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, 2018

Another top cop goes to  jail -- betrayed by his dick

Queensland put their top cop -- Terry Lewis -- in jail in 1989.  He was betrayed by money

Realistic Australians would always have the lowest possible expections of their police.  My contact with them has been small  but was completely disappointing.  They failed even the basics.  Can you believe them destroying crucial evidence?  They did.  I protested but to no avail

Former Northern Territory police commissioner John McRoberts has been sentenced to three years in jail, to be suspended after 12 months, for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Last month a jury took nine hours to find McRoberts guilty of the offence, which carries a maximum prison term of 15 years.

The jury found McRoberts tried to "frustrate" or "deflect" a travel agent fraud investigation known as Operation Subutai between May and November 2014.

McRoberts had been in a sexual relationship with the investigation's priority target, former travel agent and NT Crime Stoppers chairwoman Xana Kamitsis, who was sentenced to almost four years' imprisonment on fraud and corruption charges in 2015.

Acting Justice Dean Mildren took less than an hour to summarise the evidence and deliver his sentence at Darwin's Supreme Court on Tuesday morning.

"As commissioner, the public has the right to expect that you can be trusted absolutely," he said. "There is a huge fall from grace."

Between May and November 2014, McRoberts failed to disclose he was in a sexual relationship with Kamitsis.

At the time, McRoberts knew Kamitsis had become a test case for the investigation, which was looking into 27 travel agents suspected of defrauding the NT Health Department's pensioner travel concession scheme.

Acting Justice Mildren said McRoberts had effectively lied by omission. "You failed to disclose to your staff that Kamitsis was an intimate friend and indeed a sexual partner," he said. "The relationship between you was a secret one.

"From the moment that you became aware that Kamitsis was a suspect in Operation Subutai, you knew that full disclosure was required in some form and you also knew you should have no further involvement."

McRoberts' lawyer has filed an appeal of his conviction and an application for bail in relation to the matter is expected to be heard by a Supreme Court judge on Wednesday morning.

During the trial, the prosecution argued McRoberts involved himself in the investigation, knowing he was "hopelessly conflicted", because he wanted stop his relationship with Kamitsis being exposed through a search warrant.

It was alleged McRoberts' criminal course of conduct began in May 2014, when he raised the idea of an alternative civil approach to Operation Subutai, which was then further developed.

McRoberts was also accused of frustrating the execution of a search warrant against Kamitsis in June 2014, by saying to his senior officers: "This is not ready to go to an overt investigation".

During the sentencing hearing, prosecutor Mary Chalmers told the court McRoberts abused his position of power and his sentence should reflect this. "[The crime] is one that strikes at the very core of the integrity of the administration of justice," she said.  "He abused his position to achieve his ends."

Defence lawyer Anthony Elliot argued his client's conduct was less serious than other cases of attempting to pervert the course of justice. "We accept that he made a bad decision … that he will continue to pay for, for the rest of his life," he said.

"We accept that he should not have had anything to do with the Kamitsis inquiry. "But we submit that he was placed in the difficult position of it being intertwined with all the others."

Ms Chalmers told the judge McRoberts engaged in "sustained criminal conduct", which amounted to much more than a single "bad decision".

During the trial, more than 5,000 text messages between McRoberts and Kamitsis were submitted as evidence of their relationship.

In his sentencing, Acting Justice Mildren said McRoberts deliberately set out to lead police investigators away from his lover. "Your purpose from at least sometime in about May 2014 was to frustrate and deflect an imminent prosecution of Kamitsis, your motive was to protect Kamitsis as well as yourself from the scandal that access to her mobile phone would inevitably give rise to," he said.

He said the offence struck at the heart of the administration of justice. "It involved a gross misuse of power for primarily personal reasons," he said. "You were, as commissioner of police, expected to uphold the law, not actively to seek to breach it."

Acting Justice Mildren accepted that McRoberts was unlikely to reoffend, and said there was no need to consider special deterrence.

Regarding character references that spoke highly of McRoberts as a police officer and as a person, he said: "You did your best to make a worthwhile contribution to the community that you served", however, he found that McRoberts lacked remorse.

"You have not shown at any stage any recognition of your wrongdoing or any remorse from your actions," Acting Justice Mildren said.

He said the offending was too serious to allow McRoberts to serve his sentence in home detention, and acknowledged his time in prison would be difficult as he has no family in the NT.

"I accept that it will be harder for you … as you will need to be isolated from other prisoners to some degree," he said.


New land unlocked to provide homes for 55,000 people

Victoria does something right.  If we are to reduce the high cost of housing, this should be happening in every state

Victorians hoping to build their dream home can look to the Melbourne’s northwest fringe with the opening up of land near Sunbury.

Two new communities of Sunbury South and Lancefield Road will provide 19,000 homes and 6000 jobs for as many as 55,000 people.

Treasurer Tim Pallas said the new suburbs’ announcement fulfilled the state government’s commitment for a 15-year land supply by providing 100,000 lots.

“This increase in supply is also a boost to the construction industry, creating jobs in the growth corridors, as well as in established suburbs,” Mr Pallas said.

The government last year said 17 new suburbs in growth areas would be created to tackle the housing affordability problem.

Other suburbs will emerge near Pakenham East, Wollert, Kororoit and Donnybrook, the establishment of which will be managed by the Victorian Planning Authority.

The two new latest communities will be created on 2800 hectares of land around Sunbury over the next 20 years.

The developments will create a regional park, a conservation network on the Jacksons Creek corridor and a reserve at Redstone Hill.

Four town centres, health and emergency services, six primary schools, two secondary schools, and a prep-to-12 school are part of the plans, as well as land for two future train stations.

Developers will contribute to the creation of roads, parks and community facilities.

Mr Pallas said the land release would ensure new housing was coming on to the market to stay ahead of population growth and to make new homes “as affordable as possible”.

Earlier this month, Planning Minister Richard Wynne announced that Jacksons Hill in Sunbury would be returned for community use after the purchase of the 33-hectare site from Victoria University.


There's no such thing as a happy Greenie. The plastic bag ban is only the beginning

Six months ago it didn’t seem possible that Australians would ever give up the convenience of single-use plastic shopping bags.

But watching shoppers pack up their groceries at a nearby Woolworths Metro, it’s clear that the bag ban has worked.

During the busy lunchtime rush this month, there are definitely some people still buying the thicker 15c bags available at the checkout but most people either had their own bags or were choosing to carry their groceries without a bag.

One woman who was juggling a tub of yoghurt, carton of mini-cucumbers and a salad, told that she would definitely have taken one of the old grey bags before but didn’t want to pay for one to transport her lunch back to work.

Even though she said she often forgot to bring her own bags, at least a third of her fellow shoppers had remembered to bring one. Only a handful of the approximately 50 shoppers bought the 15c bags. Other shoppers also improvised and were seen tucking lemons into handbags and microwave meals into backpacks.

While the major retailers won’t reveal how many of the thicker 15c bags they were now selling, this month Coles and Woolworths revealed their bag ban had stopped 1.5 billion thinner plastic bags being dumped into the environment.

A Facebook poll also indicated most people were remembering to bring their own reusable bags.

Tim Silverwood, co-founder of Take 3, told that anecdotal evidence suggested there were less of the thinner bags making their way to Australia’s waterways.

“During our clean-up activities in NSW and Queensland there’s definitely less thin grey shopping bags, according to our volunteers,” Mr Silverwood said. “I think we are all starting to realise now that it doesn’t take that much change to make a big difference.”

He said the success of the bag ban was a great opportunity to take the war against plastic to the next level. This includes passing legislation in NSW to ban bags as well, reduce the use of the thicker bags and to follow the example of the European Union, which has plans to phase out or reduce 10 types of single-use plastic items.

The National Waste Report 2018 released in November showed that just 12 per cent of plastic in Australia was recycled. About 87 per cent was sent to landfill.

Each state and territory approaches waste and recycling differently. There are container deposit schemes in all states except Tasmania and Victoria but only ACT, South Australia and Victoria have a landfill ban.

NSW is the only state or territory not planning to introduce a plastic bag ban. In NSW, Woolworths and Coles have voluntarily phased out the bags but Jeff Angel of the Boomerang Alliance said a ban was still needed because a lot of smaller stores like chemists and food outlets continued to give out the lightweight bags.

Mr Angel wants the supermarket giants to reveal how many of the thicker 15c bags were being used as there was anecdotal evidence they were also ending up in the litter stream and landfill.

The thicker bags are 55 microns thick instead of 35 microns so there is more plastic in them.

Western Australia’s environment minister Stephen Dawson recently revealed his intent to target the use of thicker bags — the type that Myer uses for example — as the next step. “I think it would be a gradual phase-out, just as we’ve done with say microbeads,” Mr Dawson said.

There are also many other forms of plastic that could be tackled and Australia is already behind in this area.

The European Commission has moved to ban or reduce 10 types of single-use plastics by 2030.

If approved, littering by these items will be reduced by more than half, avoiding environmental damage which would otherwise cost €22 billion ($A34 billion). It will also avoid the emission of 3.4 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2030.

These products are the top 10 most found single-use items on European beaches and make up 43 per cent of total marine litter.

The items that will be targeted include food containers, cups for beverages, cotton buds, cutlery/plates/stirrers/straws, sticks for balloons/balloons, packets and wrappers, beverage bottles, tobacco product filters and sanitary towels/wet wipes among European Union countries.

Items like cotton buds made with plastic would be replaced by sustainable alternatives while there will be an attempt to reduce the consumption of things like food containers.

The commission will also tackle fishing gear, which makes up an extra 27 per cent of marine litter.

European Union countries have recognised the damaging impact plastics can have and the costs of cleaning litter up as well as the losses for tourism, fisheries and shipping.

Due to its slow decomposition, plastic accumulates in seas, oceans and on beaches. Plastic residues have been found in sea turtles, seals, whales and birds, but also in fish and shellfish, meaning humans could also be consuming them. There are estimates that mussel-loving Europeans could be consuming up to 11,000 microplastics in a year.

Mr Silverwood said the 10 items being banned in Europe were also regularly found during clean-up activities in Australia, although the container deposit scheme was helping to reduce the number of beverage containers.

He said Australia should introduce measures similar to the European Union, to tackle other types of single-use plastics.


Agenda activism takes over university Australian history classes

Agenda-driven activism has subverte­d the teaching of Aust­ralian history at the nation’s universit­ies, with gender, race and class politics dominating two-thirds of subjects on offer.

Australian history is no longer taught as a study of past events, according to a report by the Institute of Public Affairs to be released today. It argues that students are more likely to be ­exposed to disconnected themes, or “microhistories”, presented through the lens of identity ­politics, than key concepts explain­ing Australia’s development as a modern nation.

An audit of the 147 Australian history subjects offered across 35 universities this year showed 102 were preoccupied with identity politics. Of those, 13 subjects were solely focused on gender and sexuality, race or class.

ANU’s Sexuality in Australian History examined “how an understanding of sexual diversity in the past can illuminate current debates in Australian ­society”.

Monash University’s History of Sexuality 1800-the Present had topics that included “the construction of masculinity and femininity, courtship and marriag­e … heterosexuality and homosexuality”.

In comparison, four subjects featured democracy as a major theme, three covered industrialisation, and capitalism was the focus of just one subject.

Prime ministers appear to be largely overlooked, but Queensland senator Pauline Hanson is mentioned in the descriptions for three subjects.

The report’s author, Bella d’Abrera, said the audit highlighted that students were not being taught basic concepts explaining the origins of Australian society, including its successes as a ­modern nation.

She said historians had instead “recast themselves as political ­activists” and students were being “politicised in the classroom” as a result of the courses that were available to them.

“Historians occupy a special position because they have a unique ability to shape our society and to shape the future … but they should not attempt to rewrite the past,” Dr d’Abrera said.

“By reframing Australia’s past using the lens of identity politics, they are warping history to fit their own agenda.”

The report highlights how ­indigenous history has been framed around common themes of resistance, colonisation and the frontier wars. Twenty-nine of the 57 indigenous history subjects ­offered ­focused on indigenous-settler relations “in terms of violence and conflict rather than co-existence and co-operation”.

Dr d’Abrera said many Australian history subjects were better suited to the disciplines of politics, sociology or anthropology.

She said there was a dearth of subjects that discussed Australia’s economic and political development since 1788 and only one subject looked into the cultural conditions in Britain that led to the development of our liberal democracy.

No subject mentioned “the fact the Australian nation had ­benefited enormously from the Western legacy”, Dr d’Abrera said.

She said this shed new light on the opposition that the ­Ramsay Centre has come up against in its bid to establish ­degrees in Western civilisation at several Australian universities.

After rejection by ANU and a push-back from academics at the University of Sydney, the ­Ramsay Centre recently signed up the University of Wollongong as a partner for a course and scholarship program planned to launch in 2020.

Bachelor of Arts student Oscar Green took the University of Queensland’s The Australian Experience during his first year of study expecting to be introduced to issues around Australian history and culture.

Instead, the 19-year-old, who is involved in the IPA’s Generation Liberty program for students, was disappointed by a “disproportionate focus” on race and gender and “revisionist approach” to studying the past.


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

30 December, 2018

Australia, get ready to sweat your way through the weekend as extreme heatwave sets in

"Extreme heatwave"??? This is utter BS.  The BoM have been pushing out these warnings for most of December but all we are having is a normal summer.  The normal mid-afternoon summer temperature where I live in Brisbane is 34C and we are not even up to that.  It is 31C at the time of writing at 3pm on Saturday 29th.

Australia will experience a sweltering close to the year, with temperatures soaring above 40C throughout the nation over the coming days.

The post-Christmas heatwave shows no signs of easing, with warnings in place across parts of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

If the heat’s getting you down, we have some bad news: the relief could be more than a week away.

“We’re in the middle of a heatwave at the moment in much of Australia,” Sky News’ Chief Meteorologist Tom Saunders told “Today is day five of the heatwave and there’s no sign of a cool change before New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Day will be day nine of that heatwave.

“We won’t see a cool change until the middle of next week — it could be after that or another full week.”

Severe to extreme heat conditions are expected to extend through South Australia, as well as southeast NSW, eastern Victoria and parts of central Queensland.

Up to 70 per cent of NSW will experience high fire dangers, from the southern half of the state up to the Queensland border.

The Bureau of Meteorology has also issued strong wind warnings from the Batemans Coast up to the Macquarie region over the next two days.

Sydneysiders may as well camp out on the beach over the next few days, with tops of 30C today, 31C on Saturday and 34C on Sunday.

The city’s Greater Western region is in for an even more brutal time, with tops of 42C in Penrith tomorrow and 41C on Sunday.

Brisbane will see tops of 30C over the weekend, with very little chance of rain — which means it’s the ideal time to head to the water.


Vietnamese community warns African gangs will turn their annual Lunar Festival into a war zone after violence which erupted between teen thugs and shopkeepers sparked calls for payback

Sad that it takes the Viets to show some guts

A Vietnamese festival scheduled for Sunday week could turn into a bloodbath with fears fed-up Asian youths will go to war with African gangs at the popular event.

Concerned shopkeepers have told Daily Mail Australia the St Albans Lunar Festival, planned for January 6, could go feral if African thugs turned up looking for trouble.

The warning comes just days after a gang of African teens was filmed brawling with middle-aged Vietnamese men dining outside the Song Huong restaurant on Alfrieda Street in St Albans, in Melbourne's north-west.

It is the very same street where the Lunar New Year will be celebrated, with the thoroughfare transformed into a festival featuring stalls, food, entertainment, bands, rides, fireworks and dancing.

On Friday, scores of frightened and angry shopkeepers told Daily Mail Australia that they feared the law would be taken into their own hands if police did not step in to halt the violent teen thugs.

One female shopkeeper, who herself had been a victim of multiple, brutal attacks by African teens,  said she feared the Vietnamese youth would rise up against the thugs.

'I haven't seen the police until the past few days,' she said.

The young woman, who is in phone sales, told Daily Mail Australia she had been attacked twice inside her shop.

So brutal were the attacks that one left her with a huge gash in her scalp after a teenage thug smashed her over the head with a phone he was stealing. A customer was also attacked.

She and her neighbours all called triple zero, but police did not come. 'They told us they couldn't come. They were too busy,' one man said of the attack.

His wife had chased out a gang of youths from their shop not long before the attack.

Another woman, who worked in a shop staffed entirely of young women, said the Vietnamese community was fed up with being afraid. 'We haven't seen the police up until those [recent] incidents ...  nobody is doing anything. None of the guys around here. We've all grown up now,' she said.

'But [the teen gangs] are young and they don't appreciate the laws and rules.

'Next weekend, it's going to be bad on that day because everybody goes out to enjoy the day ... but if they go crazy on that day, plus with so many people, it's going to be bad.

'If it's on, it's going to be really bad. Kids everywhere. It's going to get out of control. And I think it's going to be on.'

Ben Tran, 22, was working at Song Huong Vietnamese Restaurant when a gang of youths turned on patrons. It was over something as simple as the pests being refused cigarettes by the regular customers who congregate outside to eat, drink and play board games.

'The gangs they always come around this area and they sometimes ask the people outside for cigarettes or a lighter or something and if they say no, well something happens,' he said.

It is not the first time the thugs have caused trouble outside the restaurant, with this week's incident being one of at least five over the past couple of months.

Like many others on Alfreida Street, Mr Tran said police are never in a rush to help out when called.

On Friday, police were noticeable in a large van camped out in a grassy section in the middle of the street.

An officer was seen enjoying his lunch from the passenger side of the vehicle before the van drove off.

Mr Tran said police took about 30 minutes to turn up after being called to the brawl.

Like the times before, the restaurant handed over the CCTV footage, but staff don't expect much to change.

'They've come before, they say [the youths] will have some problems, that they've solved the problem, but it's still happening,' he said.

'I don't think the police can stop them ... when they come, everything is done.'

The gang that struck this week was not the same as the previous incidents, Mr Tran said.

Shopkeepers on Alfreida Street say the youths, sometimes still dressed in their school uniforms, are often organised, and use teenage girls to scope out victims and act as lookouts.

Mr Tran said his customers were fed up with the senseless violence. 'The Vietnamese - they fight back,' he said.

'We worry that they'll come back. We stay inside. People are scared.'

Shopkeepers claim until this week, police were hardly ever to be seen on Alfreida Street.

'I don't usually see any police here. On the main road, I see maybe two, three guys over there, but out here we don't see them,' Mr Tran said.

It is a sentiment shared by many on Alfreida Street.

Unlike Mr Tran, they are too afraid to be photographed or have their names mentioned in print.

Ricky Ta, a sales associate at a nearby Optus outlet, said he had also had a run in with a gang of African teens.  Thankfully no one was hurt.

'We have insurance, so we just let them take what they want. The police don't do anything about it,' he said.

Phone services in St Albans are booming as victims of crime flow into the Alfreida Street shops to replace the ones stolen by the thugs.

But being a phone salesperson on Alfreida Street is as risky as being a 1970s bank teller.

Nearly everyone on the street has a story of dread to tell.

The phone shopkeepers say to talk to the cigarette salesman who says to talk to the fish shop bloke.

They have all had violent run-ins with the thugs. They all say the same thing: where are the police?


UPDATE:  It seems that the police have now turned up in the area -- ready to arrest anybody who defends himself against the Africans

Must not video African youths in Melbourne

A group of African men have confronted notorious far-right activists who were filming them at a popular Melbourne beach - moments before one of them was tackled and pepper sprayed by police.

The ugly scenes early on Friday evening were all captured on camera at St Kilda Beach by United Patriot Front-linked activist Neil Erikson, 32.

A terse conversation between two officers and Erikson then ensues as other policemen talk to the African men in the background.

'I need to understand why you are escalating the situation,' one officer asked - to which Erikson responded he was in a public area and had the right to film the group.

The activists could be seen holding their ground in the vision, despite the officers' request for them to move along.

Erikson's footage suddenly cut to officers restraining one of the African youths, and a voice in the background can be heard saying 'yes, yes, yes' as the cameraman closes in on police pinning the man to the ground.

A 25-year-old man was arrested after allegedly attempting to assault police officers, a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.

'Police were forced to deploy OC spray on the male as he attempted to assault police and resist arrest,' she said.

The spokeswoman said officers approached a group of 15 males, some of which were being verbally abusive, in the South Beach Reserve area just after 5.30pm.  'One of the males refused to move on after multiple warnings and was arrested,' the spokeswoman said. 

Erikson has previously been convicted and fined for inciting contempt and ridicule of Muslims after a 2015 stunt.

Along with United Patriots Front leader Blair Cottrell and Christopher Neil Shortis, Erikson chanted 'Allahu Akbar' in a video and spilled fake blood on the footpath and wall of a garden bed beside the Bendigo City Council offices. The group were protesting the building of the Bendigo mosque.

The confrontation at St Kilda Beach comes just days after a gang of African teens was filmed brawling with middle-aged Vietnamese men dining outside the Song Huong restaurant on Alfrieda Street in St Albans, in Melbourne's north-west.

On Thursday, a group of African youths allegedly smashed a glass bottle over a teenager's head before assaulting multiple swimmers and stealing their wallets at Chelsea Beach in the city's south-east.


Principal at remote Australian country high school is slammed after posing with students dressed up in blackface and as Adolf Hitler for 'history day'

Country Australia has mostly local concerns so is less sensitive to what offends urbanites

A public school has been forced to apologise after students were photographed wearing racist and inappropriate costumes during a muck-up day.

Rowena Public School in remote north-west NSW came under fire after students were seen dressed as Adolf Hitler and sporting blackface, New Matilda reported.

'The school unreservedly apologises for two photos that were published yesterday on our Facebook page. They have been removed,' the school said in a Facebook post.

Rowena Public had just 25 students and two teachers, one of whom is the principal.

Students were told to dress up as historical figures in a muck-up day earlier this month.

One student dressed up as Hitler and wore Nazi emblems.

She was pictured next to another student who painted their face black and wrapped medals around their neck to represent American athlete Jesse Owens.

A smiling school principal Paul Cecil posed with students in the photos.

They were then uploaded to the school's Facebook page. 

Neighbouring towns like Walgett, Collarenebri and Moree have large Aboriginal populations and took the photos as a direct insult.

Following the community uproar, Rowena Public School posted an apology then tore down the Facebook page. 'These photos were unacceptable,' the school said.

'Rowena Public School is a caring and supportive learning environment. We reject racism in all its forms.'


Can millennials do maths?

“I can no longer teach with these new brains,” says an exasperated Clio Cresswell, mathematics lecturer at the University of Sydney and author of Mathematics and Sex. The core of the problem, she says, is the diminishing capacity of undergraduates for “linked thinking”. And it’s not just a problem in the classroom.

“I’ve always enjoyed teaching,” she says. “But these days students are so busy posting on social media — ‘love the burger’, ‘great fries’ — that if something tragic happens to a loved one they struggle to understand why they’re feeling the way they do. They’ve trained themselves in first-step thinking. Their worlds are constructed of disconnected moments.”

It’s an axiom of cognition that when the brain learns new ways of doing things, the command centre in the cranium evolves in response. Anthropologists and ­biologists track these changes across large spans of time, but the digital revolution has come on so fast that the brain is being remade in decades, not eons.

Between 2007 and 2012 the number of internet users doubled to two billion. Four years later the world’s digital population had leapt to 3.5 billion, and this year it reached 4.2 billion — more than 55 per cent of the global population.

Cresswell has her own way of measuring the changes.

This year, after a break of five years during which she taught mainly gifted second-year mathematics students, she returned to a class for students who do not particularly like maths but need it for subjects such as psychology and geology. Immediately, she noticed a difference.

“They don’t turn up for lectures and they don’t ask questions,” she says. “They have no idea about the interactive process.”

She describes a sea of “glazed” eyes. “Mostly they’re looking at their screens, and occasionally they’ll take a photo of me and an equation.”

Wiki, she adds, is their go-to tool. “But while Wiki is pretty good for maths it doesn’t teach you how to think mathematically; the whole point is to connect ideas.”

Cresswell’s first-hand observations about what was once, rather quaintly, termed the chalkface are all the more penetrating because she is no badly dressed myopic maths nerd in the mould of The Big Bang Theory’s Amy Fowler. If anyone can cut through the fog of student lack of interest, it’s Cresswell, whose TED talk Mathematics and Sex has been viewed by more than eight million people.

So dispirited is Cresswell with the state of mathematics literacy, in an age when the algorithm rules just about everything, that she foresees a world divided into a numerate priesthood and an innumerate mass.

“I’m seeing a big problem in a society in which everything is maths-based,” she says. “Fewer and fewer people know how maths works, and they’re asking more and more stupid questions and getting more and more dis­enfranchised.”

Steven Schwartz, emeritus professor and former vice-chancellor of Macquarie University, shares Cresswell’s concerns about maths literacy. A board member of Teach For Australia, a nonprofit body set up to tackle educational disadvantage, he nevertheless resists generalising about the digital brain when all brains are different.

Schwartz, whose academic field is psychology, stresses the prior role of genetics, which affects children’s behaviour, particularly the amount of time they spend on devices and how their brains respond.

“Kids who are genetically inclined to obesity may spend more time in the bedrooms playing computer games than riding a bike to the beach,” he says.

“This not only makes them fat but also affects their neurobiological functioning. These kids would probably wind up obese even if they never have access to a computer or phone.

“If a child inherits risk factors for cognitive deficits, as measured by NAPLAN (National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy), he or she may spend more time playing computer games, which could make cognitive deficits even worse. Limiting device time for those kids may help, especially if they spend the liberated time reading.

“On the other hand, limiting device time for kids without the same genetic disposition to cognitive deficits will not have the same beneficial effect.

“The bottom line is that kids are all different and they need to be treated as individuals. When it comes to device time, one size does not fit all,” Schwartz says.

New research does suggest, however, that some conclusions about the brain’s response to digital stimuli can be made with confidence. A recent study out of Norway, published in the International Journal of Educational Research, found that students who read texts in print performed significantly better in comprehension tests than students who read the same texts digitally.

In the graduate employment market, however, there are signs the digital brain may not be all bad. Andrew Spicer, chief executive of Australia’s biggest financial comparison website, Canstar, is “in awe” of new graduates.

“Millennials are highly educated, energetic, with a desire to learn, and many are entrepreneurial in their approach to business,” he says.

Spicer doubts there is an enormous cognitive gulf separating the generations, although he says that his young graduates clearly have different ways of communicating.

This, in turn, puts the onus on managers to learn to communicate with them.

“Millennials’ success in the workplace can be guided by teaching them patience and resilience, and managing their expectations. We have learned that it’s valuable to communicate more, and explain the why as well as the what,” he says.

Trent Innes, managing director of global software company Xero’s Australian operations, is equally sanguine.

“What’s different today is the pace of information,” he says. “Devices have accelerated the frequency with which we communicate, and that can be overwhelming. The next generation needs more advice on how to use these tools. Our education system can help kids navigate what has become a river of information.”

As principal of architecture practice BVN, it’s Matthew Blair’s job to think deeply about the ways technology is transforming architecture and building construction, and the changes, he says, are just beginning to gain momentum.

He foresees a time in the not too distant digital future when virtual reality and automation will turn architectural designs into finished built forms.

He works alongside the generation that will steer and shape this process and the most observable change he has noticed is its ability to inhabit the real and virtual worlds simultaneously.

