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 July, 2016

Greenie moans about the Barrier Reef are putting tourists off  -- NOT

As with the boy who cried wolf, most people probably discount the incessant Greenie moans

FAR North tourism operators are flat strap as cashed-up visitors take advantage of easy access to Tropical Queensland.

Data released by Cairns Airport this week shows about 43,000 passengers travelled through the international terminal last month, marking a 13.3 per cent rise from June last year.

Domestic passengers last month topped 335,600, about 14,400 more than the previous June.

According to the data, European passports used when clearing immigration at Cairns Airport have exceeded 68,600 over the past 12 months, a growth of 75 per cent.

A record number of international competitors also contested the 2016 Cairns Ironman in June.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland director of business and tourism events, Rosie Douglas, said the June growth continued to reflect the trends being experienced by the region’s industry.

“The addition of direct flights from Hong Kong and the Philippines has given greater access to the Asian and European markets, which also have been using the direct flights from Singapore,” she said.

“This increase in aviation capacity from Asia was instrumental in Cairns winning the right to host the prestigious Ironman Asia-Pacific, the feature event of the Cairns Airport Adventure Festival during June.

“June also marks the start of the school holidays for the United Kingdom, Northern Europe and Australia, bringing stronger numbers from those markets.”

Cairns Airport last month celebrated a milestone five million passengers for the year, with the total number now having reached about 5,011,000.

The influx of international and domestic visitors is being felt throughout the Far North.

Skyrail general manager Craig Pocock said the tourism heavyweight was experiencing “pre-global financial crisis” numbers.

“We’ve certainly seen strong growth across all markets,” he said. “This season we’ve also been strong both before and after the school break, and now we’re benefiting from the Japanese holiday period.

“This is a bright and optimistic period we’re experiencing, and bookings indicate that it will continue for some time.”

Mr Pocock said Skyrail was having to “ramp up” its operations to cater for the ongoing growth.

“We’ve had to increase resources, staffing and modify the way we operate to cater for the volume of visitors,” he said.


Stop the over-reaction. This was not ‘torture’

John Heffernan writes:

After more than 33 years working in both adult and juvenile corrections I feel I am qualified to present an informed opinion on this situation.

The ABC “Four Corners” program a few nights ago showed just a few seconds of edited footage which has now resulted in politicians from all over the country jumping on the bandwagon and declaring years of torture and cover-up in the management of juveniles offenders in the NT.

As evidence of this “torture” the ABC presented an image of a detainee in a chair with a hood over his head and proclaimed this is the way prisoners of war are treated, not kids.

I’m sorry, but through my experienced eyes I see a juvenile offender, who has obviously been acting out, being provided time out, restrained in an approved chair, with an approved “spit hood” covering his head.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I would never condone the use of excessive force and a couple of incidents shown on video would suggest that staff may have crossed the line and gone too far on those occasions.

But that said, force must be used in certain instances within adult and juvenile correctional centres, that is a fact of life. These juveniles are not locked up for stealing lollies from the local corner store. By the time they are actually incarcerated they have been given every possible chance by the courts.

I find it somewhat ironic that society demands of our governments and the judiciary that both adults and juveniles that commit extremely serious crimes receive the maximum penalty available. Our politicians respond to these requests and talk tough in the process and vow to protect the community by ensuring the offenders are put behind bars for as long as possible.

Yet, when those same offenders, when incarcerated, choose to behave in the same manner that resulted in their imprisonment by kicking, punching and spitting on gaol staff, politicians want to become all self-righteous when prison staff are forced to address that behaviour within the limited means available.

The policies and procedure relating to the use of force with gaols and detention centres are very specific in nature. They are also very restrictive in the amount of force that can be used, particularly when it come to juveniles.

There are approved levels of force and permission must be gained from the relevant authority as the level of force to be used increases. Departmental heads have approved those policies and politicians are aware of them, however, it appears now right now everyone in authority is ducking for cover leaving officers on the ground to assume the responsibility.

Correctional centres and juvenile detention centres, by their very nature, are dangerous places to work. Everyday staff are abused and quite often assaulted by those that are housed within. The work the officers perform is difficult and demanding.

When it comes to the management of young offenders, I have found some of the most compassionate people work in these centres. Officers trying their best to manage these offenders are often dealing with the consequences of young offenders who have absolutely no respect for the law. By the time the offender reaches a point where a magistrate decides incarceration is the only answer the damage is well and truly done.

In my opinion what is happening now is completely unfair to those staff tasked with managing young offenders.

There is another side to this story. A side that I do not believe for a moment to be as sinister and as secretive as what certain people would have us believe. It should not require a royal commission to determine the full facts of this matter. A full investigation at a fraction of the cost, I believe, would achieve the same result. Talk about using a sledgehammer to crush a walnut.


Muslim migration to Australia: the big slowdown

When it comes to immigration, the government and opposition are in agreement. Our migration program is proudly non-discriminatory and that is how it should remain.

Yet the Australian government is pursuing a migration strategy that makes it extremely difficult for large numbers of Muslims from the Middle East to settle here, even if that is not the policy’s aim.

While governments of all stripes insist Australia’s migration program is non-discriminatory, an analysis of available data by The Australian suggests that the migration of Muslims from Lebanon, in particular, has slowed to a trickle, with no sign of a rush coming anytime soon.

Immigration officials tell The Australian that the low number of Muslim immigrants from the Middle East arriving in recent years has nothing to do with their religion, since applicants are not asked to state their faith when they apply to settle.

Instead, they say, it’s an unintended consequence of a migration policy that is almost entirely focused on attracting skilled and family reunion migrants from countries such as India (now Australia’s No 1 source of permanent migrants, with 34,874 arrivals last year) and China (27,874).

The strategy, which both major parties insist is not deliberate, means that while Islam was once the fastest growing religion in Australia, there are now more Buddhists (2.5 per cent of the population) than there are Muslims (2.2 per cent), and the Hindus are rapidly catching up.

“There are officials and politicians who openly favour Christians including Orthodox Christians (and Jewish migrants over Muslims),” one of Australia’s most eminent scholars on immigration, James Jupp of the Australian National University, tells The Australian. But, he says, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection “will never admit bias as many decisions are made locally” — that is, by officials in the country of origin.

Islamic Sciences & Research Academy Australia’s director Mehmet Ozalp says the local community could not help but notice that “the Muslim population from the Middle East was at one point growing fast, but that was about 10 years ago, and now it is slowing, whereas the Buddhist and Hindu population was pretty low but has increased dramatically.

“It is concerning because there are calls for stopping Muslim immigration,” Ozalp adds. “It’s not too far to assume that people in parliament may agree with these calls, and we need to worry: are these numbers indicative of an underlying problem?”

Muslim immigration came to the fore during the recent federal election when Senate candidate Pauline Hanson called for a complete ban. A debate kicked off just last week, when Nine Network presenter Sonia Kruger said she, too, wanted a ban on Muslim immigrants coming to Australia.

And this week Liberal senator Eric Abetz sent out a tweet saying: “We need an open and frank discussion on the future of immigration.”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton insists, however, that Australia’s migration program is proudly non-discriminatory. “We don’t focus on religion. We focus on skills,” he tells The Australian.

The question of how many Muslim immigrants come to Australia each year is difficult to answer. The Department of Immi­gra­tion says it does not ask newly approved migrants to state their religion and therefore does not keep statistics.

In an effort to find an answer, The Australian studied immigration statistics from 1974 to last year and compared them with census data held by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, specifically on the religious affiliation of overseas-born Australians. The two sets of data are not a complete match, making a precise extrapolation impossible, but some trends immediately become clear.

While Lebanon once provided Australia with 2000 to 4000 migrants a year, that number had dropped by 2010-11 to 1143 people (last year’s figure was 1242). The department says it does not know how many of these people were Muslim, but according to ABS data most of the Lebanese migrants who arrived in recent years (57.2 per cent) are not Muslim. If that trend is holding — and there is no reason to suppose that it is not — then Australia is taking as few as 550 Lebanese Muslims a year.

The situation for Iran is similar: while figures show Australia continues to welcome immigrants from Iran (4093 people in 2013-14), the ABS data suggests that as many as 62 per cent of those who arrive are not Muslim but Christian or of the Baha’i Faith.

Halim Rane, associate professor in the school of humanities at Griffith University, who worked for the Department of Immigration for six years, says the trend towards non-Muslim immigration is not new.

“Even in the 1990s, before Islamic extremism was even on the radar, the majority of people coming to Australia from Muslim-majority nations were not Muslim,” he says. “Take Egypt: it is majority Muslim, but Australia takes mostly Coptic Christians because they tend to have more of the skills Australia needs.

“But I don’t believe there is a policy or an anti-Muslim bias because they don’t even ask the question. They wouldn’t know if you’re Muslim or not. What happens is, the government of the day will focus on attracting certain skills — say, technology — and those immigrants will come from China or India, where there are not a lot of Muslims.”

The focus on skills means Australia takes more people from Ireland (5541 in 2013-14) than from Iraq (4304), and more from Nepal (4470), whose population is about 80 per cent Hindu, than from Bangladesh (2569), where most of the population is Muslim.

There is one clear exception to the general rule: Australia welcomed 8281 immigrants from Pakistan in 2014-15, most of whom are assumed to be Muslim, since ABS data shows that 87.7 per cent of Pakistani-born Australians identify as Muslim.

On the other hand, ABS data shows that Hindus are experiencing the fastest growth, with numbers increasing by 189 per cent to 275,500 across a 10-year period, mostly because of immigration.

By contrast, while the number of Muslims in the community is still increasing, it is doing so at the much lower rate (69 per cent across the same 10-year period) and most of that growth would seem to be coming not from immigration but from a high birthrate.

Muslim community leader Jamal Rifi tells The Australian that migration from Lebanon has definitely slowed in recent years, but “it is for a couple of reasons, including that not as many people are trying to come”.

“For some families, it’s expensive to apply, but also because the Lebanese community in Australia is very integrated now,” Rifi says. “There aren’t as many people going back (to Lebanon) to find a partner. It’s better to find a partner here, who will be more educated and liberal and compatible. The marriages between here and there, we have seen failures.”

Rifi says the local community supports the rigorous, skills-based program. “We don’t want anyone who might end up being radicalised. It’s not an anti-Muslim policy, it’s a conscious decision to take people who will contribute, and that is why we don’t have the same problems here.”


Tricky to talk about the sexually confused

Today host Karl Stefanovic has apologised unreservedly for using the slur "tranny" while on-air on Thursday, calling himself "an ignorant tool".

Stefanovic was slammed by the LGBTQI community for using the term - considered a derogatory way to describe transgender women - while joking with colleagues.

The Today Show host apologises for using a transphobic slur and 'crossing a line'.

"I was an ignorant tool. And when I say 'ignorant', I really mean it. Yesterday I got it very wrong," he said on Friday morning.

The slur occurred on Thursday when Stefanovic and co-host Sylvia Jeffreys were interviewing Today reporter Christine Ahern, who was robbed by two transgender women while covering the Rio Olympics in Brazil.

"By using the word 'tranny', I offended an awful lot of beautiful, sensitive people," he said. "I honestly didn't know the negative and deeply hurtful impact that word has, not only on members of the LGBTQI community, but on their family and on their friends.

The 41-year-old presenter - who in the past has used his public platform to call out sexism and xenophobia - said he was wrong in assuming the transgender community would laugh along with him.

Not-for-profit organisation GLAAD states that 'tranny' is a defamatory word used to "dehumanise transgender people and should not be used in mainstream media".

'Transvestite' is also considered an outdated term, often used in the past to describe cross-dressers, and should not be associated with transgender women.

"Like so many other words we used in the past, it's time to throw that one in the bin," Stefanovic continued.

"I have no understanding of what it's like to feel like you are born in the wrong body, to feel uncomfortable in your own skin or the extreme courage it takes to accept yourself and live the life you've always wanted to live."

Critics rounded on Stefanovic on Twitter on Thursday, telling the presenter they'd be happy to buy him a beer and educate him.

Encouraging viewers at home to join him in educating themselves, Stefanovic called for tolerance.

"Given the events of the last year, now more than ever we need to educate ourselves, laugh together and embrace each others differences and live with tolerance, compassion and most of all, love and respect for everyone."


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 July, 2016

Cardinal Pell subject of Victoria Police investigation into multiple allegations of sexual abuse

Britain has just undergone a big witch hunt based on a heap of allegations from the distant past like this -- with many of the accusations being found so defective that they never even went  to court. The historic accusations were mostly the work of mentally disturbed people or people looking for a payoff.  I have little doubt that the accusations against His Eminence are similar

Police are investigating multiple child abuse allegations levelled directly against Australia's most senior Catholic cleric Cardinal George Pell, the ABC's 7.30 program has revealed.

Victoria Police's Taskforce SANO, which investigates complaints coming out of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, has been examining the allegations by complainants from Ballarat, Torquay and Melbourne for more than a year.

They include allegations about incidents which allegedly happened during Cardinal Pell's time as Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.

7.30 understands that the Pell case has been referred by Victoria Police to the Office of Public Prosecutions for advice.

7.30 has obtained eight police statements from complainants, witnesses and family members who are helping the taskforce with their investigation.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton confirmed last month that the taskforce was investigating multiple allegations against the Cardinal and, if necessary, detectives would fly to Rome to interview George Pell, although the Chief Commissioner said "it had not been put as necessary to me at this point in time".

Mr Ashton declined to comment to 7.30, although his spokesman has confirmed to the program it is "very much a live investigation".

In a statement to the ABC, Cardinal Pell's office said he "emphatically and unequivocally rejects any allegations of sexual abuse against him".

The complaints include those by two men now in their forties, from George Pell's home town of Ballarat, who say he touched them inappropriately in the summer of 1978-79 when he was playing a throwing game with them at the town's Eureka pool.

In another complaint, Torquay businessman Les Tyack gave a statement to the royal commission last year relating to an incident at the Torquay Surf Life Saving Club in the summer of 1986-87.

He said he walked into the club change rooms to discover a naked George Pell behaving in a manner that caused him concern in front of three boys he estimated to be aged between 8 and 10 years old.

A further complaint about George Pell that 7.30 is aware of relates to the period in the 1990s when George Pell was setting up the Melbourne Response — the Australian Catholic Church's first attempt to seriously address child abuse.

It involves two teenage choirboys who asked their parents to leave the choir soon after the alleged abuse had occurred.

One of the boys died in tragic circumstances two years ago and the other is working with Taskforce SANO detectives.

7.30 has met that young man and the family of his former friend who died.

George Pell says claims are 'totally untrue and utterly wrong'

George Pell declined to be interviewed by 7.30 and did not address specific allegations, but said he had never abused anyone.

In a statement, his office said: "The Cardinal does not wish to cause any distress to any victim of abuse. However, claims that he has sexually abused anyone, in any place, at any time in his life are totally untrue and completely wrong."

The Cardinal is entitled to the presumption of innocence and police and prosecutors will decide whether any of the allegations warrant charges.

George Pell has previously faced public allegations of sexual abuse.

In 2002, when George Pell was Archbishop of Sydney, a man came forward to the Church to say that George Pell abused him in 1961 when he was 12 years old and George Pell was a trainee priest.

In a statement to an internal church inquiry headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Alec Southwell, the complainant alleged that on several occasions at a campsite on Phillip Island, the man known to him as "Big George" put his hands down his pants and "got a good handful of his penis and testicles".

He said George Pell molested him on several occasions in a tent and once, under his bathers, when they were in the water, jumping in the waves.

The then-Archbishop Pell stood aside in 2002 while Alec Southwell conducted the inquiry for the Catholic Church.

At the time, George Pell said the allegations were "lies" and said he denied them "utterly and totally".

Some time after the complaint was made a file was compiled on the complainant, who had been a wharfie, a convicted criminal and an alcoholic.

The details of the man's criminal history then appeared in a newspaper article.

Justice Southwell said in his findings that the "complainant's credibility was subjected to a forceful attack", however he found the complainant's evidence truthful.

He also found that George Pell's evidence was truthful.

George Pell returned to his role as Archbishop, saying "there's no mud to stick, I've been exonerated".

Complaints fall outside royal commission's terms of reference

In his statement, Cardinal Pell accused the ABC of a "scandalous smear campaign".

"If there was any credibility in any of these claims, they would have been pursued by the Royal Commission by now."

However, the royal commission advises that these sorts of allegations are outside its terms of reference, because it only investigates institutional responses to child abuse, and it refers any new complaints of clergy abuse to police.

It is expected to make findings on the Cardinal's evidence about his role in the Church's response to allegations of abuse by clergy in coming months.

Some of the behaviour alleged in the Taskforce SANO statements seen by 7.30 may not justify criminal charges, but does seem unusual and inappropriate for a senior priest.

The alleged behaviour raises serious questions about whether George Pell was ever an appropriate person to drive the Church's response to child sexual abuse.

Forensic psychologist and former priest, Terry Laidler, says it also raises questions over whether he should stand aside from his position at the centre of Church power in the Vatican.

"I think, like everyone, he's entitled to presumptions of innocence on criminal matters, to an assumption of goodwill on other matters," Mr Laidler said.

"But I think once something gets to the level of allegations that, on any reasonable standard, are worth giving some credit to, no, I think he's got to stand aside."


Fears asbestos sheets used at construction sites across country

This is just a stupid scare. It's only people working with raw asbestos fibres who have come to grief.  Asbestos in wallboard is harmless.  I sleep under a ceiling made of it every night. Almost any Australian home built in the '50s and '60s had some "fibro" in it (particularly as the internal walls) so we should have mass deaths from it if it is harmful.  We have had none

A South Australian company that imported more than 8000 sheets of cement board containing ­asbestos from China is under ­investigation amid fears that its products are being used at ­construction sites across the ­nation and could expose workers to contamination.

It can be revealed that Australian Portable Camps, owned by Adelaide businessman Frank Martino, imported 8070 cement sheets into the country during 2010 and 2011, believing they were free of deadly asbestos.

The asbestos was not discovered in the sheets until late last year, sparking an investigation by the Australian Border Force and Safework SA that is yet to conclude. Industry sources believe the regulators are probing alle­gations that about 2000 of the tainted sheets were used to manufacture accommodation huts and other facilities at APC’s workshops outside Adelaide.

Companies that have awarded contracts to APC — including ­energy giant Chevron at its $US54 billion Gorgon gas plant in Western Australia — are being forced to conduct emergency testing for asbestos in response to the threat.

APC describes itself as the biggest supplier of portable accommodation facilities to major projects around Australia.

The company refused to say yesterday how many asbestos-tainted cement boards were used in its huts and declined to answer questions about whether it conducted tests on its imported products to ensure they were free of asbestos.

The company did say that “very little” of the 2010-11 shipment from China was used ­because it proved to be of inferior quality as a building product.

A spokeswoman for APC said once asbestos was confirmed late last year, the company quarantined the material in an earth bund at its Monarto headquarters. “We have been working co-operatively with SafeWork SA and the EPA to ensure the safe disposal of this material,” she said.

“In order to confirm the integrity of all other board products on our site, we have subsequently undertaken extensive comprehensive testing on these products, all of which have tested negative for the presence of asbestos.”

Asbestos imports were banned in Australia in 2003 but unions and business groups are alarmed at the rate at which the lethal substance is slipping into the country undetected.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is under pressure to ramp up efforts to stop asbestos at the border.

Discovery this month of asbestos at the Perth Children’s Hospital and the 1 William Street office tower in Brisbane — both in products sourced from China — has highlighted the problem.

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon yesterday called for jail terms for importers of asbestos products, amid revelations this week that only a handful of companies have been fined for the ­offence.

The construction union said it was highly concerned at the possibility APC’s contaminated products could be in use at dozens of sites across Australia. The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union’s head of occupational health and safety, Brad Parker, said regulators had an ­obligation to reveal what they knew about the issue.

“In the interests of the Australian public they need to say what sort of investigation they are conducting and how much of this stuff is missing — where has it gone?” he said. “We want to know if our members were exposed.”

Chevron said yesterday it had been notified by APC recently that some of the cement sheeting at its Gorgon project on Barrow Island could contain asbestos.

“As a precautionary and immediate measure, we conducted independent testing, with all results confirming a negative reading,” a Chevron spokeswoman said. “The health and safety of our workforce is always of paramount concern.”

The CFMEU’s state secretary in Western Australia, Mick ­Buchan, said the union had raised its concerns about the health of workers on Barrow Island and he would not be satisfied with Chevron’s response until it provided the test results.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection said it could not comment on companies or individuals that may be under investigation, but the ABF’s s investigations division had six active investigations into asbestos-related matters.

The department defended itself against allegations it had ­allowed asbestos to enter the country too easily.

“There were 11 detections of ­asbestos-contamin­ated goods at the border over the last financial year from more than 1100 targeted high-risk shipments,” a spokesman said.

“Ensuring asbestos is not used domestically or imported into Australia is a collective responsibility for importers, industry and government agencies.”


Fine Arts student wonders why he can't get a job

Anybody who studies such a self-indulgent and impractical subject does not recommend himself to most employers.  He'd get more offers if he said he was a taxi-driver

A 20-year-old university says he has applied for more than 500 jobs but has hardly received a single response.

Adam Bilkey, from Brisbane, said he is desperate for a job and has applied for positions as a cashier, a waiter, a cafe barista, a kitchen hand and in sales, according to The Courier Mail.

'I've applied for jobs as a dish washer but they want people under 19.'

'I know it's competitive. A lot of my friends have the same sorts of stories, but I kind of want feedback. I'd like more than a letter or nothing at all,' he said.

Mr Bilkey, a Fine Arts students, previously worked as a food and beverage assistant and has completed a barista course.

He completed an internship with a Brisbane radio station doing script writing and is now writing animal profiles as a volunteer with the RSPCA.

He is hoping to be hired as a copywriter or begin another internship, but is trying to earn money to pay for his studies in the meantime.

Mr Bilkey said he wants to get started on his career.

His mum, Anita Bilkey, told the Courier Mail that she is baffled by the lack of response to her son's efforts.

'There's a joke going around – junior wanted with 10 years' experience, gold medallist and super hero,' she said.


TV show is slammed online for a lack of diversity in the 'all white cast'

Why should it be diverse?  It's job is to get viewers and  whites are most likely to identified with in a majority-white country

The new series of The Bachelor Australia has been slammed online for a lack of diversity among its contestants.  As the show kicked off, viewers took to the social media site to complain about the 'all white cast.'

Fans of The Bachelor were also left disappointed that there was a lack of 'good looking plus size women.'

Out of the final 22 Bachelorettes chosen to vow for The Bachelor's heart, there were plenty of blondes and brunettes, with super slender physiques, all preened to perfection.

Apart from Marja Jacobsen of Asian descent, the ladies vastly represented the Caucasian community.

As the highly awaited reality dating series premiered, viewers did not hold back.

One tweeted: 'One Asian. No obvious first Australians. Basically a whitewash! Not great.' Another commented: 'What you really want is the white rose. It represents an almost complete lack of cultural diversity this season.'  While another wrote: 'But seriously, Australia is a multicultural society where were the coloured girls? Did they not it the brief?'

A busty bevy of beauties were revealed last night, all vying for the affections of Perth-based rope technician, Richie Strahan.

There were plenty of glamorous ladies including Playboy model Kirralee 'Kiki' Morris, who has a portfolio that extends to racy men's magazines such as Ralph and Zoo.

Lara Bingle lookalike Keira Maguire flaunted her stunning physique in a black lace gown with daring thigh slit.

While health and promotions officer and model Megan Marx ticked all the boxes when it came to the ideal of the perfect blonde bombshell.   

Single mother Alexandra Nation dressed to impress in a glimmering emerald strapless frock that highlighted her lithe arms and delicate decolletage.

And Olena Khamula and Nikki Gogan both sported revealing numbers with plunging necklines.


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

28 July, 2016

ABC ‘sorry’ for airing Q&A Israel-ISIS tweet

The ABC has been forced to apologise and admit an error after ­allowing an “inflammatory’’ tweet likening Israel to Islamic terrorists to appear on live TV during its Q&A program.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield raised concerns with the broadcaster on Monday after the tweet aired.

An ABC spokeswoman blamed “moderator error” for ­allowing the tweet by Twitter user supercatsimon to air prominently. “Any young radicals who join ISIS or Israel should not be allowed into Australia,” it read.

The tweet was labelled “totally inappropriate” and “wildly inaccurate’’ by Jewish community leaders, who called for a review of the show’s moderation process.

“An audience tweet was broadcast on Q&A which implied false equivalence between ‘radicals joining ISIS’ and Israel,” an ABC spokeswoman said. “It was a moderator error. Q&A apologises for any offence and removed the tweet from future broadcasts.”

It is not the first time the broadcaster has had to apologise for the actions of Q&A. Last year, former ABC managing director Mark Scott apologised to Tony Abbott via text message after a tweet from an account called “AbbottLovesAnal” was aired.

Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council’s executive director Colin Rubenstein last night said several tweets on Monday night displayed “raw bias” and the moderators should be reviewed.

“It seems to be a certain pattern, an element of bias,” he said. “It’s totally inappropriate and unfair ... Of the thousands of questions they must get, how does that one get chosen? It’s wildly inaccurate and inflammatory.

“The core issue is the selection criteria they use,” he said. “Something’s going on, and someone needs to have a look at it.”

Last week Senator Fifield demanded the ABC explain how Muslim man Khaled Elomar, who had denigrated two female politicians online, was allowed to ask Pauline Hanson a question.


Turnbull at risk of being a do-nothing government

With an extremely slim majority in the lower house and a large crossbench in the Senate, there is a very real prospect that the Turnbull Coalition Team — to borrow from Malcolm Turnbull’s presidential campaign logo — will be a do-nothing government.

In one sense, I have no problem with do-nothing governments.

At least they don’t bother to propose slews of legislation that impose additional costs on weary taxpayers and create even more burdensome regulation for put-upon businesses.

It always struck me as extraordinary that the Gillard minority government would brag about the hundreds of pieces of legislation that it managed to cajole crossbenchers in the lower house to pass and that were then waved through by Greens, in partnership with Labor, in the Senate.

Anthony Albanese — shall we call him Albo? — was always banging on about the hundreds of bills that were passed during the period of the Gillard minority government as if the total number of new acts is the principal KPI (key performance indicator, in business-speak) of an elected government. One newspaper even attempted to calculate the “productiveness” of the Gillard government by adding up the number of pieces of legislation that received royal assent during her term in office and to compare this number with the achievements of other prime ministers.

Let’s face it, several of those acts of the Gillard government are causing us all sorts of headaches now because they were badly conceived, hastily drafted and locked the taxpayer into uncontrolled, higher expenditure.

Take the legislation setting up the National Disability Insurance Scheme. There are several flaws in this act, particularly in relation to the governance of the scheme.

Another example is the legislation that set up the so-called Gonski funding of schools. The legislation was rushed — by that stage Julia Gillard had former prime minister Kevin Rudd breathing down her neck — and as a result there are some substantial defects in that act.

Gillard ended up negotiating separate deals with most of the states that have quite distinctive elements — so much for a national and consistent needs-based funding arrangement.

A do-nothing government can have its advantages. But the problem for the Turnbull government — I really can’t come at the Turnbull Coalition Team, I’m afraid — is that there are numerous policy debacles that need to be fixed, and many of them can be sorted only by changing the legislation.

Of course, pointing this out doesn’t go to what the government hopes to achieve, apart from further alienating the party base by pushing through the superannuation changes and wasting a large amount of taxpayer money on overpriced submarines in the name of saving a few votes in South Australia but calling it exciting industry development. Maybe I missed something in the six-week election campaign.

Although dealing with the messes created by one’s predecessors is not an obvious recipe for re-election, someone still has to do it. Consider the problems in higher education and vocational education. In the hands of the owners and managers of untrustworthy institutions — and I am not exempting universities here — hellbent on getting their hands on government funds via easy-to-access student loans, the fiscal cost to the taxpayer has exploded.

Without any change to the various versions of the Higher Education Loan Program, it is estimated that in 10 years the annual cash cost to the budget of HELP will be more than $11 billion; presently it is under $2bn. Of a total loan book that will be more than $300bn within the decade, it is estimated that more than one-fifth essentially will be bad debts and will need to be written off.

Having sorted out these problems, the government needs to act quickly to establish a coherent energy policy providing secure and affordable electricity to industry and households. In one sense, we are lucky to have the South Australian experience before our eyes — it tells us what to avoid.

We need to find means of crimping overdevelopment of highly subsidised renewable energy, something that is difficult to do given the operation of the defective mandatory renewable energy target.

Then there is industrial relations, a topic the Prime Minister studiously avoided during the election campaign, notwithstanding the fact the failure to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission was the trigger for the double dissolution.

On the basis of the numbers in the two houses, it would seem highly unlikely that the government would seek a joint sitting to secure passage of the ABCC bill (and the registered organisations bill dealing with trade union governance). My advice would be to negotiate directly with Senate crossbenchers. It just may be that with a tweak or two, these bills can pass the Senate in the normal way.

As for “doing something” about the agreement covering the Country Fire Authority in Victoria and the bid by the United Firefighters Union to control the volunteer firefighters, good luck with that.

By the time parliament sits again and the Prime Minister and Michaelia Cash, the Employment Minister (note that she is not really the employment minister, she is the anti-employment minister; the better title would be workplace relations minister) have dreamt up some unworkable solution, the agreement will have been certified. At this point, there is little the federal government can do to have the agreement terminated.

The only hope was to deal with this matter much earlier, before the caretaker period, on the grounds that the agreement covered volunteers, which was not allowed under the act; that the agreement violated anti-discrimination laws; or that there had been inadequate consultation.

But the time to act was then, not now. The problems with the agreement have been known for a long time, dating back to last year. But passivity is the hallmark of this government’s approach to industrial relations.

Just check out the government’s failure to make a submission to the penalty rates case, even though it has been common past practice for governments to make detailed submissions to important cases before the Fair Work Commission.

So a do-nothing government in a legislative sense can have its upside, but a government that doesn’t seek to remedy glaring policy defects is a real problem for the country.


Denial of speech is one step towards totalitarianism


What exactly did they slip in the water at the ABC that prompted Sam Dastyari to release his inner Muslim? One moment he was reprimanding a fellow Q&A panellist about the politics of hate and the next was baring his soul.

“Somewhere in Tehran there’s a document that sits that says beside my name the word ‘Muslim’,” the senator revealed.

Pauline Hanson seemed genuinely surprised. “Are you a Muslim? Really?”

“Yeah,” replied the senator, “and I have never hidden away.”

It was hardly the shahada, the declaration that: “There is no god but God and Mohammed is his messenger.” As an atheist, Dastyari would struggle to embrace the first pillar of Islam, never mind all five.

“And are you a practising Muslim?” Hanson continued.

“No, no, no,” Dastyari replied. “I think you’re trying to make a joke of what is a serious …

“No, I’m surprised,” replied Hanson. “I didn’t know that about you.”

Dastyari’s revelation was not so much a declaration of faith as a statement of political identity, an expression of solidarity with the members an oppressed minority, many of whom happened to be in the Q&A audience that evening. Dastyari, unlike Hanson, feels their pain.

Hanson’s second coming has caught the political establishment by surprise. The first lesson from the election, for those prepared to absorb it, is that the world looks quite different when viewed from Caboolture than from Carlton. The second lesson is that the political and media classes are strangers in their own country.

News that One Nation secured 226,000 first-preference votes in Queensland came as a rude awakening to The Sydney Morning Herald’s Alan Stokes.

“Find that embarrassing? Shocking? A bit weird even?” he wrote. “Not as weird as this: the Greens attracted just 168,000 Senate votes in Queensland.”

Stokes’s surprise at the shape of the universe beyond his immediate orbit is not uncommon. You don’t have to delve far into Facebook to discover Britons who know no one who voted for Brexit or Americans who say they’ve never met a Donald Trump supporter. Yet even by the standards of the histrionic Left, the reaction to Hanson’s election to the Senate has been extraordinary.

Outside the ABC’s inelegant but fashionably located inner-city headquarters before her appearance on Q&A, a bunch of random Hanson-phobic Islamophiles vented their disgust at the excessive use of free speech by people with whom they disagree.

Less than 12 hours earlier, Nine Network presenter Sonia Kruger’s refreshingly honest response to the threat of radical Islam provoked an effusion of invective on social media.

It was as if Twitter were hosting the national vulgarity championships. Who could compose the most impolite message using 35 four-letter words or fewer?

While some saw it as an outbreak of the culture war, the ferocity of the response to Kruger and Hanson suggests something far less trivial. The intelligentsia’s divorce from Middle Australia is now absolute and it is fighting for the sole custody of truth.

The determination to deny their opponents a platform, the merciless attacks on character, the insistence that their enemies not only apologise but do so grovellingly like some shaven-headed dissident at a show trial suggest the Left, once again, is flirting with totalitarianism.

For the twittering vigilantes, who police what can and cannot be said on mainstream media, Kruger’s call for a ban on Islamic migrants — live and uncensored on breakfast television — represented a serious breach of security.

Worse still, it became clear that Kruger was not alone; the suggestion seemed tempting to an unacceptably large number of her viewers as they absorbed the horrors of the Bastille Day attack in Nice.

If radical Islam presents a threat unimagined by the genteel architects of Australian multiculturalism — and it clearly does — we must select our migrants carefully. Yet most Australians understand the difference between selection and discrimination

To borrow the words of Martin Luther King, migration in Australia is decided not by the colour of the applicant’s skin but the content of their character, and it is on character that eligibility must be judged.

One does not have to think Kruger is right to recognise that those who want to silence her are desperately and dangerously wrong. And that a dark cloud of ­illiberalism hangs heavy over civic society that must be resisted at all costs.

The road to totalitarianism begins with a love of humanity and a contempt for humans. The pathology of 20th-century totalitarianism is well known, starting with the suspension of freedom of speech and the rule of law — temporarily, it is claimed — to fight an existential threat to an idealised vision of the nation.

There is one important detail about the early fascists that the Left intelligentsia have been inclined to overlook: the early fascists were metropolitan sophisticates rather like today’s intelligentsia — artists, writers, academics and dreamers convinced of their own superior wisdom.

The resemblance between totalitarianism and modern-day political correctness is hardly surprising. As Tony Judt wrote in his expansive volume on the history of Europe from 1945, a monopoly of authority requires a monopoly of knowledge, the assurance that the official “truth” on any given topic would not be challenged or, if it were, that the challenge should be suppressed with exemplary force.

Kruger’s dissident voice was countered last week with such vehemence because she challenged the conventional wisdom on immigration and breached the narrow parameters of what is and what is not permissible for discussion on morning television.

It is no coincidence that the intelligentsia, which champions political correctness today, once championed the Soviet Union where the state sought to control not just what people said but what they thought.

It aspired to set the limits not only on Dimitri Shostakovich performances but also his compositions. Stalin, if he could, would have cracked down on Shostakovich not just for the music he conducted but the music going on in his head.


Selling farm policy

Michael Potter 

A Productivity Commission draft report has found that Australian farm businesses are subject to a "vast and complex array of regulations". The report won't be pleasant reading for any of the major political parties: it criticises bans on genetically modified crops and foreign shipping, which are generally supported by the ALP. But there are also criticisms of policies supported by the Coalition; such as effects test in competition law, tighter restrictions on foreign investment, and several monopoly marketing regulations.

The Coalition will need contortions to deal with the report's finding that the tightening of foreign investment rules for farms is not warranted. While foreign investment is usually reviewed for businesses worth over $252m, the Coalition has mandated that review is required for farm land and businesses worth more than $15m.

The PC skewers the main arguments for this stricter rule, confirming yet again that foreign ownership of farm land won't endanger Australia's food security or sovereign control and won't cut employment opportunities for locals. The PC also argues existing land use rules apply equally to foreign owners as local owners, so the argument that foreign owners will 'misuse' land is a furphy, and many farm businesses were started as a result of foreign investment.

So the benefits of tighter regulation are minimal; and the PC unsurprisingly confirms that costs of tighter foreign investment rules may be substantial, although precise costs are difficult to estimate.

But these criticisms of the Coalition's foreign investment policy should provide no joy to the ALP, as they (along with the Greens and others on the Left) have been extraordinarily critical of foreign investors in the debate over company tax. If the ALP argues investment in farm land is to be promoted, why not promote investment in all industries through a company tax reduction?

We can only hope politicians actually study the arguments in the PC report and don't take the easy way of arguing the report is brilliant where it helps their position and woeful when it opposes their preferred view of the world.


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 July, 2016

Should we feel sorry for a violent habitual criminal?

Clearly, the justice system has done nothing to protect us from him so I think that the rational thing to do is to hang him and thus rid society of the menace and cost that he imposes on the rest of us.  But that is not the way, these days.

The next best option would be to detain him in prison indefinitely.  He should certainly not be let out. He will reoffend if he is.  The third strategy would be to condition him into better behaviour.  It is a lot of work but could have at least some success. 

A rough outline of the therapy:

What you do is to deprive him of food for 48 hours to make him keen to co-operate.  Then do it again every time he behaves badly.  He will soon get the message.  Give him only 1,000 calories in any 24 hours.  That will keep him alive but will also keep him keen to co-operate. He will learn rapidly. If he does not he could be deprived of food for a week, thus making him too weak to be a problem and much more likely to co-operate. Thereafter require positive deeds from him for his food.  And so on.

HE WAS a football-loving teenager who ended up committing a 24-hour crime spree while high on ice, and now shocking photographs of him restrained and wearing a “spit hood” in juvenile detention have gone around the world.

For Dylan Voller, the Alice Springs teenager whose mistreatment in a Northern Territory juvenile facility will now become part of a royal commission into indigenous youth custody, the trauma is not over.

A Northern Territory youth worker who knows and has cared for Voller in the past said the teen, who is now 19, “has been in and out of trouble, needs to get serious counselling and it needs to be funded by the government”.

“It’s no easy journey for Dylan,” the youth worker said. “If a boy commits a crime, I’m not saying they don’t have to face the music, but where’s the duty of care? They need a place where they can be safe.”

Dylan’s sister Kira said that her brother “deserves his life back” and had “lost everything". Ms Voller said her brother had “lost hope”.

“The last time I went to visit him there was no smile, there was no emotion, there was nothing, I couldn’t give him anything to be positive about and that really broke me,” Ms Voller said.

“I want him to know he’s still a person and people still love him and he still has hope for a life.

Four Corners reported that on two occasions after he was found in his cell crying, guards grabbed Dylan Voller around the neck, stripped him naked and held him down. Picture: ABCSource:ABC

“He’s been in and out of jail from the age of 11, 10,” Kira told ABC radio. “That’s half of his whole life.”

Just four years ago, Dylan Voller was photographed calmly sitting on the grass with his friend Leighton at a Saturday rugby grand final match in Alice Springs.

But the young teenager had a troubled past.

The youth worker told that the then 14-year-old had “underlying trauma” and had been in trouble with the NT Police as a juvenile.

A youth justice advocacy project worker had reported that Voller had suffered “anger issues” and had a “propensity to spit”.

Then on February 7, 2014, Voller got drunk and “high on ice” and with two other young men went on a 24-hour crime spree, attacking two men and a police officer.

