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, 2018


Ward is a hate-filled and man-like far-Leftist

Safe Schools socialist Roz Ward recently defended Aboriginal activist Tarneen Onus-Williams, who told an Australia Day rally: “We have organised this to abolish Australia Day because f--k Australia.”

“It wasn’t a surprise that the Murdoch empire would strike back with a concerted campaign against Tarneen,” Ward wrote.

“When the Murdoch press led the campaign against Safe Schools, they focused on my personal involvement in the program [and] described me as a ‘hardline Marxist’.”

That would be because Ward is a hardline Marxist.

Moreover, this piece appeared in the Socialist Alternative’s Red Flag, which believes a “revolutionary overthrow of capitalism is the solution.” Red Flag links to only five sites, including Marxist Left Review, Marxism Conference, Marxist Interventions and Marxist Internet Archive. The fifth? International Socialist Review.

“They deployed ammunition in words,” Ward continued. “Miranda Devine, Andrew Bolt, Tim Blair, Janet Albrechtsen and others were wound up by their editors to spin the narrative.”

As it happens, I’d been at a mate’s place playing cricket on Australia Day and posted my first item on Tarneen the following morning. No editorial directives were involved. No spinning, either, unless you count my slow-rotation offies.

Writing about another ally, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Ward seethed: “Bigot MP George Christensen suggested self-deportation might be the answer.” Which is exactly what Abdel-Magied did, fleeing to London.

Ward signed off with a sarcastic reference to “the great nation of Australia”. It’d be substantially greater if she also followed Christensen’s fine advice.


Bill Shorten’s industrial relations promise to militant CFMEU

Workplace Minister Craig Laundy has slammed Bill Shorten for calling the industrial relations system “cancer”.

Mr Laundy said the Opposition Leader should be defending the independent umpire that was created by the former Labor government.

“These comments are wrong across the board on a few different fronts but sadly symptomatic of what you are seeing with the modern Labor,” Mr Laundy told Sky News.

“What he is conveniently forgetting is the Fair Work Act is their act, it was implemented by them between 2007 and 2009. They are completely beholden to the unions for not just their financial support for his support on the floor of parliament.”

Mr Laundy rejected Mr Shorten’s “lie” the enterprise bargaining system was broken.

“Apparently according to the Labor Party the bargaining system is broken yet in the last 12 months 3 per cent of terminations ..were contested, 97 per cent were not,” he said.

Bill Shorten vowed to tear up the nation’s industrial laws during a rallying speech late last year to workers at a Queensland coalmine where CFMEU protesters were revealed to have allegedly threatened to rape the children of non-striking workers.

In a secret recording of the ­Opposition Leader’s stump speech delivered at the Oaky North coalmine on October 6, Mr Shorten told striking CFMEU workers that he would rewrite ­labour laws if he won office.

“We now have a situation where the laws of this land are being distorted; where they are being mutated; where they’re being metastasised, like a cancer,” Mr Shorten is heard to say in a video recording obtained by The Australian. “We will change laws if we form a government or when we form a government.”

The speech was delivered four days before it was revealed that several CFMEU protesters had engaged in serious intimidation of families of non-striking miners. One protester was recorded saying they would rape their children.

Mr Shorten, who was accompanied at the rally by opposition employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor, later condemned the comments made in the weeks ­before their visit. “I do not condone unlawful or disrespectful ­behaviour, whoever does it,” he said at the time.

The Opposition Leader claimed he had been there to lend support to the 175 CFMEU workers who only yesterday were granted a return to work by the Fair Work Commission after a 230-day lockout imposed by Glencore following a dispute over an enterprise agreement that the union claimed stripped workers of basic rights.

In his address to the CFMEU workers, Mr Shorten said: “You should also say to your families that Bill and Brendan have the highest respect for the mining and engineering division of the CFMEU. These people will be with you the whole way, always have been and always are, always will be. If we form a government, yeah, we’ll do the right thing, we won’t let you down. The privilege for us today is to be in your ­company.”

Mr Shorten has stuck with a pledge to rewrite laws that allow employers to put workers back on to an award where an agreement can’t be reached on a new EBA. But he has backed down in recent weeks over a policy to override the Fair Work Commission and legislate for minimum wage rises.

His comments to the private meeting of CFMEU workers ­appeared to echo calls by ACTU secretary Sally McManus who has attacked industrial laws as a “joke”.

The Oaky North speech has been seized upon by the Turnbull government to exploit the factional deals between Mr Shorten and the militant union designed to protect his leadership.

Employment Minister Craig Laundy last night accused Mr Shorten of having a plan to rip up labour laws to benefit union power. “It proves that if Bill Shorten becomes prime minister, he would give the unions a blank cheque and rewrite the industrial landscape to suit them,” he said.

Less than a week after Mr Shorten’s address to the CFMEU workers at Oaky North, it was revealed that a small band of the same CFMEU workers had a month earlier made threats to security guards and other miners who were refusing to engage in the industrial action.

The Courier-Mail posted a video of CFMEU members ­appearing to abuse workers. In one incident, a worker was heard to tell another worker to “crash your car into a tree on the way home”. The video was dated September 6, 2017.

Glencore at the time claimed that they had evidence that CFMEU members had also allegedly threatened others with ­obscenities including: “I’ll f..king rape your kids, c..t. I’ll f..king rape your kids, c..t.”

Other threats included: “I’ll ­attack you with a crowbar. “I’ll rip out your spine … ya f..king dog.”


Aspiring doctors begin Macquarie's 'cash grab' $250,000 medical degree

Amid outrage and controversy, Australia's newest full-fee medical school opened its doors on Monday, welcoming about 50 fresh-faced students who have the ability to cough up $250,000 for the privilege.

While they too welcomed the aspiring doctors, the Australian Medical Students' Association (AMSA) and Australian Medical Association (AMA) lambasted Macquarie University for its "short-sighted cash grab", saying the degree didn't come with a guarantee of an internship and would cause greater bottle necks in the training system.

“The pipeline is stretched and bursting; in 2016 we had 200 medical graduates left without an internship which you need to become a qualified doctor,” said AMSA president Alex Farrell.
Alex Farrell, president of Australian Medical Students' Association, says the opening of Macquarie University's new medical school is not a good thing.

Alex Farrell, president of Australian Medical Students' Association, says the opening of Macquarie University's new medical school is not a good thing.

“Macquarie University is irresponsibly profiting from the dreams of young students [because] these students may end up with a six-figure debt and no job.”

On Monday, the public university kicked off its four-year, graduate-entry Doctor of Medicine program. It welcomed 50 domestic students, which is 10 more than its aim.

But the university failed to hit its target of 20 international students, enrolling only three for the 2018 cohort and leaving a funding gap of more than $1.75 million over four years, according to AMSA.

Ms Farrell said Macquarie University had made a “business move” and was concerned that other universities would follow suit and exploit the same loophole, which allows public universities to offer domestic, full-fee places for graduate-level programs.

“We know from overseas that high tertiary fees drive graduates into highly paid specialties, and away from areas of workforce shortage such as general practice or rural practice,” said Ms Farrell.

“In doing so, these programs, while lining the universities’ pockets, do a disservice to the public and the Australian healthcare system.”

But Professor Patrick McNeil, Macquarie University’s executive dean of medical and health sciences, told Fairfax Media that no university could guarantee an internship to any student at any program in Australia.

He said some of the graduates would receive post-degree training at MQ Health, the university’s medical centre. He rejected the suggestion the program would “clog the pipeline”.

“We don’t have an oversupply of graduates and in fact Australia imports nearly 3000 foreign trained doctors to Australia every year,” he said.

“Also, given the size of Australia’s population increase, the world’s not going to end because we’re graduating a small number of graduates.”

Professor McNeil said the fresh cohort was “incredibly excited, highly motivated” and their GPA and GAMSAT results were similar to that of their peers at University of Melbourne.

He revealed they had 500 applicants. The final cohort is made up of 30 women and 20 men, and the average age is 23.

AMA president Michael Gannon said he opposed the opening of new medical schools, expansion of student numbers and “what Macquarie represents”.

“We’re already seeing the states and territories struggling to provide internships for all medical graduates so we’re worried that a university will just decide to chase the funding and the prestige that comes with having a medical school without having any need to give consideration to what the product means at the end,” he said.


Sydneysiders don't want a bigger population. They are voting with their feet

Traffic jams. Housing costs. Packed beaches. High-rise living. The pace and general stress of life.

Many of Sydney people’s everyday concerns can be linked in some way to population growth. What if we could just turn it off, and keep a stable population of around five million?

It might surprise you to learn it would be relatively easy for Sydney to cut its population growth to near zero. It wouldn’t take an onerous “one-child” policy like China’s. All we’d have to do is turn off the tap of foreign immigration, to a net in-take of zero, and almost overnight the city’s population would plateau, staying basically flat right out to 2036.

At least, that’s what modelling done by the state Department of Planning and Environment in 2016 showed.

The department, which expects the city’s population to reach 6.4 million by 2036, said that the population would actually stagnate at beneath five million without any immigration (we have since already passed five million). Their projection takes into account both the loss of immigrants expected to arrive, and the babies they would be expected to have.

So it can happen. The question is, do we really want it to happen?

There would be side effects, that’s for sure, and they wouldn’t all be pretty. My colleague, Jessica Irvine, detailed some in an article in 2016. The budget would be in disarray. The ageing population would cause increase strain on working people. Education and tourism would suffer.

Ever the opportunist, Tony Abbott popped up again last week, arguing for a reduction in immigration to reduce supply pressure in the economy. His comments were immediately denigrated by Liberal colleagues, but it was hard not to suspect they were playing the man and not the ball.

The question is, is dreaming of a stable population unreasonable? Do we want Sydney to grow the population ad infinitum? Will there ever be a point when we say ‘that’s enough’? Ten million? Twenty million?

There are many first-world cities with populations much larger than Sydney, so it clearly can absorb more growth. But it would appear Australians don’t want that.

The clue is in the hundreds of thousands of people who are voting with their feet, deciding that Sydney is not for them. As the Herald reported on Monday, more people leave Sydney than arrive from within Australia every year. And it has been that way for four decades.

This seeming distaste for a bigger, more expensive Sydney seems born out in the planning department modelling also. Otherwise, why would the city’s only path to growth be via immigration?
Australians are overwhelmingly in favour of multiculturalism. But a majority don't want further population growth. The thing is, they don’t want a recession either.

Changing our relationship with population growth is complex because it requires a rethink of our economic approach.

At the moment, growth dictates our priorities. Australian rightfully celebrates going 27 years without a recession (defined as two consecutive quarters without economic growth). And politicians are no doubt determined to not be in charge when that streak ends.

However, Australia has been taking the shortcut on this by growing the population. Growing the economy while growing the population is a lot easier.

There’s another system that requires a constant input of new people to achieve returns: a Ponzi scheme. Those don’t normally end well. Unless you are prepared to grow literally forever, then such a system is set up for failure eventually.

If some day we want to consider having a stable population without an economic meltdown, it might pay to start thinking about how we do it. Japan is having to do just that, and is seemingly making an OK fist of it.

But it requires having a nuanced conversation that, in this political climate, seems somewhat optimistic. It doesn’t help if anyone who raises the idea of reducing immigration is tagged a racist or economically illiterate.

Whatever the optimum size for Sydney might be, it would be nice to get there as the result of considered decision making rather than just drift into it because we couldn’t face the hard questions of how to deal with the economic ramifications.


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, 2018

Report revealing Australia's educational decline a 'real worry', says Birmingham

Australian children are lagging behind when it comes to developing basic skills in primary school but they are staying in school for longer.

The Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth’s five-year snapshot, released on Sunday, shows Australia ranks 35th out of 40 OECD countries on preschool attendance, although the number of four- and five-year-olds who attend has dropped in recent years.

It also shows three in 10 year 4 students aren’t meeting minimum maths standards while one in four are below standard in science and one in five are not at the required reading level.

The rate of parents reading to their two-year-olds at least once a week has stayed static, although there was an encouraging lift among Indigenous families.

The education minister, Simon Birmingham, said the concerning figures underscore what the federal government has been saying for some years.

“That is a real worry,” he told Sky News. “If a child is behind by year 3 in terms of developing basic skills, it’s really hard for them to catch up.”

However, the news was slightly better for older children, with the proportion of students staying in school through to year 12 or doing other study increasing.

Australia’s 15-year-olds were doing better on international comparisons but across the board about one in five weren’t achieving the standard they should be for maths, reading and science.

Birmingham is expecting a report next month by businessman David Gonski’s panel on the best ways to spend extra money in schools to lift student outcomes.

The revised funding arrangements that started in schools this year requires states to sign deals with the commonwealth to receive extra federal funding.

“I am confident that what we will be doing is going back to the states and saying that more is required in terms of the focus we place in those early years around foundational skills,” Birmingham said. “We’re not going to be passive players in education.”


Australia 'under attack' for 15 years from group of Muslim men, judge tells court

Australia has been "under attack" from a group of Muslim men wanting "to kill as many unbelievers as they can" for about 15 years, a Supreme Court judge has said.

Justice Desmond Fagan made the comments while sentencing Tamim Khaja, 20, who pleaded guilty in October to planning and preparing a terrorist attack two years ago.

The then 18-year-old was arrested while preparing for a lone wolf massacre, either at the US embassy in Sydney, an Army barracks in western Sydney, or at a court complex at Parramatta.

Counsel for the defendant, Ian Temby QC, tendered to the court a list of recent sentences handed down to other men who had been convicted of terror offences.

In response, Justice Fagan told the court that Australia had "been under attack for 15 years by about 40 Muslim men, to kill as many unbelievers as they can and impose Sharia law."

"The ideology that underlies each is Islam."

Sitting at Sydney West Trial Courts at Parramatta, Justice Fagan referred to verses in the Koran which he said described the duty of "a Muslim to wage Jihad".

He said he was not making generalisations about Islamic beliefs and that his courtroom was "not a forum for the rights and wrongs of the Islam or Christian religions".

An agreed statement of facts tendered to court revealed that Khaja had twice attempted to travel to Syria or Iraq, where he "intended to join the Islamic State terrorist organisation and engage in hostile activities".

After his passport was cancelled in March 2016, Khaja began communicating via an encrypted messaging app with an overseas police officer, who he believed to be an ISIS supporter.

On May 7, 2016, Khaja told the police officer, known as Person A, that he "wanted so badly to be on the battlefield with my brothers", but since his passport had been cancelled, he would "fulfil my obligation here".

"I am currently sourcing a glock [handgun] but I want to do big damage," Khaja told Person A. "I am thinking more along the lines of Boston Marathon .. I know how to make a portable microwave b..b [sic]" Even with a handgun I would be able to cause a lot of damage."

Khaja told person A that he had been considering locations for an attack, including the US Embassy in Sydney, but it was likely to be heavily guarded, court documents revealed.

He told Person A that another option was the Timor Army Barracks in Dundas, where he could "launch an attack by ramming the lot of them by car and then firing head shots when they are on the ground".

Mr Temby argued that at the time of the arrest Khaja was only at "a preliminary stage" of planning the offence and that he "had no accomplice".

However the crown prosecutor said Khaja had accessed documents about bombs and creating suicide vests.

Justice Fagan said Khaja had spoken about "killing innocent people as many innocent people as he could, like [he was] planning a picnic".

The sentence hearing continues.


Turnbull and Shorten quibble over indigenous identity

A dispute over what constitutes indigenous identity has embroiled Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten’s offices, with echoes of bumbling suburban lawyer Dennis Denuto’s declaration in The Castle about the Constitution, Mabo, justice and “the vibe”.

At stake is a new post of indigenous productivity commissioner, announced by the Prime Minister a year ago but still not filled.

During last week’s Closing the Gap address, Mr Turnbull pleaded with Labor to pass the long-­delayed enabling legislation “to apply greater rigour to assessing what works and why” in indigenous affairs spending.

The government says the standoff could go as far as threatening the Constitution, and ­accord­ing to Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion, it’s all Labor’s fault.

The amendment needed to create the position defines an ­indigenous person simply as being “a member of the Aboriginal race of Australia or descendant of an indigenous inhabitant of the Torres Strait Islands”.

However, most government departments use a broader three-part definition covering descent, self-identification and community recognition.

This was acknowledged by Justice Gerard Brennan in the 1992 Mabo judgment, when he specified “­biological descent from the ­indigenous people and … ­mutual recognition of a particular person’s membership by that person and by the elders or other persons enjoying traditional auth­ority among those people”.

A spokesman for Senator Scullion said Labor’s desire to ­expand the amendment to reflect this broader notion “departs from the language of the Constitution, and the implications of this would need to be considered further. Any proposed change ... would need to be done in a considered manner in consultation with indigenous people”.

Asking an actual indigenous Australian for legislative advice? Well, there’s a ruling on that, too.

In a 1998 Federal Court case on indigenous identity, Justice Ron Merkel said it was a shame the matter had been “left by a parliament that is not representative of Aboriginal people to be determined by a court which is also not representative of Aboriginal ­people”.

Perhaps one day, he mused, such a ruling “might be made by ­independently constituted bodies or tribunals which are representative of Aboriginal people”.

The Opposition Leader has pledged to legislate for such a body, should Labor win government, as recommended by the Prime Minister’s Referendum Council.

That body, or “voice” to parliament, would consist of First ­Nations-nominated members, rather than being appointed by government or elected in a representative democratic sense.

It would be comprised, that is, of people for whom their own community identification of indigeneity was a given, and would include traditional owner-based membership.

Mr Turnbull has rejected the idea but is in discussion with Mr Shorten on establishing a joint parliamentary committee to examine indigenous constitutional recognition.

But he is not, at least according to Mr Shorten, talking about the productivity commissioner impasse. “This is a minor issue that we are confident can be resolved — as soon as the government returns our call,” a Labor spokesman said yesterday.


'Growth mindset' just another platitude

We’re constantly told schools should go beyond literacy and numeracy, and instead focus on ‘21st century learning’ to educate ‘creative’ kids and prepare them for ‘jobs of the future’.

Basically, this is code for trying to get better student results without actually doing the hard yards in literacy and numeracy.

There is no silver bullet which magically makes kids get better grades. The best way to help students be prepared for the 21st century is to ensure they leave school good readers, fluent writers, and competent in maths. These are the fundamental skills people will always need to be successful.

Unfortunately, many people still don’t understand this. The NSW government’s recent submission to the ‘Gonski 2.0’ review called for less testing in schools in order to reduce student stress, and a focus on ‘non-cognitive skills’ and encouraging students to have a ‘growth mindset’.

Tests are necessary to find out if students are actually learning and to identify which students need more help. Furthermore, a recent OECD study found there is no link between student anxiety and frequency of testing. No one likes doing tests, but that doesn’t mean they’re generally harmful to mental health.

And focussing on ‘non-cognitive skills’ and creativity in school puts the cart before the horse. You need to master the fundamentals of a subject before you can be creative, and too many kids leave school without those fundamentals. Generic creativity or critical-thinking skills are practically impossible to teach or assess.

The truth is there is only a limited amount schools can teach. Consider the ‘growth mindset’ idea. A ‘growth mindset’ is having the positive attitude that if you work hard you will get better at whatever you are trying to do. But, while we want students to have a positive outlook like this, there is little evidence schools have the ability to instil this into students. This is primarily a role for parents.

Schools shouldn’t waste time and resources trying to achieve things they aren’t capable of doing. They should focus on their core purpose: giving students excellent literacy and numeracy skills.


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, 2018

South Australian state election first big opportunity for Cory Bernardi’s party

He’s the high-profile South Australian politician challenging the big parties with his own upstart political movement – and no, we’re not talking about Nick Xenophon.

It is a sign of the deeply unusual manner in which the SA state election campaign is panning out that senator Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives party has hardly rated a mention, despite the 17 March contest shaping up as both the first big test and first major opportunity for the ex-Liberal’s new political force.

The Australian Conservatives are running 33 lower house candidates – three short of the number Nick Xenophon’s SA Best have announced to date – but the real opportunities lie in SA’s legislative council, where Bernardi already has two well-established members out of a merger with Family First.

Dennis Hood, the leader of the South Australian branch of the party, is not up for re-election, but his collegue Robert Brokenshire will be fighting for his spot, and Riverland businesswoman Nicolle Jachmann rounds out the upper house ticket.

If Bernardi can retain enough of Family First’s significant SA support base and bring on board some of his own fans, the Australian Conservatives could prove highly influential in what is likely to be a fractured 22-member legislative council.

What’s more, One Nation failed to register in time for the election, meaning the Australian Conservatives will have a clear run at voters who inhabit the space to the right of the Liberal party.

That space is larger than usual given that the campaign of Liberal leader Steven Marshall, himself a moderate, has responded to the Xenophon threat and Labor’s popular renewables strategy by edging to the political centre on a number of issues.

In an election where the centre-right party is offering $100m in means-tested grants to help people buy home battery storage systems and a 10-year moratorium on fracking in a farming region, Bernardi has a lot of conservative touchstones to himself.

His proposals include repealing $3bn in state taxes, completely ending renewable energy state subsidies, and undertaking a cost-benefit analysis to either bring coal-fired power back to SA or build a nuclear power plant.

The nuclear ambitions don’t stop there, with the Australian Conservatives proposing to follow through on Labor’s abandoned push to establish a $445bn state wealth fund seeded from importing and storing high-level radioactive waste that could remain hazardous for hundreds of thousands of years.

A lower house seat is a long shot, but the Australian Conservatives could play a deciding role in many electorates, firstly by making it more difficult for the Liberal party to win seats outright in an election where going down to preferences promises to be a chaotic affair, with Liberal, Labor and SA Best evenly divided in many areas.

Australian Conservatives preferences are, however, expected to flow back to the Liberals and could prove decisive in the many marginal seats up for grabs.

Their conservative values and policies appeal to some, but the key question is whether anyone is actually listening, with all the attention on Xenophon.

Of course, it is not so easy to start afresh without the formidable Liberal party machine backing Bernardi as it once did. Like Xenophon and SA Best, Bernardi’s personal brand is well known, but his new party’s name is not, and Australian political history is littered with the floating corpses of startup political parties drowned out by more established voices.

Voters had a decade-and-a-half to become familiar with Family First, but the Australian Conservatives are in a sense starting afresh, and will also be distracted by the federal byelection in Batman that concludes on the same day as the SA election.

Unlike Xenophon, Bernardi is not himself running as a candidate as he continues with his federal Senate commitments, and besides is a great deal more divisive a figure than the SA Best leader is. Xenophon might have questionable taste in advertising jingles, but he has never linked bestiality to same-sex relationships as Bernardi has.

After spending three months in the US during the 2016 election campaign, Bernardi might be confident that divisiveness can be a vote winner. His election slogan is a familiar one: “Make South Australia great again.”

The original version worked for US president Donald Trump, but how will it go down in SA?


Rainfall’s Natural Variation Hides Climate Change Signal

New research from The Australian National University (ANU) and ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science suggests natural rainfall variation is so great that it could take a human lifetime for significant climate signals to appear in regional or global rainfall measures.

Even exceptional droughts like those over the Murray Darling Basin (2000-2009) and California (2011 to 2017) fit within the natural variations in the long-term precipitation records, according to the statistical method used by the researchers.

This has significant implications for policymakers in the water resources, irrigation and agricultural industries.

“Our findings suggest that for most parts of the world, we won’t be able to recognize long-term or permanent changes in annual rainfall driven by climate change until they have already occurred and persisted for some time,” said  Professor Michael Roderick from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences.

“This means those who make decisions around the construction of desalination plants or introduce new policies to conserve water resources will effectively be making these decisions blind.

“Conversely, if they wait and don’t act until the precipitation changes are recognized they will be acting too late. It puts policymakers in an invidious position.”

To get their results the researchers first tested the statistical approach on the 244-year-long observational record of precipitation at the Radcliffe Observatory in Oxford, UK. They compared rainfall changes over 30-year-intervals. They found any changes over each interval were indistinguishable from random or natural variation.

They then applied the same process to California, which has a record going back to 1895, and the Murray Darling Basin from 1901-2007. In both cases, the long dry periods seem to fit within expected variations.

Finally, they applied the process to reliable global records that extended from 1940-2009. Only 14 percent of the global landmass showed, with 90 percent confidence, increases or decreases in precipitation outside natural variation.

Professor Graham Farquhar AO also from the ANU Research School of Biology said natural variation was so large in most regions that even if climate change was affecting rainfall, it was effectively hidden in the noise.

“We know that humans have already had a measurable influence on streamflows and groundwater levels through extraction and making significant changes to the landscape,” Professor Farquhar said.

“But the natural variability of precipitation found in this paper presents policymakers with a large known unknown that has to be factored into their estimates to effectively assess our long-term water resource needs.”


Jordan Peterson: six reasons that explain his rise

Why has an obscure Canadian academic become a phenomenon across the Anglosphere? The man seems genuinely surprised at his 18-month transformation. Hence his tweet asking why so many people have watched the interview he did on Britain’s Channel 4. On March 8, Jordan Peterson kicks off his Australian speaking tour. At sold-out events in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane he will talk about his bestselling book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

One way to explain this rise of a man who has been described as a cowboy psychologist and an egghead who gives practical advice is that he drives many on the left bonkers.

There are at least a dozen reasons for this, but this is a column, not a book, so here are six.

Reason 1. Peterson reckons that listening is good for our soul and even better for human progress. Sounds banal, but in an age when campus outrage and an angry mob mentality have seeped into our broader culture, listening to those we disagree with is a truly revolutionary message.

The University of Toronto psychology professor is old school. He gathers information and builds knowledge the Socratic way, by listening and testing ideas. That’s how he developed a fascination with why totalitarian regimes murdered millions in the quest for utopia. He’s suspicious of ideology, dogma and the doctrinaire. Ideology is dangerous, he says, because it’s too certain about things and doesn’t allow for dissent.

Moral relativism is equally dangerous because it makes no judgments and is blind to the greatness of Western civilisation. Human beings need a moral compass. The demise of religion has left a vacuum, and it has been filled by rigid ideologues and nihilistic moral relativists. Well-timed, given so many millennials are bunkering down with socialism or moral relativism.

If you want to ignore Peterson, that’s your right. But he is a symbol of what’s rotten within parts of our culture. When he speaks, his critics try to howl him down. Students scream over him, university administrators try to censor him.

Last year, Lindsay Shepherd, a teaching assistant at Ontario’s Wilfrid Laurier University, played one of Peterson’s YouTube videos in a communications class. In a meeting with university honchos, one professor, Nathan Rambukkana, accused her of breaking Canadian law and creating a toxic environment for students. Another said her decision to show a Peterson debate clip was akin to the Nazis relying on free speech. The meeting was taped. It’s literally crazy. An uproar led the university to apologise to Shepherd.

Some of this explains why, as of Thursday, Peterson’s cracker interview with Channel 4’s Cathy Newman has attracted 7.4 million views since it aired on January 17. Sure, some of us have watched it more than once, because it’s funny, it’s serious and it ought to be shown in the first lesson of a journalism 101 course.

As reported in Inquirer last month, the interview is a 30-minutes precis of what happens when you don’t listen. Peterson was calm, measured, respectful. He used science and evidence when explaining the differences between men and women. He raised obvious questions about dogma on the gender pay gap. And he smiled politely when a woman who brought him on to her show wasn’t interested in listening.

There are now memes about Newman’s closed-ears interviewing style. Like this one. Peterson: “Women want strong and competent men.” Newman: “So what you’re saying is women are incompetent.” And this. Peterson: “I’m a clinical psychologist.” Newman: “So what you’re saying is I need therapy.” But none is as humiliating as the interview.

Reason 2. Peterson believes in free speech. He’s worried about the illiberal direction of modernity, not just on campus. That’s another reason this solid-gold cultural disrupter, with a quiet but firm tone, drives many on the left nuts. The professor attracted headlines at home in Canada when he said he wouldn’t abide by Bill C-16, introduced in May 2016, amending the Canadian Human Rights Act and making it illegal to use the wrong pronoun. It became law last June. Peterson baulked at being told by the state to use the pronoun “ze” for transgender people. He said if someone asked him to use it for them, he’s a polite guy and he’d do it. But when the state tells you what to say, the state has crossed the line into forced speech.

Reason 3. Peterson is a force because he’s also damn good at getting his message across. He uses our most important stories, drawing from history, psychology, neuroscience, mythology, poetry and the Bible to explain his thinking.

The man described as an “ardent prairie preacher” grew up in the small town of Fairview, Alberta, watched some of his friends succeed while others ended up drug addicts. He spent years searching for answers to big questions such as what makes life more meaningful and, going back a step, why meaning even matters.

His 12 Rules book, extracted in Inquirer earlier this month, sprang from an online free-for-all forum called Quora, where anyone could ask questions and provide answers. His answers attracted a huge online crowd, then a curious publisher, and this week his book is topping Amazon’s bestseller list in Australia.

Why storytelling matters calls for a divergence. Last December Jonathan Sachs, a rabbi and member of Britain’s House of Lords, said we need an army to defend a country. And to defend our civilisation we need a conversation between generations. “We need to teach our children the story of which we and they are a part, and we need to trust them to go further than we did, when they come to write their own chapter,” he said.

This is not woolly idealism, Sachs said. “It’s hard-headed pragmatism.” Understanding our own story, our history, where we went wrong and what we got right, allows children to face the challenges and the chaos of a rapidly changing world. “We need to give our children an internalised moral satellite navigation system so that they can find their way across the undiscovered country called the future,” he said.

Peterson is a navigation system with a twangy Canadian accent, trying to direct us towards meaning. Wrong way, go back, he’ll tell you when you’re heading down a dead-end street.

Reason 4. Peterson is secretly feared by utopians on the left. Life is full of unexpected and unavoidable suffering, he says. We get sick, we get betrayed, we lose jobs and friends and a sense of order. Get used to it. Deal with it.

This starting premise is where he departs so spectacularly from cultural Marxists. The utopian imaginings of socialism and communism created great suffering. So stop dreaming, Peterson says, accept that life can be hard. Accept, too, that each of us is capable of being monstrous and marvellous in all our human complexity. And make choices about that. Accept individual responsibility.

Start by standing up straight because it can “encourage the serotonin to flow plentifully through the neural pathways desperate for its calming influence”. If people around you see you as strong and capable and calm, you might too — and vice versa.

Face your problems with honesty, he says. Choose friends who are good for you. Pursue what’s meaningful rather than what’s expedient. It’s the kind of advice given a generation ago when people talked more about responsibilities than rights and parents warned their children that life is tough. Today it offends our rights culture, not to mention our mollycoddling parenting. So three cheers for common sense from this Canadian disrupter.

Reason 5. Get your own house in order before you start lecturing others or presuming to know how to fix other problems. Peterson’s message is a direct challenge to two particularly rank strains of modernity: victimhood and virtue-signalling. Both are cop-outs. Much harder, and more important, says Peterson, is to fix what you can at home because if we all did this there would be fewer victims and less misery in the world.

Reason 6. Men need to grow the hell up, he says. A whiny guy who blames others for his poor life choices is of no use to himself, no use to women, no use to children and no use to a world that has prospered from those who take responsibility. A boy who never grows up can’t possibly deal with the periods of chaos we all must face. And parents shouldn’t bother children when they’re skateboarding, meaning let them take risks so they can manage them as adults.

Maybe now you’re seeing why the mild-mannered Canadian psychologist is attracting brickbats and bouquets.

Those living in a women’s studies world can’t bear him and wail about him entrenching the patriarchy. Men especially want to listen to him, and plenty of women, to be fair, because he makes a reasoned case, based on evolutionary science and evidence, for men to be men, in all their masculine complexity. The “patriarchy” hasn’t hampered human progress, he says, but helped it.

Peterson, who is the only member of his department to maintain a clinical practice, draws on his work with patients when he says that being “agreeable” doesn’t drive achievement. Instead, it’s being assertive, even aggressive.

And there’s this. He said recently he has figured out how to monetise social justice warriors. The more they scream and go crazy over what he says, the more money he makes.

They just keep feeding him material to work with and he’s making a motza each month from a crowdsourcing fund that pays for his YouTube videos.

If this information leads some of them to change their tune, it will mean they have listened after all.


Shock union claims: detective breaks silence on fraud scandal

The retired detective who led the police investigation into the ­Australian Workers Union fraud scandal has broken his silence, calling for a fresh probe into an alleged ­conspiracy between former union ­officials and executives from ­construction giant Thiess that he claims extended to Julia Gillard’s old law firm.

In an extraordinary development in the long-running affair, former West Australian major fraud squad officer David ­McAlpine claims his investigation into the AWU slush fund 20 years ago was “subverted” due to “political interference”.

He said that in August 1998 the WA Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions had “abruptly” ordered him to remain in Perth as he was preparing to fly to Melbourne to execute search warrants on key players, including Ms Gillard’s then employer, law firm Slater & Gordon.

Mr McAlpine said he had retained key documents including letters, memos and telephone notes from his two-year investigation and he was willing to swear an affidavit and give evidence in any court about his knowledge of the $400,000-plus fraud. “The fact that I was lied to and this investigation was subverted and people appear to have given false evidence at a royal commission, it needs to be reinvestigated because the simple fact is the Australian people need to know the truth,” he said.

Mr McAlpine retired from WA Police in October 2016 after 42 years of service and is now living in Thailand.