“Their consciousness is in both places at the same time,” he says. “The brain has enabled that to happen.”

He’s not the first to observe that digital natives feel they don’t need so much to know stuff as to know where to find it.

“They think it’s more important to think critically and have ideas,” he says.

Blair concedes that the downside of the digital brain, with its capacity to traverse the temporal and virtual worlds, is a more diminished capacity to maintain concentration and focus, both of which are preconditions for the “linked thinking” that Cresswell says is essential to mathematics, and may also prove an essential ingredient of the self as conventionally understood.

“But I’m an optimist,” Blair ­declares. “And it’s good to be ­optimistic.”


 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, 2018

Tamil family's appeal to remain in Australia dismissed in federal court

The point about these people is that they are illegal immigrants who came to Australia as boat people.  The only way that could be converted to permanent residence is if they are refugees.  But they have no need of refuge.  Both Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu in India would now be safe for them. I personally think that Tamils are in general fine people but the propensity of some of them for extreme political violence (The Tamil Tigers) does make them a risk

A judge in Melbourne has dismissed an appeal from a family of Tamil asylum seekers to stay in Australia.

It concludes a nine-and-a-half-month campaign to stop their deportation to Sri Lanka led by the central Queensland town of Biloela, where the family had been living prior to their detention.

Tamil couple Priya and Nades and their Australian-born daughters, Kopika and Tharunicaa, were taken from their home by Australian Border Force officers in March during a dawn raid, because Priya’s bridging visa had expired.

In June, the family lost their federal court case against deportation, prompting their lawyers to lodge an appeal. Meanwhile, more than 141,000 people signed a petition urging the home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, to intervene.

But in his judgment handed down at noon on Friday at the administrative appeals tribunal, Justice John Middleton said he had dismissed the appeal. But he ordered the department be restrained from deporting the family until 4pm on 1 February, “having regard to the time of year”.

Biloela resident and family friend Angela Fredericks said Kopika and Tharunicaa were “Australian born and bred” and should be flying home to Biloela for Christmas.

“Mr Dutton had the power to end this family’s ordeal on day one and he still has that power now,” Fredericks said.

“Please, Mr Dutton: listen to the 140,000 Australians that are standing with these two little Queenslanders and their loving mum and dad. Bring them home to Biloela.”

Before their detention the family had been living in Biloela for four years and are well-regarded by their community. Priya and Nades came to Australia at different times by boat after Sri Lanka’s civil war. Priya met Nades in Australia in 2013 and they later married.

Priya has told advocates she had been in contact with the department of immigration prior to her bridging visa expiring to inquire about having it renewed. She said she had been told she would be issued with a new visa.

Previous appeals against the family’s deportation through the refugee tribunal and lower courts had also failed.

An advocate for the family who was present at the court, Bruce Coath, said the family’s legal team would now have to determine if they had exhausted all of their legal avenues.

“We’re really disappointed at the failure of the appeal,” he said. “While it does give us a little bit of peace of mind over Christmas that no action will be taken for their removal, they’ll be devastated I think.

“What they’re hoping for is to be able to live back in Biloela and resume their life there in the community. That seems a long, long way off at the moment.”

He said the health of the girls, now aged one and three, had begun to deteriorate in detention, and that they were suffering from vitamin deficiencies.

Aran Mylvaganam, a spokesman for the Tamil Refugee Council, has been lobbying for the family to stay in Australia since they were detained. He said he did not understand why the family could not be placed in community detention rather than held in the Melbourne immigration transit accommodation centre in Broadmeadows.

“These two girls are going to spend their Christmas in detention,” he said.

“I speak to the family quite regularly and the father is quite worried in particular about his oldest daughter, who is showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder and she is isolated, lonely and missing her friends.”

Mylvaganam said a high court challenge was not out of the question.


Could the NBN be SCRAPPED? Growing calls to ditch the embattled network because the technology is 'outdated' after string of delays - and it would cost BILLIONS to 'catch up'

I hope it is scrapped before it gets to me.  There have been many reports of it delivering worse service at a higher cost than our existing cable networks.  It was prophesied from the outset that it would be obsolete before it was complete but the Rudd Labor government went ahead anyway

Calls are growing to ditch the 'failed' National Broadband Network amid claims the technology is outdated and could require billions of dollars to update.

NBN Co. recently admitted that 1.2 million households are still waiting for an updated, faster network connection and many are stuck in limbo.

The NBN project is two years behind its completion date and is reportedly an eye-watering $900 million over budget.

Broadband experts on Friday called on the Federal Government to ditch the technology in favour of faster equipment, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Former NBN Co chief technology officer Gary McLaren told the paper: 'The message coming from NBN Co and the Government is that the job is being done and it's being finished but the reality is that there's still a lot of work to do and Australia is still a long way behind the rest of the world. 'Billions and billions of dollars would be needed to catch up.'

Mr McLaren also expressed concerns the project would not be internationally competitive when it was completed, which was the original goal.

The expert doubted that it would be able to provide Australians with a future-proof network. 


Coal is Australia’s most valuable export in 2018

Coal will replace iron ore as Australia’s most valuable export this financial year as supply concerns lead to a steep price rise for the core commodity.

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s latest Resources and Energy Quarterly report said thermal and coking coal export values would reach $67 billion in total in 2018-19, slightly higher than iron ore's $61 billion in value.

Coal leapt over iron ore as supply concerns ratcheted up the price. It is the first time coal has overtaken iron ore in value since the mining boom five years ago.

Australia is also expected to overtake Qatar as the world’s largest LNG exporter in 2019, buoyed by increasing export values, which grew from $31 billion in 2017-18 to $50 billion this financial year.

The Department was more optimistic in its forecasts than its reports released earlier this year, broadly lifting earnings expectations across most commodities for 2018-19.

It increased total export earnings by about $12.1 billion compared to the previous quarter’s forecasts and tipped earnings to reach a record high of more than $264 billion in 2018-19.

“The weaker Australian dollar, high coal prices and rapid growth in LNG exports are driving the strong figures,” it said. The weak exchange rate added about $7.4 billion to export values, “while higher-than-expected coking coal and iron ore prices account for the rest of the gain", the report said.

Coal's rise comes despite growing public opinion against the mineral, particularly for thermal coal which is used in power generation. There has been less opposition to coking coal as it is used to make steel.

Indian miner Adani has faced a massive backlash from the public and the Queensland state government as it attempts to develop the Carmichael thermal coal mega-mine in Queensland, while many Australian banks are now refusing to provide loans to develop new thermal coal mines in Australia.

Despite achieving a record year, lower demand from China would see earnings fall in 2019-2020 to $241 billion, although this would still be the second highest year on record.

Chief economist Mark Cully warned the ongoing trade war ignited by US President Donald Trump against China posed a threat to export growth. “The world is nine years into the post-GFC recovery, and the peak of the current cycle has clearly passed,” Mr Cully said. “Trade tensions between the US and China are magnifying economic risks. “The key risk to the commodity outlook thus lies in the ‘double whammy’: the potential dual impact of growing trade tensions and a slowdown in economic activity.”

Mr Cully said the rate of decline depends if China could maintain a steady rate of growth.

Coal and iron ore’s growth is forecast to come to an end in 2019-20, although LNG will remain relatively flat.

Coking coal values will drop about $10 billion, falling from a record high of $41 billion this year down to $30 billion next year. Supply disruptions had pushed the price up to $US220 a tonne in the last quarter of the year, well above the 2018 average price of $US207 a tonne. This average price is forecast to fall sharply next year to $US145 a tonne.

Thermal coal will see a less dramatic fall, slipping about $5 billion from $26 billion down to $20 billion in value. Declining Chinese demand will see the price fall from around $US105 a tonne in 2018 down to $US74 a tonne in 2019.

Iron ore prices are expected to slide from $US57 a tonne this year down to $US53 next year before stabilising at about $US51 a tonne in 2020. This is due to declining Chinese demand coupled with an oversupplied market. This will drive down export earnings from $61 billion this year down to $57 billion next year.

LNG will stay flat, dropping from $50 billion down to $49 billion in value. The decline will be driven by falling prices, despite export levels rising from 62 million tonnes in 2017-18 to 78 million tonnes in 2019-20.


What's the deal with e-scooters in Australia and where are you allowed to ride them?

Take a walk around Brisbane city and you'll probably see a few people whizzing about on bright green, electric scooters.

They're part of a new scooter-sharing scheme — similar to bike-sharing — which has been brought to Australia by the Californian tech start-up, Lime.

But nailing down new laws for the "innovative devices" which are considered motor vehicles in some states is proving difficult.

In December, Queensland introduced new rules for "rideables" which clarify where you can ride e-scooters and how fast you can go.

But the National Transport Commission is still investigating how they can be safely used in Australia, and doesn't plan to release its discussion paper until March next year.

"The current regulatory framework does not provide for the use of new and innovative personal-use devices that are readily available for sale today," it says.

So let's take a look at the new rules that have been drawn up in Queensland, and what's happening in some other states.

Who can ride them?
In Queensland, you don't need a driver's licence to ride an e-scooter, but you do need to be at least 16 years old.

Children between the ages of 12 and 16 can also ride them, but only if they're accompanied by an adult.

How fast are you allowed to go?

According to the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, you can ride up to 25 kilometres per hour on an e-scooter, but you must be able to stop quickly to avoid a collision.

Lime scooters, as an example, are designed to travel up to 23kph.

Do you have to wear a helmet?

Yep. Just like when riding a bike, you will need to wear an approved helmet.

In Brisbane you can find some scooters with a helmet hanging on their handlebars. But other times you may have to bring your own.

Rideables in Queensland must also be fitted with working lights and reflectors if you're using them at night.

Where can you ride them?

In Queensland, e-scooters can only be ridden on paths.

You cannot ride them on the road, even in on-road bike lanes, unless you're crossing at a set of lights or avoiding an obstruction on the footpath.

On separated paths — where there is a lane for bicycles and a lane for pedestrians —you'll need to stick to the bicycle side.

What about alcohol and mobile phones? These are big no-noes. The rules in Queensland state you cannot use a mobile phone while on an e-scooter, or drink and ride. If you get caught doing either, you'll be slapped with a minimum $130 fine.

Where do you park them?

This has been an issue in some cities overseas, with scooters ending up in rivers and oceans.

The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads says only that they must be parked in a "safe and responsible" way.

"Hire companies may have additional conditions of use in addition to these rules," it says.

What's the deal in other states?

In New South Wales, powered foot scooters are currently not permitted in public areas and can only be used on private land.

However, a spokesperson for Transport for NSW said a trial of e-scooters was "being explored".

In Victoria, Lime has conducted a few small trials, including one at Monash University.

But the state's road rules state that any motorised scooter that can go faster than 10kph is classed as a motor vehicle.

That means it needs to be registered, or used only on private property.


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

23 December, 2018

Mr Carlo Hallacq

I had a post here which referred to a correspondence with Mr Carlo Hallacq of Mortgage Loan & General.  Mr Hallacq has now apologized to me so I have deleted the post.

Ruinous Australian energy policy is all pain with no gain

The Liberal Party has torn itself apart for a decade on climate and energy policy, and it is going to continue to do that next year as it battles crucial state and federal elections. The NSW moderates, who have taken over the state branch with an insidious brand of factionalism and patronage, are like the Blob from the 1950s sci-fi movie: spineless, pointless and smothering everything in their path. No one knows what the moderates stand for; most adroit at targeting those in Liberal ranks who espouse conservative values and policies, they echo Labor and leftist attacks on the Coalition and shrink from debate except against their own.

Their electoral legacy is there to behold: a minority federal government wallowing in the polls, a Victorian opposition trounced by a hard-left Labor government shrouded in scandal, and a NSW government facing the prospect of defeat despite presiding over an economy and infrastructure agenda that is the envy of the nation.

Federally, the 2016 electoral ­result tells the story. The Coalition has not been usurped by a rampant Labor Party. Rather, the right of centre has fractured, with One Nation and other minor parties and independents reaping the benefits. Labor has benefited from this mainly through preferences rather than a boosted primary vote — until the open warfare in Liberal ranks after the knifing of Malcolm Turnbull. Bill Shorten is the luckiest Australian since Steven Bradbury; he looks set to take a political victory that is the equivalent of winning the crucial last set of a Wimbledon final by receiving four double faults.

Don Harwin is the latest so-called moderate to display political and economic ineptitude, undercutting the re-election chances of his own team and the Morrison government, such as they are. As NSW Energy Minister, he proposes zero net emissions for his state by 2050 and accuses the Morrison government of ­refusing to build this target into national policy because of the federal Liberal Party’s “climate wars”.

Needless to say, he is portrayed as a hero by Labor, the Greens, the ABC, much of the Canberra press gallery and the vested corporate interests of the energy sector.

Harwin is unlikely ever to be asked, let alone answer, the obvious questions. Why would NSW reduce emissions to net zero? How could this benefit the planet when global emissions are rising? What would it cost? Who would pay? Has he commissioned a cost-benefit analysis? Why does NSW export cheap energy to the world in the form of coal but baulk at further use of this resource itself? Will his policy reduce or curtail global temperatures? What science and technology will be available to deal with these issues in 2050? How will people on fixed and low incomes deal with higher electricity prices? How will the reliability of supply be guaranteed? And, if voters really wanted to pursue such futile, risky and expensive climate gestures, why wouldn’t they just vote Labor or Greens?

It is difficult to grasp why Liberals would not focus on price and reliability to protect jobs, support families and underpin economic opportunity. This should be core business for those interested in mainstream politics.

If Harwin, Turnbull or anyone else could point to a looming crisis that could be averted by compromising our energy needs, then it might be worth considering. But they have to do better than the familiar mantra, seldom interrogated, that climate change is real and we must do something about it now. Those who claim to back a scientific approach often lack ­rational arguments. It seems silly to have to go through the basics but perhaps we should. Most of this debate is stuck in a superficial reverb about a dire crisis and a proposed response without justification of either.

As we know, the effect of global warming is a matter of considerable ongoing research, assessment and contention. Average temperatures have risen by about a ­degree during the past century but the climate stubbornly has refused to behave in accordance with the alarming models produced by most scientists. We have no control sample; we don’t know whether the planet would have warmed, cooled or hovered like a wine fridge were it not for the emissions we have produced, mainly in the second half of that 100 years.

While scientific consensus tells us increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is likely to produce greater warming, there is legitimate debate about the extent, detrimental effects, benefits and the relative role of other variables in a changeable climate system.

Appropriate responses based on science and economics range from business as usual to ­abandoning mitigation in favour of adaptation. Technological ­developments are bound to play a major role in everything from cutting emissions to adapting to a warmer world.

Given bureaucrats and politicians have decided through the Kyoto and Paris processes that emissions reduction is the goal, there should be detailed debate about what policies can best deliver that outcome. When it comes to fixed power generation, this is a dilemma where there actually is a silver bullet — if we decided we ­urgently needed emissions-free, reliable electricity, we know how to get it. The fact nuclear energy is largely ignored in this debate tells us much about the agenda and real urgency, or lack thereof.

In this newspaper on Thursday, Bjorn Lomborg, a lonely voice of sanity in this debate, offered one of the pithiest and most important observations about global warming. “It is not the end of the world,” he said. It is funny because it is true and is at odds with the zeitgeist of catastrophism. From Al Gore to Tim Flannery, from last week’s Carols Against Coal to Shorten and Harwin, there is a never-ending procession of Chicken Littles to frighten our kids, poison our politics and burden our economies. Yet no scheme to make Australian households and businesses pay more for power will enhance the planet’s future. These policies exist primarily to trumpet the fashionable sensibilities of their spruikers.

Because we share one atmosphere, no nation sensibly would take a policy decision without considering what is happening in the rest of the world. This is where the overzealous activism of people such as Harwin, Shorten and the Greens is exposed as foolish and debilitating. We have turned our advantage of cheap and abundant energy into a competitive disadvantage. Power prices have increased an average of 70 per cent in real terms across the past decade, and low-income households now spend 10 per cent or more of their income on electricity.

Prices have been driven largely by the cross-subsidisation of renewables, leading to duplicated generation, additional transmission and mothballing of cheap power generation. Additional costs hit taxpayers directly from budget expenditure on grants and rebates for renewable schemes.

The Renew Economy website has estimated the additional investment at $60 billion. Some of this would have been required to replace or upgrade existing plants to increase capacity, but most was unnecessary except to promote renewables and reduce emissions.

Resultant financial pressure on families, businesses and industry has stifled spending and investment. Direct job losses have come from closure of coal-fired generators in South Australia, Victoria and NSW, and there have been indirect job losses in manufacturing, aluminium and steel plants where power costs have been a factor.

Reliability has been compromised too — South Australia left itself so reliant on interstate dispatchable generation that when its interconnector to Victoria was tripped, the entire state was blacked out for the first time in its history. The direct hit on its economy was calculated at $367 million and it triggered an extra $500m in state government spending on diesel generators and batteries to protect against future vulnerability.

Balanced against these costs are the benefits. So far, they amount to nil. The latest international data has global carbon emissions growing at 2.7 per cent annually, or by more than twice the total annual emissions from Australia. So, the amount of emissions we aim to cut annually by 2030 are being added by the rest of the world (mainly China and India) every four weeks.

For all our pain, there has been precisely no gain. Those countries that have reduced emissions are mainly those enjoying side benefits from economic decisions — switching to gas, using abundant hydro or nuclear. While dumping Paris, the US has lowered emissions from power generation by using fracked gas.

Other nations increase emissions as they lift people out of poverty. In Asia, the subcontinent and Africa, hundreds of millions of people only now are starting to enjoy the improvements in quality of life, longevity and prosperity that flow from abundant and ­affordable energy.

Australia alone has turned climate and energy policy into an economic millstone and political suicide bomb. Harwin, with the assent of Premier Gladys Berejik­lian, seeks escalation of economic hardship while driving wedges into the single largest and most damaging policy schism in the Coalition. Genius.

The NSW moderates think they will appeal to the enlightened denizens of their state and reap political benefits, wrongly interpreting the Wentworth by-election and Victorian election results as demands for a green-left consensus. The Coalition exists to be a beacon of economic good sense and pragmatism. It came into office in the 2013 landslide on the back of Tony Abbott’s campaign to axe the carbon tax and lower electricity prices. It forgot its mission after the Blob elimin­ated Abbott.


Australia is still a land of optimism and trust

It has been a year in which the Australian public's trust – the assumption that governments, companies and institutions will do the right thing – has been sorely tested. Politicians have failed to execute policy over vital national interests such as energy, and instead brawl among themselves for position. Banks have regularly fleeced unwitting customers, even the dead. Powerful men have routinely abused their positions to get sexual favours. Churches and charities turned a blind eye to the exploitation of young people in their care. Even a national cricket team that had no need to cheat didn't hesitate to do so if it meant winning. Very little turned out to be sacred in 2018.

All democracies are leaps of faith. They are intended to be systems and institutions that will deliver results and common goods by honest means. Citizens need to trust them, and so believe what they say. Trust and truth, as Andrew Clark notes in today's Perspective section, are twins that reinforce each other. And despite everything, in Australia those things have not fallen apart.

Our political dysfunction, unlike the US or Europe, has come not from angry voter uprisings but palace coups among parliamentarians themselves, in four ousted prime ministers in less than a decade. It is disillusioning. Politicians will now shift between leaders in a heartbeat if loss of office is at stake. Or as in the rolling of Malcolm Turnbull in August, for reasons nobody is even sure. Either way, it makes politics look a sham. And that is before the utterly self-indulgent sex scandals of Barnaby Joyce and Andrew Broad. But, whatever the failings of politicians, Australia's political system and in particular compulsory voting still tilts results to the mainstream and does not give too much power to the extremes of each party's base.

The Hayne royal commission has tarnished the reputations of four of Australia's biggest companies, the big banks. The commission was set up to look for sharp or sloppy practices against customers in organisations that over the years have become big, highly profitable, and complacent. Kenneth Hayne found it in spades. But on the substantive question on whether we trust banks to keep our money safe and secure – these days from a range of cyber nasties – the answer is yes. And we forget that credit is now a consumer product we take for granted. The housing market that most Australians rely on as the store of family wealth is no longer buoyant, and that's partly because an over-zealous post-Hayne crackdown on lending standards that some have demanded could become an uncomfortable credit squeeze if we are not careful.

Resetting of standards

Another watershed this year has been the #MeToo movement. That too has exposed casual, everyday sexist and even criminal behaviour that was once just accepted, or overlooked.

These purgatives like the Hayne commission or #MeToo are to be welcomed. They will force a raising and resetting of standards. Democracies in the Western liberal tradition are at their best self-examining – they absorb criticism, learn, and reform themselves. But the parallel lesson from history is that such revolutions can go too far. Then they destroy the good and become counter-productive. We must be alert to that too. The mark of mature democracies is that they learn lessons without overreacting.

Australia has not fallen for the cranky populism of the US and Europe, where voters make irrational and contradictory demands and that erratic leaders such as Mr Trump embody. The economy is still delivering a lot of jobs. The ACTU's attempts to manufacture a populist revolt out of low wage growth just looks contrived. Extremes of wealth would naturally sow distrust – but research shows that all Australians have gained from the continuous growth of the last 27 years. This is still a frontier society that can, unlike the damaged heartlands of America and Europe, generate growth and optimism – and from that faith and trust. But a lot falls on a sometimes flaky political class to channel this energy through better policy making. This is their task for the coming years.


'They've turned on the working class': Labor is accused of punishing tradies and nurses who want to buy homes by pushing housing reforms

Labor has been accused of punishing tradies and nurses who want to buy a house to have some extra retirement income.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has vowed a Labor government will scrap negative gearing for investors should it win next year's election.

Despite a severe housing market downturn in Sydney and Melbourne, Labor wants to get rid of tax breaks for landlords who buy an existing property, after a certain date in 2019.

Warren Mundine, who was Labor's national president in 2006 and 2007, said the whole policy smacked of class warfare that would hurt low and middle-income earners.

'They always talk about the rich, the filthy rich,' he told Sydney radio 2GB on Thursday.

Mr Mundine, an indigenous man who grew up in northern New South Wales during the 1960s, said Labor had turned the  working class into the 'enemy'.

'The actual fact, 75 per cent of the people who are doing this negative gearing and buying houses are nurses, are police, are tradies, are factory workers, are labourers,' he said.

'These are people who are trying to get some income in and save some money so when they retire ... you're going to have some money in the kitty for yourself so you're not going to be living in poverty.'

Warren Mundine, who was Labor's national president in 2006 and 2007, said Labor's negative gearing policy smacked of class warfare and would hurt the poor (homes in Sydney pictured)

Labor is proposing to keep negative gearing for brand new investment properties in a bid to encourage the construction industry.

Its plan to scrap the tax breaks for existing rental properties would not be retrospective and would only affect those bought after a start date next year, should Labor win the May election.

Treasury figures show that in the 2012/13 financial year, almost 70 per cent of people with negatively geared property had a taxable income of less than $80,000 a year.

This data snapshot was taken before house prices in Sydney surged by double-digit amounts every year until 2017.

Houses in inner-city Sydney and Melbourne are beyond the reach of average-income earners on an $82,000-a-year salary.

These are the people who often resort to buying homes in the outer suburbs and renting them out at a loss to claim a tax break.

A spike in real estate values saw interest on mortgage repayments outpace rental income, leading to more investors claiming a loss on their tax return.

Since peaking in July 2017, Sydney's median house price has plummeted by 9.5 per cent.

Melbourne's equivalent values have declined by 7.6 per cent since reaching a zenith in November last year.

The downturns in Australia's biggest property markets occurred after the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority cracked down on investor and interest-only home loans.


 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, 2018

Stop Wasting our Dam Water

by Viv Forbes,

The Saltbush Club today accused state and federal governments of wasting water often desperately needed everywhere west of Australia’s Great Dividing Range. The “Saltbush Water Watch” has been established to monitor government action and inaction and report on priorities.

The Executive Director of the new and growing Saltbush Club, Mr Viv Forbes, said “From Adelaide to Longreach we have allowed green subversives to prevent new dam construction and to dictate the waste of water caught in existing dams.”

“Without water conservation the Murray River would turn back into a string of disconnected waterholes every big drought. More reliable fresh water has benefitted humans and nature all along the river.

“Luckily (and predictably), Tim Flannery’s climate alarm forecasts of endless drought has proved wrong, or this area of Australia would now be depopulated.

“The green activists behind the water waste are not pro-environment – they are anti-human. Humans are part of the environment.

“The Saltbush Club is in the process of setting up several “Watch Groups” to investigate, monitor and report on this political war on human activity. It has appointed Mr Ron Pike, “A Bushie from the Back of Barellan” to lead the Saltbush Water Watch.

“Ron has a lifetime of experience of farming, irrigation and politics in the Murray Darling Basin. He was the first farmer to use water from the Snowy Scheme to irrigate his farm in 1961.

Ron says:

“The food we eat, the water we drink and the power we use for most of our endeavours, are available only because previous generations invested their know-how and money for the future. “It is time this generation did the same.”

Via email

Shorten haunted by ghost of socialist past

Bill Shorten will lead Labor into the next election with the party’s central mission statement being to implement the socialist objective, after the ALP national conference ignored a directive from almost four years ago to review its creed.

The party’s previous national confer­ence, in July 2015, resolved to set up a cross-factional committee to review the 1921 socialist object­ive and recommend to the next conference how it could be modernised. The resolution require­d the party “to commence a review of our socialist objective, with a view to replacing the existing language with the most appropriate and modern set of principles and objective”.

In October 2016, Labor’s ­national executive to set up an eight-member review committee with former Labor MP Tim Hammon­d, then the party’s vice-president, as chairman.

However, the review committee held no meetings with party members, MPs or unions, nor did it call for submissions on a new statement of belief, as it was directed to do by the national conference and executive. The motion agreed at the 2015 national conference also asked the review committee to “circulate draft proposals” for rewriting the party’s objective ahead of this ­week’s national conference.

Labor sources struggled to explain why the committee never began a review. Some suggested poor organisational leadership, a reluctance by the Left faction to engage in the process, and not wanting to start a difficult debate.

The socialist objective defines Labor as a “democratic socialist” party that supports “the democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange, to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other anti-social features in these fields”.

It was not part of Labor’s founding principles in 1891. After the party formally committed to social­ism in 1905, the objective was repeatedly modified and qualified. The last review occurred when Bill Hayden was party leader, in 1981. It was agreed to keep the objective but heavily qualify it with other principles. In 2014, the NSW Labor conference voted to abolish it.

Mr Shorten supported Labor reopening debate with a view to developing a modern mission statement. He has described the objective as being “as useful as a 100-year-old street directory”.

The move to abolish it had support from across the factions. The review committee comprised Mr Hammond and senator Kim Carr, former senator Ursula Stephens, former Queensland minister Linda Lavarch, former National Union of Workers national secret­ary Greg Sword, United Voice nation­al secretary Jo-anne Schofield, academic Anna Yeatman and party activist Adam Clarke.


Global urban mobility index shows Sydney and Melbourne more traffic snarled than many major cities

Given our insane immigration rate

We spend hours every week stuck in never-ending traffic. Now a graph has shown how bad it really is in Australia.

