have raised the issue of a potential publicly funded coal-fired power station or a public-private partnership at a cabinet meeting this month.

Energy Minister Don Harwin and other Liberals are said to have spoken against the proposal.

At that meeting, the Premier pledged to hold a cabinet meeting specifically to address energy to discuss the proposal.

“The Nats want our share of the LPI funding to go to a coal-fired power station,” a senior NSW ­Nationals source said.

The push for a coal-fired power station follows a Queensland election that saw One Nation take conservative votes from the Liberal and National parties, and also follows two NSW state by-elections, in Cootamundra and Murray, in October at which the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers ran the Nationals close.

Queensland LNP leader Tim Nicholls flagged in September that a government led by him would consider diverting taxpayer funds from renewable energy into a new, privately owned coal-fired power station.

Conservative parties such as the Shooters promise to be a challenge for the Nationals in the 2019 NSW election. One Nation will be a challenge if it is registered in NSW by March next year.

The idea would be to build at the Liddell power station site — with the station due to reach the end of its life in 2022 — or another location in the seat of Upper Hunter. Nationals MP Michael Johnsen holds Upper Hunter by 2.2 per cent and is under threat from ­either Labor or the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party.

“From my perspective, I think we should be building two or three of them (coal-fired power stations) to increase capacity, increase supply and reduce prices,” Mr Johnsen said yesterday.

“I’m going to keep advocating for it and ‘Barra’ (Mr Barilaro) is as well. It would make sense to put a new station where existing infrastructure is. There may be some opposition (by the Liberals); not necessarily principled opposition but policy opposition ... the state doesn’t own power stations but my comment to that is, so what?”

In an interview with The Australian during the Murray by-election campaign, Mr Barilaro confirmed he had discussed with Ms Berejiklian the NSW government building of a clean coal-fired power station rather than wait for private sector interest.

“I hope the federal government — or at a state level — someone builds a clean-coal power station and gives confidence to the sector that clean coal is palatable, that gas is palatable,” Mr Barilaro said at the time.

“Why can’t the government build it? We could always onsell it later but we need to disrupt the energy sector and I think Australian people and Australian industry are jack of governments not showing leadership.” The Premier declined to comment last night.


Phonics check is crucial in early years education

A key policy proposal of the CIS’s FIVEfromFIVE literacy project is a Year 1 Phonics Check. The rationale for the Check is that phonics (sounding out words) is an essential skill for proficient reading, and there is good reason to believe that many teachers are not teaching phonics well. A simple assessment administered towards the end of Year One — a crucial point in learning to read — would show which students have not acquired this skill and are therefore likely to struggle with reading throughout their schooling.

The Year One Phonics Check has been implemented in all primary schools in England since 2012 and has been shown to be an effective tool for identifying struggling readers and for guiding teaching and intervention. There has also been an improvement in reading comprehension in later years of school since the Phonics Check was introduced.

Despite this, there has been a concerted campaign against the Phonics Check in Australia from teachers unions and professional associations, who claim it is unnecessary and even ‘harmful’. Some opponents appear to object to the Check on the basis that they don’t like the people who are promoting it. The most likely reason they are opposing the Check is that they are worried about what the results might show.

Those who claim the Phonics Check is unnecessary state that teachers already assess phonics in the early years, and that the Check is an affront to teachers’ professionalism. If teachers are already assessing phonics, they have nothing to fear from the Check. However a review by an expert advisory panel appointed by the Australian government found that there is no consistent systemic assessment of phonics in Year 1 in Australian schools.

Those who claim the Phonics Check is harmful typically point to the inclusion of pseudo or nonsense words in the Check, claiming that teaching pseudo words is pointless. This is correct but misleading — the Phonics Check does not encourage the teaching of nonsense words but using them for assessment is a valid and accurate way of determining phonic knowledge because it reduces the possibility the child will be reading the word using their sight word memory.

There is however, strong support for the Year 1 Phonics Check from many academics, researchers, principals, teachers and parents. An online petition has garnered more than 3000 signatures and social media is alight with debate. The FIVEfromFIVE video explainer has had almost 13,000 views.

The Year 1 Phonics Check proposal will be discussed by education ministers at the Education Council meeting next Friday. The arguments for the Check are clear and compelling. At the very least, it is worth doing a national trial. Any objections to such a proposal can only be on political rather than educational grounds, and that would be a very disappointing result indeed.