In a written statement and audio recording sent to The Australian, Mr McAlpine claimed ­former Thiess senior executives might have misled the trade union royal commission in 2014 about alleged secret commissions paid to AWU officials Bruce Wilson and Ralph Blewitt.

Mr Wilson has admitted to extract­ing large sums of money from Thiess for a slush fund he set up in the early 1990s with legal assistance from Ms Gillard, who was his girlfriend at the time.

Money from the AWU Workplace Reform Association was used to partly fund the purchase of a house in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy in 1993. The association was supposed to promote training and safety on construction sites.

Royal commissioner Dyson Heydon recommended in 2015 that Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt face prosecution for fraud-related offences connected to the fund.

Ms Gillard has repeatedly denied knowing the fund was to be used in a fraud.

The royal commission found that she had been “casual and haphazard” in her work at Slater & Gordon but had not committed offences, and was not aware of Mr Wilson’s conduct.

Mr Heydon rejected Ms Gillard’s denials that she was the beneficiary of cash sums from Mr Wilson for house renovations. The commission found that the builder, Athol James, who recalled the “wads of cash”, and a union staffer, Wayne Hem, who said he had deposited $5000 at Mr Wilson’s request into her account, were telling the truth.

The former prime minister could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mr Blewitt is facing 31 fraud charges and is due back in a Perth court next week.

In his statement, Mr McAlpine recalled how he had obtained warrants in August 1998 to enter and search Slater & Gordon, Melbourne Water, Thiess and other firms in Melbourne.

“The search warrants directed me to enter premises and search for evidence about the use of a power of attorney in the purchase of a property at Kerr Street, Fitzroy, the use of funds from the AWU Workplace Reform Association in that purchase and Slater & Gordon’s role in that property transaction,” he said.

“As I was preparing to leave WA and execute the warrants, I was directed not to travel and not to gather that evidence. The direction came from the WA DPP … I was given no explanation as to why my investigation was ordered to be stopped.

“Thiess executives … told me at the time they did not want to make any complaints about the money paid to Wilson via the AWU Workplace Reform Association. They said: ‘We got what we paid for’.”

Mr McAlpine said this was further confirmed in writing in a letter signed by a manager of Thiess. “The course of my inquiry was wilfully subverted,” he said. “(Two Thiess executives) have now made the claim, under oath at a royal commission that they were deceived — that a fraud was committed on them.

He said this “leaves two open explanations”: that their evidence to the royal commission was incorrect or the information they gave him was wrong. He said he believed at the time that the Thiess executives had been caught up in a “conspiracy with Wilson and Blewitt”.

“I believe that conspiracy extended to other persons … and had I not been stopped from travelling and executing the search warrants, further evidence of that conspiracy would have been disclosed 20 years ago.”

One of the executives yesterday denied misleading the royal commission and said his story had been consistent for the past 20 years. The other could not be reached for comment.

Mr McAlpine called on WA Police to restart the aborted investigation to identify who benefited from the AWU fraud.


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

25 February, 2018

World's coral reefs face new peril from beneath within decades (?)

This is just a new variation on an old fraud.  For the ocean to become more acidic it has to absorb more CO2 and thus produce carbonic acid (H2O + CO2 = H2CO3). And as CO2 levels rise, that might happen to some degree.

But according to Warmist theory higher CO2 levels will bring higher temperatures.  But higher ocean temperatures will REDUCE the carrying capacity of the oceans for CO2.  So CO2 will OUTGAS from the oceans under higher temperatures and the oceans will be LESS acidic. 

So if the galoots below really believed in global warming they would welcome it as REDUCING the threat to corals.

So there is a small potential threat to corals from higher CO2 levels but it will only eventuate if there is NO global warming. Fun?

The world's coral reefs, already enduring multiple threats from bleaching to nutrient run-off from farming, also face another challenge - this time from below.

New research, published in the journal Science on Friday, has found the sediments on which many reefs are built are 10 times more sensitive to the acidifying oceans than the living corals themselves. Some reef bases are already dissolving.

The study used underwater chambers at four sites in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, including Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef, and applied modelling to extrapolate results for 22 reefs in three ocean basins.

As oceans turn more acidic, the corals themselves produce less of the calcium carbonate that forms their base. Instead of growing, the reef bases start to dissolve.

"The public is less aware of the threat of ocean acidification [than warming waters]," said Brendan Eyre, a professor of biogeochemistry at the Southern Cross University and the paper's lead author.

“Coral reef sediments around the world will trend towards dissolving when seawater reaches a tipping point in acidity - which is likely to occur well before the end of the century,” he said.

At risk will be coral reef ecosystems that support tourism, fisheries and the many other human activities, he said.

The ocean's acidity has increased about 30 per cent since the start of the industrial revolution, as seas absorb about one-third of the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“It is vital that we put pressure on governments globally to act in concert to lower carbon dioxide emissions as this is the only way we can stop the oceans acidifying and dissolving our reefs,” Professor Eyre said.

Rates of dissolving reef sediment will depend on their starting points, including their exposure to organic sediment. The Hawaiian reef studied is already showing signs of its sediment dissolving, with higher organic nutrient levels likely to be contributing, he said.

"Carbonate sediments in Hawaii are already net dissolving and will be strongly net dissolving by the end of the century," the paper said.

Living corals themselves appear to be able to resist the acidification process, with mechanisms and strategies to resist some of the impacts.

Still, the study said the transition of the dissolution of reef sediment "will result in the loss of material for building shallow reef habitats such as reef flats and lagoons, and associated coral cays". It is unknown if the reefs will face "catastrophic destruction" once the erosion begins, the paper said.

Over time, as coral bases begin to dissolve, they are more likely to become more vulnerable to cyclones and other threats, Professor Eyre said.

He said further study was needed to understand how reefs would be affected by temperatures, rising organic and nutrient levels and more acidic waters in combination, he said.

The impact of bleaching - such as the two mass events in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 summers on the Great Barrier Reef - would most likely accelerate the breakdown of reefs by "making more sediment and organic matter available for dissolution", the paper said.


Must not mention differences between blacks and whites

Australian Aborigines usually live apart from whites and their living conditions in their communities tend to horrify all others who see it -- but somehow you have got to pretend that they are "equal" in some sense.  It's perfectly fine for good kind people to make that pretence but such people also tend to condemn others who choose just to look at reality.  It seems to me that the real racists are people who base their perceptions of Aborigines on their race rather than on any objective circumstances

After niggling disagreements with campmates including Peter Rowsthorn and Paul Burrell, David Oldfield has had his first full-on I’m A Celeb fight.

The blow-up happens in tonight’s episode, and sees former One Nation politician Oldfield and comedian Fiona O’Loughlin clashing over Indigenous welfare issues.

A question from AFL player Josh Gibson to Oldfield - “What do you actually think about Aboriginal people?” - quickly led to a heated argument between Oldfield and O’Loughlin, who lived in Alice Springs for 27 years and fostered “many” Indigenous children during her time there.

Oldfield had questioned how much Aboriginal people had contributed to modern society, while O’Loughlin explained that her own son works closely with Aboriginal communities and has seen first-hand the effect of ignorant comments and beliefs like Oldfield’s.

“You’re suffering white guilt,” Oldfield told her. “They didn’t invent anything.”

“Oh, you racist pig,” O’Loughlin shot back.

“People talk about reconciliation, which is inappropriate because we have never been together and it’s to bring together two peoples that have not been estranged. What time do Aboriginal and others feel they’re together as one group?” Oldfield asked.


Is immigration too high in Australia?

THE former prime minister is copping a lot of flak for his latest comments, including from his own colleagues. But one expert said he made a lot of sense.

Should Australia cut immigration levels?

CUTTING immigration into Australia may improve living standards and housing affordability for residents but there are also trade-offs that need to be considered.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has called for Australia to drastically reduce immigration levels from 190,000 to 110,000 people a year.

“My issue is not immigration; it’s the rate of immigration at a time of stagnant wages, clogged infrastructure, soaring house prices and, in Melbourne at least, ethnic gangs that are testing the resolve of police,” he said during a speech at the Sydney Institute on Tuesday evening.

“It’s a basic law of economics that increasing the supply of labour depresses wages; and that increasing demand for housing boosts price.”

Mr Abbott has come under fire but could he actually be right?


Population expert Bob Birrell, a former Monash University professor and now head of the Australian Population Research Institute, said net overseas migration was responsible for half the growth in households in Melbourne and Sydney.

“Therefore it’s a major factor in demand for housing in those two cities and a major contributor to price rises as a consequence,” Mr Birrell told

“If there’s going to be any solution to metropolitan problems (housing affordability, pressure on infrastructure, cost of living increases), the immigration program has to be cut drastically.”

However, net overseas migration includes everyone coming in or out of Australia annually, whether they are citizens or migrants.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said today it was temporary migration driving population growth up, so the government had tightened controls on 457 visas and extended the waiting list time for migrants to be able to claim welfare.

But Mr Birrell said he thought dramatic cuts could still be made to the skilled migration program.

While a high immigration rate may have made sense in the past — to help bring workers in during the mining boom — Mr Birrell said many migrants were not filling skills shortages anymore.

According to 2015-16 statistics, almost 130,000 people enter Australia every year under the “skills stream”, a substantial number of the total 190,000 granted permanent visas. Most of the other places are granted under the “family stream”.

“That could be slashed because the so-called skilled migrants it is attracting — very few have skills that are in short supply in Australia,” Mr Birrell said.

“Employers would hardly notice the difference if the skills stream was slashed.”

In a report published in December 2016, Mr Birrell highlighted rorting of the previous 457 visa system (which has now been replaced) among three popular occupations: IT professionals, engineers and accountants.

“Recent Australian graduates in each of these major professions identified are struggling to find professional work,” Mr Birrell said in the report.

“Competition from the migrant influx is part of the problem.”

But Mr Birrell said changes announced in April last year to abolish the 457 visa and replace it with a new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa was a significant reform.

Unlike the 457 visa, the two-year TSS will not allow migrants to apply for permanent residency once they expire. The government also slashed the number of occupations eligible to apply for the visa.

“All those reforms were justified and represented quite a change in Coalition Government immigration policy,” Mr Birrell said.

“Prior to April 2017, the Coalition priority had been to open up the temporary and permanent entry programs so this is a big change.”


Treasurer Scott Morrison has come out swinging against Mr Abbott’s suggestion, saying that drastically cutting Australia’s migration intake would cost the federal budget up to $5 billion.

This potential impact on economic growth is one of the main factors keeping immigration high, Mr Birrell said.

“A great point of pride in Australia is our 26 years of unbroken economic growth, and by economic growth, they are referring to overall GDP (gross domestic product) growth,” he said.

“Government does not want to lose that growth figure and it’s also crucial to tax revenue.

“Extra people consuming things is a major driver to gross domestic product.”

Basically, if population is growing, so are the number of houses and other products required to cater to the extra people. This is good for business, who can make more products.

Mr Birrell said the Coalition, like the Labor Party, had been anxious to maintain overall economic growth and reducing population growth would slow this down.

But he also noted that while “nominal economic growth” would slow, “per capita economic growth” wouldn’t.

“This is what really matters to Australian residents,” he said.

“The benefits would mainly be reducing pressure on the big cities — so it’s a trade-off.”

Another trade-off would be the hit to Australia’s university sector.

“The main industry affected by this would be the overseas student industry because it would diminish the attractiveness for students to enrol at Australian universities, since many only do so in the hope of using the qualification to get permanent residency,” Mr Birrell said.


While Mr Abbott has also raised issues with migrants not speaking English and “ethnic gangs” in Melbourne, Mr Morrison said he disagreed with the proposition that immigrants caused crime, saying statistics showed they were less likely to be unemployed and their children did better educationally than the general population.

Mr Birrell also notes Australia’s intake of refugees is “non-negotiable”.

“The humanitarian program is based on Australia’s obligation to do its bit for the international refugee situation,” he said.

Currently about 17,555 refugees settle in Australia every year, and this is on top of the 190,000 granted permanent visas.

“It’s an obligation that can’t really be changed, it’s a non-negotiable part of the immigration program,” he said.


Deregulate energy market and go back to coal

The catastrophic outcome of government energy market interventions is palpably clear. As the latest new regulatory body, the Energy Security Board, diplomatically puts it: “Fifteen years of climate policy instability … (have) left our energy system vulnerable to escalating prices while being both less reliable and secure.”

Australia has seen electricity prices double since 2015 and the once reliable supply is now suspect. From enjoying the world’s lowest cost electricity a decade ago, Australia now has among the most expensive.

The main cause has been subsidies and regulatory favours to renewable energy — chiefly wind — that have forced the closure of reliable coal-fired generators, particularly Northern in South Australia and Hazelwood in Victoria. Without these subsidies, costing about $5 billion a year, there would be no wind or solar. Not only are customers and taxpayers slugged with the subsidy costs but the outcome also has been to raise prices and reduce reliability.

A new Australian coal plant would produce electricity at about $50 a megawatt hour. A new wind farm can produce electricity, at best, at $110/MWh and its present subsidy is about $85/MWh. Solar is about twice the cost of wind

Fundamentally, the cost disadvantage of wind and solar stems from their low “energy density”. To get the equivalent energy from a standard 500MW coal generation unit requires 300 wind generators or 900,000 solar panels, and storage or back-up capacity is required to offset the inherent unreliability of energy sources dependent on the vagaries of the weather. Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg put the cost of this at $16/MWh, an optimistic estimate even with the government’s 23.5 per cent renewable target.

Wind farm entrepreneur Simon Holmes a Court recently argued on this page that the world is abandoning coal for electricity generation. Australia’s booming coal exports testify to the ludicrous nature of such statements. In fact, according to Greenpeace’s data, China has 300,000MW of new coal plant under way, increasing its capacity by a third; Japan has 20,000MW, which also would raise capacity by a third; while India has plans for an additional 148,000MW, adding 65 per cent to its capacity. Australian coal generating capacity is about 25,000MW.

The US has no new coal generators planned. This is partly a legacy of Barack Obama, who declared his policies would bankrupt any new coal generators, and partly because of the US boom in gas and oil production. Due to fracking, a technology largely banned in Australia, the US has gas at less than half the Australian price, making it cheaper than coal for new electricity generation.

Holmes a Court was correct in drawing attention to the costly failures of “carbon capture and storage”, the global propaganda arm for which is largely financed by the Australian government, and of high-energy, low-emissions coal power stations. These technologies reduce carbon dioxide emissions but involve add-on costs.

The Minerals Council of Australia, anxious to retain the support of BHP, has promoted low-emission technologies. For internal reasons, BHP supports renewables and opposes coal generation in Australia notwithstanding its dependence on international coal sales and cheap energy generally. The firm’s promotion of renewable energy confronted the reality of this with high fuel costs for its Olympic Dam mine in wind-dependent South Australia. It also took a $137 million hit from the 2016 wind-induced collapse of SA’s power system.

Many firms support renewable policies out of self-interest. Revenue from subsidies is itself valuable and, in addition, coal generators, as Origin Energy’s half-year results last week showed, are earning huge profits from the doubled wholesale price. Others are conscripted to support renewables for PR reasons, as part of what German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann has called a “spiral of silence”, where a loud and confident group is perceived to be majority opinion, leading others to acquiesce in much of its message.

The ESB has been tasked with creating an electricity market blueprint that marries lower carbon dioxide emissions with lower costs and greater reliability. This is an impossible task and would require massive new regulatory interventions.

The ESB’s proposals envisage creating a market combining emissions and energy in which every retailer and generator would need to participate. They would add new dimensions of complexity to electricity supply, bringing a further proliferation of administrative resources within the bureaucracy and the industry.

Envisaging such further controls as bringing improved efficiency represents a triumph of hope over experience. We can restore our latent competitiveness in cheap energy only by abandoning all the intrusions and distortions that are in place. Donald Trump has achieved success from such an approach and we may have to await full recognition of this before our politicians adopt similar deregulatory policies.


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, 2018

Abbott’s anti-immigration push dead

I think Greg Sheridan is attacking a straw man below.  Abbott would obviously want to direct immigration cuts to individuals who are least likely to adapt well to Australian life but Sheridan pretends that Abbott wants to cut all immigration across the board. I think it is fairly obvious that more selectivity is needed as the way of cutting total numbers.  How else would you do it?

As Malcolm Turnbull meets Donald Trump, former prime minister Tony Abbott’s misguided attack on the immigration program, strongly rejected by conservatives Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison, suggest the populist right in Australia is learning all the wrong lessons from the US President.

It is becoming an increasingly negative force, which measures its puny tactical accomplishments only in what it can stop, never in what it can achieve.

It would be impossible for a journalist to have a higher opinion of Abbott than I do. I regard him as a major figure in Australian political history and have written at length of his government’s achievements, but his attack on the immigration program, which contradicts much of what he did in government, is 100 per cent wrong.

It is wrong in its particulars, and it represents a decline in the quality of Abbott’s political contribution. It looks like populist pandering.

The political leader in Australian history who most comprehensively cut immigration was Gough Whitlam. The other mainstream political force that has typically argued for big immigration cuts is the Greens, and for many of the same reasons as Abbott cites.

That the populist right now finds itself on a unity ticket with Whitlam and the Greens indicates the ultimate sterility and false promise of populist solutions. Abbott has called for a more or less immediate halving of the immigration level — something he never suggested or entertained as prime minister — and blamed immigration for wages stagnation, housing shortages, infrastructure bottlenecks, welfare dependency and other ills.

He cites the high level of welfare dependency of refugees five years after their arrival and conflates this into a general anti-immigration position. However, refugees are very different from skilled immigrants. So long as we choose refugees who will make a personal and political commitment to Australia, we are rich enough to bear the cost.

If Abbott thinks we should cut refugee numbers, fair enough. Argue then for that, not for a general cut in immigration.

As prime minister, Abbott increased our refugee intake. You cannot credibly be Captain Compassion in government when you’re looking for majority support and transform into Harry Hardheart out of government when you are looking for a populist corner of resentment.

Both Dutton and Morrison, who were key ministers under Abbott and once his closest allies, rightly rejected the almost cartoonishly simplistic economic arguments Abbott used to oppose immigration generally.

More supply in the labour market means a lower price for labour, he declared. This really is the territory of the Greens and the trade union movement of a century ago. In that case, we should never have any immigration and we’d all be rich.

In fact, immigration makes the economy bigger and makes, over time, everyone more affluent, provided it’s a well-run program.

Dutton, the cabinet’s leading conservative, yesterday pointed out that with two-thirds of our intake being skilled immigrants, the economic benefits to Australia are very substantial. As the Productivity Commission has pointed out, skilled migration increases productivity.

Abbott is also just plain wrong to say Australia’s program today — 183,000 migrants last year — is a historically high number.

Australia welcomed a net migration of 153,000 people in 1950 when our total population was eight million. Our population is now three times bigger, our immigrant intake merely 30,000 more. In other words, it is a much smaller immigration intake as a percentage of our population today than it was then. And we were much poorer then.

The great immigration of the 1950s and 60s occurred under conservative Australian governments led mostly by Robert Menzies. That was a time when conservatives were nation-builders, not forces of negation and protest.

Abbott is right to say infrastructure, especially roads and houses, has not kept pace in Sydney and Melbourne. This is a bipartisan political failure. State governments Liberal and Labor have been equally ineffective in providing needed infrastructure, as have federal governments of both persuasions.

The wretched populism involved in turning against immigration may yield some resentment-corner political dividends. It will also yield very bad policy for the national interest.


Australian Parents To Take Part In International Sex Ed Sit Out

Australian school children are being increasingly subjected to early sexualisation through programs such as Safe Schools and Respectful Relationships and sex ed shifting from focusing on biology to teaching sex positivity. This is not a uniquely Australian phenomena with sex ed being taught at younger ages and in a lot more graphic detail in nations such as the United States and Canada. These new programs are mandated by governments in public schools with parents getting no say in the matter, if they are told about them at all.

Not surprisingly parents are fighting back against this government overreach in an area which used to be the realm of the parent who could best decide how to teach their children these sensitive topics. Part of the difficultly in challenging such programs is that the masses are not informed about what is contained in them, so much activism involves just communicating to the public the disturbing material contained in them so enough can begin to put pressure on the politicians who sign off on such programs.

To protest against the compulsory nature of the programs parents in the United States are planning a National Sex Ed Sit Out on April 23 where they will pull their children out of school for the day as an act of defiance against the education authorities. The sit out is being promoted by the Activist Mommy (Elizabeth Johnston), an Ohio mother of 10 who is America’s most prominent campaigner against graphic sex ed programs. The concept of a sex ed sit out has spread internationally.

Given Australia’s problems with such programs parents in Australia are planning to take part, the event has been shared on prominent parental activist pages. There is also an effort being undertaken to organise a Parents United for Kids Rally in each state and territory to coincide with the Sex Ed Sit Out for parents to take their message to the people mandating these programs.

The state of Victoria has the worst of these programs with it still teaching the uncensored Roz Ward version of Safe Schools and where the Respectful Relationships program which is supposedly taught to counter domestic violence was born. The Australian Christian Lobby recently presented a a 16,675-signature petition to the Victorian Premier’s Office against the Safe Schools Program. Victoria is facing a state election year with these programs likely to be a prominent campaign issue.

If enough students are absent from school on one day for a reason the education bureaucrats don’t approve of then the sit out will have achieved its goal of making policymakers take note of these parents concerns.


Science or silence? My battle to question doomsayers about the Great Barrier Reef

By Professor Peter Ridd.  His university is desperate to shut him up as he tells basic scientific truth, which they  see as threatening the funding that they have bought with lies and alarmism. Ridd leads the Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University, Australia and has authored over 100 scientific papers

Around the world, people have heard about the impending extinction of the Great Barrier Reef: some 133,000 square miles of magnificent coral stretching for 1,400 miles off the northeast coast of Australia.

The reef is supposedly almost dead from the combined effects of a warming climate, nutrient pollution from Australian farms, and smothering sediment from offshore dredging.

Except that, as I have said publicly as a research scientist who has studied the reef for the past 30 years, all this most likely isn’t true.

And just for saying that – and calling into question the kind of published science that has led to the gloomy predictions – I have been served with a gag order by my university. I am now having to sue for my right to have an ordinary scientific opinion.

My emails have been searched. I was not allowed even to speak to my wife about the issue. I have been harangued by lawyers. And now I’m fighting back to assert my right to academic freedom and bring attention to the crisis of scientific truth.

The problems I am facing are part of a “replication crisis” that is sweeping through science and is now a serious topic in major science journals. In major scientific trials that attempt to reproduce the results of scientific observations and measurements, it seems that around 50 percent of recently published science is wrong, because the results can’t be replicated by others.

And if observations and measurements can’t be replicated, it isn’t really science – it is still, at best, hypothesis, or even just opinion. This is not a controversial topic anymore – science, or at least the system of checking the science we are using, is failing us.

The crisis started in biomedical areas, where pharmaceutical companies in the past decade found that up to 80 percent of university and institutional science results that they tested were wrong. It is now recognized that the problem is much more widespread than the biomedical sciences. And that is where I got into big trouble.

I have published numerous scientific papers showing that much of the “science” claiming damage to the reef is either plain wrong or greatly exaggerated. As just one example, coral growth rates that have supposedly collapsed along the reef have, if anything, increased slightly.

Reefs that are supposedly smothered by dredging sediment actually contain great coral. And mass bleaching events along the reef that supposedly serve as evidence of permanent human-caused devastation are almost certainly completely natural and even cyclical.

These allegedly major catastrophic effects that recent science says were almost unknown before the 1980s are mainly the result of a simple fact: large-scale marine science did not get started on the reef until the 1970s.

By a decade later, studies of the reef had exploded, along with the number of marine biologists doing them. What all these scientists lacked, however, was historical perspective. There are almost no records of earlier eras to compare with current conditions. Thus, for many scientists studying reef problems, the results are unprecedented, and almost always seen as catastrophic and even world-threatening.

The only problem is that it isn’t so. The Great Barrier Reef is in fact in excellent condition. It certainly goes through periods of destruction where huge areas of coral are killed from hurricanes, starfish plagues and coral bleaching. However, it largely regrows within a decade to its former glory. Some parts of the southern reef, for example, have seen a tripling of coral in six years after they were devastated by a particularly severe cyclone.

Reefs have similarities to Australian forests, which require periodic bushfires. It looks terrible after the bushfire, but the forests always regrow. The ecosystem has evolved with these cycles of death and regrowth.

The conflicting realities of the Great Barrier Reef point to a deeper problem. In science, consensus is not the same thing as truth. But consensus has come to play a controlling role in many areas of modern science. And if you go against the consensus you can suffer unpleasant consequences.

The main system of science quality control is called peer review. Nowadays, it usually takes the form of a couple of anonymous reviewing scientists having a quick check over the work of a colleague in the field.

Peer review is commonly understood as painstaking re-examination by highly qualified experts in academia that acts as a real check on mistaken work. It isn’t.  In the real world, peer review is often cursory and not always even knowledgeable. It might take reviewers only a morning to do.

Scientific results are rarely reanalyzed and experiments are not replicated. The types of checks that would be routine in private industry are just not done.

I have asked the question: Is this good enough quality control to make environmental decisions worth billions of dollars that are now adversely affecting every major industry in northeast Australia?

Our sugar industry has been told to make dramatic reductions in fertilizer application, potentially reducing productivity; our ports have dredging restrictions that threaten their productivity; scientists demand that coal mines be closed; and tourists are scared away because the reef is supposedly almost dead – not worth seeing anymore.

Last August I made this point on Sky News in Australia in promotion of a chapter I wrote in “Climate Change: The Facts 2017,” published by the Australian free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.

“The basic problem is that we can no longer trust the scientific organizations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, even things like the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies … the science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated and this is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions and the fact is I do not think we can any more,” I said.

The response to these comments by my employer, James Cook University, was extraordinary. Rather than measured argument, I was hit with a charge of academic serious misconduct for not being “collegial.”

University authorities told me in August I was not allowed to mention the case or the charges to anybody – not even my wife.

Then things got worse. With assistance from the Institute of Public Affairs, I have been pushing back against the charges and the gag order – leading the university to search my official emails for examples of where I had mentioned the case to other scientists, old friends, past students and my wife.

I was then hit with 25 new allegations, mostly for just mentioning the case against me. The email search turned up nothing for which I feel ashamed. You can see for yourself.

We filed in court in November. At that point the university backed away from firing me. But university officials issued a “Final Censure” in my employment file and told me to be silent about the allegations, and not to repeat my comments about the unreliability of institutional research.

But they agreed that I could mention it to my wife, which was nice of them.

I would rather be fired than accept these conditions. We are still pursuing the matter in court.

This case may be about a single instance of alleged misconduct, but underlying it is an issue even bigger than our oceans. Ultimately, I am fighting for academic and scientific freedom, and the responsibility of universities to nurture the debate of difficult subjects without threat or intimidation.

We may indeed have a Great Barrier Reef crisis, but the science is so flawed that it is impossible to tell its actual dimensions. What we do know for certain is that we have an academic freedom crisis that threatens the true life of science and threatens to smother our failing university system.


Must not address women as 'darling'

South Australian Liberal MP Tim Whetstone has come under fire after calling another election candidate 'darling' during a public meeting.

At a forum at Renmark in the Riverland yesterday, Mr Whetstone told SA Best candidate Michelle Campbell to "get a brief, darling" after she described regional Port Pirie as being a marginal seat.

It prompted a member of the audience to call out Mr Whetstone's actions as "aggressive and sexist", and he went on to apologise.

But on ABC Riverland today, Ms Campbell said she had received no personal apology, despite his public backdown at the meeting.

"I can understand he is trying to make a point of difference and he is trying to be noticed," Ms Campbell said. "It's always a bit tricky sometimes for men when there are women stepping up and trying to be leaders in the community."

Ms Campbell said she approached the audience member who spoke up at the meeting to thank her.


Turns Out Australia’s Anti-Piracy Legislation Is Actually Working?

Remember when The Pirate Bay and a bunch of other torrenting  sites were blocked in Australia back in December 2016? Well, despite the naysaying at the time, it looks like the strategy is sort of working to prevent piracy.

A new report released today by Incopro, a company that specialises in research on intellectual property, reportedly shows that Australian traffic to the blocked sites has dropped by 53 percent in the last year.

It’s more than just a couple of blocked sites too. Since the government passed legislation making it easier for websites to be blocked, film and TV copyright holders have been going absolutely gangbusters with their court orders, succeeding in getting hundreds of sites blocked by internet service providers.

I mean, sure, many of those sites are just different web addresses you can access The Pirate Bay at (this whole blocking system is a little like whack-a-mole), but still.

Anyway, the findings about the piracy reduction are a little surprising, given the criticism the ban faced when it was first being considered. At the time, opponents pointed out that the blocking system is fairly easy to bypass, and that other countries that tried a ban had reportedly just inspired more people to visit sites like The Pirate Bay.

Who knows, maybe Australians are just lazy. Or maybe it has something to do with the streaming services that have become available down under since the piracy bans. Incopro’s full report doesn’t seem to be available to the public yet, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.


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, 2018

Stop 'bail-in' law that steals Australians' savings

Citizens Electoral Council of Australia started this petition to Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull and 25 others

We the undersigned call on Parliament to reject the Financial Sector Legislation Amendment (Crisis Resolution Powers and Other Measures) Bill 2017. The bill gives the bank regulator APRA sweeping powers to prop up failing banks by confiscating the savings that Australians hold in those banks, which is known as "bail-in". At stake is the investment savings of hundreds of thousands of retirees, and the ordinary deposits of all Australians, including individuals, businesses, charities and organisations. This unjust, destructive legislation must be scrapped


'Gender-neutral' science teacher who doesn't identify as a man or a woman angers parents after asking students to use 'Mx' instead of 'Mr' or 'Ms'

A gender neutral high school teacher is dividing the classroom after announcing they did not want to be referred to with traditional titles.

The teacher identifies as gender neutral meaning they do not identify as a man or a woman.

The secondary teacher in Sydney's northern suburbs asked students to call them 'Mx' instead of 'Mrs' or 'Mr'. 

The Year 10 science teacher angered some of the school community with one father angry at the principal for not warning the parents, Daily Telegraph reported.

'I don't think my son's ever met a transgender person,' he said. 'I'm sure the same could be said for a lot of other students too. The school really should have, at the very least, spoken with the parents of the students who would be taking the class.'

While not trying to be negative, the father reportedly wanted to see if other parents felt the same way and shared his view to Facebook - which has been deleted.

People who identify as gender neutral may not want to use single-sex bathrooms or be referred to by titles that imply a specific gender. Gender neutral people may express a mix of both male and female characteristics.

The NSW Department of Education told the publication it 'adheres to the principles of Equal Employment Opportunity in all aspects of teacher recruitment and promotion'.

Two weeks ago, an elite Christian girls school announced to parents they had a transgender student who was a 'born into a boy's body'.

The Glennie School in Toowoomba, Queensland, welcomed the student and openly discussed the young girl's attendance to squash any rumours.

Discussing the transgender addition in the school community, the Christian school sent an email to parents - an act the Year 10 student's father wished the principal had done about the transgender teacher.


Campaign against use of the word 'retard' targets social media

The West Australia Government has helped launch a social media campaign aimed at getting people to stop using the word "retard" to demean people with disabilities.

Disabilities Minister Stephen Dawson said the word appeared on social media every five seconds and was used casually and unthinkingly by people every day.

"The R word is insulting and disrespectful — not just to people with disability but also to their families, friends and carers," he said. "It's never OK to use the R word — not in humour or frustration.

"People should stop and think about whether they would use the word on someone they love before they direct it towards somebody else."

The campaign is being run by not-for-profit disability advocacy group Avivo.

Mr Dawson said Twitter users who used the word would be targeted with a tweet containing one of the campaign's videos, which focus on people with a disability sharing their experiences with the word.


Christian Schools Australia defends right to hire and fire teachers over beliefs

Schools must retain the ability to hire and fire teachers and other staff based on their beliefs and adherence to religious codes, Christian Schools Australia has said.

It also called for “the right to select students”, including to eject them from a school community, in a joint submission with Adventist Schools Australia to the Ruddock religious freedom review.

During the marriage law postal survey campaign the Catholic church threatened to sack gay teachers, nurses and other staff if they engaged in civil same-sex weddings in breach of church doctrine.

Submissions from LGBTI organisations and Amnesty International called for a repeal or narrowing of religious exemptions to discrimination law, which the Rationalist Society called an example of “religious privilege”.

Christian Schools Australia warned that “removing the ability of Christian schools to employ staff who share the school’s values and beliefs would undermine the essential nature of the school”.

“If freedom of religion is to remain a legitimate hallmark of Australian education then the rights of school communities to operate in accordance with religious beliefs must be upheld.

“This must include the right to choose all staff based on their belief in, and adherence to, the beliefs, tenets and doctrines of the religion concerned.”

CSA proposed giving schools a power to choose staff by defining it as a legal form of “differentiation”, rather than merely an exemption to discrimination law.

It warned that existing exemptions were “narrow in scope” and did not necessarily allow religious organisations to deny their services or facilities based on belief nor to “separate from families” when their values did not accord with the school’s.

CSA took aim at Queensland’s anti-discrimination laws, which require that a religious objection must be an “inherent requirement” of the religion, and staff can only be discriminated against if they “openly act” in contravention of religious beliefs.

It warned that meant schools could not take any action against staff who “may have a fundamentally antithetical faith position” to the school.

