Looking at Australian politics from a libertarian/conservative perspective...

R.G.Menzies above

This document is part of an archive of postings on Australian Politics, a blog hosted by Blogspot who are in turn owned by Google. The index to the archive is available here or here. Indexes to my other blogs can be located here or here. Archives do accompany my original postings but, given the animus towards conservative writing on Google and other internet institutions, their permanence is uncertain. These alternative archives help ensure a more permant record of what I have written. My Home Page. My Recipes. My alternative Wikipedia. My Blogroll. Email me (John Ray) here. NOTE: The short comments that I have in the side column of the primary site for this blog are now given at the foot of this document.

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, 2019

'Fearless Girl' arrives in Melbourne

This statue seems to be particularly pleasing to feminists and anti-capitalists generally.  As such it would be a good target for retaliation against the attacks on historical statues that have been mounted by Leftists.

If Leftists can attack and deface statues and memorials of Australia's early settlers, why should not patriots attack and deface images valued by the Left?  It would be an important message to Leftists that they should be wary in their constant recourse to violence lest they ignite retaliatory violence against themselves and what they value.  It needs to be made clear to them that they don't have a monopoly of violence

The sort of thing that could be done would be to plaster red  paint over the statue and add a message:  "Beware the blood-lust of socialism". But conservatives are kind and forgiving people so I doubt that anything like that will happen

A bronze statue which has become a powerful symbol of gender equality has been unveiled at Melbourne’s Federation Square.

The ‘Fearless Girl’ statue was revealed to excited crowds at the landmark this morning, with many praising the creation as an “inspiration.”

The creation was unveiled this morning. (Nine/Supplied)
“I think it’s really good that the statue is in Australia, because it can inspire young girls to make a difference,” one member of the gathering crowd said.

The sculpture, by US artist Kristen Visbal, is an exact replica of one installed in New York City to oppose the Wall Street bull two years ago.

“She should symbolise supporting women in leadership positions, equality, equality of pay, the general wellbeing of women,” Ms Visbal said of her artwork.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers is one of three companies who joined forces to buy the statue for the city, ahead of International Women's Day on March 8.

A total of 25 statues will be produced and placed across the globe.


How a Channel Seven weather presenter is subtly pushing a climate change message - and you didn't even notice

It's not so much what she says that is the problem -- so much as what she leaves out -- like the really extreme weather events of the 1930's -- dustbowls etc

A Channel Seven weather presenter is subtly pushing a climate change message in her nightly bulletins. Melbourne meteorologist Jane Bunn has managed to sell the idea to her viewers without explicitly referring to the concept.

Instead, the weather woman has been pointing out significant changes in weathers trends and highlighting the increase of warmer temperatures to her viewers, The Age reported.   

In a May weather report, which saw temperatures reach just over 14C, Bunn called attention to how the overall trend that month 'since the late 70s is warmer than the long-term average.' 'Overall, our temperatures are moving upwards,' she said. 

She described a July day as 'cold, wet and windy' despite the fact that the month's rainfall was less than half the July average.  

She then reported there was a 'trend toward less July days with significant rain' over the past 75 years.

But the meteorologist, who was has been working with Climate Communicators in a program run by Monash University's Climate Change Communication Research Hub, has insisted that she is just telling viewers 'exactly what is happening.' 

'Personally, I don't like to yell at people,' she told the outlet. 'Anything that is forcefully put across, I don't like to put any political spin on anything either. I just want the facts, quietly put through in a straightforward way that people can understand.'

The research hub supplies the presenters with graphics on the trends, which she says viewers have always been fascinated with.

The program, which is the counterpart of an American movement, has signed up more than 500 weather presenters across the US.

Stephanie Hall, the research hub's communication manager told The Age that weather presenters 'trusted',  'apolitical' and skilled communicators. She said the idea of climate change has become 'hyper-political.'

Bunn says there has been no backlash to her subtle advocacy for climate change. 'It's a couple of graphs which go up on the screen which are telling what is happening. And there shouldn't be any backlash about that, if you think about it. We're just telling exactly what is happening.' 

Bunn's reporting appears to have been well-received, according to social media users.  'This is excellent!! Jane Bunn is planting the seeds of change in viewers' minds. We all feel it and noticie it, on some level, but she's tying the past to present in an easy to follow fashion. Nice work!! Thank you,' one Twitter user said.

'Jane Bunn isn't just a weather girl. She's a meteorologist and she's not "subtly selling" anything - she is simply stating facts,' another said.

A Channel Seven spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia that Bunn is a meteorologist, not a political campaigner, and that there is no climate change spin to her reports.  

The network said Bunn’s reporting is based on her expertise and the best available weather data, reflecting exactly what happened over a period of time - regardless of whether it was hot, cold or wet.


Life, romance and relationships, the Jordan Peterson way

Jordan Peterson is in town, and it seems like everyone wants to talk about identity politics, gender pronouns, and whether or not there’s a pay gap — but he’s a clinical psychologist.

Seems a shame not to ask him about his practice. To get his thoughts on mental health, and modern relationships?

It’s been almost a year since Peterson was last in town, and he’s lost so much weight on his infamous, all-meat diet that his wedding ring is turning. (He takes this diet seriously, to the point he now carries cold, cooked steaks in a baggie in his pocket, in case he finds himself hungry and somewhere meatless.)

He’s more famous now than he was last time, having sold three million copies of Twelve Rules for Life. His life is one of standing ovations, and of people approaching him shyly in the street, to thank him for saving their lives.

He doesn’t think it’s turned his head, and he’s often moved by “how little encouragement” can turn a person around.

“But it’s been a very two-sided experience, a lot of positive publicity and attention but also a tremendous amount of stress,” Peterson says of the impact of fame on his own equilibrium.

In an hour-long interview, he tackles a range of topics, including the rise of Trump, which he characterises more as the fall of Clinton. (Had Peterson been an American, he says he would have “held his nose and voted for her”.)

He talks about #Metoo, and the conundrum facing women in their thirties, who want both baby and briefcase. “Nobody can have it all,” he says. “My general advice to people is that there aren’t that many fundamental necessities in life. You need a job, you need intimate relationships, and you need family. If you forgo any of those, you pay a huge price.

“You may decide that your ­career is worth the price. Perhaps it is, but it’s not worth the price very often. You have to be careful. You only have one life, and if you forgo your opportunity, it’s done. And I think it’s a catastrophe for people to forgo the opportunity to spend substantial time with their young children.”

You can see how that kind of thing could quickly become: “Peterson tells women to give up their ­careers to have kids!”

It’s not what he means — he means, maybe work part-time for a bit — but he can shrug it off, having dealt with issues far more important than trolling, including a decade-long depression battle.

Peterson in his lectures likes to warn people: life is hard, and if you’ve not yet experienced a tragedy, brace yourself, because trouble is coming. In his own life, he says it’s a “toss up between dealing with my daughter’s illness, and the depression that runs through my family”.

“It’s hard to say which was more challenging,” he says. “The depression issue is a decades-long problem. We’ve made a lot of headway. My grandfather, who never received any medication, was basically immobilised by his depression. My father was struck very hard in his fifties. By the time it came to me, additional improvements had been made.

“But depression is a brutal ­enterprise. For me, in particular, it’s hard on the lecture front, professionally, because it makes it hard to move physically and interferes with the flow of my thoughts.

“There’s a fair bit of intense misery associated with it as well. It’s like severe grief (and) proclivity to tears, that has characterised me since I was young.”

Peterson’s daughter had depression; a severe form of arthritis; and an auto-immune disease that left her with brittle bones. The bone condition was agonising.

“I asked my daughter, who walked on broken legs, who had to take opiates for pain, and wanted to sleep 24 hours a day, if she would rather have the depression or the arthritis,” he says. “She said virtually immediately that she would take the arthritis over the depression any day.”

Peterson says “anxiety and depression” are by far the most common conditions he saw when people came to his clinical practice, but the most frightening ­patient he saw was a pedophile.

“He was the worst,” he says. “Unbelievably narcissistic, and completely incurable by any known means. It was like nobody existed except him. He had justifications and rationalisations for everything he’d done, not only for why his molestation of his grandchildren was OK, but why it was a positive good. He was quite the piece of work. I’ve had other clients who were malevolent in their own way. Not many. It’s rare. Most people you see clinically have hard lives. That’s why they’re there (because events) are beyond their ability to overcome.”

On modern romance, Peterson says hook-up culture, and apps such as Tinder, are virtually bound to create misery for people.

“We are still under the delusion that we can divorce sex from life,” he says. “You can’t divorce sexuality from emotion. You can’t have sex without entangling yourself, at least to some degree.

“The problem with hook-up culture, with Tinder, let’s say, is it’s predicated on the assumption that people can be partners in a purely physical sexual exchange … first of all that’s an experiment that has never been conducted in the entire human history, very unlikely to go well; and second, it’s predicated on a naive, wilfully blind view of the relationship between people. It doesn’t work.”

The sexless marriage is just as problematic, and painful for people, he says. “You get married, you have kids, you have two careers, it’s very easy for the sexual part of your relationship to settle to 11th place on a 10-item schedule,” he says. “In order to maintain an intimate relationship with sexual energy … well, it takes a lot of work, and people don’t do the work … My sense is, it’s useful if you want to keep your sex life alive, to assume that you’re going to be intimate a minimum of once a week and perhaps twice a week — but you have to agree on that, and you have to make it a priority and perhaps you have to engage in that, with that, really whether you’re in the mood or not, because you’re thinking about the long game, not the short game. Use it or lose it, shall we say?”


Dad threatens to kill kid’s school principal — just one case in a scary trend of educator violence

Horrific and terrifying threats from parents have been revealed by principals across the country who are too scared to speak out.

From being threatened with a gun or knife to being beaten with a stick, receiving death threats and being stalked, or spat at by abusive parents — some affected by drugs or alcohol — a number of principals say they fear walking to their car at night.

Others have had parents tailgate them or do burnouts in the school car park after a heated conversation at their car door.

“A parent said he would go home get his gun, come back and blow my f***ing head away,” said one principal who asked not to be named. can’t reveal who the principals are or which schools they’re at because none of them wanted to go on the record. They say they have been advised not to, fearing if they complain publicly they will risk their career or lose their jobs.

But their responses have poured in anonymously, from thousands surveyed across the country about workplace wellbeing.

Now in its eighth year, The Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey has collected data from about 50 per cent of Australia’s 10,000 principals from 2011 to 2018.

Chief investigator Associate Professor Philip Riley last year revealed to preliminary results from his survey indicated a record number of “red flags”. Participants get red flagged if they answer questions indicating they are at risk.

Some of the worst responses include:

* “Kicked and punched by students, verbally abused by parents, physically intimidated. I’ve

spent months at a time dreading the walk out to my car at night.”

* “One student ripped all the cupboard doors off my office cabinets and threw a chair at me.”

* “Numerous threats from parents and students — from students: (on) School Facebook — threats to kill with description how. Furniture thrown at me, bitten, scratched, car keys stolen and car started, garden stakes thrown at me, rocks thrown at office.

By parents: stalked by car, tailgated, phone calls with threats to harm, tyre burnouts in school car park after conversation at car door. Parents under the influence of drugs or alcohol swearing, threatening, name calling.”

* “It happens weekly I have been kicked, punched, spat on, hit by a bat, hit by a stick and threatened to be killed by gun and knife.”

The survey found one in three school principals had been physically attacked in 2018.

Close to half were being threatened with violence and the majority worked hours far beyond those recommended for mental and physical health. In a “worrying trend” violent threats were up from 38 per cent in 2011.

The survey also found that increasing levels of threats and violence, aggravated by excessive working hours, was leading to serious levels of distress, burnout and depression among school leaders.

Associate Professor Philip Riley, from the Australian Catholic University, said “our nation builders are under attack”.

“Consequently, fewer people are willing to step into the role,” he said. “At a time when 70 per cent of school leaders will reach retirement age within two to three years, we are ignoring a looming national crisis.

“Australia’s school leaders experience a far higher rate of offensive behaviour at work than the general population.

“The way it is going, it is going to be the number one problem in schools everywhere if we don’t do something about it pretty quickly,” he added on the Today show this morning.

Female school leaders are most at risk of physical violence with 40 per cent experiencing violence compared to 32 per cent of male school leaders.

The highest number of threats of violence was found in government primary schools at 49 per cent.

“The steadily increasing levels of offensive behaviour in schools of all types is a disgrace and it needs to stop,” Associate Professor Philip Riley said.

When compared to the general population, principals report 1.5 times higher job demands, 1.6 times higher levels of burnout, 1.7 times higher stress symptoms, 2.2 times more difficulty sleeping, 1.3 times negative physical symptoms and 1.3 times more depressive symptoms.

“Australia should adopt a whole-of-government approach to education,” Prof Riley said.

“This would mean the Federal Government, states and territories combine to oversee a single education budget. The funding agreement should be bipartisan and a transparent mechanism which is simple to understand.”

Other recommendations include:

* Employers should reduce job demands or increase resources or do both.

* The community needs to immediately stop offensive and violent behaviour towards educators.

* Australia also needs to have adult conversations about the root causes of this violent

behaviour, which is occurring in all frontline professions and in the high rates of domestic violence.

* School leaders should not allow their passion for their school to dominate their life.


Dear Parents,

Since I was very young I wanted to be a teacher, I knew that teachers made a difference in the world and I wanted to give others what my teachers had given to me.

After 35 years in education this hasn’t changed, and I love coming to school so that I can help your children, all children.

However, lately it seems as though you fail to see this. I’m yelled at before you seek to find the truth, I’m threatened at many different levels when things don’t go your way, I’m lambasted on Facebook with no right of reply.

Even though I have a busy schedule you demand that I see you straight away, or answer your accusatory emails late at night because that is when you are most in need.

I have had to hire security agents to sit in on some parent meetings as I’m scared for my own personal safety. I have received death threats.

I have been bitten by children, scratched, hit with objects such as cricket bats, scooters, and rocks. I have saved a child from committing suicide. These are just a few examples of the stress I have had to face as a Principal, but my stories are many.

You may not know this about your Principal, because we do not make these events public even though many of us experience them every day. Each and every Principal out there is a person, a person with feelings, families and our own trials and tribulations.

I have never met a Principal that didn’t care deeply about their school or their community, but I have met a number who are simply worn out like I am.

I do not have long to go in my career, and at this time I certainly am not promoting the job of Principal to younger teachers.

I love my students and my staff, but I hope the wider community wake up and begin to see the role as it truly is and to offer support before those of us that truly care are gone.

From an Australian School Principal


 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, 2019

Many people do not believe that Australia's Cardinal George Pell is guilty of child sex offences

Nor do I.  We must note that he has not had his opportunity to appeal the verdict yet. It is common for verdicts to be overturned on appeal. So regarding the case as closed could be most unwise and expose those who do leap to conclusions to some contempt. John Crowley of St Patrick’s College in Ballarat certainly runs that risk.

One needs to note that the case boils down to one person's word against another and that fantasies about sexual matters can be readily taken as true when they are not -- as we saw in the hugely disgraceful matter of "Nick" in Britain, who is now being prosecuted for his lies.  He wrecked the lives of several people before he was disbelieved

It is reminiscent of the Nick affair that in this matter many of the details the complainant gave were improbable, if not impossible.

That the conviction is very fragile can also be seen in the fact that the first trial of the matter left a hung jury.  It was only on retrial that His Eminence was convicted. It seems likely to me that in such a finely balanced matter knowledge of misdeeds by other Catholic clerics swung the verdict towards guilt.  That is of course guilt by association, long recognized as a grave injustice

News of Cardinal George Pell’s conviction for child sex offences is being greeted with disbelief by shocked Catholics around the world.

Pell is the most senior Catholic cleric in the world to be found guilty of these offences and apparently, some just can’t believe it’s true.

Ed Pentin, the Rome correspondent for the oldest national Catholic newspaper in the United States, the National Catholic Register, has pointed to conspiracy theories circulating in the Vatican that Pell was set up.

“Most people here don’t believe the verdict,” Pentin told the Nine newspapers. “Most here believe Pell is innocent, certainly those who worked with him.”

Pentin said there was scepticism about the guilty verdict because Pell was investigating Vatican corruption and there was suspicion about the timing of the charges.

Suppression orders were lifted in Australia today that has allowed the conviction to be reported, although the judgement was handed down in December and reported by some international news outlets.

In an article for the Register, Pentin notes that after news broke in December about the verdict, a source told him, “People in court saw how flimsy the evidence was.

“This is an act of outrageous malice by a prejudiced jury. The media convicted him long ago in the court of public opinion and he did not receive a fair trial.”

Pell has faced years of negative coverage over what he knew, or should have known, about the activities of paedophile priests including the notorious Gerald Ridsdale, a former friend of Pell’s who was convicted of the abuse and indecent assault of 65 children, some aged as young as four years old.

Pell’s own hometown of Ballarat had such a high incidence of sexual abuse that the city was used as a case study in the final report of the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, which Pell gave evidence at in 2016 via video link from Rome.

Some believe Pell became a poster child for all that went wrong with the way the Catholic Church handled the abuse scandal.

Victorian County Court’s Chief Judge Peter Kidd acknowledged this, telling the jury at his trial that “you must not scapegoat Cardinal Pell”.

Peter Westmore, Pell’s friend of two decades and who attended the trial, told reporters outside the court: “I think the public mind has been so contaminated by the misdeeds of the Catholic Church and by the complaints, which people have raised, which have not been dealt with, that they said, ‘Well, he must have been guilty.’”

Others believe Pell didn’t help himself by refusing to give evidence in his own defence.

“Pell didn’t take the stand, and that definitely made a negative impression; it doesn’t look good if you won’t deny it with your own lips,” one source told the Catholic News Agency in December.

However, Father Frank Brennan, a Jesuit priest who attended some of the Pell proceedings noted that the complainant’s evidence must have been compelling for the Cardinal to be convicted.

The media and public were not allowed to be present when the complainant gave his evidence, which is normal in sexual assault cases.

But the case hinged on this testimony and in the end, the verdict came down to the jury believing the complainant was telling the truth.

“I was very surprised by the verdict. In fact, I was devastated,” Father Brennan wrote in an opinion piece in The Australian.

He noted that Pell’s defence barrister, Robert Richter QC had poked holes in the complainant’s evidence but ultimately the jury had still found the Cardinal guilty.

“Although the complainant got all sorts of facts wrong, the jury must have believed that Pell did something dreadful to him,” Father Brennan wrote.

“The jurors must have judged the complainant to be honest and reliable even though many of the details he gave were improbable if not impossible.”

Pell’s old school St Patrick’s College in Ballarat has also announced it will remove the Cardinal’s name from a building that had been named in his honour. It will also revoke his status as a Legend of the school and a line will be struck through his name on a College honour board listing ordained former students.

“The jury’s verdict demonstrates that Cardinal Pell’s behaviours have not met the standards we expect of those we honour as role models for the young men we educate,” the school’s headmaster John Crowley said.

Mr Crowley said the college must respond to the jury’s findings, although it reserves the right to revisit the decision if the conviction is overturned on appeal.

Today Pell’s lawyers confirmed they have lodged an appeal against the conviction and Pentin does not believe it’s likely Pope Francis will take any action until this has been heard.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has not commented on Pell’s conviction and either has Liberal MP Tony Abbott, a Catholic and vocal supporter of Pell in the past.

But senators Derryn Hinch and Sarah Hanson-Young are calling for the Cardinal to be stripped of his Companion of the Order of Australia.

Meanwhile, senior Catholic figures in Australia have also expressed shock and disbelief at the verdict.

“While acknowledging the judgment of the jury, I join many people who have been surprised and shaken by the outcome,” Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli said in a statement.

“I fully respect the ongoing judicial process, noting that Cardinal Pell continues to protest his innocence. An appeal against the verdict has been lodged. It is important that we now await the outcome of this appeal, respectful of the ongoing legal proceedings.”

He said his thoughts and prayers were with all victims who had been abused by clergy, religious and lay people in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

“I renew my personal commitment to do all I can to ensure victims of such abuse in Melbourne receive justice and healing,” Archbishop Comensoli said.

“I also acknowledge all in the Catholic Church who are walking with survivors and communities harmed by the scourge of abuse, and who are committed to building a culture of safety for our children and vulnerable people.

“At this time, may I assure you that I keep all involved in my prayer.”

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge released a statement on behalf of national body, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

“The news of Cardinal George Pell’s conviction on historical child sexual abuse charges has shocked many across Australia and around the world, including the Catholic Bishops of Australia,” the statement said.

“The Bishops agree that everyone should be equal under the law, and we respect the Australian legal system.”


Suppression order lifted, Father Frank Brennan on Cardinal George Pell's guilty verdict

Jesuit priest Frank Brennan writes his thoughts on the case in The Australian. Father Brennan attended some of the court proceedings and writes about his desire to see justice done:

The prosecution case was that Pell at his first or second solemn Sunday Mass as archbishop decided for some unknown reason to abandon the procession and his liturgical assistants and hasten from the Cathedral entrance to the sacristy unaccompanied by his Master of Ceremonies Monsignor Charles Portelli while the liturgical procession was still concluding.

Portelli and the long time sacristan Max Potter described how the archbishop would be invariably accompanied after a solemn Mass with procession until one of them had assisted the archbishop to divest in the sacristy. There was ample evidence that the Archbishop was a stickler for liturgical form and that he developed strict protocols in his time as archbishop, stopping at the entrance to the Cathedral after Mass to greet parishioners usually for 10 to 20 minutes, before returning to the sacristy to disrobe in company with his Master of Ceremonies.

The prosecution suggested that these procedures might not have been in place when Pell first became archbishop. The suggestion was that other liturgical arrangements might have been under consideration.

In his final address, Richter criticised inherent contradictions and improbabilities of many of the details of this narrative. I heard some of the publicly available evidence and have read most of the transcript. I found many of Richter’s criticisms of the narrative very compelling.

Anyone familiar with the conduct of a solemn Cathedral Mass with full choir would find it most unlikely that a bishop would, without grave reason, leave a recessional procession and retreat to the sacristy unaccompanied.

Witnesses familiar with liturgical vestments had been called who gave compelling evidence that it was impossible to produce an erect penis through a seamless alb. An alb is a long robe, worn under a heavier chasuble. It is secured and set in place by a cincture which is like a tightly drawn belt. An alb cannot be unbuttoned or unzipped, the only openings being small slits on the side to allow access to trouser pockets underneath. The complainant’s initial claim to police was that Pell had parted his vestments, but an alb cannot be parted; it is like a seamless dress.

Later, the complainant said that Pell moved the vestments to the side. An alb secured with a cincture cannot be moved to the side. The police never inspected the vestments during their investigations, nor did the prosecution show that the vestments could be parted or moved to the side as the complainant had alleged. The proposition that the offences charged were committed immediately after Mass by a fully robed Archbishop in the sacristy with an open door and in full view from the corridor seemed incredible to my mind.

I was very surprised by the verdict. In fact, I was devastated. My only conclusion is that the jury must have disregarded many of the criticisms so tellingly made by Richter of the complainant’s evidence and that, despite the complainant being confused about all manner of things, the jury must nevertheless have thought — as the recent royal commission discussed — that children who are sexually violated do not always remember details of time, place, dress and posture. Although the complainant got all sorts of facts wrong, the jury must have believed that Pell did something dreadful to him. The jurors must have judged the complainant to be honest and reliable even though many of the details he gave were improbable if not impossible.


Jordan Peterson in Sydney on global warming

Go here to see the relevant section of a panel show in which he was challenged on whether his values and methods would cure climate change

He basically says that to arrive at a useful opinion about such issues, you first have to grow up and solve your personal problems.  He is basically saying that concern about climate change is immature and puerile attention-seeking

His best answer of the evening was simply "No"

Publisher rejects Craig Kelly complaint school textbook 'inaccurate' on climate change

Only by uncritically accepting the usual Green/Left boilerplate

The publisher of a NSW year-10 history book has rejected complaints from the federal Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly that it misrepresents facts about climate change.

Kelly took issue with the characterisation of climate change in the textbook Pearson History New South Wales.

Kelly has written to the NSW education minister, Rob Stokes, saying the book’s description of Tony Abbott as a climate change denier was “an offensive slur equating it with Holocaust deniers”, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The book says: “Climate change is noticeable in Australia, with more extreme frequent weather events such as the 2002-06 drought or the 2010-11 Queensland floods.”

“That is simply an inaccurate statement that is in a school history book,” Kelly told parliament’s federation chamber last week.

“What chance do we have of forming the best policies in this nation to deal with fire, floods and drought if we have children being misled by incorrect information in our history books?”

He quoted Dorothea Mackellar’s poem My Country to argue contemporary natural disasters are nothing out of the ordinary: “I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of ragged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains,” the poem says.

“We need to understand that we live in that same country that Dorothea Mackellar wrote about over a hundred years ago,” Kelly said.

“That is why we need to prepare and help people recover from their resources instead of wasting money pretending that we can change the weather.”

The Australian Bureau of Meterology says “one of the greatest impacts of climate variability and climate change occurs through changes in the frequency and severity of extreme events.”

It describes the 2011 Brisbane floods as the second-highest flood level of the last 100 years, after January 1974.

The bureau and CSIRO’s latest State of the Climate report said Australia was experiencing more extreme heat, longer fire seasons, rising oceans and more marine heatwaves, consistent with a changing climate.

A spokeswoman for the publisher Pearson backed the book.

“Pearson builds textbooks to support the Australian curriculum and we stand by this text book and its author,” she said.

Nonetheless, Stokes said he was writing to Pearson about Kelly’s concerns.

“It is very important that texts present information in a balanced way so that students can make up their own minds on important issues,” he said in a statement.

Stokes has previously criticised Abbott’s climate change stance, warning against “populist anti-intellectualism” from public figures.

The NSW school history curriculum does not specifically mention climate change and there is no mandatory textbook set.

While the state government sets the syllabus, it does not write or set the textbooks.

 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, 2019

Australia's largest cargo ship unveiled

Something of a pity that it was built in China.  Various Australian yards could have built it.  Tasmania's own INCAT, for instance.  But China's price undoubtedly was lowest

It is one boat Scott Morrison has welcomed with open arms. Australia's largest cargo ship, the Tasmanian Achiever II, was unveiled on Sunday at Burnie in northwest Tasmania.

The 210-metre-long vessel, along with another of the same size, were built by transport company Toll and will up the Bass-Strait shipping capacity of the company by 40 per cent.

Mr Morrison was aboard the ship, slated to make its first commercial trip in March, for a champagne naming ceremony as part of a two-day trip to the Apple Isle's north and northwest.

"Well this is one boat I want to start ... because it's driving jobs," the prime minister said.

The two ships cost $172 million and came with an investment of similar size to upgrade wharfs in Burnie.

Mr Morrison said it was an important day for the island's trade.

The state's rate of export growth increased by 14 per cent last year, above the national average, Premier Will Hodgman said.

"This a true demonstration of a state that is powering ahead," he said. "This investment will ensure that our world-class produce can reach expanding markets both domestically and internationally."

Mr Morrison brushed aside a reporter's question asking whether it was ironic he was celebrating the naming of a boat not long after releasing a video message telling people smugglers not to waste their money coming to Australia.


Sir Lunchalot gets off

Former NSW minister Ian Macdonald has had his conviction quashed and will face retrial for misconduct in public office.

The former Labor politician has been in custody since 2017 when he was jailed for 10 years, with a minimum of seven, after being found guilty of two counts of wilful misconduct in public office.

But on Monday, five Court of Criminal Appeal judges quashed the 69-year-old's conviction and ordered a new trial.

They did the same for former union boss John Maitland, who was jailed for six years with four years non-parole on two charges of being an accessory to the alleged misconduct.

Macdonald was alleged to have favoured the interest of Doyles Creek Mining, chaired by Maitland, over the interests of the state when he granted a Hunter Valley coal exploration licence in 2008 without a competitive tender.

Maitland ultimately made $6million after selling shares related to the deal.

Macdonald's lawyer, Phillip Boulton SC, wasted no time applying for bail in the NSW Supreme Court and it was granted by Justice Natalie Adams, prompting Macdonald's wife to cry and embrace a supporter.

Under his bail, he'll have to reside in the Blue Mountains, report to police once a week, not approach any points of international departure or contact prosecution witnesses except through his lawyer.

Maitland, now 72, who was also granted bail, will reside in Sydney's eastern suburbs but otherwise faces similar conditions.

In 2017, a jury found Macdonald guilty of two counts of public misconduct while Maitland was found guilty as an accessory. 

Mr Macdonald's barrister, Phillip Boulton, SC, argued that it was never adequately proven to the jury that his intentions by closing the deal were 'improper', The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Mr Boulton argued that Justice Christine Adamson had provided 'misleading' and 'confusing' directions to the jury, they also argued his sentence was 'excessive' and that evidence against him was 'compulsorily obtained'.

'The learned trial judge misdirected the jury in relation to the elements of common law offence of misconduct in public office in relation to both charges,' court documents read.

'The jury's verdicts were unreasonable and cannot be supported having regard to the evidence.'

'A miscarriage of justice was occasioned on account of evidence now available to the appellant.'

An administrative hearing for the men's retrial has been slated for March 1.


Scott Morrison lashes Labor’s strategic ship fleet plan

A government shipping line!  Who in their right mind would use that?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dismissed Labor’s plan to create a strategic shipping fleet, arguing lifting the number of Australian-flagged vessels serves union demands.

The federal opposition has announced a plan to establish the fleet, which is likely to include up to a dozen vessels including oil tankers, container ships and gas carriers.

The Australian-flagged and crewed vessels will be privately owned and operate on a commercial basis, but could be requisitioned by the government in times of need.

Mr Morrison said Labor had not committed to properly building Australia’s Navy, failing to commission one ship when they were last in government. “They seem to be more interested in doing what the MUA tells them to do, the maritime union, than what the Australian people want them to do,” he told reporters in Hobart on Sunday.

He said the coalition had undertaken the biggest naval shipbuilding program since the Second World War.

“That is the scale of our commitment when it comes to our naval shipbuilding program,” the prime minister said.

Labor has warned Australia’s merchant fleet is disappearing, despite relying on shipping to move 99 per cent of imports and exports.

The number of Australian-flagged vessels has shrunk from 100 to 14 over the past 30 years.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and transport spokesman Anthony Albanese said the decline had destroyed the jobs of seafarers and created a situation where essential fuel supply vessels were not crewed by Australians. “The existence of a vibrant Australian shipping industry serves the nation’s economic, environmental and national security interests,” they said in a statement.

An elected Labor government would first appoint a task force to guide the establishment of a fleet.

Labor has also pledged to re-establish the scrapped Maritime Workforce Development forum and enforce existing laws around coastal shipping.


Cartoon of Serena Williams ruled OK

A controversial cartoon depicting tennis player Serena Williams “spitting the dummy” following her US Open loss last September has been backed by the Australian Press Council.

“The council considered that the cartoon uses exaggeration and absurdity to make its point but accepts the publisher’s claim that it does not depict Ms Williams as an ape, rather showing her as ‘spitting the dummy’, a non-racist caricature familiar to most Australian readers,” the council said on Monday.

The cartoon, which sparked worldwide controversy for its alleged bias, racism and stereotyping, depicted the tennis star jumping in the air, with a broken racquet and baby pacifier on the ground.

In the cartoon, by Mark Knight in the Herald Sun, an umpire is shown saying, “Can you just let her win?” to a woman standing on the other side of the net.

It referred to an incident during the tennis grand slam final between Williams and Japan’s Naomi Osaka on September 9.

Williams, who was seeking a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title, was given a warning for a coaching violation before incurring a point penalty for smashing her racket.

After accusing the umpire of being “a thief for stealing a point from me”, she was docked a game.

In a statement, the Australian Press Council acknowledged some readers found the cartoon offensive but accepted there was a sufficient public interest in commenting on Williams’ behaviour and sportsmanship during the pivotal match.


 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, 2019

Outrage as it's announced one million tonnes of sludge will be dumped in the water surrounding the Great Barrier Reef

The stuff below is very misleading.  All that is happening is that mud from one part of the sea bottom will be moved to another part of the sea bottom.  It will NOT be dumped onto the reef and there will be no increase in the total amount of mud in the area

One million tonnes of sludge will be dumped in the water surrounding the iconic Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority approved the jettison of the waste through a loophole in the federal laws that are meant to protect the landmark.

The announcement of the dumping comes only a week after floodwaters from Queensland flowed into the reef, with experts saying the dirty water will 'smother' the coral.

The federal laws heavily restrict what can and can't be released into the water surrounding the natural wonder.

But an exploit in the laws means materials generated from port maintenance work can legally be dumped in the reef.

The residue is dredged from the bottom of the sea floor near Hay Point Port - one of the world's largest coal exports.

Larissa Waters, co-deputy leader of the Greens Party, called for change, saying it would be the same as treating the reef like a garbage dump.

'The last thing the reef needs is more sludge dumped on it, after being slammed by the floods recently,' she told the Guardian.

'One million tonnes of dumping dredged sludge into world heritage waters treats our reef like a rubbish tip.'   

However, Dr Simon Boxall from the National Oceanography Centre Southampton says the dumping is only the beginning of the problems. 'If they are dumping it over the coral reef itself, it will have quite a devastating effect. The sludge is basically blanketing over the coral,' he told the BBC.

He says the sludge-dumping is a short-term issue, with the Australian summer bringing about 'rapid algae growth'.

He says more funding should be allocated to finding a less environmentally detrimental area to dump waste, but admits the money isn't easy to come by. 'It'll cost more money but that's not the environment's problem - that's the port authorities' problem.'

Last year, Australia pledged half a billion dollars to protect the Great Barrier Reef - which has lost 30 per cent of its coral due to rising sea temperatures. [The coral loss was temporary and it was due to falling sea levels, not temperature variations]


'A kick in the guts for hardworking Australians': How property prices could plunge by $300,000 and spark a recession under Labor's tax plans for landlords

Labor's plan to restrict tax breaks for landlords could wipe $300,000 off average Sydney and Melbourne house prices, a mortgage broking group fears.

Bushy Martin, the founder of Know How Property Finance, predicted the Opposition's plan to scrap negative gearing for future purchases of existing property would also plunge Australia into a recession for the first time since 1991.

'A recession is a catastrophe. We've had 28 years of strong economic growth,' he told Daily Mail Australia. 'To have a recession that we don't need to have, just because of short-sighted policy restrictions, just doesn't make any sense.

'A recession means higher unemployment, it means people not having money to enjoy life, it means people doing it a lot tougher than they need to be.'

The Adelaide-based mortgage broker predicted Sydney's median house price would fall by $300,000 under Labor's negative gearing plan, adding banking royal commission recommendations on lending rules would also put more downward pressure on house prices.

'People need to think very carefully about their votes in this upcoming election,' he said.

Mr Martin predicted Labor's policy would cause house prices to plunge by 30 per cent, compared with where they were almost two years ago when Sydney and Melbourne house prices peaked.

He accused shadow treasurer Chris Bowen of 'kicking in the guts hardworking mums and dads' and 'condemning them to a life of misery'.

Mr Martin stands to lose out from the royal commission's recommendation that lenders be banned from paying trailing commission fees to mortgage brokers for the life of a loan.

Detached real estate values in Australia's biggest housing market plunged by 10.9 per cent in the year to January 31, with Sydney's median values now at $902,786.

They have also plunged by 13.7 per cent since peaking in July 2017, with the Reserve Bank of Australia this week acknowledging a slump in house prices could hurt the economy.

During the past year, Melbourne's median house price has also fallen by 10.6 per cent to $740,425, following an Australian Prudential Regulation Authority crackdown on investor and interest-only loans.

Labor is also proposing to halve the capital gains tax discount from selling an investment property from 50 per cent to 25 per cent in a bid to discourage investors from competing with first-home buyers for property.

National Shelter, an advocacy group for affordable housing, said existing capital gains tax discounts benefited wealthy investors, and locked younger people out of the housing market.

'Investors who already own a property or more have been able to out-compete first-home purchasers who then can't get a foothold in the market,' the group's executive officer Adrian Pisarski told Daily Mail Australia.

'Over 90 per cent of investors are buying existing properties in locations that first-home purchasers would normally want to live.

'House prices have doubled every decade for the last four decades or more in Sydney and Melbourne in particular.'

Sydney is also the world's third most expensive property market behind Hong Kong and Vancouver, the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey for 2019 found.

This situation means many younger people, even those on above-average full-time salaries of $85,000 a year, are struggling to buy a house or even an apartment in Sydney.

Someone on that kind of wage would already be spending 40 per cent of their take-home pay on servicing a mortgage for a $500,000 apartment, with a 20 per cent deposit factored in.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen this month argued 70 per cent of the capital gains tax discount and negative gearing went to the top 10 per cent of income earners.

'Simply put, each of these subsidies have become a vehicle not to make Australia a fair place, but to provide further support to those who need it less than others,' he said.

The Opposition wants to free up $80billion in government spending over the next decade so more money can be dedicated to schools and hospitals.

It's not just Labor's negative gearing policy which is upsetting baby boomers. Wealthy retirees are particularly incensed at the plan to wind back a system whereby excessive tax refunds are given out to shareholders who live off their dividends or superannuation.

The Alliance for a Fairer Retirement System, which represents self-managed superannuation funds and shareholders, has described Labor's policy as a 'cruel blow', disputing the Opposition's assertion about rich retirees.

