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

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


31 January, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG comments on boxer Mundine's claim that the Australian national anthem is racist

Heinous sexist culture inside STEM industries exists in Australia

Of course it does.  Women are being pushed into occuptions where they don't belong and where they don't generally do well.

 What's this about "belong"?  It's simple aptitude.  We have known for a hundred years that women do not perform well on tests of mathemtical ability.  And STEM fields have a heavy mathematical requirement.  So those who do do well (men) in such fields tend to look down on those who do not (women). 

All men (and all women) are NOT equal and ignoring that for the sake of political correctness is always going to create friction.  It opposes policy to reality and those who can see the reality will reasonably object. 

There is a small minority of females who excel at STEM tasks and it is they alone who should be in such fields.  If such women were the only ones is such fields the cause for derision would disappear.  Women in such fields would be respected

A PARTICULARLY heinous brand of sexism faced by Australia's most educated woman has been exposed in a damning survey of professional industries including engineering and IT.

Managers in STEM industries (science, technology, engineering and maths) have been revealed to avoid hiring women because they "nag", take on women considering reasons other than their skills and qualifications because they want a "work wife", and prefer men because they can "pee on the run".

The shocking details accompanied by the concerning warning that three quarters of women who work in these areas plan to drop out of their profession within the next five years due to restrictions in career progression.

The claims are included in a submission from industry group Professional Australia to a senate inquiry into gender segregation in the workplace.

The comprehensive submission includes results from a survey undertaken by the professional body, showing that 25.8 per cent of women reported being sexually harassed at work with half taking no action on the matter, and 7 per cent quitting their jobs over it.

Women in the STEM industries reported experiencing bias against women in their male-dominated fields, and described their industry as a "boys club".  "Career progression is not always based on merit," one respondent said.

Women reported having to "fight for the pay and respect that men get naturally", and were told to be a "good sport" when on the receiving end of sexist comments.

One employee said women were regularly accused of "nagging" when making reasonable requests of male colleagues, with one recalling being told "you sound like my wife" after requesting overdue information from a male colleague.

"I took over a job on an industrial site from an obviously disliked female employee and on first meeting an operator (was) told `not another f***ing woman, are you here to nag us as well?'" one respondent said.

A female scientist reported opportunities diminished for women in the eyes of male managers once they became more senior. "A lot of scientists like cute student girls," she said. "Once that time period has passed, you are less likely to be offered any roles in anything."

The report also highlighted that women felt sidelined once they had children, with men being considered "more serious about their careers".

One respondent reported being offered a demotion after returning from maternity leave to "help with family flexibility". Another said she was told by a manger if she applied for a job alongside a male of the same age and experience, the male would be selected "as they are less likely to take leave in the future to care for children".

The report showed male engineers earned 24 per cent more than their female colleagues when they worked fulltime, and fulltime male scientists earned 18 per cent more than their female counterparts.

In its submission, Professionals Australia said it hoped shining a light on the issues faced by highly-educated professional women could be addressed.

The group said it wanted to "encourage police-makers and employers to look at ways to tackle gender segregation by looking at the need to address entrenched structural bias in work practices".

"Tackling the issues will be fundamental to providing for the optimal attraction, development and retention of women in the STEM workforce, and to fully realising Australia's productivity potential and innovative capability into the future."

The senate inquiry into gender segregation into the workplace and its impact on women's economic equality is due to report by March this year.


Review into accuracy of Queensland crime reports

Shades of Tony Blair's Britain

Auditors are reviewing Queensland's official crime statistics amid allegations figures have been fudged.

Police Minister Mark Ryan says Police Commissioner Ian Stewart has advised him of an audit office review into whether crime reports were manipulated to give false perceptions about the state's crime rates.

"The commissioner has given me assurances that the Queensland Police Service will work with the Queensland Audit Office to get to the bottom of this matter," Mr Ryan has told the ABC.

The ABC says it's been told two police crime managers on the Gold Coast have raised concerns that legitimate crime reports have been labelled "unfounded" in an effort to keep offences off the books.

The broadcaster said the managers took their concerns to the audit office only after telling a superior, who did nothing about it.

The minister said Queenslanders must be able to have faith in crime statistics.

"I expect the highest standards to be met and maintained by the Queensland Police Service from the top of the organisation down," Mr Ryan said.


Australia will support Donald Trump on strong border protection policies

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the Turnbull government will support Donald Trump's "strong immigration and border protection policies", as the leaders of Britain and Germany criticise an executive order banning entry to the United States for refugees and citizens from a range of majority Muslim countries.

Speaking in Los Angeles after events promoting Australian business and tourism, Ms Bishop said the Turnbull government was working closely with the White House to ensure Australians would continue to have access to the United States and consular officials were assisting travellers on the ground.

"I'm confident that the Australian government and the US government will continue to support each other in ensuring that we can implement our strong immigration and border protection policies," Ms Bishop said.

"The Australian government is working very closely with the administration and the US officials and we want to ensure that Australians continue to have access to the United States, as they have in the past, and people from the United States have access to Australia."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who spoke with President Trump for about 25 minutes on Sunday, is one of just a few world leaders to have spoken with the US leader since he signed the executive order. During the phone conversation President Trump confirmed the US would continue with a deal signed by the Obama administration to resettle hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers held by Australia on Manus Island and Nauru.

Apart from confirmation of the resettlement deal, no official information about the call has been made public. Ms Bishop said the two leaders spoke about a range international issues.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered her ministers to speak to their US counterparts about the controversial travel bans, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said efforts to defeat international terrorism did "not justify putting people of a specific background or faith under general suspicion."

Ms Bishop confirmed she had spoken to Vice President Mike Pence for a second time over the weekend and Trump officials were very well briefed on all of the details of US-Australia alliance.

Foreign Affairs minister Julie Bishop says Australia will work with the US on strong border protection policies.
Foreign Affairs minister Julie Bishop says Australia will work with the US on strong border protection policies.  Photo: Andrew Meares

Mr Trump's chief of staff Reince Priebus appeared to walk back aspects of the ban overnight, saying US green card holders from the affected countries would not be prevented from returning from overseas.

Earlier a federal judge ruled immigration officials could not detain people who arrived at airports after the ban came into force.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Sunday updated travel advice for the US.

It said Australians who are dual citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria are no longer eligible to apply for a electronic visa approval for the US or for the existing visa waiver available to Australian citizens.

Australians who have previously been issued the approval are likely to have them revoked, while the US Homeland Security Secretary may waive travel restrictions on a case by case basis for travellers working for international and humanitarian organisations, regional organisations, state and territory governments, journalists on reporting trips and Australians who have travelled to Iran or Iraq for some legitimate business-related purposes.

Britain Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said most British citizens would be exempt from the ban and the only dual nationals impacted were those flying from one of the seven countries.

Fairfax Media has contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for clarification about possible exemptions for Australians.

Acting US ambassador to Australia James Carouso said what President Trump had ordered was no secret. "He campaigned on strong borders," Mr Carouso told radio 3AW. "This is a pretty big change in our procedures."

The former ambassador, John Berry, was appointed by Barack Obama and returned to the US last year. President Trump is yet to announce his replacement.

Mr Carouso, who is officially charge d'affaires, said the visa changes were part of a 90 day review of border processes. Asked why countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan were not included on the travel ban list, Mr Carouso said: "I wish I knew."


Nederland's growth record set to fall to Australia, says Deloitte

Australia is on track to pass the Netherlands this year and secure the world's longest spell without a recession, with a rebound in commodity prices ensuring the current account deficit will become narrower than at any time since Gough Whitlam was prime minister.

The prediction by Deloitte Access Economics' Chris Richardson is one of the most upbeat in several years and follows last week's decision by Moody's Investor Service to elevate its assessment of the economy's strength.

However, Mr Richardson warns that while the economy is set to comfortably weather President Donald Trump's new regime, there is still considerable work needed to avoid a credit ratings downgrade.

"National income may be rebounding, but the tax take isn't," Mr Richardson said. "Despite a leap in commodity prices, Treasury continues to write down expected collections of company taxes, while weak wage growth is having its wicked way with taxes.

With the Coalition still struggling to get all its budget repair agenda through the Senate, it is unlikely to get legislative backing to pass unpopular measures that would close the deficit.

"Chances are the successful defence of the AAA credit rating in late 2016 was a stay of execution rather than a turning point," Mr Richardson said.

In the run-up to Christmas, the government was internally concerned that further delays in a return to surplus next decade would trigger the first downgrade in three decades. Ratings agencies reaffirmed the top-notch rating in the wake of the mid-year budget update last month.

Helping ease the difficulties for the government is a strong rebound in commodity prices, particularly for coal and iron ore, as well as farm goods such as wheat.

With China's policymakers continuing to stimulate Australia's biggest trade partner in 2017, Mr Richardson says the economy is well placed.  "National income growth is amid a massive reawakening," he says.

"Pumped-up commodity prices and a bumper wheat crop are boosting export earnings at the same time as the fast-finishing construction phase of Australia's mining boom boosts exports and simultaneously cuts our thirst for imports.

"This good news on trade won't last forever, but it looks to be great news in the offing on the balance of payments for both this financial year and next."

Deloitte Access predicts the current account deficit – the broadest measure of trade and financial flows in and out of the country – will shrink to 1.3 per cent of gross domestic product this financial year, from 4.5 per cent in 2015-16.

The shift is a dramatic development, given ratings agencies were increasingly concerned about the widening current account deficit a year ago.

Improved earnings from abroad, an ongoing construction boom in NSW and Victoria, and a robust jobs market will eventually help drive the economy back to its full-pace.

GDP growth will accelerate from 1.8 per cent in 2016-17 to 2.8 per cent in 2017-18, and run at 2.7 per cent through the next two years.

"That mix should keep the home fires of growth burning by enough to leave unemployment relatively steady, and by enough to see Australia sail past the Netherlands to record the world's longest-ever spell without recession," Mr Richardson said.

The government was shocked last year by a 0.5 per cent fall in GDP in the third quarter, but is internally confident growth rebounded strongly in the final quarter of 2017, meaning it will avoid presiding over a technical recession.

The Netherlands continues to hold the record for the longest sustained run of economic growth, over 103 quarters. Australia recorded 100 quarters between the June quarter of 1991 and last year's September quarter without a recession.


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

30 January, 2017

Sharp practices at GoDaddy ISP

GoDaddy have recently opened up a branch in Australia.  It was not a good day for Australia.

I signed up just over a year ago for an Australian GoDaddy internet hosting service.  The price they were charging for a year was really low ($12.25) and, though I looked for a declaration that it was an initial offer only, I found no such declaration.  Just recently, however, they rebilled me for another year of service at a very high price ($131.88).  I did not authorize that but there may be somewhere in their terms and conditions a declaration that they automatically re-bill.  I certainly had no knowledge of that.

They did email me a fortnight in advance that they were going to make the debit so I tried to contact them to forbid it.  Nowhere however did they give either an email or a physical address to contact them.  They just gave a phone no.  Odd that an internet company insists on using old technology only to talk to its customers!  Do they have no trust in their own product?

The phone no. however seemed always to be so busy that even a long wait led nowhere so I wrote to the GoDaddy HQ in Texas a few weeks before any renewal came up.  I forbad them to debit me again.  No response.

I have asked the bank to reverse the debit so we will see what comes of that -- JR.

Cut tax or we'll be stranded, warns Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison has warned that Australia is now facing the real risk of being globally stranded by crippling taxes that would erode the nation's living standards if the government continues to be blocked politically from its company tax reforms.

In a speech today to business leaders in London, the Treasurer will lay down the challenge to parliament that unless Australia follows the example of Britain, which cut its tax rate to 20 per cent while in a worse budget position, then it will rapid-ly lose its competitive place in the world.

In a bid to escalate pressure on the Senate crossbench to support the government's plan to cut the company tax to 25 per cent, Mr Morrison said Labor would have to wear the responsibility for Australian businesses left behind as other countries moved to a lower tax environment.

Despite boasting the ninth-lowest corporate tax rate among OECD countries 15 years ago, Australia was now heading toward-s a competition and investment crisis, as it was now among the five top-taxing nations and was 22nd in terms of its competitiveness, Mr Morrison said.

"If both the parliament and the Labor Party choose not to support keeping Australian businesses competitive, then we run the great risk of stranding our businesses and the jobs that rely on them, as our competitors and friends continue to move on," the Treasurer told The Australian from London ahead of his speech.

"We simply cannot afford, as the UK understood at the time of one of their greatest economic crises-, to not go ahead."

Drawing the comparison with Britain, which plans to further cut taxes to 17 per cent by 2020, the Treasurer said Australia must counter a vicious cycle of stagnating growth and eroding living standards from higher taxes and falling investment.

"So with much of the world looking to stimulate investment and growth through more competitive- tax rates, Australia, as a net importer of capital, risks falling behind and becoming uncompetitive," he will tell the London meeting. "Many countries we're competing with for investment have more attractive corporate tax rates, and are looking to further- reduce them.

"We need to coax capital out of its cave."

US President Donald Trump wants to cut the US corporate tax rate from 35 per cent to 15 per cent.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon said yesterday that he had not closed the door to the totality of the government's tax plan, having already said he would support the first phase for businesses with turnover of less than $10 million.

But he wanted the government to address manufacturing job -losses in southern states first. "I'm saying we will talk to you, but we will talk to you first about industry policy which will have a more -direct impact," he told The Australian.

Labor and the Greens have ruled out supporting the tax cuts, claiming the budget cannot afford them and that there is no evidence that would stimulate econo-mic growth or investment.

Labor's Treas-ury spokesman Chris Bowen last month described- the ability of the government-'s proposed tax cuts to stimulate more investment as a "wing and a prayer".

This is despite Mr Bowen also championing the British model in 2013, when it faced a tougher fiscal situation than Australia.

Mr Morrison cited the need for tax reform, based on regional areas of Australia that he said were already feeling the effect of slower than hoped for investment.

"Post our mining investment boom, investment capital is still not flowing sufficiently to drive the economic activity needed to lift incomes and in particular address- the economic dislocation in areas and regions most adversel-y impacted by our economic transition," he will say.

"Australia needs to encourage business investment to promote economic growth, support job security and employment growth as well as improve living standards.

"The OECD has found that corporate income taxes are the most harmful major tax when it comes to economic growth.

"Research clearly shows that increasing tax on employers lowers economic growth and therefore lowers standards of living."

The Treasurer countered Labor's claims that tax cuts would do nothing for economic growth, using the British model, which he described as a "burning platform of reform" that reignited its economy and boosted investment by 25 per cent.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has been negotiating with crossbench senators over the summer in an effort to convince them to support the government's bill for its Enterprise Tax Plan.

Legislation is yet to be introduced, but Mr Morrison has said the full plan would go to parliament unchanged.

The $48 billion plan will phase in cuts to the company tax rate from 30 per cent to 25 per cent by 2026-27. Initially, this would see a reduction to 27.5 per cent for businesses with turnover of less than $10m.

British modelling has suggested that its cuts to 20 per cent from 28 per cent will result in a permanent increase in investment of up to 4.5 per cent over a 20-year period-, or more than $11bn.

Mr Morrison said his Treasury modelling predicts that a 25 per cent rate in Australia would result in a permanent increase in business investment of up to 2.9 per cent, or $6.5bn.

"Our 10-year enterprise plan begins by reducing taxes for small and medium-sized enterprises, leading to a flat tax rate of 25 per cent for all companies," he will say in his speech.

"Now this does not go as far as has already been achieved here in the UK, where corporate tax rates have already dropped from 28 per cent to 19 per cent, and are scheduled to fall further to 17 per cent.

"What is more impressive is that these cuts began in 2010 under prime minister (David) Cameron, in the aftermath of the financial crisis and a budget deficit of around 10 per cent of GDP.

"Some have argued that Australia can't afford tax cuts. The UK government, in a far weaker and more vulnerable fiscal position than Australia, took the view they could not afford not to.

"Lower tax rates have supported a steady and sustained recovery in business investment in the UK, increasing nearly 25 per cent in the six years to March 2016.''


Resigning Fair Work chief blasts Leftist system

Tony Abbott believes the resignation of one of the Fair Work Commission's most senior members shows the workplace umpire is "pro-union and anti-jobs".

Graeme Watson has launched a scathing attack on the commission in his resignation letter revealed in Monday's Australian Financial Review. "There is an increasing understanding in the business community that the Fair Work Commission is partisan, dysfunctional and divided," the FWC vice-president wrote.

The former prime minister said the resignation was unprecedented.

"(This) shows that the FWC (former workplace minister Bill) Shorten created is pro-union and anti-jobs," Mr Abbott said.

Commission president Iain Ross in a statement said he had been informed Mr Watson had written to the governor-general tendering his resignation with effect from February 28.

"I thank the vice president for his service to the commission and wish him well in his future endeavours," Mr Ross said.

Mr Watson, who has been a member of the commission since June 2006, said in his letter it become clear the workplace system "is actually undermining the objects of the Fair Work legislation".

"I do not consider that the system provides a framework for co-operative and productive workplace relations and I do not consider that it promotes economic prosperity or social inclusion. Nor do I consider it can be described as balanced."

Mr Watson is a former Freehills lawyer who represented Patrick stevedores in the 1998 waterfront dispute.

Australian Industry Group chief Innes Willox said Mr Watson would be a big loss to the Fair Work Commission.

"(His) knowledge of business, his understanding of the imperatives of business competitiveness, his knowledge of the law, and his practical and fair approach, will be sorely missed," Mr Willox said in a statement.

The resignation letter showed the need for the government to overhaul the law relating to enterprise agreements, business transfers and unfair dismissal, in line with a report by the Productivity Commission.



Young Sikh boy, five, forced to change schools because he was not allowed to wear his turban to class

I think highly of Sikhs.  They successfully withstood the Muslims for 1,000 years.  So I see this ban as ignorant if it is based on religious prejudice.  It may however be a matter of uniform policy.  If one exception to the policy is allowed, it may undermine the whole policy -- producing exception requests on all sorts of grounds

A five-year-old boy has been forced to change schools because he was not allowed to wear a turban that was part of this religion.

Sidhak Singh Arora really wanted to attend Melton Christian College in Melbourne's north-west. But his patka, a turban for young Sikh boys with long hair, was an issue.

His father, Sagardeep Singh Arora, said it was unfortunate his son could not attend the best school in Melton.  'I really feel bad, and disappointed, because I thought this is a modern society, how can a kid not go to the school of his choice, just because he is wearing a religious clothing?,' he told SBS News.

'My son really wanted to go to that school. 'This is one of the best schools over there, I say the best school in the Melton area.'

The boy's father said the patka, which he puts on his son's head every morning, wasn't a fashion accessory. 'You have to keep your hair covered all the time,' he said.  'It's not like a fashion, or accessory for us, it's like a basic principle of our religion.'

The boy's family has taken his case to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and the school principal declined to comment. A hearing date has been scheduled for April.  


Australia's 'fairy possum' faces uncertain future

There's a bit of unproven BS about climate change below but the article seems otherwise to be factual

A tiny possum, the faunal emblem of the state of Victoria in Australia, is rapidly heading towards extinction, say scientists.

Researchers say the creature, nicknamed the fairy possum, is suffering under a combination of logging, fires and climate change.

In a study, they argue that increasing the size of reserves would help the possum but would damage other species.

The research has been published in the journal Plos One.

There are estimated to be just 2,000 of the tiny Leadbeater's Possums left in the Central Highland forests of the state of Victoria - the only area where they are found.

The animals, "about the size of a tub of margarine", spend most of their lives living and nesting in hollowed out trees that are up to 200 years old.

"When fires burn in an old growth forest, it produces these big dead trees that the animal likes to nest in," said Prof David Lindenmayer from the Australian National University, and one of the authors of the new study.

"But fires in a young forest don't produce that pulse of old dead trees - the big problem now is that less that 1.1% of the entire forest estate is dominated by these big old trees and it used to be up to 60%."

Major fires in Victoria in 2009 eliminated large numbers of the animals and their habitat.

The complex interplay of fire, rising temperatures and industrial timber felling may see the end of the "fairy possum" as it's sometimes called, within 20 years.

"In the past logging took out the big trees and created young forests, but to our horror we've discovered in the last few years that forests that regenerate after logging are significantly more likely to burn at much higher severity," said Prof Lindenmayer.

"So logging and fire are not independent - and climate change and fire are not independent either, with increasing temperatures, reduced rainfall, increased lightning and wind, we're seeing more fire in this system."

With colleagues, Prof Lindenmayer set out to examine if increasing the size of reservations for Leadbeater's Possum would benefit the species. But it is not a simple equation. While there would be advantages, these would likely accrue at the expense of other vulnerable animals.

To ensure the best survival chances of all creatures in the region, would require a fundamental change, says Prof Lindenmayer.

"The price really is to move the logging industry into plantations and out of native forests," he told BBC News.

"These animals have survived for 20 million years without logging but over the past 50 years they have become critically endangered because of human interference with this ecosystem."

"If we want to conserve all of these different animals we need to take logging out of the system."

Prof Lindenmayer is at a loss to explain just how the species acquired its nickname.

"I never call it the fairy possum, I always call it Leadbeater's Possum, when you handle them they've got some real spunk, they'll bite and scratch that's their way of fighting off predators, so it is anything but fairy like!"


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

29 January, 2017

Violent Green/Left demonstrating actually hurts the Aboriginal  cause

IT WAS supposed to be a peaceful protest, advocating for change on behalf of indigenous Australians' whose history had been marred by violence and dispossession.

But ironically, violence, along with flag burning and threatening signs at Invasion Day protests marred what was an otherwise worthy and peaceful demonstration.

A man who allegedly tried to burn an Australian flag at a festival yesterday in Sydney's Chippendale devoted to the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, which also hosted a protest, has been charged.

The incident triggered a series of unnecessary incidents. A woman was knocked unconscious after the peaceful protest turned violent.

A police officer was hospitalised after his ankle was sprained during a violent outbreak in the march.

At demonstrations over the country, though most were peaceful, they were at times interrupted by bursts of violence and aggressive messaging.

Aboriginal leaders are among the many voices who have condemned protesters who did more to hurt the cause of rallying to change the date of Australia Day than to help.

The government's top indigenous adviser Warren Mundine, who has become one of the strongest advocates for the change the date movement, blasted those who took the wrong tack. "If we want to have a mature, sensible discussion and debate about a day that brings us all together as a nation, then fighting and burning people's flags is not the way to do it," he told ABC radio.

"You can have marches, you can have demonstrations, but you don't go around insulting people and attacking people over this."

Mr Mundine pointed out that it was possible to change people's minds using reasoned arguments and peaceful demonstrations, drawing on the case of conservative former MP Ian MacFarlane, who surprised commentators by coming out in favour of the date change ahead of yesterday's celebrations and protests. "He has changed his mind. Why? Because he's looked at the argument," he said.

Indigenous Labor MP Linda Burney, who attended the Yabun festival where the alleged flag burning was carried out, condemned the act.  "It was a peaceful rally, it was a rally that was making a really important point and I think it was marred by the incident," she told ABC.

New NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian also described the violence as "disappointing".  "I'm so disappointed people couldn't express themselves in a more appropriate way on such an important day," she told media in Sydney.

Police said crowds who had gathered to either celebrate or protest on the day had mostly made for a "family-friendly day".

Even the organiser of the Chippendale protest, Laura Lyons of group Fighting In Resistance Equality, said she was "saddened" the rally turned violent, and distance herself from those involved. "They just turned up," she told the Daily Telegraph.

"People called me in the lead-up and asked me about burning the flag and I said no. To us that represents a violent act. "Violence is not a part of our culture and we don't want to give our children the wrong impression."


Australia Day 'flag burner' charged

A man who allegedly tried to burn an Australian flag at an 'Invasian Day' march in Sydney has been charged by police.
The 20-year-old was arrested following a heated scuffle between protesters and police in the inner city suburb of Ultimo on Thursday afternoon.

The man was charged with assaulting police, malicious damage and resisting arrest, and is due to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on February 14.

Police say an officer was hospitalised after injuring his ankle during the march, which was organised to protest the date of Australia Day.

Several thousand people attended the protest which began in Redfern.

A woman was also taken to hospital with a head injury during the protest, which police said was largely peaceful.

Another 96 people around Sydney were arrested and charged with a range of offences including drug possession and assault.

"Overwhelmingly, considering the significant crowds enjoying festivities, the vast majority celebrated safely, which made for a family-friendly day for everyone," Acting Assistant Commissioner Kyle Stewart said.


Man charged with police assault in 'invasion day' march is Greens organiser

A man arrested for allegedly assaulting police during the flag-burning melee at the "invasion day" march through Sydney is a Greens campaign manager who used to be a paid employee of the party.

He was arrested on Thursday and charged with assaulting police, resisting arrest and malicious damage. He has been bailed to appeal in Downing Centre local court on February 14.

In a statement, NSW Police said he was arrested during the anti-Australia Day march from Redfern after a "participant allegedly attempted to ignite a flag".

During the struggle to arrest Mr Williams, a male police officer injured his ankle and a female protester sustained head injuries. Both were taken to hospital.

His alleged involvement in the violent scenes has further polarised the Greens, with party opponents of Left Renewal saying on Friday that the faction has torn up the pacifist ideals of the wider movement.

Hayden Williams, 20, is also part of the anti-capitalist, anti-police, left-wing splinter faction in the NSW Greens, known as "Left Renewal", Fairfax Media can reveal.


US President Donald Trump has sent an Australia Day message, declaring America has no better friend than Australia

The message was delivered by acting Secretary of State Thomas Shannon Jr and comes just days after Trump killed America's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership with Australia and other allies and as he considers whether to make it harder for Australians and Kiwis to travel to the US.

"On behalf of President Trump and the American people, it is my honour to congratulate the people of Australia as you celebrate this Australia Day, 229 years after the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Harbour," Shannon Jr said in a statement.

"It has been over 75 years since your commonwealth and the United States established diplomatic relations, but connections between America and Australia reach back to that fleet."

The Los Angeles Times revealed on Wednesday that Trump, in tightening up America's borders, is considering ending the visa waiver program that allows Australians, New Zealanders and citizens of 36 other nations, including many close allies in Europe, to easily visit the US on 90-day tourist visas.

A draft copy of Trump's potential executive order on immigration and refugees flags the scrapping of the program and forcing visitors to the US to sit for in-person interviews with US officials before being approved for entry.

 Shannon Jr, however, talked up in Thursday's Australia Day message the ease with Australians and Americans can travel to each country.

"Today, travel is easier, and we are honoured to host almost 1.5 million Australians in the United States each year, with over 200,000 Australians here on any given day," he said.
"Half a million Americans are fortunate enough to visit your land each year.

Shannon Jr also talked up trade, despite the TPP's demise that has left Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his government looking for a slimmed down TPP alternative or other trade deals.

"Today, Australia and the United States are top trade and investment partners, with $US65 billion ($A86 billion) in goods and services flowing between us each year," Shannon Jr said.
"The United States is responsible for over a quarter of all foreign direct investment in Australia and we are the top destination for Australian investment abroad.

"Our cooperation is deep and comprehensive: from space exploration to protecting the world's oceans to collaborating in the search for a cure for cancer.

"The United States has no better friend than Australia, and our longstanding alliance is a force for stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and around the globe.

"I wish all of your people a blessed Australia Day, and continued prosperity and peace in 2017."


Conservatives accuse Qld govt of protecting unions

The opposition has accused the CFMEU of buying the silence and protection of the Queensland Labor government following reports the state's police have withdrawn from a joint taskforce to investigate union corruption.

Industrial relations spokesman Jarrod Bleijie said on Friday more resources should be invested in the Queensland Police Service, not taken away.

While the federal government has extended the national taskforce for four more years, Queensland's police has advised the Australian Federal Police they will no longer be involved.
News Ltd has reported federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan has accused the state government of making a political decision to save its "Labor mates".

Mr Bleijie also claimed the large union was funding the state government and demanded alleged intimidation practices and fear-mongering by officials be stopped.

"The reason it's not going to stop is the CFMEU continually funds the Palaszczuk Labor government to the tune of millions of dollars a year and that's what it buys you," he said.
"It buys you silence, it buys you legislative protection."

Mr Bleijie said the federal government had shown its commitment to the taskforce by continuing to fund it in the coming years.
It followed the findings of last year's Royal Commission into union corruption, which recommended the criminal investigation of several officials.

Former CFMEU boss David Hanna was charged late last year over allegations he corruptly received free building supplies during the construction of a Brisbane house. Mr Hanna's lawyer has said he will fight the charges.

Police Minister Mark Ryan denied any political involvement, indicating it was a QPS decision.

The QPS said in a statement the agreement for it to take part in the taskforce expired at the end of 2016.

"At present there are no outstanding referrals remaining from the royal commission awaiting action by the Queensland Police Service," the statement read.

"Resources previously attached to the Trade Union Taskforce have now returned to the State Crime Command."

Mr Ryan stressed police would always investigate any allegations of crime, whether they were against union members or not. "You don't need a joint task force to investigate these matters and if anyone has any concerns, complaints or allegations, I encourage them to come forward," he said.


Africanized Melbourne again

This rewarding criminals with Tim Tam biscuits to stop them acting up is like mothers rewarding children to stop them having tantrums.It doesn’t work.It is like putting more wood on the fire to dampen it down, which it does at first, then it flares up more than before. These people are fools. They put fuel on the fire then wonder why it is so big

Melbourne man shocked after intruder as young as 12 breaks into his home

A Melbourne man has spoken of his fright after he found an intruder, believed to be as young as 12, inside his home.

Werribee man Charles Allan was alerted to the young thief after he heard his record player smash last night.

Mr Allan said he chased after the young African offender, who made off with his wife’s backpack, but was unable to apprehend him.

"She (his wife) has an operation on Monday and she is stressed out because she needs her Medicare card," Mr Allan said.

The 47-year-old has lived in Werribee his entire life and said the recent crime wave in Melbourne is out-of-control. "It's just unbelievable," Mr Allan said.

Werribee man Charles Allan was alerted to the young thief after he heard his record player smash last night. "How game can you be to break into someone’s house and take stuff?

"When I was a kid and was 12, I was in bed, if I did anything wrong, my dad would have killed me. Where are these parents? What's going on?"

Large groups have recently been gathering near fast foods restaurants and parks in the nearby suburb of Tarneit, which has prompted the council to consider ways to engage with teenagers from the Sudanese and South Sudanese communities.

The council has organized a pop-up basketball competition, which on its first night attracted more than 80 young participants.

"It's fun. It’s like a second home for me. I come here whenever I’m mad so something like that. Get stress off and just play basketball," Isaac Ibigat said.

The council is hoping to make the basketball sessions a weekly event.


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 January, 2017

Youngest in class twice as likely to take ADHD medication

The use of Ritalin and other stimulant drugs to reduce unruly behaviour among children goes back a long way now -- around 5 decades or more.  And there has always been disquiet about the practice

And underlying the issue is treating certain behaviours as an illness: ADHD.  Behaviours that once would simply have been dismissed as "naughty" are now an illness.  No doubt there are some pupils who are appropriately and usefully medicated but too often medication can be a lazy way to cope -- a way of avoiding addressing real underlying issues and problems that the pupil may have.

And the findings below reinforce the view that what is going on in much alleged ADHD is not pathological at all -- unless youth is a pathology!

The process of growing up is a process of socialization:  Children learn to control their impulses in order to get on with others.  So the younger a child is, the fewer will be its internal restraints.  It will be less docile. 

I remember fondly a little boy when he was aged 3.  He was a demonstration of perpetual motion --  always running around with a fair bit of screeching thrown in.  Now that he is 5 he often just sits quietly playing with his toys.  He still enjoys running around and screeching as part of a game but he is quite a different boy from when he was aged 3.  If you didn't know his age when he was 3 he would easily be described as an ADHD sufferer. But he was not.  He was simply young.

So the finding below that the youngest kids in the class had a lot of ADHD may simply have been an hilariously wrong diagnosis.  The researchers were misdiagnosing behaviours characteristic of younger kids as an illness!

There is a useful discussion below of problems with ADHD diagnosis

It may be worth mentioning that there was in the 1960s an "anti-psychiatry" movement including Thomas Szasz, R. D. Laing and others who also challenged conventional diagnoses of mental illnesses.  The movement still has some adherents but it was up against the fact that some people really are mad:  They do see and hear things that are not there.  But the movement did succeed in considerably narrowing the definition of what is mentally ill.  It would seem that their work is not done yet

New research has found the youngest children in West Australian primary school classes are twice as likely as their oldest classmates to receive medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Published in the Medical Journal of Australia, the research analysed data for 311,384 WA schoolchildren, of whom 5,937 received at least one government subsidised ADHD prescription in 2013. The proportion of boys receiving medication (2.9 per cent) was much higher than that of girls (0.8 per cent).

Among children aged 6–10 years, those born in June (the last month of the recommended school-year intake) were about twice as likely (boys 1.93 times, girls 2.11 times) to have received ADHD medication as those born in the first intake month (the previous July).

The ADHD late birth date effect was first demonstrated in four large scale studies conducted in the US, Canada and Taiwan. The prescribing rate for children in the WA study was 1.9 per cent, slightly larger than that reported in the Taiwanese study (1.6 per cent). The late birth date effects identified in WA and Taiwan were of similar strength to those in the three North American studies, where the reported prescribing rates were much higher (4.5 per cent, 5.8 per cent and 3.6 per cent).

Questioning ADHD as a diagnosis

The late birth date effect is not the only factor creating unease about ADHD. Multiple studies, including the WA study, have established boys are three to four times more likely to be medicated for ADHD. If, as is routinely claimed, ADHD is a neurobiological disorder, a child's birthdate or gender should have no bearing on their chances of being diagnosed.

Other risk factors for receiving medication for ADHD include race, class, postcode and clinician, teacher and parental attitudes; none of which have anything to do with a child's neurobiology.

In addition, sleep deprivation, bullying, abuse, trauma, poor nutrition, toxins, dehydration, hearing and eyesight problems, giftedness (boredom), intellectual disadvantage (frustration) and a host of other factors can cause the impulsive, inattentive and hyperactive behaviours central to the diagnosis of ADHD.

Another common criticism of ADHD as a pathological condition is that the diagnostic criteria "medicalise" normal - if somewhat annoying - childhood behaviours. Critics contend teacher and parent reports of children "often" fidgeting, losing toys and pencils, playing loudly, interrupting, forgetting, climbing or talking excessively, being disorganised and easily distracted, failing to remain seated, and being on the go (as if driven by a motor) should not be construed as evidence of a psychiatric disorder best treated with amphetamines.

Proponents counter that stimulant medication for ADHD children is like "insulin for a diabetic" or "eyeglasses for the mind". There is no doubt low dose stimulants often make rowdy children more compliant. However, a 2010 WA Health Department study found ADHD diagnosed children who had used stimulants were 10.5 times more likely to fail academically than children diagnosed with ADHD but never medicated.

As evidenced by rapidly increasing child ADHD prescribing rates in Australia and internationally, ADHD proponents seem to be winning the very public and ongoing ADHD debate. But history has taught us that as societal values change, definitions of mental illness change. It wasn't long ago that the inventors of ADHD as a diagnostic entity, the American Psychiatric Association, classified homosexuality as a disease treatable with electric shock and other forms of aversion therapy.

Perhaps in the future playing loudly, talking and climbing excessively, fidgeting and disliking homework will no longer be regarded as evidence of a psychiatric disorder, best treated with amphetamines and similar drugs.


Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce rubbishes calls to change the date of Australia Day

Changing the date would miss the whole point of the celebration.  We celebrate 26th Janusry because that is the day on which the first white settlers set foot in Australia.  We are pleased with what we have become because of their arrival.  Changing the date would be like taking Christ out of Christmas

And there is no reason why Aborigines should not celebrate too.  By all accounts there are more Aborigines in Australia today than there ever have been.  And they have access to services that would have been a fantasy in their original state.  There was no "sit down money" then

And calling the arrival of white settlers an "invasion" is hyperbole.  It is true that there were some isolated skirmishes in which some blacks and some whites died but there was no immediate or systematic resistance to the settlers.  The absurd death tolls proclaimed by Leftist historians have been comprehensively debunked by Keith Windschuttle

DEPUTY Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has rubbished calls to change the date of Australia Day, saying it’s “political correctness gone mad”.

The Nationals Leader’s message to anyone lobbying for the date to change from January 26 was “if you don’t like it, go to work or do something else”.

Speaking from his Tamworth home in New South Wales, Mr Joyce told 2GB radio in Sydney he was sick of people trying to make others feel guilty about celebrating Australia Day.

“I just get sick of these people who every time, every time there’s something on, they want to make you feel guilty about it,” Mr Joyce said this morning.

“They want to tell you you’re evil — they don’t like Christmas, they don’t like Australia Day, they’re just miserable gutted people who I wish would crawl under a rock and hide for a bit.”

It comes after former federal resources minister Ian Macfarlane — who readily admits he’s not normally a “bleeding-heart”, “latte-drinking trendie” — publicly announced his support for changing the date.

In a speech to Australian Unity’s Great Australia Day Breakfast in Melbourne this year, Mr Macfarlane said after the news of the last ever Triple J Hottest 100 and the announcement the City of Fremantle would also change the date, he asked himself what his Scottish ancestors would feel if they were forced to celebrate the Battle of Culloden, “where the Highlanders where cut down by English grapeshot” and survivors hunted down murdered.

“It was the moment I decided that as a conservative, Anglo-Celtic Australian, I want to play a part in the push to changing the date of Australia Day,” he said.

“I believe it is an important way to prevent a potential schism in Australia’s society and to remove a potential roadblock to reconciliation and a greater Australia.”

Mr Joyce didn’t comment on growing calls to change the date because it symbolised the beginning of Aboriginal dispossession.

He said Australia Day was about celebration.

“Don’t start your weeping and gnashing your teeth around me about the terrible evil that we’ve done, providing a nation where we’re democratic, where there’s free education, where there’s basically free health, where we’re well defended, where we basically look after the poor to the best of our ability, that has created a culture where we don’t see some of the craziness you see in some of the other parts of the world.” Mr Joyce said this morning.

“If that’s not important to you and you’ve got your nose bent out of joint because you think it should be something else, well that’s fine, find another day and go celebrate it by yourself.

“This is Australia Day — people have Barbecues, probably play a bit of cricket, here they’ll be walking up and down listening to a bit of country music.

His comments come as treasurer, Scott Morrison, has told the ABC’s AM he opposes the push to change the date as well.

He recognised that Australian stories “go back well beyond the time the first fleet arrived in Australia” but said “all Australians, I think, can embrace all of our stories”.

“That doesn’t mean we have to deny any parts of our heritage ... whether it’s our colonial heritage, our settlement history, our deep and long Indigenous history, our postwar migration with refugees coming to Australia,” he said.

“Today is our day and it’s a day to celebrate all of the things Australians have been able to contribute over all of that period of time.”

When asked about Indigenous Australians who can’t celebrate the day, Mr Morrison said Captain Cook’s arrival at Botany Bay was celebrated as a “day of reconciliation” and “a meeting of two cultures”.

“That was a time of two cultures, reluctantly or on purpose, coming together and much has happened since then,” he said.

“I take a much more optimistic view on these types of things, I’m a keen proponent of reconciliation. And I think reconciliation comes from all Australians combining together and celebrating all of our stories but also acknowledging all the things we have to learn from as well.”


All cultures are not equal

by Jennifer Oriel

Long after the West has defeated Islamic State, the jihadist threat will remain.

For the past 40 years, Western immigration policy has been based on multicultural ideology.

Its consequence is clear: Islamism has become a Western condition. Successive governments have diluted Western values to the point where they are no longer taught in schools. The result is a population unschooled in the ­genius of our civilisation whose youth cannot understand why it is worth defending.

Multicultural ideology must give way to a renaissance of Western civilisation in which Australian exceptionalism is celebrated and Islamism is sent packing.

Multiculturalism is not merely the acceptance of diverse cultures, or open society. It is the a priori belief that cultural diversity has a net positive effect on the West, coupled with a double standard that excuses lslamic and communist states from embracing it.

Thus, Western nations must open their borders while Islamic and communist states remain closed. The West must accept the myth that all cultures are equal while Islamic and communist states celebrate their unique contribution to world history. Under multicultural ideology, the greatest civilisation of the world, Western civilisation, is held in contempt while theocratic throwbacks and communist barbarism are extolled.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al- Hussein, regularly frames the West as xenophobic and racist. In a recent speech, he decried xenophobia and religious hatred. But he did not address the Chinese government’s persecution of Christians, or the governing Islamist regime in Gaza, Hamas, for hatred of Jews. Rather, he took aim at the West, saying: “My recent missions to Western Europe and North America have included discussions of increasingly worrying levels of incitement to racial or religious hatred and violence, whether against migrants or racial and religious groups. Discrimination, and the potential for mob violence, is being stoked by political leaders for their personal benefit.”

Western governments should explain why they continue to send taxpayers’ money to the UN when it has become an organisation expressly devoted to defending the interests of Islamist and communist regimes against the free world.

The growing hatred of Western culture goes unremarked by politicians whose populism is firmly rooted in political correctness. No major political party has calculated the cost of multicultural ideology to Western society. Instead, they extol it as a net benefit without tendering empirical evidence. When politicians claim truth without substantive supporting evidence, ideology is at play. It may be that multiculturalism is a net benefit to the West. If so, why has the evidence been withheld? Without it, minor parties can contend that multiculturalism is a net negative for the West and appear credible.

In the absence of empirical proof that multicultural ideology is beneficial, politicians such as Pauline Hanson, Donald Trump, Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen seek to curb Muslim immigration and deport those who disrespect Western values. Hanson plans to push for a burka ban in the new year. The policy has international precedent as Dutch politicians voted recently to ban the burka in some public places. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also has proposed a burka ban, but it is reasonable to question her motives ahead of the 2017 election. In a state election held in September, Merkel’s party polled below nationalist and anti-Islam party Alternative for Germany. She has driven porous border policy and repeatedly castigated European heads of state who defend their sovereign borders, such as Hungary’s Viktor Orban. Her call for a burka ban is thus viewed by some as blatant political opportunism.

Malcolm Turnbull addressed the issue indirectly by citing poor border controls in Europe as the cause of the problem. However, as with so many issues concerning political Islam in Australia, the question of a burka ban is indivisible from the defence of Western values.

One such value is the universal application of law that requires the equal treatment of all citizens. If Australians are expected to not wear a balaclava in banks, courts or Parliament House, why are some citizens permitted to cover their faces in a burka or niqab? Double standards and preferential treatment of state-anointed minorities is fuelling widespread, and rational, resentment in the West.

Consider retelling the events of the past week to an Anzac just returned from war. We would tell him that a Muslim married to a terrorist recruiter refused to stand in court because she wanted to be judged by Allah. Muslims in Sydney and Melbourne were charged with preparing a terrorist act against Australians. In France, several people were arrested for plotting jihadist attacks. News broke that 1750 foot soldiers of a genocidal Islamic army had entered Europe without resistance from Western armies. As in Australia, many jihadists entered as refugees and lived on taxpayer-funded welfare under a program called multiculturalism.

In the same week, a German politician called Angela Merkel, who ushered Islamists into the West by enforcing open borders, was lauded by a respected magazine called The Economist as “the last leader of stature to defend the West’s values”. Yet men from Islamic countries who allegedly entered Germany under Merkel’s open-border policy were arrested for sexual assault, including the rape and murder of a teenage girl. Asylum-seekers and refugees had assaulted women and children across Europe. Less than a year before, on New Year’s Eve, Merkel’s asylum-seekers had attacked women and girls en masse.

We would tell the Anzac that Britain attempted to acknowledge the negative impact of its undiscriminating approach to immigration. A review recommended a core school curriculum to promote “British laws, history and values” and a proposal that immigrants sign an oath of allegiance to British values. But secularism, private property and Christianity were absent from the principle list and as such, it wasn’t very British at all.

There were few Anzacs left to see what the West has become. I suppose that’s a kind of mercy. We have dishonoured the millions of soldiers who laid down their lives in the 20th century fighting for our freedom and the future of Western civilisation. We should hang our heads in shame for letting the Anzac legacy come to this. We are the descendants of the world’s most enlightened civilisation. It is our turn to fight for its future.



Centrelink debt scare backfires on Labor

Labor’s attempts to mount a ­repeat of its discredited Mediscare campaign against Centrelink’s automated debt recovery system have been exposed, with at least two-thirds of those publicly claiming to be victims of Centrelink found to owe significant debts to the ­taxpayer.

In an embarrassing blunder for the opposition, it has also been ­revealed that a third of the people used to fuel a media campaign against the government were not subject to the automated system.

An assessment of the 52 cases of people publicly claiming they were being harassed by Centrelink with automated debt notices has revealed that 18 had in fact been identified under a manual system set up by the former Labor government.

The opposition had called for the automated debt recovery program — designed to assist in the recovery of an estimated $4 billion in welfare overpayments — to be suspended. But Labor could not guarantee yesterday that all the so-called victims, whose names it had supplied to the media, were “innocent”.

The assessments, carried out by the Department of Human Services following inquiries by The Australian and requested by the opposition, contradict the ­majority of the claims of supposed inaccuracies made by the 52 self-identified public cases in which people complained of being victims­ of the automated system.

