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, 2018

Teenagers enjoying girls' night party claim notorious Apex-linked gang 'Menace to Society' gatecrashed their apartment on night 19-year-old girl was stabbed to death

A group of girls enjoying an all-night birthday party have claimed members of the Apex-linked 'Menace to Society' gang gatecrashed their party on the morning their 19-year-old friend was stabbed to death.

Police have been told by party-goers at the event that they recognised the intruders as members of the notorious gang, reports The Herald Sun.

Kenyan-born Laa Chol was killed on July 21 at 5am when a group of young African-Australians crashed the party, held in a rented apartment in Melbourne's EQ Tower.

The witnesses claim that Ms Chol was trying to get the intruders to leave when she was stabbed. Two boys have been charged over Ms Chol's death.

A  17-year-old boy was arrested on Monday and charged with her murder. He is being held in custody while police prepare evidence including CCTV footage and witness accounts.

A 16-year-old was arrested on Wednesday as an accessory and has been charged with assault.

The Menace to Society gang has become notorious in Melbourne's west after run-ins with police.

The Ecoville Community Park centre in Tarneit was found trashed in January this year and some of the walls tagged with MTS initials.

In December last year, a Werribee Airbnb property rented by four girls was gaetcrashed and trashed by the gang. 

The Ecoville Community Park centre in Tarneit was found trashed in January this year

Ms Chol was partying at a $125-a-night apartment on the 56th floor of a block with a group of young African-Australians in their late teens and early 20s.

A second group crashed the party and a fight broke out, leading to Miss Chol's stabbing around 5am.

A police spokesman said detectives 'do not believe the second group was invited by either the person who booked the apartment, or the deceased.'

About 12 people are assisting police with their inquiries.

It comes after the Homes Affairs Minister released a statement calling for a crackdown on Sudanese gangs in the wake of the death. 'This is a tragic and needless loss of a young life,' he said.

'There is a major law and order problem in Victoria and more people are going to be hurt until the rule of law is enforced by the Victorian Government.

Mr Dutton accused Victorian Premier Dan Andrews of failing to acknowledge the issue of Sudanese gangs. 'He is out of touch and more people will get hurt or worse until the problem is fixed,' he said.


Security guard left with bloodied face as 16th birthday party in suburban house is 'invaded by African gang'

A security guard was left with a bloodied face after she was violently attacked when a boy's 16th birthday party was gatecrashed.

The event was being held at a home in Edwardes Street, Reservoir, in Melbourne's north, on Saturday night when a group of uninvited youths stormed a back fence.

The gatecrashers were of African appearance, according to witnesses who spoke to the Herald Sun.

'We saw people going in, they started hitting people,' partygoer Salz said.

'They were all guys, there was a lot of them. They had dark skin.'

Police said there were four gatecrashers but witnesses reported there were 20.   

A female security guard at the event who asked the gatecrashers to leave was attacked and suffered injuries to her face. A male security guard was also injured.  

Police were called about 8.30pm, with the gatecrashers fleeing the scene.

The party, which had about 70 teenagers, was being held at the home of a friend of the boy's mother.

The property owner told The Age the gatecrashers smashed down her back fence which adjoined a park.

She said they were at the property for about 10 minutes and appeared to be about 14 to 16-years-old.

'I don't know how many there were, everybody was just scared and they all ran out,' she said. 

Police are continuing to investigate the incident. 

'Police remained in the area and monitored the behaviour of party goers as they left with no further incidents,' a police spokeswoman told the Herald Sun.



Navy nailed to the wall for PC post

A bearded Australian naval officer holding up his painted pinky finger­nail in hot lolly pink was an absolute money shot for the 100 Days For Change campaigners.

Yet when the Australian navy posted photos of the unlikely poster boy across social media, it didn’t go down well with the troops.

Navy was pilloried for being ­focused on a “politically correct” campaign rather than focusing on the defence of the realm.

The 100 Days For Change campaign was launched this month by Women and Leadership Australia to promote a ­nationwide push among companies for gender ­equity in the workplace. Journalist advocate Tracy Spicer is the public face of the campaign.

NSW RSL president James Brown said last night the navy should never have been dragged into such a loaded political exercise.

“Navy has made great progress in making sure women aren’t unfairly treated,” he said. “But ordering uniformed personnel to join social-activism campaigns is a step too far and risks politicising the defence force.”

Lauding the aims of the campaign on the official navy website, Deputy Chief Mark Hammond said 21.3 per cent of the navy’s workforce was female, “a statistic navy can be proud of, but more needs to be done”.

Rear Admiral Hammond said the navy needed to look at a range of measures — from supporting women’s sporting events to ­reviewing procedures for unconscious gender bias.

“We must do this as one navy, regardless of age, rank, race, ­religion, sexual orientation, ability or gender,” he said. “We cannot afford to leave anyone behind.”

The Defence Department tweeted that the navy had recently become involved in the campaign. “To encourage gender equality and diversity in the workplace, personnel in Sydney painted their pinky fingernails pink as a visual indication of support,” the department said.

The campaign partners include the not-for-profit Australian Gender Equality Council and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, an Australian government statutory agency.

“What I love about this campaign is the focus on practical change, from the grassroots to the top end of town: action, not words. It will be exciting to see what we are able to achieve,” Ms Spicer said of the campaign.

There are various pledges for change on the campaign website, including from Warrant Officer Gary Wight of the Royal Australian Navy. “I will focus on the strength and increased capability we gain from a truly diverse and inclusive workforce,” he said.

Former Labor leader Mark Latham let loose yesterday. “THIS WILL SCARE THE ENEMY,” he screamed on his Facebook and Twitter feeds. “Sadly, this is not a joke. It is the Australian Defence Force under Marise Payne and Malcolm Turnbull.”

On Mr Latham’s Outsiders Facebook page, it was open ­season. Phil said: @Bullshit! Really! This is the limit! … The services (navy, RAAF, army) need men and women who will fight for our country with devotion and guns, not dresses and hair dryers.”

Rob said: “When I was in the army 30 years ago we thought the navy wore pink nail polish anyway.”

Mr Latham told The Australian the 100 Days For Change campaign was another doomed “PC project”. “These guys are fighting for their country … why engage in pathetic virtue signalling?” he said.

The office of Defence Minister Marise Payne did not respond to inquiries.


Left struggle with fundamental truths concerning energy debate

Groupthink seems to be preventing many journalists at left-wing media outlets from realising they have been on the wrong side of the renewable energy and power prices story for a decade.

This newspaper argued as far back as the Howard years that a ­renewable energy target was ­incompatible with a carbon trading system designed to produce a market for cost abatement. Then prime minister John Howard and opposition leader Kevin Rudd both took limited trading schemes to the November 2007 election.

Not long after, journalists from Fairfax Media and the ABC began taking issue with The Australian’s criticism of rooftop solar subsidies. We said these would do little to reduce carbon dioxide output from baseload power stations but would dramatically lift prices to consumers too poor to pay for rooftop sets.

Now there is independent proof the left media was wrong. This month the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission and Australian Energy Mar­ket Operator released reports that show The Australian has been right about the effects of ­renewables.

Remember the outcry against the “Carbon Cate” stories by The Sunday Telegraph about the Sydney Theatre Company’s instal­lation of a $4.5 million rooftop solar system at the Wharf Theatre when Cate Blanchett’s husband, Andrew Upton, was director of the STC? Blanchett went on to campaign with other actors in television commercials about ­renew­­­­­­­­­­­­­- ables in 2011 under then prime minister Julia Gillard’s carbon tax.

Today, around the world, rooftop solar feed-in tariff concessions are being unwound, even in Germany, long the poster child for green warriors but a massive user of imported Australian coal and Russian gas to ensure reliable base­load power.

Climate change hysteria reached its peak in the Gillard years. Academics and journalists wrote that as editor-in-chief of this paper I should be charged with crimes against humanity for pointing out the facts: renewables would send industry offshore and play havoc with electricity prices.

Well, power-intensive industries have been sent offshore, where they add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than they would here because power here is mainly generated from higher-quality, less-polluting coal.

AEMO, distinctly pro-renew­ables, said on July 17 that the nat­ional power market would need to rely on baseload coal-fired power for at least another 20 years and called for policies to extend the lives of power stations nearing the end of their normal operational timeframes. The ACCC report ­released on July 11 said renewables had pushed out dispatchable power and made the network less reliable. Household solar subsidies had been paid for in higher prices to other consumers and business. It backed contributing economics editor Judith Sloan on “the gold plating of electricity networks” by state governments.

But at Fairfax, The Sydney Morning Herald economics editor Ross Gittins was lamenting on May 29 that he really should confine all his columns to discussions of government inaction on climate change. Ignoring the ACCC on coal on July 16, he assembled all the reasons Indian company Adani’s proposed Galilee Basin project in Queensland, which would be the world’s biggest coalmine, would not create jobs.

The Herald’senvironment editor, Peter Hannam, at least reported the ACCC’s findings fairly, but in a comment piece he criticised it for focusing on power prices rather than climate change. Yet Fairfax does not come close to our ABC for renewables evangelism.

ABC Radio National’s Saturday Extra stand-in host Andrew West interviewed ­finance blogger Mich­ael West on July 21 about Adani. Michael West claimed, unchallenged, that the mine would not be economically viable, despite coal prices at six-year highs. India was leading the world in adoption of green power and would be at 55 per cent renewable power by 2030, he claimed.

In fact, India is at 16 per cent ­renewables today and is building 132 new coal-fired power stations according to research by the Australian parliamentary library. Its prospects of ever reaching 55 per cent renewables are remote, as Germany is finding out, struggling to meet its 30 per cent ­reduction target.

At The Drum nightly on ABC TV spruikers for renewables — particularly prominent renewables investor John Hewson and the University of Melbourne’s Simon Holmes a Court — are always given precedence over commentators with rational points about the power market. And for some reason a parade of people who know nothing about electricity generation are regularly given a platform to display their “correct” feelings (rather than facts) about coal and renewables.

Jane Caro flapped her hands wildly on July 9 and pronounced “any suggestions of any new coal-fired power stations is a criminal act”. Do people who say such things know coal is the ­nation’s biggest export earner and 1600 new coal-fired power stations are under construction worldwide this minute? For a historical perspective on the importance of coal to ­hum­anity, Caro could read a piece by global warming believer Bjorn Lomborg in this paper on July 20: “For the well off in both rich and poor countries around the world, lives are enriched by plentiful ­access to energy that provides light, fresh food and clean water … Yet there is a disturbing movement in the West to tell the 1.1 billion people who still lack these myriad benefits that they should go without.”

Taking care of the poor used to be central to the politics of the Left. No more. This is an issue where left-wing journalists always side with the wealthy, like the merchant bankers around the world who invest billions in the government-guaranteed and subsidised global wind power scam.

Anyone who doubts it is a scam should look at why wind subsidies are being dismantled in Europe. This paper published a two-part analysis on the issue by veteran Herald-Sun finance journalist Terry McCrann on July 14 and 21.

McCrann’s first piece analysed prices for wind-generated power the previous weekend in South Australia. Almost all SA’s power that weekend was from wind because it was blowing hard. At one point the price of power hit zero (something that happens regularly in Germany). Across the weekend power averaged $44.89 a megawatt hour. Then the wind stopped and by Monday the price hit $14,000/MWh, “the maximum allowed” in the national market. Across that whole day it averaged $700.60/ MWh.

Wrote McCrann: “How can you build a system on prices which fluctuate from day to day by over $650 a MWh?”

Lomborg wrote here on July 14 outing major nations around the world for announcing heavy greenhouse gas cuts but falling far behind their targets. He argued that even meeting the Paris Agreement global emissions reduction target would mitigate only 1 per cent of forecast global warming this century.

And by 2040, “even with carbon being taxed, the International Energy Agency estimates that ­average coal will still be cheaper than average solar and wind ­energy”. More than $100 billion was being spent globally this year alone on subsidies for solar and wind, “yet this technology will meet less than 1 per cent of the globe’s energy needs”.


Why students aren’t prepared for life after school

THERE’S a point in adulthood where many of us step back and go, “Christ, I am not prepared for any of this.”

And a lot of it falls on our schooling. We spent years learning to measure the angles of a triangle, but navigating our taxes remains a nightmare. We memorised quotes from every Shakespearean tragedy ever written, but networking events can put the fear of God in us.

The narrative goes that if you study hard, get high scores and land a spot at a good university, you’ll breeze into a decent job.

But worrying research shows this is definitely not the case — and it’s the next generation of workers that face a big struggle.


Concerning new research has found students are not adequately equipped to brave the workforce, due to an emphasis on school tests like NAPLAN and the ATAR results.

The Mitchell Institute report stresses the importance of teaching about life after school, saying “trade-offs within the curriculum will be necessary”.

The report suggested a key issue was focusing on scores that could be numerically measured, like the National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) and the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) tests, rather than the workplace.

“Narrow proxy measures of academic achievement are made a priority — as demonstrated by the emphasis that many schools place on lifting NAPLAN results and Australian Tertiary ATARs.”

As a result, many young people are disengaging from learning, and failing to hone the life skills necessary for the world outside of school. approached around a dozen university students to ask what they wish they’d learnt in high school.

Lazarus, 23, who is studying a Master of Physiotherapy at the University of Technology, Sydney, said he wished he had learnt more about networking, and knowing the right way to approach prospective employers.

His friend Daniel, doing the same degree, added that he wished he’d been taught how to finetune resumes before starting university.

While most students felt confident doing their taxes, they said “money management” was a big thing they wish they knew, including how to save and what to invest in.

Mitchell Institute Policy Analyst Kate Torii stresses the importance of learning “real world” skills like networking.

“Exposure to the world of work provides opportunities for students to build connections with professionals outside their usual family networks, and to learn by “doing” in real world contexts,” she wrote in The Conversation.

“This offers some valuable benefits — enriching school learning, building students’ employability, and helping them develop the capabilities (such as problem solving, collaboration, and resilience) that we know are valued in work and life.”


This isn’t the first report to address concerns about how we’re failing our students.

Last month, research by Year13 found high school students were focused on picking subjects as a means of maximising their ATAR score — at the expense of expanding their skill sets.

Saxon Phipps, founder and director of Year13, told young people believe they can gain a higher ATAR result by choosing easier subjects.

For example, a student who should be doing Extension Mathematics might do the easier General course as a means of scoring higher in that subject.

“There’s a huge societal pressure,” he said. “Even if they don’t use their ATAR score, they’re doing it for the glory that comes with a higher mark.”

In addition to contributing to mental health issues, this meant students weren’t adequately prepared for the outside world upon graduating high school.

And to what benefit? The university dropout rate is higher than ever, with recent Federal Government figures showing that students packing in their degrees has reached its highest levels in a decade.

At the same time, only 71 per cent of graduates were able to secure a job straight out of university, while almost 15 per cent were still unemployed four years after graduating.

In 1986, it took university graduates an average of one year to gain full-time employment. It now takes almost five years.

Earlier this year, Australia’s chief scientist Alan Finkel called for a broader discussion into how the skills students learnt in school could be applied to real life when they graduated.

“The total percentage of people studying advanced mathematics has almost halved between 1992 and 2012, from 16 to 9 per cent,” Dr Finkel told “Maths in particular is a core enabler of all STEM subjects. It’s the language of science.

“There could be some misinterpretation here, but it seems kids are consistently being told to pick subjects that maximise their ATAR rankings.”

He also said every single parent, teacher, student and careers adviser needed to at least understand how the ATAR system worked.

“We want young people to study the most advanced studies they’re capable of, and for the doors of opportunity to remain open,” Dr Finkel said.

“Every time a kid gets the wrong message, that door slams shut.”

A review of the curriculum is expected by 2020.


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, 2018

Extra 539,000 now call Australia home as migration hits a record high

This is plainly unsustainable

More than half a million migrants came to Australia in the last financial year, new figures from the Bureau of Statistics show.

While 539,000 people arriving was the highest number of overseas migrants ever to come to Australia's shores in one year, the figure was offset by 276,000 leaving.

Factoring in departures, 262,000 migrants moved to Australia – below the record number of 300,000 in the 2009 financial year, said Myles Burleigh, migration statistics director at the bureau.

But internal migration – those moving from one state to another – hit its highest level in 13 years.

Victoria had the largest population gain from interstate migration of any state, just ahead of Queensland.

Over the year, almost 87,000 people moved from another state to Victoria and 68,500 left – producing Victoria’s highest ever net gain, Mr Burleigh said.

"Queensland was just behind, with a net gain of 17,800 people."

Of the 539,000 people who migrated to Australia over the year, 315,000 arrived on a temporary visa – including just over 150,000 international students, more than 50,000 on a working holiday, and 32,000 workers on temporary skill visas.

Migration to Victoria among those on temporary visas reached a 12-year high, driven by increasing numbers of international students. Almost 97,000 people on temporary visas arrived in Victoria – about half of them students.

Over the same year about 34,000 people on temporary visas left Australia, resulting in a net increase of about 63,000. The year before, net migration on temporary visas was about 50,000.

Economist Terry Rawnsley said the population boom placed great strain on Victorian infrastructure.

“The trade-off is that the big number coming for higher education," said Mr Rawnsley, from SGS Economics and Planning. He said education exports accounted for $9 billion worth of Victoria exports in the 2016-17 financial year.

"This is almost 20 per cent of total Victorian exports. This is compared to $1.8 billion for dairy exports and $2.4 billion of meat export," he said. Education exports had tripled over the past decade, he said.


More than 900 foreigners move to Australia on spousal visas EVERY WEEK - amid fears 'mail to order' Russian brides are leaving their partners as soon as they're let into the country

More than 900 foreigners who start a relationship with an Australian citizen overseas or online are granted spousal visas every week.

The figures equate to about 48,000 foreign wives - and occasionally husbands - being allowed to move to Australia each year after being granted a partner visa by the Department of Home Affairs under the family migration category.

The rules on spousal visas haven't changed since 1996, when the Howard government introduced a two-year waiting period before foreigners could be accepted.

One of the country's most respected population experts has called for tighter rules to ensure those granted the visas can speak English, integrate into the country and work.

Dr Bob Birrell, the head of the Australian Population Research Institute, said the existing rules were open to abuse.

'My main concern is just how weak our rules are on spouse migration,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'They could have arrived yesterday and there's no evaluation at all on the financial capacity or the financial security of the spouse, or to provide for the spouse. 'It's just quite extraordinary, really.'

Dr Birrell, a former Monash University academic and immigration policy adviser, said the existing system also allowed the unemployed to bring a spouse over.

'They don't have to have a job, they could be on welfare. That is not taken account of,' he said.

'Nor is there any evaluation of the sponsored spouse capacity to integrate in Australia: does he or she have any English, have any skills?'

Lawrence Shave, a 74-year-old Pentecostal evangelical pastor from southern Perth who is twice divorced, five years ago found a Ukrainian woman to be his bride. Unfortunately for him, Oksana left him for another man.

Last year, he advertised for a Russian bride aged between 20 and 44 via the dating website, which specialises in eastern European women.

The church minister, who ran as a One Nation state election candidate in 2017, sought a Russian woman who shared his Christian faith. 'I am still looking for my special Christian partner that has old family values,' he told Daily Mail Australia last year. 

Meanwhile, Australia is set to gain 11.8 million residents over the next 30 years, with the population ballooning to 36 million by 2046.

The overall population is growing faster than the U.S., U.K. and Indonesia, with migration accounting for almost two thirds of the country's growth, and is set to surpass the 25 million milestone in the first week of August.

If Australia's immigration intake continues as it is, Melbourne will have eight million people by 2051 and leapfrog Sydney as Australia's largest city.

Sydney is predicted to grow to 7.4 million people by 2046 and Brisbane and Perth's population will both double to four million.

More immigrants settling permanently in Australia since the turn of the millennium were born in India than anywhere else.

Census data revealed nearly 300,000 permanent migrants arrived from the country between 2000 and 2016.


Australia gains as Britain loses its appeal for foreign students

Australia is about to overtake Britain as the second most popular destination for international students.

It is likely to have already outstripped Britain in the number of overseas students from outside Europe, according to research based on international enrolment figures from across the world and suggests the UK's spot as the leading destination for European students is "about to be decimated by Brexit".

The paper by Simon Marginson, director of the Centre for Global Higher Education at University College London, draws on data from Unesco and the Higher Education Statistics Agency. It concludes that Australia may have surpassed Britain in 2018 and, if not, will almost certainly do so in 2019. The US is the top destination.

Unesco figures on incoming international students from all parts of the world appeared to show that Britain was comfortably ahead of Australia in 2015, with 431,000 overseas students compared with 294,000.

The research says the gap has narrowed substantially with international student numbers growing by 2.6 per cent between 2011 and 2015 in the UK and by 12.1 per cent in Australia over the same period. National data obtained by Times Higher Education magazine, which reported slightly different figures, suggests that these rates of growth have continued in 2016.

Professor Marginson said the government was "running a post-study work visa regime that is much less attractive than that in Canada, Australia and, until recently, the US".

"It is this, not Brexit, which will ensure that the UK moves down to number three in the global student market in 2018 or 2019," he said. "Later, however, Brexit will compound the decline." If EU students are charged international student fees post-Brexit, "then it is impossible to imagine anything other than a substantial overall drop in EU students entering the UK, and that will erode the UK's already declining global market share."

He added: "After more than half a decade in which migration politics and Home Office regulation have conspired to hold international student numbers in a flatline trend, the UK is the world's leading nation in educating international students from Europe at tertiary level, but its position is about to be decimated by Brexit's effect on tuition prices."

Australia has six universities in the global top 100 ranking, published by the magazine. The highest ranked this year was Melbourne University, which was 32nd. However, Australia is perceived as more welcoming in some countries, particularly India where numbers studying in Australia have soared.

Britain is perceived as less welcoming to international students than some other English-speaking countries. This year it emerged the Home Office may have falsely accused 7,000 foreign students of faking their proficiency in English and told them to leave.

Simon Birmingham, Australia's minister for education, put a video on YouTube in which he says students from more than 180 countries are very welcome in Australia which is a "safe and friendly place to live and study". After graduating, Australia invites international students with a qualification relating to a key occupation to apply for an 18-month visa. A post-study work stream gives extended options, with a visa of two, three or four years.


Senior figures in the Turnbull Government have told the ABC they believe the United States is prepared to bomb Iran's nuclear capability, perhaps as early as next month, and that Australia is poised to help identify possible targets

The ABC has been told secretive Australian defence facilities would likely play a role in identifying targets in Iran, as would British intelligence agencies.

But a senior security source emphasised there was a big difference between providing accurate intelligence and analysis on Iran's facilities and being part of a "kinetic" mission.

"Developing a picture is very different to actually participating in a strike," the source said.

"Providing intelligence and understanding as to what is happening on the ground so that the Government and allied governments are fully informed to make decisions is different to active targeting."

The top-secret Pine Gap joint defence facility in the Northern Territory is considered crucial among the so-called "Five Eyes" intelligence partners — the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand — for its role in directing American spy satellites.

Analysts from the little-known spy agency Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation would also be expected to play a part.

Canada would be unlikely to play a role in any military action in Iran, nor would the smallest Five Eyes security partner New Zealand, sources said.

As Israel faces off against Iran and its proxies in the Middle East, all eyes are on Donald Trump's next move.
Any US-led strike on Iranian targets would be fraught for a region bristling with tensions. Israel would have reason to be anxious about retaliation, given Iran rejects Israel's right to exist.

That said, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in April invoked the so-called "Begin Doctrine" that calls on the Jewish state to ensure nations hostile to Israel be prevented from developing a nuclear weapons capability.

"Israel will not allow regimes that seek our annihilation to acquire nuclear weapons," Mr Netanyahu 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

29 July, 2018

Diversity worship only divides us further

“BBC CHIEF STUNNED BY SECRET SEX SURVEY.” The headline blaring from Britain’s Mail on Sunday one balmy morning in London a few weeks ago was irresistible. And the news report didn’t disappoint. “Can someone have a guess at how many people we’ve got who have disclosed they are transgender at the BBC? Ten? Anyone else? Twenty?” asked the BBC’s director of diversity at a social policy forum last month.

“I’ll put you out of your misery. We’ve got 417 people within the BBC who have said they are transgender, almost 2 per cent of the ­organisation.”

Using personal information from staff, diversity bean counters at Britain’s national broadcaster found 11 per cent of its employees are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Diversity executive Tunde Ogungbesan says that while the number of transgender people is “very, very high”, the broadcaster needs more lesbians.

The real misery is that we count this stuff at all. Extrapolating from the diversity director’s comment that “what gets measured gets done”, the next advertisement for a BBC job will logically need to seek a candidate with the following qualifications: must be able to write, have proven reporting skills, work effectively in a small team and be a lesbian. And how do they check the veracity of a candidate meeting that last stipulation? If only this were a facetious ­scenario.

A few days later, on July 4, former US president Bill Clinton tweeted: “E pluribus unum — out of diversity comes a deeper strength and unity rooted in the timeless ideals that we celebrate today. It’s ‘We the People,’ not ‘Us vs Them’…”

If only that were true. Instead, we are being sold a lemon every time someone says diversity makes us stronger and unites us.

Diversity, the new buzzword, has much in common with its older sibling, multiculturalism. The celebration of diversity and the daily condemnation of white male privilege has morphed into a project that divides us. When anchored to group identities, this new diversity project becomes the antithesis of the liberal model that emerged from the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment. The timeless ideal that all individuals are revered as equal regardless of colour, creed and gender is being turned on its head.

To be fair to the BBC, by crunching the numbers about the sexual identity of its staff, the diversity bean counters are simply doing their bit, as disciples of this new project. But it didn’t need to unfold this way. Respecting diversity is admirable because it unifies us. Worshipping diversity as some kind of new age god in a secular world is destructive.

The more we label and encourage people to join smaller identity groups defined by being transgender or black lesbian or Muslim gay, the “other” — the outsiders — grow larger in number. There are more people outside the group to be suspicious of, to fear and even loathe.

People gathering in groups, associating with tribes, preferring their own kind, is as old as the history of mankind. As English philosopher Roger Scruton said as he watched the 1968 Paris protests — when middle-class students turned out to protest without really knowing what they supported — craving membership is “a deep adaptation of the species”.

Whereas people in previous centuries joined or were born into religious communities, in the modern secular West the search for meaning is leading people to seek out different group identities. It raises the real threat of a new and different form of sectarianism as politics and policies, even if well-meaning, encourage people to be defined by smaller and smaller group identities, fracturing along sex, sexual identity, race, colour, creed or other such traits.

Group identities don’t unify people, they build walls between people. Loyalty to the tribe, for example, means members are less likely to publicly countenance divergence from group orthodoxy even if they disagree in private. Tribal loyalty explains why it’s harder for an indigenous man, such as Warren Mundine, or an indigenous woman, such as Bess Price, to diverge from indigenous orthodoxy on anything from welfare to family violence to education and employment.

It explains why feminists within the #MeToo movement cling together, even if they harbour private reservations about trivial complaints about bad sex that have formed part of the ­movement.

Tribal loyalty explains why so few Muslims will say what Ayaan Hirsi Ali dares to say about aspects of Islam. Only the bravest speak up, understanding that they will be cast out as apostates, joining the ranks of “other” — people beyond the group — who are treated with suspicion, and worse.

Tribal loyalty explains how the heartbreaking case of Nia Wilson has given identity politics a new battleground. Last weekend the teenager was changing trains with her sister in Oakland, California, when a white man stabbed her in the throat. Police are exploring a race-hate motive. When I typed Wilson’s name into Google, up popped actress Anne Hathaway’s thoughts on white privilege. Not a news piece about what happened to Wilson.

Rachel Cargle, who describes herself as the “Beyonce of Academia” created an Instagram post exclusively for people of colour to share their feelings about Wilson. “No white women, no men,” she wrote. She asked people to tag their favourite white feminists who had yet to talk about Wilson.

The misguided Beyonce of Academia is building walls. Separating feminists according to skin colour creates more otherness, more fear, more suspicion. It does not help black women. It creates “us vs them”.

Worshipping diversity also has led to more victimhood, not empowerment. Just as tribes compete, grouping people according to sex, sexual identity or other human traits fuels a marketplace of outrage. Different groups vie for top billing as the biggest victims, to attract public attention or policy responses or both.

Over at Meanjin, a left-wing artsy publication, a few indigenous women were outraged when, on the last cover, editor Jonathan Green decided to cross out the indigenous title of the magazine, replacing it with #MeToo. How dare white feminists trump indigenous women. Green confessed his sins and apologised profusely for his white, male privilege.

The diversity cult is not breaking down barriers by encouraging intellectual sharing of ideas and experiences between people. Instead, it’s constantly searching for malfeasants guilty of the new sin of for cultural appropriation.

This month, Scarlett Johansson pulled out of playing a transgender man in Rub & Tub, a movie about Dante “Tex” Grill, who ran brothels in 1970s Pittsburgh. Her first response to claims that a “cisgender” woman should not play a transgender man was to direct the complaints to media representatives of Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto and Felicity Huffman, three cisgender actors who won rave reviews, awards and nominations for playing transgender women.

Inevitably, Johansson succumbed, saying she was grateful that the casting decision sparked a conversation about diversity. But it wasn’t much of a conversation. It came down to a stifling and one-dimensional, simplistic story that only a transgender man can play the role of a transgender man. And when journalist Daniella Greenbaum wrote a piece for the website Business Insider defending an actress who was hired to act in a role as a transgender man, her column was spiked by editors for “violating editorial standards”.

Respecting diversity should encourage us to step into the shoes of someone else, to empathise with their stories that define them as human beings. Instead, in the Age of Diversity, we are told a single story about people premised on their sex, sexual identity or skin colour.

In a TED talk some years ago, Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie spoke superbly about the danger of the single story. She recalled one of her professors telling her that one novel “was not authentically African”.

“Now I was quite willing to contend that there were a number of things wrong with the novel,” said the author of Half of a Yellow Sun. “But I had not quite imagined that it had failed at achieving something called African authenticity. In fact, I did not know what African authenticity was. The professor told me that my characters were too much like him, an educated, middle-class man. My characters drove cars, they were not starving. Therefore, they were not authentically African.”

Adichie confessed to falling for single stories about others. Growing up in Nigeria, she saw the family’s house boy only through a prism of poverty. When she visited the boy’s home she was startled to see a beautiful multi-coloured basket woven by his brother. “It had not occurred to me that anybody in his family could make anything,” she said. “Their poverty was my single story about them.”

When people choose to define themselves according to a single identity, they encourage a single story about their sex, or their sexual identity or their skin colour with a focus on negatives. Black Lives Matter tells a tiny, incomplete, story about black people in America. A dance performance last month, Where We Stand, suffered the same flaw because a dance student thought it clever to force whites to stay in the lobby while people of colour, brown people, indigenous people and members of the Asian diaspora were invited to enter the theatre.

Revering diversity encourages an ugly backlash, too, attracting opportunist grandstanders such as Canadian woman Lauren Southern, who arrived in Australia wearing a T-shirt that read “IT’S OK TO BE WHITE”. It’s not smart to answer toxic identity politics with tit-for-tat toxicity, where people treat their pale skin as a badge of honour. Southern’s white identity politics marks a low point of the new sectarianism. We are regressing further and further from the liberal project that treats all ­humans as equal regardless skin colour.

As Adichie said, telling one story based on negatives about people flattens their experience. “The consequence of the single story is this: it robs people of dignity — it makes recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasis how we are different rather than how we are similar.”

In a recent podcast, Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, recalled the 1934 experiment by American psychologist Richard LaPiere when he researched whether people were more racist in practice or theory. LaPiere took a Chinese student to a restaurant that had a sign saying they did not serve Chinese. At a time of growing American resentment towards Chinese, the student and the psychologist ordered and ate their meal without a hitch. LaPiere took the Chinese student, and his young Chinese wife, on a road trip across America, visiting 251 establishments, bars, bowling alleys, hotels and ­restaurants. The couple was denied service once. When LaPiere returned to his campus office, he sent questionnaires to each place — “would you serve members of the Chinese race?” More than 90 per cent said no.

Defining people according to race elicits divisive reactions, whereas a name and a face is a human story that attracts respect and empathy. As Brooks said: “Stories unite. Identities divide.”

Remember that next time an overpaid corporate executive or public bureaucrat champions diversity using a set of numbers based on gender or sexual identity or race.


Queenslanders are one step closer to making hepatitis history but more work is needed - News release

Over 82,000 Queenslanders are missing out on lifesaving treatment that can halt serious liver disease, simply because they are unware of new treatment options or are too afraid to ask. 

Speaking ahead of World Hepatitis Day, held annually on the 28th July, Hepatitis Queensland, CEO, Michelle Kudell said that around 150,000 Australians are still missing out on new Government funded cures for the hepatitis C virus, and nearly 200,000 Australians who are living with hepatitis B are missing out on vital care that can provide timely information on when to intervene to prevent liver damage, liver cancer and liver failure.

“World Hepatitis Day was founded to improve the lives of people living with viral hepatitis, so it is heartbreaking that 350,000 Australians living with the viruses are still missing out on basic medical care and life saving treatment,” she said. 

“Liver cancer is now the fastest increasing cause of cancer deaths in Australia. Those missing out or not coming forward for vital treatment put themselves at risk of liver cancer and serious liver disease.”

“We are using the lead up to World Hepatitis Day to encourage people who are living with hepatitis B or hepatitis C but haven’t spoken to their doctor to ask the simple question – can I speak to you about hepatitis B or C?,” she said.

Australians from all walks of life can have hepatitis B or C. Hepatitis Queensland is aiming to raise awareness amongst those affected by the viruses, but also family, friends and support networks who can help spread the word that help is available.

Michelle said that there has “never been a better time to speak to your doctor about hep B or hep C. If we get on board with treatment for hep C we have a very real chance of eliminating the virus as a public health threat in Australia”. 

A range of medicines for hepatitis C which have very few side effects are curing around 95% of people after only a few months. Your GP can prescribe this treatment which is funded under PBS. A record number (50,000) Australians have now been cured of hepatitis C but we need to continue with the momentum as  there are still an estimated 150,000 people who have not received treatment or are aware they are living with hepatitis C. 

Experts believe that people are not coming forward for a number of reasons including being diagnosed decades ago, not prioritising their own health care or treatment and/or misinformation regarding the effects of treatments. The new treatments are easy, tablets taken once daily with minimal side effects.

Michelle said that the number of people with hepatitis B who are missing out on medical care is alarming. In Australia, 38 per cent of people with chronic hepatitis B are unware they have the virus, while only 12 per cent of Australians who know they have hepatitis B are receiving antiviral treatment.   

A vaccine that protects against hepatitis B is readily available through the National Immunisation Program, but a significant number of people from communities where the virus is common have not been vaccinated.

“If you think you’ve been exposed to hepatitis B or C, or if you’ve already been diagnosed, we urge you to talk to your doctor about treatment options, or call the national helpline on 1800 437 222. It could save your life,” she said.

Everyone can play a part in making hepatitis history and it’s easy.? 

World Hepatitis Day 28th July - Join us at The Redcliffe Volunteer hub from 12pm – 2.30pm and raise awareness of viral hepatitis.

Want to know more information about hepatitis B or C – visit our website 

Think you might have been exposed to hepatitis B or C? Call our National hotline (confidential service) 1800 437 222 or speak to your GP

About hepatitis B:

Hepatitis B is a virus transmitted through blood-to-blood contact or unprotect sexual contact. Approximately 240 000 Australians are living with chronic B and more than 1 in 3 of people do not know they have it.

1 in 4 people with hepatitis B who go untreated develop liver cancer

While vaccination rates are high among people born in Australia, they remain low among many people born overseas. Hepatitis B is endemic in Asia Pacific and Africa and in some remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The best protection against hepatitis B is to get vaccinated, or for those living with chronic hepatitis B, regular monitoring and treatment when indicated is the best protection against the development of liver disease and liver cancer.

About hepatitis C:

Hepatitis C is a virus transmitted through blood-to-blood contact

Approximately 200 000 Australians are living with chronic hepatitis C, and around 80 per cent of current infections are likely to have been contracted through unsterilized injecting drug use in the past. Around two-thirds of people living with chronic hepatitis C do not currently inject drugs. It can also be contracted through unsterile medical, tattooing and body piercing practices, particularly overseas.

There were 605 deaths and 73 liver transplants in Australia related to hepatitis C in 2016.

There is no vaccine to protect against hepatitis C but it can be cured with treatment.

New generation antiviral medications are available on the PBS to treat and cure chronic hepatitis C, these medications are over 95 per cent effective and have very few side effects compared to older medications. 

Via email from Jessie Badger []

Know-nothing journalists

JOURNALISM graduates are leaving university "almost comically underprepared" to work in the real world, according to a local newspaper editor.

Paul Mitchell, group editor of the South Australian Riverland paper The Murray Pioneer, said six young hopefuls during the paper's recent recruitment process were "completely clueless", unable to answer a series of basic politics, current affairs and general knowledge questions.

The 23 questions included head-scratchers such as "Who is Australia's Treasurer?", "What does NBN stand for?" and "Which political party does Donald Trump represent?" Only two of the six knew the name of the federal opposition leader, while one confused him with the PM.

"This isn't just a bad batch of candidates," Mitchell wrote in an editorial last week. "The Pioneer has been running basically the same test for many years, only altering the handful of current affairs questions included on the list.

"The abysmal results have been consistent, and if anything are slowly getting worse. What do the poor general knowledge and current affairs results say about our schooling system, and more specifically, our university system?"

Try your hand at the full quiz below. "If you get 10 correct, you're doing better than most of the allegedly news-hungry and switched-on job hunters fresh out of their journalism courses, ready to `tell people's stories' and take on the world," Mitchell said.

Mitchell told the editorial, which included sample responses from the six candidates, had "generated a lot of feedback" from people in the local area. He said most who took the test themselves scored in the 20s.

"Most people were a bit shocked at the responses we got to the test," he said. Asked whether he blamed the quality of the university courses or graduates' reliance on social media for their news, he said it was a "combination of both".

"When they've completed their studies and they get these type of results, that makes me scratch my head a little, but equally if these young people are serious about careers in media and journalism you'd think they'd be a little more switched on," he said.

But he didn't pin the blame for lack of preparation on a sense of entitlement, saying he hadn't picked that up from candidates. "Some of them are just generally clueless," he said.


'It's an African gang problem': Tony Abbott slams government for allowing violent Sudanese migrants into the country who are 'difficult to integrate'

Tony Abbott has voiced his opinion about the 'harsh realities' which Australia faces due to African immigration. The former prime minister said Australia 'stores up trouble for ourselves' by allowing violent Sudanese migrants into the country who are 'difficult to integrate.'  

'So there is a problem,' he said on 2GB radio, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. 'It's an African gang problem, and the Victorian socialist government should get real and own up to the fact that there is an African gang problem in Melbourne.'

Mr Abbott's comments follows the death of 19-year-old Laa Chol, as well as recent crime figures revealing Sudanese people living in Victoria are 57 times more likely to commit violent robberies than the general population.

Mr Abbott questioned why Australia allowed 'difficult' African migrants into the country in light of the problems faced by law enforcement in Victoria.

'I guess the big question though is: why do we store up trouble for ourselves by letting in people who are going to be difficult, difficult to integrate?' he said.

'And this is why I think all credit to Peter Dutton, who is doing his best to manage our immigration program in our national interest - not in the interests of all sorts of people who might simply want to come here.' 

His comments come after Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said there was a 'major law and order problem' with Sudanese gangs following the death of Ms Chol.

Ms Chol was allegedly stabbed to death when a gang of young African-Australians crashed a party in Melbourne on Friday night.

Police deny there is any link to Sudanese gangs over the killing.

Since her death, police have charged a 17-year-old boy with her murder, as well as a 16-year-old boy with being an accessory to murder and assault.

'There is a major law and order problem in Victoria and more people are going to be hurt until the rule of law is enforced by the Victorian Government,' Mr Dutton said in a statement to Fairfax.

'We don't have these problems with Sudanese gangs in NSW or Queensland.'


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, 2018


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is looking forward to a Labor party loss at the by-elections this weekend

Union tells school principals: Back ALP


The Victorian branch of the education union is calling on school principals to flout departmental policy by helping it promote the Labor state government ahead of the November election. In a letter to principals last week, AEU Victorian branch president Meredith Peace praised the Andrews government for its progress towards "truly making" Victoria an "education state", while suggesting the Liberal opposition had made no significant commitments to education so far.

Ms Peace said one did not have to look too far to see examples of how Liberal governments - state and federal - had "penalised public education". "As principals, you are in a unique position to help this conversation flourish in your school community," Ms Peace said. "This will be a big term with everything to play for. The future of public education is at stake, but I know that when we work together we make a formidable team." Under the Department of Education and Training's politcal activities policy, employees of the Victorian teaching service have a right to freedom of association, including joining a trade union, however they must ensure that political activities do not create a conflict of interest with their official duties. Principals and teachers are permitted to conduct political activities outside of working hours, provided they are clearly undertaken in a private capacity, and must apply for a leave of absence if they wish to conduct political activities in working hours.

They are not, however, permitted to solicit students to become agents of any organisation, including a union.  In addition, the Education Department this month released information for schools about caretaker conventions and obligations for all staff, which include guidelines to ensure the public service remains politically neutral during the caretaker period leading up to the state election. During that period, which is expected to run from October 30 until the November 24 election, employees "must not use their position to support particular issues,  parties or candidates in an election campaign".

Ms Peace declined to comment about her plea to principals, which comes as the union is waging a nationwide campaign over funding for public schools ahead of the state and federal elections. In her letter she warned that polling was close and it was "unclear whether the Andrews government will be returned to office". Opposition education spokesman Tim Smith yesterday accused the union of "trying to politicise classrooms".

Article not previously online.  Appeared in "The Australian" of July 26. p. 5.

Dutton signals pullout from UN migrant deal


Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has declared the Australian government will not sign up to a major UN agreement on migration "in its current form" despite the fact Australia helped negotiate the deal. The Australian revealed this week that the Turnbull government had left open the door to withdrawing from the Global Compact for Migration, which so far only the US and Hungary have failed to sign.

Some conservatives such as Eric Abetz and One Nation's Pauline Hanson believe Australia should quit the deal, and Senator Abetz said the government should be "robust" in "defending our gold-standard border protection policies". "Why we give tens of millions of taxpayers' money to the UN for these feel-good exercises that end up criticising ourselves is beyond me," he told The Australian.

But Mr Dutton's suggestion that Australia might not sign up has infuriated the Greens and refugee advocates. "Now (Peter Dutton is) threatening to deconstruct international co-operation on migration," Greens immigration spokesman Nick McKim said. "There are no depths Dutton will not trawl to try to make race and refugees into election issues and pander to Hanson's supporters."

Labor has so far refused to take a position on whether Australia should sign the agreement in the lead-up to this weekend's by-elections. Opposition immigration and border protection spokesman Shayne Neumann said the UN compact was a matter for the government of the day, and Labor MPs who have been vocal on other asylum-seeker matters declined to comment when contacted by The Australian.

While the US dropped out in December, the government of Hungary's anti-immigration nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced last week the country would also quit the pact.

Asked on 2GB by Alan Jones whether Australia would sign up to the agreement, Mr Dutton said "Not in its current form. We've been very clear about that.  And we're not going to surrender our sovereignty. I'm not going to allow unelected bodies to dictate to us, to the Australian people ... They do not want us to go soft on borders."

UN member states, led by Mexico and Switzerland and including Australia, helped negotiate the UN compact. Former Australian Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg said Australia had been advocating for a new global migration compact since 2014 and signing would be important for Australia to maintain its "middle power credibility".

Article not previously online.  Appeared in "The Australian" of July 26. p. 7.


The fruits of his controversial private talks with Putin may become clearer before long


Was it all really about Iran? One of US President Donald Trump's worst stylistic weaknesses is that he is either expressing contempt, sometimes blatant and sometimes wearing the thinnest disguise, or he is expressing lavish and at times absurd praise. His bizarre tweets and rambling press conferences make interpretation of him very difficult.

But this should not remotely lead us to think that Trump is a fool. He is astonishingly ignorant about some aspects of international affairs and history. But he is also plainly very smart. As John Lee argued on this page yesterday, Trump alone is not the measure of America. Still, he is the President of the most powerful nation in the world, and our indispensable ally, and we need to try to understand what he does.

The two hours with Vladimir Putin without officials present were ridiculous in terms of any-thing remotely resembling good process, but nonetheless they may have had a real purpose. Perhaps the international statesman with the biggest influence on Trump is Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu. He is a tough guy like Trump would like to be, he is supported by almost all of Trump's supporters in the US and he flatters Trump shrewdly and effectively.

In Syria, the Western interest is the same as the Israeli interest -to end the wholesale bloodshed, to keep out the worst of the Islamist jihadists, to restore some semblance of stability and to limit the influence of Iran and Hezbollah. These aims constitute the strategic interests of Israel; they also constitute the basic aims of human decency in Syria. The civil war in Syria has been a humanitarian catastrophe, with perhaps 400,000 dead and six million people displaced. All the main actors have behaved at times with shocking, indiscriminate cruelty.

However, it is now clear that Bash-ar al-Assad has effectively won. And the most important strategic reason for this is Russian intervention. Assad has been guilty of shocking war crimes in Syria. However, at the time the Arab Spring broke out, by the standards of Arab dictators, Assad was not particularly bad. He was no democrat and had no respect for human rights, but minorities lived peaceably in Syria, the place was stable internally and on its borders, economic development was proceeding slowly. Syrian expats in Australia and elsewhere could go visit without being in fear of their lives.

It is a doleful reflection, these several years later, that the US in-tervention in Syria has been fitful and pretty well ineffective. A lot of outside forces have intervened, including the Turks, the Iranians, the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Russians.

Now, I think that crew of creepy right-wingers in the US and Australia who think Putin is a great friend of Western civilisation are just about crazy. Putin has destroyed Russian civil society and engaged in serious international crimes, including supporting unspeakable atrocities in Syria and, incidentally, authorising his proxies to shoot down an innocent civilian plane carrying 298 people including 38 Australians. But in strategic policy, in the real world, the choice is often between the evil and the even more evil. Russia's presence in Syria may have produced something somewhat less horrible than its absence would have produced.

Look at the other main actors in Syria - Islamic State, Iran, Hezbollah. They are all worse for humanity in Syria, and worse for Western interests, than Russia has been. For whatever its many sins, Moscow has played the role in Syria that the West once played in troubled countries - it has restored order.

It is an open question whether the West can ever again effectively intervene in a hot civil war anywhere with its own troops. In the end, the West is too morally fastidious to be effective. It can intervene now only by proxy. Russian motivation in Syria is not inscrutable. It wants to keep its one remaining important ally from the Cold War days, namely Damascus. It wants to show that being its ally carries strategic benefit. It wants to keep its port in Syria. And perhaps beyond even all that, Russia wants to be as near as it can to a peer strategic competitor with the US.

It can never really be that. Its economy is only about the size of Australia's. But it wants to compete with the US, to be a big power internationally and to be strategically impossible to ignore. It has achieved all those objectives in Syria.