'They have saved for retirement under rules that have been in place for over a decade, and now find they will lose up to 30 per cent of their income in one hit if Labor is elected and implements this policy,' the group's chairman Deborah Ralston told a Gold Coast retirees summit in January.

The Self Managed Super Fund Association's chief executive John Maroney told Daily Mail Australia Labor's policy is 'both unfair and discriminatory'.

Under the existing franking credits arrangement, shareholders receive tax refunds on their dividends where companies have already paid the 30 per cent corporate tax rate.

However, Labor points out the nation's 10 wealthiest self-funded retirees are already claiming an average of $2.5 million a year from taxpayers despite having investments worth at least $100 million.

In March last year, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen declared a Labor government would crack down on the generosity of the franking credits system, in a bid to save taxpayers $5billion a year.

The changes were aimed at those who lived off their dividends or superannuation and paid no income tax.

A week after announcing the policy last year, Labor partially backed down so 300,000 pensioners who relied on their franking credits would be spared from losing their tax benefits.

However, Labor is pushing on with its plan to undo the generous tax credits system, where tax cash refunds, also known as franking credits, are given to share owners even if they haven't paid any income tax.

John Howard's Coalition government introduced this policy in 2001 with the support of the then Opposition.

Labor under Bob Hawke introduced the dividend imputations system in 1987 so shareholders receiving dividends weren't taxed twice. 

Making his case, Mr Bowen cited Australian Taxation Office data showing average cash refunds going to the nation's top 10 self-managed super funds, which had assets of more than $100 million.

Mr Bowen doubled down this month on Labor's plan to scrap negative gearing tax breaks for future purchases of existing properties, at a yet to be specified date.

'We'll spend $8 billion on childcare. But we will lose $11 billion because we have the most generous property investment tax concession in the world and a generous capital gains tax discount,' Mr Bowen said.

Labor says its scaling back of franking credits would save $55billion over that time frame during the next decade.

Together with the winding back of negative gearing, the tax crackdowns add up to almost $80billion to the 2028-29 financial year.


Scott Morrison to sign off on $1.43b City Deal deal for Tasmania

Tasmania’s tourism and produce booms are set to accelerate, with scheduled direct international flights to Hobart to begin next year.

Premier Will Hodgman today said the flights would be possible due to an $82m upgrade to Hobart Airport agreed under a “Hobart City Deal” signed with Prime Minister Scott Morrison this morning,

“By 2020, we’ll be able to have international flights come in and out of the state,” Mr Hodgman told reporters.

“We’ve had the highest rate of growth of international tourists of any state. We’ve had the highest rate of growth in exports of any state over the last year.

“So this is a response to that growth…We are expecting that international …flights will commence in 2020.”

Mr Morrison said Australian Federal Police, removed from Hobart Airport some years ago, would return once international flights began.

The $82.3m airport allocation would fund border services, including immigration, customs and biosecurity, at the increasingly busy airport 17km east of Hobart.

Other elements of the city deal, signed by Mr Morrison, Mr Hodgman and Hobart mayors today, include the promise of an Antarctic science hub at the city’s waterfront Macquarie Point precinct, and $450m funding for Antarctic research stations and logistics.

As well, there is $576m to replace the ageing and narrow Bridgewater Bridge, north of the city, and other “congestion-busting” transport commitments. About $30m is pledged to provide more than 100 new low-cost homes.

However, there is no specific funding, as many had hoped, for a light rail service to Hobart’s north, nor for a science, technology, engineering and mathematics university centre mooted for the CBD.

Even so, all leaders trumpeted the deal as transformative for the city and the state and Mr Morrison challenged Labor to guarantee to match every element, saying the $1.43b over 10 years was already budgeted.

“It’s all in the forward estimates, all of it - this isn’t a promise; this is an actually funded commitment,” Mr Morrison said. “It’s a fair question to put to our counterparts: will they reverse the funding we’ve put in place? I would certainly hope not.”


Jordan Peterson wisdom: Lying hurts the liar; Work hard and accept responsibility

As said during his recent Australian tour

Peterson started his Opera House talk by saying that he had over time tweaked one of his “12 Rules For Life” (that is also the name of his book). It used to be “Tell The Truth” but he’s since added “At Least Don’t Lie”.

He changed it, he said, because human beings, being puny and ­ignorant, don’t always know what is true. We might think we do, but we can’t possibly. The world is so big and everything is corrupted, and so at least don’t lie, which ­Peterson defines as “knowing something is not true, and saying it anyway”.

Why not? Not for the reasons you might think. Yes, it’s unethical to deceive people, but that’s not Peterson’s bag so much as this: “The more you lie to yourself and to others, the more corrupt you become.”

He doesn’t mean in business. He means when you lie, you damage yourself psychologically. You create pathways in your brain that are based on falsehoods, and they in turn become the architecture on which you ­depend in times of trouble. “Is that what you want?” he said. “To have lies in your ­corner?”

Of course you don’t, because if you’re depending on lies to save you, inevitably you’ll end up in a “way worse” position than when you started

From there, Peterson segued into a human being’s need not only for truth, but for forward ­motion. He seemed here to be speaking mainly to young men.

Peterson has on previous occasions acknowledged that women in their late 20s and early 30s have big decisions to make and not much time to make them.

His advice is usually for women to put their careers aside for a bit and have a family, because it’s important as you get older to have a close circle of intimates, by which he means a partner, children and grandchildren. You’re going to live until you’re 90, probably. Careers are fun and friends are good, but the people who knew you when you were young and those who will perhaps help take care of you when you are old? Way better.

Young men are also questioning the way forward: should they still be trying to get married and play the provider role? Because it seems to be going out of fashion.

Peterson says yes.

They should get up and get a job. Marry their girlfriends, take on more responsibility, aim for promotions at work, take them when they come, and generally head in the direction of their potential, because forward motion has a positive psychological effect on people. It directs young men, in particular, away from depression, and suicide.

“And you don’t have to change the world,” Peterson said, “just ­decide on three things that could improve your own life by 6pm today.”

That may be something as simple as picking up your dirty socks and putting them in the wash basket. Now your mum is happy and the household is happier, and you’re responsible, so good for you.

Peterson acknowledged that a lot of people struggle to move forward in life because they are caught up in terrible childhood experiences. “But you are no longer five,” he said. “You can’t fight back at five, but you don’t want to still be fighting those demons at age 58.”

Meaning: yes, your childhood was awful. It’s also over. So, no more excuses. Up you get.

The more people do this — speak truth, confront demons, strive forward — the better the world is for everyone, because what happens when vast numbers of people feel a sense of nihilism, and dismay?

When people get angry and start blaming others for their plight?

You get bullying. You get school shootings. You get acts of terror. You get Nazism, concentration camps, gulags, all of it hell.

“We should be moving away from hell,” said Peterson. “That’s a good thing for all of us to be moving away from hell.”

It wasn’t all super-serious. Towards the end of the show, Peterson took questions from the audience. He was asked about his snappy wardrobe of three-piece suits, and he acknowledged spending “way more that any reasonable person should” on clothes in recent years.

He also talked about cage fighting, and about how many problems have simple solutions, using as an example a client he once had, a young woman, who had complained about being tired and angry all the time. Turns out she was hungry.


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

24 February, 2019

Sea levels in and around Sydney Harbour 1886 to 2018

Below is just the Abstract of a very extensive study

by Dr G M Derrick, Brisbane, Australia, February 2019

Executive Summary

1. There has been NO significant sea level rise in the harbour for the past 120 years, and what little there has been is about the height of a matchbox over a century.

2. Along the northern beaches of Sydney, at Collaroy there has been no suggestion of any sea level rise there for the past 140 years. Casual observations from Bondi Beach 1875 to the present also suggest the same benign situation.

3. A rush to judgement by local councils and State Governments by legislating harsh laws and building covenants along our coastlines now seems misplaced.

4.The falsehoods and mendacity of the IPCC and climate alarmists should be rejected out of hand, and efforts be made to ensure that science, not propaganda, defines our school curricula in matters of climate and sea levels

More HERE 

Bill Shorten ally Bill Ludwig flays ‘lefties’ over coal

Bill Shorten’s mentor, former union leader Bill Ludwig, has blamed a “few lefties’’ within Queensland’s Labor government for politicising the Adani coalmine and backed the CFMEU’s threatened campaign against federal ALP candidates who refuse to support the project.

In sharply worded comments, Mr Ludwig said Deputy Premier and Left faction leader Jackie Trad “thinks she should be premier, but there’s not much chance of that ever happening”.

Mr Ludwig, former national president of Mr Shorten’s Australian Workers Union, said it was “fair enough’’ for the CFMEU to campaign against Labor candidates given the state government’s position on Adani.

The move, revealed in The Australian on Monday, could cost the federal opposition winnable Coalition-held seats in Queensland at the federal election due in May.

“I don’t blame the coalies for doing what they’re doing because there’s jobs involved, and there’s no argument about the profitability and the need for the mine,’’ Mr Ludwig said.

Labor is increasingly split over Adani’s proposed Carmichael coalmine in central Queensland. Mining unions are ramping up pressure for political support for the project, which would open up the massive Galilee coal basin.

The federal opposition’s hopes that the project would be off the political agenda before the election were blown, when the Palas­zczuk government stalled the proposed mine with an 11th-hour review of the company’s strategy to protect the endangered black-throated finch.

The review prompted Steven Smyth — state head of the mining division of the CFMEU, one of Labor’s biggest donors — to put Labor MPs and candidates on ­notice to sign a pledge supporting Adani and the coal industry or face a union campaign against them.

Labor is targeting at least eight Coalition seats in Queensland — held on margins of up to 4 per cent — including four regional seats, with high unemployment that could benefit from the $2 billion Adani project.

The project could also prove decisive in the ultra-marginal Labor-held seat of Herbert, in Townsville, where incumbent MP Cathy O’Toole is refusing to respond to the CFMEU ultimatum.

Mr Ludwig, who retired from the AWU after decades as the Labor kingmaker in Queensland, said the Adani project had “turned political’’ despite the ­Indian conglomerate overcoming every “environmental hurdle’’.

Asked for his response to the review of Adani’s finch plan and his message for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who is an AWU member, Mr Ludwig said: “I don’t know where the government are. I mean there are a few lefties in this … government, you know, it’s probably a little bit difficult.

“You’ve got protesters talking about the black-throated finch … I mean, this is so ridiculous, you just can’t understand where they’re coming from. I think the (state) government has given them every opportunity, because the do-gooders have taken them to court and done everything (and) they’ve lost and lost and lost, but then they come up with another one.’’

Mr Ludwig said he believed the proposed mine, which was vastly scaled down last year after starting out as a $16.5bn project, would go ahead. “There’s thousands and thousands of Indians over there still with bloody oil lamps that want bloody coal,’’ he said.

Mr Ludwig said the government had given anti-Adani activists “every opportunity’’.

Katter’s Australian Party leader Bob Katter said yesterday he was already in talks with the CFMEU leadership about the “bubbling divisions” within the union’s ranks. The KAP, which won three regional seats at the 2017 Queensland state election, is targeting Herbert, won by Labor in 2016 by 37 votes.

“They’re intelligent people,” Mr Katter said of the unionists. “They’re switched on, not locked into Labor — most have never been brought up in Labor traditions — and they’re big earners.”

Ms Palaszczuk yesterday refused to support new thermal coalmines in her state, including the Carmichael project, saying the “market will dictate that” and they must “stack up financially and also environmentally”.  “That company is not being treated differently to any other company,” the Premier said.

At a luncheon, Ms Palaszczuk defended her government’s decision to refer Adani’s finch plan to an outside panel of experts. She likened it to the federal government commissioning CSIRO to review the company’s groundwater management plan.

The panel’s final report, delivered to Adani late on Tuesday, recommended sweeping new controls on the mine, including an automatic shutdown of coalmining if finch populations declined over five years.


Out-of-touch Labor MP says it 'could be a GOOD thing' if Australia's $25billion coal industry collapsed leaving thousands of people unemployed

The Scott Morrison government has pounced on a Labor MP who suggested a decline in the $25billion coal market is a 'good thing'.

Labor frontbencher Richard Marles told Sky News on Wednesday the world market for thermal coal - Australia's top export industry - had collapsed.

'At one level that's a good thing because what that implies is the world is acting in relation to climate change,' Mr Marles said.

Mr Morrison and his Liberal colleagues slammed Mr Marles and accused him of suggesting a supposed decline was 'wonderful'.

'He might think it's wonderful... we don't think it's wonderful. In all of those places [people] who depend on those jobs don't think it's wonderful,' the prime minister told Parliament.

Queensland-based federal minister Steve Ciobo reiterated the 'wonderful' line, telling parliament thermal coal produced $25 billion in export income for Australia and thousands of jobs each year.

'The Australian Labor Party thinks it is a wonderful thing that they get to junk-pile 55,000 jobs in the resources sector,' he told parliament.

Mr Marles later clarified his position and said he didn't properly articulate his point.

Coal clearly has an important and enduring role to play, even as we transition to more renewables, and I should have made that clear,' he said.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released this month showed coal export sales rose nearly 16 per cent in 2018.

Mr Marles earlier reiterated Labor's position that no money should be spent on the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland.

'There are lots of ways in which you can generate employment, but the important statement here is that no public money is going to be spent on it,' he told Sky.


Tribal warfare saps our energy

Australia is being convulsed by its contradictory identity: a
fossil fuel-endowed nation enriched by its resources set against a middle-class moralism hooked on climate change action — an internal division that plagues the voting base of both Coalition and Labor.

Party values and voting loyalties are being trashed. As climate change activism turns into an anti-coal mantra buttressed by a finance sector unwilling to invest, the clash over competing economic interests and cultural values will provoke large-scale political disruption. Both Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten are trapped in these dilemmas.

Labor’s fidelity to immensely popular renewables highlights its alienation from coal and the wider industry as the CFMEU mining division in Queensland joins with the state’s mining industry to ­assault the Palaszczuk government over de facto sabotage of the Adani mine.

Shorten’s ability to hold together his contradictory political coalition is stretched to breaking point. Labor is entrenched as the renewables party in its astute alignment to harness the climate change vote and protect its progressive flank. But what works in middle-class suburbs cannot work in regional Australia.

CFMEU mining division Queensland president Steve Smyth warns that the union will fight the anti-mining activists ­because their campaign extends far beyond Adani, and will campaign against MPs including Labor candidates unless they back the job-creating venture seen as the trigger to open up more mines in the Galilee basin.

With Queensland a pivotal state in the national election, Labor suffers a twin liability: its disastrous resurrection of the border security issue and a regional revolt against its anti-coalmining progressive mindset. As the CFMEU attacks Labor for its turn against coal, the Greens increase the bidding game on Labor’s Left with MP Adam Bandt introducing the “termination” steps — a bill to prohibit thermal coalmining in the Galilee basin, thereby outlawing the Adani mine and a bill to phase out thermal coal ­exports by 2030.

Australia’s split character and polarised politics is beyond ­bizarre.

This is a country where much of the public turns against coal, our main export, returning $67 billion this year and helping to fund health, education and the return to budget surplus. It is evidence of a truly complacent country where significant opinion rejects its main export industry.

It is folly to think the Morrison government is immune. The climate change/energy policy disputes that have created havoc within the Coalition for a decade are far from settled. The government has no energy policy after the demise of the national energy guarantee. This week it launched an assault on the economic costs of Labor’s renewables policy, yet the government faces a critical test: does it include coal in the list of energy projects prepared by ­Energy Minister Angus Taylor and designed to be underwritten by government?

Will Morrison intervene to promote coal or back-off?

It is a decisive moment for the Coalition and Liberal-Nationals relations as it struggles to reconcile its conservative pro-mining, pro-coal communities with the climate change awareness of its wealthy support base in the inner suburbs of the capital cities.

The climate change debate, supposed to be about science, is besieged by cults. Witness the messianic Green New Deal in America that has taken hold in the Left of the Democratic Party or the populist conservative push in Australia in recent years for the government to finance and build a coal-fired power station.

The quest for climate change action is a contradictory amalgam of rationality and quasi-­religious faith that denies ration­ality. It comes with an ­inevitable cost of climate change action that is usually denied or exaggerated. A cogent policy geared to energy transition need not provoke a permanent war between coal and climate change commitments, yet Australia has proved unable to find this path.

The policy chasm between the Coalition and Labor undermines the energy sector and feeds an ideological clash that shows no sign of expiry. Shorten and Morrison face near-irreconcilable internal tensions fuelled by global developments: witness this week’s decision by the nation’s biggest coal producer, Glencore, to cap coal production at 2019 levels, a smart move, yet a smashing victory for the anti-coal movement.

It is folly to think political leaders are dealing with forces they can control. Competing regional interests and values are making this year’s federal election into a ­series of regionally based mini-elections, all of which are vital but demand contradictory responses, depending on the ­region.

Regional disparities in this country — over incomes, industry, climate change and cultural outlook — are exploding. What works in Gladstone is different from what works in Melbourne. Pro-coal central and northern Queensland has a different ethos to the progressive paradise of pro-renewables upper-middle-class Melbourne.

The old climate change debate about a carbon price is long dead. The stage has changed but the music is the same. With Labor now committed to an ambitious 45 per cent emissions reduction and a 50 per cent renewable ­energy target, this week the government launched the next phase of its campaign to document the economic and household costs being imposed by Labor.

Its weapon was the modelling report by former Bureau of Agricultural and ­Resource Economics head Brian Fisher showing Labor’s policy will see a fall in real annual wages of about $9000 a year by 2030 compared with a fall of $2000 under Coalition policy.

Shorten will be unswayed. Taylor, as Energy Minister, says Labor cannot be allowed to run a campaign without confronting the consequences of its climate change activism and the impact for every worker, miner, farmer and tradie.

“Which industries will Bill Shorten close first?” Taylor asks. “Will it be agriculture or aluminium, mining or manufacturing?”

The Fisher analysis says the Coalition’s 26-28 per cent targets mean a loss in GDP of about $19 billion compared with Labor’s targets that equate to a $144bn loss by 2030. The former means the economy would grow at 2.8 per cent a year over the decade and the latter a growth rate of only 2.3 per cent, compared with a rate otherwise of 2.9 per cent.

Labor, unsurprisingly, rejects the analysis. So far the government has hammered Labor’s targets for two years with little discernible electoral impact. The public likes renewables despite blackouts and price hikes. They blame the energy companies for high prices; they think renewables are a plus for emissions cuts and price containment.

The government cannot attack renewables as an option and says instead it aspires to technological neutrality. The focus of its attack is price but the related trick is what the government actually does in the sphere of reliability and price containment. Morrison once took a lump of coal into parliament but with the falling cost of renewables and rising financial risks surrounding coal, this is a shifting platform that bedevils the Morrison government.

There is one certainty the government must avoid: being trapped into a renewables versus coal contest. That is a sure prescription for defeat.

Cabinet ministers are divided on whether to include coal in ­Taylor’s final list of projects to be underwritten by government. The aim is intervention to boost new generation and competition into the market. Gas projects are certain to be picked. What about coal? Is the government prepared to commit and underwrite coal, thereby making itself into an election target of attack from Labor and the Greens?

The more Labor’s anti-coal prejudice looms large, the more the government may be tempted. But with Victoria the most difficult state for the Liberal Party, hoisting up the pro-coal flag would threaten electoral suicide in some progressive-orientated Melbourne seats the Liberals now hold.

The further reality is that Morrison and Josh Frydenberg have sorted their campaign strategy. Energy is not the priority. That strategy was on daily display this week — attacking Labor over tax and border protection. The key to any Morrison clawback is controlling the news agenda.

That means franking credits and borders.

Morrison must run on energy. The truth, however, is that energy cannot deliver as the vote-­changing issue he needs to win the election. Casting the government as a champion of coal offers some regional dividends, yet it is a national risk. The pro-coal message must be quarantined to selected areas, but how feasible is this?

The lesson from Labor’s traumas this week offers the answer: not very feasible. Shorten’s efforts to walk both sides of the fence on Adani approached a dead end. Consider this saga. “I make no ­secret that I don’t like it very much,” Shorten said of Adani last year. “I don’t think the project is going to materialise. It doesn’t seem to stack up financially, commercially or environmentally.”

Yet a few days ago, opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen issued his own warning to the Labor Party: “I believe in protection against sovereign risk.”

Bowen said he had no intention of spending money in his first budget on compensating Adani ­because its project was overruled despite meeting the approvals.

For a year Labor has spoken with a forked tongue on Adani, ­depending on the audience. The Queensland Labor government seeks to undermine the project by rendering it untenable. Shorten Labor conceals its heart under its formal stance: Adani will get no money, it must stand on its own feet. Labor assumes it will fall over with Labor avoiding any blame for playing with sovereign risk.

But avoiding the political blame is another matter. There would be an anti-Adani majority in the country. The point, however, is the pro-Adani majority in regional Queensland has the ability to turn votes against Labor. The risk is Labor is seen as either betraying workers or being hypercritical, or both.

This week differences among Labor figures exposed a party conflicted not just about Adani but about coal and how to explain itself to the public. Defence spokesman Richard Marles got caught with the dangerous line that “the global market for thermal coal has collapsed and at one level that’s a good thing ­because what that implies is that the world is acting in relation to climate change”.

The sentiment, if not the detail, is typical in the Labor Party these days — bad for coal is good for climate change. It is damaging ­because it implies a disregard for the industry and its employees. Opposition finance spokesman Jim Chalmers, a Queenslander, said: “Coal has a very important role to play now and into the ­future even with the transition to a greater share of renewables. It’s a very important export out of my home state of Queensland.”

Employment spokesman Bren­dan O’Connor said: “There has been a series of coal projects that have commenced recently and, as I say, coal will be part of the energy mix under Labor. We are big supporters of mining. It’s a critical industry for this country.”

Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said: “There is a simple economic fact that the world is moving away from coal-fired power generation. It’s becoming increasingly expensive.”

These statements from senior ALP figures are not necessarily contradictory. The reality, however, is that there are genuine differences over policy and thinking on coal spread throughout the Labor Party. This is typified, above all, by Shorten: he offers ­reassurance on coal but has previously spearheaded Labor hostility towards Adani. As leader, he has championed the ALP rush ­towards ambitious renewable targets with their guaranteed adverse consequences for coal and the historic shift this involves in the party thinking.

Shorten’s priority is climate change. This mirrors the heart of the Labor Party. It is based on hard-headed electoral calculation likely to be vindicated. But it is fatuous to think there is no ­downside or union blowback for Labor. Modern Labor is fixated on creating the electoral alliance ­between well-off progressives and traditional union concerns, jobs and wages. Shorten, so far, has managed this alliance with success — but the pre-election message is that the strains are far more obvious and dangerous.

Queensland is vital for Labor at the election. It is the state where the populist Right is strongest. This election will be no different. Bob Katter and Pauline Hanson will run the coal train to election day. Resources Minister Matt Canavan, pledged to bring the Galilee Basin into coal production, points out that global coal demand is strong, prices are buoyant and that resources contributed 72 per cent of Australia’s export of goods in the year.

Morrison knows he must champion coal in regional Queensland and NSW and that means exploiting Shorten’s equivocations. The Liberal-­Nationals position based on their 26-28 per cent targets by 2030 is that coal will remain fundamental to the economy for decades and climate change action, while ­essential, needs to be far more modest than what Labor is proposing.

That dictates a heavy negative government campaign against Shorten’s ambitions, with any Labor victory heralding sweeping changes in Australia’s energy mix, attitudes towards coal and climate change priorities.


 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 2019

Mark Latham had a lot to say about domestic violence this morning — and not one word about the Patriarchy (sob!)

In a rather limp-wristed article excerpted below, Gary Nunn has a lot to say about domestic violence but has only a feminist understanding of it.  His explanations apply to all men but only a small minority of men engage in domestic violence.  So his explanation fails.  He says domestic violence is caused by gender inequality.  So how come most of those "unequal" males don't bash women?

Domestic violence has real psychological and sociological causes but that does not mean we can do much to prevent it. Most of the time it is an expression of an inadequate personality in the man concerned but inadequate personalities rarely lead to domestic violence so any attempt to predict and prevent it will have little success. 

And using domestic violence to slam men in general is absurd.  It penalizes many innocent men.  But Gary Nunn does not care about that.  He goes by the old Leftist thinking:  "You've got to break eggs to make an omelette".  Stalin's purge of the Kulaks would be OK by him, it seems.

Fortunately his squawks about the "patriarchy" are so old hat that nobody will take any notice of him.  He has nothing useful or original to say.  Leftists will like the hate in his writings, that is all.  He is a freelance writer so hate apparently sells well

Latham is right to say that domestic violence is most rife in Aboriginal communities.  I have seen with my own eyes how Aboriginal men treat their women.  Has Gary Nunn? So there is the one place where preventive measures might succeed.  A greater police presence in Aboriginal communities could give endangered  women an escape hatch. But there's no evidence that Gary cares about them

I feel the same way about Mark Latham that Labor probably does: I can’t believe he’s been one of us and wish he’d just go away. By one of us, I mean men. Decent men. He doesn’t deserve that title.

Today, he has said that domestic violence isn’t about patriarchy or toxic masculinity, it’s about socio-economics.

This myth he’s peddling is not just wilfully ignorant but downright dangerous.

Violence against women is driven by one thing, and one thing primarily: gender inequality.

It is absolutely about toxic masculinity and patriarchy. Of course Latham will claim it isn’t. He’s a patriarch and a toxic male.

The necessary social context for violence against women to occur happens within a toxic patriarchy — where men’s control of decision-making limits women’s independence.

Where disrespect towards women and male peer relations emphasise aggression.

Where a condoning or normalising of violence against women and stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity set all the awful conditions for violence to happen.

In his interview, he said, “The demonisation of men is out of control. Fair minded men think it has gone way too far.”

Can every fair-minded man in Australia start by calling this out, please? Do you really want this man to speak for you? It shouldn’t just be left solely to women to — time and again — respond to this vitriolic stirring.

What is out of control is the domestic violence problem in this country. On average, one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner and one in three Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15. That’s what you call gone way too far, Mark.

In terms of the socio-economic factors that, he claims, trump the patriarchal and toxic ones, Latham claims that, “Statistics actually show for every middle class man involved in a family or domestic dispute, there are 10 in a public housing estate and 25 in a remote indigenous community — so if you want to look at where the problem is heavily concentrated, it’s not about patriarchy or toxic masculinity, it’s about a socio economic factor and it’s in indigenous communities.”

This is more complex than Latham would have us believe. Socio-economic factors do play a role: those “middle class men” are inflicting violence on women who are less visible in the system. Women with greater access to resources like money, a job, support from friends and family, are more able to escape escalating family violence earlier.

The ones who can’t are the women with no income (often due to male financial control), the women who pack out the full-to-the-brim refuges.

Jacqui Watt, CEO of No to Violence, told “Anyone can be affected by the impacts of family violence, as gender inequality affects all women and children, not only a pocket of people living in low-socio economic areas.


I’m the only male on the Walkley Our Watch 2019 Fellowship, devised to improve the media coverage of violence against women in Australia.

I don’t feel demonised. I feel galvanised. I’ll call out the Lathams wherever and whenever they pop up, and I encourage other men to join me. Yes. All men.


Experts claim power bills could surge by 50% under Labor's carbon emissions plan that would see workers lose $9,000 a year

Electricity bills would soar by 50 per cent, 336,000 full-time jobs would be lost and the average full-time wage would drop by $9,000 a year under federal Labor's plans to slash carbon emissions by 45 per cent by 2030, experts have claimed.

New independent modelling has revealed the predicted economic impacts of the alternative climate change policy approaches proposed by the two major political parties in lead up to the federal election in May.

There would also be wages cuts and jobs losses under the federal Coalition's plan to cut emissions by 26-28 per cent drop over the next decade as part of the Paris Agreement.

Authored by former Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics head Brian Fisher, the BAEconomics report released on Thursday states Australian climate policy is at a cross-road.

The average full-time wage is projected to be around $2,000 lower under the federal Coalition's 26-28 per cent emissions reduction target.

'At the same time this scenario is projected to result in an economy with around 78000 fewer full-time jobs,' the BAEconomics report states.

'With a 45 per cent reduction target the projected fall in real annual wages is around $9,000 per year by 2030 together with a loss of around 336000 full-time jobs, illustrating the extent of the economic adjustment required by the economy to reach the more stringent target.' 

Labor's plans would result in economic losses of $472billion over the decade, with GDP $144billion a year lower by 2030.

'Meeting a 26-28 per cent reduction target is projected to mean that by 2030 the Australian economy would be around $19bn smaller in terms of GDP than it otherwise would have been,' the report states.

Wholesale electricity prices would also skyrocket under both policy scenarios.

'Under the reference case the wholesale electricity price is projected to be $81/MWh in 2030. This is projected to rise to $93/MWh under the 26-28 per cent scenario and to $128/MWh under the 45 per cent scenario,' the report states.

A former chief advisor on climate policy for both sides of government, Dr Fisher accused both sides of politics of dishonest debate.

'I still get frustrated about how deficient and even outright dishonest the climate debate continues to be … regardless of the approach Australia adopts to reduce emissions, there is an inevitable cost to our economy as more emissions-­intensive activities make way for less intensive industries,' Dr Fisher told The Australian.

He also described a recent ANU report which stated Australia could meet its Paris commitment by as early as 2025 without cost and using reductions in the electricity sector as 'appallingly' inaccurate.

The BAEconomics research is ongoing and will be updated as policy options become clearer.


Labor split over Christmas Island as treatment centre

Senior Labor frontbenchers, including deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, have contradicted Bill Shorten over his acceptance of Christmas Island as an appropriate location for the treatment of sick refugees, exposing fresh divisions within the party over the ALP-backed medivac bill.

A day after Mr Shorten declared he was “fine” with medically evacuated refugees being sent to Christmas Island, Ms Plibersek said she was unable to see how the facilities at the newly reopened detention centre could be adequate.

“I frankly can’t understand — and it really is up to the government to explain why — if a person cannot be properly treated on Nauru or Manus Island or Port Moresby, that they somehow can be properly treated on Christmas Island,” she said.

“Christmas Island, I know, has good medical facilities, but it’s hard to see how they could be that much better than what’s available on Manus or Nauru.”

Opposition defence spokesman Richard Marles also hit out at the idea of sending sick refugees to Christmas Island after the transfer by the government of 900 refugees to Australia in the past two years for medical treatment.

“There has never been a suggestion, never, that any of those people needed to be treated on Christmas Island,” Mr Marles said. He said talk of reopening Christmas Island was “silly” and would only serve to encoura­ge people-smugglers.

But Labor frontbencher Brendan O’Connor backed his leader, declaring: “Quite frankly, as long as there is the requisite medical expertis­e, it doesn’t matter what part of Australia they’re transferred to.”

Labor’s Senate leader Penny Wong said the party wanted to ensure­ refugees received the medical care they needed, “and I would assess Christmas Island on that basis”. “What we want is for them to get the medical care they need, wherever that may be,” ­Senator Wong said.

Immigration Minister David Coleman said appropriate medical facilities would be provided at Christmas Island to treat an antic­ip­ated surge in medical evacu­ations under the bill, which passed through parliament last week despit­e government opposition.

“The government has made it clear we will have to reopen Christmas Island … because we are expecting a large number of ­people,” he told Sky News. “We’ll ensure that adequate medical facilities are provided. So if a person needs to be treated for a particular matter, adequate facilities will be provided at Christmas Island.”

Mr Shorten said on Tuesday he would be happy for medic­ally evacuated refugees to be sent to Christmas Island if they could get the right treatment. “If the medical treatment is required and it’s delivere­d on Christmas Island and it makes people well, well that’s fine,” he said. “The issue here is the safe treatment of people within the context of strong borders.”

Department of Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo confirmed at Senate estimates hearings on Monday that it was the government’s policy to send any transferee to the Christmas Island detention centre, unless a person needed to be sent to the mainland for specialised treatment.

He said the medivac bill could amount to the “effective unravelling of regional processing”, despite 11th-hour changes that prevented it being accessed by new boat arrival­s. The legislation will allow two doctors to order the transfer of refugees and asylum-seekers to Australia for treatment.

The minister may object, but that decision is reviewable by an “independent health advice panel” which could overrule the minister on medical grounds.


Australian schools get pass mark from public...but plenty of suggestions for improvement
Most Australians don’t see their schools as being ‘in crisis’ or ‘failing’, which is often reported, but more attention should be given to developing students’ life skills in the classroom, according to findings in a new national survey by Monash University.

Despite ongoing media and political discussions of failing schools, crises in teacher quality and classroom behaviour, as well as controversy over initiatives such as the ‘Safe Schools’ Program, Australians are largely positive about the level of education provided to their children.

But many adults believe students should be taught ‘life skills’ as part of the curriculum. This includes knowledge in money management, job preparation, first-aid training and critical thinking, such as recognising fraudulent content online.

These were just some of the findings captured by Dr Deana Leahy and Professor Neil Selwyn from Monash University’s Faculty of Education in a nation-wide survey of 2052 Australian adults to gauge public opinion on the quality of schooling.

Published 21 February 2019, the report titled: ‘Public opinions on Australian schools & schooling’ is one of the first national accounts into public opinions of the state of classroom education.

The key findings of the report include:

·       56% of Australians rate the performance of Australian public schools as OK; 23% rate them as very good / excellent.

·       52% of Australians think the standard of education will remain the same in 10 years’ time.

·       An overwhelming number of Australians believe Mathematics (76%) and English (75%) should be given more priority in schools. Languages (7%) and The Arts (4%) were least valued.

·       The most important aspects of schools to a child’s education included: basic literacy and numeracy (69.8%), students being respectful to teachers and peers (54.6%) and teachers being of high quality (54.5%).

Dr Leahy said surprisingly few differences were found between voters of the main political parties, suggesting that politicians, policymakers and governments should collaborate to deliver the best possible student outcomes.

“While debates on education are understandably contentious and personal, our findings suggest that we can all be a little more positive in the overall quality of schooling Australia provides,” Dr Leahy said.

In a ringing endorsement of schools by younger Australians, 86% of people between the ages of 18-29 believed learning outcomes would stay either ‘roughly the same’ or be ‘better than they are now’ in the next 10 years.

But community views differed when it came to identifying the most important issues of children’s education, with the fundamentals of respect and honesty being at the top of the list for older Australians.

“Levels of concern for students being respectful to teachers and peers is almost double amongst respondents in the 60+ years’ age group (72.4%) in comparison to those aged 18-29 years (38.9%). Discrepancies were also found between the two age cohorts when it came to the importance of literacy and numeracy, as well as teacher quality,” Dr Leahy said.

The traditional subjects of mathematics and English were still regarded as priority learning areas across the board, but science (46.2%) and health and physical education (19.2%) were seen as less important.

Adults widely supported the introduction of ‘life skills’ as part of the school curriculum with a particular focus on money and money management, job preparation and domestic tasks, as well as dedicated courses to equip students with skills in technology, coding and artificial intelligence for future jobs.

Media release via email:

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

21 February 2019

First mammal declared extinct as a result of human-induced climate change (?)

This is an old fraud.  What is not mentioned below is that Melomys exists in their tens of thousands in neighboring areas -- both on islands and on the coast.  And I have not seen even the slightest attempt to show that the Melomys on Bramble Cay is in any way unique.  As far as we know it is essentially identical with the Melomys in neigboring locations.  So when the say that the Bramble Cay  melomys is extinct, it is just a slimy way of saying that Melomys is extinct on Bramble Cay, which of zero importance.

The most probable reason for the extinction is clear enough.  the cay is a sand island and some big storms in recent years have washed a lot of sand away, taking the vegetation with it.  So  there is not now enough vegetation to support even a rat.  Any connection to global warming is mere speculation

And the cay is only 34 miles South of New Guinea and New Guineans would undoubtedly eat them. Melanesians are poor but are excellent sailors. They normally have very little animal protein in their diet. There are no grazing animals in New Guinea.  They were probably all hunted to extinction thousands of years ago. So now all they have is their pigs and an occasional bird. And they can't feed enough pigs to slaughter one very often. So a Melomys would be a treat.

Also, In the past visitors to the island used to shoot them for sport.  So how do we know that someone did not do that recently?  It's an isolated area with no record of comings and goings

And if inundations were the cause, how do we know that global warming caused them?  Sea levels have been rising steadily ever since the Little Ice Age.

And if the factor was more extreme weather events in the area concerned there is no way global warming can be responsible because extreme weather events have in fact be declining on average world wide.  And even the IPCC declined to make a link between warming and extreme weather

And there have been many instances of species being declared extinct only for specimens suddenly to pop up again.  This is just opportunistic propaganda

This tiny rodent is the first known mammal to become formally extinct as a consequence of human-induced climate change.

The Morrison government, in Australia, changed the status of the Bramble Cay melomys from endangered to extinct on Monday, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Geoff Richardson, an environment department official, told Senate estimates on Monday night that research efforts since 2014 – “including a pretty rushed trip in 2015” – had failed to identify any melomys individuals in their only known location on Bramble Cay, a tiny Torres Strait island near Papua New Guinea.

Declaring its extinction “was not a decision to take lightly,” Mr Richardson said. “There’s always a delay while the evidence is gathered to be absolutely certain.”