The department also confirmed that a number of those who claimed to have been ­wrongly targeted had in fact accepted­ that the debt was owed, with some even having entered into ­repayment programs.

One claimant, seized upon by Labor after being championed in a television program as a victim, was discovered to have been claiming the Youth Allowance while not studying and failing to declare income from several jobs, leading to a debt to the taxpayer of almost $12,000.

Another had been working for a full year but had not declared a job, leading to a welfare repayment debt of $4000.

A woman who claimed to have been wronged had failed to ­declare income of $37,500 from a small business while on carer and parenting payments. The woman had already entered into a repayment agreement.

Of the 34 self-identified cases subject to the new system, almost 60 per cent had been found to have been overpaid for failing to declare other income or employment. A further 12 per cent who had been found to owe money had asked for a reassessment. The remaini­ng number of ­aggrieved welfare recipients had not both­ered to contact Centrelink.

The opposition, which is using the Medicare scare-type tactics which almost cost the Coalition government, admitted yesterday that it had supplied the names of many of those involved to the media but could not ascertain the veracity of their allegations, ­despite demanding that Human Services Minister Alan Tudge take up their cases.

“We can’t guarantee that in every case they are innocent,” a spokesman for Labor’s human services spokeswoman Linda Burney said, adding that people were vetted with the resources Labor had available.

Labor, which in government had pioneered data matching for debt recovery, has forced the ­Coalition to modify elements of the system in ­response to claims it had an error rate of 20 per cent.

Ms Burney said on Tuesday: “Labor will continue to hold the Turnbull government to account for its mismanagement of Centrelink. Mr Tudge continues to insist that the program is working well despite scores of stories about false debt appearing in media reports­, an active ombudsman’s investigation, possible legal action­ and calls by welfare groups for the system to be suspended.”

Mr Tudge said that, while the government should be rightly subject to scrutiny, the numbers being used by the opposition were wrong and demonstrated a deliberate misrepresentation.

“Many of the personal cases that Labor has fed to the media are examples where they received an overpayment because they had not declared all their income to Centrelink,’’ he said.

“There are other examples where entire jobs were not report­ed while the person was on benefits.

“When Labor was in government, they didn’t pursue these cases. If they had done the checks when they were in office, we would not have to do the work now.

“The unfortunate reality is that some people deliberately ­defraud the system, while others inadvertently don’t accurately update their income details. This means they received more payments than they were entitled to.”

The Department of Human Services has aggressively defended the system, posting rebuttals on its website.

“Commentary on the department’s online compliance system continues to incorrectly say 20 per cent of letters are being issued­ in error. This is misleading and a misrepresentation of the process,” department general manager Hank Jongen wrote.


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 January, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG has a comment on the tough job facing the new health minister

Changing climate has stalled Australian wheat yields (?)

As Warmist articles go, the study below shows unusual statistical sophistication. But the connection to Warmism is tokenistic.  The article would read much the same without reference to Warmism.  And it is refreshing that the model they use has had extensive validation.  Most unusual!  Warmist models normally have no predictive skill whatever.

In the end, however, they find that weather has reduced potential crop yields, not mainly via warming but mainly by reduced rainfall: "lower rainfall accounted for 83% of the decline in yield potential, while temperature rise alone was responsible for 17% of the decline"

And that is a problem.  Warmer seas should usually produce MORE rainfall.  How come the alleged warming was accompanied by LESS rainfall?  The authors do not know, or, if they do, they are not saying.  So the statistics are in fact incompatible with anthropogenic global warming.  A warmer globe should have produced more rainfall.  But there was LESS rainfall. 

All one can reasonably say in the circumstances is that there were poorly-understood local factors at work, not global ones.  From any point of view, what they have to account for is the reduced rainfall and they have not done that

Australia’s wheat yields more than trebled during the first 90 years of the 20th century but have stalled since 1990. In research published today in Global Change Biology, we show that rising temperatures and reduced rainfall, in line with global climate change, are responsible for the shortfall.

This is a major concern for wheat farmers, the Australian economy and global food security as the climate continues to change. The wheat industry is typically worth more than A$5 billion per year – Australia’s most valuable crop. Globally, food production needs to increase by at least 60% by 2050, and Australia is one of the world’s biggest wheat exporters.

There is some good news, though. So far, despite poorer conditions for growing wheat, farmers have managed to improve farming practices and at least stabilise yields. The question is how long they can continue to do so.
Worsening weather

While wheat yields have been largely the same over the 26 years from 1990 to 2015, potential yields have declined by 27% since 1990, from 4.4 tonnes per hectare to 3.2 tonnes per hectare.

Potential yields are the limit on what a wheat field can produce. This is determined by weather, soil type, the genetic potential of the best adapted wheat varieties and sustainable best practice. Farmers’ actual yields are further restricted by economic considerations, attitude to risk, knowledge and other socio-economic factors.

While yield potential has declined overall, the trend has not been evenly distributed. While some areas have not suffered any decline, others have declined by up to 100kg per hectare each year.

The distribution of the annual change in wheat yield potential from 1990 to 2015. Each dot represents one of the 50 weather stations used in the study. David Gobbett, Zvi Hochman and Heidi Horan, Author provided

We found this decline in yield potential by investigating 50 high-quality weather stations located throughout Australia’s wheat-growing areas.

Analysis of the weather data revealed that, on average, the amount of rain falling on growing crops declined by 2.8mm per season, or 28% over 26 years, while maximum daily temperatures increased by an average of 1.05?.

To calculate the impact of these climate trends on potential wheat yields we applied a crop simulation model, APSIM, which has been thoroughly validated against field experiments in Australia, to the 50 weather stations.

Climate variability or climate change?

There is strong evidence globally that increasing greenhouse gases are causing rises in temperature. Recent studies have also attributed observed rainfall trends in our study region to anthropogenic climate change.

Statistically, the chance of observing the decline in yield potential over 50 weather stations and 26 years through random variability is less than one in 100 billion.

We can also separate the individual impacts of rainfall decline, temperature rise and more CO? in the atmosphere (all else being equal, rising atmospheric CO? means more plant growth).

First, we statistically removed the rising temperature trends from the daily temperature records and re-ran the simulations. This showed that lower rainfall accounted for 83% of the decline in yield potential, while temperature rise alone was responsible for 17% of the decline.

Next we re-ran our simulations with climate records, keeping CO? at 1990 levels. The CO? enrichment effect, whereby crop growth benefits from higher atmospheric CO? levels, prevented a further 4% decline relative to 1990 yields.

So the rising CO? levels provided a small benefit compared to the combined impact of rainfall and temperature trends.


'An act of betrayal against Australia': Fremantle divided over cancellation of Australia Day festivities

As the country counts down to Australia Day, a council in Western Australia is defending its decision to go it alone.

The port city of Fremantle will effectively become a litmus test for the #changethedate movement when the local council holds its "culturally inclusive" alternative celebration two days after Australia Day.  "What we're doing is coming up with something that is actually more Australian," Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt told 7.30.

It has been a highly controversial move, criticised by the Federal Government and Fremantle's business community.

Faced with losing out on one of the biggest trading days of the year, businesses have clubbed together to raise the $50,000 needed to salvage the traditional fireworks display on the 26th.

Visitors and residents now have a choice: the fireworks, which are part of a four-day fiesta called "Australia Week", or the council's alternative event "One Day in Freo" on the 28th.

On top of all that, far right groups Reclaim Australia and the United Patriots Front are planning to converge on Fremantle on Australia Day to protest against what they called "an act of betrayal against Australia".

Despite the backlash, Dr Pettitt maintained the council was showing leadership on an important national issue.

"Aboriginal support for this decision has been, it would be fair to say, to be honest with you, overwhelming," he said. "One Day in Freo is going to be a big family community concert. We really hope it's a celebration of what brings us together."

Noongar man Robert Eggington, executive officer of the Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation, said he was one of a group of about 20 Aboriginal elders and heads of families who had endorsed the council's decision at a meeting last year.

He said Aboriginal people find nothing to celebrate about the day, which marks the arrival of the First Fleet. "Australia Day being celebrated on the 26th of January means the celebration of history, and in that history Aboriginal people have suffered so greatly," he said.

Noongar man Robert Eggington says he has never celebrated Australia Day. Mr Eggington will take part in a smoking ceremony at Western Australia's oldest public building, The Round House, ahead of the council's event on the 28th.

"I think white Australia will benefit from the decision that Fremantle Council has made, once it's able to rise above the fear," he said.  "I think we're creating a potential unity for the future by speaking out."

Noongar elder and ambassador for the Australia Day WA Council, Robert Isaacs, disagreed.  The former West Australian of the Year said his fellow Indigenous Australians were causing divisions by opposing Australia Day.  "We're one nation of people and we've just got to try and not forget that we need to go forward and don't look back," he said.

Dr Isaacs said hundreds of Aboriginal families attended Perth's Skyworks each year after a "survival concert" in the city centre, and he was scathing about the City of Fremantle's alternative celebration.

"I'm hoping people stand up very strongly and serve a strong message to the council that when it comes to their next election, they vote them out and get Australia Day back to where it belongs, January 26th."

Federal Liberal MP Ben Morton felt so strongly about the issue that he took out a full-page advertisement in a local Fremantle newspaper urging residents to support the national celebration.

The member for Tangney was instrumental in forcing the council to reinstate its citizenship ceremonies on January 26, which it had also planned to move to the 28th until the Commonwealth pulled rank.

"But they're wanting to create a national debate. And I just think the council here has got a little bit too far ahead of itself in that regard. "Perhaps rather than getting involved in national political debates, Fremantle council should stick to its knitting."

But Dr Pettitt pointed out that on top of January 26 causing discomfort for Aboriginal people, it had little relevance to WA.  "As a West Australian, I've always found Australia Day to be odd. It is New South Wales' day. In terms of the relevance to Western Australia, it's a pretty long bow to draw," he said.


Destructive political correctness about Aborigines

The meat industry’s spirited attempt to persuade Australians to unite around a plate of lamb has come unstuck. Meat and Livestock Australia’s annual Australia Day campaign has ditched Sam Kekovich’s familiar rants against the long-haired tofu-munchers and the anti-Australianism that has infected our national day.

Instead, they’ve gone for diversity and inclusion. Never mind terra nullius; surely we all agree that there’s nowhere better for a barbecue.

The keepers of indigenous rage are furious. Nakkiah Lui ­demands “a more accurate ­portrayal” of history that includes state-enforced genocide, segregation, oppression, that sort of thing. Luke Pearson on SBS’s ­taxpayer-funded platform says accuracy would be improved by feeding Aboriginals meat laced with strychnine.

Welcome to the dismal world of identity politics, where history is not a quest to discover shared truths but a loaded weapon to avenge ancestral wrongs.

Stan Grant blundered into this fatalistic territory 15 months ago when he was invited to speak to the motion “racism is killing the Australian dream” at a debate ­televised by the BBC.

Racism was “the very foundation of the dream”, Grant said. “When British people looked at us, they saw something sub­human … we were ?y-blown, Stone Age savages.” Grant discovered the last quote in a satirical essay by Charles Dickens, The Noble ­Savage. Dickens, like Meat and Livestock Australia, made the ­mistake of using irony, a rhetorical device lost on today’s readers.

Grant was warming to the theme. “Every time we are lured into the light, we are mugged by the darkness of this country’s ­history,” he said.

The speech was widely viewed on the internet and praised by ­lovers of historical misery porn. The Sydney Morning Herald compared him to Martin Luther King.

Yet it was a speech that puzzled many of us who attended the event, including a businesswoman from India, who struggled to recognise her adopted country in Grant’s dismal description. She knew Australia as a land of opportunity and redemption, an experience common to most ­migrants since 1788, and possibly before.

Grant has developed his own misgivings about the speech, or at least its reception on the activist fringe. “That so many have sought to break my words into pieces and deploy only those that best suit them speaks of the age of the ­politics of identity,” he writes in a self-reflective contribution to Quarterly Essay.

He fears he may have perpetuated “a lazy narrative” of a people paralysed by history, unwittingly obscuring the true story of individual triumph against adversity.

The essay will make uncomfortable reading for the ­merchants of intergenerational victimhood; the notion that ­ancestral trauma is a debilitating inherited condition. Present damage caused by historical wrongs became a fashionable cause in Canadian indigenous politics in the 1990s, and Kevin Rudd’s acclaimed apology to indigenous Australians unwittingly encouraged its importation to Australia.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner Tom Calma called for the healing of “cumulative trauma” in a 2008 report, Beyond the Apology.

Indigenous Australians “have experienced trauma as a result of colonisation, dispossession and dislocation, as well as the trauma of ongoing racism, family violence and other events”, wrote Calma, citing as his authority a little-known emeritus professor by the name of Judy Atkinson.

The past cannot be changed, and memories of the past are ­disputed. Some may indignantly believe that Australia’s racist past has been censored. Others feel equally aggrieved that our ­colonial settlers have been defamed and that their gifts to us — the rule of law, stable institutions and the spirit of progress — are too frequently ignored. At any rate, having decided that indigenous Australians are prisoners of ­history, human rights activists have little idea how they might be released. A heartfelt public ­apology clearly isn’t enough.

What’s needed, wrote Calma, are “inclusive and holistic healing approaches’’, counselling, group therapy, yarning circles and healing circles, residential programs, retreats and — naturally — monetary compensation.

In his eagerness to correct an abstract historical injustice, Calma ignores a practical lesson of history; throwing money at a problem generally makes it worse.

Besides, those who define ­Aboriginals as victims of historical injustice have no interest in ­resolving the matter. Grievance is the fuel that powers identity ­politics and the cause that keeps the indigenous elite employed.

Hence the constant inflation of their demands. Rudd’s apology, the one John Howard wisely declined to deliver, was never going to be the end of the matter. Nor will constitutional recognition, in the unlikely event that a referendum ever gets off the ground.

Now they want a treaty — ­between whom hardly matters, nor what the treaty should say — so long as it affirms the victimhood of the permanently oppressed and shames their oppressors.

Grant, who spent some of last year touring the country as a member of the federally funded Referendum Council, admits to feeling “suffocated” by the “sti?ing and demoralising” world of indigenous affairs. “It is too easy to become consumed to the point that one loses all perspective,” he writes. It is hard to move beyond grief when you are locked in a cycle of “sorry business … a monotonous drumbeat of funeral marches”.

“Remembrance doesn’t necessarily stop the past repeating; sometimes it may even ­impede reconciliation and true justice. It is right to remember, but is it also right to forget?”

Grant hopes his essay will destroy the belief that indigenous Australians are helpless victims and challenge the attitude that success is not “black”. Indeed, his journey from an itinerant, working class, regional background to a respected international career in journalism shows that ­redemption for all Australians lies within our own grasp. “What emerges is, in many ­respects, a typical economic ­migration story,” he writes. ­“Migrants look to what they have built, not what they have left ­behind.”

If anything is killing the ­Australian dream it’s not racism but the identity politics that leads to what US writer David Reiff ­describes in his latest book as “the overvaluing of collective memory and the undervaluing of history”.

Far from ensuring justice, says Reiff, it is “a formula for unending grievance and vendetta”.


Australia Day Address orator Michelle Simmons horrified at 'feminised' physics curriculum

The inherent problems of "affirmative action" rear their heads yet again.  If women really are equal, why do they need special accomodations?  They are not lacking opportunity.  They are a majority on most university campuses

Professor Michelle Simmons, a professor of quantum physics at the University of NSW, has expressed her horror at the "feminised" nature of the HSC physics curriculum.

Delivering the 2017 Australia Day address on Tuesday, Professor Simmons said it was a "disaster" to try to make physics more appealing to girls by substituting rigorous mathematical problem-solving with qualitative responses.

During her Australia Day Address, Professor Michelle Simmons, a world expert in quantum physics and computing challenged Australians "to be known as people who do the hard things".

"There is a big cost in this type of thinking," she said to an audience that included Premier Gladys Berejiklian. "When we reduce the quality of education that anyone receives we reduce the expectations we have of them," she said.

A spokesman for the NSW Education Standards Authority (formerly BOSTES) said the new HSC science curriculum will commence in 2018.  He said: "The new courses address the exact concerns expressed by Professor Simmons. "The physics and chemistry courses will have a greater focus on mathematical applications."

He also said there will be a reduction in the sociology-based content and an emphasis on practical investigations.

Professor Simmons' Australia Day speech focused on the need for Australians to attempt the difficult things in life. "It is better to do the things that have the greatest reward; things that are hard, not easy," she said.

"If we want people to be the best they can be we must set the bar high and tell them we expect them to jump over it," she said. "My strong belief is that we need to be teaching all students – girls and boys – to have high expectations of themselves."

Professor Simmons has certainly set the bar high for herself. She wants to realise her dream to build a working quantum computer, here, in Australia.

For her Cambridge was "too hierarchical and esoteric". The American culture, she said, restricts early-career researchers. When she arrived, people asked her "Why on Earth did you come?"

But for Professor Simmons the choice was easy. "Australia offers a culture of academic freedom, openness to ideas and an amazing willingness to pursue ambitious goals," she said.

Professor Simmons is so proud of the one-way ticket to Australia she bought 18 years ago that she had it framed and sent to her brother for his 50th birthday.

From what she said was a "pretty rough" part of south-east London, she moved to Australia in 1999 after studying at Cambridge. Her big brother Gary went to the United States.

In her Australia Day Address on Tuesday, she said she often jokes with him that she got the better deal. "Only I'm not joking," she told an audience, including NSW Governor David Hurley and Premier Berejiklian. "It's the truth. I genuinely believe it is better here."

Ms Berejiklian introduced Professor Simmons in what was her first official function as Premier.

Professor Simmons said: "On occasions like this, we tend to emphasise the beauty of our natural environment, our great lifestyle and the easygoing character of our people. "This is a mistake ... it encourages us to shy away from difficult challenges. It will stop us from being as ambitious as we might be," she said.

Professor Simmons leads a storied team of dedicated scientists trying to do what many think impossible: build a new type of computer – a quantum computer – based on individual phosphorous atoms in silicon.

She said said: "Quantum physics is hard. Technology at the forefront of human endeavour is hard. But that's what makes it worthwhile."

Building a quantum computer is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Professor Simmons calls it the "space race of the computing era". There are three dedicated centres of excellence in Australia working on quantum technology, with a strong presence across Sydney's universities.

"Australia, for some reason, is disproportionately strong in quantum science. And, with billions of dollars of investment coming into this field from across the world, our challenge is to see if we can translate our international lead into high-technology industries," she said.

A working quantum computer would make currently impossible computing tasks possible. "Instead of performing calculations one after the other like a conventional computer, quantum computers work in parallel, looking at all possible outcomes at the same time," she said. This would allow us "to solve problems in minutes that could otherwise take many thousands of years".

Australia, she said, is a great place to discover things. "I am grateful for that Australian spirit to give things a go and our enduring sense of possibility."

Professor Simmons said: "I want Australians above all to be known as people who do the hard things."


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 January, 2017

US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership

The account of the matter below is fairer than most but I think it needs a summary.  So, in summary:

There has been much media hysteria over the withdrawal being bad for Australia but most of that is just anti-Trumpism.  The TPP was NOT a free trade deal.  It just swapped one concession for another and many people IN AUSTRALIA were unhappy at the trades being agreed to.

It has costs for Australia as well as advantages and there was widespread disagreement over whether the trade-offs were on balance advantageous for Australia. Only "modelling" says it was and some of the negatives are difficult to quantify so it is  just guesswork.   And maybe I can be forgiven for mentioning the utter failure of economic modelling to predict the 2007/2008 financial crisis.

Even Australia's long-suffering sugar farmers did not stand to gain much from it in absolute terms.  $13 million is peanuts in international trade terms

THE withdrawal of the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be a huge blow to some Australian producers but its biggest impact could be to relations in the Asia-Pacific.

With the stroke of his pen and a smile, US President Donald Trump lived up to his promise of killing the TPP between America, Australia, New Zealand and nine other Pacific nations.

The agreement was originally billed as the gold-standard in free trade deals and a strategy to blunt China’s dominance in the Asia-Pacific.

But just three days after the TPP’s champion, former president Barack Obama, moved out of the White House, Mr Trump signed the executive order to withdraw the US from the TPP.

It is a major blow to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as the TPP was the key plank of the nation’s trade policy.

“Everyone knows what that means, right?” Mr Trump said at the signing ceremony. “We’ve been talking about this for a long time. It’s a great thing for the American worker.”

A slimmed down TPP, without the US, could emerge, although China is expected to move in and fill the hole left by America. China was not invited to join the TPP and had already been negotiating its own rival deal, the RCEP.

The TPP was between the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Mexico, Chile, Vietnam, Peru, Brunei and Malaysia.

Australian Trade Minster Steven Ciobo, who is in the US, said on the weekend he had been speaking with remaining TPP nations “on ways to lock in the benefits from the TPP” without US involvement.

Negotiations began more than eight years ago and Australia’s prime ministers during the period — Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Mr Turnbull — all threw their support behind it.

The deal was signed last year and was in the process of being ratified. That looks unlikely to happen now that the US has pulled out.

Submissions to a Senate inquiry on the TPP highlighted some of the benefits to the Australian economy, with the committee expected to report back on February 7. In particular the Australian sugar industry was a big winner from the deal.

According to the Australian Sugar Industry Alliance, the TPP allowed Australian producers to export an extra 65,000 tonnes of sugar to the US — 74 per cent higher than the current limit — worth more than $13 million a year to farmers.

In addition to this, they would also be able to provide 23 per cent of any extra raw sugar allocations in the US, and the TPP also removed an in-quota tariff worth about $3 million a year to Australia.

If the US withdrawal means the entire deal falls apart, producers looking to unlock other markets are also set to lose out.

The Australian pork industry was expected to benefit from the removal of tariffs in markets such as Mexico, a significant pork-importing country.

Cheese makers were expected to benefit from the cutting of tariffs to Japan and increased access to the US.

The Business Council of Australia said reducing barriers and costs to doing business internationally would help generate new jobs and opportunities.

“Seventy per cent of our exports currently flow to TPP countries,” it said.

It quoted World Bank modelling that suggested Australia’s GDP would increase by 0.7 per cent by 2030, and exports would increase by 5 per cent.

The Peterson Institute’s modelling has estimated that the TPP would lead to a US$15 billion permanent increase in Australia’s real GDP.

But others have raised concerns with the TPP, in particular the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause that gives foreign companies the right to sue governments.

Consumer organisation Choice has questioned whether it could limit future reforms to require food labelling, the display of ‘health stars’ on packaged foods, ban certain imports or improve consumer law.

There were also concerns about whether the TPP would keep cheaper generic drugs locked out of Australia for longer, although the PM has insisted there will be no change to Australian laws.

Mr Trump said on Monday he was pursuing what he calls “fair trade”, not free trade, and he has China and Japan in his sights.

He called out Japan, a TPP member, for making “it impossible to sell” US cars in Japan. “If you want to sell something into China and other countries it’s very, very hard,” Mr Trump told a meeting of chief executives of some of America’s biggest companies earlier on Monday.

“In some cases it’s impossible. They won’t even take your product.  “But when they do take your product they charge you a lot of tax.  “I don’t call that free trade. What we want is fair trade.”

The President plans to cut regulations for businesses in the US and slash the company tax rate from 35 per cent “down to anywhere from 15 to 20 per cent” to bring manufacturing back to the country.

He said companies that moved factories out of the US and then tried to sell its products back to America would be punished with a “very major border tax”.

But one expert says Mr Trump’s decision to pull out of the TPP is giving China “a free hand to dictate trade in Asia”.

China was not invited to join the TPP, but Mr Trump could have opened the way for the Asian power by walking the US away from the massive free trade pact.

Mr Trump’s media spokesman Sean Spicer said on Monday the US would pursue one-on-one trade deals with countries rather than complicated multi-nation pacts like the TPP.

“For someone who is so outwardly anti-China, many of Trump’s major policies, philosophies, and plans benefit China,” Asia Society’s centre for US-China relations senior fellow Isaac Stone Fish said. “TPP is just one of many examples.”

Mr Fish said Trump’s “discrediting” of the US alliance structure made China stronger in regards to Japan and South Korea.

“His isolationism, and his dislike of pushing China on human rights, improves the country’s image both domestically and internationally,” he said.

“His trade policies — and even a trade war — could push China towards an economy more reliant on domestic consumption, instead of exports. “And that is what many foreign experts, and Chinese liberals, believe is the way for the country to build a sustainable economy.”


Multiculturalists bash three Melbourne boys in a shopping centre toilet before stealing their phones

Jasmine Moey from Melbourne told Daily Mail Australia her son and his friends went to the movies at Highpoint shopping centre when they were attacked by a group of thugs.

The boys had gone to see a movie, had dinner and were in the shopping centre toilets when they were set upon by a group of African males.

'My son's friend came out of a cubicle as the African boys walked in. 'They shoved him into the corner - then when my son came out they punched him in his left eye,' she told Daily Mail Australia.

The boy's other friend stayed in his cubicle - waiting until the thugs left to help his friends.

'My son said there were two men in the bathroom and they didn't do anything,' Mrs Moey said. 'The shopping centre was packed people would have seen the boys leave the bathroom but no one helped.'

The attacked happened at 7.15pm - the protective mother decided to let her son go with his friends to the movies because she wanted him to have some independence.

'I used to go and be physically in the mall when I went - but these boys are all big boys and will even have jobs soon so I wasn't concerned. 'It was still daylight outside when the attack happened and the mall was crowded.'

Mrs Moey's son told her the teenagers were aged from '15 to 18' and were 'African'.

'They stole his phone, and his friend's phone. 'They made them unlock them and take of the location settings.'

The attack lasted just a few minutes and left Mrs Moey's son with a black and purple eye.

But she says she will let her son go back to the mall. 'If he is confident to go again by himself I will let him. 'He is almost 15 and will have a part-time job soon so he does need to be independent.'

The boys were told 'not to chase' the young thugs who robbed them. Instead they phone a police who arrived in 'five minutes' according to Mrs Moey.

Police are doing nothing investigating.


Greenie policies make Sydney housing world’s second most unaffordable

The "urban containment policies" mentioned below are what American Greenies call "smart growth".  It has for some time now become widely recognized as stunted growth

SYDNEY is Australia’s most unaffordable housing market and the second most expensive city in the world, second only to Hong Kong, according to research firm Demographia.

For the 13th time, each of Australia’s five major housing markets have won the dubious honour of being rated “severely unaffordable” in Demographia’s annual index.

Melbourne came in at six in the study, while Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth were all ranked in the top 20 most expensive cities in the world.

Demographia, which ranks housing affordability in 406 cities with a population over one million, said urban containment policies were the cause of Australia’s affordability crisis.

Urban containment policies aim to curb the growth of the urban sprawl by encouraging greater density in existing housing areas rather than opening up new sites, commonly called “greenfields”.

“Consistent with the basics of economics, this is associated with higher land prices and, in consequence, higher house prices,” the report said.

Sydney’s “median multiple”, or the median house price ($1.077 million) divided by the median household income ($88,000) is 12.2 — the same rating as last year — meaning a typical home costs more than 12 years’ wages.

Hong Kong’s median multiple, by comparison, is 18.1, down from 19 last year. A typical home in Hong Kong costs $HK5.422 million ($920,000), compared to the median household income of $HK300,000 ($51,000).

The overall median multiple for Australia’s major housing markets is 6.6. It comes after UBS ranked Sydney’s property market the fourth riskiest in the world in its global bubble index, behind Vancouver, London and Stockholm.

Overall, Australia’s 54 housing markets have a “severely unaffordable” median multiple of 5.5 — four housing markets are “affordable”, three are “moderately unaffordable”, 14 are “seriously unaffordable” and 33 are “severely unaffordable”.

The four smaller housing markets deemed “affordable” are in former mining boom areas: Karratha (2.1), Port Hedland (2.3) and Kalgoorlie (2.6) in Western Australia, and Gladstone (2.8) in Queensland.

“Australia’s generally unfavourable housing affordability is in significant contrast to the broad affordability that existed before implementation of urban containment policies,” the report said.

“The price-to-income ratio in Australia was below 3.0 in the late 1980s. All of Australia’s major housing markets have severely unaffordable housing and all have urban containment policy.”

The news comes after new NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced she would address the NSW housing crisis, declaring it “the biggest issue people have across the state”.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison, meanwhile, is looking to the UK’s affordable housing initiatives for inspiration. One of the initiatives he will investigate is the Housing Finance Corporation, an independent body that makes low-interest loans to regulated housing associations through the issue of bonds to private investors.

Oliver Hartwich, director of the New Zealand Initiative, said it was a “social imperative” to make housing more affordable “especially at a time when there is a growing threat of populism to Western democracies”.

“We should not accept extreme price levels in our housing markets. High house prices are not a sign of city’s success but a sign of failure to deliver the housing that its citizens need,” he wrote in the report.

“Of course, if you are an investment banker, a media personality or a sports star, you will always be able to live a decent life, no matter how expensive your city is. And if you are within this group, you will also benefit most from the amenities that global cities provide.

“If, however, you are teacher, a nurse, or shop assistant your experience of city life would be very different. You would then have to put up with all the downsides of extreme price levels without being able to participate in metropolitan life.

“But is this the kind of society we want to live in? And isn’t this kind of social polarisation exactly the breeding ground for populism and resentment we are witnessing?”

Economist Alan Moran wrote that the costs were due to excessive regulation. “A fully finished new house (three bedrooms, two garages) costs as little as $150,000,” he wrote.

“Preparation of the land with sewerage, local roads, water and other utilities costs around $70,000 per block. The land itself is mainly used for agriculture and is intrinsically worth maybe $2,000 a block. Yet that new house in western Sydney costs upward of $700,000.

“The fact is that governments have agreed to an ever-growing set of regulations covering everything from phony endangered species to requirements for set-asides for child care, community centres and so on.

“These compound the shortage of land created by refusals to allow development outside of some designated growth corridors, which means rationing of land available for housing. That rationing’s end product is housing that is increasingly out of the budget reach of younger buyers.”


Pauline Hanson defends her call for a ban on the Burqa in Australia

A TRIPLE M [Rock radio] breakfast host launched into One Nation’s Pauline Hanson on Tuesday over her controversial stance of banning the burqa.

Ms Hanson, who has been pushing for a complete ban of the Muslim garment in recent months, as well as an inquiry into Islam as a religion, began the segment by asking the hosts a question.  “Do you like (the burqa)?,” she asked. “Do you wear one?”

Robin Bailey, who joined Triple M at the beginning of the year, took exception.

“You know what, I will say quite honestly, that is a representation for a group of people about their religion and you having a go at the burqa is like having a go at a Christian for wearing a cross,” Bailey said.

Ms Hanson laughed off the comparison. “The burqa is not a religious requirement ... countries around the world are now wanting to get rid of the burqa, we’re talking about the full face covering,” Ms Hanson said.

She told Bailey that she “couldn’t believe a woman ... believes a woman should be covered up from head to toe”.

Bailey fired back.  “I can’t believe a woman wants to have a crack at another woman about what she wears,” the host said.

Ms Hanson demanded: “Don’t pull the woman stuff on me.” “Just because I’m a woman and I’m complaining and I do not like it ... don’t try and shut me down because I’m having a go at a woman. I’ll have a crack at anybody.”

Ms Hanson told Bailey “you don’t understand the Islamic religion”.  “What are we doing, taking women back 2000 years?”

Bailey said: “No one is forcing ... in this country you are not forced to wear the burqa.”


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 January, 2017

Proprietor of far-left Australian webzine "New Matilda" echoes Trump

Chris Graham is proprietor of a far-left Australian webzine called "new Matilda" with rather shaky finances but he seems to be far more rational than most Leftists.  He defends coal below and hints that nuclear power may be the best of all.  Beat that!  He seems to be on the same page as Trump when it comes to the electricity supply so it's a wonder he can stand the embarrassment. 

His main concerns in fact seem to be Aboriginal welfare and Palestinians.  He publishes some pretty one-eyed stuff on those topics.  The Aboriginal stuff probably bores most of his readers.  The Australian Left mostly regards the Aboriginal problem as "too hard", which it is.  Compare the Canadian "first nations" problem or the native American problem.  But Palestinians are red meat to Leftists so that probably keeps Chris's ship afloat

Naomi Klein: Definitely of the left and a powerful advocate for the oppressed; at least when they have two legs and an upright stance. Her first book, No Logo, was a powerful polemic against the branding and bullshit of the modern corporate culture.

Klein is now getting heavily involved in climate change politics, writing one of her characteristically large books on the topic a few years back: This changes everything: Capitalism Vs the Climate.

Here’s a shorter taste of Klein in full flight. It’s an essay adapted from her 2016 Edward Said London Lecture. The essay’s central theme is how Said, a Palestinian born Professor of Literature, thought of environmentalism as a bourgeois playground and missed what Klein thinks is the powerful connection between environmental destruction and oppression.

I think she’s a bit rough on Said; he died in 2003, well before many non-scientists realised the deep gravity of climate destabilisation. The penny hadn’t dropped then with Tim Flannery, for example; or I think, Klein herself. It was 2004 before the penny started falling with me.

But even if Said had realised the seriousness of climate destabilisation, would he have agreed with Klein on the connection between oppression and trashing the climate? Perhaps Klein’s connection is simply the result of moving outside her area of expertise. Science changes everything.

Klein is used to identifying protagonists and telling their stories with events and anecdotes. Science is about numbers, evidence and carefully constructed arguments. Klein’s not comfortable with any of the three.

For example, Klein wants to assert that our fossil fuel problems are the result of our othering of miners and Indigenous peoples. Meaning that we treat them as less than human to justify their exploitation.

Did coal and oil mines displace Indigenous people? Certainly, but were they the biggest driving force or simply a minor footnote in a much more general process?

It’s easy enough to check. I’ll illustrate with some Australian numbers, but they illustrate general principles. We crop about 20 million hectares in Australia and graze another 70 million hectares of improved pasture. Cattle and sheep also graze another 330 million hectares of natural vegetation.

Keep in mind that the entire area of Australia is about 770 million hectares. We also have a couple of million hectares of plantation forests. And our mines? All up, not just coal, they occupy a few tens of thousands of hectares and much of that isn’t the prime area with surface disturbance. So… which activities have done most to dispossess Indigenous people? Mines of any description, or cropping or grazing?

The ratios are similar the world over. Mines are tiny, cropping is big and grazing is huge. Indigenous people have been dispossessed by the sheer weight of numbers of non-Indigenous people and the fact that the latter all eat; with the biggest dispossessors being those who indirectly appropriate the most land… meaning meat eaters… which probably includes both Klein and Said (as far as I can make out).

Now think about the other part of her claim. Coal mining is definitely a filthy business, but a damn site healthier than what it replaced… chopping and burning wood. And what did they use to light the lamps of Europe before oil?

They used whale oil.

Perhaps Klein would like us to return to men in little boats throwing sharp pointy things at whales, but I’d rather drill holes in the ground. And wood isn’t dead yet. Some 3 billion people still cook with solid fuels; mostly wood, but also cow dung or charcoal or even coal itself.

Wood smoke indoors shortens lives and kills children. The death toll from household air pollution is about 4.3 million people a year; and the suffering on top of that is immense. The upside of a coal industry, particularly when it became used to generate electricity, is that by replacing wood, a large number of people benefitted from the toil of a few.

The other great thing about coal mining is that it’s a big compact centralised industry; which means it’s easier to regulate. Think about the difference between a textile factory with a union and regulation compared to people working at home. Highly distributed industries are tough to regulate. Globally between 1990 and 2013, coal production trebled, but deaths from black lung dropped from 29,000 to 25,000.

Black lung is the common name for CWP (Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis). It’s the biggest killer of coal miners and is caused by breathing coal dust. But when you mine coal from big open cut holes while sitting in massive air-conditioned machines, the problem can be eliminated; and the pay is better than many other jobs. But it does take good unions and continued vigilance.

There were 6 cases of CWP in Queensland between May 2015 and February 2016 which prompted calls for action in the Medical Journal of Australia. Science changes everything.

Klein can point to coal mining abuses in various parts of the world, but ignores the benefits of coal over what went before. I don’t know of any studies on how many lives coal has saved in replacing wood, but there are studies on the numbers of premature deaths nuclear power has prevented in replacing coal… about 1.8 million. The number of lives coal has saved by replacing wood would be far greater.

Klein is so closely focused on oppression by big business that she missed the much bigger cause of Indigenous displacement and thus all the subsequent domino progression of problems. She misses that large industries can be regulated and improved and that in many countries that’s exactly what has happened.

Similarly, when she talks about health, she is so focused on laying out her argument that she doesn’t bother to check the facts. Consider:

“Turning all that coal into electricity required another layer of othering too: this time for the urban neighbourhoods next door to the power plants and refineries. In North America, these are overwhelmingly communities of colour, black and Latino, forced to carry the toxic burden of our collective addiction to fossil fuels, with markedly higher rates of respiratory illnesses and cancers.”

Where’s the proof? For females in the US, whites have a higher rate of cancer than blacks, with Latino’s significantly lower again and American and Alaskan native Indians lower still! For men, blacks have the highest cancer rates, with whites a little lower and again Latinos and American and Alaskan native Indians lower again.

There may be pockets around power plants where rates are a little different but where’s the data?

As for respiratory diseases, the biggest most serious of these is COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and yes, rates of COPD are higher for non-whites. But what’s the problem, is it mining?

Here’s what a major 2013 US study says: “Because smoking is the dominant risk factor for COPD and contributed to about 80% of COPD deaths in 2000 to 2004 much of this disease is potentially preventable.”

With regard to cancer, Klein makes the same mistake made over many decades by the anti-nuclear movement. They seized on the fact that radiation can cause cancer and entirely ignored more recent findings that radiation is a much weaker cause of cancer than lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol, red and processed meat, and being fat and inactive.

Climate science is a little different from some sciences in its emphasis on ranking causes. Plenty of science is focused on tiny details but the climate gurus have to look at a vast array of quite different problems and try to rank them.

Klein cites a paper by Hansen on sea level rise; but when she starts discussing climate science she begins with a faux pas.

“Fossil fuels aren’t the sole driver of climate change – there is industrial agriculture, and deforestation – but they are the biggest.”

Industrial agriculture is a very misleading description of a major part of the climate problem. A more accurate description would be simply “methane from sheep and cattle”.

The 1.4 billion cattle on the planet are unprecedented and have driven a considerable component of the deforestation as well as emitting large amounts of methane as they digest their feed. And what about the “industrial” adjective? Cattle in feedlots generate less methane than cattle eating grass. Industrial methods of animal production are horrid for the animals but far less bad for the climate.


Klein assumes that the cause of the dominance of fossil fuels in our energy supply is otherness, oppression and racism. But I’d rank ignorance very high up on the list of reasons. Klein’s shorter essay illustrates her ignorance about cancer and other health issues and this ignorance very clearly misinforms her narrative.

If you want to take part in charting a course to reduce climate destabilisation, then sympathy with the oppressed isn’t enough. Klein’s essay ignores nuclear power and the obvious role of the anti-nuclear movement in the dominance of fossil fuels.

We could have gotten rid of the fossil fuel industry decades ago, back when climate change was first recognised as a serious issue by the world’s climate scientists; the 1990s. But we didn’t.

The fossil fuel industries thrived because they had no competition and were far better than wood. They were safer, cleaner, and yes, even healthier. They thrive today because people like Klein look at nuclear power without bothering to compare its health and safety record with anything else. Not coal, not wood, not anything.

They just say “Oh gosh, this is scary, radiation can damage your genes and nuclear plants are … well … just plain big and built by big companies!”

As it happens food is also energy and it has an environmental impact and it also damages your genes; meaning that some foods and some diets can cause cancer. Foods can shred DNA … quite literally … causing single and double strand breaks; just like radiation; only they are far more potent.

But ignorance about the big causes of cancer meant that fear of the little causes proliferated in a knowledge vacuum, and any nuclear project was hit by demonstrations and legal challenges and a rolling barrage of increasingly bizarre safety requirements.

So the big energy companies said, “Gosh nuclear is hard, let’s just keep on with coal”. And everybody relaxed and got on with building bigger houses and writing bigger books and going on more holidays and generally having a real nice time. Even the coal miners.


Pauline Hanson asks why there is no march for Islamic women

PAULINE Hanson first spoke critically online about Australian women who went to anti-Trump marches. Now she’s asking why there isn’t a Women’s March for Islamic women.

The one nation leader posted this to Twitter today: “I want you to ask yourself- Where is the #WomensMarch to protest the suffering of women in countries under the rule of Islamic Extremists?”

It comes after she took aim at Australian women who took part in global marches against Donald Trump, accusing them of being overweight “clowns”.

The One Nation leader launched the online attack on her Facebook page after protesters took to the streets of several Australian cities, with an estimated 10,000 walking from Sydney’s Hyde Park to Martin Place on Saturday.

“It’s good that they were out and about and doing a bit of walking because it looked like a few of them needed to get a bit of sun and do a bit of exercise,” Hanson posted.

Hanson posted her comments alongside a video of protesters in Brisbane.  More than 400 Queenslanders gathered in stifling heat in Brisbane’s King George Square on Saturday to join the day of global action.

Hanson wrote: “Don’t these clowns have anything else better to do with their time other than to hold sad, anti-democracy protests?

“Why on earth would anyone want to walk around in this heat chanting about One Nation and the new President of the United States of America, Donald Trump?”

The Queensland senator may have been irked by the chants of some of the Brisbane marchers: “Donald Trump, go to hell. Take One Nation there as well.”

Women’s March protests were held in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra on Saturday.

The Australian events were part of a worldwide series of Women’s Marches a day after Trump’s inauguration as US president. More than a million people took part in marches across the US.

In her post Hanson also took issue with the US demonstrators in Washington who she claimed were “vandalising businesses and committing assaults”.


Gladys Berejiklian to become NSW Premier

GLADYS Berejiklian has been elected unopposed to become the leader of the NSW Liberal party and the state’s Premier.

The party’s deputy leader and treasurer was elected at a party room meeting in Sydney on Monday morning following the shock retirement of Mike Baird.

With no competitors for the role, no vote was held to appoint the 45th premier of NSW.

Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet will score her old job, as well as the deputy leadership of the Liberal party. Nationals leader John Barilaro will remain as Deputy Premier.

In her first public comments following the announcement, the new Premier pledged to fix the state’s problems.

“I’m someone who likes to act, I’m someone who likes to fix a problem and get things done,” she said.

Ms Berejiklian is likely to make significant changes to unpopular Baird government decisions.

Addressing media in Sydney, Ms Berejiklian was questioned about being complicit in unpopular decisions enforced under Mr Baird’s leaderships that she would now work to reverse.

The new Premier she said she would be honest with the electorate about her involvement in pushing those policies through. “I take full responsibility and I want to. We have been a great government,” she said.

“We have a lot that we owe to Mike Baird’s leadership. My job now is to continue that and that I want to make sure is that the billions of dollars we have in infrastructure, the strong position that we have is shared equally about NSW.”

Ms Berejiklian said she would “take on issues that I know are causing angst for people and deal with them in an appropriate way”.

The state’s new leader is tipped to begin with reconsidering forced council amalgamations under pressure from coalition partner the Nationals.

In an interview with Sydney radio station 2GB after her election Ms Berejiklian said though she wouldn’t “rule anything in or out today”, she planned to move on the council amalgamation issue as a priority. “I am looking forward to sitting down the Nationals leader and other colleagues on that issue,” she said.

The new Premier also said she was willing to “listen to the community” on this and other issues.

On the greyhound ban reversal, another of Mr Baird’s decisions that led to the outgoing Premier’s extraordinary fall in popularity, Ms Berejiklian said it would go through “as soon as practicable”.

Ms Berejiklian has said she wants to “go harder” with infrastructure, including upgrades to hospitals, schools and sports facilities.

The new Premier is also expected to make a significant cabinet reshuffle with Health Minister Jillian Skinner and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard tipped to be moved out.

Ms Berejiklian said she wanted to give herself “about a week or so” before announcing her new cabinet to ensure she the best decisions in building a strong team.

At her first press conference as Premier, Ms Berejiklian outlined the two influences in her life she said had the greatest impact on her life, and will shape “the type of Premier I will be from today”.

The state’s new leader credited her immigrant family and the public education system. She spoke with admiration about her family and the teachers that taught her strength and the value of hard work.

“I have had the amazing opportunity to have the most outstanding human beings as my parents. I haven’t talked about this much previously but my father was a boy letter maker, a welder and one of the first jobs he did in Sydney was working on the Sydney Opera House, which is a great sense of pride for my family — boiler maker. My mum left school at 15 to support her family and became a nurse,” she said.

“There wasn’t a week that went by when my parents didn’t remind us of how lucky we were to have the opportunities we have here in New South Wales.  “In our household, there was no room for complaining or making excuses, you just got on with the job and did it.”

Ms Berejiklian, who began school in Sydney without speaking or understanding English, praised the state’s public education system and pledged to improve it.

“As my parents were new immigrants, I was born here in Sydney. When I started school I couldn’t speak English. I remember my mother said to me ‘Don’t worry if you don’t really understand what the teacher says, put up your hand and have a go’,” she said.