It was during his incarceration following being found guilty for this series of incidents that Voller was placed in restraints and the spit hood in the now infamous Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Darwin.

ABC-TV’s Four Corners showed images of Voller hooded and strapped into a mechanical restraint chair for almost two hours in March 2015, when he was serving a total of two years and three months’ minimum sentence.

The report on Voller and other boys’ disturbing detention has seen the first scalp claimed.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles this afternoon announced he had removed John Elferink as Corrections Minister, installing himself in the role.

Voller’s spree began in Alice Spring’s iconic Todd Street, where he and the two other young men tried to rob a man walking to work.

A court later heard that Voller, then a slightly built teen, ran bare-chested at the man, yelling “you fat white racist dog. You yelled at us”.

The three teens took the man’s wallet, knocked him to the pavement and kicked him in the ribs.

Still high on drugs the following day, the boys ambushed Luke McIntyre near a store where the 17-year-old was trying to buy cigarettes.

Voller struck him with a mop handle, punched him in the face and stole his wallet. McIntyre was bashed unconscious, then his three assailants fled in a Holden Commodore.

Voller was behind the wheel and tried to run down a “terrified” Constable Gerard Reardon who had ordered the trio to stop.

On August 13, 2014, Northern Territory Supreme Court Justice Peter Barr sentenced Voller to a maximum of three years and eight months for attempted robbery, aggravated robbery and recklessly endangering serious harm.

Voller, who was already in custody, had a 20 month non-parole period to serve. Justice Barr noted that the 16-year-old had a very troubled past, dating back to when he was an 11-year-old and had committed more than 50 offences, including crimes of violence, over five years.

Placed in custody in the Don Dale centre, Voller was regarded as a “notorious” juvenile prisoner.

The ABC reported that he was subjected to a “catalogue ... of abuse” in detention centres in Darwin and Alice Springs over the last five years.

Four Corners reported that on two occasions after he was found in his cell crying, guards grabbed Dylan Voller around the neck, stripped him naked and held him down.

CCTV footage obtained by the ABC show prison officers tear gassing male juvenile prisoners following a “riot” at Don Dale centre in August 2014.

Voller’s sister Kira said she held the guards responsible for her brothers’ behaviour, and she wanted to see the law permitting the use of mechanical restraints overturned.

“What I’d really like to see is ... for them to take accountability for the fact that they damaged him a lot more than helped,” she said.

“These people are already full-grown adults and made the decision to harm that child while they were working,” she said. “The government gave them that responsibility, to care for these kids, and instead they abused that role.”

A Northern Territory youth worker told that an alternative safe centre for juvenile offenders had been all but abandoned during successive NT governments due to pressure from child protection workers.

“I’ve seen kids who have been stabbed or contracted sexually transmitted diseases in custody,” he said. “They need protection, not abuse.”


Pauline Hanson says Malcolm Turnbull 'very gracious' during face-to-face meeting

Pauline Hanson has posted a video on Facebook recording her first face-to-face meeting with Malcolm Turnbull since the election, telling supporters the prime minister was “very gracious” and opened with congratulations on her election victory, “which I appreciated”.

The meeting, which was not telegraphed by the prime minister’s office – unlike some previous meetings with key crossbenchers since the election – took place in Sydney on Monday at Turnbull’s behest, according to the One Nation leader.

In her Facebook video, Hanson says she “did most of the talking”.

In late May, Turnbull declared Hanson was not a welcome presence on the Australian political scene. “Remember she was chucked out of the Liberal party,” the prime minister said.

Hanson says in her video she could have confronted Turnbull directly about the rebuff, but chose not to. “You’re probably wondering, did I say to him, ‘you’re the man who said I wasn’t welcome there’. The answer is no,” she said.

The One Nation leader said the prime minister had appeared “very interested in my opinion” and had offered her the services of his ministers in the new parliament.

Hanson said she had raised issues relating to north Queensland during their conversation, such as the motor sport precinct, dredging in the port of Cairns, her party’s youth apprenticeship policy and her desire to make changes to the family court.

“I feel he’s prepared to listen to me,” she said.

Hanson told supporters on Facebook she believed One Nation would have four Senators in the 45th parliament once the election results were finally declared.

In the thread under the video an argument broke out among One Nation supporters about whether Hanson should be dealing constructively with the prime minister or not.

Hanson, or a Hanson operative, intervened in the thread to say: “Without a clear communication line between my office and the prime minister ... we achieve nothing. It’s very important that we work together to achieve what’s best for this country.
“I also mentioned to the prime minister that I will only back legislation that is good for the people. Help me make sure that any legislation put before the Senate is right for the people. If it’s not, we won’t support it.”

The Coalition has also been attempting to walk a line between validating Hanson’s electoral mandate and rejecting her extreme views on race, immigration and Islam.

On the weekend, the government’s Senate leader, George Brandis, noted half a million Australians voted for One Nation. “She’s now a member of the Senate. The way to deal with these people is to explain why they are wrong,” Brandis told the ABC.

“To pretend that Pauline Hanson is not part of the national conversation ... is ludicrous.”


Malcolm Turnbull to bring in new laws allowing indefinite jail for high-risk terrorists

Malcolm Turnbull will introduce new national laws that would allow jailed terrorists who still pose a risk when their prison terms expire to be held indefinitely as his first order of business when Parliament resumes at the end of August.

Mr Turnbull spoke with state and territory leaders on Sunday to inform them of his plans which he said needed to be dealt with urgently in the context of recent attacks in Orlando and Nice.

Australian anti-terror authorities are constantly updating their understanding of terrorism says Attorney-General George Brandis. Vision ABC News 24.

The new laws, which were first agreed to in April, would effectively treat high-risk terrorists the same as paedophiles and extreme violent offenders who, in certain cases, can already be held as a purely preventative measure after serving jail time.

Any extended detention period would be supervised by the courts, but legal groups have previously expressed "serious concern" about the new laws.

The laws are meant to address key concerns of police and security agencies about convicted terrorists from the post-September 11 era who are due to be released in coming years.

"This is a significant public safety and security issue and our governments must do all we can to protect the community from individuals posing a high risk of re-offending and/or those in need of continued rehabilitation," Mr Turnbull wrote in a letter sent to state and territory leaders.

"The guiding principles of a post-sentence preventative detention scheme would be that it cover high-risk terrorist offenders and contain appropriate procedural protections and safeguards."

Mr Turnbull has asked the Attorney-General, George Brandis, to meet with his state and territory counterparts this week in order to swiftly finalise the legislation in time for the return of Parliament.

The move follows Mr Turnbull's directive to Australia's counter-terrorism tzar last week to explore whether potential "lone wolf" terrorists can be better identified by closer agency co-operation and information-sharing on extremism, criminality and mental illness.

The national counter-terrorism coordinator, Greg Moriarty, will examine the trend whereby people who were apparently disturbed to begin with have seized on Islamist extremism shortly prior to carrying out atrocities.

Mr Moriarty said social cohesion with Muslim communities remained central to tackling terrorism. Australia needed an approach that would keep the country "both secure and united, not just for tomorrow or next year, but for decades and possibly generations".

State and territory leaders agreed to the new detention laws in April but the intervening election campaign and caretaker period resulted in a three-month pause in acting on them.

At the time, concerns were raised by members of the legal community.

University of NSW law professor George Williams said that post-sentence detention could be justified in cases of risk to the public, but needed to be strictly targeted and used only as a last resort.

"This is an extraordinary measure to take and can only be justified in the most exceptional cases," Professor Williams said in April.

"The person should be held only as long as they were shown to pose a risk, and the thresholds for risk should be set at a high level. We have to make sure there isn't just a vague risk to the community but a present, real danger."

The Law Council of Australia also said the plan was a "serious concern".

Fiona McLeod, president elect of the Law Council of Australia, said in April that the involvement of a judge was "a protection" but emphasised that if the judge was working on the basis of information given by government agencies "there needs to be a mechanism for the review of that as soon as possible".

Separately, the NSW government is going ahead with plans to extend to up to 14 days the length of time a terrorism suspect can be held before they are charged. Other states and territories have agreed to look at those laws with a view to adopting them, save for the ACT, which is "reserving its position".

The change to the NSW Terrorist (Police Powers) Act allows for the arrest, detention and questioning of a person if there are "reasonable grounds for suspecting that the person has committed, or is involved in planning, a terrorist act".

A suspect could be held for four days, extended to 14 days with the approval of a judge.


Turnbull Government embarks on radical welfare overhaul

The Turnbull government will embark on a radical welfare experiment during the current parliament that aims to use the power of big data to cut the number of people on welfare through targeted interventions in their lives.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter says that while the initiative should bring long-term savings, his immediate task is to get a raft of legislative changes – including budget measures – through the Parliament. He plans to begin talking to Labor and the Senate crossbench about the proposals this week.

To help the ease the passage of some of these measures, the government will be promoting many of its more recent budget cuts to the Senate cross bench– unlike the hangover of the 2014 so-called Zombie cuts – as savings that will be specifically earmarked to go into a national savings account to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Cutting access to compensation for the carbon tax to new welfare recipients – a $1.4 billion measure from the May budget – is the biggest potential deposit into that account, Mr Porter says.

However, Mr Porter says that implementing the so-called "investment approach" to welfare will be the "single most important thing" that he does during the new parliamentary term.

"This will radically change the way any sensible government approaches welfare policy", Mr Porter told The Australian Financial Review.

The investment approach to welfare is heavily based on work done by the Key government in New Zealand and was also a recommendation of the review of Australia's welfare system – the McClure Review – which was handed down in 2015.

It essentially argues the case for front-loaded investment in people, particularly the young, identified as at risk of falling in to, or staying in the welfare system and providing highly targeted interventions to stop that happening.

The 2015 budget provided $34 million to develop the new system and fund longitudinal surveys to provide the data to support the approach.

These longitudinal surveys have been looking back into the history of social welfare recipients over decades in search of patterns and data that predict what will happen to them over the course of their lives.

An actuarial study by PwC is due with Mr Porter in the next couple of months but he says the preliminary data is promising.

"Most governments have looked at spending growth as a budgetary problem," he says.

"It has been looked at globally." That is, it has been looked at in terms of the overall design of a program rather than how it may play out in the varied lives of its recipients.

However new information systems change that, he says.

"We can do the equivalent of keyhole surgery – drill down to groups of 500, 1500, or 15,000 people, identify the risks that get them into the welfare system and tailor policies to divert them away or if they have become dependent, get them out of the system."

For example, he says, new systems can track over a long period what happens to people receiving student assistance. The government will be able to see how many people stay on the benefit and for how long, and how many transition in to work or other benefits.

For example, he says, the system could allow the government to look at what happens to 16-22 year olds in Newcastle versus those living in Geelong and, based on that data, apply very specific outcomes for the two groups.

"It moves the social welfare debate away from being seen as an economic cost to being a moral issue," he says.

The investment approach has been used in New Zealand for five years, with the government claiming major improvements in welfare outcomes – getting people out of the welfare system – and in budgetary cost projections in the longer term.

Actuarial reports in NZ show particularly good outcomes for single parents and young people, largely from active case management  of part-time work obligations for single parents with school-aged children.

But the approach is not without its critics both here and in New Zealand and many of these cite potentially "perverse" effects from the approach, including the NZ Productivity Commission.

The Australian Council of Social Service has expressed its concern that this approach is biased towards investment in young people and could lead to less assistance for older unemployed people .

The new levels of data – about different cohorts across the country – will be able to openly accessed, meaning non-government organisations, think tanks and other groups will be able to look in detail at what is happening across the country.

Non-government agencies will then able to bid for some of the funds in the $96 million "Try, Test and Learn" Fund announced in the May budget to develop and run programs designed to help keep people at risk of long-term dependency from being trapped in the system.

Mr Porter says the government is also keen to implement the central recommendations of the McClure report which were to radically overhaul and simplify the multitude of welfare payments and supplements.

However, these will require the legislative support of the Senate and are likely to have to await the resolution of existing budget stand offs on the welfare budget.


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 July, 2016

Far Leftist "Crikey" is enjoying the Sonia Kruger controversy

See below. They perversely see it as a condemnation of Australia generally.  Taking only SOME refugees is "racist", you see. In case it's not clear, Australia's prioritizing of persecuted Christians for the refugee intake is what has got the writer all burned up and gripped with the fires of prophecy.  The writer is Shakira Hussein, if that tells you anything.  An obvious Presbyterian?

Much of the response to Andrew Bolt and Sonia Kruger’s call to halt Muslim immigration has rested on the assumption that such calls are just hate speech for the sake of hate speech rather than a realistic policy proposal. But Australia’s immigration policy has been discriminating against Muslims since the 2014 announcement of the special refugee intake in response to the crisis in Syria and Iraq during the last throes of the Abbott prime ministership.

And the grounds for the discriminatory framework for the special refugee intake were remarkably similar to those stated by Kruger for a blanket ban on Muslim migration: to accommodate the Australian public’s fear of Muslim men.

At the time, the announcement of the special refugee intake felt like a victory for people power, coming as it did in response to the candlelit vigils for drowned Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi. And after all, no one could argue that the “persecuted minorities” who are the favoured candidates under this policy are not in need of asylum.

It also helped that Tony Abbott — with his fear-mongering talk of death cults and demands for Muslims to “do more” to prove that Islam is a religion of peace — was replaced soon afterwards by the more “reasonable” Malcolm Turnbull, who was one of the Coalition MPs to have called for Christian refugees to be prioritised but who also set about repairing the government’s damaged relationship with Australia’s Muslim communities.

The process of damage repair, of course, culminated in the iftar at Kirribilli House to which Andrew Bolt took such entertainingly deranged exception as the election results came through. Turnbull’s “reasonable” approach to The Muslim Issue has put pressure on Muslims to be “reasonable” in return, so that Waleed Aly chose to “tease” Turnbull about the NBN rather than publicly raising more fraught issues like the internment of asylum-seekers on Manus Island and Nauru and the introduction of ever-more stringent anti-terrorism legislation. A guest at a dinner party must keep their personal opinions within certain boundaries, after all.

TV host Sonia Kruger Kruger’s fear-driven, fear-mongering against Muslims has jeopardised her relationship with sponsors like Porsche and Swisse, who have no desire to lose their Muslim customers. She also triggered a debate about how best to respond to the rise in racist hate speech, with a plethora of tweets and op-eds dissenting from Waleed Aly’s call for her, and others like her, to be forgiven.

Kruger’s hate speech has expanded the boundaries of what can be said in what used to be called polite company (Andrew Bolt having long been unfit for such company). In resisting the dangers that this raises, we must not lose sight of the way in which the shift that she calls for is already underway. Kruger may well have to return her Porsche, but we cannot afford to regard this as anything more than a temporary respite.

The prioritising of persecuted minorities in the special refugee intake provides us a foretaste of how a Muslims Need Not Apply migration policy might come about — not overnight in the form of a blanket ban, but incrementally, step by step in order to allay the reasonable fears of reasonable Australians and under the watch of a reasonable Prime Minister like Malcolm Turnbull or whoever his (probably) reasonable successor might turn out to be. And at the end of this fearful week, it is difficult not to speculate on what other measures that now belong to fringe platforms like The Australian’s letters to the editor might come to seem reasonable.

Campaigns against the internment camps on Manus and Nauru have often rested on the assumptions that these represent an abhorrence for which history will judge those responsible in the not-too-distant future. We should perhaps begin to contemplate that they may, in fact, provide us with a glimpse of the future and that just as off-shore detention was introduced on reasonable humanitarian grounds in order to prevent drownings at sea and prevent the profiteering of people smugglers, a “reasonable” government might decide that internment of its own citizens is a necessary and reasonable security measure.

It is reasonable to be unforgiving when such spectres are so easily and reasonably conjured.

Tolerance of extremism will provoke backlash

by Chris Kenny

The corrosive impact of Islamist extremism is evident to most of us but our political and community leaders are only making things worse by ignoring this insidious challenge.

Violence and intolerance preached and perpetrated by extremists creates fear, mistrust and division. That is its intention. We can’t pretend it away.

Speeches at Sydney’s Lakemba Mosque to celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan yesterday showed how we are fumbling the problem. The president of the Lebanese Muslim Association, Samier Dandan, spoke aggressively about Australian Muslims being victims of “Islamophobia” and unspecified government policies.

“The continued rise of Islamophobic discourse in the public, in addition to a number of divisive and toxic policy decisions have only exacerbated negative sentiment towards the Australian Muslim community,” he said. “We have been left in a vulnerable position.”

Dandan lashed at media for being more interested in “attendees to an iftar” rather than “hate preachers” in the political debate. He was clearly downplaying the homophobic views of Sheik Shady Al-Suleiman (who attended Malcolm Turnbull’s Kirribilli House fast-breaking dinner) compared to the rantings of the likes of Pauline Hanson.

We shouldn’t need to pick and choose our intolerance — Hanson and Al-Suleiman can both be called out.

Worryingly, Dandan’s speech reeked of Muslim victimhood and neglected to criticise the Islamist extremism at the heart of any tensions. You can’t plausibly blame Hanson for domestic terror plots or more than 100 Australians joining the Islamic State slaughter while as many (according to ASIO) support them from home.

This is not to make excuses for an anti-Muslim backlash. To prevent such responses gaining momentum, people need to know Muslim community leaders and government authorities can discuss real problems frankly.

Dandan talked about the “spread of hatred” from mainstream society and that — presumably in relation to security agencies — “their surveillance will not add to our safety.”

This is irresponsible. Our police and security forces protect Australian lives, Muslim and non-Muslim.

NSW Premier Mike Baird didn’t raise challenges of extremism in his speech either. He spoke of a visit to “Palestine” and declared young people there wanted peace — thereby appealing to a crucial Islamist grievance and ignoring unpalatable facts.

This approach from politicians in this space is typical — tough issues are skirted around. Baird said: “Where we see intolerance we must respond with tolerance.” He could not be more wrong — our political leaders should be clear that the one thing we do not tolerate is intolerance.

This is why fractious voices such as Hanson’s are on the rise; mainstream political leaders are unwilling to even discuss the real issues surrounding Islamist ­extremism.


A man accused of raping a Korean woman in broad daylight is granted bail at the Caboolture Magistrate's Court

A FATHER released on bail by a magistrate on Saturday despite being charged with a shocking random daytime rape is just the latest in a long string of accused sex offenders to be set loose.

Police will allege the 23-year-old man stalked a Korean woman, 20, from a Morayfield shopping centre on Friday ­before attacking her in broad daylight about 11.30am.

Witnesses heard her screams and rushed to her aid, pulling her alleged attacker away ­before chasing and detaining him until police arrived. Prosecutors yesterday opposed bail but a Caboolture magistrate ordered the man’s release after being told he was needed at home to look after his kids while his wife worked.

Sexual assault worker Amanda Dearden said she had “grave concerns” about the accused attacker’s release.

“It’s incredibly concerning that that risk to the community hasn’t been acknowledged by the court,” she told The Sunday Mail.

Ms Dearden, who until Friday worked with the Zig Zag Young Women’s Resource Centre, said strict bail conditions were not monitored enough to be effective.

“Without tracking devices it’s hard to keep track of where they’re actually following their bail conditions in the community,” she said.

Before the Caboolture Magistrates Court, defence lawyer Jason Todman argued the man’s family would be under considerable financial pressure if he was kept in custody. The man was temporarily unemployed and would need to stay at home with the kids while his wife worked.

Magistrate Louisa Pink noted he had no prior criminal convictions and scientific evidence was yet to be revealed.

“The strengths of the evidence in this case relates certainly to an assault. But at this time, the evidence of the allegation of rape — the scientific evidence is still pending,” she said. “Despite that, I don’t think it could be described as a weak Crown case.”

The man was ordered not to leave his home, except to report to Caboolture police station or attend court. He must also call police when he leaves and returns to his address.

Ms Pink banned him from contacting witnesses or the victim, who yesterday undertook a sexual assault investigation kit at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

The man is scheduled to reappear on September 19.


People must be prevented from discussing homosexual marriage, apparently

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has urged the Federal Government to abandon plans for a public poll on same-sex marriage.

Mr Andrews has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urging him not to hold a plebiscite on legalising marriage for same-sex couples.

In the letter, Mr Andrews argued the plebiscite would legitimise hateful debate about LGBTIQ issues. He said there was no public poll before the Marriage Act was changed to specify that marriage was a union between a man and a woman. "In 2004 the law was changed to be fundamentally unequal, to be discriminatory, to be unfair, without a national plebiscite," Mr Andrews said.

He said the $160 million plebiscite would be wasteful. "But the cost is not best measured in numbers," Mr Andrews said. "The cost is best measured in the pain, the anguish, the sense of inequality, the sense of not being treated fairly.  "This will be a harmful, spiteful debate — it will give legitimacy to hurtful views, views that are essentially bigoted."

The Premier said he did not want to speculate about what would happen if the plebiscite occurred, and returned a vote against legalising same-sex marriage. But he would not say whether Victoria would go its own way in introducing marriage equality laws.

"I haven't ruled that out," Mr Andrews said. "We have a proud history in this state of changing the law and trying to be the progressive capital of our nation and that's not going to change."

Last month, Mr Turnbull said he was confident Australians had the maturity to have a respectful discussion about the issue.


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 July, 2016

Conflict of interests over wind and solar power

Changing to "renewables" without conventional backup is a recipe for disaster -- and it's happening in South Australia right now.  The Green/Left S.A. government just ignored the risks and forced its coal-fired stations to close down. And South Australians are now paying the price of that.  The response of the S.A. energy minister?  Blaming other states for not sending enough of their backup power to S.A.  Blaming everyone but yourself is childish but common

With electricity prices spiralling as South Australia struggles to digest a world-breaking build of wind farms without firm power backup, federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is facing a challenge that defines the conflict and mixed signals of his new super portfolio.

The challenge was delivered on a windswept blustery paddock about 200km west of Melbourne where Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced state approval for the $65 million, 96-turbine Dundonnell wind farm.

What the Premier did not tell reporters was that the 300 megawatt project, claimed to be the state’s biggest, had yet to receive federal government approval under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

If Frydenberg does not give EPBC approval for Dundonnell he can expect a fiery backlash and accusations of turning his back on renewables and new economy jobs.

If he does give EPBC approval Frydenberg will be accused of grand-scale environmental vandalism against the Victorian brolga, which is listed as threatened and nests at the proposed wind farm site.

The New Zealand wind farm developer, Trustpower, claims to have accommodated the brolga in its layout plans. But the planning process for Dundonnell has been long and tortured with accusations of hidden records and dodgy environmental investigations.

The complaints have not come from peak environment groups but local bird enthusiasts because — rather than endangered fauna — organised environmental activists such as Friends of the Earth have preferred to concentrate on the need for renewable energy and a long-running campaign to make permanent the existing moratorium on coal-seam gas exploration in the state.

In the great circle of energy and environmental politics it is all connected.

For Frydenberg, the gas ban is as significant as the brolgas and the windmills.

And it has all been supercharged by the parlous state of South Australia’s electricity network and what it may portend for the rest of the nation, under pressure to roll out of renewable power.

Frydenberg is clearly aware of the scale of the challenge. He argued for amalgamation of energy and environment portfolio responsibilities and he knows Australia must respond to a fundamentally changing energy world.

In an address to the Brookings Institution in the US earlier this year, Frydenberg said “technology will be the swing factor to achieving the world’s climate goals”.

“Home batteries, carbon capture and storage, high-efficiency, low-emissions coal-fired plants, large-scale solar, are all likely to feature going forward,” he said.

But, politically, Frydenberg’s task is to avoid becoming known as the minister for sky-high electricity prices.

Events in South Australia — where wholesale power prices have spiked, household electricity costs are the highest in the nation and industry is threatening to quit— provide a good opportunity for a reality check.

Wholesale prices are usually below $100 per megawatt hour but in South Australia they have repeatedly spiked past $10,000 and sometimes touching the $14,000 limit.

There are many reasons advanced for the unstable electricity situation in South Australia.

These include high demand for electricity and gas during a cold snap, restricted competition, limited interconnector capacity to the national grid and the high costs of transporting gas. The gas squeeze has been exacerbated by fierce objections to coal-seam gas exploration in NSW and Victoria as the giant liquefied natural gas export projects in Queensland suck vast quantities of what used to be domestic supplies.

Clean Energy Council network specialist Tom Butler says the reasons for South Australia’s high power prices compared with the rest of the country remain the same as they were before a single wind turbine or solar panel was installed.

A briefing paper released by the Australian Conservation Foundation says renewable energy wrongly is being blamed.

“In fact the problem is not a failure of renewable energy; it is a failure of the national electricity market,” the ACF says. This may be true. But it is disingenuous to suggest renewable energy is not having a leading impact.

The Australian Energy Market Operator conducted a survey of why wholesale prices spiked during the same period last year.

An analysis of the findings by Frontier Economics says the common denominator was a low level of wind generation at the time.

“As has been long predicted, increasing penetration of wind, and its inherent intermittency, appears to be primarily responsible for the (price spike) events,” the Frontier Economics report says.

“While the events have coincided with relatively high demand conditions in South Australia and some minor restrictions on imports of electricity from Victoria, low wind production levels are the key common feature of every event.

“The market response at such times has been to offer higher-priced capacity to the market, leading to high prices, just as the National Electricity Market was designed to do under conditions of scarcity.”

The Frontier report says the level of wind and solar penetration in South Australia presents a fascinating natural experiment in the impact of intermittent generation on wholesale prices.

“Unfortunately, this test is anything but academic and the people of South Australia are increasingly likely to bear increased electricity costs as wind makes up a greater proportion of South Australian generation,” Frontier says.

“While policymakers may be tempted to act to force thermal and/or wind to behave uneconomically, the likely outcome means South Australian consumers will bear more costs.”

Fast forward 12 months and the same weather conditions have produced the same outcomes in the wholesale market, with higher prices to consumers starting to flow through as well.

In the meantime, Alinta Energy has been forced to close its two coal-fired power stations in South Australia early because their business model has been wrecked by the introduction of low-cost, subsidised wind generation into the wholesale market.

Renewable energy champions have always argued the so-called merit order effect, in which abundant cheap renewable energy suppresses the wholesale market, is a positive for consumers. But the evidence is that there are limits.

South Australia is being watched closely by traditional energy companies and renewable energy specialists worldwide as a test case for what happens when high levels of intermittent energy, such as wind and solar, are introduced into a system that is not fully covered by other sources of readily available power.

Elsewhere, such as Denmark, where there is a high percentage of wind power in a national market there is also access to sufficient baseload power from hydro, nuclear or coal from neighbouring countries available to cover the fluctuations.

In South Australia the backup from the Victorian interconnection is 23 per cent.

Modelling by Deloitte Access Economics suggests that by 2019 the interconnector will be importing all the Victorian electricity it can handle into South Australia for almost 23 hours a day. It does not leave much margin for error if things go wrong.

“The last few weeks in South Australia have been a perfect storm but it shows that we have to be very careful how we design markets and policies to decarbonise,’’ Australian Energy Council policy specialist Kieran Donoghue says.

This is the real challenge for Frydenberg in his new portfolio.

The ACF wants a national plan to manage the transition to clean energy. It says this plan should “deal with intermittent generation and energy security, appropriate interconnections, careful placement of renewable facilities to maximise flexibility, an orderly closure of coal-fired power plants and detailed strategies to help affected communities with the transition”.

“The benefits of renewable energy are numerous, but without national leadership and a national plan to transition our energy sector we are certain to see a rocky transition with more price fluctuations,” the ACF says.

Powerful South Australian senator Nick Xenophon has said he will support a Senate inquiry to examine the mix of renewable energy in Australia.

Australian energy ministers are due to meet soon to consider exact­ly these issues. But no one has yet put forward a credible plan of how this should be done or what the cost would be.

At best, there will be a Band-Aid solution to the immediate problems in South Australia.

Industry specialists say the Council of Australian Governments certainly will look at options for additional intercon­nectors to deepen ties between states in the national electricity market.

The cheapest option will be to expand the connection to Victoria, but that is unlikely to give South Australia the sort of diversity of supply it is seeking.

It is further complicated by Victoria’s own plans to lift renewables — through projects such as Dundonnell — and the desire of environment groups nationally that Victoria’s big baseload brown coal generators, which underpin the system, be forcibly retired as soon as possible.

Another option would be to connect to NSW or Tasmania.

The cost of a new interconnector is high, with estimates of up to $3.75 billion for a connection between NSW and South Australia. Experience shows costs can blow out by almost double.

Meanwhile, rapid advances in technology, particularly in battery storage and grid management, make it uncertain whether expensive interconnectors are the right solution for the long term.

South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis wants the ability to ship his state’s wind power to other states, something coal-fired generators in NSW and Queensland would resist.

The challenge is to stop what is happening in South Australia from occurring elsewhere as the amount of intermittent power is expanded nationally to meet the state-based and federal renewable energy targets.

Already, existing generators are arguing for greater payment for the ancillary services they provide to keep the electricity network stable.

Payments for standby reserve power and voltage regulation that cannot be provided by wind and solar would lessen the dependence of baseload plants on the spot electricity market.

But is this not a Band-Aid solution rather than long-term vision?

Central planning can be a slippery slope.

“It is important to be clearer that this transition is not costless,” Donoghue says.

“Instead of thinking that the wind and sun are free, it would be better to give a more realistic understanding of what the costs will be.”

The more governments mandate things such as the amount of renewable energy in the market, the likelier they are to find themselves having to also support remaining dispatchable generators.

“If they (governments) want to direct the transition they are going to be on the hook for all the infrastructure as well,” Donoghue says.

And under the pathways put forward by the ALP and Greens they are also going to be on the hook for the heavy social transition costs as well.

It remains uncertain what pathway Frydenberg intends to take.

In his Brookings Institution address in February, Frydenberg said it was clear the global energy supply dynamic was moving to lower emission energy sources.

He said country comparisons showed that lowering emissions from the energy sector could not be one-dimensional because countries were starting from different positions and faced different challenges.

“One such challenge will be the need to question traditional energy supply” and “such a discussion is currently taking place in South Australia”, he said.

He was talking about the South Australian royal commission into nuclear energy, which he said had “revived the discussion about the role nuclear power could play in a low carbon economy”.

“Given South Australia has 78 per cent of Australia’s uranium reserves and the stable geology to store high-level waste, this debate is shifting community attitudes and has some way to run,” he said.

The Environment and Energy Minister has a substantial challenge ahead.


Terrified residents of Melbourne neighbourhood who have lived there for decades reveal young African members of Apex gang have left them too frightened to leave their homes

The Africans concerned were rescued from refugee camps in Africa by Australia.  Their behaviour is a despicable way to say "thank you".  But it does bear out Richard Lynn's comment of pervasive psychopathy among Africans

Residents in the street where a 12-year-old girl who was threatened with death during a violent carjacking linked to the Apex gang say they are terrified to leave their homes.

There has been a violent carjacking every day for the past six days in Melbourne's suburbs.

The 12-year-old girl is now afraid of sleeping in her own bed and her family, who wish to remain anonymous, told Daily Mail Australia the attack terrified them.

She was ripped from her car and threatened with death as her family pulled up to the George Street home in St Albans, in Melbourne's north-west.

The shocking incident has left neighbours so frightened that one couple, who have lived in the street for 40 years, will not leave the house at night.  'I am a man and I am too scared to go for walks in my own street,' the man said.

'It is scary to even sleep - I am keeping a metal bar beside my bed in case they come inside.'

Another neighbour said the area has become 'so scary' in the last year with groups of young teenage boys hanging out in the nearby park drinking. 'They drink and do drugs and are so loud,' she said.  'It makes you not want to live here anymore.'

A young African man who grew up alongside some of the boys in the gang is trying to become a good role model for his community and direct the men away from crime.

Nelly Yoa, 26, does not want the boys to become career criminals and also fears that their actions are having a huge negative effect on the whole African community.

'Now I get pulled over by police when they see me because they think I am driving a stolen car,' Mr Yoa told Daily Mail Australia.

The 26-year-old plays soccer professionally and hopes to start for Melbourne City this year so he can be a better role model.

He recently went to a youth conference held by Victoria's police commissioner only to be pulled over metres down the road.

'When I left the conference I only drive about 500 metres before the police pulled me over,' Mr Yoa said. 'They had to check if the car was stolen and if it just hadn't been reported yet.

'I can understand why they have to do this and I know that there is a lot of fear and they are just doing their job but some people might not and might get angry.'

Mr Yoa is currently working with children in juvenile detention who are connected with the gang and hopes they change what they are doing before they become career criminals.

'Part of the problem is these kids know they can't get in much trouble and will get a slap on the wrist because they are under 18,' he said.  'But it is when they keep going when they turn 18 and get a criminal record and go to jail.  'They come out of being locked up even angrier than they were before and re-offend.'

While the Apex members are a minority numbers-wise in Melbourne - and all come from minority backgrounds - their presence is creating a lot of fear.

Frightened residents across the city - especially in satellite suburbs like St Albans are buying weapons to defend themselves - and patrolling the streets at night in the hope it will keep their families safe.

One man told Daily Mail Australia he had armed his wife and children with bats and hammers, and 'taught his eldest son to defend the family if he wasn't home'.

'The two younger kids know to hide in the cupboard and my 13-year-old has his own little bat,' the man said.  'I taught him not to hit people in the head with it but he knows where it is if he does need to use it.'


HSC: Changes to English, maths scaling, greater focus on Indigenous Australia

There is a vast amount of important things to learn about world history -- so why waste time studying Aboriginal history?  They are of no importance to anyone but themselves

The Board of Studies is overhauling the curriculum for Higher School Certificate (HSC) students in NSW, placing a greater focus on Australia and Aboriginal leaders in history, and significantly changing maths and English courses.

President of the Board of Studies Tom Alegounarias said in English courses, the recent tradition of comparing classic texts to modern adaptations will be dropped to allow for a return to a single-text focus.

"We never abandoned the canon but what we did have was frames through which students could study a text, so 'journeys' or 'belongings' were overarching concepts that would be used to create a reference point for kids to help them engage with a text," he said.

"That's seen to be a bit limiting now."

Mr Alegounarias said from now on, he wanted students to have the freedom to focus on "what makes a quality text".

"That may vary from book to book; if it's the subtlety and wit of Jane Austen, then that should be the focus," he said.

In history, there would be a greater emphasis on Australia including Indigenous leaders such as Eddie Mabo and Charles Perkins.

"Those are options for case studies at the beginning of Year 11 where we're introducing to students how to study history," Mr Alegounarias said.

"They're not the central focus of the changes; the central focus is that World War II becomes a core mandatory unit for all."

Maths scaling system to change

The board's president said the scaling system would change for maths students.

"We're creating what we call a common scale, that is we're ensuring that each level of course is on a hierarchy of difficulty and by the time you get to extension two these are really brilliant students," Mr Alegounarias said.

"We're giving them the opportunity to stretch themselves further - it's becoming slightly more complex."

State Opposition spokesman Jihad Dib said he did not think the changes were as significant as they sounded.

"This is what contemporary society would expect - the evolution of the HSC to meet the modern needs of society," he said.

But he questioned the thinking behind dropping the comparative approach in Year 12 English, one that for many years has seen thousands of students study Jane Austen's Emma alongside the 1995 film Clueless.

"In English, I don't think it's such a problem to be able to study the difference between time and place and to compare and contrast," he said.

The former high school principal is also wary of changes to scaling for maths students.

"We have to be careful so we don't set kids up to fail and ask them to choose subjects that they think will get them a better HSC mark regardless of whether they're capable in that subject or not," Mr Dib said.

Earlier this week, the State Government announced that from 2020, students would not be able to get their HSC without first meeting minimum standards of literacy and numeracy.


Dole payments: MP George Christensen wants dole payments cut after six months

DOLE recipients would have their payments cut after six months under a proposal to help offset the cost of keeping more generous superannuation tax concessions for the well off.

LNP MP George Christensen will submit the plan to the Nationals partyroom and raise it directly with Social Services Minister Christian Porter.

Mr Christensen, a strong opponent to the Turnbull Government’s $6 billion superannuation reforms, said the Government could reverse some of the changes by taking an axe to the welfare system. The cost of Newstart — the dole — has reached almost $9 billion a year.

Speaking exclusively to The Sunday Mail, Mr Christensen said people on Newstart and those under the age of 45 years should be given six months to find a job — and if they failed they would be on their own.

Regional areas in Queensland have stubbornly high youth unemployment rates despite local farmers and business requiring backpackers or overseas workers to fill vacancies.

“We squibbed it last time,’’ Mr Christensen said, referring to the first Abbott government budget that tried to force the unemployed to wait six months before getting payments.

“Maybe if they know their dole will run out in six months they’ll go and get a job.”

Asked what the unintended consequences could be, Mr Christensen said he didn’t know, but “you can’t just throw your hands up in the air and say I don’t know what to do”.

He said he was annoyed by the dramatically-high cost of unemployment benefits at a time when farmers had complained a backpacker tax would devastate their businesses. The Government announced in its 2015/16 Budget that it would set a flat tax rate of 32.5 per cent on backpacker earnings.

“We need to take welfare and unemployment benefits,’’ Mr Christensen said.

“We’ve got farmers up our ribs about the backpacker tax. Every single farmer says ‘it will kill us’ because we won’t have any labour.”

He said business owners have told him some unemployed people tried to get sacked after a short period so they could go back on welfare.


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 July, 2016

More naming nonsense

John Batman was the founder of what we now know as the city of Melbourne -- and a Melbourne park is named after him.  It's a very modest tribute to an important pioneer but some whites  claiming to be Aborigines want to change it to something just about nobody would recognize. They want to dishonour John Batman preciselty because he was the founder of Melbourne. 

It's all part of the Leftist need to wipe out all knowledge of history.  Like Pol Pot they want the present to be a year zero so that people have no past to learn from.  A knowledge of the past is of course very destructive to Leftist claims

To attain their aims on this occasion, they are exploiting the kindness of the average Australian to claim that the name Batman is offensive to Aborigines.  Because of that kindness the name change will probably go through. The current matter is all very trivial in the great scheme of things but at some point attempts  to erase history must be resisted.  The past matters.  It is an important tutor.

"Wurundjeri Tribe Land Council spokesman" Ron Jones is as white as I am

THE renaming of Batman Park is moving ahead, with the establishment of a naming committee and the proposal of three possible Wurundjeri replacement names.

Darebin Council last week unanimously voted to establish a Batman Park Renaming Committee to explore the dumping the use of John Batman’s name for its association with indigenous dispossession.

The explorer convinced indigenous elders to sign a treaty trading more than 200,000ha of ancestral land for blankets, flour and other goods in 1835.

Councillor Trent McCarthy said the push to rename the park in the spirit of reconciliation was “a terrific way forward”.

“It is a really powerful conversation, and quite an emotional conversation to be a part of,” Cr McCarthy said.

Councillor Julie Williams said it was important for the council to work with the Wurundjeri Tribe Land Council to find a more suitable name for the park.

“I think it’s really important that our Wurundjeri people have a voice,” Cr Williams said.

At the first of four public meetings held to discuss the name change, three Wurunjderi replacement names were suggested.

