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?


28 February, 2017  

Is Australia Racist?

The question above by SBS is absurdly broad.  Of course there are some racists in Australia but who are they and how many of them are there?  And what do they do? Do they attack minorities or do they just abuse them?  And is it only some groups that get abused?  But the story below is just a media stunt so none of those questions are posed let alone answered.

There is however no doubt about the group from whom most racism in Australia emanates:  The political Left.  They are obsessed with race.  See their complaints about "white privilege" and their support for "affirmative action" of various sorts.  Both those obsessions single out people for discriminatory treatment solely because of their race.  Some people call that positive discrimination but there is no such thing.  If you give something to one group, you take it away from another group.

There does appear to have been some attempt at science below --  in that a survey of 6,000 people is referred to -- but were those people a representative sample of any definable population?  The research desciption is here and it shows that the research is the sort of lazy rubbish that is all too common these days.  It is an online survey.  In other words, it got answers from computer-savvy people only and even then it heard only from those who were interested in the topic and could be bothered to answer the questions.

And there have been various occasions when such surveys gave very different answers to more labour-intensive surveys. How representative the survey was is therefore unknown. Its figures cannot be relied on.

And they did not in fact sample racist incidents.  All they did was ask what people thought.  And ever since the work of La Piere in the 1930's we have known that what people think may not be expressed in action at all.

The survey does however draw one conclusion which rings true:  Most of the antipathy was towards Muslims and African blacks.  There was no data given on (say) attitudes to our large Chinese minority.  Since the Chinese don't wage jihad towards up or break into our homes, I am guessing that there was very little antipathy to the Chinese.  In short, people have got good reasons to disapprove of the hostile behaviour that emerges from the African and Muslim populations.  If people would like to see all Muslims and Africans begone, that is a perfectly rational fear for their own safety.

The basic premise underlying the story below is that we should not illtreat individuals because they come from a problem population.  But we do not. A few exceptional white Australians may say critical things towards various minority members but official policy is  not to discrimiate at all against members of any minority.  But minority members are unreasonable if they expect people to ignore the bad behaviour of the group to which they belong.  People are right to be wary of them.  In the absence of a mind-reading machine, there is no way to know whether they are one of the hostiles or not.

And because there is no way of knowing that, the only way to protect ourselves from the outrages emanating from these groups is to deport the lot of them, which is Pauline Hanson's policy.  There seems little likelihood that it will soon become official policy, though.  Australians generally seem to be willing to tolerate  attacks on themselves in order to avoid unfair treatment of innocent minority group members.  The rise of Mr. Trump may however suggest that the patience concerned is wearing thin.

One notes that there is no mention below of the appalling behavior emanating from the two minority groups concerned:  No mention of what may lie behind suspicion of the group-members concerned.  One is apparently supposed to assume that Muslims and Africans are disliked purely because of the evil racist nature of mainstream Australians.  Such an assumption is itself grossly offensive -- particlarly considering the large number of genuine refugees that Australia has taken in from all over the world

"Where's your f---ing face? What are you hiding from? F---ing Allah?"

These questions were among the abuse caught on shocking hidden-camera footage of a random hate-filled attack on a young Muslim woman by herself in a shopping centre. 

A 50-something white male is seen launching into an angry tirade of abuse against the woman, in a prime example of the extent of the bigotry and hate endured by the Muslim community on a daily basis.

Research has found that a staggering 77 per cent of Muslim women in Australia have experienced racism on public transport or in the street.

The hidden-camera footage is one of many incidents featured in Is Australia Racist?, which aired Sunday night and is an hour-long documentary exposing the random, everyday bigotry and racism endured by ethnic groups across the nation.

The documentary kicks off SBS's Face Up To Racism week, which features a series of special programming putting the spotlight on prejudice in Australia today.

The woman in this incident is targeted because she's wearing a niqab – a veil which covers the head and face but not the eyes – in an attack triggered only by the fact she had the misfortune to happen to cross paths with the abusive man.

Unbeknown to her abuser, however, she's a volunteer for the documentary, which follows a number of people of different ethnicities with hidden cameras to reveal the ugly truth of racism on the streets.

It's the experience of the Muslim woman, Afghan refugee Rahila Haidary, that is the most shocking example in the program and a blunt insight into the vitriolic levels of Islamophobia in current society.

The man is seen approaching Haidary, telling her, "You're in my face like that", before launching into an intimidating attack.

"You're in our country because we helped save you from where you came from, from where you've been persecuted and you wear things like that," he shouts.

She responds by asking what should she do, to which he says she should dress like other Australians and become part of the culture.

She asks how Australians dress, to which the man explodes with rage at his lone, diminutive female target.

"They dress with a  f---ing face," he says, gesticulating angrily. "Where's your f---ing face? What are you hiding from? F---ing Allah?"

It's a confronting scene as the man, who is much taller than Haidary, continues his verbal abuse.

"Your f---ing Muhammad? You know he's a paedophile," he tells her.

It's at this point that two women passers-by stop and realise what's happening and start to move in to intervene. The man storms off, adding "f--- off"as he goes.

The whole incident is little more than 40 seconds but its impact highlights the damage that can be done in just a matter of moments.

Haidary, who doesn't usually wear a niqab, is visibly shaken by the experience.

"It's shocking to see that sort of hate," she says. "I can't imagine how those women who dress up like that would get along every day."

It is clear the man did not know he was being filmed. Legally, it's permitted to film people without their permission provided it's in a public space where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

An SBS spokesman said: "All filming featured in Is Australia Racist? was captured in public spaces and all relevant filming laws have been adhered to, along with SBS's own Codes of Practice, in the making of the documentary.

"The program shines a light on racism and prejudice in Australia today through a series of social experiments capturing racism and the reactions of people witnessing it, through the eyes of those who experience it."

Out of all the poisonous threads of racism featured in the program, Islamophobia appears to be top of the list in current times. The program notes that in 1998, 3 per cent of the population had negative views towards Muslims, now that proportion is 32 per cent.

Worse, as seen in the on-screen incident, the bullying targets women, with 77 per cent of Muslim women in Australia experiencing bigotry in a public place.

Of the 6000 people questioned, it found that one in five people have experienced racism in the past 12 months, with 35 per cent of those surveyed saying they had experienced racism on public transport or on the street.   

There are glimmers of hope, however. On many occasions, the hidden footage shows bystanders instinctively intervening when volunteers are targeted in hate attacks.

There's also evidence that the younger generation have much greater support for cultural diversity.

"There are things to be done," says Martin at the show's conclusion. "But it's not all gloomy."


Australians aren’t as Islamophobic as we’re led to believe, says Muslim researcher

It depends what you mean by "Islamophobia". The report by Riaz Hussein below is a reasonable bit of orthodox survey work. He even claims to have used a random sample, though he does not say  how it was gathered. At any event, this is the most credible work on the question so far.

His innovation over earlier work is to use five different questions describing five different situations in which a Muslim may be encountered and asking how respondents felt about each one.  He combimned the answers into what psychometricians call a "Likert" scale and found that, overall, Australians were not very wary of Muslims.  They were wary in some situations but not in most.

There are some things I could quibble about in the work (I would have liked to see more Bogardus-type questions included, for instance) but, overall, it is an orthodox psychological approach and certainly shows that few Australians are really bitter and twisted about Islam.  They can be bothered but are not easily bothered.  There is certainly no basis for claiming that Australians generally have a "phobia" (irrational anxiety) about Muslims. So Prof. Hussein's work is certainly an authoritative rebuff to the SBS circus.

The big omission of the survey is that questions concerning immigration were not asked.  So previous findings that show  high levels of opposition to Muslim immigration remain standing.  Combining that information with Prof. Hussein's study leaves us, then, with the summary that few Australians are "Islamophobic" but around half of Australians would nonetheless like to see Muslims begone.  Muslims really have blotted their copybooks in Australia.  They are their own worst enemies

Over the last few months, several reports have indicated a significant number of Australians hold anti-Muslim attitudes. In September 2016, The Australian newspaper reported an Essential poll showing 49% of people surveyed were in favour of a ban against Muslims entering Australia – compared to 40% opposed.

More recently, another Essential poll found 41% of those surveyed supported a Donald-Trump-style ban on people from Muslim countries entering Australia. Another 46% opposed a ban and 14% didn’t know.

Meanwhile, a Newspoll found 44% of respondents believed Australia should take similar measures to Trump’s executive order while 45% opposed doing so. Add this to the increasing support for the anti-Muslim One Nation and it’s no wonder some Muslims may feel unwelcome in Australia.

Anti-Muslim and anti-Islam attitudes displayed in these surveys are largely the result of increasing migration from Muslim-majority countries and fear of terrorism. All this has given rise to a new field of study relating to Islamophobia. Research in the US and Europe shows Islamophobia is a multi-dimensional phenomenon, which is not captured in single-item surveys.

For instance, another recent survey by the Pew Research Centre in the US found Australians welcomed diversity as much as Americans, despite some uncertainty over Muslim integration.

In a survey conducted in late 2015 and early 2016, we used a battery of questions to ascertain Australians’ attitudes towards Muslims and Islam. It is the first study that explored the multidimensionality of Islamophobia in Australia.

The resulting nuanced and comprehensive profile of Islamophobia in Australia actually showed few Australians are truly afraid of those of Muslim faith.

What is Islamophobia?

A 1997 report described Islamophobia as a shorthand way of referring to dread or hatred of Islam and unfounded prejudice and hostility towards Islam and Muslims. This included practical consequences of hostility such as discrimination and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream political and social affairs.

In 2011, influential political scientist Erik Bleich defined Islamophobia as “indiscriminate negative attitudes or emotions directed at Islam or Muslims”.

Indiscriminate and negative attitudes and emotions encompass a wide range. This includes aversion, jealousy, suspicion, disdain, anxiety, rejection, contempt, fear, disgust, anger and hostility. They also cover the “phobic” dimension, which implies a persistent and irrational fear of a specific object, activity or situation which is excessive and unreasonable.

Multidimensionality makes Islamophobia a graded phenomenon with levels ranging low to high. Islamophobia scales have been developed to measure its prevalence in society.

How Islamophobic are Australians?

The scale we used to measure Islamophobia consisted of seven statements. These were:

    Just to be safe it is important to stay away from places where Muslims could be.

    I would feel comfortable speaking with a Muslim.

    I would support any policy that will stop the building of a new mosque.

    If I could, I would avoid contact with Muslims.

    I would live in a place where there are Muslims.

    Muslims should be allowed to work in places where many Australians gather such as airports.

    If possible, I would avoid going to places where Muslims would be.

We randomly selected a sample of 1,000 adult Australians. The respondents were asked how they felt about each of the statements. The five options were: strongly agree, agree, undecided, disagree and strongly disagree.

To obtain a single summary score, strongly agree, agree, undecided, disagree and strongly disagree were given scores of one, two, three, four and five respectively.

In questions one, three, four and seven, “strongly agree” and “agree” reflect anti-Islam attitudes. In the other three questions, the same responses reflect the opposite. We reversed the scores for items one, two, four and seven in order to compute the values ranging from one to five. One represents low levels of Islamophobia, while five is high.

These findings are reported in the table below.

Our findings show almost 70% of Australians appeared to have a very low level of Islamophobic attitudes.

But the individual item responses provide a nuanced understanding of the intensity of such feelings and attitudes. We found 20% were undecided about how they truly felt. Less than 10% fell into the highly Islamophobic category.
Pockets of Islamophobia

We performed further analysis to ascertain levels of Islamophobia by state, capital city, gender, age, educational attainment, labour-force status, occupation, political affiliation and contact with Muslims and religious affiliations.

Our results showed Islamophobia increased with age and declined with level of education. On average, residents of Victoria were less Islamophobic than their New South Wale counterparts. There wasn’t much difference in the other states.

Those from non-English-speaking background were more likely to be Islamophobic compared to those born in Australia and those from English-speaking backgrounds. Respondents not in the labour force were also more likely to score higher on Islamophobia.

Capital-city and non-capital-city residence, gender and employment status had no effect. Liberal and National party supporters were more likely to be Islamophobic than Labor and Greens voters, and people with no political affiliations.

Australians who regularly come in contact with Muslims and those who believe immigrants make important contribution to society are significantly less Islamophobic.

So while there are pockets of antipathy towards Muslims, an overwhelming majority of Australians don’t share that antipathy.


An outspoken Chinese man gets away with stating a racial preference

HE’S loud, proud and is a man who definitely knows what he wants when it comes to dating.  And Alexander Montgomery makes no apology for what he considers to be the ultimate deal-breaker in any prospective partner — they must be white.

The man who calls himself the ultimate potato queen told he refuses to date any other race and will only see caucasian men.  “To me white people are the epitome of class and the gold standard of desirability,” he said.  “I really feel the white race is the superior one today. I only date white men.”

He said caucasians ruled the global economy and spoke the dominant language.  Naturally he believes white men are also more physically attractive.

The Melbourne man insists his view on this is not unique and that he also knows plenty of Asian men who only date white.  “I know a lot of Asian guys who are like me,” he said.

“How often do you see Asian guys and white guys together in public?” They’re everywhere.”

The entrepreneur and True Confessions of a Potato Queen author said he knows his views are controversial, and even considered racist by some, but he was entitled to an opinion.  “Yes my view is controversial however this is my standard (for dating) and I stand behind my opinions,” he said.

Not only does he believe “white people are superior” but he also thinks “they are kinder and more sympathetic” which is one of the reasons the country has “the refugee problems it does.”

The 42-year-old features in Date My Race, which airs on SBS tonight.  The show aims to challenge what we think about what drives their own romantic attraction and connections.

However Mr Montgomery said he didn’t believe his views were racist.  “The definition of racism is someone who believes their race is superior,” he said.  “I don’t think other races are inferior to me — only that the white race is superior to me.

“Besides it’s not racism, it’s a preference, I am attracted to white guys.  “Do you call someone who doesn’t date tall people heightist?”

The show will also ask if racial preferences amount to racism when looking for love and follows Mr Montgomery, three others and show host Santilla Chingaipe on their dating experiences.

In an interview ahead of the program going to air, Mr Montgomery said he believes white privilege is a myth.

He also said while One Nation’s Pauline Hanson’s views on immigration was extreme to some, he was glad “people were speaking out to protect this great country of ours.”

During the show, Date My Race host and journalist Santilla Chingaipe embarks on her own colourblind dating experiment using three participants who all have expressed racial bias when dating.

The results are surprising and when Mr Montgomery is set up with another Asian man as part of an online blind test, the experiment goes exactly as you’d expect. He communicated with another man online, but hadn’t seen his face, and admits there was chemistry.

But things were very different when they met face-to-face. “There was no attraction, as soon as I saw him,” he said. “Attraction plays a key role in any relationship.”

During the show his views put him at loggerheads with Chingaipe who he described as a friend and wonderful lady.

He said an Asian guy had approached him during filming and revealed he had been racially abused in Australia, something he said has never happened to him.  “He told me he felt discriminated against and how he didn’t feel at home in Australia,” he said.

“Well you don’t like here, then leave.”

But Mr Montgomery said he learned a lot from going on the show and was constantly challenged by Chingaipe regarding his views.

And while he didn’t change his mind on his views, it did force him to do a lot of reflection about his dating preferences and why he was only attracted to white men.

He said growing up in Singapore and as part of an American-run church, white people were all around him and he looked up to them.

Having dated other races in the past, he said an 18-year relationship with a white man was his best experience and he couldn’t go back on that. “Once you go white, nothing else seems right,” he said.

He also said he is still looking for love and the only other thing he looked for in a potential relationship was someone who was easy going and confident in himself.


[The] refugee deal between Australia and the US has stalled under Donald Trump’s executive order to review America’s migrant vetting processes

No asylum seekers on Manus Island or Nauru have been vetted by Homeland Security yet as officials have not been directed by the US Government to begin the process.

It’s thrown into doubt whether refugees in Australia’s offshore detention centres will be resettled in the US in “the next couple of months”, as Immigration Minister Peter Dutton claimed last week.
Department of Immigration and Border Protection secretary Michael Pezzullo has confirmed the US vetting process has not yet started.

Immigration and Border Protection secretary Michael Pezzullo today confirmed the US vetting process was “poised” to begin but had not yet started.

Mr Pezzullo could not give a date of when the Trump Administration would direct Homeland Security officials to begin the vetting process but said it would be in “the foreseeable future”.

Mr Pezzullo rejected any suggestion the deal had “stalled” and reiterated that Homeland Security officials were “poised and ready” to begin vetting once the Trump Administration had reviewed its vetting processes.

It was expected there would be movement to begin vetting “in the next several months”, he said.

“It’s been made very clear and amply clear publicly that the US system has been directed by the US President to put in place revised vetting protocols and systems expeditiously, so I don’t

suppose it’s going to take a long time but that’s a matter for a foreign government of course,” Mr Pezzullo told the senate estimates hearing.
President Donald Trump wasn’t pleased with the ‘refugee swap’ deal in the first place. Picture: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Greens Senator Nick McKim questioned whether the US could simply take none of the refugees on Manus Island and Nauru under the as-yet-unknown US vetting threshold.

Mr Pezzullo responded: “I presume the US potentially could set their threshold so they take no refugees from anywhere in the world.”

“The President has indicated that they’re looking with this program here to take 50,000 refugees, so I assume they’ll have their settings at a rate that allows them to follow through on that commitment,” he said.

Mr Pezzullo said the Trump Administration had indicated it would take 1250 refugees, as announced by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, if they passed the vetting process.
Manus Island detention centre remains an ongoing issue for the Federal Government, now that a deal with the US appears to have fallen through. Picture: AAP/Eoin Blackwell

Earlier this month, President Trump tweeted he would look at the “dumb deal” which had been made between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former US President Barack Obama.

After days of uncertainty, the White House confirmed the US would honour the deal with its long-time ally.

Mr Neumann called on the Immigration Minister to release the details of the deal after Mr Pezzullo’s revealed vetting had not yet begun.

“Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said refugees from Manus Island and Nauru will begin resettling in America in the ‘next couple of months’ but today the department confirmed the vetting process was still on hold,” he said.

“Constant contradictions coming out of the Turnbull Government need to stop.

“The priority must be ensuring those refugees on Manus Island and Nauru who are eligible have the opportunity to resettle in America as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, Senator McKim said outsourcing Australia’s responsibility for people who have sought asylum here to Donald Trump has “only created further uncertainty” and “put people’s lives in the hands of an unstable and chaotic American regime”.

“The easiest way to resolve this impasse is to close Australia’s detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru and to bring every man, woman and child here,” he said.

It was also revealed at the estimates’ hearing today that two people trying to claim asylum had been recently deported from the detention centres after having been found not to be refugees.

The two people were deported to Nepal.

Two others had been deported in previous years.


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

27 February, 2017

More Leftist racism.  "Anglo-Saxon"  warriors no longer wanted in the Australian army

Politically correct nonsense is trying to make girl guides out of our soldiers

THE “diversity” revolution that Lieutenant General David Morrison inflicted on the Australian Army now threatens to diminish our war fighting capability.

Five years after the former Army chief and former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Liz Broderick launched a social engineering experiment aimed at stamping out the male “Anglo Saxon” warrior culture, the troops are unimpressed.

The top brass might have drunk the feminist Koolaid of “Pathway to Change” and its mutant offshoots, but most of the people they command are sceptical about gender fluidity, appeasement of radical Islam, and promotion by chromosome as payback for 116 years of military patriarchy. “People just think it’s crap,” said one young officer.

To overcome such common sense thinking, diversity experts have designed a $30,000 program effectively to brainwash young leaders in the Army to become “champions of change” and stamp out the “white Anglo-Saxon male” culture they are told no longer has a place in the military.

In October, a handpicked group was taken to Sydney and Canberra for the “Junior Leaders Shaping Future Army”, and subjected to five-days of diversity indoctrination.

On day one was a three-hour session from an imam explaining his “Islamic conversion testimony” and proselytising the benefits of Islam, according to one participant who took detailed notes.

The lecture went down so badly that a planned mosque visit on the schedule the next day was cancelled without explanation.

Gender diversity expert Professor Robert Wood introduced the latest politically correct inanity, “unconscious bias”, and criticised the predominance of “Anglo-Saxon males” and the “banter culture” of the Army.

The next day Qantas diversity and inclusion manager Zak Hammer spruiked the airline’s same sex marriage campaign and LGBTI network for staff.

“Gender diversity no longer refers to male and female, because there are people within our community now who don’t identify with these,” one presenter told them.

In one exercise they were asked how they would “inclusively” manage a diversity scenario in which a digger under their command converts to Islam, requiring him to pray five times a day, eat halal food and fast at Ramadan.

“I felt like I was sitting in a North Korean indoctrination camp,” recalls one insider. “Concepts such as bias and unconscious bias have been constantly harped on to try and change the way we think and speak. The soldiers are hating it.”

“It was an extreme politically correct environment for people who are dead set into war fighting,” said another participant.

A psychologist classified the students as “champions” or “skeptics”. However, in the Army, “champ” is an insult. “It’s the worst thing you can call someone. It means you’re a d---head.”

The ADF’s diversity orthodoxy decries a military comprising mainly “males of Anglo-Australian background”, Christians and “third-generation-plus” Australian.

“Such a demographic profile is no longer desirable or sustainable”, says one of the ludicrous diversity reports which now clog the minds and in-trays of generals.

“The typical Defence hero is a hero in uniform from an Anglo-Australian background who performs acts of bravery in battle and models the values of courage and sacrifice... This type of hero is unnecessarily exclusive and works against the desire for Defence ‘to represent the community it serves’,” writes education academic Dr Elizabeth Thomson in her 2014 report: “Battling with words”.

“Casual conversation in Defence is dominated by the kind of talk characteristic of the Aussie bloke... “Humour, banter, practical jokes and nicknaming are language practices (which) marginalise and exclude people (and must be) controlled”

If all this sounds frighteningly Orwellian, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Defence Force Recruiting is where crackpot theory first meets reality and Army chief Lt Gen Angus Campbell is frustrated with the slow progress to achieve his goal of doubling the proportion of women from 12 to 25 per cent.

In a speech to recruitment officers last August he criticised an unnamed dissident who had informed Defence Force Chief Mark Binskin’s “Gender Adviser”, Julie McKay, that he would resist diversity targets because he “needed to protect the Army from Canberra”.

“You need to understand that I will have no humour if my directions are ignored,” Campbell told the recruiters. “The number one priority I have with respect to recruitment is increasing our diversity.”

Since Campbell’s rocket, Defence Force Recruiting has pulled out all stops to entice women into the Army. One whistleblower says they run “female only information sessions, female only fitness assessments, female only job assessment days, have a dedicated female Specialist Recruitment Team... (and) free fitness training.”

Female recruits can ask to be posted with friends and to a location of their choice, and are offered reduced periods of service — one year while men have to serve at least four.

“Defence Force Recruiting has stopped males joining particular jobs which are open only to females,” he says. “Infantry, artillery, key jobs. Where does it stop?”

There is a new program at Kapooka for female recruits too out of shape to pass basic fitness requirements of eight push ups, 45 sit ups, and 7.5 on the Beep test. The Army Pre-Conditioning Program for unfit women offers seven weeks of intensive physical training, yet by the end almost half still flunk the entry test.

Women comprise 12 per cent of the Army, yet Broderick’s goal is 35 per cent of senior positions to be filled by women, so females have a three times better chance of promotion.

Army hasn’t met recruitment goals for ten years, and the exodus of men disillusioned about their promotion prospects won’t help.

At a time when our Army is being called on to step up the war against Islamic State, the deleterious effect of social engineering is clear.  As one former soldier puts it: “They’re messing with our war-fighting DNA”


Fishing store forced to take down 'incredibly offensive' ads after they were found to 'ridicule' Muslims

A fishing shop in regional Victoria has been forced to remove two of its Australia Day advertisements after it was found they 'humiliated' and 'ridiculed' Muslims.

Trelly's Tackle World in Shepparton, north of Melbourne, had a print ad featuring products on sale with an offer of free pork kebabs: '1 day only! Halal or Haram.'

A complaint lodged with the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) claimed the advert was 'incredibly offensive', 'Islamophobic' and 'aggressively attacked Muslims'.

The complaint said the emphasis on pork - consumption of which is forbidden in Islam - was intentionally included to 'suggest that Muslims are not Australians and are not welcomed'.

Trelly's responded to the claims by pointing out the word 'Muslim' was not used in the advertisement and said that kebabs were not exclusive to any one culture.

'In Australia we are free to eat and drink what we want within the laws of Australia,' Trelly's wrote. '[The complainant] is hiding behind the misuse of very loosely used words like multiculturalism and Islamophobic.

'I have also enjoyed by far a greater number of people who like my ad.'


University asks white male students to fill out a questionnaire 'to understand why they are privileged'

University students were handed a 29-point 'male privilege checklist' during diversity workshops on orientation week.

The checklist detailed ways in which males were perceived to have advantages over females in careers, sexuality, personal safety, child rearing, and even clothing.

The University of Western Australia in Perth confirmed the checklist was part of 'Diversity Dialogue' workshops last week, along with material on race and sexuality.

'My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favour,' the first point read.

'My clothing is typically less expensive and better-constructed,' another read, adding that 'my clothes will probably fit better'.

Other lines on the first page said carelessness with finances or driving would not be attributed to a male's sex, their grooming is quicker and cheap, and were not assumed to have to sacrifice career for family.

Point 17 read: 'If I'm not conventionally attractive, the disadvantages are small and easy to ignore.'

Promiscuous men were less likely to be called a s**t, males were interrupted less, under less pressure to be thin, and men's ability to make decision was never question due to the 'time of the month'.

Other material in the workshops included a 20-point list called 'understanding white privilege' where students had to tick yes, no or maybe next to each line.

One read: 'Can you go into a shopping centre by yourself and be confident you won't be harassed or threatened?'

'Can you operate successfully in public life, knowing only your first language?' another read.

Others dealt with whether people made them feel welcome and included, and saw people of their race on TV or at work, felt comfortable around authority figures, or were positively portrayed in the media.

The last point read: 'Can you name five famous Australians of your own ethnic background?'

The third handout, 'understanding heterosexual privilege', asked if students took for granted rights like public displays of affection, and talking openly about their relationship.

Others included their partner appearing in family photos, not feeling judged, and not having people assume their partner was of the other gender.

Students discussing them on school leaver social media groups were outraged at being 'forced' to sit through the workshops.

'That's just wrong,' one student wrote, while another commented 'you have got to be joking'. A third even wrote an eight-point 'female privilege checklist'.

A young woman said though men did have advantages over women, the checklist was 'dumb' and ignored the women also had privileges. 'I think the best way to realise the different types of advantages we have all had is through listening to other people's stories, not to have a blatant check list that blames one section of people,' she wrote.

UWA said the workshops were voluntary and used to start a conversation about unconscious biases about gender, race and diverse sexuality.

'Some of the examples listed on the material are common unconscious biases that people may have, sourced from documents provided by organisations such as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission,' it said.

'They are intended as discussion points, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the university, its staff, or students.'


Capital gains tax: 50 per cent off is no bargain

Reducing the 50% capital gains tax discount is one of a welter of tax ideas to receive attention in the week since Treasurer Scott Morrison flagged tax increases as an alternative if the Senate fails to pass the government’s expenditure cuts.

It’s not a new idea, as halving the discount (and thereby increasing capital gains tax by a whopping 50%) has been Labor policy since the 2016 election. But this time the thought bubble — apparently from someone on the Coalition side — was to reduce the discount only for residential investment properties.

This kind of government-knows-best discrimination against a particular type of investment should be avoided. Neutrality is best. Drawing a dividing line between residential investment properties and all other properties would inevitably introduce new complexities and administrative problems. If there is a case for reducing the discount, it should be applied across the board.

But is there a case for cutting the discount? According to the Australian Financial Review last week, the 50% discount is excessive for its ostensible purpose of freeing the inflationary component of capital gain from taxation. No doubt the AFR was reflecting — as well as reinforcing — a common view of the purpose of the discount. However, it is a flawed view. The fact is that inflation is just one of numerous reasons for taxing capital gains more lightly.

Australia had no general capital gains tax until 1985. From then until 1999, we had a capital gains tax that removed the inflationary component by indexing the cost basis of an asset to the CPI. Along came the Ralph Review of Business Taxation in 1999. If the Ralph review thought inflation was the only reason for a discount, it would have left the system alone. But it didn’t think that, and those like the AFR who repeat the mantra about inflation adjustment should go back and read the Ralph report.

John Ralph talked about the importance of low capital gains tax in encouraging saving and investment — particularly long-term and risky investments. He also talked about international competitiveness, noting that most countries either had no capital gains tax at all (such as New Zealand and Singapore, which still don’t) or taxed capital gains much more lightly (such as the US, where the highest rate is still only 20%, and even high-tax Sweden, where it is 30%). Ralph also talked about the powerful lock-in effect of a tax on realised capital gains, which can lead investors to hold on to assets earning a lower rate of return than alternatives, at a cost to economic efficiency. (The lock-in effect, by the way, means that a reduction in the discount would raise nothing like the revenue its advocates claim.)

Every advocate of reducing the discount has also forgotten that when the 50% discount was adopted in 1999, at the same time investors lost the benefit of the averaging provision, which softened the blow of realised gains accumulated over a long period pushing taxpayers into higher tax brackets. The discount is in part compensation for this bunching effect, yet nobody who now advocates reducing the discount talks about bringing back averaging.

The 50% discount is a good way of recognising all the above reasons to tax capital gains more lightly than ordinary income. It is not a rort or a bargain for taxpayers. Capital gains tax gains applies to all forms of assets and should not be driven by concerns about housing affordability in a few cities.


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

26 February, 2017

More Warmist prophecy

Summer is already past its peak so where is the bleaching?

The Great Barrier Reef could be struck by its worst-ever blast of coral bleaching as early as this year, experts have warned.

Sea temperatures around the reef near Queensland, Australia, have reached a year-long high, putting coral at risk of extreme heat stress, according to a UN report.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority warned that the reef is more at risk now than it was just before its previous worst-ever bleaching last year, when a quarter of all coral was killed off.

It said a 'lack of planning' for climate change was to blame.

The report, which was presented to the UN on Friday, said that 'unprecedented severe bleaching and mortality of corals in 2016 in the Great Barrier Reef is a game changer'.

The vast coral reef is under pressure from agricultural run-off, the crown-of-thorns starfish, development and climate change.

Last year swathes of coral succumbed to devastating bleaching, due to warming sea temperatures, and the reef's caretakers have warned it faces a fresh onslaught in the coming months.

Canberra updated the UN's World Heritage committee on its 'Reef 2050' rescue plan in December, insisting the site was 'not dying' and laying out a strategy for incremental improvements to the site.

But an independent report commissioned by the committee concluded that the government had little chance of meeting its own targets in the coming years, adding that the 'unprecedented' bleaching and coral die-off in 2016 was 'a game changer'.

'Given the severity of the damage and the slow trajectory of recovery, the overarching vision of the 2050 Plan... is no longer attainable for at least the next two decades,' the report said.

Shallow-water corals in the north of the 1,400-mile (2,300-kilometre) long reef were affected, although central and southern areas escaped with less damage.

The government has pledged more than £1.2 billion (US$1.5 billion) to protect the reef over the next decade, but researchers noted a lack of available funding, with many of the plan's actions under-resourced.

The latest assessment comes after the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority warned the Queensland State government of an 'elevated and imminent risk' of mass-bleaching this year, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

With heavy use of coal-fired power and a relatively small population of 24 million, Australia is considered one of the world's worst per capita greenhouse gas polluters.

Researchers highlighted that the government's rescue plan does not do enough to address climate change, noting that 'new coal mines pose a serious threat' to the reef's heritage area.

While the plan has a strong focus on improving water quality, environmental groups too have been critical of the government for inactivity on global warming.

'These independent experts have given UNESCO a far more accurate assessment of progress than the rose-coloured-glasses version released by the Australian and Queensland Governments late last year,' said World Wildlife Fund Australia head of oceans Richard Leck.

But Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg told the ABC the government had been 'very successful to date' in implementing the reef's 2050 plan.

'Climate change is the number one threat to the reef together with water quality issues,' he said, citing the government's ratification of the Paris agreement, the world's first universal climate pact, as part of the 'broader' efforts to reduce stress on the reef.


Australian universities ask students to respect Muslims by not shaking hands with the opposite sex

Top Australian universities are asking students to respect Muslims by understanding that shaking the hand of the opposite sex is not allowed for followers of Islam. 

Adelaide's Flinders University, Perth's Curtin University and the University of Western Australia (UWA) provide information to students aimed at giving them a better understanding of Islam.

This information hopes to further the understanding that 'shaking hands or touching members of the opposite sex who are not family is not permitted' for Muslims, The Australian reported.

It also says greeting Muslims with phrases such as or 'Happy Easter' or 'Merry Christmas' is not culturally appropriate.

National Union of Students ethno-cultural officer Lorena White told The Australian universities should not force students to participate in actions that do not respect their faith.

UWA and Flinders University do not have a formal handshake protocol, according to a spokesperson from each institution.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said: 'We expect them [universities] to be ­accountable to their communities, students and the taxpayers who fund them and to reflect community expectations and standards.'


Tony Abbott plays his Trump card: Former leader unleashes on Malcolm Turnbull as 'Labor lite' - and calls for him to slash immigration and scrap climate change targets

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has called on his successor to wind back immigration, axe the Human Rights Commission and stop 'pandering' to climate science.

Mr Abbott said Malcolm Turnbull was losing votes to One Nation because he was running a 'Labor-lite' government, he told a book launch for 'Making Australia Right', edited by Jim Allan, in Sydney on Thursday night.

He said to win back votes before the next election, Mr Turnbull should scale back immigration to ease housing prices, axe funding to the Human Rights Commission to stop 'financial bullying', and cut the renewable energy target to stop 'pandering' to climate change 'theology'.

'The Coalition has become Labor-lite,' he said in his speech at the book launch, in a transcript supplied to The Daily Telegraph.

Mr Abbott, who was rolled by Mr Turnbull in September 2015, said there was disappointment with 'perhaps even despair' with the government.

'These criticisms aren't always fair. 'Still, unless we heed the message from people who think that we have let them down, a book like this can become the thinking person's justification for voting One Nation.'

The former prime minister said it was 'easy to see why' the major parties lost votes in last year's election. 'Our challenge is to be worth voting for,' Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott later told conservative columnist Andrew Bolt the government was losing its way.

'Plainly there are lots of people who are concerned about our direction and plainly the risk is we will drift to defeat if we don't lift our game,' Mr Abbott told Sky News on Thursday night.

'I have a duty to try and ensure that our party and our government stays on the right track and plainly there are some issues right now and it's incumbent upon me to raise these issues, to exercise if you like the freedom of the backbench.'

Mr Abbott's intervention is politically destabilising to Mr Turnbull, who governs with a bare one-seat majority.

The comments are reminiscent of former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd destabilising Julia Gillard in the years after she took his job in June 2010.

Now Mr Abbott, who like Mr Rudd was knifed as PM during his first term, said politics shouldn't be a clash of egos. 'It won't be easy but it must be possible or our country is doomed to a Shorten government that will make a bad situation immeasurably worse,' Mr Abbott told the book launch on Thursday night.

'In or out of government, political parties need a purpose. Our politics can't be just a contest of toxic egos or someone's vanity project.'

During his speech at the book launch, Mr Abbott also recommended the government consider taking senate reform to the next election.

'The Senate sabotage of the 2014 budget was blamed on poor salesmanship, but my successor's difficulties with far less sweeping measures show that the problem is less the salesman than the system.'

On The Bolt Report, Mr Abbott said Mr Turnbull needed to live at Kirribilli House, on Sydney Harbour, instead of having taxpayer foot a hefty security bill to live at his mansion across the water at Point Piper, in the eastern suburbs.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she does not agree with Mr Abbott's assessment that the government risks a 'drift to defeat' if it fails to lift its performance.

Speaking to reporters in London on Thursday Ms Bishop said she had not seen Mr Abbott's 'so-called manifesto' to make the next election winnable for a coalition government.

She said the Liberal Party welcomed policy initiatives from ministers and backbenchers and as a former party leader Mr Abbott would have ideas. But she said she rejected Mr Abbott's 'drift to defeat' view. 'I don't accept that characterisation at all.'

Ms Bishop said the Turnbull government had been pursuing policies that were in the interests of the Australian people to grow the economy, create jobs and focus on national security.

She also rejected a suggestion in an Andrew Bolt interview with Mr Abbott on Sky News that she was not 'conservative, plain-speaking and loyal'.

Ms Bishop said she had been elected by the party to be deputy leader and she owed her loyalty to the party room.

'If there's a characterisation about being conservative and plain speaking and loyal I believe I fill that characterisation.'

On the West Australian election Ms Bishop said she expected the Liberal Party to win in its own right without One Nation support as Premier Colin Barnett was the only leader with a plan for the future prosperity of the state.

On Friday morning, Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said the government was 'getting on with the job' and would not be distracted by the speculation.


Has Bob Hawke lost his marbles?

Senile dementia?  He's 87

It is something of an event when a long-standing friend of Israel chooses to publicly criticize it and recommend recognising Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) (but not Hamas-controlled Gaza) as a sovereign ‘Palestine.’ In the case of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, writing recently in the Australian Financial Review (14 Feb.), this was always going to be newsworthy, given his long role in passionately standing up for Israel in the labor movement at home and abroad amidst the radical furies of the 1970s.

Accordingly, Mr Hawke’s views command attention and their provenance can have an impact on an ALP seeking to define its stance. In fact, it probably has: since his piece appeared, former Labor Foreign Ministers Gareth Evans and Bob Carr have felt called upon renew their own calls for recognising ‘Palestine’ and they now been joined by former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd.

Mr Hawke was once an eloquent proponent of the view that Israel could not relinquish territories to forces inimical to its existence. Yet his views began to alter, perhaps as early as the late 1970s, but certainly by the mid-1980s. It is not unreasonable to suppose that his Israeli Labor counterparts, who were increasingly adopting the view that a Palestinian state might defuse the conflict, exerted an influence on his thinking. Witnessing a seemingly unending sequence of bloodshed and uneasy respites over decades inclines people of goodwill to suppose that a bold initiative might break the tragic logjam. And indeed, the Israeli Labor Party did eventually embrace this point of view, chartering in 1993 the Oslo peace process with Yasser Arafat and his Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), upon whose probity its ultimate success depended.