Having done that, Moscow is being quite careful about respecting Israel's interests. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was in Israel a few days ago and offered the Israelis an agreement under which Moscow would keep Iranian forces at least 100km away from Israel's border. Jerusalem naturally wants Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria and it certainly doesn't want them on its Syrian border. The potential for a very big military clash on the Israel-Syria border remains quite strong, and only yesterday the Israelis "shot down a Syrian war-plane that had flown into their air-space but was probably aiming at regime enemies within Syria.

Putin, a little like Trump, seems to respect Israeli strength. Muslims within the Russian Federation give him nothing but trouble and his co-operation with Iran is entirely tactical. And although Russia has a capable, indeed powerful, military, by the standards of the old Soviet Union it is not particularly big.

Moscow wants to keep its strategic gains in Syria with a minimum of continued military engagement. That means avoiding the enormous danger and complication that any clash, even an accidental one, with Israeli forces in southern Syria would inevitably bring.

Meanwhile, for the Trump administration reducing Iranian influence is a key strategic objective. In May, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a speech explicitly asking for Australia's support against Iran. At the AUSMIN press conference this week, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis again spent time denouncing Iran.

The Trump administration is right to repudiate the pathetically weak deal Barack Obama did with Iran. Trump wants to enforce the red lines Obama once had for Iran - no uranium enrichment, no ballistic missiles and so on. Canberra should support this.

Given renewed US sanctions, there is no prospect for big Australian trade with Iran. Similarly, there is no prospect of Iran taking back failed illegal immigrants from Australia. Now that we are not running operations in Syria, there is no need to deconflict our forces from Iran's forces there. Canberra is therefore in a bit of a policy paralysis regarding Iran. Trump does good as well as bad. We should explicitly and publicly support US policy on Iran.

Article not previously online.  Appeared in "The Australian" of July 26. p. 12.

Letting kids be kids: Schools remove the cotton wool and encourage pupils to take risks when they play - and the benefits are stunning

Public schools are giving students the opportunity to build resilience by adopting the 'anti-cotton wool' approach.

Schools across Perth are letting students zip around on bikes and scooters, slide down ramps in crates and climb trees.

There is believed to be many benefits to the approach, resulting in more focus in the classroom, ABC reports.

Schools that encourage physical activity say that the students are happier and healthier, and are able to play more creatively and cooperatively.

With the current 'obesity epidemic' and children being captivated by screens, schools are hoping to get children out and about on the playground.

Honeywood Primary School in Perth's south has implemented weekly 'Wheels on Wednesday', where students are allowed to bring scooters, bikes and skates to school.

As long as students follow conditions of wearing a helmet and having signed permission from parents, they're allowed to ride around the school grounds during recess and lunch.

Principal of the school Maria Cook said that the program was very popular with both parents and the students.

'We've had kids who hadn't been able to progress past their trainer wheels suddenly being able to go without training wheels, because they get lots of practise just riding around this one-way track,' she said.

Ms Cook believes that teaching the kids to manage some risk is positive and thinks that 'cocooning' them isn't a good idea.

There are also trampolines at the school that they encourage the students to use, allowing them to do flips and tricks.

The program is teaching students to be active and improves their skills while having fun with their friends.

Ms Cook also said that the children head back to class focused and ready to learn due to using lots of energy.

West Greenwood Primary School in Perth's north is another school that has implemented the 'anti-cotton wool' approach.

The school has introduced a program called 'Loose Parts', where students have the ability to use their creativity with items such as milk crates, giant wooden spools and timber.

Principal Niel Smith said that nature play is highly important and the school wanted to do something that was 'slightly different and cost effective'.

'We encourage students to be creative, to take risks, to analyse those risks. We've got kids building pulley systems, climbing trees, making swings, see-saws,' he said.

They ensure that the children are being safe by teaching them to analyse risks.

The program has proven to work well, as teachers are seeing an increase in students' cooperative skills, teamwork, sharing and negotiation.

Due to the program keeping children busy, students are less likely to make a fuss complaining about injury and they're becoming more resilient.

He has also opened up a creative space for children with interest in art, creating a mural wall for the kids to create artworks with chalk. 

Researcher from the University of Western Australia, Karen Martin, said that the 'anti-cotton wool' trend is a positive.

She believes that society became too over-protective of young children.

It's important for the children that don't do too much physical activity outside of school to have that active time on the playground during school.

'I think what's happened is we've started to realise that wrapping kids up in cotton wool isn't beneficial for them at all,' Ms Martin said.


Trump's top men hail US-Australia ties as `rock solid' in meeting with Julie Bishop

DONALD Trump's senior representatives hailed the ties between the US and Australia as "rock solid" during talks with Julie Bishop in California.

"The US and Australia both know we can rely on each other," said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

He and Defence Secretary James Mattis told of America's desire for a stable and free Indo-Pacific and said the US will not push Australia to conduct freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea.

There have been questions about America's commitment to Australia and Pacific allies since the election of Mr Trump, who has spoken out against allies and was a highly reluctant supporter of Australia's asylum-seeker deal.

Mr Pompeo and Mr Mattis wrapped up two days of AUSMIN (Australia-US Ministerial Consultations) with Australia's Foreign Minister Ms Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne at California's Stanford University on Tuesday.

"The US and Australia will walk the walk in the Indo-Pacific," Mr Mattis said. The general, however, said it was up to Australia if it embarked on freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea where China has constructed and militarised islands. "That's a sovereign decision by a sovereign state," 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

26 July, 2018

Weather catastrophe: Farmers crippled by the 'worst drought in 100 years' are facing another TWO YEARS of scorching temperatures and no rain

On past form, one has to expect that this is another long-range prediction that the BoM will get wrong.  On principle I predict substantial rain some time over the next summer.

It's not only form, however that makes this an odd prediction.  We have just had an El Nino over 2016/2017 and there is normally at least 10 years between them.  Secondly, El Nino brings warmer water to the East coast and warmer water means MORE rain, not less. So, farmers:  Don't sell your farm yet.

An El Niño event has been predicted for the end of the year, leaving farmers already struggling with a devastating five-year drought facing disaster.

The Bureau of Meteorology announced the odds of an El Niño system forming this year are now twice as high as normal.

El Niño events often result in severe droughts, bringing higher temperatures, lower than average rainfall and increased risk of bushfires, lasting as long as two years.

If an El Niño does form in the latter half of 2018, it could prove catastrophic for parched Australian farmers who have been crippled by a years-long nationwide dry spell which some are describing as the worst drought in 100 years.

BOM senior forecaster David Crock said on Wednesday there is typically about a 25 per cent chance of an El Niño pattern developing.

The likelihood of one forming is now at 50 per cent, approximately double the normal probability.

'During El Niño, rainfall in eastern Australia is typically below average during winter–spring,' the Bureau of Meteorology stated.

'Daytime temperatures are also typically warmer than average for southern Australia. A neutral ENSO phase has little effect on Australian climate.

'Most international climate models surveyed by the Bureau suggest the tropical Pacific will continue to warm.

'Five of eight models indicate this warming will reach El Niño levels in the southern hemisphere spring, while a sixth model reaches El Niño levels in December.'


UNSW tops Australian universities in world rankings

This may be of some small help if people want to evalute my past association with Uni NSW, both as a student and as a teacher.  People outside Australia find it hard to rank Australian universities.  Uni NSW started out as a university of technology so that could be misleading, though MIT is a counter-example to that.

UNSW Sydney has swept ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2018, scoring the most subjects ranked first in Australia and the highest number of subjects ranked in the top 100 in the country.

With 38 subjects ranking in the global top 100, 24 in the top 50 and three in the top 10, UNSW continues its climb up the rankings, having the most subjects of all Australian universities in the prestigious league table.

Nine UNSW subjects – Civil Engineering, Finance, Instruments Science & Technology, Library & Information Science, Management, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Remote Sensing and Water Resources – rank first in Australia. This is almost double the number of UNSW subjects ranked first in 2017.

ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects has published the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) by academic subjects since 2009. The rankings assess more than 4000 universities across 54 subjects in natural sciences, engineering, life sciences, medical sciences, and social sciences.

UNSW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Nicholas Fisk felt it was a clean sweep for UNSW Sydney.

“To be top in Australia for subjects ranked first, with the most subjects in the top 100, underscores the depth and breadth of UNSW research.

“These subject rankings are a more tangible reflection of a university’s research strengths than the global ranking, and UNSW is a comprehensive university that demonstrates academic and research excellence. ?I want to pay special tribute to all UNSW's hard working academics on this outstanding result.”

Water Resources is UNSW’s highest ranked subject at 5th in the world, with Mining & Mineral Engineering ranking 7th and Civil Engineering 10th.

Globally, UNSW’s best performing subjects are Water Resources (5th), Mining & Mineral Engineering (7th), Civil Engineering (10th), Finance, Marine/Ocean Engineering and Remote Sensing (all 16th), Atmospheric Science and Oceanography (23rd), Library & Information Science (26th), Law, Hospitality & Tourism Management and Transportation Science & Technology (all 34th), Telecommunication Engineering (38th), Energy Science & Engineering (39th), Earth Sciences (40th), Aerospace Engineering (41st), Instruments Science & Technology (42nd), Environmental Science & Engineering (44th), Mechanical Engineering (45th), Electrical & Electronic Engineering (46th) and Geography (49th).

United States universities continue to dominate the rankings, occupying first place in 35 disciplines, followed by China with nine and the Netherlands with three. The best performing institution in the world is Harvard, taking 17 crowns, ShanghaiRanking said in a release.

The methodology to determine the ranking includes the number of papers published, international collaboration and citation impact. The full methodology can be found here.

 Email from

Economic ignorance in the ALP

It’s really hard to believe Wayne Swan was once treasurer.  OK, he was hopeless, but he did hold the position for a number of years. He doesn’t seem to have the faintest clue about how the economy operates, the role of private business or how wages are set.

Yesterday, he delivered a bizarre speech to the ACTU Congress in Brisbane. He spoke as the president of the Australian Labor Party. The whole speech, slides and all, was a lame attack on what he calls ‘‘trickle-down economics’’.

Talk about a straw man — or should that be straw person? — because no sensible economist has ever used the term ‘‘trickle-down economics’’, a point noted by renowned US economist Thomas Sowell.

Here’s the thing, Wayne, it’s best to get your facts straight. The extent of income inequality in Australia has been essentially unchanged for the past 15 years.

After taking into account taxes and transfers, incomes in Australia are much more equal than in many other developed economies. When it comes to low wage growth, we should not think that Australia is alone. Wage growth in this country, at about 2 per cent a year, is actually higher than a number of other developed economies.

And low wage growth has emerged across a large range of wage-setting arrangements. Ironically, it is the US, with its largely deregulated labour market, where wage growth has begun to pick up.

This is one reason the Change the Rules! campaign waged by the ACTU is so pointless. There are systemic reasons why wages are growing slowly, including sluggish productivity growth and the growing dominance of the services sector.

A Labor government might alter provisions of the Fair Work Act but it is unlikely to make much difference. This is not to deny the economic damage some rule changes could have on industries and firms.

The reality is trade unions are political bodies that warehouse officials before they enter parliament or influence who enters parliament. With less than 15 per cent of the workforce signed up, there is no reason to regard them differently from the RSL, CWA or a Rotary club.


'I pay taxes so dole-bludging, oxygen thieving pieces of s*** go from the cradle to the grave with your hand out'

Western Australia has a big problem with Aboriginal crime and the policeman quoted in the heading above has therefore seen a lot of it close up. One can understand his annoyance with Aborigines if not his language

An angry tirade about Aboriginal activists demanding the date of Australia Day be changed has been posted to a Facebook account linked to a police officer.

Western Australian police officer Terry Bodenham is being investigated for offensive comments recently posted to his Facebook account.

In response to an article about the date of Australia Day, a comment posted to the account said: 'I pay taxes so dole bludging, oxygen thieving pieces of s*** like you go from the cradle to the grave with your hand out'.

'You're never satisfied with anything, always wanting more and when you're told no, out pops the racist card.

'I don't know who's worse, the whining black fellas who think the world owes them a living, or the white trash that go along for the ride.'

The tirade continued, with the commenter saying: 'what a pity automatic weapons aren't legal in this state'. 'Oh well, there's always single shot rifles and sharp knives. Your days are numbered.'

An investigation was launched when a member of the public reported the comments to the Western Australian Police. 

Comments posted to the same Facebook account also target the judicial system and Ben Cousins. 'Ben Cousins pleads guilty to a stack of charges, many of which carry penalties in excess of 10 years jail,' he said. 'His penalty - 12 f***ing months and he'll be out in five.

'Obviously if you're an ex footy star you've been kissed on the d*** by a fairy when it comes to criminal charges. 'This is absolutely f***ing pathetic.

'As for the morons who keep leaping to his defence and calling him a champion - f*** off you f***ing idiots need to be shot. He's nothing but a drug f***** waste of space, just like his supporters.'

The rant came after Cousins was jailed and handed a $2,400 fine for drug offences, stalking and breaching a restraining order. The rant was posted to Facebook on March 28, the same day the former footy player was sentenced at the Perth Magistrate's Court last year.

The comments, posted to Terry Bodenham's Facebook page, also called for laws to be changed so off-duty officers and gun owners could carry them freely.

'Do you think it's time the government admitted that the violence in WA is out of control and introduces legislation that allows police officers to carry firearms off duty and licenced handgun owners to covert carry?' the post said.

A WA Police spokesman confirmed a complaint was made and Mr Bodenham was being investigated.

'The officer in question was on extended leave at the time the post was written and the initial complaint was made,' the spokesman told Daily Mail Australia.

'The officer has only returned to duty in recent days, so investigators have not had the opportunity to ask him directly if this is his account and if he made the comments associated with this profile. 'The intent is to conduct these inquiries as soon as possible.' 

WA Police said its social media policy instructed police employees to consider the WA Police Force Code of Conduct when using private accounts. 'Breaches of this policy may be subject to investigation and may result in managerial intervention and/or disciplinary action.' 


Hundreds slam ABC for suggesting we stop using phrase 'It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings' because it's FAT-SHAMING

The ABC has been slammed for hypersensitivity after airing a segment which suggested Australians should stop using a popular phrase.

The saying 'It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings' refers to opera, as the final aria was often sung by a large female performer, but the taxpayer-funded media organisation said it could not be considered as offensive to larger people.

ABC's What is Music presenter Linda Marigliano questioned the 'relevance' of the phrase due to its political incorrectness.

'Considering the fat shaming nature of the phrase, I reckon we should be using the equally confusing but slightly more simple "it ain't over 'til it's over",' Ms Marigliano said.

The ABC video was viewed more than 75,000 times and slammed by hundreds of people who claimed it was 'entirely neutral'.

The phrase was first coined in 1976 during an intense basketball final. Sports information director Ralph Carpenter threw the saying into the commentary at the US game.

The phrase refers to a stereotypically overweight sopranos of the opera. In particular, it is said the term refers to a powerful female figure - valkyrie Brunnhilde - a character in German production Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner from 1874.

'How is it fat shaming? If people said "it ain't over until the short lady sings" nobody's panties would be in a twist. Fat is just an adjective. If you're fat and you don't like being described as fat, you're a pain in the a***,' one person wrote online.

'It's not a fat shaming phrase, it has historical significance ... it isn't going anywhere. If she'd be thin and had red hair and most people didn't know her name it'd likely have been "until the redhead sings",' another shared.

'Shouldn't it be fat person ABC News? Don't assume one's gender,' someone said. 'These days it's hard to know if "fat" or "lady" is the more offensive,' another questioned.


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, 2018

The figures that lay bare the African gang crisis in Victoria: Sudanese-born people are 57 times more likely to commit a robbery than Australians and 33 times more likely to riot

Sudanese-born people in Victoria are far more likely to be charged with aggravated robbery and riot and affray than their Australian-born counterparts, according to recent crime figures.

Victorian Crime Statistics Agency figures to the end of March reveal they are 57 times more likely to be charged with aggravated robbery and 33 times more likely charged with riot and affray than Australians ,The Australian reported.

Sudanese-born offenders ­accounted for 8.5 per cent of ­aggravated robbery offences and 6.9 per cent of riot and affray ­offences in the year to March - despite only accounting for 0.15 per cent of the state's population.

The highly politicised debate regarding African crime has reignited in recent days following the alleged stabbing murder of Melbourne woman, Laa Chol, who was at a party gatecrashed by African-Australian men early Saturday.

Federal Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton declared Victoria has a major law and order problem following the teenage girl's death, accusing Premier Daniel Andrews of failing to acknowledge the issue of Sudanese gangs.

Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alan Tudge also entered the debate, claiming the shocking crime levels in Victoria were not seen in Sudanese communities in NSW and Queensland.

'Basically the crime data is kept by country of origin, and what it shows is that typically the Australian-born commit most of the crime, naturally, because three-quarters of Victoria are Australian-born,' Mr Tudge told Sky News.

'But often now, Sudanese-born is No 2 or No 3, despite them being a tiny proportion of the population, so there clearly is an issue going on there, and the Victorian public know this.'

Mr Andrews was reluctant to respond to Dutton's comments on Monday. 'In relation to the very tragic death of Laa Chol, I don't think her family will be getting much comfort from this sort of discussion,' he told ABC Radio. 'I don't think her family, I think they deserve fundamentally better than what they've been given these last 12 or 24 hours.'  

But the head of police taskforce set up to investigate violent gang crime in Melbourne slammed Mr Dutton for suggesting the stabbing death of a young woman was related to the city's problem with South Sudanese gangs.

Commander Stuart Bateson said the death of Ms Chol, 19, had nothing to do with violent gangs or ethnicity. 'This is not to do with warring factions,' he said. 'The suggestion that Laa Chol, the victim, was a member of a gang just not true.'

3AW's Neil Mitchell agreed, saying that politics needed to be 'taken out of it' and said 'What Peter Dutton has said overnight is just wrong.'

Waleed Aly launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over his views on African gang violence in an eight minute segment on The Project last Thursday.

He admitted that while crimes committed by those of African descent were 'over-represented' and 'unacceptable' in some areas, they account for one per cent of crime, compared to 71 per cent of crime committed by Australian-born people.

'I'm not saying that African-Australians don't commit crime. And I'm not denying that victims of those crimes have a right to feel afraid,' Aly said.

'But it's just a fraction of the crime being committed, and to suggest a city is gripped by a fear of African gangs is just untrue.'


African gangs: It’s not racist to name it for what it is

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

How should we think about recent incidents of violence and anti-­social behaviour by first and second-generation immigrants? Or should we just not think about them at all, for fear of thinking something politically incorrect?

Last Friday Victoria police announced they were investigating the attack and robbery of a 27-year-old man by a group of young people “perceived to be of African appearance” while he paid for a parking ticket in Melbourne’s central business district.

Earlier this month a group of young people, described by their victim as “African”, were reported to have bashed a 73-year-old man living opposite a house in Hawthorn they had rented for an all-night party.

We heard the same story in April when a group of young people — again of “African appearance”, according to police — rented a North Melbourne property online for a short-term stay using a stolen credit card and false identity. They partied hard, trashed the house and, on their way out, were reported to have stomped on police cars and thrown garbage bins at police.

In December, homes in Werribee and Altona as well as a community centre at Tarneit, in western Melbourne were trashed, and police acknowledged an ongoing problem with “a small cohort of African youth”.

This pattern of behaviour is not an aberration. It is a feature of failed integration policies in liberal societies the world over. Illustrative of the problem is the reluctance of police, government and the media to name and shame the community groups responsible.

Integration is a perennially difficult policy question. It’s something I have been researching since I settled in The Netherlands in the early 2000s. Since that time, no matter the reality on the ground, tender-hearted multiculturalists have insisted that immigrants import only positive cultural ideas when they arrive. Liberal democratic societies are expected to turn a blind eye to any problematic cultural behaviour they bring with them, especially if the immigrants have brown skin.

Of course, many South Sudanese immigrants and refugees have settled successfully and adapted to their new lives here. And all-night parties, property damage and assaults are carried out by hooligans of all ethnicities. My concern is only with those immigrants who have adjustment problems. We are living in denial if we do not attempt to identify those values that some bring with them that may have been necessary for survival in their countries of origin but lead to conflict and stunt their opportunities here.

One of those is the glaring difference in attitudes towards violence between Westerners and war-torn communities such as South Sudan. As a migrant from that troubled region of East Africa I was accustomed to the use of viol­ence as a way of life in a society up-ended by civil war. In the communities where I grew up in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, children were taught that might was right and conflicts were resolved by physical force. Hitting a child or wife was how misbehaviour was corrected; it was not seen as a crime. Children were encouraged to fight out peer squabbles and affronts to the clan. If a child was bullied at school, the parents or siblings didn’t complain to the teacher but mobilised relatives to beat up the bully after class.

In communities such as ours, the police were not viewed as a disciplined service maintaining public order. Interactions with police were always bad news. They only showed up to extort, beat or haul people off to prison, not to resolve conflicts at the neighbourhood level. In Australia and other developed countries, by contrast, the state has the monopoly on viol­ence. Citizens are not permitted to exert physical force over their families or anyone else. When I explained this conceptual difference towards the use of violence to my parliamentary colleagues in The Netherlands 15 years ago, one MP remarked that it sounded medieval. It surprised me to hear Victoria police commander Russell Barrett say the Australian Sudanese community was “just as shocked as the broader community in relation to the incidents we’ve seen recently”. He may be shocked but, if they’re being honest, the Sudanese must be reminded of home.

As set out in this newspaper in May, Victorian Crime Statistics Agency data shows Sudanese immigrants are six times likelier to be arrested than those born in Australia. A disproportionately high incidence of violent crime among immigrant populations is not a uniquely Melburnian phenomenon. It is noticeable in many Western regions that have welcomed and then cocooned new immigrants.

Victoria police are taking great pains not to make any connection between culture and violence among South Sudanese youth in Melbourne. A police spokesman stated in May that “the problem is not tied to any particular cultural community, but rather it is young people more broadly who tend to be involved” and that the force has a “zero-tolerance policy towards racial profiling”. Yet they have established an African-Australian Community Taskforce to consult community members about preventing these crimes. This special “African” infrastructure conveys the message that Sudanese immigrants and their children need their own style of policing.

In a twisted way, this approach is truly racist. It is an example of the “poverty of low expectations”, which puts political correctness over cultural realities.

Media reporting on the rising incidence of crime among the Sudanese immigrant community has been portrayed by some commentators as racially motivated discrimination. Politically correct apologists have been quick to point the finger at socio-economic disadvantage and institutional racism. One South Sudanese community spokesman suggested that property owners using Airbnb were partly to blame for the increase in crimes committed by his community’s young people.

Most are concerned that revealing the ethnicity of the culprits could cause a backlash against the South Sudanese community. The Victorian bureaucracy is singing from the same hymn book. Equal Opportunity and Human Rights commissioner Kristen Hilton said: “The majority of Victorians who champion multiculturalism should not have to put up with journalists and politicians undermining their communities and workplaces with racially divisive rhetoric.”

Placing this type of taboo on the cultural factors associated with crime is also a feature of the debates in Sweden, the US, Germany, Austria and Britain, all of which are grappling with the same issue. Authorities and media commentators in Europe also worry that pointing out ethnic or cultural roots of crime will spark backlash and ignite race wars. The Asian “grooming” gangs in the north of England and the mass groping of women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve 2016 are two examples of stories the mainstream media was reluctant to report.

More HERE 

Trevor Noah completely IGNORES firestorm over racist joke about Aboriginal women on the Daily Show and only vows to 'never to make that kind of joke again' in a sub-tweet

I agree with Mr. Noah. I have never seen a good-looking Aboriginal female either -- though there are some good-looking women of part-Aboriginal ancestry.  The fine features that are seen as beautiful in European women are basically absent in Aborigines

Trevor Noah completely failed to mention the furor over his offensive joke about Indigenous Australians during Monday's The Daily Show.

The popular comedian poked fun at Trump and Putin's close relationship, R. Kelly and 3D printed weapons - yet failed to address the backlash over his comments about Aboriginals, made during his 2013 stand-up show.

Noah had joked he'd 'never seen a beautiful Aborigine' in the recently resurfaced footage.

He went onto joke that attraction was not all about looks, saying that they could 'do special things' before he began imitating the sound of a didgeridoo while inferring oral sex.

Social media erupted with calls for the comedian's upcoming Australian tour, which begins in Melbourne next month, to be boycotted.

The 34-year-old said on Twitter on Monday morning that he's since educated himself and 'vowed never to make a joke like that again'.

But it was too little, too late for many who were outraged that Noah, who has made a name for himself as a comedian willing to tackle institutionalized racism and misogyny, would make such a joke.

'He grossly sexualises and objectifies First Nations Australian women for a 'joke',' Katelyn Jones of the Feminism & Decolonisation Facebook page said. 

'He perpetuated incredibly harmful stereotypes ... that Indigenous women aren't beautiful, that Indigenous women are only good for their bodies; and Indigenous women are over-sexualised sex starved beings,' Ms Jones said.  


All public schools will be FORCED to offer girls the option to wear pants instead of skirts as part of a 'new modern makeover' of uniform policy

Girls will be offered the option to wear pants or shorts instead of skirts and dresses at every public school as part of a statewide 'modern makeover' of uniform policy.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes this week scrapped a 24-page school uniform document in favour of a new two-page policy, The Daily Telegraph reported.

While it had previously been at a school's discretion to allow girls to choose their uniform, the new policy will make it mandatory to offer a shorts or pants option.    

'Parents asked for a better policy and I am proud to provide one. It is important to remember families need to have access to the most affordable uniforms possible,' Mr Stokes said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian supported the move, noting that in her school days there was no uniform option for girls. 'The new modern makeover makes uniforms practical and comfortable for students, with affordability for parents front and centre,' Ms Berejiklian said.

The move brings the state's uniform policy in line with Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia - and promises to protect working families against rising costs. Queensland schoolgirls will be offered the choice to wear pants or shorts from 2019.

'In today's day and age, there should be no reason why shorts and pants aren't made part of the school formal uniform,' the state's Education Minister Grace Grace told ABC radio earlier this year.

That move followed the decision in September which declared girls at all Victoria state schools would no longer be forced to wear dresses and skirts.

Education Minister James Merlino said at the time the changes made 'common sense' and that schools had to provide options 'as far as practicable'.

'It's a relatively minor change to ensure that our expectation is that every school does provide the option of shorts and pants for girls,' Mr Merlino told 3AW.


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, 2018

When Yes means No (?)

"Enthusiastic consent" to sex means "You must explicitly ask for permission to have sex." If it's not an enthusiastic yes, then it's a no.  A lot of perfectly normal sex would become illegal with such a law and consent would still be hard to prove or disprove with such a law.  It would be the ultimate intrusion of government into private life. Even the Fascists did not go that far

A message from Bettina Arndt []below:

I have just completed a skype interview with Lorraine Finlay, a very brave law lecturer from Murdoch University in Perth, about proposed changes to sexual consent laws in NSW. Lorraine is a former WA State Prosecutor and co-author of the 2015 book “Criminal Law in Australia”.

The NSW Law Reform Commission has been asked to review the laws and the state government is pushing hard to promote these changes. What worries me is that there is hardly anyone involved in the public debate explaining why enthusiastic consent laws are a really bad idea – despite the fact that in America these laws have been in place for decades and the results are very clear. They dramatically shift the burden of proof favouring rape accusers and denying due process rights for young men. Across the United States, legal organisations, law professors and other academics have been speaking out about the damage caused by such laws. Yet, here in Australia, it looks like once again we will allow the feminist narrative to silence proper debate on the issue.

I’ll be letting you know when the Law Reform Commission is seeking further public consultation and hope I can inspire many of you to express your views. Along with this video I am posting some relevant material on my low bar below the video, so you have material you can use to make your arguments. Rest assured that all the women’s organisations will be arguing for enthusiastic consent laws to be introduced – just one more means of pushing for their end goal which is more rape convictions. We need to get active to protect the legal rights of young men. Think of your sons and all the young men you know and love - they will be even more vulnerable if we let these changes go through.  

So here’s the video:

Please help circulate this so we can alert people to what is going on here.

Senior High school English courses drastically dumbed down in Queensland


ENGLISH students will study DJ playlists and street art in a new senior high school syllabus branded "edutainment". Online games, as well as websites set up by tattoo artists, are listed as "texts" in the new Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) guidelines, starting next year.

Year 11 and Year 12 students will not even have to read any books in Essential English - a basic course for students who plan to work straight after high school. While mainstream English students will study Shakespeare and Australian novels, the Essential English students can watch YouTube videos and logs, analyse SMS text messages or interpret Twitter or Facebook posts instead.

The curriculum defines designers, digital storytellers and vlog creators as "writers", along with novelists, poets and playwrights. The "texts" students can study include "non-verbal or visual communication", including street art and apps.

One assignment task is "an explanation of a DJ's playlist that has been designed for a function or event". Another is "selling or explicating a website designed to enhance the public image of a popular text producer". "Text producers can include, but are not limited to: tattoo artists, authors, film and theatre directors, photographers, musicians, hair and make-up artists, and graphic designers," the document states.

Students will also be taught how to write job applications and resumes, and study work-place signage and work-related legislation. QCAA chief executive Chris Rider said the syllabus "suggests study topics about aspects of popular culture that students will find engaging and relate to".

State Education Minister Grace Grace said the new syllabus had been designed by experts for the needs of vocational students. Education academic and former teacher Kevin Donnelly yesterday criticised the new Queensland syllabus as "edutainment".

Not online.  From p.3 of the "Courier Mail", 21 July, 2018

Just another Leftist tyrant

An embattled Labor backbencher is facing further allegations of bullying and abuse against staff - as senior party figures are said to be closing ranks on the future of her position in government.  

Emma Husar, a first-term federal member for Lindsay in Sydney's outer-west, has now been accused of treating staff like 'slaves' in addition to making one perform domestic duties.

It comes following a string of bullying allegations from her former staff, which Ms Husar has strongly denied.

However, matters now seem to have escalated with the first-term politician allegedly involved in a probe that could lead to being disendorsed by the Labor party before next year's election.

And one former staffer told The Australian Ms Husar's expectations for her staff 'crossed the line'.

'To be told to do the dishes is one thing. The way you're told, and the way it's presented, is a different thing. Everyone had a turn at being her slave,' they said.

Additionally, questions are now being raised about Ms Husar's use of her electoral allowance following suggestions it may have been used to household items.   

During her term in office, staff allege it was common for Ms Husar to require them to serve in work time as 'babysitters' for two of her three children, to wash dishes, walk her dog, clean up dog ­excrement among other duties.

Earlier this week, a former male staffer has claimed to Sky News he was instructed to do the dishes to learn about his 'white male privilege'.

In a Friday phone conference, Labor bosses were said to have questioned how Husar’s alleged behaviour could have gone unchecked for so long, given the turnover of more than 20 staff members in just two years.

The allegation came after BuzzFeed revealed the New South Wales branch of the Labor Party had been investigating Ms Husar since March, looking into allegations of bullying harassment, verbal intimidation and misusing staff.

One former staff member alleged to the website that Husar had called them 'c***s' and 'f***wits'.

Others have reportedly accused her of making her staff babysit her children during and outside work hours and walk her dog.

Her Penrith electorate office has also seen a high turnover of staff since she won her marginal seat at the July 2016 elections, with 20 people resigning during the past two years.

Ms Husar, who hails from Labor's right faction, has vehemently denied the allegations leveled against her but did not specifically refute individual claims.

'The assertions that have been made do not reflect who I am or how my office operates,' she said in a statement sent from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's office late today. 'I was horrified to learn that complaints have been made. At no time has any staff member raised these issues with me.'

Ms Husar said her office was a 'professional and respectful workplace'.   'I am a single mum with three children, working hard and doing my best. If I have let anyone down, I apologise,' she said.

'I respect and am cooperating with the independent process that is underway, and will not be commenting any further.'

Senior federal Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese, who was raised by a single mother, praised Ms Husar, who has spoken in parliament about the struggles of raising an autistic son.

'What I know about Emma Husar is that she's a single mum, works incredibly hard, represents her electorate very strongly,' he told Nine Network today. 'I find her a terrific person to deal with. I find her a very good local member of parliament.'

 Senior federal cabinet minister Christopher Pyne said any investigation should be allowed to run its course. 'I'm not obviously privy to what these complaints are and I think you'd be unwise to comment on them unless you have all the facts,' he told the Nine Network.

The Labor Party's NSW branch confirmed to Daily Mail Australia that an independent investigation was underway. 'The ALP has an independent process for assessing complaints,' a spokesman from Essential Media Communications said. 'The independent process also provides advice to the party on what action, if any, is necessary in response. 'The process is mindful to provide protection to the complainant and also procedural fairness to the subject of the complaint.'

Ms Husar, who won Lindsay in 2016 with a four per cent swing, previously worked in the electorate office of Labor frontbencher Ed Husic.


Africans want police assistance with murder of African girl

Will that inspire them to help the police to apprehend their gang-member children?  Will Victoria Police admit they have an African gang problem?  Reading between the lines, what happened was African tribal warfare

The mother of a 19-year-old girl stabbed to death during a wild apartment brawl has paid tribute to her 'happy and lovely' daughter as her cousin demands justice.

Kenyan-born Laa Chol was killed when a group of young African-Australians crashed a party at a rental flat in Melbourne at 5am on Saturday.

Her shattered mother Ojwanga Abalo said the teenager 'loved everyone,' adding: 'I miss my daughter'.  'Just whenever you saw her, it was a happy moment. There were no sad moments,' she told the Herald Sun.  'She helped me with everything... I don't know what I'm going to do without her,' she added.

Ms Abalo said she hoped police would catch her daughter's 'cowardly' killer.

Miss Chol's cousin Nyawie Dau, who moved with her to Australia in 2005, also urged police to find the culprits and lock them up. 'We need justice for Laa. They need to find whoever did this,' Miss Dau said.

Miss Chol was partying at a $125-a-night apartment on the 56th floor of a block with a group of young African-Australians in their late teens and early 20s. A second group crashed the party and a fight broke out, leading to Miss Chol's stabbing around 5am.

A police spokesman said detectives 'do not believe the second group was invited by either the person who booked the apartment, or the deceased.'

It comes after the Homes Affairs Minister released a statement calling for a crackdown on Sudanese gangs in the wake of the death.

'This is a tragic and needless loss of a young life,' he said.  'There is a major law and order problem in Victoria and more people are going to be hurt until the rule of law is enforced by the Victorian Government.

'We don't have these problems with Sudanese gangs in NSW or Queensland.'

Mr Dutton accused Victorian Premier Dan Andrews of failing to acknowledge the issue of Sudanese gangs. 'He is out of touch and more people will get hurt or worse until the problem is fixed,' he said.

He urged Mr Andrews to change Victoria's bail laws which he described as 'pathetic.'


Electricity Bills in South Australia and Other Australian States Skyrocket

South Australians pay three times as much as Americans for electricity

Like many European countries, South Australia is betting on renewable energy for its electricity, closing coal plants in favor of less carbon sources, with the outcome that its residents are becoming energy poor due to skyrocketing electricity prices.

The region’s reliance on subsidized, intermittent and unreliable wind and solar power has resulted in skyrocketing power prices. Over 100,000 Australian families had their power cut off last year, and another 100,000 are on payment plans with their power providers, making over 200,000 residents energy poor in one of the most energy-rich nations in the world.

109,000 Australian households had their electricity disconnected last year because they were unable to afford their electricity bills, which included over $3 billion in subsidies for Chinese- made solar panels and wind turbines. Electricity bills include the cost of generating power, transmitting it through high-voltage lines, distributing it to homes and businesses, and government subsidies provided to encourage development of renewable energy.

In Victoria, one of Melbourne’s bayside pubs is rationing its heating and cooling and cutting down on staff because of power bills that have reached $24,000 a month. The pub will have to sell over 120 additional pots of beer each day to keep pace with power bills that have tripled from $8000 a month after last year’s closure of the Hazelwood coal power plant. The closure of the 1600-megawatt Hazelwood plant in March 2017 resulted in the loss of over 20 percent of the state’s generation capacity. The electricity company blames the closure of the Hazelwood plant for the tripling of the pub’s power bill.

In Victoria, average retail household power bills increased almost 16 percent to $1275 compared to a year earlier. Average wholesale prices in 2017 increased 85 percent in Victoria (VIC) and 32 percent in South Australia (SA). Average wholesale prices in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (QLD) increased 63 percent and 53 percent, respectively.

Prior to the Hazelwood plant’s closure, the plant’s access to low-cost coal kept power prices among the lowest in the electricity market that supplies eastern Australia. Without the Hazelwood plant, the region became a net importer of electricity in the second half of 2017. To cope with the loss of coal-fired electricity, 500 percent more natural gas was used for power generation in 2017 and renewable energy surged, particularly roof-top solar as consumers looked to alternate sources rather than their power supplier.


South Australia, Victoria, and other Australian states are suffering from high electricity prices and potential blackouts because of their unsustainable mix of intermittent renewable energy with insufficient back-up power. Because of high electricity prices and energy poverty, residents with the help of the government are looking towards solar rooftop panels and home storage batteries, which are also costly, to form a virtual power plant and hopefully lower prices.

The United States should learn from Australia’s experience and not be too hasty at turning its generating sector over to intermittent renewable energy. Wind and solar power represent almost 8 percent of the current U.S. generating mix, which so far has not destabilized the grid.

But, costly tax credits for wind power have caused negative electricity prices that have resulted in traditional technologies, at times, being uncompetitive.  Wind generators are awarded tax credits equivalent to cash from taxpayers for generating power even when there is no financial need for it. Without the proper back-up power and policies that support it, the United States could end up facing similar cost and unreliability issues and challenges as these Australian states.


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, 2018

Simple solution to STEM teacher shortage

Both ideas put forward below have great merit but they do not exhaust the possibilities.  Another idea is to make teaching into more attractive work than it is today.  It seems fairly likely that a fair percentage of mathematically talented people are fairly nerdy types and they would be very much pushed away by the boisterous and occasionally violent classrooms that greet government school teachers today.  Almost all teachers report problems with indiscipline and it is a major reason reported for teacher turnover.

So it is a problem generally, not only for maths teachers and solving it in general would help bring back mathematical enthusiasts who have been deterred from teaching in the first place.

And both the source and the solution for indiscipline are historically as clear as day.  Leftist ideas that forbid physical punishment are the
fons et origo of contemporary problems. The few disciplinary options that are now available to head teachers are plainly insufficient.  The orderly classrooms of yesteryear are now rare.  As a result, education for all is now regularly disrupted.  As usual, Leftist ideas have proved destructive.

So physical punishment needs to be an option again.  It was until recently.  I remember it myself. So it can clearly be an option again. It would require a revised legal framework but it would substantially fix education, including STEM education

Faced with the shortage of qualified teachers for science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) subjects, the federal government recently announced its intention of solving this problem - but it is a state and territory issue.

Alan Finkel, Australia's Chief Scientist, delivered an excellent speech last week extolling the importance of teaching rigorous content knowledge in STEM subjects. He identified the problem of many student arriving at university to study STEM-related degrees without the necessary foundations. Clearly, we need to improve the quality of maths and science teaching across the school system.

But it is difficult to attract science and maths graduates to the teaching profession. Approximately 20% of Years 7-10 science and maths teachers in Australia do not have any university qualification in their subjects.

One straightforward idea to encourage STEM graduates to become teachers - which CIS has been advocating for many years - is to allow differential, market-driven pay rates for teachers depending on the demand for qualified teachers in their subjects.

This isn't like the simplistic `pay all teachers more' or `introduce performance-based pay' solutions.

Rather, teacher salaries should be higher or lower depending on whether there is an oversupply or undersupply of teachers in the subject. For example, if there is an oversupply of history teachers and an undersupply of science teachers, then schools should be able to pay science teachers relatively more.

While this might seem an absolute no-brainer, it is surprisingly controversial. Education unions tend to oppose differential pay rates, which helps explain why we continue to have set teacher salaries that only vary with experience and expertise, and not with subject area. As long as this is the case, it is very hard to see an end to Australia's STEM woes.

The truth is maths, engineering, and science graduates tend to be in demand by many employers, and so they have to forgo relatively high-paying jobs to go into teaching.

Another impediment for STEM graduates becoming teachers is that they must take two years off paid work to do a Master of Teaching. Until recently, it was possible to do a one-year Graduate Diploma of Education instead.

The benefits of a Masters compared to a Diploma are arguable - and university teacher education degrees often don't equip teaching graduates with evidence-based practices. So it is hard to argue that STEM graduates should have to do a further two years of full-time study to become qualified teachers.

Introducing differential teacher pay rates for STEM teachers won't solve the problem overnight, but there seem to be few other viable options.


Queensland Government employs 4300 in a public service jobs spree

And what could they do that they couldn't do before?


THE Palaszczuk Government has undertaken one of its biggest public service hiring sprees since coming to office. New figures show  about 4300 full-time-equivalent staff were hired in the three months to March, the biggest increase since the March quarter in 2015.

It comes as the state's public service wages bill continues to climb by about $1 billion a year, according to the latest Budget figures. Debt is also on track to reach $83 billion by 2021-22. The majority of new staff were hired by the health and education departments.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Treasurer Jackie Trad yesterday released the March quarter public service figures in a pre-Estimates dump alongside the long-awaited KPMG report into the effectiveness of Labor's hiring spree. The public service has grown by 26,401 since the last quarter under the former Newman government in December 2014. The KPMG report, which was handed to the. Government in July last year, found there was evidence to suggest the services provided had "generally kept up with demand", but took issue with the way the Government measured service delivery. It said that, while some areas had improved, others had not including child safety, where it found the data indicated NO vidence to suggest the number of FTE (full time employees) had resulted in an improvernent  in response times. 

Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk defended the decision to release the KMPG report yesterday rather than before the last election and the most recent Budget. She said the. Government had been working to implement its recommendations. She and Ms Trad insisted work was under way to ansure  the public service growth was kept in line with  population growth as promised.

Former QUT vice-chancellor Peter Coaldrake has been commissioned to review the way the public service is counted and managed. Contractors and labour hire workers not now included in quarterly data will be counted, with Ms Pal-aszczuk promising to drive down their cost.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander slammed the spending of "$165,000 of taxpayers' money trying to prove that hiring more public servants has improved services".

Together secretary Alex Scott questioned the KPMG measurement methods.

Not online.  From "Courier Mail" 21 July, 2018. p.2.

Visa queues swell as Peter Dutton's migration cuts bite

Families are set to wait longer to bring in husbands and wives from overseas as the Turnbull government presides over a growing queue for permanent migration, in another sign of its tougher line on population growth.

Employers are also feeling the impact of a cut to the migration program amid business warnings that both major parties are "playing with fire" by shutting out workers who contribute to the economy.

Applications for family visas, including spouses who have married Australians, fell to 125,000 in the year to June but only 47,000 were granted, leaving tens of thousands waiting for a decision.

Applications for skilled worker visas fell to 145,000 during the year but only 111,000 were granted, highlighting the number of employers who could be missing out on workers they want from overseas.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has overseen a cut to the permanent intake from 183,608 last year to 162,417 in the year to June 30, trimming both skilled and family visas.

"I want to make sure we scrutinise each application so we're getting the best possible migrants," Mr Dutton said last week.

Fairfax Media sought figures on the number of applications lodged during the past year and was told the number of family stream applications fell 12.6 per cent while the skilled applications fell 17.7 per cent.

Total refusals increased 46 per cent and total withdrawals increased 17 per cent as a result of the "increased focus on integrity" but the total number of finalisations was similar, the government said.

The numbers reveal the hidden side of the government's tougher line on permanent residency, with many applicants waiting within Australia on other visas while they seek a decision on permanency.

Both major parties are now hardening their language about foreign workers, with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten accusing the government of doing nothing about 1.6 million people from overseas who have work rights in Australia.

"This government does not want to talk about the growing problem of people coming to Australia with temporary work right visas and they're doing nothing about that," he said.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive James Pearson said businesses and jobs were at risk from the "starving of skills" from visa changes.

"They are stoking the unfounded fears of some in the community who are being told that skilled migrants take jobs off Australians," Mr Pearson said.

Australians have a right to gain a visa for a spouse but are often expected to wait more than a year, with Home Affairs saying 75 per cent of applications are processed within 23 months and 90 per cent are processed within 32 months.



‘White feminists’ blame colonisation for indigenous domestic violence

Why not blame it on the Dinosaurs? Might as well.  The causal chain is just as absent

A new taxpayer-funded report that claims domestic violence against indigenous women and children is caused by colonisation has been criticised as a kind of “white feminism” that excuses male violence in some cultures and ignores victims of domestic crises.

The national organisation Our Watch, funded by the commonwealth, state and territory governments, released a report yesterday examining ways to prevent family violence affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children that appears to blame settlement for contemporary violence.

The organisation is chaired by Natasha Stott Despoja and has just two indigenous members on its board — Vicky Welgraven and Jeremy Donovan — alongside Lieutenant General David Morrison and former NSW Liberal MP Kerry Chikarovski.

“While there is no one ‘cause’ of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, its three key underlying drivers can be understood as: the ongoing impacts of colonisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the ongoing impacts of colonisation for non-indigenous people and in Australian society and gendered factors,” the report says.

“(This includes) both gender and inequality in a general sense, and specific gendered drivers of ­violence that are a consequence of colonisation.”

Indigenous academic Marcia Langton said some of the conclusions in the report were an “outcome of white feminists ignoring the voices of Aboriginal women”.

“White feminists largely have a poor understanding of the challenges faced by frontline Aboriginal female workforce with little support from police and courts,” she told The Australian.

“The male perpetrators are represented in court; victims and families are not. Still, across most of the country, this is the case. Aboriginal women victims of domestic violence are ending up in jail at ­astonishing rates.” The latest statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, released in February, show that indigenous women are 32 times more likely than non-indigenous women to be hospitalised because of family ­violence. Similarly, indigenous men are 23 times more likely to be hospitalised.

Two in five indigenous homicide victims — 41 per cent — were killed by a current or former partner, compared with one in five non-indigenous homicide victims, the data shows.

National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples co-chairwoman Jackie Huggins said while the drivers of violence were “inextricably linked with the legacy of colonisation”, it was time to change focus.

“Now peoples and communities need to come together to find solutions. Colonisation should never be used as an excuse for ­violence,” Dr Huggins told The Australian.

“In the past, the conversation about family violence has talked about women in a way which has erased the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women facing family violence. I’m very pleased to see the voices and experiences of our women being elevated in these conversations.”

Our Watch acknowledges that many indigenous women have white partners or partners from other backgrounds, and that men should never be taught that violence can be excused.

One of the key recommendations of the Our Watch report is for “specific healing strategies for women, men, children and young people as well as holistic strategies to enable community healing”.

In an essay in Griffith Review published in April, Professor Langton dismissed the concept of healing for violent men.

“Another excuse for the violence — the dominant one, I think — is that Aboriginal men are the victims of ‘colonisation’ and ‘need to heal’ before we can deal with the violence,” she wrote.

“Again, the argument, the logic and the consequences are repugnant and should be dismissed. The logical answer is that men who do not approve of such violence should stand beside Aboriginal women advocates to end the violence and defend their cause.