Staff leading a “double life” undermines their duty of fidelity and good faith to the school and was a form of “duplicity and deceit” that was “not in anybody’s interests”, it said.

The CSA called for the creation of a new religious freedom commissioner in the Australian Human Rights Commission and for protections that mirror the amendments in the conservative Paterson same-sex marriage bill, including to guarantee free speech about what a marriage is and to secure religious organisations’ charitable status.

The National Council of Churches in Australia, in a submission written by its president, the Melbourne Anglican bishop Philip Huggins, said the right to freedom of religion was “in reasonable shape” in Australia.

But the submission said religious people had been subjected to more “verbal and physical abuse”, including Christians who supported the “no” case in the postal survey – which it compared to the abuse of Muslims after the 11 September terrorist attacks.

The NCCA recommended that the government consult about the benefits of a human rights bill and suggested a review of school curricula to counter “a growing level of religious ignorance in the Australian population”.

The LGBTI rights group Just Equal called for the abolition of all laws that allow discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.

“This includes those provisions that allow discrimination and vilification by religious individuals and faith-based organisations such as schools, hospitals, welfare agencies and aged care facilities,” it said.

The Rationalist Society, which advocates for secularism, accused religious groups of seeking an “unfettered right to manifest [their] beliefs, even if this involves breaching the fundamental rights of others”.

A permanent, belief-based exemption to discrimination law “promotes and entrenches traditional prejudice and harm against women and LGBTI communities”, it said.

Amnesty International suggested a prohibition on religious vilification and the removal of an exemption that allows civil marriage celebrants who profess a religious faith to refuse to solemnise a marriage on religious grounds.

Amnesty International recommended that religious organisations, including educational institutions, in receipt of public funding be prohibited from “discriminating in the provision of those services in ways that would otherwise be unlawful”.

In January the deputy Labor leader, Tanya Plibersek, said Labor had “no plans … at the moment” to change discrimination law exemptions but downplayed the likelihood religious schools would sack staff over sexuality.

In November a Baptist school in Rockingham, Western Australia, sacked a relief teacher who revealed his sexuality in a Facebook post.


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, 2018

Tony Abbott calls to limit migrants to 110,000 a year to help them integrate, make housing more affordable and increase wage growth

Australia should drastically reduce immigration levels until migrants are better integrated into society and to prevent further pressure on wages and housing prices, former prime minister Tony Abbott says.

Mr Abbott wants to see a cut in immigration numbers from 190,000 to 110,000 people a year, urging Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to take the issue to the electorate at the next election.

In a speech to the Sydney Institute on Tuesday evening, Mr Abbott is expected to tell his audience cutting the number of migrants will help wages growth and make house prices more affordable, News Corp Australia reports.

'My main concern tonight is another topic, no less taboo, lest anyone be upset or comfort be given to the racists supposedly in our midst, namely the rate of immigration,' he will say.

'It's a basic law of economics that increasing the supply of labour depresses wages; and that increasing demand for housing boosts price.

'At least until infrastructure housing stock and integration has better caught up, we simply have to move the overall numbers substantially down. In order to win the next election, the government needs policy positions which are principled, practical and popular.'

Asked whether Australia needs to change its immigration policy, Cabinet minister Mathias Cormann said the intake is lower now than its peak under the previous Labor government.

'The most important thing with our immigration intake is that we attract the right people to make Australia their home,' he told reporters in Canberra.

'In the end attracting appropriately skilled migrants with the right attitude also helps ensure our economic growth into the future.'


Racist black woman

Your race should not restrict what you can say

This is the moment an Aboriginal woman interrupted a cabinet minister on Q&A and told him he had no right to talk about indigenous issues because he's white.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg and shadow treasurer Chris Bowen were debating the idea of a constitutional referendum to create an indigenous voice to parliament when actress Shareena Clanton theatrically put her hands in the air.

'Can you stop? I’m really sick of non-indigenous peoples making comments about non-indigenous Australia,' she told the ABC panel show in Sydney on Monday night.

'We want to be the voice because we are tired of non-indigenous Australia thinking that they know what is good for us and thinking that they can be the voice for Aboriginal Australia.

'So they should all learn to keep their mouths shut and start engaging Aboriginal Australia into the conversation.' 

Ms Clanton became agitated when Mr Frydenberg, a Liberal MP, pointed out that Labor's indigenous former national president Warren Mundine had objected to the idea of an indigenous parliament as 'a solution looking for a problem'.

The thespian, who has appeared in Redfern Now and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries on the ABC, pointed at Mr Frydenberg when he repeated Mr Mundine's name during her rant.

'Yourself included,' she said to the minister before continuing.

'We have spent 230 years, 230 years of not being included in this constitution.'

The 27-year-old actress argued the Queen, as Australia's head of state, still owned traditional lands, despite native title provisions that had given Aboriginal people control of their soil.

'We're still begging to protect sacred sites that are over 80,000 years old from mining companies, from gas companies,' she said, punctuating her sentences with theatrical pauses. 'We want to be the author of our own destinies.'

Her passionate comments divided the studio audience, with footage showing many people in the Q&A crowd keeping still as others clapped.

Last year, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion and former attorney-general George Brandis rejected the Referendum Council's proposal for a referendum to establish an indigenous 'Voice to Parliament'.

The council wanted indigenous people to have a voice about legislation and policies, even though the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission was abolished in 2004 by the former Howard government over governance issues.


Higher minimum wage will lower economic health

Bill Shorten's proposal to permanently link the minimum wage rate to 60% of the median wage, creating a so-called ‘living wage', is a desperate appeal to low-income earners, working families and the left-wing voters of Australia. But what impacts will this feel-good policy have on the overall health of our economy?

In short, the proposed “living wage" would actively undermine Opposition's other stated policy goals of boosting investment, growth, jobs, and to lift all wages over time.

In economics, a wage is just another word for the price of labour.  If you increase the price of any input you are going to negatively impact the demand for the input.  So a big increase to the minimum wage that is not linked to productivity improvements or a greater demand for new workers will result in job losses for the most vulnerable, lower-skilled workers in our society.

Low skilled workers who were formerly earning the previous minimum wage will be forced into competition with the higher-skilled workers now earning the same higher wage. For a firm to be in the best profit-maximising positon, the natural course of action is to keep the higher skilled workers and let the lower skilled workers go.

Mr Shorten has also made claims of Australia being a “left-behind-society", – but the stats just don't add up. With the current minimum wage of $18.29 per hour, Australia is visibly above that of the UK, which is AU$12.71 per hour and the US, which is AU$12.97 per hour.

The Opposition leader's recent comments have shown a lack of understanding of basic economics – and little regard to truly growing the economy.


Move to protect Brisbane's rare red brick schools

Steps are being taken by Queensland's Department of Education and Training to preserve several of Brisbane's rare red-brick schools as part of the state's history. As Queensland struggled during the economic depression of the 1930s, a handful of Brisbane schools were made out of expensive red bricks.

Across the state, most schools built between 1826 and 1969 were made of timber, a material considered one-third cheaper than bricks at the time.

However, there is a scattering of brick schools still standing in Brisbane today. The main buildings at Ashgrove, Morningside and West End state schools are multi-storey brick buildings.

The education department has put forward submissions to have the three buildings added to the state’s heritage register.

The heritage application report submitted as part of all three applications said that during the economic depression, building work in Queensland came to a halt. “In combat, the Queensland government embarked on a capital works program to provide impetus to the economy,” the report said. “The construction of substantial three-storey schools provided tangible proof of the government’s commitment to remedy the unemployment situation.”


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, 2018

Is the Labor Party too trusting of China?

Clive Hamilton below thinks so. He is very much of the Green/Left so that is something of a surprise but it may be part of Greenie anti-development thinking.  He actually sounds quite nationalist below -- not far from Pauline Hanson.  I don't really see what the fuss is about.  If they buy up bits of Australia nothing is lost.  They can't pick up the bit they have bought and take it back to China

Canberra is finally beginning to push back against Beijing’s long-running campaign to seduce our elites so completely that the nation kow-tows before China’s wishes.

The first phase of the pushback culminated in December with the Turnbull government introducing legislation to outlaw foreign interference operations and novel forms of espionage. Afraid that its well-made plans will be thwarted, Beijing has been making panicky claims that it’s all motivated by “anti-Chinese racism”.

Led by shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus, the Labor Party is gearing up to oppose the legislation. Dreyfus says his concern is to protect press freedom, but that is being used to undermine the rationale of the laws themselves.

Amending the legislation to protect democratic freedoms is easy. The harder task is undoing the deep penetration of the Labor Party by proxies for and agents of the Chinese Communist Party. The spectacular downfall of Sam Dastyari was one clumsy instance of a more insidious problem for Labor.

The Liberal Party has been subject to the same kind of influence operations and the party undoubtedly has a problem. Yet, going by the Turnbull government’s determination to enact the foreign interference legislation, the Liberals still remain willing to put basic Australian democratic freedoms before Chinese money.

Apologists for China in the Labor Party have been working, wittingly or otherwise, to entrench China’s structure of influence. Last week, Kevin Rudd played perfectly into the hands of Beijing by lambasting the Turnbull government’s proposed laws as an “anti-China jihad”.

The Mandarin-speaking former prime minister said that current laws are perfectly adequate. If that’s true, why have there been no prosecutions? And why are several Western nations watching events here so intently, expecting to follow the trail being blazed in Australia?

The Rudd government’s approach to China was weak and indecisive, perhaps best represented by Rudd’s disastrous decision in 2008 to wreck the emerging Quadrilateral Security Dialogue with India, Japan and the United States. His pull-out, under Chinese pressure, soured relations with India and delayed for a decade cooperation between the four democratic powers to begin acting jointly to resist Beijing’s aggression.

Rudd believes what he put in place is enough to protect Australia. Anyone who has tracked China’s growing influence over the last several years, including our intelligence agencies, knows that is laughable.

It’s to be expected that a former leader will attempt to burnish his legacy, but when he uses his residual influence to expose the nation to foreign domination he needs to be called out. Rudd’s Labor predecessor Paul Keating retains much greater influence in the Labor Party and beyond. He chairs an international advisory council for the huge China Development Bank. He regularly praises the Communist Party bosses for their brilliant achievements—“the best government in the world for the last 30 years”—and calls for Australia to loosen our ties with the United States.

Keating is the godfather of the powerful NSW right faction of the ALP that has been so corrupted by Chinese influence. Dastyari may have gone because of his unseemly relationship with Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo, but plenty of powerful Beijing sympathisers remain.

Former NSW premier and foreign minister Bob Carr has been castigated for agreeing to run a “think tank” established with a large donation from Huang Xiangmo. Carr proudly proclaimed that the Australia-China Relations Institute would adopt a “positive and optimistic” view of China.

Tony Burke, a federal leadership aspirant, is also a beneficiary of Chinese money. His election campaign was boosted by a $30,000 donation from a source flagged by ASIO as connected to the CCP.

When asked on radio about the $30,000 donation, Burke said it was donated by a family friend, whom he holds in the “highest regard”.

There are current and former Labor politicians who understand fully the danger posed by the Chinese Communist Party to our democratic freedoms and support measures to protect our sovereignty. They include Richard Marles, Kim Beazley, John Faulkner, Michael Danby, Stephen Conroy and Anthony Byrne. But the party has a cancer growing in it, and it must cut it out.


Rise of the eco-cup enterprises as war on waste steps up

I am sort of sympathetic to this. I grew up in a long-gone era where the motto was "Waste not, want not" and nothing was "disposable".  So mountains of old disposable coffee cups do seem a waste. 

On the other hand, digging big holes and filling them with rubbish is not exactly hi-tech or difficult.  And when the dump fills up it is customary to resurface it as a sports field or park.  A lot of our sports facilities originated that way. 

As it happens, I always drink my coffee out of a china cup -- because I like it that way

When Simon Karlik saw rubbish bins overflowing with water bottles, coffee cups and takeaway food containers, he thought the amount of waste was “just insane”.

“I thought, can’t we go back to, in my terms, grandma's day, where you didn't rely on this very lazy option of just using something once and throwing it away,” says Karlik.

That prompted Karlik to start Cheeki, the Sydney-based company which makes vacuum-insulated stainless steel coffee cups you can carry to your café.

Today, his company, which produces a range of eco-friendly food and drink containers, turns over between $3 million to $4 million.

Reusable coffee cups rose in popularity in the wake of the ABC’s groundbreaking television series, War on Waste, which accelerated the public debate about Australia’s waste disposal problems.

According to the program, we throw out around 1 billion coffee cups each year.

Karlik started Cheeki in 2009 with stainless steel water bottles. “The water bottle was my focus for the first year or so and then we fairly quickly went into the coffee cups. And more recently, lunch boxes and food containers.”

He says while the water bottles were well received from the outset, “the coffee cups were certainly slower in the beginning. I remember early on we had a slogan, ‘No excuse for single use’. People didn't even understand that. We tried to speak to a lot of cafes about offering a discount if you brought in your reusable cup and they just didn't really understand.

“And then it really took off with the War on Waste TV show last year. That was the big one that put it into the mainstream consciousness. But there certainly had been a groundswell leading up to that TV show.”

Karlik says he saw an instant spike in website traffic. “It has dwindled away somewhat. But for the month after the TV show, it was incredibly powerful.”

Cheeki products are available through around 1200 retailers including health stores, organic grocers, pharmacies, homeware stores, which account for 95 per cent of their sales. They are also available online.

Karlik says Cheeki focuses on “insulated stainless steel cups and mugs which keep the product very hot for a long time. We have a couple of different styles, but our most popular style is leakproof, meaning you could literally get your coffee and put it in your handbag and run to the bus or something.”

He says the company does “considerable R & D work” and the overseas market is firmly on its radar.

While Cheeki sells in the UK and European market in “a small way”, it is planning to launch properly in the US and Europe in March.

Another product surfing this trend is the JOCO coffee cup.

“The JOCO brand was created in 2008,” says founder Matt Colegate. “The concept or the basis behind the brand was developed out of a personal protest against disposable waste and plastic.”

Colegate says the goal was to have a brand with values that could create eco-friendly products and solutions that then empower those values, “and also empower the individual to make a difference in their everyday life without sacrificing any luxuries as well”.

While the brand was born in 2008, Colegate says the “first product from the JOCO brand was literally a mug I grabbed from the office where I worked. I made a lid for it and started using that at the local cafes rather than disposable cups.

“The JOCO Cup that we feature is far more refined. We didn’t start production till a few years later because it was a side project for us. We had day jobs and the development process was substantial because we were attempting to work outside of the plastic world and that proved to be a big challenge.”

The first cups from the Torquay-based company were rolled out around 2012.

“When we started developing the product, we chipped in around $2000 to work out the design and so forth. Once we got around to the sampling stage, and our first production, we invested around $40,000.”

Colegate says things picked up from there. “Every year we have seen really good growth in uptake of reusable vessels and plastic-free vessels. The business was inefficient basically due to the fact that we were operating outside the plastic world, our costs were huge.

“In the last 24 months, we have really seen a big uptake, especially within parts of Europe and Australia. And then in the last year, with the War on Waste, we have seen increases of over 500 per cent in particular regions.”

The reusable glass JOCO cups are designed, developed and produced in-house, he says. “In the development process we worked very closely with leading baristas from around the world to get the input as to what they need to make the cup a perfect tool for their processes.”


Barnaby Joyce’s greatest sin is being conservative


While less offensive than a Bob and Blanche biopic, the Barnaby and Vikki show is best viewed in a dimly lit interior. Australians aren’t prudish but the suggestion that Barnaby Joyce and a staff member had an affair on the public purse offends common decency and aesthetic sensibilities.

The Deputy Prime Minister ­arguably misused his power as the highest-ranking conservative in government by having an extramarital affair with a staffer. He is compounding the damage by refusing to resign.

His sense of entitlement is degrading public discourse and deepening the democratic deficit as people ­question whether any politician can be trusted. While it is fair to charge Joyce with hypocrisy, we should beware the double standard that condemns conservatives for ­immoral behaviour while ­exonerating their progressivist counterparts.

The Joyce affair is another nail in the coffin for Coalition conservatives. When Tony Abbott was rolled as prime minister by Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberals left faction, the Nationals became flag-bearers for traditional social values in government. Many people voted for the Coalition on the basis that the Nationals would balance Turnbull’s tilt to the left. Joyce’s appointment as deputy prime minister was part of the ­balancing act.

Joyce is no titan of Australian politics but he is the highest-ranking conservative in government and campaigned for traditional marriage during last year’s same-sex marriage plebiscite. After news of his extramarital affair broke, the left was quick to cry hypocrite over his public stance against gay marriage. Fair enough.

The anger over Joyce’s protracted extramarital affair with a staffer is shared broadly. But outside of his family, few are more disappointed than conservatives. Many feel that he has made a mockery of conservative values.

The conservative disappointment with Joyce is palpable in the media, where right-leaning journalists are holding him to account. Conservative commentators are putting the principle before the side and calling for his resignation. However, sections of the pro­gressivist media are taking a markedly different approach. Somewhere along the line, Joyce’s midlife crisis became an excuse to bash conservatives. The Deputy PM is a bad boy for sleeping around but an appalling sod for being right-wing, so the story goes. The progs should beware the boomerang effect.

Barnaby Joyce, hypocrite, is an acute angle with popular appeal. And it has the easy virtue of being true. The news of a hypocrite in the House was splashed across the media left and right, national and international. London’s The Times captured the essence of the story and impending social opprobrium with the headline: Barnaby Joyce, ‘family man’ of Australian politics, moves in with his pregnant lover. Note the scare quotes and unleash the hounds.

On Saturday actor Susan Sarandon had her say about the Joyce affair in Fairfax. “It just seems as if government these days is so full of reactionary hypocrites,” she said. “It always seems it’s the guys who are the most right-wing — either homophobic or the least empathetic with women — that you suddenly find out were leading this other life.” The conflation of right-wing, bigoted and deceptive is a neat rhetorical trick. But you can’t erase Bill Clinton from history, no matter how convenient the revision might be to damning conservative politicians from the lofty heights of political purity.

It’s true that Joyce has a lot to answer for and the charge of hypocrisy will stick. If he had campaigned as a libertarian or a card-carrying member of the Sex Party, few would care if he crossed a moral line.

But he rose to power as leader of the Nationals on a family values ticket. He defended the traditional family by arguing that monogamous marriage confers higher status upon women. Then he had an affair with a member of his ­political staff ­while his wife and four kids were none the wiser.

Joyce might have got away with the affair, except he’s pro-life and the proof is plain to see. On that matter, at least, he stuck with conservative principles and ­deserves some credit for it.

There is less furore when left-wing politicians cross a moral line on the public purse. When Kevin Rudd admitted to hitting a strip club while representing Australia at the UN, his ratings went up. The public liked a bit of dirt on the clean-cut technocrat often pictured leaving church with his wife. He won the federal election in a landslide a few months later.

The extramarital affair of Labor’s longest-serving PM, Bob Hawke, with Blanche d’Alpuget posed no ­obstacle to his career. It began in 1976, with a proposal two years later allegedly cancelled because Hawke aspired to be PM. He had been married to Hazel since 1956 and they had four children at the time. D’Alpuget later wrote that Hawke said: “Divorce could cost Labor 3 per cent.”

ABC iView recently aired Hawke, The Larrikin and the ­Leader, describing him as “a man with character, humour, individuality and flaws — making him an unforgettable leader”. What have they said about Joyce’s flaws?

Perhaps the most shocking case of double standards for double-crossing politicians was the progressivist response to the allegations of sexual abuse levelled at then US president Bill Clinton. When Clinton was accused of rape and sexual assault, feminists formed a virtual protection racket around their progressive icon. Bubba couldn’t be guilty — he was a Democrat, after all.

In The New York Times, cele­brity feminist Gloria Steinem penned an opinion piece revealing feminism had become the domain of the partisan left. She defended Clinton by questioning the credibility of some alleged victims. The message seemed clear; unless you march left, don’t expect the sisterhood to have your back.

There is no doubt that Barnaby Joyce has done wrong and he has admitted as much. However he seems suspended in a deep state of denial about the gravity of the situation and the deleterious ­effect of his actions on government stability and unity. For the sake of the nation, it’s time to man up and move on.


Accidental Queensland plums a 'cracking piece of fruit'

A Queensland-born plum accidentally created by state government researchers could help Australians lower their risk of heart disease, researchers say.

The Queen Garnet plum was created in the Queensland Department of Primary Industries research centre at Stanthorpe about eight years ago in an attempt to grow a disease-resistant plum.

Brisbane-based Nutrifruit director Alistair Brown, whose company owns the commercialisation rights to the fruit, said that after a number of cross-breeds, the “cracking piece of fruit” was born.

“It was something they weren’t purposely looking for but they ended up with and certainly developed it from there,” he said.

Trials to unlock the antioxidant-rich plum's potential have been underway ever since, kicking off at the University of Southern Queensland and extending south to the University of Wollongong, where researchers were determining whether the fruit could help protect against age-related disease such as cancer, heart disease and brain function.

Initial tests were underway to determine the impacts of Queen Garnet plum juice on blood pressure, University of Wollongong PhD student Katherine Kent said. “We showed that over the short-term, anthocyanin-rich juice can significantly reduce blood pressure, over the long-term it has the potential to improve short-term memory in people who have dementia,” she said.

Mr Brown said interest in the fruit had grown since its inception, spreading from four core Queensland growers to interstate farmers keen to get their hands on the fruit. "There has been an amazing amount of interest and to be honest we have probably had more demand from growers than we have supply of trees but we have to be careful not to overplant or oversupply a market,” he said.

Third-generation fruit farmer Brendon Dunn owns a plum orchid south of Stanthorpe and has just wrapped up his eighth harvest of the Queen Garnet plum. “It was a lighter crop this year so ... we only got maybe 112 tonnes of them,” he said. “The crop itself was lighter and we had some problems with too much rain just before harvest which split the skin on quite a few of them.”

Mr Dunn said the Queen Garnet was a bit more of a “challenge” to grow than other varieties, but at about $8 to $10 a kilo, it was worth it.

“With another plum you might pick them when they are not quite ripe and they will ripen in the box or on the shelf,” he said.
“These ones, you have to let them get almost soft on the tree, that is when they get the antioxidants and everything in them, the really dark flesh.

“But all that extra time on the tree means they are susceptible to damage from storms, birds coming in and eating them and everything else. “It is a bit of a challenge to grow them but that is just the nature of them.”

Mr Dunn said that the taste of the fruit was like “describing a sunset ... it is something you have to try for yourselves".
“They are sweet, they have a good sugar content in them, they are very juicy but also they are quite mealy,” he said. “It is quite a large plum with (a) very dark...purple colour and very dark flesh, a beetroot coloured flesh.

“They are exceptional eating quality, and then of course on top of that they are quite a healthy plum as well, they kind of tick all the boxes.”

Mr Dunn sends his fruit each year to wholesalers at Brisbane's Rocklea market before pruning the trees for winter and starting the whole process again from spring.

“It is one thing to be able to grow fruit that tastes excellent, but on top of that to produce fruit that is going to be beneficial to people’s health, that is something we are really happy to be able to produce that fruit,” he said.


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

19 February, 2018

Political bias: leftist DFAT holds our foreign policy hostage

Mark Higgie

Bureaucracies are shaped as much by the political views of those who staff them as their commitment to implementing government policies. Having observed our diplomats from the prime minister's office as an adviser to Tony Abbott and on five diplo­matic postings, I have no doubt that their views of the world, advice and decision-making in the main reflect — to a greater extent than other parts of the federal government machinery — the politically correct pieties that also dominate the ABC, the Fairfax press, our universities and, increasingly, our schools.

To any Canberra insider, espec­ially those in Coalition circles, the fact most of our diplomats are leftish is a given. But the foreign service's political bias matters and is a real issue for Liberal-National governments — obviously not so much for Labor. If the bias isn't corrected by close government management, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's bureau­cracy and operations (cost: $5.1 billion this financial year including overseas aid) will go their own way and capture ministers and even prime ministers along the way.

The spirit of Gough Whitlam continues to hover over DFAT's RG Casey Building in Canberra. Most of our diplomats dream of an Australia less aligned with the US and have an often unqualified enthusiasm for the UN. They prefer Greens/Labor approaches to climate change to those of the ­Coalition. They're deeply uneasy with recent Coalition border protection policies and like the 1970s version of multiculturalism that “celebrates diversity” without much concern for common values and integration. They want us unshackled, as they see it, from our symbolic linkages with Britain.

A few examples of DFAT's thriving leftist bias and the tendency among many of its staff to make judgments out of step with mainstream Australian attitudes:

* Yassmin Abdel-Magied has become notorious for her contemptuous attitude towards Australia, highly controversial views of Islam (“the most feminist ­religion”) and preparedness to seek advice from the extremist ­organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir — banned in many countries because of its defence of Islamist terrorism, one of its spokesmen having ­described Australian troops in ­Afghanistan as “fair game” whom Muslims had an obligation to ­attack.

Nevertheless, Abdel-­Magied was appointed in 2015 to DFAT's Council for Australian-Arab Relations and the following year, after she said on the ABC's The Drum that sharia law was “about mercy” and “kindness”, DFAT funded and promoted her travels around the Middle East, representing Australia.

* This case of DFAT's desperation to prove itself hip to Islam wasn't an exception. Its Twitter account for some years has extended greetings to Muslims on the occasion of Ramadan and last year the usual message was supplemented by an additional message from the DFAT secretary. But no equivalent courtesies were tweeted last year to the world's Jews — or indeed to the world's Christians.

* DFAT also recently created a Twitter storm by enthusing about the Muslim “modest fashion market” of hijabs and burkinis — apparently oblivious to the fact the pressures and in some cases requirement to wear such garments are deeply controversial in many Muslim communities, as highlighted by recent anti-hijab protests in Iran. There was much social media incredulity that DFAT could imply that women who don't wear such garments are somehow immodest and what this says about an organisation that is supposed to represent Australia to the world and to champion the rights of women and girls.

* Most Australians would be aghast that about $44 million of their taxes will be paid this financial year for aid projects in the Palestinian territories, while the Palestinian Authority managed to find $US347m last year for payments to convicted terrorists and their families under its “martyr payments policy”, thus encouraging terrorism. The US House of Representatives in December unanimously passed the Taylor Force Act, which would link continued US aid to the Palestinian Authority ceasing such payments. But the Australian government, advised by DFAT, continues to resist any such linkage.

* In June last year the EU funded an EU-Australia Leadership Forum in Sydney, with round tables discussing various matters of mutual interest, organised in co-operation with DFAT. One of the round tables was focused on migration issues, an opportunity for European participants to learn more about Australia's success in stopping the people-smugglers' trade while maintaining a generous refugee intake — an achievement in which Europeans have been increasingly interested since their catastrophic and continuing migration crisis. But the round table was chaired by then Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs, one of the most strident critics of the government's border protection policies.

* In Brussels I discovered widespread awareness that a DFAT ­officer at the mission was moonlighting openly as the president of a political lobby group, using social media to make charges of racism and homophobia against prominent European political figures, including the leader of an EU and NATO member-state with which Australia enjoys cordial relations.

* Another DFAT official at the mission used Twitter to call for Rupert Murdoch to “become a hermit”, to describe the government as “utterly backward” on gay marriage — but Julia Gillard as “a personal hero” and “a strong female progressive” — and to barrack for a Labour win in the 2015 British election.

* At a US embassy reception arranged on November 9, 2016, to watch the results of the presidential election, a DFAT officer present wept openly once it became clear Donald Trump had won.

The problem with our foreign affairs bureaucracy isn't just the consistent political correctness and suspicion of the Coalition. Much effort is devoted to activity often marginal to Australia's international interests. Much fretting goes into how to achieve increased staffing diversity in DFAT, including through “diversity networks” and “champions” — even though the days when it was dominated by Anglo heterosexual men are long gone. No one wants discrimination against minorities, but most taxpayers would see DFAT's participation in last year's Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras as an activity remote from the protection of our international interests.

Agonised introspection chews up much effort more broadly, with the regular generation of often impenetrable managerialese: for ­example, with its “capability improvement program” — not to be confused with its “capability action plan” — DFAT is on a “capability development journey”, ever on the lookout for “capability champions” (to supplement the “diversity champions”).

The effort put into this gibberish, which now includes “unconscious bias” training for managers, requires much expensive staff time. The appalling lapse by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in losing hundreds of cabinet documents raises the question of whether these fashionable corporate obsessions distract attention from important priorities, such as ensuring national security and maintaining the confidence of our allies in sharing their secrets with us.

Even more effort goes into DFAT's favourite activity, campaigning for more influence in the UN. If this didn't require such effort, money and distortion to our foreign policy, it might not matter. But, as with Labor's campaign for the UN Security Council, that's rarely the case. In that instance, in pursuit of votes, hundreds of millions of dollars of extra aid money were pumped into Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa, and we softened our traditionally strong support for Israel.

To avoid a repeat performance, Abbott resisted DFAT pressure to launch a campaign for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. That partly reflected its particularly dubious nature — its members include Saudi Arabia, Cuba and China. But after Abbott lost the leadership, DFAT quickly got the green light. As The Australian's Greg Sheridan observed, this signalled that the Turnbull administration was going to be a bit more cuddly and progressive interna­tionally. It chewed up huge am­ounts of effort as we hawked our credentials to be admitted into the company of some of the world's worst human rights violators.

With its managerial and UN preoccupations, DFAT has long neglected some of the basics of what we should expect of a foreign service. Foreign language skills, one of the keys to understanding other countries, aren't taken all that seriously. Unlike most diplomatic services, foreign language ability isn't compulsory for recruits. Several officers in Brussels, after years in the city, hadn't bothered to learn enough French to be able to order a cup of coffee.

The writing skills of recruits are generally poor considering the competitive selection process. Many struggle to string together a coherent paragraph, let alone reports that may find their way towards the top of a minister's or prime minister's in-tray.

An especially insidious manifestation of DFAT's right-on tendencies is the widespread instinct to shun political forces its officials disapprove of, be it members of Trump's team during the US presidential campaign or Brexiteers ahead of the British referendum on EU membership.

On networking skills, many DFAT staff are painfully shy and passive about developing contacts. More useful than unconscious bias courses for DFAT staff would be training on developing networks, writing well, and developing conversation skills.

A curiosity is that as skills once considered core for our diplomats have declined, accommodation of dietary preferences has seen explosive growth. Colleagues at Meat & Livestock Australia have encountered vegetarianism so often among DFAT staff at their promotional events that they would occasionally ask in semi-jest if it was a selection criterion. One of our young diplomats once, when told that fish was to be served at an embassy function, demanded evidence that it had been sustainably sourced.

Our foreign affairs bureaucracy can be sloppy when it comes to what should be basics such as how we define our key area of strategic interest — where precision is important. The recent foreign policy white paper confirmed this as the “Indo-Pacific”, defined as the eastern Indian Ocean to the Pacific — so excluding the western parts of South Asia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But at another point in the document, the authors treat the whole of South Asia as part of the Indo-Pacific.

Another basic is that DFAT should be prudent with taxpayers' money. In 2012 it famously paid $388,000 to send 23 officials to a climate change summit in Rio de Janeiro; four years later it paid $192,000 to send a similar number to Paris to find ways to save costs. There was further extravagance last year when our 113 heads of mission were recalled home for discussions at a cost of $1.17m. As reported by The Australian, Alexander Downer, when foreign minister, rejected proposals for such meetings as a waste of money and time. Nothing about last year's meeting suggested this assessment needed revision.

The 2015 review of DFAT led by Brendan Nelson recommended extending postings to four years, which would have saved millions of dollars. But after union objections, DFAT dropped the idea. To her credit, Julie Bishop, on becoming Foreign Minister, banned first-class travel in DFAT, prompting probably the most bitter objections from its leadership to any decision of the current government.

But probably DFAT's worst failing is its lack of alertness to opportunities to advance the national interest. Why, for example did it not persuade Kevin Rudd or Gillard to pursue a free-trade agreement with the EU?

The EU is the world's second largest economy but its protectionism heavily restricts Australian exports in key areas such as beef and lamb. During Labor's last term in office, the US, Canada and Japan launched talks on securing free trade agreements with the EU. The Canadians in 2012 estimated that an FTA with the EU would result in a $C12bn increase in Canada's gross domestic product and 80,000 new jobs. Such analysis should have prompted Australia also to bang on doors in Brussels to start FTA talks. Why did that have to await the Abbott government?


Good for graduates, bad for society. Why university is a waste

Never have I been more excited than on my first day at university.

Orientation week, which is about to begin throughout the nation, opened a door to an entire world of courses, clubs, concerts, films, friends and beautiful facilities in which to have endless fun and be treated like an adult without ever having to act like one.

Ditching the idea of science, my original first choice, I chose drama, because I fancied myself as a producer of radio plays, politics, because I was obsessed with it, and economics because there was so much about it in the papers, and it was really, really, interesting; all the more so because no-one seemed to know the answers.

At university I was allowed to grow up slowly and learn stuff I wanted to learn, for its own sake. Never, for a second, until the final few months did I think about whether it would get me a job.

I don't know what's changed in more recent years, perhaps the economy, but it doesn't seem to be like that these days. Students often work part-time, they choose courses on the basis of job prospects and they limit the time they spend on campus.

If I had my way, I would recommend the full university experience to everyone, but I'd be wrong.

