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, 2017

Bill Shorten promises $17.2 billion tax crackdown on trusts

This attack on trusts takes no account of alternative tax avoidance measures. Say I own a business and have a non-working wife.  I simply give my wife a 25% share in the business.  So the profits are legally and properly shared in that ratio too.  So I have a smaller tax base and she pays little or no tax.  Voila! More money for the family and less to the tax man.  "Tax the rich" attempts always runs up against avoidance strategies.  And let us not mention the "black" economy. I might mention that I have a family trust but don't use it for tax avoidance so would not be hit by the new measures. Trusts have many uses

Bill Shorten will slam the door shut on tax loopholes that let high income earners legally use trusts to slash their tax bills, in a move designed to raise $17.2 billion over 10 years.

The new tax policy, foreshadowed by Fairfax Media a week ago, is the second-largest revenue raising measure announced by the federal opposition, after its ambitious plan to curb capital gains and negative gearing tax breaks, designed to raise $37 billion over 10 years.

Mr Shorten will tell Labor's NSW conference on Sunday that, if he wins the next election, he will introduce an across-the-board minimum 30 per cent tax rate on discretionary trust distributions to people over the age of 18.

The policy, Labor argues, will only affect 2 per cent of taxpayers and is a fairness measure that puts middle-income earners on level pegging with Australia's most wealthy.

The bold plan to change the rules for discretionary trusts – put in the too-hard basket by previous governments – will be framed as a tough but necessary decision to tackle Australia's ballooning debt, which is on track to pass half a trillion dollars under the Coalition government.

Discretionary trusts allow high-income earners to distribute money to family members on lower incomes and tax rates – for example, to adult children at university – and, by so doing, reducing their own tax liability.

This sort of income splitting is legal but, Mr Shorten will argue, it is effectively a subsidy for wealthy Australians paid for by middle-income earners and is unfair as ordinary PAYG workers cannot split their income in the same way.

Mr Shorten will say that, over four years, the changes will raise $4.1 billion in revenue for the Commonwealth and that, with Australia's AAA rating under threat, "we don't have the luxury of leaving everything in the too-hard basket".

"We need to make the tough decisions to build a fairer tax system, a stronger budget, a stronger nation. This must include cracking down on artificial income splitting to avoid tax.

"A healthcare worker at the Nepean Hospital can't go down to payroll and request that they split her income to reduce her tax. A hospitality worker in Blacktown doesn't get to give herself a tax cut by moving some money into her partner's account.

"I don't begrudge anyone the money they've made. But our system should not be subsidising those who are already wealthy, and our budget cannot afford to."

Labor says non-discretionary trusts such as special disability trusts, deceased estates and fixed trusts will not be touched and – in a move that will shut down a key line of attack from the Turnbull government – it will also not apply to farming or charitable trusts.

Similarly, Labor will attempt to firewall itself from criticism by arguing the policy change follows a change made by John Howard, when he was Treasurer in the early 1980s, that saw income distribution to minors taxed at the top marginal tax rate.

Australian Taxation Office figures from 2014-15 showed there were 823,448 trusts in Australia with assets of $3.1 trillion and revenue of $349.2 billion and that about 78 per cent, or 642,416, of those trusts were discretionary trusts used by high-income earners to reduce their tax bill.

According to research from the progressive Australia Institute think tank, the use of discretionary trusts may be costing the Commonwealth as much as $3.5 billion a year in revenue. University of NSW tax professor Dale Bocabella has estimated the figure at about $2 billion a year.

Labor's estimated revenue numbers, from the independent Parliamentary Budget Office, are well below these figures.

The Turnbull government is likely to attack the plan as another example of class warfare from the Labor leader that does nothing to grow the economic pie but, rather, relies on the politics of envy and serves only as a redistributive measure.

Taken together, these promises are a gamble by Mr Shorten but, also, demonstrate his determination not to repeat the mistake of Tony Abbott's "small target" strategy ahead of the 2013 election.


Bill Shorten vows to hold vote on republic during first term of a Labor government

The last referendum returned a big vote in favour of the monarchy so this should be a loser for Shorten

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will promise to give Australians a vote on whether to become a republic during the first term of a future Labor government.

The promise, to be made in a landmark speech to the Australian Republican Movement on Saturday, will dramatically reignite debate about whether Australia should have its own head of state.

In a move that will energise republicans and give supporters of an Australian head of state a clear choice between Labor and the Turnbull government ahead of the next election, Mr Shorten will pledge to hold a simple "Yes" or "No" vote.

The question would be: "Do you support an Australian republic with an Australian head of state?"

The promise means a first vote on the issue would be held sometime between 2019 and 2022, to be followed by a second vote after that would settle on the tricky topic of the best model.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the republic debate should not be considered until after the Queen dies. But Mr Shorten will argue the debate does not require Australia to "wait for a change of monarch, we don't need to tip-toe around our future".

"I'm confident Queen Elizabeth would farewell us with the same affection and good grace she has shown every time a Commonwealth nation has made the decision to cut its ties with the monarchy. We can vote for a republic and still respect Queen Elizabeth," he will say.

Mr Shorten has previously said he would like to see an Australian head of state by 2025.

Mr Shorten believes Australia can retain its sporting and cultural links to the Commonwealth even if it voted to leave it.

"We can vote for a republic and recognise that Will and Kate have two seriously cute kids. We can vote for a republic and still binge watch The Crown on Netflix. And we can vote for a republic without derailing the business of government, or the priorities of this nation," he will say.

"I know an Australian republic isn't front-of-mind for everyone, but I don't buy the argument that we can't have this debate until every other problem in the nation has been's no good hoping for a popular groundswell – we must set a direction and bring people with us, and we have to do it early."


Residents fight to stop NBN and Telstra from axing 'state of the art' HFC network

For the residents of one of Sydney's tallest buildings, the arrival of the national broadband network has spelt the end of fast and affordable high-speed internet.

But last year, NBN ordered Telstra to scrap the HFC system and move customers onto its fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) technology, which it had installed using the building's 20-year-old copper phone lines.

One angry resident is well-known property developer Rick Graf. He is refusing to switch, aghast at the poor experiences of his neighbours.

"With the HFC backbone, I'm getting 120Mbps internet – over Wi-Fi," he said. "A neighbour of mine has switched to NBN and on a high-paying plan, and he can't get more than 50Mbps."

A quarter of Elan's 276 households are estimated to be using the HFC internet service.

Late last year, Telstra began telling Elan residents, via information sessions and letters, to move to the NBN and experience "fast downloads, better productivity, a brighter future", before it turned off the HFC system in February 2018.

NBN has the legal power to compel telcos such as Telstra to decommission their HFC and ADSL networks in return for compensation.

Mr Graf said NBN had effectively "downgraded" the building's infrastructure by choosing to connect the fibres to old copper lines instead of the HFC backbone.

"I'm not moving. Once we hear back from NBN about their reasons, we'll be taking this to the Ombudsman," said Mr Graf.

"It's counter-intuitive for NBN to downgrade the technology and give everyone half the speed."

The Elan building has become another flashpoint in the ongoing blame game between NBN and telcos over the escalating complaints about and general dissatisfaction with the $49 billion project.

NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow last week sought to downplay growing complaints by admitting to a 15 per cent dissatisfaction rate among customers connecting to the NBN. This could add up to more than 2 million users.

Mr Morrow said complaints from that cohort were becoming more audible now that the network was being made available to about 100,000 new premises every week.

An NBN spokesman said FTTB was the "best fit" and the "easier" option from an engineering point of view.

He said FTTB was capable of delivering speeds of 100Mbps, but retailers had to buy sufficient capacity or bandwidth.

He claimed retailers, including Telstra, were automatically placing customers on 12Mbps or 25Mbps plans unless they specifically asked for faster speeds, causing speed and congestion problems.

A Telstra spokesperson said customers shouldn't see much of a difference if they remained on the same speed tier.

"We actively monitor and manage our capacity on the NBN network to ensure we have the right level of bandwidth to support customer speeds," she said.

"Speeds on the NBN vary due to quite a large number of factors ... some are managed by retailers, others are designed and controlled by NBN."

Another resident, electrical engineer John Flanagan, who is refusing to switch, said his neighbour's internet connection had dropped from 110 to 30Mbps.

He is paying $29 per month for 25GB of data, which is a relatively small amount, delivered at an enviable 100Mbps.

Based on flyers left in his mailbox, he would have to pay iiNet or TPG $100 per month to remain in the same speed tier. IPrimus' best offer was unlimited data at 25Mbps for $80 a month.

"It's ridiculous," said Mr Flanagan. "I'm not going to pay more for an inferior service."

He said NBN should use the HFC cables to provide internet services or upgrade the cables.

This is because elsewhere in Australia, NBN is upgrading HFC technology to "DOCSIS 3.1", which can deliver lightning download speeds of 1Gbps.

"NBN says that HFC is the way of the future, so why can't they upgrade our existing system so that we can get speeds of 1GB [1000Mbps] and 100Mbps upload speeds and beyond?" he asked.

Residents who have tried to switch back to the HFC network have been blocked by Telstra.

Emeritus Professor Rod Tucker, an electronic engineering expert at University of Melbourne, suggested NBN could take a more flexible stance and allow Elan to keep the HFC network. "This is an isolated case and it is not going to cause NBN any significant financial disadvantage," he said.

"If NBN can provide a high-quality service on their network, they might be able, over time, to attract some of the residents using HFC onto the NBN."

He said under Labor's NBN plan, any shortfall in the bandwidth provided to customers would be the retailer's fault, and the tensions now emerging could have been avoided. "The best possible outcome for the residents of this complex would be to upgrade their network to DOCSIS 3.1, and retain it for access to the NBN," he said.

NBN spokesperson Tony Brown said the logistics around new connections were more complicated than they used to be, when there was a good chance that a single company – Telstra – owned the relationship with the customer from the retail face to the copper and exchanges underlying it.

"Now you've got NBN Co, then 43 retail service providers buying directly from the NBN, and another 141 sub-resellers buying capacity from Optus or wherever it might be, so it's not as simple as it used to be," Mr Brown said.

Resident Pam Cassidy's plan is to "jump up and down" until NBN changes its decision. One afternoon, she popped into her neighbour's flat to compare internet speeds. Her neighbour's NBN-delivered internet was "extremely slow".

"Call me old-fashioned but if you've got a service that's good, why change it?" she asked.  "Why change it to something that is not good?"


NSW ALP set to back Palestine despite 'furious' lobbying by Israeli government

The Left love Muslims because they both hate the rest of us

Labor leader Bill Shorten will be under increasing pressure to recognise Palestine after the party's NSW conference appears set to make an "historic" push to do so, despite some MPs complaining about "extraordinary interventions" and lobbying against the motion by the Israeli government.

On Friday afternoon shortly before NSW Labor Right figures met to negotiate on the wording of a proposal that would "urge" a future federal Labor government to recognise a Palestinian state, state MPs who were delegates at this weekend's NSW party conference received an email.

"Time and again throughout its history Israel has extended a hand of peace only to have it rejected by the Palestinians," the three-page document from the Public Affairs Section of the Israeli Embassy labelled as a fact sheet and obtained by Fairfax Media, reads. "The international community must speak up against the culture of oppression, genocidal rhetoric, terror and incitement that is prevalent among the Palestinians."

Former Premier Bob Carr told Fairfax Media there had been a "furious" lobbying campaign against the motion, which will "urge" a future federal Labor government to recognise Palestine and be voted on by 800 party conference delegates on Sunday.

"How did they know which MPs were delegates [only up to one-third of caucus go to conference]?" one NSW MP told Fairfax Media on condition of anonymity, saying the list was not publicly available.

An email and phone call to the Israeli Embassy in Canberra was not returned.

Former foreign minister Bob Carr said: "It's an honour to be asked by the party to move an historic motion that supports recognition of Palestine and to do so in the face of a furious lobbying campaign."

The final motion, unlike that originally presented to conference, includes an affirmation of a two-state solution and supports Israel's right to exist "within secure and recognised borders" something pro-Israel Labor MPs said was a significant addition to the party's original approach and a significant watering down of a provocative motion.

Some MPs in the right dismissed the addition as mere boilerplate but another observer said the phrase "within secure and recognised borders" could prove highly significant.

Pro-Palestinian NSW MPs claim they were subject to other lobbying last week from official and back channels, such as suggestions of alternative motions including that Australia only acknowledge Palestine when that country's institutions improve.

Mr Carr caused a fissure in the Gillard government by advocating abstaining on a motion before the UN on upgrading Palestine's official observer status, when the then-PM advocated voting against the proposal.

Mr Carr later wrote in his memoirs that the former prime minister was overly influenced by the Israel lobby and constituents in Melbourne.

Backers say the motion is an historic break for Labor, whose support for Israel dates back to its the 1940s and backing from party legend and former UN General Assembly President, Doc Evatt.

But that support, particularly in the NSW Right, has been weakening recently, particularly as the party relies more heavily on voters descended from middle-eastern countries in Sydney's west for its supporter base.

Earlier this month frontbencher Tanya Plibersek said foreign affairs was a matter for the party's national conference and would not be influenced by state branches.

But state conferences can influence policy debate significantly, party insiders say. Queensland Labor's conference this weekend also reportedly backed recognition.

At Labor's last national conference leader Bill Shorten's Victorian Right faction opposed any change to policy on Palestinian recognition.


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

30 July, 2017

Powerful ‘after rape’ pics show university problem (?)

I don't quite see why pictures of young women holding signs is "powerful". Given the pro-female bias in the educational system, I doubt that the story is true.  University culture from top down is pro-female so the claim that universities have a rape culture and even cover up rapes on campus could not be true per-se, but making the claim fits perfectly with university feminist mentality. It is an example of feminist detachment from reality and a needing to see things in a negative way, even the opposite of how they really are.

So the women with signs are just attention-seeking, more likely. 

And as we see from many British court cases, false rape cries are common so -- in that context -- at least initial skepticism displays proper caution.  Many innocent men have had their lives ruined by false accusations -- even after being exonerated

RAPE survivors and other university students have launched a powerful social media campaign to expose how Australian universities have mishandled rape and sexual assault complaints.

Holding messages condemning university inaction and cover-up, the survivors and other students are photographed holding signs calling out their institutions.

"My university punishes plagiarism more harshly than rape" wrote one student from the University of Sydney.

"I was sued for defamation for speaking out against a college covering up rape" wrote another. has confirmed the woman’s claims.

End Rape On Campus Australia, along with myself, designed the campaign to ensure that the voices and views of students are not sidelined next week, when a national report into rape at universities is released by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

After all, it’s often all too easy to forget that behind every statistic there lies a real person.

All too often, the temptation is to reduce sexual assault survivors to mere numbers without recognising the horror and complexity of each survivor’s story.
Students’ powerful plea to #EndRapeOnCampus

University students pose with signs in support of the End Rape on Campus campaign.

By putting a face on the issue, we not only humanise students’ stories, but importantly, it makes it much more difficult for universities to dismiss concerns via damage control strategies aimed at whitewashing the issue and protecting their own reputations.

And some of the stories we have heard at End Rape On Campus are absolutely harrowing.

One rape survivor called out her head of college for disbelieving her when she reported her rape to him.

"This does not sound like a boy who just raped a girl" the head of college allegedly remarked.

As for me, having spent a solid year reporting on sexual assault and rape at Australian universities — including revealing cases where staff members have raped students — the message I most want to send to all survivors next week is a very simple one:

I believe you. It’s not your fault. You’re not alone.

We’ve got your backs.


Prof Peter Ridd: the Great Barrier Reef recovers, our science institutions are failing us, science needs to be checked

Who is Peter Ridd? Some context first:



When marine scientist Peter Ridd suspected something was wrong with photographs being used to highlight the rapid decline of the Great Barrier Reef, he did what good scientists are supposed to do: he sent a team to check the facts.

After attempting to blow the whistle on what he found — healthy corals — Professor Ridd was censured by James Cook University and threatened with the sack. After a formal investigation, Professor Ridd — a renowned campaigner for quality assurance over coral research from JCU’s Marine Geophysics Laboratory — was found guilty of "failing to act in a collegial way and in the academic spirit of the institution".

His crime was to encourage questioning of two of the nation’s leading reef institutions, the Centre of Excellence for Coral Studies and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, on whether they knew that photographs they had published and claimed to show long-term collapse of reef health could be misleading and wrong.


Alan Jones, interviews Peter Ridd,  James Cook university professor of physics about the state of the Great Barrier Reef

The coral reef recovers.

Peter Ridd: Coral Reefs recover — "the scientists make hay when it dies in a spectacular way but they are quiet when it recovers."

On symbionts — "There is a large variety of symbionts and some allow coral to grow faster but are more sensitive to bleaching."

All the corals on the Great Barrier Reef live and grow much faster in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Thailand where the water is much hotter than it is on the reef and the corals just juggle these symbionts.  

Corals have a little thermometer built in them, when you take a core of them from many years ago we know what the temperature of the water was back when Captain Cook sailed up the coast, it was actually about the same temperature then. It was colder 100 years ago, but it has recovered from that. The temperatures on the reef are not even significantly warmer than average on a hundred year timescale.

Corals that bleach in one year will be less susceptible to bleaching in following years.

On the failure of modern science:

Peter Ridd: We can no longer rely on our science institutions. This is a very sad thing.

We are like a ship upon the ocean when our science fails and we need to do something about it. … This science is almost never checked.

Alan Jones: All these things [bleaching, crown of thorns] have been around for millennia, I love this line, as you write "long before scientists got hold of any scuba gear."

Peter Ridd: These things only became a problem when scientists pop up on the scene.

Scientists are trying to close down, or affect adversely the sugar cane, the cattle, and the coal industry, and they are also telling the world the reef is dead which affects the tourist industry in Queensland.

Like a bushfire… It [bleaching] looks terrible when it happens but it grows back.

On the future:

Peter Ridd: There needs to be a properly funded group of scientists who sole job is to find fault in the science with which we are basing expensive public policy decisions ….


Australian liberalism is conservative in sense Disraeli would appreciate


A dogma, Groucho Marx might have said, is a man’s best friend. After all, no one could deny that a fixed set of beliefs can sustain good combat, soothe defeat and simplify hard choices.

But in democratic politics, the blinkers dogmas impose are the surest road to ruin.

Malcolm Turnbull was therefore right, in his recent Disraeli Prize oration, to raise the fundamental question of what the Liberal Party stands for. And the mere fact that his speech fuelled yet more debilitating infighting does not detract from the importance of the issues he raised.

Yes, disunity can be death; but suppressing debate is a recipe for extinction.

Of course, Labor doesn’t have that problem. As a coalition of rent-snatchers — going from the thugs of the CFMEU through to the interest groups that live off the taxes of others — the only dilemma that seems to torment it is how to extract the resources needed to fund its many promises.

Little wonder then that any real thought perished long ago, smothered in the rhetoric of fairness, with Julia Gillard’s effort at articulating the ALP’s raison d’etre highlighting the intellectual collapse: Labor, she famously declared, is as it is because "we are us".

But Labor’s determination to imitate the sea squirt — which starts life swimming with the aid of a brain but once it finds a home, ­digests the now redundant organ and basks in the life of a vegetable — cannot excuse the Liberal Party from re-engaging with its history, values and principles.

To say that is not to suggest those form a monolithic whole, whose meaning can be discerned by consulting a sacred source. For all his enormous merits, Menzies was not a prophet, and nothing he wrote or said amounts to holy writ.

Indeed, it is hard to conceive of an approach more antithetical to liberalism than the belief that, as Isaiah Berlin put it, "somewhere, in the past or in the future, in divine revelation, in the pronouncements of history or science, or in the simple heart of the uncorrupted man, there is a final solution" to the practical problems of governing.

It is precisely because liberalism dismisses that Promethean conceit that it respects institutions that have stood the test of time, rejects grand projects of social transformation and accepts the inevitability of trade-offs between equally meritorious ends.

Like Dr Bernard Rieux, the hero of Camus’s The Plague — who says: "Salvation is just too big a word for me. I don’t aim so high. I’m concerned with man’s health; and for me, his health comes first" — its goal is not to endow life with splendour and greatness.

Rather, in resisting the temptation to put too high a hope on political achievement, it contents itself, as Michael Oakeshott suggested, with providing a framework for "the gradual readjustment of human relationships by fallible men".

That is necessarily a matter of time and place.

And Menzies’ genius lay precisely in grasping the changing realities of postwar Australia and attracting the social forces Labor had ignored and ill-treated. It is that achievement the Liberals need to emulate, instead of descending into scholastic disputes about Menzies’ views.

The difficulties that lie in the way of replicating Menzies’ achievement are formidable.

In the postwar world, the threat of communism created a natural fault line; today’s adversaries are less sharply defined. Australian society is also far more heterogeneous, and has lost all sense of a shared past or a common future.

Moreover, although liberalism is not tied to any religion, its underlying premise — that men are not gods, and that salvation, like ultimate truth, is not of this world — clashes with the unbounded self-assurance of a secular age.

Yet the threats Liberals need to confront are as great as ever. At one end are the jackboots of the unions, whose lawlessness has been condoned by the ACTU secretary; at the other, the new totalitarians whose belief in the ability to reshape the messiness of human affairs along "rational" lines, whatever the cost, reaches its peak among the climate change zealots.

How Benjamin Disraeli would have reacted to all of that is impossible to know. What is certain is that many viewers would have felt an element of irony in watching Turnbull receive a prize honouring a man of whom it was said, only slightly unfairly, that "he never thought seriously of anything except his career".

That Disraeli coined the phrase "the greasy pole" was therefore unsurprising; and it was unsurprising too that in his rush to dislodge Robert Peel, he launched what David Cesarani, in a brilliant study, terms an "unprecedented parliamentary vendetta", with his triumph of "intellect and unscrupulousness" transforming the Tories into "a party in chronic revolt and unceasing conspiracy".

Yet it is equally certain that no one better understood that, as Disraeli himself put it, "Great politicians must feel comfortable both in themselves and in their times."

Whatever his flaws, he forced the Tories to adapt to a society reshaped by the Industrial Revolution; and his greatest political achievements — the Reform Act of 1867, which gave ordinary working men the vote, and the avalanche of social legislation that followed it — reflected a conviction that workers, far from wishing to destroy society, were natural conservatives, united in their respect for national institutions and in the aspiration for a better future.

In that sense, Australian liberalism has also always been conservative: not in trying to preserve the past but in balancing continuity and change, stability and aspiration, self-reliance and mutual assistance.

Reasserting its core principles requires lucidity, not dogma, and mature reflection, not personal attacks.

Whether our political class is capable of that remains, at best, unproven.


Our students and teachers deserve better

Jennifer Buckingham

I had the privilege of travelling to England to speak with some of the world’s best researchers on how children learn to read, and to observe how high-performing schools use this research to get all children reading.

There is no longer any serious debate in England about the need for explicit phonics instruction in early reading instruction. In fact, it is mandatory for all English primary schools to teach synthetic phonics — a method of instruction that systematically shows children the connection between spoken and written language, and how to use the English alphabetic code to read and spell.

The quality of synthetic phonics instruction is still uneven. Not all teachers have sufficient depth of knowledge and expertise yet. Nonetheless, there is evidence via the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check (PSC) that instruction has improved. In the first year of the national PSC in 2012, 58% of Year 1 students achieved the expected standard. In 2016, 81% of students achieved the standard.

England’s progress in implementing effective early reading instruction was accelerated by the ‘Rose Review’ of early reading by Sir Jim Rose, published in 2006. It strongly endorsed the ‘Simple View of Reading’– a conceptual model which emphasises the importance of both decoding (word reading accuracy) and comprehension — and found that synthetic phonics was the most effective method of instruction, especially for children from disadvantaged backgrounds or with language difficulties.

The Simple View model is strongly supported by research from multiple disciplines. UK Schools Minister Nick Gibb was influenced by this research and has relentlessly pursued the adoption of effective reading instruction, firmly believing that reading is key to educational success and social mobility.

Australia had its own review of the teaching of reading — the National Inquiry into Teaching Literacy (NITL) — the report of which was published in 2005. Its findings were remarkably similar to the Rose Review.

Yet it\ has had very little impact on reading instruction in Australia. Instead of citing the recent scientific research of Professors Maggie Snowling, Kate Nation, Anne Castles, or Charles Hulme, our Australian literacy academics drag out the outdated, unsubstantiated socio-theoretical views of Ken Goodman and Stephen Krashen.

Australia has many outstanding teachers of reading, but they are too often swimming upstream against poor quality reading programs and policy. Australian teachers and students deserve better.


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, 2017

Christmas cards and the word 'Jesus' could be BANNED in schoolyards in a bid to increase religious inclusiveness

The Queensland government are moving to ban Christian references from school events and playgrounds in sweeping changes to education practices.

The Department of Education have conducted a review into the system and educating students about religion.

Officials are concerned non-religious children are being exposed to and forced to immerse themselves in Christianity, with even references to Jesus to be banned from the schoolyard, The Australian reported.

The Department of Education's report stated the responsibility of the school 'to take appropriate action if aware that students participating in Religious Instruction are evangelising to students who do not.'

'This could adversely affect the school's ability to provide a safe, supportive and inclusive ­environment,' the report earlier this year stated.

Examples of evangelising, as explained in the report, including sharing Christmas cards themed with Jesus' birth and life, making bracelets to share 'the good news about Jesus' and making ornaments to give to each other.

Education Minister Kate Jones promised to clampdown on religious practices, and Christian groups are becoming increasingly concerned at the government's agenda to remove their influence from schools.

Neil Foster, a religion and law professor, told The Australian the government's changes are 'deeply concerning' and 'possibly illegal'.

Independent Studies research fellow Peter Kurti said it was a 'massive assault on freedom of speech and freedom of religion' and believes the government's fears are a total overreaction.

'I don't think that children have the maturity to comprehend let alone evangelise.' 


Labor’s version of equality is to punish talent

I had the great pleasure of attending a 60th birthday and a wedding in the past week, at which numerous young adults made speeches. They celebrated family, love and loyalty, and, yes, exuded success.

They were superb. Australia, your future is in good hands. These young adults will continue our great good fortune, despite the worst efforts of cringe-worthy government decisions.

And cringe-worthy government decisions are all around. Tony Abbott’s cringe was to impose a temporary levy on the top marginal income tax rate. This measure, to address the deficit, gave licence to those who think that government — that is, other people — have a right to your money. Abbott gave licence to class envy.

This error, on the part of a Liberal leader, was so inexcusable as to be politically fatal. To this point, Malcolm Turnbull has made no such error. Mind you, his bank tax came close because, among other things, it gave licence to the execrable South Australian Labor government to do the same.

As to the alternative government, Shorten Labor is moving unerringly left. More cringe-worthy government decisions await.

Bill Shorten is running on inequality. For this, read class envy. The only way to satiate class envy is to tax those who have and give it to those who have not.

The consequences, however, are that talent is punished and bad decisions and behaviour are rewarded. And remember, the talented can leave Australia, others cannot. Shorten runs the risk of telling talented young Australians that it is not worth getting ahead in Australia.

Egalitarianism in Australia must be the "have a go" version, not the "screw the rich and talented" version.

My old colleague Graham Richardson supports the Shorten agenda on inequality and contrasts the circumstances of the wealthy man and the single mother living out of a car as proof of inequality. To which we are entitled to inquire: what is the relationship between the two? So far as we know, absolutely none.

Unless the rich man was in a relationship with the poor single mother, he is no more responsible for the mother than any other ­citizen. He will, however, by dint of our highly progressive taxation system, have already contributed to her parenting payment, should she be in receipt of one, helped pay to chase support from the absent male partner, if he has failed to do so, and helped pay for numerous other forms of government ­assistance.

So, why do we throw in these illustrations inferring that the rich cause poverty? They do not.

While family is the first call for help, in Australia the rich pay the bulk of taxes, the poor receive the bulk of taxes, and charity picks up the rest: it has been so for decades.

This scenario was the subject of a thoughtful speech last week by Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, in which he remarked that "the formula that worked in the past of continual increases in welfare and further services will not provide the step-change improvement needed to address modern impoverishment".

Modern impoverishment, as he calls it, is attributed to "family breakdown, worklessness, drug and alcohol addictions, education failure, and indebtedness and lack of financial capability".

If the rich man did not cause the single mother’s plight, who did? Best not go there … it gets very personal and very judgmental. Better to think about what to do to prevent her plight.

Poverty is intergenerational. It runs in families, and relatively few at that. Indeed, the minister has to tell the full story about the families who collectively cost the taxpayer dearly. They require serious and prolonged intervention.

We can intervene to help, we should intervene to help, but at the right time and in the right way. And for goodness’ sake, let’s not be squeamish. The taxpayer is not responsible for bad choices and bad behaviour. The taxpayer is entitled to say so.

To intervene or not to intervene is not the great schism between left and right any more — both sides are at it. The purpose and effectiveness of the intervention is what counts. Labor’s inequality gambit blames the rich: it makes no pretence of understanding the cause of poverty. And Liberals have lost their ability to inspire the aspiring classes.

The young and gifted become the rich of tomorrow. Praise them, don’t tax them more, and don’t blame them for others’ misfortune. I want to witness more great speeches.


Government makes Aboriginal problems worse, not better

According to Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, Australia remains a racist country because ethnic minorities are not perfectly statistically represented in the upper ranks of politics, the media, and business.

However, by calling for race-based quotas to end ‘Anglo-Celtic domination’ in these fields and ensure equality of outcomes based on racial-background, Soutphommasane is trivialising the issue of racism.

The real racism we confront in Australia is not how many ‘Asian’ CEOs there are. It is the reverse racism Indigenous children are subjected to in relation to child protection.

Indigenous children who need to be removed from their parents are treated differently to non-Indigenous children in ways that compromise their well-being and prospects in life — a form of racial discrimination about which ‘human rights’ activists like Soutphommasane are silent.

Thanks to our egalitarian values and modern attitudes towards race, we do not have anything that resembles a racial underclass denied equality of opportunity in this country — with one glaring exception.

The exception is the most disadvantaged Indigenous Australians who predominately live in rural and remote ‘Homeland’ communities.

Established in the 1970s under the policy of Aboriginal Self-Determination as implemented by the Whitlam government, the Homelands experiment in separatist development was designed to allow Indigenous people to return to their ‘country’ to live on their traditional lands and practice traditional culture.

In reality, however, these communities have long suffered from a well-known array of social problems — despite the billions spent on Indigenous programs and support services — including major concerns for child welfare due to high levels of child abuse and neglect.

As a result, Indigenous children are removed from their families at 10 times the rate of non-indigenous. Of the 45,000 children living into care across Australia, one-third are indigenous, and total more than 6% of all Indigenous children.

What is less well-known is how Indigenous disadvantage – appalling social outcomes in health, housing, education, and employment concentrated in rural and remote communities – is perpetuated by Indigenous-specific child protection policies.

Under the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle (ACPP) practiced in all states and territories, the preferred option is to place Indigenous children into ‘kinship care’ with relatives or local community members in the name of ensuring children maintain contact with traditional culture.

This is consistent with the separatist principles of self-determination. Yet the complying with the ACCP means that the priority given to ‘culture’ can outweigh child welfare concerns.

In Indigenous communities in which there are more maltreated children needing care than there are functional adults capable of providing suitable homes, children can end up being placed in accordance with the ACPP in unsafe kinship placements that do not meet basic standards, and into which non-Indigenous children would not be placed.

As the last inquiry into child protection in the Northern Territory (the 2010 Bath Report) found, the ACCP had justified "Aboriginal children in care receiving a lesser standard of care than non-Aboriginal children."

These findings have been echoed by the recent evidence given at the Western Australian coroner’s inquiry into high rates of Indigenous youth suicide.

The common threads in 13 cases of Aboriginal children and young people who killed themselves between November 2012 and March 2016 in the Kimberley region include family homes featuring alcohol abuse and domestic violence; long histories of safety concerns ranging from chronic neglect of basic needs to sexual abuse; and "frequent moves between households of various family members and guardians".

This is to say that, due to the ACPP, Indigenous children are taken out of the frying pan of family dysfunction only to be placed back into the fire of broader community dysfunction.

Recognising these problems, and the tragic consequences for many children, the South Australian government recently proposed an amendment to the state’s child welfare laws that would have enabled Indigenous children to escape being caught up in the present system.

The plan was to remove the application of the ACPP if an Indigenous child made an "informed choice" not to identify as Aboriginal in relation to placement decisions. This would, it follows, have allowed Indigenous children to be placed with safe and suitable non-Indigenous foster carers outside their communities.

However, the government dropped this provision from the new child protection act passed this month  in response to protests by offended Aboriginal groups,  who nonsensically argued that allowing children the right to opt-out of the ACPP "reeks of forced assimilation".

The emotive claim that upholding the ACPP will prevent another Stolen Generation may look noble.  But denying the most vulnerable children in the nation the freedom to choose to leave Indigenous communities — such as the notorious APY lands in South Australia — is deeply inequitable, and locks them out of accessing the benefits and opportunities of life in mainstream society that all other Australians take for granted.

Continued compliance with the ACPP is nothing less than a recipe for trapping another lost generation of Indigenous children in dysfunctional communities, and keeping open the gaps of Indigenous social outcomes that remain a blot on our proud national record of delivering a fair go for all.

We should take the issue of racism seriously because racism is inconsistent with the nation’s core values. Eradicating Indigenous disadvantages is the number one social challenge we face. Recognition of Indigenous children’s right to relocate, if they so wish, would protect their human right to equality of opportunity regardless of race.

A Race Discrimination Commissioner serious about eliminating real race-based social disparities should stop fretting about ‘non-Anglo’ CEO numbers, and start focusing instead on fixing Australia’s highly discriminatory child protection regime.


'They'll become terrorists': Millionaire entrepreneur Dick Smith says high immigration will create an angry underclass of unemployed - and likens population growth to cancer

Millionaire entrepreneur Dick Smith predicts Australia will suffer from a spate of terrorist attacks if it continues taking in 200,000 migrants a year.

The 73-year-old businessman and philanthropist told media commentator Mark Latham that high population growth and robots taking jobs could see 40 per cent of the nation living in poverty in coming decades.

'Those really poor people, especially the ones who can't get jobs, they'll be the ones that become terrorists because you have two or three generations without any satisfying work to do and you get angry,' he told the Mark Latham's Outsiders program.

Mark Latham was Labor leader when John Howard as prime minister increased immigration

Mr Smith, the businessman behind Dick Smith Foods and OzEmite, said Australia's population would quadruple from 24 million now to 100 million people by 2100 at the current annual population growth pace of 1.7 per cent.

This would see 40 million 'really poor people' who could potentially resort to violence.

'When you get such incredible difference between the rich and the poor, the pitchforks come out. We'll end up with people being killed,' he said.

In a separate interview with Daily Mail Australia, Mr Smith likened Australia's high annual net immigration rate to cancer which could upend democracy.

'Only cancer cells grow forever and they mostly end up killing their host,' he said.  'We will destroy Australia as we know it today.'

He accused the Liberal Party of being in the pocket of big business and Labor of bowing to the ethnic lobby groups.

Australia's annual net immigration rate stood at 82,500 in 1996 but crept above 100,000 a year in 2003 when John Howard was prime minister. It reached 190,000 a year in 2013 when Julia Gillard was national leader. 

Mr Smith called for the major parties in government to return to Australia's annual net migration rate to 70,000, the average level of the 20th century.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is calling for a much more drastic zero annual net immigration pace for 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

27 July, 2017

More Leftist hysteria

The Leftist version of reality is borderline insane -- with very little connection to actual events at all.  It suits their need for grievance but it is  totally unbalanced

Gillian Triggs, a stupid old hate-filled bag

LOOK, it’s her last day, and one is tempted to just let it go …

But the outgoing president of the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, has made assertions so outlandish this morning, it’s just not possible.

In an interview with the ABC’s Fran Kelly Triggs declared to listeners that the Turnbull government "is ideologically opposed to human rights."

I’m not misquoting.

"We have a government that is ideologically opposed to human rights." Those are Triggs’ exact words, and it’s on video, so there can be none of that coming back in a few days’ time to say she was misquoted.

Malcolm Turnbull and the government he leads — a democratically-elected government in the House of Representatives, which is held in check by the good folk of the Senate, men and women from every conceivable walk of life and human experience — is "ideologically opposed to human rights."

Which ones, though? Not the right to vote. Or stand for parliament. Or read a newspaper. Or even start your own. Or be tried by a jury of your peers in an open court of law.

We’re not a junta. We’re not a fascist state. We have a robust media, and a democratically-elected parliament.

We could go on, but that was not the worst of the interview.

Triggs also said that human rights had "regressed" in Australia under her leadership. She’s been head of the Human Rights Commission for five years, and we’ve "regressed on almost every front" and "one is extremely disappointed about that."

One?  What is this queenly "one" business?

Also, if one is extremely disappointed, shouldn’t one be taking responsibility? Triggs has had five years to advance the cause of human rights. Lord knows, she’s not without a platform. If we’re regressing, who is to blame?

Not the Human Rights Commission, no. It’s the Turnbull government, which is, as we’ve just heard, implacably opposed to human rights.

Moving now to the subject of how the world sees Australia, Triggs said: "One would have to be very careful indeed before we assume that we are well regarded in human rights circles internationally."

There’s that one again. But does one really believe that? I am myself completely opposed to the detention of children under any circumstance. It’s a stain on our good name.

But surely Australia still stacks up okay against, say, Aceh, where gay men were last week being flogged on podiums before cheering crowds; or Saudi Arabia, where women are routinely denied the right to travel, including behind the wheel of their own car, without a male guardian; or China, which allowed the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize to die in custody after jailing him for eight years for thought crimes, after a trial in which he was not permitted to speak in his own defence?

Or North Korea, for sending Otto Warmbier back to the US in a body sling?

Are we seriously to accept membership of this club? Australia makes mistakes. But we’re not a junta. We’re not a fascist state. We have a robust media, and a democratically-elected parliament.

Get a grip, Gillian.

Also interesting was how Triggs would, in a perfect world, address the problem. She says we need a Bill of Rights. Okay, and what should be on it?

Freedom of speech?

It’s the cornerstone of democracy. Western values can’t thrive without it. But it was the Human Rights Commission, under Triggs, that went hell-for-leather after a couple of college kids in Queensland, for writing Facebook posts; and it was the Human Rights Commission under Triggs that suggested the government make a massive compensation payment to an asylum-seeker who beat his pregnant wife to death; and it was the Human Rights Commission, under Triggs, who toyed prettily with the inquisition of a political cartoonist.

So perhaps we need a Bill of Rights that includes freedom of speech with a range of conditions, as set by one?

There’s more — like the bit where Triggs said she decided to launch an inquiry into the children in detention because "the new government was not going to release these children" — but let’s end on Fran Kelly’s final question: any regrets?

"No regrets. I believe we’ve done a terrific job," said Triggs.

Well, it’s a democracy! One is of course entitled to one’s own opinion.


Dangerous Victoria police

A 16-year-old girl has reportedly taken out an intervention order against a senior constable she has accused of raping her in a park.

The order – preventing the officer from contacting or approaching her - was issued after the girl made multiple sexual assault allegations against him, according to The Age.

The incident in a park in Mildura is the latest allegation of serious predatory behaviour being investigated by an internal taskforce.

A Victoria Police spokesman confirmed the investigation with Daily Mail Australia.

Detectives from Taskforce Salus arrested the policeman on January 25 and he was suspended with pay, she said.

'The male senior constable from Western Region was interviewed in relation to sexual offences and misconduct in public office,' the spokeswoman said.

She added the alleged offences date back to December last year, but declined to comment on whether they are said to have occurred while the officer was on duty.

'The victim has been referred to appropriate support agencies,' she added. 'As the investigation is ongoing, it would not be appropriate to make further comment at this time.'

According to The Age, it took two months after the complaint was made for detectives to interview the girl.

It is also not clear whether she is the only alleged victim in the case.

Taskforce Salus was set up in November 2014 by then chief commissioner Ken Lay to crack down on sexual predators inside the force. It is responsible for handling internal complaints as well as those made by civilians. The taskforce's detectives have charged a number of officers with rape and child sex offences.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that 144 claims of sexual abuse or harassment have been made against serving officers in the year since the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission gave its reports after reviewing sexual discrimination within Victoria Police in December 2015.

Last year, chief commissioner Graham Ashton said Victoria Police was facing its 'biggest journey of cultural change' to overcome the sexism and predatory behaviour ingrained in the force.


High school CANTEEN menu features turmeric lattes, smashed avo on artisan bread and vegan salted caramel

A big improvement on Mrs Obama's dismal ideas

An elite all-ages school is offering its students vegan chocolate mousse, dumplings and even smashed avocado on toast at its canteen.

Northern Beaches Christian School, in Sydney's far north, has been open to change in recent years, with teachers calling themselves everything from 'learning activists' to 'pedagogical wizards'.

And now the $15,000-a-year private school has also bid goodbye the days of writing lunch orders on a brown paper bag, with the school's canteen better resembling a beachside cafe with its variety of gourmet options.

Founded in the early 1980s, Northern Beaches Christian School (NBCS) became an independent and not-for-profit organisation in 2004. Today it has more than 1,300 students, with its practices seeing it 'highly regarded by educators across the world'.

And part of the school's efforts to 'empower' its students from primary school to Year 12, has been the inclusion of its independently-owned canteen - 'Grounded'.

While many parents' memories of school canteens involve brown paper bags, meat pies or devon and tomato sauce sandwiches, times have definitely changed.

It is joined on the canteen's winter menu by artisian fruit loaf, tapioca pudding, Vietnamese rice paper rolls, 'Nonnas meatballs', deli sandwiches on sourdough, as well as turmeric and chai lattes.

Promoting the canteen on its website, the school spruiks its 'great food and coffee' while also encouraging parents to pay a visit.

'The cafe aligns with our core value of being a learning community built on strong, meaningful relationships – food is a great catalyst for shared community,' the website reads.

'Grounded is an independent business, with a vision is to provide healthy, delicious food, prepared daily on the premises.' 


‘Self-aware’ Army officers to get coached in ‘cross-cultural competence’

Wotta lotta bullshit.  A soldier has to be ready to fight, not to hold hands

THE Australian Army is hiring private "executive coaches" to teach its senior officers "self-awareness", "emotional intelligence", "cross-cultural competence" and "interpersonal maturity" in an effort to combat perceptions that they are too "authoritarian, assertive and angry".

It has also commissioned "psychometric and psychological testing" as part of the Australian Defence Force’s push to transform its culture to fit with modern standards.

The Department of Defence has tendered for "executive coaching services" for private and group sessions with its top brass that would not be out of place on the bureaucratic satire Utopia.

The top priority referred to in the tender documents is "Self Awareness of Strategic Leadership Style".

Defence describes this as: "Exploration of personal values, beliefs, attitudes and associations and their impact on personal leadership behaviour."

The 12-month contract — which can be extended for further years — is for a program of up to six sessions for 24 officers, with individual coaching for Brigadiers and Major-Generals and group coaching for Lieutenant Colonels and Colonels.

In an accompanying document entitled "Why the Australian Army needs a co-ordinated Executive Coaching Program", the tender refers to an open letter by Chief of Army Lieutenant General Angus Campbell to his senior leadership group.

"General Campbell reflects that perceptions of Army officers as bureaucratically authoritarian, assertive and angry do not fit with the evolving cultural requirements of Army and are not helpful in a joint strategic environment," the document states.

"General Campbell suggests that what is helpful is ethically informed, values based leadership that inspires, resources and enables subordinates to achieve their best work."

One characteristic the Army is seeking to instil in its officers is described as "cross-cultural competence", which it defines as "understand(ing) cultures beyond one’s professional and national boundaries".

Officers will be expected to "work effectively with those from other cultures, generations, departments and gender".

Another is called "interpersonal maturity", which is described as "the ongoing development of self-awareness and emotional intelligence".

It also seeks to develop "‘small p’ political sense", which is "exerting influence across organisations and teams" and communications skills to "succinctly help others to understand complicated issues" and exert "interpersonal influence".

The document also expects officers to know their "identity" which is "understanding of one’s own values and how they shape leadership style".

Australian Defence Association executive director Neil James said it was a mistake to think the Army needed to change its leadership style. "You don’t want your army to change too much," he said. "You want your army to win wars."

Mr James, who served in the army for 31 years, also said it was a popular misconception that the Army was full of officers who were too aggressive. "Armies don’t work because people yell at people," he said. "It’s teamwork that drives the army, not shouting."

He said leadership skills were already taught extensively within the Army and this program seemed to be more directed at officers dispelling that misconception when dealing with other people and organisations, rather than actually changing themselves.

"It doesn’t matter what coaching you give, there’ll be people out there in society who think that. But that’s society’s problem, not the army’s."

The individual coaching would apply to 10 Brigadiers and/or Major Generals for six two to three hour sessions each in one year. The group coaching would involve six four hour sessions for 14 lieutenant colonels and/or colonels.

The tender also asks for providers to have expertise in applying psychometric testing during the coaching sessions.

"It is preferred that the supplier is also able to demonstrate suitable qualifications and expertise in the use of a range of psychometric and psychological testing and assessment tools for use within coaching, as determined by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency or similar body," it states.

It also raises the question of officers being psychologically re-evaluated over their careers and whether this should be included in the course, stating: "Defence does not have a standardised program that assesses personality styles or psychological types throughout officers’ careers."


Aboriginal whiner Cindy Prior avoids bankruptcy by paying court debt

Probably the work of a kind donor

The university administration worker who lost a $250,000 racial discrimination lawsuit against three students has escaped bankruptcy.

The Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane this morning heard that Cindy Prior, who claimed damages over Facebook posts, had paid her debt this week.

On Monday, a hand-delivered cheque for $4900 was sent to the office of Anthony Morris QC, who is representing two of the former Queensland University of Technology students Jackson Powell and Calum Thwaites.

Ms Prior, a Noongar woman from the Ballardong nation in Western Australia, was indebted after Federal Court judge John Dowsett ordered she pay $10,780 in court costs when she lost her bid to appeal against the students, causing bankruptcy action taken against her.

The former QUT university staffer, who worked in the Oodgeroo Unit at the Gardens Point campus, sued students Alex Wood, Mr Powell and Mr Thwaites for hundreds of thousands of dollars over Facebook posts in 2013, claiming the online posts contravened section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Ms Prior lost the case. She recently set up a crowd-funding page asking for donations to support the court costs she owes.