“They should report perpetrators of assault and rape to the police. They should demand that the criminal justice system deal with these matters effectively. But the justification for violence is that Aboriginal men have been colonised and are victims who need to be addressed as a priority over their victims. Why? Well apparently because men come first, if we follow this specious reasoning.”

Dr Huggins agreed that the effects of colonisation played a huge role in under-reporting of violence, because “many peoples mistrust the police, and for good reason”.

Our Watch chief executive Patty Kinnersly told The Australian the report was clear that there was no excuse for violence against women. “It unequivocally points to the need to ‘challenge the condoning or excusing of violence’ in all contexts — by men, women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and non-indigenous Australians,” she said.

“It examines the impacts of colonisation and intergenerational trauma as ways to develop a deeper understanding of the issue, because they are some of the many factors driving it. It also prominently features input from Aboriginal people — both men and women — who stress that while these issues need to be understood and addressed, they are not excuses for violence.

“Changing the Picture states explicitly and frequently that nothing excuses violence, and instead seeks to offer insights that will prove constructive in building a future free from violence.”

The resource also debunks some of the myths about indigenous violence and says explicitly, despite the claims of some men, that “violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is not a part of traditional culture”.

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan said Our Watch was an independent body and the content of the report was a matter for its members. “The government’s Stop it at the Start domestic violence campaign emphasises as its priority personal responsibility and respectful relationships.”


‘The police might as well put on masks and join in’

Far-right provocateur Lauren Southern has accused Australian police of inciting violence and 'participating' in protests during a controversial speaking event she held in Melbourne.

Ms Southern appeared on Sky News with conservative journalist Andrew Bolt, who asked the Canadian if she had even been 'presented with a police bill for protecting you from thugs?'  

'Never in my life,' the 23-year-old responded. 'This really does seem like an incentive for violence. Not only do you get to beat people that you don't like and attack them but they're going to be oppressed economically as well.' 

'The police are quite frankly participating ... They might as well be members of Antifa at this point, just put on the masks and join!'

Political commentator Andrew Bolt said he was 'calling out Victoria Police and their masters in the Labor government' for 'cooperating with violent fascists of the left to stop conservatives or people of the right from holding meetings

'Police and the fascist left make it too frightening or too expensive for conservatives or the right to hold meetings in Melbourne,' Bolt said.

'Conservatives must pay a fortune or risk violence. What on earth happened to our democracy and our free speech?'

Police anticipated violent protests and earlier this week let event organisers know that it would cost them $68,000 for the police presence.


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

22 July, 2018

Lauren Southern needs a new t-shirt

 Jeremy Sammut below preaches in favour of the individual and against the fractionating into groups preached by the Left. I wholeheartedly agree with him. He does not however confront the question: "How do we get there from here?"

And that is the fatal flaw in his criticism of Lauren Southern below.  Multiculturalism has an almost complete monopoly of the media.  We are constantly told that no other system of thought can possibly be virtuous.  We are constantly presented with the wonders of all sorts of minority groups.  And those groups are always held up relative to white males.  White males are the boogeymen, the villains.  You can be proud of your identity as long as you are not a white male.

That monologue has to be disrupted if we are to defeat racism.  Because multiculturalism has become a form of racism.  White males are what the Jews historically were:  A group that is too successful and has to be cut down to size wherever possible.

So Lauren disrupts that monolithic narrative.  She shows that another view is possible.  And in so doing she exposes the emperor's clothes.  She openly challenges the "consensus" and shows that there is no answer to her challenge.  Multiculturalists abuse her but no reasoned argument from them is forthcoming. Trump won power by challenging the hate that the Left pour out on ordinary white people so there is great potential for Lauren's message also to hit home.

White males do still undoubtedly rule the roost so they are not as vulnerable as Jews once were but it does get tiresome to be identified day in and day out as the source of all evil.  And it is more than tiresome.  It is borderline deranged. Lauren is in the end standing up for sanity.

Below is a picture of two blue-eyed, blond-haired white men of European origin who rule very big roosts.  Multiculturalism seems to be some way off yet.

It is fair to say that in these politically correct times there is a lack of political leadership around many contentious social issues that many politicians and community leaders hesitate to speak out about.

It is also a truism that politics abhors a vacuum. However, we should be careful not to fill the vacuum with another vacuum.
This thought is prompted by the controversy generated by the visit to Australia by the 23-year-old Canadian alt-right activist Lauren Southern.

Southern — who had already tried to drum up publicity over her initially rejected visa application — pulled another stunt upon arrival in Brisbane by wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan ‘It’s Okay to be White.’

This was followed by Southern — who speaks fluent soundbite — telling the media how pleased she was to be in country committed to “Western culture — something that may not be here for much longer if left-wing Australian politicians continue their pathological worship of multiculturalism.”

If Southern’s heart is in the right place, her arguments certainly aren’t. For many of the things she is saying on western culture and multiculturalism, claims to stand for, and literally wears on her ‘T’, are mutually exclusive.

Yes, ‘hard’ multiculturalism poses a danger to Western culture when migrants from countries with conflicting cultural values migrate and are not encouraged to integrate with the norms and values of their new country.

But, no: the answer to multiculturalism is not to practice a different form of identity politics — a new form of tribalism — by being proud of ‘whiteness’.

What is actually worth defending about Western culture (and is the antidote to identity politics and multiculturalism) is the fundamental principle of respect for the individual — regardless of superficial differences such as those that are literally skin-deep.
If Southern really wants to defend Western culture and all it should truly stand for, she should buy a new T-shirt.
This one should be emblazoned with that famous quote by one of the greatest proponents of the respect for the individual, Dr Martin Luther King: “judge not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”


Violent "protesters" picket Lauren Southern speech

The violent Left again.  Stalin lives in them

A protester yelling 'I love Muslims' has stormed the stage during alt-right provocateur Lauren Southern's speech.

Nita Habibi was tackled by security at the event after throwing herself at the speaker in front of the auditorium. Habibi shouted 'I love freedom of speech' and 'I love refugees' as she was dragged out of the event at La Mirage Reception and Convention Centre in Melbourne's north.

Dramatic footage shows security bundling the protester off the stage, with Miss Southern apparently unharmed.

As Habibi was dragged off stage, Miss Southern's supporters can be seen cheering and clapping.

'[Southern spouts an extremely Islamophobic rhetoric that is nothing short of hate speech. She is a dangerous individual whose false views on Muslims stir up polarisation and violence,' Habibi told The Australian after the event. 

Violent protests erupted outside the event where Southern, 23, and co-speaker Stefan Molyneux kicked off their Australian tour on Friday night. 

A number of protesters got violent and began to throw rocks at a bus arriving with ticket holders, the Herald Sun reported.

Miss Southern will be travelling across Australia for her speaking tour

Violence erupted between protesters and counter-protesters, with punches thrown and people being dragged over protective barriers.

Victoria police are on the ground in the area, including riot police and mounted police, who are working to keep the protests at bay.

The violent protesters could be heard shouting slogans, 'unite to fight the right' and 'Nazi scum'.

Victoria Police say they are "disappointed" after protesters clashed with riot and mounted police outside a Melbourne venue.

Police anticipated violent protests and earlier this week let event organisers know that it would cost them $68,000 for the police presence.

The young provocateur is known for her controversial views on multiculturalism, Islam and feminism and was banned in March from entering the UK.

The Campaign Against Racism and Fascism says Southern is 'a notorious racist and Islamophobe'.

'She is known for her involvement in the racist attempts to obstruct NGO search-and-rescue boats trying to help shipwrecked migrants in the Mediterranean," the group alleged in a Facebook statement.

Victoria police insisted on being present for crowd control and security after another right wing activist, Milo Yiannopoulos, visited Melbourne in December 2017, prompting violent protests from the far left.

More than a dozen men were sought by police after Milo Yiannopoulos' speaking show descended into chaos.

Police in riot gear intervened when verbal clashes turned physical between around 500 left-wing and 50 right-wing activists.

Several protesters were seen throwing punches and rocks, while others brandished make-shift weapons including wooden clubs and sticks. 

Yiannopoulos, who held his first Australian tour last month, slammed the 'violent' left-wing protesters for causing the trouble outside the event.

'There was a lot of kerfuffle out front,' he told Alan Jones on 2GB Radio the day after the chaotic scenes.

'It was not as the newspapers reported ''a clash between the far left and far right'' it was the left, showing up, being violent to stop freedom of speech.'

Miss Southern and her speaking partner Stefan Molyneux are set to speak in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane after Friday's talk in Melbourne. 


'Immigrants should blend in and adopt Australian values':
Migrants to undergo new test about forced marriage, genital mutilation and freedom of speech before being granted citizenship

Australia should introduce a 'values test' for immigrants applying for citizenship, federal Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge has said.

The country is veering towards multicultural segregation and must do more to ensure the integration of migrants, Mr Tudge warned in a speech at the Australia/UK Leadership Forum in London overnight.

He said immigrants 'must blend into the fabric of our ­nation' and can't expect to bring 'their entire practices, language and culture with little expectation placed upon them to share or mix with the local community.' 

'Our ship is slightly veering towards a European separatist multicultural model and we want to pull it back to be firmly on the Australian integrated path,' he said.

'Some of the challenges to social cohesion that we are facing today are similar to ones that the UK is facing - such as ethnic segregation and liberal values being challenged.'

Mr Tudge said a proposed English language skills test for those seeking permanent residency should be extended to include a 'values' assessment.

'We place an emphasis on Australian values as the glue that holds the nation together,' he said.

'We do this through requiring people to sign a values statement before coming into Australia, satisfy a citizenship test and pledge allegiance before becoming a citizen.

Questions that could be included in updated citizenship test

Can you strike your spouse?

Does Australia's principle of freedom of ­religion mean that in some situations it is permissible to force children to marry?

Under what circumstances is it appropriate to prohibit girls from education?

'The weakness of this, however, is that we presently have few mechanisms to assess people against their signed statement.'

He added: 'We need muscular ongoing promotion of our values: of freedom of speech and worship, equality between sexes, democracy and the rule of law, a fair go for all, the taking of individual ­responsibility.'

A revamped citizenship test including a values test and a harder English test was rejected by the senate last year - but ministers have said another attempt at reform will be made this year.

In April, Daily Mail Australia reported how sweeping changes could be made to the Australian citizenship test in a bid to test the values of migrants looking to settle in the country permanently.

A set of questions determining if a potential citizen shares the same values as the nation could be added to the test, including questions on domestic violence and child marriage.

Sample questions include: 'can you strike your spouse?', 'does Australia's principle of freedom of ­religion mean that in some situations it is permissible to force children to marry?'

Applicants may also be asked: 'Under what circumstances is it appropriate to prohibit girls from education?'

The values questions are intended to be put to the public for their opinion, and could include topics such as genital mutilation.

There will also be an English test which requires the applicant to display reading, writing and listening skills.

Prospective citizens with a permanent or enduring incapacity, as well as those aged under 16, would be exempted from the English reading, writing and listening test.

Applicants will also have to demonstrate steps they have taken to contribute and integrate into their community, whether by employment, school enrollment or membership of community organisations.

The test can only be taken by those who have held permanent residency for four years, whereas previously it was one.

Behaviour inconsistent with Australian values will also be taken into account during the process, with a light shone on criminal activity - including domestic violence - and involvement in organised crime.

Applicants can take the test three times, and then must wait two more years before taking it again. Previously, there was no limit to the amount of times the test could be taken.

Cheating will result in an automatic fail.

The move came just two days after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced an overhaul of the 457 temporary foreign worker visa.

'Membership of the Australian family is a privilege and should be afforded to those who support our values, respect our laws and want to work hard by integrating and contributing to an even better Australia,' Mr Turnbull said.

'We must ensure that our citizenship program is conducted in our national interest.'

Speaking on Wednesday at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Breakfast, the Prime Minister said the changes are intended to help increase national security, as well as social cohesion.

'Australia must continue to attract people who will embrace our values and positively contribute - regardless of their nationality or religious beliefs,' he said.

'This is important for temporary visas and vital for permanent residency and citizenship.

'Citizenship must be valued and we are making changes so that the practices and principles of those obtaining citizenship are consistent with our cultural values.

'Our reforms are designed to get more out of our migration system, to realise its potential to contribute to our economy.'

Mr Turnbull said five million people had committed to becoming Australian citizens since 1949, helping to secure and enrich the nation.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the country should not be embarrassed to say it wants great people to call Australia home.

'We want people who abide by our laws and our values, and we should expect nothing less,' Mr Dutton said.


Teachers are being encouraged to show LGBT movies to students to increase 'diversity' - as 'concerned' education expert warns schools will have to be 'very careful'

Teachers have been encouraged to show LGBT movies to students as a measure to increase diversity in the classroom.

The New South Wales Teachers Federation released a list of approved films which feature lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) themes deemed 'appropriate to study in class'.

Films include Love, Simon, Gayby Baby, Pride, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Battle of the Sexes, according to the NSW Teachers Federation.

Some of the selected movies, including The Danish Girl and Perks of Being a Wallflower, are classified mature (M) and are advised for audiences older than 15-years.

However, Gayby Baby, Pride and Battle of the Sexes are classified under Parental Guidance (PG).

'There is now an array of films available with LGBTIQ characters and research indicates that when students see themselves in the content studied in class, they are more likely to be engaged and feel part of the school community and culture,' the organisation wrote online.

'This has positive implications for LGBTIQ students' wellbeing and educational outcomes. It also provides non LGBTIQ students with a broader range of experience and can assist with empathy and understanding of others.'

None of the films are prescribed under the NSW curriculum, but the federation said teachers are encouraged to use the movies so students can learn to 'connect and collaborate with a diverse group of people'.

Love, Simon, which was released earlier this year, focuses on issues of identity, consent, respectful relationships and cyber-bullying.

It features a gay male lead character.

The 'bold' film has been described as a 'poignant, coming of age teenage movie with a difference', however, 'not suitable for younger viewers', according to the Australian Council on Children and the Media.

The council president Elizabeth Handsley said while it was possible to show adult themed movies in classrooms, it is a 'concern'.

None of the films (The Danish Girl, left, and Battle of the Sexes, right) are prescribed under the NSW curriculum but the federation said teachers are encouraged to use the movies so students can learn to 'connect and collaborate with a diverse group of people'

'It is an interesting proposition to be showing M films in schools: that would concern me as it has the tendency of undermining the classification message,' Professor Handsley told The Australian.

'You need to be very careful doing so in a school setting ... where there's a whole range of students with a range of maturity levels and background experiences.'

The NSW Education Department spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia schools were required to acknowledge the diverse views held by parents and the community about what was suitable for students to study.

'Parents have the right to remove their children from any school activity or NSW curriculum learning that they are concerned about,' the spokesperson said.

'Films or TV programs rated M or M15+ may be shown to some students in circumstances where the material is determined by the principal to be age-appropriate and contributing materially to learning under the NSW curriculum.'

The department said principals had to inform parents about the content of an activity beforehand. 


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, 2018

‘Program did not consider the impact on victims’: ABC slammed by MP over NZ deportation piece

Leftists  going into bat for violent criminals is routine.  Note the Tookie Williams disgrace.  The  great hulking brute killed weak little Asians without a second thought   -- but the California Left did its best to save him from execution

In this case however there is something else involved.  Unmentioned on all sides is that the offenders were mostly Maori or part Maori and Maori have a high crime rate.  Kiwis don't want them back if only for that reason.  It gives them a real law & order problem.  Their underlying objections are racist but they dare not mention that

THE ABC has been slammed by Australian politicians over its Foreign Correspondent program which investigated why the country is “detaining, cuffing and deporting more New Zealanders than any other group”.

Journalist and former Wallaby Peter FitzSimons, who was the guest reporter on Tuesday’s night’s program, had gone to New Zealand to see how deportation had affected the relations between the two countries.

More than 1300 Kiwis have been deported from Australia — for committing crimes or being found to be of bad character — in the past three years, with another 15,000 set to be sent back over the next decade.

However it copped major backlash from Coalition ministers who say it failed to interview any victims.

“I watched the entire program, and I have to say I felt the ABC program did not consider the impact on victims,” Assistant Home Affairs Minister Alex Hawke told Sky News.

“There wasn’t a victim on the show, and what we’re talking about is serious criminal offences.

“In the domestic violence cohort I can tell you, there are sexual offences against women in front of their children in many cohorts in different parts of the world in Australia, and they’re serious, serious offences.

“The ABC program did argue, it kind of presented that we are doing something unfair, or that we are doing something wrong.

“The Australian Government makes no apology for deporting serious criminals who are not citizens of Australia.”
Peter FitzSimons talks to deportee Ko Haapu. The ABC was slammed by Home Affairs Minister Alex Hawke for the program failing to talk to victims.

New Zealand Justice Minister Andrew Little claims that Australia is breaching human rights with its hard-line deportation policy. But Mr Hawke dubbed this “irresponsible”.

He took to Twitter during the night of the program to express his disappointment in Mr Little:

Since the Migration Act was amended in December 2014, it gave powers to Australia’s Department of Home Affairs together with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton the ability to cancel the visas of people who could pose a risk to the community or who they’ve deemed are not of “good character”.

Mr Dutton also took to his Twitter account during the Foreign Correspondent piece to share the millions of dollars Australia has saved from cancelling visas of particular persons:

During his Sky News interview Mr Hawke had a direct message for Aussies living across the Ditch.

“We would as the Australian Government say to citizens in New Zealand, ‘Well you must obey the law, and if you don’t obey the law you may be deported back to Australia.’

“We’d like to hear the same message from the New Zealand Government.”

Foreign Correspondent followed the case of former New Zealand soldier turned motorcycle gang member and deportee, Ko Haapu. He had also previously worked as security detail for former NZ prime minister John Key.

“I wasn’t on criminal charges … but I was still treated as a prisoner who has committed a crime,” Haapu told FitzSimons.

In the program titled “Don’t Call Australia Home” FitzSimons found that under the changes to the Migrant Act, “just being a member of a bike gang, an organisation suspected of criminal behaviour, was enough to get Haapu deported on ‘bad character’ grounds, even though it’s not illegal in Western Australia to belong to one”.

Mr Hawke said he was unable to comment on any individual case, but that many deportees who spoke to the media were not telling the whole truth.

“If people want to go into the public domain about their case, they should reveal to the public of Australia and New Zealand the full details of all of their cases, including the wrongdoing they’ve been engaged in, and what you see in the media quite often in relation to criminal deportation cases is only part of the story,” Mr Hawke said.

“The vast, vast, vast bulk of the crimes we see are shocking. They are repeat offenders, in many cases people have been warned several times over the past, when we had weaker laws, before this Government came to office, they received a warning that if they commit another crime they will be deported.

“It’s not their first crime, not their first time, and so I’d ask people to look very carefully into the details of any case in the public domain, and there is always more to the case in many cases than you’ll see in the public domain.”

“I’m unable to speak about any case, and you can ask me a hundred ways but I can’t do it. But I can say, look, if you’re involved in a criminal gang and you’re well known as a criminal gang associate, then obviously issues will pertain to your character,” Mr Hawke said.

“They are considerations. If you’re not a citizen of Australia, we have a perfect right to consider your character if you’re here on a temporary visa or another form of visa.”

During the program, when confronting Mr Dutton about Haapu’s case, FitzSimons put it straight to the Home Affairs Minister.

“He was held with no charge, no crime committed,” he said.

“Peter, he was a member of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang, and we know that they are part of a syndicate which is the biggest distributor of drugs in our country,” Mr Dutton told FitzSimons.

FitzSimons hit back saying, “You imply a raft of strong allegations, accusations against the fellow that we can’t see.”

“Well, Peter, that happens every day. I mean, there’s intelligence that’s gathered that’s not released for a variety of reasons,” Mr Dutton said.

Both politicians reiterated that the “Australian Government won’t apologise for deporting people with a criminal background, with criminal offences or of bad character”.

A spokeswoman for the ABC told that Foreign Correspondent had interviewed three deportees and there was no attempt on behalf of the program to downplay the seriousness of any of the crimes.

“One received a 12 month prison sentence for domestic violence; his wife was approached but did not want to appear on camera,” the spokeswoman said.

“The second was a convicted drug dealer, and interviewing victims of a drug dealer is not feasible in this context.

“The third was sent back on grounds of bad character and has not been convicted of a crime, so there were no victims to interview.”

The spokeswoman said that is true that the deportees were convicted criminals or had been judged to be of bad character, and are hard to empathise with, “but their cases do raise some difficult questions of principle — for example, whether it is correct to keep someone in prison for a long period without charge or conviction, and whether it is fair to deport and separate from their family someone who has done their jail time and officially paid their dues to society.”

She explained that the intent of the story was to reveal to the Australian audience the depth of feeling in New Zealand — as expressed by ordinary Kiwis and senior political leaders — about Australia’s policy.

“We were surprised by the level of anger and felt it warranted reporting, given that it potentially impacts on our relations with such a close neighbour and ally.

“Given the strength of the critique from New Zealand politicians, we felt it deserved a response from the Australian Government, which we obtained by way of an interview with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

“It was reasonable for the program to explore such questions. Ultimately, of course, it was left to the viewer to decide.”

On the day the program aired (July 17), guest reporter FitzSimons posted a comment to his 67,000 Twitter followers to tune in: “My stint as Guest Correspondent on Foreign Correpspondent (sic), tonight, 8pm. See what you think!”

Many commented on his tweet, voicing their disappointment on how Australia is treating the New Zealanders in question, while others agreed with the Government’s policy.

One person tweeted: “I’m a Kiwi living in Aus and I totally support what Aus is doing. It’s a privilege living here, why should Aussies put up with someone tattooed with FTP on their neck?”

Another congratulated Fitzsimons, saying: “Excellent job. It is an embarrassing policy and not a good look for Australia. We have to do better by NZ.”



‘They prefer to back a regime of murderous thugs’: Left-wing Australian unionists push for Israel ‘genocide’ motion

Leftist antisemitism goes all the way back to Karl Marx, who hated Jews even though he was one.  In his day it was a common saying: "Der Antisemitismus ist der Sozialismus der dummen Kerls." (Antisemitism is the socialism of stupid people).  Not much has changed

A SENIOR union official has broken ranks with his colleagues to speak out against an “anti-Semitic” push to condemn Israel for the “genocide” of Palestinians.

The resolution, which called on a Labor government to immediately recognise a Palestinian state, was passed overwhelmingly by the Left Caucus at the Australian Council of Trade Unions Congress in Brisbane on Monday afternoon.

The Left Caucus makes up roughly 400 of the estimated 1000 union delegates attending the three-day union meeting, which will set the scene for Labor’s upcoming National Conference in December.

“The motion itself condemned Israel for the ‘genocide’ of the Palestinian people and called on a Labor government to immediately recognise the Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders,” said Jeff Lapidos, tax branch secretary of the Australian Services Union.

The left and right factions met separately on Monday to put forward motions that would then be debated on the floor of the congress. ACTU members collectively represent an estimated two million Australian workers.

A delegate from the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union put forward the anti-Israel motion, calling for it to be put direct to the ACTU executive to avoid debate on the floor, where it would be voted down by the right.

“They didn’t want a divisive debate,” Mr Lapidos said.

“He made it clear that the Right Caucus didn’t support the motion but the left had a majority at the ACTU executive, so the plan obviously is to discuss it behind closed doors and ram it through.

“I got up and spoke against it, that it was wrong and shouldn’t be supported. I spoke for a minute or two, someone else spoke in favour for 30 seconds, then it was passed by an overwhelming majority by a vote of the hands.”

In 2011, ACTU secretary Sally McManus said she vigorously supported the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel “to end the violation of human rights and to campaign against ­Israel as a means of peaceful resistance”.

Mr Lapidos stressed he was speaking in his personal capacity and not on behalf of the ASU, which unlike more militant left-wing unions does not take positions on international affairs.

He said the motion was effectively a “vote of no confidence” in the Labor Party’s current policy on Israel “which is to be even-handed”, and was the only motion that had to be “debated behind closed doors”.

“For reasons I don’t fully understand, the left in Australia has developed a very anti-Israel, anti-Semitic passion,” he said. “Instead of backing the only democracy in the Middle East, they prefer to back a regime of murderous thugs. That’s what Hamas is, that’s what the Palestinian Authority is.”

Mr Lapidos said it was a “big distraction for the ACTU”. “Most ordinary working people aren’t interested in the socialist revolution,” he said. “They want a better outcome for them and their families.”

An AMWU spokesman said, “It would be inappropriate for us to distribute any motions before they have been debated and voted on at the ACTU executive or congress. We don’t intend to make any further comments about this matter.”

Peter Wertheim co-chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, said accusing Israel of genocide was an “outrageous lie, in fact an inversion of the truth”.

“It is Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas, which has a charter pledging that it will ‘obliterate’ Israel, who adopt the cowardly practice of hiding behind Palestinian civilians in Gaza while targeting Israeli civilian population centres with thousands of rockets and mortars, and burning hundreds of hectares of crops and nature reserves in Israel with incendiary devices,” he said.

“The Palestinian population in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza has increased fivefold since Israel was established, but if the Palestinian leadership had their way, the Jewish population of the country would be evicted or exterminated.

“This is why Israel defends its people so determinedly. Israel has offered the Palestinians statehood on at least three occasions, but the Palestinian leadership gives far higher priority to destroying the Jewish State than establishing a Palestinian State.

“If the ALP Left really champions human rights, as it claims, it should come to grips with these realities instead of indulging in outdated polemics.”

Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong distanced the party from the motion. “This is a motion before the ACTU Conference — it is a matter for them and has no relationship to the position of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party,” a spokesman said.

“Labor has long supported, and continues to support, a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We support Israel’s right to exist within secure and recognised boundaries and the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.

“A just two-state resolution will require recognising the right of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to live in peace and security.

“Labor, whether in government or opposition, will continue to work with the parties to the conflict, with our allies, and with the wider international community to achieve a peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.”


Queensland conservatives slams school union education program

A new program to educate high school students about their rights as workers is union indoctrination, the Queensland Opposition says.

The Queensland Council of Unions has put together a program called the Young Workers Hub, which will educate Year 11 and 12 students who have part-time jobs about their rights at work.

It will also offer contact channels for young people to seek support if they have questions or issues at work, as well as a "campaigning arm" to allow young workers to "make their workplaces better".

The Opposition says the program is an attempt to get young people to sign up as union members.

"This is nothing more than a political union membership drive and they're starting young because they're not getting the members that they want," the Liberal National Party's education spokesman Jarrod Bleijie told reporters on Thursday.

He drew a distinction between the QCU's program and similar classes run by the Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, saying the business advocacy group was not an "external body of a political party".

He also accused Education Minister Grace Grace of being "too close" to the issue because she was a QCU official before entering politics.

But Ms Grace defended the program, which requires schools to opt in.

She said teenagers who were already working deserved to know about their rights at work to avoid exploitation.

"I'm sure no parent wants to see their child exploited or working in an unsafe environment," the minister said in a statement.

Children in Queensland can legally work once they turn 13, with exemptions down to the age of 11 for some jobs such as delivering pamphlets door-to-door.



McDonald’s move to ban plastic straws angers Australians

There is NO justification for this.  Ocean detritus comes from Africa and Asia, not Australia

FIRST it was plastic bag ban rage — now Australians are turning to McDonald’s to take out their anger and frustration.

News the fast-food giant is going to make sipping a thickshake harder has outraged people across the country — and the world — who say the plastic ban is being taken too far, causing them too much inconvenience.

The environmental impact speaks for itself — more than 10 million plastic straws are used in Australia every day.

They contribute to the estimated 150 million tonnes of plastic filling our oceans and by 2050 experts estimate there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

But news of the McDonald’s move to phase out plastic straws over the next two years has caused people to flood social media in anger, with many joking it is the “last straw”.

One Facebook user said it was “overkill looking for public praise”.

“What about the lid on the drinks that uses so much more plastic,” he said.

“Then we have plastic spoons and knives and forks they give you. This campaign is bordering on insane.”

Many agreed the plan to roll out the change to all 970 restaurants nationwide by 2020 was more about the company’s corporate image than the environment.

“Plastic straws make up less than 0.003 per cent of the plastic in the ocean. The straw ban is f*****g pointless and shifts the blame from corporations systemically destroying the environment to individuals,” said one Twitter user.

Paul Harvey, an environmental scientist at Macquarie University, has previously said without appropriate exemptions, a federal legislative ban on single-use plastic straws could prevent people in need from “accessing a basic medical aid”.

“We need to ensure that we have the right strategy to accommodate those who still depend on single-use plastics,” he said.

Disability rights groups across the world have been vocal in their views, highlighting people with conditions such as cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis need straws to eat and drink.

“Other types of straws simply do not offer the combination of strength, flexibility, and safety that plastic straws do,” said one US group after the move to ban straws there.

Worldwide people have been active in their straw ban campaigns, claiming success when companies announce their changes.

Campaigners claimed victory when Starbucks announced it would stop using plastic straws in its stores by 2020, with a petition to encourage them gaining 150,000 supporters.

Even kids have started their own petitions to encourage giants such as Disney World to ban straws and lids.

Others include a petition to stop Subway with more than 95,000 signatures, and ongoing McDonald’s pushes around the world.

In Australia, McDonald’s will start trialling paper straws in August in two outlets.

The move comes as supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles get rid of free plastic bags.

Woolworths has also said it will stop selling plastic straws by the end of 2018 and will remove plastic packaging from a further 80 fruit and vegetable lines in a bid to appease increasingly environmentally conscious customers.

McDonald’s says the trial is part of a larger, long-term global effort to identify viable, sustainable alternatives to its single-use plastic straws.

“We know plastic straws is a topic our customers are passionate about and we will find a viable solution,” McDonald’s Australia supply chain director Robert Sexton said.

Greenpeace Australia applauded the decision.

“It’s wonderful McDonald’s is making a commitment to reducing consumption of single-use plastic and we look forward to seeing more detail around this proposal to see the overall impact,” Greenpeace spokesman Simon Black said.

McDonald’s paper straws are the same as those it’s trialling in the UK.


NSW, Qld keep economy ticking

A jobs boom in NSW and Queensland has helped drive the unemployment rate to its equal lowest in six years.

The national jobless rate was unchanged at 5.4 per cent in June, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, with 50,900 net new jobs added in the month but no drop because more people are seeking work.

"We are seeing a real rise in confidence and investment and in jobs growth across the country," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in Sydney on Thursday.

The largest jobs increase was in NSW (up 27,300) and Queensland (up 14,800), while the highest fall was in Victoria (down 6600).

The only increase in the jobless rate was in Victoria (up 0.5 percentage points to 5.6 per cent), while in Tasmania - which has faced tough economic times in recent months - the rate was down 0.7 percentage points to 5.8 per cent.

Mr Turnbull noted the improvement in Queensland and Tasmania, where the coalition is seeking to unseat Labor in two of five by-elections being held on July 28.

"What we are seeing is the consequence of an economic plan that encourages businesses to invest," he said.

After the by-elections the government is planning to again seek the Senate's support for cutting the corporate tax rate for all-sized businesses to 25 per cent.

Asked by AAP on Thursday about the government's commitment to bringing on the tax cut laws in August, Treasurer Scott Morrison said: "The plan is the plan and we still want to see it passed by the end of the 2018/19 financial year."

Mr Turnbull said the government had also achieved the lowest percentage of Australians on working age on welfare in 25 years.

Mr Morrison said he was encouraged by the rising participation rate, which at 65.7 per cent was 0.1 percentage points short of the record.

"Not only are more people going out and getting jobs, more people are going out there to get jobs," he said.

The youth unemployment rate was the best financial year result since 1988/89, "the year Taylor Swift was born", he said. "I reckon that would be something for Taylor Swift to sing about."


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

19 July, 2018

Victorian judge bans niqab in court's public gallery

A Victorian judge has banned a woman whose husband is facing terrorism charges from wearing a niqab in court, saying it posed a potential security risk.

The woman applied through her husband’s lawyers to wear the face veil, which she said was a “a fundamental way in which she observes her faith”, while sitting in the public gallery to support him through the six-week trial.

She said she had been permitted to wear the niqab during a committal hearing in the magistrates court and was willing to show her face to security guards manning the metal detector and weapons check at the court entrance to verify her identity.

But the supreme court judge Christopher Beale said the risk of a mistrial or other incident caused by “misbehaving” in the public gallery would be heightened if a person could not be instantly identified because their face was covered, and ruled that the risk outweighed the infringement upon the woman’s right to freedom of religious expression.

“Deterrence, identification and proof are all served by a requirement that spectators in the public gallery have their faces uncovered,” he said in a decision handed down on Monday.

Beale said lawyers for the accused had indicated there were other women who would also wear niqabs in court if permission were granted, which would further confuse identity issues because “such dress tends to be very similar”.

Lawyers for the woman argued that she did not pose a security risk and would abide by all court orders, but Beale said the stress felt by people accused of serious crimes was often shared by family members and that “as a consequence of that stress, incidents happen from time to time in court”.

“Australia is obviously a multicultural society and I agree that religious dress should be accommodated as much as possible, but the right of religious freedom and the right to participate in public life are not absolutes,” Beale said in his decision.

He said the Victorian charter of human rights recognised that rights “may be subject to limitations which can be ‘demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom’”.

Lawyers for the woman said there was an implied right of wear a veil when not giving evidence, citing a number of cases in Commonwealth countries.

Those cases generally concerned whether a person was able to wear religious facial coverings while giving evidence and did not contest a person’s right to wear religious attire when not on the stand. Among them is a ruling by the New South Wales court of appeal concerning a civil damages trial against NSW police, which upheld the trial judge’s ruling that the complainant could not wear her niqab while giving evidence.

“A requirement that spectators have their faces uncovered is not to force anyone to act immodestly,” Beale said. “First, the exposure of one’s face in a courtroom cannot reasonably be viewed as an immodest act: subjective views to the contrary cannot rule the day, or the management of a courtroom.

“Second, if someone feels strongly that it would be improper for them to uncover their face in court, they can choose not to attend.”

He said the trial could be livestreamed to another room in the court building to allow the woman to follow it if she chose not to remove her veil.

The Victorian equal opportunity and human rights commissioner, Kristen Hilton, said religious and cultural rights were protected under Victorian law, and that those rights also applied in a courtroom.

“Victorian law is clear that when courts are acting in an administrative way – such as making decisions about procedure in the courtroom – they must consider and act compatibly with human rights,” Hilton said.

“The law allows for restrictions on human rights, such as restricting a person’s right to observe their religion or culture through what they wear, but limits are only justified where there is clear evidence the limit is reasonable.”


'Absolute prize': Why selective schools are eclipsing private schools

Because they are more selective.  Private schools cater for a wider ability range

Selective schools have overtaken private schools as the state's most advantaged, with schools such as Normanhurst Boys and Hornsby Girls now eclipsing elite colleges such as St Ignatius, Barker and Ascham.

More than half of the state's top 20 most socio-educationally advantaged schools are now state selective because they are the "absolute education prize" for parents, a report from the Centre for Policy Development has found.

Securing a selective school spot requires such investment of time and money that almost three quarters of their students come from the highest quarter of socio-educational advantage, and only two per cent from the lowest.

But their popularity has come at a cost; researchers also measured the wider ''brain drain'' when new selective schools were established, and found that results and enrolments at neighbouring suburban schools fell.

The report, part of a series on equity in schools, argues that selective schools were designed to cater for all high achievers but are now dominated by the children of parents with the resources to pay for things like coaching.

"It reflects the ferocious competition to get into these schools," said co-author Christina Ho. "They are public schools, you wouldn't expect to see them at the top of these advantage lists. It doesn't seem possible for them to be eclipsing private schools.

"But among middle class families they have become the absolute education prize. Families begin planning years in advance. Tutoring begins in early primary school, costing thousands. If you don't start planning early, you jeopardise your chances.

"Those resources are not available to most families. That's how you end up with this concentration of [advantaged] families."

The socio-educational score of a school looks at the education and occupation of its students' parents.

The report also looked at selective schools' impact on suburban high schools by studying the opening of four partially selective schools in Sydney's south-west in 2010, namely Bonnyrigg, Prairiewood, Moorebank and Elizabeth Macarthur.

Between 2005 and 2017, the number of HSC ''distinguished achievers'' rose at those selective schools. At Moorebank, the proportion rose from 13 per cent to 28 per cent. But neighbouring high schools experienced no increase or a decrease.

In some cases, their number of high achievers halved. Enrolment dropped, too.

Co-author Chris Bonnor said the loss of high achievers to selective schools made neighbourhood schools less desirable. "They lose enrolments, they lose those aspirant students that make up [more challenging] classes," he said.

A teacher from one of the south-west Sydney schools affected, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the impact on her school had been stark. "We used to be able to say to parents, 'we can help your children get really good results'," she said. "We can't say that any longer."

The NSW government is reviewing the selective school and primary school opportunity class tests amid concerns that wealthy families are gaming the system by engaging tutors for their children.

A department spokesman said the final report would be released later this year.

But Dr Ho said the review was "tinkering around the edges of the admissions system," and called for bigger changes. "We have the means, the technology, and the model that could inform a much more far-reaching review of selective schools so we don't have this segregation of students," she said.

Mark Jordan's two children, Sophia, 15, and Bill, 12, both attend the partially selective Sydney Secondary College Balmain Campus. Bill might have attended a private school if he didn't get into Balmain, and did some coaching ahead of the entrance test.

With the money he has saved on private school fees, Mr Jordan invests in extra coaching. "We spend about $1800 [a year]. It's not a small amount of money but it's a lot cheaper than private school fees."

''We've noticed less diversity than we expected,'' Mr Jordan said. ''So we think the entry process could be unfair."


Why more Kiwis are deported from Australia than any other group

No mystery.  Kiwis can come here without checks -- so their crooks come too

NEW Zealanders are being deported from Australia in huge numbers, and it’s becoming huge problem for both countries.

“WE DON’T want you here, the broader community doesn’t want you here.” That was the message from an Australian Federal Police superintendent to motorcycle club members when a notorious New Zealand-born bikie was arrested for his bikie links in 2015.

The visa of Aaron Joe Thomas Graham was cancelled and he was set to be deported back to New Zealand.

The situation has become a familiar one in recent years. More than 1300 Kiwis have been deported from Australia in the past three years, with another 15,000 set to be sent back over the next decade.

In last night’s Foreign Correspondent, journalist and former Wallaby Peter FitzSimons goes to New Zealand to see how deportation has affected the relations between the two countries.

“I wasn’t on criminal charges … but I was still treated as a prisoner who has committed a crime,” Ko Haapu, a former New Zealand soldier turned motorcycle gang member and deportee, told FitzSimons.

In the program titled “Don’t call Australia home!” FitzSimons found that under the changes to the Migrant Act, “just being a member of a bike gang, an organisation suspected of criminal behaviour, was enough to get Haapu deported on “bad character” grounds even though it’s not illegal in Western Australia to belong to one.”

Since the Migration Act was amended in December 2014, it gave powers to Australia’s Department of Home Affairs to together with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton the ability to cancel the visas of people who could pose a risk to the community or that they’ve deemed are not of “good character”.

It gives coward punchers, drug dealers and violent offenders a one-way ticket to their home country — anyone with a criminal record who isn’t an Australian citizen can now be deported.

However in Haapu’s case, he told FitzSimons he wasn’t there on criminal charges. “I was there on immigration which are two different things,” he said.

FitzSimons finds that Australia’s detaining, cuffing and deportation of New Zealanders is riling Kiwis and straining relations across the ditch.

He says there’s real resentment in New Zealand — and that even he’s taken aback by the anger of New Zealanders — from ordinary citizens to political heavyweights — at what they see as a lopsided relationship.

The general consensus is that New Zealanders don’t think they have been treated fairly as a country, with the New Zealand Justice Minister even labelling the policy as a breach of human rights.

“Well we just need to see the evidence instead of the emotions,” Mr Dutton told FitzSimons.

“They’re New Zealand citizens, they’re not Australian citizens. And it’s no breach of human rights, in fact it’s a breach of, ah, civil rights of Australians who fall victims to these criminals and Australia won’t tolerate it.

“It doesn’t matter who we’re talking about. The criteria for us is whether you’ve committed an offence against Australian citizens and that’s the test that we apply.”

Last year, more than 600 Kiwis were deported on grounds of “bad character”.

When confronting Mr Dutton about Haapu’s case, FitzSimons put it straight to the Home Affairs minister. “He was held with no charge, no crime committed,” he said.

“Peter, he was a member of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang, and we know that they are part of a syndicate which is the biggest distributor of drugs in our country,” Mr Dutton told FitzSimons.

“In fact, this passed through the parliament with bipartisan support. If you’re a member of that gang, you face deportation.”

FitzSimons hit back saying, “You imply a raft of strong allegations, accusations against the fellow that we can’t see.”

“Well, Peter, that happens every day. I mean, there’s intelligence that’s gathered that’s not released for a variety of reasons,” Mr Dutton said.

New Zealand’s Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters recently asked Australia for “a fair suck of the sav, so to speak, where international protocols are observed.”

It was in relation to a 17-year-old boy, the youngest New Zealander to be detained since the special powers came into effect four years ago, who landed himself in a Sydney juvenile detention centre.

His offences had not been disclosed, but his lawyer argued they were “stock standard” and not enough to spark deportation.

When he was about to be released, the boy was instead taken more than 12 hours away to an immigration holding centre in Melbourne and was awaiting deportation since March.

Mr Peters made a direct appeal to Australia to release the teenager saying it was a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and called on the country to live up to its obligations.

Peter FitzSimons with another deportee Shaun Wynyard. Source: ABC
Peter FitzSimons with another deportee Shaun Wynyard. Source: ABCSource:Supplied

“This person is regarded as a child or a minor, and I’m just reminding the Australians — you’re a signatory, live up to it,” Mr Peters told reporters earlier this month. .

“They are clearly in breach of it. There’s no complication. They know that, we know that.

While career crooks are among the deportees, Mr FitzSimons says lesser players have been hit by tougher immigration rules allowing deportation for anyone sentenced to more than a year’s jail — even if it’s suspended.

In the program, FitzSimons discovers change can bring opportunities for some of the deportees.

He tells of how Australia, once the receptacle for Britain’s unwanted convicts, has itself become a player in the exile business.


Keep Australia’s coal-fired power plants operating, says AEMO report

The nation’s independent energy market operator yesterday called for Australia’s fleet of coal-fired power stations to remain in operation for as long as possible.

Extending the operation of this fleet for as long as they are economically viable represents the “ least-cost option” for the next twenty years, according to the recommendation. It is thought the move would ward off any future price shock, as Australia transitions to a more renewables-involved grid.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack says the report speaks a lot of sense.

“I certainly know that the ACCC report and the AEMO report, they do give hope for investment in coal. Certainly other technologies as well, but coal has to be party of the mix,” he says.

“But we also need to as a nation, know and understand there are some of those coal-fired power stations which could be enhanced, which could be revitalised and expanded. That could also provide a solution if the investment isn’t there for new coal-fired power stations.”

The report and this kind of sentiment is predicted to flare up debate around AGL’s planned 2022 closure of the Liddell power station. McCormack says government should not “ rush in and nationalise things” when it comes to privately operated assets, also reiterating his technologically agnostic stance.

“The ACCC chairman said only last week, that only a technology neutral approach will get prices down. Whenever government prescribes that the technology should be one thing or another, that is when you get higher prices.”


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, 2018


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is amazed at the ACTU importing  a Hollywood personality to star at their congress

Australia's ABC panned over Paul Bongiorno's Uncle Tom slur

This is a bit hard to sort out, but it seems that Bongiornio found an ABC panel show to be boring.  He attributed that to the  fact that the participants were all Leftists and "Uncle Toms".  Whether that was true or not, his usage of the term "Uncle Tom" was greeted as politically incorrect.  In the original novel about him, Uncle Tom was a good guy.  But Leftists hate that

Warren Mundine [An Aborigine] has slammed a “hypocritical and disgraceful” response from the ABC after it distanced itself from commentator Paul Bongiorno and his reference to the indigenous businessman with the racial slur “Uncle Tom”.

In a statement provided to The Australian yesterday, the public broadcaster said: “Mr Bongiorno is not an ABC employee; his Twitter account is not an ABC ­account; any tweets are Mr Bongiorno’s own.”

It came a week after Bongiorno tweeted on July 8: “As many ‘righties’ on Dky (sic) after dark panels … and that includes ‘Uncle Tom’ lefties craving relevance.”

Mr Mundine told The Australian last night the tweet was written in clear reference to him, and described the ABC’s reaction as unacceptable. “Any organisation that reacted in this way would deserve to be pilloried for their pathetic, weak response,” he said.

Bongiorno apologised last night for causing offence and said he never intended to use a racist slur but he objected to Mr Mundine calling for the ABC to sack him.

“I am an independent commentator and journalist, currently on holidays; it is passing strange that the only reaction to some who take offence is to demand one of my employers sack me,” he tweeted.

“My tweet was in response to an attack on the ABC for only having ‘lefty’ panels. I made the point that there is plenty of evidence to show Sky has ‘rightie’ panels or acceptable ‘lefties’, which was my intention using the term ‘Uncle Tom.’ ”


Turnbull says there is ‘real concern about Sudanese gangs’ in Melbourne

Malcolm Turnbull has said there is “real concern about Sudanese gangs” in Melbourne and defended earlier remarks by Peter Dutton suggesting people were afraid to go out for dinner in the Victorian capital because of the fear of “African gangs”.

On Tuesday, Turnbull defended the home affairs minister’s remarks in January, while insisting his government had “zero tolerance for racism”.

The prime minister’s comments come amid escalating campaigning by the Coalition on immigration and crime in the lead-up to both the super Saturday byelections on 28 July and the Victorian state election later this year.

On Monday, the Liberal senator Dean Smith used the fact Australia’s population will soon tick over to 25m to call for an inquiry into population growth, while Dutton injected the immigration debate into the byelection campaigns in Longman and Braddon by boasting that permanent migration has fallen on his watch.

Turnbull picked up on that theme in an interview on 3AW radio on Tuesday, noting that permanent migration of 163,000 people in the past financial year was “the lowest its been in a decade”.

Despite describing immigration as an exercise in “recruitment” of the “best and brightest” to Australia, the prime minister suggested it was “good that it’s down, on the basis we’re not taking any more than we need”.

Business and industry groups have blasted the reduction, noting Australia has taken 12,500 fewer workers on skilled visas in the past year and warning of labour shortages in areas outside Sydney and Melbourne.

On Tuesday, the Infrastructure Australia chief, ­Philip Davies, told the Australian the country lacked “national-level, long-term planning” about population growth and had been “lazy” in planning for its infrastructure needs.

Turnbull said it was “not right” to claim there was no planning around population levels, citing intergenerational reporting started by the former treasurer Peter Costello, and arguing the level of skilled migration “responds to the demands of the economy”.

“Where there has been a massive failure is in terms of infrastructure,” he said, adding there was “real concern about congestion, in particular”.

Regional Australia had “different concerns” because “in many places they want to see more migration”, he said. Turnbull said his government was considering how to encourage people who come to Australia to work in regional areas to remain by adding conditions to their visas.

On Saturday the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive, James Pearson, told Guardian Australia the government was pursuing a “contradictory policy approach” by attempting to encourage more workers to the regions while lowering the overall migration intake.

Turnbull left the door open to a parliamentary inquiry into population, suggesting the joint standing committee on migration was “always open” to review the issue.