Financially, there's an advantage, one I didn't know much about at the time.

Over their lifetimes university graduates earn 40 to 75 per cent more than workers who go to work straight from school. One estimate puts the lifetime earnings of male graduates at $2.3 million compared to $1.7 million for those who go straight to work. The earnings of female graduates are put at $1.8 million compared to $1.4 million.

You might have noticed those figures say nothing about whether or not university education is the cause of those extra earnings. Those people might have done well anyway. It is my unfortunate duty to tell you most would not have. University education brings about extra earnings, rather than being merely associated with them. An ingenious Australian study of identical twins (“by definition, the same innate ability and family background”) found that it's the twin that does the extra study that gets the extra earnings.

Research conducted by Dr Andrew Leigh, now a member of parliament, found that each extra year of education beyond Year 10 added an extra 10 per cent to lifetime earnings.

But it didn't answer the more important question: what is it about those extra years that makes the students so much more valuable? If you think the answer is "learning more stuff" you'll have to answer to Bryan Caplan.

A university professor himself, he has just published a book titled The Case Against Education. Its implications are enormous. He is in no doubt that graduates earn more, and that graduation is the reason. But he thinks it has little to do with what they learnt.

Consider two students who had each learnt as much. One had a family tragedy and couldn't sit the final exam, the other could. US statistics show that the one who got the final piece of paper earns roughly 10 per cent more than other people for each extra year of education, whereas the one who learnt the stuff but missed out on the certificate gets only 4.2 per cent more.

Or ask someone whether they would have rather have learnt stuff without getting a degree or got a degree without learning stuff.

And what could they possibly have learnt at university that would be of use to an employer anyway? Calculus? Literature? Most jobs don't even require algebra, and literature doesn't help people write, which is what's required in jobs. There are exceptions: economics might be one, engineering another. But most courses teach things that aren't useful for employers.

So why do employers pay so much for people who've done them, or at least have got the certificates to show they once did them?

Caplan reckons it's profiling, a bit like racial profiling, where police use the way someone looks as a rule of thumb to work out whether they are likely to commit a crime, or the profiling by insurance companies who use postcodes to tell them what to charge. It mightn't be fair, but it's quick.

Seen that way, university is a sorting tool for employers, one they don't pay for. It helps them identify characteristics that will be needed on the job but have nothing to do with what was learnt. One is intelligence. You need a certain amount to get enough marks to pass, whatever the subject. Another is conscientiousness. You need to apply yourself. And the third is conformity. Sane free-thinkers realise quickly there's not a lot of point to what they are learning and drop out. Degrees certify IQ, the ability to knuckle down and a worker who won't make trouble.

So they are great for employers and great for graduates, albeit at the cost of enormous wasted resources. Employers could get the same outcomes if the courses lasted for two years instead of four, or even one. Or if they administered tests themselves.

If Caplan's right, we should be pushing politicians for less education rather than more, especially as the ageing of the population makes workers more scarce. My own company, Fairfax, is doing just that. It has taken on several truly excellent journalists precisely for the reason that they left university rather than see it through. They wanted to do the job rather than study it.

University isn't for everyone, but life is. And it's even better than university.


Construction Set To Surge To Decade High

Activity in the commercial construction sector is set to have the best year in more than a decade.

“With forecast growth of more than 14.5 per cent (equal to $5.3 billion) commercial building activity will be strong enough on its own to drag the whole industry back into positive territory for the first time in four years," Matthew Pollock, Master Builders Australia's National Manager Economics said.

The latest Building & Construction Industry Forecasts produced by Master Builders Australia show that total commercial construction activity is expected to contribute $42 billion to the economy in 2017-18.  

“With a small moderation expected in the value of residential construction work and another year of consolidation in the engineering sector, the timing of this surge in commercial construction couldn't be better," Matthew Pollock said.

“Better yet, new commercial construction projects will provide job opportunities for workers who may be finishing up on major high density residential projects over the next 12 months or so," he said.

“New retail related construction is expected to rise to $6.9 billion in 2017-18, led by the recent introduction of some big international retailers, including Amazon which recently built a large distribution centre in Melbourne's Dandenong South and plans by Aldi to open another 30 stores across the country in the next 12 months," Matthew Pollock said.

“Asia continues to be a strong source of tourist visitor numbers, particularly from Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and China. Asian investment is following the tourists with $4 billion committed to the construction of new pipeline of resorts and hotels with Queensland's resort sectors forecast to do particularly well," he said.

“Looking a little further down the track, the Government's investment in major transport infrastructure is ramping up and will support a boom in transport related construction over the next 5 years. There are currently more than $170 billion in transports projects in the pipeline, with activity expected to peak in 2019-20. This work will provide jobs for years and also provide much need productivity enhancing infrastructure. Master Builders has called for a greater focus on infrastructure investment to support businesses, but also to boost new housing supply and help with housing affordability," Matthew Pollock said.

“On the residential building front, the last three years saw unprecedented growth in new housing construction. We have built more than 200,000 new dwellings per year – a feat unmatched in our history," he said.

“Despite the forecast showing a moderation in new dwelling construction, we expect new commencements in 2017-18 to top 195,000 and average around 185,000 thereafter. To keep pace with population growth we will need to build at least 185,000 new dwellings each year for the next five years," Matthew Pollock said.

Media release

Renewable subsidies and the destruction of Australian energy competitiveness

Alan Moran

Yesterday I was the token rationalist speaker at the Australasian Agricultural and Resources Economics Society’s “The Future of Australian Energy Symposium”.

Two other speakers were Tony Wood (from the ALP’s think tank Grattan Institute recently rewarded for the damage his advice has done with an AO) and Danny Price from Frontier Economics (also an ALP consultant).

In so far as their advice has been followed, these two prominent characters have been instrumental in forging the taxing policies on fossil fuel generators that have destroyed our energy market. They now acknowledge the market is broken, it being impossible to shrug off the line ball reliability and doubling soon-to-be trebling of prices

But the politicians’ favoured consultants’ solution is one further attempt to get the interventionary policies right. Like the fans of socialism, they say its failure is because it has never been done properly!

The other speakers were operationally oriented – largely consultants – who proffered ways that the renewable target, now sanctified by the Paris Agreement few recognise as dead and buried, could be operationalised.

We have seen the wholesale price for electricity rise from under $40 per MWh with very little trend up until 2012, and was still $40 in 2015, to its present level of around $90 per MWh

?Wind has risen from nothing in the early part of the century to a share of over 10 per cent today. All of that wind is dependent on subsidies currently around $85 per MWh. In addition, there is the roof top solar (subsidised at $40 per MWh plus advantageous export tariffs). ?

Due to its abundant coal supplies, Australia had perhaps the cheapest electricity in the world ten years ago. As a result of the renewable subsidies it is now among the most expensive. Aside from increased direct costs to households, this has immense adverse consequences for the competitiveness of Australian industries and hence the nation’s living standards.

We can reverse direction and perhaps the demonstration effect of the US will provide the catalyst.

More HERE 

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, 2018

Gun Confiscation in Australia:  A model for the USA?  

The writer below is correct in saying that differences between Australia and the USA mean that what works in Australia would not work in the USA.  He ignores the elephant in the room, however.  America has many blacks who frequently mount assaults of various kinds on whites.  So whites need guns to defend themselves.  Australia has for a long time had almost no Africans so has had much less personally endangering crime.

The situation has however just changed.  Australia has recently taken in a population of Africans as "refugees".  And in one Australian city -- Melbourne -- they have become numerous enough to form gangs of criminal black youth.  These gangs frequently break into people's homes even while the family is home and even use crowbars to defeat security doors.  That is immensely disturbing to the people victimized and leaves them feeling helpless and very insecure.

The response so far is to demand that the police stop the raids but the police clearly have got not a clue what to do about it.  Talk has been the only response so far.  Once the impotence of the police has been widely accepted, Australians too will be demanding guns to protect themelves

In the wake of last October's mass murder by a sociopath in Las Vegas, comes tragic news of another mass murder on a school campus in Florida.

The contrast between the response of two presidents is revealing, one focusing on culture and the other focussing on guns. Despite all the Democrat rhetoric about “gun control," as is the case with their faux rhetoric about immigration, when Barack Obama took office in 2009, Democrats had full legislative control of the 111th Congress. In the Senate there were 57 Democrats and two Independents who caucused with Democrats. In the House there were 257 Democrats and 178 Republicans.

Democrats could have enacted every gun control measure they wanted between 2009 and 2011 – but didn't. Why?

Regarding the most recent tragedy, predictably Democrats and their MSM propagandists have re-warmed their latest batch of lies about the murder of children in order to peddle their political agenda.

The BIG lie this week, in order to bolster the Left's calls for “gun control," is that there have already been “18 school shootings" this year. Even The Washington Post has called foul on that claim, noting it's “a horrifying statistic. And it is wrong." Indeed, it is wrong, but most of the Demo/MSM colluders don't allow facts to impede their political agendas.

However, this is an indisputable fact. There are three things the Leftmedia's saturation coverage always communicates to future mass murder assailants: 1. We will make sure you are famous by devoting all our air time, 24/7, to you! 2. As targets go, a school is best because that will get you the most attention, and nobody will shoot back! 3. Use an AR-15 – they are the most popular gun for the job and we can call it an “assault weapon"!

There are many media myths about gun control being propagated by the Left this week, and by extension, all their lemmings who regurgitate those “facts."

Most prevalent myths in social media forums are calls echoing the MSM's solution: Enact the Australian gun confiscation model. By way of addressing this claim, allow me to repost here a debate with my friend Neville, who is a deeply entrenched liberal from the UK now living in the US, and who has taken it upon himself to reform our nation. Here is an abridged summary of that debate…


The time is now to talk about Gun Control! The maiming and death of these children is so pointless, unnecessary and PREVENTABLE. Get rid of the guns. No mass shootings in Australia for over 20 years and counting after a government gun ban.


The tragic murders in Florida were, indeed, senseless — as are the emotive “solutions" that, predictably, follow such tragic events. I share your grief for these victims and their families, but not your prescription to resolve the culture of violence.

As for your solution … as I am sure you are aware, the culture in Australia has not been conducive to violence in decades. In fact, at one time the culture in America was not conducive to violence either. Not long ago, there were plenty of guns on high school campuses, but no mass shootings.

Yes, Neville, there have been no mass shootings in Australia since the gun ban was enacted, but there were few before then.

In fact, there are few murders in Australia, period. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 1996, before enactment of the gun ban, Australia had had 311 murders, 98 by assailants with guns (including the 35 people killed in one mass shooting that prompted the confiscation). In the latest year of record, there were 227 people murdered, 32 by assailants using guns.

I should note here that the population of Australia is only 7% that of the United States, but when adjusting for population size, the number of murders in Australia are still only 20% of the US annual total, of which about 70% were assailant using firearms. But note that, after Australia confiscated all guns, assailants are still using guns to murder people… I guess only law-abiding citizens turned in their guns.

Of course, crime in the U.S. has actually declined more than in Australia over the last two decades. Concurrently, gun ownership in America has increased significantly while homicides by assailants with guns have also declined.

Apparently, more guns, less crime.

So what accounts for the difference in murder rates?

Australia is not plagued with urban poverty plantations created by five decades of failed Democrat social policies, and the resulting epidemic of violent crime. For the record, the top urban crime centers have the most restrictive firearm regulations in the nation. Using Demo-logic, shouldn't these “gun-free zones" be the safest places in America?

As for the “gun problem," if you are NOT a gang-banger or associated with drug trafficking (and Neville, I think you are clear on both counts), the probability of your being murdered in the U.S. falls in line with the probability of your being murdered in your beloved native UK homeland — where most types of guns have been banned for years.

Notably, however, American children are at much greater risk of being killed by a drunk driver than an assailant with a gun. Thus, while I know you favor the finer labels of liquid libation and use it responsibly, by your logic, the government should confiscate it because there are far more deaths associated with alcohol use than firearms — in fact, in many cases assailants using a firearm are alcohol impaired…

As for your sentiments about guns, I would be pleased to provide you with some “Gun-Free Household" stickers so you can broadcast the fact that your home is the best neighborhood option for uncontested intrusion!


Court says 'no' to Pell lawyers push to view accusers' medical records

This sets up a challenge to any verdict against Pell.  Why would they so undermine their own enquiry?  Obviously, at least some of the witneseses have an unsafe background

George Pell's legal defence team has been denied access to the medical records of the people who have made allegations of sexual offences against him.

Magistrate Belinda Wallington on Wednesday said she had to weigh up the whether there was any legal value in letting the defence lawyers look through the accusers' medical records and what harm that might do to the complainants.

"I am not persuaded the applications will have a substantial probative value," Ms Wallington ruled in Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Cardinal Pell, 76, faces charges of historical sexual offences involving multiple complainants. Details of the charges are yet to be revealed.

The court heard on Wednesday one charge related to a key complainant would likely be withdrawn.

The cardinal, who was not in court on Wednesday, has repeatedly denied the alleged offending.

His lawyers last week applied for access to the medical records of the people who have made allegations, ahead of the four-week hearing that will determine whether the cardinal stands trial. That hearing is due to start on March 5.

Prosecutor Mark Gibson, SC, last week told the court the complainants objected to the request for their medical records, as they wanted their privacy maintained. Mr Gibson described the defence request as "a fishing expedition".

Cardinal Pell's lawyers have requested medical records relating to one complainant from Justice Health, which provides medical services for Victorian prisoners.

But prosecutor Fran Dalziel on Wednesday said that, given the magistrate's ruling, medical records shouldn't be sought via another route.

Ms Wallington said she would rule on the Justice Health medical records at a later date.

The defence lawyers have also sought legal documents from Victoria Police, law firms, victims' advocacy group Broken Rites, the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan, whose book Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell was published before the cardinal was charged.

Melbourne University Press withdrew Ms Milligan's book from Victorian shops when Cardinal Pell was charged last year.

Defence counsel Ruth Shann said on Wednesday the reliability and credibility of one of the accusers would be tested during the committal hearing, given that man had a "domino effect" on other people contacting police.

Cardinal Pell has taken leave from his position as Vatican treasurer to be in Australia to fight the charges.

His case will return to court for another administrative hearing next week.


Channel Seven commentator and former world champion Jacqui Cooper is blasted for 'racist' comments about Chinese skiers

Seven's Olympic coverage has attracted further criticism after a commentator was accused of being 'racist' for saying 'all Chinese competitors look the same'.

Former Australian Olympian Jacqui Cooper was commentating the first stages of the women's aerials at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Thursday evening when she was speaking about the Chinese skiiers.

'Very Chinese,' Cooper said of Yan Ting's first jump. 'They all look the same, they're very hard to tell who's who.'

Cooper's comments were immediately slammed on social media, with many stunned by what they had heard.

'Did Jacqui Cooper really just say that all the Chinese athletes look the same? #7Olympics' one shocked viewer asked.

'Jacqui Cooper with the casual racism whilst commentating on #7Olympics,' another person tweeted.

Channel Seven issued a statement through their social media accounts on Thursday night explaining Cooper was specifically discussing the Chinese style of aerials and not their physical appearance.

'During tonight's cover of the women's aerials, commentator Jacqui Cooper a former Olympian and World Champion - noted than an aerial manouevre was in a technical and style sense, very Chinese,' Seven said.

'Meaning that the whole of the Chinese aerial team are trained in the same way - and the manouevre referenced was a classic technically perfect, trademark of that team's style.

'At no time was the commentary racist, intended to be racist or offensive.'


Barnaby defended

HOURS after Malcolm Turnbull announced his now aptly-nicknamed “bonk ban", the Q&A panel has slammed the Prime Minister's decision, calling it a “gross overreach".

Thursday night's Q&A - a special episode for the #MeToo movement - stepped carefully when it came to discussing the global campaign.

But when Barnaby Joyce's sex life came up, specifically how it inspired Mr Turnbull to ban sexual relationships between ministers and staffers, the panel didn't hold back.

Josh Bornstein, a prominent workplace lawyer who has dealt with a number of sexual harassment cases, called it a “panicked response" and said it “detracts from the Me Too movement".

Mr Joyce's relationship with his former staffer Vikki Campion — albeit an affair and the one that ruined his 24-year marriage — is and was consensual.

“My view might be totally out of line but it's that consensual relationships are perfectly OK at work. I don't have a difficulty — despite some of the issues with Barnaby Joyce — he's had a consensual relationship with a 33-year-old woman who is perfectly able to decide," Mr Bornstein said.

“The bonk ban is a gross overreach," he added.

Mr Bornstein's sentiment was supported by Janet Albrechtsen, a columnist for The Australian.

Ms Albrechtsen has been particularly outspoken about the #MeToo movement over the past few months, expressing concerns it is promoting a social media mob mentality.

In regards to Mr Turnbull's decision to ban sex amongst those working in Parliament, Ms Albrechtsen said Australia was getting on a “very fast train" and “we don't quite know where it's going to go".

The decision to ban sex in the workplace is a difficult rule to enforce as, all the panellists agreed, a large number of people meet their partners in the workplace.

Earlier Thursday, the ABC expressed its disappointment over Charles Waterstreet's decision to withdraw from Thursday night's Q&A panel.

Mr Waterstreet, a controversial Sydney barrister who has been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate comments, withdrew from the #MeToo edition late on Wednesday night.

The high-profile barrister has always denied the allegations, but made the decision after he was contacted by the NSW Bar Association's President Arthur Moses.

Mr Moses wrote to Mr Waterstreet informing him “it was his firm view that it was neither appropriate or prudent for him to appear on Q&A to discuss issues concerning the #MeToo anti-sexual harassment movement."

Despite withdrawing from the panel, Mr Waterstreet wasn't spared from Thursday night's discussion.

When introducing fellow lawyer Mr Bornstein, the panel's host Virginia Trioli said, “Josh, I'll start with you — our only male panellist tonight — which wasn't our intention, but that's what we've ended up with."

Ms Albrechtsen however, defended Mr Waterstreet, saying he was the sort of person who needed to be a part of the #MeToo conversation when asked about alienating men.

“Charles Waterstreet would not have come under pressure, for example, from the Bar Association to come on, because these kind of voices are the ones that need to be part of the conversation," she said.

“When we start excluding voices — as happened here tonight with Charles Waterstreet — I think that's really sad," she added.


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, 2018

Defence call for public support from ‘allies' of LGBTI soldiers

POLITICALLY correct defence chiefs have told members of the Australian military to signal they are an “ally" of the LGBTI community by putting a rainbow flag next to their name in the national ADF staff directory.

The latest attempt at “inclusion" comes after the Human Rights Commissioner fired a salvo at defence chiefs saying there were still “pockets of resistance" to “embracing diversity" within defence.

But Army veterans warned the rainbow flag attempt at inclusion could backfire by excluding many members of the military who chose not to be a Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex (LBGTI) ally.

Defence's “Diversity and Inclusion Adviser" Thomas Hoffman wrote to members of the military about the “sweet new function" which allowed people to show they are an “LGBTI ally" by putting the rainbow flag next to their name on the Defence Corporate Directory.

“The broad principal (sic) with workplace allies is that they are visible, supportive people who can act as a POC (point of contact) should someone have an issue in the workplace," he wrote last month.

“We are not putting strict rules in place on who is or isn't an ally because we don't want to stifle the fantastic, positive and uplifting conversations you know you'll be having amongst colleagues and peers," he said.

Australian Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Veterans Association NSW President Bruce Relph said: “This is nuts. Sexuality has no place in the military.

He said there were concerns that not conforming to the rainbow tag could affect opportunities for promotion. “Something like this should not be allowed to affect someone's career path," he said.

Former Army officer and Australian Conservatives member Bernie Gaynor said that by not signing up, those members of the defence force “will be publicly outed" and their career affected.

“Defence members who refuse to sign up are likely to face difficulties obtaining promotions, especially to the higher ranks."

The move comes after Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow told the Military Pride Ball last year that “pockets of resistance remain in the ADF".

“Embracing diversity will not only allow the ADF more effectively to meet the challenges of modern warfare, but will also allow it to live up to the expectations of the communities they defend," he said.

Mr Gaynor said: “It is extremely concerning that this program has been launched following the Human Rights Commissioner's declaration that there are ‘pockets of resistance' to homosexuality within Defence.

“We are facing a ‘rainbow jihad' inside Defence. This policy is not about acceptance. It is about pressuring all Defence members to celebrate homosexuality."


Non-compliance will most likely be perceived as a lack of tolerance and be discriminated against because of that.  So anyone declining to join the rainbow flag mission could themselves become victims of intolerance. 

Were I still in the forces, I would ask for an Australian flag against my name

High Court Rules Union Officials Can Be Held Personally Liable For Breaking Workplace Laws    
Union officials will held more accountable for their behaviour on building sites following a decision by the High Court that they can be penalised for their individual conduct.

“The High Court's ruling signals that union officials are not above the law. It means that unions will not be able to indemnify their officials by paying court fines on their behalf. Officials will now face the consequences if they break the law, just like everyone else in the community," Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

The High Court ruled on an ABCC challenge to a full Federal Court decision setting aside Justice Mortimer's ban on the CFMEU paying Victorian branch organiser Joe Myles' $18,000 penalty for unlawful conduct in 2013.

In Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union [2018] HCA 3 (14 February 2018), the High Court found that Courts may impose personal fines against Union Officials for their misconduct and breaches of the Fair Work Act, on top of fines to Unions. The decision affirms the Courts can force union officials to pay fines personally – rather than have the union pay them on their behalf.

In their reasoning, the High Court found that the Federal Court was not able to impose an order for ‘non-indemnification' against penalties. However, they ordered that a proper construction of the penalty provisions of the Fair Work Act did allow the Courts to make a personal payment order against Union Officials.

The matter has now been referred back to the Federal Court for re-consideration of penalties in line with the new interpretation.

"We can only hope that this decision will mean that union officials will think twice before breaking the law," Denita Wawn said.

Media release

'We're approaching our limits - if we haven't already exceeded them': Controversial new senator Jim Molan says Australia can't take any more migrants in maiden speech

Controversial new senator Jim Molan has used his first speech in parliament to call for stricter immigration controls.

The right-wing former major-general was savaged by Greens MPs for sharing anti-Muslim videos on Twitter soon after taking his seat on the Liberal Party benches last Monday.

Today he spoke for the first time to say legal immigration was 'excessive' and putting a strain on Australian cities.

'Control of our borders and immigration are important to me, as they are to most Australians,' he told the chamber.

'We now effectively control our borders in a way that few now trust the opposition to do.

'However, I am concerned that the level of legal migration, now that we control our borders, is in excess of the capacity for our cities to absorb, both culturally or in terms of infrastructure.

'We are approaching limits on this, if we have not already exceeded them. I don't have the answer, but I certainly have the concern.'

Senator Molan also defended Operation Sovereign Borders, a policy he helped Tony Abbott introduce to stop illegal immigrants arriving in boats, by saying it had 'saved lives.'

He went on to praise the armed forces by saying they 'represent everything good about Australia' and said he wanted Australia to be more self-reliant in defence.

'I have no expectation that governments immediately spend one more dollar on defence, but for years I have advocated that we must be more open about the strategic risks that are being taken in the name of the Australian people,' he told parliament.

The NSW Liberal then insisted he was not a member of a faction in the senate but said he 'proudly stood' by prominent conservatives John Howard, Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Stuart Robert.

The speech came after Molan refused to accept Greens MP Adam Bandt's apology for describing him as a 'war criminal' and a 'complete coward' on national television.

Senator Molan - who has a decorated 40-year military career - threatened to hit Mr Bandt with a lawsuit if he did not retract his statements and make an apology.

Mr Bandt suggested in a TV interview on Wednesday the father of sports presenter Erin Molan may have committed war crimes during the battle for Fallujah.

Senator Molan gathered his legal artillery after the Greens MP said he would 'probably be up for prosecution' if an independent inquiry was launched into his actions in the Iraq War.

The Liberal senator said he would pursue legal action if he wasn't given an appropriate apology. 'I would invite Mr Bandt to offer me a public apology,' Mr Molan told The Australian on Wednesday. 'If he publicly apologised to me for the statements that he made, then that would end the problem.'

Speaking to Sky News earlier in the week, Mr Bandt condemned Mr Molan for sharing videos by far-right UK group Britain First on Facebook.

The retired major-general and now NSW Liberal senator shared the videos in March last year which purport to show Muslim violence in Europe.

Senator Molan has since described the Britain First group as 'scum' but has not apologised for sharing the videos.

Senator Molan told parliament on Monday he was not racist or anti-Islam and had shared the videos because he was against violence and anti-social behaviour.

Mr Bandt said Senator Molan was 'a coward' for refusing to apologise.

'When you share white supremacist videos and then you justify it by saying 'Oh, I'm doing it to stimulate debate', and that is the line that came out of his office, you are a coward, you are a complete coward,' he said.

'If there was a proper inquiry, in an independent inquiry into the war in Iraq in Australia, like there has been in other countries, I think you would find Jim Molan would probably be up for prosecution rather than praise for his role in the atrocities in Fallujah.'

The Fallujah campaign was heavily criticised for its indifference to civilians.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale earlier accused Mr Molan of committing war crimes.

He made the comment in Parliament on Monday night, and was therefore protected from defamation by parliamentary privilege.

His colleague Mr Bandt made his comments about the war veteran outside parliament and is therefore not protected from defamation.


An end to separate men's and women's sport? Government MP makes radical suggestion for 'desegregated' competitions during heated debate about females in war

This should set the cat among the pigeons

A Turnbull Government MP has suggested men and women should compete against each other on the sporting field.

Perth-based Liberal senator Linda Reynolds made the radical call during a Twitter debate about women serving on the frontline of war.

In a social media battle with former Australian Christian Lobby boss Lyle Shelton, the 52-year-old backbencher suggested sporting codes allow women to compete against men - like the Australian Defence Force does when it comes to recruitment.

'So why don't we take the lead from the ADF and desegregate women in sport, so men and women compete equally on talent, not by gender?,' she said.

Mr Shelton, who plans to run as an Australian Conservatives candidate at the next federal election, is opposed to the idea of female soldiers fighting in battle.

'If the AFL and the NRL are allowed to recognise the physical differences between men & women, why can't the Army?,' he said.

Senator Reynolds, who spent 28 years in the Australian Army Reserve before becoming a brigadier, had described Mr Shelton's views as '1950s'.

'Your flippancy does great disservice to the thousands women who have, and continue, to serve our nation with great distinction side by side with their equally capable male counterparts,' she said.

She pointed out the Women's Royal Australian Army Corp was disbanded in 1985 when women were fully integrated into the Army.

The Australian government took another 26 years to allow females to join combat regiments.

Her proposal on mixed-gender sports could see the likes of Women's One Day International cricket star Ellyse Perry play on the same Test team as Steve Smith.

Australian women's soccer star Sam Kerr could be playing on the same side as Socceroos goal-scoring legend Tim Cahill.

However almost all sports have seperate competitions for male and female athletes, because of the difference in physical traits such as speed and strength.

Senator Reynold's call to gender desegregate sport comes as the AFL allows transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey to play in women's state and territory league matches.


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, 2018

Kids incarcerated in Australia have 'alarming' levels of neurodevelopmental impairment

This is worse than political correctness.  It is straight out political deception.  The word "Aboriginal" is not mentioned below but most of the kids concerned will be Aboriginal.  Fetal alcohol syndrome is, for instance, common among Aborigines.

So what can you do about it?  Take the Aboriginal children out of their dangerous home environments and give them to whites to bring up?  Then you would have another "stolen generation" and we have been through that ad nauseam before.  Any other ideas?  I know of no realistic ones. 

The do gooders below say that "care plans can be put in place."  That could conceivably help a little whilst the kids are in detention but they will never be detained for long -- and do you have any idea of how much notice an Aboriginal family would take of a "care plan"?

While Aboriginals commit every dietary sin imaginable  -- including the drinking of metho (methlyated alcohol) -- both they and their children will always have bad health

An alarming world-first study into the cognitive abilities of young people in detention in Australia has found evidence of severe neurodevelopmental impairment in almost every child assessed.

Researchers from the Telethon Kids Institute assessed 99 children aged 10 to 17 incarcerated at the Banksia Hill Detention Centre in Western Australia. The findings uncovered an unprecedented prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and severe neurodevelopmental impairment.

Most of the impairment had been left undiagnosed despite multiple contacts with government agencies and sentencing in court, leading the experts to call for improvements in the way health, education, justice, child protection and other systems took care of young people who presented with school difficulties, mental health issues or behavioural problems.

The study, led by Professor Carol Bower and Clinical Associate Professor Raewyn Mutch, will be published in the British Medical Journal Open on Wednesday. It found WA had the highest known prevalence of FASD in a custodial setting in the world.

"Of the 99 young people who completed full assessments we found 36 of them – more than one in three – had FASD," Professor Bower said.  "Of this 36, only two had been previously diagnosed."

They also found 89 per cent of sentenced youth had at least one severe neurodevelopmental impairment, whether they had FASD or not. Two thirds had at least three domains of severe impairment, while 23 per cent had five or more domains impaired. These domains included executive function, not being able to relate cause and effect, memory, attention and cognition problems.

A quarter were found to have an intellectual disability, with an IQ of 70 or less.

"These findings, which document an unprecedented prevalence of FASD and severe neurodevelopmental impairment, highlight the vulnerability of young people within the justice system and their significant need for improved diagnosis to identify their strengths and difficulties, and to guide and improve their rehabilitation," Professor Bower said.

"We recommend that young people be fully assessed on entry into the juvenile justice system and preferably much, much sooner, at their first encounter with the law or before, so their vulnerabilities are recognised, and specific and appropriate interventions and care plans can be put in place."


Australia is missing the Closing the Gap employment target by decades

Of course it is.  Nobody really expects the gap to close.  The plan is just window dressing.  Australian Aborigines have one of the lowest average IQs ever recorded.  Nothing in the world would bring such people up to white standards

Australia is missing its target to halve the unemployment gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia by several decades, according to the latest Closing the Gap report.

The report also highlights many other problems with current Closing the Gap targets. For instance, the unemployment target misses other aspects of economic life, such as income. The targets need to be rethought so that they address economic well-being and more closely guide strategy and policies on the ground.

The unemployment rate for Indigenous Australians is going down. But 2016 Census data show that it will take until 2031 to halve the gap, and until about 2051 to close the gap entirely. Even New South Wales, which leads Australia on this measure, won't meet the target until about 2026.

One reason why some states are doing better in tackling the unemployment gap is that different opportunities are available for urban and rural Australians. In 2014/15, only 5% of the NSW Indigenous population lived in remote areas. This compares to 21% nationally, 79% in the Northern Territory and 19% in Queensland.

Under the Indigenous Procurement Policy, 3% of all federal procurement contracts go to Indigenous businesses. This is a big part of the federal government's plan to achieve the employment target.

However, while there may be some success stories, a recent report also warned that “the policy's target measurement system greatly exaggerates its success".


Plan to use Illawarra steel for defence vehicles to shore up manufacturing jobs

Australian steel is tipped to play a key role in the country's fledgling defence exports industry, with a deal being signed in the Illawarra region of NSW.

German defence technology firm Rheinmetall will team up with Bluescope Steel, which operates the Port Kembla steel works, to create a new military vehicle.

The armoured vehicles will be developed at a new "centre of excellence" west of Brisbane and if successful, will be sourced from 100 per cent Australian steel.

The first shipping of 15 tonnes of steel is bound for Germany for testing.

Rheinmetall director of strategy Tim Pickford said if successful, Bluescope would be the only supplier in the Southern Hemisphere to meet the "stringent" standards.

"There are only two companies in the world that we go to for high-hardness armour," Mr Pickford said.

"We've continued to be nothing but impressed with the capability here in the Illawarra region, it's a world beater.

    "One of the problems is that because manufacturing's kind of a dirty word at the moment, we don't believe in ourselves, but I think the Australian steel team will put this place back on the map."

Plans for a global military vehicle export hub

Mr Pickford said the plan was to supply the vehicles to the Australian Defence Force and for export.

"Europe is big for us, but let's not forget South East Asia and what's going on down here, and the requirement for renewal of military capabilities for this region," he said.

"What we see Australia representing is a hub for export to not only this region but globally as well."

The Port Kembla steel works has seen a significant turnaround since it was facing potential closure in 2015, and the new deal was being hailed as a long-term boost.

Bluescope Steel spokesman Troy Gent said it would help shore up local manufacturing jobs.

"We've been on a long road to make ourselves cost competitive," Mr Gent said.

"We've taken huge costs out of the mill, and doing what we've done over the last three or four years has enabled us to compete in a space like this."


New council bird ban could ruffle some Brisbane feathers

Greyhounds in. Peacocks out

Laws surrounding owning an animal in Brisbane are set to change for the first time in 14 years, including prohibiting ownership of an unusual pet and the abolition of a law many consider outdated.

Brisbane City Council has two different pieces of legislation surrounding animals that date back to 2003, but a new law, which consolidates the two, has been proposed.

While many basic laws remained unchanged there were several differences under the proposed law, including adding an animal to the list of prohibited animals. Under the new law, it would be illegal to keep peacocks and peahens in a residential area.
Currently, up to 20 peacocks can be kept on a property more than 800 square metres and up to six on premises under 800 square metres.

A council spokesman said it had been proposed to prohibit keeping peafowl after several complaints were made in the past financial year. “Council has received 11 noise complaints about peafowl, which can be excessive during mating season," he said.
It was unclear if existing peafowl owners would have to surrender their pet if the proposed law was adopted.