“Today, I took my mum’s advice but I want to pay tribute to the teachers who, during my life at school in the public education system, saw something in me and encouraged it. That is why you will have in me, the strongest supporter of Gonski. I know what a public education can do for somebody.”

Ms Berejiklian was also asked to comment new US President Donald Trump’s swearing in just days before her swearing-in as Premier.

“I have to confess there is one thing and Mr Trump and I have in common and that is the number 45 and it pretty much stops after that,” she said.


‘Dump CO2 target when America walks away from Paris agreement’

A growing number of government MPs, including some on Malcolm Turnbull’s front bench, say Australia should dump the Renewable Energy Target and its carbon emissions reduction commitments under the Paris climate agreement if Donald Trump walks away from the deal.

Conservative MPs have told The Australian they believe there is no point in remaining committed to the Paris accord without the US locked into action on climate change, a phenomenon the new President has previously labelled a Chinese “hoax”.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott and South Australian senator Cory Bernardi have both publicly argued for the scrapping of renewable energy targets, saying that would allow the government to campaign more forcefully against Labor on energy policy.

One conservative MP said the view was “getting a lot of traction very quickly”, while another said that opinion was already “widespread” within the Coalition partyroom.

The push comes as many MPs express frustration that the government has made little political mileage out of Labor’s policy to lift the renewable target to 50 per cent by 2030, believing it is a hot-button cost-of-living issue that should dominate the political debate in the lead-up to the next election.

The government has committed to reducing its emissions by 26 to 28 per cent of 2005 levels by 2030. “I think when Trump walks away from the Paris agreement that will be the perfect opportunity to follow,” one MP said.

“We would grandfather any ­existing investments that have been made under the current scheme, but for new investment, it has got to be economic, it has got to stand on its own two feet.”

But MPs said Mr Abbott’s opinion piece published in The Weekend Australian this month advocating a shift in policy was “not helpful”, saying it would make it more difficult to convince the Prime Minister of the merits of the political strategy.

Another said that regardless of the RET target, the government would seek to incentivise the building of new coal-fired power stations, in a move aimed at wedging Labor on job creation and cost-of-living pressures linked to the new investment.

“There was a lot of absolute dismay that we didn’t actually campaign on Labor’s 50 per cent renewable energy target, because it would impact household budgets and small business and we wouldn’t have had to run a scare campaign on that, it would have been an actual factual campaign,” one MP said.

“Let’s see what Donald Trump does, but it stands to reason that we should not be trying to lead the world on this and if other countries are not going to be playing their part, whether it is right, wrong or indifferent, if we try to sacrifice our economy and household budgets to make no environmental difference we would be doing not only ourselves a great disservice but also the environment.”

But that view is not shared by cabinet, which believes any change to the renewable target would create more policy uncertainty and discourage ­invest­ment. Several senior conservative MPs said there would be no change in position by the Turnbull government, and warned that doing so could create sovereign risk.

They also argued that it would not get through the Senate, and so there was no point advocating the position which could potentially act like a carbon tax given the impact on power prices without new investment.

Another conservative MP said that the RET should be maintained, but other policy levers used to incentivise the next generation of coal-fired power stations to generate more domest­ic electricity.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan said last week that new “ultra-supercritical” coal-fired power stations could be used in Australia to generate electricity with a 40 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions.

The parameters of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation could also potentially be changed to allow for low emissions coal technology. Following Mr Abbott’s call to abolish future renewable targets, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the government had no plans to change the policy which was settled only 18 months ago, providing investor certainty.


Brisbane school double take: Two Olivia Chens roll up for first day

The Han Chinese are Australia's largest minority and show that being a minority need not make a group a problem.  Sunnybank and Sunnybank Hills are heavily Asian suburbs of Brisbane and are great places to eat

Two gorgeous girls

In a rare coincidence, two girls starting prep at a Brisbane primary school share the same name – and that's just the first similarity between the pair.

The two unrelated Olivia Chens, among 225 other students starting prep at Sunnybank Hills State School on Monday, were also born on the same day and in the same hospital.

A father of one of the girls, Wayne Chen, said the families only discovered the coincidence at the prep orientation day when they went to meet the teacher.

"The teacher said 'Olivia Chen is here already', we thought it was some kind of mistake," he said. "A lady just came up to have a look, and said, 'Actually, there are two Olivia Chens.' "

Kathy Zhang, the mother of the other Olivia, said the school had to check their addresses to confirm it was not a mistake. "They initially thought it was a duplicate, but when they checked it was a different [home] address," she said, adding she now had to include her daughter's middle initial on everything school-related to save extra confusion.

When asked what she was most looking forward to on her first day in class, Ms Zhang's daughter said "drawing".

Mr Chen said he was not so surprised his daughter shared her name with another girl. "Olivia is quite a popular name these days, and Chen is a common family name in the Chinese community," he said.

However, he said the odds of the girls being born at the same hospital on the same day – they both turned five on January 11 – are "like winning the lottery".

The Olivias are just two of thousands of children set to walk through the gates of Queensland's 1239 state schools on Monday, and they will be among 1300 students to go to school at Sunnybank Hills State School.

Ms Zhang said her Olivia was excited to start school with all the big kids. "She feels like she's a big girl now," Ms Zhang said. "She just wants to wear her uniform every day."

Mr Chen said his daughter felt the same.  "Once we bought her uniform she was very excited, she just wants to wear it all day," he said.

Sunnybank Hills State School principal Geoffrey Mill the school was looking forward to welcoming the two girls.  "They'll be obviously really excited about starting prep," he said.

"While they share this rather quirky coincidence, we'll make sure they have their individual identity as well."

Although the two girls share many things in common, Mr Mill said they were not going to be in the same class.  "We want to be able to give them their own sense of feeling – we don't want them having an identity crisis," he said.

"It's important that both children have their own identity, that they feel individual in their own way."


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

23 January, 2017

More on the Melbourne Muslim Terror Attack

The malign influence of Islam again

Bill Muehlenberg

You will note that I used both the “M” word and the “T” word in my title – something that almost all of our authorities, leaders, politicians and police still refuse to do. As I said in my first piece on this horrible attack two days ago, there was plenty of evidence to suggest that Dimitrious Gargasoulas who drove his car into a crowd of people was a Muslim.

Before proceeding, let me point out the latest tragic news about this attack: we now have a fifth victim: a three-month-old baby. There may well be more deaths in the coming days due to this deliberate and atrocious attack on innocent men, women and children in a busy Melbourne shopping area. We need to keep the grieving families and loved ones in our prayers.

Since the initial attack on Friday afternoon there is even more evidence about who this guy is and what he believes. But from day one I and others were already compiling the growing list of indications of Islam at work. Those included:

-the allegation that he shouted “Allahu Akhbar” as he was wildly driving his car

-his burning of a Bible just before the attack

-his own claim on his own FB page where he said: “I am actually greek islamic Kurdish” [Kurds are Muslims]

-his rants on his FB pages about he and God dealing with the “dogs” – dogs of course are considered to be unclean in Islam, and the term is often used of the infidels

-his deliberate targeting of people with a vehicle, a by now quite common and bloody MO of IS

Yet for simply offering this data and asking relevant questions, I and others were attacked mercilessly. We were accused of being Islamophobic, of being fear-mongers, of stirring up trouble, of stereotyping people, etc, etc. And on top of this, the police had insisted almost immediately after the attack that this had nothing to do with terrorism.

In my first article I asked why this so often seems to be the case. All the evidence seems to indicate an act of terror, and an Islamic act of terror at that, yet the authorities insist from the very outset that this just cannot be the case. Why the desire to protect one political ideology, even though it puts so many people at risk?

And since my first report, we are now learning even more about the attacker. As one news report states:

Dimitrious Gargasoulas, 26, ranted about the Illuminati, called unbelievers ‘dogs’, and vowed to ‘have god’s laws re-instated’ in the weeks before the attack that killed four people. ‘I declare war on tyranny today, you dogs will have the option to either believe in me and his positive energy he offers and stay faithful to me or serve the one who enslaves you at his feet,’ he wrote on Facebook on Monday.

‘I offer freedom no work no bills just that we all keep faith and believe in the one god, the one higher being for the good and protect the energy that he gives with your heart. God bless everyone in the world it is about to change xoxo.’

He claimed to be ‘Greek Islamic Kurdish’ and a follower of Yazdanism, the native religion of the Kurds before the arrival of Islam, also know as the ‘cult of Angels’. ‘I know exactly how to take you DOGS down the power of knowing has revealed and I shall have GODS laws re-instated,’ he wrote last Saturday.

But one of the clearest pieces of evidence now comes from a close friend of his. The article continues:

A close friend said Gargasoulas’ rantings were driven by heavy use of the drug ice, and that he had recently converted to Islam. ‘He was a great guy but ice destroyed him. Then he converted to Muslim and changed very quickly. For over a month he’s been on edge,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

There you have it. Unless his close friend is a liar, or the media is just making this claim up out of thin air, we now have the smoking gun: he was a convert to Islam and this helped to push him over the edge. It is not the only factor of course, but as his close friend said, it was a significant factor indeed.

Undoubtedly we will learn even more about this guy in the upcoming days, and learn more about the Islam connection. In the meantime, I wonder if any of my critics will now relent and repent. For two days I have been attacked and hated on by all sorts of people for suggesting that the car terrorist may have been a Muslim.

Now we know that he was indeed a convert to Islam, and he had declared war on the infidels. So will any of my critics be apologising to me? Will they admit that they got things wrong in their zeal to defend Islam at all costs? I won’t be holding my breath on this.

Once again, let me make clear what I have been saying all along. Am I saying that Islam alone is the cause of this latest attack? No I am not. Am I saying his drug problems had nothing to do with this? No I am not. Yes we had known all along about his drug issues.

But it is not as if we should be forced to choose here, and insist that either he was drug-affected or Islam-affected. It is clear that he was greatly impacted by both. The truth is, ice makes everything worse. And the truth is, Islam makes everything worse.

They are both dangerous drugs. Neither should never be given a free run in the West, and both need to be closely examined, monitored and assessed for the harm that they may cause. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all of the terror attacks around the world over the past few decades have been committed by Muslims.

Our leaders, politicians and security forces need to decide whose side they are on here. Is the defence and protection of innocent citizens their top priority, or is a politically correct and dangerous fixation on exonerating Islam at all costs their number one priority?

I think many ordinary Australians and Westerners already know the answer to that question.


Politicians are elected but by no means are they representative

by Jennifer Oriel

Political leaders are in a state of ­advanced denial about the decay of liberal democracy and their contribution to its decline."

Their refusal to adopt realism in analysing the root causes of rising ­nationalism, popular democracy and counter-revolutionary movements is self-serving. It en­ables the political class to sustain denial in the face of overwhelming evidence that their old world order of supranationalism, centralised power and political correctness has done incalculable harm to the free world.

The politicians’ expenses scandal is yet another example of how removed the political class is from the people. Yet political leaders such as Foreign Minister Julie Bishop continue to promote the myths of the politically correct ­establishment, whose faithful will converge this week for the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Last week, an opinion piece by Bishop was published in US News: “Economic Globalisation and Elites under Siege”. She framed her argument in reference to Samuel Huntington’s 2004 essay on the denationalisation of America’s elite. Bishop revised the essay to include politicians in the elite category and surmised that Huntington’s core thesis was “the inevitability of globalisation was increasingly distancing the elites from the majority”. The solution, according to Bishop, is for “political elites” to “challenge those making false promises of returning people to a lost era of greater simplicity, prosperity and certainty”. Instead, the elites should “better explain why globalising forces … cannot be turned back”.

Bishop’s article illustrates some of the intellectual habits of the political establishment: a tendency ­towards historical revisionism that results in social, economic and political solutions that deepen the democratic deficit. Kudos to Bishop for breaking ranks with the PC supranationalists by quoting the supremely politically incorrect Huntington, but let’s be true to his writing. Huntington divided transnationalism into three descriptive categories: universalist, economic and moralist. He contended that economic transnationalism was rooted in moralism. The moralistic approach “decries patriotism and nationalism as evil forces and ­argues that international law, ­institutions, regimes and norms are morally superior to those of ­individual nations”. Huntington’s solution was not to ­entrench “globalising forces” but rather to ­embrace “nationalism devoted to the preservation and enhancement” of American culture rooted in Anglo-Protestant values.

During the Brexit debate, I categorised the moralistic approach as supranationalism. It is an anti-democratic form of gov­ernance that threatens the ­future of free trade. Yet the WEF continues to champion it. In the Global Risks 2017 report, WEF leaders propose that the five major challenges for 2017 are: reviving economic growth, reforming market capitalism, facing up to the ­importance of identity and community, managing technological change, and strengthening global mechanisms. It associates ­Eur­ope’s popular movements for sovereignty and traditional values with polarisation. In yet another misdiagnosed risk assessment, the WEF lists a range of minority categories associated with neo-Marxism and contends that rapid changes in attitudes towards them have led “older and less-educated” voters to feel left behind. The ­results are “cultural schisms” and a lack of political cohesion.

It is difficult to deduce how the WEF maintains global power with so little demonstrable capacity for evidence-based reasoning and its devotion to neo-Marxist ideology. Almost a decade before Huntington described the dead soul of transnationalist moralism, economist Bernard Connolly wrote an extraordinarily prescient book analysing the neo-Marxist origins of the European Union. Connolly served as a senior economist in the European Commission before ­exposing its dogmatic ideology in The Rotten Heart of Europe. Apart from presenting an extensive economic analysis of the EU, Connolly predicted a coming era when a “self-serving trans­national” collective comprising “political, bureau­cratic, business, financial and media elites” might sacrifice sovereignty to satisfy their own interests, or act as Lenin’s useful idiots for “the soc­ially destructive neo-Marxists”. ­Unfortunately, as the 21st century has shown, the two paths to supranational rule are not mutually exclusive.

The self-serving ethic of the political class is a pronounced threat to democracy rarely recognised by supranationalists. The past week of Australian politics is a case in point. Like many Western countries, Australia is buckling under a record high national debt and deficit. In such a context, one would expect the politicians so fond of telling us to live within our means to live within theirs. But far from modelling austerity, politicians from both major parties have been caught out in yet another ­expenses scandal. Labor frontbenchers have lavished taxpayers’ money on business class seats for family members to join them on junkets across the country. The Australian noted that in the six months to June last year, Opposition leader Bill Shorten claimed $51,531 in family travel - more than three times that claimed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. But the Liberals have their own big spenders. Former health minister Sussan Ley lost her post after revelations she spent time looking at rental properties while on business trips in Queensland.

The Prime Minister has resolved to prevent future scandals by establishing a watchdog and making MPs’ expenditure public. There is a cost neutral alternative. Some members of Israel’s conservative Likud party make both their finances and weekly schedules publicly available to promote transparency and accountability.

When Australians are struggling to pay taxes, bearing the cost of green ideology in exorbitant utility bills and trying to pay down debt, the sight of politicians raiding the public purse to fly business class with their families is more than bad optics. It typifies the trashy ostentation of the nouveau riche. The democratic deficit is deepened not by a “less educated” public, as the WEF and PC establishment contend, but by citizens smart enough to see the emperor is naked, obese and unfit to govern. The solution is not to punish the people for their powers of reason but the emperors for their cupidity.

If the WEF wants to maintain free trade, it must relinquish supranational ideology and ­respect democracy. The West will be governed by the consent of the people. The soul of the free world is not for sale.


CFMEU fined for threatening 'Armageddon' at Royal Adelaide Hospital site

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has been fined $57,500 by the Federal Court after threatening "Armageddon" and national industrial action in a dispute at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) site in 2013.

The union's Aaron Cartledge and Michael McDermott were also penalised $3,750 each for threatening to organise industrial action at the construction site which breached a Fair Work Commission order.

The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) said the union officials made threats with the intention to deter the head contractor from enforcing an order requiring employees on the project not to take industrial action.

It said Mr McDermott threatened there would be "Armageddon" if the contractor took steps to enforce the order.

In handing down the penalties, Justice Anthony Besanko said the CFMEU had a significant record of non-compliance with workplace laws.

ABCC commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss said the decision meant more than $1 million in penalties had been imposed by the Federal Court against the union for unlawful conduct across Adelaide in a nine-month period.


Crocodile tears?

A rich reward for a few tears. Hotel ordered to pay $313,000 for ‘serious and shocking’ sex attack.  But was it?  An old man touched her upper thigh and groin and tried to pull down her underpants, so she told him to go away, which he did. Or is it a case of feminism making women weaker not stronger

A NATIONAL hotel chain has been ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to a worker sexually assaulted by a colleague. After a lengthy legal battle, the company will have to fork out part of the $313,000 damages awarded to the young woman, aged 21 at the time of the “serious and shocking” assault.

The victim suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and depression after the December 2010 attack and was unable to return to work until 2015, a tribunal found.

She had been staying at a Brisbane hotel owned by her employer at its suggestion after moving to the city to take up a guest service agent position, sharing an apartment with the hotel’s night caretaker.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal found that the man — almost 70 years old at the time — crept into her room naked at 5am, touched her upper thigh and groin and attempted to take off her underpants.

She asked him to stop and to leave the room and broke down crying, prompting the older man to leave after saying: “I’ll let you get changed”. He then returned and said: “This can be our little secret”, the tribunal heard.

QCAT member Ann Fitzpatrick rejected the hotel chain’s argument that the victim could have chosen not to live in the apartment with the caretaker, finding that the assault took place in the course of both parties’ employment.

“I do not think it is unreasonable for such a person to feel that when her employer is transferring her to Brisbane and taking active steps to arrange her accommodation that she is required to live in that accommodation,” Ms Fitzpatrick said, accepting the victim’s evidence.

“She was assaulted in her bedroom and was awoken from sleep. She was plainly very vulnerable and she underwent a frightening experience,” she said, noting that the victim was “a very young woman” at the time of the attack.

Ms Fitzpatrick accepted medical evidence of the “severe and prolonged” psychological effects of the assault, including nightmares, psychotic illusions of seeing the assailant, agoraphobia, need for help with the activities of daily living, anxiety, fear, panic attacks, poor sleep, depression, loss of confidence and trust, suicidal thoughts, attempted suicide, self-harming and drug and alcohol abuse.

She rejected the hotel’s argument that the woman had pre-existing psychological and substance abuse problems that would warrant an adjustment of any compensation, along with its claim that the incident could not have been that damaging since she had recovered from an earlier, unrelated sexual assault.

Both the hotel and the assailant were jointly ordered to pay $313,000 as compensation for the assault.


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 January, 2017

Have Australians become snowflakes too?

A Victorian reader comments as follows on the recent car rampage in Melbourne described below:

"All those cars stopped at intersection, male drivers watching him wheelying around swerving at and trying to hit pedestrians on the footpath, and no one rammed him to stop him, and even the police in their vehicles stayed back.

This is a city unguarded. I remember when there were always four police officers on duty at this intersection – two directing traffic in synch with the traffic lights and two standing on the Young and Jackson’s corner. There were also two officers at most other city intersections, and pairs of officers walking the city. I remember when there were police weather booths in Swanston St. I remember when you could look around and see a police officer almost anywhere in the city, and they interacted with the public.

Now no police walk the city. Police park marked police vehicles around the city, mostly in Swanston Street near McDonalds and leave them there around the clock, coming in groups to move them occasionally, fancying that their cars left there makes it look like there are police officers around, but everyone knows there are no police around, just locked police cars"

A HEAVILY pregnant mother caught up in the Melbourne CBD car ramming attack that left four people dead and many more injured has told how it was “obvious (the driver) was going to kill”.

Meesha Rhodes Ali, 31, and her brother Ian Rhodes, 33, were travelling together in a car when they stopped at the front of Flinders and Swanson St intersection traffic lights. Within seconds they were stuck in an unwanted front seat to the horrifying events that unfolded outside Melbourne’s Flinders Street station yesterday.

Four people, including a 10 year old child — were killed and 15 injured when accused Dimitrious “Jimmy” Gargasoulas deliberately ploughed the allegedly stolen car he was driving into crowds in the CBD.

Ms Rhodes Ali said the maroon car suddenly screeched towards her, nearly wiping out pedestrians on “every corner of the road”, before the driver moved into the centre of the intersection and started doing “burnouts”.

“Every time he moved he was endangering bystanders and swiped them on every path he drove on,” Ms Rhodes Ali said.

“He turned right into me. So I screeched my brakes and he missed my car right in front of me.

“Then I quickly reversed as he did doughnuts. The burnout was so sudden. I kept inching back.”

Many pedestrians were struck by a car that was deliberately driven into Melbourne crowds. Picture: Tony Gough

Many pedestrians were struck by a car that was deliberately driven into Melbourne crowds. Picture: Tony GoughSource:News Corp Australia

Ms Rhodes Ali said Gargasoulas suddenly “stopped right in front of us”.

“A few pedestrians at that point had already tried to stop him,” she said.  “One man had a bat. (Gargasoulas) was provoking the guy with a cricket bat. He was like ‘come on come on’, gesturing him to come. “I thought to get my camera out but worried he would see me and smash my car.”

Ms Rhodes Ali recorded the ordeal on her camera and later uploaded the footage to social media. The driver can be seen hanging out the window of the car, yelling and gesturing wildly as the car continues moving.  “We heard him say ‘f*** the world, you’re all sheep, die die die’,” she said.

She said the driver appeared to be “on a mission to just cause damage”.

Ms Rhodes Ali said she was devastated when she later learned the driver had ploughed into more crowds and killed four people including a man and woman in their 30s and a 10-year-old child. The Australian Jewish News is reporting that the 10-year-old victim was a student from Beth Rivkah College in St Kilda East.

Gargasoulas, who was shot in the arm by officers after a 12-hour rampage, is being treated in hospital.

He will be charged with multiple homicides after four people were confirmed dead and 15 injured, with several of them still in a critical condition. Among the victims fighting for their lives is a three-month-old baby girl who was taken to the Royal Childrens Hospital by police officers. She is in a critical condition.  There is also a toddler in serious condition at the hospital and a nine-year-old is in a stable condition.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said the incident was not terror-related but was linked to a stabbing that took place in Windsor early Friday morning involving parties known to one another.


Alcoa's Portland smelter: Is the facility viable and what does the government bail-out mean?

Is Daniel Andrews Victoria's Donald Trump?  Trump influence does suggest itself

It has been a nervous wait for workers at Alcoa's aluminium smelter in Portland ahead of an announcement the federal and Victorian governments would help secure the facility's future with $240 million over the next four years.

But how did the plant get into trouble and will this bailout help? Why was the smelter at risk?

That smelter's future has been under a cloud since a decades-old deal with the Victorian Government to subsidise Alcoa's power bills ended in October last year.

The deal was enacted in the late 1980s by then-Labor premier John Cain and was designed to provide electricity to both the Portland and now-defunct Point Henry smelters at a price linked to the world price of aluminium.

Victoria's Treasurer Tim Pallas said the subsidy had "run its course" and was costing the state more than $100 million a year on some occasions.

The plant suffered another blow last year after a power outage caused one of its two pot lines to solidify forcing the smelter to operate at about a third of its capacity.

The outage came at a time the facility was also negotiating for a new power supply deal.

AGL Loy Yang had been recruited to supply power to the smelter from November, after the subsidy ended, but Alcoa terminated its contract with the company in August to renegotiate a better price.

Amid the mounting uncertainty, Alcoa asked two-thirds of its Portland workforce to take annual leave to help reduce costs.

In December, federal and Victorian industry ministers travelled to Alcoa's global headquarters in New York in a bid to try to keep the Portland smelter open and save jobs.
Is the smelter viable?

The future of the 30-year-old aluminium smelter has been secured over the next four years with the rescue package.

AGL has also announced it has finalised a new four-year deal to supply electricity to the smelter.

The smelter has relied on brown coal-fired power to run, which is more carbon intensive [but cheaper] than normal coal. It also chews through about one tenth of Victoria's electricity.

But energy expert from the University of Melbourne, Dylan McConnell, said the government assistance was right in the short-term. "We have this relatively young aluminium smelter, we've got this highly skilled workforce and all the infrastructure that sits around that," he told the ABC's AM program. "It would be a shame if we lose that in the short term, that would not be a good thing for the Victorian economy."

He said any deal the Government struck should see the smelter transition away from coal-fired power.

"I would like to see it remain, but perhaps with some sort of provisions that help facilitate this transition to a renewable energy supply."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the smelter must secure an affordable energy supply.

"Which ever way you slice or dice it, you have to be able to keep the lights on. You have to be able to keep your pots operating here," he said.  "You have to be able to afford it. Because if energy is not affordable, then you lose job after job."

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the smelter was one of the most efficient and safest in the world and said workers were "worth every cent" of the rescue package.

The bailout also comes amid a global decline of the aluminium industry.  In the United States, eight smelters have either closed or curtailed since 2015, with only two smelters fully operational today — the lowest level of production since World War II.

Environment Victoria's Nicholas Aberle said the industry was relying on renewables in other parts of the world.

"We do know that south-west Victoria is one of the windiest parts of the country, western Victoria could become the wind energy capital of Australia with the right levers in place," he said.
How much will it cost?

The ABC understands the rescue package will cost the Victorian Government about $210 million over four years.  The Federal Government has also announced it would give the smelter a $30-million grant over the same time period.

Mr Pallas said the package was about half the cost of the subsidy previously supplied.  He told ABC Radio Melbourne the use of public funds was justified because it would return up to eight times the outlay.

"It's about 1,600 jobs, both direct and indirect in a town of about 10,700 and the economic value to the state is about $386 million a year," he said.

The smelter is the region's largest employer and provides more than 2,000 indirect jobs.

Ben Davis, from the Australian Workers Union, said Portland was so reliant on Alcoa "that it almost defies description".

Workers said today after much uncertainty they were relieved the plant would remain open.

Jamie Ferguson, who works at the smelter, said he was overjoyed with the rescue package with five children and a wife to support.

Robert Vaugn has worked at the smelter for 23 years and said he was confident the new deal would secure the facility's long-term future.  "I don't think they would have started this place again if they weren't confident that they could run it at a profit," he said.  "So I think it's got a long future. We make good grade metal here, which is better than a lot of other smelters."


Victorian government encouraging workers not to use ‘wife’, ‘husband’

This is from last year but I think it remains notable

THE Victorian Government has come under fire for encouraging workers to not use the words “wife” or “husband” to avoid offending LGBTI colleagues.

The recommendation was released in the Inclusive Language Guide earlier this year which says workers should avoid “heteronormative’’ terms and instead use works like ‘’partner” to refer to loved ones.

Minister for Equality Martin Foley has defended the document saying there was no ban, the guide suggests “you should try and avoid the use of husband and wife.’’

The recommendations have been labelled as over the top by Opposition spokesman Tim Smith.

“People should be respectful to everyone regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, sexuality and appearance, but once again Daniel Andrews is dividing people with his over the top ideological nonsense,” Mr Smith said.

“Victorians are being swamped by a violent crime wave and skyrocketing electricity bills but Daniel Andrews is focused on people using heteronormative terms such as ‘husband’ and ‘wife’.

“This isn’t just creating unnecessary division it’s also a frightening waste of taxpayers’ money when respect and common sense is what’s needed.”

Mr Foley said language guidelines were standard practice.

“This is not a new document — and follows a long standing practice of government departments having guides on language,’’ he said.

“The facts are that LGBTI people have higher levels of anxiety, depression and suicide — they achieve lower educational outcomes — and words matter.

“It makes the point that we shouldn’t assume that a person is married. Not everyone is heterosexual — and at the end of the day we should also remember that marriage rates in Australia are also declining.”

The document recommended using gender neutral terms that exist including ‘zie’ and ‘hir’.

“If unsure, you can ask someone directly what their preferred pronoun is in a respectful manner,’’ it says.

“Where possible, check privately to reduce discomfort. If you do make a mistake, apologise promptly and move on, it will likely make the person feel more uncomfortable if you dwell on the mistake. Try to avoid making the same mistake again.”

The document also tells workers to not ask questions about genitalia or breasts or ask a transgender person if they have had surgery.

A message accompanying the guidelines by Mr Foley said the: “Victorian Government is committed to equality for all Victorians’’.

“It is the responsibility of the Victorian Government to keep people safe.’’

“This includes Victoria’s LGBTI communities. The e is one of the ways in which we are addressing and eradicating homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.”


Greens pressured over Australia Day protests

Outspoken Coalition MP George Christensen has called for Greens leader Richard Di Natale to expel party members who are planning a seven day campaign of flag burning and barbecue disruption in protest against Australia Day.

Senator Di Natale has refused to condemn radical NSW Greens faction Left Renewal, which has called upon supported to steal and burn the “Aus rag” (Australian flag), disrupt barbecues, erect protest banners and spray paint walls and roads in a week-long show of “resistance” against Australia Day.

The group includes party members­, candidates and polit­ical staffers. Senator Di Natale yesterday declined to comment. The Australian has contacted his office again today.

Mr Christensen said members of the Greens who wanted to disrupt Australia Day should be expelled from the party.

“The far left faction of the NSW Greens are actively promoting disruption of our national day of celebration and I call on Greens leader Richard di Natalie to show some spine and expel party members who are encouraging theft and acts of desecration of our national flag,” he said.

Mr Christensen put up a bill last year to criminalise burning of the Australian flag.  “That bill will need to be reintroduced as we now have a new parliament,” he said.

“The need for such a bill is being demonstrated yet again as the vast majority of Australians get ready to enjoy a day of celebrating this great country of ours, and we have this pack of ratbags wanting to grandstand and denigrate what we stand for.”

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge, whose staffer Tom Raue is a Left Renewal supporter, told the Daily Telegraph the broader party did not support Australia Day anarchy.

However, he said that January 26 was an “extreme­ly controversial day to celebrate Australian nationhoo­d” because “for our first peoples” it ­“commemorates the invasion of their land and two and a quarter centuries of violenc­e, oppression and dispossession”.

Resigning NSW Premier, Mike Baird, condemned Left Renewal’s actions.

“Australia Day is a day for all Australians,’’ he said. “Anybody setting out to disrup­t those celebrations, or promote disrespect for our flag, will be unsuccessful.”

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese, whose inner Sydney seat of Grayndler is being targeted by the Greens, said the radical group was “out of touch”.

Fellow Labor MP Nick Champion said Australia Day should be about the Australian values of liberty, justice, mateship and democracy and condemned both the Left Renewal group and far right groups who had lobbied to have a billboard depicting two Muslim girls celebrating Australia Day taken down.

“Both of these groups are really sort of missing out on that basic tenet of Australian life of mateship, giving people a fair go and treating people as you would want to be treated yourself,” Mr Champion said.

He suggested both groups should “take a chill pill”.  “Don’t try and take your extreme politics into a day that should be about national unity,” 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

20 January, 2017

Another "hottest year"

Once again we have an example of how to lie with statistics. It appears to be true that ON AVERAGE, 2016 was unusually warm.  But my favourite graph below shows that the warm months were all at the beginning of the year during the El Nino weather phenomenon.  By the end of the year and the end of El Nino, temperatures had slumped, with December 2016 COOLER than December 2015 -- with an anomaly of 81 compared to 111 -- According to the NASA raw data here

And how sad for Australia's BOM, that they could only report that the year was only 4th hottest for Australia,  Australia is a rather large lump of real-estate so the warming we are looking at is not exactly global is it?

Two amusing things to note below: 

1). The high temperatures reported are nowhere in the article attributed to "climate change". The BOM know that what was at work was El Nino and not CO2 and have become too embarrassed to lie outright about it. 

2).  The BOM carefully define the record they are dealing with as:  "the 137-year history of modern accurate and standardised meteorological observation".  The point of that, of course is to avoid confronting the careful and validated 1790 observations of Watkin Tench, which show that Sydney has had near-unbearable hot temperatures long before the modern era

It's official: 2016 set another record for being the world's hottest. Three international agencies have confirmed today that last year was the hottest on record.

NASA reported that 2016 was 0.99 degrees Celsius hotter than the 20th-century average, while the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) called it at 0.94 degrees Celsius. NOAA also calculated that global land temperatures were 1.43 degrees Celsius higher. The UK Met Office, using its own data, also reported that 2016 is one of the two hottest years on record.

The figures vary slightly, depending on the baseline reference period used.

Heat records don't linger for long any more. 2016 surpassed the 2015 record, which surpassed the 2014 record. Three record hot years in a row sets yet another record in the 137-year history of modern accurate and standardised meteorological observation.

For Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology described 2016 as a "year of extreme events" and the fourth hottest at 0.87 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 average. The warming trend is clear.
BOM's key 2016 climate facts and events

Australia is already on average 8 degrees Celsius hotter than the average global land temperature, so further warming means our heat risk is far greater than for other industrialised countries.

This dangerous warming trend sends a dire warning, as average warming delivers many more extreme heat events, as we're currently seeing in Queensland and New South Wales. These are the killers.

As Australia lurches from heatwave to heatwave, the message is clear: extreme heat is the new norm – so Australia needs to get "heat smart".

Rising extremes

In Australia the number of days per year over 35 degrees Celsius has increased and extreme temperatures have increased on average at 7 per cent per decade.

Very warm monthly maximum temperatures used to occur around 2 per cent of the time during the period 1951–1980. During 2001–2015, these happened more than 11 per cent of the time.

This trajectory of increased temperature extremes raises questions of how much heat can humans tolerate and still go about their daily business of commuting, managing domestic chores, working and keeping fit.


Helen Szoke shows her colours

From Wikipedia:  "In 2004 Szoke joined the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, holding roles as Chief Conciliator and Chief Executive, before being appointed in 2009 as Commissioner and Chairperson of the Board. Following a change of state government, these roles were separated, and Szoke continued as Commissioner". 

Her determinations always seemed perverse, although carefully put.  We see from the excerpts below from an article by her just why.  She is a totally one-eyed far-Leftist, not an impartial public servant.  You will, for instance, not see her telling anybody that Life is getting much, much better for the world's poor, however you want to measure it – whether it's in terms of average incomes, life expectancy, child mortality, disease, poverty, or women's rights

As the world’s political and business leaders come together in Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum, Oxfam has released a new report revealing the shocking scale of the global inequality crisis.

The globe’s richest eight men have a staggering net wealth of $621bn – coexisting in a world of extreme poverty where one in 10 people are surviving on less than US$2 a day, and where one in nine people go to bed hungry every night.

While public attention will inevitably turn to the identity of the super-rich individuals, this is a distraction from the true crisis at hand: the current economic system is broken. It is one that serves the interests of multinational corporations and the super-rich, leaving the rest of us behind. The new statistics show that the global inequality crisis is more extreme than we had feared.

While there have been inroads in eradicating poverty, the stark truth is that the rich are becoming richer and dwarf the gains made by everyone else, leaving the poorest unable to lift themselves into better lives.

Oanh in Vietnam is just one of the billions of individual human faces of this great divide. She needs kidney dialysis three times a week. While Oanh’s dialysis is covered by insurance, the need for her to pay for medicine leaves her US$100 short every month.

Oxfam’s analysis shows that in Australia today, the richest 1% of the population own more wealth than the poorest 70% of our citizens combined.

Turning to the absolute extreme, the two wealthiest billionaires in Australia – between them worth US$16.1bn – have the same amount of wealth as the bottom 20% of the country. That is, they have more wealth than 4.8 million of the poorest people in this country. Meanwhile, the people in the bottom half of the Australian population have just over 6% of national wealth between them.

But there are ways to bridge the divide and fix the broken system that is breeding discontent, destabilising political institutions, fracturing societies and risking further economic instability.

The inequality crisis is being fuelled around the world by immoral and unethical practices of big business – the use of tax havens to avoid paying a fair share of tax, which could be used for essential public services; the failure to pay workers a living wage and the expenditure of billions to lobby governments for rules in favour of the super-rich.


Consider deporting child criminals: Dutton

The age criminal migrants can be deported could be lowered to 16, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says.

A federal migration committee is looking at the issue of youth crime gangs, including the potential for children to be deported if they commit crimes in Australia.

"Whether for example the bar can be lowered from 18, to 17 to 16, or whatever the case may be," Mr Dutton told 3AW on Thursday. "But we don't deport children (under the current laws)."

Four adult migrants have had their visas cancelled after they were convicted of crimes in Victoria, and Mr Dutton said more were being investigated.

"Biting the hand the feeds them is not the way we want to run the migration program," he said. "If they cherish the life they lead in Australia, they need to start respecting Australians, they need to abide by the law and respect Australian values."

Mr Dutton also says questions should be asked of anyone who has resided in Australia for a number of years, is able-bodied and of working age, but "hasn't worked a day since they've been here".

Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville says the visa cancellations send a strong message to others breaking the law, from all backgrounds.

"We have always said that there are laws in place to deport criminals who are not Australian citizens," she said in a statement.

"We are dealing with some very serious violent offenders in our community, and using these laws to deport them is entirely appropriate."

A Victoria Police statement says a number of offenders have been referred for deportation.

"The referral of children under 18 years of age will only occur in exceptional circumstances, however Victoria Police has made some referrals in respect to that age group for consideration," the statement said.


Malcolm Turnbull did NOT get an invite to Donald Trump's inauguration - but One Nation's leader Pauline Hanson did

Donald Trump has left Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull off his guest list for his presidential inauguration but has invited Pauline Hanson.

Almost a year ago, Mr Turnbull spoke by phone with Democrat Hillary Clinton and the U.S. president-elect's Republican rival Marco Rubio during a visit to Washington, without reaching out to Mr Trump.

It appears Mr Trump has returned the favour by instead giving an invitation to One Nation leader Pauline Hanson for his January 20 swearing-in.

The Queensland senator will be represented by her New South Wales colleague Brian Burston, as Mr Trump takes to oath of office to become the 45th President of the United States.

'Because of work commitments I'll not be attending Donald Trump's inauguration,' Senator Hanson tweeted on Monday.  'My duties to the people of Queensland and Australia come first.'

Senator Hanson celebrated Mr Trump's election victory in November by drinking champagne outside Parliament House with fellow Queensland senator Malcolm Roberts and American Trump supporters.

Like Mr Trump, Senator Hanson has also called for a ban on Muslim migration.

Mr Turnbull, who criticised Mr Trump's 2005 comments about grabbing women 'by the p****', has confirmed Australia's Ambassador to the United States, Joe Hockey, will instead attend the inauguration.

'The PM is not invited nor is going,' a spokesman confirmed to Daily Mail Australia on Monday.


Some examples of fake news at the ABC

* The Australian, December 23 last year:

Resources Minister Matt Canavan has accused the ABC of running “fake news” as part of a campaign against the Adani coalmine, in a blistering attack on the national broadcaster for abandoning regional Australia. Following reports on the ABC that Adani companies use tax havens and are under investigation in India over fraud allegations, Senator Canavan said the reports lacked “credibility” and suggested activists were directing the broadcaster’s coverage.

* One way to avoid fake news is to be wary of your partner organisations. The Australian, January 12, 2015:

The ABC has defended using Qatari-based news service Al Jazeera for its coverage of the Paris terror attacks, after leaked emails revealed the network had denounced the satirical magazine at the centre of the violence. Labor MP Michael Danby said yesterday the “scandalous” emails should prompt the ABC to reconsider its use of the news service.

* And ensure your presenters play a straight bat. The Australian, November 14 last year:

At least a dozen of the ABC’s high-profile radio and television presenters, including Insiders host Barrie Cassidy, PM host Mark Colvin and journalist Annabel Crabb, expressed their disdain for the “nightmare” of a Trump presidency and asked if there was an “off switch” for his campaign.

* Of course, it always pays to check your facts. The Australian, February 1, 2014:

The Australian can reveal after two days of witness interviews that allegations aired by the ABC that the Australian navy tortured and deliberately burned the hands of asylum-seekers cannot be corroborated.

* Yep, fake news sure can be a problem sometimes. The Australian, October 19 last year:

The ABC has endured excoriating criticism of its flagship current ­affairs program, Four Corners, after Monday’s episode about refugee children on Nauru was found to include old photographs of facilities no longer in use, and random footage of brawling adults, previously published on YouTube by a user known only as “NoRulz”.

* Ex-ABC Media Watch presenter Jonathan Holmes, The Sydney Morning Herald, April 5 last year:

But much of the ABC’s factual output is not, strictly speaking, “journalism” … It’s also undeniable, as the likes of (Andrew) Bolt and (Gerard) Henderson have complained for years, that the ABC’s capital city radio presenters come across, overwhelmingly, as leaning more to the left than the right … The leftiness of ABC radio output is doubly problematic when it comes to Radio National.

* Finally, is the end point of Trumpism … the crown? The Sydney Morning Herald letters page co-editor Julie Lewis with a novel defence of constitutional monarchy, yesterday:

What is needed is an explicit and authentic agenda to restore the faith of the people in their parliament, preferably bipartisan, but if not, the party leader that pledged him or herself to it would reap the electoral benefits. And in the meantime, let’s keep the Windsors. They might make for dull television and a political system yet to reach its full promise, but I’ll take that over Trumpist excitement any day.


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 January, 2017

We’ve become a nation of uni dropouts

This may be a good thing.  It may mean that more students are waking up to the uselessness of their dumbed down and politicized education

MORE Australians are making the wrong decisions about their future when it comes to education.

University student completion data, released by the federal government, has revealed the university dropout rate is worsening with around one in three students failing to complete their studies within six years of enrolment.

The worrying figures have prompted the government to encourage thousands of prospective students to think long and hard about enrolling when they receive their course offers this week, and have also raised the question, who’s to blame?

Putting responsibility on universities, the data has also prompted the government to reveal for the first time the worst offending institutions.

The universities with the worst dropout rates have been exposed, with some well below the already concerning average.

The Northern Territory’s Charles Darwin University boasted the most shameful completion rate with only 41.8 per cent of students who enrolled in 2009 wrapping up their studies by 2014.

The bottom five universities, including Western Australia’s Murdoch University, The University of New England in NSW and two regional universities in Queensland — the University of Southern Queensland and Central Queensland University — all saw less than half of the cohort graduate.

The top performers saw up to 88 per cent of students complete their studies within the measured period, but high completion rates were found to be rare. Only seven out of Australia’s 43 universities boasted completion rates above 75 per cent.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham suggested a lack of transparency from universities was to blame, and said it was time our institutions were straight with prospective students.

“We’ve heard too many stories about students who have changed courses, dropped out because they made the wrong choices about what to study, student who didn’t realise there were other entry path ways or who started a course with next to no idea of what they were signing themselves up for,” he said.

“Students should be looking for feedback on the reputation of the university they want to attend, how well-known they are for particular courses, how satisfied current students are with the resources and teachers on offer and the employment outcomes of graduates from those universities and courses.”

Mr Birmingham said the government was committed to lowering dropout rates, and announced he had asked the Higher Education Standards panel to review attrition and completion rates and “consider what further reforms are required to help improve student success”.

“While there will always be a number of students who don’t complete university for a variety of reasons, our ambition to protect both students and taxpayers from a waste of time and money is to keep this number as low as practical,” he said.

The government is pressuring universities to present information that is easily understood to prospective students to help kids the best choices for them, rather than simply boost enrolment numbers.

Better defined ATAR thresholds and clearer data on student experiences, outcomes and employment prospects are also on the way.

But universities may not be solely to blame.

Commentators regularly cite a culture in high schools and among parents pressuring school leavers into enrolling in university courses, as well as a disconnection between what kids are learning at university and other institutions and the “real world”.

Speaking with, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s education and employment director said the key to boosting completion rates was a better informed market, and greater focus on jobs.

“There needs to be more effort by the government to promote that information about where the jobs are likely to be,” she said.

“When people start their university degree they may have an over-inflated expectation that everyone out of university gets a job.”

Employment outcomes for university graduates are falling, and while it’s too early to tell whether that’s a fixed change or if it’s just the labour market adjusting to the numbers of university graduates coming through, Ms Lambert said, it’s something students and prospective students need to be aware of.

“Students should be looking at certain courses, certain universities that might be above and below the average for employment outcomes, and all that data is available through student surveys, it’s just about better informing the market.”

Ms Lambert said it was also important that parents and schools were better informed as well as wannabe university students. She said there was also reasons outside of the institutions’ control that people failed to complete their degrees.

In a previous interview with, Universities Australia Deputy Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the biggest factors for students who consider leaving university are often related to issues beyond university.

“Research suggests attrition rates are higher for mature age and part-time students — and if you think about it, they’re the ones who may often be juggling university study with jobs, children and caring for elderly parents,” she said.

“Students battling disadvantage — including those who are first in their family to attend university — area also more likely to have thoughts about leaving.”

The Education Department’s report found students older than 25 were three times more likely to drop out in their first year of study than school-leavers under 19.

Completion rates were also affected by students’ admission scores as well as their locations — if they were from remote locations or low socio-economic areas, and whether they were indigenous.

Increasingly popular online courses were also found to be a contributor to the growing dropout rate with one in five students who studied externally dropping out in their first year, compared to fewer than one in 10 who were based on campus.