Melbourne and Sydney have worse traffic congestion than New York, less comprehensive public transport networks than Lisbon and more traffic pollution than Mexico City.

That’s according to a new report looking at mobility in 38 of the world’s largest metropolises.

Overall, Copenhagen came out on top while Sao Paulo languished at the bottom of the Urban Mobility Index released by navigation data firm Here Technology.

The index looked at a series of factors including traffic flow, public transport systems and emissions.

And for the two Australian cities in the index, it wasn’t great news. Overall, Melbourne ranked 20th worst out of 38 cities. Sydney fared even worse at 30, placing it only slightly better than Los Angeles for transport mobility.

“Australian cities suffer from traffic congestion (and) more needs to be done,” said Here Technology’s Ross Caldow.

The company used data from mobile handsets and connected vehicles, among other sources, to see how slow cities really were.

The most traffic jam free city was the Finnish capital of Helsinki. There, only 16 minutes is lost to delays for every 100 kilometres driven. In the peaks just 2 per cent of roads are congested. Zurich, Berlin, Copenhagen and Madrid rounded out the top five least congested urban areas.

Melbourne found itself in the bottom third of cities for congestion. For every 100km driven, 35 minutes was lost to congestion while 9 per cent of roads were regularly full.

But if you think sitting stationery on Punt Road is a pain, spare a thought for those motorists on Parramatta Road in Sydney. In the Harbour City, 11 per cent roads are clogged and 40 minutes are lost for every 100km driven.

New York City is hardly a paradise of free flowing roads but the traffic flows considerably faster than either of Australia’s two largest cities.

“As much as Melburnians complain about traffic flow, people in Sydney seem to be doing it slightly tougher,” said Mr Caldow who is Here’s infrastructure specialist.

But at least Sydneysiders fare better than motorists in India’s largest city Mumbai where almost a minute was lost in congestion for every kilometre driven.


Australia's jobless rate lifts unexpectedly -- as employment increases

Both labour force participation and the employment to population ratio increased , indicating that solid labour market conditions are encourage people to work or look for work.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), employment jumped by 37,000 in seasonally adjusted terms, easily beating expectations for an increase of 20,000. That followed a 28,650 increase in October, below the 32,800 level originally reported.

Total employment now stands at 12.694 million, the highest level on record.

All of the hiring spree last month came from part-time employment which increased by 43,400, more than offsetting a decline of 6,400 in full-time workers.

Over the past year, full-time employment still rose faster than part-time employment, lifting by 180,200 and 105,500 respectively. In percentage terms, employment growth over the year slowed to 2.3% from 2.5% in October, well below the 3.5% levels seen in early 2018.

While plenty of jobs were created last month, total hours worked fell, dropping by 3.3 million hours to 1.7595 billion hours.

Despite the sharp lift in employment, the unemployment rate rose to 5.1%, above the 5.0% level expected.

That was due to another lift in labour force participation which rose to 65.7% from 65.5% in October.

The increase in the number of people participating in the workforce is a good thing, albeit on this occasion it led to a small increase in the total number of unemployed workers which rose by 12,500 to 683,100.

While employment increased by 37,000, the number of people either in employment or actively seeking work rose by a larger 49,500, explaining the increase in unemployment.

Male unemployment accounted for a bulk of the increase, lifting by 11,500 from a month earlier. Female unemployment rose by a smaller 1,000.


 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, 2018

Australians For Tommy Robinson

Below I reproduce the current iteration of Avi Yemeni's home page.  Avi is a conservative Israeli of very Arab appearance who lives in Australia. His videos are on the right (Fittingly!) of his original page.  His latest efforts are in defence of British immigration critic Tommy Robinson, who is greatly feared and therefore heavily persecuted by the British elite.  Robinson has the daring to speak common sense about Muslims

Avi Yemini was one of a handful of real reporters who went to London to cover Tommy Robinson’s court appearance. As you know, the British media are so hostile to Tommy, they can’t even be trusted to accurately report the facts of the case.

So Tommy’s supporters crowdfunded Avi’s flight, and other reporters from Canada and the U.S. too.. Afterwards, Tommy said it made a huge difference having honest journalists there — it helped get the truth out, despite the mainstream media’s lies.

Well, Tommy had another demonstration — this time, it was about Brexit.

Tommy supports Brexit, and he worked with UKIP to organize this rally. But the British media are demonizing Tommy, and everyone involved with the demo. They know that Tommy is a growing political force, so they think that they have to defame him.

So when Tommy asked Avi to come all the way to London again, he agreed.

And we’re glad he did. Because it’s so important to have real reporters covering Tommy’s activities, because the BBC, Sky News and other British outlets lie and defame him.


African thugs come to Brisbane

Terrifying footage has captured the moment a driver fought off two masked thugs as they tried to steal his luxury Mercedes at a 7-Eleven service station.

The victim was stabbed in the neck during the attempted carjacking in Brisbane's south on Tuesday night.

CCTV footage showed the man filling up his tank when he was approached by two men, wearing dark clothes and hooded jackets, who demanded his keys.

The victim's terrified partner fled from the passenger seat and into the service station as the man struggled to fight off the attackers.

One of them pulled out a knife and used it to cut the man on the neck.

Bleeding, he followed his girlfriend and fled inside, but moments later returned to confront the thugs.

The pair were scared off and fled on foot.  

A few minutes later, the men surrounded a red Toyota Yaris, which was reversing out of a driveway in a nearby street.   

They forced the man out of the driver's seat before punching him in the head and stealing the vehicle.

The stolen vehicle is described as a red 2006 Toyota Yaris with Queensland registration 180-WVP.

The men are described as African and aged in their mid 20s.

Investigators are appealing for anyone with information or dash cam vision from the Yeronga area between 10pm and 11pm last night to contact police.


Big Green can afford to buy what it wants

Climate change is already shaping up to be a major election issue and a $495,000 donation to GetUp spells trouble for the beleaguered Adani coal mine.

Environmental group The Sunrise Project is providing the money to support its efforts to make climate change the number one issue at the next federal election.

Former Greenpeace activist John Hepburn, who is the founder and executive director of The Sunrise Project, said people had lost faith in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s capacity to effectively tackle climate change.

“The community is crying out for political leaders who will stand up to multinational corporations like Adani which wants to force through its climate-wrecking projects, putting at risk Queensland’s precious water resources and adding fuel to the fire, cooking an already distressed Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Hepburn said.

“Political leadership is what’s needed to put a stop to Adani’s controversial coal mine. The world just can’t afford to mine and burn the coal from the Galilee Basin which is one of the largest untapped coal reserves in the world. If we do we will see even more dangerous climate change and extreme weather events in Australia such as fires, storms and droughts.”

The Sunrise Project has been lobbying for the transition away from fossil fuels and previously campaigned to stop Adani’s Carmichael coal mine from going ahead. It generally keeps a low profile, working to co-ordinate efforts between different groups.

The organisation gets part of its funding from the US-based charitable trust, the Sandler Foundation, which has led to it being criticised for being part of a co-ordinated push against coal.

Its $495,000 donation will be used to lobby for action on climate change and will be a significant contribution to GetUp’s election war chest.

In the past year GetUp has received $10 million in donations but national director Paul Oosting said most of its funding came from everyday people who pay on average $17 or less. He said last financial year more than 104,905 individuals donated to GetUp.

“This support will help supercharge the great work GetUp members are already doing to make climate action a reality,” Mr Oosting said. “For politicians standing in the way of climate action, this summer promises to be unbearable.”

The collaboration is an ominous sign for climate change deniers as GetUp has shown itself to be an effective campaigner.

GetUp helped to make climate change an issue in the Wentworth by-election, contributing to the win by independent Dr Kerryn Phelps in the former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s seat.

About 78 per cent of Wentworth voters surveyed in an exit poll commissioned by The Australia Institute said climate change had some influence on their vote.

In the four weeks leading up the poll GetUp members made more than 90,000 phone calls to voters in the electorate and more than 300 volunteers handed out how to vote cards.

The donation also puts Adani on notice that protests about its proposed Carmichael coal mine will continue, despite it announcing a scaled-back project.

GetUp believes the public don’t want Adani to go ahead.

Mr Oosting pointed to a recent ReachTel poll of 2345 Australians commissioned by the Stop Adani Alliance that found 40 per cent “strongly agreed” that digging new coal mines in Australia was no longer in the national interest as it was making climate change worse. Overall the poll conducted on December 4 found 56.3 per cent agreed and 27.7 per cent didn’t agree.

Mr Oosting said Australia was recently ranked the fifth worst performing country in the world when it came to climate action.

The 2018 Climate Change Performance Index ranked Australia 55 out of 60 countries for climate change action, putting it in the same group as the United States and Saudi Arabia.


Labor’s new affordable housing policy labelled a handout for developers

A $6.6 billion policy proposed by the federal Labor party has come under fire from affordable housing experts, who say the planned subsidy doesn’t address the root causes of unaffordable housing.

Labor leader Bill Shorten announced a $8500 per dwelling subsidy for investors who build homes and lease them for a 20 per cent discount to market rents on Sunday.

The policy would cost $102 million over 2021 to 2022, and $6.6 billion until 2029 and would create 250,000 new homes, Labor said.

The subsidy is set to target developers looking to construct build-to-rent blocks and community housing associations, industry players expect.

Build-to-rent is an asset class where an institution or organisation develops homes with the intention of holding and renting them out, rather than selling each dwelling.

“You don’t need to go around giving companies with multimillion-dollar balance sheets public money,” he said. “If you wanted more houses built and rented cheaper, this would be the worst way to do it.”

Build-to-rent developments were already on their way with or without the subsidy and its introduction would encourage construction in areas where market rents were already low, which would maximise the amount the owner of the dwellings would be able to pocket from the subsidy, Dr Murray said.

Although the subsidy would also benefit community housing providers, Dr Murray said there were still better ways to achieve a similar result.

“We have $50 billion to buy submarines, but we don’t have a cent to build a house. And when you build a house the tenant pays you afterwards,” he said. “If you’re worried about the budget you should be building more public housing because you get money when you rent it out.

“I think you’ll find when the market starts to turn down all of a sudden all these developers are going to realise they don’t want to be stuck holding all these lots that are falling in value. It’s better to build to rent than have their land declining in value.”

But the chair of Community Housing Industry Association Michael Lennon, who advised on the policy, said the plan would be of great benefit to low and middle-income Australians already struggling to find an affordable place to live.

“There are vast numbers of people in all Australia cities where people are paying between 30 and 50 per cent of their incomes on housing,” he said. “They’re trapped in a market with unaffordable housing costs. This policy is to address a key part of the country’s infrastructure that has declined in recent years.”

It was a big opportunity for institutional investors in Australia because it made build-to-rent projects more financially viable and community housing organisations would also be better able to afford to offer low-cost housing, Mr Lennon added.

Karl Fitzgerald, project director at think tank Prosper Australia, said moving to a land rent scheme, where the government owns the land and leases it in perpetuity to a buyer, would be a better way of improving affordability. A land rent scheme is already in place in the ACT.

Leasing government land to community housing associations to build homes instead would also be a better option, he said.

Mr Fitzgerald argued high land costs were the root cause of unaffordability, and the measure was a stop-gap in place of more holistic reform.

“It is admirable that they’re at least talking about housing affordability,” he said. “Governments would be far better off tackling the land price than handing out subsidies.”


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, 2018

The Chihuahua Effect

Bettina Arndt comments on her defence of men against feminist abuse

Promoting my new book #MenToo has provided a wonderful example of the chihuahua effect. In case you haven’t heard of this before, that’s a term coined by Eric Weinstein, the brilliant American mathematician, economist, writer and managing director of Thiel Capital, which he used describe a small group producing most of the noise. Like our feminists.

No question we’re talking here about a tiny group. Only 19 per cent of Australians call themselves “feminist”, according to the Macquarie University survey that was at the heart of the recent SBS documentary, Is Australia Sexist – I recently made a video about that appalling programme. 

Boy, is this small group busy yapping away, putting their own spin on what I am doing. Last week I was interviewed about #MenToo, on Channel 7’s Sunrise programme – see that interview on my video from last week. The two female hosts were surprisingly positive about my central message about mothers being concerned about their sons in this male-bashing society. It triggered a huge response from viewers, with nearly 5,000 likes on their Facebook page, compared to only 200 critical responses. Most of the 1.8 thousand comments posted were positive and included many from women supporting my argument that feminism is no longer promoting equality but rather is advantaging women at the expense of men.

There’s been no mention of this overwhelming public support in the stream of critical articles being published commenting on the interview. Instead journalists like Stephanie Bedo on attacked the Sunrise hosts for their “one-sided” interview in which my “controversial views were left unchallenged.” Many other commentators have followed suit invariably saying Sunrise had “copped criticism” for the interview. The fake news took over as other media sites promoted this minority view as if it was the main story.

My Sunrise experience is all about the chihuahua effect. A small, noisy band of feminists attack a mainstream television programme for an interview overwhelmingly endorsed by the bulk of the programme’s audience. But it is their yapping about the shameful, one-sided television interview which attracts all the subsequent media attention.

Roll on the day when the Great Dane, the sensible majority concerned about what’s happening to men in our society, puts a stop to the antics of this irritating creature and takes it on.

Via email from

Jo Nova - How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Electricity Grid in Three Easy Steps

How Labor will accept 4,000 MORE refugees into Australia and give $500 million to the United Nations to help asylum seekers if Bill Shorten is elected

An extra 4000 refugees will call Australia home every year and $500million will go to the United Nations to help asylum seekers if Labor wins the next federal election.

Bill Shorten is also promising an urgent review of Newstart, which the party believes is too low.

But the opposition leader will maintain the coalition's hardline boat turn backs policy and refuses to commit to lifting dole payments.

'You can have secure borders and you can live up to our humanitarian obligations. You just require leadership,' Mr Shorten told Labor's national conference in Adelaide on Monday.

The two announcements go some way to soothing tensions between Labor's factions over lifting the dole and welcoming refugees.

The Community Sponsored Refugee Program will over time be expanded from 1000 to 5000 places annually. The program allows state and local governments, community organisations, businesses, unions and faith-based organisations to sponsor humanitarian entrants into Australia.

A Shorten Labor government will also give $500million to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees over five years.

Mr Shorten said he would look to take up New Zealand's offer to resettle refugees from Nauru and Manus Island immediately on similar terms with the United States agreement.

The Labor leader also promised to release the findings of the Newstart review within 18 months of taking power. 'We believe in the greatness of the Australian safety net,' Mr Shorten said.

Some Left faction members were pushing for a rise in the unemployment payment, which hasn't risen in real terms since 1994, prompting advocacy groups to call for a $75-a-week increase on the current rate of $275.

But Mr Shorten's factional allies appear to have secured a backroom victory on Newstart and refugees to ensure the opposition Leader has his way five months out from the federal election.

The party promised to abolish the controversial Community Development Program work-for-the-dole scheme meant to help indigenous people in remote Australia. It will be replaced because Labor says it punishes indigenous job seekers compared to their city-based counterparts.

Labor also committed to establishing a voice to parliament designed by indigenous people and enshrined in the constitution.


'Step in right direction': Trump lauds Australia's move on Jerusalem

The Trump administration has welcomed the Morrison government's decision to officially recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, describing the move as "a step in the right direction" and a "recognition of reality".

President Donald Trump announced last December that the US would recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's decision to follow the US and recognise Jerusalem has been applauded by the Netanyahu government, although Israeli officials have said they are disappointed the Australian embassy will remain in Tel Aviv for now.

But Palestinian and Malaysian authorities strongly criticised the move, saying it would undermine hopes of a two-state solution.

"Australia’s announcement on Jerusalem is a step in the right direction," a US State Department spokeswoman told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

"Almost exactly one year ago, President Trump was the first head of state to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announce his intent to move his nation’s embassy to Jerusalem.

"As the President stated, for the United States, recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a recognition of reality."

The spokeswoman said Australia's decision acknowledged the fact Jerusalem had been the seat of the modern Israeli government for 70 years and was the home of its parliament and Supreme Court.

"We encourage other governments to follow President Trump’s lead in acknowledging this reality, recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and moving their embassies to Jerusalem," the spokeswoman said.

In a speech to the Sydney Institute on Saturday, Morrison said that peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine had reached a "rancid stalemate" and a new approach was needed.

"Slavish adherence to the conventional wisdom over decades appears only to be further entrenching this stalemate, providing a leave pass for continued inaction," he said.


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

18 December, 2018

Ramsay Centre and University of Wollongong sign Memorandum of Understanding

The anti-Western attitudes that are so common on the Left meant that moves to establish a centre for the study of Western Civilization were derailed by protesters at one university after another.  So it is heartening that one well established university has bucked Leftist censorship

AS part of a philanthropic gift to the Humanities in Australia, the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Wollongong (UOW), to fund a new BA degree in Western Civilisation, and a related scholarship program.

This is the first university partnership for the Centre, which was created with an endowment from the late Paul Ramsay AO, founder of Ramsay Health Care. The Centre seeks to advance education through study and discussion of Western civilisation, including through university partnerships. It is currently in discussion with several other universities, including within the Group of Eight.

Worth upwards of $50 million over 8 years, the partnership will also fund 150 undergraduate scholarships, and the hiring of world-class educators.

We are delighted to be partnering with the University of Wollongong. The negotiations have been conducted in a highly collegiate and mutually respectful manner over the last twelve months. Together we are excited about the wonderful opportunity for students in the Humanities this partnership presents.

The BA (Western Civilisation) will comprise 16 newly created subjects, leaving room for students to take an outside major or double degree. Students will study the great texts of western civilisation in small groups.

We have always said that the success of the degree would depend on the quality of the teaching and UOW attaches great importance to teaching standards and quality.

UOW’s Western Civilisation program will be directed by Professor Daniel Hutto who is a gifted and passionate educator, committed to hiring world-class scholars and teachers into the program.

Students will benefit from UOW’s emphasis on teacher quality and student engagement. In 2018 the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) ranked UOW as the number one NSW university. It also ranked UOW as NSW’s best university in eight study areas including the humanities and law.

The University of Wollongong is a university on the rise, ranked equal 10th in Australia in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University rankings and 30th in the world in the Times Higher Education Young University rankings.

For more information on the centre please visit

Media release: contact Sarah Switzer

Malaysia says Australia’s Jerusalem decision is ‘humiliating’ and ‘premature’

PM Morrison made a very balanced announcement that included recognition of Palestinian claims but compromise is alien to Muslims

Malaysia has come out strongly against the Australian government’s move to recognise West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, calling the decision “premature” and a “humiliation to the Palestinians”.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison says it’s a decision for Australia, and wants the nation’s new position to become an election issue if Labor won’t support it.

Mr Morrison confirmed the foreign policy change on Saturday, which Labor has suggested it could reserve if it wins government in 2019.

The prime minister says Opposition Leader Bill Shorten needs to make the case for such a reversal before Australians vote.

“He will have to outline to the Australian community why he would want to now reverse that position and step Australia back from what should be, I think, a very strong stand of support for Israel,” he told reporters in Canberra earlier this week.

A decision on the capital came after the government flouted the idea of moving its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in October, ahead of a crucial by-election in Wentworth.

It drew criticism from political rivals as a cynical ploy to buy votes in the electorate, which has a large Jewish population.

The step also drew rebukes from South East Asian trading partners, who feared Australia wading into the multi-generational political quagmire could fuel unrest.

The government now says it won’t move its embassy until a two-state solution is reached, at which time it will also recognise East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital.

But Australia will establish a defence and trade office in Jerusalem and will start looking for an appropriate site for an embassy there.

The Malaysian foreign ministry expressed its strong opposition to the changes in a statement on Sunday.

“This announcement, made before the settlement of a two-state solution, is premature and a humiliation to the Palestinians and their struggle for the right to self-determination,” the ministry said.

Labor leader Bill Shorten has called the shift in foreign policy a “humiliating backdown” after the coalition’s announcement during the dying days of its Wentworth campaign.

“We’ve seen a complex debate derailed by reckless and foolish behaviour,” he told reporters in Adelaide on Saturday.

Labor believes Jerusalem should remain recognised as the capital of both Israel and Palestine until the final stages of negotiations on a two-state solution. Israel’s foreign ministry commended the move as a step in the right direction, while Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the announcement was born of Australian “petty domestic politics”.

Mr Morrison has defended the new position, saying it was time to call out the “rancid stalemate” in progress towards a two-state solution. A delayed multibillion-dollar trade deal with Indonesia is expected to be on shaky ground as a result of the announcement.

Indonesia’s foreign ministry spokesman, Arrmanatha Nasir, noted that Australia had not moved its embassy to Jerusalem and called on all members of the United Nations to recognise a Palestinian state “based on the principle of two-state solutions”.


Revenue surge puts Coalition $30bn in the black

The fruit of conservative government

An unexpected budget bonanza has doubled the projected sur­pluses over the next four years to more than $30 billion in a dramatic improvement to the bottom line in what the Coalition will today claim is the best set of numbers since the final year of the Howard-Costello government.

The Australian understands that next year’s long-awaited ­return to surplus for 2019-20 will be revised up in today’s budget update from a wafer thin $2.2bn to just over $4bn following significant cuts in spending and higher company tax revenues.

This is forecast to snowball over the current forward estimates to reach accumulated surpluses of $30bn by 2021-22, which is twice the projected aggregate of $15.3bn revealed in the last budget.

The turnaround for the government, which inherited $123bn in cumulative deficits from the previous Labor governments when it came to office in 2013, paves the way for an unexpected and sizeable war chest ahead of the April 2 budget and the May election, which could be used for further tax relief.

The mid-year economic and fiscal outlook will reveal radically lower spending numbers this ­financial year. which are believed to be worth up to $9bn and include major savings in welfare payments.

The Australian understands this includes $1.1bn in additional savings from fewer dole payments due to high employment growth and people going from welfare and into work. This is on top of the existing savings of $721 million over the forward estimates ­revealed in the May budget. Josh Frydenberg will confirm that the budget deficit in 2018-19 will be at its lowest level since 2007-08 — the last time a budget surplus was recorded.

The Treasurer will announce the expected budget deficit for the current 2018-19 year of $14.4bn will be cut by more than half, in line with monthly financial statements that have shown significantly higher revenue and improved spending restraint.

The Australian understands the deficit for the current year could come in as low as $5bn, which will deliver the higher-than-projected return to surplus next year.

The shortfall in welfare spending is likely to cover the cost of new spending announcements since the May budget, including the school funding package, costed at $4.6bn over a decade, and the GST deal for Western Australia, which could cost up to $9bn over a decade. Analysts expect the strength of tax revenue will give the government the latitude to spend up to $9bn a year in tax cuts or new spending programs ahead of next year’s election, although major new commitments are not expected in the budget update.

“As the Prime Minister has made clear, next year we will ­deliver a budget surplus — the first in a decade,” Mr Frydenberg said ahead of the update.

“This will be achieved without increasing taxes and while providing the essential services that Australians rely on and investing in the critical infrastructure that Australia needs.

“Our economic fundamentals are strong, with the unemployment rate down to 5 per cent, economic growth faster than all G7 nations except the United States, and our AAA credit rating reaffirmed.

“As a result of our disciplined budget management, real growth in government spending under the Coalition government is averaging 1.9 per cent per year — its lowest level for any government in 50 years.

“A strong economy means we can deliver tax relief for individuals as well as small and family businesses. It also means we can deliver the essential services like healthcare, disability support, aged care and schools which Australians rely on.

“We are able to do this without raising taxes. In contrast, Labor plans to slug $200bn in taxes on your income, your property, your savings and your electricity.”

The mid-year update will also show employment grew by 308,100 people over the year to last October, contributing to the lowest proportion of people of working age on welfare in 25 years.

The Department of Finance has been having difficulty costing a range of the most expensive programs, including the National Disability Insurance Scheme, age pensions, family tax benefits and unemployment benefits, which have all cost much less than was estimated in the May budget.

The NDIS has been difficult to cost, because it is a new program that depends on the readiness of third-party providers to deliver the funding. However, a former ­Finance Department official speaking on background said the errors in costing programs such as the age pension, which was overstated by $900m, were much harder to understand.

Treasury attributed the shortfall to the lift in the retirement age to 67 years by 2023, however the tightening of the age pensions ­assets test has also been affecting more people than anticipated.

Major over-estimates in the cost of family tax payments ($800m) and unemployment benefits ($330m) are partly explained by improving economic conditions. Only two-thirds of NDIS commitments are being taken up, with figures for the September quarter showing little more than 50 per cent of budgeted funds had been spent.

The final report for 2017-18 showed spending was $2.5bn less than anticipated.

The May budget figures were compiled on the basis of actual spending in the first six months of the 2017-18 financial year, and ­analysts expect the shortfall which came to light when the final budget outcome was completed in September, will carry through into the current financial year.

Deloitte Access Economics partner Chris Richardson said the government would have the scope to include other planned election commitments that are yet to be announced in the contingency ­reserve. This would have the effect of making this year’s deficit larger and next year’s surplus smaller, but would keep Labor in the dark about what funds are available.

“Ahead of an election, the contingency reserve has the potential to be a handy refrigerator to keep things fresh,” Mr Richardson said.

Mr Richardson said the budget was about 0.5 per cent of GDP better than expected as a result of a stronger nominal economy, equivalent to $9bn to $10bn, which could be distributed between tax cuts, offers to marginal electorates and improvement in the surplus.

AMP chief economist Shane Oliver said there was a danger that windfall tax revenue from higher commodity prices and strong employment growth might prove temporary.

“A lot of the improvement in the budget has come from higher commodity prices. If China’s economy continues to slow, it is hard to see the iron ore price holding up,” he said.

Dr Oliver noted that employment growth was also starting to slow, while Treasury would be under pressure to lower its forecast for wage growth, which the budget predicted would reach 2.75 per cent this year and 3.25 per cent next year. The latest report shows private sector wage growth remains stuck at 2 per cent.


Anti-coal protestors interrupt Labor leader's keynote address

Bill Shorten’s keynote speech at Labor’s National Conference this morning got off to an awkward start as he was ambushed by protesters.

The audience of 400 delegates and 1000 observers at the Adelaide Convention Centre had been thoroughly warmed up by Labor’s deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, national president Wayne Swan and South Australian opposition leader Peter Malinauskas when Mr Shorten finally strolled onto the stage.

A protester, 25-year-old Isaac Astill, quickly appeared next to him. As Mr Shorten took his position behind the lecturn, Mr Astill stood beside him and unfurled a banner bearing the words “Stop Adani”.

“Will you please stop the Adani coal mine? There are bushfires across Queensland, heat records are tumbling, the Great Barrier Reef is heading for a third bleaching event, we have to stop the Adani coal mine,” he said.

“Oh mate. Alright,” Mr Shorten said, before letting Mr Astill make his point.

“Thanks for making that statement. Do I get to keep the flag?” he asked. “You can keep the flag if you like, absolutely, of course,” the protester replied.

“Good on you mate, cheers. See ya,” Mr Shorten said.

“Really appreciate it Mr Shorten. It’s going to be so important you do that. Thank you, catch you later. I really hope you come out with a commitment to stop the mine.”

“No it’s all good. Thank you very much, I appreciate you making your point.”

At that point, Mr Swan intervened, and a security guard removed Mr Astill from the stage.

“I think our visitor should leave the stage now,” Mr Swan said. “Show him the way out, thank you.”