It did not work out as intended, at least on the Israeli side. The PA regime established in Gaza and Jericho in 1994, later progressively extended to other major population centers in the West Bank, proved a corrupt and violent entity which, far from fostering a renovation of Palestinian society away from terrorism and conquest towards peace and accommodation, actually incubated the jihadist terror organizations of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Children within the PA became hostage to an educational system replete with incitement to hatred and murder. One need only view a few video clips of Palestinian classrooms, with their pupils interviewed openly and proudly on PA television, extolling the religious and national duty of murdering Israelis, to see the bloodcurdling effectiveness of this sort of pedagogy.

None of this was altered or ameliorated by the transfer by Israel of territory, funds and, tragically, even arms, to Arafat’s forces, to say nothing of the vast inflow of foreign capital: in the Oslo era, Palestinians became the largest per capita recipients of international aid while, for example, tragically destitute Niger, with one doctor per 33,000 people, got peanuts.

Ambitious peace plans, going beyond what most Israelis before, then and since regarded as prudent, the first brokered by US President Bill Clinton in 2000-1, the second proposed by then-Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008, were rebutted without counter-offer by the PA.

Indeed, Arafat’s response in 2000 was to launch a terror wave of suicide bombers against Israel that lasted four years and claimed the lives of over 1,100 Israelis. In the years since Oslo, more Israeli lives have been snuffed out by terrorists than had been in all 45 years of Israel’s national existence that preceded Oslo.

The wonder, then, is not that Hawke changed his view on dealing with the PLO –– many a friend of Israel, to say nothing of about half of Israelis, came to the view that the conflict was perpetuated by the absence of Palestinian self-determination, not continuing rejection of Israel’s legitimacy and permanence. Rather, the wonder is that many including Mr Hawke continue to subscribe to this viewpoint, long after the Oslo process had been tested to destruction and ruination. It is peculiar to read Mr Hawke today, thinking and arguing as though Oslo never happened, as if dealing with Arafat’s lieutenants and loyalists had never been tried.

Thus, he now writes,“I and the friends of Israel around the world are fearful that in a real sense we may be witnessing again after thousands of years a giant Eyeless in Gaza. Is there not emerging the danger of Israel being blinded to the threat to its very soul and the vision of its future?”

Other than one small change of phrase, Mr Hawke has lifted verbatim a passage from a speech he gave in May 1988 where he first voiced the view that Palestinian statelessness was the key issue. No-one who has spoken to Mr Hawke about Israel, as I have several times in the past, including on that night in May 1988, could doubt that he viewed negotiations with the PLO as the acme of far-sighted Israeli statesmanship. Far from being disabused by the carnage and tragedy that followed from Israel acting on such advice, and, ironically, eleven years since Israel evacuated every Jew, living and dead, from Gaza in return for exponentially increased rocket assaults, he seems entrenched in the view that he has been right all along.

Mr Hawke used to propound the view that, should Israel ever be assaulted from territories it had ceded for peace, it should reoccupy them in perpetuity, without any further “argy-bargy.”  Today, however, in the absence of argy-bargy –– the PA has persistently refused all but one week of talks with Israeli counterparts in the past eight years –– he thinks Australia should recognise as a sovereign state the PA that has served as the base for these assaults. Accordingly, he joins the ranks of those who urged Israel to take risks for peace and continue to do so, long after it has blown up in its face.

Why has he done so? With those who were always hostile to Israel, there is little mystery, but in the case of Mr Hawke it is difficult to diagnose the cause. A warm friend of the late Israeli Labor Prime Minister, Golda Meir, Mr Hawke, in his recent piece, recalls her telling him in the immediate aftermath of the 1973 Yom Kippur War that “there could be no peace for Israel until there was an honourable settlement of the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

Peculiarly, this recollection is not to be found in the detailed account of this meeting in Blanche D’Alpuget’s biography (Robert J. Hawke, pp. 259-60). But whenever Golda Meir communicated these views to him, it remains worth noting that she also said in 1976 that the “startling effrontery” of the PLO in seeking a Palestinian state, the better to assault Israel at a later date, made it ineligible for talks until its changed its eliminationist program.

The PLO has certainly since changed some of its statements (at least in English) –– and, as noted, was rewarded with recognition, territory and assets as a result –– but it only takes a moment’s checking of today’s scene to see that the change Mrs Meir hoped to see has yet to emerge.

In the last month alone, the PA has upbraided the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the “sin” of correctly stating that the Jewish biblical temples stood on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. An Al-Quds university academic, professing that Jews have no historical connection to the city, was just broadcast on PA TV.  Indeed, the PA, whom Mr Hawke wishes to recognise as a state, has called for such a state to be Jew-free.

Mr Hawke’s cri de cœur shows no flicker of recognition of the state of Palestinian society today and its majority support for terrorism against Israel. Of the PA-encouraged and applauded wave of ongoing stabbing attacks on Jews walking Israeli streets, or the call to preserve the mosques atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount from wholly imaginary assault from what the PA’s Abbas called the Jews’ “filthy feet,’ not a word.

Indeed, Mr Hawke doesn’t seem to have noticed that the PA recently led a successful effort at the UN with the backing of the so-called ‘non-aligned’ bloc to have UNESCO authorize a flat-earth resolution rewriting history by declaring Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to be an exclusively Muslim site.

Mr Hawke used to oppose mightily the cynical manipulation and fostering of Jew-hatred, encoded as anti-Zionism, via international organizations. Today, however, when blatant denial of Jewish history and heritage is the order of the day and malevolent anti-Semitic fiction declared to be fact, he believes that Israel can obtain peace from those who deny Jews ever lived there.

Instead of conceding that Israel did as he urged and was rewarded with bloodshed, opprobrium and boycott, he lends his hand today to applauding December’s UN Security Council Resolution 2334, another flat-earth resolution, which has condemned as illegal all Jewish residence in the West Bank and the eastern half of Jerusalem. (Actually, Jewish settlement in these territories has been something enshrined in international law since the 1920 San Remo settlement and never subsequently extinguished by any binding agreement).

Mr Hawke now urges Australia to recognise ‘Palestine,’ an international fabrication designed to circumvent the negotiations that he believed –– as he enthusiastically opined at the time of Oslo Accords –– he had been ahead of his time in urging upon the Israelis. He shows no sign of having thought whether Australian recognition of ‘Palestine’ might aid postponing indefinitely any prospect of a settled peace, as indeed it does: Israeli/Palestinian negotiations have less chance of convening, much less succeeding, if only because 2334 tells Palestinians that everything is theirs and that there is nothing to negotiate.

Indeed, even Mr Hawke seems to be thinking this way. Why else recycle, as he did in his piece, the old chestnut that the 1947 UN General Assembly partition resolution recommending two states, which as he reminds us, emerged in good part due to the efforts of Australia’s External Affairs Minister, Dr. H.V. Evatt, gave 54% of “the Palestinians’ best cultivated land and cities” in British Mandate of Palestine to its Jewish third, who merely owned 6% of the country, while giving a mere 47% “of their own country” to the Palestinian two-thirds who owned the remaining 92%?

Not only is the mathematics shoddy, but the statistics absurd: in the territory that became Israel in 1948, Jews owned 8.6% of the land, Arabs owned 20.2%, and the remainder ––71.2% –– was Crown land. The greater part of the territory awarded to the Jews by the UN, far from being “the Palestinians’ best cultivated land and cities” was the almost uninhabited Negev desert. Major Arab cities and towns –– Jaffa, Ramleh, Lydda, Ramallah, Nazareth, Gaza –– were all awarded by the UN to the intended Arab state and would be part of one today, had the Palestinian and wider Arab leadership accepted the award.

How swallowing whole and regurgitating  a cynical fabrication routinely disseminated by Israel’s enemies honours Golda Meir, a plucky defender of her country, and her aspirations for peace is anyone’s guess. It is surely not saying too much to assert, at the least, that she would have been profoundly dismayed at this turn of argument from her passionately pro-Israel Australian friend.

Whatever brought Bob Hawke to this pass can only be guessed at. But one can certainly say of his current preoccupation with establishing a Palestinian state via international pressure on Israel is that it suffers from the undemocratic tendency of seeking to compel Israel, against the judgment of its government and electorate, to make self-defeating concessions to a unreconstructed, irredentist Palestinian regime.

It also partakes of the flawed tendency to believe that such a state will produce peace. Yet no perusal of Palestinian sermons, statements or publications suggests that Palestinians currently accept the idea of a peaceful state alongside Israel. If a Palestinian state won’t bring peace, why create it or urge its creation upon others? Surely, a policy that devises carrots and sticks to induce Palestinians to relinquish their war on Israel’s continued existence provides the best basis for future, fruitful negotiations.

In the meantime, Palestinians live under Hamas in Gaza and the PA in the West Bank. Scarcely a happy outcome for Palestinians, who must contend with the despotism, brutality, corruption and capriciousness of their own regimes, even while sharing their political goals. But we can discard the cant about their being occupied by an Israel that stands to lose its soul.

As it stands, the PA lacks vital attributes of sovereignty required under international law, such as effective control of territory and undivided authority. Does Australia really wish to endorse a mischievous fiction by recognizing ‘Palestine,’ which additionally circumvents a negotiated settlement? Mr Hawke never asked this question, but those reading him should.


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 February, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is disgusted by Muslim wife bashing

School Revolution?

John Hattie is a smart guy but he is up against a lot:  principally the low intellectual standards of those applying to be teachers.  Very few people with other options would want to teach in Australia's chaotic public classrooms.  Dedicated teachers get jobs in our large private school system, where they can make a difference.  My son's private High School actually had several MALE teachers!  Wonder of wonders!

AUSTRALIA is on the brink of a revolution in our schools, with a radical overhaul driven by the kids whose lives it will transform. And it all comes back to a reality TV show.

For the first time the progress of students will be linked not just to their teacher but all the way to their teacher’s teacher.

Under tough new standards being developed by the government, teacher training institutions will be accredited based on how students ultimately respond to the teachers they produce.

The pioneering new approach is driven by the guru behind the ABC reality show Revolution School, which famously transformed a struggling public high school in outer Melbourne into one of the leading schools in the state.

Internationally renowned education expert John Hattie says not only does the way we teach have to change but the way we teach our teachers must too.

He told he was sick of teacher training institutions reporting only what they taught their graduates without focusing on how that ended up in the classroom.

“I couldn’t give a s**t how you teach,” he says. “I care about the impact of your teaching.”

Prof Hattie is director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute as well as chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), which has been set up to advise the Federal Government as it overhauls Australia’s flagging education system.

His book Visible Learning is, according to the University of Melbourne, “believed to be the world’s largest evidence-based study into the factors which improve student learning”. It combined 50,000 other smaller studies and ultimately involved 80 million students.

In a nutshell, it found that teachers should talk less and listen more.

Almost miraculously in the current political environment, this approach has bipartisan support. Labor has even accused the Turnbull Government of pinching its own ideas, which in politics is about as close to a compliment as you can get.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham is understood to be very close to the thinking of Prof Hattie and Labor’s education spokeswoman and deputy leader Tanya Plibersek told “I think the Hattie approach is fantastic.”

According to one senior insider developing the new scheme it is nothing short of a revolution. “It’s absolutely a revolution. It’s going to take a while to flow through — you can’t make these things happen overnight — but it will happen.”

Senator Birmingham has adopted a cool and clinical philosophy since becoming minister 18 months ago but his resolve is clear.

“Every decision that’s made and every dollar that’s spent needs to come back to answering a simple question — what does the evidence show works best?”

And Ms Plibersek agrees: “All the research agrees that the most important thing to the child’s success in the classroom is the teacher.”

Critically, Ms Plibersek says that while she still wants to see more needs-based funding for schools, the Opposition “would never hold reform hostage” and supports maximum transparency in measuring student progress as well as teachers and training institutions being driven by that.

This is an almost unprecedented aligning of the planets when it comes to real reform that will transform our kids and ultimately our country.

And a major breakthrough could come in mere weeks, with the Council of Australian Governments’ Education Council set to meet in Hobart on April 7.

It is expected there will also be significant progress on fixing school funding so that wealthy private schools are not overpaid with taxpayer dollars, which Labor has indicated it is also willing to consider.

The top-to-bottom schools overhaul follows a string of international reports showing Australia falling behind in education.

The latest figures from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study found Australia had fallen behind Kazakhstan in maths and science — described by the Centre for Independent Studies education research fellow Jennifer Buckingham as “dismal”.

The following week the Programme for International Student Assessment found Australia had slipped behind nine countries — including New Zealand.

The Australian Council for Education Research’s Dr Sue Thompson, who collated our portion of the data, described school performance as being in “absolute decline”.

Prof Hattie is even more brutal, saying the obsession with more cash over better quality of teaching was destroying Australian education. “There’s a lot of ‘Just give me more money and leave me alone’ and it’s killing us,” he says.

“Everybody knows we’re going backwards but it’s very hard to get that on the table. We want more money to do what we were doing yesterday which is not the right answer.”


As demonstrated by Revolution School, as well as data and research across the world, the number one factor in a student’s performance isn’t school resources or class sizes but how the teacher engages kids in the classroom.

The new push means that for the first time student progress will be tracked not just back to the teachers but to the teachers’ teachers, with tough new standards for training providers based on how their methods work not on their graduates, but on the kids their graduates end up teaching.

It’s so simple it’s radical.

The government is significantly toughening up the accreditation process for initial teacher education programs, which Prof Hattie says has been ridiculously soft.  Providers must now apply for accreditation against a new strengthened standard. Some may well fall short.

“In the history of this country we’ve never denied accreditation to a single institution,” he says.

Under the new scheme providers would need to show “evidence of impact”. It is linked to an Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership report that states:

“It is a fundamental expectation that every teacher education graduate will have met the Graduate Teacher Standards, succeeded on the teaching performance assessment and demonstrated a positive impact on student learning.  “Equally, it is expected that graduates will continue to have a positive impact throughout their teaching career.

“It is acknowledged there are measurement challenges in assessing teachers’ impact on student learning, but it is expected that improved mechanisms will develop over time, given the importance of measuring this impact.”

In other words, the accreditation of training providers will depend on the performance of teachers not in their institutions but in the classrooms of the future.

Prof Hattie admits the approach of constantly measuring teacher performance by student progress or “growth” had met resistance by entrenched interests, including teachers unions and the odd state government.  “The union at the moment has a black ban on AITSL,” he says, only half joking.

In response, the Australian Education Union says it was actually represented on the AITSL Board until 2015, when former minister Christopher Pyne restructured it. “We’ve not really been part of their work since then, but we haven’t black-banned them,” a spokesman says.

He says the AEU supports measuring teacher performance and pay against set professional standards — a big improvement on the previous model based on years of service — but not on teachers being measured by student achievement.

“On the general idea of paying teachers according to student achievement, there are massive practical issues with what you measure, how you measure it and how you compensate for the different social backgrounds of schools. As far as I know, there’s no school system, public or private, that makes it the basis of teacher pay, including high-performing Asian ones like Singapore.”

But Prof Hattie says this is because schools do not have the right tools to measure student growth. “When you give the teachers the skills, the resources, they’re hungry for it,” he says.

The key is regular ongoing feedback and measurement rather than just end of year report cards or NAPLAN tests. “How do we help the teachers use that? How many of their kids have grown? There’s no calibration,” Prof Hattie laments.

“Teachers don’t have a common conception of progress. It’s reporting back to teachers, giving the resources to teachers so they can see who’s making progress.”


It is also vital to be able to talk about teacher performance without being seen to “bash teachers”. “How do you get a debate about expertise without getting a debate about bad teachers?”

Even parents, he warns, have fallen prey to misguided ideological thinking, often focusing on issues like class sizes that the research says do not really matter: “The things they want the resources for are the things that impact the least.”

Meanwhile, the great dance of the federation continues, with the states instinctively milking the Commonwealth for all the money they can get. “Every time the government puts a dollar in, the states take a dollar out,” Prof Hattie says.  “I can tell you, Oliver Twist is alive and well.”

Or, as the insider puts it: “Essentially we’ve been handing over this cash to the states and they’ve been doing all this ideological s**t that doesn’t make a difference.”

Meanwhile the crippling taboos and sensitivities that have always haunted political reform remain.

Prof Hattie is at pains to stress that his approach is nothing like the much-maligned NAPLAN “National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy” testing, saying he’s scared to even use the word “assessment”. “You can’t do that!” he jokes. I think.

But there’s one thing even more shocking, more galling and more forbidden about the schools revolution that might just save our nation. A truth that the former Professor of Education at Auckland University dare not speak and one that should send chills down the spine of every red-blooded Australian.

“I should never say we’ve already done it in New Zealand.”


A fine Muslim man whom Australia is lucky to have

Showing a typical Muslim respect for women

A Sydney woman, who saw her father stab her mother to death, begged and frantically tried to stop him while screaming for help, she has told a court.

Ola Haydar, who was 18 at the time, told the NSW Supreme Court she heard a scream at her Bexley home and ran into the kitchen to see her father, Haydar Haydar, stab her mother, Salwa Haydar, in the back in early 2015.

She said she 'tried to get in the middle of it' but her father kept going.  'I was trying to hold his hand back, the one that held the knife,' she said on Wednesday.  'I tried pushing him off her but I couldn't.'

Breaking into tears, Ms Haydar said she was 'begging him to stop' and 'screaming and screaming for help'.  She cried out: 'What are you doing? Oh my God you're going to kill her'.

But her father responded, 'No, it's fine' and 'Why are you screaming? Stop screaming'.

Haydar, 60, is on trial and has pleaded not guilty to murder, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and reckless wounding, but has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The Crown says the former taxi driver suspected his wife of having an affair and stabbed her 30 times.

On Wednesday Ms Haydar told the court two of her fingers were cut when she tried to save her mother, but she wasn't paying attention to herself at the time.

She said she heard her father call her mother the Arabic word for 'sl**' during the attack and heard her mother say: 'I didn't do anything'.

Ms Haydar said she went to the phone to get help and her father turned around. 'He looked at me and said, "What are you doing?", and he continued,' she said.  'He'd look back and continue.'

Haydar cried and held his head in his hands in the dock.

Crown prosecutor Michael Barr said in his opening statement Haydar and his wife, a drug and alcohol counsellor, had talked often about separating.

Mr Barr said Haydar suspected his wife of being unfaithful after he found messages to a co-worker on her phone.


Greens cowardice on Islam, other key issues, matches their ignorance

by Chris Kenny

Islam is the most feminist religion. Wind energy is reliable. Border security is unnecessary. The US alliance is inimical to our national interest. The Australian is a race-baiting newspaper.

The Australian Greens have strayed so far from reality in their post-truth universe that they must have become confused between the real world and a flashback to some trip in the 70s.

They have become the lunatics at the bottom of the garden shouting at the moon.

It would be hilarious if it weren’t so dangerous, amusing if it wasn’t so damaging to our nation. “The Australian, or as it may be better described, the Q Society Gazette,” said Greens senator Nick McKim in the Senate today, “has become little more than a loss-making, race-baiting rag.”

Not only do these political fringe dwellers combine with Labor and crossbench senators to undermine the nation’s fiscal position and economic future, but they meddle incessantly and odiously in identity politics, fuelling resentment and division, and spitting bile at mainstream voters, their concerns and their values.

This latest foray from Greens leader, Richard Di Natale, and McKim has come after today’s page one article by Caroline Overington about Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

Overington revealed how taxpayers had funded the writer’s tour to majority Muslim nations in North Africa and the Middle East to promote her book and her views.

It was highly relevant and topical given Abdel-Magied’s appearance on Q&A on Monday night, when she attempted to justify sharia law, and, astonishingly, said Islam was “the most feminist” religion.

In return for its reporting on this issue, this newspaper was singled out by the Greens leader who claimed we had attacked Abdel-Magied and that our reporting was fuelling tensions around Islam.

Overington revealed Abdel-Magied’s tour took her to a range of countries where women are treated appallingly.

She did nothing but put salient facts into the debate. She can’t do much about her skin colour but Overington is neither middle-aged nor male and anyone who reads her work knows she is a strong feminist.

McKim and Di Natale, on the other hand, are white non-Muslim men eager to parade their tolerance for Islam while wilfully blind on equality for women behind the veil.

Their cultural and political cowardice is matched only by their ignorance.


Labor party computer bungle still hitting hospital staff years later

The bungle was entirely the work of a big-noting health minister at the time.  He signed off on the contract before the new system had been validated.  All debts or apparent debts incurred at the time should have been written off years ago

A SUNSHINE Coast mum is being chased by a debt collector on behalf of Queensland Health for $6000 they say she was overpaid as a result of the payroll debacle seven years ago.

Krysten Harvey is fuming as she has been trying to get an explanation from Queensland Health for more than a year showing how they have worked out the debt, The Sunshine Coast Daily reports.

She’s had no response and didn’t think more of the matter, particularly as six months ago she gave birth to her first child.

But on Monday she received a text from a debt collector advising she was now being pursued for the alleged funds.  “Please contact ARL on .... concerning a matter received from Queensland Health,” the text read.

Ms Harvey, who worked as a wardie for Queensland Health in 2009 and 2010 while on a year off from university for her nurse studies, was hit by the payroll debacle “pretty blood bad”.

Sometimes she would go without pay for “months” and then her pay was “always wrong if I was paid”.

“None of my pay slips matched the figure which was finally deposited into my bank account,” she said. “Mind you, I was also receiving two pay slips each fortnight. Why? I don’t know. These pay slips made no sense at all.

“ I’d work a 64-hour contract, I was casual and one pay slip would say I was paid nothing and the other pay slip would say I was taxed $1200.”

It became so bad, it “marred the rest of my experience with Queensland Health”. “I struggled to pay bills, to pay my rent, to eat, to afford fuel to even get to work.

“I called Centrelink out of desperation only to be told that they couldn’t do anything because ‘on paper’ I was earning money.”

She washed her hands of the matter out of frustration.

The payroll debacle, which affected thousands of Queensland Health employees, sparked a Commission of Inquiry by Honourable Richard Chesterman in 2013. He described it as a “catastrophic failure”.

Health Minister Cameron Dick also apologised in September 2015 that the “payroll system under the previous Labor government was a disaster”. But if Ms Harvey thought that was the end of the nightmare, she was wrong. It was only the beginning.

In 2016 when she was pregnant with her first child and working as a registered nurse, she received a phone call from Queensland Health.

She thought it was about appointments for her pregnancy, but it wasn’t.  “It’s about a supposed $6000 plus debt that I owe to Queensland Health,” she said.

Thankfully, Ms Harvey had kept her pay slips and could access her bank statements from six years earlier and she took the matter to her local member Jarrod Bleijie and she asked Queensland Health for their documentation.

None of their examples matched what she was paid on her pay slips.

That was months ago and she hoped the debacle was behind her, until she received the text from the debt collector.

“The year is now 2017 and they’ve sent the issue to a debt collector now which I can only imagine meant that I have been defaulted for an amount of money that they have practically made up,” Ms Harvey said.

She is determined to fight it as they have caused me an “insurmountable amount of emotional trauma”.

“I gave birth to my now six-month-old son two weeks early due to stress-induced pre-eclampsia and now they are potentially affecting my ability to get a loan.”

Mr Bleijie was also amazed this issue had raised its ugly head again.  “I feel for Krysten and other nurses who have contacted me about the Palaszczuk government’s cruel attempt to recoup alleged overpayments that can’t be proven and occurred over six years ago under Labor’s watch,” he said.

“This is seriously affecting Sunshine Coast families and it’s time Cameron Dick stepped out of his ivory tower, listened to Queenslanders, and fixed his own mess.”

Queensland Health was approached early yesterday for comment. No response was received by deadline.


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 February, 2017

Australian men longest lived

The Sydney Boring Harold is a miserable carping paper -- as befits its strong Leftist lean. Ordinary Australians would be pleased that we are unusually long lived but what did the SMH head its story as?  They said: "Australian men to be knocked off top spot for life expectancy". They had to scratch for something negative in the news, even if it was highly speculative.  As you would expect, they attribute our good fortune to our free public hpospitals.  But we have had those for decades so that is nonsense.  It's more likely that other nations have things holding them back -- like the two large minority populations in the USA

Australian men are the world's longest lived, a new study has revealed, but the research shows that by 2030 they will have been knocked off the top spot for world life expectancy.

The study, published on Wednesday in The Lancet, shows that across the developed world life expectancies continue to climb, pushing above 90 for the first time.

Australian boys who were born in 2010 can expect to live to 80.10, the study says, longer than any other country. And those to be born in 2030 can expect to live to 84.00.

However, males born in South Korea in 2030 can expect to live to 84.07, or about 25 days longer than an Australian male born at the same time. Given the nature of the statistical modelling, this falls within the margin of error.

The study says: "For men, South Korea, Australia, and Switzerland have highly overlapping distributions of projected life expectancy and hence similar probabilities of occupying the top three ranks."

South Korean women born in 2030 are also expected to live the longest, to 90.82 on average. This is the first time that a life expectancy has passed 90, the study's authors say. South Korean girls born in 2010 also had the highest life expectancy, at 84.07.

Australian women currently have the fourth longest life expectancy at 84.53. Girls born in 2030, the study says, can expect to live until they are 87.57, which is the sixth longest projected life span.

"As recently as the turn of the century, many researchers believed that life expectancy would never surpass 90 years," said lead author Professor Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London.

"Our predictions of increasing lifespans highlight our public health and healthcare successes. However, it is important that policies to support the growing older population are in place."

Professor David Le Couteur from the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney said: "Three things struck me about this study. One is that much of this life expectancy gain is occurring in old people. Two is how well Australia is doing. And three is how badly the US is doing."

Professor Le Couteur said Australia's performance is due to a combination of lifestyle factors and social policy.

"There has been a dramatic reduction in smoking and enough people are exercising as they get older to make an impact. And while obesity is a problem it is not as bad as in the US or Britain.

"A strong conclusion of this study and one I would support is that having a strong universal health system with public health interventions makes a huge difference."

He said that in the US high homicide rates, obesity, inequality and the lack of universal healthcare are contributing to its stagnating life expectancy rates.

"The US spends more on health [per capita] than Australia but it's very inequitable in terms of delivery," Professor Le Couteur said.

"America is not even in the top 20 countries for life expectancy - which is incredible considering how much it spends on healthcare."

The study also shows that in every country - except Mexico - the gap in life expectancy between men and women is decreasing.

For Australians born in 2010, women are expected to live 4.43 years longer than men. However, for those born 20 years later, that gap is expected to drop to 3.57 years.

In the Netherlands the gender gap will drop to 1.7 years, with men born in 2030 expected to live until 83.69 and women until they are 85.39.

Professor Le Couteur said: "I suspect countries with the narrowest difference between men and women have better social equity and lower smoking rates."

He said men are healthier and there is a tendency for women to be taking up some of the bad health behaviours of men, such as heavier drinking.

Ailiana Santosa, from the Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research, Umea University, Sweden said: "Countries are moving towards universal health coverage. Achieving universal health coverage is worthy, plausible, and needs to be continued."

The researchers used a statistical method based on 21 models for 35 countries with populations above 1 million, rather than a single statistical model. These results were then combined using a Bayesian modelling technique.

The data for Australia compares well to recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which predicts life expectancy for Australian girls born in 2013-15 to be 84.5 and boys born at the same to time to live until they are 80.4.

"What these figures reflect is health. The reason people are living longer is because they're healthy. And because they are healthy they are contributing more to society and using fewer healthcare resources," Professor Le Couteur said.


Immigrants to blame for high house prices, businessman Dick Smith claims

You can't fault his logic

Australian businessman Dick Smith has blamed immigrants for high house prices, claiming the "enormous population increase" is making young families unable to buy their first home.

Appearing alongside former Labor leader Mark Latham and controversial former Liberal MP Ross Cameron, Mr Smith said "jumbo loads" of immigrants arriving each week were the "main driver" behind the country's housing affordability crisis.

"The main point that's driving our unaffordable housing is about 200,000 immigrants come in a year. That's five jumbo loads a week that go out empty," he told Sky News.

"All of our problems are from this unbelievable population increase. You can't drive in Sydney at the moment. The housing prices are enormous.

"The most fundamental right is to get a house with a backyard. Young couples can't do that anymore, purely driven in 95 per cent of cases by the enormous population increase, mainly driven by ridiculous immigration."

The entrepreneur has long argued in favour of a "sustainable" population and last year backed One Nation's policy of restricting migration levels - though he disagreed with banning Muslim immigrants.

On Tuesday, Mr Smith asserted population growth of 1.7 per cent was not compatible with long-term prosperity, and Australia had reached a "sweet spot" of around 24 million people.

He said infinite population growth would "just mean that most people are poor". In doing so he took aim at the service sector economy, which he described as "selling coffee to each other or doing nails".  "You can't run a country on that," he said.

Both sides of politics and most economists spruik the benefits of immigration. The majority of the 190,000 migrant places offered by Australia each year are in skilled migration, attracting people with a high level of education and who tend to be of prime working age.

That contrasts with Australia's ageing population, which requires the support of younger workers, and the relatively stable but low birth rate of 1.9 births per woman, which is below the population replacement level.

A report by the Migration Council of Australia used modelling by Independent Economics to declare that by 2050, migration will have added 21.9 per cent to the real wages of low-skilled workers, and will be contributing $1.6 trillion to the country's gross domestic product.

It comes amid a deepening debate within the Turnbull government about how to combat the housing affordability crisis, with MPs pitching a variety of ideas from deposit-free home loans to high-speed rail.

Assistant Minister to the Treasurer Michael Sukkar was criticised by Labor for suggesting that "highly-paid jobs" should be the "first step" for those seeking to buy a home.

The comments were reminiscent of former treasurer Joe Hockey's infamous declaration that aspiring home owners should "get a good job that pays good money".


Controversial One Nation candidate David Archibald claims Africans have a lower IQ and welfare is stopping human evolution

The figures are on his side

A One Nation candidate believes black Africans have lower IQs and government welfare is preventing human evolution.

David Archibald, a geologist who is running for Pauline Hanson's party at next month's West Australian elections, wrote an opinion piece for the niche, right-wing American Thinker website, in May 2015.

One Nation's candidate for the mining-rich Pilbara region, in the state's far north, said Africans in the continent's southwest had intelligence quotients, which were much lower than the average IQ of 100.

'One major kind of diversity is in the range of human intelligence, with the bushmen of southwest Africa at the bottom end with an average IQ of 60 and Ashkenazi Jews at the top end with an average IQ of 115,' he said.

In the same article, titled 'Genes, Mutations and Behaviour', Mr Archibald said government welfare was also stopping millions of years of human evolution.

'Human evolution, both the enhancement of the good and the winnowing of the bad, has now stopped due to the rise modern medicine and the welfare state,' he said.

'Mutations continue, though, so in theory the human genome is going backwards now.'

Earlier this month, One Nation's federal leader Pauline Hanson hit out at journalists and politicians, including Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese, who had called for Mr Archibald to be disendorsed for saying single mothers were producing 'lazy and ugly' children.

'To all the fat lazy politicians and fat lazy journalists in the fat lazy media playing fat lazy political correctness, identity politics - the answer is no,' the Queensland senator wrote on Twitter.

In another article for the Australian conservative Quadrant magazine in August 2015, Mr Archibald described gay marriage as 'degenerate'.

'It is possible that the incidence of homosexuality is an acceptable loss, in evolutionary terms, so that the rest of the males can be more male-like. 'Viewed in that way, homosexuality is part of the human condition. But so is marriage – it is more than just a social construct. 'A successful culture wouldn’t mix the two. A degenerate culture might.'

In the same opinion piece, titled 'Evolution versus Gay Marriage' he said pregnant women in the Middle East were stoned to death during the time of Jesus' birth. 'Marriage as a social institution was reinforced in part by stoning to death women who became pregnant outside of marriage,' he said.

'The miracle of Mary’s virgin birth has been explained as an act of charity by Joseph in taking in a pregnant woman who otherwise would have been stoned to death.'


PM welcomes Netanyahu to Australia

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived at Admiralty House in Sydney at the beginning of a historic four-day tour.

Mr Netanyahu, the first sitting Israeli Prime Minister to visit Australia, was welcomed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove.

His plane landed in Sydney early this morning. He has brought with him a business delegation of about 25 Israeli executives and entrepreneurs, particularly from the hi-tech industry.

Major deals involving cybersecurity and technology are expected to be signed in the next four days.

The visit is not without opposition. Sixty prominent Australians, including former Commonwealth Solicitor-General Gavan Griffiths and former Federal Court judge Murray Willcox, have signed a letter opposing the visit.

They say the visit should not be going ahead because the policies of the Netanyahu government “provoke, intimidate and oppress” the Palestinian people.

Kevin Rudd has urged Australia’s political leaders to “seize the opportunity” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic visit and call out the country’s recent moves in the occupied territories in the West Bank, while pushing for the official recognition of a Palestinian state.

On the morning Mr Netanyahu arrived in Sydney, marking the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister has visited Australia, the former Labor PM also called for his party to change its policy for a two-state solution at its national conference next year.

“To be fair to Labor’s leadership these have been recent and unfolding events both in Israel and in the United States and that is why I’ve chosen to speak out as well,” Mr Rudd told ABC radio.

“President Trump of the United States has now called into question the future of American support for a two-state solution, an independent Palestinian state and of course the state of Israel. As well as the fact that we now see through recent draft legislation going through the Israeli parliament the legitimisation of mass new Israeli settlements in the occupied territories on the West Bank.

“Therefore the time has come for strong friends and allies of both Israel and the United States to begin to draw a line and say ‘we cannot go past this’. Otherwise we kill the idea of an independent Palestinian state forever.”

The remarks come amid a growing divide within the Labor Party over a two-state solution and as Malcolm Turnbull strongly condemns the United Nations, accusing it of a prejudiced attack against Israel after a Security Council resolution denounced Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Mr Rudd, who with Labor’s former prime minister Bob Hawke and former foreign ministers Bob Carr and Gareth Evans have advocated a change in foreign policy and recognition of a Palestinian state, said Australia should speak “candidly” to its Israeli friends about policies they did not support.

“I’m a lifelong supporter of the state of Israel, that does not make me however a lifelong supporter of the policies of Benjamin Netanyahu,” Mr Rudd said.

“Therefore the opportunity must be seized and when you speak as friends, as we do with Israel, and express our view about the legitimate right of the Israelis and the Palestinian people, the time has come to seize that opportunity.”

Labor MP Michael Danby yesterday hit out at party “heroes” for “provoking” Mr Natanyahu ahead of his visit, questioning why they don’t also “beat up on China”.

But Mr Rudd dismissed the comments, saying Mr Danby was “once voice within nearly 100 members of the federal parliamentary party”.

“I’m sure some of us may share his views but I’m also a member of the Australian Labor Party and I also have an equal right to articulate my own view,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Netanyahu paid tribute to the strong ties between his country and Australia after landing in Sydney. His four-day visit to Sydney would strengthen the bonds between both countries, he said.

“We admire Australia, we embrace Australia and this visit will enable us to bring our countries even closer,” he told the ABC.

“I’ve been here before and counted the years wanting to come back again and I’m very proud to be here as the first Israeli prime minister to make an official visit to Australia.” Mr Netanyahu also paid tribute to Australia’s military efforts during World War I battle of Beersheba when they ensured the lifeline of the Suez Canal. “We’re celebrating 100 years of friendship between Australia and Israel,” he said.

“I always remember, it was Australian Light Horse that liberated Beersheba, an old, old city in our history. We have been friends — extraordinary friends — ever since.”


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

22 February, 2017  

Nazeem Hussain says an irresponsible Pauline Hanson is doing ‘the same as ISIS

Nazeem Hussain is a Muslim, and of course a Lefty. He says, “When Pauline Hanson says things irresponsibly she is doing exactly what ISIS is doing.”

Isis have been murdering people by the thousands, blowing them up, sawing off heads with kitchen knives, shooting, burning, drowning, crucifying,... etc. They enjoy creatively killing anyone they hate, which is anyone other than themselves. Isis and Jihadists all over the world are committed to killing or supporting the killing of non-muslims.

Yet Nazeem Hussain says that Pauline Hanson is doing what Isis is doing.  Come again?  He also says that Isis and Pauline Hanson are trying to “divide” Muslims and non-Muslims. But Isis is not trying to divide Muslims and non-Muslims, they are trying to kill, enslave or convert non-Muslims through terror, which is the means of conversion encouraged in the Koran.

He is a stupid man. He should reassess himself and apologise for his stupid statements. I doubt he will though.

COMEDIAN Nazeem Hussain has accused right wing politician Pauline Hanson of playing into the hands of Muslim extremists.

“When Pauline Hanson says things irresponsibly what she is doing, is doing exactly what ISIS is doing,” Hussain told campmates in the South African jungle on Channel Ten’s I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!

“When tragedy happens, I always think, what is going to happen to us? Are we going to become what ISIS wants us to become, a world where there is Muslim and non-Muslim. What happens time and again, and this just shows the Australian spirit, is that we actually find ways to use that opportunity to strengthen bonds and we come closer together. It is weird me being emotional about politics like this but it is personal for me.”

Hussain, 30, broke down to tears as he spoke out about the pressure and responsibility he feels at being a Muslim in Australia today. He describes his commitment to his faith as being “devout” and prays five times a day, even when in the South African jungle.

“I am Australian, I love my country. I want to make my community and society better,” he said. “I feel like I need to be also using my platform to help people understand each other and to kind of bring people together.”

Hussain continued: “Before September 11, Muslims were just another ethnic community. But after September 11, Muslims in Australia suddenly became this political community that were ideologically opposed to the Australian way of life. We often talk about each other, Muslims and non-Muslims but we never really speak and have friendships with each other.”


Coal proves its worth while the Left tilts at windmills

Kevin Rudd breezed into the Sky News studio in Canberra last week to decry the lack of “deep, strong, committed national leadership” since the electorate’s foolish ­decision to turf him out of office.

It was “nuts” to remove the carbon tax, he said. “Where we are now can be summed up in three words: dumb, dumb, dumb.”