Absurd Leftist wailing

Wailing is what they do

Former Labor Treasurer Wayne Swan found the publication of the 2016 OECD Better Life Index late last year to be a great disappointment, saying that it 'shows why we must fight harder to defeat Liberal/One Nation trickle-down agenda' and to focus more on '#inclusivegrowth'. The focus of his ire? Australia placed second -- a rise of two places over last year, but a fall from first in 2013.

I think I might be missing something here. If Australia had rated poorly, or fallen significantly from last year, you may be able to argue that our approach is wrong and fundamental change is needed. However typically when we compare well to other countries it means our policy settings are right!

This is just one example of a troubling trend in politics and public debate -- confirmation bias. All facts are filtered through an ideological lens until they provide evidence for your preferred position, no matter what those facts are.

Australia has plenty of policy problems, but to say the evidence for these problems is our high rating on a quality of living index seems a perverse argument.

I guess this shouldn't surprise. Last year, we were told that the extraordinary growth in Ireland's GDP is an argument against their low corporate tax rate.

The common factor here is that you can't win. Good news is bad news, and bad news is bad news. All evidence, whether good, bad or mediocre is an argument against a disliked policy.

Maybe we would be better off with an index of politicians' consistency, where we pay more attention to coherent and consistent pronouncements. One index where an improvement truly would be an improvement.


Julie Bishop distances Australia from global statement on Israel-Palestine peace

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has distanced the Turnbull government from a communique agreed by ministers and diplomats of 70 nations, including Australia, concerning the pathways to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The concluding statement called on both sides to "take urgent steps in order to reverse the current negative trends on the ground", including acts of violence and the construction of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.

The communique specifically welcomed resolution 2334, passed by the UN Security Council last month, which declared the settlements violated international law and called on Israel to immediately cease all settlement activity.

Following the conference, Ms Bishop distanced the Australian government from the contents of the concluding statement, insisting the government did not necessarily agree with everything its diplomats had agreed to in Paris.

"Australia was represented at the conference by diplomatic officials from the Australian embassy in Paris," Ms Bishop told Fairfax Media.

"While the Australian government was represented at the Paris conference this does not mean we agree with every element of the final statement."

Without specifically mentioning the conference's endorsement of resolution 2334, Ms Bishop noted the Coalition did not support "one-sided resolutions targeting Israel".

"The most important priority must be a resumption of direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians for a two-state solution as soon as possible," she said.

Australia became one of the few countries other than Israel to condemn the New Zealand-sponsored resolution 2334, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull labelling it "one-sided" and "deeply unsettling".

Crucially, the resolution was allowed to pass because the US - Israel's foremost ally on the security council - did not use its veto power and instead chose to abstain.

Sunday's meeting in Paris did not involve Israel or the Palestinians and was dismissed in advance by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "futile" and "rigged".

Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the communique and said the endorsement of resolution 2334 was among a number of "positive elements" in the text, Israeli media reported.

But Britain, attending the conference as an observer, also expressed reservations about the final agreement, arguing it was a time to "encourage conditions for peace" rather than entrench hardened positions.

"We have particular reservations about an international conference intended to advance peace between the parties that does not involve them," the British Foreign Office said in a statement.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault used the summit to warn Mr Trump against his proposal to relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, calling it a provocative and unilateral move.

Ms Bishop would not comment on Mr Trump's pronouncement but reiterated the Australian government had no plans to move its own embassy in Israel, despite the call from former prime minister Tony Abbott.


The hypocrisy goes on:  Green party big spenders on air travel

Greens leader Richard Di Natale and the party’s community ­services spokeswoman Rachel Siewert are among the top 10 spenders on taxpayer-funded flights despite loudly condemning excesses by Coalition and Labor politicians.

Senator Siewert claimed more expenses for domestic flights in the first half of 2016 than her fellow West Australians, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

Her travel spending was the fifth highest, while Senator Di Natale’s was 10th of the 226 members of both houses of parliament. Senator Siewert claimed $63,934 in travel expenses in six months while Senator Di Natale racked up $56,526.

The Greens leader has sought the moral high ground on expenses claims following the controversy over Health Minister Sussan Ley’s Gold Coast travel claims, and has called for a new national anti-corruption watchdog to identify and punish politicians rorting the system. Ms Ley, who was forced to stand aside from her portfolio on Monday pending an inquiry into her travel claims, could discover her fate as soon as today, with Malcolm Turnbull keen to bring the travel expenses debate to an end.

Senator Di Natale criss-crossed the country in the lead-up to the July 2 election while the long flight across the Nullabor means West Australian politicians generally have higher expense claims. However, Senator Siewert’s claims exceed those of many of her state counterparts, notably Ms Bishop ($51,212), Senator Cormann ($50,683), fellow Green Scott Ludlam ($46,692), and Assistant Health Minister Ken Wyatt ($46,353).

Her spending was only topped by three West Australians — Justice Minister Michael Keenan ($83,808), Social Services Minister Christian Porter ($77,469), Employment Minister Michaelia Cash ($73,550) — and Labor leader Bill Shorten ($71,182).

Senator Di Natale described the government’s commitment on Tuesday to implement long-promised changes to the parliamentary expense system within the next six months as “anaemic”. “What parliamentarians should recognise is that if they’re going to claim a workplace expense, then they should be working. It’s a pretty basic test,” he told the ABC.

Senator Di Natale told The Australian his flights and those of all the Greens were all work expenses. “They reflect the fact that we have some of the hardest-working senators in the whole parliament,” he said.

“We recognise that it is absolutely critical that expenses are only claimed when members of parliament are doing their jobs, which is why we support much stronger reform measures than those put forward by the government this week.”

A spokeswoman for Senator Siewert, who is overseas, said that as a member for Western Australia, she was required to travel on parliamentary business along the most expensive routes in the country.

“Her work as the Greens’ spokesman for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues often requires her to travel to the country’s most remote and isolated communities,” the senator’s spokeswoman said. Senator Siewert is also chairwoman of the community affairs reference committee and a member of other committees that require travel to attend hearings around Australia.


Blue Mountains Anzac Day marches given council lifeline after security costs dispute

Four cancelled Anzac Day marches in NSW's Blue Mountains region may go ahead after the local council said it would help cover the costs of new anti-terrorism requirements.

The RSL sub-branches in Katoomba, Blackheath, Springwood and Glenbrook said on Wednesday they had cancelled their annual marches after being advised they would need to spend thousands of dollars on security protections.

Katoomba RSL director David White said the sub-branches could not afford to pay for the measures, including the installation of barriers to prevent trucks being used in attacks like those in Nice and Berlin last year.

The cancellations led to a stoush between the Blue Mountains City Council and the State Government, each of which said the other should cover the costs.

On Wednesday night, Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill said the council would provide funding and offer the use of its trucks as barriers to ensure the marches went ahead.

He said it was unclear how much the council would have to pay, but the Katoomba RSL sub-branch said it had been advised compliance costs could be more than $10,000.

"We're hoping that we don't have to contribute the whole cost and we're hoping that perhaps the provision of our trucks will offset some of that, but this [funding] will come from council services, there's no doubt, and ratepayers can thank the State Government for that," Cr Greenhill said.

Earlier, a spokeswoman for Police Minister Troy Grant said the State Government had offered to halve the costs with the council, but Cr Greenhill said he had not received that offer.

"If we provide financial support and they provide financial support, then all the better," Cr Greenhill said.

The Government had accused the council of trying to dodge its responsibility to cover the costs.

In a letter to the Katoomba RSL sub-branch provided to the ABC, Roads Minister Duncan Gay wrote: "Councils across the state have always been the 'first point of contact' to help assist and fund the NSW Returned & Services League and its sub-branches in hosting Anzac Day marches."

"[The] Blue Mountains City Council constantly cries poor in the lead up to Anzac Day (indeed, I'm not aware of any other council which behaves in such a manner)," Mr Gay wrote.

Cr Greenhill said the Blue Mountains events were subject to stricter requirements than events elsewhere in the state, and it was not clear why.

The North West Metropolitan Region's police commander, Assistant Commissioner Denis Clifford, said he was "extremely disappointed" the marches were in jeopardy.

"I understand the concerns about the environment we currently live in, but I would like to assure all the veterans, their relatives and concerned members of the public that we are not aware of any specific threat to Anzac Day marches," he said.

Assistant Commissioner Clifford said he had called for a meeting with all involved parties next week to ensure the situation was resolved.
US volunteer Kari Wesighan and Riaan van der Merwe, a snake handler at the Rhino Orphanage, with the python.
Women save pet dog from four metre python


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 January, 2017

March on Trump-haters, but remember girls mutilated at home

CAROLINE OVERINGTON below has some restrained comments about the butchered genitals of *Australian* Muslim girls.  I would add:  "What about Clemmie?" Alleged feminist Clementine Ford wrote recently and angrily about the rude way some young Australian men at a car rally spoke to some of the women present. 

Where is her sense of values?  There is no record of any women being hurt by men at the Summernats but there is ample record of what some Australian Muslim families do to their daughters.  If rude car-freaks burn up Clemmie, female genital mutilation should set her on fire.  But there is no record of that.  No rage at all.

It is quite clear that Clemmie, like most so-called feminists,    doesn't care about women at all.  All that drives her is her hate of her fellow Australians -- in the best Leftist tradition.  She is a towering hypocrite and a nasty piece of goods.   She should be proud that even while in a drunken mob, young Australian men did women no harm. Her misdirected anger defiles Australian society.  Does someone have to perform a clitoridectomy on her to get her attention to it?  I think it would take that much.

Now, I’m a feminist, obviously. I believe in equal rights for women: to work, to vote, to drive, to travel. But the Women’s Marches around the nation this weekend has me worried.

The Women’s Marches have been organised so Australian women can “show solidarity” with American women as Donald Trump becomes president.

The organisers hate him, obviously. He’s the pussy-grabber. The misogynist-in-chief. The group behind the Women’s March has a Facebook page that promotes Meryl Streep’s speech at the Oscars,; and the hashtag Love­TrumpsHate. And that’s fine. Trump was democratically elected but nobody has to like him, and protests against government are an important part of democracy too. So, march away.

But where, I wonder, is the thousand-strong march, the loud protests, the hashtags and the Twitter campaign for women and girls suffering the vilest forms of misogyny right here at home?

Last week the Australian pediatric surveillance unit at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in western Sydney released a report on female genital mutilation in this country. It found 59 brutalised girls. But here’s the line you don’t want to miss: the study’s author, Elizabeth Elliott, said “most of the procedures on the girls were performed overseas”.

The key word in that sentence is “most”. Most of girls had been cut overseas. But some were Australian-born. Meaning they had definitely been cut here. It’s very likely that some of the others had been cut here, too, after they arrived. Of the 59 — according to the report, that’s a gross underestimation of the actual numbers — only 13 were referred to child protection services. Why only 13?

These were girls whose parents — usually their mothers — had taken them to have them cut. What will happen to them next? Will they be shoved into an arranged marriage with a much older man to whom they already may be related? Because that, too, is happening.

Last October, a young Iraqi girl, Bee al-Darraj, told The Australian that she knew several girls from her former Islamic school who had been sent to Iraq to be married, while still underage. Nothing was done. She knew one girl who gave birth while underage in a public hospital in Sydney with her 28-year-old husband standing by. Nothing was done. She knew girls in Year 9 who were married and had 30-year-old husbands picking them up from school. Nothing was done. (To be clear, there’s no suggestion the school knew, for to know and not report would be a gross breach of mandatory reporting obligations. What we’re talking about here is child rape.)

Last week, we had a prominent cleric, imam Ibrahim Omerdic, 61, charged with conducting a child marriage between a girl under the age of 16, and a man aged 30.

This is real, and it is happening here, and it is right now. Dozens, maybe hundreds, maybe thousands of girls are suffering vile abuse, but it’s like screaming in an abyss. Where is the march? Where is the hashtag?

Genital cutting is not as fancy a topic as Hollywood pay for women, obviously, but it’s a creeping tragedy that threatens the freedom of all Australian women. A freedom our grandfathers and great-uncles died for. A freedom the feisty Australian suffragettes of yesteryear, with their dry wit and their long skirts and their button-up boots, once marched for.

I get that there’s cultural sensitivity. People don’t want to be accused of racism or bigotry. They don’t want to discriminate. But what about the discrimination against girls going on right now in Australian schools? Don’t believe it? Cast your eye over this, the official uniform list for the al-Faisal College in Sydney’s west (see below).

What jumps out? Only the girls, from age five, have to wear long sleeves, even in summer.

Only the girls have to wear skirts to the floor (ankle-length) summer and winter. The hijab, or head covering, also is compulsory for girls, from age five. It is compulsory even for sport. The boys scamper about in short sleeves.

A friend of a friend who is a teacher at the school recently sent out some pictures of children at the school receiving certificates at an assembly.

The boys are relaxed and grinning. The girls are swathed in so much fabric you can see only their faces. You support this, with your taxes.

It’s blatant discrimination. It tells girls that there is something sinful about them, something that will drive men to distraction, something they need to keep covered while out in the world.

The sight of your wrists, or ankle, or forearm is offensive and wrong.

Now, Australian women are smart, and most of them are very used to carrying more than one bucket at a time. Meaning: they know that you can adore pretty clothes and still want equal pay.

Likewise, you can be outraged by female genital mutilation, and forced marriage, and lousy school uniform codes, and Donald Trump. But which is more important? Macho bragging about pussy-grabbing in a trailer on the set of The Apprentice? Or acts of extreme violence against girls — and the rights of girls — here and now?

Yes, it’s possible to carry more than one bucket, so, if you’re marching this weekend, good on you, that’s your right — but maybe also carry a placard for your Australian sisters, suffering vile misogyny as we speak.

They’re hidden from view but they deserve attention, too.


An Aboriginal success story?  Look below at what the Sydney Morning Herald calls an Aborigine

I wish the girl every success but to call her a black defies all reason

Born eight weeks premature, Kirilly Lam was a fighter from the beginning. Almost 18 years on, the student from Sydney's west has overcome the odds to become the first person in her immediate family to finish year 12 and go to university.

She has been accepted into an advanced nursing degree at Western Sydney University, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

The government supports needs-based school funding says Parliamentary Secretary for Education Senator Scott Ryan.
"I almost can't believe it myself - I'm pretty happy," the 17-year-old Aboriginal student said.

Ms Lam is the youngest of seven children, raised in social housing in Cambridge Park near Penrith. On top of her studies, she cares for her 21-year-old sister Caitlyn?, who has cerebral palsy, and provides support for her mother, who suffers mobility problems following back surgery.

Her premature birth resulted in delayed speech and learning difficulties which she has overcome to study English, general maths, biology, physics and chemistry for the HSC at her Llandilo school.

But it was a $1000 NSW Government scholarship which gave her the financial boost she needed to help reach her academic goal. 

"It meant I could pay for internet access at home," she said. "I used to stay back at school in the afternoons to use the internet there until they told me to go home because they had to lock up. Having the internet at home made a huge difference but I also bought text books and printer ink."

Her mother Rebecca McCredie? is "thrilled" with her daughter's results, expressing her pride in a letter to the Department of Family and Community Services which administers the scholarships aimed at the most severely disadvantaged students.


48 HOUR HEATWAVE: No relief in sight with temperatures expected to hit nearly 30C overnight in Sydney - and the hot sleepless nights won't stop

This is just sensationalism.  the "heatwave" is just a normal summer. Temperatures peak at different times each year but there are no exceptional temperatures.  The Brisbane temperature on the thermometer in my anteroom hit 34.5C mid-afternoon Tuesday -- which is nothing unusual

Another heatwave is set to hit Australia on Tuesday and last until Sunday with temperatures set to skyrocket in the first 48 hours. 

Temperatures are tipped to climb as high as eight degrees above average as the second heatwave in as many weeks makes its way across much of the east coast.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a series of heatwave warnings for most of Queensland and NSW, as well as parts of South Australia and the Northern Territory.

While temperatures will soar to the high 30s with ease during the days, nights too will be unbearable with temperatures around the 27C mark overnight on Tuesday in Sydney.

Brisbane should reach a top of 35C on Wednesday, while temperatures in the west of the state could soar to 41C.

Sydney and Canberra are also forecast to reach 36C several days this week and as high as 43C in the northwest.

Melbourne is expected to hit a high of 38C on Tuesday.


Unhinged electricity policy of the Leftist Queensland government

Everyone remembers the slogan: Queensland — beautiful one day, perfect the next. I have to inform you there has been an update: Queensland — beautiful one day, insane the next.

The idea that the state could achieve a target of 50 per cent of electricity generated by renewable energy by 2030 is bizarre, unachievable and mischievous — in a word, it is insane. And it is not just because such a target would drive up electricity prices for households and businesses to the high levels of South Australia — probably higher. It also would destroy the value of most of the electricity assets held by the Queensland government. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

Given Queensland’s extreme level of government debt, there is no doubt that, in due course, most of the government-owned cor­porations will be sold, particularly if the cost of servicing the debt were to escalate. The tragedy is that it is likely the value of most of these assets will have fallen through the floor by then.

In the meantime, the flow of dividends that the government is relying on to create the appearance of fiscal rectitude will dry up, even if the present unconventional directive of ordering a payout ratio of 100 per cent of profits of the government-owned corporations continues.

An important question is: why would the Palaszczuk government opt for such an economically harmful and foolish policy? We should not forget that Queensland has the lowest percentage of electricity generated by renewable energy — at just more than 4 per cent.

So the policy involves an increase of 46 percentage points in the penetration of renewable energy as a source of electricity generation in the space of 13 years. Pull the other one.

To provide cover for this madcap policy, the Queensland government appointed a “renewable energy expert panel” to provide a veneer of credibility to the feasibility of the target.

With carefully chosen panel members, the draft report — unsurprisingly — concluded that there were no problems with reaching the target and that electricity costs to households and businesses in Queensland would probably stay steady. Again, pull the other one, but I am running out of other ones.

We should just take a look at the figures. There will need to be between 4000 megawatts to 5500MW of new large-scale renewable energy capacity between 2020 and 2030, something that has not even been achieved for Australia as a whole across the same period. The consensus view is that 1500MW of additional renewable energy a year is the top of the range for Australia and Queensland is only 15 per cent odd of that total.

And don’t you just love the prediction of the panel that electricity prices will remain steady for households and business in Queensland as a result of the government’s bold, go-it-alone policy? The background to this, as noted by the Queensland Productivity Commission, is that “since 2007, Australian residential retail electricity prices have increased faster than any other OECD country and Queensland prices have increased faster than any other state or territory”.

Mind you, it is clear why the Palaszczuk government didn’t simply ask the Queensland Productivity Commission to analyse the feasibility of the 50 per cent state renewable energy target. That would be because it wouldn’t be seen as “reliable”, having made the wholly rational suggestion last year that the state government withdraw the generous and unjustified subsidies to households with solar panels on their roofs.

Premier Annastacia Palasz­czuk was not having a bar of that idea. How could she continue to conflate small-scale solar panels with large-scale renewable energy, thereby buttressing the support of the public (well, the better-heeled part of the public that can afford solar panels) for anything called renewable energy? If X is good, 2X must be better and 12X must be a blast. Continuing to subsidise households with solar panels is part of the political game, hang other electricity users.

So what does that “independent” panel conclude about the impact of the 50 per cent renewables energy target on electricity pricing? The answer is “broadly cost neutral to electricity consumers where the cost of funding the policy action is recovered through electricity market mechanisms”. (This is code for: we could always skin taxpayers or ask Canberra to chip in.)

But here’s the rub: “This occurs as a result of increased renewable generation placing downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices, which is projected in the modelling to offset the payments to renewables.”

Mind you, the point is added that “the pricing outcome is not guaranteed and could differ, for example, if existing generation capacity is withdrawn from the market, especially coal-fired generation”.

Think about this. What the panel is saying is: if existing generators, which are owned by the government in Queensland, are driven out of the market, which is likely because of the renewables energy target — see the South Australian and Victorian cases as live examples — then prices will rise. And the capital value of these withdrawn government-owned generators will be close to zero, having probably experienced years of underinvestment in maintenance.

This leaves the question: why would the Queensland government decide on such a dimwitted, self-defeating and economically damaging policy position?

In keeping with the rule of following the money, it is clear that the lobbying efforts of the clean energy rent-seekers have been directed at the Queensland government, in particular.

After all, the large energy providers generally have a foot in both camps — conventional electricity generation plus renewable energy assets.

But they don’t stand to lose anything in Queensland by virtue of the astronomical state renewable energy target because the conventional electricity generation assets are all owned by the government. If these generators are driven out of business, it’s a big plus for them, not a negative.

Silly estimates of the gains in employment and billions of dollars of investment, mainly in the regions, associated with renewable energy make gormless politicians simply salivate. The sad thing is that it will be lose-lose for Queenslanders down the track.

The challenge for federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is to convince state governments to junk their vacuous, go-it-alone renewable energy targets that will lead to even higher electricity ­prices and further threaten the reliability of the grid.


University language policy: Not safe, just absurdly soft

As if Australia Day isn’t dangerous enough for the culturally insensitive, we are now advised not to celebrate the Australian belief in mateship and the fair go. The language police at Macquarie University have declared these are dangerous stereotypes, generalised images of a person or group that “may have potentially harmful real-world consequences”. The university’s latest guide on correct speech also instructs Queenslanders not to stereotype those living south of the Tweed as Mexicans, implying that they are ”hot-blooded, irrational, untrustworthy”.

Extreme linguistic governance of this kind was once restricted to religious sects and the political fruitcake fringe. Today it is chillingly mainstream; universities see it as part of their duty of care to offer written guides, training courses and counselling on “appropriate” and “inappropriate” language.

Since one can never be sure about the latest rules, every utterance is potentially suspect. Irony and sarcasm must be avoided at all costs. “To talk about a ‘huntsperson spider’ is an ostensibly humorous ‘non-discriminatory’ act of renaming,” the Macquarie University guide intones. “The joke here nonetheless mocks serious uses of non-discriminatory language and the struggle for gender equity.”

Incredibly, this is a statement of official policy at a major university, signed off, presumably, by the dean and other serious people. If perchance it is slipped past their guard they must remove it forthwith from the university’s website, for the damage imposed by this passive-aggressive chin-stroking is considerable.

The regulation of speech is one of the maladies of academe investigated by British sociologist Frank Furedi in a new book exploring the infantilisation of students.

The notion that people in their late teens and early 20s could not be trusted to act as adults, and that university authorities should protect their moral welfare in loco parentis, disappeared in the wake of the campus radicals in the 1960s.

Furedi, once a campus radical himself, says today’s academic paternalism is far more insidious. The baby boomer generation was taught that “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”. The millennial generation is warned constantly of the harm language causes “vulnerable” people. Indeed, they themselves are vulnerable and must be protected from the psychological damage presumed to flow from linguistic aggression.

To explain how yesterday’s student militants evolved into today’s moral guardians, Furedi describes the rise of a risk-averse culture where precaution and safety have become fundamental moral values.

“The term ‘safe’ signals more than the absence of danger: it also conveys the connotation of a virtue,” he says. “The representation of safety as an end in itself is integral to a moralising project of monitoring both individual and interpersonal behaviour.”

Censorship became unfashionable in the late 1960s when it was seen as an instrument of repression. Today it has become a form of therapy, underpinned by a cultural script of vulnerability.

The adjective “vulnerable” has mutated into a noun. The downtrodden have been recast as “the vulnerable”; the wretched have become “the most vulnerable”; universities have been transformed from an intellectual adventure into safe spaces for “vulnerable students”.

We are right to worry about the resilience of those who emerge from these cosseted, hypersensitive campuses. The vulnerable are inclined to fatalism, since vulnerability presents as a permanent feature. They are seldom encouraged to draw on inner strengths to make themselves less vulnerable. Indeed, to suggest they should toughen up is condemned as victim-blaming, denying the vulnerable the ritualistic empathy to which they feel entitled.

Vulnerability, together with the ethos of survivalism — the modern belief that danger lurks around every corner — are the narratives that bolster the infantilisation of students. Hence the semantic tsars at Macquarie deem that the expression “Australians believe in the fair go” is not just distasteful but “potentially harmful” to non-Australians or to Australians who don’t think that way. The purpose of their rules is to develop “a university environment characterised by sensitivity to cultural diversity, and in which the number and seriousness of discriminatory experiences are reduced or eliminated”.

Censorship, like compulsory seat belts or fences around swimming pools, is a matter of public health and safety. So, when activist Maryam Namazie was banned from speaking at Warwick University, the student union justi?ed itself with “language that would have done any risk manager proud”, writes Furedi.

“Researching Namazie and her organisation had raised a number of ?ags,” declared the students. “We have a duty of care to conduct a risk assessment for each speaker who wishes to come to campus,” they wrote. It is not the intended meaning of words but their supposed impact that matters. “Verbal puri?cation is not simply directed at cleansing politically objectionable words but also at providing psychological relief,” Furedi concludes.

It may be too early to predict what lasting effect the censorious, mollycoddled environment of modern academe will have young graduates.


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 January, 2017

Photograph of women in hijabs on billboard advertising Australia Day celebrations sparks heated online debate

One would think that Australia day would celebrate Australia as it is.  It is definitely NOT Muslim. They are a small minority and a poorly assimilated one that that. They are distinguished mainly by their high rate of welfare dependency, meaning that the positive contribution they make to the rest of us is minimal

I can see a case for celebrating Australia's diversity with a picture that included someone from our largest minority -- people of Han Chinese ancestry.  They have fitted in brilliantly and differ from Caucasians mainly in their superior educational achievements.  With the many services they provide to us all -- from medical specialists to restaurateurs, we are lucky to have them. That could indeed be celebrated

A billboard advertising Australia Day celebrations in Melbourne sparked debate online for appearing to feature two women wearing hijabs.

A picture of the huge sign showed it having an Australian flag on the left with the two smiling women on the right underneath the event details. There were no other people in the design.

It was said to be by the side of a road in Cranbourne, in Melbourne's southeast, and first shared by far-right groups on Facebook on Friday.

The debate attracted hundreds of comments with a variety of opinions, and was shared thousands of times.

Some commenters were outraged that Australia was only represented by a pair of Muslim women instead of a more diverse crowd.

'Some culture doesn't belong! Meh all this multi cultural bs being rammed down our throats,' one angry Facebook user wrote.

'Muslims on that is a disgrace... I don't know what's going on in this country... It's just going downhill... Muslims are not the face of Australia,' another said.

'PC to the extreme. There's nothing wrong with including people from different backgrounds as Australia is more or less a melting pot of different cultures,' a third wrote.

'But to represent Australia as just Muslim people (as the billboard implies) is just as ignorant as assuming Australians are all Caucasian,' they added.

'I find this advertisement for Australia day offensive yes I'm proud that we are a multi cultural nation but sorry to all the bleeding heart public and politicians when it comes to Australian views on Muslim values,' another wrote.

But the billboard also had its supporters, with many pointing out that Australia was a diverse nation of different people that should be celebrated. 'It doesn't matter what is on the board. Only thing is Australia is [a] multicultural county and everyone who lives there must be proud [of] Australia. So stop that nonsense,' one wrote.

'I don't get why people seem to think that one race or any race owns any land more so then the other. Those views are so close minded. We share this earth together, even if you don't like it,' another said.

A third person replied to another commenter claiming the billboard was evidence of the government 'bending down to the minority to make them feel better about themselves' and that Australia would slowly become Muslim.

They replied: 'No one seems to be suffering mate, our country is multicultural and if you've got a problem with that then you've got a problem with Australia.'

The billboard was advertising a RACV Australia Day Festival at the King's Domain Gardens in the centre of Melbourne, including a parade and flag raising ceremony.


Shocking research reveals babies as young as five months are victims of female genital mutilation in Australia

A study into the female genital mutilation has revealed a startling number of young girls are undergoing the procedure.

Researchers from the Australian paediatric surveillance unit at Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney found 59 girls around the country were given the most extreme form of the FGM procedure as far back as since 2010, the ABC reported.

The victims' ages ranged from as young as five months old to 18 years old.

Professor Elizabeth Elliott, Consultant Pediatrician at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, said of the 59 girls reported eight experienced complications.

'About 20 per cent of them had had infibulation - that is [the] removal of the clitoris - and external genitalia removed and sewing up of the opening,' she said.

'Many of these girls were experiencing physical complications such as urinary tract infections, difficulty passing urine, difficulty with menstruation, but a lot of them were also suffering from psychological consequences of having had the procedure.'

Professor Elliott said that most of the procedures were performed overseas, while only two were performed in New South Wales. 

'We really have no idea of the prevalence and we suspect this is a gross underestimate of the number of girls who have been affected by this procedure,' she said.

To help make changes, she said a revision of the policies was necessary to help victims so paediatricians and health service professionals could determine if a patient had the surgery and if they need to call the authorities.

FGM is a criminal offence and is recognised as physical abuse across all Australian states and territories.



Unholy matrimony and the Islamic culture’s hidden stain

Piers Akerman

AS much as it may discomfort the multi-culti crowd, Australia must realise that there are some appalling aspects of ­Islamic culture that can never be embraced here.

In the 2015-16 financial year alone, the Australian Federal Police investigated 69 ­incidents of forced marriage, more than double that investigated the previous year.

Just last week, an imam, a Muslim religious leader, faced a Melbourne court after allegedly forcing a child into marriage, while the 34-year-old “husband” of the minor appeared via videolink charged with sexually penetrating a child under the age of 16.

Ibrahim Omerdic, 61, appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday over an alleged forced marriage at Noble Park, in Melbourne’s southeast, along with the husband, who cannot be identified. The latter is also charged with being a party to a forced marriage.

Ibrahim Omerdic was charged with forcing a child bride to marry him against her will. Picture: Nicole Garmston
The court heard that a DVD of the ceremony being conducted at a mosque last year may form part of the evidence. ­ According to The Weekend Australian no person has been convicted of arranging or being involved in a forced marriage in Australia despite the number of referrals of possible offences soaring since 2013, when the act was criminalised, according to data from the Attorney-General’s Department.

In 2013-14, the Australian Federal Police received 11 referrals of allegations of forced marriage. The AFP received 33 in 2014-15 and 69 in 2015-16.

Mr Omerdic is the imam of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Islamic Centre and Mosque at Noble Park and reportedly said in 2005 that there was no “clear proof” Osama bin Laden was behind the 9/11 terror attacks.

The Victorian Board of Imams released a statement earlier this week condemning marriages that are illegal in Australia.

“Imams are advised to meet both the bride and groom in person prior to the nikah ­(Islamic marriage) ceremony to ensure they are of marriageable age and both are consenting to the marriage,” the statement said.

“As Australian Muslims, we are required to observe and ­respect the laws of Australia.”

The average reader might well assume that the Victorian Board of Imams aren’t ­unhappy with forced child marriages in other countries. Little wonder that young Australian Muslim girls are at risk of being spirited abroad to marry older men.

Given the imams’ collective responses to the case of the imam charged in Melbourne on Friday, the young girls might be better advised to look elsewhere for protection.

The Islamic Council of Victoria also released a statement condemning forced marriage.

“It is true that marriage at a younger age is permitted in other countries and cultures, but this is not a justification for marriage below the legal age or child marriages here in Australia,” they said.

Which might make some readers wonder why the Islamic Council members didn’t say they think forced child marriage is absolutely abhorrent wherever it is practised?

Do they think that they lack the stature to condemn this disgusting tradition or are they afraid that by doing so they will open up the obvious questions which surround the marriage of their Prophet Muhammad to his child bride, Aisha, who, according to traditional sources was married to Muhammad when she was six or seven though the marriage was not consummated till she was nine or 10, and he was then 53.

School principals and teachers have reported girls as young as nine being taken overseas, where they are forced to marry, the NSW government has said.

Family and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard is in no doubt about the magnitude of the problem. He said data collected by his department since a telephone hotline was set up in July 2014 left him in “no doubt that there is a tsunami of young girls, some as young as nine, who are being taken overseas and being forced to become child brides”.

During a 2016 press conference he said the Muslim community needed to be vocal opponents against the practice.

Given the imams’ collective responses to the case of the imam charged in Melbourne on Friday, the young girls might be better advised to look elsewhere for protection.

As these young girls are most at risk from their families, there is a huge reluctance on their part to report the crime because of the shame and ­embarrassment that conviction and publicity would bring.

The same goes for the hideous cultural practice of ­female genital mutilation.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics and UNICEF data, as many as 83,000 women and girls in Australia may have been subjected to FGM, a statistic that rests on the fact that a girl is most likely to be subject to this procedure if her mother has had FGM.

It is estimated that 5640 girls under 15 may be in danger and 1100 girls are born every year to women who have had FGM. The extrapolation was cited by Professor Gillian Triggs, the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, in April 2016.

Professor Triggs and her ­organisation would be among the first to defend multiculturalism and just behind them would be Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Why not, it’s been a howling success across Europe, hasn’t it? Even the queen of multi-culti, Germany’s leaderene Angela Merkel, has been forced to admit the policy stinks.

Time our leaders did the same and dumped it.


Australian energy bills soar in shift from coal power stations

Electricity companies have begun hiking consumer prices around the country, blaming the closure of coal-fired generators and the increased cost of renewable energy for higher-than-predicted increases of more than $130 this year.

EnergyAustralia and AGL have increased electricity tariffs in Victoria by $135 and $132 on average for the year respectively — greatly exceeding state government modelling that concluded bills would rise by $27 to $100.

The Victorian price rises will flow from this week but the companies’ customers in other states, including South Australia and NSW, face a yet-to-be announced price rise in June.

Red Energy, the retailing arm of Snowy Hydro, informed customers in NSW its rates would increase this week because of “increases in the wholesale cost of electricity and the large-scale renewable energy certificates”.

Some tariffs were raised by almost 25 per cent.

The consumer price rises will increase political pressure on state and federal governments to deal with escalating energy costs that have sparked business warnings that rising power charges are undermining competitiveness.

The Australian Energy Council has warned the impact will be greatest in Victoria and South Australia, which face the biggest wholesale price increases.

The South Australian government is under pressure over its heavy reliance on renewable energy, particularly with the closure of the Northern power station and blackouts sparked by severe storms. Queensland, which has a regulated market, is reviewing its energy tariffs with results expected by the middle of the year.

The Energy Council’s corporate affairs general manager, Sarah McNamara, said the Victorian wholesale price increases were a “byproduct of the reduction in the state’s generation capacity by around 20 per cent, a direct consequence of the upcoming closure of the Hazelwood power station in March”. The Energy Council, which represents major electricity and gas producers, has repeatedly called for a national strategy to deal with supply issues and price volatility as older power stations are retired and an increasing amount of large-scale renewable energy is made available.

An EnergyAustralia spokesman said the average $11 a month increase in Victoria reflected “higher generation, general business and government green-scheme costs”. In that state, there was an increase in the cost of buying electricity for 2017 from about $40 a megawatt hour in January to more than $60 a megawatt hour in November, he said.

“The closure of the Northern power station in South Australia, increased demand for gas by large LNG projects in Queensland, reliability issues and … the market’s reaction to the closure of Hazelwood were among the main factors,” he said.

AGL, through a spokesman, said residential electricity prices would rise by $2.59 a week, on average, or a 9.9 per cent increase, while small and medium-size businesses would see costs increase by 13.4 per cent.

Despite the higher charges, the closure of Hazelwood could boost earnings at AGL, which owns the Loy Yang A power station, by up to 10 per cent, according to analysts at investment bank JP Morgan. That analysis, released late last year, assumed the closure of Hazelwood would increase wholesale prices by 15 per cent in Victoria and 10 per cent in NSW.

Victorian coal generators will also face increased royalty costs this year, with the subsidy intended on making renewable energy more attractive rising to 22.8c a gigajoule for companies mining brown coal from 7.6c, netting the government about $250 million over four years.

The Minerals Council’s Victorian executive director, Gavin Lind, said the brown coal royalty increases introduced by the Andrews government were harmful and ignored the practicalities of the electricity market.

“The expected increase in electricity costs will hit Victorian businesses hard, especially the manufacturing sector where uncertain economic conditions are already placing the industry under strain,” he said. “The Victorian government seems intent on increasing the state’s dependence on expensive and part-time energy sources and committing Victorian households and industry to higher energy prices. It will pass the cost of the scheme on to electricity users via their energy bills. In so doing, it will subsidise uneconomic renewable energy projects while driving out affordable, reliable coal-fired energy.’’

A government spokesman defended the increase. “The royalty rate has not changed in a decade, and this will simply bring Victoria into line with the other states. We are ensuring Victorians get a fair return for the use of our state’s natural resources,” he said.

In Queensland, the state’s Competition Authority is in the final stages of setting electricity tariffs for 2017-18, with the Palaszczuk government unveiling a 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030 that could slash earnings at the government-owned electricity generators.

Renewable energy schemes were blamed by Red Energy for this week’s increase in retail prices, although Snowy Hydro declined to provide details about the increases. “There are a number of factors that can push energy prices higher for consumers and the need to source renewable energy certificates to cover a portion of the energy consumed by customers is one of them,” a spokesman said. “We cover the resulting REC liability through a combination of RECs generated by the Snowy Scheme with the remainder sourced from the market.”

The price of those certificates has jumped in recent months, netting some electricity retailers windfall gains, as concerns grow that Australia will not reach its 2020 renewable energy target.

The spot price of those certificates rose to about $87 at the end of last month compared with an average of $54 in 2015, although the largest retailers can obtain RECs as part of the normal course of business or at lower contract rates.


Pauline recognized by Trump

ONE Nation leader Pauline Hanson has confirmed she was sent “gifted tickets” to Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration this weekend.

The One Nation leader - who drank champagne on the steps of Parliament House the day Trump was elected - said she was still deciding whether to go.

Senator Hanson posted on social media this morning that it was an honour to be invited.

“Would you believe it? I have been gifted tickets to the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony of @realDonaldTrump - what an honour,” she said on Twitter.

The senator quickly followed with a tweet saying she was still deciding whether she could attend because of her duties to the people of Queensland and Australia.

Australian Ambassador to the US Joe Hockey will officially represent Australia at the 45th President of the US’s inauguration on January 20.


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

16 January, 2017

Coral not dead after all

There have been incessant fake-news proclamations from Greenies about the Northern third of the Barrier reef being all but dead.  Problem: People who go there find some bleached bits but most of it is fine.  Report below from a very Northerly part of the reef says it is in superb condition

RAINE Island, located about 620 kilometres northwest of Cairns, is the largest green turtle nesting ground on planet Earth.

The 32-hectare coral island is in the far north section of the reef, about 620 kilometres north of Cairns on the way to Cape York.

Cairns local Jemma Craig recently dived at the island for the first time, documenting her experience with a series of incredible pictures.

In October last year, an environmental writer wrote a snarky obituary, declaring the World Heritage Site dead at 25 million years of age.

It was premature, but just one month later a team of scientists wrote an article for saying that two-thirds of coral in the northern part of the reef have died in the worst-ever bleaching event.

Raine Island, however, appears to have escaped with its life.

“I grew up on the Great Barrier Reef, I have worked and dived here for many years and have ventured to the far corners of the Coral Sea in a quest to see more, but nothing; nothing I have ever seen compares to my dive on the reef surrounding Raine Island,” Ms Craig said.

The 24-year-old works as a host on board the MV Spoilsport with Mike Ball Dive Expeditions, which operates out of Cairns.

She said she found it hard to comprehend this part of the reef looked so good.

“The reef flat is simply covered in beautiful, colourful hard coral, turtles cruising and marine life from one end to the other. I didn’t know where to look.”


Huge haul of fake car parts bound for Australia seized in Middle East

Spare parts from original manufacturers are a YUGE ripoff so this was bound to happen. And most copies are probably OK.  It is only unsafe parts that should be banned
Tens of thousands of potentially dangerous counterfeit car parts destined for Australia have seen seized in a raid in Abu Dhabi, as the United Arab Emirates cracks down on the lucrative trade in fake parts.

According to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, more than 500,000 fake and counterfeit car parts were discovered in a raid on a warehouse and distribution centre in Abu Dhabi's Al Ain city.

In total, 21 truckloads of parts were uncovered – the largest bust of its kind in Abu Dhabi's history – which were valued at over $5.4 million. It followed a joint investigation by Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and a number of major global automotive companies.

Abu Dhabi authorities have said the haul of fake parts, which bore the logos of 15 car manufacturers, will be destroyed.

Car companies have warned the parts were probably headed to Australia, and could put lives at risk if they made their way into local vehicles.

"Investigators tell us there is a good chance that thousands of these inferior, illegal and dangerous parts were on their way to being fitted to Australian cars," said FCAI chief executive Tony Weber. "We have demonstrated the manufacturing inferiority and danger of counterfeit parts and this black market is risking the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians."

Mercedes-Benz Australia corporate communications manager David McCarthy said the industry had been warning about an influx of counterfeit parts for years, and said both the federal government and Border Force had not taken the warnings seriously.

"This is a real and present danger to Australian motorists that has gone on too long," Mr McCarthy said. "The reality is some repairers and insurers are quite happy to put people's safety at risk by using fake parts."

"I am surprised that something like this could happen. It would indicate to me that border controls are not as tight as they should be."

The Abu Dhabi raid follows a similar raid in May when 33,000 counterfeit Toyota parts, including crucial safety parts such as airbag triggering devices, were confiscated in China's Guangzhou city by Chinese police.

In April, the Federal Court found two repair shops had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct by selling counterfeit airbag components, after Toyota launched action against them.

Nissan Australia general manager of parts and accessories Peter Gillam said Australia's Border Force "don't know how to identify the difference between a counterfeit part that looks and smells like a genuine part".

"We have large groups of importers bringing in what look like genuine parts, but it's unknown if it's a genuine part," he said. "We don't know the source, we don't know where it comes from. And a lot of these parts do come through the UAE. A lot of these parts are used in the collision repair industry. The parts are bought through large importers, and we are concerned about our customers' safety."

Many fake parts, including body panels, wheels and brake rotors, do not meet Australian standards.

For more than a decade, Australia's multibillion-dollar insurance and smash-repair industry has faced allegations of substandard repairs and use of unsafe counterfeit parts. A NSW parliamentary probe in 2014 came up with 21 recommendations to reform the smash repair industry in that state, but they are yet to be universally adopted.

Craig Douglas, a director at Nationwide Research Group, which is investigating counterfeiting on behalf of major car companies, said UAE-based companies tried to sell fake car parts to Australian workshops via the internet.

"Our experience has shown that in most cases those parts are, in fact, counterfeit," he said, and likened the UAE to "the Hong Kong of the '80s" for fake car parts. "If you ever wanted a fake Rolex, you went to Hong Kong," Mr Douglas said. "Dubai is getting a reputation for fake auto parts."


At last: After 14 years, Pine forests cleared to prevent repeat of Canberra's worst bushfires

This seems very lethargic but it looks like Greenie objections to precautionary burns have been overcome.  Greenie attacks on prudent forestry practices have made the fires much worse

Almost 14 years on from the worst bushfires in the ACT's history, pine clearing is under way in an effort to prevent such devastation ever happening again.

The inquiry into the 2003 fires found more should have been done to reduce fuel loads around Canberra, including more controlled burning.

But one of the difficulties with controlled burns as a preventative method is the specific times and conditions needed to make sure they are done safely and with minimal impact on surrounding residents.

"The first thing we wanted to do was to burn, but with your erosion issues relating to this being a water catchment that presented a risk in itself," ACT Parks Fire Management Officer, Adam Leavesley, said.

"So [the clearing has] been years in planning, the trials have just gone ahead in the last financial year to give us a good idea of how to approach the rest of it."

Mr Leavesley, said many pines had grown back since 2003 and posed a significant threat because of their high fire danger.

    "This is exactly what we need to get rid of, these tiny pine trees that are quite tall and very thin," he said.

"They're not going to be good for anything and they're a major issue in terms of the fuel load.

"The fire, if it burns through [this forest] even on a relatively low fire danger day, is likely to burn right to the top of the canopy and be very, very difficult to control."

ACT Parks and Conservation has developed a way to clear nearby pine forests with heavy machinery instead of having to burn them.

"Up here the slopes are very steep and we can't get in to all of the slopes with all the different types of machines that might be useful for the job," Mr Leavesley said.

"So in some places where there's not a lot of eucalypt and we don't need to take a lot of care of retaining that in the landscape, the bulldozer's the best thing to use.

"Where there's a lot of eucalypt the forestry mulching head is excellent … and on the really steep slopes where none of those machines can go they're being hand-felled."

The forest sits in the middle of Canberra's drinking water catchment and any erosion caused by felling the pines could have an impact.

However Mr Leavesley said through trials they had developed a way to safely clear the trees.

"The main works [should] done in the next two to three-year period but then there'll be return [work] all the time," he said.

Mr Leavesley said there was almost 1,000 hectares of land left to clear over the 10-year life of the clearing plan.


Africa comes to lucky old Melbourne

Melbourne's latest gang violence has been captured in clear CCTV footage, showing the pack of hooded men showering IMP Jewellery shop in Toorak Village with broken glass after smashing cabinets with hammers.

One of the men is seen bludgeoning a staff member with the butt of a gun before fleeing the scene with a large collection of jewellery in a getaway car, eluding police.

The victim was treated for non-life threatening injuries but is living in fear after the robbery – the second to strike the store in three months.