Policy Shock – Greens are forcing Australia back to Mining and Farming

Once upon a time Australia was attractive to processing, refining and manufacturing industries using our abundant mineral and food resources, our reliable low-cost coal-fired electricity and a workforce trained in technical skills.

No longer.

Australia used to have 11 oil refineries, spread around the country. There are just 4 left, all over fifty years old, and all in danger of closing down. Green barriers to oil exploration have forced most of them to rely on costly imported crude oil.

We buy our jet fuel from North Asia and have just 19 days supply of aviation fuel in the country. Australia’s diesel supplies sometimes fall to just 13 days of consumption.

Now, for the first time in at least 60 years Australia no longer produces motor vehicles.

China and India have about 430 coal power plants under construction but Australia has not built a single coal-fired power station for seven years - some politicians even rejoice when they manage to close and demolish one.

Brisbane’s new trains are being made in India, Victa mowers are made in China and most coastal shipping died decades ago. Steel works and refineries producing aluminium, copper and zinc are under stress. All these industries are being pushed overseas by costly unreliable electricity and other government barriers and burdens.

Red-green policies being pushed by all major parties are making Australia more dependent on bolted-down industries such as mining and farming that can’t be sent overseas because their basic resources are here. And green opposition to nuclear power increases Aussie reliance on coal.

A century ago Australians relied on wool, wheat, gold, silver, copper, lead-zinc, butter, beef and timber – all products of bolted-down industries.

Red-green policies are pushing us back to those days. Politicians need to remember Newton’s Law of Bureaucracy – whenever the government tries to use the force of law to achieve economic goals the long term results will be equal and opposite to those intended.

So in the long run, red-green energy and environmental policies will make us more dependent on the bolted-down industries they now attack – mining, farming, forestry and fishing.


TV host slammed over ‘anti-Semitic’ comment

Old-fashioned humour is dangerous these days

BROADCASTER Eddie McGuire has been accused of making anti-Semitic comments during an episode of Millionaire Hot Seat.

The Anti-Defamation Commission confirmed to the Herald Sun it received several complaints regarding an exchange between the Collingwood President and a contestant this week.

During the show Serena Greenberg said she hoped to win $20,000 to help her parents pay for a trip overseas to visit their grandchildren.

“Your Dad’s not Jewish, is he?’’ McGuire asked.

She replied: “Yes.’’

McGuire responded: “So you have a Jewish father and a Scottish mother ... I reckon it would have been hard getting pocket money from them!”

Anti-Defamation Commission Chair Dr Dvir Abramovich said the comments were disappointing and he was surprised they made it to air.

“While we appreciate the value of humour and give entertainers a lot of leeway, public figures need to show sensitivity and be careful not to traffic in age-old hurtful and demeaning stereotypes, especially those commonly associated with anti-Semitic myths,’’ he told the Herald Sun.

McGuire told the paper it was meant to be a joke and he himself was Scottish. “It was about Scottish people, of which I am one,’’ he said. “It was a joke aimed at myself and my family. We had a laugh, we moved on.’’


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, 2017

Strange justice: Mother who admitted killing her own baby walks free

When a father kills a child he usually and rightly receives about twenty years in prison. Whether he has depression of not is irrelevant. But the maximum to which a woman can be sentenced for infanticide in Victoria is 5 years in prison. And she seldom receives that.

She might receive a year or two but more often walks free from court with an order to have counselling or to do some community work such as a few hours a week in a local op-shop. This week – along with white ribbon day – we had yet another woman walk free from court after deliberately killing her child.

There are plenty such cases of infants being killed – drowned, suffocated, stabbed with scissors, brains dashed out on door frame...  by their mothers and she not serving prison time or perhaps just a little.

Having one law for men and a lenient law for women is not equality. It is an example of feminists desire for rights without accountability

A MOTHER who admitted suffocating her 15-month-old daughter before throwing her body into a suburban Melbourne creek will be released from custody.

Sofina Nikat, 24, was on Thursday sentenced to a 12-month community correction order after earlier pleading guilty to infanticide over the April 2016 death of her daughter Sanaya Sahib.

“In the unusual circumstances you have already served 529 days of pre-sentence custody,” Victorian Supreme Court Justice Lex Lasry said.

Nikat served 529 days of pre-sentence detention after being charged over Sanaya’s death, before she was released on bail in September.

The maximum prison sentence for infanticide in Victoria is five years. Prosecutors had pushed for a jail term, but her lawyers said a non-custodial community corrections order was appropriate given Nikat’s mental state.