Under the current law, roosters are also banned in residential areas along with some dog breeds considered to be dangerous, but this is set to remain unchanged under the new law. The proposed law would also impact owners of an increasingly popular dog breed.

The Animals Subordinate Local Law 2003 states greyhounds are to be muzzled and under the control of a person over 16 years when in public. Under the newly proposed law, there is no specific legislation about keeping greyhounds.

Greyhound rescue group Friends of the Hounds secretary Kim Meteyard said while owners knew the muzzling law existed, many chose not to enforce it because it was outdated.  “I rang city council a number of times and it depended on who you got ... they would say if they are not a racing hound it wasn't a law and someone else would say they did [need to be muzzled]," she said. “It's an old rule, I'm glad they've ditched it. Greyhounds are just like any other dog, they are like any other pet."

Council lifestyle and community services chairman Matthew Bourke said the proposed laws would make it easier for residents to be responsible pet owners by reducing red tape and simplifying the animal permit system. "A lot has changed over the past 14 years, including a change in state government legislation, Brisbane population and density, and the new Animals Local Law 2017 is designed to better respond to community expectations," he said.

The council's new Animals Local Law 2017 would replace and consolidate the existing Animals Local Law 2003 and the Animals Subordinate Local Law 2003. The new law is open for public consultation until February 22.


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, 2018

More Muslim morality

The garbage just 'wanted some attention'. Muslim ego at work again

In a disturbing incident a doctor was grabbed from behind and choked by a patient at a hospital in Perth.

Mohamed Arab was sentenced in court this week following the attack last November at the Royal Perth Hospital.

Arab was given a suspended prison sentence in the hearing before magistrates despite begging for the maximum sentence - a seven year prison term.

The 21-year-old, who has psychological problems according to his lawyer, was a regular visitor at the city hospital emergency room.

Shocking CCTV footage was played to the court showing the moment Arab grabbed the doctor from behind in an unprovoked attack and puts him in a strong chokehold.

His grip around the doctor's throat was so strong that it partially crushed the doctor's windpipe and affected the his voice, Perth Now reported.

The tape then goes on to show a host of doctors, nurses and security staff rush to free the doctor - who is now back at work - from Arab's clutches.

The court heard he later said he felt he was getting the treatment he needed but just 'wanted some attention'.

East Metropolitan Health Service chief executive Liz McLeod said: 'I was absolutely appalled, bewildered and distressed that we can have incidents like that in our hospital against our staff, who come to work to care for the sick and the vulnerable. 'It was beyond my comprehension,' she told Perth Now.

Arab was given an eight-month prison sentence suspended for 16 months and told to agree to medical treatment necessary for him.


Peter Dutton says the ‘scourge' of Islamic State terrorism in Australia is here to stay

A politician who acknowledges reality!

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says the 'scourge' of Islamic State will be with Australia for a long time, after another alleged terror attack in Melbourne.

Momena Shoma, 24, is accused of stabbing a 56-year-old man in the neck and shoulder at his Mill Park home while he was asleep with his five-year-old daughter on Friday.

'Last week there was a terrible incident that took place in Melbourne. Sadly it's not the first terrorist-related incident to take place in Melbourne,' Mr Dutton told parliament on Monday.  

'We need to recognise this scourge is with us, and with us for a long period of time.'

Mr Dutton praised Victoria's anti-terror police and ASIO for preventing more attacks: 'There's a lot of work that goes on around the clock that Australians aren't aware of.'

Shoma, the Bangladeshi national who allegedly attacked the 56-year-old father at his Callistemon Rise home in Mill Park on Friday afternoon has been charged with engaging in a terrorist act.

The victim was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he underwent surgery on Saturday for non-life threatening injuries. His man's five-year-old daughter was also present during the stabbing, but was thankfully not injured. 

Neighbours told Herald Sun the victim was a 'nice family man' and was a 'nice guy'.

Another neighbour said the man called them for help, where they found him lying in the garage in a pool of blood, saying the amount of blood was 'shocking'.

The woman was arrested at the scene and taken to hospital with a hand injury.

'She's only been in Australia for a week, they took her in because they felt sorry for her,' another neighbour said.  Police also allege the woman was 'inspired by the doctrines of ISIS'.

The victim was left in a stable condition after undergoing surgery. Shoma was remanded in custody to return to court on May 2.


Labor considers company tax reform in big turnaround

Trump's big cut to company tax is of course the elephant that has suddenly turned up in the room

Labor would consider introducing company tax reform if it wins the next election - but only if it can get the budget back into surplus - in a sign it is changing its stance on the contentious issue.

Labor has spent the past year arguing big business did not deserve a cut and campaigning strongly against the Turnbull government's proposed tax cuts for all companies to 25 per cent, but Tuesday marked the first time the party said it would consider business tax reform.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said his focus remained returning the budget to balance in an effort to place Labor as sensible economic managers, traditionally a Coalition strong suit, as it prepares to move to an election footing.

"When the budget has returned to surplus then you can look at further tax reform of both personal and company tax, but you have to be able to afford it, you have to pay for it," Mr Bowen told ABC Radio.

Labor has previously flagged it would consider income tax cuts when the budget returns to surplus but maintained its staunch opposition to company tax cuts for businesses turning over up to $50 million a year.

"My objection to the company tax cut is that it is unaffordable in the current environment," said Mr Bowen, who said he had no philosophical opposition to affordable company tax cuts in his 2013 book Hearts and Minds.

Treasurer Scott Morrison's mid-year budget update showed the deficit had dropped to $33.2 billion, with a small budget surplus not pencilled in until 2020-21.

Under the Turnbull government's plan the cut from the current corporate tax rate of 30 per cent is designed to be phased in over 10-years, with the majority of cuts coming after 2021.

That means only firms turning over less than $100 million a year would have taxes cut to 27.5 per cent before the predicted surplus. The reduction to 25 per cent for all companies, including those with more than $1 billion in turnover would be introduced by 2027.

Mr Morrison has been out selling the government's proposed company tax cut in an effort to convince a sceptical public and a Senate that appears implacably opposed.

He has previously warned businesses would flee Australia while Australians were sitting on the beach after the company tax cuts were passed by the Trump administration in the US.

But the Coalition has also begun shifting its rhetoric on the unpopular tax cuts by seeking to appeal to the concerns of workers starved of wage rises.

"We know that it doesn't make any sense that if you want businesses to be in a position to pay wages that are higher than today, you don't insist on them paying higher taxes to the government," Mr Morrison said on Tuesday.

"The Labor Party is standing between a wage rise for workers and this plan."

It is understood the government is also looking at personal tax cuts worth between $500 to $1000 per year for middle income earners this year, but only if it does not risk the planned return to surplus.


Australia takes the most refugees since start of humanitarian program

But the Left still want more

More than 24,000 humanitarian arrivals settled in past financial year, including special intake of Syrian and Iraqi refugees

Australia accepted more refugees to its shores last year than any year since it began a dedicated humanitarian migration program.

New statistics from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection – now part of the home affairs portfolio – revealed 24,162 humanitarian arrivals settled in Australia last financial year. That figure includes Australia's annual humanitarian program, and refugees arriving as part of the special intake of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

The previous highest intake, according to figures from the parliamentary library, was under the government of Malcolm Fraser, when 22,545 refugees arrived in 1980-81.

The method by which humanitarian entrants to Australia are counted by government has changed over decades.

But figures show that, outside of a significant spike in the early 1980s, a steady trend upwards from the low tens of thousands each year. There were also spikes in the mid-1990s, and under the Gillard government in 2012.

But 2016-17 was the highest year on record. The intake of 24,162 was part of a far-larger and broader migration program. Last financial year, there were 225,941 permanent additions to the Australian population.

About 92,000 of those people were already in the country, and were moving from temporary visas, like student visas, to permanent visas;and 133,000 were new people arriving in to live.

Measuring historical migration flows is an imperfect science, as methods of arrivals and categorisations have changed over the years.

In the wake of the massive displacement caused by the second world war, there were sustained movements of millions of people across the globe.

Between 1947 and 1975, an estimated 297,000 refugees came to Australia, the majority of whom were assisted by the government.

The Refugees Convention which legally defines a refugee, was written 1951. Australia became a party to the treaty in 1954. In 1977 the Fraser government established a formal humanitarian stream to Australia's migration program.

But the mass movement of people across the globe is now at record numbers. The UN refugee agency says there are 65.6 million people displaced around the world, internally in their own country and externally. Of those 22.5 million are refugees, outside their country of origin.

Some 84% of the world's refugees are hosted by developing countries, the majority in nations adjacent to the places refugees have fled from. Turkey is hosting more than 2.7 million refugees, while Lebanon and Pakistan have more than one million living inside their borders.

Third-country resettlement, the type of which brings refugees to Australia, accounts for only a tiny fraction of the world's refugee population. Fewer than 1% of the world's refugees are resettled in any year.


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

13 February, 2018

Australian churches and their institutions are generally legally free to hire and fire on religious grounds regardless of anti-discrimination law

The article below by Brian Morris deplores that.  It is said to be based on a Religious Freedom Review submission by NSW barrister, Dean Stretton.  Something has got lost along the way, however, as the article is founded on a belief that is wrong at law. He says "the constitution was framed on secular principles, with the foundational concept of separation between Church and State."

That is utter rubbish.  The separation of church and State is not even in the American constitution, though it has been read into the anti-establishment clause of the 1st amendment.  But nothing like that exists in the Australian case because our head of State, the Queen, is also head of the Church of England.  In her person, the Queen embodies both the church and the State. Try to split that up! So the claim that Australia should be wholly secular is without legal foundation.  It is just the preference  of the writer

And in the end it all comes down to politics.  The churches believe that their mission requires certain freedoms from restrictions and they have the political heft to ensure that they get those freedoms from the politicians.  Enough people believe in freedom of religion to ensure that the politicians go along with it. 

Australians are for the greatest part happily secular but they are not dogmatic about it.  They are happy for AustrAlia to be only partly secular.  "One size fits all" is a great Leftist prescription in the simple-minded tradition of Procrustes but not everybody is trapped in that rigid mindset.  They can allow exceptions to even a generally good rule where circumstances seem to warrant it.

Quite remarkably, a public majority will be unaware of the likely impact of Prime Minister Turnbull's decision to empower the Religious Freedom Review. Few will grasp its social implications. Some may recall the PM appointing Philip Ruddock to head an ‘expert panel' to take public submissions on ‘religious freedom' — and to identify freedoms believed “lost" when same-sex marriage was legalised.

On 31st March, Ruddock will recommend to parliament measures to restore those “lost" freedoms.

For most, this rather solemn-sounding review will be seen simply as one more political committee — with Ruddock sifting through a few submissions to appease Christians, Muslims, and other faiths who continue to feel aggrieved about gay marriage.

But fundamentalists of all faiths see this as a rare opportunity to win new concessions. One has only to view the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) website, with its 15-point rallying cry for devout Christians to swamp the Review with submissions.

Indisputably, religion asserts its current raft of freedoms through exclusive exemptions from Australian law. They are privileges not accessible to the 78 per cent of citizens who believe the constitution was framed on secular principles, with the foundational concept of separation between Church and State.

Under federal law, protection of ‘religious freedom' and legal exemptions include: the Fair Work Act; Migration Act; Age Discrimination Act; Sex Discrimination Act; Evidence Act; and Section 116 of the Constitution. And religions pay no tax under the Charities Act and Tax Act — based on the sole criterion of “Advancing Religion." International and State laws double this list of entitlements to all faiths!

Here's the problem. Religion is now, collectively, one of the largest employers in the nation. Private religious schools currently enrol close to 40 per cent of all children — that alone is a huge workforce. Include, too, all the private hospitals, aged care facilities, employment agencies, charities, shelters, and a raft of commercial enterprises, and the total number of religious employees is staggering.

Church institutions are already free to “hire and fire" on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and marital status. Without question, submissions to the Ruddock Review will call for further entitlements to discriminate in employment in favour of the faithful — the Australian Christian Lobby website makes that clear. The truth is that most of the duties performed are not religious in nature — they are secular.

Ironically, these religious institutions will argue vigorously that it should be illegal to discriminate against them — because of their religious beliefs — but in the same breath insist they should be given further employment entitlements to discriminate against people who do not share those beliefs!

Certainly, it is fair to say many roles within private religious enterprises require training suitable to their ‘mission'. Those engaged in overt religious practice, in pastoral care, theological positions, and for advocacy, will need to meet church criteria. But for the majority of ‘secular' positions, employment opportunities should not be barred to those who do not meet their strict standards of biblical faith.

It would be wrong for the Religious Freedom Review to extend faith-based exemptions for secular positions in education, health or social services. In fact, exemptions should be wound back for all ‘public services' run by religious organisations.

These exemptions are not a matter of genuine religious freedom, because there is no religious law or doctrine that requires its followers to run education, health or social service facilities! Our constitution rejects a ‘religious test' for public office; why not also for secular roles in ‘publicly funded' religious enterprises?

If religious adherents cannot follow laws that apply to all other citizens — and without privileged legal exemptions — they should consider withdrawing from those activities and focus solely on their beliefs and religious worship. One clear example is private religious schools which are free to discriminate against secular employees, while the institutions are publicly funded to the tune of $12.8b.

Religious exemptions undermine our secular constitution; they weaken the basic rule of law that must apply to all people; and they deny the non-religious the right to their own beliefs. Why do we give exclusive entitlements to people of faith when all religion is purely a matter choice? Believers are not compelled to believe — particularly when “doubt" is uppermost in the minds of many. Every religion cannot, by pure logic, be equally true. It raises questions for people of faith to contemplate.

Special entitlements, based on arbitrary faith, are necessarily problematic. Such privileges should be equal to all — or to none. However, there seems little doubt the Ruddock Review will make a number of recommendations to parliament, to rectify the perception of “lost" freedoms.

We can only trust parliament does not acquiesce to further religious entitlements. Indeed, the process needs to be reversed — specifically for non-theological positions in faith-based institutions funded by taxpayers. The level of religious privilege and authority is already inappropriately high — in a nation that claims to be a secular democracy.


Commonwealth Games minister DENIES volunteers have been banned from saying 'g'day' and forced to say Aboriginal greeting 'jingeri'

I have seen a lot of Aborigines in my day and I have never heard one say "jingeri'.  Aborigines usually just speak broad Australian.  This is just some fiction dreamed up as a form of political correctness

The Commonwealth Games minister has denied volunteers have been banned from saying 'g'day' at the event.

LNP MP John-Paul Langbroek claims Commonwealth Games volunteers have been asked not to say the phrase but instead use the indigenous greeting 'jingeri'. 'It's not a word that most Gold Coasters or Queenslanders know,' he told 9 News.

'It's not going to show the true Gold Coast and the true Queensland to the 70 nations of the Commonwealth.'

He believes political correctness could ruin the Commonwealth Games.

But Games Minister Kate Jones insists the local indigenous greeting is optional for volunteers.

'You can say 'g'day', you can say 'hello' and you can say 'jingeri',' she said. 'It's complete and utter bulldust that you can't say 'g'day' at the Commonwealth Games.'

A games spokesperson said 'jingeri' is a suggestion in the volunteer manual, and it does not state it has to be used.

Over 15,000 volunteers are currently in training for the Commonwealth Games which starts April 4.


Shuffling Seats: The Politicians Who Put ‘Person Over Party'… And Democracy

Winning a seat in the Senate for a political party, then dumping that political party and either going it solo or joining another party, undermines our parliamentary system, writes Ross Hamilton.

It used to be said that it was harder to get out of the Australian cricket team than it was to get in there. While that may no longer be the case for our cricketers, it is clearly is with our politicians.

Once an individual gets their backside on a red or green leather seat in Parliament House, they generally get to stay there no matter what. They then get to pick and choose who they will represent, with the result of elections simply ignored. This makes a complete farce of our electoral process and it must change. But it won't.

An individual seeks election for a specific political party unless they are an independent from the outset. The Senate results from the 2016 election clearly demonstrate that the majority of Australians vote above the line for party, not the individual.

Voters have every right to expect to continue to be represented by the party that won those positions. But once someone gets into the Senate or House of Representatives, the electorate no longer matters.

When Cory Bernadi quit the Liberal Party, he no longer had the backing of the proportion of the SA vote won by the Liberals. Only approximately 2,000 South Australians had voted for him as an individual. Yet he retained his Senate seat despite not having enough votes to win so much as a part-time position as a Parliamentary shoeshine boy.

Lucy Gichuhi stood for election as Senator in 2016, representing the Family First party in South Australia but was unsuccessful. But after Bob Day lost his senate position on constitutional grounds, Gichuhi was the next cab off the rank on the list of Family First candidates after countback, becoming Senator Gichuhi by default.

Except several weeks later the Family First party no longer even existed as Day had merged it with Bernardi's Australian Conservatives.

So where did that leave the South Australians who voted for the Family First party that no longer existed? What gave Gichuhi the right to then be an Independent Senator when only obtaining 152 votes of her own?

Despite never elected as a Liberal or National, Gichuhi now gets to join the ranks of LNP Senators, becoming an unelected part of the ruling conglomerate. And the outrage of LNP Members and Senators over Bernadi remaining in the Senate after quitting his party, was strangely absent when it was to their advantage to permit Gichuhi to similarly ignore the electorate.

Matters are even more ludicrous when you look at the One Nation situation. Malcolm Roberts also owed his Senate seat entirely to the party's vote – only 77 people voted for him as an individual. But after the High Court gave Roberts his marching orders, the next eligible person on the One Nation list was Fraser Anning, who only received 19 votes.

Yet the moment Anning appeared in the Senate, he announced he had quit One Nation. So now we have someone holding a seat in the Senate with a grand total of 0.0001% of the required quota. In other words, he failed to obtain 99.999% of the quota but still has a Senate seat.

Whether you love or hate One Nation, and I despise them, it cannot be denied that they legitimately won three Senate positions in Queensland. Yet that electoral result was tossed out with last weekend's fish and chip wrappers. But One Nation also benefitted by just such ship jumping when Steve Dickson quit the LNP to join ON and give them a parliamentary seat in Queensland that was never won at the ballot box.

We never seem to be far from political hypocrisy.

The Australian Electoral Commission considered this overall situation after Meg Lees quit the Australian Democrats in 2002 to continue as an unelected Independent. But the AEC position eventually was to recommend doing nothing, suggesting that trying to control these matters by legislation is too difficult. What rubbish.

Legislation is needed to make the position very clear – if you decide to quit your party or change parties, then you lose your seat with by-elections required for the House of Representatives and the next eligible name taken from the electoral list for the Senate. If a political party suddenly disappears then the same process should replace all Members and Senators of that party. This also needs to be enacted at both Federal and State-Territory levels.

Members and Senators cannot continue to decide who or what they want to be part of, after an election. And it will only be through such remedial action that elections can have any hope of regaining any integrity and honesty. As matters currently stand, elections are becoming increasingly meaningless.

Unfortunately, the reality is that no political party in Australia would support any such change. Why? Because, as just proven by the hypocrisy of the Gichuhi matter, the major parties have too much to gain by ignoring the electorate.


The rise and fall of Ben Ean Moselle and what it says about change in Australia

I remember Ben Ean well.  As I was mainly a red drinker at the time I never drank much of it however.  I mainly drink Tyrrells Verdelho these days

Do you remember Lindeman's Ben Ean Moselle? This slim-bottled, white table wine was quaffed in great quantities in the 1970s.

It played a leading role in democratising wine drinking in Australia as tastes began to diversify from an almost exclusively beer-drinking nation.

As we discuss in the Journal of Australian Studies, Ben Ean's fortunes were aligned with tremendous social flux between the 1960s and 1980s.

According to industry luminary Philip Laffer, Ben Ean was invented by accident in 1956. It boomed in the '70s but began to decline in popularity in the mid-1980s as fine wine became more desirable.

In 2009, the company that owned the Lindeman's brand stopped making the wine.

In the 1970s, Ben Ean was the first wine to be advertised on TV.

A breezy, comforting egalitarianism prevailed in the ad, which featured the Little River Band: "Who wants to journey on a gigantic yacht? … Who wants to be a millionaire? I don't".

This attitude changed in the advertising of the 1980s, as Ben Ean became the "wine that dreams are made of", associated with a mood of aspirational fantasy.

In the 1950s, Australia had little wine-drinking culture to speak of.  Professional men were the main consumers of quality Australian table wines (those with alcohol levels below 25 per cent).

Some others drank "plonk" (less expensive Australian fortified wines, containing one third brandy).

The public face of drinking was a white, working-class, beer-swilling man in a pub's front bar.

In 1965, Merle Thornton and Rosalie Bogner heroically chained themselves to the front bar of Brisbane's Regatta Hotel to protest against this sex-segregation.

While licensing reforms and the postwar relaxation of social mores began to break down the gender divide between the blokes' front bar and the backroom ladies lounge, women mainly chose to enjoy new drinking freedoms at home, at parties, with other women in new city eateries at Friday lunch and in activist meetings.

This subverted a long-held British tradition of wine as elitist and male.

Women's new habits were encouraged by the easy drinking style of Ben Ean — a wine lighter in alcohol than spirits or fortified wines, semi-sweet and unchanging from year to year. Lindeman's promoted Ben Ean to women as "just right", for any occasion.

Although Anglo Australian men often ascribe new wine-drinking habits to the postwar migration of European men from wine countries, Anglo Australian women were key consumers of wine initially — this was at first a gendered change.

Anglo Australian men, coming to realise that wine was neither un-Australian nor unmanly, soon embraced wine at home, parties, and restaurants.

Rapid industrialisation in the 1970s and the rise of the middle-class, attracted more men to wine as a white-collar drink.

Different types of fine-wine culture came to signify opposing sides of Australian politics.

Red wine was seen as conservative, white wine was for social progressives — the "chardonnay socialists" who conservatives accused of selling out their working-class origins with university education and professional incomes.

Success meant displays of wealth. Cheap and cheerful Ben Ean seemed unsophisticated for those who wanted to stand out from the crowd.

But while the brand managers of Ben Ean read the national mood in 1983 accurately, their aspirational, fantasy ad campaign ultimately failed. Many consumers — particularly men new to wine — were more interested in products that expressed social status.

They preferred wines that were less sweet and labelled for provenance: vintage year, vineyard origins and grape varieties (such as Riesling, Chardonnay, Shiraz).

Yet easy-drinking white wines never really went away.

As Tim Minchin expresses in his Christmas song, White Wine in the Sun, the wine-drinking habits spurred by Ben Ean became synonymous, for many, with home and family.


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, 2018

Townsville is NOT dry because of global warming

Townsville is always pretty dry because of where it is.  Why was Townsville founded?  It has a negligible natural harbour, can't grow much, has no natural resources and only service industries.

Townsville was founded for one reason and one reason only.  There is immediately behind it a gap in the Great Dividing Range and the gap is close to the coast.  There are some small hills around the place -- who can miss the pink granite monolith of Castle hill? -- but nothing like the behemoths of the great Dividing Range elsewhere, like Mt. Bartle Frere and Bellenden Ker.

So Townsville was an ideal place to run bullock teams and later a railway from the coast through to some pretty good country inland, including the Charters Towers goldfields and the rich silver, lead and zinc mines of Mt Isa. Both trains and bullock teams are very bad at handling mountains but by starting out at Townsville, severe gradients could be avoided (maxing at 2%).

But the Great Dividing Range is the reason why the East coast strip of Queensland is generally so wet.  When trade winds blow inland from the Pacific, they are heavily laden with moisture from ocean evaporation.  They hit the mountains of the Great Divide and drop the moisture as rain.  So a couple of hours drive to the North of Townsville are two of the highest mountains in the State -- Bartle Frere and Bellenden Ker.  And guess what lies in their foothills?  The town of Innisfail, one of the wettest places in the world.

So Townsville's reason for existence, a break in the Great Divide there is also the main reason why it is dry.  You can't have your cake and eat it too.  So the guff below is total nonsense. There's NO "invisible barrier that stops rain".  It's the lack of a barrier that stops rain.  Townsville will always be dry.  It would not exist otherwise. 

Townsville pipes in water from Mt Spec and Lake Paluma. And the Ross river has a dam on it which  also supplies some water. So, with irrigation, Townville does grow crops and life is comfortable, even without much rain.

TOWNSVILLE could go from being the driest city in North Queensland to the wettest place in the state due to a quirk of global warming, a leading professor says.

Professor Ray Wills spoke to the Bulletin after a recent article which stated geography in Townsville could be to blame for the notorious “dome" — an invisible barrier that stops rain — and instead blames climate change.

Prof Wills is a commentator and adviser on sustainability and technology and responded to comments made by Thomas Hinterdorfer, a forecaster from weather group Higgins Storm Chasing.

Mr Hinterdorfer said the geography of Mount Stuart and other smaller surrounding hills were forming a barrier against rain.

Prof Wills noted Townsville had historically experienced wet periods and argued climate change was the real driver of the long dry period and failed wet seasons.

“Mount Stuart hasn't changed in height, however the climate has and it is changing as a result of global warming," he said.

Prof Wills said the phenomenon was linked to atmospheric circulation, temperature and rainfall.

He said Townsville temperatures were up and rainfall was down, especially in summer.

The Bureau of Meteorology's 2017 Annual Climate Survey showed Townsville was the driest of the coastal cities in North Queensland last year and had 30 per cent less rain than the long-term average.

Townsville received just 791mm in 2017, against the long-term average of 1128mm. It is the fifth consecutive year of below-average rainfall in Townsville. The city's residents also endured a year of hotter-than-average temperatures. But it might not stay dry for long.

Prof Wills said climate change was moving the “climate belt" — areas with distinct climates — south.  “What Townsville could well be experiencing is what would have been a dry area further north that is being pushed southward," he said.

With places such as Tully to the north of Townsville — where average annual rainfall is more than 4000mm — that could mean a wet future for Townsville.

“That's a possible scenario," Prof Wills said, but it could take decades. He also said mountains surrounding Townsville complicated forecasts, as did oceanic currents and atmospheric circulation.

Prof Wills said although some areas could benefit from climate change, overall it should be treated as a concerning phenomenon.


Father, 56 was stabbed in his sleep 'by a burqa-clad ISIS-inspired student', 24, while his daughter, 5, watched in horror

Is there no limit to Muslim ingratitude?  That foul religion clearly wipes out much of the decent impulses in its adherents

The [Tamil] father allegedly stabbed by a burqa-wearing woman inspired by Islamic State has been revealed as a dedicated family man who opened his doors to international students.  

Bangladeshi Momena Shoma, 24, was one student who took advantage of Roger Singaravelu's generosity, staying with the nurse at his Callistemon Rise home in Mill Park, northeast Melbourne.

She then allegedly turned on the 56-year-old about 4.25pm Friday and stabbed him in his neck as he slept, while his five-year-old daughter watched on.

Nearby residents described Mr Singaravelu as a 'nice guy' from a caring family who would share food with their neighbours.

'They are an absolutely beautiful family, they are very kind,' neighbour Aga told the Herald Sun.

'They always bring us around food, they're very kind.'

Another neighbour James told the publication Mr Singaravelu's partner is 'distraught' after recently opening their home to Shoma. He added: 'He's a nice family man, he's a nice guy, it's so strange.'  

Neighbour Safia said Mr Singaravelu called them to his home for help, where they found him lying in the garage in a pool of blood. 'Roger called us and just said "run, run, run I've been stabbed",' Safia said.

Mr Singaravelu was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he underwent surgery on Saturday for non-life threatening injuries.

Meanwhile Shoma was charged with allegedly engaging in an Islamic State inspired terrorist act

The woman was arrested at the scene and taken to hospital with a hand injury. 

'She's only been in Australia for a week, they took her in because they felt sorry for her,' another neighbour said.

She had travelled to Melbourne on February 1 on a student visa and was renting a room at the property while studying at La Trobe University.

Detectives at the scene allege the woman - dressed in a black burka - used a knife to attack the father as his daughter watched on.

How and why the young Bangladeshi woman became radicalised will remain the subject of investigation, police said.

Police also allege the woman was 'inspired by the doctrines of ISIS'.

Mr Singaravelu regularly opened his home to international students and was providing accommodation for the 24-year-old woman.

He remains in hospital in a 'serious but stable' condition, police said.

The horrified family of Mr Singaravelu have spoken out after the alleged stabbing. 'At this time our focus is on our the welfare of our family and his recovery. We would like to offer our thanks to our family, friendly neighbours and emergency services for their support and kindness,' they said in a statement.

'This is a very upsetting time and we ask that our privacy is respected to allow time to heal.'

The Victorian JCTT, which is made up of resources from the Australian Federal Police, ASIO and Victoria Police, has charged her with one count of engaging in a terrorist act under the Commonwealth Crimes Act Section 101.1.

Ian McCartney, AFP acting Deputy Commissioner, National Security, confirmed the incident was linked to Islamic State.

'We will allege this was a stand-alone, Islamic State inspired attack, designed to cause harm to our community,' acting Deputy Commissioner McCartney said.

'We deplore any attempt to intimidate our community. The AFP will continue to work together with Victoria Police to ensure the safety of the community and to protect our way of life in Australia.'

The woman has been remanded in custody and did not apply for bail when she faced Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Saturday.

The magistrate heard Shoma - who faced court in a blue jumper with her hair tied back - injured her left hand during the alleged attack, 9 News reported.  She is expected back in court on May 2. 

Investigators will be executing search warrants at the Mill Park home and another home in Bundoora, north Melbourne, where the woman had previously stayed. There is no suggestion that anyone in the Bundoora residence was involved in the incident in any way.

Police are not looking for anyone else in relation to the investigation which they believe was an isolated incident.

'This is an isolated incident and the community can be assured that Victoria Police is doing everything we can to keep the community safe,' Acting Deputy Commissioner Ross Guenther said.

'The community can expect to see an increased police presence at a number of events today and at major events in the coming weeks. 'We urge people to report any suspicious activity to triple zero (000), Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.'

Since 12 September 2014, when the national terrorism threat level was raised, police have charged 85 people – including this woman – as a result of 36 counter terrorism-related operations around Australia.


The Greens imperil our economy, alliances and world standing

One of the consequences of the creeping advance of political correctness that constrains debate in academia, bureaucracy, politics and the media is that the extreme left is normalised. In the polite society of the political/media class, overt condemnation is reserved for the hard right while even the most anarchic or obscene contributions from the green left are tolerated, apparently because their intentions might be pure.

How else to explain why the hateful and inane intercessions of the Greens are tolerated and amplified in national affairs, often without vigorous challenge from journalists or other left-of-centre politicians? Radical views from the far left are now everyday fare on social media, while public broadcasters and even News Corp's Sky News provide it with a platform despite its stubbornly niche voter support. This skews debate and helps drag our political class further to the left.

The Greens long ago expanded their remit from protecting forests and rivers to a broader and more extreme mission. More than three decades after blocking the Franklin River dam, the Greens behave with radical internationalist fervour as their activism undermines our institutions, undercuts our economy, sabotages our borders, divides our society and opposes our alliances.

In recent weeks, Greens leader Richard Di Natale has trolled the nation by demonising Australia Day. “It's a day that represents an act of dispossession, an act of theft," he said. “It's a day that represents the beginning of an ongoing genocide, the slaughter of so many Aboriginal people."

And these are the words of someone whose freedom, upbringing, education, prosperity and career have been bestowed as a consequence of the settlement that began on January 26, 1788.

This week another Greens MP, Adam Bandt, attacked the nation's newest senator, Jim Molan, who led Australian and US forces in battles against insurgents and Islamist extremists in Iraq. Bandt and others took exception to some videos Molan had shared on social media not because of the content but because of the organisation that had originally posted them.

“When you share white supremacists' videos and justify it by saying ‘I'm doing it to stimulate debate', you're a coward. You're a complete coward," Bandt told Sky News. “I tell you what … if there was a proper inquiry into the war in Iraq in Australia … I think you'd find Jim Molan would probably be up for prosecution rather than praise." (Threatened with defamation, Bandt first issued a graceless apology, then a more substantial one yesterday.)

Bandt's response to the war on terror, as he tells it, was to write a PhD exploring the interplay between Marxism, globalisation, workplace relations and the rule of law. Molan's was to risk his life in the service of his nation, defending people in Iraq who wanted freedom and democracy.

Yet the Greens decried Molan as the coward.

These are more than attacks on our national day or a military hero: they point to a broader agenda where the Greens tilt at the fundamental strengths of our nation. Our borders, for instance, are the foundation of our sovereignty but the Greens have long promoted open borders and for a few years under Labor we saw a living experiment of their ideal. Despite 800 boats arriving with more than 50,000 asylum-seekers, giving us the trauma of detention centres filled in every state and at least 1200 people dying in attempts to join the rush, the Greens still argue for this approach.

With many Labor MPs sympathetic, leftist media activism ongoing and Greens votes needed in the Senate, a future Shorten government would be drawn to softer border policies like a Greens senator to a student rally. This would be disastrous for our regional diplomacy, finances and, most importantly, immigration system. The high level of public support for immigration and our multi-ethnic society is founded on an orderly system. We mess with that, as we have seen, at our peril. Not to mention the unfairness to refugees legitimately trying to get access to our humanitarian program who don't have money to pay criminal people-smugglers.

