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?


30 June, 2017

Local council demands government change Australia's national anthem because references to 'colonisation and white settlement exclude Aboriginal people'

What about the Cornish?  My son has some Cornish ancestry so should not the Cornish be acknowledged too?  And Australia has far more people of Greek ancestry than Aborigial ancestry so should we not have the Greeks in our national anthem?  Where would we be without Greek fish shops?  And Greek greengrocers are the masters of apostrophe innovation.  And what about the Italians: Where would we be without spaghetti? 

And there's a Chinese restaurant in almost every Australian town.  Should not that be acknowledged too?  I'd back recognition of Australia's Chinese rather than Aborigines any day.  I've eaten a lot of great Chinese meals but what have Aborigines ever done for anyone?  They are very largely parasites on the rest of Australia

A town council will appeal to the government to change the countries national anthem because the current song doesn't include Indigenous Australians.

Lake Macquarie Council says references to the 'colonisation and white settlement' excludes Aboriginal people and will write to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to 'review the wording of the national anthem'.

In a notice of motion raised at Monday's meeting by Labor Councillor Brian Adamthwaite it was decided the letter would request the removal of the word 'young' from the song, replacing it with strong, the Newcastle Herald reported.

 Lake Macquarie Council will appeal to the government to change Australia's national anthem to include Indigenous Australians

The idea to propose the change was came to light during a conversation Councillor Adamthwaite, a school principal, had with an Indigenous student. 

'This particular student said to me one day, ''Do I really have to stand and sing Advance Australia Fair?',' he said.

'She said it doesn't represent my people, my people have been here a long long time and when we talk about a young country, we're talking about … colonisation and white settlement.

He would like to live in a country in where all children feel proud to sing the national anthem.

The motion was passed despite three Liberal Party Councillors opposing to the idea citing it was outside their domain.

'We're elected as leaders in the community [but] this is going far beyond my brief, it's not something we should be debating,' Nick Jones said. 

Daily Mail Australia recently reported the Recognition in Anthem Project, established by Victorian Supreme Court judge Peter Vickery, were also pushing for a new patriotic song.

Their proposed version includes references to Aboriginal culture, Uluru and 'respecting the country'.

Earlier this year the Australian government granted permission for the altered version of 'Advance Australia Fair' to be used at some events, but not as an official anthem.


"Green" NT government wants a free ride

They want to abandon a major source of revenue and then turn to the rest of Australia to pay their bills?? Typical Leftist irresponsibility

The Northern Territory government says Canberra is threatening to cut its share of GST further if it doesn't lift a fracking ban.

NT treasurer Nicole Manison says it's an "an absolute disgrace" that her federal counterpart Scott Morrison is attempting to bully her government into ending a temporary ban on unconventional gas exploration.

"Territorians should not be held to ransom on the future of their GST funding based on whether or not we seek fracking," she told reporters in Darwin.

On Wednesday Mr Morrison took aim at the government's moratorium, saying it had stymied investment and was holding the Territory economy back.

"The bottom line is this, Australia needs more gas and the Territory needs more jobs," he said. "And it needs to take advantage of the resource opportunities that it has here, whether it's on gas or anywhere else.This is important for the Territory's development and its future."

Mr Morrison said an upcoming Productivity Commission review of GST distribution would examine whether the formula was hurting the national economy by giving jurisdictions like the NT a "leave pass" for "not getting on and doing things".

"And should that sort of decision be rewarded by getting extra GST when you've got a state like Western Australia which has been realising their resource opportunities and has been penalised under the system for doing it?" he said. "I think it needs a fair dinkum look at it."

Labor says it won't lift a ban on the controversial gas extraction method until an independent inquiry releases its report in December, which was an election commitment.

Ms Manison is seeking infrastructure project investments from Canberra to mitigate the blow of huge GST cuts already announced in March, which make up 50 per cent of the NT's revenue.

She said in order for the NT to stop relying on handouts from the commonwealth it must diversify its economy, and can't put its pastoral, agriculture and tourism industries at risk by waving through hydraulic fracturing.


Stupid Leftist prank on innocent schoolkids

Anything to keep alive the"stolen generation" myth.  Some Aboriginal kids were indeed taken away from their parents -- because they were grossly neglected, not because of the colour of their skin

Year 4 children tricked into believing they would be taken away from their parents - but then were told it was just a lesson on the Stolen Generation

Nine-year-old children spent most of a school day believing they would be taken away from their parents in a bizarre Stolen Generation role play.

The Year Four students at St Justin's Catholic primary school on the outskirts of Sydney burst into tears when a nun broke the news at 9.30am on Tuesday.

She held up what she said was a letter from the Prime Minister saying their parents weren't looking after them well enough so they would be taken away.

Distraught children asked their teacher if it was true, and she said yes. They were not told it was an exercise until 2.50pm when they were asked to write down how they felt.

Natalie Wykes said she was looking at moving her son Kynan to a public school over the incident, which she called 'emotional abuse'.

'He came home and he said "Mum, I was really scared at school today",' she told Daily Mail Australia.

'They said you won't be seeing your family again, that they had to change their last names, and even where they would be sleeping in the school.

'During the day they had to do activities that Aboriginal children did whey they were taken, like picking up rubbish and raking leaves, running around the oval and doing star jumps.

'If they didn't do it right they'd get yelled at, it was pretty full on.'

Ms Wykes said Kynan even tried to escape from the school by faking bumping heads with a friend during lunch so the school would call his mother to get him.

'I get these calls all the time so I didn't think anything of it until he came home and told me he did it because it he was afraid he wouldn't be allowed to come home,' she said.

She complained to the principal on Wednesday and said Kynan told him 'the army can come and take us away at any time', and remained convinced even after being told that wasn't true.

Another mother, Mary Jane Turner, said her son Tyrone was in the same class and the lesson distressed him even more because he suffered from anxiety.

She said Tyrone came home in tears and was too upset to eat his lunch at school.

Tim Gilmour, assistant to the director of schools in the Catholic diocese of Wollongong, said the activity was intended to give students an experience of the infamous chapter in Australia's history.

'We wanted to ask them how they would feel if we did that now. It was done without incident last year and quite a lot of parents said the activity was a good one,' he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Mr Gilmour said students in two of the three classes that participated were told early on it was a role play but it 'wasn't done as well as it should have been' in the other.

'Seven students became a bit distressed but they were reassured by their teacher and made to understand the context of the activity,' he said.

He said the diocese would look at how it could be 'refined' and whether it needed significant changes for next time.

Stolen Generation members were also outraged by the lesson, saying it was an inappropriate way to teach children about it.

'I’m aboriginal and my grandfather was a part of the stolen generation, this is absolutely disgusting to be teaching the kids such lies to the point also where they’ll fear they’ll be taken if they play up,' Sascha Smith wrote on social media.  'Furious is an understatement right now.'

'We weren’t taken away because of neglect, we were taken because of the colour of our skin,' NT Stolen Generation Aboriginal Corporation spokeswoman Eileen Cummings told News Corp.

'We were taken away because they believed that our people couldn’t teach us anything, they wanted to educate us because we were half-caste children.'


Abbott: ‘Let’s make Australia work again’

TONY Abbott has no plans to leave politics any time soon, he said on Tuesday, because Australia needs strong conservative voices and less compromise from government.

The former prime minister, now a Turnbull Government backbencher, made the comments as a Brisbane business event on Tuesday, a day after a leaked tape emerged of Christopher Pyne gloating that the Liberal party’s left faction was “in the winner’s circle”.

“I’m in no hurry to leave public life because we need strong liberal conservative voices now, more than ever,” he said.
Mr Abbott watches as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull delivers his address at the 59th Liberal Party Federal Council Meeting in Sydney on Saturday. Picture: Dan Himbrechts

Mr Abbott watches as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull delivers his address at the 59th Liberal Party Federal Council Meeting in Sydney on Saturday. Picture: Dan HimbrechtsSource:AAP

Mr Abbott’s comments came as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull again insisted the Liberal party was “harmonious”.

But the dumped prime minister has outlined his own six point plan, complete with slogan (make Australia work again) on his website, that appears to position himself very much as alternative leader to Mr Turnbull.

Mr Pyne’s leaked comments apparently reopened old wounds from the leadership contest Mr Abbott lost to Mr Turnbull 21 months ago.

Mr Pyne, one of Mr Abbott’s most senior lieutenants at the time, told moderate faction colleagues at a late-night function last week he had voted for Mr Turnbull in every Liberal leadership ballot.

That was news to Mr Abbott. He accused Mr Pyne of not being fair dinkum, saying it was incredibly disappointing to discover his loyalty was never there.

Mr Turnbull on Tuesday was distancing himself from the spat, rejecting suggestions his party was a “tinderbox” about to erupt.

But the prime minister admitted people in politics could get “scratchy” with each other. “The party room is very harmonious, very united,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell, noting Mr Abbott was not a minister in his government. “He’s one member in the party room.”

In his address to conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs in Brisbane on Tuesday morning, Mr Abbott said it had not been a good year for Australia and “too many people feel let down and ripped off”.

“We are letting ourselves down. We are not what we should be; and we know it. That’s why most of the attempted pep talks sound so hollow.”

Mr Turnbull said the coalition recently had been able deal with complex issues such as schools funding and energy policy.

However, Mr Abbott said in making compromises to get legislation through parliament “the war doesn’t actually end”.

“The battleground just shifts and in the meantime principles have become negotiable and the whole political spectrum has moved in the wrong direction,” Mr Abbott said.

The Australian reported that Mr Abbott also told the conservative crowd, “we need to make Australia work again”, a slogan he has apparently adopted in his vision for the country.

“Because our country, plainly, is not working as it should. We are letting ourselves down. We are not what we should be; and we know it,” he said.

He insisted the next election would not be won by drawing closer to Labor values, in the wake of this year’s Budget, which many conservatives attacked as “Labor-lite”.

“The next election can only be won by drawing up new battlelines that give our people something to fight for; and the public something to hope for,” he said.

“We can’t even look across the Tasman without a twinge of acute embarrassment”.

“We have an abundance of energy — but the world’s highest power prices; an abundance of land — and property prices to rival Hong Kong’s; some of the world’s smartest people — yet with school rankings behind Kazakhstan.”

Mr Abbott’s address came as one of his conservative allies, former minister Eric Abetz, said Mr Pyne should have resigned from the ministry at the time if he did not support Mr Abbott.

Mr Pyne insisted as a member of the leadership team he was loyal to Mr Abbott in the lead-up to the 2013 election which the coalition won.

“[We] were absolutely central to him becoming prime minister and defeating the Labor Party in 2013 and almost defeating them in 2010, so nobody could ever question my determination to see a coalition government in power,” he told the ABC’s Q & A program on Monday night.


Former prime minister Tony Abbott lashes out at Australia’s submarine program, calls for ‘Plan B’

CONCERNS for Australia’s naval incapabilities have been highlighted in a leadership lunch that called for a “plan B” for Australia’s new fleet of submarines.

Continuing his campaign trail critiquing the Turnbull government, former prime minister Tony Abbott warned the government’s $50 billion submarine investment needs to be reconsidered.

In a speech at the Centre for Independent Studies titled Submarines: why settle for second best?, Mr Abbott disclosed that when a fleet of Russian naval ships appeared in international waters off Brisbane during the G20 summit in 2014, he was told at the time “that neither of our two deployed submarines could shadow it”.

While Australian officials played down the presence of the flotilla at the time, led by the Russian Pacific Fleet flagship the cruiser Varyag, frantic efforts were under way in Moscow to establish the intention of the fleet, according to News Corp’s Ian McPhedran at the time.

“There is no doubt this is posturing, to show the power of the Russian fleet,” a source said.

Just a month earlier, the then-Prime Minister Mr Abbott threatened to “shirt-front” Vladimir Putin over Russia’s role in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and the deaths of 38 Australian residents.

While the Navy sent three Australian warships, News Corp Australia understood at the time the government also asked about the possibility of a Collins Class submarine joining the mission.

It was told that the nearest boat was in Perth and would not be able to reach the area until well after the G20 summit was over.

“I worry that a decade or so hence, maybe sooner, Australia might face a security crisis in our region and find that governments of yesterday and today had left their successors with inadequate means to deal with it,” Mr Abbott said in his speech today.

“[The lack of submarines] was a stark reminder of the limitations of a strategic deterrent comprising just six conventional submarines of which two are in deep maintenance, two are in training, with only two available at any one time — and limited by an underwater cruising speed of just 10 knots.

“The Russian Pacific Fleet reportedly has five ballistic missile subs, 10 nuclear powered attack subs and eight conventional subs. If the world were becoming more secure and if our allies were becoming more dominant, perhaps that wouldn’t matter very much.

“This must be hoped for and it should be worked towards but it can’t be taken for granted.

“Government’s job is to plan for the worst as well as to work for the best. We will be judged by history as well as by our contemporaries and, at least where national defence is concerned, we have to think and prepare for the very long term indeed.”

Mr Abbott’s government set up the three-way compeition between Japan, Germany and France for the submarine contract.

French shipbuilder DCNS won the design job and the 12 conventional-powered submarines will be constructed in Adelaide.

Yet Mr Abbott said “the French-based design is hardly begun, let alone finalised. No contract to build has been signed and won’t be for years”. The first steel is expected to be cut by 2022, and the first sub will enter service in the early 2030s.

In his speech, Mr Abbott called for Australia to “consider” nuclear-powered submarines “before the opportunity is lost for another several decades”.

“The whole point of the next submarine acquisition was to avoid the problems of the Collins — to find the submarine that could be brought swiftly into service with the least possible modifications — but what we have done so far risks an exact repetition,” Mr Abbott said.

“All the submarines on which the bids were based are excellent for their countries’ needs — but none, it seems, for ours. “The Japanese sub lacked range, the German sub lacked size, and the French sub lacked conventional power. “But instead of changing what we wanted, we’ve decided — again — to bring an orphan submarine into being.”

Yet despite the criticism, Mr Turnbull said he wanted to stress that “I do not want to interrupt the process of acquiring new submarines given that it had languished for so long”.

“The design process with DCNS should continue and so should the build if that remains our fully considered assessment of what’s best,” he said.

“But parallel with that, we should rethink what we want our subs to do, and what they might be up against in a changing threat environment, and explore nuclear powered options while our committed costs are only in the hundreds of millions.”


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 June, 2017

Breakthrough WA Study Shines A Light On Global Water Contamination

The article below is very long-winded in a typical Leftist style but the essence of it is in the opening paragraphs that I have excerpted below.

I believe the article does address a real problem.  The only surprising thing is its discovery that bore water is a last resort for drinking purposes.  It often has metallic and other unpleasant tastes that should warn that its use for human consumption is risky.

Depending on the contamination it can be purified at some cost but that is rare.  People, black and white,  just take their chances, usually. So it is not surprising that the W.A. government has not funded purification for Aborigines.  Government has many calls on its funds.

Asking the government to go into a large number of black settlements with purification machinery is a big ask when it is always possible for the inhabitants to move into areas where reticulated river water is available. The W.A. government encourages that. 

But the Aborigines resist that.  They have a religious attachment to their traditional locations.  So in a sense they have made their choices about what they are exposed to and have to bear the consequences.  Is it fair for them to ask those who pay taxes (they rarely do themselves) to prop up their religious beliefs? As former Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared in March 2015, “what we can’t do is endlessly subsidize lifestyle choices.”

When deep-well bore water arrived in Australian bush communities people thought the big thirst was over. Jeff McMullen reports that a decade long study shows unsafe water is now cutting lives short.

If a baby is fed unsafe water contaminated with chemical nitrates, the child turns blue.

The striking colouring occurs particularly around the eyes and mouth. Blue Baby Syndrome is the decrease of the oxygen carrying capacity of the haemoglobin. It is potentially fatal.

And yet, in scores of communities across Australia many people are still not aware of the growing evidence that nitrates – found naturally in the environment and compounded by mining – are a crucial factor in a devastating epidemic of chronic illness, particularly renal problems afflicting children and adults.

“I never dreamed that our water has such high levels of nitrate contamination,” says Dr Christine Jeffries-Stokes, paediatrician to the Goldfields region in Western Australia.

“Water flows from the Pilbara all the way south to the Great Australian Bight. The critical threat is the nitrates, combined with uranium and arsenic, to create a perfect storm.”

It is this discovery – that not only is there an immediate threat of nitrate poisoning from high levels in the water but also a long-term danger caused by prolonged exposure – that will bring Dr Jeffries-Stokes and her medical team from the Western Desert Kidney Project face to face with the WA Government this week, to present their findings and lobby the government to finally take action.

Co-Chief Investigator of the decade long research project, Annette Stokes says “people are very, very sick”.

“Some already had diabetes and did not know it. Others are progressing to end state renal illness without ever being aware of this water poison.”

“Previously unexplained levels of chronic illness, especially kidney disease afflicting black and white people in remote regions, can now be understood,” adds Dr Jeffries-Stokes. “Governments must take action urgently and it is no good talking about closing hundreds of remote communities and towns. This affects so many people Governments must clean up the water.”

One of Australia’s most respected epidemiologists, Professor Fiona Stanley, has added her voice to the call for urgent action.

“This is a really important public health and human rights issue, particularly for the Aboriginal populations of the eastern Goldfields. The neglect that we have shown these populations over the years is being added to by our reluctance to clean up the water supply,” Professor Stanley says.

More HERE 

Pauline Hanson's 'halal' victory: One Nation succeeds in passing new regulations to control Islamic certification in Australia

Pauline Hanson has won a political victory with her Senate colleagues backing her campaign for Muslim-friendly halal-certified foods to be more clearly labelled.

Many meats and popular supermarket products including Vegemite, Cadbury chocolates and Kellogg's breakfast cereals are halal certified, which means consumers are funding Islamic schools and mosques.

The One Nation leader's call for more transparency on Muslim-friendly foods comes 18 months after a Senate inquiry called for food manufacturers to more clearly label third-party certification.

Senator Hanson said it was about time the Senate inquiry's recommendations, published in December 2015, were put into practice. 'Australians are waiting for this to be implemented,' she told parliament.

Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi, who initiated the 2015 inquiry into halal foods, said the meat industry needed certainty.  'They're looking for certainty in the meat industry, it's about time that they reported on it,' he said.

'It's far too long and so I think Senator Hanson's quite right to bring it to the attention of the chamber.'

Senator Bernardi also hit out at Labor for distancing itself from Senator Hanson's halal-labelling campaign when Labor's Sam Dastyari had chaired the inquiry into it. 'It's all good and well for the Labor Party to distance themselves from the report now but it was endorsed by their chairman,' he said. 

Greens leader Richard Di Natale tried to make the debate about Senator Hanson's recent comments saying autistic children should be in separate schools.

'Senator Hanson and Senator Bernardi should worry less about the eating habits of other Australians and more about the needs of our children in schools,' he said.

Senator Nick Xenophon was more measured, arguing that while he supported the halal industry, he was in favour of clearer labelling.

Pauline Hanson's motion was last week passed on a show of voices in the Senate. It means Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's cabinet will have to examine ways of improving existing halal certification regulations.

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils halal certifies Vegemite and funds Islamic schools, including the Malek Fahd Islamic School in Sydney's west which has recently lost $19 million in federal funding.

Adelaide Muslim Shia Imam Shaikh Mohammad Tawhidi is opposed to halal certified foods being sold in Australia's major supermarkets, arguing they should be sold in specialty Muslim shops instead.

Halal is an Arabic word meaning something is permissible in Islam.

Processed food that is halal certified doesn't contain or pork or alcohol derivatives while meat with this clearance has been slaughtered in accordance with Islamic tradition.

Food producers pay a fee to third-party halal certifiers, which include Islamic groups and mosques.


An energy consultant says "Green" South Australians will soon pay the most in the world for electricity

An energy market consultant says South Australian homes will soon be paying the highest electricity prices in the world.

Energy market consultant Bruce Mountain says SA will overtake Denmark on Saturday when electricity retailers hit most households with an average rise of about 18 per cent.

"My estimate is that the representative household in South Australia is paying a price that is a little bit higher than the representative household in Denmark or elsewhere and Denmark has known to be the highest," Mr Mountain told ABC radio on Wednesday.


Woolly thinking won’t help with education

Some weeks more than others, the woolly thinking that leads to poor policy is blindingly obvious. Education policy development is beleaguered by smart and influential people with misguided ideas.

Example 1: The Mitchell Institute released a report finding one in four young people leave school without a qualification, and one in eight is not engaged in further education or work at age 24. They estimate the latter group has $18.8 billion less income over their lifetimes and accumulate $50.5 billion in social costs for each cohort of 24-year-olds.

The report does not offer any suggestions about what might be done to reduce this problem, and that’s absolutely fine. There’s no shame in pointing out a problem without positing the solution. Unfortunately, in launching the report, Victoria University Vice- Chancellor Peter Dawkins ignored this precept, making a colossal leap with the suggestion that schools should spend more time helping students develop life skills rather than placing an ‘excessive’ focus on literacy and numeracy.

NAPLAN test results in 2016 revealed one in four students in Year 9 barely meet the very low national minimum literacy and numeracy standards. Results from the 2015 international PISA tests of 15-year-olds are also damning ? 39 per cent of students were below the national proficient standard in reading and 45 per cent below the national proficient standard in mathematical literacy.

Assuming these figures are accurate, it is no mystery why so many young people ditch school as soon as they can, and then struggle to find stable work.

I am all for giving young people ‘life skills’, but it is difficult to think of any skills more useful for education, employment, and good health than reading, writing, and a good grasp of arithmetic. This is true irrespective of the type of work – even ‘unskilled’ jobs require a functional level of literacy. Just getting a driving license is very difficult if you can’t read; try getting a blue-collar job without one.

Example 2: The latest UNICEF report card put Australia at the bottom of the class for the quality of school education. To my knowledge, I have never been accused of being a Pollyanna about Australian education, and the above statistics bear out my stance. But the UNICEF assessment is dubious at best. The UNICEF index of ‘quality’ is based on a combination of student achievement in the PISA tests and preschool participation rates. On this index, Mexico places equal third in the world with South Korea even though its PISA results are below the OECD average!

Nonetheless, in this case ? yet again ? the prescription to treat Australia’s educational malaise is pure quackery. UNICEF Australia director of policy and advocacy Amy Lamoin says we should look to Scandinavian countries where “There’s a lot of experimentation and discovery in their learning, and shorter school days with more focus on extra-curricular activities.”

While it’s difficult to be certain from one quote, Ms Lamoin seems to be endorsing the discovery or inquiry-based approach to classroom pedagogy. This is the precise opposite of what the evidence from PISA and other research tells us lead to better outcomes for students – that is, rigorous, rich curricula and purposeful, explicit teaching.

Fortunately, this week we also have an example of responsive policy making from the South Australian government. After a number of reading researchers expressed detailed concerns to the Department of Education and Child Development about the design of their trial of the UK Phonics Screening Check – namely, arguing that it should involve students in Year 1 rather than just Reception ? Education Minister Susan Close announced a review of the trial design and implementation. That’s the good news this week. One out of three isn’t bad.


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

28 June, 2017

Muslim population in Australia soars to 600,000 as religion becomes the nation's second-biggest - a 77% jump in the past DECADE, according to Census

The latest census figures reveal the Muslim population in Australia has soared to more than 604,000 people, overtaking Buddhism as the most popular non-Christian religion.

The number of Muslims living in the country has almost doubled from 341,000 in the the 2006 census.

The surge in the number of Muslims comes as the Census revealed an additional 2.2 million people registered as having no religion – surpassing Catholicism as the country’s most popular religious affiliation.

Data from the 2016 census, released on Tuesday, shows 30 per cent of Australians identified as having no religion, compared with 22 per cent in the 2011 census and almost 19 per cent in 2006.

Out of Australia’s population of 23.4 million people, 7,040,700 people identify as having no religion.

Catholics make up just over 22 per cent – or 5.2 million people – followed by 3.8 million Christians – or 16.3 per cent.

Residents aged between 18 and 34 years were more likely to affiliate with no religion than to Christianity, the Census revealed.

One the other hand, about 70 percent of people over the age of 65 reported themselves and Christians.

From 2006 to 2016, the proportion of people reporting a religion other than Christianity in the Census increased from 5.6 per cent to 8.2 percent, the census shows.

 Hinduism sits in third place at 1.9 per cent of Australia's population. Hinduism and Islam have been the top two fastest growing non-Christian religions in the country during the past decade. Hinduism grew from .7 per cent of the population to 1.9 per cent in 2016 – securing the third spot for the most popular non-Christian religion

Dropping from 2.5 per cent to 2.4 per cent, Buddhism fell to the second spot as Islam rose to the top with 2.6 per cent of the population.

Sikhism is listed as the fourth most popular non-Christian religion with .5 per cent, followed by Judaism at .4 per cent.

Meanwhile, the number of Australians speaking only English at home dropped from almost 77 per cent in 2011 to almost 73 per cent in 2016.


Meet overweight and extreme feminist, Clementine Ford

She has admitted to bouts of mental illness.  She does however have a baby son -- and boy babies have a way of civilizing feminists -- simply by being themselves

Controversial feminist Clementine Ford has encouraged on a fan to 'kill men' in a handwritten note inside a copy of her latest book.

The Melbourne-based author and Fairfax columnist has regularly spoken about being the target of graphic abuse, trolling and death threats from men on social media.

But a picture shows that when signing one copy of her latest book, 'Fight Like a Girl', Ms Ford wrote to a fan: 'Have you killed any men today? And if not, why not?'

Ms Ford, 35, released her non-fiction 'manifesto' centred around her feminist views and experiences in September 2016.

In it, the mother-of-one urges 'all women and young girls - to take the emptiness and numbness they feel about being a girl in this world and turn it into rage and power'.

Previously, Ms Ford has complained about trolling and 'hate' she receives on social media and through online forums.

In one case in 2015, a man called her a 'sl**' and was sacked by his Sydney-based employer.

Ms Ford has an army of close to 300,000 fans across social media.

It comes after publisher Allen and Unwin announced on Monday it had acquired the rights to her second book.

'Boys Will Be Boys', a book Ms Ford claims will be a 'love letter to her son', is due to be released in 2018.

But within just hours of the announcement, a petition calling for the 'man hating' piece not to be published was set up on

The petition has received 300 signatures in less than 24 hours. Ms Ford hit out at its organisers on Twitter saying: 'Oh no, they will probably take my contract away now.'


South Yarra Primary School parents call for new classrooms, tougher school zone restrictions

There are so many problematic government schools that parents are desperate to get their kids into a good one

South Yarra Primary School parents say the school is bursting at the seams, with some families faking where they live and renting properties in the zone.

The parents say the number of new enrolments almost exceeds the school’s capacity to cope, and are worried that class sizes will blow out.

Mr Merlino urged parents stop lying their way into popular areas.  “This isn’t great for the parents, it’s not great for the children,” the Deputy Premier told 3AW. “Parents should work by the rules and if you are designated in a school zone you are entitled to go to that school.

“Local kids deserve to go to their local school and they should have the first opportunity to do so.”

South Yarra Primary School council president Jason Le Busque said South Yarra Primary’s high National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) test results made it a popular choice for parents.

This meant some families who lived outside the school zone would rent properties in the zone just so that their child was eligible to enrol.

“We do have some evidence that there has been some families who have rented one bedroom flats and they’re a family of three kids and two adults. They’re certainly not living there,” he said.

School council parents are pushing for the zone to be made smaller as a result, and they want the Department of Education to commit to capital works that would see new classrooms built.

They also want families to sign a statutory declaration stating that they intend to live in the zone for the duration of their child’s enrolment, and will notify the school if they move out.

Parent Emily Keon-Cohen said new modular classrooms opened at the school earlier this year were already at capacity, and there were plans to use the library and multipurpose room as classrooms next year. “We may be the only school in the state without a library and a multipurpose room,” she said.

The Leader understands that South Yarra Primary School Principal Neven Paleka is working with the Department of Education to address rising enrolments, but the paper was unable to speak with him.

Education Department spokesman Alex Munro said the department installed a three-storey relocatable classroom at the school earlier this year.

The Government was also building two new primary schools in Melbourne’s inner-south to meet the community’s needs, and information provided by the department said South Yarra Primary’s zone was currently under review.

“South Yarra Primary School’s enrolment pressure is regularly discussed with the school,” Mr Munro said.

Real Estate Institute of Victoria data released mid-last year revealed the median house price for homes within the South Yarra Primary School zone was $244,500 higher than those outside it.


One lonely molecule…

Ian Plimer

The 24 million people in Australia generate 1.5 per cent of annual global human-induced CO2 emissions. USA emits 14 times and China emits 26 times more CO2 than Australia. Australia has 0.33 per cent of the global population.

Our high standard of living, a landmass of 7,692,024 square kilometres with a sparse inland population and greenhouse gas-emitting livestock combined with the transport of livestock, food and mined products, long distances to cities and ports and the export of ores, coal, metals and food for 80 million people result in high per capita CO2 emissions. Australia’s exports of coal, iron ore and gas contributes to increasing the standard of living, longevity and health of billions of people in Asia.