But the fiasco continued, as more protesters appeared at Mr Shorten’s other shoulder.

“OK. Which one’s this?” he quipped.

“We’ll call for the escorts,” Mr Swan interjected.

“We’re Australia’s oldest political party. We have a proud history of democracy, we all understand the right to protest. But that doesn’t include the right to drown out the leader of the opposition. So could you please leave the stage?”

When he finally got some clear air, Mr Shorten addressed the crowd. “I know these people are well-intentioned, but the only people they’re helping is the current government of Australia,” he said.

“I’ve waited for the next election for five years and if I’ve got to wait a couple more minutes, I just will. “People have got a right to protest, but you’ve got to ask yourself when you see these protests — who’s the winner? It’s the Coalition. “We’ve already had two protests and goodness knows what the current Prime Minister will do to try to upstage them.”


 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, 2018

African gangs crisis: Wild Airbnb party descends into chaos as 200 rowdy teenagers spill onto the streets and four youths are bashed and robbed at knifepoint by thugs

A violent gang of African youths have robbed and bashed four teenagers after more than 200 unwelcome revellers gatecrashed an Airbnb party.

Police swooped on the short-stay rental home in Point Cook, in Melbourne's west, on Friday night when the party descended into chaos at about 10pm. 

When the mob was dispersed 'without incident', knife-welding thugs started robbing partygoers of their mobile phones and shoes, police said.

Five young people of 'African appearance' including one man with a knife approached two young boys and stole their belongings.

Just minutes later, two other teenage boys were assaulted and robbed by a group eight males on about 10 minutes walk from the first incident.

'The offenders in both robberies are perceived to be of African appearance,' Victoria Police said in a statement.

The owner of the Airbnb property, who rents it out for $200 a night, told the Herald Sun he was shocked to hear hundreds of people at attended the party. 'There were supposed to be four guests. Lucky, nothing was damaged, nothing lost.I was a bit worried, he said. 

'Police were really good, they came and stopped the party straight away. The kids were co-operative but it took one and a half hours before to clear.

Police are investigating whether the robbery and assault incidents are linked to members of the party.

A Victoria Police spokesman told Daily Mail Australia: 'It is believed all involved had recently attended a party at a short stay rental in Point Cook.'

Police investigations are ongoing. 

It comes comes just days after a knife-wielding teenage boy sliced a man's hand during an aggravated burglary in Point Cook - the same suburb as Friday night's party. 

Police were alerted to a boy, 15, allegedly breaking into a family home in Point Cook, Melbourne's south west at 3.40am on Monday.

A 40-year-old father reportedly woke up and was shocked to find the boy in his home. He escorted the teenager out of his house and told him not to return, 9 News reports.

After 10 minutes, the boy allegedly returned with an axe and tried to break into the man's Jeep in his garage. The home owner tried to stop him but the boy allegedly slashed the man's right hand.

The man's young children aged four and two were also reportedly in the home at the time, 3AW reports.

Police arrived a short time later and fired a warning shot in the air.

In a statement, Victoria Police said: 'Police have arrested a teenager following an alleged aggravated burglary in Point Cook overnight. Police were called to a residential address at La Coruna Gardens following reports of a male at the house with an axe about 3.40am.

'The 40-year-old male resident received a minor cut to the arm during the incident and was treated at the scene.' 

The boy, from Kew, was arrested and is being held in custody.

The 40-year-old man was treated at the scene by paramedics.


Australian Government recognises West Jerusalem as Israel's capital but keeps embassy in Tel Aviv

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the foreign policy shift during a speech in Sydney, arguing it was a "balanced" and "measured" position.

"Australia now recognises West Jerusalem, being the seat of the Knesset [Israel's parliament] and many of the institutions of government, is the capital of Israel," Mr Morrison said.

"Furthermore, recognising our commitment to a two-state solution, the Australian Government has also resolved to acknowledge the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a future state with its capital in East Jerusalem."

Mr Morrison delayed moving Australia's embassy from Tel Aviv but said a trade and defence office would be established in West Jerusalem.

"We look forward moving to our embassy to West Jerusalem when practical, in support of and after, final status determination."

He said his decision to weigh into the issue had been mocked but that Australian had earned the right to have its say on the issue.

"When you look at our incredible influence, both in the creation of the state of Israel and our partnership with it over so many years, it's hard to say that Australia's influence has been small. It's been quite great," Mr Morrison said.

"So, while Australia's voice and the megaphone we have is not as great as the great powers — that's true. "But I've got to say, ever since I raised this issue several months ago, people have been pretty keen to know what we were going to say."


David Hurley named next governor general of Australia as Labor blasts timing

Australia’s next governor general will be David Hurley, the New South Wales governor and former defence force chief.

On Sunday morning the prime minister, Scott Morrison, announced that Hurley will replace Peter Cosgrove in June 2019, unleashing a furious rebuke from the shadow treasurer, Chris Bowen, for failing to consult the opposition and timing the announcement to coincide with Labor’s 48th national conference.

Bowen said that he had no criticism of the appointment of Hurley, who served for 42 years in the Australian army and concluded his service as the chief of the defence force before being appointed NSW governor in October 2014. The appointment was “perfectly appropriate”, Bowen told reporters in Adelaide.

Hurley is a companion of the order of Australia and earned a distinguished service cross for leadership in Operation Solace in Somalia in 1993.

Although Bowen acknowledged there was no constitutional requirement to do so, he said it would have been appropriate for Morrison to “have had the good grace to consult the leader of the opposition” given Hurley’s term will begin after the 2019 election.

Bill Shorten had been “informed but not consulted”, he said, adding that “courtesy and good grace is not something we’ve come to expect from this prime minister”.

“Do we really believe that a governor general, who will be taking up his post in the middle of next year, had to be announced today while the leader of the opposition was making an important speech at the very same time? What a coincidence.”

In a separate statement on Sunday afternoon, Shorten said he was informed of Hurley’s appointment on Sunday morning.

“While I am pleased the prime minister received approval from the United Kingdom for this merited appointment, I hope this is the last time an Australian prime minister has to call Buckingham Palace for permission,” he said.

Earlier, Morrison told reporters in Canberra that Hurley had been his “first choice” and the responsibilities of “stability, continuity, certainty” were foremost in his mind when selecting a replacement for Cosgrove.

Cosgrove’s term is due to expire in March but Morrison said that would be pushed back to June to allow Hurley to remain in his role as NSW governor through the NSW election and for Cosgrove to remain in his until after the federal election was completed.

“Next year is an election year and it is very important that I think this appointment be seen well outside the context of any electoral issues,” Morrison said.

In selecting another governor general drawn from Australia’s military, the prime minister said he was “a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to these things” and had “always been impressed” by those who had been appointed from Australia’s military ranks.

In a statement released on Sunday, Morrison said: “He has been a very popular governor of NSW. From his weekly boxing workouts with Indigenous children as part of the Tribal Warriors program to his frequent regional trips, Governor Hurley is known for being generous and approachable to old and young alike.”

Hurley said he was surprised to have received the request and “humbled and proud to have accepted”.

He said working with communities in his role as NSW governor had allowed him to meet a “multitude of extraordinary Australians”.

“I have certainly confirmed in my own mind over the past four years, something that I had sensed about Australia, but really hadn’t had the opportunity before to witness on a day-to-day basis – that Australia is a very rich country in a nonmaterial sense,” Hurley said.

“Australians have an amazing and, indeed, an enormous capacity to contribute their time, their energy, their time, their efforts and indeed their money to assist others. I look forward to continuing to be involved with them in these pursuits.”

In September Cosgrove confirmed he would retire in March, explaining that the job “deserves and ­demands new vigour”.

At that time the Labor leader, Bill Shorten, asked Morrison to extend Cosgrove’s term to allow an incoming prime minister to make an appointment after the 2019 election, expected in May.

Morrison’s decision to make an early appointment ensures he has his pick of governor general while keeping options open for an early election after the summer break.

In his Labor party national conference speech on Sunday, Shorten promised Labor would build “a country that stands on its own two feet: an Australian republic with an Australian head of state”.

But despite that full-throated support, Shorten described that recognition of Indigenous Australians through a voice to parliament as his “first priority for constitutional change”, effectively putting the republic at the end of the queue.


Good show! Australia’s carbon emissions highest on record

Good for crops

Australia’s carbon emissions are again the highest on record, according to new data from the emissions-tracking organisation Ndevr Environmental.

Ndevr replicates the federal government’s national greenhouse gas inventory (NGGI) quarterly reports but releases them months ahead of the official data.

Data it has produced for the year up to September 2018 shows Australia is still on track to miss its Paris target of a 26%-28% cut to emissions on 2005 levels by 2030.

Matt Drum, the managing director of Ndevr, said if emissions continued at their current rate, Australia would miss the target by a cumulative 1.1bn tonnes.

Electricity sector emissions were stable, but fugitive emissions, and emissions from stationary energy and transport are all still trending sharply upwards.

Both the Coalition government and Labor have not ruled out using controversial carryover credits from the Kyoto protocol to help meet Australia’s obligations under the Paris agreement.

Labor has promised that if it wins the election it will increase Australia’s target to 45% on 2005 levels, in line with recommendations from the independent Climate Change Authority.

Ndevr’s analysis said this would require a reduction of 197.1m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent based on current emissions levels, which would be equal to taking 75m cars off the road for a year.

In comparison, the Coalition’s emission reduction target would require an 80.8m tonne reduction.

Breaking up Labor’s target across sectors, Ndever suggests a range of reductions will be necessary in several industries, including 61.2m tonnes from the electricity sector, 33.4m tonnes from the stationary energy sector, 23.7m tonnes from agriculture and 34.2m tonnes from transport.

“If Labor come into government we can’t afford a policy vacuum,” Drum said. “It’s looking grim. We need policy levers and we need them quickly.” Drum said the need for action was so urgent there would be no time for a full redesign of policy if there was a change of government. Instead, he said existing policies, such as the safeguard mechanism, should be amended.

“They need to utilise existing policy like the safeguard mechanism and tweak it so it achieves what it is intended to achieve, which is reduce emissions,” he said.

On Thursday, the Greens environment spokesperson, Sarah Hanson-Young, said Australia was using “creative emissions accounting” to try to meet its Paris targets. “Counting Kyoto credit towards Paris cheats our environment and the rest of the world,” she said.

“Our emissions are going up, yet our environment minister is telling the world we are doing our bit to meet our Paris targets.”


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

16 December, 2018

Australian Aboriginal woman to graduate with a medical degree

I have been present when Aboriginals have been awarded professional qualifications which I knew to be unearned.  And like the lady below they went on to use their defective skills in the service of other Aborigines. So the upshot of the do-gooding is inferior services for Aborigines. That is kind??  Aborigines should have to jump through the same hoops as everyone else

The first doctor from Deakin University Medical School’s Indigenous entry scheme will graduate this week.

Laura English, a proud Yamatji woman with strong ties to the Wathaurong community in her hometown of Geelong, will be among 1100 students graduating from Deakin at the University’s Geelong Waterfront Campus on Thursday and Friday.

“I want to use what I’ve learnt at Deakin to give back to my community, whether that’s my community here in Geelong, or the wider community,” Laura said.

“Indigenous health and closing the gap is such a huge area, and we desperately need more doctors, nurses and health professionals from our community.”

Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander AO said nurturing and encouraging students to make a difference in their communities was a fundamental goal of the University.

“We especially recognise that as places of learning, universities are powerful agents for social change and have a key role to play in promoting social justice and human rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples,” Professor den Hollander said.

“Currently there are fewer than 300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors working in Australia. That means medical schools like ours must meet the challenge of building greater representation, by recruiting and retaining more Indigenous students.

“Our alumni are our most effective ambassadors and the best evidence of our success, making an ongoing contribution to the intellectual, social and economic life of the communities we serve.”

The medical school’s Indigenous entry scheme began in 2015, setting aside five per cent of domestic places in Deakin's Doctor of Medicine course for Indigenous Australian applicants, with a special application and interview process and extra support available throughout the course.

Laura, who will graduate at Thursday afternoon’s ceremony, said it was a surreal feeling to be Deakin’s first Indigenous doctor.

“I always wanted to work in health and had medicine in the back of my mind, but never thought I could get there,” she said.

Laura first studied nursing at Deakin’s Institute of Koorie Education, graduating in 2012. She worked as nurse for two years before her parents encouraged her to apply for the medical school’s Indigenous entry scheme.

The scheme began in 2015, setting aside five per cent of domestic places in Deakin's Doctor of Medicine course for Indigenous Australian applicants, with a special application and interview process and extra support available throughout the course. There are now nine students studying at Deakin as part of this group.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, it’s been an absolute emotional rollercoaster, but it was definitely worth it standing here and looking back,” Laura said.

As part of her studies Laura also completed a six-week placement with the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-Operative, working with the doctors and health practitioners there, developing a particular interest in women’s health.

Media release: Contact: Elise Snashall-Woodhams. E:

Australia is set to follow the US in formally recognising West Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Australia is on track to follow in the footsteps of the US and formally recognise West Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will deliver a speech to the Sydney Institute on Saturday to throw his support behind Israeli government, The Weekend Australian reported.

Mr Morrison will support the push to name the contested city as Israel's capital on the belief it will progress peace talks in the Middle East.

'The Australian government has decided that Australia now recognises West Jerusalem, as the seat of the Knesset and many of the institutions of government, is the capital of Israel,' Mr Morrison is expected to say.

He will also take aim at the United Nations and accuse them of anti-Semitism. 

Mr Morrison will hit back at the UN's refusal to acknowledge Israel's claims of self-defence as the militant Palestinian group Hamas continues to hurl attacks at the country.

The Morrison government will also seek to recognise a future Palestinian state.

Mr Morrison first made his view on West Jerusalem public days before the Wentworth by-election in October. At the time he openly aired his support of moving the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

He is expected to put the move on ice, at least until a peace settlement determines the final status of the city.

'And we look forward to moving our embassy to West Jerusalem when practical, in support of, and after, final-status determination,' Mr Morrison will say in his speech.

In the meantime, a defence and trade office will be set up in Jerusalem. The symbolic gesture is intended to reflect the bilateral relationship between the two sides.

Mr Morrison's comments about recognising West Jerusalem have also sparked severe blowback from the international community, and placed Australia and Indonesia on rocky ground.

Head of the Palestinian delegation in Canberra Izzat Abdulhadi also warned the decision could strain Australia's relationship with Middle Eastern countries.

Mr Morrison is also expected to support the Iran Nuclear deal, a u-turn on his previous desire to scrap it. He will also look to bring in 'autonomous sanctions' against Iran, a response to the country's role in sponsoring terrorism in the Middle East.

Mr Morrison will also draw on the settlement activity in the Palestinian territories and say the current settlements 'undermine peace'.


Carols turn green as some Australian Christians sing out to save the planet

Hundreds of Christians in church choirs across the country will be singing Christmas carols with ­lyrics altered to protest about the burning of coal in a bid to change federal government policy on renewable energy.

The community organisation Australian Religious Response to Climate Change has facilitated the rewriting of 16 traditional Christmas carols — including We Wish You A Steady Climate and ­Silent Night, Smoky Night — and is encouraging community groups and choirs to sing them.

Darebin Council in Melbourne’s north, which has four Greens councillors among its nine members, hosted an event last week featuring many of the Carols Against Coal, and the Pitt Street Uniting Church Choir in Sydney has recently sung the altered Joy To The World — “Cool down the world, the time has come, for targets tight and fair”.

The ARRCC intends to upload a video of groups singing the carols to social media today ahead of tomorrow’s opening of the ALP’s national conference.

“We believe the Liberal Party has been in a long-term relationship with coal but we have slightly more hope that the Labor Party will be encouraged to take a bolder stance,” said ARRCC community organiser Tejopala Rawls.

“We want them to step down off the fence and gain the moral courage to do something about climate change.”

A dozen carollers from St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane will take to Brisbane Square today to sing the carols, led by Dean Peter Catt. “It shows that there’s a broad cross-section of the community that have concern for the environment,” Dean Catt said.

He said it was not anti-­Christian to politicise Christmas, nor would this detract from the spirit of the season. “Life is political and the gospel itself is political,” he said.


Federal Government vows to keep gender on birth certificates

The Morrison Government has vowed gender will remain on birth certificates as it plans to override states that wish to make it optional.

The Morrison Government is planning to override state laws to prevent a person’s gender from being stripped from their birth certificate.

Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert said the “identity wars” now posed serious risks to planning for hospitals and schools, and would destroy the function of the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“This identity war now poses some pretty serious risks. I can’t allow states to do it (remove gender),” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“This data is essential for sensible planning across Australia. Governments at all levels use it for planning including where hospitals and schools go. It’s used by housing developers.

“It will make planning exceptionally difficult for the Department of Health which has to make decisions about where obstetrics wards go and fertility services.

“We provide cervical cancer vaccines for free. How will we know how many to order? “Cervical cancer doesn’t care about how you identify, it cares about whether you have a cervix.”

The decision follows landmark reforms in Tasmania which could make it a crime not to call a person by their preferred gender pronoun.

The proposed law would also give parents in Tasmania the authority to decide whether their child’s gender is recorded on birth certificates, and allow people aged 16 or over to legally change their gender.

Last week, the Western Australia Government abandoned its plans to remove a baby’s gender from birth certificates.

Under growing pressure from church groups and with questions about how proposed changes would affect West Australians applying for documents such as passports, the government confirmed earlier this month it would not take gender off birth certificates.

It had been considering the idea as part of a raft of changes around gender reassignment laws.


 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, 2018

The Long Dry: Why the world's water supplies are shrinking (?)

Uni NSW has now released a slightly more scholarly version -- in part below -- of their implausible  claim that the world is drying out.  But it still makes no sense.  They now admit that it sounds crazy to say a warmer world would be dryer amid increased rainfall but still say it will be. 

Their basic datum is reduced flows in many rivers and they say that is because the soils are sucking up more of the rain than they used to.  That's still pretty crazy.  They are saying that soils will be dryer in a rainier world.  There's a bridge in Brooklyn they might like to buy.

There's a blindingly obvious explanation for reduced river flows: Diversion of water for human and animal use, particularly irrigation. Farmers worldwide are always putting in dams and diversions. Prof. Sharma sounds Indian so let me tell him how it's done in Australia.

When rains are good and river flows are up, farmers lucky enough to have a river nearby dig a big hole in their land and cut a channel from the river to that hole.  The hole fills up, the channel is blocked and that hole becomes a dam which can supply water next year when the rains fail.  There are dams like that all along Australia's inland rivers.  See Cubbie station for a large scale example.

And every one of those dams will reduce river flow.  They really will!  Need I go on?

A global study has found a paradox: our water supplies are shrinking at the same time as climate change is generating more intense rain. And the culprit is the drying of soils, say researchers, pointing to a world where drought-like conditions will become the new normal, especially in regions that are already dry.

The study – the most exhaustive global analysis of rainfall and rivers – was conducted by a team led by Prof Ashish Sharma at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney. It relied on actual data from 43,000 rainfall stations and 5,300 river monitoring sites in 160 countries, instead of basing its findings on model simulations of a future climate, which can be uncertain and at times questionable.

Large rivers drying out

“This is something that has been missed,” said Sharma, an ARC Future Fellow at UNSW’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “We expected rainfall to increase, since warmer air stores more moisture – and that is what climate models predicted too. What we did not expect is that, despite all the extra rain everywhere in the world, is that the large rivers are drying out.

“We believe the cause is the drying of soils in our catchments. Where once these were moist before a storm event – allowing excess rainfall to run-off into rivers – they are now drier and soak up more of the rain, so less water makes it as flow.

“Less water into our rivers means less water for cities and farms. And drier soils means farmers need more water to grow the same crops. Worse, this pattern is repeated all over the world, assuming serious proportions in places that were already dry. It is extremely concerning,” he added.

'Blue water' vs 'green water'

For every 100 raindrops that fall on land, only 36 drops are ‘blue water’ – the rainfall that enters lakes, rivers and aquifers – and therefore, all the water extracted for human needs. The remaining two thirds of rainfall is mostly retained as soil moisture – known as ‘green water’ – and used by the landscape and the ecosystem.

As warming temperatures cause more water to evaporate from soils, those dry soils are absorbing more of the rainfall when it does occur – leaving less ‘blue water’ for human use.

“It’s a double whammy,” said Sharma. “Less water is ending up where we can store it for later use. At the same time, more rain is overwhelming drainage infrastructure in towns and cities, leading to more urban flooding.”

Media release: CONTACT Prof Ashish Sharma  +61 425 332 304 |

An Aussie bargain shop chain pulls ‘disgusting’ figurines from shelves after social media storm

Not sure what is wrong about this.  The figurines actually look better than most real-life Aborigines today -- who are very prone to obesity etc

An Australian bargain shop chain has been forced to apologise and pull a bizarre product from its shelves following a social media backlash.

A picture of the figurines depicting scantily clad indigenous Australians carrying boomerangs and didgeridoos was uploaded onto Twitter over the weekend.

It was uploaded by Luke Pearson, founder and CEO of IndigenousX — an indigenous owned and run independent online media platform.

“The perfect gift for white ppl who ‘love Aboriginal culture’ but would rather not interact with us in real life,” he wrote alongside an image of the “Australian Aboriginal” figurines.

The China-made trinkets — which were being sold for just $3 each — were spotted at a Hot Bargain shop in the Lake Haven Shopping Centre on NSW’s Central Coast.

It’s understood similar figurines are being sold at other Aussie bargain shops and Mr Pearson claimed they were as “common as golliwogs in Australia” on Twitter.

Outraged commenters piled in on criticism of the figurines and the shop’s decision to stock them. “Holy sh*t that’s racist, vile and offensive,” wrote one commenter.  “I can’t believe people still sell these,” wrote another.

“That’s even more offensive than all those cheap, Indonesian knock-offs being sold as ‘authentic’ indigenous art in the gift shops,” added a third.

The bargain chain has now said it will immediately remove the product from its shelves following the outcry.


Are the Australian Greens a party of sex pests and predators?

Internal chaos has struck the NSW Greens after upper house MP Jeremy Buckingham was asked to step down by the party’s state delegate council in light of claims made by Greens MP Jenny Leong in NSW parliament accusing him of committing an “act of sexual violence” against party aide Ella Buckland in 2011.

Buckingham responded, accusing the Greens of being “corrupt and rotten” while fellow Greens MP Cate Faehrmann declared herself “beyond appalled” and described the vote as being the result of her party having been “infiltrated by extreme left forces”.

This is only the latest in a long line of embarrassing revelations for what is widely seen as one of Australia’s most pro-feminist political parties. In the recent Victorian State election it was revealed one candidate Angus McAlpine seemed to have endorsed date rape, drink spiking and domestic violence while another candidate Dominic Phillips was stood down over an actual accusation of rape.

In NSW self-proclaimed Anarchist, power broker for the Left Renewal faction and candidate for the inner city seat of Summer Hill Tom Raue had to try and explain exactly why he endorsed, and even campaigned for the legalisation of bestiality and necrophilia. He said it was a lark from his student days, which considering that his student days also included getting banned from campus for attacking Julie Bishop and getting sued for $50,000 by the very board of the student council that he was Vice President of seems scarily plausible.

That came only months after it was revealed that former Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber paid out a $56,000 settlement with a female staff member over sexual discrimination and bullying allegations, and that he quit politics two days after the claims were aired within his party. Mr Barber was also alleged to have regularly referred to female left wing activists as “hairy-legged feminists” and “fat, hairy lesbians” behind their backs.

Less hilariously and slightly more seriously it was also suggested that the incident was kept as quiet as possible due to Barber’s status as brother-in-law of Federal Greens leader Richard Di Natale.

Similar allegations of cover up, “victim blaming” and a complete unwillingness to take seriously the complaints of female staffers and volunteers about the inappropriate and sometimes criminal behaviour of elected male representatives and staff members have been made in Victoria, NSW and the ACT.

The ABC reported that Lawyer Rory Markham is suing the party on behalf of a former Greens volunteer who alleges she was sexually assaulted by another volunteer in the back of a car in Canberra on the night of the 2016 federal election campaign. She has asked not to be identified.

“That perpetrator cornered her, forced her, by placing his hands on her shoulders into the side of the car and whispered into her ear that he hated her and then started to digitally penetrate her,” Mr Markham said.

“She was speechless. She couldn’t scream out. She immediately got out of the car and was shaking.”

Holly Brooke also a member of the extremist “Left Renewal” faction also says the party ignored her complaints after a male party member tried to force his hand down her pants against her wishes while she was co-convenor of the NSW Young Greens in 2017.

Journalist Lauren Ingram claims she was violently raped by a Greens staffer in 2015 after he invited her over to his apartment in Sydney’s eastern suburbs for pizza. The photos of her bruises and the story she tells are horrific. In her case the Greens party apparatus faced with such an obvious wrongdoing leapt into action (after around six months)… and suspended the member in question.

That’ll show him.

If this was happening inside any party on the right, if this was happening inside the Liberals, One Nation, the Australian Conservatives or the Katter Australia Party then that party would not only be a public laughing stock but would probably (in the case of the minor parties) have been driven out of politics. There would be endless jeers from the commentariat, endless cartoons in the newspapers, endless stand-up routines poking fun at any party of the right that so publicly preaches virtue while privately covering up vice. Hell even the ALP would have trouble escaping the smell of repeated revelations such as these.

But the Greens? Well they’re the party overwhelmingly favoured by the people who write for the newspapers, the people who book the stand-up comedy acts, the people who produce the programs for the ABC and SBS. They’re the feminist party, the progressive party, the party that preaches every moral virtue dictated by the pulpits of modern academia.

They’re the “good” guys. Except it seems some of the guys aren’t so good.

Funny that.


Morrison’s stand on freedom of religion

Scott Morrison will take a ­religious discrimination act to the next election, in a major change to commonwealth discrimination laws that will introduce, for the first time, stand-alone legal protections for Australians of faith.

The Australian can reveal the Prime Minister will today unveil the long-awaited review into ­religious freedoms conducted by former Liberal attorney-general Philip Ruddock and accept its centrepiece recommendation for a religious discrimination act.

The overhaul is aimed at ensuring religious discrimination is treated as seriously as racial or sexual discrimination, and will not pose curbs on free speech by avoiding replication of controversial provisions in section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Draft legislation for the shake-up will be released early next year and will include a provision for the creation of a “freedom of religion” commissioner to sit within the Australian Human Rights ­Commission.

The government will seek feedback on the draft legislation, which will make it unlawful to ­discriminate on the basis of an ­individual’s religious beliefs, ­before taking the overhaul to next year’s election.

In a key step, the government has also moved to defuse the parliamentary impasse over the treatment of gay students within religious schools by referring the issue to the Australian Law Reform Commission for ­review.

The Prime Minister told The Australian last night he was taking action because religion and faith were central to the lives of millions of Australians, their families and their communities.

“Australia is a secular democracy but that does not mean that Australians are a godless people,” Mr Morrison said. “Australians have a diversity of faith and religious backgrounds and these should all be respected.

“This is an essential part of multiculturalism, in the same way no Australian should be discriminated against for their ethnicity or sexuality. Protecting freedom of belief is central to the liberty of each and every Australian.”