The rat-like Bramble Cay melomys has not been spotted in its habitat, which is a sandy island in far northern Australia since a decade

The federal extinction listing comes almost three years after the Queensland government reached a similar conclusion, with a finding that the demise of the melomys “probably represents the first recorded mammalian extinction due to anthropogenic climate change”.

The limited range of the animal, living on a five-hectare island less than three metres high, left it vulnerable to climate change.

However, its 2008 “recovery plan”, drawn up when numbers were likely down to just dozens of individuals, downplayed the risks.

“[T]he likely consequences of climate change, including sea-level rise and increase in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, are unlikely to have any major impact on the survival of the Bramble Cay melomys in the life of this plan,” the five-year scheme stated.

Leeanne Enoch, Queensland’s Environment Minister, said the animal’s extinction showed “we are living the real effects of climate change right now”.

“We have consistently called on [Prime Minister] Scott Morrison and Melissa Price to show leadership on climate change, instead of burying their heads in the sand.”

Minister Melissa Price said: [It is] incredibly disappointing when any species is formally declared extinct, and everybody has feared the worst for some time, given the Bramble Cay melomys hasn’t been sighted since 2009.

“Our agencies will continue to focus their efforts on protecting species identified as priorities, supported by the Government’s $425 million investment in threatened species programs.”


Protesting kids ‘should be at school’

So far Question Time has progressed much as you would expect, with Labor asking about Michaelia Cash and Mathias Cormann, and pressuring the government to schedule more parliamentary sitting weeks.

One of the more interesting exchanges has come from Greens MP Adam Bandt and, of all people, Nationals leader Michael McCormack.

“Will you join me in congratulating the courageous school students going on strike on March 15, right around the country, calling for urgent climate action and the protection of Australia’s infrastructure?” Mr Bandt asked.

“Will you commend these young people and the 15,000 who went on strike last November, for taking time off school to show us what real leadership looks like?”

In short, no, Mr McCormack would not commend them.

“The children should be at school, that’s where they should be,” he said.

“They should be learning about Australian history, they should be learning about Australian geography, they should be learning about all the lessons that their teachers are willing to teach them.

“The member for Melbourne would do far better off advising those children to go to school and to stay at school.

“Who’s going to look after those kids when they’re out protesting? I know the Greens like to protest, because that’s all you ever bring to the national debate, protests and frivolous rallies.”

Mr Bandt eventually interrupted with a point of order.

“On relevance, perhaps the Deputy Prime Minister might also like to explain what the children should do with the science they’ve learned,” he said.

“Points of order aren't an opportunity to ask a supplementary question,” Speaker Tony Smith said, promptly shutting him down.


Firemen are banned from climbing ladders more than two metres high because they may fall off and hurt themselves

The galoot behind this should be given the boot

Firefighters at airports have been banned from climbing ladders more than two meters high during training in case they fall and hurt themselves.

Airservices Australia chief fire officer Glenn Wood confirmed the ban during a Senate Estimates hearing on Monday.

It means firefighters cannot practise climbing high ladders as required to fight a real fire in a highly stressful situation.

Mr Wood told the Committee for Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport that the ban was for health and safety reasons. 'We take the safety of our people very seriously and there is a risk of fall from height,' he said.  

'We've examined that issue and we've determined that at this time we will restrict our firefighters from climbing up a ladder greater than two metres so they can practise the necessary skills while we form a working group to look at alternatives.'

Wood said firemen can 'work with' high ladders but just can't climb them.

Alternatives such as using harnesses are being explored, the committee was told.

Airport firefighters have also been banned from using power saws - and now have to wait for local firefighters to bring different tools if they need to cut through material. Mr Wood described them as 'out of date' and 'a safety hazard for our people.' 


Double tax hit haunts near retirees

More than half a million Australians approaching retirement could suffer a double tax hit to their savings plans under Labor’s policy to axe franking credit ­refunds and curb negative gearing, new tax data analysis says.

More than 40 per cent of the 1.3 million people who already claim tax deductions on their rental properties are between 45 and 59, Australian Taxation ­Office figures show.

With an average rental loss of $9500, this group would also stand to lose the most from the scrapping of the scheme.

The government will claim that those already in the planning stage of their retirement would have two major retirement investment options taken off the table with the scrapping also of franking credit refunds, which are relied on by 900,000 Australians and mainly those in retirement.

While those already negatively gearing property will have their current arrangements grandfathered under Labor’s policy, the data reveals that people approaching retirement relied most on the tax deduction.

Negatively gearing property would be available in the future for only those buying new investment dwellings. The government argues that the impact would mean a significant investment option would be removed in the future for people planning for retirement.

Josh Frydenberg plans to ­revive the government’s campaign against Labor’s tax plans with a property industry roundtable this morning in Canberra hosted by the Property Council of Australia.

The council has warned against any changes to negative gearing or capital gains tax, claiming the risk was too great, considering the current cycle in the housing market.

The Treasurer will use the roundtable to muster support among industry groups, which include the Master Builders ­Association and the Real Estate Institute of Australia.

The ongoing analysis of the 2015-16 ATO tax data being conducted by Mr Frydenberg’s ­office has revealed that Labor’s twin tax policies were heavily weighted against middle-aged Australians approaching retirement and those who had already finished their working lives.

Those aged between 45 and 59 represented the largest group to lose money from the scrapping of negative gearing on established dwellings. This represents more than 525,000 Australians or 40 per cent of the 1.3 million Australians who claim rental losses on investment properties.

Of these, a total of 183,000 were aged 45-49, 183,000 aged 50-54 and 160,000 aged 55-59.

The ATO data is the same that has been used by the government on numerous occasions to attack Labor’s policies.

Mr Frydenberg said Labor’s “retiree tax” punished aspiration and no one would be hit harder by Labor’s housing tax than Australians approaching retirement.

“More than half a million Australians aged between 45 and 59 years of age will be worse off and have their hard-earned investment smashed by Labor’s changes to negative gearing,” he said.

“Not only is the proportion of those affected by Labor’s housing tax highest in this age group, their rental loss is the greatest too: the average net rental loss for those aged between 45 and 59 is around $9500, well above any other age group.

“This is the same age group that is working hard to put their ­retirement plans in place and who will also be punished by Labor’s ­retiree tax.

“In a double whammy for Australians approaching retirement age, not only will Labor raid their nest egg, they will also punish those who have invested in the housing market.

“As a retiree under Labor, if you own your home it will be worth less, if you rent a home it will cost you more and if you invest in shares you will earn less.”

An exclusive Newspoll published last week by The Australian showed strong opposition to Labor’s $55 billion plan to scrap franking credit refunds.

Senior Labor sources privately admit the so-called “retiree” tax is unpopular but have calculated it would impact mainly Coalition voters rather than their own.

Last week, Bill Shorten stood by the policy, despite increasing pressure to modify or scrap it, saying he was “not for turning” on the policy.

In response, Mr Frydenberg said: “Another saying of (Margaret) Thatcher would have been more apt: ‘The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money’.”

Labor says the tax measures ­address an imbalance in the system that favours the well-off.

It says only 2 per cent of Australians would be affected by the scrapping of franking credit ­refunds, while reducing the capital gains tax discount from 50 per cent to 25 per cent would mostly affect the top 10 per cent of income- ­earners.


 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 2019

Medevac revelation infuriates crossbench

Multiple crossbenchers are accusing the government of trying to “subvert” the will of parliament.

During Senate Estimates last night, officials from Peter Dutton’s Home Affairs Department revealed asylum seekers transferred off Nauru and Manus Island because of the medevac legislation would go to Christmas Island, not the mainland.

“Is it the intention, when people are transferred back to Australia under the provisions of the amendments that passed through the parliament last week, that they be transferred to Christmas Island?” Greens Senator Nick McKim asked.

“Yes,” Home Affairs boss Michael Pezzullo responded.

“It is?” Mr McKim said.

“Yes. That is the policy of the government,” Mr Pezzullo said.

“It’s the government’s policy to transfer people who are so sick that they can’t get appropriate treatment on Manus Island, or in Port Moresby, or in Nauru, to Christmas Island?” an incredulous Mr McKim asked.

“Yes,” Mr Pezzullo replied.

The revelation has sparked a furious reaction from Mr McKim, his colleagues in the Greens and independent MP Kerryn Phelps.

“The government is now defying the will of the parliament,” Greens MP Adam Bandt said this morning.

“I will support any no confidence motion moved against this trainwreck of a government. Kick this mob out.”

“This is a subversion of our entire model of representative democracy,” Dr Phelps said.

“The parliament, through its proper processes, clearly determined that people too sick to receive treatment in offshore detention should come to Australia, not Christmas Island, for specialised treatment.”


Climate change farce: How every Australian household contributes $200 a year to those lucky enough to be able to afford to put solar panels on their roof

Subsidies to pay for solar panel installation are set to add almost $200 to power bills across Australia.

The federal Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme together with state rebates - used to pay for subsidies to homeowners for installing solar panels - are set to rise by 45 per cent.

The cost to each household for the subsidy will soar from $134 in 2018 to $195 this year, The Australian reported.

Subsidies to pay for solar panel installation are set to cost almost each home almost $200 (stock image)    +2
Subsidies to pay for solar panel installation are set to cost almost each home almost $200 (stock image)

More than two million Australians use solar energy in their homes, and capacity is growing at 50 per cent each year.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the cost of small-scale technology certificates - used as an incentive for homeowners to install solar panels - made up three per cent of an average power bill.

Small-scale technology certificates are given to consumers installing solar panels and are then bought back by power companies.

Mr Taylor said Australia's biggest electricity retailers such as Origin, AGL Energy and EnergyAustralia were responsible for a bigger part of power bills.

'The big cost is the profits being taken by the big energy companies in the wholesale market, without innovation or new products, and it is time for them to deliver a fairer deal for their customers,' he said.

'According to the Australian Energy Market Commission, the small-scale technology certificate cost is less than three per cent of the bill, whereas 46 per cent is going to the big generator retailers.'

Solar panels are growing in popularity, with state governments offering incentives for installing them.

Victorians can set up solar in their homes for half the usual price under a scheme introduced by Premier Daniel Andrews' government, while in New South Wales Labor plans for 500,000 homes to have renewable energy technology in a capped rebate program.

The average price in Australian capital cities for a 5kW system is $5,100, according to Choice.

It takes from two to seven years for solar panel systems to begin to pay for themselves and allow homeowners to save money.


Leftist fanatic victimizes kids he is supposed to be teaching

A teacher at one of Australia's most prestigious schools ripped up drawings made by his Year 4 students during a lesson on Aboriginal history.

The Knox Grammar School teacher was giving his nine-year-old students a drama lesson when he asked them to draw their background, heritage and families.

Once completed, he then collected the works and proceeded to tear them up in front of the class.

His aim was to put his students in the shoes of indigenous Australians, claiming they felt the same way when everything was taken from them, The Australian reported.

A spokesman for the well-regarded school, which charges students up to $45,000 a year, said they did not support the teacher's actions.

'When the school became aware of the matter, it was immediately investigated. The teacher was extensively counselled and disciplined. The teacher has apologised to the students.

The spokesman went on to say Knox supports the teaching of indigenous culture and heritage, and will continue to delve into these matters in the classroom.

The manner in which this is undertaken, however, will be further examined.

The school said they will continue to strive for these sensitive subjected to be explored in an appropriate manner.  

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes also weighed in on the matter, stating he believed the school handled the situation correctly.

'Those sorts of things are clearly not age-appropriate and can be very distressing for young kids,' he said.


Somalian woman is found guilty of arranging for her two daughters, aged nine and 12, to have their genitals mutilated in Somalia

A Queensland woman has been found guilty of arranging for her two daughters to have their genitals mutilated in Somalia. The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denied she had taken the girls, then aged 12 and nine, to her birth nation in April 2015 to undergo the procedure.

She was convicted by a Brisbane District Court jury on Wednesday of two counts of removing a child from the state female genital mutilation (FGM). The jury deliberated for about 90 minutes before reaching their verdict.

The trial heard the woman, who had undergone a similar procedure as a girl, had her daughters endure FGM a few days after arriving in Somalia.

One of the girls was called inside from playing outside her grandmother's house and had no idea what was about to happen when she had the painful procedure. She was conscious throughout and it caused pain for days. Her sister was also subjected to the procedure, also with their mother by her side.

'(Their mother) had them in her care for the entire time. She was there when they were mutilated not long after they arrived in Somalia,' crown prosecutor Dejana Kovac said. 'She extended the trip to give them time to heal before returning to Australia.'

The family returned to their home in the Logan area, south of Brisbane, seven months later. Then the girls' stepsister tipped off child safety services.

The girls told Queensland police about their experiences, leading to the charges against their mother.

Female genital mutilation removes the clitoris and other parts of the genitalia, preventing those who have undergone it from experiencing physical sexual pleasure and theoretically increasing the likelihood of a girl staying a virgin until marriage, and taking away a motivation for extra-marital relations.

In a police interview, the woman said their trip had been to visit her mother and she'd done 'nothing' in relation to a genital mutilation procedure. Whatever had happened to the girls was 'from God', she said.


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

19 February 2019

Standing ovation for rock star psychologist

Ask the protesters, they’ll tell you that Jordan Peterson’s ideas are dangerous. Did that explain the police, the private security, the men with wands, the women shining torches into handbags, and the walk-through X-ray machines at the Opera House on Saturday?

No, they were there to protect Peter­son, whose aim was to give a lecture, and those who wanted to hear it.

The precautions held up the show by almost an hour. Peterson later joked he had just started to think his enemies had given up, and faded away.

“That may change at this Q&A next Monday,” the Canadian professor said, referring to his long-awaited appearance on the ABC’s flagship panel show on Monday, February 25.

More seriously, he added: “The people who have enmity for me? They’re done. They’re out of ammunition. I read a ‘hit piece’ these days, and I feel, oh, you’ve just copied that hit piece from two months ago.”

Peterson spoke for more than an hour at the Opera House, reducing himself to tears at one point. Like any rock star psychologist — that may be a pool of one — he received a standing ovation.

He was then whisked across town to speak for a second hour at a private, more intimate event hosted by former deputy prime minister John Anderson. It was at this event that Peterson revealed he agreed with some of what his opponents had to say: for example, he does think we all live in “an oppressive patriarchy”.

But what, he said, was the point in dividing men and women on the issue? “Race, gender, sexual orientation, they don’t matter that much,” he said. “They don’t ­matter anywhere near as much as the diversity of ideas.”

His aim, he said, was to lead people away from identity politics towards a future in which everyone was working together, in the main because he could without hesitation find a way to make ­anyone in the audience “an ­oppressor.”

“Maybe it’s because you’re male,” he said, to a person of colour. “Maybe it’s because you’re middle class,” he said to a woman.

Peterson was asked about the lack of faith in old institutions, and he put it straight back on the audience. “If you don’t trust your institutions, well, they’re your institutions,” he said. “Look in the mirror — the ­effectiveness of those institutions is down to you.” If you don’t like the way your bank, your church, your cricket team is behaving, in other words, do something about it.

If not you, then who?

Back at the Opera House, the crowd was split 55-45 on gender. There were guys who looked like they’d come straight from Harvard Law School; women who looked too young to be wearing so many pearls; silver foxes in six-button blazers; and pierced boys and girls with ripped jeans.

One protester carried a sign complaining about Peterson being “racist, homophobic”.

His warm-up guy, US political commentator Dave Rubin, took hold of that issue, telling the crowd he didn’t have the heart to tell him that “Peterson’s warm-up guy is married to a dude”.

Rubin later silenced attendees by asking: “Does anyone in this room have it worse than their grandparents?” “I almost never get a yes to that question,” he said, “because if you’re living in a free society in 2019, you are not oppressed.”


Sport Minister sorry for appearing to make fun of overweight people

Federal Sport Minister Bridget McKenzie has apologised for appearing to mock overweight people at a national obesity summit in Canberra.

The deputy leader of the Nationals apologised after being photographed puffing out her face and rubbing her stomach while standing next to a banner advertising Friday's summit.

Ms McKenzie blamed her actions on a bad reaction to breakfast.

"The issue of obesity is a matter I take very seriously and would never triavisie [sic] it - or to add in any way to stigmatisation," she tweeted.

"I sincerely apologise for this very unfortunate photo taken as I demonstrated how my stomach felt after scrambled eggs reacted w yogurt I had just eaten."


'Inner-city, green elitism gone mad': Farmers' fury after Labor MP blames 'meat-eating MEN' for climate change

Irate farmers have labelled a State MP a 'green communist' after she blamed 'meat-eating' men for climate change while praising vegans.

Lisa Baker, the Labor member for Maylands in Perth, told the State Parliament her Government should promote reduced meat consumption.

She went onto state meat-eating men tend to produce more greenhouse gas emissions than vegan women.

Gary Buller, who breeds Angus cattle in WA's south-west, said Ms Baker needs to get a 'grip on reality'. 'There is much too much emotion in this whole debate and not enough dealing with the facts,' Mr Buller told the West Australian. 'People with these views are away with the fairies — they are green communists.' 

Trevor Whittington, the WA Farmers chief executive, agreed with Buller. He believes Ms Baker's outspoken views were an example of 'inner-city, green elitism gone mad'. 'Her world is a simple one of vegans, good, meat eaters bad,' he said.

'We will watch with interest to see if she (Baker) manages to convince her colleagues to take her views to the next election.'

David Littleproud was equally scathing in his criticism, with the Federal Agriculture Minister saying Ms Baker's comments were 'laughable.'

A spokesperson for Ms Baker told Daily Mail Australia the State MP stands by her comments and clarified she wasn’t a vegan.


The PM suffered a humiliating defeat this week. Strangely, it might be the best thing to have happened in his political career

There is one simple thing that Scott Morrison could have done to avoid the excruciating embarrassment the government has suffered this week but he didn’t do it. Yet as a result of this failure he may have given himself his only possible chance of surviving as prime minister.

Meanwhile Bill Shorten’s parlour tricks have snowballed into a game of Russian roulette.

The government was clearly terrified of losing the medevac vote in the lower house, which convention suggests would have required the PM to call an election to get a mandate.

But if history has taught us anything about Australian politics it’s that conventions aren’t worth the paper they’re not printed on. Indeed, it was once a convention that a prime minister who had just led their party to victory might at least serve their first term before being knifed by their colleagues.

For every single parliament of the past 12 years, this convention has been massacred by mindless panic and so when the Coalition faced a slight threat from the medevac bill it naturally mindlessly panicked.

The government pulled out a bizarre technical defence, claiming the legislation was invalid because it had originated in the Senate but the panel appointed to oversee medical assessments would have to be paid and the constitution decreed that the appropriation of funds from Treasury could only originate in the lower house. In short, it was likening a couple of doctor’s bills to the Federal Budget.

Bizarrely, this made the Coalition’s position even more precarious, because if the bill had then passed the government, by its own reasoning, would have lost control over money bills. You only have to ask Gough Whitlam how that turns out.

Fortunately for the government, its strategy was a swift and abject failure. Shorten quickly amended the bill to ensure the doctors would work for nothing — which was not dissimilar to his approach as a union leader — and Labor won a massive victory.

Or did it?

The real story is that both major parties are so punch drunk from a decade of mauling that they no longer even know when they are giving themselves an uppercut to the head.

And in this case Labor appears to have forgotten that its key strategy for the last six years has been to painstakingly neutralise border protection as an election issue. Not only is the party internally divided but it is an issue upon which it cannot win. If people want to keep boats out they will vote Coalition, if they want to let them in they will vote Green. Labor has its legs crossed in the middle.

Its approach, therefore, has been to declare that it is lock-step in line with the government and quickly try to change the subject. Now, tantalised by the prospect of a rare parliamentary win, it has established a clear split which the Coalition will cheerfully drive into a gaping chasm.

All it would take is the boats to start up again and the race would suddenly tighten. A boat actually arriving on Australian territory could turn the tide of the whole election.

Of course the medevac bill doesn’t actually apply to any new boat arrivals but that’s the funny thing about people smugglers — they’re not really sticklers for policy detail. All they need is a message to sell and a willing audience to buy it. They’re a bit like politicians that way.

Indeed, full credit to Scott Morrison for telling security agencies to repel boat arrivals — a more cynical politician would give the order to let them in. A Budget surplus won’t be enough for the Coalition to beat Labor but a boat surplus just might be.

Let’s go back to 2001. John Howard was on the ropes. He had just introduced a GST and got beaten in the popular vote at the 1998 election. He was being smashed in the polls and the mighty Daily Telegraph — Howard’s favoured gauge for the national mood — had turned on him: “It’s the Petrol Tax Stupid!” one front page blasted. Another warned that if interest rates rose again it would be the PM who would lose his house. Then along came the Tampa.

Were it not for that boat, Labor leader Kim Beazley might have been prime minister for a decade. Instead his arch nemesis became a byword for political strength and stability.

The politics of people smuggling have been the same ever since. Once Howard stopped the boats, our hearts softened and we elected Labor in a landslide. Then when they started back up we swung back and elected Tony Abbott. And now that they’ve stopped again we revert back to our better angels.

We are a generous but cynical people. We want to be kind but we don’t want to be taken advantage of. We want to be compassionate but on our own terms. And if the boats start once more that compassion will be sorely tested.

And so the Coalition has been gifted a massive political weapon by an opposition too blinded by the treasure to see the dragon lurking beneath. More remarkably, the government has been so flailing it was batting away the very lifeline being thrown to it.

Nonetheless you can now see it dawning on the once lost souls. It’s a bit like watching the catatonic mental patients come to life in Awakenings.

But the greatest irony of all — if indeed there is any irony left in a political landscape where irrational is the new normal — is that Scott Morrison could have avoided the whole thing.

All the PM had to do is put a crossbencher in the chair as Speaker of the House of Representatives instead of wasting one of his own precious votes on the floor.

Morrison refused to give himself this buffer after becoming prime minister, seemingly due to a sense of warrior pride and no doubt some fear of payback from the Peter Slipper experiment. Or maybe all the independents just said no to a $150,000 a year pay rise, which even for six months is a nice little mortgage buster.

On Tuesday this was a catastrophic error of judgment. On Thursday it became a stroke of genius. Personally, I wonder if anyone put that much thought into it at all.

And so by losing the Coalition may have won and by winning the ALP may have lost. And no matter which side wins the rest of us lose because politics today is a contest that hinges on which party has the most misfires while trying to shoot itself in the foot.

The great Graham Richardson once observed that the golden rule of politics was that you never reward failure. These days failure gets a gold medal.


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

18 February 2019

Some members of a football team made up of Australian Aborigines refused to sing the Australian national anthem before a match against a New Zealand Maori team

The Australian national anthem was deliberately scrubbed of anything that might offend at the time of its adoption but whiners will always find something to whine about.

One wonders why it matters what Aboriginal sportspeople do. Aborigines are undoubtedly losers in Australian society so it is perfectly reasonable for them not to feel part of our national community.  Let them sing something else. 

There is a deliberately inclusive and quite popular Australian song called "We are Australians".  That should be a reasonable alternative to the national anthem if one is needed

I don't think much of that song myself.  It treats white settlement as a continuation of Aboriginal occupancy, which is both very poor history and very poor ethnography

NRL legend Mal Meninga has backed the Indigenous players who refused to sing the Australian national anthem in the lead up to the NRL All Stars game. 

As 'Advance Australia Fair' was played during the pre-game at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Friday night, more than half the of the side snubbed the anthem.

Meninga has since taken the controversy up a notch and put out a call for the anthem to be changed.

'We've had the national Sorry Day so Australians — all Australians — are very aware of our national history, maybe more aware than they were before. So we can have a national debate and let the people of Australia have their say.

'If we have a national anthem that offends our Indigenous people, let's see what all of Australia thinks.'

The NRL also copped criticism for choosing to play the national anthem in the lead up to the match in light of heavy criticism from NRL great Anthony Mundine.

'The anthem was written in late 1700s where blackfullas (sic) were considered fauna (animals) Advance Australia Fair as in white not fair as in fair go,' Mundine wrote on Facebook.

'All players aboriginal & non aboriginal should boycott the anthem & start changing Australia's ignorant mentality … lets move forward together yo.'

Indigenous skipper Cody Walker said post-match that he wasn't comfortable with a version of the Australian anthem being played at the game.

'To be honest no (it shouldn't be played) – it just brings back so many memories from what's happened and I think everyone in Australia needs to get together and work something out,' he said.  'It doesn't represent me and my family.'

The strong opposition to the national anthem divided those watching on TV at home, with plenty taking to social media to have their say on the stance.

'Reconciliation is a two way street... (but) I didn't see one aboriginal sing the national anthem,' one man commented.

'Pretty disappointed to see most of the Australian Indigenous team not sing our national anthem. The Maori boys sang theirs,' another said.

But while some disagreed with the stance, others claimed it was inappropriate to be playing the national anthem at a game involving two indigenous sides.

'Why on earth would you sing the commonwealth-based Aussie anthem in an Indigenous game?' one woman wrote on Twitter.

But just minutes after more than half the team had refused to sing the anthem, they united on the AAMI Stadium turf for a war dance.

Led by their 21-year-old star Mitchell, the players performed the impressive dance to cheers from the local crowd.

By contrast the majority of the Maori All Stars team sung the whole of New Zealand's national anthem, which includes a Maori verse.

The Indigenous All Stars defeated the Maori All Stars 34-14 in front of 18,000 fans.


Sexist male-bashing on Marriage at First Sight

Bettina Arndt

I’m delighted to see the fuss which has broken over the cringeworthy but incredibly popular national TV show "Married at First Sight" which broadcast a woman fiercely berating a man on multiple occasions without any comment from the show’s relationship "experts" condemning the behaviour. Then, the first time the man stood up for himself, he was called out for his crude language.

It highlights the grip of feminism on public debate over domestic violence in this country, where even the mildest emotional abuse from a man to a woman is labelled ‘domestic violence’ whilst male victims of serious physical violence inflicted by women receive no support, no public sympathy and are often treated as perpetrators.

Now, in what is hopefully a sign that ordinary people have had enough of these double standards, there’s been an outcry over the show with calls that Channel 9 should sack Mel Schilling, the relationship expert who criticized the man’s crude language after ignoring the foul tirade from his wife.

Yet look at this inane comment from the television channel’s producer, who said he was “shocked at the backlash Mel has received for defending another woman”.

“There were 12 women in the room that night and a man used language that was highly insulting and inflammatory in reference to his wife,” he said in a statement to 9 Honey. “Mel acted in the only way appropriate by calling out the language — language that is not ever considered acceptable anywhere, anytime.”

These powerful men don’t get it. They still think they can get away with virtue-signalling to the noisy minority group of feminists, ignoring the genuine complaints of the majority who are fed up with unfair treatment of men. Please help sign the petition and teach these people to wake up.

Yes, I know it is a storm in a teacup over a stupid television show but a rare opportunity for the public to say we have had enough!

Email from Bettina:

Teachers to have their university debts waived if they work in remote indigenous communities

To bad if they get assaulted, burgled and raped.  It does happen

Teachers who work in remote indigenous communities will have their university debts waived under a new initiative to be announced today.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will launch a $200 million program to keep indigenous children in school and attract teachers as part of reform to the Closing the Gap process.

The latest report card on Closing the Gap will be made public today and is expected to confirm a decade-long failure in the program, with only two of the seven targets on health, education, employment and life expectancy being met.

Mr Morrison told The Australian he would unveil a new three-tiered education program after recommendations made by Tony Abbott, the government’s envoy on indigenous affairs.

It will include wiping the HECS/HELP debt for 3100 teachers who commit to working for four years in one of 292 remote schools.

Children would also be supported to enter secondary education including through mentoring.

The Closing the Gap report will show that while efforts to get more indigenous children into early education are on track, improvements to life expectancy, infant mortality and employment rates are not.

Mr Morrison will say the targets need to be revised to make states and territories more accountable and give indigenous Australians more say.

“The Closing the Gap targets have been well-intentioned but ‘top down’, so it was always doomed to fail in both its ambitions and also its process,” Mr Morrison will say in a speech today.

“It didn’t genuinely bring on board states and territories in making sure they have accountabilities and sharing the objective and process with indigenous Australians.”

Mr Morrison will say the current method of measuring targets actually masks progress, discouraging further efforts.

For example, child mortality among indigenous Australians has decreased 10 per cent since 2008. But the target is not on track because the non-indigenous figure has declined at a faster rate.

The “refresh” of the Closing the Gap targets, initially set out in 2016, will ask indigenous Australians to develop their own.

The changes will also hold different levels of government to account and include new priorities on housing, employment, family violence and land and water rights.

State governments will be obliged to make annual public statements on the areas they are responsible for, such as health and education.

“Ensuring that the states and territories are a part of this … I think, will significantly improve the process,” Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion told ABC radio.


NSW government projects big jump in coal shipments

The Greenies are squawking but in view of Australia being a relatively short and direct sail from Japan, Korea, China and India, the projection is a reasonable one and may be understated.  Asia still likes coal

The Berejiklian government is projecting NSW will sharply increase coal shipments over coming decades, a forecast increase at odds with international climate goals and its own target for the state to reach net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century.

Figures used for the NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023 and obtained by the Greens, show transport projections out to 2056 also imply thermal coal use will increase by 2036 - even though four of the state's five remaining coal-fired power plants are scheduled to have closed by then.

Annual shipments of coal for domestic power generation would rise from 23 million tonnes in 2016 to 24 million tonnes in 2036. They will drop only to 21 million tonnes by 2056 - a date well beyond the expected life of all existing plants.

The government's figures, prepared in 2017-18 by Transport for NSW's analytics team, are even more bullish about exports of both thermal and coking coal.

The former is forecast to rise steadily from 139 million tonnes in 2016 to 158 million tonnes by 2056, counter to expectations that thermal coal use will have to be cut if Paris climate goals - including net-zero emissions by developed nations by about 2050 - are to be met.

Coking coal, used to make steel, would almost double over the 40 years to 47 million tonnes by these predictions.

Even though nations burning NSW coal are accountable for the resulting emissions, the extraction and transport of the fossil fuel are sizeable contributors to the state's own pollution. The Berejiklian government has an aspirational goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

The NSW Minerals Council says the state is well-placed to grab a share of increased Asian demand for thermal coal that might top 400 million tonnes by 2030, citing researcher Commodity Insights.

But Tim Buckley, an energy analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said growth forecasts for coal imply the world ignores the Paris targets.

"Under its Sustainable Development Scenario, the International Energy Agency forecasts seaborne thermal coal would decline by 65 per cent by 2040, and cease by 2050," Mr Buckley said.

"It is telling that NSW government forecasts for coal demand are entirely consistent with the 'forecasts' of the Minerals Council of Australia, a group that releases a 50-page 2018 report forecasting a rosy picture for thermal coal demand over the coming decades, but without even mentioning climate change," he said.

Mr Buckley said Japan currently takes 44 per cent of the state's thermal coal exports but major companies are already planning to reduce coal use. Itochu, a trading giant, last week announced it would stop developing new coal-fired power plants and thermal coal mines - a move marking "a major pivot" for the company, he said.

The NSW Minerals Council is pushing for NSW to back new coal-fired power plants, saying "multiple sets of polling conducted by the industry show greater than 60 per cent support", according to its election policy priorities.

A spokeswoman for Transport for NSW said it was "uncertain whether the existing coal power stations in Australia are being closed down without like-replacement". "The Commonwealth government is considering the bids, which include coal-fired power stations," she said.


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

17 February, 2019


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG deplores the medevac legislation

Heat on Australian Bureau of Meteorology over data records rewrite

Odd that Warmist revisions of the temperature record always make the past colder.  If the revisions really were corrections for errror, we would expect that some records of the past would show up as warmer occasionally.  It doesn't happen.  The "errors" are systematic. Jennifer Marohasy has shown on a few occasions that their "adjustments" are unreasonable.  Her comment on the latest fandango is here

The Bureau of Meteorology has rewritten Australia’s temperature records for the second time in six years, greatly increasing the rate of warming since 1910 in its controversial homogenised data set.

Rather than the nation’s temperature having increased by 1C over the past century, the ­bureau’s updated homogenised data set, known as ACORN-SAT, now shows mean temperatures have risen by 1.23C.

Bureau data shows the rate of mean warming since 1960 has risen to 0.2C a decade, putting the more ambitious IPCC target of limiting future warming to 1.5C close to being broken.

Homogenisation of temperature records is considered necessary to account for changes in instrumentation, changes in site locations and changes in the time at which temperatures were taken. But the bureau’s treatment of historical data has been controversial. In recent years there have been claims that the organisation was treating temperature records in such a way that left it exposed to accusations that ideological pursuits had trumped good scientific practice.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott unsuccessfully pushed for a forensic investigation into the bureau’s methods.

A number of reviews of the ­bureau’s network equipment and its temperature data handling have been carried out. A technical panel found the homogenisation methods used were largely sound.

But a key recommendation, to include confidence levels or error margins in the data, remains ­unfulfilled. A BoM spokesman said work was under way on a number of scientific papers looking at uncertainty and confidence intervals for temperature data ­observations, adjustments and national averages. “This work will be made available to the public following ­thorough peer review,” the spokesman said.

The bureau had fiercely defended the accuracy of its original ACORN-SAT data. But more ­recent analysis, including the ­removal of rounding errors, has effectively increased the rate of warming by 23 per cent, compared with the earlier homogenised ACORN version-one data.

Detailed technical information on the ACORN-SAT ­update was published late last year, but there has been no public ­announcement of the revised data, which is now considered the official national average temperature record. A bureau review of the ­homogenised data said the new version had “increased ­robustness and greater spatial ­coherence”.

The updating of the ACORN-SAT data coincided with the ­release last October of a new version of US weather agency NOAA’s global land temperature data set.

A bureau spokesman said ACORN-SAT version two was the bureau’s “improved official homogeneous temperature data set”. The new data set benefited from “the numerous scientific and technological advances which have occurred over the past six years, as well as the ­insights and recommendations from an independent ACORN-SAT technical advisory forum”.

“It also contains new data which was not previously available when the bureau developed the first data set,” he said.

The bureau said the updates had been independently peer-­reviewed, and the findings were that the methodology was “rigorous and reliable”.

Scientist Jennifer Marohasy said that while version two of the data had used the same set of 112 stations as had been used in version one, the data had been remodelled relative to the raw data and also relative to the remodelled version one.

The bureau said the data in version two was subjected to two rounds of homogenisation, as had been the case with version one. “In total, 22 of the 966 ­adjustments applied in version two of the ACORN-SAT data set arose from this second-round procedure,” the bureau said.

A technical analysis of ACORN-SAT 2 by the bureau said 1910-2016 trends in Australian temperature were about 0.02C a decade higher than those found in version one. It said rounding errors in version one accounted for much of the new trend.

Dr Marohasy said the bureau had not explained how it could have generated a 23 per cent increase in the rate of warming, just through updating the official ACORN-SAT ­record.

The maximum-temperature trend from 1910 to 2016 at the 112 ACORN-SAT weather stations is now an increase of 0.116C a decade. It was 0.09C a decade in the earlier homogenised data.

The minimum-temperature trend is now an increase of 0.13C a decade, compared with 0.109C in ACORN-SAT 1.

The bureau said improved ­accounting for the widespread relocation of sites out of towns during the 1990s and 2000s, and the incorporation of recent data from new sites, were also substantial contributors.

Dr Marohasy said movement of sites was meant to be part of the adjustments made in the first version of the data.

“The incorporation of data from new sites may account for some of the 23 per cent increase,” Dr Marohasy said, “because the bureau have opened new sites in hotter western NSW, while closing higher-altitude weather stations, including Charlotte Pass in the Snowy Mountains.”

She said there had been no proper analysis of the effect of changing from manual to automatic weather stations.

The bureau said no evidence was found of a significant systematic impact arising from the change from manual to automatic weather stations. It said that ACORN-SAT 2 had increased robustness and greater spatial coherence, especially for minimum temperatures.

The new data records are likely to be seized upon by green groups in the lead up to the federal election.


Border security policy not based on ‘racism’ and ‘hate’

It was one of the more naive propositions from a journalist so far this year. On Tuesday, ABC TV 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales interviewed Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on border protection. The specific focus was on the Labor/Greens/independent bill that passed the House of Representatives, concerning medical evacuations of refugees and asylum-seekers currently on Manus Island and Nauru.

After apologising for continuing to interrupt, Sales put it to Dutton that, following the new legislation, a people-smuggler would now have to refine the product on offer to asylum-seekers who are based in Indonesia or nearby. According to Sales, the new offer would be as follows: “OK, you can get on a boat to Australia, but there is a very high chance that you will be turned back. If you’re not turned back, you might be sent to Nauru and Manus Island. If you’re there, you might be able to get two doctors to sign off on a medical evacuation for yourself. The minister might allow that to happen. If you get to Australia, you might be able to lodge a court action and find yourself staying in Australia.” She added: “That doesn’t sound like a very attractive product.”

How naive can you get? For starters, people-smugglers — who grow rich on the misfortune of others — are not truthful. They highlight the chance to success, not the possibility of failure. And certainly not the likelihood of drowning.

Any perceived weakening in Australian border protection makes it easier for people-smugglers to sell their product. When prime minister John Howard and Tony Abbott put up the red flag, the boats stopped coming. When Labor’s Kevin Rudd moved the sign to amber, some 50,000 asylum-seekers reached Australia by boat in around five years. It is estimated that some 1200 of the 50,000 drowned at sea.