If Australia emits 1.5 per cent of global annual CO2 emissions, 3 per cent of the total annual global emissions are anthropogenic and the atmosphere contains 400 parts per million by volume of CO2, then one molecule in 6.6 million molecules in the atmosphere is CO2 emitted from humans in Australia. This molecule has an atmospheric life of about 7 years before it is removed from the atmosphere by natural sequestration into life and limey sediments.

Australia has far greater economic priorities than to change a whole economy, increase energy costs, decrease employment and decrease international competiveness because of one poor lonely molecule of plant food in 6.6 million other atmospheric molecules. It is a very long bow to argue that this one molecule of plant food in 6.6 million other atmospheric molecules derived from Australia has any measurable effect whatsoever on global climate. Furthermore, it has yet to be shown that human emissions of CO2 drive global warming, so why even bother with a Renewables Energy Target?

Australia exports a significant global share of refined aluminium, zinc, lead, copper and gold and hence takes a per capita emissions hit for countries that import and use Australia’s metals, because smelting and refining in Australia result in CO2 emissions. Neither smelting nor refining of the metals for other countries could take place without burning fossil fuels. For example, a steel mill uses coal to reduce iron oxide into iron metal and the carbon in coal is oxidised to CO2. A modern economy cannot rely on sea breezes and sunbeams to generate base load electricity for industry and a decarbonised economy would be a deindustrialised economy.

Annual Australian per capita CO2 emissions are in the order of 20 tonnes per person. There are 30 hectares of forest and 74 hectares of grassland for every Australian and each hectare annually sequesters about 1 tonne of CO2 by photosynthesis. CO2 is plant food. On the continental Australian landmass, Australians are removing by natural sequestration more than three times the amount of CO2 they emit. Crops remove even more CO2 from the atmosphere. Australia’s net contribution to atmospheric CO2 is negative and this is confirmed by the net CO2 flux estimates from the IBUKI satellite CO2 data set.

Australia’s continental shelf is 2,500,000 square kilometres in area. Carbon dioxide dissolves in ocean water and the cooler the water, the more CO2 dissolves in water. Living organisms extract dissolved CO2 and calcium from seawater to build corals and shells. This natural marine sequestration locks away even more Australian emissions of CO2 and adds to the negative contribution of atmospheric CO2 made by Australia.

Using the thinking of the IPCC, UN and activist green groups, Australia should be very generously financially rewarded with money from populous, desert and landlocked countries for removing from the atmosphere its own emitted CO2 and the CO2 emissions from many other nations. By this method, wealthy Australia can take money from poor countries. This is, of course, normal for the green industry. For example, the subsidising of wind and solar power takes money from the poor and passes it on to companies making a fortune from the government’s RET.

Satellite measurements show that there has been a greening of the planet over the last few decades, thanks to a slight increase in traces of plant food in the atmosphere. Without CO2, there would be no plants and without plants, there would be no animals. Geology shows that atmospheric CO2 has not driven global warming since planet Earth formed. Why should it now? Dangerous global warming did not occur in the past when the atmospheric CO2 content was hundreds of times higher than now. Each of the major ice ages was initiated at a time when there was more CO2 in the atmosphere than now.

The planet has not warmed for two decades despite a massive increase in CO2 emissions during the industrialisation of Asia. Computer models predicted a steady temperature increase over this time and over 30 million weather balloons have not detected a modelled hot spot over the equator. All models have failed and are not in accord with measurements.

Australia has thousands of years of energy as coal, gas, oil and uranium and is one of the world’s biggest exporters of energy. Yet it has unreliable and very expensive energy. We have wasted billions on unreliable ‘renewable’ electricity resulting in energy poverty on the assumption that human emissions of CO2 drive global warming. It has never been shown that human emission of CO2 drives global warming and the Australian contribution of one lonely molecule in 6.6 million is not worth expenditure of a single penny. President Trump did not fall for one of the biggest cons in the history of time. Australia needs leadership rather than marching down the RET path to international uncompetiveness. If subsidies paid by consumers for unreliable inefficient electricity were abandoned, the markets would quickly reaffirm that energy from fossil fuels is the cheapest and most reliable source of electricity for an industrialised economy.


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 June, 2017

Pauline Hanson's popularity soars to 16% as Malcolm Turnbull’s support slumps – with Labor leading the Coalition in EVERY state

It looks like the conservative vote is holding steady but is increasingly going to minor conservative parties rather than the coalition.  Given Australia's systems of preferential voting and proportional representation, that is more a strength than a weakness. 

The party switches are presumably due to the perceived inertness of PM Turnbull, which is somewhat unfair -- as he has had quite a lot of success in getting his legislation through a difficult Senate.  His apparent lack of enthusiasm for any conservatyive cause is however a big strike against him.  Voters in all parties like to see enthusiasm in their leaders.  He has no real "message"

Pauline Hanson's popularity is increasing as voters turn away from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in every state of Australia.

The Queensland senator's One Nation party has 16 per cent support in her home state, the latest Newspoll shows.

Across Australia, the Turnbull Government continued to trail Labor 47 per cent to 53 per cent after preferences, which means it would lose an election held now, with the Coalition's primary vote support dropping six percentage points since last year's election.

The backlash against the prime minister was most pronounced in Queensland and South Australia with his Coalition government also behind Labor in every state, the poll published in The Australian found.

Mr Turnbull has already lost 14 Newspolls in a row and the latest analysis of poll averages, from April to June 2017, is more bad news for the prime minister, who lives in Sydney's ritzy eastern suburbs.

South Australian voters have turned against the government more than in any other state over the past six months, putting Labor ahead 56 to 44 per cent in two-party terms.

This is the state where Holden is winding up local car manufacturing later this year.

The Coalition has also lost 10 percentage points in Queensland since last year's July election to drive its primary vote down to 33 per cent, as One Nation wins over 16 per cent of state voters.

Labor's primary vote support in Western Australia has surged almost 10 percentage points since last year's election to 42 per cent while the Coalition's support has fallen by nine percentage points to 40 per cent.

However, the Turnbull Government has lifted its primary vote in Victoria by three percentage points over the past three months, where African Apex gangs are hitting the popularity of the state Labor government.

After preferences, though, the Coalition still trails Labor 47 per cent to 53 per cent in Victoria.

The survey of 6843 voters from April to June shows Labor leading the Coalition by 53 per cent to 47 per cent in two-party terms at a national level, marking a 2.6 per cent swing against the government since it was narrowly re-elected last year with a one-seat majority.

Nationwide, both Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition have a primary vote of 36 per cent, but the ALP would be likely to win an election with preferences from the Greens who have nine per cent support, compared with 11 per cent for One Nation.

The Coalition's primary vote support has fallen by six percentage points since last year's election.

Mr Turnbull was regarded as the better prime minister with 44 per cent support compared with 32 per cent for Labor leader Bill Shorten.


Cory Bernardi strikes again, luring another MP to his Australian Conservatives

Cory Bernardi is poised to announce a Victorian MP is joining his Australian Conservatives party just days after applying to register the party in Victoria ahead of next year's state election.

Fairfax Media understands the South Australian senator will on Monday reveal the Victorian upper house MP Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins will defect to the Australian Conservatives. And further defections in Victoria and possibly NSW are anticipated, according to party insiders.

With Senator Bernardi set to gain thousands of members, finances and two state MPs, how will the new conservative marriage between him and Family First impact the federal political landscape?

Fairfax Media can reveal Senator Bernardi's party has broken the 10,000 mark for memberships nationally. By contrast, the Victorian division of the Liberal Party is understood to have about 13,000 members and the NSW  division about 10,500. Support has fallen since the 2015 leadership change from Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull, but senior sources have scotched internal party claims made by disaffected members that the number in NSW has slipped below 10,000.

Dr Carling-Jenkins represents the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and her defection will spell the end of the troubled party's representation across the country. It also follows the federal Coalition's successful passage last week of a schools funding formula, which short-changes Catholic schools by up to $3 billion. The DLP's last federal representative John Madigan also defected to set up his own John Madigan's Manufacturing and Farming Party. It flopped when he was booted out of the Senate in the double dissolution election last year and he has since joined the Australian Country Party.

Senator Bernardi and Dr Carling-Jenkins were put in contact by a mutual friend about two months ago. Dr Carling-Jenkins wanted to join the Australian Conservatives because she believed conservatives needed to unite nationally to effectively prosecute their causes. She spent two decades working in the welfare sector and held a PhD in social sciences.

In her first speech to the Victorian Parliament in 2015, she described herself as a social justice campaigner, committed to raising awareness about gender selection abortions, cracking down on the sex-industry, and rights and care for the disabled and elderly. She will become the Australian Conservatives first female MP.

Ms Carling-Jenkins' defection is the second major coup for Senator Bernardi, who dismayed colleagues with his own defection in February when he said he was creating his own conservative movement, in part to keep his former Liberal Party accountable to its founding principles, including lower taxes and lower government spending.

His critics, including the Victorian Liberal Party state president Michael Kroger and former premier Jeff Kennett, derided his breakaway movement and predicted it would flop but it has already exceeded 10,000 members and will now have acquired three sitting MPs.

In April, Senator Bernardi announced his party was absorbing Family First and gained the South Australian upper house members Robert Brokenshire and Dennis Hood. Senator Bernardi has gone on to register the party in Victoria and NSW. He recently held a lunch with several high-profile NSW Liberals whose attempts to democratise the party's internal processes were being continually frustrated. The gathering, involving close allies of former prime minister Tony Abbott, is considered a threat to the NSW division of the Liberal party amid fears members will defect if the moderates' grip on the state party continues.

Sources said more defections of sitting MPs were likely, but they would not reveal the identities of any considering leaving


Willunga High School lockdown after student fight; police called to control foul-mouthed teens

The school has a substantial Aboriginal population

PRIMARY students visiting Willunga High had to be put into lockdown as police were called to control foul-mouthed teens roaming the campus after a lunchtime fight.

A Year 9 boy needed medical treatment for facial injuries after brawling with a Year 11 boy on Wednesday.

A group of boys ranging from Years 9 to 11, hyped up by the fight, then roamed the campus being “verbally revolting” to staff and refusing to come inside.

Police were called and in some cases drove the students home if parents were not available.

Principal Anthony van Ruiten said the whole school was put into a lockdown called an “invacuation”, including a visiting class of Year 7s from Aldinga Beach B-7 School, to ensure more students “didn’t join in”.

“We had a group of students who were walking around the school that were agitated and had heightened emotions,” he said.

“They were being verbally revolting to teachers. Staff were trying to get them into a place they could de-escalate and calm down, so they could get them back into the classroom.”

But Mr van Ruiten said it was difficult for staff because they are not allowed to touch students, so could not force them to follow instructions.

“The police were called because they have powers that we haven’t and they can de-escalate that sort of situation very quickly. The students view them quite differently (and) tone their behaviour down. Unfortunately kids don’t automatically have respect for teachers these days.”

Mr van Ruiten said rumours of a student wielding a knife were false. He said the injured boy had received medical treatment for minor injuries, but was unsure whether his mother had taken him to hospital.

The two boys in the fight, and the “four or five others” who caused the trouble afterwards, had been disciplined with “quite severe” penalties including suspensions and “longer term exclusions”.

Some parents complained on Facebook that they were not notified of the incidents until late in the afternoon. The school replied: “We certainly realise we need to review our communication processes and will ensure this does not happen again.”

Mr van Ruiten said the behaviour of “five kids out of a thousand” should not taint the whole school.

The Education Department said: “Any form of school violence is unacceptable and the school will work with the students involved and their families to reinforce this, in line with its behaviour management policy.”

Police have been contacted for comment. Aldinga Beach B-7 School declined to respond.


Rising power bills force Australian families to switch to candles, cold water: welfare expert

Power bills are such a struggle for some Queenslanders, they are using candles to light up their homes.

Queensland Council of Social Service chief executive officer Mark Henley said cost of living was one of the biggest pressures facing families.  "It is about keeping the lights on," Mr Henley said.

"Some are using candles at night to cut back on electricity costs, turning off hot water systems or turning them down because they think it will save costs - that's not the life that we want for people."

Mr Henley said 64 per cent of Australian householders were in financial stress.  "We need to make sure that we really address all of the cost-of-living pressures that are out there and see these prices being driven down but also making sure that there is a better safety net in place," he said.

QCOSS held a Cost of Living Showcase in Brisbane on Tuesday morning, with Energy Minister Mark Bailey addressing the conference.

When asked if cost of living would be the number one issue for the coming state election, Mr Bailey said it was a substantial issue in the community.

The government is increasing the electricity rebate, which is available to health care card holders, asylum seekers, pensioners, veterans and Queensland seniors card holders, from $330 to $340. [Big deal!]

Mr Henley said $330 provided an "enormous amount of relief" for people on small incomes, but he said different ways of working out concessions based on the size of a household would be more appropriate.

A program called Switched on Communities is being run with energy company AGL, QCOSS and the state government, with $500,000 from AGL going to nine community organisations to support disadvantaged people to make sure they get the best deals with retailers and access to concessions.

"We've seen, through this program, people reduce their energy consumption, some of them by over $1000, sometimes because they're actually starting in debt and reducing those figures, but some of them they're talking about saving hundreds of dollars now," Mr Henley said.

Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls said not enough was being done to reduce power prices.

"Despite all their smoke and mirrors, Queenslanders will still see power bills going up," Mr Nicholls 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 June, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is trying to figure out how the Greens will cope with the anti-terror bollards springing up in Sydney and elsewhere

Greens report Lee Rhiannon over education deal

Rhiannon is a nasty old Trot (revolutionary communist) from way back so is a cuckoo in the nest of the Greens.  What she was opposing was that school funding be "needs-based", something Leftists would normally support.  So it was just anti-government bloody-mindedness behind the opposition from the Green/Left

GREENS senator Lee Rhiannon has hit back after a letter signed by her colleagues complaining about her behaviour was made public.

All members of the Greens federal parliamentary party, including leader Richard Di Natale, have reportedly signed a formal complaint against NSW senator Lee Rhiannon.

Fairfax Media says the nine have sent the letter to the Greens national council, accusing Senator Rhiannon of attempting to derail them over the Gonski schools funding negotiations after she distributed a leaflet against the deal.

The material was dropped in letterboxes in Sydney’s inner-west this week as the Turnbull government finalised its negotiations on the overhaul of school funding.

“We were astounded that Senator Rhiannon was engaged with its production and distribution without informing (the) Party Room at a time when we were under enormous pressure from all sides as we considered our position on the (school funding) bill,” Fairfax quoted the letter as saying.

The senators said the material clearly had the potential to damage negotiations about securing “billions of dollars of additional funding for underfunded public schools”.

A spokesman for Senator Di Natale told AAP the party room would meet “shortly” to discuss the matter. “We’re extremely disappointed that the letter was made public,” he said.

The leaflet, a copy of which was posted on Twitter, urged residents to call senators and demand they “take a stand for public education”.

Senator Rhiannon hit back on Sunday, insisting at all times her actions on education have been faithful to Greens policy and process.

“My work did not impact on the Greens negotiations with the government,” she said in a statement. “It was the Turnbull government’s decision to do a deal with the crossbench senators that killed off negotiations with the Greens. I had no role in that.”

The leaflets she authorised were a “good initiative” of Greens local groups and highlighted the negative impact the Turnbull government’s plan would have on their public schools, she said.

“I was proud to stand with branches of the Australian Education Union, particularly as the Turnbull school funding plan favoured private schools.”

A spokesman for Senator Di Natale told AAP on Saturday the party was extremely disappointed that the letter was made public.

It broke down “proposed funding cuts” to local public schools and stated that the party remained committed to the full, original Gonski plan.

The government threw an extra $5 billion into the plan to win over the crossbench, taking the package to $23.5 billion over the next decade.

Labor and the Greens voted against the package, but the government secured the 10 crucial crossbench votes needed to get its funding shake-up over the line.

The Gonski 2.0 package will ensure underfunded schools reach funding targets in six years instead of 10 — an amendment Labor and the Greens supported on Thursday night.


School funding package passes Senate, as Coalition takes big win

He's very low-key but Turnbull does get a lot through a very difficult Senate

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said attention must now turn to improving student outcomes after his Government's landmark $23.5 billion funding package passed the Senate.

After a marathon debate extending into the early hours of this morning, the Gonski 2.0 plan passed with the support of Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party, the Nick Xenophon Team and crossbench Senators Derryn Hinch, Jacqui Lambie and Lucy Gichuhi 34 votes to 31.

While the Coalition was quietly confident it had the numbers, it had been on tenterhooks waiting for the final vote.

Mr Turnbull said this morning that the vote was "an outstanding result for Australian schools, students and parents".

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the deal would deliver about $2,300 per student to schools in the next few years.

"That's really critical because it flows fastest into the schools who need it most, delivering fairer funding for all Australians according to the Gonski needs-based principles," he said.

Labor, the unions and the Catholic education sector spent much of yesterday trying furiously to sway Senator Lambie's vote but she made it clear to the chamber that she "strongly supported the legislation and would not be persuaded otherwise".

Lower House MPs were recalled to approve the amended bill and those on the Coalition side clapped, cheered and whistled as Cabinet Minister Christopher Pyne hailed the passage of "the most significant reform to school education in Australia's history".

How 'Gonski 2.0' will affect schools

The Government's proposed needs-based system will benefit some schools more than others.

The changes will replace the 27 separate school funding deals with different states and sectors, with a nationally consistent, needs-based funding model.

In a bid to win over the crossbench, Senator Birmingham agreed to spend an extra $5 billion, on top of the additional $18.6 already announced, rolling out the funding over six years instead of 10.

This morning, Mr Turnbull acknowledged his Government would need to find an extra $1.5 billion to pay for that concession over the forward estimates.

The Government also agreed to set up an independent body to monitor the way the money was spent.

While Labor remained firmly opposed to the plan, the Greens had been on the verge of supporting it and heavily influenced the compromises Senator Birmingham eventually made.

But once the Coalition secured the 10 crossbench votes it needed, the Greens announced they would oppose the package, citing "special" transitional arrangements put in place for Catholic schools.

With their votes no longer critical to determining the fate of the bill, intense internal pressures were instantly relieved.

The party was in fact on the verge of splitting, with the NSW Greens heaping pressure on Senator Lee Rhiannon to vote against the Bill even though the party's leader Richard Di Natale and Sarah Hanson-Young wanted to back it.

School funding wars continue

In settling on the needs-based funding model, the biggest loser was the Catholic school system, which says it will be billions of dollars worse off.

Public schools catering to special needs will also be winners in the new education deal. For Giant Steps and 26 other independent special schools like it, raw numbers tell the story.

The National Catholic Education Commission believes there has been a breach of faith by the Government because it claims it was not properly consulted about the changes.

It has vowed to campaign against the Coalition all the way to the next election and, in a foretaste of that, it launched a robo-call campaign in four marginal Liberal seats in Victoria.

But the win is important for the Coalition on a number of fronts, not least because it shows it can govern with the fractious Senate that it had a hand in delivering with the 2016 double dissolution election.

The Government will argue its education plan is both good policy and good politics; delivering funding to the schools that need it most, while helping to settle education as an issue.

Labor has promised to continue campaigning on education and will have strong allies in the Catholic Education Commission and Australian Education Union.

But the Coalition is hoping their arguments may lose some of their bite once the money begins to flow to state schools.


The Leftist obsession with group identity

They categorize people relentlessly and mercilesly, apparently because dealing with individuals constructively is too hard for them

Clementine Ford, a columnist at Fairfax newspapers, proudly reminded a live television audience this week that she had called News Corp columnist Miranda Devine a c.... It was a trademark shock moment from her; all heat, no light.

Her original term actually was “f..king c...” and it was just one of a string of obscenities she has hurled in public debate before being in­vited, again, to join an ABC debate. Ford has slighted Iranian-born commentator Rita Panahi with a racist barb: “No matter how hard she tries, she’ll never be a white man.” None of this seems to disqualify her as yet another spokeswoman for the left.

Our public debate is becoming increasingly coarsened and superficial and, as I argued last week, this is partly because digital splintering of media is shrinking the shared public square. What few are prepared to point out, perhaps for fear of sounding plaintive, is that the poor standards and green-left jaundice of the media/political class are also largely to blame.

Abuse, vulgarity and ad hominem attacks have become standard weapons of the so-called progressives. Such transgressions are not unheard of from the right, of course, especially the hard right, but in mainstream political debate, the aggression comes primarily from the left.

This tendency also leaves many on the left with a blind spot for transgressions against conservatives. ABC radio host Jonathan Green tweeted this week that “there may well be a moment (soon?) when the hate and anger licensed by social media and fanned by politics will play out in physical reality”. Staggeringly, he shared this thought days after conservative commentator Andrew Bolt was attacked by leftist activists on a city footpath. Just a week earlier, near Washington, DC, a gunman who hated Donald Trump asked whether the politicians he was watching train for a charity baseball match were Republicans before he opened fire on them. We can only presume these examples of “hate and anger” that did “play out in a physical reality” escaped Green’s attention because they didn’t fit the narrative he had in mind.

Since Trump’s victory sent the left into a funk we have seen pop star Madonna cheered for proclaiming she thought about blowing up the White House, comedian Kathy Griffin pose Khaled Sharrouf-like with Trump’s decapitated head, theatre­goers in New York treated to Trump being stabbed to death in lieu of Julius Caesar and actor Johnny Depp applauded for joking about assassinating the President. We can only imagine the reaction of the media/political class if such monstrous contributions to public debate had targeted Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Back on our shores, CFMEU Victoria boss John Setka, told a rally his union would track down government officials charged with enforcing workplace laws and harass them so that they “will not be able to show their faces anywhere” and “their kids will be ashamed” of them. He has attracted less condemnation from the commentariat than Tony Abbott did for not noticing some cranky pensioners with a “ditch the witch” placard a few years ago.

And they wonder about the “shy Tory” factor. This is the tendency of conservative voters not to declare their allegiance or inclination in surveys or public forums, thereby leaving pollsters and pundits exposed when elections show higher than expected conservative votes. We saw the latest example just this week when, in a by-election seen as a referendum on Trump’s presidency, Republican candidate Karen Handel delivered a victory that disrupted the accepted media narrative of Trump’s premature demise.

Anybody who tries to argue publicly for, say, tough border protection or cuts in government spending knows these are not easy rows to hoe, no matter their merits or broad support.

People arguing so-called progressive cases tend to be aggressive and personal. To disagree with them, apparently, is to cede moral authority. Why risk abuse for defending the integrity of our immigration system when you can just nod your head and deal with it in the privacy of the polling booth?

Most people tend to go with the flow, accept the generally left media narrative and take the path of least resistance, at least publicly. Pointing out the futile self-harm of our emissions reduction targets or saying Clinton was the appalling candidate that gave Trump his chance will ruin the dinner party consensus and have people switching to less divisive topics such as State of Origin deciders.

The flip side of this socialised conservative timidity is that it shelters the left from robust debate. Whether they are at a barbecue or on ABC’s Q&A, they are surrounded by affirmation.

Unpractised as they are in civil debate and basking as they do in their moral superiority, they seem to feel entitled to attack the character of anyone who disagrees with them. And surrounded by agreeable peers, they are seldom pulled up for their ad hominem indulgences. Imagine, for instance, if Bolt or Sky News’s Paul Murray denounced a feminist commentator as a c... — they certainly wouldn’t be inundated with requests to appear on the ABC.

It is this double standard, this sheltering from personal responsibility and public accountability that helps to cheapen and degrade public debate. There should not be different rules depending on what side you are on.

When activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied spoke at the Australian National Univer­sity this week, rather than engage in debate about her political posturing over Anzac Day she assumed victim status and blamed media and political organisations. “Those sorts of power, those institutions of power are geared against people like me,” she said, “because they see votes in it and because fear is so much easier to sell.”

It was a lazy effort, as it was when she suggested our parliamentary democracy “doesn’t represent anyone” yet rejected the idea she should give it a go. “You know how to get to office,” Abdel-Magied said. “I have to go to preselection, which works really well, and I have to go through all these other systems which for women and for people of colour are actually biased.” What a cop-out.

Also this week, Australian Press Council chairman David Weisbrot resigned because he couldn’t stomach the controversy over appointing a GetUp! campaigner as a member. Rather than fix the mistake (GetUp! is an activist group that is the antithesis of what journalism aspires to be) Weisbrot exited the stage. Is it real­ly that hard to stand up to self-serving arguments from the left?

Ford’s crassness, Abdel-Magied’s laziness, Green’s myopia and Weisbrot’s cowardice should not cut it in public debate. But when are they corrected or contested except in a column such as this, pricking their bubble from another universe? Too much of the debate is caught up in identity. Ford and Abdel-Magied promote themselves almost entirely on who or what they are rather than on the power of any ideas or arguments they may proffer. Green is one of a breed of middle-aged white men who win plaudits from the green left for their sense of shame or self-loathing. “Our political leaders must surely have some sense of this country’s deep, and growing, incapacity to service its sense of self,” writes Green. We don’t know exactly what he means but we know it is supposed to be bad.

So debate is characterised by echo chambers on the left and right, diminishing quality of conversation in the mainstream clearance houses, moral superiority feeding personal aggression from the left and a resort to profanity over plain speaking. We are in an age where people are retreating from those things that connect us and create a sense of community; fewer join churches or other community groups, increasingly we shun mainstream media, and the memberships of major political parties are in decline.

The growing tendency is to target a foe by virtue of their presumed identity — male or female, gay or straight, black or while, Muslim or Christian, left or right — and give them both barrels. We need to do better.


Nice work for a Greenie

QUESTION: Where can you get a job where you only have to turn up to the office one day a week and don’t have to produce any tangible work?

Answer: The Greens.

That is the extraordinary claim at the heart of a court case where a top former Greens officer is suing the progressive pro-worker party for sacking her and withholding her entitlements after she raised concerns about another senior official who didn’t appear to do anything.

Apparently, according to a sensational legal claim obtained by, not doing anything in the Greens can get you a promotion and a shot at parliament.

In a statement of claim filed in the NSW Supreme Court, former NSW Greens executive officer Carole Medcalf says she was hired in 2014 to “professionalise” the party’s management and “introduce policies of corporate governance”.

However she says her position became untenable after she raised concerns about Planning and Environmental Law Officer James Ryan, who was later promoted to campaign coordinator.

Ms Medcalf claims she was terminated so that Mr Ryan and NSW Greens co-convenor Hall Greenland could spend the party’s taxpayer-funded election monies without proper scrutiny – something the party denies.

She said both her and the Greens agreed that she would leave with a termination payment of over $90,000 only to have the party later accuse her of “serious misconduct” and withhold the payment. She is now suing the party for wrongful dismissal as well as aggravated damages to express the court’s “disgust”.
Former Greens executive officer Carole Medcalf is suing the party for wrongful dismissal.

Former Greens executive officer Carole Medcalf is suing the party for wrongful dismissal.Source:News Limited

In a statement of claim tendered to the NSW Supreme Court — largely disputed by the Greens — Ms Medcalf said Mr Ryan worked only three days a week, including two days from home.

He was supposed to produce monthly performance reports on what he actually did, but did not produce any, the claim alleges. Nor did he produce any “reports, memoranda, notes or other documents” to demonstrate any of his work.

However the Greens deny that Mr Ryan’s work was inadequate or that he failed to properly report to Ms Medcalf.

Comment has been sought from Mr Ryan.

In late 2015 Mr Ryan was promoted to “Campaign Coordinator” for NSW ahead of the 2016 federal election, at which the Greens Senate vote in NSW went slightly backwards and where they failed to win any lower house seats.

In her statement of claim, Ms Medcalf says Mr Ryan “failed to properly manage his role and the activities of those beneath him … adequately, or at all” and would tell staff he had delegated other tasks and functions “when he had not done so”.

And when he was made campaign coordinator, Ms Medcalf had deemed it unnecessary to fill his previous position because Mr Ryan had not actually done anything in it.


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 June, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is horrified at Canada's now speech crime laws

Bar gets raised for terror sentencing
The Victorian judiciary condemned as "contempt of court" criticism by politicians of their light sentencing for Jihadis. From the report below it looks like they now have contempt for their own past sentencing practices! One for the politicians, I think

The sentencing landscape for terrorism offences across the country has been transformed after Victoria’s top judges yesterday signalled a tough new direction more in line with NSW by ­imposing longer sentences on two would-be jihadis.

The significant shift was heralded in two Court of Appeal judgments delivered yesterday that overturned and condemned initial prison terms given to the two men last year as being out of step with community expectations.

Eminent legal figures said the judgments showed a clear shift in emphasis towards protecting the community through tougher sentencing ahead of considering ­offenders’ personal circumstances, including rehabilitation prospects.

Chief Justice Marilyn Warren, with judges Mark Weinberg and Stephen Kaye, found the original sentences for Sevdet Besim and a teenager known as MHK were manifestly inadequate and increased them both by four years.

In separate terror plots, Besim had planned to publicly behead a police officer on Anzac Day while MHK was building a pressure-cooker bomb in his bedroom with plans to explode it at a Mother’s Day event.