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher, yesterday said a religious discrimination act was necessary because society had changed. “There have been attempts in some states to ban the sacrament of confession,” he said.

“There’s moves to remove the few existing religious liberty protections from our schools.

“There was an attempt to prosecute the ­Tasmanian Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous for upholding Catholic teachings about marriage.

“A lot of other supporters of traditional marriage felt that they were, one way or another, discriminated against — including being sacked just for saying they supported traditional marriage.”

Archbishop Fisher said Australians used to be “live and let live” on religious matters. “Our neighbours could have a different religion to us,” he said. “We gave each other the space to be different. But lately there has been a hard-edged secularism that wants to stamp out religion from public life. So that’s why I think there are calls today for religious discrimin­ation legislation.”

The government has accepted absolutely or in-principle all 20 of the Ruddock review’s recommendations and will move to implement some changes more quickly than others. Mr Morrison and Attorney-General Christian Porter will today announce their intention to accept 14 recommendations immediately.

The Coalition government will seek to enact these recommen­dations through legislation when parliament resumes in February and views them as uncontroversial. They include measures such as an amendment to the Charities Act ensuring groups that uphold a traditional view of marriage are not stripped of their charitable status.

The Australian has confirmed that five of the Ruddock review recommendations dealing with exemptions in the Fair Work Act and existing anti-discrimination laws will be referred to the ALRC. These include the recommen­dations relating to students and teachers at faith-based schools.

Mr Porter said the ALRC would be charged with devising a mechanism to balance the rights of gay students with the rights of religious schools, unless Bill Shorten accepted key government amendments.

“Labor’s refusal so far to accept religious-based schools should be allowed to impose what are known as rules of general application, or school rules, such as a requirement for all students to attend chapel, meant this issue could not be dealt with by parliament before the end of the sitting year,” Mr Porter said.

“If Labor is able to support the government’s amendments to ensure religious schools can educate within the doctrine and tenets of their faith, then this issue could be dealt with in the first sitting days of 2019.”

He also said there was no reason for any political party to oppose the introduction of a religious discrimination act. “I don’t see what arguments you would legitimately raise as to why we should protect people from discrimin­ation based on their age, their race, their sex or the fact of a disability but not similarly protect them by virtue of the fact that they are a ­religious person,” Mr Porter said.

He said the government would not make it unlawful to “offend, insult or humiliate” someone on the basis of their religion — a move that would have replicated section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and has been attacked as an impediment to free speech.

Religious freedom expert Mark Fowler said the protection of ­people against discrimination on the basis of religious belief was “the missing piece in the constellation of Australian equality legislation … Of the five main equality rights recognised in the inter­national law to which Australia is a signatory, being race, age, disability, sex (including sexual orientation) and religion, only religion fails to receive protection in commonwealth law.”


 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, 2018

Melbourne is the place to be

Gutless gang of up to 20 African thugs knock out three men in Melbourne before stomping on their unconscious bodies and stealing one victim's phone and wallet

Police investigating the brutal attack of three friends in their 20s have released CCTV footage of the moment they were assaulted by an African gang.

The young men were walking along foreshore in St Kilda, Melbourne, at around 11.15pm on December 1 when a group of 12 men approached them. Without warning, the gang started to punch and kick the three friends.

The victims tried to walk away but the group followed them and were joined by several more men.

One victim, a 24-year-old man from Burwood East, was repeatedly punched in the head until he passed out. His mobile phone and wallet were taken from him while he was unconscious and he suffered a broken nose and facial bruising.

The second victim, a 26-year-old Wheeler's Hill man, tried to step in to help his friend but was kicked in the head until he also lost consciousness. He suffered cuts and bruises to his face.

The third victim, 20, from Vermont South, was chased off and suffered only minor injuries.

The 24-year-old and 26-year-old were both taken to hospital after bystanders came to their aid.

The offenders had fled the scene by the time police and ambulance officers arrived.

Port Philip CIU Detective Senior Constable Nathan Sheppard said the victims were doing fine following the incident. 'It's going to take them some time to get over what took place but they're gradually moving on with things,' he said.  The two men were released from hospital the following morning.

No one has been charged or arrested over what police describe as an 'unprovoked, random and brutal' incident. 

'You could speculate that there were drugs and alcohol involved but it's hard to say,' said Senior Constable Sheppard.

Senior Constable Sheppard said Victoria Police have stepped up the amount of patrols at various points of the foreshore.   


Dutton names Operation Sovereign Borders commander and attacks Nauru bill

Peter Dutton has appointed Major General Craig Furini the new commander of Operation Sovereign Borders and argued against changing Australia’s offshore detention policies, saying boat turn-backs by themselves don’t work.

At a press conference on Wednesday Furini and the outgoing commander, Air Vice-Marshal Stephen Osborne, both warned changes to Australia’s harsh policies of deterrence towards asylum seekers could be marketed by people smugglers to sell boat trips to Australia.

Furini received a Queen’s birthday AM honour in 2017 for his role as director of coalition joint strategy on Operation Inherent Resolve fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Furini steps into the role as opposition parties and crossbench independents combine to challenge the immigration minister’s powers to refuse medical evacuations, a move the government paints as undermining one of the central planks of operation sovereign borders.

In the final sitting week of parliament, the Senate passed a bill to allow two doctors to order a medical transfer, a decision that could be overturned by the minister before a final decision by an independent health advice panel.

Osborne told reporters in Canberra the issue was “politically charged” and events in Australia – including on the floor of parliament – are “watched very carefully” by people smugglers.

He said people smugglers can “take a particular comment to spin as a marketing tool”, even where “that is not true”.

Furini said he was still forming his view, but reiterated that “everything in Australia is being watched and could be spun – correctly or incorrectly – to market illegal maritime arrivals”.

Osborne confirmed he had briefed the crossbench last week to explain “the risks that they ran with various options they might consider”. He said he respected it was a democratic decision and did not present any option as “absolutely bad” or “absolutely right”.

“Operation Sovereign Borders does not rely simply on an on-water response – it is a holistic system.”

Dutton said turn-backs by themselves were ineffective. He criticised Labor’s line that “we’ll just turn back boats”, saying “it doesn’t work” because boat turn-backs needed to be accompanied by the message that people who arrived by boat would not resettle in Australia.

The home affairs minister argued if Nauru became a “transit lounge” to Australia, thousands of asylum seekers would attempt a maritime journey.

Dutton also said that more than 810 people had come to Australia from Nauru and Manus Island for medical assistance, “not very many” of whom had returned to offshore detention.

“If [the medical issue is] elevated to the point that they need to come to Australia we bring them here – that’s exactly what happens now.”

The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, said Dutton was making claims “beyond the remit of the Phelps bill” by saying it would apply to future arrivals.

“First of all, we have an issue around the current cohort. Again, what we’re proposing with the medical transfer bill I don’t think is a great departure from [what] already happens,” he said.

“What is does is put down on paper what has been happening in a de facto manner already. I do believe that if a doctor says a very sick person needs to come to Australia, whilst the person is in the minister’s care, we need to operate in a transparent and fair manner. Again, all that we are doing is helping to codify, but we need to make sure it is transparent to all and transparent to the Australian people.”

Recent Senate estimates hearings have revealed the government has spent more than $750,000 in 15 months responding to legal action by doctors and advocates seeking urgent medical evacuations that in many cases were repeatedly resisted by officials.

Almost two thirds of the total amount were for cases in the three months to October.

While some cases resulted in an out-of-court agreement to transfer patients, others were fought – all unsuccessfully – by the Department of Home Affairs. Some judgments included cost orders against the department, and stipulations that patients not be treated by the government’s offshore detention medical contractors.

In November Guardian Australia reported international authorities, with the assistance of Australia, had “disrupted” at least 10 alleged attempts to transport almost 300 asylum seekers to Australia by boat in the past 14 months. Disruptions are the third arm of the Operation Sovereign Borders policy.


Grey army stirs for battle against Labor’s retiree tax

Labor MPs believe turmoil in the Coalition is masking widespread dismay and anger among older voters over the plan to introduce what critics call a “retiree tax”.

“It’s quite polarised,” a Labor MP said yesterday. “You get re­action from self-funded retirees who say, ‘we pay the household expenses out of that cash refund and we’ve looked after ourselves for years’. There’s a little bit of that”.

A special Newspoll conducted for The Australian bears out Labor’s internal concerns over how the policy has been received. Support for the $55.7 billion plan to scrap the refundable tax credits on shares has fallen three percentage points since March, while ­almost half of those surveyed, 48 per cent, were opposed.

An age breakdown reveals the over-65 bracket is most strongly opposed to the ALP’s plan, with 62 per cent of voters in that demographic registering their dis­approval of the Labor policy.

Under the commitment, only pensioners and other recipients of government allowances (such as the carer payment or parenting payment) will still receive the cash refunds after Bill Shorten modified the plan earlier this year, following a backlash led by retiree groups.

But the policy tweaks won’t help John and Jan Bain, who today officially join the ­nation’s grey army of 1.1 million self-funded retirees. Mrs Bain, 74, will today work her last shift as a physiotherapist in their home town of Bunbury, 170km south of Perth, while husband John, 72, left his job as a livestock agent 14 years ago after a stroke, then relied on sound money advice to maintain the couple’s finances on the long road back to good health.

“It’s still a fairly slippery slope that we are walking on moneywise, but I think that’s true for a lot of self-funded retirees,” Mr Bain said yesterday. “The rules have got so bloody complicated.”

Once aligned to the Liberal Party, Mr Bain describes himself as a “drifting” rather than a swinging voter these days. He said he was appalled by the recent chaos in the Coalition and was unsure who to vote for at next year’s election, but felt he could not support Labor’s cuts to the refundable tax credits on shares because it would punish “middle Australia”.

“We think that if this gets in it will end up costing us somewhere between $10,000 and $12,000 a year, somewhere around there,” Mr Bain said. “We have got a very good financial adviser ... but we are not rich.”

Only 46 per cent of Labor voters agree with the plan, while approval drops to just 15 per cent among Coalition supporters. Total support is running at 30 per cent, down from 33 per cent in March when the last Newspoll on the issue was conducted.

Opposition to the policy has also dropped from 50 per cent to 48 per cent while the number of voters undecided on the shake-up has lifted from 17 to 22 per cent. Among Coalition voters, opposition is running at 71 per cent compared with 33 per cent for Labor supporters.

The refunding of franking credits was a system implemented in the Howard government’s 2001 budget, allowing super funds and individuals to receive cash payments if their dividend imputation credits exceeded their total tax liabilities. Estimates suggest about 33 per cent of cash refunds go to individuals, 60 per cent to self-managed super funds and about 7 per cent to APRA-regulated funds.

The Labor policy was framed as a way to close down a “tax loophole that mainly benefits millionaires”. Opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen warned that the cost of refunding the dividend imputation credits had become unsustainable.

The cost of the concession has ballooned from about $550 million when the measure was introduced by former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello — when the budget was in surplus — to more than $5bn a year. Labor’s policy would raise $55.7bn over a decade from July next year if Mr Shorten wins the next election.

The self-managed super fund sector and seniors groups have warned the Labor policy will bring about a number of unintended consequences while continuing to benefit the wealthy who have enough tax liabilities to exhaust the full value of their franking credits.

Dividend imputation was introduced in Australia in 1987 to avoid double taxation of company dividends. It provides a tax credit to shareholders for tax already paid by the company on their behalf. In a submission to the parliamentary standing committee on economics, which is conducting an inquiry into the removal of refundable franking credits, Michael Rice, the chief executive of actuarial firm Rice Warner, warned that there would be behavioural changes arising from the Labor policy.

“The main groups affected would be retirees on modest incomes holding equities directly and many SMSFs which have assets predominantly in pension accounts,” Mr Rice said.

He suggested these groups would shift their assets out of Australian equities, attain higher yields in other assets such as overseas-listed shares or infrastructure trusts or move their assets into unfranked Australian equities.

He suggested that some self-funded retirees would increase drawdowns from their superannuation to preserve their current levels of income, resulting in more people receiving the age pension earlier in life — an outcome that would impose additional costs on the government.

One consequence could see more people closing their SMSF and moving their assets into an APRA-regulated fund where their franking credits could be offset against other taxable income within the fund.


What are they Plotting in Poland?

By Viv Forbes, Secretary of the Saltbush Club

The Saltbush Club today called on the Morrison Government to come clean on what additional burdens for Australians are being discussed at COP24, the UN climate jamboree now taking place in Poland.

The Secretary of The Saltbush Club, Mr Viv Forbes of Australia, said that Australia will suffer badly from the destructive energy policies being promoted by the UN’s war on cheap, reliable hydro-carbon fuels.

“Like the Trump supporters in USA, Brexit in Britain, Solidarity in Poland, the Yellow Vests in France and the new Brazilian government we do not support the UN energy plans and we fear their hidden agenda.

“Australia’s backbone industries were built on cheap reliable power. We have huge overheads in the bureaucracy, academia and the welfare state which must be supported by real industry - mining and smelting, farming, fishing, forestry, processing, transport and manufacturing. These industries rely on hydro-carbon energy – coal, gas, oil, diesel and petrol.

“Because Australia has no nuclear or geothermal power, limited hydro potential, an aging fleet of coal generators and several bans on gas exploration, we are very vulnerable to the UN’s war on hydro-carbons.

“PM Morrison must answer three specific questions:

“Who represents Australia at COP24?

“What instructions have they been given?

“When will he report to the Australian people?

“Australia should sign nothing, agree to nothing and signal its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

“COP24 will produce zero benefits for Earth’s climate, but their goals are economically irresponsible for those selected to pay the bills.

“The Paris Agreement they seek to enforce is negative for the Australian people, and for everyone not on the climate gravy train.”

Via email

 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, 2018

There are none so blind as those who will not see

World’s water supplies are shrinking, says the guff below. How Warmists arrive at that absurdity time after time is a wonder.  Basic physics tell us that in a warmer world the oceans will evaporate off more and so MORE rain will fall.  And it is uncontested that the world has warmed by about one degree Celsius over the last century or so. 

And CO2 levels have also risen a lot, though not in synchrony with the warming.  And high CO2 makes plants drought-tolerant, a result we see  in the greening of the Sahel, for instance.  The people behind the conference may be religious fanatics but they are not scientists.  They spit in the face of science

Climate change results of global significance, collected over the past few years by researchers at the University of New South Wales, will be discussed at a news conference in Sydney.

The research will show evidence that drought-like conditions are becoming more commonplace, and likely worsen in the years ahead. The research has identified the localised mechanisms driving this effect, and a way to predict how this global drying will unfold as the climate warms.

Evidence will also be shown that global warming has caused storms to change behaviour, leading to more intense downpours that quickly overwhelm stormwater infrastructure and create flooding in urban areas.

To cope, major investments will need to be made to re-engineer farms and cities – in some places, similar in scope to the Snowy Mountain Scheme. The researchers will call for a national conversation on the implications for Australia.

The results of these global studies, the most exhaustive ever undertaken, rely on actual data rather than climate modelling. They show that both of these effects – driven by global warming – will have serious consequences for cities and rural areas in Australia and around the world.

When:      9:00 am – 9.45 am, Thursday 13 December 2018
Where:     Theatre 8, Level 6, UNSW City Centre Campus

Media release. Contact: Wilson da Silva |

Come by boat, stay FOREVER: How Labor PM Bill Shorten would gift permanent residency to 10,000 asylum seekers who arrived in Australia illegally

A Labor government could gift permanent residency to almost 10,000 asylum seekers who arrived in Australia illegally.

Labor's national conference in Adelaide this weekend will consider a motion to end offshore processing of boat arrivals by scrapping 'indefinite detention' on Manus Island and Nauru.

Under the left faction's proposal, thousands of asylum seekers would be granted permanent protection in Australia should Labor win next year's federal election as widely predicted by opinion polls.

The end result would be permanent residency for asylum seekers, with full work and welfare rights.

Inner Melbourne-based left faction Labor backbencher Ged Kearney, a former ACTU leader, is leading the charge to end offshore detention, putting her at odds with Labor leader Bill Shorten.

'Labor's goal must be to get everyone held in offshore detention to safety and build a framework that could mean nobody actually has to go to offshore-processing facilities,' Kearney wrote in the party's left faction Challenge.

Mr Shorten, who hails from the right faction, said on Monday the ALP was committed to 'turning boats back where it is safe to do so.'

'This government should have done more to resettle people elsewhere around the world than they have, and that's what we'll do.'

Mr Shorten predicted the left faction's radical proposals would be unsuccessful on the floor of the national conference.

The development comes as The Australian revealed the cost behind attempting to manage the growing number of applicants in recent years has exceeded more than $2billion.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said Labor's left faction proposal smacked of ignorance. 'Labor's reckless border failures have cost our country dearly,' Mr Dutton told The Australian.

'Cleaning up the dreadful mess of 50,000 illegal arrivals is costing us hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and will for years to come — money that could otherwise have been spent on Australians, but is sucked up dealing with these people. 'It's frightening that Labor has clearly learned nothing and is ready to do it again. 'The boats will restart under Labor.'

Temporary protection visas, reintroduced by the Coalition in 2013, allow illegal boat arrivals to stay in Australia until it is deemed safe to return home.

There have been more than 64,000 applications for protection visas since 2015 from people who arrived legally on a plane.

Senior Labor frontbenchers have dismissed suggestions an ugly stoush on border protection could overshadow the ALP's national conference, as the Coalition zeros in on the issue. 

Tanya Plibersek, federal Labor's deputy leader who hails from the Left faction, is throwing her support behind Mr Shorten at the expense of her own ideological supporters within her party.

'Offshore processing and boat turn backs, yes I support current Labor policy,' the inner-Sydney based MP said. 'But I also believe we can get people off Manus and Nauru. I believe we can bring more people here and bring them safely.'

Senior Labor frontbencher Tony Burke, whose western Sydney electorate has Australia's highest proportion of Muslims, was confident there would be no changes to Labor's existing boat turn backs and offshore processing policies. 'There's a debate about these issues every conference,' he told Sky News on Monday.

When Labor was last in government, it abolished temporary protections visas in 2008 soon after coming to power.

It also ended offshore detention on Nauru and Manus Island but this led to a surge in boat arrivals, and included the death of 48 asylum seekers in December 2010 after their illegal vessel attempted to land at Christmas Island.

When Kevin Rudd briefly became prime minister again in 2013, he reinstated offshore processing at Manus Island, in Papua New Guinea, and vowed asylum seekers who arrived by boat would never settle in Australia.


Greens want to SCRAP university fees and increase funding in plan that will cost taxpayers $133billion

Like Leftists everywhere they know no history. Leftist Gough Whitlam  did this in the '70s but the cost made his Leftist successor reimpose fees

The Greens want to scrap universities and TAFE fees, while also increasing funding by 10 per cent in a plan estimated to cost $133 billion over a decade.

The minor party's proposal would generate $139 billion in the same period through whacking offshore gas companies with a 10 per cent tax and ending fuel excise paid to mining companies.

A 10 per cent boost to university funding would be tied to increases in job security, while course fees' abolition would allow 1.3 million to study debt-free by 2023.

The HELP repayment threshold would be tied to the median wage, meaning students with existing debts won't begin giving money back until they earn $52,990 on 2019 figures.

Support payments like Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy would go up by $75 a week with all postgraduate students made eligible for Austudy.

Greens education spokeswoman and former academic Mehreen Faruqi said coalition and Labor governments had cut funds to universities and TAFE while giving massive tax handouts to corporate donors.

'It's time to end the debt sentence. Young people are graduating from university and TAFE with crushing debts that take almost a decade to pay off,' Senator Faruqi said.

'We have universal primary and secondary education. Free public higher education is the missing piece of the puzzle.'


Whining New Zeland woman didn't like being called a Kiwi

A New Zealand woman who accused her former boss of racial discrimination says it's ruined her life.

Julie Savage, a former supervisor at the Vili's Cakes kitchen in Adelaide, said she was 'disrespected' when her co-workers repeatedly called her a 'Kiwi' instead of using her name.

But her complaint, which was heard before the South Australian Employment Tribunal, was dismissed as a 'perceived lack of respect'.
Julie Savage, a former supervisor at the Vili's Cakes kitchen in Adelaide , said she was 'disrespected' when her co-workers repeatedly called her a 'Kiwi' instead of using her name

Julie Savage, a former supervisor at the Vili's Cakes kitchen in Adelaide , said she was 'disrespected' when her co-workers repeatedly called her a 'Kiwi' instead of using her name

Ms Savage, who was referred to as 'Kiwi' by bakery owner Vili Milisits, said the colloquial term was used in a derogatory way, NZ Herald reported.

'I had a Kiwi flag on my desk, I am proud. But that wasn't my name, that's the issue. No-one called me that but him. He used it like it was my name, like ''go and do the dishes, Kiwi'', or ''wipe the table, Kiwi''.'

Ms Savage said her boss used the name to order her to do jobs, rather than use the word as a term of endearment. 

'He used that like it was my name,' she said, claiming it caused her to suffer from depression and low self-esteem.

Ms Savage and her husband and son moved from Auckland to Adelaide in 2006. She was hired the next year.

She was eventually promoted a supervisor role after working as a short order cook for a few years.

While she would take some New Zealand jokes on the chin, Ms Savage said the persistent use of 'Kiwi' wore her down.

A year-and-a-half after laying her official complaint in 2016, Ms Savage lost her racial discrimination case.

On Sunday December 2, the claim was dismissed by Tribunal Judge Leonie Farrell, who said: 'Calling a New Zealander a Kiwi is not of itself offensive. Kiwi is not an insult.'

The bakery's owner admitted he had called Ms Savage the moniker, but argued that it was a fond nickname and never intended to be demeaning, Adelaide Now reported.

Judge Farrell ultimately agreed, throwing out any accusations of discrimination.

'It was pretty satisfying when I saw what the commissioner said ­– I'm happy with that,' Mr Milistits said.

He thanked the tribunal for finding in his favour, but said the 18-month-long trial was 'slow'.

Ms Savage who is a 'a proud Kiwi' said she's lost her self-esteem and suffers from depression.

She said she was disappointed with the tribunal's decision but wouldn't be able to afford an appeal.

The case wasn't about money but rather about receiving an apology, Ms Savage said.

'I feel this case is a moral victory for me against Vili Milisits and that hopefully he will no longer call people that he employs by another name other than their given name.'


 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, 2018

Number of Chinese applying for refuge in Australia TRIPLES in just one year as handouts of student and bridging visas massively expand

Is there no end to this?

New figures show the number of Chinese nationals applying for refuge in Australia has tripled in just a year.

The Department of Home Affairs has released data showing 9315 residents from the People's Republic of China relocated to Australia in 2017-18.

That represented a 311 per cent increase on 2016-17, when that figure had been 2269.

The applications cited a variety of reasons for refugee status, with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) seeing cases of people claiming to be members of persecuted groups, having a love child in Australia, or identifying as LGBT.

Joyce Chia, the Refugee Council of Australia director of policy, said many of those applying for refugee status had successfully arrived in Australia on student and tourist visas.

She pointed particularly to the lucrative international student industry in Australia, believed to be worth close to $32billion.

'Chinese people have increasing access [to Australia] is also a large factor,' she told the ABC.

Australia has rubber stamped an estimated 652,000 international student visas in that 12 month period — including almost 200,000 from China. 

'Once you are in the country, either as a tourist or a student, if you then apply for a protection visa, you are eligible for a bridging visa,'  Mary Anne Kenny, an Associate professor of law at Murdoch University, said.

'Depending on the type, [it] may give you the right to work and can take some time [to process] depending on how long it takes the department to process the application.'

As of August this year, there were 176,000 people on bridging visas in Australia — a massive spike from roughly 40,000 people in August 2017. 

A spokesman from the Department of Home Affairs said 'Australia takes its international obligations seriously.'

'Án assessment of whether an asylum seeker engages Australia's protection obligations is based on the individual merits of each case,' the spokesman said.


How it could be ILLEGAL to say 'he' or 'she': Failing to use transgender terms could land Australians in court under proposed laws

Using the pronouns 'he' and 'she' could land Australians before the courts under Tasmania's controversial transgender rights reforms, legal experts have warned.

Landmark reforms - put forward by the Labor opposition, the Greens and slammed by Scott Morrison as 'ridiculous' - could include a provision that would make it illegal for people to refuse to name others by their preferred pronoun.

The proposed laws would allow parents in Tasmania to decide whether their child's gender is recorded on birth certificates - and enable people aged 16 or older to legally change their gender.

The bill passed Tasmania's lower house last month and must now pass the state's 15-member upper house - nine of whom are independents - to become law.

Dr Greg Walsh from the University of Notre Dame Australia said the reforms were largely 'admirable', but condemned dictating how people use pronouns as 'completely unacceptable'.

'The Tasmanian parliament's proposed changes to its anti-discrimination legislation could make it illegal for a person to not accept a transgender person's gender identity,' Dr Walsh told The Australian.

'Although it is admirable that parliamentarians want to ensure those who are transgender are ­respected, the attempt to use state power to force individuals to use language that contradicts their deeply held beliefs is completely unacceptable.'

Conservative ­activist group Advance Australia described the proposed changes as a 'slippery slope', 'compelled speech', and asked: 'What's next?'

'If a trans person said to me, ''I would prefer it if you called me or address me by X'', out of respect, you would do it. But the government has no place telling you that you must say that,' the organisation's national ­director, Gerard Benedet, told the paper. 

The changes were last month passed by the casting vote of Tasmania's Liberal Speaker Sue Hickey, who voted against her party and with Labor and the Greens.

Liberal Attorney-General Elise Archer believes the amendments are deeply flawed.

'This amended bill contains legally untested, unconsulted and highly problematic changes that we could not support,' she said in a statement last month.

Transforming Tasmania, a transgender and gender-diverse rights group, has lauded the proposed changes, as have Labor and the Greens.

'These changes will make people, who we should all care about, feel happier, safer and more included,' state Greens leader Cassy O'Connor told parliament.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously criticised the debate over the removal of gender markers from passports and birth certificates.

'A Liberal national government will never remove gender from birth certificates, licenses and passports - who are Labor kidding? Get real,' Morrison wrote on Twitter.

'This is the problem with Labor, obsessed with nonsense like removing gender from birth certificates rather than lower electricity prices, reducing tax for hard-working families and small businesses.'

Campaigners condemned Morrison's remarks as an 'outdated' and a 'totally inappropriate' attack against the LGBT+ community.

'Yet again, we see a destructive statement from someone in a position of prominence and influence,' Sally Goldner, a spokeswoman for Transgender Victoria, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

'To attempt to link the words transgender and nonsense is vilification and totally inappropriate.'

In September, the prime minister drew widespread criticism after commenting on social media that schools do not need 'gender whisperers' in response to a report that teachers are being trained to identify transgender children. 


Falling education standards prompts review

The national curriculum needs to be decluttered and simplified to help Australian students excel, the federal education minister says.

Dan Tehan has flagged a review of the curriculum, which could see revamped learning goals for Australian schoolchildren.

"What I'm hearing from teachers and principals is there is just too much on the curriculum, there is too much being asked of teachers to teach," Mr Tehan told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

"What they want to see is a more simplified curriculum and that's why I'm calling for us to look at decluttering the Australian curriculum."

But a "total overhaul" is not required as the fundamentals are right, he says.