The names include two former Wurundjeri leaders present at the signing of Batman’s treaty, Be Be Jern and Billibellary, along with the last girl born on the Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve in Healesville, Gumbri.

Darebin Council and the Wurundjeri Tribe Land Council last month renewed the campaign for the electorate of Batman and Batman Park to be renamed.

Land council spokesman Ron Jones last month said using Batman’s name in the area where the treaty was signed was a slap in the face to the indigenous community.

In an online Leader poll of almost 2000 readers, just 20 per cent agreed that the name Batman should be dropped.

There will be three more community discussions regarding the name changes.


Queensland weather: Brisbane's enjoys hottest July day for 70 years

We have indeed had quite a few days of summery warmth.  I have been getting around the house in just undershorts.  And my poor Mulberry tree out the front has been completely tricked.  It is deciduous but has just started to put out its summer foliage:   Months too soon.  And earlier this year we had a summer that was so cool my Crepe Myrtles failed to blossom. The whole thing is a good reminder of the power of natural variability

Queensland has more than made up for rudely thrusting extra days of winter upon her unsuspecting citizens.

On Saturday, the Sunshine State absolutely lived up to its name and offered the warmest July day in 70 years in Brisbane, matching the previously held record from 1946 when the temperature reached a balmy 29.1 degrees.

It was the peak of a run of unseasonably warm days as a trough passed through southern Queensland dragging warm air down from the north and returning the weather to that we would expect in summer and came on the back of some unseasonably cold weather.

It was warm throughout the south-east with warm July records being smashed all over the place.

The Sunshine Coast bore the brunt of the hot day, reaching 31.4 degrees, beating its previous record of 27.7.  On the Gold Coast it got to 29.6, beating its previous record of 26.9. Archerfield, Brisbane Airport and Gold Coast Seaway observation stations all recorded record-breaking temperatures for July.

But before you book a week off to make the most of the warm spell, the Bureau of Meteorology has sad news... things return to "winter" temperatures from Sunday with the mercury tipped to drop to average conditions.

Bureau forecaster Adam Blazak said a change in the wind would bring a change in the temperature. "We will have more of a slight southerly wind direction change with the winds coming slightly more from the south," he said.

"So we won't be getting the hot air being dragged down from the north and that will see temperatures getting back to around average for this time of the year.

"(On Sunday) we are going for 22 and it will stay around that number roughly for most of the week."

The good news is the days will be clear and sunny, so we can all be thankful we are spending winter in Queensland and not somewhere dreadful like Sydney, where a top of 16 is expected on Sunday, or Melbourne where they can only manage a measly 12.


Schools in crisis as student numbers explode

The inevitable result of high levels of immigration

The Education Department's key formula for predicting student growth has been slammed as wildly inaccurate, with several schools already doubling their projected demand for 2031.

Nearly half of inner-city schools assessed by the department have already surpassed their projected demand this year, a Fairfax Media analysis has found.

The Lord Mayor of Melbourne, academics and parents who have been forced out of the city in pursuit of public schools, have criticised the department for lax planning in the wake of exploding student numbers.

Demand for 38 schools was forecast in a series of school planning reviews for the municipality of Banyule, the suburbs of Preston and Docklands, and their surrounding areas. These documents have served as a blueprint for the provision of new schools.

The student boom has proven so great that 10 schools have already surpassed their projected demand for 2031, some by hundreds of students.

These projections relate to the number of state school students within a school's catchment area, but do not take into account that a large number of students travel to attend a school outside their zone.

Michelle Styles, spokeswoman for lobby group City Schools 4 City Kids, has accused the department of underestimating enrolments in a bid to hose down pressure for new schools.

She said forecasting growth based on the number of students within a zone was unrealistic, and only served to shadow booming demand.

"Of course it is not only the the immediate local families that are going to attend those schools," she said.

"Parents often travel in towards the city to drop their children off at schools ... for example, a new school in Ferrars Street in South Melbourne is not only going to serve Ferrars Street, it will serve demands from anywhere, including families travelling from outside of the city."

The City of Melbourne is facing the most severe schools shortage among inner-city municipalities, and is set to experience a 62.9 per cent increase in school-aged children in the next decade – or almost 7500 extra students.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said Docklands urgently needed a state school, and cautioned the department against relying on the private school sector to accommodate growth.

"Haileybury College opened a large campus in King Street …. what does that tell us about what they see regarding population projections in the inner-city?"

Grattan Institute's Peter Goss said the department's key data set should project growth across a broad region rather than single school zones.

"Looking at each school in isolation or each school zone in isolation is flawed ... the overall picture of growth is the right way to look at it."

Department spokesman Steve Tolley said the organisation's preferred forecasting model "minimises the fluctuations" in enrolments resulting from school choice.

However, he said the department also takes multiple factors into consideration when planning new schools, including how many students outside of the zone may wish to enrol.

Docklands parents Neeti and Alok Chouraria are moving to Williams Landing, near Laverton, due to the absence of a local government school. They are one of seven local families they know who have abandoned the Docklands for this reason.

The couple work in the Docklands and have enjoyed sending their three-year-old child to a child care centre nearby.

"There is space for hundreds of thousands of apartments but for some reason, we can't find the space for a school. It's really very sad ... we both loved living in the city."


Immigration Minister Peter Dutton defends Sonia Kruger's right to speak her mind on Muslim immigration

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has defended TV presenter Sonia Kruger's right to speak her mind, even on immigration. 

Mr Dutton weighed in on the Muslim immigration debate sparked by Ms Kruger earlier this week.

He told 2GB Radio's Ray Hadley on Thursday that while he didn't agree with Ms Kruger's views, he defended her democratic right to express her opinions.

'We can't have 'thought police' out there from the left or the right saying this is OK but we censor this element,' Mr Dutton said.

'Now I don't agree with Sonia Kruger, I don't think we should stop the migration program, I think that would be a bad outcome, but I defend her right to speak her mind,' he said.

'We can disagree with her, as we do with people on the left and the right, but I think we need to recognise the vast majority of people and more religions that come to this country seem to do so in a safe way and in a way that they can contribute.

'And we should celebrate that,'

'We should respect the fact that people have certain views, we don't have to agree with them but that's the great strength of Australia.'

During a panel discussion on Channel Nine's the Today Show on Monday, Sonia Kruger argued there is a correlation between the number of Muslims in a country and the number of terrorist attacks.

She called for Australia to stop Muslim immigration because she wanted to 'feel safe'.

'Personally, I would like to see it stop now for Australia because I want to feel safe as all of our citizens do when we go out to celebrate Australia Day,' Ms Kruger said.

The television host said she had 'a lot of very good friends' who were Muslims and peace-loving, beautiful people. 'But there are fanatics,' she added.

The remarks sparked a social media storm but in response Ms Kruger said 'it was vital to discuss these issues without automatically being labelled racist'.

She told the panel Japan has a population of 174 million people and 100,000 Muslims and the country never suffers terrorist attacks.

In his talk on 2GB Radio on Thursday, Mr Dutton said we have to allow people freedom of speech as one of the things that terrorists want in the western world is for us to give up elements of our democracy.

'They don't want young girls to be taught in schools, they don't want people to enjoy the same religious freedom that we do in our country, and one of the great things about our country is that we welcome people from that four corners of the earth.

'And that is what has made us a great country and if people are coming here to do harm, well I don't care what religion or what part of the world they're from - my job is to stop them from coming here and doing harm to other Australians

'I think that one of the things terrorists would like to see is people being stopped from speaking their mind or not able to express their point of view.'

Mr Dutton said people of any faith are welcome in Australia but if they are coming to Australia to do harm, or if they are a second or third generation Australian aiming to do harm, then they will face the law like anybody else.  


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 July, 2016

Is there an Australian race?

Maybe that is not as absurd as it seems.  Leftists seem to regard Muslims as a race so why not? Any criticism of Muslims is routinely denounced as "racist".  So I clearly have the angels on my side in arguing for a flexible definition of race.

And the fact of the matter is that Australians do talk as if they are a race.  It's probably politically incorrect by now but for many decades Australians have spoken among themselves as in the following example.  "She is herself Chinese but she is married to an Australian" -- where both persons concerned were born in Australia -- so it was obviously race that was being referred to.

So a person of Northern European or British ancestry who was born in Australia is an Australian.  Australians are a definable ethnic group.  So "Australian" can be either a nationality or a race. In the example above both persons would have been readily acknowledged as Australian citizens but only one was an Australian.

And note that NOBODY in Australia refers to themselves  or anybody else as "a person of Northern European or British ancestry born in Australia".  It would be far too cumbersome.  People so identified  are simply Australians.

So is the usage just a piece of shorthand for a longer descriptor or is there more to it than that?  There clearly is more.  Australians have quite a strong national consciousness.  They see themselves as quite distinct from even closely related groups such as the British or Americans.  When they are thinking of "a person of Northern European or British ancestry born in Australia", they are also thinking of personal characteristics.  "A person of Northern European or British ancestry born in Australia" is expected to be "fair dinkum", no Dobbo and someone who does not "bung on an act", for instance.

Those three examples are much-loved pieces of Australian slang and, like most slang are not entirely translatable into standard English.  But an approximate translation would be: "A genuine person, a person who does not incriminate others to the authorities and a person who is not pretentious.  I say a bit more about that slang and its origins elsewhere.

So, yes.  There IS an Australian race.  And there are other races that are similarly defined.  Mexicans, for instance have had it instilled into them that they are one race:  The famous "La raza".  The reality of Mexico is a whitish elite who run everything and a large, poor mass of people with brown skin. But  we mustn't knock "La raza", must we?

The English rarely refer to themselves as a race but they do to an extent tend to see themselves that way.  The regional divisions in England are severe.  People who live South of Watford see people from North of Watford as an odd and rather uncouth lot.  Watford is the last outpost of civilization when travelling North. But no matter where you live in relation to Watford Junction, you are still English.  And being English has certain expectations attached to it -- enormous expectations, in fact.  The expectations are well laid out in what is probably the funniest book I have ever read: "Watching the English: the hidden rules of English behaviour" by Kate Fox.  Australians have some of the same rules, as one would expect.

In fact, Australian-ness is better defined than English-ness.  Australia may be the only country without significant regional divisions.  A person who lives in Brisbane lives thousands of miles away from a person who lives in Perth but any difference between inhabitants of those two cities is very hard to detect.  That great giveaway, accent, has only the tiniest differences in  the two populations. 

One has only to think of Northern Italian attitudes to "meriodinali", of Bavarian suspicion of "Prussians" and, of course, enmity between Eastern and Western Ukrainians to see that divisions between national populations are the norm.  The USA even had a civil war over  it.

There is none of that it Australia.  So by international standards, the case for Australians being a race is unusually strong.  And they are a race that has an entire continent to themselves!  Nice!

So being an Australian is NOT "inclusive" except in the sense of nationality.  For that reason some younger people do avoid the usage.

I think they are mistaken, however.  Everybody does not have to be included in everything.  Because there are some lepers does that mean that we all have to get leprosy? Australians are just another ethnic group -- and we all allow that those exist. Nobody minds referring to Jews as Jews yet, with their many internal schisms (Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Mizrachim etc) Jews have a rather lesser claim on an ethic identity than the very homogeneous "Australian" population has.  And we even have our own commandments!

Business angry as S.A. wind turbines suck more power than they generate

Wind turbines in South Australia were using more power than they generated during the state’s electricity crisis, which has prompted major businesses to threaten shutdowns and smaller firms to consider moving interstate.

The sapping of power by the turbines during calm weather on July 7 at the height of the ­crisis, which has caused a price surge, shows just how unreliable and ­intermittent wind power is for a state with a renewable ­energy mix of more than 40 per cent. Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox ­yesterday said the rise in prices, ­already the highest in the country, had disrupted industry and served as a warning for the rest of the ­­­­nat­ion. “That is a serious blow to energy users across SA and has disrupted supply chains upon which thousands of jobs depend,” he said.

“The real risk is if this volatility becomes the norm across the ­National Electricity Market.

“In June, electricity cost South Australia $133 per megawatt hour on average — already a high price. But since July 1, electricity prices have spiked above $10,000 per MWh at times.”

Mr Willox echoed warnings of the South Australian government on the weekend, saying “We will see similar episodes again, and not just in SA”, and backing calls for major reform of the NEM.

“Changes in the pattern of ­energy demand and the ongoing build-up of wind and solar make life increasingly difficult for ‘baseload’ electricity generators across the country,” he said.

The power crisis comes amid growing pressure from independent senator Nick Xenophon to invest hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into struggling South Australian businesses to save jobs, and as the Turnbull government attempts to establish a hi-tech ­submarine manufacturing industry in the state.

An analysis of data from the Australian Energy Market Operator, responsible for the administration and operation of the wholesale NEM, shows the turbines’ down time on July 7 coincided with NEM prices for South Australia reaching almost $14,000 per MWh

NEM prices in other markets have been as low as $40 per MWh with the AI Group estimating this month’s power surge in South Australian electricity prices had cost $155 million.

While all wind farms in South Australia were producing about 5780MW between 6am and 7am, by 1pm the energy generation was in deficit as the turbines consumed more power than they created. By mid-afternoon, energy generation by all wind farms was minus-50MW.

The situation forced several major companies, including BHP Billiton and Arrium, to warn the state government of possible shutdowns because of higher energy prices, forcing Treasurer and ­Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis to intervene by asking a private operator of a mothballed gas-fired plant in Adelaide for a temporary power spike.

BHP, which employs about 3000 people at its Olympic Dam mine in the state’s far north, said its operations in South Australia were under a cloud.  “The security and reliability of power have been a significant ­concern for BHP Billiton and the sustainability of Olympic Dam,” the miner’s head of corporate ­affairs, Simon Corrigan, said.

Opposition energy spokesman Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the snapshot of wind power operations in the state showed the Labor government’s energy policies had created an oversupply of cheap wind energy at times but that forced it to import from interstate when prices shot up.  “This wouldn’t be a problem if we still had a reasonable amount of base load generation but we don’t,” he said.

Mr Koutsantonis yesterday said improved interconnection for a “truly national electricity ­market” would drive prices down immediately. Federal Energy Minster Josh Frydenberg declined to be interviewed yesterday, but said he would convene a Council of Australian Governments meeting as soon as possible.

Not everyone is unhappy — farmer Peter Ebsary hosts four turbines from the Snowtown wind farm in South Australia’s mid north. The wind farm, owned by TrustPower, is the state’s largest.

“We get a financial return and don’t have to do anything ... we just sit back and collect the money as long as the wind blows,” he said.


School bans clapping and allows students ‘silent cheers’ or air punching but only when teachers agree

WTF is silent cheering?

CLAPPING has been banned at a Sydney primary school which has introduced “silent cheering”, “pulling excited faces” and “punching the air” to respect students who are “sensitive to noise”.

The school now only allows its pupils “to conduct a silent cheer” when prompted by teachers and says the practice “reduces fidgeting”.

Elanora Heights Public School, which is on Sydney’s northern beaches, announced its new “silent cheer” policy in its latest school newsletter.

The latest example of a political correctness outbreak in Australian schools, which have banned hugging, singing Christmas carols, celebrating Australia Day and singing the word “black” in the nursery rhyme “baa baa black sheep”.

The ban on clapping at Elanora Heights Primary School emerged on the same day that an exclusive girls school banned teachers from calling “ladies” or “women” in favour of “gender-neutral” terms.

In its July 18 newsletter, the Elanora school has published an item under the headline “Did you know” that “our school has adopted silent cheers at assembly’s” (sic).

“If you’ve been to a school assembly recently, you may have noticed our students doing silent cheers,” the item reads.

“Instead of clapping, the students are free to punch the air, pull excited faces and wriggle about on the spot.

“The practice has been adopted to respect members of our school community who are sensitive to noise.

“When you attend an assembly, teachers will prompt the audience to conduct a silent cheer if it is needed.

“Teachers have also found the silent cheers to be a great way to expend children’s energy and reduce fidgeting.”

The ban follows a direction at exclusive Cheltenham Girls High School in northwest Sydney for teachers to avoid discrimination and support LGBTI students by avoiding the words “girls”, “ladies” or “women”.

Elanora Heights Public School’s ban on clapping in favour of silent cheering comes after several schools have banned hugging.

In April, hugging was banned at a Geelong primary school and children were told to find other ways to show affection.

St Patricks Primary School principal John Grant said “nothing in particular” had caused hugging to be replaced by high fiving or “a knuckle handshake”.

“But in this current day and age we are really conscious about protecting kids and teaching them from a young age that you have to be cautious,” Mr Grant said.

He said he had spoken to teachers about his decision to ban hugging and then the teachers had spoken to classes, instructing the children on different methods of showing affection. He had not sent any correspondence home to parents but said there would now be a letter going home on Monday.

“There’s a range of methods including a high five or a particular knuckle handshake where they clunk knuckles as a simple way of saying ‘well done’,” Mr Grant said. “There are also verbal affirmations and acknowledgments.”

Children at the school have been enthusiastic huggers, he said, with hugs given out to teachers and other children.

“We have a lot of kids who walk up and hug each other and we’re trying to encourage all of us to respect personal space,” Mr Grant said. “It really comes back to not everyone is comfortable in being hugged.”


Wicked vans with offensive slogans banned under proposed legislation

The Palaszczuk government has found a way to get Wicked camper vans' offensive slogans off Queensland roads - unless the company cleans up its act.

After first indicating a review into the state's anti-discrimination act could potentially tackle the problem - a review the Queensland Law Reform Commission never began - the government then looked to the recommendations of a parliamentary committee inquiry carried out under the Newman government.
The Palaszczuk Government has found a way to get Wicked camper vans' offensive slogans off Queensland roads- unless the ...
The Palaszczuk Government has found a way to get Wicked camper vans' offensive slogans off Queensland roads- unless the company cleans up its act. Photo: MARION VAN DIJK

That inquiry recommended the Australian Association of National Advertisers be given statutory authority to force compliance, if companies were found to have breached codes or standards.

But Yvette D'Ath has found an even stronger solution. The Attorney-General will introduce legislation which will see commercial registration holders "who fail to comply with determinations by the Advertising Standards Bureau" face having the registration of those vehicles cancelled.

"I understand clearly the level of community concern about the vulgar, crass and offensive slogans that have been displayed on some commercial vehicles in Queensland and other parts of Australia," Ms D'Ath said.

"They have been subject to frequent complaints to the Advertising Standards Board.

"When the ASB has deemed those slogans to be offensive, the typical response from the holders of those commercial vehicle registrations has been deafening silence.

"Now if they refuse to remove the offensive slogans, their vehicles will be off the road."

Working in conjunction with the Department of Transport and the ASB, Ms D'Ath said the solution allowed the advertising watchdog to maintain its power, but gave any adverse finding teeth.

"The owners of these vehicles are in business, and some may see the offence and outrage they cause as a form of free publicity," she said, in answer to why she refused to name the notorious company, which has been banned from some caravan parks, as well as the focus of national petitions," she said.

"Now they have a strong financial incentive to comply with the ASB, because I they don't, their vehicles will be unregistered, off the road, and unable to generate revenue.  Should they attempt to relocate their business interstate, I would encourage other jurisdictions to consider similar laws so that these offensive slogans cannot continue to be displayed.

"This is a solution that imposes minimal additional regulatory burden."

The government hopes to have the legislation in front of the parliament by the end of the year, but said she hoped the owners "of these commercial vehicle registrations" would "see the writing on the wall and get this offensive writing off their vehicles."

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

21 July, 2016

Pauline Hanson: Matthew Canavan warns against insulting her

The new resources minister, Matthew Canavan, has warned that the political class should not “insult” Pauline Hanson and her voters despite vehemently disagreeing with them.

In an interview on Sky on Monday, Canavan said that some individual Muslims want to damage Australia but Muslims should not be treated as one group.

It comes after Hanson defended her views on Islam, including a ban on migration, on ABC’s Q&A program on Monday, claiming Islam is incompatible with Australia’s culture.

Canavan, who was promoted to cabinet on Monday, also boasted that the Nationals have achieved their highest representation in cabinet since the 1950s and called for greater understanding of the mining industry.

In a post-reshuffle media blitz, ministers have claimed the Coalition government is united, with Steve Ciobo saying liberals and conservatives were “pulling in the same direction” on budget repair and Dan Tehan saying Malcolm Turnbull had “got the balance right” in the reshuffle.

Canavan said the Nationals and others should not insult people who voted for Hanson or other minor parties.

“Indeed, you don’t even insult Pauline [Hanson] ... because by doing that you’re insulting [their voters],” he said.

“Hanson has been elected in her own right, and I will pay her respect as an elected member of this parliament.

“I’ll obviously violently disagree with her at some times on certain issues but she deserves respect ... the way we deal with these issues is to listen to people.”

Canavan said the two-month election campaign had revealed “home truths” that “people aren’t that confident in the political class right now”.

His comments echo John Howard’s warning that scorn for Hanson would increase her “battler appeal”.

Canavan said he “disagreed with Pauline [Hanson] that we should treat people as groups”, preferring to treat them as individuals.

“There are individuals in our community that, yes, subscribe to the Muslim faith and want to do us damage and we need to have strong security, border protection and other policies ... to secure our safety, but don’t put people into groups, that is not the basis of our society.”

Canavan said that after the reshuffle, the Nationals now had five members in cabinet, the largest number since the Arthur Fadden government in the 1950s.

He said he was frustrated that people who “live a long, long way away from mines” derided the mining industry, including coalmining, and “expounded myths” about it.

“Thousands of families up there on central Queensland rely on it for their jobs, to pay their mortgage, to put their kids through school, and not enough people in our national commentary reflect that.”

Reappointed veterans affairs minister, Dan Tehan, who became minister for defence personnel and assistant minister for cyber security but lost responsibility for defence materiel, told Radio National that Australia needed to continue to engage with the Islamic community.

Asked about the fact Zed Seselja was the only Liberal conservative promoted in the reshuffle, Tehan said Turnbull had “got the balance right” in picking a team to govern in Australia’s interests.

“What we’ve got to do as a government is get on and implement the agenda we took to the election,” he said.

Tehan said it should try to implement its superannuation policy as is, because that’s what the Coalition took to the election.

Ciobo, who was reappointed as trade, tourism and investment minister, told Sky the government had a “clear mandate”.

He said he would “take a majority, however it is served”, after Labor pulled ahead in the last undecided seat of Herbert by just eight votes. Counting has been completed in the seat, leaving the government with a one-seat majority unless a recount changes the result.

Ciobo said the government was “committed, focused and united on the task that lays ahead of us”. He said he was not concerned that only one Liberal conservative was promoted in the reshuffle.

“There will always be certain people who don’t like some of the decisions that are made ... but unfortunately we need to make decisions in the context of what the nation can afford.”

Ciobo said the government was “pulling in the same direction”.

Asked about conservative MPs loyal to Tony Abbott such as Eric Abetz and Kevin Andrews, he replied: “These are long-serving members of the parliament, who have made a significant contribution and will continue to put forward their two cents’ worth ... [but] as a government, we’re committed to the policies we were elected to implement.”


Calls for intervention over Sydney girls’ school gender neutral language policy

A LEADING Sydney girls’ school’s decision to eliminate gender-specific terms from its teachers’ vocabularies has prompted calls for sackings and government intervention at the exclusive institution.

Teachers at the prestigious northwest Sydney school, Cheltenham Girls High School, have been asked to stop referring to students as “girls”, “ladies” and “women”, and use only gender-neutral language, The Daily Telegraph today reported.

The request was put to teachers at a staff meeting earlier this year discussing the implementation of the Safe Schools anti-bullying program, the newspaper reports.

It was suggested to teachers that by using such language they could be seen to be breaking the law and could be at risk of being sued by LGBTI students.

Discussing the article on Sydney radio station 2GB, talkback shock jock Chris Smith described the arrangement as “deplorable”.

“They’ve been scared into doing this by whoever’s pushing that twisted bible the Safe Schools program, and they’re scared of somehow being sued,” he said.

Smith took calls from listeners calling for the minister responsible to step in and the teachers, principals and administrative staff to be sacked and the school taken over by administrators.

He said if the school was serious about its new language policy, it should take its signage with white paint, eliminating the world “girls” from its title.  “You just wonder what world we’re talking about, we’re talking about our suburbs,” he said.

Speaking on Seven’s Sunrise program, former news presenter Ron Wilson described the situation as “ridiculous”.  “Let’s step in and put a new board in place just like Parramatta,” he said.

There has been similar commentary on Nine’s Today this morning, with Sunday Mail editor Peter Gleeson telling the program the initiative was “overreach at its worst”.

“I am all for diversity and making sure that our younger generation understand exactly what is going on within the community, but to implement something like this, it’s just ridiculous.”

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has asked his department to investigate.

In an interview with Macquarie Radio, the Minister confirmed there was a meeting at the school reminding teachers of discriminatory language and denied it was connected to Safe Schools. “I don’t think there’s anything improper about that,” he said.

A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education told gender-specific terms would still be used by teachers at the school.  “Gender-specific terms will continue to be used by Cheltenham Girls’ High School when referring to students.

“As the Education Minister has asked the Department for a report on public claims raised in relation to this matter, it is not appropriate to comment further on them at this time.”


South Australia has become a test-case for what happens when "renewables" become a large part of the electricity supply infrastructure

Judith Sloan finds much folly in it, including insanely high prices:

It is unusual for any story related to South Australia to appear on the front page of this newspaper. But when wholesale electricity prices in that state reached more than 30 times the prices recorded in the eastern states last week, the broader interest in the issue is obvious.

To give you a feel for the figures, last Thursday at 1.45pm, the wholesale power price in South Australia was recorded at $1001 per megawatt hour, compared with prices of between $30/MWh and $32/MWh for the eastern states. At one point, the maximum price in the state hit $1400/MWh.

Unsurprisingly, several companies operating in South Australia, including BHP Billiton and beleaguered steelmaker Arrium, warned state Treasurer and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis that they might temporarily close their plants because of the high and erratic electricity prices.

But more worrying still are the medium-term prospects for the state: the chairman of the Energy Users Association warns that “large end-user customers are feeling the pain. As large customers roll off their energy contracts and need to renew those contracts, they are faced with significantly higher prices in South Australia”.

Electricity contracts for delivery next year and in 2018 are priced at between $90/MWh and $100/MWh in South Australia, compared with between $50/MWh and $63/MWh in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

How could this happen? How could it go so wrong for South Australia? The short answer is, contrary to Roy and HG’s famous prognostication that too much is never enough, too much is too much when it comes to intermittent and unreliable renewable energy. South Australia is paying a heavy price for its misguided energy policy, potentially leading to the further deindustrialisation of the state while also reducing its citizens’ living standards. But the real tragedy is that this outcome was entirely foreseeable.

Let us not forget that South Australia continues to boast about its status as the wind power capital of the country and having the highest proportion of its electricity generated by renewable sources. Since 2003, the contribution of wind to South Australian electricity generation has grown to more than one-quarter of the total.

Late last year, the state government issued the Climate Change Strategy for South Australia, ­ignoring completely the problems that were already apparent in the system. The wholesale electricity price in the state has been consistently above the national average since early 2015.

The statement reads that “to realise the benefits, we need to be bold. That is why we have said that by 2050 our state will have net zero emissions. We want to send a clear signal to businesses around the world: if you want to innovate, if you want to perfect low carbon technologies necessary to halt global warming — come to South Australia.”

But last week the confidence of that statement had been forgotten. Koutsantonis hysterically blamed what he saw as failures in the ­national electricity market and inadequate electricity interconnection for his state’s high and volatile wholesale electricity prices.

He even pledged to “to smash the national electricity market into a thousand pieces and start again”. How he thought this suggestion would be helpful is anyone’s guess.

The main problem with electricity generated by renewable energy — in South Australia’s case, overwhelmingly by wind — is what is technically called the non-synchronous nature of this power source, because of its inability to match generation with demand.

When the power is needed, the wind isn’t necessarily blowing. Or if the wind is blowing too hard, the turbines must be switched off and again the demand has to be met from other sources — in South Australia’s case, mainly from electricity generated in Victoria from brown coal.

What is clear is that overdevelopment of variable generation using renewable resources is a recipe for higher prices and lower than expected reductions in emissions because of the increasing costs of ensuring system stability and reliability.

Feasible storage options are down the track and, in any case, likely to be expensive.

The system can cope with some renewable energy and, in the short term, wholesale prices may even fall. But across time expansion of renewable energy undermines the profitability of traditional base-load generators while increasing the need for more back-up supply (up to 90 per cent of the maximum generating ­capacity of the renewable energy sources).

The decision by the South Australian government to sit on its hands when the coal-fired Northern Power station in Port Augusta closed in May was an act of wilful madness. The alternative would have been for the government to pay the owner, Alinta Energy, to keep the loss-making plant operating, certainly before an expansion of the interconnector capacity.

But Koutsantonis thought he knew better. “The truth is the reason it is closing is it couldn’t make money in this market,” he said. “The reason it can’t make money in this market is even though it does pour in relatively cheap power into the grid, renewable energy is cheaper.”

That would be cheaper only after taking into account the huge subsidies that are thrown at renewable energy courtesy of the renewable energy target and ­ignoring the need for back-up ­capacity.

Last week, the situation became so dire that Koutsantonis pleaded with the privately owned, mothballed gas-fired electricity generator located on the Port River in Adelaide to fire up to make up the electricity shortfall in the state.

In fact, gas should be the next cab off the rank when it comes to electricity generation. It is much less emissions-intensive than coal, particularly brown coal, but there is much less gas-generated electricity in South Australia because of the distortions in the market caused by the subsidies to renewable energy.

There are some important lessons in this disaster for the country as a whole; after all, there is no inter­connector to another country as there is an interconnector between South Australia and the eastern states. And note that Victoria has a target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Notwithstanding his exasperation, Koutsantonis did make one valid point last week: “This is coming to Victoria, this is coming to NSW … every jurisdiction is facing what we’re facing now.”

Bill Shorten should take note and immediately ditch his fanciful target of 50 per cent renewable energy lest the South Australian experience befall the rest of the country.


UK takes new technical education track

The British government’s recent plan for English technical education is a rejection of markets and competency-based training. It also reverses the convergence of vocational and academic education that has been a major trend for decades in Australia, Britain and the US.

What the British government describes as the most significant transformation of post-school education in 70 years is likely to be influential here because of the extensive policy borrowing between Australia and Britain.

Both countries have followed each other in establishing and then abolishing university grants commissions, establishing polytechnics (colleges of advanced education), collapsing polytechnics into universities, introducing income-contingent loans, establishing associate degrees or foundation degrees, and establishing research excellence assessments.

Britain’s Post-16 Skills Plan proposes to collapse 21,000 qualifications into 15 technical education routes. In Britain, vocational qualifications are awarded by 158 organisations, many of which are private for-profits that multiply qualifications to increase their market share. In a passage that could have been written about Australia, the plan rejects the market in qualifications: “Instead of competition between different awarding organisations leading to better quality and innovation in the design of qualifications, it can lead to a ‘race to the bottom’ in which awarding organisations compete to offer qualifications that are easier to pass and therefore of lower value.”

The plan establishes two educational tracks for students after age 16 by building a technical education track to complement the already well established academic track. The technical track, in turn, will have two options: college-based technical education that will include industry placements, and employment-based technical education such as apprenticeships, which include at least 20 per cent college-based education.

College-based technical education will extend to diploma level, and employment-based technical education will extend to bachelor level, incorporating the 1000 degree apprenticeships that have been established since 2013.

The government’s plan closely follows a report by an independent panel that was chaired by former science and innovation minister David Sainsbury and included Alison Wolf, a professor at King’s College London, who has influenced both sides of politics.

The panel rejected basing qualifications on national occupational standards, Britain’s version of our training packages. Again in a passage that applies directly to Australia, the panel states that national occupational standards “have been derived through a functional analysis of job roles and this has often led to an atomistic view of education and a rather tick-box approach to assessment. As such we do not consider them to be fit-for-purpose for use in the design of the technical education routes.”

The panel also rejects public funding being allocated to for-profit providers. Recent Australian statistics show that last year private providers offered 46 per cent of government-funded vocational education in Australia and 69 per cent in Queensland.

The British panel estimated that at least 30 per cent of technical education funding was allocated to private providers.

The panel argued: “Given what appears to be the highly unusual nature of this arrangement compared to other countries and the high costs associated with offering world-class technical education, we see a strong case for public funding for education and training to be restricted to institutions where surpluses are reinvested into the country’s education infrastructure.” The panel also stated that “publicly subsidised technical education … should be delivered under not-for-profit arrangements”.

This would be a significant reversal for Australia, where private provision has exploded from 29 per cent of government-funded vocational education in 2011.

Britain will implement its Post-16 Skills Plan while the country introduces an apprenticeship levy from April next year. This levy is similar to Australia’s training guarantee, introduced a year after HECS in 1990 but discontinued in 1994. It will require employers with a payroll of more than £3 million ($5.2m) to spend 0.5 per cent of their payroll on apprenticeships.

These changes will be undertaken by a restructured bureaucracy. New British Prime Minister Theresa May has moved responsibility for further and higher education from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to an enlarged Department for Education.


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 July, 2016

A new Leftist horror coming to Australian education

The press release below is fairly bland and cautious but the Australian organization concerned is an acknowledged branch of the "Ashoka"  organization.  And if you read here you will see what that is all about.  Ashoka is  a movement to turn universities away from being mere educational institutions and making them into centres of agitation for "change".  No particular change is called for, just change for the sake of change apparently.  That rather makes it change as entertainment. 

But neophilia is indeed a major Leftist motive, as I showed long ago.  Conservatives by contrast want there to be good reasons for change.  They don't need to abuse the whole society for childish entertainment

One therefore rather wonders whether the taxpayer should be paying for Leftist entertainment.  The taxpayer already pays for a lot of Leftist propaganda in the universities. Is that not enough?

Given the vast expense of the Australian university system, one would hope for it to be used for serious purposes -- such as transmitting and developing knowledge.  Taking energies away from that can hardly be a right use of university facilities

 A visitor from Glasgow Caledonian University, Julie Adair is keen to expand her ‘Common Good First’ project into Australia, capturing stories of community social impact across a wide range of areas.

 Ms Adair is Director, Digital Collaboration for GCU and also has an extensive background in broadcasting with the BBC and the Walt Disney Company, with experience across several continents.

 Common Good First is a digital exchange of grassroots solutions to pressing social problems, both in the UK and around the world. The Common Good First team has worked with a range of community projects to, first, promote their objectives online and then to investigate how cross-disciplinary academic networks could input innovative approaches to social change in response to the challenges the projects are facing.

 “Stories take us beyond our own limited experiences and allow us to walk in the shoes of others, building knowledge of unknown places and understanding of diverse peoples,” Ms Adair says.

 As her home institution is registered as an ‘Ashoka U Changemaker Campus’, Ms Adair is this week visiting the Melbourne Campus of CQUniversity, which has recently become Australia’s first approved Ashoka U institution.

 She will talk about the project she started in 2015 with two small teams in Scotland and South Africa, each focusing on identifying and capturing stories of community social impact.

 The project focused on individuals within communities who had found innovative ways to solve problems in their community.

 “These activities ranged from re-educating prisoners to raising aspirations for young people in areas of high deprivation; from tackling dementia to supporting orphans and vulnerable children,” Ms Adair says.  “Now in Australia I’m keen to express the importance of storytelling and its role in driving social innovation and also why I’m keen to gather and curate stories from around the world.

 “I’m keen to let people know how they can become part of our exciting project.

More via this

Accusations of racism achieve nothing in the immigration debate

Thinking about the denunciation of TV host Sonia Kruger

We are a country increasingly divided. A world increasingly divided.

We've seen a rise of anti-immigration sentiment across the world. A person who could be the President of the US calls for the building of a "giant wall" to keep immigrants out and says he will stop all new Muslim immigrants from entering the country.

We have One Nation calling to "abolish multiculturalism and the Racial Discrimination Act of 1975 based on the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination as it is unconstitutional."

Then we see another terrorist attack. People killed going about their every day business. Doubts are sewn for many.

The reason we are hearing what Hanson and Trump have to say, the reason they are claiming powerful political positions, is that they have support. An increasing amount of support for 'building walls' to keep immigrants out, old fashioned 'family values', the 'failure' of multiculturalism, scientists being wrong about climate change. A lot of fears - fear of the world changing, fear of losing your job, fear of dying, all being a little numbed by pointing the finger at another group of people.

As Thomas Frank reported in The Guardian about Trump:

When members of the professional class wish to understand the working-class Other, they traditionally consult experts on the subject. And when these authorities are asked to explain the Trump movement, they always seem to zero in on one main accusation: bigotry. Only racism, they tell us, is capable of powering a movement like Trump’s.

Is it just racism? Are all these people who support Pauline Hanson and Donald Trump out and out racists? Or are they scared, wanting to be listened to, open to another form of comfort, another solution that isn't let's-blame-this- lot-over-there?

I don't for a moment, for a second, agree with Pauline Hanson, Andrew Bolt or Donald Trump. I can't count the number of times I've heard that Hanson is dangerous and should be shut down, given no air-time - blacklisted. But Hanson was voted in by the people.

We need to recognise that people are voting for politicians like Hanson and Trump. To change things we have to open the conversation not close it down.

To change things we need to ask why.

Why are you supporting One Nation? Why are you supporting Donald Trump?

Since the GFC in 2008 jobs are less secure, wages have remained stagnate for the working class and the divide between the rich and the poor has increased dramatically. Inequality is the new normal. There are huge swathes of people who spend a lot of time living in fear that they can't pay their next bill. That they are a payday away from losing their home. They're resentful and angry.

Add the threat of terrorism and you have fear plus an easily identifiable villain.

Dismissing, or not listening to, the societal scaffolding that creates the fear, that then generates bigotry will only grow more discontent and resentment - which simply acts as fertiliser for the guy down the road to turn to blame and hate and people who preach blame and hate.

The world is divided and only becoming more deeply so.

Have you ever changed someone's mind by walking away from the conversation? From yelling in their face?

The end game is not being right, is not being heard, is not shutting down voices when they want to speak.

Call me naive, call me Pollyanna, but the end game is changing minds. It's understanding. We are walking down a dark, dark path and light is the only answer.

So my question is this: Why exactly did Sonia Kruger call for a complete ban on Muslim immigration?

Let's start talking Sonia about Muslim immigration and terrorism, I'd love to tell you a few stories.


South Australia's Green energy madness fuelled by protectionism

There is something particularly indulgent about a state that demands massive handouts to sustain its uncompetitive manufacturing industries while at the same time indulging in a subsidised green energy push that makes those same industries even more uncompetitive. A month ago, The Australian Financial Review pointed to the policy dishonesty in federal Labor's demands, fuelled further by Senate protectionist Nick Xenophon, that more and more taxpayers' money be thrown at bailing out the old and sub-scale Arrium steel-making plant in South Australia's Whyalla. The clear lesson of Australian protectionism is that subsidising jobs in loss-making companies or industries simply imposes costs on other more competitive companies and industries.