The decisions will significantly realign the sentencing guidelines for terror sentences in Vic­toria, which are closely examined by judges in other states, and comes amid plans for a review of the country’s counter-terrorism laws in the wake of the Brighton attack this month.

Highlighting the shift, the judges yesterday noted the revised sentences for Besim and MHK were harsher than those imposed on Abdul Nacer Benbrika’s conspirators in 2009 for plotting terrorist attacks with mass casualties including at the MCG and Melbourne’s Crown cas­ino. “Those sentences may have been regarded as within range at that time,” the judges said. “However, having regard to the scourge of modern terrorism, and the development of more ­recent sentencing principles in this area, they seem to us to have been unduly lenient. No such sentences would have been imposed today.”

Victorian Attorney-General Martin Pakula welcomed the judgments, declaring a tougher regime appeared to be in place.

Former NSW prosecutor John Anderson, now an associate professor at the University of Newcastle law school, said the Victorian judgments showed a change in direction in favour of community protection. “We are moving towards probably a much tougher approach to terrorism sentencing,” he said. “It looks to me like from these judgments there has been a shift maybe that’s been influenced by what’s going on more broadly in the world.”

Former NSW Supreme Court judge Anthony Whealy QC said community protection had not been overlooked in Victoria but rather “not sufficiently emphasised” compared with NSW. “I think in the past Victorian sentences have tended to emphasise the hope of rehabilitation for people involved in terrorism ­offences,” Mr Whealy said.

MHK was initially sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment with a five-year non-parole period after he began building the pressure-cooker bomb in his bedroom with instructions from an al-Qa’ida propaganda magazine. The 19-year-old has been resentenced to serve 11 years, with an eight-year, three-month non-parole period. Besim, 20, had received a 10-year sentence, with a 7½-year non-parole period for the Anzac Day plot. He has been resentenced to 14 years in prison, with a non-parole period of 10½ years.

“The sentence did not accord with community expectations, and did not meet the requirements set out by various intermediate ­appellate courts throughout this country as to the principles that govern sentencing for terrorism offences,” the judges said in Besim’s case. “The aggravating factors present in this case, including the fact that a police officer was targeted for beheading, that the killing was to take place publicly, and on Anzac Day, and the respondent’s willingness to kill other innocent civilians if at all possible, made this an extremely serious ­example of a terrorist offence. The principles of general deterrence and protection of the community must be given substantial, if not primary, weight.”

The court’s decisions came after hearings this month in which Chief Justice Warren and her ­colleagues noted a sentencing ­disparity between NSW and Victoria on terrorism offences, describing it as a problem that needed to be resolved. An ABC report of the hearings contained comments by the judges that prompted federal ministers Greg Hunt, Michael Sukkar and Alan Tudge to accuse the bench of ­“endorsing and embracing” shorter sentences for terror offences as part of “ideological experiments’’.

Those comments and others attacking the judges as “hard-left activists’’ who were “divorced from reality’’, reported in The Australian, have since been withdrawn by the ministers, who yesterday sent an unreserved apology to the court. Lawyers acting on behalf of The Australian have also apologised for publication of the article.

A full transcript of the appeal hearings, released this week, shows the judges were acutely aware of the sentencing disparity and concerned by it.

“We’re dealing here with commonwealth legislation, commonwealth ­offending, and we are dealing with behaviour in which there is a national interest,” Chief Justice Warren said at the time, highlighting the need for consistency between states.

Justice Weinberg said a terrorist act in NSW could attract a sentence of 20 to 25 years but under 10 years in Victoria. “We have an ­apparent and obvious disparity, it seems to me, in the way that we’ve approached these cases,” he said. “There is a problem.”


Great white shark debate: Lifting protection hinges on scientific population finding

The Liberal Party federal council has unanimously moved to lift protection of great white sharks if the CSIRO’s forthcoming population study finds the species is no longer endangered.

The council is the party’s highest forum for debating policy. More than 100 delegates, including MPs, voted for the motion, proposed by Anthony Spagnolo, WA Liberal Party vice-president.

The motion said the “federal government should remove the white shark as a vulnerable and threatened species from the EPBC Act should the finding of the CSIRO study prove that the species is no longer endangered.”

Speaking from the council meeting in Sydney, WA senator Linda Reynolds told The Australian the vote “reinforces that there are other opinions than those held by environmentalists”.

“It starkly illustrates the divide between the far left and mainstream Australia, who think human life always comes first,” Senator Reynolds said.

She said that relying on the CSIRO was “unequivocally the right course of action”.

“We want to base any future measures on scientific evidence, not emotional rhetoric.”

Last week, former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott told The Australian that lifting protection and restarting commercial shark fishing would “ensure that we have a stronger economy and a safer society”.

“They’ve been protected now for 20 odd years. Every fisherman knows the numbers are exploding. They are not an endangered species.”

Federal Environment minister Josh Frydenberg this month said he expected the CSIRO population study to be delivered this year.

South Australian Liberal MP Nicolle Flint said it was time to start protecting Australians.

“We must protect our swimmers and surfers and hard-working Australians like abalone divers from being attacked or killed by sharks,” she said.

“In an era when rates of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes are at an all-time high, we should be encouraging more, not less, people to be active. This means keeping them safe from shark attacks along our coastline.

“I strongly support the Liberal Party’s Federal Council Motion today moved by the WA Division. We need evidence-based decision making and management of great white shark populations.”


'Teachers are emailing us saying Pauline Hanson is RIGHT'

Sunrise host David Koch has questioned the education minister about how children with disabilities will receive the attention needed in mainstream schools following Pauline Hanson's controversial comments.

Pauline Hanson refused to back down on Thursday following her comments in parliament that children with autism are putting a strain on classrooms in schools and Koch put the dividing question to Education Minister Simon Birmingham.

The host claimed even though Pauline Hanson's comments seemed confronting, teachers have emailed the network claiming they do struggle to seamlessly include children with disabilities into the classrooms due to a lack of funding.

'Whenever Pauline says anything it's like using a sledgehammer and we all react against her because we all want inclusion in our schools,' Sunrise host Koch said on Friday morning.

'But a lot of teachers emailed us and said Pauline is right, because we don't have the funding and we don't have the teachers aids to be able to integrate kids with disabilities into the classroom. We want more funding.'

While disagreeing with the way the One Nation leader expressed her opinion, Mr Birmingham does accept there needs to be more support in mainstream classrooms.

'Well I don't agree with the way Pauline put her comments at all, but I do accept there is a need for additional support for schools, teachers and classrooms to be able to support all students with disabilities, including the number of students with autism,' the education minister said.

'What Pauline did last night to her credit and a number of minor parties, with the Turnbull Government's leadership, was back fairer funding arrangements for students with disability.'

The education minister said thanks to One Nation and other parties backing Gonski 2.0, it will provide funding to schools to help students with disabilities - especially children with higher needs - while still remaining in the school environment.

Walled Aly, The Project Host on channel 10, said the One Nation leader missed the mark and that funding for teacher's aids would go a long way to helping autistic children thrive in the classroom.

On Thursday, Federal Labor MP and proud mother Emma Husar fervently demanded One Nation leader Pauline Hanson apologise to children with autism.

The mother-of-three, with a son with autism, claimed Hanson's comments were 'ill-informed' and she owed parents of Australia an apology.


'Move to an Arab dictatorship': Angry immigrant senator calls for Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied to LEAVE Australia

A Liberal senator is so incensed with  controversial Muslim youth activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied that he wants her to move to an Arab dictatorship where child brides and female genital mutilation are common.

The 26-year-old Sudanese-born former ABC presenter has this week declared that Australia's system of parliamentary democracy 'does not represent anyone' because it's biased against women and racial minorities.

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, who is also a migrant, is so outraged by her remarks he had suggested she move to an Arab dictatorship.

'Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s attacks on our democracy, calling it a 'neo-liberalist capitalist project' and effectively backing Arab dictatorships where forced marriages, female genital mutilation and sexuality-based executions are legal are reprehensible,' the former Abbott government minister told his Facebook followers.

'If Ms Abdel-Magied thinks our system of government is so bad perhaps she should stop being a drain on the taxpayer and move to one of these Arab dictatorships that are so welcoming of women.'

Egypt and Yemen are the only Arab nations on the World Health Organisation list of 30 mainly Muslim nations where female genital mutilation is practised.

Ms Abdel-Magied, who is on the taxpayer-funded Council for Australian Arab Relations, has the backing of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, putting her at odds with her Liberal colleague Senator Abetz, who was born in Germany.

The founder of Youth Without Borders also went on a 11-day tour of the Middle East to promote her book last year, costing taxpayers $11,000, but she failed to raised the issue of female genital mutilation in her native Sudan.

But despite receiving many platforms to air her views, she rubbished a suggestion from former Labor foreign minister Gareth Evans that she could run for parliament if she wanted to change things.

'Look at the photo of the House of Representatives. It does not represent anyone,' she told the Future Shapers conference at Canberra's Australian National University on Wednesday night.

'It doesn't represent me and it doesn't represent the people that I know.'

She added that Australia's political parties were biased against women and racial minorities.

This is despite the fact federal parliament has a black, Kenyan-born senator, a Muslim woman, a Muslim man, three indigenous women, two Aboriginal men, a senator who fled Iran as a boy and a prominent Malaysian-born lesbian.

Her remarks were also made on the same night that South Australian independent senator Lucy Gichuhi delivered her maiden speech to parliament as the nation's first black African federal member.

'Do you know how to get to office? I have to go to preselection, which works really well, and I have to go through these other systems which for women and people of colour are actually biased,' Ms Abdel-Magied said.

Mr Evans, who was a Hawke government cabinet minister in 1991 when Ms Abdel-Magied was born, said people like her needed to be involved in parliamentary politics to effect change.

'Yassmin, I am making an unequivocal plea for engagement in traditional politics, parliamentary politics as well as all the other social dimension politics you're talking about,' he said.

'Because unless you do, you abdicate the field to the Brexiteers.

'You opt out and you just play the GetUp! game or the social media game and don't do the serious parliamentary game as well, you're missing a very important vehicle for actually getting decent policy.'

Ms Abdel-Magied's Australia Wide program on ABC News 24 was axed in May.

The decision came after the national broadcaster had rejected calls for her to be sacked for a controversial Anzac Day tweet which said: 'Lest. We. Forget. (Manus, Naura, Syria, Palestine)'.

In February, she sparked outrage as a guest on the ABC's Q&A program for suggesting Islam is the 'most feminist' religion.

She also clashed with independent senator Jacqui Lambie by suggesting Sharia law to her was praying five times a day as a Muslim.


Citizen test overreaction

Any sovereign state can decide who it will admit as citizens. The Turnbull government now wants to beef up the test permanent residents must take if they want to become Australian citizens.

The proposed test for which permanent residents will need to take time to prepare is set to include questions about Aussie values as well as English skills.

Some say this will make it harder for some people to become citizens, and that by ‘excluding’ them the Australian government is guilty of xenophobia. But that is an overreaction.

In our discussion on Monday night’s Q&A, panellists took different views about the importance of English proficiency with some emphasising the importance of English for integration.

Our open, multicultural society is proof of Australia’s success in integrating people from many cultural and ethnic backgrounds over a long period of time.

We enjoy great cultural diversity in our country and have always resisted any attempt to enforce cultural integration requiring people to forego their heritage.

But social integration is something quite different. Common mores and principles, such as a commitment to the rule of law and the liberty of the individual, underpin our society.

We are also bound together by a common language which enables people from very different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to communicate with one another.

You don’t need to have the linguistic proficiency in English of a Les Murray or a Clive James to be able to take part in Australian society, but you do need some degree of proficiency.

A common language allows for integration in a common society, and helps to overcome the danger of social isolation that can result from not being able to communicate with other Australians.

Social stability depends on us having a sense that we belong together. English is part of the common bond that unites Australians from all walks of life into a country of which we can be proud.


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 June, 2017

Labor MP claims it's UNFAIR for new immigrants to have to learn English as opposition looks set to reject stringent language test plan

I am inclined to agree. Learning a new language to native standard in adulthood is impossible for most people

A senior Labor politician has slammed federal government plans to make migrants sit a more stringent English language test if they want to become Australian citizens.

Linda Burney, a senior Opposition frontbencher from the Left faction, suggested stricter exams would be unfair on refugees or people fleeing persecution.

Her invention on the ABC's Q&A program came ahead of a Labor caucus meeting on Tuesday morning, which looks set to reject Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's proposal.

The MP from Sydney said it was unfair to require prospective citizens to pass university-level English when vocation training group Australia Education, Training and Employment Services only taught English to high school level.

'This test, we believe, is requiring people to have level six or university English,' Ms Burney said on Monday night.

'Now, is that really fair for people who are escaping terrible situations to be able to only get citizenship if they have level six when AMES only teaches to level four?’

U.K.-born author and academic Rachel Botsman slammed the idea of testing potential citizens on Depression-era cricketing legend Donald Bradman. 'Knowing Donald Bradman's batting average is not actually a useful thing,' she told the panel.

Ms  Botsman also revealed she was studying in preparation to sit the test this week and was shocked by some of the questions.

Ms Botsman said she was surprised to discover questions about cricketers and even Australian cakes in the practice test.  'Knowing what an esky or lamington or who Donald Bradman is, I don't think they should be in the booklet. 'I do think certain things need to be changed.'

Ms Botsman also voiced concern about the English proficiency test. 'What it is saying is that you have to speak English to respect society and live in Australia,' she said.

'I came from a family of immigrants and I don't think they could speak the language when they fled, and they still made a positive contribution to society.'

Victorian Liberal Senator James Paterson, who also appeared on the show, defended 'a tough English language requirement'. 'If you are seeking to become a citizen, which will be after at least four years as a permanent resident, you should be able to speak English,' he said.

'And it's important to be able to communicate with your neighbours and colleagues and co-workers and friends in order to integrate successfully in society.

'It's not just good for the society but it's good for you as an individual as well.

Senator Paterson also argued the test should screen for values.  'Always as a country we've screened migrants for their skills and other things but one thing we haven't screened is values and I think that is an important part of coming here and wanting to be a citizen,' he said.

He said a values test would focus on issues like domestic violence. The Victorian senator said domestic violence was 'completely unacceptable' and it was non-negotiable that Australian citizens understood that.

'I don't think it's xenophobic to expect and require new migrants to abide by that,' he said.

'Respect freedom of speech or freedom of religion or equality before the law.

'These are principles we week to uphold and maintain in Australia and we'll find that much more easy to do if all the new migrants seeking to become citizens share those values.'

Peter Kurti, a research fellow from the conservative Centre for Independent Studies think tank asked: 'Who determines what the values are?'

'I have no idea who has decided what the values are for us as Australians, but that would be an interesting question to ask,' he said.

'Is it up to the First Peoples?'

Ms Burney, the first indigenous woman to elected to the House of Representatives, said: 'I don't know if any Aboriginal people, First People, have been consulted in terms of what those values are'.


The REAL cost of dole bludgers: How the long-term unemployed are costing taxpayers a staggering $222,000 EACH

The average taxpayer would need to work for 14 years to pay the $220,00 welfare bill racked up by a single long-term dole bludger.

Over 100,000 welfare recipients are taking hardworking Australians for a ride, failing to turn up to job interviews and reaping the benefits of generous dole schemes.

The latest figures were released by Social Services Minister Christian Porter ahead of introducing a suite of changes to the welfare system to parliament on Thursday.

The widespread changes to the welfare system will include a two-year program to drug test 5000 new recipients of Newstart or Youth allowances in three locations.

'If you are part of that group of 100,00 people who persistently don't turn up to job interviews, you stay on welfare for much longer,' Mr Porter told The Daily Telegraph.

'An average person on an average wage is going to work for a great number of years to support someone in the welfare system who isn't doing the right thing.'

The new legislation will target 'non-compliant' welfare recipients - people who consistently fail to show up for job interviews or welfare appointments.

'Too many people are not meeting the requirements attached to their welfare, such as attending appointments, and most suffer no penalty,' Mr Porter said.

'This not only puts a burden on taxpayers who face a higher long-term cost to meet these people's welfare bill, but does nothing to help them achieve self-reliance by securing work.' 

The Turnbull government insists its proposed trial to drug test people on welfare is not about stripping payments off vulnerable Australians.

'This trial is not about penalising job seekers with drug abuse issues, it is about finding new and better ways of identifying these job seekers and ensuring they are referred to the support and treatment they need,' Mr Porter told parliament on Thursday.

It was part of a range of measures announced in the May budget.

The reforms would make the system simpler, more sustainable and focused on supporting people to move from welfare into work, Mr Porter said.

Central to that is a new single JobSeeker payment, to be introduced in 2020, replacing or consolidating seven different payments.

'The bill demonstrates that the government is completely committed to improving the integrity of the welfare system and ensuring that recipients receive the necessary support incentives to address barriers to employment, to look for work and take a suitable job when it's available,' he sai


Bill Shorten must show the sort of leadership Bob Hawke did

Bill Shorten must show leadership on the CFMEU or else thuggery will become an acceptable part of Australian politics.

The latest demonstration of intimidation by the union — via its Victorian boss John Setka — is the final straw for a union which appears to act as a law unto itself.

Mr Shorten’s response to Setka’s threats was appallingly weak — “that’s not the way to advance your cause.”

Why doesn’t Mr Shorten refuse to take the union’s money? Surely that would show strength of character and leadership.

After all, Labor’s greatest living former Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, showed such leadership in the 1980s when he deregistered the Builders’ Labourers Federation.

The BLF had been acting and speaking exactly the same way that the CFMEU are now.

It’s one thing for Mr Shorten to condemn the latest outburst — sort of — but surely the real test of what you think of someone is whether you are prepared to take their money.

Such a bold move by Mr Shorten would win him enormous goodwill among the Australian public.

John Setka has clearly crossed the line of acceptable political discourse when he threatened to reveal the home addresses of inspectors from the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

The “we know where you live” threat is one normally used by organised criminals and outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Let’s understand exactly what he was saying — he is making clear that the inspectors from a government body established by the national Parliament should not feel safe in their own homes.

“Let me give a dire warning to the ABCC inspectors: be careful what you do,” he told a rally in Melbourne. “They have got to lead these secret little lives because they are ashamed of what they do. You know what we’re going to do? We’re going to expose them all.

“We will lobby their neighbourhoods. We will tell them who lives in that house. What he does for a living, or she. “We will go to their local football club. We will go to the local shopping centre.”

Setka then crossed a second line — by bring children into the debate. There’s generally a consensus in Australian political discourse — usually observed also by the media — that children are off limits when it comes to what their parents do. But not for John Setka.

“They will not be able to show their faces anywhere. Their kids will be ashamed of who their parents re when we expose all these ABCC inspectors.”

Setka confirmed yet again the intimidation mentality of the CFMEU.

Labor giants such as Bob Hawke — himself, like Shorten, a creature of the union movement — can see the cancer that is the CFMEU.

As Mr Hawke told this paper last year, in reference to the CFMEU: “The unions need to clean up their act and get their house in order. “It is just appalling. I mean, I wouldn’t tolerate it. You know what I did with the Builders’ Labourers Federation — I would throw them out.”

By “throwing them out”, Hawke had the effect of ensuring that unions which took BLF members had to adhere to a higher standard of governance.

It had a positive impact as unions realised that Hawke — a former chief of the ACTU — was no pushover.

My sense is that unions at the moment regard Shorten as a pushover.

Hawke took action against one of his own constituency because the BLF were acting and speaking like thugs. The CFMEU are the “new BLF.”

The bottom line of all this is quite simple: unless Shorten acts, the expected victory by Labor at the next election will be underwritten in part by the CFMEU.

Which poses the question: should there be a Shorten government, exactly what will the CFMEU want in return for their money?

There should be no doubt: under a Shorten Government John Setka would be a man of even greater power than he is now. Is that what this country wants?


The growth of bullshit jobs

The resources boom may have petered out but Australia is still riding another — the decades-long expansion of well-paid jobs whose value is hard to pin down.

London School of Economics anthropologist David Graeber shot to fame in 2013 by drawing ­attention to what he called this "bullshit jobs" phenomenon in rich countries. "Huge swathes of people in Europe and North America spend their entire working lives performing tasks they ­secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound," Graeber wrote.

The growth is equally acute in Australia, as a recent deep dive into the Australian Bureau of ­Statistics’ quarterly employment data reveals.

The collapse of repetitive manufacturing jobs has paved the way for service jobs that ­improve our quality of life. Massage and beauty therapists, aged and disabled carers, fitness ­instructors and "personal care consultants" are among the 19 fastest growing jobs in Australia since 1987 — those whose share of the Australian workforce has more than ­tripled.

But Graeber’s "bullshit" jobs figure prominently, too, underpinning much of the celebrated growth of "professional services and management". Take the 23,000-strong army of "policy ­analysts", for ­instance; their share has almost quintupled since 1987 despite ­debatable progress on ­actual policy. "Nurse managers" and "nurse educators" have grown about four times as fast as the number of nurses in that period. "Advertising and marketing professionals", whose output Nobel laureate Simon Kuznets in the 1930s quaintly thought should be ­excluded from gross domestic product, have grown 252 per cent.

Like obscenity, these jobs are hard to define but you know them when you see them. The spending of other people’s money is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition. For a start, they often pay extraordinarily well. Human rights commissioners and National Australia Bank’s head of "thought leadership and insights (corporate and institutional banking)" are archetypical examples.

More general clues include: would anyone realise or care if the occupation went on strike? Practitioners in these jobs can never take industrial action. Imagine the consequences if the nation’s 49,000 "human resource managers" (their share of the workforce has jumped 260 per cent since 1987) declared a wildcat strike. Or if the other 64,000 "human ­resource professionals" (up 191 per cent) decided to work to rule.

"Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors or mechanics, it’s obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the ­results would be immediate and catastrophic," Graeber wrote.

Are the words strategy, innovation, engagement, development in the job title? Is the occupation called a "role" or a job? How many meetings are required? More ­abstractly, these dodgy jobs tend to thrive where the people ultimately paying for them are least able to influence the people doing the spending, which tends to be in large organisations such as governments, their agencies and in large oligopolistic public companies.

In government, think the federal departments of innovation, environment, health and education. In the private sector, think financial services, where compulsory superannuation and a raft of direct and indirect subsidies have induced a level of bloat unthinkable even a generation ago.

In fact, last week’s national ­accounts showed the financial ­services sector crept up to 9 per cent of GDP in March, the highest share ever (double its share in the 1970s), and by far the largest of the 19 sectors the Australian Bureau of Statistics tracks (more than retail and wholesale trade combined). Given almost $1 in every $10 spent now goes to banking, it’s no surprise that ­financial brokers, dealers and ­investment managers are among the fastest growing occupations since the 80s, more than tripling their shares of the workforce. In an earlier, more discriminating era, it might have been thought odd, even problematic, that the part of the economy meant to be an intermediary had grown so huge.

Poor old "arts and recreation", one of the sectors that might ­actually provide some satisfaction, has managed to increase its share by only 0.1 percentage points of GDP since the 70s ­increasing to 0.8.

"We have seen the ballooning not even so much of the ‘service’ sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations," Graeber wrote.

Indeed, despite remarkable ­advances in technology that should curtail administrative costs, health information managers’ and records managers’ shares of the workforce have surged 350 per cent since 1987. The ­nation’s management consultants, now almost 60,000 strong, have seen their share almost triple while musicians’, florists’ and journalists’ have dwindled. Real estate agents, solicitors and economists have roughly doubled their shares as high school teachers’ have fallen about 30 per cent.

"I’m not sure I’ve ever met a corporate lawyer who didn’t think their job was bullshit," Graeber said.

Perhaps we should be grateful for such jobs. With them, the unemployment rate is about 6 per cent. Imagine if government and big business were run efficiently, in the interests of shareholders and taxpayers rather than managers and politicians.

But the phenomenon can be insidious too, making a mockery of the idea of work, and eroding confidence in the link between pay and people’s perceived economic contribution. People without these flimsy jobs are still the ­majority, and they vote.

Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt called bullshit the ­sali­ent characteristic of our age in his 2005 critique. "Everyone knows this … (but) we have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves," he ­bemoaned. Journalists, for one, are swimming against an increasingly powerful tide: the ratio of public relations and corporate affairs professionals to journalists has soared to about 12, by my calculations.

Whatever its value, the bullshit boom hasn’t yet peaked. The share of the economy subsidised and regulated looks set to expand, which only will weaken further the competitive forces that once would have eroded such economic flab.

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 June, 2017

Chief Scientist Dr Finkel accidentally exposes the lie of Australia’s climate policies that are de-industrialising Australia


W.A. Premier Mark McGowan has slashed his skilled migration list

An interesting move from an ALP man.  Pauline was a big issue in the recent State election.  Sounds like he is protecting himself from her issues

THE State Government has released an updated version of the WA skilled migration list, slashing it to just 18 eligible occupations.

The list, which used to carry 178 occupations including bricklayers, engineers and nurses, was torn up on Labor’s first day of government in March.

Premier Mark McGowan said the 18 occupations on the list were mainly in the health sector where there was a genuine need, including midwives, psychiatrists and several classes of registered nurses.

Mr McGowan said in the current economic climate it did not make sense to give jobs to migrants ahead of West Australians.

"In the current economic climate, it’s more important than ever that we maximise employment opportunities for Western Australians," he said.

"Our policy will ensure that, whenever possible, Western Australians will be given first preference on WA jobs. It doesn’t make sense to fast-track workers from overseas when there are unemployed Western Australians who are capable of doing the work.

"Our economy has changed dramatically since the height of the mining boom and we need to do everything we can to get Western Australians back to work."

Mr McGowan also confirmed the Federal Government agreed to remove Perth as a region from the regional sponsored migration scheme, which provided an additional pathway to obtain a visa to work on WA.


Pauline says autistic kids should be removed from mainstream classes

ONE Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson announced this morning that her party will back the Federal Government’s $18.6 billion school funding package.

But she also said "we need to get rid of" autistic children from mainstream classrooms, arguing teachers had to spend too much time with them at the expense of other students’ education.

She said parents and teachers had raised the issue with her of children with disabilities or autism in mainstream classrooms.

"These kids have a right to an education by all means, but if there’s a number of them these children should actually go into a special classroom, looked after and given that special attention," she said in the Senate this morning.

"Most of the time the teacher spends so much time on them they forget about the child who wants to go ahead in leaps and bounds in their education, but are held back by those.

"It’s no good saying we have to allow these kids to feel good about themselves and we don’t want to upset them and make them feel hurt. "We have to be realistic at times and consider the impact that is having on other children in the classroom. "We need to get rid of those people because you want everyone to feel good about themselves."

She said it was difficult for One Nation to come to the position of supporting the $18.6 billion in extra funding for schools. "I hope this will improve our educational standards if it is addressed in the classroom," Senator Hanson said.

She criticised Labor for not supporting the bill, as the Opposition wants a further $22 billion to match the original Gonski funding proposed by the Gillard Government. "I think it’s a good start, $18.6 billion. That’s a start, why can’t you work with the government with regards to this and then build on that," she said.

"Stop opposing things just because you’re on the opposition. It’s about working together for the future of this nation. I just get so frustrated with the whole lot of you."


Rogue union referred to police

Victorian construction union boss John Setka has threatened to reveal the home addresses of ABCC inspectors, and lobby their local shopping centres and football clubs to ensure their "kids will be ashamed of who their parents are".

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said last night she would refer the threats against Australian Building and Construction Commission inspectors to police, escalating the battle between the Coalition and the union ­movement.

As tens of thousands of unionists yesterday staged ­capital city protests against the Turnbull government, the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union Victorian secretary told a rally that Australia was "built on defying bad laws" and "we can withdraw our labour anytime we like regardless of what the laws of the land say".

Labelling the nation’s leading builders as "corrupt", Mr Setka told 20,000 union protesters in Melbourne the ABCC inspectors were "f..kers trying to take us to court and jail us".

"Let me give a dire warning to the ABCC inspectors: be careful what you do," he said, claiming that many did not have their names on the electoral roll.

"They have got to lead these secret little lives because they are ashamed of what they do," he said. "You know what we’re going to do? We’re going to ­expose them all.

"We will lobby their neighbourhoods. We will tell them who lives in that house. What he does for a living, or she. We will go to their local football club. We will go to the local shopping ­centre.

"They will not be able to show their faces anywhere. Their kids will be ashamed of who their parents are when we expose all these ABCC inspectors.

"If they think they are going to walk around and desecrate construction workers, take away our rights, and then ride off into the sunset, and there’s going to be no consequences, well, they’re in for a big surprise."

Addressing the Melbourne rally, Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary Luke Hilakari read out a letter of support for the protesters from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in which he wrote "it’s time to stand up and fight back".

Declaring the CFMEU to be "out of control", Senator Cash said she would be "referring the matter to police given her concern about the threats to the safety of government staff".

ABCC commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss saidhe would also refer the matter to the "appropriate authorities" as he took the "safety of my staff ­seriously".