The string of legal challenges followed an incident where Ms Prior ejected non-indigenous students from an indigenous-only computer lab at QUT’s Brisbane campus on May 28, 2013

Mr Morris said Ms Prior paid the balance of the amount owed and under those circumstances, bankruptcy action could not go ahead.

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, 2017

'The education system is broken': Teacher who quit her job after 30 years reveals why she intends to home-school her grandchildren

Rather unclear what she wants changed.  More staff and less assessment is part of it but the rest is unclear. 

I think she fails to understand that continuous assessment is designed to circumvent reliance on a "sudden-death" examination at the end of the year.  That was once the system but was often protested against as being an unfair measure of a pupil's ability.  Lots of students who did poorly were said just to be having a "bad day".

And teachers "taught to the test" back then too.  It would be irresponsible to do otherwise.

And she ignores the function of the NAPLAN (national) exams in detecting and hopefully improving failing schools.  There are many quite bad schools in the government sector.  That is why 40% of Australian teenagers go to private schools.

It is of course possible to have a school environment where students feel relaxed and learn in their own way.  I once taught in such a "progressive" school myself. It had a great staff/student ratio and friendly teachers  but, even so, one half of my pupils did well and the other half learnt nothing.  And the school did not survive that.  It closed down after a few years.  A school system meant to serve all just cannot be run that way.

The classic example of such a school, "Summerhill", still struggles on but it still has only 60-70 pupils and is too expensive for most parents -- meaning that most pupils come from rich homes -- and they are above-average pupils anyhow.  The school is also said to be "surprisingly strict" these days. The school has been around since the '20s but has few imitators today.  It is clearly not a viable model for government schools

She set the internet alight last year, after she penned a damning essay about the state of the Australian education system and why she was quitting after 30 years in the profession.

And now the Queensland-based teacher, Kathy Margolis, has said she has absolutely no intention of letting her grandchildren into the school system either: 'The education system is broken,' she said.

'I have said to my three sons, "If you guys one day have kids, and I haven't managed to get the system changed, then I’m going to home-school every last one of them",' she told Mamamia on Monday.

In her latest statement, Ms Margolis has said that one of her biggest concerns about the school system is the fact that kids are being expected to read and write in their first formal year of schooling.

'There are kids who are saying, "I'm stupid, I can't do this,"' Ms Margolis said.

'They can see their friends who know all the sight words. Not only that, we're giving them report cards that are telling these parents, "Your child hasn't met this standard," when really, what we should be saying to the parent is, "It's okay, they're just not ready yet, don't stress." But they're not hearing that and they're going out and getting tutors.'

Ms Margolis added that she would have 'lost her job' if she had told parents that their child merely needed an 'extra year'.

'Parents want their kids to do well and to be okay, so they're coming from a place of helping their kids. Really, the kids just need extra time,' she said.

Since Ms Margolis quit teaching, she has started working for the organisation, Protecting Childhood. 

This stands for play-based learning till the age of six, no set formal homework until the age of eight, and no standardised testing which is used to 'pass or fail' kids.


Education in Australian schools is in crisis and someone has to listen to those who are game enough to speak up. I have been a primary school teacher in Brisbane schools for over 30 years. This year, after much thought, I have decided to look for another job, not easy for a woman in her 50s. I cannot continue to do a job that requires me to do what is fundamentally against my philosophy of how it should be done. I love my students and they love me. I know how to engage children in learning and how to make it fun. It’s what I do best.

Teachers have very little professional autonomy anymore. We are told what to do, how to do it and when it has to be done by. Never have I experienced a time in my profession where teachers are this stressed and in real fear for the mental health of not only themselves, but the children that they teach. The pressures are enormous. And before we get the people who rabbit on about our 9 to 3 day and all the holidays we get, let’s get some things straight. No teacher works from 9 until 3. We are with the students during those hours. We go on camps, we man stalls at fetes, we conduct parents/teacher interviews, we coach sporting teams and we supervise discos. And of course there is the lesson preparation, the marking, the report cards. Full time teachers are paid 25 hours a week. Yes you read that correctly, 25 paid hours a week. In any other job that would be considered part time. So now that I have justified our holidays, many of which are spent doing the above, let’s talk about what is going on in classrooms across this great nation of ours.

Classrooms are overcrowded, filled with individuals with all sorts of needs both educational and social. Teachers are told we must differentiate and cater to each individual. Good teachers try desperately to do that but it is near impossible and we feel guilty that we are not doing enough to help the children in our care.

The curriculum is so overcrowded. Prep teachers who used to run lovely play based programs (which might I add work beautifully) are teaching children sight words and how to read and write alongside subjects like history and geography. As a teacher and a mother of 3 sons, this scares the proverbial out of me. We all know that boys this age need to be moving around doing things that interest them, not sitting at desks. And what about the notion of readiness? I fear those little ones who are not ready are going to be left behind. And here’s the problem with our crowded curriculum. There is not enough time to consolidate the basics. Every teacher on this earth will tell you that the early years should be about the 3 R’s. My own children went off to year one after having had a lovely, enriching play based year of learning back in the days of pre-school. They didn’t know any sight words; they could write maybe a few letters and guess what? They learnt to read and write without being pushed at such an early age.

In my teaching career I have never seen so many children suffering from stress and anxiety. It saddens me greatly. Teaching at the moment is data driven. We are testing them and assessing them and pushing them so hard. I get that teachers need to be accountable and of course we need assessment but teachers have an innate ability to know what kids need. A lot of it is data for data’s sake. Don’t even get me started on NAPLAN. Teachers wouldn’t have a problem with NAPLAN if it wasn’t made out to be such a big deal by the powers that be, the press and parents. It has turned into something bigger than Ben Hur.

So why am I writing this? I’m writing this because teachers need to speak up but we are often afraid of retribution. We need to claim back our profession but we are powerless. Teachers teach because we love children and are passionate about education. Our young teaching graduates enter the profession bright eyed and bushy tailed, energetic and enthusiastic, ready to make a difference. So why I ask are they only staying for an average of 5 years? Of course that question is rhetorical. I know the answer. They are burnt out and disillusioned. Older teachers like me have seen better days in the classroom so in a way it’s harder for us to see all the joy slowly being sucked out of learning. But we also have a wealth of experience to draw from and we know which hoops you don’t necessarily need to jump through. We occasionally speak out. We are not as easy to "control". But we are tired and also burning out with disillusionment.

I write this in the hope that we can spark a public discussion. We need the support of parents, who I know agree with us. I write this because I love children and I can’t bear to see what we are doing to them. Last year, as I apologised once again to my class for pushing them so hard and for the constant barrage of assessment, one child asked me "if you don’t like the things you have to do then why are you still a teacher?" That question got me to thinking long and hard. I had no answer except that I truly loved kids and it was with a heavy heart that I realised that wasn’t enough anymore.

The teacher's original 976-word essay was published on her Facebook page last year. In it, she said the system was in 'crisis' and added that she wrote the post in the hope of sparking public debate.

'Classrooms are overcrowded, filled with individuals with all sorts of needs both educational and social. Teachers are told we must differentiate and cater to each individual. Good teachers try desperately to do that but it is near impossible and we feel guilty that we are not doing enough to help the children in our care,' she wrote at the time.

'Teaching at the moment is data driven. We are testing them and assessing them and pushing them so hard. I get that teachers need to be accountable and of course we need assessment but teachers have an innate ability to know what kids need. A lot of it is data for data's sake.'

The post swiftly went viral and was shared thousands of times online.

Daily Mail Australia has reached out to the Queensland Department of Education for comment.

In a recent statement issued by the state's education minister, Kate Jones, to ABC Radio, she said: 'I have to ensure that early year teachers feel that they have the flexibility to do the appropriate age learning for students in their class.

'Also in the recent budget we announced that there will be a fully funded prep teacher aide in every classroom in Queensland.

'The statements will identify any issues they believe the prep teacher should have and we will provide that directly, and this is something prep teachers have asked for.'


More than 68,000 people risk having their power cut as electricity prices skyrocket - forcing the government to step in with emergency financial help

Australia used to have some of the cheapest power in the world -- until the Greenies got involved

Tens of thousands of Australians are at risk of having their power cut off as they are unable to afford their bills.

A report by the Daily Telegraph has revealed 68,400 residents across New South Wales are set to lose their electricity as energy bills continue to skyrocket.

The state government are having to step in with emergency funds, with Western Sydney suburbs the hardest hit.

New South Wales homes pay more for power bills than any developed nation in the world.

The Energy Accounts Payments Assistance was implemented in 2012 as a measure to prevent an eletricity bill crisis, with each home to receive $50 in vouchers towards their energy bill. The new report suggests the average household needs five vouchers.

The suburb of Campbelltown is in need of the most help, with an estimated 1,619 homes needing financial assistance to continue their access to electricity.

The government are setting aside $404,750 for Campbelltown alone.

Auburn is not far behind, with 1,270 families needing assistance at a cost of $317,650.

The report estimates Blacktown and Bankstown are the next suburbs with the most risk with 1191 and 1156 homes in trouble respectively.

Western Sydney suburbs have been the worst effected because of the large number of fibro homes combined with uncommonly low winter temperatures.

Don Harwin, the NSW Energy Minister, has approached the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal over the crisis to ask whether the continually increasing prices are the result of a fair and balanced market.

'We are concerned about national energy rises and we are pushing our federal counterparts hard to ensure there is a sensible plan to fix the broken national energy market,' Mr Harwin told the Telegraph. 


Father battling Christian school after they banned his son, five, from wearing his traditional Sikh turban because it breaches uniform policy

He likes the school enough to pay money for his kid to go there but then disrespects what has made the school a good one -- an insistence on standards

A Sikh family in Melbourne is taking action against their son's Christian school - after they banned the five-year-old from wearing his traditional turban.

Sagardeep Singh Arora is fighting on behalf of his young son Sidhak, five, believing that he is being denied a basic human right outlined in the Equal Opportunity Act because he can't wear his 'patka' - which is the turban for children.

'I believe students should be allowed to practice their religion and should be allowed to wear their article of faith,' Mr Arora said, ABC reported.

'I was very surprised in an advanced country like Australia, they are still not allowing us to wear patka in the school,' he said.

Sidhak was enrolled to begin school at Melton Christian College, at the start of the year however the school's uniform policy does not accept his head covering.

The principal of the school David Gleeson said that multiple Sikh students go to the school but none are given an exception to wear the religious head covering.

'I think one of the real strengths of the college is that we're blind to … everyone is blind to religious affiliations,' he said.

Mr Gleeson likened the situation to a child who likes to wear a New Balance cap but is not permitted.  

He said anything additional to the uniform is not acceptable and this policy does not breach the Equal Opportunity Act. 

Mr Arora's son is now on the class list at another school but hopes the Christian school will change their minds so Sidhak can attend school with his cousins, who do not wear the turban. 

The hearing will continue on Wednesday.


Liberal Party members support Abbott’s ‘Warringah motion’ for plebiscites to decide candidate preselection

A TRIUMPHANT Tony Abbott last night declared the Liberal Party was finally wrenching power away from "factional hacks", after his one-member-one-vote push scored a decisive victory.

The former prime minister last night insisted the move was "not about me" after rank-and-file members overwhelmingly voted at a special party reform convention in favour of his "Warringah motion", which would allow ordinary Liberal members a say in who gets to run for office.

The proposal would mean preselections for candidates would be decided by plebiscites in which each member would get a direct vote in deciding who stood at the election, including for seats occupied by sitting MPs.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph after his charge to water down the influence of factional bosses within the party proved a success, Mr Abbott said it was time to steer away from the current "insiders club" that involves "rorting, racketeering and factioneering".

"We won’t have factional stitch-ups putting factional hacks into safe seats," he said.

"This is a huge rebuff to the faction bosses. It’ll mean a bigger, stronger Liberal Party and it will mean more talented, more representative people going into Parliament as Liberals."

Asked if the victory could be seen as a big win for the former prime minister, Treasurer Scott Morrison this morning extended the congratulations beyond Mr Abbott.

"You can read it as a win for everyone who thinks that plebiscites are a good idea and that includes Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison and a whole range of other members," he told ABC radio.

Those on the other side of the argument, such as federal MPs Alex Hawke and Julian Leeser, attempted to put up alternative motions at the convention, which were effectively diluted versions of the Warringah motion.

"The people on the other side wanted a few tentative steps in the right direction and the party said ‘let’s embrace it — let’s go all the way to being a party that the members can be proud of’," Mr Abbott said.


ASIC boss Greg Medcraft struggles with sums

It is astonishing, really quite extraordinary and more than a tad disturbing that we have as our top corporate regulator somebody who apparently doesn’t understand the financial system and the most basic operating realities of our banks.

This in itself might seem an extraordinary observation, but how else is one to interpret some of the key remarks made by outgoing ASIC chief Greg Medcraft in an interview, purportedly to "mark his 6½ years as chairman", in itself a somewhat odd milestone.

Once again in the interview he attacked banks for so-called "out-of-cycle" rate increases on their property loans. He said banks that repriced their existing loan book without increases in the official (RBA) cash rate were "just profit-taking".

And to drive this point home, he finished with what he clearly thought was a powerful rhetorical flourish, that the "recent rate rises did not pass the front-page test" — in effect, saying that "shock jocks" and overexcited media more generally should be the test of the appropriateness of rate changes.

There are two very simple points — in the sense, one would have thought one could have assumed that an ASIC chairman understood them — to be made about Medcraft’s assertion.

First, the RBA’s cash rate might well be the most important influence on bank funding costs, and so indirectly on their lending rates, but it is not the only influence.

Doesn’t the ASIC chairman understand that our big four banks fund their balance sheets broadly 60 per cent by domestic deposits and 40 per cent by a variety of others sources including shareholder funds and, most importantly, global capital markets?

Yes, domestic deposits might largely be directly priced off the cash rate, but even with them and quite appropriately, not entirely. But surprisingly perhaps to the ASIC chairman, investors on Wall Street do not price their interest rates off the RBA’s cash rate.

Then there’s the cost of hedging non-Australian dollar borrowings into Aussie dollars, which can fluctuate. In short, and keeping it simple for our ASIC chairman, bank cost of funds can change even when the RBA has not touched its cash rate. Goodness me, how radical.

Now yes, the mantra "passing on the RBA’s rate cut/hike" has got locked into the media culture — and the banks themselves have from time to time used it as an unfortunate and obviously not totally incorrect shorthand.

But that does not excuse the corporate regulator, who should know better from adopting it as the basis for a bit of egregious and misleading bank-bashing.

There is a very clear, very simple metric to judge the bank rate pricing: their NIM, or net interest margin. If they are raising their lending rates without a commensurate increase in their cost of funds their NIM will rise.

Guess what: it hasn’t. In the latest six months the NIM of three of the big four banks went down. The NIM of the fourth, NAB, was unchanged but it was also the lowest at 182 points, or 1.82 per cent.

On an unweighted basis the average NIM of the big four went from 202 points in the first half of the 2015-16 year to 198 point in the first half of the 2016-17 year: hardly evidence of rate gouging. We will see what happened in the second half.

To explain to the uninitiated — and, it seems, the ASIC chairman — the NIM is the difference between what a bank charges borrowers and what it pays depositors and other lenders; a difference that has been, obviously, the basis of banking for hundreds of years and of every bank’s very existence.

There are two further critical points to be made about the big four’s individual and group NIM.

It has been falling consistently over time. As noted it is now around 200 points on an unweighted group basis. Five years ago it was more like 215-220 points. A decade ago, before the GFC, it was closer to 250 points. And at the turn of the century it was around 300 points.

Second, it is very similar to the only rational international comparator. According to research by the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, the NIM of Canadian banks has run at around 200 points for most of this century, apart from an extraordinary spike up to 400 points briefly after the GFC.

It’s outside the scope of this column, but I’ll happily brief the ASIC chairman on why the NIMs of the major European and US banks are not a relevant comparison.

I would note an interesting chart in the speech yesterday by RBA assistant governor Michelle Bullock that showed the bottom line profitability comparison of banks from several countries.

First, Canadian and Australian profitability ran in lock-step year after year. Secondly, before the GFC those US and European banks were just as profitable as our banks. They haven’t been since: I wonder why?

Now, in his interview, Medcraft also went on to make one utterly ludicrous observation about bank hybrid securities and one basically silly observation.

The ludicrous one was that they would eventually cause problems for the financial system, the silly one was that they were a ridiculous product for retail investors.

Some gratuitous advice: get a grip Greg. There is no way they could cause problems for the system; they are just too small. The total on issue is less than $30 billion. The big four banks have balance sheets well in excess of $2000bn.

But what’s the worst that can happen? They are compulsorily turned into bank shares. How would that be a problem for the system? And trust me, we’d all have much bigger things to worry about.

As for their "ridiculousness", Medcraft’s rejection/hysteria would also apply to ordinary bank shares themselves. Given bank gearing; given bank exposure to global capital markets.

To validate your claim on the basis they had been banned in other markets like Britain is hardly convincing: did Medcraft notice what happened to British banks in the GFC?


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, 2017

University funding rationalization provokes controversy

Universities have accused the Turnbull government of muddying the waters as it prepares for a fight over higher education funding.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham on Monday released figures showing what students will pay under planned changes would more closely match the benefits of getting a degree.

The federal government's overhaul of higher education includes increasing student fees by up to $3200 over a four-year degree, cutting university teaching funding by 2.5 per cent in 2018 and 2019, tying a portion of funding to performance measures, and lowering the threshold when student debts must start to be repaid.

Senator Birmingham said the report, prepared by Deloitte Access Economics, "injects facts ... into a debate that has at times been dominated by platitudes and sound bites".

It showed about 45 per cent of the benefits from a higher education were private, such as securing a well-paid job.

The government says its planned fee increase will mean students contribute 46 per cent of the cost - up from 42 per cent now - with taxpayers covering the rest.

Senator Birmingham took aim at university groups that supported the coalition's previous proposal for full-fee deregulation but oppose the package now before parliament.

They had "tried to walk both sides of the street in this debate".

The minister characterised the increase in funding to universities since 2009 as "a river of gold".

The group of six Innovative Research Universities disagreed, telling a Senate inquiry on Monday the river of gold was down to more enrolments, not any boost to per-student funding.

"If anyone's being inconsistent here, it's the government that previously embraced the concept we did need more resources," executive director Conor King told a hearing of the inquiry in Melbourne.

"In this (package) it goes down; of course we're opposed."

The Group of Eight - representing the nation's research-intensive universities - said the government's package was not coherent and would leave students paying more for less.

The government had a track record of releasing reports such as the Deloitte research to the media without showing the sector first, chief executive Vicki Thomson said.

"We find we're responding to claims about rivers of gold or vice-chancellors' salaries or surpluses which are muddying the waters when we're wanting to talk about actually what sort of university sector do we actually want in this country," she told the committee.

The Senate inquiry will also hear from the academics union, education department officials, business representatives and higher education experts on Monday and Tuesday.

It's expected to report when parliament resumes in August, clearing the way for the bill to be debated.


Why the ABC is at odds with us

Jennifer Oriel

If the ABC were audited for diversity, the report might read something like as follows: "Evidence suggests that the ABC’s organisational culture ­reflects structural discrimination. The staff profile is unrepresentative and produces marginalisation of outsiders or ‘others’. This marginalisation persists due to ­apparent discrimination in recruit­ment and promotion practices. As a consequence, the ABC’s program content reflects bias that reinforces the privilege of insiders while stereotyping and demonising those excluded from the existing power structure. ­Cultural change is required to transform the ABC from an unrepresentative public institution to an organisation that puts the public good ahead of in-group power and privilege."

From my early years in the ­university sector, I worked for various equal opportunity and anti-­discrimination units. As a part of that work, I conducted ­organisational audits of equity and diversity. After several years, I saw that the movement for equity was ­destroying diversity of the kind that matters in education: ­intellectual diversity. Universities ­replaced the West’s civilisational wellspring of freedom of thought and speech, mastered by learning the art of public reason, with the comparatively superficial culture of skin ­diversity.

In the 21st century culture of public education and media, ­diversity is often measured by skin colour or gender. Diversity of thought is devalued, especially in the arts and humanities.

Despite the spread of discrimination and affirmative action policies across the public sector, little attention is paid to intellectual and political diversity. Rather, the ­equity and diversity agenda has come to resemble what former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau considered the Maoist approach. In the book Two Innocents in Red China, he praised Mao Zedong’s approach to racial minority groups because it did "not try to assimilate them but … make them understand the ­blessings of Marxism". Trudeau pioneered a nationwide policy of ­multi­culturalism. The multi­cultural ideal was a diversity of races united in ideological conformity to ­Marxism.

The diversity agenda sometimes reflects the founding ideal of multicultural policy: a culture where race or gender diversity is encouraged as long as members conform to PC ideology. Islamic activist Linda Sarsour is celebrated as a leader of the US women’s march despite appearing to wish for violence against women who disagree with her. On Twitter, Sarsour wrote of two dissidents: "I wish I could take their vaginas away — they don’t ­deserve to be women." One of her would-be victims was ­author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who ­suffered ­female genital mutilation as a child. Apparently that wasn’t enough.

The ABC has not admitted to a lack of political diversity in its staff profile or systemic political bias in its programming. Yet the largest survey in 20 years of political attitudes among journalists found that 73.6 per cent of ABC journalists support Labor or the Greens. The Sunshine Coast University ­research also found that 41.2 per cent of ABC staff surveyed voted for the Greens. As Chris Kenny wrote in The Weekend Australian, the "federal vote ceiling" for the Greens is just over 10 per cent. On those figures, the ABC’s staff ­profile is highly unrepresentative of the Australian general public.

The ABC’s political bias seems most apparent in stories related to border security, immigration, iden­tity politics and Islam. Many believe that the ABC pushes the PC party line backing porous borders, minority politics and the ­censorship of dissenters under dis­crimination law while demonising border integrity, conservatism, ­Judeo-Christianity and Western civilisation. In 2014, the broadcaster admitted that its reports that the navy had burned refugees were wrong. A previous audit found bias in ABC reporting on Tamil asylum-seekers.

Last week’s 7.30 was criticised for bias against Christians after presenters inferred that evangelical or conservative Christianity could lead to domestic violence. ABC presenter Leigh Sales said: "We talk about women in Islam but statistically it is evangelical Christian men who attend church sporadically who are the most ­likely to assault their wives." To my knowledge, there is no cross-country research comparing male violence against women in Islamic and Christian communities. The relevant study cited was by American researcher Steven Tracy.

A series of lies by omission ­resulted in the perception that conservative or evangelical Christianity can lead to domestic violence. For instance, the ABC omitted Tracy’s related finding that: "Conservative Protestant men who attend church regularly are … the least likely group to ­engage in domestic violence. The ABC also omitted interviews that conflicted with the presenters’ line of commentary.

Ean Higgins ­reported that Sydney’s Anglican Archdeacon for Women Kara Hartley was interviewed for over an hour by Julia Baird. Hartley spoke at length about the church’s positive work in combating domestic violence. Her comments were excluded from the program.

Brisbane’s Catholic Archbishop Mark Coleridge responded to an ABC ­request for comments about a ­related essay by Baird and Hayley Gleeson. The ABC reported falsely that he had not responded.

It should go without saying that domestic violence is an abhorrent form of abuse to be condemned without reservation. Research on causation should be funded where preliminary research finds specific attributes correlated with higher rates of abuse. The public often funds such research and should be informed also when certain ­attributes are correlated with lower rates of abuse. The ABC ­neglected its public duty when it omitted the positive work of ­Christian churches in preventing domestic violence and the ­research finding that: "Conservative Protestant men who attend church regularly are … the least likely group to engage in domestic violence."

In the coming 7.30 on violence against women in Islam, we might expect the ABC to consider the status of women under sharia. It might look at the prevalence of ­female genital mutilation and child marriage in Islamic countries and communities. It might consider why Islamic states enter the most reservations to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and justify it by appeal to sharia. Alas, we’re more likely to hear yet another version of: "We talk about women in Islam but … " and find the blame shifted to the standard victims of politically ­correct thought.


NBN installation not up to speed

Kevvy's expensive brainwave is not performing

Martin Lack knows a few things about technology, having spent almost 50 years in the computer industry, first as an installer, then as a technical project manager and finally, before retiring, running the nation’s biggest computer conference company.

He also knows a "disastrous" internet product when he sees one. Living on a 1ha block in Brisbane’s affluent Kenmore Hills, Mr Lack has taken it upon ­himself to represent all 31 households on his street in their ­struggles with the rollout of the National Broadband Network.

The street, with multi-million-dollar homes housing senior ­executives and powerful business people, had pay-TV internet ­cabling — now known as HFC — installed in 2003.

They are being forced across to the NBN, and the six that have done so — connected via a variety of different telco providers — have had a "terrible" experience, Mr Lack says, with faulty connections and speeds below what they were achieving before.

"On Telstra HFC we were consistently getting 115 megabits-per-second download speeds ... during the day now we are consistently getting 94Mbs, but after 6pm things get very ­erratic," Mr Lack said.

He has a 100MB NBN package provided through Telstra, and has documented speeds his home has been achieving before and after having the NBN installed.

Under the NBN connection his download speed at 9.22pm on June 1 was 22.38Mbs — less than a quarter of the rate he is paying for — while at 9.34pm on June 14 his connection fell to 22Mbs.

A key problem facing the NBN is telco providers of the network — of which there are more than 400 — buy both data from the NBN as well as relatively ­expensive "bandwidth".

Many providers have failed to buy enough bandwidth — a ­financial decision to cut costs — to ensure speeds don’t plummet when usage rises, such as after 5pm on weekdays.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has announced it will place physical internet speed monitors in 4000 homes nationwide and publish the results to improve transparency in the marketplace.

For its part, the NBN has data detailing how fast each NBN-connected home’s internet should be, but is refusing to ­release it publicly, saying it is a wholesaler and the telcos have the relationship with customers.

Mr Lack said his dealings with Telstra in installing the NBN had been highly unsatisfactory.

A Telstra spokesman said the company had spoken to Mr Lack and had "apologised for issues he’s experienced".



Three current articles below

Piers Akerman: Climate change is being served up to unsuspecting Australians

IN August 1973, the term Stockholm syndrome was coined after four hostages who had been held in a bank vault during a failed robbery later ­refused to testify against their captor Jan-Erik "Janne" ­Olsson, who, as it happens had been "on leave" from prison when he attempted the heist.

Nils Bejerot, a Swedish criminologist and psychiatrist coined the term.

Brainwashing was not unknown but the manner in which the hostages developed positive feelings toward their captors and negative feelings toward the police or authorities, was something new, Beje-rot guessed. The term took off.

A year after Olsson’s crime (for which he served a term and later committed further crimes), Patty Hearst, the granddaughter of publisher William Randolph Hearst, was taken and held hostage by a drug-addled crew of misfits who called themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Hearst was filmed denouncing her family as well as the police under her new urban guerilla name, "Tania", and was later seen working with the SLA to rob banks in San Francisco. She publicly asserted her sympathetic feelings towards the SLA.

However, after arrest following a fiery shootout in 1975, her celebrity lawyer F. Lee Bailey said his client was suffering from Stockholm syndrome.

But, until now, the greatest example of Stockholm syndrome was the mass suicide by followers of American cult leader and Communist Jim Jones, who was the founder and leader of the People’s Temple, another loopy group with strong ties to the Democratic Party and the Californian counter-culture.

Jones took his flock to an old plantation in Guyana but when reports of human rights abuses started emerging, he had his followers drink poison, flavoured by the soft drink mix Kool-Aid.

Among the 918 dead were nearly three hundred children.

Stockholm syndrome plus Kool-Aid was a potent ­combination.

But not as potent as the ­global warming — now called climate change — mixture that is being served up to the Australian public by the Greens, Labor and now the Turnbull faux Liberal government.

Swept along by the global hysteria generated by the UN and a claque of compromised scientists who have been ­exposed as manipulating temperature modelling, Australians are in the process of committing mass suicide as they sip the Kool-Aid sweetener of renewable energy.

South Australia — remember Snowtown, the mysterious disappearance of the Beaumont children, the other creepy instances of unsolved crimes involving children — has long worn a reputation for weird but with its closure of its coal-powered fire stations and its embrace of a huge battery to meet its risky energy supply needs, is leading the way in this suicidal endeavour.

Believe me, the world is not following South Australia or Australia, in this insane folly.

Research from the Global Coal Tracker via the Comstat Data Portal uploaded on January 12, 20017, shows that there were 5973 coal-fired power station units globally. A unit is considered to be one or more boilers where coal is burned to create steam, plus one or more turbine generators which convert the steam’s heat ­energy into electricity of a minimum 30MW (megawatts).

NSW’s Liddell power station, for example, has four 500MW units.

Australia has in total 73 units, according to the Comstat Data, China has 2107.

Germany, where we have seen anti-coal demonstrators rioting in recent days, has 155 units. India, who the Adani mine will service with coal, has 877, and Indonesia has 125, while there 783 operating in the US.

The numbers that really highlight the futility of the South Australian lunacy and the madness of Australia signing up this psychosis are those which reflect where the world is heading — the number of coal-fired power units under construction.

China, for example, has 299 power stations in preparation or under construction. India has 132, Indonesia has 32, the Philippines has 22, Vietnam has 34.

In all, the data lists more than 30 nations actively ­engaged in building 621 new coal-fired power units.

That’s more than 10 times more power than the current 26,783MW produced by ­Australia’s 73 units. South Australia’s moonstruck Premier Jay Weatherill thinks that ­installing Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s battery will solve the problems created by his government’s destruction of its coal-fired power plants and its embrace of erratic wind and solar plants.

It won’t. At best, the big battery may have sufficient reserves to power around 30,000 homes while repairs are made to the network.

There are about 730,000 homes in South Australia, almost all of which lost their power last September. The big battery will be connected to a big wind farm but wind is notoriously variable and South Australia consistently records the highest power prices in the nation ­because of its foolhardy reliance on renewable energy.

In fact, it relies on the coal-fired power plants in the rest of the country for constant power. The federal government knows this, that’s why its building a $50 million generation plant to give the submarine building program a reliable ­energy source.

But for South Australians, and the rest of the nation, the Kool-Aid is kicking in.

Despite the flawed data on which the global warmists rest their case, Australia is still ­closing coal-fired power plants as our economic competitors build their coal-fired capacity.

The big battery may ­become a tourist attraction in South Australia but so, in time, will be the mass grave that ­buries Australia’s industry and the economic fortunes of ­future generations.


No Australian weather site has recorded a daily max of 50° this century


I had Lance staying overnight and this subject came up – me opining after watching too much ABC TV news for years – that some site must have hit the 50° in the last several years. When Lance pointed out on BoM pages that the last 50° plus was in 1998 – I felt somewhat conned.

We searched Google and sure enough we found this article "The proof Australia is getting hotter" – which includes this rather specific claim – Quote "While Western Australia had a cooler than average year in 2016, some parts of the giant state did hit 50 degrees, Australia’s observation of such heat a first in two decades."

Well if 50 was hit it was not noticed in official BoM daily data. Screen saved. What an amazing lie – "fake news" indeed. Part of my conning was BoM news early in 2013 of the extension of temperature scales up into the 50’s. Oddly this neat animated map from Feb 2016 does not extend to cool temperatures around -10 that are quite common this winter. What other plus 50’s (122F) are there that the BoM should recognize?


Climate change scaremongering based on ‘minuscule’ sea level rises

THIS weekend on Sky News, Connie Fierravanti-Wells, the Liberal minister for International Development and the Pacific, having just returned from a junket handing out vast sums of our money to beautiful Pacific Islands to "combat climate change", said: "It’s interesting to see that, according to real data, the changes to (sea) levels are actually very, very minuscule."

That’s right. Very, very minuscule. Or, perhaps what she really meant to say was "non-existent". The whole climate-change hype about rising sea levels, as being touted by the likes of Al Gore and his new horror flick – er sorry, "documentary" – about climate change, simply doesn’t tally with reality. This has been confirmed by climate scientists themselves, who are sitting around scratching their heads trying to work out why reality doesn’t match their alarmist modelling.

Here’s my bet: these measurements that show "very, very minuscule" rises in sea levels actually mean nothing out of the normal is happening in the oceans.

Climates do change, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We are handing hundreds of millions of dollars (that we don’t actually have, by the way) to our dear Pacific neighbours for no genuine reason at all.

Also last week, another Liberal MP, Sarah Henderson, mocked the idea that elderly Australians would die this winter because they couldn’t afford to pay their heating bills. This came after one of the only sensible Liberal MPs, Craig Kelly, pointed out on Sky News – to me, as it happens – that our renewables energy policy would kill people.

Mr Kelly, who is chairman of the backbench energy committee, caused a furore by stating what is backed up by real data: more people die in Australia during July and August (the coldest months) than at any other time of the year, and that the numbers have been increasing in direct correlation to rising electricity prices. Those price rises, which ultimately stem from both Liberal and Labor policies demonising coal and making it too expensive to be worthwhile, have seen a record number of household disconnections.

Even the ABC admits: "The first detailed analysis of electricity disconnections in four states paints a grim picture of areas under extreme financial stress, with hundreds of households unable to pay their bills."

What makes the situation even more maddening is that the Government’s chief scientist, Alan Finkel, admitted to Parliament that all of Australia’s efforts to combat climate change will, in the end, make virtually no difference to global temperatures. So why on earth do we bother?

Five weeks ago, writing on this page, I upset some people by linking climate change zealotry to deaths.

"It’s not climate change that kills. It’s the zealotry of those who believe they are on a Gaia-given mission to save the planet that is capable of causing economic mayhem, poverty, and even death," I wrote, using the ghastly Grenfell Tower fire in London as "an extreme, but apt, metaphor for climate change alarmism".

My point – that thanks to excessive climate change alarmism, energy-efficiency (or "green") requirements tend to get prioritised over safety measures – has yet to be refuted.

My thinking was also driven by Queensland’s horrendous "pink batts" scandal in 2010. I hardly need remind readers that when Kevin Rudd embarked on a harebrained scheme to "save the planet" by installing pink batts into Australian rooftops, four young men tragically lost their lives.

Recently, The Australian reported that: "The owner of a Sydney-based solar-panel maintenance company said he had seen ‘hundreds’ of fires caused by solar panels in the past five years."

Mercifully, nobody appears to have yet died from such fires, but that doesn’t make the danger of household solar panels, installed again to "save the planet", any less real.

John Howard – viewed correctly by many as one of our greatest prime ministers – recently confirmed that he remains sceptical about climate change. Who can blame him?

Mr Kelly’s comments not only had Sarah Henderson mocking him by claiming he was "killing her with his humour", they had Labor minister Mark Butler calling for his sacking "because of his scaremongering".

Hang on a tick! Labor, the Greens, and even the bedwetters of the Turnbull Coalition, have been "scaremongering" us silly about climate change for the past decade and longer. The entire energy policy of both major parties is built on unproven, scary predictions of catastrophic rising sea levels, deadly droughts, killer storms, fatal floods, murderous cyclones, dying coral, and a whole host of terrifying disasters, all of which rely on the claim that, at some distant point in the future, "people will die".

Now we learn that rather than being terrifying, those very same impacts from climate change are, in the minister’s own words, "very, very minuscule". What a joke.


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, 2017

Melbourne could run out of water in ten years because of population growth and climate change

Wotta lotta bore-water!  For a start, Melbourne already has a big desalination plant that is hardly used. 

Secondly, global warming will produce more evaporation off the oceans and hence MORE rain, not less. 

Thirdly, the Snowy scheme already pours lots of dammed water into the sea for "environmental" reasons.  That water could easily be diverted inland into the Murray river. There is already a tunnel for that purpose. And again there is already a pipeline linking the Murray to Melbourne's water supply. 

The galoots below would seem not to have a clue about the Melbourne water supply.  They are however Greenies so are probably just frauds who want to frighten people. The only threat to the Melbourne water supply is the Greenies who want to send already-dammed water out to sea

One of the world's most livable cities could be facing an acute water shortage problem in the next ten to 15 years time no thanks to climate change and population growth.

Water supply in Melbourne may fall and reach a crisis point if no precautionary methods are taken to contain the problem from today, reports The Age.

The publication says demand for water in the state is expected to exceed the supply by 2028.

According to projections made by City West Water, Yarra Valley Water and South East Water demand for water is projected to surge to about 75 percent in the next 40 years, the publication reports.

Some water corporation produced the probable scenario for the state's water supply, Environment Victoria's acting chief executive, Nicholas Aberle told Daily Mail Australia.

Mr Aberle said there was a bunch of things that Melbournians can do to address the situation by incorporating several water saving habits.

He said people should learn ways on saving storm water and turning that into a valuable water resource. 'During the drought (1997 to 2009) people were managing water efficiency by only using 155 litres a day.

'People should have a behavioural change and use 100 litres of water a day and handle the water resources efficiently,' he said.

Melbourne Water spokesman Joseph Keller told the publication that people living in the state were 'encouraged to limit their consumption to 155 litres per person per day.'

At present Melbourne Water reports that residents in the state use 162 litres of water per person per day in 2016-17.


Liberal Party leader reveals his plans to help Aboriginal communities in South Australia's APY Lands

The APY is an Aboriginal tribal area.  The Leftist government is just spending money on more bureaucracy rather than doing anything practical to help Aborigines

PLANS for Aboriginal treaties in South Australia are a "cruel hoax" that will not be supported by the Liberals, Opposition Leader Steven Marshall says.

In a move that will set the tone for how a Liberal Government would handle Aboriginal issues, Mr Marshall says symbolism will be scrapped and health, education, jobs and safety prioritised.

Speaking to the Sunday Mail during a three-day trip to the APY Lands last week, Mr Marshall said treaties were unworkable and not a priority for Aboriginal communities in South Australia.

"Treaties are a cruel hoax because they promise hope but don’t deliver practical outcomes," he said.

"We have been here three days and nobody has raised the issue. The Anangu people want practical solutions and that is what we will be doing.

"The Government has neglected (health, education, jobs and safety) over the past 15 years while they have focused on gestures that are not practical for Aboriginal people across South Australia."

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kyam Maher last year announced the State Government would begin treaty discussions with Aboriginal South Australians as the next step towards reconciliation.

But Mr Marshall, who has vowed to become the first SA Premier to hold the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio if elected in March, said the Liberals will not support Labor’s treaty plan.

"Federal Labor governments from Hawke to Keating to Rudd and Gillard have talked about a treaty for 30 years," he said.

"The problem on the APY Lands is there have been too many groups trying to provide solutions on complex issues but these are being done without any useful co-ordination whatsoever."

Mr Marshall knows his attitude will be criticised by some in the Aboriginal community, which has previously supported the State Government’s treaty plans.

"Labor have done a lot more of the symbolic recognitions. The Liberals, by contrast, have proved to be very practical in terms of management of Aboriginal Affairs," he said.

Mr Marshall said his Stolen Generation Bill, which was knocked back by Labor in 2014 before being reintroduced by the State Government in another form, showed his commitment to good outcomes for Aboriginal people.

Under Mr Marshall’s plan, about 300 Aboriginals would have been awarded $50,000 compensation in-line with the maximum amount payable from the Victims of Crime fund.

"The South Australian Government has still not paid a single cent to the people," he said.

The State Government has set aside $4.4 million over five years to support the treaty process, the appointment of an independent Treaty Commissioner and governance training and support for Aboriginal nations to participate in the treaty negotiations.

Legislation underpinning Labor’s treaty plans are set to be debated in State Parliament in coming weeks.


New Leftist government already plunging Western Australia into more debt

Shades of Kevvy Rudd and Julia Gillard

THE McGowan Government is splurging more than $7 million a day on delivering election promises.

Figures compiled by the State Opposition show that in the 130 days since the March 11 election, Labor has committed to spending nearly $1 billion in projects.

This is despite the fact Premier Mark McGowan famously told West Australians within weeks of coming to power that "we now confront the worst set of finances since the Great Depression".

Accusing the Government of "financial recklessness", Opposition leader Mike Nahan said the $925 million spend was unacceptable given the new administration had yet to even deliver its first Budget, which is due on September 7.

He warned Labor’s spending would see State debt soar to more than $50 billion by the next election in 2021, close to double the $27 billion debt it inherited from the former Liberal-National Government.

"The McGowan Government has committed to spending more than $7 million every single day since it was elected," Dr Nahan said.

"To commit almost a billion dollars expenditure without any Budget scrutiny is financial recklessness and anything but the gold standard transparency Mr McGowan promised."
WA Opposition Leader Mike Nahan, who has accused the Government of financial 'recklessness'.

According to the Opposition’s figures, spending has included the Joondalup hospital extension ($167 million), a new inner-city college at Kitchener Park in Subiaco ($68 million) and education assistants ($40 million).

Dr Nahan said West Australians were being slugged big dollars — including water and electricity bill hikes — to help pay for Labor’s pledges.

"On June 22, the State Government hit WA families with massive increases in household expenses, which it said would raise an additional $200 million over the next four years," Dr Nahan said.

"At its current rate of spending all of those savings have been spent in the last 30 days."

WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt yesterday fired back by mocking Dr Nahan’s record as the State’s former financial chief.

"Today clearly marks the first day in his political career that Mike Nahan has been concerned about Government spending," Mr Wyatt said.

"However, I won’t be taking any advice from the man whose disastrous track record of financial mismanagement delivered the tight financial position that he suddenly appears to be concerned about.

"Since inheriting the worst set of books in the history of WA, the McGowan Government has got on with the job of fixing the mess left behind while also delivering on our election commitments.

"We are proud to have invested in jobs, education, hospitals, public transport and country roads, while also making the tough decisions to go towards Budget repair."

WA Premier Mark McGowan laughed off the opposition criticising his government for spending $7 million a day meeting election commitments, saying the Liberals were spending $81 million a day.

Mr McGowan says the cash has been well-spent on a new western suburbs school and expanding WA's busiest hospital.

"He talks rubbish. For him to suddenly claim the moral high ground when it comes to debt and deficit is laughable and also embarrassing for him," the premier told reporters in Fremantle on Sunday.


Disgusting Queensland police show no regard for the law

They hate it that they don't have a total monopoly on gun ownership

FOR a Justice of the Peace, Gympie gun dealer Ron Owen has had a lot of run-ins with the police. This month he further increased his lead over all rivals for the self anointed title, "most charged innocent man in Queensland." Claiming to have faced more than 2850 charges, he says he has beaten them all.

The Gympie Times reports that on Thursday Ron Owen revealed that he had now received one more vindication, when police withdrew an assault charge involving a person Mr Owen claimed was lawfully removed from his McMahon Rd gun shop.

The defence was that he acted lawfully, but that police did not when an officer seized the shop’s CCTV footage.

Mr Owen says the would-be customer had become agitated at the time staff took to finalise a eight-month old lay-by, so much so that Mr Owen refunded payments, rather than take responsibility for arming him. Yesterday Mr Owen said police wrote to him this week, saying the charge had been withdrawn.

But Mr Owen insists it is not a case of him beating the law. It has always been, he says, a case of the law protecting the citizen against sometimes mistaken agents of the state.

Some of his trouble started years ago, when he published a recipe for black powder, something which he says could also be found in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Then came the gun de-activation case, in which he was charged with de-activating guns other than by approved methods.

He made history (and The Gympie Times front page) by re-activating an approved replica in less than 15 minutes, at the bar table of the Gympie Magistrates Court, armed only with a screwdriver and pliers. The witness forced to acknowledge his point was the head of police Ballistics.

"I would have done it quicker if I’d remembered to put the firing pin back in the first time," Mr Owen said later. "And did you notice I didn’t use the pliers?"

Then came the gun buyback in which he proved, using data from police computers (purchased second hand at a police auction), that he was being paid less than anyone else for "millions of dollars worth of gun parts."

An attempt was once also made to cancel his gun dealer’s licence.

Once, after civil action in which police were ordered to pay costs, he says he had to take further action to force payment. At one point he and his family were offered witness protection by the then Criminal Justice Commission.

He refused, because it would have silenced him.

He wonders how many others, without such generous legal support, have suffered serious injustice.


What will Canberra's Human Rights Commission outlaw next?

Mayhem and mad logic in the ACT

What to do when lying facedown on the floor, hands over head, when the neighbourhood is firebombed and houses are getting sprayed with an AK-47 automatic weapon?

It is a question residents in the Canberra southern district of Tuggeranong must have asked this week with the fifth such incident in recent months, as the turf war among rival outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCG) intensifies.

"I just think it’s a matter of time before an innocent person gets caught up in that and gets injured or killed," said Chief Police Officer Justine Saunders.

Residents caught in such terrifying situations could, while waiting for police and emergency services, draw solace from reading the secular version of the Good Book, in this case the ACT’s Human Rights Act 2004. Section 9 provides that "no-one may be arbitrarily deprived of life."

The responsibility for ensuring compliance with that Act sits with the ACT Human Rights Commission and its president, Dr Helen Watchirs. Compared with that of her federal counterpart Gillian Triggs, Watchirs has a relatively paltry base salary of $220,381.

Unlike the federal government, the ACT’s minority government, a Labor/Greens coalition, takes very seriously the decrees of its HRC president. In July 2016 the government rejected calls from police to enact anti-consorting legislation to address the increasing and longstanding OMCG threat, citing Watchirs’ advice that the proposed laws "should have no place in a modern democratic society".

The "level of OMCG activity in the ACT remains relatively low", submitted Watchirs, who presumably doesn’t get out to Tuggeranong much. As recently as 2015 then Attorney-General Simon Corbell had been in favour of the legislation, declaring he did not want OMCGs to see Canberra as a "soft touch".

The fact gangs have since come to the capital in droves is not so much them seeing Canberra as a soft touch but more a laughing stock.

Also opposing the laws was the Greens’ Shane Rattenbury, currently the Minister for Justice. Ostensibly the junior partner in the coalition, he enjoys a disproportionate influence — the green eminence, one might quip. His party’s agreement with Labor is based on having one’s cake and eating it too, for Rattenbury enjoys all the perks of being a minister while not having to observe cabinet solidarity.

As with Watchirs, Rattenbury strongly professes a belief in civil liberties, hence his opposition to the anti-consorting laws. Yet only days after opposing this legislation he introduced a private amendment to the territory’s anti-discrimination laws, since passed, to outlaw "vilification" on the grounds of religion.

This includes "serious contempt" for and "severe ridicule of" a person and/or a group of people, and it can be infringed simply by displaying an emblem on a T-shirt or a post on social media.