Australia’s energy market could be dumber still if Labor wins office and pursues its vanity target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. The plight of South Aus­tralia, the canary in the turbine blades, demonstrates what happens when an economy becomes hostage to unreliable sources of power.

Yet Rudd was unapologetic. Coal? Don’t get him started. “The message for coal, long-term globally, is down and out,” he informed us. We need “a heavy mix of renewables”, which was why he was proud that the government had introduced the renewable ­energy target.

In the real world, the one outside Rudd’s brain, the RET is nothing to be proud of. It is one of the most expensive public policy disasters of the century, market intervention on a massive scale with unfair and unintended con­sequences that will haunt Aus­tralians for decades.

Rudd, determined to tackle the era’s “greatest moral challenge”, upped the target by more than 450 per cent in an uncosted promise before the 2007 election.

It was crazy, as the Productivity Commission politely tried to tell him in a 2008 submission. The target would not increase abatement but would impose extra costs and lead to higher electricity prices, the commission warned.

It would favour existing technologies — namely wind and solar — while holding back new ideas that might ultimately be more ­successful.

Rudd, of course, knew better. Not for the last time, he ignored the Productivity Commission and pushed ahead with his renewable target of 45,000GWh by 2020, of which 41,000GWh would come from large-scale wind and solar.

If the policy was designed to punish Australian consumers, it was a roaring success. Household electricity bills increased by 92 per cent under the Rudd-Gillard governments, six times the level of ­inflation.

Rudd went further, spending $4.15 billion on dubious clean ­energy boondoggles. He put $1.6bn into solar technologies, delivered $465 million to establish the research institute Renewables Australia, gave $480m to the Nat­ional Solar Schools Program to give schools “a head start in tackling climate change and conserving our precious water supplies”. Easy come, easy go; the money tree seemed ripe for picking.

The cost of meeting Rudd’s windmill and solar fetish has been extraordinary. Wind-generated power is roughly three-times more expensive than traditional energy, and large-scale solar even pricier.

It has taken cross-subsidies of $22bn to keep renewables viable, according to a 2014 review for the federal government. The economy-wide cost was put at $29bn.

It amounts to industry welfare on steroids. Corporations that jumped on the clean energy gravy train have benefited from assistance on a far greater scale than that we once lavished on the car industry.

Wind farm operators work in splendid isolation from the risk and uncertainty that trouble ordinary businesses. Their share price is not driven by supply and demand for electricity, but by the funny-money world of large-scale generation certificates.

When the LGC spot price shot up from $52 in July 2015 to $86, the value of Infigen’s stock ­quadrupled.

Coal energy producers, on the other hand, saw their fortunes decline. The Alinta power station closed at Port Augusta in May last year, ground down by operating losses of about $100m.

The result of Labor’s ill-considered RET policy should shame the social justice party into silence. Shareholders in the likes of Infigen have grown rich by squeezing coal operators out of business with all that entails: the loss of 440 jobs at Port Augusta, for example, and the threat the closure presents to jobs in other South Australian industries.

They have grown rich through a scheme that has made the electricity grid more unstable and reduced the reliability of supply.

They have grown rich through a scheme that has more than doubled the cost of running an air­conditioner, a detail that probably won’t trouble Infigen’s executives on the 22nd floor of their five-star energy-rated Pitt Street, Sydney, headquarters but would make life uncomfortable for a pensioner surviving on $437 a week in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

On paper, the case for abolishing the RET is strong. Deloitte’s estimates the reduction in electricity prices would add $28.8bn to GDP by 2030 and create 50,000 jobs.

The politics of liberalising the energy market would be punishing, however, and all but impossible to negotiate through the Senate.

The status quo — a 23.5 per cent renewable target by 2020 — will require doubling the capacity of wind and solar and will further erode the viability of coal plants. The doubling of energy future ­prices that followed the announcement of the closure of Victoria’s Hazelwood power station is a sign of things to come.

Rudd’s claim that coal is “down and out” will come as news to the Japanese government, which is planning up to 47 coal-fired, high-energy, low-emissions plants burning high-quality Australian black coal.

It would be viable in Australia, too, if energy providers enjoyed a free market. With gas prices high, ultra-supercritical coal generation would fill the demand for base-load power.

Yet the uncertainty of Labor’s greener-than-thou policies — not just a 50 per cent RET but a price on carbon, too — could yet make the end of coal a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Academic rigour is a welcome change in new NSW curriculum

The new NSW senior school courses prove why it is best to give the states and territories control over Years 11 and 12 and not force them to adopt a national curriculum model, as we have for Foundation to Year 10.

While the devil is in the detail, the new NSW senior school courses in English, history, maths and science look to be an improvement on drafts released for public comment last year.

Compared with the other states and territories, it also appears these courses represent a more academically rigorous approach to the curriculum.

In history, the inclusion of topics such as the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Age of Imperialism and the Industrial Age are vital if students are to understand past events and movements that shaped Western civilisation.

Saying that English must include a mandatory course with “explicit reference to structure and grammar, spelling, vocabulary and punctuation”, while stating the obvious, is essential if students are to successfully communicate and this should also be welcomed.

One criticism of the draft science course released last year was that there was not enough emphasis on maths; the fact that the final syllabus design includes increased maths content is also welcome.

Emphasising critical thinking and not just “a recall of facts” — even though both are important — is also beneficial because by Years 11 and 12 students should be expected to master higher order, more abstract skills.

Where there is a slight misgiving is when the new maths syllabus says there will be an “increased focus on problem-solving, applied to real-world problems”.

Often what is most important in maths is mastering complex algorithms and procedures that might not have “real-world” application but are vital to the discipline.

As always, when designing curriculum, the real test will be what happens when it is delivered by teachers in schools and how well students are prepared for further study and a world of work.

Some of the best syllabuses, no matter how well designed, fail the classroom test and prove that what is intended does not always eventuate in practice.


How do you solve a problem like sharia?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Yassmin Abdel-Magied, an Islamic activist, has been paid by the Australian government to visit countries such as Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Qatar, it is said, “to promote Australia”. Far from offering criticism of the misogynistic sharia laws on the books in those countries, Abdel-Magied recently stated that Islam is “the most feminist” of all religions. Confronted with the abuses that are committed against women in the countries she visited, Abdel-Magied replied: “I’m not going to deny, some countries run by Muslims are violent and sexist, but that’s not down to sharia. That’s down to the culture and the patriarchy and the politics of those … countries.”

That is absurd. Abdel-Magied fits into a familiar pattern, where the government of a free society such as Australia invests a considerable sum in an individual or a group in the hope that the person is a “moderate” Muslim and will advance the assimilation of their Muslim minority through constructive engagement. Then the supposed moderate the government has invested in is exposed as a closet Islamist, in this case sympathetic to sharia law. The government is left red-faced. Others simply see red.

In a televised exchange on ABC, Australian senator Jacqui Lambie challenged Abdel-Magied’s views, holding that those who support sharia law should be deported from Australia. Remarkably, the televised debate was followed by a demand for an apology by the ABC from a collective of 49 Muslim scholars, lawyers and self-appointed individuals who claim to speak for all Australian Muslims. The petition alleged “Islamophobia” and criticised ABC host Tony Jones for not upholding the “values of respect and fairness” and for failing to provide a “safe environment” for Abdel-Magied.

Yet what set of principles is less safe for women than sharia? As a moral and legal code, sharia law is among the most dehumanising, demeaning and degrading for women ever devised by man:

 *  Under sharia law, a woman’s testimony is worth half of a man’s testimony in court (Koran 2:282).

 *  Under sharia law, men are the “guardians” of women; women are to be obedient to men, and husbands may beat their wives for disobedience (Koran 4:34).

 *  Under sharia law, a woman may not refuse sexual access to her husband unless she is medically incapable or menstruating, a teaching based partly on Allah himself saying in the Koran, “Your women are a tillage for you; so come unto your tillage as you wish” (Koran 2:223)

 *  Under sharia law, a woman inherits less than a man, generally half as much, again based on holy writ: “Allah enjoins you concerning your children: the male shall have the equal of the portion of two females” (Koran 4.11, 4.12).

 *  Under sharia law, men and women who commit fornication are to be flogged. As to the punishment for fornicators, the Koran says: “Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment” (Koran 24:2).

 *  Under sharia law, a man may unilaterally divorce his wife through talaq, whereas women are limited to divorce either under specific circumstances, such as the husband’s impotence, or with the husband’s consent and payment of a certain amount of money (khul).

 *  Sharia law permits fathers to contract binding marriages for their children so long as they are minors; and although a boy married against his wishes may exercise his power to divorce his wife unilaterally once he matures, a girl’s exit from such an unwanted marriage is much more difficult.

 *  Under sharia law, the custody of children is generally granted to ­fathers, and mothers lose custody if they remarry because their attention is supposed to go to their new husbands.

 *  Although majority-Muslim countries have in practice abolished slavery (Saudi Arabia did so mainly as a result of foreign pressure in 1962), slavery still has not been abolished in sharia law. Sexual slavery was common in Islamic history and is accepted by sharia law.

Defenders of sharia note that in some respects, Islamic law improved the position of women in 7th century tribal Arabia, for instance by categorically banning female infanticide. Yet surely, in the 21st century, we can set the bar higher than that?

Contrary to the claims of Abdel-Magied, the problematic tenets of sharia are not some relic left over from the cultural practices of the 7th century. Today, sharia law is applied in many countries as a matter of reality, and it is also enforced in many Muslim communities in matters such as marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance proceedings.

Indeed, the countries Abdel-Magied visited are proud to call their legal code sharia law.

Saudi Arabia’s Basic Law states: “The regime derives its power from the Holy Koran and the Prophet’s Sunnah, which rule over this and all other State Laws”, all “within the framework of the sharia”. Likewise, Kuwait’s constitution declares that “Islamic law shall be a main source of legislation”.

Sudan’s interim 2005 constitution states: “Nationally enacted legislation having effect only in respect of the Northern states of the Sudan shall have as its sources of legislation Islamic sharia and the consensus of the people.”

Qatar’s constitution requires the ruler to “swear by God, the Great, to respect the Islamic law”. Egypt’s 2014 constitution holds: “The principles of Islamic sharia are the principle source of legislation.”

In Iran, the marriage of girls at a young age is permitted, based on Mohammed’s consummation of his marriage to Aisha when she was nine. Was marriage at such a young age uncommon, given the cultural norms of the 7th century? No. Should such a historical precedent be emulated today? No.

It is therefore plainly false to say, as Abdel-Magied does, that the subjection of women in these countries is “not down to sharia (but) down to the culture and the patriarchy and the politics of those … countries”.

However, an important distinction can be made between “sharia lite” and “sharia forte”. Sharia forte is applied in the legal system of theocracies such as Saudi Arabia (which Abdel-Magied visited) and Iran, and by organisations such as Islamic State and Boko Haram. It does not apply in the West for obvious reasons.

But sharia lite is informally enforced within Muslim communities in Western countries, including Australia. In Australia, Islamists rely on sharia law to arbitrate divorces and inheritance disagreements. In 2015, a journalist writing in this newspaper observed that “given the undercover application of sharia law, often within mosques, there is little scrutiny of the process and the fairness of the adjudications”.

There is another problem: the general mindset of some Islamic “leaders” in Australia. In 2006, Australians were shocked to find the country’s most senior Islamic cleric, Taj el-Din Hilaly, refer to unveiled rape victims as “uncovered meat” that was left out in public. When a cat comes to eat the meat, the sheik reasoned, “the uncovered meat is the problem” because “if she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred”.

The ensuing public controversy led to Hilaly’s retirement, but his views were not out of line with Islamic law.

Sharia manuals such as Reliance of the Traveller hold that a husband may forbid his wife to leave the house and the wife must obey, and that a woman may not draw attention to herself in public.

In the Islamist mindset, Muslim women in Western countries should not enjoy the legal protections of the societies they live in. Two recent studies conducted by Elham Manea and Machteld Zee into British sharia “arbitration councils” offer clear evidence of this.

Abdel-Magied and the Islamist collective that is demanding an apology from ABC are not interested in this kind of inconvenient truth. They want to deflect attention away from the problems inherent in sharia law.

In my view, the Australian government should stop funding people such as Abdel-Magied, and the other partners they have, and instead find progressive, reform-minded Muslims who will help with the vital task of assimilating Muslims into Australian society.

The only way to resolve the fundamental challenge to women’s rights posed by sharia law is to criticise its problematic aspects openly.

The successful assimilation of Muslim immigrants in Australia is an achievable goal, but not on the basis of the hypocrisy and phony indignation in which the likes of Abdel-Magied specialise.


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 February, 2017  

Male Muslim students at Sydney public school given permission to refuse to shake hands with women - because it is against their religion

Muslim students at a Sydney public school can refuse to shake hands with women even at an awards ceremony.

The Hurstville Boys Campus of Georges River College introduced the policy to allow Muslim boys to instead put their hand on the heart as a greeting.

The Year 7 to 10 school's two principals told guests at its 2016 presentation day, including notable community members, that students may decline the gesture.

The practice comes from the Muslim teaching of hadith that states: 'It is better to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle than to touch the hand of a woman who is not permissible to you.'

The NSW Education told The Australian it approved of the 'agreed protocol' that was developed through consultation between staff, parents and students.

'The department require­s its schools to recognise and respect the cultural, linguistic and religious backgrounds of all students, with the intent to promote an open and tolerant attitude towards a diverse Australian community­,' it said.

The department said principals were best placed to know the needs of their communities when following that requirement.

Such a literal interpretation of hadith, which describes the practices of the prophet Mohammed is controversial even among Australian Muslim leaders.

Australia's Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohammed shakes hands with women as did his predecessor, Fehmi Naji El-Imam, and Islamic schools do not even have the policy.

Former Islamic Council of Victoria secretary Kuranda Seyit said many young students were taught to take it 'too seriously' and it should apply in a school context. 'For some young adults, when they meet people of the opposite sex, to shake someone's hand suggests a friendship,' he said.

Mr Seyit said it was an issue because Australians do not understand the custom and could be embarrassed if they were 'left hanging'.

'Students should be able to shake hands with the teacher or the principal, or receive a greeting from a visitor to the school,' he said.


Shorten fails to specify cost of Labor's renewables policy when asked four times

Bill Shorten has declined to be specific about the cost of Labor’s goal to have 50% of Australia’s electricity generated from renewable sources by 2030.

In an early morning radio interview on Wednesday, Shorten was asked four times about the cost to consumers of executing such a transition, but the Labor leader deflected, pointing to the costs of not acting.

With the Coalition intent on making energy policy a point of sharp partisan difference, Malcolm Turnbull pounced on the interview, telling reporters in Canberra the Labor leader had admitted “he had no idea what his reckless renewable energy target would cost, or what its consequences would be.”

“He confirmed precisely the criticism that we’ve made about Mr Shorten, that he is literally clueless on this subject, mindless, just like South Australia has been.”

Labor’s 50% by 2030 policy is not a RET, it is an “aspiration”. Labor’s election policy says the 50% national goal would work in concert with state-based RET schemes, which the prime minister has blasted consistently since a storm plunged South Australia into a statewide blackout last year.

During an interview with the ABC Shorten was pressed repeatedly about the practical consequences of the shift – the costs to consumers of executing such a significant transition in Australia’s energy mix.

Shorten attempted to explain the broad rationale for increasing renewables in Australia’s energy mix, and he said Labor believed there was “a range of levers which assist, from having an emissions intensive scheme and the energy intensity scheme in the energy industry, having a market trading scheme and an emissions trading scheme [and] looking at the rate of land clearing.”

“Our answer is very, very straightforward. We think the cost of not acting is far greater.”

“We don’t think we could sustain the cost as the Liberals are saying, of building new coal-fired power generation on the scale which Mr Turnbull is saying and we don’t think that, from insurance to drought to extreme weather events, that we can simply go business as usual.”

Australian National University research associate Hugh Saddler in July 2015 estimated Labor’s policy would increase wholesale market prices by four cents per kWh above present levels in every state market except South Australia.

By signing on to the Paris climate agreement, the Turnbull government has committed Australia to reducing emissions by 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2030. Meeting those targets will impose costs on consumers.

The government has been advised by numerous experts that its Direct Action climate policy will not allow Australia to meet the Paris targets, and adopting an emissions intensity scheme, a form of carbon trading, would allow Australia to reduce emissions from energy at the least cost to households and businesses.

The government has thus far rejected that advice.


Traditional Aboriginal culture at odds with "closing the gap"

Nine years, tens of billions of dollars and tons of national goodwill have not made much impression on the appalling gaps in social outcomes between the most disadvantaged indigenous Australians and other citizens.

This is the depressing finding of the 2017 Closing the Gap report — which has prompted Malcolm Turnbull to announce yet another reinvention of the federal government’s approach to indigenous policy.

The annual ritual of acknowledging the failure to close the gap should prompt us to consider the well-meaning but contradictory character of our approach to indigenous affairs.

Indigenous policy continues to pull in different and hard-to-reconcile directions. Recognising the tensions and contradictions might encourage us to adopt a more realistic attitude towards closing the gap.

The Rudd government’s Closing the Gap strategy introduced in 2008 extended the Howard government’s idea of practical reconciliation. The idea was that if indigenous people, regardless of where they lived, were given access to the same standard of social services as other Australians, they would hopefully achieve the same health, education, employment and other social outcomes.

This mainstreaming of indigenous services replaced the policy of Aboriginal self-determination established in the 1970s, which involved indigenous-controlled organisations delivering services to indigenous people. By the mid-2000s, Aboriginal self-determination was widely acknowledged to have failed to improve outcomes, especially in remote communities with the highest levels of disadvantage.

It now seems that the Turnbull government has gone back to the future: it has pledged to empower indigenous communities and collaborate with indigenous organisations to deliver local solutions — a renewed focus on self-determination, in combination with a commitment to ensuring indigenous programs are properly evaluated.

The Howard, Rudd and Turnbull approaches have all been underpinned by the same principle: government support should be extended to allow indigenous people to continue to live on their traditional lands in order to preserve traditional indigenous culture and identity.

This was also the idea behind Kevin Rudd’s recent comments about the emergence of a “second stolen generation” if indigenous children continue to be “separated from their culture” at record rates due to abuse and neglect.

The worst social outcomes and disadvantage are among the 20 per cent of indigenous Australians who live in rural and remote homelands with the worst social dysfunction.

By contrast, the 80 per cent of indigenous Australians who live mainly in urban areas achieve social outcomes that are the same as their non-indigenous peers. Moreover, their indigenous identity is unquestioned, despite having little contact with traditional lands and traditional culture.

Yet many Australians continue to support the idea of indigenous people living close to culture on traditional lands. They believe this is the path to true reconciliation by making up for the historic sins of colonial dispossession. Yet these attitudes make the problems worse.

This is the great insight of anthropologist Peter Sutton, who spent many years working in indigenous communities in Cape York. He has shown how the problems in the homelands cannot simply be blamed on colonial oppression, lack of self-determination, or suppression of indigenous culture.

As Sutton argues, the remote communities with the worst problems are those that have been least, and most recently, touched by colonisation, and where people have continued to live closest to a traditional manner and on their traditional lands. In these communities, the persistence of traditional culture practices — such as hunter and gatherer-style hygiene and sanitation habits and permissively neglectful attitudes to parenting children — contribute significantly to poor health, child welfare, and other social outcomes.

Welfare, alcohol, drugs and pornography imported into indigenous communities through contact with non-indigenous culture continue to cause havoc.

But as Alice Springs indigenous leader Jacinta Price has powerfully emphasised, epidemic levels of domestic violence in indigenous communities are caused by the deep cultural roots of some indigenous men’s traditional, violent and misogynistic attitudes towards woman.

The implications for indigenous policy are confronting — namely that if we want indigenous people to continue to live remotely in order live close to culture, maybe we need to accept that the consequence will be gaps in social outcomes.

Adopting this realistic approach will not solve the intractable problem of indigenous disadvantage. But it may help bring clarity to discussion of indigenous policy, and what can and can’t be done to close the gap.


The new welfare state leviathan

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was described in a CIS report five years ago as "the new leviathan"; "in budgetary terms, another Medicare"; and "a monster of a government program."

This has been confirmed in spades, and it is hardly surprising that paying for the $22 billion monster has become a contentious issue.

The scheme's most ardent advocates insist it is fully funded because various revenue and expense offsets were announced when it was launched. This is just so much sophistry.

The offsets were never enough, and in any case were not put into a jam jar labelled 'NDIS'. That is not how the budget works. As long as there is a deficit, nothing the government does can be said to be fully funded by current revenue, and all spending programs and all revenue sources are subject to scrutiny for ways out of the deficit hole.

The real issue is the NDIS has attracted such political support that even at birth it is a sacred cow of public policy. It has become politically incorrect to be critical of it or anything connected to it. The former CEO of Myer learned that when he dared state the truth -- that increasing the Medicare levy to help pay for the NDIS would be bad for retail sales.

Ideally, the scheme would have been deferred until it could be afforded, but that opportunity has gone. Still, the NDIS cannot defy budget arithmetic: it has to be paid for, and doing so as it ramps up over the next three years makes balancing the budget so much harder. To state -- as various ministers have this week -- that this means spending less elsewhere and/or raising more revenue is to state the incontrovertible.

It is to be hoped the government is not softening us up for another hike in the Medicare levy. This is just an increase in income tax by another name, and would make a mockery of this government's rhetoric in favour of lower income tax. If the NDIS is sacred, then the way to make room for it in the budget is to squeeze other programs.


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 February, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG has switched his loyalty to Cory Bernardi's Conservative Party

A good letter gets results

I have always found it easy to write and as a result I write a lot of letters, mostly by snail mail.  So when I see something happening that I don't like, I don't just bitch about it.  I send a letter to whomever is likely to be able to fix it.  And it will be no surprise that I have written to the big bosses of banks quite a lot.  As I think everyone reading this will know, banks can be very frustrating

One thing that has been bothering me a bit lately is the way Australian banks keep closing branches or downgrading the services that they offer from a branch.

For a while there was a sort of mini-branch of the Commonwealth babnk right next to where I often go for brunch so that was very convenient.  I rather liked the looks of one of the female tellers they had there too. Even we oldies can admire from afar.

But it was of course too good to last.  The tellers were abolished and you were expected to do everything through a sort of super-ATM they had installed.  There were however still some staff there to help people who could not do what they wanted with the ATMs.

So recently I walked in with a big cheque that I wanted to deposit.  But the place was full of customers waiting for personal service.  So I decided to give up and visit a real branch the next day.  But where was there a real branch? It is not easy to look up.  They have a list of branches online but some of them have been abolished and there is no way of knowing what services the remaining ones offer.  In a couple of cases there were phone numbers I could ring but when I rang I got only an answering machine that had no answers that I wanted to hear.

What to do?  I also have an account at the Bank of Qld. and I have never had to wait long there.  So I went in to my nearest branch, found two tellers behind the desk and only one person ahead of me.  So I deposited my cheque, was given a printed receipt and walked out happy.  Because of their poor services, the Commonwealth missed out on getting my money despite considerable efforts on my part to give it to them.  Amazing.

So I wrote a letter.  Here it is:

28 December, 2016

Ian Narev

Dear Mr. Narev,

As a CBA shareholder and a customer I am appalled at how your standards of customer service have slipped.

I went into your recently downgraded Buranda branch today and found a big queue-up of people waiting for personal service.   I had a big cheque to deposit that I was not willing to entrust to your machines. I left rather than wait. Please reinstate its former status

I then went online to find an alternative branch near me.  I wanted to find one that had full service.  There were several possibilities.  But the phone nos. for them were not provided.  So I went through the rigamarole of calling your general number.  When I was eventually put through to the branches, however, all I got were answering machines that were as uninformative as your website.

After all the hassle I deposited my cheque with another bank.

Why can't you have more contact details available online?  Are you afraid your customers might talk to you? Can't you get it into your bald head that customer service matters?

In the absence of an accommodating reply from you, I will raise the matter at the next AGM.

I got a reply from someone called Emma Taylor who did little more than restate her bank's policies.  So I wrote another letter.  Here it is:

Dear Ms Taylor

Thank you for your letter of 19th.

I am disappointed that Mr Narev did not see fit to reply to my letter in person.  A year or so ago I wrote to Richard Goyder of Wesfarmers and got back from him a courteous handwritten note.  Perhaps Mr Narev has more dissatisfied customers than Mr Goyder has.

I have found your reply in which you do little more than restate the bank's policies quite unsatisfactory.  So I still have comments that I wish to address to Mr. Narev.  The following is for Mr Narev's eyes only:

Dear Mr Narev,

I am sure you find as revolting as I do the old stereotype of the fat Jewish banker smoking a cigar, wearing a top hat and looking contemptuously down his long nose at the simple people whom he exploits.

So why in G-d's name are you doing your best to validate that image?  You are Jewish, you are head of Australia's largest bank and you treat your customers with contempt by making it as hard as possible for them to contact you and your officers.

WHY do you not have on your website a phone number for each branch?  You are constantly changing your branches and what each branch does, so people need to enquire in advance to ascertain what services are available at a branch they intend to visit.

I myself some months ago was going to be in the Stone's Corner area so looked up your webpage and found the Stones Corner branch listed as fully functional.  It was not. I made the trip there to find it closed down.

So if it is such an enormous problem to provide phone nos., could you at least keep your website up to date with the level of service offered at each  branch?   It is surely an elementary courtesy.

And it might even be good business to upgrade your services.  The extra costs could result in happier customers who do more business with your bank.

In the absence of a reply from you, I am inclined to post a copy of this letter on the net.

Yours sorrowfully,

Dr John Ray

There was no reply.  BUT, today I had another large refund cheque to deposit.  So after my brunch I wandered in to the nearby Commonwealth branch that had given me problems previously.  Hey Presto!  Big change! A teller's counter had sprung up again, everybody in the branch was being helped and there was a lady standing at the teller's counter waiting to help me.  Very different!  Exactly what I had asked for!  Even though Mr Narev was too grand to reply to me, someone somewhere in the bank must have sprung into action. My letters got results.

A Leftist would of course have found my reference to Mr Narev's origins to be RACIST!  Even though I was writing with the intention of helping Jews.  I have in fact been a great supporter of Israel since I was a kid.  My immersion in the Bible made it permanently clear to me that Israel is the proper home of the Jews.

Some extended background on my thinking about that is here -- JR

Same-Sex Marriage Bill report strikes balance between freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination

It's a very lopside balance.  It provides that clergy will not be hounded but everyone else seems to be fair game.  You are still in the gun if you don't wish to provide services to queers

The Law Council today said the consensus Parliamentary report into the Government's Same-Sex Marriage Bill strikes a good balance between freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination and called on Parliament progress the report’s findings.

The Select Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill reached agreement on key issues, many of which align with recommendations made by the Law Council in its earlier submission. These areas of agreement include:

Ministers of religion should be able to refuse to marry same-sex couples;

Removal of 'conscientious objection' provisions;

Creating a new category of independent religious celebrants to cater for those people with religious beliefs, but requiring all other celebrants to marry same-sex couples; and

Strictly confining the exemptions available to 'religious bodies' to discriminate against same-sex couples.

Law Council of Australia President, Fiona McLeod SC, said the areas of agreement would, if implemented, improve the Bill significantly.

"The Law Council has been a long-standing supporter of same-sex marriage, however, changes to the Marriage Act need to carefully balance freedom of religion with the freedom from discrimination," Ms McLeod said.

"We are pleased to see that the Committee suggests that ministers of religion, and certain religious celebrants, should be able to refuse to marry same-sex couples in line with their beliefs. Civil celebrants on the other hand are performing a secular function and so have no other proper basis for exemption.

"We are also happy that the Committee agrees with the Law Council that 'religious bodies,' that were not specifically established for religious purposes, should not be exempt from anti-discrimination laws.

“We further note that the Committee did not recommend exempting individuals or commercial businesses from anti-discrimination law who hold a ‘conscientious’ objection to providing goods and services for same-sex weddings.

"Striking this balance between freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination is a challenging task. It is the Law Council's view that the Committee's suggestions achieve this balance well and should therefore be accepted by Parliament,” Ms McLeod said.

Media release.

DON'T feel sorry for the Muslim Rohingya

The Burmese certainly give the Rohingya a hard time but this ingrate may indicate it is deserved

A man accused of setting fire to a Commonwealth Bank branch and injuring 36 people has faced court on 92 charges.

The accused, 21, allegedly set fire to the bank branch in Springvale, in south-east Melbourne, in November last year.

Among his charges are counts of conduct endangering life, criminal damage by fire, gross violence and intentionally causing serious injury.

Staff and customers, including children, became trapped in the bank when a fire was lit. Dozens of people were treated for burns as a result.

The man appeared in Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Thursday evening and was remanded to appear again on May 11.

The 21-year-old is a Rohingya asylum seeker from Mynamar.


Lucky old Melbourne again:  Multicultural child molester

The offender

A 10-year-old girl was grabbed by the ponytail by a stranger who tried to lure her away in broad daylight, police said.

The man approached the girl on a Melbourne street corner and offered to 'buy her anything she wanted,' police wrote in a release on Saturday.

The girl, who was waiting with a friend near the corner of Springvale road and Windsor Avenue at 3.30pm, was then pulled by the hair after declining to go with the man.

She was able to run away after she kicked the man, causing him to let her go.

Investigators released a sketch of a man wanted for questioning in relation to the February 1 incident.

He was described by police as having 'dark skin with white pigmentation on his neck and arms, dark hair and yellow teeth.'

Detectives from the Dandenong Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team are investigating the incident.


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 February, 2017

In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG likes President Trump

Australia's new political divide: 'globalists' versus 'patriots'

There is often talk that the old Left/Right divide is inadequate.  Eysenck made a big deal of that in his 1954 book. And libertarians too think a two dimensional description is needed.  A fairly typical example is below:

So the claims below are not very new.

I paid considerable attention to the matter in my research career, as you will see here but my conclusion was that a second dimension of attitudes did not emerge from the survey results.  Only the old Left/Right division could be found.

An important qualification to that is that OBLIQUE factors could be found.  In other words, the Left/Right domain was not totally homogeneous.  For example, there is a dimension of economic conservatism plus a dimension of moral conservatism.  Statements within those two domains correlate highly with one another but the correlation between moral conservatism overall and economic conservatism overall was weak:  Weak but not non-existent. 

In other words, economic conservatives also tended -- somewhat -- to be conservative on moral issues.  And those two dimensions are the chief sub-dimensions of the Left/Right continuum.  They emerge repeatedly in survey research.  Despite some wrangling, economic and moral conservatives do find common cause in everyday politics.  They have enough in common to co-operate with one-another.

So what are we to make of the findings below?  Clearly, they have identified two distinct factors.  But how oblique are those factors?  We are not told.  I am almost certain that the two factors will in fact be very oblique, very highly correlated.  Patriotism is normally a strong component of conservatism and internationalism is normally a Leftist ideal. Leftists continue to salute the United Nations despite the gross corruption in that body.

So all that I think the authors below have done is rediscover the old Left/Right divide. They have identified a group of statements that conservatives strongly agree with -- patriotic statements -- and a group of statements that get strong support from Leftists -- globalism.  Two particular subsets of Left/Right attitudes have come under sharper focus and gained greater importance recently

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Openness. That is the word Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe chose to emphasise at his first public outing this year.

In Australia there is an "openness and transparency" not always found elsewhere, he told a high-powered business gathering at the Opera House on Thursday night.

And openness to trade and investment has been fundamental to the nation's prosperity.  Australia is "committed to an open international order," Lowe said.

Those sentiments might have seemed routine a few years back. But in the wake of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump "openness" to the world economy – often referred to  as globalisation – is now a hotly contested political issue.

A little over a year ago Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's far-right Front National party and a presidential contender, cast political battlelines as being no longer "between the left and the right but the globalists and the patriots". The globalists, she sneered, are for the dissolution of France into a "global magma".

Greg Ip, a Wall Street Journal economics commentator, wrote last month that Le Pen's remarks foreshadowed "the tectonic forces that would shake up the world in 2016".

Opposition to globalisation – the increasing movement of goods, money and people across international borders – was a key theme of Trump campaign to become president of the US. From now on it is going to be "America First", he says repeatedly.

In Australia, Pauline Hanson has globalisation in her sights. In her maiden speech to the Senate in September she accused national leaders of giving away our sovereignty, our rights, our jobs and even our democracy.  "Their push for globalisation, economic rationalism, free trade and ethnic diversity has seen our country's decline," she said.

In pitting globalists  against patriots Le Pen neatly summed up a new and unpredictable political fissure that cuts across old divisions between left and right.

Ip predicts the tussle between globalism and nationalism "will shape the coming era much as the struggle between conservatives and liberals has shaped the last".

This political split has emerged during a period of rapid global economic integration. In the two decades before the onset of the global financial crisis in 2007 international trade in goods and services grew by 7 per cent a year on average – a much faster rate than global GDP.

This has been a period of great prosperity for Australia, which has not experienced a recession for a quarter of a century. But there has also been a marked shift in the structure of the economy. Since the mid-1990s manufacturing's share of Australia's economic output has fallen from 14 per cent to about 7 per cent. 

Meanwhile, the importance of knowledge-intensive service industries such as finance and professional services has grown significantly. Similar trends have been at work in other advanced economies.

The flow of migrants to Australia – another factor many associate with globalisation – has also been strong. The proportion of Australians born overseas reached 28 per cent in 2014-15, the highest proportion in more than 120 years.

There are now signs the tussle Ip describes between globalist and nationalist sentiment has become an important political fault line in Australia.

Polling for the Political Personas Project commissioned by Fairfax Media and conducted by the Australian National University and Netherlands-based political research enterprise Kieskompas, shows public opinion is divided over the merits of trade liberalisation, one of globalisation's fundamentals.

The statement "free trade with other countries has made Australia better off" could not muster support from the majority of the 2600 voters surveyed – 44.7 per cent agreed (but only 7.1 per cent strongly), 27.5 per cent disagreed and 27.8 per cent were neutral.

There is a similar split when voters are asked to assess the impact of globalisation.

A separate Ipsos survey released in December found 48 per cent of Australians considered globalisation a "force for good" while 22 per cent said it was a "force for bad", with 29 per cent undecided.

Carol Johnson, professor of politics and international studies at the University of Adelaide, said many voters have, over time, become more aware of globalisation's drawbacks.

"Twenty years ago, the electorate seemed prepared to believe that while there were some risks to opening up the economy, there would also be benefits," she said.  "Part of what happened is that people are now more aware that many of our competitor countries, including Asian countries, are more than capable of developing these [high-tech and service] industries themselves.

"The assumption that Western countries will always be superior has started to come undone and voters are becoming worried that government hasn't got right the mix of balancing the benefits and downsides of globalisation."

Polling for the Political Personas Project found more than eight in 10 voters believe "we rely too heavily on foreign imports and should manufacture more in Australia". This statement received more support than any other proposition in the survey, which covered dozens of hot-button political issues.

Jill Sheppard, a researcher from the ANU's Centre for Social Research and Method who was involved in the project, said public concern about the decline of manufacturing was linked to perceptions of globalisation.

"Globalisation seems to manifest in people's minds as manufacturing and jobs going offshore. They think about cheap labour in Asian countries, which seem like a direct threat to us."


Lawyers pissing into the wind

They admit that discrimination is hard-wired so how do they think they can change that?

The Law Council of Australia is launching a major new program to help lawyers understand and address unconscious bias.

The Law Council has been working with diversity and inclusion specialists, Symmetra, to construct an unconscious bias program customised for the legal profession. It will be offered to all lawyers and legal practices via face-to-face workshops, train-the-trainer modules, and online courses from March 1 2017.

Law Council of Australia President, Fiona McLeod SC, said a series of national diversity and equality projects had been embraced by the legal profession and this program was an essential element of the whole strategy.

"Human beings are hardwired to notice personal characteristics and to prefer those with attributes or experiences similar to our own without conscious awareness,” Ms McLeod said.

“Research demonstrates that this can lead to skewed decision-making concerning recruitment, promotion and allocation of work and entrench inequity.”

Ms McLeod said that addressing unconscious bias could be the key to unlocking future diversity that would advantage the Australian legal profession – in terms of gender, and also in other fields of diversity.

"Addressing unconscious, or implicit bias encourages better decision making and new approaches to problem solving. A deliberate focus on diversity enables organisations to better attract and retain top talent, allows for the use of a greater talent pool and can boost productivity," Ms McLeod said.

The Law Council's new unconscious bias initiative follows a series of major national diversity and equality projects that have been led by the Law Council and embraced by the legal profession, including: the Diversity and Equality Charter and an Equitable Briefing Policy for barristers.

Last month, the International Bar Association announced it would be using the Law Council of Australia's landmark National Attrition and Retention Survey of lawyers as a template for its global investigation into the reasons why so many women lawyers are leaving law firms.

Via email from

The big South Australian blackout revisited

Reliance on "renewables" was the problem

Let’s recap on exactly what happened based upon the actual reports written after people knew what had happened, rather than before. First a little background on South Australia’s electricity system.

We had about 6,000 mega watts (MW) of capacity in 2015-16; which means when all of these sources of electricity were running flat out, we could light up about 60 million 100 watt globes. But because about 2200 MW of this capacity is wind and solar PV, then that would be impossible except perhaps on a hot and very widely windy day. On a windless night, that 2200 MW will produce bugger all. Since then, we have lost about 1,000 MW of baseload capacity. The word baseload is a little misleading, the right word is despatchable… meaning you can choose when you want it rather than with wind and solar, which operate according to the whims of the wind and weather.

Our maximum demand is only about 3,400 MW, but because of our high renewable mix, we not only need interconnectors to handle windless nights, we needed to upgrade the biggest of these in 2016. The flow of electricity into South Australia over the past decade has been steadily growing as our despatchable power stations close.

If all of our 4,800 mega watts was despatchable power, then we’d never need either of our interconnectors; Murraylink (220 MW) and Heywood (recently upgraded to 650 MW).

On the 28th of September, the Heywood interconnector was supplying 500 MW with Murraylink running at 110 MW. When the storm knocked over the transmission towers and some wind farms shut down, the system lost 445 MW of capacity.