Asked about alleged fears of “Sudanese gangs”, Turnbull said that he had “heard that from people in Melbourne”. “I’ve heard people – colleagues from Melbourne – say that there is real anxiety about crime in Melbourne. It is a real issue. “There is certainly concern about street crime in Melbourne.”

On Monday, the Victorian equal opportunity and human rights commissioner, Kristen Hilton, warned against “racially divisive statements” after a resurgence in race discrimination complaints.

Asked whether Dutton had provoked racial hatred with his comments, Turnbull said it was “nonsense” to suggest that, adding he was “simply seeking to do the best job” as the minister for home affairs, responsible for domestic security and migration.

“There is real concern about Sudanese gangs,” Turnbull said. “You’d have to be walking around with your hands over your ears in Melbourne not to hear it.”

At a later press conference in Baxter to announce an upgrade of the Baxter to Frankston line, Turnbull said “not everyone is frightened of street crime, but a lot of people are”.

“You have to be honest; there are Sudanese gangs in Melbourne. No one is making any reflections about Sudanese migrants, Sudanese [people] in general.”

Last week the Victorian Liberal opposition was labelled “nasty and bigoted” by the state Labor government for releasing a pamphlet warning of “gangs hunting in packs”.

Overall crime rates in Victoria are down, including youth crime. Sudanese-born people are disproportionately represented in some offence categories such as violence and affray, although experts argue this is due to a higher incidence of other factors that are associated with a high crime rate, such as poverty and a lack of engagement in work and school.


My Health Record: privacy, cybersecurity and the hacking risk

Health bodies say the digital record will improve care but privacy advocates say it is an ‘uncontrolled’ data dump

From Monday, Australians will have three months to opt out of a new digital medical record that can hold on to information for up to 30 years after they die.

The digital record, called My Health Record, will be automatically set up for every Australian unless they opt out before 15 October.

It will track Australians’ allergies, medical conditions, previous or current medication, test results and anything else that is uploaded by your doctor – and share it between medical providers.

Doctors say it will improve the quality of care but others are urging people to opt out due to privacy and cybersecurity concerns.

So what are the pros and cons of My Health Record?
The positives

My Health Record has the backing of all of Australia’s peak health bodies, including the Australian Medical Association, the Royal College of Australian GPs, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and others.

The president of the AMA, Dr Tony Bartone, said it would improve the care that patients receive.

“It will assist in reducing unnecessary or duplicate tests, provide a full PBS medication history (thus helping avoid medication errors) and be of significant aid to doctors working in emergency situations,” he said.

“My Health Record will support practitioners, particularly those who may be seeing a patient for the first time, to have access to the information they need to best care for the patient.”

Currently, 5.9 million people already use My Health Record and 6.46 million medical records have been uploaded to the system. A total of 6,498 GPs, 3,273 pharmacists and nearly a thousand hospital organisations have used it.

Bartone said privacy concerns were understandable and patients should make an informed decision whether to opt out.

“Health information is highly sensitive and we, as doctors, understand that,” he said. “My Health Record gives individuals absolute control over what data is in their record and who is able to view it. This will go a long way to allaying concerns about privacy.”

A spokeswoman for the Digitial Health Agency, which is overseeing My Health Record, said it was a myth that newborn children would be automatically signed up.

Parents can exclude their current children under 18 from My Health Record when they opt out and are given the choice with newborn children. New immigrants will also be given the opportunity to opt out.
The privacy problem

But privacy advocates say that, even with the safeguards, the system takes too much information, stores it too simply and shares it too freely.

If you cancel your record, any information already there will be retained for 30 years after your death or 130 years after your birth (if the date of death is unknown).

Any person who downloaded and stored your record will be able to still view that version of it after you cancel your record.

Bernard Robertson-Dunn, from the Australian Privacy Foundation, described it as an “uncontrolled, uncurated, data dump”. He said sensitive information could be shared with irrelevant people.

“Better sharing of health data among health professional is a good thing – as long as it is done in a controlled manner,” he said. “But if somebody has mental health issues, you don’t want that shared with a dentist or someone who looks at your feet.

“An ex-partner or someone stalking a patient could get at that health information. If you’re at risk from someone, that person might access data about you that identifies where you live or what doctor you’re using.”

He added that certain conditions still carried a stigma that made patients vulnerable to their information being misused.

“If somebody has a medical condition that might result in discrimination – specifically HIV or mental health problems – they don’t want their data shared. There’s vulnerable communities – the gay community, the HIV community, mental health sufferers – who feel at risk.”

Ralph Holz, an expert in cybersecurity from the University of Sydney, said it was also an issue that My Health Record was so centralised.

“It would be safe to assume that some attack is going to be successful,” he said. “There will be some data loss. That is inevitable. The contingency plan with how to deal with that is what is important.

“We always see a problem when we keep data in one place, especially if it is data that is a complete profile. There is a saying in computer science: once the data is out, it’s out. You can never get it back. The danger in building such systems is that it’s enough if they fail once.”
My Health patient data will be safe despite Medicare breach, GPs say

Holz said a breach would not affect individual patients but rather the system as a whole – hackers could use the data to hold the department to ransom, or release the data to third parties.
What are the safeguards?

Patients who don’t opt out of My Health Record but still want to control their privacy can ask for specific documents not to be added to the record, or remove them once they are up.

They can also restrict access to their record by setting special codes. One code – a record access code – blocks access to a patient’s entire record unless a user has their four to eight-character code.

Another code can be used to lock individual documents from access.

Users can also track every instance when their record is accessed. Alerts can be set up to flag when this happens.

However, Robertson-Dunn has pointed out that, once your record is downloaded or copied, that new version can be accessed or shared without notifying you.

The Digital Health Agency said any practitioners who downloaded information to their own system were still subject to Australian privacy laws and access was audited by the Australian Digital Health Agency.

Robertson-Dunn said the system should be reformed in two main ways: decentralisation to store information with medical providers rather than the government, and that My Health Record become opt-in, rather than opt-out.

“I wouldn’t give a stuff about my privacy if it helped me get better,” he said. “It is dynamic and it depends on context.”

To opt out of My Health Record, visit


NZ a bolthole for people wanting to enter Australia: Winston Peters

Acting New Zealand Prime Minister Winston Peters says he regrets that his country has allowed itself to be used as a “bolthole” for people wanting to enter Australia.

The New Zealand First leader and Foreign Minister, who is standing in for Jacinda Ardern while she is on maternity leave, said he believed Australia’s relationship with New Zealand had been “patchy” since then prime ministers Helen Clark and John Howard signed an agreement in 2001, denying welfare to New Zealanders living in Australia.

Mr Peters said he acknowledged’ Australia’s right to deport New Zealanders who have been convicted of crimes in Australia.

“We first of all acknowledge the right of Australia to write its own laws where the issue of their sovereignty is concerned, we accept that,” he told ABC radio.

“We’ve got enormous respect for Australia and our special relationship, but things have been somewhat patchy since 2001-2002 when our great relationship was ended under an agreement between John Howard and our then prime minister Helen Clark.

“We regret that, and me personally I regret the circumstances behind that, because back then I was warning New Zealand that we were allowing our country to be used as a bolthole to first of all enter New Zealand, and then go as a right because of our special relationship to Australia.

“I warned of consequences then, and I’m saying to the Australian people, I understand. “We understand that we should have been more careful about that, but we do want the restoration of the relationship we once had, and we both need each other.”

Mr Peters’ views appear to contrast with those of Ms Ardern, who has repeatedly condemned Australia for not accepting her offer to resettle asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island in New Zealand.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has refused the offer on the basis that it would create a “back door” means of entering Australia.

Mr Peter’s comments come as self-styled pastor and New Zealand national Logan Robertson faces deportation after his visa was cancelled over allegedly harassing worshippers at two Queensland mosques last week.

Mr Dutton said Mr Robertson was specifically counselled by immigration authorities about his history of extremist rhetoric when he moved to 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

17 July, 2018

Revolt against collectivism

A lack of leadership lies behind the Australian Senate's stoush on pepper spray

By Corrine Barraclough, who has written wisely before.  She even likes Mr Trump!

If politics is the robust exchange of ideas, there are certainly times when one must look beyond personalities to see the crux of what is being debated.

In the furious exchange between Sarah Hanson-Young and David Leyonhjelm many have become fixated on male versus female or civility versus offensive language. However, it strikes me that the crux of this debacle is actually about collectivism.

Whatever the specifics of the exchange in the Senate were this much we know for sure: Leyonhjelm is rejecting misandry and blanket blame being placed at the feet of all men as penance for the crimes of some.

Men as a collective gender should not, cannot and will not be blamed for the actions of criminals.

Of course, individual responsibility is at the very heart of Liberal Democrat Leyonhjelm’s belief system. It decrees that each individual is solely responsible for his or her choices and accountability sits squarely with the person rather than the community or society as a whole.

It is utterly absurd that during a time when diversity is being forced down our collective throats, gender politics is speaking in such clearly divisive language. While diversity agendas are a priority in businesses and institutions across the country gender politics clearly defines bias which gender discriminates between male and female.

No wonder there is a growing revolt against the collectivism that gender politics dictates. Make no mistake, this is not going to conveniently vanish; it will keep rearing its ugly head no matter which personality happens to personify the problem in the political arena at any given time.

Before Leyonhjelm told Hanson-Young to ‘stop shagging men’, the debate on that day in the Senate was about women’s safety. Senator Fraser Anning put forward a motion to relax the import on pepper spray or mace. ‘Access to a means of self-protection by women in particular would provide greatly increased security and confidence that they will not become just another assault, rape or murder statistic,’ Anning said. This comes after police were widely criticised for advising women to take care after the rape and murder of Eurydice Dixon in Melbourne.

The troubling coverage of Dixon’s death shone a bright and damning light on the stalemate we have arrived at in Australia regarding collective male blame.

Fierce feminists on one side say rather than telling women to take care we should be telling men not to rape. This is collectivism in its clearest form. The fembot army wants all men to step up and fix the reality of crime. Not only is that unreasonable, it’s impossible.

After Dixon’s murder it was clear to see how deeply far left activist messaging has permeated society’s narrative on ‘violence against women’.

Through the dark magic of gender politics, all women are deemed under threat from all men.

Such collectivism is a destructive and unhelpful worldview. Ultimately, this may well be what ensures feminism implodes.

The reality is, our battle in life is good versus evil rather than men versus women. In that, feminism has collectivism all wrong – and the masses are beginning to revolt.

The response to Anning’s motion in the senate came from Senator Janet Rice. ‘The last thing women in Australia need now is another man in power telling us that we are responsible for violence against us. The priority must be to eradicate men’s violence.’

Those two words, ‘men’s violence’, are commonly used when left feminists screech that it is all men’s cumulative responsibility to end crime.

Statistics are pored over, dead women are counted in the name of political point scoring, so that far left fembots can wag their finger in men’s faces and tell them, ‘this is your mess, clear it up’.

What they fail to acknowledge is that schooling the good will never eradicate evil.

On this issue both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten are as clueless as each other. There is no leader between them.

So desperate are they to virtue signal their way to securing the female vote they have both bought into this costly narrative.

After Dixon’s death, Turnbull told parliament, ‘Our hearts go out to Eurydice’s family. Our prayers, our sympathy, our love are with them as they grieve her loss. Women must be safe everywhere. On the street, walking through a park, in their home, at work. We need to ensure that we have a culture of respect for women.’

He added, ‘I believe, Mr Speaker, that I speak for every honourable member in saying we must never, ever, ever, tolerate violence against women. Eurydice Dixon, we mourn her loss. We grieve with her family. And we say “never again”.’

And with that, Turnbull promised to end crime; he was just too blinded by feminist brainwashing to realise it.

Shorten said on that day in parliament, ‘Women in Australia have a right to movement. It is not the fault of women if they choose to walk home from transport to their house.’

He added, ‘We need to tackle the enablers of violence and we need to change the attitudes of men.’

He too promised to end crime – and he too was too blinded by incontestable bias to recognise.

Both Turnbull, Shorten and the majority of politicians have bought into the collectivism that feminist theory outlines. Apparently all have forgotten that any ‘ism’ is dangerous.

Fast-forward again to Anning’s motion to relax the import on pepper spray in an effort to help women feel safer. This new spat between Hanson-Young and Leyonhjelm centres on precisely the same issue.

Why? Because we do not have a leader strong enough to stand up to the feminist army and tell them that not only is ending crime unreasonable, it is utterly outrageous to lay the blame for violence at men’s feet.

It is offensive and sexist that we have arrived at a position where we’re talking about ‘male violence’ unchallenged.

Leyonhjelm is entirely correct to say that misandry is equally as objectionable as misogyny. What a crying shame it is that ‘slut-shaming’ ever entered this debate and the real issue wasn’t addressed.

The focus should be on misandry. We should all be talking about the injustice of blanket blame.

Ultimately, each and every one of us should be voicing our collective fury at the injustice of feminist collectivism and defending the right of good men not to be tarred by criminals.


Newspoll: Labor leader under pump as PM extends lead

Bill Shorten’s leadership is poised to come under renewed internal pressure, with Malcolm Turnbull opening up the largest margin over his political rival in more than two years as both leaders prepare for a critical test in next week’s by-elections.

A Newspoll conducted exclusively for The Australian shows Mr Turnbull has extended his lead over the Labor leader by four points, blowing out the margin to 19 points.

The last time the Prime Minister held a lead of this magnitude was two months before the 2016 election.

With the slide in Mr Shorten’s approval ratings, the Coalition has held its ground but still trails on a small and unchanged two-party margin of 51-49.

The poll marks a 36-poll losing streak for the Coalition under Mr Turnbull’s leadership and comes on the back of a fortnight that has seen the government tread dangerous political ground with the release of controversial changes to the GST carve-up for the states and territories.

The ACCC also last week released its report into energy pricing that called for the wholesale reform of the national electricity market.

Neither issue, however, has resulted in any erosion of the Prime Minister’s dominance as preferred prime minister, with the Liberal leader lifting two points to 48 per cent.

Mr Shorten, whose leadership was already under pressure following a major gaff on tax policy, has on the other hand dropped two points to 29 per cent.

This marks the biggest gulf between the two since May 5, 2016, with the risk that it will add to internal pressure on Mr Shorten.


Labor in grip of ethnic activists, Tony Abbott says

Tony Abbott says Labor is “in the grip of ethnic activists”, urging his Coalition colleagues to back calls to cut total migration numbers.

The former prime minister’s comments come after WA Liberal senator Dean Smith urged Malcolm Turnbull to sanction a wide-ranging Senate inquiry into population policy, arguing the recent reduction in immigration levels does not go far enough to ease community concerns about population growth.

On Friday, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton announced there had been a cut of more than 10 per cent to the annual permanent migrant intake.

A special Newspoll today reveals that 72 per cent of voters support the Turnbull government’s cut to the annual permanent migrant intake to 163,000 last financial year, on the back of a crackdown on fraudulent claims and a sharp rise in visa refusals.

Mr Abbott congratulated Mr Dutton on the reduction, but said the government needed to do more to differentiate itself from Labor.

“If the government wants to say, ‘look, there are these big distinctions between us and the Labor Party, well support for baseload power particularly coal is one area, and support for a substantial cut in immigration is another area, because it seems that the Labor Party is in the grip of, I suppose, ethnic activists in certain respects, so good on Peter Dutton for administering the system in such a way that we’ve had a modest reduction in the permanent migration numbers,” Mr Abbott told 2GB.

“But last year net overseas migration, which is the total migration numbers, was still 240,000, it’s still a record level, so we’ve got to bring it down pretty sharply if we are going to start getting the downward pressure off wages, if we’re going to take the upward pressure off housing prices, if we’re going to unclog our infrastructure. “Our public transport is full, our roads are blocked, and if we’re going to take some of the pressure off integration, particularly in places like Melbourne.”

Liberal frontbencher Michael Sukkar downplayed Senator Smith’s calls, arguing the government already maintains constant vigilance where migration levels are concerned. Mr Sukkar said there was nothing wrong with raising the issue, but the reality is we keep an eye on our migration intake in real time. “It’s the job of the minister. (Home Affairs Minister) Peter Dutton does it. His team does it,” Mr Sukkar told Sky News.

“We don’t run, as a general rule, a purely benevolent immigration program, we run an immigration program that’s in our best interests, and in our best economic interests and in the best interests of our nation more broadly, and quite frankly, the numbers of immigrants changes every year depending on what we need, what the economy needs, and what is in the best interests of our country, so the reality is we do keep an eye on the total immigration program.

“It was pretty widely reported that this year we’ve come in relatively lower than we expected and certainly a lot lower than the case in previous years, but that’s in some respects business as usual, because the program has flexibility, it changes from year to year depending on what our country needs.

“I’m not proposing a review. It’s not my portfolio. Again there’s nothing inherently wrong with looking at any particular issue, and I don’t think that’s the case here.

“I’m not proposing it simply because of the point I just made, that we have an inherently flexible immigration program that serves our nation’s best interests, we’ve obviously secured our borders, we now as a country decide who comes to our country, and for those reasons I think the immigration program is serving our nation very well as it is.”

Labor frontbencher Ed Husic said Senator Smith was “yet another Liberal politician trying to use immigration to make a story and make a name for himself.”

“I mean the reality is it’s very complex what we’ve got in this country,” he told Sky News. “The government looks at immigration levels as part of the budget process. That’s where the evidence is taken into account, but we have a lot of Libs that like I said want to make a name for themselves.

“The minute they talk about cutting immigration they get what we’ve seen today, a lot of coverage.

“The reality that we’ve got to focus on too is this: We have an ageing community where we don’t have enough taxpayers supporting enough older Australians, so we have birthrate issues as well, and we have skills shortages that are affecting a lot of industries.

“Now the government can do a lot of things to make things easier. If they want to improve the birthrate, one of the things families are worried about is how do they afford the cost of families when wages are stagnant, unemployment or employment is less secure, and they’re wondering whether or not they can afford it based on government changes to things like childcare.”

Mr Husic said the government should invest more in education to ensure Australians can fill skill gaps. “If the government’s concerned about migration levels, or government backbenchers are concerned about migration levels, why don’t they take into account the decisions that they are taking to make life harder for people right now in addressing some of those big factors that I just outlined a couple of moments ago?” he said.

“It’s all about balance. We’ve got to make sure that we’ve got local talent trained up for jobs that we know people can fill.

“We’ve seen some skilled migration rorts where you’ve seen people being brought in, in terms of being bakers or cleaners, and we think there’s got to be a better way to manage a very complicated process.”


Victoria’s Western Front Erupts: Locals Launch All-Out Attack On Hawkesdale Wind Farm Plans

A community meeting at Hawkesdale on Wednesday concerning wind farm growth in the south-west, left local MPs, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) representatives and the national windfarm commissioner in no doubt as to the position of the majority of locals.

The meeting, organised by community members, invited DEWLP members and windfarm commissioner, Andrew Dyer, to town to address community concerns about the planning and application processes for proposed windfarms in the region. The vocal room of around 100 people projected their questions to the panel, which included Mr Dyer, DELWP Executive Director statutory planning services, Jane Homewood and senior planner, Tim Doolan.

“You’ve heard these people today, everything is negative, you should get that from the feel of the meeting,” one attendee said, followed by a large round of applause, showing the panel the united belief of those in the room.

“Nobody wants you here … Go away.”

People travelled from around the region to express concerns and ensure the health, agriculture and social impacts of wind towers was clearly understood.

Mr Doolan began the evening with a presentation on the planning process for windfarm approval.

He explained that windfarm applications had to meet a number of requirements, including a noise assessment, landscape and visual impact assessment, safety, environmental impacts, traffic and road infrastructure impacts, electromagnetic interference and shutter flicker.

“These are all the different types of technical reports that need to be provided for any application for a windfarm” Mr Doolan said.

The senior planner said there were three stages of the windfarm approval process; the application stage, post-approval and amendment.

He said all wind turbines needed to comply with a noise limit of 40-decibels and could not be erected less than 1 km of any dwelling.

Turbines within this range needed consent. If consent was not given, the application was prohibited.

Local residents were advised that the town boundary is not a consideration during planning stages, but that the nearest turbine, which in Hawkesdale will sit around 1 km from the nearest dwelling, was enough to meet Victorian requirements.

Mr Dyer quashed any thought, risen by Penshurst District Pharma and windfarm opponent, Annie Gardner, That There Was a Bill in Parliament’s Upper House to Remove Noise Nuisance under the Victorian Public Health and Well-Being Act.

“The act is an act of Parliament, I don’t think councils had thought about how to make a complaint under the health and well-being act,” Mr Dyer said.

“The act is still there, you can make a complaint this afternoon under the act and Council needs a procedure in place to receive an address that complaint properly.”

Ms Gardner said that she had experienced a number of health issues as a result of the Macarthur windfarm which neighbours her property, and asked the Commissioner to consider low-frequency noise and infrasound when having an acoustician measure turbine noise.

“In the guidelines there is nothing about low-frequency noise or infrasound and this is what is affecting most of us in the sense we are sensitised when we go away from home,” Ms Gardner said. “When we go into a café with air-conditioning or supermarket, our symptoms come back because the issue is cumulative. The low-frequency noise is what we feel in our chest and in our hearts.”

When questioned why the compulsory distance of turbines from dwellings has changed from 2 km to 1 km when the Andrew’s Labor government was elected in 2014, no panel member could provide a satisfactory answer.

“I don’t know why it was changed from 2 to 1 km, but there is a noise decibel level that is based on the New Zealand standard and I’m hearing that it is totally inadequate for you, so we will take that on notice,” Ms Homewood said.

One Cape Bridgewater resident, who lives within 640 m of wind turbines told the Commissioner she was “living a life of misery” as her house was now worthless, to which the Commissioner advised her to move out.

The Cape Bridgewater windfarm was erected before any minimal distance between dwellings was enforced in 2011.

Hawkesdale resident, Liana Blake, told the room the proposed Hawkesdale windfarm would allow for wind towers to be built within 2 km of her house, the closest at 1.1 km.

“That’s our home, that’s where we decided to live and build our business,” she said.

“What are we going to do? Do we just move out because the noise is too much for us?

“You’ve wrecked our lives … these windfarms are wrecking people’s lives.”

Residents also raise concerned about the future growth of the Hawkesdale community, believing windfarms would deter people from moving to the area, “unfortunately, the panels look for evidence and that is difficult if you’ve got a new windfarm,” Ms Homewood told the room.

“It is a requirement of the panel to consider the social and economic impact of the windfarm, when they are considering whether or not the windfarm will go ahead.”


Coal price sets Whitehaven for record year

Comment has been sought from Al Gore ...

Whitehaven Coal is benefiting from thermal coal prices hovering at seven-year highs, amid strong demand from China and India.

Whitehaven Coal says its on track to deliver "a record set of financials" this year as thermal coal prices hover at seven-year highs, thanks to strong demand, particularly from China and India.

The miner produced 5.9 million tonnes of coal in the fourth quarter of 2017-18, and 22.9 million tonnes of coal for the year.

Chief executive Paul Flynn said record production at Whitehaven's Maules Creek mine in the fourth quarter, and ongoing strong performance at its Gunnedah mine helped the group hit sales within the guidance range.


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, 2018

Cold snap sends temperatures plummeting across Australia's east coast – and it's not over yet

Far be it from me to challenge evidence of global cooling but I think it is only fair to note that they are talking below about the Southern half of Australia.  In Brisbane we have had some very chilly nights by our standards but I have yet to experience an afternoon when I have not sat around in just undershorts and a singlet -- with the front door wide open. Brisbane's famous warm afternoons have not deserted us yet --- even in the depth of winter.  Which all helps to show the folly of thinking that temperature aggregates tell you much about anything

The east coast of Australia is suffering through an icy weekend with the frosty temperatures expected to last into the middle of the week.

The lowest temperature recorded in Sydney was at Penrith, which dropped to below zero degrees, recording -0.9C at 5am on Sunday morning and not reaching above 1C until after 8am.

Other areas of Sydney to record low temperatures were 4.5C at Sydney Airport and 5.1C at Sydney's Observatory Hill.

A strong westerly wind of 24km/h overnight played a role in causing the icy temperatures across the state.

Inland New South Wales is also suffering through the cold with Wagga Wagga recording morning temperatures of -0.3C.

A number of other regions in New South Wales recorded below zero temperatures including Richmond, 63.4km from Sydney, which had overnight temperatures of -3.8C.

While Camden, 65km south west of Sydney, recorded overnight lows of -4.3C, the lowest overnight temperatures for the area since June 2010.

Bathurst, located 200km from Sydney, recorded freezing temperatures of -8.1C and did not break the minus temperatures until 10.20am when it recorded 0.4C. 

The lowest forecast temperatures for all of New South Wales for all of Sunday is at Thredbo, expected to reach a daily maximum of only 1C.

And according to Bureau of Meteorology Senior Forecaster Jake Phillips the east coast's glacial conditions have yet to reach their trough.

'Just about the whole state is cooler than average for this time of year. In some parts of the state it can be five or six degrees below average,' he told Daily Mail Australia. 

'Places like Penrith and Richmond the next couple of mornings are going to be down to the zero mark – maybe even below zero.

'And it’s going to get even colder, with a lot of places set to be six or even eight degrees below average for their minimum temperatures over the weekend.' 

Melbourne temperatures weren't quite as low as Sydney but that doesn't mean Melburnians weren't suffering through the cold snap.  Residents woke to temperatures as low as 7C on Saturday morning with a daily high of 9.3C.

Elsewhere in eastern Australia, the notoriously frosty city of Ballarat in central Victoria had its coldest July day in 24 years this week recording a maximum of 5C on Wednesday, one degree below the July average.

In the nearby city Bendigo, temperatures were also at a record low, freezing through its coldest July day since 1996 with a maximum recording of just 0C.

The cold weather pushed well up into Queensland with the outback town of Blackall dropping to 1.2C while Lochington, near Emerald, was just 0.5C at 7.11am. 

Brisbane experienced temperatures of 5 degrees on Sunday morning, even Rockhampton, up on the state's central coast, dropped to a low of 6.5C just before 7am.

Forecasters are expecting conditions to remain below average until Tuesday or Wednesday.

'We're definitely not through the cold snap as yet, you couldn't say that,' Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jonti Hall told AAP.

However the coldest temperatures along eastern Australia was clearly Canberra which recorded temperatures as low as -4.8C on Sunday morning.


Provide farm deposit accounts, banks told

A very sensible step -- though it is a big tax break.  You pay tax on deposits only in a loss year -- meaning low to zero tax

Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud wants Australia's big banks to join a scheme allowing farmers to set aside pre-tax income in good years to plan for tough times.

Banking executives will take part in a drought roundtable in Canberra on Monday where Mr Littleproud will ask the banks for a timeline for the provision of farm management deposit accounts.

Mr Littleproud claims the major lenders have already had two years to provide the service, but resisted because it would eat into profits. "Time's up," Mr Littleproud told ABC radio.

Customers in capital cities could walk into a bank and offset their savings against a home loan. "You should be able to do that for farming families as well," the minister said.

The scheme allows farmers to remove money from their taxable income in good years by depositing it into a farm management deposit account. Primary producers can withdraw the money during a bad year and pay tax on the withdrawal then.

Mr Littleproud said the government didn't want to have to force the banks to adopt the accounts through legislation, calling on them to do the right thing. "They need to look at their social conscience," he said.

Labor's agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon accused the Nationals of pork-barrelling to hold seats rather than directing money into drought relief.

"After five years of doing nothing, David Littleproud now wants to blame the banks," Mr Fitzgibbon told reporters in Sydney. "Yes, the banks need to sharpen their pencil but farmers need the government to do something too."

A push to simplify a welfare payment for drought-affected farmers will also be on the agenda at a meeting on Monday of national and state farming bodies.

The federal government recently extended the time limit on the Farm Household Assistance payment from three years to four years.

"This buys those farming families an additional year to give them the time to structure their business to get through this drought and prepare for the next one," Mr Littleproud said.

But there's ongoing concerns about the complicated application process.

Mr Littleproud said his department is working with Centrelink to make applying for the payment easier, but noted rural financial counsellors could also help with the process.


Protesters accuse NSW library of ‘spreading propaganda’ with drag queen event

ANGRY protesters have slammed an upcoming storytelling event for children and adults which will be hosted by a drag queen.

As a gesture of support for the Wollongong Queer Arts Festival, the city’s central library is hosting the July 21 event, in which Roxee Horror — the alter-ego of Adam Larkham — will read stories, sing and make crafts.

However, the seemingly harmless event has raised the ire of hundreds on social media who have launched homophobic slurs at the event and its host.

Many accused the library of using taxpayer’s money to “spread propaganda” and “sexualising children” by choosing a drag queen to host an event that will be attended by people of all ages.

Some irate locals even wrote to the library to express their dismay and called for the event to scrapped.

However, staff hit back at some of the abusive messages posted on the library’s Facebook page.

“Thank you for your feedback,” wrote a spokesman for Wollongong City Libraries. “The libraries’ support of the Wollongong Queer Arts Festival is an opportunity to highlight that it doesn’t matter who you are, where you are from or what motivates you to come into the library, this is a safe and inclusive space for everyone.”

Messages of support for the event have also begun to appear on the library’s Facebook page — with one reading, “If you don’t like it, don’t come.”

Another commenter wrote: “I think this is marvellous. Teaching kids and the community that people come in all shapes and sizes through the art of storytelling, and demonstrating the importance of respect, love, kindness and education.”

Another said: “Don’t let the haters get you down. This is a wonderful opportunity for children who may be LGBTQ+ or children of parents within the LGBTQ+ community to see positive role models out and about in the wider community.”

Ms Horror, who hosts drag bingo nights and other events in the area, appeared to be excited for the event when she announced it on her public Facebook page.

“Cannot wait to read some books and do some craft!” she wrote.

The library’s manager Jenny Thompson told the Illawarra Mercury she doesn’t care about the criticism of the event.

“The central library is a pretty big place, and our community and our world is a big place and there is space for everybody,” she said.

“We offer a range of different events for all different parts of the community and this is, I guess, part of our community we haven’t done that overtly for before. “So it’s important to us that we’re getting with the program.”


Trump is calling the shots for Australia too

Donald Trump is unleashed and is changing history. Trump now is implementing what he promised — dismantling the existing global order created by America, punishing its allies for short-changing the US, imposing a new protectionism and deconstructing the governing status quo in Washington.

Trump is delivering for his voting base. He loves his base and cultivates its prejudices. Much of Trump’s global grandstanding and denigration of allies from Germany to Canada works a treat on his home front. By abandoning political niceties Trump becomes an agent of cut-through politics — draining the swamp as he pledged.

He has seduced much of the Republican Party and sent the Democrats into an incoherent and counter-productive rage. Now he is imposing a conservative ideological majority on the US ­Supreme Court with the potential to shape an entire generation of ­social policy. Trump almost totally sets the media agenda in American politics and, while it is often unfavourable, it is his agenda, focused on his issues.

Those who predicted Trump as president would quickly fall apart made the wrong call — yet again. Trump projects a sense of empowerment.

Among his more rational haters there is a real sense of fear. But the anti-Trump frenzy of many Democrats may drive the party to the Left and play into Trump’s hands. The Trump experiment is compelling as a spectacle and alarming in its consequences.

The message from Washington insiders is that Trump will press ahead with his trade war against China. He seems to have no plan; his legitimate claim against China — its huge stealing of intellectual property — does not have a trade war as its solution. But Trump has exposed the authentic picture here: America and China are engaged in a ruthless rivalry short of formal conflict and this will only spill into global and Australian calculations.

While the US economy booms off an excessive stimulus there is mounting business alarm about the scale of tariff restrictions on imports from China, with China, so far, resolute in retaliation.

Companies warn against a trade war and markets are getting the jitters — Trump risks a showdown between politics and the markets, a consequence of him pushing too hard on the wrong lever.

Australia lives in a zone of false reality. Remote from the action, shielded so far by the deft management of the Turnbull government, a lesser target because we run a trade deficit with the US and are widely liked, the worst Australian folly is to think the Trump phenomenon will leave us untouched.

Governing systems among the allied partners in Europe, Germany in particular, Canada, Japan and South Korea are in upheaval because of Trump.

His latest reckless offence is the threat to British Prime Minister Theresa May that she has ruined her chances of a US-UK trade deal down the track because Trump opposes her Brexit plan, unveiled at Chequers, saying, in effect, it is far too soft an exit from the EU. This is an unjustified intervention in British politics, undermining May in support of her hardline Brexit opponents, notably Boris Johnson, who has quit the ministry and contemplates a strike for the top job. There is no permanent immunity. Australia needs to grasp this.

Trump rejects the fundamental principles that have guided Australia’s polity for the past half-century — US acceptance of global responsibility and leadership, the liberal international order, the utility of the US alliance systems in Europe and Asia, and belief in global free trade.

He neither understands nor accepts these institutions and the logic that has sustained them. The situation is hard to grasp but the evidence from what Trump says and does is persuasive — he repudiates the global arrangements that have delivered security and prosperity to nations including Australia during the past several decades.

Australia, like other partners, faces in Trump a situation without precedent since World War II. So far Trump has been a positive president for Australia. Yet the framework he champions is contrary to our national interest.

Indeed, Trump believes this system has seen America being ripped off — he wants a looser arrangement with fewer norms where nations rise or fall off their own national power, and he thinks the US will do better in a world of transactional jungle.

This is the real meaning of “America First”. It legitimises America as a bully. It rests on the idea that pulling things apart is easier than constructing something that works. The US government is a project in schizophrenia — officials trying to operate rationally with an unpredictable president who runs his own show.

His performance at the NATO summit was Trump enjoying himself, reckless and more unleashed — but don’t think he doesn’t have a case.

Trump treats his allies with contempt, branding Germany a “captive of Russia” because of its gas import dependence. Accusing Angela Merkel of being Russia’s prisoner sits bizarrely with Trump’s appeasement of Vladimir Putin and Merkel’s past growing up in East Germany under Russian domination.

Trump knows how to overkill a winning argument. He is right on Europe’s low defence budget complacency, Germany being a major culprit. After attacking NATO partners for failing to hit the 2 per cent gross domestic product spending target, Trump said the target should be achieved “immediately”, then raised a 4 per cent target, an idea none of his advisers knew anything about.

In the guise of helping NATO, he shakes internal trust in the alliance system just ahead of the Trump-Putin summit — and recall Trump’s past refusal to say the US would support the Baltic ­nations if subjected to Russian ­interference.

Meanwhile Trump’s flawed agreement with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is undisguised.

How long the pretence of full denuclearisation can be maintained is hard to say but the bigger issue is security in northeast Asia and the extent to which Trump betrays his allies in South Korea and Japan, an issue with pivotal consequence for Australia.

Across the Western world the leadership elites are horrified. In America, the Trump voters merely say “it’s about time”. They love Trump’s break from past presidents and his language of brutal realism.

His approval ratings hover around 40-43 per cent and are stable amid the turbulence. Disapproval runs in the 53-56 per cent zone. America is getting more polarised but Republican voters endorse Trump around a huge 85-90 per cent. While Trump holds that core Republican vote he is untouchable against internal treachery.

He has a significant problem with the female vote and if the Democrats poll strongly at the midterm election then deeper cracks may appear in Trump’s brazen edifice.

The annual Australian American Leadership Dialogue was conducted in Washington last week against this turbulent backdrop. Outside the off-record meeting Tony Abbott threw a political bomb into Australia’s response to the Trump phenomenon.

Breaking from past conservative assessments of Trump, Abbott warned about the consequences of Trump. He said that Trump constituted “a new age” — while American values would endure, American reliability was now in question. Abbott said under Trump the American legions “are going home”, that Trump’s mes­sage to allies must be accepted and acted on by Australia.

That meant assuming more responsibility for our own defence. It meant recognising the long era of spending less on defence courtesy of the US alliance was ending.

Abbott seeks not to demolish the US alliance but argues that Trump, as the most unconventional and transforming US president for 70 years, is determined to implement his agenda and that means a different alliance.

Abbott said Australia must increase its defence spending well above the current 2 per cent GDP target, develop a stronger maritime capacity, refuse to tolerate a 15-year delay before getting its new submarines, acquire an anti-missile capability and fashion a defence force that can operate more independently “against even a substantial adversary”.

The Turnbull government and Shorten Labor Party prefer to restrain public debate about Trump and work behind the scenes to minimise damage and sustain the relationship. Abbott has broken free of that restraint and his intervention will drive a more public and polarised debate about the consequences of Trump.

The government’s senior minister at the Dialogue, Josh Frydenberg, spoke at the main dinner and afterwards to Inquirer with a subtle but unmistakeable message to the Trump administration.

Frydenberg said the US was the nation of the Marshall Plan, the nation of Lend-Lease aid during World War II, the nation whose president called for the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, and said: “That’s the America that we want and that we need.”

Frydenberg said it was known that Trump was an “unconventional” president and then quoted from the August 1, 1950, address to the US congress by Sir Robert Menzies when Menzies said: “It is not merely our privilege to be strong; it is our duty to be strong.”

Point made. The trouble, of course, is the while the American system agrees, it deals with a president who seems unreachable and often unpersuadable.

In the corridors of the Dialogue, former World Bank president, former deputy secretary of state and former Bush administration lead US trade negotiator Robert Zoellick described Trump as a “transactional” president who is “quite ambivalent about ­alliances”.

Zoellick told Inquirer that countries that “keep getting battered around begin to think about plan B and other alternatives”.

Addressing Australia’s alliance with the US, Zoellick said: “The depth of security ties with Australia means the alliance is well grounded. It has support not just from the congress but from the American public that likes Australia. I think Australians need to keep active those relationships with the US, political, military and economic. Where you can, stay under the radar screen on issues that might otherwise provoke controversy. The US has got a lot of weight to throw around and in my view it’s not doing that properly.”

The role of Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis universally is seen as decisive, with Mattis the avenue to Trump for much of the national security-alliance orthodoxy. The evidence, to this point, is that Trump still needs Mattis, a situation vital for Australia and other allies. Zoellick said Trump’s “dismissive attitude towards allies and his penchant for authoritarian leaders” revealed an insensitivity to security issues.

Talking in general terms, Zoellick felt that security arrangements were likelier than trade arrangements to withstand the Trump trauma. First, there was a strong military and strategic infrastructure better able to resist or push back. Trump had to be careful in deciding whether he “will go after these people”.

Second, because Trump “is at heart a protectionist” the trade outlook was “quite serious”. Offering a cool assessment of Trump’s trade views, Zoellick said: “If it’s a choice between raising tariffs to protect interests and opening markets then Trump will choose to close markets.”

He believes the US disadvantaged itself by creating over the past 70 years a system where it had disproportionate responsibility and paid too high a cost, whether on security alliances or trade and economics.

“Trump feels the US would be better off if we could have more autonomy and use our power to be more transactional and, in his view, use his negotiating skills. He believes that bilateral trade deficits are about losing. You don’t find many economists who agree with that. But it doesn’t matter because this is Trump’s view.

“That puts targets on the back of Mexico, Japan and China, South Korea and Germany and Europe. His trade policy seeks to reduce those bilateral trade deficits as opposed to using American leverage to open markets and devise new rules for the cutting edge economy of the future. That means there’s an opportunity cost.

“But I think Trump’s focus on trade protection runs deeper because it is analogous to his position on the wall with Mexico and immigration. It’s an issue from the start he has used to communicate with his core supporters and demonstrate not only his policy views but show that he’s a different type of politician. This is key to him being authentic. Therefore, I don’t think issues like the wall or immigration or trade will ever be resolved because they are wounds he wants to continue to pick at.

“He makes one move and if it destabilises the system and creates uncertainty he thinks that will work to his advantage because he believes America is more powerful and he is a shrewder leader.

“But when other countries retaliate then you find that companies like Harley-Davidson have to move out. That adds another dimension. Trump’s view of executive power is not confined in the traditional way. He came after Harley-Davidson became they said they were moving as a result of his protectionist policies.

“Trump believes it is the president’s right to pummel companies to change their business policies.”

Questioned about Trump’s trade conflict with China, Zoellick said: “I believe China wants to avoid a big clash. This could be destabilising enough that they would like to reach a result.”

He said the problem China had was confusion in the US administration — it was unsure who it was negotiating with or what was the American ask.

“Some of the people around Trump don’t want to really fix the problem,” Zoellick said.

“China doesn’t want to have a conflict but it’s got a sense of its own respect and honour. But Trump thinks he has the advantage because China sells more to us than we sell to them.”

Expect Trump to hang flexible on the trade war with China. He has a lot to judge — how markets react, how farmers react to retaliatory restrictions against them and the midterm elections.

But the bottom line for Zoellick is to expect “more volatility, more movements towards trade barriers, this is not a problem that’s going away”.

Trump reminds of two truisms — protection begets more protectionism; populism begets more populism. Former Liberal Party federal director Brian Loughnane, also in Washington, argues that Trump is a catalyst for a global phenomenon in centre-right parties. “There is a Trump faction emerging in most centre-right parties across Western democracies,” Loughnane said.

“This is not based on values or philosophy — it is based on crude pragmatism and grievance. Mainstream conservatism faces a challenge — it must develop solutions to the concerns of the populations that are driving this process.”

The big message cannot be missed: America is changing decisively under Trump and the longer he governs the more decisive that change will prove. Australia is unprepared for the challenge Trump constitutes.

This is obvious from talks in Washington during the past week. It is entirely sensible for Australia to seek to skate through and engage in damage limitation.

But that will not suffice. The only interpretation to apply to Trump at present is that he acts tough but is disposed to strategic retreat and unilateralism.

If this is the experience that Australia faces then it will constitute the greatest challenge to our role in the world for a half-century. We need to start thinking.


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


15 July, 2018

Uniting Church of Australia consents to same-sex marriages at its premises

The Methodist church of old stood for both rationality and a serious study of the scriptures.  When they combined with the more wishy-washy end of the Presbyterians to form the Uniting Church, however, the desire for compromise seems to have led to the whole of the new denomination suddenly becoming spineless. I am pleased that the congregation of my old Presbyterian church stood outside the union

And attitude to homosexuality is the litmus test of whether a church is still a Christian church or not.  The Bible is crystal clear on homosexuality.  It is an abomination.  See Jude 1:7; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Mark 10:6-9; 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11; 1 Corinthians 7:2; Leviticus 18:32; Leviticus 20:13.  There is ZERO wriggle-room in the scriptures for any expression of approval for homosexuality.  You are for the Bible or not. "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth" (Matthew  12:30).

But the Bible is the source of Christianity so rejecting it is rejecting Christianity.  So the Uniting "church" may be many things but it is not Christian, nor are its adherents Christians.  They are pretend Christians, disciples of the Devil.

I wonder if there are some Bible-loving congregations among the Methodists who might break with their "church" and join the continuing Presbyterians.  Such independence of mind would be very Presbyterian and they would be welcomed

SAME-SEX couples wanting to get hitched in a church can now breathe a sigh of relief. This is because the Uniting Church of Australia has finally given the green light for such unions to take place inside its premises.

The church will now have two equal yet distinct views on marriage to show the “diversity of Christian belief” among its members after the denomination’s national body met on Friday night in Melbourne’s southeast.

Members of the church’s national decision-making body agreed to adopt a second statement during a seven-day triennial assembly at Box Hill Town Hall.

“Marriage for Christians is the freely given consent and commitment in public and before God of two people to live together for life,” the new additional statement reads.

Under the new ruling, ministers will be allowed to conduct — or refuse to conduct — same-sex marriages.

The existing belief statement reads: “Marriage for Christians is the freely given consent and commitment in public and before God of a man and a woman to live together for life.”

Uniting Church president Deidre Palmer said the decision came after years of reflection, prayer and discernment, thanking members for their response to “a difficult conversation for many people of faith”.

“I know that this conversation is painful and difficult for you,” Dr Palmer said while addressing LGBTIQ church members.

“We also acknowledge those who for whatever reason have not been able to support this change — and your pain and difficulty in this space. “Please rest assured that your rights to follow your beliefs on marriage will be respected and protected.

“I thank you all for modelling a loving Christian community, holding together and caring for each other, across our diversity of strongly and faithfully held views.”

Same-sex marriages in the church are expected to start taking place in coming months.


Lauren Southern appears on Sky News Australia, making one point very clear

CONTROVERSIAL alt-right YouTube star Lauren Southern has appeared on Sky News Australia making it clear that she is “happy to be white”.

The 23-year-old Canadian activist, who touched down in Australia yesterday, told Sky News host Rita Panahi that she feels “zero shame whatsoever for being white.”

“If I were black I could say I’m proud, if I were Asian I could say I’m proud, if I were any other ethnicity I could say I’m proud because that’s how our culture is, but if I’m white and I say I’m proud the media will go nuts.”

Ms Southern, who previously worked for Canadian website Rebel Media, was barred from entering the UK earlier this year for distributing “racist” flyers reading “Allah is a Gay God” and “Allah is trans” outside a restaurant in the English town of Luton.

Ms Southern is in Australia to headline a tour that advocates for free speech.

She was originally denied access from entering the country, but her visa was approved by the Home Affairs Department on Tuesday.

After landing in Brisbane on Friday sporting a “It’s okay to be white” T-shirt, Ms Southern claimed to have received online rape threats. “I was just reading the comments on the article that came out about the ‘It’s okay to be white shirt’, and someone was saying, ‘I hope she gets raped’,” she told The Daily Telegraph.

She told the publication she believed the “unprecedented” number of hurdles being put in her way to enter Australia were due to her criticism of radical Islam. “There are so many people that are offended by debate and free speech that sometimes governments cower. It’s just way easier to play into the hands of people who are totalitarian,” she said.

“I have criticised radical Islam, I have criticised the increasing blasphemy laws that are being brought into our societies. You won’t see Christians violently attacking people for criticising their religion like you do with Islam, things like the Charlie Hebdo attack.”

The outspoken activist will tour Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland alongside commentator Stefan Molyneux later this month.

Ms Southern’s visit will also feature screenings of her documentary film Farmlands, which delves into the racially charged issue of South African farm killings.

The alt-right activist has also revealed that she plans to have dinner with Pauline Hanson after receiving a Tweet from the One Nation Leader on Tuesday.

“Sorry to hear about your trouble getting a visa @Lauren_Southern,” the senator tweeted. “If you are still in Oz when Parliament sits in August you have an open invitation to dinner. “I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on the situation in South Africa & on Islam. “Good luck with your tour.”

In a wide-ranging interview with The Daily Telegraph, the activist said Australians should be allowed to own guns to protect themselves against a “totalitarian” government.

“I think the Americans have it right. The idea of having guns is essentially to protect yourself from a totalitarian government,” she said.

“You can see that, for example, in Paris — where they have horrific shootings and terrorist attacks, the theatre attack, the Charlie Hebdo attack. They have some of the strictest gun laws in the world in France yet these horrific attacks and shootings still happen. Unfortunately there will always be bad people and bad people don’t follow the law.”

Australia has had just one mass shooting — a domestic violence incident — since former Prime Minister John Howard banned semiautomatic and other military-style weapons in 1996. America has had 154 this year alone.