So what was Rattenbury’s justification for such sweeping legislation and the consequent restrictions upon freedom of speech? Very little as it turns out. He cited vandalism of an Islamic centre (for which there were already provisions in criminal law), and claimed that houses had received leaflets containing "anti-Muslim material" in opposition to a proposed mosque.

In any event this legislation appears to contravene section 16 of the Human Rights Act, which provides for people to have the right to "hold opinions without interference," and "freedom of expression", including "the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds." Surely it was only a matter of time before Watchirs objected strongly to Rattenbury’s amendment?

Not only did Watchirs not oppose this amendment: she approved of it. You heard right: the human rights commissioner who labelled the anti-consorting legislation as a "profoundly retrogressive step" heartily endorsed what closely resembles the old blasphemy laws. Religious vilification, she said last year, was "an issue".

Clearly it must be an overwhelming issue if the numbers in the HRC annual report for 2014/15 are accurate. According to that document the HRC did not receive a single complaint of discrimination based on the grounds of "religious conviction".

Likewise, the HRC’s support for freedom of speech does not extend to public protests that offend progressive mantra. In 2015, Rattenbury successfully introduced a private member’s bill to impose so-called exclusion zones outside health clinics to thwart anti-abortion protesters. "This is not a freedom of speech issue," he argued.

Predictably, Watchirs supported the move. "The bill is also neutral about the type of protest that it is to be regulated, in that protest activity both for and against abortion will be captured," she submitted, in what could be termed one of the most risible attempts at rationalisation. Presumably then she would not object to a similar exclusion zone for approved forest-clearing on the basis that the legislation also outlawed pro-logging demonstrations?

Currently three pro-life protesters — all aged in their seventies — are before the courts for refusing to pay a $750 infringement notice, with the matter resulting in international attention. It also raises interesting considerations in respect to the HRC’s views on what constitutes the greatest threat to social harmony — the bikie indiscriminately firing an illegal AK-47 in public or the elderly pensioner brandishing a set of rosary beads?

Spare a thought for the officers of ACT Police, who are trying in vain to curtail the OMCGs despite not having the legislation they desperately need. And here’s a teaser for Chief Police Officer Saunders: if the HRC were abolished and its $3.6m budget allocated to your organisation, how would you use it to combat the OMCG scourge? Of course, such a move should never even be contemplated, for where would we be without essential publications such as Everyone Can Play: Guidelines for Local Clubs on Best Practice Inclusion of Transgender and Intersex Participants?

As for what else the Greens and the HRC intend outlawing next, it is anyone’s guess. In 2015 Rattenbury demanded the removal of "offensive" advertisements from Canberra airport. "We are confronted with unwelcoming pictures of border patrol ships advertising arms manufacturers," he said. "Given that this year Canberra was officially declared a refugee welcome zone, it is simply not appropriate that those seeking refuge from war should be greeted upon arrival in Canberra with advertising that promotes warfare and armed violence."

It makes one wonder what is more menacing — a gang of armed bikies intent on rampaging, or a collective of righteous zealots with their grand plans for us.


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

23 July, 2017

ABC censored church’s ‘positive story' about domestic violence

And lied about it -- in good Leftist fashion.  For a fuller coverage of how totally dishonest the program was, see here or my final post here on 21st. It was a classic example of Leftist cherrypicking. They ran with one little quote they liked and ignored the other facts that totally contradicted what they were claiming.  There is no truth in them (John 8:44).  They are Satanic

A senior female Anglican leader has expressed "disappointment" that her "positive" story in fighting domestic violence was ignored by the ABC in its controversial TV program claiming Christian men who go to church occasionally are the worst abusers of women.

Sydney diocese Archdeacon for Women Kara Hartley was ­interviewed for more than an hour by ABC journalist Julia Baird for the report on 7:30 that aired on Wednesday night, but none of her comments were aired.

"I probably wanted to promote our views and our responses more than came through — my disappointment is that there is positive work and a positive conversation, and I would have liked that to be highlighted some more," Archdeacon Hartley said yesterday.

Archdeacon Hartley’s remarks came as the Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, ­revealed he had, on request, provided the ABC with extensive comments for a related online essay by Baird and co-author ­Hayley Gleeson. But not only did Baird and Gleeson not publish any of his remarks, they falsely reported he had not responded.

Only after the diocese made an official complaint to the ABC did it amend the article yesterday.

"The archdiocese of Brisbane tried to tell ABC reporters about the work we do to assist people who are affected by domestic and family violence," Archbishop Coleridge said.

"It’s time that the ABC took ­seriously its role to tell the story of the real Australia. It should disengage from the groupthink that has produced an antagonistic, one-sided narrative about the Catholic Church in this country."

An ABC spokesman declined to comment. The 7:30 story by Baird and ­fellow ABC journalist Paige MacKenzie has been widely condemned for its apparent reliance on, and distortion of, a footnote in a 2008 paper by a professor of ­theology at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona, Steven Tracy.

ABC presenter Leigh Sales said: "We talk about women in Islam, but statistically it is evangelical Christian men who attend church sporadically who are the most likely to assault their wives."

But 7:30 did not report that ­Professor Tracy’s original paper actually found "there is an inverse relationship between church attendance and domestic violence".

"Conservative Protestant men who attend church regularly are found to be the least likely group to engage in domestic violence, though conservative Protestant men who are irregular church ­attendees are the most likely to batter their wives," his report said.

The 7:30 segment, which acknowledged "there has never been any real research" on the topic in Australia, quoted advocates claiming "the church is not just failing to sufficiently address domestic violence, it is both enabling and concealing it".

In the segment, Baird cited concerns that "as long as women’s voices are denied within the church, domestic violence will continue".

But it made no mention of Archdeacon Hartley, who has been in the Anglican ministry for 20 years and is a leading member of the church’s domestic violence taskforce.

Archdeacon Hartley said she had emphasised to Baird that "domestic violence in our church is unacceptable … I and the senior leadership are absolutely committed, there is no confusion".

"The first thing we do is we listen and we believe," she said. "We work out with them what is the best way to be safe, to be cared for … is it going to the police, is it getting you out of your home?" "I am really passionate about this work."


Diners served gold flakes on dessert at Bill Shorten’s inequality luncheon

SOMETIMES the irony of a situation is too much to bear. As Bill Shorten delivered a rousing speech on inequality at a luncheon on Friday, the assembled audience were being delivered desserts topped with gold.

The Opposition Leader’s speech, delivered in a ballroom in the Grand Hyatt Hotel to mostly well-off academics, public servants and media, marked a shift in emphasis for the Labor party – ranking the rich and poor equal first. The assembled crowd listened attentively as they spooned up the chocolate tart with salty caramel mousse and toasted hazelnuts, accompanied by gold leaf.

Bill Shorten made it clear the Labor party he leads will prioritise inequality before the next federal election.

"The system as it stands is accelerating inequality rather than addressing it. It is entrenching unfairness rather than alleviating it. A belligerent defence of trickle down economics is no kind of plan for Australia’s future," Mr Shorten said.

Shorten has made it clear he will focus on inequality in coming months. But for the message to help him win the next election, it will have to travel far beyond the well-fed crowd at the Economic and Social Outlook Conference, sponsored by The Australian and the Melbourne Institute. The question is: will the rest of Australia bite?

"I think people are hungry for something more substantial than the current political fare," Mr Shorten said, promising to do things that were in the past dismissed as too politically difficult.

He promised to go back to the "too-hard basket" and re-examine the tax options that had been put in there. But for now the details of what that might mean is scant, beyond already-announced changes to tax arrangements like negative gearing and deductions.

Bill Shorten’s speech – and one by shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen the day before – made it clear the Labor party is trying to draw on the legacy of the Hawke and Keating governments. But they want that legacy understood in slightly different terms.

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen referred to it as "a grand bargain."

"The Hawke government floated the dollar, deregulated the economy and brought down tariffs, opening up our economy, they also embarked on a grand bargain," Mr Bowen said.

"Reforms which opened up the economy were accompanied by new social standards, through Medicare, superannuation, increased school retention rates and the social wage. Hawke and Keating understood that these were vital reassurances at a time when there were serious threats to the status quo and that they were essential components of good economic reform."

When Mr Shorten echoed the same sentiment a day later, Mr Bowen’s argument started to look like part of a strategy: Labor wants to make sure the Hawke Keating era is remembered not just as a period of economic reforms – but of social interventions that made them possible.


ALP delivers ‘false’ pitch on inequality

Truth and falsehood are all the same to Leftists.  Their only aim is to sound good

Bill Shorten’s claim that ­inequal­ity is at a 75-year high is "patently false", according to one of Australia’s leading labour market economists who suggested stagnant wage growth had made such claims believable.

Speaking just hours before the Opposition Leader railed against surging inequality in a landmark speech, Roger Wilkins, deputy ­director of the Melbourne Institute, said conventional measures of inequality showed both ­inequality of income and wealth had been falling in Australia since the financial crisis almost a decade ago.

"Inequality is still relatively high by modern standards but the narrative that says inequality is ever rising is patently false," Professor Wilkins told the Melbourne Institute/The Aust­ralian Economic and Social Policy Conference in Melbourne yesterday.

Pointing out that the proportion of Australians over 15 with incomes less than half the median level of income had fallen to about 10 per cent, he added: "If anything, inequality has been declining."

While Mr Shorten didn’t spec­ify a timeframe in his speech to the Melbourne Institute yesterday, he argued that Labor was the party best placed to combat rising ­inequality, saying a crackdown on tax concessions favouring high-income earners would balance the budget and help make Australia a fairer nation.

"Inequality is an economic problem, but it is not just an ­abstract concept," he said. "Inequality is why young people, young Australians are more uncertain than they’ve been for generations. But it isn’t just about young people. Inequality is Australians going for years without a pay rise — but paying more taxes than their boss."

Mr Shorten’s speech to the conference was seen as helping to frame his pitch for the next election, focusing on inequality and fairness. "Tackling inequality will be a defining mission for a Shorten Labor government," he said, adding that "the system as it stands is accelerating inequality rather that addressing it. It is entrenching unfairness, rather than alleviating it."

But the Business Council of Australia also took issue with Labor’s "fairness" platform yesterday, with strongly worded comments from chief executive Jennifer Westacott about the current political debate.

"How fair is it to let the country fall behind and be unable to compete globally and attract investment, to create jobs, better jobs and higher incomes?" Ms Westacott said. "How fair is it to spend all of our policy focus distributing an ever-diminishing pie and then have very little left? How fair is it to lumber our future generations with debt if we go on spending and expect them to pay for it?"

Professor Wilkins said Mr Shorten’s claim that inequality had been rising was "overegging" the truth and dependent on one statistic: the share of income ­accruing to the top 1 per cent of earners, which has risen from about 4.5 per cent in the early 1970s to 8.2 per cent in 2015, the latest year for which data is available.

"This is not traditionally what scholars have focused on. For ­example, it’s pre-tax and more ­importantly it’s a personal income measure," Professor Wilkins said. "It’s conceivable all of these people in the top 1 per cent are the only earners in their households and live in large households, and when you adjust for dependants they aren’t so rich after all."

Official statistics from the latest census show inequality has ­fallen between 2011 and 2016: the Gini coefficient (where a lower score implies greater equality) has ­declined from 0.382 to 0.366.

Professor Wilkins said wage growth, which painted a "really stark picture", was more likely ­responsible in Australia for the ­belief income inequality had been rising, which has helped drive populist politics around the world, including the election of Donald Trump as US President.

Real average household incomes rose rapidly in Australia from about $40,000 in the early 2000s but has hovered around $52,000 since 2010. "When that stopped people started looking around a bit more; when incomes grow strongly people tend to be less concerned about its distribution," Professor Wilkins said.

Opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen echoed Mr Shorten’s claims at the Melbourne Institute this week. "The facts and the challenges are clear. Income inequality in Australia is at (a) 75-year high," Mr Bowen said.

Anthony Albanese previewed Mr Shorten’s speech by saying it was based on "the issue of inequality and the fact that inequality is at a 75-year high".

Mr Shorten and the Labor Party have been making the claim for several years with Mr Shorten telling the ABC’s 7.30 in 2015 that inequality was at a 75-year high.

Grattan chief executive John Daley agreed that properly measured inequality had not been ­rising. "There’s actually no evidence at all that rising wealth or ­income inequality has fuelled populism in Australia," he said.

Professor Wilkins, who oversees the Melbourne Institute’s Household Income and Labour Dynamics Survey, said inequality was "probably a little bit uncomfortably high" but could be ­reduced by reducing tax expenditures, ensuring retirees paid some income tax, lifting unemployment benefits, and improving education and training. "Lifting minimum wages would be a really terrible way to improve incomes of the poor," Professor Wilkins argued, suggesting maximising employment opportunities was among the best ways to a mitigate poverty.


Turnbull takes high ground while Shorten looks for the bleak

The contrast between Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten could not have been greater, with one ­rekindling optimism in the potential for technology to transform our lives and the other painting a dystopian world in which a small wealthy class lords it over the struggling masses.

It was a side of the Prime Minister that has barely been seen since last year’s election. We live in a world of accelerating change, he told the Melbourne Institute/The Australian Economic and Social Outlook Conference. "Economic progress, innovation, technology have advanced humanity and changed our lives for the better," he said.

If they were humans, the world’s biggest companies such as Facebook and Google would be at school, many at primary school.

It was understandable that ­people may feel threatened by the speed of the transformation, but they should face the future with optimism because technology was creating new jobs, and improving the quality of our lives.

"We have to harness the forces of change, make the best use of emerging technologies and secure the jobs, the opportunities of the future."

The Opposition Leader picks up on the poor wage growth, the loss of penalty rates and the difficulty of young people gaining entry to the property market to argue that the government is failing the electorate at large while favouring a small coterie of high-income earners.

He uses a powerful metaphor of the "economy-class tax system" in which the PAYG taxpayers, many of whom have already filed their tax returns, pay the going rate less a few deductions while the "business-class tax system" enables the wealthy to reduce their taxes to less than that of a low-paid nurse.

"Inequality feeds the sense that the deck is stacked against ordinary people, that the fix is in and the deal is done," he says.

Negative gearing, capital gains tax, superannuation and tax ­accounting deductions have ­already been targeted. Trusts are likely to be next in the attack on high-end tax.

Although Turnbull believes in the opportunity of the entrepreneurial age heralded by the internet, it was a message that did not connect with voters last year and will not play again in the next election.

It leaves the government selling its achievements, whether that is a school funding package, some "think-big" infrastructure or free trade deals while hoping the economy gathers momentum, bringing further gains in employment and easing the financial insecurity to which Shorten is playing.


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, 2017

Muslim admits killing two mothers in horror crash as he sped through a red light at 130km/h in an unregistered Mercedes

Deliberately defiant of the law.  He was using false number plates.  Young Lebanese Muslim males do tend to be very arrogant.

A young man has admitted killing two much-loved mothers in a crash in Melbourne's north when he sped through a red light in an unregistered car at more than 130km/h, slamming into a vehicle containing the women.

Mohamad Hassan, 21, faced the Victorian County Court on Wednesday where he pleaded guilty to two counts of culpable driving causing the deaths of Bozica Nikolic, 57, and Subha Deumic, 62, in the crash at Attwood in June 2016.

Five daughters of Ms Nikolic and Ms Deumic delivered heart-wrenching victim impact statements in court, including one account from a woman who witnessed the collision from a following car.

Ms Deumic's daughters were driving in the car behind and watched on in horror as their mother's red Toyota sedan was flung across the road after being t-boned by Mr Hassan's black 1999 Mercedes Benz.

Ms Nikolic and Ms Deumic had been best friends for 30 years and were returning home after catching up over dinner.

Hassan, a Lebanese national, was said to have been driving the Mercedes with number plates from his uncle's Nissan Triton at the time of the crash.

Detective Senior Constable Alexander Osmelak said dashcam footage showed the Mercedes speeding past another car before the crash, and afterwards the speedometer in the Mercedes was frozen at 130km/h.

Last year, Ms Nikolic's daughter Marina told 7 News of her heartache. 'Now I've lost my mum. She's not going to be there for when I get married, she's not going to be there to watch my sister grow up.  '[I'm] just not going to have a mum and that's going to be really hard.'


Refugees in Australian-run detention centre on Manus will leave for the U.S. in October as part of resettlement plan

Refugees held on Manus Island will begin leaving for the US in October, according to the Immigration Minister.

Peter Dutton conceded he would have preferred the refugees left sooner, with the detention centre to close that month.

But a US immigration spokesman later confirmed he would return to Manus Island and Nauru, while Turnbull government ministers have insisted the deal is still on.

'Our desire was obviously to have them off tomorrow; I want Manus Island to close. We're still going to maintain Nauru,' Mr Dutton told Sky News on Wednesday night.

More than 1600 refugees have expressed interest in the resettlement deal, which is expected to offer up to 1250 places.

Questions have been raised over whether the United States will be obliged to accept anywhere near the headline figure of people after subjecting refugees to 'extreme' vetting.

But Mr Dutton appears confident the final number of places will be near the top-end of initial estimates. 'We've got an arrangement with the United States and that is to take people - in total probably about 1200 people - from both Manus and Nauru,' he said.

The Manus Island refugee processing centre will shut down at the end of October, with building-decommissioning works well underway.

The capacity of a nearby Manus Island refugee transit centre is being rapidly expanded ahead of the processing centre's closure.

Australia will remove itself from the process on August 31, meaning no more help from then for refugees returning to their home countries voluntarily.


Federal Government threatens to strip a Melbourne council of its right to hold citizenship ceremonies as it considers moving Australia Day from January 26

A Melbourne local council will be stripped of its right to hold citizenship ceremonies if it moves them from Australia Day.

Darebin Council, in Melbourne's northern suburbs, is considering moving the ceremonies from January 26 out of respect for Aboriginals.

The council sent a survey to its advisory committee asking if the date should be changed and an event acknowledging indigenous Australian suffering held instead.

But Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke sent the council a strongly worded written warning ordering it to dump the idea.

He said Darebin would be in breach of the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code, which requires ceremonies to be apolitical and bipartisan.

'You must not use your ability to preside over citizenship ceremonies or the dates they are held to delegitimise Australia Day,' he wrote in the letter seen by the Preston Leader.

'If you were to continue to use a citizenship ceremony, or your ability to preside over one, as a promotional tool for an anti-national day event, I will consider this a serious breach.'

Mr Hawke said he would revoke authorisation from anyone in Darebin who could receive the pledge at citizenship ceremonies.

The minister then told the newspaper research showed Australia Day was the most popular day to become a citizen and it was the most appropriate day for them.

'[The government will] not allow a small number of Greens controlled councils to continue a campaign to undermine Australia Day using Australian citizenship ceremonies,' he said.

Similar ultimatums were sent to Fremantle and Hobart Councils when they planned to move their ceremonies.

Fremantle folded and kept the ceremonies on January 26 but moved its fireworks and other celebrations to January 28.

Another Melbourne council, Moreland, two weeks ago voted against a proposal to move its citizenship ceremonies.

Councils were emboldened after the Australian Local Government Association voted 64-62 to lobby the government to change the date at a meeting last month.

'The ALGA board noted the level of debate and the closeness of the result of the debate and will take these matters into consideration when determining a course of action,' the association said.

Protests and violent clashes marred celebrations in 2017, while Aboriginal flags flew en masse in the streets and celebrities posted support to 'change the date' online.

Many indigenous people call Australia Day 'Invasion Day' as they view it as the beginning of a violent colonisation.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that while everyone is entitled to debate the date of Australia Day, the government does not support a change.


Family of US cop Mohamed Noor say officer mistakenly shot Justine Damond

JUSTINE Damond’s family have hired a high-profile lawyer who says police claims of an ambush by the Australian woman ‘have no basis in fact’ as her 911 call was released.

Lawyer Robert Bennett told CBS that Ms Damond’s family does not want Officer Mohamed Noor to continue being a police officer and are considering a civil lawsuit over her death.

"This is an unbelieveable situation," Mr Bennett told CBS. "The person who called 911 was shot in her pyjamas. "Justine obviously wasn’t armed and there is wasn’t any reason she should have been perceived to be.

Mr Bennett hit out at claims the police officers involved feared an ambush. "It’s ludicrous," he said. "It is disinformation being put out there for ... for I don’t know what. It doesn’t have any basis in fact."

That news came as Jordan Kushner, the lawyer for Teresa Graham, a woman who was the subject of a complaint against Mr Noor, who gunned down Ms Damond, said the killing was another example of how Noor had failed those who had called on him for help.

Ms Damond’s family hired Mr Bennett who represented Philando Castile’s family in pursuing compensation after he became a victim of a fatal police shooting.

Ms Damond feared someone was being raped behind her house in south Minneapolis and called police at 11.27pm on Saturday night, local time, to report the incident.


Leftist lies about Christians from Australia's ABC

On Monday, the ABC ran a long program about historic sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Philadelphia — way off in the United States — as if we really needed to know this here and now.

But the ABC’s most ridiculous attack on Christianity came on Tuesday, with a campaign to persuade us that "the men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians" who occasionally go to church.

ABC presenter Julia Baird and ABC journalist Hayley Gleeson published an essay on the ABC’s site which gave just one source for this astonishing claim: "As theology professor Steven Tracy wrote in 2008: ‘It is widely accepted by abuse experts (and validated by numerous studies) that evangelical men who sporadically attend church are more likely than men of any other religious group (and more likely than secular men) to assault their wives’."

ABC Radio National presenter Fran Kelly accepted this without a flicker of doubt in interviewing Baird, asking: "Is it a matter of belief system?"

And they agreed the problem was "patriarchal" churches — male-led — which encouraged men to bully their wives by preaching the Biblical passage: "Wives, submit to your own husbands."

Baird, who has since repeated her attack on the ABC’s 7.30, suggests this could be a scandal to rival priests abusing children.

"Is it true," she asked, "that there are striking similarities to the Church’s failure to protect children from abuse, and that this next generation’s reckoning will be about the failure in their ranks to protect women from domestic violence?"

But anyone remotely familiar with Christianity and Australia should have instantly realised there’s no way "the men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians".

First, our worst rates of domestic violence notoriously occur in Aboriginal families, where women are at least 31 times more likely to be hospitalised by violent partners.

Second, it is not the Bible but the Koran that licenses domestic violence. Christ stopped the stoning of a woman accused of adultery, but Mohammed said men could hit disobedient wives: "Admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them."

And, third, Baird, herself, concedes deep in her online article that her American source says "regular church attenders are less likely to commit acts of intimate partner violence". That suggests Christianity actually protects women, exactly the opposite of what the ABC implied.

But check further and it becomes clear Baird missed clear evidence that contradicts her anti-Church theory. Her single source for her big claim is Steven Tracy, a theology professor at a Phoenix seminary, who did indeed in one essay claim "conservative Protestant men who are irregular church attendees are the most likely to batter their wives".

Tracy cites a paper by Professor Christopher G. Ellison which actually finds that other groups experience greater incidences of domestic violence, demonstrating that there are, in fact, competing views on this issue. The paper claims: "African-Americans, in particular, have higher levels of domestic violence".

What’s more, Ellison says that men who often go to a Christian church "are 72 per cent less likely to abuse their female partners than men from comparable backgrounds who do not attend services".

The conclusion is clear: "Our findings … suggest that religious involvement, specifically church attendance, protects against domestic violence." Christianity literally saves.

Tracy also quotes in his footnotes a New Zealand study by Emeritus Professor David Fergusson which confirms that Christianity is a civilising influence, counter to what the ABC implied.

As Tracy writes: "... 11.2 per cent of husbands who never attended church assaulted their wives. But only 2.2 per cent of husbands who attended church at least monthly assaulted their wives, while 6.2 per cent of husbands who attended church sporadically assaulted their wives."

This is not what Baird reported and what the ABC yesterday claimed. Why didn’t the ABC report the truth: that Christianity actually saves women from abuse? Why did it instead falsely claim — and instantly believe — the falsehood that evangelical Christians are the worst abusers? The ABC is not merely at war with Christianity. This proves something worse: it is attacking the faith that most makes people civil.


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, 2017

A debate we’re not allowed to have in Australia

IT’S the debate we were never allowed to have.

Until relatively recently, Australia’s population grew at a stately pace. There was an influx of European immigration in the mid-1940s, and pause from the mid-1970s, but in the 100 years after Federation in 1901, net overseas migration averaged 70,000 people a year.

Then in the early 2000s, Prime Minister John Howard opened the floodgates. Over the last 12 years, Australia’s annual net overseas migration has tripled from its long-term average to 210,000 people per year.

Our cities are bursting at the seams, roads and services are congested, and house prices are skyrocketing — particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, which attract the lion’s share of new Australians.

Over the last 12 years, Sydney has added 20 per cent to its population, or 800,000 people. Melbourne has added one million people over the same period, or 27 per cent.

According to state government projections, Sydney will add another 1.7 million people over the next 20 years, which works out to 87,000 people a year, or 1650 people per week. Melbourne is forecast to add 97,000 people per year, or around 1870 people per week, for the next 35 years.

“It’s clearly unsustainable,” said Leith van Onselen, chief economist with MacroBusiness. “The problem isn’t that immigration is good or bad, it’s just that the level is far too high for Australia to digest.”

According to Mr van Onselen, dubbed the “Unconventional Economist”, Howard “effectively ran a bait-and-switch policy”.

“He scapegoated the very tiny number of people coming by boat, and at the same time opened the floodgates on people coming by plane,” he said.

“Howard never articulated why he was doing that, he just did it, and unfortunately the following governments, Rudd, Gillard, Abbott and now Turnbull, just followed.”

Mr van Onselen, who is one of the few public commentators calling for a national debate about Australia’s annual migration intake, says there is now “tri-partisan support” between the Liberals, Labor and even the Greens to not discuss the issue.

Behind the scenes, the “growth lobby” of retailers, the banking sector, the property industry and “erroneously named think tanks” all push the “growth-ist agenda”. “Unfortunately there’s not really anybody on the other side,” he said.

Late last year, high-profile entrepreneur Dick Smith came out in support of Pauline Hanson, warning that Australia would be “destroyed” if One Nation’s immigration policies weren’t taken seriously.

Mr Smith had previously spoken out about the need for a “small Australia”, with a population of 26 million rather than 50 million. At current migration levels, Australia’s population will hit 40 million by the year 2060, compared with 33 million if the intake returned to its historical average of 70,000.

“Unfortunately you can’t have a sensible debate,” said Mr van Onselen. “The main problem is the perception of racism. The easiest way to shut down debate is to call someone racist. Our politicians and media won’t mention it because they’re afraid they’ll get associated with Pauline.

“It’s nothing to do with race — it’s an economic and living standards debate. It’s purely a numbers game, that’s all that matters. A body is a body. If you’ve got an extra car on the road, an extra person on the train, it doesn’t matter where they’re from.”

The common public argument used to promote mass immigration, particularly by the likes of the United Nations, is the need to replace an “ageing” population. The behind-the-scenes rationale is to artificially boost economic growth numbers.

Both justifications fail to stand up to scrutiny. According to the Productivity Commission, which has debunked the ageing population myth numerous times over the past 15 years, “changes in migration levels ... make little difference to the age structure of the population in the future, with any effect being temporary”.

“The reason is very simple — immigrants grow old,” said Mr van Onselen. “You can bring in a whole bunch of young people now, it will lower the age temporarily, but in 30 years time those young people are old and you have to repeat the same trick all over again. Really it’s just a Ponzi scheme.”

Which ties into the second justification. Japan, with its sluggish headline economic growth and simultaneously ageing and shrinking population, is commonly cited as an example of why mass immigration for population replacement is necessary.

At the same time, Australia’s record run of economic growth, coinciding with record immigration levels, is held up as a positive example. “All other things being equal, if you increase the population by 1.5 per cent a year, you’re going to get 1.5 per cent economic growth,” said Mr van Onselen.

“More inputs in people means more outputs in economic activity. But the problem is, although it makes the overall growth figures look good, it doesn’t actually help you on a per capita basis, which is what drives living standards.”

In fact, despite Australia’s population surging 21.5 per cent since 2003, compared with the OECD average of 8.5 per cent, Australia’s GDP per capita change has just barely outpaced the OECD — 16 per cent versus 15 per cent, despite going through the biggest mining boom in our history.

“We’re effectively spinning our tyres importing all these people, wearing out our infrastructure, making housing more expensive and degrading the environment for absolutely zero gain, in the material sense,” he said.

“The immigration program used to be a supplement to the economy, now it’s seen as a driver. Governments are using it as a lever to stop Australia going into recession. The tail is wagging the dog.”

Japan, meanwhile, has grown its GDP per capita by 11 per cent since 2003. “Japan’s unemployment rate is nearly half of ours,” said Mr van Onselen. “It’s hardly a terrible situation they’re in. They’ve got good growth at a per capita level and basically anyone who wants a job can get a job.”

According to the UN’s Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “replacement migration” is the “solution to declining and ageing populations”.

“Population decline is inevitable in the absence of replacement migration,” the UN said in a recent press release. “Fertility may rebound in the coming decades, but few believe that it will recover sufficiently in most countries to reach replacement level in the foreseeable future.”

Mr van Onselen described it as “ridiculous”. “The UN pushes a sort of open borders, globalist agenda,” he said. “It is a myth. We just need a national debate. There’s no strategy, it’s all just ad hoc. How big do we want Australia to become? How are we going to accommodate people? Is this what people want?”

Writing in The Australian, economist Judith Sloan pointed out that in 2011, Malcolm Turnbull made the “astonishing claim” that “anyone who thinks that it’s smart to cut immigration is sentencing Australia to poverty”.

“It is important that we have a measured and informed debate about our immigration policies, in terms of both numbers and the integrity of the visa categories,” she wrote.

“Are people really happy that Australia’s population will exceed 40 million in 2060? Are we really testing for skill when we set the visa categories? Has the migration program simply become a way of allowing universities to charge very high fees to international students on the understanding that the graduates can attain permanent residence?

“These are the questions we should not be afraid to pose and politicians should not be afraid to answer.”

Greens immigration spokesman Nick McKim told “The Greens believe in a broad and non-discriminatory immigration policy. In particular, we believe that Australia’s humanitarian intake should be increased to 50,000 people per year.

“Australians are a friendly and welcoming people and we have long and proud history of multiculturalism, which has added so much to the fabric of our country.

“There will always be debates about immigration, and it is disappointing to see so many commentators and politicians resorting to xenophobia and racism.”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Labor immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann did not respond to requests for comment.


Students ‘not target’ in QUT rights case

Cindy Prior’s “chief target” in her racial vilification case over Facebook posts was not the students, but her wealthy employer, the Queensland University of Technology, according to an investigation by a senior lawyer appointed by Gillian Triggs.

Angus Stewart SC ran a closed-door investigation into complaints by three of the ­students — Calum Thwaites, Jackson Powell and Alex Wood — that their human rights were breached by the Human Rights Commission in its mishandling of the matter.

Mr Stewart found that while the students did not suffer any unlawful discrimination and that their complaints were misconceived, the commission could be criticised for having made an “error of judgment” in failing to notify the students.

The Australian has obtained his 53-page report which states that “such prejudice as the ­(students) suffered as a consequence of receiving late notice (from the commission of a conciliation conference) was not brought about because they were white males”. The report, which has not been released by the commission despite it having been provided three months ago, ­includes evidence which was suppressed until fresh orders in May.

Mr Stewart found that ­although Ms Prior had always named in her complaint QUT and seven students (none of whom were notified by the commission or by QUT for a year) she had wished “to pursue her complaint initially and more aggressively against (the chief target) … with the deepest pockets”.

Mr Stewart said there was a “rational and objective basis” for the commission to treat Ms Prior’s complaint relative to QUT differently from the students, even though it was the students who were accused of writing Facebook posts which triggered her action and a subsequent $250,000 damages bid in the Federal Circuit Court. Ms Prior, who lost her court bid and a subsequent appeal, is expected to be bankrupted today for failing to pay the students’ legal costs of ­defending themselves over Facebook posts arising from her telling them to leave an indigenous-only room at QUT.

In finding that the students were not unlawfully discrimin­ated against by the commission, Mr Stewart stated: “I do not see a violation of human rights in such differential conduct.”

The students argued that they were treated shabbily by the commission and significantly disadvantaged because they were white, straight males, while Ms Prior, who was a QUT administrative officer in the university’s indigenous-only Oodgeroo Unit, was given preferential treatment as a Noongar woman.

One of the students, who had moved to Canada and was not ­notified by QUT or the commission of the complaint, was told by Ms Prior’s lawyer that he would need to make a cash settlement to prevent court proceedings. This student’s case was not examined by Mr Stewart as it was not the subject of a formal written complaint.

Mr Stewart found that in the early stages of Ms Prior’s complaint, a suggestion by one of the commission’s staff, Ting Lim, that the students not be pursued by Ms Prior “was clearly aimed at ­favouring them and it caused them no prejudice”.

He said that a year later, when the students had still not been told of the complaint in which they were named, Ms Lim was “motivated by a desire to protect the students from unnecessary notification of the complaints, and that that was at the request of QUT”.

Ms Lim told Mr Stewart during his inquiry that their sex, race or ethnicity had no bearing on the way the complaint was managed.

Professor Triggs, the outgoing head of the commission, has pledged that as a result of the QUT case there will “never again” be such a delay in notifying parties to a complaint.


Africa comes to Melbourne

Women in some suburbs are too terrified to leave home alone as marauding gangs of violent criminals run amok.

As gang members commit armed robberies, violent assaults and home invasions with impunity, families in Melbourne's crime-ridden western suburbs are moving out.

They say suburbs like Werribee have become too dangerous to raise children, leaving them with no choice but to leave their communities.

'I'm scared to be anywhere by myself with the kids, I don't want to walk down the street, I don't want to leave the house, I'm scared to be at home by myself,' local mother Alicia told A Current Affair.

'I'm in my 60s and Werribee used to be a lovely place and now you can't walk around after 7 o'clock at night,' said another man.

A masked gang broke into Ms Farouk's home in nearby Tarneit while she and her family were sleeping and she says crime is getting worse.

'It's getting more like a trouble zone, with the [new] Ravenhall prison, with the refugees moving in, it's getting hairy,' she said.

Home invasions are becoming all too common in Melbourne's west, as crime levels skyrocket.

Crimes that target other people like robberies and assaults have increased by 9.6 per cent in Werribee to 1015 cases this year, and a shocking 16.8 per cent in St Albans.

The new breed of brazen criminals are making life hell for business owners, holding knives to the throats of cashiers and smashing up stores.

A bottle shop owner, Mr Singh, said that young thieves did not even bother trying to hide, holding up the liquor bottles they were stealing for him to see.

Frustrated and scared residents now face the challenge of finding somewhere else affordable to live. Saying that suburbs like Werribee are no place to raise children, some residents are even considering moving into caravans to escape the street violence.

Victoria Police says it is satisfied with the progress being made against crime in Melbourne's western suburbs, but fleeing residents suggest not enough is being done.


Who’s afraid of the big bad climate monster?

IN Al Gore’s latest cinematic dose of climate scaremongering, a young Asian man is crying.

“I feel so scared” he wails, before vision of solicitous uncle Al patting his hand in an attempt to soothe away his fears of the apocalypse.

Scaremongering is what Gore does best, and fear is the business model that has made him rich, though his every apocalyptic scenario has failed to materialise.

In Australia last week to spruik his upcoming movie An Inconvenient Sequel, the former US vice president tried it on again, claiming Mother Nature was “screaming” and the world would ­descend into “political disruption and chaos and diseases, stronger storms and more ­destructive floods” unless we buy his snake oil.

Silly Labor premiers bought that snake oil last week, pledging alongside the grinning Gore that Victoria, Queensland, the ACT and South Australia would embrace renewables to produce zero net emissions by 2050.

They haven’t learned the lesson from SA’s extreme green experiment with renewable energy that has produced nothing but crippling blackouts and the highest electricity prices in the world.

Any normal person with such a woeful record of accuracy as Gore would be ashamed to show his face. Eleven years after his Inconvenient Truth movie scared little kids witless, his warnings of climate armageddon have come to nothing.

“Unless we take drastic measures the world would reach a point of no return within 10 years,” he told us then. Wrong. In fact the world has just been through almost 20 years in which there has been a hiatus in global warming, even as carbon dioxide has increased: an “inconvenient pause” as some wags put it.

Around the world people are waking up to the fact that their leaders have been crying wolf, while their electricity bills go through the roof.

Australia’s prosperity is built on the reams of cheap, abundant fossil fuel under our feet, and yet green zealots have forced us into an energy crisis.

But when Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly last week pointed out the logical fact that Australians will die because of high power bills, he was slammed as a “scaremonger” by the very people who worship at Al Gore’s feet.

Yes, cold kills, and electricity prices have doubled in the past decade, as uncertainty plagues the energy sector, and cheap coal-fired power is priced out of the market by government subsidies for unreliable renewable energy production.

The states, which bear much of the blame, continue with the fantasy that you can replace coal with wind and solar while simultaneously banning the development of onshore gas fields.

The iron-clad law of ­energy supply is that more ­renewables force out baseload power, which you need when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

Yet SA is pretending that the world’s biggest battery built at huge taxpayer expense by another global green huckster, Elon Musk, is going to save the day.

The diabolic task facing federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is to wrangle agreement on something approaching a rational energy policy out of the recently ­released Finkel Review.

Unlike Donald Trump, this government doesn’t have an electoral mandate for pulling out of the Paris treaty.

Tony Abbott was a climate sceptic yet he signed us up to the Paris renewable energy target of slashing emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2050.

That was all he could get through Senate where even mining millionaire Clive Palmer had been got at by Al Gore. So this is where we are.

Appointing Alan Finkel as chief scientist was one of Malcolm Turnbull’s first tasks after he deposed Abbott. Like Turnbull, Finkel is a climate true believer who drives an electric car and powers his South Yarra home on ­renewables.

He’s also an accomplished scientist and entrepreneur with a PhD in electrical ­engineering.

He’s smart but he has produced a report bullish on renewables and bearish on coal.

Finkel is right that wimpish investors have deserted coal in Australia and that electricity prices have soared because of the uncertainty that ensued since Labor’s vandalism from 2007.

But coal is nowhere near obsolete. As the Australian Minerals Council points out, coal is the world’s leading source of electricity and will be till at least 2040.

In our region countries are busy building new clean coal plants. In East Asia alone 1250 new plants are under construction or planned.

Yet in the past eight years in Australia not a single new baseload coal or gas generation unit has been built.

That has to change.

Turnbull has now come around to that realisation, telling the Liberal National Party state convention in Brisbane yesterday: “Those people who say coal and other fossil fuels have no ­future are delusional.”

Fossil fuels are here to stay, despite Al Gore.


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, 2017

Minneapolis: White Australian woman killed by African refugee with a record of violence

A bride-to-be shot dead by police after calling 911 to report a rape died from a single gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Autopsy results reveal Justine Damond, who was wearing her pyjamas when she was shot by policeman Mohamed Noor, died as a result of a homicide.

The officer aimed at the Australian from the passenger seat of his squad car while she spoke to his colleague on the drivers side in a back alley.

On Monday, her fiance Don Damond said the family were 'desperate for information' about her shooting - in which he referred to as a homicide.

Noor, 31, who is the first Somali-American police officer in his precinct, said he takes the family's loss 'seriously and 'keeps them in his daily thoughts and prayers', in a statement released by his attorney.

‘He came to the United States at a young age and is thankful to have had so many opportunities. He takes these events very seriously because, for him, being a police officer is a calling. He joined the police force to serve the community and to protect the people he serves. Officer Noor is a caring person with a family he loves and he empathizes with the loss others are experiencing,' the statement read.

‘The current environment for police is difficult, but Officer Noor accepts this as part of his calling. We would like to say more, and will in the future.'

'At this time, however, there are several investigations ongoing and Officer Noor wants to respect the privacy to the family and asks the same in return during this difficult period.’

Mr Damond, who addressed the assembled media from his backyard in Minneapolis, said 'piecing together Justine's last moments before the homicide will be a small comfort as we grieve this tragedy.'

'Our hearts are broken and we are utterly devastated by the loss of Justine,' he added, as he was comforted by his son Zach during the press conference.

Don's voice broke, and the grieving fiance appeared on the edge of tears, as he described the little he did know about what took place the night Justine died.

'It was Justine that called 911 on Saturday evening reporting what she believed was an active sexual assault occurring nearby.

'Sadly, my family and I have been provided with almost no additional information from law enforcement regarding what happened after police arrived.

Both officer's bodycams were off and the squad car camera not recording when Damond - who was in her pajamas - was killed at around 11.30pm on Saturday, just a month before she was due to marry.

The shooting occurred near the intersection of 51st Street and Washburn Avenue South, in the city's Fulton neighborhood.

The driver of the squad car that pulled up in the alley behind the home Damond shared with her fiance has been identified as Matthew Harrity, a community service officer since 2016. 

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) - the state agency investigating the shooting - has so far kept tight-lipped on how the circumstances that led to the death of the yoga and meditation teacher.

They have admitted that no weapons were recovered from the scene and  according to the Star Tribune witnesses to the shooting have described Damond approaching the police cruiser in the alley behind her house.

She was holding her cell phone and talking to an officer on the drivers side before she was shot.

The only concrete statement the BCA has made so far is to confirm that 'At one point an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman'. 

On Monday morning the heartbroken stepson of Damond appeared outside his home and had harsh words for Officer Noor.

'Why? Why did you do it?,' said Zach Damond.

'He has no idea the impact that he had on thousands of people. No idea.'

According to Minneapolis Star Tribune, the website Minnesota PoliceClips has audio of an exchange between dispatch and the officers involved.

One officer says that he sees a 'female standing behind a building' and 'one down' from the same location before saying they are performing CPR.

Local news have reported that Noor shot across his partner who was the driver of the squad car and both have been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

Police in Minneapolis are required to wear bodycams at all time, but they are not continually active and are manually switched on when an officer anticipates they will be needed.

It is not know why the squad car camera cannot be used in this case.

Noor, who joined the Minneapolis Police in March 2015, has had three complaints made against him in two years - including a lawsuit.  Two are from 2017 and one from 2016 is closed and according to Lou Raguse of Kare 11 is marked 'not to be made public'.

The lawsuit stems from a police call on May 25, 2017, when Noor and two other officers took a woman to hospital and she claimed that they carried out false imprisonment, assault and battery.

According to the ongoing lawsuit, the woman claimed that Noor 'grabbed her right wrist and upper arm' when moving her.

On Saturday night, Damond had called 911 to attend a noise and possible assault in the alley, and was reportedly speaking to the two officers through the drivers side window when the officer in the front passenger seat shot her through the drivers side door.

Neighbours told The Star Tribune they came out of their home to investigate the flashing lights and saw police trying to revive Ms Damond, who was lying on the ground.

When police arrived at her home at around 11.30pm, 'one officer fired their weapon, fatally striking the woman' as she reportedly stood in her driveway, wearing pyjamas

Ms Damond regularly held sessions at the Lake Harriet Spritual Centre, with many of her talks recorded and uploaded to YouTube.

She grew up on Sydney's northern beaches, with her father John the owner of a Dymocks bookstore at Warringah Mall and a prominent member of the community.


- The use of body cameras, or portable video recorders (PVR), was initiated in Minneapolis during 2016.

- Police introduced the technology in an effort to reduce complaints about the behaviour of officers and also to ensure vital video evidence was captured.

- In Minneapolis, where Ms Ruszczyk died, the cameras must be manually switched on by police. They are automatic in other parts of the US.

- According to Minneapolis government's policy, the body cameras must be turned on by when they anticipate they may be involved in a certain situation.

- Situations where they must be switched on include: Traffic stops, arrests, physical confrontations, crimes in progress and suspicious person stops.

- It was last week revealed that the usage of body cameras among officers in Minneapolis was low as 4% in some areas when responding to 911 calls.


US ‘police state’ where Australian was inexplicably shot dead

That the cops almost never switch on their body cams tells you all about their attitudes

THE mid-western US city where an Australian bride-to-be was mysteriously shot dead by a cop is a “police state” run by “out-of-control officers”, according to a community activist.

Shock has turned to anger in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after Sydney woman Justine Damond, 40, was inexplicably shot “multiple times” by police officer Mohamed Noor.

The Minneapolis Police Department has refused requests to explain the incident, which is now being investigated by the state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

The bureau confirmed on Monday afternoon that Ms Damond was unarmed, saying in a statement that no weapons were found at the scene. It also said that the two officers involved had yet to be interviewed.

The incident has quickly taken on a political dimension in the state, where a spate of fatal police shootings have sparked mass protests.

Michelle Gross, president of Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB), said Minnesota police departments had a history of “secretive” behaviour after these incidents that denied justice to victims and their families.

“The main problem is that police have entirely too much power and almost no accountability,” Ms Gross told

“If you don’t hold people accountable, this is what leads to out-of-control officers engaging in dangerous and deadly conduct, day in, day out.”

She said Minnesota was a “police state” where officers had the power to “spy on people at will” and were protected absolutely when they shot people without provocation.

Police officers have killed 443 people in Minnesota since 2000, an average of 26 a year, according to CUAPB records.

“People are absolutely frustrated and upset … that somebody could be killed being a good neighbour,” Ms Gross said.


Plastic bags are GOOD for the environment -- compared with the alternatives

News that Australia’s two largest supermarkets were completely phasing out single-use plastic bags was met with praise from environmental groups on Friday.

The move will affect shoppers in NSW, Victoria and WA, bringing them into line with South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, which already have statewide bans on plastic bags. A statewide ban in Queensland comes into effect next year.

From next year, shoppers will have to pay 15 cents each for heavier, reusable plastic bags.

Jon Dee, managing director of environmental lobby group Do Something and founder of the National Plastic Bag Campaign, called on the federal government to institute a nationwide ban. “Such a national ban would reduce Australia’s plastic bag use by at an estimated six billion bags a year,” he said.

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said the supermarket handed out more than 3.2 billion plastic bags a year and “hence can play a significant role in reducing overall plastic bag usage”.

“Today’s commitment shows we are committed to taking our environmental and community responsibilities seriously,” he said.

The problem with scrapping plastic bags, however, is it increases use of bin liners.

In 2012, a review of South Australia’s bag ban found just 15 per cent of consumers purchased bin liners before the ban, compared with 80 per cent after, “increasing some scepticism about the broader environmental benefit”.

The review suggested that “any future initiatives should include a focus on changing household bin liner behaviour”. That’s because bin liners “do not break down well in modern, highly compacted landfills”, a 2014 WA government study noted.