Several staff members at the Toorak Road store were present at the last robbery, with one only just returning from stress leave, reports ABC.

Police gave chase for eight kilometres through South Yarra and Richmond before abandoning the pursuit when dangerous speeds were reached.

Store owner Tony Fialides, who hit headlines chasing the armed thieves out of his shop during the previous raid, has told of his shock at Melbourne's scourge of crime, reports Herald Sun.

The raid bears a strong resemblance to the last heist on October 25, when gun-toting bandits wreaked havoc on the store and left with $200,000 in jewellery.

All four men are described as being of African appearance and believed to hold ties to the notorious Apex gang.

Apex are behind a wave of violent car thefts, home invasions and robberies across Melbourne, sparking a taskforce to be launched specifically to tackle the gang.


Taxpayers' outrage after public servants given a 'free' week of annual leave during Christmas period 

Public sector workers were treated to an extra three days of paid holidays to blow off steam during the Christmas period, much to the outrage of taxpayers.

Between Wednesday December 28 and Friday December 30, workers from government offices including Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Department of Social Services and Safe Work Australia were given three days of paid leave.

Most Australians need to take annual leave, or unpaid leave, during office closure over the Christmas period, Herald Sun reports.

 Department of Human Services (DHS) general manager Hank Jongen confirmed Centrelink and Medicare employees 'not required to attend for duty during the reduced activity period will access three days of their accrued annual leave'

 'Taxpayers have a right to be really angry about this...They have an expectation that the public service should operate under the same constraints as they do,' Centre for independent Studies (CIS) research associate Rebecca Weisser.

The Australian Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd said productivity progress is behind the controversial move.

'Improvements in terms and conditions have ... to be offset by productivity gains. The productivity offset for bargaining Christmas close-down days has generally been increased working hours'.


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 January, 2017

The latest Bureau of Meteorology shenanigans

This summer has been very frustrating for the BOM.  As tireless global warming missionaries, they wanted the Sydney summer to be the "hottest yet".  And the headlines they generated have on several occasions claimed just that. 

But the thermometers have in fact been unobliging.  If you read the small print, coastal Sydney has failed to get into the 40s. It was only localities that are normally hot which did that. 

And hanging over their heads is the awful truth that the temperature in coastal Sydney reached 42 degrees (108F) in 1790, long before there were any power stations, SUVs and all the other Greenie bugaboos in Sydney.

So what  to do?  They have had a brainwave (below).  Instead of reporting maximum temperatures they are now reporting MINIMUM temperatures.  They say that various minimum (night-time) temperatures have been unusually hot.  But global warming is supposed to cause high maximum temperatures so it is a pretty desperate bit of fake news

SYDNEY residents sweltered through the harbour city’s hottest January night in recorded history last night.

But the good news for the sleepless masses is relief is in sight, with a cool change on its way.

Temperature records tumbled across Sydney as the extreme heatwave peaked overnight.

Among the new records set were in Observatory Hill, where the temperature dropped only to 26.4C, Bankstown (26.2C), Camden (27.1C), Penrith (28.6C), Richmond (28.2C), Horsley Park (26.2C), and Terrey Hills (26.9C).

But relief is on its way.

Conditions across the southern half of NSW are expected to ease over the weekend but the mercury will likely remain in the low to mid 40s in the state’s north.

After copping temperatures up to 45C on Friday, Sydney’s west is forecast for a milder maximum of 35C on Saturday while in the coastal parts of the city it is due to reach 31C.

But for those in the far north it is expected to remain hot with a predicted high of 41C at Grafton.

Queenslanders who have been in the grip of the same heatwave are set to endure another day of blistering conditions before conditions cool on Sunday.

A top of 34C is forecast for Brisbane on Saturday, which is five degrees above the average maximum for this time of year.

(Rubbish!  The temperature in my anteroom regularly tracks the official observations for Brisbane and at 34.5C yesterday  afternoon it did go higher on my thermometer than the forecast. But it had been right on 34C for a week or so)


Kirralie Smith tells it like it is

Being critical of Islam is not "extremist" or "right-wing".  It's fake news to say so

School uniforms are sexist? Oh, please

By Jane Fynes-Clinton (The fine Clinton is one of Australia's many excellent conservative women journalists.  As in Jennifer Oriel, Grace Collier, Miranda Devine, Rita Panahi, Janet Albrechtsen, Judith Sloan, Caroline Overington, Corrine Barraclough etc.  Eat your heart out, feminists)

An academic from Queensland University of Technology this week hurled the first of the school preparation grenades, contending that school uniform requirement should no longer be split along gender lines.

The focus in the school uniform discussion should be about climate and occasion appropriateness, not sexism. (Pic: iStock)

Cultural learning senior lecturer and psychologist Amanda Mergler pointed out in her piece on The Conversation that some parents felt requiring their daughters to wear dresses and skirts was outdated and amounted to gender disadvantage.

To this, I say piffle.

Dresses are not passe. Skirts are not discriminatory or symbols of sexism. They do not limit female power or confidence.

And having our boys and girls dressed the same — as boys, effectively — does not make them the same.

They are not, never should be, and clothes do not make the man (or woman). Celebrate difference, because difference between genders does not mean better or worse and schoolchildren should not be encouraged to see themselves as a homogenous, genderless blob.

Dresses are not by their nature sexualising creations.

Dresses and skirts are cooler in the heat of summer, have more wriggle room for wearers and are more easily kept looking neat.

But there are naysayers. A Journal of Gender Studies paper published in 2013 said dresses and skirts as school uniforms “ritualised girling” and affected the performance of the wearer.

Proponents of homogeny say dresses require girls to be more demure, and to walk, run and sit differently.

Dresses have a habit of ballooning in a breeze and girls are always at risk of showing their underwear.

The anti-dress brigade also argues dresses make girls more quickly available sexually. Yes, they seriously say that.

It is not sexist to wear a dress, just as it is not sexist to call someone a woman, as if by saying that, it is all she is. It is discriminatory to act as if wearing a skirt delegates that person to a lesser station, which is effectively what is contended by Mergler.

This is political correctness gone loopy, a distraction from the core issues around school uniforms. Surely, they are about practicality, appropriateness and, because this is a world where we seem to require it in every facet, choice that are subjects of discussion, not whether girls should wear dresses.
Girls are not being “disadvantaged” by wearing skirts as their school uniform. (Pic: Getty Images)

School uniforms have a long tradition in Australia.

They level the playing field and stabilise a school’s community branding. They provide certainty at a changeable, important time in a human’s development. They are here to stay.

The focus in the school uniform discussion should be about climate and occasion appropriateness. And given school should be a relatively formal, learning-focused place, surely discussions should hinge on practicality and comfort,

as well as presenting an appropriate public face of the school.

I think school uniforms should not be overly fashionable and not because of a dislike of fashionability or disregard for style, but because a school’s core purpose is the delivery of learning experiences.

And if skirts are done away with in coeducational settings to mitigate the risk of sexualising females, it follows that girls at same-sex schools would be left out on a rather provocative limb.

I attended an all-girls school in Brisbane. We wore unflattering dresses for lessons and unattractive skirts with undershorts (never to be seen in public except on the playing field) for sport. We were told how long they had to be.

The uniform and the rules are the same at that school today.

We were constantly told we were girls, or young ladies, that we must act with integrity and modesty, as all young people should. The uniform regulation was uniformly unforced.

Sure, our box pleats meant we had to take special measures in stiff winds and deal with sweaty, slidey seats in summer. And yes, we were forbidden from sitting cross legged on the ground in public, lest the good name of our school be erased in a thoughtless flash.

Fair enough. We were girls and girls wore modest dresses and skirts to school. No contest. If we didn’t like it, we could leave.

It was a slice of life and we expressed ourselves elsewhere and in other ways.

I am old enough to recall a time when female members of the public who attended Brisbane City Council meetings were forbidden from wearing pants. I also recall a female journalist in the 1980s attending in slacks to push the envelope and make a point. She was excluded.

And a public relations firm in Brisbane forbade its all-female staff from wearing trousers in the early 1990s.

Those who require such things now enforce the wearing of a uniform to get around claims of discrimination.

Surely the point now is that choice is key, not demonising the dress and skirt as old-school, sexist creations that are vehicles for lust and degradation?

Please, let common sense prevail in any discussions about school uniforms.


Australia Day lamb advertisement draws criticism from blacks

It was highly politically correct -- failing even to mention Australia day and being super-multicultural -- but you can't please some people

The annual television advert encouraging people to eat lamb on Australia Day is often controversial, and it seems this year is no different, with members of the Indigenous community describing it as "highly offensive" and "disgusting".

While Meat and Livestock Australia says the response has been mostly positive, some in the Indigenous community say it is highly offensive.

The campaign, which depicts a European invasion, makes no mention of Australia Day. It begins with a group of Indigenous Australians having a barbecue on a beach as one by one, ships of explorers reach the shore.

The cast of the ad is diverse, with guest appearances from Cathy Freeman, Wendell Sailor, Poh Ling Yeow and former chair of the National Australia Day Council Adam Gilchrist.
YouTube: 2017 Australia Day lamb ad

While some have taken umbrage at the complete omission of references to Australia Day, some within the Indigenous community have criticised the ad.

"[Using] the continual pain, the real pain felt on this date for their own purposes, for a marketing stunt ... that's the most offensive part of it," said journalist and Darumbal woman Amy Mcquire.

"There's Aboriginal people dying in custody, having their children taken away, suiciding ... and that oppression stems from that original invasion.   "So to use that as a marketing ploy to sell lamb ... is even more disgusting I think."

But Andrew Howie, group marketing manager of Meat and Livestock Australia, says the organisation held consultations with several Indigenous groups throughout the creative process.

Mr Howie says an effort was made to respect "cultural sensitivities".

"The work that we create is never designed to be offensive, it's not designed to cause offense to people," Mr Howie said.

"This year's campaign is a celebration of Australia's history. This year, and with the essence of the brand being very much around unity, we realised that this time of year there are cultural sensitivities.

"If we were going to be inclusive … we needed to understand some of those cultural sensitivities."

Tim Burrowes from the media and marketing website Mumbrella says the ad is risky, but most good marketing is.

"I think if one thinks about the motives involved behind creating this ad, they come from a place which is trying — through sense of humour — to move on a conversation and get a message out there."


The real reason Centrelink is wasting your time

CENTRELINK is wasting Australia’s time. Monstrous amounts of it. Whole lifetimes are being chewed up by Centrelink’s outrageous slowness.

It takes 43 million calls a year and people wait on the line for hours to get answered. The worst story I found was a woman who waited on hold for 15 hours.

The Minister says the average wait time is 12 minutes and his last annual report says it is 15 minutes. Even if that was true, it isn’t good enough. And don’t forget Centrelink had 29 million unanswered calls, plus 7 million calls where people got tired of waiting so long and hung up.

Why does Centrelink do it? Because they can! They save a bit of money by understaffing — there are no consequences for them when they use up our time to save money.


This trick — turning our time into their money — pops up time and again in Australia. Consider Australia Post. When they drop off a note saying they tried to deliver a parcel they are using up a lot of my time to save a little bit of their money.

It looks great on the bottom line: expenses are slightly lower. Imagine if they had to include our time in their accounts — things would be very different indeed.

Too many organisations will happily trade hours of my time to save seconds of theirs. It is incredibly inefficient, and it happens mostly in a particular kind of large organisation.

For example, I do not get screwed around at my local burger shop. They try to be efficient because they know customers will go somewhere else if they’re not fast. Wasting customers’ time is the signature move of big organisations that don’t have enough competition.


We get screwed around by government entities like Centrelink and the local council. By semi-government entities like Australia Post. And by big private businesses like airports, phone companies and banks that don’t have enough competition.

In the early 2000s, banks were a bit like Centrelink is now. They made you queue for hours if you went into a branch. Likewise, there was an era when Telstra was famous for its wait times if you needed help. Around a decade ago, people hesitated to use them because their customer service was famously abysmal.

But Telstra and the banks fixed their issues and these days they have a reputation for being maybe not perfect — but pretty good.

Airports are probably the worst example in the private sector. Australian cities each have only one airport. There’s no competition, so when they tell you to get there very early you comply. You normally spend ages queuing up (because they’re saving money on security, etc). Then you still have a long time to wait. The industry motto is “dwell time is sell time.”

Airports count on you buying a few overpriced items during that dwell time. That comes back to them in the shape of high rents for airport retail. It’s an elaborate system and it all depends on you giving up your time for free.

We need to put a stop to this. Australians time has been disrespected for too long, and organisations need to stop turning a blind eye to it. These organisations know time is valuable: they try to use their own staff’s time at maximum efficiency. But not ours

Government ministers knows the value of time too. That’s why they spend up on a charter flight instead of taking a regular flight later — to make sure not a moment is wasted. If only the same courtesy was extended to the rest of us.


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 January, 2016

Shell Australia blames Victorian government for rising gas prices

Australia has heaps of natural gas in the ground but the Green/Left want to keep it there for their usual disruptive reasons

The head of oil giant Shell's Australian multibillion-dollar operations has laid the blame for the east coast gas squeeze squarely with the Victorian government, declaring that rising prices caused by the state's ban on onshore gas will take a direct toll on jobs.

Deflecting criticism that Queensland's LNG industry is to blame for the difficulties being experienced in the east coast gas market, Shell Australia chairman Andrew Smith pointed instead to "short-sighted political decisions" such as Victoria's, which is keeping much-needed gas in the ground.

"Victorian manufacturers have a right to be angry about the gas supply situation, but their anger should be directed toward the Victorian government," Mr Smith told The Australian Financial Review.

"It is the Andrews government's ban on onshore gas production that will lead to price hikes to Victorian manufacturers – and this will cost jobs in Victorian factories."

Victoria's Acting Resources Minister Phil Dalidakis rejected the idea the moratorium is impacting prices.

A surge in demand for gas on the east coast was always expected because of the start-up of Queensland's $70 billion LNG export industry, which shipped its first gas to Asia in late 2014 and is still ramping up production. But at the time those plants were conceived, there was little suggestion that governments including Victoria, NSW and the Northern Territory would erect hurdles to the development of plentiful onshore gas resources.

Undeveloped gas

As it is, the squeeze has caused difficulties for industrial gas users to access competitive sources of gas, with some pointing the finger at the Queensland LNG industry. One of the three monster LNG export plants on Gladstone's Curtis Island is owned by Shell, which also holds half of the biggest chunk of undeveloped gas on the east coast, through the Arrow joint venture with PetroChina. Some manufacturers have reported a doubling of prices for their gas supplies within the last 12 months.

Last November the Victorian government introduced legislation to permanently ban all onshore unconventional gas exploration and development, and extended a moratorium on conventional onshore gas until 2020. The move triggered a $2.7 billion damages claim from explorer Lakes Oil, which had ambitions to tap the "vast potential" of its acreage in the onshore Otway and Gippsland Basin for conventional gas.

Lakes had loose accords to supply gas from its Wombat field to food manufacturer Simplot and chemical maker Dow Chemical, and Lakes chief executive Roland Sleeman said that were it not for the four years lost through moratoria Lakes believed it could have been in production already.

"There is no justification at all for the actions they are taking," Mr Sleeman said, describing the ban and moratorium as "ridiculous".

But Mr Dalidakis insisted that the moratorium on conventional gas drilling "will not impact on gas prices in the short-term" and the ban wouldn't have any immediate impact either because there were no proven or probable unconventional onshore reserves in the state.

"What has impacted on local gas prices is the east coast Australian gas marketplace, as the domestic market is competing against the LNG export markets to Asia, making it difficult for local gas users to secure new or longer-term contracts," he said.

Infrastructure costs

Yet Mr Smith said Queensland's coal seam gas industry would not even have been developed without the scale of the LNG export market to offset the huge infrastructure costs.

Unless the Victorian drilling ban is reversed, "all Victorian gas customers will be paying the price of gas in Queensland plus the hefty expense of pipeline access to transport the gas more than 1000 kilometres south," Mr Smith said, adding the impact would be felt by Victorian families, manufacturers and small businesses.

Spot prices for gas in the east coast market are increasingly being set by the "netback" cost of gas for LNG production in Queensland plus the cost of transportation, which is understood to be around $3 a gigajoule down to Victoria, about a third of the state's wholesale gas price on Wednesday.

Just one of Lakes Oil's permits in Victoria is thought to hold about 11 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas and Mr Sleeman said that unlocking only several hundred billion cubic feet of that would be "a gamechanger" as producers would be competing, bringing prices down.

"You've seen that happen in Western Australia when there's more gas than the market needs, people compete and they are prepared to compete potentially down to their cost of production," he said.


Pauline Hanson criticises Waleed Aly while pushing for a ban on Muslim immigration

PAULINE Hanson has criticised The Project co-host Waleed Aly after his showdown with multi-millionaire Dick Smith. The entrepreneur last night appeared on the show to defend his support for the controversial One Nation leader.

Ms Hanson said: “I don’t bother watching him. I think he’s very one-sided and biased in his opinion, he’s not interested in listening to any real debate in this.  “I think he’s rude. Do I really care what his opinion is? No.”

The comments come as Ms Hanson pressed for a total ban on Muslim immigration telling we are seeing a “worldwide revolution” after “appeasing the minorities for too long”.

“When a religion is so incompatible with our culture and our lifestyle we then must have a close look at it,” Ms Hanson told  “The people in our society are feeling the impact of Muslim immigration and the way they’re expanding their numbers in Australia.”

She said President-elect Donald Trump’s win proved “people feel the governments aren’t representing them, their needs and their real concerns”.

Meanwhile, Mr Smith reiterated his criticism of Aly, telling the presenter and academic doesn’t “understand basic economics”.

Mr Smith said he “didn’t understand” the point Aly was trying to make when the pair clashed during the fiery segment on the The Project.

The former Australian of the Year appeared on the program after publicly throwing his support behind Ms Hanson, saying he is aligned with her tough immigration stance and other policy positions.

While Mr Smith clarified that he doesn’t support Ms Hanson’s stance on Muslims, he used his interview on The Project to declare Australia’s population growth should be limited.

Mr Smith said he had no personal issues with Aly — “I think I’ve probably spoken to him before” — but blamed his interviewer’s “misunderstanding” on education.

The Project did not respond when approached by

The patriotic entrepreneur said he had been pleased with the reaction to his decision to back the One Nation leader, and that the feedback he received had been “all positive”.

“There’s the odd person who will say ‘Pauline Hanson’s a racist’ and put you down, but here is an Australian who was a fish and chip shop proprietor who’s got through to the senate totally through hard work and democratic means, you can’t but admire that,” he said.

“I don’t agree with every single point just as I don’t agree with every single point of Malcolm Turnbull ... she’s now dealing with the Prime Minister of Australia and I admire her for that.

“What the intelligentsia do is chant ‘racist’ to any person who isn’t as educated as they are and I believe that’s wrong.”

Ms Hanson maintains there is growing grassroots support for her political party due to her strong stance on issues she believes Australians feel have been neglected by the major parties.

“We’ve been appeasing the minorities for too long, and people want change, people want leadership and they want someone with vision,” Ms Hanson told

Ms Hanson tweeted overnight that she would “continue to push for a ban on Muslim immigration” and urged the public to revisit her party’s policies.

Those policies include calling for an inquiry or Royal Commission to determine if Islam is a religion or political ideology, stop further Muslim immigration and the intake of Muslim refugees and banning the Burqa and Niqab in public places.

“What I’m saying about banning Muslims is Muslims from very heavily dominated practising countries who have no regard for Christianity and our culture and our way of life. The pure fact is, if you look at these women that get around in their full burqas they are very staunch Muslims who have no, I don’t believe will ever assimilate into our society or respect our culture and Christianity,” Ms Hanson said.

Ms Hanson praised Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s comments last month in which he blamed former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser for current problems with radicalisation and gang violence. “The reality is Malcolm Fraser did make mistakes in bringing some people in the 1970s and we’re seeing that today,” Mr Dutton said.

Ms Hanson said Mr Dutton was “spot on” in his criticism, and claimed the Fraser government “started this by opening up the flood gates from people from Lebanese Muslims to come out to Australia.

Ms Hanson said the Lebanese community “are actually very much supportive of me, saying ‘we lost our country, we don’t want it to happen here in Australia’.”

When asked how she would directly change the law to ban Muslims from entering the country, Ms Hanson said: “What I’m going to have to do is try to talk some common sense to the other members of parliament, to Peter Dutton to the Prime Minister.  “This is a debate we need to have, that’s what I’m saying.

“I can say these things but I think Australians have a right to be included in this debate. We have never had a debate on immigration. We have never had a debate on the numbers. We have never had a debate on where they come from and this is what we need to have. I’m going to have that debate.”


Perth woman claims Centrelink hounded her for $26,000 debt but she was owed $5k

Still it goes on

The bungled Centrelink debt-recovery controversy has again come under fire with a Perth woman claiming she was hounded to pay back more than $26,000 she allegedly didn't owe.

The Turnbull government is in the midst of trying to recover $4 billion believed to have been incorrectly paid to welfare recipients using Centrelink's new automated data matching system.

More than 17,000 debt notices were sent out by the Federal government over the Christmas break, with hundreds of people around Australia complaining they were wrongly hounded for repayments. 

Following the litany of complaints, Commonwealth Ombudsman Colin Neave said he would investigate the automated data-matching processes being used to check welfare recipients' eligibility for some Centrelink payments.

It came on the back of Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, Senator Nick Xenophon and Labor calling for the system to be shut down.

Perth woman Claire Etheridge said she was shocked when a letter from Centrelink claimed she owed $26,274.

"It had been a very stressful time," she told Radio 6PR on Wednesday morning.

"Having to deal with that and making complaints to Centrelink and getting calls at 6.30 in the morning because they didn't take the time difference into account from over east.

"I would get text messages from Centrelink saying they were going to call me that day, but they never did.

"I took time off work and I fought it... it was an absolute shambles."

A Perth woman claims Centrelink said she owed $26,000. © Provided by WAtoday A Perth woman claims Centrelink said she owed $26,000. After battling red tape for weeks, Ms Etheridge then got another letter from Centrelink saying she actually owed just $180 for an overpayment of Newstart Allowance from 2011.

She refused to believe she had any debt and, after numerous calls and complaints to Centrelink, it turned out she was actually underpaid and owed close to $5000.

"I'm glad I had to go through that but I don't wish it on anybody because it was an absolute debacle," she said.

"The reason I came forward is because I don't want other people to accept they actually owe money."

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge told Fairfax Media on Wednesday the system "wasn't flawed". He said despite the ongoing controversy, the system would not be shut down.  ?"I don't accept that the system is fundamentally flawed," Mr Tudge told Fairfax Media.


Grieving widow’s nightmare to get $150 a week from Centrelink

WHEN Lucy Johnson’s* husband died suddenly after a cardiac arrest in September, her whole world fell apart. Not only did she have to arrange his funeral and sort out his affairs, she was broke.

The 55-year-old turned to Centrelink for support, and her problems got worse.

Mrs Johnson was forced to spend months returning to the agency’s office in her small town just west of Sydney, which repeatedly mislaid her paperwork.

“I was in and out once or twice a week,” she told “It became so complicated. They were the most unhelpful. It could be an hour and a half wait.

“The dealings with them were so terrible that on literally every occasion I went there, I was sent away with another form to sign. Every time I handed forms in, they seemed to be misplaced and I had to queue up again.”

Bill* died in September aged 58, and had no life insurance because he was considered high-risk. It took two months for his widowed spouse to receive backdated bereavement allowance, during which time she had to rely on her extended family for money.

Four weeks later, the allowance ran out and she had to return to apply for a “mature age” Newstart support while she looks for work, which is just $150 a week.

“My husband and I worked and were self-sufficient for 30 years,” said Mrs Johnson, who retired from her job in aged care two years ago because of back problems, and began doing bookwork and accounts for her husband’s transport business. “I’ve come for a little assistance. I don’t want Centrelink to support me for the rest of my life.

“I was frustrated and angry. If I had been a dole bludger, it would have been easier. They should treat people with a little more dignity.”

Mrs Johnson is still seeing a grief counsellor after she went into shock following her husband’s heart attack at their home.

“Myself and my sons watched him die at the ICU,” she said. “I was medication-free before my husband died. Now I have acute anxiety, stress ulcers and stomach problems. I was in hospital twice, it was too much. At the same time, I was dealing with Centrelink.

“They tend to want to flip you off to the next queue so someone else can deal with you.

“I went to the doctor’s surgery and broke down. I couldn’t handle it, it was too distressing. Every time I walked out I felt like reaching for the anxiety tablets. I told the doctor, I can’t take any more.

“None of them have any empathy. The way Centrelink treat people, particularly in this situation when a husband unexpectedly dies, it’s much harder than it needed to be. And it’s not over yet.”

The welfare agency has been heavily criticised recently for sending out thousands of inaccurate debt letters, and for being inefficient, confusing and disorganised with an out of date IT system.

Vulnerable Australians say they have spent hours queuing at offices and waiting on the phone, with 60 per cent of callers in 2015-16 not reaching a human.

Mrs Johnson eventually contacted her local MP, Susan Templeman for help her situation. But the trauma of the past few months has left her distraught, like many others who have been wrung out by the system.

The public sector union says standards have dropped to unacceptable levels following thousands of job cuts in the Department of Human Services, with the scandal over the debt recovery system piling on more pressure. The CPSU warned the public will suffer as staff struggle to cope.

“There’s a perfect storm of work coming, with this debt recovery scheme likely to be just part of the problem,” assistant national secretary Michael Tull said on Tuesday.


May God help these cotton wool kids

Kevin Donnelly

IT doesn’t surprise that private schools are spending millions on wellness centres because students are stressed and lack resilience. It also doesn’t surprise that one of the fastest growing activities in primary schools is teaching meditation and mindfulness.

According to the latest Mission Australia survey, close to 22,000 young Australians rank mental health issues among their top three concerns.

And according to Beyond Blue, one in four young Australians aged between 16 and 24 has experienced a mental health issue some time in the past 12 months.

Instead of optimism, confidence and resilience it ­appears that more and more young people are suffering insecurity, anxiety and stress.

Why are so many students and young Australians at risk and unable to cope, and what’s to be done?

The first thing is that parents have to stop wrapping their children in cotton wool. Free-range children are a thing of the past and long gone are the days when kids were allowed to take risks.

Trampolines now have safety nets. Instead of walking or riding a bike to school children are chauffeured by a parent, and reprimanding or punishing a child is now politically incorrect and equivalent to child abuse.

Many children are so spoilt and indulged that at the first sign of not getting what they want, they collapse in tears or manufactured rage. The Asian tiger mums are far from perfect but at least they discipline their children and teach them the benefits of application and hard work.

Progressive, new-age education is also to blame as teachers are told that nurturing self-esteem and making sure all are winners are more important than teaching children to be competitive and to overcome adversity.

For many years it was forbidden in Australian classrooms to grade students 10 out of 10 or A, B, C, D and E (where E meant fail). Instead teachers had to use meaningless ­descriptions such as consolidating, not yet achieved and ­satisfactory.

Instead of optimism, confidence and resilience it ­appears that more and more young people are suffering insecurity, anxiety and stress.

Compared with top performing Asian education systems, where students regularly face high-risk tests and exams, the first time Australian students are pressured is at Year 12. And even then, each year more and more Year 12 students are ­applying for special consideration as a result of the stress and anxiety caused by the fear of being ranked in terms of performance and not doing as well as expected.

Growing up during the ’60s when at primary school we loved to play British Bulldog and Stacks on the Mill. Such games have long since been banned as too dangerous even though they taught us to overcome fear and that there was nothing special about a sprained wrist or a grazed knee.

A number of local councils are also getting rid of monkey bars and swings because of the risk that children might be hurt. Add to that the fact that in many junior sports no one is allowed to keep the score and it’s understandable why many children lack ­resilience and the will to succeed.

The American author ­Joseph Campbell, who helped to inspire George Lucas to produce Star Wars, argues that children must learn about the archetypes, myths and fables that teach how to deal with challenges and loss and how to overcome adversity.

Tales such as the Iliad and the Odyssey, where the hero overcomes fear and doubt, teaches children, especially boys, to be resourceful and brave. Norse legends such as ­Beowulf and stories like Queen Boadicea should also be compulsory reading.

Unfortunately, such traditional legends and stories are now considered old fashioned and students are more likely to be fed a diet of contemporary stories about dysfunctional families, teenage substance abuse and gender confusion and dysphoria.

Even though religion is often sidelined and ignored, it’s also true that Christianity provides an anecdote to anxiety and depression. Stories such as David and Goliath ­illustrate how ingenuity and faith can beat what appear to be insurmountable odds.

Believing in something spiritual and transcendent also counters the emptiness and sterility of secular ­society’s focus on commercialism and self-interest.

No amount of social networking on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram can replace the very human need for a deeper and more lasting sense of fulfilment.


Why Australian voters want to ‘drain the swamp’ in Canberra

AUSTRALIAN voters are so fed up with entitled members of parliament and their excuses for using taxpayers’ cash they are seeking to drain the Canberra swamp of career politicians, a prominent electoral expert has warned.

Drawing on shocking results from his recent research that showed Australian voter satisfaction at a record low, ANU political professor Ian McAllister told the latest controversy surrounding sidelined Health Minister Sussan Ley’s use of taxpayer funds was exactly the sort of behaviour by politicians that’s stirring an electoral revolt.

The embattled MP has been stood down from her senior parliamentary position while taxpayer-funded trips to the Gold Coast — where she bought a luxury investment property and attended social events — are being investigated.

While the government is seeking a quick fix to the growing scandal, Professor McAllister warns the issue at hand goes deeper than a few suspicious taxi receipts and questionable trips to Queensland’s resort capital.

When a politician is busted taking advantage of their position, be it hitching a ride on a chopper, double-dipping on tax deductions, or chauffeuring their pets around the countryside, we hear cries to rein in spending and make pollies more accountable.

But Prof McAllister says voters outrage is over their representative’s behaviour rather than the system that facilitates it.

“The real problem is not the legal framework. The problem is there’s a lot of discretion. The real issue is this demand for a cultural change so that you get more politicians that are directly interested in serving the public than their own careers,” he said.

The Australian Electoral Study, led by Prof McAllister and published ahead of the new year showed Australians were more dissatisfied than ever with their political representatives. It’s a phenomenon that has been spreading around the world — crystallised by the election of Donald Trump to the most powerful office in the US. And it is slowly rearing its head in Australia with the protest-driven election of inexperienced parliamentarians like Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer.

“Australia would be one of the leading countries with the proportion of politicians that we have who spend their careers in the political system, and it’s becoming very clear that people don’t want and won’t stand for this,” he said.

“There’s a real disaffection with career politicians and a lot of it seems to come back to entitlements, using money in particular ways, this grey area where people in power have flexibility in the way they use money, travel, things like that.”

Prof McAllister says voter dissatisfaction has been building significantly since 2007, but the 2016 data, which used the same questions and methodology the significant survey of 3000 Australians has relied on for more than four decades, he “thought there was a mistake in the software”.

“There was no mistake, there’s something going on,” he said.

“There’s clearly a disaffection there which is being indicated.”
Australian voters are keen to “drain the swamp” in Canberra, like Donald Trump supporters in the US.

Voters in the US backed president-elect Trump’s aim to “drain the swamp”, a catchy slogan that translated to ridding the political system of entitled career politicians, and Prof McAllister said Australian voters have indicated they’re keen to do the same.

There is some difficulty, however, with Australian voters quickly turning on the alternative politicians they elect out of protest, meaning we tend to end up with the same brand of major party politicians the electorate claims to despise.

“The government needs, both sides of politics need to enforce better behaviour amount their members and that’s tough — you’ve got a lot of people in government and you can’t regulate them all the time so you have a lot of flexibility and discretion,” he said.

“The longer term issue is how do you get different sorts of people into politics, that is a much bigger ask. That involves institutional change to politics.”

Prof McAllister said the government’s grip on economic management was also to blame for voters’ dissatisfaction, and explained the resounding reaction to entitlement scandals like Ms Ley’s.

“We talk about people’s distrust in politicians, but what all of this is over is really a lacklustre economic performance,” he said.

“There’s a significant proportion of people out there who are having their pensions cut, their super cut, having these things they’re used to taken away and they’re feeling under economic pressure and children at school and mortgages and things, then they see this behaviour among politicians.

“That’s what’s driving it. If people were feeling very prosperous and the economy was growing, if politician took a trip to the Gold Coast they wouldn’t care. That’s at the back of it as well.”

Ms Ley has maintained she has done nothing wrong as details of her taxpayer-funded trips continue to emerge, and the opposition bays for her scalp.

Revelations she bought a $795,000 luxury apartment from a Liberal National Party donor during an official visit to the Gold Coast in 2015 have been followed by details of claimed travel costs to the popular holiday spot for New Year’s Eve celebrations in 2013 and 2014.

Fronting the media on Monday, Ms Ley said she was “confident that the investigation will demonstrate that no rules were broken whatsoever”.

The longtime public servant, who has represented the rural NSW division of Farrer since 2001, risks joining a growing list of Australian political figures who were undone by travel claims that didn’t stand up to public scrutiny.

Former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop’s decades-long political career came crashing down in 2015 after she repaid more than $5000 over chartering a helicopter from Melbourne to Geelong to attend a Liberal Party fundraiser, and was revealed to have claimed flights to attend the weddings of two former Liberal MPs.

Another former scandal-plagued Speaker, Peter Slipper, had to pay back $17,285 over a decade including $7000 in family travel perks.

Labor Senator Sam Dastyari was forced to resign from the frontbench last year after having an education company with links to the Chinese government foot the bill for a travel charge he “didn’t want to pay” after exceeding his parliamentary travel budget.

When parliament resumes, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be under pressure to act on a proposal to scrap travel entitlements for retired MPs and their families which they are currently entitled to under the Life Gold Pass Scheme. It was a Bill the parliament didn’t have time for last year.

The will also face a renewed push to clean up entitlements for federal politicians with at least two senators pledging to push for changes when parliament resumes.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale and crossbencher Nick Xenophon have vowed to reintroduce legislation to overhaul the rules around expenses.

In an interview with ABC radio, Mr Xenophon said he wanted an independent watchdog to oversee the disclosure of claims and enforce harsher penalties for those who exploit the rules.

“I’d like to think that there’ll be a keener interest on the part of my colleagues on both sides from the major parties to consider this seriously because clearly what they’ve done to date doesn’t work,” he said. “This is why so many Australians hate so many politicians.”


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 January, 2017

Senator attacks credentialism -- to gasps of disbelief

The constant march towards more and more schooling for just about everything is mostly pointless.  The jobs concerned are not being performed noticeably better but uncritical people don't ask about that.  Teaching, for instance, was once just an on-the-job apprenticeship.  Now it requires a 4-year college course.  So have educational standards improved?  Quite the contrary. Education standards were MUCH higher in the past.

The one certain thing from it is higher costs to get anything done.  The Lion's Helm is one of the few who are blowing the whistle on the stupidity and gullibility of it all.

The Project viewers were left stunned when Senator David Leyonhjelm described childcare workers’ roles as “wiping noses and stopping the kids from killing each other” in an interview on Tuesday night.

The Liberal Democrat Senator made several comments that outraged and offended childcare workers in an interview on the Channel Ten show about the Federal Government’s new $3 billion childcare reform package.

Senator Leyonhjelm said he would not support the package without amendments, criticising the bill for not reducing subsidies to higher income families.

He then suggested a way to reduce the cost of childcare would be to cut back the required credentials of workers, adding that women didn’t need training to take care of children.

“Apart from the fact you want to make sure there aren’t any paedophiles involved, you have to have credentials these days to be a childcare worker,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.

“A lot of women, mostly women, used to look after kids in childcare centres.”

“And then they brought in this national quality framework and they had to go and get a ‘certificate three’ in childcare in order to continue the job they were doing – you know, wiping noses and stopping the kids from killing each other.”

Senator Leyonhjelm said “a lot of women just quit” because of the introduction of minimum qualifications.

"The ones who got certificate threes said, ‘OK, I want more pay now that I’m more qualified’. All we did was drive up the cost because of this credentialism."

The panel appeared stunned by his flippant description of childcare worker's role.

Seeking to clarify, co-host Peter Helliar told the senator he thought a lot of people in childcare might be offended by his remarks.

"This is a very tough job that they do," Hellier said.

Senator Leyonhjelm maintained that workers did not need the credentials, saying there were no improvements in standards when the minimum standard of training was introduced.

"Yes it is, but there are an awful lot of people who are very good at it, but they didn't need a sheet of paper to say they were very good at it," he said.

"I don't think we corrected any errors, any errors, any problems, any deficiencies adversely affecting the kids when we brought in that national quality framework."

Panellist Scott Dooley joked with the senator, asking if his vision for the future of childcare was a "bunch of 30 kids on a leash drinking out of a saucer while a grandpa watches?"

Senator Leyonhjelm said that any dropping of qualification wouldn't see "a reduction in childcare standards".

Following the interview, co-host Gorgi Coghlan commented that the senator's benchmark seemed to be, "'Make sure they’re not a paedophile and then everything from there is OK'."

Coghlan also pointed out that mums feel confident leaving their kids in care when they know they are in qualified hands and more workers wouldn't be attracted to the industry if they weren't valued.

A clip of the interview was viewed on Facebook more than 183,000 times, garnering 1300 responses, mostly of anger and disbelief.

"Disgraceful to say this man is an elected member of the state? What an attitude," wrote one Facebook user.

"This is really quite unbelievable, how can you possibly believe that studying a subject of childcare won't and can't improve the care given to children?" commented another.

One user pointed out how "critical" the first five years of a child life were to their development.

"It takes education - knowledge and skill to learn and understand key child developmental needs to ensure a child grows to their fullest potential. Sure we can have anyone wiping a nose or stopping children from killing each other but is this all that children deserve?" she wrote.

Meanwhile, others agreed with the senator.

"It's childcare. It's not school, it's not college. It's literally group babysitting, and that's all I want it to be. I agree with the Senator's position," one user wrote.



Australia's huge and incompetent welfare bureaucracy

It just gets worse.  It should be split up into State-based organizations.  It is just too big

“CENTRELINK is letting me die,” reads graffiti scrawled on the wall of the disabled toilet at a branch in Sydney’s inner west.

That’s the perception of some Australians trying to negotiate a benefits system that appears seriously flawed, where letters slamming people with bogus debts of thousands of dollars were widely distributed over the Christmas period.

Long queues snake around the room, while others sit looking bored on grey seats, staring at the grey walls, yet several help desks are empty.

Alberto Bolognini, from Leichhardt, was blunt. “The system sucks,” he told “I pay $700 a week in taxes and when you come for help, they drive you through hell and back.”

The accusations Centrelink’s automated system is failing keep pouring in, with Aussies wrongly targeted thanks to bungled data matching with the Australian Taxation Office. The errors include claims people had two jobs because their employer has slightly different names, that they were working all year when they were unemployed for months and using old addresses for inaccurate debt notices when current ones are held by the ATO.

Those worst affected are the most vulnerable in society — pensioners, people with disabilities and those with mental health issues, some of whom have spoken of suicide after having debt collection agencies put on their case.

And the mistakes are proving hard to fix thanks to clogged phone lines, overstretched staff and difficulties in overriding the online system. That was painfully evident in the frustration expressed by the Aussies spoke to at a packed Sydney office.

Mr Bolognini, a 53-year-old construction worker, injured the tendons in his hand three months ago and has been jobless ever since, but he’s been waiting six weeks for unemployment benefits.

“For three months I’ve been surviving on redundancy money and my tax return. Now I’m broke.

“I need money for physiotherapy, but it’s just more paperwork, meantime bills keep coming through. You’ve got to queue for two hours to see the first girl and then another two hours to see the second.”

But Annie Williams* said every business needs to adjust to new challenges and it’s the same for Centrelink, which has to deal with vast numbers of people. “There’s always long queues, I think their website is constantly needing an update, but the Centrelink staff work really hard and they’re generally nice and helpful as can be,” she told “They want to do the best they can for everyone. There’s hiccups but I think the system always needs to be updated, there’s new circumstances around.”

Centrelink’s problems aren’t new, with reports in May that 60 per cent of calls were going unanswered. Labor ministers and independent MPs have called for the system to be suspended.

Michael Bond, from Melbourne, told the issues were also affecting Medicare repayments. Staff told him he would have to wait six months for the $500 his small family desperately needs because they were being diverted to help with the Centrelink debacle. “We’ll probably have to get a payday loan,” he said. “They’re going on holiday with their families and we can’t afford to buy food.”

An employee who works in compliance for the agency told that “95 per cent of debts are wrong”. He said the Government was “cutting corners, calculating debts fast is their goal, and it’s just wrong, staff morale is so bad everywhere.”

He added: “Centrelink gets a data match from the ATO, the customer is asked to supply pay slips, if they can’t then the income is ‘annualised’ making the debt incorrect.

“Not too long ago, we conducted reviews the right way. We wrote to the employers to get a break down of the income and assessed it in the correct fortnights, but in the Government’s eyes this took too long so they adopted this dodgy incorrect system.

“In the unearned income teams, we may get a match for bank accounts, usually these reviews are for age pensioners, we are told to only address the match data and not look at other assets they may have like shares, real estate, etc, effectively only doing half the job. As you can see, the whole process is wrong.

“The Government should be held accountable.”

Social Services Minister Christian Porter told in a statement: “The online compliance system is working as intended. The data matching capability has been developed internally. The software has been used by the department to successfully carry out data matching operations for a number of years. The decision-making rules used to identify non-compliance and identify debt after explanations have been received are well established and have not been altered in the automated system and indeed are the same decision making rules that were applied by Labor when they were in government.”

He said the rate of error “in terms of finally issued debts being raised but overturned” looked set to be less than 1.6 per cent, with the Government predicting it will claw back $4 billion in overpayments.

“If there is a difference between the information reported to Centrelink and the information reported to the ATO the government owes an obligation to the Australian taxpayer to seek clarification of the difference,” Mr Porter said.

“Seeking an explanation [for this difference] is not an error on the part of Centrelink — it is Centrelink doing its job and the person fulfilling the basic responsibility of receiving welfare being that they provide information about their income when requested.

“This is critical to ensuring the integrity of the welfare system — if someone receives benefits to which they are not entitled, the Government is required by law to recover the money.”

The Commonwealth Ombudsman is now investigating the complaints and Shadow Minister for Human Services Linda Burney has written to the Australian National Audit Office requesting an inquiry into the debacle.

The CPSU (Community and Public Sector Union) says service standards have already dropped to unacceptable levels following thousands of job cuts in the Department of Human Services, with the latest scandal piling on more pressure.

“There’s a perfect storm of work coming, with this debt recovery scheme likely to be just part of the problem,” assistant national secretary Michael Tull said on Tuesday.

Alana Wesley, a 25-year-old fine arts graduate from Petersham, said Centrelink appeared to have worked on their service in the wake of the news of the inaccurate debt letters.

“I’ve also noticed staff cuts but strangely, I don’t know if it’s connected [to the complaints], for the past two weeks there’s been better service,” she said. “It’s improved.

“I’ve been trying to get my youth allowance payment but they put down the wrong university, despite the fact I had put in the documents. Six months ago my payments got cut off so I’m still trying to get back pay for the course I finished in November. It’s been very delayed. “I know a lot of people in the same boat.”

Jeff and Lisa Thomas*, a couple in their sixties who spoke to at the Sydney Centrelink office, said they had been battling the system all year. “We didn’t get any money for three months,” said Jeff, 60, who was made redundant from his job in property in February and hasn’t been able to find another job since. “There’s not enough staff. They should have twice as many people. “People are passing work on to others. They put me on the phone to someone in Canberra, I was on the phone for an hour and they said, it’s [the branch] that has to deal with that. I looked around and security said, you can’t do that. Eventually someone helped.”

The couple decided to sell their house and downsize, and began receiving rent allowance of $123 a fortnight to help fund their $600-a-week apartment while they looked for somewhere to buy.

Then one member of staff told them shouldn’t be receiving the allowance and would have to pay it back. “We’re not sure that’s right, because two other members of staff said we were,” said Jeff. “The staff don’t know the policy. We’ve been bled dry, they should be encouraging people to downsize.”

Jeff also receives $28 a week from Newstart if he applies for 10 jobs — most of which he says he hasn’t a hope of getting — but recently discovered he only needed to apply for five.

Lisa, 67, said staff had gradually been replaced by “friendly, efficient, helpful self-service — in other words, nothing.”

She believes the office needs dozens more people, and advises others to ask for copies of anything they sign at Centrelink and keep their own file. Hers is 120 pages long. “Practices are sloppy, they’re stressed and understaffed,” she said. “I don’t think they’re properly trained.

“I feel sorry for the people who work there. They are stressed. The Government is trying to screw money out of the poorest of the poor.  “Now all they do is accuse people of bludging, not wanting jobs.”


Even doctors are getting screwed by Centrelink

DOCTORS from top Australian universities say they too were hit with erroneous Centrelink debt notices — and even they can’t seem to fix the mistakes.

Darren O’Connell, who has a PhD in economics and lectured at Curtin University, told he has tried eight times since November to get his inaccurate debt removed from the system, but the letters keep coming.