It was Rudd who put asylum-seekers on Manus Island and Nauru when he replaced Julia Gillard as prime minister in the lead-up to the 2013 election. And it was Abbott — with the assistance of first Scott Morrison and then Peter Dutton — who effectively stopped the boats for what has now amounted to six years.

It is perfectly understandable that some Australians feel sympathy for asylum-seekers and refugees in detention. However, it should be remembered that virtually everyone who arrives in Australia by boat has taken part in a secondary movement. In short, they are not fleeing immediate fear of death or persecution at the place from which they embarked on their sea journey.

Take a young Iranian man currently in offshore detention, for example. He probably will have flown, on a valid passport, from Iran or close by to Jakarta with the expressed intention of engaging a people-smuggler to reach Australia. Meanwhile, refugees in the UNHCR camps in parts of Africa and Asia, who cannot afford to pay people-smugglers, have to wait until places are found in such nations as the US, Canada and ­Australia.

Many Australians who strongly oppose unauthorised boat arrivals do not object to our generous refugee and humanitarian intake, currently running at about 17,500 a year.

Also, the decision of the Abbott government to accept a special intake of some 12,000 victims of the civil war in Syria was widely accepted and appears to have been successful.

In other words, there are well-meaning people on both sides of the debate. It is understandable that some Australians believe that detainees on Manus Island and Nauru should be accepted immediately in Australia. And it’s understandable that some focus on the likely unintended consequences of well-meaning actions.

However, anyone arriving in Australia on Tuesday and turning on ABC TV’s The Drum would not get this impression. The program’s co-presenters Julia Baird and Ellen Fanning like to describe The Drum as being long on respectful discussion and short on rhetorical aggression.

This was not the case on Tuesday, when former race discrimination commissioner Tim Soutphommasane let fly at the Coalition policy on border protection in general and its opposition to the medical evacuation legislation — which will give medical practitioners in Australia a significant role in determining which refugees and asylum-seekers will remain in offshore detention.

Soutphommasane described the government’s decision to re-open the detention centre on Christmas Island as “flicking the switch to fear”. He depicted this as the “foreshadowing of some race politics to be played later this year”. Later, he labelled some of those whom he disagreed with as racists engaging in hate. Baird did not contest his assertions.

Soutphommasane’s Drum appearance followed the publication by MUP of his booklet On Hate. This is a profoundly partisan treatise. The author sees hatred as rampant in Australia but defines it as related to identity. He depicts non-white Australians as the target of hate — along with women plus “gays, lesbians or transgender people”.

Soutphommasane is so ideologically blinkered that he only sees hate in right-of-centre or conservative circles. He ignores the reality of anti-Semitism. Hatred of Jews was once the preserve of the extreme Right. Not any more. Anti-semitism is rife within left-wing or left-of-centre politics. I You would never know this from reading On Hate.

Likewise, Soutphommasane ignores the hate and ridicule directed at conservative Christians. And he overlooks the violence and threats of violence directed at right-of-centre individuals.

Unlike journalists and commentators, democratic governments have to make decisions and resolve problems. It’s all too easy to shout “racist” or “hate” when a government moves to enforce border security and, as a consequence, eliminate or reduce drownings at sea. And it’s all too easy to believe that people-smugglers are truthful traders.


Misreading the data will not help the teachers

Outdated teaching methods based on disproved theories remain widespread despite the abundance of good and easily available information on effective, evidence-based instruction.

The gap between research and practice is an enduring and critical challenge in education — nowhere more so than in how to teach reading. Many children in developed countries with high levels of education spending have low literacy when almost all children can learn with good instruction.

What is preventing the uptake of proven teaching methods in classrooms? The Reading Recovery program gives an almost perfect illustration. It is arguably the most widely used intervention for children who need such support in the early years of school.

Developed in New Zealand by Dame Marie Clay in the 1970s based on her theories about how children learn to read, it is used in thousands of schools around the world. Its advocates are strongly committed to the belief that it helps the children who participate. Its critics say that there is no good evidence that the program works, and its teaching methods do not reflect what we now know about how children learn to read.

In this case, lack of evidence doesn’t mean lack of research. Reading Recovery has been the subject of dozens of studies over several decades.

Much of the research is low quality in terms of evidence standards. But some recent research is more rigorous, including longitudinal studies published in Australia, the US and England in recent years.

A large Australian study published by the NSW Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation in 2016 involved more than 20,000 students. It found that children who had participated in Reading Recovery in Year 1 performed worse on the Year 3 NAPLAN reading assessment than a matched sample of students who had not participated in the program. That’s right. Worse.

After up to 20 weeks of daily one-to-one 30-minute lessons with highly trained teachers, these children ended up with lower reading ability than peers who had similar reading ability at the start of the study.

As a result, after years of ignoring researchers in Australia and New Zealand who had been loudly and unswervingly warning that Reading Recovery was not effective for most students, the NSW government finally stopped providing dedicated funding for it.

Nevertheless, despite some of the clearest findings in educational research, public and non-government schools around Australia have continued to fund the program from discretionary budgets. They are convinced that it works, and any new piece of research that appears to confirm that belief is seized upon.

New findings published in Britain last year would appear to vindicate the loyalty of Reading Recovery acolytes. In reality, however, it only proves the lengths that Reading Recovery supporters will go to in order to defend it, even to the extent of obfuscating data.

The latest UK Every Child a Reader study, conducted by academics from University College London and funded and published by the KPMG Foundation, was launched with great fanfare at the House of Lords in December. The report claims to show that Reading Recovery in Year 1 was responsible for high scores in the General Certificate of School Education 10 years later.

The KPMG Foundation commissioned an economic analysis which estimated a £1.2 billion ($2.2bn) boost to the economy if all struggling readers were given Reading Recovery.

However, closer scrutiny of the latest report revealed a methodological mystery — a group of students present in the five-year follow-up study published in 2012 were missing from the 10-year study. The missing children comprised an entire group of more than 50 students (about 20 per cent of the sample) who had formed a second comparison group in the original study and in the
five-year follow-up. The omission of this second comparison group is neither acknowledged nor explained in the 10-year study report.

Why is this a big deal? Because the data from the missing second comparison group completely undermines the conclusions drawn in the published report.

To explain: In the original study, there were three groups of students. Two groups of students came from a set of Reading Recovery schools. Some of the students in the Reading Recovery schools did Reading Recovery in Year 1 (RR group) and some did not do Reading Recovery (RRC). A comparison group of students was drawn from a set of non-Reading Recovery schools (CC).

In the five-year follow-up study, the three groups were compared on their results in the Key Stage 2 (KS2) curriculum tests, taken in Year 6 of primary school. There was no statistically significant difference in the KS2 scores of the two groups of children in Reading Recovery schools (RR and RRC). Both of these groups had significantly higher KS2 scores than children in the non-Reading Recovery schools (CC).

That is, in Year 6, the children in Reading Recovery schools outperformed the comparison students irrespective of whether they actually participated in Reading Recovery.

This indicates that any advantage of the students in Reading Recovery schools was not attributable to participation in Reading Recovery — it must have been due to something else about those students, those schools, or both. In the published version of the 10-year follow-up study, only two groups are compared — the students who did Reading Recovery (RR) and the comparison group from non-Reading Recovery schools (CC).

The students in Reading Recovery schools who did not do Reading Recovery (RRC) are omitted. The RR group had markedly higher GCSE results than the CC group, allowing the authors to conclude that “the positive effect of Reading Recovery on qualifications at age 16 is marked in this study and suggests a sustained intervention effect.”

Having remembered that the five-year study was much less straightforward and conclusive, I wrote to the lead author of the study — Jane Hurry — and asked about the missing group. The professor replied with the explanation that she had written two versions of the 10-year follow-up study, one that included the second comparison group results and one that excluded them. KPMG Foundation chose to publish the latter.

Hurry readily provided me with the copy of the alternative unpublished version of the 10-year follow-up report. It shows that there was no difference in GCSE scores between students in the set of Reading Recovery schools who had done Reading Recovery and those that had not (the missing RRC group). Both of these groups had significantly higher scores than the children in comparison schools.

Again, this means that the higher GCSE scores of children in the set of Reading Recovery schools was not due to participation in Reading Recovery. Children from the same schools who had not done Reading Recovery had performed just as well.

Tolerance for poor evidence standards in education is not a victimless crime. The total cost of implementing ineffective reading programs is much larger than the budget allocated to teacher training and teacher time.

There are enormous and tragic opportunity costs for the children involved, with profound impacts on their educational achievement and wellbeing.



Australian tribunal finds that Muslims are not a race.  So criticism of them is not racist

TV host Sonia Kruger vilified and stereotyped Muslims living in Australia during a controversial segment on Channel 9’s Today program, but she did not racially vilify Muslims because religion is not a race, a tribunal has judged.

Nine has said the network is standing by its star.

The Nine Network was taken to the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NSW CAT) by Sydney man Sam Ekermawi after he saw a segment on Today on 18 July 2016 where Kruger said no more Muslims should be allowed into Australia “because I want to feel safe”.

On the show’s Mixed Grill segment, Kruger and co-hosts Lisa Wilkinson and David Campbell discussed a newspaper opinion piece by News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt on Muslim immigration within Europe.

The discussion came just days after an attack in the French city of Nice perpetrated by a Muslim terrorist that saw 86 people killed when a truck slammed into revellers at a Bastille Day celebration.

Talking to Wilkinson about whether Australia’s border should be closed to Muslim immigrants, Kruger said: “Personally, I think Andrew Bolt has a point here, that there is a correlation between the number of people who … are Muslim in a country and the number of terrorist attacks.

“Now I have a lot of very good friends who are Muslim, who are peace-loving who are beautiful people, but there are fanatics.

“Personally I would like to see it stopped now for Australia. Because I want to feel safe, as all of our citizens do, when they go out to celebrate Australia Day.”

Later Wilkinson asked Kruger to clarify if she really “would like our borders closed to Muslims at this point?”.

“Yes I would. I think we have something like 500,000 (Muslims) now in our country … but for the safely of the citizens here, I think it’s important,” Kruger replied.

Mr Ekermawi complained Kruger’s comments amounted to racial vilification.

The tribunal said the comments went “beyond simply a fair report of Andrew Bolt’s article”. “(Kruger) provided her own views and commentary on the issues and these additions were not just opinion, they were vilifying remarks in their own right,” it said.

Mr Bolt’s article, the tribunal noted, said that “the number of Muslims in the country does not tell the full story” and that Germany might have faced fewer attacks because many Muslims who had emigrated there had come from Turkey, a country with a more western outlook. However, a similar distinction was not expressed by Kruger.

“In particular, we refer to her remarks that all Muslim migration should be stopped now ‘because I want to feel safe, as all of our citizens do, when they go out to celebrate Australia Day’,” the decision read.

“Ms Kruger could have expressed her comments in a more measured manner to avoid a finding of vilification. For example, she could have referred to the need for Australia to engage in greater security checking of people wishing to migrate who may happen to be Muslims and the need to prevent a drift towards radicalisation among Muslims currently in Australia, rather than simply stating that 500,000 Muslims represents an unacceptable safety risk which justifies stopping all Muslim migration.”

Overall, the tribunal accepted that the discussion was in the public interest and Kruger and Nine “were acting in good faith without malice and not for an improper purpose”.

But the tribunal said they could not accept Kruger’s statements were “reasonable” and appeared to be “unsupported by any evidence or material”.

“A type of stereotyping was being made in … that all members of this ‘Muslim community’ were tarnished as potential terrorists or sympathisers of terrorism,” it found.

The tribunal said Muslim Australians face discrimination and Kruger’s comments could have stoked this.

“Some ordinary members of the Australian population already harbour feelings of hatred towards, or serious contempt for, Australian Muslims as a whole. In our view, such feelings or emotions would be encouraged or incited among ordinary members of the Australian population by Ms Kruger’s remarks.”

“I want to make it very clear that I have complete respect for people of all races and religions. I acknowledge my views yesterday may have been extreme,” she said. “There is no simple answer here and if we are to find a solution, at the very least we need to be able to discuss it.”

The tribunal dismissed Mr Ekermawi’s racial vilification claim chiefly because it could not find grounds for a religion being a race. “The evidence does not support a finding that Muslims living in Australia are a ‘race’ by reason of a common ethnic or ethno-religious origin.”

However, the NSW CAT said had the definition of race been different: “we would have found that both of the Respondents engaged in racial vilification of the Australian Muslim community.”


 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 2019

Men are rated as better teachers of some university subjects and people from foreign countries are rated as less successful teachers generally

A lot of Leftist bias here.  All men (and women) are not equal!  Horrors! That the Dean of Science at UNSW wants to "smash" things sounds very Trotskyite. Why is anybody surprised that men are better at teaching some things and that people who don't speak English well are rated as less successful teachers in general?  Only a Leftist would be surprised

Students are more likely to rate male university teachers higher than their female counterparts in some areas of STEM and Business, according to Australia’s largest review of student experience surveys.

The study, published today in PLOS ONE, examined almost 525,000 individual student experience surveys from UNSW Sydney students from 2010-2016 across five faculties. It is the first study to examine the interaction between gender and cultural bias.

“These results have enormous flow-on effects for society, beyond education, as over 40% of the Australian population now go to university, and graduates may carry these biases with them into the workforce,” said Associate Professor Yanan Fan, lead author on the study and statistician from UNSW Science.

The study showed that in Business and Science, a male teacher from an English-speaking background was more than twice as likely to get a higher score on a student evaluation than a female teacher from a non-English speaking background. In Engineering, there wasn’t a significant swing against female teachers, except male English-speaking teachers were 1.4 times more likely to get a higher score than teachers in all other categories.  For Medicine, local students were more likely to give lower scores to female teachers from non-English speaking backgrounds.

“In the Business and Science faculties in particular, male English-speaking teachers have the highest probability of getting the highest possible grade at six, out of six possible scores,” Associate Professor Fan said.

In Arts and Social Sciences, there was no statistically significant bias against female teachers. The results suggest that where there is a larger proportion of female teachers, such as in Arts and Social Sciences, there is less bias. Bias was observed, however, against male non-English speaking background teachers when evaluated by local students.

“The results show universities must be models of equity and diversity in order to breakdown inequalities that persist in even the most progressive of workplaces,” said Professor Merlin Crossley, UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic.

Dean of Science at UNSW and co-author of the study, Professor Emma Johnston, says encouraging more women at the professorial level, in leadership positions and in membership of key committees will help shrink these biases.

“We need to continue to support women at all levels of academia in STEM across Australia, in order to smash stereotypes that create the partiality that exists within our community.”

Media release. Contact: Lucy Carroll,

Radio newsreader sacked for ‘great big black b**tard’ on-air gaffe wins $30,000 payout

A radio newsreader’s on-air use of the words “great big black b**tard” to describe pop singer Michael Jackson’s father were inappropriate but “did not amount to a racial slur” worthy of sacking, a tribunal has ruled.

Peter Hand, a journalist with Campbelltown’s C91.3FM in Sydney’s southwest, was let go from the local radio station last year after he accidentally used the phrase during a discussion with afternoon presenters Christian McEwan and Annabella Leone.

The Fair Work Commission heard that the newsreader would sometimes interject with lighthearted “fact checking” outside of the periodic news bulletins.

On the day in question, the hosts were discussing news that Joe Jackson had been hospitalised, when McEwan asked whether they were talking about Michael Jackson’s father Joe or the British musician with the same name.

“Hold on, wait,” McEwan said to Leone. “Is Joe Jackson his dad, or is he that guy that sings Is She Really Going Out with Him? You know that song?”

During the brief back-forth, Hand cut in, “Joe Jackson is a pale little … fellow … and Jackson, the father of Michael, is a great big black b**tard.”

“But they’re both called Joe, right?” McEwan asked.

Immediately realising his mistake, Hand said, “I don’t know, but, ah, you don’t want to be confused. And when I say b**tard I mean he’s a b**tard, it’s on the record. He treated his kids badly and … that’s what caused Michael’s problems.”

The King of Pop’s father Joe died of pancreatic cancer aged 89 at a Las Vegas hospice on June 27, 2018.

The trio quickly moved on from the comments but Hand later asked to come back and make an on-air apology stating, “Anyone who knows me would know that I did not mean it the way it could be taken”.

“He was, and it’s fully on the record, that he was a terrible man to his children and in many ways,” Hand said. “So what I said was to … to highlight that, not to highlight anything else. I am personally upset about what came out but, ah, I apologise.”

Hand was sacked for breaching sections of the Commercial Radio Code of Practice relating to racial discrimination and offensive language, and for failing to “promptly” report the incident to management.

He filed an application for unfair dismissal, with Fair Work senior deputy president Jonathan Hamberger this week ruling in his favour and ordering compensation.

“I am not satisfied that, when viewed in its proper context, it is accurate to describe what the applicant said as a ‘racial slur’,” Mr Hamberger said in his decision.

“The term ‘black b**tard’ is deeply objectionable because it implies either that the person in question is reprehensible because he or she is black, or that black people are generally reprehensible.” But it was “quite clear” from listening to the audio, Mr Hamberger said, that Hand was “not using the phrase in this way at all”.

“It was, in effect, not in dispute that the person in question was reprehensible, but there was some doubt about his identity,” he said.

Hand had “tried to point out” that the singer was white “while the reprehensible person in question is black”. “It is completely clear that no racist slur was intended,” he said.

“Michael Jackson’s father was reprehensible because of the way he had (allegedly) treated his children — it had nothing at all to do with his colour.”

Mr Hamberger said that while the conduct “did not amount to a valid reason for dismissal, it was nevertheless misconduct”.

“He should not have used the words he did, and he should have reported the incident more promptly,” he said. “Accordingly, I have decided to reduce the amount of compensation payable by $15,000, leaving a figure of $29,084 plus superannuation.”


Up to 300 asylum seekers reportedly have medical advice ready to support transfer to Australia

Up to 300 asylum seekers are reportedly ready with medical advice to allow their transfer to Australia following the passing of new medevac laws, amid fears the changes could spark an influx of boats.

According to The Australian, the government has received advice that up to 300 refugees and asylum seekers in Nauru and Manus Island had obtained medical recommendations in anticipation of the changes.

The bill that was passed by parliament yesterday, will allow refugees and asylum seekers already on Nauru and Manus Island to ask for a transfer to Australia if two doctors recommend it.

Federal sources have also reportedly told 9News that up to 14,000 asylum seekers in Indonesia could attempt the dangerous journey to Australia after the new laws were passed.

Opposition immigration and border protection spokesman Shayne Neumann was asked on 7.30 last night whether security agencies had advised Labor the medevac bill would increase boat traffic to Australia.

Mr Neumann confirmed Labor took a briefing with the security agencies but said he wouldn’t reveal the classified information, unlike the government.

“We treat those briefings confidentially with respect,” he said.
But he said Labor changed its position and strengthened the bill as a result of the advice, but appears not to have consulted security agencies again after making the changes.

7.30 host Leigh Sales wasn’t satisfied saying there was a key point that needed to be clarified.

“Either they warned you that this bill could increase boat arrivals and you acted in defiance to that, or they didn’t warn you of that, in which case the government’s lying about that advice and using the national security agencies for political gain — so which is it?” she said.

Mr Neumann responded that the government was lying about “a whole range of things”. “The government’s lying repeatedly about Labor’s position on border protection and they are the marketing tool currently for people smugglers,” he said. “It’s a disgrace the way the Prime Minister and the Minister for Home Affairs are actually encouraging people smugglers.”

Sales asked whether the new law would set a legal precedent that would allow future asylum seekers to argue they should be afforded the same rights.

“I won’t speculate what lawyers in the future might argue,” Mr Neumann said. “I can tell you what’s happening right now. “There are 900 people who have been brought here from Manus and Nauru by this government for medical and other reasons. That has not resulted in Operation Sovereign Borders collapsing. It has not restarted the people smuggling trade and this legislation will not do so. The only way that will happen is if this government encourages it to happen.”

Yesterday Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced he would reopen Christmas Island and ramp up border security patrols due to concerns the changes would restart the people-smuggling trade and trigger an influx of asylum seeker boats.

Boat arrivals have dropped dramatically since the government began turning back boats from Australia’s borders and some asylum seekers told the Sydney Morning Herald this was a more effective deterrent than putting people in detention centres.
But asylum seekers have still continued to try and make the journey, with the Guardian reporting that at least 10 alleged attempts to transport almost 300 people to Australia by boat had been blocked at international ports in the 14 months to November 2018.


Gang of six African men break into a Melbourne home at 4am and bash the homeowner with a golf club before fleeing in a stolen Mercedes

All in aid of "diversity"

Six young men are on the run after breaking into a Melbourne home, bashing a father with a golf club and then fleeing in his luxury Mercedes.

The gang, described by police as being African and aged between 16-22, broke into the Maribyrnong home through the back door at around 4am on Thursday. 

A man aged in his 50s was brutally beaten in front of his terrified wife and eight-year-old daughter, who were left traumatised unharmed.

The men then stole the couple's white Mercedes-Benz B class wagon and fled the scene.

The man was rushed to hospital where he remains in a serious condition.

Neighbour James Tedesco, said he saw three young men running away from the property. He told the Herald Sun: 'They were on foot and screaming out. One of them looked to be holding some goods.' 'I would have said they were 16-22 (years old), young thin boys.'

'There were boys running initially, then the car and then some more boys following the car. Then it came back and picked some more boys up.'

Mr Tedesco said the victim's wife was yelling 'he's bleeding' as other neighbours helped while the police were called. 

Detective Sergeant Mark Anderson told 3AW radio: 'Their eight-year-old daughter appears to be quite traumatised by it.' 'She has stated she's seen three offenders and she's obviously just got a lot of questions as to why things happened.'

Det Serg Anderson says it appears the attack may be random, but occupants of the house still need to be interviewed.

The stolen vehicle has the registration 1JC1SV. The vehicle has yet to be found.


 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 2019

Australia's Aboriginal problem

Lots of people think "we" should solve it.  Fine.  Let them tell us what to do.  They cannot. It has all been tried before over many years and, as you read below, nothing works. The sitution tends to get worse rather than better.  Only the missionaries ever did any good and they have been banished long ago

It’s a bright Broome morning with a big, blue, cloudless sky, and I’ve just seen a kid defecate on the town oval. He’s about six or seven years old and, once his business is done, he wanders back to sit with a group of women who are drinking in the shade outside the Broome Visitor Centre.

It’s 11am. I’ve been in town about 15 minutes. This was not in the brochure.

The last time I was in Broome was 25 years ago. Like so many who come to this Kimberley town which welcomes the itinerant and tourist dollar, I lived and worked here for a while before moving on.

Whenever someone asks me what it was like to live in one of Australia’s most beautiful – and most marketed – tourist hotspots, I always tell them the truth: it’s impossibly gorgeous to look at, but the social problems in the town far outweigh any tourist attraction.

There was shocking domestic violence and child abuse; there were huge groups of people drinking all day on the oval before they passed out on the footpath; and there were people with nowhere to live, ‘camping’ in the dunes near Chinatown and sleeping in parks and reserves.

More than two decades on, I’d hoped these issues had been resolved, or that there’d at least been some improvement.

That there has been neither resolution nor improvement – it’s worse now than I remember it being in the 90s – is not only horrifically sad, it’s bordering on criminal neglect.

Findings by State Coroner Ros Fogliani following an inquest into the suicides – including two in Broome – of 13 Indigenous children and young people in the Kimberley released last week laid bare the "urgent need to understand the deep inequalities giving rise to the current poor state of wellbeing of Aboriginal people in the Kimberley Region".

The Coroner referred to the "tragic events" as having been shaped by the "crushing effects of intergenerational trauma and poverty upon entire communities".

It’s very easy to sit in our comfortable homes in big cities and commentate on the plight of a group of people plagued by endemic social dysfunction and think we’ve done our bit by signing a petition or changing our Facebook profile picture to an Aboriginal flag.

But how many of us have seen for ourselves the living conditions and intergenerational trauma cited by the Coroner that prompted the need for – another – inquest into Indigenous youth suicide?

How many have made the effort to not only try to understand why so many Aboriginal kids are taking their own lives, but to actually do something about it?

Even the fact that anyone has done this is still not cause for congratulations. Because here we are again. Another inquest, 10 years after the last one.

Whatever we’re doing to try to help this situation is not working. We are failing these people.

Thomas King runs the Kullari Patrol in Broome. The Kullari van picks up intoxicated people and makes sure they either get home, or to the local ‘sober-up’ shelter, or at least to somewhere safe.

Mr King does not think there will be a need for another inquest into Indigenous youth suicides in 10 years. He thinks it will be much sooner. And he is perfectly placed to make such a reckoning. He’s seen it all on the streets of the tropical town, and what he’s seen isn’t pretty.

“This is a town rife with hopelessness,” Mr King tells me.

I believe him. I can see it with my own eyes.

Liquor restrictions in surrounding towns and communities has made Broome a hub for those who want to drink.

I met some of them over the past few days; alcoholics for whom one drink is both too much and never enough.

Their stories make for heartbreaking reading. But they’re not unique to Broome.

It’s the context of this setting that is particularly jarring: crystal-clear blue water, pearls and palm trees sell one side of the town, while these people remain just far enough from our peripheral vision that we can justify averting our gaze.


Coal firm blamed for flooding beyond its control

The floods in North Queensland were greatly in excess of normal expectations

The Queensland Government is investigating whether Indian mining firm Adani has breached its environmental licence for the second time in two years with the release of coal-laden floodwaters from its coal port at Abbot Point in the state's north.

It comes as Adani revealed it did not apply for an emergency permit to dump more polluted water into the sensitive Caley Valley wetlands during the north Queensland floods last week.

The company told the ABC that Abbot Point operators were confident they could manage floodwaters with new infrastructure, but were then overwhelmed by flows from neighbouring properties.

Adani's own testing showed water released into the wetlands on February 7 had almost double the authorised concentration of "suspended solids", which included coal sediment.

But Abbot Point Operations chief executive Dwayne Freeman said their testing showed the water with 58 milligrams of sediment per litre, and that this was not "coal-laden sludge".

"This is a very minor elevation in total suspended solids ... we are confident there will be no environmental impacts to the wetlands area, despite this unprecedented weather event," he said in a statement.

A spokesman for the Department of Environment and Science (DES) said it was awaiting test results on water samples taken by its own officers on February 8.

The spokesman confirmed Adani's environmental authority for the port "imposes a maximum limit of 30 mg/L".

"DES will consider the results from the laboratory analysis along with other information in relation to the release event before making any determination as to whether or not the company has complied with the environmental authority conditions for the site," he said.

"Concurrent with the specific investigation into the release during the recent weather event, DES also continues to implement a long-term monitoring program in the adjacent Caley Valley wetland to determine whether any adverse impacts on environmental values is occurring."


Christmas Island detention centre to be RE-OPENED with fears Australia will be flooded with illegal refugee boats - after Labor's medical treatment deal passes parliament

Scott Morrison is significantly ramping up border security patrols and reopening Christmas Island to guard against a feared influx of asylum-seeker boats.

The prime minister warned changes to fast-track medical evacuations for asylum seekers held offshore, which passed against the government's wishes on Wednesday, could restart the people-smuggling trade.

'My job now is to ensure that the boats don't come,' he said. 'My job now is to do everything within my power, and in the power of the government, to ensure that what the parliament has done to weaken our borders does not result in boats coming to Australia.'

The prime minister denied his ramped up rhetoric played into the hands of people smugglers. 'I'm standing between people smugglers and bringing a boat to Australia,' he said.

Mr Morrison announced the re-opening of Christmas Island as the Senate narrowly passed new laws fast-tracking medical evacuations for asylum seekers, 36 votes to 34.  

The transfers only apply to the existing cohort of refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru but the Government has warned the move sends a dangerous signal to people smugglers.

It also sets the stage for an election, due in a few months, fought on border security. Mr Morrison pledged to reverse the laws if the coalition was re-elected at the poll expected in mid-May.

He argued people smugglers did not deal with the nuance of the 'Canberra bubble' but rather the psychology of messaging about 'stronger' and 'weaker' borders.

The government lost a historic vote in parliament on Tuesday night - the first time a sitting government has lost a vote on its own bill for the first time in 78 years.

The refugee transfer laws were passed in the House of Representatives by 75 votes to 74 after Labor was joined by the Greens and all independents except Bob Katter.

It then passed through the Senate on Wednesday.


France maintains it will deliver Australia's $50 billion 'Barracuda' submarines on time

Famous last words?

France's visiting Defence Minister has assured Australia the future submarine program will run on time, despite a similar build project running three years late in her country.

On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was joined by French Defence Minister Florence Parly to sign a long awaited "strategic partnering agreement" to underpin the $50 billion Future Submarine project.

The signing came after months of tense negotiations between Australian defence officials and representatives of French state-owned company Naval Group.

Last year the ABC revealed the Federal Government had grown so frustrated with Naval Group that Defence Minister Christopher Pyne refused to meet top officials who were visiting Australia.

In her only interview before flying home to Paris, Ms Parly acknowledged "cultural differences" with Australia over the defence project but also talked up the strengthened friendship between both nations.

"Of course there are cultural differences. You are an Anglo-Saxon country, with an Anglo-Saxon legal tradition — we are a more Latin country, but I think that the teams worked very well together," Ms Parly said.

"It will have a great impact on Australian economy and Australian jobs but it also tightens the links in our two countries. "It is important that democracies that share values can go farther and build the future together."

In France, Naval Group has faced serious delays with another submarine project, the construction of new 'Barracuda' nuclear-powered submarines.

Despite Naval Group's three-year delay with its project in France, Ms Parly says there will be no flow on effects for Australia's program. "It's very much related to the nuclear part of our submarines and related to new norms and controls that did not exist before," she said.

"There is no risk in my view, that the Attack Class submarines be delayed. "The negotiators spent a lot of time, making sure that all the provisions are there, that there are no risks, and I don't see any risk of failure."


 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 2019

Bettina Arndt on Heather Mac Donald

Bettina's most recent report below. She opposes the feminist demonization of men, particularly in Australia's universities


"What a lonely job, working the phones at a college rape centre. Day after day, you wait for the casualties to show up from the campus rape epidemic. But hardly any victims ever show up"

Pretty funny, eh?  That’s the provocative idea which introduces Heather Mac Donald’s chapter on the campus rape myth from her new book, "The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine our Culture".

It’s typical punchy stuff from a woman who has had long, impressive career as a writer and commentator. Heather Mac Donald is currently a contributing editor to City Journal and a fellow at the Manhattan Institute. She’s an outspoken commentator, for instance taking on lies in the ‘black lives matter’ narrative when speaking out about criminal justice reform and race relations, immigration and policing.

I was delighted to talk to her recently, particularly about her strong views on gender politics and the universities, an area where we have had remarkably similar experiences and similar concerns. Experiences like facing a howling mob of protesters at a university campus. My regular viewers will know the riot squad was brought in last year at Sydney University to remove protesters denying entry to the venue where I was supposed to be talking about the fake rape crisis. Heather was prevented from giving a talk about racial issues at Clairmont University – she ended up speaking to an empty room while the police protected her from the baying mob.

I’m very alarmed about the grip of the campus rape myth in Australia and thought it was timely to have Heather Mac Donald explain how this manufactured feminist scare campaign was used in her country to bully politicians into setting up tribunals where so many young men were falsely accused and thrown out of their universities – with dire consequences for the higher education sector, particularly when many of these students successfully sued over the failure of the colleges to protect their legal rights. 

This is exactly where we are heading in Australia – which is why I wanted Heather to reveal the dire consequences for male students if we fail to stand up to this orchestrated campaign.

I’m sure you will be impressed by her passionate, articulate presentation of this important issue. Please circulate my video (

And read Heather’s book. Her detailed description of the armies of diversity bureaucrats now running American colleges will send shivers down your spine.

Don’t let the wicked witches win!

I’m really concerned that feminist campaigners are winning round after round in this battle. Look at our Deputy Opposition leader Tanya Plibersek’s promise to remove funding from universities which fail to promote the rape crisis, or the Union of Students promise to provide funding for activists opposing my talks on campus. Most recently we have seen our notorious feminist domestic violence organisation, OurWatch, in league with the universities to promote this nonsense.

We need to get active on this issue. Please write to your MP’s, contact people you know in universities, talk to students, write comments on online newspapers, contact editors over articles promoting the rape crisis. I’m going to attach a few documents to help you, outlining recent events in Australia. I’ll include evidence regarding university regulations which have recently been introduced to adjudicate rape cases – without proper legal protections for the accused and using lower standards of proof. Plus a list of articles outlining recent key events.

I’ll soon be announcing the first of my campus tour stops this year. I hope some of you will be able to come along and support me. I have big plans for Sydney University. It’s infuriating that we have heard nothing about the progress of my complaints about the protesters. Clearly, they hope I will just go away – but they have another think coming.

Finally, my YouTube Q&A is happening this Wednesday, February 13.

Yes, I know this was supposed to take place last week. I’m so sorry I didn’t manage to let you all know we’d been forced to postpone it. Here’s the link for the YouTube session 

Subscribers can visit this page now to receive notification when the Q&A goes live.

Via email from Bettina:

Bill Shorten in backdown on borders

Bill Shorten has secured support from the Labor caucus for a retreat on the refugee medivac bill, amid ­concerns the draft laws championed by Kerryn Phelps could lead to the dismantling of offshore processing and allow Scott Morrison to fight the next election on national security.

After backing the laws through the ­Senate last year, the Labor caucus last night endorsed key amendments, aimed at strengthening ministerial oversight of doctor-ordered refugee medical transfers.

But the Prime Minister moved to set up a parliamentary ­showdown for today, ruling out government support for the medivac legislation backed by independents and the Greens “in any form”, making clear he would not be concerned by a historic defeat on the floor of the House of Representatives.

He warned the bill would compromise government control over who entered Australia, take the nation “backwards” and risk thousands of lives at sea. “It’s not who wins or loses a vote,” Mr Morrison said. “The only test is: will Bill Shorten cave in and undermine our border protection by passing this bill in any form?”

The possibility of a split ­between the major parties over tough new terrorism laws also emerged last night.

Penny Wong told Labor MPs that the opposition was “likely to issue a dissenting report” against a bill that would strengthen the government’s ability to cancel the citizenship of dual nationals who had been convicted of terrorism offences. The bill would remove the requirement for a person to be sentenced to at least six years imprisonment in order to be eligible for the stripping of their Australian citizenship.

The government’s legislation was referred to the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security last November. This would be the first time Labor members of the committee have issued a dissenting report, setting up another pre-election battle with Mr Morrison over national security.

Labor’s backdown on the medivac bill has reopened factional splits over border protection after it passed through the partyroom without a vote.

The Australian understands left-wing MP Andrew Giles spoke out against the amendments, saying that Labor should not support leaving sick people on Manus and Nauru, and back the medivac bill without further changes.

The Coalition will oppose all of Labor’s amendments, meaning the opposition will need six of the seven crossbenchers for the overhaul to succeed in the lower house. North Queensland MP Bob Katter has said he will vote against the bill.

Greens MP Adam Bandt voiced his disappointment at Labor’s change in position.

The Greens will meet this morning to discuss their position but are understood to be concerned that Labor’s changes, which could be debated in the lower house as soon as today, will render the shake-up ineffective. “I am angry that Labor is once again caving in when it comes to refugees,” Mr Bandt said.

Following security briefings from the Department of Home ­Affairs and Australian Border Force, Mr Shorten yesterday ­settled on three principles aimed at toughening the medivac bill. They included broadening the definition of national security — which presently includes ­espionage, sabotage and attacks on defence assets — to cover ­serious crimes.

Despite claiming that ministerial oversight of refugee transfers was guaranteed, Labor last night agreed to give the minister greater discretion to reject proposed medivacs on character grounds. Advice to government from ­intelligence agencies and the ­Australian Government Solicitor has warned that the minister would be powerless to prevent medical transfers for those convicted of serious offences, including rape and murder.

The ALP caucus last night also agreed that the new medical transfer laws be limited and apply only to those currently being held on Manus and Nauru. It would not apply to new arrivals. Labor sources said this was a non-negotiable position that would be a key factor in addressing concerns that the medivac bill would restart the people-smuggling industry.

Labor would also either abolish or extend the 24-hour period for ministerial consideration of candidates for medical evacuation.

In December, Labor senators supported the medivac bill through the upper house. The bill was designed to hand doctors ­vastly enhanced powers to decide which asylum-seekers or refugees could be brought to Australia

Mr Morrison yesterday used an address to the National Press Club in Canberra to criticise the medivac bill as a step that would take Australia “backwards” and compromise government control over borders by empowering doctors. “The Australian government will run our borders,” Mr Morrison said. “That’s who will run our borders under our government and that’s how it will always be under our government.

This is the problem with Bill Shorten on national security, on borders or anything else. He thinks it’s something you trade on. He says; ‘Oh, let’s find the middle ground.’ No, no, I’m going to stand on the right ground.

Crossbenchers including Dr Phelps did not rule out supporting an amendment to give the ­immigration minister complete discretion.  “Until we receive anything we can’t consider (it),” Dr Phelps’ spokesman said.


NSW Greens push for mandatory solar and batteries for all new homes

As if new house prices were not unaffordable already for average workers

The bidding war among NSW political parties over solar panels has been joined by the Greens who want photovoltaic systems and batteries to be made compulsory for all new dwellings.