Imagine sucking a drink through three straws and one of them blocks, then the suck on the other two rises. This is what happened when the wind farms shut down; the combined demand, the suck, was transferred to the interconnectors. Remember, Heywood was upgraded to handle a 650 MW suck and was running at 500 MW. When the wind farms died, the suck on Heywood surged to 850 MW and it turned itself off to prevent catastrophic damage. The rest is history; a cascade of failures.

Had we had 4,800 mega watts of despatchable power, then we wouldn’t have had such a load on the interconnectors and they would easily have had the capacity to absorb the additional load when the wind farms shutdown.

Was the SA generation mix a factor in the blackout? Of course. Are there generation mixes which would have prevented it? Of course; I just gave one.

The great thing about the interconnectors is precisely that they can function to satisfy demand during the loss of capacity. But if that function isn’t available because your interconnectors are already saturated making up for renewables which aren’t currently doing much, then you have a problem.

What enrages me so much about the debate on this issue is that everybody has an opinion about why the blackout occurred without understanding what actually happened. If you don’t know the simple facts of what happened, they how can you imagine you understand why?

I’ve deliberately ignored important things like frequency control and spinning reserves in an effort to keep things simple. But our renewable mix has various other complicated effects on our grid to make it less robust in the face of disturbances.

The short-term answer to our problems is to change the NEM rules which discriminate against despatchable systems. This will allow gas operators to make money and stay running. This will also allow investment in clean despatchable systems, meaning nuclear, that can solve both our reliability and climate problems simultaneously. Remember, the main reason that the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission found that nuclear would be uneconomic in SA is that under the current NEM rules, all despatchable power is uneconomic. When reliability isn’t considered worthy of a price premium then it will vanish, exactly as we have seen.


Debunking Inheritance Tax

An inheritance tax idea was floated by Tim Ayres this week in a speech to the Fabian Society. Tim Ayres is the NSW Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union and a member of the ALP National Executive, which is somewhat of a cause for alarm as he is someone with genuine power to influence the ALP, and yet here he is discussing a marxist dream.

Debunking socialist ideas is a thankless and never-ending job, but every now and then I think it’s worth drilling into one to show how little economic knowledge and common sense these ideas demonstrate. The segment of the speech I’d like to focus on is below:

“I support Thomas Piketty’s proposal to use an inheritance tax to fund a one-off capital grant for every citizen at the age of 25. According to the Community Council of Australia, a 35% estate duty on all estates over $10m would raise at least $3.5bn in government revenue, while affecting only a fraction of the top 1% of Australians. A universal inheritance would give millions of young people a future: they can put it to a house, they can start their own business, they can pay off their university fees.”

Tim has relied on a quote from a Community Council for Australia Federal Budget submission, which is as follows: “ATO figures suggest around 25,000 families have assets above $10 million. If 4% of these families paid 35% in estate duties, it would equate to a minimum of $3.5 billion.”

At first glance, this looks like it makes sense, 4% of 25,000 families x $10,000,000 x 35% rate = $3.5 billion. The problem is it’s nonsensical.

The first difficulty, is the concept of a family or household paying an estate duty or inheritance tax, as this implies a household or family is capable of dying. To clarify, families and households do not die; the people who constitute them do. It’s actually hard to design how a government might tax a household on death, but if I give the statistic the benefit of the doubt I think one way it could work is if the government maintained a register of assets and their values and when a spouse died, they transferred all the wealth to the surviving spouse, so that when that second spouse died that would be the time when any duty could be applied.

Now I can already hear readers who are paying attention noting, that if the first spouse to die simply bequeathed assets to anyone other than their surviving spouse, then these removed assets may never be subject to a household estate tax as they aren’t there when the surviving spouses dies. To which I reply, you’re right! Therefore not only would this government register need to keep track of what assets people own, it would also need to keep track of any gifts given outside the household, so it could apply an imputed estate tax on these external gifts when the surviving spouse dies. (Now you can see just one of the ways socialism tends to create larger and larger government, but I digress).

I have assumed (so that I can press on with the analysis) that the 4% is what makes the revenue figure they specify annual and hence being able to fund the capital grant Tim Ayres is advocating. By that I mean, they expect 4% of rich households to die each year. For the record the ABS notes that the death rate per 1,000 people in 2015 was 9.8, which implies a death percentage of 0.98%. This is obviously lower than 4% but I think it stands to reason that rich households are likely to be older due to the time it takes to accumulate sufficient wealth to be in that demographic, and therefore rich households would have a higher death percentage. The ABS rate does not debunk the use of 4% in the quote, but they have essentially just picked 4% out of the air, as there is no demographic data on rich households from which to obtain a death rate.

The 25,000 families looks like a reasonable number based on the ABS wealth data, so we have one okay aspect! Then we get to the notion of a 35% rate, I note that they have applied it on a flat basis above $10,000,000, which perversely means, if your household dies with $9,999,999.99 wealth, you’re not wealthy enough to pay, but if it dies with one cent more, the tax would be $3.5 million, meaning your intended beneficiaries get $6.5 million. This is why in practice, estate taxes are often charged on the portion of the estate over a specific threshold, rather than “if above a certain value the tax is applied to the whole estate”. Yet another example of why the quote is unrealistic and isn’t of use in determining the revenue amount an estate tax may generate, as in practice the government would not implement it as the quote describes.

Tim has not specified how much the capital grant might be, but if we take the below figures from the ABS and approximate that 350,000 people are 25 in Australia each year, and accept the $3.5 billion each year is the minimum revenue, and we assume that cost of the asset register above and the cost of administering the payment is nil, then the grant can be $10,000 each.

Jun-2013: 340,097
Jun-2014: 345,661
Jun-2015: 356,056
Jun-2016: 355,120

Is $10,000 enough to “give millions of young people a future: they can put it to a house, they can start their own business, they can pay off their university fees”? Arguably the Australian youth receive amounts not unlike $10,000 via the first home owners grant, youth allowance and HECS.

To be fair, as the $3.5 billion figure is based on the assumption all the households being taxed have $10 million exactly, obviously the policy could generate more any given year if the dying households is higher. The government would be in for quite a pay day when the Rinehart household dies.

The cost to ensure compliance would be insane, as people would remove assets from the government’s remit as they approached the $10 million point. The situation is likely to spiral further, as the government attempts to gain data on people at lower and lower points of wealth in order to prevent anyone not being in the system. The government can barely run a Medicare database of willing participants now; it would be hard to fathom them maintaining an up to date database of unwilling participants and ensure all the valuations are appropriate. As all inappropriate valuations would be subject to legal challenges, that of course would require another government legal department to be created.

The worst part of this socialist thought bubble is the idea that this policy could be implemented and that no one affected would change behaviour. Arguably, this is the fundamental issue with Socialism: the theory assumes that you can compel people to not act in their best interests into perpetuity. Trusts, corporate structuring, off-shoring and other methods of avoiding hungry governments are already a major issue; the level of brain-drain and capital flight that would occur with an estate tax set to 35% is impossible to comprehend.

This is a very long-winded post, but it takes a lot longer to debunk an idea then it does to say it, which is why people are still advocating socialist policies and even saying that “socialism has never been tried”.


Are multi-vitamins a WASTE of money? Medical Association president says they just create 'very expensive urine'

Sales figures and research shows that seven in 10 Australians take some form of vitamin supplement each year, but many could be getting ripped off.

Dr Michael Gannon, president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) slammed the promotion of multi-vitamins, saying they were unnecessary for most people.

The medical expert told ABC's Four Corners program that people who regularly take multi-vitamins just have 'very expensive urine'.

Monash University Adjunct Associate Professor Ken Harvey also weighed in on the show, saying that there was 'no benefit' for the average person taking multi-vitamins.

According to the AMA president and Professor Harvey, specific vitamins do have benefits when prescribed by doctors to treat specific deficiencies.

For example, many doctors will recommend folate supplements for pregnant women, Vitamin D for people with low sun exposure, or iron for people who are vegetarian or deficient in the vitamin.

Doctors generally agree that taking specific vitamins for this reason is helpful, but that multi-vitamins are not.

According to consumer website Choice, there are certain groups of people for whom vitamins  are helpful:

Pregnant women: Folate

People with limited sun exposure: Vitamin D

Vegans: Vitamin B12

But for ordinary public, who are spending billions each year on the vitamins, they could be useless.  'What you need is a good diet, you’re pissing the money down the toilet for no benefit,' Professor Harvey told the ABC.

Doctors believe that many people are being led to believe that they need complementary medicines as their diet isn't sufficient, when this isn't actually the case.

This, combined with celebrity endorsements by Olympians and foodies means that Australians are spending more on vitamins and supplements than prescription medicines each year.

But both representatives for the supplementary medicines industry and retail pharmacists have claimed that the products can have a positive impact.

'We're a nation living on tea, toast and takeaways. 90 per cent of us are deficient in our essential diets or vegetables and fruit, so of course a multivitamin plays a role,' an industry spokesperson said.

A retail pharmacist told the program that he was happy to provide complementary medicines, as it was his job to help consumers get what they want. 


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 February, 2017

Mediscare push back

In an absolutely disgraceful episode during the last Federal election, Labour party operatives sent messages to large numbers of people which contained outright lies about the coalition planning to cut back Medicare.  It probably influenced the vote.  The coalition now is trying to criminalize such lies

Labor has berated a push to criminalise falsely representing government entities such as Medicare as "the longest dummy spit in Australian political history".

The Turnbull government is poised to introduce harsh penalties, including jail time, for anyone caught falsely representing a government body - a tactic Labor harnessed in last year's "Mediscare" election campaign.

"Malcolm Turnbull needs to stop fighting the last election. He needs to stop worrying about this sort of campaigning and get on with government the country," Labor frontbencher Mark Dreyfus said on Thursday.

It is understood Attorney-General George Brandis is working on two pieces of legislation - one dealing with ways to authorise non-printed electoral communication such as text messages, and one tackling the false representation of a government body.

Existing laws around impersonating a commonwealth officer carry a penalty of up to five years in jail.

In December, a parliamentary committee found electoral laws should be changed to ensure parties were made responsible for their political statements, the authorisation rules applied to all forms of communication, and those who authorised electoral materials were identifiable and traceable.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described Labor's "Mediscare" as an "extraordinary act of dishonesty" but the federal police declined to take any action after investigating the campaign.


Donald Trump PRAISED Malcolm Turnbull as a 'brawler' after explosive first telephone call with the Australian PM

Donald Trump praised Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as a 'brawler', according to one of the U.S. President's staffers. 

Mr Trump made the comment after the two leaders' infamous first telephone conversation earlier this month, in which the US president reportedly berated Mr Turnbull for pushing a Obama-era refugee deal that would 'kill' him politically.

The February 2 phone call was supposed to last for an hour, but was reportedly cut short to just 25 minutes. 

The recent comments were made by Mr Trump to a staffer, and suggested the president was impressed with Mr Turnbull's conduct during the call.

'There is a brawler there,' Mr Trump reportedly told the senior staff member. 'Not what I expected of him. He is no shrinking poppy (sic).'  The president reportedly added he has 'no issues with the Aussies.'

Mr Trump's comments were reported by the Australian.

The president's phone conversation with the Australian prime minister should have been a formality - but turned into another headache for the new White House administration, after it was reported that the call was contentious and drastically cut short.

During the call, Mr Trump reportedly lashed out at Mr Turnbull over a deal the prime minister struck with former president Barack Obama, which involved the US accepting a group of refugees currently detained under squalid conditions on the islands of Manus and Nauru.

According to a report in the Washington Post, Mr Trump said it was 'the worst deal ever' and would get him 'killed' politically, and added Australia was trying to send the US the 'next Boston bombers.'

Mr Turnbull has disputed this version of events, saying the phone call was 'forthright' and 'very frank.'

The US and Australia have historically strong relations, described by the US State Department as 'a robust relationship underpinned by shared democratic values, common interests, and cultural affinities.'

The two nations have fought side by side in every major military conflict since World War I, the State Department fact sheet points out.


Government to end funding for SA Islamic school

The federal government has axed funding for a controversial Islamic school in South Australia.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham announced today that his department will no longer fund the Islamic College of South Australia in Adelaide from April 13.

Senator Birmingham said the school had failed to comply with financial reporting requirements, including the submission of quarterly reports.

"It is disappointing that after the number of chances this school has been given and the constructive work the Department has been doing with the authority since November 2015 the school has still failed to meet the reasonable standards and expectations placed on them," Senator Birmingham said.

He said the government had not taken the decision lightly but was left with no choice but to withdraw funding.

"The school authority is not meeting the strict conditions placed on them in April 2016, which included obligations around improvements to governance and financial management and regular reporting on progress in making the required changes."
The Commonwealth Government provided $4 million to the school during last year.


Opposition’s 50 per cent renewable energy aim suddenly gets complicated by the political heat

Labor’s renewable energy policy used to be so simple it could be reduced to street-march chants.

“What do we want?” “Fifty per cent renewable energy.” “When do we want it?” “2030.”

But now it has been complicated by the intensification of the political debate over energy security, and Labor has had to lose the simplicity of a “target” with the addition of terms such as “aspirations” and “goals”.

It no longer sounds like a guaranteed destination.

“What do we want?” “An aspirational approach to renewable energy goals.” “When do we want it?” “Some time in the future we hope but first we have to see where we are in 2020.”

Try chanting that. In fact, try defending and defining it in a political debate.

“What we have is, there are two Labor policies: there’s the renewable energy target and there’s the goal of getting to 50 per cent renewable energy,” shadow treasurer Chris Bowen told Sky News yesterday.

“Now 50 per cent renewable energy is underpinned by a range of policy measures.”

Tested on definitions Mr Bowen said: “Well, there’s the renewable energy target and then we have the 50 per cent aspiration which is separate to our renewable energy target.”

Today opposition environment spokesman Mark Butler had a crack at explaining the policy but also seemed to add qualification to qualification.

The aim, from what he told Radio National, seems to be to promote the shift to renewables with the wish and the hope the momentum will produce the goal in 15 years. The hope is that a combination of early backing and the retirement of fossil fuel generators will see Australia coasting to 50 per cent renewable energy use.

Well, that’s the aspiration. There is not dedicated plan to fix a target for 2030.

First task is to reach 23.5 per cent renewables by 2020, as proposed by the Paris Agreement Australian signed last year. By then, the task will have been done, said Mr Butler.

“By the 2020s though, this technology on all the modelling will be able to stand on its own two feet, compete in the market without subsidy from government or without subsidy effectively from consumers through a government legislated scheme, providing that there is a proper policy framework that gives investors a long term price investment signal that is compliant with our carbon pollution reduction efforts,” he said.

That momentum combined with emission reduction targets, Mr Butler said, “will require, in my very clear view, about half of our electricity by 2030 will be zero emissions”.

The political debate, which has been condemned by industry and the ACTU, also had hidden the fact there isn’t much difference between Labor and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull said Monday: “Renewables have a very big place in Australia’s energy mix and it will get bigger. The cost of renewables is coming down.”

The key difference is the Government has yet to offer a “target” as the Prime Minister knows that would require some form of emissions trading, and Coalition colleagues wouldn’t allow that.


More trouble for Gold Coast police

ONE of the police officers accused of snooping at the personal file of a former bikini model has previously been convicted of the bashing of an elderly homeless man in Brisbane.

Former model-turned justice crusader Renee Eaves last month launched a lawsuit with the District Court of Queensland, amid allegations her personal QPRIME file was accessed 1400 times.

Police officers are only allowed to access the files during the course of work and some have faced disciplinary action or even criminal charges for unauthorised access.

In the lawsuit, Ms Eaves names five individual officers, including Constable Benjamin Arndt, who was convicted over the 2006 bashing of Brisbane homeless man Bruce Rowe.

Constable Arndt, who had originally been cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal affairs investigation, was eventually fined $1000 over the assault and lost a subsequent appeal.

Ms Eaves, whose own criminal history contains little more than the odd traffic offence, says she has been forced to move house amid fears hundreds of Queensland police officers had accessed her personal information, including her home address.

She is seeking $400,000 in damages.


Ballarat police officers charged with assault over kicking of drunken colleague

This appears to be the tip of the iceberg at Ballarat.  There have been other accusations of police thuggery there

Two police officers have been charged with assault and stood down from operational duties after a damning IBAC report into an alleged excessive use of force at Ballarat police station.

A drunk off-duty colleague was allegedly stripped, kicked and stomped-on in custody, an Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission report revealed last year.

An IBAC hearing into police conduct in Ballarat has been shown CCTV footage of the abuse of a female police officer arrested for drunkenness.

Footage shows her drinking from the toilet, allegedly after the officers refused to give her water.

When it released its report in November last year IBAC recommended  police consider whether assault charges should be laid in relation to the incident.

A female leading senior constable has been charged with one count of assault and a male senior constable with two counts of assault, Victoria Police said in a statement released on Thursday.

Both officers are from the Western region.

The charges relate to an alleged assault that occurred at Ballarat police station in January 2015. The members have been transferred to non-operational duties, Victoria Police's statement said.

In November, IBAC released a report into allegations of excessive use of force by several people at Ballarat police station.

A serving police officer, Yvonne Berry, was arrested before allegedly being stood on and kicked inside the station's cells.

"IBAC's Operation Ross exposed the concerning casual disregard and at times alarming mistreatment of a vulnerable woman in Ballarat police custody that was captured on CCTV," IBAC Commissioner Stephen O'Bryan QC said when the report was released.

"Importantly, Operation Ross also revealed broader systemic issues and missed opportunities by Victoria Police to address similar patterns of conduct at the station."

Both police officers will appear in Ballarat Magistrates Court on March 6.


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 February, 2017  

Centrelink no longer requires immediate payment from those sent robo-debt letters

Centrelink’s debt recovery system will no longer demand immediate payment from individuals who believe they have wrongly billed, the government has announced.

The change is one of a number of amendments designed to improve the fairness of the controversial system, which were announced by human services minister, Alan Tudge, on Tuesday night.

The system is facing inquiries by both the commonwealth ombudsman and a Senate committee, prompted by repeated complaints that the system is wrongly issuing debts before putting the onus on the recipient to prove their innocence through a complicated, unfair and at times broken system.

A key criticism is that the system forces individuals, often vulnerable and on low incomes, to begin paying the money back even if they are disputing the debt. That would now change, Tudge said.

“This has been a longstanding practice for successive governments, whereby – and not just for this online compliance system, but for all debt which is owed to the government – that as soon as a debt notice is issued you have to enter into a repayment schedule,” Tudge told the ABC.

“I’ve recently made the decision to say that, well, if you ask for a review then you don’t have to enter into a repayment schedule. It’s only after the review is completed and you still owe the debt that you’ll have to enter into that repayment schedule.”

Tudge has previously defended the system as fair and working as intended. He said the government would also attempt to make it easier for individuals to get in contact with Centrelink once they received the initial letter generated by the automated debt recovery system, which notifies them that a discrepancy has been detected between income reported to Centrelink and income reported to the tax office.

People targeted by the debt recovery system have complained of being unable to reach Centrelink through its overloaded phone system to dispute discrepancies within the required 21-day window. That has led to many being landed with inaccurate debts.

Users would reportedly no longer need to use the troubled MyGov portal to confirm their income details with Centrelink, but instead would be able to log on directly to the online service that allows them to check and confirm their income details. Bank statements can also now be used to prove income, reducing the onerous requirement on welfare recipients to retrieve years-old payslips from past employers.

The government estimates 75% of welfare recipients would be able to access bank statements online. A new website upgrade also included “simpler language and better screen flow”, the government said.

It’s the second round of changes the government has announced to the system since problems began to emerge in early December. Last month, Tudge announced the system would take further steps to ensure that initial letters generated by the debt recovery system were being received. He said registered post would be used, as would more current addresses from the electoral roll. That sought to prevent debts being raised automatically against people who had not received Centrelink’s initial letter.

Tudge said he had always said the system would be constantly refined.

“I’ve always said all along that we’ll constantly make refinements to the system so that we can be reasonable to the Centrelink recipients, but also fair and reasonable for the taxpayer who’s paying for it,” he said on Tuesday.

Tudge defended Centrelink’s phone system, which has previously been found to have let a quarter of all calls go unanswered. The minister said he had been calling Centrelink’s phone line personally to check wait times. He said he had never had to wait to get through.

“I have been calling it almost every day myself to check on this, and I have never, ever had to wait,” he said. “Now, I’m not saying that that will be the case for evermore, but it is a very short wait time to be able to get through to somebody for them to give you a bit of reassurance as to what the process is.”


Asylum seekers can come home, Sri Lankan PM says

MALCOLM Turnbull and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have reiterated their joint commitment to combating people smugglers in the Asia-Pacific.

But the Sri Lankan Prime Minister has some frank advice for his citizens in Australia’s offshore detention centres: come home.

Mr Wickremesinghe issued the message while speaking at a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Canberra this morning.

Brushing off concerns about alleged human rights abuses his citizens may have faced in detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru, Mr Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka was “quite safe” now and they could simply come back.

“They left Sri Lanka illegally, they are welcome to return to Sri Lanka and we won’t prosecute them,” he said.
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says asylum seekers will not be prosecuted if they come home. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

“They can come back to Sri Lanka and we will have them but remember they broke the law attempting to come to Australia.”

Mr Wickremesinghe said some of the asylum seekers had left Sri Lanka from areas that had never even seen conflict and that many were not Tamils.

He also made it clear the Asia Pacific region should be strongly opposed to illegal immigration.

“We should not make a mess of ourselves like they’ve gone and done in Europe and the Middle East,” Mr Wickremesinghe told reporters.

Today’s meeting at Parliament House celebrated 70 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and Sri Lanka.
Australia and Sri Lanka have celebrated 70 years of diplomatic relations. Picture Gary Ramage

The two leaders signed a memorandum of understanding to continue Australia’s assistance in supporting Sri Lanka with its development goals and another to deepen co-operation between the two countries in sport, including sharing anti-doping technologies.

“We are looking at investments to further develop Sri Lanka, there is no need for people to be coming here,” Mr Wickremesinghe said.

The Sri Lankan Prime Minister also reiterated his criticisms of the former Abbott Government for not being tough enough on human rights abuses in Sri Lanka under his predecessors when asked.

He said there was no long-term damage to the two countries diplomatic relations but Australia should have put more emphasis on the human rights abuses.


High company tax rate holding Australia back

Australia faces a potential investment crunch with Treasury analysis revealing that foreign ­direct investment has already crashed almost 50 per cent on 2015 levels.

The downward trend is more concerning because it runs against growing global flows; Australia’s share of the $US1.8 trillion ($2.36 trillion) global foreign direct investment pool tumbled from 3.2 per cent in 2011 to 1.3 per cent last year as other countries became relatively more attractive.

Seeking to intensify the ­urgency of the debate over the government’s corporate tax plan to cut rates to 25 per cent, Scott Morrison told The Weekend Australian the analysis showed that Australia was already on a worrying slide down the world investment rankings, partly because of its high company tax.

A senior government source said that while Australia had weathered the worst of the fall since the end of the mining ­investment boom, the concern was that it was failing to pick up its share of the investment recovery since the end of the global financial crisis. Of equal concern was that conditions could further ­deteriorate, with the US, our largest source of investment, headed for a company tax rate of 15 per cent — half Australia’s — which could cause a flight of capital back to the US.

According to the Treasury analysis, foreign direct investment had begun falling even during the mining construction boom — by an estimated 15 per cent from 2006 to 2015 — but the downward trajectory had since steepened despite global ­direct investment flows increasing 25 per cent since the end of the GFC and 38 per cent year-on-year in 2015.

“Between 2011 and 2015 Australia was the 10th largest destination for investment, but has fallen to 18th in 2015,” the Treasurer said.

Mr Morrison made a direct link between the falling level of foreign direct investment and Australia’s company tax rate, which had failed to keep pace with the lower tax environments being pursued by other OECD countries.

He seized on a speech by ­Reserve Bank governor Phillip Lowe on Thursday in which he implicitly rejected Labor’s claim that the budget could not afford corporate tax cuts. Mr Lowe ­argued Australia needed to ­respond to lowering tax rates among competitor nations.

“The independent RBA has made it clear that Australia must have a competitive business tax rate,” Mr Morrison said.

“We need to be internationally competitive to attract investment, to encourage business to set up or expand their operations in Australia, to hire more and to buy more machines and equipment that boost our economy.

“Fifteen years ago we had the ninth lowest business tax rate among advanced economies. Today just five of the 35 OECD ­nations have a business tax rate higher than Australia’s.

“With the largest source of ­investment coming from the US, our tax rates must remain competitive because our attractiveness as a place to invest may be impacted by a reduction in the US corporate tax rate that might reduce outward investment from the US and divert ­investment away from Australia to the US.”

Mr Morrison said that while indirect foreign investment remained healthy, direct investment, such as foreign companies setting up Australian operations or expanding existing ones, was in a worryingly decline.

“The RBA governor makes it clear that our tax system is becoming uncompetitive and that we risk becoming stranded internationally and constrained in our efforts to increase investment in jobs and wages.

“Governor Lowe has sounded an independent warning that Australia is falling further behind our international competitors in being able to attract the critical investment we need to grow Australian jobs and lift wages.”

In 2015, global foreign direct investment flows jumped 38 per cent to an estimated US$1.8 trillion, their highest level since the GFC, but in Australia the same year the flow fell 44 per cent.

Even during Australia’s mining construction boom the flow of foreign direct investment fell 15.4 per cent from $US26.3 billion in 2006 to $US22.3bn in 2015. Mr Morrison cited the International Monetary Fund’s recent claim that foreign investment increased 4.4 per cent for every percentage point cut in the business tax rate.

It suggested a 10 per cent ­increase in foreign direct investment over the period 2010 to 2020 would increase real GDP by 1.2 per cent.

In his speech to the A50 Australian Economic Forum, his first for the year, Mr Lowe said Australia was built on the free flow of capital. “For more than two centuries now, capital from the rest of the world has helped build our country,’’ he said. “If we had had to rely on just our own resources, we would not be enjoying the prosperity that we do today.”

Labor infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese yesterday dismissed Mr Lowe’s assessment that company tax cuts were needed, instead citing the Reserve Bank chief’s calls for more infrastructure investment.

“Given the need to fund education and healthcare, given the need to provide support for the economy, what the government shouldn’t be doing is pursuing the $50bn of cuts, most of which, as a result of the structure of their proposal, will go to the very large corporations,” Mr Albanese said.

“Philip Lowe has repeated the comments that he has made, and that were made by his predecessor Glenn Stevens, that what Australia needs is a significant increase in infrastructure investment. He correctly has identified the fact that borrowing can be made and funds made available at a very cheap rate at the moment because of the record low interest rate environment.”


Scared Melbourne residents want new ‘vigilante’ group

Cops are useless

A MELBOURNE man is starting a vigilante group to “take back our streets” from ethnic street gangs that are terrorising locals.

Hayden Bradford believes police and the justice system are not to doing enough to protect Victorians and has started recruiting potential members for the group.

Some of the recruits are so desperate for action they have already pledged thousands of dollars to finance the group, which Mr Bradford hopes will be patrolling streets soon.

He told the first meeting could take place within days.  “I think it’s getting to that stage people are just sort of saying ‘if we have to take back our streets then fine — we’ll do it our way’.”

Mr Bradford said there was “no doubt” there was some strong right-wing views in the community, but what he was proposing didn’t involve any law-breaking or taking the law into their own hands. “That’s not what we’re about. What we’re saying is put a presence there because the gutless bastards won’t do anything if there’s a presence.”

The ‘people power’ illustrates the dramatic escalation in the tension and fear that exists in some sections of the community in the Victorian capital.  Youth gangs, including notorious Apex, have been unleashing mayhem on city streets for months including bashings, home invasions and carjackings.

Anxiety over the rising crime rate — and perceived disconnect between authorities and citizens — was most evident after six people were killed when a man on bail allegedly mowed them down in Bourke St Mall.

At the weekend dozens of Sudanese youths rampaged through a family festival, punching and kicking people and stealing their belongings.

One mum told The Herald Sun the gang was intimidating.  “They have no fear. There’s a police station right next door, but it doesn’t seem to deter them,” she said. “Once the fireworks started it was like the Running of the Bulls.”

Mr Bradford, whose occupation is investing and writing, said: “It started as the odd home invasion, or carjacking ... But what we are seeing now has gone past that. We have gangs of these people [taking part in] planned attacks. They deliberately target people and want to cause mayhem and hurt people.”

Since he put the call out through social media for a “vigilante group” he had been contacted by dozens of people who either want to take part or finance it.  Mr Bradford said about $10,000 had been promised so far. The money raised would help expenses like petrol volunteers would use.

“A number of people have actually said to me there were already vigilante groups operating in their suburbs. So they are there, despite what the Andrews Government might say.”

Recent promises of boosting the number of police were a long-term fix — but locals were desperate for action now.  “This is why people have these vigilante groups patrolling their areas because there isn’t enough police.”  It was something he never thought could happen in Melbourne. “People are fed up, they realise something has to be done.”

The people who wanted to join his group were a cross-section of society. “They’re from all walks of life and various backgrounds. The thing you have in Melbourne [now] is people are scared and frightened for their security.’

Asked about the nature of what he was proposing, Mr Bradford said they were not encouraging illegal activity.

“Vigilante is an American term where you think of people walking around with shotguns shooting people. Nothing I fund would do anything illegal. Someone suggested there was a peace through presence, just being there could hopefully mean these gutless little sh*ts wouldn’t do anything if they see a couple of blokes sitting in a car. They won't go anywhere near homes because they are gutless.”

He said his group would be “more like Neighbourhood Watch where people go to designated areas”.

It isn’t the first time vigilante-style groups have been suggested in Melbourne. In July last year the Police Association secre­tary Ron Iddles told The Herald Sun he feared frustrated residents could take “matters into their own hands” after a resident patrol group began.

“I don’t call them vigilantes, but concerned residents who patrol and report to the police,” he said.  “Police stations are operating at a reduced capacity and they can’t respond, it’s putting members under stress,” Mr Iddles said.

Also last year, the Soldiers of Odin — an offshoot of a far-right Finnish group — confirmed they hold nightly patrols in the CBD and outer suburbs.  They wear black jackets emblazoned with a Norse war helmet and an Australian flag and appear to operate similarly to the Guardian Angels network, founded in New York City in the late 1970s, to patrol the subway system.

“Today our citizens are at fear when they leave there (sic) home, some don’t even feel safe there,” the group says on its Facebook page.  “We will not look away, we will not turn a blind eye.”

They say they are against racism and Nazism, and don’t support anti-semitism.

But they also say they’re against Islam. Their Facebook page says they are against “the fact it is okay to be” proud to be black, Asian, homosexual or transgender.

Mr Bradford said he’d been told the Melbourne division wanted to meet him, which he was happy to do.  “I’m open to meet with anyone and will be ... The point is we have got to do something.”

His feedback from people was a growing frustration about the “way the law works in Melbourne.

“ ... The police can arrest a gang member for a crime, but the court system releases the punk on bail to reoffend. The state Government of Victoria does nothing except to ask for a report. We’re sick of reports, we want action now.”

He said he had written to the Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville and Premier Daniel Andrews, but no one was prepared to meet with him to discuss his concerns.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman told said private ‘vigilante’ groups were not encouraged. “We do not recommend people confront offenders as this places you at risk of harm. Police have extensive training which equips them with the skills and resources needed to respond to safety issues.”

The spokeswoman said people should ring triple-0 if they were in danger or witnessed a crime. [And be ignored]


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

15 February, 2017

Australia's winter wheat crop looks set to be the largest ever recorded

Looks like the food shortages that Greenies are always predicting will have to be postponed once again.  From Malthus to Hitler to Paul Ehrlich to the New York Times the false prophecies never cease

It’s been a record-breaking winter season for Australian grain producers with the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) sharply revising its production estimates for wheat, barley, canola and chickpeas higher in its latest Australian crop report, released on Tuesday.

ABARES estimates that total Australian winter crop production increased by a mammoth 49% in 2016–17 to 58.9 million tonnes, some 12 higher than the previous estimate offered in December.

“The revision was the result of yields being higher than anticipated and reaching unprecedented levels in most regions,” it said, adding “generally favourable seasonal conditions pushed national winter crop production to a new record high”.

By crop, ABARES said wheat production is estimated to have increased by 45% to a record high of 35.1 million tonnes. Barley production was up even more, jumping by 56% to 13.4 million tonnes, again a record high.

Canola production rose by 41% to 4.1 million tonnes, equalling the record of 2012–13, while chickpea production increased by 40% to 1.4 million tonnes, again a record high.

A record breaking season for Australia;s major crops, and one that bodes well for agricultural output in Australian GDP.

This table shows the estimated production levels for 2016/17, comparing the results to those seen in the previous two years:


Hate speech from the media's favourite Muslim

The term "bogan" is an Australian slang word to describe an uncouth or unsophisticated person regarded as being of low social status

The Project host Waleed Aly has sparked a social media storm after labelling people who work in administration jobs as "bogans".

The 38-year-old and his co-panellists Carrie Bickmore, Peter Helliar and Gretel Killeen were talking about a Perth small business' job ad on Gumtree which asked for "no bogans or rough people" to apply.

"If you're not taking bogans, where are you going to get good admin people?" Waleed asked the panel. "Where are they going to get them from?"

Carrie agreed and said he had a "good point", but members of the studio audience could be heard saying "ooooh" to his remarks.

Peter Helliar responded: "There's maybe a few people in the crowd who aren't happy with that, Waleed."

You could say that again. Twitter erupted with angry viewers who felt he went too far.

"Ummm did Waleed just say that? I work in admin and I am the antithesis of a Bogan. Get off your high horse," tweeted a user named Dom.

"Rude, Waleed @theprojecttv. I've two degrees, including one in Latin and Ancient Greek & all I'm looking for is an admin position. #nobogan," tweeted Donna Taylor.

"Waleed Aly called administrative staff bogans. Yep, you've returned yourself to the town of D---head in one piece," wrote 99.Boris.


Q&A: Jacqui Lambie and Yassmin Abdel-Magied exchange barbs over sharia law

A debate on migration has led to fireworks on tonight's Q&A program, with outspoken independent senator Jacqui Lambie getting into a screaming match with Islamic youth leader Yassmin Abdel-Magied over sharia law.

The face-off occurred after an audience member asked if it was time to define new rules surrounding migration to avoid community conflict, leading Senator Lambie to reaffirm her position that anyone that supports sharia law be deported from Australia.

Ms Abdel-Magied interjected, asking the Tasmanian senator if she knew what sharia law was, before the two fought over its definition and women's rights.

"My frustration is that people talk about Islam without knowing anything about it and they're willing to completely negate any of my rights as a human being," Ms Abdel-Magied said.

"Islam to me is the most feminist religion. We got equal rights well before the Europeans. We don't take our husband's last names because we ain't their property."

Senator Lambie replied forcefully, saying there was only one law for Australians.  "The fact is we have one law in this country and it is the Australian law — not sharia law, not in this country, not in my day," she said to cheers from the audience.

Ms Abdel-Magied retorted, saying Islam taught people to follow the law of the land they are on, before the pair sparred again, forcing host Tony Jones to put an end to the fracas.

The pair also traded barbs when US President Donald Trump's ban on Muslim immigration was brought up, with Senator Lambie saying she supported a similar ban being introduced into Australia.

"This is what the majority want — the majority want to feel safe, be safe. And Donald Trump, if he wants to put that and put those on hold for three months, he has every right to do so," she said.


We want freedom of speech. And we want it now

Pollies and elite media are finally getting the message: when it comes down to the views of ordinary Aussies, freedom of speech matters — and we don’t want to be told what not to say.

Last year saw a tipping point. Bill Leak was attacked for drawing a cartoon intended to highlight indigenous disadvantage. Students at QUT got caught up in a silly computer-lab spat.

And then the Race Discrimination Commissioner appeared to be out and about touting for business by getting people to expand the meaning of racism. Finally, even the PM saw it was becoming a joke.

How did we get into this mess? For years, so-called ‘progressives’ have been telling us that Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is all that stands between us and civil collapse.

Added by the Keating government in 1994, the new section made it an offence to offend, insult, humiliate, or intimidate someone on the basis of race, colour or ethnic background.

It was originally intended to stop acts inciting hatred or contempt, but not relatively minor things such as “a light-hearted racist joke”, the then Attorney-General said in his 1992 Cabinet paper.

But history took a different course. Aided and abetted by the Human Rights Commission, 18C has become our greatest threat to freedom of speech: a weapon used by anyone claiming hurt feelings.

Parliaments pass laws with the best of intentions; but some laws are applied in very different ways to what parliament intended. 18C was never intended to silence students and cartoonists.

Nor was it intended to prevent sensible debate about  social issues such as the plight of indigenous youths in custody, or what drives some disaffected Muslim youths to try to kill police officers.

Politicians kept telling us freedom of speech was a fringe issue. Tony Abbott flunked his chance to reform the law. Malcolm Turnbull tried “jobs and growth” to distract us from reform.

Then late last year, the Prime Minister finally set up a parliamentary inquiry about reforming 18C. It has received several thousand submissions. Not all are to be welcomed.

Australia’s  Grand Mufti, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed, wants to see 18C extended to protect religion —  a bad idea that would create a new blasphemy law. Picture what could happen…

Many submissions call for major 18C reform, some call for repeal. New research commissioned by the Institute of Public Affairs indicates as many as 95 per cent of us rate free speech highly.

Yet 18C is already stifling serious public discussion about pressing social matters. When we want to express opinions about culture or immigration, 18C can be used as a gag to silence debate.

Advocates for reform of 18C are scolded for defending bigotry. But if real hatred or real violence is incited, the criminal law stands ready to intervene and to prosecute.

When I tell American friends that in Australia it is unlawful to offend someone, they look at me with utter disbelief. They say using law to protect how I might ‘feel’ about something is a fool’s errand.

And they are right. Freedom of speech has never been about bigotry and offence: it is about a basic freedom underpinning our democracy — the freedom to speak openly.

We’ve had enough of that freedom being curtailed and patrolled. 18C needs serious reform — now.