Victorian Supreme Court Justice Lex Lasry said he accepted evidence from a psychiatrist that Nikat was depressed when she suffocated Sanaya and threw her body into Darebin Creek. “Since I accept the (psychiatric) conclusions, I will sentence you on that basis,” he said.

Nikat was originally charged with murder but this was downgraded because of her depressive disorder.

On April 9, 2016 she told police a barefoot man of African appearance who smelled of alcohol had snatched Sanaya from her pram while they were at a Heidelberg West park.

The Fijian-born woman later admitted she took the infant to the park and played with her before suffocating Sanaya until she stopped moving. A family who joined the public search found Sanaya’s body in Darebin Creek, and Nikat admitted what she did three days after the killing.

“It is a tragedy for you and everyone connected with your family,” Justice Lasry said. “I accept that the way you acted after you had killed Sanaya was consistent with your irrational mental state.”

Outside court, Sanaya’s paternal family said the sentence was unfair. “Our justice system has really failed us today. We have not had justice for her death,” Zahraa Sahib told reporters.
“We were expecting something, and I don’t think it’s fair that we’ve lost a little girl.”


University dropout rate is telling us something

The disappointing news from the Federal Government on university completion rates and employment outcomes should inspire reflection. Is university a wrong path for many?  Youth career coach Steve Shepherd comments:

“These figures clearly highlight a systemic problem with the way we educate young people on their career path. We’ve created a herd mentality, where high schools, parents and peer pressure are pushing young people towards university, saying it’s the only way to get a good career, earn good money and get ahead.”

“As such, is it the University’s fault that so many young people end up dropping out? Are we encouraging too many young people to go to university, when it doesn’t really suit their strengths? Is this creating a problem where young people pick any degree to say they’ve been to university, without thinking about the impact it will have on their careers?”

According to research from TwoPointZero, nearly a quarter (24%) of young people are unsure of which career direction to take, with over half (55%) coming to regret their electives.

Should we be blaming universities?
“In my mind, the problem starts before university. Applications for university are higher than ever but you can’t tell me everyone wants to go to university or is suited to it? In reality, that’s not really the way it should work.”

“Many of the most in demand jobs at the moment, don’t require a degree. So why all the pressure to go to university? There needs to be a better balance and we need to start educating young people on their career paths much earlier. This would help prevent people from taking a degree for the sake of it and better align their education with their chosen career path, making it more relevant to the employment market.”

“And, if they still want to go to university, we need to have safety nets in place to intervene if they are likely to drop out. In our experience, one small tweak to the subjects they take or changing course can prevent them from dropping out and see them succeed.”

Performance funding a distraction from the real issue
“Performance funding is not the answer. It doesn’t actually address the issue, just distracts from it and could lead to higher education being out of reach for many young people today.”

“We need to better fund career education in schools, as most schools currently spend less than a cup of coffee per student per year on careers advice. We need to provide more guidance to parents to help them understand the employment market isn’t the same as when they left school. And, we need to stop thinking going to university is the be all and end all.”

“Everyone is different. Everyone likes different things. Everyone has different strengths. It is time we accept that and better align our educational institutions to encourage diversity and create better career paths for our young people.”

“Otherwise, we’ll continue to see the youth unemployment rate rise. Continue to see an increase in drop-outs and more young people in debt. And, will end up creating a huge problem for the Australian economy, as we will not have a strong workforce to support our country moving forwards.”

Via email

Victoria has become the first Australian state to allow euthanasia

THE Victorian State Parliament passed the government’s “voluntary assisted dying” laws on Wednesday morning, meaning the state will become the first in Australia to allow euthanasia.

After more than 100 hours of tense debate, the bill passed through the lower house just before midday.

Once it receives Royal Assent —considered a procedural formality — it will become law. The laws will come into force in 2019.

A second attempt to curb Victoria’s controversial Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill earlier failed. The attempt was brought on by opponent and lower house Liberal MP Robert Clark. It lost 46-37 votes just before question time on Wednesday.

But when the matter resumed late on Tuesday afternoon for what was expected to be a purely administrative exercise, Mr Clark issued an amendment for debate to “be deferred indefinitely”.

It was the second unsuccessful attempt to do so, after the first was proposed by deputy premier and euthanasia opponent James Merlino when the matter was previously in the lower house.


Want a nuclear reactor in your backyard? Step this way

Volunteer communities are being sought for Australia’s first small nuclear reactors, which developers hope could be in operation by 2030.