On the economy, the Greens campaign against our second largest export industry, coal. Never mind how we would replace more than $50 billion in exports, $5bn in royalties or 75 per cent of our national electricity generation: there is the issue of replacing 51,000 jobs, so many families that do not seem to matter to the Greens.

Even if you accept the Greens want to scrap our coal industry in order to reduce global carbon emissions (it wouldn't because China and India would buy their coal elsewhere) we still have to reconcile their opposition to nuclear power, yet another energy source we have in abundance and export to the world but which the Greens oppose.

When they inveigled themselves into a rainbow coalition with Julia Gillard's Labor, the Greens forced the introduction of a carbon tax that Gillard had ruled out. This not only destroyed her government but consigned climate policy to another decade of dysfunction. When you recall it was the Greens who conspired with the Coalition to twice vote down Kevin Rudd's emissions trading scheme, you can see this party of so-called environmentalists has vandalised climate policy.

The Greens support a range of positions most voters find abhorrent, such as legalising drugs, increasing taxes and ending the US alliance. “As long as taking drugs is illegal, governments can and do create environments in which people are at greater risk when they choose to use drugs," Di Natale told his party's conference last year. On coal he said: “We Greens and our movement are the only thing that will keep the coal from Adani's mine in the ground." And on the alliance, he referred to activists speaking out “against wars fought overseas in support of American imperialism".

This is the sort of dreamworld posturing we might hear from student activists, dishevelled academics or UN bureaucrats. Six years ago, then Greens leader Bob Brown opened a speech by welcoming his “fellow Earthians". The Greens espouse a John Lennon-style imagine-there's-no-countries idealism that has no currency in the real world.

If people spouted this sort of stuff at barbecues or front bars beyond their university years, friends would either say they are bonkers or find an excuse to leave. The Greens are a fringe group, the loony left that attracted only 8.7 per cent of the national Senate vote last year. Yet their contributions are often provided at length, and largely unchallenged, on the public broadcasters and the Sky News daytime political coverage.

Sure, they have crucial Senate votes and are part of the political equation. But their wacky views should be challenged, exposed and derided at least as much, and probably more than, the fringe parties of the right.

Labor is chasing the Greens to the left: repeating the Occupy Wall Street inequality mantra, adopting an anti-corruption commission and toughening criticism of Adani. And, encouraged by social media and 24/7 political/media class broadcasting, the political debate is shifting with it.

In the short term, this is good news for Malcolm Turnbull as Labor runs the risk of frightening centrist voters away. But in the long term our major parties need to find a way to coalesce around mainstream values again. The Greens' vision for Australia needs to be marginalised because it would undermine our economy, borders, alliances and character, rendering us unrecognisable and unsustainable.

Turnbull could demonstrate he understands all this by running a candidate in Batman and preferencing the Greens last.


KFC is hit with a storm of complaints after releasing an  advert about a child drawing a picture of their parents 'naked wrestling'

Very strange.  I guess they are relying on the adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity

A controversial KFC ad featuring two parents 'naked wrestling' has prompted an investigation by the advertising watchdog.

KFC Australia's summer ad campaign sparked 30 complaints over its sexual content being inappropriate for children.

It featured a child's drawing of a mum and dad wrestling nude held up by a teacher and presented to them at a consultation evening.

Among the complaints about the wrestling ad were adults concerned that children would be subjected to material in the ad which was overly sexual and suggestive.

Bosses have been forced to defend the ad as they await the final outcome of an investigation by the Advertising Standards Bureau

KFC said the series was attempting to represent real-life moments that the public could relate to.

The fast food chain's chief marketing officer Angela Richards said: 'KFC has strict review and approval processes in place to ensure all creative work adhere to relevant codes and standards.

'In this case the Advertising Standards Bureau has decided that the advertisement and associated posts in question do not breach the AANA's (Australian Association of National Advertisers) code of ethics'.

The ASB states the relevant section of the Australian Association of National Advertisers relates to 'sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience'.

The final report from the ASB board is due to published in the next week


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

11 February, 2018

From drinks at the bar to back at her house: The new 90-minute sexual consent test Australian university students must pass before they are allowed to enrol

The range of what is called sexual harassment has widened enormously in recent times.  Rape however is a lot LESS common in the universities than elsewhere so singling out students as likely evildoers is offensive

Students starting at some of Australia's most prestigious universities will need to prove they understand sexual consent by sitting a mandatory course.

An online 90 minute test has already been implemented at University of Melbourne, where all undergraduate students must pass the test before beginning study.

New students at the University of Sydney must also sit the compulsory test, and those living in residential colleges at the Australian National University will need to pass it as well, The Age reports.

The one and a half hour long animated course touches on how levels of intoxication would affect each person's ability to give consent to sexual activity.

Students are also schooled on boundaries, misconceptions about consent and how others should intervene if they see sexual harassment occurring.

Desiree Cai, University of Melbourne's student union president, praised the move for being an important first step in addressing sexual harassment.

'Discussions about what consent is didn't exist a couple of years ago,' Ms Cai said. 'There has been a real shift but we would like to see more action in the future.'

The progressive move comes in light of the Australian Human Rights Commission's startling findings in its report on sexual harassment and assault on campuses.

The report found one in two students were sexually harassed at least once on university campuses in 2016.

So far about a quarter of University of Melbourne's students had sat the test, but Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson said it would take more than one quiz to solve the problem.

'There's a significant amount of activity occurring and a comprehensive effort is very much in evidence,' Ms Robinson said.

National Union of Students women's officer Kate Crossin also felt more was required in order for significant societal change to occur. She was not convinced the Consent Matters course was effective, saying 'It hasn't been found to reduce sexual harassment or assault. Face-to-face training is much better.'


Jim Molan offers lesson in courage for gutless Greens

What a spiteful, divisive, unethical and prejudiced political force the Greens are in Australian politics.

This is evident from their grotesque attack on Major-General (retired) Jim Molan, a new Liberal senator for NSW and one of the bravest and most important soldiers Australia has produced in the past 40 years.

Molan is neither the pope nor a secular saint. It is perfectly legitimate to criticise his views. What the Greens did, in calculated, ­extreme and grossly insulting comments, was attack his character, substantially on the basis of his military service.

Greens senator Nick McKim labelled Molan “a blatant racist … who revels in trampling rights and freedoms".

Greens leader Richard Di Natale accused Molan of overseeing “a humanitarian catastrophe" during the allied assault on Fallujah in Iraq in 2004. Quoting a United Nations Special Rapporteur with a long history of extreme anti-­Western activism, Di Natale said: “At the time of the assault on Fallujah under the command of now-Senator Molan … coalition forces used hunger and deprivation as a weapon of war against the civilian population." This is a charge Molan strenuously denies.

Di Natale asked Defence Minister Marise Payne whether she was concerned that Molan's views influenced his approach to the campaign in Fallujah.

The most extreme attacks came from Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt, who said that if there were a proper inquiry into the Iraq war “like there has been in other countries, I think you would find Jim Molan would probably be up for prosecution rather than praise for his role in the atrocities in Fallujah".

Bandt added: “When you share white supremacist videos and then you justify it by saying: ‘Oh, I'm doing it to stimulate debate' — and that is the line that came out of his office — you are a coward, you are a complete coward."

Bandt subsequently apologised for his remarks, and then further extended the apology yesterday.

Everything the Greens have said here is wrong. They have not only been unfair to Molan, they have turned reality on its head. They have proved that far from being progenitors of more ethical politics, the Greens are a narrow, sectarian group imprisoned in their own prejudices.

Here are a few key facts. Molan was for a time the defence attache in Jakarta. He was there for the fall of Suharto in 1998 and the East Timor independence referendum in 1999. In East Timor he personally oversaw the evacuation first of Australian personnel and later UN staff, including many Indonesians. In June 2000 Molan organised the evacuation of 800 Australians from Solomon Islands.

In 2004 he was appointed chief of operations under US General George Casey for the entire US-led UN coalition in Iraq, during which time the second operation in Fallujah took place.

One year ago, long after he left the military, Molan re-posted on to his Facebook page two videos that had come from the British First group and showed apparently Islamist violence in Europe.

Let's interrogate these matters.

Adam Bandt may think Molan “a coward, a complete coward". It is probable that Bishop Carlos Belo, and some Philippines nuns, have a different view. At the time of the fall of Suharto, Molan's wife had to self-evacuate with the ­couple's four children from an ­extremely dangerous part of Jakarta to a safer area.

Jakarta was roiling during this time under extremely violent rioting, an at times heavy-handed military and police response and some rogue military snipers who were shooting people indiscriminately. I spent a little time in Jakarta myself during this period and for a little while it was a terrifying city.

Molan, as defence attache, was on the streets every day morning until night, as were eight other members of his team, getting a sense of what was going on so that the Australian government could respond effectively and the ­embassy would know when and how to carry out the evacuation of Australian nationals.

Molan is tall and blond. He was a highly visible target.

But Dili was much more dangerous. Molan took four members of the Jakarta defence attache team with him to Dili to organise the evacuation of Australians, then later of UN staff. He and the four others drove a vehicle each and went round Dili picking up Australians and others who ­needed to leave. This was at a time when murderous, pro-Indonesian militia were rampaging through Dili murdering and burning.

Molan also had to talk the ­Indonesian military, whom he knew very well, into accepting an Australian peacekeeping force and not firing on it, and disciplining the militia not to fire on the Australians, either.

In Bandt's world, none of this may excuse a man from cowardice — it probably doesn't compare with the moral gravity of having to choose, say, between skim milk and soy for a $5 latte in Carlton — but it is possible that some East Timorese have a different view.

There was one especially tense confrontation on the tarmac at Baucau Airport. In one of those desperate coincidences, a group of pro-Indonesian militia were to be flown to West Timor on the same day that UN expatriate staff were to be flown to Darwin. The Indonesian UN staff were also there to be evacuated. The international staff, heroically, were refusing to leave unless their Indonesian colleagues joined them.

Then it turned out that Bishop Carlos Belo, the Nobel Prize winner, was there. He had to flee his Dili home because it had been ­attacked and burnt to the ground. The militia had declared they would kill Belo. Molan was in command of no force although there were some Australian security personnel discreetly placed on the evacuation planes.

The militia commander at the airport kept drawing his pistol. In hours of tense, difficult conversation and negotiation, Molan got the UN staff out, including Belo.

There is no doubt that Molan saved Belo's life. One night in East Timor Molan had a long conversation by phone with John Howard. He had to convince Howard that the Indonesians would not fire on an Australian peacekeeping force and the deployment of the force should go ahead.

On another occasion Molan was speeding towards the airport with half a dozen Philippine nuns in his car. A pro-Indonesian gunman on a motor bike with a rifle slung over his shoulder was chasing Molan's vehicle and trying to take his rifle off his shoulder, presumably to fire. A sudden block on the road forced Molan to screech to a halt, the gunman hit the back of Molan's transport and his body pitch-forked into the back of Molan's vehicle, among the nuns. Molan could see the man's neck was broken. He could also see a crowd beginning to gather. So he reached back from the driver's seat, pushed the Indonesian body out the back, and sped off to the airport. Once there he unloaded the nuns, who flew to safety, smashed out the rest of his back windscreen, and resumed evacuation operations.

No doubt, though, Bandt is the best judge of a man's cowardice.

In Iraq, Molan was lent by Peter Cosgrove, then chief of the ­Defence Force, now our Governor-General, to be the chief of ­operations in US General Ricardo Sanchez's headquarters. At first Sanchez did not want a non-American in such a senior job. Molan was given the task of restoring Iraq's infrastructure. He did this so well that Sanchez's successor, General George Casey, ­appointed him to the chief of ­operations role.

The legality of the original US-led invasion of Iraq, in which Australia participated, is disputed, although the Australian government believed it was justified by previous UN resolutions. By the time Molan got there the operation had explicit UN authorisation and involved 28 nations.

Fallujah had been a city of 300,000. By the time of Molan's operation it had between 10,000 and 30,000 inhabitants. Most had fled to government-controlled areas. The extreme Sunni Islamist insurgency, which later became Islamic State, was savagely barbaric.

In a book I wrote on the US ­alliance 10 years ago, Molan told me: “We conducted Fallujah both to protect the Iraqi people and to protect the Iraqi political process (the upcoming national election). Fallujah was a safe haven for straight-out terrorists, not insurgents. There were 19 improvised explosive device factories, six car bomb factories, torture chambers, TV stations" and the insurgents' command centre.

“The responsible use of military force by the Americans cost (US) marine lives. We could have flattened the city in a night and killed everyone there (and lost no marines) but that would have been wrong."

In Iraq, Molan faced death a dozen times, more than that. The house next to the one he lived in was destroyed by rocket fire. He was many times fired on. He had a close protection unit of Australian and US special forces. Once he was dozing in a Blackhawk helicopter between Baghdad and Mosul when he opened his eyes to see a 23mm anti-aircraft gun blinking at the chopper, just about to fire. Luckily the pilot took radical evasive action at that moment.

Still, as Adam Bandt would no doubt know, you never know where cowardice is hiding.

The two videos that Molan re-posted to his Facebook page last year showed genuine violence in Europe, in at least one case certainly Islamist violence. In one, Molan was particularly, almost technically, interested in the ­restraint French police showed under attack. Like almost everyone else, he had never heard of the British First group, nor known anything of its politics, until ­Donald Trump got into trouble for re-posting their material. Of course, the failure of mainstream politicians to discuss Islamist violence in Europe is one factor that has driven the growth of extremes.

Three political conclusions from the Molan affair are inescapable.

One, the Greens are truly a ­destructive, vicious political force, always happy to attribute great moral courage to themselves while foully and often baselessly attacking the motives and character of anyone who disagrees with them. They seem to have an unhealthy hang-up about the military.

Second, what idiots the Liberals were not to preselect Molan ear­lier, favouring anonymous identikit candidates instead. Molan is in the Senate by fluke. If the Liberals are to revive as a party they need big personalities who represent real constituencies and bring varied life experience to the parliament. Just having Molan there has enraged the Greens and polarised voters in favour of the government.

And thirdly, while this controversy has run OK so far for Molan, the Howard government never appointed a soldier of his seniority to Iraq again, despite US requests. I suspect this is because even the Howard government was scared of having to take political responsibility for genuinely big battlefield decisions. We claim to want influence, but are often scared of it.

If only we had a few more “cowards" like Jim Molan.


Protect your people from shark attacks, Frydenberg tells Green/Left WA government

Greenies would rather have people die than sharks

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has warned the West Australian government to take “stronger action to protect its citizens", after a CSIRO study revealed an explosion in adult great white shark numbers off the west coast.

Mr Frydenberg said the “groundbreaking" CSIRO study clearly showed a greater number of larger white sharks off the west coast compared with eastern Australia. “These results along with the high number of fatal shark attacks in Western Australia make a compelling case for the WA government to take a more proactive approach to protect the public from shark attacks," he said.

“The primacy of public safety is non-negotiable. That is why the commonwealth continues to call on the West Australian government to take stronger action to protect its citizens."

In December, The Australian reported on preliminary results of the CSIRO study, which revealed more than double the number of adult great white sharks inhabited the waters between Wilson's Promontory and northwestern WA compared with the eastern Australian population.

The final 64-page CSIRO report, “A national assessment of the status of White Sharks", provides a scientific analysis of juvenile and adult great white shark populations off the Australian coastline. Commissioned following a series of great white shark attacks off WA and NSW, it is the first detailed analysis of white shark populations.

The report, labelled the first of its kind in the world, concedes that “shark attack rates in Australia have risen over recent years".

“The results and methods employed represent a step-change in capacity to assess otherwise difficult-to-monitor species, such as white sharks," it said.

Preliminary analysis of the data showed that the animal's current adult population in the west was between 750 and 2250, with a 90 per cent survival rate year-to-year.

In the east there are about 750 adult sharks (with a range of between 470 and 1030 great whites) at a yearly survival rate of more than 90 per cent.

The final research revealed the total number of white sharks in the eastern population is 5460, with a potential range between 2909 and 12,802.

CSIRO lead author Dr Richard Hillary said sharks take 12—15 years to become mature adults, "so we wouldn't expect to see the effect on the adult population of that reduction in juvenile shark mortality until the next few years".

“Now that we have a starting point, we can repeat the exercise over time and build a total population trend, to see whether the numbers are going up or down," Dr Hillary said.

“This is crucial to developing effective policy outcomes that balance the sometimes conflicting aims of conservation initiatives and human-shark interaction risk management."

The Australian understands the CSIRO data focuses mainly on adult white sharks, with NSW Department of Primary Industries tagging research tracking large numbers of juvenile great whites along east coast beaches.

Mr Frydenberg, who commissioned the report last June, has noted the shark population in the west “may not be increasing" but was “significantly larger" when the juvenile sharks were included in the data.

“Couple these higher numbers with the 15 fatal shark attacks over the last 17 years in Western Australia and it's clear the state government needs to look seriously at rigorous and proactive measures to protect its citizens from shark attacks," Mr Frydenberg previously told The Australian.

Multiple fatal shark attacks off WA in recent years prompted the former Barnett government to consider protective measures. A culling program was cancelled after it mainly caught tiger sharks instead of great whites.


The hidden dangers lurking in your reusable bag and how to avoid them

They are big trouble and a lot less safe than disposable bags

ECOBAGS are the new standard on the weekly shop — but could you be bringing more than you bargained for back home in your carrier?

The new, thicker bags have replaced the single-use plastic ones, which in Australia are already banned in South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory with Western Australia and Queensland to follow this year.

Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths have also announced they would phase out single-use bags and charge 15 cents for re-usable ones.

Envirobags may have been brilliant for the environment but, if you're not careful, your re-usable bag can be bad for you.

According to The Sun, they can become home to E. coli and salmonella and, by failing to pack items into separate bags, we could be exposing ourselves to these invisible germs that live on long after the shopping trip has ended.
Sturdy EcoBags replaced have become a shopping staple for many.

The trouble is that many of us don't separate our shopping out properly into the bags, and even fewer of us ever wash them out after we get home from a shop.

This means they can collect and incubate germs from food we pick up while shopping — and raw meat, although the major problem, isn't the only cause of contamination.

Even the outside of packaging for foods like raw chicken can be coated in the dangerous bacteria.

Other harmful germs found teeming on the bags include salmonella and E.coli, which can cause stomach bugs lasting up to seven days.

Thousands of people are admitted to hospital each year with the symptoms of food poisoning, and according to Danish scientists, deaths caused by food poisoning are twice as high as statistics suggest, with many contracting secondary infections up to a year after their gastric sickness started.
Germs hidden in the reusable bags for life can cause serious sickness and can take up to seven days to recover from.

Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to protect yourself and your family.

In the UK, the Food Standards Agency has asked for supermarkets to give out free plastic bags at meat aisles and counters to encourage people to create an extra barrier against germs.

Warnings were issued after reports found people who didn't use extra bags were at greater risk of food poisoning.

The FSA has also updated its guidance on how to pack shopping safely, advising consumers to separate their raw foods, especially meat, from ready-to-eat goods and non-edible items like clothes or household products.

Loose vegetables covered in soil and cracked eggs also contain traces of bacteria, so even if you're a vegetarian it's worth separating all items to avoid contamination.

No one is suggesting a return to the flimsy plastic bags — ecobags are handy, if properly stored and used.

They're strong and sturdy, as well as being more environmentally friendly.

But until there's a way to stop food packaging from becoming contaminated, ecobags should be washed after every shopping trip, and thoroughly.

Most are made from a strong plastic like polythene, or you can opt for an even more long-lasting hessian or canvas tote bag.

It's much easier to wash the canvas bags, and this should be done after every visit, at a high temperature.

If you do wash the plastic bags, it's not enough to simply wipe down the surfaces with antibacterial spray: you need to soak every inner and outer seam.

A spokesman for the FSA says: “Our main advice is to use specific bags for specific tasks, so keep some for use with meat and other raw foods, some for ready to eat and some for things like washing powder/dishwasher tabs and other chemicals".

“Consumers might choose to label bags to make this easier, or they may choose to buy bags under specific themes to mark purpose.

“There is also the option to go with machine-washable fabric bags for the raw foods, so that they can be washed regularly and/or whenever there is a spill."

If supermarkets don't offer free plastics to wrap meat products, then it's a good idea to label the bags you use, especially if you plan to use them again.

Colour-coding shopping bags might help to tell them apart: red for meat, for instance, green for vegetables and yellow for other potentially harmful items.

And make sure you have enough for a big shop so you don't end up forced to put things in the same bag.


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, 2018

Melbourne mother gets shamed for including a LAMINGTON in her child's lunchbox

A Lamington is an iconic Australian treat.  It is anti-Australian to ban it as well as being an arrogant know-all.  A lamington consists of a small pieces of sponge cake coated with chocolate icing and sprinkled with dessicated coconut.  I would like to see proof that any of those are unhealthy.  There is no such proof. It is just poorly-founded and now obsolete theory.

A Melbourne mother has been slammed by a school after she packed a lamington in her child's lunchbox.

The tasty treat was returned to the mortified mother uneaten along with a note from the kindergarten, Seven News reported.

The note said the lamington 'did not comply with the school's nutrition policy'.

The mother was told never to include a lamington in her child's lunch again.

This comes a year after a South Australian mother was left mortified when 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.

People took to social media to express their shock at the policy.

'That's bad, Australia getting too PC!! It's a bloody lamington,' one person wrote on Twitter.

'Kindergarten needs to keep their noses out of kids lunch box! If the parent gives it to their child it's none of their business!' said another.

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.'


Senator and retired army major-general Jim Molan counter-attacks Greens MP Adam Bandt

By attacking Jim Molan, the Greens attacked not just the man, but the uniform and it highlights just how invested the Greens are in hating our country, who we are, and what we stand for. Bandt is just an old Trot who hates the world

Liberal Party Senator Jim Molan has threatened to sue Greens MP Adam Bandt unless he apologises for accusing him of being a war criminal.

Senator Molan, the father of sports presenter Erin Molan, said he had lawyers and financial backing organised ready to sue Mr Bandt for defamation if he didn't make a public apology.

The Greens MP said Mr Molan, who has a decorated 40-year military career, would 'probably be up for prosecution' if an independent inquiry was launched into his actions in the Iraq War.

'I would invite Mr Bandt to offer me a public apology,' Mr Molan told The Australian on Wednesday. 'If he publicly apologised to me for the statements that he made, then that would end the problem.'

Speaking to Sky News earlier in the week, Mr Bandt condemned Mr Molan for sharing videos by far-right UK group Britain First on Facebook. The retired major-general and now NSW Liberal senator shared the videos in March last year which purport to show Muslim violence in Europe.

Senator Molan has since described the Britain First group as 'scum' but has not apologised for sharing the videos.

Senator Molan told parliament on Monday he was not racist or anti-Islam and had shared the videos because he was against violence and anti-social behaviour.

Mr Bandt said Senator Molan was 'a coward' for refusing to apologise. 'When you share white supremacist videos and then you justify it by saying 'Oh, I'm doing it to stimulate debate', and that is the line that came out of his office, you are a coward, you are a complete coward,' he said.

'If there was a proper inquiry, in an independent inquiry into the war in Iraq in Australia, like there has been in other countries, I think you would find Jim Molan would probably be up for prosecution rather than praise for his role in the atrocities in Fallujah.'

The Fallujah campaign was heavily criticised for its indifference to civilians.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale earlier accused Mr Molan of committing war crimes.

He made the comment in Parliament on Monday night, and was therefore protected from defamation by parliamentary privilege.

His colleague Mr Bandt made his comments about the war veteran outside parliament and is therefore not protected from defamation.


Bill Shorten proves he is soft on people smugglers, says Peter Dutton

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says people smugglers will be back in business if Bill Shorten wins the next election.

Mr Dutton leapt on Mr Shorten’s opposition to the government’s move to cut welfare to about 70 asylum seekers from today, forcing them to quickly get a job or go back to Nauru or Manus Island. “I see Bill Shorten’s out there saying it’s outrageous, that they should remain in this taxpayer funded housing,” Mr Dutton told 2GB this morning.

“If Mr Shorten was elected prime minister people would come here from Manus and Nauru. The people smugglers would be rubbing their hands together and the boats would restart. That’s the reality.”

Mr Shorten yesterday described the government’s plan as “cowardly and cruel” and Malcolm Turnbull’s “weakest move yet”.

Mr Dutton this morning stridently defended the move to pull welfare from asylum seekers, arguing they were only supposed to come here to receive medical treatment. They remained in Australia because of legal injunctions lodged by social justice lawyers which prevented the government sending them back offshore, he said.

“These are the people that have paid money to people smugglers. They’re part of the 50,000 people who came on the 800 boats under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard,” Mr Dutton said.

“They’ve required medical assistance or they’ve been supporting someone who requires medical assistance. The medical assistance has been provided and there is no need for them to remain in Australia and yet through these legal moves, they’ve found themselves a way.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison said Mr Shorten’s opposition to the move showed that “Labor never, ever gets it”. “This is a targeted change to around about less than 70 people who gamed the system to get to Australia, now are trying to lock themselves out of being sent back to Nauru or Manus, and to stay here at taxpayers’ expense and taxpayer-funded housing and Bill Shorten thinks that’s okay,” Mr Morrison said.

“He just doesn’t get it, that’s why Labor can never, ever be trusted on border protection. I know first-hand the calls you have to make to keep borders strong in Australia and I can assure you, he can’t do it. He doesn’t get it.”

Mr Dutton said the legal injunctions which kept asylum seekers in Australia were part of a politically correct culture, which was also responsible for calls to remove statues in Sydney of Captain James Cook and Governor Lachlan Macquarie.

“It extends into some of our major law firms where part of their social justice agenda is for pro bono work to be provided,” Mr Dutton said.

“So there are lawyers across the country who are providing pro bono support to people in this situation and they lodge their papers in the High Court and it costs the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars to defend these actions each year.”

Under the government’s plan, welfare could eventually be cut to up to 400 asylum-seekers who came to Australia for medical assistance. The move cuts the $200 a fortnight they were receiving and gives them three weeks to find their own accommodation.

Labor and the Greens have said they will consider moves to prevent it from happening.

Mr Shorten said yesterday: “Kicking people on to the streets with no support is needlessly cruel and really, really dumb. It won’t fix anything. It’s just hurting vulnerable and sick people for the sake of it. This act has nothing to do with strong borders or stopping people smugglers. It’s a weak Prime Minister trying to look tough. That’s it.”


Brainless transport minister in NSW

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has announced that one of six new Sydney ferries, named "Ferry McFerryface", will be renamed, following revelations his unpopular choice was a captain's pick rather than a public favourite.

On Tuesday afternoon it was announced that the vessel would be renamed after one of the other nominees, Australian children's book illustrator and author May Gibbs.

Gibbs, who died in 1969, is best known for her books featuring the Gumnut Babies, including her popular 1918 Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

Mr Constance, who favoured the name for its comical appeal for children, said in a statement that this wouldn't change under the new title.

"This will retain the vessel's appeal to our youngest customers while also recognising an Australian icon with a long connection to Sydney," he said.

"She was an amazing Australian talent and a generous soul to Sydney, NSW and all of Australia and I am proud we have found a small way to honour her contributions on Sydney Harbour."

Ferry McFerryface attracted just 182 votes in the $100,000 survey of 15,000 participants, according to documents obtained

Clean Up Australia founder Ian Kiernan, on the other hand, received more than 2000 votes.

As Fairfax Media revealed in November when the announcement was made, Mr Kiernan said he had been told several weeks earlier that his name would be on one of the new ferries. He said the decision was suddenly revoked when the minister changed his mind.

Mr Constance said at the time that the most popular names were Victor Chang, Catherine Hamlin and Fred Hollows.

He said "Boaty McBoatface" - the name that topped a British competition - and Ferry McFerryface were "the next most popular".

Mr Kiernan said the decision left him "deeply disappointed".  "If they think I'm not worthy why did they pick me in the first place?"

He wasn't the only person angered by the snub in favour of the minister's joke.  The Maritime Union of Australia called it "an insult to the iconic history of Sydney Harbour and Sydney ferries".

And it went down like a ton of bricks on social media.

The minister also tweeted on November 14, "It is not everyone's cup of tea, but the people voted for it so we listened."

On Tuesday afternoon, NSW opposition transport spokeswoman Jodi McKay said it was time for Mr Constance to stand aside as he had lost all credibility.

"He flat out lied about the competition repeatedly saying Ferry McFerryface was the popular choice when he knew it was anything but," she said.

An event was held last month to "welcome" Ferry McFerryface to the Sydney fleet.


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, 2018

Building union official threatened to 'smash' company over refusal to sign deal

Construction union officials have been found liable for trying to force building company BKH Group to sign a pattern enterprise agreement at two Sydney building sites by threatening to "smash" their jobs if they refused.

The court also concluded that officials had stopped concrete trucks from entering a building site by sitting on the bonnets of cars to stop them being towed away.

The Australian Building and Construction Commission had alleged CFMEU official Darren Taylor threatened to "smash" jobs as a warning to other contractors against refusing the union's EBA.

Federal Court Justice Geoffrey Flick concluded that CFMEU officials threatened action against the company "with intent to coerce".

He said the union sent a "simple message" that formwork companies were to sign the enterprise agreement proposed by the CFMEU "otherwise the union would pick one of them and 'smash' the company selected"

A text message which said "eenie, meenie, minie mo" sent by union official Robert Kera in February 2015 was found to have been sent as a threat to reinforce a message that one formwork company was to be selected at random. Mr Kera did not give evidence.

"The conclusion that the text was sent as a threat and was intended as a threat is a conclusion founded upon both the terms themselves and also the context in which the text was sent," Justice Flick said.

Justice Flick accepted that union official Ben Garvey deliberately kicked a safety handrail until it fell in March, 2015 and then instructed workers to leave the project citing a lack of safety rails.

The judge concluded "that there was no reasonable basis upon which any opinion could be formed that the handrail was unsafe".

"Any suggestion that Mr Garvey was simply testing the strength of the safety rails is rejected; his conduct was that of a man intent on creating disruption and generating a safety concern where none previously existed," Justice Flick said.

A penalty decision will follow the liability finding against the CFMEU and its officials.


Aboriginal boxer Mundine: ‘Women should not wear skirts above the knee’

Some realism there

CONTROVERSIAL boxer Anthony Mundine says women shouldn’t wear skirts above the knee.

Speaking to campmate Jackie Gillies in the South African jungle camp on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!, the 42-year-old said the belief is a protection to stop “other men lusting over your women”. “You want to protect your women,” Mundine said.

“You don’t want other men having prerogative thoughts about your girl or your daughter.”

Mundine is Muslim and prior to going into the jungle told News Corp he doesn’t believe in homosexuality, abortion or contraception. He has seven children to four different women.

“She can wear a dress … not a short skirt, not above the knees. That is just the way I am, it is the way I feel, the way I think.”

When asked by Gillies if it is right to tell “somebody what to do”?

“For their own good,” he responded.

“Everything in society that the creator has made unlawful, the west are making it lawful. It doesn’t matter if we were born naked. There’s garments. That was back in that time. You don’t understand because you are not built like me, you wouldn’t understand a man’s point of view. You can’t understand.”

Later, Mundine told producers: “I’m not sure if I got through to her [Jackie Gillies]. I just had to let her know where I was coming from.”

Some viewers weren’t impressed by Mundine’s comments and took to Twitter to label him a “sexist a**hole”.


Electricity prices have jumped by 12.4 per cent over the past year, six times the rate of the average pay rise, new figures reveal

There are a lot of windmills that need to be paid for

The surge will fuel concerns among policymakers over energy and household budgets as Parliament gets ready to resume next week, with both parties putting reducing cost of living pressures as their key policy pitches to voters this year.

The price of fruit, fuel, tobacco and holiday accomodation also surged in the three months to December to drive the Consumer Price Index up to 1.9 for the year.

The 0.1 per cent annual increase from the September quarter was driven almost entirely by gains on the east coast, with Sydney and Melbourne all recording price rises above 2 per cent.

"While the annual CPI rose 1.9 per cent, annual inflation in most east coast cities rose above 2.0 per cent, due in part to the strength in prices related to housing," said Australian Bureau of Statistics chief conomist, Bruce Hockman.

"Softer economic conditions in Darwin and Perth have resulted in annual inflation remaining subdued at 1.0 and 0.8 per cent respectively."

The most significant price rises were fuel, up 10.4 per cent, domestic holiday travel up 6.3 per cent and fruit up 9.3 per cent.

In the shopping aisles beer drinkers could soon become wine drinkers, after the amber brew doubled at twice the rate of the average pay rise,  up 3.7 per cent for the year to December,  while wine managed a 0.9 per cent jump, generating a cheaper drop for consumers than this time last year.

Driving anxiety among parents, the cost of schooling is far outpacing inflation with primary and pre-school costs in the three months to December helping education rise by 3.2 per cent, stoking concerns amomg those balancing school fees with torpid wage growth.

Secondary schooling fee rises are even more daunting hitting 4.1 per cent for the year, double the rate of an average wage rise at 2 per cent.

The ABS found the rises were partially offset by drops in the cost of international holiday travel, audio visual and computing equipment and telecommunication equipment and services.


The beginning of the end for Bill? Damning poll finds half of Australia wants anyone but Shorten to run the Labor Party - as Malcolm Turnbull extends his lead as preferred PM

A new poll has revealed almost half of all voters want someone other than Bill Shorten to lead the Opposition.