Now there's an extra twist to the madness. The South Australian Labor government's rush into renewable energy, particularly wind power, has forced coal-fired generation out of the state. But it also has helped generate a surge in South Australian electricity prices that is making the Arrium steelworks even more uncompetitive, as well as hitting the Nystar smelter in Port Pirie and BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam giant copper and gold mine. As we highlighted last week, the industry backlash has forced the state government to lean on owners of a mothballed gas-fired power station to crank up fossil fuel generation again in a desperate attempt to put a lid on wholesale electricity prices. But this can't fully do the trick because the ban on gas exploration in states such as NSW and Victoria has collided with the liquefied natural gas export boom to strangle supplies of gas.

Remember, this is the state that politically demands the right to build the bulk of Australia's next $50 billion submarine fleet. There might be a long-term fix if the state-based east coast gas markets were fully connected or it battery storage technology keeps improving. But this is a clear example where bad public policy is being piled upon bad policy. If it continues, such indulgence will only eat away at Australia's modern prosperity.


Life in Australia, right now, right here, is not so bad

An army of the aggrieved has taken up residence in Australia and no one is game to tell them the truth: life in Australia, right now, right here, is not so bad. We're living, arguably, in the best place in the world, at the best point in its history.

No one wants to mumble this sunny truth, because it's so much easier to pander to the pessimistic. "We can feel your pain." "Life must be so tough." "We understand what you are going through."

Besides which, if you don't pander, if you tell the sunny truth, you are quickly slapped down: "You just don't understand", or "that just proves how out of touch you are". Then out comes the wagging finger: "You should try being Aboriginal." Or young. Or old. Or gay. Or a refugee on Manus Island. Or a divorced dad done over by the Family Court.

The list is endless, but adds up to this conclusion: it is wrong to take any pleasure in Australia unless everything is perfect. The point of comparison is always with this imagined immaculate world: one that has never existed in this country, and is yet to exist anywhere else.

Does no one remember A Fortunate Life? Have we no memory of the horrors faced – then optimistically shrugged off – by a previous generation of Australians? Do any of the angry people who voted for Pauline Hanson, insisting on a return to the "good old days", remember the past recounted by Albert Facey – two world wars and a terrifying depression? And yet still a bloke who could talk of his "fortunate life".

It's not only the unhappy, old, white men of the Hansonite revival. On ABC-TV a fortnight ago, the young team from triple J presented a program called The War on Young People. Again, the army of the aggrieved was on the march.

Some good points were made. For today's young, there's a crisis in housing affordability, an uncertain job market and the burden of student loans. Throw in Mike Baird's liquor licensing laws, and, bingo, there's your war on young people.

Fair enough. On the other hand, I'd rather be gay now. I'd rather be female. I'd also rather be straight – freed from the gender straight-jackets of decades past.

When I left university – true, debt free – unemployment was twice as bad. Houses were cheap but no bastard would give you a loan: my partner and I were refused a loan by the Commonwealth Bank in 1985 because they wouldn't count a woman's income.

A generation earlier, female public servants were sacked when they married. Many lied to keep their jobs, hiding a pregnancy under increasingly voluminous clothes, until being inevitably caught out by the boss. Being gay, of course, was a criminal act.

Baird's draconian liquor laws and the 3am closing? In my time it was 10.30pm; a generation or so earlier it was 6pm. Instead of the "War on Young People", there was "Young People Sent to War": conscription and possible death by means of a televised Lotto ballot.

Life, I say, with great trepidation, has its up and downs. Each generation faces its own hardships.

Here's the problem: no one wants to stand between a fellow Australian and this hunger for feeling aggrieved. And so we end up with an echo chamber of discontent, in which every attempt at optimism is shouted down – the present always worse than an imagined, lotus-eating past.

Perhaps, instead of looking to Australia's past, the aggrieved could instead nurse their discontent by pointing to places overseas: surely life is better over there?

Again, it's a tough argument to make. As the Herald's Michael Pascoe pointed out this week, there are a raft of international studies that put Australia in podium position for balancing fairness and freedom; the economy and social needs. In the latest, out last week, we came fourth.

Yet during this election, the bleak inherited the earth. Much of the campaign was spent with a Cassandra at every turn: "oh, woe, woe, thrice woe". It was hard to move without hearing someone quote some miserable but unlikely statistic. "More than 48 per cent of Australians are functionally illiterate," someone said during a panel I was chairing and – I confess – I didn't have the courage to say, "That seems a little unlikely." Who wants to be the one to say, "Oh cheer up, life can't be that bad"?

Where did this myth of perfectibility come from: the idea that life must be perfect and if it is not perfect we have a right to feel very angry, spitting chips at the mainstream of politics? That virtue lies in exaggerating the extent of every problem?

Being aggrieved can, of course, be a good thing; it can be the force that makes the world a better place. But – for individuals and for nations – it can also strip you of happiness, momentum and even ambition. Why try when everything and everybody is so clearly against you?

Before the next election, perhaps we need a new political rallying cry. It could be something red hot like: "You know, life is not that bad."

But who among us will have the courage to admit to our national good fortune?


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 July, 2016

TV host calls for Australia to close borders to Muslim migrants

Sonia Kruger has called for Australia to stop Muslim immigration because she wants to 'feel safe'.

During a fiery Today Show panel discussion Monday, the TV host argued there is a correlation between the number of Muslims in a country and the number of terrorist attacks.

'Personally, I would like to see it stop now for Australia because I want to feel safe as all of our citizens do when we go out to celebrate Australia Day,' the media personality said.

The television host said she had 'a lot of very good friends' who were Muslims and peace-loving, beautiful people. 'But there are fanatics.'

The remarks have sparked a social media firestorm but in response Kruger said 'it was vital to discuss these issues without automatically being labelled racist'.

She told the panel Japan has a population of 174 million people and 100,000 Muslims and the country never suffers terrorist attacks.

Her remarks drew a passionate response from the morning program's co-host David Campbell, who interrupted her as she began to talk about journalists being 'threatened' and freedom of speech.

Hands waving, Campbell replied: 'I'd like to see freedom of religion as well! As well as freedom of speech! They both go hand and hand!'

'We're talking about immigration, David,' Kruger replied. She then asked if people were allowed to talk about the issue.

Campbell said the article they were talking about - written by conservative columnist Andrew Bolt in News Corp newspapers - 'breeds hate'.

'So you're not allowed to talk about it?' Kruger replied. 'You're not allowed to discuss it?'

'I would venture that if you spoke to the parents of those children killed in Nice then they would be of the same opinion.'

She argued 'good Muslim people' were dying as a result of terrorist acts, pointing out the first person to die in the Nice terror attacks last week was a Muslim woman. 

When host Lisa Wilkinson asked her directly whether she wanted the borders totally closed to Muslim migrants, Kruger said: 'Yes, yes I would'.

Wilkinson pointed out closing the borders to Muslims was the 'Donald Trump approach'. 'Well, perhaps it is,' Kruger said. 'For the safety of our citizens here I think it's important'.

The US presidential candidate has called for a 'complete shutdown' on Muslims entering the United States 'until our country's representatives can figure out what's going on'.

Kruger's remarks sparked fierce debate on social media, with viewers writing in criticism, praise and mockery.

And she responded to the criticism in a combative statement on Monday afternoon, writing: 'Following the atrocities last week in Nice where 10 children lost their lives, as a mother, I believe it's vital in a democratic society to be able to discuss these issues without automatically being labelled racist'.

Kruger is a media personality who first came to fame playing the role of Tina Sparkle in the 1992 Australian film, Strictly Ballroom.

She has worked as a dance teacher, a Seven Network entertainment reporter and long-time host of Dancing With The Stars.

In 2007, Seven apologised 'unreservedly' after Kruger made derogatory comments about a 'sweatshop full of immigrants' working on her Melbourne Cup dress.

Most recently Kruger has worked for Nine as the host of hit series The Voice Australia and Today Extra, which was formerly known as Mornings.


Scratch many Leftist men and you will find misogyny underneath

Australian female Leftist Nelly Thomas discovers that Leftist men really have no principles at all.  I could have told her that.  I also agree with her that their Leftism is an important ego support for them

I am unashamedly left wing. What some call left wing bias, I just call being correct. Mine, like most people’s views, are complex, but in short, I believe in the community over the individual. If you think of “socially progressive”, just locate Finland on the political spectrum, keep on moving to the Left and you’ll find me there in the nude, holding a Mapplethorpe. I also have a vagina and I like to make decisions about what to do with it, so I am a feminist. Does that inform my world view? Yes it does. No thanks required.

Like any good communista-feminista I follow as much public discourse about feminist and left-wing issues as I can stomach. As a comedian, I do as many left-wing and feminist gigs as I can (plus, they’re so lucrative). As a human, I have many left-wing men in my love-camp. And I am sick to bloody death of Unexpected Sexists Arseholes.

You know the ones: they’re usually highly educated, right-on, articulate and watch a lot of Game of Thrones. They champion refugees, attend Pride Marches, wear Reconciliation t-shirts and love a White Ribbon. They tell jokes about Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones. They care deeply and you really do love them. But scratch the surface or, say, turn up at a polling booth and lots of them – far too many of them – turn out to be USA’s. It’s so disappointing.

They’re tricky these fellas. They’re smart, so they can defend almost anything rationally. Most often, they mount good free-speech defences of their stuff with sophisticated arguments like, “I can say what I want.” And they can. But my kids are 3 and 8, and even they know you don’t get to say what you want without ramifications.


And there’s a clue, because frankly, they often have the emotional intelligence of an adolescent badger. Poke them a bit and they bite back hard. Unfortunately, like the douchebags from high school, when challenged, they often do a good impersonation of a sexually frustrated pit-bull and attempt to reduce you to nothing more than a slippery vulva.

I’m not sure what’s going on for these dudes, but I think it has something to do with the fact that unlike the Neanderthals many of us grew up with, when “progressive” men are called out on their sexism they often seem gutted: like their very identity has been challenged.

Indulge me for a second. Think of your dad not doing the dishes in the 70s. Maybe mum challenged him and called him a lazy sh*t, he laughed, picked up a tea towel and waited for his standing ovation.

Think of the contemporary progressive dad. All the research shows he’s probably still not doing the dishes (metaphor, big picture) but challenge him on this inequality and there’s a good chance he’ll feel that the very idea of who he is has come into question: but I’m one of the good guys, I’m trying so hard, I’m a feminist goddamn it!

This leads to the absurd and head-scrambling situation where progressive men – in both the public and private spheres – are arguably harder to call out on their sexism than a Sam Newman.

I know for sure this can be true of progressive male comedians and it certainly seems to be true of their journalist and commentator mates.


Rich Greenies now buying the results they want

The WWF has already spent $100,000 buying a Great Barrier Reef shark fishing licence (N4) which it intends to retire, although the licence has not been active since 2004.

It's one of five N4 licences in Queensland and, according to WWF, it will presumably save the lives of 10,000 sharks, based on each shark weighing 4kg.

Queensland Seafood Industry Association chief executive Eric Perez says the WWF is meddling in a heavily regulated industry that focuses on sustainable fishing.

"They don't have a point. They are trying to interfere with fisheries management by stealth," Mr Perez told AAP.

"They can't force their way into regulating the industry the way they want to, so they get cashed up individuals with a green tinge or bent ... which is a way to undermining us."

Mr Perez said the purchase of one, or even two, of the licences was not going to have an impact but if the WWF bought up more then eventually there would be repercussions.

He said family businesses and micro businesses would be affected and Queenslander retailers would either have to buy fish from interstate or import more.

"It's alarmism for no good. Over time ... employment will be impacted," he said.

"My understanding of the current statistics is that there are no fisheries in Queensland that are deemed unsustainable."

Mr Perez warned that conservation groups were trying to stake a claim in all primary industries.

"It demonstrates that they want relevance in every form of agriculture in the country," he said.

The WWF says it bought the licence on the belief that several hammerhead shark species were in decline along the Great Barrier Reef and it was considering purchasing another.

The federal environment department is undertaking a two-year study in scalloped, great and smooth hammerhead sharks which will be completed by the end of September.

"The aim is to stop licences that were fishing for sharks returning to shark fishing and impacting on shark populations, particularly hammerheads. But we're also concerned about dugongs, dolphins and turtles killed as bycatch," said WWF-Australia conservation director Gilly Llewellyn.


Why I Don't Respect the "Respect" Campaign

Malcolm Smith, writing from Brisbane, says that a campaign against domestic violence is dishonest and has become a vehicle for feminist propaganda.  As such, it is unlikely to do much good

     "You must be the last man who still does that," said my cousin's daughter, as I manoeuvred to walk on the outside of her on the footpath. But childhood training runs deep, and I was brought up to be a gentleman. So I would normally be sympathetic to the government advertisements encouraging respect for women. But when it showed a man telling his son, "Don't throw like a girl," depicted as a bad thing, I decided to look up the government website it recommended.

     First of all, please understand that this article is not about the Respect domestic violence hotline, which is probably doing a good job. It is about the government "information" campaign on the website, which explains that, while disrespect for women does not necessarily lead to domestic violence, all domestic violence (by men) invariably starts by disrespect. (Rather like pregnancy starts with kissing.) Go over to the page entitled, "Stop the Excuses" and upload the brochure, "The Excuse Interpreter".

     Before we start, if you haven't already done so, please read my article of November 2014, in which I examine the real official statistics on domestic violence, and pointed out that:
the problem is not domestic violence or violence against women, but violence per se, with males being the most common victims (usually from other males, admittedly); the incidence is low, and getting lower; and there is no culture of violence against women, but rather the actions of a minority who are fully aware they are behaving contrary to community norms.

     The reason I bring this up is that the brochure opens with a set of false statistics. Firstly, it claims that on average one woman is killed every week by a current or former partner, and quotes as reference the 2015 homicide report of the Australian Institute of Criminology.

     False! The report does list 109 intimate partner homicide for the financial years 2010-12, but you have to download the full PDF report to see that only 83 of these were women. That's one every 9 days. No, this is not a quibble. Overquoting by a quarter to make a point is not a light matter. Even more serious is the fact that the authors simply quoted a popular figure without even reading their own reference.

     To put this in perspective, let us compare the figures for the previous double year, 2008-2010.

Total women killed by an intimate partner: 83 in 2010-12, down from 89 in 2009-2010. Total female homicides: 182, up from 175 previously. Total male homicides: 328, down from 366.

     Also, this is Australia, not Liechtenstein. For a population of 24 million, the homicide rate is very low, and is now the lowest it is ever been. We are winning the war on homicide, but nobody notices.

     There is no "epidemic of domestic violence". However, in order to inflate the figures, we have seen a subtle change in the popular reporting. They often talk of "domestic and family" violence. The latter includes the killing of parents, children, siblings, and more distant relatives. Many of these did not share a house with the offender and, in any case, the motive is likely to be different to that for the killing of an intimate partner. A ten year overview reveals that intimate partners were the victims of 23½% of homicides, and other family members 18%. It demonstrates the truism that whatever has a potential for great good has an equal potential for great evil. Families are usually the source of our greatest happiness, but when they go bad they can cause us terrible suffering. As Joy Davidman once wrote: although we think killing a close family member is far worse than killing a stranger, the family members who get themselves murdered have often done a lot more to deserve it than the average casual stranger.

     The next set of statistics provided by the brochure is that one in three women have been the victim of physical or sexual violence by someone they knew since the age of 15, and one in six has suffered violence from a current or former partner. The source given was the 2012 Personal Safety Survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

     Misleading! You have to read the report closely, but it includes both actual and threatened actions in its definition of violence. As I pointed out in my earlier article, the rates of actual violence are about a half or a third of these figures. Also, the survey includes even pushing or grabbing in its definition of violence. One thing, however, it does make clear: the situation is getting better. The incidence of violence (broadly defined) was lower in the 2012 survey compared to 2005, and much lower than in 1996. (Check out the charts in the lower part of this page.)

But does it matter?

     I have an ingrained objection to exaggerations even in a good cause. But it doesn't mean the cause isn't good. If we concern ourselves with cases of one person injuring or terrorising another, then we are probably looking at one or two percent of couples. In absolute terms, this is still an important social problem. So does the "Excuse Interpreter" provide any help in the matter?

     It commences with stating, plausibly, that the cycle of violence starts with disrespect, but then goes on to explain that, without realising it, we end up saying things which teach that aggression and disrespect are a normal part of life. For example, one of them is "making fun of girls because of their appearance." Of course, if you cast your mind back to your own childhood, you may remember that girls also make fun of other girls because of their appearance. It is part of the devious power play for which the female of the species is famous. They also make fun of boys because of their appearance. And boys make fun of other boys for the same way. It's a jungle out there. And, of course, saying "Don't throw like a girl" is "using gender as an insult."

     They then follow it up on page 3 with a list of comments which justify bad behaviour, and how they may be interpreted by the young people involved - such things as: "It's only a bit of fun", "It's just a joke", "It's tough being a boy", and "Boys will be boys", among other things. Read it all.

     Now, it should be obvious that occasions exist where such statements are just plain common sense, and others where they really are just excuses for bad behaviour. Most parents are capable of using their common sense in this matter. Whether any of this spills over into bad behaviour in later life is a moot point. It may not have escaped your notice that a certain antagonism between the sexes exists in childhood. Before they "discover" each other at puberty, boys and girls regard each other as members of rival, and often hostile tribes.

      Note that this antagonism rarely spills over into fisticuffs. Boys may settle their differences by fighting, but girls belong to a different tribe, and so are outside the male power structure. That is why parents easily drum into their sons that hitting girls is definitely taboo, but find it harder to stop them hitting each other. Socialisation always works best when it follows the natural lines of human instincts.

     Apart from that, you might consider that whether a boy grows up to bash his lady love may have less to do with whether his elders say that boys will be boys, or his father tells him not to throw like a girl, and more to do with how he sees his own father treat his mother. If nothing else, this reveals the weakness of the whole campaign: it is aimed at ordinary, decent parents whose children are the least vulnerable. Like the white ribbon campaign, it is preaching to the choir.

     But the real crunch comes on page 4 with the section, "Avoiding Gender Stereotypes".

"Gender stereotypes are labels that reinforce outdated ideas of how men and women should behave. Popular phrases imply that boys should take control and suppress their emotions, and girls should be passive and accommodating"

     Outdated? The male and female roles which exist in every society on earth, which are older than the human race, and which have evolved for their adaptive value?

     First up, you shouldn't say, "Man up". It might make a boy think that men need to be tough. And you wouldn't want your son to be tough, would you? It might make him more resilient to the trials of life, and to succeed in the corporate jungle. Indeed, you might like to ask the opinion of grown women about this, because I haven't heard many of them include the term, "wuss" in their description of their ideal man.

     Also taboo are "Who wears the pants?", "She has you under the thumb", and "You're so whipped". Really? These sound like the things one might say, rightly or wrongly, to a grown man in a settled relationship or marriage, not a nervous teenager testing the waters of the dating game.

     As for girls, it is apparently inappropriate to say, "She's such a bossy boots", because it implies she shouldn't be assertive. I know a couple of girls who would say that about their own big sister, and it has nothing to do with the fact that she is female; it's because she's such a bossy boots. It also appears to be against the rules to refer to a girl as a tomboy, because it implies she is not feminine enough, nor as a little princess, which implies she is too feminine. How any of this makes her more likely to be a victim of domestic violence is far from obvious.

     In other words, this is a case where a good cause has been hijacked by politically correct social engineers seeking to overturn the traditional ie natural roles of men and women. And the irony is, such campaigns are not only ineffective in the long run, but counter-productive. If you want to inculcate respect for women and reduce domestic violence, the best way is to reinforce the male's natural role as protector and provider. Socialisation always works best if it goes with the flow of natural instincts rather than against it.

Who's responsible? The campaign claims to be a joint Australian, state, and territorial government initiative. The relevant ministers must have signed off on it. Did they read it fully? Do they agree with it all? We never voted to have social engineers try to change us. Who wrote it? Someone whispered in the ear of someone in the corridors of power that a campaign to respect women would be a good idea, and then outsourced it to those with a more sinister agendum. It just goes to show that we must never relax our vigilance, for democracy is slowly being taken over from within.


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 July, 2016

Greenie-inspired policies cause chaos in Australia's electricity supply

No reserve capacity to support periods of peak demand, after various coal-fired plants were shut down with nothing to replace them and all new investment is diverted into useless windmills, meaning big price leaps now happening during periods of high demand.  Wanton destruction of Australia's infrastructure

A “PERFECT storm” has hit the wholesale electricity market, with households just beginning to feel its ferocity.

Many big businesses are already being severely buffeted, leading to calls for government intervention to limit job losses and damage to the economy.

Those large users buy their electricity on the spot market where prices were substantially higher last financial year than in 2014-15 (NSW they rose 46 per cent, in South Australia 57 per cent, Queensland 14 per cent and Victoria 52 per cent). These increases, however, are dwarfed by the rises since July 1: 79 per cent in NSW, 514 per cent in SA, 38 per cent in Queensland and 96 per cent in Victoria.

Households’ power is mostly priced on the futures market, with a third purchased 12 to 24 months before new retail tariffs are set and the balance in the 12 months before. Recent movements and forward prices from data supplied by ASX Energy put the wholesale cost of power about two cents per kilowatt hour higher in NSW and Victoria for the next three years.

That could add $120 to annual bills within two years. The increase in Queensland is set to be about $100. But in SA a likely 4c/kWh increase in wholesale costs may leading to a bill surge of $240 annually. Households there, and to a lesser extent in NSW, have already started to feel the consequences of the wholesale market chaos via prices rises that took effect on July 1.

One of the nation’s leading experts on electricity prices, Grattan Institute energy program director Tony Wood, said “we are seeing the beginning of the real cost of changes we have imposed on our electricity system”.

Mr Wood said a “dog’s breakfast” of climate change policies dating back to the first Rudd government had contributed to rising prices because investors haven’t known types of generation capacity to support.

Even as an advocate for renewable energy, he said Australia should be running more on gas and “cleaned-up” black coal and less on wind and solar, which currently can’t provide reliable supply.

Mr Wood said the electricity market was responding to rising demand and falling supply, as well as a jump in the cost of gas needed to run gas-fired power plants.

“Those three factors are coming together to create a perfect storm,” Mr Wood, a former Origin Energy executive, said. “No-one forecast this.”

A source at a major electricity retailer agreed: “I don’t think anyone in the industry saw this coming. It’s serious.”

The body that represents large energy users such as Woolworths, ANZ Bank, BlueScope Steel and Crown casino, said the cost of electricity is now holding Australia back.

“It’s gone from being a competitive advantage 15 years ago to now being a burden on the economy due to high cost,” said Energy Users Association of Australia chairman Brian Morris.

“We have to take energy out of the political agenda. It’s a national issue,” Mr Morris said. “We need both sides of politics, the state and federal governments, all pulling in the same direction on this.”

He called on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council to take the lead and provide “guidance” to the electricity market.


Pauline Hanson: Press Council head slams media 'feeding frenzy'

The media have gone into a "feeding frenzy" over Independent MP Pauline Hanson and were to blame for resulting damage to Australia's reputation, according to the head of the Australian Press Council.

Professor David Flint, addressing the ninth conference of the Samuel Griffith Society in Perth yesterday, said such damage could not be blamed on politicians.

"It was media indulging in its own fantasies, believing its own stories, which turned Ms Hanson into a spectre stalking the land," he said.

"Her message was presented in some quarters as if it were the voice of Satan. In fact, her views are more moderate than manyright-wing parties in Western Europe," he said.

Media create the "race debate"

The media have done enormous damage to our reputation by portraying Australia as a racist country. They picked up on a few words of Pauline Hanson about being 'swamped by Asians' and turned them into the greatest beat up of the decade.

In his excellent book, "Among the Barbarians - the Dividing of Australia", author and journalist, Paul Sheehan puts the blame squarely on the media for the racist image of Australia. He quotes author, Helen Dodd:

Styled as the 'race debate', it was never a debate among average Australians. It was written, orchestrated and performed by the media. The media have peddled the idea that Australia is a racist country so widely that our Asian neighbours are beginning to accept this twisted reporting as fact and the media have now placed Australia in a precarious position.

Sheehan says (P165):

Trevor Watson, a former head of ABC radio, crystallised the problem at a conference on the Australian news media in 1996. 'Today the emphasis seems to be on conflict and sensation. The objective doesn't seem to be to inform the public any more, it seems to be to entertain the public through some sort of conflict.' He described Australia as a tolerant, non-racist country but a very different impression was given to Australia 's Asian neighbours by the media's coverage of the Hanson debate. The Hanson public relations disaster for Australia in Asia was largely media-made.

The West Australian.

Most of the recently published letters to the editor are anti-Hanson. On Friday 19 June all of the published letters were anti-Hanson. Yet on the same day, radio 6PR commentator, Howard Sattler (one of the few commentators to give Ms Hanson a fair go) interviewed an analyst who had tabulated over 700 radio talk-back calls throughout Australia in the past week and who reported that Hanson calls were running at around 70% in her favour.

The West Australian editorials are virulently anti-Hanson. Andre Malan, chief head-kicker at the West, has written a series of scurrilous anti-Hanson articles. When I wrote a letter to the editor in response, it was naturally not published.

The Australian

The Weekend Australian June 20-21, 1998 has gone quite crazy with anti-Hanson paranoia. While the editorial piously lectures John Howard on how to eradicate Pauline Hanson as if she were a type of virus, page after page of slanted articles set out to denigrate her.

Commentator Shelley Gare goes right over the top by suggesting Pauline Hanson is having it off with various unnamed persons. This exposes the incredible hypocrisy of the media. There has always been an unwritten media rule not to report on the after-hours activities of our esteemed representatives in Canberra . If it wasn't for this hypocritical censorship then perhaps at least one Prime Minister may not have made it to the Lodge. Yet Ms Gare is quite prepared to set tongues wagging with her nasty little piece.


Exciting time to be an Australian conservative!

Centre-right social progressives might not like social conservatism. But there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian conservative!

Liberal Party moderates like the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull need conservatives — like Senator Corey Bernardi — if they are to have any hope of prosecuting their economic reform agenda. However, some of us knew that running on a socially progressive and economically dry program bereft of conservative values was a losing strategy long before election night rolled around.

At a lunch last month with a cast of sound members and fellow travellers of the centre-right, we enjoyed the customary sport of an election season — noting around the table our fearless predictions of the federal poll outcome.

The general consensus was that the Turnbull government would be safely returned but with a loss of five seats, at best, or maybe 10 seats, at worst. Up against Bill Shorten’s Labor Party, the Coalition would record a comfortable majority, with the thinking being — straight out of Liberal Party HQ — that support in the critical marginal seats was holding up.

I was the only person that predicted a Labor victory “by a few seats.” With the Turnbull government having been narrowly returned by the barest of margins, my prediction wins the prize for being closet to the pin.

Yes. I crow. But I do so to highlight the significance of the election result concerning the ongoing ‘little local difficulties’ on the centre-right between the moderate and conservative factions.

My prediction was based on the feeling that I simply did not know on what issues the Australian people were being asked to return the Turnbull government. ‘Jobs and growth’ struck me as an uninspiring and yet risky campaign slogan that only a merchant banker could love. Along with ‘innovation’, I thought it might struggle to resonate with the Australian electorate.

These concerns were reinforced when I watched Mr Turnbull give an address at the Menzies Research Centre. It was a good speech that outlined the elements of his ‘plan’ to secure Australia’s economic future through jobs, growth and innovation.

Politically, it would have been a fine speech if given by the Treasurer, or another minister in a senior economic portfolio. The problem, however, was that this was the Prime Minister’s stump speech. It was a cerebral address pitched to appeal to people’s sense of reason and logic, located above their necks. Unfortunately, in politics, people tend to vote based on the emotions located between their neck and their knees, and usually centred around either their guts or hip pockets.

That speech, together with the general tone of the Coalition’s campaign, was indicative of the Prime Minister’s unwillingness to do the hard political yards that would make it possible for him to implement his economic agenda. Labor’s disarray on border protection, the ‘fairness’ controversy over Duncan Storrar, and the Safe Schools farrago now all look like missed opportunities.

On all these issues — ‘boats, bludgers and bendy gender’ — the Prime Minister had nothing to say during the campaign. Running on this kind of triple appeal, pitched to the sensible centre of average voters, strikes me as the kind of strategy that would have won the hearts and minds of middle Australia; and especially among disaffected conservative Coalition supporters angered by the removal of Tony Abbott.

But tacking to the so-called ‘hard right’ on social issues was a no-go zone for Prime Minister Turnbull.

Moderates need the kind of political instincts that conservatives possess to win government and get the chance to implement a dry economic agenda. Because as the Turnbull campaign proved,  running a dry agenda in isolation is a recipe for electoral disaster.

This is not a surprise outcome. No government in Australian history — not even the much sainted Hawke-Keating and Howard-Costello governments of the era of reform in the 1980s and 1990s — has ever explicitly campaigned on an ‘economically rationalist’ agenda. John Hewson, before Turnbull, was the only Liberal leader who tried … and catastrophically lost the ‘unloseable’ 1993 election.

That was only the second federal election won in its own right by the Labor Party since 1990. The other was the 2007 ‘Work Choices’ election. Both victories were based on Labor running hard on bread and butter issues; a portent we have seen repeated with Shorten’s successful ‘Medi-Scare’ tactic during the 2016 campaign.

The lessons of all this history and recent history seem to be this: the Labor Party does well when it runs a traditional hip pocket campaign. The Coalition does poorly — and plays into Labor’s hands — when it is wedged on ‘economically rationalist’ policies. Furthermore, we now know that  the Coalition wedges itself when,  as Turnbull did, it runs on a dry economic agenda alone and ditches any pretence to represent its conservative base; whose values, of course, are much pretty much closely aligned with much of middle Australia.

Running on the social agenda preferred by the left-aligned ABC, Fairfax and the universities — as Turnbull implicitly did by omission and remaining silent on the heartland conservative issues noted above — is a political dead end for the centre-right because these groups and these issues have little influence over the marginal voters who actually determine who forms government. As the shedding of more than one-million votes for the Liberal Party has comprehensively proven, tacking to the left means you lose more friends on the centre-right than you gain on the centre-left.

The election result speaks for itself.  The Australian people were lukewarm at best about the combination of social progressivism and economic rationalism that was offered to them — which turned out to be a doubly losing hand for the Coalition. Moreover, the pretext on which Abbott was removed last October — that his unfashionable social conservatism was getting in the way of Turnbull governing and reforming effectively — has now been exposed as a fantasy, blind to hard political realities, as it always was.

The fact that there are many conservatives on the centre-right is not, and never was, the major impediment to economic reform. The problem with economic reform is that the centre-right has not — anywhere in the world —come up with a viable political strategy to scale back unsustainable health, education, and welfare entitlements. The overarching lesson of the election, however, is the vital importance of the broad church on the centre-right as the foundation of an election-winning strategy that makes reform and good government at least possible.


The tax issues were mishandled in the election
Michael Potter 

The recriminations about the election are well under way, but have largely excluded discussion about tax -- an unfortunate omission.

The tax burden was expected to go up under either major party, but by much more under the ALP; going well above its previous all-time high. This point was first made by the CIS and then in the Financial Review.

The ALP's plans were for the tax burden to reach levels $9.7 billion above the previous record set by the Coalition in 2005 -- despite the ALP criticising the Coalition for this earlier record tax burden. The coming burden was set to hit 24.8% of GDP in a decade, which is $19.2 billion above the cap (23.7% of GDP) that the ALP previously, and frequently, argued it would adhere to.

These contradictions were missed in the campaign, with the overall tax burden rarely discussed.

There was also pretty facile discussion of individual taxes. Unfortunately, it might seem that the company tax cut was poor politics. However, it was  good policy : perhaps even  great policy. But, like many other major reforms -- such as cutting tariffs and privatisation -- it is not good politics in the short term. The political benefits show up in the longer term.

Politically, perhaps the Coalition should have proposed a company tax cut fully funded by base broadening measures, if any still exist, or (preferably) cuts to business subsidies. This would have forestalled the fallacious arguments that big business, foreigners and rich people gain most from the tax cut.

The Coalition also failed to argue against proposed tax hikes. The Coalition largely did not challenge the ALP's policy to reinstate the 2% temporary deficit levy on high income earners. And why was the Coalition largely silent on the ALP's proposed large increase in capital gains tax? Why didn't they argue this would cripple innovation, small business retirement plans, and plans to make Australia a financial centre, while overtaxing most capital gains?

The debate over negative gearing was slightly better, but the focus was often on whether the rich or the poor benefit, even though the arguments were often wrong and largely second order to the debate over the policy itself.

Overall, a lamentably poor campaign for those wanting a better tax system with lower tax levels.


17 July, 2016

Australia's First Modern Decline In Life Expectancy Due To Obesity

The headline above is as it appeared in the Puffington Host.  It is a crock.  You would think from it that Australian lifespans HAVE decreased.  They have not.  It is just another stupid Leftist theory that they might decrease -- even though they never have in recent decades.  There are many influences on lifespan, with obesity being only a minor one. 

And a supreme piece of idiocy in the article below is that it takes no account of the TREND in obesity.  It takes no account of the fact that in many populations, obesity has stopped rising, and has even been declining in some populations over the last 10 years.  So even if we treat every word below as gospel, we don't know WHEN it refers to.  It may simply be a description of how things WERE.

Saying that lifespans will be reduced on the basis of a questionable assumption that obesity levels will increase is therefore an unsupported extrapolation and is very likely a wrong one for at least some groups -- a false prophecy.

I append the underlying journal article.  There is much of interest in it.  It is for a start a meta-analysis and it is amazing what people can get and do get out of a meta-analysis -- by selecting what you decide to include or exclude. Authors are very good at excluding from their analysis articles whose conclusions they dislike. 

The original article appeared in the "Lancet", which was once a rightly respected journal.  Sad to say, the "Lancet" these days is Left-led. It even involved itself in propaganda about the Iraq war.  So biased meta-analyses in service of a "good cause" can be expected from it.  The obesity "war" is definitely a "good cause".

Secondly, there is much dispute now over whether BMI is a good index of obesity.  Very fit people can sometimes have a high BMI even though they have virtually no fat on them.

Thirdly, all the effects were very small, with Hazard Ratios below 2.0 except for the grossly obese.  The Federal Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, Second Edition says (p. 384): "the threshold for concluding that an agent was more likely than not the cause of an individual's disease is a relative risk greater than 2.0."

So the only real concern is for the GROSSLY obese. That is in line with much previous research so the whole article below is just puffery. There are no substantial grounds to be concerned for the health of anybody over nearly all of the weight range

Australia has experienced an unprecedented collective weight gain over the last three decades and it could lead to the first modern decline in life expectancy.

A new mega-study on four million adults proved for the first time that an unhealthy Body Mass Index had a direct correlation with premature death.

The study published in British medical journal The Lancet found that for every increase in BMI unit after the overweight range, there was an increase in the risk of premature death by around one third.

This increased risk related to coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes complications and cancer.

Deakin University's World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention professor Anna Peeters said the study pointed to a population-wide catastrophe in Australia.

"With two thirds of Australian adults overweight or obese this underscores the seriousness of current obesity rates for future life expectancy in Australia," Peeters said.

"If we needed yet another reason to step up our efforts to prevent obesity, this is it."

Cancer Council Australia chief executive Sanchia Aranda said cancer was one of the ways morbidity increased the risk of mortality.

"Given the unprecedented population weight gain in Australia over the last 30 years, we can expect to see the number of cancers and cancer deaths related to obesity and overweight increase in the future unless we take action," Aranda said.


Body-mass index and all-cause mortality: individual-participant-data meta-analysis of 239 prospective studies in four continents



Overweight and obesity are increasing worldwide. To help assess their relevance to mortality in different populations we conducted individual-participant data meta-analyses of prospective studies of body-mass index (BMI), limiting confounding and reverse causality by restricting analyses to never-smokers and excluding pre-existing disease and the first 5 years of follow-up.


Of 10?625?411 participants in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, and North America from 239 prospective studies (median follow-up 13·7 years, IQR 11·4–14·7), 3?951?455 people in 189 studies were never-smokers without chronic diseases at recruitment who survived 5 years, of whom 385?879 died. The primary analyses are of these deaths, and study, age, and sex adjusted hazard ratios (HRs), relative to BMI 22·5–<25 br="" kg="" m2.="">

All-cause mortality was minimal at 20·0–25·0 kg/m2 (HR 1·00, 95% CI 0·98–1·02 for BMI 20·0–<22 0="" 15="" 18="" 1="" 22="" 25="" 27="" 2="" 30="" 35="" 3="" 5="" 70="" 95="" america="" and="" approximately="" asia="" at="" australia="" below="" bmi.="" bmi="" both="" br="" but="" ci="" east="" europe="" for="" grade="" greater="" higher="" hr="" in="" increased="" just="" kg="" log-linearly="" m2="" measured="" men="" mortality="" new="" north="" obesity="" older="" over="" overweight="" people="" per="" pheterogeneity="" range="" self-reported="" significantly="" similar="" studies="" than="" the="" this="" throughout="" units="" vs="" was="" with="" women="" years="" younger="" zealand.="">

The associations of both overweight and obesity with higher all-cause mortality were broadly consistent in four continents. This finding supports strategies to combat the entire spectrum of excess adiposity in many populations.


Cheeky South Australian Greenies want more interconnetors with other states in order to prop up their windmill-reliant power

They have to to import coal-fired power when the wind is not blowing there and want to export their windpower to other States when the wind IS blowing.  Typical Greenies:  Demand, demand, demand

An energy crisis in South Australia created by an over-reliance on untrustworthy and expensive wind and solar will force the state Labor government to seek greater access to cheaper coal-fired electricity from the eastern states.

This comes amid rising concern that federal renewable ­energy targets will force other states down the path taken by South Australia, which has the highest and most variable energy prices in the national electricity grid.

South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis, who is also the Energy Minister, yesterday put the eastern states on notice, vowing to “smash the national electricity market into a thousand pieces and start again”.

He warned other states that the energy crisis was “coming to get them”.  “This is coming to Victoria, this is coming to NSW ... every jurisdiction is facing what we’re facing now,” the Treasurer said.

South Australian Labor’s ­admission that it needed urgent reform of the national energy market rules, so that in addition to upgrading connection with Victoria it also could tap into NSW baseload power, reveals the vulnerability of its reliance on ­renewables. The last coal-fired power stations in South Australia closed in May.

Wind and solar make up more than 40 per cent of the state’s ­energy mix under a green policy agenda driven by Labor, in power in South Australia since 2002.

Several major companies, ­including BHP Billiton and Arrium, this week warned Mr Koutsantonis of possible shutdowns because of high energy prices, forcing him to plead for a temporary power spike from a private owner of a mothballed gas-fired power plant. Private energy supplier ENGIE fired up its Pelican Point plant near Port Adelaide for a short time yesterday, bringing an extra 239 megawatts of power into the grid.

Mr Koutsantonis said the federal government had encouraged South Australia, which has the best conditions for wind farms, to chase the energy source as part of Australia’s renewable energy target of about 24 per cent by 2020.

“Wind is paid by the commonwealth to produce power ... if you are going to pay wind farms to produce electricity regardless of demand, you better make sure that is distributed equally across the country because you can’t have a national policy implicating just one state,” he said.