Mr Setka also accused the ­Australian Federal Police of being a ‘‘political police force" over its unlawful raid on the union’s ­Canberra offices in 2015, and described its officers as "Turnbull’s henchmen".

Senator Cash said the conduct of Mr Setka and the CFMEU yesterday was "absolutely disgraceful". "The CFMEU think nothing of breaking the law," she said.

"Today they called the federal police ‘henchmen’ and a ‘political police force’. They also directly threatened building inspectors and their families."

She said the CFMEU’s "thuggery and intimidation shows why our building industry reforms are so important".

"Bill Shorten and Labor must stop taking donations and sever ties from these thugs," Senator Cash said.

Master Builders Australia chief executive Denita Wawn said the comments by Mr Setka demonstrated the union’s "brazen thuggery and its utter contempt for our community".

"Attempts to whip up hysteria about the ABCC are one thing; threats against ABCC inspectors and their families are unacceptable, totally out of step with ­community standards and show why the ABCC is essential and must be maintained," Ms Wawn said.

Plumbers Union Victorian secretary Earl Setches attacked the laying of blackmail charges against Mr Setka and his deputy, Shaun Reardon.

He said the government was using criminal law instead of industrial law in a bid to "take out the trade union leaders to f..k over the unions".

"Now where I come from blackmail means you’re getting f..king money for yourself or you are blackmailing someone for your own needs," Mr Setches said.

"These boys have been charged with that disgusting word blackmail, using industrial relations to fight for their union and their membership.

"It’s a disgrace and it makes me sick in the guts."

Raising the arms of Mr Setka and Mr Reardon as they stood ­before the crowd, Mr Setches told the assembled media: "Get a photo of this, you f..kers."

Mr Hadgkiss has written to the CFMEU warning that union members faced legal action if they attended yesterday’s protests without the written permission of their employer.

But Mr Setka dismissed the threat, describing Mr Hadgkiss as a "no good for nothing oxygen thief".

Mr Setka attacked the Andrews government over the use of non-union enterprise agreement and the employment of temporary visa workers on Victorian government projects.


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

21 June, 2017

"Global coral bleaching event that has lasted three YEARS has finally ended - but reefs are still fighting for their lives"

Nonsense all round.  The Indian ocean was not affected so the event was not global.  And it is admitted below that the effect was largely due to El Nino, not anthropogenic global warming.  They say that El Nino and anthropogenic global warming together had an additive effect but -- even conceding that CO2 causes anthropogenic global warming -- there was no CO2 rise in the relevant years so there was clearly NO rise in anthropogenic global warming.  To put it semi-algebraically:  El Nino + 0 = El Nino. 

And corals are at their most diverse and abundant in warm tropical waters so the claim that warm waters are bad for them is fundamentally perverse.  In Australia's case a sea-level fall was almost certainly the cause of bleaching in warm tropical water off the Far North Queensland coast

And both the extent of the loss and the difficulty of the recovery have been greatly exaggerated.  Do I need once again to mention the coral reef at Bikini atoll which was once the target of a thermonuclear blast -- but which is now again thriving?

 It's just all baseless assertion below.  Correlation is asserted as causation.  Factors like sea-level fluctuations are almost certainly involved but no attempt is made even to look at that.  One doesn't look to Warmists for a balanced account of anything -- which reveals them as fundamentally unscientific.  A scientific paper will normally look at all the possible causes of an event and evaluate them against one another. Warmists know just one cause for everything, ignore all else and assert it "ad infinitum"

A mass bleaching of coral reefs worldwide has finally ended after three years, U.S. scientists announced Monday.

About three-quarters of the world's delicate coral reefs were damaged or killed by hot water in what scientists say was the largest coral catastrophe.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration first announced a global bleaching event in May 2014.

It was worse than previous global bleaching events in 1998 and 2010.

The forecast damage doesn't look widespread in the Indian Ocean, so the event loses its global scope.

Bleaching will still be bad in the Caribbean and Pacific, but it'll be less severe than recent years, said NOAA coral reef watch coordinator C. Mark Eakin.

Places like Australia's Great Barrier Reef, northwest Hawaii, Guam and parts of the Caribbean have been hit with back-to-back-to-back destruction, Eakin said.

University of Victoria, British Columbia, coral reef scientist Julia Baum plans to travel to Christmas Island in the Pacific where the coral reefs have looked like ghost towns in recent years.

While conditions are improving, it's too early to celebrate, said Eakin, adding that the world may be at a new normal where reefs are barely able to survive during good conditions.

Eakin said coral have difficulty surviving water already getting warmer by man-made climate change. Extra heating of the water from a natural El Nino nudges coral conditions over the edge.


Parents' outrage over Aboriginal 'sorry' mural children were forced to paint at their school

It's a perfectly reasonable point to say that Aborigines deserve no apology.  Up until the Leftist Rudd government of 2007, all Australian Federal governments had taken that view.  It is true that Aborigines were dispossessed of most of their land but they obtained substantial compensatory benefits in the form of extensive welfare and modern services.  As a result it appears that their population has never been higher than it now is. 

It is also a reasonable and once universal view that conquest takes away the rights of the incumbent.  Most countries today have at once stage been subjected to conquest and a loss of rights by the incumbent so why should Australia be different?

Not everybody agrees with either of those views but it is sheer arrogance and authoritarianism to coerce the utterance of a contrary view

A primary school has been slammed over an artwork saying 'sorry' to the Aboriginal Stolen Generations, with parents claiming it's making their children feel 'guilty'.

Coburg North Primary School, in Melbourne's northern suburbs, recently put the art showing an arrangement of hands spelling out the word 'sorry' up in its schoolyard.

But while the mural containing cut-outs of their hands was intended to continue the message then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd started in 2008, it has caused a stir among parents, 3AW reports.

On each of the hundreds of red, yellow and black hands arranged in the art, students had written the word 'sorry'.

Radio host Tom Elliott said it was inappropriate for schools to make children feel at fault for Australia's sins - comparing it to German kids apologising for the Holocaust.

'I don't like it. I don't mind kids learning history and that can mean some of the darker parts of Australia's history,' Elliott said.

'But at the same time, the idea that a five, or a six, or a seven-year-old now feels that he or she has to go and say sorry - I think it's wrong. 'It's like saying every young German should be taught if they ever see a Jewish person to go up and say sorry to them.'

A local parent said that despite not having children at the school, the artwork hadn't sat well with him. 'I don't think it's a primary school's responsibility to make young children feel guilty,' the man, who gave his name only as Joel, said.

The school also regularly holds 'welcome to country' and smoking ceremony rituals, Coburg North Primary School's principal told 3AW.

In 2008, Mr Rudd apologised to the Aboriginal Stolen Generations on behalf of the Australian public, giving a speech to parliament which was broadcast nationwide.


Gillian Triggs: Just another lying Leftist


I noticed a fresh outbreak of the not uncommon and always inane Twitter abuse coming my way. It had been sparked by an article in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald by Michael Gordon lauding the outgoing president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs.

The article contained the usual attempted deification of Professor Triggs and the now predictable glossing over or censoring of her errors, contradictions, failings and misstatements. But it also contained a sharp and accusatory quote from Triggs about me.

"He keeps swirling the same facts over and over again and they are not true for a start — and that’s all he’s got," Triggs reportedly said. "I’ve never met him. He’s never phoned me or made any attempt to understand anything. It’s just been a full-on attack."

This was an extraordinary comment and I was immediately surprised that Gordon had not contacted me. Ethical journalistic practice would ensure that such a damaging claim would be put to the subject for a response. I could have very quickly demonstrated that Triggs’s allegation was untrue.

Let’s look at Triggs’s claims. Yes, my reporting has been replete with facts and yes I have repeated them — guilty. Most of those facts simply have been direct quotes from Triggs to various parliamentary inquiries. The facts that she says I keep "swirling" are words out of her mouth that have been contradictory, inconsistent, wrong, untrue or, sometimes, all of the above.

And the president should not be able to get away with saying the facts "are not true" because their truth is what makes them facts. Ipso facto.

So, let’s go to some more facts. The clear imputation of the rest of Triggs’s quote is that I have not given or tried to give her the opportunity to answer criticisms against her. She is right to say we have never met nor spoken on the phone but that has been her choice. And it is not for my want of trying.

Within minutes of reading the Gordon article I was able to dig out numerous requests on my iPhone. "Angela," I had emailed her media assistant on November 24, 2014, "I wonder if you could please again forward a request to Professor Triggs for an interview."

On February 26, 2015: "Angela, I am very keen to speak so that I can put some questions to the president as soon as possible …. Happy to chat with the president if possible."

There have been phone calls to her office over the years, always shunted to her media assistants, and other emails where I passed on detailed queries and sometimes received AHRC statements in response.

On October 20, 2016, my producer at Sky News emailed the AHRC media team: "Chris Kenny is hoping Professor Gillian Triggs can join him on his Viewpoint program this coming Sunday or Monday evening for a discussion of the HRC’s investigation into Bill Leak’s cartoon, the Racial Discrimination Act & recent events surrounding the Nauru detention facility." The approaches were rejected and my producer passed on a standing interview offer anytime that suited.

In the interim I became so frustrated by Triggs’ refusals (and the lack of forensic questioning when she spoke to so-called progressive journalists) that I sent direct questions to her on Twitter and mentioned from time to time on my television show that she was welcome anytime. "I’d love to have an interview with Gillian Triggs but she won’t turn up," I said on Sky News Viewpoint on April 24 last year.

Later that same month I tweeted directly to Triggs’ Twitter account my "standing interview requests" for her, Sarah Hanson-Young and Bill Shorten who are two other public figures who have rejected multiple requests (I added a lighthearted wishlist of Bob Dylan, Neil Young and k.d. Lang — perhaps I’ll have more luck with them).

The point of these tedious but incontestable facts is that they demonstrate beyond doubt that the clear inference and everyday meaning of what Triggs had to say in the Gordon article was wrong — and she must have known it was wrong. She was willing to attack my integrity by pushing a line she knew was untrue. This fits into a terrible and unfortunate pattern of incorrect and self-serving public statements from the AHRC president.

Naturally, today I sent a detailed list of questions to the AHRC in response, demanding to know whether the requests were never passed on to her or why she would say things that are "demonstrably untrue" and asking her to correct the record. It solicited a response which gives the game away. "Statement from President Professor Gillian Triggs," was the rather grand heading.

"I stand by my comment that I have never met or spoken to Chris Kenny," Professor Triggs said. "The Australian Human Rights Commission has responded on my behalf to questions from Mr Kenny, and we have provided comment and interviews to a number of journalists at The Australian and Sky News."

How disingenuous. Triggs knows she has rejected numerous requests from me so skirts the issue, rather than apologise for the incorrect imputation she promulgated.

She has failed to point out a single factual error in the many thousands of words I have written on her tenure or related issues.

Oh, in case you were wondering, my email repeated the longstanding request for an interview. Her statement was silent on that question. Don’t hold your breath.


How long for Australia?

Although free for so long from the scourge of political and religious terrorism, in the long term, Australia can hardly avoid a deadly Islamist attack such as occurred in London or Manchester.

But these were not acts of ordinary, politically motivated terrorism. Jihadists have no political or social objectives they seek to achieve. Forget negotiating politics with them.

Many of our politicians thinks it’s simply a matter of decisively stamping out extremist Islamist ideology. But what does getting tough on extremism really amount to?

For one thing, it means changing the way we think about religion — something many still refuse to take seriously, insisting it is a private matter for the individual.

We often assume that if a religious person has to choose between pursuing religious ideals and political ideals, they will choose the political — and always endorse secular norms.

But this betrays a failure to understand religion. Believers often place the highest stakes on obeying their God’s law — an event when the religious and the political come into conflict.

When that happens, given the eternal nature of the believer’s relationship with God, it should not be a surprise to find that religious demands almost always take precedence over political ones.

Secular liberals refuse to take such beliefs seriously because they have long since lost the ability to distinguish between the sacred and the secular. Their response is to denounce all religion.

But simply denouncing religion — especially extremist Islam — will not work, even though religion may at times make unreasonable or even outrageous claims.

When believers are committed to the precepts of a religion, it is not enough to say they are all hopelessly misguided. What committed believer will agree with that?

Instead, unreasonable religious claims must be challenged on religious — not secular — grounds. The freedom openly to discuss religion, engaging support of community leaders is also essential.

Confronting religious violence requires an unfailing commitment to defending the principles of an open, liberal society. But we must learn to take religion seriously — just as believers do already.


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 June, 2017

"A tide of privatization"?  A prejudice in search of some facts

Emma Rowe (above and below) makes a huge effort to be objective but in the end she breaks down and lets her hatred of private schools peep out.  She writes for a webzine called "The Conversation" which claims "Academic rigour, journalistic flair". I guess they do have some journalistic flair, whatever that might be, but the "academic rigour" was a laugh from the beginning.  I would call it Leftist propaganda with an occasional nod to conservatism. I guess that nod is rigour from a Leftist viewpoint.

A condensed version of  Emma's article: "Since 2010, the average independent school has increased its share of enrolments from 18% to 18.39%. That constitutes a disturbing tide of privatisation in our secondary schools" 

The poor woman is completely obsessed if she sees such a trivial change as "a disturbing tide."  An eddy, perhaps, but no sort of tide.

And to get her "tide" she had to ignore primary schools and concentrate on secondary schools only. She plainly wishes to find that private schools overall are unfairly favoured by the government but has to ignore half the facts to make her attempted case.  But Leftists are good at cherrypicking and selective vision.

And what about the fact that Australian parents contribute more towards the education of their children than parents in many other countries do?  Many would see that as a welcome reduction of the burden borne by the taxpayer.  But not Emma.  She says: "This is clearly problematic for those families with less capacity to pay."  Classic Leftist envy obliterates all other considerations. All must have prizes.  The Left must know that their pursuit of equality is pissing into the wind but their devotion to it is relentless and merciless.  Procrustes is their idol

You may have heard recently that public schools in Australia have experienced increased enrolments. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that public schools in Australia have increased their share of enrolments, "reversing a forty-year trend".

A spokesperson from the Australian Bureau of Statistics stated that it was a "reversal of the steady drift" towards private schools. This is misleading, for two reasons:

First, the overall population in Australia has increased, which has resulted in increased enrolments for many schooling sectors. In total there are 1.28% more students (full-time) enrolled in schools.

Second, while enrolment in public and independent primary schools (excluding Catholic schools) has increased, enrolment in public secondary schools has decreased.

We have one of the highest levels of private school enrolment within the OECD, and our country also maintains the highest levels of private expenditure towards schools (contributions from households).

It is untrue that there is a reversal of the steady drift if we look at secondary schools.

As the more expensive constituent of schooling, and also the gateway to higher education, it is the secondary school where politics truly come to the fore.

When it comes to debates about funding and privatisation, the secondary school sector is far more entangled in the politics of choice.

When we are told that our public school enrolment is increasing, this may lead you to believe that our public schools are strong and healthy. This disguises the ugly truth that many of our public secondary schools are struggling, mainly due to an ongoing stream of policies that have attacked and undermined our public secondary schools.

By how much as public secondary school enrolments decreased?

Since 2010, the public secondary school has decreased its enrolments from 60% to 59.13%.

Since 2010, the average independent school has increased its share of enrolments from 18% to 18.39%.

These changes seem very minor, and when regarded in the context of population increases, are relatively insignificant.

However, when taken with a more longitudinal analysis, it is evident that the independent secondary school in Australia has continually bolstered its enrolment share.

The independent secondary school sector has experienced the largest proportional increase in enrolment from 1990 to 2016 (6.39%).

The government (public) school has recorded the largest proportional decrease during this same period (8.87%).

Evidently, there is a consistent pattern of growth within the independent sector and a consistent pattern of decline, in terms of enrolment levels, within the public sector.

It would be simplistic to argue that this is simply a matter of demand, rather than complicated by many other factors including economic, social and cultural shifts.

As education reforms bolstered funding for the private sector, enrolment levels in the private sector increased at a similar rate and time period.
Encouraging private school choice

The government has always played a role in encouraging particular consumer choices. This is no different for schooling.

Throughout the 1990s and beyond, public schools were consistently closed or merged across various states and territories. This undoubtedly establishes a sense of instability and volatility for the consumer.

Among the reasons cited for these closures was lack of enrolment numbers. Unlike private schools, public schools must consistently prove their economic feasibility. (This reason was strongly refuted by the public. In Victoria in the 1990s, it was described as "the biggest battle over education in more than a decade".)

While the overall number of full-time secondary students grew, by 2011 the availability of public schools had declined.

The total percentage of public schools in Australia has decreased by 2%. On the other hand, the percentage of private schools has increased by 1% of the total number of schools.

We tend to widely accept privatisation of our schools. In Australia, the overall proportion of students in private schools is 35% ( but 41% in secondary school). This far outweighs the average OECD country, where 18% is the average number.

Compare this to the US, where approximately 8% of students attend private schools. In Canada, this percentage is even lower (approximately 6%), and lower again in countries such as New Zealand, Finland or Sweden.

We also have one of the highest percentages of private expenditure within the school sector. What this means is that we rely far more on a "user-pays" system than the average OECD country.

This is clearly problematic for those families with less capacity to pay.

This was noted in the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2016 report. When it comes to secondary schooling, for the majority of OECD countries, 90% of expenditure comes from government funds. But this wasn’t the case for Australia, Chile and Columbia, which "rely on over one-fifth of private expenditure at this level".

While many other OECD countries do fund their private schools, they are also subject to a host of regulations.

When it comes to the funding private schools, Australia is classified as a "high funding and low regulation" country. In comparison to other OECD countries, private schools have little accountability in terms of how they spend their money.

Add to this a dominant cultural narrative around the superiority of private schooling, and you have a disturbing tide of privatisation in our secondary schools.

This tide of privatisation will only further entrench equity gaps for students from families who cannot afford to pay. It will also add to the household burden for those families struggling to pay their private school costs.


Over 64,000 people are living illegally in Australia including one immigrant who has avoided authorities for 40 YEARS

Immigration Department figures have identified more than 64,000 'unlawful non-citizens' who are living illegally in Australia.

Statistics show that at least two thirds of those people overstayed in the country for more than two years after legally entering Australia.

It is understood there is at least one person, who is quite possibly deceased by now, who has dodged immigration officials for roughly 40 years, the Courier Mail reports.

Numbers reveal Malaysians as the worst offenders with 9,440 citizens of the southeast Asian nation here on expired visas as at June 30.

China showed to have the second highest statistic with 6,500 overstayers which was followed by the US and UK citizens.

The list also included Indonesia, India, South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand who had between 2200 and 2800 people overstaying in Australia.

Germany, France, Japan and Fiji citizens were also singled out. 

Just under one third of the people living illegally are believed to be working.

The number of unauthorised residents in Australia has increased by six per cent, compared to five years ago.

Approximately 70 per cent of the illegal residents are in the country on expired visitor visas with 15 per cent on student visas.

Working holiday visas make up about three per cent of the figure.

An Immigration and Border Protection spokesman said they were to use 'targeted field compliance' to track those who breach their welcome.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the number outlined was 'less than one per cent of the 6.5 million temporary entrants to Australia each year' with some immigrants only overstaying their visa allocation by a few days. 


Australians should show 'sensitivity' to migrants whose cultures 'don't value women's and child's rights' claims new domestic violence study

A taxpayer funded study has made the audacious claim that Australians need to show 'cultural sensitivity' towards migrant men who physically abuse their wife and children.

The study conducted over a three year period was funded by the Australian Research Council and points out that some human rights affect migrants' integration and 'successful settlement in Australia', specifically those in relation to women and children.

The study refers to some refugees claiming that these rights 'contravene the cultural values, norms and mores' of their ethnic groups, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Yet the study has faced strong resistance in the shape of federal Minister for Women Michaelia Cash who has stated Australia is categorically against family violence.  'Violence against women is unacceptable in any circumstances,' Ms Cash told The Saturday Telegraph.

The study has however called for 'cultural sensitivity and understanding of the impact on male refugees' who suffer a sense of separation and an overwhelming feeling of disappointment when their views are repulsed by society.

The report did point out refugees' appreciation for the factors of Australian life such as healthcare and education that were not available to them in their home nations, yet a 'major point of contention' was the differing views on women's and children's rights.

What was most upsetting for many refugees was the strong stance Australians had when it came to domestic violence. 

It will be this Australian ethos that will repel the study's findings with many in union with Prevention of Domestic Violence Minister Pru Goward who insists wife beaters must 'change their ways.'

A recent example of the nation's position on the matter was its reaction towards Sydney primary school teacher Reem Allouche telling the women's arm of hardline political group Hizb ut-Tahrir that men are permitted to hit women with sticks.

The practice was widely condemned across Australia with Ms Cash again denouncing the violence.

The research has come at a time of migrant change, where Malcolm Turnbull's government has tightened immigration by implementing an 'Australian values' test for hopefuls in search of citizenship.

The government has been accused of 'racial profiling' after grilling prospective citizens on domestic violence and forced marriage, with The Settlement Council of Australia raising concern.

The study which was orchestrated by UNSW that the issue of domestic violence could be worsened if male refugees are ignored.

It also argues that women and children who do make attempts to adopt an Australian way of life and its values will be 'cruelly punished'.

Many migrant victims of the abuse are oblivious to the support they can receive or avenues they can take to rectify their problems such as divorce according to Shakti migrant women's support group national co-ordinator Tamana Mirzada. 'Often they don't have the capacity­ to leave,' Ms Mirzada revealed.

She also pointed out seeking help indicates weakness in a marriage, something which is strongly frowned upon within their community.

Ms Cash did reiterate the constant efforts to provide ongoing support for migrant women who need it.


Queensland 2017-18 budget shows an additional 6000 public servants

The previous conservative government cut out 14,000 bureaucrats for no evident harm but Leftists love bureaucracy

Queensland's public service is set to increase by about 6000 in the next 12 months, on top of the 210,970 employed in the December 2016 quarter, budget papers released on Tuesday show.

In 2014-15 and 2015-16 the number of fulltime public servants grew by 4.3 per cent – or by 8764 – between 2014-15 and 2015-16 financial years.

It then grew by 3 per cent (6350 public servants) in the 2016-17 year, mostly in the senior levels of A08 or above. "Full time equivalent jobs are estimated to increase by around 6000, or 2.8 per cent in 2017-18," the papers showed.

"Around 82 per cent of the increase is attributable to growth in health and education.

"These additional fulltime equivalent positions will continue to reduce the number of patients waiting longer than the recommended times, will relieve pressure on class sizes and continue to student outcomes."

Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt said a 2.5 per wage increase policy had already been factored into the forward estimates and $300 million was set for 2017-18 year to cover additional public service wages.

In his budget speech, Mr Pitt said the government had restored frontline public servants during 2017-18 and would now operate under a new fiscal discipline requiring 1.7 per cent fulltime jobs growth.

"Population growth will track at 1.5 per cent and growth in full-time employees will be at 1.7 on average over the forward estimates," he said.

Mr Pitt said overall budget expenses would grow by 3.2 per cent over the 2017-18 financial year, with an increase triggered by the $1.1 billion costs of Cyclone Debbie in March 2016.

"Last year we introduced a new fiscal principle related to growing the government workforce in line with population growth, on average, over the forward estimates," he said.

But Mr Pitt said it would be wrong to reduce the workforce to show the impact of a natural disaster on government expenses.

"It would be irresponsible – not just socially, but economically – to slash funding for reconstruction and frontline services every time a natural disaster impacts on revenue," he said.


Clumsy comments about race from an ABC radio personality

He appeared to become flustered when challenged

Red Symons has apologised for insensitive comments he made in a controversial interview during which he asked fellow ABC journalist Beverly Wang: "what's the deal with Asians?"

The broadcaster, host of the breakfast show on ABC Radio Melbourne, offered his "sincerest apologies" on Monday morning. His interview on the ABC podcast 'It's Not A Race', was quickly condemned online and subsequently removed by the broadcaster.

"I came across as racist and I was wrong in the way I conducted the interview," Symons said. "I offer my sincerest apologies. We need to talk about these issues, but be careful how we consider them."

The interview with Wang, host of 'It's Not A Race', quickly took a turn when Symons expressed disappointment as he, too, wanted to host a show on a similar topic.

He said he would instead name it "what's the deal with Asians?"

"OK, let's tackle that. What is the deal with Asians, Red?" Wang replied.

"No, I ask the questions," Symons said. "First question is, are they all the same?"

He followed by asking if Wang thinks she is "yellow" and asking whether she would wear 'yellow' or 'white face'.

The ABC issued a statement apologising for the contents of the interview.

"ABC Radio has removed the latest episode of RN's It's Not A Race podcast and an earlier ABC Radio Melbourne segment," the statement read.


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 June, 2017

My experience buying boots is the perfect example of why retail is declining

I sympathize with the woman's story below.  I have had experiences like this more or less forever.  It's worst of all in Britain but it crops up a lot in Australia too.  Computer shops are the worst -- I have written about them before --  but clothing shops can be bad too.  My most recent experience was from 28 August 2015, when I was trying to buy bespoke shoes.  My feet are a bit swollen due to a medical condition so regular shoes that fit me are hard to find.

So I went in to BFS Pedorthics in 128 Logan Rd, Woolloongabba  -- a specialist in bespoke shoes. Nobody was serving but I found a pair of shoes that suited me on the display and got out my $200+ to pay for them.  But nobody would acknowledge me.  The blonde receptionist was glued to her phone and when I went out the back nobody there wanted to help either.  So I went elsewhere and bought a suitable pair of shoes for $60.00.

So the blonde bitch saved me money but I felt sorry for the owner, a Mr Tye. So I wrote him the following letter:


This morning I made a special trip into your Logan Rd shop in order to buy a special type of shoe I need.  There was no-one to assist me but I did find a pair that seemed right.  They appeared to be over $200 but that was OK.

I could not however find anyone to take my money.  There was a young blonde there but she was glued to her phone and I could not unglue her.  I went out the back but no-one there was willing to help either

May I suggest that you train your workshop staff to handle customers if need be? 

I also think that a customer who walks in should have priority over someone who just picks up a phone but that is for you to decide.  As it is you missed out on my $200+

I was offended by the lack of service that I received


Was Mr Tye bothered by the fact that his receptionist took $200 out of his pocket?  Who knows?  He never replied.  The blonde probably intercepted the letter before he saw it. But I did what I could for the man anyway.

SOMEWHERE in the corporate headquarters of retailers, meetings are taking place.

Entire executive teams are seated around the boardroom table, laptops open, spreadsheets and sales charts as far as the eyes can see. No doubt the scent of caffeine permeates the air because everyone knows these meetings can be quite tiring.

The first slide comes up on to the wall and shows sales on a steady decline. Some of the stores this retailer operates have had days without making a single sale.

"It makes no sense," opens the property development manager, "the shop is in an ideal location and the centre is really busy at the moment. There’s loads of passing traffic."

"We have ample stock and the product range is up to the minute," adds the planner.

"So why aren’t we selling any shoes?" wonders the sales manager.

It must be highly frustrating for this bunch of suits. They must be wondering why their businesses are not making money, and I know the answer.

Recently I went shopping with the express purpose of buying a pair of boots. I knew what I wanted; colour, style, price point — I had the whole thing sorted.

I was so confident in my pursuit I even wrangled my husband into joining me, there was going to be no endless dilly dallying, no hours spent browsing — just me and my credit card going into a shop and exiting with a pair of short-heeled, brown ankle boots.

The first store we went to didn’t have them. No drama, there is a shop across the way from them that seems to have an extensive collection of winter boots.

The fact that the stores are this close together doesn’t surprise me, I know the head honchos at headquarters like to position their stores in proximity for this very reason — if I don’t like what the first shop offers I am primed and ready for the next shop selling brown boots.

I enter the store and immediately see the boot I like. I also see the sales woman standing at the counter peering at her laptop. I take the shoe off the shelf and look to see what size it is. The saleswoman takes out a highlighter and starts to highlight things that are much more important than customers.

I walk over to her and ask her if she has the boots in my size. My husband asks her if she has a pair of socks that I can try them on with. She says no. It’s the only word she has said to us and we’re not sure if she’s saying no to the socks or the boots.

But then she reluctantly leaves her computer to retrieve the correctly sized boots which she thrusts at me before returning to her desk. I assume the no was for the socks. Clearly she is very busy and far too important to be selling shoes.

In fact she’s far too busy to serve customers. This I know because while I am trying on the boots two more customers enter the shop and she ignores them as well.

I’m not suggesting that the woman employed by the company to sell their products should fawn over me or tell me my feet look perfect in the boots. It’s just that the sale of product under her watch goes some way to paying her salary. Is it too much to expect her to assist the sale in some way?

Maybe she had really important documents to read and highlight, documents that couldn’t wait a single minute. But she lost my sale and the other two customers also walked out empty-handed.

Sadly she’s not alone in her refusal to sell the products she’s employed to shift, in fact she’s just one of the many people I encountered sitting behind their counters that day.

And before you blame Millennials or Generation X or any other group who you’d like to point at, let me assure you that the people refusing to help customers by actively avoiding contact with them, do not belong to one demographic or age group.