The minister concedes the review is in response to falling education standards, with the nation dropping in world rankings for reading, mathematics and science during the past 15 years.

Recent concerns flagged by Australia's chief scientist Alan Finkel has prompted Mr Tehan to zero in on science and mathematics, to ensure they are being focused on.

"So we're setting up our young people if they want to go into careers as scientists or other areas in those STEM subjects," he said.

Mr Tehan outlined the review during a speech at an education conference in Canberra on Monday, ahead of a meeting with his state and territory counterparts on Friday.

The minister will also ask his counterparts to revamp the nation's declaration of education goals, which was first developed under the Gillard government in 2008.

The original declaration advocates for equity and excellence in education, and Mr Tehan hopes to broaden its scope to also focus on early, vocational and higher education.

"I want to hear from the students in the classroom, the teachers on the frontline, the parents supporting their school communities to succeed and the subject matter experts," he says.

The minister praised the NSW government's schools community charter as a model for clear and respectful communications between teachers and parents.

He's also pushing for teachers to be able to ban mobile phones in classrooms if they are distracting students.

Labor's education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek says the government should reverse its $14 billion cut to public schools to help students master the basics.

"That's the only way to ensure every child gets the individual attention they need to excel in reading, writing, maths and science," Ms Plibersek told AAP on Monday.

"All we've had from the Liberals is cheap talk and harsh cuts. Meanwhile, Australian schoolkids are being left behind."


Labor Left poised for showdown on reforms

Labor’s Left faction has unveiled a radical economic, social and foreig­n policy agenda — including on refugees — ahead of the party’s national conference this weekend that could place ­faction bosses on a collision course with the leadership.

Senior faction leaders Paul ­Erickson, the party’s assistant ­national secretary, and Rose Jackson, the NSW assistant secret­ary, have urged delegates to support the “most progressive platform Labor has offered in generations” and go further with even bolder policies.

A conference showdown on refugee policy looms, with some in the Left eager to press for further changes than those outlined in the party’s draft policy platform, including the fast-tracking of refugee medical transfers.

Labor MP Ged Kearney, the former ACTU president, writes in the Left faction magazine Challenge, obtained by The Australian, that members must fight for a more “humane and progressive” policy towards asylum-seekers.

In calling for an end to “indefin­ite detention” on Manus Island and Nauru, she writes: “We are determined, though, to delive­r a national platform that resets the awful practice of punishi­ng asylum-seekers for seeking our safety and protection.

“Labor’s goal must be to get everyone held in offshore detention to safety and build a framework that could mean nobody actually has to go to offshore-­processing facilities.”

Support is also mounting in the Left to pursue changes more likely to win broad approval, ­including amending the ALP platform to reflect the parlia­ment­ary party’s policy shift to embrace the fast-tracking of ­refugee medical transfers.

National co-convener for Labor for Refugees Shane Prince told The Australian yesterday there was still a prospect of the platform being amended to ­sec­ure more far-reaching changes to the offshore-processing regime.

Mr Erickson and Ms Jackson write in Challenge that Labor must advocate for “a radically more equal society” and that the national conference will be a key test of this. “A society that elevates the rights and aspirations of working people,” they argue. “A society that tackles the immediate challeng­e of the looming climate catastrophe without leaving work­ers and communities behind. A society that plays a leading role in creating a more just and more peaceful world.

“Our vision is far-reaching and forward-looking, but this is ­exactly what is called for as the counterpoint to the narrow and ­reactionary agenda of the conservativ­es.” The national Left’s core priorities, identified in Challeng­e, include:

* Supporting the union movement’s rewrite of workplace laws that would increase bargaining power and wages;

* Insisting workers’ rights be protected in international trade deals;

* Lifting foreign aid, signing the nuclear weapons ban treaty, and supporting Palestinian statehood;

* Increasing the Newstart Allowance, backing the Uluru Statement from the Heart before a vote on a republic, and advocating more humane treatment of asylum-seekers.

Mr Erickson and Ms Jackson write that Labor cannot afford to be complacent about the division in the Coalition. “Voters will ­reward those polit­icians who use their platform to say and do something meaningful, whilst pretend­ers and time-­wasters will be cast aside,” they write.

Labor’s incoming national vice-president Mich-Elle Myers says in Challenge that Labor must commit to a comprehensive overhau­l of workplace relations.

“Workers should be able to withdraw their labour to fight for their rights, bargaining should be across industry to put everyone on a level playing field, and once an agreement is reached nobody should be able to tear it up,” said Ms Myers, a CFMEU official.


 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, 2018

Parents are being advised to discourage their daughters from playing with dolls and think twice about giving sons toy trucks

I doubt that this theorist has had any sons.  I know a mother who had three fine sons close together.  She always gave them boy's toys to play with.  One day she decided that they might like a doll.  The boys took an immediate interest in the doll.  They pulled its eyes out and its legs off and threw it into a corner to be ignored thereafter.  One wonders how the 'feminist academic' below would deal with that

Australian parents are being urged to refrain from encouraging their daughters to play with dolls if they want them to succeed later in life.

Curtin University 'feminist academic' Dr Marilyn Metta said toy choices in early childhood would affect girls' future career prospects.

'Limiting girls to traditional girl toys has a direct impact on the under-representation of women in science and technology and engineering,' she told SBS program Is Australia Sexist?

Dr Metta, who teaches sociology and anthropology to students in Perth, also suggested parents steer boys away from toy trucks and towards dolls to improve their social prospects as adults.

'Boys have a lot to gain from playing and being exposed to traditionally girls' toys,' she said.

'It gives them the opportunity to develop human skills like relational skills, interacting with people, developing empathy.

'Those skill that are very, very crucial for healthy, emotional development.'

Traditional boys' toys helped develop spatial awareness while dolls were regarded as items that helped develop nurturing skills.

Dr Metta said gender stereotypes based on toy choices for children had the effect of 'limiting of the skills that they develop'.

As part of another experiment on gender roles, SBS dressed boys in girls' clothes and girls in boys' outfits to see what toys adult volunteers would give them to play with.

The male volunteers gave a toy dinosaur and a train to girl dressed as a boy while a female volunteer gave a toy tea set to a boy dressed as a girl.

Dr Metta describes herself as a 'feminist academic in anthropology and sociology' and on her Curtin University staff profile website.


'Labor will restart the boats': Peter Dutton slams Bill Shorten over border protection – after it was revealed the opposition leader is pushing to allow asylum seekers into Australia even if they have criminal convictions

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has lashed out at the Labor Party, accusing them of endorsing a policy that would 'collapse' Australia's border protection.

Mr Dutton's criticism comes after the Bill Shorten-led opposition backed a bill that would see ill asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru transported to Australia to receive medical treatment.

Should the policy pass the lower house in February, Mr Dutton says it will 'restart the boats'.

'What Labor is proposing here is a back doorway to end regional processing. That is one of the three limbs that has stopped the boats,' Mr Dutton told reporters in Brisbane on Saturday.

Labor offered conditional support for crossbencher Kerryn Phelps' bill earlier in the week, sparking Mr Dutton's criticisms.

The legislation was eventually delayed by the federal government in a bid to avoid a historic loss in the House of Representatives.

Dr Phelps, the newly-elected Independent MP for Wentworth, proposed laws which would see critically ill refugees be flown to Australia for medical treatment on the advice of two doctors.

But it was revealed earlier the bill would not include considerations for the applicant's character, meaning those with serious prior convictions would be allowed into the country.

In medical cases where a foreign national has to be sent to Australia to treatment, doctors could even make the final decision via Skype.

Immigration minister David Coleman was one of the first to slam the proposed law. 'Under Labor's law, a person who has been convicted of serious offences would have to come to Australia and there is nothing the minister could do to stop it,' he told The Daily Telegraph. 'For the alternative prime minister to support this is staggering.'

The only grounds under which the minister could fight the doctors' recommendations would be medically-based or if the person was a terror threat.

However, speaking in support of Dr Phelps' bill, Mr Shorten shifted the focus to the dangers of offshore detention. 'Labor does not accept the corollary between discouraging the people-smuggling trade and keeping people in detention for five plus years. That's shameful,' he told ABC Radio.

Labor finance spokesman Jim Chalmers also hit back at Mr Dutton, saying the Liberals were making up 'desperate lies'. 'The fact is, Labor will never let the people smugglers back into business,' he told reporters on Saturday.

'The urgent medical transfer amendments that passed the Senate this week are about making sure sick children and adults get the medical care they need.' Mr Dutton still has 'ultimate discretion' over transfers, Mr Chalmers said.

'The legislation enshrines the minister's discretion to reject transfers - currently the government makes ad hoc decisions often rejecting medical advice,' he said.

Mr Shorten also rejected claims he was softening his approach to border protection, telling The Australian accusations he would 'abolish offshore processing' were false.

'We will turn back boats where it is safe to do so. We will still keep offshore processing full stop,' Mr Shorten said.

'But if Mr Morrison is trying to argue that the only way you have borders, protections, is not to provide timely medical treatment to some asylum-seekers on Manus and Nauru, that's rubbish.'


Thug union loses in court again
Master Builders Australia welcomes the High Court of Australia’s refusal to grant special leave to the CFMMEU to appeal against a Full Federal Court decision to impose $306,000 in fines for the illegal conduct of its former President, Dave Hanna.

The appeal stemmed from a 2017 decision to impose penalties on the union for its abuse of safety powers to illegally gain access to a Fortitude Valley construction site (‘The Broadway on Anne case’) in 2015. In the original decision, the Court found then union President, Dave Hanna, guilty of refusing to leave the site, squirting water in the face of a site manager, and threatening the manager by saying ‘Take that phone away, or I’ll f**king bury it down your throat’.

Master Builders Australia CEO said, “It’s bullying pure and simple. This behaviour is not tolerated anywhere else in the community and people working in the building industry should not have to. We must not let the union bullies win on construction sites.”

Since the original decision in 2017, the CFMMEU has appealed twice; once in August this year, and when they lost, again to the High Court.

“The fact the CFMMEU appealed this decision, not once but twice, shows that they think what Hanna, and many other CFMMEU officials before him have done, is okay. It is not,” Denita Wawn said.  

In handing down the original penalty, the Federal Court Judge, Justice Vasta, described the union as the ‘most recidivist corporate offender in Australian history’.

He went on to say ‘the Union simply regards itself as free to disobey the law’. Another judge who heard the initial appeal, indicated that the parliament should consider deregistering the Union, when he said ‘…an organisation which manifests an inability by its internal governance to rein in aberrant behaviour cannot expect to remain registered in its existing form’.

Via email

The ghost most miserable

The ultimate sore loser

Look, you’ve really got to hand it to Malcolm Turnbull. He promised not to be the “miserable ghost” and he’s been as good as his word.

Malcolm’s actions this week weren’t miserable. They were malevolent. Deliciously malicious.

Not that anyone should be surprised. Turnbull does not turn the other cheek. When you prick him, he bleeds a copious amount. Then he turns. And isn’t it something to behold?

This behaviour we are seeing — wrecking, undermining, denying all the while — is not out of character. This is his character.

Turnbull has always been dangerous when cornered, and ­absolutely filthy when denied, and so of course we see him now, more alive in exile than he was in office, and worse: he’s not only bitter, he’s bored.

On quitting, Turnbull said: “I’ve always thought former prime ministers were best out of parliament.”

Read that statement closely.

See what he did there? Out of parliament. Not out of politics.

He’s not out of politics.

What else explains his decision to interfere on Sunday in NSW preselection procedures?

Honestly, who cares? He does, but only in so far as it gives him an opportunity to exact some revenge on Craig Kelly.

In a tweet yesterday, Turnbull said: “It is time for the Liberal Party members in Hughes to have their say about their local member and decide who they want to represent them.”

Meaning, it’s time to get rid of Kelly — who, for the record, worked really hard to get rid of Turnbull.

The Australian was all over it, reporting in detail all the conversations that Turnbull had been having, prompting the ousted prime minister to front up with Fran Kelly on Radio National yesterday.

Anyway, the interviewer reminded him of the time not that long ago when he’d intervened to try to save Craig Kelly. “This time, you’ve intervened to try and help knock him off,” she said.

“It is not a question of knocking him off,” Turnbull replied.

Of course it is.

She didn’t scoff but she did ask again if this was “payback” for Craig Kelly working the numbers against him.

Turnbull said, “No, not at all, not at all” — when what he meant was surely, “Well, obviously.”

She then asked about a story in The Australian that suggested Turnbull was interfering on the timing of the next election.

He wants it called in March, not May. Why? Apparently he’s worried about the “brand damage” the party did to itself by removing him as leader.

Well, he said: “The government’s electoral woes, if that’s the right term, are a consequence of the decision made to change the leadership on the 24th of August … it was a destructive, mad, pointless exercise and the Australian people have been appalled by it.

“The fact is they are and it has done a lot of brand damage to the Liberal Party … there’s no point being mealy-mouthed about it or pretending that that damage hasn’t been done.”

There’s no point making it worse, either, but don’t let that slow you down.

Also, that argument makes no sense. Turnbull thinks the party did itself damage by removing him. Therefore he thinks the party should go to the polls sooner rather than later.

But why? If that’s the case, surely it would be better to put as much time as possible between the decapitation of Turnbull’s government and the rebirth of Scott Morrison’s.

Yet he wants them to go earlier? Yes, he said, because “I’m very concerned (that) an outstanding government led by Gladys Berejiklian” in NSW will be defeated “because of the brand damage to the Liberal Party”.

So he wants the federal Liberal Party voted out to save a state government? If you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

The facts are this: the public was sick of Turnbull’s government long before the party removed him as leader. This we know because he lost 14 seats to Labor at the 2016 election (the only Liberal to win a seat from Labor was Julia Banks, who is a Liberal no more.)

He then went on to lose more than 30 Newspolls.

Now he wants them to go to the actual poll so they can lose more seats and government. This is not a man with the party’s best interests at heart.


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

9 December, 2018

Again:  There's no such thing as a happy Greenie. Following Woolworths and Coles getting rid of single-use plastic bags, there is now a push for the supermarkets to go even further

Greenies are a standout example of the old warning:  Give them an inch and they will take a mile

There was much fanfare yesterday as it was announced that supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths had stopped 1.5 billion bags being dumped into the environment.

The remarkable statistic came about because of a ban on single-use plastic bags by Australia’s two largest supermarkets and the retail industry is signalled that this is only the beginning of a long journey towards ridding our lives of unnecessary plastic.

It’s undoubtedly good new for our planet’s ailing marine life, but there’s one statistic both supermarkets are not telling you about and it’s deeply concerning for environmentalists.

Both supermarkets continue to offer customers thicker reusable bags at 15 cents a pop and they’re not saying how many of these they’ve sold since ditching single-use bags earlier this year.

The director of environmental group Boomerang Alliance’s, Jeff Angel, said that supermarkets still had much more to do to wipe out plastic usage completely.

“We said to the supermarkets good on you for ending the flimsy give away bags but don’t replace them with the plastic bags that cost 15 cents. That is what is happening and still ending up in landfill and the environment,” he told Today this morning.

“It is good that we have made that first step and 80 per cent of the free flimsy lightweight bags are gone from the checkout.

“We really have to reduce single use plastics. These bags aren’t reuseable. They might be used once or a couple of times then they are ending up in landfill.

“What we want the supermarkets to focus on are the thicker bags, cloth, other types of material that you can use hundreds and hundreds of times.

“That’s what is good for the environment not producing billions. This is an accurate figure. Billions more of these replaceable bags and dumping them in landfill.”

However, Woolworths said shoppers had embraced the switch to using reusable bags or buying thicker canvas bags for $1 each.

And, Coles responded by saying it will continue to offer reusable plastic bags “to customers who forget to bring their bags from home”.

Both supermarkets’ decision to stop offering single-use disposable plastic bags midway through the year was initially met with swift public backlash. But three months on the radical change has translated to an 80 per cent drop in the consumption of plastic bags nationwide, according to the National Retail Association.

“Indeed, some retailers are reporting reduction rates as high as 90 per cent,” NRA’s David Stout said on Sunday.

Mr Stout says the ban was a “brave” move from the major supermarkets and it’s paving the way for smaller businesses, who typically can’t afford to risk the wrath of their customers, to follow suit.

“For business, for the environment, for the consumer and of course even for councils which have to work to remove these things from landfills, there’s a multitude of benefits on a whole to doing this.”


'Outlandish' encryption laws leave Australian tech industry angry and confused

The Australian technology industry is "incredulous to fuming mad" after the Government's controversial encryption bill passed the Senate.

Under the new laws, security agencies have greater powers to get at the encrypted messages of criminal suspects — in some cases they can demand companies build new capabilities to allow them access.

Labor members called the bill flawed during debate on Thursday, but the Opposition later pulled its amendments at the last minute and voted to support the Government.

The situation has left Australian technology companies struggling to understand the potential impact on their global standing and bottom line.

John Stanton, chief executive of the Communications Alliance, said the bill's passing was a "magnificent triumph of politics over policy".

Partner at M8 Ventures Alan Jones argued the bill will have unintended consequence for the security reputation of Australian businesses — "crippling" attempts to export their technology.

"It could be just enough to lose a deal to a competitor in Israel and the US," he said.

The 'perception of mistrust'

Prior to the bill's passing, members of the Australian technology industry argued the bill's technical capability notices (TCNs) would undermine the perceived trustworthiness of Australia-made hardware or software.

TCNs could force a company to make a secret modification to its product to help a government agency access a suspect's messages.

Such a notice must be "reasonable and proportionate". Neither can it cause a "systemic weakness", although there is debate about the protection the bill's definition of the term affords.

The bill proposes three key powers:

A technical assistance request (TAR): Police ask a company to "voluntarily" help, such as give technical details about the development of a new online service

A technical assistance notice (TAN): A company is required to give assistance. For example, if they can decrypt a specific communication, they must or face fines

A technical capability notice (TCN): The company must build a new function to help police get at a suspect's data, or face fines

"I hope that it's possible for some of these companies to move offshore before they are tainted with the stain of originally being an Australian company," Mr Jones said.

This echoed the warning of Francis Galbally, chairman of the encryption provider Senetas, who told a Senate inquiry last month Australia was currently regarded as being among the world's most trustworthy countries for cybersecurity products.

But not if the bill passed. "This bill gives a perception of mistrust," he said.

Chris Duell, the chief executive of the customer onboarding start-up Elevio, said the bill was "so outlandish and stupid I didn't think it would get this far".

While his company does not handle communication data, he said some European customers had already reached out to query the potential impact of the new legislation.

Mr Duell said if served with a notice, his company could potentially be in breach of European privacy law as well as provisions in its own contracts that demand it notify customers of any security breach.

The head of Girl Geek Academy Sarah Moran, who teaches cybersecurity, said local start-ups were angry the laws were rushed.

Like Mr Jones, she suggested it could now be more difficult for Australian technology companies to sell their products overseas.

"Something is either secure or it just isn't, and giving the keys to the government is not something that makes your business easy to sell to customers," she said.

A lack of oversight

Many Australian technology leaders expressed concern the bill was being rushed during the last few days of Parliament.

Mike Cannon-Brookes, the co-founder of Atlassian, tweeted that "rushing such complex legislation through in days is reckless".

The Communication Alliance's Mr Stanton, who represents companies such as Telstra and Verizon, said amendments to the bill had improved it "marginally". "It still holds enormous potential to damage our IT industry and the thousands of people who work in it," he said.

In particular, he is concerned about the bill's secrecy provisions that mostly prevent the disclosure of a notice. "A network can be compromised and the people on those networks won't even know," he said. "If they don't know there's a vulnerability in their system, they can't guard against it."

Mr Stanton also described the lack of a warrant framework around the issuing of notices under the bill as "extraordinary".

In most cases, authorities would still need an "underlying warrant or authorisation" to access the actual content of encrypted communications, but not to issue a notice.

Amendments at the last moment added additional safeguards to the TCN regime, but fell short of requiring judicial scrutiny each time one is issued.

"Given the risks and the power associated with those notices, we think that there's a severe lack of oversight," he added.


Fuel tax exposes class divide

Charismatic French President Emmanuel Macron has made a political faux-pas: his decision to jack up taxes on vehicle fuel as an environmental initiative to reduce auto emissions.

The plan has hit a raw nerve with French citizens — at least those outside the chic 6th Arrondissement of Paris — and unleashed a torrent of opposition and public protest nation-wide.

Obviously, no tax policy can ever justify public violence and vandalism, as witnessed in recent days (French citizens’ opposition to the tax plan has been shamelessly exploited by anarchists). However, peaceful opposition to the tax hike is understandable. As media reports have noted, the crisis has exposed the class divide between the metropolitan and political elites — living in their ‘green’ bubble — and the rest of the French population who rely on diesel cars to get around.

But even more concerning is Macron’s apparent ignorance of basic economics. Fuel excise is a regressive tax. This means that it tends to hit the poor disproportionately. As in Australia, many families in France rely on cars if they live in outer suburbia and regional areas. For them, fuel is not an optional extra but an essential purchase.

Therefore, their demand for fuel is likely to be price-inelastic: people will not necessarily reduce their purchase of fuel when the price goes up.

Instead, families will be forced to cover the hike by cutting their spending elsewhere; such as food and clothing. Hence, raising tax on fuel will hurt the poor but won’t necessarily reduce fuel consumption — which defeats the whole point of the policy.

And this reflects an even greater problem facing not just France, but other advanced economies including the United States and Canada: the growing tension between ‘going green’ and avoiding regressive polices that disproportionately impact the poor.

We are grappling with the same problems in Australia — we want to reduce our emissions but don’t want rising energy costs for families.

In a partial back-down, Macron has now agreed to suspend the fuel tax increase but it may not be enough. This latest French revolution should be an economics 101 lesson for President Macron on the fallacy of regressive green policies — and a warning to our own politicians in the Canberra bubble.


Education inequity isn’t just about money

It's also about chaotic classrooms

Opponents of non-government schools often claim Australia’s school system is grossly inequitable. But this is not true.

Multiple international OECD reports have concluded the same thing: Australia has lower inequity than the OECD average. That is, student socio-economic status has less of an impact on student achievement in Australia than it does on average in the OECD.

A recent OECD report attributed 11.7% of the variation in Australian students’ science scores to socio-economic status, compared with the 12.9% OECD average and 16.8% in top-performing country, Singapore.

While on average, students from lower socio-economic backgrounds tend to have lower academic performance, many students — known as ‘resilient’ students — buck this trend and perform relatively well.

So how can we produce more resilient students? An OECD study on the topic found there is no significant relationship between school resources and the proportion of resilient students in Australia. While extra money for schools would certainly help in some developing countries, in countries like Australia — which already has relatively high school funding levels — more funds are unlikely to spark significant improvement, due to diminishing marginal returns on spending.

However, the same OECD study found there is a significant relationship between having a classroom climate conducive to learning — in other words, orderly classes and less student disruption — and student resilience in Australia. We know that Australia’s school system appears to have an issue with student misbehaviour. So perhaps the best policy approach to help disadvantaged students, is to focus on improving school climate in Australia, which wouldn’t necessarily require much more taxpayer funding.

It’s unfortunate that the political discourse about educational disadvantage is limited to ‘fairer funding’. In reality, there are other important issues being neglected.


 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, 2018

An annual survey has found more Australians are worried about immigration, but are positive about what the future holds

Groan!  Not another shonky Scanlon survey: The great masters of leading questions.  I knew it was Scanlon within moments of seeing the cheery results. I am not going to waste my time delving into this one.  See my comments on previous ones.  Mr Scanlon has set up an organization that campaigns for immigrant acceptance.  Sad that they think they can further that aim by dishonestly pretending to do objective research

More Australians are worried about immigration but they are still in the minority, according to the Scanlon Foundation’s 2018 Mapping Social Cohesion Report.

Of the 1500 people interviewed for the annual survey, about 43 per cent thought immigration was “too high” — an increase of nine per cent compared to two years ago.

But a majority of 52 per cent still thought immigration was “about right” or “too low”.

Report author Professor Andrew Markus of Monash University said the results did not support the narrative that immigration was supported mainly by minorities and also differed to results from other surveys including a Newspoll in April that found 56 per cent thought the immigration cap was too high.

“There are all sorts of concerns about diversity articulated in some quarters — but this remains a minority viewpoint,” Prof Andrew Markus told

“The central message is, even though there are heightened concerns, immigration is not something that should be abandoned.”

But the results varied among voters of different political parties.

Among potential Coalition voters, the Scanlon survey found 54 to 56 per cent considered the immigration intake to be “too high”, but among potential Labor voters it was lower — between 36 and 43 per cent.

It also varied among cities. In Sydney, 51 per cent thought it was too high, while in Melbourne only 33 per cent of respondents thought so.

Concerns about immigration also appear to be linked to other issues.

About 54 per cent were concerned about the impact of immigration on overcrowding in Australian cities, 50 per cent were concerned about the impact of immigration on house prices and 48 per cent had a negative view of the way Australian governments were managing population growth.


Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes denied visa to tour Australia with 'The Deplorables'

Right-wing provocateur and founder of the Proud Boys group Gavin McInnes has had his visa application blocked by the Home Affairs Department, failing the character test to enter Australia.

Critics of Mr McInnes were urging the department and Immigration Minister David Coleman to ban him from travelling to Australia for a speaking tour next year, concerned about his extreme views and promotion of violence.

The ABC understands Mr McInnes was notified a few weeks ago that the department was likely to block his visa application because he was judged to be of bad character, and the formal window for him to appeal closed on Friday.

Mr McInnes cut ties with the Proud Boys group earlier this month. The group, which Mr McInnes has previously labelled a "gang", describes itself as a men's organisation, committed to upholding "Western chauvinist values".

The FBI designated them as an extremist organisation.

On Thursday, a petition of 81,000 signatures was delivered to Federal Parliament calling on the Government to block Mr McInnes from entering the country.

Lawyer Nyadol Nyuon, who founded the petition, said the Government's decision was a win for free speech.

"To have allowed him to come still I think would have made it seem as if the Government had given tacit approval at the very least to these calls for violence against people you don't agree with as a legitimate form of free speech," she said.

"It's not and it should never be."

Ms Nyuon said Mr McInnes could not possibly have met the character test for entry to Australia.

"I'm happy that women, non-whites, certain members of the LGBTI communities don't have to live in an atmosphere of fear after these individuals are allowed to come in, or from the fear of what that might suggest to them," she said.

Mr McInnes was due to tour the country early next year, alongside UK far-right activist Tommy Robinson.

The ABC understands no visa application has been received for Mr Robinson.

The Proud Boys list their values as including being against political correctness, racial guilt and racism, while promoting free speech and gun rights.

But they have been widely criticised as promoting violence against people who do not share their views.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Department of Home Affairs said all non-citizens entering Australia had to meet character requirements before a visa would be granted.

"For visitors who may hold controversial views, any risk they may pose will be balanced against Australia's well-established freedom of speech and freedom of beliefs, amongst other relevant considerations," she said.

Dvir Abramovich, chairman of Australia's leading civil rights organisation, the Anti-Defamation Commission, issued a statement praising the Government's decision to reject Mr McInnes's application.

"I have no doubt that his visit would have cultivated a disruptive atmosphere of incitement as well as attracting hardcore extremists, and this explosive combination could have resulted in rioting and street fights," Dr Abramovich said.