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 February, 2017

Deep green climate evangelist resigns from Australia's  Climate Change Authority over coal power

Should we be concerned?  Hardly.  He's about as dedicated a Greenie as they come.  And, as such,  he is a great prophet of doom.  So much so that he shoots himself in the foot at times. He says, for instance, that "the world is on a path to a very unpleasant future and it is too late to stop it".  If it is too late why bother?  Why not just give up his Greenie warbling and kick the cat?

The Turnbull government's recent embrace of coal-fired power shows it has "abandoned all pretense of taking global warming seriously", Climate Change Authority member Clive Hamilton said, explaining why he resigned from the agency.

Professor Hamilton, who teaches public ethics at Charles Sturt University, sent his resignation letter to Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg on Friday, saying it was "perverse" that the government would be boosting coal when 2016 marked the hottest year on record.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull used his National Press Club speech last week to call for support for so-called "clean coal-fired power plants" to provide "reliable baseload power" while meeting Australia's carbon emissions goals.

Professor Hamilton said the comments were "completely irresponsible and perhaps the sharpest indicator yet just how completely Malcolm Turnbull has capitulated to the hard right of the Liberal Party".

"If the new coal-fired power plants were built, it would make the government's already weak 2030 [carbon] reduction target unattainable," he said in his letter.

"Deeper cuts in the subsequent decades, essential to limit the worst impacts of warming, would be off the table.

"Professor Hamilton told Fairfax Media the authority "no longer has any role in the development of climate change policy in Australia".

Mr Frydenberg said the government was "unapologetic that our priority as we transition to a lower emissions future is energy security and affordability".

"We are smashing our 2020 target by 224 million tonnes and we have an ambitious 26 to 28 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030 on 2005, which on a per capita basis is one of the highest in the G20," he said.

The Senate blocked repeated efforts by Abbott government to scrap the authority. In October 2015, then environment minister Greg Hunt appointed five new members including Wendy Craik as chairwoman in a move the Greens said amounted to a stacking of Coalition-leaning appointees.

"In its first years, the authority did great work," Professor Hamilton said, including recommending Australia should aim to cut 2000-level emissions by 40-60 per cent by 2030.

The current government target is for a cut of as much as 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, which amounts to about 20 per cent below 2000 levels.

The authority, though, "has become a shadow of its former self", particularly since the departure of former Reserve Bank governor Bernie Fraser as its chairman, Professor Hamilton said.

Last September, Professor Hamilton and fellow authority member David Karoly, issued a dissenting report, accusing the authority of failing to give the government independent advice.

The two claimed its Special Review of Australia's climate goals and policies was based on "reading from a political crystal ball" rather than meeting its own terms of reference.


African Melbourne

The outrage below is common African behaviour, well-known in both the UK and the USA.  In Britain its is called "steaming".  Why were they allowed into Australia?

A teenage boy was injured after dozens of Sudanese youths went on a stampede through a family festival in suburban Melbourne and stole mobile phones.

Video footage captured the moment up to 70 African youths, some as young as 10, ruined Summersault 2017 on Saturday night as the fireworks started at 10pm.

Jack McLaughlin, 16, a student at Lake View Senior College, was 'jumped on' as his mobile phone was stolen outside Caroline Springs police station, in Melbourne's northwest.

His mother Debbie Tesoriero said her son needed brain scans, after having no recollection of the stampede at the recreation reserve, but was able to go home on Sunday evening.

'We are on our way home, his tests were all clear,' she told Daily Mail Australia. 'We are so relieved right now.'

'Our understanding is that he was knocked out,' she told 7News from her son's hospital room earlier on Sunday. 'He didn't know where he was, didn't know what day it was.

'The police were there, they called an ambulances and the ambos said we should definitely take him to the hospital and check him out.'

Jack said he just wants his mobile phone back.

'We're very lucky, very fortunate it wasn't worse. As a parent this is terrifying,' she previously told the Herald Sun.

'Some of these kids are as young as ten years old, there were hundreds there … but not one parent. To me that is shocking.'

A witness, who didn't wish to be identified to protect her safety, said the youths stole mobile phones from people filming Melton City Council's fireworks display.

'They were only Sudanese, there were no other cultures in the pack,' the mother of two told the Herald Sun. 'It was intimidating, they have no fear.' The woman claimed a police station nearby did nothing to deter them.

Victoria Police confirmed an investigation was underway into a large youth of groups who ran through a crowd during a fireworks display, snatching smart phones from people who were filing the event.

'Six people have reported their mobile phone being stolen and two reports of assault has been made to police,' spokeswoman Leonie Johnson said.

Residents of Caroline Springs has slammed police for not deploying more officers to patrol the event. Only six officers were patrolling the event, which thousands attended, the Herald Sun said.

A boy named Tom said his friend was kicked in the head, but authorities did nothing.  ‘There was hardly any police there and security just sat there and did nothing,’ said 16-year-old said.

Seventeen-year-old Shannon needed six stitches after suffering a gash on his chin when he was ‘hit out of nowhere.’

But Melton City Council’s acting chief Maurie Heaney told the Herald Sun that police and security had been on site until ‘large crowd numbers vacated’ the festival site.


‘Round them up and get them out’: Pauline Hanson calls for deportation of African gang members

PAULINE Hanson has called for African gang members to be deported following the latest incident of violence in Melbourne at the weekend.

A gang of up to 40 youths of African appearance stormed the family-friendly festival Summersault, in Melbourne’s west on Saturday night, kicking and punching some festival goers and stealing wallets, bags and phones.

It is the latest in a string of gang crime allegedly committed by African youths in Melbourne and Ms Hanson said she had a simple solution to curb it.

“I’ve got the best solution to this. Round them up and get them out!” the One Nation leader posted, attracting more than 300 comments largely supporting her view.

The Queensland senator’s radical views are attracting plenty of support across the country, with weekend polling showing her party may win up to 20 seats in the Queensland parliament at this year’s election.

In Western Australia, her party has also struck a preference deal with the Liberal Party, which will preference One Nation above the Nationals in the upper house.

The cessation of African migration has long been a key policy of Ms Hanson’s, however a spokesman confirmed she did was not calling for the deportation of “law abiding immigrants of any ethnicity” but those who commit crimes.

Back in 2009, she described refugees as “incompatible with our way of life and culture”. “They get around in gangs and there is escalating crime that is happening,” she said.

“If we want to do things for the Sudanese people, then let us send medical supplies, food, whatever they need over there — but let them stay in their own country.”

While her deportation stance unsurprisingly attracted the support of her followers, African leaders say parents in their communities are continually seeking help to control their children.

Late last year, ABC’s 7.30 program reported that some African parents had resorted to sending their children to boarding school in Uganda and Kenya to prevent them becoming involved in violent crime in Australia.

“There are a lot of African children now in jail. There are a lot of children now in the street, they drink, they do whatever,” South Sudanese woman Akec Mading told the program, after sending her son and daughter to Africa to school.


Adani coalmine project frozen by shock land rights ruling

Adani’s $16 billion coal project in central Queensland has ground to a halt after the freezing of a critical land-use agreement with traditional owners that was to pave the way for construction of the massive mine.

Cancellation of yesterday’s scheduled registration of the deal by the National Native Title Tribunal is the first consequence of a shock Federal Court decision last week that has invalid­ated native title deals across Australia.

More than 120 indigenous land use agreements have ­already been identified by the ­tribunal as under threat in an ongoing audit of the ramifications of the precedent-setting ruling over a native title deal in Western Australia.

Indigenous groups, the mining industry and the Queensland government this week demanded that federal Attorney-General George Brandis introduce amendments to the Native Title Act in response to the ruling.

The “McGlade’’ decision applies to agreements with indigenous groups which have made a native title application — and enjoy full legal rights over their land — but are still waiting for a Federal Court determination.

Under the decision, any agreement without the signed approval of every designated claimant in the clan’s native title claim is invalid, despite the many years that majority decisions were accepted.

Adani’s controversial Carmichael project — set to be Australia’s largest ever coalmine — is among at least 40 proposed or ­operating resource projects in Queensland alone that are hit by the decision.

The tribunal was yesterday set to formally register a lucrative land-use agreement between Adani and the Wangan and Jagalingou people that had taken years to negotiate.

Registration is required for the agreement to have legal effect, ­following an independent vetting, to allow Adani to mine on ­traditional land in exchange for jobs, training and business support for the indigenous clan.

Traditional owner Irene Simpson said the Turnbull government needed to take urgent legislative action to “fix the mess’’ and get the project moving after years of legal challenges, mostly by environmentalists.

Although the 12 formal native title applicants were split 7-5 over supporting Adani a formal “authorisation meeting’’ last year of clan members voted 294-1 to ­endorse the agreement.

“We followed the letter of the law in ensuring that this agreement was properly and legally supported by the mob,’’ Ms Simpson said.

“The deal we struck with Adani would allow the mine to go ahead, which is good for Australia, the region and our people.

“It stood to benefit our people for the next 60 years with jobs and small business.

“The government has to do something, or it will be lost.’’

In the past two years, The Weekend Australian has revealed evidence that a foreign-funded group of Australian environmentalists offered financial support to members of the Wangan and ­Jagalingou people — including native title applicants — to oppose the Adani mine.

A spokesman for Senator Brandis this week said the federal government was considering amendments to the Native Title Act in response to the ruling.

Until the McGlade decision — which related to a $1.3 billion deal struck between the Noongar clan and the West Australian government — the 2010 “Bygrave’’ ­decision in the Federal Court made clear a majority of applicants was sufficient for a legally binding indigenous land-use agreement.

The tribunal yesterday confirmed there was a freeze on registering land use agreements and that an audit of agreements affected by the decision was under way.

“To date, the audit has identified a possible 123 area ILUAs that relied on QGC v Bygrave (2010),’’ the tribunal said in a statement.

“The majority of these ILUAs are in Queensland.

“The McGlade decision raises a number of complex legal and procedural issues which the Acting Native Title Registrar (Robert Powrie) is currently examining.

“In the meantime, the Acting Native Title Registrar has declared a moratorium on the registration of all area ILUAs currently in the registration/notification stage that may be affected.’’

Adani yesterday declined to comment, but earlier in the week the Indian company issued a statement saying it was considering the decision.

“It is important that these laws operate to meet the aspirations of the majority of native title holders and can’t be used by minority ­elements to simply disrupt projects,’’ the company added in its ­statement.


Hanson not a one-issue wonder: Turnbull

Malcolm Turnbull has defended working with One Nation, saying it's not a single issue or personality-based party.

The Liberal Party is facing questions over its West Australian division preferencing Pauline Hanson's party ahead of the Nationals, and the possibility of other states and the federal division doing the same.

In 2001, then prime minister John Howard insisted One Nation be preferenced last on Liberal how-to-vote cards in the wake of suggestions of racism.

However, Mr Turnbull told reporters on Monday the minor party - which has three seats in the Senate and is set to have four after a court-ordered recount in WA - deserved respect.

"It is a substantial crossbench party in the Senate and it is taking a policy position on a wide range of issues," he said.

"It is not a single issue party or a single personality party. We deal with it constructively and respectfully because we respect the fact that each of those One Nation senators has been democratically elected."

It was a far cry from May last year, when on the election campaign trail Mr Turnbull said Pauline Hanson was "not a welcome presence on the Australian political scene".

The Queensland Liberal-National Party is considering a deal with One Nation in the wake of a poll showing the minor party could win up to 23 per cent of the primary vote on the back of votes from traditional Liberal and Labor voters.

"That's a fair swag of voters ... we can't be dismissive of that," Queensland-based federal minister Steven Ciobo told ABC radio on Monday

That didn't mean the coalition should embrace or "cuddle up" to One Nation policies, just as Labor would argue it didn't adopt all the "kooky" polices of the Greens when it preferenced the minor party.

"What we've got to do is make decisions that put us in the best possible position to govern, ideally obviously with the support of the vast majority of people in Queensland," Mr Ciobo said.

Mr Turnbull said preference decisions were up to individual state Liberal divisions.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott said he would never support preferencing One Nation above the federal coalition partner, the Nationals.

"I'd certainly be putting One Nation ahead of Labor and I'd be putting the National Party ahead of everyone," he told 2GB radio.

Victorian Liberal president Michael Kroger said the relationship between the Liberals and Nationals in WA was not as "watertight" as it was in other states.

He didn't believe the Nationals would be put below One Nation beyond WA.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said Labor should be under fire for preferencing the Greens, as the minor party represented a "clear and present danger" to Australia's security and prosperity.

Mr Morrison said his focus was on delivering "good government" which would inevitably attract voters' first preference.

Senator Hanson said her party wanted to work with others in the federal parliament. "We can actually negotiate on issues, we are not extremist," she said.

Labor has vowed not to preference One Nation, which among other things advocates a ban on Muslim immigration.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said the government was ignoring the potential impact on tourists from overseas in its sidling up to One Nation.

"Back when Pauline Hanson and One Nation rose to prominence on the previous occasion, the coalition government had to engage in a full court press in our region ... as a direct result of people hearing the message that Australia wasn't a welcoming country," Mr Albanese told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

It was wrong to describe One Nation as "sophisticated" when it advocated a ban on Muslim immigration, denied climate change and advocated higher trade barriers. "It's about time Malcolm Turnbull called this out," Mr Albanese said.


Australian conservative politicians cowed by political correctness too

Jeremy Sammut

The irony of Cory Bernardi's defection from the Liberal Party should be acknowledged.

The political shocks of 2016 have rocked the political establishment in Western democracies. Trump, Brexit, and the revival of One Nation have exposed the divide between significant numbers of ordinary voters, and the political class across all parties who subscribe to the prevailing left-progressive consensus on many social, cultural, and economic issues.

One would think a mainstream political party would be keen to keep conservatives -- who are clearly in tune with the current mood of  public opinion -- 'inside the tent' in the interests of electoral self-preservation.

However, the reality is that while conservative ideas and traditional values appear to be on the right side of history, they are not culturally ascendent.

The commanding heights of the culture -- especially in the media -- remain firmly controlled by elites who endorse so-called 'progressive' ideas and values.

Hence the vast majority of politicians are risk-averse; they toe the politically correct line to avoid negative and embarrassing coverage for expressing 'controversial' or 'knuckle-dragging' views.

Giving in to political correctness is thus perceived to be a political 'win' ... (see, for example, the renewed push by some MPs to have parliament pass gay marriage to "get the question off the agenda"). This strategy helps maintain politician's elite status among their peers in the political class, but is achieved at the expense of faithfully representing the attitudes and interests of voters.

These political calculations are now producing diminishing electoral returns, given that increasing numbers of disenchanted citizens are voting for minor parties to express their dissent from the establishment consensus.

Bernardi's decision to create his own political party indicates that he believes the anti-establishment trend will continue. If so, the hard numerical realities of politics will ultimately force the political class to reconsider its risk-averse, 'surrender whilst declaring victory' approach to contentious issues.

In order reconnect with voters, political elites will have to stop bowing to political correctness and start fighting the culture war instead.


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 February, 2017

GoDaddy stopped

I really hate it when a large organization gives you a phone no. only to contact them.  It often means waiting on "hold" for half an hour or more before you get through.  Why not supply an email address?  Beats me! But it is very common.

GoDaddy tried that caper with me but my patience soon ran out.  So I sent them a nicely printed letter by snail mail.  I sent it to their Texas HQ as they had carefully hidden their Australian geographical address.

The letter was never answered.  Here it is:

I am one of your Australian customers -- 121058135.  I am writing to you in Texas because I can find no other address for you and I have long given up waiting on the line to your phone helpline.

I have received an email from you informing me that you intend to debit my account $131 for one year of internet access.  I forbid you to do that.  I did not sign up for that. 

When I signed up, I made a single payment covering both a domain name and internet access.  So when I received a bill for $42 a few weeks ago, I assumed that I was again making a single comprehensive payment.  That was not so apparently.  I now gather that the bill was only for domain name support.  The amount seemed passable at the time so I paid it.

I believe that you should accept that payment to cover internet access as well.  You will get no other money from me.

I am dissatisfied with your deceptive marketing tactics and am thinking of writing to the Australian regulators about them

But thanks to the ANZ bank, I got my money back. I told them it was an unauthorized debit and they clawed the money back off GoDaddy. FU GoDaddy!

Secret shame of domestic and family violence among LGBTI community

The report below is from Australia but there have been similar reports from the UK and the USA

ONCE Russ Vickery came out as gay at the age of 42, it didn't take long for him to meet an "absolute charmer" and fall into his first same-sex relationship.

Looking back Mr Vickery realises he met his partner at a time when he was not quite on top of this game, coming out of a 17-year marriage and dealing with custody issues.

"Looking back ... it was very typical of a DV type of situation," he told "This knight in shining armour comes in and makes life look fantastic.  "None of the real violence started probably until six months in."

Domestic violence within same-sex relationships is not often talked about, among Australians generally or within the gay community.

Like many others in the LGBTI community Vickery had no idea domestic violence happened at the same rate in same-sex relationships as in heterosexual relationships. "It's not something within the community that's actually talked about a lot," he said.

Mr Vickery said his partner took advantage of his newness to the gay scene, telling him "arguments happen" and the behaviour was typical of two blokes living together. "I had nothing to gauge that on," Mr Vickery said, adding deep down he felt something was wrong but wasn't sure.

"I had three kids ... and he would say things like `you're really lucky to have me, if I wasn't around nobody would be interested in you'.

"Looking back at it, you realise how silly you are but because it's your everyday life, you just don't know any different."

He said the first sign of trouble happened the night of his ex-partner's birthday. "He told me that he had never had a birthday cake or any form of celebration so of course I go out, get him a cake, take him to a silver service restaurant for dinner."

Afterwards Mr Vickery said his partner wanted to go and have some drinks with his mates at the local pub but because he had to work the next morning, Mr Vickery decided to go home early.

In the middle of the night Mr Vickery was woken up in a fright after his partner came home drunk and dived on to the bed. "I told him to p*** off because he scared me, but he started ranting and raving," he said.

When Mr Vickery tried to calm him down, his partner lashed out.  "He smashed me in the face, he broke my nose," he said.

Amid his shock, he remembers trying not to let his blood drip all over the white carpet while he made his way to the bathroom.

"My nose was across my face ... I didn't have the courage to try and straighten it and he was at the door saying `I'll fix it' and `sorry', that it would never happen again.

"I couldn't go to work, I had two black eyes and a broken nose, that was the beginning of it. There were many others."

Mr Vickery was in the relationship for five years and endured many other violent incidents including the time his drunk partner grabbed a knife and held it at his throat for an hour.

The 58-year-old said he finally decided to leave the abusive relationship after one particularly shocking incident when his partner threw him down the stairs in front of his children.

"I broke bones and was in hospital for two operations and that really was the culmination of the relationship," he said.

Even after it was over, Mr Vickery said he was self-harming and one night he almost committed suicide, sitting down with a bottle of valium and vodka. "You start doing the work for them," he said. "The only thing that stopped me was I looked up and saw a photo of my kids."

Mr Vickery said he didn't want his children find him that way in a couple of days time. "That was the bottom of the barrel but there's only one direction to go from there and that's up."

Mr Vickery managed to deal with his past and has now developed a cabaret show The Other Closet with new partner Matthew Parsons, exploring the issue of domestic violence within gay relationships.

Mr Parsons, who has also experienced domestic violence and is a research officer specialising in LGBTI domestic and family violence at La Trobe University, said studies had shown same-sex couples experienced violence at similar rates to heterosexual couples.

But there are specific myths that get in the way of people recognising abuse within the gay community. "When things do come to light, it turns out (the abuse) was disclosed to multiple doctors, teachers and others," Mr Parsons told

In one case, Mr Parsons said the children had told many people they were being locked in a closet while their mother was being abused, and the woman had also told a number of professionals, but because she was in a lesbian relationship, no action was taken.

"There is this pervasive myth that when it's two women it's not that bad," Mr Parsons said. "When it's between two men, there's this pervasive myth that a real man would stand up for himself, and surely both men would be abusive towards each other.

"When it comes to trans relationships, there's lower expectations about what trans people should expect from life, that if they are in a relationship at all, they should feel lucky because who would love someone like that? There's a lot of disgusting (views)."

There is also a reluctance on the part of LGBTI people to reveal what is happening to them. "There's this idea that we've spent so long as a community getting people to see our relationships as valid and legitimate and that we're not mentally ill people," Mr Parsons said. "To say that our relationships are sometimes toxic, just like yours (is difficult)."

It can also be harder for those in same-sex couples to leave relationships as they may not be able to rely on support from family members who disapprove of their lifestyle.

Many in the community are also reluctant to talk about domestic or family violence while the same-sex marriage debate is in full swing. Mr Parsons had even seen publicity for The Other Closet used on promotional material to support the arguments of those against marriage equality.

"They see it as proof of why we shouldn't be able to get married, but (domestic violence) happens in much greater numbers among the heterosexual community and they're not questioning why they get married," he said.

Mr Parsons said addressing violence was difficult when homophobia seemed to be ingrained in the community and stopped things such as same-sex marriage being accepted.

When it comes to family violence, Mr Parsons said young people's reports of being assaulted by family members were sometimes ignored because it was accepted that parents were entitled to have traditional views.

While it's not yet clear how prevalent this type of family violence is, Dr Philomena Horsley of La Trobe University said LGBTI people could be at greater risk of assault from family members due to entrenched homophobia.

"Anecdotally, many people in the community, of different ages, have reported that coming out to family is a potential trigger for family-related violence," she said.

Victorian research suggests that young LGBTI are more likely to be homeless than other young people. "This finding suggests a greater proportion of young LGBTI people face violence at home and have to leave, or are rejected and need to leave, or are kicked out when they disclose."

Helping LGBTI people to recognise and reject domestic and family violence is one thing Mr Parsons and Mr Vickery hope to encourage through their show The Other Closet.  "I'm prepared to expose myself on the stage so that other people can recognise those feelings" Mr Vickery said.

Interestingly, when the show was staged in Sydney, heterosexual women made up half the audience. "After we did the show, we know of six people who left relationships, those are the ones we know about."

Mr Vickery said nowadays people did have more access to services and were more confident about seeking them out, but there still weren't many specific services for LGBTI people.

"It's getting better but needs to get a whole lot better," he said.


Forget the fads and flapdoodle

Julie Mavlian

Teachers need to understand best practice and reading research so they are not influenced by ineffective methods, expensive educational fads, and meaningless jargon like 'neuroplasticity'. The Australian Education Union appears to be under such influence.

The AEU Victoria is hosting and promoting an event with Barbara Arrowsmith, the 'Woman Who Changed her Brain' -- and, some say, her bank balance. The Arrowsmith program claims to address specific learning difficulties through strenuous written, visual, auditory, computer and cognitive exercises, or brain training. Unfortunately research has shown that brain training skills do not generalise to other situations, even if they are similar.

Alarmingly the Arrowsmith program has been around for over three decades, and has no published, independent empirical data to support its effectiveness.

Public and private schools alike have been seduced by its claims, and are using their education funding to buy an Arrowsmith license, and then charge parents thousands in additional fees for their children to participate.

Billions of dollars in increased funding over 10 years has seen little improvement in Australia's literacy performance, yet still unions demand more money for schools. If unions, schools, and teachers can be taken in by expensive programs that lack evidence to support its claims, it's no wonder we are not getting bang for our educational buck.

However, we can dramatically improve Australia's literacy performance if we utilise the years of scientific reading research that has consistently found systematic phonics instruction is highly effective in helping to prevent reading difficulties amongst at-risk learners, and in helping to remediate reading difficulties in disabled readers.

Phonics is a vital key to early literacy instruction and must be explicitly taught alongside phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.  Unlike the Arrowsmith program, the proposed phonics check is based on sound research on reading, it has been tested for validity and reliability, is quick to administer and cost effective.

Teachers have an essential role in identifying students who may struggle with reading and offer appropriate intervention early when it is most effective. Preventing reading failure saves money, saves teachers time and energy but most importantly saves students from potentially devastating lifelong effects of illiteracy.

Immediately after Federal Education Minister announced the members of an expert advisory panel to help drive the government's educational reforms -- including the phonics check -- the AEU criticised the check by essentially saying "schools need more money, not a test".

Before the Federal Government commits funds, they need to know that it is going to be invested wisely in resources that will produce much needed results, and not on, what Professor Pam Snow refers to as educational 'neuroflapdoodle'.


West Australian Leftists back down on "renewable" energy target

The power outages in "green" South Australia are giving them jitters. Any hint of going down the South Australian path would paint a target on their backs

WA LABOR is attempting to climb down from a 50 per cent renewable energy target committed to in October, which Liberal ministers have swarmed upon as evidence of its economic vandalism.

Recordings have emerged of Labor energy spokesman Bill Johnston telling the National Environmental Law Association State conference in October the party had a clear target for the proportion of energy it intended to derive from renewable sources.

“The Labor Party’s target is at least 50 per cent by 2030,” Mr Johnston told the conference during a Q and A session.

“We don’t believe that that is going to push up prices because we believe it will be done on a competitive basis and, as I say, I think setting a target leads to policy action and I think there are a lot of policy actions that are required.”

The emergence of the tape comes as renewable energy leader South Australia, grappling with a heatwave, is hit by more widespread power outages in the latest of a series of rolling blackouts.

The State endured a complete blackout in October which prompted furious national debate over its near-met target of 50 per cent renewables and its ramifications for secure energy supplies and household electricity prices.

WA Labor released a statement on Thursday quoting Mr Johston saying it “will not introduce a State-based renewable energy target”

“We aspire to have more renewable energy,” the statement said.  “After the election, we will sit down with industry and the community to see what is achievable and affordable.”

The statement said WA Labor would “co-invest to develop a diverse economy and new jobs” in coal mining town Collie and other regional communities.

Energy Minister Mike Nahan said Labor was clearly “ideologically driven” towards the 50 per cent RET by 2030, which would devastate WA’s economy.

“In WA we are an energy-intensive State, we process minerals, we have hot weather, we have air conditioning and we live in a modern society where we rely on energy for almost everything we do,” he said.

Dr Nahan said the Liberals had overseen uptake of about 13 per cent renewables driven mainly by solar power, and was committed to a COAG target of 23.5 per cent by 2020. “But at the same time going forward we will commit to our coal industry, and large gas,” he said.

Dr Nahan said wind was unreliable as an energy source because it often dropped during hot weather, when electricity consumption was highest.

Malcolm Turnbull yesterday lumped in WA Labor’s plan for a 50 per cent renewable energy target with his broader warnings about the threat to electricity prices and reliability of supplies posed by reliance on wind and solar power.

He pointed to Wednesday night’s black out in South Australia as the product of favouring ideology ahead of efficient and objective management of energy.

“Labor is drunk on Left ideology on energy and they are putting Australians’ livelihoods, their businesses and their households at risk,” the Prime Minister said.

Social Services Minister and former WA treasurer Christian Porter told 6PR WA Labor’s plans would be “a disaster for WA business and households”.

“It will have the only and inevitable outcome of ratcheting up household electricity prices and making business very difficult to run in WA,” he said.

“A 50 per cent RET from State Labor is a political millstone that will sit round their neck this campaign. I’m astonished they would even contemplate going there.”


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 February, 2017  

Perth has second-wettest day ever

One recollects prominent Australian Warmist Tim Flannery predicting that Perth would become a ghost town because its rains will dry up.  He hasn't got a clue about climate.  He is a palaeontologist who knows a lot about ancient kangaroos but not much else.  He's just another Green/Left false prophet

Perth has come close to having its wettest-ever day as heavy rain in WA's southwest caused flash flooding and left more than 9000 properties without power.

Perth had more than 114mm of rain in the 24 hours to Friday morning, which is slightly shy of the record 120.6mm that fell on February 9, 1992.

The unseasonal weather also resulted in the city reaching only 17.4C on Thursday, making it Perth's coldest February day ever.

A Western Power spokesman there 2900 homes were still without electricity on Friday morning.

Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Catherine Schelfhout said there would be risks of flooding in the upper Swan River in coming days.


SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis ignored warnings about "green" power

The Weatherill government was warned eight months ago about the conditions that led to this week’s South Australian blackouts. A confidential internal briefing paper said forecast low reserves of electricity generation were likely to lead to such power cuts.

The report notes there are “low reserve conditions in South Australia for summer 2016-17”, with a corresponding graph showing peak power generation reserve shortfalls between January 30 and February 14.

The report warned that given the closure of South Australia’s last coal-fired power station last May, “there are times when maximum daily ­demand is projected to exceed supply from scheduled generation in South Australia”.

“At these times, the region will rely on imports (via interconnection) and wind generation to meet operational demand,” the report by state Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis’s Department of State Development says.

“Under lower wind conditions, there would be supply shortfalls in the state if additional imports from Victoria were not available. The level of imports will be subject to the availability and capacity of the interconnector, and the coincidence of high demand in Victoria.”

The report from last June, ­obtained under freedom of information laws, notes that in South Australia between 2004-05 and 2014-15 there had been an average annual growth in wind power of 44.1 per cent, while rooftop solar had grown an annual average of 89.2 per cent between 2008-09 and 2014-15.

“Wind and rooftop PV actual generation capabilities are highly dependent on weather conditions at any given time,” the report says.

The Treasurer yesterday said he was unaware of any such warnings, though the ­report was ­released by his ­department. “I haven’t seen the forecasts,” he said.

Up to 90,000 properties in Adelaide and across regional parts of the state lost power in sweltering heat on Wednesday when the Australian Energy Market Operator ordered electricity distribution company SA Power Networks to reduce demand by 100 megawatts.

AEMO manager David Swift told a Senate inquiry in Canberra yesterday that demand for power in South Australia had risen from 1800Mw on Tuesday to more than 3000Mw on Wednesday as temperatures soared. At the same time, three thermal generation plants went offline, wind generation fell dramatically and solar power started to wane.

State opposition energy spokesman Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the Weatherill government had ignored repeated warnings of potential blackouts.

“The government’s own ­department warned that they were heading towards crashing into a brick wall, but it wasn’t until they hit the brick wall that they ­decided to take drastic action,’’ he said.

But Mr Koutsantonis yesterday dismissed concerns about supply, saying South Australia had nearly 3000Mw of thermal generation and “abundant renewable energy in solar and wind”.

Mr Koutsantonis yesterday claimed representatives from Adelaide’s Pelican Point gas-fired power station had phoned AEMO officials on Wednesday to offer extra generation but that AEMO had refused because it was more efficient to load shed. But Pelican Point operator Engie denied it had ­offered a second generator to the market on Wednesday.

The AEMO last night said that based on its investigations it “does not accept public statements being made questioning AEMO’s capability or that we didn’t manage the power system in a safe, secure state”. “Further, AEMO does not accept the assertions that some generators that were available to enter into the market could not do so,” it said.

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg last night said: “AEMO has now exposed Labor’s desperate and shameless attempt to shift blame for their own policy failures.

“It’s been their ideological pursuit of renewables at any cost which has contributed to the instability of the energy system.’’


Australian Energy Market Operator won’t take responsibility for SA blackouts

THE besieged national power grid operator has firmly rejected accusations it did not allow Pelican Point to generate extra electricity to avert power cuts to 90,000 homes and businesses.

In a statement issued Friday night, the Australian Energy Market Operator said Wednesday’s emergency load shedding was a last resort following a combination of factors near the evening power peak.

“Based on where our investigations are at, AEMO does not accept public statements being made questioning AEMO’s capability or that we didn’t manage the power system in a safe, secure state,” the statement says. “Further, AEMO does not accept the assertions that some generators that were available to enter into the market could do so.”

Federal Labor energy spokesman Mark Butler and state Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis have accused the market operator of choosing not to turn on a second generator at Pelican Point on Wednesday afternoon, saying this would have stopped the blackouts.


Bill Shorten: high-flying fake or workers’ champion?

Bill Shorten first became a household name in 2006, surfing a wave of favourable publicity when the news broke that two men had survived the dreadful Beaconsfield mine disaster.

It was a brief burst of fame, still more than a year before Shorten resigned as head of the Australian Workers Union to enter parliament and have a shot at realising his dream of becoming prime minister one day.

Beaconsfield nonetheless remains the classic example of what Malcolm Turnbull was talking about this week in targeting Shorten as a “hypocrite” for his cosy links to Melbourne billionaires.

Dick Pratt, the super-wealthy cardboard industry king, was Shorten’s enabler on that occas­ion. It was a Sunday night and all hope of finding survivors of the mine collapse was lost. Shorten was stranded at home in Melbourn­e when the stunning news came through — he’d just returned­ from the mine site and there were no domestic flights back to Tasmania until the next day.

Shorten’s first thought? Natur­ally, call Pratt and ask to borrow his private jet parked at Essendon airport. In quick time, Shorten was back in Beaconsfield.

With the mine’s management falling silent, he happily filled the void for an inform­ation-starved national media. From start to finish­, he relayed details of the rescue operation and the con­dition of the men trapped beneath the earth.

It was a mark of Shorten’s closeness to one of Australia’s richest men that just a phone call to Pratt could secure his private jet free of charge. But that was far from the first, or last, time that Shorten would fly Air Pratt.

He and his then wife, Deborah Beale, flew to the US on board Pratt’s jet for family holidays at the packaging magnate’s New York apartment. One of Shorten’s more exotic adventures aboard Air Pratt was a trip to Cuba.

Defenders from Shorten’s circle­ claim that Turnbull’s brutal spray in parliament this week — unusual in its intensity, especially after the Liberal PM declined to lay a glove on him during last year’s election campaign — was a cheap tit-for-tat. The multi-million­aire PM’s patience was wearing thin at Shorten’s jibe, borrowed ironically from Tony ­Abbott’s former chief of staff Peta Credlin, that Turnbull was “Mr Harbourside Mansion”.

Privately, Shorten has always been keen to say the Pratt connect­ion was because of Beale. He is right, to an extent. Those close to Shorten say he conveyed the impressio­n, indeed encouraged the idea, that Pratt was Beale’s godfather. The late Pratt and his widow, Jeannie, were especially close friends of Beale’s parents, former Liberal MP Julian Beale and wife Felicity. Pratt adored Deborah, having doted on her when she was a child.

Shorten was brought into the family fold when he and Beale married after a whirlwind romance­. Their engagement party was held at Pratt’s mansion, Raheen­. It was a lavish event with singers Vika and Linda Bull and a stand-up comedian. Shorten sold his half-share in a beach house he’d owned with former partner Nicola Roxon to help pay for the engagement ring.

The marriage to Beale, say Shorten insiders, offered much more to a man who relished mixing with the rich and powerful. The bright, likeable Beale helped open doors. Whether by accident or design, her links to the Melbourne establishment assisted with introduct­ions for Shorten to captains of industry.

It was a positive for his early career­ as he tried to model himself on Bob Hawke, pitching himself as a moderate union leader who shunned class warfare.

Corporate chiefs became cur­ious, wanting to meet the man who, according to rumours that Shorten encouraged, was destined to be Labor’s leader. While secretary of the AWU’s Victorian branch, before taking on the union’s national secretary­ position as well to generate a national profile, Shorten was introduced to transport magnate Lindsay Fox by then ACTU secretary Bill Kelty, a Fox mate. Shorten had few members in transport but Fox liked to size up union up-and-comers.

Shorten built buddy relations with members of the rich Smorgon steel family, an industry where he did have members.

He also got to know retail­ giant Solomon Lew. The Lew relationship was based in large part on their shared pro-Israel stance. As leader of the right-wing AWU in Victoria, Shorten devoted much time to battling the Left over Israel. He mixed easily with Lew and other Australian Jewish businessmen. It was good politics, too, for Shorten, to win the support of Melbourne’s Jewish business community.

One Shorten acolyte put it this way: “Bill’s gregarious. He could just as easily be in Toorak, intoxi­cated by the company of rich ­people, and then travel to the western suburbs for a union barbecue with chemical workers.”

Turnbull got at least one thing wrong this week when he called Shorten, among many harsh things, a fake and sycophant for “tucking his knees under the tables of billionaires’’ during his past union career. The Liberal PM also claimed “everyone knows that”. Voters now have an inkling, thanks to Turnbull, that it is rich indeed for Shorten to needle him about his wealth. But it’s doubtful that voters yet know much more than a broad outline of Shorten’s alleged hypocrisy.

That is why, as Peter Dutton has signalled, the Turnbull assault on Shorten’s character is most likely only the start: political ­messages require repetition and reinforcement.

Inside Labor, Shorten’s blueblood past has been a concern for some time: he is often criticised for acting like Labor royalty. During the recent election campaign, party funds were allegedly used to help pay for child-minding and clothes worn by Shorten­’s wife, Chloe Bryce, daughter of the former governor­-general.

Election-night festivities had two classes of guests: red wrist bands for downstairs and silver ones for elite guests upstairs.

One insider said: “An element of criticism of Bill is unfair, becaus­e he met people through his first wife. At the same time, he has since decided to go to the Left publicly and launch anti-market attacks that contradict his past ­positions.

“Turnbull was right to say he’s been a sycophant to the wealthy, but Bill has left himself wide open.

“He doesn’t begrudge people who’ve made wealth, so why not say that? He’s never been a working-class hero, so why create a fake persona now? The problem is (he) always takes the low road, the easy way. He’s the one who usually lets himself down.”

What Shorten really thinks was given an airing six years ago in the worldwide release by WikiLeaks of US cables that proved embarrassing to many public figures.

According to a leaked 2009 cable, when Shorten was a parliamentary secretary for Kevin Rudd, the then US consul-general in Melbourne heard Shorten­ be “highly critical of current Australian union leadership”. He talked up his pro-business cred­entials, his MBA from Melbourn­e University and his closeness to the late Pratt.

Turnbull this week seized on Shorten’s alleged duplicity by noting­ his firm oppositio­n to company tax cuts because “Malcolm is helping his rich mates”. This positi­on is starkly at odds with Shorten running the case in past times for reducing corporate tax.

In his diaries, Mark Latham highlighted what he regarde­d as Shorten’s duplicity on free trade with the US from a conversation they had when Latham was Labor leader and Shorten led the AWU.