SMR Nuclear Technology has set a timeline for the development of Australia’s nuclear power ­industry, which would require a site to be identified within three years. Building nuclear power stations in Australia would require changes to state and federal laws and overcoming deep community objections. SMR director Robert Pritchard said the company had adopted an aggressive approach to nuclear development in ­Australia based on small reactors.

“We now realise that politicians will follow the community view,” Mr Pritchard said. “We have to get out and spend a year getting the community on side.” He said interest had been widespread.

In a submission to the Energy Security Board, Sydney-based SMR said small modular reactors had become a game-changer. “It would be imprudent not to factor SMR nuclear generation into Australia’s energy security plan at this time,” SMR said.

The company claims nuclear offers the prospect of safe, affordable energy free of greenhouse gas emissions. “Nuclear may be the only reliable, low-emissions source of electricity generation technology that is suitable for you, unless your area has an unlimited supply of water for hydro electric,” the SMR pitch says.

“The construction of any ­nuclear power plant is currently prohibited by Australian law but there is a growing realisation that maintaining the reliability and ­affordability of our electricity ­supply whilst lowering emissions will require all low-emissions technologies to be considered.”

SMR said small modular reactors were compatible with renewables, factory built and affordable.

It said despite the billions of dollars spent on renewables, Australia had not yet been successful in significantly reducing emissions from electricity generation.

The company said the most ­recent cost analysis by the UK ­Energy Options Network showed the levelled cost of electricity for nuclear was an average of $US60/MWh and as low as $US36/MWh. It said at the lowest level, new nuclear plants could be the lowest-cost generation available.

The construction and operation of a nuclear power plant in Australia is prohibited by two commonwealth acts: similar prohibitions exist in state law. SMR said these prohibitions were put in place at a time when there was no real appreciation of the contribution that modern, safe nuclear power plants could make to ­energy security, affordability and emissions reduction.


Gillard mocked by Yiannopoulos

Right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos has branded former prime minister Julia Gillard "a prick" as he prepares to embark on his speaking tour of Australia.

The self-described "one man wrecking crew" and "internet supervillian" hurled the insult - along with plenty of others towards feminists and those on the left-wing of politics - during his first news conference on Australian shores on Wednesday.

After attacking several Australian journalists for cancelling interviews with him, he admitted he was a fan of former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott but not of Australia's first female prime minister.

"I liked that guy Tony Abbott, I thought he was cool because he was ballsy ... he was up against Julia Gillard who seemed like a complete prick," Yiannopoulos told reporters.

Yiannopoulos added that his experience of Australia was more cultural than political, saying he was a fan of the satirical TV comedy Kath and Kim and "what's his name who does Dame Edna....Barry Humphries".

But he still weighed into plenty of political issues, calling on federal politicians debating same-sex marriage laws not to let them pass because there is no constitutional protection for freedom of religious expression and conscience like in the US.

"And I say that as a married gay person," he said.

He also praised Australia's immigration system, described section 18 of the Racial Discrimination Act as "the worst law", and urged conservative politicians to realise they "have the high moral ground" and should use it to highlight free speech.

Yiannopoulos has sold 10,000 tickets for his speaking tour of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, the Gold Coast and Adelaide.

The venues are being kept secret until 24 hours before he appears for the two-hour shows, with Yiannopoulos claiming if he reveals the locations journalists will "invent" stories about protests.

One Sydney venue has already been switched, with organisers claiming it was because of security and access issues.

The Greens have urged the Senate president to stop Yiannopoulos addressing politicians at parliament house in Canberra next week given his controversial views on women, transgender people and Muslims, as well as his links to neo-Nazis.

Yiannopoulos said he was "flattered" by the attempt to have him banned from parliament, but accused the Greens of "casting out the right of free speech".

"I just try to describe the world as I see it...wrapped up in good jokes," he said.

His speeches on university campuses in the US have sparked violent protests, and he was banned from Twitter last year amid a barrage of racist abuse directed at Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones.

The British-born, US-based commentator also lost a book deal after a video emerged in February in which he appeared to suggest it was ok for older men to sleep with young teenage boys.

Yiannopoulos branded Twitter's decision cowardly, and initially said his comments about same-sex relationships between men and boys were taken out of context before eventually issuing an apology.


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


Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Most academics are lockstep Leftists so readers do sometimes doubt that I have the qualifications mentioned above. Photocopies of my academic and military certificates are however all viewable here

For overseas readers: The "ALP" is the Australian Labor Party -- Australia's major Leftist party. The "Liberal" party is Australia's major conservative political party.