He called on Malcolm Turnbull to immediately appoint an energy minister and schedule an urgent meeting of federal and state ministers to undertake ­energy market reform.  “If you want a true national electricity market, you really need to have all of the states interconnected.

“What we have is a series of state-based markets with very poor interconnection between them,’’ Mr Koutsantonis said.

The market was supposed to integrate the east coast states with South Australia and Tasmania to allow the free flow of electricity across borders via a ­series of interconnecters, he said. It excludes West Australia and the Northern Territory.

An upgraded interconnecter with Victoria is scheduled for completion next month, and South Australia also wants a larger interconnecter with NSW, at a cost of between $300 million and $700m.

“Victoria has multiple markets it can draw from; we have one, NSW has two and Queensland has one. That’s not a national electricity market,” he said.


Identity politics: the triumph of equality over freedom?

 Peter Kurti

The end is nigh for religious exemptions enshrined in federal anti-discrimination law -- if the Australian Greens have anything to do with it. "Australians should be treated the same," Greens senator Nick McKim said recently.

Failing to "treat people the same" has become a secular sin. Only enforced uniformity can secure a new standard of inclusive justice.  It's the language of the 'fair go'; but it's actually the battle cry of the new 'minority fundamentalists'.

Minority fundamentalism has all the features of the various religious fundamentalisms so despised by the latte-sipping Green-Left: ideological fanaticism, intolerance of dissent, and Manichaean certainty about truth and falsehood.

Its playbook includes using intimidation, humiliation, and self-censorship to punish those who think differently. Its purpose is to eradicate all forms of discrimination in the name of liberating the 'oppressed'.

Gender, race, and sexual orientation are the most frequently cited categories of oppression. Safe Schools Coalition campaigners and same-sex marriage advocates all insist their goal is justice.

None of this can be questioned -- and offence can be taken so quickly. Freedoms of speech, conscience and association comprise the very foundations of our common life; but they are now under threat. The right to equality trumps all.

This is because 'equality' has become associated with 'disadvantage': those who bear any burden of incapacity are judged to be less equal in society. Rights such as the right to equality are intended to address that disadvantage.

But as the discourse continues to shift from the realm of reason to the realm of emotion, so the grievances of minority fundamentalists are more likely to take root. As they do so, a 'democratic deficit' is widening.

This deficit arises as democratic institutions fail to uphold the principles of democracy. It is indicative of an increasing readiness on the part of self-appointed moral guardians to privilege the sensitivities of the minority over those of the majority.

By prioritising equality over freedom, identity politics threatens to lock people into specific categories at the expense of individual liberty -- all in its pursuit of democratic egalitarianism.

The rise of identity politics, intended to protect specific minority groups, has had a serious impact on the health of Australian democracy. It purports to act in the name of equality as a buttress against tyranny but, in reality, threatens to foster it. 


Education does not lead to violence
 Jennifer Buckingham 

A lot of people who have never been to Aurukun have opinions about its problems; some have even confidently pronounced a link between the long-term and deep-seated social dysfunction in the town and the Direct Instruction teaching program used in the Cape York Academy in Aurukun for the last five years.

I haven't been to Aurukun, so I am not going to opine on what is happening there. However, it is important to correct some of the misinformation about Direct Instruction. A number of terms are used interchangeably which have some features in common but are substantially different.

Direct Instruction (spelt with capital letters) is a set of copyrighted commercial programs developed in the USA. They consist of carefully planned and sequenced lessons and assessments that are designed to be used by teachers without deviation. Both the content and the instruction are prescribed. DI programs have been evaluated and refined for almost fifty years and are consistently found to be very effective. Many schools around Australia use DI programs such as Reading Mastery and Spelling Mastery.

The other direct instruction (spelt with lower case letters) is a research-based instructional approach that can be used by any teacher in any lesson. The key principles are: revision of previous learning; presentation of new information in small steps with immediate practice; frequent interaction with students to check for understanding; explicit modelling of skills; gradual movement to independent practice; and cumulative review and assessment to achieve long-term retention. Studies of direct instruction strategies show stronger effects than 'inquiry' or 'discovery' approaches.

Similarly, explicit instruction or explicit teaching is essentially similar to direct instruction. It is a general pedagogical approach in which lessons are structured and sequenced to give students a high degree of support and guidance initially and to minimise gaps in knowledge, progressing to independent application. Reviews of high performing schools find explicit instruction to be a common factor.

Explicit Direct Instruction is a specific curriculum and teaching program developed in Australia for use in Australian schools. It is based on the principles of direct instruction and has similarities to Direct Instruction but allows for more teacher discretion. EDI is based on sound research but has not been evaluated to the same extent as DI.

 Despite their strong research basis and an undeniable track record of success, these teaching methods and programs are frequently maligned by education academics and teachers. To reject the evidence of their efficacy is bad enough, but the idea that they lead to violence is patently ridiculous.


Employment rising in Australia

Australia’s jobs report for June has just been released, and it’s largely in line with expectations.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), employment grew by 7,900 in seasonally adjusted terms, slightly missing expectations for a gain of 10,000.

The increase took the total number of employed to 11.94 million, the highest level on record. Over the past year employment grew by 1.9%.

While a slightly disappointing headline result, it was more than offset by the internals of the report with full time employment surging by 38,400, largely offsetting a 30,500 drop in part time employment.

Male full time employment, after several years of tepid growth, jumped by 27,300. This was further bolstered by an increase of 11,100 in female full time employment growth.

Those trends were reversed in part time employment with males accounting for the vast bulk of the monthly decline reported, falling by 28,000.

By state and territory, Victoria and South Australia recorded the strongest jobs growth during the month, rising by 24,200 and 4,600 respectively. This was partially offset by declines of 11,900, 10,300 and 1,400 respectively in New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland.

The lumpiness of the employment change across the country, along with the split in full time and part time employment, will do little to bolster confidence in the reliability of the seasonally adjusted figures.

Indeed, despite the surge in full time employment growth, the number of hours worked fell by 4.3 million hours to 1,640 million hours.

The small gain in employment, along with an increase in labour market participation which rose 0.1 percentage point to 64.9%, saw the national unemployment rate tick up to 5.8%. This was in line with expectations but above the 5.7% level of May.

In absolute terms, the number of unemployed now stands at 734,200, down 3.1% on the levels of a year ago.


15 July, 2016

South Australian "green" energy faltering

When they shut down their last coal-fired electricity generator, S.A. crowed about how their electricity was now wholly "green". That was a typical Greenie lie from the beginning. They rely on importing electricity from Victoria when the wind isn't blowing. And that electricity is generated by burning "dirty" LaTrobe brown coal, the most polluting form of coal.

They thought they could get away with that but now they are hitting problems.  The interconnector from Victoria can only supply so much power and that is often not enough.  So they jack up the prices of their electricity when the wind is not blowing.  They equalize supply and demand by penalizing and hence restricting demand from big users -- businesses. 

That's such an attack on business that they have begun to backtrack.  They are now asking for more output from a big private generator, powered by  -- guess -- a "fossil" fuel -- natural gas.  The Green is now pretty brown at the edges and it will get browner as the folly of "sustainable" power makes itself felt.  Blackouts are waiting in the wings

A private power station in Adelaide has been asked to boost its output because some of South Australia's biggest businesses have been struggling to cope with a huge jump in their electricity prices at times of peak demand.

The owner of Pelican Point Power Station in Adelaide's north-west, Engie, has been asked by the SA Government to provide an extra 239 megawatts of supply.

The Government said a planned outage of the Heywood power interconnector with Victoria, higher gas prices and severe cold weather were to blame for price volatility in the local energy market.

Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said there was little the Government could do reduce price fluctuations because of past privatisation of the state's electricity assets.

But Opposition frontbencher Rob Lucas blamed the SA Government's reliance on renewable energy for the surge in electricity prices at times of peak demand.

    "The massive rush into wind energy and alternative energy in South Australia, without ensuring the continuation of base load power, is the major problem that we've got here in South Australia," he said.


Left’s stance on Hanson is hypocritical

Jennifer Oriel points out that it is the Left which is discriminatory

The rebirth of Pauline Hanson has sent left-wing men into a state of mass hysteria. Greens leader Richard Di Natale denounced her as divisive. NSW Labor MP Ron Hoenig taxed logic by correlating Hanson with the Holocaust.

The Lebanese Muslim Association called her a hate preacher. Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane compared her with Brexit and Donald Trump — all proof of xenophobia and racism.

The leftist party line is settled; Hanson is racist and divisive. Three words come to mind. Pot. Kettle. Black.

Western civilisation has been transformed from the love child of Christianity and the Enlightenment into a malformed neo-Marxist culture where minority groups manufactured for political purposes are bestowed with special privileges by the state.

As I have written in these pages, most citizens designated minority status under Australian law are not political minorities. They are numerical minorities who have equal and often superior rights to their fellow citizens under discrimination and affirmative action measures.

To justify the special privileges regime, activist organisations such as the Australian Human Rights Commission change the meaning of inequality to “historical disadvantage”. In the absence of substantial evidence to demonstrate existing disadvantage, the Left creates imaginary friends like unconscious bias to replace objective fact with subjective feelings as the evidentiary standard of Western law and public reason.

We have arrived at a point in Western history where thought crimes justify a regime of codified prejudice that privileges manufactured minorities while censoring dissenters who dare cry the emperor has no clothes.

Well, the emperor is butt naked and minority fundamentalists know it. In Queensland, 9 per cent voted for Hanson’s One Nation.

The same state has played host to a case exemplifying the absurdity of minority politics. In the race case before the Federal Circuit Court, students were barred from a computer lab at the Queensland University of Technology because of their race. One would presume the prima facie case of race discrimination would be against the person who barred their access. But the staff member who turned the students away, indigenous woman Cindy Prior, filed a complaint against them under the Racial Discrimination Act.

Prior claimed that the computer lab in the Oodgeroo Unit was reserved for “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students only” and described the unit as “culturally safe space”.

The arguably racist presumption that people who are not indigenous make a space culturally unsafe has gone unchallenged by the activist Left. In a recent submission to the court, barrister Anthony Morris QC, acting on behalf of the students, lampooned the absurdity of the premises of the case and criticised the AHRC’s handling of it. He asserts that the commission has not upheld the students’ right to be equal before the law.

The case exposes the meaning of equality in Australia and, I would argue, its perversion by minority activism. The requirement to treat all parties to a complaint equally and impartially means treating the complainant in a discrimination case — typically a member of a state minority group ­— equally to respondent/s.

But the modern human rights movement has substituted universal human rights with minority rights. The result is a system of codified privilege for manufactured minorities and codified prejudice against citizens excluded from minority groups.

The AHRC is well known for its political activism and prosecution of the minority rights agenda.

Its commissioners commonly advocate positions aligned with Greens and Labor Left policies. In the wake of the federal election, Soutphommasane made the sweeping generalisation that Brexit, Donald Trump and Pauline Hanson all are manifestations of racism or xenophobia.

He has criticised nationalist groups allegedly for promoting violence at rallies, but appears less inclined to identify the ideological origins of the militant Left. In a recent tweet, he made the categorical error of classifying left-wing violence as a right-wing phenomenon: “People can repudiate far-right extremism without adopting the far-right’s violence.” That communist regimes murdered millions of their own citizens because they dissented from the Left party line appears to have eluded him.

Soutphommasane declined to comment on the QUT case as it is before the court, but cited “special measures” in a brief statement.

The commission promotes special measures as “positive actions” that “protect disadvantaged racial groups”. It justifies the measures “as an exception to the general rule that all racial groups must be treated the same”.

It is evident that affirmative action is not an exception to the general rule of racial equality in Australia, however. The general rule of race politics in Australia is the codification of racial inequality in discrimination law and affirmative action.

The codified bigotry of the Racial Discrimination Act and censorship of dissent under s18C offends the principles of equality and fairness that made the modern West. The cultural Left has repudiated the Enlightenment by substituting minority rights for universal human rights, subjectivity for objectivity, and politically correct speech for free speech. It has failed to protect the legacy of the Enlightenment and instead introduced a new tribalism under manufactured minority politics that embeds a combustible combination of privilege and prejudice in the heart of the state.

Hanson represents a form of prejudice no more extreme than that defended by the minority Left. She advocates fewer rights for minority groups while the Left prosecutes superior rights for them. Hanson and the minority Left represent the polar opposites of a corrosive politics whose resolution lies in the full restoration of equality under law.

Formal equality should replace discrimination legislation. The list of protected attributes should be reduced to two: people with disabilities and primary carers for the disabled, the young and the elderly. The welfare net should be generous enough to prepare people mired in poverty for gainful employment.

State-made minorities, women included, need to become mature members of liberal democracy by cultivating independence from the state and genuine equality with fellow citizens. The Trumps and Hansons will set forth and multiply as long as minority groups demand special rights and superior privileges under Western law. Equality or backlash. It’s our choice.


Time to remove the rose-tinted glasses when it comes to Aboriginal culture

It is NADOIC week, with activities taking place across Australia to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  And there is much to celebrate. However, Aboriginal culture, like any culture, also has its dark side, as Jacinta Nampijinpa Price harrowingly described in the inaugural CIS Helen Hughes Lecture for Emerging Thinkers last week

In her speech -- Homeland Truths: The Unspoken Epidemic of Violence in Indigenous Communities -- she said anyone who denies there are aspects of traditional Aboriginal culture that need to change is "...either far removed from it, don't live it and have no idea what they are talking about, or they are the ones who can't bear to see their old ways disappear."

I am reminded of this as I walk to work past a Circular Quay pillar that  booms out a recording explaining how I am on Gadigal land and that in Australia it is customary to do a welcome to country speech acknowledging the traditional owners of the land and agreeing to uphold and respect their culture and laws.

After hearing Ms Price's lecture, I wonder what cultural laws we are meant to be respecting and upholding: the traditional custom of arranged marriage and child brides? As she pointed out, these practices have resulted in shocking sexual abuse and rape cases.

We need to acknowledge there are aspects of Aboriginal culture that need to be kept firmly in the past. No culture is static and unchanging, and the belief that Aboriginal culture needs to be frozen and preserved in time is preventing many Aboriginal people from moving forward and embracing modernity.

European culture has evolved, and it is fallacy to believe that Aboriginal culture should not have to do the same. Indeed, in the not so distant past (prior to the 1980s) there was no such thing as marital rape in Australia.

It is time to abandon romanticised notions of Indigenous culture and really listen to what brave people like Ms Price are saying:

"Help my people understand the necessity and value in constructive criticism and self-reflection. Please don't encourage us to remain stagnant, instead encourage us to ask questions and challenge long held beliefs so that we may determine the way forward, with that, which enriches our lives."


Australia's building an epic number of apartments

Australia is in the midst of an epic residential construction boom. Or, to be more correct, we’re building up, not out, at unprecedented rate.

There’s no better demonstration of it than in the chart below, supplied by UBS’ Australian economics team consisting of George Tharenou, Scott Haslem and Jim Xu.

It shows the number of private dwellings under construction in Australia at present, using data supplied by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as part of its quarterly building activity report, released on Wednesday. The black line shows the number of houses under construction, the blue line high-density dwellings, namely apartments.

Yes, if you couldn’t tell by the skylines of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, apartment construction is going nuts. Like a rocket lifting off, it looks like it’s heading to the moon, and perhaps beyond.

According to the ABS, there were 150,706 “other” residential dwellings under construction in the first quarter of 2016, up 10.9% on the prior quarter and 32.4% higher than the levels of a year earlier. From five years ago, that extends to an increase of 135%.


UBS describe the current trend as a “super boom”. With so much supply hitting the market, let’s hope that’s not going to be followed by a “super bust”, whether in terms of construction levels or apartment prices. [It will be. Nobody has so far managed to repeal the law of supply and demand]


The election proves that Australia is still the lucky country

THIS is the second national election in six years where voters have delivered no clear winner.

Australians appear near-equally divided over the relative merits of the major parties. A mishmash of a Senate will be returned, as citizens vented their frustrations about how the country is being run on that large white ballot paper.

The fact that Australians can deliver such an uncertain electoral outcome and then wait patiently, peacefully for a final decision is truly remarkable.

At the risk of sounding like an unusually patriotic Pollyanna, it makes me proud to call Australia home. A country where free and fair elections are something we assume as given. A country where the most controversial thing about Election Day is some posters being vandalised, or your democracy sausage being served with diced instead of sliced onions.

Throughout the world there are many nations where the outcome of an election can mean life or death for groups of citizens. The murder of MP Jo Cox in the Britain shows that the developed world isn’t immune from this sort of politically charged violence. It puts our relative political turbulence in stark perspective.

An unknown number of days without a real government lay ahead for Australia and yet nobody was particularly worried. Of course, many of us passionately believe that either Turnbull or Shorten would make the better Prime Minister.

But there was no sense that the country is in danger — that our citizens are in danger — simply because one will ultimately prevail over the other.

On Monday night, our neighbours back home in Australia generously pushed our greens bins outside and onto the kerb and the rubbish was collected by morning. The mail is still being delivered, the 4G phone signal remains strong and an internet connection, although slow to download the latest episode of Game of Thrones, means I can Skype my dad for his birthday from the other side of the world.

Earth-moving equipment at construction sites roared into action as normal on Monday morning. Nurses and doctors continued their work free of political pressure to prioritise one patient over another. Public school teachers are preparing their materials for term three. Ships are docking at ports, delivering what we have bought and departing once more, packed with what we want to sell. Planes take off. They land. Young people leave for new adventures abroad and families are reunited once more.

Peek outside your window and you’ll see no violent mob of discontented voters ransacking or vandalising shops to express their displeasure. No armed militia patrolling the streets to enforce peace.

Whether the view is of farmland, a suburban park, beachside shops or the bustling inner city, the chances are you haven’t questioned your safety since the uncertainty of this election outcome made itself apparent on Saturday night.

Not a single bullet has been fired in anger over this result. No lives were sacrificed.

It’s easy to forget that compared to so much of the world, this makes Australia unusual. Despite political uncertainty, our country plods along peacefully. There isn’t even a hint of expectation to the contrary. Life goes on as normal. A fact that proves this not-so-little island in the middle of the Pacific is anything but.


14 July, 2016

Pauline Hanson Is A Symbol Of Australian Democracy

The most offensive thing about Pauline Hanson has been the reaction her election has evoked from the Australian public.

The most offensive thing about Pauline Hanson isn't her unabashed xenophobia, her incorrigible disregard for cultural sensitivities, or her affront to the sensibilities of Western liberal political thought. No, truly the most offensive thing about Pauline Hanson has been the reaction her election has evoked from the Australian public.

Across all walks of political life, Hanson has been met with the same universal contempt; and unfortunately, that contempt has come to obscure the valuable role figures such as Hanson play in the development of political society.

Hanson's comeback is unmistakably a reflection of the populist phenomena sweeping the world; the same force which has given rise to Trump in the United States, Farage in the not-so-United Kingdom, and Le Pen in France (amongst many others). However, populism is not an exclusively right-wing phenomenon; Bernie Sanders, Syriza in Greece, and Podemos in Spain each attest to the success of populism on the other end of the spectrum.

While representatives from both populist strains are criticised for sitting at the fringe of their respective political wings, both have succeeded through their promise to represent the interests of the average citizen, their appeal to national (rather than international) values, and their successful critique of the state of establishment politics. Following this, while the substance of Pauline Hanson's policies may be unpalatable to many, the populist form of her political opposition is an important symbolic step in the direction of revitalising Australia's stagnant political culture.

First, populists are elected when voters realise how profoundly unrepresentative the modern democratic system has become. The emergence of a 'political class' far removed from the average constituent has produced a system which is democratic in name only. In reality, political participation tends to begin and end on election day, and local representatives are rarely more than a party mouthpiece.

The populist approach, in its appeal to the needs of the constituency as opposed to abstract conceptual discussion, has attempted to overcome the disingenuous nature of national politics. Instead of representing national interests at the local level, populists provide a voice for local interests at the national level. While Hanson's policies may be objectionable, her promulgation of this populist principle establishes an important precedent in the conduct of national politics.

Second, populists have been successful in identifying the breakdown of social cohesion as the scope of government expands. By failing to reconcile the increasingly internationalist outlook of government with the immediate domestic interests of citizens, the contemporary political system has overseen the failure of social integration. Political violence, terrorism, xenophobia, and the growing gap between rich and poor are all observable consequences of this.

The populist left and right have capitalised on the public perception of this widening political gulf and have oriented their policies towards bridging this divide. For the left, broadly isolationist tendencies and state-led economic policies are informed by the inequity of the class divide and consequences of austerity. For the right, harsh immigration policies and economic protectionism address emerging socio-political cleavages resulting from the real or imagined threat of immigrant crime and terrorism, and the relative decline of the national economy.

Finally, populists have expressed their dissatisfaction with the paralytically divisive nature of the political status-quo. The highly partisan nature of political debate has drawn attention away from relevant domestic issues and shifted it to the un-relatable issues of international trade, economic partnerships, the global fight against terrorism and the promulgation of democracy -- relatively universal concepts in the political mainstream.

The issue is not that domestically relevant political issues aren't being legislated on; it's that the debate surrounding them is so rife with obscurity, and so subject to manipulation by its political opposition, that the general public fail to engage with them. The way in which Obamacare was misconstrued by conservative media in the United States, or the way Turnbull's medicare policy was subject to an intentionally misleading, yet viciously effective, scare campaign by the Australian Labor Party, are examples of how schismatic the domestic political debate can be even on issues concerning the common good.

The rise of the populist parties on the left and right herald a positive shift in Australia's political culture; a move towards a system in which the political elite can be freely challenged in an arena formerly reserved for them alone. The views of Hanson may unequivocally violate the values of our inclusive and multicultural society; but her resurgence is undoubtably a reflection of the growing disillusionment and dissatisfaction segments of the Australian public feel towards the current state of national politics.

Australia's political leaders should not be so quick to dismiss Hanson's rise to political relevancy. Doing so may be a convenient way of reaffirming personal ideological commitments, but it doesn't address those fundamental motivating factors behind her election.

Whether the general public likes it or not, by providing representation to a substantial segment of the population who have until now been alienated from Australia's political system, Pauline Hanson is a symbol of Australian democracy. By mounting a successful challenge to the credibility of the nation's political class, Hanson's victory paves the way for a legitimate populist presence in Australia's political culture.


Federal election 2016: Rising minor parties leave Greens in shade

The Greens’ vote in the Senate has fallen in every state apart from Queensland, leaving the minor party facing the possible loss of three of its 10 senators once all ­ballot papers have been counted.

Nationally, the Greens have suffered a 0.9 per cent swing against them in the Senate as other minor parties have risen in popularity, led by One Nation (up 3.8 per cent), the Nick Xenophon Team (1.3 per cent) and Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party (1.8 per cent).

The party’s vote in the Senate peaked at 13.1 per cent in 2010 but has fallen to 8.3 per cent so far in this count.

The Greens have already lost a senator in South Australia, Robert Simms, who was second on the ticket behind Sarah Hanson-Young, after the NXT clinched three seats in the state.

Political analysts are now ­predicting the Greens could lose a Senate seat in Western Australia, where Rachel Siewert is trying to snatch the final spot, and another in Tasmania where former state leader Nick McKim is nervously awaiting his fate.

Those losses would mean the Greens’ 10 senators in the last parliament — its best representation in the Senate — would be cut to between seven and nine senators.

In Western Australia, the Greens’ vote has fallen 5.3 per cent from its strong showing in the 2014 Senate re-run election despite the Greens boasting of their biggest grassroots campaign ever organised in the state in the lead-up to the July 2 poll.

Senator Siewert will rely on preferences to secure the final Senate spot over the Nationals candidate Kado Muir.

Election analyst William Bowe told The Australian that based on an analysis he did yesterday of past Senate preference flows it ­appeared the contest between the Greens and the Nationals for the final seat in WA was a virtual dead heat.

“It is extremely close,” he said.

The battle between the Greens and Nationals comes as One ­Nation’s controversial candidate in Western Australia, Rod Culleton, appears to have secured the 11th spot in the Senate.

Mr Culleton has rejected ­suggestions that he will be ineligible to serve in the Senate due to a conviction for larceny in NSW.

It is understood the Greens are reasonably confident that Senator Siewert will win enough preferences from “progressive” parties, including the Australian Sex Party and Animal Justice Party, to outperform the Nationals’ Mr Muir.

Mr Muir stood for the Greens at the 2007 and 2010 elections. The antinuclear campaigner is aiming to become WA’s second indigenous senator after Pat Dodson.

Greens leader Richard di Natale declined to comment.

But sources in the party stressed they expected that the Greens’ performance would improve as the count progressed because absentee and below-the-line votes tended to favour the Greens.

The Greens’ vote in the Senate is down 0.8 per cent in NSW, 0.4 per cent in Victoria, 1.6 per cent in South Australia and 0.8 per cent in Tasmania, but is up 0.74 per cent so far in Queensland.


Election a disaster for small government

Simon Cowan

Whatever remains unclear about this election, one thing that is clear is that the electorate has rejected the vision of economically rational small government, at least in its current presentation.

Faced with a choice between Labor's nakedly 'tax and spend', big government offering and the Coalition's tax cut and business-led growth and jobs, scores of voters (both left and right) rejected the Coalition message.

Far from being scarred by minority government as a result of 2010, voters are actively courting populists and fringe parties, seemingly to tear up the orthodoxy; particularly economic orthodoxy.

Trump and Brexit are indications of a new alignment forming on the right -- socially conservative but leaning more towards economic nationalism than smaller government, with a healthy protest vote chucked in. Our election suggests this movement has significant backing here.

Despite the Coalition's problems, the election was hardly a stirring triumph for progressive politics either. The Greens primary vote is nearly 2% below its level in 2010 -- while Labor's primary vote sits just above 35%; 2% below the level Mark Latham achieved in 2004, in a defeat that handed both the House and the Senate to the Coalition.

Labor's success comes, at least in part, from being perceived as the least worst major party by the disaffected Left and Right. Labor's message of more spending now, with taxes on 'others' later, is much more compatible with the populists cause.

However, by defying election orthodoxy and admitting that deficits will continue to go backwards for the next four years, Labor did expose that the emperor of fiscal restraint has no clothes. Voters care more about what's in it for them than they do about fixing budget problems.

Given the instability in the lower house, not to mention the number of crossbenchers in the Senate holding brickbats for any cuts in entitlement spending, there is simply no way the government can deliver the tough budget necessary to restore fiscal balance in these circumstances.

For those who believe in small government it is time to return to the drawing board. We need to understand why two decades of economic success, driven by economically rational reforms of
Hawke, Keating, Howard and Costello, is increasingly rejected by voters in Australia and elsewhere.


Business confidence up

If you thought that financial market turmoil and political uncertainty would be enough to dent Australian business confidence, think again.

Despite everything that was thrown at them over the past few weeks — be it Brexit, the potential for a downgrade to Australia’s credit rating or the closeness of the federal election — confidence surged in June.

According to the latest National Australia Bank (NAB) business survey, the subindex measuring business confidence rose to +6 in June, some three points above the levels seen in May.

The NAB points out that the survey was undertaken at the height of recent financial market volatility, making the result even more remarkable.

“This suggests that firms are looking through external uncertainties, choosing to focus on the positives they see in their own business, at least for the time being,” said Alan Oster, chief economist at the NAB. “It is encouraging to see firm’s sentiment is holding up, particularly as we head into a period of political uncertainty”.

Adding to the bullish confidence reading, and perhaps underlining why it improved, firms indicated that operating conditions improved with the separate conditions subindex rising two points to +12, well above its long-run average of +5.
Source: NAB

“Firms continued to report very high business conditions, pointing to another strong quarter for the non-mining economy,” said Oster.

“The business conditions index rose from an already elevated level, hitting +12 index points in June, which is consistent with the post-GFC highs for the series.

“Encouragingly, the improvement was driven in large part by a lift in employment conditions, which are back above long-run average levels. Profitability also improved in June, while trading conditions were unchanged at very high levels,” he added.


The world just can't get enough of Australian iron ore

The world cannot get enough of Australian iron ore, particularly when it comes to China.  According to figures released by the Pilbara Ports Authority late Monday, total iron ore exports from world’s largest iron ore loading terminal, Port Hedland, surged to a record high in June.

Over the month iron ore exports totaled 41.808 million tonnes, easily blowing away the previous record high of 39.534 million tonnes shipped in March 2016. It was also 9% higher than the amount shipped one year earlier.

In cumulative terms, there was 454.2 million tonnes shipped over the past 12 months, the highest total on record and 3% above the levels recorded in the 2014/15 financial year.

“The increase in the port’s iron ore exports reflects the commissioning of the 55Mtpa [million tonne per annum] Roy Hill iron ore project,” said Vivek Dhar, a mining and energy commodities analyst from the Commonwealth Bank, following the release of the data.

China, as the largest end-destination for exports from the port, drove the record-breaking increase. Shipments to China jumped to 34.5 million tonnes in June, up 8.8% from May. It too was a monthly record, smashing the prior record of 33.9 million tonnes shipped three months earlier.

Exports from Port Hedland accounted for 58% of Australia’s total iron ore exports in 2015. Australia’s Department of Industry last week estimated that Australian iron ore exports would increase to 818Mt in 2016, up 6.7% on the levels of a year earlier.

It looks like there may be many more records to come, at least based on that assessment.


13 July, 2016

Australian govt. finally wins majority after fierce election fight

Australia's ruling conservatives finally secured a parliamentary majority following a protracted election vote count, projections showed Monday.

The incumbent Liberal/National coalition, which declared victory on Sunday after the Labor opposition conceded defeat eight days after national polls, secured 76 seats in the 150-seat lower House of Representatives, according to national broadcaster ABC.

The tightly contested July 2 election followed three years of turbulence in Canberra, where two sitting prime ministers were deposed by their own parties in a "revolving door" of leaders.

The ABC projections said the coalition secured two additional seats in Queensland, where just hundreds of votes divided the two major parties, in an election in which populist minor parties and independents won more representation in parliament.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull acknowledged the challenges his conservative bloc faced in the new parliament Sunday and promised to value the agendas of everyone who was elected, even if they held views contrary to his party.

"It is my commitment to work in every way possible to ensure that the crossbenchers (members from minor parties and independents) feel that they have access to all of the information they need and all of the resources they need to be able to play their role in this Parliament," he told reporters in Sydney.

Despite the projections of a lower house majority, Turnbull is likely to face opposition in the upper house Senate over a key part of his government's May budget -- multi-billion-dollar corporate tax cuts to shore up an economy shifting away from a dependence on mining investment.

Australian elections, held every three years, usually sees the incumbent government given more than one term of rule.

But last Saturday's vote showed how close the Labor opposition, led by former union leader Bill Shorten, was to returning to power just three years after being ousted.

Turnbull is expected to swear in his new cabinet next week with the Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, who is currently in France for Bastille Day commemorations.


Journalists out of touch in deceptive election campaign

The debasement of Australia’s political and media culture was on full show this past week: some politicians are prepared to say black is white in the sure knowledge many journalists will not call them out.

As if to highlight the folly­, the Standard & Poor’s agency last Thursday placed the nation’s AAA credit rating on negative watch.

All week journalists from the national broadcaster and much of the print and commercial electronic media seemed to agree with Bill Shorten that Labor’s dishonest Medicare scare had shown up the Coalition for being out of touch with voters.

Even Malcolm Turnbull kicked this along, saying on Tuesday that the government had left fertile ground for the scare in its 2014 budget. Yet S&P shows it is Labor, the Greens and their voters who are out of touch with reality.

This is the price the nation is paying for a collapse in media business models and the triumph of US-style negative campaign politics.

The 2014 budget recommended a small Medicare co-­payment of exactly the kind Labor wanted to introduce under former prime minister Bob Hawke 25 years ago. It was the only budget since 2010 that sought to deal with the issue S&P is warning about.

If Australia is to answer the challenge it will need to wind back much of the excessive government largesse built into the budget by John Howard and Peter Costello during the first round of the China boom between 2004 and 2007.

Once upon a time national leaders could advocate for difficult policy changes that would make some voters worse off.

Leaders in the press gallery once would press the cause of reform in the national interest.

But now about half of all Australian voters receive more in government payments than they shell out in tax. Young journalists push the cause of higher welfare as though they were social workers.

Nor are most media organisations doing the on-the-ground reporting work they did in previous decades. How did so few people pick the return of the One Nation vote in regional Queensland? And why was Pauline Hanson given celebrity status on so many television programs?

Many senior journalists have had to admit they read this campaign wrongly. Even now none seems to have realised their oracle, pollster Textor Crosby, road-tested an almost identical positive campaign at the last Queensland election, when Campbell Newman lost government in 2015 after a 78 seats to seven landslide in 2012.

Despite polling close to 50:50 for months and a trend moving in Shorten’s favour, many journalists were happy to accept the line from “Coalition sources” that the government was on track to hold its marginal seats.

Time for some home truths for reporters, editors and news ­directors: every time a left wing jour­nalist or Labor MP claims the budget has deteriorated more ­rapidly since the Coalition took power, remember this.

Wayne Swan, who in his 2012 budget speech claimed to be announcing four surpluses, never faced falling revenue after the GFC. He was simply unable to contain spending growth, which was rising even faster than his booming China receipts. What he called revenue writedowns were actually rises of 6 per cent or more a year, but less than his overly optimistic forecasts of 8 per cent-plus a year.

The Coalition faced real declining revenue because of the collapse of iron ore and coal prices in 2014-15. Don’t let commentators claim Turnbull’s problem is he sold out his progressive policies on gay marriage and global warming. The count shows he lost nearly a million votes on his right flank.

It has been very likely since early last week that the Coalition would form a majority government on the back of pre-poll and postal votes lodged before the Medicare lie. Don’t let Labor spin you about this.

Shorten is being allowed to frame the election as a triumph despite a likely loss by up to 10 seats. Don’t report Shorten’s ­spurious claims about an early election. He is using that claim to keep his own troops in line.

News editors need to insist their journalists call out falsehoods in press conferences. Both Shorten and his Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen have previously advocated corporate tax cuts. They went to the election with higher deficits, higher spending and higher borrowing. How can reporters all last week have allowed Labor MPs to warn of imminent budget blocking tactics when only a week earlier Labor accepted $30 billion of so-called zombie cuts? Will reporters now let Labor get away with blocking savings it counted in its own election costings?

Do reporters know the Medicare rebate freeze Shorten claims is the basis for his Medicare scare was introduced by Labor in its 2013 budget? Are reporters going to let Labor continue to claim the government, which has presided over the highest bulk-billing rates in the history of Medicare, has cut $57bn from health when Labor ­itself only committed $2bn more to health than the Coalition?

Labor lost the election. Its primary vote, at 35.2 per cent, is its second lowest since World War II. Not only did it need a lie to save its primary, in truth it owes much of its position to Kevin Rudd, who in 2013 saved at least 15 seats that would have fallen under Julia ­Gillard.

As Simon Benson pointed out in Friday’s Sydney Daily Telegraph, this election is analogous to John Howard’s narrow 1998 GST election win. Howard went on to win in 2001 and 2004. It is not similar to Julia Gillard’s 2010 election win when she and Abbott both secured 72 seats.

Finally, don’t let reporters make themselves feel good by going to war with Pauline Hanson. As editor-in-chief of Queensland Newspapers when One Nation won 11 seats and 24 per cent of the vote at the 1998 state election, one thing I know from leaked Labor polling is that Hanson’s vote rises when she is subject to hostile, hectoring interviews like those by Maxine McKew and Ray Martin in the last week of that campaign. Her vote doubled over the course of the week.


Australian federal election 2016: Coalition hopes of passing the ABCC bills are growing - and Pauline Hanson could hold the key

Coalition hopes are rising that it will be able to claim the votes needed to re-establish the construction watchdog and set up a Registered Organisations commission, while Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull finally won the 76 seats needed to form majority government.

The Queensland seats of Flynn and Capricornia fell on Monday to the Coalition, meaning he will not have to rely on the lower house crossbench MPs to govern.

Labor claimed the West Australian seat of Cowan and these results took the Coalition to 76 seats, Labor to 67, with five MPs on the crossbench and two undecided.

In the Senate, ABC election analyst Antony Green told Fairfax Media it was likely there would be 30 Coalition senators to be elected, 27 Labor senators, eight Greens senators, three Xenophon senators, three Hanson senators, and independents Jacqui Lambie and Derryn Hinch - with three Senate spots in NSW, Queensland and WA undecided.

Coalition strategists had initially feared that re-establishing the Howard-era Australian Building and Construction Commission and setting up the Registered Organisations commission to monitor union governance, which provided the double dissolution trigger, would be more difficult because of the likely expansion of the Senate crossbench and the loss of about a dozen Coalition MPs in the lower house

But government insiders now believe they may be able to lock in at least 112 of the 114 votes needed and, depending on the results in the two undecided lower house seats of Hindmarsh and Herbert and three Senate seats, the bills are a good chance to pass in a joint sitting.

Senator-elect Pauline Hanson and her two colleagues are likely to have a key say in deciding the fate of the laws.

To pass a bill in a joint sitting, 114 of 226 MPs from the combined houses must vote for the law.

In a range of scenarios being war-gamed inside the Turnbull government, the Coalition believes it is possible it could claim 79 votes from lower house MPs, including up to 77 of its own MPs, independent Cathy McGowan, who backed the bills in the last Parliament and Xenophon MP Rebekha Sharkie, as well 30 of its own senators and the three Xenophon senators.

NXT party leader Nick Xenophon has flagged support for the laws, subject to amendments. That would lock in 112 votes of the 114 votes required for an absolute majority - and mean that two more votes from any of the three One Nation senators and independent Derryn Hinch would be needed to pass the laws.

There is also a chance NSW Liberal Democratic senator David Leyonhjelm, who backs the laws, will be re-elected, while a Nationals senator in Western Australia may also be elected.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson told Fairfax Media on Monday that she wanted a briefing on the two bills before making up her mind. "I will need to have a look at the legislation, talk to all parties and until I have done that I won't make up my mind."

Mr Hinch said he would talk to both sides before making up his mind on the bills.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said that "nothing has altered the government's commitment to these two pieces of legislation – their passage through the Parliament will deliver significant benefits to all Australians and they therefore remain priorities for the Turnbull Coalition."


Muslim savagery in action in Australia

Zandipour is an Iranian surname so the offender is almost certainly Muslim

A SIX second attack has turned into at least 16 years behind bars for killer Kyle Sirious Zandipour.

He was found guilty of murdering Melbourne University student Joshua Hardy in 2014 outside a McDonald’s restaurant on St Kilda Road in Melbourne.

He stomped on Joshua’s head and bashed him to death, in an attack the court heard only lasted six seconds.

Zandipour was sentenced to a maximum of 20 years on Tuesday — with a non-parole period of 16 years — by Victorian Supreme Court Justice Karin Emerton.

Zandipour, 29, was a Melbourne banker when he saw Joshua, 21, at the fast food restaurant.

Joshua was at a 21st in October 2014, and was in the taxi home when he decided to detour for a late night snack at McDonald’s.

He asked to borrow a phone from one of Zandipour’s friends and was pushed away.  Zandipour, who had never met Mr Hardy before, then threw him on the ground and stomped on him. The court was told it was a “truly frightening display of violence”.