Even among Labor voters only 37 per cent back Mr Shorten as leader, the first Newspoll for 2018 revealed.

The poll has the Coalition trailing Labor 48-52 per cent after preferences, a slight improvement on its standing at the end of 2017.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has extended his lead as preferred prime minister to 14 points over the Opposition Leader.

'Bill Shorten has got the most anti-business, the most anti-investment, the most anti-jobs policy of any Labor leader since Whitlam,' Mr Turnbull said on Sunday.

Mr Shorten denied he had an image problem, and said he believed Australians were tired of 'gotcha poll questions' and games.  '[Voters] want to know what we're going to do for people, they don't want to hear us talking about ourselves,' Mr Shorten said.

On Sunday Mr Shorten announced Labor government would cap private health insurance increases to two per cent for two years.

Mr Turnbull hit back by saying it showed Labor was producing 'policy on the run' and risked causing the private health sector to collapse.

'These are private companies. They're in a very competitive market. The reality is Labor wants to destroy private health insurance,' he told the ABC.

The improved showings for the government and Mr Turnbull have buoyed federal Coalition MPs as they head into the new parliamentary year.

'The truth is we are in good space,' cabinet minister Christopher Pyne told ABC radio on Monday.  'This is going to be a very bleak year for Bill Shorten, unfortunately the public have found him out,' Mr Pyne said.

The Newspoll showed over 49 per cent of all voters would prefer another Labor leader.

Deputy leader Tanya Plibersek (25 per cent) is preferred leader among all voters closely followed by Anthony Albanese (24 per cent) with Mr Shorten on 22 per cent. Among Labor voters, Mr Shorten led Ms Plibersek (27 per cent) and Mr Albanese (23 per cent) with 37 per cent.

Mr Albanese said he was busy enough in his own portfolio without thinking about challenging for the Labor leadership.  'My challenge is doing the right thing by the Australian people as part of Bill Shorten's team,' he told Sky News. 'My loyalty is always to the cause of Labor and the people we represent.'


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, 2018

Many of the world’s coasts would become unviable if Antarctic ice continues to melt into sea

This is just prophecy.  Despite the slight warming over the last centuruy or so, sea levels in many places have FALLEN

MELTING ice poses one of the greatest threats to the modern world, a top Australian climate change professor has warned.

UNSW Sydney professor Matthew England is one of six keynote speakers at an international conference which kicked off in Sydney yesterday. The international gathering is seeking to address climate change and in particular is intent on looking for solutions to problems in the Southern Hemisphere.

Prof England says up to 15 metres of Antarctica ice could melt into the oceans if the Earth gets hot enough over the next several centuries. “And that’s enough to make many of the world’s coasts unviable if we do nothing to limit atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.”

“Tens of millions of people could be displaced.”

Sydney professor warns of the hidden threat contained in Antarctica if climate change persists.

Sydney professor warns of the hidden threat contained in Antarctica if climate change persists.Source:Supplied

It comes after 2017 research showed about eight islands in the Pacific Ocean have disappeared due to rising sea-levels, with many others being drastically reduced in size as their shorelines are swallowed by creeping oceans.

Past meetings of scientists at the national forum have led to global policies to ban the use of ozone-depleting chemicals, managing commercial activity to protect Southern Ocean ecosystems and have informed international discussions on climate change.

The other five keynote speakers have expertise in subjects ranging from space studies, atmospheric research, coral reef studies, climate science and weather extremes.

The 25th AMOS-ICSHMO 2018 will be the largest ever meeting of meteorologists, oceanographers and climate scientists in the Southern Hemisphere involving 35 countries.

Prof England received the Tinker-Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica for his research, leadership and advocacy in Antarctic science on Monday.

The conference runs until Friday at the University of NSW.


Peter Ridd Raised $99K To Defend Freedom Of Speech In Just 48 Hours

Last week Professor Peter Ridd launched a GoFundMe to fundraise for his legal costs against James Cook University in the Federal Court.

Amazingly, after a public appeal, he has reached the required $95,000 to cover his defence in just 48 hours.

Institute of Public Affairs Executive Director, John Roskam, spoke to Alan Jones on 2GB this morning about Professor Ridd’s case.

In August last year Professor Ridd was interviewed by Alan Jones on Sky News about his chapter in a book Climate Change: The Facts 2017 published by the Institute of Public Affairs.  In his chapter, The Extraordinary Resilience of Great Barrier Reef Corals, and Problems with Policy Science, Professor Ridd wrote:

"Policy science concerning the Great Barrier Reef is almost never checked. Over the next few years, Australian government will spend more than a billion dollars on the Great Barrier Reef; the costs to industry could far exceed this. Yet the keystone research papers have not been subject to proper scrutiny. Instead, there is a total reliance on the demonstrably inadequate peer review process."

Professor Ridd said on Sky News:

"The basic problem is that we can no longer trust the scientific organisations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, even things like the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies – a lot of this is stuff is coming out, the science is coming out not properly checked, tested or replicated and this is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions and the fact is I do not think we can any more…

…I think that most of the scientists who are pushing out this stuff they genuinely believe that there are problems with the reef, I just don’t think they’re very objective about the science they do, I think they’re emotionally attached to their subject and you know you can’t blame them, the reef is a beautiful thing."

JCU claimed that Professor Ridd’s comments denigrated the university and the university directed him to make no future such comments.

Thanks to the contributions of many IPA members and supporters of Professor Ridd, he is able to defend scientific integrity and academic freedom in the Federal Court.

You can now read the Professor Ridd’s full chapter. The extraordinary resilience of Great Barrier Reef corals, and the problems with policy science, here


Cory Bernardi slammed for claiming that having women serve in combat roles in the army is a RISK to national security

Bernardi is of course right.  Women don't have the stregth or stamina of men.  Just look at how the sports are segregated.  So women would wilt in a real battle.  There was plenty of hand-to-hand action in Afghanistan.  Check what Ben Roberts-Smith got his VC for

Women in combat units is not 'in the best interests of Australia's national security' according to controversial Australian Conservatives Senator Cory Bernardi.

He was slammed by his former colleague Western Australian Senator Linda Reynolds in Parliament on Monday.  'I want to say to Senator Bernardi: shame on you,' she said while labelling his comments appalling.

Senator Bernardi spoke against removing an exemption in the Sex Discrimination Act which allows discrimination against women being given combat roles. 

'It's about blurring the lines between political correctness and sound tactics in the name of what I think is social justice,' Senator Bernardi told parliament. He said he had deep concerns about the dangers of women serving in combat roles.

'I don't believe incorporating women into combat units is in the best interests of Australia's national security,' Senator Bernardi said.

Senator Reynolds, who was Australia's first woman brigadier in the Army Reserve, branded the Australian Conservatives' leader a 'complete and utter disgrace'.  'He could not have chosen a more insulting or demeaning topic, not only to all of our women who now serve in uniform, but all those women who want to put their hand up, she said. Senator Reynolds said entry standards had not been reduced as part of a push to get more women in the ADF, including in combat roles.

'For the future of defence forces and the security of our nation we need more women,' she said.

The change is part of a largely non-controversial omnibus bill which makes technical changes to a wide range of civil justice legislation.

Today's first day in Parliament was busy for Senator Bernardi, who is forming a new 'right wing' voting block with Senators David Leyonhjelm and Fraser Anning.


January job ads boast biggest rise in a decade: ANZ

Job advertisements in newspapers and on the internet surged by the most in a decade in January, pointing to still-healthy demand for labour despite months of rapid employment growth.

A monthly survey by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group out on Monday showed total job advertisements jumped 6.2 per cent in January from December, when they fell 2.7 per cent. That was the largest monthly rise since February 2010.

The average total number of ads per week was 177,961, up 13.8 per cent compared to a year ago and the highest since 2011.

"It is encouraging to see a strong recovery in job ads last month after a slight retreat in December," said David Plank, ANZ's head of Australian economics.

"The bounce in January is in line with ongoing strength in business conditions, capacity utilisation and other surveys of employment conditions."

Jobs growth surged past all expectations last year, according to the official measure of employment, nudging the jobless rate down to 5.4 per cent.

Yet wage growth stayed unusually tepid at just 2.0 per cent, dragging on household incomes and consumer spending power.

With inflation also contained, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is considered certain to keep interest rates at an historic low of 1.5 per cent at its first policy meeting of the year on Tuesday.


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, 2018

Great Barrier Reef in 'deep trouble' as climate, other threats mount: official

More lying Greenie propaganda.  Their claims about bleaching in 2015/2016 were not and could not be verified.  When Prof. Ridd pointed that out, what did they do?  Present evidence of verification?  No way.  They sued Peter Ridd for letting the cat out of the bag.  What frauds!  What jerks!  They just love the funding they get for their lies.  They've just got $60 million from the Feds

The Great Barrier Reef is in "deep trouble" as climate change and other threats mount, hindering the ability of corals to rebound from natural events, a senior scientist with the reef's Marine Park Authority said.

Unprecedented back-to-back mass coral bleachings resulted in 29 per cent of the shallow water corals dying in the summer of 2015-16 and a further 20 per cent last summer, David Wachenfeld, director of recovery at the authority, said.

Fortunately, "there's no prediction of substantial mass bleachings at this point" for this summer. Still, February - typically the worst month for heat stress on corals - "is going to be a slightly nervous month" for scientists, Dr Wachenfeld said.

The roughly 50-per cent death rate for the corals excludes damage done last March by Cyclone Debbie, which tore into the northern end of the southern section of the Great Barrier Reef - an area largely spared from the bleaching events.

While corals have a natural ability to bounce back, the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather made recovery harder.

"[E]very time we get impacts on the reef, they are slightly or a lot worse than previous impacts," Dr Wachenfeld told Fairfax Media. "And the question is, as we keep seeing bigger impacts, will the reef continue to be as resilient as it has been in the past?"

How climate change will affect the Great Barrier Reef and other parts of Australia will feature at a week-long gathering of senior scientists in Sydney for the first Australian/New Zealand Climate Forum held in seven years.

Terry Hughes, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and one of the speakers at the event, said scientists were in "uncharted territory" when it came to predicting how fast the reef can recover.

"Normally, after a cyclone, it takes 10-15 years for the fastest-growing species to bounce back," Professor Hughes said.

"Optimistically, 50 per cent mortality after the two recent heatwaves means the glass is still half full," he said. "The survivors ... are tougher than the corals that died - there is about a billion of them, and they are reproducing."

Dr Wachenfeld said tackling other stressors on corals, including from nutrient run-off from farms and the latest big outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish, were important local efforts to help corals rebound.

"That's the way to give the reef the best chance to survive the global threat of climate change," he said.

"The reef is still a dynamic, vibrant, awesome place," Dr Wachenfeld said. "But it's in deep trouble, and at the moment, it's not heading in the right direction."


Greens are sexual harassers too

And try a coverup too.  Greenie woman below is pissed

A young Greens volunteer was sexually assaulted in Canberra. That’s scandalous enough, but the party’s response to the assault has added to the injury. Former Greens candidate Christina Hobbs weighs into the debate, in response to a staggering OpEd by party founder Bob Brown.

This week I’ve realised that in the aftermath of #MeToo, disappointment packs a particular punch when it is your hero who lands the blow.

Bob Brown has been an inspiration for much of my life. It is our common shared values of social justice and environmental sustainability that led me into a career with the United Nations. It is his legacy that inspired my first non-violent civil disobedience to protect the Liverpool Plains. I joined the party he founded, and in 2016 I represented the Greens as the ACT Senate Candidate.

It is with huge sadness therefore to see how Bob has chosen to publicly respond to a story written by the survivor of a sexual assault, seeking to use his clout to discredit and diminish her voice, and failing to recognise the immense courage it took her to speak out.

In an article printed last month in The Saturday Paper, a woman described how she was sexually assaulted by a senior Greens volunteer after leaving an election night party in 2016.

She believes the Greens failed her, and so do I. It should be a moment for radical introspection. Yet Bob began his response to the paper by referring to her as an “anonymous correspondent”, and described her criticism of the Greens as “anonymous pillorying”.

Bob may not know her identity, but I do. She was one of a number of young women who became the glue of the campaign. She is a hard working, smart, talented and effective campaigner for our movement, passionate about progressive values.

The author is not an anonymous agitator hiding in the shadows; she is a brave survivor using an alias so that this incident is not the first story that future employers, future partners or even future children read about when her name is searched online.

Bob’s letter descends into classic victim blaming, stating that she should have “immediately reported” this assault to the police, but “inexplicably” did not do so for many months. I am shocked that Bob does not recognise how difficult it is for survivors to report what has happened to them. Instead of saluting her courage and bravery in seeking justice, he has chosen to blame and criticise her.

This woman did go to the authorities, and it appears the police have decided not to press charges. Bob appears shocked by this, even though you would imagine that the former leader of Australia’s most progressive political party would know how hard it is to prosecute this type of case.

In his response, he says the police “should re-open their investigation of what reads as an open-and-shut case of rape”.

This kind of comment appears to be an attempt to shift the focus to the police as opposed to scrutinising the failures of the party itself to prevent and respond to such an incident. He says the Greens “could not and should not have been expected to substitute for the criminal justice system handling such a heinous crime”.

The young woman in question is not asking the ACT Greens to “substitute” the justice system, and it is absurd to suggest this. She does however believe that the response of the party to her earlier reports of harassment, prior to the assault, fell on deaf ears. She considers that the assault was not properly followed up when she did report it, and that the Greens haven’t fully acknowledged failings or offered her a genuine apology.

In part, this is because she disputes ACT Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury’s current public account of how the matter was handled.

Volunteers are generally entitled to the same protections as employees under workplace health and safety, and anti-discrimination laws. There are also laws that mean that, in certain situations, organisations can be held legally responsible for the actions of volunteers.

If the ACT Greens had stronger processes and guidelines in place before the election began; if senior officials and staff had been trained on strategies for creating safe workspaces; and if those in oversight positions had been empowered to properly monitor the campaign, this assault may never have happened.

Looking back, I also should have done more to raise issues relating to culture in the early months of the campaign.

If nothing is clearer it is that progressive political ideology is not enough to protect women. Rape is the consequence of unbalanced power. If checks and balances to power are not in place to support all employees or volunteers to thrive, then the #MeToo movement has shown us that sexual assault and harassment will prevail no matter what sector of our society.

As a young woman, our volunteer has never held the power in this story, and following Bob’s letter in The Saturday Paper, even less so.

Publicly detailing a sexual assault is incredibly brave. As a powerful man in the progressive movement, Bob could have used his influence to listen, to understand, and to help mediate. This could be a powerful moment for the Greens to say, “Yes #UsToo”.

Instead, Bob has used his clout to back the words of another powerful man – a Greens Minister who can hold his own.

There is no shame in admitting that we can and must do better. Our membership demands it. The ACT Greens, including Minister Rattenbury, have stated that they are already working on it.

Will our party go far enough in order for this young woman to gain closure? I don’t know. But if progressive organisations cannot be leaders in protecting and promoting women in the workplace, then we will lose authority to advocate on fundamental issues of workers rights, gender equality and justice.

The elected leaders of the Australian Greens should immediately distance themselves from Bob’s remarks. The nation’s most progressive political party must ensure such an incident never occurs again.


African vibrancy in Adelaide too

A mother has told how she woke up to find 'a naked African man climbing through the front window' of her Adelaide house.

She also said he trashed their house before the family kept him inside and called police.

A 22-year-old male has been detained by police after allegedly breaking into the Mile End property last night.

Just after 11.50pm police were called to a property in Henley Street after reports of a break in. Patrols quickly went to the scene and detained the suspect. 

None of the victims were injured, but SA Police told Daily Mail Australia the 22-year-old man was taken to hospital after injuring himself during the break in.

The alleged intruder is also undergoing a mental health assessment, but will be face numerous charges once he is released back into police custody.



New Liberal Party senator Jim Molan posts inflammatory anti-Muslim videos

Good that there is someone who is not afraid to mention Muslim hostility

New Liberal senator Jim Molan has used social media to share inflammatory anti-Muslim videos from Britain First - the same racist hate group Donald Trump was widely condemned for promoting.

The conservative hardliner has also shared articles about banning Muslim migration to Australia, as well as posts highlighting Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's poor polling and advocating for the Coalition to "lurch to the right".

But it is his promotion of Britain First likely to prove most controversial. The US president sparked a global uproar when he shared three video tweets by Britain First's deputy leader Jayda Fransen last year. British Prime Minister Theresa May quickly said the president's actions were "wrong".

Those videos purported to show a group of Muslims pushing a boy off a roof, a Muslim destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary, and a Muslim violently beating a Dutch boy on crutches. At least one of the videos was later exposed as a fake.

Senator Molan - a retired major general sworn in to the Senate on Monday to replace former Nationals deputy Fiona Nash - shared two of Britain First's videos on his personal Facebook page in March last year.

But a spokesman for Senator Molan defended the posts. "The senator often posts material in order to generate debate. The sharing of any post does not indicate endorsement," he said.

The first video - which he shared on March 12 - is titled "Muslim Thugs Beat Girl in Holland" and shows a man punching, knocking down and then kicking a girl in a street. He posted the video - which claims the violence was motivated by the woman's clothes - without comment but many others weighed in on the link.

"Charming. And we're meant to be tolerant, accepting and welcoming of this 'breed' in our country," says one of his Facebook connections.

"Unbelievable," Senator Molan responds.

Other Facebook users refer to the men as "disgusting apes", "disgusting thugs" and "filth".

"Deport them. Send them back to there (sic) shitty country's (sic)," says one.

One commenter however points out the video is likely fake and urges Senator Molan to take it down. There is nothing in the video to suggest the attackers are Muslim or the violence was in anyway motivated by race or religion. Dutch news sites have reported the altercation was actually about a scooter collision.

Two weeks later, Senator Molan shared another of Britain First's videos, this one purportedly showing Muslim men attacking French police cars in a "Muslim no-go area". Again the video has no context or verification.

Senator Molan again does not comment on the video but his Facebook connections contribute comments like "Machine gun them down, take back the streets" and "Drown the rounds in pigs blood before using them though, that'll piss em off".

Mr Trump ultimately apologised for sharing the group's material. He said he knew nothing about who the group was when he retweeted them.

“If you are telling me they’re horrible people, horrible, racist people, I would certainly apologise if you’d like me to do that," he recently told a British journalist.

Britain First is a far-right political and vigilante organisation, renowned for filming themselves harrassing Muslims and marching through multicultural neighbourhoods brandishing white Christian crosses.

Drawing on white nationalism, the group was founded by an evangelical Protestant minister and also stages "Christian patrols" in armoured vehicles and "mosque invasions", where they confront imams and worshippers.

The group has nearly two million Facebook followers. Ms Fransen is facing charges for using "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour" during a speech in August in Northern Ireland, and has previously been fined for harassment. The group's leader, Paul Golding, has also been arrested numerous times.

The group has also been indirectly linked to more serious violence. A man who drove into pedestrians outside a mosque in London last June - injuring eight people - had had contact with Britain First and other far-right groups.

Labor frontbencher Doug Cameron said Senator Molan's Facebook activity raised questions for the Liberal Party.  “Fresh from sharing racist hate videos on Facebook, he’s now got a scored a position in the Liberals’ Senate team,” Senator Cameron 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, 2018

Will Anzac Day be used to honour Aborigines killed by white settlers? Government survey asks if they should be commemorated alongside diggers in April 25 marches

What a lot of rot.  I can imagine what the old diggers will say about this

The Victorian government has sparked controversy after surveying citizens about their thoughts on honouring Indigenous people killed by early white settlers on Anzac Day.

Premier Daniel Andrews' department canvassed opinions to see if Aboriginals who died fighting British colonisation should also be recognised alongside Australian and New Zealand soldiers who lost their lives in Gallipoli in World War I, the Herald Sun reports.

The carefully-worded survey itself questioned if: 'The period between 1790 and 1930 where Aboriginal Australians defended their lands, kinships and customs from European invasion/settlement should be reflected in the Anzac Day ceremony.'

One third of the 504 Victorian participants showed strong support for the statement, while 19 per cent strong disagreed and half expressed no opinion.

A follow-up report uncovered by the publication revealed a large portion of respondents were 'reluctant to recognise the frontier conflicts as part of Anzac or Remembrance Days, as they felt this would politicise the day', while some said they did not want to feel 'guilty' on a day they want to feel pride.

The RSL and the Institute of Public Affairs have since slammed the survey and have spoken out in opposition of honouring Indigenous death on Anzac Day.

'Around Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, I think because of their particular significance and the days that they represent, it's probably not appropriate ' RSL state president Dr Rob Webster said.

Evan Mulholland, of the Institute of Public Affairs, described the survey as nothing more than another 'left wing ideology' attempting to tear down another national holiday.

Despite one-third of survey participants expressing support for Indigenous recognition on Anzac Day, the state government confirmed it had no plans to change the existing program of commemorative events on April 25.

The report also noted the survey results were indicative of a general 'goodwill' towards Indigenous people and their experiences.

While participants were reluctant to explicitly honour Aborigines killed by white settlers, some expressed support for adding extra activities in the afternoon on Anzac Day after the sacred formalities are over.

It follows fierce dissension surrounding Australia Day and the 'Invasion Day' campaign to change the date from January 26.

Australians were divided in celebration and mourning on the day as activists flooded streets across the country in protest of the public holiday.

Yarra City Council, a branch of the Victorian government, also took the extraordinary step of forbidding staff from referring to the day as 'Australia Day' in a bid to avoid causing offence to the general public.

The 1000 employees - which included childcare workers, librarians and even gardeners - were instructed to call it 'January 26 public holiday' when with customers and clients.


UN does not like Australia's climate policies

Oh, Goodie!

Australia's climate policies are "a decade behind" other rich nations, according to a United Nations investment official, leaving the country exposed to risks of a so-called "green paradox" when carbon emissions will have to make a precipitous retreat.

A phasing out of coal and other fossil fuels is the centrepiece of four recommended investor goals to be unveiled by the UN's Principles for Responsible Investment unit in New York on Thursday morning, eastern Australian time.

Fiona Reynolds, UNPRI's managing director, said investors needed to take the lead in forcing companies to reveal their exposure to fossil fuels and to step up pressure on governments to meet their Paris climate commitments.

"Investors have a huge, huge role to play on climate change," Ms Reynolds told Fairfax Media, citing their ability to influence the companies they own, including steering them away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. "This a really urgent issue."

While countries in Europe of all political persuasions were tackling the need to switch to a low-carbon future, the debate in Australia 10 years behind, she said.

"Australia keeps battling about the downsides and not the opportunities that could be available to the country in this transition," Ms Reynolds said.

The Abbott government's scrapping of a carbon price in 2014 - and the kryptonite reaction to another policy since - went against the global trend.

Some 40 nations had introduced some form of carbon pricing and major international investors were generally supportive, Ms Reynolds said.  "They say, 'As investors, we work in market-based systems. We need carbon pricing,'" she said. "It's a high priority."

Josh Frydenberg, the environment and energy minister, said the Turnbull government won't support a carbon price: "The last time Australia had a price on carbon it was Labor's $15.4 billion carbon tax which was a disaster that sent electricity prices up and made us less competitive."

Pricing carbon, though, received support this week from European researchers who say putting a price on emissions would be a key method to avoid a "green paradox" that had implications for nations such as Australia.
'Nightmare scenario'

In a paper published in Nature Climate Change, the researchers looked at the possibility that fossil-fuel owners, in anticipation of future carbon curbs, would accelerate extraction rates to maximise profits - contrary to the object of those restrictions.

"Strong and timely signals" from climate policy-makers are necessary to counter the incentive to expand output of fossil fuels in the short term, they said.

Nico Bauer, a modeller from Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the paper's lead author, said Australia faced the "grass paradox" because of its fossil fuel wealth, including about 13 per cent of the world's coal reserves.

A "serious carbon price" would affect use of coal in Australia and promote faster take-up of renewable energy, Dr Bauer said.

Australia faced being "a victim of a blame game" if the Paris goal of a 2-degree warming limit is exceeded, a prospect that should serve to motivate climate action, he said, adding "the carbon price would be economically the most efficient instrument".

A delay also increased the likelihood of a "carbon bubble" emerging that would end up being popped rather than deflated if governments resorted to a "climate policy shock" to get emissions down to the required rate of reduction.

"This, however, is a kind of a nightmare scenario for financial regulators, because they figure out a financial crisis scenario and they fear something like a fossil-fuelled Lehman Brothers event," Dr Bauer said.


Brave mother-of-three battling terminal cancer chases thieves out of her home and down the street after waking up to find them 'stealing her car keys' as Melbourne's African gang crime wave continues

A terminally ill woman chased off three African thugs who allegedly invaded her home and attempted to steal her car in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Kellie McElligott, 48 - who has ovarian cancer - woke to find the alleged intruders of African appearance in her Ascot Vale home, in Melbourne's inner north-west, about 4.30am.

The mother-of-three said the group were after her beloved Mercedes, which her husband Gerard McElligott gifted her only three months ago, 9 News reported.

'I'm suffering from cancer, he decided to buy me one because I wanted it all my life,' Mrs McElligott said.

'I’ve been through chemotherapy and I've opted not to go through anymore now. So there's no more really that they can do.'

Mrs McElligott said she yelled at the group and called her husband who helped her chase them out of the house and down the street.

She added: 'It's just amazing when adrenaline kicks in, what you can do.'

The alleged offenders hopped into a getaway vehicle with a set of stolen keys in hand, police said.   

Mr McElligott said the family has 'been through enough' and he was 'annoyed' by the alleged attempted theft.

About an hour later, another aggravated burglary took place at a home in nearby Essendon, police said.

The same group allegedly entered the home stealing phones, purses and the keys to a Holden Commodore.

The car was then reversed out of the driveway and driven 10 kilometres to an address in Collingwood.

Police tracked the group by tracing an iPhone that was allegedly stolen from the Essendon home.  

A 17-year-old and 15-year-old were arrested and charged with home invasion and theft of a motor vehicle.

Both were remanded in custody to appear in children’s court at a later date.  


Doing it wrong: Peter Van Onselen, free speech and Australia Day

By Bernard Gaynor

I’m surprised that the climate change lot haven’t kidnapped Peter Van Onselen.

He’s so chock full of that warm inner glow of moral righteousness, hypocrisy and smarmy new age smugness that I’m sure that if it could be bottled it would power several smaller countries (or even a larger one at that) without burning any fossil fuels at all.

Unfortunately, it would also come with a toxic dose of hot air. So, unfortunately, the effect on global warming would probably be negligible.

Anyway, in the lead up to Australia Day, he penned this self-righteous statement in The Australian:

"Free speech is important, so much so that opponents of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act want it amended to allow humiliating and intimidating rhetoric to prevail. But many of those same free speech warriors now want to shut down debate about whether Australia Day should move to another date.

That can’t be right, can it? Hairy-chested defenders of free speech turning into shrinking violets offended by heady debate over a change of date for our national day? Is the idea really so controversial that even indigenous advocates for change shouldn’t dare speak of such things?"

Pete loves nothing more than sticking the boot into the anti-18c crowd.

And over Australia Day he thought he found a chink in their armour. Apparently, it was a debate ‘free speech’ warriors were trying to ‘shut down’.

I’ve seen no evidence of that. But I’m going to assume that what Peter means by this is that some of us have said that we don’t want the date shifted. As a result, it appears that PVO has concluded that we’re ‘stifling’ debate.

So he jumped in headfirst with his ridiculous diatribe.

But if Peter was really interested in the debate over free speech and if he was really interested in a debate about Australia Day and the broader issues relating to those with Aboriginal ancestry, rather than just searching for his next dose of feel good moral vanity, he might stop for a second to consider:

* You can burn the Australian flag and 18c won’t do anything.

* You can burn an Aboriginal flag and 18c will.

Indeed, you don’t even have to burn an Aboriginal flag at all to cop the wrath of 18c.

All you have to do is say something that is deemed offensive by an Aboriginal activist. Van Onselen would do well to remember the wrath faced by his fellow contributor to The Australian, Bill Leak.

Further, burning flags is not really the best example to use. Peter might get the idea that I’m somehow building a shadowy army equipped with lighters and ladders.

For the record, I’m not. Here’s a better scenario. If you decline an invitation to attend the workplace Australia Day function, 18c and associated laws will protect you from discriminatory ‘retribution’.

But if you refuse to take part in the now obligatory ‘Welcome to Country’ ceremony, these same laws will allow you to be sacked, denigrated and dragged before a Commissar of the Thought Police to answer charges of racial hatred.

So in these circumstances it’s a risky business to enter into the debate over Australia Day unless you have pale black skin.

Oops. Did I just say that?

The ‘debate’ that Peter’s so lovingly jeered is not a free debate at all, precisely because of laws like 18c.

On one side, there are those who are calling for this nation to be burnt to the ground. This is not merely rhetoric. It actually incites violent and destructive behaviour, promoting vandalism of our nation’s heritage.

And on the other side are those who seek to preserve our nation’s history and recognise the achievements of the past (which, I might add, include the achievements of Aboriginal people).

But it is hard for the latter side to properly argue their case. They cannot really speak freely about the benefits of settlement for Aboriginal people because it implies that there were limitations within Aboriginal society prior to settlement.

These implications, whether spoken or unspoken, are exactly the kind of ideas that laws like 18c silences.

And they are increasingly forced to participate in made up ceremonies celebrating the ‘repressed’ culture and spirituality of Aboriginal activists, even if they don’t want to.

If you can’t even make a comment about the segregationary nature of Aboriginal-only computer rooms without being dragged before a court, it’s gonna be kind of risky to even speak about flaws in Aboriginal culture or the problems facing some dysfunctional communities today.

These are the issues that 18c opponents want to discuss openly and freely. They are part of the backdrop of the ‘debate’ around Australia Day and this nation’s past, present and future.

We certainly are not interested in vile abuse. And 18c has not stopped that anyway. Indeed, because of the inherently hypocritical nature of these laws, they actually protect racist speech.

A court ruling has determined that 18c is not designed to silence vile statements made against ‘white people’.

That’s why the face of the ‘burn Australia to the ground’ mob can say this:

"Watching @GetOutMovie in the cinema with a bunch of white people. Fuck this. Get me out of here"

And that’s why the tribe she fronts can say this:

"Fuck Australia. Fuck your land theft, your child stealing and your state sanctioned murders. Fuck your governments, your military and your police"

Because 18c is designed to protect racist speech from one mob and to prosecute reasoned arguments from the other, it is rubbish for grand-standing new age moralists to claim that proponents of free-speech are trying to shut down debate over Australia Day.

Because of 18c there has been no real debate at all. It’s time Peter Van Onselen acknowledged that.


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

4 February, 2018

Rising threat of the activist Left

As memories of Communism fade, socialism is once again seen as attractive

As Australia returns to work and the parliamentary year begins, there are signs our economy is benefiting from the Trump tax and business agenda. The Coalition’s political fortunes are also improving or, to be more precise, there are indications that Labor, after a complacent 18 months, is beginning to lose ­momentum.

While the next few months will determine whether this is the case, at a bigger level, our politics is likely to continue to be characterised by uncertainty, instability and consequent policy inconsistency. This is because the factors driving political ferment here and internationally in recent years have deepened and solidified rather than receded.

Demographic, ideological and personal economic considerations are pulling Western societies ­internally in different directions, with an impact on political parties and national leadership. The ­capacity to establish majority support, let alone a national consensus, on complex issues is becoming more difficult. Divisions within ­societies on priorities and the best approach to resolving them are ­becoming sharper.

Comparing broad trends in personal economic circumstances between countries is also becoming less useful to understanding political developments.

Rather, the bigger economies seem to be dividing into two or more strands, each of which has more in common with those in a similar situation in other countries than with each other.

In most major economies, there is now a large group, in some cases a majority, of people who, despite the generic strength of their economy, find they are treading water or slipping behind. There are multiple examples around the world of this group rebelling at the ballot box. Finding practical and effective policies that can quickly assist in improving this situation is now a big challenge for political parties, particularly those of the centre-right. It is central to reducing the political ferment that has driven politics in recent years.

In Australia, as this newspaper’s economics editor David Uren recently wrote: “For 15 years following the election of the Howard government in 1996, living standards rose by a steady 2.5 per cent a year ... by 2011, the average household had a living standard more than 40 per cent higher than in the mid-1990s.”

However, he went on to report that, more recently, “Australians have endured their longest period of falling living standards in more than a quarter of a century as growth in costs outstripped earnings for the fifth consecutive quarter. After adjusting for living costs, interest and taxes, average earnings in the three months to ­September (2017) were 0.7 per cent lower than in the same period of 2011.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and the Coalition’s senior leadership, concerned about these trends, are foreshadowing action in coming months, including in the budget, to improve the spread of growth. The effectiveness of this response will be critical to the ­Coalition’s political fortunes.

Labor seems divided and ­unsure on how to respond. There is a minority of pragmatists in the party who understand Australia’s personal and corporate tax rates cannot continue to be uncompetitive internationally. But Labor is being pulled to the left and the ­indications are a future Labor ­government will be significantly more left-wing than the Hawke-Keating and the Rudd-Gillard ­governments.

This echoes the reasons driving similar moves to the fringe in mainstream left parties across the democratic world: the traditional moderating right-wing strand within left parties is disappearing.

These parties are now dominated by the progressive, activist left. This is the culmination of more than 50 years of growth in extra-party political activity on the left in all Western countries.