"This moral decision is a strong affirmation that the noxious rhetoric often spewed by Mr McInnes will never be tolerated in Australia.

"At a time when anti-Semitism and far-right activism in our nation are on the increase, we should not be providing such individuals with an opportunity to promote their divisive and dangerous agenda which runs counter to our core values."


Energy bill revised after caucus debate

Designed principally to take the Liddell coal-fired generator off AGL and thus prevent its shutdown

A "big stick" energy bill designed to give the federal government powers to break up power companies has been trimmed by members of its own backbench.

The government is revising key components of its plan after objections from more than 20 backbenchers during a party room meeting on Monday night.

The divestiture powers will remain in the legislation.

However, rather than giving Treasurer Josh Frydenberg the final say on breaking up the energy giants, he will have to apply to the courts which will have the final say.

Energy and business industry groups have spoken out against the original divestiture powers, warning they could blur the lines between parliament and the judiciary, and fall foul of the constitution.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters in Sydney any divestment powers must have proper safeguards and occur only in circumstances where the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's efforts in protecting electricity customers had been unsuccessful.

"The devil will be in the detail," he said on Tuesday. "But with great respect that is not a substitute for the national energy guarantee.

"Ensuring a competitive market and the protection of consumers is vital, but you also have to have the certainty of integrated climate and energy policy so you get the investment."


Current account deficit narrows to $10.7bn

The current account deficit has narrowed 11 per cent to $10.7 billion, seasonally adjusted figures show, with a jump in net exports tipped to boost GDP growth.

Economists have slightly trimmed GDP forecasts after Australia's current account deficit fell, but by less than they had expected.

The deficit narrowed 11 per cent to $10.7 billion in the three months to September, missing consensus expectations of a fall to $10.2 billion despite net exports rising by more than predicted.

The current account deficit decreased from the June quarter's $12.1 billion, Tuesday's seasonally adjusted figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed.

Westpac rounded down its forecast for Wednesday's GDP growth data from 0.7 per cent for the quarter to 0.6 per cent, with annual growth forecast at 3.3 per cent - little changed from the 3.4 per cent in the previous print.

Royal Bank of Canada's Su-Lin Ong also moved her quarterly forecast down to 0.6 per cent, but noted the impact was minimal.

"Following weaker inventories and company profits yesterday, we noted downside risk to our GDP forecast but today's stronger net export print and continued decent government spending has tempered this somewhat," she said.

The balance on goods and services was a surplus of $6.6 billion, a rise of $2.7 billion on the June quarter surplus of $3.9 billion.

BIS Oxford Economics chief Australia economist Sarah Hunter said net exports are likely to contribute more to growth than previously expected, but she remained cautious on the outlook for consumer spending and GDP growth, given the weakness in consumer goods and services imports.

"Higher commodity prices played a part, but surplus on the volume trade balance more than doubled - assuming there are no substantial data revisions, net exports are set to add a healthy 0.4 percentage points to September quarter GDP growth," she said.

Exports of rural goods, in seasonally adjusted terms at current prices, rose $288 million, or two per cent, to $12.4 billion, with both prices and volumes edging higher.

Offsetting the rural export rise were cereal grains and cereal preparations, with value down 11 per cent, or $223 million, on a 21 per cent volume drop and a 13 per cent price increase. .

Fuel, metals and coal powered a three per cent rise in the value of non rural exports, with fuels alone adding an extra $1.72 billion, or 14 per cent for the quarter on higher prices and volumes.

Iron ore and mineral exports fell two per cent, or $587 million, with volumes down six per cent and prices up three per cent.

There was an $84 million, or two per cent, increase in food and beverages imports to Australia with the nation's overall goods debits rising $1.5 billion to $80.5 billion.

Imports of fuels and lubricants rose eight per cent to $802 million.

Services debits rose $474 million, or two per cent, to $24.3 billion.

Westpac senior economist Andrew Hanlan said the key market uncertainties were consumer habits and the drought - with a lack of partials around consumer spending on services and on farm inventories.

"The drought in NSW and surrounding areas is likely to have its biggest impact in quarter four and qaurter one - but there is a risk of an inventory drag in quarter three," he said.


Canberra (ACT) pulls out of 'costly' Teach for Australia program over retention rates

A copy of "Teach for America" program. It gets a few bright sparks into education but the reality of poorly disciplined schools puts off most

The Australian Capital Territory government has cut its ties with the controversial multimillion dollar Teach for Australia program, citing concerns about the program’s value for money.

Guardian Australia can reveal the territory formally split with Teach for Australia in July this year, unhappy with the cost of the program and unconvinced it was “delivering classroom ready graduates that remain in the teaching workforce”.

Launched by the Gillard government in 2009, Teach for Australia provides graduates from non-teaching backgrounds with 13 weeks of intensive training before they begin a two-year classroom placement at a regional or low socio-economic school.

The program has been hugely controversial since its inception. While successive governments have increased its funding, teachers’ unions have long criticised its costs and retention rate and argued it undermines the teaching profession by placing teachers who have not yet completed their qualifications in schools.

The ACT’s education minister, Yvette Berry, told Guardian Australia the decision to withdraw from the program was based on “two main factors”.

“The first of concern was the low retention of participants in the teaching workforce compared to the investment required to collaborate with TFA,” Berry said.

“The second of which is the ACT government’s focus on investment in strengthening initial teacher education, support for new graduates, and growing the existing workforce capability as one strong cohort of educators.”

But in questions to the ACT education department, a spokeswoman admitted cost had also been a factor. Guardian Australia understands the ACT paid about $15,000 for each new Teach for Australia graduate, while the commonwealth has committed $77m to the program between 2009 and 2021.

“Yes, on balance the TFA model proved costly without strong evidence of delivering classroom-ready graduates that remain in the teaching workforce,” the spokeswoman said.

With the ACT’s departure, Teach for Australia remains in Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. New South Wales, the state with the country’s largest teaching workforce, has refused to join since the program was launched.

In a statement the Teach For Australia chief executive and founder, Melodie Potts Rosevear, said the organisation was “very proud of what we have achieved in the ACT”.

The program, she said, had made “a significant contribution to reducing educational disadvantage over the past eight years, and will continue to support the active associate and alumni community in the region”.

“Our growth strategy is to partner with jurisdictions across Australia to place our associates in schools that are experiencing the most disadvantage,” she said.

“Next year will be our largest intake of associates yet, with growth in teacher placements across Victoria, WA, NT and Tasmania – with nearly half in regional and remote communities.”

The program has maintained the support of federal governments from both sides of the aisle since it was launched.

When a government-commissioned evaluation of the program released last year found Teach for Australia associates “outperform other early-career teachers” against professional standard measures, the then-education minister Simon Birmingham said its teachers were “helping plug the gap in disadvantaged Australian secondary schools”.

But the report also raised concerns about the Teach for Australia attrition rates and the placement of teachers.

While the program is designed to place graduates in socially disadvantaged schools, the evaluation report found that 13% of its associates worked in schools above the national disadvantage median.

It also found that three years after the placement had finished, less than 50% of graduates were still teaching. Only 30% of those left were in schools below the national disadvantage median.


 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, 2018

'Walk to school, make a sandwich and switch off your devices': Baby boomer slams 'selfish, virtue-signalling' school kids who skipped class to protest against climate change

A baby boomer has unleashed on 'selfish, virtue-signalling' school kids for skipping class to protest against climate change.

The man's rant, which went viral after being posted online, came after thousands of students walked out of class on Friday to demand federal government action on climate change in a series of coordinated rallies across Australia.

Shared to Facebook, the man's scathing attack began by addressing school kids who went on strike for climate change.

'You are the first generation who have required air-conditioning in every classroom. You want TV in every room and your classes are all computerized,' he wrote.

'More than ever, you don't walk or ride bikes to school but arrive in caravans of private cars that choke suburban roads and worsen rush hour traffic.' 

The man then continued by taking a swipe at young people's consumer culture, arguing the youth of today opts to replace 'expensive luxury items to stay trendy'.

'How about this... tell your teachers to switch off the air-con.'

'Walk or ride to school. Switch off your devices and read a book. Make a sandwich instead of buying manufactured goods.'

The post takes a turn, targeting the character traits of young Australians.

'No, none of this will happen because you are uneducated, selfish, virtue signaling little turds inspired by the adults around you who crave a feeling of having a ''noble cause'' while they indulge themselves in Western luxury and unprecedented quality of life.'

The man's post argued children were being used as 'political pawns' in a continuous game of seeking votes.

'This is weapons-grade autism at it's malignant best,' he finished.

The viral post was met with support and criticism by a number of social media users eager to share their opinion on the matter.

One viewer said the letter was 'great', claiming the children were 'brainwashed and spoilt'.

Another said 'it's a different world today' claiming they were glad they grew up without devices and material objects. 'Everything was homemade and all paper bags and cardboard boxes were repurposed,' they wrote.

Other social media users commended the children for taking action on an issue they were passionate about. 'Today's society has been created at a great cost and well done kids for taking your action,' wrote one viewer. 'I am proud of them standing up for what they believe in,' commented another.

Many drew attention to the fact climate change was not created by the school kids but the generations before them. 'Why take it out on the kids who have to inherit this s***y planet which I might add we f****d up as adults'.

The 'Strike 4 Climate Action' rallies involved children in capital cities as well as 20 regional centres across Australia.

An estimated 1000 protesters packed Sydney's Martin Place in the CBD on Friday afternoon, chanting 'climate action now,' with similar numbers in Melbourne.

The series of rallies were inspired by Greta Thunberg, a teenager who went on strike ahead of Sweden's national election. She demanded the country's leader address climate change back in September.

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan slammed the thousands of students who skipped school to protest climate change action in an extraordinary rant. Mr Canavan said students who truanted from the classroom 'may as well learn to join the dole queue.'

'These are the type of things that excite young children and we should be great at as a nation,' he told 2GB radio on Friday.

'Taking off school and protesting? You don't learn anything from that.

'The best thing you'll learn about going to a protest is how to join the dole queue. Because that's what your future life will look like, up in a line asking for a handout, not actually taking charge for your life and getting a real job.'


Youth are happiest in apprenticeships and full-time work, says Australia's largest national youth survey    
Youth are happiest in apprenticeships and full-time work, says Australia’s largest national youth survey

Taking on an apprenticeship leads to the highest level of wellbeing among young Australians out of all post-school pathways, according to the results of the nation’s largest youth survey to be released today.

The Skillsroad 2018 Youth Census gained more than 30,000 responses nationally from youth aged 15-24, and found that those undertaking an apprenticeship, traineeship, or working in some capacity were happier overall and experienced higher levels of ‘meaning,’ ‘resilience’ and ‘optimism’ than all other pathways after school.

Additionally, that survey participants who were working whilst in secondary school, and contributing financially to their housing situation (even if living at home with parents), reported higher levels of wellbeing than those that weren’t.

The first Skillsroad Youth Census was commissioned by Apprenticeship Support Australia (ASA) in 2017 in response to the nation’s suffering youth unemployment rates, which have been hovering at around 12 percent since 2014. Last years’ Census revealed that young Australians were experiencing low levels of ‘life satisfaction’ and wellbeing, as well as significant levels of stress around choosing and securing a career pathway.

Supported by the Business Chamber movement, the Skillsroad 2018 Youth Census was designed to further illuminate the specific hopes, fears and general attitudes of Australian youth during their transition from school to the workforce.

The 2018 Youth Census employed a brand new psychological research tool that investigates youth wellbeing through a multidimensional approach.

ASA National General Manager, James Moran, says that the new research methods used in the Census provide unprecedented, evidence-based insights for schools, parents and businesses.

“The information gained from this report can be used by government and education providers to develop new policy, educational and workplace programs, and resources that will address the particular concerns of young people,” he said.

“In this Census, wellbeing has been broken into fifteen different areas to identify specifically where youth are flourishing and which elements of wellbeing they are struggling with,” says Registered Psychologist for ASA, Danielle Buckley.

“It has really shone a light on how youth in Australia are experiencing life, and the more we know, the more we can help them to succeed,” she says.

Mr Moran says that the Youth Census has also highlighted the value of apprenticeships, and vocational work more broadly, as a meaningful after school career option for Australian youth.

Among Census participants who had left school, apprentices cited a wellbeing score that was well above the national average, followed closely by those in traineeships, taking a full-time job, and going on a ‘working’ gap year. Meanwhile, getting a part-time job, going to university or not working at all scored either on or below the national wellbeing average.

The Census results also reveal a disparity between the reality of the job market and young people’s perception of available career opportunities. Despite a national skills shortage across the Australian trades sector, the concern that “there aren’t enough jobs” was cited by youth as one of their top three biggest worries about living in Australia.

This concern is likely exacerbated by the reported lack of career guidance for some young people during their secondary studies, with only half of all Skillsroad Youth Census participants reporting that they received “quality” career advice throughout their schooling.

Mr Moran says that these results should serve as a strong message to schools, parents and employers that young people need to be better informed about all post-school pathways.

“Choosing a career pathway is an important and exciting decision, and it’s vital that our young people are made aware of all of the opportunities that are available to them early on in the process,” he said.

“Everyone is different. We need to make sure that our youth are armed with all of the necessary resources and information to make a well-informed decision about their after school pathway, and aren’t just pushed towards one option,” Ms Buckley agreed.

Download the full report at

Via email. For all media enquiries, please contact Tess Green on (02) 9458 7339 / 0468 697 512 OR Amanda Wood on 0409 050 244

National approach needed for adoption

With over 47,000 children in out-of-home care, and one of the lowest adoption rates in the world - the Australian Parliament’s Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee has today recommended that the Commonwealth work with the states and territories to enact a national law for the adoption of Australian children.

Issuing the Committee’s report into local adoption, Committee Chair Julia Banks MP said the differences between adoption laws in Australia’s states and territories are a major barrier to more children being adopted in Australia.

“During our inquiry, we heard evidence that Australian children are denied the opportunity of adoption due to the complexity and lack of consistency of legislation across Australia. We also heard that the system is trapping many of these children into an unhealthy cycle. One of the biggest problems facing children in out-of-home care is the lack of permanency. Children are likely to ‘bounce around’ the system from carer to carer, in some cases experiencing over ten placements. We know that these children have poorer outcomes. They face constant change and instability, on top of the trauma that led them to out-of-home care in the first place.

“This is a national issue that needs a national solution” Ms Banks said.

“This report is about breaking the barriers that are preventing vulnerable children from enjoying the safety, security and wellbeing that a permanent adoptive family can provide.

“The Committee recognises that the best interests and safety of the child are paramount and override all other considerations. When it’s not safe for children to remain with their parents or family, adoption needs to be considered a viable option. Childhood is fleeting and children must not remain in situations where their safety or wellbeing is threatened.”

The Committee received important evidence from many people who have been negatively affected by past adoption policies and practices. The Committee’s report reaffirms that all Australian governments have committed not to repeat these policies and practices. The Committee’s recommendations are forward-looking with its focus being on improving outcomes for adoptees in the future. Open adoption is very different to the past policies of forced or closed adoptions that were shrouded in secrecy.

To this end, the Committee recommends that, when it is determined that it is not safe for a child in out-of-home care to be reunited with their parent(s) or placed in the care of extended family, ‘open adoption’ should be a viable option. Under open adoption, children are encouraged to stay connected with their birth parent(s), with the support of caseworkers and their adoptive parent(s).

Legal permanency is an integral part of the success of open adoption. With open adoption, children retain a relationship with their birth family and identity. At the same time, they gain a sense of belonging, stability and permanency with their adoptive parents and family.

The Committee’s report, presented to the House of Representatives today, also recommends the introduction of ‘integrated birth certificates’. Integrated birth certificates include the names of both birth and adoptive parent(s) and are already being considered in many jurisdictions.

Other key recommendations made by the Committee include that adoption be considered before long term foster care or residential care; and that timeframes be set on a child centric basis in legislation for decisions on whether a child may be able to safely return to their birth parent(s).

The report is available on the Committee’s website (

Medianet Press Release []

Is religion a higher loyalty?

At a time when Australia is grappling with the latest example of Islamist-inspired terrorism on the streets of Melbourne, Britain is also dealing with another impact of extremism.

The application for asylum by Asia Bibi — a Pakistani Christian whose recent acquittal of charges of blasphemy and insulting Mohammed sparked violent protests led by Islamic hardliners — was rejected by the UK government, based on security concerns and fear of stirring up unrest among some sections of the community.

This is a long way from the dream of a harmonious multicultural society in which all citizens, regardless of race or creed, enjoy the same rights and liberties.

Islamists believe that religious obligations trump their obligations as citizens, and this belief fundamentally undermines the civil compact of mutual respect for the freedoms of all that lies at heart of Western liberal democracy.

We are of course talking about small number of radicals who hold extreme views and are not representative of the vast majority of Muslims.

However, during the session on child protection in which I took part at  London’s recent Battle of Ideas conference, there was disturbing discussion of the UK child grooming gangs — which involved serial child sexual assaults by mostly Muslim men, often from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds.

As expected, a question from the audience asked what role the offenders’ religion played?

My answer is that the offending by Muslim men had nothing to do with the theology of Islam, per se, but it would be wrong not to consider the role their cultural backgrounds may have played.

This is to say:  we should think about the implications not in terms of religion, but in terms of immigration policy and the selection and integration of migrants.

However, in audience were a number of young Muslim women who eagerly sought out the microphone to express their views.

To all intents and purposes, they were young British women; educated and articulate. But they were also quick to take issue with any suggestion that Islam had anything to do with Rotherham and its sequels.

They had a point. But what struck me was how visceral their reaction was to any perceived slight on Islam, especially as they appeared to be — in all other respects — fully assimilated (to use an old fashioned term) right down to their accents and their jeans and sneakers — without a hijab, let alone a burka, in sight.

Such a demonstrable commitment to ‘defending the faith’ was therefore unusual — and therefore striking — to encounter firsthand, when in a Western nation like Australia we are by habit and custom used to the religious being subordinate to the secular.

This was a different, and obviously less extreme, expression of a higher religious loyalty that was clearly central to these young women’s identity.

But reflecting on these events makes one ponder what the implications may be for the cohesiveness of British society.


 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, 2018

A brutal culture that neeeds to change

By Jacinta Nampijinpa Price

Like most traditional cultures around the world, Warlpiri [Aboriginal] culture is deeply patriarchal; men are ­superior to women and more privileged, and the collective quashes the rights of the individual. These principles, thousands of years old, come together to oppress women now. If I misbehaved as a young girl, some well-intentioned family member might threaten me with forced marriage to a much older “promised husband”. I would obey out of terror.

Aboriginal children are rarely punished physically but are controlled psychologically. I recall when I was a little girl my female kin playing cards at Yuendumu. A Japangardi, one of my potential husbands, walked past. The women pretended he was coming to take me away. They teased me and huddled around, pretending to protect me from his clutches. He played along, pretending to grab for me. I was terrified. Everyone burst into laughter. Japangardi signalled it was all a joke and ­handed me a $20 note to compensate for the terror he caused me.

Girls are trained to be submissive from birth and their fear is laughed at. My mother was ­expected to join her middle-aged promised husband as his second wife at 13. She would have gone to her big sister’s household as her co-wife. Mum rebelled. Her father and promised husband relented and told her she could ­finish school first. They were good and thoughtful men who knew the law but also knew when not to enforce it and that the world was changing. Others of my ­mother’s age weren’t so lucky and were beaten senseless for daring to rebel.

My parents were determined I would be able to choose my husband. There are still some not granted that right. In customary law, a man is entitled to have sex with his promised wife without her consent. This has been used in court to defend men who had violently and sexually assaulted their teenaged promised wives. In 2002 a 50-year-old Aboriginal man faced court over the abduction and rape of his 15-year-old promised wife. He had already killed one wife. Despite this, his new wife’s family had promised her to him. She was held against her will at his outstation and repeatedly raped. When she attempted to leave with relatives, he fired his shotgun to scare them off. His lawyers argued he was acting within the parameters of his law and fulfilling obligations to the victim’s family.

This was true. The initial charge of rape was reduced. He ­received 24 hours’ imprisonment for unlawful intercourse with a minor and 14 days’ imprisonment for the firearm offences. When the details were published in a ­national paper there was outrage and a successful appeal.

I know of many other cases like that: stories of rape, domestic violence and murder; stories belonging to women in my family and many other Aboriginal families. Stories that never reach the ears of the wider public. My close family regularly contributes to the hideous statistics relating to family ­violence. My Aboriginal sisters, aunts, mothers, nieces and daughters live this crisis every day. There is not a woman in my family who has not experienced some kind of physical or sexual abuse at some time in her life. And none of the perpetrators were white. One of my aunts had her childhood violently stolen from her at the age of 14. Her promised husband, a much older man, held her captive. She was bound with rope “like a kangaroo”, as it was described to me, and repeatedly raped. No one reported the incident. Everyone went about their lives as if nothing had happened. My aunt — one of the most loving, caring and, as I’ve come to learn, resilient women I know — lived on in silence. She lost the ability to bear children. She was left to deal with her scarred womb and tormented ­psyche while her perpetrator lived on to die as an elder and law man, revered by both the Aboriginal and the wider community.

I was told of another relative who had also been promised to a much older man who, again, had been convicted of killing his first wife. She was terrified she’d suffer the same fate. Her female relatives tried to protect her. I was told her promised husband and other male relatives took her out bush with the connivance of her own father who had also caused the death of his wife. No one has seen her since. That was more than 30 years ago when I was a baby. No complaint was made to the police. These are the kinds of women’s stories I’ve grown up with, told to me in whispers by aunts, grandmothers, mothers. They were also warnings of what can happen when a girl breaks the law.

As an Aboriginal woman I have grown up knowing never to travel on certain roads during “business” time for fear of accidentally coming across a men’s ceremonial party. Like all Aboriginal women, I am at risk of being killed as punishment for making such a simple mistake. This was, and still is, the rule for Aboriginal women in central Australia.

In January 2009 a police car drove on to a ceremonial ground in a remote community. They were pursuing a man who had assaulted his wife. There was a female police officer in the car. That evening the ABC news reported that white police had shown no respect for Aboriginal law. The fact they were pursuing a man who had perpetrated violence against his wife wasn’t mentioned.

Interviewed for the evening news, the late Mr Bookie, former chairman of the Central Land Council, said: “It’s against our law for people like that, breaking the law, they shouldn’t be there. Aboriginal ladies, they’re not allowed to go anywhere near that. If they had been caught — a woman, Aboriginal lady, got caught — she would be killed. Simple as that!” He knew the law and he told the truth.

There was great anger in June this year when Victoria Police ­issued a statement cautioning women to have “situational awareness” and be “mindful of their surroundings” after the terrible rape and murder of a young Melbourne woman in a Carlton park at night. Aboriginal women in remote Australia must be acutely aware of their situation and surroundings all the time during Aboriginal men’s ceremony. They are taught this from birth. This is the way it is and has always been.

A few years ago I was contacted by a female family member who told me that because of feuding ­between her family and her in-laws she was wrongly accused of insulting a man in a culturally sensitive way relating to sacred men’s business. As a result she and her daughter were told they had to strip naked publicly in their community to be humiliated. Women know insulting a man with reference to men’s sacred ceremony can result in severe punishment. An accusation is usually believed and supported by the accuser’s ­female kin. Denial is useless.

A son-in-law can do whatever he likes and his mother-in-law will blame her daughter. In traditional communities in the Northern Territory, the patriarchal and kin-based society is so deeply embedded it’s common for female relatives of even violent offenders to support them against the victim. The obligation to male kin is so strong it can be crippling.

Premature death and life-threatening illness are blamed on sorcery. Misfortune falling on a family can be blamed on the misbehaviour of women who have ­attracted the attention of sor­cerers. They may be blamed for the death of their children or husbands. Mothers and widows in mourning are sometimes badly beaten after attracting blame. They usually accept punishment because they share the belief system that imposes the penalty. As long as the belief that women can be blamed for the bad behaviour of men, or for accidents and illness, exists in the hearts and minds of Aboriginal people, we will never progress in the fight against physical and sexual violence against women. It is heartbreaking but true.

Ironically, in my experience many of those most horrified by the idea of Aboriginal people questioning the old ways or adapting to the new are people who fully embrace modernity themselves. They are often well-educated and em­ployed, fluent and articulate in ­English. They live safely in suburbs, have access to the media and the world’s best health services. They don’t die young and they stay out of prison. They have their own culture, don’t live by our customary law, perhaps don’t know what it is. To me, it’s never clear what it is they’re so keen for us to hold on to. Or why we should.

In a small-scale society without prisons and without ­material wealth, incarceration or fining weren’t available as penalties for law-breaking. Physical punishments such as wounding by spear, beatings or death were the only ones available. Once the punishment had been carried out, conflict could be resolved and everyone could carry on with life. With no defence services or police, everybody, male and female, was trained to fight to defend themselves and their families when called upon. Communities haven’t fully shed these ancient practices.

But they don’t work in a complex, modern society, especially one suffering from high levels of ­alcohol and drug abuse; a world where we have all of these old traditions plus internet connection to the world, pornography and poker machines — new things that can kill, none of which existed when our culture and laws were formed.

This is the point at which traditional culture and the modern world collide to tear each other apart. My peaceful childhood days in the bush were a stark contrast to town, where members of my family lived in town camps. There, ­alcohol-fuelled violence took a stranglehold on their lives. I watched as my uncles, whom I loved dearly — men who loved their families — became addicted to grog because they no longer knew where they stood in society. I’ve witnessed alcohol-fuelled rage from men and women towards each other and inflicted on themselves. The principles of traditional and modern economies also clash.

Traditionally we couldn’t preserve or transport food in a harsh climate. Food had to be consumed immediately and shared with those present; and it could be ­demanded. That was the only way we could survive. But the only things my ancestors possessed that could be shared were food, water and firewood. The principle of demand-share cannot coexist with money, with the need to save, invest and budget. It cannot coexist with addiction. Now, in the cash economy, demand-share and immediate consumption applied to money, clothing, vehicles and houses cause poverty. You can’t say no to kin. They have unrestricted access to your income and all of your assets under the old rules. Some kin will be addicted to alcohol, drugs and gambling.

The addicted are allowed, under the rules of traditional culture, to demand their kin fund their addiction. It is the single biggest barrier to beneficial participation in the modern economy. If you are obliged to give, with no questions asked, you can’t budget, you can’t save, you can’t invest. It strips away your incentive to work. I have had to live with this and cope with it all of my life. Sharing reinforces kin relationships and the status of the sharer.

Men have higher status than women and are less obliged than women to share. This system further subjugates women. To avoid the pain of saying no, my mother insists her white husband won’t let her share. My father is happy to take on this role and use the “male privilege” given him by his wife’s culture to protect his ­Aboriginal loved ones from poverty.

These problematic attitudes and practices I’ve described did not arrive on the Australian continent with white people in 1788. They are millennia old and fundamentally rooted in a deeply patriarchal culture.

James Massing is a senior minister in the Sarawak state government in Malaysia. His people are the indigenous Iban. His great-grandfather was a headhunter. He has a simple message for other ­indigenous peoples: “If you don’t adapt, you die.” He knows the traditional culture of his people and speaks their language. He has a PhD in anthropology from the Australian National University. He no longer hunts human heads. He has kept the best of the old ways, and taken the best of what the world has to offer now, to lead his people out of poverty and marginalisation. He knows how his people must adapt to survive.