This is a retail issue. And with Amazon literally primed to enter the Australian marketplace and completely change the retail landscape surely it’s time for bricks and mortar businesses to step up the service a notch.

Somewhere in the race to be competing online it seems likes these businesses have forgotten to train their staff, or at least to incentivise them to do their jobs.

I eventually went online myself where I didn’t except any service other than an easy-to-load shopping cart. But I can’t help thinking about those people in head office who are wondering why their shoes aren’t being sold in their physical outlets.

It’s simply because no one is selling them.


Deserts 'greening' from rising CO2

It has always been clear that the Sahel has been greening in recent years but the Australian research below confirms that the effect is worldwide

Increased levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) have helped boost green foliage across the world’s arid regions over the past 30 years through a process called CO2 fertilisation, according to CSIRO research.

In findings based on satellite observations, CSIRO, in collaboration with the Australian National University (ANU), found that this CO2 fertilisation correlated with an 11 per cent increase in foliage cover from 1982-2010 across parts of the arid areas studied in Australia, North America, the Middle East and Africa, according to CSIRO research scientist, Dr Randall Donohue.

"In Australia, our native vegetation is superbly adapted to surviving in arid environments and it consequently uses water very efficiently," Dr Donohue said. "Australian vegetation seems quite sensitive to CO2 fertilisation.

This, along with the vast extents of arid landscapes, means Australia featured prominently in our results."

"While a CO2 effect on foliage response has long been speculated, until now it has been difficult to demonstrate," according to Dr Donohue.

"Our work was able to tease-out the CO2 fertilisation effect by using mathematical modelling together with satellite data adjusted to take out the observed effects of other influences such as precipitation, air temperature, the amount of light, and land-use changes."

The fertilisation effect occurs where elevated CO2 enables a leaf during photosynthesis, the process by which green plants convert sunlight into sugar, to extract more carbon from the air or lose less water to the air, or both.

If elevated CO2 causes the water use of individual leaves to drop, plants in arid environments will respond by increasing their total numbers of leaves. These changes in leaf cover can be detected by satellite, particularly in deserts and savannas where the cover is less complete than in wet locations, according to Dr Donohue.

"On the face of it, elevated CO2 boosting the foliage in dry country is good news and could assist forestry and agriculture in such areas; however there will be secondary effects that are likely to influence water availability, the carbon cycle, fire regimes and biodiversity, for example," Dr Donohue said.

"Ongoing research is required if we are to fully comprehend the potential extent and severity of such secondary effects."


Climate change zealots need to get real

Peta Credlin

The biggest deniers in the whole climate change debate are those who think we can have affordable power, lower emissions and a reliable network.

We can’t.

And after they almost sleepwalked their way to defeat at the last election, it would appear Coalition MPs have found their voices again on the issue that has defined Australian political debate over the past 15 years or more.

There’s no doubt that any policy that lowers Australia’s CO2 emissions will increase the cost of power and any move away from baseload capacity will make our network more unreliable.

Forget the movie, this is the real "inconvenient truth" that climate change zealots have never wanted to acknowledge. For too long, the views of the Zeitgeist have dominated debate and anyone daring to question any aspect of climate change was branded a sceptic. Scientific fact or not, any issue that’s galvanised the Left to the point of hysteria makes me sceptical that it’s more about the politics than anything else.

Australia contributes 1.4 per cent of global emissions. That’s right — four fifths of bugger all. But for many years we have been told that we must lead the way in reducing global emissions or suffer a loss of international standing for failing to do our bit. I don’t buy this and never have. We’re just the mugs who take these things seriously when so many don’t.

Take Kyoto for example; we didn’t even sign it yet we met the targets. How about the refugee issue? We’re one of only 27 countries in the world that offers resettlement to refugees while 140 odd countries do not.

What’s that again about everyone doing their fair share?

We live in one of the most competitive economic regions in the world. We are also a country rich in natural resources which has delivered us a record-breaking 26 years of economic growth.

We will never beat our neighbours when it comes to cheap labour but Australia’s abundant energy has always been our saving grace. We are the world’s second largest exporter of thermal coal and will soon be the largest exporter of gas. We also have the world’s biggest reserves of uranium. We should be an affordable energy superpower and, 15 years ago, we were; because the power system was run to minimise price and maximise reliability. Affordable power made us highly competitive, delivered industry and jobs, and gave us all a high standard of living.

Since then, green politics has trumped sensible economics and the result is subsidised wind farms and solar panels that make unprofitable the very coal and gas fired power stations that we need for baseload power. It’s a policy induced mess and we’re all paying the price, particularly our small to medium businesses who are doing it tough.

If you’re a well-off greenie with solar panels on the roof, a Prius in the garage and public transport outside your door, you probably don’t mind. In high income electorates feeling good about saving the planet might matter more than keeping the cost of living down.

For everyone else, we want to see a clean environment, good beaches, and our bush protected but we don’t think killing off our industry just to appease the UN gods and various other Lefties makes much sense, particularly when countries like China and India will massively increase, not decrease, their emissions in coming years. Talk about shooting ourselves in the foot. We’re economically shooting ourselves in the head.

Right now, China’s emissions are 20 times those of Australia and even if they meet their Paris Agreement commitments, by 2030, China’s emissions will be 50-60 times ours. Seriously? We sell off industry and jobs in a mistaken belief the world that is acting with similar intent but it is clear they’re not, and won’t. Again, remember my refugee example and you get what I mean.

So what about Finkel?

It’s claimed that the Chief Scientist’s report to COAG aims to address the "trilemma" of achieving lower prices, greater security and a 28 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030. Wrong. The report is about meeting the emissions reduction aspiration (which it converts into a commitment) at the lowest cost without major interruptions to supply. It’s not about affordable, reliable power; it’s about climate change.

As every household knows, power prices are skyrocketing and more blackouts are looming this summer because of government policy that mandates the use of intermittent (and unreliable) wind and solar power. Currently, the "renewable energy target" is 23 per cent, which means a doubling of wind generation in the next four years.

Yet the response of Finkel is to graft a "clean energy target" onto the existing RET to achieve 42 per cent of our power supply from renewable sources by 2030. In other words, he’s proposing to solve the problems caused by too much wind and solar power by having even more wind and solar power.

Reports out of Tuesday’s marathon party room discussion suggest that the Prime Minister’s colleagues are now in no mood to accept yet another giant step towards yet another Labor Party position. After adopting Labor’s policy on schools (Gonski 2.0) and Labor’s position on budget repair (more spending funded by a bank tax), there’s growing resistance to adopting Labor’s position on climate change (a 42 per cent renewable target versus Bill Shorten’s 50 per cent one).

The Prime Minister has said that the alternative to Finkel is to do nothing and that nothing is not an option. So far, though, the party room is unconvinced and is reluctant to embrace a Labor-lite solution to the power crisis that could just make it worse. They won’t accept Finkel’s report as it is, with many fearing his modelling of lower power prices is about as dependable as Treasury’s modelling for a return to surplus.

Around the world, China, India and Japan are massively investing in next generation coal fired power stations because they’re cleaner than any of the generators we have here and coal is still by far the most cost-effective way to generate reliable baseload power. If other countries can build high-efficiency, low-emission power stations to run on Australian coal, why can’t we? If it’s right for them under international agreements, how can it be wrong for us? And if the banks won’t fund them because they need ‘certainty’ then why doesn’t the government get involved?

Clearly there’s market failure here and a risk to Australia’s energy security, as well as the capacity of our industry to remain competitive. Wasn’t market failure one of the reasons the government is spending $50 billion-plus on the NBN?

It’s no good having fast broadband if you can’t turn it on.


Victoria moves to toughen terror laws

SUSPECTED extremists could face curfews and children as young as 14 could be locked up without charge under proposed reforms to Victoria’s terror laws.

An expert panel led by former Victorian Chief Commissioner Ken Lay and former Supreme Court of Appeal Justice David Harper will review the laws currently available to prevent, investigate, monitor and respond to acts of terror, AAP reports.

In announcing the review on Sunday, Premier Daniel Andrews said "nothing is off the table" and it could include curfews and GPS tracking people who have not even been charged.

Mr Andrews admitted some of the moves would not be "popular".

"If curbing the rights of a small number of people is what’s required to keep Victorians safe then I won’t hesitate to do it," Mr Andrews told reporters.

The panel will look at what can be done during all stages of the justice system — including pre-charge, pre-sentence, during sentence and post-sentence measures.

It will also provide advice on removing any barriers to Victoria Police in responding to terrorist acts.

Extremists could face curfews or GPS tracking and children as young as 14 could be locked up for two weeks without charge under proposed reforms, the Herald Sun reports.


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 June, 2017

Welcome to Bankstown, the suburb in the heart of Sydney where you get a BEEF rasher on your bacon and egg roll because the local Muslim community are 'a bit picky... about pork'

In Bankstown, the classic Australian breakfast can be called one of three things - a 'bacon and egg roll', 'beef bacon and egg roll' or a 'rasher and egg roll'. While all three dishes sound similar, only one actually contains pork.

A trip by Daily Mail Australia to the western Sydney suburb found there's a reason for this, with one cafe owner admitting locals are 'a bit picky... with pork'.

 The Bankstown local government area has a population of around 182,000 people, according to the 2011 Census, with a high proportion of migrants and first generation Australians whose parents were born in Lebanon or Vietnam.

While Catholicism is the the prevalent religion in the area, the second largest faith is Islam, with 19 percent of residents calling themselves Muslim - more than 11 times the national average, according to the Census.

The Koran forbids Muslims to eat pork.

Like many trendy areas in Sydney, you might expect the city's west to be hooked on the smashed avocado on toast phenomenon.

But on first glance, it would seem that bacon is rather unusually, the pick at brunch. In the heavily halal conscious society, rumours were rife that even takeaway giant McDonald's refused to serve the real deal. But a trip to three of the fast food chain's restaurants quickly proved this to be false.

However a journey down one of Bankstown's busiest streets quickly revealed there was truth to the rumour. When Daily Mail Australia ordered a 'bacon and egg roll' from one eatery, the owner asked: 'Have here, or take it away?' There was no mention the only 'bacon' available was not actually pork, but instead a beef alternative.

The café owner eventually explained there was a 'beef bacon egg roll' on the menu and the only meat it contained was smoked, thinly cut beef.

Daily Mail Australia: 'So it's not actually bacon?' Café owner: 'No, no. That's why it's beef bacon. It's from a cow, basically. It's beef.'

The cafe owner than admitted he would have served the 'bacon and egg' roll without telling the customer, had they not asked.

Claiming there wasn't much of a difference between pork and 'beef bacon', he then revealed why his cafe doesn't serve the more high-profile variety. 'No, no. No pork here. I don't have pork... maybe if I didn't tell you, you wouldn't notice. It's very nice,' he said.

The café owner later explained why 'bacon' did not have to be pork. 'If you look up the definition of bacon it is the process of how the meat is prepared,' he said. 'Pork is the cheapest. But there is beef bacon, turkey bacon, there's chicken bacon... there's probably horse bacon.

'The decision we made here is we will have beef. It's entirely a business decision. It's not because I'm in Bankstown. He did, however, concede 'the area is a bit picky with pork.'

Another Bankstown café owner sells what he calls an 'egg and beef rasher roll' – no mention of 'bacon' - to avoid confusion. 'That's clearly beef,' he said of his product.

'The word bacon means a cut. It doesn't refer to pork. But people don't know that.' 'When they hear bacon they just automatically think pork so I took it out so I didn't confuse people.

'A lot of people come in and ask for a bacon and egg roll. I tell them it's beef. Some leave but the majority just get it.'


'The Quran states that a woman is half a man': Why an Australian Muslim couple turned their backs on Islam because it is a 'religion of war' riddled with 'venomous misogyny'

A couple who both grew up as Muslims in Pakistan have told why they turned their backs on Islam.

Sami Shah and Ishma Alvi, who became Australian citizens in January and live in Melbourne with their young daughter, said extremism, sexism and misogyny were key reasons why they opted out of the religion. 

The couple also explained the reasons for their transition by citing passages from the Quran, which Mr Shah has described as 'maddening as a text'.

An edited extract from Mr Shah's latest book, The Islamic Republic of Australia, which details the move from Muslim to non-Muslim was published in The Weekend Australian magazine on Saturday.

Mr Shah said for Muslims to turn their backs on Islam, the controversial move can be punishable by death but he was happy to now be living openly as an atheist.

While he grew up in Pakistan, a Muslim country, he found himself gradually turning away from Islam over time, angered by violent attacks committed by extremists in the name of religion.  

'What stood out for me wasn't just the mass murder and carnage initiated by the extremists but also their religious justification for it,' Mr Shah said.

'The religion I had been told my entire life was a religion of peace - an argument I myself had propagated when ­confronted with Islam's critics while studying in America - was ­comfortably being used as a ­religion of war.'

Mr Shah said he was happy to now be living in Australia where he did not have his daily life heavily influenced by Islam and for his daughter to have the same freedoms and he enjoys. 

Ms Alvi, a psychologist, said she believed Islam was not female-positive, a notion she first came to when she was aged 17.

'I started seeing Islam as swinging between benevolent sexism [if there is such a thing] and venomous misogyny,' she said.

She said while she started drifting away from the religion as a teenager she came back to Islam on two occasions, once by necessity when she was at university to avoid being attacked on public transport and the other through a friend.

But she said she was left feeling angry and tired at the expectations Islam have of women and her believe females were considered to be half a man, using a passage from Quran 2:282 to explain her reasoning. 

The couple's daughter, Anya Shah, has been enrolled in a Catholic school, a decision Mr Shah said was because it was nearby and her friends were attending.

Mr Shah, who is an author and comedian, this week also revealed his life changed the first time he tried bacon after ditching his religion and becoming an atheist.

He appeared on Network Ten's The Project to promote his new book, and told Islamic host Waleed Aly about the joys of eating pig - which is banned in Muslim culture.

'I thought I can't do this... and then I took one bite and thought, 'I'm never going back',' Mr Shah told Aly.

'I open my day with bacon now. My fridge right now is an entire pig dissected.'

Mr Shah spoke candidly about his transition from a devout Muslim to an atheist on The Project. 'For me it was just a matter of skepticism and once I started becoming skeptical about religion I thought I couldn't call myself a believer anymore,' he admitted.


'Tear down that curtain!' Former Labor leader Mark Latham starts a petition to remove partition for Muslim women at western Sydney swimming pool

Former Labor leader Mark Latham has launched a petition against curtains that have been put up around a Sydney pool to cater for Muslim women saying 'public services must be available to all the public.'

In a post on The Rebel Latham suggests the expected traditions within a public swimming pool are being 'threatened' after Cumberland Council in Western Sydney erected a curtained partition to allow the women to swim in private.

'Islamic women are on one side of the curtain, the rest of the community on the other,' his text states. 'This is local government Sharia Law: changing the rules at Auburn pool to enforce the teachings of the Koran – that Islamic women should not show bare flesh to men.'

He believes if women have self-image issues, they need to take responsibility for that by wearing a burkini. 

The media personality recently stated that putting up curtains at a Sydney public swimming pool to cater for Muslim women is a step towards putting drapes around section of Bondi Beach - as an Islamic sheikh likened it to imposing sharia law in Australia's suburbs.

The council-run Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre in the city's west has installed a retractable curtain around one of its three pools so women can swim privately during two set time slots on Wednesdays, infuriating many residents who said it was like 'segregation'.

The organiser of the swim group, Yusra Metwally, said the idea behind the sessions was to 'accommodate people who wouldn't otherwise swim at a beach, or swim in a swimming pool because they don't feel comfortable'.

Adelaide shia imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi says the pool curtains for Muslim women are part of sharia law which forbids a strange man from seeing the body of another woman    +16
Adelaide shia imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi says the pool curtains for Muslim women are part of sharia law which forbids a strange man from seeing the body of another woman

However Mr Latham, a former federal Labor leader, said it set an awful precedent and undermined Australia's egalitarian values about people from all different backgrounds mixing together.

'Where does it end? What's the next step? Down at Bondi Beach, we're going to have some curtained-off area, or something, it's just ridiculous,' he told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.

While Mr Latham supported the right of Muslim women to swim in a burkini, he said councils were bowing to left-wing demands to protect minority groups instead of encouraging individuals to come to terms with their modesty issues.

'It's not going to be very helpful for Islamic integration into the broader Australian community,' he said.  'Enclaves are a disaster for Australian multiculturalism. It becomes monocultural.'

There are even critics within the Muslim community, with Adelaide Shia imam Sheikh Mohammad Tawhidi likening the swimming pool policy to sharia law.

'It is part of sharia law that a strange man must not see the body of another woman, therefore they are installing the curtains,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

Sheikh Tawhidi said religious Muslims should build 'Muslim-only swimming pools for themselves' rather than have their laws imposed on non-Muslims. 'Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre is not an Islamic swimming pool, therefore they should not be accepting of such an idea in the first place,' he said. 'The Muslim community can afford a private swimming pool for themselves that observes their sharia laws.'

Some locals have slammed the idea as 'segregation,' saying the women are receiving 'special treatment'.

'These communities should be encouraged to integrate and uphold the values of equality and respect not division and segregation paid for by taxes and council rates,' one woman wrote.

Anthony McIntosh, manager of the centre's operator Belgravia Leisure, said the covering for the swimming pool's glass walls was intended to make Muslim women more comfortable with aquatic activities.

Behind the curtain, Muslim women who wear a hijab would be able to swim in whatever attire they feel comfortable instead of a modesty suit or burkini.

Ms Metwally said other swimmers would not be affected as the other pools would be open to everyone during the session times.

'We had a record number of people drown at the end of last year which matches up with the road fatalities,' she said.

'So if we can have more women who are water-safe, that's surely a good thing.'

Cumberland Council general manager Malcolm Ryan told Daily Mail Australia female lifeguards are present during the women's only swim sessions.

'Council has a responsibility to cater for the needs of its community,' he said. 'The curtains, which are retractable and can be used or not used at any time, ensure we have provided a space that is accessible to and inclusive for all'.

The pool is also used for children's swimming classes and use by the elderly, people with a disability and patients having hydrotherapy or physiotherapy, who may prefer additional privacy during their use of the pool.

It is not only used by Muslim women and can be used by any women.


There are better ways to teach phonics
Leading Adelaide educator Jenny Allen believes that while a renewed focus on phonics is welcome, the way in which schools teach reading needs to be reformed.

The federal government’s plan to introduce literacy tests for all Australian pupils in Year 1 will not improve children’s reading skills unless accompanied by a more systematic approach to the use of phonics, according to one of Adelaide’s most experienced educators.

Jenny Allen, who is Director of REM+ Tuition in Tranmere and has taught hundreds of children and students with dyslexia to read, believes that the tests will not lift the standard of reading of children in Year 1 unless the resulting data is used to transform the way phonics is taught in schools.

"Phonics programmes in schools go too fast for many children, and there isn’t sufficient assessment along the way," said Jenny Allen, "and this means that children who get behind end up being overwhelmed and fail to progress. Too often school reading boxes ignore phonics hierarchy, which means that young children are being asked to read words like ‘swimming’ before they’re confident at reading ‘cat’.

"Although the government’s plan for a nationwide Year 1 literacy assessment is a step in the right direction, this needs to be backed up by a complete change to the current approach of schools to teaching phonics."

The plan to introduce assessments of children’s literacy and numeracy skills in Year 1 was announced in January by Education Minister Simon Birmingham, and the tests are expected to be accompanied by a renewed emphasis on teaching phonics. However, this will only prove beneficial if the current approach undergoes a significant overhaul.

"The way children are being taught to read in schools is not effective," said Jenny Allen, "and changes to the system are needed if these new assessments are to be meaningful and produce positive outcomes.

"What will be done to help the students whose performance is judged to be below the required standard? When children are found not to be able to decode basic phonetic words in Year 1, what measures will be put in place to assess their working memory, for instance, or their auditory processing ability?

"Unless teaching takes into account that a young person’s brain needs to be taught to read, and that it doesn’t happen simply by osmosis, we will continue to find that too many Year 1 students don't have basic phonetic decoding skills. However, the current approach to teaching phonics does not allow them sufficient time or the appropriate support to catch up, and so it is hard to see how tests alone will change this."

Jenny Allen runs specialist programmes for pre-school and dyslexic children, and has successfully used phonics to teach children in Adelaide how to read for more than sixteen years.

Via email

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

16 June, 2017

'There is a refugee and migrant crime wave ... no-one is doing anything about it'

Commentators slam courts for giving Chinese driver BAIL before his footpath rampage in Melbourne

A man who caused chaos in the heart of Melbourne after driving his car on footpaths and smashing into two banks before crashing into Crown Casino was on bail.

Chen Jie Xu, 34, believed to be a Chinese national, allegedly struck three buildings on Swanston Street, including the ANZ and Commonwealth banks, while driving on the footpath at 11pm on Tuesday night.

Commentators have slammed Victoria Corrections for not keeping the man off the streets, in light of a string of recent disasters in the city caused by criminals on parole.

'(Police need to) stop playing a PC game. There is a refugee and migrant crime wave in Melbourne, and no one's doing anything about it,' media personality Prue MacSween told 7 News.   

'Mohammed Moron and Jihad Jerk will continue getting behind cars and using them as weapons until somebody recognises that we have a problem,' MacSween added.

'We also have people out on bail who shouldn't be out on bail as this bloke was.'

Questions have also been asked about why police waited for the man, believed to be a Chinese national, to race on foot into the foyer of Crown Casino before arresting him.

But Victoria Police Inspector Stephen Cooper defended the actions of responding police officers, saying 'our response was timely.'

'We made sure that we had a cordon up in place to ensure that the person wasn't able to leave any further places and impact on the public any further,' he said.

'(The car) did stop on three occasions to cause damage to three buildings.

'But we are assured because of the fact that the vehicle did stop that the intent was not to cause harm to any of the pedestrians.'  

Xu stopped earlier for a pedestrian to let them cross, before continuing.

Police on Wednesday charged the 34-year-old with five counts of criminal damage, endangering life, dangerous driving and a weapons offence.

He was on bail at the time of the alleged offences, police said.

He was meant to face the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Wednesday but his appearance was moved to July 3.

It comes just a week after the city placed concrete bollards in Bourke Street Mall to prevent cars from being able to drive up onto the pedestrian area.

In January six people were killed when Melbourne man Dimitrious Gargasoulas allegedly drove onto the footpath near Bourke Street Mall in his car.


No free speech about the judiciary?

Members of Malcolm Turnbull's cabinet have rushed to the defence of their ministerial colleagues over remarks about the judiciary that have landed them in court and facing possible contempt charges.

Comments from three politicians criticising Victoria's judicial system could see them face contempt of court charges.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar have been ordered to front the Victorian Supreme Court on Friday to explain "why they should not be referred for prosecution for contempt".

It is understood the ministers will not attend the Victorian Supreme Court on Friday, but will be represented by Commonwealth Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue, for whom taxpayers will foot the bill.

The matter relates to criticism of the Victorian judiciary made by the three men in The Australian newspaper, which were seen by the court as relating to a live Commonwealth appeal challenging the 10-year sentence of convicted terror plotter Sevdet Ramadan Besim.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham came to his colleagues' aid, insisting they had not just a right but a duty to represent their constituents' views on issues of importance to the community.

"I think when Australian people vote for their elected representatives, they expect their elected representatives to speak their mind, and they expect their elected representatives to stand up on issues that the community are concerned about, that the community might think are unfair or bad outcomes," Senator Birmingham said.

"That applies as much in relation to sentencing decisions of courts as to any other issue."

He conceded MPs needed to be "mindful of all of our different responsibilities", referring to the duty to not prejudice cases before a court.

"But our first responsibility as members of parliament is to the people who send us here, to the voters who send us here, and to stand up for their interests, for their expectations," he said. "And I'm quite confident that that is all my colleagues were doing."

Industry Minister Arthur Sinodinos said he was "surprised" to see his colleagues hauled before a judge to explain themselves, because "this is a country which prizes free speech".

"Politicians from time to time will say some pretty colourful things and I believe that politicians should have the right to do so," he told ABC Radio National on Wednesday night.

"If they say something that's obviously defamatory or libellous or whatever, that's a separate matter, but politicians have got to have a right to make commentary on matters of public interest and public policy."

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce declined to comment other than to say: "the whole issue about contempt of court is you don't talk about court proceedings".

The ministers are believed to have the strong support of their colleagues from throughout the Coalition.

"We're all on the same page, this is outrageous," one MP said. "The judiciary is not above criticism. If they're suggesting they're above criticism that's a big problem in our democracy. I think they know this isn't contempt but I think they want to send a message."

The trio also won the backing of crossbench senator and free speech crusader David Leyonhjelm, who lambasted "unelected" judges as "dear little daffodils" who couldn't handle criticism.

"Frankly, I think contempt of the court is when you do a brown eyes," he said, referring to the practice of removing one's trousers and pointing one's posterior in someone's direction.

In a letter obtained by Fairfax Media, Judicial Registrar Ian Irving said comments by the three ministers published in The Australian, accusing the judiciary of going soft on terrorists, would appear to bring the court into disrepute.

Mr Hunt reportedly said: "The state courts should not be places for ideological experiments in the face of global and local threats from Islamic extremism that has led to such tragic losses."

Mr Sukkar was quoted as saying: "Labor's continued appointment of hard-left activist judges has come back to bite Victorians". He also said the soft attitude of judges "has eroded any trust that remained in our legal system".

Minter Ellison partner Peter Bartlett said judges were rightly subjected to public criticism from politicians and the community for their decisions.

But he said some of the ministers' comments had gone too far by suggesting the judges were ideologically motivated. "That's crossing the line. That's suggesting bias with judges," he said.

However, Mr Bartlett said it was disappointing the ministers had been required to explain their actions in the court. He believed it was unlikely they would be charged.

"I would hope that the ministers apologise to the court and get a rap over the knuckles and nothing more," he said.

It is understood Labor MPs have been told to exercise caution on the matter. But opposition whip Graham Perrett said the episode was at the very least a good lesson for all involved.

"Generally the Parliament and executive at any level of government should be respectful of the judiciary," he told Fairfax Media.

"Unless you are aware of the individual facts, how could you possibly comment with any authority on a decision handed down by the court?"


Greenies lose another attempt to block a mega coal mine

ANTI-Adani activists have lost another case in the courts after the Supreme Court today dismissed an appeal against the approval of the Abbot Point coal terminal expansion, near Bowen.

The expansion project, which went through three environmental impact studies, will be expanded as part of the $US16.5 billion Carmichael Mine, port and rail development.

The appeal was brought by the Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping, which said the decision meant it was a dark day for the reef.

The defeat of the appeal means that the only remaining case against the mine is the Australian Conservation Foundation’s appeal against the Federal Government’s environmental approval.

Native title issues were resolved by legislative amendments passed by the Federal Senate yesterday.

WRAD’s spokeswoman Sandra Williams said her group would continue to fight for the reef, but her lawyers said it would have to consider the judgement before deciding on any further appeals.


Imbecilic call for all Australians to graduate High School

That one in eight fail to pass High School is pretty much what you would expect from the distribution of IQ -- so is changeable only by dumbing down the courses, which are already far too dumbed down h

The latest report by Mitchell Institute at Victoria University finds large numbers of young Australians are not succeeding in education and training, and it’s costing taxpayers billions of dollars each year.

The findings reveal one in eight Australians will never attain a Year 12 qualification, and some of these people make up the one in eight Australians who will be disengaged from the workforce for most of their lives.

Victoria University’s Vice?Chancellor, Professor Peter Dawkins said when young people aren’t supported to find success later in life it leads to enormous costs for everyone – through wasted tax dollars and lost chances to build safer communities, a stronger workforce and a richer economy.

"When we fail to set young people up for success, they are not the only ones affected – the impact stretches to all corners of society," Professor Dawkins explained.

"The size of the impact, we’ve discovered, is staggering. Poor investment in our education system, especially in areas that help young people transition to careers, is costing our country billions of dollars every year."

The are problems in key areas of education that lead to more people entering a life of crime, clogging public health services and relying on government support payments to get by. This also means people pay less taxes, and make less of an overall contribution to our economy and communities.

The fiscal and social costs associated with these issues are enormous.

For taxpayers, having 38,000 people aged 19 who will never achieve Year 12 or equivalent costs $315 million each year, and more than $12 billion over a lifetime. Having 46,000 people aged 24 who will be disengaged for most of their lives costs taxpayers $472 million each year, and almost $19 billion over a lifetime.

From the social perspective, the group of early school leavers costs governments and communities more than $580 million annually and more than $23 billion over a lifetime. The figures are even larger for the disengaged 24 year olds – $1.2 billion each year and more than $50 billion over a lifetime.

These costs are based on cohorts from just one year and they are conservative: actual costs are likely higher.

Professor Dawkins said governments need to prioritise system changes to ensure all Australians have equal education opportunities, while industry leaders, educators and communities can also help drive change.

"Universities and training institutes can be part of the solution by partnering with employers, understanding community needs and providing better opportunities for more young people to gain the skills and knowledge they need to find success.