In most Australian States there are two conservative political parties, the city-based Liberal party and the rural-based National party. But in Queensland those two parties are amalgamated as the LNP.

Again for overseas readers: Like the USA, Germany and India, Australia has State governments as well as the Federal government. So it may be useful to know the usual abbreviations for the Australian States: QLD (Queensland), NSW (New South Wales), WA (Western Australia), VIC (Victoria), TAS (Tasmania), SA (South Australia).

For American readers: A "pensioner" is a retired person living on Social Security

"Digger" is an honorific term for an Australian soldier

Another lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Another bit of Australian: Any bad writing or messy anything was once often described as being "like a pakapoo ticket". In origin this phrase refers to a ticket written with Chinese characters - and thus inscrutably confusing to Western eyes. These tickets were part of a Chinese gambling game called "pakapoo".

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

My son Joe

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

I am an army man. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies or mining companies

Although I have been an atheist for all my adult life, I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak.

The Rt. Rev. Phil Case (Moderator of the Presbyterian church in Queensland) is a Pharisee, a hypocrite, an abomination and a "whited sepulchre".

English-born Australian novellist, Patrick White was a great favourite in literary circles. He even won a Nobel prize. But I and many others I have spoken to find his novels very turgid and boring. Despite my interest in history, I could only get through about a third of his historical novel Voss before I gave up. So why has he been so popular in literary circles? Easy. He was a miserable old Leftist coot, and, incidentally, a homosexual. And literary people are mostly Leftists with similar levels of anger and alienation from mainstream society. They enjoy his jaundiced outlook, his dissatisfaction, rage and anger.

A delightful story about a great Australian conservative

Would you believe that there once was a politician whose nickname was "Honest"?

"Honest" Frank Nicklin M.M. was a war hero, a banana farmer and later the conservative Premier of my home State of Queensland in the '60s. He was even popular with the bureaucracy and gave the State a remarkably tranquil 10 years during his time in office. Sad that there are so few like him.

A great Australian wit exemplified

An Australian Mona Lisa (Nikki Gogan)

Bureaucracy: "One of the constant laments of doctors and nurses working with NSW Health is the incredible and increasing bureaucracy," she said. "It is completely obstructive to providing a service."

Revered Labour Party leader Gough Whitlam was a very erudite man so he cannot have been unaware of the similarities of his famous phrase “the Party, the platform, the people” with an earlier slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer". It's basically the same slogan in reverse order.

Australia's original inhabitants were a race of pygmies, some of whom survived into modern times in the mountainous regions of the Atherton tableland in far North Queensland. See also here. Below is a picture of one of them taken in 2007, when she was 105 years old and 3'7" tall

Julia Gillard, a failed feminist flop. She was given the job of Prime Minister of Australia but her feminist preaching was so unpopular that she was booted out of the job by her own Leftist party. Her signature "achievements" were the carbon tax and the mining tax, both of which were repealed by the next government.

The "White Australia Policy: "The Immigration Restriction Act was not about white supremacy, racism, or the belief that whites were higher up the evolutionary tree than the coloured races. Rather, it was designed to STOP the racist exploitation of non-whites (all of whom would have been illiterate peasants practicing religions and cultures anathema to progressive democracy) being conscripted into a life of semi-slavery in a coolie-worked plantation economy for the benefit of the absolute monarchs, hereditary aristocracy and the super-wealthy companies and share-holders of the northern hemisphere.

A great little kid

In November 2007, a four-year-old boy was found playing in a croc-infested Territory creek after sneaking off pig hunting alone with four dogs and a puppy. The toddler was found five-and-a-half hours after he set off from his parents' house playing in a creek with the puppy. Amazingly, Daniel Woditj also swam two creeks known to be inhabited by crocs during his adventurous romp. Mr Knight said that after walking for several kilometres, Daniel came to a creek and swam across it. Four of his dogs "bailed up" at the creek but the youngster continued on undaunted with his puppy to a second creek. Mr Knight said Daniel swam the second croc-infested creek and walked on for several more kilometres. "Captain is a hard bushman and Daniel is following in his footsteps. They breed them tough out bush."

A great Australian: His eminence George Pell. Pictured in devout company before his elevation to Rome


Alternative (Monthly) archives for this blog


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"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
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Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
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Bank of Queensland blues

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