During her week-long visit in Australia Ms Southern, a friend of confessed troll Milo Yiannopoulos, told The Daily Telegraph there would be heavy security at her shows to protect herself from “crazy protesters”. She said she regularly received death threats.


Hanson to revisit 'ban the burqa' bill

DENMARK has become the latest country to ban the burqa, as a push to outlaw face-covering Islamic garments worn by women and teenage girls gathers pace across Europe.

At least 10 European countries have now introduced full or partial burqa bans, as Senator Pauline Hanson launches a new bid to have the face-covering garment banned in Australia.

Many of the countries are democracies similar to Australia with similar social policies, including Denmark, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Norway.

One Nation’s Senator Hanson returned last month from a visit from France, where the burqa is banned in public, and announced she would renew her bid to criminalise the wearing of a burqa in Australia.

While Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has ruled it out, several Liberal and National MPs told News Corp they were privately supportive of the move. Some individual Australian magistrates have taken action against women who refuse to show their faces in court.

“This isn’t something that should be controversial. All over the world countries are taking action,” Senator Hanson said last week. “This is about national security … also, many women are forced to wear the burqa by their male family members and this measure will help free those women from this oppression.”

In Denmark, Justice Minister Soren Pape Poulsen described burqas and face-covering niqabs as “incompatible with Danish society and disrespectful to the community,’’ as the parliament voted to introduce fines of around $213 for those wearing the garments in public.

“With a ban on covering the face we are drawing a line in the sand and underlining that in Denmark we show each other trust and respect by meeting face-to-face,’’ he told the media.

The move came despite estimates only around 30 women in the country completely cover their faces.

The Scandinavian nation has followed France, Belgium, Austria and Bulgaria in banning the burqa. There are partial bans in the Netherlands, Norway and regional bans in parts of Spain and Italy. In Switzerland, the district of Ticino has introduced bans in public areas, and the country is preparing a referendum on a proposed national ban.

Even Germany, the European nation which most enthusiastically welcomed Muslim migration when it opened the doors to one million refugees in 2015, has expressed concern, with Chancellor Angela Merkel urging people to “show your face’’ and saying the burqa “should be banned.’’

German drivers have been banned from wearing the burqa, as have women working in the public service, judiciary or the military.

In Canada, the province of Quebec banned women wearing burqas from accessing services or holding down government jobs, to the displeasure of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It was the first western democracy outside Europe to implement such bans.

The move to outlaw the garment is usually justified by politicians on security grounds, and comes off the back of growing uneasy at the scale of migration from Muslim countries.

Supporters of bans say burqas oppress women and girls, limit normal human interaction, and pose a security threat.

Critics say governments should not be involved in telling women what to wear, and that forcing them to uncover could result in some women being socially isolated and unable to go out in public.

Danish Muslims told News Corp the ban was an attack on their freedom and claimed it would incite more violence in the community against them.

Copenhagen mother-of-three and student Sarah, who asked for her last name to be withheld, has been wearing the niqab — the veil that covers the entire face except for the eyes — for more than 10 years and vowed to defy the ban.

“I won’t stop wearing it, because I feel like this is a very unjust ban and it’s a discriminatory ban and I feel like this is just the beginning of bans,” she said.

Danish-born to Muslim parents, Sarah said the niqab gave her “empowerment”. “I feel very strong when I wear the niqab, I feel like a strong connection to God,” she said.

She said she thought the proposed ban was unconstitutional and contradictory to Danish values which emphasise freedom and religious choice.

Sarah is one of a group of local Muslim women who have formed a group Kvinder I Dialog — Women in Dialogue — an organisation protesting the ban.

She estimated only about 30 women covered their face in Denmark.  “We’re really like a minority within a minority,” she said.

Annette Bellaoui, a 59-year-old chef in Copenhagen, converted to Islam 19 years ago, covers her hair but not her face, and said she too opposed the ban.

“Personally I’m vehemently opposed to face coverings, I absolutely hate it, I detest it. I think it’s a vile violation of Islam,” she said. “There’s nothing in Islam that says anything about covering your face and I think it is a dismissal of your identity as a person.

“On the other hand if you want to wear it that’s alright by me, I’m very much in favour of personal freedom. “I would rather die than wear it, but I should not prevent you from wearing it if that’s what you want.’’


School funding review makes the grade

After the platitude-heavy and detail-light Gonski 2 report, it was refreshing to read the concisely-written methodical analysis of government school funding policy released last Friday by the National Schooling Resource Board, chaired by businessman (and CIS board member) Michael Chaney.

Federal government funding for non-government schools is dependent on an estimate of the school’s socioeconomic status ­­(SES) — non-government schools receive less money if they have a higher deemed SES score, calculated by an area-based aggregate measure.

The Chaney review recommends moving to a direct measure of parental income to determine school SES scores, to replace the current area-based measure. Until recently, a direct measure of income would have required schools to collect tax file numbers, with attendant privacy issues.

The Chaney review vindicates the Catholic school sector’s claim that the area-based model tends to disadvantage Catholic system schools compared to independent schools.

However, modelling suggests the overall effect of moving to a direct measure method will not be particularly dramatic. The majority of non-government schools would have little or no change in SES score. Catholic schools would see a relatively small increase in funding, while independent schools would see a relatively small decrease in funding, on average — but there would still be many schools in both sectors with the opposite impact. The difference is the Catholic sector could smooth out these impacts within their own systems.

It is important to remember this simple fact: federal funding is going up significantly for all school sectors, at rates well above inflation and enrolments. And the Catholic system retains the right to distribute the money to its schools however it wishes.

Enough is enough. The Turnbull government should finally realise that spending more taxpayer money on schools will never silence demands for even larger funding increases. And there is no evidence more money will inevitably improve school results.


The Nuclear alternative is the greenest

Globally, nuclear power, in case you were wondering, generates just over 2,000 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, about 8 times more than solar and more than double wind power.

Now let’s run some basic numbers and compare the ecological impact of renewables with that of nuclear power.

First let’s deal with the inevitable cry from people who are anti-nuclear without ever having thought much about it: “Nuclear isn’t clean, think about the mining and the waste!!!”.

Mines? Nuclear power is miserly on mines. The amount of mining required for hydro, solar or wind is many times greater. The recent ACOLA report made this point, let me repeat the relevant graph from a previous article.

As you can see, nuclear requires minimal mining.

So why do so many people seem to think mining is some kind of nuclear achilles heel? That’s an interesting question. I’ll try to answer it later. But the graph massively underestimates the mining required for renewables on two fronts; it ignores mining for batteries and it ignores mining for all the extra transmission lines needed by wind and solar. I’ve dealt with the relative ease of nuclear waste handling many times in the past … most recently here.

But mining is a minor issue compared to the massive habitat destruction associated with renewables.

Hydro-electricity, as we’ve seen produces roughly 4,000 terawatt hours per year globally from reservoirs covering 343,000 square kilometres, so, using global averages, you need to flood about 82 square kilometres per annual terawatt-hour. Let’s compare that with the land used by nuclear power. The power station itself uses very little land, but what about the mines?

The Ranger Uranium mine is about 16 square kilometres of open cut mine (including the tailings dam) producing enough uranium on average each year during the past decade to generate 148 terawatt hours of electricity per year. To get that using hydro electricity, you’d need to flood, on average, about (148×82) 12,136 square kilometres.

And what about generating 148 terawatt hours with wood? Vaclav Smil is an expert’s expert on energy. He estimates that using wood to power a 1 gigawatt electric power plant with a 70 percent capacity factor requires about 3,300 square kilometres of fast growing tree plantations. That works out at about 538 square kilometres per annual terawatt-hour. Which means that matching the output of the 16 square kilometre Ranger mine, you’d need to be harvesting 79,647 square kilometres of tree plantations; and considerably more if you were harvesting non-plantation forests.

How much uranium do you need to power a 1 gigawatt reactor for a year? With current reactors, about 200 tonnes. With those of the future? About 2 tonnes.

We can summarise the relative land use impacts of nuclear and renewables in one simple image. When the Fukushima Daiichi reactors failed in 2011 the Japanese effectively lost 4.7 gigawatts of power from their grid. Should the Japanese rebuild with new reactors on or near the site? New reactors of the same power but modern reliability could deliver about 37 terawatt-hours of electricity annually. So how much land would renewables need to generate 37 terawatt-hours annually?

The following figure tells the story. If you wanted to use solar, then you’d need to level most of the 20 km “evacuation” zone to install panels. I’ve seriously underestimated the land required by assuming Japan had Australian levels of sunshine!

If you used hydro power, you’d be flooding a semicircle with a radius of 44 kms.

And what if you did what Germany and the UK are doing, and just started burning forests? Then the semicircle would have a radius of 114 kms.

Here’s a summary map. You can imagine the size of the biggest possible uranium mine (open cut) required to supply uranium to a plant like this. It’s about a square with sides of 2km.

Remember when the environment movement was about protecting forests and rivers? Remember when they cared about maximising habitat for wildlife? Not anymore.

The obvious alternative to hydro and biomass electricity is nuclear, but globally and locally the Green movement is either anti-science or counts far too many in that group among its voting base. Either way it bases its rejection of nuclear power on science formulated in the DNA dark ages; meaning well before the most basic of information on radiation, DNA and cancer was understood.

At the dawn of the anti-nuclear movement, nobody knew anything about the daily churn of normal DNA damage and repair; they didn’t even know that repair of DNA damage was possible; let alone an essential part of staying alive.

The best scientists back in the 1950s and 60s thought DNA damage was an incredibly rare chance event which was permanent and cumulative. But those who study such things now know that both damage and repair are ongoing during every second of your life; due to the entirely normal processes of energy metabolism, simply staying alive.

Let’s suppose you wanted to raise background radiation levels to the kinds of levels that would cause the level of serious DNA damage caused by normal energy metabolism. What do I mean by serious? Breaks across both strands of DNA. Those kinds of breaks are tough to fix and may go on to cause cancer. You get about 50 of these in every cell every day.

How much would you need to increase background radiation to cause this level of double strand breaks? About 219,000 times.

When Japanese Prime Minister Nato Kan ordered the evacuation of Fukushima, he was acting contrary to the best expert opinion, based on 30 years of science, as specified in the IAEA guidelines.

The result of Nato Kan’s fear, ignorance and defiance of the best available science, was cruel and deadly. Sick, frail and elderly people died after being shunted onto busses in the middle of the night in a crazy and totally unnecessary panic spawned by decades of anti-nuclear propaganda; some younger people committed suicide. One radiation expert called the Japanese handling of the Fukushima accident “stark staring mad”; which it was. And continues to be.

No radiotherapist, geneticist, oncologist or DNA biologist trained in the past 40 years believes the assumptions that were used back in 1959 by Linus Pauling to predict cancer and birth defects from weapons test radioactive fallout… except the anti-nuclear movement which those predictions spawned.

Look at any textbook on DNA or cell biology and you’ll find a chapter or two or three on DNA repair. There are whole textbooks on DNA repair. The IAEA guidelines didn’t spring out of the imagination of the nuclear industry, but from bog-standard science. But it’s only bog-standard science if you are paying attention and not stuck in the oral tradition of Green policy which involves passing down mantras about radiation that go back to the 1950s.

Environmentalist George Monbiot called the movement out for its misleading claims about radiation back in 2011, during the Fukushima meltdowns. He began what was a devastating critique of Helen Caldicott as follows:

"Over the past fortnight I’ve made a deeply troubling discovery. The anti-nuclear movement to which I once belonged has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health. The claims we have made are ungrounded in science, unsupportable when challenged and wildly wrong."

When he questioned Helen Caldicott over her many failed disaster predictions, she retreated to a grand conspiracy theory about a cover up by the United Nations.

In conclusion

Starting some time before Monbiot’s devastating critique, many environmental scientists had already rejected the fear-mongering and were shifting toward nuclear as simply the cleanest, greenest, safest energy on the planet, including some of the world’s leading climate scientists. Many, like me, had gone back to the basic science and found, like Monbiot, that the anti-nuclear position was built on, at best, misinformation and obsolete science.

What do you say of people that simply refuse to read any kind of information which may challenge their radiation slogans? Technically it isn’t lying if you believe it, but deliberate ignorance is arguably worse; particularly when it threatens so many horrid consequences.

The Green movement has been incredibly effective in using misinformation to make people frightened of nuclear power. Which has been an absolute godsend for those who love building dams, pelletising forests, fracking gas and, yes, even digging coal.

The climate needs fixing and wildlife habitat needs protecting. The latter has been shrinking for decades as wildlife is replaced by more and more animals for those who eat them. The global environment movement doesn’t get that either.

The consequences of basing policy on slogans and populist ignorance rather than evidence are dire for the planet. It’s time for the global Green movement to move to rational evidenced-based policies. Many luddite supporters may abandon it in the short term, but it has to lead and transform it’s support base rather than pander to dangerous ignorant populist bullshit.

We desperately need a strong global evidence-based environmental movement, given that both politics-as-usual and the Trump/Brexit alternative are both just minor variations on poll-based populism.

More HERE 

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


13 July, 2018


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is despairing about the difficulty of acknowledging African crime in Melbourne

Men's rights activists have a new hero: David Leyonhjelm

This is from a Leftist source but there may be something in it. It is written from a feminist and hence unmoored from reality perspective. Evidence of that is seen in the words below: "women have gained access to a measure of equity in education and the workplace". That's just paranoia. "A measure of preference" would be more like it.

Women these days make up roughly 60% of university admissions and get extensive job preference.  "Most new Australian jobs were filled by women over the last three years ".  Women have by now got it all -- to the disadvantage of men. Reality sure beats believing in myths, doesn't it? The writer, Jason Wilson, is just clinging to old hates. 

Wilson is also a bit of a nong in his usage of "dogwhistle". Dogwhistle refers to something understood by only one side of politics.  What Lion Helmet said was as clear as crystal to anybody

Senator David Leyonhjelm threw out a dogwhistle to the men’s rights movement, and it appears to have been answered.

First, Leyonhjelm made crude comments about Senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s sex life in the Senate. Then, he reiterated those comments on the Sky News program hosted by Ross Cameron and Rowan Dean. Now, Hanson-Young is promising to sue her Senate colleague for defamation.

Leyonhjelm’s explanation for his comments tapped into a long-standing concept beloved of men’s rights activists, “pick up artists”, incels, and assorted antifeminists in all corners of the “manosphere”: misandry.

 This is Australian-style sexism brought to you by a senator and Sky News

The context was a debate arising from the murder of Eurydice Dixon, where Leyonhjelm was among those who were proposing that the right solution was to arm women with mace and other personal defence technologies

Hanson-Young voted against the motion and told the Senate on 28 June that during the debate, Leyonhjelm told her to “stop shagging men”. Interestingly, he told Sky that “what I was objecting to was the misandry, the blaming of men for the actions of individual criminals”, saying she had accused all men of being rapists, a claim she denies.

When Malcolm Turnbull called on Leyonhjelm to apologise, he said that the prime minister should call out Hanson-Young’s alleged misandry, which is “equally as bad” as misogyny.

By last Wednesday, on A Voice for Men, one of the foremost blogs of the men’s rights movement, Mark Dent had written of Leyonhjelm: “I have a new hero”. One of A Voice for Men’s tagline’s is: “Humanist counter-theory in the Age of Misandry”, and its mission statement says it exists to raise boys and men “above the din of misandry”.

Dent’s article on Leyonhjelm was titled, “A man takes a stand”.

Dent praised Leyonhjelm’s abusive characterisation of Turnbull as a “soft cock” and a “pussy”, saying “these words could not be more appropriate”. And he thanked Leyonhjelm for spotting Hanson-Young’s comments as “attack on all men which it clearly was”.

He also published the email Leyonhjelm sent in response to his fan letter, wherein it was explained that: “Apologies are only appropriate when there is fault. I am not the party at fault – misandry is not something that can be excused.”

It’s a neat trick – a debate over a murder with misogyny at its core gets turned into a petulant and stubborn insistence on the victimhood of men at the hands of women. And it plays into the hands of the large, reactionary political movement built on male victimhood.

“Misandry” is a word that means a hatred for men. It arose as a neologism in the late 19th century, modelled on the word misogyny, which has more ancient roots. As Australian sociologist Michael Flood puts it, misogyny is “an ideology or belief system that has accompanied patriarchal, or male-dominated societies for thousands of years”.

“Misandry” has been employed in antifeminist discourse as an inversion, and a kind of parody of the politicised understanding of misogyny that arose in the feminist movement. Some men saw, and still see, the gains made by women as attacks on their own rights and privileges.

So as women have gained access to a measure of equity in education and the workplace, reproductive rights, no-fault divorce, and a measure of personal and sexual autonomy, some men have seen only an attack on their prerogatives as husbands, fathers, privileged employees, etc.

For some antifeminists, the concept has extraordinary explanatory power. They see it as the motivating force for a feminist movement which, they allege, exists mostly to persecute men. And they believe it to be so powerful and widespread that it can explain not only the problems that they say affect men as a gender, or social class, it is also at the root of personal tribulations of individual men struggling with romantic problems, marital breakdown, or professional failure.

A vast ecosystem of blogs, websites, forums, subreddits, and social media accounts promote this topsy-turvy vision of gender hierarchy. Misandry, and the accompanying narrative of male victimhood, are their currency.

So it was that Leyonhjelm was praised on the Men’s Rights subreddit, the MGTOW (men going their own way) subreddit, and on Braincels (which sees itself as the intellectual end of the incel movement).

In turn, Leyonhjelm responded to the controversy – entirely created by him – by inviting antifeminist Bettina Arndt to parliament to address the topic of misandry.

Many have wondered why Leyonhjelm has kept this story alive with his own media appearances, even in the face of clear legal risks.

Part of the answer may be in the way in which his citation of one of the key concepts of organised misogyny has been noticed in key forums of that subculture.

Leyonhjelm’s ostensible core ideology, libertarianism, is not popular. He was fortunate to be elected at all in 2013. He will need to fight another election soon.

But misogyny has a constituency. His fights with mainstream media interviewers resonate powerfully among a group of men who are alienated by, and bitterly opposed to, gender equality.

By speaking to them, and being boosted in their media ecosystem, Leyonhjelm might become the men’s rights candidate.


Turnbull weighs coal fix for energy wars

Germany is building coal-fired generators so why not Australia?

A proposal for the federal government to financially guarantee the construction and operation of new dispatchable power generation, which could include clean coal-fired plants, is expected to be taken to cabinet with the backing of the Prime Minister.

Malcolm Turnbull yesterday confirmed he would seriously consider the key recommendation of a report by the competition watchdog to underwrite and potentially subsidise new “firm” and cheap power generation for industrial and commercial users.

Signalling a possible end to the energy wars within the Coalition partyroom, the recommendation was immediately endorsed by ­Nationals MPs, who have interpreted it as a green light for government to intervene in supporting the future of coal generation.

Tony Abbott, one of the most vocal opponents of the government’s national energy guarantee, also backed the recom­mendation, saying it was a “vindication” of calls for more baseload power in the national electricity market.

Senior government sources said Mr Turnbull was personally “very supportive” of the idea and it could be considered by cabinet before the end of the year. A formal position from the government is not expected until after a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments next month, which will seek to ratify agreement for the national energy guarantee.

The recommendation was among 59 handed down in a 400-page report yesterday by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, which said nothing less than a radical shake-up of the national energy market would bring down prices for households and businesses.

Local energy stocks were hit by the call for pricing reform, falling 1.04 per cent as a sector. It slashed almost $1.6 billion from the market valuations of the two biggest listed power players, AGL Energy and Origin Energy.

Among key recommendations, the ACCC said elevated prices had been driven by “high and entrenched levels of concentration in the market’’ and singled out Queensland for a major overhaul. The watchdog said the state’s power generators should be split into three entities, leaving open the possibility of a sale.

State and territory governments did not escape the blowtorch, with inflated networks costs caused by unrealistic, government-imposed reliability standards identified as still being the chief culprit in rising power prices.

The report recommended writing down the asset value of the network companies to limit the rate of return on investment which dictated the annual cost recovery the companies sought, or offer rebates on network charges of up to $100 a year to customers.

The report, led by ACCC chairman Rod Sims, is being examined closely by Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, who yesterday said he would not rule out any of the recommendations, having privately signalled to colleagues last month that there would be a deal for new coal or gas in addition to the NEG.

A source within government told The Australian the recommendation to underwrite new generation was almost certain to be adopted.

Mr Turnbull yesterday signalled the government’s intent in a speech in Brisbane.

“We’ll look further at this proposal over the coming months … but this recommendation has the distinct advantage of being thoroughly technology-agnostic and, well-designed, should serve our goal of cheaper and reliable energy.”

Resources Minister Matthew Canavan said the report had vindicated the Nationals’ position on pushing back on the NEG and arguing for high-efficiency, low-emissions coal-fired power.

“Many of my colleagues had raised genuine and heartfelt concerns over the current adequacy of investment in power generation. Those concerns have been vindicated,” Senator Canavan said. “The ACCC has now recommended the government underwrite baseload power investments. If people didn’t want to listen to the Nationals, then they should definitely listen to Rod Sims.”

Nationals leader Michael McCormack also welcomed the ACCC report, signalling it could end the internal dispute over the NEG and allow the Coalition parties to reach a consensus.

The ACCC said there was a case for government support in the financing of new large-scale generation projects that required considerable up-front investment and carried significant risk. “Where private-sector banks are unwilling to finance projects due to uncertainty about the future of an industrial or manufacturing business, the ACCC considers there is a role for the Australian government in providing support for such projects in appropriate circumstances,” the report said.

“This can be achieved at little cost to government. Specifically, the ACCC proposes the government introduce a program under which it will guarantee offtake from a new generation asset (or group of assets) in the later years of the project (say years six-10 or six-15) at a low fixed price sufficient to enable the project to meet financing requirements.”

As the fallback customer, it has not been determined whether the government would actually buy the power to on-sell to another customer or simply bankroll the operation until it found new commercial customers.

But if the spot price were to fall as low as $45 per megawatt hour, as a senior government source said, the “government would have done its job”.

The ACCC report said the recommendation, which would apply only to new market entrants and require they have at least three commercial customers, would involve “little cost”, as energy prices would have to fall significantly for the government to be disadvantaged.

In recommendations on the behaviour of the energy giants and the lack of competition, the report called for a prohibition on acquisitions to limit the market share of any one generator to 20 per cent in any NEM region.

EnergyAustralia, a major wholesale and retail power company, said “artificial limits on ownership of generation capacity seem unnecessary when the ACCC already has the authority to review proposed mergers and acquisitions for impacts on competition”.


Parents selecting a school for their children are shunning those with low vaccination rates after it is revealed two children per class are unprotected

Parents choosing a school for their children are being swayed by vaccination rates. One-in-three parents claim they would not send their child to a school they thought was ideal if it did not have a high rate of vaccinations.

About 28 per cent of parents are concerned about their children catching a contagious disease at a school with a low immunisation rate, the Courier-Mail reported.

Up to two children per class are unprotected, according to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data.

One in every 15 five-year-old children have not been immunised in south Brisbane, and the Gold Coast has the lowest vaccination rate in Queensland at 92.2 per cent.

Of 2,000 parents surveyed by, 28 per cent considered a lack of vaccinated children one of their biggest concerns when choosing a school. It was found to be of more concern for mothers than for fathers.

'Alongside vaccination rates, things such as academic performance, distance from home and canteen ­hygiene are also influencers,' Bessie Hassan from said.

Vaccines for many preventable diseases are provided free by the National Immunisation Program Schedule in Australia for children under 10-years-old.


South Australian gym under fire over controversial social media post

A SOUTH Australian gym has been slammed by Facebook users after posting a divisive ad for a new fitness program.

HTFU Fitness Adelaide — which stands for “Harden the Fat Up” — published the post on social media earlier this week, which featured a dramatic “before and after” shot of a woman in her underwear.

It was accompanied by a caption encouraging women to sign up for the company’s new “21-day transformation starter pack”.

“Let me guess ladies??? You feel unfit, unattractive, self conscious and worthless … especially when standing in front of the mirror naked,” the post began.

“You feel embarrassed and ashamed getting naked in front of your partner … You’re sick and tired of picking outfits that hide your fat.

“And you want to feel comfortable in your own skin, wear your favourite outfits, feel fit, confident, attractive and sexy.”

The post continued: “But there’s a problem. You’re too afraid to join a gym because you’re too embarrassed, ashamed, self conscious, worried about being judged and most of all, you’re just too nervous to commit.

“But that stops now. We understand you.”

But almost immediately, the comments began rolling in, with many woman accusing the business of “fat shaming” women.

“I do feel embarrassed, ashamed and self-conscious all the time. And having posts like this pop up in my feed definitely don’t make me feel better about myself,” one women commented, while another posted: “Have you googled internalised misogyny yet? Because that’s why women talk about worthlessness and shame about their body.”

Others took aim at the use of language in the ad.

“This is a horrible, horrible way of marketing to women. Worthless? FFS!!” one woman wrote, while another shared: “Worthless? Ashamed? Unattractive? What a disgusting way to advertise to women. You should be ashamed.”

One Facebook user described the “deplorable” and “gross” ad as “the most negative, off-putting marketing in Australia”, adding: “talk about reinforcing the WORST way of looking at a woman’s body”.

And another said: “Now I know where not to go! This gym is definitely not for anyone who wants to get fit while not being judged, fat shamed, boxed into the “unfit = unhappy” category and probably ridiculed for not being fit.”

However, there were also Facebook users who defended the ad, with one woman saying it was simply a reflection of how “many women feel”.

“I feel like women/anyone just quickly jump on the bandwagon to tell someone they’re fat shaming or being sexist these days. This post is just writing the truth about what many women feel”, while another posted: “People are so quick to jump and attack these days and try to publicly shame someone or a business … HTFU isn’t about changing the person you are HTFU helps you be a better version of yourself”.

The gym also responded to the negative backlash on social media, insisting it stands by the original post.

“If you read it properly with an open mind you will see we’re stating the truth on how ‘SOME’ women feel about themselves at the moment, how they want to feel and what they know they need to do to feel better,” the company posted, before revealing four women had signed up as a direct result of the post.

Owner Aaron Cartwright told he only wanted to help people. “The only thing I would change is in the first paragraph, it should have said ‘some ladies’,” he said.

“But it’s the truth; it’s how a lot of females think about themselves, and it’s how they would like to feel about themselves. “It’s confronting probably, but it’s the reality. For people who are offended, I’d say go back and re-read it and try to understand it from my point of view.”

Mr Cartwright urged people to keep an “open mind”.

“I can understand where people who look at that post without an open mind are coming from, but if you’re offended, just relax and see my side because I’m actually trying to help people not feel bad about themselves,” he said.

“I can see how people can get offended if they look at it the wrong way and think I’m fat shaming and that kind of stuff but I’m far from a fat shamer — I’m a truth-seeker and I try and help people transform their lives whatever their size or race or if they’re male or female.


Journalism demands the kind of critical thinking that challenges pieties

Journalists should apply more scepticism to progressive moral assumptions that media consumers often think simply sound like youthful credulity.

Commentators in left-leaning media have criticised what they claim are “culture war” campaigns in the past month on a range of issues, such as the ban by Woolworths and Coles of single-use plastic bags; politicians and commentators supporting coal-fired power generation or expressing scepticism about renewables; and against News Corp papers that questioned the decision by the Australian National University not to accept a bequest from the Ramsay Centre to support a course for the study of Western civilisation.

Changes to school education curriculums and university journalism teaching have allowed a lot of progressive pieties to slide into media thinking unchallenged. Once, news editors, chief sub-editors and executive producers would have challenged such assump­tions.

Educators claim they are concerned students learn critical thinking. I’m for that, so let’s try it with the bags issue.

The Productivity Commission studied this closely in a 500-page 2006 report and found most environmental claims about these bags were bogus. There was little real evidence marine creatures were harmed by such bags. Almost all single-use bags were used by households for rubbish, and helped contain refuse in landfill. They were most likely an environmental positive because other bags were more greenhouse gas intensive in their production.

Even ABC’s Gruen managed to apply some critical thinking to the issue last week. Regular panellist and former advertising executive Russel Howcroft said Coles and Woolies were saving $170 million a year on supply­ing free plastic bags. He said green actions that supported the bottom line were great for marketers.

I don’t mind paying 15c for bags because I shop at Aldi, where you have always had to pay. But Aldi has quick and efficient checkout service. Customers are not asked to check out their own groceries on self-serve terminals that break down regularly, which of course is just a cost saving to retailers.

Journalists also should bring critical thinking to assumptions about recycling in a nation that puts recycling bins outside every house yet until now has shipped much of its recyclables to China. How does that affect greenhouse gas outputs? How many young reporters know about salts flowing into our river systems from glass and paper recycling plants or the environmental costs of trans­porting recyclables to processing stations?

The reporting of coal is even more problematic. The ABC, much of Fairfax Media and Guardian Australia have swallowed the activist line that coal is dead. Yet on Monday we learned exports of coking and steaming coal had just hit a record of $61 billion a year, and coal was about to overtake iron ore as our biggest export. Time for some critical thinking.

An editorial in The Australian Financial Review on Wednesday summed up the situation: “The irony is that, as ageing coal-fired power stations are closing down in Australia and fossil fuel gas dev­elopment remains banned in our two most populated states, rising Asian consumption of Australian coal is propping up Australia’s living standards … exposing the two sides of the coal debate in Aus­tralia: the reality and the political narrative.”

The likelihood is renewables eventually will be cheaper than coal, but that may be decades away. And as yet they just do not provide reliable baseload power. This does not mean Australia needs to build new coal-fired power stations, although how the world benefits if we don’t but our coal is burned elsewhere should be a question every thinking journalist and politician asks themselves. At minimum we do need to build a dispersed array of gas-fired “peakers” — as even the Greens understood when they signed up to former prime minister Julia Gillard’s carbon tax but now oppose.

The media should be explaining all this accurately and asking why a nation that is the leading exporter of coal, gas and uranium and contributes only 1.3 per cent of global man-made carbon dioxide emissions has the world’s most expensive power. The planet is not helped if our resources are simply used elsewhere, but jobs will certainly be destroyed here if power becomes too expensive.

Hailing bogus solutions such as South Australia’s Elon Musk-supplied battery, which could keep the state powered for a few minutes at best, is fake news. Large-scale battery storage that can effectively provide dispatchable power will arrive eventually, but this is not it.

Left media has been particularly sceptical of this paper’s coverage of the Ramsay Centre-Australian National University story, choosing to see the presence of former conservative prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott on the Ramsay board as a sign the new course should be resisted by progressives.

Yet, all over Asia, students who perform much better than our own in international testing receive a healthy diet of Western civilisation. Media sceptics fully signed up to the anti-colonialist, postmodern, identity politics view of history and literature should apply some critical thinking to the ANU as well as to Ramsay.

Do university vice-chancellors really imagine rich Asian parents will be happy to learn their children’s expensive educational institutions are being overtaken by cultural relativists? This industry is a successful services exporter precisely because Asian parents think they are buying rigour.

Last Thursday this newspaper revealed the latest aberration at ANU, where all new staff are being required to take a cultural awareness course that specifically endorses a treaty with Aboriginal Australians. Many lawyers and conservatives will have basic issues with that proposition.

It has been like this in the vexed area of Aboriginal disadvantage for decades as each new generation wanting to do the right thing privileges symbolism over the health and safety of women and children in remote Australian communities.

It reminds me of another story of changing fashions. This paper broke the news a decade and a half ago that the idea of Aboriginal welcome-to-country ceremonies was specifically devised by actors who felt Australia needed something like the Maori haka. The story revealed actors Ernie Dingo and Richard Walley came up with the plan in Perth in 1976.

That does not make welcomes to country invalid. But it does show how fashion can drive progressive thinking for no substantive benefit to the actual communities concerned. Ditto the ANU, where paying students expect it to stand above prevailing fashion.

Sure, learn about the great civilisations of the East, but don’t pretend the modern world did not develop from the ideas of ancient Greece and Rome. Journalism academics need to understand postmodern educational fads that deny the possibility of absolute truth and see many individual truths are fundamentally at odds with the profession’s core mission: to find and report the truth.


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, 2018

Pink-skinned "Indigenous" historian Bruce Pascoe says we’ve got our story all wrong

I suspect that he is making a muckle out of a mickle -- taking isolated incidents and generalizing widely from them. One would have to read his sources to go beyond that thought but it seems surprising that no-one else has seen such reports in the sources. Keith Windschuttle knows the sources very well so his evaluation must be awaited

A RADICALLY different version of Australia’s history to what we are taught at school has been put forward by a historian — who believes it changes the entire concept of Australia as a country and who we really are.

We are taught Australia’s first people were simplistic hunter-gatherers who foraged for plants and randomly hunted kangaroos.

We are taught when Europeans landed, the indigenous people who first roamed the land were a disparate group of nomadic tribes, who never built permanent homes to shelter themselves.

But many of the early journals of the white settlers who first landed here — seeing a land completely untouched by other cultures for hundreds of thousands of years — saw something very different to what conventional history textbooks tell us.

Indigenous historian Bruce Pascoe has spent years looking through these incredible accounts and found the first white settlers documented how Aboriginal people built homes, villages, parks, dams and wells, selected seeds for harvesting, ploughed fields, irrigated crops and preserved food in vessels.

He says Aboriginal people were the first culture on earth to bake, evidenced by unearthed grindstones from 30,000 years ago, meaning Aussies beat the ancient Egyptians by more than 15,000 years.

In an interview with after an groundbreaking speech at Tedx Sydney, the acclaimed author says Australia has deliberately avoided the subject for hundred of years. And, he believes the effect has been catastrophic.

“It has been purposefully left out of our history,” he said. “The misconception that Aboriginals were hunter-gatherers has been institutionalised and we are all suffering from that institutionalisation today — not just Aboriginal people but the whole country.”

He says much of this complex civilisation had been wiped out by 1860, as the land was torn up by Europeans, buildings burned down and their occupants killed by warfare, murder and disease.

When this ancient infrastructure was destroyed, Mr Pascoe believes it became convenient for settlers to perpetuate the myth that the nation’s first people were incapable of organising a coherent and sophisticated society. He believes this, in their minds, legitimised their reason for being there.

“The country can’t afford to recognise the expertise and economic subtly of Aboriginal people because it talks about ownership of the land and it undermines the whole eligibility of the people to the land,” he said. “That’s why Australians have avoided it, not out of some vagueness or failure, but just total avoidance.”

In his award-winning book, Dark Emu, which has inspired a new contemporary dance production at the Sydney Opera House, Mr Pascoe details fascinating journals of the early European explorers.

They describe densely-populated Aboriginal villages up and down the country, some with sophisticated buildings made of large logs and clay plastering.

They also describe how indigenous people produced grain surplus to requirement, stored it and used complex systems to preserve soil, water, wildlife and fish as well as native seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

Mr Pascoe says the settlers’ journals show Australia was a far more fertile land when they first landed than it is today and the vast area of the country we now consider an inhospitable desert was, in fact, meticulously and successfully managed by Aboriginal societies for thousands of years.

But when Europeans landed, they brought foreign livestock which broke up the soil with their hoofs leading to soil erosion. Settlers also brought foreign crops and intensive farming techniques, later resorting to chemical fertilisation which Mr Pascoe argues has drained the land of its former fertility.

“Recognising Aboriginal farming is fundamental to our understanding of country,” Mr Pascoe said. “If we are going to survive climate change we need to have a better understanding of the country because we have already run out of water.

“So, we have to learn to conserve water, we have to learn to conserve soil and we can learn from the Aboriginal past about how the people who lived here for hundreds of thousands of years used both and still maintained an agricultural economy.”

He argues the ancient farming techniques were more sympathetic to the land because they used Aussie plants — such as native millet, kangaroo grass and murnong — and animals like kangaroos and emus.

“They knew how to conserve water and soil and the proof of this was when the Europeans arrived and they described how the grass was higher than the saddles on their horses,” he said. “The country was more fertile then than it is now. When you talk to farmers now, they tell you their grandfathers had it better than they do.

“Farmers are ready to admit that what we are doing isn’t working and it isn’t sustainable. So they are keen to try growing native Australian plants.”

Mr Pascoe has even teamed up with a number other indigenous Australians living along the NSW South Coast and in east Gippsland in Victoria to trial native Aussie crops.

“We’re fooling ourselves if we think we can replace the old fertility with chemicals,” he added.

Mr Pascoe said he had grown up with stories of massacres, separation of families and institutional racism, but he had not heard about the wonders of Aboriginal agriculture until late on in his life.

He said it “fell into its path” as he searched for the story of his own family history when he met elders of his own Aboriginal family.

“When I spoke to them, I was taken to task because of my own misunderstanding of history and the stuff I had learned at school,” he said.

“Once I realised that my reading of history was appalling, I then had to refurbish my own brain and once I did that and started reading a few explorers’ journals, I began to realise that an unbelievably different story to be told about the country and I couldn’t believe how stupid I had been.”

Mr Pascoe said there was a bit of backlash against his ideas from certain historians when he first started writing about his theories in 2013, but since then, he said the majority of people he has spoken to, especially young people, have been enthusiastic about his arguments.

Now he wants Australians to look at the settlers’ journals and decide which version of history they believe.

“Teachers are just teaching what they learnt in school, so we need to expand resources so they and the children can access the journals,” he said. “Then, they can make their own mind up about what our history was really like.”


Must not ask people their religion

Australians have voiced their concerns about one of the most controversial questions on the 2016 Census - with calls for it to be banned from the next survey.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics took feedback from the public earlier this year, with the largest complaint being centred on the 'religion' section of the survey.

Consistent feedback gathered by the ABS said the question was leading and assumes that the participant actually has a religion.

The question itself, which was the only optional question in the entire survey, asked: 'What is the person's religion?'

ABS House in the Australian Capital Territory compiled feedback to make changes to the 2021 Census

In the 2016 Census, 30 per cent of people marked that they have no religion.

But National Secular Lobby ambassador and former senator Chris Schacht said he thinks a change in the wording would produce a more accurate result.

'There's only one reason Australia's 'No Religion' score is half that of other Western nations. We're not more religious; the Census question is simply wrong,'Mr Schacht told

'Evidence shows that many people just tick the religion they were taught as a child, even though those early beliefs have long since lapsed.'

Other Western countries recorded much higher rates of non-belief, with 52 per cent for New Zealand and 54 per cent for England.

The ABS' website says: 'Suggestions made and investigated for 2016 included using two-part filter questions, changes or additions to wording, and placing the 'no religion' response as first in the list of options.'

An example of a two-part filter question would be: 'Does the person practice a religion? If no proceed to the next question, if yes mark an option below.'

For 2016, the ABS moved ‘no religion’ to be the first response category in the question, which was the approach already taken in a number of other countries

This isn't the first time that the ABS has taken feedback on board regarding the religion question.

The 2016 Census saw the option 'no religion' move to the top of the choices.

The Census is taken every five years, with the next being in 2021.


Albanese admits Coalition 'stopped the boats' and opposes detention time limit

Albo would be a lot more reasonable ALP leader than the robotic Bill Shorten

Anthony Albanese has conceded that the Coalition’s policies “have stopped the boats”, and rejected calls to put a time limit on offshore detention, in an appearance on Sky News on Tuesday evening.

The senior frontbencher suggested during the interview that Labor could make refugee policy more humanitarian in several respects but ruled out allowing refugees who came by boat to settle in Australia.

The interview – addressing one of the Labor right’s key concerns about putting a leftwing MP in charge of the party – is likely to be seen as a further signal he is prepared to lead the party after a speech in late June laying out his manifesto, including the need for bipartisanship and closer cooperation with business.

Albanese denied the speech was intended as such as signal but pressure on Bill Shorten’s leadership has intensified after a misstep on Labor’s policy on company tax and with byelections looming on 28 July in the opposition-held marginal seats of Longman and Braddon.

Early in the interview the journalist and host Sharri Markson suggested Albanese could be Labor leader after those byelections, an assumption he did not correct – although he denied plotting to replace Shorten in answer to a later question.

Asked to address concerns about his position on border protection, Albanese said that “circumstances had changed” from 2015 when he opposed boat turnbacks.

“The government’s policies have stopped the boats,” he said. “They’re not coming, so the circumstances of rejecting boat arrivals has been achieved.”

Albanese said that the previous Labor government was wrong to believe that Australia’s border policies were not a “pull factor” for asylum seekers, which is why it changed tack when Kevin Rudd regained the leadership and reinstated offshore detention.

Albanese said Labor in government would be “tough on people smugglers” without being “weak on humanity”.

Asked about human services spokeswoman Linda Burney’s call for a time limit on offshore detention, Albanese said he did not support a timeframe but he believed Australia could end “long-term indefinite detention” that has led to refugees taking their own lives and mental anguish.

He suggested making the program more humanitarian by increasing the refugee intake, working with the UNHCR, achieving faster third-party resettlement of refugees and offering permanent rather than temporary protection visas.

“The range of changes I’ve pointed out are there – but no change in terms of people who arrive by boat, they wouldn’t be settled in Australia,” he said.

Asked if he was planning a leadership coup in the event Shorten faltered at the byelections, Albanese replied: “Not at all.

“But we also aren’t focused on ourselves – what we’ve done since 2013, I think very effectively, is be a coherent opposition with each player doing their role in the team – led by Bill Shorten, Chris Bowen and the economic team, including myself as the [shadow] infrastructure minister.”

Albanese said he accepted the Labor party’s decision in 2013 – when votes in the Labor caucus overwhelmed Albanese’s lead with members to award the leadership to Shorten – and since then he had done his job to the best of his capacity “for the Labor cause”.

“You can only have one captain and that captain is Bill Shorten, I accepted that,” he said. “And I think what we need to do is work together as a team. I have a good relationship with Bill, I have a good relationship will all my colleagues.”

Albanese said there was a “good atmosphere” and “good vibe” in Labor compared with infighting in the Coalition between Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott over energy policy


Taste of the future: Australia’s southern states at 50% renewables

How to lie with statistics again. Tasmania has had big hydro resources from a time before Greenies were thought of. So including them inflates the renewable share.  South Australia also has a big windmill base -- but that is only good if you like all their blackouts -- of up to 2 weeks long

Here’s a taste of the future: Last week, over the three southern states of Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia, the share of renewable energy was above 50 per cent for most of the time.

Prices were low, observes Hugh Saddler, the leading energy analyst from The Australia Institute, who provided these graphs. And in South Australia, where there was a very high share of wind energy, only four gas units operated on days such as Thursday and Friday.

Note that wind, from Monday on, accounted for a minimum 60 per cent of supply, and on occasions more than 100 per cent. Gas went up and down as needed – but note how little was needed from Wednesday through Friday.

The balance was maintained by the inter-connector, with exports as the wind blew hardest, and some imports when it pulled back slightly and offered a cheaper option than gas.

And here’s what the prices showed us. By and large, prices stayed around $50/MWh and below, apart from the occasional spike. And there were some negative pricing events, not including the midday negative pricing that was recorded in Queensland as a result of its solar production late last month.

Sadly, such low prices don’t last. As we saw on Monday, when the wind and solar back off, and the fossil fuel generators can create an artificial network constraint, they then have the market power to bid prices to the market cap in order to extract maximum value from the market. 


'I believe Islam killed my daughter': A grieving mother tells how her daughter cut off all contact with family and friends to marry an older Muslim man who left her on a bathroom floor for FIVE DAYS to die

Siobhann Brown had not heard from her eldest daughter since she called five years earlier saying she was converting to Islam to get married and have her first child. Then two Victoria Police detectives arrived at her door.

Ashlee Brown, 25, had been found dead on her bathroom floor with more than 100 blunt and sharp force injuries covering most of her body.

The mother of three children under five had been bound, gagged and had her long strawberry blonde hair cut off. 

Ashlee's husband Mohamed Naddaf, 37, told police he had found his wife in that state in their garage about five days earlier but chose to 'care' for her in the bathroom rather than call Triple 0.

Ms Brown had to run out of her house in disbelief when she heard how her daughter died. She is now faced with Naddaf pleading guilty to manslaughter, without ever going to trial.

'Ashlee was a fun-loving girl,' Ms Brown told Daily Mail Australia. 'She was giving. She was loving. She loved the sun, the beach. She loved singing, dancing, having fun.'

Ashlee had been raised in country Victoria as a 'typical Aussie girl' and gradually grew restless as she hit her late teenage years.

She took increasingly regular trips to Melbourne, once returning to introduce her family to Mohamed Rannaf when she was was about 18. 'She introduced him as "Macca",' Ms Brown said. 'It was very brief.

'He seemed like a nice, very polite, young man. It pains me to say that. I didn't see him again after that.'

There was no communication for some time before a phone call came 'out of the blue' that would herald the end of all contact between Ms Brown and her daughter.

When Ashlee was about 20 she rang to say she was pregnant and wanted her mother's blessing to convert to Islam and marry Mohamed.

'She said to me, "Mum, I need your blessing to become Muslim". She said "I'm three months' pregnant and I'm engaged to Mohamed. I would really like to marry him, mum, and settle down and have a baby".

'I said to her, "Darling, I don’t know anything about the Muslim religion. As long as you know what you're doing. 'I said, "Do you have to wear one of those burqas or hijabs? I didn't know what they were called.

'She said, "No mum, only when I go into the mosque because it's disrespectful for a woman to show her face before God".

'I said to Ashlee, "As long as you're making a fully informed decision and it's what you really want".'

Ashlee said that it was.

'There was a pause after that,' Ms Brown said. 'She said. "Thank you, mum". And then her voice seemed to change and she said, "It's Islam". That didn't mean anything to me at the time.

'We said goodbye to each other and we hung up and I didn't hear from Ashlee again.'

Ms Brown said she was convinced the lack of subsequent contact with Ashlee was solely down to her religious conversion and Rannaf controlling his wife. 'I believe Islam killed my daughter,' the 46-year-old said.

'If I could have taken that phone call back I would have not have given her my blessing. I would have said "No, sorry love".

Police initially charged Naddaf with assault and false imprisonment, after paramedics found her dead in the couple's home at Craigieburn, in Melbourne's north, on November 6, 2016.

They later accused Naddaf of killing his wife, but then prosecutors agreed to let him plead guilty to manslaughter. 


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, 2018

The LDP: Trumpism in Australia

John Quiggin

Leftist economist Quiggin is talking up an irritable and semi-hairless Swedish aristocrat with a tiny following as equivalent to Trump. It's part of his usual Leftist selective attention to reality. 

The  strange thinking emerges in Quiggin's very first sentence below.  He accuses Lion-helmet of attacks on "women".  I would like to know when Leyonhjelm did that.  As far as I can find he attacked just one particular lachrymose and self-righteous woman with an informal reputation for sexual enthusiasm, not "women" generally. 

Quiggin is really losing his grip if he can't spot a difference there.  62 is a rather young age for dementia to strike but you never know

The reaction to Senator David Leyonhjelm’s recent attacks on women have mostly focused on Leyonhjelm personally. If he were a private citizen or an independent member of Parliament, that would make sense, and would lead to the conclusion that best thing to do is to ignore him.

In fact, however, Leyonhjelm is the most senior elected representative of the Liberal Democratic Party, a national political party. His statements on the matter give his position as Parliamentary leader of the party and appear in the media section of the LDP website. They may be taken as official statements of the LDP position.