The Greens would also introduce a $2000 rebate for the introduction of panels plus storage for half a million homes as part of $1.25 billion boost over four years for the sector.

All public housing and government buildings would get panels too at a cost of $250 million, with 110,000 public housing tenants in line to receive electricity rebates, according to the Greens' policy aimed at the March 23 state election.

“It is negligent that in 2019 we have over 70,000 new dwellings in NSW every year and no requirement for solar panels on these developments," Cate Faehrmann, the Greens environment spokeswoman, said. Owners of new dwellings would pay into a renewable energy offset scheme as an alternative to adding panels or storage.

The Greens' policy follows Labor's launch on Saturday of its plan to support 500,000 households get solar, with a rebate capped at $2200 for households with annual income of $180,000 or less.

The Berejiklian government followed a day later with the release of a scheme offering no-interest loans for solar energy and batteries for as many as 300,000 owner-occupied households.

For those living in flats or renting, the Greens would set up an offset scheme to buy credits for solar arrays on their building or offsite. Some 20 per cent of all private dwellings in the state are apartments, while about 32 per cent of residents are renting - people who are currently "locked out of the benefits of roof top solar,"  the Greens said.


Outback oil Australia's 'best immediate prospect' for domestic production

That's according to Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan, who has declared the NT's Beetaloo Basin as "the best immediate prospect" for a major new national oil and gas hub.

"Twenty years ago we had 96 per cent of our petroleum produced domestically in a raw product form," Senator Canavan said in Darwin.

"Now we can only meet about half of our petroleum needs from domestic sources of production, and in a continent as large as ours I hope we can find another oil and gas province to replace [Tasmania's] Bass Strait.

"The best immediate prospect we have, across all of the onshore and offshore areas, is in the Beetaloo Basin, and that's fantastic news for the Northern Territory."

It follow's briefings to investors in December and January by some of the oil and gas companies with exploration permission in the huge area, stretching from Mataranka to Elliott, that they intend to target "liquid-rich" shales.

'Important for national security'

Senator Canavan said there were "a lot of people excited about the potential for liquid production in the shale fields of the Beetaloo Basin".

"And that could help return us to self-sustainability in oil, which is very important for our national security," he said.

In December last year Origin Energy told investors that this dry season it would carry out an appraisal "targeting liquids rich gas" in the Kyalla and Velkerri rock formations in the Beetaloo Basin in the middle of 2019.

Falcon Oil and Gas last month said that along with dry gas, it would assess the potential of the liquids-rich Kyalla and Velkerri formations.

Origin Energy said it is not drilling for oil, but that it expects to produce "ethane and propane which is LPG or bottled gas, butane which is used as fuel in lighters, or condensate".

"The rigorous processes and controls we have in place — including those being applied following the Pepper inquiry — are also no different whether the source is predominantly natural gas or 'dry gas' — or liquid rich," a spokesman for the company said.

NT minister to seek briefing

New Northern Territory Resources Minister Paul Kirby said he was not sure why the Pepper inquiry did not consider liquids.

"I'm not sure about the detail of some of that. Obviously I'll get up to speed with issues that are going on in the Beetaloo as quickly as I possibly can, but as to the exact detail of that, I'll have to get a brief around what people are exactly exploring for," he said.

He did not expect new regulations to be any impediment to the resumption of exploration within a few months.

"There won't be any regulation that will impede people's progress, the companies will be able to progress, and start exploration over the coming months, as long as they have met all the requirements that they need to meet," he said.

The Australian Petroleum Production And Exploration Association said the risks and mitigation measures for fracking for gas and oil were the same, so the inquiry's recommendations on gas could also be applied to liquids.

"There are no risks associated with producing either oil, or some of these liquid forms of gas that differ from the production of dry gas," APPEA's Matt Doman said.

He said liquids could be a cherry on the cake of a gas operation.

"Liquid-rich gas brings with it additional revenue streams, and increases the royalty streams that would go to the Government. We're keen to ascertain whether that is a potential here," 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

12 February, 2019

The key moments from Scott Morrison’s appearance at the National Press Club

Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke at the National Press Club today, where he focused on reframing the debate about Australians’ security.

Mr Morrison pledged to combat cyber-bullying, help victims of domestic violence and boost the nation’s military. But other topics were on the agenda as well. Here are the Prime Minister’s words on all the key issues.


Mr Morrison said “disappointment” was “not a strong enough word” to express his feelings towards those advocating changes to asylum seeker policy, citing his time as immigration minister under Tony Abbott.

“I lived through those horrible years when the bodies were piling up, and I vowed to myself when I came to government, when Tony was prime minister, that we were never, ever going to allow this to happen again,” he said.

“And what is happening in our Australian parliament right now, it may be entirely well motivated. I’m not making any judgments about people’s motivations here. In fact, quite the opposite.

“But what I am doing is — they do not know what they’re playing with. They have no idea of the consequences of what they are playing with. And they will unleash a world of woe again. How do I know? I’ve seen it before. And I never, ever want to see it again.”

He rejected any suggestion that he and his frontbenchers had been misrepresenting the contents of the bill on asylum seeker medical transfers.


The Prime Minister was asked whether he wanted to see anyone from the banking and financial services sector go to jail in the wake of the royal commission’s report.

“Well, in this country, it’s courts that are going to determine that. That’s how it works,” he said.

“Everyone should face responsibility for their actions and be accountable for what they’ve done, and matters have been referred off for ASIC and the others to take forward, and they’ll be pursued and they’ll end up in court, I have no doubt, and then the courts will decide.”

Mr Morrison spruiked a couple of the government’s policies, including the Banking Executive Accountability Regime and the creation of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

“So there are a lot of actions I can take to ensure people face accountability and face justice and we’re taking those actions,” he said.


The mortgage broking industry reacted angrily to the banking royal commission’s recommendations, which would essentially up-end their business model.

Mr Morrison tried to ease its nerves.

“The mortgage brokers understand, with the cautious way we’ve responded to the report, that we understand the important role that they play in the community,” he said.

“The royal commission has recommended some changes that will need to be absorbed over time, and they can be absorbed if they’re done in consultation. But I want to see as many mortgage brokers in this country, five years from now — in fact, more than there are today.

“I don’t want to see this sector wither on the vine and be strangled by regulation that would throw them out of business, but more importantly, would deny choice and competition in the banking system.”


A large focus of Mr Morrison’s appearance was his government’s commitment to security - not just national security, but Australians’ personal security.

That included new measures to combat cyber-bulling.

“A few weeks ago, I had the great privilege as Prime Minister of awarding Kate and Tick Everett the honour of being local Australians of the Year. Kate is with us today. She’s up the back. Give her a round of applause,” he said.

“Every Australian parent can only try to begin to imagine the pain of Kate and Tick when they lost their daughter, Dolly, to online bullying just over a year ago.

“Through Dolly’s Dream, they are transforming what I can only describe as indescribable grief into a force for change to protect the children of our country.

“For parents, it used to be a warning of stranger danger for kids as they played in the front yard or on the nature strip. The online world has opened up a place for children — a terror of parents everywhere, including me and Jen.”


In a similar vein, the Prime Minister promised more support for victims of domestic violence.

“Women in Australia, are still the targets of violence, abuse and disrespect. And this must stop,” he said.

Mr Morrison praised Kelly O’Dwyer and Paul Fletcher for their work in this area.

“Where immediate action is needed, we have delivered. And that includes committing a further $20 million just in the past year for 1800-RESPECT.”

He announced a $60 million investment in emergency accommodation and $18 million for the states and territories to keep women and children safe in their homes.

“We can’t ask women and children to leave dangerous homes if they have no other place to go. And where it is safe, women and children survivors should be helped to remain in their homes and in their communities. You’ve got to be safe in your own home,” he said.

“We’ve listened to the front-line workers and survivors throughout the consultations we’ve had over the past year, and that is why one focus of our measures also, we will be announcing soon, will be on prevention. On changing the attitudes to violence and helping those who think that violence is an option to stop.

“This new commitment will build on the more than $350 million our government has invested since 2015 to stop this violence against women and children.”


Young football player Hakeem Al-Araibi, who was accepted into Australia as a refugee, is still languishing in a Thai prison as he fights a request to extradite him to Bahrain.

Mr Morrison has written to Thailand’s prime minister twice on the matter, adding his voice to the public campaign to get Mr Al-Araibi freed — but so far, without success.

“The only thing I’m concerned about right now is getting him home. I want to get Hakeem Al-Araibi home,” he said.

“I know that (Foreign Minister) Marise Payne has been working with the consulate and others from DFAT. And our Australians of the Year, the international sports community, others, have been making this case. But they’ve been making it respectfully, been making it carefully and I will continue to do that as well.”

The Prime Minister urged Australians to be patient.

“It’s not my job to get upset, it’s my job to get him home and that’s what we’re working towards and we will keep doing that.

“But I would ask Australians, who I know desperately want to see him come home, that we have to manage this carefully. We have to be patient. It’s not a straight up and down issue. I know it looks like one. Most issues do. But you know, to solve them requires a lot more patience and a lot more diligence, and that’s what we’re applying to this.”


Confronted with the Liberal Party’s record of knifing two sitting prime ministers, Mr Morrison insisted voters could trust his promises would be implemented.

“I think there’s a great myth that is going around about what happened in 2013. The Labor Party had quite a few prime ministers, that’s true — and they weren’t very good! We’ve had three good ones, I would argue!” he said.

“What happened in 2013 was that the Labor Party were thrown out because they were a very bad government. They had manifestly stuffed it on so many points, it was embarrassing.

“Now, people can rightly say that we’ve had three prime ministers — that is true. What they cannot say is that we’ve mismanaged the finances. They cannot say that we’ve mismanaged the Budget or the economy. They cannot say that we’ve mishandled the borders or failed to invest in the Defence Forces or secure our position in the Pacific and the broader Indo-Pacific region.

“The great myth of the 2013 election was that Labor was thrown out only because they had too many prime ministers. They were thrown out because they were a joke in government and they will be again. And let me tell you why — they have learned nothing. Absolutely nothing.”


The Prime Minister was asked whether he would acknowledge that climate change was leading to more frequent extreme weather events.

“I don’t know if I agree with your reasoning,” he said. “We have a clear commitment to reduce emissions to 26 per cent by 2030. So that is our response. We are taking action on climate change.

“I acknowledge it’s a factor. Of course it is. Australians do. The vast majority of Australians. But the issue is how you achieve it.

“We believe you need sensible, achievable targets to address climate change, and we have them and we’re achieving them. What we disagree with is having reckless targets that shut down your economy and take people’s jobs, which is what Labor proposes.”


Today the long-awaited $50 billion contract for a French company to build submarines in South Australia was finally signed.

Off the back of that, Mr Morrison was asked whether he would consider building a new naval base in the state.

“Look, our plate is pretty full,” he replied with a chuckle, before going on to praise the shipbuilding deal.

“I said this morning with the other ministers, this is vision. This is what it looks like. People say I want you to have some vision. How about turning 1.5 per cent defence spending into 2 per cent by 2021, and engaging the biggest recapitalisation of defence forces since the Second World War?

“That’s vision and it’s not just vision — it’s happening. It’s happening right now.”


Perspective on the extraordinary 2019 flooding in Townsville

Extraordinary floods go back a long way

A new study examines how unusual meteorology interacted with topography and other local conditions to generate some of the most devastating floods in American history.

A new study categorizes the 1903 Heppner Flood in eastern Oregon, shown here, as a “strange flood,” which stems from uncommon flood agents or extreme conditions. Credit: National Weather Service
By Aaron Sidder  4 February 2019

On 14 June 1903, a massive swell of water overwhelmed the small town of Heppner, Ore., killing more than 250 people. Ordinarily, floods are reported in probabilistic terms: A 10-year flood, for example, describes streamflow conditions that have a 10% (1 in 10) chance of occurring within any given year. But the Heppner Flood was so extreme that it defied standard descriptions. At its peak, the flood was more than 200 times larger than the discharge of a 10-year flood.

“Strange” is not an adjective commonly applied to floods and other natural disasters, but Smith et al. argue that it may be the most appropriate descriptor for extreme and unusual flooding. The Heppner  Flood, they argue, may have been one of the strangest floods on record. It was triggered by an intense hailstorm in June, in a region where spring snowmelt typically drives peak annual streamflow. These conditions are characteristic of strange floods, which they define as extreme events triggered by circumstances that contrast with the common flood-generating mechanisms in a region.

The researchers examined extreme floods across  several decades in the conterminous United States, using annual flood peak observations from more than 8,000 U.S. Geological Survey stream gauging stations. They developed a statistical framework they call the “upper tail ratio,” in reference to the upper tail of a statistical distribution, where rare events reside. The upper tail ratio is defined as the peak discharge for a flood of record, divided by the stream’s 10-year flood magnitude. The 1903 Heppner Flood registered an upper tail ratio of 200, topped only by the 1976 flood caused by the bursting of the Teton Dam.

The team discovered that record floods share many traits. In the western United States, severe flooding is linked to mountainous terrain and intense thunderstorms; in the east, it occurs in coastal regions susceptible to tropical cyclones. Major floods also have a different seasonal distribution than annual peak flow events:  Annual flood peaks across the United States tend to have winter or spring maxima, whereas the strange floods in the upper tail nearly always occur in the warm season.

In addition to the analysis of floods across the United States, the authors provided a case study of the Blue Mountains, the setting for the Heppner Flood and other strange floods in the 1950s and 1960s. In the case study, they examined the hydrology, hydrometeorology, and hydroclimatology of the extreme floods in the region.

Strange floods are the least expected and most damaging floods, but their infrequency can make them difficult to study. The analysis offers insight into extreme floods and provides a platform for comparing floods around the world to those in the United States. (Water Resources Research,, 2018)


Boats battle: Labor eyes asylum deal

Scott Morrison faces the potential loss of two critical votes on the floor of parliament this week, with Bill Shorten considering support for a newly amended version of the medivac asylum-seeker bill before moving swiftly to force a vote on extending parliamentary sitting weeks in response to the banking royal commission.

The Prime Minister will escalate his attack today on Labor’s border protection credentials ­before tomorrow’s return of parliament with a headland national ­security speech in which he will accuse the Opposition Leader of learning nothing from the tragic failures of the past.

“I know what compromise and poorly thought-through change can do to this policy,” Mr Morrison will say in his first address this year to the National Press Club.

“Labor proposes to do both, again. They have learned nothing from their failures. They will ­abolish regional processing as we know it. Our plan is simple. We won’t change it. Labor will.”

Mr Shorten will seek to bring a swift end to debate over border protection with the possibility that a vote could be brought on as early as tomorrow afternoon. Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo will brief the Labor leader this morning on the implications of the medivac bill before a shadow cabinet meeting to consider any changes to Labor’s position and potential amendments that could strengthen ministerial discretion.

Labor’s caucus is due to meet today at 6pm to consider the cabinet’s position, with some left-wing Labor MPs demanding the opposition support the medivac bill as is, while others call for Labor to abandon it altogether.

It is now likely Labor will draft its own amendments to those that passed in the Senate last year that sought to supplant departmental and ministerial discretion over medical transfers of asylum-seekers and refugees to Australia with an independent panel of doctors. But last night Mr Morrison was defiant, declaring: “This bill is completely unnecessary,” he said. “If anything, it takes border protection backwards.”

In what is shaping as a ­potential turning point in pre-election positioning by both major parties, Mr Shorten will seek to move as early as Wednesday for a vote in the house on ­extending parliamentary sitting weeks so anti-bank legislation can be passed in response to the 76 recommendations of the royal commission. The move could be potentially passed with the support of the full crossbench as the government seeks to fend off any attempts to extend parliament ­beyond the two weeks scheduled before the April 2 budget.

The Law Council of Australia, however, will side with the government today, having warned against calls for extra parliamentary sitting weeks for fear a rush to legislate could have unintended consequences. “Confusing, convoluted and inaccessible laws have already let down the Australian people. We must take the time to get this right,” Law Council President Arthur Moses said.

In the strongest sign yet that Labor is preparing to modify its position on the medical transfers bill, ­opposition immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann said Labor had “great respect” for the assessments of the security agencies, and would ensure the minister retained the “final” say over who came to Australia.

“Labor has always had two clear objectives: making sure sick people can get medical care, and making sure the minister has final discretion over medical transfers,” he said.

But the government continued yesterday to stare down the possibility of a defeat on the bill, saying Labor would own the consequences if it failed to change its position.

“If Bill Shorten wants to pass this legislation, Shorten’s law will weaken border protection in Australia, there’ll be more people-smuggling boats arriving, we’ll have to reopen Christmas Island — that’ll cost $1.4 billion to do,” Leader of the House Christopher Pyne said. “So it’s back to those hideous days where there were 50,000 unauthorised arrivals on 800 boats, and at least 1200 deaths at sea — that’s Labor’s policy and they want to re-implement it.”

There is growing nervousness within Labor that the medivac bill will leave the party exposed to a pre-election attack on border protection. One senior right-winger said “children” on Labor’s frontbench and within the caucus needed to grow up and face the ­reality that they could soon be in government.

“The children in our party who believe in fairytales have to be stopped. National security is just too important to be allowed to be run by children,” the source said. “We have got to ensure the minister retains the unequivocal discretion to override the doctors.”

Confidential security advice revealed by The Australian last week, which has since been declassified, warned the medivac bill passed by the Senate with Labor support risked dismantling the “third pillar” of the nation’s border-protection architecture. It is understood the dominant view on the Right of the Labor Party is that the advice of ASIO and Home ­Affairs is credible and must be heeded.

A Labor Right MP said it would be better for the opposition to act like it was ready to govern rather than score political points by forcing Scott Morrison into an embarrassing defeat on the floor of the House of Representatives.


Thousands back call for minister to reinstate principal dragging defiant child

If the principal cannot enforce discipline, who can?

Parents have rallied behind a Melbourne principal accused of dragging a primary school-aged pupil through a playground.

Steve Warner, the principal of Manor Lakes P-12 College in Wyndham Vale, was stood down after video footage of the incident emerged last month.

Almost 15,000 people had signed a petition calling on Victorian Education Minister James Merlino to reinstate Mr Warner by midday on Monday.

Parent Mark England said the school community had written to federal and state ministers but the principal's fate remained uncertain.

The footage is being investigated by both the Department of Education and Victoria Police.

The petition, started by Mr England on, said Mr Warner had been an "amazing influence" on the school and its students since his appointment two years ago.

It said he had "turned the school around" with renewed focus on learning and improved discipline.

"The worst outcome of this situation would be for the school to lose him as the principal and leader," Mr England wrote.

"His work has only just started to take effect and there are only good things that could come from him continuing in his role.

"We are asking that his dedicated work at the school not be in vain due to this one isolated incident."

Mr England said he had collected 200 comments from the school community speaking of their positive experiences with the principal to forward to state and federal politicians.

Mr England said he would withdraw his two children from the school if Mr Warner was not reinstated. He had heard of other parents considering the same.

It is understood the footage was captured on Snapchat by another student on January 31 and then shared on social media. The circumstances leading up to the incident are unclear and are being investigated.

Shortly after the footage emerged, Mr Merlino said it was "appalling and concerning".

The minister has been contacted for comment. A police spokesman said its investigation was ongoing.


 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, 2019

How Chinese investors will snap up hundreds of thousands of 'bargain' Australian homes under Bill Shorten's plan to cut negative gearing

Labor's plan to slash negative gearing will result in thousands of Chinese investors  snapping up 'bargain' Australian homes, a property expert claims.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said tax breaks for negative gearing would be restricted to new homes and the discount halved if the ALP wins the federal election.

The existing policy gives housing investors a tax break if they make short-term losses on real estate investments, providing an incentive for property buyers who can thus sustain short-term losses for long-term profits.

A Labor reduction in the tax breaks meant there would be fewer local buyers in the real estate market, and the drop-off in demand could reduce house prices.

However, Douglas Driscoll, chief executive of Starr Partners, said any such price fall would make the local market more attractive to foreign investors. 'Labor's proposal will create opportunities for foreign buyers looking to capitalise on a "softer" market,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'They are already seeing Australia as a bargain and I'm expecting to see this kind of investment gain further momentum this year.'

Labor is expected to win the upcoming federal election, and anticipation of the negative gearing changes had been cited as a factor in price downturns in the major markets of Sydney and Melbourne in recent months.

With prices dropping off record highs, foreign buyers - principally Chinese - were expected to come into the local market in big numbers.

China's biggest property website Juawi said last month the country's investors were already eyeing off Australia's market as property prices started to slide. Juwai's 2019 outlook report said a 'desire to get a bargain while the market is soft' would drive increased investment in Australian homes this year.

This was combined with China's wealth-per-adult quadrupling over the past six years. Half of all Chinese wealth was invested in property.

'China and India have a burgeoning upper middle class, whose wealth is rapidly growing, and these are the kinds of people looking to invest their assets in attractive overseas property developments,' Mr Driscoll said.

'When you bring something foreign into any ecosystem, it naturally has an impact. More often than not, it's a detrimental impact.'

Mr Driscoll said 400,000 Australian homes were already owned by overseas investors, and that could more than double to more than a million in coming years.

With increasing numbers of properties in foreign hands, and negative gearing changes turning locals away from real estate, it will become harder than ever for first-home buyers to get on the property ladder.

He said a new Labor government would come under pressure to provide housing for younger buyers.

'At the very core of any Government's objectives is the need to ensure that their citizens are healthy, educated and have a roof over their heads,' he said.

'All of a sudden, if a certain group presents a challenge to that idealism of security, then the government needs to put more stringent measures in place.

'New Zealand and Canada, for instance, have really cracked down on foreign property investment, and have instituted some of the biggest foreign-buyer taxes in the world.

'It is a genuine balancing act, as the government need to ensure prudence, but also ensure that we maintain good relations with some of our biggest trading partners on the global stage.'


Union leader's blinkers of unfairness blind her to reality

The "unfair" laws about unions that she criticizes were put in place by the Labor party

Words uttered by Sally McManus on television two years ago, hours after she was confirmed as leader of Australia’s union movement, did more than grab headlines. They have come to define her.

So it is no surprise McManus begins a polemic, commissioned by Melbourne University Publishing and released this week, by focusing on what she told ABC 7.30 host Leigh Sales on March 15, 2017. Asked whether she’d consider distancing the ACTU from the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, a habitual law-breaker, and whether she believed in the rule of law, McManus said: “Yeah, I believe in the rule of law where the law is fair, when the law is right. But when it’s unjust, I don’t think there’s a problem with breaking it.”

McManus devotes more than a third of MUP’s On Fairness to this interview, which introduced her to a national audience.

Two years on, considered reflections from McManus as secretary of the ACTU are instructive when Labor looks set to win the federal election in three months.

Although reduced to representing just 15 per cent of the workforce — and 9 per cent of the private sector, where most people are employed — expectations are high in the McManus camp that Labor with Bill Shorten as PM will rewrite strike laws and others to tip the balance the unions’ way.

McManus embraces her “unjust law” remark, expanding on it with stories from the Tolpuddle Martyrs to the Mudginberri meatworkers. The core of her argument is that when union leaders are asked whether they support the “rule of law” they are being “challenged to abandon and condemn our own history” and “the generations of union members who fought and suffered to give us all the living standards we have today”.

The ACTU probably needed a live wire like McManus after a couple of bland male predecessors did little to arrest a slide into irrelevance. McManus is passionate, courageous, even fearless. She is also prone to overstatement and being loose with facts, which she can get away with most of the time because who knows the detail?

No one is asking McManus to renounce historical struggles but can she be serious in comparing the push for strengthening a right to strike in Australia with battling apartheid in South Africa, British rule in India and race segregation in the US? It appears she is.

McManus relates how laws are passed not by “principles” but by governments that “can be unjust and unfair”. “Our anti-strike laws are one of the many manifestations of this fact,” she writes. “Apartheid in South Africa, the dominion of the British Raj over India, and race segregation in the United States of America were entirely ‘legal’ regimes, and governed by laws that restricted the most basic democratic rights and freedoms.” Looks like a comparison. Straight after, McManus adds it’s “no coincidence” Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were unionists as well. This afterthought says something about their values, but their fights for rights were about much broader inequality and dignity denied.

McManus says there is an accepted right to strike in the West, yet there is one in Australia too. Perhaps the conditions for legal strike action could be reviewed in line with international standards, as well as some restrictions on union organising. But no right to strike existed before 1993: it was a convention with some notable cases of punishment for illegal action. When Labor’s Paul Keating enshrined the right in law, the downside for unions was that it could not be an unqualified right, and surely McManus knows this.

She skirts over how the Rudd-Gillard Labor government overturned John Howard’s Work Choices in 2008 and replaced those laws with ones we still have.

“Our framework of industrial fairness has not recovered,” she writes.

Really? Tell that to one of her ACTU predecessors, enlisted to help Julia Gillard finesse the drafting of those laws. Gillard did not think they were “unjust” when introducing them with some fanfare. Nor did Shorten, later, as Gillard’s workplace minister.

McManus makes some valid points about living costs exceeding general wage rises even if the inflation rate remains low, and about obscene executive salaries. But she ignores much too, including our comparatively high minimum wage, increased last year by more than the CPI; how big companies cannot escape regulation or shaming for bad behaviour; and how small business, the main area for worker exploitation, was always out of union reach.

Skills shortages will push up wages, but enhancing the right to strike is not likely to do much when union representation is so low, except to boost CFMEU power.

McManus is at odds even with ACTU doyen and former Labor PM Bob Hawke, who deregistered the BLF and has made it clear that his party should shun the CFMEU.

McManus’s essay calls for a populist revival of unions when the affluent majority has stopped listening. She blames others for their decline, chiefly big business, the Coalition, the Murdoch press, even Leigh Sales (“how we got to this point can be explained by what happened to me in that black box at the ABC studio”).

Meanwhile, she overlooks how Labor was in office for half of the years since union membership stood at 50 per cent. Apparently it was OK for wage growth to slip during the Accord when the social safety net was promoted as compensation, but not now when almost all of it remains.


Patriots can’t hate Australia's top export, coal

When Samuel Johnson said patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel, he was attacking not patriotism but the scoundrels who falsely use it to defend their cause.

Patriotism gets a bad rap in this postmodern world — where so-called elites diss Brits who voted for Brexit to defend their nation’s sovereignty, or where progressive forces don’t see the value of ­borders in Europe, North America or Australia.

But most of us are viscerally patriotic — we want the best for our country, we know that our ­futures and those of our loved ones are inextricably linked to our nation’s ability to endure and flourish. Besides, we love the place and its people.

When a so-called think tank calls itself The Australia Institute, we assume it is on our side. Surely if it was preoccupied with supranational agendas, globalist redistribution or a borderless world it would be called the The UN Institute, The Globalist Forum or Socialist Alliance.

Yet this very same Australia Institute has been conducting meetings in foreign embassies in Canberra, actively lobbying against investment in Australia. It has been advocating against ­foreign investment in this nation in a way that is designed to damage our national economic interests, reduce employment prospects for our citizens and deliver benefits to our trade competitors.

(Bizarrely enough, given the institute’s claimed focus on equity and the environment, its interventions likely would also hinder the aspirations of poor communities on the subcontinent and lead to increased carbon dioxide emissions.)

The Australia Institute’s chief target is coal, which just happened to have been confirmed this week as the ­nation’s top export. We have overtaken Indonesia as the world’s largest coal exporter and the ­industry usually trails only iron ore as our most valuable export. Buoyant prices boosted coal ­exports above $66 billion last year — a record that tipped iron ore from the top spot.

The coal industry directly ­employs about 40,000 people in well-paid jobs sustaining families, communities and other businesses, primarily in Queensland and NSW. Coal-fired electricity generation still accounts for more than two-thirds of the nation’s power.

It is worth repeating this crucial fact: about 70 per cent of the nation’s electricity comes from coal. This is an industry that not only underpins our nation’s prosperity, filling state and federal government coffers with tens of billions of dollars of revenue, but also one that is absolutely central to every facet of our daily lives. Yet The Australia Institute is setting it up as public enemy No 1.

Although employment numbers in coalmining have declined by up to 20,000 over the past ­decade, The Australia Institute wants the job shrinkage to continue. One of its key criticisms of Adani’s proposed Carmichael coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin is that it won’t generate as many jobs as the proponents suggest and that it won’t be commercially viable. After exhausting environmental objections over air, land, groundwater and ocean consequences — not to mention indigenous heritage ­options — these anti-capitalist obstructers are willing to use commercial arguments against capital investment.

These malleable and inventive objections to development are nothing new in the environmental movement — more than two decades ago I helped expose how green activism encouraged the concoction of “secret women’s business” to block the Hindmarsh Island bridge — but there was a ­recent development involving The Australia Institute that seems a bridge too far.

It came through Joe Kelly’s ­exclusive report in last week’s The Weekend Australian. “The Australia Institute left-wing think tank met officials at the Chinese ­embassy to urge them not to back a new clean-coal plant in Australia,” Kelly reported, “warning it would result in the same political and community hostility experienced by the Adani project.”

Think about that: an institute bearing our nation’s name ­actively lobbies foreign governments to dissuade investment in this nation, hoping to eliminate employment opportunities for our citizens, revenue for our governments and prosperity for our ­nation. And we wonder why there is a crisis of confidence in Western liberal democracies.

As Kelly reported, on top of the China embassy meeting last month, The Australia Institute has held talks with at least five other embassies and high commissions over the past six months. The institute’s executive director is Ben Oquist, a one-time chief of staff to former Greens leaders Bob Brown and Christine Milne.

He defends The Australia Institute’s activities as being in the national interest. “Being Canberra-based, it is not unusual for ­embassy staff to seek briefings from Australia Institute researchers on their economic and policy research in relation to projects ­involving their governments,” Oquist said in response to my queries. “Examples include Galilee Basin thermal coal development, the previous (South Australian) state government’s nuclear waste dump proposals and how Australia will implement the Paris Agreement.

“There is international interest in the ever-changing climate and energy policies in Australia, ­including the financial, economic and social risks of gas and coal ­investment and the growing role of cheaper, cleaner renewable electricity … Our research can add considerably to the understanding of risks, costs and benefits of the projects and policies.

“All of The Australia Institute’s research is focused on the nat­ional interest: making Australia a more just, equitable and sustainable place.”

This is a difficult argument to sustain, given that the only way an assault on coal could possibly benefit Australia would be if global carbon dioxide emissions were cut enough to reduce the expected ­effects of global warming. But global carbon emissions are increasing each year by about double our annual national emissions.

Besides, if Australia exported less coal, other countries with lower grade resources, such as ­Indonesia, would fill the gap, producing even more emissions. (This claim was made by Malcolm Turnbull in 2016 when he was prime minister — “arguably it would increase (emissions) ­because our coal, by and large, is cleaner than the coal in many other countries” — and even an ABC Fact Check endorsed it.)

Regardless, The Australia Institute is out to block the Adani mine and prevent the construction of new high-­efficiency, low-emissions, coal-fired power generation in Australia.

We have a national crisis in energy affordability and ­reliability, and The Australia Institute is subverting efforts to find solutions, preferring to pursue the same ideological crusade for renewable energy ­investment that created the mess.

To bolster the national electricity market, the government is now considering 10 submissions to provide extra dispatchable power that would be underwritten by a minimum price. At least one proposal involves high-efficiency, low-emissions coal generation and others focus on gas-fired plants and stored hydro.

Clearly taxpayers would gain most from whichever plant provides the greatest reliability and quantity of power closest to existing transmission infrastructure. But I have a feeling The Australia Institute might opt for stored hydro, come hell or high water (pardon the pun).

With these crucial policy and economic decisions playing out in an election year, many in the media/political class continue to proselytise for renewables. ABC’s Media Watch this week criticised Queensland and NSW media for positive stories about the possible benefits, including jobs, from coal-related investment.

We have a taxpayer-funded national broadcaster that routinely amplifies The Australia Institute’s efforts to sabotage investment in our natural resources yet mocks commercial media that can see a positive angle on enterprise and employment.

As if this were not bad enough, the NSW Land and Environment Court has now rejected a new Hunter Valley coalmine based on climate change imperatives.

The move, widely hailed by green groups, heralds a new level of global climate activism enforced through our courts.

Judge Brian Preston decided he need to reject the mine because in order “to meet generally agreed climate targets” we needed a “rapid and deep ­decrease” in emissions. The case against the mine was run by the Environmental Defenders Office NSW, which is funded by the state government. Taxpayers’ money used to deliberately attack our No 1 export. We have truly lost our way.


We need an overhaul of early childhood education

"Overhaul" = more money. They all want more money.  No idea where it might come from, though

As kids return to school, the media is awash with parenting news and advice, shaming parents to do more to give their child any sort of advantage.

As The Economist’s headline says, “It’s a never-ending task.”

But what works in this race to get ahead, the article asks?

The answer: focus on the infants. What happens in the early childhood years matters most, say scientists. This is when the human brain is most “plastic”, when it is building capacity for the years ahead.

Yet Australian studies show, consistently, that, while Australian parents are working as long and hard at parenting as anywhere else in the world, Australian governments lack commitment to the provision of education services in the early childhood years. Embarrassingly, Australia is fifth from the bottom of the 36 OECD nations – the richest nations in the world – in its spending on early childhood education.

Unfortunately, NSW is typical of the poor state of preschool education across the nation. Experts say children should have 600 hours of preschooling in their backpacks prior to entry to formal schooling, the equivalent of 15 hours per week over a year. Yet, the proportion of three-year-olds in Australia with preschooling is below the OECD average, at a meagre 70 per cent.

We do better for four-year-olds, with 85 per cent attendance, but this is still below the OECD average.

Australia has never fully developed an early childhood education sector. A Productivity Commission report finds that, for NSW, government takes direct responsibility for barely 10 per cent of all preschools. Sure, private and community preschool providers receive direct government funding, as do parents via the childcare rebate. But this handover to non-government providers ducks responsibility for many things in this most-important of education sectors.

The answer: focus on the infants. What happens in the early childhood years matters most.

One neglect concerns qualifications and employment conditions. The Productivity Commission says for NSW, only 15 per cent of contact staff in childcare centres and preschools have bachelor degrees. Would this low ratio be tolerated in schools or universities? A consequence of poor qualifications is that pay rates in the early childhood sector are dismal. Often, graduates can’t get appointments as graduates and don’t stay long in the lowly-paid jobs on offer. These are filled readily by women eager to get a job locally, such is the location pattern of childcare centres and preschools. A consequence is more than 90 per cent of the sector’s workers are women. Once again, when working conditions are driven down by inadequate regulation and poor government support, women pick up the jobs.

Then there is the problem of access to preschooling by the kids who need early childhood education the most. The Productivity Commission tells us that three out of every 10 kids classified as ‘vulnerable or disadvantaged’ in NSW arrive at school without any preschool experience. The problem is acute in the poorer suburbs of our cities and in the regions, including many parts of the Hunter.

Yet if we were serious about giving people a fair go in Australia, we would be providing more than the average level of early childhood services to disadvantaged and vulnerable kids, not less.

If it is the early childhood years that make the difference, why is it those who need preschooling the most are the ones who are missing out?

Years ago, I asked a retiring music teacher what sort of education disadvantaged children should be given? The same as what is served up to rich kids, she said. I’m sure she’d give the same answer today.


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

10 February, 2019

Joe Hildebrand writes: The death of truth, how facts have been replaced with feelings

Joe Hildebrand normally writes in a notably good humoured and even jocular way but he is not laughing over the response to his Australia Day writings.  He was savaged by irrational comments from the hate-driven Left. As Kerri-Anne Kennerley also found out, the Left are quick to allege hate and racism when it is they who are the haters and they are the ones obsessed by race.  White Leftists even manage to hate whites in some weird way

Facts have been replaced with blind emotion, usually driving a huge backlash if you dare dive into contentious issues like Australia Day.

A little over a week ago one of my beloved editors at asked me if I’d like to write a piece about the Australia Day race debate, which is a bit like a Roman asking a Christian if he’d like to be fed to the lions.

Of course, I said. What could possibly go wrong?

Needless to say I had a fair idea and so I set about writing a lengthy, three-part, background and opinion piece on Australia’s colonisation and our relationship with our first peoples today.

I made every possible effort to provide global and historical context, to be measured, to note the differing perspectives of indigenous and non-indigenous people and carefully distinguish between the impact of events and the intent behind them. I noted many of the crimes and contradictions of colonisation and clearly and categorically stressed that we needed to acknowledge the atrocities of the past. I had hoped to establish some common ground and a common goal in ending indigenous suffering and disadvantage.

Instead, within 24 hours I was being called a white supremacist and an apologist for racial genocide.

This was hardly unforeseen. Online outrage is as utterly predictable as it is utterly pointless. Nor, before the next predictable accusation starts, am I appealing for pity.

No, the truly disturbing part was not how angry or abusive so many of the responses were, but that they appeared to be responding to things I had not said. Indeed, in many cases they were accusing me of saying things I had in fact said the opposite of.

I do not wish to reopen these old historical arguments here but instead demonstrate the disconnect.

One common refrain was that I was denying massacres or atrocities were committed and attempting to whitewash history. In fact, I said this: “It is vital that non-indigenous Australians are made acutely aware of the sorrows and stains on our history; the suffering that Aboriginal people have gone through and the atrocities that have been perpetrated by many of our ancestors.”