Joshua’s father, David Hardy, said moments of madness could have undying consequences.  “Two young lives are shattered. Friends and family of all involved are broken,” he said.

“Everybody loses when it comes to social violence, so please step back and think because actions have consequences. Tragic and devastating consequences for all involved.”

Zandipour pleaded not guilty to murder but was found guilty by a Supreme Court jury in May.


Hive of innovation found at Australian and NZ universities

A world-first study on innovation in Higher Education by the Australian Innovation Research Centre (AIRC) at University of Tasmania and the LH Martin Institute at University of Melbourne, has shown that Australian and New Zealand universities are prolific innovators.

The report, based on a comprehensive survey investigating the managerial and administrative functions of 39 Australian and six New Zealand universities has found that the majority of universities have implemented significant innovative measures in the last two years.

These include implementing faster processes for service and providing better support for students and teaching and learning activities.

Professor Leo Goedegebuure of the LH Martin Institute, co-author of the report, said that the high innovation rate is very similar to the results of other surveys of public sector organisations in Europe and Australia.

“Universities give a great deal of importance to improving the student experience, which is the largest reason given for innovating and trying new approaches.”

Professor Anthony Arundel of the AIRC, the other co-author, explained that the type of innovation also depends on the function.

“For inward facing functions like human resources and financial services, the biggest drive for innovation is the need to do more with the same amount of resources.

“While for outward facing functions like marketing and communication, the biggest motivation is to improve the student experience and their university’s brand or reputation”.

The report also found that innovation depends on the organisation’s culture. The research identified a link between senior executive support for a positive innovation culture and the percentage of staff involved in innovation.

According to Professor Goedegebuure, the research paints a different picture to what is typically thought of about the sector.

“The report shows that universities are very serious about process and product innovation, and that a lot of effort is being placed on doing the right things with the public resources they receive.”

“It also shows our universities adopting state-of-the-art methods, being open and collaborative, which in turn suggests that we have the capability to play a key role in a new, knowledge-based economy”.

Press release

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 July, 2016

Greenie versus Greenie

Sadly, the realistic ones were defeated by the sentimentalists.  With few dingoes and no Aborigines to hunt them, kangaroo numbers have grown into pest proportions, which  endangers other, smaller animals.  But that is too cerebral for the sentimentalists

Bush Heritage Australia has forfeited the inheritance of a 350-acre property near Bega and lost numerous donors as they face backlash from a planned kangaroo cull at Scottsdale? Reserve, south of Canberra.

Regular supporters of the non-profit organisation have pulled donations following reports of a cull, with one referring to the organisation as "hopeless frauds".

Bush Heritage aims to "conserve biodiversity" at properties either purchased or donated across Australia.

However, the Australian Society for Kangaroos unveiled a practice of culling which has left supporters feeling lied to.

"I've cancelled my donation forever," one email read, in correspondence with ASK.

"If so-called saviours of the bush can't do it without this slaughter they shouldn't be doing it. Hopeless frauds."

Another person emailed ASK to say they would no longer be leaving their "precious" property to Bush Heritage in their Will.

"Following what seems to be a constant stream of horror stories [including] secretive native animal culling, we have now changed our Wills by omitting any reference to Bush Heritage," the email reads.

Bill Taylor, of Bywong, said he was a contributor to the non-profit for a number of years, before "pulling the plug" when the organisation didn't respond to questions about kangaroo culling he raised in reference to their annual report.

In response to the protests, Bush Heritage Australia has cancelled the kangaroo cull, which was approved by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

Science and research manager at Bush Heritage Australia, Jim Radford, said kangaroo culls had been undertaken at the Scottsdale Reserve in the past, however the planned cull was called off due to, in part, concerns for public safety.

He said one the main concerns was "unauthorised access onto the site". "We didn't have any direct evidence of that and we weren't approached directly but we considered there was a risk," he said.

He said Bush Heritage had a range of ways to manage the kangaroo population, but as a last resort they turned to culling the macropods. "Under certain circumstances we do need to reduce the pressure applied by an excessive number of kangaroos," he said.

The Scottsdale Reserve is home to a variety of flora and fauna classed as vulnerable or critically endangered, including the Rosenberg's monitor and Yellow-box grassy woodland.

Mr Radford said the kangaroo population in the grasslands at Scottsdale Reserve was at more than twice the recommended level for maintaining ecologically sustainable populations.

"I think there is a great misunderstanding out there," Dr Radford said. "In some landscapes there are hugely elevated and unsustainable numbers of roos.

"We aim to maintain a healthy, resilient kangaroo population but there comes a point where their a risk to their own welfare from starvation stress. But to be honest our primary concern is the other species that are potentially impacted."

He said there would not be a kangaroo cull undertaken in the "foreseeable future" at Scottsdale Reserve


More African violence in Melbourne

A group of four teenage boys have been arrested after an early morning police chase in Melbourne that ended with one of the suspects being taken to hospital.

Police allege the boys, aged between 14 and 17, carried out a home invasion at Williams Landings, in Melbourne south-east, about 4.30am on Sunday when they stole a car.

Terrified residents at the home told 9News they were confronted by three teenagers of African appearance armed with shovels who 'calmly' demanded the keys to a silver Nissan sedan.

They say the teenagers were at the home for about 40 minutes before taking off with three phones and an iPad.

Police then spotted the stolen car at Sanctuary Lakes Boulevard at nearby Point Cook about 12.20am on Monday.

They followed the sedan to Carlton where it stopped in Palmerston Street about 1.20am.

The chase ended in a minor crash as police tried to catch the suspects. The Nissan had minor damage.

A 14-year-old Carlton North boy, a 14-year-old South Morang boy and a 17-year-old Keilor Downs boy were taken into custody and are being questioned by police.

A 15-year-old Richmond boy was taken to a hospital with minor injuries received during the arrest.

In the past few months, similar home invasions involving stolen cars have been happening across Melbourne.


Police officer points his gun at a man suspected of drink driving - before kicking him in the back and handcuffing him 
Footage has emerged showing the moment a police officer drew his gun on a man he had pulled over on suspicion of drink driving.

Tendered to the ACT Magistrate's Court on Friday, the video was filmed on a NSW Police officer's dashboard camera on January 22, 2015 outside Canberra.

The footage shows the officer running to the door of the man's car with his gun pointed at the driver, before flinging the door open as the man emerges with his hands up.

The highway patrol officer had been carrying out roadside breath tests on Canberra Avenue in Queanbeyan last January when the motorist slowed down when he saw the set up, Fairfax reported.

The policeman then followed the driver before pulling him over on Stephen's Road nearby. He got out of his car and flung the motorist's door open, gun drawn.

With his firearm pointed at the man's head, the police officer then appears to tell the driver to get down onto the ground and put his hands behind his back, and the man complies.

The officer then holstered his gun and kicked him in the back while he handcuffed the man, who according to the senior constable later returned a positive blood-alcohol reading.

The actions of the highway patrol officer were heavily criticised by a magistrate on Friday who said she was 'appalled' by the policeman's response.

Special Magistrate Margaret Hunter said it had been 'clearly unnecessary' for the officer to draw his gun and point it at the man's face.

However the senior constable involved told the court he was concerned about his own safety, to which the magistrate responded that he could have waited for backup.

The man's drink driving offence was successfully overturned on Friday after it was revealed the device used to carry out the test was not an approved breathalyser.

'NSW Police are aware of the courts decision and are reviewing the outcome,' a spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia.


Australian jobseekers and businesses may benefit from Brexit

BRITAIN’S decision to leave the European Union may open up a “kangaroo route” for more Australians to live and work overseas.

It may also benefit Australian bosses, with the number of British jobseekers searching for work Down Under doubling in the hours following the Brexit decision.

International jobseeker site Indeed said job searches from UK residents interested in Australian jobs increased by 190 per cent in the hours after the vote.

It also sparked a 220 per cent increase in those looking for jobs in Ireland, possibly reflecting concerns from UK residents about losing the benefits of being part of the EU.

Indeed chief economist Tara Sinclair said cities like Sydney and Melbourne had always been magnets for British job seekers, who were attracted to the location, lifestyle and lower cost of living when compared to London.

But the biggest advantage for Australian employers right now was the strength of the Australian dollar against the British pound.

“With the British pound slumping to a 31-year low following the Brexit vote, it gives Australian employers a lot more clout when it comes to recruiting the best and brightest from the UK,” Ms Sinclair said.

Brexit could also make it easier for Australians to work in the UK.

Ms Sinclair said UK jobs that would normally be filled by EU citizens, may instead go to skilled job seekers from other parts of the world, particularly Commonwealth countries like Australia.

“If the automatic right of EU citizens to live and work in the UK ends, British employers will need to look further afield to attract the best talent and overcome chronic skill shortages at home,” Ms Sinclair said.

“Commonwealth countries like Australia, with its deep historical ties, are most likely to benefit if and when the UK starts to dismantle its EU participation.”

This could see a welcome reversal of the current trend, which has seen a 40 per cent drop in the number of Aussies working in the UK since 2008, after visa requirements and jobs were changed to favour eurozone residents.

Fewer than 15,000 Australians managed to get work visas from the UK Home Office.

Australia’s high commissioner to the UK, Alexander Downer, has already suggested Brexit could be an opportunity for Australia to renegotiate its visa arrangements with the UK.

“There are all sorts of restrictions on Australians right now and whether there’ll be opportunities to change that when the new arrangements come into place, we simply don’t know. But we should try in any case, and that’s what we’ll do,” Mr Downer told ABC radio.

Ms Sinclair believes Brexit will create a “whole new ball game” in years to come, with Britain looking to build new trade and political ties.

Boris Johnson, the former London mayor who led the Leave campaign, has already suggested Britain could adopt a “free mobility labour zone” between Commonwealth countries.

Last year he also proposed an Australia-UK agreement to allow greater movement of skilled people between both countries.

“The two-way flow of skilled talent between Australia and the UK has always been strong, but relaxing visa restrictions for Australians would open up an important new ‘kangaroo route’ that benefits both countries,” Ms Sinclair 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 July, 2016

A prize example of Leftist argument

Australian writer Xavier Toby offers below a stream of abuse with not the slightest attempt to put forward any balanced and rational argument about anything.  There is no exploration of any argument that any conservative has ever made  -- only demonization and misrepresentation of conservative people. One wonders if he has ever read any argument put forward by a conservative.  It's classic closed-mindedness.

He just assumes that his readers will share his rage at views he does not share. Yet his screed was published in a Murdoch newspaper, which has a large conservative readership. So his approach is not even clever, which it is presumably intended to be.  It's just offensive.  He seems basically to be what older Australians would call a "nong", which translates roughly as someone who knows nothing about anything.

The amusing thing is that he argues for "debating the complicated problems faced by our society and reaching an intelligent solution" -- something that he himself shows absolutely no ability at.  He really has a superb lack of self-insight

THERE is one positive to be found in the words and actions of people like Donald Trump and Pauline Hanson and that positive is it’s now far harder to ignore all the other morons.

The fact that a fat rich white guy surrounded by yes-men and a blatantly racist woman who hasn’t been relevant for 18 years are saying crazy stuff is not that surprising. Visit any snowfield, racing club, golfing superstore, footy match or pokies den and you’ll see what I mean.

What is surprising, though, is that Trump’s simple and blatantly racist, sexist, anti-environment, homophobic and horrible message has been so popular. Given the Trump effect globally, it’s not at all surprising Hanson has made such a strong comeback in this election.

And it’s all our fault.

For too long now, too many of us have ignored sexist Uncle Keith; or the climate change denying taxi driver, Phil; or the racist football supporter, Pete; or Sandra, the Christian fundamentalist who believes gay marriage will lead to people marrying their pets – leaving them free to spread their hateful ideas without being adequately challenged. So now sexist Uncle Donald is in the running to be the next president of the USA and in Australia racist Aunty Pauline holds part of the balance of power.

A lot of Republicans in the US haven’t called out Trump for his most shocking statements and that’s because most party members agree with him. The only thing they object to is how blatant he’s being. They prefer a more subtle brand of racism and sexism because, otherwise, the masses might just work out that the whole system is screwing them over.

But their message, which is Trump’s message, is the exact same one peddled by many in the Liberal National Coalition in Australia, the Tories and UKIP in the UK and many other right wing politicians around the planet.

The difference is that, unlike Trump, Hanson, Nigel Farage and their ilk, most other politicians hide behind complicated policies, fancy words and boring speeches and hope we continue ignoring them because it’s so complicated and boring and, by the way, it’s footy season.

But do you see that “Build a wall” is just a different way of saying “Stop the boats”? And instead of debating the complicated problems faced by our society and reaching an intelligent solution, what each new Trump and Hanson-ism really says is: “I’m going to solve everything with hate and fear, slogans and slurs. Are you okay with that?”

Now if you object to what comes out of Trump’s and Hanson’s mouths, it’s time to reject that same message no matter where it comes from – other politicians, your Facebook feed, the workplace, your dinner table. For too long that hasn’t been happening. Otherwise, how did we get here?

These conversations are hard and awkward, but if we all just gave up, then all that’s left is Trump and Hanson.


Now it's mangroves (persongroves?)

All bad things are caused by global warming.  That seems to be the orthodoxy. Evidence be damned. Warmists are like the people who see UFO's ..... every light in the sky is a UFO.  So coral bleaching in 2015 was due to global warming; kelp dieback was due to global warming and now dieback among some mangroves in Northern Australia is due to global warming.  And, as we all surely know, global warming is caused by increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.  As CO2 increases, so we get hotter.  So if all these diebacks were caused by a warming globe, CO2 levels should have been shooting up, right?

Fortunately the guy below can pinpoint the time when the mangroves died off.  He says it happened "in September-October 2015".  So CO2 levels should have shot up around that time, right?  In fact, 2015 was the one year in which CO2 levels stagnated. 2015 CO2 levels at Mauna Loa just fluctuated up and down from month to month around the 400ppm mark.  See the record below, a screen grab from Mauna Loa.

The 4th column is the actual average CO2 level in ppm. So, far from shooting up, CO2 was in stasis.  So any warming CANNOT be attributed to a CO2 rise. Dr Norm Duke is talking through his anus.  There WAS warming in 2015 but that was due to El Nino. It cannot have been due to a CO2 rise, because there wasn't any

Close to 10,000 hectares of mangroves have died across a stretch of coastline reaching from Queensland to the Northern Territory.

International mangroves expert Dr Norm Duke said he had no doubt the "dieback" was related to climate change.

"It's a world-first in terms of the scale of mangrove that have died," he told the ABC.

Dr Duke flew 200 kilometres between the mouths of the Roper and McArthur Rivers in the Northern Territory last month to survey the extent of the dieback.

He described the scene as the most "dramatic, pronounced extreme level of dieback that I've ever observed".

Dr Duke is a world expert in mangrove classification and ecosystems, based at James Cook University, and in May received photographs showing vast areas of dead mangroves in the Northern Territory section of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Until that time he and other scientists had been focused on mangrove dieback around Karmuba, Queensland, at the opposite end of the Gulf.

"The images were compelling. They were really dramatic, showing severe dieback of mangrove shoreline fringing — areas just extending off into infinity," Dr Duke said.

"Certainly nothing in my experience had prepared me to see images like that."

Dr Duke said he wanted to discover if the dieback in the two states was related. "We're talking about 700 kilometres of distance between incidences at that early time," he said.

The area the Northern Territory photos were taken in was so remote the only way to confirm the extent and timing of the mangrove dieback was with specialist satellite imagery.

With careful analysis the imagery confirmed the mangrove dieback in both states had happened in the space of a month late last year, coincident with coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.

"We're talking about 10,000 hectares of mangroves were lost across this whole 700 kilometre span," Dr Duke said.     "It's not only unprecedented, it's extensive, it's severe and it's noticeable.

"I have not seen such imagery anywhere before, from all over the world. I work in many places around the world and I look at damaged mangroves as part of my work all the time. These are the most shocking images of dieback I've ever seen."

Dr Duke flew to the Northern Territory in June to judge the physical extent of the mangroves' damage. With the support of the NT Parks and Wildlife Commission he flew in a helicopter between the mouths of the Roper and McArthur Rivers.
What is causing the 'dieback'?

Dr Duke said the cause of such extensive damage was not immediately evident.

"Like a large oil spill, like a cyclone or severe storm — none of those things had occurred in the region in recent times," he said.

"But in that mix of things that were going on at the same time we're starting to hear about coral bleaching ... [and] hot water on the east coast."

The coincident timing of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef and the dieback of mangroves in the north led Dr Duke to look at climatic factors.

"I started hearing that the wet season was missing from the Northern Territory over that time period," he said. "The wet season was only one-month-long in the year before. Usually the wet season in the Northern Territory in that area is three or four months long," Dr Duke said.

He said he was convinced unusually low rainfall in the 2014 wet season and elevated temperatures led to the massive mangrove dieback. He said a deadly lack of fresh water and increased water and atmospheric temperatures stressed the plants beyond their tolerance.

Satellite imagery pinpoints the damage to a period of around four weeks in September-October 2015.


Why simply calling Hanson racist doesn't help

By Michael Bradley, a Leftist lawyer

It's unclear to me what the difference is between our calling Hanson a racist and her habit of branding other people who she has not met with pejorative labels. What Hanson does - in particular, what she says - is frequently reprehensible. She can appropriately be criticised and called to account for the offence and hurt she causes by her repetitive and irrational attacks on everyone and everything she perceives from her extremely limited frame of understanding to be not representative of the "real Australians", her nostalgically imagined tribe.

But to point out that Hanson is peddling racist views and seeding disharmony in the community is quite different from labelling her a racist. With the exception of the furthest fringe of racial supremacist groups, nobody ever said "yes, you're right, I'm a racist". Hanson is entirely sure that she is not racist, with the same rationale (just less well expressed) as Andrew Bolt has for his equally genuine belief that he is not racist.

Hanson and many others in Australian public life say things that, from the perspective of marginalised groups such as Indigenous Australians, Muslims or Asians, are hurtful and bigoted. Hanson's response to this calling out is two-fold: she claims innocence of bigotry, because she is only speaking her authentic truth; and she condemns the criticism that she sees as an attempt to silence her.

Look at it from Hanson's perspective: she believes, for example, that Sydney has been "swamped by Asians" as she warned us back in 1996. Her evidence for this is undeniable; obviously, she won't be going anywhere near Hurstville herself (because it's been swamped by Asians), but there really are a lot of people in the streets of Hurstville of Asian appearance.

Now, I may see this as a good thing, since I really like Asian food and culture and I really like human beings generally regardless of how they look. For Hanson, however, this is not a good thing. She's fearful of "Asians", and now they've taken over Hurstville.

She believes that her suburb is next. When you add to this her more recently discovered conviction that Islam is a worldwide conspiracy of conquest and subjugation, it's not hard to feel the urgency of her fear.

Does being scared of specific other people, not because of anything they've done or threatened to do but because of a label you've applied to them along with the ingredients you believe that label contains, make you a racist or a bigot? Or does it just make you a sad, self-alienated outlier in our multicultural society?

This isn't just a question of semantics. Calling Hanson racist guarantees one outcome only: that she will be reinforced ever further in her beliefs. Given that she already sees the world as a place of unending threat, and believes that the whole establishment is ranged against her, how do we expect her to react when we tell her she's a racist idiot and an embarrassment to her country? With gratitude? With remorse?

Hanson has spent the past 18 years trying to get back into Parliament. There's no good reason to suppose that she's been doing it just for the electoral funding. The more logical conclusion is that she believes her voice is needed, because she has something urgent and meaningful to say. Each time she speaks, that conviction is far more apparent than any suspected ulterior motivation. She is absolutely making trouble, but she really doesn't seem to see herself as a trouble maker. The predictable reaction she provokes, of outrage and condemnation, is in her mind obviously misguided and further evidence that she's right.

Hanson is in fact that rare thing: a conviction politician. Shameless populist, yes; skilful manipulator of the media and gullible voters, yes. But there are two types of populists: the cynical opportunists of the Trump or Palmer variety; and the true believers. This class of politician reeks of authenticity - Jacqui Lambie is an exemplar. She genuinely believes what she says when she says it, even the stuff that makes literally no sense whatsoever and even if she won't believe it later. Hanson is the same.

I've read that Hanson is actually quite a nice person if you meet her. I have no idea whether that's true. I also don't know whether she's as stupid as she sometimes comes across. I do know that I abhor most of what she says. I also think she has the right to say it, provided it falls short of inciting hatred or violence towards others. And, like it or not, we have to respect the fact that a substantial number of Australians feel sufficiently angry, alienated and/or disgusted to want to have her speaking for them on the national stage.

So, what do we do with a problem child like Pauline? I'm not saying we should empathise with her. Empathy requires comprehension of another's inner mind; I don't recommend digging too deeply into the Hanson brain. Nor should we back off from holding her to public account for the harm she does. We can however achieve that purpose without lapsing into the same behaviours of which we accuse her: name calling and provocation.

Distasteful as the prospect is for the other members of Parliament, they are obliged by their duty to us to engage sensibly with Hanson. They don't seem to find it too hard to do that with George Christensen or Cory Bernardi, and I really struggle to see what makes those gentlemen more worthy of anyone's respect than Hanson.

As for the media: continue to treat Hanson as a circus freak if you wish, for our mock horror and cheap titillation (ooh you'll never guess what awful thing she said today!), but you are doing no service to anyone. She will not be ignored; she is, for now, significant. When her words are hateful and harmful, call them so. Point out her hypocrisies. Explain why she is wrong.

Bigotry isn't funny; Pauline Hanson isn't a joke.

SOURCE.  Note:  I have omitted some initial throat-clearing above -- JR

Must not describe a conservative as a "master politician"

Lisa Wilkinson has brushed off online criticism after being slammed by Twitter users for praising John Howard as a 'masterful politician' during a speech where he defended the Iraq war.

The Today Show host took to social media on Thursday to laud the former Prime Minister with praise as he responded to a scathing British report which ruled that the 2003 conflict was ill-informed.

Mr Howard, who was Prime Minister when Australia joined the UK and US in invading the Middle Eastern country, defended his decision on Thursday, insisting there had been 'no lie' behind the military action which at its peak involved 1,400 Australian troops.

Tweeting as he spoke, Ms Wilkinson said: 'This press conference by former PM John Howard is a reminder of what a master politician he was. And still is.'

Within minutes she was lambasted by social media users who said: 'He led us into a war without a UN mandate. How's that masterful?'

The presenter returned to Twitter defiantly to slap down critics' comments about her opinion of Mr Howard, reminding them she had herself protested against the war.

'Can e/one pls (sic) untwist their knickers over my tweet re John Howard being a masterful politician. I marched against the Iraq War. Enough said.'

Pressed on by one user who took the opportunity to slam her coverage of the federal election as the 'worst' on TV, the presenter said messages against her had been 'nasty'.

Accused of not making herself clear, she continued: 'I think your nasty tweet was pretty - actually make that VERY - clear.'

Mr Howard spoke firmly on Thursday to insist the war had been entered in to in good faith all be it under flawed intelligence. 

It came after a long-awaited inquiry in the UK delivered its verdict.

The Chilcot Inquiry found that the likelihood of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, the UK and US's motivation to invade the countries, had been overplayed.

Peace options had not been 'exhausted' before the decision to go to war was taken by the UK and US, it said.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President George W. Bush have long come under fire for leading the Western forces involvement in the conflict.

On Thursday Mr Howard said he had no reason not to trust the leaders and their intelligence, defending his decision to support the operation.

'In the years that have gone by there's been this constant claim that we went to war based on a lie.

Tony Blair prompted fury in the UK by saying he would take the same decision to go to war again despite the report's finding that intelligence had been flawed

'There was no lie. There were errors in intelligence but there was no lie. When you're dealing with intelligence it's very, very hard to find a situation where advice is beyond doubt. 'Sometimes if you wait for advice that is beyond doubt you can end up with very disastrous consequences.'

By 2006 there were 1,400 Australian military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr Howard remained Prime Minister until 2007, a year before troops began withdrawing from the conflict zones.

No Australians were killed in battle but two died while in the region in separate accidents. 

Mr Blair spoke in London last week to say he regretted lives had been lost in the conflict but would take the same decision again.

The victims of 119 British soldiers who died while serving in the campaign welcomed The Chilcot Inquiry's verdict. 


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 July, 2016

Why does the working man's sport have to be banned?

The ban on greyhound racing in NSW

What nobody seems to be mentioning is that greyhound racing is the working man's sport.  You have to be pretty well off to own a racehorse but anyone can own a dog.  A dog with strong prospects will not be cheap but lots of outsiders get up so a small investment can get you into the excitement.  So lots of families do have a greyhound.  They are very docile animals and make great pets.  So you can head off each weekend with your family pet and enter into the enthusiastic world of dog racing.  It makes you a somebody in a way that you might not otherwise be able to do. 

But all that must now stop in NSW.  Why?  Why is it the little guy who is getting shafted again?  Basically because the conservative NSW government cannot be bothered to enforce the law.  The Leftist governments in Victoria and Queensland seem to have remembered for once that they represent the workers and have ruled out any ban.

There is no doubt that the practice of live baiting is cruel and that there will always be some temptation to do it.  There is a general belief that it does make the dogs run faster if they are pursuing a live rabbit.  But live baiting is already illegal and the greyhound clubs are making a big effort to end the practice.  All it needs is some serious police work to put some teeth into the ban.  Higher penalties could also be considered.

The other issue is the culling of unsuccessful greyhounds.  There are campaigns in place that ask people to adopt a dog that is too slow to win anything but the uptake is far less than the available dogs -- so lots of "slow" greyhounds are put down. That is certainly a cause for grief among the many of us who love dogs -- and I speak as a former registered dog breeder (though not of greyhounds).

But the sad truth is that unwanted cats and dogs of all kinds are put down all the time by the RSPCA and other animal shelters worldwide.  We should certainly insist that all cats and dogs of any kind are put down humanely but put down many will be.  Animal fecundity guarantees it -- and there is no dodging of that. So I do not see that putting down greyhounds is any different to putting down any other animal.

I commend the State governments of Victoria and my own home state of Queensland for their more balanced approach and urge the Premier of NSW to rethink his class war -- JR

A veteran greyhound breeder in NSW says a lot of innocent people are going to lose their livelihoods because of the state government's decision to ban the multi-million-dollar greyhound racing industry next year.

Paul Wheeler, Australia's largest greyhound breeder and owner, says the government has underestimated the number of people who will be out of a job when the ban comes into effect.

"I'm almost at the end of my working life but my son is in his mid-30s with a young family, what does he do? How does he replace his income?," Wheeler said on Sky Sports Radio on Friday.

"He's done nothing else but this all his life and so have some of the staff I've got.

"I've got two young girls working for us, they're teenagers, this is their first job from school and they've both got loans and got a car. They're terrified. They don't know what they're going to do."
A veteran greyhound breeder in NSW says a lot of innocent people are going to lose their livelihoods © AAP Image/Alexandra Patrikios A veteran greyhound breeder in NSW says a lot of innocent people are going to lose their livelihoods

Wheeler, a third-generation family business owner based in Young, says the entire industry is being punished for the actions of few.

"There's a few people (who have) done the wrong thing. We're all prepared to admit that, but there's a lot of good people out there and a lot of people are going to be hurt real bad," Wheeler said.

He believes the report of the special commission is flawed, saying in his 50 years in the industry he's never heard of the so-called prominent greyhound trainer who was interviewed by the commission and stated that live baiting was widespread.

"I don't know where they've got their advice from," Wheeler said.

"A lot of stuff that's been said in this commission, in my opinion, is hogwash," he added, after saying the report incorrectly noted that the majority of US states have banned greyhound racing.

SOURCE.  More detail here

Pauline Hanson should not be a 'scorned species', John Howard says

The former prime minister John Howard has warned media and politicians not to treat Pauline Hanson like a “scorned species” because isolating or attacking her will add to her battler appeal.

He also called for conservatives to “stay and fight” from within the Liberal party, after fierce criticism of Malcolm Turnbull’s election strategy and Cory Bernardi starting a new conservative movement that could lay groundwork for a new party.

Howard made the remarks in Sydney on Thursday at a press conference to respond to the release of the Chilcot report into the UK’s role in the Iraq war.

Asked if Hanson was an unwelcome presence in the next parliament, Howard replied: “My view is that anybody who is elected by the Australian people should be respected for that fact.”

Howard said the government should deal with Hanson “issue by issue”, as he had done, including by speaking up when he disagreed with her.

“I didn’t agree with her when she said we were being flooded by Asians because we weren’t, and I didn’t agree with her when she said that Aboriginal people weren’t amongst the most disadvantaged in our community because those things were manifestly wrong.”

Howard said Hanson was “articulating the concerns of people who felt left out” and he was “very critical of people who branded everybody who supported her as a racist because that is nonsense”.

“We are not a racist country and I wish people would stop reaching for that adjective whenever they want to isolate somebody who they don’t agree with.

“Let’s not resort to all of these isolating remarks ... there’s no good saying she will be a particularly scorned species. That doesn’t achieve anything. You have to recognise that people voted for her.”

Howard warned that in public debate in the late 90s the more Hanson was attacked “the more popular she became because those attacks enhanced her Australian battler image and she plays off that”.

Asked about Hanson’s view of Islam, Howard said he did not support her call for a royal commission into Islam and that religious freedom required people to be allowed to erect places of worship, including mosques.


Vanity Fair calls Australians 'throwback people'

The article below from the London Telegraph says that Australians were incensed by what was said about Australia.  So I checked what various Australian writers said about it.  I found no outrage.  The predominant tone was one of amusement. The Telegraph writer is behind the times too.  Australians are more self-confident than he expected.

 The Vanity Fair writer was totally inaccurate about so many things in Australia that it would be tedious to ennumerate them.  He was obviously relying on fleeting impressions he had got over a number of years.  But there was nothing wrong with that.  He was not writing a travelog or an academic disquisition.  He was just waxing dreamy and poetic.  Such writing has a place

I was something of a literary critic in my early days and I recognized it immediately as falling well within the conventions of poetry.  It is a form of fantasy poetry.

And the description of Australia as "throwback" people is an allusion to a common view of Australia in America -- that  Australians are a less corrupted people, like America in an idealized past.  It is a complimentary description.

The thing that REALLY steamed up a lot of people -- both in Australia and elsewhere -- was that the article was sexist.  But that is a lot of nonsense.  Why should a man not be dreamy about a pretty girl?  It is the politically correct brigade who are abnormal and perverted

They pride themselves on being a youthful, vigorous nation who have thrown off their colonial past to embrace the modern world.

So it comes as little surprise that Australians have bristled at being referred to as “throwback people” living in a country 50 years behind America.

Particularly when the description comes in a Vanity Fair article supposed to be praising one of the country’s most successful exports – Margot Robbie, the actress.

The cover profile of the Australian star of The Wolf of Wall Street and the latest Tarzan movie by Rich Cohen, a contributing editor at the magazine, remarked that to appreciate Miss Robbie fully, readers had to remember where she hailed from.

“She is from Australia,” Mr Cohen wrote. “To understand her, you should think about what that means.

“Australia is America 50 years ago, sunny and slow, a throwback, which is why you go there for throwback people. They still live and die with the plot turns of soap operas.”

“Perhaps it’s time you got in your time machine and flitted over the Pacific to Australia to have a good look at a normal society,” she wrote in The Courier Mail. “Your piece has only shown that you, instead of Australians, are from another era, because your writing deserves to be published 50 years ago instead of today.”

Mr Cohen was also taken to task for apparent sexism in his article. In the opening paragraph Robbie is described as “blonde but dark at the roots. She is tall but only with the help of certain shoes. She can be sexy and composed even while naked but only in character.”

The article has caused outrage on social media, where it was condemned as creepy, voyeuristic, sexist and the “worst writing ever”. “That is the biggest piece of sexist c--- introductory paragraph I’ve ever seen,” said a comment on Twitter.


Here is the "offensive" text:

"She is 26 and beautiful, not in that otherworldly, catwalk way but in a minor knock-around key, a blue mood, a slow dance."

"She is blonde but dark at the roots. She is tall but only with the help of certain shoes. She can be sexy and composed even while naked but only in character."

"She wandered through the room like a second-semester freshman, finally at ease with the system. She stopped at tables along the way to talk to friends. I don’t remember what she was wearing, but it was simple, her hair combed around those painfully blue eyes."

"It was Wolf that defined her. It put her up with Sharon Stone in Casino and Cathy Moriarty in Raging Bull — one of Scorsese’s women."

"Robbie grew up in Gold Coast, a city on Australia’s Pacific shore, 500 miles north of Sydney. In an old movie, you might have seen a crossroad sign demonstrating just how isolated it was, just how far from the known capitals."

"Now and then, she stayed with cousins who lived in the hinterland of the hinterland, where there really were kangaroos and a dingo really will eat your baby."

Spectacular 'forests of the sea' kelp fields which span thousands of kilometres and fund a $10 BILLION tourism and seafood industry wiped out by a marine heatwave

Greenies can't help themselves.  They can't resist tying any natural disaster to global warming.  The dieoff  of kelp described below happened in 2011, in the middle of a global temperature stasis that had lasted 12 years at that point.  Over that period, global temperatures had risen and fallen to the tune of only hundredths of one degree per annum.  It was as clear an era of NON-warming as one would ever be likely to find.  So global warming CANNOT be responsible for what happened to the kelp: There wasn't any such warming at that time

Hundreds of kilometres of a remarkable kelp forest off the western coast of Australia have been wiped out by marine heatwaves, a study has found.

These 'forests of the sea' make up 90 per cent of the north-western tip of the Great Southern Reef and underpin tourism and fishery industries that pump $10 billion into the Australian economy each year.

About 2,000 kilometres of the Western Australian coastline from Cape Leeuwin in the south to Ningaloo in the north of Western Australia was analysed in a study that spanned 14 years from 2001.

A heatwave in 2011 has been named the primary cause of loss, with 100 kilometres of kelp destroyed, which made up 43 per cent of the kelp in Western Australia.  Above-average ocean temperatures in 2012 and 2013 were said to 'compound' these effects.

The demise of the kelp forests is likely permanent researchers have said in a study published in the journal of Science on Thursday.

The forests that covered 70 per cent of shallow rocky reefs in mid-Western Australia have now become 'barren', researcher Dr Scott Bennett told ABC.

Dr Bennett who helped in the survey said he thought his team had initially made an error when they dived into the reefs off Kalbarri.

'We jumped into these waters at sites we've been going to for the past 10 years expecting to see large kelp forests and it was just a desert,' he said.

'We thought we'd made a mistake and got the location wrong. It is just heartbreaking to see such a complex, beautiful, vibrant ecosystem decimated.'

Turf algae had multiplied and tropical fish communities had increased which were preventing the regrowth of the kelp because they were being eaten before they managed to re-establish.

The extensive loss of kelp forests in Western Australia provides a strong warning of what the future might be like for Australia's temperate marine environments.

Climate change was creating more frequent heatwaves helping the southward movement of warmer waters and tropical species to increase in the region.

The survey also revealed that 2.5 degrees Celsius is the 'tipping point' for kelp forests.

Associate Professor Thomas Wernberg, from the University of Western Australia worked alongside Dr Bennett and described the kelp forests as the 'biological engine' of the reef system.

'They are as critical to the Great Southern Reef as corals are to the Great Barrier Reef,' he said.

'They are up to 16 times more productive than our most productive wheat fields and provide the foundations for the ecosystem.'

Species such as abalone and rock lobster thrive in these environments which are some of the most valuable species of marine life for fisheries in Australia.

'The impact has been particularly prominent at northern reefs, where kelp forests have disappeared completely,' Professor Wernberg said.

'Recovery is unlikely because of the large grazing pressure, continued warming and the likelihood of more heatwaves in the future.'


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 July, 2016

Be it due to subdued economic conditions or high cost of living pressures, or other factors, migration levels to Australia are falling fast

This is VERY good news. Immigration levels have long been very high.  And many of the immigrants will be in a car of a morning helping to create the peak-hour traffic jams we all know about.  Authorities have not been able to build the wider roads and  extra tunnels that are needed to keep pace with the influx.

And immigrants are big users of the public hospitals, meaning that EVERYONE has to endure long waits just to get an appointment if they have anything seriously wrong with them.  Older people remember the time when hospital staff were always waiting to take charge the minute an ambulance rolled up.  Now the ambulance will often have to wait hours to unload -- "ramping" it is called.  And while the ambulance is waiting to unload, it can't be sent to help another patient.  So everybody waits, even urgent cases.

We need a radical slowdown in immigration if public services are to catch up

According to Commsec, citing overseas arrivals and departures data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics earlier today, net migration — simply arrivals less departures — fell to 263,920 in the year to May, the lowest annual total since March 2007.

That equates to around 1.1% of Australia’s total population.


Families left terrified after 'African home invaders' smashed their way into two Melbourne homes using ROCKS - before stealing luxury watches and cars

African crime is a big problem in Melbourne.  Apparently lucky Melbourne got a big lot of them

Two terrified families were woken to the sound of shattered glass before discovering their cars and personal belongings, including luxury watches, were stolen in a series of violent home invasions.

In the first incident, a young couple was left cowering in their ensuite after hearing a rock smash through bi-fold doors at their Airport West home, north-west of Melbourne in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The pair quickly barricaded themselves in the bathroom next to their bedroom at around 3.45am as they desperately called police for help.

'I yelled out "who's there?" and someone just yelled back "Don't f---ing move",' the victim told 3AW on Wednesday.

'Someone tried to fiddle with the lock so I was leaning up against the door holding the lock closed at the same time.  'It was pretty terrifying (and) quite traumatic.'

When the couple emerged, they found the offenders had allegedly stolen their grey Volkswagen with the registration number VJT086, a purse and valuable watches.

Just an hour later about five kilometres away, a family of four were woken by the sound of a garden boulder crashing through doors at the back of their Essendon home shortly before 5am.

The family went into the living room where they were allegedly confronted by three men of African appearance who demanded the keys to their cars.

The father threw the keys to a limited edition black 2015 Holden Club Sport Anniversary - as police are told there are only 100 of the model in circulation.

It's alleged the trio also demanded the keys to the family Jeep but decided to take off in the black Holden sedan, registration number AFL268 after grabbing a wallet from the kitchen bench.

'I realised there were multiple guys in the house,' the man, believed to be the father, told Nine News.

'My natural instinct was to protect my family, my wife was behind me, I had two little kids in the bedroom.'

The Holden was spotted by police on Milleara Road turning into Keilor Park Drive in Keilor East, heading toward the Western Ring Road about 5am.

Detective Senior Sergeant Chris Hussey could not confirm whether the men were linked to the Apex gang but said the break-ins appeared to have targeted late-model cars.

'Clearly these aggravated burglaries have targeted the cars. They've gone into the houses with a specific intent,' he said, according to ABC News.

'They appear to be targeting modern, often luxury, cars, they've obviously got the cars they are targeting, taking those houses based on the cars they see.

'I think they see the car they want from the street, and they go in and take it.'

Police believe the two incidents are linked as investigations continue. 