Leyonhjelm’s statements are entirely consistent with the general position of the LDP which may be summarized as “well off white men should be able to say and do whatever they like with no adverse consequences”. That’s pretty much the essence of Trumpism.

It’s also, in operational terms, the position of most of those who describe themselves as “libertarian” or “classical liberal”. That’s why so many self-described US libertarians voted for Trump in both the Republican primaries and the general election. The handful of true believers dismayed by this have mostly decamped to become “liberaltarians” organized around the Niskanen Institute.

The LDP is a minor party, but not a negligible one, especially when taken together with One Nation. Although there are differences between the two, they mainly come down to style. The LDP base is urban and well-off, while One Nation’s core supporters are rural/regional voters with limited education and middle or low incomes. However, the parties are united by their hatreds, in for environmentalists, feminists, and lefties, all categories embodied by Senator Hanson-Young. Unsurprisingly, Hanson has backed Leyonhjelm. The same enemy-driven politics characterizes a a large section of the LNP and their supporting commentariat.

In these circumstances, the suggestion that we should ignore Leyonhjelm and the LDP makes no more sense than the suggestion that we should ignore Trump. With the collapse of neoliberalism, Trumpism in its various forms is now the most important ideology opponent of the left. It’s necessary to face up to the fact that, despite its racism, misogyny and general ugliness, this is a movement with mass support in Australia and elsewhere. Pointing up its ugliest manifestations, such as the Liberal Democratic Party is a necessary part of the struggle against it.


Sonia Kruger has failed to have racial vilification complaint against her dismissed

She told the truth about Islam!

SONIA Kruger will face a hearing next month over controversial remarks she made about Muslims two years ago.

The Today Extra and The Voice host failed to have a racial vilification complaint against her dismissed, after her 2016 suggestion that Muslim immigration should be temporarily halted sparked a firestorm of controversy.

The Civil and Administrative Tribunal refused an application by the Nine Network to have the complaint dismissed without a hearing.

In July 2016, Kruger endorsed a newspaper article by News Corp Australia columnist Andrew Bolt during a segment of the Today Show.

“I mean, personally, I think Andrew Bolt has a point here, that there is a correlation between the number of people who, you know, are Muslim in a country and the number of terrorist attacks,” she said on the show.

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

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

In a subsequent appearance on the talk show, Kruger, 52, brought up an image of a baby covered in a plastic sheet after the July 14 terror attack in Nice, France, which she said, “rocked me to the very core”.

“I acknowledge that my views yesterday may have been extreme ... it is a hugely complex and sensitive issue,” she said.

Her comments ignited a storm of outrage on social media, and prompted an official complaint on July 18 by Australian Muslim Sam Ekermawi, from Moorebank in Sydney’s southwest, who said the Nine Network had vilified “ethnic Muslim Australians”.

“Kruger did target Ethnic-Muslims as a group; she believes that Muslim Australians are constructed as terrorist,” Mr Ekermawi wrote in an email to the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW in March last year.

He said her comments highlighted an “uncomfortable reality” for ethnic Australian Muslims, adding that “Islamophobia is a world wide phenomena”.

Under the Anti-Discrimination Act it is unlawful for a person, by a public act, to incite hatred, serious contempt or severe ridicule of a person or people on the ground of race.

The matter is listed for a directions hearing on June 19.


All teachers  must learn maths?

Not everyone is good at it so are they to be barred from teaching (say) English>

The federal government could use funding agreements with Australian universities to force them to make science and maths a priority in teaching degrees.

In a speech delivered in Sydney on Monday, education minister Simon Birmingham signalled that the government was willing to use university funding as a way of addressing falling participation rates in high school maths and science.

The government says that in 2013 one in five year 7 to 10 general science teachers had not completed a year of university study in that area, a figure Birmingham said was “unacceptable”.
Private schools on funding 'hitlist' actually increase their funding

On Monday he said states and territories should “be willing to make clear to universities where their employment priorities lie” and create incentives for more students to consider specialising in maths and science subjects.

“Between better workforce planning and smarter use of technology every high school should have access to specialist teachers to teach specialist science and maths subjects,” he said.

“And we should strive to achieve this within the next five to ten years.”

While Birmingham conceded the federal government cannot force states to hire teachers with maths or science backgrounds, he indicated he could “influence” the teaching students entering university by tying it to university enrolment funding.

“If need be, federal funding powers over university places could be used to help the states to influence enrolments to secure the science teachers we need for the future,” he said.

It comes after a report from Australia’s chief scientist Alan Finkel which noted a long-term decline in year 12 students enrolling in science and challenging maths subjects.

The report, released in April, found the number of students choosing science had dropped from 55% in 2002 to 51% in 2013. And while maths participation had remained steady, Finkel’s report found a trend towards students choosing easier subjects.

The Finkel report argued that not enough universities required mathematics subjects for degrees – saying it is only a prerequisite for five of 37 universities offering a bachelor of science, four of 31 for a bachelor of commerce and one of 34 for an engineering degree.

He also called for a complete overhaul of the Advanced Tertiary Admission Rank system, or Atar, saying it encouraged students to game the system by aiming for higher scores by doing less demanding subjects.


Conservative candidate in by-election fails to bow down before global warming

The Liberal National party candidate for Longman, Trevor Ruthenberg, has refused to clarify whether he believes climate change is happening, after telling a group of environmentalists he had a different “understanding of the science” when confronted about the link between burning coal and global warming.

Ruthenberg, a former Queensland state MP, is contesting the marginal electorate on Brisbane’s northern fringe for the LNP at the upcoming byelection.

In a video recorded on Saturday and seen by Guardian Australia, Ruthenberg is shown talking to members of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, who were campaigning in Longman before the 26 July super Saturday byelection.

On the same day, his Queensland-based party’s conference supported motions including removing subsidies for renewables, committing to build a new coal-fired power station in the north and bankrolling a rail link to the Galilee basin.
Mark Latham voices robocall for One Nation urging voters to punish Shorten
Read more

In the video, Ruthenberg is challenged by AYCC campaigners who say: “You can’t mine and burn coal responsibly.”

Ruthenberg responds: “There you and I will fundamentally disagree.”

One campaigner says science shows that coal is a major contributor to climate change and is fuelling global warming.

“I’m saying that your understanding of science, and wherever you’re getting science, and my understanding of science, are not the same science,” Ruthenberg says.

He is then asked by another campaigner: “I just want to clarify, do you mean that you do not believe in climate change?”

“No, not at all,” Ruthenberg says.

The campaigner says: “But 99% of scientists agree that climate change is happening.”

“Yeah, OK,” the candidate responds.

Ruthenberg has been contacted and asked to clarify his comments, including whether he believes that climate change is human-made. He was also offered the opportunity to explain the alternative understanding of the science he was referring to.

Briana Collins from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition said the comments were “outrageous” especially given Longman includes Bribie Island, where the local council says 63% of homes are at risk to sea level rises.

“Young people are tired of politicians who refuse to protect our future from dangerous global warming,” she says. “If Trevor Ruthenberg wants to represent the people of Longman, he cannot support climate-wrecking coalmines and giving public money to Adani’s mine.”

Longman is notionally a Labor electorate with a margin of 0.8%. Susan Lamb won the seat for Labor in 2016 and is contesting the byelection, after she resigned in May under a dual citizenship cloud.

The Moreton Bay region has pockets of strong One Nation support.


Lauren Southern’s Australian visa approved after ‘unusually prolonged process’

A little birdie tells me that the approval came through after David Leyonhjelm had a word with Immigration Minister Peter Dutton

Lauren Southern’s Australian speaking tour will go ahead after her visa was approved following an “unusually prolonged application process”.

It comes after the 23-year-old Canadian’s application for a temporary Electronic Travel Authority was denied, leading to accusations the Australian government was attempting to prevent her from entering the country.

Ms Southern is scheduled to appear in Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland alongside commentator Stefan Molyneux in a series of events hosted by Axiomatic Media later this month.

“Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux were advised in writing this morning by their Australian immigration lawyers and migration agents that their applications for working visas subclass 408 have been formally approved,” Axiomatic Media founder Luke Izaak said in a statement on Tuesday.

“This has followed an unusually prolonged application process, due to which, as the dates of travel rapidly approached, the lawyers advised it would be advisable to apply to travel on an Electronic Travel Authority.

“Although many armchair experts on social media have expressed their opinion that Lauren and Stefan somehow did the wrong thing by following expert legal advice, it remains true that most reasonable people in the same situation would follow legal advice,” Mr Izaak said.

“The suggestions that they did not, from the very beginning, apply for the correct visas is categorically false and has been emphatically silenced by this morning’s final approval of the correct 408 visas, originally applied for months ago.

“On behalf of Lauren and Stefan, Axiomatic Events would like to publicly thank all the Australians who contacted their local members of parliament to urge the government to ensure no politics be allowed to play a part in deciding their applications, despite the petitions and political pressure organised to deny them.

“We additionally thank the Australian media for raising the issue of freedom of speech. We also appreciate the government processing the applications on their merits instead of personal politics, if belatedly.”

Ms Southern earlier told The Daily Telegraph she believed the “unprecedented” number of hurdles being put in her way were due to her criticism of radical Islam.

“There are so many people that are offended by debate and free speech that sometimes governments cower, it’s just way easier to play into the hands of people who are totalitarian,” she said.


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

10 July, 2018

Half of Tasmania’s Anglican churches are slated for sale, leaving communities reeling. Is this Tassie Christendom’s death knell?

C'mon!  Anglicanism tells us nothing about Christendom.  Homosexuality is all they seem to believe in these days.  They have left both the Bible and their own "39 articles" behind years ago.  They still sometimes talk the old talk but their churches are now little more than social clubs

Ron Sonners strides through the tombstones and crosses that creep up a gentle grassy slope, stopping just shy of the portal into St Peter’s, an elegant Georgian church perched on a hill overlooking the Tasmanian farming village of Hamilton. He wants to show me the war graves but the most frequented plot in the grounds of this heritage-listed Anglican church is the fresher mound where his niece’s son lies ­buried. She brings flowers and her unfathomable grief twice a week, seeking solace. He knows who is here in the cold, packed earth because he ­gardens and cares for this place, proud of the new cemetery gates, the old wooden door rehung, floorboards replaced and recarpeted, improved wiring, the levelling of the flagstone entrance, all done with volunteer money and labour.

The passage of convicts, free settlers and their kin has worn a shallow dip across the threshold slab of pale stone through almost two centuries of service since the church opened in 1838. Tested by the vicissitudes of fortune and faith, the dwindling congregation scraped by cheerfully enough until last month, when parishioners learnt St Peters was on a hit list of 76 churches in Tasmania — more than half the total 133 — slated for auction to fund compensation for victims of child sex abuse by the Anglican clergy. Forget “temporal things” such as bricks and mortar, Tasmania’s Anglican Bishop, the Right Reverend Richard Condie, urged clergy and lay members of the governing synod that endorsed the scheme last month. “What a miserable and pathetic gospel we would have if it could be destroyed by the loss of a building. Our ­discipleship, our following of Jesus, our trust and hope and life is so much more than real estate.”

Sixty-one of the churches under threat are in pinched rural hamlets. Five of the six Anglican churches in the vast central midlands parish of Hamilton have a “for sale” sticker. These towns have lost services, post offices, banks and now churches that in many cases dominate the skyline, the main street, occupying parcels of land donated in perpetuity by private citizens, built through subscriptions, maintained for 100 years or more by the collection plate and the sweat of parishioners.

At Windermere, on the Tamar River north of Launceston, a psychologist and stalwart of ­St Matthias says: “I’ve cried and prayed every night over this decision.” In the West Coast town of Queenstown, where the local mine has closed, volunteer preacher and businessman Kevin ­Bailey admits to being “very stressed” about the ­potential loss of St Martin’s, which would force folk to drive 50km on winding roads to the nearest alternative. The church warden of St Marks at Cressy, south of Launceston, hasn’t slept for three weeks: “It tears the heart out of you.” In Pyengana, a speck in the state’s far north-east, the tiny white clapboard church, recently painted and reclad by locals, offers sanctuary to a dairy farmer who goes there anytime he feels the need to be close to the graves of his two teenage children.

“Country people vote with their feet. They just leave and they don’t come back,” says Nichola Ball, whose family have been baptised, wed and buried at St John the Baptist in Ouse, 15km north-west of Hamilton, for four generations. With its pressed tin spire, wooden fretwork and chunky blue stone, the tiny church was built by her great-great-grandfather in 1843. “Whoever buys this is going to have to buy Walter Ross Bethune,” she hoots of her great-uncle’s resting place under the altar. The blackwood lid of the stone baptismal font was carved by revered ­Tasmanian arts and crafts artist Ellen Payne. “We love this church,” Ball sighs, pausing to read the rapturous comments from tourists and others tracing their ancestral footprints who have signed a leatherbound book in the porch. “Door is not locked. Visitors welcome,” says the sign.

Ball has joined Sonners on the frontline. Her cultivated manner camouflages a soldiering bloodline. “Unconscionable … disingenuous,” she says of the bishop’s plan to sell “our light on the hill”.

Parishes have until December to secure an exemption. Once churches are sold there’ll be the sweetener of diocese funds available to bankroll new ministry in school halls, living rooms, coffee shops, wherever. The fate of the graveyards is ­anyone’s guess; the state government is urgently reviewing its Burial and Cremation Act. Plots have been paid for everywhere I visit. Trust deeds are being pored over. Meetings are underway. This could be the saving grace of Tasmania’s Christendom or its death knell. Heritage, history, culture, religion: the social fabric of an island state is up for grabs.

Huge inverted red neon crucifixes menace the night sky on Hobart’s waterfront for Dark Mofo, the annual winter festival of the Museum of Old and New Art, a cultural phenomenon that has ­turbocharged Tasmania’s tourism-led economic recovery. The upside-down motif decried as blasphemous by Christian leaders is a neat metaphor for the turmoil triggered by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

At Anglican church headquarters in nearby Macquarie Street, next to St David’s Cathedral, the fallout is written in Bishop Condie’s taut ­composure. “I’ve worked pretty much seven days a week for the last couple of months on this, as much as is possible humanly to do,” he tells me. “I’ve been trying to lead calmly but sometimes I think people have understood that to mean that I don’t care about this. I’ve wept over this. This is the hardest thing I could do and I’m incredibly sad that the Anglican Church in Tasmania is in this position. Evil people in our history did these terrible crimes and now our generation is paying for it, but I’m also filled with compassion for survivors of child abuse who have sat in this room and told me their stories. I can’t ignore that.”

His office in a city precinct of blue-chip real estate bears none of the lustre of corporate foyers. Worn carpet, cheap framed prints and mismatched furnishings are testament to a cash-strapped purse as well as a nobler disregard for secular trappings. Burdened by an annual deficit of $95,000, Condie insists he could neither ­borrow the $8 million for redress nor raise money through the sale of commercial assets, since these provide essential ongoing revenue for an institution in decline. “It would cripple us and we’d go out of business pretty quickly,” he says.

Tasmania has the lowest religious affiliation of any state and falling, according to the latest census, although the proportion of Anglicans compared with other religions, while also shrinking, is higher than the national average. To prepare for a looming compensation bill, the state synod last year introduced a sustainability test to determine parish viability. Churches had to demonstrate attendance by 30 households; sufficient funds to pay a full-time minister; ­pathways to encourage families and children; and ­evangelical and outreach activities. Survival of the fittest doomed the frailest rural congregations for auction despite the best efforts of parishioners to make ends meet. In Hamilton, for example, the elderly priest is part-time and unpaid. She earns a small salary from school chaplaincy work and the parish bought her a car and covers petrol expenses as she rotates Sunday services between churches.

Ministry matters more than church buildings in the figuring of Bishop Condie, an evangelical Christian aligned with the GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference) strand of conser­vative Anglicanism. Melbourne born and bred, his only exposure to a rural ­community occurred during an early two-year posting in a parish in northern NSW. Anglican officials around the country are ­monitoring his ambitious reversal of authority. Traditionally, veto over the sale of church property is vested with the parish councils but the Tasmanian synod handed the bishop power over the fate of 108 properties.


Unpopular truth about Africans in Melbourbe

The video editor goofed but it doesn't mean the story is wrong

CHANNEL 7 current affairs show Sunday Night is under fire over claims that its report on Melbourne’s African gangs was race baiting.

Comedian Meshel Laurie is among the Melburnians to slam the story, saying the report — which alleged the city had been overrun with African gangs — was “racist bulls**t”.

Reporter Alex Cullen introduced the story: “Barely a week goes by that they’re not in the news. “African gangs running riot, terrorising, robbing, wreaking havoc.

“Yet we live in such politically correct times, the police have been loath to admit there’s even a problem — but there is.”

Even before the segment went to air, Sunday Night was copping criticism across social media.

Eagle-eyed viewers pointed out the footage used in the program was more than three years old.

“See the first scene? Flinders Street has been painted since then, and was covered in scaffolding for the two years before that. See the second scene? I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Melbourne, but there is a HUGE bloody hole there that has been there for 2 years,” Twitter user Alan Baxter wrote.

The segment was also panned by community leaders from South Sudan, the country Channel 7 claimed most of Australia’s “African criminals” came from.

Melbourne-based litigation lawyer Maker Mayek, who is originally from South Sudan, tweeted up a storm before and after the program aired, urging viewers to change the channel.

The Twitter hashtag #NotMyAustralia also became one of the top trending hashtags in the country as the program went to air.

Hundreds of people also called for Channel 7 to instead focus on Australia’s rising domestic violence rates after the deaths of women including Eurydice Dixon and Xi Yu.

The Sunday Night program also aired an interview with Melbourne woman Elaine French, who was working at a high-end jewellery store in Toorak when it was robbed by a group of men.

Described as a “broken woman”, Ms French said the robbery had ruined her life. “I don’t have a life anymore. These four walls is where I live. I’m too nervy. I can’t go to a shopping centre because if I ran into a coloured person I’d be having a panic attack again,” she said.

The robbery took place a year ago and Ms French was interviewed for the Channel 7 program last night.

When Ms French is asked by Cullen what she thought a “just punishment would be” she said she wanted the robbers “deported back to where they came from”.

The African gangs stereotype hit the media in January after a number of Sudanese people living in Melbourne were accused of crimes.

The hysteria peaked when Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said people in Melbourne were “too scared to go to restaurants because of African gang violence”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also weighed in on the hysteria in January, accusing Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews of failing to deal with gang violence in Melbourne.

But the Prime Minister’s comments were called out by an African community leader who accused him of using Sudanese “street gang” problems in Victoria to score political points.

Richard Deng, of the South Sudanese Community Association of Victoria, said the Prime Minister was jumping on the issue as a “tool to win elections”.

“The Prime Minister needs to man up, support the State Government, support the African community, don’t target them just because of the political agenda you want to drive,” he said at a press conference in January.



Australian government declines visa for right-wing activist Lauren Southern ahead of speaking tour

An attractive conservative gives Leftists everywhere the complete horrors

CONTROVERSIAL conservative activist Lauren Southern has had her visa declined by the Australian government ahead of a speaking tour later this month.

The 23-year-old Canadian is scheduled to appear in Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland alongside commentator Stefan Molyneux in a series of events hosted by Axiomatic Media.

The far-right internet personalities are well known for their outspoken views on issues such as immigration, Islam and political correctness. Ms Southern is a supporter of the anti-immigrant group Defend Europe, which attempts to block migrant ships coming from North Africa.

“Australia declines visa for Canadian @Lauren_Southern,” Sky News host Ross Cameron wrote on Twitter, posting a photo of an email to Southern from visa website

The email said Ms Southern had applied for an Australian ETA, or electronic travel authority. “The Australian High Commission have advised that you are not eligible for this service,” the website said. “You may wish to consider applying for a Visitor Visa (Subclass 600) with the Australian government.”

Axiomatic Media founder Luke Izaak tweeted: “Here you go Australia. Zero criminal record, zero history of incitement to violence, more defamation of her character by the hard left than I have seen on any Conservative speaker all year and still @Lauren_Southern is fighting to come visit #wakeupaustralia.”

According to the Home Affairs website, an Australian ETA is for “short-term stays for tourism or business visitor activities such as attending a conference, making business inquiries, or for contractual negotiations” and is “not a work visa”.

A Visitor Visa (Subclass 600), which costs between $140 and $1045, entitles the recipient to visit Australia “for business purposes” for up to 12 months. Axiomatic Media is charging $79 for a basic ticket and up to $749 for an “intimate dinner” with the pair.

Mr Izaak told the pair had applied for Temporary Activity Visas (Subclass 408) — which would permit them to work and normally take 10 days to process — “months ago” but had been “stonewalled and stonewalled with no response”.

“One-and-a-half weeks ago they asked for a criminal record check. Neither of them have criminal records, they got those clean, and still no response,” he said.

“Her immigration lawyer advised them to get a temporary ETA so she and Stefan can at least be getting the lay of the land, having a look at Sydney Harbour Bridge, [go to] Cairns for a crocodile safari, to immerse themselves in the country before they speak about it, and hope the government comes through with the [408 visa].”

But Mr Izaak said even the ETA was denied.


Stupid recycling scheme

Costly -- like all Greenie schemes

Woolworths warns of 60 per cent price increases if Western Australia cash-for-cans scheme goes ahead

WOOLWORTHS has warned it could be forced to increase some drink prices by 60 per cent in Western Australia if the State Government pushes ahead with a container deposit scheme similar to the NSW government’s disastrous “Return and Earn” program.

In a written submission outlining its concerns about WA’s “cash for cans” plan slated to roll out in 2020, Woolworths said the estimated total cost to NSW households from Return and Earn would be $420 million, based on a “conservative” average levy of 12 cents per container.

Due to WA’s much larger size and smaller population, the supermarket predicted handling and administration fees would be “significantly more” at around 15 cents per container.

“The CDS will have a significant cost-of-living impact on our customers,” Woolworths government relations manager Richard Fifer wrote. “Based on an increase of 15 cents per item, a 24x600ml pack of Woolworths still water will rise from $6 to $9.60, which is an increase of 60 per cent.”

Woolworths said its experience with similar schemes in South Australia and the Northern Territory showed the “vast majority” of beverage containers were still returned through kerbside recycling, “reflecting the low engagement consumers have in seeking a refund”.

The NSW government’s scheme, launched on December 1, 2017, has been heavily criticised for pushing up the price of drinks without any environmental benefit, given 80 per cent of bottles and cans were already being recycled via yellow bins.

In April, The Australian reported the five biggest drinks manufacturers — Coca-Cola Amatil, Carlton United Brewers, Lion, Coopers and Asahi — were pocketing $34 million a month in unclaimed “deposits”.

Drinks manufacturers raised their prices to pay for the 10-cent “deposit” to be paid back to consumers if they return near pristine-condition bottles and cans “uncrushed, unbroken” and with “the original labels attached”.

The paper reported that just 13 per cent of eligible bottles and cans were being returned and Exchange for Change, the company formed by the five drinks makers to manage the scheme, simply hands the unclaimed money back to them.

As of May, more than 350 million drink containers had been returned to around 600 Return and Earn machines. In April, an interim report by the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal found prices had increased by 10-14 cents for soft drinks and water, 6 cents for beers and fruit juices, and 7 cents for ciders.

Queensland will introduce its own container deposit scheme in November. “We stand by the evidence provided in our submission to the WA government on the container deposit scheme last year,” a Woolworths spokesman said.

“Since our submission there has been constructive engagement between industry and government on the proposed design and implementation of the scheme. If this approach continues, we trust the consumer costs associated with the scheme can be minimised.”


Men must not be photographed with Bikini-clad women (??)

THE LNP Member for Whitsunday has found himself at the centre of a national and international media storm after posting a video to social media last week of himself bookended by two young bikini-clad tourists at the Airlie Beach foreshore.

The Queensland Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad condemned the "celebrating" of World Bikini Day on Twitter and Facebook and called Jason Costigan a "sleazebag".

Buoyed by online support and a general perception the post was innocuous, Mr Costigan responded in an interview with the Whitsunday Times. "This whole concept of political correctness has to stop," he said. "It's on steroids and it needs to be called out, it's beyond a joke."

In the wake of widespread media attention and online criticism, Ms Trad posted on social media again on Sunday night stating: "I've copped it, but I stand by what I said, because if nothing changes, nothing changes".

"Unfortunately, too many of us know sleazebags who use their official titles and positions to objectify and prey on women. It needs to stop," Ms Trad wrote on Twitter.

The Member for Whitsunday appeared on Channel 10 show The Project on Sunday and was asked by host Hamish McDonald if he was a "sleazebag".

"We have a lot of creepy things in North Queensland, snakes and spiders...but I am not one of them," he said.

Mr Costigan then politicised the reaction to the Bikini Day stunt by saying he was not a "part of the loony left."

"Political correctness has one place for me and that is down the toilet," 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

9 July, 2018

Why the Future is Not Solar

The point is not that solar should not be considered, but that it should be considered, warts and all, alongside coal, nuclear and hydro with all their drawbacks. Too often, renewables' drawbacks and deficiencies are glossed over, not the least of these being that are unlikely ever to meet global energy needs

The future is solar—apparently. This was the argument advanced by Andrew Blakers and Matthew Stocks (2018) of the ANU on the blog The Conversation, which tells us on its masthead it combines academic rigour with journalistic flair. Unfortunately, the piece in question demonstrates considerable flair and enthusiasm for solar, but academic rigour is rather harder to find.

An energy future without fossil fuels is appealing, and people frequently imagine that solar energy will allow us to achieve that at little or no cost. Blakers and Stocks had earlier joined with a colleague to tell us that Australia could meet its target under the Paris Agreement with zero net cost (Blakers, Lu and Stocks, 2017). Blakers and Stocks’s piece reinforced the current belief among many that renewables are now competitive with coal-fired electricity generation, just as their enthusiasts said they would become—if only governments supported them with the right policies.

The Australian electricity market might be in a mess, and wholesale prices might have doubled, but—the Blakers and Stocks meme would have it—we are about to reap the rewards of a solar-based cornucopia that will make it all worthwhile. The Blakers and Stocks piece is, unfortunately, based upon an uncritical view of the place of solar energy that is far too sanguine about the prospects for solar, making several errors and glossing over some inconvenient truths.

Blakers and Stocks are leading scientists in the development of solar cells, but they do not seem sufficiently endowed with the scepticism that should accompany any technology. They remind me most of all of the engineers I studied in electric utilities in Tasmania, Victoria, New Zealand, Ontario and British Columbia (Kellow, 1996) who found ways to ensure that their evaluations of alternatives always managed to support their preferred project. Langdon Winner (1978) referred to this as “reverse adaptation”, or the adaptation of ends to suit preferred means, but Abraham Maslow perhaps put the problem most elegantly when he remarked that when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts to resemble a nail. Experts, in other words, tend to favour the things they are expert in.

I will return to the economics of solar in Blakers and Stocks’s analysis below, but first I point to some of the other statements where they simply gloss over the faults and limitations of solar (and wind) energy—including their environmental limitations.

Some inconvenient solar (and wind) truths

Blakers and Stocks make the following statement:

PV [photovoltaic cells] and wind have minimal environmental impacts and water requirements. The raw materials for PV—silicon, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, aluminium, glass, steel and small amounts of other materials—are effectively in unlimited supply.

Most of these raw materials require energy to produce. There is a debate over whether the energy embodied in various technologies is large enough to offset that which they produce (Fthenakis and Kim, 2007; Ferroni and Hopkirk, 2016; Raugei, et al, 2017; Ferroni, Guekos and Hopkirk, 2017). After dealing with criticisms of their original paper, Ferroni, Guekos and Hopkirk (2017: 498) conclude:

Any attempt to adopt an Energy Transition strategy by substitution of intermittent for base load power generation in countries like Switzerland or further north will result in unavoidable net energy loss.

Australia has better insolation, but there is a global concern here.

What Blakers and Stocks also gloss over with their dismissive “small amounts of other materials” is that the manufacture of PV panels requires the use of small—but still significant—amounts of solvents that have Global Warming Potential numbers around 20,000 times that of carbon dioxide. Nitrogen trifluoride was not covered by the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, but is 16,000 times more powerful a greenhouse gas (GHG) than carbon dioxide, and sulphur hexafluoride is 23,900 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. This means that—on a life-cycle basis in Germany—Ferroni (2014) has suggested that PV solar is worse for climate forcing than gas or coal. Ferroni has calculated that lifetime (twenty-five years) emissions from solar energy in Germany (panels made in China, shipped to Germany, including transport and peripherals) is 978g carbon dioxide equivalent per kWh. For state-of-the-art coal the figure is 846g and for gas (CCGT) 400g.

This is, of course, partly a reflection of the poor insolation in Germany, and Mexico or Australia are more propitious sites. The advantage, in terms of virtue, is that only some of these were covered by the Kyoto Protocol, and the emissions (from inefficient fossil fuel electricity) related to manufacture mostly occur in China and those stemming from energy expended in transport are not charged to Germany.

Moreover, it cannot be assumed that covering vast areas with solar panels has “minimal” environmental impacts. While rainforest has greater aesthetic appeal (especially for environmentalists), the deserts often favoured for PV or solar thermal installations are not without significance. Indeed, there is research that suggests deserts have greater biodiversity than rainforests (Fierer and Jackson, 2006), and covering them with solar arrays does not constitute a minimal impact.

Blakers and Stocks also state that “Wind energy is an important complement to PV because it often produces at different times and places, allowing a smoother combined energy output.”

This is nonsense on stilts.

Often it does—but often it doesn’t. And often both produce negligible amounts—simultaneously. And while the sheer length of the grid in Australia is often used to suggest that the sun is likely to be shining or the wind blowing somewhere, there are substantial transmission losses to be considered. The sun shining in North Queensland is not much help when it is cloudy and calm in South Australia.

Indeed, the Australian Energy Market Operator recently slashed the “marginal loss factor” (MLF) (which reflects transmission losses) for renewables by up to 22 per cent after finding that the contribution of solar and wind to the market was less than expected (Parkinson, 2018). (The MLF calculates the difference between how much is produced by the generating facility, and measured at its meter, and how much is estimated to be delivered to customers.)

There are times in Germany, particularly in winter, when the output from solar and wind has been close to zero. Calm and mists and fogs often go hand-in-hand, as any meteorologist will tell you. This is why Germany continues to use coal and looks to continue to do so in the future. It has little prospect for pumped storage (which is only around 80 per cent efficient, let’s remember), and inquiries to use the more favourable geography of Norway and Switzerland have been met with polite refusals. (Blakers and Stocks have been advocating for pumped storage in Australia, identifying numerous potential sites; the costs—and environmental impacts—of these would have to be charged to an all-renewables future.)

The result of Germany’s Energiewende has been essentially no reduction in GHG emissions because thermal plant often runs at reduced and less efficient loads to accommodate the variability of renewables, and prices that sometimes turn negative, with excesses dumped on neighbours in the European market (undermining their own renewables generators) and increased prices overall for consumers. Germany and Denmark, with the highest proportion of renewables, have the highest prices in the developed world—although South Australia eclipses them both on a pre-tax basis. Subsidies are now ending, and the solar industry in Germany in particular is tottering.

More HERE 

The death of coal power is greatly exaggerated in certain quarters

When the Hazelwood power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley shut down last year, the Australian Conservation Foundation claimed its closure was a signal “the era of polluting coal is coming to an end”.

In its last full year of operation, Hazelwood generated 10 terawatt hours of power. In the past year, global electricity production has ­increased by 590 terawatt hours, almost half of this rise coming through the greater use of coal. In effect, in just one year, the equivalent of almost 30 Hazelwoods has been brought online. So much for an end to the era of coal.

Last week BP released its ­respected Statistical Review of World Energy. It showed a resur­gence in the growth of coal-fired power after a few years of moderate decline. These earlier declines had been heralded as the death of coal but those claims have been shown up for the exaggerations they were.

This year opposition energy spokesman Mark Butler claimed “there is a clear structural shift under way in the global thermal coal market”. Numbers have never been Labor’s strong suit but this takes doublespeak to a new level. Far from structural decline, last year coal-fired power set a record for supply at 9724 terawatt hours. Coal-fired electricity has risen by 62 per cent since 2000. It has been the fastest increase in coal use on record.

These increases are the result of continued investment in coal-fired power stations. China has built the equivalent of 60 Hazelwood coal-fired power stations in five years. That’s equal to a new coal power plant opening every month in China for five years.

The construction of these coal-fired power plants will underpin the demand for coal for decades to come as the typical life of a coal-fired plant is 50 years. Continuing strong demand for coal will help support our terms of trade, our prosperity and employment in our mining sector.

While Australia is the largest exporter of coal, we are not a major producer. We produce just 4 per cent of the world’s coal. We produce a high-quality product that helps increase the performance of coal-fired power stations. This performance boost is even greater in new coal-fired power stations, so the demand outlook for our coal is strong. The buoyant coal market makes it likelier that the Galilee Basin will open up and the Adani Carmichael coalmine (the first in the Galilee) will start. ­

Financial analyst Wood Mac­kenzie estimates that the cost of coal from the Adani coalmine will be about $US40 a tonne. The present coal price is more than $US100 a tonne, so there is a strong commercial rationale to develop these supplies.

That would be great news for Australia. The Galilee would be the first major, new coal basin opened for more than 50 years. There are five other proposed mines in addition to Adani’s and altogether they would create more than 16,000 jobs.

Higher prices reflect that coal is valued by the customer. Coal provides reliable and affordable energy and helps support the economic development of impoverished nations. It is good that Australia becomes more prosperous from the sale of coal. We do so because that sale creates value in another country.

If you value the reduction of poverty and the economic development of poorer nations, the greater use of coal is good. As coal use has increased by more than six times in Asia, poverty (as measured by those living on less than $1.90 a day) has been slashed by 95 per cent.

I hope that world poverty continues to fall. To do that, energy use in poor countries will have to rise and it is almost certain that ­affordable coal-fired power will be part of the equation.

At the very least, poor countries should not have rich countries hypocritically lecture them that they should not use coal. Those same rich countries often are wealthy thanks to their own use of coal.

The use of Australian coal benefits the world because it is cleaner and more efficient, and helps pro­mote economic development, lift­ing millions from poverty. The era of coal is far from nearing an end.


Dan Tehan in fresh push for freedom of religion

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan has called for a religious discrimination act to provide greater protections to people of faith, in a move that raises the stakes for the Turnbull government as it responds to a key ­review of religious freedoms.

Delivering the St Thomas More lecture in Canberra last month, Mr Tehan said the “creeping encroachment from the state on religious belief” was a key issue, given new conflicts in the areas of euthanasia, same-sex marriage and the sanctity of the confessional.

However, he identified the main threat to religious freedom as the growing influence of ­empowered minorities that used political correctness as a weapon against traditional beliefs and ­customs.

The address, being made public today, represents a rallying cry for Coalition MPs who ­expect Malcolm Turnbull to deliver a substantive response to the ­review of religious freedoms led by former attorney-general Philip Ruddock following the same-sex marriage victory last year.

Mr Tehan, who describes himself as a “far-from-perfect Catholic”, said all Australians of faith should “take a stand” and “strongly defend our rights and responsibilities to take part in ­debates of national significance”.

His proposal for a new ­religious discrimination act offers a path for the Turnbull government to legislate at a federal level to address concerns that ­religion is being driven from the public square. Citing John Howard — a leading advocate for traditional marriage — Mr Tehan warned against the rise of “minority fundamentalism”, which the former prime minister has called “the ­assumption that traditional beliefs and practices represent an ­attack on those who do not support them”.

“Australia has reached an ­unusual point where the tools of oppression — sowing the seeds of division, conquest, manipulation and cultural division — are being wielded by the minority against the majority,” Mr Tehan said.

“We have not realised Martin Luther King’s dream of a society where you are judged by the content of your character, not the colour of your skin. Instead we have woken up to a nightmare where the value of your contribution to a debate depends on what you claim to be a victim of.”

Mr Tehan pointed to the push to sack Australian rugby union star Israel Folau over his social media posts on homosexuality and the boycott on Coopers Brewery products after it sponsored a debate between both sides of the same-sex marriage debate.

“In a liberal democracy, people must have the freedom to air unpopular views, including those ­informed by their faith, and those views must be open to challenge,” Mr Tehan said. “My observation, however, is that there is more disrespect directed at people who share their faith publicly and that is to the detriment of us all.”

There is frustration in ­Coalition ranks at Mr Turnbull’s ­decision to facilitate the passage of a same-sex marriage bill through parliament last year without a series of protections proposed in a set of amendments.

Promoted by a range of senior MPs, including Scott Morrison, Michael Sukkar and Andrew Hastie, the amendments were supported by a majority of Coalition MPs but defeated on the floor of parliament with Labor opposition.

Liberal senator James Paterson, a supporter of same-sex marriage who advocated for greater protections for religious freedoms, yesterday told The Australian it was important for the government to deliver a meaningful response to the Ruddock review.

“The Ruddock review provides the government with a unique ­opportunity to secure the freedoms of Australians with faith,” Senator Paterson said. “We all ­deserve the equal right to live our lives ­according to our values, free from state coercion.”

There is concern within the ­Coalition that a weak ­response to the Ruddock review could reopen an ideological divide within the government and allow Labor a chance to steal the initiative, given that it holds nine of the western Sydney seats that voted against change in last year’s plebiscite. One Liberal MP said: “The time for action is now. We need to protect conscience and ­religious faith because Labor and the Greens won’t.”

The Ruddock review was ­delivered to the government in May after receiving thousands of submissions. It is unlikely the review or the government response will be released until after the July 28 Super Saturday by-elections.

Mr Tehan bolstered his case for a new religious discrimination act by relying on census data to throw forward to an Australia where people of faith had become a minority with only limited legal protections in the form of ad-hoc exemptions to anti-discrimination laws. He warned the trend towards atheism in the 2016 census was “especially stark” among those aged 18 to 34, with 39 per cent saying they had “no religion” — more than three times the number who identified as Christian. “If this trend continues — and there is no reason to believe it won’t — then one day in the ­future the Australians who are part of any religion will become a minority,” Mr Tehan said.

“In preparation for that day, we need to consider how we will defend religious rights in this country from political correctness.”


Australia has become a Lithium superpower

Lithium-ion batteries have been used in consumer electronics for decades, but their growing use in electric vehicles has, more than any other factor, driven a quadrupling in the price of lithium delivered to China over the past four years.

As lithium became one of the world's hottest markets in recent years, no country moved faster and grabbed the opportunity more successfully than Australia, which has grown its market share of raw lithium production from about 13 per cent in 2000 to 50 per cent in 2017.

Industry intelligence firm Roskill estimates Australia will supply 62 per cent of the world's lithium in 2018 on the back of three new mines, including Tawana's Bald Hills, coming into production.

 The growing use of lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles has, more than any other factor, driven a quadrupling in ...
The growing use of lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles has, more than any other factor, driven a quadrupling in the price of lithium delivered to China over the past four years.

Australia's dominant position in lithium was not delivered by the familiar mining giants that have dominated the local industry over the past century.

It was delivered instead by a crop of penny-dreadful micro-cap stocks that were unknown to most investors, politicians and media until very recently.

For a sector often derided for its old-fashioned ways, those that pounced early on the lithium and battery thematics displayed the sort of "agility" that one might normally associate with tech companies.

To illustrate the speed at which the opportunity was grasped, consider where today's market darling lithium stocks were just a couple of years ago.

ASX listed lithium plays like Pilbara Minerals, Galaxy Resources, Altura Mining and Kidman have each enjoyed share price gains of at least 18-fold, and as much as 30-fold, since June 2015.

When combined with Orocobre, Mineral Resources and Tawana, the seven biggest lithium biggest stocks on the local bourse had a combined market capitalisation of more than $9 billion this week.

A nation can't capitalise on a commodity boom without being blessed with the right geology, but data provided by Roskill suggests that many other nations could have seized the lithium opportunity like Australia did.

Despite producing 62 per cent of the world's lithium this year, Roskill analyst Robert Baylis said Australia holds just 17.1 per cent of the world's defined lithium resources and 12.6 per cent of the world's defined lithium reserves (a classification that implies higher geological certainty than resources).

"Australia is blessed, we have just got this incredible mineral endowment, but the fact we have got a very established mining sector with a very active exploration industry and an equity market that is willing to finance that, does put us in much better stead to be able to deliver these things as industries like this need it, in much the same way that we were able to deliver all the iron ore during the steel boom," said Canaccord Genuity analyst Reg Spencer.

From employing 399 people in December 2014, the number of people employed in the local lithium sector had risen to 2659 people by December 2017, according to WA treasurer Ben Wyatt.

While demand for lithium carbonate remains strong, the manufacturers of electric vehicle batteries are increasingly demanding their lithium in a different chemical compound: lithium hydroxide.

Phil Thick, the local boss of Australia's biggest lithium exporter, Chinese company Tianqi, said the trend toward lithium hydroxide was driven by car manufacturers' desire for their electric vehicle batteries to last longer on the road.

"Lithium hydroxide has become the go-to product ... players like Tesla are only buying lithium hydroxide. The advantages are it gives much better energy density and that leads to much better range, and power and range are the holy grail of electric vehicles," he told an audience in Perth in March.

"Range in particular, to be able to provide cars that go 800 kilometres rather than 200 kilometres is a game changer and everyone is working on achieving that."

For South American producers to convert their lithium carbonate into lithium hydroxide, they generally need to add an extra processing stage, which adds extra cost.

There is no extra cost for Australian hard rock producers, who already require a processing stage to convert their concentrates into lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide.

"Once it is normalised to the battery grade specifications, the entire cost curve changes, and the perceived low-cost brine operations jump well up the cost curve and as a result, the low-cost hard rock operations become probably the lowest cost source of supply globally," Brinsden said.

"That gets to the heart of Australia's opportunity. We will have a series of large, hard-rock lithium raw material mines that will be ultra competitive and probably the lowest cost of supply for the battery market, and especially in the hydroxide category."


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

8 July, 2018

It’s rape if a woman does not say yes: Pru Goward

To be authentically Australian about it, one is inclined to ask if Pru has ever had a good root? There would be a very large number of mutually enjoyed sexual encounters that would be criminalized by this airy-fairy nonsense

Sex will be deemed rape unless a woman gives vocal consent, a minister in Australia’s most populous state has proposed.

Pru Goward, New South Wales minister for the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault, said: “If you want sex you have to ask for it, and if you want that sex, you have to say yes.”

Ms Goward said the state was seeking to enshrine the requirement for a woman’s audible consent in law, and that its main law advisory body had been tasked with reporting on how the legislation should be drafted. “Often you don’t say no. You say nothing, and that’s why you need to say yes,” Ms Goward said.


Banning plastic bags 'will drive up greenhouse gas emissions and HARM the environment': The government report that exposes supermarkets

Banning plastics bags could harm the environment by increasing greenhouse gases and causing more waste, a government report has revealed.

The little-known federal government report from 12 years ago warned of the unintended consequences of forcing consumers to reuse canvas bags if the supermarket giants banned single-use plastic sacks.

The Productivity Commission sounded an alarm bell about this environmental policy, more than a decade before Coles and Woolworths this month prohibited plastic bags from the checkout.

The 500-page Waste Management report, published in October 2006, argued reusable shopping bags took up more space in landfill than single-use plastic bags.

It also quoted a report which said banning plastic bags would increase greenhouse gas emissions because it took more energy to produce paper and canvas bags.

'The greenhouse emissions in producing a paper bag have been estimated to be around five times greater than those producing a plastic bag,' it said.

The Queensland and West Australian governments have banned single-use plastic bags since July 1, bringing these states into line with South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

The New South Wales government is letting the supermarkets decide on a plastic ban policy while Victoria is phasing in a ban from next year.

The Productivity Commission also raised concern about the inconvenience the policy would cause consumers and the extra costs it would impose on grocers.

'Banning certain types of waste and recyclables from collection and disposal could inconvenience householders and impose additional costs on them by requiring a trip to a transfer station or a chemicals disposal facility,' the report stated.

'Collection requirements could also raise collection costs. For example, systems with more than one bin require additional collection trucks and labour requirements.'

City of Canterbury, Bankstown Council and Randwick Council in New South Wales have banned drinking straws, cups, bottles from their events from July 1.


Blogger seeks relief from serial litigant

The NSW Supreme Court will be asked to prohibit the state’s Anti-Discrimination Board from referring any new complaints initiated by serial litigator Garry Burns against a conservative Christian blogger to the administrative ­tribunal.

Brisbane-based blogger Bernard Gaynor, a former army officer and father of eight, has spent more than $200,000 fending off legal complaints from Mr Burns, forcing him to sell his house.

Mr Gaynor has been the subject of about 36 homosexual vilification or victimisation complaints to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, resulting in at least 18 NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal cases, and litigation in the NSW Local Court, Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court.

At the moment, he is the subject of three Local Court matters and one NCAT matter, and seven other complaints may be referred by NCAT to the Local Court. He wants the Supreme Court to issue a writ of prohibition to prevent the Anti-Discrimination Board from referring any more complaints initiated by Mr Burns to NCAT or the Local Court, and wants NCAT and the Local Court to be stopped from hearing the disputes already ­before them.

The Local Court last week agreed to put its matters on hold to enable Mr Gaynor to seek the prohibition order.

In April, Mr Burns faced a major setback when the High Court ruled the Constitution prevented tribunals that were not proper courts from resolving disputes between interstate residents. It threw out complaints filed by Mr Burns against Mr Gaynor and Tess Corbett, a former Katter’s Australia Party candidate from Victoria.

Mr Burns has filed more than 100 complaints over the years against individuals including radio personality John Laws and entertainer Rob Mills.

Despite the High Court ruling, the Anti-Discrimination Board has continued to refer further complaints about Mr Gaynor to NCAT, which has in turn referred them to the Local Court. This is because the NSW government in December passed legislation giving the Local Court power to ­resolve NCAT disputes between interstate residents, over concerns the High Court ruling would affect landlords and tenants.

However, Mr Gaynor will argue the Anti-Discrimination Board has no power to refer the complaints to NCAT. The NSW Court of Appeal last year found there was “no operative power” for the Anti-Discrimination Board to refer complaints about interstate residents to NCAT, or for NCAT to determine them. The decision was upheld by the High Court.

He said it was “outrageous” he had been forced to take additional legal action, at further cost, against the president of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board to enforce the unanimous court rulings. The “anti-discrimination industry” was “out of control”, he said.

Mr Burns declined to comment.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman has said the “door is never closed to reform” of anti-discrimination laws, after it emerged Mr Burns had also lodged about 77 complaints against former Newcastle cab driver John Sunol, who has suffered a brain injury, leading to about 24 tribunal or court matters.


Bill Shorten spells it out: businesspeople are enemies unless they pander to the ALP

A telling moment this week, extremely brief, but concerning enough. Perhaps you won’t quite see it, but for me it was as clarifying as Mark Latham’s aggressive handshake with John Howard back in 2004.

To many, an aside made by Bill Shorten on Wednesday may have seemed peculiar but harmless. After news broke that a Tasmanian business lunch featuring the Opposition Leader was going to be poorly attended, Shorten said: “If some Liberal businesspeople would rather listen to their Liberal leader than the Labor leader, I don’t take it personally.”