Another was that I was wearing rose-coloured glasses or downplaying the suffering of Aboriginal people. In fact, I said this: “Yes, there were unspeakable atrocities committed by some settlers, and yes, disease and grog had a catastrophic effect on the indigenous population. Indeed, there can be no denying that the effect of European colonisation has been devastating for huge swathes of the indigenous population — especially in Tasmania.”

I also presented the view, based on well-known historical evidence, that colonists such as Cook and Phillip did not come to Australia with the intention of wiping out indigenous people — which is apparently how I became an apologist for genocide.

At first I just assumed that these people hadn’t bothered to read the piece they were angry about — which is usually the case in social media debates — but then I realised something more worrying was at play. People had read it — or at least looked at it — but seen only what they wanted to see.

The same was true of many of the supposed sources they produced. Some were as crude as internet memes; others were highlighted passages from various books or documents, when merely reading even the rest of the page would have supported the arguments they were railing against.

But credit to them for at least engaging with some of the facts. Sometimes there is so much outrage over so few facts that people actually need to invent things for their enemies to say just so they can be outraged by them.

One case was when someone said there was “evidence based scholarly research” to prove I was wrong and then accused me of being “ … a bloke from News Corp, with no qualifications …”

I humbly responded that I had in fact majored in history at university and been accepted into history honours before I left to take up my journalism cadetship. This then prompted outrage that I was suddenly now either A) the product of a racist colonial education; or B) not educated enough.

Another was when one of several people dared me to compare colonial Australia to the Holocaust and I replied that colonial Australia was nothing like the Holocaust. Naturally, the response was: I CAN’T BELIEVE HE COMPARED IT TO THE HOLOCAUST!!!!

Thus the new definition of proof in online debate is to say something untrue of a person and then when the person says it’s untrue cite that as proof of them saying it. It’s just like Monty Python’s “Jehovah” sketch from Life of Brian except without the intelligence or humour.

And then there is the third and laziest response, which is to simply ignore all facts both real and imagined and dismiss the argument based on the colour of the person making it. Thus whatever a white man says about history is inherently racist and wrong and if such an argument is championed by a brave indigenous woman like Jacinta Nampijinpa Price she is dismissed as a racist enabler.

And of course if you are accused of being a racist you cannot deny being a racist because racists don’t get to decide whether they are racist or not. This logic is straight from the Salem Witch Trials, although again without the intelligence or humour.

And of course if none of that works anyone the hard left disagrees is simply told to “shut the f*** up”.

And so this is the world we have become. A world where people comb through texts for something to be outraged about or try to force people to say things that they can be outraged about or just call people racist and then get outraged by how racist they are.

The facts don’t matter in public debate anymore. All that matters is whether something fits within a pre-constructed “correct” narrative; if not it is deemed offensive. If something upsets somebody then it cannot be true.

Is this really the new standard of public discourse in Australia? Is this really what we are now going to call scholarly debate? Is this really what activists think is the most pressing issue facing Australia?

Apparently so. This is the death of truth. History has been replaced by ideology. Facts have been replaced by feelings.

And maybe there is more than one truth. It’s true there were a great many atrocities in our history and it’s true there are a great many atrocities happening now.

There are also different “truths” for indigenous women and children. When domestic violence happens in the rest of the country it is described by activists as a “national emergency”. When it is highlighted in Aboriginal communities it is dismissed as a “distraction” or “whataboutism” or cloaked by bulls**t academic buzzwords like “intersectionality”.

I believe in clear words and clear truths. We must confront and acknowledge the sins of the past but we must also fight for the future of those who are suffering today. People say we can do both but I don’t see many marches or Twitter hashtags for the indigenous women being assaulted at a rate dozens of times higher than everyone else.

And there’s no escaping the truth confronting them.


Australian university introduces 'all gender' bathrooms in a bid to make trans and intersex students feel 'safe and welcome on campus'

At the expense of making a lot of women feel unsafe.  Isn't feminism great?

Sydney's University of Technology has introduced 'all gender' bathrooms in a bid to make 'students feel safe and welcome on campus'.

The toilets at UTS had previously been designated as 'unisex accessible', but members of the UTS Queer Collective urged the university to go further.

Their calls were heard, with UTS last week announcing the move and acknowledging many of its students 'don't identify with traditional binary genders'.   

'Others don't feel comfortable using a bathroom designated by gender, sometimes because they've had a negative experience using a single-gender bathroom due to their appearance or gender identity,' the university posted on its website.

'We have taken a step to improve the on-campus experience for people who prefer not to use single-gender bathrooms, with the establishment of all gender bathrooms in 10 of our buildings.'

Queer Collective members hailed the move on Monday, praising it as a 'big win' for  LGBTQI students. 'This is an important step for trans and gender diverse individuals to feel safe and validated on campus,' they posted on Facebook.

A former queer officer for the University Of New South Wales' Queer Collective called for other univeristies to follow suit. 

'It's a huge step towards acknowledging and including trans, intersex and gender non-conforming students and staff,' Alex Linker told Nine News. 'I am disappointed, however, that it was not my university that was the one who initiated this change. 'I hope that UNSW introduces gender-neutral bathrooms soon.'


The problem with 'hate speech' laws

When Facebook posts lead to Federal Court proceedings, a parliamentary inquiry, and a bankruptcy, something has gone seriously wrong with Australia’s ‘hate speech’ laws.

This is made clear by the news that Cindy Prior — the plaintiff in one of the most infamous Section 18C cases — has been declared bankrupt after failing to pay $250,000 of legal costs to the students she sued.

To recap: in 2013, three Queensland University of Technology (QUT) students were asked to leave an ‘Indigenous only’ computer lab by (then) staff member Prior.

Two of the students subsequently posted about the incident on Facebook; and three more became involved after they commented on the posts.

The comments were removed after Prior complained to QUT, but she subsequently complained to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) — then sued, alleging the five students breached 18C, and QUT and their employees violated section 9 of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Two students settled, paying Prior $5000. The other three won their case in court, and Prior ultimately dropped her action against QUT.

Those who support repealing or amending 18C might welcome the news of Prior’s financial distress as rightful comeuppance. But there is no good news out of this situation.

Prior should not be absolved of responsibility: she was ultimately the one who decided to pursue court proceedings that always carry the risk of a financial loss.

But if not for the existence and current terms of Section 18C, Facebook posts would not be able to be turned into a legal weapon that landed university students in years of legal strife and has now left a woman bankrupt. One of the students even filed an affidavit denying he was the author of the posts attributed to him.

Some argue 18C and other hate speech laws are necessary to prevent racism and ensure multiculturalism is a success. In his book Don’t Go Back to Where you Came From, Tim Soutphommasane argues, “Prejudice, bigotry and racism thrive in the absence of public policies that affirm the freedom of citizens to express their different cultural identities.”

But given the disastrous outcome for all involved in the QUT case it is absurd to suggest such laws are justified to prevent racism and bigotry taking hold in Australia.

The trivial nature of the original complaint, compared to the ultimate havoc wrought in the lives of all involved, demonstrates what a damaging law 18C is.


Latest forecast: climate of fear

Weather and climate used to be different things, but the capture of weather by climate change advocates is now all but complete. Wild weather is a political statement worldwide. A fear-inducing drumbeat of broken temperature records is constant, and nightly ­reports of extreme weather somewhere in the world are the new normal.

Wildfires, an unstable polar vortex, freezing temperatures, boiling hot days, too much rain, not enough. All routinely are cited as evidence of a changing climate. Fine print be damned.

The catastrophisation of weather is clickbait: an easy sell that plays heavily into primal fears and seamlessly into domestic and international politics.

It is a cornerstone of UN climate talks, at which everyone “knows” the “weather has changed”.

The emphasis has been premeditated, as was the shift from global warming to climate change.

It is being legitimised by a new branch of “attribution science” that links climate change influence to what were otherwise weather events.

Scientists use computer models to build virtual worlds, one with and another without carbon dioxide emissions from human ­activity. Thousands of model simulations are run and the outputs from the “pure” world are compared with those of the virtual world as it is today.

Over several years the public has been softened up to accept that weather is climate, but the key message has been that no single event can be attributed to climate change with any certainty. Things are about to shift gear.

The next step globally is to ­include references to the climate signal in daily weather bulletins.

Once normalised through public agencies, attribution study results will be used in court cases seeking compensation payments from big oil, bad government and wealthy nations for the damages caused by climate change.

Throughout the week, as floods swamped Townsville in north Queensland and fires ravaged swaths of Tasmania, there was a chorus of claims that ­extreme weather events, including these, were evidence of climate change.

Scott Morrison was denounced for not making the link publicly when he visited Townsville flood victims. The Climate Council issued a special report on extreme weather; the Australian National University released its climate update for 2019; and a new GetUp front group was launched, Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action.

Extreme weather events now are confidently projected by lobby groups and vested interests as evidence of a changing climate. The punchline is always the same: government is not doing enough on climate. To fix the weather, more must be done to stop burning coal, build renewable energy plants and suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The Climate Council says all extreme weather events are being influenced by climate change, as they are occurring in an atmosphere that contains more energy than 50 years ago. The extreme weather events of last year, it says, are the latest in a long-term trend of worsening extreme weather, both in Australia and globally, as a result of climate change.

“The frequency and intensity of many extreme weather events — heatwaves, bushfires, floods, and storms — have increased over the past several decades, mirroring many of the trends that have been observed globally,” the Climate Council says. “The evidence is clear that climate change is influencing the global trend of worsening extreme weather.”

The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on 1.5C warming is slightly more measured. It says there is “medium confidence” that trends in intensity and frequency of some climate and weather extremes have been ­detected over time spans during which about 0.5C of global warming occurred.

But in testimony to the US house natural resources committee hearing on climate change this week, retired climate scientist Judith Curry said: “Based on current assessments of the science, man-made climate change is not an existential threat on the timescale of the 21st century, even in its most alarming incarnation. If we believe the climate models, any changes in extreme weather events would not be evident until late in the 21st century. The greatest impacts will be felt in the 22nd century and beyond.”

Curry says extreme damage from recent hurricanes plus billion-dollar losses from floods, droughts and wildfires emphasise the vulnerability of the US to extreme events. “It’s easy to forget that US extreme weather events were actually worse in the 1930s and 1950s.’’

But ANU Climate Change Institute director Mark Howden says recent extreme heatwaves, rainfall and bushfires emphasise how important it is to maintain a safe and stable climate.

“Climate and atmospheric changes are accelerating, leading to more and more unprecedented climate-related events, whether these are land or ocean-based heatwaves, fires, floods or bio­diversity losses such as fish kills,” Howden says.

The new GetUp group says “the government can no longer ­ignore the way their climate change denial is hurting our communities and putting lives at risk”. “They must take Australia beyond coal projects like Adani and move to 100 per cent renewable energy for all,” it adds.

Award-winning Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan made an eloquent contribution to the debate, penning an essay decrying the Tasmanian fires and saying they signal a “terrifying new reality, as disturbing and ultimately almost certainly as tragic as the coral reef bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef”. “Another global treasure in the form of Tasmania’s ancient Gondwanaland remnant forest and its woodland alpine heathlands are at profound and immediate risk because of climate change,” Flanagan wrote.

He is no stranger to the history of fire in Tasmania. In the climax to his novel Gould’s Book of Fish, set in a Tasmanian island prison, he writes: “Watch the whole island transforming into a single furnace, one flame as infinite as Hell, an eternity of suffering in which nothing existed except to fuel the fire further, and then the fire finding its way into the heart of the settlement.’’

Fire records for Tasmania are clear. The state has faced a series of devastating fires from early settlement in 1803. The worst were in 1854, 1897-98, 1913-15, 1926-27, 1933-34, 1940-42, 1960- 61, 1967, 2013 and 2016.

The current concern is whether a new threat is posed by dry lightning strikes to areas and species that are not likely to recover. A 2015 review by the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service found that data from the past 20 years suggests the fire regimes in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area are changing. Fires lit by arson had decreased but “fires started by dry lightning now appear to be the main threat to the TWWHA”, it says. “However, it is too early to know whether a shift in climate may be contributing to a long-term increasing trend in dry lightning activity in summers.”

Aynsley Kellow, professor emeritus of government at the University of Tasmania, tells ­Inquirer politicians have quickly laid the blame for the latest fires on climate change because of dry lightning strikes. “I always find it a bit distasteful to try to make political capital out of misfortune,” he says. “Here people say areas of forest that haven’t been burnt in millennia are now under a new threat, but that is clearly nonsense.

“The wet sclerophyll forest, for instance, is largely the result of substantial wildfire 200 years ago. It is the case that most sclerophyll forests, wet or dry, are fire adapted.

“Where it is an issue is with some of the rainforest species such as King Billy pine and so on — you could say it is the eucalypts versus the rainforest species, and the eucalypts tend to win.

“I have got no problems trying to preserve some rainforest but when fire comes from a natural source like a lightning strike, if you have a naturalistic view of the environment, who is it of us to intervene in that process?

“I don’t mind intervening because I think humans should be managing the landscape. But I think it is a fairly long bow to say this is unprecedented. It suggests there hasn’t been dry lightning strikes in the past.

“Part of the problem is that with the technology that is available these days you can count lightning strikes. That facility just wasn’t there in the past and it’s partly a reflection of the improvement of monitoring technology of climate science.

In Townsville, work is still under way to understand the magnitude of this week’s flood event.

The cause of the heavy rains is easily explained in meteorological terms. A large monsoonal trough stretching into the Coral Sea dragged in moisture and dumped it on its southern front. The front stayed almost stationary for six days, producing rainfalls of more than 2m in some areas.

Andrew Gissing, from risk management and catastrophe modelling group Risk Frontiers, says it is not uncommon to see severe rain causing flooding in Queensland alongside simultaneous fire weather in the south.

“I don’t necessarily think that is unique,” he says. “We are doing some work on how extreme the Townsville floods have been. A colleague is saying it is a one-in-200-year event. You do have uncertainty associated with the length of the record you can look at to work out how extreme some of this stuff is.’’

Newspaper accounts testify to the flooding that is the old normal in Townsville. A report from January 30, 1892 speaks of what “seemed one prolonged thunderstorm, thunder and lightning prevailing the whole time”. “Half the population cannot reach the city and business is at a standstill,” it says.

In 1953, The Queensland Times reported that year’s Townsville flood was the worst since 1881. “The stench of dead animals along the river bank is almost unbearable,” it says.

Research by Griffith University using sediment records says floods in southeast Queensland during the past 1500 years rival the size of floods in recorded history (1893, 1974 and 2011).

The Climate Council says extreme weather is costly. Insurance companies in Australia paid out more than $1.2 billion in claims last year. But research by Risk Frontiers has so far not picked up a climate signature in insurance losses. Losses at the moment are being driven primarily by development in at-risk areas.

“Having said that, insurance losses may not necessarily be the best place to pick up that (climate change signal) because they are not capturing the full extent of the loss,” Gissing says.  “Certainly, with the various climate projections we have got no reason to believe we won’t see one in the future.’’

Scientist Jennifer Marohasy says Australia is still a country of drought and flooding rains. “We still see in the record for rainfall and temperature that you have these dry periods and wet periods,” says Marohasy. “Often the more significant and longer the drought, the bigger the flood that follows.”

The contest lies in the accuracy of a new branch of climate science that attempts to attribute the contribution of climate change to extreme weather events.

A landmark report in 2016 by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine says attribution can answer questions about how much climate change influences the probability or intensity of a specific type of weather event.

On July 30 last year, Nature journal declared that “extreme-event attribution — the science of calculating how global warming has changed the likelihood and magnitude of extreme heat, cold, drought, rain or flooding — is ready to leave the lab”. The journal says research has advanced to the point where public agencies can take over the task.

This year, Germany’s national weather agency will start posting instant findings on social media to “quantify the influence of climate change on any atmospheric conditions that might bring extreme weather to Germany or central Europe”.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says attribution research can be used by courts “to settle questions of liability for the costs or harm caused by an extreme event that may have been influenced by global warming and climate change”.

Marohasy’s view is that rather than existing climate models, which are unable to predict events such as the Townsville flood even weeks beforehand, climate science should pay more attention to artificial intelligence systems that can include cycles.

AI research is being taken up by the weather authorities of China and other Asian nations.

“We have now got AI to allow us to understand relationships in historic data,” Marohasy says. “AI is central to the fourth industrial revolution in things such as dri­verless cars and medicine, but climate science refuses to move away from general circulation models. We are aware there have always been extreme rainfall events but no one wants to look at the raw historic data. They want to remodel data and strip cycles from data because the concept of cycles is alien to the theory of anthropogenic climate change.

“It wants to take everything back to CO2 so that it has policy relevance,” Marohasy adds.

Indeed, a common feature of reports on extreme weather is a demand that government do more to stop burning fossil fuels and move to renewables. But Curry told the US house committee it was misguided to assume current wind and solar technologies could power an advanced economy.

She says there are two options on the table. One is to do nothing and the other is to rapidly deploy wind and solar plants with the goal of eliminating fossil fuels in one to two decades.

“Apart from the gridlock engendered by considering only these two options, in my opinion neither option gets us to where we want to go,” Curry says. “A third option is to re-imagine the 21st-century electric power systems, with new technologies that improve energy security, reliability and cost while minimising environmental impacts.

“Acting urgently on emissions reduction by deploying 20th-century technologies could turn out to be the enemy of a better long-term solution.’’

It’s an idea that finds it difficult to compete in the atmosphere of fear generated by the urgency now being injected into a narrative as old as time: there’s something strange about the weather.


 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, 2019

Storm of regulations make paid childcare ruinously expensive

During my childhood in the '40s and '50s, it was common for old ladies whose children had left home to take in neighbourhood children during the day for a small sum.  The only complaint that I ever heard about it was that the old lady was "too strict", probably not much of a fault. It was probably just a grumble as children continued to be sent to her.  The kids all seemed to do OK.  That should still be allowed

When it comes to qualifications, I would take any day a woman who has raised a family of her own over a young woman with just a university degree

A young mother claims she has been forced to beg her friends and family to help her pay for skyrocketing childcare costs.

According to statistics released by the Productivity Commission, the average cost for childcare in New South Wales is $494 per week - but some parents are forking out an eye-watering $200 per day.

The Australian Childcare Alliance NSW (ACA) claims the Government has failed to do enough to stop rising costs, and has called for an urgent parliamentary inquiry.

Yasna Alaina, 25, who lives with her husband and three children aged four, three and one in Brighton Le Sands in Sydney, said she spends between $500 and $600 a fortnight on childcare.

Due to rising costs, Mrs Alaina said she has been forced to ask her friends and family for help as she finds it hard to afford the fees while earning a part-time wage.

'It puts a huge financial burden on things,' she said. 'I've had to make payment plans, I have lots of stress. I've had to ask my in-laws, parents and friends for help. It's very difficult to ask for help.'

Mrs Alaina's husband Anthony is unable to work as he is suffering from an injured back and needs surgery. His injury means he can only look after the children for an hour at a time, making childcare crucial for the family. 'I need them to be there so I can work,' Mrs Alaina said.

She works up to 35 hours per week as a disability support worker.  'I try and pick up as many hours as I can to make it work,' she said.

Daily fees at the Lookout Early Education Centre in affluent Mosman on Sydney's North Shore are $185 for a 13 to 24-month-old child.

The ACA said it was aware of one childcare charging $200 per day. ACA chief executive Chiang Lim said lease costs and staff-to-child ratios were causing costs to blow out. 'It's a perfect storm in NSW, caused by regulatory burdens,' he said.

'The Government has got to pull their finger out and think ''what can we do to lower costs''. 'The system is pretty much broken.'

Mr Lim said standards across Australia were not the same, and that was contributing to the costs.

In New South Wales, four fully qualified teachers are required compared to just one in all other states and territories to care for the same number of children. 'Do NSW children need four times more teaching?' Mr Lim said.

'In NSW, we need to stop discriminating against children based on what their parents choose for their healthcare.'

Across Australia, the most expensive state or territory for childcare was the Australian Capital Territory, where 50 hours of childcare cost parents and caregivers $560 per week.

The national average for childcare is $460 a week - an increase of 2.8 per cent compared to 2017.

In Victoria, parents are paying an average of $490 a week for 50 hours of care, while those in Queensland are forking out $417 each week.


Sydney's motherhood divide: the women playing 'catch up'

Well-off women delay motherhood

Sydney is a city divided by the age of its new mums.

In virtually every neighbourhood to the city’s north and east more than 70 per cent of births are now to women over the age of 30. But across much of Sydney’s west and south west more than half of all births are to mothers aged under 30, a study has found.

In the Paddington-Moore Park neighbourhood 89.6 per cent of mothers giving birth were aged over 30, the biggest share in Sydney. Next highest was Woollahra (89.3 per cent), Manly-Fairlight (88.8 per cent) and Bondi-Tamarama-Bronte (88.1 per cent).

The two neighbourhoods with the lowest share of mothers giving birth over the age of 30 were in Sydney’s outer west - Lethbridge Park-Tregear with 35.7 per cent and Bidwell-Hebersham-Emerton with 36.1 per cent.

The analysis took account of all births, not just first-time mothers.

Macquarie University demographer Nick Parr, who conducted the research, said there was a strong trend among women in some parts of Sydney to put off having children during their 20s and they play "catch-up" during their 30s to compensate. "Childbearing is being compressed into the latter part of the reproductive age period," he said.

Professor Parr identified 20 local areas in Sydney where the 35-39 year-old age bracket is the most common for women to give birth, mostly in relatively affluent suburbs in the city's inner east and north.

One factor is a trend for women to establish themselves in a career before starting a family. Sydney regions with low birth rates among women under 30 years also had a high proportion of women working full-time.

Another possible driver is the high cost of housing in inner suburbs of Sydney as women delay having children so they can save for a deposit, or service a large mortgage. Districts with very low birth rates among women under 30 years of age overlapped with suburbs with relatively expensive housing.

Professor Parr used Bureau of Statistics data to study local fertility patterns in Sydney between 2011 and 2015. He presented the findings at a recent Australian Population Association conference.

In some inner suburbs the birth rate – which measures the number of births per woman – has fallen to a very low level. The lowest were in Sydney-Haymarket-The Rocks (0.77), Potts Point-Woolloomooloo (0.79), Surry Hills (0.89) and Darlinghurst (0.9).

But in some parts of the city the overall birth rate had remained relatively high even though a large number of women have delayed having children until their 30s. This was most apparent on Sydney’s northern beaches. In Avalon-Palm Beach and Warriewood-Mona Vale the birth rate was 2.1, well above the national figure.

The neighbourhood of Lakemba [lots of poor immigrants] in Sydney’s south west had the city's highest overall birth rate at 3.07 births per woman, followed by Lethbridge Park-Tregear (2.92) and Auburn South (2.88).

Nationally, the total fertility rate fell from 1.79 babies per woman in 2016 to 1.74 in 2017, the lowest since 2001.

While the fertility rate among women aged over 35 years has been on the rise, it has been falling for other age groups according to Bureau of Statistics data released in December.

Over the three decades to 2017, the fertility rate of women aged 35-39 has more than doubled and for women aged 40-44 it has tripled. In contrast, teenage fertility nearly halved during that period.

Women aged 30-34 had the highest fertility rate in 2017, followed by women aged 25-29.


Teachers to push for students to read more books featuring gay characters after study encourages educators to 'challenge heterosexism'

Rubbish! If you want to get kids into reading you have to have stories that they can relate to

University researchers have called for high school students to read more books with gay characters to better reflect sexual diversity.

Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology found two of the 21 texts recommended for study during English classes by the national curriculum authority have gay characters or themes - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.

In an analysis of their research, the group behind the findings said teachers should 'challenge heterosexism' and 'give voice to a wider range of perspectives on love'.

In an editorial published in English in Australia - the Australian Association for the Teaching of English's journal - the group made reference to the legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2017, calling it a 'watershed moment in Australian history'.

'English teachers surely need to respond to this endorsement of same-sex marriage on the part of an overwhelming majority of the population,' the editorial said.

QUT researchers Kelli McGraw and Lisa van Leent have asked those who choose the texts used in school curriculums to better represent 'diverse sexual identities', The Australian reported.

'By queering the senior ­English sample text list in the Australian curriculum … at the very least, LGBTIQ+ youth will see aspects of their lives reflected at school,' they wrote in the editorial.

In their analysis, Dr McGraw and Dr van Leent said the texts on the current curriculum 'grossly represents that under-represented queer life'.

Jennifer Buckingham, a senior research fellow at the Centre for Independent Research Studies, said the selecting of books should be based on quality rather than 'fulfilling an arbitrary quota of LGBQIT characters'. 

Associate professor in social work at Flinders University Damien Riggs, supported the calls for more diverse sexual representation in texts studied at school. 'Children who are gender or sexually diverse get to see themselves reflected,' he said.


Sydney hospital faces being BANNED from using trainees after a young plastic surgeon broke ranks with doctors to reveal she'd quit after working 24 days straight

This sort of thing seems to be common worldwide. It seems to be aimed at seeing whether young doctors are tough enough -- a sort of rite of passage.  A couple of years ago, the EU put a ban on long hours and got mightily abused over it.  But it is in any case abominable to have sleep-deprived doctors treating you

A Sydney hospital faces the possibility of losing their trainee doctors after a fatigued young plastic surgeon lifted the lid on the industry that 'broke' her.

Dr Yumiko Kadota resigned from Bankstown Hospital after working 24 days straight, and spent the next six weeks in hospital being treated for sleep deprivation.

She sparked outrage after exposing the poor working conditions endured by junior doctors, including shifts exceeding 20 hours without a break and allegations of rampant sexism.

Following her exposure of the industry, New South Wales Minister for Health Brad Hazzard promised to dig deeper into the plight of ambitious trainee doctors. 'The starting point has to be people's wellbeing. People's lives shouldn't be compromised,' he told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Mr Hazzard admitted there were 'financial and otherwise' factors that would need to be considered, but change was necessary.

The call for an inquest was supported by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) Council, who could remove their trainees from Bankstown Hospital if an inquiry supported Dr Kadota's claims.

President of RACS Council John Batten said he was 'appalled' by the inflammatory blog post.

'We are appalled by the case... firstly because that this sort of behaviour is still occurring, and secondly that someone who had aspirations for a surgical career may no longer continue because of her experience,' Dr Batten said.

Dr Kadota had poured more than a decade of her life into studying medicine and surgery, but quickly fled the profession after experiencing the 'toxic' workplace culture.

The young health and wellbeing enthusiast detailed her long journey in a blog post titled 'The ugly side of becoming a surgeon'.

In it, she revealed how she transitioned from 'bright-eyed and bushy-tailed beginnings' into 'the worst working days of my life'.

She described her career trajectory as a 'demise', but stressed that she didn't want to discourage people from entering the industry, only to raise awareness of the 'toxic surgical environment that still exists in Australia'.

Dr Kadota said she was lauded as one of the top surgical interns her hospital had ever seen.

The encouragement made her the first to enter the hospital and the last to leave, soaking up all the information she could.

'I stayed back after hours to assist surgeries – not because I had to, but because I wanted to spend more time in the operating theatre,' she wrote.

Six years into her career, she began to see the 'dark side of surgery'.

A senior neurosurgeon constantly overlooked her for assignments, instead choosing in 'favour of a pretty girl'.

The same neurosurgeon would constantly taunt her, saying she was on a 'downward spiral' and telling her to take her clothes off in Japanese.

Workdays spanning 20 hours meant there was no time to go home and sleep before her next shift started.

She would just sleep in the 'recovery' room, where the clattering of the overnight staff made for a restless sleep.

There was no such thing as a Monday-to-Friday schedule. Days and weeks were long.

'I was at the hospital for 120-140 hours a fortnight, and work would follow me home with phone calls whilst trying to park my car in the garage, whilst I took a shower, whilst I was trying to cook dinner, and whilst I was trying to fall asleep.

'Every fortnight I would only be guaranteed four nights of uninterrupted sleep. 'The other 10 nights were unpredictable. Maybe I'll get woken up, maybe I won't. 'This mental unrest for 10 days a fortnight was taking a toll on me. I couldn't go and exercise, I couldn't plan anything social…

She accrued more than 100 hours of overtime work in just her first month in her new role, and it took a toll.

Dr Kadota was unwell, disheveled and burnt out with a combination of stress, dehydration, poor nutrition and sleep deprivation.

Talk of her issues made its way through the halls until her head of department called her.

''We need to look after you. You're damn good, you're damn good,' said the voice on the other line with so much conviction that I believed it. 'I don't want you to burnout' … but I already was.'

With hopes of a roster change, she arrived at work the next morning in a better mood. But, she wrote, that was the breaking point.

A 12-hour Monday was followed by a 20-hour Tuesday. An operation had gone long into the night and her boss never answered her call for back-up. He jovially asked her the next morning if she had actually called him, or whether he was just dreaming.

She would ask for breaks and be knocked back and told to toughen up.

When she received a call at 3am, her frustration was met with an order to 'stop being an emotional female'.

She resigned on June 1 last year, her 24th consecutive work day.

With her resignation, she knew she would be blacklisted from ever getting another job in a Sydney plastic surgery, but enough was enough. 'I was physically alive, but spiritually broken,' she wrote.

When word of her resignation got back to her head of department, he asked if she couldn't just 'hold on' for another couple of months.

When she told him she couldn't, he replied: 'It's a shame. You have good hands. You're good at what you do… but if you can't handle the hours, maybe this isn't for you.'

Dr Kadota says she hopes that by sharing her story, she can raise awareness about doctors' health, work-life balance and maybe bring about a change in culture.


 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, 2019

'It's way too soft': Father-of-five who lost the family farm to the bank after drought slams royal commission report and demands the banks pay compensation to victims

I have experienced my share of idiocy from banks in my time so I am not the obvious person to defend banks but I do think there is a lack of perspective here.

When a bank makes a home loan it has to prophecy what your finances will be in 15 or 20 years.  That's rather heroic.  I would not lend anyone money under those circumstances.  So banks have to be very self-protective to stay in business at all.  With Australian farmers it is even worse.  Banks have to predict the WEATHER many years in advance.  Nobody can do that, not even the Greenies with their global warming religion.  It would be a reasonable view to say that banks should not lend to out-West farmers at all.  But they do.

The only protection they have for their funds is the value of the farm concerned.   So if the farmer has stopped making his payments it is normal commercial practice to seize the asset and sell it off.  But farmers feel mightily aggrieved when banks do that.  They seem to want the banks to be fairy godmothers who just keep on shelling out indefinitely regardless of whether the  bank has any prospect of getting its money back.

The real fault lies with the farmers -- with rural gamblers.  They know they are gambling on when rain will fall and want the banks to finance their gamble.

What the farmer should do after a bad year or two is to lock the farm gates and go and get a job.  No historic family farm would be "lost" if they did that.  The  farmer can come back when the rain falls again and plant a crop, make hay or agist his pastures.

In some cases he might be able to leave family on the property with a shotgun or two and just come home on the weekends.  There are a lot of workers who don't get to come home every night.  Members of the armed services may not see their families for months

There would be a case to protect farmers from themselves by banning farm lending altogether -- or at least make loan conditions a lot tougher and loans a lot less frequent.  As it is, all the recent bank bashing may achieve that anyway.  Why would a banker want to risk his reputation by lending to fools who will  turn on him when the rain stops?

A farmer who lost it all to the National Australia Bank after a drought has slammed the royal commission report as 'way too soft' and its proposals as 'twenty years too late'.

Father-of-five Bill Mott and his family lost their $22 million estate in Meanderra, in Queensland's Western Downs region, to the bank in 2014, following several poor seasons. 

The crop and cattle farmer attended all but one of royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne's hearings and this week scoured the report in detail to see what Mr Hayne had to offer farmers. He walked away disappointed.

'It was way too soft and no where near deep enough so I'm very disappointed with the outcome,' Mr Mott said. 'I think I'm going to be even more disappointed with the way the government's going to deal with it.'

Criminal charges should have been laid and 'examples made', he said, calling for a 'wow, bang' approach rather than just 'bashing (bank executives) about the ears'.

He argued the commissioner, a former High Court justice, was 'not the right man for the job', as his appointment gave the inquiry too much of a legal focus.

Most importantly, he said the report was missing redress for victims of the financial services industry.

In his report, Mr Hayne made criminal and civil referrals for some financial entities, but they were not named, and no charges have been laid against executives.

Mr Hayne recommended three major measures to help farmers:

* the banking code should change so banks do not charge default interest on agricultural land loans during droughts or national disasters 

* that banks only call in receivers or administrators for a distressed loan for a last resort, and

* the establishment of a national farm debt mediation scheme


Default interest is the interest payable on amounts which are not paid when they are due. Mr Mott said he was 'buggered' by default interest after poor seasons on his farm, prior to losing the farm to the National Australia Bank.

Mr Mott said while the measures were no doubt a 'good thing', they were a 'no brainer' and twenty years too late.

The measures came after the commission was told stories of farmers who were hit with penalty interest for defaulting on their loans.

Mr Mott was himself 'buggered up' by default interest, paying a total of $1.5 million to the bank during his ordeal. 'It should be a no brainer (not to charge default interest during drought),' he said. 'When somebody gets into trouble how the hell are they going to get out of trouble if they keep flogging them?

'With farming, almost every case of default is when there is a natural disaster of some kind.

'Farmers are quite conservative people. They don't put themselves out there, but when things get really bad, you've got to spend money to make it.

He said the problem was, simply: 'Our banking system in this country does not adequately provide a service for rural farmers'.

Mr Mott's biggest disappointments were that there was 'nothing' to protect victims from the bank, and there was 'no redress', or compensation, for victims. 'There's nothing there to protect the victims against the bank,' Mr Mott said.

The National Australia Bank came in for particular criticism in Kenneth Hayne's royal commission report

'When you ultimately take out a bank loan, all the paperwork you sign, you sign away all your rights to that bank,' he said.

When somebody gets in to trouble, how are they going to go out if they keep getting flogged?

'If you default, whether the bank has done the wrong thing or you have done the wrong thing, if that goes to court you've already signed away all your rights before you even go to court.

Mr Mott said Mr Hayne did a good job, but the commission should have been run by a panel of eminent Australians, rather than just a former High Court judge

The government has supported the commission's recommendation to scrap default interest charges for farmers.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said this week: 'It's time that despicable practice ended full stop because I don't believe the rate the banks charge reflects the actual cost to them'.

The government has also pledged to set up a national scheme to help farmers seek mediation to work out a way for them to repay their loans where possible.

As for Mr Mott, he and his son live next to the farm they used to own. Perversely, it has thrived under new ownership, thanks to a few strong seasons, he said.


Reserve Bank backs Morrison's 'cautious' approach on finance industry

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe has backed the Morrison government's cautious approach to winding back payments to mortgage brokers, warning there are legitimate competition issues that are worth taking the time to work through.

Speaking two days after the government released the banking royal comission's final report, Dr Lowe   said bank culture needed to change from the top and questioned whether the profit levels of banks were sustainable in the long term.

He told the crowd of business and political leaders at the National Press Club in Sydney that their growth rates had "generated a sense of hubris

In one of his key recommendations, commissioner Kenneth Hayne found mortgage brokers commissions should be replaced by an up-front fee charged to consumers on the value of the home loan.

While Labor has pledged to implement the recommendation, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has cautioned against embracing it in full, warning it could destroy the broking industry and give greater power to the big four banks.

Dr Lowe said the government was "right to be cautious about going the full way and making the borrower pay". "There are legitimate competition issues and I think it is worth taking the time to work through those competition issues," he said.

Labor has also vowed to fast-track a key finding to scrap "grandfathered" fees for financial advisers by implementing the recommendation a year earlier than the Morrison government if elected.

Dr Lowe said by global standards Australian banks had a higher return on equity at about 13 per cent, compared to 10 per cent for their peers.

"It is a good question to ask or contemplate why it is that the Australian banks can earn, on average, higher rates on return on equity than similar banks overseas," he said.

Dr Lowe said a more aggressive approach from regulators was required after the commission found they had been reluctant to pursue misconduct in the courts.

"Do the regulators need to punish bad behaviour?" said Dr Lowe. "The answer to that is yes. I think kind of a more aggressive approach by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is called for. There needs to be accountability when things go wrong".

Overall, he said the royal commission's recommendations were balanced and contained much-needed reforms.

"It is not revolution, which we didn't need. We needed sensible, we needed pragmatic reform and that's what we've got," he said. "I really hope and expect that the banks learn the lessons."


Green policies are wrecking Australia

Viv Forbes, writing below, is a farmer and a geologist.  He seems a bit weak on economics however.  Most of what he says below is well said but he should have been more circumspect about the prospect of recycling abundant coastal water into the dry interior.  It is a proposal that seems commonsense and so has been rumbling on for decades but all the studies tell us it would be a big boondoggle. 

The cost of doing it would be large and the benefit small.  It would allow the growing of more crops and the raising of more cattle but most primary products have long been in worldwide glut.  As a farmer Viv should know that. Only the most efficient producers can make a buck selling primary products --- and even efficient farmers can go broke if they are not close to their markets. Transport is a large component of costs.