“Little Billy was in my ear about the FTA, telling me the party has to support it. I said I thought both he and his union were against it, to which he responded: ‘That’s just for the members. We need to say that sort of thing when they reckon their jobs are under threat.’ ”

The Pratt association tops political conversation about Shorten’s rich links because there is much available information highlighting dual allegiances. There is, however, much other negative Shorten material that Turnbull has shown an inclination to exploit. One is Shorten’s loyalty, to the puzzlement of many, to Kimberley Kitching, recommended for possible criminal charges but promoted by Shorten to the Senate, and to her husband, Andrew­ Landeryou, a former bankrupt who seems to court trouble.

The other is the Coalition’s increasing references to companies such as Cleanevent from Shorten’s tenure at the AWU’s Victorian branch: Shorten was happy to cut a wage deal for low-paid Cleanevent workers that slashed their penalty rates, while the company contributed funds to his union, including the payment of members’ dues.

When Shorten’s branch negotiated a three-year deal for members­ on Melbourne’s East Link freeway project for Thiess­-John Holland, the construction consortium agreed to a union-­requested payment of $300,000 that went straight into AWU coffers. Shorten escaped criticism over this and other ­arrangements involving payments to his union in the 2015 findings of the royal commission into union corruption.

But Turnbull and his frontbench have started gnawing at commission evidence that does not show Shorten in a favourable light. It was nasty for Turnbull to claim Shorten was unfit to be prime minister. A worse slur was to accuse him, a man meant to put workers’ interests first, of “selling out”.


An outback Queensland police officer has avoided a conviction for pulling a gun on a speeding motorist while he was suffering from PTSD

Senior Constable Stephen Flanagan was on Friday fined $1500 for assaulting motorist Lee Povey outside Longreach in May 2015.

Flanagan was captured on dash-cam video screaming "f***ing pull over now, c***" and drew his gun on Mr Povey as he threatened to "put a f***ing hole in you".

The 46-year-old officer was in December 2016 found guilty of common assault and deprivation of liberty by Brisbane Magistrate Paul Kluck.

Mr Kluck found Flanagan was motivated by his condition and anger rather than a belief that Mr Povey had a gun or that the car was stolen.

But the court heard on Friday it was not uncommon for people with post-traumatic stress disorder to be unaware they have the condition or the extremity of their reactions.

Prosecutor Jodie Wooldridge said Flanagan's behaviour had a "significant" impact on Mr Povey, who feared his complaint about a gun-wielding police officer would not be taken seriously. "It was an abuse of trust that had been placed in him by the Queensland police service and the community," Ms Wooldridge said.

Barrister Stephen Zillman said Flanagan, who has been a police officer since he was 19, would find himself on the "employment scrapheap" if he lost his job over the incident. "That's been his life," Mr Zillman said.

Mr Kluck said he would not record a conviction but it was up to the police disciplinary board if Flanagan kept his job.

Flanagan is appealing the guilty finding.


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 February, 2017  

Laugh of the day: Australian academics want to boycott the USA

Trump must be biting his fingernails over that one

An academic boycott of the United States is warranted, writes Dr Christopher Peterson. But the Australian tertiary sector’s response so far is too weak.

Today I signed a petition calling for a boycott of international academic conferences held in the US. The boycott has been organised in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order to ban entry to the US by Muslims from seven selected countries.

The boycott currently has over 5,000 signatures. I also signed another petition imploring Australian Universities to explicitly denounce Trump’s polices as well as to support international students by funding scholarships for students from countries affected by the ban.

I am an American citizen by birth, and a naturalized Australian citizen. So it’s disorienting to say the least to be boycotting my home country.

Detractors of boycotts point to the collateral harm they sometimes inflict on those whom we are intending to help. Yet the preservation of American democracy outweighs whatever temporary inconveniences American academics might incur if the call for a boycott receives widespread support.


Welcome to "green" electricity

S.A. turned off its last coal-fired station in the middle of last year.  This is the fourth time since then that there has been a power outage.  On this occasion the atmospheric high pressure cell that brought the high temperatures also caused the wind to stop blowing, bringing the output from all the wind farms to almost nothing.  So green power makes it likely that you will lose power just when you most need it. The small gas-powered Pelican point generator is privately owned and usually runs well below capacity for cost reasons.

SA POWER Networks was ordered on Wednesday night to restore electricity to about 40,000 households and businesses after supplies were deliberately cut amid soaring temperatures.

Power to customers across the state was switched off from 6.33pm under “rotational load shedding’’ orders from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) “due to lack of available generation supply in SA”, SA Power Networks said. About 45 minutes later electricity was restored after SA Power Networks announced that AEMO had ordered it to return supply.

“AEMO has called an end to load shedding, we are restoring power,’’ the supplier said.

As customers reacted with outrage, the blame game immediately began.

State Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said: “Every South Australian has a right to be angry. We had spare capacity in the SA generation market and the market didn’t turn that generation on.”

“The second unit at Pelican Point (power station) could’ve been turned on last night, it had gas, was ready to go and it wasn’t turned on. The national market isn’t working,” he said.

“We (the State Government) have been taking advice from the market operator and others but after last night we have to reassess. We will do what’s necessary to make sure SA has sufficient generation,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

“It’s my understanding that AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) was made aware more generation was available and chose not to turn that generation on. Serious questions have to be asked about why we had generation available that wasn’t used.”

The temperature was still above 40C when the rolling blackouts began at 6.33pm to conserve power supplies as homeowners used airconditioners for relief from the heat.

SA’s power reliability will again be under scrutiny given a series of major blackouts, including a statewide failure in September.

An SA Power Networks spokesman said they were acting on instructions from AEMO in response to insufficient generation supply in SA. “We don’t generate,” he said. “This is not an SA Power Networks issue — we are the muggins in the middle between the customer and generation supply.”

SA Liberal frontbencher Simon Birmingham said it was “yet another example that the South Australian Government can’t keep the lights on”. “It’s a chronic failing that can only hurt investment confidence in the state,” Mr Birmingham said.

“It’s a demonstration that ad hoc state-based renewable energy targets have gone too far — when reliability can’t be maintained on a day the likes of which SA faces numerous times every single summer.”

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the blackout “is yet another example of Jay Weatherill’s failed experiment”. “Because of the lack of base load generation there literally wasn’t enough electricity being produced to power the state,” he said.

“It’s time Labor both federally and at a state level recognised its high renewable energy targets are putting at risk energy security and affordability.”

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) issued a statement, saying at 6.33pm on Wednesday “approximately 100 megawatts (MW) of local load shedding was instructed in South Australia to maintain the security of the power system.”

It said “load shedding” — affecting about 40,000 homes and businesses — was “instructed by AEMO to avoid damage to network equipment due to potential overloading.”

At 7pm AEMO gave permission to restore the 100 MW of load, and at about 7.10pm electricity supply had been restored.

Angry customers who lost power on dinner time took to social media to express their outrage with the electricity system. They also noted that, yet again, businesses were losing money due to uncertain electricity supplies.

The public also took full advantage of Premier Jay Weatherill’s “Q & Jay” life Facebook session on Wednesday night, with critical comments pouring in.

Among them Anthony Hunter wrote: “Here’s a question, why are we having load-shedding power cuts right at this moment, when it’s only one day of hot weather. “Surely the hottest state in Australia can handle one day of heat?”


PNG deports Manus asylum seekers

Papua New Guinea authorities have moved to force the deportation of at least one asylum seeker housed on Manus Island. It is understood PNG police officers arrived on the island in the early hours of Thursday morning. They took one man to an aircraft while another ran away.

Federal Attorney-General George Brandis told parliament on Thursday he had been advised the men were not refugees, but Greens senator Nick McKim said their appeal processes had not yet been exhausted.

"I am advised that every single individual the subject of these removal proceedings is a person whose claim to refugee status has been processed and rejected," Senator Brandis said. "It is quite wrong, therefore, for Senator McKim to claim as he does that rights are being violated."

PNG had every right in international law to return the men to their country of origin. "That is what the New Guinean authorities are doing," the attorney said.

Senator McKim said the deportations should be stopped. "Forcibly deporting them trashes their human rights, and places Australia and Papua New Guinea in flagrant breach of their international human rights obligations," he said. "It is incumbent on the Australian government to ensure that the legal rights of all detainees are being protected, including all avenues of appeal."

The men's lawyer, Ben Lomai, said at least one Nepalese asylum seeker had been removed from the Australian-run Manus Island centre so he could be flown to Port Moresby and then to Nepal.

Mr Lomai told the ABC the government should not deport the men until problems with the assessment process were resolved. "It's a concern that some of them ... may not have been assessed properly," he said.

Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian detainee on Manus Island, told the Huffington Post about 10 police officers arrived early on Thursday morning and woke two men. "They took one of them while he was crying and the other one escaped and now is lost," he said.

The Nepalese detainees had been under pressure for some time, with five of them signing up to a $20,000 deal in exchange for them returning home. "Immigration has said to the people with negative status sign this paper and get $20,000 or we will deport you by force," he said.


'He doesn't have a fair dinkum bone in him': Malcolm Turnbull doubles down on Bill Shorten attack

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has doubled down on his character assassination of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, labelling him a "fake" who "doesn't have a fair dinkum bone in him".

It follows an extraordinary tirade in Parliament on Wednesday in which Mr Turnbull attacked his counterpart as "a social-climbing sycophant" and a "parasite" who cosied up to billionaires.

Mr Shorten has in the past week taken to calling the Prime Minister "Mr Harbourside Mansion", a reference to his lavish Point Piper home and a term coined by Tony Abbott's former chief-of-staff Peta Credlin.

"Shorten is complete hypocrite," Mr Turnbull said at a press conference on Thursday. "He wants to play the politics of envy and yet he's been a sycophant to the billionaires of Melbourne for years and years - everyone knows that."

The Prime Minister insisted Mr Shorten's Labor colleagues agreed with his incendiary rant during question time on Wednesday, in which he also accused Mr Shorten of selling out workers while at the Australian Workers Union.

"Those criticisms rang true. The people who know him best are his own colleagues - they know he is a fake, he has no integrity, no consistency. he doesn't have a fair dinkum bone in him," Mr Turnbull said. "They knew that everything I said about him was true."

The personal attack on Mr Shorten and vice versa marks a descent into character assassination that had so far been largely absent from the political battle between the two party leaders.

In an apparent reference to his reportedly hostile phone call with US President Donald Trump, Mr Turnbull said he had the ability to stand up to billionaires and "take them on".

"I back myself. I am my own man. I can't be bought by anyone," he said on Thursday. "I don't suck up to billionaires, I look them in the eye and when I need to take them on."

Mr Turnbull denied his attack on "social-climbing" was a demonstration of class warfare that took the Coalition away from the aspirational voters it targeted under John Howard.

"I don't think sucking up to billionaires, saying one thing in the well-upholstered living rooms of Melbourne to powerful captains of industry, and another thing on the hustings - I don't think that's what aspirational Australia is about," he said.

Mr Shorten rejected the criticism on Thursday, suggesting the government should be defending plans to cut family tax payments.

"I'm not going to sell out my beliefs merely because Mr Turnbull is yelling at us," he said. "The more he yells at me, the more I wonder if he is judging himself.  "I'm relaxed in my own skin, I'm relaxed with my record of representing people."


Malcolm Turnbull says $5.6 million salary of Australia Post boss Ahmed Fahour is too high

It sure is

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the $5.6 million salary of Australia Post boss Ahmed Fahour is "too high", a day after the Senate thwarted efforts to keep Australia's biggest public service pay packet secret.

A Senate committee on Tuesday refused the company's request to keep Mr Fahour's salary and bonuses confidential after deciding it was overwhelmingly in the public interest.

Documents show one senior executive of the government owned company, understood to be Mr Fahour, received a $4.4 million salary with bonuses and $1.2 million in superannuation, while five other executives received salaries of between $1.3 million to $1.8 million.

Mr Turnbull, who is paid $507,338 a year, said he had told Australia Post chairman John Stanhope he believed the salary was too high.

"The Australia Post board in independent, it makes its own commercial decisions so this is not a decision of the government," he said.

"As the Prime Minister and a taxpayer, I've spoken to the chairman today. I think that salary, that remuneration, is too high.

"I think it's too high, I know it's a big job, it's a big company. I know the company has been able to improve its position but in my view, and I say this as someone who spent most of his life in the business world before I came into politics, I think that is a very big salary for that job.

"I'm entitled to my opinion, just like every other Australian is, and I think many would agree with me."

An Australia Post spokeswoman said this week Mr Fahour's pay "takes into account the size and complexity of the organisation, which has an annual turnover of more than $6 billion".

The company published detailed information about executive salaries up until its 2014-15 annual report. The last time Mr Fahour's salary was listed was in the 2013-14 annual report, when he received a salary of $1.7 million and a bonus of $2.6 million.

A further $2 million he was due in net superannuation payments was "mutually agreed" to be turned into a pre-tax $2.8 million donation to the Islamic Museum of Australia, founded by his brother Moustafa Fahour.

Labor senator Doug Cameron said Australian companies were pushing "Bangladesh" wage rates and conditions for workers, but Wall Street pay and conditions for executives. "I just can't for the life of me understand why any public servant would need to be paid over $5 million," he said.  "I have appeared in estimates with Australia Post and I can't see over $5 million worth of value out of any individual."

Liberal James Paterson, chair of the committee responsible for releasing the information this week, said it was clearly in the public interest.

"A lot of other organisations, the NBN, for example, publishes this information and listed companies in Australia are required by law to publish it, so I don't see why a publicly owned entity like Australia Post should have less disclosure obligations than a private company," he told the ABC.

"It is an extremely generous salary package and it makes him the highest paid public servant effectively in Australia, even more than the NBN CEO, who received about $3.6 million last financial year." 

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson said the revelation was disgusting and pledged to take action. "No Australians would support this. No one," she 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

9 February, 2017  

If  conservatives want to copy Trump, embracing Putin is the worst place to start (?)

Like Mr Trump, I see some virtue in Vladimir Vladimirovich and I have written to that effect on several previous occasions. (See here. Scroll down). I like Mr Putin nearly as much as I like Mr Trump, in fact.  So I am one of those evil people that the Leftist Australian  journalist  below is inveighing against. Vladimir Vladimirovich is in fact an exceptionally enlightened ruler by Russian standards.

The Leftist writer below, David Wroe, tries to make the case that Putin and Russia generally are dangerous, evil and should be shunned.  Which is amusing.  A few decades back Leftists would hear no ill about Russia -- at a time when there really was cause for concern about Russia. The points made below are however specious and are typical of the Leftist habit of telling only half the story. 

Mr Putin is somehow blamed on the shooting down of a Malaysian airline over Ukraine. But the Ukraine was at the time in a civil war and was known as dangerous airspace -- and most airlines kept away from it even though that increased their costs.  It was penny-pinching bureaucrats running the Malaysian airline who took the big risk of flying their plane over Eastern Ukraine.  It is they who are to blame

It took Russia's intervention to set in train the now almost complete destruction of ISIS but our friend below can only complain that the defeat helps the Syrian government. 

The Syrian government is certainly brutal but dictatorships seem to be the only sort of regime that works in Muslim lands. Islam is an authoritarian religion.  "Submit or die" is its historic message. Democracy didn't last long in Egypt. Turkey  has once again returned to a version of the authoritarian rule that has characterized most of its history and vast American efforts to democratize Iraq and Afghanistan have certainly been an abject failure.

I could go on but I think I have said enough to show that it's just the usual dishonest Leftist propaganda below.  You believe anything in it at your peril>

David Wroe

The Trumpification of the right wing of Australian politics has begun.

On Sunday night, Coalition backbencher George Christensen defended Vladimir Putin's Russia, saying on Twitter it had been "demonised unfairly" and asking, "What threat do they cause us or the West?"

This is a startling message to a country that lost 38 people in the shooting down of flight MH17 in the skies above Ukraine. In his tweets, Mr Christensen distanced Moscow from involvement in MH17 and said only that separatists "allegedly" shot down the plane, though on Monday morning he clarified that he accepted most investigators' conclusion that "separatists backed by Russia" were responsible.

But his string of tweets point to an affinity with the US President's foreign policy view that strong men who pursue their country's national interests with scant regard to the international system are to be admired and emulated.

Pauline Hanson did much the same on Monday morning, saying "I've got no problems with Vladimir" because he is "a strong leader" who is "standing up for his nation" and that's what Australians want of their leaders too.

Newsflash to them both: Australia is not the US or Russia. It is a middle power that needs rules and a level playing field. As one of our finest foreign policy thinkers, former Department of Foreign Affairs head Peter Varghese, put it in a 2015 speech: "Australia can neither bully nor buy its way in the world, so an international, rules-based order is in our best interests."

Take another one of Christensen's Sunday night tweets: "Russia [is] the real reason ISIS is losing."

Moscow has propped up Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad but has targeted a wide range of anti-regime forces, not just the Islamic State, and has indiscriminately bombed civilians, killing thousands.

Its intervention has removed any incentive for Assad to compromise and allow a political solution in Syria, ensuring that Syrian Sunnis will feel aggrieved for at least another generation. That will help seed the next generation of sectarian fighters and jihadists that will replace the Islamic State when it is defeated.

By contrast, the Australian Defence Force has for more than two years carefully targeted Islamic State forces in airstrikes while advising and training Iraqi forces on the ground. Not one civilian is known to have been killed in Australian air strikes, and the ADF's efforts alongside the US have tried to avoid empowering the Assad regime.

Mr Christensen also called Russia "a democracy" and branded the hacking of US political parties "fake news", even though Mr Trump himself has admitted Russia was responsible for the hacking and US intelligence agencies have stated in a public report that Russia hacked political parties for the express purpose of tilting the election in Mr Trump's favour.

Russia is working to break up Europe and tear up the international system of rules and norms that has made the last 70 years the most prosperous and stable the world has seen. It wants to return the world to spheres of influence around powers that use might to make right.

That is the threat Russia poses to us all.


Pauline Hanson outlines One Nation’s blueprint for Australia

Pauline Hanson has outlined her blueprint for Australia which would include forcing newlyweds to have pre-nuptial agreements and changes to the tax system.

Pauline Hanson insists her One Nation party could form government one day as she outlined her blueprint for Australia which would include forcing newlyweds to have pre-nuptial agreements and changes to the tax system.

“I haven’t started a political party to sit on the backbenches for ever and a day,” Senator Hanson told the Seven Netwok tonight as she arrived in Canberra for the start of the parliamentary year this week. “I think there is a place, in the future, for One Nation on government benches.”

Asked about government MPs who laughed at that prospect, Senator Hanson replied: “The last laugh will be on them.”  Earlier today Coaliton MP Christopher Pyne burst into laughter when asked during a media conference in Adelaide what he thought about Senator Hanson’s outline for the country if she were to be the country’s leader.  “Leader of what?” Mr Pyne grinned. “I think it is unlikely that One Nation’s going to form a government in Australia.”

Senator Hanson’s blueprint for Australia includes a flat two per cent tax rate for everyone - even welfare recipients and has pre-nuptial agreements for newlyweds. “Family law is high on my agenda. It needs court-approved premarital agreements on finance and parental issues,” she told the Sunday Mail.

The One Nation leader said under her vision for a “better Australia,” she would as Prime Minister, also cut the number of politicians, limit migration, introduce an Australian identity card, and axe the GST.

She would also set up a royal commission into Islam.

Senator Hanson said one of her priorities was changing the family law system to ease the burden on the courts. She would force couples into pre-nuptial agreements outlining how they would deal with their children and assets if a relationship broke down.

“Family law is high on my agenda. I just think it needs a complete overhaul,” she told the newspaper. “It needs court-approved premarital agreements on finance and parental issues. So before someone goes into a relationship or a marriage, you must have a premarital agreement. It would be confidential (and lodged with courts). “We’ve got to free up our court system. It’s overloaded. A lot of judgments aren’t being handed down for years.”

She said the public saw her as the woman next door rather than a career politician.

“People see me as I could be their sister, their mother, their neighbour next door,’’ Senator Hanson said. “They don’t see me as a career politician ... They’ve seen me running a small business, rearing kids by myself. They see this person, I’ve had knockdowns, I’ve been in prison, I’ve come out of there and guess what? They haven’t beaten me, I’ve got up again. They can throw everything at me and I’ll still keep doing what I believe in.

“I don’t change my tune, whichever way the polls are going. If you look at what I said 20 years ago, it’s exactly what I’m saying today. I’m a type of person who can make a decision. The past makes you more aware of what not to do in the future.”


Australians support making it HARDER for Muslims to come to Australia - with 44 per cent supporting Donald Trump-style measures

Almost half of Australians support a Donald Trump-inspired measure to make it more difficult for people from Muslim-majority countries to come to Australia.

Newspoll found more than half of Coalition voters supported blocking citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen from travelling Down Under.

President Trump's executive order also blocked all refugees from travelling to the U.S. for 120 days, and put an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.

Overall, Australians were divided on whether we should follow that lead.

44 per cent of all respondents said Australia should take similar action, and 45 per cent opposed the measure.

11 per cent of the 1,734 respondents were not committed.

The Newspoll question was: 'Donald Trump has introduced changes that make it harder for citizens from seven mainly Muslim countries to enter the U.S. Would you be in favour or opposed to Australia taking similar measures?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has refused to comment on the executive order.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has said she would go further than President Trump's measures.


Australia needs to wake up to climate change racket

Now we hear from an eminent whistleblower with America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that the organisation used dodgy data to claim the “pause” in global warming from 1998 never existed, and had rushed to publish without the usual checks in order to influence the Paris Agreement on climate change.

This latest scandal comes on top of previous embarrassments for the climate alarm community. There was the 2009 “climategate” batch of leaked emails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia that were published on a Russian website three weeks before the Copenhagen summit, revealing a staggering level of fraud, manipulation, and deceit.

Another batch of leaked emails, dubbed Climategate 2.0, a couple of years later, showed eminent climate scientists conspiring to have PhDs stripped from their sceptic rivals, to have journal editors fired for publishing papers they didn’t like, and colluding with the media to slant coverage.

All the fakery adds up to the conclusion that the whole global warming crusade isn’t about science, but politics — and big money.

The NOAA scandal couldn’t have come at a better time for US President Donald Trump to strengthen his resolve to ditch the Paris climate agreement stitched up by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

And in turn Trump’s defection should encourage the Turnbull government to tear up our own Paris climate agreement which they foolishly ratified in November, after Trump won the US presidential election.

Tony Abbott is right: even though it was his government which made the deal, he recognises the changed circumstances of the world. We need to scrap the unreasonably punitive renewable energy targets of 26-28 per cent we have committed to abide by in 2020.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg keeps telling us it’s a better deal than the Labor Party’s 50 per cent renewable energy target, but that’s not the point.

Low-cost, coal-fired energy has underpinned this nation’s prosperity. With our abundant resources we should be the world’s low-cost energy superpower, as Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce keeps saying.

Higher RETS equal higher electricity prices, and an unreliable power supply, which is the death-knell to business, as we are seeing in South Australia.

By kowtowing to climate nonsense, successive governments have proven they have no intention of putting Australia first, and this is what is driving the Hanson phenomenon. Scrapping the United Nations control of our energy mix would be an enormous morale boost to the country.


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

8 February, 2017

The food dictators again

This is all so arrogant but arrogance is part and parcel of being a do-gooder.  The fact is that nobody knows for sure what food is healthy and what is not.  Medical opinion about particular food has often gone into complete reverse.  And some eventually abandoned advice actually did a lot of harm -- such as the advice to keep young children away from peanut products  -- when early exposure to peanut products is in fact associated with REDUCED peanut allergies

'Please choose healthier options': Preschool scolds mother for sending her child in with a slice of chocolate cake in her lunch

A South Australian mother was left mortified after her three-year-old child's preschool sent home a note about the contents of the lunchbox she had packed that morning.

She had included a piece of chocolate cake for her child to eat during the day, which she quickly learned was against school policy.

When her child arrived home, she came with a note featuring an oversized, red frowning face image.

'Your child has chocolate slice from the red food category today,' the letter read.

'Please choose healthier options for kindy.'

The mother-of-eight was mortified, and shared the note with her friend Melinda Tankard Reist, a prominent commentator and writer.

Ms Reist posted a picture of it on her Facebook page, and told her followers she had advised the woman to 'put in two slices tomorrow and tell them to get lost'.

State funded schools in South Australia are subject to the Right Bite programme, which classifies foods into red, amber and green categories.

Red foods are strongly discouraged, while green foods are heavily encouraged.

The programme encourages schools to work with parents to stop them packing 'red' foods for their children.

Suggestions include using newsletter notices, information sessions and canteen duty as a means of communication - as opposed to notes written in red.

Commenters on the post show a fierce debate between parents who believe they should be able to pack what they like and others who see the programme as essential.

One man shared a similar experience with his child's preschool. He said packets of Tiny Teddies were sent home, with children told they were not allowed to eat them.

'Since when are preschool teachers qualified dietitians,' he asked.

Another declared: 'This is worse than Trump', while someone else suggested the teacher may have been 'overzealous' in her handling of the situation.

A woman said she agreed with the policy, as it encouraged children to seek out healthier food, but like most commenters had some issues with the school's communication method - which most described as childish.

'This is pretty normal for kinders [sic] and schools trying to combat childhood obesity and help parents who don't healthy diets for their children,' she wrote.

'I don't see the concept as unreasonable, though the delivery could probably do some work.'


Cory Bernardi resigns from the Liberal Party

Bernardi is a consistent conservative, unlike the wishy washies in the Liberal party.  He is unlikely to become Australia's Trump but the Australian system of preferential voting and proportional representation in the Senate, could make him an influential voice for Australian conservatives

SENATOR Cory Bernardi has hit back at suggestions he has betrayed voters after confirming he had resigned from the Liberal Party this morning.

Mr Bernardi addressed the Senate today to confirm he had left the party saying politicians had failed the people of Australia.

But he has already been accused of hypocrisy for timing the resignation shortly after being re-elected to the Senate.

Liberal Senator George Brandis said Mr Bernardi’s resignation was not a very conservative thing to do and the Liberal Party was disappointed.

“Only seven months ago Senator Bernardi was elected by the people of South Australia to serve in the Senate as a Liberal senator,” Mr Brandis said.

“There was no need for him to take this course because, as the former prime minister, Mr Howard, famously said, the Liberal Party is a broad church. It can accommodate people like Senator Bernardi and it can accommodate people of more moderate views.”

He said breaking a promise to electors was a poor way to begin.

“What Senator Bernardi has done today is not a conservative thing to do because breaking faith with the electorate, breaking faith with the people who voted for you, breaking faith with the people who have supported you through thick and thin for years and, indeed, decades is not a conservative thing to do,” he said.

“Nevertheless, as I said, Mr President, we will continue to treat Senator Bernardi courteously, professionally as a colleague.”

Mr Bernardi’s move came on the first day Parliament has met since Trump’s inauguration.

The 47-year-old recently spent three months in New York seconded to the United Nations and met Trump associates. He was spotted wearing a red baseball hat with a Trump-like slogan: “Make Australia Great Again.”

During a press conference after his Senate speech, Mr Bernardi said the hat was a birthday present.
Cory Bernardi was given a hat with the slogan “Make Australia Great Again” as a present for his birthday.

Cory Bernardi was given a hat with the slogan “Make Australia Great Again” as a present for his birthday.Source:Supplied

Asked about criticism over the timing of his resignation in a press conference following his Senate address, Mr Bernardi said: “I have reflected Liberal values since I joined the Liberal Party over 30 years ago.”

Mr Bernardi said he had hoped the last election would deliver a positive outcome for the people of Australia.

“But what we saw was a million votes left the conservative party and went to alternatives,” he said.

“Some of them represent the interests and national interests better than others.

“My ambition was always to bring those people back into the tent. I regret over the last seven months or so we see more of them leaving the tent. That says to me there is a serious problem.”

While acknowledging that some people were going to be disappointed, he hit back at suggestions he had betrayed voters, and that only 2000 people voted for him below-the-line.

“Every single Liberal Party voter and those party members knew exactly what they were supporting,” he said. “My principles have not changed.”

He said if principles and values were predictable and forecastable, it would alleviate many of the concerns that people had about the nature of politics.

He also criticised the revolving door of prime ministers and said it was a “folly” to condemn the Labor Party about knifing first-term prime ministers and then do the same and say it was “some sort of virtue”.

“I think there is a yearning for the stability and sense of predictability that was around during the Coalition government,” he said.

He also confirmed that he would guarantee supply for the Turnbull Government.

In his speech to the Senate on the first sitting day of the year, Mr Bernardi said after holding membership of the party spanning his adult life, it had been a “very difficult decision” for him to leave. “Perhaps the most difficult one of my political life,” he said.

But Mr Bernardi said he was both reluctant and relieved. “Reluctant because this decision has weighed heavy on my heart, but relieved because while it is difficult, I believe it is the right thing to do.”

“As the sea through which we sail become ever more challenging, the respect for the values and principles that have served us well seem to have been set aside for expedient, self-serving, short-term ends. That approach has not served our nation well.”

Mr Bernardi said the body public was failing the people of Australia. “The level of public disenchantment with the major parties, the lack of confidence in our political process and the concern about the direction of our nation is very, very strong.

“This is a direct product of us, the political class, being out of touch with the hopes and aspirations of the Australian people.”

Mr Bernardi said he would begin a new political movement. “It really is time for a better way. For a conservative way," he said. “So today I begin something new, built on enduring values and principles that have served our nation so well for so long.  “It is a political movement of Australian Conservatives.”

He said the movement would be united by the desire to create stronger families, to foster freedom of speech, to limit the size and scope and reach of government while seeking to rebuild confidence in civil society.

Opposition Senate Leader Penny Wong said the “extraordinary” resignation showed the government was bitterly divided and coming apart at the seams. “This resignation is a consequence of the failure of leadership by the prime minister,” she said.


Australia’s Chief Scientist labels Trump’s censoring of environmental data as ‘Stalinist’

He ignores the blatant dishonesty of the American climate establishment that lies behind Trump's attempt to stem the flow of Green/Left fake news.  In typical Green/Left style, he tells only half the story.  He has outed his own politics

Australia’s Chief Scientist has likened US President Donald Trump’s censoring of environmental data to Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin.

Dr Alan Finkel was speaking at the Chief Scientists’ roundtable discussion at the Australian National University on Monday when he said “science is literally under attack”, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

"The Trump administration has mandated that scientific data published by the EPA must undergo review by political appointees before they can be published,” Dr Finkel said during the discussion.

Adding that the Trump administration’s decision to bar the EPA from sending out press releases or placing new content on its website was “reminiscent of political officers in the old Soviet Union”.

"Every military commander there had a political officer second guessing his decisions,” he said, making a reference to Joseph Stalin and Trofim Lysenko, a soviet agrobiologist.

“Stalin loved Lysenko's conflation of science and Soviet philosophy and used his limitless power to ensure that Lysenko's unscientific ideas prevailed."

He also stated modern science had no room “for political control” and expressed his gratitude that no Australian political figure had ever tried to censor him.

"Frank and fearless advice - no matter the views of the political commissars at the EPA,” he said.


Union restrictions behind Brisbane railway chaos

DEPUTY Premier Jackie Trad says she believes trade unions will be willing to give a little in order to address closed shop conditions identified by the Strachan Inquiry as contributing to the southeast Queensland rail fail.

Acting Premier Jackie Trad, Commissioner Phillip Strachan and Premier Annastacia Palasczcuk met with union officials yesterday to discuss the report.

Ms Trad, Commissioner Phillip Strachan and Premier Annastacia Palasczcuk met with union officials yesterday to discuss the report which raised concerns about impediments to external recruitment of drivers, among other issues, as contributing to the critical driver shortage.

“There are provisions within the EBA currently around recruiting externally so what we need is we need management, unions, government all focused on how we can recruit not only new drivers but how we can expand the pool of trainers so that we are training the drivers we are recruiting as fast as possible,” Ms Trad said.

“Some of the current arrangements that have been reached, while there is an EBA in place, have been reached in good faith, through negotiations with the trade unions to date.

“There is capacity and there is a willingness for us to reach agreement around elements of implementing these recommendations, of accelerating training and recruiting new drivers.”

Queensland Rail’s board will officially meet for the first time on Friday with new chair Phillip Strachan seeking an assurance from acting QR CEO Neil Scales that the current timetable is sustainable.

Mr Strachan, who took over as chair yesterday after handing down his report into the southeast Queensland train driver crisis, said he wanted to ensure it was sustainable.

“One of the recommendations is to look at the January 23 timetable and to really make sure that is a robust timetable,” Mr Strachan said.

“That is a job for Neil (Scales) and his team to come back to the board and demonstrate with good data that this current timetable is robust and actually providing services to the public as they should expect.

“I’m not at all flagging more delays or cancellations.”

He said he wanted to be able to give an assurance the timetable was sustainable.

Mr Strachan said it was too early to make any calls on the composition of the QR board going forward.


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

7 February, 2017

Why do teachers leave?

The writer below pretends that there must be other reasons but there is no mystery about the main reason why teaching has become an unattractive job.  It is that many classrooms have become white-board jungles.  Teachers are not allowed to teach. They have to use great energies just to keep some semblance of order.  It's not what they want to do but what Leftist ideas about education force on them. 

In particular, disciplinary options have become very limited.  Once upon a time, a teacher would simply send an unruly child to the headmaster, who would cane him and return him to the classroom in a more humble state.  It will need that or something similar before teachers are freed to teach.  And then former standards of educational achievement will follow

As the school gates open and students flood in with shiny shoes and new backpacks, there's an expectation that teachers should be bursting with enthusiasm to get back to the classroom after their long summer holiday.

The reality is that teachers have mixed feelings as the school year commences.  Some describe dread and anxiety while others say they're hopeful or 'trying to remain positive'. "I feel better than I did in previous years," an experienced teacher says.  "Our new principal makes our workload more manageable."

Another teacher — mid-career, early 40s — discloses her panic at the thought of a year working with a particularly challenging student. "I'm not sure how much longer I can do this," she confides.

A graduate teacher, just three years into his career, tells me of his travel plans. "I'm not going to teach," he explains. "I need a break. I can't face the thought of so much work and all that stress. "I do love teaching," he smiles ruefully. "Teaching is awesome until you have to do something other than teach, which is about 80 per cent of the time."

Teachers leaving in significant numbers

It's worth considering the fact that many of the teachers who walked through the school gates last year aren't returning this year. And it's a trend we can expect to continue.

Teachers are leaving the profession in significant numbers — the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggest 53 per cent of people who hold a teaching degree do not currently work in education.

And research conducted by the Australian Government in 2014 estimates that 20 per cent of education graduates do not register as teachers on graduating, meaning many teachers are leaving before they've even started.

The latest national data from the Australian Government suggest an average of 5.7 per cent of teachers left the profession in 2014.

It seems a fairly innocuous figure, however Professor Ewing argues it doesn't provide any insight into what is happening to teachers on the books. "Government bodies reassure us that there are thousands of teachers on the list," Professor Ewing says.

"But that just means they're registered to teach. Many of those have taken up other jobs or moved to different systems or are stuck in the casual, temporary cycle. "In actual fact we have evidence to suggest that we are going to have a teacher shortage."

One figure that adds weight to Professor Ewing's argument is the alarming percentage of those who leave the profession shortly after graduating.

Although the figure varies by locality, about 40 to 50 per cent of our newest teachers leave within their first five years on the job.

These graduates are leaving for various reasons, but similar themes recur: they feel burnt out, unsupported, frustrated and disillusioned. Many cannot secure permanent, full time employment and so leave the profession to pursue careers with fewer demands and greater certainty.

'Anything is preferable to teaching'

For example, Kate, 30, left the profession several years ago after her first year of full-time teaching, and now works as a freelance writer.

"Of my six close friends who I graduated with [in 2007], only one is returning to the classroom this year," she tells me, before listing off their new careers: blogger, footballer, police officer, priest, publican. It seems that anything is preferable to teaching.

"New teachers are expected to have all this energy and enthusiasm to make up for our lack of experience," Kate explains.

"But that energy gets drained away. Nobody's supporting us when we're finally in the job."

With the advent of Professional Teaching Standards in 2011, all teachers — including those with extensive experience — were burdened with an additional administrative task designed to provide a framework for teacher professionalism and ongoing accreditation.

This means an experienced teacher's time is now spent documenting their own worth; there's no time left to support colleagues, new or old. "This is our obsession with teacher accountability playing out," Professor Riley says.

"We've made it an adversarial profession, when it should be collegial. Teachers are competing for positions and constantly trying to make themselves look highly employable. What they should be focussed on is their students and their teaching."
It's not just 'new teachers' that are leaving, either

Research suggests many long-serving teachers are also retiring early, feeling utterly spent. "And they mourn the loss," Professor Riley says.  "They miss the kids and they miss teaching — but the demands of the job simply become too much."

There is ongoing pressure on teachers to improve test results, lift the profile of the profession, meet the teaching standards and deliver — faultlessly — an overcrowded curriculum.  "Experienced teachers have had enough," Professor Riley says.

And as they leave, they take with them their expertise and their ability to mentor and guide new and mid-career teachers.

What's more, teacher shortages — already evident in remote and regional areas — seem likely to continue given the number of students is predicted to increase 26 per cent by 2022.

This, combined with the ageing workforce and high attrition rates, will likely result in larger class sizes, teachers teaching out of field and less experienced teachers being called upon to do more, all of which have serious implications for students and their learning.


Parents sleeping rough outside Queensland state school to ensure enrolments

Ascot is a very wealthy suburb and, although the Left may hate it, the children of the rich tend to be smarter and better behaved -- which means that all the kids enrolled can get on with their education.  The teachers are free to teach and the students are free to learn. The quality of the school is set by the quality of the students

IT’S one of the most coveted waiting lists in the state and some parents will go to great lengths to secure a spot.

These dedicated parents are sleeping rough in a bid to send their kids to Ascot State School – one of the most prestigious government schools in Queensland.

The waiting list for available spots at the school officially opens at 8am today.

On Sunday night, eight families were lined up outside the school and more arrived this morning.

One mother said she had queued for 48 hours straight to secure a place for her son.

For some parents though, the wait may have been a bit much. Among those in line were nannies and family friends paid up to $400 to clinch a spot.

The first parent in line, Nicole Scarinci from Warner, has camped out since 10am Saturday in an effort to secure a spot for her son, Aiden.