His case has not been reviewed as is his entitlement, but instead referred to debt collection agency Dun & Bradstreet, who are chasing him for $321.53 from FY10-11, plus 10 per cent in recovery fees.

“The process and logic used by Centrelink is both flawed, dangerous and opaque,” he told “This process assumes people are guilty and it is up to us to prove our innocence.”

Like the thousands of Australians slugged with inaccurate debt notices, Dr O’Connell has been the victim of Centrelink’s bungled automated data matching with the Australian Taxation Office.

“Centrelink makes a number of flawed assumptions,” he said. “The first is to assume that each taxpayer was employed as a PAYG employee for the period of time listed on the group certificate. The second assumption is that the person was earning an equal amount of income each week, or other sub-period. Centrelink further assumes that the person should have reporting this income, whether it was real or not, during the period of time they were receiving an eligible benefit.”

The 41-year-old, from Katoomba in NSW, has now spent hours trying to obtain payslips from his former employer, for whom he stopped working in October 2011.

“The staff at Centrelink have been unable to grasp the concept of contracting and that just because a group certificate has dates of employment, it does not follow that income was derived equally over this period,” he said. “This indicates a dangerous level of incompetence.”

Laurton McGurk also worked for Curtin Unversity on a casual basis while completing a biology PhD, and said wages sometimes came through months late because of a “messy” payroll system. But Dr McGurk, who now works at the University of Western Australia, says she always reported her income as it was earned to Centrelink.

“In late October of 2016, I got an email saying there was a letter in MyGov for me from Centrelink,” she told “When I opened the email, the PDF was blank. As I wasn’t a Centrelink client any more, I didn’t think much of it.

“In late November, I got an SMS late on a Sunday evening announcing my income assessment was complete and I owed over $2000 due to an overpayment arising from the PAYG statement for 2010-11, which includes income arising from work done in 2009-10.

“I have supplied payslips, made over six phone calls, taken screenshots of broken links and even supplied an excel spreadsheet detailing what I was paid in 2010-11 and when I did actual work for each payslip.

“The program they are using is crude but the system they have built around it is also designed to funnel people into debt recovery not into review. I was and am extremely grateful for the assistance I received from Centrelink but I am not going to pay back a debt I did not incur and I’m not going to let this badly designed computer bully badger others who may be in the same predicament.”

Social Services Minister Christian Porter this week insisted the online compliance system was “working as intended” and that the initial letters, sent out at a rate of 20,000 a week, are not debt letters but requests for extra information about data discrepancies.

“If a debt is raised at a later point, as it is in 80 per cent of cases, this is because the individual acknowledges a mistake in their original income reporting, or provides no explanation at all, or provides an unsatisfactory explanation,” he said. “The rate of error is measured in terms of finally issued debts being raised but overturned and present indications are that this will be less than 1.6 per cent.

“Seeking an explanation as to why there is a difference in the information reported to Centrelink and the information reported to the ATO from the person concerned and receiving a satisfactory explanation is not an error on the part of Centrelink — it is Centrelink doing its job and the person fulfilling the basic responsibility of receiving welfare being that they provide information about their income when requested. This is critical to ensuring the integrity of the welfare system.”

But Dr O’Connell says Mr Porter “is not being truthful when he says that the Centrelink online platform is operating correctly” and that IT problems when he tried to upload documentary evidence have compounded his problems.

“Centrelink representatives have to raise IT requests to get the system issues resolved ... but cannot or will not commence an authorised review or suspend debt collection. Here is another example of Centrelink ludicrous logic: it is telling people that they should enter into voluntary repayment plans with D&B while it sorts out its IT issues. Should the debt be successfully appealed customer should then applies to D&B for a refund. How this advice can be given credibly and with a straight face underlines just how flawed, dangerous and opaque Centrelink’s process is. Centrelink and the government needs to be held more accountable for this process.”

Shadow Minister for Human Services Linda Burney has demanded the system be suspended and this afternoon demanded her counterpart, the responsible minister Alan Tudge, should address the issue.

“Centrelink is at breaking point,” she told a press conference. “I do not hold the people who work in Centrelink responsible. They are caring, compassionate people, who are working under enormous stress. This is nothing but a money-grab by this Government.

“They are using the most vulnerable people in our community, falsely accusing them, terrifying them that they have bills with Centrelink to fill their budget black hole. I have no problem and people that have been overpaid, people who have gained the system, should pay that money back, and should feel the full consequences of that, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about thousands and thousands of Australians, right across this country, who have been falsely accused of fraud by Centrelink.”

She has written to the Australian National Audit Office requesting an inquiry into the debacle.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman is investigating the system, which the government says will claw back $4 billion in overpayments to welfare recipients.


WA improves basic school maths and English

Western Australia has improved its low levels of high school literacy and numeracy with online testing and educational reforms.

Only about 28 per cent of Year Nine students in the state were hitting the minimum requirements in maths and English in 2013.

When the same group of pupils, eligible to take the certificate of education, was tested in 2016 the level had reached almost 94 per cent.

Education Minister Peter Collier said the improvement was thanks to the WA's Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment and a reform in the WA certificate of education.

The test was introduced as part of wider reforms to senior secondary education, he said.

"Through the assessment, students who are struggling with reading and writing are identified early and receive tailored help to ensure they are prepared for life beyond secondary schooling," he added.

WA is the first state to introduce this sort of program, with other states expected to follow, Mr Collier 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

11 January, 2017

A confused theologian

Rev. Bird has got a screed published by the ABC which is a rather good example of the Leftist tendency to abuse words.  He first condemns the pluralism that actually exists in Australia -- with voices like those of Pauline Hanson and Cory Bernardi -- so apparently wants to shut them up.  But he then says that we need to defend our pluralism.  But he is the one who is attacking it!  I suppose such addled thinking is what we have to expect of a theologian.  He probably thinks the doctrine of the Holy Trinity (1+1+1 =1) makes sense too.  Excerpt below

We are at risk in Australia of creating a political climate where extremists like Holland's anti-immigration activist Geert Wilders or Greece's communist leader Dimitris Koutsoumpas are electable, writes Mike Bird. We must rise to defend our pluralism.

Burning anger has, lamentably, become the dominating feature of the Australian political climate.

Walking through Melbourne's Brunswick recently, I noticed Sex Party signs that say "Tax the Church" — trying to create the impression that all churches are contemptible multi-million dollar mega-complexes built on the moral bankruptcy of a televangelist.

Meanwhile, Liberal MPs Cory Bernardi and George Christensen are reportedly set to attend a dinner to raise funds for an anti-Islam and anti-immigration group called the Q-Society, whose views can be easily characterised as xenophobic.

How did this happen? How did we come to the point where disdain for others was the new normal in Australian politics?

The rancorous debates over same-sex marriage, immigration, refugees, and climate change, combined with people's fatigue with the two-party system, has created the perfect storm for some political monster to emerge from the abyss of communal fragmentation and political opportunism.

Who's laughing now?

I recoil at the idea of an anti-immigration party in the Senate just as much as I fear the possibility of the Sex Party ever having the balance of power in the Senate.

I shudder when I think of the prospect of the Greens' Lee Rhiannon or Pauline Hanson as president of the Senate, holding ministerial office, or even — heaven forbid — the office of prime minister.


South Australian Schools Force Children To Follow Transgender Agenda

A new Education Department policy has, for the first time, explicitly detailed how public schools should accommodate transgender students in line with their legal responsibilities. An extreme move has taken place, that echoes cultural Marxist ideology being pushed on our youth, with an aim of exploiting them with values that go against commonsense, logical thinking, morals, and to put it simply, are un-Australian. The contents of this program are extremely dangerous as it promotes and encourages a mental disorder, rather than finding ways to help these individuals, in the same way other illnesses are treated.

This policy enforces that transgender students can use their preferred first name and pronoun, such as she, he, zhe, xhe, or they. The problem with this is that it teaches our children a falsehood, in that there are more than 2 genders, which through DNA has proven that isn’t the case. The policy also enforces that transgender students can choose whatever uniform they would like to wear. This will confuse other students into thinking one can choose to be whichever gender they wish on any particular day, rather than knowing the fact, that one is born and will always remain either male or female. This is further enforced with the option given to these students in choosing which toilet and change rooms they wish to access.

Anyone can see the problems that will be encountered by having people with different genitalia in the same bathroom or change room. Not only from a moral aspect, but also that sexual assaults have occurred due to these changes, with FTM transgenders facing assaults and MTF transgenders conducting assaults on others. Furthermore these problems will also increase now that these students can share sleeping quarters on school camps with the gender they identify as. They can also take part in Physical Education lessons and sports according to the gender they choose. Imagine how unfair a contest between a MTF transgender person and a female would be. The former will enjoy an advantage that has been proven time and time again when these measures have been introduced into sport.

As extreme as this policy may seem, the department said the policy would ensure “consistent, clear” treatment of transgender pupils by school leaders. Executive Director of Statewide Services and Child Development Ann-Marie Hayes said, “the difference is that this clearly articulates what we require from schools. We had a number of queries from schools and parents, and we needed to make it very clear what our legislative requirements were and how schools enact them — supporting principals in particular but also families in what they can expect from schools.” Ann-Marie Hayes also played the SJW victim card in saying, “this is a particular group that we know get quite bullied and harassed, the message we are giving to peers here is we don’t support homophobia and transphobia in a school setting.” Homophobia and transphobia will be the least of her concerns when the consequences of deviating from the natural order and promoting confusion are manifested.

This policy follows many that we have seen come into fruition over the last couple of years. It all started with the Safe Schools program, that taught young children how to cross-dress into what they felt comfortable in, how to look up fetish and gay clubs, search porn on the internet, be told that gender isn’t confined to male or female, and that all of these extreme measures should be accepted due to tolerance. Then we saw the Respectful Relationships program that taught students about male privilege, and how they have an unfair advantage especially if white and straight, and how they are constant abusers of women. Then we saw the Building Belonging program that enforces cultural diversity by attacking Australian values. These programs have all been pushed by the same people, and are doing so due to their Marxist ideology, rather than it being programs aimed at tackling bullying, domestic violence, and racism.

Shine SA, which delivers the controversial Safe Schools program in South Australia, backed the policy. Chief executive Jill Davidson said bullying of gender diverse students had “a significant impact on well-being, school attendance and educational outcomes”, and the policy would ensure students “receive a quality education in a safe, supportive and inclusive environment”. She also said, “schools have been looking for support in this area and it is great to have formal policies that provide them with direction and guidance.” It seems as though she is oblivious to the disastrous consequences of this policy, that will actually result in worse outcomes for students.

Roslyn Phillips, the former national research officer for Family Voice Australia, however shares the views of the silent majority of Australians. She said the vast majority of young people who felt they should be the opposite sex “grow out of it” if schools and doctors did not encourage it. “It’s a real problem to single out these children and treat what they think (they are) as real,” she said. This affirms the crucial point that gender dysphoria is a mental disorder that should be treated and cured, rather than something that should be celebrated and promoted. These people are suffering with these conditions, and there are many that acknowledge that it is a disorder they have, but then we have Marxist politicians trying to enforce that what they have is normal and that they should embrace it rather than cure it. How damaging must it be for these people to be told untruths, and to not receive treatment all because extremists have decided that it is politically incorrect and too offensive to fix such issues.

Another underlying issue that needs to be discussed is that policies such as this continue to give the state more power over our children, and at the same time strip away responsibilities from parents. Ms Hayes said that it would be “highly unlikely”, regarding a child wanting to be transgendered, that they would go against the wishes of parents unless it was an “absolute last resort” such as a suicide risk. The problem is who determines what constitutes a suicide risk, it’s quite easy for people to exaggerate purposefully for the sake of an agenda. Also, Ms Hayes contradicted herself by saying that if the wishes of transgender students to “affirm their identity” clashed with those of their parents, the policy allowed schools to “assess the best interests of the child to ensure their physical and psychological safety and well-being”.

By that statement it is quite clear that they are positioning themselves to play the role of a parent, therefore stripping the responsibilities and duties that parents have in providing their children with the right values. They know that parents would never teach such degeneracy to their children, which is why they have taken it upon themselves to take over that role, in teaching the moral guidelines that the state deems fit rather than teaching our children how to read, write, and learn all of the necessary subjects to equip them for their future.

The Education Department’s policy is due to receive a huge backlash from the community, so they have put so called “alternatives” in place, in an effort to show that they are able to work with families in the community. With regards to the use of toilets and change rooms, they said “some possible alternative options may include use of disability or staff facilities.” With regards to the accommodation arrangements for transgender students at school camps, they said “the ideal situation will be for a student to access sleeping quarters that correspond to the student’s gender identity if they choose…if this is not possible or appropriate then private or separate sleeping quarters can be considered.”

One needs to understand that this rhetoric in the name of progress is continually changed and altered in order to secretly allow the Marxist agenda to be realised. When we first heard about the push for gay marriage, the Labor Party said that it wouldn’t strip away religious freedoms from churches who refused to conduct such a service. Then Bill Shorten came out and said that this no longer applies and that having religious freedom was causing discrimination. The left can not be trusted when it comes to providing what is best for our children.

The left have slowly but dramatically in the last 50 years attacked the family unit, with an aim of imposing a one world Communist and Marxist utopia. They have been successful in turning society 180 degrees, in that whatever used to be considered taboo and degeneracy is now considered good, and whatever used to be considered good is now labelled evil and bigoted. There has been several polls released on this issue of whether it is a good policy to allow transgenders to choose their pronouns, bathrooms, uniforms, sleeping arrangements, and sports. Shockingly in the Adelaide Advertiser it is a dead heat with just under 47% voting both for or against, with another 6% in the other columns. Likewise in the 7 News Australia Facebook poll it was a 50% draw to both groups for and against the changes.

This means that if the polls are legit and haven’t been tampered with, we are in a lot of trouble. Not long ago it would of been unheard of that 50% of people would support such changes, and indicates that the propaganda and brainwashing that the left have been successfully pushing through TV programs like Q&A, The Project, and in most of the mainstream media, has worked. They have been able to transform a nation from a moral, family focused, common sense society, into a degenerate, immoral, Marxist one, all in the name of a flawed understanding of love and tolerance in an effort to justify one’s insecurities.


Outrage over Cory Bernardi and George Christensen attending the “world’s worst fundraiser”

The left continues to flaunt its tendency to get offended at every move made by right-wing politicians to save Western civilisation. This time the outrage is directed at conservative parliamentarians Cory Bernardi and George Christensen attending a fundraiser associated with an organisation opposing the left’s migration agenda.

Cory Bernardi and George Christensen will be attending a fundraiser hosted by the Q Society of Australia in Melbourne this week. This comes after the two parliamentarians last year pledged to help the Q Society raise funds for the defence of a defamation case launched by a halal-certification company. The organisation promotes itself as “Australia’s Leading Islam-critical Movement”, making it plain and obvious why the left is airing its unjustified outrage.

In a Junkee article, the event was described as “the world’s worst fundraiser” simply because it aims at helping the Q Society’s mission to expose the truth about Islam. Apparently it’s now a scandal for conservatives to associate themselves with organisations that aim to protect Western values and freedoms against the tyrannical force that is Islam.

The Q Society has been the source of various material uncovering and investigating the ulterior motives of pro-Islam movements and organisations. It’s most recent venture has been the investigation of Halal Certification Schemes, which resulted in Mohamed El-Mouelhy, the director of the private company Halal Certification Authority Pty Ltd, suing the organisation for defamation.

The organisation seeks to expose the truth about the global halal-certified products market worth US$2.3 trillion, along with the fact that it’s imposed on non-Islamic consumers who are also unknowingly funding the scheme.  This ‘Islamic tax’, as the organisation calls it, is being imposed on consumers by the companies using halal certification.

The Q Society is also famous for the ‘Save Our Schools from Islamisation’ campaign, which opposes the “curriculum rationale of social inclusion that effectively fosters the opposite: religious and cultural exclusion”. This campaign is aimed at stopping the Australian education system from only showing positive, one-sided views about Islam. Such views range from broad themes such as the leftist lie that Islam is a religion of peace to specifics such as the ‘Arab Gateways’ material that shows students a map of the Middle East “on which Israel has already been purged”.

Yet when Cory Bernardi and George Christensen attend a Q Society fundraiser, the left commences its stream of ignorant criticisms. Bernardi and Christensen are at the forefront in the battle to protect Western values and freedoms, such as free speech and a Christian heritage, only to be defamed by the left.

The fact that the left is under the flawed impression that the Western world has an obligation to accommodate Islamic migrants is being taken advantage by Islamic leaders to infiltrate Australian culture and institutions. However, when such attempts are exposed by organisations like the Q Society, and conservatives show their support, the left does what it does best: denying the truth in favour of pushing the dangerous policy of multiculturalism in this country.

The Western world does not have any obligation to take in Islamic migrants, and certainly should not ignore its own culture and heritage in favour of catering for migrants. Western culture and values should be prioritised, and migrants should be expected to assimilate, just as other countries should expect of Western migrants. It is the rejection of this concept that has resulted in the hidden scandals exposed by organisations critical of Islam. If the left had its priorities straight, it too would listen to such organisations and support the actions of Bernardi and Christensen.


Murderers should be forced to relinquish super to victims' families, Victorian Opposition says

Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy is pushing for a radical law change that would force murderers to surrender their superannuation to victims' families.

The proposal is part of the Coalition's response to a Victorian Law Commission report, The Role of Victims of Crime in the Criminal Trial Process, tabled in Parliament in November.

The Government is still considering its response, but the Coalition said it supported the majority of the report's 51 recommendations, aimed at giving victims greater rights in criminal proceedings.

Mr Guy said a future Coalition government would also go further, and lobby the Commonwealth for legislative change to allow victims of crime to access the superannuation of criminals.

"When someone commits a murder, particularly in horrendous circumstances, takes the life of another individual, they forfeit their right to be treated like the rest of us," he said.

Mr Guy said he had had brief discussions with the Federal Government about the proposal.

"This would require a state-federal partnership to make it work," he said.

"But frankly the Commonwealth of Australia established the superannuation system in the 80s and 90s — if we established it, we can change it."

However, a spokeswoman from the Federal Attorney-General's department said it was not a matter for the Commonwealth.

"It is a matter for state and territory governments whether to seize the assets of criminals convicted of state offences," she said.

Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula said victims could already access compensation through Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal.

"The accrued superannuation of a prisoner could not be used to compensate victims without substantial changes to Commonwealth legislation," he said.

"It could also mean that victims wait decades for compensation and that ex-crooks rely more heavily on tax-payers to fund their retirement."
Super not included in asset confiscation

Superannuation is not included in Victoria's existing asset confiscation scheme, through which a criminal's property can be sold and victims can claim money from the proceeds.

The idea is supported by Maria Aylward, whose sister Korinne Aylward and her partner Greg Tucker were murdered in their Moonee Ponds home in 2013, after a dispute over renovation payments.

Plasterer Mustafa Kunduraci was sentenced to 35 years jail.

"If you can take someone's life in such a violent way, then I don't believe you should be entitled to have your superannuation, so that when you get out of prison you can have a happy and great life, and we're still paying the price. Absolutely not," Ms Aylward said.

Ms Aylward and her sister Kate have been caring for the couple's three children orphaned by the murders.

But they have previously been told they are not eligible for a carer's allowance because they are related to the victims.

Ms Aylward is currently in talks with the Andrews Government about seeking another form of financial assistance.

"Somebody's taken my sister and my brother-in-law and left three young children orphaned and three adult children without a father and we're all left to pick up the pieces," 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

10 January, 2017

Greenies headed for Splitsville

Internal tensions in the Greens have escalated further with the party's former leader Christine Milne challenging two NSW MPs to condemn members of the party calling for a split in the movement.

Fairfax Media last month reported on the formation of a new factional grouping within the Greens calling itself "Left Renewal" and advocating a radical platform rejecting the legitimacy of the state and calling for the end of capitalism.

That development has been followed by some Greens members calling for the development of a left-wing alternative to the party. Deputy membership officer, Tomas Hamilton, last week called the Greens a "hollow shell" and advocated forming "a proper anti-establishment left populist party".

Ms Milne, who resigned as the Greens' federal leader in 2015, called on two prominent left-wing Greens MPs from NSW to condemn those remarks and for Mr Hamilton to resign.

"These individuals identify with [federal senator] Lee Rhiannon and [state MP] David Shoebridge," Ms Milne said. "They must be confident they have their support. That really puts the onus on those MPs to call them out.

"Seeing an elected office bearer say that they're intending to develop a base for a new party is completely destructive. They should leave now."

Ms Rhiannon and Mr Shoebridge have said they are not Left Renewal members but have defended its members' rights to express their views.

Expelling members not the answer, says Lee Rhiannon. "I don't think the expulsion of Greens members from Left Renewal or the right-wing grouping is a sensible way forward," Ms Rhiannon said. "We need to remain an inclusive party that considers a diversity of views consistent with our four Greens principles."

Ms Rhiannon said the party should use democratic forums to discuss policy proposals.

But Mr Hamilton, a critic of some conservative members of the NSW party, denied he was of the Left Renewal faction and said he should not resign for expressing dissenting views.

Young Greens members of Left Renewal have publicly expressed similar sentiments about developing an alternative to the Greens.

Mr Shoebridge said he was unable to respond because he was on holiday and had not seen Mr Hamilton's remarks.

Ms Milne also partly backed calls from her predecessor, Bob Brown, who called on Ms Rhiannon to move on from politics.

"Lee was democratically elected a year ago but I do think she should think about not running [for another term]," Ms Milne said. "If you're going to call for renewal then you have to lead."

Ms Rhiannon rejected calls by Mr Brown to stand down after last year's election, saying she intended to continue in her job.

The recent divisions represents the escalation of an old battle between the party's left wing, known to detractors as the "Eastern bloc" and more centrist MPs, a group dismissed by opponents as "tree Tories".

Candidates backed by the left have lost out in the two most recent state preselections in NSW.


Australia risks being left behind as America becomes great again

Forget about trade with America, foreign relations and all the other topics highbrow commentators love to ruminate about. Stephen Moore, senior economic adviser to president-elect Donald Trump, said recently on BBC radio that dramatic tax cuts are the “single most important thing for our country right now”. If Trump gets his way, and it seems he will, we could face a major crisis.

Trump plans to transform America into the most attractive business destination on the ­planet. The US is a beautiful country, and very shortly it could become a veritable tax haven. If it does, the world’s capital will be unable to resist its pull.

The US is now the highest ­corporate taxer in the OECD. ­Accor­d­ing to experts, the rate is almost 40 per cent. Trump plans to make it 15 per cent, a rate that will be the second lowest in the OECD. US companies hold $US2.4 trillion ($3.3 trillion) in capital outside the US because they don’t want to pay high rates of tax. Trump is offering a 10 per cent tax rate to all those who bring that money home.

US personal tax rates will be slashed too, but ordinary workers will be allowed to “incorporate” themselves and pay company tax instead. Think about that. The highly skilled can work here and pay 49 per cent, or they can work in the US and pay 15 per cent. These policies could mean for us a brain drain and a flight of capital.

In Ireland — the lowest corporate taxer in the OECD — ­politicians are ringing the alarm bells, loudly. In November, the Irish News quoted Alan Kelly, Labour Party spokesman on jobs, enterprise and innovation, as saying: “Our 12.5 per cent corporation tax rate has been the cornerstone of our industrial strategy for nearly two decades. If Mr Trump follows through on plans to slash the US corporate tax rate to 15 per cent, it could undermine the effectiveness of our corporate tax rate to attract business to Ireland.” Kelly pointed out that US invest­ment in Ireland stood at $US343 billion and that the British government had “mooted pro­posals” to reduce its corporate tax rate to 15 per cent or lower. “We now need to fundamentally reassess and consider our future strategy on attracting foreign ­direct investment,” he said.

When even the Irish Labour Party is talking like this, how concerning then that Malcolm Turnbull has not grasped the nettle. We might have just as much to lose, perhaps more, than Ireland. The US is easily the biggest direct investor in Australia — $US174bn in 2015 — and yet our government seems blind to the danger of that money disappearing very soon.

Trump’s tax plans are easily available online; I urge you to examine them. A competent ­cabinet would have war-gamed the scenario last year, examined a financial analysis, considered the potential ­impact on our economy, and formed some draft policy outlines in ­response. But no, the Coalition team is caught in blissful ignorance and lazy complacency. With rare ­exceptions, when Trump’s plans are explained, their responses range from lack of interest to wonder or disbelief, and there is scoffing at the chances of them coming to fruition. Trump differs from our Prime Minister in many ways but, notably, Trump is not timid, he knows no fear. Plus, he controls congress now. Why would he water down his tax plans?

Key business people are sounding warnings, including ANZ chairman David Gonski. Last month, The Canberra Times reported Gonski as asking: “If it is the case that corporations in the US are taxed at 15 per cent, why would new technologies, why would any corporations wish to, basically, be here?”

The answer, of course, is that they won’t, and neither will a great many people. As soon as Trump’s plans are enacted, anyone who can will leave and there is nothing we can do to stop them. Governments cannot hold people and their capital hostage; they can only make their own country an attractive investment destination. I’m sorry to say this but Australia is already pretty unattractive.

One Nation is keen to initiate major tax reform. It knows we need it desperately. But Coalition types say they can’t push for big tax cuts because of criticism from the opposition. Bill Shorten makes snide references to a $50bn tax cut going into the pockets of “big business”. Yet the obvious retort has never been made: yes, tax cuts for big business mean bigger profits for the owners of big business, but who are the owners of big business? The shareholders, direct ­investors and anyone with a superannuation account.

Big tax cuts for business will protect our economy, drive jobs and growth, and put more money in the pockets of ordinary people. The Prime Minister must formulate a plan for bold and urgent cuts in both business and income taxes, and advocate them strongly. For our nation, this has to be a “come to Jesus” moment.

Finally, I don’t want to hear the excuse that we cannot afford big tax cuts — because, soon, we won’t be able to afford not to make them. Once the money and people are gone it will be too late.

Besides, cutting tax isn’t something you do only once you have reserves. Cutting tax is a “build it and they will come” kind of thing. Trump recognises this. When he slashes taxes, America will be flooded with capital — much of it having taken flight from here.

Trump is about to build America a grand future and we are about to have our future come crashing down around our heads.


Donald Trump will stop Australia-US refugee deal

Donald Trump "will do everything in his power" to halt the refugee deal between Australia and the US, according to a hardline Texan congressman who is confident no resettlements will ever take place from Manus Island or Nauru.

More than two months after the agreement between outgoing President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was announced, slow progress on applications and lengthy security vetting by the US Department of Homeland Security is raising fear among those held in the Australian offshore immigration detention centres, ahead of Mr Trump's inauguration on January 20.

Texas Republican Brian Babin, a prominent critic of Mr Obama's refugee resettlement policies, called the one-off Australian deal "madness" and said the incoming administration would overturn it.

A member of the hard-right Freedom Caucus, the two-term representative of Texas's 36th congressional district said Mr Trump would block any of the planned resettlements facilitated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees because of risks to the safety and security of America's citizens.

"I am confident President-elect Trump will do everything in his power to put an immediate stop to this secret Australian-US refugee deal that should have simply never happened in the first place," he told Fairfax Media.

"It was made behind doors without any input from Congress. In fact, when Congress asked for details on the agreement and the refugees, the Obama administration refused to share the information.

"This secret deal to import dangerous refugees into the US is exactly what the American people soundly rejected in November with the election of Donald Trump."

The comments follow similar criticism from the influential chairmen of the House and Senate judiciary committees, who said in November the White House had "left Americans in the dark".

Senator Chuck Grassley and Congressman Bob Goodlatte warned against taking in asylum seekers "from countries of national security concern" and states designated by the US as sponsors of terrorism, forcing letters of assurance from the State Department and Homeland Security before Christmas stating that countries involved in the plan were already included in the existing US refugee intake.

The deal is understood to have wider benefits for the US, unrelated to refugee management. Australia has agreed to resettle refugees from Central America's "northern triangle" countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, currently living in camps in Costa Rica.

As part of the agreement in New York in September, Australia also committed $130 million for further aid to displaced people around the world.

Optimism exists among Australian diplomats in the US that refugee resettlements will still proceed, even taking into account Mr Trump's mooted ban on Muslim immigration and inflammatory campaign rhetoric about refugees.

One US-based immigration expert said a wider refugee ban was likely when Mr Trump took office and suggested Mr Turnbull start exploring other options.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton refuses to discuss progress of the deal, while a spokesman for Mr Turnbull said he remained confident it would survive the change of administration.

Asylum seeker advocates in Australia said US immigration officials were due back on Nauru over the weekend, with about 100 people there currently being processed for possible resettlement.

Homeland Security officials are expected in Nauru in February.

On Manus Island, detainees are expecting immigration officials next month but no list of possible transfers has been prepared.


Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk slammed for ‘review, not do’ strategy

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s minority government has overseen 145 reviews, inquiries, taskforces and new ­bureaucratic offices in less than two years, prompting concerns her administration is plagued by “paralysis”.

The Queensland government has ordered more than 120 reviews and inquiries since defeating the Liberal National Party at the January 2015 election.

Ms Palaszczuk’s government, which claimed victory with the support of independent Speaker Peter Wellington, has also established various committees and ­offices as part of an “ultra­conservative” approach described by insiders as an “anti-Campbell Newman style of management”.

The Australian can reveal Ms Palaszczuk’s government has now overtaken the number of reviews and taskforces commissioned by former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell. Dubbed a “do-nothing premier” before his political demise in 2014, he commissioned at least 106 reviews within 30 months.

Acting Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington described Ms Pala­sz­­czuk as a “do-nothing Premier” as both sides prepare for an ­election this year that will feature a resurgent One Nation party.

“This conveyor belt of reviews from the Annastacia Palaszczuk Labor government is staggering,” Ms Frecklington said.

“It exposes her limp leadership and the ­administrative paralysis that has become a plague in Queensland.

“What we have is an excuse for a government, beholden to the unions and bankrupt of ideas.”

Ms Frecklington described the government as “comatose”, and said the Queensland economy would suffer.

Palaszczuk government reviews have looked into renewable energy targets, rail services failures, youth detention, anti-bikie laws, parole, compulsory third-party insurance, the working-with-children blue card system, local government reforms, retail ­trading hours and vegetation management.

“In the last 12 months, more than 30,000 jobs have dis­appeared in Queensland while almost 40,000 Queenslanders have given up looking for work,” Ms Frecklington said.

“That’s what happens when you review instead of do.

“Worse still, most of these ­reviews are ­either late or the final reports have been kept secret.”

Acting Premier Jackie Trad told The Australian that the ­Palaszczuk government was ­“repairing the damage done to the Queens­land economy by the Newman-Nicholls LNP ­government”.

She said the government had delivered “more jobs, faster growth than the rest of the nation, lower debt” and a budget in ­surplus.

The government had also overseen an increase in the ­bureaucracy, employing more than 250,000 Queenslanders on the public-sector payroll.

“Our government is supporting 31,000 jobs this year alone through our four-year, $40 billion infrastructure program,” Ms Trad said. “Projects including stage 2 of the Gold Coast Light Rail and Townsville Stadium are happening, and we’re progressing major projects like the Cross River Rail — all without selling our income-generating assets.”

Ms Trad attacked the legacy of the previous LNP government, and rejected assertions that minority government had stifled their ability to promote Labor policies.


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

9 January, 2017

Turnbull needs to be more Trump-like

With the rise of Pauline Hanson clipped by the woes of Senator Culleton, several contentious pieces of legislation passing through the ‘unworkable’ Senate, and his old foes in the conservative wing of the Liberal party falling to infighting: the end of 2016 gave Turnbull cause to hope that many of his problems would be manageable in the new year.

“Sure the budget is in as bad shape as ever. But it’s been 10 years of deficits now and no-one has been kicked in the pants for it,” he may have mused.

So 2016, which was either the year democracy died (along with every celebrity ever) or a celebration of the power of the people, is finally done.

Yet the significant changes in the body politic — both here and overseas — could have profound consequences for years to come. The trick is to distinguish these changes from the other important stuff that happened last year.

A good example of this is Pauline Hanson. It is too early to tell whether Hanson can hold her disparate party together now they have a sniff of real power. History is not on her side: as the Palmer United Party, the Australian Democrats and her own party’s prior struggles show.

Hanson may be just a symptom of a much broader fracturing of the political order that was established during and after the fall of communism. Though Hanson, Brexit and Trump are all viewed as right wing phenomena, they actually have the potential to be enduring because they represent new fault lines on the left.

One Nation voters directed preferences almost equally between Labor and Liberal — something unlikely for a party comprised of the hard right (even allowing for any personal anger at the displacement of Tony Abbott). By way of contrast, more than 80% of Greens preferences flowed to Labor.

Trump won because in the end the ‘never Trump’ movement didn’t split the right, while Trump managed to peel a large number of white working class votes off the Democrats (once their core constituency, now voting Trump and Hanson).

Brexit was even clearer cut: the industrial north east, a Labour party stronghold, voted decisively and unexpectedly to leave. The division in the Tories was obvious from the start — the bulk of the Brexit campaign committee were Conservative MPs — the division on the Labour side was far less so.

That is not to say that Turnbull doesn’t also have a problem on the right. Until recently, the Coalition held the right wing vote together in the face of increasing minor party success. While Labor shed almost 15 percentage points in its primary vote in the lower house between 1983 and 2016 (and 10 percentage points since 1993), the Coalition vote has only trended down slightly.

However, the key difference is that although more seats have flowed to minor parties on the left (the old Democrats seats as well as some from Labor) almost all have gone to the Greens, while the seats lost on the right have split between a number of parties.

This is why Labor has been able to contain the damage from their losses so far: their low primary vote is negated on a two-party preferred basis and the Greens give them a workable option in the Senate. In fact, for a moderate like Turnbull, if the Coalition cannot hold the right together it would be better if a single party gathered up all the disgruntled right wing voters in one place rather than the current mess.

Yet that will not help Turnbull this year, a crucial one for him as Prime Minister. It is hard to see how his business-friendly, pro-innovation persona could win over working class voters opposed to immigration and trade. So if the recent shifts in political alignment are enduring, Turnbull’s troubles will continue into this year.

The Hanson / Brexit / Trump fracturing is a true wild card. Turnbull is not Trump and Australia is not the US but the task facing Turnbull is similar. He must bring disparate forces together if he is to succeed this term.


Australia's foreign aid under scrutiny

Australia's foreign aid programs are facing fresh scrutiny after an independent audit revealed transparency reporting has dropped significantly under the Coalition Government.

The foreign aid budget has fallen to its lowest level in eight years at $3.87 billion and experts have raised concerns about accountability and access to reports and results.

Researchers at the Australian National University's Development Policy Centre found publicly available information on aid projects had fallen by 25 per cent since 2013.

This is despite Foreign Minister Julie Bishop vowing to introduce more rigorous benchmarks for aid programs in 2013, along with a stronger performance culture and investment decisions based on results.

Ms Bishop was forced to defend the aid program last week after former prime minister Tony Abbott called for the Government to reconsider payments to the Palestinian Authority.

Mr Abbott raised concerns the authority was diverting Australian aid to the hard-line Islamist group Hamas.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) suspended funding to World Vision in August after one of its employees in the Gaza Strip was arrested by the Israeli Government.

Crawford School of Public Policy researcher Camilla Burkot said the decline was "particularly disappointing" given previous audits called on DFAT to provide more information.

    "It should not have been difficult for the Coalition Government to improve on Labor's record in relation to aid transparency, and yet it failed to do so," she said in a report.

"It is acknowledged that achieving a high level of transparency in the Australian aid program is a task that requires resources, attention and a certain level of risk."

In 2011, an independent review of foreign aid called for a "warts and all" approach to reporting to ensure the department was "as frank about our failures as we are about our achievements".

In a statement, a DFAT spokesman said the Government remained "firmly committed" to the transparency of Australia's aid program and would continue to improve the availability of information.
Improved transparency gives 'better value for money'

Aid groups and policy think tanks have been calling on the Government to improve transparency for years, particularly as the foreign aid budget has been cut.

In May last year, the Government cut $224 million from the budget after stripping close to $1 billion a year earlier.

Former treasurer Joe Hockey announced $3.7 billion of cuts over four years in 2014, or 33 per cent of the budget over four years.

Australian Council for International Development head of policy Jo Pradela said more information on foreign aid would ensure Australians understood how the funds helped the world's poorest people.

"Quite simply, the better value for money we deliver, the more people we can help," she said.

    "Without high levels of transparency, it is difficult to monitor and evaluate aid work and so becomes more difficult to improve and create greater impact."

Lowy Institute research fellow Jonathan Pryke said improved transparency would reduce wastage and increase the value for money in foreign aid.

"Transparency around what the Australian aid program is doing and how well it is performing makes our aid more accountable to both the taxpayer at home and the recipient nations we send our aid to," he said.


Another triumph of hope over experience

Australia's first Aboriginal grower group has been officially established in south-west Western Australia.

The Noongar Land Enterprises (NLE) group has been set up by the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) in the hope it will maximise the potential for industry investment and international supply opportunities.

DAFWA project organiser Kelvin Flugge said the group was expected to run like other mainstream grower groups.

But, he said it was important to have a customised group for Aboriginal farmers as many Indigenous-owned farming properties had different management logistics to other modern-day farms.

"Consider the fact that some of these management groups are not like your typical Mum and Dad [run] wheat and sheep farms where they've probably got bigger over time to allow more family members to stay on the farm and work the farm," he said.

    "We've got, in some cases, 20 members and in some cases 120 members so it creates a whole different dynamic for us and a whole different set of challenges," he said.

According to Mr Flugge, the establishment of the NLE has been underway for more than a decade, but has now officially held its first two meetings.

As a part of the initial set-up of the group, DAFWA's role is to source initial funding and create a strategic plan, which will be completed by June next year.

It will include farmers in Noongar country in the south-west of WA, which generally coverers people located from Moore River to Esperance.

Mr Flugge said the group had been formed at a time when Indigenous owned properties were increasing.

"What we've seen lately, in the last 20 years or so, is a marked increase in the number of purchasers, money through the Indigenous Land Corporation, who have been working with Aboriginal community groups to acquire land on their behalf," he said.

"But what we've found is you combine the recent purchases with the existing estates, and the impending Native Title discussions and settlements and there will be a number of potential Aboriginal Lands Trust properties.

"They will ultimately need to be supported to achieve some financial stability."

Mr Flugge said so far the peak group included about eight landholder groups, covering up to 24 properties.

He said many of these covered mainstream farming operations of wheat and sheep, but they were also looking at incorporating native bush foods into the operation.

"It's really important that we do maintain [the mainstream farming] so that we contribute to the department's own role in supporting the WA food sector and doubling the value of agriculture by 2025, but we want to capitalise on opportunities where there are global food demands as well," he said.

    "While the mainstream farming concepts still stay with us we are looking at utilising the whole land asset.

"Honey is a classic one for us; it's really important we look at bush, bees, honey — it's a natural fit for us.

"And so is the deep sand where we look at a native tuber, we call it the bush potato or youlk."

He said they would be teaming up with other grower groups in the region to attract industry investment.


Hills parts with iconic clotheslines for good

HILLS has again parted ways with its iconic Hoist clothesline – but this time it’s for good.

The company announced on Tuesday it had sold its Hills Home Living division, which includes the clothesline and about 200 other products, to Victorian-based AMES Australasia. The sale price was not disclosed.

In December 2014, Hills granted Woolworths a 20-year exclusive licensing deal to manufacture, distribute and sell the HHL product range in return for a $2 million annual fee that was not linked to sales.

Less than two years later that deal fell apart with the failure of Woolworths’ Masters hardware chain, although Hills received a severance payment worth $6 million.

Hills chief executive David Lenz said the company had undertaken a strategic review of the HHL business and determined that it was not viable for it to resume the manufacture and sale of those products.

"The Hills of today is a value-added distributor of technology products and services and the company is focused on delivering security and surveillance solutions, audio visual, IT, communications and health solutions," he said. "It is important that we remain focused on our core business activities."

AMES chief executive Simon Hupfeld described the acquisition as a "tremendous development" and said "the many customers, employees and suppliers of Hills will enjoy the benefits of this new ownership structure".

The transaction involves the sale of tooling equipment and trademarks not used by Hills in its core technology businesses and a commitment on the part of AMES to invest in the HHL brand.

On a busy day for Hills – one in which its share price shed 7.6 per cent to close at 42.5c – the company also announced that a planned merger had been abandoned.

In mid-September, Hills said its health division would join forces with international healthcare company Lincor – news that saw its share price surge 22 per cent for the day.

Yet two months later those plans were put on hold because of "current market volatility".

The conditional merger agreement allowed either party to terminate after December 31 if an IPO had not been achieved, an option that Lincor exercised in recent days.


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 January, 2017

ABC sob story unravels

Remember the kid tied to a chair in that Four Corners "expose" of the Darwin Correctional Centre ? The kid's name is Dylan Voller.

As usual, a lot of the truth is missing from that criminal investigation report by the ABC (sadly nothing new). How much of this is correct though?

Note, the following may be a little back-to-front in its layout and timeline.

Before you break out the tissues consider this. In 2012, a Salvation Army officer named Andrew McAllen would regularly visit Voller in jail for a welfare check. His mother didn't really care what happened to him. Andrew would bring him sweets from the vending machine in the prison lobby.

He forgot to bring change for the machine one day and turned up empty-handed.  Dylan bashed him with a fire extinguisher, causing blindness in one eye and requiring an airlift to Darwin for emergency surgery.

Gerald Tasker from O'Brien's security was the one who secured him in that chair after that incident as the ambulance officers needed the area secure to remove Andrew.

Dylan's mum saw $$$ and sued with no success. She is an expert at working the system. In the lead-up to the story being aired, she applied for restraining orders on all the people who know her kid personally.

After she lost, a human rights organisation from Melbourne offered to take on the case after promising her a big cash payout when they win.

Anticipating a big payday she has bought a new car ($60k). Not bad for a dole-bludger who hasn't ever worked.

They lost the case last month so the previously restricted footage has been released.

It's also an amazing coincidence that the show aired on the same day the Chief Minister launched his election campaign.

And this is how Voller ended up in the restraint chair - a very different story to the one presented to us by the ABC, isn't it?

Via email

Islamic school future in doubt after losing funding appeal

SYDNEY’s biggest Islamic school has been stripped of $19 million a year in federal funding after a tribunal ruled the money had been misused.

The Malek Fahd Islamic School, which has 2500 students in three campuses in Greenacre, Beaumont Hills and Hoxton Park, now faces immediate closure.

The federal government froze funding last year amid concerns that money had been funnelled to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, now known as Muslims Australia.

The school appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), which has now ruled in the government’s favour.

In a ruling published today, the AAT found that Muslims Australia had been charging the school too much rent.

It found that the school had been operating "for profit", with profits benefiting Muslims Australia.

A Malek Fahd Islamic School spokesman today said it would use school funds to appeal against the AAT decision in the Federal Court.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham today said he had contacted NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli to try to "minimise the impact" on the school community.

"While this is a difficult time, I remain committed to ensuring that all school authorities meet the requirements of the Education Act to ensure that our taxpayer dollars and any private investment by parents is being spent to benefit Australian students," he said.

"Australians rightly expect that every taxpayer dollar committed to school education is genuinely expended on school education."

The school received a total of $76m in federal grants between 2012 and 2015

The school’s future was thrown into doubt in 2016 after the federal education department revoked its funding because a review found it was operating for profit.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has upheld that decision, finding that while improvements have been made to how the school is run, federal funding would continue to leak to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils.

Federal grants account for two-thirds of the school’s funding and Senator Birmingham said it was "entirely a matter for the school" if it closed.

He said the federal and state education departments would help students "transition into other schools in the area".  "I know they are innocent students as are their families and the hard working teachers," he said.  "I do feel for them (but) we have to ensure taxpayer dollars are used for the benefit of students."


Coalition MPs Cory Bernardi and George Christensen to speak at anti-Islam group dinner

TWO federal government MPs, Cory Bernardi and George Christensen, are set to attend a $150-a-head dinner to help an anti-Islam organisation fund a defamation case.

The two Liberal Party politicians will attend the Q Society’s function in Melbourne next month, with Senator Bernardi listed to give a speech.

The Q Society’s website states that guests will see Senator Bernardi and Mr Christensen in Melbourne on February 10, while Sydney guests will meet Angry Anderson among others on February 9.

"In Sydney you’ll meet Angry Anderson, Ross Cameron, Larry Pickering and Gabrielle Lord, while in Melbourne we are joined by Senator Cory Bernardi, Dr Mark Durie and George Christensen MP," it stated.

The $150 ticket price is said to include "a sparkling welcome, a variety of fine finger food and a generous serve of free speech".

"This is an excellent opportunity to mingle with outspoken advocates for Liberty and Western values and show your support for this important cause."

The organisation’s website says all proceeds of the dinner will go towards the legal expenses of the Q Society and two individuals in a Supreme Court defamation action initiated by Mohamed El-Mouehly of the Halal Certification Authority.