In 2011, a report by the UK Environment Agency found single-use plastic bags actually had the lowest overall environmental impact in eight out of nine categories compared with heavier options, when the entire production and transport life cycle was taken into account.

A paper bag would have to be reused seven times to have the same “global warming potential” as a traditional plastic bag used as a bin liner, a heavy-duty plastic bag nine times, a tote bag 26 times and a cotton bag 327 times.

That study calculated that just over four in 10 of all lightweight plastic bags were reused in the place of heavier bin liners.

With 90 per cent of households using either bin liners or plastic bags to line their bins, plastic bags being phased out and bin liners discouraged, the natural question becomes — what exactly are you meant to use?


Pauline Hanson claims victory over Islamic halal certification battle after Kellogg's, Sanitarium and Nestle stop paying fees in Australia

Pauline Hanson has hailed the decision of two major breakfast cereal makers to withdraw from halal certification as a sign that companies are responding to public pressure.

Kellogg's and Sanitarium have declared there is no need to pay fees to an Islamic business or charity to declare their products contain no pork or alcohol products, making them fit for Muslims to eat.

Nestle no longer has halal certification applied to its chocolate bars, including Kit Kat, unlike its rival Cadbury.

The One Nation leader said those corporate decisions were a win for 'all those fighting to free Australians from having to pay extra into the halal certification scam' which funds Muslim schools, mosques and religious activities.

'One Nation has kept this issue alive and tried to educate people about unnecessary halal certification so it's great to see progress being made,' Senator Hanson told Daily Mail Australia.

Senator Hanson claimed the victory after Daily Mail Australia revealed the decisions of Kellogg's, Sanitarium and Nestle on Monday.

It also come only three weeks after she successfully moved a motion in the Senate for federal cabinet ministers to investigate better labeling for halal-certified foods.

'It looks like One Nation's successful Senate motion has had a flow-on effect and companies are being forced to respond to public pressure,' she said.

A Senate committee in late 2015 recommended that senior ministers investigate ways of improving transparency in the halal certification industry.

Senator Hanson's motion covered the bipartisan inquiry's first recommendation for halal-certified food to have clearer labeling.

The inquiry had six other recommendations, including better labeling for animals slaughtered as part of a religious ritual.

Nestle still pays halal fees for Milo, Magi noodles, Nescafe coffee, condensed milk and chilli sauces.

Halal certification fees charged to food manufacturers fund Islamic schools, mosques and religious activities.

Sanitarium, the Seventh Day Adventist company behind Weet-Bix, said it saw no need to to pay third-party halal certifiers for its products sold in Australia.

'As far as Sanitarium's position on halal certification we do not use meat-based ingredients or alcohol,' a spokesman told Daily Mail Australia.

Kellogg's confirmed that it stopped paying halal certification fees last year as a commercial decision.

Sanitarium has stopped paying halal fees for its exported cereals and soy milk, but clarified it never put halal logos on its products sold in Australia.

Nestle ceased paying halal certification fees in March 2016 for its chocolate bars but still has them for Maggi two-minute noodles, Nescafe coffee and condensed milk.

'This means our products are suitable for people choosing halal or kosher foods.'

It added that its plant-based breakfast cereals and So Good soy milk were already fit for Muslim and Jewish consumption.

'We do not use and have never needed to use the halal or kosher certification symbols for our local Australian or New Zealand markets as it is unnecessary to do so,' the spokesman said, adding it had previously paid halal certification fees to export their products to 35 nations.

Kellogg's, which sells popular plant-based cereals like Corn Flakes and Special K, denied it last year changed its halal policies over public pressure.

'They're inherently halal, so we chose not to renew our certification in 2016 as part of a regular review of all certifications for our foods,' a spokesman said.

'This was a commercial decision, not the result of any public pressure or backlash.'

However Halal Certification Authority president Mohamed Elmouelhy said a public campaign against halal certification may have made companies think twice. 'Yes, of course. There was a campaign,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

Mr Elmouelhy has declined the reveal the details of his clients or where his halal fees went. 'I am not going to say what I spend my money on. This is a private company and I'm a private person, and I have every right to spend the money whichever way I want to,' he said.

But he argued companies that had halal certification arrangements would have an easier time exporting to Muslim-majority nations like Indonesia and Malaysia.

'That brings in a lot of money to the company,' he said. 'Not just Cadbury, every single company.'

Halal Choices campaigner Kirralie Smith said halal fees were unnecessary for plant-based products anyway. 'Muslims will buy their products anyway,' she said.  'They're already halal. What we're concerned about is companies paying fees to state the obvious.'

Ms Smith, a farmer from northern New South Wales, ran as a Senate candidate with the Australian Liberty Alliance at last year's federal election and is now a member of Senator Cory Bernardi's Australian Conservatives.

She said there was still a long way to go to achieve more transparency with halal certification regulations, with major food producers Vegemite and Bega cheese continuing to pay halal certification fees.

'I'm hoping that other politicians will continue to put pressure on the government,' she said. 

Nestle said an Australian company halal certified its foods, apart from chocolate bars.

'The fee we pay in Australia, stays in Australia. The certifier is owned by a group of community organisations who invest in programs to support their local communities,' a spokeswoman said.

She said any small change to ingredients affected the halal certification process.


Parents want to ban the hijab for young female students in fear Islamic headscarves will takeover classrooms

Tensions threaten to reach boiling point at a Queensland primary school as parents push to ban Muslim students wearing the hijab.

Benowa State School P&C President, Brooke Patterson, called for the ban after she claimed she was asked to design uniforms for young girls which provided 'sexual modesty coverings.'

'We need to debate this now, otherwise in three months there will be a Muslim uniform in state schools in Queensland,' she told the Liberal National Party state conference.

But Ms Patterson is standing firm, claiming allowing young girls to wear religious clothing effectively creates a separate uniform for Muslim students.

'Why would you be trying to do that in a secular state? We are not deciding at Benowa State School uniforms according to a Muslim culture,' she said.

'The people who are most vulnerable to this are the poor darling girls between the ages of five and nine. Their religion doesn't say anything about prepubescent girls wearing a sexual modesty garment.'

An emergency resolution at the LNP conference calling for a general ban on clothing which obscures the face was defeated.

But a second emergency resolution calling for a ban on headscarves for children under the age of 10 was passed. 

Another delegate, Wendy Ko, argued against the resolution and said the LNP should be in favour of freedom of religion.

'We shouldn't even be having this discussion, I don't think anyone has the right to tell an Islamic family how to raise their daughter,' Ms Ko said.

Ultimately the resolution was passed.

Queensland Labor frontbencher Leanne Enoch said she was disappointed by the result. 'I think it's absolutely appalling, we live in a multicultural society,' Ms Enoch said. 'They're talking about what children should wear in schools; that is the dark ages.'


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, 2017

What a total and utter f*ckwit! Proof conclusive that Islam rots the brain.  See below

The claim below is both deeply offensive and utterly wrong.  Australia doesn't gas Muslims.  It gives most of them welfare payments.  Only a brain-dead person could compare the two

A leader of a hardline Islamist group has compared the treatment of Muslims to the massacre of millions of Jewish people during the Holocaust.

Muslims have become an 'existential threat' in the world today, Hizb ut-Tahrir media representative Hamzah Qureshi was recently recorded telling fellow group members.

The growing fear of Islam is comparable to Germany's declaration that the Jewish people 'needed to go entirely' almost 70 years ago, Mr Qureshi argued.

'In Europe during the 19th and 20th century the ‘Jewish question’ interrogated the status of Jews and soon morphed from an allegedly neutral inquiry into a question of serious threat,' he began.

'Numerous answers were proposed – resettlement, integration, assimilation, deportation and so on as Jews were labelled an obstacle to the German nation and the insidious enemy within.'

As fears grew, the Holocaust was offered as a 'final solution' to the 'Jewish question,' he said.

'Today though brothers and sisters there is a "Muslim question",' he said. 

'The same answers that were given for the Jewish question are now being suggested for the Muslim version – integration, assimilation, deportation and so on. Muslims have become that existential threat, that enemy within and that persistent danger,' Mr Qureshi said.

'Muslims are told that in order to be accepted they must conform to a certain set of values different to their own.'

'All this begs the confronting question. What will be the final solution to this ‘Muslim Question?’

Mr Qureshi's comments come after fellow Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar was captured on camera saying Muslims who leave the religion should be put to death. 'The ruling for apostates as such in Islam is clear, that apostates attract capital punishment and we don't shy away from that,' Badar said in Sydney in May. An apostate is someone who decides to leave Islam.

His extraordinary admission was exclusively captured on camera by Daily Mail Australia and the matter has now been referred to the Australian Federal Police by Justice Minister Michael Keenan.

Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia removed references to that apostasy policy from its website as Alison Bevege, a freelance journalist, sued the group for making her to sit in a women's-only section at a separate talk in October 2014.

During the group meeting, Ms Bevege held up a printed copy of Hizb ut-Tahrir's draft constitution of the khilafah state published on the UK site, which was on the group's Australian website until 2015.

This outlines their vision for a global Islamic caliphate, which has Muslims and non-Muslims living under sharia law.

Article 7c of the document said: 'Those who are guilty of apostasy (murtadd) from Islam are to be executed according to the rule of apostasy, provided they have by themselves renounced Islam.'

Badar initially responded by saying the policy wasn't on its website before explaining how the group's apostasy policy was compatible with Islam. 'The whole thing covers different aspects of Islamic sharia law,' he said.

'The role of apostasy in Islam is very clear. Again, this is one of the things the West doesn’t like and seeks to change the role of apostasy.'

A spokeswoman for Justice Minister Michael Keenan condemned language that incites or advocates violence.

'Language that incites or advocates violence is not freedom of speech,' the spokeswoman said. 'This matter has been referred to the AFP.'

Badar's remarks came after he delivered the keynote lecture for the forum, which was called 'Sharia and the modern age'.

He said Islam was incompatible with a secular separation of religion and state, democracy, individual rights and even the process of science, which he called 'scientism'.

He compared calls to fit Islam within a secular society to domesticating a wild animal, putting Hizb ut-Tahrir at odds with secular Muslims who reject sharia law.

'The West seeks to domesticate Islam, to control, to bring within, the way you domesticate animals,' he said.

Badar described calls to reform Islam from secular Muslims as 'pernicious', 'insidious' and 'dangerous' and called for radical change. 'Always when you hear these sorts of calls, alarm bells should ring,' he said.

'The Islam people are calling for fits very well within modernity. They’re giving in to the pressure to conform.'

About 100 people were at the publicly-advertised lecture with men making up about two-thirds of the audience.

Women were segregated from the men on the left-hand side of the room, apart from Ms Bevege who stood at the back.

Following the lecture, a group of men followed Daily Mail Australia to a parked car.

One older man bizarrely demanded to know if men and women had equality in Australia.

An ex-Muslim from Bangladesh, Shakil Ahmed, attended the talk and later described his disgust with Hizb ut-Tahrir and Islamists, which orchestrated marches in his home country in 2013.

Islamists staged marches in the capital Dhaka after the murder of gay rights activists and atheist bloggers.

'Their primary demand was the death of apostates and blasphemers,' Mr Ahmed, 20,  told Daily Mail Australia.

He said it was depressing to hear Hizb ut-Tahrir voice their support for the killing of ex-Muslims in Australia. 

'What I felt instinctively is that the reason I left my country was so that I could escape from the exact same people that I found in that room,' he said.

As an ex-Muslim atheist in Bangladesh, he was discreet about his beliefs. 'Apart from a close circle of family and friends, we don't integrate with others as we don't know how they would react to our views,' he said.

Another Bangladeshi student Shubhajit Bhowmik also attended the lecture.

The Hindu blogger was on the same death list as atheist blogger Avajit Roy when he got hacked to death in 2015 in Dhaka for promoting secularism.

Farabi Shafiur Rahman, an extremist blogger and member of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Bangladesh was arrested in connection with Roy's murder.

'Once you escape from death, then you will hardly find things that will scare you,' Mr Bhowmik told Daily Mail Australia about seeing Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia leaders in the flesh. 

Another Islamist group of religious madrassah teachers, Hefazat e Islam, circulated hit lists of Bangladesh and emerged after Hizb ut-Tahrir was banned in 2009.

Like Hizb ut-Tahrir, they have campaigned in Bangladesh to dismantle parliamentary democracy, scrap aspects of the constitution that contradict sharia law and wind back women's rights.

The latest revelation about Hizb ut-Tahrir in Australia comes as Islamists in Pakistan take to social media to demand the killing of atheist blogger Ayaz Nizami.

He and two others were charged with blasphemy this week by a court in Islamabad and face the death penalty.

Hizb ut-Tahrir operates in 40 nations, including Australia and the United Kingdom, but is banned in Bangladesh along with other Muslim and Muslim-majority nations including Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.


Qld. State opposition promises to BAN Muslim schoolgirls from wearing hijabs and burqas in the classroom

Muslim schoolgirls will not be allowed to wear hijabs or burqas inside the classroom if the state opposition come to power at the next Queensland election.

The Liberal National Party voted to ban 'Muslim modesty garments' at all Queensland state schools for girls aged younger than 10, at its annual convention on Sunday.

But despite their strong stance against religious headwear, the LNP voted against a motion to call on the federal government to ban immigration from countries where sharia law is practiced.

A day after deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce spoke to the convention, the LNP's leader Tim Nicholls fronted a full house in Brisbane to deliver a keynote address.

During his speech, Mr Nicholls ruled out any formal coalition with One Nation, before the LNP base voted on the issues of Muslim headwear, sharia law and immigration.

The urgency motion to ban headscarves for young girls was passed, but a similar call to ban headscarves across the whole of Queensland was defeated.

Also voted down was the resolution to ban immigrants from sharia law countries.

Despite those in favour calling it 'culturally incompatible' with Australian values, LNP members arguing against said immigrants should be judged on a case-by-case basis.

It comes after the LNP announced a strategy to tackle terrorism should they govern including allowing police to hold terror suspects such as Mohammed Elomar (pictured) for 28 days

Under a Mr Nicholls-led government Queensland would also become the first state in the country to have a counter-terrorism minister.

Bail and parole laws will also be strengthened in an effort to safeguard against those with known terror links re-offending.

'We can't take for granted the freedoms we all enjoy,' Mr Nicholls said on Saturday. 'International terrorist groups have proven adept at using their extremist ideology to motivate 'lone wolves' or small groups to use violence in their home countries.'


Bernardi building his power base

Watch out Malcolm Turnbull and all eastern state Liberal Party leaders — Cory Bernardi is coming hunting for your members and your voters.

The South Australian senator’s Australian Conservatives will mark another milestone in their long march through the eastern states today with their ­formal registration as a political party in Victoria.

This adds to the Australian Conservatives’ federal and South Australian registration. Plans for the party to achieve formal registration in NSW are well under way and will be followed by registration in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Tasmania.

Most states have made it more difficult to achieve formal registration as a political party.

This makes it harder for micro-parties with catchy names and very little real community support to game the system by exchanging preferences with a vast array of other, similar micro-parties.

Some four weeks ago the Australian Conservatives gave the Victorian Electoral Commission a list of more than 500 active members in Victoria.

The registration involved the VEC writing to these people and accepting their bona fides only after it received replies. There was also a process of follow-up phone calls with some party members to authenticate their membership.

This process was completed in three weeks and a week had to elapse in case any group wanted to register a complaint against the new party’s name.

Senator Bernardi believed the Australian Conservatives would be one of likely only 14 political parties registered to contest next year’s Victorian election.

Senator Bernardi said his party had about 2500 members in Victoria. Its total national membership was approaching 13,000. Each member pays a $25 fee and there are no discounted or free memberships.

“We know we’ve got a long way to go but in five months we’ve made remarkable progress,” Senator Bernardi said.

Most Australian political parties would regard the recruitment of an extra 13,000 financial members in five months as an astronomical achievement.

“Our youngest new member in Victoria is 15 and our oldest new member will be 102 next month,” he said. “She wrote to us and said I live in a nursing home, I’ve never joined a political party before but I can see we need to make some changes. It’s wonderful that someone like her wants to make a contribution and it’s wonderful that we are attracting young people too.”

The Australian Conservatives have four MPs — two former Families First members in the South Australian parliament, plus Rachel Carling-Jenkins in the Victorian parliament who recently left the Democratic Labor Party to join the Australian Conservatives, and Senator Bernardi himself.

The party has a headquarters in South Australia that for the moment is staffed by volunteers. “We are experiencing all the problems of a start-up in a rapid growth phase,” Senator Bernardi said. “On Monday morning there might be 3000 emails waiting in our office and they will all need to be answered.”

Senator Bernardi is careful to be precise and conservative in announcing membership figures.

More than 100,000 Australians have given their email address to the Australian Conservatives. They receive material from the party and many have made donations. But Senator Bernardi counts as members only those who have signed up for formal membership of the party and paid their first year’s annual dues.

It is by no means unlikely that the party will recruit more members of parliament to its ranks before the Victorian and South Australian elections next year and the NSW election the year after, while timing for the Queensland election is uncertain.

The increasingly onerous party registration requirements in each state provide a strong incentive for the mainstream centre-right forces beyond the Liberal and National parties to come together.

The Australian Conservatives’ initial target of potential voters is 10 or 15 per cent of centre-right voters who are uneasy about the Liberal Party in its current state but also might have serious reservations about voting for Pauline Hanson.

Senator Bernardi believes he has a strong pitch to make to business as well: who do you want to have the balance of power in the Senate, the Greens, Nick Xenophon, Pauline Hanson or the Australian Conservatives?

Senator Bernardi also has big meetings planned in the eastern states that are members-only events and have been sold out with 500 or more attendees.


The Left looks away from the Islamist threat

On a recent episode of the ABC’s Q&A American physicist Lawrence Krauss delighted the audience by claiming that in the US falling fridges posed a greater safety risk than terrorist attacks.

Variations on this theme recur in statements by those determined to minimise the threat posed by terrorists inspired by Islamic doctrine. What about bathroom drownings? Electrocutions while changing light bulbs? In Australia we could throw in fun­nel-web spiders and brown snakes. All the better to get people to focus on the real menace: an outbreak of Islamophobia in response to the attacks among the unenlightened masses.

This is pernicious nonsense. It is patently absurd to make statistical comparisons between deaths by accident, misadventure and disease with those resulting from deliberately orchestrated violence by groups determined to reshape our society.

Morally, there is no comparison between the inevitable accidents of life and planned slaughter. The terrorists responsible for the Manchester atrocity real­ly intended to kill and maim large numbers of teenage girls. People are profoundly unnerved, and rightly so, to think that we have people in our midst capable of forming this kind of evil intention and of carrying it out.

And, crucially, we are not just talking about individuals, the proverbial “lone wolves”. In case after case it turns out that the attacks are committed by organised cells, sometimes involving scores of people. In the case of the 2015 Paris attacks, for example, 23 arrests were made in addition to the eight who carried out the attacks.

Often the direct perpetrators are just the tip of the iceberg, with others providing weapons, safe houses and other support. This is a stark contrast with the rare cases of lethal anti-Islamic violence, which are almost invariably the work of lone individuals.

It is true, of course, that only a tiny minority of Muslims directly participates in these attacks, and most do not support them. But it takes only a handful of violent ­jihadists to cast a pall of fear over a society. I wonder if Krauss can point to any instances of feral ­fridges causing cities to go into lockdown, as happened in Boston, Paris and Brussels.

It is also sadly true that substantial minorities in some Muslim communities do identify with the perpetrators. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, polls in France and Britain revealed that about one-quarter of Muslims expressed some level of sympathy for the terrorists, with support strongest among the young.

According to a poll of British Muslims commissioned by Channel 4, two-thirds of those asked would not report a terrorist plot involving someone close to them to the police, a result that the former chairman of Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commis­sion, Trevor Phillips, described as “astonishing” and “troubling”.

Mao Zedong famously stated that in a guerilla war the fighters must move among the people “as a fish swims in the sea”. Suburbs such as Molenbeek in Brussels, where the Paris and Brussels terror attacks were incubated, provide just this kind of environment.

We need to also bear in mind the “sky’s the limit” mentality of ­jihadist attackers, in which catastrophically successful attacks such as the 9/11 World Trade Centre atrocity are the gold standard. Such attacks need a high level of organisation, technical competence and substantial financial backing. Those responsible would think nothing of inflict­ing hundreds of thousands or even millions of casualties, given the opportunity.

This forces Western governments to take extreme measures to ensure security, including legislative and surveillance measures that would not be contemplated in more benign circumstances.

In France, heavily armed troops patrol beaches in Nice; Jewish schools and synagogues resemble armed camps. In Britain troops were ordered on to streets after the Manchester bombing. In Melbourne ugly concrete bollards have been placed in 10 CBD locations to protect pedestrians from terror attacks. Our societies are being transformed by all this — and very much for the worse.

The most sinister aspect is the effective curbing of free speech. Starting with the fatwa against Salman Rushdie issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989, any high-profile critic of Islam has had to face the prospect of death threats.

Many have felt the impact of this, from cartoonists (including this newspaper’s Bill Leak) to historians of Islam who challenge orthodox accounts, such as British author Tom Holland, who was subjected to what he called a “tsunami of death threats” against his family after the airing of a Channel 4 documentary about his ideas.

At greatest risk are defectors from Islam, apostates such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who must take extraordinary security measures. Even today most Islamic scholars agree apostasy is a capital crime, a daunting prospect for any Muslim inclined to exercise the freedom of religion that we had assumed was an integral feature of our society, let alone to express it publicly.

Hirsi Ali can afford 24-hour security. But what about those who cannot, such as Molly Norris, of whom many readers may be unaware? She is a young cartoonist of liberal-progressive politics who was based in Seattle.

In 2010 she responded to the censorship of an episode of the television show South Park that depicted Mohammed by calling for an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”. According to a friend, “she didn’t mean to skewer or offend — she just thought people should lighten up”. This resulted in Norris being placed on a hit list by Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

After being advised by the FBI that the threat was “very serious”, Norris effectively disappeared. Seattle Weekly published this: “You may have noticed that Molly Norris’ comic is not in the paper this week. That’s because there is no more Molly. The gifted artist is alive and well, thankfully. But on the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is, as they put it, ‘going ghost’: moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity.”

She is still in hiding — in the land of the first amendment.

On YouTube you can watch a speech to the American Humanist Association by Sarah Haider, an extraordinarily articulate and courageous young woman from a Pakistani Muslim background, and a founder of the group Ex-Muslims of North America. Needless to say, her group is forced to operate like a secret society, venues and identities carefully concealed. But the most remarkable aspect of her speech was her description of reactions from her erstwhile colleagues of the progressive left.

As Haider said: “I always expected feeling unwelcome from Muslim audiences, but I didn’t anticipate an equal amount of hostility from my allies on the left … almost all of whom questioned my motives rather than addressing my claims.”.

She lists the epithets directed at people like her: “House Muslim”, “Uncle Tom” and the particularly sinister “native informant”. Who would have thought it? Self-styled “progressives” in a de facto alliance with Islamist fanatics to marginalise and suppress religious dissenters?

This is the intellectual and moral abyss that the postmodern left has fallen into with its embrace of identity politics.


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

17 July, 2017

PETA CREDLIN: The problem with our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull

Peta is pretty right below but she is basically asking Turnbull to be what he is not.  He has no enthusiasm for conservative policies but for his own reasons supports many of them.  His status as a rich businessman may have something to do with his support for conservative policies. 

And he is arguably the right man in the right place at the moment. He has had quite a lot of success in getting his legislation through a very difficult Senate and his centrism might have been the key to that.  If he had been more doctrinaire, he might have met more resistance.

Peta clearly wants him to be more like her old mate Tony Abbott but Abbott did get the boot so is that a good model?

IT was his problem when he was the Liberal leader last time, and it’s still his problem now; Malcolm Turnbull has no political judgment.

Rather than use the one-year anniversary of his election win as a chance to lay out a new agenda and give voters a sorely-needed sense of direction, the Prime Minister used a speech to a UK think tank to deepen Liberal Party divisions, and remind ordinary people that this is all about him, not them.

Right now, the Liberal Party needs leadership. The government has not won a Newspoll since it scraped home with a one-seat majority (Mr Turnbull’s own test not ours) and the base is splintering.

It was like this last time when he tried to force an ETS through the party room with his unforgettable words: “I will not lead a political party that’s not as committed to effective action on climate change as I am,” and he’s doing it again.

There’s a breakaway movement by Cory Bernardi that’s increasing membership each week and I know he’s being asked to speak at events around the country that once would have been the mainstay of Liberals.

And of course there’s One Nation that’s become a powerful vote of protest and only growing stronger because of a failure of Liberal leadership to address the issues it articulates on behalf of disillusioned voters.

But rather than unite, the Prime Minister chose to divide. It was poor judgment when there was actually much to support in his speech but trying to pick a fight with conservatives was dumb in the extreme.

It shows an abject lack of commonsense to poke the bear at a time when the current divisions were kicked off by the impudent gloating of his factional lieutenant Christopher Pyne.

When Pyne spoke of the “winner’s circle” he made it very clear that the party’s left-wing Liberals view today’s political fight as a battle for control of the party rather than a battle of ideas to win over disillusioned voters who are leaving the Coalition in droves. And losing 15 straight Newspolls is hardly “winning”.

Did Turnbull hope to get a rise out of conservatives by declaring the fact Sir Robert Menzies chose to name his new party, the Liberal Party of Australia, as evidence it was not conservative? If so, he was naive and a poor student of party history. The Liberal Party is a proud exponent of both the classical liberal and conservative traditions and an assessment of policies over time makes this clear.

It has only governed successfully when both these strands of Centre-Right philosophy have a seat at the table. But Menzies himself knew a shift to the left was always dangerous for a party built on the individual freedoms, the aspirational ordinary person and sound economic management.

As he wrote in a letter to his daughter, Heather, in 1974 that she recently published, he said: “The main trouble in my state is that we have the State Executive of the Liberal party, which is dominated by what they now call ‘Liberals with a small l’ — that is to say, Liberals who believe in nothing, but who still believe in anything if they think it worth a few votes.

The whole thing is tragic… Why should I, at my age, have to be worrying myself about what is happening to the party which I created, a party which had principles to which I most firmly adhere, principles which have now been completely abandoned by what they call ‘little l’ Liberals.”

For most Australians, a debate about philosophy inside the Liberals is an esoteric own-goal.

Instead, the Prime Minister would have been wiser to spend the one-year anniversary of his one-seat win outlining his agenda — and he should have delivered this message in marginal seats, backed up by a mini-campaign push from ministers.

The electorate is desperate to see leadership from the man that’s always shown promise but never really delivered.


Aust refugee swap with US again in doubt

US officials interviewing refugees held in an Australian-run offshore detention centre have left the facility abruptly, throwing further doubt over a plan to resettle many of the detainees in America.

US officials halted screening interviews and departed the Pacific island of Nauru on Friday, two weeks short of their scheduled timetable and a day after Washington said the US had reached its annual refugee intake cap.

"US (officials) were scheduled to be on Nauru until July 26 but they left on Friday," one refugee told Reuters, requesting anonymity as he did not want to jeopardise his application for US resettlement.

In the US, a senior member of the union that represents refugee officers at US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a Department of Homeland Security agency, told Reuters his own trip to Nauru was not going forward as scheduled.

Jason Marks, chief steward of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1924, told Reuters his trip has now been pushed back and it was unclear whether it will actually happen.

The USCIS said on Saturday that the program would continue but offered no details.

"We do not discuss the exact dates of USCIS' circuit rides to adjudicate refugees' applications. However, we are planning return trips," the agency said in a statement on Saturday.

"It is not uncommon for the dates of tentatively-planned refugee circuit ride trips worldwide to change due to a wide variety of factors."

The Australian Immigration Department declined to comment on the whereabouts of the US officials or the future of a refugee swap agreement between Australia and the US that President Donald Trump earlier this year branded a "dumb deal".

An indefinite postponement of the deal would have significant repercussions for Australia's pledge to close a second detention centre on Papua New Guinea's Manus island on October 31.

Only 70 refugees, less than 10 per cent of the total detainees held in the camp, have completed US processing.

"The US deal looks more and more doubtful," Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition said. "The US deal was never the solution the Australian government pretended it to be."

Former US President Barack Obama agreed a deal with Australia late last year to offer refuge to up to 1250 asylum seekers, a deal the Trump administration said it would only honour to maintain a strong relationship with Australia and then only on condition that refugees satisfied strict checks.

In exchange, Australia has pledged to take Central American refugees from a centre in Costa Rica, where the US has taken in a larger number of people in recent years.

The swap is designed, in part, to help Australia close both Manus and Nauru, which are expensive to run and have been widely criticised by the United Nations and others over treatment of detainees.



Three current reports below:
Backlash against doomsday article that predicts a climate change induced apocalypse

Just another silly prophecy.  Greenie prohecies always fail to come true so this extreme prophecy deserves no attention whatsoever

AUSTRALIAN scientists have said a hugely controversial article that predicts a climate change driven apocalypse is “scary” and “embellished” but entirely plausible despite the extreme scenario dividing climatologists worldwide.

David Wallace-Wells’ startling — and unashamedly doom ridden — essay in New York magazine, entitled ‘ The Uninhabitable Earth ’, has ruffled feathers.

“I promise, it is worse than you think,” he says in the opening line of the article published last week.

Even if Australians manage to survive major cities being in “permanent extreme drought” or poisonous sea “burps” it’s likely we’ll be finished off by “rolling death smogs” or “perpetual war” instead, the article states.

Mr Wallace-Wells’ piece has been heavily criticised. But not by the climate sceptics — it’s climate scientists who are up in arms, claiming it is “irresponsible” and “alarmist”.

Respected climatologist Michael E Mann, director of the Earth System Science Centre at Pennsylvania State University, has said the “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence … [and this] article fails to produce it.”

Richard Betts, from the UK’s University of Exeter told website Climate Feedback,

the Earth becoming uninhabitable within the timescale suggested was “pure hyperbole.”

But Australian climate scientists spoke to said while some of the descriptions of the future earth were fanciful (one called them “dramatised”), fanciful didn’t mean they were false.

“It’s absolutely true these things could happen,” said Dr Liz Hanna, President of the Climate and Health Alliance and a researcher into the health impacts of climate change at the Australian National University (ANU).

“It’s alarming but not alarmist.”

Professor Will Steffen of the Climate Council of Australia said the predictions were not from “ultra greenies” but were a sober assessment of the societal collapse extreme climate change could bring.
The cover of New York magazine issue which contained ‘The Uninhabitable Earth’ article.

The cover of New York magazine issue which contained ‘The Uninhabitable Earth’ article.Source:Supplied


In his essay, Mr Wallace-Wells says the effects of global warming were already happening.

The Global Seed Vault, surrounded by supposedly permanent ice, has flooded. On Wednesday, a trillion-ton block of ice twice the size of the Australian Capital Territory sheared off from the Antarctic ice sheet. The last three years have been the hottest on record globally.

The articles he said, “was not a series of predictions of what will happen. Instead, it is a portrait of our best understanding of where the planet is heading absent aggressive action.”
How the size of the sheared Larsen C iceberg compares to Australian states and cities. Picture: Supplied

How the size of the sheared Larsen C iceberg compares to Australian states and cities. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

The outlook was dire. “No plausible program of emissions reductions can prevent climate disaster.

“Most people talk as if Miami and Bangladesh still have a chance of surviving; most of the scientists I spoke with assume we’ll lose them within the century.”

He writes that the Earth had a mass extinction 250 million years ago when the planet warmed by five degrees triggering the release of methane encased in Arctic ice.

“This ended up with 97 per cent of all life on Earth dead. We are currently adding carbon to the atmosphere at a faster rate”.

That same melting ice could also release dormant deadly diseases frozen in time, such as smallpox and the plague.


The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which the USA has withdrawn from, has an aim of holding the increase in global temperatures to “well below 2C” above pre-industrial levels. Many climate scientists think this goal is already unachievable.

Mr Wallace-Wells said if global temperatures rose by around 4C, hot and humid equatorial regions would be unliveable.

“Within a few hours, a human body would be cooked to death from both inside and out.”

Oceanic acidification could kill off fish creating “dead zones’ and poisonous hydrogen “sulphide burps” might bubble up from the sea floor.

In a 4C warmer world, the Earth’s ecosystem — Australia included — will boil with a constant swarm of tornadoes, floods and droughts, “that not so long ago destroyed whole civilisations.”


Insanity and hypocrisy from Al Gore in Australia

Al Gore’s bombast and hypocrisy, an energy debacle “no one saw coming,” lessons for USA

Paul Driessen

The Wall Street Journal called it the energy shortage “no one saw coming.” Actually, a lot of people did see it coming. But intent on pursuing their “dangerous manmade climate change” and “renewable energy will save the planet” agendas, the political classes ignored them. So the stage was set.

As an Australia-wide heat wave sent temperatures soaring above 105 degrees F (40.6 C) in early 2017, air conditioning demand skyrocketed. But Adelaide, South Australia is heavily dependent on wind turbines for electricity generation – and there was no wind. Regulators told the local natural gas-fired power plant to ramp up its output, but it couldn’t get enough gas to do so. To avoid a massive, widespread blackout, regulators shut off power to 90,000 homes, leaving angry families sweltering in the dark.

According to the Journal, Aussie politicians and the wind industry, the primary problem was businesses that exported 62% of Australia’s natural gas production in 2016, leaving insufficient supplies to run gas backup power plants that are supposed to step in when wind and solar power fail. Policy makers “didn’t ensure enough gas would remain at home” and couldn’t foresee temperatures soaring with no wind.

Gas export licenses were issued without regard to the consequences for the domestic market,” said one pol. We should have had “a national interest test” in place to ensure domestic gas needs, said another.

During this and even bigger Aussie blackouts, valuable fish, meat and produce rotted when freezers and refrigerators shut down. Business operations were interrupted or shut down. Rising electricity prices and unreliable power impacted smelters, factories and other businesses, causing many to lay off workers.

The blackouts and energy debacle “offer lessons for America, as it prepares to vastly increase natural gas shipments abroad,” the Journal advises. It certainly does, though not the lessons suggested by the article or people quoted in it, amid the “excessive exports” narrative. Here are some of the correct lessons.

First and foremost, have debates and red team-blue team exercises. Listen to experts who aren’t locked into climate chaos and renewable energy themes. Foster public discussions, instead of silencing them. Understand the entire situation and all the likely consequences of each alternative, before legislating.

Recognize and study reality. Dead calms occur frequently when temperatures are at their highest, or their lowest – when families, businesses, hospitals and schools need electricity the most. Clouds can blanket regions for days or weeks on end. Reliance on wind and solar is risky, and reliable backup is essential.

The justification for eliminating coal and mandating 50% wind and solar is heavily rooted in fears of catastrophic manmade climate change. But the alleged crisis has no basis in observed evidence. The 18-year pause continues apace, with the El Niño temperature spike of 2015-16 gone … and average global temperatures back down to where they were in March 2015. Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts are in line with or below multi-century historic trends and fluctuations and are hardly unprecedented. Greenland just recorded its most frigid July temperature reading in history: -33 C (-27 F).

If alarmists have evidence to the contrary, they must present it for review – including original temperature data, not the revised, homogenized data that American, Australian and other scientists have been presenting to support cataclysm claims and justify demands that we eliminate fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy, regardless of the unprecedented energy and economic risks that would pose.

Second, if Australia (or the USA) is to “keep what’s theirs,” instead of exporting it, keeping it in the ground is the wrong way to do it. Exports may be playing a role. But Victoria and New South Wales have banned fracking, more are likely to follow, coal burning and nuclear are also banned – and you cannot export, use or generate electricity with energy that you are prohibited from taking out of the ground. You cannot benefit from resources you hoard and lock up.

Ban fracking, and you ensure more natural gas shortages, soaring electricity prices, ever-greater reliance on expensive, unreliable wind and solar power, more blackouts, more layoffs, more economic downturns and dislocations, more shipping of good jobs overseas. Your may get many new low-pay jobs hauling, installing, maintaining and removing wind turbines and solar panels made in China. But you won’t have smelters, foundries, turbine and panel factories, or the high-pay jobs that go with them.

Adding to the problem, Institute of Public Affairs research director Brett Hogan notes, many coal and gas operators are investing less in maintenance because there is little point in spending on plants that activists and politicians are trying to shut down. “That explains why their reliability is starting to wobble at times, which the renewables crowd falsely claims is proof that fossil fuels are also unstable.”

Meanwhile renewable energy mandates “are pushing out the cheapest electricity provider in Australia (coal), gas prices are being set at the international level, and activists are demanding fracking bans that limit gas supplies and make gas still more expensive,” he adds. The results should be easy to foresee.

Third, applying a “national interest test” should not pertain only to export licenses. It must also apply to fracking and nuclear bans, coal and gas plant closures, and effects of skyrocketing electricity prices on smelters, factories, hospitals, schools, local governments and families. Government-imposed Australian austerity and sacrifices will have trivial, un-measurable, irrelevant impacts on atmospheric CO2 levels in the face of growing coal use and emissions from China, India, Indonesia, virtually all other Asia-Pacific nations, and the rest of the world. How does Australia’s overall national interest stack up against that?

Once again, open, robust debate, honest, transparent information – and stiff penalties for prevarication, fabrication and falsification – are absolutely essential.

Under sustainability and climate precepts, we are supposed to safeguard the assumed needs of future generations, even if it means ignoring or compromising the undeniable needs of current generations. We are supposed to protect people from theoretical, exaggerated risks of dangerous manmade climate change, regardless of how slashing fossil fuel use impacts millions of businesses and families. That is untenable.

In the midst of all this, the Journal reports, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has offered to build a giant battery system in South Australia – as though batteries can back up wind power for hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses … especially under true sustainability, economic and national interest tests. Mr. Musk, however, needs new customers to offset plunging sales in Hong Kong, Denmark and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the ECOCITY World Summit is being held in Melbourne. City planners, architects, elected officials, professors, teachers and eager recipients of more taxpayer-funded renewable energy grants are soaking up fake facts and clever strategies for imposing sustainable development goals on the governed classes. As my CFACT colleagues observing the summit put it, they want to use financial instruments and courts to transform communities into “sustainable and resilient cities,” with them in charge.

Al Gore is jetting around the land Down Under, promoting his new climate chaos film and claiming manmade pollution is equivalent to 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs going off daily! Making Australian heat waves five times more likely because of manmade global warming! Teachers and journalists get free passes to Gore’s events, to get their propaganda talking points, but no one is allowed to record any part of his talks, to avoid embarrassing the false prophet. When Climate Depot’s Marc Morano offered him a free DVD of the Climate Hustle documentary film, a scowling Al Gore headed to his SUV and private jet.

Mr. Gore and other alarmists are generally panic-stricken about debating climate realists, especially in debates proposed by USEPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Participating in them would expose their claims to unaccustomed scrutiny, but refusing to do so would leave the impression that they have something to hide: such as their raw data, deceptive methodologies and absence of evidence to support their models.

They should be worried. If the crisis is exaggerated, fabricated or exists only in computer models, we will refuse to keep spending countless trillions on junk research and job-killing renewable energy schemes.

Greenie obsessions hurting a lot of people

The vast costs of shifting from cheap and reliable coal power to wonky "renewables" are being borne by rich and poor alike

Some people are going hungry and suffering immense psychological stress as they try to pay their power bills, an inquiry into Australia's electricity system has been told.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is investigating electricity pricing and supply at the request of federal Treasurer Scott Morrison.

Electricity pricing and industry profits are under the consumer watchdog's microscope, as well as the level of competition in the market and factors that make it hard for householders and business owners to swap providers and understand their bills.

The Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) has told the inquiry that electricity prices soared 119 per cent in the state in the decade to 2016.

"People are being pushed to the edge by electricity price rises," the council said in its submission.

A forthcoming VCOSS report will show people are making trade-offs on food and other essentials, and sometimes experiencing great psychological stress, in order to pay their bills.

In NSW, electricity retailers are announcing price rises of around 20 per cent for the next financial year due to surging wholesale prices.

NSW Energy & Water Ombudsman Janine Young said contracts offering the lowest prices often have discounts dependent upon paying on time via direct debit and in full.

She said this can prove difficult for people struggling financially, lumping them with late payment penalties and fees for failed bank direct debits.

Ms Young said discount contracts were confusing for customers because some discounts are on the total bill and others are on the consumption charges only.

The Consumer Action Law Centre said the complexity of the electricity market has stopped many people from engaging with it and reaping the benefits of competition.

"A particular concern for Consumer Action is that retailers are maximising their profits from disengaged customers in order to subsidise discounts and special offers for more engaged customers," chief executive Gerard Brody said in the centre's submission.

EnergyAustralia, which has more than 2.6 million electricity and gas accounts in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and the ACT, said it supported the introduction of an energy comparison rate similar to what customers see with home loans or petrol consumption metrics for cars.

"This would enable customers to make an adequate comparison by providing a consistent measurement," it said.

It said all of its customer material was written in plain language that is as easy to understand as possible.

"Pricing and discounting is inherently complex and there is no easy way to simplify this in a way that will result in lower overall energy bills for customers," it said in its submission.

A preliminary report is expected to delivered to the Treasurer by September 27, and a final report completed by June 30, 2018


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

16 July, 2017

Census 2016: Australia the world's least racist country?

A small note on the Chinese in Australia.  Salty Bernard below says we have 510,000 Chinese-born residents. That is both true and misleading.  The China-born persons of Han Chinese origin are probably only half of the total Han Chinese immigrants.  Many of the people from Vietnam and Malaysia particularly are Han Chinese by ancestry and know it.  Additionally many have been in Australia for a long time now and have children and grandchildren born here.  So the number of Australian born Han could well be greater than the number born overseas. 

I repeatedly in my daily life come across people of unmistakeably Han ancestry who speak Australian English as well as I do: They have obviously grown up here.  So I estimate that there are around 2 million Australians of Han ancestry, which makes the total population around 5% Han.  We are lucky to have so many bright, hard working and peaceful people among us.

So the Han give demographers a few problems.  The "Overseas" Chinese who have come to Australia from Southest Asia identify strongly as Han so for most purposes should be lumped in with the China-born Han. 

But an upcoming process will create even greater definitional difficulties.  Young Han women in Australia are generally short in stature and seem to be universally determined to marry a tall man.  And if a tall Han man cannot be found a tall Caucasian man will do.  In my observation, that is actually universal.  Young Han women ALWAYS have a tall man with them if they have anyone at all. They know how to get what they want.  Looking at it from the other way, around 50% of tall Caucasian men will have a little Asian lady on their arms if any. That will undoubtedly produce a large crop of Eurasian children in the not too distant future.  How will the demographers classify them?

The phenomenon I have just described also does pretty well as an indication that neither Han nor Caucasian Australians are racist.  In the Bogardus scale of social distance, marriage is the highest level of non-racism

Australian migrants have to really want to come to this country. We are not like Europe or Africa or the Americas where migrants can trek from one country to another across a land border. And Australia isn’t conveniently positioned between continents teeming with humanity. We’re a bit out of the way … in fact we’re a long way out of the way. Which means that if migrants do decide to make the journey to Australia, then getting back to see family and friends is difficult. I think our isolation, the tyranny of distance, delivers an urgency to the Aussie migrant’s yearning for success.

Come to Australia, mate, work hard, pay your taxes, make a civic contribution, perhaps raise a family and share in the resources of our bountiful continent. Large-scale migration shapes the culture of the host population. Migrants lift the bar; they have something to prove; they measure their success by the success of their children (and often set up by the exceptionally hard work of the migrating parents). Without migration Australia would have remained a white Anglo enclave, a colonial outpost of Britain. Migrant effort, energy, enterprise and muscle have shaped this nation and changed the way we eat (pasta), style our homes (back veranda is now alfresco) and greet each other (cheek kissing) along the way.

All of which leads me to conclude that Australia is the greatest migrant nation on earth. And here is why I believe we can make that claim. According to the latest census figures 28 per cent of the Australian population was born overseas, up two percentage points in the past five years. This proportion in the US, Britain and Spain is barely 13 per cent. Only New Zealand (25 per cent) and Canada (20 per cent) come close to the Australian figures.

If we include residents with at least one parent born overseas then this proportion rises to 49 per cent. Or at least this was the proportion last August; by now we probably have topped the 50 per cent mark. There are more than 6.1 million migrants living in Australia — up 870,000 from the 2011 census — which represents an increase of 174,000 per year.

In Greater Melbourne, Perth and Sydney migrants comprise between 36 per cent and 39 per cent of the population (and even higher proportions in tighter definitions of these cities). This proportion in Greater New York is 37 per cent, in Paris it is 25 per cent, in Berlin it is 13 per cent, in Tokyo it is 2 per cent and in Shanghai it is less than 1 per cent. The Germans get all angsty when Berlin pushes much beyond the 13 per cent mark; Greater Sydney is sitting at 39 per cent and rising. And if we again include local residents with at least one parent born overseas, then 65 per cent of Sydney’s population is a migrant or closely connected to the migrant experience.

I do not see how anyone can credibly make the case that Australians are fundamentally racist — racist incidents perhaps, but not fundamentally racist — when close to 40 per cent of the population in our biggest city consists of migrants. If Australians had a fundamental problem with migrants then the issue would have been brought to a head long before Sydney got to be a more cosmopolitan city than New York.

There is no rioting in our streets. Generally we all get along. There are, of course, serious issues that we are dealing with in regard to refugees. However, I cannot cite another nation with metrics even approaching Australia’s generosity in accepting migrants.

Australia’s largest migrant groups are the British (1.088 million) and New Zealanders (518,000). The Brits arrived en masse after World War II as “ten-pound Poms”, while enterprising New Zealanders have always sought to test their mettle in the bigger market of Australia. However, through the 2020s it is likely that there will be a switch in our largest migrant populations. The Brits are dying off and the recovery of the New Zealand economy has stemmed the flow of Kiwis.

The rising migrant forces in Australia are unmistakably Asian. The latest census counted 510,000 Chinese-born residents, increasing at a rate of 38,000 a year, which means they probably already have surpassed the Kiwis as Australia’s second largest migrant group. Then come the Indians with 455,000, increasing at a rate of 32,000 a year. Then there are the Filipinos with 232,000 and the Vietnamese with 219,000.

The Chinese are our leading source of new migrants; they probably have replaced the Kiwis as our leading source of visitors; they form the largest body of overseas students; and China is our leading export market and source of imports. I think it’s time we made Mandarin a compulsory second language in the school curriculum. Indeed I think it is in the national interest for Australians to understand some Mandarin (and at times in business not to let on that we understand some Mandarin).