Retrospective:  African attacks on Chinese students in Melbourne

The report below is from two months ago

The Chinese Consulate has urged Melbourne University, the state government and local police to better secure the safety of vulnerable Chinese students after a spate of targeted attacks by the city’s notorious Apex gang.

Vice Consular General Lin Jing said while Melbourne University and Victoria police had been quick to act on the attacks more needed to be done to secure ongoing “safe and happy living conditions” for Chinese students to help alleviate the growing anxiety of their parents.

Mr Jing said parents in China had contacted the consulate looking for information about the attacks and general safety of their children after Chinese state media reported Asian students were being terrorised by a gang around the Melbourne University campus.

Victoria Police, the Victorian government and the university have been at pains to hose down publicity over the assaults following international outrage and adverse coverage five years ago over a string of brutal attacks on Indian students.

Mr Jing said the Chinese consulate was paying “close and constant” attention to the issue and would continue to work with police and the university to ensure better security for its nationals studying in Melbourne.

“In China, especially, the parents of Chinese students are concerned about their kids’ safety,” he said. “The government, police and university have done a good job but more needs to be done to improve the security of Chinese students.”

The Asian students were believed to be targeted because of the perception they would not fight back, were wealthy and had valuable mobile technology which could be easily traded for cash or drugs.

There was also a violent attack on Chinese students in the suburb of Ormond where a gang of young African men from the Apex gang broke into the townhouse in the middle of the night, assaulting the students and stealing cars and hi-tech goods.



The Gold Coast police are alive with thugs and goons but top police are in denial about it. As the Gold Coast is a major holiday and tourist destination for both Australians and people from overseas that is a big problem. Three current articles below

Police find no fault with police

THERE is no evidence of a widespread, pervasive or negative culture within the Gold Coast policing district, an internal review has found.

Queensland Police on Tuesday released three reports into police shootings, the use of force and the culture of officers.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said many of the reports’ recommendations had already been finalised.

“Our members deal with volatile situations around the state on a daily basis,” he said.

“The vast majority are handled appropriately but it is important to continue to review all uses of force to ensure any issue are addressed.”

Commissioner Stewart said changes would be made to how police officers were trained to emphasise using minimal force to de-escalate situations.

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said he was pleased the reports’ findings had been made public but there was still a lot of work to be done with the recommendations.


Gold Coast police officer will not face excessive force charge, crime watchdog finds

A Gold Coast police officer will not be charged over allegations he used excessive force while arresting a 51-year-old youth detention worker, Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) says.

The CCC has however recommended disciplinary action be taken against the officers involved.

Ray Currier and his two colleagues were arrested outside a Surfers Paradise bar about 9:00pm in January 2015, with the incident occurring after one was refused entry.
Ray Currier, from Drewvale on Brisbane's southside
Photo: Ray Currier alleged he was a victim of police brutality. (ABC TV News)

CCTV footage showed Mr Currier being surrounded by police, falling to the ground and being punched in the head.

Nearby tourists also captured the moment from a nearby balcony, showing police repeatedly punching Mr Currier in the head and chest before he fell to the ground where he was struck several more times.

Mr Currier made a complaint to the CCC, saying, at the time, he was trying to move the group on.

CCC chair Alan MacSporran QC said he accepted Mr Currier had appeared to be attempting to move everyone out of the area, as had been requested by police prior to his arrest.

Alleged police incidents:

    September, 2015 - Footage emerges of a Gold Coast police officer punching a handcuffed man in the face.

    September, 2015 - A man dies while being taken into police custody on the Gold Coast, he reportedly stopped breathing after struggling with police officers.

    September, 2015 - Gold Coast youth worker alleges he was assaulted by police outside a venue at Surfers Paradise.

    June, 2015 - Two police officers suspended in North Queensland over accusations of excessive force.

    May, 2015 - Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley - the police officer acquitted of the manslaughter of Cameron Doomadgee on Palm Island - and his partner are stood down over an alleged police pursuit and use of excessive force.

Mr MacSporran said one of the officers was clearly seen using force but could argue in court that he was acting in self-defence.

"The evidence showed police only applied force after the complainant refused to stop interfering in the other arrest despite a number of requests to move away, Mr MacSporran said.

    "Although the force used was significant, video and other evidence reveals the complainant's arm was wrapped around the police officer's thigh where his firearm was holstered when they fell to the ground.

"The CCC categorically accepts the complainant had no intention of removing or using the police officer's firearm.

"The officer was of the view his firearm may have been taken from him.

"This clearly raises a defence of self-defence for the police officer which the prosecution would not be able to disprove as required for a successful prosecution."

Mr Currier now suffers post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the incident and was too unwell to speak to media.

His wife, Kris Currier, said the outcome of the investigation was unbelievable.

"Like any other victim, when you don't feel that there's justice is being served, it's very hard for a person to move on," she said.

"I mean let's face it, Ray's rights were stripped of him. "We've lost all faith in the justice system."

The conduct of a number of police officers involved in the arrest, transportation of the man to the watch house and other interactions that do not amount to criminal conduct will be referred to the Ethical Standards Command with a recommendation they consider disciplinary action.

In an interview with ABC News last year, Mr Currier maintained he did nothing wrong.  "I've got a cold fury in the way we were treated," he said."It's not like we were a bunch of teenagers.

"I remember getting hit from behind and recall being on my stomach and I could feel my panic starting to rise."

Mr Currier is a Justice of the Peace who had worked in youth detention for nearly two decades.


Justice Advocate: An Exclusive Interview with Renee Eaves

Renee Eaves was four months pregnant when Constable Barry John Donnelly entered her home and arrested her on driving offences.

The night that followed was hell: police at the Roma Street Watchhouse denied her medication or a bucket to vomit in, and Donnelly stood by laughing as another arrested person mocked and abused her for being sick in the cell.

Ms Eaves says that prior to the arrest, Donnelly had shown an “unusual interest in her life”.

Between 2002 and 2006, she estimates he had contacted her between 15 and 20 times, often asking about her boyfriend, her business and whether she had become single.

Donnelly entered Ms Eaves home when she was pregnant and arrested her for disqualified driving, an allegation she disputed and was eventually found not guilty of. She went on to take him and the State of Queensland to court for false imprisonment – making history as the first person to do this without the aid of a lawyer, and win.

Since then, Ms Eaves has become a vocal advocate for police reform in Queensland, a board member on the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, and was nominated for an Australian Human Rights award for raising awareness about issues surrounding excessive force, accountability and transparency.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers sat down with Ms Eaves to talk about her experiences, thoughts on the state of policing in Queensland, and her hopes for reform.

Q. Could you describe the circumstances of your arrest, how did it affect you?

So the officer [Donnelly] had already pulled me over numerous times, and he was appalling in the way he presented. I had a number of interactions with him that went really badly.

Everybody has that thing when they’re pulled up by a police officer, it’s either “Yes sir, no sir, I’m so sorry sir, please forgive me sir” or “Yeah fair enough, can I just have the ticket.” You’re answering to the law, you’re accountable to the law, you’re not answering to that individual police officer. I think it becomes a problem when the police officer thinks that you’re answering to them personally. You’re not. You owe them the same courtesy you owe every fellow human being. No more, no less.

Because I wasn’t sorry to him, in particular, an incident where I was a passenger in a friend’s vehicle, and was being fined for a ‘not properly adjusted seatbelt’ (it was twisted) not giving him the answers that he wanted to hear, it was escalating. I just refused to sit there and smile at the crocodile any longer for these absurd traffic stops, or beg for mercy. Call it ego or pride, I don’t know, I just had to draw the line and tell him to stop, and that he was out of line.

I tried to take out a restraining order against him, I went to the CMC [Crime and Misconduct Commission], Ethical Standards, I went to every single department that was available. However, back then smart phones weren’t around, so collecting evidence wasn’t quite as simple as just grabbing your phone and pressing record, and often the complaints came down to my word against his. At the time, I felt well and truly helpless.

It finally escalated to a point where he came into my home, handcuffed me and took me to the Watchhouse. His claim was I had been driving on a suspended licence. I was pregnant at the time and was treated appallingly. I wasn’t given water or medication or anything that I required. It was just ridiculous, I had no criminal record, there was absolutely no reason for the arrest, no reason to be paraded a block away vomiting in handcuffs, and it turned my entire pregnancy into a nightmare – eventually my son was born two months prematurely.

I was eventually successful in court with regard to the alleged driving offence, so I commenced civil action against this officer for wrongful arrest, assault and deprivation of liberty

Q. You made history in that case, being the first person to self-represent in a case against the Queensland police and win. What made you decide to do that?

A few weeks before going to trial, my lawyers wrote to me and said “it’s just not commercially viable, that the case had been dragged out for so long that even if you win you’re not even going to cover our fees” and I was absolutely hammered. I just couldn’t accept that this officer could abuse his power like this and get away with it. I wasn’t going to surrender, and decided that I’d run the matter myself.

For the next few weeks, I went and sat in on various cases. I sat in on fights over wills, trials over assaults, and all different types cases just learning and getting a feel for the courtroom. Then I just sat on my living room floor and compiled my case.

My civil matter ran for an entire week, and the QPS [Queensland Police Service] fought very fiercely. Every day I felt bruised and belittled, and almost re-assaulted. I remember coming home on the fourth day and falling asleep in the foetal position on the shower floor. I woke up at 2 o’clock in the morning with the cold water running on me.

I think it’s in those low ebbs, those moments of despair, that we discover our true strength. I just got myself up, put my suit back on that was crumbled on the floor, and prepared for the next day at court.

During all my encounters with this policeman, he was in a position of power. He had the handcuffs, he had the pepper spray, and in court he had the barristers and an unlimited cheque book.

Little did I know that with the cards stacked in his favour again, I’d successfully cross-examine this officer, and that when push finally came to shove the judge would see through his smirking, through the play on words, and ordered in my favour.

I won compensatory, aggravated and exemplary damages. The hearing symbolically ended on my sons 4th birthday; and I walked up to him and told him that I forgive him. Happy people don’t do what he did. I did not want to carry the burden of hate. This case instigated a lot of growth in me as a person.

Q. How did you find that process, teaching yourself law and compiling your case? Most people would typically have given up after their lawyers told them their case was unwinnable.

It was really difficult. Like most people I used to be full of lawyer jokes, but now I know why they charge what they do.

People often call me wanting advice on doing something similar, part of me wants to encourage them and say “Yes, stand up for your rights, give it a go” but the other part of me doesn’t want to make it sound easy. You can’t just get your pencil and paper, go to court, and expect the judge to see the truth, it’s not as simple as that.

The police are often 100 steps ahead, their people do this every day. They will sit in court and tell bare faced lies. I don’t think the average Australian realises what they’re actually up against because most of us like to believe that doesn’t happen. Finding a great lawyer that has the passion for the topic is a good start if you can afford it.

Q. Since the trial you’ve been really active as a justice advocate in Queensland. Have you had any other victories or high points?

Being invited to join the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties was definitely a high point, I’ve always followed them, and they align with my values. When they called me to join I was really quite honoured. I enjoy the meetings being surrounded by likeminded people.

Being able to support a police officer [Rick Fiori] against his superiors has definitely been a high point. Because I’ve never been anti police. I’m anti brutality. There was a video that came out of Gold Coast – police bashing an innocent guy, and I’ve been there as court support for the officer that was charged with giving this footage to the media.

With a lot of cases you just have to push and push, and along the way you cop a lot of knocks. Every time something finally leans to the people that are being courageous, it’s a high point, it gives you a second wind and a bit more energy to keep going.

I guess the best thing now is that I already know what they’re up to, whereas someone coming in fresh and green might not. I’m someone that’s got the benefit of hindsight, that’s been there and done that, and have supported other victims emotionally because it takes a big toll, and I of course know first-hand how it feels.

Q. I’m glad you brought up the video. What do you see as the general state of policing in Queensland at the moment? With all the recent videos and assaults they seem a bit out of control.

The problem I see is you have police investigating police. The Crime and Corruption Commission investigate under 3 per cent of complaints, and refer almost all of the rest back to the Ethical Standards Command [run by police]. It doesn’t matter where you go, say you go to the Attorney General, she could refer you to the Police Minister, and the Police Minister will refer you to Ethical Standards. It does not matter which avenue you go down, you end up being referred back to Ethical Standards, who are police.

It’s like everyone’s related, everyone’s a cousin. There’s absolutely no external body, and this makes it a rife breeding ground for potential corruption.

At the moment, the Crime and Corruption Commission are putting-out a call for public comment on legislation that will silence allegations of corruption until they are substantiated. So what does that look like? You’ve got the 3 per cent of complaints they investigate, and the other 97 per cent that have been referred back to police. What they’re trying to do is shut people up and I think that is dangerous.

Q. Do you think there’s a chance for reform in Queensland, or do you think that culture is too deeply ingrained?

The way it stands at the moment, with police policing themselves, there is no incentive for them to make a decision to change that. Why would they do that to themselves?

Everything is leaning their way, to them it’s not broken, why fix it? We absolutely need an independent person or organisation to come in and address what’s really going on. It takes the same energy to cover things up as it does to fix it. But you are dealing with a very deep culture. For us to have a chance at change we need a truly independent body. I am forever optimistic though.

Q. That’s a pretty horrible reality. On a brighter note, I was hoping to get an idea of your plans for advocacy in the future?

Sure. Well I get a lot of requests from Sydney and Melbourne, so one day when the time is right and if its offered, I wouldn’t mind coming to Sydney – I’m definitely open to any offers.

What I would love to do is join the panel on studio 10 and discuss all topics. Women’s issues particularly! That’s my dream position right now.

I’ve also put my experience down in a book that I keep extending, and need to find a publisher to push that along too. The story has also been turned into a script for a film, the scriptwriter that penned Lindy Chamberlain’s story has done a great job of the script. He was perfect due to his experience with Lindy’s story, so I’m hoping a film will get the message out and paint a really clear picture of what’s going on here.

The most unfortunate part I guess is the things I most want to talk about have suppression orders or confidentiality agreements on them, and I personally think there’s too much of that going on.

For a Government that’s constantly talking about how transparent and accountable they are, I would seriously question that transparency when it comes to the QPS. It has not been my personal experience that accountability or transparency has been a priority to them.

But no one can say I didn’t give it a strong nudge right?


7 July, 2016

ABC suspends junk science reporter

The woman should have known better. There must have been some personal reason for the BS.  The effect of electromagnetic radiation on health has been a big boogeyman for many years but the contrary evidence is huge. A scare that a few alarmists are trying to keep alive is that the radiation from your mobile phone will give you brain cancer.  Yet from the early days of mobile phones until now there has been no upsurge in brain cancer.  Now that mobiles are very widely used, we should be swimming in brain cancer cases by now.  But we are not. High or low levels of mobile phone use and the resultant radiation makes no difference. It's all just attention-seekers big-noting themselves

Isn't she gorgeous?  I suspect that it is her looks rather than her scientific ability that has got her prestigious jobs.  It happens

A CONTROVERSIAL ABC program about the health effects of Wi-Fi has led to a presenter being suspended, after it breached impartiality standards.

ABC presenter Dr Maryanne Demasi from the popular science program Catalyst has been suspended until September this year, after a review of the episode titled “Wi-Fried” was conducted by the ABC’s independent Audience and Consumer Affairs (A&CA) Unit.

Adelaide-born Dr Demasi completed a doctorate in medical research at the University of Adelaide and worked for a decade as research scientist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

She has also worked as an adviser to the South Australian Government’s Minister for Science and Information Economy.

The “Wi-Fried” episode was broadcast in February this year and contained information about the safety of wireless devices such as mobile phones.

In a statement released by the ABC, the investigation was initiated after the ABC received complaints from viewers about the episode. The ABC informed readers of its findings after the show aired on Tuesday night.

The A&CA found the episode breached the ABC’s editorial policies standards on accuracy and impartiality. “The A&CA Report found several inaccuracies within the program that had favoured the unorthodox view that mobile phones and Wi-Fi caused health impacts including brain tumours,” the ABC’s statement said.

“ABC TV is reviewing the strategy and direction for Catalyst with a view to strengthening this very important and popular program.

“Further, ABC TV is addressing these issues directly with the program makers and has advised the reporter, Dr Maryanne Demasi, that her on-air editorial assignments will be on hold until the review is completed in September 2016.”

ABC Director of Television, Richard Finlayson said the investigation had been thorough.  “Catalyst is a highly successful and respected science program that explores issues of enormous interest to many Australians. There is no doubt the investigation of risks posed by widespread wireless devices is an important story but we believe greater care should have been taken in presenting complex and multiple points of view,” he said.

The finding comes just two years after a separate investigation was launched into a Catalyst program about the use of cholesterol-reducing medications.

“ABC TV takes responsibility for the broader decision-making process that resulted in the program going to air and acknowledges this is the second significant breach for the program in two years,” the ABC stated.

“The ABC accepts the findings and acknowledges that errors were made in the preparation and ultimate approval of the program.”

The “Wi-Fried” program will now be removed from the Catalyst website.

Information about A&CA’s findings will be added to the Catalyst website, and the A&CA’s investigation and findings are on the ABC Corrections page.


Exclusive Brethren MET school gets record funding

Australian church leaders normally advise people to vote Leftist.  So when in 2004 the Brethren recommended the conservatives, there was huge media outrage.  The Brethren have been in the sights of the entire Left ever since then.  Below is their latest discovery.  I don't have time to look into it but I note that ALL private schools in Australia receive extensive Federal funding

An exclusive private school run by an "extremist cult" that warns children to stay away from the outside world and bans its graduates from physically attending university receives more in government funding per student than up to a third of the state's public schools.

Data obtained by Fairfax Media from the MySchool website reveals that a school run by Protestant religious sect, the Exclusive Brethren, receives $800 more in public funding per student than Homebush West, which has been forced to ban children from running in its playground due to overcrowding.

At the same time, the school receives just $3 less in public funding per student than one of the state's poorer public schools, Liverpool Public.

The Liverpool school has a significantly lower ICSEA, or socio-educational advantage rating compared to the Brethren's MET school in western Sydney and receives $10 million less in donations every year. 

The religious group, which has 15,000 members in Australia and 40,000 worldwide has been in the spotlight since June after Fairfax Media revealed the group had covered up instances of alleged child sexual abuse. 

Brethren members are prohibited from eating or socialising with "worldly" people, and those who leave the church are banned from seeing their families, including their own children.

The sect first made headlines on the political scene after it funnelled hundreds of thousands of dollars into former prime minister John Howard's re-election campaign in 2004, and was later referred to in Liberal Party documents as "friends."

After winning office in 2007, Labor leader Kevin Rudd described the group as "an extremist cult that breaks up families," but continued the pattern of increasing funding to its schools.

In total, more than 600 public schools across the state receive less public funding per student than the Brethren institution, which has been rebranded as part of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church.

Successive NSW and federal governments have continued to fund the 1000-student, 11-campus school at record levels of more than $10,000 per student despite parents and brethren businesses bolstering its coffers through up to $10 million in gifts every year - three times the amount of income it receives in school fees.

A ruling from the Australian Tax Office in 2005 found that offsetting fees through tax free donations would be illegal.

In a statement through public relations firm Wells Haslem, the church said it has never accepted donations in lieu of school fees and that comparing private school funding with public school funding was "misleading and irrelevant." The way government schools and non-government schools are funded is quite different and can't be compared," the church said.

In defending its income stream, the school said "as a relatively new school" it had spent more than $4 million on facilities in 2014. The Brethren school was established 23 years ago.

A former Brethren school principal, David Stewart, said in 2007 that the sect's school system had been set up "to prevent the children from being corrupted" by things such as reading novels, and world leader Bruce Hales said in 2004 that the school system, which "the government has given us", would "deliver the young people from the world".

Private schools that receive a similar level of public funding, such as Emmaus Catholic College in Kemps Creek, have one-twentieth the level of private donations.

The combination of a high level of donations and public funding has meant that the Brethren school has been able to guarantee funding of up to $22,000, per student per year, more than many private schools secure through student fees, according to MySchool data.

Within its own postcode, the Brethren school outstrips public funding per student for two public schools, Burnside and Parramatta East.

Its school funding platform has drawn criticism for more than a decade, but taxpayer payments have continued to increase at record levels.

Recently re-elected federal senator Nick Xenophon called for an investigation in 2011 after describing the arrangement as a "tax lurk of biblical proportions".

In June, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he had "no criticisms or complaints" to make of the controversial Brethren and was happy for the extremist Christian sect to continue donating to the Liberal Party.

The comments came after it was revealed its leader, Bruce "the Elect" Hales, who has been known to transport himself in a private jet, advised a young follower to "finish yourself off" with arsenic rather than communicate with excommunicated members of his own family.

In a statement, the NSW Department of Education could not explain why the school was receiving funding equivalent to that of some of the state's poorest public schools despite having a donation base five hundred times their value.

"State funding levels recognise the level of resources available to each school based on fees, charges and parent contributions. Schools must be registered and not operate for profit to be eligible for state funding," a spokesman said.

The federal Department of Education has refused to answer how the Brethren school received more public funding than other comparable schools despite receiving $10 million in donations per year.

A spokesman for the department said funding was allocated on a number of factors including the number of students from a lower socioeconomic background, who have a disability, are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background, have a low English proficiency, and the school's size or location.

But MySchool data shows the MET school has no Aboriginal students, no students of a language background other than English and an average socioeconomic background.

The department would not comment on whether it had any plans to investigate the funding arrangement.


Federal election 2016: Cory Bernardi forms conservative political movement

Cory Bernardi has announced the formation of a new cross-party political movement, the Australian Conservatives, to gather proponents of “limited government, traditional values” and “plain old common sense”.

The conservative South Australian senator today warned that, after repeating the mistakes of the Rudd-Gillard Labor Party, the Turnbull Liberals had ushered forth a hung parliament that put Australia “right back where we were in 2010” and they must “learn from the experience”.

“In my youth I was told that the definition of madness was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. That axiom has borne out once again,” he wrote in his weekly email to supporters.

“As of writing, over 1.7 million votes were cast for right-of-centre or conservative parties rather than the Liberal Party. From my perspective, that was the Liberal base expressing their unhappiness with past events.”

Senator Bernardi announced the “formalisation” of a new movement, the Australian Conservatives, to “help change politics and to give common sense a united voice”.

“It’s more important than ever that we unite Australian Conservatives, who share many views, regardless of their party affiliation,” he wrote.

“If you believe in limited government, traditional values, defending our culture and heritage, lower taxes, a stronger nation, a stronger economy and plain old common sense, then you have a lot in common with millions of others. Now is the time to gather together.

“It’s the next step in making sure our voice is never taken for granted again.”


Queensland Aboriginal school closed down after principal was threatened with an axe will open again with extra security

Teachers who take jobs there must be desperate. 

A remote school that was closed down after its teaching staff were forced to evacuate due to violence will reopen with increased security and offer years seven and eight.

The Cape York Academy primary school in the troubled remote community of Aurukun, in far-north Queensland, will begin providing classes again following a review of education and security at the school by the Queensland Government, according to ABC.

Teachers were evacuated on two occasions in May after school principal Scott Fatnowna was attacked and carjacked twice in two weeks.

The first incident caused the evacuation of the school's 25 staff and the arrest of six people after Mr Fatnowna was attacked with an axe as he tried to stop people breaking into the homes of two teachers. 

The review made 27 recommendations, all of which will be adopted by the Queensland Government.

As part of the recommendations, new fencing, lights, security systems have been built and personal distress alarms have been issued, according to the report.

The town currently has 23 police officers, but will receive a further eight security personnel in line with the construction of a new teacher housing area.

Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones told ABC that classes will be provided for Year 7 and 8 students and distance education will be available for later years.

'They also want a greater focus on the Wik language, particularly for the transition of early years where English is often a second language for young people,' she said.

'That will ensure that we are providing that balance between Wik language and English in the school curriculum.'

Some teachers have chosen not to return to the school, but all positions have been filled, Queensland Teachers Union president Kevin Bates said in the report.

Queensland Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk told the remote indigenous community in May that the state government was making every effort to ensure the town's long-term education needs were met.

'We all know how important education is and it is indeed my priority to ensure that all children receive a good quality education,' Ms Palaszczuk said in the town square.

'I don't care where they live in Queensland, every single child deserves the best education.'

Ms Palaszczuk and Education Minister Kate Jones spoke to around 200 people in the town square following a tour of the town and meeting with the Aurukun Shire Council.

Aurukun elder Phyllis Yunkaporta told the premier in May she was opposed to the school being closed, but put the responsibility back on the community's parents.

'Children who are running amok and are not getting an education have to be home with their parents, their grandparents,' she said.  'We need to show love to our children.'

Shocking footage from Aurukun emerged in May of a group of women brawling in front of police.

The video shows a number of young women throwing bare-knuckled punches as onlookers stood by.


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 July, 2016

The Green/Left panicked by Pauline Hanson

Chronically angry Liz Conor is anyway.  And her elitism pops out quickly too.  She says below of Pauline:  "And why does Hanson even have an opinion on climate science?".  The obvious riposte:  "And why does Liz Conor have an opinion on climate science?" 

The rest of her rant is just one wild accusation after another.  I have noted some in the body of her text.  I actually wonder if she is serious.  I think she just enjoys being a dramatist.  But is she right in thinking that Pauline is bad for the Greenies? 

Her offsider in Queensland, Malcolm Roberts, is a ferociously well-informed climate skeptic so she will have real intellectual firepower behind her.  Nobody will be able to bluff her with phony statistics etc.  So it is highly probable that Greenie policies will come under heavy challenge from her.  And she is not alone in climate skepticism.  About half the Liberal party are closet climate skeptics so if she demands anti-Warmist measures as her price for supporting the conservatives in crucial votes, there will be a real willingness to give that to her

Fellow Austraiyans. If you are reading me now it means that I have become murderous. Murderously, apoplectically incensed.

Pauline Hanson appears to have picked up a spot in our Senate at the time of writing, possibly even two or more. She will represent Queensland in our House of Review, where our nation’s proposed laws are rejected or amended. And it’s not a three-year term. Unless Turnbull (potentially newly rolled into Prime Minister Morrison out of revenge for the LNP’s slashed majority) finds some other spurious reason to call a double dissolution, Hanson’s term is Six. Six. Six.

Hanson will make extravagant use of the Senate’s committee system, already proposing royal commissions into Islam and climate science. How in chrissname do you conduct an inquiry into one of the three major world religions? Imagine the terms of reference. Are there too many believers? Should they perform the pilgrimage to Mecca? Are Humans superior to Angels? Will the Australian Royal commission into erm, Islam require the seventh-century originals of its foundational documents be tendered – the Qur’an, hadith and tafsir?

And why does Hanson even have an opinion on climate science? Why are racists climate deniers? Does Hanson have doubts about enlightenment empiricism? Logical positivism? The verification of Authentic Knowledge? Or has she, like most climate deniers and obstructers, featherbedded her campaign with undeclared funds from fossil fuel conglomerates?

And this from the state where a few short weeks ago 69,000 jobs were unceremoniously scuppered from tourism on our ghostly white Great Barrier Reef. 5.2 billion in revenue sank without trace with the ‘jobs and growth’ shipwreck of LNP sloganeering. [That job loss was a Greenie prediction -- amid actual thriving of reef tourism]

The reef grief and reef rage many of us felt was bad enough. I mean it’s nice to banner hope for the unbleached 7 per cent and ‘recovering’ 65 per cent with a donate button but let’s be honest, the waters aren’t going to get cooler in the long-term, there will be more frequent El Niño events, worsening storms and Crown of Thorn starfish outbreaks. ["frequent El Niño events"?  They are reasonably predictable but they are not frequent]

The reef is terminal. [The head of the GBRMPA doesn't think so and it's his job to know] We have five years to save what little remains but instead the two parties that oversaw this catastrophe now hang in the balance, continuing to accept party donations of $3.7 million from the corporations responsible. While still in unfettered power the Libs demanded UNESCO whitewash any mention of the reef from its report into risks to world heritage sites and tourism.

So. Once you’ve taken out the largest living organism on the planet how precisely do you top that? It seems their ecocidal mania knows no bounds. Both parties can lay claim to the dubious distinction of perpetrating the only environmental catastrophe visible from space.

These people are not in jail where they belong. Instead they spent the last eight weeks fronting up to Australians asking to be entrusted again. We are not in safe hands.

As the Nemo who intercepted Turnbull might reasonably protest to humans, ‘I’m fed up with being told, this is our reef. Well, where the hell do I go? I draw the line when told I must pay and continue paying for something that happened over 20 years ago,’ namely early and credible warnings of global warming.

What kind of electoral dissonance are One Nation Voters suffering? As we of the Greens voting variety have been instructed, the workers of Australia have been so cowed by threats to Medicare they simply cannot spare a thought for refugees. Apparently the capacity for workers to run more than one thought process in their heads at any time is somewhat limited. Only the left commentariat can multitask, it seems.

But how can we fathom the thinking of One Nation voters, many of them jumping ship from the Palmer United Party.

I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Caucasians, tax evasions and Australasians. They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos, and do not assimilate.

We are bringing in people from Oxley at the moment. There was a huge amount coming to our polling booths, and they’ve got diseases, they’ve got BIAS.

Either Blind Freddy or Rip Van Winkel would have to vote for a candidate who did time for electoral fraud. Even if her conviction was overturned it shows a hair-raising lack of judgement in whom she entrusts the basics of organisational governance.

Where will Hanson-voters’ intolerance for Halal snackpacks take us? What other food allergies are they intending to force on the rest of us? Battered Islamophobia? Deep-fried homophobia? Queue-jumping dimsims?

Hanson will find a way to jumble racism with climate obstruction. As Naomi Klein presciently argues they already go hand in glove. She writes, “there is no way to confront the climate crisis as a technocratic problem, in isolation. It must be seen in the context of austerity and privatisation, of colonialism and militarism, and of the various systems of othering needed to sustain them all.”

But let’s give Pauline the last word on facing imminent destruction: “Do not let my passing distract you for even a moment … For the sake of our children and our children’s children, you must fight on.”

Thanks for the tip Pauline. You can bet we will.


How Australian voters are ‘raging against the machine’

THERE’S a revolution happening.  It’s the rise of the “up yours vote”, the protest movement that brought Britain to its political knees and continues to fuel the Trump campaign in America.

That movement, simmering away for almost 20 years in Australia, finally bubbled over at the weekend when voters thumbed their noses at the political establishment, en masse.

An unprecedented quarter of Australians have given their first preference to parties other than the Labor and the Coalition — the highest primary vote for minor parties and independents in the country’s history — resulting in what is shaping up to be another hung parliament.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told reporters yesterday that Turnbull had “Brexited” himself, choosing to ignore the fact that such a result doesn’t make Labor look great either.  While the ALP improved its primary vote from the 2013 poll, it was still the party’s second-lowest in 70 years.

“It’s the rage against the machine that is Canberra,” says Craig Emerson, adjunct professor at Victoria University and a former cabinet minister in the Gillard government.

“People believe the system doesn’t work for them; it might for business and the wealthy but it doesn’t work for the young people. If people see the system isn’t working and is completely irrelevant to them, then they are going to vote for the minorities.

“There is some speculation that Turnbull will cobble together another election in a year. If he does, he’ll get the same result. You know that saying about the definition of insanity? The definition of insanity of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

After the hung parliament in 2013, veteran political journalist Michelle Grattan compared Australia’s democratic system to a healthy person suffering from the flu. “It’s not seriously ill, but somewhat off colour. Citizens feel disillusioned, cynical and discontented with how this system is working,” she wrote in the foreword of a Democratic Governance Institute report.

“Three years of a federal hung parliament has probably made them more jaded than usual.”

Considering we have endured six changes in prime minister in just nine years, Australians have been incredibly patient, always wanting to give the benefit of the doubt, to believe our leaders have our best interests at heart.

Ironically, it’s the much maligned millennials who have taken us by the shoulders and bitch-slapped us out of our complacency. After all, they’re the ones who are going to have to survive this unaffordable, unforgiving world we have allowed to be created.

They — and increasingly their parents — are the behind the rise of the “up yours vote”.

“There’s a post-war unwritten agreement in Western countries which said it was OK for the rich to get richer as long as the poor and the middle got richer too,” Dr Emerson told  “But that agreement has been broken — the rich are getting richer and the poor are going nowhere and that’s why Donald Trump has emerged as a candidate.

“There’s another agreement, an intergenerational agreement in which we ensure that future generations will at least be able to afford their own home. But that agreement has been broken by Baby Boomers who are saying, ‘It’s all mine and I want more’.

“Our national pastime is whingeing. By voting, we earn the right to complain and moan all we want, even if we only earned it by drawing a cock and balls on our ballot paper in protest.”

Yep, it looks like the wind of change has finally arrived. Or has it?

“While a hung parliament might seen like a relatively common phenomenon in recent times, historically, they’re more unusual,” Adelaide law lecturer Adam Webster wrote in The Conversation. “The 2010 election result was the first hung parliament since 1940.”

So, only our third hung parliament since 1940 but unlikely to be our last.


TEFLON COATED: Nothing bad is sticking to the Australian dollar

Despite the predictions of doom

The Australian dollar might as well be Teflon coated at present. No matter what bad news is thrown at its way, it simply refuses to stick.

This was no better demonstrated that the price action witnessed on Monday.

After gapping lower on the open following an incredibly tight election outcome over the weekend, the Aussie ground higher over the course of the Asian session, finding strength as Chinese stocks and commodity futures ripped higher.

From a low of .7444, the AUD/USD eventually closed Monday trade buying .7534, up 0.55% for the session.

It has now rallied for five straight sessions, extending its gains from the low of June 28 to 3%. The winning streak is now the longest seen since mid-March.

Brexit. Prospect of a hung parliament in Australia. Potential AAA ratings downgrade. Not enough to stop the Teflon-coated Aussie


More education funding is no guarantee of better schools

We live in a time when reductions in government spending – and increases in taxes – will have to be made if our children and grandchildren are not to face much bigger funding cuts and tax hikes when lenders cease being willing to roll over (let alone increase) government debt at its present low interest rates.

Kicking the fiscal can down the road, which was the preferred approach by every party in the latest federal election, shows a preference for the current population to live better at the expense of our descendants, who will live worse as a result of our unwillingness to bring government budgets into better balance and start reducing debt now.

Big-ticket items in commonwealth and state budgets must come under heavy pressure when the inevitable spending cuts begin, because it is impossible to prune budgets severely while leaving major expenditure items untouched.

Health, pensions and/or education cannot escape the scythe, in due course, whatever the eventual result from Saturday’s election.

It may seem unthinkable that government spending on education be substantially reduced. But just how bad would the effects be on the quality of the education that our young will receive?

Many of my readers will have watched Revolution School (ABC2, Tuesdays, 8.30pm). If not, I recommend you catch up with it on ABC iView. It is about the turnaround in student outcomes at Kambrya College in Berwick, an outer south-eastern suburb of Melbourne.

When principal Michael Muscat took over in 2008, the school was chaotic and its academic results were very poor. Now, within seven years, Kambrya has become one of the most improved schools in Victoria in terms of Year 12 results. And not because of any preferential expenditure increase compared with other Victorian schools.

Kambrya has achieved its turnaround simply by working with the University of Melbourne to implement better teacher training and classroom practices.

Professor John Hattie, director of Melbourne University’s Education Research Institute, says improving the quality of feedback students receive and ensuring positive teacher-student interaction leads to the best outcomes. Class size, homework and public or private schooling are not nearly so important as the quality of individual teachers, Professor Hattie says.

Schools don’t make much difference – it’s the teachers. When I look at Kambrya’s achievements, the major message we should take home is that relentless focus on the quality of teaching can truly make a difference to the lives of students and that can happen in any school in the nation.

We have known this for a long time but have been side-tracked by vested political interests into supposing that spending more money on schools means the quality of teaching will rise as well. It hasn’t and it doesn’t.


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 July, 2016

Even if he keeps his job, Malcolm Turnbull's problems have just begun

Although coming from an academic, the analysis below is broadly reasonable, with lots of detail factored in.  I analyse the problem more broadly, however.  I think Turnbull's problem was that he was neither fish nor fowl.  In a rather amazing feat, both sides of politics saw him as too wishy-washy. Conservatives thought he was not conservative enough and the Left were disappointed that he did nothing to serve their wishes, despite initial expectations that he would. 

If he had run strongly on conservative policies, he would have locked up the conservative vote and might also have been able to do a few things in a more Leftist direction that could have kept alive the initial Leftist hope in him.  They would have seen him as offering conservative solidity but with a hope of him delivering some things in a Leftist direction.  A free vote on homosexual marriage might have been such a policy.  Among the all-important centrists, that could have been attractive

From the broadest perspective of all, however, both Turnbull and Shorten offered only the same old tired elitist consensus about most things that have recently come under challenge in the U.S., Britain and Europe.  Trump in America, Brexit in Britain, the rise of Marine Le Pen in France and the crumbling of Frau Dr. Merkel in Germany all say the same thing:  People are sick of the same old politically correct consensus and  want no more of it.  That analysis is strongly reinforced by the real winners in the new Australian parliament:  The independents. Their increased numbers are Australia's Trump revolt or Brexit revolt.  They too represent a rejection of business as usual

Whatever the final seat count, the 2016 election has gone badly wrong for Malcolm Turnbull. This was meant to be the election that would award him a resounding mandate and provide sufficient numbers in the combined House of Representatives and Senate to pass key legislation easily.

But, at best, Turnbull will be forming a government with only a narrow majority. In a much-less-desirable outcome, he’ll be negotiating with minor parties and independents to form a minority government in a hung parliament. In the worst scenario of all for the Coalition (though it seems less likely at this stage), Labor could form a minority government.

Alternatively, Australia may need to go to another election to resolve matters.

As when he was previously leader of the Liberal Party, Turnbull’s political judgement is being seriously questioned.

The Liberal Party could reasonably have expected the outcome to be better than this. Turnbull remained disciplined and on-message during an (excessively) long campaign, with no more false starts such as the debacles over floating ill-considered GST or state taxation ideas.

The impact of Brexit on economic markets should have reinforced Turnbull’s narrative of needing a stable, responsible and business-friendly government in uncertain times.

That simple message of stability should have cut through more easily than Labor leader Bill Shorten’s more complex argument that Brexit showed the dangers that can arise when conservative leaders give in to the right of their parties, as well as the need for government policies that protect workers’ wages and benefits.

So how did things go so wrong? And what are the implications for Turnbull’s leadership?

Turnbull’s campaign

Election outcomes are decided by multiple factors, including those particular to local electorates. But there were significant problems with Turnbull’s campaign.

It is not just that Turnbull was not as comfortable as Shorten when campaigning among ordinary voters. Labor repeatedly raised questions about how comfortable Turnbull was with some of the policy positions he was putting forward. It suggested he had betrayed some of his previous positions on issues from same-sex marriage to climate change in order to placate conservatives in his party.

Turnbull strongly denied that his own positions had shifted. Despite this, he went to the election with, for example, Tony Abbott’s policy of holding a plebiscite on same-sex marriage – an idea he had originally opposed.

Such issues reinforced the perception that Turnbull had shifted position, and so could also not be trusted when he denied government plans to privatise Medicare or initiate cuts to penalty rates.