"All proceeds and donations go towards the legal expenses incurred by Q Society of Australia Inc, Kirralie Smith, Debbie Robinson et al. in the defamation action initiated by Mr Mohamed El-Mouehly (Halal Certification Authority Pty Ltd) before the NSW Supreme Court. This is a landmark case with considerable ramifications for freedom of expression in Australia," the website states.

Mr El Mouelhy from the Halal Certification Authority is suing the Q Society and two of its members.

Senator Bernardi has been making waves with suggestions of starting a breakaway conservative party. He launched a new Australian Conservatives group after the Coalition’s dismal federal election results.

Senator Bernardi has also been talking in favour of US President-elect Donald Trump’s policies, and posted a photo of himself wearing a "Make Australia Great Again" cap while overseas on a three-moth secondment to the United Nations.

Meanwhile, Mr Christensen told Parliament he was concerned about "the rise of Islamism in this country and those who are willing to commit violence in the name of that ideology".

"I think we should consider some tighter controls on borders such as restricting immigration from countries where there is a high prevalence of violent extremism and radicalism," he said.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott and other Coalition MPs have called on the MPs to stay with the party, saying any disunity would be a "catastrophe".


ABC, Greens, Labor conceal AHRC’s Gillian Triggs’s blunders

 The unfailing ability of Gillian Triggs to contradict herself and mislead her interrogators at parliamentary committees has to be seen to be believed. The trouble is much of the media prefers to keep this bizarre and regular spectacle from the public.

Perhaps the one thing more extraordinary than the Australian Human Rights Commission president’s capacity to frustrate these inquiries is the way other publicly funded institutions run a protection racket for her. As the unofficial patron saint of virtue signallers, Triggs has her sins ­either ignored or censored by Greens and ALP political operatives, as well as the ABC and much of Canberra’s press gallery.

Few episodes provide a clearer insight into the partisanship of our media/political class and the fact-free nature of their ideological battles. In this post-truth realm, a member of the so-called elite is given immunity from mainstream standards and the media/political class suppresses her failings because they want to share in the objectives and virtues she professes.

The ABC’s treatment of Triggs demonstrates how the public broadcaster often functions as an arm of green-left propaganda rather than as an objective public information institution. This matters because it has a profound effect on our political debate.

The ABC’s connivance helps swing the tide of national debate away from the sensible centre, luring politicians ever more towards the crowd Robert Manne calls the "permanent oppositional moral political community". Little wonder we see the return of Pauline Hanson and the balkanisation of political discourse.

This week, the morning after Triggs’s latest humiliating appearances before parliamentary committees, fresh calls were made for her to move on. For comment, RN Breakfast turned to its Canberra-based reporter Alison Carabine, who is bound by ABC standards of objectivity and fairness.

"Clearly it’s a political witch-hunt by the government," said Carabine. "This is a government which will not brook any criticism, and Gillian Triggs has been at the vanguard of criticising the government, keeping it under pressure, in particular with its detention of children offshore and on the mainland. Gillian Triggs, Justin Gleeson — they’re just two statutory officers who have dared to criticise the government, the government retaliates by consistently hounding these people in a pretty egregious manner."

If this were true it would be a national scandal. But it happens to be the exact opposite of what has transpired. Gleeson, for instance, resigned as solicitor-general after revelations he had secretly briefed the opposition.

But let’s return to Triggs. The AHRC president invited criticism when she revealed to a committee hearing in November 2014 that she had delayed an inquiry into children in detention for more than a year while Labor was in power, and when thousands of children were being placed in detention.

In that disastrous appearance, Triggs contradicted herself numerous times in attempts to justify this behaviour. She denied having raised the proposed inquiry with any Labor minister before changing her story and eventually, under questioning, admitting that she had raised it with not one but two ALP immigration ministers.

So Triggs’s problems did not start with criticism of the government over children in detention; on the contrary. She came under fire after she exposed her complicity in delaying investigations into this very issue. Eventually she began an inquiry into children in detention after the boats had been stopped, when the only movement of kids was out of detention. Despite the importance of this episode in generating a controversy that has consumed the AHRC ever since, the ABC has never reported this Triggs testimony. Instead, it runs a false narrative about Triggs being criticised for doing her job, rather than for not doing it.

Triggs fronted two inquiries this week. On Monday morning she apologised to a Senate estimates committee for a false denial at an earlier appearance. She had denied making comments highly critical of the committee to a newspaper. She suggested the editors had fabricated the quotes. But when the paper protested and mentioned a tape recording, Triggs recanted and admitted she had uttered those words. Messy.

Triggs was unconvincing as she tried to explain all this, blaming some confusion over differing headlines in the print and online versions. Headlines were not the issue. But the obfuscation and embarrassment were even worse in the afternoon when Triggs fronted the joint human rights committee looking at proposals to repeal or reform section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. Asked about the controversial Queensland University of Technology case, Triggs clammed up.

"I cannot discuss the QUT case because of the absolute requirement of confidentiality," said the AHRC president, claiming the case was still sub judice (it could be appealed). Yet just last month, while the case was very much alive, Triggs appeared on ABC television’s 7.30 and gave a detailed defence of her organisation’s handling of that very same case. She answered more than a dozen questions on the matter.

Now, before a parliamentary committee, Triggs was shtum. "It is extremely inappropriate for us or for me to comment on this case in its detail," she said.

Liberal senator James Paterson challenged her: "If that is the case, why did you go on the 7.30 report on 7 November to discuss the case at length?"

"As you might recall," responded Triggs, "in that case I at length said repeatedly that I could not comment on the case; I could talk only about our processes, and that is what I have done over and over again. I cannot speak about the details of the case."

Not true. A transcript of the interview records that Triggs, once, said: "I have to remind you that this is still before the Federal Court." She did not say she could not comment and she did not resist answering. On the ABC, Triggs discussed the handling of the case in detail for almost nine minutes. Pressed again by Paterson, Triggs said: "With respect, if you look at the transcript, you will see that I specifically began that interview by saying, ‘I cannot comment on the details of this case.’ " Again, the transcript shows Triggs did not say those words, or answer in that fashion.

Regardless of the damage to the AHRC, some argue none of this matters, because Triggs’s term expires next year. But she still claims martyr status, and the green-Left and ABC portray her as the victim of a ruthless government. On the ABC, Carabine said that in the light of Triggs’s treatment, "no doubt any self-respecting human rights lawyer would think twice about taking up the job" of AHRC president.

The ABC also argues the Triggs position rather than the free-speech line on 18C. On RN Breakfast Hamish MacDonald said the concern about reform was what speech it "unleashes". This position would have it that we are a nation full of hateful racists just aching to break free from the constraints of this law.

Carabine also argued against reform and wasn’t even swayed by the ruckus over Bill Leak’s controversial cartoon depicting indigenous dysfunction. She said the cartoon "did cause considerable offence" but "the very fact that it could be published and the fact that the Press Council had a look at it and ruled that it was OK, that should prove once and for all that we do have pretty unfettered free speech in this country".

Consider that. A cartoon is published by a newspaper, the AHRC cites racism and publicly calls for complaints, three are formally lodged, the AHRC accepts them and begins its processes, thereby having the cartoonist denounced as a suspected racist while the Press Council takes complaints, considers them and moves on. And this is "pretty unfettered" free speech.

Never mind the QUT students strung out over three years, Andrew Bolt’s columns still banned from republication or how the Leak complaints have now been dropped but the stain remains. The ABC is as interested in the chilling effect of all this as it is in contradictions, errors and deceptions of Gillian Triggs.


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 January, 2017

2016 was the hottest year ever on Australia’s East coast, confirms Bureau of Meteorology

How sad for the BOM!  Only the East coast was very hot on average in 2016 -- and that's no more than 5% of Australia's land area. And it wasn't even consistent along the East coast.  While Sydney and Melbourne were frying, temperatures in Brisbane were mostly much lower, despite Brisbane being closer to the tropics.  What a nonsense it is to try to extract generalizations about temperature from a system as chaotic as the Earth's weathrer!

And note how humble the BOM now are over El Nino.  The old triumphalism is gone.  They now admit that 2015/2016 temperatures were much influenced by El Nino and make no claims of anthropogenic global warming for the years concerned. They now see anthropogenic global warming only in "long term trends"! A Trump effect?

A RECORD breaking year of scorching heat and driving rain on Australia’s east coast meant that climate-wise, many of us have "shifted a few hundred kilometres north," a weather expert has said.

Australia’s average national mean temperature rose 0.87C above average to make 2016 the fourth-warmest year on record, according the Bureau of Meteorology’s Annual Climate Statement, released on Thursday.

But the residents of Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin and Hobart sweltered through their hottest year ever.

The report comes as a heatwave punishing south eastern Australia shows no sign of ending.

Melbourne and Sydney will have highs in the mid-thirties in the coming days but it’s South Australians really in the firing line with a string of 39C days heading into the weekend.

Blair Trewin, a senior climatologist at the weather bureau, told the El Niño weather system and climate change combined to send the mercury soaring.

"Australia’s climate in 2016 was certainly consistent with long term trends over the last century which has seen Australia warm to the same degree as the rest of the world and all the indications are these warming trends will continue into the future."

The only years in Australia that were warmer than the past 12 months were 2013 followed by 2005 and then 2014. The past four years have all been in the top six hottest years in Australia.

Globally, 2016 is likely to be confirmed as the world’s hottest year ever.

"It was a year of two halves with a relatively dry first four months and then from May onwards it became very wet with late autumn to early spring the wettest such period on record," said Mr Trewin.

"The contrast was especially clear in Tasmania with drought conditions earlier in year and then they had so much rain is was the sixth wettest year on record."

The higher than normal temperatures and increased rain along much of the east coast led to weather conditions more usual for cities much further north.

Sydney verged on the tropical with highs in the city more like coastal towns on the NSW mid-north coast, such as Nelson Bay and Forster.

Climate wise, Brisbane was effectively pushed even further into the tropics experiencing rain and heat more standard for towns like Gympie and Maryborough beyond the Sunshine Coast.

"Along the east coast it was about a degree above normal and while that doesn’t equate to the whole difference between Sydney and Brisbane, that level of warming is equivalent to shifting a few hundred kilometres north," said Mr Trewin.

Some of the notable climatic events in Australia last year were bushfires in Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia and a nationwide heatwave from late February to mid-March. That added up to the warmest Australian autumn on record.

Then in May, drought-breaking rains led to flooding in multiple states and the wettest ever late autumn to early spring period.

For the country as a whole, annual rainfall was 17 per cent above average.

Sea surface temperatures around Australia were the warmest on record in 2016, and were 0.77°C above average.

The warmest year on record for the east coast contrasted with South Australia which pretty much hit the average in terms of temperature.

Inland parts of south west Western Australia was one of the few places globally to come in cooler than usual.

Across the globe, climate change has seen temperatures continue to rise over the long term.

However, this is exacerbated in El Niño years such as 2016. The El Nino weather system is caused by warmer sea temperatures in the Pacific sucking warm air over North America while leaving Australia hot and dry.

The opposing La Nina system usually brings wetter conditions across the continent.

"El Niño years tend to be warmer and La Nina tend to be cooler so if you look at handful of years in last 30 that have come in below average they are La Nina years."

Looking ahead, Mr Trewin said the lack of El Niño would mean 2017 would probably be a cooler year overall than 2016. But it certainly won’t be cold.

La Nina never really got started depriving the east coast of the wet weather it brings.

"Our outlook for the early part of this year is relatively dry conditions in Eastern Australia, particularly NSW and southern Queensland, but conversely relatively wet conditions in much of Western Australia.

"It’s unlikely 2017 will be as warm as 2016 globally but it’s likely to be warmer than all years prior to 2015."


Victims of Crime Commissioner Greg Davies is calling for a mandatory life sentence for anyone convicted of killing an infant

Having taken a whole life away, the killers should have their life taken away too.  Hang them

MANDATORY life sentences for child killers have been urged by the state’s top victims’ advocate.

The deaths of nine children in 2016 have prompted Victims of Crime Commissioner Greg Davies to call for the life terms for anyone convicted of killing an infant.

"They’ve lost 90 years of their lives, what will these offenders lose? Twenty-odd years of their liberty? That to me doesn’t say we value human life," Mr Davies said.

"If someone murders an infant, no one cares about their circumstances, no one cares about their prospects of rehabilitation and that they’re unlikely to do it again, they’ve surely lost their right to a second chance. These mongrels deserve life."

Executive chair and the founder Bravehearts, Hetty Johnston, said she supported Mr Davies’ views on mandatory sentencing for child killers. "He’s not going to get any argument from me," she said.

"The judiciary will baulk at it, saying every case has its own merits, but I support it.

"Anyone that would kill a child, whether they are criminally liable or mentally incap­acitated, has no place in a society where there’s children. It’s just too dangerous."

Shadow attorney-general John Pesutto said the Opposition had also been reviewing Victoria’s sentencing.

"The Liberal-Nationals have been calling for urgent changes that will deliver stronger sentences for serious crimes like murder, but (Premier) Daniel Andrews has refused to do anything about it," he said.

"Child murder is horrific and the Victims of Crime Commissioner is to be congratulated for proposing solutions while the government has completely failed to put victims first."

Life sentencing for child killers has long been urged by those families left behind.


'We are being taken for mugs by opening up our doors': Pauline Hanson demands security checks for migrants and slams 'childish, laughable' citizenship test questions

Pauline Hanson has backed calls for Australia's citizenship test to be revamped, saying many Australians would not be able to answer the 'childish and laughable' current questions.

She said performing security checks on migrants and ensuring they were financially independent and able to pay for their own health care was more important than whether they could pass the citizenship test.

The One Nation leader told Channel 7's Sunrise on Wednesday there needs to be a renewed focus on English skills and ensuring migrants did not rely on welfare payments.

She was asked for her reaction to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's plan to overhaul the citizenship test, which he said was filled with 'trivial' questions.

Senator Hanson told Sunrise host Michael Usher: 'One of the questions is what's the relevance of the two animals on the coat of arms, do you know that?

'One's the native animal and one's the native bird - what relevance is that? Most Australians wouldn't even know that question,' she said.

She said ensuring immigrants to Australia had money behind them, health insurance and police checks was more important.

'In other countries around the world you have to have a bank statement saying you can actually support yourself for a period of time, you have to have your own health insurance as well,' she said.

'That in itself should be a point of getting your citizenship in Australia.'

She also said questions, such as Australian cricketer Sir Donald Bradman's batting record, were irrelevant.

When Sunrise's Michael Usher asked for her response to statistics that showed 96 per cent of approved migrants had sat the test at least three times before passing since 2012, Ms Hanson said she was 'concerned'.

'If you can’t communicate how can you expect anyone to assimilate into our society,' she said.

'We have to get tough on who we bring into this country because you know what, it will all come down to our standard of living, our way of life and our safety and security. 


Transgender students to choose their own toilets, uniforms and sleep alongside students of their chosen sex in new public school policy

Transgender school students will soon be able to use their preferred names, wear the uniform and use the toilets of their choice.

An Education Department policy has outlined how transgender students should be treated in South Australia.

They will also be able to sleep alongside students of the gender they identify with on school camps.

The department says the policy will ensure 'consistent' treatment of transgender pupils by school leaders.

'The difference is that this clearly articulates what we require from schools,' executive director of statewide services and child development Ann-Marie Hayes told The Advertiser.

'We had a number of queries from schools and parents, and we needed to make it very clear what our legislative requirements were and how schools enact them - supporting principals in particular but also families in what they can expect from schools.'

Hayes also defended the policy and said it could not be taken advantage of and that a boy could not pretend to be transgender in order to sleep in the same area as girls on a school camp.

Hayes also felt that the policy is one of tolerance and would send an important message to other students that transgender children are not to be bullied.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Education Department for comment.


Victoria's piranha union again

UFU secretary Peter Marshall is the big ego behind all the trouble

The United Firefighters Union wants $1.6 million in state funding, a demand labelled "extremely unusual" by Victoria's Labor government as the firefighters' pay dispute drags into another year.

The UFU is demanding the money while also announcing a rally at Parliament House on January 19 to complain about the unresolved pay deal.

"Additionally, pre-election and post-election commitments have not been delivered," the UFU's first bulletin to members for 2017 says.

Emergency Services Minister James Merlino, who is also acting premier, says the decision on funding is up to the CFA, but such a move would be odd.  "I would say that a statutory authority to provide funding would be extremely unusual and I wouldn't expect that to be the case," he said on Thursday.

Mr Merlino said he understood the union's anger but it was the federal government's fault.

The only promise the state made to the union was that the pay dispute would be resolved, and that was done before the federal government stepped in and made changes to the Fair Work Act, he said.

"The fact is the CFA and the UFU did reach an agreement," he said.  "The only reason for the delay, the only reason that the parties are back at the Fair Work Commission is because of Malcolm Turnbull and the federal Liberal government using our firefighters as political footballs."

The union says in a statement on Thursday it has asked the CFA for the same level of funding as the Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria gets from the CFA and state government.

UFU secretary Peter Marshall says the union deserves the funding because, like the union, the VFBV is "acting as an industrial body" and performing industrial advocacy.

"Why should career firefighters, who are being dragged into these disputes by the VFBV, be forced to pay excessive legal expenses whilst the VFBV are given a free ride, at the taxpayers' expense," he says in the statement.

The UFU's money grab was unheard of, Liberal emergency services spokesman Brad Battin told reporters. "I've never heard in the past where a union asks for state money. And this is the arrogance of Peter Marshall who think's he's got control over Daniel Andrews," he said.

"There must have been a deal before the election for him to continue to ask for things that are just ridiculous, and put families and communities at risk across our state."

Changes to the Fair Work Act to protect volunteer organisations did not make the VFBV a "psuedo-union" and to blame the Fair Work Act changes for the delays in reaching agreements was ignorant, Mr Battin said.  "The volunteers were going to get shafted by this government and the federal government had to step in to make sure they were protected."


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 January, 2017

"Safe Schools" is not a return to the Cold War (?)

An amusing tilt at windmills by some young Yugoslav guy below.  I suspect that he hankers after Josip Broz Tito. The Cold War was a military confrontation so pointing out that an Australian school program is not a return to the Cold War is something that only Seb Starcevic would feel a need to do.

The essence of his little rant is that the "Safe Schools" program is not Communist-inspired and is not designed to lead children towards Communism.  That is actually an extraordinary claim.  The authoress of the program, Roz Ward (the manlike figure in the red jacket giving the Communist salute in the picture above) is an openly-acknowledged  Marxist and has said that she intended to use the program to promote Marxist thinking.  Seb is in the grand tradition of Leftist liars

"Safe Schools" is a sexual indoctrination program, under the guise of "anti-bullying", which asserts extreme fringe views of gender and sexual fluidity.  It is in the grand tradition of old Karl himself, who saw the normal family as an obstacle to the implementation of his ideas

Something amusing:  In a speech at the 2015 Marxism Conference, Ward argues, "LGBTI oppression and heteronormativity are woven into the fabric of capitalism" and "it will only be through a revitalised class struggle and revolutionary change that we can hope for the liberation of LGBTI people".

Which stands truth on its head, in the usual Leftist way. Homosexuality was severely repressed in the old Soviet Union.  It is only in the tolerant capitalist societies that homosexuals have gained broad acceptance.  Try being queer in Africa or the Muslim lands.  Maybe Roz should take her evangelism there

After the USSR collapsed in the 1990s, critics of communism were momentarily assuaged by the knowledge that the greatest threat to the American hegemony had been tossed into the dustbin of history.

With the stranglehold of socialism lifted, the Kraken-like monster depicted in so many comics was finally slain. The West could breathe easy, meaning office-bearers had to find something else to harp on about. Or so it seemed.

Which brings us to today.

With the rise of Trump and resurgence of McCarthyism in 2017, the hard right have trotted out the socialist scapegoat once again, deploying anti-communist rhetoric that would be at home in US propaganda from the 1950s.

Look no further than the scandal surrounding the Safe Schools program which, according to Senator Cory Bernardi, hopes to "indoctrinate children into a Marxist agenda of cultural relativism".

Similarly, LNP backbencher George Christensen slammed Safe Schools for "originating in an ideology of queer gender theory and Marxism."

This sort of blatant, baseless fearmongering draws on the historical existential dread associated with the Reds.

Never mind that a program intended to create safe and inclusive environments for vulnerable young LGBTQI people has little to do with an economic ideology dreamt up by some now dead Russians. All that matters is slinging the right buzzwords to push the barrow.

Of course, this strategy is nothing new. Pairing the two undesirables together has worked well in the past, at least for McCarthy, who once conflated communists with "cocksuckers," implying that his detractors were either Soviet sympathisers or homosexual fornicators — both socially unacceptable in the monochrome 1950s.

Indeed, traditionally the quickest and simplest way to destroy someone’s credibility was to infer that they subscribed to socialism, and this practice has carried into the present day.

Just ask Bernardi and Christensen. Or Reagan and Johnson. Or Trump.

But in reality, just as universal healthcare wasn’t a gateway to communism then, Safe Schools isn’t part of some sparkly socialist agenda now. Demonising it as such only shows a profound ignorance of history’s affiliation with anti-communist hate.

And that thought is much scarier than any imaginary Red Menace.


The Lion Helmet calls to restrict pensions, says being poor 'nothing to be proud of'

David Leyonhjelm is a descendant of Swedish nobility, which is why he has such an odd surname.  It means Lion Helmet and is probably pronounced something like that.  He is a very tough-minded hombre but I doubt that his call on pensions will go anywhere.  He just hasn't got enough hair for it

Crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm says people who receive pension payments should not be proud because it shows they are poor.

The Government has restricted access to the aged pension for 300,000 older Australians as part of a tightening of the assets test which began yesterday.

But the Liberal Democratic Senator Leyonhjelm said the restrictions did not go far enough.

"Taking the pension shouldn't be something you aspire to, it should be something you try to avoid because it signifies you're in a low income group — in other words you're poor or you know, close to poor," he told ABC.

The crossbench senator wants the payment to be viewed as welfare — not an entitlement for taxpayers once they reach a certain age. "We really have to get over this idea that you don't have to save for your own retirement and your own old age," he said.

He continued his calls for the family home to form part of the assets test for pensions.

The Government has been defending its changes to the pension during the summer holidays, as Labor ramped up their calls to have it reversed.

Senator Leyonhjelm said Australians should "reinforce the notion" that "when you retire you will only receive the pension if you're poor and its nothing to be proud of".


Peter Dutton calls for tougher citizenship test in Australia

A TOUGHER citizenship test could be on the cards for migrants wanting to become Australians.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said revamping the test "was a debate worth having" as the federal government looks at measures to prevent terrorists from exploiting migration path ways.

Mr Dutton flagged he wants to see greater focus on people’s ability to integrate into Australian society — an individual’s willingness to learn English, educate their children and employment prospects or potential welfare dependence.
Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is open to changing the citizenship test. Picture: AAP

Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is open to changing the citizenship test. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

"My view is people who don’t embrace these tangible values shouldn’t expect automatic citizenship," he told The Australian newspaper.

The citizenship test consists of 20 questions drawn at random from a pool of questions. To pass the test, you must answer 75 per cent, or 15 out of 20 questions, correctly.

This quiz below is a sample of practice questions migrants can do which are listed on the Border Force website.

Mr Dutton said that his personal view was that there was "scope to modernise the ­arrangements".

He said we need to look at whether we have the right test in place for future migrants coming to Australia.

"The question we face is whether or not we have the right test, the right questions ... whether or not people know Don Bradman’s batting average is a true test of whether or not somebody shares an Australian value," he told 2GB radio.

"The vast majority of people come here and do the right thing... but there is a minority that are on a path way to citizenship who we need to have a closer look at in my judgement," he told 3AW Radio.

The controversial test was brought in by the Howard government in 2007 and covered Australia’s history, sporting greats, government, geography and traditions.

The Rudd government tweaked the test two years later to cover civic duty and responsibilities.

Topics include the significance of Anzac Day, the role of the governor-general, laws and government, and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

Key senate crossbencher David Leyonhjelm backed the minister’s calls. "Raising the bar on citizenship is the right response to the concern about immigration which is currently circulating in Australia," Senator Leyonhjelm told AAP.

He believes Australia should look at Switzerland as a potential model where there is a sponsorship program and fellow citizens have to vouch for applicants. He said the citizenship test should cover people’s links to the community, work history and fundamental liberal democratic values such as free speech, equality before the law, rights of women and respect for diversity.


Great $45m politician giveaway for croquet lawns and iPads

New croquet lawns, a Finnish sauna and dozens of lawnmowers, barbecues and iPads are among the thousands of projects to ­receive federal grants under a $45 million slush fund used by MPs for hand-picked community projects.

The Stronger Communities program, announced in last year’s federal budget as an infrastructure initiative, was a two-year scheme that gave every MP $150,000 a year to spend on "small capital projects" in their electorates.

Details of the program ­obtained by The Australian from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development show that the grant scheme has been used for blatant pork-barrelling, with about 400 grants spent on items less than $5000, and millions of dollars spent to shore up the support of ethnic and religious groups in the lead-up to this year’s federal election.

The grant program faces an uncertain future, with the ­Coalition understood to be divided over whether it will receive ongoing funding in next year’s budget, with some MPs concerned about the ethics of the program.

Because the government held 90 of the House of Representative’s 150 seats before the election, Coalition MPs had $13.5m a year to splash on community projects, compared with $8.25m for Labor-held seats. In one example in Scott Morrison’s electorate of Cook, $20,000 was given to the Catholic Church for the repainting in St Finbar’s parish in Sans Souci, which included the priest’s house and the religious and Catholic ­parishioners community house.

While awarded in October, the grant was applied for by the former member for Barton Nickolas Varvaris when the church was located in his electorate before the redistribution of boundaries in NSW.

The grant awarded in October was paid to the trustees of the Roman Catholic Church for the Archdiocese of Sydney.

The Xinjiang Chinese Association in Noble Park in Victoria, in Labor frontbencher Mark Dreyfus’s seat of Isaacs, received about $10,000 to buy 24 iPads and cooking utensils for use by its members. Presenting the grant in March, Mr Dreyfus said he was sure the "iPads and cooking utensils will be of great benefit to members of the association" and he had worked with a community advisory committee to identify "the best investment in our community".

Another $5172 grant was given to the Chinese Xinjiang Senior Citizens Association in Endeavour Hills in Melbourne to buy 12 iPads and two computers to "assist senior citizens to obtain basic computer skills".

The NSW, Victorian and Queensland branches of the Vietnamese Community in Australia each received grants, with $18,700 going to the Labor-held Queensland marginal seat of Oxley for a new community building that included an office, library, meeting room, training room, kitchen and carport.

While ethnic groups were well represented among grant recipients, sporting clubs, local councils, RSL and Rotary clubs were also favoured by MPs to receive the grants. More than 50 taxpayer grants bought new barbecues, about 20 paid for new lawnmowers for various community groups, and countless grants went to sporting clubs for equipment and facility upgrades, including to about a dozen croquet clubs.

In Wallsend, in the electorate of Newcastle held by Labor’s ­Sharon Claydon, taxpayers spent $7000 on mosaic artwork on planter pots, and paid to "fill the pots with flora".

Ceiling fans were also a popular item among projects, with about $70,000 spent on fans, including $5000 to replace one at the Lions Club in Logan, south of Brisbane.

In Andrew Leigh’s Canberra seat of Fenner, $5000 was allocated for the Canberra Quaker Meeting House in Turner for it to install 16 solar panels.

While not known as a powerful voting bloc, the Finnish Society of Melbourne received $15,000 from Labor’s Tim Watts to build a community sauna in Altona, in the seat of Gellibrand.

Among Malcolm Turnbull’s hand-picked projects were $30,000 across two grants to the Jewish House in Bondi for security upgrades and for an electrical upgrade to its crisis care centre.

Grants in Bill Shorten’s electorate of Maribyrnong in Melbourne included $19,627 for a "rowing eight shell" for the Essendon Rowing Club and $10,000 for the Essendon Maribyrnong Park Ladies Cricket Club for new furniture, kitchen equipment and to "frame old photos". He also gave the Vietnamese community $15,000 for a minibus.



Three current reports below:

Big split in the Greens

The far-left Trots (Trotsky-ites) infesting the Greens drop the mask

The partner of Greens senator Lee Rhiannon has at­tacked the federal party and defended the far-left, anti-capitalist faction Left Renewal, further ­exposing turmoil within the Greens after leader Richard Di Natale suggested the new group should consider options outside the party.

Geoff Ash, Senator Rhiannon’s partner of more than 25 years and a founding member and registered officer of the NSW Greens, has written a Facebook post suggesting the formation of the group could be a "wake-up call" for the party establishment.

Formed last month, the group aims to bind its members in a formal faction system and end capitalism, which it describes as the "violent and antagonistic relation between workers and those who exploit them".

"As workers, whether or not we are waged, we experience perpetual violence and this violence must be brought to an end. We therefore fight to bring about the end of capitalism," its online manifesto says.

Senator Di Natale described the overthrow of capitalism as a "ridiculous notion" and suggested members unhappy with Greens policies "consider finding a new political home".

In a post last week on the "Australian Greens politics, news and discussion" public Facebook page, which has more than 8600 members, Mr Ash said although he was not a member of Left Renewal, he was not at all surprised the group had formed.

"Not only is our suite of economic justice policies underdeveloped, some existing positions are soft," he wrote, citing the axing of a "moderate policy" of inheritance tax on wealthy estates, funding private schools and ­ac­cepting corporate donations.

"The formation of Left Renewal is, I think, also a response to the position of the dominant Right grouping within the Greens, with its support for some undemocratic party structures and processes, and its vilification of some Left NSW figures in the party who have campaigned against that," he wrote.

He accused the Right of the party of enabling a lack of grassroots democracy and the federal Greens partyroom of "making up its own rules, with the party having no say even though some of those rules are undemocratic".

He cited the allocation of portfolios, the election of the leader "by just a small number of MPs", a failure to define the powers of the leader and the constitutional right of Greens MPs (except in NSW) to defy party policy and decisions when voting in parliament "through the exercise of a highly elitist and undemocratic so-called conscience vote", as showing the partyroom’s lack of democracy.

"Maybe the formation of the Left Renewal group will provide a wake-up call," he wrote.

Senator Rhiannon could not be contacted for comment.

No state or federal MPs have joined the new group but Brigitte Holly, due to take up a position in Senator Rhiannon’s office soon, and Tamara Ryan, who until recently was on Senator Rhiannon’s federal parliamentary liaison committee, are supporters.

Tom Raue, a self-described anarchist, former Socialist Alternative member and staffer with NSW MP David Shoebridge, has called on Greens to join Left Renewal. Mr Shoebridge is not a member but defends its existence.

A spokesman for Senator Di Natale, who is on leave, said he had no further comment. Federal Greens sources are playing down the issue as a NSW matter.


Victoria's duck hunt given green light

Animal activists are preparing for another war on the wetlands after the Victorian government announced the 2017 duck hunting season.

The season will run for 12 weeks from March 18, with a bag limit of 10 birds per person per day, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said on Tuesday.

Coalition against Duck Shooting's Laurie Levy told AAP that activists were again preparing to keep watch across the state's wetlands for hunters shooting threatened species.

Rare and endangered freckled ducks and a swan were among birds killed on the opening weekend of the 2016 season.


Renewable energy goal could cost Queensland $19bn

The Palaszczuk government has been accused of leaving Queensland at risk of a $19 billion price tag to help reach its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

Opposition energy spokesman Michael Hart said the government’s independent expert panel had adopted "heroic assumptions" in failing to accommodate a federal government that opposed a carbon price or emissions trading scheme.

In its draft report released in October, Mr Hart said the panel assumed a national carbon emissions scheme of between $25 a tonne and $80 a tonne of CO2 across three scenarios.

He said the panel’s suggestion that the impact of a 50 per cent renewable energy target on electricity prices would be "broadly neutral" was based on flawed ­calculations.

The Gold Coast MP said the Palaszczuk government’s plan would put Queensland’s energy security at risk and trigger higher electricity prices for households, businesses and industry.

"Labor’s modelling to justify its extreme renewable energy scheme is fundamentally flawed," Mr Hart said.

"Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to come clean to Queenslanders about the $19bn price tag of this extreme renewable energy scheme — the cost to be borne by taxpayers in subsidies and lost income from electricity generators."

He said a Queensland Productivity Commission report showed that $10.8bn would be required by 2030 to subsidise large and small-scale investment. The QPC report also raised concerns about revenue reductions at government-owned corporations.

"Generators in Queensland would experience a decrease in total earnings of around $6.2bn or 15 per cent," the report said.

"The Queensland government, as owner of the majority of carbon generators in Queensland, would incur the largest financial cost."

The report also stated there would be increases in residential, commercial and industrial consumer bills.

"The Palaszczuk government needs to explain to Queenslanders why (it) continues to push this extreme scheme which has failed in other states," Mr Hart said.

Queensland Energy Minister Mark Bailey described the LNP’s stand on his government’s 50 per cent target as "obsessive opposition to renewable energy and resistance to climate change".

He also rejected claims the expert panel had used flawed methodology to reach its conclusions.

"The independent expert panel’s draft report factors in policy flexibility by giving Queensland three different credible pathways to 50 per cent renew­ables by 2030 to adjust to federal policy changes or the absence of federal policy," Mr Bailey said.

He received the independent expert panel’s final report before Christmas and said it would be "a priority".

He rejected the QPC report findings.

"The QPC desktop $10.8bn estimate figure referred to by the LNP has been superseded by the more detailed economic modelling by the independent renewable expert panel, which estimates a maximum cost of $900 million over the next 13 years," he said.

"The modelling found the transition to renewable energy would be broadly cost-neutral to consumers in stark contrast to the 43 per cent electricity price surges inflicted on Queenslanders by the LNP during their brief three years under Campbell Newman."


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 January, 2017

No sea level rise in Moreton Bay:  A FALL instead

Moreton Bay borders Brisbane.  A Brisbane reader emailed me as follows:

I thought you might be interested in this photo of our old family home site at Cleveland Point, Moreton Bay. That old jetty is one I helped build in 1946. And in the years from '46 to '53 the fine weather king tides [~ normal BP] just covered the decking on that jetty [decking now missing but 30 mm higher than remaining bearers]. This photo was taken at the top of the highest king tide of this summer [15/12/16] and as you can see this tide is at least a foot lower than the top of the jetty. I have been doing this check regularly for the last 6 years and it is always the same. Around a foot lower.

Not only is there no acceleration in SLR in this isoststically stable part of the world but there is NO SLR at all. There have been no hydrodynamic changes anywhere near this very exposed part of the bay to possibly influence tides.

The new owners have wisely built a mezzanine wall and filled the site because apart from being at king tide height the lawn would be under water by up to a foot with cyclonic storm surges which happened quite often in the past though rarely nowadays.

It is interesting when you talk to council engineers and others in authority who should know -- like university professors advising on coastal city planning etc. -- just how little they really know about the true sea level situation.

There is no continuous tide gauge data and they all believe in the satellite altimetry  -- JI

Comment: To those who have been fed Greenie propaganda, this must seem inexplicable but it is in fact a common finding.  The very carefully set Isle of the Dead gauge in Tasmania also shows a mean sea-level fall of about a foot 

And because Australia is remarkably stable geologically, Australian data is of particular interest.  Rising and falling of the land can mostly be ruled out in Australia.  So, contrary to the IPCC, the sea level has not risen as a result of the slight C20 temperature rise.

There are many sea-level records showing falling in the Northern hemisphere too. So how come we haven't heard of them?  Because the commonly published records are ADJUSTED ones.  We rarely get to see the raw data. The theory is that the ground is rising as a rebound from the weight of ice that vanished after the last ice age (isostatic rebound).  So the Warmists have a formula to "correct" for rising of the ground.  And that highly theoretical formula turns a sea-level fall into a slight rise.

But the last ice age went away thousands of years ago.  Surely any rebound effect would have completed long ago.  So it is pure theory and quite improbable theory which tells us that sea levels have been rising over C20 and earlier.  It is not only the temperature readings that have been adjusted.  The sea level data has been adjusted too.

Even if we allow the possibility that there is still some isostatic rebound going on, can we believe a rise of a foot in very recent times?  It's just another fraud. With an acceleration like that, most of Europe and North America should be as high as the Himalayas.

So where has the missing water gone?  It's confirmation of the  "Simpson Effect".  Simpson predicted that warming would cause water to be trapped in glacial ice at the poles.  And Antarctic ice has in fact been increasing overall.

Read the late John Daly on the matter.  He knew where all the skeletons are buried.  There's a whole graveyard of them

Iraq war veteran fought off EIGHT Muslim men after they attacked his wife

Muslim values at work:  Disregard for "Kuffar" law and contempt for women

A retired Iraq war veteran who fought off eight Muslim men after they attacked his wife has tried to put the record straight on what exactly happened that day.

Kyle Tyrrell, 48, had an altercation with fishermen on Victoria's Surf Coast a year ago while standing up for his wife Liana.

Mr Tyrrell claimed that Liana was punched in the face at the Cosy Corner beach, in Torquay, after one of the men put a crab pot in the water and she told him the area was a marine sanctuary and fishing was banned.

In the fight that took place on Sunday, January 24, 2016, Mr Tyrrell suffered minor injuries, while at least one of the fishermen was taken to hospital. No charges were laid.

The retired lieutenant-colonel claimed that the attack was racially and culturally motivated after his wife was called a white slut and a white whore by the men.

However criticism that he has received about the incident on Facebook persuaded him to set the record straight on the incident. He confirmed that the men were Muslim and said he would 'do it again in a heartbeat'.

Mr Tyrrell claimed the Muslim man took offence to being told what to do by a woman and unleashed a tirade of abuse at her, but the fact that she ignored him only enraged him even more.

'His mates got close to me and then he made a run for my wife, that's when I ran at him, he threw a punch which I ducked and the fight started. At no time could either my wife, daughter or I safely walk away,' Mr Tyrrell wrote.

'At that point five more joined the fight, one punching my wife as she attempted to get our daughter up the beach.'

At one stage one of the men said to Mrs Terrell: 'Your husband needs to teach you a lesson.'

'I would do the same thing again in a heartbeat, in fact I would do the same thing for any woman I saw in that situation not just my wife,' he concluded the Facebook post.


No plans to move Australian embassy in Israel

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has shot down Tony Abbott's call to move Australia's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In an opinion piece published in The Spectator magazine former prime minister argued Australia could demonstrate "unswerving support for Israel" by joining any move by the incoming Trump administration to move its embassy.

But Ms Bishop was quick to reject the suggestion.

"The Australian government does not have any plans to move the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," she said in a statement to AAP.

Mr Abbott recently returned from a trip to the Middle East.  He attended the Australia-Israel-UK Dialogue in Jerusalem along with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and other federal MPs.

Mr Abbott also called for Australia to suspend aid to the Palestinian Authority because "it keeps paying pensions to terrorists and their families".

Australia's aid program to Palestine is more than $40 million a year and is provided via United Nations agencies and some charity organisations.

The money goes towards projects to provide Palestinian refugees with basic services such as health, education, water and sanitation.

Ms Bishop defended the aid program, saying it has a robust risk management and due diligence assessment process which are also applied to partner agencies and governments.

The government had a zero tolerance policy towards fraud and corruption, she said.

Last year, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade suspended aid to World Vision's work in the Palestinian Territories in the wake of allegations the charity's head in Gaza funnelled millions of dollars to militant group Hamas. The organisation has denied the claims, which are subject to court proceedings.

Ms Bishop said aid to the Palestinian Territories was already under review, following the World Vision case.

Acting opposition leader Chris Bowen said Australian assistance to Gaza and the West Bank is vital to countering extremism and promoting peace in the Middle East.

"Mr Abbott is clearly using this as yet another issue to undermine Malcolm Turnbull and continue his campaign to regain the leadership by appealing to the hardliners in the Liberal Party," Mr Bowen told AAP.


A feminist censorship attempt

A small family business has fallen victim to a blatant attack against free speech, with so-called feminist keyboard warriors swamping it with negative customer reviews over a decision to screen a controversial men’s rights documentary.

Ultima Function Centre in northwestern Melbourne, run by the Georgiades family for 13 years, has been forced to defend its decision to hire space for a private screening of the film The Red Pill, after being ­accused of "supporting misogynist propaganda".

While [unattractive] Melbourne woman Lizzie Johnsen, a self-proclaimed "feminist killjoy ... social justice warrior", is one of several people who hit out at the film, many of the one-star reviews of the company subsequently posted to its Facebook page came from Britain, The Netherlands and Canada.

The latest bid to censor the film — a feature-length documentary exploring the men’s rights movement by award-winning US filmmaker Cassie Jaye — comes as the organisers of an upcoming screening in Brisbane have been forced to keep the location secret, having ­attracted threats of violence.

The Australian’s film critic David Stratton yesterday expressed dismay. "Any attempt at censoring the arts, including film, is to be condemned, especially when the would-be censors use false information — in other words, lies — to intimidate those with different ideas," Stratton said.

In October last year, the owner of Melbourne’s Kino Cinema cancelled the Australian premiere of the film after receiving a 2000-­signature online petition. The premiere eventually went ahead at another secret location; a Sydney screening the following month was similarly scrapped.

Ultima Function Centre manager Nick Georgiades said he became concerned about the reputational damage to his Keilor business when negative comments started to appear on his Facebook page last month in ­response to publicity over the ­Boxing Day screening.

The barrage can be traced to a Facebook post under Ms Johnsen’s name, alerting followers to the venue’s plan to screen the film.

"I’m sure they’d appreciate you letting them know about the film and how it goes against Australian values, and gives a platform to rape apologists and people who hate women," she wrote.

Attempts to contact Ms Johnsen yesterday were unsuccessful.

After her post came a stream of one-star reviews for the business, many accompanied by a pro-forma statement railing against white supremacy, patriarchy, bigotry and misogyny, ­followed by variations on the claim: "I am compelled to give a poor rating for this establishment."

Mr Georgiades, who watched the film and spoke to the producer before deciding to accept the booking, attempted to reason with the protesters, pointing out that by trying to silence the movie they were "proving the very point the director is trying to make". He noted many conceded they had not watched the film, which has yet to secure a commercial release.

"It didn’t seem to be promoting any violence against women, as has been claimed," he told The Australian yesterday.

"Whether you agree with the documentary or not, it’s not really the point.

"It would have been quite easy for me to say, ‘it isn’t worth the trouble’, and tell them to go screen it somewhere else. But that isn’t really fair; we should be able to do anything we like, as long as it’s not illegal and no one is getting hurt."

Instead, Mr Georgiades hired extra security for the event, which was attended by about 70 people.

While the reviews of the film worldwide have been mixed, such is the backlash that attempts to screen it are going underground.

Men’s Rights Brisbane will host a hometown screening on January 14 but will not disclose the location until hours beforehand to avoid a repeat of Melbourne and Sydney.

The group has already received abuse via Twitter, with the account of one individual suspended after tweeting: "I really hope someone shoots up that event — dead MRA’s (Men’s Rights Activists) — cool!".


The Left has absolutely lost the plot

Corrine Barraclough

The blood-soaked terror attack in Istanbul swiftly confirmed any glimmer of belief we held in remaining safe and secure was premature.

In the face of such horror, the insipid Left has launched a new comedy show. They’re squealing to boycott publisher Simon & Schuster as it confirmed Milo Yiannopoulos, far right journalist and speaker, has signed a book deal reportedly worth $US250,000.

Yes, this cat and mouse cartoon is how they choose to expend their energy.

It’s entertaining already. Pre-orders have pushed his autobiography, Dangerous, out in March, to the top of Amazon’s bestseller lists in America and Canada.

Leftie howling has managed publicity as slickly as their outrage over screenings of Cassie Jaye’s The Red Pill documentary secured awareness.

The many who dismiss Yiannopoulos as an internet-based agitator and troll would do well to remember he’s a senior editor at Breitbart News, the most-read conservative website in America. Former chief executive Steve Bannon has been appointed Trump’s chief strategist. Ignore Yiannopoulos’s influence at your peril.

The global mood ensures the more the Left whines, the better his book will sell — and Milo mania will thrive.

On Sunday, Yiannopoulos posted on his increasingly popular Facebook page, which recently cracked one million followers: "When I got banned from Twitter, my UK literary agent dropped me, essentially telling me I was untouchable. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t make it. You can."

Cue roaring applause from "deplorables" who are sick of being told they’re failures and fools.

While hypocrisy and outrage spew from the mouths of the Left, the Right becomes increasingly determined.

If you look at Yiannopoulos’s Facebook page and find nothing amusing, you are part of the reason the Right is rising. One significant part of that reason is the attempted stifling and silencing of people with senses of humour.

You don’t have to agree with everything he says or stands for to recognise him as an articulate breath of fresh air. If you’re suffering from Snowflake Syndrome, it may be wise to spend some time here to toughen up.

On Saturday he summed it up perfectly, writing: "It’s all over, social justice warriors. Twitter mobs don’t work any more. And some publishers, newspapers and maybe even soon entertainment studios are going to be brave enough to start taking risks and ignoring the liars, frauds and crackpots of the noisy activist Left. They are realising what we have known for some time: there are more normal people than SJWs, and the normal people have had enough."

One of his many followers commented: "I preordered three copies; one for me, another for my boyfriend and the third to throw at my angry lesbian feminist sister’s head. I’m so glad they’re hardbacks."