It was all shown unambiguously in the Ord experiment.  They could grow anything there and did but they could not sell it.  The Ord was reasonably close to the huge markets of Asia but Asians wanted to grow their own rice and other food, thank you very much.  And they're pretty good at growing their own food. Because of its near equatorial position, nearby Java grows two crops of rice every year. All that the Ord grows now for export is sandalwood -- no food

There is an existing market for products from inland Australia -- when drought allows -- but increasing the volume produced would undoubtedly decrease prices, which would be pretty self-defeating  and could send ALL the inland farmers broke.  A good use of taxpayer funds?  Australia certainly needs more dams for both flood control and water supply -- but only to serve nearby big cities

There is even a lot of scope for barrages.  They are simple and cheap and should not arouse much in the way of Greenie objections.  The barrage on the Fitzroy does a good job of providing the city of Rockhamption with potable water.  A barrage on the Brisbane river just upstream of the port could be very useful. 

It would be a better alternative to Brisbane's absurd and costly desalination plant.  From a Greenie viewpoint a desalination plant is part of the problem.  It uses heaps of electricity every time it is switched on.  A barrage just sits there

Water conservation peaked in Australia in 1972 – our last big dam was Wivenhoe in Queensland, built 35 years ago.

Elsewhere in Australia, water conservation virtually stopped when Don Dunstan halted the building of Chowilla Dam on the Murray in 1970 and Bob Brown's Greens halted the Franklin Dam in 1983 (and almost every other dam proposal since then).

The Darling River water management disaster shows that we now risk desperate water shortages because our population and water needs have more than doubled, and much of our stored water has been sold off or released to "the environment."

However, we regularly see floods of water being shed by the Great Dividing Range, most of it ending up in the Pacific Ocean, while to the west of that watershed there is severe drought.

Our ancestors had the prudence and the will to build great assets like the Tasmanian and Snowy hydro schemes, Lake Argyle, Fairbairn Dam, and the Perth to Kalgoorlie water pipeline.  What are we building for our children?

Politicians can pass laws or find money for games, stadiums, climate jamborees, study tours, gifts to foreigners, green energy toys, and useless giant batteries.  Canberra alone spends a billion dollars every day.

Our engineers know how to lay large pipelines over hundreds of miles to export natural gas and bore road and rail tunnels through mountains and under cities and harbors.

But we cannot find the funds or the courage to build a couple of dams on the rainy side of the Great Divide somewhere between the Ross River at Townsville and the Clarence River at Grafton and some pumps, tunnels and pipes to use and release it into the thirsty Darling River basin.

Someone is always cursing either droughts or floods.

We need to curse less and dam more.


PM Morrison defends Liberal inquiry chair

Scott Morrison has swatted away calls to sack the Liberal chairman of an economics committee accused of "highly unethical" behaviour. The prime minister dismissed the Labor demands as an attempt to "throw mud" at the man giving retirees a voice.

Liberal MP Tim Wilson has led a series of town-hall style meetings across Australia seeking feedback on Labor's plans to scrap cash payments for excess franking credits.

Unusually, there are no formal witnesses scheduled for the hearings, with members of the public instead given three minutes each to speak. It is also unusual for the committee to be investigating an opposition policy, rather than government legislation.

Hundreds of self-funded retirees have shared concerns about what the proposed changes might mean for their incomes.

Mr Wilson has been under fire for including a Liberal petition against the policy on a website promoting the committee's work and allowing his colleagues to hand out party membership forms at public hearings.

It has now been revealed Mr Wilson holds shares in a fund management firm leading the charge against Labor's changes and is related to its chairman. Mr Wilson has confirmed he sought testimony from the high-profile fund manager.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that some of the public hearings were timed to coincide with an investor roadshow by the fund manager, so that its members could protest the policy.

Labor's Matt Thistlethwaite said Mr Wilson must resign. "He has a massive conflict of interest as he's a shareholder in the company that is leading the charge in undermining this policy," Mr Thistlethwaite told reporters in Sydney.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen argued the prime minister must intervene if Mr Wilson refused. "Tim Wilson has no choice but to resign and if he won't resign the prime minister should sack him," he said. "This is a clear and fundamental breach of convention, of understanding and, frankly, of standing orders."

Mr Morrison was quick to dismiss their comments. "The Labor Party aren't content with arrogantly dismissing thousands upon thousands, hundreds of thousands, of retirees around the country who they basically want to steal money from with higher taxes," he told reporters.

"Now they're going to throw mud at the person who's giving those retirees a voice."

The round of public hearings is believed to be costing taxpayers around $160,000.

"I think it's great that retirees all around the country have got a voice and they can bring forward their concerns in this forum," Mr Morrison said.

"That's what the parliament is supposed to be about, giving Australians a voice. Bill Shorten wants to shut them down, arrogantly dismiss them, and take their money."


 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, 2019

Jordan Peterson wimps out over toxic women

Bettina Arndt

Jordan Peterson is in Australia next week and I was thinking back to my long interview with him last year. At the time I considered taking him on about his reluctance to call out women’s bad behaviour  - which seems odd when he constantly tells men to pull themselves together. But since this was just after the Cathy Newman interview I realised that strategy was a really lousy idea.

When we did the interview I did make some pretty strong statements about women’s misbehaviour which in some areas seemed to make him a little braver. But he was still is very reluctant to sheet home women’s misdeeds.

I decided this week to put together a video about why men are so reluctant to criticise women – using my interviews with a number of prominent men to illustrate what’s going on here. I suggest that as an academic, Peterson is trained to avoid the wrath of the feminists who dominate his workplace.

Ditto Josh Zepps, who made a long podcast with me last year. Zepps is a great interviewer, happily exploring diverse ideas in his  wethepeople podcasts. But hs is a self-confessed “lefty”, works occasionally for the ABC and approached the interview with me clearly nervous of irritating his feminist friends. But I noticed I was able to embolden him by voicing strong criticisms of women’s duplicitous behaviour, which lead him to become positively brave by the end of the long interview.

Conservative men are equally reluctant to call out women’s bad behaviour but for different reasons. Here the problem is chivalry, old-fashioned adherence to the gynocentric ideal of women on a pedestal, whose virtue no gentleman would challenge. This form of benevolent sexism exploits men’s culturally-imposed desire to protect and show reverence for women. And that means they too wimp out when it comes to acknowledging that women can be very, very bad.

It proved a fascinating exercise pulling together my video showing how all this works. Here it is:

See also

Via email from Bettina --

Surly Bowen struggling with his misguided economic policies

He is determined to double-tax small investors

Well that’s cleared it up: Chris Bowen is not related to Gumby, that much-loved green plasticine man, but Bill Shorten is claiming Maggie Thatcher as a distant relative by telling us that he’s not for turning.

Labor’s treasury spokesman Bowen has had a bad six months. A number of his policy proposals are seriously misguided, while the timing now looks particularly unwise. Had he appreciated the extent to which the budget was improving by itself, he might have thought twice before embarking on such a high-risk strategy.

His response has taken the form of aggressive denial and surly petulance. Attack the government, attack those pointing out the errors of his ways, attack the voters.

This tactic reached a crescendo last week when he told retirees who would be adversely affected by the abolition of cash refunds for franking credits they could vote for the Coalition. What happened to governing for all Australians?

“The Liberals will run a scare campaign but their age of entitlement must end. This is the policy we will take to the election, it’s the right policy.” “Digging” and “keep” are words that spring to mind, particularly given Bowen has already tweaked the policy a number of times.

It’s a mystery as to why he has taken so many wrong turns when it comes to devising policy. Of course, he’s had to avoid the rookie error he made during the last election campaign when he announced a much larger cumulative budget deficit over the forward estimates — to the tune of $16.5 billion — than the Coalition.

He has therefore been forced to find additional revenue sooner rather than later. This in part explains the foolish proposal to eliminate cash refunds for franking credits, which will involve low-income earners facing higher rates of tax on share dividends than those earning more than $120,000 a year in taxable income.

This is surely not the Labor way. How can it be fairer to hit low-income earners harder than the better off? It’s Robin Hood in reverse with Bowen as the sheriff of Nottingham.

While trade unions, charities, not-for-profits and some age pensioners will be exempt from the policy, the elimination of cash ­refunds for franking credits will further distort the tax system and strengthen the incentives for older people to qualify for the Age Pension. There are reasons also to doubt the revenue projections — an additional $11.4 billion over the forward estimates and $55.7bn over a decade.

A number of companies have already started to distribute excess franking credits prior to the policy being implemented and fully franked shares will be traded so that the new owners are those who can gain maximum advantage of the franking credits. In other words, the projections of the additional revenue may be very optimistic indeed.

It’s worth recalling what Labor’s then Treasury spokesman Simon Crean had to say when prime minister John Howard first introduced these cash refunds in 2000: “It improves the current taxation system faced by low-­income investors, especially retired Australians.” It was an improvement then, but Labor ­believes it now must be jettisoned.

There has also been a lot of discussion about Labor’s proposals to abolish negative gearing — save for new housing — and the halving of the capital gains tax discount. It’s interesting to ponder what sort of brain-snap Bowen ­experienced when he accepted these proposals based on the flimsiest of analysis.

The scope to reduce personal income tax using negative gearing, particularly in respect of housing, is curtailed in a number of other countries. There are various ways this can be done, by limiting the number of properties or by capping the size of the allowable deductions, for instance. Why Labor didn’t start with more modest restrictions on negative gearing is anyone’s guess. And why extend the elimination of negative gearing to other assets, given that the seeming rationale of the policy is to improve housing affordability and to favour owner occupiers over investors?

Again, the answer would seem to be about the dollars. The more additional revenue raised, the more scope for money to be re­directed to Labor’s pet projects, particularly spending on the highly unionised education and hospital sectors. There is no real talk of using the additional revenue to seriously reform the tax system to improve equity and efficiency.

The timing of the negative gearing policy looks particularly ill-advised. Housing markets across most parts of the country are soft and the fall in house prices is accelerating at a record rate.

With question marks hanging over the apartment market and tight credit conditions, Bowen could not have picked a worse combination of factors when it comes to introducing a radical change to the taxation of investment.

Note that negative gearing has been part of the tax code for more than a century, with a very brief interruption under Bowen’s hero, former treasurer Paul Keating.

Again our modern-day sheriff of Nottingham is ushering in a policy that will continue to assist the well-heeled, with serious property investors able to deduct gearing and other costs against other investment income. Only mum-and-dad investors will be hit by the policy change.

When it comes to the change to the capital gains tax, this will place Australia at the very top of the international list in terms of the rate of this tax. In a world of global competition for capital, this seems a strange move.

Moreover, the grandfathering of the policy may well lead to an unfortunate lock-in of assets ­already held as well as a reluctance to invest in new ones.

A wildcard of the Labor tax package is the potential impact such a large additional tax burden has on overall economic conditions, which in turn could seriously undermine the rate of growth of revenue more generally. In fact, any serious reduction in the rate of economic growth would lead to a much greater fall-off in tax revenue than the gains associated with Labor’s individual measures.

We saw this effect around the time of the global financial crisis. In 2007-08, taxation added $279bn (or 23.7 per cent of GDP) billion to Treasury coffers. This amount fell sharply in the following years, with only $262bn (or 20.1 per cent of GDP) raised in 2009-10. Taxation as a percentage of GDP did not begin to rise again until 2011-12.

For Bowen, the timing of the release of the banking royal commission’s report yesterday is fortuitous. It will take the heat off him for the time being in terms of defending his largely indefensible tax-grab proposals and his refusal to play the role of Gumby.


UN to be told: stop fighting Coal mine

Australia will formally reject the UN’s intervention over the Adani coalmine, accusing it of blindly accepting ­inaccurate claims of green activists and dismissing the majority support of indigenous landholders.

After lobbying by US law firm Earth Justice, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination last year publicly urged the Morrison government to suspend the Carmichael project as it had not been approved by “all native title claimants”.

Resources Minister Matt Cana­van yesterday said the Morrison government would write to the UN committee to formally correct the “clear errors” in its understanding of Australian law.

Senator Canavan said the UN had accepted incorrect claims that 2017 legislation enshrining majority rule within indigenous groups when considering land-use agreements was designed to undermine land rights.

He said the amendments, which followed the Federal Court’s McGlade ruling, had been widely backed by individual indigenous groups, the representative Native Title Council and Labor.

“They insinuated that these changes were effectively made to limit indigenous rights or somehow advantage this evil Adani project. This is just a massive misunderstanding of what happened,” Senator Canavan said.

“They were done after significant consultation with those groups and with the national ­Native Title Council.

“They helped protect over 200 indigenous land-use agreements which provide benefits to indigenous people which would have been put at risk without the agreements.”

The committee said it was “particularly concerned” by the 2017 law, derided by activists as the “Adani amendment”, to ­ensure indigenous land-use agreements needed only majority support among traditional owners. In Adani’s case, the indigenous land-use agreement with the Wangan and Jagalingou people was endorsed by 294 of 295 clan members in a 2016 ballot, after years of consultation with the ­Indian company.

Queensland’s Labor government is holding up the Adani project over the company’s plan to manage the area’s population of black-throated finches.

The government has received an independent review of the plan by environmental scientist Brendan Wintle, but last night missed Adani’s 5pm deadline to deliver the report.

Adani has accused the government of “shifting the goalposts” on its project, while the Liberal National Party said Labor was delaying the final go-ahead to prevent the issue becoming a distraction for Bill Shorten ahead of the federal election due in May.

Labor backed the native title amendment after a court judgment added a “high degree of uncertainty” by requiring votes approving land-use agreement to be carried unanimously.

Senator Canavan suggested the committee do its own ­research.

“International organisations seem to take as given claims made by vested interests in the big environmental movement,” he said.

The W&J Family Council — a minority group of traditional owners opposed to the mine — has criticised the legal change as an “Adani amendment” designed specifically to prop-up the “dodgy” land-use deal, which includes $250 million of economic opportunities.

However, traditional owners last week wrote to the UN insisting that the majority of clan members still supported the agreement with Adani.


The silver lining

WHILE tears of despair are being shed in Townsville amid record flooding, home inundation and emergency rescues, it’s the opposite across other parts of the north.

Cloncurry recently set a record for the most consecutive days above 40C and is now washing off the heat with 388mm of rain.

Mayor Greg Campbell said the Cloncurry River was flowing and the Chinaman Creek Dam spilling over. “It is a great relief to the community. The old timers always say the only way to break a drought is with a flood,” he said. Cr Campbell said the rains fell “just in time”.

Elsewhere in what had been drought country, Mount Isa has recorded 232mm since the rains began late last week and the Gereta Station catchment, on the Leichhardt River, recorded 529mm, with 232mm in a single day.

Richmond welcomed more than 400mm and Mayor John Wharton said the graziers could not be happier.

“In the cattle industry, they say to wait until February until you panic so it’s just in time. We’re hoping in a couple of months we’ll have green fields and fat cattle.”

Food drops are feeding cattle stranded by floodwater, he said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the rains were a relief for farmers who had struggled with the severe drought. “There were ... a few tears of happiness.”

It happens as the flooding emergency continues in Townsville, with more than 400 people were evacuated from the Townsville suburb of Idalia overnight.

Soldiers were today using every boat they could get their hands on to evacuate more Townsville residents amid fears up to 2000 properties may have been inundated, with emergency food and groceries to be trucked in this afternoon.

Authorities were this morning dealing with a fresh wave of calls from residents asking for help to leave their homes.

Residents were this morning being ferried to safety by helicopters as well as boats.

A total of 14,553 homes and businesses remain without power as of 3pm on Monday afternoon, as Ergon Energy warns residents about the dangers of generators running in their homes.


 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, 2019

PM bows to pressure over refugee medical transfers

Scott Morrison has bowed to demands for an independent medical review panel to vet asylum-seeker transfers from regional processing centres to Australian health facilities as the government faces the risk of a historic ­defeat on the floor of parliament next week over Kerryn Phelps’s medivac bill.

The surrender comes amid increasing public concern over the treatment of refugees and threats by Labor, the Greens and crossbenchers to strip the government of decision-making powers over medical transfers.

The Prime Minister only last week warned that should the bill pass with the support of Labor, it would be the first step in dismantling offshore processing and a weakening of border security.

In December, Mr Morrison ­attacked the bill claiming “we ­already have doctors” assisting in the treatment of asylum-seekers on Nauru and Manus Island.

With the likelihood the government could lose a vote in the house, Mr Morrison has adopted a key concern of several independents and will establish an independent panel of doctors to review decisions made by the ­department. The Australian has been told the opposition plans to pressure the government over a snap election if it loses a vote on a matter of “vital importance”, which, under parliamentary rules, can constitute a loss of confidence in the government.

Mr Morrison was expected to brief key independent MP Cathy McGowan, whose support would be critical if the government is to avoid being defeated on the bill.

The Australian has confirmed Mr Morrison’s policy went to the National Security Committee of Cabinet but not full Cabinet

It involves the creation of an ­independent Medical Transfer Clinical Assurance Panel, to be chaired by the commonwealth Chief Medical Officer.

It would include a nominee of the chief executive of Foundation House with torture and trauma counselling experience, a nominee of the Australian Medical Association and two nominees of the department’s Chief Medical Officer, one of whom will hold current mental health clinical experience.

The panel, appointed by the Immigration Minister, would be able to review assessments currently undertaken by the department on the medical needs of asylum-seekers. The panel cannot overturn decisions but can refer them to the Department of Home Affairs for reconsideration.

The Coalition, which announced yesterday the final four child asylum seekers on Nauru will be transferred to the US, will argue its model would ensure the government still retained overall oversight of medical transfers, maintaining the current nat­ional ­security architecture.

An inpatient mental health unit is also in the process of being set up in the Pacific International Hospital in Port Moresby for acute cases.

In a letter expected to be sent to Bill Shorten today, and seen by The Australian, Mr Morrison has warned Labor of the dangers of backing a bill that would ­effectively hand border security over to two doctors. “I appreciate that Australians are seeking greater assurance about the healthcare that is being made available to those who continue to live in PNG and Nauru,” Mr Morrison says in the draft letter. “In the context of these issues, I also write to once again urge you to reverse your support for Senate amendments to the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018 to be considered when Parliament resumes.

“The changes you are now supporting in the amendments from the Senate changes will effectively end offshore processing as a useful component of our border protection regime. The advice from our security agencies is very clear …

“The reason that the amendments passed by the Senate will end offshore processing is simply that they take the final decision of who comes to Australia out of the hands of the elected government of this country. The amendments permit individuals on Nauru and Manus to gain entry to Australia on the say-so of any two doctors in this ­country.”

Mr Morrison offered the Opposition Leader briefings from the Chief of the Defence Force, secretary of Home Affairs and commander of Operation Sovereign Borders on the dangers of the bill.

Dr Phelps, the architect of the bill who claims that her campaigning on the issue helped her win the Wentworth by-election, yesterday welcomed the expected removal of children from Nauru but said the government had to be dragged kicking and screaming.

Dr Phelps, who won Malcolm Turnbull’s former seat from the Liberals in October, said the government was forced into ­action by community pressure.

At present, medical transfers are decisions made by the department’s transitory persons’ committee and the assistant commissioner, Detention and Offshore Operations Co-ordination, which have a delegation to transfer an individual for medical treatment at any time. The panel will provide bi­annual reports to the joint standing committee on migration but has immediate oversight to review decisions by the department.

Mr Shorten said Labor would pursue the issue when parliament returned on February 12.

The vote — which was delayed after stalling tactics were employed in the Senate during the last day of parliamentary sittings last year — looms as a key test for the Morrison minority government.

The House of Representatives practice says there are two ways in which the lower house can withdraw confidence. The first is by a “direct vote of censure of or no confidence in the government” while the second is “by defeat on an issue central to government policy”.

Following defeat on a matter of “vital importance”, a government may then choose to resign. While there has never been a successful vote of no confidence against a government in the House of Representatives, on eight occasions gov­ernments have either resigned or advised a dissolution following their defeat on other questions.

A Labor source said : “If they are defeated on it and Morrison decides to not go to the Governor-General, he would then have to explain why (the bill) is not of vital ­importance”.


Should the nanny state cap your calories?

After a summer break filled with well-earned indulgence, you may be starting your New Year’s resolution to diet.

But it could soon be the government’s responsibility to control your calorie intake — if we’re inclined to play copy-cat on a ludicrous proposal under consideration by the British government to cap the number of calories in restaurant meals and ready-made meals from supermarkets.

Hilariously, even a benign-sounding tuna and cucumber sandwich sold by the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain would become illegal under the scheme — as it would top the mandated 550 calorie limit.

But while it is tempting to joke about the idea, if it’s implemented in Britain, it is certain the health lobby will turn its sights on Australia.

After all, Australia tends to adopt Britain’s policies as quickly as their BBC costume dramas. A tax on sugary drinks — another poorly-targeted policy introduced in Britain last year — has been the subject of ongoing debate in Australia.

Of course, obesity is a serious problem in many developed nations — including Australia — but the causes are complex and the solutions are not straightforward.

More than 5 million Australians are now classified as obese. And obesity places a strain on our health system, with taxpayers bearing much of the cost of treatments for related problems like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

But there is little evidence that capping calories in meals would be worth the huge regulatory cost to the food and restaurant industries.

After all, capping calories does nothing to directly prevent people from consuming too much; a pea-sized pizza could simply be followed by a mega Mars bar.

Furthermore, obesity is sadly more prevalent in lower socio-economic households — who are less likely to afford expensive restaurant meals. So why make the whole restaurant industry pay for a poorly-targeted policy?

If governments feel compelled to combat obesity, they should at least focus their policies directly on children at risk, as childhood is often where lasting food and exercise habits are formed.

But don’t be surprised if by next New Year, dining out is a lot less fun.


Enquiry-based learning isn’t evidence-based

You have to wonder how many times something has to be tried before people stop calling it ‘innovative’ and ‘new’. Especially when it has fallen short of expectations as often as enquiry-based learning.

Decades of research has shown the student-centred approach — where there is a focus on students discovering new information for themselves with minimal structure and without teacher guidance — to be less effective than teacher-directed instruction.

In New South Wales, some alternative (but not new) models of schools are opening up. In some cases, schools like this may have been successful (especially in more socially-advantaged areas), and it’s possible that new schools opening up under this model will be great schools — we all wish them the best and want them to succeed. But it’s important to question if this educational approach would be beneficial or practical for all students or across the entire school system, particularly when the evidence suggests that it won’t be.

We may hear success stories about how revolutionary new schools have done away with the ‘industrial model of schooling’ in favour of a ‘whole-child’ approach, but often when you dig deeper the story is far less clear.

A 2018 OECD report found enquiry-based learning in Australia is associated with significantly lower science scores in schools with a poor disciplinary climate, and not associated with significantly higher science scores even in schools with good disciplinary climates. In contrast, the report concluded that teacher-directed instruction is positively associated with student science results, across almost all countries — and this is regardless of school funding, classroom disciplinary climate, and student proficiency and socio-economic background.

And a recent meta-analysis — which considered the findings of over 300 studies across 50 years — showed that direct instruction has significant positive effects on student achievement across all subjects and non-academic indicators, including for disadvantaged students. The implication is that direct instruction is practically always a beneficial teaching practice.

Generally favouring teacher-led direct instruction over student-centred enquiry-based learning isn’t a ‘back to basics’ approach or defending the ‘old’ against the ‘new’. It’s simply following the evidence where it leads.


The shaky state of religious freedom in Australia

I learned four important — but somewhat dispiriting — things while taking part in the ABC Radio National’s God Forbid discussion of religious freedom last week. (I was joined by two fine academic lawyers – an atheist from Melbourne and an Anglican from West Australia.)

* Everybody agrees that religious freedom is a good thing but disagrees about whether there is any danger to it in Australia. The truth is that there is a relatively high level of religious freedom here in this county’s robust common law tradition — not through government legislation. But this is vulnerable as the country undergoes massive social change.

* While some religious communities will, to various degrees, accommodate the sexual revolution, there will always remain a substantial ‘recalcitrant’ minority who will not do so, and yet still want to have a place in the public life of this nation. It is still not clear if and how this will be achieved.

* Antidiscrimination law is as much the problem as the solution. Antidiscrimination law protects individuals, but unless very carefully crafted can prevent religious communities and institutions from maintaining the religious character which constitutes them in the first place. The overuse use of the word ‘discrimination’ itself doesn’t help as it too often begs the question by implying any act of selection is bad. This is what is called a ‘persuasive definition’ where the word used prejudges a conclusion without argument.

* Any successful attempt to remove the funding of religious schools that ‘discriminate’ would amount to removing government funding from religious schools altogether. Admittedly it has been done before. In the late nineteenth century all the colonies removed previous state funding to religious schools completely. It was restored by the Menzies federal government in 1964. Maybe that is a question that could be reopened, but not as an accidental outcome of an antidiscrimination debate.

My conclusion is that this issue isn’t going away anytime soon. And given the poor quality of the debate on the release of the Ruddock Report in parliament late last year, and now with so little time before the federal election I am pessimistic about much being achieved for quite a while, if ever.


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

4 February, 2019

Bettina Arndt on campus

Below are some excepts from a very long and rambling article by a supercilious Leftist writer named Tim Elliott that appeared in the "Sydney Morning Herald".  I reproduce the bits about Bettina only  -- as they are reasonably factual. Much in the rest of the article is biased to the point of misleading. 

Bettina objects to the false and misleading talk about men by feminists.  You can imagine how well that goes down among feminist bigots and their male sycophants.  Now that there are more female university students and graduates than male, any war for equal treatment of females has long ago been clearly won.  All that feminists have left is their hate

Welcome to LibertyFest 2018. Run by the non-profit LibertyWorks, LibertyFest bills itself as a "massive free-thinking conference, bringing in speakers from all over Australia to present and discuss genuinely dangerous and disruptive ideas".

But the event's main drawcard, the marquee attraction, is Bettina Arndt. A former journalist and trained psychologist, the 69-year-old Arndt made her name in the 1980s as one of Australia's first sex therapists. "I was a feminist," she tells me when we meet in the hotel cafe. "I was trying to help women. But men also started to talk to me, firstly about sex and then about other aspects of their lives. So I started to realise that there were many issues where men and boys weren't getting a fair deal."

So she became a feminist apostate, an original "women's libber" turned men's rights advocate. Arndt's latest crusade is against what she calls the "manufactured crisis" around sexual assault at Australian universities. (A report by the Australian Human Rights Commission, released in 2017, found that 1.6 per cent of the 30,000 students surveyed were sexually assaulted in a university setting in 2015-16. Nina Funnell, from the support group End Rape on Campus, describes the problem as "very concerning".)

According to Arndt, the figures have been manipulated by feminist activists in a campaign to demonise men. So in August she embarked on what she called her "Fake Rape Crisis tour", a series of university talks aimed at debunking the "myth" that Australian universities are unsafe for women.

It didn't go well. The first event, at Melbourne's La Trobe University, was cancelled after the administration claimed it wasn't compatible with the university's values. (The university soon backtracked and allowed the talk to go ahead.) The next event, at the University of Sydney, turned ugly when about 40 protesters, led by the students' Wom*n's Collective, attempted to block Arndt and others from entering the venue. There was much pushing and shouting and chanting.

"They had megaphones and were calling me a f...wit," Arndt says. (In the end, police were called to remove the protesters, and the talk proceeded as scheduled.) Arndt wasn't bothered by the abuse, per se, but by the attempt to shut her down. Rather than contest her ideas with ideas of their own, the students wanted to deny her the chance to talk altogether. "The fact this happened at a university," Arndt says, "a supposed bastion of thought-provoking ideas and rigorous inquiry, is just terrible." '

What occurred at the University of Sydney has been cited by the media as an example of "de-platforming". De-platforming is, quite literally, denying someone a platform from which to express their views. High-profile cases tend to be on social media, as in the case of Alex Jones, a hugely popular American radio host and conspiracy theorist, whose sites were blocked, in August, by Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify, for repeated instances of hate speech and bullying. Jones has accused Robert Mueller, former FBI director and Special Counsel for the US Department of Justice, of being a paedophile and threatened to shoot him; Jones has also said that singer Jennifer Lopez (J-Lo) should go to Somalia and "get gang raped", and claimed that former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton ran a satanic child sex ring out of a pizzeria.

De-platforming is nothing new: Holocaust deniers have long been shut out of the conversation, sometimes literally. Author David Irving, who claimed that Nazi gas chambers were a hoax, has been barred from entering Australia multiple times since 1993.

But de-platforming appears to be creeping into other areas. In July last year, the Brisbane Writers Festival disinvited outspoken feminist Germaine Greer, whose most recent book, About Rape, was deemed too hot to handle. During the lead-up to the book's publication, Greer said sentences for rapists were "excessive", and suggested that a more fitting punishment might be 200 hours' community service and perhaps an "r" tattooed on the offender's hand. The festival also "disinvited" former Labor foreign minister and NSW premier Bob Carr, who was due to discuss his political memoir, Run for Your Life, in which he advocates for lower immigration, and discusses bullying by the pro-Israel lobby.

The festival's acting chief executive, Ann McLean, denied de-platforming anyone, arguing that the Greer controversy might have overshadowed other events. As for Carr, McLean said she was concerned that he could have gone off topic. (In a letter to MUP publisher Louise Adler, later leaked to the press, McLean acknowledged that Carr's talk might clash with "the brand alignment of several sponsors we are securing for the festival".)

The organisers were accused of censorship by everyone from conservative commentator Andrew Bolt to Booker Prize-winning author Richard Flanagan. Greer, meanwhile, called the Brisbane Writers Festival "the dreariest literary festival in the world, with zero hospitality and no fun at all", and described her disinvitation as a "great relief".

Greer's choice of the word "fun" is instructive. As a seasoned intellectual combatant, it's safe to say that her idea of "fun" includes, among other things, the robust and frank discussion of big ideas, like the definition of rape, and the suggestion, as she put it at the Hay Literary Festival in the UK last May, that most rapes "don't involve any injury whatsoever", and are merely "careless and insensitive". To other people, namely those who have been raped, Greer's ideas might not be fun, and may even be deeply offensive. In the past, these two groups might have faced off; these days, however, they refuse to even be in the same room.

De-platforming is like one of those exotic illnesses, such as Ebola or Morgellons, the origins of which no one can agree upon. Some blame the proscriptive effect of political correctness or the drift toward political polarisation, whereby ideological foes move so far apart they are no longer willing to listen to one another, or social media, where unhearing opinions you don't like is as easy as pressing the "block" button. Complacency, even a degree of arrogance, might also play a part.

"Some young people think that certain issues, like racism, sexism and homophobia, have been settled for all time and there's no debate to be had," writer David Marr tells me. "What they don't realise is that the really difficult debates never end."

What almost everyone agrees on is that de-platforming is mainly practised by the left. This has been a boon to the right, which can now plausibly claim to be the real free-speech warriors. As Renee Gorman, a University of Sydney student and national manager for the free-market think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs, put it at LibertyFest: "We are the counterculture now."

In early December, Arndt launched her latest book, provocatively titled #MenToo. A collection of her writings from the past 30 years, the book essentially restates her thesis that feminism has "gone off the rails", morphing from an equal-rights movement into "a long crusade to crush male sexuality". She spruiked the book on morning TV, and spoke at Parliament House in Canberra. She even met Tehan, to discuss a suggestion by Tanya Plibersek, the Deputy Opposition Leader and shadow federal minister for education and training, to set up an independent taskforce to investigate rape on campus.

Arndt also mentioned doing events with Milo Yiannopoulos, the far-right provocateur and internet troll who has, among other things, mocked victims of child sexual abuse, and allegedly encouraged his followers to bombard black actress Leslie Jones with racist tweets, including sexually explicit memes and pictures of apes. (In 2016, Twitter found he had breached its conditions of use and permanently banned him.)

Arndt tells me she doesn't agree with everything Yiannopoulos says. "But he's done great work in calling out the free-speech problem on campus. And he's funny." The prospect, however speculative, of a campus event with Yiannopoulos fills Arndt with an almost palpable excitement. Doubtless the protests would be noisy, widely publicised and great for publicity for her book.

Meanwhile, Arndt keeps fighting the good fight, beavering away, challenging the "fake rapes" and the "victimisation of our young boys on campus". When I speak to her on the phone, just before Christmas, she seems supercharged with a sense of mission, ever vigilant for "all the lies and the rubbish and the propaganda". After all, she adds, "That's what keeps me in business."


'How can people turn a blind eye to this?' Kerri-Anne Kennerley breaks her silence after being branded 'racist' in ugly TV spat with Yumi Stynes

Controversial television host Kerri-Anne Kennerley has finally broken her silence after the 'racist' row with radio personality Yumi Stynes.

The presenters came to verbal blows during a Studio 10 panel on Monday about people protesting to change the date of Australia Day.

Kennerley dismissed 'Invasion Day' protesters, insinuating none of them had ever been to the Outback and were championing the plight of Indigenous Australians under false pretenses.

Now, Kennerley has finally broken her silence in an emotional opinion piece for The Daily Telegraph.

'The ''racist'' word became the burning headline… the spark that started the fire and what a burn it has been,' Kennerley wrote.

The 65-year-old acknowledged that the delivery of her point was could have been made smoother, but stressed she was only trying to highlight 'abuse here and now'.

'To me, the much more pressing issue for not only the indigenous community but the nation as a whole is the horrific rape of children, babies and women in indigenous communities,' she wrote.

Following the blow-up, Kennerley was invited to spend an evening in the Aboriginal community town of Alice Springs by local councillor Jacinta Price.

Ms Price appeared on Studio 10 and supported the idea that abuse 'overrides the changing date of Australia Day'. 

Indigenous leader Warren Mundine also defended Kennerley for her remarks, saying he and other Indigenous Australians understood what she was trying to say.

Kennerley made it clear she had no intention to label specific indigenous communities or men as guilty, but wanted to ask what was being done about the 'horrific' crimes. 'How can people turn a blind eye to this? Where are the protests against these crimes? Isn’t this more important than arguing about the merits of a date for a public holiday?' Kennerley wrote.

Kennerley continued by asking why anyone who raised the 'ugly subject' of abuse within indigenous communities was immediately labelled a racist. 

Following the fierce debate last week, Tangentyere Women's Family Safety Group and Four Corners Men's Counci implored Kennerley to 'learn about the work they do to make our communities safer places'. In a letter addressed to Kennerley on Wednesday night, the community groups wrote: 'We are the leaders in our communities, we are the experts in the issues that face our communities and families and we have the solutions.

'We would welcome you to stand with us women and men, hear about our solutions and our experience and recognise the important work that is being done on a community level to deal with issues of domestic and family violence.'

The national debate was sparked last week when Kennerley said on national television that the Australia Day protests were an unnecessary distraction.  'Okay, the 5,000 people who went through the streets making their points known, saying how inappropriate the day is,' she began.  'Has any single one of those people been out to the Outback, where children, babies, five-year-olds, are being raped?

'Their mothers are being raped, their sisters are being raped. They get no education. What have you done?'

Stynes sat in silence for a brief moment before hitting back: 'That is not even faintly true, Kerri-Anne. You're sounding quite racist right now.' [But it WAS true.  Stynes is just an arrogant Leftist know-all who is quick to play the racist card instead of dealing with the issues]


The My Health Records controversy

I opted out months ago. Comment from a reader who has observed how personal records are treated by bureaucrats:

"The My Health Records "for" argument tries to convince us all that government departments and welfare workers knowing everything about everyone is all for our own good.

I have worked with such people and I know first hand that their fields of work are infested with pathological busy bodies who feed on private information about others. And they are mostly elitists too, quite convinced that they know best how society should be.

You can't get more elitist than that. And of course they are also control freaks who love to manipulate others. That is part of being elitists.

They love to tell us My Health Record is a "safety" issue. Safety is the latest lefty buzz word; they use it even more than the word care. Sadly, sounding like they care about people's safety seduces many into trusting them. They are deceivers. They certainly don't care about your freedom. And if you don't care for someone's freedom, you don't care for them at all.

After January 31, up to 17 million Australians who haven’t opted out will automatically have a My Health Record created. The latest data in October showed more than 1.1 million people had opted out.

About 6.45 million Aussies now have a record.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has stressed that people can join or leave the system at any time, despite the formal period ending today.

The deadline for opting out was pushed back from November 15 to give time for stronger privacy measures to pass parliament.

At the outset your record includes basic government-related medical information linked to you such as prescriptions that have been dispensed and consultations or tests connected to Medicare.

While there have been concerns test results would appear or conditions you don’t want shared among health professionals — your dentist knowing about your sexual health status, for example — they would need to be uploaded once your record is created.

People can also choose their privacy settings and tailor what’s added to the system.

But with stories of incorrect details being entered, and concerns from doctors the system could lead to a “malpractice nightmare”, a lot of Aussies aren’t taking a chance.

Many practices are still using outdated record keeping methods or software, with the task of uploading millions of new records putting further pressure on all aspects of the healthcare system.

Guidelines stipulate doctors don’t have to upload all information and that this can be done at their discretion and in discussion with a patient.

They’re also being advised by the Australian Medical Association to treat records with the same level of scrutiny as they usually would.


'We are losing our sense of humour': I'm A Celebrity's Tahir Bilgic slams political correctness by saying 'people are offended over the slightest thing'

I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! star Tahir Bilgic, 48, has slammed political correctness, saying the country is losing its sense of humour.

The reality TV star, who is best known for his roles as Habib in comedy shows Fat Pizza and Housos, struck an impassioned tone when discussing the issue.

'We are losing our sense of humour, and the Australian sense of humour is part of the fabric that identifies us as a nation,' Tahir The Daily Telegraph on Saturday.