“So at 8am tomorrow, they will open the gates and we will get an enrolment form with a number on it and hope for the best,” she said. “We just spoke to the principal and she seems to think that it’s not even guaranteed that we will get a spot so it’s still up in the air.”

Hendra’s Melissa Goscomb was fourth in line and said her chances of getting daughter Millacent in are high. “We have a lot of friends and family that have been through this school and have been very happy with their child’s performance,” she said.

After a weekend of ‘camaraderie on the footpath’, it is now a waiting game for 15 Ascot State School student hopefuls.
Parents lining up to secure an enrollment spot at Ascot State School, Ascot. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

Parents who live just outside the prestigious schools catchment zone slept rough, some from Saturday, to be first in line when enrolment for next year opened at 8am today.

Most seated on camping chairs inside the school after gates opened at 6am, there was even a mattress leaning against the fence this morning.

Hendra resident Elissa Morley had been queuing since 7.30am on Sunday to get her daughter into prep and were fifth in line.  “We’re a bit exhausted but hopeful that it will pay off,” Ms Morley said. “There was a bit of camaraderie on the footpath there, all the parents having a chat.”

Ms Morley lives just outside the catchment zone and hopes her daughter will get a spot, although it is still unknown how many are available. “Some years they [Ascot State School] take quite a few and some years they take none is what I believe, so we have our fingers crossed,” she said.

But if things don’t go her way, she plans to do the same at Eagle Junction State School to try her luck there.

President of Ascot SS P&C committee Sarah Comiskey said this phenomenon occurred annually, with 30 parents queuing up one year. She said beyond the school’s stellar reputation parents were drawn to the extensive music and extracurricular program, plus the ability for students to study at their own grade level instead of the level they were supposed to be at.


Great Expectations

Herman Toh

In Dickens' novel, the key characters are made more miserable due to their great expectations... unrealistic expectations.

Some of us may have similarly unrealistic expectations when it comes to housing affordability.

A recent media report focused on a couple who could have purchased, "a one bedroom shoebox apartment and lived in it for the next 50 years, but we didn't want to do that."

But in reality, how many of us would live for fifty years in one apartment?

Barnaby Joyce, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia took a shot at potential young home owners for wanting to live in Sydney but being unable to afford to do so.

The previous generation wouldn't have expected their first property to be a palatial pad sited a craft beer bottle's throw away from the CBD. They would have worked hard, bought their first place, saved -- and then upgraded.

It is time for a reality check. A possible long-term solution may be micro apartments. Where we are prepared to sacrifice some space and privacy, we could afford to be home owners. And, when we upgrade, we free up housing to be cycled back onto the market.

In Sydney, 35m² is the minimum for studio apartments according to the NSW planning department. In Japan, where there aren't minimum limits on apartment or housing sizes, the smallest apartment is around 9m². I am not saying that we should go right down to that size, but if the trend in the small house movement is anything to go by, it may be worth exploring.

This would free up capital for us young 'uns to spend on fancy space-saver furniture. Or smashed avocado on toast. Whatever takes our fancy -- and meets our more realistic expectations.


The Africanization of Melbourne again

Four Essendon football players have reportedly had their cars stolen during a home invasion in Melbourne.

Police say the offenders broke into the Maribyrnong house early on Friday morning and stole wallets and keys before driving off in four cars- a Mazda, two Holden Commodores and a Volkswagen.

Four footballers live at the property- AFL listed players Shaun McKernan, Jayden Laverde and Connor McKenna, and VFL player James Ferry, The Age reported.

The four intruders, some armed with baseball bats, were of African descent, police investigators were told.

One of the residents woke up after hearing one of the vehicles, a Volkswagen, crash nearby and saw a man getting into another vehicle.

It’s believed the offenders arrived at the property in a stolen Toyota Camry, which has since been recovered dumped in Maribyrnong. The Volkswagen stolen from the property has also been recovered nearby.

The other three vehicles, a Mazda and two Holden Commodores, are still missing.

None of the players were harmed but are reportedly shaken from the incident.


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

6 February, 2017

I am fully in favour of my country admitting as refugees people who are in danger for their lives elsewhere

But they really do have to be refugees and their average standards of behaviour must be at least as good as the average of the host population. One expects gratitude, not hostility, from those who have been rescued. So, broadly, that excludes Muslims and Africans.

Australia does admit many refugees and has been admitting refugees for a long time. It started before WWII when thousands of Jews fleeing Hitler were admitted.

Then immediately after WWII, large numbers of "displaced persons" in Europe were admitted.  Then in the aftermath of the Vietnam war, large numbers of Asian "boat people" were admitted.

And in between, large numbers of economic migrants from rural Greece and Southern Italy were admitted.

And all those European and East Asian immigrants have blended in to the Australian peoplescape with minimal friction.  Their children act and speak much as other Australians do and their children tend to have a high rate of educational and economic success.  There were a couple of occasions when Yugoslavs bombed one-another but not one Jihadi indulging in random killing has emerged from them.  They have been of clear benefit to the country, bringing new ideas, skills and improved services.

And Leftists use that undoubted fact to argue that ALL immigration is desirable.  But that is just another manifestation of their manic and obviously wrong insistence that all men are equal.  All men are NOT equal and groups of men are also  therefore not equal.

Africans have brought their normal high rate of violent crime to Australia and many of the Australian host population have had much suffering inflicted on them as a result.  And many Australians have also died at the hands of Muslim fanatics.  Had we kept those two groups out, all that suffering would have been avoided. 

So I heartily endorse Donald Trump's moves to protect Americans from hostile sub-groups.  And I support Pauline Hanson's calls to do the same for Australians.  Opinion polls have shown that around 50% of the Australian population support Pauline's ideas in that regard so my thoughts on the issue are perfectly mainstream, not "racist", "xenophobic", "white supremacist" or any of the other insults that Leftists normally hurl at people who support selective immigration.

A coda

I get the impression that most people who have relocated to Australia are in fact grateful for the life they have here but I want to close this essay with a story about how powerful gratitude can be.

Persians appear to be particularly energetic people and that would appear to be why they have over the centuries created three great empires.  Once an empire declines, that is normally the end of it.  But not so Persia.  Hundreds of years later a new Persian empire will arise.  But it was in one of their weaker periods that the Muslims swept through and took control of them.  And in their usual kindly way the Muslims gave them a choice:  Convert or die.

Most converted but there were a few who clung to the native Persian religion of Zoroastrianism.  Zoroastrianism is a rather sensible religion that make a much better job of explaining the problem of evil than Christianity does. 

But when they found that living in Muslim Persia was going to be very dangerous to Zoroastrians, the strong believers fled to Gujurat, in nearby India.  They were received there with tolerance by the local Hindus.  There is a great variety of religious devotions in India so one more was no great problem. 

And the Persians (Parsees) were very grateful for the refuge India had given them.  And they expressed that both in words and later in deeds.  With their Persian energies, the Parsees prospered mightily in India and many became quite rich.  So what did rich Parsees do with their money?  They gave most of it away, initially to poor Parsees but also to other Indians.  They became a major source of charity in India.

So the Parsees did not share the fate of the Jews, with people becoming envious of their success.  There are of course always grumbles but Indians saw that Parsee success benefited them too and Parsees highlighted their giving as a act of gratitude so Indians felt that they had earned the charitable support. 

So Parsee gratitude for refuge sustained their welcome and even protected them when they became an economic elite.  Being grateful is as powerful as ingratitude is contemptible -- JR.

The violent Left are in Australia too

[NSW] Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she was disappointed by the "invasion day" protesters who burned the national flag and clashed with police on Australia Day.

Outside Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Ms Berejiklian said there were more appropriate days to debate the issue of whether Australia Day should be celebrated on January 26, and ways to demand change.

"We have a democracy and everybody has the right to protest but today's about everything that brings us together," she said. "I'm so disappointed that people couldn't express themselves in a more appropriate way on such an important day for our community."

The Willoughby MP would not give a date for her impending cabinet reshuffle, saying "I'm here to celebrate Australia Day and talk about that today".

She then headed into the arts centre where community leaders, local MPs and Australians recognised today for their services and achievements had gathered, including South Sudanese child soldier-turned-Blacktown lawyer Deng Thiak Adut and Olympic pentathlon champion Chloe Esposito.

Ms Berejiklian, just three days into her job as NSW Premier, told the diverse crowd the people of western Sydney valued respect and hard work, "and I can't think of two greater values that make us more Australian".

Standing in front of both the Australian and Aboriginal flags, she acknowledged the tens of thousands of years of Aboriginal history and said everyone should feel proud.

She spoke of her parents' move to Australia in the 1960s. "I don't think they would have thought, when I was four, that their daughter with a surname like Berejiklian would one day become the premier of NSW," she said, generating applause and cheering from the crowd.

"What I love about NSW is that it doesn't matter where you come from, or what your background, if you sign up to be an Australian citizen and support our community, you can achieve anything."

She remembers her own parents' citizenship ceremony, telling Fairfax Media: "It was the early '70s; I remember the day because I was allowed to have pink lemonade!"

In Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, hundreds of people at "invasion day" rallies chanted "always was, always will be Aboriginal land".

They called for the date of Australia Day to be changed, as January 26 was the day their land was invaded, the "beginning of all their troubles".


Changing the date of Australia day would be a condemnation of  Australia as we have it today

Which is of course the heartfelt desire of the Left -- but how many of us share that desire?  Most of us are glad to be who and what we are where and when we are

Australia should celebrate Australia Day on January 26 because it is right to do so. It is the day modern institutions, in our case British institutions, entered Australian life. They have brought with them the entire institutional and indeed ethical framework of modern Australia. They brought the rule of law, individual human rights, independent courts, free media, multiple centres of power in government.

Plenty of bad things have happened in our history but overwhelmingly Australia has been a force for good.

The arguments against changing the date from January 26 that were used last week — that it would be hard to achieve con­sensus for change, there is no obvious alternative date, changing Australia Day would imperil the cause of constitutional recognition for Aborigines, it won’t create any new jobs and won’t solve Aboriginal disadvantage — are all second-order arguments at best.

They are process arguments. Conservatives sometimes win a specific point at a specific moment with process arguments, but unless they make the arguments in principle, they mostly lose in the long run.

If we concede Australia Day is illegitimate, we concede to the shocking and corrosive argument that modern Australia is illegitimate. To do so would be to offer another victory in the slow, destructive march of identity politics through Western societies.

Some Aboriginal figures argue that Australia Day, which commemorates the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788, should be changed because to them it symbolises dispossession and invasion.

In 1788 Australia was not ­controlled by a single Aboriginal nation. It is as near as inevitable as anything in history could be that in the 18th or 19th century Australia would be colonised by one of the European powers. British colonialism was vastly more benign than the colonialism of other European powers.

Nonetheless it is absolutely clear that many bad things were done to Aborigines in the course of Australian history. The story is not all bad but there is plenty of bad to go round.

One of the many problems mixing identity politics with history and civic symbols is that absolutely nothing is pure enough to pass muster. The result is a ­salami slice assault on a nation’s legitimacy, and debilitating symbolic battles without end.

More important, nobody alive today is either guilty of, or can ­expect redress for, an event that occurred 230 years ago. The whole idea would be rendered instantly fatuous were it not for the larger derangement we suffer of ideological self-hatred and the glorification of victim status, especially if you don’t actually have to be a victim to claim the status.

To some extent, anyone can play this game. I am an Australian of Irish Catholic background. If ­anyone with close genetic connections to me was on the First Fleet, they were in chains. When the Sydney colony was first established, it was illegal to stage Catholic mass.

As it happens, as far as I know, my ancestors didn’t come to Australia until the end of the 19th century. No doubt their movements were influenced by the Irish famine, the Great Hunger, in the middle of the 19th century. Given the injustice of the system the British ran in Ireland and the official indifference to the famine, it has more claim to be described as a genocide — a million died and a million emigrated — than many similar episodes in history.

So Irish Australians could, if they wanted, make a song and dance about the perfidy of British imperialism and refuse to celebrate Australia Day. What utter, ridiculous, laughable nonsense such a position would represent. And what a destructive, negative, sterile attack on the legitimacy of the nation it would constitute.

One of the greatest achievements of Western civilisation over the past 2000 years, since Christianity introduced the radical notion of every person possessing an immortal soul and free will, has been the acceptance of the doctrine that human beings are not guilty of anything by virtue of their membership of a race or any other group. Nor, logically, can they inherit special rights.

If my father and grandfather were axe murderers, I am not an axe murderer, nor am I responsible for their crimes. If my father and grandfather were saints, I may yet be a villain.

One of the greatest achievements of modern Australia is that all citizens, whether they achieved citizenship yesterday or were born here, whether their parents are migrants or their ancestors lived in Australia for any number of generations, are absolutely equal in their civic status and before the law.

There are no exceptions. Once we make exceptions, we start to sacrifice the best, animating ideas behind our own society.

Australian institutions — the parliaments, the courts, the armed forces and all the rest — are good institutions. They have their shortcomings and we are always working to make them perform a bit better. We celebrate the birth of these modern institutions in Australia on January 26, a day that was first celebrated in ­Australia very early in the 19th century. In any national celebration, we understand that we are not celebrating perfection, especially not historical perfection, but rather celebrating an aspiration for the good.

The most circular and depressing argument for change is that a given date or symbol is not unifying because it does not have 100 per cent support. Logically, this gives virtually any activist group, certainly any group claiming to represent designated victims, the power to destroy symbols and institutions simply by making a noise, and preferably by producing a few violent demonstrations to showcase the “passion” of their cause.

It is offensive, but rightly not ­illegal, that some protesters burnt the Australian flag last week. But consider, if anyone was foolish enough to burn an Aboriginal flag, an act I would certainly find ­utterly offensive, they could ­surely be prosecuted under the ludicrous section 18C of the racial vilification laws, as they would surely have caused hurt and ­offence.

This sort of civic insanity produces something like the Donald Trump phenomenon. But the reason to oppose it, and to oppose changing the date of Australia Day, is not that. It is because Australia Day celebrates our nation, of which, with all its imperfections, we have, all of us, every right to be proud.


WA election: dying town of Collie last straw for lifelong Labor man

David Miller knew he had to do something. The electrical fitter from the West Australian coal town of Collie grew angry as Chin­ese and Indian investors bought the two local mines and hundreds of workers were forced to take pay cuts.

As the jobs disappeared, one of the two football teams in town, 200km southeast of Perth, was disbanded. He watched unemployment grow and drug use and crime increase, as it has in many other towns.

The final straw, he says, was Premier Colin Barnett’s election pledge to partially privatise Western Power, the electricity utility that Collie — home to three coal-fired power stations — relies on for much of its economic activity.

“The town is dying,” says Mr Miller, 55, who reckons both of Australia’s major political parties have lost touch with the concerns of voters in towns such as Collie.

So the lifelong Labor voter and former union shop steward decided to contest next month’s WA election for One Nation, a party he says is “honest” and can shake up a broken political system.

He is running in Collie-Preston­, a seat won narrowly by Labor in 2013 but now notionally Liberal after a redistribution.

And he may be in with a chance, with One Nation state leader Colin Tincknell nominating Collie-Preston as one of 10 lower-house seats he believes the resurgent party can win. A Newspoll survey in The Australian yesterday showed One Nation­’s share of the primary vote has soared from 3 per cent to 13 per cent since October. University of Western Australia election analyst William Bowe said Collie had a lot in common with areas of the US Midwest that swung so strongly behind Donald Trump.

Collie is considered One Nation­ heartland, given its strong support for the party during its heyday in the early 2000s.

Mr Bowe said if the swing against the Liberal Party on March 11 was strong, as expected, it was possible One Nation could win the seat on preferences.

Speaking in Collie yesterday, Mr Miller said he was motivated to run by the Barnett plan to sell 51 per cent of Western Power, a move that would slash state debt.

“If Barnett sells Western Power, within three years this place will be a ghost town,” he said.

He said he had lost faith in the Labor Party’s economic polices. “I’ve always voted Labor but Labor have forgotten who they are supposed to represent,” he said. “They talk and talk, but there’s no meat on the bones.”

On the streets of Collie, potential One Nation voters are not difficult­ to find. Trevor Barrett, 70, another former­ Labor voter, said his main motivation for backing One Nation­ was Senator Hanson’s strong stance on immigration. He said he was preparing to put a One Nation sign on his front lawn and would volunteer to man the booth on polling day. Mr Barrett­ claimed Labor wanted to bring thousands more Muslims into Australia and that he was given the cold shoulder by local Labor MP Mick Murray when he raised his concerns about this.

The retired mine worker said he believed that Australia should be looking after homeless people and war veterans before it welcomed more immigrants.

Unsurprisingly, he is gloomy about Collie’s prospects. “It’s pretty much dead,” he said.

But not everyone is so negative.

The head of Collie’s chamber of commerce, Glyn Yates, said business conditions in town were not as bad as many suggested.

He said that authorities were working on a long-term plan to diversify­ the region’s economy and he believed tourism and agriculture held plenty of potential.

“But there is no silver bullet,” Mr Yates 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

5 February, 2017

Federal government plan for clean coal power

The very term "clean" coal is a monstrous crock.  The claim is that CO2 is "dirty".  But we all breathe CO2 out.  Do we breathe out dirt?  And the idea that you can capture and store it is equally absurd.  It's possible in theory but the engineering challenges would make it monstrously expensive

The Turnbull government is planning to help fund the construction of new clean-coal-fired power stations­ in an extraordinary meas­ure to intervene in the looming energ­y security and pricing crisis.

In a move to address the premature closures of state power plants, the federal government will look to either repurpose plants or directly invest in the construction of new-generation coal-fired plants in partnership with the ­private sector. A senior government source confirmed Malcolm Turnbull had asked late last year for options to fund “ultra-super-critical power plants” to provide clean-coal alternatives and lower fuel costs, which would not only ­alleviate price pressure for consumers and business but arrest the decline in Australia’s competitive advantage in manufacturing.

In a direct challenge to the Labor states, and drawing the polit­ical battlelines with Bill Shorten, the Prime Minister yesterday blamed “huge” renewable ­energy targets set by Labor governments for pushing power prices to the highest of any OECD country.

In his first national address of the year, Mr Turnbull accused Labor yesterday of a “mindless rush” to renewables, and hinted that the government would intervene to protect prices and security of supply with a path to state-of-the-art coal-fired technology.

The Australian has confirmed that Mr Turnbull and senior ministers, including Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, have been in discussion­s since December on what exceptional measures the commonwealth could take to subsidise new coal-fired generation, as well as provide incentives to the states to lift the moratorium on new gas development, which is also having a crippling impact on reliability and prices.

“States are setting huge renewable targets, far beyond that of the national RET, with no consideration given to the baseload power and storage needed for stability,” Mr Turnbull said in a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra yesterday. “We will need more synchronous baseload power and, as the world’s largest coal exporter, we have a vested interest in showing that we can provide both lower emissions and reliable baseload power with state-of-the-art clean-coal-fired technology.”

Energy storage would also be a priority in the government’s ­energy policy, with Mr Turnbull claiming it had long been neg­lected in Australia.

“You’d think if anyone had a vested interest in showing that you could do really smart, clean things with coal it would be us, wouldn’t you? Who has a bigger interest than us? We are the biggest ­exporter. Yet we don’t have one power station that meets those requirements,” he said.

“This has got to be all about Australian families and Australian businesses, making sure that they can keep the lights on and, when they’re on, they can afford to pay the bill.

“And, yes, of course, we meet our emissions ­reduction targets.

“Nothing will more rapidly de-industrialise Australia and deter investment more than more and more expensive, let alone less ­reliable, energy.

“Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal, has invested $590 million since 2009 in clean-coal technology research and demonstration, and yet we do not have one modern high-efficiency, low emissions coal-fired power station, let alone one with CCS?”

Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos yesterday flagged the possibility of the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation being used to fund technology-neutral power sources, but would not reveal what the government might do.

“The whole issue is being looked at because we need now a systemic approach,’’ Senator Sinodinos told Sky News. “And Malcolm Turnbull I think is a good Prime Minister to do that.’’

Another government source close to the discussions said “it is very early days” but sites being raised as possibilities for new coal-fired power plants included in Queensland, the Hazelwood plant in Victoria, which is due to be mothballed next month, and the gas-fired plant site at Pelican Point in South Australia.

Scott Morrison, who recently led a push for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to include coal power as an option in the ­region as it transitions to higher levels of renewable energy, confirmed that new coal would be part of the government’s energy policy mix. “Coal is part of our energy ­future, coal is part of our security and energy security and affordability, and we will have more to say as time goes on but the Prime Minister made it very clear today that you cannot be technology ­dependent or biased in any way in this area nor can you be, frankly, resource dependent on these things,” the Treasurer said.

“It is about energy affordability, security and sustainability. That is what households, families need, it is what businesses need. And coal is part of that. We need to have an energy future that is inclusive of what has been one of our greatest energy advantages for 100 years.”

The Opposition Leader on Tuesday claimed his 50 per cent renewable energy target would create “real jobs ... for blue-­collar workers, jobs for engineers, jobs for designers’’.

Labor’s energy spokesman, Mark Butler, yesterday blamed the government for pushing up power prices because of uncertainty in the electricity market.

“Instead of addressing the investmen­t uncertainty facing the energy sector with sensible nation­al policy that would reduce the cost of electricity, improve reliability­ and cut pollution, the Prime Minister is actively causing prices to rise, security to suffer and pollution to grow,” he said.

But Mr Frydenberg said Labor had presided over a 100 per cent increase in power prices.

“Their record in government was a disaster,” the minister said. “Bill Shorten’s 50 per cent renewable energy target would require 10,000 wind turbines to be built between now and 2030.”

Latrobe City Council Mayor Kellie O’Callaghan welcomed Mr Turnbull’s statement, saying a clean-coal policy could mean a new power station to replace ­Hazelwood was back on the table.


Section 18C: a bad law that finds racism where there is none

My traditional Warlpiri culture is governed by stringent rules regarding the sharing of knowledge and what women can and cannot say in public, but I believe my people need cultural reform to allow more open and honest discussion so that women and children victims of violence are no longer ­silenced.

The domestic violence epidemic that has been played out in Aboriginal communities for decades is worsening, and the political correctness that suppresses freedom of speech is contributing to it.

Activism once sought to champion freedom of speech but has now turned on those wishing to practice that right who do not follow the left-green ideology, or ­simply if they are Caucasians addressing an issue relating to individuals who are not. The popular ideology of these people is that all Aboriginal people need to be protected from white people.

Political correctness is a set of rules that governs the way in which we use language about, or towards, minority groups so as not to offend them. Oddly, people of Caucasian backgrounds are exempt from this protection. They are fair game.

This means if we wish to expose horrible truths in order to address them to try to bring about real change, it can be misconstrued or branded “insulting” or “humiliating” to someone, somewhere who self-identifies as indigenous.

This is exactly what happened with Bill Leak’s cartoon. According to the unwritten rules of political correctness you must not speak of the reality of the circumstances Aboriginal people face unless you are Aboriginal, or can claim to be.

If a non-Aboriginal person attempts to address any of these issues and an Aboriginal person is offended, they can simply call out “racist” and the debate is shut down.

This is exactly the tactic that abusers of power, supporters of Aboriginal perpetrators of domestic violence and deluded individuals with an unhealthy victim mentality will use to shut down any honest debate about the plight of their fellow human beings.

This is the case even though a clear majority of those identifying as indigenous produce children with their fellow Australians who don’t. What, then, are the non-Aboriginal people to do in order to address any issues their Aboriginal or ethnic loved ones are facing? How are they supposed to deal with the issues causing incredible suffering to their fellow Australians who happen not to be white?

I believe 18C invalidates the idea that we are all human and hold differing opinions. It denies basic human nature that allows us critical thinking and the means to learn and grow. It is absurd that 18C ever became legislation.

It is my human right to argue that Aboriginal people have never been given the privilege that those of the West have had, the right to culturally evolve. We have been told we must remain in an unchanged culture. We have been exempt from constructive criticism, as has Islam in the West.

There are other points of comparison. If you criticise Islam, you risk a threat to your life. If you criticise Aboriginal people in any way, shape or form, you are labelled a racist or bigot if you are white. You may also risk a threat to your life if you are Aboriginal like me.

My life has been threatened because I wrote a piece telling the world that as an Aboriginal Australian I celebrate Australia Day.

The Racial Discrimination Act has made many who identify as indigenous believe they are exempt from its provisions. That they can’t be racist and therefore they feel free to insult, offend and humiliate whomever they please. They do it to white people and they do it to other Aboriginal people who refuse to follow the “party line”.

In Alice Springs a member of the public is far more likely to be randomly assaulted, physically or verbally, if they are perceived as “white” rather than “black”. Grossly offensive racist insults are used liberally in the streets of Alice Springs against white people. I have walked the streets of this town with my white friends to protect them from this sort of thing. But there have been no complaints under 18C, which is not seen as a protection of the rights of Australians generally. White Australians feel intimidated, not protected, by this act.

Both my mother (a senior Warlpiri woman and former minister of the crown) and I have been vilified in obscene sexist and racist terms by somebody who described themselves as an indigenous activist, because we refuse to be told what to think and say. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been called a coconut and much worse.

We have not once been insulted in racist terms by white people, not as far as we know. And if that happens we know how to defend ourselves. We aren’t victims, we aren’t afraid to stand up for our people and ourselves.

Our people are suffering and their problems are daunting and complex. We will not find the answers if we are denied the right to take part in an open and honest debate.

We can’t do that without offending those who are ideologically committed to the party line that has been laid down by the activists of the eastern cities and their white allies.

They are educated, speak English and know how to use the system against anybody with whom they disagree. We speak for the most marginalised, those whom the education system has failed, who are often illiterate and don’t speak standard English.

It is not just the white people who are closed down, it’s also the most marginalised and least powerful of the Aboriginal population who are denied a voice by the self-appointed spokespeople who know nothing of the circumstances in which they live. The agenda is controlled by an English-speaking Aboriginal middle class ignorant of the values and ­issues of those who live remotely.

The Racial Discrimination Act’s 18C treats us Aboriginal Australians as infants who can’t speak or stand up for ourselves. It treats non-Aboriginal people as if they have no right to hold an opinion about anything that relates to us, especially the problems of our own making that are killing us.

White people are not game to speak out. That should never be allowed to happen in a democracy.

The way to beat racism is through debate, not the closing down of debate.

The way forward for our people is cultural evolution.

We have an absolute right to find our own solutions, to find our own way forward out of this misery without being vilified by those who claim to be on our side and claim to speak for us.

Jacinta Nampijinpa Price is an Alice Springs councillor. This is an edited version of her submission to the parliamentary inquiry into freedom of speech


Kick this FWC circus out of the tent

The Fair Work Commission was a Labor Party creation

My guess is that the following might have escaped your attention. In last year’s mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, the Fair Work Commission was awarded an additional $16 million in cash appropriations over the forward estimates.

There had been no request for additional funding, although needless to say the extra cash was welcomed by the general manager. Why on earth the government would want to increase further the funding of the FWC is anyone’s guess. I thought the government was trying to repair the budget and impose efficiency dividends — code for cutting funding — on government departments and agencies. But evidently the FWC needs more.

The reason given was to fund investigations arising from the royal commission into trade union governance and corruption. But this isn’t the role of the FWC, particularly after the imminent termination of the division dealing with trade union regulation, a function that has been performed with utter dereliction and complete incompetence by the FWC.

And I should point out that the FWC received a boost of close to 12 per cent (to $85m) in funding from the taxpayer in 2015-16 compared with the previous financial year. Is this government insane?

Here is a chance to begin to defund an agency that kills jobs, and yet the government hands over even more dough than requested? (The same could be said of other regulatory agencies — the Australian Securities & Investment Commission has received an additional $122m over four years.)

The FWC is awash with cash. For example, it funded a ludicrous survey on workplace industrial relations which received a response rate of about 10 per cent. Even so, staff at the FWC — there are more than 300 — dutifully went about producing some completely meaningless and pointless analyses of the survey. Indeed, a conference was held, at taxpayers’ expense of course, to talk about the survey.

And then there is the excessive use of our money to contract out various functions of the FWC that should be undertaken by the actual members (commissioners, deputy presidents, vice-presidents — did I mention that the remuneration of the members ranges from $366,000 to $548,000 a year? The president is paid even more.)

Recently, a barrister with barely any experience in employment law was engaged to assist in the rewriting of modern awards as part of the award review process.

We are told the 122 awards are modern but they need to be rewritten in plain English, a point that has been made for the past 30 years, incidentally. A decision is made to engage an ill-informed outsider to help out. The current review of awards is so drawn out that it will likely overlap with the next review, which must be held every four years. Talk about making work.

Of course, if the focus of the award review process had been to bring these arcane documents into the modern era by slashing the clear over-regulation and interference with management rights that would be one thing. But, in fact, the convoluted process has led to the possibility of award entitlements being extended (and overturning precedents).

Throw in a costly survey of small businesses using a series of leading questions and it is clear why the FWC is overfunded and in serious need of efficiency measures and economy. But still the government doesn’t get it.

Given that many of the FWC members regard themselves as dab hands when it comes to productivity matters, there should be a lot of internal support for achieving better value for money for the taxpayers. (Pause for laughter.)

Mind you, since the members are statutory office-holders and are technically appointed by the governor-general, they effectively have no boss. Up to a point, they can determine their own work patterns and travel requirements. One member of the FWC — a keen sports lover — is wont to arrange his travel to fit in with major sporting events.

This so incensed another senior member of the FWC that he circulated an email to all members containing a photo of this person attending a sporting event and words to the effect of “gotcha”. It’s not only politicians who get up to these tricks.

And then there was the case of a member who decided that it suited her to live in another city, so she simply moved without informing the then president. Even the current president has shown a keenness to switch cities. Like many public sector agencies, there is a clear 80/20 rule going on at the FWC. Twenty per cent of the members undertake the vast bulk of the (statutory) workload.

A number of members has decided it is more fun advising companies on how to improve workplace relations and lift productivity — the mind boggles given the background of most members — and spend their time doing this rather than the more mundane roles envisaged by the act.

If you want a laugh, you should go to latest annual report (titled Continuing Momentum) and read about the “new approaches”. There is a case study written up about improving relations between Patrick and the Maritime Union of Australia. It’s quite hilarious until you realise that we are paying for this wasteful claptrap.

With the May budget coming up, here is the government’s big chance. It is clear that the real demand for the services of the FWC is in decline. The number of applications for approval of enterprise agreements is in free-fall, for example.

A lot of what the FWC does is just make-work: the processes are deliberately prolonged. The “new approaches” program is a total joke.

Time to swing the axe. There will be widespread cheering when this happens.


Australian surf kills unwary Asians

On a Sunday morning in North Steyne, north of Sydney, a small, glassy swell is rolling in. My twins, nine, are part of a rolling maul of nippers on the beach. They are the only children from a South-East Asian background as far as the eye can see.

Last summer, we were members of another club nearby in Dee Why. There I met Cicy, a nurse originally from Kerala, India, and her son Rishi. We bonded because in this vanilla white part of Sydney - home ground for two former political heavyweights, ex-NSW premier Mike Baird and ousted prime minister Tony Abbott - we were among the very few nipper parents with obviously ethnic kids.

Cicy works in the intensive care unit at Manly Hospital. Like me, she enrolled her child because of her fears of what can happen - often suddenly and silently - out there in the Australian surf. "I wanted him to be confident with water because I have looked after patients who have [ended up] dying or have nearly died from drowning. Unfortunately, all of them Asians."

Like Cicy, my childhood holidays were spent in South-East Asian oceans as benign and warm as bathtubs. There was no fierce, raging, unpredictable surf, no sudden rips dragging you out to sea.

I learnt to swim but never felt at ease in Australia's surf. As a teen growing up in the Sutherland Shire, I was rolled one day by a giant wave at Garie Beach in the Royal National Park. I still remember that panicky, choking feeling, salt water in my throat, no air, the sense of being caught in a violently thrashing washing machine.

For years since, I have dreamed of huge waves rearing up from flat oceans like cobras. When I enter the sea now, I stand waist deep and head on, defiant, scanning the horizon. Every wave is a potential tsunami.

For many immigrant Australians - particularly non-European - the beach is not that bucolic playground and national symbol we so prize. Instead, Australians like us regard the sea with suspicion and, in some cases, an atavistic fear.

Many of us don't come from swimming cultures - most of my older family members, friends and relatives can't swim at all. Many of us hail from landlocked parts of the world - Afghanistan, Laos, Nepal. Many of us can't read the sea, don't understand how quickly Australian beaches and waterways can turn treacherous.
A childhood friend from Malaysia, Andre, jokes that "maybe we're genetically not suited to the water". He says that an Aussie swim coach who used to chuck learners into the deep end back in Australia told him he was shocked to find in Malaysia that "Asian kids just sank to the bottom like rocks".

It's been a bad summer for drowning, with 59 fatalities nationally since December. The victims represent a roll call of ethnicities. Henry Tran, two, dead in a fishpond. Tu'ipulotu Gallaher, 14, lost off Maroubra. Nepalese international student Sujan Adhikari, 29, dead at Wattamolla Lagoon. In the Murrumbidgee River, Peter Abd-El Kaddous, 42. At a water hole in the Bents Basin State Conservation area near Greendale, Mohamed Amine Hamza. Young Indian international student Anudeep Varri in Lake Bellfield, Melbourne.

Any of us - old, young, male, female, black, white - can drown. But Australian state and national water safety bodies, from Austswim to Life Saving Victoria to the Royal Life Saving Society, say that Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds - known as the CALD demographic and encompassing overseas tourists, migrants and international students - are particularly vulnerable.

The Australian coast is particularly dangerous. The Surf Life Saving Australia National Coastal Safety Report 2016 found that 30 per cent of the 130 people who lost their lives in 2015/2016 were born overseas, continuing a 12-year trend.

All say the figures are likely to be much higher as place of birth is often unrecorded. And as Australian society grows increasingly multicultural, it represents a growing public health challenge, says the Royal Life Saving Society's Alison Mahony.

Factors behind this increased risk range from lack of swimming skills to cultural reasons such as female modesty, to socio-economic barriers such as cost and access to pools. Authorities have come up with strategies ranging from multilingual videos to culturally sensitive swimming programs for migrant women and children.

My children have little fear. The sea is welcoming. But for me, it's different. That rogue wave is always waiting so I don't turn my back on the sea - ever.


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 February, 2017

Trump criticizes Obama refugee deal

I entirely agree with Mr Trump.  If Australia won't have these galoots, why should America?

DONALD Trump has tweeted his disapproval of a “dumb deal” to take refugees from Australia just hours after details emerged of a hostile conversation he had with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the weekend.

The US President was apparently angry about having to honour an agreement to take refugees from Manus Island and Nauru, and blasted Mr Turnbull over the deal during a call on Saturday.

Details of the angry conversation came to light after days of conflicting reports about whether the US would honour the deal negotiated by the Obama administration.

Following an awkward press conference where Mr Turnbull refused to comment about the discussion, the US Embassy in Australia released a statement that the deal would go ahead.

But about 3pm (AEDT) Mr Trump took to Twitter to reveal his personal thoughts, posting: “Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!”.

In comments this afternoon on Sydney radio station 2GB, Mr Turnbull said he was surprised and disappointed there was an apparent leak of the details of the call in Washington, and that these types of calls usually remained completely confidential.

“The report that the President hung up is not correct, the call ended courteously,” Mr Turnbull said.

But when asked whether Mr Trump actually said “this was the worst call by far” during the conversation, Mr Turnbull said he did not want to go into any further details.

The PM also remained confident about the deal going ahead despite Mr Trump’s tweet, saying there was a commitment from the President, confirmed several times by the government.


Judge slams ‘racist sentiment’ and says law will uphold fairness

A very strange blast from the ivory tower:  Judge uses something that happened in 1888 to criticize Australians today.  There is not even a valid analogy.  What the Abbott/Turnbull government has done is entirely within the law

THE state’s top judge has launched a stunning attack on “popular sentiment’’ and “xenophobia’’ in Australia, claiming only he and his fellow judicial officers — not the government — could be relied upon to promote fairness and equality.

During a controversial speech to officially open the 2017 law year last night, Chief Justice Tom Bathurst claimed the rule of law in Australia was in danger because of rampant racism, in a clear attack on populist government policies on immigration.

Coming in the middle of US President Donald Trump’s crackdown on Muslim immigrants and the Brexit vote by Britain to quit the European Union, Chief Justice Bathurst’s choice of topic to mark the start of the new law term will be seen as pointedly political.

“It should give us pause that one of the most serious threats to the rule of law in Australia was grounded in xenophobia,” Chief Justice Bathurst said, echoing concerns expressed by his left-leaning predecessor Jim Spigelman.

The chief justice referred to a historic legal case which could be seen as a parallel to current immigration policies.

In 1888, the NSW government ordered police to stop Chinese passengers getting off a ship which had arrived in Sydney Harbour. After a legal challenge by one of the passengers, the Supreme Court ruled that the detention of the passengers was illegal.

Nevertheless the government of the day stood its ground and “maintained this defiance of the rule of law for a considerable period of time”, leading the then-chief justice to “admonish the government’s actions as unprecedented and in flagrant disregard of the law”, Chief Justice Bathurst said.

He said the government finally gave in.

The story demonstrated the role of the judiciary and the legal profession in promoting equality, fairness and the rule of law “in spite of popular sentiment”, the chief justice said.

He said the “inflammatory” language of the NSW Premier Sir Henry Parkes in 1888 would be familiar today.

Sir Henry had defended his government’s actions, dismissing the court ruling as “technical” and saying “there is one law which overrides all others and that is the law of preserving the peace and welfare of civil society”.

Chief Justice Bathurst said confidence in the justice system was crucial for victims to be willing to report crimes, witnesses to be willing to testify, and the community to be ready to “peacefully” accept court verdicts and comply with court orders — “even those which are vehemently disagreed with”.


Backlash over Malcolm Turnbull’s $1.75m donation to Liberal Party

A politician cannot contribute to his own campaign??? A very strange idea

Malcolm Turnbull has hit back at Bill Shorten over Labor claims he “bought himself an election”, saying that unlike the Opposition Leader, he is his own man, and not a wholly owned union subsidiary.