A perfect example of the frothing warring of the two worlds came this weekend. A Fairfax columnist suggested feminists stop using the word "mansplain" in order to become more likeable and influential.

Doesn’t that just show how far up their arrogant ivory towers they’ve climbed? My dears, banning "mansplaining" isn’t going to help you. You’re focusing on one leaf when we see a forest of issues. You’ve zoomed in on microscopic linguistic detail when the real problem is your entire hateful feminist ideology.

The ferocious control the PC-Fem brigade now has over everyday life is undeniable. Perth pub the Brass Monkey Hotel was absolutely crucified and forced to apologise for using "explicit" banners to promote a frat-themed party to be held on January 1.

Don’t you see? This is why your cause is being rejected; it has nothing to do with intellectual superiority or linguistics. Rather, you have forced the entire population to erase its sense of humour. We’re not allowed to have fun anymore. We’re burnt at the stake for daring to laugh at sexist jokes.

This was a themed party. Does there really need to be mass hysteria over banners reading, "Drop your freshman daughters off here" and "Drop panties not bombs"? Did Shane Warne’s saucy "Back to School" themed New Year’s Eve party offend you too?

This unrelenting outrage is boosting the appeal of the right — and has helped secure Yiannopoulos’s lucrative book deal.

Talk about "mansplaining" all you like, we’re not listening. You’re talking a different language and your entire world view is unrelatable.


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 January, 2017

Tony Abbott calls for Palestinian aid cut and embassy relocation to Jerusalem

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has called for Australia's $40 million in aid to Palestine to be cut, citing concerns over the Palestinian Authority's support for "terrorists and their families", and suggested the Australian embassy in Israel be moved to Jerusalem.

Mr Abbott's strongly pro-Israel declarations follow the United Nations Security Council's damning resolution on the country's construction of settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

The United Nations Security Council votes to endorse the ceasefire in Syria's civil war brokered by Russia and Turkey.

Permitted by the outgoing Obama administration, the resolution labelling the settlements illegal has drawn ire from conservatives around the world - including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who called it "one-sided" and "deeply unsettling" and President-elect Donald Trump, who described it as "extremely unfair".

Writing for The Spectator Australia after a recent trip to the region for the Australia-Israel-UK Leadership Dialogue, Mr Abbott said an Australian demonstration of "unswerving support for Israel, as the Middle East's only liberal, pluralist democracy, might be to join any move by the Trump administration to move its embassy to Jerusalem".

While Israel considers Jerusalem its capital, countries with diplomatic ties to the country maintain embassies in its largest city Tel Aviv, not recognising East Jerusalem's annexation by the Israelis in 1967.

As recently as December, a spokeswoman for Mr Trump said relocating the US embassy was a "very big priority". The President-elect's pick to be ambassador, David Friedman, is a staunch right-wing supporter of Israel and its activities in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Palestinians also lay claim to Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. The US embassy's relocation - a cause célèbre for Israel's fiercest American backers - would likely trigger outrage across the Muslim would.

As a significant ancient site for Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the city has long been at the centre of religious and political tensions in the Middle East and further division over its possession would represent an obstacle to peace and Palestinian statehood.

In 1995, US Congress voted to move the embassy but successive presidents have delayed the relocation every six months using a waiver provision.

"Australia should cut our $40 million a year in aid to the Palestinian Authority while it keeps paying pensions to terrorists and their families," Mr Abbott wrote, referring to support payments made to Arab detainees in Israeli prisons and their relatives.

He also said "there should be a permanent settlement for a Palestinian state where Jews have the same rights as Palestinians have in Israel", labelling the alternative a "kind of apartheid that's at odds with Israel's own values".

Mr Abbott expressed scepticism that the Palestinian Authority accepted Israel's right to exist, given the virulent and anti-Semitic rhetoric of some Palestinians.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop defended the aid program, saying there was "robust risk management and due diligence assessment processes" and a "zero tolerance policy" for fraud and corruption.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton also backed it, telling Sydney radio station 2GB "it's not an ideal world but we provide aid in a way that is measured and controlled and if people are acting outside those parameters, then we wouldn't provide aid".

In August, the government suspended funding for World Vision after Israeli accusations that one of the charity's Palestinian employees was redirecting millions of dollars to terrorist group Hamas. World Vision has denied the allegations.

Acting Labor leader Chris Bowen said development assistance to the Palestinian territories should be "transparent and accountable" and that it is "vital to the work of countering extremism and promoting peace".

Mr Abbott is not the first Australian politician to call for the embassy move. Last year, Liberal senator James Paterson argued that "Jerusalem is Israel's capital and we should respect that by putting our embassy where they choose to have their capital."

Following the former prime minister's comments, Ms Bishop knocked the idea on the head, saying the government "does not have any plans to move the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem".


Bob Hawke says abolish state governments and think big to fix the nation

Typical Leftist love of centralized power.  The further away they get from the individual the better they like it

Bob Hawke believes he has the recipe to fix the nation: think big, get better candidates, abolish state governments and use "rational, unemotional thinking" to solve issues for the greater good.

The former prime minister – who won four elections and is considered one of the nation's most popular leaders – used what has become his regular address at Queensland's Woodford Folk Festival to once again push for a federation overhaul.

It's one of Mr Hawke's pet issues – having first made the argument in a 1979 Boyer lecture – and he said the time had come to "think big" and reform the nation's political set-up for the good of the country.

"What we have today – as I have said before – basically represents the meanderings of British explorers across the Australian continent more than 200 years ago," he said.

"They wandered around and lines were drawn on a map and jurisdiction and governance followed. "So you have 13 parliaments [including senates] dealing with much the same issues and I believe that the simple fact is the states should be abolished.

"I raised that with my own colleagues and, would you believe it, they are not overly keen on it. "So many comfortable seats to put bums on in parliaments all over this country, but it seems to me that that is what ought to happen."

Mr Hawke said he would keep the state boundaries "for interstate sport and that sort of thing".

He said the quality of political candidates also needed to improve.  "I think this is more of a problem for the conservative side of politics than mine, because on our side we tend to have some ideology-driven mood which brings up good people," he said.

"You just look at it: you have a businessman, a good bloke who has done well, who tends to be on the conservative side of politics. Quite apart from the money he would lose going into Parliament, so many would have to ask themselves, I'm sure, 'Why should I go in and subject myself, and my family, my wife and children, to this intrusive inspection of their daily lives?'"

Mr Hawke said the time had come "where we have to think big if we are going to face the big issues of our time; we have to be prepared to face changes which are quite radical". These included global warming. He recommended the Turnbull government consider opening Australia for the storage of nuclear waste.

"The issues at stake here are of such fundamental importance that we require rational, unemotional thinking," he said.

"Slogan-mongering is not good enough – nimby, not in my backyard - ignores the fact that the world's leading geologists have said that we have the world's geologically safest backyard, [the] most remote backyard, and we cannot ignore that fact if we are to be serious to ourselves, our children and our grandchildren."

He said he had begun investigating such issues shortly before he was replaced as prime minister by Paul Keating, and believed it would be "a win for the global environment" as "an essential part of the attack which must be made on this grievously creeping global warming".

He said it would be "a win for the Australian economy" and provide the nation with the funds to address "the greatest stain" on its character: "the great gaps that exist between our Aboriginal brothers and sisters" and the rest of the nation.

The international community would embrace the opportunity, he said.

"On one of my recent visits to China I met with a recent prime minister of Japan and when I told him about what I saw as this possibility of Australia taking the world's [nuclear] waste - I don't exaggerate – he nearly had an orgasm. "That would have been a sight, wouldn't it?"

Mr Hawke has become a regular fixture at the end of year festival, attracting hundreds of attendees to his talks. This year, he helped open the festivities, leading the crowd in a rendition of Waltzing Matilda.


More than 1.5 MILLION migrants are receiving welfare in Australia

More than 1.5 million people born overseas are receiving welfare payments in Australia, according to recently released data.

The percentage of migrants on welfare is hugely disproportionate to the number actually in the country, reports The Australian.

About 2.5 million people are currently receiving the Age Pension alone, with almost half of that total coming from overseas countries.

At a Social Services council conference in Sydney on Thursday, Australia's welfare reliance was front and centre.

The Coalition made it clear its objective was to increase self-reliance and taper off dependence on welfare payments.

But Labor leader Bill Shorten argued the debate was 'hijacked by alarmist rhetoric, by ideology, by chest-beating scaremongering about time-bombs, blowouts and bludgers'.

However the results detail an alarming reality.

Migrants from Greece, Italy and Britain represent an overwhelmingly large proportion of migrants on welfare payments.

Overseas migrants from the Middle East also make up a big proportion of those on income support and the carer pension.

People from Iraq also account for less than one per cent of the Australian population, but represent 3.77 per cent of those on the carer payment welfare.

The Iraqi population is closely followed by the Lebanese-Australian population who comprise about three per cent of the entire population receiving carer payments.

Lebanese-Australians also claim a large proportion of the disability support pension in Australia.

Sudanese people make up just 0.09 per cent of Australia's population but receive a whopping 0.57 per cent of the entire Dole welfare – more than six times their representation in the general population.

But while Sudanese represent a large portion of the Dole payouts, respectively, they represent just 0.02 per cent of the Age Pension.

The figures overwhelmingly paint a picture of migrant reliance on Australia's back pocket, but the Centre for Independent Studies said the figures could be explained.

Research fellow Jeremy Sammut said people from overseas faced somewhat greater barriers to entering the workforce.

'That might be because they have limited English or arrive as refugees with few skills to find work in the modern world,' he told The Australian.

And while migrants are over-represented on the age pension, income support pension and the carer payment, Australian-born Australians also tip the scale in other areas of welfare.

Australian-born Australians are largely over-represented on the dole and disability support pensions in particular.

Australians represent about 71 per cent of Australia's population, but receive 73 per cent of Dole pay-outs, and a whopping 77 per cent of the disability support.

One of the few nationalities which was underrepresented on Australia's welfare list was New Zealand.

New Zealand people represent about 2.6 per cent of Australia's population but claim only 2.05 per cent of the age pension, 1.6 per cent of the carer payment, 1.9 per cent of the disability support and 2.3 per cent of dole payments.

The newly released data comes from the Department of Social Services, and while much of the information has now been made public under Freedom of Information laws, some remains hidden.

The Department of Human Services said data revealing 'hot spots' – where people rorted the welfare system or simply became over reliant - was still private.


Lack of respect for laws has led Victoria into a crisis

VICTORIA is in the middle of a law-and-order crisis under the Andrews Government. Premier Daniel Andrews always seems able to create a situation in which one group wins and the other loses. Under his government, it seems violent criminals continue to get away with it while innocent Victorians suffer.

Public apprehension about violent crime and community safety is at sky-high levels — and it’s no wonder with crime rates the highest they’ve ever been in Victoria’s history.

Can you remember horrific carjackings being a daily feature of life in our community? Or violent home invasions that are so brazen as to make you think they could not possibly be real?

It’s no wonder people are fortifying their homes and taking other measures for their own protection. Victorians should not have to do that — it’s what our justice system is meant to do for us.

And tell me, when did looting become a thing here? Yes, that’s what happened recently when a group of violent youths walked into four Officeworks stores around Melbourne, stealing goods without the slightest respect for the law, staff, customers or police officers. And just when I thought I’d seen it all, scenes showing the West Gate Bridge in lockdown as police surrounded a stolen car with at least one offender who was out on bail made me wonder whether I was watching a movie set or footage from a live police operation in Los Angeles.

Our prison and youth justice systems are in chaos. Riots are happening frequently and two court cases over the past fortnight have found the Andrews Government was incapable of moving violent youths to Barwon Prison. The level of incompetence by the Andrews Government and minister Jenny Mikakos is difficult to comprehend. In the face of the kind of rampant violence that occurred at the Parkville and Malmsbury youth justice facilities recently, how could Andrews and Mikakos have bungled the process when the law allows for such transfers?

I hate to think of the legal costs of this fiasco. Remember, because the minister lost the case, taxpayers will have to foot the legal bill for the lawyers acting for the thugs who engaged in the very violence that started this mess.

It’s almost as if, under the Andrews Government, our entire corrections system is being driven by the inmates.

Labor governments have been in power, effectively, for 13 of the past 17 years and their decisions have caused many of the crises we face now, like Andrews’s disastrous decision to legalise the breaching of bail by people under 18 years of age, such as Apex gang members.

What worse message could you send to a generation of youths? How could you say to them that it’s fine to breach your bail, even when you have no reasonable excuse for doing so?

When a magistrate recently gave a violent person, who had already breached bail four times previously, a fifth chance at bail and who then went on to shoot someone, the government was dismissive of the community outrage.

The Andrews Government has refused to address weak sentencing and bail outcomes from our courts. Those outcomes have resulted from a number of higher court decisions that have jeopardised community safety and frustrated the will of parliament for stronger sentences.

The Premier weakened police move-on powers to carefully manage violent protesters. You know the protesters I’m talking about: the masked thugs who pose as paragons of democratic virtue, but are willing to beat up innocent bystanders. Can you really expect Daniel Andrews to be strong when his Police Minister condones illicit drug use in a public space by sanctioning non-enforcement?

You cannot tackle the causes of crime unless you first build respect for the law.

THE Andrews Government is simply not capable or prepared to take the firm approaches needed to put respect and responsibility at the heart of our criminal justice system. It’s no wonder it has lost all authority over our justice system.

And don’t offenders know it.

We need an approach that is driven by the right values and priorities. Community safety, respect and responsibility must come first with ideology giving way to common sense.

We know action is needed and that is why the Liberal Nationals led by Matthew Guy have introduced legislation to fill the huge gaps left by Andrews. Our team has introduced legislation to: crack down on carjackings and drive-by shootings; ensure murderers don’t get parole unless they reveal where their victims’ bodies are located; keep cop killer Craig Minogue in jail for life, and; ensure community safety is the paramount consideration for parole for all offenders.

Our laws should be putting the rights of victims first, not those of criminals.


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

2 January, 2017

Big storm in June 2016 in Sydney area

Some extensive excerpts below from an end-of-year climate report by shifty Peter Hannam, environmental reporter for the Leftist Sydney Mourning Harold. In a possible example of a Trump effect, Peter for once mentions "climate change" not once!  Is he losing the faith?

Out of all the weather in the whole vast continent of Austraila, the only extreme weather event Peter could find to mourn in the whole year was a big mid-year storm in Sydney that caused a lot of beach erosion. But storms that cause beach erosion are old hat in Eastern Australia, including places just North of Sydney  like Byron Bay.  Note the following quote:

"Since settlement, the Byron Shire coastline has endured a long history of large coastal storms and coastal erosion and as a result suffered major losses to its dunal system. The properties that lie along Belongil Beach have lost significant portions of their land as the relentless effects of the ocean have eroded away its foredune."

So beach erosion proves nothing. It's routine.

Peter then goes on to temperature, heading his subsection:  "Record breaking heat".  And Peter goes on to give a careful selection of statistics about temperature.  And its all laughs from then on.

The one thing he does not give is the actual maximum temperature for Sydney 2016.  He just says vaguely: "40-degree readings".  But those readings were all in Western Sydney, far from the sea, where it is always hotter.  From what I can gather, coastal Sydney stayed BELOW 40.

He then goes on to say: "Sydney will notch its highest readings since reliable data gathering began in 1858 for each of the main measures: for minimum, mean and maximum temperatures"

Note that date, 1858.  Convenient. You can prove almost anything by choosing your starting point. Watkin Tench in 1790 was at least as good a scientist as many modern meteorologists -- he didn't "interpolate" [guess], for instance -- and he recorded a maximum temperature in coastal Sydney of 108F (42C).  Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

See here and also here for a confirmation of Tench's observations

But the funniest bit of all is Peter's link to a study by dear little Acacia Pepler. I have for many decades had the habit of going back to the original text of anything quoted. And it has been my impression previously that Acacia has got more honesty in her than most BoM personnel -- maybe because she is still a student. And she did not disappoint this time.  She was just using rubbishy models -- as they all do -- but reported a run that others -- I suspect -- would have quietly hidden away.

I give the Abstract at the foot of Peter's eructation.  She actually predicts a DECREASE in big storms!  Pesky! And big East Coast storms are actually Acacia's area of expertise.  So Peter certainly gave me a few laughs today.

The storm was generated by a monster east coast low, arguably the state's most significant weather event in 2016, if not Australia's.

In its special climate statement on the event, the Bureau of Meteorology list the tempest's remarkable features. For NSW, it dumped an average of 73.11 millimetres of rain along the state's coastline, the most ever for a single day for any month, beating the previous high set on January 19, 1950, of 68.89mm.

The scale of this mid-latitude cyclone also stretched further, from Queensland to Tasmania, where it broke the Apple Island's drought with record rains.

Also, to underscore the tropical features of the event, all previous storms approaching the amount of rain dumped on eastern NSW had occurred during summer rather than the start of winter, and were linked to tropical cyclones or former ones.

As with other big natural events, social, economic and environmental impacts have lingered long after the storm. Insured losses alone were about $250 million. It has also laid bare vulnerabilities, particularly for coastal communities, of the more intense storms expected as the climate warms. The challenges facing governments include trying to boost resilience and adaptability for residents in a manner that's fair and foresighted.

While major east coast lows have hammered the coastline previously, such as in 1974 and 1978, impacts are likely to worsen with climate change, researchers including Acacia Pepler, a bureau climatologist and UNSW scientist, have found.

For one thing, a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture – 7 per cent more per degree of warming – and therefore dump more rain. The impact of storms on coasts will also likely be made worse by rising sea levels, with storm surges riding on a higher base.

Record-breaking heat

For Sydney, 2016 had other noteworthy weather, perhaps none more so than the outstanding warmth even if heatwave peaks weren't as frequent as the summer of 2013-14.

As parts of Sydney closed out 2016 with their first 40-degree readings of the summer, the year's last burst of heat was a fitting end to the city's hottest year on record, Weatherzone says.

Sydney will notch its highest readings since reliable data gathering began in 1858 for each of the main measures: for minimum, mean and maximum temperatures.

For day-time temperatures, the city's average day in 2016 will come in at about 23.8 degrees, and nights about 15.5 degrees, Weatherzone estimates. The bureau will release its assessments next week.

For perspective, it's as if Sydney's average year-round conditions matched those of a typical November.

Compared with long-run average, days were about 2 degrees warmer than normal and nights 1.5 degrees. Should similar anomalies by overlaid on 2016 in future years – an increase within the bounds of projected climate change – year-round temperatures would start to feel like a typical December.

'Persistent warmth'

Looking back over the year, Sydneysiders might be forgiven for thinking 2016 was not a remarkably hot year – the last few days notwithstanding.

The city did set a few high marks, including the hottest April day on record with 34.2 degrees set on the 6th. December 14 was another standout with its warm minimum of 27.1 degrees, the hottest overnight temperature for the month but the second for any month.

But generally few months set new high marks and autumn was the only season to do so for mean, minimum and maximum temperatures. The average of day and night temperatures easily eclipsed the previous high set in 2014 by 0.4 degrees, the bureau says.


Projected changes in east Australian midlatitude cyclones during the 21st century

Acacia S. Pepler et al.


The east coast of Australia is regularly influenced by midlatitude cyclones known as East Coast Lows. These form in a range of synoptic situations and are both a cause of severe weather and an important contributor to water security. This paper presents the first projections of future cyclone activity in this region using a regional climate model ensemble, with the use of a range of cyclone identification methods increasing the robustness of results. While there is considerable uncertainty in projections of cyclone frequency during the warm months, there is a robust agreement on a decreased frequency of cyclones during the winter months, when they are most common in the current climate. However, there is a potential increase in the frequency of cyclones with heavy rainfall and those closest to the coast and accordingly those with potential for severe flooding.


Ban 'mansplain' from the feminist vocabulary

I suspect that Denby Weller below has been hit -- as have so many -- by the 53% of white women who voted for The Donald.  That 53% sure wounded the "sisterhood" myth.  It is an utter  myth, anyway.  If you want to tear down some woman, get another woman onto the job.  The word "bitchy" reflects that

I had a giggle like everyone the first time I heard it. Mansplain. The perfect epithet for the boardroom bullies, the down-talking politicians, the Twits and shock jocks who embody the 16 per cent gender pay-gap, the underrepresentation of women in just about everything important. The unfairness that we're still beating our heads against the glass ceiling so many decades after The Female Eunuch.

Like thousands of women, I threw it around like the glorious little explosion of wit that it is. And most of my male friends laughed along, if a little uncomfortably.

Why 'mansplaining' should be banned

It's one of 2016's hottest buzzwords. But is calling someone a "mansplainer" fair game?

But then I started getting this sinking feeling, the kind you got when your nine-year-old self (the one with short hair and a Sarah Connor figurine) won an argument with your brother about who got to sit in the front seat of the car, but you did it by kicking him in the shins and yelling "shotgun!" while he howled in pain. Somehow, the rosy glow of that hallowed front seat was tarnished by the knowledge that you went real low to get there.

When I called someone a mansplainer, I'd hit below the belt.

Feminists, this is our hour. These are the dark days. The world needs us, and it needs us to be smart, effective and bold.

What it doesn't need is for us to be allured by our cleverness into abandoning the rules of good argument. And this is why I'm calling for a moratorium on the word "mansplain" and its cousins, "manterrupt" and "bropropriate".

It's not just because we're tarring half the population with the same brush when we slap the word "man" in front of any verb and say it with a derisive tone. Nor is it because we risk offence. It's because this adversarial form of communication ain't working, and we need to try a different tactic. And I don't mean to sound hysterical, but the future of the world kinda depends on it.

This year hasn't been a good one for progressive, liberally minded types like us and, while the reasons are too complex to tackle in a single article, there is one I can home in on without trying very hard at all.

We're not winning enough friends or influencing enough people. It's not because our arguments don't hold water, or our position is doomed to fail, it's because people can't get past the note of intellectually superior nastiness that's oozing from our pores when we utter words like "mansplain".

If feminism is, as the T-shirt says, the "radical notion that women are people", then maybe it's time we adopted the radical notion that people are people too. Even man people. Who knows, if we use our linguistic power to sever the bullies and braggarts from the general male population, we might find the rest of mankind more receptive to our plight. Or maybe not. But at least then we'd be able to dance around the moral high ground in our pantsuits and whatever the hell undies we choose to wear, or not to wear.

We love reading about how everyone hates Hillary because she's a woman, and chortle when Tanya Plibersek calls Turnbull a mansplainer, but consider that at least some of Hillary's haters were made the day she called them a basket of deplorables. And that referring to a rare conservative politician who's happy to call himself a feminist as a mansplainer is a good way to wither the last tiny vestiges of goodwill between our kind and the people with whom we most need to engage.

By all means, challenge the men who talk down to you. Go get 'em, sister. But make your primary weapon logic, not scorn. Put that superior intellect to work on the vocab that precisely describes what's wrong with their behaviour, not the generalist sexism of a gendered slur. In case you forgot, gendered slurs are the kinds of things we feminists are supposed to hate.

Do your challenging without humiliating the other blokes in the room, who might even agree with you, if you could only couch your complaint in terms that don't demean them, too.

The thing about feminism is, it ain't over yet. We don't get to walk the low road just because we're not making progress as fast as we'd like. If you want people to change, you have to speak a language they can bear to listen to before you have any hope at all of them hearing a single word you say.

Let's banish mansplaining and start talking about the real battle for feminists.


Africans bring some multicultural vibrancy to Bondi beach

Police arrested nine people at Sydney's Bondi Beach early on New Year's Day after the group allegedly threatened beachgoers with broken bottles.

One victim was allegedly punched in the face, and had his passport and backpack stolen in the incident, which happened around 5.30am at the southern end of the beach, according to police and media reports.

Five suspects were in custody and four others were released pending further inquiry, police said.

A number of items that were reported stolen, including mobile phones and portable speakers, were located at the beach, an NSW police spokesperson said.

Police took statements from 'a number of people' who alleged they were assaulted and robbed, the spokesperson said. 

The suspects allegedly wielded a broken bottle in the robbery, according to The Daily Telegraph.


NSW prisons slow to react with programs to deradicalise prisoners at risk of extremism

PRISONS have been allowed­ to become terrorist breeding grounds because the state government has dragged its feet on ­deradicalisation programs.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal prison bosses ­ignored urgent demands to fast-track deradicalisation programs back in 2010.

Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin­ was at a loss when asked by The Saturday Telegraph why it had taken six years to ­introduce a program to target terrorists in prisons.

"I can’t even answer that because for me it was very important that before we simply do a program we need to know what is it that actually makes a difference­," he said. "We can call anything a program but ... it’s not like a sex ­offender treatment program­ or a program for drug and alcohol abuse.

"This is about an attitude­, this is about a belief, a philosophy and you need to deal with that in a much different way to how you would deal with somebody’s criminogenic behaviours."

The department estimates there are about 100 prisoners who are radicalised, including Australia’s most dangerous inmate, Bassam Hamzy.

The department’s complacency has meant there has been nothing to stop prisoners turning into cold-blooded terrorists while in prison. But Assistant Commissioner, Security and Intelligence Mark Wilson denied that the department had totally dragged its feet.

"Certainly since I’ve started and particularly since this became a phenomenon, we have taken this very seriously.

"I think in terms of taking so long to get a program going, the whole deradicalisation thing is an evolving space globally so we are certainly not asleep at the wheel on this at all," he said. "I think we’ve managed it fairly well."

Mr Severin admitted that the first program — known as PRISM (Pro­active Integrated Support Model) — had only been introduced this year.

Former Labor prisons minister Phillip Costa had directed the department­ to fast track development of deradicalisation programs in 2010, when Ron Woodham was corrective services commissioner.

"Certainly since I’ve started and particularly since this became a phenomenon, we have taken this very seriously," Mr Severin said.

The 2016 PRISM program is directed at inmates at risk of being radicalised but there is no de­radicalisation program targeting­ the worst terrorist sympathisers, who are kept in isolation or "incapacitation­".

The department estimates there are about 100 prisoners who are radicalised, including Australia’s most dangerous inmate, Bassam Hamzy.


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 January, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is pretty disgusted at the poor leadership being shown by Australia's nominal conservatives

Australia should take in more Middle Eastern Christian refugees

Christian refugees from the Middle East are not just casualties of war, they are victims of targeted persecution. They are fleeing war but, unlike many other refugees, they can never go back. We are not just facing a huge geopolitical realignment in the Middle East but the expurgation of entire Christian populations in the area that gave birth to Christianity: Iraq and Syria, the ancient lands of Mesopotamia.

In Iraq, where the 1987 census estimated a Christian population of 1.4 million, the numbers have dwindled to about 200,000.

Islamic fundamentalism is the cause of this, not just the war. The war has been the means to clear all minority groups, not just Christians but Jews, Yazidis and Druze Muslims. Things were better for religious minorities, particularly Christians, under Iraq and Syria’s Baathist regimes than they will ever be again.

Meanwhile, Australia pursues a religiously "blind" immigration and refugee policy. This is all very well as a general line in a secular society that does not privilege religion. But the Middle East’s Christians are fleeing not simply war but persecution because of their religion. Like it or not, we cannot be religiously blind in our choice of refugees.

Despite this, it is almost impossible to find out how many Christians have been allowed into Australia under the refugee program. When the government announced 12,000 new places, it was assumed they would be filled largely by Christians and other minorities, but the department will not, or cannot, reveal the make-up of these people. From November last year to December 2, a total of 10,092 visas have been granted and 8317 refugees have arrived in Australia.

The announcement of an extra 12000 refugees from Syria and Iraq was generally met with approval by the population. Many Australians had no idea until the conflagration in Syria and Iraq that there were so many Christians in those countries, who were being systematically murdered and forced out of their homes.

Likewise, until the murderous so-called Arab Spring turned to bleak winter for the Copts of Egypt, that large Christian minority, estimated at about 15 per cent of Egypt’s population, was usually ignored by most the world’s media. That changed when church burnings and massacres started to take a toll. Just last Sunday, a suicide bomber massacred 24 people in a Cairo church. The lukewarm response of the Australian government came in a tweet by Malcolm Turnbull condemning the atrocities in Turkey and Egypt. About 300 Egyptian Copts have applied for and been granted asylum in Australia, but at present many are being denied despite the acknowledged atrocities and persecutions.

Even after the latest atrocity, several Egyptians are awaiting deportation. Take, for example, the case of Inas Ghobreyal, who has been given about five weeks before deportation. Inas is the mother of two children and fled Egypt after the firebombing of St George Church by a Muslim mob next to where she lived not far from Cairo. Her husband was attacked and badly assaulted. She came to Australia on a visitor’s visa four years ago, with her two girls, Clara and Marie, now 10 and 7. Recently buoyed by the stated willingness of the Prime Minister to take more Christians from the Middle East, she petitioned Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, who she claims acknowledges the atrocities against the Copts but has refused her a visa. A spokesman for the Coptic Association says there appears to be inconsistency in the granting of asylum for Egyptians. He also claims the situation of the Coptics was more readily acknowledged under Labor.

The reason for this inconsistency is basically that the regime in Egypt has improved the official situation of Copts. However, as the latest massacre shows, this is not necessarily an improvement on the ground. There is a lot of suspicion that, in a country where the churches have X-ray machines to prevent explosives and weapons being smuggled in, some of the police have been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Egyptian Copts fear, with some justification, that it may not be long before they, too, are in the same position as the Syrians and Iraqis. Their fate will echo that of Christians in Palestine, the original Christians. In 1948, when Israel was founded, Christians formed more than a third of the Palestinian population. As Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, told me in 2007, "stuck between the hammer of the Israeli oppression, beaten on the anvil of Islamic fundamentalism", Christians are now a mere 2 per cent of the Palestinian population.

Islamic fundamentalism is a scourge, even for Australia’s law-abiding Muslims. So we must ask: can Australia afford to be religiously blind in its choice of immigrants and refugees?


Terrorists exploit visa system flaws

Terrorists exploiting temporary visas pose a "rapidly evolving threat" to Australia, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has ­declared, as he vows to crack down on short-term migration pathways.

Mr Dutton compared the risk to the situation in Europe, where a migrant launched the most recent attack in Berlin, and said a record number of visas were being cancelled by the federal government.

Analysis shows terrorists convicted and serving sentences in Australian jails had taken advantage of the immigration system by using fake passports and spousal visas or by extending their tourist permits.

The disturbing pattern has prompted Mr Dutton to order his department to "hasten the ­removal of those people who no longer have a lawful basis to be in our country", either for overstaying their visas or committing criminal offences.

The government is also spending $100 million improving visa risk assessment checks in addition to announced plans to strengthen the citizenship character test.

The warnings come as a record number of police are due to patrol celebration venues in Australian cities tonight and as a man was ­arrested yesterday at Sydney ­Airport for making threats against New Year’s Eve celebrations in Sydney, where buses will also be deployed as barriers to prevent truck attacks.

"The overwhelming majority of temporary entrants are law-abiding and welcome guests. But terrorist attacks in Europe and here show that we face significant threats from extremists and criminals who exploit temporary ­migration pathways," Mr Dutton said. "This is a rapidly evolving threat to our nation’s security".

The Weekend Australian can reveal that one of the men alleged to be behind the Christmas Day terror plot in Melbourne, Ahmed Mohamed, arrived in Australia on a tourist visa in 2001. He gained citizenship five years later. The Egyptian-born 24-year-old is one of five men charged after last week’s police raids foiled an ­alleged Islamic State-inspired plot to bomb Federation Square, Flinders Street Station, and a midnight service at St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne on Christmas Day.

Iraqi refugee Omar Al-Kutobi, who was sentenced this month to 20 years’ jail for his role in planning a deadly attack on a person in Sydney with either a machete or a knife, arrived by plane in Australia using a fake passport in 2009 before he was granted a permanent protection visa just two months later.

The 25-year-old flew in via Hong Kong and within four years had been granted citizenship, but his sentencing hearing in the NSW Supreme Court on December 9 was told he "developed significant resentment by the time he arrived in Australia stemming from the impact of war on his family". He was "generally unable to fulfil his aspirations while in Australia" and he became a depressed drug addict before hatching a ­terrorist plot.

Al-Kutobi’s co-accused and flatmate, Mohammad Kiad, 27, also exploited immigration paths when he travelled from Kuwait to Australia in 2012 on a spousal visa. The NSW Supreme Court heard Kiad’s arranged marriage did not last and he soon turned to illicit drug abuse before pledging his ­allegiance to Islamic State "with the misguided belief that this might give life some purpose and meaning".

The Immigration Department has since cancelled his visa under a section 501 provision that determines the validity of visas on character grounds.

Man Haron Monis, whose attack on the Lindt Cafe in 2014 resulted in the deaths of manager Tori Johnson and mother-of-three Katrina Dawson, arrived on a one-month business visa in 1996. Within weeks, ASIO was investigating him after receiving adverse intelligence. He received welfare benefits within eight months and in 1999 ASIO returned a negative ­security check, but he was eventually granted a protection visa in 2000, a year before Iran notified Australia he was wanted for fraud offences but no extradition treaty existed.

Monis was granted citizenship in 2004 after his legal representatives claimed there were bureaucratic delays because he was Muslim. "Monis was given the benefit of the doubt every time, he gamed the system," Tony Abbott said last year when a report into the failure of authorities was ­released last year. "The history of Man Haron Monis suggests there is a risk the system currently may lean too much towards favouring the rights of the individual as ­opposed to the broader interests of society as a whole."

Abdul Nacer ­Benbrika, the ­Algerian mastermind ­behind a plot to bomb the MCG in 2008, was found to have extended his one-month visa twice, before being convicted of terrorism ­offences. The family of 15-year-old terrorist Farhad Jabar, who murdered police accountant Curtis Cheng outside the Parramatta headquarters last year, was granted a humanitarian visa after travelling from Iran in 2006.

Jabar was shot and killed by police after the attack but his radicalised sister, Shadi Jabar, 21, fled to fight for Islamic State in Syria before she was killed in a airstrike.

A Europol report, released last month, found that Islamic State had been linked to more than 100 deadly terrorist plots against the West, from countries in Europe to North America and Australia, and suggested many had entered Western countries posing as refugees. "The jihadists using the ­migration flows may only be ­‘expendable’ footmen, while highly trained and expert operatives may be provided with genuine or false travel documents and use more sophisticated routes," Europol found.

Anis Amri, the 24-year-old ­Tunisian migrant who allegedly ploughed a truck into a Berlin market this month, killing 12 ­people, was fighting the German government to have his asylum visa approved. The attack prompted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to call for stricter border-protection laws, telling a conference in Budapest that "every single migrant poses a public ­security and terror risk".

The Europol report revealed that Islamic State established specialists teams called "Emni" in Syria "which are sent to the EU tasked with carrying out attacks".

"It is believed that this external terrorism network began sending fighters abroad two years ago," the report said. "At least 10 deadly attacks against Westerners have been directed or co-ordinated by this special unit dedicated to ­exporting terror abroad."

Nick O’Brien, head of Charles Sturt University’s School of Policing and Security, said there was strong evidence of people entering Western countries with ­intent to commit terrorist acts.


Strict classroom discipline improves student outcomes and work ethic, studies find

The debate over the relative benefits of Eastern and Western styles of school education has been kicked off again by two new studies which find evidence that strict discipline in the classroom produces better academic outcomes and a stronger work ethic in students, in results that could have implications for Australia's sliding academic performance internationally.

The lead author of both studies, associate professor Chris Baumann from Macquarie University, said the findings suggest Australian classrooms should return to the more strict discipline approach that was pushed out by "permissive" education in the 1970s.

In the newest study, "School discipline, school uniforms and academic performance", published in the International Journal of Educational Management, the researchers crunched OECD data on classroom discipline, finding that strict, high-discipline countries were the highest performing countries academically. They also found uniforms correlate with better discipline in the classroom.

"The argument does not mean that we have to be super strict, of course we have to care for our students and have a loving approach," said professor Baumann, "but it does seem that discipline has been overlooked a bit."

And the related study, "Work ethic formed by pedagogical approach", published this year in the Asia Pacific Business Review found that in all the Asian countries studied, strict discipline was a statistically significant driver of a strong work ethic, defined as a positive attitude to work.

Most Western countries are falling behind East Asian countries in education outcomes. Australia's performance in the OECD's latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results means that an average 12-year-old Korean student's maths and science problem-solving abilities are equivalent to that of an average Australian 15-year-old.

East Asian education systems are heavily influenced by the ancient Chinese tradition of Confucianism, with its emphasis on respect for elders, harmony and collective values.

In practice, this was likely to mean clear and enforced classroom rules, a focus on manners, punctuality, respect for teaching staff, consequences for poor performance or incomplete homework and an enforced dress code, professor Baumann said.

Western education, on the other hand, was less concerned with formalities, respect for teachers and collective discipline, instead focusing on the individual child.

The often-heard counter argument is that Western systems are better at promoting play, creativity, innovation and questioning authority, which might have harder-to-measure benefits. But professor Baumann is sceptical about this.

"The likely outlook is that Western countries may sooner or later aspire to a balanced pedagogic approach to education, where the playful elements remain, but discipline might be tightened up again since the successes in Asia suggest strict discipline and a focus on academic performance 'pay off', and the results of our study point in that direction."

Dr Jennifer Buckingham, education researcher from the Centre for Independent Studies, said it was important to "be cautious in making those broad comparisons when the demographics and the context is really different – it's so hard to ascribe cause and effect when there are so many other factors at play".

She suggested a key overlooked factor may be the high use of private tutoring in countries like Korea and Singapore, which could have a bigger role than the school systems in driving student outcomes.

However, "there's not much doubt that families' cultural emphasis on education is really important in terms of academic success", she said.

"The value that's placed on academic achievement that is seen in east Asian families is certainly a factor when you're looking at the demographics of selective schools [in NSW] for example."

The countries studied in the work ethic research were Australia, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Britain and the US, using surveys of at least 500 respondents per country.


Got a drone for Christmas? Don't fly it until you know the rules

Whether a beginner, a serious aviation enthusiast, or just a fan of gadgets, many of you will have received drones as Christmas gifts. Unmanned aerial vehicles have surged in popularity and affordability in recent years, and there’s no doubt that recreational drone use is on the rise as a result.

But not all recreational drone users know the law – or if they do, they don’t appear to be following it. There has been a string of near misses between drones and other aircraft, and other cases of irresponsible use.

Only last month, a recreational drone user was investigated by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) after evidently flying a drone over a crowded Bunnings carpark to pick up a sausage at a sausage sizzle.

In the runup to Christmas, UN aviation officials this month warned anyone getting a drone to make sure they learn how to operate it safely. So if Santa has brought you one, here’s what you need to know.

In Australia, if you want to fly your drone for fun, you don’t need CASA’s approval – as long as you follow the authority’s simple safety rules. Recreational drone operators must comply with CASA’s rules (known as its standard operating conditions).

You must only fly your drone within visual line of sight – that is, where you are able to see the drone with your own eyes, rather than with the help of binoculars or a telescope, for example. What’s more, you can only fly in visual meteorological conditions, which generally means no night flights.

In most Australian cities, you can only fly your drone up to a maximum altitude of 120 metres – most of this airspace is considered controlled airspace. To fly a recreational drone any higher, you must seek approval from CASA and adhere to any associated conditions.

During flight, you must keep your drone at least 30 metres from anyone who is not directly associated with its operation. The drone must also not be flown over populated areas (that is, areas that are sufficiently crowded that the drone would pose an unreasonable risk to the life, safety or property of someone present). This includes crowded beaches or parks, or sports ovals where a game is in progress.

There is a general prohibition on flying a drone in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, person or property. A "hazard" may be interpreted fairly broadly. To be safe, CASA recommends keeping your drone at least 5.5 kilometres away from any airfield. Operations within that distance are allowed in some instances, as long as they are not on the approach and departure path, and would not otherwise get in the way of aircraft using the airfield.

Recreational drone users are also advised to respect personal privacy by not recording or taking photos of people without their consent. While privacy concerns are not within CASA’s purview, operators may find themselves in breach of state and territory privacy or trespass laws, depending on how and where the drone is flown, and whether audio, video or photographic footage is recorded.

High flyers

As a general rule, drones cannot be flown for money or economic reward without a specific licence. There are, however, two new instances where such a certificate is not required: for commercial-like operations over your own land, and for commercial flights with very small drones (under 2kg) provided that the pilot notifies CASA at least five business days beforehand, and adheres to all the existing rules for recreational drone use.

Having considered all the rules, the Bunnings sausage sizzle incident starts to look less like a harmless jape and more like a multiple breach of the rules (although the video’s author has claimed that the video was an edited composite rather than all shot during a single flight).

The video appears to show several breaches of the rules, including: flying a drone out of visual line of sight (assuming that it is being piloted from the backyard hot tub depicted in the video); flying within 30m of people; and flying over a populated area. The operator is potentially facing a fine of up to $9000.

If you’re worried your new drone might get you into similar hot water, CASA provides significant guidance to help operators avoid infringing the rules. That way, you can make sure your high-flying gift doesn’t end up ruining your Christmas cheer.


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


HOME (Index page)

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Most academics are lockstep Leftists so readers do sometimes doubt that I have the qualifications mentioned above. Photocopies of my academic and military certificates are however all viewable here

For overseas readers: The "ALP" is the Australian Labor Party -- Australia's major Leftist party. The "Liberal" party is Australia's major conservative political party.

In most Australian States there are two conservative political parties, the city-based Liberal party and the rural-based National party. But in Queensland those two parties are amalgamated as the LNP.

Again for overseas readers: Like the USA, Germany and India, Australia has State governments as well as the Federal government. So it may be useful to know the usual abbreviations for the Australian States: QLD (Queensland), NSW (New South Wales), WA (Western Australia), VIC (Victoria), TAS (Tasmania), SA (South Australia).

For American readers: A "pensioner" is a retired person living on Social Security

"Digger" is an honorific term for an Australian soldier

Another lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Another bit of Australian: Any bad writing or messy anything was once often described as being "like a pakapoo ticket". In origin this phrase refers to a ticket written with Chinese characters - and thus inscrutably confusing to Western eyes. These tickets were part of a Chinese gambling game called "pakapoo".

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

My son Joe

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

I am an army man. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies or mining companies

Although I have been an atheist for all my adult life, I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak.

The Rt. Rev. Phil Case (Moderator of the Presbyterian church in Queensland) is a Pharisee, a hypocrite, an abomination and a "whited sepulchre".

English-born Australian novellist, Patrick White was a great favourite in literary circles. He even won a Nobel prize. But I and many others I have spoken to find his novels very turgid and boring. Despite my interest in history, I could only get through about a third of his historical novel Voss before I gave up. So why has he been so popular in literary circles? Easy. He was a miserable old Leftist coot, and, incidentally, a homosexual. And literary people are mostly Leftists with similar levels of anger and alienation from mainstream society. They enjoy his jaundiced outlook, his dissatisfaction, rage and anger.

A delightful story about a great Australian conservative

A great Australian wit exemplified

Bureaucracy: "One of the constant laments of doctors and nurses working with NSW Health is the incredible and increasing bureaucracy," she said. "It is completely obstructive to providing a service."

Revered Labour Party leader Gough Whitlam was a very erudite man so he cannot have been unaware of the similarities of his famous phrase “the Party, the platform, the people” with an earlier slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer". It's basically the same slogan in reverse order.

Australia's original inhabitants were a race of pygmies, some of whom survived into modern times in the mountainous regions of the Atherton tableland in far North Queensland. See also here. Below is a picture of one of them taken in 2007, when she was 105 years old and 3'7" tall

Julia Gillard, a failed feminist flop. She was given the job of Prime Minister of Australia but her feminist preaching was so unpopular that she was booted out of the job by her own Leftist party. Her signature "achievements" were the carbon tax and the mining tax, both of which were repealed by the next government.

The "White Australia Policy: "The Immigration Restriction Act was not about white supremacy, racism, or the belief that whites were higher up the evolutionary tree than the coloured races. Rather, it was designed to STOP the racist exploitation of non-whites (all of whom would have been illiterate peasants practicing religions and cultures anathema to progressive democracy) being conscripted into a life of semi-slavery in a coolie-worked plantation economy for the benefit of the absolute monarchs, hereditary aristocracy and the super-wealthy companies and share-holders of the northern hemisphere.

A great little kid

In November 2007, a four-year-old boy was found playing in a croc-infested Territory creek after sneaking off pig hunting alone with four dogs and a puppy. The toddler was found five-and-a-half hours after he set off from his parents' house playing in a creek with the puppy. Amazingly, Daniel Woditj also swam two creeks known to be inhabited by crocs during his adventurous romp. Mr Knight said that after walking for several kilometres, Daniel came to a creek and swam across it. Four of his dogs "bailed up" at the creek but the youngster continued on undaunted with his puppy to a second creek. Mr Knight said Daniel swam the second croc-infested creek and walked on for several more kilometres. "Captain is a hard bushman and Daniel is following in his footsteps. They breed them tough out bush."


Alternative (Monthly) archives for this blog


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral Reef Compendium
IQ Compendium
Queensland Police
Australian Police News
Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Bank of Queensland blues

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Rightism defined
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James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
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