He continued: 'We were built on being laid-back, knockabout, "don't take life too seriously". But also smart enough to understand not to cross the line.'

The Street Smart actor went on to say that he thinks a small section of 'people offended over the slightest thing' seems to have the greatest impact.

Tahir said he thinks that it is affecting the stand-up comedy scene, and that the loss of humour in the general public has been shockingly stark.

Tahir claimed that shows with diverse casts, such as Channel Ten's Street Smart, appeared be the ones to get the most scrutiny.

In the past, the comedy actor has championed diversity, and he lauded his new show for that aspect.

'The thing with Street Smart, we have such a diverse group,' he told The Daily Telegraph in August.

'We have Vietnamese, Turk, Greek, Indian, Aboriginal, Asian - it is all there and [they're] all playing lead roles. It is incredible. It is a fruit salad.'


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

3 February, 2019

January was Australia's hottest month EVER, with average temperatures of 86F (30C) - and a high of 121F (49.5C)

Ya gotta laugh.  The Greenie "Climate Council" responded to reports of record heat in Australia and record cold in the Northern hemisphere by saying that it showed global warming.  One wonders if anyone ever taught them arithmetic at school. 

If anything, the global average suggests cooling, as the Australian figures were mostly only a touch above normal but the Northern winter was/is punishingly cold.  In fact, in some parts of Australia -- like where I live in Brisbane in S.E. Queensland -- temperatures were a touch below normal.  There is clearly nothing global going on. 

In their press release, the Bureau of Meteorology cautiously decribed Brisbane January temperatures as "very warm'.  They were warm -- as they always are in January: An interesting lesson in how to mislead without actually lying.

In fact what we see is a sort of random walk.  Our January rainfall in Southern Queensland has been exceptionally light. No big downpours at all:  While North Queensland experiences exceptional flooding -- even in normally dry Townsville.  I'd like to see any "model" predict that!  It's totally random

Even the BoM could not resist the temptation to sermonize. They were once very vocal advocates of global warming but have pulled in their horns a lot since Jennifer Marohasy and others exposed their use of blatantly incorrect and corrupt data.  Below is an excerpt from their press release that formed the basis of the story below"

Bureau senior climatologist Dr Andrew Watkins said the heat through January was unprecedented.

"We saw heatwave conditions affect large parts of the country through most of the month, with records broken for both duration and also individual daily extremes," Dr Watkins said.

"The main contributor to this heat was a persistent high pressure system in the Tasman sea which was blocking any cold fronts and cooler air from impacting the south of the country.

"At the same time, we had a delayed onset to the monsoon in the north of the country which meant we weren't seeing cooler, moist air being injected from the north.

"The warming trend which has seen Australian temperatures increase by more than 1 degree in the last 100 years also contributed to the unusually warm conditions."

So in the last sentence below he makes a guarded reference to global warming.  In fact he had already described what was actually going on.  What a galoot!

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology confirmed the January record on Friday as parts of the northern hemisphere experienced record cold temperatures.

The scorching start to 2019 followed Australia's third-hottest year on record. Only 2005 and 2013 were warmer than 2018, which ended with the hottest December on record.

Heat-stressed bats dropped dead from trees by the thousands in Victoria state and roads melted in New South Wales during heatwaves last month.

On January 24, the South Australian capital, Adelaide, recorded the hottest day ever for a major Australian city – a searing 115.9F (46.6C).

On the same day, the South Australian town of Port Augusta, population 15,000, recorded 121.1F (49.5 C) – the highest maximum anywhere in Australia last month.

Bureau senior climatologist Andrew Watkins described January's heat as unprecedented. 'We saw heatwave conditions affect large parts of the country through most of the month, with records broken for both duration and also individual daily extremes,' he said.

The main contributor to the heat was a persistent high-pressure system over the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand that blocked cold fronts from reaching southern Australia.

Rainfall was below average for most of the country, but the monsoonal trough has brought flooding rains to northern Queensland state in the past week, leading to a disaster declaration around the city of Townsville.

Queensland's flooded Daintree River reached a 118-year high this week. Emergency services reported rescuing 28 people from floodwaters in the past week.

'The vast bulk of the population will not have experienced this type of event in their lifetime,' State Disaster Co-ordinator Bob Gee told reporters, referring to the extraordinary flooding.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill described the torrential rain as a 'one-in-100-year event' that had forced authorities to release water from the city dam. The water release would worsen flooding in low-lying suburbs, but would prevent the Ross River from breaking its banks.

In the southern island state of Tasmania, authorities are hoping rain will douse more than 40 fires that have razed more than 460,800 acres (720 square miles) of forest and farmland by Friday. Dozens of houses have been destroyed by fires and flooding in recent weeks.

Milder weather since Thursday has reduced the fire danger but it was forecast to escalate again from Sunday.

The Climate Council, an independent organisation formed to provide authoritative climate change information to the public, said the January heat record showed the government needed to curb Australia's greenhouse gas emissions which have increased during each of the past four years.

'Climate change is cranking up the intensity of extreme heat, and January's record-breaking month is part of a sharp, long-term upswing in temperatures driven primarily from the burning of fossil fuels,' the council's acting chief executive, Martin Rice, said.


PR boss says parents are lazy and don't teach children respect or discipline

She is obviously right that parents are confused about what values to teach their children -- now that the Leftist dogma "there is no such thing as Right and Wrong" prevails. But the Left do not at all apply that dogma to their own beliefs.  They just use it to discredit non-Leftist values. And they go on to teach their values in the schools.

But the transfer of value education to the schools is fundamentally wrong. Take the trendy belief that physical punishment such as spanking is wrong and harmful. The evidence for that is very poor -- with only extremes of it being demonstrably harmful.

And the prevalence of that false belief has had a huge impact. Discipline in many school classrooms has collapsed, with unruly children ruining the education of  their classmates.  When the Biblical injunction "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: But he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24) was the prevaling influence, classes were much more orderly and most kids actually learned something.  In some places these days you have High School graduates who can barely read and write

So schools cannot at all be entrusted with values education and should not be entrusted with it.  They should confine themselves to teaching academic subjects -- literacy, numeracy, history, geography, sciences, languages etc.

And under those circumstances many parents would step up to give their children moral and ethical guidance

Controversial commentator Prue MacSween has labelled the young student who was dragged along the concrete by his principal on the first day of school 'a little smart a** kid'.

Footage quickly went viral on Thursday of Steve Warner, principal of Manor Lakes school in Wyndham Vale, Melbourne, pulling the boy, 9, by one arm.

MacSween took to Channel Nine's Today Show on Saturday to defend the 'poor principal' as she highlighted the so-called problem of 'lazy parenting' across Australia.

MacSween quickly got fired up when discussing the idea that schools could introduce courses for parents to boost their skills in order to help children.

'Our biggest problem is that there is an erosion in our society of people who have respect and who have discipline, and we have these cotton-wool kids,' the PR boss said.

'We have a situation where we have parents who are totally inept, they're lazy.'

MacSween said parents don't have any idea what their responsibilities are, and instead lean on their children's teachers.

'We have bred a generation of people who just want it all, who don't want to work hard for it - pay their dues,' MacSween said.

The outspoken commentator said the younger generation had been failed by poor parenting, with 'yummy mummies' who care more about making it to Pilates rather than how their children behave at school'.

'We saw that yesterday with that poor principal having to drag that little smart a** kid and had to contend with the parents to explain himself,' she said.

'Why are people having children who shouldn't be bloody parenting? Buy a cat, buy a dog, don't have bloody kids!'

False rumours from students and parents at the P-12 school have circulated on social media, claiming the boy kicked a pregnant teacher in the stomach. 

However, the boy's sister Bianca Moore rubbished such claims, saying he kicked a trolley during a 'tantrum' on his first day at his new school.

'He suffers from ADHD and anxiety and obviously starting at a new school has upset him, he was having a tantrum,' she said.


Flawed morality of the middle class hurts Liberals

The Morrison government faces a revolt of the middle class — or at least a section of the middle class that is moralistic about climate change, compassionate in its politics, well-off in income terms and alienated from the Liberal Party it once supported.

Try this for a novel idea: these alienated progressive Liberals now backing independents in leafy wealthy seats have been since time immemorial part of the core Liberal base — now a lost part of that base — that once made these seats pure blue in Liberal loyalty.

The Morrison government, ­befitting its pragmatic nature, must act. The government is planning to pump more money into the Emissions Reduction Fund to enable it to keep conducting ­reverse auctions in coming years with one political goal — to ensure the 26 to28 per cent emissions ­reduction target by 2030 is manifestly achievable and to kill off the argument to the contrary.

This is trying to address the gaping political hole created by the August 2018 leadership change and the dumping of Malcolm Turnbull: the loss of climate change credibility. This has spilled over into an independent-based electoral movement that saw Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth fall and now threatens both Tony ­Abbott in Warringah and Health Minister Greg Hunt in Flinders.

There is a de facto alliance at work creating havoc in the Liberal heartland. It comprises the “compassionate” and “moralistic” independents milking Liberal alienation and, in Abbott’s case, fanning personal hatreds, and the Left’s political stormtroopers in the form of GetUp and trade union muscle.

While the model is Kerryn Phelps’s successful campaign in Wentworth, none of the other ­independents possesses her ­experienced profile in their seats or the unique aspect of that ­by-election — her tapping into anger in Turnbull’s seat at his ­removal. The Wentworth model might not be fully transferable but the risks are high for targeted Liberals.

While an expanded Emissions Reduction Fund does not substitute for the abandonment of the national energy guarantee, the ­reality is that the fund remains the government’s principal mechanism to combat climate change. Its $2.55 billion allocation to purchase emission reductions is ­nearly exhausted, with only $226 million left, and the government is expected to announce a new agenda to extend into the 2020s.

The middle class revolt is moralistic in character, ideological in policy — pledged to renewables as a faith — insists the Liberals have failed to confront the climate change challenge ade­quately and either plays down or ignores the economic costs to the community.

It is, in part, a manifestation of what political scientist Judith Brett branded the moral middle class as a foundation of Liberal Party support — the argument being that Liberal success was never driven just by economic ­interest but resides in the connection between the party and middle-class morality.

Patching up the climate change credibility gap is the best Scott Morrison can do at this stage, but the problem merely highlights the political insanity of the conservative media cabal that has been drum-beating for months to relax or modify the 26-28 per cent emission reduction targets and walk out of the Paris Agreement. If you want a prescription for political suicide, this is hard to beat.

Meanwhile, the government, through Energy Minister Angus Taylor, works the other side of the debate: it will underwrite new ­energy projects based on 24/7 dispatchable power to get extra supply into the system. Taylor’s priority is gas. But coal, gas and hydro are in the mix, with the final announcements coming soon of projects across several states.

The government will intensify its campaign on the economic harm arising from Labor’s 45 per cent emissions reduction target. Taylor says this “will involve seriously damaging core sectors in the Australian economy”. The government will target the specific regions most affected, but the key state is Queensland, where Gladstone, Bundaberg and ­Mackay are exposed in a network of industries at risk. The consequence, Taylor says, is obvious: under the 45 per cent target industry will shift to western China where emissions are higher, and Australian jobs will be lost.

In short, the government wants the independents, Labor and the Greens to be held ­accountable for all sides of the moral argument about climate change action. Yet the inevitable electoral fight on two fronts facing the Morrison government is daunting — it needs to buttress its climate change credibility for the two-thirds of the population that expect Australian action while hammering its obligation to the economy and power prices for the two-thirds that reject economic and household damage as the price for such climate change ­action.

The symbolism of the campaign against Abbott is stark. The Labor Party cannot beat Abbott. He can only be beaten by a particular type of middle-class revolt. This revolt is the antithesis of the forces that saw Abbott elected prime minister in 2013, when he ran on repeal of the carbon tax and as a social conservative.

Its values are climate change activism and social progressivism but the pervasive message runs deeper — this is the claim that ­Abbott’s brand of Liberalism has lost touch with voters and lost touch with the emerging trend of middle class morality.

The stakes, in short, transcend Abbott and go to the contested character of the Liberal Party now deeply divided between moderates and conservatives. Abbott’s opponent, former Olympian, barrister and sports administrator Zali Steggall, is impressive on paper, with a long family history in the Manly-based seat.

Yet her credentials with Liberal voters are highly dubious. Steggall says she is pitching to moderate Liberal voters, yet ­revealed in this week’s interview with David Speers on Sky that, while not voting Labor, she had never voted for Abbott at the nine elections since he came into parliament in 1994 at a by-election.

That is, she never voted for John Howard at his 1996 victory, never voted for the Howard government, let alone the Abbott or Turnbull governments. Such a consistent position surely makes her sound like a highly committed anti-Liberal candidate, not a Liberal loyalist now disillusioned.

Signalling climate change as a priority, Steggall called Labor’s 45 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030 a “start”, but said it was not enough and “we need to push for more”. She nominated climate change activist Tim Flannery as a reference point and said her position was part of the “sensible centre” of politics.

Abbott responded immediately, branding her a “carbon tax” advocate. This suggests a local ­­re-run of the national 2013 contest. “She’s got to be the carbon tax candidate,” Abbott said. “We can’t do more on climate change without putting more costs on to the community. If the government’s response is inadequate, we need to know what the government should be doing. You can’t run for parliament just striking a pose or offering a wish list. It’s a got to be a practical policy and that means looking at what it costs the community and what the community gains.”

The election will test whether Abbott’s stance on climate change remains viable. He is a formidable incumbent with deep ties in Warringah, immense capacity as a grassroots campaigner, a proven record of defeating protest-­inspired independents and loyalties that run deeper than many people realise.

At the 2016 election, Abbott suffered a hefty swing against him but still polled 51.65 per cent of primary votes. He wants to remain in parliament and exert an influence on the future course of Liberal politics, while his opponents want to terminate his career and his ­influence within the party.

The divisions within the party on climate change are unresolved but now mainly submerged. They were a factor, however, in the 2018 leadership crisis and neither Turnbull nor former deputy Julie Bishop have forgotten. “Our party is divided on the issue of climate change and whether — or how — we respond,” Bishop was quoted yesterday as saying in a speech in Hong Kong.

“I don’t see a solution to the current impasse but investors need regulatory certainty, given the large long-term investment needed for building energy-­generating capacity.” This is an undisguised criticism of the Morrison government — the point being that leadership pressures saw the demise of the national ­energy guarantee — and constitutes political ammunition for Labor and the independents.

Greg Hunt is under threat from independent and former Liberal Julia Banks, who quit the party in protest over Turnbull’s removal and has now decided to run not in her present seat of Chisholm, which is highly marginal and where she would be competing against Labor, but against Hunt in Flinders.

Hunt, again, is a formidable local MP who had a 2016 election two-party preferred vote of 57 per cent-plus. He will be haunted by the campaign against him on the basis that he voted against Turnbull and aspired to become Peter Dutton’s deputy. However, the idea that Hunt is part of any “far Right” in the Liberals is a joke.

Banks is a case study in the phony morality of the independents. She poses as an honourable politician but comes with heavy baggage that just gets heavier. Having been elected as a Liberal in Chisholm, she betrayed the ­voters by quitting the party and offering as justification that she put “the people before the party”.

Putting that hypocrisy behind her, she has now decided to try to dislodge a sitting senior Liberal ­invoking climate change and ­female representation as her calling card. It is a brand of seat swapping worthy of the most cynical tactics of the most cynical politicians. It should invite a fitting a voting response.

In the process, Banks provoked a subtle knife jab from Hunt: “I would never walk away from the area I grew up in to try to represent another area.” It would not be unreasonable to speculate that Banks was set upon a course of revenge on the party she accused of bullying her. The Victorian party, meanwhile, is consumed with speculation about whether Turnbull’s hand has played any role in these events.

At this point GetUp enters from stage left. It is targeting prominent conservatives headed by Abbott and Dutton in his Brisbane seat of Dickson. Many of the independents who take pride in their morality have the GetUp mob behind them. With its political scalps from the 2016 election hanging from its belt, GetUp ­declares it will canvass every home in Abbott’s electorate. It is formidable partly because its task is to destroy; it is not a political party promoting its own MPs.

Its tactics, as documented in The Australian, are for its volunteers to connect with voters hostile to Abbott by describing how he “negatively impacted a compassionate value in my life”. The volunteers will tell voters the election is an opportunity to raise standards and vote out politicians who don’t act on our values.

Anybody up for a serious ­debate about morality in politics?


Cyclist arrogance again

They think they are saving the planet so ordinary rules don't apply to them

A motorbike rider has captured the astonishing moment more than a dozen cyclists forced her to stop in the middle of a roundabout - despite the fact she clearly had the right of way.

Estelle Rose was travelling to work on Tuesday in the Tasmanian town of Legana when she was stopped in her tracks as she tried to turn right at an intersection.

'I have the right of way so I can exit the roundabout, correct? No, not according to the mass group of cyclists that force me to stop in the middle of the roundabout to give way to them,' Ms Rose wrote on Facebook.

Ms Rose said she had since been told the lead rider yelled 'stopping' - a cue for the rest of the pack to slow down.   

'Me, in my situation, saw ahead that not everyone was slowing down so I made the call to come to a complete stop,' she said.

'[I] saved myself from crashing into the ones that didn’t slow to stop and from causing unnecessary injuries.'

One of the cyclists admitted the video 'looks absolutely terrible'.

He took offence to some of the comments posted on Facebook which suggested Ms Rose shouldn't have stopped.

'I am sorry we had a bad experience on the road this morning but please know it was a misunderstanding and definitely not arrogance,' he said.

'It was a mistake and both the cyclists and the driver were in the wrong.' 

But hundreds of viewers disagreed and pointed the blame squarely at the cyclists. 

'Your (sic) wrong mate! The video quite clearly shows that Estelle was well round the roundabout when your bunch of riders completely broke the road rules,' one wrote.

'How righteous are these cyclists?' another asked.

'She is clearly still moving right up to you guys... Had she not stopped you would have been hit. Besides if the cyclists had done the right thing and oh I don't know, given way (what a novel idea) it wouldn't have been an issue.'

Yet another said: 'Ban them from the road, it happens every day.'

According to transport authorities in every Australian state and territory, all road users must slow down or stop to give way to vehicles already in a roundabout.


The rise, fall and rise of retirees will bring big changes

Deep below the surface of the Australian people there are powerful tectonic forces that can shift consumer and property markets. These forces might stem from the 1960s and earlier, but they are surfacing this decade and will continue into the next.

We all understand the baby boom and its effect on the school-age market in the 1970s, on household formation in the 1980s, and on the demand for sea-change property in the 2000s.

But over the next seven years Australia (and other nations) will pass through a different phase as the baby-boomer generation shifts wholly into retirement.

The net annual number added to Australia’s 65-plus population averaged 20,000 over the half-century to 1980. Over the following 30 years this number ramped up to 50,000, but from 2011 onwards the number has jumped to 120,000.

Our rising retiree population results from the inflow and outflow of migrants and the interplay between the number of deaths and the number of people turning 65. Its recent uplift is being driven by a surge in retirees born in the early years of the baby boom (1946-1956) and who are now turning 65.

But the retiree market is also being driven by a global trend of longevity. There’s more people hanging around in their 80s and the 90s, whereas a century ago most people died in their 60s. Longevity, plus the 1950s baby boom, is shaping demand for business, for property and for government services.

It’s tempting to think that “longevity” will increase the retirement population for decades into the future, but this is not the case. The time to be in retirement services — however this sector might be defined — is very much over the coming decade.

There’s way more people hanging around in their 80s and the 90s, whereas a century ago most people died in their 60s.

The number of Australians annually added to the 65-plus bucket will peak at 137,000 in 2026, then dramatically contract to 54,000 by 2043, and then recover to 126,000 by 2060.

Australia’s retirement population will never actually contract over the next half century, but this cohort’s growth rate will rise, then fall, then rise again.

So, how does all this coming and going of the retirement market affect business and careers today?

Let’s say that you’re in your mid-30s working in aged care, in financial planning, in health care or in the delivery of government services. You entered the workforce in the mid-2000s; you prospered because of the demographic uplift brought about by retiring baby-boomers.

You fight your way to the top of the sector over the next decade as more baby-boomers enter retirement. By your mid 40s you will be at the top of an industry that has expanded every year for 20 consecutive years. It looks like you made a prescient career choice all those years ago.

But then something happens. The market subsides. The skills that got you to the top are no longer relevant in the 2030s. In the decades to 2026 it was all about expansion and getting the model right; in the decade beyond 2026 it will be about cost-cutting, taking market share and managing mergers and takeovers.

This year, and the subsequent six years, is precisely the time to acquire, to build, to invest and to grow businesses associated with retirement, with older healthcare, with life’s later indulgences (for example, cruises), with medical technology such as titanium hips, with the provision of financial planning advice and the development of downshifter properties.

In fact, plan to sell your business in 2026 at the demographic peak of the retirement market.

The time to reduce business and career exposure to this market is in the 2026-2031 time frame, as growth in the 65-plus bucket plummets 30 per cent to 100,000 a year. The retirement sector is still growing, but at a reduced rate.

There is a different skill set required to prosper in a falling market than there is in a rising market.

Throughout the 2030s the strategy might be to acquire distressed businesses and assets in readiness for retirement’s second coming from 2043 onwards.

Maybe the aged-care sector should recruit from the manufacturing sector to get the right skills.

The reason why Australia’s 65-plus market rises and then falls is because of Gen X shrinkage. Rising birth rates between 1946 and 1961 are driving today’s retiree growth. But between 1961 and 1978 the introduction of the contraceptive pill caused birth rates to drop, producing a smaller Gen X cohort following the boomers.

And then of course came the voluminous millennial generation — the children of the baby-boomers — who will boost the 65-plus population from 2043 onwards.

So, there you have it. The reason why there will be a hiccup in the demand for retirement services in the 2030s is because of the pill, which delivered a modest pool of Xers in the 1960s.

But the 65-plus market is actually a grab bag of subgroups that hang around the workforce exit.

It is true that an increasing proportion of over-65s will work, but this will always remain a relatively small number.

At the younger end (65-69) of this grab bag are workers as well as “big trip” travellers, suburban downshifters and an assortment of corporate types in denial and who simply refuse to retire.

The 70s deliver grandparents, legacy-seekers and wellness and enlightenment pursuers.

The 80s and beyond are society’s greatest consumers of healthcare and of a range of government support services.

The 85-plus bucket really is ground zero for the healthcare and the aged-care sectors. There’s about 500,000 Australians aged 85-plus today; this number is currently growing at 10,000 a year in net terms. This market will expand exponentially over the next decade, peaking at growth of 53,000 in 2032.

The strategy, then, should be to continue with the development of retirement homes, the provision of retiring living services, the management of SMSFs, until the mid-2020s and then expand and/or diversify into total healthcare, into delivery of powers of attorney, into ultraluxury cruising, indeed into all of the accoutrement of the dependently aged.

One of the great challenges for business is that from the perspective of age 45 and younger, the 65-plus market looks like a big grey blob. But, up close the market is clearly stratified with each layer being subjected to different demographic forces. Work, superannuation and indulgence eventually give way to family, reflection and legacy, which in turn give way to almost a spiritual preoccupation with the meaning of life.

Business needs to be aware of the big-picture demographics as well as of the segments within the grab bag world that lives, loves and lingers beyond the end of work.


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

1 February, 2019


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is horrified by the latest New York abortion law

Slimy Labor Party claim

The stuff below sounds half reasonable until you realize it is founded on a lie.  Truth and the Left always have a very strained relationship.  The lie is:

"Why are we the only country in the world who will let people claim an income tax refund when they've paid no income tax in that year?" Mr Shorten told reporters in Brisbane.

But the people concerned HAVE paid tax in the year concerned.  The companies they are invested in have paid tax on their behalf. But they were not liable for tax so the money should be refunded.  The money concerned is a REFUND, not a gift.

And the Labor policy will hit mainly the little guy.  I have a substantial share portfolio so I WILL get the refund.  I will get it as a credit against tax otherwise owed, not in cash.  It is only cash refunds to smaller investors that will be hit.

So why is Labor hitting the little guy whom they allegedly defend? 

It's because being a share investor is a pretty strong indicator of not voting Labor.  They are happy to hurt a lot of little guys if it will punish some people who don't vote for them.  Nasty!

Australia will no longer be the only country in the world to give cash handouts to share investors who don't pay tax if Labor wins the next federal election.

Bill Shorten is sticking with his promise to end the lucrative dividend imputation scheme, despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison ramping up his public attacks.

The scheme transfers tax revenue from regular taxpayers and gives it to share investors who have not paid any tax. Australia is the only country in the world to do it.

"Don't believe the lies that say pensioners are immune from it. Pensioners are hit by this as well. Small business owners are hit by this pernicious attack as well," Mr Morrison told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday. "It's not reform, it's a raid."

Labor has already promised to exempt pensioners from the scheme, but Mr Shorten isn't backing away from the change, which will bring in $55 billion over 10 years.

"Why are we the only country in the world who will let people claim an income tax refund when they've paid no income tax in that year?" Mr Shorten told reporters in Brisbane.

"Why do we want to be a country who will spend more on tax concessions and tax subsidies to some people who are already quite comfortable and well off ... than we will on higher education or childcare?"

The scheme cost $550 million in 2001 but is soon to rise to $8 billion a year. Labor is counting on the change to help pay for its election promises.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton called the dividend imputation change a "retiree tax" in an appeal to older voters, but Mr Shorten said older voters didn't just care about share investing.


McDonald's employee who broke her leg after climbing on to the roof for a smoko wins compensation payout under a bizarre law EVERY worker should know

This is absurd.  She may have been in the timeframe that counts as employed but it was her own responsibility to climb onto the roof.  How can the company be blamed for that?

A McDonald's employee who broke her leg while climbing on to the store roof for a pre-shift smoko will receive worker's compensation.

The Industrial Court of Queensland ruled Mandep Sarkaria was entitled to a payout because her employer's policy required her to arrive for work 10 minutes before her shift started at McDonald's Richlands on Brisbane's outskirts.

It is a stunning decision after two previous attempts for compensation failed and will have ramifications for workers in all industries who are required to be at work early.

The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission dismissed her initial appeal after WorkCover rejected her first compensation claim.

Her claim was dismissed because Ms Sarkaria had not established she had been 'temporarily absent from her place of employment' or that she was on an ordinary recess at the time of her injury, according to court documents.

Ms Sarkaria hasn't worked since November 2016 when she climbed a three metre ladder to access the roof to smoke a cigarette before she fell and broke her right leg when climbing down, according to court documents.

Ms Sarkaria's latest claim for compensation was accepted by the Industrial Court of Queensland despite the rooftop not being a designated smoking area for staff and a sign on the ladder at the time warning against staff going on to the rooftop.

Justice Glenn Martin ruled that Ms Sarkaria was injured during the time she was required to be at work.

'Although none of the employees at the restaurant would serve a customer, or cook food, or lift a mop from the time they arrived until their shift commenced they had, in my view, commenced work,' Justice Martin ruled.

'Their presence at the place of employment at a fixed time before their shift commenced meant that the people they were replacing could leave in a timely way at the end of their shift and there would be no disruption to the efficient conduct of the enterprise.'

He added that in Ms Sarkaria's case, the period of time during which an employee was required to attend work before a shift commenced should properly be regarded as an 'ordinary recess'.

The compensation amount is yet to be determined.

Candice Heisler from Quinn & Scattini told The Courier-Mail the ruling demonstrated to workers that  they were entitled to make a claim for for an injury sustained before or after work if required to be there at a specific time.


Eucalyptus trees cope fine with extreme heatwaves, defy climate models, survive 50C temps

What happens to a poor tree when you withhold rain for a whole month, then hit it with four days in a row of 43C temperatures? It was so hot, some of the leaves on these trees got close to 49-50 °C.

In at least one gum species in Australia, the answer is “not much”. They suck up lots of water from their deep roots and sweat it out until the heatwave passes. The trees become evaporative coolers “siphoning up” water. They cope so well, that not only did the trees not die, but their trunk and height growth were unaffected. Indeed, only about 1% of the leaf area even exhibited browning.

But with global warming running at a heady 0.13C per decade, you might wonder how many years will it take for the trees to adapt?

From the paper — “one day”:

The gums rapidly increased their tolerance for extreme heat, the researchers found. Within a day the threshold temperature for leaf damage had increased by 2C.

Righto. At the current rate of warming, the world might get two degrees hotter in 150 years.  So these trees can adapt 55,000 times faster.

The researchers say the trees were not just likely, but remarkably good with heatwaves:

“We conclude that this tree species was remarkably capable of tolerating an extreme heatwave via mechanisms that have implications for future heatwave intensity and forest resilience in a warmer world.”

This research (yet again) fits the hypothesis that life on Earth is well adapted to a wildly variable climate, probably because it happened all the time.  The researchers even looked to see if exposing trees to hot weather first would help adapt them to extreme heat, but found it didn’t matter. The trees ability to adapt was innate. They just coped.

The models didn’t predict this

As the trees transpired more, they also stopped photosynthesising — they shut down in a survival mode. This breaks a pretty long standing biology rule, and thus breaks most plant growth models (and some climate ones too).  It’s pretty central to plant biology, leaves give up water to bring in CO2. As plants transpire more, they absorb more CO2 and turn it into carbohydrate (i.e. more plant) which is photosynthesis.  We now know that rule breaks under extreme heat when trees take a sauna-break, stop working, and just … sweat. I’d probably do the same if my leaves were 50C.

As usual in the news, no one mentions that the models were totally wrong on this, they just say, they found “the opposite” and it needs revising.

The Australian –

"Scientists have long known about this evaporative cooling mechanism, known as transpiration. But current climate models suggest transpiration is closely related to trees’ photosynthesis rates, and that it declines during heatwaves.

The researchers found the opposite, with photosynthesis all but stopping but water use increasing.

“Our dynamic global vegetation models, particularly those that simulate the exchange of CO2 and water vapour between land and the atmosphere, will need to be revisited in light of these findings,” Professor Tjoelker said."

Then there is The Caveat we’ve come to expect. Good climate news always has a bad news rider:

"He said it was a “good news-bad news story”, suggesting that scientists had underestimated gum trees’ resilience but over-estimated their carbon fixing capacity."

 Since the trees kept on growing after the heatwave, any loss of carbon fixation measured in days or hours, seems pretty minor in the planetary scheme of things.


Estimated total cost of a government, Catholic and independent education revealed

The average median cost of a government education over a 13-year period in metropolitan Australia is $68,727, the latest ASG Planning for Education Index has revealed.

Parents considering a Catholic education for their son or daughter in metropolitan Australia are expected to spend $127,027, while the average median cost of an independent education in Australia’s capital cities is a whopping $298,689.

ASG, the largest provider of education scholarship plans in Australia, found Brisbane was the most expensive national city for a government education, with the bill coming in at $75,601 — 10 per cent higher than the national average of $68,727.

Startlingly, school fees made up just a small fraction of the estimated total cost of a government education each year, with external tuition and devices both costing more.

The ASG research discovered Adelaide was the country’s most expensive city for a Catholic education, with the median total cost exceeding $131,000.

Whereas, Sydney was Australia’s most expensive city for an independent education, with parents expected to spend $461,999 over a 13-year period — 54.7 per cent above the national average of $276,338.

School fees were easily the most expensive component of an independent education in metropolitan Australia, costing parents approximately $14,116 per child per year.

Mother Sarah Charge, whose youngest daughter is about to start Year 9 at a Catholic school in Sydney, described the total cost of an education as “scary” when seen as a lump sum.

“The estimated total cost is a lot more than I thought it would be, however we’ve been fortunate to source second hand uniforms and texts books which helps keep costs down,” Ms Charge said.

“I’m also really surprised the estimated total cost of a Catholic education in Sydney is below the national average. It must be the only thing that is, especially when you compare it to accommodation and house prices.”

The ASG Planning for Education Index also showed the average median cost of a government education in regional Australia was $57,994.

Parents considering a Catholic education for their son or daughter in regional Australia are expected to spend $109,877, while the average median cost of an independent education in regional Australians $201,210.

The Index discovered regional New South Wales was Australia’s most expensive state for a government education ($73,808), regional Queensland the most expensive for a Catholic education ($113,211) and regional Victoria the most expensive state for an independent education ($248,543).

ASG CEO Ross Higgins said the cost of education had risen at more than double the rate of inflation over the past decade.

“Education costs, including tuition costs, uniforms, transport and devices are demanding a far greater share of the family budget than in the past,” Mr Higgins said.

“More than ever, the costs associated with education are placing more of a burden on Australian families, who are already challenged by the rising cost of living.

“With less discretionary money to spend, it’s going to be very hard to pay for education, which means parents who have saved will be in a better position in the long run.”

Mr Higgins encouraged parents to put in place a dedicated savings plan, so they can financially afford to meet their children’s educational goals and aspirations.

ASG has also developed a Cost Calculator tool which may assist looking at this data as it applies to your circumstances.

The Index was based on data sourced from a survey of 2300 ASG members on ancillary costs and public information on school fees from the Good Schools Guide and My School website.

The data was then consolidated and analysed by Monash University.


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

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Most academics are lockstep Leftists so readers do sometimes doubt that I have the qualifications mentioned above. Photocopies of my academic and military certificates are however all viewable here

For overseas readers: The "ALP" is the Australian Labor Party -- Australia's major Leftist party. The "Liberal" party is Australia's major conservative political party.

In most Australian States there are two conservative political parties, the city-based Liberal party and the rural-based National party. But in Queensland those two parties are amalgamated as the LNP.

Again for overseas readers: Like the USA, Germany and India, Australia has State governments as well as the Federal government. So it may be useful to know the usual abbreviations for the Australian States: QLD (Queensland), NSW (New South Wales), WA (Western Australia), VIC (Victoria), TAS (Tasmania), SA (South Australia).

For American readers: A "pensioner" is a retired person living on Social Security

"Digger" is an honorific term for an Australian soldier

Another lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Another bit of Australian: Any bad writing or messy anything was once often described as being "like a pakapoo ticket". In origin this phrase refers to a ticket written with Chinese characters - and thus inscrutably confusing to Western eyes. These tickets were part of a Chinese gambling game called "pakapoo".

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

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

I am an army man. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies or mining companies

Although I have been an atheist for all my adult life, I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak.

The Rt. Rev. Phil Case (Moderator of the Presbyterian church in Queensland) is a Pharisee, a hypocrite, an abomination and a "whited sepulchre".

English-born Australian novellist, Patrick White was a great favourite in literary circles. He even won a Nobel prize. But I and many others I have spoken to find his novels very turgid and boring. Despite my interest in history, I could only get through about a third of his historical novel Voss before I gave up. So why has he been so popular in literary circles? Easy. He was a miserable old Leftist coot, and, incidentally, a homosexual. And literary people are mostly Leftists with similar levels of anger and alienation from mainstream society. They enjoy his jaundiced outlook, his dissatisfaction, rage and anger.

A delightful story about a great Australian conservative

Would you believe that there once was a politician whose nickname was "Honest"?

"Honest" Frank Nicklin M.M. was a war hero, a banana farmer and later the conservative Premier of my home State of Queensland in the '60s. He was even popular with the bureaucracy and gave the State a remarkably tranquil 10 years during his time in office. Sad that there are so few like him.

A great Australian wit exemplified

An Australian Mona Lisa (Nikki Gogan)

Bureaucracy: "One of the constant laments of doctors and nurses working with NSW Health is the incredible and increasing bureaucracy," she said. "It is completely obstructive to providing a service."

Revered Labour Party leader Gough Whitlam was a very erudite man so he cannot have been unaware of the similarities of his famous phrase “the Party, the platform, the people” with an earlier slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer". It's basically the same slogan in reverse order.

Australia's original inhabitants were a race of pygmies, some of whom survived into modern times in the mountainous regions of the Atherton tableland in far North Queensland. See also here. Below is a picture of one of them taken in 2007, when she was 105 years old and 3'7" tall

Julia Gillard, a failed feminist flop. She was given the job of Prime Minister of Australia but her feminist preaching was so unpopular that she was booted out of the job by her own Leftist party. Her signature "achievements" were the carbon tax and the mining tax, both of which were repealed by the next government.

The "White Australia Policy: "The Immigration Restriction Act was not about white supremacy, racism, or the belief that whites were higher up the evolutionary tree than the coloured races. Rather, it was designed to STOP the racist exploitation of non-whites (all of whom would have been illiterate peasants practicing religions and cultures anathema to progressive democracy) being conscripted into a life of semi-slavery in a coolie-worked plantation economy for the benefit of the absolute monarchs, hereditary aristocracy and the super-wealthy companies and share-holders of the northern hemisphere.

A great little kid

In November 2007, a four-year-old boy was found playing in a croc-infested Territory creek after sneaking off pig hunting alone with four dogs and a puppy. The toddler was found five-and-a-half hours after he set off from his parents' house playing in a creek with the puppy. Amazingly, Daniel Woditj also swam two creeks known to be inhabited by crocs during his adventurous romp. Mr Knight said that after walking for several kilometres, Daniel came to a creek and swam across it. Four of his dogs "bailed up" at the creek but the youngster continued on undaunted with his puppy to a second creek. Mr Knight said Daniel swam the second croc-infested creek and walked on for several more kilometres. "Captain is a hard bushman and Daniel is following in his footsteps. They breed them tough out bush."

A great Australian: His eminence George Pell. Pictured in devout company before his elevation to Rome


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