Recently I was helping my 33-year-old niece to cope with end-stage renal failure and her 11-year-old daughter to attend to an ongoing battle with rheumatic fever; we have the highest rates in the world. Their mother and grandmother, my sister-in-law, is in her 40s. She walks with a limp and has permanent damage to her sight and hearing resulting from assaults by Aboriginal male partners and a Warlpiri man who bashed her in the head with a rock because she had no grog or cigarettes to give him. Not long before that I helped ambulance and police officers to place the body of my aunt in a body bag. She had died of a massive heart attack following a drinking binge. She was one of my favourites. Not long before that I identified the body of my young cousin killed in a car crash caused by ­alcohol abuse. None of these, my female loved ones, had the English skills, confidence or competence to deal with the wider world effectively when crises hit. They all spoke their traditional languages. They were all traditional owners under the Land Rights Act. They knew their Jukurrpa and could name the sacred sites in their country. The old rules of traditional culture simply do not give them, the most marginalised of our communities, the tools they need to deal with contemporary problems and challenges; challenges that the old ones, elders past, couldn’t have imagined.

Massing is correct. We need to adapt to survive and we can do it our way. I have spoken of the need for cultural reform. I have called on Aboriginal people to question long-held beliefs, to challenge that which contributes to violence in our culture and to hold ourselves to account for the part our culture and attitudes play in our communities’ problems. Just as European women have challenged the treatment of women in their cultures to bring about change, I am doing the same in mine.

My message is too much for many people to hear. When I or others relate stories like the ones I’ve told here, we attract labels like “coconut” and “sell out”, and ­obscene, misogynist, violent abuse. If white people do so, of course, the label is “racist”, “assimilationist” and “white supremacist”. Truth can be threatening and offensive. Truth can be too much for some. Aboriginal women and children are Australian citizens and they must be able to make the same choices as other citizens. ­Aboriginal activists campaigned for decades for my people to have the full rights of citizens. Now we have them. We also won the ­responsibilities of citizenship. They can’t be separated. If Australian citizens are in danger of abuse and neglect, they deserve to be protected, not on the basis of their culture but on the basis of their human rights. We cannot sacrifice their lives on the altar of culture.

Thirty per cent of us in the Northern Territory are of indigenous descent. We are determined to hold on to the best of traditional values. We need to let go of the ones that no longer work. My kinsmen, who suffer through these crises, haven’t been taught the best of Western, indeed world, culture to help them cope with the problems whitefellas have brought to us. Many haven’t even been taught to speak, read or write the national language. Our traditional culture simply doesn’t provide all the tools they need for a modern world.

The West has progressed so far because constructive criticism is embraced. Progress cannot be made if long-held beliefs cannot be challenged or if we cannot be honest. My people are intelligent, prag­matic and resilient. We’re not delicate or weak but clever, funny and strong, like our language. And just as our language has adapted to a new world, I have faith our culture can be adapted and improved. And it will still be our culture.


In defence of coal

Australia’s green zealots are making life harder for the world’s poor

Thermal coal will become an illegal substance in Australia if Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt gets his way. ‘Coal is the next asbestos’, Bandt declared earlier this month. ‘It is toxic and dangerous. We need to stop exporting coal.’

An economic recession induced by the closure of a $20 billion export industry would be barely felt in the inner-city quinoa zone from where the Greens harvest most of their support.

Doctors, teachers, public servants and other professional suppliers of public services do not lose their jobs in a recession. Indeed, they tend to thrive, thanks to politicians who respond to economic downturns with new government programmes of which they are the potential providers.

It will be a different story in the coal-mining regions of the Hunter Valley in New South Wales and parts of Queensland where honest Australians get their hands dirty delivering a third of the world’s coal exports efficiently and cheaply.

The solar-panel-sheltered classes will not notice the dramatic rise in electricity prices. By day they would make a profit selling excess electricity into the grid, and survive mild nights with batteries which the Greens will subsidise.

Residents of working-class western Sydney, on the other hand, where the winter nights are chilly, summer days sweltering and incomes tighter, will feel the brunt of rising electricity prices which, bizarrely in a country with abundant coal and uranium, are already among the highest in the world.

A ban on coal exports would be tough on the world’s poor in general, particularly those in Asia, where the bulk of Australian coal lands.

The billions emerging from poverty thanks to free markets, free trade and stable electricity supplies are not yet prosperous enough to survive an increase in power prices from the short supply of coal. Hope will evaporate for the 750million electricity-starved Asians burning kerosene and cow dung.

Every symbolic crusade needs a totem. For the Prohibition movement a century ago it was the saloon bars. In the early days of the Green movement it was dams, an emblem of humankind’s reckless invasion of the wilderness, and the sub-species that would undoubtedly be driven to extinction by the rising waters.

The epitome of daminisation, the demonisation of reservoir construction, occurred 12 years ago towards the end of a prolonged drought, as the water supply in the Brisbane basin was rapidly running out.

The campaign against the Traveston Crossing Dam pitched the Mary River turtle, giant barred frog, Queensland lungfish and Richmond birdwing butterfly in an equal contest against the people. The result was a triumph for non-sentience.

The spread of global-warming anxiety since the turn of the century prompted a search for a new emblem. Doe-eyed polar bears adrift on ice occupied the slot for a while, until the activists discovered the emotive charm of Queensland’s Barrier Reef and the dark underbelly of coal.

The Barrier Reef is the most protected, pampered coral formation in the world. Billions have been spent to preserve it. The theory that it is being damaged by climate change is far from proven. It has been damaged by farm-water runoff, now controlled and filtered, and the crown-of-thorns starfish, an insidious aquatic vandal that has become the target of a multimillion-dollar cull.

The chance opportunity to put coal and coral together came in 2010 when the Queensland government opened the way for a rail line from the North Galilee Basin to the coast, as a precursor for mining some of the richest untapped coal reserves in the world.

In 2011, an anti-coal axis of environmental activists, including Greenpeace and others, held a secret counsel of war in the New South Wales Blue Mountains to formulate a strategy.

The strategy document that emerged, Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom, proposed a ‘hearts and minds’ campaign to change the image of coal from ‘the backbone of the economy’ to ‘a destructive industry’ that ‘corrupts our democracy and threatens the global climate’.

The movement had rich friends, including the Rockefeller Family Fund and the Australian internet entrepreneur Graeme Wood, the founder of the online travel service Wotif and a prominent backer of the Australian digital edition of the Guardian.

Law-fare and corporate activism became their chosen methods. With a campaign strategy that would make Coca-Cola envious and the help of international single-issue campaigners like Avaaz, they turned the fight to stop the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland into a global crusade.

‘They’re trying to put a toxic coal complex in the heart of the magical Great Barrier Reef — it’s a crazy plan, but we’ve got a chance to stop it’, read an email that spread across the world.

‘This is a do-or-die moment for the reef-wrecking coal mine… Let’s stop the reef-killing deal.’

For the record, the Adani mine is 260 miles inland and the reef, at its closest, is 10 miles offshore. To claim it is ‘in the heart of the magical Great Barrier Reef’ is like saying Oxford is at the heart of Lake Windermere.

Yet the campaign has been ruthlessly successful. Adani’s plans to use the blessed reserves of central Queensland to fuel prosperity in India have been delayed, and might never go ahead.

History is unlikely to be kind to the decarbonisation movement. Coercive attempts to stop the use of fossil fuels are delivering the same perverse economic consequences as the attempts to close down American saloon bars in the 1920s.

The consumers pay more for a substance they choose not to live without, while the producers count the profits.

The American fondness for alcohol hardly abated during Prohibition. With demand and supply unequally matched, the price of beer rose by 700 per cent in the US between 1920 and 1933. The price of a bottle of brandy rose by 433 per cent and spirits by 270 per cent. A fourfold increase in deaths from alcohol poisoning and a rise in organised crime were just two unintended consequences. The enrichment of the alcohol companies was another.

A report released this month by international financial analysts Redburn predicts a similar result from the crusade against fossil fuels.

The attempt to starve coal producers of capital has impeded their attempts to build new coal mines, but it hasn’t got in the way of profits. The price of coal has risen to a six-year high, which is good news for the coal business, but bad news if you’re living in, say, India’s Bihar state, where three out of four households don’t have electricity.

If the price of coal rises, says Redburn, ‘the one to two billion people on the planet with zero or unreliable access to modern energy would remain priced out of the market’.

Redburn’s analysts turn the tables on so-called ethical investors by forcing them to confront the consequences of fossil-fuel divestment, a phenomenon that has swept university campuses, shareholder meetings and boardrooms, much as anti-alcohol mania did a century ago.

‘Given the pernicious consequences of energy undersupply, we would go so far as to argue that the socially responsible investor has a duty to ensure capital is available to the fossil fuel industry, for as long as it is needed’, they write.

Unless the supply of coal is increased, the world’s poor will be trapped for even longer in poverty, burning whatever they can get to keep life and limb together. Industrial development will be constrained. Fewer goods and services will be purchased. The smug inner glow of virtue-seeking First World activists will hardly compensate for the global decline in material prosperity.


Sydney University's theatre of the absurd

by Tom Switzer

Does studying the West imply superiority?

For generations, the university has been a place designed as a crucible of debate and discussion. That means allowing free-thinking and the exchange of ideas in order to acquire knowledge and intellectual substance.

It is the height of irony, therefore, that universities across the Western world should have been at the forefront, in recent years, of restricting freedom of speech. Across America and Europe, for example, anyone with counter-orthodox views about transgender issues, or same-sex marriage, or even aspects of capitalism, is liable to suffer the indignity of "no-platforming".

It is also ironic that, as Western civilisation should have reached this pass, some at my alma mater, the University of Sydney, are arguing that the subject of Western civilisation itself is inherently "racist". A proposal by the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation to start a course of such study in collaboration with the university, we are told, must be stopped.

I had the great pleasure of not only studying modern history at the University of Sydney (1990-93) but also tutoring and lecturing there (2008-17). It saddens me profoundly that so many former colleagues have worked themselves up into a frenzy of disgust and outrage at the thought of Western civilisation being taught on campus. If they succeed in their aims of preventing full and frank discourse on a subject rich in a cultural history essential to Australia, and to so much of the world, they will have undermined the very notion of what a serious university should stand for.

Before a public meeting last Monday evening, the opponents of Ramsay issued a statement breathtaking not just in its arrogance, but in its ignorance. It is always dangerous to impute motive to others, but that does not prevent these activists from doing so. They argue that "the sole rationale for its proposed curriculum is to reassert the supremacy of the 'West' over all other peoples of the globe."

Missing evidence

All that is missing from that assertion is a shred of evidence, but it allows them to play their trump card. Because of what they regard as the supremacist nature of the course, they claim "the only people who invoke 'Western civilisation' in anything other than a critical spirit are members of the racist right".

And, of course, the minute the "R" word is enlisted, all those who fear being tarred with it are expected to bow down, apologise and withdraw. Such bullying and illiberalism must be resisted vigorously. To do anything else would be to end the idea of a great intellectual institution as a place of free discussion and serious academic purpose.

The activists who wish the Ramsay Centre to be strangled at birth assert that "Western civilisation" is "a favourite umbrella term sheltering all manner of toxic and paranoid prejudices". In that case, many of the world's leading academics, who have taught aspects of this discipline for centuries – theologians, philosophers, classicists, linguists, historians, art historians, musicians and so on – must now be re-labelled as toxic and paranoid, not to mention racist. "We cannot allow," the campus radicals continue, "to offer a course which casts every student of non-Western background as culturally backward."

Never mind that part of the teaching of Western civilisations has been to encourage inquiry into other civilisations. Indeed, anyone who has looked at Persian, Indian, Chinese or Aztec cultures (to name but a few) will have grasped at once their sophistication and complexity.

In a serious university, they should be as open to study as anything else – and the question of what to study should remain a matter of wide-ranging choice. The activists must claim that offering courses in Western civilisation casts non-western students as culturally backward, when it manifestly does nothing of the sort, because the weakness of their argument demands such invention – which only increases that weakness. It is a bit like claiming that by offering natural science courses, a university suggests that those not of a scientific bent are themselves inferior in some way, which would be idiotic.

An eccentric minority

The activists object to European imperialism, which – they may not have noticed – went sharply into reverse a century ago, after the Great War. There is nothing wrong with an Australian university studying a civilisation that originated in Europe, not least given the undeniable effect that the civilisation had on Australia – including the importation of liberal values that the activists seem determined to crush.

Back in Europe and in America, a wave of populism has grown up in recent years. This is not least because of the bullying activities of illiberal intellectual elites, who seek to end debate about matters with which they disagree, and use the weapon of accusations of racism against those who continue to resist, in order to try to shame them into silence. The activists of Sydney should be careful what they wish for. They fail to appreciate just what an unrepresentative, eccentric minority they really are, and the contempt in which people genuinely wedded to the idea of liberalism hold them.

There is nothing to stop the University of Sydney, or any other university in Australia or the rest of the free world, offering courses in any other civilisation that people wish to study. But equally, nothing should stop Sydney offering this course in a civilisation whose influence in the world is indisputable.

To go through life without an understanding of ancient Greece, or the power of the Romans, or the birth and spread of Christianity, the development of the English language, the glory of the Renaissance, the widespread theological, cultural and economic effects of the Reformation, the wonders of the Enlightenment, the development of ideas such as democracy and the rule of law can only render someone thoroughly uneducated. So, too, would a failure to grasp all the scientific discoveries that came from the West, and which have underpinned our modern world.

Tom Switzer is executive director of the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney and a presenter at ABC's Radio National.



In a brothel, racial preferences come out

When a sex worker began applying for a new job at a brothel, she discovered one problem within the sex industry that won’t go away.

It was an average Saturday night around the dinner table when, over a glass of wine, one of my friends said that she was checking out some new places to work.

She wasn’t looking on your average job website, though.

She’s a sex worker, so she had been scrolling through the web pages of different brothels in Sydney, comparing their locations, premises and rates to choose which ones sounded the most promising.

Those of us at the table crowded around her, peering over her shoulder as she searched on her phone. There was nothing out-of-the-ordinary at first – at least, nothing out of the ordinary for our industry – until she happened upon one particular brothel.

On the “prices” page of one particular site, the cost of the booking wasn’t only dictated by the amount of time a client might be interested in spending with a girl. It also differed depending on what kind of girl he would choose: “Western” girls commanded a higher rate.

It was written right there, clear as day. For some bookings, a client could expect to pay almost $100 more to see a “western” – or white – girl than he would to see an Asian girl who worked at the same parlour.

While private workers are free to set their own rates and charges, brothel-based workers are paid a percentage of the price that the business sets.

So, this brothel didn’t only charge clients more to see white workers, it also paid white workers more than non-white workers for the same amount of work. While the ethnic pay gap has been discussed and debated at length, seeing such a blatant example of it left me feeling horrified.

In no world would it be appropriate to charge a customer more to have their coffee made by a white barista, to get their taxes done by a white accountant, or to see a white doctor. So why was it okay here?

To pay one worker more than another because of their race, or to charge more for a service because of the provider’s race, is racism – plain and simple.

The adult industry is frequently considered to be ahead of the curve when it comes to progressive politics. After all, if we can make it past the hang-ups that most people have about sex and nudity, surely we must be a pretty enlightened group – right?

Sex worker and sociologist Zenith Breitling has been in the industry for six years now. She describes herself as Australian-Asian and says that “refreshingly honest” is something she hears a lot about herself, adding, “I’m happier in a pair of Merrells than I am in a pair of Louboutins”.

Zenith has met people through work who have made well-intentioned, genuine mistakes in assuming things about her: Clients who’ve taken her to dinner and assumed she would love chilli, for example. But she’s also had more sinister experiences.

“A brothel wrote a biography of me on their website using phrases that exoticised my race, like ‘here to please you’ and ‘oriental dream’. Both are phrases intended to evoke the stereotype of the submissive Asian woman,” she told me over email.

“There’s also definitely a cohort of clients who fetishise Asian women for how we look. I’ve got no drama with fellas who appreciate a certain look – hey, I like ginger dadbods!

“But when they prey on Asian women specifically, expecting us all to behave the same...that’s when it’s no longer a preference and fetishisation becomes a problem.”

As a white woman in the adult industry, I can’t say I’ve ever been judged negatively because of my race. But I’ve seen it happen to others; friends, co-workers, and clients.

I’ve met plenty of clients who refuse to see workers of specific races and just as many workers who refuse clients based on race, too.

While in some circumstances this might make sense – a client visiting from China may feel more comfortable seeing a worker who speaks fluent Mandarin or Cantonese – it’s rarely ease of communication that informs these judgements.

There are also brothel and agency managers who are quick to discriminate against workers who aren’t white; something that Zenith has also experienced (“thanks, but we don’t need another worker – we already have an Asian girl working tonight,” is something she has heard before.)

Every single person in the adult industry – whether they’re a worker, a manager, or a business owner – faces some form of judgement and stigma because of their work.

Sometimes it’s the assumption that we’re working unsafely or illegally, or that we’re harming ourselves or others in our work. Other times, it’s just the age-old belief that sex is dirty or wrong and that anyone who has it, especially for money, is also dirty or wrong.

It has always surprised me that people who face so much stigma and judgement because of their work can be so quick to stigmatise and judge other people. While the adult industry might be enlightened when it comes to sex and nudity, we clearly have a lot of work to do in letting go of harmful stereotypes and prejudices about our colleagues and friends.

If we demand acceptance from others, should we not also give it in turn? How can we be so hypocritical as to ask someone not to judge our occupation, when we turn around and judge the worker or client sitting right next to us?

“It’s an image-obsessed industry that uses the guise of ‘preference’ as an easy gateway to encourage racist practises, mostly rewarding whiteness or proximity to whiteness,” Zenith told me.

“No layperson needs it explained that racism is a visually-coded form of discrimination.”

When I asked Zenith what I – and other workers – could do to help combat racism in the industry, her advice was simple.

Encourage diversity and listen to migrant workers, but also, be conscious of the kind of behaviour we ignore in our workplaces because speaking up feels too hard, or intimidating. “Encouraging, or being complicit to, racist practises within the sex industry gives people yet another green light to treat people outside of the industry the same way,” she said. “But when we embrace diversity, everyone gets work.”


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

2 December, 2018

What is a true education?

Jennifer Buckingham

A university student reflecting on her education recently published a disparaging critique. She condemned an “antiquated” model of education for rewarding her for learning maths and science instead of things she considers more important, such as “how to do a tax return, change a tyre, pay off a car, buy a house, nail a job interview, do CPR, start a self-managed super fund.”

As teacher and blogger Michael Salter pointed out, why shouldn’t this list of life skills include “caring for an infant? Caring for an aged parent? Sterilising formula bottles? Filling in a Centrelink form? Clearing leaves from gutters? Unclogging drains? Cooking a family meal? Or a thousand other things?”

The idea that our highly educated teachers should be spending precious class time on things that could easily be learned on a weekend from a relative or friend, or indeed by watching a Youtube video, is both nihilistic and utilitarian — two things a true education is not.

It would be easy to dismiss these sentiments as typically youthful lack of appreciation for the privilege of an academic education, but they are also endorsed by people of influence in education policy.

Schools and expert teachers exist to give children knowledge and skills that they are unable or unlikely to learn otherwise. While it might be true that many students will not make use of the maths they learned beyond Year 8, there is no way of knowing in advance which students will, and which won’t. Therefore, the most equitable thing is to provide all students with a strong maths education, so no student is denied the opportunity to study maths at higher levels for lack of a solid foundation in the earlier years.

Unfortunately, students — and their supporters — who think maths education is irrelevant might just get what they wish for. A report released this week by the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute shows a looming critical shortage of qualified maths teachers:  only one in four students currently have a qualified maths teacher in every year between Year 7 and 10, and this likely to deteriorate without immediate action.

Why does this matter? As Chief Scientist Alan Finkel told the International STEM in Education conference last week, maths is “fundamental to science, to commerce, to economics, to medicine, to engineering, to geography, to architecture, to IT… maximising your choices is not the same as maximising your ATAR.”

A good school education is about maximising choices for students in their life beyond school, not delivering a narrowly functional set of life skills.


Having a degree increases average earning by 26 per cent for women - but only 6 per cent for men, study claims

Women have a much higher salary return from a degree at the age of 29 than men, and almost always benefit in cash terms from attending university, the study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies revealed.

Researchers found that a degree increases average earnings by 26 per cent for women, but only 6 per cent for men. In addition, in contrast to men, women see a salary premium for every subject – even ones which produce low earnings.

Women studying creative arts earn 9 per cent more than those who have no degree, while those studying social care earn 14 per cent more.

Experts say the trend can be explained by the vastly different paths men and women take if they do not go to university.

For women, not going to university often means having children earlier and therefore they are more likely to be working part-time or not at all by the age of 29.

There is also the issue of women choosing poorly paid non-graduate paths, such as beauty or childcare.

In contrast, men who do not go to university are more likely to choose male-dominated lucrative trades such as plumbing or construction.

Those with some years’ experience can earn £40,000 or more – much higher than many graduates.

The calculations for salary premiums took into account additional factors, such as the different levels of affluence and ability of people attending university.

The study also found the gender pay gap between men and women who have been to university is narrower than that of men and women who have not.

Examining the raw earnings only, the average salary at age 29 for a university-educated man is £36,000 while for a university-educated female it is £30,000 – a difference of £6,000.

For non-university-educated men it is £30,000, and for women it is £21,000 – a difference of £9,000.


Fun police strike again... Push to remove monkey bars from playgrounds after concerns they are 'too dangerous for children'

A set of monkey bars was once the staple of school playgrounds and parks across Australia.

But the humble play apparatus is now under threat from child healthcare experts who claim the equipment is one of the leading causes of injuries in young children.

One report from Monash University's Victorian Surveillance Unit claims there has been a 41 per cent increase in the number of monkey bar injuries leading to emergency room presentations.

Dr Lisa Sharwood, who worked on the report, told The Age there were 14,167 monkey bar-related injuries over the last 10 years - 81 per cent of which happened to kids between the ages of five and nine.Most of the subsequent hospital admissions were a result of upper limb and ankle injuries, she said.

A 2015 audit of child fractures at a Melbourne hospital also found more than half of the injuries were caused by children attempting to skip a rung on the monkey bars. 

There have been efforts in recent years to improve monkey bar safety, with an Australian Standards Committee limiting their height to 2.2 metres in 2014. The surface beneath the bars has also been made softer, with bark mulch now needing to be at least 40 centimetres thick.

But the chairperson of that committee, Professor David Eager from the University of Technology Sydney, believes the equipment should still be phased out in favour of space nets and spider webs.

The nets break children's falls and Dr Eager said injury rates have fallen as a result.

He told The Age: 'Monkey bars were OK when I was a kid 60 years ago, but they're not an appropriate form of play equipment in 2018. 'Most councils and schools have been pulling them out and replacing them with spatial nets but not as quickly as we'd like.' 


Victorian workers’ paradise hellish for those outside the loop

News from the frontline in the deep south: contrary to popular opinion, Victorians are not all ­socialists. Nor are we generally more left-wing than other people around Australia, and this is not why Labor recently was re-elected with a thumping majority.

Generally speaking, Melbourne people are fairly polite, with genteel manners. At social events, for instance, the value of one’s home or how much money one has is not discussed as openly as it may be in, say, Sydney. Politics is another topic generally considered impolite to raise with people one doesn’t know very well, along with religion. Instead, people prefer to discuss sport, business, the weather, where to partake of good food and wine, the latest or coming cultural events, and so on.

Perhaps it is these social norms that keep our multi-ethnic and multi-faith state humming along in blissful harmony, which it does most of the time. It is self-evident that Melbourne people embrace people from other countries; perhaps through our collective interest in good food, wine and culture, we view newcomers as value-adders, until proved otherwise.

For a long time now, Victorians have worn gibes from people in other states about the African gangs and how we are all too scared to go out of the house because of them. When the Liberals piggybacked on this theme and made crime the core thrust of their campaign, the population reacted with the pent-up annoyance that has been building for quite a while.

The past Liberal government was regarded as hopeless, and in its first term the Labor government set a hectic pace for infrastructure delivery. This Labor government has been seen as all about roads and trains, services, and future planning for a rapidly growing state.

The electorate doesn’t see too much of the Premier, Daniel Andrews. When required, he is wheeled out to make a short and sharp statement, then he disappears. The government seems to understand that voters prefer their politicians to shut up and get on with the job.

Doing what you say you are going to do, promptly, without fuss or fanfare, is a winning formula in politics. A distracted and busy population doesn’t have time for closer scrutiny.

It is a shame that closer scrutiny hasn’t been applied because if Labor does what it says it is going to do this time, Victoria is in for some significant change.

The Labor Platform 2018 (available online) lays it all out: we are going to become a workers’ paradise because “Labor is based on the principle of workers organising to overcome inequality and exploitation”. A statutory body will be created to “identify and highlight poor employment ­practices” and provide industrial relations advice (only to employees though). It will “take appropriate action to demand improvement” and will “criminalise wage theft”, which is “rife across many industries”.

The platform contains a vow to “encourage trade union membership across both the public sector and the broader economy”. Employers will receive “education” to “understand their obligations” on “workplace rights” and people’s “access to support and equality”. A “workers on boards” policy will be investigated for Victorian government boards ­because “Labor understands that the perspective of workers is ­invaluable when boards are making decisions, particularly on matters of strategy, governance and risk management”.

Andrews said recently that our “biggest law and order issue” is family violence, and Labor has rolled out a model family violence leave clause for inclusion in all public sector enterprise agreements. This clause “mandates 20 days paid family violence leave” for all public sector workers and in the future local governments also will receive “support” to provide this leave to all local council staff.

In terms of business, Labor is going to encourage “social and co-operative enterprises” because they “offer a business model that is highly inclusive and an alternative basis for raising capital and risk”. These enter­prises are formed by “workers and their unions” and the government will determine ways to ­assist them.

It is a breach of the Fair Work Act to take an adverse or harmful action towards any person, ­including a contractor, on any discriminatory grounds, including political affiliation. Nevertheless, Labor intends to “oppose government initiatives and ­appointments” that it thinks are “actively hostile to workers or ­unions”. In other words, any business or person who isn’t firmly in the union-Labor camp will find themselves black-banned.

Labor intends to “consider legal and industrial relations records of law firms and other ­organisations”, and “oppose engagement of those organisations found to have a history of anti-worker or anti-union activity”. This is disturbing and absurd. In every industrial relations matter, there is an applicant and respondent. Where the applicant may be represented by a union, the ­respondent is often represented by a consultant or a legal firm. For business, access to advice and representation is crucial, but Labor sees this as anti-union and ­intends to make financial sanctions, with commercial impact.

From now on then, businesses can expect their industrial representatives may alter their service provision. They may not want to be seen as anti-union, so instead of providing a robust and lawful defence, they may simply organise a dignified surrender.

This, then, is the ruthless ­reality underlying Labor’s feel-good utopian vision. Victoria is set to become a warm and fuzzy workers co-operative, but those not believed to be in the tent will be out in the cold.


 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?

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


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism"
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral Reef Compendium
IQ Compendium
Queensland Police
Australian Police News
Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Bank of Queensland blues

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