The Prime Minister revealed last night that he had made the contribution, which was not included in yesterday’s Australian Electoral Commission disclosures because it was paid during the current financial year.

After dodging questions about the amount at a Press Club address yesterday, the Prime Minister later confirmed the figure during a 7.30 interview.

Today Mr Turnbull said that in donating $1.75 million to the Liberal Party, he was putting his money where his mouth is.

“I have contributed my money, my after-tax money, to the Liberal Party, standing up for the values that I believe are critically important for Australia’s future,” Mr Turnbull told reporters at a media conference.

“I can’t be bought by anyone. I’m not a wholly-owned subsidiary of the CFMEU like Bill Shorten. “I’m my own man, and Bill Shorten hates that.”

Mr Turnbull said Mr Shorten hated his good fortune and financial independence. “He goes out there every day and he attacks me for having done well, paid tax, made a quid, bought a nice house,” he said.  “He hates that, and he calls me Mr Harbourside Mansion.

“He has lived off trade unions or governments all his life.”

Mr Turnbull said Mr Shorten had never invested or created a business which gave jobs to people.  “I believe in investing, I believe in jobs, I believe in building the economy that employs the vast majority of Australians - 87 per cent of Australians work in the private sector,” he said.

“Mr Shorten doesn’t like any of that.”  Mr Turnbull said Mr Shorten was preoccupied with the politics of envy.

“My contributions to the Liberal Party were made out of my after-tax dollars.”

He said the contributions the CFMEU had made to the Labor Party were pre-tax.  “That was, in effect, a tax subsidy given to their donations,” he said.

“We were massively outspent in the election campaign by a combination of Labor, the unions and organisations like GetUp! .

“It’s obvious how many more ads were in supporting the Labor Party in the election versus our side.  “They had a big financial advantage and I’m proud to be able to say that I’m my own man.”

Bishop defends Turnbull

Earlier Foreign Minister Julie Bishop defended the Prime Minister’s $1.75 million donation to the Liberal Party, saying he had disclosed it 12 months before he was legally obliged to do so.

“I welcome the fact that our Prime Minister is prepared to invest his own money in causes in which he believes and that includes the Liberal Party,” she said.

“(Opposition Leader) Bill Shorten should be answering questions about the millions of dollars that the unions funnel into the Labor Party, in return for what?


Australia celebrates record trade surplus as exports of coal and iron boom

December's record trade surplus is good news for corporate profits and the government's triple A rating. But economists expect the impact on the real economy to be muted.

Economists were shocked on Thursday as the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed Australia had a $3.51 billion trade surplus in December - well above the forecast $2.2 billion. It is the largest trade surplus for Australia since the data began to be recorded in July 1971.

For the December quarter as a whole, the country notched up a surplus of $4.8 billion in a startling turnaround from the previous quarter's $3.8 billion shortfall. Exports jumped 5.3 per cent to a record $32.6 billion, led by 14 per cent month-on-month leap in coal exports and a 10 per cent rise in iron ore exports. Imports edged up only 0.7 per cent.

Australia's export boom is all the more remarkable for occurring "in a world of weak trade growth and rising fears of protectionism",? wrote HSBC economists Paul Bloxham and Daniel Smith. "We have been writing about this story since September, but it is now very clearly showing up in the official trade numbers."

The bumper trade balance would add between 0.2 per cent and 0.4 per cent to the fourth-quarter GDP growth figures, NAB economist Tapas Strickland said.

"That should eliminate any fears out there that Australia was at risk of recording a 'technical recession' after the weak third-quarter GDP figures." A "technical recession" is when GDP contracts for two quarters in a row - Australia's GDP fell 0.5 per cent in the third quarter of 2016.

The trade surplus would sharply shrink the fourth-quarter current account deficit, helping the government maintain Australia's AAA credit rating, CBA chief economist Michael Blythe said.


New system for ranking universities

I don't quite see the point of it.  What's so good about "internationalness"? I would have thought that it impeded learning.  There was a Chinese law lecturer at my alma mater -- the University of Qld -- a few years ago who had to be sent on leave because the students couldn't understand a word of his "English"

Australia has achieved stellar ­results in a new league table of universities which has inverted the world order by ranking US institutions as also-rans.

Five Australian institutions claimed top-25 places in the Times Higher Education’s ranking of the most international universities, a new measure that takes account of the proportion of international staff and students and the strength of international reputations and cross-border ­research collaborations.

Australian National University claimed seventh spot, sandwiched between British heavyweights Oxford and Cambridge at sixth and eighth. Other local highlights included the universities of NSW (14th), Melbourne (18th), Monash (21st) and Sydney (24th). The table’s upper ranks are dominated by institutions in Britain, Australia and small trading hubs where English is widely spoken. Swiss institutions ETH Zurich and the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne claimed the top two places, followed by the University of Hong Kong and National University of Singapore.

The top 20 also includes institutions in Canada and France, but none in the US. Massachusetts Institute of Technology claimed 22nd space, followed by Harvard (33rd), Stanford (36th) and Princeton (37th). All four are in the top 10 of university rankings.

Analysts say the league table, compiled before the Trump presidency, is a sign of things to come as the US’s inward-looking stand isolates it from global talent pools. Britain’s international standing is also set to fall because of onerous visa settings and the withdrawal from the EU, and Australia is well placed to capitalise, they say.

ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt, an American-born Nobel laureate, credited an external focus “built into our DNA” for the university’s success.

“We want to be able to bring expertise and knowledge from around the world to answer the big questions,” Professor Schmidt said. “We go after the best people. We’re in elite company and that gives us opportunities to go out and build on our strengths.”

Analyses have found that the average distance between collaborating researchers has more than quadrupled since 1980, and studies are now mostly cited in countries where they were not undertaken.

“It is simply not possible to achieve high levels of excellence without being open to the world,” ETH Zurich president Lino Guzzella said. “I know of no top university that does not have a substantial percentage of its ­faculty, students and workforce that are international.”

Malaysian-born Hoe Tan said there were 32 nationalities in ANU’s research school of physics, where he is deputy head. He said his own field of nanotechnology was “very internationalised”, with foreign collaborations boosting results and the prospects of ­commercialisation.

“Not only does it help in terms of research, but also in terms of the students’ experience,” ­Professor Tan said.

Times Higher Education World University Rankings editor Phil Baty said the US and Britain were sending out “powerful messages that are likely to deter international talent”.

“Australia is one of the key ­nations best placed to capitalise and bolster the overall performance of its universities,” he said.

Professor Schmidt said Australia’s international outlook helped counterbalance the “meagre resources” allocated to its universities. He said that while US institutions had far more resources their domestic focus worked against 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

2 February, 2017

Trump may not proceed with Obama refugee deal with  Australia

The White House has backtracked on a promise to honour a refugee deal with Australia, saying President Donald Trump is still considering whether it will go ahead.

The clarification came soon after White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the deal was going ahead provided the refugees were subjected to "extreme vetting" procedures.

In a follow-up phone call to the ABC, a White House source said if the President does decide to honour the deal, it will only be because of America's "longstanding relationship with Australia".

Earlier Mr Spicer said the deal, struck between the Obama administration and Turnbull Government, would include approximately 1,250 refugees, many from countries covered by the new administration's bans on entry to residents from seven majority Muslim nations.

"There will be extreme vetting applied to all of them," he said.

"That is part and parcel of the deal that was made, and it was made by the Obama administration with the full backing of the United States Government."

According to the latest statistics from the Immigration Department, there are 871 people on Manus Island and 383 people on Nauru.

The ABC understands most of the refugees are from Iran, with some also from Iraq and Somalia, three of the countries on the Trump administration's travel ban list.

At a briefing earlier, US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said "we are looking at various options right now" with regard to "extreme vetting".

"There are many countries — seven that we are dealing with right now — that in our view don't have the kind of law enforcement, records keeping that can convince us that one of their citizens is indeed who that citizen says they are and what their background might be," he said.

"So we are developing what additional vetting, extreme vetting might look like, and we will certainly work with countries on this."

On Saturday the President put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the US and temporarily barred travellers with passports from seven Muslim-dominated countries.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull spoke with Mr Trump by phone on Sunday, during which time it is understood the President agreed to honour the deal.

Before the call, Mr Turnbull said there was a section in Mr Trump's executive order which stated officials could still admit refugees under pre-existing international agreements.

The ABC understands that section was included in the final version of the executive order after the Prime Minister's office intervened.

"We are very confident and satisfied that existing arrangements will continue," Mr Turnbull said before the call.

"It's quite clear that the administration has set out in the order the ability to deal with existing arrangements."

Last week senior Australian Government sources said they were confident the orders would not impact the deal to resettle refugees currently on Manus Island and Nauru, entered into late last year with former president Barack Obama.

Authorities had hoped to begin moving people to the US at the start of this year.


In crackdown on illegal immigration, Australia has led the world

The writer below seems to think that is a bad thing but makes no mention of the arguments against illegal immigration -- such as the high rate of welfare dependency among the groups principally concerned

Many have expressed opposition and abhorrence towards US President Donald Trump’s plan to deport undocumented migrants en masse from the United States.

Last Wednesday, Trump signed executive orders vowing to deport or incarcerate an estimated 2-3 million non-citizens who have been charged with or convicted of a crime; who have “abused” public welfare programs; and who, in the opinion of an immigration officer, “pose a risk to public safety or national security”.

A further executive order instructed the US Department of Homeland Security to publish a “weekly list” of crimes committed by undocumented migrants. When signing the order, the president – performing a kind of dark political pageant – recited names of Americans allegedly murdered by undocumented migrants.

Before Trump, the Obama administration deported more than 2.5 million immigrants from the time he took office until 2015, more than any other US president. Two-thirds of deportees had committed only minor infractions, such as driving without a license or jumping a turnstile. Others had no criminal record at all. In the same period, detention of non-citizens increased by 25%.

Trump’s executive orders may take racialised border control, Islamophobia and aggressive deportation of non-citizens to new extremes. But in the last two decades, successive Australian governments have paved the way in showing there is no rock bottom when it comes to strict treatment of refugees and non-citizens.

On Monday, former Australian immigration minister, Scott Morrison, boasted that “the world is catching up to Australia” by implementing harsh border protection policies. The executive in Australia can already deport adult non-citizens found guilty or suspected of criminal offences. These powers apply to all non-citizens, including people who have lived in Australia for most of their lives or whose immediate family are Australian citizens.

The Turnbull government has repeatedly trumpeted its offshore detention centres, where asylum seekers are held in conditions that have been described by the UN as amounting to torture, as the prototype for tough border control. Indeed, this week Turnbull “welcomed” the US to “emulate” Australia’s approach.

US and Australian border control policies comprise part of what US law professor Juliet Stumpf has called the “crimmigration crisis”: a trend of migration law – with its largely unfettered and unscrutinised executive powers – encroaching on the distinct regime of the criminal law, and vice versa.

A symptom of this crimmigration crisis is that immigration officials increasingly adopt a “law and order” approach to migration control. Police resources are diverted away from prosecuting criminal offences and towards policing “irregular” or “undocumented” migrants. Non-citizens live in a perpetual state of anxiety, fearful that their interactions with police, state welfare agencies, their employers or their neighbours, might result in an allegation that could lead to their removal. Penalties imposed on non-citizens are often cruelly disproportionate to their alleged transgressions.

The Australian government has expanded its visa cancellation powers against non-citizens for criminal or “anti-social” conduct across three key areas.

The first is on “character grounds”. The immigration minister may cancel a visa if s/he reasonably suspects a non-citizen does not pass the character test. Changes introduced under former prime minister Tony Abbott in 2014 significantly expanded these powers.

Before 2014, two consecutive years of imprisonment were required as grounds for visa cancellation. Now, a person may not pass the character test if they are serving a sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment; if the minister reasonably suspects the person is “associated” with someone involved in criminal conduct ; if the minister foresees a risk that they may engage in criminal conduct; or if the person harasses, molests, intimidates or stalks someone in Australia.

Between 2013–14 and 2015–16, the number of visa cancellations on character grounds increased tenfold. In 2015-16, the immigration minister Peter Dutton cancelled 983 visas on character grounds.

The Australian government has signalled its intention to expand these already-broad powers. This year, Dutton announced that a parliamentary committee was looking at lowering the age for visa cancellation on character grounds to include children of 16 or 17 years. This would allow the commonwealth to further encroach on “law and order” issues including Victoria’s Apex gang-related problems. Such criminal justice issues are ordinarily within the purview of state and territory governments.

The second category of visa cancellation exists for actual or suspected criminals. The minister may cancel the bridging visas of people who have committed or are suspected of committing a crime. Between 29 June 2013 and 9 October 2016, the minister used these powers to cancel 322 bridging visas of so-called “illegal maritime arrivals”.

These migration law powers reverse the fundamental presumption of innocence under Australian common law. An asylum seeker charged with, but not convicted of, a crime may have just 10 minutes to make their case against visa cancellation.

At the close of 2016, the Commonwealth Ombudsman released two reports expressing serious concerns about the exercise and scope of the minister’s immigration powers. The Ombudsman found that people whose visas had been cancelled faced “unnecessarily prolonged and potentially indefinite periods of immigration detention”. This is due to the combination of delays in the resolution of criminal charges and a neglectful, under-resourced immigration case management system.

One of the government’s unprecedented initiatives was when in 2013, it introduced a code of behaviour for asylum seekers living in the community. This code, which all bridging visa holders over 18 must sign, forbids asylum seekers from engaging in “antisocial” or “disruptive” activities including spitting, swearing, bullying, being “disrespectful” or “inconsiderate”. It demands that asylum seekers respect “Australian values” and cooperate with government authorities. If accused of a breach, an asylum seeker (not the minister) must prove s/he did not engage in the alleged behaviour.

Consequences of breaching the code are severe. They include being sent to an onshore or offshore detention centre (such as Nauru or Manus Island); reduced (already meagre) income support payments; and separation of the family unit.

In recent protests against the “Muslim ban” in New York, demonstrators shouted “let them stay” outside the courthouse that placed a temporary stay on the ban. This demand is all-too familiar to Australians who oppose the government’s treatment of asylum seekers.

Trump’s executive orders against non-citizens constitute crimmigration in action. Rather than sigh with relief in the knowledge that we are not living in Trump’s America, Australians should recognise how his policies are founded and reflected in our own


Jobless rate among Middle Eastern migrants doubles

High rate of parasitism

MIDDLE Eastern migrants are piling on to the dole queue — with a 33 per cent jobless rate during their first five years in Australia.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal the unemployment rate among recent immigrants from the Middle East has doubled in a decade, with one-in-three out of work.

Migrants from the Middle East and North Africa are also three times more likely than European or Asian immigrants to be out of work in the first five years of settlement. And their 33 per cent jobless rate is six times higher than the national average.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data reveals Middle Eastern migrants are having more trouble finding jobs than other immigrants.

Asian and European ­immigrants have an even lower jobless rate than ­Australian-born workers, after living here five to nine years.

But among Middle Eastern jobseekers, the unemployment rate is an alarming 17.5 per cent.

This compares to 3.6 per cent for southeast Asian migrants, and 1.9 per cent for those from southern and eastern Europe.

Australian National University economist Bob Gregory said most Middle Eastern migrants were refugees, and English language skills were “crucial’’ to finding work. “Refugees have very high unemployment and this lasts for a very long time,’’ Emeritus Professor Gregory said.

“Asian migrants are nearly all tertiary graduates and study here — this makes job finding easier.’’

Australia granted 15,552 humanitarian visas during 2015/16, with most given to refugees from Iraq, Syria, Myanmar and Afghanistan.

The number of Iraqi-born migrants living in Australia has grown by 38 per cent in the last decade, to more than 63,000. And the number of Syrian settlers is set to double after the federal government promised to take 12,000 as refugees.

The Department of Social Services said newly settled refugees “often undergo a ­period of adjustment and ­require training, such as English language tuition, before seeking employment’’.

“Refugees can make significant economic contributions to Australia by helping to fill labour shortages,’’ a spokesman said.

“Like any other significant number of new migrants, they bring a range of skills, knowledge, and innovative work and business practices’’.

The spokesman said refugees did not have to wait two years for welfare payments, like other migrants.

Refugees receive up to 510 hours of free English language tuition and the federal government is spending $22 million on training and support for young jobseekers on humanitarian visas.

University of Newcastle Emeritus Professor Terry Lovat, who studied the job outcomes of Islamic workers for the Immigration Department, called for “blind resumes’’ to stop employers discriminating on grounds of names or photos.

“The name ‘Mohammad’ could put people off and women have an issue if they wear the hijab,” he said. “That becomes more of an issue if (job applications) include a photo.”


Former Melbourne detective lifts lid on culture of fear inside Victoria Police

A FORMER senior police officer believes a culture of fear within the force is creating "horrible and tragic" outcomes because officers only act "when their hand is forced".

The former cop, who served for 20 years in Victoria Police, said he didn't blame frontline police for not taking action in some circumstances because they were lashed by the public when things went wrong.

Police tactics - in particular around the pursuit of vehicles - has been hotly debated since Dimitrious `Jimmy' Gargasoulas, 26, allegedly killed five people on January 20 by running them down in a car in Melbourne's CBD. Police had been trying to capture him for 16 hours before the deaths in Bourke St Mall.

Much of the dismay has been directed at why the accused driver wasn't boxed in or forced from the road before he arrived in the city centre. The police union has claimed senior officers twice refused permission to ram Gargasoulas.

"The police are not really to blame for their failure to take action. It is the hierarchy and community that has created a police force that is afraid of negative consequences and punishment if they make the wrong call - so situations are allowed to escalate to a point where their hand is forced, so to speak," the former cop said.

He drew parallels with the hostage crisis in Sydney's Martin Place in December 2014.

"A similar case was the Lindt cafe in Sydney where once again the police took no action until a hostage had been shot," he said. "You only have to look at what is said about police every time there is a shooting."

The officer, who asked not to be identified, told the "horrible and tragic outcomes" happened because "our police" were too afraid to take action.

"There needs to be greater community discussion about what we expect from our police. Night courts have been tried before and didn't help, we have police in armoured trucks and dressed like soldiers already and that cannot be the answer if the police feel powerless to act until a person has died."

The former Melbourne detective said risk aversion was nothing new and really began to creep in during the 1990s when Project Beacon was introduced. The aim of Project Beacon was to retrain all Victoria Police officers in alternatives to firing their guns, where protection of human life was the number one priority. It was brought about because of a rising number of fatal police shootings.

Under the "Safety First Philosophy" the success of an operation was primarily judged on the extent to which the use of force is avoided or minimised, according to a report by the Victorian police watchdog the Office of Public Integrity.

"It really started way back then. In response to the outcry over the police shootings, frontline police were trained to stand back and wait... basically do nothing until reinforcements and specially trained police arrived. That culture against risk really started more than 20 years ago and is ingrained throughout the force.

"It's very difficult on frontline police who see what needs to be done but are stopped from doing so in case all the armchair experts whack them for making the wrong call."

Deputy Victoria Police Commissioner Andrew Crisp told media on Wednesday there had to be a balance between protecting the community and its members and officers would not pursue offenders driving on the wrong side of the road or at high speed.

He said real-life pursuits are not like they are in the movie Lethal Weapon where, when cars are shot at, the driver dies and the car stops immediately.

"It's extremely difficult to shoot at a moving vehicle. It's even more difficult to hit a tyre ... the vehicle will not stop, it will travel forward," he told reporters.

"There's every likelihood we might miss the vehicle and who knows where that round or those rounds might go."

He denied Victoria Police was soft on crime. "We are not a risk averse organisation. We attend critical incidents day in and day out and we resolve those incidents. If you want to talk about being risk averse then I will talk about safety, and it is critical our members go home every day."

He was "extremely disappointed" an email he sent to members last September was reported this week in the media as a "directive". In fact, he said, it was a "safety message" following an increase in offenders ramming police vehicles.

The email told officers not to shoot at or intercept stolen or suspect cars. "Plan your approach and response when intercepting a stolen or suspect vehicle - time is on your side," the email read, as published by the Herald Sun on Wednesday.

Victoria's police union said there is "burning anger" among officers in the wake of the Bourke Street rampage over policies they believe prevent them from intercepting "drug-crazed lunatics".

"Our members' views around the current pursuit policy range from great disappointment to burning anger," Police Association of Victoria assistant secretary Bruce McKenzie said.

"The current pursuit policy handcuffs them considerably when it ought to be our members who are handcuffing the drug-crazed lunatics that seem to be appearing on our streets."


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

1 February, 2017

'The best country in the world' and Australian patriotism: Contrasted with some other countries

A typically Leftist scorn for patriotism below.  He gives no real reason for scorn.  He just says at length that he dislikes it. 

But he is right that there has been an upsurge of it in Australia in recent times.  Why? It's of a piece with the rise of Trump in the USA, Pauline Hanson in Australia and dislike of the EU in Britain.  It's a reaction to the political correctness that's been forced down out throats since the '90s -- with its fundamental assumption that all men are equal. 

Australians, Americans and Britons DON'T feel equal to everyone else.  We feel that we live in countries that are a blessing compared with most of the rest of the world's countries and we are pleased about that.  And why not? It is we who have made our countries what they are.

The author below hints that patriotism could morph into nationalism and racism but the evidence is against that.  Various surveys have found patriotism and racism to be uncorrelated.  And let us look at the inevitable comparison with prewar Germany.  Nazism arose not from a patriotic culture but from the decadent  rejection of all values in the Weimar republic

And national pride is low in Sweden.  Why?  With the huge crime problem that they have as a result of their admission to their country of large numbers of aggressive Muslim immigrants,  I wouldn't be very happy with my country under those circumstances  either

Patriotism is on the rise in Australia. Australia wasn't always like this. You would only have to go back 10 years or so to find a time when patriotism was something you kept pretty much to yourself, when flags were only waved at the cricket, and chest-thumping zeal was laughed at.

But it seems like the country is different now. We used to shake our heads at the Americans with all their flags and their sincerity, but now the same thing is happening here. As we approach another Australia Day, as people ready their fake Aussie flag tattoos, and their Aussie flag beach towels, and their Aussie flag bikinis and boardshorts, and even the odd Aussie flag cape, you can't help but wonder why patriotism has become so overt, and so necessary.

There's no shortage of people who do, either. A survey by the market research company YouGov last year found that 34 per cent of Australians thought their country was the best in the world. Compare that to five per cent in France, or six per cent in Vietnam.

Patriotism is on the rise, and it's not confined to Australia country. There are plenty of places you can travel to and find people devoted to their nation: the USA, the bastion of patriotism; New Zealand, where All Blacks jerseys are fashion items; Chile, with its fierce devotion; and even England, where St George crosses seem to be increasingly popular.

Is this a problem? Definitely, if you agree with the old quote from Briton Samuel Johnson: "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." You only have to look at Donald Trump's America, or Rodrigo Duterte's Philippines, to be troubled by the rise of hardline nationalism.

It doesn't have to be this way though. While many Australians, and many more around the world, seem keen to find some sort of pride in their nationality, there are a few refreshing examples around the world of nations who aren't obsessed with their own greatness.

Only seven per cent of Swedes claim their country is the best in the world. Travelling to these places is a joy. There's no need to pretend to locals that this country you're in is perfect - you can engage in critical discussion without worrying about offending anyone. And sometimes these places are great purely because they aren't so obsessed with themselves.

Take Germany, for example. Despite the recent rise of far-right protest groups such as Pegida, Germans as a whole remain fearful of patriotism. This is due, unfortunately, to a horrific modern history of events that were powered by a "Germany first" mentality. However, that lack of nationalism these days makes a refreshing change.

German flags are confined to sporting arenas. The nation's culture is celebrated, but not in a way that says to the world that it's better than everyone else's. You're free to enjoy things like beer festivals and Christmas markets and musical performances without being made to feel that your own culture is inferior.

An unpatriotic country can be a beautiful thing. Sweden - prosperous, perfect Sweden - is far from nationalistic. That YouGov survey found only seven per cent of Swedes would claim that their country was the best in the world. That's the same as Singapore.

As a traveller, that lack of patriotism means no sitting through endless conversations about how amazing Sweden is and how the rest of the world is worse. You can just enjoy it for what it is - and there's plenty there to enjoy.

Rather than demonstrate a shortage of pride, the absence of all that flag-waving in Sweden is indicative of the country's easy confidence, of its citizens' quiet belief that everything there is all right. That's far nicer than having everyone scream at you that they're the greatest.

Other countries might not have the same levels of confidence, but still, the lack of patriotism is equally welcome. Vietnam is still ideologically split, in many ways, between north and south, and hence is not a place where national pride is taken too seriously.

Slovakians, despite only having been able to call themselves such for a relatively small amount of time, are also notoriously reticent to wave the flag. Latvians are the same.

It's nice to spend time in these countries, to see an alternative approach to the business of existing in this world. It's less about tribalism, and maybe more about just getting on with your life and not defining yourself by where you happened to be born.
Australia used to be more like that. Let's hope we return.


Pauline Hanson praises Trump's immigration ban - but says it doesn't go far enough because Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan aren't on the blacklist

Pauline Hanson says Donald Trump's migration ban doesn't go far enough.

The One Nation leader has weighed into the U.S. president's executive  order banning citizens and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

'President Trump's protections against Islamic extremism are a good start but I would go further and include Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia,' she tweeted to her 19,800 followers on Monday.

Senator Hanson said President Trump also needed to target states with known links to Islamic extremism in a bid to reduce the threat of terror attacks.

'The people of America have elected Donald Trump because they wanted to regain control of their borders and protect themselves against the influence and threat of radical Islamic terrorism,' she said in a statement.

Travellers from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya and Somalia and Yemen are already being banned from entering the United States for 90 days.

But Afghanistan was excluded, even though it is home to Taliban militants.

The list also fails to include Saudi Arabia, an oil-rich nation which been accused of having close ties with Islamic State, which the Kingdom denies.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on the planes that crashed into New York's Twin Towers in September 2001 were from Saudi Arabia.

Another two came from the United Arab Emirates with Egypt and Lebanon each contributing a hijacker but none of these nations are on President Trump's blacklist, even though the terrorist attack was in his home city.

The public policy Cato Institute released analysis last year showing no American was killed on U.S. soil by citizens from the seven nations named in President Trump's order.

President Trump has been accused of excluding from his list countries with ties to his global hotel business empire.

Like President Trump, Senator Hanson last year campaigned to ban Muslim migration.

'Our politicians can no longer sit by and ignore the fact that unless we do something like ban Islamic immigration, Australia will continue to face an ever increasing threat from radical Islamic terror,' she said.

Senator Hanson received an invitation to President Trump's inauguration last week but she declined, with her New South Wales Senate colleague Brian Burston going in her place.


People on terror watch list ‘should be kicked out of Australia or thrown in jail’, says Jacqui Lambie

It's not just Pauline who wants to rid us of Jihadis

INDEPENDENT Senator Jacqui Lambie has renewed her call for the deportation of all immigrants who support sharia law and any immigrants who appear on ASIO’s official terror watch list.

She said she believed the 190 people on the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation’s list were Islamic and called on Federal Attorney-General George Brandis to release details.

“The Government must stop the cover-up and political correctness and release full details on our official terror watch list,” she said.

She said the Attorney-General was sitting on ASIO figures which strongly supported US President Donald Trump’s immigration ban on some Islamic people.

Senator Lambie called for tougher anti-terrorism policies. “The 190 on ASIO’s list shouldn’t be just watched,” she said.

“Unfortunately we’ve seen in the past innocent lives taken by a terrorist and sharia law supporter [Lindt cafe siege gunman Man Haron Monis] who ASIO was supposed to be watching.

“All of the people on ASIO’s terror watch list should be kicked out of Australia or thrown in jail. At the very least Australian citizens should be charged with treason or sedition, which are serious crimes with long jail sentences.

“Other countries in our region are telling the truth to their citizens. Singapore has graphic national ads which bluntly say it’s a matter of when, not if a terrorist attack will happen.”



PC culture ‘muzzling free speech’, says poll

Australians are resentful of a culture of political correctness preventing people expressing opinions on sensitive cultural ­issues, says the chairman leading the parliamentary inquiry into freedom of speech, as a new poll reveals increasing support to ­remove the words “insult” and “offend” from controversial section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Liberal MP Ian Goodenough, a migrant of Eurasian heritage who is heading the inquiry ordered by Malcolm Turnbull, said his objective was to simplify the law to protect ethnic and racial minorities while preventing “reverse discrimination” against mainstream Australians.

Mr Goodenough said resources should be directed at stopping material racial discrimination and serious conduct resulting in harm, violence or incitement to violent acts and “not cartoons and trivial matters”.

“What we are trying to achieve is to protect ethnic and racial groups from harm and detriment but it is not the role of government to police petty social misdemeanours,” Mr Goodenough told The Australian.

The committee has received more than 11,000 written submissions and is this week conducting hearings in five capital cities. Today in Melbourne it will be given polling by Galaxy Research commissioned by the Institute of Public Affairs showing rising public support for changes to counter criticism that the campaign is a niche or fringe issue.

The poll of 1000 people taken last month shows 48 per cent approve of calls to remove the words “insult’ and “offend” from section 18C, an increase of three points from the previous survey in ­November.

Some 36 per cent of people were opposed to the change, down from 38 per cent. The Galaxy Poll found 52 per cent of men approved of the change to remove the words compared with 44 per cent of women.

Section 18C makes it unlawful to behave in a way that is reasonably likely to “offend, insult, ­humiliate or intimidate” someone because of their race or ethnicity. Among the states, support was strongest in Western Australia where 54 per cent were in favour and in NSW where 50 per cent agreed while 49 per cent approved in Queensland. Support was weakest in Victoria and South Australia where 43 per cent agreed with the change, although it remained higher than the number who disapproved.

The change was most embraced by people aged over 50 with 53 per cent in support and those aged 25 to 49 were also more likely to approve than disapprove. However, people aged 18 to 24 were the strongest opponents with 49 per cent against the change, with only 39 per cent in support.

IPA director of policy Simon Breheny said the poll also showed that 95 per cent of Australians rated freedom of speech as important with 57 per cent saying it was very important. “Much to the surprise of some members of the media and the political class, free speech matters,” Mr Breheny said.

“It is time for our elected representatives to listen rather than trying to tell the public it is a niche or fringe issue.

“On top of the incredible overwhelming support for freedom of speech, support is also growing for changes to be made to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act so that it is no longer unlawful to insult or offend someone.”

Section 18C was used successfully in a legal action against Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt and unsuccessfully against three Queensland University of Technology students. A Newspoll last year found 57 per cent of people opposed the action against the QUT students. Complaints against a cartoon by The Australian’s Bill Leak were dropped.

The Prime Minister asked the parliament’s human rights committee to look at whether the ­Racial Discrimination Act and section 18C imposes unreasonable limits on free speech and to recommend whether the law should be changed and the role of the Human Rights Commission altered.

Mr Goodenough said 20 years had elapsed since section 18C was introduced and the ­inquiry was about allowing constructive criticism and facilitating robust debate of sensitive cultural issues and for disputes to be settled with minimal impact from the referee in a manner that was affordable and timely.

“It is misleading to say that reforms to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act will promote race hate speech, because there are already laws in place which prevent abusive or threatening speech,” he said. “Many mainstream Australians are resentful of the emerging culture of political correctness, which prevents them from expressing their opinions on certain sensitive cultural issues in workplace and social settings where minorities are ­involved.

“Anecdotally, there is a perception that certain ethnic minorities are afforded greater protections from constructive criticism than mainstream Australians through political correctness. Rightly or wrongly, this perception does exist, and I would like to see the playing field levelled.

“There is a distinction ­between expressing a view that you disagree with a certain cultural issue or practice in a ­respectful manner, and being abusive or vilifying a group.”

Mr Goodenough said the challenge for the committee was to find the right balance in recommending changes to the legislation. “As a migrant of Eurasian heritage I see the need to protect ethnic and racial minorities on one hand but also the duty to protect mainstream Australians from situations of reverse discrimination. The sentiment in the pub often is resentment that sometimes ethnic minorities use the provisions in the law to take things too far. Our challenge is to make the law fair to all.”

But the deputy chair of the inquiry, Labor MP Graham Perrett, said evidence given to a hearing in Hobart yesterday from Equal Opportunity Tasmania, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law and the University of Tasmania was “overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the current protections” in section 18C.

“The committee heard that racism, including ‘everyday racism’ caused widespread damage to Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse Australians and their communities,” he said.

“As parliamentarians in positions of relative power, it would be arrogant and irresponsible for us to assume we could have any understanding of what it is like to face the type of racism experienced by many Australians every day.”


Outrage after high school students were asked to analyse EMOJIS in national exams instead of classic literature

Concerns have been raised over new NAPLAN online exams asking high school students to examine SMS chat using emojis instead of classic literature.

The Australian Curriculum and Assessment Authority this week posted new public demonstration 'mini-tests' as they prepare students to transition to online testing.

But one of the questions, which asks Year 9 students to analyse a text message conversation about a drama teacher's facial hair, has been slammed by the education industry.

NAPLAN is an annual test undertaken each year by students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9, covering basic skills in reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy.

The reading test for 14 and 15-year-old students asks the students whether the word 'mo' refers to Mr Grigg's moustache in an image of the screenshot conversation containing emojis - the smiley faces used in electronic messages.

An ACAA spokeswoman was defiant against the controversy, saying the tests show a range of questions 'from traditional to contemporary.'

They said the exam analyses 'various types of other media texts, such as newspapers and film.'

'Test items need to be as relevant and engaging for students as possible. As a result, test developers include a range of passage types, from text messages to more traditional ‘literature-type’ passages.

'The SMS question is a very simple item, however, based on data to date we expect that it would challenge about 10% of Year 9 students.” 

However the exam has been slammed by education industry figures who believe it has over simplified the curriculum.

Jennifer Buckingham, the Centre for Independent studies, told Daily Mail Australia the question was a troubling reflection of current literacy levels. ‘It certainly represents a very basic level of comprehension. It would be on the lower end of the range, she said.

She said it would only have been included in the demonstration if students in the vetting process had answered incorrectly.

‘It’s a reflection of current literacy levels, and it is troubling this is the standard across the board.’


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


HOME (Index page)

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Most academics are lockstep Leftists so readers do sometimes doubt that I have the qualifications mentioned above. Photocopies of my academic and military certificates are however all viewable here

For overseas readers: The "ALP" is the Australian Labor Party -- Australia's major Leftist party. The "Liberal" party is Australia's major conservative political party.

In most Australian States there are two conservative political parties, the city-based Liberal party and the rural-based National party. But in Queensland those two parties are amalgamated as the LNP.

Again for overseas readers: Like the USA, Germany and India, Australia has State governments as well as the Federal government. So it may be useful to know the usual abbreviations for the Australian States: QLD (Queensland), NSW (New South Wales), WA (Western Australia), VIC (Victoria), TAS (Tasmania), SA (South Australia).

For American readers: A "pensioner" is a retired person living on Social Security

"Digger" is an honorific term for an Australian soldier

Another lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Another bit of Australian: Any bad writing or messy anything was once often described as being "like a pakapoo ticket". In origin this phrase refers to a ticket written with Chinese characters - and thus inscrutably confusing to Western eyes. These tickets were part of a Chinese gambling game called "pakapoo".

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

My son Joe

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

I am an army man. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies or mining companies

Although I have been an atheist for all my adult life, I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak.

The Rt. Rev. Phil Case (Moderator of the Presbyterian church in Queensland) is a Pharisee, a hypocrite, an abomination and a "whited sepulchre".

English-born Australian novellist, Patrick White was a great favourite in literary circles. He even won a Nobel prize. But I and many others I have spoken to find his novels very turgid and boring. Despite my interest in history, I could only get through about a third of his historical novel Voss before I gave up. So why has he been so popular in literary circles? Easy. He was a miserable old Leftist coot, and, incidentally, a homosexual. And literary people are mostly Leftists with similar levels of anger and alienation from mainstream society. They enjoy his jaundiced outlook, his dissatisfaction, rage and anger.

A delightful story about a great Australian conservative

Would you believe that there once was a politician whose nickname was "Honest"?

"Honest" Frank Nicklin MM

was 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

Bureaucracy: "One of the constant laments of doctors and nurses working with NSW Health is the incredible and increasing bureaucracy," she said. "It is completely obstructive to providing a service."

Revered Labour Party leader Gough Whitlam was a very erudite man so he cannot have been unaware of the similarities of his famous phrase “the Party, the platform, the people” with an earlier slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer". It's basically the same slogan in reverse order.

Australia's original inhabitants were a race of pygmies, some of whom survived into modern times in the mountainous regions of the Atherton tableland in far North Queensland. See also here. Below is a picture of one of them taken in 2007, when she was 105 years old and 3'7" tall

Julia Gillard, a failed feminist flop. She was given the job of Prime Minister of Australia but her feminist preaching was so unpopular that she was booted out of the job by her own Leftist party. Her signature "achievements" were the carbon tax and the mining tax, both of which were repealed by the next government.

The "White Australia Policy: "The Immigration Restriction Act was not about white supremacy, racism, or the belief that whites were higher up the evolutionary tree than the coloured races. Rather, it was designed to STOP the racist exploitation of non-whites (all of whom would have been illiterate peasants practicing religions and cultures anathema to progressive democracy) being conscripted into a life of semi-slavery in a coolie-worked plantation economy for the benefit of the absolute monarchs, hereditary aristocracy and the super-wealthy companies and share-holders of the northern hemisphere.

A great little kid

In November 2007, a four-year-old boy was found playing in a croc-infested Territory creek after sneaking off pig hunting alone with four dogs and a puppy. The toddler was found five-and-a-half hours after he set off from his parents' house playing in a creek with the puppy. Amazingly, Daniel Woditj also swam two creeks known to be inhabited by crocs during his adventurous romp. Mr Knight said that after walking for several kilometres, Daniel came to a creek and swam across it. Four of his dogs "bailed up" at the creek but the youngster continued on undaunted with his puppy to a second creek. Mr Knight said Daniel swam the second croc-infested creek and walked on for several more kilometres. "Captain is a hard bushman and Daniel is following in his footsteps. They breed them tough out bush."


Alternative (Monthly) archives for this blog


"Tongue Tied"
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"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
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Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
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Optus bungling
Bank of Queensland blues

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