There are migrant hotspots in every major city, especially among non-English-speaking settlers. The Chinese make up 9 per cent of the population in Hobart’s Sandy Bay. In Darwin’s Coconut Grove Filipino migrants comprise 10 per cent of the population. In Brisbane the Chinese comprise 23 per cent of the population in Macgregor, Indians cluster in Runcorn (9 per cent) and the Vietnamese congregate in Inala, where they comprise 20 per cent of the population. In Adelaide, for some reason English migrants love McLaren Vale where they account for 15 per cent of the population.

Generally British and New Zealand migrants integrate seamlessly into the Australian social fabric. Contrary to popular opinion New Zealanders do not dominate the Sydney suburb of Bondi, where they form just 3.4 per cent of the population. In fact the newest Kiwi enclave is a long way from hip Bondi; it’s Marsden in suburban Brisbane, where they form 13 per cent of the population. The Brits do congregate, but mostly as retirees in lifestyle locations such as Melbourne’s Mount Martha where they also comprise 13 per cent of the population.

The migrant component to the Australian population swishes and swirls to every nook and cranny on the continent. I say this imbues Australians with a global perspective not found elsewhere. We have developed an absorbent culture that soaks up and showcases migrant influences. Perhaps because we are so removed we see overseas and cosmopolitan influences as a mark of sophistication. Quinoa salad, anyone? ....

Which brings me to a final observation about Australia’s migrants. They make the journey to Australia to secure a better life for themselves and their families.

And in so doing I think they make choices based on work availability and perceived quality of life. Sydney may offer the next generation of migrants work opportunities in financial services, but it is the first generation that wants to buy a home, perhaps as a symbol of their success in the new world. And when you think about it, this aspiration to work and to own a home aligns nicely with fundamental Australian values.


PM labels coal opponents 'delusional'

He's got that exactly right

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has mounted a defence of coal-powered electricity, saying those who think the resource doesn't have a future are "delusional".

Addressing the Liberal National Party state convention in Brisbane, Mr Turnbull hit out at the state Labor government's "reckless" plans to ensure Queensland's energy supply is carbon neutral by 2050 and said Australia had an interest in ensuring the future of coal.

"Those people who say coal and other fossil fuels have no future are delusional and they fly in the face of all of the economic forecasts," he told the crowd of party faithful.

His sentiments were greeted with applause by the crowd, who had a day earlier passed a resolution urging a future state LNP government to promote and support the coal industry.

The convention is also considering a resolution to call on the Turnbull government to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, which is likely to be debated on Sunday.

Mr Turnbull devoted a significant portion of his 20-minute address to energy policy, warning of the impact of renewables on power prices and the security of the electricity grid.

He said Queensland's efforts to source 50 per cent of its electricity supply by 2030 would see it follow the path of South Australia, which has been hit by high prices and supply issues.

"We know what happens if you allow left-wing ideology and politics to drive your energy policy. You get unreliable and unaffordable power, and business is driven out of your State," he told the crowd.

"Now, what the Palaszczuk government is seeking to do here is undermine your competitiveness in the interests of chasing green votes in the inner city and you can't allow them to get away with it, and we won't."

He said as the world's largest exporter of coal, Australia had an interest in demonstrating that clean-coal could play a role in a low-emissions energy future.

Mr Turnbull later told reporters ideology had no role to play in the energy policy debate.

"The critical thing to do with energy is to plan it, you've got to be businesslike about it," he told reporters on the Gold Coast.

"That's why I say our policy is based on engineering and economics, not on ideology and politics."


Education Minister rebukes Sydney Uni's sharia push

SYDNEY University has been rebuked by federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham after it was revealed law students were learning that elements of sharia law should be recognised in the mainstream legal system.

Mr Birmingham yesterday said religion had no place in the law.

It comes after The Daily Telegraph revealed course material said there should be recognition in Australia for elements of sharia law like polygamy and lowering the age of consent.

The course material also takes aim at judges for ignoring conservative Muslim values, and police discrimination.

"Equality of the law, under the law and before the law should be one of the first principles in our law schools," Mr Birmingham said.

"We all operate under the one legal framework in Australia, applied consistently to all and that is not a matter for negotiation."

Islamic solicitor Ghufran Alubudy - from Shine Lawyers - also spoke out yesterday to say she did not think sharia should be" recognised at all". "You cannot do this for one group and not another," Ms Alubudy said.

"We have developed the legal system for many years and if we made exceptions for Islam we would need to do it for Jews, Buddhists and Christians.

"Laws are not based on religion and religion is not based on laws - for me the two are very separate things."

Ms Alubudy, 27, pointed out strict Muslim countries where sharia law did apply did not change their laws for other religions.

"If you go to an extreme country like Saudi Arabia they force you to wear a scarf and adopt their laws," she said. "In Australia you are free to do what you want. "You have freedoms."

Mr Birmingham's office also warned universities about using taxpayer funds to promote ideologies at odds with the Australian public.

"Universities must keep in touch with Australian community expectations and that includes respect for and adherence to Australian law," a spokesman said.

"Universities operate under a social licence and we rightly expect that the taxpayer funding going to those institutions is being used to deliver benefits to all Australians."

The comments came after The Daily Telegraph yesterday revealed University of Sydney academics Salim Farrar and Dr Ghena Krayem were teaching law students a course called Muslim Minorities and the Law, based on a textbook they authored: Accommodating Muslims Under Common Law.

Neither academic responded to calls for comment, but their book claims "sharia and common law are not inherently incompatible" and that the failure of police to accommodate Islamic religious identity was hampering the fight against Islamist terrorism. The text also takes aim at judges for denouncing "conservative Muslim values" during sentencing.

And it calls for research into whether polygamy should be formally recognised in Australia because "anecdotal evidence suggests that this is an increasing practice in Muslim communities".

Addressing Islamic family law, the authors write that a man has the "exclusive" right to divorce his wife and states that sharia does not recognise minimum age in marriage: "There is no minimum age for a contract of marriage, but it should not be consummated if that would cause harm to the putative spouse."

It also criticised the Australian legal system for not recognising the religious significance of paying a woman a fee to marry her, a practice known as mahr.

A University of Sydney spokesman said a subject introducing students to Islamic law formed part of "numerous law degrees throughout Australia" and was common in major international universities such as Harvard in the US, and the UK's Warwick and University of London.

"Introduction to Islamic law is an optional course that provides a basic understanding of the sources of Islamic law and its interpretation," he said. "Enrolled students also gain a valuable understanding of Islamic banking and finance law and practice in many major Islamic countries.

"These nations are important to the global economy and many of them are vital trading partners for Australian businesses.

"Students can choose this course from more than 50 optional courses at the University of Sydney Law School."

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils spokesman Ali Kadri said sharia was often "misunderstood", but there was no need to change Australians laws to accommodate it.

"I think there is nothing within Australian law which stops me from following my religion as I am supposed to and I would not be compromising anything within my religion by following Australian law as it is," he said.

"I don't think we need to have religious connotations with any law because we are a secular country."


Can Australia's industrial relations system survive the increase in robotics

The rise of automation will see a sizeable chunk of today’s workforce replaced by robots, global employment giant Seek has warned.  And a recent McKinsey report found 75% of hospitality jobs and 60% in the resources sector are vulnerable to being edged out by machines.

This presents a clear imperative that our industrial relations framework is equipped to maximise employment, and has the flexibility to adapt to rapidly changing economic circumstances. Yet on both these measures, our current workplace framework falls desperately short.

A root cause of Australia’s underwhelming labour market is the award system — a hangover from compulsory arbitration that continues to see the wages and conditions of almost a third of the workforce largely determined by a quasi-legal industrial tribunal.

The idea that a café in Townsville’s anaemic local economy and record unemployment should by law pay the same wages as one in Surry Hills — where the cost of living is at least a third higher — is a throwback to Soviet-style central planning. It has no place in a modern and competitive economy.

The problem is that while unions enjoy decisive influence over the bargaining process, they bear none of the commercial risk of negotiating pay and conditions — in total defiance of what a competitive market would tolerate.

Ensuring Australians continue to reap the benefits of a specialised, high wage and internationally competitive workforce will require a workplace relations framework that stimulates job creation, rather than hindering it.

In the scope of the biggest challenges facing Australia’s labour force, the brouhaha over Sunday penalty rates is really squabbling over loose change.

After all, whether someone is paid $29 or $25 an hour to work at a fast food outlet on Sunday is really an academic question if automation sees burger-flipping go the way of Blockbuster, Kodak and the dodo.


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

14 July, 2017

'You betrayed us': Conservative Jewish activist demands Yassmin Abdel-Magied apologise to Australia

She was given great privilege and opportunity in Australia but, in the Muslim way, she has shown no gratitude for that.  Instead she slimed Australia's war-dead.  Many individual Australians criticized her for that but there was no official comment about her or action against her. Had she mocked something seen as holy in a Muslim country she would now be dead

A Jewish conservative wants polarising Muslim youth activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied to apologise to Australia for suggesting the nation has betrayed her.

Avi Yemini is incensed by the 26-year-old former ABC presenter's claims that she has been silenced, despite been given media platforms to air her views.

'We're sick of it. Please, if you're going to open your mouth it had better be for that apology you owe us. You owe the entire Australia,' he told his 79,454 Facebook followers. 'You betrayed us.'

'Didn't you leave, Yassmin? You're not the victim here. You were given more than 99 per cent of Australians and all you do is play the victim card. All you do is complain.

'Every chance you get, you put down our country and then you wonder why Australians are outraged by your comment.'

The conservative activist has even offered to take Ms Abdel-Magied to the airport as she prepares to leave Australia for London.

'In case her problem is transport, I'm officially offering Yassmin Abdel-Magied a ride to the airport,' he said. 'If it ensures you leave sooner.'

Yassmin Abdel-Magied says she feels betrayed by Australia and is 'exhausted' after a series of highly-publicised controversies

Mr Yemini also offered to help Ms Abdel-Magied draft an apology.

'Start like this: 'I'm Yassmin Abdel-Magied. I've got everything in this world. I love my religion, Islam. We're not all perfect',' he said.

"But I am sorry for betraying the Australian people. I am sorry. And I hope one day they find the room in their heart to forgive me for my disgraceful and despicable actions.' Maybe then, we'll be willing to listen to you again.'

Following a series of controversies, Yassmin Abdel-Magied declared Australia had stripped her of her free speech, even though she was the host of ABC program Australia Wide, appeared on Q&A and last year went on an $11,000 taxpayer-funded trip to the Middle East.

'I feel a little bit betrayed by Australia, because it's my country and these are my country people and it's my home,' she told Buzzfeed UK. 'And to sort of fight for your right to exist in your home country, it's exhausting. 'Where do you go that's safe if not your home?'

The polarising figure, who recently labelled herself 'the most publicly hated Muslim' in the country, said she felt Australians were only accepting of those who 'toe the line'.

She spoke of her fiery discussion about Sharia law with Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie on Q&A in February, when she claimed that Islam is the 'most feminist religion'.

'I had toed the line for 10 years in the public eye… and for some reason I decided that at that point that if I didn't say anything, who would?' she said.

'If me as a young brown Muslim woman sitting there next to the politician, wasn't going to say to the politician, "hey, check yourself," who was going to do it on my behalf?'

Ms Abdel-Magied added: 'Freedom of speech doesn't really apply to the truth. For me that was my truth, but I wasn't really allowed to say it and people were very upset, so it's taught me a lot.' 

Meanwhile, the former ABC presenter revealed last week she was 'deeply and personally' affected by the Anzac Day post controversy. She sparked uproar in April with a Facebook message which read: 'Lest. We. Forget. (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine).'

It triggered a social media firestorm, with her comments widely condemned as 'disrespectful' and 'despicable'. 

'Given that I am now the most publicly hated Muslim in Australia, people have been asking me how I am,' Ms Abdel-Magied wrote for The Guardian last week.

'What do I say? That life has been great and I can't wait to start my new adventure in London? ... Or do I tell them that it's been thoroughly rubbish?

'That it is humiliating to have almost 90,000 twisted words written about me in the three months since Anzac Day, words that are largely laced with hate.'

She quickly deleted her Anzac Day post and said: 'It was brought to my attention that my last post was disrespectful, and for that, I apologise unreservedly.'

Ms Abdel-Magied announced on Monday she was leaving Australia and moving to London as part of the 'Aussie rite of passage'.

The announcement divided users on social media, with one man unable to hide his delight at her decision. 'Best news of 2017! Be sure to insult the Queen and the royal family whilst you're there as well,' he said.

But one woman was more supportive: 'Good on you, Yassmin. Go where the work and inspiration takes you,' she said.


Australia Day citizenship ceremony in Melbourne could move from January 26 - because it's 'insensitive to Aboriginal people'

Darebin is a heavily gentrified suburb of Melbourne with strong Leftist and Greenie sympathies. Households of couples with children are rare there. A lot of the residents even get onto buses to go to work!  So their council is basically a fringe group

A Melbourne council could be moving its Australia Day citizenship ceremony from January 26 out of sensitivity to indigenous Australians.

Darebin Council may replace the ceremony with an event on that date that acknowledges the suffering of indigenous Australians, the Preston Leader reports.

But it comes just weeks after another Melbourne council, Moreland, failed to pass a similar motion.

The council is also considering changing the name of its Australia Day Awards, according to an internal survey reviewed by the newspaper.

The survey – which was given to a council advisory committee – asks questions in a bid to broaden the council's understanding of the issue.

It also asks whether the council should support the campaign to move Australia Day celebrations from January 26.

The date, on which the First Fleet arrived in 1788, marks the brutal colonisation of Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders.


Newspoll: voters demand same-sex marriage be decided by a poll

A new push within Coalition ranks to hold a free vote in parliament on same-sex marriage by the end of the year has been dealt a blow by a special Newspoll showing Australian voters have swung in behind a national plebiscite.

More Australians now support a popular vote on same-sex marriage than holding a free vote in parliament in a surprise reversal of the views expressed just 10 months ago when Bill Shorten and others vowed to block the plebiscite in the Senate.

The Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian, reveals that 46 per cent of voters prefer a plebiscite while 39 per cent want politicians to decide the outcome, with 15 per cent undecided.

The results show a fall in support for a parliamentary vote since the height of the debate last September, when 48 per cent of voters wanted politicians to decide and 39 per cent backed a plebiscite.

Coalition MPs yesterday stood by the government’s election commitment to hold a plebiscite after West Australian Liberal senator Dean Smith confirmed he was drafting a private member’s bill to legalise same-sex marriage, which he wants debated by the partyroom when parliament returns in August. In a danger sign for the Coalition MPs who are trying to ramp up an internal campaign for a free vote in parliament, the Newspoll shows a dramatic shift in support from Coalition voters for a plebiscite rather than a decision made only by politicians.

While 47 per cent of Coalition voters backed a plebiscite and 44 per cent backed a parliamentary vote in the Newspoll survey last September, this changed to 54 per cent and 33 per cent respectively in the poll conducted from Thursday to Sunday. The latest poll comes after Christopher Pyne was recorded telling members of the Liberals’ moderate faction in June that same-sex marriage would happen “sooner than everyone thinks”.

The comments from Mr Pyne — in which he boasted about the moderate faction being in the “winner’s circle” — triggered a bitter round of infighting and a swift conservative retaliation led by Tony Abbott.

Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz — a staunch defender of traditional marriage — yesterday said there was community support for a people’s vote and attacked Labor and the Greens for opposing the plebiscite in the Senate.

“The partyroom decided that we were in favour of marriage being between a man and a woman but we were cognisant of the fact that there were differing views within the partyroom and the community and therefore a plebiscite would be the best way to resolve it,” he said. “There remains strong support in the community for a plebiscite and, if it were determined by a plebiscite, I think that matter would then have the support of the Australian people.”

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield also played down the push for a new private member’s bill but dodged questions on whether the government would take the policy for a plebiscite to the next election.

“This is something that could have already been done and dusted. We would have already had a plebiscite take place if the Australian Labor Party had not blocked the plebiscite bill,” Senator Fifield told Sky News. “And there’s no reason why the Australian Labor Party should have blocked the plebiscite bill because Bill Shorten himself previously advocated for a plebiscite on this subject.”

The Opposition Leader has blasted the plebiscite as a waste of money, given its estimated $160 million direct cost, and he has called on Malcolm Turnbull to allow Liberal MPs to vote with their conscience in parliament to end the dispute over whether to amend the Marriage Act.

South Australian Labor MP Nick Champion yesterday argued a parliamentary vote was the most appropriate way to resolve the issue. “We have a system of parliamentary democracy and it has held us in very good stead for a very long time,” he told Sky News.

“If you go and ask someone in the pub do they want a say, they say ‘Yep.’ And when you ask should we spend $180m giving you a say, they say no, spend that on a local hospital or local roads.”

Former prime minister Julia Gillard and Labor frontbenchers including Chris Bowen and Tony Burke voted against marriage equality in 2012, alongside Tony Abbott and Mr Turnbull, in a decision that left the issue to be decided by a future parliament.

Labor frontbenchers including Mr Shorten, Tanya Plibersek, Anthony Albanese, Jenny Macklin, Jason Clare and Mark Butler voted in favour of change.

A shift in sentiment in the past five years has fuelled hopes among marriage equality advocates that a conscience vote would succeed in both houses of parliament. Same-sex marriage advocate Rodney Croome said he believed Senator Smith’s push would succeed.

“I’m more confident now that we’ll see marriage equality achieved in the near future than at any other time since the last election,” he told ABC radio. “The moment MPs on all sides are allowed to vote according to their conscience, believe me, this will pass.”

The latest Newspoll shows that Greens voters are the strongest supporters of a conscience vote in parliament, with 62 per cent in favour, but this is down from 71 per cent in the September survey.

One Nation voters are the strongest supporters of a plebiscite, with 55 per cent in favour compared to 24 per cent for a conscience vote.


Bungled DNA evidence again

It's not proof against crooked cops

The son of a Melbourne mum murdered almost 40 years ago is angry police bungled the investigation by mixing up DNA evidence.

Victoria Police admitted on Thursday DNA taken from bloody pillowcase, and used to rule out priest Anthony Bongiorno as a suspect, came from an unrelated case.

Maria James, 38, was killed in 1980 in her Thornbury bookshop and the priest, who's since died, was a key person of interest.

Her sons Mark and Adam were 13 and 11, respectively, when she died.

The siblings have long suspected the Catholic priest was involved because he had abused Adam as a child. Adam James recently detailed his abuse to an ABC Trace podcast looking into the case. 'I remember he said to me 'Adam, can you come with me and I don't want you to tell your mum or Mark',' he told the ABC.

Bongiorno abused him before Ms James came to collect her son, Adam said.

Mark James says he's angry around the latest turn in the Victoria Police investigation. 'I am actually angry. I feel quite indignant,' he told ABC television on Thursday.

But despite the disappointment, Mark's also relieved. 'When I was originally told that Father Anthony Bongiorno had been eliminated through some form of DNA-type testing, I found it difficult to accept,' he said. 'But now that police have confirmed that Father Bongiorno and others are actually not eliminated, I'm feeling some relief.'

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana the DNA mix up was the result of a 'human error' made three decades ago.

'Basically, this means we need to go back and re-examine all the exhibits from the Maria James investigation.' Persons of interest previously ruled out of the investigation would now be re-examined.

'We've got to go back and ... see whether we can actually identify whether the offender has left any trace evidence behind,'Mr Fontana said. 'We don't have a profile on the suspect at this stage.'

Mark is seeking clarification about when the unrelated DNA was introduced to the investigation. 'I accept it was human error but the clarification I am seeking was, specifically, did this interference occur before Father Bongiorno became a suspect in this case?'

Mr Fontana said the error was discovered this year after a cold case inquiry into Ms James' death began. The James family say they have applied to the Victorian Coroner to re-examine the case as well.

Mr Fontana does not expect the exhumation of bodies, including the remains of Father Bongiorno, will be needed as a new investigation gets underway.

The admittance comes after it was revealed Ms James issued her son Mark a chilling warning just hours before her death. 'If anything happens to me, make sure [your brother] Adam is looked after,' she told him.

The conversation took place at the breakfast table, and by the time Mark, then 13, and his younger brother Adam, then 11, returned home from school, their lives had changed forever, reported ABC's Trace Podcast.

Father Bongiorno picked the boys up from school and broke the news.

It is believed she was killed with a small knife with a green handle, taken from her own kitchen drawer.

When she was killed, she was on the phone to her ex-husband John. She had briefly put down the phone and never returned.  Police arrived to find the phone still off the hook. 

Despite police finding blood at the scene which they believe belongs to the killer, Maria's murderer has never been found.

Officers investigated multiple leads, but all of them went cold. 

Detective Ron Iddles, who is widely regarded as Australia's greatest detective, was unable to solve the case, and though he retired from Victoria Police this year, will continue trying to hunt down the mother's killer. He told Trace the amount of stab wounds Maria received suggested her killer was certainly someone she knew.

'I've investigated over 320 homicides. Those where you have absolute multiple stab wounds like this, I don't think I've ever charged anyone where there is no connection between the killer,' he said.



Al Gore compares climate fight to slavery, gay rights & apartheid at Australian summit

MELBOURNE, Australia — Former Vice President Al Gore likened the battle against “global warming” to previous social causes. Gore spoke to the EcoCity World Summit in Melbourne Australia on July 13th. The conference is being held from July 12-14.

“Abolition of slavery, woman’s suffrage, anti apartheid movement, civil rights movement, stopping toxic phase of nuclear arms, gay rights, all these movements have one thing in common. they were all met with ferocious resistance,” Gore said on July 13th during his talk to the conference in Melbourne.

Other speakers at the summit tied climate “solutions” to social causes.  Climate activists admitted that  “Carbon Neutral” goals were being used to achieve “gender & social equity.”
Johanna Partin spoke about the CNCA or Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance. In her talk, she clearly stated a key “mission” of going “carbon neutral” was to “increase gender and social equity.”

Partin joins many other climate activists who are using the man-made global warming scare to advance other agendas that have nothing to do with climate.

Author Naomi Klein, author of the new book “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate”, admitted during the 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City activists would be caling for the same “solutions” even if there was no climate “crisis.” She was asked, “Even if climate change issue did not exist, you would be calling for same structural changes?” Klein responded:  ‘Yeah.’

Following the panel, Climate Depot asked Klein if she would support all the same climate “solutions” even if the science was wrong.

“Yes, I would still be for social justice even if there was not climate change. Yes, you caught me Marc,” Klein answered sarcastically as she abruptly ended the interview.


University of Pennsylvania Geologist Dr. Robert Giegengack noted in 2014, “None of the strategies that have been offered by the U.S. government or by the EPA or by anybody else has the remotest chance of altering climate if in fact climate is controlled by carbon dioxide.”

In layman’s terms: All of the so-called ‘solutions’ to global warming are purely symbolic when it comes to climate. So, even if we actually faced a climate catastrophe and we had to rely on a UN climate agreement, we would all be doomed!

The United Nations has publicly stated its goal is not to ‘solve’ climate change, but to seek to redistribute wealth and expand its authority through more central planning. UN official Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the IPCC Working Group III, admitted what’s behind the climate issue: “One must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy … One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.”

EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard revealed: Global Warming Policy Is Right Even If Science Is Wrong. Hedegaard said in 2013, “Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said ‘we were wrong, it was not about climate,’ would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?”

The UN is seeking central planning. UN climate chief Christiana Figueres declared in 2012 that she is seeking a “centralized transformation” that is “going to make the life of everyone on the planet very different.”

The UN and EPA regulations are pure climate symbolism in exchange for a more centrally planned energy economy. The UN and EPA regulations are simply a vehicle to put politicians and bureaucrats in charge of our energy economy and ‘save’ us from bad weather and ‘climate change.’


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

13 July, 2017

Australia to get a draconian fuel efficiency standard?

Sounds like America's CAFE, which is widely deplored and likely to be cut back by Trump.  The idea is for cars to get more miles per gallon -- but that pushes people into small cars, which may not suit families and others

Malcolm Turnbull's proposed 'carbon tax' could push up the price of new cars by more than $5,000 for Australian buyers.

The Government's proposed tax details penalties for car distributors that fail to meet fuel efficiency targets.

Distributors told The Daily Telegraph they were shocked by the 'extreme' proposal when they received it on Monday.

Australian Automobile Association chief executive officer Michael Bradley told the publication the carbon tax would without a doubt force up the price of new cars.

'This would be one of the most extreme efficiency standards in the world and will lead to car prices going up and motorists having fewer cars to choose from,' he said.

'There is no escaping the fact that if the government pushes ahead with this proposal it will mean more expensive cars.'

Under the Government's proposed Fuel Efficiency Standard, it planned to have 65 per cent of vehicles complying with emissions targets by 2022 and 100 per cent by 2025. Emissions penalties would commence in 2025.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries' acting chief executive Tony McDonald said emissions penalties would add thousands of dollars onto the price of a new car.

While the proposal was still under assessment, Mr McDonald said it would have a huge impact on Australian consumers if it were to go ahead.

'The industry firmly believes this high target is unrealistic and ill-considered,' he said.

Mr McDonald said Australia's peak car industry bodies consulted with the Government for 18 months.

He said the outcome was far more extreme than the industry expected.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development said it was just a proposal and nothing was confirmed.

The department said it welcomed stakeholder feedback.

If emissions were not offset within the next three calendar years, the price of some of Australia's most popular cars could cost upwards of $5,000 more.

The Ford Ranger would cost more than $2,000 more to buy, the Toyota Corolla would cost almost $4,000 more, and the Hyundai i30 would cost $5,770 more.


Reality bites: Australian bank drops sexism case against high profile Sydney trader after he sent an email calling their new female chief financial officer a 'dumb appointment'

Just because the person criticized was female, a self-righteous executive said it was sexist, even though the sex of the person was not mentioned.  That folly has just cost his bank a lot of money

ANZ Bank has reached a settlement with the high profile trader who was fired after sending a 'sexist' email about the bank's new female chief financial officer.

Angus Aitken lost his position as head of institutional equities at Bell Potter, a broker firm employed by ANZ, after sending an email to clients in May of 2016 about the bank's new CFO Michelle Jablko.

In the email, Mr Aitken wrote: 'ANZ - that new CFO has to be one of the dumber appointments I have seen... another reason not to own this stock. Sell ANZ.'

Last year he launched legal action against the bank and its chief executive Shayne Elliott and communications general manager Paul Edwards.

On Tuesday, Mr Edwards tweeted an apology to Mr Aitken on behalf of himself and the bank.

'ANZ withdraws the allegation that Angus Aitken is sexist and apologises,' he said.

Mr Aitken also posted an apology note through social media, saying: 'I withdraw and apologise for my allegations against Shayne Elliott, Paul Edwards and the ANZ that they engaged in intimidatory conduct towards Bell Potter in order to have my employment terminated.'

The email, sent by Mr Aitken following Ms Jablko's appointment, went on to say investment bankers 'tend to be crap at most things,' but listed a few male exceptions, including Chris Mackay and Hamish at Magellan Financial Group.

Mr Edwards shared a screenshot of the email on social media, adding the caption: 'sexism alive and well in stockbroking'.

It comes after Mr Edwards said a male in the same role as Ms Jablko wouldn't be subjected to the same level of criticism, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

'I'm not saying that people ought not to raise questions about appointments but the nature of that article was surprisingly personal,' he told the newspaper.

Mr Aitken was employed as head of institutional equities at Bell Potter Financial Group in Sydney.

His controversial email went on to say: 'UK clients last night were completely amazed that they would appoint a CFO whose last major deal was advising Slater and Gordon to buy the Quindell assets form over $1bn last year that are now worth bugger all.'

'I would be surprised if you saw anything but selling of ANZ from UK investors let alone anywhere else.

'I mean don't get me wrong, we all gets things wrong - look at some of my stock ideas... but hey I am never going to be CFO of ANZ bank either'.


The woman criticized does seem to have a poor track record.  She probably WAS an "affirmative action" appointee.  In other words, it was the bank, not the critic, that was sexist.  So the bank "projected" their own sexism onto someone else

Incompetent NSW forensic science laboratory

This arrest of an innocent person should never have occurred.  How could they mix up two common substances?

She's the Bondi-based fashion designer and upcoming Shark Tank contestant with a promising career.  But the future didn't always look so bright for 34-year-old Lisa Maree Boersma.

In 2009, after returning from a holiday in the US, she found herself falsely accused of drug possession, in police custody and facing 25 years in jail.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the drama unfolded when police found five kilograms of white powder in the brunette beauty's BMW.

At the time, a confused Lisa struggled to explain where the large bags of substance came from, and her world came crashing down when the powder tested positive for methylamphetamine.

The part-time model and entrepreneur was promptly arrested and charged with supplying a prohibited drug, according to SMH.  

She was held in custody for three days before being released on bail.

It turns out that Lisa's boyfriend, a bodybuilder, was using her car while she was enjoying her overseas trip. 

After further tests where conducted, results showed that the powder was actually a caffeine-based legal supplement taken by bodybuilders.

The case against Lisa was later dismissed in court.


Australia’s lurch to the left will lead it down the same path as Greece

Venezuela is richly endowed with a year-round growing season, first-class tourist destinations, the world’s largest oil reserves, gold and other minerals, and a population of only 30 million. Venezuelans should be among the most content and prosperous people on the planet. Not so.

Thanks to 14 years of socialist experimentation under Hugo Chavez, they are in the grip of ­tyranny and hyperinflation. According to government data, last year infant mortality rose 30 per cent, maternal mortality shot up 65 per cent and cases of malaria jumped 76 per cent. Chavez died in 2013. His successor, Nicolas Maduro, vows to protect the “socialist fatherland” against all threats. Demands for elections have claimed the lives of 75 demonstrators.

Only 10 years ago a group of Australians including the ABC’s Phillip Adams and the Greens’ Lee Rhiannon enthusiastically invited Chavez to visit Australia, telling us he was the champion of a “new socialism for the 21st century … stirring hope in the hearts of many people — and fear in a few”. Kevin Rudd was urged to follow his lead.

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn told us Chavez had made “massive contributions to Venezuela and the world”. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders taunted fellow Americans: “Who’s the banana republic now?” Well, Greece for a start. It too has run out of other people’s money and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, a former communist, is trying to persuade his socialist EU neighbours that impoverished, overtaxed Greece is a worthy charity.

Well he might. Almost 1.5 million Greeks live in extreme poverty, most of them young and unemployed. More than 2.5 million are without healthcare coverage. Hospitals no longer conduct basic blood tests because lab ­expenditure has been pared back.

You won’t read that in The Age or hear it on the ABC. They counsel that “ignorance is bliss”. Pay no heed to Churchillian warnings: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” It’s all so yesterday.

But is it? After decades of socialist, compassionate (?) policies, 19 million Britons now live below the nationally recognised minimum income standard. In France, nine million — including three million children — are ­officially impoverished. There are 7.5 million Italians, 3.2 million Spaniards and 1.8 million Portuguese living below the poverty line.

And, according to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, even after a quarter of a century of economic expansion, with governments firmly committed to fairness and equality, 1.5 million Australians live in entrenched poverty. And the numbers are rising. Perhaps Churchill is not so yesterday after all.

Which means if the world’s poor read the latest G20 communique they should run for the hills. Like a scene from Dr Strangelove, it talks of “mastering the challenges of our age”, “shaping an interconnected world”, contributing “to prosperity and wellbeing and promoting greater inclusiveness, fairness and equality in our pursuit of economic growth and job creation”. God help us.

Of course, if challenged, the G20 members will quickly blame past failures on crooked bankers and greedy capitalists. But they ­encouraged competitive capitalism to be corrupted by conferring patronage and access on privileged cronies. Climate change has become a favoured mechanism. Under the cover of wealth redistribution, they have ignored human behaviour through the never-ending proliferation of incentive-­destroying taxes and regulations. These entrench the privileged, limit social mobility, widen wealth inequality, misallocate capital and sap economic activity. That’s Australia 2017. Australia tomorrow is South Australia today.

South Australia has the ­nation’s worst unemployment, the largest per-capita public service and ranks as our highest taxing state. Its reckless pursuit of renewable energy has given it the world’s most expensive electricity. Yet it denies that high taxes, unreliable and uncompetitive energy, foolhardy industry protection and a highly unionised workforce have anything to do with its poor economic performance. It buries its head in accounting tricks to hide a cash deficit, a bank tax, more spending on dubious infrastructure such as Elon Musk batteries and, above all, unbridled optimism. Unfortunately, as the government was boasting “Growing jobs today, creating jobs tomorrow”, a plastics recycling business closed its doors after 37 years, citing a 125 per cent rise in electricity charges in just 18 months.

More closure will follow. Domiciles will move and the state’s best and brightest will leave in search of jobs elsewhere. The Weatherill government’s tax base will keep shrinking, debts and deficits will grow and, like its European socialist role models, it will appeal to rich relatives to bail it out.

It’s already happening. To create jobs for those laid waste by South Australia’s failed policies, Canberra has committed $50 billion to building ostensibly obsolete submarines in a state proved to be the nation’s least competitive.

Queensland and Victoria are also lining up. Competitive federalism, be damned. If they can use horizontal fiscal equalisation, justified mainly on social “equity” grounds, why not? But then why should taxpayers in well-managed states, particularly NSW (Australia’s Germany), pick up the tab for the failed experiments of others? Rather than constantly ­reward bad behaviour, it’s time states stood on their own feet. After all, Federation was 116 years ago.

And Canberra is also a socialist-roader. Its hyped 2021 budget surplus was all but spent buying Gonski Senate approval. Unfor­tunately, global head­winds are getting stronger. Our banks’ credit ratings have been downgraded and government debts and deficits are rising. Government commitments will prove unsustainable.

Must we experience another global calamity before the big lie of socialism is rejected? Or is serfdom going to be the new normal?


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, 2017

'The sensible centre is the place to be': Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claims the Liberal party is NOT conservative and never has been

Turnbull is certainly speaking of himself when he says that the Liberals are centrist. And it may be that his centrism has given him surprising success at getting his legislation through a fractious Senate. He has enacted most of his initial agenda, notably the building industry watchdog.

He also quotes Menzies accurately but overlooks that what Menzies described as liberalism is conservative today.  The Left have drifted into a hate-filled Marxist party that no longer gives any real respect to liberalism as Menzies saw it.  They support the thuggish building unions, for instance, whereas Menzies emphatically believed in individual liberty and the rule of law.  I quote:

"We are told today that the parliamentary system is antiquated, that it is slow, inefficient, illogical, emotional. In the presence of each charge, it may admit to some degree of guilt. But with all its faults, it retains a great virtue, alas! in these days, a rare virtue. Its virtue is that it is the one system yet devised which ensures the liberty of the subject by promoting the rule of law which subjects themselves make, and to which everyone, Prime Minister or tramp, must render allegiance. We British people still believe that men are born free, and that the function of government is to limit that freedom only by the consent of the governed."

It is Mr Abbott who is the chief defender of individual liberty in Australia today

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has made the sensational claim the Liberal party was not a conservative party, and never has been.

Speaking in London on Monday, Mr Turnbull said the Liberal party was moulded by former Australian prime minister Robert Menzies, who 'went to great pains not to call his new centre-right party a conservative party'.

'The sensible centre was the place to be. It remains the place to be,' Mr Turnbull said, according to The Australian.

'In 1944 Menzies described our party as the Liberal party, which he firmly anchored in the centre of Australian politics. 'He wanted to stand apart from the big money, business establishment politics of traditional conservative parties, as well as from the socialist tradition of the labour movement embodied in the Australian Labor Party.' 

The Liberal party has been embroiled in scandal in recent months amid rising tensions between conservative and moderate ministers.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott said last week he would 'continue' to stand up for conservative voters. 'There is, it's no secret at the moment, a bit of division inside the ranks of those who have regarded themselves as Liberals,' he said.

'I've made the judgement that at least for the moment, and obviously there's a limit to how far this can continue... it's important for someone to stand up for those Liberals feeling a bit let down and disenfranchised.'

Mr Abbot feared the conservative members would leave the Liberals to join a different party - due to the growing moderate voice led by Mr Turnbull.

Mr Abbott was slammed by South Australian senator Nick Xenophon for criticising his own government. 'I think Tony Abbott's being a huge pain in the a*** right now,' he said. 'I need to use the sort of cut through language that Tony Abbott is renowned for.'

His comment was in response to Mr Abbott's criticism of the federal government's May Budget.


Conservatives seize on Malcolm Turnbull’s centre-right Liberal Party claim

PROMINENT right-wing Australians have seized on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s claim the Liberal Party was never meant to be conservative.

It’s been claimed Mr Turnbull’s comments will lure Liberals to emerging minor parties like Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives and One Nation.

The Prime Minister made the remarks in a speech in the UK overnight, arguing the party’s founder Sir Robert Menzies deliberately positioned the Liberal Party in the centre when he founded it in 1944.

“Menzies said: ‘We took the name Liberal because we were determined to be a progressive party, willing to make experiments, in no sense reactionary but believing in the individual, his right and his enterprise, and rejecting the socialist panacea,” he said in his Disraeli lecture. “The sensible centre was the place to be. It remains the place to be.”

Mr Turnbull went on to say he was continuing the tradition of the party, and claimed “conservative” or “left wing” labels were irrelevant in 2017.

Liberal MPs have this morning denied the comments will flare tensions within the party and upset its members, but it’s been widely received as a swipe at the party’s conservative base.

Defected Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi, who left the party to start his own for the precise reason that the modern Liberal Party was not conservative enough, seized on Mr Turnbull comments.

The Australian Conservatives leader tweeted his thanks to the Prime Minister, saying he had confirmed why “regular Aussies” need to join his new party.

Senator Hanson enthusiastically embraced Mr Turnbull’s comments, claiming One Nation was now “Australia’s largest conservative party”.

Prominent conservative commentator Alan Jones predicted Mr Turnbull’s comments would push Liberal Party supporters to flock to Bernardi’s party or One Nation.

Jones argued Mr Turnbull had no idea what his party “really stands for”, and said anybody with “Liberal Party DNA” would agree it was a “radical conservative party”.

“The Prime Minister says we’re not conservatives, well that probably suits him, but he’s thrown away everything the party stands for,” he said, going on to predict the comments would hurt the leader’s already ailing popularity. “The Turnbull Government is in total denial of the reality of polls, and now telling the rank and file of the Liberal Party they’re not conservatives.”

The veteran shock jock described Mr Turnbull’s criticised speech as “indecipherable” and said “it wouldn’t have passed muster in my day”. He said Mr Turnbull could have added one more line to his speech: “We’re almost Labor”.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is among senior Liberal figures who have supported the PM’s comments. She told ABC radio the speech shouldn’t antagonise her conservative colleagues. “It very eloquently articulates our values as the Liberal Party,” she said. “It is a historically accurate articulation of how the Liberal Party gained its name.”

Ms Bishop said the tradition had continued in what John Howard called the party’s “broad church” and in what Mr Abbott has referred to many times as “the sensible centre”.

Australia’s Liberal Party is commonly described as being socially conservative and economically liberal.

The debate follows come at a time of renewed tensions within the party as Tony Abbott continues to be outspoken, vowing to be a strong conservative voice for its members.

The former prime minister is championing himself as the standard-bearer for conservative values.

Previous speeches have emerged where Mr Turnbull himself has referred to the Liberal Party as a “conservative political movement” and “a conservative government”.


Leftist racist gets some of his own back

Leftists have the strange idea that you can attack racism by being racist.  For a prominent and well-paid Asian to be anti-white in Australia is obnoxious.  What gives him the right to judge people by the colour of their skin and defend others who do?

Australia's race discrimination commissioner has been told to buy a plane ticket to Laos if he is so concerned about white people being prevalent in politics and the media.

Sky News presenter Rowan Dean has taken exception to Tim Soutphommasane for telling a Senate committee there are too many 'Anglo-Celtics' in parliament.

With Sudanese-born Muslim youth activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied soon moving to London, Dean has suggested the French-born public servant move to Laos, which his parents fled in 1975 as the Pathet Lao communists stormed to power in the small, landlocked South-East Asian nation.

'Tim, if you don't like it, join Yassmin, hop on a plane and go back to Laos where I doubt you will find the taxpayer paying you $300,000 a year to lecture bigotry and racism which is what you are doing by attacking Anglo-Celtics,' he said.

Dr Soutphommasane, a former Labor Party member and political staffer who gets paid $330,000 a year by taxpayers, told a Senate committee parliament and corporations were too 'Anglo-Celtic'.

Dean, who also edits the conservative Spectator magazine, has previously praised Vietnamese refugee and ABC presenter Anh Do as an example of assimilation working.

However, when it came to Dr Soutphommasane he was scathing, saying his parents probably came to Australia from Laos via Paris for its Anglo-Celtic values after their son was born in 1982.

'I'm sure that they didn't mind coming to a country where Anglo-Celtics had died, given their lives to create the peace-loving culture that we have,' Dean said.

Dr Soutphommasane last week blasted the media, at a multicultural forum in Perth, about its treatment of Ms Abdel-Magied, who stirred more controversy last month by saying democracy didn't represent her because most faces in parliament are white.

'People may have disagreed with Abdel-Magied but some of the vitriol directed at her had a clear racial tinge,' Dr Soutphommasane said.

In a submission to a Senate committee looking at 'Strengthening Multiculturalism', the Australian Human Rights Commission, which Dr Soutphommasane is part of, urged the government to create a federal agency to collect data and report on diversity within leadership positions.

The Turnbull Government has not endorsed the idea of ethnic recruitment targets.

'While Australia is highly socially mobile, there is an underrepresentation of cultural diversity in positions of leadership, as well as in the media,' the AHRC said.

'The commission believes that increasing cultural diversity in leadership and in the media would strengthen Australia's multiculturalism.

'A lack of diversity in leadership and in the media could conceivably lead to a perception of what it is to be 'Australian' that does not reflect our multicultural character.'

The AHRC noted: 'The ethnic and cultural default of leadership remains Anglo-Celtic' and warned the nation 'may not be making the most of its cultural diversity.'

Their submission also quoted a study carried out by Screen Australia which found non-Anglo-Celtic groups were being underrepresented on national television dramas.


Curing our country of whiteness

How many preferential appointments will it take before the Commonwealth Public Service fulfils its quota of 129 Tamils, 115 Sudanese and 96 Armenians?

Are Romanians swarthy enough to be assigned a quota of their own, or will they be lumped with the whites, and find their applications languishing at the bottom of the pile?

The details of the Race Discrimination Commissioner’s solution to the “ethnic and cultural default” of Anglo-Celtic leadership have yet to be revealed.

However, may we be the first to congratulate Tim Soutphommasane’s employers for giving a leg-up to Laotians, or perhaps a friendly hand to the French since their man was born in Montpellier.

It’s all so very confusing.

Criticising the commissioner is a delicate business, since denying the need to combat racism is apparently a form of racism itself. And no one wants to get on the commissioner’s bad side, given his statutory powers to make the lives of others hell.

Yet the idea of ethnic job ­quotas is beyond barmy; it’s frightening. It shows the capacity of grinning do-gooders to devise solutions far more damaging than the problems they assume to solve.

Few migrants to Australia would be comfortable answering questions about biological inheritance at a job interview or, even worse, being subjected to racial profiling by a box-ticking bureaucrat.

Sectarianism belongs to the world many of them left behind, not the land of redemption in which they arrived.

Yet that is where the fetish for diversity is leading.  How else would we assess if a workplace has been sufficiently cured of whiteness?

It would be comforting to imagine that the progressive movement will eventually collapse under the weight of its own ­absurdity or, if we might be ­excused for mixing metaphors, fall on the sword of its own hypocrisy.

That is never going to happen, however. The movement needs new wrongs to right in order to survive.

Racism, corporatism, LGBTQ­ism, what-does-it-matterism are means to the same end: to raise the social standing of metropolitan sophisticates and cement their values as the mark of a civilised woman or man.

This is the point Joan C, Williams almost makes in a short, ­recently published book, White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America. Almost, because as a Hillary Clinton supporter with post-election stress disorder she is not yet ready to ­acknowledge the inherent divisiveness of identity politics and the damage it causes to the social fabric.

Nonetheless, in a book that tries to explain the rise of Donald Trump to those who find it inexplicable, the feminist legal scholar exposes the sanctimony of the professional-managerial elite, which comforts itself about racism by displacing the blame on to other-class whites.

Displaying oneself as anti-racist is a marker of progressive politics. In doing so they demean the white working-class by constructing it as stupid and racist, she says.

Williams goes on to probe the politicisation of sexual identity.

“The professional class seeks social honour by embracing the edgy,” she writes. “A key way they show sophistication is to signal comfort with avant-garde sexuality … What began as transgression among 19th-century European artists now defines the cultural world of the 21st century.”

Securing approval for a new range of sexualities attracts unlikely bedfellows, Williams notes. It is a cause now embraced by progressives and mainstream conservatives alike.

Indeed, in the Liberal Party of Australia, it is embraced too by those who would reject being called either progressive or conservative, the self-proclaimed moderates for whom same-sex marriage has become a defining cause.

These are strange times indeed. Who would have imagined the party of Bob Menzies would one day become a testbed for identity politics in which members vie for virtue by embracing social causes while the rest of Australia — the forgotten Australians — wonders what got into the water to turn the political class bonkers.

Williams’ thesis — that the group she calls “white working class” has been systematically betrayed by the elite — will be familiar to Australians.

She wanted to call them the middle class, but she was overruled by her editor who said the term would be confusing. Yet middle-class they are in all but name, aspirational, hardworking people with no desire to change the world, who derive satisfaction from a practical job well done.

They draw moral pride from maintaining their families rather than writing nation-healing Facebook memes and they are nervous about change.

For the elite, “disruption” means founding a start-up. In a working-class job, disruption gets you fired.

The elite’s incomprehension of the presidential election result demonstrates that what Williams calls “class cluelessness” is deeply embedded. The two sides of America have moved so far apart that neither can understand what makes the other tick.

It may not be too late to save Australia from a similar fate, the one we will inevitably face if we continue to toy with the politics of identity.

Ironically it will require respect for diversity, particularly within our major cultural institutions, where the dull and monotonous beat of progressivism has squeezed out alternative points of view. It demands that we stand up to the bullying of organisations such as the Australian Human Rights Commission that attempt to police what can and cannot be said and how we can and cannot behave.