Electors’ memories of past assurances from Julia Gillard and Abbott that were contradicted in office further reinforced this lack of trust. This was despite criticisms that Shorten was over-reaching by arguing the government was intending to fully privatise Medicare rather than merely substantially cutting benefits and increasing user-pays contributions.

Nonetheless, despite the Abbott policy legacies, Turnbull’s own campaign was still somewhat different from a John Howard or a Abbott one. He did not mobilise culture war issues to the extent that his predecessors would have. Abbott’s criticism that “national security has played almost no part in this campaign” is partly a reflection of this.

While Abbott would probably have used the Orlando shooting to highlight the Islamic State “death cult” and repeat his arguments about Islam’s need for a reformation, Turnbull had an Iftar dinner with Muslim leaders in which he made far more measured comments, assuring Muslims they were valued members of a multi-faith and multicultural society.

“Small-l” liberals, which Turnbull professes to be, and many security experts will applaud him for this. But social conservatives will use it against him.

While Howard and Abbott had campaigned with a combination of neoliberal (free-market) economic policy and social conservatism, Turnbull’s campaign focused more on economic policy.

Labor was depicted as big-spending, anti-business and disastrous for economic growth. By contrast, Turnbull promised a bright Australian future if the Liberals were elected, in which an agile and innovative government would encourage industry to generate jobs and growth. The centrepiece of the plan was a tax cut for business, with much made of the opportunities opened up by (Abbott-era) free-trade agreements.

Turnbull’s talk of agility, innovation and flexibility in exciting times is designed to encourage an entrepreneurial culture. It sounds more like motivational speaker Tony Robbins than Tony Abbott, and suggests that Turnbull sees exhorting Australian private enterprise to do its best as a major part of the prime minister’s role.

This is in turn because he sees the key role of government as being to reduce taxation and other barriers to private enterprise, and to facilitate market-based solutions, rather than for government to intervene more decisively.

However, the Liberal Party’s preference for neoliberal, market-based solutions (this predates Turnbull’s leadership though he is a particularly enthusiastic supporter) caused some stumbles. It made the government hesitant to provide extra financial support for areas of Australian industry to avoid job losses. Eventually, the threats to seats in South Australia (particularly Christopher Pyne’s) led to promises of submarines and ships being built in South Australia.

Initially the government merely utilised anti-dumping measures (designed to make market competition fairer) to protect steelmaker Arrium. Eventually the government also agreed to fund new equipment.

South Australian senator Nick Xenophon was among those who argued that such reluctant and piecemeal support was not enough, and that the government needed a stronger plan to encourage and support Australian manufacturing industry and jobs.

More fundamentally, the election result suggests many voters were not convinced by Turnbull’s arguments that the government had a solid plan for jobs and growth. This includes his claims that the benefits of tax cuts to big business would eventually flow through to them.

Turnbull had not adequately countered Labor’s arguments for a more socially equitable economic growth, or populist arguments from a range of minor parties and groups, including Xenophon’s.

Lessons from the campaign for Turnbull’s leadership

Even if Turnbull does retain the prime ministership, he will do so in extremely difficult circumstances. His leadership is clearly under major threat. He promised stability in uncertain economic times but may not even be able to offer stability in parliament.

He is the leader of a post-Howard Liberal Party in which conservatives had become dominant and found it hard to deal with a small-l liberal leader with more socially progressive views. Issues such as how the same-sex marriage plebiscite is handled will now be even more incendiary within the party. Key Turnbull supporters such as Peter Hendy and Wyatt Roy have lost their seats.

Turnbull’s neoliberal support for market forces and public sector cuts has been broadly supported in the Liberal Party since the 1980s, but is apparently no longer so popular with voters. This is an issue that goes beyond Turnbull’s leadership, which the Liberals need to acknowledge.

Turnbull faces an increasing protest vote for independents and minor parties. This includes those, such as the Nick Xenophon Team, that have questioned the free-trade agreements that Turnbull sees as central to Australia’s economic development.

The Senate seems likely to be even less manageable than it was before the double dissolution. Jacqui Lambie has been returned and Pauline Hanson’s political career has been resurrected. The Senate is also likely to feature colourful senators like Derryn Hinch. Both Lambie and Hanson project themselves as looking after battlers who are economically disadvantaged in today’s Australia, while playing on fear of the “other”.

Yet economic stability will be hard to offer in an international economy still not fully recovered from the global financial crisis and now further battered by Brexit and the issues it poses for Europe.

Also, a Turnbull government would face major problems as Australia attempts to transition into a technologically advanced manufacturing country. As Turnbull has acknowledged, this includes increasing competition from Asian economies and the unemployment that could result from technological disruption. Yet it is not clear what Turnbull’s solutions would be if market forces fail to deliver.

Above all, if returned, Turnbull would need to convince ordinary voters they will have a good life in the exciting future he sees for Australia. His own future depends on it.


Voting corruption

Below is an email from a regular Cairns correspondent

A little story from the North.  My sister works in Cairns Hospital these days.  She went to vote at the area set up for employees.  When she got there the woman (actually a womyn) on the desk ticking off names had a batch of ALP vote-cards in front of her. 

My sister asked for a Liberal card.  She received a look of savage hatred, and was curtly told there weren't any.  She scoured the room and found one in an empty booth, used it, and took it back the womyn at the desk advising her (nicely) that she could keep it and pass it on to others who didn't want to vote Labor. 

The thunderous look continued while the womyn took the card and pushed it under her book of names.  My sister had a friend up who also wanted to vote Lib, so she said to her loudly that the nice womyn at the desk has a vote card, but she would have to ask for it, possibly twice.

I assume that the womyn in question was working for the AEC.  This would constitute, at the local level, an act of voter supression would it not? 

There are a lot of second and third worldy nurses in Cairns these days (God help us all!) and I wonder how many just took an ALP card thinking it was an instruction.  My sister wants to make a complaint/report to the AEC.  It would seem Labor has sought to subvert democracy at a number of levels in this election.

Queensland Labor behind fake Medicare texts urging voters to steer clear of Coalition

POLICE have confirmed they are investigating the source of thousands of text messages sent to voters on election day.

The messages, first reported by, were sent from an account claiming to be Medicare.  “Mr Turnbull’s plans to privatise Medicare will take us down the road of no return,” the texts read.  “Time is running out to save Medicare.”

But Medicare had nothing to do with it. The government department responsible for Medicare, the Department of Human Services, as well as the Health Minister’s office, confirmed the messages were fraudulent and had not been sent by them.

Mr Turnbull used part of his speech to label the text scam an “extraordinary act of dishonesty”.

“Today, as voters went to the polls, as you would have seen in the press, there were text messages being sent to thousands of people across Australia saying that Medicare was about to be privatised by the Liberal Party,” he said.

“The SMS message came from Medicare. It said it came from Medicare. An extraordinary act of dishonesty. No doubt the police will investigate.’

Australian Federal Police told the matter had been referred to them on Saturday for investigation.

Labor’s Queensland branch told Fairfax it sent the text messages but did not intent to make the texts appear to have come from Medicare.

In a statement sent to, Minister for Health Sussan Ley called the messages “desperate and deceitful” and called on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to urgently rule out Labor or affiliated unions as being responsible.

“Australians can spot a fake when they see one and Labor’s Medi-scare campaign is the biggest fake of all,” she said.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was irate about the text scam on Saturday night. Picture: Jason Edwards

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was irate about the text scam on Saturday night. Picture: Jason EdwardsSource:News Corp Australia

On Saturday, a spokesman for the Labor campaign told the party was not responsible for the bulk messages and denied knowledge of the last minute text campaign.


Federal Election 2016: Pauline Hanson’s political resurrection

Serial candidate Pauline Hanson has experienced a career resurrection, winning a Queensland Senate spot for herself and leaving open the possibility her One Nation party might grab two more Upper House spots in two states.

One Nation has also secured huge first preference results in several LNP-held Queensland regional seats.

On first preference Upper House votes already counted in Queensland, Ms Hanson’s One Nation has secured 1.2 provisional quotas, ensuring Ms Hanson has grabbed a Senate spot herself and leaving open the possibility her number two, Malcolm Roberts will also be elected. That equates to 10 per cent of the vote counted so far.

In NSW, Ms Hanson’s One Nation has secured almost half of a provisional quota, or about four per cent of the first preference vote.

The firebrand Queenslander, a former federal Independent MP, told the Nine Network she expected One Nation to have at least two Senators.

In the House of Representatives in Queensland, there are a slew of regional conservative-held seats where One Nation has recorded significant, double-digit support on first preferences. In Flynn, where LNP MP Ken O’Dowd may narrowly hold onto the Gladstone electorate, One Nation candidate Phil Baker scored 17.63 per cent of the vote. The Townsville-based seat of Herbert, where the LNP’s Ewen Jones is fighting to keep his job, Geoff Virgo for One Nation secured 13.29 per cent of the vote. In Wide Bay, Elise Anne Cottam took just shy of 15 per cent of the primary vote.

Extraordinarily, in Hinkler — based on Bundaberg and Hervey Bay in southeast Queensland — the One Nation candidate Damian Huxham won nearly one in five of the first preference votes lodged. The outback seat of Maranoa saw similar support for One Nation, with Lynette Keehn recording 18.4 per cent of the primary vote (Palmer United Party got 14 per cent at that seat in 2013). However, the vote was strongest for One Nation in the seat of Wright — which takes in the Lockyer Valley and Mount Tamborine — where One Nation candidate Rod Smith grabbed 21 per cent of the primary vote.

One Nation has taken nearly nine per cent of the primary vote in Longman, north of Brisbane, where LNP Assistant Innovation Minister Wyatt Roy looks like he has lost his seat.

Even on the Gold Coast, in LNP MP Stuart Robert’s seat of Fadden, One Nation grabbed 12 per cent of the primary vote. The Sunshine Coast seat of Fairfax saw a nine per cent show of support for Ms Hanson’s party.

In Blair, held by Labor’s Shayne Neumann, One Nation candidate Troy Aggett polled nearly 16 per cent. In Oxley — the Ipswich seat Ms Hanson represented between 1996 and 1998 — the One Nation candidate got just over eight per cent of the vote. Former Labor state secretary Milton Dick won Oxley.

One Nation polled modestly in Leichhardt, based on Cairns, where the One Nation candidate scored less than seven per cent and popular local LNP MP Warren Entsch was comfortably returned.


Bees not so "threatened" after all

To listen to the Warmists you would think that there is only one species of bee and would think that it is at risk of being burnt to death by global warming.  There are in fact around 20,000b species of bee and all have their ecological niche.  Populations of European honeybees have had some difficulties in recent years but other species are thriving.  Below is a report on an Australian bee species

Flinders Biological Sciences PhD student Rebecca Dew and Associate Professor Michael Schwarz, together with Professor Sandra Rehan of the University of New Hampshire in the US, have found a rapid increase in the population size of the small carpenter bee (Ceratina australensis) from 18,000 years ago, when the climate began warming up after the last Ice Age.

Their findings, published in the latest Journal of Hymenoptera Research, show future global warming could be a good sign for at least some bees, which are major pollinators and are critical for many plants, ecosystems and agricultural crops.

“Our findings also match those from two previous studies on bees from North America and Fiji,” Ms Dew says.

“It is really interesting that you see very similar patterns in bees around the world. Different climate, different environment, but the bees have responded in the same way at around the same time.”

The small carpenter bee is found in sub-tropical, coastal and desert areas of Australia. The researchers spent almost two years conducting field analysis near Warwick in south-east Queensland, Cowra in central New South Wales, Mildura in north-west Victoria and West Beach in Adelaide.

Global warming has other potential effects on environment and ecosystems.

In another recent collaborative study between the Flinders School of Biological Sciences team,  previous Flinders research students Dr Scott Groom and Ms Carmen da Silva, Dr Daniel Silva from Brazil and Associate Professor Mark Stevens, from the South Australian Museum, showed that a bee species accidentally introduced to Fiji has become widespread and will flourish with continued global warming, perhaps even spreading to Australia and New Zealand.

“This bee, Braunsapis puangensis, is resistant to honeybee diseases and could well become an important ‘fall-back’ crop pollinator if honeybee populations continue to decline, which has become a major worry in many parts of the world, including Australia,” Associated Professor Schwarz says.

The findings, however, may not all be positive for bees globally, with other studies showing that some rare and ancient tropical bees require a cool climate to survive and, as a result, are already restricted to the highest mountain peaks of Fiji. For these species, climate warming could spell their eventual extinction.

“We now know that climate change impacts bees in major ways, but the challenge will be to predict how those impacts play out. They are likely to be both positive and negative, and we need to know how this mix will unfold,” Ms Dew says.

Ms Dew, who was previously awarded the prestigious J.H. Comstock award from the Entomological Society of America, is now investigating the populations of another species of native bee (Exoneurella tridentata) in arid areas of Australia.


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 July, 2016

A thought on the independents

The election has been good to the independents -- but not the same brainless and hypocritical independents as last time.  I was mightily pleased that the foul Tony Windsor and Robert Oakeshott went down in a heap this time.  They presented themselves as conservative independents to conservative electorates last time and then went on to support Rudd/Gillard!  Classical traitors.

Some of the new bunch are real conservatives -- such as Bob Katter and Pauline Hanson.  So Turnbull might be able to do a good deal there.  The wildcard will be Xenophon.  But he might support some conservative measures.  His iconic opposition to poker machines could be seen as conservative.

Long period of uncertainty after election

Australia is heading for a long period of uncertainty, just when the country does not need it.

Malcolm Turnbull insists the final dribble of votes will go the coalition's way and deliver at least the 76 seats needed for majority government.

However, as prime ministers past have discovered, discipline is hard to maintain in a tight situation.

The government could be one or two scandals or political stoushes away from losing a majority.

There are plenty of pitfalls ahead for Turnbull. The first is the economy.

Having promised to lift jobs and growth, voters will be demanding he deliver especially in rust-belt states where unemployment is stubbornly high.

Britain's exit from the European Union is still reverberating, the US recovery is patchy and China is facing challenges.

The coalition still has budget measures to pass dating back to 2014 and there's no guarantee the new Senate will be more amenable, with the likes of One Nation's Pauline Hanson expected to join the upper house.

On election night, there was talk among senior coalition members of reviewing the proposed superannuation changes which many older voters rejected and revising a number of other budget policies.

Turnbull has promised a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, which will open rifts between conservatives and moderates in his party and spill over into leadership mutterings.

And then there's the question of how to deal with Labor's Medicare attack - the most potent weapon of the election campaign. If forced to find more money for health and hospitals, and drop savings measures, Turnbull's promise of returning the budget to balance in mid-2021 will be a distant memory.

Turnbull will also have to do something to address the concerns of 23 per cent of voters who did not back either major party.

In his speech to the Liberal faithful in Sydney, as Saturday turned into Sunday, he said it was a time to "come together" and deliver on his economic plan. The problem is, these voters have categorically rejected his plan and want something more than trickle-down economics.

Labor portrayed this desire as working and middle-class people seeking a fair go. But even Bill Shorten's message was effectively rejected.

The key to the next term of parliament will be to tap into what a growing, disgruntled rump of Australians need and want.

Turnbull might be better advised to schedule his first meeting with Pauline Hanson, rather than his cabinet.


Linda Burney to become first female Indigenous MP in Australia's history

This is much less than it seems.  She is NOT the first Aboriginal parliamentarian in Australian history. That role belongs to Neville Bonner, put in by Australia's conservatives in 1971. Neville really WAS an Aborigine.  See below:

Linda Burney is a white woman with a small touch of Aboriginal ancestry.  Until his untimely death, she was married to a white man, Rick Farley

Labor candidate Linda Burney claimed victory in the Federal seat of Barton at 7:30pm on election night, becoming the first female Indigenous MP in the House of Representatives

The NSW seat is located in Sydney’s inner-south and has historically been marginal. Ms Burney won the seat off Liberal MP Nickolas Varvaris, who won the seat from Labor at the last federal election.

In an interview with NITV last month, the former NSW deputy Labor leader said she was motivated by traditional Labor values, as well as a desire to represent Indigenous issues.

“If I’m elected I will be the first female Aboriginal person elected to the house of representatives – while this isn't the sole reason for my candidacy I would be enormously proud to have helped break that barrier for our people,” she said.

“The people of Barton have the opportunity to make history at this election and they've been extremely excited and encouraging about that prospect, I've been very encouraged by their reaction,” she said.

Ms Burney said her Aboriginality plays an important part in deciding which policies to persue.

“My Aboriginality has made me focus not just on Indigenous issues but on ones which I see affecting the most disenfranchised and ignored groups in the community,” she said.

Ms Burney told NITV she strongly supported constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians, saying it did not preclude a treaty later being formed.

“I know that there are diverse views in our community about this issue but it is unrealistic to expect every Indigenous person to agree on the minutia, we should not be asking people to make that false choice,” she said.

Ms Burney said that she wants to set her office as soon as possible so she can hit the ground running.

“I will immediately be pressing our Minister for Education, who I very much hope will be a Labor Minister, to implement Labor’s Your Child, Our Future policy,” she said. “I will also be requesting a meeting with all of the Aboriginal and Indigenous members elected so that we can get working on implementing the policies which will help our communities.”


Nick Xenophon and Pauline Hanson set to be dominant voices on Senate crossbench

Populist Nick Xenophon and right-wing firebrand Pauline Hanson are set to be the dominant voices on an unwieldy new Senate crossbench likely to stymie a re-elected Coalition's agenda.

Senator Xenophon's team was on track to pick up at least another two upper house seats in his native South Australia, based on early counting.

"Let's wait and see," said Senator Xenophon of the Senate count late on Saturday night. "I'm forever the cautious pessimist."

While final Senate results may not be known for weeks, Ms Hanson's return to federal Parliament appeared all but certain.

Her One Nation was polling so strongly in her native Queensland it appeared she might pick up a second seat for her running mate Malcolm Roberts. The party also polled strongly in NSW and may claim a seat there after preferences.

"People want Australian values, they want their culture, they want their way of life," she said earlier in the night. "I suppose they see me as a person who really cares about them, who really cares about this country."

Success would end a two-decade political drought for the conservative, who served in the lower house from 1996 to 1998. She has had half a dozen unsuccessful election bids since then.

Her party also polled strongly in a number of lower house seats in Queensland.

In Tasmania, the outspoken independent, Jacqui Lambie, appeared set to retain her Senate spot.

In Victoria, broadcaster turned law and order campaigner Derryn Hinch - who secured the coveted first spot on the ballot paper - was polling strongly. "We are calling it, we are in," Hinch tweeted late on Saturday night.

The highly provisional results are based only on first preference votes and will change as counting continues over the coming days and weeks.

However, it appears the Senate crossbench could be even bigger than the eight-strong bloc - not counting the Australian Greens - that thwarted both Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull during the 44th Parliament.

While preference flows will be critical, both major parties and the Greens appear to have lost seats in the upper house.

The Senate result makes it even more unlikely that a re-elected Turnbull government would be able to pass its bills in a joint sitting.

In the last Parliament the government needed the support of six of the eight crossbenchers for bills opposed by Labor and the Greens. These early results indicate it may have an even bigger barrier to climb in the new Parliament.

While the government's Senate voting reforms were aimed at clearing out the Senate crossbench, the double dissolution lowered the bar for the independents and micro-parties to get elected.

Ms Hanson's success seems to have come at the expense of Glenn Lazarus, who polled poorly. Other independents such as libertarian David Leyonhjelm, motoring enthusiast Ricky Muir, Palmer United Party's Dio Wang, Family First's Bob Day and independent John Madigan were expected to fail in their re-election bids.

Whoever is ultimately successful will take their Senate seats immediately. The double dissolution means their terms will be backdated to July 1 this year, meaning no long wait until next July.

Going into the election, the Coalition had 33 senators, Labor 25, the Greens 10 and eight crossbenchers.


A sausage election

I got mine -- JR

From the outside looking in, you could be forgiven for thinking that today Australia is celebrating a festival of grilled meat.

Across the nation, people are turning up to local schools and government buildings, and snapping pictures of themselves eating this traditional treat -- a barbecued sausage on white bread, slathered in sauce and topped with grilled onions.

It is, in fact, the federal election day when the future leadership of the country will be decided. But to celebrate successfully voting, many Australians treat themselves to a sausage on the way out from the polling booth, cooked by an army of fundraisers and volunteers.

It's known as the Democracy Sausage, and along with sizzling meat and onions, it boasts a slight aroma of 'Constitutional Right To Vote'.

Prime Ministerial hopeful Bill Shorten has already got into the act, snapped this morning tucking into a sausage on a roll when he went to vote in western Sydney.

The leader of the left nominated a plain beef sausage as his favourite, eschewing fancier flavours.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's didn't bother picking up a sausage sandwich when he voted in east Sydney. (Editorial note: Which is outrageous and almost unAustralian, even if it was before 10am.)

But he did at least note that the day wasn't complete without them.

It has become such a part of the electoral tradition that Google Maps has featured data on whether polling stations have a sausage sizzle and/or a cake stall on offer for the convenience of voters.

Some bright spark has even mapped the informal sausage sizzles, noted whether vegetarian options were available, and added details on cake stalls and tables of craft goods for sale on site.

On Twitter, people's appraisal of this barbecued goodness under the tag #SnagVotes eclipsed the official election hashtag #AusVotes. Which shows something about the nation's priorities.

To highlight polling day, Twitter has issued a sausage and bread emoji that appears when users tweet #ausvotes.

Google reported the search for sausages was on par with hunt for election data.

But going from social media many punters are sticking with the basics.

According to Snagvotes, a group that's dead serious about all things sausage-sizzle related, today's about encouraging "participation in the democratic process and offering support for community groups and volunteers that run sausage sizzles and stalls on election day, as it is an important means of fundraising for them".

And for those who didn't manage to get a sausage at the polling station, here's a democracy sausage dog who turned out with its owner to vote.


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 July, 2016

Federal election result: Dr Goebbels lives on in the ALP

The ALP have received a swing their way on the back of their central campaign theme that Mr Turnbull would privatize Medicare.  No matter how often and how vehemently Turnbull and other Liberals denied it, Shorten kept asserting it.  He has obviously learned from Dr. Goebbels: "Tell a big enough lie often enough and people will believe it

Australia has been ranked as one of the most tolerant and inclusive countries in the world in an international survey

A major reason why it is tolerant is that our government has immigration under control -- unlike Britain and Europe.  So Australia does not have to put up with the foul  behavior seen in Europe from Muslim refugees

It also scored highly in personal rights - a measure of freedom of speech, movement and political rights - and is the fourth most 'socially advanced nation' behind Finland, Canada and Denmark, reported the Daily Telegraph.

The Social Progress Index, developed with the Harvard Business School, compared Australia to 132 other nations on 53 indicators.

Australia also rated well for access to advanced education, with 35 globally-ranked universities.

The tolerance and inclusion ranking, with Australia coming in seventh place, measures the country's tolerance for immigrants and religious acceptance.

Social Progress Imperative executive director Michael Green said it was clear from the results that Australia is one of the best countries in the world to live.

'On personal rights, in particular, Australia is a world beater,' Mr Green said.

Sydney University immigration expert Dr Stephen Castles told the Daily Telegraph new Australians with a good work ethic could still arrive and carve out a great life.

'Clearly there are some areas where people have a negative attitude and asylum seekers is one of them. But on the whole it’s a very positive picture,' he said.

Despite rating highly in some areas, Australia placed near the bottom of the table for obesity, placing 124th place, behind the UK and Germany.

Australia also scored a low ranking for its suicide rate and ecosystem sustainability, including greenhouse gas emissions, water withdrawals as a percentage and biodiversity and habitat.


'Disgraceful lie': Turnbull breaks his breakfast TV ban to savage Bill Shorten's 'Medi-scare'

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has appeared on Sunrise - just one day after host Sam Armytage critcised him for refusing repeated interview requests.

On the eve of the federal election the PM took aim at Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's 'Medi-scare campaign' calling it 'a disgraceful lie'.

It comes a day after Armytage let rip at Mr Turnbull for continuously refusing to appear on the breakfast show saying: 'His office always says 'No'. We ask every day. They decline every day.'

The Prime Minister was given 60 seconds to 'pitch' to the Australian public and convince them why they should vote Liberal, but only used up 45 seconds of his allotted time.

When asked about when the Coalition would make cuts to Medicare the PM denied it and said it was 'guaranteed' and his party would continue the freeze on indexation 'that was started by Labor in 2013'.

'We have continued it in order to ensure that we have more money to put into other areas of health,' Mr Turnbull said. 'If indexation was restored today it would add less than 60 cents to the amount that a doctor would receive for a consultation,'

'We're not talking about dramatic changes here per consultation, we're talking about absolute ironclad guarantee to continue our support for Medicare.

'What Bill Shorten has said about Medicare is a disgraceful lie', the Prime Minister added.

After the Prime Ministers interview Opposition Leader Bill Shorten appeared on the program to give his own pitch to the nation and answer questions from Kochie.

When pushed by the Sunrise co-host on whether Mr Turnbull was being untruthful about Medicare, Mr Shorten stopped short of calling his opposition a liar.


Tanya Plibersek: 'Waleed Aly must be smoking drugs' if he agrees with the Coalition

Tanya Plibersek said she thinks Waleed Aly “must be smoking drugs” if he thinks the Coalition has the superior child care policy leading up to this weekend’s federal election.

Aly came down in favour of the government’s approach in a segment on last night’s episode of The Project, deeming it the better long-term fix.

“We need to listen to the experts,” he said.

“They say that the current system is a total mess and it can’t be fixed just by tweaking a rebate here or increasing a cap there. It needs a major overhaul if we want to improve services and costs for all Australians in the long-term.”

Speaking to Mamamia in a Facebook Live session this morning, the deputy Labor leader said she couldn’t understand how Aly could possibly have come to that conclusion.

“I think he must be smoking drugs,” said Plibersek, “Seriously, there is no way anybody could suggest that.”

“Our policy actually increases the childcare benefit for everybody who gets it by up to $1600 a year, so everybody is better of on childcare benefit.

“And then a lot of people also get childcare rebate, and we’re increasing the childcare rebate cap from $7500 a year per child to $10,000.

“We’ve also said that we support the building or expansion of childcare centres in high demand areas, so that there will be more places available. We’ve also said that we’ll support extra out of school hours care.”

Plibersek said the fact that the government has spent just $9000 of the $185 million set aside for its nanny pilot programme, demonstrates that the Coalition is “incompetent and incapable of managing child care”.

“We need more places and more affordable places and we still need to focus on quality,” she said and this government’s been really trying to undermine the quality framework that we set up in government.”

Mamamia invited a member of the Coalition to participate in this morning’s Facebook Live session, but they were unable to provide a candidate.


Muslim Grand Mufti DEFENDS controversial Islamic preacher who says Allah will kill homosexuals with 'terrifying diseases'

The Mufti is right to do so.  In Romans 2:9, the apostle Paul says much the same thing.  And the emergence of AIDs, which is mainly a disease of homsexuals, is seen by some devout Christians as a confirmation of God's will
Australia's Grand Mufti has defended a controversial Islamic preacher who said God will punish homosexuals with disease.

National Imams Council president Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman said in 2010 that Allah will give gay people 'diseases that they have never experienced before'.

'And most of the diseases these days - if you speak to a doctor - he'll tell you the most terrifying disease come from what? 'From sexual activities... or also homosexuality that is spreading all these diseases,' said Shekh Shady, who controversially dined with Malcolm Turnbull at a function at Kirribilli House last month.

Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohammed has defended the Sheikh's comments and said he had 'simply conveyed a religious ruling'.

'Despite Islam's long standing position on homosexuality, which no person can ever change, no matter who they are, I would like to state the following,' Dr Mohammed wrote in a two page statement.

'That which Sheikh Shady has said regarding homosexuality is simply a conveyance of a religious fact which is known to every practicing person in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths.'

Dr Mohammed said Sheikh Shady had been singled out by Australian media outlets which have 'been involved in a type of terrorism of ideas against those who disagree with them' and are 'igniting fires, dividing our society, and spreading hatred'.

'We cannot describe those who disagree with homosexuality, or simply communicate a religious ruling that one firmly believes in, that such a person does not respect or accept others.


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 July, 2016

Once again: Lies as a Leftist campaign tool

Doctor with 'no political allegiance' on anti-Liberal election TV ad is revealed to be a left-wing activist with 40 years of campaigning behind him

A doctor claiming to have no political allegiance who appears in a television advertisement urging voters to 'put the Liberals last' has been a left-wing activist for 40 years.

Dr Robert Marr from the Drummoyne Medical Centre in Sydney's inner-west features in the ACTU commissioned advertisement campaigning against changes to Medicare.  

'I'm not in any political party, but I have been a family GP for over 40 years and I've seen how important Medicare is right since its introduction,' Dr Marr says.

'But with the Turnbull government's health cuts deepening, it's getting harder to care for my patients.'

Dr Marr warns that a re-elected Liberal government will cut health care funding and force GPs to scrap bulk-billing and charge patients more. 

'I'm worried that some people won't come to the doctor any more because they simply won't be able to afford it.

'But we can make a difference. When you vote on July 2nd, save Medicare and please, put the Liberals last.' 

Although Dr Marr said he wasn't part of any political party, he has a 40-year history of left-wing campaigning, including lobbying against the Coalition at the 1993 federal election, according to News Corp.

He also appeared with Bill Shorten in May promoting Labor's health policies.

Dr Marr was unavailable for comment, but an ACTU spokesman told Daily Mail Australia that the GP was not simply 'a left-wing doctor' and he 'speaks up about issues that he cares about'. Dr Marr has also lobbied against previous Labor governments' proposed changes to Medicare, the spokesman said.


Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton explains anti-gay-marriage lobby is concerned about children

THE religious opposition to same-sex marriage has expressed its real concerns over same-sex marriage — and they want you to think of the children.

Managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby told this morning that concerns over the fate of Australia’s future children is at the core of its opposition to allowing same-sex marriage pass through parliament.

“The baby who is taken from the breast of her mother doesn’t have a voice in this debate, the child who doesn’t get to know their father doesn’t have a voice,” Mr Shelton explained to

“There’s no inequality for gay people in Australia, there is none.

“But this issue of marriage is important because the law is not just something that is a big stick to beat us all over the head, it actually has an educative effect.

“Research clearly shows the quickest pathway to poverty for a child is for their biological mum and dad to break up, that's just a fact.”

In a Facebook Live debate on, Mr Shelton went head-to-head with Tiernan Brady, political director of the ‘yes campaign’ in Ireland, representing Australian Marriage Equality.

Mr Shelton explained his concerns on same-sex marriage created “an inequality for a baby not to know the love of their mother or father” and claimed women who were “willing to hire their body” to surrogacy had become an “ethically dubious process”.

“I can’t see how you can have marriage equality for two men without their ability to pay money to acquire a child from a woman whose willing to hire her body. “These are ethically dubious processes which have to flow as a consequence of redefining marriage.

“We’ve done a lot of work in Australia about the rights of donor conceived children to be allowed to know who their fathers are. Anonymous sperm donation is something which many women who wish to have families require because they don’t want a third person in their family, but the biological reality is a kid needs a mum and a dad, gender actually does matter to a child, and the diversity of gender matters to a child.”

Mr Brady accused Mr Shelton of causing a “deliberate misdirection” towards the argument, claiming “it’s about making sure all families are cherished equally”.

“Families come in all shapes and sizes, people in Australia know that. Our challenge at the moment is lesbians and gay people are not allowed to get married and have the same status and dignity for their relationship.

“Some people will have children, some people won’t have children. There will be lesbian and gay people raising children — as they are currently — the day after a vote no matter what the result.

“Denying them access to civil marriage doesn’t change the fact that they can be parents and they will continue to be parents. What it does do is ensure those families don’t have the same protection and dignity in law.”

Yet in a surprise twist, Mr Shelton expressed two men or two women “can love a baby and be good parents” and even in some cases they could “produce better outcomes” but questioned “is it ethical for a child to be denied the love and nurture of their mother or father? I don't think so, and we need to think seriously about this change because it affects more than just a loving couple.”

“If you redefine marriage you are by consequence redefining parenting, unless you’re going to have a form of marriage that doesn’t have children that says, ‘no we respect the right of children to have a mum and a dad so we’re just going to allow two people to have a form of marriage’. “That wouldn't infringe on the rights of a child, but I don’t believe that’s what the same-sex lobby is talking about.

“They want full equality and they want the consequences of that equality.”

When questioned over his views of heterosexual couples using surrogacy, Mr Shelton expressed his opposition, describing his views of anonymous sperm donation as “unethical”. “We’ve been consistent in that approach. Public policy should always put the rights of the child first, that should be our starting point.

“All of us have desires and things that we would like to have in life, but if those desires, those adult desires, trump the rights of a child then I think we have to ask ourselves are we really a civil society if we’re prepared to override the needs of a child for the rights of an adult.”

This morning, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the key to marriage was commitment, and if a same-sex couple has that for each other it won’t have any impact on heterosexual marriages.  “The threat to marriage is obviously a lack of commitment, cruelty, desertion,” he told the National Press Club in Canberra.

“If same-sex couples were able to describe or formalise their relationship as a marriage, we have no doubt that would not undermine ... our marriage.”

Mr Turnbull and his wife of 36 years, Lucy, will be voting yes in a national vote on same-sex marriage if his government is reinstalled on Saturday.

“We welcome couples making a strong commitment and we are very pleased to support that being described from a legal point of view, as a marriage,” he said.

The prime minister has promised to hold a plebiscite on the issue, convinced if the nation votes in favour a same-sex marriage bill will sail through the parliament.

But Labor says the nonbinding vote is a waste of money and could lead to hate campaigns aimed at same-sex couples and their children


Shorten and Leftist hate-speech

Shorten has suddenly backflipped on the attitudes described below.  He may have realized that treating a large part of the population as evil is not a good way to win votes

After the Orlando terror attack, many claimed the gunman committed an "act of hate". Homophobia -- a supposed mental illness behind anti-gay hate crimes -- explains everything, they say.

Now Shorten has seen a chance to renew opposition to the same-sex marriage plebiscite promised by Malcolm Turnbull. A plebiscite will be a huge waste of money, says Shorten. It will also be a tax-payer funded platform for homophobia. Disagree with that, and you must be a hater.

Shorten is obsessed with hate and falls back on it as the only possible reason for why people might disagree with his progressive agenda. But hate doesn't clarify what's at stake -- it only obscures it. Hate has its roots in strong emotions and abnormal mental states. Terrorism has its roots in politics.

Shorten and the Progressive Left view same-sex marriage through the emotional lens of hatred because they can't imagine any rational objection to it. Self-satisfied with their own tolerance of others, they are unable to understand why others -- such as conservative Muslims -- shouldn't tolerate them.

Viewed like that, Orlando can only be explained by a mental disorder -- in this case, homophobia. It cannot have been a political act. Mental illness trumps politics.

By persisting with the falsehood that a plebiscite will be a tax-payer funded exercise in hatred, Shorten shows himself to be out of touch. Beyond the inner circle of the bien pensants, many Australians are perfectly accepting of homosexuality but want to retain the traditional meaning of marriage. They resent their opposition to gay marriage -- whether for political, social or religious reasons -- being dismissed as a mental illness.

This attack on the good nature of Australians might backfire on Shorten when voters go to the ballot box. Far from dismissing his opponents as mentally ill, Shorten needs to trust Australians to act responsibly when it comes to redefining marriage.

By threatening to remove the decision from the people, Shorten shows how little respect he has for the voters whose support he now desperately needs.

The Orlando Wave may yet turn out to be a reef break.


Greenie scare fails

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef named the best place in the world to visit.  Throughout the bleaching scare, tourism operators have never had any difficulty taking people to unspoiled areas of the reef

IN a much-needed boost for the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living organism has been voted the best place in the world to visit by an influential US travel site.

US News and World Report’s World’s Best Places to Visit for 2016-17 ranked the Reef No.1 ahead of Paris and Bora Bora in French Polynesia.  Sydney also made the list — at 13th.

The site described the Reef as “holding a spot on every travellers’ bucket list”.

“The Great Barrier Reef is a treasure trove of once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” said the description.  “Whether you’re gazing at marine life through a scuba mask, letting the tropical breeze unfurl your sail, or in a plane gliding high above it all, the possibilities for exploration are nearly limitless.”

It comes after a series of sinister reports about the Reef’s future following a major coral bleaching event found to have affected extensive areas.

Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Leanne Coddington said the Reef’s first placing on the list, was a vote of confidence in its worldwide tourism appeal.

“The Great Barrier Reef is a living treasure and a major tourism drawcard for visitors to Queensland,” Ms Coddington said. “It is an unrivalled experience that tens of thousands of people are enjoying every day.”

Other destinations to make the top ten included Florence in Italy; Tokyo, Japan; the archealogocial capital of the Americas — Cusco in Peru; London, Rome, New York and Maui.

Cape Town in South Africa and Barcelona in Spain finished ahead of Sydney, the only other Australian location on the list.

“Expert opinions, user votes and current trends” were used to compile this list.

Last year London was No.1, Bora Bora No.2 and Barcelona third — while Sydney was placed fifth.

Ms Coddington said this year’s result reaffirmed just how important the Reef was to Australia’s tourism economy.  “It’s ours to protect and share,” she said.  “Experiences like the Great Barrier Reef help inspire visitors to experience Queensland, the best address on earth.”


Refugees: We don't want to come to Australia

Several refugees and asylum seekers detained on Nauru say they no longer want to come to Australia after becoming disillusioned by the government's treatment of them as they spend years waiting for their claims to be processed.

One father, who spoke of the frustration at telling his family they would be moving somewhere better for three years, said he no longer wanted to go to Australia.  'Three years (ago) I liked, but now, never,' he told the Nine Network.

An Iranian man, named as Mustapha, has opened a restaurant called Bondi Beach, but that is now the last place he wants to see.  He said he can't return to Iran and wanted to move to another country like Canada or New Zealand.

Two other men living on the island expressed similar sentiments.   'Don't like Australia, another country OK,' one told Nine's A Current Affair on Monday.  'My government very bad and coming to Australia, government Australia very, very too much bad.'

A young refugee who gave his name as Masoud has spent three years of his mid-20s on Nauru.  The now 27-year-old said Australia doesn't believe in human rights when it comes to foreigners.  'Because of racists, I know this,' he said.

'Liberal Party is racist. I feel Malcolm (Turnbull) is maybe a bit better than Tony Abbott but Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison, most of them, I know if they could they put us in the ocean really easily.'

A Pakistani man who's been on Nauru for three years said there was 'no humanity on the island' and that locals were robbing those housed in the camps. 'Nauru's not a living country. Small island, it's nothing island,' he said.

The asylum seekers and refugees also stage daily protests, placing themselves behind security fences in compounds from which they are allowed to come and go as they please.

Despite complaints from the asylum seekers and refugees, the Nauruan government says they are safe and well treated. 'They're very much well looked after and they're welcome here,' President Baron Waqa said.

His justice minister, David Adeang, told Nine the asylum seekers and refugees had it better than the locals.  'They don't pay for utilities, their water and their electricity is for free, they don't have to pay for rent, their houses are new and we give them employment,' he said. 'It's not much to complain about.'


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."


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To be continued ....
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