"It is a matter of urgency to pay attention to the problems in our system that are letting down so many people. In the meantime, we’ll all keep paying the costs."

Counting the costs of lost opportunity in Australian education is available at

Media release via email

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

15 June, 2017

Melbourne Member of Parliament accuses judges of 'standing in the corner of terrorists'

This is a lively issue at the moment with overheated claims by some that the politician should be prosecuted for what he said.  So the Law Council has emailed out a comment on the matter which begins as follows:

The Law Council, speaking on behalf of the Australian legal profession, is calling for an end to political attacks on the judiciary, especially in cases where they might be perceived to interfere with matters currently before the courts.

Law Council of Australia President, Fiona McLeod SC, said recent comments from Government MPs referring to "ideological experiments" supposedly being carried out by the judicial system were gravely concerning.

"It is inappropriate to suggest that judges decide their cases on anything other than the law and the facts presented to them by the parties," Ms McLeod said.

"Attacking the independence of the judiciary does not make Australia safer, in fact it erodes public confidence in the courts and undermines the rule of law.

"It is Australia's robust adherence to the rule of law that has underpinned this nation's status as one of the most peaceful, harmonious, and secure places in the world."

Ms McLeod said the Law Council has particular concerns about comments made in the media today by Government MPs about a terror-related case currently before the courts in Victoria.

Fiona McLeod

Respect cannot be commanded.  It must be earned.  So Fiona might do well to look at the CAUSES of disrespect for the judiciary.  Almost the whole of Australia would find leniency for terrorists obnoxious so it is about time that the judiciary responded to that.  They have plenty of leeway in their sentencing options to enable that.  And the right to criticize judges is democracy at work too.

If Fiona wants to end "political attacks" on judges, let her urge the judges concerned to come down from their ivory towers.  Let her urge them to have discussions with the family members of those who have been killed at random by Jihadis

I am afraid that to me Fiona just sounds like another mentally isolated Leftist twit.  She would probably have done better to keep her mouth shut.  She herself is provoking disrespect for the judiciary

A federal Liberal Party MP has launched an extraordinary attack on Victoria's Chief Justice and her judges, accusing them of 'standing in the corner of terrorists'.

The state's top judge Marilyn Warren is under fire following a controversial sentence for a teenager who had plotted to behead a police officer on Anzac Day.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is appealing the Victorian Supreme Court's seven-and-a-half year non-parole jail term imposed last year on Sevet Ramadan Besim.

The 19-year-old criminal had plotted to cut off a police officer's head in 2015.

Melbourne-based Liberal MP Michael Sukkar, who is also Assistant Treasurer, said judges needed to be called out for soft sentences when it came to terrorists.

'As far as I’m concerned, we need to be asserting as much pressure as we can on lawmakers and calling out judges who seemingly are standing in the corner of the terrorists and not in the corner of our society and the victims,' he told Melbourne radio station 3AW on Tuesday.

The conservative Liberal PARTY MP, who studied law, clarified his comments to say judges cared more about the welfare of terrorists than the public. 'Seemingly, more interested in their rehabilitation than in the safety and security of our society,' Mr Sukkar said.

'There are multiple numbers of cases where you’ve got people who are planning the most heinous acts and the only reason they’re stopped is because we’ve got amazing law enforcement agencies that stop them from happening.'

He added that as the chairman of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security committee, he believed 'the prospects of rehabilitation, particularly for Islamic terrorists is extraordinarily low'.

Last year, Besim pleaded guilty to an act in preparation of planning a terrorist attack, which would involve running down and beheading a police officer, an offence that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.


Elite schools set to lose under new Federal funding scheme

Government schools in Australia get most of their funding from State governments so are only marginally affected by the changes.  While Americans dream about vouchers, private schools in Australia get substantial direct funding from the Federal government, which helps explain why 40% of Australian teenagers go to private schools

More than 100 prestigious private schools will receive less federal funding as part of Malcolm Turnbull’s education reforms, including the Sydney institutions of Cranbrook, Ascham, Kambala and the Kincoppal-Rose Bay School in the Prime Minister’s electorate.

Under the government’s $18.6 billion changes, 344 schools will lose funding under Gonski 2.0 compared to Labor’s existing model. This includes 24 previously identified independent schools, 27 Catholic systemic schools in the ACT, 151 government schools in the Northern Territory, and 142 non-government schools.

The Greens are calling on the Coalition to ensure the NT does not go backwards, while the ­government has dedicated $69 million over the decade to help the state adjust to the new ­arrangements.

Using Education Department data tabled in the Senate, The Australian can today reveal the so-called "hit list" of independent schools to receive less money under the government’s proposed measures than they would under Labor.

The schools — which will only be affected if the reforms to eliminate 27 "special deals" win Senate backing — include those where parents do the heavy lifting with fees, such as the Prime Minister’s alma mater, Sydney Grammar School.

Under the changes, Saint ­Ignatius’ College, Riverview — the alma mater of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and former prime minister Tony Abbott — will receive $3475 a student in federal funding next year, and $3979 at the end of the decade.

But some school leaders have praised the reforms, including Perth’s Presbyterian Ladies’ College deputy principal Andrew Cousins, who welcomed the prospect of a more equitable funding system. The federal per-student amount will be $3010 next year to $3990 in 2027. "Fundamentally the deals which have been done with the various states and the Catholic education system have led to great inequities in schools throughout Australia," principal Kate Hadwen said. "The more special deals we can eliminate the better. A child’s education should never be dependent upon a sector’s lobbying abilities."

Funding for the 142 independent schools does not go backwards at the end of the decade, unlike the previously identified 24 elite schools. But the 142 independent schools do experience a slower annual growth rate in their funding, receiving an annual ­indexation rate below 3.56 per cent for the first four years of the changes. The Australian has identified 103 of the 142 schools, and most of the remainder are ­believed to be Catholic systemic schools which are funded as part of a system.

The Gonski 2.0 changes are designed to fund all schools based on the same formula. Non-government schools will receive 80 per cent of their funding entitlement — called the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) — from the federal government by 2027. State schools would receive 20 per cent. Under the changes, NT would receive 24.4 per cent of its SRS from federal funding this year.

Greens education spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said: "Public schools perform an extraordinary service to struggling communities across the Northern Territory and their funding should not be allowed to go backwards. I call on the government to take some of the money that was going to wealthy private schools under Labor and use that to guarantee that current funding to NT public schools will be maintained and increased annually in line with indexation."

Labor’s Tanya Plibersek said the policy was a "fraud" but Education Minister Simon Birmingham said: "Funding for government schools in the Northern Territory will increase by $39m over the next four years and almost $69m over 10 years."

The National Catholic Education Commission argues that 619 of its systemic schools receive less money next year compared with this year.

The independent Schools Council of Australia believes 400 of its schools will feel the effect of the changes, and executive director Colette Colman said it was "not realistic for the independent sector to call for a level playing field for funding for all non-­government schools and not ­accept the impact of the changes on independent schools".

Australian Association of Christian Schools executive officer Martin Hanscamp supports the changes because they provide fairness, "despite having schools that will receive reduced funding than what they would if it’s status quo … AACS encourages the Greens to get behind this pivotal legislation possibly through negotiating for a quicker transition for ‘needy’ schools and an independent review body, worthy amendments in AACS’s view" .

Bill Rusin, principal of Covenant Christian School in the Sydney suburb of Belrose, one of the 24 independent schools that go backwards, said "for us, we were a little surprised we were going to be almost the worst hit of all the surrounding schools.

"We don’t want to cry poor-mouth. We will survive but we want them to look at the algorithm that they used to calculate the capacity to pay."

A Senate inquiry report is due today on the changes. Nick Xenophon yesterday said he would like to "think that with some sensible compromises" the government’s legislation could pass the Senate.


Hard questions being asked within the government about Australia's nonsensical climate policy

They are all agreed that the electricity supply must be reliable but can't figure out how you do that amid a switch to renewables.  And not all are agreed that there is any point to renewables

The great call worldwide to the effect that renewable targets must be enshrined because businesses need certainty is utter nonsense. Businesses can easily be given certainty by an assurance that arrangements they enter into now will be "grandfathered" in the event of future policy changes

Always up for a brawl on climate change, Liberals and Nationals MPs have thrown themselves into an internal row that tells Australians to look elsewhere for leadership.

In public, MPs assure voters they have a way to keep power bills down. In private they rip each other to shreds because they do not know what to do.

The policy divide at the Coalition party room meeting on Tuesday night came with real personal bitterness.

Tony Abbott interjected so often throughout the meeting that Craig Laundy, a frontbench ally of Malcolm Turnbull, called the former prime minister out and asked that he show respect to those who wanted to speak.

Russell Broadbent, once a strong supporter of Turnbull, warned so strongly about the risk of higher electricity prices that he got a rebuke from Paul Fletcher, another frontbencher very loyal to the Prime Minister. "It was quite ugly," says one witness.

There can be no long-term solution on energy from a group that will fracture so easily on policies it agreed to less than two years ago, such as a renewable energy target and a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Coalition party room meeting heard MPs who questioned the government’s stated plan to generate about 23.5 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2020 and to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030.

Abbott wants to scrap the RET even though the nation’s chief scientist, Alan Finkel, says this would harm investor confidence. The chair of the Coalition’s backbench committee, Craig Kelly told the meeting the emission reductions should be slowed in the near term to "back end" the cuts in later years. Queensland MP George Christensen told colleagues he regretted agreeing to the emissions targets two years ago.

Consider what this tells energy investors, let alone voters. Even if Turnbull can find a way through this chaos to decide a new energy policy, who can be sure how long that policy would last?

Even if the Coalition holds power at the next election, can investors be confident that the rules set in 2017 will still be in place in 2019 when their new wind farms or gas-fired power stations are meant to be built?

Some Coalition MPs dream of attracting investors to build a new coal power station to last four decades, but their promises of certainty ring hollow. Think of the size of the government guarantee needed to shield an investor from the prospect of a change in policy or a change in government. The Coalition’s internal disputes only add to the risk premium.

Observers should be wary of seeing the dispute as a revolt or backlash. While some MPs described the debate in those terms, others disagreed.

MPs who hate the Finkel proposal for a clean energy target certainly mobilised faster than others, so the story of the revolt was the first story told. Even so, Turnbull and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg were careful to use the meeting to listen to concerns rather than advance a policy.

That meant the MPs turned their sights on the Finkel report rather than on Turnbull and Frydenberg.

"Nobody from government is proposing anything yet so it can’t be described as a backlash or a revolt," says Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald, one of those who warned against the clean energy target.

Yet the message was clear and it means Turnbull will steer clear of the clean energy target in the form modelled in Finkel’s report, which assumed an emissions intensity threshold that would knock coal power stations out of the scheme.

The unspoken warning to Turnbull is that he puts his leadership in danger if he goes too far on energy and climate policy, just like he did in 2009 when Abbott replaced him.

Nobody in the party room meeting advanced an alternative to the Finkel plan. Many agreed that doing nothing was not an option — Frydenberg’s key message. While a clean energy target looks almost impossible, some form of energy mechanism is still on the table.

The clean energy target could be structured to offer help to coal as well as wind and solar but it will not be worth the "clean" brand.

Anything that satisfies Abbott is likely to be too generous to coal and therefore rejected by Labor and the Greens. Even if it scrapes through the Senate crossbench, it offers no policy certainty for the long-term.


Australians on disability pensions rise despite fall in mental health symptoms

The authors below avoid mentioning it but the obvious cause of the anomaly is that the workshy have "discovered" mental health claims as a good road to a relaxed life

The proportion of Australians receiving a disability pension for psychiatric conditions has risen significantly despite no increase in the prevalence of mental disorders, a new study reveals.

Between 2001 and 2014, the proportion of the population receiving a disability support pension for a psychiatric condition rose by 51 per cent. Depression is now the fourth highest cause of disability in Australia. However, National Health Survey data also shows that in 2001, conditions such as depression and anxiety affected 13.3 per cent of the Australian working population. In 2014, that percentage had slightly fallen, with 12.2 per cent affected.

The findings come from research published on Monday in the Medical Journal of Australia, pointing to a major public health problem as the cost of common mental disorders continues to increase.

Lead author of the study, Associate Professor Samuel Harvey, said that the research indicates a need to investigate why the number of those on disability support pensions continues to increase so dramatically.

"These two results leave us with a fascinating conundrum," said Associate Professor Harvey. "Why does Australia have increasing numbers of individuals requiring DSP for psychiatric conditions, when the prevalence of underlying mental health symptoms has not changed?"

He and his colleagues suggested a range of reasons why this may be the case, saying that practitioners could be more likely to cite a mental disorder as the main form of disability even if the person also has a physical disability.

They also said government policy could have shifted people away from employment-focused income support or that people with mental disorders have been pushed out of the workforce by employers. They also suggested that effective treatment could have masked a higher rate of disorders.

Associate Professor Harvey said that while there were a range of possible reasons for the increase in disability support pensions, it was clear that mental health would continue to have a serious ongoing effect on society.

"Regardless of the underlying cause of this discrepancy, what is clear is that while Australia has had some success in containing rates of mental health conditions over the last decade, common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety are continuing to have a major impact on the working age population and are creating an increasing cost for the individuals, their employers and for society at large."

He said that despite the large increase in pensions, the study did contradict popular beliefs that Australia was in the midst of a mental health crisis. "There is a common belief that we are in the midst of a mental health epidemic, with ever increasing rates of depression and anxiety. The good news is that, based on the latest National Health Survey data, this doesn't appear to the case in 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

14 June, 2017

Rough old feminist broad wants more imperial honours for women

Rather amusing to see a radical feminist arguing for the relevance of imperial honours. Few Australian Leftists would.  Though it is rare for anyone to refuse a gong.

But her basic argument is the same as Hitler's.  Hitler was in fact more reserved.  He only thought that Jews were unfairly privileged whereas Jenna Price thinks that men in general are unfairly privileged.

What Hitler overlooked is that Jews had earned their eminence in Germany by hard work and superior brains.  What Ms Price overlooks is that it is difficult to achieve eminence in any field while you are at home minding babies.  I am all in favour of women staying at home minding babies and I think they should be honoured for it.  They once were until feminists began deriding them and calling them "breeders".

But however you cut it, women are just not in large numbers in occupations that are likely to generate especial honour.  Some are but they are simply not there are often as men are.  And the imperial awards reflect that.  The demand from Ms Price that women be at least equally represented in the awards is then procrustean.  It seeks to impose an un-natural equality or a pretence at equality that is just not there in the real world. Procrustes would gladly have taken her as his wife.

But her demand is of course just another iteration of the manic and incessant Leftist demand for equality in all things -- an equality that has never existed, does not exist and never will exist.

I have written at greater length about Ms Price here

Once again the honours list has failed Australian women.

This cannot continue. It's a complete dishonour to the thousands of women across Australia who deserve to be recognised at the highest level.

The awards announced on Monday will show that the percentage going to women has sunk even lower than the five-year average, already an embarrassingly low 31 per cent. In the general division of the Order of Australia, it's 467 males and 206 females. Just 30 per cent women. 

That said, there's no choice but to entirely recast the Council for the Order of Australia. If the organisation that oversees the awarding of honours to Australians can't get anything close to a semblance of Australia in those who receive these awards, the entire leadership needs to go. It must be replaced by people who are agents of change.

It needs to meet the government targets for 50 per cent of women on government boards. Of the 18 councillors, four are women. Of the four women, one, Elizabeth Kelly, comes from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Two others are state reps. And community rep and former sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, who must be losing her mind at the slow rate of change.

So why is this organisation failing? Here are some answers.

Chairman? Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston. Secretary? Mark Fraser. Official secretary to the Governor-General. Ex-officio representatives? Senator George Brandis. Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin.

All decent people but from worlds dominated by men. The military. The Liberal Party. None famous for equality. How is it possible to reshape this reflection of Australian spirit if all you see reflected is the people with whom you grew up, with whom you went to school; and now work alongside?


Deported: Fake Iranian refugees kicked out as Immigration Minister Peter Dutton overrules AAT

SIX fake Iranian refugees who lied to get asylum in Australia will be deported despite the Administrative Appeals Tribunal’s attempts to let them stay here.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has decided to use his power to override the AAT and cancel the visas of all six Iran­ian boat people.

It is the latest in a series of moves which indicate Mr Dutton has lost patience with the AAT repeatedly foiling attempts by the Immigration Department to deport foreign-born criminals and economic refugees.

The Herald Sun last month revealed murderers, rapists, paedophiles, armed robbers and drug dealers were among criminals the AAT had saved from deportation.

Mr Dutton is planning to introduce new legislation to widen his power to set aside rulings to include citizenship decisions made by the AAT. "Where a visa has been ­issued and then cancelled by the minister, it can be referred to the AAT," he said.

"If the AAT reinstates the visa, then the minister of the day can substitute that decision with a new decision. "The minister does have the ability to substitute a decision of the AAT, which I did in relation to those six Iranians.

"But at the moment, no such arrangements exists for citizenship applications, so the decision of the AAT can’t be overruled by the minister — and that’s what we are seeking to change."

AAT statistics reveal it has overturned 4389 visa decisions made by delegates for Mr Dutton in the past year — that equates to the AAT rejecting a staggering 39 per cent of the ministerial visa decisions reviewed by the AAT in the 12 months to April 30.

The Herald Sun is aware of cases where the AAT has granted citizenship to a convicted people smuggler, a man convicted of sexual assaults against young boys and a convicted killer.

It did so despite the Immigration Department recommending that the three criminals were not worthy of being granted citizenship because they were not of good character.

Mr Dutton’s decision to cancel the visas of the six Iranians came just days after the Herald Sun revealed he had stepped in to ensure sex creep Melbourne taxi driver Jagdeep Singh is kicked out of Australia.

Several Australian Border Force officers grabbed Singh, 34, at his Lalor home on May 30 and put him in detention prior to his deportation back to India.

Mr Dutton’s intervention in the Singh case came after the AAT overturned a decision by Mr Dutton’s delegate to cancel Singh’s visa after he pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a female passenger.

The AAT reinstated Singh’s visa despite making a formal finding that he committed "a significant sexual offence involving a vulnerable member of the public whilst the applicant was engaged as a taxi driver".

Mr Dutton’s decision to kick out the six Iranian queue jumpers comes after the Herald Sun last month revealed the Iranians were caught holidaying in their homeland after lying on their visa applications about fearing for their lives if they had to return there.

A delegate for Mr Dutton cancelled their visas after the Immigration Department discovered they had voluntarily returned to Iran and later came back to Australia — despite earlier claiming to Immigration Department officials that doing so would result in them being killed or persecuted.

The AAT foiled that attempt to kick them out by overturning the deportation decision made by Mr Dutton’s delegate. That prompted Mr Dutton to use his ministerial power to set aside the AAT decision and order that all six visas be cancelled.


Must not tell the whole truth about FAT

MIA Freedman, founder of women’s news website Mamamia, has been criticised by a best selling American author for "humiliating" her about her weight.

Freedman interviewed the New York Times best-selling author Roxane Gay to promote her new book Hunger, a memoir discussing her lifelong battle with her body.

Gay was gang raped at age 12 and says she turned to food for comfort. At her heaviest, she weighed 261kgs and is medically classified as super morbidly obese.

When Gay’s publishers were arranging her visit to the Mamamia office in Sydney to conduct an interview with Freedman for her No Filter podcast, Freedman says they had a long list of requirements.

"I estimate that there were a dozen exchanges back and forth between my producer and her people and the details of them both broke my heart and opened my eyes," Freedman said on the podcast.

"Now, I would normally never breach the confidence of what goes on behind the scenes of organising an interview, but in this case, I’ve thought a lot about it and the fundamental part of her story and what her book is about. She writes about it in the book, I’m sure she won’t mind me telling you any of this," Freedman said.

"Her size is incredibly imposing [Gay is six foot three]. This is a logistical nightmare for her, there’s no other way to put it. The requirements that we had to go back and forth with her publishers ... were extremely detailed."

Freedman listed some of the questions Gay’s publisher asked Mamamia’s podcast producer in a series of calls and emails.

"How many steps were there from the kerb to the end of the building? Were there any stairs? How many? How big was the lift and was here a goods lift? How many steps from the lift to the podcast studio?

"There was also a lot of talk about chairs - making sure we had one sturdy enough that would both hold her weight and make sure she was comfortable for the duration of the interview."

Freedman goes on to say that Gay and her publishers requested that no photos or video footage be recorded of her. "Originally, this interview was going to be filmed in front of the office - we sometimes do this with No Filter guests who are loved and admired by the Mamamia team," she said.

"But Roxane said no, no way. We couldn’t film her under any circumstances and she wouldn’t even have photos taken with anyone for private use. She was very polite...but it was non-negotiable.

That’s why there is no photo of Roxane and I that accompanies this podcast or even that I keep on in my phone and this is the first time that’s ever happened. We always take photos of everyone that comes into Mamamia. It’s kind of what happens. We use them on Facebook to illustrate the podcast and the post [online]."

Just hours after the interview and accompanying online story went live on Monday, Gay tweeted to her 211,000 Twitter followers that she found Mamamia’s discussion of these issues to be "cruel and humiliating".

"I am appalled by Mamamia. It was a s*** show. I can walk a f***ing mile," Gay tweeted. "‘Can she fit into the lift?’ Shame on you Mamamia," she added. "It is cruel and humiliating."

Mamamia has since removed the story from its website and edited the podcast description to remove details of her publisher’s requests.

Later in the podcast, Gay talks about how her size can make it difficult for her to negotiate public spaces. "It’s very stressful because you just never know is there a space that is going to accommodate me," Gay said. "Are there going to be sturdy chairs? Are the chairs going to have arms? How wide are the arms? How low is the chair?

"It’s just a constant series of questions that you are asking yourself every single day before you go into any space and it’s exhausting because people don’t think, they just assume that everyone fits in the world that they do."

Gay, a college professor, is the author of Bad Feminist and has travelled to Australia several times before. She has appeared on Q&A and given talks at the popular All About Women and Sydney Writers’ Festival events.


More evidence-based education policy is needed in Australia

Blaise Joseph

If you asked any of the key players clamouring for more money in the Gonski 2.0 rumpus at the moment for (a) evidence that more funding will improve student outcomes, or (b) evidence-based policies the extra money should be spent on, you would likely receive a blank sheet of paper in reply.

While the federal government, the opposition, the Greens, the states, and the Catholic system will all admit funding isn't the only important education issue and more money by itself will not improve student outcomes, this is certainly not reflected in the way they are approaching the Gonski 2.0 debate.

This is an endemic problem in Australia's education system: investments are not necessarily informed by evidence and teaching practices are not subjected to rigorous evaluation.

A recent report from the Productivity Commission details the current issues with the education evidence base. The report identified a number of gaps in existing education data, most notably a lack of evaluation of school policies and programs. This particular gap means less accountability, making it difficult to identify best practice and subsequently turn this into common practice.

It is important the federal and state governments carefully read and respond to the report. It behoves Australia's school system to invest in evidence-based practices that are cost-effective in boosting results -- for the sake of both student achievement and fiscal responsibility.

The Gonski 2.0 plan risks getting the process back to front: the government committed to spending an additional $18.6 billion over the next 10 years and commissioned David Gonski to look at how the money can best be spent. In other words, they decided how much to spend before thinking about what it should be spent on.

As Sir Humphrey Appleby said: "Government policy has nothing to do with common sense."


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 June, 2017

The dilemma I faced when my daughter won a private school scholarship

Elana Benjamin

The mother below was probably right in deciding to send her daughter to a State School.  And I say that not because I went to one myself but because of something she does not mention:  It all depends on the school.  Not to put too fine a point on it, a State School in a poor area would probably be disastrous for the daughter of a professional family.  She would be greatly limited by it. But, reading between the lines, Mrs Benjamin is most unlikely to live in a poor area.  And State Schools in a middle class area can be quite good. 

I sent my son to a fairly orderly State school for the second half of his primary years and it certainly didn't hold him back. Can I embarrass myself by once again telling my favourite story from that time?  There was once a schoolwide literacy and numeracy test conducted in his state school.  One would think that the highest scorer on the literacy test would be some kid in 7th grade. But it was not. It was a pesky little 5th grader.  That 5th grader was my son.  So as long as the school is reasonably orderly, ability will out.  I think that Mrs Benjamin's daughter might have an equivalent experience.

So why are schools in poor areas disadvantageous?  Sensitive souls should stop reading at this point because I am going to say something that, according to the Left, make me a white supremacist if not an outright Nazi. They can see a small moustache growing on my upper lip. I am going to mention IQ.

A school in a poor area will be bad in many ways because of the kids there.  As Charles Murray showed long ago, a low IQ is hereditary and has many unpleasant correlates, with poverty prominent among them.  So kids enrolled into a school located in a poor area will mostly be dumb, have less self-restraint  and will be more poorly behaved generally.  They will make life hell for their teachers and give the teachers little time for teaching.

It doesn't have to be that way. I grew up in Innisfail, a small Australian country town and I attended Innisfail State Rural School for my primary schooling.  And I have fond memories of that school and of some of the teachers there.  There was none of the dysfunction that would be expected of that school these days. The school no longer exists so I can safely say that.

So why was Innisfail State Rural School perfectly OK?  Because they had effective discipline back then.  If a kid stepped out of line he got sent to the headmaster for caning.  He would come back much abashed and no longer disruptive.  So lessons could proceed according to plan.  But it's no longer like that. Under Leftist influence, most forms of discipline are now forbidden as "child abuse".  The discipline tools available are few.  So a disruptive dummy kid will just act out and not be effectively restrained, thus derailing any education while that happens.

But Australia is relatively lucky in one way:  We rarely have a substantial African-origin population in a school.  In both Britain and the USA, by contrast, schools in a poor area will very often be quite black. And black students are notoriously disruptive.  As a result, British and American white mothers go to enormous lengths to keep their kids out of such schools.  There is substantial voluntary racial self-segregation so that helps.

But the lesson remains:  A "good" school is good primarily because of the kids who go there and a bad school is bad because of the kids who go there.  One hopes that the school Mrs Benjamin has chosen for her daughter has a student body who tend be like her own family.  She should check. That is what matters

My 11-year-old daughter has been awarded an academic scholarship to a private school. It's only a modest discount, but the scholarship means she'll bypass the snaking waiting list – provided my husband and I can fund the 20 grand a year shortfall. Should we commit to the abyss of private school fees, or choose free education instead at a partially selective state school?

I always assumed my children would go to private school, like I did. Not because my family is wealthy – but because I'd imbibed one of the mantras of my childhood home: Education is the best thing you can give your children, and its implied corollary: The best education is private.

Both my parents gave up their dreams of tertiary study in order to earn much-needed income for their families. Immigrants to Australia in the 1960s, Mum and Dad were textbook in that they worked hard to give my brother and me all the opportunities they'd been denied. They never pushed, but as a sensitive first-born, I absorbed my parents' unspoken hopes and aspirations: I would become a member of a profession and earn a good income, so I'd never have to struggle like they did.

At my academically oriented private school, the importance of education was reinforced. I learnt the lessons of Jewish history, a history filled with centuries of persecution and violent anti-Semitism. The message was clear: you may have to leave your birthplace, your home, your loved ones, but you can never be stripped of your education.

Against this backdrop, it took years for me to make peace with the fact that my two children attend our local public primary school.

They'll go to private for high school, I consoled myself. Yet here we are, our eldest now in year 6, and my husband and I will struggle to afford private school, even with that scholarship our daughter's been offered.

"Many families take a second mortgage to pay school fees," a friend cheerily suggests when I share my dilemma. But we're already drowning in debt, with my husband's salary bequeathed to a long line of greedy beneficiaries (first NAB, followed by Coles).

If we're to send our girl to private school, there's only one sane option: for me to increase my work hours and cash in on the benefits of the law degree I studied so hard for. The degree that was supposed to be my ticket to a good job and a solid income – except that's not quite how it turned out.

I aced the HSC, only to suffer through years of dreary law lectures at university, then advance to a career of well-paid but uninspiring jobs in corporate insurance. Now that I've finally escaped my creativity-starved cubicle, I'm not keen to resume my meaningless climb up the corporate ladder.

And yet I could still command a salary package that would pay the school fees, if I really had to. You can never be stripped of your education.

My husband – concerned I'll end up resenting the school-fee burden – isn't pushing me to resuscitate my career. My strong-willed daughter is unusually easygoing about the decision. "I have friends at both schools so I don't really mind," she says.

My parents, however, weigh in. "Thousands of children go to public school and they turn out fine," says my mother. "Why do you want to put yourselves under so much financial pressure?" adds my father, seemingly oblivious to the irony of his question, given he and Mum did the same for me.

The guilt and expectations are mine alone. As much as I don't subscribe to the "get your kid ahead" hype (I'm in the no-coaching, anti-homework camp), I'm quietly terrified that my daughter's potential will be wasted at the public school. That even in the selective stream, she'll be lost in the crowd. And yet I know that a return to corporate insurance will crush me.