The demand for the racial profiling of employees answers in the affirmative the question of whether the Australian Human Rights Commission has finally lost the plot. It is an organisation without a clear mission, prone to the latest progressive fads and lacking clear leadership.

By promoting identity politics, it obscures national interest, trivialises the things we have in common and makes the country harder still to govern.


Solar batteries dangerous?

The fast-growing solar battery storage industry is engaged in a furious 11th-hour battle to kill new regulations that would force home­owners to build a separate “fire bunker” housing for battery installations.

Industry and consumer groups have until August 15 to challenge draft recommendations issued by Standards Australia that could dramatically slow the uptake of residential battery storage.

Final draft recommendations include a ban on in-house battery banks and are designed to avoid a repeat of the pink batts debacle in which a well-intentioned environmental initiative proved deadly.

Industry groups and manufacturers say modern solar batteries are designed not to overheat and have described the new rules as overkill.

Sales of battery storage have risen to 6750 battery installations last year, up from 500 in 2015, ­according to a recent survey. Solar energy equipment supplier SunWiz forecasts at least a threefold increase this year.

Currently there are no Standards Australia regulations for in-home battery installations. The Clean Energy Council issued industry rules last year limiting home batteries to “a dedicated equipment room or battery room”.

The council said installers should take account of ventilation, extreme temperatures and exclude “habitable rooms” including bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, sunrooms, bathrooms or laundries. Its rules included an exemption for “all-in-one” battery and inverter control systems.

However, the draft Australian Standards go much further.

Lithium ion batteries are classed as “fire hazard class 1”, and under the draft rules they must not be installed inside a domestic dwelling, within a metre of any access or egress area or under any part of a domestic dwelling.

To qualify, lithium ion batteries must effectively be housed in a 3m x 2m fire shelter with eaves.

The council’s voluntary code outlines the concerns. “Some lithium-based batteries can fail due to internal overheating, in a process known as ‘thermal runaway’,” the council says. “The normal chemical reactions within the battery during charging are exothermic (heat-generating).

“If this heat is not able to dissipate, or the battery is overcharged for a long duration, the rate of chemical reaction can then speed up, which in turn increases the battery temperature further, in an ­increasing cycle until the battery is physically damaged.

“Once this happens, there is a risk of fire and/or rupture of the battery, with emission of toxic material,’’ the council says.

Standards Australia chief executive Bronwyn Evans said the draft report was a “comprehensive document” that was “the result of many hours of work from experts representing industry, government and community interests”.

“The work is being driven by a range of stakeholders from all parts of industry who have an ­interest in standards in Australia that support the safe uptake of ­battery-storage systems in all buildings, but particularly in homes,” she said.

Dr Evans said the standards were devised to give consumers and industry confidence in innovative solutions.

“They should give markets and governments confidence when making regulatory and investment decisions and get the balance right between all the different interests and voices in the room,” she said.

At the end of the consultation period “we will have an installation standard for battery storage systems which supports the uptake of systems in Australia”.

Dr Evans said battery storage had been a focus of Chief ­Scientist Alan Finkel’s review into the ­future ­security of the National Electricity Market, released last month.

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, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is glad to get rid of Muslim loud-mouth Yassmin Abdel-Magied .

Contempt of court action against ministers was conflict best avoided

The Federal ministers escaped being charged after making an apology.  They initially refused to apologize but later backed down.  Reading between the lines, they were put under great pressure to apologize.  A showdown would have provoked a constitutional crisis, which both the court and the government were keen to  avoid.  The article below is a discreet rebuke to CJ Marilyn Warren and her court for bringing on the crisis.  They were undoubtedly unduly sensitive.  They should have just looked the other way.  Judges and their verdicts SHOULD be criticizable by anyone at any time.  Any attempt to punish speech is obnoxious

A legal Pandora’s box was opened recently when three federal ministers were invited to appear ­before the Victorian Court of ­Appeal to ­answer an allegation that they were in contempt of the same court.

Contempt of court is an unlawful interference with the due operation of our system of justice. It is a crime punishable by a fine or ­imprisonment.

The three ministers used ­derogatory language to describe Victorian sentencing decisions and the judges who made them. It was strident political discourse common to the floor of parliament but involving language less common in a legal setting. These comments were reported in The Australian.

If the ministers had been convicted of contempt, they would no longer be eligible under our Constitution to serve in parliament. Given the one-seat majority of our federal government, a conviction of any one of the minsters for contempt could have brought down the government.

One of the reasons for the comparative freedom we enjoy in this country is that we have a ­judiciary that is independent of government. This allows for legal scrutiny of the actions of parliament and the executive by an ­independent umpire.

However, the scrutiny is not all one way. In a common law system, parliament has the ultimate legal power. Judges are appointed by the executive, a legal precedent created by court decisions can be overturned by laws passed by parliament and, in limited circumstances, judges can be removed by parliament.

Federal crimes are tried in state and territory courts. The ­controversy raised by the three ministers concerned whether sentencing under a federal anti-­terrorism law was being applied differently in different states. This was a clear matter of public interest falling directly within the area of the public duty of the ministers.

It raised a range of ­issues for possible further legislation by the parliament, including mandatory minimum sentences, changes to sentencing guidelines or changes to the jurisdiction of courts hearing the offences.

A very wide discretion is given to judges when sentencing criminals, as confirmed by the High Court in the Markarian decision. However, the Victorian Court of Appeal alleged a contempt by the ministers for expressing opinions on matters within the scope of their office. This surprised many people. If the ministers had said the very same words in parliament they would have been protected by parliamentary privilege.

In NSW in the 1990s there was great public criticism reported in the media of the sentences given to the men in several Muslim gangs convicted of the gang rape of several women in Sydney — in some cases it was said the sentences were too low and in other cases too high.

The late editor of London’s The Times, William Rees-Mogg, wrote a famous editorial in 1967 headed “Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?”, which led to the release of Mick Jagger the day after he was given a three-month prison sentence for drug possession. No contempt was suggested even by the conservative judicial standards of 1960s England.

For more than 80 years, Australian courts have recognised since the Breadmaker’s case that “it is well settled that a person cannot be prevented by process of contempt from continuing to discuss publicly a matter which may fairly be regarded as one of public interest, by reason of the fact that the matter in question has ­become the subject of litigation ...”

The High Court has since ­recognised our constitutional right to the freedom of political expression.

It has also been accepted since the 1930s that decisions by judges are incapable of what is called sub judice contempt. That is, there cannot be any tendency for judge-made decisions to be prejudiced by the media. The Victorian matters were appeals and there was no jury or witnesses who could have been influenced by what the ministers said. Indeed, when the Court of Appeal recently called the three ministers to ­answer why they should not be charged with contempt, the Chief Justice of Victoria made it clear the statements by the ministers could not and would not influence the appeal decision concerning the sentencing of two convicted terrorists.

The only other relevant category of contempt is a rare kind of contempt called scandalising the court, but that is difficult to establish, especially now that we have a constitutionally recognised freedom of political speech. The subject of the 1930 High Court case of Bell v Stewart was a media article that said the public was amused at the innocence of a court decision that showed the industrial court to be detached from the real world. According to the High Court, that did not scandalise a court and it has not heard an ­appeal involving an alleged contempt of that kind since.

Freedom exists when we all observe our important mutual civil obligations. MPs should be respectful of our courts and courts should not be too sensitive to legitimate debate about the operation of our taxpayer-funded justice system. An appropriate balance will protect two of the most important features of our free society: the integrity, operation and appearance of a fair and impartial court system, and the freedom to express opinions on important public issues no matter how uncomfortable they may be.

The best possible outcome was that the legal Pandora’s box opened and quickly closed again before any contempt charges were laid. Charges would have led to a protracted conflict ­between two important and independent arms of government: our courts and our parliament.


Surely millionaires can pay for their children's education without the assistance of the taxpayer?

Many students with affluent parents go to free State schools. Blaise Joseph below wants them to pay

We all know the school stereotype. Government schools are full of disadvantaged students and struggling for money, while overfunded wealthy independent schools receive taxpayer money they will just spend on fancier swimming pools.

This is a myth.

As recent research clearly demonstrates, government schools reflect the socioeconomic status (SES) of parents in the school catchment areas.

There are 538 government schools with a majority of students from the top SES quarter. This includes the academically selective government schools, which mainly attract students from very high SES backgrounds, and resemble the most 'elite' independent schools.

Around 500,000 students in government schools are from the top 25% of SES -- more than the total number of students from this category in independent and Catholic schools combined.

This challenges an unquestioned, unjustified assumption at the heart of school funding in Australia: universal free public schooling must continue.

The status quo is inequitable and unfair. High-income parents in high SES areas -- where government schools tend to perform much better -- are able to send their children to government schools for free.

In contrast, low-income parents in low SES areas -- where government schools tend to perform much worse -- have to make significant financial contributions to send their children to a non-government school if they are (understandably) not satisfied with the quality of the local government school.

Sure, the underlying long-term issue is the inconsistent quality of schooling, but in the meantime parents in low SES areas are unfairly disadvantaged.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with the government school system catering for students from all SES backgrounds. But why shouldn't schooling be means-tested like most other government services? Surely millionaires can pay for their children's education without the assistance of the taxpayer?

It is unnecessary to constrain government schools from receiving significant and compulsory contributions from high-income parents. This means much more taxpayer funding than needed is spent on many government schools.

Let's end the façade that all government schools have no capacity to charge fees and are in desperate need of taxpayer funding. State governments should seriously consider charging school fees for high SES parents.


Teachers to be taught WRESTLING techniques and how to block punches to combat surge in attacks from students

An incredible development from the Left-led collapse in discipline

Teachers are being taught how to put students in wrestling holds and how to block punches to combat a surge in violence in NSW classrooms.

The Department of Education has enlisted the help of US-based company Crisis Prevention Institute to train primary and secondary school teachers in wrestling techniques, a department spokesperson told Daily Telegraph.

The institute trains prison officers in controlling violent inmates and will teach leverage-based tactics designed to force agitated students into submission.

They will be taught how to hold violent students in order to move them from location to another without physically harming them.

'Any restraint should be only that which is reasonably necessary to prevent a real and immediate threat of injury or serious damage and where there is no other practical way of preventing the likely injury or damage,' the spokesman said.

Eighteen students from public schools were physically subdued in the first half of 2016, according to the department, with teachers being bitten and hit by children multiple times at one primary school.

If a student tries to physically violate a teacher through a hold or a strike, the CPI trains them to block or dodge the punch and use leverage tactics which are not meant to be painful.

If all else fails, a teacher in crisis can call on a second teacher for help.

'They (the student) might say 'I know where your car is' or 'I know your daughter is in year one'. Then it's time to call in a second teacher for support and evacuate the classroom,' CPI instructor Paula Elliott told the Telegraph.

Teachers can also 'restrict the student's liberty of movement to minimise harm' if a student is intent on assault or self-harm, by adopting six techniques with increasing pressure. 

'The use of restraint is frowned on but sometimes it's necessary if the child is looking to self-harm or is a threat to their teacher or other children,' CPI Country Manager Peter Hickey said.

Teachers from both primary and secondary schools are being trained.


The Finkel Report’s Recommendations on the Future Security of the National Electricity Market: Impacts on the Australian Economy and Australian Consumers

Dr Alan Moran below offers an alternative, non-Greenie, path for electricity provision in Australia


Governments are subsidising the building of intermittent renewable energythat are reducing reliability and security while increasing prices. The Finkel recommendations entail an amplification of these subsidies, the outcome of which has been a doubling of wholesale electricity prices and a degradation of supply reliability. Compared with wholesale electricity prices of around $40 per MWh prevailing during the first 15 years of the present century, prices now exceed $80 per MWh.

The Finkel review accepts that its policy proposals will not return wholesale electricity to their historical levels but mistakenly argues that this would be impossible. Moreover, its over-optimistic assumptions on future costs of renewables mean that its proposals would make even its $80 per MWh pricegoal unattainable.

Implementation of the Finkel recommendations would bring a further deteriorationof system reliability and lift wholesale prices to at least $100 per MWh. This is already evident in prices of electricity on futures markets. Returning to the previous market-based electricity supply system that has been gradually undermined by regulations over the past 15 years would result in new coal plants, wholesale electricity costs at around $50 per MWh and the restoration of a more reliable system.

Household energy bills, even under an optimistic viewof the Finkel proposals, would be between $588 and $768 per year more than would be the case under an outcome that removed market distortions by eliminating all subsidies.

More injurious to households than the lift in their direct electricity costs, the Finkel recommendations would vastly increase the costs of electricity to commercial users. By more than doubling electricity costs, the Finkel proposals would force the virtual cessation of production in energy intensive, trade-exposed industries; these account for one fifth of manufacturing and include some of the nation’s most productive activities including metals and smelting, pulp and paper, sugar and confectionery. Competitiveness and future growth would also be adversely impacted across most agricultural and mining sectors.

A regulatory-induced elimination of the industries able to take advantage of Australia’s natural advantage in low cost energy supplies and the forced increase in all other industries’ electricity costs would severely reduce Australia’s living standards.


In general, the Finkel proposals should be rejected and regulatory distortions on energy supply should be removed. In particular, the Commonwealth should:

Abolish the Commonwealth’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) and the subsidies,presently about $75 per MWh, it creates for wind and large scale solar; and

Eliminate the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme(SRES) under which electricity users in general are forced to provide a subsidy of $40 per MWh to roof-top photovoltaic installations.

Cease all government subsidies through the budget including guarantees to bodies like the Clean Energy Regulator and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation(CEFC).

The electricity market management should require, in line with the Finkel proposals, that all generators pay to ensure they operate reliably and require new generators to pay costs of transmission that their grid connection entails.

State government should remove subsidies like the Queensland Solar Bonus scheme and preferential Feed-in-Tariffs for PV generated electricity


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, 2017


Four current reports below

Novelty solar train

It doesn't go far, has few potential passengers and relies on conventional power for backup

A coal baron is delivering the world's first solar train to Australia.

And while bringing solar to Byron Bay might be a bit like taking coals to Newcastle, that's just what the Byron Bay Railroad Company is doing.

"I think this is a world first," said John Grimes, chief executive of the Australian Solar Council, which is not connected to the project.

"There is a train in India that has solar panels to power lights and fans, but not a whole train."

The Byron Bay Railroad Company, operated by mining executive Brian Flannery, expects to have its two-carriage heritage train running before Christmas, said Jeremy Holmes, a spokesman for the company.

It will operate on part of the disused Casino-to-Murwillumbah line, which closed in 2004.

Dan Cass, a renewable energy specialist at the Australia Institute, said: "This is the first we have heard of a train this size that is literally solar powered, with PV modules on the roof."

The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator told Fairfax Media that it is discussing some minor outstanding issues with the company but expects to grant a licence for the train.

The train will travel three kilometres each way from Byron Bay to North Beach, just near Elements of Byron, a five-star resort owned by Brian and Peggy Flannery, who also have the controlling interest in the not-for-profit train company.

"We had approval two years ago to run the train as a diesel service, however in December we decided to convert to solar," Mr Holmes said. "Technology had advanced rapidly and so we accelerated the conversion."

The train is being fitted out with flexible solar panels and a 77kW solar battery on board. The train shed in north Byron has a 30kW solar array, that will supply the grid when not recharging the train.

"Even if the sun doesn't shine for a prolonged period the train battery can be charged from mains power using certified Green Power," Mr Holmes said. The train will retain a back-up diesel engine for emergencies.

The service will initially run 14 round trips a day from 8am to 10pm. Extra services could be put on for events such as the Byron Writers' Festival and the Byron Food and Beverage Festival, which are held on land owned by the Flannerys.

Byron Shire Greens Mayor, Simon Richardson, said: "It's a project that sits within our community values. It's a short track but hopefully it is scalable for the region."

Labor councillor Paul Spooner said: "The project has changed and morphed as it's gone along. Good on them for getting it off the ground."

Mr Spooner did question how useful the train will be for residents. "It's a bit of a novelty train.

"The irony is we have a coal baron launching a solar train – it's a sign of the times."


Novelty storage battery for the South Australian electricity grid

Tiny capacity and high cost compared to a conventional generator -- so unlikely to be of much use in supporting the grid during outages

THE world’s biggest battery will cost the South Australian taxpayer much less than a $150 million fund set aside for renewable energy, but the state government isn’t saying how much.

On Saturday, Premier Jay Weatherill poured cold water on industry suggestions published by Forbes, that the 100MW battery farm, half the size of Adelaide Oval, would cost $200 million.

The world’s biggest battery concept on Friday propelled SA onto the world stage, with the project making headlines around the world.

The Premier told reporters the project would fall well within the $150 million set aside for renewable energy alternatives, but he refused to reveal the exact cost to taxpayers, despite approval to do so by the farm’s builder Tesla.

He said the third partner in the project, French company Neoen, had not given its approval.

But Mr Weatherill said the cost was much less than the $200 million estimate published in US media because Tesla had submitted a "very good deal" to secure the world-first contract.

"The reason you get a good deal when you are the first mover is because obviously they wanted to win the contract and there were 91 bidders," the Premier said.

The battery farm, enough to power 30,000 homes will be connected to the 99-turbine Hornsdale Wind Farm at Jamestown, which is owned by Neoen.

Mr Weatherill also repeated that the Tesla deal included a 100-day build or its free promise, which will begin in the coming weeks when the deal is signed off by the Australian Energy Market Operator.

"This has put SA on the global stage and when billionaire investors like Tesla’s Elon Musk decide to invest here other people pay attention to that based on what he says," he said..

Mr Weatherill will travel to Whyalla on Sunday to celebrate with local residents the purchase of the steelworks by UK-based billionaire Sanjeev Gupta.

He said he would also visit locals in Jamestown to discuss the tourism potential of SA’s newest attraction.

"Jamestown will be put on the map as the home to the "world’s biggest battery," Mr Weatherill said.


Man's huge domestic gas bill for home heating makes him turn to burning wood

A CANBERRA homeowner has drawn the line at receiving a $2000 gas bill, deciding to spend $4000 on installing a wood fire heater instead.

Mark Morey is just one of many homeowners and businesses grappling with huge increases to gas and electricity bills, that has seen charges for one Victorian business rise by a whopping $600,000 in one year.

Increases for residents have not been as dramatic but Mr Morey said they were fast becoming unaffordable.

He was shocked to get a gas bill last October for $2005. Five years ago his bill for that time of year was just $1212. That’s a 65 per cent increase.

With more price increases expected to kick in from July 1, Mr Morey said his gas bill would probably have been $2300 if he didn’t take action.

So he decided to install a wood fire heater instead.

"Two tonne of wood only costs about $600 and that will get me through the winter," he told

Even though he has to spend $4000 to install the heater, Mr Morey estimates it will only take 18 months for the system to pay itself off.

"It’s really quite pathetic," he said. "It’s dreadful for the environment and if everyone in Canberra burned wood the city would be uninhabitable but we don’t have a choice.  "It’s really f***** and beyond belief."

Apart from the smoke pollution, burning wood also releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere so is also bad for climate change.

But Mr Morey said his bills were out of control. He lives in a four-bedroom home with this wife and daughter and said his overall gas bill for last year was $3300. Much of this is racked up over winter, which is why his October bill is so high.

Mr Morey’s electricity cost $890 so overall his energy bill cost $4190 last year, that equates to about $1047 a quarter.

His bills have kept rising despite the fact that he has reduced the temperature in his house from 19 degrees to a "barely tolerable" 17 degrees.

"So over five years the price of gas has more than doubled, given that I’m using less gas," he said.

"It’s much too cold in my house at the moment but I can’t afford a more comfortable temperature."

Mr Morey said many others living in colder climates were facing the same problems and action needed to be taken to stop the price rises.

"Prices went up by 17 per cent this year (from July 1) and they are forecast to increase by the same next year — as far as I’ve been told. That’s a 35 per cent increase over two years," he said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced export measures to keep more gas in Australia but these won’t take effect until January 1.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is also conducting an inquiry into how to get more gas into the market and to improve transparency about prices by providing regular information over the next three years.

But Mr Morey said action needed to be taken today. "The time for action on this was yesterday and not in six months," he said.

The general manager of Australia’s largest wool producer Victoria Wool Processors agreed and said his gas bill had gone up by $600,000 in one year, which was a 6 per cent increase.

"Next year we don’t know what will happen," David Ritchie told "It has had a massive impact, we are an exporter and are competing against low cost countries like China and so we have no ability to pass on the costs to our customers."

Victoria Wool Processors employs 35 staff and the increase equated to about $17,000 per employee.

While Mr Ritchie has absorbed the cost this year and won’t be letting staff go at this stage, he doesn’t know what will happen next year if prices continue to increase.

Mr Ritchie believes state governments could help businesses by introducing a 50 per cent short term reduction in payroll tax.

"This would be a very practical step and could (include as a condition) that they don’t reduce staff by 10 per cent, or something like that, to help keep businesses operating."


A Looming Disaster in Energy Security

Renewables will provide, optimistically, 10 to 20 per cent of global energy by 2035. There is no prospect of seriously reducing fossil fuel emissions without an accompanying fall in global standards of living directly implied by large reductions in per capita energy use

The constant headlines say it all: Australia’s energy system is in crisis. "High power costs floor business" says a lead story in the Australian Financial Review: "Shell-shocked businesses are re-assessing investments and jobs slugged by huge increases in electricity bills." The Energy Users Association of Australia, which represents the country’s largest power users, believes major industries are on the verge of collapse because of the price of power. BlueScope Steel has warned that climate policies could produce an "energy catastrophe". A country blessed with massive coal and gas reserves, economic resources that traditionally drive economic growth, has suffered a power blackout in South Australia and is suffering from extremely high power prices.

Let’s start with a brief overview of Australia’s energy system. Australia gets 73 per cent of its power from coal, 11 per cent from natural gas, and about 15 per cent from renewables (hydro 7 per cent, wind 4 per cent, rooftop solar 2 per cent and bio-energy 2 per cent). When the Hazelwood power station closed in March, Victoria lost 15 to 20 per cent of its base-load power, and the nation’s power capacity fell by 5 per cent. In Australia, coal is by far the cheapest way to produce energy and we’ve got plenty of it—hundreds of years’ worth in New South Wales and Queensland. Victoria has 200 billion tonnes of brown coal, enough for another 500 years. And it’s easily accessible—we’ve used less than 2 per cent of brown coal reserves since mining began in the early 1920s.

With coal comes greenhouse emissions, blamed by many scientists for "global warming". Burning coal produces carbon dioxide, particularly Latrobe Valley brown coal, which is two-thirds water and has to be heated and dried before it can be burned. Gas, also a fossil fuel, produces fewer greenhouse emissions than coal, while renewables, hydro and nuclear produce none. So how does Australia go about trying to cut its greenhouse emissions? With no carbon price, the Renewable Energy Target (RET) rules. The current renewable targets are: the federal Coalition wants 23.5 per cent by 2023, with a 28 per cent target by 2030 under the Paris climate agreement; the federal Labor Party has a target of 50 per cent by 2020; South Australian Labor has a target of 50 per cent by 2025 (it’s now at 40 per cent); Queensland is similar; while the Andrews government in Victoria has a target of 25 per cent by 2020, 40 per cent by 2025. Logically, any curtailing of coal for other more expensive energy uses is going to flow through to higher electricity prices, although there are other factors at work, such as rising network charges.

Gas is more expensive than coal. It takes more capital to bring a gas well into operation than to open a coal mine. Gas power stations, though, are cheaper than coal stations to build. Renewables are inherently more expensive and cost at least three times as much as coal. This is mainly due to the materials they use, and the construction cost. The capital expense is borne mostly by the government; huge subsidies allow wind and solar to be considered economic, but is this so in reality? Money spent in capital construction must be recovered in energy, but renewables don’t produce much energy. The income they generate does not cover the capital cost. Renewables do have running costs; they have some operators. More importantly, they also have maintenance; for example, solar can’t afford to have solar panels covered in dust—it reduces their effectiveness. Figures showing the effectiveness of solar panels are determined in the laboratory; the real world is different. There is also the extra cost of building wind and solar connectors to the main grid. In addition there is the impact on the grid itself. With a mix of solar and thermal generators producing electricity, you challenge the stability of the system.

The intermittency of renewables creates pressure in the system. It has two damaging effects. First, the base-load plant has to shut down, but the plant is not built to shut down and come up to speed again. Normally it stays on line between major overhauls. Second, if you start bouncing the network around, you start to get failures of equipment on the network. In Victoria, there are gas turbines that can be brought on line and taken off quickly. These are mainly used for peak power, but with the Hazelwood closure, and the Andrews government planning to dramatically expand renewable power, some gas would effectively form base-load power, pushing up base power prices. Victoria may even end up importing black-coal power from New South Wales! Ironically, that’s why Victoria set up the State Electricity Commission in the first place—to mine brown coal instead of importing black coal from New South Wales.

The brute fact is that wind and solar are more expensive. The panel headed by the industrialist Dick Warburton estimated in its 2013 report that there existed a cross-subsidy for renewables of $9.4 billion between 2001 and 2013, with a further $22 billion required for the remainder of the scheme until 2030. That’s an average subsidy of about $3 billion a year. The report was ignored because Warburton was said to be a "climate change denier", but the study concentrated purely on the economics of renewables. A recent report by BAEconomics came up with a similar figure, revealing that the government renewables subsidies were $3 billion in 2015-16. On one estimate, this equated to 6 to 9 per cent for the average household and up to 20 per cent for the industrial customer. These subsidies are not transparent, the report said. Almost three quarters come from government mandates paid for by customers and collected by third parties. Higher prices are passed on by retailers and paid for by consumers. These subsidies do not appear in government accounts, and are thus approximate in the report. The report’s other features include:

* Customers paid more than $2.1 billion to subsidise large-scale power station developers and small customers with roof-top solar.

* New transmission lines to link Victoria’s proposed wind farms to the grid will cost $2.2 billion.

* Legacy feed-in tariff schemes of state and federal governments amount to more than $700 million in subsidies. The Victorian Essential Services Commission in early March doubled the feed-in tariff, going against the states’ trend to cut them back because they were costing governments too much money. This tariff subsidises people putting excess solar power back into the grid.

* The ACT, Queensland and Victoria renewable targets are similar to the RET, creating a big burden for many years.

* Federally, other renewable subsidies are direct grants and concessionary financing. Clean Energy Finance Corporation subsidies can’t be identified.

The federal Energy and Environment Minister, Josh Frydenberg, estimates federal Labor’s 50 per cent renewable target by 2030 will cost $50 billion. A federal Department of Environment study found a capital cost of $41 billion for Queensland and Victorian renewables—$14 billion in Victoria and $27 billion in Queensland. Melbourne consultant RepuTex has said state-based renewable schemes would effectively push the federal RET to 35 per cent by 2030. Renewables undermine the economics of the traditional base-load sources like coal and gas. Renewables have first call in the market (assuming the sun is shining and the wind is blowing!) with traditional base load coming into the market after that. These earnings and profit stresses have led to the closure of some coal-fired stations, such as Hazelwood. New South Wales electricity generator Delta Electricity claims more coal station closures will increase fluctuations in frequency in the electricity market, posing a risk to the security of the system. There have been increasing deviations in frequency in the past three years.

Power costs have been rising dramatically, and industry’s reaction is increasing despair:

* Alumina and Alcoa have written down their stake in the Portland aluminium smelter by US$126 million, implying a value hit of US$229 million for the whole smelter, because of higher power prices in a deal struck with AGL Energy. They believe a gas plant is out of the question at current gas prices.

* BHP Billiton knows that RET schemes raise costs and reduce power security while having no impact on emissions. Prices for its assets on the east coast rose by 42 per cent from 2015 to 2016, and are expected to increase by 78 per cent this year. It also warned long-term expansion of the Olympic Dam project might not go ahead if power security and costs were not addressed. The project took a US$105 million cost hit in the South Australian blackout. The company urges a carbon price based on energy intensity.

Similar warnings have come from Caltex and Glencore. Energy prices are the first priority for business, according to an Australian Industry Group forecast. Coca-Cola will shift its Adelaide production to Queensland and Western Australia. In 2019 it will close its Adelaide plant, which opened in 1951, with the loss of 180 jobs. Despite company denials, this is a clear reaction to the uncertainties of South Australia’s energy supply. Yet Victoria’s Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio claims that after the Hazelwood closure, prices will reduce in 2018-19 as more renewable energy comes on line, largely driven by the Victorian RET.

What to do? The gas industry argues that gas is a guarantor of energy and network security, and of lower emissions, as more intermittent renewables are put into the system. It says RET and other green subsidies should also include low-emissions fossil-fuel technologies. The Climate Change Authority estimates the output from gas-fired generation needs to double, probably triple, to produce about half of Australia’s power needs. Today, gas accounts for about 11 per cent of power. Gas prices are surging due to liquefied natural gas exports, which take up two-thirds of Australian production, and various state bans on gas exploration. Very effective campaigns by "Lock the Gate" extremists have inflamed farming areas, despite several scientific reports, which, while acknowledging legitimate fears for agriculture and water from fracking, say the practice is not dangerous if handled properly. Victoria has a ban on fracking, including onshore conventional gas, until 2020, although the Liberals are softening on the latter; a fracking moratorium is in place in New South Wales. Victoria’s policy was described as "reckless" by the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Gas supply is now tight, with shortfalls predicted as early as 2019. The industry says developing new reserves is vital in supplying existing demand, let alone new gas for gas-fired generation. Shell Australia says rising prices caused by Victoria’s gas bans could put some manufacturers out of business. New estimates from Geoscience Australia indicate Victoria’s gas exploration ban will shut off forty years of gas for the nation’s east coast, 27 trillion cubic feet of shale and tight gas reserves, more than double the identified total for Australia. In the US, fracking has produced cheaper oil and gas, transforming energy markets and giving the country a huge economic boost and making it an oil and gas exporter. In the US, 2016 emissions were at their lowest level since 1991, 13 per cent off the 2007 peak.

And what of coal, Australia’s great comparative advantage? Not one business or economic commentator talks about it; they all favour gas. The federal government, the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Frydenberg and Resources Minister Senator Matt Canavan have pushed "clean coal"—the use of HELE (high efficiency, low emissions) coal-fired power plants. There are hundreds of HELE plants operating around the world. HELE plants operate at higher temperatures and air pressure to convert water more rapidly to steam. This greatly improves the efficiency of boilers and turbines, which saves fuel and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by up to 50 per cent. A brown-coal power station using new generation technology would still cost a lost less to build and operate than solar or wind energy, says one new report. Such a power station could also quickly ramp up production to meet electricity demand as intermittent renewable energy fell away, says the report, New Generation Coal Technology, from the Minerals Council of Australia. The cost of building a 1000 megawatt ultra-supercritical power station today is equivalent to the annual $3 billion subsidy received by renewables in Australia in 2015-16. The numbers here are extraordinary:

* There are 1015 supercritical and ultra-supercritical power units in the world, with a further 1231 planned or under construction.

* Ultra-supercritical plants in China, Denmark, Germany and Japan are already achieving efficiencies of up to 47.8 per cent.

* Asia is building 88 per cent of the world’s new coal-fired power stations in the next five years, with 69 per cent of those supercritical or ultra-supercritical.

* Japan built the world’s first ultra-supercritical unit in 1993. It has ninety-five coal-fired stations and plans to build another forty-five with supercritical technology in the next ten to fifteen years.

* China has 579 HELE units, with another 575 planned or being built.

The report also talks about integrating HELE technology with carbon capture and storage—storing carbon dioxide emissions deep underground, which would cut emissions by up to 90 per cent. But this process, clean coal storage, is expensive.

The Victorian SEC was looking at this supercritical technology in the 1960s (there is nothing new about it), but there were no materials then that could withstand the higher temperatures and pressures. Those materials are now available worldwide. However, with these new-technology coal-fired stations the failure rates can increase; you’re dealing at the limits of performance. An athlete running flat out is more likely to get injured than one coasting at three-quarter pace. Even with a process of refinement, improvements are only at the margins. Still, the Australian business commentariat evidently believes that the responsible powers who make crucial decisions on energy in Japan, China, Germany and India are stupid. The journalists love talking about gas and the potential of batteries, but not coal. The truth is that Australia is shackled as we try to lower greenhouse emissions. Remember, we only contribute 1.3 per cent of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions. We don’t have nuclear power, cheap gas or even much biomass (electricity from landfill garbage and forest residues). In Europe, biomass is a huge contributor to renewables, accounting for 20 per cent in much of Scandinavia. Native forest residues are allowed in biomass in Europe but not here, despite the Coalition approving it. The Greens and Labor do not allow it.

Australia’s efforts are put into perspective with some international comparisons. France, for example, gets just under 80 per cent of its power from nuclear, which is also widely used in many other European countries. France arguably underwrites Europe’s greenhouse abatement efforts through its nuclear industry. Europe’s emissions are calculated on a Europe-wide basis, so individual countries are not as isolated in their efforts as Australia. Europe also has extensive hydro-electricity in Scandinavia. Canada has a similar resource-based economy to Australia, but is even luckier: 60 per cent of its electricity comes from hydro, with huge input also from nuclear. They use their vast uranium resources; we don’t. Canada is second in the world after China for the amount of power produced by hydro, and sixth in nuclear. With hydro, renewables total 63 per cent of Canada’s electricity capacity, with the rest from wind, solar, biomass and tidal. Canada is also involved in shale oil and oil sands, and has four large-scale clean coal storage projects under way. Coal is a small contributor. Ontario two years ago closed the last of its coal stations; power there is now mainly nuclear and hydro, with some gas and wind. Yet despite Canada’s low-carbon energy mix, emissions from oil and gas rose by 14 per cent between 2005 and 2013. The former Prime Minister Stephen Harper withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, saving Canada from theoretically paying billions of dollars in fines because their emissions were way over the Kyoto target in 2012.

However, the most interesting comparison for Australia, and Victoria in particular, comes with Germany. Germany is the biggest brown-coal producer in the world, and has been building new coal-fired power stations to keep the lights on. Coal still accounts for 42 per cent of Germany’s power supplies—brown coal (lignite) 24 per cent, and hard coal (comparable to black coal) 18 per cent—despite the country’s drive to expand renewable energy. Including gas and nuclear, non-renewables produce 64 per cent of Germany’s power. Germany’s Department of Energy says on its website that to provide a reliable energy supply, Germany will require ultra-modern and flexible coal-fired power plants. There is no specific policy to phase out coal and lignite generation, unlike its forced closure of nuclear plants in favour of renewables. Germany opened two new brown-coal plants in 2012, with one in Essen at 2200 megawatts capacity larger than the Latrobe Valley’s Loy Yang A. It has the ability to respond to the intermittency of renewables in fifteen minutes. Eight hard-coal plants are being built, along with two more brown-coal plants, respectively 1100 and 660 megawatts. The thirteen new coal plants total 14,208 megawatts—pretty well twice Victoria’s output. Many hard-coal plants, however, have been cancelled in recent years.

The Department of Energy in Germany says lignite, unlike hard coal, is unsubsidised and there are enough reserves "to last for a very long time". Germany’s brown coal is more expensive to use than the Latrobe Valley’s, as Germany’s overburden is deeper and the brown coal seams are shallower. However, Germany’s lignite production has halved since 1980. About 90 per cent of Germany’s hard coal supply is imported. Of the rest of the country’s power supply, nuclear makes up 14 per cent, gas 7 per cent, renewables 35.8 per cent (wind 14.4 per cent, solar 8.1 per cent, biomass 8.7 per cent, and hydro 4.7 per cent), with a small contribution from oil. All nuclear power, however, is to be phased out by 2022. It’s unclear what Germany is going to replace it with.

Germany’s climate action plan for 2050, approved a couple of months ago, aims to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions but does not stipulate an end date for coal-fired power generation. While the plan envisages a step-by-step reduction in coal power, the Social Democrats in the federal coalition have opposed the setting of a coal exit date before job alternatives for those who work in brown coal have been determined. Sigmar Gabriel, until recently the Social Democrats leader and still Vice-Chancellor, expects brown coal to remain in use past 2040. Under the plan, Germany aims by 2050 to cut its greenhouse emissions by 80 to 95 per cent from its 1990 level, the year of German unification when old genuinely polluting plants in the communist east were still active. Under the interim target for 2030, emissions are to be reduced by 55 per cent compared to 1990. The action plan sets out sectoral targets for 2030, but emphasises the document is a work in progress and "cannot and does not want to be a detailed masterplan" for 2050. It adds that there will be "no rigid provisions", with the plan technologically neutral and open to innovation. Great emphasis is placed on energy efficiency in power production and by consumers in property, transport, industry and agriculture. It stresses the government will simultaneously maintain German competitiveness. In reducing coal, "economic perspectives and jobs in the affected regions must be taken into account". Above all, there must be "concrete future proposals for the affected regions, before concrete decisions for the step-by-step retreat from brown coal can go ahead".

Germany, unlike Australia, does not have to cut emissions by itself; it’s part of Europe. Germany has interconnectors with ten neighbouring countries, with a total transfer capacity of more than 20,000 megawatts. It can buy nuclear power from France and coal-fired power from Poland, which still gets 90 per cent of its electricity from coal. Germany also exports a lot of energy.

What does all this cost and how effective has the policy been? A study from the University of Dusseldorf estimated that by 2025, Germany would have spent 520 billion euros on its Green Energy Transition. A family of four will pay more than 25,000 euros for the policy. It said the cost from 2000 to 2015 was 150 billion euros, with an additional 370 billion euros to be spent in the coming decade. Germany has the second-highest residential electricity prices in the OECD after Denmark, a big wind-power producer.

A recent study by a Cambridge physicist extrapolated on this. It’s from M.J. Kelly, the Professor of Solid State Electronics and Nanoscale Science, who is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. Professor Kelly said actual data from 2014 showed the fruits of the $200 billion green investment in Germany. While there were isolated times of a few hours on one or two days where significant (more than 30 per cent) electricity came from renewables, the total contribution each of wind and solar was 8 per cent of average demand. Fossil fuels and nuclear provided the bulk of the remaining 84 per cent. "The problem is that for significant periods during winter when there is no solar or wind energy, the entire peak annual demand must be provided from the older generators," he said. "Not a single generator can be turned off because it is needed to cover intermittency." Professor Kelly said the older generators were providing 84 per cent, not 100 per cent, of the energy that they used to. They now had to charge a higher price to cover the same depreciation and finance costs. "In some cases it’s worse than this; many of the gas turbines were designed for base-load operation, and when used in load-balancing mode, the constant acceleration and deceleration of the shaft shortens its life to an unacceptable degree," he said. "The owners are mothballing their assets for future base-load operation rather than misuse them." A doubled penetration of wind and solar will double Germany’s electricity cost problems without any compensating relief.

The Kelly paper has a fascinating look at energy density. Today’s fossil fuels are the result of past photosynthesis and the densification of the resulting energy over millions of years. The actual energy density of fossil fuel is over a million times greater than the gravity energy density in hydro. Nuclear fuels are a million times more energy dense than fossil fuels. Professor Kelly estimates it would take 4000 square kilometres of land growing a biofuel crop to generate the same power as a 1500 megawatt nuclear plant that takes up one tenth of a square kilometre. The net average density per square metre for current biomass, solar and wind are all within a factor of twenty of each other—nothing compared with the factor of tens of thousands for fossil fuel and nuclear. "The first generation of renewables all suffer from the intrinsic diluteness of solar energy incident on the surface of the earth, coupled with the lower efficiency with which it is converted into a continuous useful energy supply," Kelly says. Improvements in wind turbine blades, solar panels or better bio­fuels result in efficiency increases measured in tens of per cent: nothing compared with the millions of per cent for fossil fuels. These vast ratios are reflected in the size, costs and safety of the different sources of energy. Thus renewables will provide, optimistically, 10 to 20 per cent of global energy by 2035. "There is no prospect of seriously reducing fossil fuel emissions without an accompanying fall in global standards of living directly implied by large reductions in per capita energy use," Kelly concludes.


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

9 July, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG mocks the fuss about Pauline Hanson flying a drone

Clementine argues for suppression of "incorrect" views

Mind the Fascism! Clem Ford puts up a reasonable-seeming argument below to the effect that the facts behind an opinion should weigh on whether that opinion is given exposure.  If only!  As an extreme atheist myself (I  don't believe in Karl Marx, Jesus Christ or global warming. And I also don't believe in the unhealthiness of salt, sugar and fat). I would love some way of filtering out credulity.  But how do you do it?  What to one person seems factually-based will to another seem hogwash. 

Let me give an example from Clemmie's own misapprehension of what is factual.  She dismisses global warming skepticism on the basis of an "ad hominem" argument:  "Experts" believe in global warming so we all should".  Where are the facts in that argument?  "Ad hominem" arguments are not only one of the classic informal fallacies in logic but they have repeatedly been proved wrong.  A hundred years ago, the reality of continental drift was pooh-poohed.  Now it is an accepted fact.  And combustion is explained by the presence of phlogiston, of course.

And, more to the point, what does Clemmie make of the long temperature stasis between 1945 and 1975 when CO2 levels were soaring?  What should have been 30 years of warming was 30 years of no warming. Has she ever looked at a climate chart and noticed how tiny the calibrations are?  Does she know why that should concern her? Has she ever noticed how pro-warming scientists repeatedly flout basic scientific standards by refusing to share their data and by treating as significant differences which are not in fact statistically significant? 

I could go on but I think it is a pretty good argument that the distinction between fact and hokum that she is keen to make leaves her supporting hokum.  Discourse shepherded by Clementine Ford would rapidly stray away from reality

Former US Senator and political advisor Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously once wrote that "everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts". It remains an unwavering truth in a world where opinions are increasingly viewed as equal to facts, even when those opinions have little more than a suspicion or feeling to back them up.

More recently than that, Ruby Hamad wrote that "We may all have the right to an opinion but that does not make our opinion right – or even worthy of a place in a debate." Hamad was responding to a planned televised 'debate' in which eight people would ponder the question, "Is male privilege bullshit?" before a live audience. In her piece, she elegantly outlined how and why the pursuit of 'balance' has been manipulated to the detriment of journalistic inquiry. But more on that televised debate in a minute.

The science behind vaccinations is a good example of this. Vaccines have saved millions of lives over the past century but sceptics continue to spread their dangerous paranoia across the landscape of the internet, revelling in the phenomenal privilege they get to enjoy from living in countries where herd immunity protects their "free-range" tribe.

But press them on their qualifications to counter decades worth of scientific research and you'll hear about how "Big Pharma" is invested in turning us all into robots.

The rhetoric around anti-choice movements is similarly lacking in insight. When the founder of the annual Warped tour (a music festival whose audience members are predominantly teenagers), invited an anti-choice not-for-profit to set up a stall at the 2016 event, he was roundly criticised. But Kevin Lyman stood by his decision, tweeting, "Punk rock was about welcoming all points of view, you can make your own decisions, and opposing platforms and views are important."

Lyman claims to be pro-choice, but you cannot be pro-choice while also providing microphones to people who support the reduction or removal entirely of reproductive healthcare rights – particularly when those people are manipulating some of the people most at-risk of underage and unwanted pregnancies.

Too many people labour under the bizarre assumption now that everything requires "hearing all sides" if there is to be fair and balanced commentary. But fair and balanced commentary around, say, climate change does not mean that we have to counter the weight of an actual scientist and their quantifiable research with the opinions of someone who loftily refers to themselves as a "climate change sceptic". It's an insult to the time and energy spent by people working at the forefront of their fields to suggest their expertise is little more than one side of the story.

And so to the debate on male privilege. I appeared recently on that episode of Hack Live, a televised version of Triple J's popular current affairs program. Hosted by Tom Tilley, the episode brought together eight panellists to debate the existence of male privilege; something that all reason, logic and (most importantly) evidence supports as being very much real.

I was sceptical of the show's purpose in the lead up to its filming. But I believed that it may do some good in terms of reaching an audience of young people who may be forming their views on feminism by watching angry YouTubers.

However, after experiencing the indignity of being pitted against people who literally had no idea what they were talking about, I have to abandon my Pollyanna optimism and agree with Hamad's view that it was pointless from the get-go.

I have amassed hundreds of thousands of words of writing on the topic of gender inequality. I have worked with health experts and survivors and persisted through the sludge of the online space to try to conduct a conversation based on facts, research and cold, hard data.

So it was extremely frustrating to listen to the baffling claims put forward by the panel's token men's rights activist that the oppression of men manifests in far more significant and damaging ways than that of women, starting with the fact that (apparently) young women all over the country are kicking their boyfriends in the balls as a joke.

Most of his evidence was anecdotal in nature, and the bits that weren't were drawn solely from an American propaganda film funded by MRAs and headlined by a man who has, among other despicable declarations, proudly claimed he would vote to acquit in any rape trial on which he served as a juror, even if he knew the rapist was guilty.

Yet here he was not only offering his opinions as if they were in any way, shape or form meaningful to the discussion, but being validated in that belief by way of invitation.

Most recently, we've been presented with the gobsmacking, disgusting treatment of Yassmin Abdel-Magied by not just the nation's lay people but its politicians, media conglomerates and poison-penned journalists. And all because she expressed an opinion on the subject of Anzac Day that was not by-the-book – though nor was it factually wrong.

After Abdel-Magied announced her intentions to move to London this week, Channel Seven posted a poll asking its fans to vote on whether or not she should leave or stay, providing her haters with another avenue through which to bully her.

There's no shortage of irony in the fact that a country whose citizens fight so fiercely to have their rights to an opinion recognised have so gleefully participated in the bullying of a woman who calmly, compassionately and quite correctly expressed her own.

But I guess white privilege has always been good at making some opinions more equal than others.

We are living in very troubling times when it comes to factual analysis and respect for the disciplines of academia. Opinions are not the same as reasonable deductions. They're certainly not the same thing as facts, particularly when based on little more than passionate opposition to what those facts may be.

We have to get over this idea of having to air multiple sides of the same story. As  Hamad wrote in the lead-up to my appearance on Hack Live, on topics like "does male privilege exist", there is no debate to be had. There's no such thing as balance of opinion when it comes to evidence. There are the facts – and then there are ideas about what we should do about those facts. Anything else is distraction.

And goodness knows we are in too much trouble as a global community to succumb to the dangers of distraction.


'It's absolutely disgusting': Pauline Hanson slams her political rivals for not backing policy that presses migrants to integrate into Australian society

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has slammed the opposing political parties for not pushing for policies forcing migrants to assimilate into Australian society.

Senator Hanson described the lack of assimilation in Australia as 'disgusting' and called the country's multiculturalism 'B.S. [bulls***]' during an appearance on Mark Latham's Outsiders on Wednesday.