There were 80 luncheon tickets for sale, you see, and only 30 had been sold. And so, in anticipation of an embarrassing moment, the prime minister-in-waiting showed himself displeased.

It was more than a glib aside or a snide throwaway line directed only at the Devonport business locals who didn’t buy tickets to the event. Shorten’s remark should be taken as a carefully considered and targeted threat to all businesspeople in the country.

Further, the comment reveals what we business types would be subject to under Labor. We would be serfs under the rule of the political equivalent of the “jealous and vengeful God” you sometimes hear about from overzealous Christians.

To understand, one must first appreciate the mindset of the typical Labor/union operative; and this is neither criticism nor praise but simply observations of union culture, gleaned from spending more than a decade working as an official within three unions.

In the Labor/union world every person one comes across is only one of two things: a firm friend or an enemy. Anyone who appears neutral is still regarded as an enemy because they are merely an enemy-in-waiting.

The motto is, if you’re not with us, and we don’t have hard evidence of this right now, then you’re against us and with them.

The way these people think is this: you are on our side, the side of unions and Labor, or you are on the dark side, the side of the bosses, the Liberals.

We are on the side of good and everyone who is not on the side of good with us is on the side of evil, and we must destroy evil before it destroys us.

And so for those who won’t come into the friendship circle, who won’t have “a relationship”, who won’t do what they’re told or who won’t meekly come to heel, conflict is initiated against them.

Then the colour and movement of the battle feeds the anarchists, the hatred satiates the angry, dysfunctional and disordered, and the prize, being power, is drunk by the narcissists, the war lords and the tyrants.

Shorten classifies all businesspeople in the Devonport area who haven’t bought tickets to his event as “Liberal businesspeople”. He is therefore saying, you people who haven’t bought tickets to my event are not my friends so therefore you are friends of the Liberals and my enemies.

Notice Shorten referred to “their Liberal leader”, not “the Liberal leader”. To Shorten, if you are not with him in the friendship circle, getting greased up and ready, ticket to lunch in hand, eagerly anticipating the benefits of a “relationship” with Labor and the unions, then you are against him, and if you are against him then look out.

Of course, it doesn’t occur to Shorten that the vast majority of business owners are too busy and possibly don’t even know the stupid lunch is on.

The vast majority of people are not interested in politics, and businesspeople, in particular, are both not interested and time poor. And, yes, likely, some don’t feel inclined to spend their hard-earned money on lunch with a man who is going to put their taxes up.

However, Shorten thinks that all those business owners who didn’t come to his event are classified now as part of the Liberal Party, which is why he refers to Malcolm Turnbull as “their” leader. And it follows, then, that these enemies of Shorten definitely do not deserve tax relief or any other help. In fact, the opposite, so people should anticipate, then, that if the government falls to Labor that a line will be drawn in the sand, choices will have to be made about whose side you are on, and for those who fail to make the right choice, punishment will be meted out.

One of the most depressing things I learned from my time in the labour movement is this: the union movement is a hotbed of hatred. People within an individual union hate each other, then as a union they hate all the other unions, and in their ALP activism they hate all the people in their faction only marginally less than all the people in the other factions.

Then, if the union movement is a hotbed of hatred, the ALP is the mutual hate society, and the only thing all of these haters have in common is that they hate the bosses, the Tories, the Liberals and their stooges slightly more than they hate each other.

And this week, the present king of this gargantuan, putrid heap of steaming hatred just revealed himself for what he really is.


The blackout State again

ADELAIDE’S coastal suburbs bore the brunt of severe wind squalls as a winter storm swept through across the state overnight, damaging homes and uprooting trees.

Emergency service volunteers from the SES and CFS were busy attending dozens of fallen trees across suburban Adelaide and the hills and roof damage to numerous homes.

One house on the Esplanade at Grange had part of its roof and veranda torn off and sheets of metal were strewn across the road around 3.45am.

About 5000 properties across the Adelaide metropolitan region were without power at 11am according to SA Power Networks — including Marryatville Shopping Centre.

By 4pm, power had been restored to all but about 1000 people.

Power outages were spread across the state with 130 properties without power on the coast near Mount Gambier, almost 300 near Tanunda and 59 in the Mid North near Burra.

SA Power Networks estimates that most affected areas will have power restored by late Saturday afternoon. However some areas may be without power until late into the evening.


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, 2018

Bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef could happen every two years, report finds

Another Greenie prophecy that is bound to look absurd in the near future!  Greenies never tire of making scary prophecies even though they have yet to get one right.

We read: "The Climate Council is Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation".  That should tell you that they will never find that all is well.  People who believe in climate change never do.  Couple that with dissenting scientists like Peter Ridd getting fired and you can be sure that the "report" below is just propaganda based on cherry-picking and exaggeration.

You can tell it is propaganda by their maniacal insistence that only global temperature control will be of any benefit to the reef. They are in the grip of a reality-denying cult

THE Great Barrier Reef could be hit with catastrophic bleaching every two years unless more is done to limit climate change.

A new report from the Climate Council reveals coral bleaching is now happening on average every six years, compared to once every 27 years back in the 1980s.

Based on current rising greenhouse gas levels, bleaching will happen every two years by 2034.

In the report released today Lethal Consequences: Climate Change Impacts on the Great Barrier Reef, the Climate Council says the current rate of bleaching is not sustainable because it will continuously set back recovery of the reef.

At the same time, the reef will also need to deal with other threats caused by climate change — such as ocean acidification and tropical cyclones.

The report found average coral cover in the northern section of the reef is at its lowest point on record, and coral cover in the central section of the reef declined from 22 per cent in

2016 to 14 per cent in 2018, largely due to the 2017 bleaching event.

It said the damage to the reef may be irreversible and it has already resulted in a drop in the diversity of fish species and in the number of juvenile fish settling on the reef.

“Intensifying marine heatwaves around the world are now occurring more often, lasting longer and are more intense than ever before,” Climate Councillor and ecologist Professor Lesley Hughes said.

Professor Hughes said the bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 resulted in mass coral mortality, with the 2016 bleaching event at least 175 times more likely to occur due to intensifying climate change.

“Unless drastic action is taken, extreme coral bleaching will be the new normal by the 2030s. We will see extreme ocean temperatures, similar to those that led to these bleaching events possibly occurring every two years, which will effectively sign the death certificate for the world’s largest natural living wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef,” she said.

The report makes clear that doing things like improving water quality are not the solution.

It says that unless “deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are made as a matter of urgency — the reef stands little chance no matter what measures are taken to enhance its resilience”.

In particular, global warming must be limited to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

“A 2C rise in average global temperature will almost certainly mean the collapse of warm water tropical reefs around the world,” the report states.

“The decisions and actions that we take today to reduce greenhouse pollution will have a critical effect on the long-term survival of the iconic Great Barrier Reef.”

Climate Council acting chief executive officer Dr Martin Rice said the future of coral reefs around the world depended on nations including Australia doing their part to tackle climate change.


Toy guns, superhero costumes and even LEGO could be banned from childcare centres as experts claim they encourage violent behaviour

Where is the evidence that such bans will have any benefit?  There is none

Children may be banned from playing with toy guns, fake plastic swords and even Lego due to fears they encourage violent behaviour.

Games such as 'cops and robbers' and mock bows and arrows could be barred at preschools as childcare centres try and stamp out what they believe is 'violent' behaviour.

Australian Childcare Alliance NSW president Lyn Connolly said children who want to make a gun from Lego blocks should be told 'how they can hurt people'. 

Ms Connolly told the Daily Telegraph that the potential effects of guns should be discussed with children.

The Australian Childcare Alliance will survey its 1,600 childcare centres for policies regarding toy weapons.

Ms Connolly said early childcare centres usually have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to fake weapons.

Child psychologist Dr Justin Coulson said there is no evidence playing with toy guns has an impact on behaviour.

'Even if we were to ban guns, kids will find other things to use if they want to play a 'goodies versus baddies' game.

'While I personally don't like it when kids play with replica guns and I have a personal and moral distaste, there is no evidence to suggest it causes any problems.'

Early Childhood Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the NSW state government was able to take action against childcare providers that used toys which could pose a safety threat.

Australian Childcare Alliance vice president Nesha Hutchinson said children in rural areas often used toy guns as a teaching tool.

They would often have seen their parents using real weapons on farms, she said.



Why parents, teachers overwhelmingly supported Sydney principal’s scathing newsletter

TEACHERS have revealed some of the abuse they cop from parents, including late night emails and demands for grades to be changed.

“F**K this,” screams a furious parent at a NSW primary school teacher. He wants his seven-year-old child’s grade pushed from a D up to a C.

“If you’re going to speak like that, this meeting is over,” snaps back the principal, who was sitting in on the meeting to support one of his teachers.

“If you’re not happy then there’s a school down the road that you can go to, we don’t need people like you here.”

Most people would struggle with being spoken to like that but for many Australian teachers it’s all in a day’s work, listening to parents making outrageous demands.

The NSW teacher, who spoke to on the condition of anonymity, said she’d been threatened by parents with affidavits and legal action and screamed at in front of her class of children — all in less than one school year.

The teacher said her meeting with the swearing dad had kicked off with an angry email in which he questioned her ability.

“Obviously there isn’t (sic) competent teachers at this school,” he wrote.

Things came to a head when the father walked into the meeting and let loose with a string of expletives — eventually explaining his fury came from not wanting his daughter’s life “to end up like mine”.

The truck driver dad is just one of the types of parents schoolteachers are being forced to deal with — all while trying to do their actual job of educating children.

The teacher comments come as the principal of an elite Sydney private school hit back at parents who crossed the line, warning them he’d expel their kids if they didn’t “chill”.

Beth Blackwood, CEO of the Association of Heads of ­Independent Schools of Australia, supported Dr Collier’s decision to take on the parents at St Andrew’s Cathedral School.

“It was courageous, he called it out,” Ms Blackwood said. “I’m delighted to see everyone is supporting his letter, including parents from the school.”

In his newsletter, Dr Collier warned parents he could ban them from entering school grounds if they continued to “verbally abuse, physically threaten or shout” at staff members.

The Sydney principal also reminded parents, who pay up to $30,000 to send their kids to the prestigious school, they weren’t entitled to making any demands.

“I am aware some parents, because they are paying fees, see the relationship with teachers as a master/servant relationship, such that they are entitled to make extravagant demands,” he wrote.

Ms Blackwood, who was a school principal in Perth for almost two decades, said she’d noticed a definite shift in the involvement parents wanted in their child’s school life.

“The reaction from parents is definitely more heightened than it has been in the past. There is a growing number of parents who aren’t respectful and they behave in a way that can only be described as harassment,” she said.

Ms Blackwood conceded parents — like the truck driver dad — were becoming increasingly worried their children would not find employment when they left school — and were shifting the stress onto their children and teachers.

“They want the best for their kids but there’s a raft of research that proves the overbearing doesn’t help, it’s not healthy,” she said.

“Helicopter parenting is not helping children. It doesn’t help them find their sense of self, improve their autonomy or resilience.”

The NSW teacher involved in the screaming match with the dad told she had recently received a phone call from a sobbing mother who had been told by her five-year-old he had no friends.

“I’ve had a lot of tears this year — from parents — about their kindergarten kids. They’re anxious about everything. One mum called me last week and said her kid has been coming home for the past two days saying they have no one to play with,” the teacher said.

“I tried to assure her the kid was in his first week of school — we were two days in — but she asked me, ‘I don’t know what to do, should we move schools?’”

“I told her, ‘they’re in kindergarten, we’re building their social skills, this is where they’re learning how to socialise with others’.

“They just take whatever their child says and think that’s exactly how it is. It probably didn’t even happen like that and it just puts extra work on us so now I’ve had to monitor that kid this week and I’ve had to go to the playground every lunch break — the only time I have to eat food myself — to see who this child is playing with so on Friday when I have a meeting with her, I can tell her if he looked happy,” she said.

This constant monitoring of children’s emotional states is another responsibility foisted on teachers, she said.

Ms Blackwood said parents’ ability to reach out to teachers directly through email had only made things worse.

“They’re so accessible now and it just adds to the social pressures and anxiety teachers face. Parents want access to teachers and they want it now,” Ms Blackwood said.

Her opinion was backed up by the NSW teacher who said an increasing number of schools were being forced to implement email policies so parent had to go through the school office first with teachers given 48 hours to respond.

“Last year I was emailed by a parent at 10pm as I was going to sleep. The next morning, at 8.15am when I was setting up things for the day, she came into my classroom and abused me and asked why I hadn’t answered straight away,” she said.

Another teacher, who works at a high school in the northern NSW, said she had received an email from the parent of a Year 10 student warning the school to stop studying Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Her reason? “It’s too violent and it’s making them become violent”.

The NSW primary school teacher was also recently accused of falsifying an eight-year-old’s attendance records because his mum wasn’t getting him to school on time.

After telling the boy to get yet another late note to account for his late arrival, the teacher was confronted by the child’s mother in front of her whole class.

“She ran into my classroom and in front of my whole class of seven-year-olds says: ‘Here’s your bloody late note’ and was screaming at me in front of all these kids and having a go at me for making him go and get legitimate late notes.”

Eventually the school’s lawyers had to get involved and the mother was informed she needed to get her child to school on time.

After Dr Collier’s scathing newsletter, some parents at St Andrews spoke to The Australian, wholeheartedly supporting the principal.

“People need to understand that they don’t own a teacher simply by paying fees,” one parent said. “It’s just rubbish.”

Dr Collier spoke on the Daily Telegraph’s Miranda Live last night where he again urged parents to “get some perspective”.

“These matters are often a small discipline issue or a bad grade but these parents represent that issue as the end of the world to their child,” Dr Collier said.

“What I urge them to do is get some perspective and to keep these things in proportion because the schooling journey is 13 years and it’s not good to, as one would say, sweat the small stuff rather than take the long view.”


Nanny state closes window on sense

Governments love to champion the virtues of deregulation. Then proceed to quietly change into their nanny uniforms to introduce pointless and costly regulation, in the name of public safety and maternal-like benevolence.

Nowhere is this more apparent than the recent implementation of the NSW government’s 2013 legislation on mandatory childproof safety locks on windows in all apartments above ground level.

We know that regulation creates costs and inefficiencies. This is why any regulation: should be proportionate to the size of the problem it is trying to solve; and the benefits of regulation should outweigh the costs.

But in practice, it is often impossible to satisfy these two criteria. Governments often have little clue about the size of a problem or able to prove that regulation will fix the problem.

What are the proven benefits of mandatory window locks? Simply put, there are none. The NSW government has not even attempted to prove that the law will reduce child injuries. After all, people are not being forced to use the locks – just to install them.

And the size of the problem? In fact, annual child injury rates are relatively low, according to figures cited by the NSW government. Each year, around 50 children are reported to fall from windows or balconies in Australia.

Obviously, any child injury is very sad and should never happen; but the problem should not be exaggerated. Put into context, there are over 3 million children aged under 10 in Australia. That translates to one injury for every 60,000 children.

Compare that to car accidents, which hospitalise over a thousand children each year. In effect, children travelling in cars involves 20 times the risk of open windows. Based on that logic, we would ban children from travelling in cars altogether.

Furthermore, the costs of mandatory window locks are substantial, with over half a million apartments in NSW and owners having to cough up the time, effort and costs of installation. Bizarrely, even households with no children must comply.

Unfortunately, these rules are just another manifestation of the nanny state, where personal responsibility is replaced by infantile dependence and adults are no longer trusted – even to close a window.


Political climate gets hot as global emissions targets face hard tests

Cutting emissions to the degree targeted is looking close to impossible

The climate-change elite jet in to a different city each year to keep alive a global commitment to moderating human impact on the environment. Mostly the UN ­Climate Change Conference is a ­bureaucratic, technical gathering. But every few years there is a meeting that matters.

The catastrophe in Copenhagen in 2009, when a global agreement everyone expected crashed and burned, was one. This was followed by the Durban conference in 2011, which agreed to keep the process alive. In Paris in 2015, aggressive politicking by then US president Barack Obama and secretary of state John Kerry brought China, India and the rest of the world into a hugely symbolic, though not binding, global compact.

This year is supposed to bring another watershed moment for the UN process in which the rules governing how nations will monitor and report on the implementation of their pledged carbon dioxide reductions under the Paris Agreement are set.

The fact that December’s meeting is to be held in Poland, a European coal centre ranked at the bottom of regional climate action, does not bode well.

Brinkmanship ensures that nothing happens until the last minute at UN climate conferences, but five months out the signs are not promising. The US, which brought the glue to Paris, has announced it will exit the Paris deal. President Donald Trump has left open the prospect of rejoining a revised agreement if greater obligations are put on China and India.

Developing nations, however, remain more interested in finalising details of a promised fund of $US100 billion ($136bn) a year, paid for by the developed world and industry.

They are equally determined to preserve a foundation principle of the UN process that developed and developing nations face different circumstances and therefore have different responsibilities.

Against this backdrop, global carbon dioxide emissions are back on the rise. New coal-fired power stations may be off the agenda in developed nations but are springing up like mushrooms across Asia, mostly funded by China.

Coal and oil prices are rising and energy stocks have recently replaced tech giants as the darlings on Wall Street.

Australia, meanwhile, remains paralysed by debate about whether it is doing enough on the one hand, and concern about doing too much on the other. In a speech to the Australian Environment Foundation on Tuesday, Tony Abbott said without the US, Australia should leave the Paris Agreement.

“When the world’s leading country withdraws, it can hardly be business as usual,” the former Liberal prime minister said. “Our 2015 target, after all, was set on the basis that the agreement would be applicable to all … parties. Absent the US, my government would not have signed up to the Paris treaty, certainly not with the present target.

“Yet as long as we remain in the Paris Agreement — which is about reducing emissions, not building prosperity — all policy touching on emissions will be about their reduction, not our wellbeing.

“It’s the emissions obsession that’s at the heart of our power ­crisis and it’s this that has to end.”

Abbott added: “It would be the height of folly to suppress living standards, shrink industries and drive jobs offshore for a moral ­gesture.”

Nothing Australia did to reduce emissions would make the slightest difference to climate, he said. “Of global emissions, China is responsible for 28 per cent, the US 15 per cent, Europe 11 per cent, India 7 per cent and Australia 1.3 per cent,” Abbott said.

“A 26 per cent cut to 1.3 per cent is a statistical blip, so why not scale back our cut to 20 per cent, or to 15 per cent, or to zero; or to whatever would actually be achieved in 2030 through normal business cost-cutting and efficiencies plus whatever is delivered through the emissions-reduction fund?”

Abbott’s view may be dismissed as heresy by many but Newspoll surveys ahead of the Queensland election in October showed strong community support for getting out of Paris. The poll found 45 per cent of Australians would support abandoning the non-binding Paris target if it meant lower household electricity prices. It also found 40 per cent said they would oppose opting out of the agreement, with 15 per cent of people uncommitted.

More than a third of Labor voters backed ditching the Paris target when asked to consider whether the economic cost outweighed the likely benefit, while 54 per cent of Coalition voters backed withdrawing from the agreement if it did. The survey found 70 per cent of One Nation voters supported ditching the treaty if this action led to lower electricity prices.

Nonetheless, Abbott is regarded by many in the media as a lunatic on the issue.

Australia’s Paris target is to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030. This target represents a 50-52 per cent reduction in emissions per capita and a 64-65 per cent reduction in the emissions intensity of the economy between 2005 and 2030.

In its seventh national report on climate change to the UN in December, Australia said its ­efforts were having a positive effect. National per capita emissions were declining as a result of ­government policies, “an overall decline in land clearing, and structural changes in Australia’s economy including a move away from manufacturing and heavy industrial activities for export’’.

The full cost of meeting Australia’s emissions obligations is difficult to quantify. It is generally accepted that high electricity prices are here to stay. Fears that Australia will continue to lose its heavy industry and manufacturing base have been a key feature of debate over the national energy guarantee. The NEG only represents cuts to stationary power sector emissions. Proportionate cuts to emissions from transport and agriculture are yet to come.

Against this is the potential for new economic activity in areas such as land care, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Environment ambassador Peter Suckling told the Climate Leadership Conference in Sydney in March: “For those that argue the costs should preclude action … there will be increasing costs from inaction. The cost of doing nothing is not nothing.

“Inaction could see potentially catastrophic costs of climate change, and the Paris Agreement says the world gets this.”

Many, including state governments, the federal opposition and the Greens, still argue that Australia is not going far enough.

But according to the Environment Department, Australia’s target will exceed those of the US, Japan, the EU, South Korea, and Canada on a ­reduction in per person and emissions-intensity basis.

“This is a significant achievement given that emissions are linked with population and economic growth, and Australia’s population and economy are growing faster than most other developed countries,” the department says.

A paper by Cory Bradshaw from the University of Adelaide, published in Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies last year, highlights the challenge posed by Australia’s growing population.

If the population grows at the average rate it reached between 1971 and 2014, it will hit 75.9 million in 2100.

If the population grows at the average rate it did between 2006 and 2014, the total in 2100 will be 104.2 million.

Migrants to Australia tend to increase their energy consumption and therefore carbon dioxide emissions. Bradshaw says Australia has no credible mechanisms in place to achieve its carbon reduction goals, which top out at 80 per cent by 2050.

More population growth driven by immigration will hamper Australia’s ability to meet its commitments and worsen its already stressed ecosystems, unless a massive technological transformation of Australia’s energy sector is immediately forthcoming, Bradshaw argues.

Nuclear energy is cited as the most promising solution.

But it says even a complete decarbonisation of the nation’s electricity production will not be enough to meet a 2050 target of an 80 per cent reduction.

The challenge is proving ­equally daunting in Europe. Recent analysis by CAN Europe, a collection of civil society climate groups, says all EU countries are failing to increase their climate action in line with the Paris Agreement goal.

“No single EU country is performing sufficiently in both ambition and progress in reducing carbon emissions,” the report says.

Most countries that advocate for more ambitious policies for the future are lagging behind in achieving targets for 2020, it adds. Conference host Poland scores the lowest on all measures.

In Germany, meanwhile, Energy Minister Peter Altmaier has cautioned the EU against setting overly ambitious targets.

“Citizens across Europe are losing faith in politics,” Altmaier said. “When they see that we are setting very ambitious targets and that a few years later we’re deferring this, we are way off their expectations.”

And in Canada, Ontario’s new Premier, Doug Ford, has taken an Abbott-like axe to his state’s ­climate actions.

“I made a promise to the people that we would take immediate ­action to scrap the cap-and-trade carbon tax and bring their gas ­prices down,” Ford said last month. “Today, I want to confirm that as a first step to lowering taxes in Ontario, the carbon tax’s days are numbered.”

Ford also announced that Ontario will be serving notice of its withdrawal from the joint agreement linking Ontario, Quebec and California’s cap-and-trade markets as well as the pro-carbon tax Western Climate Initiative.

Abbott’s argument is that a non-binding Paris deal is a flimsy basis on which to undertake reforms without taking strong heed of the economic costs.

But Suckling says there is support for a global agreement in which “everyone has to play their part”. He says countries like Australia, with less than 2 per cent of ­global annual emissions, together account for more than 40 per cent of total emissions.

“Every bit counts when added up,” he said in March, adding: “Like others, Australia is playing its part. We do so in recognition that it is in our national interest not only to take action to mitigate the risks, but to do it as part of a collective global effort because no one country can address this global challenge alone.

“We emphasise the importance of maintaining a strong global rules-based system for the collective good. The Paris Agreement is this principle in action.”

The US withdrawal is disappointing, he says, and a setback to the momentum around the ­agreement. But with the agreement still covering about 75 per cent of ­global GDP and 85 per cent of global emissions, US withdrawal will not derail it, Suckling says.

Australia has a record of taking its international agreements seriously. When world leaders arrive in Poland for this year’s UN Climate Change Conference, the challenge will be to demonstrate they too are prepared to back their words with actions.


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, 2018

Turnbull repeating mistakes on energy, says Abbott

Tony Abbott has accused Malcolm Turnbull of trying to repeat his failed 2009 attempt to secure a deal with Labor on an emissions trading scheme, and warned that the government is suffering an “ideological fixation” with reducing carbon emissions.

Delivering his most strident attack to date on his government’s own energy policy, the former prime minister has warned Liberal colleagues they risk a ­repeat of a split that almost ­destroyed the party a decade ago.

Less than four weeks before five critical by-elections, Mr ­Abbott has sought to escalate the internal campaign against the ­national energy guarantee ahead of a pivotal August meeting of COAG in which the government will seek support from Labor states.

“Does the Liberal Party nine years on realise the wheel has turned full circle and we are back to where we were in late 2009, with Malcolm Turnbull trying to do a deal with the Labor Party on emissions reduction,” Mr Abbott told The Australian, ahead of a speech tonight to the climate sceptic-think tank, the Australian Environment Foundation.

“It’s not a circle you can square with the Labor Party … it is a fight that has to be won. There can be no consensus on climate change … you either win or lose … and at the moment we are losing.”

Mr Abbott, who lost the leadership to Mr Turnbull in September 2015, yesterday refused to rule out a second stint as leader, claiming that while it was unlikely he would ever be prime minister again, it was not beyond possibility.

In his first set-piece address on energy, to be delivered tonight in Melbourne, Mr Abbott will prosecute a case against the NEG, describing it as the definition of “insanity” and an impenetrable document that would commit an act of “self-harm” on the country’s economy.

“Now, I can understand why the government would like to crack the so-called trilemma of keeping the lights on, getting power prices down and reducing emissions in line with our Paris targets; it’s just that there’s no plausible evidence all three can be done at the same time,” Mr ­Abbott says in his written speech.

“If you read the national ­energy guarantee documentation, there’s a few lines about lower prices, a few pages about maintaining supply, and page after impenetrable page about reducing emissions. The government is kidding us when it says that it’s all about reducing price when there’s an emissions reduction target and a reliability target but not a price ­target.”

Mr Abbott risks being accused of a naked attempt to destabilise the Prime Minister by invoking the events of 2009, when Mr ­Abbott rolled Mr Turnbull for the Liberal leadership, a move triggered by Mr Turnbull’s support for Labor’s ETS.

Last week Mr Abbott’s call for a special partyroom meeting to discuss the NEG was shut down by Mr Turnbull and failed to get support from colleagues. The majority of Liberal MPs support the policy.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has signalled to conservative MPs beyond Mr Abbott and a ginger group that he was looking at an “add-on” policy to the NEG that would guarantee to put more gas and coal into the energy system.

The political stakes are high for the government with a recent Newspoll conducted for The Australian revealing that Labor was now more trusted to deliver cheaper and more reliable power than the Coalition. Last week the Nationals issued a set of demands to Mr Turnbull including the establishment of a $4 billion-$5bn fund for coal-fired power. A majority of Coalition MPs believe the best course of action would be to deliver the NEG and move on from the energy debate, which could become an electoral liability for the government.

Mr Frydenberg has consistently argued that the NEG is the best solution to a decade-long problem by providing certainty for investment through a technology-neutral policy that allowed for the continuation of coal-fired power, which still provides up to 80 per cent of the national grid’s baseload power in high-demand periods.

Mr Abbott and colleagues including outspoken NSW federal Liberal MP Craig Kelly argue that the NEG is an energy-intensity scheme by another name and will lead to the death of coal-fired power in Australia and what Mr Abbott claims will be “the de-industrialisation” of the country.

“Sure, we can substantially reduce emissions, but if we do we can’t expect power prices not to rise and we can’t expect energy-­intensive industries not to close,” Mr Abbott says in his speech.

“But this is our future — under the national energy guarantee — because the emissions-reduction requirement means more wind and less coal; and the reliability requirement means more gas and more ‘demand management’.

“This is the predicament we’re in because successive governments have tried to save the planet by subsidising renewable energy and by imposing emissions reduction targets. So now we want even more ­renewable energy — up from 23 per cent to perhaps 36; as well as even higher emissions reduction targets.

“Isn’t one of the definitions of insanity doing the same thing and expecting a different result?

“If the country with the world’s largest readily available reserves of coal, gas and uranium continues to inflict on itself some of the world’s highest power prices, future generations will surely shake their heads in perplexity at such deliberate self-harm.”

Mr Abbott admits he signed up for the Paris climate change agreement as prime minister, having also brought in the Renewable Energy Target, but claims he had only ever envisaged aspirational goals.

“I certainly didn’t anticipate … how the aspirational targets we agreed to at Paris would, in different hands, become binding commitments,” he says in his written speech. “A government that can build Snowy 2.0, to provide high-cost firming capacity, but can’t or won’t build Hazelwood 2.0 to provide low-cost baseload power for the next half century — and keep the market honest — is suffering from an ideological fixation.”

Mr Abbott says that, given Mr Turnbull and ministers spent months “quite rightly” attacking Labor for plunging South Australia into darkness with a 50 per cent renewable energy target, “it’s remarkable that the government now wants an energy policy that’s acceptable to … Labor premiers; and is so keen for a deal that the partyroom will have to endorse whatever emerges from COAG”.


Far-Left Group Threatens Harassment at Lauren Southern & Molyneux Event

A group made up of far-left ideologues known by their Facebook page name as “Yelling at Racist Dogs” published an image where they threaten harassment at Lauren Southern & Stefan Molyneux Events in Australia.

This group is threatening to abuse, belittle, and intimidate those who chose to attend the event as they walk in. Read the full text below:

"The group also warns that those who attend the event may be “doxxed,” meaning personal and intimate information will be released on the internet. An example of doxxing is to release a person’s personal phone number so they are flooded with harassing and intimidating phone calls, and in worse cases, personal addresses are released so in-person intimidation and violence will take place."

There should be nothing stopping legitimate detractors of the speakers to peacefully assemble and proclaim their discomfort with the event, but to threaten violence, intimidation, and harassment is never acceptable from any group.


Rich get richer while poor get … richer

One of the striking results of the survey of millennials released by the CIS last week was that 62% of respondents agreed with the proposition that “ordinary workers in Australia are worse off now than they were forty years ago”. This is so far from the statistical truth that one must wonder what notion of “worse off” those 62% had in mind.

Average weekly earnings of adult full-time workers is not available as a consistent series over 40 years, but we can go back 36 years. Over that period, average weekly earnings rose 45% in real (inflation-adjusted) terms.

A broader measure of people’s living standards is represented by household disposable income per capita, which is available for 40 years. On this measure, there was an increase in real terms of 65% from March 1978 to March 2018. This is a remarkable advance in households’ economic well-being.

The comeback from doubters might be that those figures only measure the average experience and that all the gains have gone to the better-off and none to the worse-off or to ordinary workers. By chance, last week the Australian Bureau of Statistics released new data that shed light on this distributional issue.

Once again, we don’t have consistent 40-year data, but we can look at what happened from 2003-04 to 2015-16. In those 12 years, real household disposable income increased on average by 45%. All household quintiles experienced increases above 40%, but the largest (61%) went to the poorest quintile while for the second poorest the increase was 49%. It is also true that the richest quintile gained 56%, but these figures surely demonstrate that while the rich got richer, so did the less well-off segments of the population.

There is always room for debate about whether policies need to be tilted more in favour of the less well-off. But it is helpful to start from a shared knowledge of the facts.


Nigel Farage predicts Rightward change in Australia too

HE’S been dubbed “Mr Brexit” and revels in his status as a political disrupter — and now Nigel Farage has a warning for Australians.

Mr Farage, the former leader of nationalist UK Independence Party (UKIP) and who led the bitter campaign to get Britain out of the European Union, is convinced conditions were ripe in Australia for the same massive upheaval seen around the world.

And he thinks we should brace ourselves as a “global revolution” sweeps the world.

“It’s on course, it’s happening, and I think Australia should wake up to it and understand it because it’s happening … Something is really happening here.”

He was speaking not only about Britain’s impending divorce from the EU and the rise of Donald Trump in the US, but the new governments in Italy and Austria, and political upheaval in Germany.

Australia had the potential to be the same.

“Australia is slightly isolated from all that, partly through your geography, but it is not immune,” he told in London ahead of his five-date lecture tour in Australia in September. He promised audiences would hear about the way he saw the “global revolution” occurring and about the dangers of globalisation — which he believed was fuelling the big political upsets.

The tour website describes him as the “face” of the Brexit campaign to leave the EU and someone who is frequently “widely consulted” for his views on international political issues and populist revolts against the status quo.

“[The] fightback that is going on is a lot more fundamental than [just] short bursts of anger. The whole Western world is changing and reshaping.”

If people thought it was over, they were wrong. “It’s just beginning actually. It’s just getting started.”

Immigration policy was at the heart of what he was talking about it. “I’m arguing against globalisation I’m not saying to pull the drawbridge up but am arguing for the UK to control who comes over it.”

The new Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini alarmed many EU leaders this month when he refused a boatload of migrants entry to Italy — a move Mr Farage praised and likened to Australia’s policy on turning around migrant boats.

“I’ve pointed to Australia again and again. But despite your geography [and isolation] global money can undermine your liberty. They did it to us, they will do it to you. Globalist money is the biggest threat to Australia.”

Opponents argued the nation state was archaic and “doesn’t belong [in the] modern world”. But it was here he believed Australia was at an advantage.

“I think in Australia your sense nationhood is more acute, possibly because you’re somewhat younger and your radar is better than ours. But don’t think [global forces] aren’t any less insidious or dangerous, because they are.”

The anti-Establishment Mr Farage urged Australians earlier this year to “take back” their country and “stand up and be counted”.

That would happen in an instant if politicians forgot who they were working for.

“If people in Canberra start to represent themselves rather than the ordinary people then the revolution will come to Australia.”

Mr Farage said Mr Salvini used to work for him and found it amusing that “all my mates” were now coming to prominence.

They were shunned and derided back then. “At one stage we were on the outer. In 2013 I was having dinner in Washington with a complete unknown, an eccentric guy called Jeff Sessions, who is now Attorney-General, Stephen Miller, who is a Donald Trump speechwriter, and Laura Ingraham who now hosts a major show on Fox. And there was I in this group and we were all fringe of the fringe.”

Mr Farage wouldn’t speak about Mr Trump, other than to confirm he was in close contact with the US President and would meet with him when he came to the United Kingdom.

“I think he needs to have people he can properly trust. And I’m one of them.”

By the time Mr Farage begins his Down Under tour, which also includes an event in New Zealand, Brexit will be closer to being reality.

“I’m a bit schizophrenic about Brexit. Us leaving is everything I campaigned on and it’s going to happen, but what is happening is we are going into negotiations in a lily-livered, weak way. It will mean we won’t reap the benefits for years to come.”

But a bad Brexit was still a good Brexit — and if he was driving the negotiations in Theresa May’s place he would take a leaf out of his mate from the White House’s book.

“I would do a Donald. It would be massively different and it would be all done and dusted [by now]. I would say to them where I wanted it to go, and be reasonable and willing to compromise, but everyone in business knows to get a good deal the other side needs to know [that] you’re willing to walk out the door.”


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, 2018

Australia ends direct aid to Palestinian Authority

Australia has ceased providing direct aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop saying the donations could increase the self-governing body's capacity to pay Palestinians convicted of politically motivated violence.

Ms Bishop said funding was cut to the World Bank's Multi-Donor Trust Fund for the Palestinian Recovery and Development Program after writing to the Palestinian Authority in late May seeking assurance that Australian funding was not going to Palestinian criminals.

Australia sends about $10 million in aid to Palestine territories. It will now direct its funds through the United Nations.

Concerns have been raised by some Coalition politicians, including backbencher Eric Abetz, that the money sent through the World Bank had gone towards funding violence in the region.

Ms Bishop said she was confident no Australian funds had been used inappropriately. "I am confident that previous Australian funding to the PA through the World Bank has been used as intended," she said in a statement.

    "However, I am concerned that in providing funds for this aspect of the PA's operations, there is an opportunity for it to use its own budget to [fund] activities that Australia would never support."

"Any assistance provided by the Palestine Liberation Organisation to those convicted of politically motivated violence is an affront to Australian values and undermines the prospect of meaningful peace between Israel and the Palestinians," she added.

Australia allocated $43 million for humanitarian assistance in the region for the current fiscal year, which began on July 1.
Australia following US lead

In March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the US Government for passing a law that suspended some financial aid to the Palestinians over the stipends paid to families of Palestinians killed or jailed in fighting with Israel.

Mr Netanyahu said the Taylor Force Act, named after an American killed in Israel by a Palestinian in 2016, a "powerful signal by the US that changes the rules" by cutting "hundreds of millions of dollars for the Palestinian Authority that they invest in encouraging terrorism".

Palestinian official Nabil Abu Rdeneh condemned the law, saying it did not "allow for the creation of an atmosphere conducive to peace".

Mr Abetz welcomed Ms Bishop's decision.

    "Minister Bishop's strong and decisive decision today to ensure that the Palestinian Authority can no longer use our aid to free up money in its budget for state-promoted terrorism is very positive," Mr Abetz said.

Ms Bishop said the United Nations' Humanitarian Fund helps 1.9 million people, predominately in the Gaza Strip where the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate.


Thermal coal boom a big boost for Australia

COAL will be declared “king” again by Resources Minister Matt Canavan amid eye-watering price surges that will resuscitate the fortunes of Adani’s mega mine and entrench battle lines for Turnbull Government agitators fighting for another coal-fired power station.

World demand and high prices drove Australia’s thermal coal exports to a record high of $23 billion last financial year, with coal this financial year set to overtake iron ore as our biggest export.

Senator Canavan will point to today’s release of the Chief Economist’s Resources and Energy Quarterly June report to vindicate his assurances that coal is not dead, and to underscore that billions of dollars flowing to federal and state coffers come from the black rock.

Financial analysts Wood Mackenzie estimates the coal from the Adani mine will raise about $US40 per tonne – but with coal prices now more than $US100 per tonne, the project in central Queensland has become more profitable.

The chief economist’s projections come at a critical time for Malcolm Turnbull, who is fending off calls from Tony Abbott and the Nationals to create a multibillion-dollar fund to build a new coal-fired generator, potentially in Queensland, at the same time he tries to limit carbon emissions from the national electricity market.

World demand and high prices drove Australia’s thermal coal exports to a record high of $23 billion last financial year.
It is also likely to give Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg political heartburn ahead of next month’s meeting with states where he aims to sign-off on a new national energy plan. Mr Turnbull does not want to give coal any subsidies.

And this week, the LNP’s state convention will put to vote resolutions calling on the Federal Coalition to invest in new coal-fired stations and fund a rail line between Abbot Point and the Galilee Basin.

“Prices are back at near record levels, and the future demand looks bright. It’s time for Labor to end its war on coal,” Senator Canavan said. “Coal produces thousands of jobs, billions in tax revenues and record exports. A strong coal industry means a strong economy.

“The strong demand for coal also gives us the chance to get projects like Adani and the Galilee Basin going. Opening up the Galilee would generate 16,000 direct mining jobs and tens of billions in taxes.”


No-nonsense principal of elite $30,000-a-year private school receives an outpouring of support after calling out 'bully' parents for treating teachers like their 'servants'

An elite private school principal has received an outpouring of support after a scathing letter to parents telling them that they need to 'chill' and stop treating teachers like their servants.

Dr John Collier, principal of Sydney's St Andrew's Cathedral School, started a national conversation after calling out  'agitated' parents in a recent newsletter. 

He has since received a mass of support for standing up to 'bully' parents, who he threatened to ban from entering school grounds if they continued to verbally abuse his staff.

'Well done Dr Collier for speaking out and supporting his teachers. As a former student under his leadership Dr Collier is an exceptional man and his views should be respected,' one former student wrote online.

'If the parents behave like that towards the teachers, how do the parents expect their children to behave? Sad behaviour,' another wrote. 'We love our principal,' someone else commented. 'You sir are a legend,' addded another.

Other users, including teachers at other schools, praised Dr Collier for his position - revealing public school teachers were forced to deal with the same behaviour. 'It's not just at elite schools! Public schools also see this arrogance from parents!' one woman wrote.

'What happened to building resilience in children instead of having to fight every battle for them? Seriously parents are not doing any favours for their children!'

'This type of behaviour is rife in independent and private schools. I've seen aggressive and passive-aggressive behaviours, manipulations, disrespect, yelling and swearing, intimidation, name-calling, defamation, undermining of teachers are home…and social media parent groups are the latest form of bullying teachers now deal with. Schooling should be a partnership between parents and teachers,' another wrote.

Dr Collier's St Andrew's College is a prestigious K-12 school in Sydney's CBD, and charges fees upwards of $30,000 a year for its students.

'I am aware some parents, because they are paying fees, see the relationship with teachers as a master/servant relationship, such that they are entitled to make extravagant demands,' Dr Collier wrote in the newsletter dated June 5 2018. 

He said he had noticed a considerable increase in parental anxiety this year, compared to when he began his role as the head of the school 28 years ago. 'I am having to interact with too many parents who have verbally abused, physically threatened or shouted at a staff member.

'People who do this should engage in some role reversal: if someone behaved in this way towards you, would it be helpful and would it motivate you to assist them?'

Dr Collier asked parents to consider if their expectations of the school and consequent reactions were reasonable.

'A couple of years ago, a middle school parent said to me that he knew the 13 staff members who had observed his daughter committing an offence were all lying, as his daughter said she was innocent. It is very hard to make progress with this level of unreality,' he wrote.

'Recently, a middle school parent said to me that as her daughter had done poorly in her test, her life was actually over! Actually, it wasn't.

'Often, frustratingly to parents, children do not peak until Senior College. Some really don't get going until tertiary study. We need to avoid living vicariously through our children.'

Dr Collier said, in some cases, students march to the beat of their own drum, and parents need to be accepting and welcoming in support of their children.

Dr Collier said he felt as though the newsletter was the best place to bring the matter to the attention of parents, as the 'unrestrained behaviour appears to be increasing'.

He said he accepted some parents might feel inclined to challenge his policies by taking their children elsewhere, but said ultimately the student will be the one to suffer.

St Andrew's Cathedral School teaches students from kindergarten to Year 12 It is located in the heart of the Sydney CBD. It has a roll of about 1,200 students. Founded in 1885, the school was boys-only until 1999 when it became co-educational

'My experience is that some parents who are highly stressed and highly accusative eventually leave the school, seeking greener pastures. 'In fact, in such cases, there is clearly not going to be any school which will ever satisfy them or meet their extravagant expectations.

'Unfortunately some will follow the pattern of moving every year or two, unreasonably dissatisfied, searching for perfection they will never find, and actually, in uprooting their children, impeding their school performance.'

Dr Collier also said he would instruct teachers to stop answering emails and phone calls from agitated parents if he felt it necessary and would not rule out banning parents from school grounds.


University students who dressed as the Ku Klux Klan, cotton pickers in blackface and Nazis for a 'politically incorrect party' are suspended

The fact that three different costumes were used shows that this was a deliberate "stir" -- just another of the many provocations students do for entertainment.  It's a traditional part of university life and has nothing to do with racism

University students who dressed up as the Ku Klux Klan and Hitler before posting an image to social media have been punished.

The students sparked outrage when they dressed up in the hooded costumes at a party held at the Black Swan pub in New South Wales on June 14. 

Charles Sturt University has handed out misconduct penalties, including suspension,  following an investigation into the 'racist' images.

The University would not reveal how many students have been suspended when contacted by Daily Mail Australia because of privacy considerations.

The offensive photos, which were posted to Facebook and Instagram, were condemned world-wide.

One image showed five students dressed in white Ku Klux Klan robes and hoods, while a sixth man is painted in blackface while holding a bowl of cotton.

'Very very politically incorrect. Cotton pieces are unreal thought so it's a great time to be pickin', the group posted on social media.

The second image showed a student dressed as Hitler in a Nazi uniform, together with students dressed up as Jewish Holocaust prisoners. 

Charles Sturt University Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann admitted the pictures caused 'global outrage' and offended Indigenous and Jewish communities.

'As a University we will not tolerate or condone this behaviour, we will however work with students during their suspension to further educate them on the cultural impact of their actions,' he said.

'CSU has a strong stance against racism as outlined in our Anti-Racism Policy. I am satisfied that the outcomes of our investigation reflect this view.'

Students will be required to undertake further studies in Indigenous Australian Cultures, Histories and Contemporary Realities and engage with the Indigenous and Jewish communities.

Aboriginal and Jewish community leaders had earlier called for the university students involved to be expelled.

Proud Wiradjuri man and Wagga Wagga local Joe Williams told NITV News that 'anything other than expulsion isn't taking the matter seriously enough'. 

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff said that the students crossed a line  making fun of three historic chapters of history and needed to be more politically and culturally aware.

The Black Swan Hotel issued a social media post saying they were not aware of the 'behaviour' outside the pub, but had zero tolerance.


Hamel: historic WWI battle for Australia

The Battle of Hamel during World War One was a major milestone in Australian military history and cemented the reputation of commander General John Monash.

At precisely 3.10am, the guns thundered into life and the soldiers rose, lit up cigarettes and followed the booming artillery barrage into battle, their objective a French village named Le Hamel.

As dawn loomed it was all over. The village had fallen, casualties were mercifully light (by World War One standards) and victory was complete.

In his detailed planning, Australian commander Lieutenant General John Monash calculated this would take 90 minutes. It actually took 93.

The Battle of Hamel, fought on July 4, 1918, was a sign of what was to come as allied forces achieved battlefield mastery after three years of trench warfare marked by frightful casualties for minimal gains.

Praise for the Australians and for Monash followed and a succession of British commanders visited his headquarters to study his methods.

This did much to establish Monash's reputation, which would only grow as he led the Australian Corps in a succession of triumphs, culminating in the Armistice on November 11.

But Hamel wasn't a turning point. Eleven days later, 52 German divisions counter-attacked south of the Somme and were fought to a halt. Three days later, French forces supported by the Americans attacked, opening the famous 100 days that pushed Germany to the point of collapse.

A century on, the Battle of Hamel will be remembered in France and Australia. A ceremony will be held at the Australian Corps Memorial in Hamel.

And in Canberra, a new statue of Monash will be unveiled at the Australian War Memorial.

By mid-1918, the allies had much going in their favour. The massive German March offensive was running out of steam and the blockade of Germany was starting to bite. Supplies, even food, were running low.

American forces were arriving in big numbers and there were ample stocks of food and munitions.

In May, Monash was chosen to lead a united Australian Corps, comprising five divisions with around 120,000 troops. Previously Australian divisions were allocated to British corps according to need.

Monash promptly got on with planning for Hamel, his first battle for a united Australian Corps. For the Western Front, this wasn't a huge deal, just advancing two kilometres on a 6.5 kilometre frontage.

Monash planned meticulously, writing later that a modern battle was akin to an orchestral composition, with every unit entering at precisely the proper moment to play its part in the general harmony.

What Monash planned was a progenitor of a modern day combined arms operation, featuring infantry, armour, artillery and aircraft, all working together.

The Australian Army recognises this heritage - Darwin-based 1st Brigade's major biennial warfighting exercise is called Hamel.

Monash saw the benefits of emerging technology.

The diggers had a low opinion of British tanks, which performed poorly the previous year at Bullecourt.

Monash believed they could be useful and the Australian Corps was assigned 60 of the latest Mark V models and before going into action, tanks and infantry practised together, the soldiers developing much needed confidence in the machines and their crews.

Monash also exploited air power, with aircraft initially flying over German lines to drown out noise of approaching tanks and then dropping ammunition to the advancing infantry.