Over many sleepless nights, I wrestle with the bullies in the classroom of my mind. The ones who taunt me, calling me hurtful names: "Selfish. Indulgent. Princess". And the meanest of all – the one who leaves me winded, gasping for air every time: "Lousy mother."

When I finally catch my breath, I confess to my tormentors that although I want the best for my daughter, I have my own dreams too. I cannot sacrifice everything for my precious girl, just so she can retrace my steps on the path from high ATAR, to university, to six-figure-salary but dissatisfied.

I explain that I want to be a positive role-model for my girl, and an unhappy parent is a terrible strain on a family. I point out that not even the privilege of private school will protect my beloved from ordinary outcomes, undesirable peers, disappointment or struggle.

And finally, the bullies back off. So it's decided. My daughter is going to the public school behind our home. She couldn't be more pleased. "I'll be able to sleep in and walk to school in one minute," she gloats.

It's taken me a little longer, but now I'm content. More than my fancy private-school education, it's my family that shaped me. With high school now 25 years in the past, I can no longer remember the mathematical formulae or Shakespearean quotes I once knew so perfectly. The lessons from my childhood home, however, have proved impossible to forget.


What I want you to know about my 'gifted' son

There is an extent below to which Wendy Wisner blames her problems with her son on his being "gifted" so I think I should note that his problems are unlikely to be from that cause. He sounds more like being somewhere on the autism spectrum. Autistics often have eerie abilities in limited areas, particularly in mathematics.

All the studies show that high IQ people are usually better off in all sorts of ways, from being better looking, for having more stable marriages to living longer. 

But since stories tend to be more persuasive than statistics, let me mention my own son.  He did well in various educational tasks, including getting a first class honours degree in mathematics, and took to computer programming like a duck to water. He is now a well-paid IT professional. So was he a difficult kid?  Far from it.  He was a placid baby, and a relaxed and unproblematical child. He does have one addiction -- to flavoured milk, which he battles manfully.  And he has a pretty lady of admirable character in his life.  High IQ people are the ones who come closest to "having it all"

I don't like the term "gifted." It seems too exclusive a term, and doesn't encompass the breadth of talents that children can have. My son isn't especially gifted in sports, visual art, dance or public speaking. He's gifted in all things academic. He's brainy. And his giftedness doesn't always feel like something to brag about. In fact, some of my real parenting struggles are related to the way his brain is wired.

But I feel so alone, like I can't share this with other parents.

From birth, my son had an intensity about him that made him different from most kids. When he was happy, he was ecstatic, but when he was upset, he was prone to epic tantrums. Even as a young toddler, he argued with a voracity that was biting, complex and unrelenting.

I think it's normal to lack self-confidence as a new parent. But almost a decade into parenting my gifted son, I still often feel completely and utterly lost. I wonder: Is he normal? Is it really supposed to be this difficult? Does he need more intellectual stimulation? Does he need less?

And I wonder about me, his mother. How on earth will I muster enough patience every day to deal with his willfulness, his outspoken personality and unrelenting energy? How can I create appropriate boundaries without squashing his unique abilities? How can I help create a life for him that nurtures his innate gifts but also gives him the ability to function normally and be happy?

Like many gifted children, my son reached milestones at a different rate than his peers. He began reading when he was 3. At 4, he was multiplying and doing long division. We didn't push these things on him. He begged for more knowledge, more information.

When he was in pre-K, he took the New York City Gifted and Talented Exam to see if he was eligible to attend one of our city's coveted gifted programs - and also because we were curious to see how he would score. He not only tested as "gifted" but received the highest possible score on the exam.

And yet, at the same time that he excelled in his young academic pursuits, he was slow to meet other milestones (toilet training, independent sleep and certain fine motor skills). This is what experts call "asynchronous development," and while my son certainly has accomplished all his toddler milestones by now, he still lags behind in some developmental areas where his peers seem to excel.

It should probably be noted that gifted children share many of the same characteristics as children diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, including an absorbing interest in a particular topic, and an uncanny ability to hyperfocus.

While many children are diagnosed with both - often called "twice exceptional" - this is not the case with my son. He does not exhibit the socialising difficulties that are the hallmark of Asperger's. He is very social, makes friends easily and doesn't have trouble expressing his feelings.

We decided early on in his education that we wanted him to have as normal a childhood as possible. Even though he gained admission to some of the city's top gifted programs, when we found out how competitive the programs were, and how much extra work the kids are given at such young ages, we decided not to send him to any of them. Instead, we enrolled him in our small neighbourhood school.

This plan has worked out well for the past few years. His teachers give him extra challenges when he finishes the regular class work, and he has plenty of time to pursue his own brainy interests outside of school. He certainly spends a fair share of his free time playing video games, but he also has also learned how to code and create video games himself.

I can't predict what his life will be like. I certainly want him to be successful, but I also know that he has an intensity that can make life difficult sometimes. As his mum, I worry. I worry that he will start to find school annoying or stressful. I worry that his seriousness and impetuousness will make him seem aloof or unfriendly. I worry that his profound drive for perfection will leave him feeling frustrated and disappointed.

And yet, I know I have little control over any of this, and that all I can do is love him unconditionally, guide him to make good decisions and then trust that things will work out the way they are supposed to in the end.

I want my son to know that wherever life takes him, I will always admire him deeply. I'm his biggest fan. And I'm thrilled to watch him grow up to see where his dazzling mind takes him.


Defiant tribunal welcomes fake jetset refugees

People-smugglers are out of business in Australia. Boats laden with asylum-seekers have stopped ­arriving. Yet Australia’s immigration system is under challenge from within.

Polls late last year point to large numbers of Australians wanting an end to Muslim migration, anywhere from a third to half those surveyed depending on the poll. The irony is that mislabelled "progressives" — Labor, the Greens, refugee activists, immigration lawyers, judges and other decision-makers doling out their own deluded, short-term version of compassion — are responsible for undermining support for ­migration to this country.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal is made up of judges, lawyers and others with "expert" knowledge. Some of these AAT members are front and centre in the emasculation of support for Australia’s immigration system. Not even the AAT’s judicial-inspired prolix prose can hide the fact the tribunal has agreed that many asylum-seekers have deliberately lied on visa applications. In simple language, that makes them fake refugees. Yet, over and over again, the AAT has decided to reinstate a visa that has been cancelled by the Immigration Min­ister’s delegate.

Consider these recent cases (specific details cannot be revealed for legal reasons).

The first has already been reported. Asylum-seeker "A" arrived by boat in 2011 and was granted a protection visa the following year claiming it was not safe for him to return to Iran. Once granted a visa, A returned to Iran three times, including to marry under Islamic law. The AAT decided that, even though A kept returning to the country in relation to which he claimed fear of persecution, he was entitled to a protection visa.

The second case, not reported until now, causes more than a raised eyebrow of disbelief. Asylum-seeker "B" claimed to be a stateless Faili Kurd, not an Iranian citizen, in fear for his life in Iran. B travelled to Indonesia by plane on what he claimed to be a false Iranian passport. B’s lie came to light when, after he received a protection visa, he applied for a new Iranian passport in Australia and travelled home for a visit. B admitted to the AAT that he told lies on his visa application. He admitted he was an Iranian citizen and that he had a valid Iranian passport, which he destroyed on the advice of people-smugglers in Indonesia.

Despite the lies, B claimed his wife’s conversion to Christianity gave rise to a non-refoulement ­ob­ligation not to return him to Iran. B’s wife claimed a long interest in the Christian faith. The AAT said her religious conversion was not genuine: her conversion to Christianity happened only after the couple were notified that their protection visas were being cancelled for false information. The AAT concluded B had provided incorrect information and had failed to comply with the ­Mig­ration Act. Then the AAT decided, because the couple had children while in Australia, it was in the children’s best interests for the AAT to reinstate B’s protection visa.

In the year to April, the AAT overturned 4389 — or 39 per cent — of visa decisions made by the minister’s delegate. Cold numbers tell only part of the story. Consider this case, which has a certain familiar flavour: asylum-seeker "C" claimed in his protection visa application that he was stateless, was not an Iranian citizen, that he had travelled to Indonesia on a false passport and that a people-smuggler had taken that passport.

C arrived in Australia by boat with no identity documents. Except that C later applied for and received an Iranian passport, which he used to enter and leave Iran once he had a protection visa. The AAT found the inaccurate information C provided undermined the integrity of Australia’s migration program — yet, once again, the AAT reinstated C’s protection visa.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is right to shake his head at these decisions. Consider another case. Asylum-seeker D claimed to be a stateless Faili Kurd, not an Iranian citizen, used a false passport to travel to Indonesia and claimed he feared for his safety if returned to Iran. Once D received a protection visa, D obtained a valid Iranian passport, suggesting Iranian citizenship, and travelled to Iran for a visit. The AAT found that D had lied on the visa application, that a protection visa would not have been granted if accurate information had been provided. Yet, the AAT reinstated D’s visa, overturning the cancellation.

Notice the pattern of lies from asylum-seekers? Notice the pattern of decisions from the AAT? It’s a bit rich for the AAT to say asylum-seekers providing false information in visa applications undermine the integrity of Australia’s migration program, only to then reinstate liars’ visas.

The combination of fake refugees and misguided AAT members is a double whammy that undermines the integrity of our migration system.

It’s boringly predictable for the Law Council to slap down the Immigration Minister for being critical of some AAT decisions. No judge, lawyer or other person with apparent special expertise on the AAT is above criticism in a democracy. Outgoing AAT president Duncan Kerr says AAT members are simply applying the law. But which law? Explicit provisions in the Migration Act about providing inaccurate information in a visa application are given short shrift. The unfortunate ­directive to asylum-seekers emerging from AAT decisions is fake it ’til you make it.

The shy members of the AAT can expect increased curiosity about their decisions. Last week in Senate estimates, Immigration Department boss Mike Pezzullo released dynamite information: 335 visa holders are being considered for cancellation. He also set out the scale of previous rorts: since 2014, 278 protection visas have been cancelled. Two-thirds of the cancellations arose from evidence of people travelling back to countries in relation to which persecution was claimed. Another third related to people providing incorrect or false information.

Bleeding-heart faux compassionistas, be they in Labor, the Greens or on the AAT, should try to better understand our history. As a migrant nation, Australia has shown strong support for high rates of immigration and a generous humanitarian intake of refugees per capita.

Support for immigration from Australians is most stable and secure when the Australian government, not repugnant people-smugglers piling people into unsafe boats, determines our ­migration policy.

Profiling Dutton in Fairfax Media newspapers last weekend, Jane Cadzow wrote that "he can sometimes sound like an anti-immigration minister". Except that it’s not anti-immigration to point out that Australia faces unprecedented security threats from terrorists, extremists and criminals who seek to exploit migration pathways to citizenship for their own ends.

It’s not anti-IMMIGRATION to deport criminals. It’s not anti-immigrant to point out that some asylum-seekers are quick to complete welfare forms but rather slow making visa applications. And it’s not anti-immigration to shake your head at decisions by the AAT that undermine the integrity of our migration system.


Peter Dutton seeks stronger powers over citizenship decisions

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton would be given stronger powers to override independent judicial decisions on citizenship applications under new laws to be introduced to Parliament in the next fortnight.

Mr Dutton said the Administrative Appeals Tribunal currently has the ability to make decisions against Australia's national interest by ignoring his department's advice and overturning government deportation orders.

The government will introduce new citizenship laws this week and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says they'll focus on English language competency and more thorough background checks.
The Greens have labelled the move a power grab by Mr Dutton and said the "draconian measure" aimed to undermine multicultural Australia.

But the Immigration Minister argued the changes would merely address an "anomaly" and allow him to deny citizenship to people with a criminal record.

"The important point here is that this aligns the current treatment of a visa cancellation and a reinstatement by the AAT. At the moment, that doesn't exist under the citizenship law," he said on Monday.

He said people could still appeal the decision at the Federal Court and High Court.

The government has criticised the AAT for overturning some of its decisions, including on a case where Iranian refugees reportedly travelled back to their former country for a holiday.

On Monday, former prime minister Tony Abbott said the AAT lacked common sense and tribunal members "that make bizarre decisions shouldn't have their contracts renewed".

Greens immigration spokesman Nick McKim said Mr Dutton was trying to "make himself judge, jury and jailer" under "unfair" citizenship changes.

"Peter Dutton has repeatedly shown he cannot follow the current laws - now he wants to get rid of the right of the courts to correct his unlawful decision."

Fairfax Media has revealed that public feedback on changes to the citizenship test - also set to be introduced to Parliament in coming days - will not be made public, a departure from regular processes.

Mr Dutton and Mr McKim have framed the measures as a test for Labor.

The opposition has not yet indicated whether it will offer its support, but citizenship spokesman Tony Burke has promised the party will "deal responsibly with any sensible proposal".

Without the Greens, the government needs either Labor or 10 votes from the 12-strong Senate crossbench.


Must not say that Muslims get kid glove treatment

In an exchange on Australia's Left-leaning ABC TV, conservative commentator Gerard Henderson mentioned several instances of Violent Muslims being given parole and then going on to kill. He suggested that they would not normally have ben given parole but were given it out of political correctness. 

This was objectionable to other participants in the show and his suggestion was regarded as refuted when ONE example (Bayley/Meagher) of a non-Muslim killing while on parole was brought up.  Since Henderson was not arguing that ONLY Muslims were wrongly released, that was not in fact a conclusive reply. 

It may also be worth noting that the case of Adrian Ernest Bayley and Jill Meagher was in 2012, after which bail laws were tightened.  I have deleted a few rather frantic value judgments below

"Insiders" host Barrie Cassidy was discussing Australian parole restrictions with the show’s panel, following the revelation that Yacqub Khayre was on parole.

Khayre killed a man and took a woman hostage in the up-market Melbourne suburb of Brighton last week and Islamic State claimed he was one of the group’s soldiers.

Political commentator and author Gerard Henderson then launched into a tirade about why he was on parole and implied it was because of the killer’s religion.

"(Man) Monis, the terrorist in Sydney, why did he get bail? I think he got bail because he dressed as an Imam and pretended he was a persecuted Muslim and he got bail despite the fact he was on very serious charges," Mr Henderson said.

"On charge of 40 sexual assaults. If his name had been Gerard Henderson he wouldn’t have got bail. This guy in Victoria (Khayre) much the same.

"The idea of parole as I understand from my legal studies is it encourages prisoners to behave. "(Khayre) as I understand it, committed crimes in prison, engaged in one or two arson attempts within prison. If his name had been Gerard Henderson he wouldn’t have got out on parole, he would’ve served a full term.

"Why did he get out? Because he presented as a Muslim, as an African, because he presented as a persecuted person."

Fellow panellist and political journalist, Karen Middleton, said to Mr Henderson: "I think that’s going a bit far isn’t it?" and Cassidy asked Mr Henderson if he believed this was the attitude of parole boards across the country.

"I’m not generalising about parole boards across the country, I don’t know anything about parole boards across the country," Mr Henderson said.

Mr Cassidy was perplexed and said "but you’re saying there’s a pro-Muslim bias in favour".

Mr Henderson then referred back to Man Monis, who took customers and staff hostage inside Sydney’s Lindt Cafe.

"How do you explain Monis?" Mr Henderson said. "Everyone virtually in Australia concedes he shouldn’t have got bail. Everyone can see this guy in Melbourne (Khayre) shouldn’t have got parole, now why did they get them?"

Mr Cassidy then suggested it wasn’t just a case of Muslims getting parole in Australia who then went on to commit murder.

"The same happened with white Christians in this country, they were given bail when they shouldn’t have been given bail and they went out and committed murders so I don’t see how it’s ..." Mr Cassidy said.

He was interrupted by Mr Henderson who said "just a minute. If that were the case I’d condemn it but who were the white Christians in Australia who were given bail and went out and committed murders?".

Referring to Melbourne ABC worker Ms Meagher, who was murdered by Bayley while he was on parole, Mr Cassidy said "there’s one very close to the ABC".

"Who committed a murder?" Mr Henderson said.

Mr Cassidy replied, "no an ABC employee" before Ms Middleton interrupted "he’s talking about the Jill Meagher case".

Viewers reacted to the awkward exchange on Twitter with one saying Mr Henderson had a "bigoted viewpoint".


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 June, 2017

Minimum Wage hikes don't cost jobs (?)

As the article below says, this is a contentious subject with evidence either way. The law of supply and demand is very much an 'iron' law, one incapable of repeal.  So increasing the price of labour must reduce the demand for it. And labour costs are a major part of costs for most businesses so the effect should be pretty obvious.

That is however in a "ceteris paribus" situation and other things are not always equal. A very old observation on the matter -- going back to Henry Ford and persuasively argued in modern times by Ron Unz -- is that workers are also buyers so giving them more money means that they will spend more and thus increase demand -- which will in turn increase the income of businesses, thus enabling them to pay their workers the mandated rise. That is something of a perpetual motion argument but is probably partly true.

A less adventurous argument is that large pay rises tend to be granted in periods of prosperity so the empoyer can afford them and all that happens is that the balance of returns to labour and capital is restored.

The least persuasive argument is that higher wages tend to incentivize higher productivity, thus enabling the boss to pay more.  That may happen but only in isolated instances, one would think.

Australia is in a very different situation to the United States.  Minimum wages are almost always set nationally in Australia, whereas American minima can be set Federally, Statewide or even on a municipal basis.  And high municipal minima do tend to spark evasion in the USA.  Businesses simply move out of town to where the set wages are lower.  Seattle appears to be an example of that. So the law of supply and demand is as reliably present as ever in the matter of minimum wages. 

So, from that example, my conclusion is that offsetting effects are probably large in Australia but unregulated wages would probably still generate higher levels of employment

What was it thinking? On Tuesday, the normally hard-hearted Fair Work Commission drove up the cost of labour 3.3 per cent. From July 1 the full-time minimum wage jumps from $34,975 to $36,135 – that's an extra $22 a week, the biggest increase in ages.

It will spread far beyond the lowest-paid. The Commission believes that 23 per cent of Australian workers, almost 1 in 4, will benefit from the flow-on increase to awards. And it'll spread further, to enterprise agreements that need to compete with awards.

It'll cost jobs. There are "experts" who say so. "It's just got to be reducing employment, it's just got to be," said one, quoted in the Financial Review. Business will be forced to "reduce costs through cutting jobs or other investments," said another, in The Australian.

You'd think so. If a business' costs go up and its income doesn't, it'll have to cut back. It makes sense.

Just as it makes sense to think that lower class sizes improve educational outcomes.  They ought to. But while that's obviously true in extreme cases (if class sizes or wages were increased tenfold, it would hurt), normal-size adjustments, of the kind that are usually made, seem to have no effect whatsoever. And these are some of the most intensively studied questions in economics.

I'll leave class sizes for another day. On wages, the commissioners said those studies had "fortified" its view that modest and regular wage increases "do not result in disemployment effects".

The latest, and most damning, is a seven decade-study released in May by the United States National Employment Law Project entitled Raise Wages, Kill Jobs?

"If the claims of minimum wage opponents are akin to saying 'the sky is falling', this report is an effort to check whether the sky did indeed fall," the authors say.

They examined each of the 22 increases in the US federal minimum wage between 1938 and 2009 to determine whether either employment or hours worked had dropped in the year that followed.

"The results were clear: these basic economic indicators show no correlation between federal minimum wage increases and lower employment levels, even in the industries that are most impacted by higher minimum wages," they reported.

We find it hard to believe that modest wage increases don't cost jobs, because they ought to.

"To the contrary, in the substantial majority of instances (68 per cent) overall employment increased after a federal minimum-wage increase. In the most substantially affected industries, the rates were even higher: in the leisure and hospitality sector employment rose 82 per cent of the time following a federal wage increase, and in the retail sector it was 73 per cent of the time."

"Moreover, the small minority of instances in which employment declined, all occurred during periods of recession or near recession. That pattern strongly suggests that the few instances of such declines are better explained by the business cycle than by the minimum wage."

They go on to observe that their findings aren't really surprising. Study after study has found the same thing.

We find it hard to believe that modest wage increases don't cost jobs, because they ought to. Where's the employer going to find the money? But cutting jobs can cost money, and the money can come from higher prices and from getting more out of each worker, so-called productivity growth. Of late productivity has been growing faster than wages, so the commission's decision puts things back into balance.

And partly because when workers are paid more, they stay more and become better workers, and even become better ambassadors for the businesses that employ them. And because, occasionally, wage increases are really big. When they are big enough, low wage workers become higher wage workers and spend more, especially in shops and food outlets, the kind of industries that are likely to employ them.

There's just a chance the commission knows what it's doing.


Awards council drops 'Australian of the Year finalist' line from Egyptian con-woman

The National Australia Day Council appears to be mainly a Leftist do-gooder outfit not in close touch with reality. They even honoured false-prophet Tim Flannery once.  This latest episode is more evidence that their awards are idiosyncratic and not to be taken seriously

The organisation behind the Australian of the Year awards has watered down its biography of accused fraudster Eman Sharobeem in an apparent move to distance the disgraced finalist from its flagship awards.

The National Australia Day Council this week dropped a reference to Ms Sharobeem being an Australian of the Year finalist from an official profile on its website after questions from Fairfax Media.

Fairfax Media approached the National Australia Day Council about the impact of a corruption investigation into Ms Sharobeem and whether the council had reviewed vetting procedures on nominees.

In response, the council issued a statement, saying it would defer a response until after the Independent Commission Against Corruption finished an inquiry into allegations the former head of two publicly-funded community organisations defrauded taxpayers of more than $600,000, including spending on personal goods such as Botox, jewellery and a Mercedes.

But the council also sought to ring-fence its highest awards from the taint of its former ambassador, asserting she was part of a lesser category as a "NSW Local Hero category finalist in the Australian of the Year Awards" and not an Australian of the Year finalist.

Fairfax Media questioned the claim, directing a spokeswoman to the Australia Day council's own website on Wednesday morning. It described the one-time high-flying ambassador for the organisation as a "finalist for Australian Of The Year 2015". A screenshot was saved at 11:20am.

Shortly before 5pm, another council spokesman, Damian Tunney, emailed Fairfax, dismissing questions about the council describing her as an Australian of the Year finalist, stating the profile "uses the phrase 'finalist in the Local Hero category for the Australian Of The Year Awards in 2015…'".

A check of the website against the earlier screenshot revealed the content had been changed after Fairfax Media's inquiry.

Asked why the page was changed, Mr Tunney said "that the website has been updated since your enquiry this morning that highlighted the ambiguity".

While the council showed tremendous haste changing the description of Ms Sharobeem's award, it has not removed the title "Dr" nor claims of previous jobs in her professional biography that have been dismantled by the ICAC and Fairfax Media stories over the past four months.

The council has not responded to questions about whether it vetted her background before she was shortlisted as a category finalist and made an awards ambassador. Nor has it responded to questions about what evidence it had to support calling Ms Sharobeem "Dr".

Fairfax Media has revealed that Ms Sharobeem has had her assets frozen by the powerful NSW Crime Commission, the existence of a secret ICAC investigation and that her claims to have two PhDs and be a practising psychologist cannot be substantiated.

In the wake of the revelations, the ICAC began public hearings last month. Ms Sharobeem conceded to the commission she never studied for a PhD but maintains she received an honorary doctorate in Egypt but cannot provide evidence for it because of a fire during the Arab Spring uprising.

Ms Sharobeem, who was chief executive of the Immigrant Womens Health Services for 11 years until 2015, was photographed receiving a citation as a finalist in the awards by then Premier Mike Baird. Her award contributed to a media profile that helped gain her a series of government-related advisory bodies. The ICAC is inquiring into her use of false qualifications to obtain those positions.

After she left the IWHS she was offered a job at broadcaster SBS which she left around the time of the asset freeze in February.

Ms Sharobeem, who endured a torrid five days of evidence in the witness box last month before being excused on health grounds, is due to return to the witness box for a further three days beginning Tuesday.

Other witnesses still to appear include her sons Richard and Charlie, who are alleged recipients of her fraudulent largesse, and her husband Haiman Hammo, who is alleged to have received a Mercedes partly funded by the taxpayer.


New footage reveals sheer violence of Andrew Bolt attack outside Melbourne restaurant

Alarming new footage shows commentator Andrew Bolt being assaulted on the streets of Melbourne in what he says is an example of how dangerous the city has become for conservatives.

The video, posted on social media on Thursday morning, shows a hooded man approaching Bolt from behind and throwing a substance at his head, initiating a brawl in broad daylight on busy Lygon Street.

The ensuing scuffle sees Bolt pushed into a pole and then falling over chairs and tables outside a restaurant. He fights back fiercely, kicking and punching his two assailants in the face and groin before they give up and start to walk away.

An unknown man shouts "what are you doing?" and "go away" as the brawl concludes.

The assault took place on Tuesday at the launch of The Art of the Impossible, a book on Donald Trump and the 2016 US presidential election campaign by RMIT associate professor Steve Kates.

On Tuesday night Victoria Police confirmed it was investigating the "incident" and was searching for three men: the two assailants plus a third man who was wielding a camera and "appeared to be filming or taking photos".

Police confirmed Bolt was hit with a mixture of shaving cream and glitter.

Speaking to Fairfax Media on Thursday morning, Bolt said he was sick of being targeted for his conservative beliefs and would pursue his attackers for justice and demand a charitable donation.

"I'm not a brawler," he said. "I had one bruised knuckle and I don't care a stuff about it. I had a suit ruined and I want every cent of that paid back. And I want a hefty donation to a charity of my choice."

Melbourne Antifa, a loose collection of left-wing activists united behind "anti-fascist action", appeared to claim a role in the incident, posting on Facebook that "some of our family in solidarity were attacked by Andrew Bolt while they were protesting today".

The group argued Bolt should be imprisoned for his "violent, horrendous language".

Bolt told Fairfax Media the attack was the latest in a long line of threats to the safety of himself, his family and other conservatives in his home city.

"I am sick of people trying to intimidate me, trying to threaten me," he said. "I'm sick of the threats on my life and my reputation. I'm sick of being sued and bullied and I'm not going to take it. I'm just not going to take it.

"We should be free to have a debate and to walk down the street without fear of being attacked.

"The right to free speech has to be better protected – everywhere but particularly in Melbourne. It is ridiculous how dangerous it is for conservatives in this town to speak out.

"If you don't like what I say just prove me wrong. Don't threaten me, don't threaten my house, don't threaten my family, don't abuse me – just argue with me. "It must be a question of the principle and not the side."


Official Australian report says "renewable" power must be backed up by other generators for when renewables don't deliver

Huge costs coming, possibly big enough to derail much more take-up of "renewables"

After widespread power blackouts last summer, the long-awaited Finkel review of the electricity market has put energy security and stability centre stage, with a raft of technical recommendations put to the Council of Australian Governments meeting on Friday. But tackling the more complex issue of how to move beyond the existing renewable energy target remains on the backburner.

A key recommendation is for an Energy Security Board to be established, reflecting the need to ensure widespread blackouts are avoided with the shift to renewable energy as coal-fired power stations are shut down.

But the recommendation has triggered immediate concerns that "going easy" on pushing power generators to cut emissions will place greater pressure on other parts of industry, and the transport sector, to make tougher cuts to their emissions.

In particular, failing to endorse a move beyond the existing target of reducing emissions, by 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, misses an important opportunity. To do so, Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel argued, "may have consequences for security, cost and reliability".

"This will set expectations and help to guide investment decisions in the electricity sector by providing an anchor point for Australia's long-term emissions trajectory."

As a result, by pushing for a so-called "clean energy target"  rather than a more rigorous means of cutting emissions such as with an energy intensity scheme, the recommendation won the immediate backing of the energy utilities.

"While we have advocated for an emissions intensity scheme (EIS), ... a clean energy target is a viable policy option and will unleash the necessary new investment in the national electricity market," AGL said, pointing out the review had found the resource costs of such a scheme were relatively similar to both business-as-usual and an EIS.

The clean energy target would be "technologically neutral", the report noted, while also helping to lower long-term emissions. "For example, a mix of wind, solar and coal generation would be equally acceptable as a mix of wind, solar and gas generation as long as the emissions reduction trajectory is achieved."

Both a clean energy target and an emissions intensity scheme "are credible emissions reduction mechanisms because they minimise costs for consumers, are flexible and adaptable, and satisfy security and reliability criteria", the review found. "Both mechanisms ... deliver better price outcomes than business as usual."

However a clean energy target "could build directly on the experience of the renewable energy target" and avoid the need for new trading rules and further complexity and hence be implemented comparatively painlessly.

Energy Action's director of innovation and sustainability, Paul Bannister, said the decision to opt for a clean energy target was "pragmatic" since it may more easily win political support, rather than an energy intensity scheme.

"But this is always open to meddling," he said, warning of the potential for political intervention in the future.

Similarly, while the review has backed the emergence of so-called "micro-grids" any change could be some time off since a review of the relevant regulations will not begin for a year.

"The development of a functioning smart grid where energy users can sell demand reductions and surplus on-site generation in a free-market environment is central to the necessary reforms," Energy Action's Mr Bannister said. "This is essential to ensure a least-cost outcome for energy users and the economy as a whole."