Following a segment where Mark Latham took to the streets of Fairfield, in western Sydney, to interview locals, he came across multiple members of the community who appeared to have trouble speaking English.

Senator Hanson became animated claiming her 'mind boggles' at the thought of citizens not assimilating into society.

'My mind boggles over this and I cannot believe it,' Senator Hanson said.

'The whole fact is, it's absolutely disgusting, it makes me so angry and this again is because of the political parties have not pushed for people to actually assimilate into our society.

'If you can communicate you can assimilate and integrate into a society. But they haven't done it. They have allowed them here to form their own enclaves.'

Senator Hanson went on to refer to her maiden speech in 1996 claiming this is why she called for multiculturalism to be abolished.

'We are multi-racial, but if we are going to have to live in a harmonious country all treated equally, get rid of this multiculturalism "B.S." and say we are Australians,' she said in a passionate response.

Senator Hanson finished claiming people should be proud to call themselves Australian or not live here at all.

'Say you are Australian, be proud of it, if not go back to where you came from,' she said.

Senator Hanson controversially announced herself on the parliamentary scene with her maiden speech more than 20 years ago, where she called for the nation's immigration policy to be radically reviewed.

She claimed multiculturalism should be abolished with Australia in danger of being swamped by Asians.


Energy debate fuelled by infinite sources of renewable acrimony

If there is one economic issue where the ideological prancing and post-material indulgence of the media/political class clashes violently with the daily priorities and pragmatic common sense of the mainstream, it is energy policy. With the highest electricity prices in the world now achieved in South Australia (other states are in hot pursuit) and past blackouts heightening fears of further shortages, the situation is shambolic.

Imagine the lunacy of an ­energy-rich nation — one of the largest exporters of coal, gas and uranium — inflicting an energy crisis on itself. This is self-harm by government decree. The bipartisan renewable ­energy target has been the main cause. It achieved its aim of boosting ­investment in wind and solar generation but governments — federal and state, Liberal and Labor — ignored cost and security. Now, through the Finkel review, the Turnbull government is trying to retrofit affordability and security to an electricity network ­up-ended by the RET.

With coal generators priced out of the market in SA and Victoria, and insufficient investment in storage or back-up gas generation, the nation faces a pricing and ­security crisis. SA experienced the trauma of a statewide blackout triggered by a storm, system instability and over-reliance on inter­state interconnection. It is worth noting that SA took the power price world title from Denmark, which also relies on wind for more than 40 per cent of its electricity.

Energy is the most crucial and volatile policy issue in national politics. In the wake of Finkel, we await a detailed plan from the government. It will be a defining factor in whether the economy can ­reclaim confidence, rekindle growth and diversify.

It will determine whether the Coalition has a chance of remaining in office beyond the next election. And it will be critical in resolving or unleashing the titanic policy and personal struggle ­between Turnbull and his ­aggrieved predecessor.

Tony Abbott talks a big game on electricity now he is free from the constraints of office or cabinet solidarity. He wants to cap the RET, invest in new coal generation and give priority to affordability and security over emissions reductions. But as prime minister, he behaved differently. Abbott scrapped the carbon tax but implemented direct action to cut emissions, supported the RET and negotiated the Paris target. None of this means he is wrong now; it merely exposes him to charges of hypocrisy, changeability and opportunism. Most of the media/political class are committed to climate gestures and ­renewable energy, so shout down his present interventions. But ­Abbott makes a lot of sense, ­especially to mainstream voters worried about the impact of power prices on household budgets or business cash flows.

The core policy challenge is ­described by Turnbull as a "trilemma": meeting three criteria of affordable energy, secure supplies and reduced emissions. The fatal flaw is that reducing emissions is precisely what has made power more expensive and ­less reliable.

If we really want the cheapest and most reliable electricity we would concentrate on thermal baseload generation and forget emissions. And if we really want lower emissions and refuse to ­embrace nuclear, we must accept higher prices and less reliability.

Putting climate science arguments to one side, it is clear that given the minuscule size, globally, of Australia’s carbon dioxide ­reductions and the massive ­ongoing increases from China and India alone, our cuts will have no discernible impact on the planet. So as a nation we must decide whether we are prepared to pay a high economic price for no environmental gain.

Alternatively, we could decide this moment in time — with the US withdrawing from Paris, our economy in flux and ­global temperatures stubbornly ­refusing to rise in line with the models — might be opportune to abandon or forestall reductions targets and concentrate on economic stability. This is a proposition few politicians, aside from Cory Bernardi, Pauline Hanson and, less directly, Abbott, are prepared to even discuss. Little wonder the major parties are in strife.

Turnbull faces an even more challenging political "trilemma" than his policy challenge. A ­workable political resolution on energy needs to meet three ­demands that, like his policy aims, are irreconcilable. The Prime Minister first needs a technically plausible plan, as he says, based on economics and ­engineering rather than ideology. This goal is compromised by the determination to reduce emissions by at least 26 per cent by 2030 and is a diabolical challenge for any technocrat given the starting shambles.

Turnbull’s policy must also pass through parliament and deliver ­investment certainty; the only way to satisfy those aims is to win agreement from Labor. If Bill Shorten approves of the package, it will sail through the Senate and business can confidently make ­investment decisions with perhaps two terms of policy certainty — an eternity compared with the dystopia of the past decade.

Finally, the Turnbull plan needs to demonstrate policy differentiation and political advantage to provide some chance of recovery in the polls and re-­election. But the Coalition cannot simultaneously trump Labor and win its bipartisan support. Like his policy trilemma, this political trilemma cannot be resolved.

Prioritising the national interest would favour a solution that Labor could support, which is where Turnbull is drifting. It might involve a clean energy target where the subsidy cut-off is set at a level allowing high efficiency coal generation (about 0.6 tonnes per megawatt hour) — this would ­entrench prices higher than they otherwise would be but guarantee emissions reductions.

But politics is bound to intervene. Labor could leave the ­Coalition hanging out to dry, both because its left flank and the Greens would prefer to destroy coal, and it would present an irresistible chance to execute Turnbull politically. Why not destroy Turnbull on energy and go with a carbon price, 50 per cent RET and higher global commitments once in office? Labor seems to be trying to lure Turnbull into undermining his own leadership twice in eight years on climate policy.

There is also a catch-22 for the most conservative and pragmatic players such as Abbott. Even if a hardline Coalition could convince parliament to cap the RET and ditch emissions targets, the electricity crisis would not be over.

Knowing a Labor administration would turn all this on its head, the industry would have no confidence. At the very least, industry planners would factor in a price on carbon and, at worst, would join an indefinite investment strike.

Past bipartisan policy has made investment so fraught for anything other than subsidised and ­intermittent renewable ­energy that we are seeing a return to government intervention. Turn­bull is directly intervening through his Snowy 2.0 hydro plan and other Coalition MPs, including Abbott, are talking about government-subsidised new coal generation. Just a year ago, for the want of about $20m, the SA government stood and watched the demolition of a coal-fired station and Victoria taxed Hazelwood into retirement.

Renewables sound attractive and are popular when they work. But governments who allow high power prices to reduce living ­standards or fail to keep the lights on will not have their mandates ­renewed.


Infantile Leftist argumentation

Grumpy old white men? Come on Senator Hanson-Young. You can do better than that. What about cisgender? How about going the heteronormative route? You need to work harder to get that full intersectional, cross-oppression effect. That’s the problem with the left these days. Its arguments are blunt. Blunt like a butter knife.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young should have been able to articulate a better argument than identity politicking about "grumpy old white men". Why did taxpayers fund her mother-daughter whale-watching trip last year to the Great Australian Bight at a cost of almost $4000? She should expect genuine curiosity that she took her sick 10-year-old daughter on a plane ride and then a charter flight to watch whales, later posting photos of her daughter, some oysters and sunsets — and of course herself — on Facebook. The Greens senator might have expected some questions about value for taxpayer money when the Bight is already part of Australia’s federal marine reserve network — a "globally important seasonal calving habitat for the threatened southern right whale". Sniff test?

If the trip smells to high heaven, Hanson-Young’s response reeks of something worse: a rotten form of thinking evident from those who have grown accustomed to hanging out with people with identical views, never engaging in serious debate or testing their ideas, their responses, their thinking. Drug professionals talk about the dangerous effects of drugs on the brain. The same happens when your daily choice of drug is inhaling the social media exhaust fumes of your closed habitat. Being bolstered by confirmation bias might feel great, but the after effects are damaging to cerebral health.

Hanson-Young is a prime ­example of what happens when you don’t exercise your mind enough by exposing it to fresh, even chilly, winds of contrarian thoughts. Your responses become lazy, your ability to engage in a logical discussion becomes limited. "Grumpy old white men" isn’t an argument; it’s a juvenile retort in the playground of identity politics. When an ABC host suggested this was reverse racism, Hanson-Young shot back "cry me a river". More playground stuff.

Hanson-Young’s lethargic pushback to questions about her taxpayer-funded trip brought to mind a recent discussion on Slate’s DoubleX Gabfest podcast. Slate is a left-wing publication and its podcast features, unsurprisingly, three often entertaining left-liberals, Noreen Malone, Hanna Rosin and June Thomas. The three women invariably discuss various issues along a safe left-liberal spectrum.

Last month when one of the hosts was away, Ross Douthat from The New York Times was invited on. They discussed whether it was appropriate for a private Christian school in Maryland to refuse to let a pregnant student take part in its graduation ceremony. Douthat is the NYT’s resident conservative. A Catholic, he is also anti-abortion. What followed was a terrific conversation between three people about women and abortion and the role shame and judgment play in a society. Malone and Rosin were sceptical of shame. Douthat explained that shame and judgment can play an important and positive role.

When the three regular female hosts were reunited a fortnight later, something cool happened. Before delving into the latest Gabfest topic, Rosin said: "Dear listeners, and I love you all. We got complaints about having Ross Douthat on the show and I have say … it’s just not a way to live. If Ross doesn’t count as a person you can talk to about alternate views, who does? I guess I don’t believe in a space where you can’t debate people who have even very different views than you do. And Ross is not outside the pale to me. Noreen, you have thoughts?"

Her co-host agreed: "I was a little surprised by how upset people were just by the fact of us having him on. I think what really upset people more was the abortion discussion and the fact that we didn’t push back more against him. And I will say, at least for me, I’m not used to debating people on things like that really intensely, and Ross obviously was. He seems to spend a lot of his life debating with liberals and so I understand listeners wanting us to have done better but I kind of feel the same way, that I don’t think the Gabfest is actually a safe space, and I think I would be better in my opinions if I debated them more often than I do."

Rosin again: "I hope to have him again, actually … I love debates like that, it’s like, it makes you sharper."

There, in three short minutes was an important insight into, and a rare admission about, the intellectual bluntness that comes from not sharpening your mind by exposing yourself to outside forces.

Think of areas where intellectual deviation is verboten on the left: same-sex marriage, indigenous policy, hate speech laws, climate change, border policies, Trump, feminism, domestic violence, Pauline Hanson. Listen to the audience on ABC’s Q&A routinely cheer quips and one-liners that reinforce left-wing orthodoxies. There is a sense of the satisfaction that comes from having your views reinforced.

But too often the byproducts of that comfort zone are intellectually weak arguments. Is Yassmin Abdel-Magied just naive or another resident of the left’s mind-coddling habitat? In that cocoon, assertions are routinely cheered without the kind of corroborating evidence that would turn them into credible positions. Islam is the most feminist religion, she said. Only if you have closed yourself off to irrefutable evidence of misogyny across the Muslim world.

Recently, the Muslim woman said that Australian democracy doesn’t represent her, suggesting a glance at a photo of current MPs backed up her claim. If democracy is truly letting her down, she needs to articulate better arguments than claiming MPs don’t look like her. Abdel-Magied is spreading her wings, leaving for London. The question is whether she can open her mind to consider opposing views that might jolt her from making reflexive responses. As George Bernard Shaw said, "If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."

Those on the right also get a warm glow of belonging from hanging around like-minded people. The difference, as one of the DoubleX hosts pointed out, is that those on the right are often forced to spend more time debating their views and that can yield sharper, better articulated arguments. When we conservatives have something to say about Hanson-Young, we tend to do better than sledging her as a whiny 30-something white woman.

Bret Weinstein, a left-liberal professor at Evergreen State College who voted for Bernie Sanders and supported the Occupy Wall Street movement, was recently at the centre of wild protests by left-wing students.

His crime was to suggest it was a form of racism for white people to be asked to leave campus for a "Day of Absence". He was shouted down, his resignation demanded. It was so unsafe that he couldn’t return to campus for days.

In one interview, Weinstein remarked that, at the moment, he’s more likely to have an interesting, productive conversation with a conservative. "It’s not because I am a conservative. But it’s because I think if you’re a conservative, you’ve been challenged in a particular way for so long that you’ve had to deal across aisles before, whereas the left is more insular."

In that insular world, it’s easier to rely on reflexive responses that come from a part of the mind that isn’t fully conscious. Nudged back into consciousness, you can have all sorts of conversations, extend your own ideas and sharpen your arguments.

Hanson-Young’s lazy and ineffectual strike against "grumpy old white men" was never going to cut it outside her own political bubble. That said, even Greens leader Richard Di Natale must have hoped for a better response, one less revealing of Hanson-Young’s intellectual limitations and more respectful of taxpayers.

After all, plenty of women and men, grumpy or not, old or young, of varying skin colours are still wondering why the Greens senator and her daughter went whale-watching at taxpayers’ expense.


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

7 July, 2017

Casual staff win right to ask for "permanent" work

"Unforeseen" results likely to flow from this decision.  The unions are right in saying that permanent jobs are more secure but that is the problem.  Unfair dismissal laws make "permanent" employees very hard to fire even in such gross circumstances as the employee stealing from the business  Small business people simply could not afford that battle.  All they can do is hire on a casual basis only.

So small employers will work around the new rules -- fire casuals after 11 months or simply cut back -- do without the employees concerned.

And all that aside, if making an employee "permanent"  is likely to increase significantly the costs of a small business, a "work to rule" or some other strategy will often be adopted to avoid that cost

The net result of the new rules will undoubtedly be an increase in unemployment.  Leftist "achievements" are always destructive

Casual workers have won the right to demand a permanent full-time or part-time job after 12 months under a landmark Fair Work Commission ruling.

But employers will still have the right to refuse the request if the change would substantially alter the worker's hours to accommodate them as a permanent staff member.

Unions had called for the right to be available after just six months and for the minimum number of daily hours worked to increase to four, but these requests were rejected.

In its decision on Wednesday, the Fair Work Commission said it was necessary for modern awards to contain a provision allowing casual employees to ask for conversion to permanent full-time or part-time work after 12 months.

The decision will apply to 88 modern awards that do not contain such a provision.

The move was largely welcomed by the union movement but blasted by employer groups.

Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus said an "epidemic of insecure work" in Australia was "wrecking" the lives of families, individuals and communities.

"The decision of the Fair Work Commission today plugs one small hole in this epidemic," she said.

Kylie Grey, an early childhood educator in Melbourne and witness in the union case, who has a young family, was happy to find a permanent part-time job last year after a period of working as a casual in a different job.

"If you don't have a secure income and a secure job then you are unlikely to be budgeting and spending for the things that are great for the economy," she said.

Professor John Buchanan from the University of Sydney business school said the commission's decision would provide a common standard entitling casual workers to apply for conversion.

"It doesn't raise the standard, it just spreads the standard to a larger number of workers and that standard is pretty weak," Professor Buchanan said.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union said the commission's decision was "a kick in the guts for ordinary workers trying to make ends meet in an uncertain employment market".

"Employers are using the current system to exploit vulnerable casual workers and keep them working under insecure employment arrangements," AMWU national president Andrew Dettmer said.

The Australian Retailers Association said the decision would impose extra costs and reduce flexibility for employers.

"We fear this verdict will significantly impact retailers as casuals' flexible hours are essential to the industry," ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said.

"Retail employees are an important asset for retailers and the overall industry, therefore the ARA will be seeking more flexible part-time arrangements through the Award Review process".

Sydney retailer Michael Newton-Brown said most of the staff in his six shoe boutiques were casual which "suits them and it suits me". He said the commission's decision was "a further nail in the coffin of small retailers" whose workforce needs fluctuated.

The Australian Industry Group welcomed the commission's rejection of union calls for an absolute right for casuals to be converted to permanent employment after six months of regular work and for a standard four-hour minimum engagement period for casuals and part-timers.

"If the unions' claims had been accepted, the jobs of thousands of casual employees were at risk," AIG chief executive Innes Willox said.

"The level of casual employment in Australia has been around 20 per cent for 19 years, with no sign of the level increasing. Union arguments about the 'casualisation' of the Australian workforce, are a myth."

Professor Buchanan said the AIG was technically correct, but had failed to acknowledge the context of higher levels of unemployment and underemployment over that period which had made jobs more insecure.


Family of murdered Victorian woman Karen Chetcuti to sue

Repeatedly paroling a serial violent recidivist is clearly negligent

The family of Karen Chetcuti, horrifically tortured and murdered near Wangaratta by a man on parole, will sue the state of Victoria.

Michael Cardamone pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court last week to murdering Ms Chetcuti (nee Verbunt), his neighbour in the tiny town of Whorouly in the state's north-east in January last year.

Cardamone, who raped a 15-year-old girl in 2005, had been on parole for less than six months when he killed the 49-year-old.

"He was free to roam around," Ms Chetcuti's former husband Tony Chetcuti said. "This has happened too many times. It's not just Cardamone. Look what happened with Jill Meagher."

Lawyer John Suta alleged the state was negligent and fell below the reasonable standard of care in monitoring Cardamone, who was paroled to live with his elderly mother at the rural property in 2015. His father, a school bus driver who had run a catering business with his wife, died in 2014.

Their property shared a boundary with Ms Chetcuti's.

Mr Suta said he will file a statement of claim in the Supreme Court in a matter of weeks on behalf of Mr Chetcuti and their two teenage children.

"As a consequence of the negligence or breach of duty, my client has suffered injuries, loss and damage," he said.

The Department of Justice would not comment, with the criminal case yet to be finalised. Cardamone faces a plea hearing on August 21.

Questions were raised about the case because Cardamone was on parole and had breached parole twice.

It is understood Cardamone failed a drugs test in May 2013. His parole was cancelled and he was in custody for almost a year before he re-applied for release. Parole was approved and he was back in the community in March 2014.

Almost a year later, the 50-year-old again breached parole when he was charged in February 2015 with producing child pornography over an image found on his mobile phone of a six-year-old girl's bottom.

Cardamone spent more than four months in custody, but his parole was again approved in July 2015 after the charges were dismissed in the Magistrates Court.

He murdered Ms Chetcuti, who worked at the Wangaratta City Council, on January 14, 2016. Her tortured body - burnt when she was possibly still alive and injected with battery acid after she died - was discovered on January 18, the day of her daughter's 14th birthday.

Mr Chetcuti said her murder had turned their world upside down.  "It has devastated us. Today is Jack's birthday (the couple's eldest), he's spending it without his mother," he said on Thursday.

The couple moved to Whorouly from Epping, in Melbourne, more than 20 years ago to run the local pub. They sold the pub in 1995 and had separated almost a decade later.

Cardamone was 38 when he raped a 15-year-old girl in a caravan on his parents' Whorouly property in 2005. The girl had been working on the then tobacco farm and lived in the caravan with her boyfriend.

In a report tendered to the County Court, two psychiatrists said Cardamone viewed women as sexual objects and not human beings.

"You developed an unnatural attitude towards women, largely because you never had a relationship with one, with the result that you viewed them as sex objects, not human beings," one wrote.

Another concluded the likelihood of further sexual offending would probably be reduced if he stopped using illicit drugs. He was sentenced to a minimum of six years in jail upon appeal and a maximum of nine.

The expected civil suit is the latest legal action against the state by families whose loved ones were killed by offenders on parole or supervision orders. The families of five murder victims - Sarah Cafferkey, Raechel Betts, Joanne Wicking, Evan Rudd and Douglas Phillips - along with two sexual assault survivors, launched coordinated civil action last year.

The parents of Elsa Corp - a 26-year-old hairdresser killed by a parolee in a Melbourne hotel in 2010 - lodged separate action last year.

Jill Meagher was raped and murdered in Brunswick in 2012 by Adrian Ernest Bayley, who was on parole for sex assaults.


Court orders government to release funding for Malek Fahd Islamic School

A Federal Court judge has ordered the government to no longer withhold funding to one of Australia's largest Islamic schools following a disagreement over the use of the money.

The Malek Fahd Islamic School in NSW was in April notified its funding would be delayed after the government cited concerns over its governance, restructuring, and transparency.

The school has more than 2300 students and 250 teachers across several campuses and there were fears it would have to close if the money wasn't restored.

Federal Court Judge John Griffiths on Thursday said the case had "considerable urgency" about it, with term three due to begin on July 18.

He ordered the month-by-month funding be restored and back-paid to April, also acknowledging the school's "troubled history" in recent years.

Board chairman Dr John Bennett called the decision "a great relief" after a difficult time for the community.

"It's been very anxious, very stressful for parents, for students and staff," he said.

About 150 students are in years 11 and 12, only one term away from sitting for exams.

Part of the funding disagreement centred on whether the school was operating on a for-profit basis.

It was argued that public funds were at risk of being passed to the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils because of a current contractual obligation to pay non-commercial rent to AFIC.

Judge Griffiths rejected the submission and agreed with the school's explanation that it was "asset rich but cash poor".

Dr Bennett said many of the problems cited related to a previous board which was replaced in March last year.

Since then, it has been adjusting its governance and financial operations. AFIC no longer has representation on the board.

The school was "very, very close" to addressing the government's concerns, Dr Bennett said. "We're committed to continuing with the work. "We want to be able to focus on the education of the students."

The matter is listed for a case management hearing on August 1.


Playing the single mum card is an insult to single mums

HERE’S a way to test your capacity for self-delusion. If your child is too ill to go to school today, do you take her on a business trip at the taxpayer’s expense? A moral bind surely, even if it is within the so-called company rules.

But if you’re a warrior for Single Motherhood, that excuses everything. You can attend, with a sick child in tow, an overnight jaunt to see a few whales and shuck oysters because you are simply doing your job.

In other words, tick, another problem solved in the tyranny of life known as Single Motherhood. That is, of course, if you’re blindly entitled like the Greens’ Sarah Hanson-Young.

The Senator has this week been condemned nationwide for using a reported $3874.24 of taxpayers’ money to go whale watching with her daughter Kora last September in the Great Australian Bight.

Hanson-Young says she didn’t have an option and therefore had to take her unwell 11-year-old along on the trip to discuss BP’s plans to drill for oil in the marine reserve.

There was no alternative childcare available, it was not her fault so be quiet, haters. No regrets either at a decision that has subsequently been lambasted as a poor one.

But her world is not the world inhabited by the typical single mother raising a child bereft of a financial or care-contributing parent in the home.

In that alternate universe, there is usually a plan B such as a carer’s day or the decision to work from home while a sick child is cosy and recovering in bed.

Single parents, masters of the juggle even more so than the rest of us who work, often subtly move mountains behind the scenes to keep things ticking along. No fanfare or pats on the back required.

Senator, the gender card no longer comes up trumps and it’s time for any woman who plays it to stop. Being a single mum does not equal special treatment.

Her fellow South Australian MP Cory Bernardi immediately seized upon her trip as "being out of touch" with voters and something that simply didn’t "pass the common sense or credibility test".

Hanson-Young decided to fight fire with fire, telling Sky News: "Well the truth is... that I didn’t have a choice at the time.

"And you always weight up these things in terms of balance between the commitments of your job as a senator or indeed the demands on myself as a parent and a mum. "So of course I don’t regret it.

"What I regret is the idea that there’s some grumpy old white men who have been deciding what is best for my family in the last 24 hours and I tell you what — I’m not going to be lectured to by some grumpy old men about how to be a mother or indeed what is best for my family."

"There can’t be a family-friendly parliament and no provision for family travel. You can’t have it both ways," Hanson-Young sniffed.

She also told one radio interviewer: "I think parents across the state can’t just take the day off work because their kid’s sick. Lots of parents know that."

Then there’s the sanctimonious tweet she posted: "Shock horror! Woman can be mum & politician at same time."

Thus the Single Motherhood card was comprehensively played.
Facebook images of Senator Sarah Hanson-Young during the now infamous whale watching trip. (Pic: Facebook)

The senator at least conceded she is in a privileged position and does have help and that, yes, every parent struggles to get the balance right between work and family.

But there’s been no remorse, just an echo chamber repeating an excuse which insults all working parents: "As you know I am a single mum and I take my job really seriously".

"I kept up my job as a mum and I kept up my job as a senator," she also said, to shove her point down our throats.

Let’s not forget she also wheeled out the plight of single mothers in January when One Nation’s candidate David Archibald said taxpayers should not support those who are "too lazy" to attract and hold a mate.

She tweeted: "As a single mum myself, I am disgusted at One Nation’s attack on single mothers. Bunch of nasty fools."

When she was ejected from the Senate in 2009 with her then two-year-old daughter screaming and crying, Hanson-Young said it was a "massive learning experience".

"People will criticise the decisions you make as a mum in the public eye. You can’t stop that but what you can do is manage your own response," she told an interviewer.

"I’ve learned to be very comfortable with my decisions on things, whether that’s policy, or the decisions I make about Kora’s life." Lesson learned? About what exactly?

Part of the Greens’ charter is to "break down inequalities of wealth and power which inhibit participatory democracy". It also references the need to "encourage and facilitate more flexible work arrangements." So that’s on target then.

But appointing yourself as an ambassador for single mums does not mean using your situation as an excuse.

After watching the Sky interview, one infuriated sole parent I know rang to tell me this: "It makes me mad that she should have the gall to try to drag me into her corner by nature of the fact that we are both single mums.

"I would also like to add my disgust that the senator managed to spend that money in two days — equivalent to my rent, phone bill and utilities for a month.

"There isn’t money left over for luxuries like whale watching cruises but that’s life. My kids have never even been close to an oyster.

"While I’m no killjoy, there’s something discomforting about the fact that an elected official — man woman, single married or partnered, can boldly make the decision to spend my taxes in this way and then trot out the old chestnut ‘I’m a single mother with no support’ to try to weasel her way out of the scandal."

Yes. The Senator should pay back the cost of that trip and, possibly by the time you read this, she has come to her senses and got out her chequebook Bronwyn Bishop-style.

But this is a moot point compared her pathetic attempts to drum up sympathy by attacking our Achilles heel as working parents.


Wind turbine syndrome: infrasound and fury

When Janet Hetherington went to a Melbourne hospital for a minor procedure late last year she had an odd experience. She was unable to sleep in the bed she was given and forced to move to escape a disturbing sensation that made it impossible for her to settle.

She reported her incident to hospital authorities, who later called in acoustic experts who confirmed a concentration of low-frequency noise in the precise area that she had been settled.

The noise has not affected everyone who has used that bed and, rather than do anything about the source, hospital staff have been told to be on the lookout for anyone who may experience a similar reaction.

Hetherington’s hospital experience is especially interesting as she has lived at Macarthur in southwest Victoria, home to one of the country’s biggest wind farms.

Disturbance from low-frequency noise from industrial airconditioning fans and compres­sors is pretty normal stuff in big buildings, and Victorian and Queensland health departments documents recognise that low-frequency noise sensitivity and sensitisation can be a problem for some people.

Hetherington’s hospital experience is another chapter in an ongoing saga for Macarthur wind farm owner AGL and the wind industry globally, which many say has been forced to jump at shadows on the issue for the past two decades.

Hetherington now has left the Macarthur area and says her sleep and health are greatly improved.

As the number of wind farms increases around the world, the number of complaints also is rising, as are the cases for noise nuisance being settled by wind power developers — the latest being last month in the Irish High Court, where a German wind power operator admitted liability but settled before the issue of punitive dam­ages was determined by the court.

What has been dismissed by some leading commentators as an imaginary ailment is of increasing concern in medical circles internationally and acoustic specialists are investigating whether there is a physical explanation for what is going on.

The French Academy of Medicine has published a position paper on the issue that found the noise from wind turbines represents an "existential suffering" and real threat to the quality of life of nearby residents that must be taken seriously. After an investigation of the scientific literature, the academy did not reach a conclusion on the cause of widespread complaints about a so-called wind turbine syndrome. But it said even if wind turbines did "not seem to directly induce organic pathogens, it affects through its noise and especially visual nuisance the quality of life of a part of the residents" and thus their "state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing which today defines the concept of health".

The academy recommended new wind turbines be built only "in areas where there was consensus among the population concerned as to their visual impact", and a system of ongoing noise checks with a reduction in allowable noise limits to a weighted 30 decibels (30dBA) for outside dwellings and 25 decibels inside. It also repeated an earlier call for an epidemiological study on health nuisance from wind turbines.

Wind turbine syndrome symptoms cover a wide spectrum of disorders including sleep loss, fatigue, nausea, headaches, tinnitus, disturbances of balance, dizziness, stress, depression, irritability, anxiety, perturbed steroid hormone secretion, hypertension and socio-behavioural changes.

"At the medical level, wind turbine syndrome produces a complex and subjective entity in the clinical expression of which several factors are involved," the French academy report says.

Analysis of the medical and scientific literature did not show that wind turbines had a significant impact on health.

"In other words, no disease or infirmity seems to be imputable to their functioning," the academy says. "The problem, however, is that the definition of health has evolved and that, according to World Health Organisation, it now represents a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."

The question of whether wind turbines are physically capable of producing the adverse reactions claimed is unresolved. However, it is now scientifically demonstrated by Swedish researchers that amplitude-modulated low-frequency wind turbine noise can directly cause sleep disturbance, even in young fit people taking part in its research study.

Much attention has been put on the possible role of low frequency or infrasound below the threshold of hearing. Australian researchers at the University of Sydney-affiliated Wool­cock Institute of Medical Research are working with acoustics experts to test surrounding inaudible, or infrasound, noise attributed to wind turbines. However, the study is using synthesised "infrasound" and not that actually generated by wind turbines.

A sample of 40 people who are prone to being disturbed by noise will face three weekends in a purpose-built laboratory being exposed to silence, traffic noise and synthesised wind turbine infrasound. The researchers will monitor their health throughout the experiment, especially as they sleep. Results will be available in about 2020, but there is intense debate about whether wind turbine sound can be adequately replicated in the laboratory for such experiments.

The Swedish study, Physiological Effects of Wind Turbine Noise on Sleep, reported in September last year to the International Congress on Acoustics, highlights the importance of the pulses of noises made by rotating wind turbine blades that lead to a variation in the sound level. This variation in the sound level is described as amplitude modulation and can vary from inaudible to clearly audible.

"The presence of beats and strong amplitude modulation contributed to sleep disturbance, reflected by more electrophysi­olog­ical awakenings, increased light sleep and wakefulness, and reduced REM and deep sleep," the study says.

"The impact on sleep by these acoustic characteristics is currently the focus of interest in ongoing studies."

Four of the world’s leading acoustic experts working on a joint paper have suggested two simple experiments that may resolve many of the issues.

The research can be traced back to work conducted by Steven Cooper in 2015, commissioned by wind developer Pacific Hydro, into noise emitted from its Cape Bridgewater wind farm in Victoria.

The latest paper includes contributions from the industry doyen of wind farm noise, Geoff Leventhall, and Paul Schomer, chairman of the American National Standards Committee dealing with noise. The researchers agree that "infrasound from wind turbines can almost be ruled out as a potential mechanism for stimulating motion sickness symptoms". But they recommend "two relatively simple and relatively inexpensive studies be conducted to be sure no infrasound pathways to the brain exist other than through the cochlea". The tests involve asking residents to identify when wind tur­bines are being turned on and off.

Residents’ responses also would be measured in relation to changes in the amount of electric power being generated by operating wind turbines.

The wind industry has been reluctant to co-operate with these sorts of investigations in the past.

However, Australia’s meticulous records of power generation for the National Electricity Market may provide a solution.

The proposed tests stem from findings of Cooper’s Cape Bridgewater research in which affected residents were asked to keep diaries of their experience, which later were compared to wind farm operation. Cooper found the study participants responses correlated better to the electric power being generated rather than to the acoustic signal. It suggests that people may be affected more by the speed of the wind turbine operations when depowering the turbine and to large changes in the electric power being generated.

"The fact that the subjects’ responses correlated with electric power, which is something the subjects could have no way of knowing, lends strong support to Cooper’s findings," Schomer says.

Schomer says the suggested new tests are important for two reasons. First, the subjects are incapable of having detailed knowledge of the electric power being generated. Second, if true, it is something that is potentially correctable by the wind industry through changes to blade design and operation.

Acoustician George Hessler says for a very small change in sound level generated by the wind turbine, there can be a very large change in the electric power generated.

Other research suggests a source of low-frequency audible sound is produced each time a blade passes the support tower.

The wind turbine blades flex so that the blade tip comes closer to the support tower as the electrical power being generated increases. The reverse occurs as the power being generated decreases.

"The facts in this analysis indicate that this should be studied further, since this may be an important factor in the community response — both annoyance and other physiological effects," Schomer says.

"The fact that this sound source can be controlled by the operator, to some degree, gives some promise to our ability to mitigate or eliminate this problem."

The collective conclusion of researchers has been that none of the opinions and recommendations answers the posed question — does low-frequency noise from wind turbines disturb people’s sleep or make people sick?

"It is abundantly obvious that intense adverse response occurs at certain sites," they say.

"Realistically it is not even possible to answer the posed question to all parties’ satisfaction without practical research."

But they argue the wind farm industry must accept that there are enough worldwide sites that emit excessive wind turbine noise resulting in severe adverse community reactions to adopt and adhere to policies setting out a reasonable sound level limit.

Likewise, wind farm opponents must accept reasonable sound limits or buffer distance to the nearest turbine.

Leventhall says stress from wind turbines, if it arises, is normally low level but, in a very small number of people, it may become intense and overpowering so that opposition to wind turbines is the dominating emotion in their lives.

He says research has shown reaction to noise, especially low-level noise, is largely conditioned by attitudes to the noise and its source.

"Persistent repetition that infrasound from wind turbines will cause illness develops stressful concerns in residents, but repetition is neither evidence nor proof," Leventhall says.

He cites concerns on inaudible infrasound from current designs of wind turbines began 10 to 15 years ago, linked to objections to the growth of wind farms, and has accelerated during the past five to 10 years.

"It is inevitable that, in the absence of good supporting evidence, these speculative claims will become discredited over the next five to 10 years," Leventhall says.

Australian researcher Cooper is focusing his continuing research on infrasound and amplitude modulation, highlighted also by the Swedish research.

In a paper presented to a congress on Noise as a Public Health problem in Zurich two weeks ago and at the Acoustical Society of America conference in Boston last week, Cooper says his research finds "modulation of low-frequency noise at an infrasound rate that occurs at or near the threshold of hearing may lead to a trigger response in individuals".

In other words a mechanical cause for some people’s complaints may have been identified that is more complex than simply very low frequency noise.

If Cooper’s research is correct, the industry may have some new clues on how to fix a problem that has raised intense passions and caused a good deal of concern around 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

6 July, 2017

Australia's leading Leftist antisemite opens up

As a former State Premier, foreign minister and Senator he is an influential figure on the Australian Left. He is however a bit of an oddball.  He was actually a pretty good NSW Premier but has always been very Green. He never learned to drive and is married to an Asian woman

Former Labor foreign minister Bob Carr has spoken out against Israel’s "cruel" and "foul" occupation of Palestinian land, and its "ruinous path" in rejecting the creation of a state of Palestine.

Leading a push for the ALP to give Palestine immediate state recognition, Mr Carr has also backed the Israeli opposition’s condemnation ­of a new law ­allowing further property seizures as amounting to "war crimes" if families are forced off privately owned land.

The comments were delivered by Mr Carr, who served as Julia Gillard’s foreign minister, last week when he appeared as a "special guest" of Labor frontbenchers Anthony Albanese and Tony Burke, joint hosts of a NSW ALP federal electorate council meeting in Sydney. A recording of the event has been ­obtained by The Australian.

Now head of the Australia China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney, Mr Carr has been accused by pro-­Israel opponents in his party of acting behind the scenes to ­orchestrate passage of a resolution at this month’s NSW ALP conference that "urges the next Labor government to recognise Palestine".

The resolution by the ALP’s largest state branch, which looks set to pass with majority support from right and left factions, would be the precursor to federal Labor supporting recognition of Palestine at next year’s national party conference. Such a move would mark a dramatic break with 40 years of unqualified ALP support for ­Israel, and create unwanted ructions for Bill Shorten in the lead-up to the federal election due in 2019.

Census data released yesterday shows that key NSW Labor seats such as Watson, held by Mr Burke, and McMahon, held by ­opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen, have among the largest populations with Arab ­ancestry. Mr Burke’s Sydney seat has 18 per cent of voters with Arab ancestry while Mr Bowen’s has 13.2 per cent. The seat with the largest proportion of voters with Arab ancestry is Blaxland, held by NSW right figure and Labor frontbencher Jason Clare, at 19.5 per cent.

In contrast, the seat with the largest Jewish population is held by Malcolm Turnbull — Wentworth, in Sydney’s east, at 12.5 per cent of its population. The seat with the second-highest concentration of Jewish people is Melbourne Ports held by Labor’s Michael Danby, who has been a trenchant critic of the push for Palestinian recognition by the NSW ALP.

Mr Carr, who was NSW Labor premier for a decade before his stint in Canberra, acknowledges the attending head of the ­Palestinian delegation in Australia, Izzat Abdulhadi, as "His Excellency, the ambassador of Palestine".

In the recording he praises Mr Albanese and Mr Burke for accepting, like him, that "now is the time to recognise Palestine" at an ALP state and federal level.

Mr Carr speaks highly of them and other former colleagues — Mr Bowen and now-retired minister Craig Emerson — for standing "one by one" with him against Ms Gillard in 2012 when she tried to pressure her cabinet into accepting a "no vote" by Australia opposing UN observer status for Palestine.

Mr Carr, who said he was aware the recording was being made, castigates his successor, Liberal Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, for failing to criticise Israeli settlements on Palestinian land that are "all illegal" and growing in such numbers they are "planted in areas never contemplated". Her unquestioning support "just encouraged Israel to be more aggressive and chauvinist".

Quoting Israeli critics, and then agreeing with them, Mr Carr says the left-leaning Tel Aviv-based Haaretz newspaper had "correctly" called Israel an occupying power — but the occupation was "getting crueller".

"The regularisation bill … confirms everything I’ve said about the foulness of this occupation, and about the poisonous effect it is having on Israel, and yes, it confirms ... the suffering of Palestinians which must be first and foremost in our concerns," he says.

Mr Carr interprets comments by Israel’s Labor opposition leader Isaac Herzog as equating the new legislation with a "war crime", and notes politician Benny Begin, son of the former Likud Party prime minister, calling it "a looting bill".

A Palestinian family’s property could be seized by the Israeli state even if it had land title going back to the days of the Ottoman Empire, Mr Carr says.

He says Palestinians had stories to tell that had been "blotted out" until Israeli historian Danny Morris checked defence archives and found Palestinians were expelled when Israel was set up as a Jewish state in 1948. "There were massacres," Mr Carr says in his speech. "And that feeds into the stories you’re familiar with; of Palestinians having to flee their houses, leave their houses behind, and flee for the borders."

He says the people of Gaza are refugees with links not to that area but with the homes, real or imagined, inside Israel’s borders of 1948. Mr Carr berates Israel’s continued occupation of territories as a "cruel" and "hateful thing" that forces more suffering on Palestinian people.

He recounts one Haaretz report about "apartheid" coming to an ancient swimming pool used by Palestinian children, who were booted out by authorities for a group of touring Israeli settlers.

Federal Labor’s current policy on the Israel-Palestinian issue was publicly endorsed this week by Mr Shorten’s deputy Tanya Plibersek, serving as acting party leader, despite her own harsh criticism of Israel in the past, and her long factional alignment with Mr Albanese.

The current ALP policy supports a two-state solution — but only commits the party in government to "discussing" joining like-minded nations in recognising a Palestinian state if there is no progress in peace talks.

Jewish leaders in Australia consider the proposed change not only odious but potentially "dangerous" because of the encouragement it could give Palestinians to pursue their cause without concessions, including a pledge to end hostilities.

Mr Shorten, politically close to Mr Danby, is known for his own pro-Israel sympathies and good relations with Melbourne’s Jewish community. Mr Shorten has shown no sign of resisting the ALP policy shift, possibly aware he is in the minority with the party’s pro-Palestinian left faction now dominating national conference numbers, and backed by the NSW right on this issue.

Mr Carr was unequivocal in saying he wants Labor support for a Palestinian state "now" during his speech at the Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club.


‘I won’t be lectured by grumpy old white men’, says leading Greenie

Racism, sexism and ageism all in one sentence.  The bigotry on the Green/Left bubbles to the surface

Greens leader Richard Di Natale defended Sarah Hanson-Young’s decision to take her daughter on a $4000 taxpayer funded whale watching excursion, but refused three times to answer whether the trip passed the "pub test".

This morning, Senator Hanson-Young told the ABC to "cry me a river" after a high-profile presenter accused her of "reverse racism" for describing critics of her taxpayer-funded whale watching trip as "grumpy old white men".

The South Australian senator has been dogged by controversy after The Australian on Monday revealed she and her daughter took an overnight trip to the Great Australian Bight in September to "see the whales" at a cost to taxpayers of $3874.23.

She defiantly declared yesterday she had no regrets about the trip and had no choice but to take her 11 year-old daughter, who she said was "sick" at the time.

She sparked a further backlash among voters by telling Sky News on Tuesday her critics were "grumpy old white men deciding what is best for my family".

The senator did not breach any parliamentary travel rules.

This morning, during her weekly appearance on an ABC radio panel alongside fellow SA senators Penny Wong and Simon Birmingham, she was challenged over the racist nature of her comments by host David Bevan.

"That’s an interesting choice of words — ‘grumpy old white men’ — by her," Bevan told listeners of Adelaide’s top-rating breakfast radio show.

"Why the language? Why are you talking about grumpy old white men?

"You wouldn’t put up with that language if somebody was talking about an old grumpy black man, would you?

"You hear this language (about white men) a lot. We heard it when we went to a conference in Sydney in the ABC where they were talking about old pale males — this is a reverse racism, it’s getting around, isn’t it?"

But a defiant Senator Hanson-Young was immediately dismissive, saying "oh, cry me a river, I mean, seriously.

"When you have got some big bloke standing up telling people how to be a mother, what’s good for my daughter, I am not going to stand there and take it, and I am going to hit back, and that’s what I did."

Bevan responded: "And you hit back using racial terms".

Senator Hanson-Young said, "these people who want to complain and tell me what is good for my daughter, how to look after her and what my job is as a mother and how I manage that as a senator, I am not going to take it.

"I am not going to resile from doing my job as a senator ... and hearing men like Cory Bernardi tell me how to be a mother, how to manage my family affairs."

Labor Senator Penny Wong, who was on the ABC panel with Senator Hanson-Young, said the term "grumpy old white men" was "not the language I would use".

"A public figure would not use that language," Senator Wong said.

"I have made clear over many years in public life that I do not use language around race in the way you’ve just described."

But pressed as to why she would make the "personal decision" not to use such language, Senator Wong repeatedly refused to provide an explanation, telling Bevan, "I am not getting into this".

Senator Birmingham, who also was on the ABC radio panel, said he would not use the racially charged language chosen by Senator Hanson-Young.

"My approach is always to deal with issues before us, do it in a straight way," he said.

"I don’t really think age or colour or gender or sex or sexuality or religion or any of those matters are really relevant points."

Senator Hanson-Young this morning on ABC radio also appeared to change her story, claiming she wasn’t on a "whale-watching" trip, despite posting photos of herself and her daughter undertaking a whale watching tour and telling The Australian on Sunday that the "whole point" of the trip was "see the whales".

The senator, who wants a ban on oil and gas exploration in the Bight, said she had a range of meetings with stakeholders over two days.

"I did see the whales at the head of the Bight, invited on there by the local indigenous people, they were lobbying me for money to build a new eco-tourism hub ... there was no whale watching holiday," she said.


Tony Abbott criticises Liberal Party, pushes Christian values as guest speaker at Liberal Party branch

Despite the Liberal Party continuing to clean up after Tony Abbott’s recent comments, including the fact the party is "haemorrhaging members", the former Prime Minister is at it again — and atheists and Malcolm Turnbull are the prime target.

"Just at the moment, I’m not always the person that every Liberal wants to associate with," Mr Abbott said, the audience laughing in return.

Using his guest appearance at a Liberal Party branch meeting on Monday night, Mr Abbott used the opportunity to explain the reasons surrounding his recent controversial comments, including lashing out at Australia’s submarine program and calling for an overhaul of policy and Liberal Party reform in a radio interview with Sydney shock jock Alan Jones.

"One of the reasons why I’m speaking out is not because I think we’ve got to change the personnel but because I think we’ve got to just move the direction a little bit," he said in leaked audio obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Branch members were invited to the event organised by assistant treasurer Michael Sukkar, whose electorate the event lay in.

"He is definitely on the war path," a source told journalist Michael Koziol.

"I have never seen him speaking so well or looking so good."

Members were offered "a rare opportunity to join former Prime Minister Tony Abbott to discuss how to navigate the political sphere as a Christian and ensure legislation supports family values".

Mr Abbott’s Christian values were core at the speech, in which he lamented the crumbling values of Christian society and said Australians had put up with those that did not share the same values for too long.

"For too long, the good people of our country have been too tolerant of people who do not share some of the fundamental values that have made us who we are.

"As Michael [Sukkar] said a few moments ago, a majority that stays silent does not stay a majority," Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott is refusing to remain silent despite warnings from senior conservative Liberal MPs that the party needs to "move on" from its bitter infighting or lose government.

In his most recent speech, Mr Abbott challenged supporters "to fight so that the existing government, the existing cabinet and the existing prime minister are as good as they possibly can be".

"Just at this moment, let me tell you, we’re at a bit of a low ebb."

Mr Sukkar defended Mr Abbott’s appearance on Sky News yesterday, describing it as a "pretty routine branch meeting".