Since the Vietnam War (at least) a structure and framework has grown outside the major centre-left party in most democracies. This moved from anti-Vietnam War activism to a general anti-Americanism and nuclear disarmament, environmentalism and much more. Fifty years on, this is a massive, co-ordinated and well-resourced network of activists, think tanks, and specialist and innovative campaigners who are now moving directly into large political parties. This group is the base behind the successes of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders. They have recruited this activist campaign architecture into their parties, with consequent results for policy, candidate selection and so forth. It is the reason for their ­internal successes.

This shift is now taking place in the ALP. Sally McManus, I suspect, now better represents the true heart of the Labor Party than Bill Shorten. Although employed by the traditional union base of the party, McManus is an archetypical progressive left activist with a full, clear and very aggressive agenda to move Labor to the left.

While Labor must contest this space with the Greens (and the revival of the Labor left represents a long-term threat to the Greens) the practical consequences for policy are that issues and debates that were long thought dormant or discredited are re-emerging. This is preventing the Opposition Leader from developing clear policy alternatives that resonate with mainstream Australia. In fact, it threatens to shackle him with the most left-wing manifesto since Gough Whitlam. His ­capacity to contain this push is a prerequisite to him winning the next election.

The contest over Labor’s policy direction is the reason Shorten’s speech to the National Press Club this week was long on diagnosis and short on a prescription.

He correctly said: “We need to demonstrate that politics has the capacity to make the economy work for working people” and that too many parents feel like “they’re handing on to their kids a lesser deal than the one they inherited from their parents”.

But the speech did not contain a single policy that would in any way help address the trends he mentions. Instead, it foreshadowed a further, more radical move to the left, particularly in industrial relations, which will restrict growth, embolden the most radical unions and further erode our international competitiveness.

Should Shorten fail to contain this push, the losers from an extended experiment in old left ideology will inevitably be the workers and less well off he claims to represent.

The growth of the activist left is driving another, deeper phenomenon in Western societies. In fact, it is challenging the very concept, at the political level, of societies.

Where once a large section of the community agreed on the basic structures and values of their country, divisions on fundamental issues are increasing and resulting in sharper political divisions. We are increasingly witnessing this in Australia.

Strategically, this trend is influencing how political leaders campaign to win. Do they attempt to put together a broad coalition across as wide a section of the community as possible, or do they, in effect, ride the bucking bronco of their base, deliberately drawing deep distinctions with their opponents? While Donald Trump and Corbyn are the two most prominent examples of the latter trend, they are certainly not alone.

The most interesting piece of research I came across last year was a finding by the Pew Research Centre looking at the trend in the views of major party supporters in the US.

Pew found: “Americans are less likely than in the past to hold a mix of conservative and liberal views … reflecting growing partisan gaps, Republicans and Democrats are now further apart ideologically than at any point in more than two decades. The median Republican is now more conservative than 97 per cent of Democrats and the median Democrat is more liberal than 95 per cent of Republicans. By comparison, in 1994 just 64 per cent of Republicans were to the right of the median Democrat while 70 per cent of Democrats were to the left of the median ­Republicans.”

Americans are withdrawing into like-minded tribes at the cost of a clear national consensus on many previously undisputed issues. It is no surprise congress is divided and frequently log-jammed on matters that in the past were negotiated to resolution. There is little published research on this in Australia but I have no doubt the broad trend is similar.

There are many reasons, including the rise of social media, for this development. But the growth of an ideological and well-organised activist force on the left is the major reason socialism (as an example) is now seen as a viable and fully realistic political option among younger Americans. The longer-term implications for policy are potentially dramatic.

Exacerbating these developments is the natural cycle of life.

The generation formed by the outlook and values of the 20th century is passing. The factors that formed them, including religious belief and the postwar period of broad economic growth, is less influential. Recent polling in Britain on attitudes towards certain social forces reflects this. Fewer than 40 per cent of people in Britain under 55 now believe capitalism is a force for good and 70 per cent of people under 45 see “the green movement” as a force for good.

These trends have implications far beyond political parties. They affect every organisation or individual seeking to influence policy and society. They reinforce the importance of influencing opinion over the long term, not just reacting to individual events.

They have particular consequences for the way in which business seeks to engage in public debate. Businesses wanting to mould policy in this complex and conflicted environment need to be as sophisticated in their approach as their opponents and willing to move into areas outside their typical sphere of expertise.

As ideology re-emerges as a driver of policy, particularly on the left but also increasingly in parts of the right, business must be prepared to contest arguments and doctrines that threaten their long-term viability.

This cannot be done in a single campaign or with just a short-term argument. It requires intellectual as well as broader community engagement. It needs arguments that are clearly in the national, rather than narrow, immediate sectional interests.

On some matters, compromise will not be achievable and proposals will need to be resisted. This will require business to build coalitions of support, usually involving sections of the community they do not typically engage with.

The capacity of the left to establish its narrative as facts on matters such as the spread of wealth and the share of taxation must also be addressed and, to the extent there is any basis to their claims, policies should be introduced to help address the ­issues they raise. This will ensure the credibility of anti-business claims is confronted and destroyed.

It is necessary for the re-emergence of broad support for a business agenda.

The activist left is not quite yet the new establishment. But it is strategic, well-resourced and ruthless. It is building for the long-term with clear goals and objectives. All those with an interest in a prosperous economy as a basis for a broad middle class to underpin a stable society need to be not just concerned but active and engaged.


Private schools becoming slightly more exclusive

Part of this would have to be an effect of Australia's high level of immigration, with most immigrants being poor.  Such immigrants would rarely be willing or able to spend money on private education

Public schools are being squeezed by surging enrolments at the same time as the number of government schools around Australia declines.

An annual stocktake of the nation's schools, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Friday, shows parents continuing a shift away from private education that first started three years ago.

Government schools' share of student enrolments rose to 65.6 per cent in 2017, up from 65.4 per cent in 2016 and 65.1 per cent in 2014. ABS figures previously released to Fairfax Media show much of that increase has been driven by wealthy parents choosing public schools.

But at the same time, the number of public schools in Australia has fallen. There were 58 fewer government schools in 2017 than in 2012 - in that period, NSW lost 18 public schools, Victoria 10 and Queensland five. In the same period, the number of students enrolled at NSW public schools rose by 70,000, and in Victoria by 85,000.

State governments have been accommodating the rising numbers of public school students in demountable classrooms, with the use of demountables forecast to double in NSW and Education Minister Rob Stokes declaring the makeshift classrooms are "here to stay".

ABS spokesman Stephen Collett noted the preference shift toward public schools was "small", but "after 22 years of the ship going one way, to see it at least steady is an interesting phenomenon".

He said the public school squeeze was "largely about where school age children are living", such as new suburbs on city fringes, and "in a few years when the kids get older, that pressure will ease".

Neither have surging enrolments resulted in a blowout in student-to-teacher ratios, with the ABS data showing the rates basically unchanged in government schools over the past five years.

And there were signs of the squeeze easing in 2017, with the number of public schools nationwide ticking up. That was largely down to Western Australia, which added five schools, and Victoria which added three.

Overall, there were 30 more schools nationwide in 2017, mostly in the non-government system.  Every state and territory except the ACT also added more teaching staff in 2017.


Staff at a Melbourne council were BANNED from saying 'Australia Day' and told to call it the 'January 26 public holiday' - but the 1000 employees still enjoyed the day off instead of a planned boycott

Staff at Melbourne's Yarra City Council were given extraordinary orders not to utter the words 'Australia Day' when discussing the public holiday.

The 1000 employees - which included childcare workers, librarians and even gardeners - were forbidden to refer to it as 'Australia Day' and instead instructed to call it 'January 26 public holiday' when with customers and clients.

A bulletin posted by council chief executive Vijaya Vaidyanath gave explicit instructions to staff about how they should describe the controversial public holiday, the Herald Sun reports.

'Council made a resolution to change the way we mark our national day on January 26,' the bulletin read. 'This includes no longer referring to this date as Australia Day.'

'All staff are asked to use the words 'January 26 public holiday' rather than 'Australia Day public holiday' when notifying clients or customers of the opening hours of their service or centre on this day.'

The decision was slammed by Liberal MP Tim Smith who called council members hypocritical for choosing to enjoy the day off despite advocating so hard against Australia Day.

'This is utter hypocrisy from Yarra council, who spent so much time objecting to Australia Day only to take the day off,' Mr Smith said.

'Their thought police shouldn't be going around telling people what to think about our national day.'

The Yarra City Council offices were indeed closed on Australia Day, a revelation made public after 3AW Drive host Tom Elliott paid a visit to the building.

Mr Elliott knocked on the office door repeatedly, calling out and even attempting to ring an old door bell.

He tried to call the council but got an automated message explaining the council was closed.

Matthew Guy, the Leader of the Liberal Party in Victoria, announced he would move to sack all councils which threatened the national holiday if the Coalition is elected in November.

'It's time to stop bagging it. Australia Day is our national holiday and it's an opportunity for us all to come together,' Mr Guy said.

'That's why, if I'm elected, the state government will be able to sack councils that try to divide Australians by banning Australia Day.'

In August, the council voted unanimously to stop celebrating Australia Day on January 26 - with the controversial stand aimed at reducing 'distress' it causes to Indigenous people.

In its place Yarra City's nine councillors - of which four are Greens members - instead chose to hold a number of Indigenous-themed events, with the decision made in the wake of a recent survey of just 300 people which 'showed strong support' locally


Greenies trying to gag honest scientidst

Marine scientist commented on their "unvalidated" public pronouncements about catastrophic damage to the Great Barrier Reef.  The reef is now back to normal so he was proved right.

Marine scientist Peter Ridd has refused to accept a formal censure and gag order from James Cook University and expanded his Federal Court action to defend academic freedoms and free speech.

A revised statement of claim alleges JCU trawled through private email conversations in a bid to bolster its misconduct case against him.

JCU had found Professor Ridd guilty of “serious misconduct”, ­including denigrating a co-worker, denigrating the university, breaching confidentiality, publishing information outside of the university and disregarding his obligations as an employee. [i.e. telling the truth]

Professor Ridd has asked the Federal Court to overturn the university ruling and confirm his right not to be silenced.

In the revised statement of claim, Professor Ridd has dropped an earlier claim of conflict of interest against JCU vice-chancellor Sandra Harding, but has alleged other senior staff had been biased and had not acted fairly or in good faith.

Professor Ridd’s Federal Court action is seen as a test of academic freedom and free speech, and has been supported by the Institute of Public Affairs.

Professor Ridd said he would seek public donations to continue the fight against JCU. He first took court action in November in a bid to stop a JCU disciplinary process against him for comments he made to Sky News presenter Alan Jones.

The university said by expressing concerns about the quality of some reef science, Professor Ridd had not acted in a “collegiate” manner.

Professor Ridd told Sky News: “The basic problem is that we can no longer trust the scientific ­organisations like the Australian Institute of Marine Science, even things like the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.”

He said a lot of the science was not properly checked, tested or replicated and “this is a great shame because we really need to be able to trust our scientific institutions and the fact is I do not think we can any more”.

A JCU spokesman said the university’s lawyers had invited Professor Ridd to discontinue his proceedings. “(He) has amended his proceedings. His decision to do so is a matter for him,” he said.

“The university intends to vigorously defend those proceedings (but) as these matters are before the courts, JCU will not comment further.”

Lawyers for JCU wrote to Professor Ridd on November 28 confirming the university had determined he had engaged in “serious misconduct” and issued him with a “final censure”.

“The disciplinary process and all information gathered and recorded in relation to the disciplinary process (including the allegations, letters, your client’s responses and the outcome of the disciplinary process) is confidential pursuant to clause 54.1.5 of the university enterprise agreement,” the JCU lawyers said.

Professor Ridd has subsequently published his concerns about the quality of reef science in a peer-reviewed journal. He said he was determined to speak freely about his treatment “even though it will go against explicit directions by JCU not to”.

“This is as much a case about free speech as it is about quality of science,” he said.


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

2 February, 2018

Armaments madness

In response to an article in todays Australian about a government push to increase our arms exports, a reader sent in the following comment:

"It's pretty ironic that a government determined to disarm its own population wants to manufacture and export guns while actively destabilising its own society with tens of thousands of unassimilable immigrants steeped in a culture of violence.

We then compound the problem by ignoring their violent crimes while handing them huge welfare payments which enable them to sit indolently in ghettos, supporting Jihad and breeding at 5 times the national average.

Where's the incentive to make an effort to learn English, take up a trade, and pull their economic weight? Their only incentive is to vote for more welfare, which is why the extreme Left virtue signallers imported them here in the first place. Make no mistake - they were invited by the ALP and the Greens, with piles of taxpayer funded sugar on the table.

We have been groomed by our craven "leaders" to believe that Islamic terrorism, shootings, bombings and knifings in the street are now "normal". Well, they aren't!

We are daily lied to by our politicians and their poodle police, that there are no feral black, yes, I said Black, gangs roaming our suburbs while a fearful population cower in their own homes as these imported ferals destroy our morale, our confidence, our cohesion and our infrastructure.

If an Australian were to walk down the street today with a rifle slung over his shoulder, as used to be the case not so long ago but is now ILLEGAL, the public have been groomed to call the police in a panic, instead of seeing it as a reassuring sight that this country is safe, secure and confident.

This insidious fear has been inculcated by the leftist PC attacks on our self confidence. We now live in a manufactured state of fear while the Left exploit it for votes.

If you're allowed a gun at all, it must be concealed at all times, locked away dismantled in case the owner might be able to access it for the defence of his family, and of course the MSM continues to demonise legitimate gun ownership as something sinister, evil and dangerous when in fact Australia's legal gun owners are the very pillars of our society - tax paying, traditional, and conservative. The antithesis of the inner city latte set of inner city Australia.

We should be teaching our children to have a moral compass, to achieve and to compete, to speak their minds freely, to respect the views of others, to learn to shoot, to stand up for traditional Western values, and for themselves. That's what gave the British the strength to rule the world, made the Americans independent, and allowed the Western nations - at great cost - to be free.

Instead we have been made fearful, timid and cowardly, fed the lie that only the very politicians who caused our craven PC condition are now the only ones who can "save" us, while their neutered police are barred from policing and our leftist infiltrated legal system puts violent criminals, rapists and murderers like Monis, and Adrian Ernest Bailey and uncountable others, loose to prey on our civilians.

Wake up Australia! The progressives - Liberals, ALP and Greens - are leading Australian society and its values to destruction.

Charles D Plorable


The feminist war on attractive women heats up

Feminist shrieks describing as sexism the employment of attractive women is getting results

The Australian Grand Prix will be the first Formula One event without grid girls after the governing body decided they weren't 'appropriate or relevant' to the competition.

Grid girls have been a mainstay of each event for years, holding the driver's names and numbers above their car prior to races, lining the hallway to the podium for the successful racers and joining the winners on stage for the post-race festivities.

Jane Stewart, the managing director of Promotional Models Australia and former grid girl, told Daily Mail Australia F1 is the more 'glamorous' sector for models and she is 'concerned' for the ramifications the decision could have on the industry.

'The grid girls are the complete package when it comes to Formula One, it is very different to Superbikes or ring card girls, the way they're dressed is conservative,' Ms Stewart said.

'It is going to affect the sport, and they also need to take into account from a models perspective these girls choose to do the job.' 

Grid girls have been a mainstay of each event for years, holding the driver's names and numbers above their car prior to races, lining the hallway to the podium for the successful racers and joining the winners on stage for the post-race festivities

F1 decided grid girls have no place in its future, releasing a statement Wednesday saying they would no longer feature the models.

'While the practice of employing grid girls has been a staple of Formula 1 grands prix for decades, we feel this custom does not resonate with our brand values and clearly is at odds with modern day societal norms,' commercial operations managing director Sean Bratches said.

We don't believe the practice is appropriate or relevant to Formula 1 and its fans, old and new, across the world.' 

PMA employs 1,500 models across Australia and Ms Stewart said whenever the F1 grid girls come up she is inundated with applications. 'Every girl wants to be a grid girl, They love it. It's glamorous, it's renowned,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

'These jobs from a models perspective is in high demand. This is every model's dream, put them on the grid, it sets up their career.'    

The ongoing presences of the glamorous models had come under review in recent months, with the internationals darts competition making the decision to stop the use of women often in little clothing.

Formula One had recently moved away from the over-sexualisation of its grid girls and used models dressed in attire relevant to the culture of the race's nation.

The clothing of the grid girls at Melbourne's Australian Grand Prix saw a huge change in 2017,  with plunging necklines and black leather as seen in years gone by replaced by green and white playsuits.

Jane Stewart, the managing director of Promotional Models Australia and former grid girl, told Daily Mail Australia F1 is the more 'glamorous' sector for models and she is 'concerned' for the ramifications the decision could have on the industry.

'The grid girls are the complete package when it comes to Formula One, it is very different to Superbikes or ring card girls, the way they're dressed is conservative,' Ms Stewart said.

'It is going to affect the sport, and they also need to take into account from a models perspective these girls choose to do the job.'

PMA employs 1,500 models across Australia and Ms Stewart said whenever the F1 grid girls come up she is inundated with applications.

'Every girl wants to be a grid girl, They love it. It's glamorous, it's renowned,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

It is not known yet whether the other major motorsport codes will make the same decision.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted V8 Supercars and Australian Superbike Championship for comment.

 The Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, which begins on March 25, will be the first without the models.


Top reason Australians are quitting the workforce: High cost of childcare forces more than 100,000 parents to stay home

A direct result of government legislation requiring a big staff of overeducated people in each centre

Nearly 120,000 parents aren't working because child care is too expensive or they can't find a spot.

The high price of child care was the top reason cited for Australians who weren't in the labour force because they were looking after children, government data released on Thursday shows.

One in three, or 95,700, said this was the case for them, while another 21,700 said there was either no childcare service nearby or no spots available.

That's more than those who said they were stay-at-home parents because they preferred to look after their children that way - a reason given by 77,600.

The Federal Government hopes its new childcare subsidy system, which starts in July, will let many of these parents be able to take up work.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham estimates the overhaul will help an extra 230,000 families get back to work or take on more hours.

The Productivity Commission report shows the most parents saying stiff fees were a barrier to returning to work were in the Northern Territory and Queensland.

However, Queensland had the lowest median cost of daycare in the country - at $400 a week or $80 a day - and the NT was the third lowest.

Parents in Queensland also had the lowest out-of-pocket costs after government subsidies, across all income brackets.

The ACT had the highest fees, with a median weekly cost of $545 for long day care.

Under the new childcare support system, taxpayers will only pay subsidies for fees up to a maximum of $11.55 an hour ($115.50 a day or $577 for a full week).

In 2017, none of the median fees charged in any state was higher than this, however, the data does not reveal what the most expensive services cost and how many there are above this maximum level.

The middle level of fees in the ACT was $10.90 an hour.


The end of recycling

Recycling in Victoria is on the brink of collapse, with councils facing having to stockpile millions of tonnes of waste - or dump it in landfill - as a China export ban begins to bite.

Several councils have already had recycling contracts cut off, with the Municipal Association of Victoria warning the problem could soon spread to the entire state.

The Chinese town of Giuyu used to be a dumping ground for the world's trash. Now China has banned imports of foreign waste to crack down on its own chronic pollution problem.

Experts said any solution would be expensive, with ratepayers likely to be slugged if the crisis takes hold.

The recycling industry has been warning for some time that a decision by China – our largest export destination for recycling – to ban waste imports would have a catastrophic impact on the sector, possibly making it unviable.

Those warnings came home to roost this week. Recycling giant Visy told Wheelie Waste, a bin collector that services 11 councils in Victoria’s west including Greater Shepparton, Macedon Ranges, Horsham and Ararat, that it would stop accepting council recycling on February 9.

The company cited China’s ban as the reason for the move. Wheelie Waste declined to comment, and Visy did not respond to requests for comment.

The Age understands several other councils have also been told they will lose service. "We think ultimately there’s a potential for them all to be affected," Municipal Association of Victoria CEO Rob Spence said. "This is just the beginning of  the potential impacts."


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, 2018

Explosion of cookie cutter homes ‘wreaking havoc for homeowners’, experts warn

This is mostly just elitism and snobbery. The term "cookie cutter" is a reliable index of that. People will always use the materials and designs that are least costly for the purpose at the time. 

There is however one point below that does I think give concern:  Using polystyrene boxes for foundations. When I first saw it, I couldn't believe it.  It sounds like a joke but it has in fact become common practice. It is almost certainly a mistake

Australia’s love for cheap and quick to build “cookie cutter” homes is wreaking havoc for homeowners and the environment alike, according to building and design experts.

ArchiCentre Australia director Peter Georgiev has slammed developers and builders for the explosion of sub-par, one-size-fits-all homes that are based on “star gazing, fantasy and over-servicing” rather than tailoring to needs.

“There are display villages galore and the same product is trodden out street after street. The homes are quite repetitive” Mr Georgiev said.

“You now have the ability, in the backwaters of suburban Australia, to have as many bathrooms as you please. These are the trends happening not on need but on fantasy,” Mr Georgiev said.

He is concerned residential developments are flawed from the base up where builders are peddling cheap products and constructing homes in a stock-standard way, regardless of whether it is suited to a site’s different landscapes, and cutting corners at every turn to cash in the maximum amount of jobs possible.

“The standard approach to building design is being eroded. We’re talking about cutting to the bone to the point we end up with substantial defects,” Mr Georgiev said.

“Regulation is there to set a minimum standard. This quest with getting away with doing the least amount of work is endemic with the development mentality. It’s ‘what can we get away with and what don’t we have to do’ as opposed to ‘what is a good idea and how can we get a low cost for the life cycle of the home’,” he said.

One of the main structural problems he has come across repeatedly in the past two decades is “slab heave” which causes a house to twist and crack in the walls, doors and windows when “waffle pod slabs” are placed on inadequately compacted soil.

The product, which is a cheap alternative to your traditional concrete slab that’s excavated into the ground, is built on top of the ground using polystyrene pods. It needs very firm soil, excellent draining and sites that are virtually flat to work best.

But Housing Industry Association executive director of building policy Simon Croft said the commonly-used concrete slab, which was recognised in the Australian building standard, wasn’t ‘one-size-fits-all’.

“Site topography, building size, drainage (both natural and constructed) and the structural design of the load bearing elements can also influence the slab design,” Mr Croft said.

Since it arrived in the 1990s, the housing industry has seen a proliferation of this type of foundation and it’s had a disastrous effect, according to architect and builder Ian Forrest. “It may cost $10,000 to $15,000 on a job but it can cost owners and builders a lot more for bad workmanship and lack of design,” Mr Forrest said.

He estimated attending to one job a month with homeowners complaining about doors and windows unable to close and they are problems that are often extremely hard to fix.

“There was one place where the owner was jacking up his car in the garage and the concrete was so thin it broke through the ground and you could see the polystyrene,” Mr Forrest said.

He now wants the product banned across the country after observing countless defects in the product and flaws with the certification system and the building assessment process in Victoria.

But the country’s peak organisation representing builders, Master Builders Australia, said its members abided by current regulations and refuted claims that residential homes were poorly designed.

“Master Builders and our members are committed to building quality homes and the National Construction Code (NCC) sets minimum standards for housing design and construction including in those offered in house and land packages,” said Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia.

“Keeping home ownership within reach of average Australians must also be a high priority and code compliant new homes in variety of price points is an important part of that equation,” she said.

Mr Georgiev has called on the government to question what is currently being delivered in the residential space.

“Government certainly has to review the outcomes of what is being constructed at the moment and the value over the life cycle of these buildings. How long do they last, how costly are they to maintain and should we really be cleverer about cost – not just cost today, although it’s important – but the cost over the life of the building and the life of the occupants,” Mr Georgiev said.

A spokesperson for the Department of Planning and Environment said while it was not aware of any specific issues raised in relation to waffle pod slab construction it was in the process of implementing a range of building regulation reforms.

The spokesperson said it follows a comprehensive review of the building regulation and certification system in 2015.


Big lurch to the Left by Shorty

What little was left of the traditional Labor model under the Keating and Hawke governments died with Bill Shorten’s speech to the press club yesterday.

The Labor leader delivered a hollow but unquestionably populist manifesto that sought to tap the rich vein of discontent in the community.

In defining Labor’s vision for the year ahead, Shorten borrowed from the playbook of the radical UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who used to great effect the concept of the “left-behind society” by exploiting class envy in an appeal to the disaffected.

It almost won Corbyn an election. In the end, it may well do the same for Shorten.

In all its concavity, Shorten framed a platform for the political battle ahead that was unapologetic in its populism if rich in contradiction.

The speech was a vision of an empowered union movement and interventionist government based on a bombastic class-driven promise to carve up and redistribute Australia’s wealth by taxing high income workers more and everybody else less.

The rhetoric around the disenfranchised drew an obvious ring around low-income workers, welfare recipients, students and pensioners. These have become the Labor “dependants”.

Where Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan drew the income line between the haves and have nots at $150k, Shorten has lowered the bar to $87k.

This is the new battleground where he believes the cost of living debate will be won or lost, the new “left-behind society”.

Ironically, this populism appears aimed at a large percentage of people who end up paying little or no tax.

It would have been a folly to expect that an Opposition Leader at this stage of the political cycle would offer anything more than hints as to the enabling policies that would deliver on this quixotic dream.

What hints there were included a legislated cap on private health insurance premiums, reversing company tax cuts and re-regulating the Labor market.

On energy policy, Shorten appeared to suggest the path to lowering energy prices was to build more wind farms.

His speech demonstrated how far the ideological ballast has shifted to the left both in ideology and rhetoric under his leadership, yet he spoke directly to the issues that preoccupy the minds of most Australians.


Bill Shorten backflips on private health insurance rebate

A day after suggestions Labor would make changes to private health insurance rebates, leader Bill Shorten has clarified his comments.

Health Minister Greg Hunt quickly fired back at the Opposition Leader, criticising him for keeping the door open to ending the rebate and warning that its abolition would drive up the cost of living for regular people.

"What Shorten has announced today is a plan to dismantle private health insurance and drive up the cost for pensioners, for seniors, for families and for young people," Mr Hunt said.

Asked on Wednesday morning to clarify if Labor would be targeting the subsidy, Mr Shorten said no.

"I just think that the government wasn't listening yesterday and we are very clear that we think there is a role for private health insurance but it's got to work for people," he told Nine's Today show.  "I mean, if they are going to get billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidy and they are making 25 per cent profits...where do people come into the equation here?"

Mr Shorten said a Labor government would be meeting with the private health insurance companies and telling them their premiums are "out of control".

Currently, the government provides a means-tested rebate for Australians holding policies with private funds.

Single people earning more than $90,000 and couples earning more than $180,000 pay a Medicare levy surcharge of up to 1.5 per cent if they do not have a private policy.

Premiums will rise by an average 4 per cent this year despite Turnbull government changes designed to restrain growth. This rate, while the lowest increase since 2001, is still nearly double the inflation rate and adds $200 [annually] to the average policy.


Classrooms powered by renewable energy to be trialled in NSW schools

This sounds like fun.  What happens when it is an overcast day?  Do the kids alternately freeze and boil?
School children across Australia could soon be taught in classrooms powered entirely by renewable energy as a result of the innovative ‘Hivve’ modular classroom, now being trialled in two New South Wales schools.

On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is providing Hivve Technology Pty Ltd with $368,115 in funding to pilot their modular classrooms in a school environment.

Known as the ‘Hivve’, the portable classroom incorporates solar PV generation, real time energy metering, CO2 metering, data capture and communications to actively manage energy demands and control indoor environment quality.

Each Hivve classroom has the potential to generate enough electricity to power itself and two other classrooms in the school.

A regular classroom can consume on average 3,800 KWh per year, but when a HIVVE classroom is in use, there is an estimated net energy generation of 7,600 KWh per year.

Ready for the start of 2018 school year this week, the two pilot classrooms are being trialled at St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School in Holsworthy in Sydney’s south western suburbs and at Dapto High School in Dapto where the performance of the Hivve classrooms will be monitored and evaluated over a 12 month period.

A prototype building built by Hivve Technology Pty Ltd has successfully demonstrated the functionality in a controlled environment and this will be the first time the Hivve classroom and technology has been trialled in a real school.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said there was enormous potential for Australia’s public schools to not only educate on renewables, but also reduce their reliance on the grid.

“This is a great way to get the next generation involved in renewables at an early age and educate them as to what the positive benefits will be as Australia continues its shift towards a renewable energy future,”

“The success of the Hivve project could lead to a nation-wide adoption of the modular classrooms, reducing reliance on the grid and even providing a significant amount of electricity back to the NEM.” Mr Frischknecht said.

Hivve Director David Wrench said the Hivve Technology was conceived and designed to deliver sustainable solutions – both environmental and economic – to help meet Australia’s growing school infrastructure needs.

“We are very pleased to be partnering with ARENA on this exciting project. We have carefully designed every element of the Hivve classroom to create the best possible learning environment for students”, Mr Wrench said.

Via email from

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


Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Most academics are lockstep Leftists so readers do sometimes doubt that I have the qualifications mentioned above. Photocopies of my academic and military certificates are however all viewable here

For overseas readers: The "ALP" is the Australian Labor Party -- Australia's major Leftist party. The "Liberal" party is Australia's major conservative political party.

In most Australian States there are two conservative political parties, the city-based Liberal party and the rural-based National party. But in Queensland those two parties are amalgamated as the LNP.

Again for overseas readers: Like the USA, Germany and India, Australia has State governments as well as the Federal government. So it may be useful to know the usual abbreviations for the Australian States: QLD (Queensland), NSW (New South Wales), WA (Western Australia), VIC (Victoria), TAS (Tasmania), SA (South Australia).

For American readers: A "pensioner" is a retired person living on Social Security

"Digger" is an honorific term for an Australian soldier

Another lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Another bit of Australian: Any bad writing or messy anything was once often described as being "like a pakapoo ticket". In origin this phrase refers to a ticket written with Chinese characters - and thus inscrutably confusing to Western eyes. These tickets were part of a Chinese gambling game called "pakapoo".

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

My son Joe

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

I am an army man. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies or mining companies

Although I have been an atheist for all my adult life, I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak.

The Rt. Rev. Phil Case (Moderator of the Presbyterian church in Queensland) is a Pharisee, a hypocrite, an abomination and a "whited sepulchre".

English-born Australian novellist, Patrick White was a great favourite in literary circles. He even won a Nobel prize. But I and many others I have spoken to find his novels very turgid and boring. Despite my interest in history, I could only get through about a third of his historical novel Voss before I gave up. So why has he been so popular in literary circles? Easy. He was a miserable old Leftist coot, and, incidentally, a homosexual. And literary people are mostly Leftists with similar levels of anger and alienation from mainstream society. They enjoy his jaundiced outlook, his dissatisfaction, rage and anger.

A delightful story about a great Australian conservative

Would you believe that there once was a politician whose nickname was "Honest"?

"Honest" Frank Nicklin M.M. was a war hero, a banana farmer and later the conservative Premier of my home State of Queensland in the '60s. He was even popular with the bureaucracy and gave the State a remarkably tranquil 10 years during his time in office. Sad that there are so few like him.

A great Australian wit exemplified

An Australian Mona Lisa (Nikki Gogan)

Bureaucracy: "One of the constant laments of doctors and nurses working with NSW Health is the incredible and increasing bureaucracy," she said. "It is completely obstructive to providing a service."

Revered Labour Party leader Gough Whitlam was a very erudite man so he cannot have been unaware of the similarities of his famous phrase “the Party, the platform, the people” with an earlier slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer". It's basically the same slogan in reverse order.

Australia's original inhabitants were a race of pygmies, some of whom survived into modern times in the mountainous regions of the Atherton tableland in far North Queensland. See also here. Below is a picture of one of them taken in 2007, when she was 105 years old and 3'7" tall

Julia Gillard, a failed feminist flop. She was given the job of Prime Minister of Australia but her feminist preaching was so unpopular that she was booted out of the job by her own Leftist party. Her signature "achievements" were the carbon tax and the mining tax, both of which were repealed by the next government.

The "White Australia Policy: "The Immigration Restriction Act was not about white supremacy, racism, or the belief that whites were higher up the evolutionary tree than the coloured races. Rather, it was designed to STOP the racist exploitation of non-whites (all of whom would have been illiterate peasants practicing religions and cultures anathema to progressive democracy) being conscripted into a life of semi-slavery in a coolie-worked plantation economy for the benefit of the absolute monarchs, hereditary aristocracy and the super-wealthy companies and share-holders of the northern hemisphere.

A great little kid

In November 2007, a four-year-old boy was found playing in a croc-infested Territory creek after sneaking off pig hunting alone with four dogs and a puppy. The toddler was found five-and-a-half hours after he set off from his parents' house playing in a creek with the puppy. Amazingly, Daniel Woditj also swam two creeks known to be inhabited by crocs during his adventurous romp. Mr Knight said that after walking for several kilometres, Daniel came to a creek and swam across it. Four of his dogs "bailed up" at the creek but the youngster continued on undaunted with his puppy to a second creek. Mr Knight said Daniel swam the second croc-infested creek and walked on for several more kilometres. "Captain is a hard bushman and Daniel is following in his footsteps. They breed them tough out bush."

A great Australian: His eminence George Pell. Pictured in devout company before his elevation to Rome


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