Even official correspondent Charles Bean, at that time no fan of Monash, conceded he was a master of lucid explanation.

Two hundred and fifty officers attended his final conference on June 30, wading through 133 agenda items over four and a half hours. No-one departed with any doubt about his role and that cascaded right down to individual soldiers.

AWM senior historian Ashley Ekins said the Australians were now an extremely efficient fighting machine, fully reconstituted following the carnage of Passchendaele the previous year.

"A lot of men had seen a lot of action and they were now developing new tactics," he said.

"They have a greater appreciation of using all the tools at their disposal, which Monash makes abundantly clear he's going to use - tanks, aircraft, artillery and of course assault machine guns, the Lewis Gun, in greater numbers than ever before."

Hamel had another feature - Americans. Hamel was to be their first action, with the diggers mentoring these newcomers on the battlefield.

It was for precisely that reason that Monash picked July 4 - American Independence Day.

Initially about 1000 were to participate but US commander General John Pershing objected, insisting that most and then all be withdrawn.

Monash drew the line - either the Americans were in or he would cancel the attack.

They were in and at 3.10am, more than 600 guns deluged German positions with high explosives and poison gas. Infantry followed close behind the artillery barrage with the tanks close behind, ready to be called forward to crush wire or obliterate strong points.

With no preliminary bombardment to alert defenders, surprise was complete.

In many places, German soldiers fought hard. Sergeants Thomas Axford and Henry Dalziel were awarded the Victoria Cross for heroism in attacking German positions.

But the result was never in doubt. German losses were substantial, around 2000 including 1600 prisoners captured, along with 200 machine guns and trench mortars.

Compared with earlier battles, Australian casualties were light - about 1400 dead and wounded, while 45 of the accompanying Americans were killed.


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, 2018

Push to ABOLISH girls' and boys' schools so children can be free to choose their own gender identities

This is an old chestnut.  Research generally shows that unisex schools enable better attention to studies -- most so with girls

A story often illumines these things well so let  me tell of a certain female person I know.  She is quite bright and was dux of her school in the final year of grade school.  Shortly after her move into junior high school, however, her hormones began to flow. She ended up just about failing all her secondary education.  Boys were of vastly greater interest than her studies.  She eventually dropped out and became a Hippie, working in humble jobs

An academic has called for all schools to become co-educational so students do not see the opposite gender as an 'entirely exotic beast'.

University of South Australia Associate Professor Judith Gill believes grouping boys and girls together would help children to appreciate attributes of the opposite sex.

The professor told The Courier Mail having separate schools creates a divide where boys are 'one way' and 'girls are another way'.

'Together they are less likely to see the opposite gender as an entirely exotic beast but rather just the array of personal attributes that people can choose,' she told the publication.

She believes young people would be freer to choose 'how they want to be' in a co-educational environment.

'Schools have a role in enabling young people to be much more broad in their choosing about how they want to be and that's more likely to occur in a co-educational environment,'she said.

'Certainly future schools are much more likely to be co-educational than not.'

An Australian Council for Educational Research spokesperson told the Financial Review in 2017 single-sex schools could be eliminated by 2035 if statistical trends continue.

The publication reported the number of single-sex independent schools dropped from 31 per cent in 1985, to 24 per cent in 1995 and 12 per cent in 2015.


Majority of Australians say there is TOO MUCH immigration for the first time, study reveals

For the first time in history the majority of Australians believe there are too many  immigrants entering the country, according to social research figures.

Nearly 55 per cent out of 1200 people thought the number of migrants coming to Australia was 'too high', in data collected by Social Research Centre in Melbourne.

Results from surveys carried out between March 5 and 25 revealed not everyone was happy with economic and social implications migrants were having on the country.

They showed points for dissatisfaction were up 14 points since last year and a staggering 17 points since 2014. 

Figures also revealed the lowest number of people in more than three years thought the current immigration rate was 'about right'.

About 10 per cent of people said it was 'too low', which was about the same amount as it was in 2014 and slightly down from about 18 per cent last year.

Immigration had not met the planned amount of 190,000 for the current financial year, with numbers still hanging significantly down.

Debate was recently sparked by New South Wales Labor leader Luke Foley who controversially highlighted a 'white flight' trend bought about by migrant families.

He was referring to low-income migrants forcing Anglo families out of affordable housing areas in Sydney's western suburbs.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton argued Labor was no longer an advocate for 'middle Australia' after it rejected a motion proposed by Conservatives senator Cory Bernardi.

'They voted to reject the notion that Australia's immigration program should operate in the interests of all Australians,' Mr Dutton told The Australian. 'They are captured by the radical left of their party.'

The motion called on the government to review migrant intake levels and to make sure it had no detrimental impacts on the economic, social or security interests of locals.

A separate Lowy Institute poll also found Australians to have the lowest level of trust in the United States ever recorded, with a 28 point fall since 2011 marked by a narrow majority of 55 per cent saying they trust the country to 'act responsibly'.

Nearly three quarters of Australians think the government has allowed too much investment from China, up from just 56 per cent in 2014.


Council faces backlash over bid for Fremantle solar farm

A push by a Greens-led council for the nation’s first major solar farm in an urban area has infuriated ­residents who fear construction on the former rubbish dump will unleash asbestos and heavy metals.

The industrial-scale solar farm is a key plank in the City of Fremantle’s bid to be powered 100 per cent by renewable energy by 2025.

But residents who spoke to The Australian said they were more concerned about the public health risks of the project being built near hundreds of houses.

The 8ha solar farm, to be built and operated by Australian renewable energy company Epuron, will produce 4.9 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 1000 homes.

The heavily contaminated site contains ash, tyres, car bodies, marine bilge oil, hydrocarbons, ­asbestos, batteries, chemical drums, mercury and lead.

About 350 people have signed a petition calling for the project to be fully assessed by the state Environmental Protection Authority.

Mother of three Helena Everkans-Smith, who lives next to the South Fremantle landfill site, said if the project went ahead she would move out with her children for months because she was worried about the potential for contaminants to become airborne during earthworks.

Residents say strong winds in the beachside area would make the situation more dangerous, ­potentially pushing contaminants towards a school. Others in the community have raised concerns about the glare from solar panels and the possible health ­effects of electromagnetic radiation.

Resident Niek van Santen said the City of Fremantle had backed the project without proper consultation and nobody knew who would be held responsible if public health was put at risk.

“Nowhere in the world has there been a solar farm in a residential area, especially not on a contaminated site,” Mr van Santen said. “I won’t put our child at risk by staying here.

“The council are trying to steamroll this project through just so they can be seen to be green.”

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt defended the council’s approval of the project and said Epuron would need to comply with a site management plan prepared by an independent consultant. The solar farm would avoid the need for site remediation, which has been estimated to cost tens of millions of dollars. “We will only do the project if it can be done safely,” he said.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation said it would review an updated site management plan. Epuron could not be reached for comment. However, the company has said previously that a solar farm was an ideal use for the site until longer-term remediation and development options could be delivered.


The rot set in with current affairs, and ABC news has since lost its bearings

Geoffrey Luck

I began my working life as an ABC cadet journalist 15 years before ­Michelle Guthrie was born.

As a regional journalist reading my own news bulletin in outback Queensland, as news editor ­responsible for training the first Papuans and New Guineans as journalists, as a foreign correspondent leading a talented team during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and finally as the ABC’s (only) economics and ­finance correspondent, I was proud to work for the Majestic Fanfare. Today, I would be ashamed to be associated with ABC news and current affairs.

My view is the result of observing, listening and watching the decline of news coverage and output across 70 years. By contrast, ­Guthrie’s real knowledge of the ABC dates only from her appointment as its managing director two years ago.

Our perspectives, understandably, are poles apart. She knows only the organisation she was ­bequeathed; I measure the decline in news values, accuracy, balance, impartiality, leadership and self-control across two generations.

The community’s simmering disquiet with the public broadcaster’s decline in credibility has been trying for years to find its expression in policy terms. The ­recent populist clamour to “sell off the ABC” can be seen as a final incoherent shout from the frustrated and disappointed.

Much nonsense has been talked in arguing that proposition. It misses the point, just as Guthrie’s recent speech to the Melbourne Press Club did.

The speech demonstrated how little she understood of journalism. Not only did she confine her admiration of “hallowed names” of ABC journalists to those who were retired or dead, she also went on to define the role of her journalists as “their relentless drive to ensure that the institutions and processes which are the foundations of our democratic system work to the benefit of that community; their determination to provide a voice for the powerless, the weak and the intimidated; their ability to shine the light on malfeasance and corruption”.

Wrong! That’s exactly the problem with ABC news and current affairs. One might think a managing director who had ­assumed the unearned title of ­editor-in-chief would at least make seeking facts and objective truth the hallmark of a news service. It used not to be difficult to define news in those terms.

Instead, with the ABC there is too much excitement about ­“investigative journalism”, exposing malfeasance and corruption, ­co-operating with newspapers it was formed to distance itself from, and celebrating loudly its petty exposures. If Guthrie’s virtues are the consequence of good news gathering, well and good, but they are not the principal purpose.

ABC news is now trivialised. Every night the flagship 7pm television bulletin runs petty local stories ahead of news of consequence to the nation and the world. The audience decline reflects its loss of credibility.

Sixty years ago I always had to have a coin in my pocket to phone in a story. Today’s technology ­allows pictures and sound to be transmitted wirelessly from an event and put to air live. But the ABC is so seduced by this ability, its policy is to have journalists report live every possible story.

That completely distorts news values. Trivial crimes, road accidents and court reports occupy minutes of airtime, a reporter ad-libbing tedious detail against a backdrop that adds nothing.

That supposedly is the new virtue of “immediacy”, but what the viewer notices is the reduction in the number of stories in a bulletin and the foreshortening of major reports. The latest overuse of the technology is the live cross to a press conference. Politicians twigged to the advantage of cutting out the reporter and speaking direct to voters. I have timed them as lasting seven to nine minutes, because they’re hard to interrupt.

When I remonstrated with the ABC that the live-streaming technique put editorial control in the hands of the politicians, editorial policy chief Alan Sunderland replied that immediacy was fundamentally important in a news ­environment. In other words, technology is not merely a tool; demonstrating technical prowess is more important than content.

How the wheel has turned. Forty-five years ago general manager Talbot Duckmanton chided me as London editor for sending voice reports for the morning ­national news: “There’s too much talking in the bulletins,” he said.

The multiplicity of news programs across many radio and TV channels has put supervision of news content in the hands of the producer of each. Gone are the knowledge, wisdom and authority of the chief sub-­editor, who caught mistakes ­before they went to air and put a stop to any juvenile attempts to ­introduce comment or opinion.

ABC news once had a style guide. If it still exists, it’s been ­watered down, or allowed to be flouted. For example, adjectives were banned, except in quotation. Today reporters use them to subtly colour their stories. Preambles and summary conclusions were prohibited because they were comment, potentially indicating how a listener should interpret the item. Opinion, unless as a direct quote, would see the reporter sent back to rewrite. Yet the other day a Washington correspondent took it upon himself to characterise Donald Trump as “a President under siege”, then interpreted his comments about past policies as ­“insulting the other side”.

Such lazy, undisciplined writing goes unremarked, but is understandably seen as evidence of bias. Too often, interviewers don’t just ask questions, they argue.

What explains the ABC’s ­departure from its charter and its own code of practice and editorial guidelines? How does the public get the impression of “groupthink” on issues from Palestine to same-sex marriage to climate change?

The news staff has always been “bolshie” in the sense of rooting for the underdog, critical of authority and politically left in inclination. At the Labor split in the 1950s, half the Brisbane newsroom went down the road and joined the ALP in protest at Vince Gair and the Democratic Labour Party. When BHP announced its first $1 million profit, sub-­editors on the national newsdesk were outraged — until I pointed out it represented only 2 per cent return on its steel assets.

In the past, there was discipline. Personal views were never ­allowed to intrude. Management control and sub-editorial oversight ensured that, and reporters understood instinctively that ­impartiality was fundamentally the basis for public trust. It was our role to provide the facts, not to change the world.

Management lost control with the arrival of current affairs. While news was strictly held to editorial standards — and its journalists were actively deterred from broadcasting — ambitious executives recruited young university graduates to launch current affairs programs — AM and PM on radio, and This Day Tonight on TV.

Fact, analysis, opinion and political ­barrow-pushing — together at times with undergraduate clowning — became inseparably confused.

What’s forgotten is that in 1976 news journalists were on the verge of striking over current affairs ­trying to take over the right to break news. On the day of the Whitlam dismissal, AM/PM staff seized control of the phone circuits to Canberra with the concurrence of senior management, preventing Canberra news staff from filing their stories. Four years later, the growing conflict escalated when ­current affairs tried to cover the national wage case decision in a live broadcast. A strike by journalists was averted only when management brokered a peace deal that involved the two departments sharing the broadcast.

Now, a story that’s never been published. In an attempt to persuade management to impose the same editorial standards on ­current affairs staff and programs, a nationwide journalists’ conference in 1976 voted unanimously to merge news and current affairs. I was studying for my MBA degree part-time, and persuaded John Hunt, a leading behavioural scientist, to conduct the all-day seminar for us for free. Duckmanton ­ignored the findings. It was years before the merger took place, but left current affairs, with its loose editorial principles, ascendant.

At the heart of the community’s frustration with the ABC is its ­refusal to enforce its charter. For more than 30 years it has been fighting to escape ­accountability for its news and current affairs broadcasts. It first resisted government attempts to impose an external complaints ­review body, then ­watered down its internal self-regulatory system so that only the most egregious breaches can be upheld. It amended its editorial policies five times in 10 years. It even introduced a new category of “resolved” to avoid classing a complaint as “rejected” or “upheld”.

It could well be argued that the ABC board is not fulfilling its duty under section 8 (1) (c) of the ABC Act, which requires it: “to ensure that the gathering and pre­sentation by the Corporation of news and information is accurate and impartial according to the recognised standards of objective journalism”.

The ABC board has consistently shown its inability or unwillingness to investigate, let alone enforce, the key attributes, impartiality and objectivity. If it cannot carry out its obligations under the law, it’s time for the government to impose a remedy.

A simple amendment to the act would establish an independent external body — call it an ombudsman — to handle all complaints about breaches of the ABC charter, its code of practice and editorial guidelines. It would bring all programming under the same rules. The internal audience and consumer affairs section only masquerades as independent, a case of the policeman investigating the police.

Nine years ago the ABC proudly published a paper, Change with Continuity, in which it said: “Media professionals need to grow thicker skins. They need to accept more and harsher criticism, disseminate it more readily, correct errors swiftly, be willing to clarify, explain their decisions, acknowledging their misjudgments, and where appropriate, apologise.”

Bringing the broadcasters to heel by making them answer to an external umpire would sidestep the powerful staff interests, ­neutralise Guthrie’s nonsense, and enable the board to restore discipline. With a stroke of the pen, the government could stop the rot.


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, 2018

Carmen Gorska Putynska

Carmen Gorska Putynska, PhD student, School of Civil Engineering, University of Qld

Carmen was featured in the glossy University of Qld. propaganda periodical called "Contact".  As a graduate of U.Q. I get it mailed to me.

She was featured as part of an assembly of women students who were doing well:  Feminist propaganda, in short.

For once however I found something I liked in it.  The picture above first struck me. She has the good looks which are alarmingly common in Polish women.

In addition to my male chauvinist porcine nature, however I was struck by something else.  It is in the first line of the article below.  How improbable is that? Is it just foolish boasting?  I don't think so.

It made me think of her as a kindred spirit, in fact. I did similar things.  I taught Senior High school geography when my highest qualification was Junior school geography and I taught honors level High School economics when my highest qualification was university freshman economics. And I got a B in Senior High school Italian after studying it for only 4 months instead of the usual 4 years. So I don't think her claims are impossible at all. Some of us are born lucky.

The article below is obviously truncated so I looked for a longer version of it but could find none.  I was however able to fill out a few details

“I started tutoring for $10 an hour at age 14, and by 15 was tutoring students older than me in subjects I hadn’t yet taken myself.”

Carmen is a PhD student studying Self-extinguishment of Cross Laminated Timber and it’s potential uses in large structures.

Carmen obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, specialized in bridges and underground constructions, in 2013 in Poland, at Technological University of Poznan. Then, she was awarded with the “Erasmus Mundus Scholarship” and accepted in the “International Master of Fire Safety Engineering” program. That opportunity gave her the chance to study in UK, Belgium, and Sweden, offering her the access to the discipline of Fire Safety Engineering.

Carmen didn’t have a traditional tertiary trajectory, after excelling in high school she received a fully funded scholarship to study Civil Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

“I was one of 10 females among 200 males, all the professor were male, and the male students were not really inclusive with the female students. Feeling isolated I was unable to ask for help, worried about being judged, and I completely failed my first year.”

A charming interview with her below:


The absurd Human rights commission strikes again. Orders Suncorp to compensate paedophile after it refused to hire him because of his criminal record - but the bank refuses to pay

The Commission has only advisory power.  It has to go to court to enforce anything.  It would lose this one

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) ordered Suncorp to compensate a registered sex offender but the bank refused to pay.

Despite the AHRC ruling a man was 'discriminated against due to his criminal record' the bank insisted the man's convictions for possessing child pornography justified the decision not to hire him.

The man, known as BE, had applied to be an insurance claims consultant at Suncorp in 2015.

While AHRC president Rosalind Croucher conceded BE did not fully disclose his criminal record, she still ordered the company to pay him a total of $2,500.

Prof Croucher said in a statement, 'Notwithstanding the very serious nature of Mr BE's convictions, I find that Suncorp's decision to deny Mr BE the opportunity to access employment with Suncorp constituted an exclusion which impaired Mr BE's equality of opportunity.

'I accept that having a conditional offer of employment ­extended to him, and then ­rescinded on the basis of a criminal record that does not adequately relate to the ­inherent requirements of the role has caused ... distress'.

BE reportedly answered 'No' to a question in his online application that asked if he had been convicted of an offence.  

BE's criminal record dates back to 2008, which included convictions of 'use of a carriage service to access child pornography material' and 'possession of child pornography'.

BE was sentenced to a year in jail and was suspended for two years.

Suncorp was also told to re-educate its staff, revise its policies, and review its conduct after the incident.

'We have carefully considered your findings and recommendations,'Suncorp responded in a December 2015 statement.  'In particular, we note your finding that Mr [BE] was discriminated against on the basis of his criminal record.

'We respectfully maintain that Mr [BE]'s criminal record is of a serious nature and impacts on his ability to perform the inherent requirements of the Work@Home Consultant role. 'For this reason, Suncorp declines to pay any compensation to Mr [BE].

'Notwithstanding the above, Suncorp has developed comprehensive recruitment procedures and provides on-going training to employees, including in relation to anti-discrimination and equal opportunity.

'These procedures and training assist with ensuring we can fairly assess whether a prospective employee with a criminal record can perform the inherent requirements of a particular role, on a case by case basis.'


Ban on plastic bags in Australian supermarkets has not gone well

ENRAGED Australian shoppers have taken to social media to condemn supermarket giant Coles’ decision to ban single-use plastic bags from check-outs from today onwards.

The controversial new rules saw the traditional free plastic shopping bags vanish from stores once the clock ticked past midnight.

From now on, Coles shoppers around the country will need to bring their own reusable bags to transport their groceries, or fork out 15c for a range of reusable bags available for purchase at check-outs.

But while a Coles spokesman touted the ban as “the right thing to do for our environment” on Friday, many Aussies have since accused the corporation of using the ban as a money-making ploy.

Meanwhile, others have threatened to boycott the chain altogether in protest.

The growing backlash follows yesterday’s announcement from SDA National, the union for workers in retail, fast food and warehousing, that a female Woolworths staff member was strangled and sworn at by a male customer who disagreed with the company’s bag ban at Woolworths Greenfields at Mandurah, Western Australia late last month.

The union is calling for angry shoppers to treat retail staff with respect despite so-called “plastic bag rage”.

However, when visited Coles Waterloo in inner Sydney early this morning, the scene was calm with a number of shoppers already armed with their own reusable bags.

One said it was “about time” single-use plastic bags were banned, while another added it was “a positive step” towards a more sustainable future.

And while many shoppers have criticised the ban, others have attacked Coles for not ditching bags sooner.


Another charming Muslim family  -- Brisbane was lucky this time

The relative of a murdered wealthy restaurateur was arrested and charged with 14 terror-related offences.

The Australian Federal Police raided the 21-year-old man's Brisbane home at 4am today and he is expected to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.

The arrest is a bizarre twist to what was initially an investigation into the murder of the 21-year-old man's relative, restaurateur Abdul Basith, 35, who was stabbed to death outside his home in Kuraby, south of Brisbane in October last year.

The man was charged with five counts of preparations for incursions into foreign countries for engaging in hostile activities in relation to preparations made for his own intended foreign incursion.

He was also charged with two counts of recruiting persons to join organisations engaged in hostile activities against foreign governments.

In addition he was charged with seven counts of preparations for incursions into foreign countries for engaging in hostile activities in relation to preparations made for intended foreign incursions of other persons.

However, the federal police added that the man and those that he tried to recruit were unsuccessful in leaving the country. 


Horrible Trotskyite moves to scrap 'archaic' Lord's prayer in Senate sittings

The Lord’s prayer would be abolished from the start of Senate sittings and replaced by a statement that includes religious and non-religious beliefs, under a push instigated by the Greens

On Wednesday the Greens senator Lee Rhiannon will move a motion for a Senate inquiry into the proposed alternative: “Senators, let us in silence pray or reflect upon our responsibilities to all people of Australia and to future generations.”

The move is supported in a letter signed by progressive religious leaders including Fr Rod Bower, of the Anglican parish of Gosford, the reverend Margaret Mayman, of Pitt St Uniting church, and rabbi Jeffrey Kamins of the Temple Emanuel at Woollahra.

Guardian Australia understands the Greens believe they have enough support to set up an inquiry. Senators Stirling Griff and Rex Patrick confirmed Centre Alliance will support the motion, although Patrick noted this is “not the same thing as supporting replacing the prayer”.

Griff suggested the alternative prayer “ensures the moment is more relevant and personal for the individual”.

Senate sittings begin with the Lord’s prayer, a Christian prayer including the words “our father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name”.

Rhiannon said the statement that opens parliament “should be inclusive of people of all beliefs and faiths”.

“The Greens are suggesting the proposed new opening statement be referred to the Senate’s procedure committee for a public inquiry that better reflects the secular nature of our country and our parliament,” she said.

“A secular nation like Australia should be free from religious bias and not impose religious influence on citizens or parliamentarians.

“We should work for religious tolerance in the structures of government.”

Mayman said it was “time for the Senate to move on from an opening prayer that belongs to the era when Christianity as the majority religion in Australia was given precedence over other faiths and belief systems”.

“It is time to embrace words that are inclusive and respectful of religious diversity,” she said.

“The archaic language of the current prayer suggests that religious ideas are anachronistic and irrelevant in a pluralistic society.

“The use of the Lord’s prayer is not respectful of Christian faith, as it reduces the prayer that Jesus taught his followers to pray to a rote recitation in this context.”

The letter signed by religious leaders notes the Australian Capital Territory’s legislative assembly begins with a similar non-denominational statement.

“We believe this statement more accurately reflects the multicultural nature of our diverse communities,” it said.

The letter was signed by the Tibetan Buddhist Society of Canberra, the Lebanese Muslim Association at Lakemba and the Quakers at Surry Hills.


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

1 July, 2018

Australian culture is backward (?)

Below is the first part of a familiar rant from an unhappy lady.  Her ethnography is correct.  Australians really are like that. 

I would be regarded s a deep-dyed villain in her book.  On family BBQs, my ex-wife sometimes gets me my meal, then usually gets me my dessert and then asks me later on if I would like a cup of tea.  I rarely get up.

So why does she do that?  It's to a small degree because we are a pretty traditional family but the real reason is simply that she is a very kind person.  She knows that I am rather clumsy and get involved in conversations with the men present so she simply looks after me. I noted the same in Scotland when I was there. I asked one of the Scotsmen at a BBQ why they did not fetch their own meal from the BBQ.  He said: "My wife knows what I take"

There are many kind women in Australia who willingly do most of the housework. They have various expectations of their men and if those expectations are fulfilled they are happy to do their bit.  The writer below seems not to know that.

The basic truth that she misses is that all relationships are different and the mix of expectations will differ too.  As she herself acknowledes, the pattern I am familiar with is the norm.  She wants to change the norm.  That is rigid and dogmatic on her part.  She should respect differences and stop trying to impose her preferred relationship pattern on others. 

In fact, she has the unshakeable conviction about the rightness of her values that one so often sees on the Left  -- a conviction that in Communist regimes regularly leads to mass murder.  How much better for all of us it would be if the values of the carpenter of Nazareth were our guide

AT A party a few weeks ago, I witnessed a blood-boiling example of inequality. Through the entire three courses of dinner — for which the women had put together salads and baked desserts, organised decorations and gifts for the birthday boy — the majority of men remained glued to their seats as we milled among them, collecting plates, serving food and effectively waited on them, hand and foot.

It was a clear example at the huge gulf between the sexes in Aussie culture.

While there’s plenty of talk about Australian men increasing their housework effort, and being ahead in their contribution of men in other countries, it’s clear women are still picking up far too much of the slack. While I am fortunate to be in the minority of women with a husband more anal than I am about germs, women continue to do up to two-thirds more housework than men, according to data from the 2016 Census. I should also point out that while neither of us cares that much about housework, both of us are aware of the fine line between pretending not to care and hoarding empty wine bottles and “Pods” packets under the bed.

In his article, “Dirty Secret: Why Is There Still A Housework Gender Gap”, Oliver Burkeman sums up the problem rather succinctly when he says: “The ‘housework gap’ largely stopped narrowing in the 1980s. Men, it seems, conceded that they should be doing more than before — but then, having half-heartedly vacuumed the living room and passed a dampened cloth over the dining table, concluded that it was time for a nice sit-down.”

I can believe it.


Shorten’s stumbles over strategy cause pain for Labor

This is the week Bill Shorten’s “big end of town” class warfare collided with the reality of his policies — medium-sized and family businesses and their employees being hurt — a reminder that when you build a house on populist crusading the foundations are rotten.

The Opposition Leader has been exposed by his own blunder, typical of a pattern of bold yet reckless stances in recent months.

Addicted to a form of confidence-building assertion, Shorten’s judgment is faulty as he purports to a leadership authority he does not possess. This week’s train wreck was long in the making. It reflects Shorten’s character defects and the flaws in his class-based populism.

Shorten’s backdown at Friday’s shadow cabinet meeting was humiliating but essential. After offering the Turnbull government seemingly limitless opportunities his doorstop this week pledging to impose tax increases on medium-sized companies was a gift that Malcolm Turnbull, finally, could not fail to bank.

Shorten has an excuse. Labor’s expenditure review committee had decided on the position he announced. That’s telling. It means this was a collective blunder, not just Shorten’s mistake as leader. The original decision had not gone to shadow cabinet but it was a serious mistake by senior Labor figures.

Shorten had offered the Prime Minister a devastating weapon at the July 28 by-elections and beyond. This blunder had the potential to bring both the leadership into conversation and seriously prejudice Labor’s entrenched polling lead over the government.

Shorten, like Turnbull late last year, will live to fight another day. His embarrassment this week was self-inflicted, not Turnbull’s achievement. Indeed, it highlights the strange nature of their contest: Turnbull and Shorten sustain each other because neither has the ability to establish command over or destroy his opponent.

Shorten presents as a champion of Labor values but this week merely reveals the cynicism and self-interested expediency that drives his strategy as leader. This week’s fiasco had nothing to do with values and sound policy. It was a panic to correct for the electoral damage Shorten had done. This time his colleagues had an unanswerable case to reverse Shorten’s captain’s pick.

Labor should be worried. Shorten presides over a party that flirts with overreach; witness his false comments for months that no Labor MP was in the dual citizenship trap, the pledge to repeal the bulk of the government’s personal income tax cuts and the electorally sensitive restriction on franking credits for retirees.

The upshot now is that companies in the $10 million to $50m turnover zone will not be penalised by an incoming Labor government. Their legislated tax cut to 27.5 per cent as implemented from July 1 will stay — but Labor still will repeal in office any further legislated tax cuts and respect only tax cuts already being paid. This means Shorten remains pledged to repeal stage two of the government’s plan taking the corporate tax rate to 25 per cent for all companies — if Turnbull, or rather Senate leader Mathias Cormann, can get it legislated.

Shorten and Labor have not surrendered the fight over company tax cuts; they have merely shifted tactics to achieve a stronger position. Don’t think Shorten will retreat from his class warfare populist rhetoric.

What is Labor’s logic for keeping a 30 per cent corporate rate for companies above the $50m cap and a 27.5 per cent rate for those companies below the cap? There is no logic; just self-interested politics. Why should a two-tied corporate tax system be imposed? No reason, except to suit Labor’s political needs.

This week’s legacy will stick on Shorten. It reminds that his strategy of class division to mobilise a voting majority is far different from that of the three previous leaders who in the postwar age brought Labor to office by winning elections: Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke and Kevin Rudd.

Shorten is coming from a different place and gambling that Australia is a different country. This week destroyed Shorten’s claims that his opposition to company tax cuts was mainly about banks and greedy multinationals. He was exposed as a dogmatist refusing to accept the decisions of the parliament. He was prepared to impose tax increases on the almost 20,000 companies with turnovers in the $20m to $50m zone employing upwards of 1.5 million Australians.

For many people this seemed unreasonable, a bridge too far. The people Shorten was ready to punish are not the ‘big end of town’. Why were they being punished? What was the principle that Shorten sought to uphold?

In truth, the same issues and questions still apply. There are hundreds of companies above the $50m turnover cap that are not banks or greedy multinationals yet Shorten is bent on denying them.

Indeed, he mocks them saying a tax cut for such companies would be “unfair” and a “giveaway.” He is still ready to repeal corporate tax cuts passed by the parliament. He refuses to concede the 25 per cent tax rate for small and medium-sized companies.

This week opened the door to an even greater danger — by revealing the real-world implications of his assault on company tax cuts, Shorten risks undermining support for his entire policy.

It became apparent to everybody — media, public and Labor MPs — that a competitive tax rate was linked to investment, jobs and wages. Why wouldn’t an employee prefer to have his company paying a competitive rate?

It was no surprise Labor MPs began to revolt. Shorten’s stance was bad policy and bad politics. Labor members were rendered dumb; they literally couldn’t defend it.

Turnbull was being invited to identify the companies being punished, their streets, towns, suburbs and employees — the losers from Labor’s redistribution.

Any competent Coalition MP would seize on this tactic and apply it in their seats all the way to the next election.

Populism hinges on exaggeration, blame and creating division — in this case Shorten’s pretence is that a company tax cut is merely a windfall for the better-off. This is a brain-dead proposition.

The destructive, class-prejudiced, energy-sapping brawl in this country about company tax is an indulgence that diverts from the bigger tax reform debate that is needed.

It is timely to recall that the 2009 Henry tax review commissioned by Rudd said company tax was the most damaging tax for the economy. It recommended the company tax rate be reduced to 25 per cent “over the medium term” to increase business investment across all sectors including foreign investment to “promote more entrepreneurial activity”.

This is not a radical policy; it is modest and orthodox. Beyond the clamour, opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen uses the budget situation to oppose the company tax cuts. Yet the company tax cuts are phased in over the next eight years and the Henry report was delivered eight years ago.

Shorten, on the other hand, feeds the public a diet of grievance along with the need to deliver fairness and justice. The Henry review also addressed this issue, saying “the personal tax structure should be the sole means of delivering progressivity in the tax system” along with the transfer payments.

It would be folly for the Turnbull government to assume the political wheel has turned. Manifestly, it has not. There was a revealing question from Shorten last Wednesday in parliament: “Is the Prime Minister telling victims of that company that AMP deserves a big business tax cut?”

It was a good, precise, probing question. Later Shorten repeated the same question. Yet the government was unable to provide a precise and telling answer.

There is such an answer: that the bad behaviour of any one company should not be allowed to penalise all companies and all workers in Australia.

Any party that lives by that ethic is betraying the community interest.

The lesson, however, is that Shorten’s campaign against the big end of town retains much momentum from the unions, low-income and public sector workers and a range of progressive lobbies in the welfare, education and environment sectors.

The corporate tax battle will be resumed after the by-elections and the winter recess. This flows from the Thursday announcement by Cormann that the government will not be retreating on its second stage bill to cut taxes for companies above the $50m threshold and achieve by 2026-27 a cut from 30 per cent to 25 per cent for all companies.

Cormann, sensibly, refused to put this bill to the Senate last week because he lacked the numbers. Why take a defeat for no purpose? The government believes after the July 28 by-elections it has another chance to win this legislation since Cormann cut an earlier deal, since revoked, with the Pauline Hanson Party. Will Hanson change her mind again later in the year?

Cormann said: “I respect the fact that Pauline Hanson, with whom I have had many very good conversations … is focused on making the right decisions as she sees it in Australia’s national interest. I absolutely respect that. I hope the fact that One Nation voters increasingly appear to be coming on board with our plan for lower business taxes will, over time, help to persuade Senator Hanson that this is the right thing to do.”

We shall see.

At some stage — perhaps closer to the election — the public will focus on the Shorten paradox and decide whether he fits the test of prime ministerial material. John Howard used to say this about Rudd in 2007, only to find that Kevin passed the test with flying colours. Each leader is different but the Rudd-Shorten contrast is illuminating.

Rudd projected as an agent of New Labor hostile to the party machine. “Kevin wasn’t an orthodox Labor man,” said then ALP national secretary Tim Gartrell. Rudd defied the Labor stereotype. He felt being an orthodox Labor man was the kiss of political death.

Kevin loathed the factions, distrusted the unions, shunned the union “heavies”, never went into their debt, kept reassuring business, took pride in his status as an outsider and a Queenslander, and thrived as a new generation modernist who won the 2007 election by matching most of Howard’s election campaign tax cuts and then stealing the middle ground from the battlers’ champion.

Shorten, by contrast, is a factional operative from a trade union power base and astute manipulator. His position is sustained by the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union, a union ­aggressive for its members and pursuing a quasi-criminal business model, an issue Turnbull has singularly failed to exploit to the full.

The public also seems indifferent to the compromises that plague Shorten. While suspicious of Shorten’s tactics and pledges, it seems more responsive to Shorten’s stirring of its resentment towards elites, banks and big business in the belief they rip off the system and exploit workers.

Shorten offers a powerful emotional agenda as he invokes compassion, a fair go, pitches to women, the plight of minorities and pledges a bigger spending agenda in health and education. He engages, campaigns endlessly and is utterly convinced that he has a better feel for the Australian psyche than Turnbull.

In typical fashion Shorten depicts this week’s retreat as proof of his ability to listen. He boasts he is always prepared to change his mind. Yes, that is an important quality for a politician. But there is an even more important quality: being convinced a leader means what he says.


Below is the media release that sank Shorten

Labor's Call On Company Tax Cuts A Blow To SME Builders   
Master Builders Australia is bitterly disappointed with Labor’s pledge to ramp up the tax burden for thousands of small and medium building businesses.

Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said, “Labor’s decision to abolish tax cuts for SME builders turning over $10-$50 million per year will deal a harsh blow to SME builders, many of them family businesses.”

“It’s a retrograde step at the expense of local builders and local jobs in local communities around the country,” she said.

“Building projects are highly capital intensive and the cost of labour, materials and equipment mean that there are many ‘mum and dad’ businesses with an annual turnover of more than $10 million,” Denita Wawn said.

“This means that the tax cuts which Labor has committed to repealing are particularly important for our members, the people they employ directly and the sub-contractors they engage,” she said.

“Turnover should not be confused with profit. SME builders typically operate on tight margins and do not take home anything like $10 million,” Denita Wawn said.

“Labor should understand that there are more SMEs in the building and construction industry than any other sector of the economy,” she said.

“Our industry employs in 1 in 10 Australians and in the last few years has been one of the most important sources of skilled jobs growth. SME builders are at the forefront of this and employ most of the 1.2 million jobs in the construction industry workforce,” Denita Wawn said.

Email from Ben Carter, 0447 775 507

Kathleen Clubb defends right to challenge abortion

Clubb, who last year became the first person to be convicted under abortion protest laws in Victoria, will play in what may become one of the most important free speech cases heard by the High Court.

She wants Australians to know that it’s not about abortion. It’s about the right to protest.

Clubb can anticipate all your questions: yes, she is opposed to abortion in cases of rape; yes, in the case of profound disability; yes, in the case of incest.

She also believes that Australians have been denied a national debate about abortion.

“In some states, it’s now legal all through nine months for any reason, and we have not had a debate about that,” she says — and plenty of readers will no doubt think: good.

Those people who stand outside abortion clinics with gory signs and, in some cases, with blood-splattered dolls in prams, they’re pests — and also, it’s none of their business.

Clubb says she has never done that. She prays and she offers pamphlets.

“But the point is, if parliament can ban this kind of protest, what other kind of protests can they ban?” she says. “I am fighting for all Australians.”

Legislation creating 150m “safe zones” around the Victorian clinics came into effect on May 2, 2016. This was always going to be a problem for Christian groups that hold their vigils outside the doors.

Court documents show that Inspector Gerard Cartwright of Victoria Police met a group he called “the Helpers” (the full name is Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, and Clubb is a member) several times in an effort to impress on them the importance of the law, telling the court: “These were law-abiding people and I did not want them coming before the courts.” He asked them to steer clear of the 150m zone. In July, “the Helpers” contacted him to let him know that “a man in his 70s and a woman in her 50s” would breach the zone on August 4, 2016, outside the Fertility Control Clinic in Wellington Parade, East Melbourne.

Twenty officers were briefed to attend, “to ensure calm”.

Clubb says she had a friend drop her off near the clinic. En route to the safe zone, she saw two detectives at a nearby cafe and stopped to say hello. As arrests go, it was all very civilised. She walked into the exclusion zone. Video of the event, shown to the court, shows her attempting to engage a couple as they approach the clinic, by speaking to them and handing over a pamphlet. The male of the couple declines the offer and the young woman moves away.

A police officer steps up and tells Clubb she is breaking the law. Was she prepared to leave? She was not.

From there on, events felt to Clubb like something from NYPD Blue. She was not cuffed but put in the back seat of a squad car. She had a mugshot taken at the station, which her delighted kids are now trying to get her to use as her Facebook profile picture.

There was a confusing moment in the cop shop bathroom: everything was stainless steel and she couldn’t find a tap, just a button to press to wash her hands. She had to hand over personal items but was allowed to keep her rosary beads, although one officer said: “Don’t harm yourself with them.”

“They weren’t jovial,” she says, thinking back. “More businesslike.”

It took some time for the case to make its way to the Magistrates Court but ultimately, on October 11 last year, with magistrate Luisa Bazzani presiding, Clubb was told she had been charged with breaching section 185D of Victoria’s Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008; that she had insisted on “communicating about abortions” within a safe access zone in a manner “reasonably likely to cause anxiety or distress”; and that she had done so despite two warnings, “defiantly and deliberately”.

Of course she had. That was always the point.

Clubb’s legal team appealed her conviction to the Supreme Court of Victoria, with grounds one and two concerning the constitutional validity of the law in question. A short time later, Victoria’s Attorney-General Martin Pakula also applied to have the case transferred to the High Court, which is due to hear the matter later this year.

Clubb is opposed by the Solicitor-General for Victoria, Kristen Walker; commonwealth Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue; the Solicitor-General for NSW, Michael Sexton SC; the Solicitor-General for Queensland, Peter Dunning QC; the Solicitor-General for Western Australia, Peter Quinlan SC; the Solicitor-General for South Australia, Chris Bleby SC; and barristers acting for the private abortion providers, who seek to be heard as amicus curiae (friend of the court.)

Clubb’s supporters include the Helpers — they are largely Catholic and wholly anonymous, without so much as a website — the Human Rights Law Alliance, which hopes to raise an estimated $120,000 to cover the cost of being heard in the High Court; and the Australian Christian Lobby.

The case — officially, it’s No M46/2018 — concerns something that should concern us all: freedom of political communication. Australia doesn’t have a bill of rights but in 1992 the High Court did recognise what it has called an “implied freedom of political communication”. To be clear: that’s not a personal right to speak your mind. It’s a burden on legislative power, meaning our parliaments are restricted in the laws they can pass.

Walker, the Victorian Solicitor-General, has rejected the free-speech argument in her submission to the High Court, saying Clubb is “trying ignore or downplay the demonstrable harm” the protests cause “to people seeking abortions”. She describes the protests as “harassing and intimidatory conduct”, with the most extreme case in Victoria involving “the fatal shooting in 2001 of a security guard at the East Melbourne clinic”.

The commonwealth argues that such protests are not political because protesters are not trying to change the law, they are interfering with the personal choice of an individual woman. Furthermore, Clubb’s freedom to communicate has not been taken from her: she can protest abortion outside parliament; she can write to her local member; she can take out newspaper ads; she can campaign in certain seats, even run for office. What she can’t do is approach a vulnerable, pregnant woman trying to access a lawful medical procedure at an abortion clinic.

And this, in the view of Clubb’s legal team, is the point.

In their submission, they say: “Australian history is replete with examples of political communications being effective precisely because they are conducted at the place where the issue is viscerally felt.” There’s the Franklin Dam blockade, for example, and the Pine Gap protests, the Freedom Rides and the Eureka Stockade.

Clubb’s team acknowledges that her protest isn’t popular, and that too is important because the “very purpose of freedom” is to permit the expression of unpopular, minority view points.

“In order to rouse, political speech must first excite,” the submission says. “Sir Robert Menzies’ ‘forgotten people’ speech, Paul Keating’s Redfern speech, Kevin Rudd’s apology … each was apt to cause discomfort not incidentally but deliberately.”

It will not be an easy case for Clubb to win. Australia has no proud free speech tradition. Four states and the commonwealth have already made submissions aimed at silencing her protest.

But in her pocket Clubb has what she believes is a reason to keep going. It’s a short video, stored on her phone, of a child she describes as “the last baby we saved”.

“His parents are Nepalese, they hadn’t been in Australia very long,” she says. “They approached the clinic and I could see they didn’t want to do it.”

She helped them away from the door, into a nearby carpark, where the mum-to-be, buckled by morning sickness, vomited. They explained their circumstances: he was working in a convenience store, earning not much money. She was newly arrived and now pregnant. They didn’t have stable accommodation. The GP had given them a pamphlet for the abortion clinic.

“I told them we could help,” says Clubb, and the groups with which she works stepped up with money for rent, doctor’s fees, a cot and a car seat.

The child being carried in the womb that day is now a two-year-old. In the video, he’s bopping along to an Ed Sheeran song.

“I believe we did God’s work that day,” says Clubb. “You don’t have to agree but I should be allowed to say it.”


CIS poll shows ignorance of history

By John-Paul Baladi, an intern in the Culture, Prosperity and Civil Society Program at the CIS

The Centre for Independent Studies/YouGov poll released last week rightly gained national attention for highlighting the negative effect left-leaning universities are having on historically ignorant millennials.

The poll found 58% of Australian millennials hold a favourable view of socialism. This finding might astonish those who were old enough to see the Berlin wall come down.

However, to a politically conscious student at the University of Sydney, it is unsurprising. I am all too familiar with the far-left activism embedded within the education system.

From junior high school through to the HSC and on to university, social science and humanities teachers and academics bombard students with criticisms of western culture, from colonialism to orientalism, to the White Australia policy.

This kind of identity politics is thinly disguised as ‘compassion’ for the excluded and oppressed.

Yet while students are taught about the flaws and failures of western culture under the rubric of intellectual freedom and ‘balance’, uttering fair criticisms of Islamic teachings and history, or highlighting systemic issues in Indigenous communities, is considered bigotry.

And it’s not only high school and university syllabuses that are skewed to the left side of politics. In my experience, the teachers, tutors, and lecturers — whose role is to enlighten our generation — are sometimes further left-leaning than the syllabus.

I’ve heard a tutor explain that conservative political parties only exist to defend the “aristocracy” and another claim the Australian Greens weren’t “radical enough”.

The recent open letter signed by more than 100 Sydney University academics — which was redolent of Marxist analysis and identity politics clichés — rejected the Ramsey Centre’s proposed degree in Western Civilization on the grounds that this would violate “the standing norms of academic independence.”

But when most of the humanities faculties lean left, and some academics are openly hostile to Western Civilisation, talk of academic independence rings hollow.


Melbourne has its coldest day in 25 YEARS as wintry conditions show no signs of warming up with a bleak weekend in store across Australia

Global cooling!

Melbourne has experienced its coldest day in more than two decades - with the chilly conditions set to continue over the weekend.

A high of just 9.8C recorded on Thursday was the coldest maximum temperature during a day in the city since June 12, 1993 according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

There will be no respite from the bitter cold across most of the country this weekend as frosty mornings are predicted for both Saturday and Sunday.

Weatherzone meteorologist Graeme Brittain said Sydney will be 'pleasant but cold'. 'It will be dry and sunny during the day but there will be a couple of cold morning, with Sunday being the coldest'.

A low of 9C is expected on Saturday before reaching a high of 19C, with light winds predicted for the evening.

Sunday will be mostly sunny with fog in the outer west part of the city and some frost, with a low of 7C and a high of 16C predicted.

Melbourne will likely have rainfall on Saturday morning with possible hail in the southeast.

Sunday will be even colder, with a low of 5C and a high of 15C. There is a slight chance of rain for Melbourne on Sunday afternoon.

Brisbane will have fog and possibly showers on Saturday morning, with a low of 14 and a high of 24.


Goyder to be new Qantas chairman

I am delighted to hear this. I have had a small amount to do with Mr Goyder and found him to have a really human approach to his businesses. I have a hand-written note from him which I treasure.  It is in a frame above my desk.  His balanced approach will be invaluable to Qantas

Former Wesfarmers boss Richard Goyder will be the new chairman of Qantas, succeeding the outgoing Leigh Clifford in October.

Mr Clifford will retire from the chairmanship of Australia's national carrier after 11 years in the role.

"It's been an absolute privilege to lead the Qantas board for these past 11 years," Mr Clifford said in a statement on Thursday.

He has overseen a sometimes tumultuous period for the airline alongside chief executive officer Alan Joyce, with the carrier having endured a painful turnaround period before enjoying its current record high profits and soaring share price.

Qantas in May flagged a record full-year underlying pre-tax profit of between $1.55 billion and $1.60 billion, a far cry from the plummeting stock prices of the late 2000s and the 2011 grounding of the entire fleet in 2011 over industrial action.

"Leigh has been a stellar chairman for Qantas and I'm looking forward to working with Richard in the years ahead," Mr Joyce said.

Mr Goyder joined the Qantas board in November after ending his long tenure as managing director of Wesfarmers, the conglomerate that owns supermarket giant Coles and hardware chain Bunnings.

Mr Clifford said Mr Goyder is "one of the most experienced business leaders in Australia and an excellent choice to lead the Qantas board into the future".

Mr Goyder will take over as chairman at Qantas' annual general meeting on October 28.

Mr Goyder is also chairman of Woodside Petroleum and the AFL.

Mr Clifford will also leave the Qantas board at the October AGM.


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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