"It was reasonably well-attended, but as most members of parliament would know, your local members get a little bit sick of just hearing from their own member time after time, so it’s very routine for us to get guest speakers in to speak to our branches and this was a longstanding commitment of Tony’s to visit and speak to my electorate conference, so in that sense it was a very routine meeting but we had a really good turnout and volunteer organisations like the Liberal Party only thrive when we have an engaged membership and it’s one of the things that I try and do, and having guest speakers in aids that objective."


Leftists outspending Libs

The Liberal Party is being warned of a $200 million "democratic ­deficit" that could topple the ­Turnbull government, as its ­enemies raise more cash to fight the next election.

Senior Liberals have issued an alert over the "cashed-up cabal" of rivals spending about $300m a year on campaigns, as incoming party president Nick Greiner acknowledges the government is the "underdog" in Australian politics.

As the party’s peak council gathers in Sydney, Malcolm Turnbull and his colleagues will today be warned of the weight of spending by Labor, the Greens, the ­unions, progressive think tanks and activist groups such as GetUp!.

"This is a major imbalance in Australian politics — let’s call it the democratic deficit," acting ­federal director Andrew Bragg will tell the council.

"This deficit will widen by over $100m in the next 10 years."

The warning is based on calculations from the Menzies Research Centre, the think tank linked to the Liberal Party, and is based on documents lodged with the ­Australian Electoral Commission on donations and campaign spending.

Mr Bragg warns Liberal candidates will have to fight off $300m in spending by their rivals on phone canvassing, polling, ­billboards, Facebook advertising, pamphlets and postal vote applications. "Like we do, they talk to the media, but they also talk directly to voters through an elaborate group of co-ordinated bodies."

Behind the warning is a ­growing concern that the Liberal Party has been left behind by ­modern campaign tactics, as Labor and the Greens mobilise donors and ­volunteers on issues ranging from same-sex marriage to bans on gas and coal.

With party members divided over leadership and policy, the Liberal Party is undergoing an overhaul as Mr Greiner takes over from outgoing president Richard Alston while three out of four vice-presidents retire and Andrew Hirst is installed as new ­director.

The Menzies Research Centre calculates the "anti-Liberal" campaigns include $26m in union spending, $78m in political party outlays, $10m in declared GetUp! spending and $192m by sectoral interests that oppose the government. That compares with $78m in spending by the Liberals and ­Nationals and other "pro-enterprise" parties, $32m by business groups and $9m by think tanks.

"Our opponents are formidable but beatable. Beat them we must, for they want to radically change Australia," Mr Bragg will tell ­Liberal members.

Mr Bragg outlines how political rivals were using their money to defend secret deals for union ­bosses, attack free-trade deals that boost exports, ­prevent development by blocking mines and ­punish small businesses by opposing tax cuts.

Mr Bragg also cites the attempt by construction union boss John Setka to intimidate building ­inspectors as an example of a union that does not believe in the law and threatened to "hunt down" opponents. "We must ­prepare to fight the extremes, Greens and unions, which are deliberately opaque in corporate structure, but never hard to spot."

He also cites the appointment of a GetUp! deputy chairwoman Carla McGrath as a board member at the Australian Press Council as another attempt by the activist group to "march through every ­institution" to wield influence.

While Liberal chiefs warn about slow membership growth, GetUp! is claiming more supporters who will fund its campaigns or volunteer their time.

GetUp! chief Paul Oosting told The Weekend Australian the group had more than a million members and was growing. "Like most modern organisations we reject the old-school ­notion of excluding people from participating by ­imposing an ­exclusive system where only those that can afford to are able to participate and join," he said. "In 2016, over 61,000 people gave to GetUp!. The average amount given over the course of the year was $50."

In his opening remarks to the federal council last night, Mr Greiner conceded the Turnbull government was a "slight underdog" to win the next election and he acknowledged the Liberals were suffering from mistrust and division.

Mr Greiner, a former NSW premier, also recognised the factional deals in the senior appointments for party positions but vowed to provide leadership in uniting the Liberals at all levels.

In a pre-recorded address to the Liberal council meeting in Sydney Mr Greiner said he was aware of the financial challenges facing the party as well as the divisions at all levels. "There are also challenges in ensuring a culture of trust, openness and co-operation between all Liberal stakeholders, federal and state parliamentary and organisational," he said in the video recorded in Europe where he is on a trade mission to the EU.

"I am equally conscious of the challenges in strengthening the ­financial and continuous campaigning capacity of the federal secretariat in the prevailing ­difficult political climate here and ­indeed for incumbent governments around the world."

The sudden elevation of Mr Greiner to the federal presidency heightened concerns over the ­factional control of top positions, along with similar deals over four vice-presidents.

The NSW and Victorian ­branches are riven by disputes over reforms and personality clashes and in Queensland ­tensions are mounting over the Liberal-­Nationals amalgamation.

Party memberships are falling, financial support is drying up — to the extent Mr Turnbull had to ­provide $1.75m of his own money during the election campaign — and factional infighting has been made worse by the ­removal of Tony Abbott as leader.

Mr Greiner acknowledged the deals and said his involvement in the selection of positions was ­"appropriate" and promised to visit all states to listen to views ­before holding a meeting of the new Liberal executive.


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, 2017

Female doctors asked about family plans during job interviews

This is an old chestnut.  Female doctors have a much shorter working life on average than male doctors do.  But training doctors is very costly.  So to get the most out of what is spent on medical education, it makes sense to train male doctors only.  But that has produced such a shriek of anger from feminists that all medical education is now open to women.

When considering applicants for advanced medical training, however, it makes sense for the sex of the applicant to be one factor in deciding on who gets the training.  And that appears to be current practice in Australia.  But that is DISCRIMINATION so must be forbidden

Female doctors are being asked about their plans to have children during job interviews at public hospitals, in a practice the Australian Medical Association says should have "stopped yesterday".

NSW president of the AMA Professor Brad Frankum has called for tougher penalties against hospitals and training institutions in order to wipe out the practice, after he received reports of it taking place during interviews and informal talks with candidates beforehand.

He said most of the reports related to positions at public hospitals and tended to come from candidates going for specialist or advanced trainee positions across most fields of medicine

"There need to be sanctions against hospitals that do the wrong thing. "If hospitals are allowing this to happen, then those hospitals should not be allowed to employ trainees until they sort it out," he said.

"This is not information an employer needs to be privy to ahead of employing someone and nor should they be seeking it on a formal or informal basis."


How Earth's growing tropical zone may lead to more droughts and hotter heatwaves on Australia's east coast

This is simply a grab at publicity.  The tropics are defined by the limits of the sun being overhead so the tropics cannot change. The underlying finding is that there is drying on both sides of the tropics. But drying is an effect of cooling.  Warming would produce MORE rain, not less.  So the phenomenon does not indicate global warming.  It in fact contradicts it

A leading academic [An adjunct profesor is "leading"?] says the Earth's growing tropical zone may lead to more droughts and hotter heatwaves in Australia.

CQ University's Adjunct Professor of Environmental Geography Steve Turton said temperatures could reach more than 40C in Sydney and Melbourne during heatwaves and last for two weeks, The Daily Telegraph reported.  

With the area between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn currently 'bulging' and heading poleward, Adjunct Prof Turton said this will have an impact on the nation.

The planet's waistline has been growing since 1979 and it is likely to continue thanks to human activity, Adjunct Prof wrote in a piece for The Conversation.

'If the current rate continues, by 2100 the edge of the new dry subtropical zone would extend from roughly Sydney to Perth,' he said.

'As these dry subtropical zones shift, droughts will worsen and overall less rain will fall in most warm temperate regions.'

Adjunct Prof Turton said the geographical location of Australia placed the nation at high risk of an expanded tropical zone. 

He added: 'Future climate change projections for Australia include increasing air and ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, more hot days (over 35C), declining rainfall in the southern continental areas, and more extreme fire weather events'.

Adjunct Prof Turton said biodiversity hotspots in Australia could also feel the effects of the tropical zone expansion as there were 'no suitable land areas (only oceans) for ecosystems and species to move into'.


Trotskyite entryist roiling Australia's Green party

It is common for members of political minorities to infiltrate larger parties to get their agenda on the map. Old Trot Rhiannon is an example of that.  But she is too hostile even for the Greens and they are trying to get rid of her.  She became a senator on the Green ticket, however, so ousting her is complicated.  And she is unlikely to compromise from her unwavering hate

Sarah Hanson-Young says she’s "sick" of internal divisions affecting her party but they are set to continue as Greens officials struggle to broker a peace deal after the federal party room voted to exclude Lee Rhiannon from key debates.

The Greens national council, the party’s executive body, met on Sunday and was expected to formalise its response to Senator Rhiannon’s suspension from key meetings and decisions until the NSW branch, of which she is a member, was reformed.

A Greens source said no decision had been made but there was agreement that members should stop making public comments as the civil war unfolded.

Bitter infighting erupted more than a week ago amid accusations Senator Rhiannon had undermined party processes — a claim she disputes — while the Greens negotiated with the government on the Gonski 2.0 package.

The battle turned into a broader tussle between those, such as leader Richard Di Natale, who want to prevent Greens NSW from binding its MPs to vote a particular way on policies, versus those who believe NSW members should maintain their input and influence.

Senator Hanson-Young, a South Australian Greens MP, said the party had to resolve that "internal structural issue" and denied Senator Rhiannon had been "bullied and harassed", as she has claimed.

The Greens NSW state delegates council will meet this weekend to nut out a formal position on the partyroom’s ban of their only federal senator.

"The public wants to know what we stand for and what we’re going to do and so much time in the last week-and-a-half has been spent … talking about the Greens and ourselves and I’m sick of it, I want to get on with the issues," Senator Hanson-Young told Sky News.

"What I’m hearing here in South Australia from my members is that they are frustrated that we can’t get on and do the things we told the electorate we were going to.

"I’m not going to continue to be drawn into an internal factional brawling that is happening within the NSW branch."

All federal Greens MPs except Senator Rhiannon have rallied behind Senator Di Natale in recent days after the NSW senator said she and others were "disappointed" with his leadership.

"There is no leadership issue in the party room. We all support Senator Di Natale as our leader, and if Senator Rhiannon has a problem with that, then she needs to make it very clear she is the odd person out in this regard," Tasmanian senator Peter Whish-Wilson told ABC radio. "I would ask Senator Rhiannon to negotiate internally — go through the processes that we hope this will go through with the national council and the membership."

Victorian Greens senator Janet Rice said it would be up to the party room to determine what "contentious" government legislation Senator Rhiannon should be prevented from debating, but doubted she would be excluded regularly. "I expect these occasions to be very rare indeed," she said. "If the NSW position is fixed, there is no point in Lee being part of these discussions because her position is unable to change, regardless of new information or offers being on the table."


We’re compensating bullies and it’s unfair to small business

Unfair dismissal laws are creating unfair outcomes for employers and employees who do the right thing.

Employers overwhelmingly want to do the right thing by their staff. They value their employees and want to create a working environment that helps them attract and retain good people. This includes establishing a culture of high performance and productivity, and ensuring all employees are treated fairly. But our laws are making this a real challenge for employers.

Under today’s unfair dismissal regime, employers are compensating and having to reinstate employees who have bullied or harassed and even assaulted their colleagues. This puts the safety of others in the workplace at serious risk and sends a terrible message to the victims of this behaviour.

Our laws need to strike a better balance between an employer’s ability to manage in the best interests of all the people in the workplace and the individual rights of an employee. We need the focus to go back on to fairness and away from process.

When the Productivity Commission reviewed our workplace relations framework in 2015 it found "the most problematic aspect of the current legislation is that an employee who has clearly breached the normal expectations of appropriate work behaviour may nevertheless be deemed to have been unfairly dismissed because of procedural lapses by the employer".

The Productivity Commission cited an example where an employer dismissed two employees after they assaulted their supervisor. The commission concluded that the physical assault was a valid reason for dismissal, but that the employer’s failure to follow certain administrative procedures meant that the dismissals were therefore unfair.

Unfair to whom? To the person who was assaulted? To the employer who is expected to maintain and enforce acceptable standards of conduct? To the rest of the workforce who do the right thing and expect their colleagues to treat them with respect?

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated example. This situation should not be allowed to stand. The law needs to change. The Productivity Commission was right to find that the Fair Work Act should be amended so that "procedural errors alone are not sufficient to award compensation or restore employment in what would otherwise be regarded as a valid ­dismissal".

There is evidence that the cost to a small business of defending a claim can reach as high as $20,000. It is no surprise, then, that "go away money" is a persistent feature of our workplace relations system. Employers are deciding it is cheaper to pay the employee who has done the wrong thing than to incur the cost, time, inconvenience and stress of legal proceedings.

For everyone else in the workplace, this sends the wrong message that justice does not prevail and that there will be no serious consequences for misconduct.

As it stands the system does not tell employers how they should deal with these issues without risking a costly claim. It does not make it clear how they should grapple with their duties under work health and safety laws, anti-discrimination laws and anti-bullying laws.

The Productivity Commission has found that unfair dismissal laws, if tipped too far in favour of protecting an individual employee, "can lead to underperformance and reduced produc­tivity". This impacts the people in the workplace who carry the burden of team members who have let them down.

For a small business, the risk and cost of defending a claim is simply too great, and so too is the cost of a poor-performing employee. It is also unfair on their colleagues, where a small team carries the work of the person who is not performing. This has been recognised in other countries, including Germany, where small businesses are exempt from unfair dismissal laws. There is a strong case for an exemption for Australian businesses with fewer than 20 employees.

Unfair dismissal laws have a negative impact on employment decisions. Employers weigh the potential cost of a claim when making hiring decisions. They become more cautious about who they hire. Unfortunately that means people out of the labour market are less likely to get a look in. The system is failing 729,000 Australians looking for a job.

We need to rebalance our unfair dismissal laws so that employers who act fairly and in the interests of their entire workforce are not penalised. We need to remove rules that focus on the fairness of process rather than the fairness of the outcomes. We need to reset the system so that it encourages employers to hire more people. That would be fair.


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, 2017

Richer people have brighter kids who behave better -- so schools where they go are more desirable -- and Leftist Canutes hate that

There is no dispute that unruly students produce undesirable schools. But the deliberate destruction of discipline in schools has made the quality of student behavior very poor in the typical  State school today. Enforcing behavior standards has become largely impossible for State schools. 

So the quality of the behaviour in a school now depends mainly on the homes where the students come from. The children of richer families tend to be brighter and better behaved.  So the best schools are now mostly in affluent suburbs. 

And the Left want to destroy that.  They have destroyed the discipline that once made all schools pretty equal so now they want to destroy the main remaining influence that creates good schools

The most sought-after public high schools and their strict catchments are creating a worsening cycle of segregation, effectively locking out poor students and giving wealthy families almost exclusive access to their "better" local schools, research reveals.

Limiting school places means children from higher socio-economic families go to popular high schools, which are in catchment areas with higher levels of income, higher proportions of Australian-born residents and higher proportions of those who identify with "no religion" on the census.

"One of the greatest challenges this country faces is the lack of equity between higher socio-economic families and lower," said Chris Presland, the president of the NSW Secondary Principals' Council. "And this [research] shows that issue transcends public and private schools but is within public schools too."

Emma Rowe, lecturer in education at Deakin University and Christopher Lubienski from the University of Illinois, published the new research in a paper titled Shopping for schools or shopping for peers: public schools and catchment area segregation in the Journal of Education Policy.

The academics examined levels of segregation in the catchments of public high schools, which they categorised as "popular" (full with waiting lists), "balanced" or "rejected" (where places are available), and looked at whether school policies contribute to segregation.

The paper found there was a "rather straightforward link between the affluence of a community and the desirability of a community's school".

"It is generally accepted that most private schools are segregated across the lines of race and income but our study showed that public high schools are also highly segregated," Dr Rowe said.

"Particular parts of the population can't access certain public high schools. The gap between the well-resourced schools and the less-resourced schools is growing, which is problematic for educational equity and access."

David Hope, the president of the Northern Sydney council of P&C associations, said: "In recent times the department have enforced boundaries much more strictly. It's better for kids to be in environments where there's a mixture of backgrounds and abilities and it's better for [cohesion]."

Dr Rowe said if a parent wanted their child to attend a popular school, they would plan for it for many years and were often prepared to move neighbourhoods for a school.

"In other countries, there is minimal difference between schools so parents send children to the nearest school. In Australia, parents perceive schools to be so different to each other that they will sell their house and relocate for what they perceive to be a better school. This behaviour is quite normalised," Dr Rowe said.

The paper suggests that schools should make at least 10 per cent of places available to students from outside the schools' immediate catchment areas.

Dr Rowe said: "As part of this, we need to implement blind selection processes for a proportion of places available in a school, rather than competitive access based on testing, academic or sporting merit".

But NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes said that children had a right to places at their local schools and that new school funding arrangements were accounting for inequality divides.

"Public school enrolments tend to reflect the socio-economic status of their local community," he said. "The move to more needs-based funding includes an equity loading for socio-economic background."

Mr Presland said Australian catchment "shopping" was driven partly by parents with "scant information" exaggerating perceived differences between schools but also Australia's school funding policy: "An unofficial motto in Finland is the best school is the closest school. In Finland they don't have private schools. No other country in the world does what we do in terms of funding private schools to the extent that we do".

The paper says Australian education policy agenda "pushes and promotes parents to avoid low-performing schools, and be active and engaged in choosing the 'best' school,"

"For these reasons, the My School website was introduced in 2010, to enable parents to make more informed, calculated and rational choices, using the best available data."

Dr Rowe said education funding policies, rather than parents' choices, were responsible for the problem.

"Government policy around schooling has positioned parents within a competitive environment, where things like the My School website actively encourage parents to compare schools and make a choice," she said.

"These policies actively encourage parents to choose the 'best' school and look for any kind of competitive advantage they can acquire for their children."


Global cooling!

"Coldest for 110 years".  Warmists regularely seize on hot summer days as proving global warming so cold winter days surely prove global cooling

After some bitterly cold days, Sydney is set for sunnier mornings - but Victoria is facing snowfall across the state.

The temperature in Deniliquin, NSW, plummeted to -5.6C on Sunday - the coldest it has been for 110 years, according to

And although there is a chance of light rain on Monday, better weather is on the way.

Tuesday will be one of the warmest days of the week in Sydney, with a high of 20C expected, and Wednesday is forecast to be mostly sunny with a max temperature of 18C.

While NSW if facing slightly warmer winter days, the alpine regions of Victoria could see up to 30cm of snow over the coming week.

'We have several cold fronts moving over the state this week and each cold front will bring with it a little bit of snow,' Ms Westcott added.

'The air is cold enough that we could see snow and the best chance of that would be on Tuesday and Wednesday, although there could be some over the weekend too.'


The Left is renewing its hate of the Jews

Leftists hate success in others and Jews tend to be successful in all sorts of ways.  Even Karl Marx hated Jews, despite being one himself.  Read his "Zur Judenfrage" if you doubt it

Labor will formally abandon ­almost 40 years of explicit ideological support for Israel with a resolution expected to be passed at this month’s NSW state conference, a move that would ultim­ately bind Bill Shorten to an unconditional recognition of a Palestinian state should he ­become prime minister.

A dramatic shift in language from the NSW branch is set to force the ALP national conference to adopt the same position next year, effectively ensuring federal Labor goes to the next election with a foreign policy position of unqualified recognition for a state of Palestine.

A significant hardening in the position contained in a motion endorsed by the NSW conference foreign affairs committee, obtaine­d by The Australian, has elevated what was previously conditional support for a Palestinian state based on a negotiated peace settlement and consult­ation with other countries, to a policy of categorical and immed­iate recognition of statehood.

A senior source close to the drafting of the motion claimed it was a "historic" move by Labor to effectively drop decades of ­"instinctive" support for Israel, which was cemented in 1977 with the creation of the Labor Friends of Israel.

"It is inevitable that the same motion will go before the national conference next year and, with the numbers as they are, it would be adopted," the source said.

But the move risks a bitter split within Labor ranks, with pro-­Israeli Labor MPs meeting last night to resolve to oppose it. The Labor Israel Action Committee said that motions came from individual local branches and did not represent the final NSW conference position, ­despite the foreign affairs committee recommending that it be supported.

NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel deputy chairman and Labor Israel Action Committee patron Walt Secord said LIAC opposed the motions. "We see them as one-sided and do not promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict resulting in a two-state solution," he told The Australian.

"We support a two-state solution with a Palestinian state, but the proposed motions need to be amended to include a recognition of Israel. I stressed the proposed motion in the official conference book is not final."

While not regarded as a leadership issue for Mr Shorten — who faced pressure from Labor elders in February for a policy shift ahead of a meeting with ­Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — the move will cause friction with the Jewish lobby, which he has traditionally been close to.

NSW Jewish Board of Deput­ies chief executive Vic Alhadeff said: "Refusing to expressly recog­nise Israel’s right to exist, and ignori­ng the position of two states for two peoples, is a disturbing and backward step which will do absolutely nothing to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

"NSW Labor has long supported a two-state solution and it would be unfortunate in the extreme­ if a fair and constructive resolution is not reached."

Despite Mr Shorten’s own Victorian faction, Centre Unity, now being the only significant pro-Israel­i bloc left in the ALP, the Labor leader — who in February faced calls by Kevin Rudd and Bob Hawke for Palestinian recognition — is believed not to have lobbied against the NSW motion, recognising that with the numbers backing it within the party membership­ and the caucus, a policy shift at the national level was unavoidable.

The NSW motion, obtained by The Australian, marks a fundamental shift in language from the national platform and the previous NSW position, which called for a Labor government to consult first with other countries on recognition if no progress had been made toward­s a peace settlement.

The motion states conference "notes previous resolutions on Israel­/Palestine carried at the 2015 ALP national conference and the 2016 NSW Labor annual conference and urges the next Labor government to recognise Palestine".

In 2014, following a motion sponsored by then Labor foreign minister Bob Carr, NSW Labor adopted a position that if there was no progress to "a two-state solution, and Israel continues to build and expand settlements, a future Labor government will consult like­minded nations towards ­recognition of the Palestinian state". The Tasmanian ALP state conference passed a similar but more strident resolution at the weekend, affirming that the next federal Labor government would ­"immediately recognise the state of Palestine".

The same words are expected to be adopted by the Queensland state conference, which will be held on the same weekend as the NSW conference, July 29 and 30.

The South Australian Labor government used its majority to pass a motion last week that also recognised a state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel, marking the first formal recognition by a parliament in Australia.

A senior Labor source said it was now impossible for next year’s national conference to not adopt the same policy, with the numbers on the floor of the national­ conference dominated by the left, which on this issue would now be supported by the NSW right.

A source close to Mr Shorten said that the Labor leader, who has been a staunch defender of Israel, now believed Labor’s unequivocal support for Israel could not be maintained, with the issue of settlements­ still unresolved.

"He did not lobby against it," the source said. "He is smart enough to know it is happening and is allowing it to happen."

The biggest push has come from within the NSW right, includi­ng some of Mr Shorten’s most committed supporters, who are also facing pressure within their own branches to support a stronger resolution. Mr Shorten expressed Labor’s support for Israe­l at the time of his meeting with Mr Netanyahu but had also raised the contentious issue of settlem­ents in a meeting with the Israeli leader.

"We want to see Israel safe and secure of its borders; we support the rights of the Palestinians people­ to have their own state," Mr Shorten said at the time.

The outgoing vice-president of the Queensland ALP, Wendy Turner, welcomed the move by NSW and said that momentum was now there for the national conference to adopt the policy. "This issue has really awakened the rank and file," she said. "Just as we recognised ­Israel’s right to exist, we need to recognise a Palestinian state."

She confirmed that the Queensland conference would seek to re-affirm its resolution passed last year for a federal Labor government to unconditionally recognise a state of Palestine.


"Clean-coal" cheaper option than renewables

It's a reasonable point that burning the coal more efficiently will reduce emissions of all sorts but that small gain in efficiency comes at a considerable cost

The construction of a new high-efficiency, low emissions (HELE) coal-fired power station, being considered by the Turnbull government, would cost $2.2 billion — considerably less than the $3bn of subsidies handed out to renewable projects each year, a new technical study shows.

With Australians facing further hikes in their electricity and gas bills following moves by ­energy companies over the weekend to increase bills by up to 20 per cent, Malcolm Turnbull is under pressure to deliver relief for households, small businesses and manufacturers.

New analysis, compiled by power and energy sector specialists GHD and Solstice Development Services, reveals it would cost $2.2bn to build a 1000MW ultra-supercritical (USC) coal-power plant and that it would ­deliver the cheapest electricity on the market.

The HELE coal plant, which the Turnbull government has not ruled out funding, would produce electricity at $40-$78 per megawatt hour, compared with gas at $69-$115/MWh and solar at $90-$171.

The 550-page technical study, commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia and the COAL21 Fund, reveals that clean-coal plants would drive down energy­ prices, and offers the Prime Minister an economic blueprint on the viability of new coal-fired ­stations.

It comes just four months after it was revealed taxpayer subsidies to meet state and federal renewable energy ­targets reached $3bn in the 2015-16 financial year, with about 75 per cent of the cost being collected from consumers paying extra in their electricity bills.

The overall cost of subsidising ­renewable energy generation has nearly doubled since 2011, and the RET continues to be a political headache for the Turnbull government.

It is sticking to the 23.5 per cent target by 2020, despite calls by former prime minister Tony Abbott­, who was ­involved in ­establishing the RET, to freeze it at the current rate of 15 per cent — a move he says would dramatically lower power bills.

COAL21 chief executive Greg Evans, who is also an executive ­director of the Minerals Council, said the report showed that HELE coal plants, which would have "operating lives of several decades­", were viable and affordable options to replace the ­nation’s ageing coal-fired power stations. "The report confirms that USC coal generation can deliver­ on the priorities of affordability, reliability and low emissions," he said, adding that coal-fired generation remained the "cheapest and most reliable energy­ source in Australia, available 24 hours a day, every day".

Mr Evans, whose COAL21 Fund has invested $300 million in low-emission coal technologies since 2006, said the report estim­ated the current construction cost of a modern HELE plant, or USC black-coal station, at $2.2m/MW, or $2.2bn for 1000MW capacity. "It (the report) notes electricity prices paid by manufacturers have doubled in the past decade and that USC coal is able to lower the cost of generation across the Nationa­l Electricity Market, given current wholesale electricity ­prices."

The report stipulates that cost comparisons assume that the power plant’s revenue be "underwritten" in the form of a long-term government agreement covering the purchase of the output or ­capacity of the plant.

Industry chiefs and Coalition MPs concerned about the retirement of coal plants in NSW and Victoria have identified opportunities for new investment in coal plants, using low-emissions technology including viable carbon capture and storage options.

With up to 1200 HELE plants being planned or built in Asia, and similar technology anchoring electricity production in Japan and Germany, senior government MPs, including Mr Abbott, have backed investment in coal-fired energy. Mr Turnbull said last month his government remained open to using cleaner-coal technol­ogy to replace existing generators, in what he said would be a "long-term commitment".

The Turnbull government has asked the Australian Energy Market Operator for advice on how to best ensure "new continuous dispatchable power is provided".

Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan has said cleaner coal-fired power station­s could potentially save up to 30 per cent in carbon emissions, as well as additional savings on ­operational costs. He has predicted the construction of a new coal-fired power plant would take "about three years".

"They do cost a little bit more to build, but overall they come out at the same cost or cheaper than the older coal-fired power stations that we have right now," he said.

He said investors in Asia and Australia were interested in selling cleaner-coal technology and some were open to the idea of "owning a station here".

The government has adopted 49 of the 50 recommendations made in a review led by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, aimed at deliveri­ng a blueprint for the future­ of the electricity market.

The Finkel report, which did not rule out new coal-fired power plants as being part of the nation’s energy mix, analysed how the government could work to secure energy supply, drive down prices and cut emissions. Dr Finkel’s final recommendation for a Clean Energy Target is expected to return to cabinet over the winter break, and to the partyroom, where conservative MPs have argued­ against new emissions regimes­.

In its analysis, GHD and Solstice Development Services provides details of how construction costs for a new HELE plant could be driven down by building it at "an existing power plant location".

Mr Evans said the report showed such coal plants should "figure prominently in our electricity system, complementing and supporting other technol­ogies including renewables".

"The report authors reviewed and costed different technology options that are capable of replacing retiring capacity. These were considered on their merit using a range of sources cross checked against published studies and their respective assumptions."

The Minerals Council of Australia says the nation faces an energ­y shortfall, with 8GW of coal plants to retire by 2030, and a total of 25GW by 2040, and that if all existing plants in Australia were upgraded to modern HELE technology, it would reduce emissions by 45 million tonnes a year.

"It (the report) concludes that the imminent retirement of coal plants in NSW and Victoria provides opportunities for constructing and replacing them with USC plants by the early 2020s. Addit­ional capacity may also be required in Queensland," he said.


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

3 July, 2017

'They're giving the wrong sentences': Chief prosecutor slams judges for giving criminals 'a slap on the wrist'

A chief prosecutor has hit out at courts for imposing 'manifestly inadequate' jail sentences. Victoria's Chief Crown Prosecutor Gavin Silbert, QC, made the comments last month in a case before the High Court.

Mr Silbert appeared in the court after an appeal over a man's five-and-a-half year jail sentence for offending against two girls, one just 13, was dismissed by Victoria's Court of Appeal, The Herald Sun reported.

In a transcript of proceedings, Mr Silbert told the court the case was a perfect example of system-wide problems in Victoria and 'raises for consideration the misapplication of current sentencing practice'.

The High Court heard the man had pleaded guilty to charges of incest and indecent assault against one of his daughters, which were committed while he was on parole for previous incest offences against all three of his daughters.

'As a result of the later offending, the daughter fell pregnant. She gave birth to a severely disabled daughter who, 20 years later, became the offender's victim,' Mr Silbert told the court.  

'The circumstances of the two offences are quite remarkable, both cases, in my opinion, falling into the worst category of such offences, and thoroughly justifying intervention by this Court so as to increase the sentences that were imposed.'

Mr Silbert also noted in his comments to the High Court 'there appears to be an ongoing tension between the legislature and the courts'.

He also said during the hearing that 'what the Court of Appeal has done and does is indulges in a form of algorithmic sentencing to the extent that it commences with other cases and we submit that that is the wrong place to commence the sentencing process'.


Nasty old Trot calls to ditch ‘insulting’ Lord’s Prayer

In typical Trot style she is full of hate for the society in which she lives. A favorite verb of Trots is "smash".  They want to smash the entire political order

EMBATTLED Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon has revealed she will fight to stop the federal parliament from opening every day with the prayer.

Her push to ditch the 114-year-old tradition comes after the census showed nearly a third of Australians identify with no religion.

Rhiannon, who raised the issue in the NSW parliament in 2003, instead wants a moment’s silence for MPs to reflect on their responsibilities, and will pursue the change when parliament resumes from the winter break.

"It is actually insulting the way parliament is opened," she told ABC Insiders on Sunday. "Considering there’s many people who aren’t religious, there’s many people of different faiths, it is time we started having an institution that is relevant to the 21st century."

Her remarks follow a decision by the party room to exclude her from discussion on contentious legislation after a rift emerged over her campaigning on schools funding.

Rhiannon said she was disappointed in Greens leader Richard Di Natale and the decision to lock her out of the party room. "You need to lead for everybody and it is not just me locked out of the party room, the Greens New South Wales members no longer have a voice in the party room," she said. "Isn’t it time to make the party more democratic for members so they can have a vote for the leader?"

Senator Rhiannon, who was accused of undermining a potential deal with the government on the so-called Gonski 2.0 policy, continues to insist she did nothing wrong.

She says it was understandable members wanted to prosecute the case for the original Gonski package and it was a "bread and butter" issue she supported. The NSW Greens are being asked to work with the national council on how to stop its MPs being bound to vote against a decision of the federal parliamentary party room.

But Senator Rhiannon says the party needs to be more member driven and focus on global issues, such as inequality and homelessness.

"I don’t think there is anything wrong with young members who join the party who want to talk about socialism," she said.

Her colleague Nick McKim is confident that with good will the party can work through the structural issues it faces with the NSW Greens and there won’t be a split. "Ultimately there is far, far more that unites us in the Greens than divides us," he told Sky News.

Senator McKim said there was no time frame on changes, but he would like to see the issues addressed as soon as possible.


Greenies cannibalizing one-another

South Australian plastics recycling business closes due to $100k hike in power bills

South Australia's sky-high electricity prices have forced an Adelaide plastics recycling business to shut its doors, costing 35 workers their jobs, its managing director says.

Plastics Granulating Services (PGS), based in Kilburn in Adelaide's inner-north, said it had seen its monthly power bills increase from $80,000 to $180,000 over the past 18 months.

Managing director Stephen Scherer said the high cost of power had crippled his business of 38 years and plans for expansion, and had led to his company being placed in liquidation.

"It's where the cash went out of the business, and without the cash, we couldn't service what we needed to service," he said.

"We were basically marking time, draining ourselves of cash.

"I hate to think of how many hours I've wasted on the AEMO website with tools to monitor spot pricing, to assess the implications of power, the trends of power and the future costs of power.

PGS processed domestic, low-grade waste and turned it into plastic granules, to be converted back into other industrial products like irrigation piping and flower pots.

Mr Scherer said his facility was the only recycling service of its kind left in South Australia.

"We process about 10,000 tonnes of plastic waste [and] that's now currently turned off, so South Australia won't be recycling 10,000 tonnes [of plastic]," he said.

"To scope 10,000 tonnes for you, 10,000 tonnes is 15 per cent of the Australian market [of low-grade recycled plastic] ... so Australia has lost 15 per cent of its supply.

"I assume that opens up a whole lot of opportunities for our neighbours in Asia."

Den Tucker is the managing director of DM Plastics and Steel, which had been using Mr Scherer's plastics recycling services.

Mr Tucker said he had also been trying to cope with the pressure of soaring power bills.

"The price of our power has gone through similar numbers and we employ 45 people," he said. "There is no solution being put forward at the present time. "Our government is asleep at the wheel."

Government energy efficiency programs available: Minister
SA Environment Minister Ian Hunter said it was disappointing the facility was shutting down, but he said the pain of high electricity prices was being felt across the country.

Mr Hunter said help was available through the State Government's energy efficiency programs.

"Green Industries and Zero Waste have quite a bit of expertise in this area [and] they've worked with other companies and other industry sectors," he said.

"If that help is not required then that's up to him, but that's the offer I can make."

Mr Hunter said any recycled plastic due to be sent to the facility would be sent elsewhere, most likely to interstate processing plants.

"Having high power prices ... is a reality," he said.

"That's why the Government has introduced its state plan for energy in South Australia.

"But this is a company that employs South Australians, and it's incredibly disappointing that it's going through this problem."


Good news for bulk billing patients

PATIENTS can expect more bulk billing from Saturday as the freeze on Medicare rebates paid to doctors is partially unfrozen.

The changes, announced in last month’s Federal Budget, will give bulk billing doctors a slight payrise as the rebate is once more indexed to inflation. The rebate for standard doctor visits won’t be unfrozen until next July, however, and specialists will have to wait until 2019.

Lifting the Medicare rebate freeze, which was introduced by the former Labor government and continued under the Coalition, will cost the government $1 billion over three years.

"(Health) Minister (Greg) Hunt said from day one in the job that he would listen and learn from the people who work in the health system every day about what is best for patients, and he has delivered tonight," Australian Medical Association president Dr Michael Gannon said last month.

"The AMA would have preferred to see the Medicare freeze lifted across the board from 1 July 2017, but we acknowledge that the three-stage process will provide GPs and other specialists with certainty and security about their practices, and will help address rising out-of-pocket costs for patients. Lifting the Medicare rebate freeze is overdue, but we welcome it."

The government also decided to reverse proposed cuts to bulk billing incentives for diagnostic imaging and pathology services.

Writing in The Conversation, Stephen Duckett, health program director at progressive Grattan Institute think tank, said regardless of the reaction from the medical lobby, it was "too early to tell" whether the "glacially slow" reintroduction of indexation would be enough to keep bulk-billing rates at their current levels.

"Practice costs and income expectations of staff have not increased dramatically over the freeze period as the Consumer Price Index has been moving slowly," he wrote. "But each additional day of a freeze means costs and revenues fall further out of alignment.

"The jury will be out for a while on whether reintroduction of indexation is enough to restore the Coalition’s tarnished Medicare credentials with voters. Certainly, the slow phase-in may attract cynicism, with a legitimate perception the government is doing the minimum necessary and at the slowest pace to ensure the issue is off the agenda before a 2019 election."


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

2 July 2017

Real estate lessons from Tokyo?

Are those clever Japs beating us in LOWERED real estate costs too

There is a well informed twitter conversation below that seems to have no formally published equivalent as yet.  But it has the basic graphs you need so this might be the first formal treatement of it.  You read it here first!

In Australia's capital cities and in London, Beijing and elsewhere, real estate prices have been furiously bidden up recently.  Young people have been largely priced out of buying their own homes

But the opposite is happening in Tokyo. Prices are dropping, apartment sizes are getting larger and more people are buying their own homes.  And it is capitalism at work.  Welfare housing has shrunk.  And all that is despite an expanding population in Tokyo.

So how come?  Tokyo is reaching for the sky.  Apartment buildings are getting taller and taller.  That scarcely seems wise in an earthquake-prone island but I suppose "You pays your money and you takes your choice" (as the fairground barker said).

And there is something very encouraging for Australia in that.  The same thing is happening in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.   Apartment buildings there were for many years mostly two-story affairs, sometimes 4. Now a whole host of big 8 and 10 story buildings are springing up.  And Australia is geologically stable so that is no problem.


Pre-school.  A CLOSE look at the statistics is instructive

Australian preschools might have seen a rush of enrolments this week after media covered an OECD report claiming children who attend preschool for two years prior to starting school have significantly higher academic achievement at 15.

But perhaps they should have looked more closely at the OECD results. Dig deeper, and you find that in around half the countries reported, the relationship is no longer significant when socioeconomic status is taken into account. Australia is one of those countries.

And the data on which this report bases its claims are retrospective self-report data from 15-year olds-themselves about whether they went to preschool or child care, and for how long — far from rigorous research.

International report cards like this one are all too often based on spurious statistics: a report published by UNICEF last week purported to find that the quality of Mexico’s education system is in the top three in the world, despite its low performance in international assessments. These sorts of reports are given a high profile by major media outlets, and credible organisations issue media statements in support of the findings. Yet they often just muddy the policy waters.

Parents who have had the fortune to find a great preschool or child care centre will attest to the benefits of some sort of early childhood education. Schools in disadvantaged areas, in particular, know that children who have been to preschool or had good part-time child care are generally better prepared for school.

This makes sense and proper empirical research supports it — all children benefit to some extent from a good pre-school education, but the greatest benefits are to children whose home environments are not conducive to strong language and social-emotional development.

However, it does not mean a parent panic of packing three-year-olds off to preschool for fear of ruining their little lives.


Not losing our religion

Findings from the 2016 Census that 30 per cent of Australians report having no religious affiliation have led to renewed calls for an end to state funding for all faith-based organisations.

Rationalists, humanists, and atheists were quickly out of the starting blocks calling for widespread acknowledgement that Australians were, at last, sloughing off the dead skin of religious belief.

‘Hard’ secularists, who dismiss all religion as meaningless and imagine we live in a theocracy, see the Census returns as the green light to finish off the place of religion in Australia once and for all.

One way they want to do this is to force all religious organisations who receive government funding to foreswear the tenets of belief and commit themselves to an entirely secular manifesto.

In other words, Catholic schools can’t be Catholic if they get the government’s dollar; and Christian hospitals need to forget about Jesus if they still want to get funding from the state. God must go.

But this is premature. Remember that 60% — nearly two thirds — of Australians still say they have some religious affiliation. Christianity may be declining, but Hinduism and Islam are not.

Since the last census in 2011, there has been almost a 60% increase in Hinduism; and Islam has seen a 27% increase. Christianity, by contrast, has declined by just over 7%.

But whereas fewer people may go to church on Sunday, religious organisations are still heavily involved in our society. Of the 25 largest Australian charities, 23 are faith-based.

Many schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and welfare agencies, supplying essential services to all Australians, are religious — specifically Christian. And what drives them is religious conviction.

Force them to divorce from their Christian purpose, and those faith-based organisations would quickly fade away and our national life would be the poorer for that.

"Non-belief is the new normal," said Hugh Harris of the Rationalist Society of Australia. Harris hopes to wave an overdue farewell to what he calls "Christian hegemony" — whatever that is.

Not so fast, Hugh. Despite the protests of the ‘hard’ secularists, religion is not about to disappear from Australia’s liberal, secular society.

Multiculturalism, and our intake of new migrants, means religious faith will still be with us. And people who believe in God will continue to find themselves in the majority for some years to come.


Major Bank Levy a trickery lesson

There have been plenty of attempts to confuse the public over who pays the Major Bank Levy. While it is supposedly a tax on the five major banks of about $1.6 billion per year, it will actually end up being a tax on mortgages, as argued by Australian experts and the international evidence.

This extra tax on households occurs when personal taxes are increasing — including through bracket creep — and wages are flatlining. Businesses interest rates are also likely to rise, which will result in reduced investment; which is already perilously low. And the harmful effect of the levy on GDP could be almost double the harm caused by a personal tax increase of the same size.

But don’t believe the illusion that the levy’s impact is ‘small’. Government should never allow a bad policy to slip through just because it is small, otherwise we would see millions of small but bad decisions implemented — creating an enormous problem.

In addition, the government has rightly condemned a proposed increase in the top personal tax rate to 49%, which raises similar revenue to the bank levy. If this arguably small, but bad, decision can be criticised, so can the bank levy.

And there is another implicit trick in this argument: it assumes the levy will always be ‘small’ in size. However, the levy could easily be increased to more harmful levels — the UK’s equivalent levy was reportedly increased nine times.

Other trickery includes incorrect assertions the levy will: improve bank resilience, help maintain Australia’s credit rating, align Australia with other developed countries, and offset supposedly ‘unfair’ big bank advantages. All these arguments are dissembling.

We don’t need these ongoing lessons in obfuscation. A poor policy such as the bank levy should be seen as such and not be hidden by all these illusionist’s tricks.


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

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Most academics are lockstep Leftists so readers do sometimes doubt that I have the qualifications mentioned above. Photocopies of my academic and military certificates are however all viewable here

For overseas readers: The "ALP" is the Australian Labor Party -- Australia's major Leftist party. The "Liberal" party is Australia's major conservative political party.

In most Australian States there are two conservative political parties, the city-based Liberal party and the rural-based National party. But in Queensland those two parties are amalgamated as the LNP.

Again for overseas readers: Like the USA, Germany and India, Australia has State governments as well as the Federal government. So it may be useful to know the usual abbreviations for the Australian States: QLD (Queensland), NSW (New South Wales), WA (Western Australia), VIC (Victoria), TAS (Tasmania), SA (South Australia).

For American readers: A "pensioner" is a retired person living on Social Security

"Digger" is an honorific term for an Australian soldier

Another lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Another bit of Australian: Any bad writing or messy anything was once often described as being "like a pakapoo ticket". In origin this phrase refers to a ticket written with Chinese characters - and thus inscrutably confusing to Western eyes. These tickets were part of a Chinese gambling game called "pakapoo".

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

My son Joe

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

I am an army man. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies or mining companies

Although I have been an atheist for all my adult life, I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak.

The Rt. Rev. Phil Case (Moderator of the Presbyterian church in Queensland) is a Pharisee, a hypocrite, an abomination and a "whited sepulchre".

English-born Australian novellist, Patrick White was a great favourite in literary circles. He even won a Nobel prize. But I and many others I have spoken to find his novels very turgid and boring. Despite my interest in history, I could only get through about a third of his historical novel Voss before I gave up. So why has he been so popular in literary circles? Easy. He was a miserable old Leftist coot, and, incidentally, a homosexual. And literary people are mostly Leftists with similar levels of anger and alienation from mainstream society. They enjoy his jaundiced outlook, his dissatisfaction, rage and anger.

A delightful story about a great Australian conservative

Would you believe that there once was a politician whose nickname was "Honest"?

"Honest" Frank Nicklin M.M. was a war hero, a banana farmer and later the conservative Premier of my home State of Queensland in the '60s. He was even popular with the bureaucracy and gave the State a remarkably tranquil 10 years during his time in office. Sad that there are so few like him.

A great Australian wit exemplified

An Australian Mona Lisa (Nikki Gogan)

Bureaucracy: "One of the constant laments of doctors and nurses working with NSW Health is the incredible and increasing bureaucracy," she said. "It is completely obstructive to providing a service."

Revered Labour Party leader Gough Whitlam was a very erudite man so he cannot have been unaware of the similarities of his famous phrase “the Party, the platform, the people” with an earlier slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer". It's basically the same slogan in reverse order.

Australia's original inhabitants were a race of pygmies, some of whom survived into modern times in the mountainous regions of the Atherton tableland in far North Queensland. See also here. Below is a picture of one of them taken in 2007, when she was 105 years old and 3'7" tall

Julia Gillard, a failed feminist flop. She was given the job of Prime Minister of Australia but her feminist preaching was so unpopular that she was booted out of the job by her own Leftist party. Her signature "achievements" were the carbon tax and the mining tax, both of which were repealed by the next government.

The "White Australia Policy: "The Immigration Restriction Act was not about white supremacy, racism, or the belief that whites were higher up the evolutionary tree than the coloured races. Rather, it was designed to STOP the racist exploitation of non-whites (all of whom would have been illiterate peasants practicing religions and cultures anathema to progressive democracy) being conscripted into a life of semi-slavery in a coolie-worked plantation economy for the benefit of the absolute monarchs, hereditary aristocracy and the super-wealthy companies and share-holders of the northern hemisphere.

A great little kid

In November 2007, a four-year-old boy was found playing in a croc-infested Territory creek after sneaking off pig hunting alone with four dogs and a puppy. The toddler was found five-and-a-half hours after he set off from his parents' house playing in a creek with the puppy. Amazingly, Daniel Woditj also swam two creeks known to be inhabited by crocs during his adventurous romp. Mr Knight said that after walking for several kilometres, Daniel came to a creek and swam across it. Four of his dogs "bailed up" at the creek but the youngster continued on undaunted with his puppy to a second creek. Mr Knight said Daniel swam the second croc-infested creek and walked on for several more kilometres. "Captain is a hard bushman and Daniel is following in his footsteps. They breed them tough out bush."

A great Australian: His eminence George Pell. Pictured in devout company before his elevation to Rome


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To be continued ....
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"Immigration Watch International".
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Obama Watch
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Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
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