The chief executive of Origin Energy, Frank Calabria, said he hoped the Finkel review "will pave the way for a more co-ordinated national approach to energy and climate policy".

"The important work now begins as industry and governments work together to translate recommendations into actions.

"Getting Australia's energy and climate change policy settings right is crucial to attracting the investment required to maintain a secure and affordable supply of energy to Australian homes and businesses, as we continue the transition to a low-carbon economy."

The release of the Finkel review into the electricity system comes as electricity consumers are bracing for another round of "sticker shock" from surging electricity bills.  Prices in the ACT are rising around 20 per cent, while AGL announced on Friday it would raise charges in NSW by 16 per cent from July 1 and by 18 per cent in South Australia for all households on so-called standing offers, as the surge in wholesale prices flows through to consumers.

Yet while the Finkel review was touted as providing a road map to lower electricity prices, the report failed to indicate how this will be achieved, since it has made it clear substantial new investment will be needed in the long-distance transmission  network, for example, with the cost burden to be borne by all consumers.

Central to the report is boosting the role of renewables and it backs new renewable energy projects having backup systems to help improve their reliability and smooth some of the "intermittency" that has plagued the electricity market.

"It's about time," one energy trader said. "Intermittency is the key issue with renewables. It is not unusual these days to see wind providing 40 per cent of all output. But it is not there at peak demand times, when it is needed.

"This has placed an additional cost on consumers and the other generators. So really, it is 'about time' additional renewables had some sort of back up."

Craig Memery of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre warned this will force consumers to pay "more than they should in the long run".

"Requiring new renewable energy operators to invest in energy storage technologies or come up with other ways of addressing their variable output is expensive and unnecessary," he said. "Placing additional obligations on renewable energy generators runs the risk of using less cost-efficient approaches, which translates to higher costs for consumers."

But higher charges are unavoidable with the need to build more transmission lines to accommodate more renewable energy plants.

"There is a lot of infrastructure spending coming," warned Gavin Dufty, policy officer with the St Vincent de Paul Society. "That raises the issue of who pays for it and how it is allocated – and that's quite regressive", referring to the fact that the cost will more likely fall heaviest on households and businesses who can't afford to install solar systems, and the like.

"If you go on a big infrastructure spend, households and small businesses will pay – but you need to allocate that cost in line with people's ability to pay. System security doesn't come cheap. This transition is costly. It is one of the biggest infrastructure challenges we've got – this is big dollars, and will wash through onto the household bill."

The Finkel review warned that newer renewable power generators "will likely be smaller in scale but more numerous than coal-fired generators, so a more co-ordinated approach to transmission planning is required". As part of this, it wants "a long-term, integrated grid plan ... to establish an optimal transmission network design to enable the connection of new renewable energy resources".

"Co-ordination of generation and transmission investment so that networks connect the areas with the best renewable energy resources, at an efficient scale, will be a critical challenge. Transmission businesses need to be incentivised to build the network infrastructure required for the future of the [national energy market], but not to build unnecessarily."

As BusinessDay reported when the federal government first unveiled its plan to boost capacity of the Snowy Hydro scheme in early March, the headline cost of $1.5 billion-$2 billion would double once the need for upgraded transmission links was taken into account, which was confirmed earlier this month in Senate estimates hearings.

And it has gone unnoticed that on the back of the plan by the Victorian government to lift to 40 per cent the supply of electricity sourced from renewable energy within the next decade, plans are already afoot for as much as 5000 megawatts of new renewable projects in western Victoria alone, of which Australian Energy Markets Operator reckons 3000 megawatts will probably be built. But if the AEMO forecast proves to be conservative and the full 5000 MW is built, that would be more than enough to replace three times the capacity of the recently shuttered Hazelwood power station (1600 megawatts), and more than Loy Yang A (2200Mw) and Loy Yang B (1600Mw) combined.

According to AEMO, this will need heavy spending on the transmission network throughout that part of the state to get the power to market, with private estimates that the cost could run to several billion dollars. And unless the network companies are paid to build those links, that renewable energy won't find a home.

"Without network investments to improve [network] strength, the 3000 megawatts of new renewable generation may still be constrained or disconnected," AEMO warned in a recent report, "even after investments to improve network thermal capacity have been carried out."

"Adding 4000 or 5000 megawatts would need a major transmission upgrade of $3 billion-$4 billion," one senior power industry figure said. "There appears to be a 'cargo-cult' mentality taking hold – build it [the network] and they will come. By going about this process the way it has, via a  so-called 'regulatory investment test for transmission' this will push up consumers' bills, since they will have to foot the cost of the expansion and the ongoing cost of operating it.

"There is an existing approach under the electricity market rules which allows for 'scale efficient' network expansion. Under this approach, the builder of the additional generation capacity pays for the network upgrade, which is only fair since it will profit from the move.

"By adopting the approach put out there by AEMO for this network upgrade, this will add to the bills of all electricity users. These upgrades should only proceed if paid for by the generator."


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 June, 2017

Australian climate skeptics use Socrates to question global warming

AN ad published in a major newspaper purports to prove climate change isn’t real using a hypothetical conversation with Socrates. The Climate Study Group says it researches ‘climate truths’. I have deleted some opinionated adjectives below.

I can see no substance in the criticisms below.  The argument is straightforward:  High CO2 in the past was not bad so why is it bad now?  Life thrived mightily in an era when CO2 levels were much higher than now so why is life threatened now, amid much lower levels of CO2?  Is not raised CO2 good for life rather than threatening to life?  Is not a small rise in CO2 likely to be beneficial on balance?

It is true that there were no humans in the Carboniferous but there were plenty of dinosaurs with respiratory systems very similar to ours.  And our metabolism is in fact more flexible than theirs so we are better at adapting.  So we should thrive amid raised CO2 as well

A GROUP that claims to study “climate truths” is behind a newspaper ad that uses ancient philosopher Socrates to try and prove climate change isn’t real.

The paid advertisement ran in The Australian newspaper, published by NewsCorp, which also publishes, on Friday has shocked both scientists and philosophers as it tries to link the two disciplines to prove CO2 and fossil fuels have nothing to do with global warming.

The quarter-page advertisement features a large image of Socrates and showcases a “hypothetical conversation” between the philosopher and a fictional “strong believer in climate change”, dubbed Mr Smith.

The conversation sees Socrates question Mr Smith’s unwavering belief about emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels which were formed before and during the carboniferous period.

In the imaginary exchange, Socrates questions whether there was evidence of global warming prior to this period, and makes some other “philosophical inquiries”, which are then claimed to “reveal the truth with compelling logic and facts which refute longheld belief”. Mr Smith is led to finally “understand the truth” and ultimately reject climate change.

Social media users have slammed the add, and Reddit commentators have called it just plain weird. Actual experts are outraged too.

Deakin University senior philosophy lecturer Patrick Stokes said aside from scientific conjecture, the philosophical side of the group’s argument was dangerously flawed.

“The reason that climate change denialists like Socrates is they are wedding to a brave individual exposing the corrupt elite,” he said. “The problem is of course that science doesn’t work the way Socratic questioning works. The idea that you come along and lob a couple of Socratic questions and explode it all just doesn’t hold water.”

Mr Stokes said there were “glaring fallacies” in the argument, and argued that Socrates would have been “quite affronted” by the ad. He said on Twitter: “Whoever wrote this: Socrates would have kicked your arse, and rightly so.”

Melbourne University climate scientist Andrew King said the advert put forward “a nonsensical ill-founded argument”.

“Essentially their argument is the CO2 was higher in the past and that the carbon is from a natural source,” Dr King said. “One obvious criticism is that the Carboniferous Period (being 300 million years ago) is a poor analog for the climate of today. It was warmer but lifeforms were also very different with nothing similar to humans.

“Human life is adapted to the climate we have today. If the climate was much warmer, as in the Carboniferous period, we’d be in a lot of trouble! Really?  Our present tropics are many degrees warmer than Europe but people still thrive there, including high birthrates.  And warming up Siberia would be very congenial.  The man is talking rubbish

“They also talk about the lack of “dangerous global warming” in the Carboniferous period, but, in a large part, the problems that result from global warming are caused by the absolute temperature as opposed to the rate of change of temperature.” But that is what the skeptics are arguing

Dr King also argued it was unfair to invoke Socrates. He said that having been dead for a long time he wasn’t around to give his own opinion. spoke to the convener of The Climate Study Group, who described the organisation as “a group that studies the climate truths”.

The man asked to remain anonymous for fear of hate mail, but has previously publicly identified himself as the leader of the organisation in government submissions and articles.

He said he did not wish to discuss the advertisement or the research behind it any further.

The same organisation came under fire for another unusual advertisement that took a similar format and was published in the same paper in August 2015.

In an advertorial entitled “Psychology and the new climate alarm”, the climate-denial collective sought to use psychological research to prove there was no evidence that CO2 had affected climate.

See here for details of the 2015 advert

The Australian Psychology Society attacked the group, saying it was “disturbed to see psychology being used to mislead the public” and claimed the publisher had ignored a “huge body of scientific evidence”. Like what?

The same band of climate deniers has also been behind bizarre research papers and submissions to the Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister, and Minister for the Environment, using its own research to back up allegations that economists were being alarmist due to their psychological makeup and that an ice age is the most urgent environmental threat.


Pauline Hanson slams Islamic Council's push for taxpayer-funded 'safe spaces' for young Muslims to make 'frank' comments

Pauline Hanson has rubbished suggestions from the Islamic Council of Victoria that Muslim youths should be provided with taxpayer-funded 'safe spaces' to make 'inflammatory' and 'frank' comments out of the public eye.

The One Nation leader said she was 'totally against' the proposal, which is an effort by Muslim leaders to tackle the growing problem of radicalised youth in Australia.

'What a load of rubbish! How much more money have we got to put in to this to make them feel good about themselves?,' she told Samantha Armytage on Sunrise.

Ms Hanson went on to say the federal government needed to ban Muslims from 'certain extremist countries' coming into Australia.

'The ones who are coming back from overseas fighting shouldn't be allowed back in the country. I don't want these people in this country,' she said. 'They are spreading their hate and their evil towards others that are possibly turning to radicalisation.'

In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into freedom of religion, Islamic leaders have demanded government funding for anti-terrorism and anti-extremism should be used to create the religious sanctuaries.

'To create safe spaces urgently needed by Muslim youth to meet and talk about a range of issues in emotional terms, where they can be frank and even use words, which in a public space would sound inflammatory,' the submission reads.

'That they cannot express irony, humour, anger or joy in words and facial expressions that would make them a target for 'surveillance' is a cause for despondency leading to mental health issues among many.'

The Council also points out the inability for Muslim adherents to safely practice their religion without feeling subject to surveillance is a 'human rights issue'.

'There are human rights issues which restrict Muslim's in Victoria and nationally to enjoy the same human right to freedom of religion or belief that other Australians currently enjoy,' it said.

The submission calls on the government to advocate higher research and programs to address the rise of other non-Muslim extremism in Australia such as far-right groups.

Ms Hanson rejected claims from the Islamic Council that Melbourne siege gunman Yacqub Khayres could have been influenced by drugs and mental health problems rather than extremist Muslim ideologies.

'Let's deal with the whole facts. A lot of people in our society have mental issues and are on drugs,' she said. 'In towns like this, I am travelling out to the bush again, they have a big problem with ice and drugs and depression throughout our country. People do not talk to violence and murder other people.

Following Melbourne's deadly siege on Monday which killed one innocent man, Victoria's state government will discuss radical new anti-terrorism measures, the Herald Sun reports.

The ice-addicted gunman was shot dead along with innocent receptionist Kai Hao, 36, in a bloody siege for which the militant group claimed responsibility.

Despite police labelling it a suspected terror attack, the state's peak Muslim body warned against inflaming tensions and branded the gunman 'confused.' The council said while there are debates over the gunman's motive, it was clear had a long criminal record and a trail of violence.

'We understand that the police are investigating this as a potential terrorist attack but note that the perpetrator himself appeared to be confused as to who he was acting on behalf, claiming allegiance to both ISIS and AlQaeda, known enemies.'

'Whether this act was inspired by an evil warped ideology or was in fact the actions of a deranged violent individual, this does not change the reality that a horrendous crime was committed in which an innocent person was killed, a woman was held hostage, and police officers' lives were put at risk.'

They warned against provoking tensions with the Muslim and Somali communities, which could promote further attacks.

'What we must avoid is sensationalising or somehow attributing unwarranted significance to these criminals because it exacerbates prevailing fears and tensions and potentially encourages copycat behaviour.'

'We would also like to express our support to the Somali community who will be unfairly vilified because of the actions of this one man. They have made, and continue to make, an invaluable contribution to Victorian society.'

A review into Khayre's prison and parole management has been ordered as the government revealed up to 22 Victorians a year are undergoing anti-radicalisation programs.

The state's Corrections Minister Gayle Tierney repeatedly refused to answer questions in parliament about Khayre because she has ordered the review.

But she did reveal the Islamic Council of Victoria is currently working with up to 22 people undertaking anti-radicalisation programs.

'In the last state budget there was an allocation of $6.385 million over four years for anti-radicalisation programs, ' Ms Tierney told the Legislative Council on Tuesday.

'The Islamic Council of Victoria is contracted to deliver the program and is currently working with up to 22 prisoners and people in the community each year.'


Police left powerless to stop speeding offenders exploiting no-pursuit laws with more than 110 evading arrest every week - as cops call for an end to the 'failed policy'

Another stupid policy maintained by a Leftist government

Union chiefs have called for Queensland's no pursuit policy to be scrapped after the latest police statistics revealed a sharp increase in drivers evading officers.

In the last year Queensland Police statistics obtained between March 2016 and April 2017 indicated that 5,871 police evasion offences were recorded, breaking down to nearly 113 offences weekly.

Those figures show a staggering 29 percent increase on the previous year's figure of 4,554 and has prompted Queensland Police Union boss Ian Leavers to urge the Palaszczuk Government to abolish the no pursuit policy giving cops the freedom to chase.

Police chiefs have defended the law suggesting public safety must come first and have highlighted the lack of fatalities from pursuits as a key factor for the policy to stand    +3
Police chiefs have defended the law suggesting public safety must come first and have highlighted the lack of fatalities from pursuits as a key factor for the policy to stand

Mr Leavers ripped into the policy, suggesting it was the wrong course of action to take with the current situation impractical.

'These stats which have risen more than threefold over the last year clearly show the current 'no pursuits policy' for police is a dismal failure and should be consigned to the wastepaper bin,' Mr Leavers told The Courier Mail.

Mr Leaver believes that public knowledge of the policy gives an element of freedom to drivers who can flee from officers at will, knowing they won't be chased.

He also pointed to the trust placed in police officers to use firearms at their discretion, suggesting the same legislation should be in place for pursuits.

The current pursuit policy was introduced in 2012 after a coroner suggested a restricted rule following a series of fatal crashes in Queensland.

The legislation states that pursuits are 'inherently dangerous' and are only permitted on the strict basis that those fleeing are an 'imminent threat to life' or have been involved in or threatened a murder.

If caught evading officers on two separate occasions, the police have the authority to confiscate any vehicle with it being forfeited to the state.

Road Policing Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating confirmed the raise yet indicated it was down to, and most importantly, the public's safety coming first.

'It's an increase but it's an increase where we are managing the risks to the general public which is our responsibility,' he revealed.

A concerning statistic is that only 1,573 charges were laid of the 5,871 police evasions recorded.

Mr Keating suggested however that factors such as drivers offending multiple times were to blame for wavering statistics.

Amidst the growing concern with the policy, Police Minister Mark Ryan pointed out that one key positive to take from the rule was the lack of fatalities connected to police pursuits.

'Since the introduction of the current policy six years ago there have been no deaths associated with police pursuits,' Mr Ryan noted.


‘The Southern Cross is becoming the new Swastika’: New documentary examines ‘hijacking’ of national icon

In the form of the Eureka flag, the Southern cross has mostly in the past been a symbol used by the far Left -- so maybe we should not get very bothered by who uses it

WARWICK Thornton was basking in the success of his award-winning feature film Samson and Delilah in 2010, when one simple remark prompted widespread national outrage. “I’m concerned the Southern Cross is becoming the new Swastika,” he said.

Like many Australians, the Alice Springs-raised Mr Thornton could see parallels between the hijacking of the two symbols for the extreme nationalist cause.

The Swastika, a Sanskrit symbol for good fortune, is now synonymous with death in the west, after being adopted as the symbol of Germany’s murderous Nazi Party in the 1930s.

Similarly, the Southern Cross has been adopted in Australia by the extreme right-wing as a symbol of bigotry, hatred and nationalist pride, though obviously not to the same, murderous extreme.

The Southern Cross, along with the Australian flag, is the favoured symbol of groups such the anti-Muslim Reclaim Australia and United Patriots Front movements. Simply put, Mr Thornton said, the Southern Cross has been “hijacked by dickheads”.

Seven years on, the 2010 Australian of the Year nominee has made the symbolism of the Southern Cross the subject of a new documentary, We Don’t Need a Map, screening as part of the Sydney Film Festival.

Mr Thornton told ABC Radio National’s Awaye program the vehement reaction to his 2010 comparison of the Southern Cross and the Swastika took him by surprise. “People got very upset, and that scared the hell out of me,” he told the program. “I went and hid in the cupboard for a little while, and then over a couple of years, I got angry.”

The result was We Don’t Need a Map, a kind of Australian road trip that examines the spiritual importance of the five constellations to the country’s indigenous people and how, among nationalist groups, the Southern Cross morphed into a symbol bearing such potent power.

“This is the story of the hijacking of an Australian icon,” goes the promotional slogan.

Mr Thornton is hoping to prompt a national discussion about the symbol, though perhaps one a little more measured than the one that followed his comments seven years ago.


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 June, 2017

Global university rankings: one Australian university makes the top 20

The good performance of ANU is no big surprise.  It is Australia's most lavishly funded Uni.  It basically can afford any faculty members it wants.  Still, Australia is a small community on the world stage so to rank so highly out of thousands of universities worldwide is a considerable  achievement

It may be worth noting what the QS rankings are based on.  They are reputational rankings.  They tell us how highly a university is thought of.  That is important information but rankings of academic output are possibly more important.  The Leiden ranking is notable for the latter.  Several Australian universities get into the top 50 according to Leiden but the ANU is not among them.  It is way down at 191.  That does suggest the the high reputation of the ANU might not be fully deserved

By contrast, the fact that University of Sydney, University of Melbourne and University of Queensland score highly in both sets of rankings is persuasive. It indicates a deserved high reputation for them.  As I am a graduate of two of those three I am pleased about that. I think it is clear that the teaching there is world-class

One Australian university is among the world's top 20  universities and five are in the top 50, according to a major global ranking that shows Australian universities have made overall improvements in all measures, including teaching, employability and research.

The University of Sydney was the only Australian university to drop down the list, slipping four places from 46, while six of Australia's top universities improved in their rank from last year.

Australian National University is the highest ranked in the country at 20th place in the 2018 QS World University Rankings.

It is followed by the University of Melbourne, ranked at 41, the University of New South Wales at 45, the University of Queensland at 47 and the University of Sydney at 50.

Belinda Robinson, chief executive of peak sector body Universities Australia, said the ranking is especially important to international students choosing a university.

"Global rankings are a major factor for many international students in deciding where to study, so they're also very important to the $22.4 billion a year that international students bring into Australia's economy," Ms Robinson said.

"These impressive rises underscore the global competitiveness of Australia's universities and the excellent quality of our education and research on the world stage."

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the top ranked university in the world for the sixth consecutive year, followed by Stanford University, Harvard University, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, University College London, Imperial College London, the University of Chicago and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

MIT has been described as "the nucleus of an unrivalled innovation ecosystem" by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, the education analysis firm behind the ranking, which notes that companies created by the university's alumni have a combined revenue of $2 trillion, the equivalent of the world's 11th largest economy.

Despite the ongoing dominance of US and UK universities in the top 10, QS Quacquarelli Symonds also notes that many other universities from those countries are now being outperformed by "the best of Australia, Russia, China, Singapore and India – among others".


Why up to half of all Australian teachers are quitting within five years

As a former High School teacher I cannot relate to the "cri de coeur" below at all.  I had no time pressures whatever. I just taught from the textbook and got my students excellent results that way.  But I concede that it may be different in Primary School

Everyone remembers the nerves on their first day of school, but Margaret Gordon had it especially tough. The 22-year-old was made to stand up in front of the entire assembly at her school on the NSW Central Coast and introduced by the principal as "Miss Gordon, who has just graduated from Sydney University".

Ten minutes later, the new primary school teacher was shown to a classroom full of year 2 students.

"It just felt like the workload snowballed," Miss Gordon, now 25, said. "Early on, I was at school by 8 every morning and I'd leave hopefully by 6pm when the cleaners kick you out, and weekends would just be planning and gathering resources.

"There would maybe be a little bit of time in there for grocery shopping."

She has since learnt to manage the workload and recovered her weekends, but for many of her fellow early career teachers the transition from study to work never becomes any easier.

Up to half of all Australian teachers are leaving the profession in the first five years, and new research conducted by the Hunter Institute of Mental Health suggests the problem could be in the way the school day is structured.

Of the 453 teachers surveyed across NSW, two-thirds identified time management and having too much work as their biggest challenge, and more than half said they wanted more time for collaboration, mentoring and planning.

"One of the things identified is that teachers feel their time is limited and there are high demands on how they use that time," the study's program manager and principal investigator Gavin Hazel said.

Nicole Calnan, a membership and training officer at the NSW Teachers Federation, said: "It's one of the few positions where we expect teachers to produce the same results from their students in their first year as someone with 15 years of experience.

"We need to make sure that if we do expect that, they have support and more time within the school day for professional learning and collaboration with other teachers."

Ms Calnan said countries like Finland, which have fewer required hours of direct instruction, provide a successful model of how teachers could be given more time outside the classroom during school hours.

Australian primary teachers must provide a total of 6060 hours of direct instruction across K-6 classes every year, compared to their counterparts in Finland who are required to provide 3794 hours of direct instruction, according to the latest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report on classroom instruction. The average number of required direct instruction hours across OECD countries is 4553.

"Their teaching day is structured differently," Ms Calnan said. "Face-to-face instruction time isn't as great as other countries, which means teachers have greater time for lesson preparation and students have more time for social interaction.

And obviously Finnish students still perform very well."

Ms Calnan said improving career experiences for new teachers would require a greater policy focus on teacher wellbeing, instead of only looking at how students are performing.

"[This] research is a welcome addition to our understanding of what early career teachers are facing," she said. "That hasn't been a priority for political parties."

Ms Gordon, who also represents the NSW Teachers Federation, said she has been lucky to have a good mentor in the teacher next door and her principal, but her experience stands in contrast to that of many of her friends from university.

"One school can be a vastly different experience from the one next door," Ms Gordon said.

"Some people have said the executive at their school were not supporting them or putting pressure on them; other people have talked about parents' expectations being too high. "You pretty much sign a contract and off you go.

"I think there needs to be more of a structured induction with different focuses on things like your wellbeing and how important it is to get sleep."


QUT racism case: Bankruptcy notice to litigious whiner delayed

Two students trying to recoup legal costs against a Queensland University of Technology staffer who unsuccessfully tried to sue them over what she claimed were racist social media posts have been unable to serve her with a bankruptcy notice.

Barrister Tony Morris, who is representing the students, on Wednesday said efforts to serve the notice on Cindy Prior in person had so far failed.  "People at her house kept saying she wasn't there," Mr Morris said outside the Federal Court in Brisbane.

The students, Calum Thwaites and Jackson Powell, are trying to claw back $10,780 in legal costs awarded to them after Ms Prior's racial discrimination lawsuit was thrown out last year.

Ms Prior had attempted to sue Mr Thwaites, Mr Powell and a third student Alex Wood, along with the university, for $250,000 under section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. The controversial section makes it unlawful for anyone to "offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate" another person or group on the grounds of race, colour or ethnicity.

Ms Prior had argued in court documents she was unable to continue working face- to-face with white people following a series of allegedly racist Facebook comments posted after Mr Wood and two other students were asked to leave an indigenous-only computer lab at QUT in 2013.

The case was dismissed by Justice John Dowsett in November and he later ordered Ms Prior pay the students' legal costs.

Ms Prior didn't appear on Wednesday when the court ordered the bankruptcy notice could be served via email, SMS, post and delivery to her WA address.

Mr Morris said the delay in serving the notice would only increase the court costs.

Outside court, Mr Thwaites said he was hoping the matter would soon end and he could get on with life. "It's just an unnecessary addition to the process," he said.

The matter returns to court on July 19.


'We've had enough of being nice, it's not working': Mark Latham slams the 'delusional' wisdom of being civil to Muslims

A man who almost became Australia's prime minister has slammed the conventional wisdom of being nice to Muslims in the hope they will tip police off about a potential terrorist attack.

Former Labor leader Mark Latham says the public is sick of having to 'be nice' in the wake of terrorist attacks this week in London and Melbourne.

'The public opinion now is at a real tipping point, a real tipping point where we've had enough of being nice. It's not working,' he told his Mark Latham's Outsiders program on Wednesday night.

'The evidence suggests the 'be nice' faction is in a state of delusion and they're not facing up to the realistic issues. 'We need to form a realistic faction. Be realistic about the problem of radical Islamic terrorism and confront it head on.'

Mr Latham said the idea that terrorists weren't real Muslims needed to be challenged, after Somali-born refugee Yacqub Khayre killed a man at a serviced apartment in Melbourne during a Monday night siege which ISIS claimed responsibility for.

'The 'be nice' do gooders in the debate basically say that terrorism of this kind, they're not really Muslim, this is not really a reflection of Islam and you don't want to antagonise these communities because it will make them more dangerous, more radical and the security agencies worry about losing informants inside Islamic communities to tip them off about potential dangerous events,' he said.

Mr Latham, who has recently joined the libertarian Liberal Democrats, said the London Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan's declaration that London was the world's safest global cities was an example of the 'be nice' approach failing.

It came after three knife-wielding Islamist terrorists killed eight people in London on Saturday night.

'How can you talk about London as a safe city after people have been run down by these terrorists on London Bridge after the same terrorists have rushed into restaurants in Borough Markets with knives trying to murder people?,' Mr Latham asked.

'There's nothing safe about London in those circumstances. This bloke is an absolute imbecile and I don't blame Donald Trump for a moment for getting stuck right into him.'

He also added Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation director-general Duncan Lewis to the 'be nice faction' list for telling a Senate committee there was no link between refugees and terrorism.

'How delusional can you be?,' Mr Latham asked. 'The 'be nice' faction is completely out of touch with reality. 'We need to have a hard-edged, vigorous response to Islamic terrorism.'


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 June, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG comments on the Leftist attack on Andrew Bolt

MPs urged to provide energy certainty

There is a poll result referred to below which should be taken with a grain of salt.  The most pro-Warmist statement was read out first to respondents, with more skeptical statements  being read later.  That tends to generate a primacy effect, with subsequent responses tailored to the initial one.  Good survey practice would have been to present the three statements in random order but there is no mention of them doing that in their methodology section.  It's another example of how to lie with statistics -- a Greenie artform

Australia's treasurer has urged MPs to put aside ideological differences and embrace an energy policy in the interests of giving investors certainty.

Scott Morrison, who earlier in the year waved a lump of coal around during question time, said on Wednesday for far too long parliament has not come together to resolve energy issues.

Policy uncertainty had turned into a big risk for investors.

"There's a very big national interest here and it's for all parliamentarians I think to focus on that regardless of which party they're in or what ideological perspective they have on this issue," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

"Until we can get to that certain place on energy policy, then we really are putting a lot at risk."

Renewables attracted record levels of investment in 2016 but that came off the back of several sluggish years while the Abbott government reviewed and cut the renewable energy target.

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel will brief the prime minister and state leaders on his review of the national energy sector at a meeting in Hobart on Friday.

He's widely expected to recommend a low emissions target - similar to the existing renewable energy target but taking a technology-neutral approach by mandating a percentage of power each year be generated from sources below a certain emissions level.

The approach is firming as the new focus of federal climate policy with the Nationals flagging support and Labor not ruling it out.

Energy experts say the LET would be a "third-best solution".

"This mechanism is well behind an emissions intensity scheme and an economy-wide price on carbon, and won't discriminate against really dirty coal over more efficient coal," ANU Energy Change Institute director Ken Baldwin said.

However, his colleague Paul Burke said it was a smart alternative given the government had already ruled out any mechanisms that price carbon pollution.

"Solar and wind power are increasingly cheap, and an LET would help to ensure that the required investment takes place to replace retiring fossil-fuel generators," he said.

Greens energy spokesman Adam Bandt said reports Dr Finkel could recommend rule changes to mandate new renewable projects have storage attached were troubling and could lock storage companies out of participating in the market in their own right.

It would be better to create a new energy storage target or have other non-market incentives to integrate storage, he said.

A Lowy Institute poll, released on Wednesday, found four in five Australians thought the government should focus on renewables, even if they needed more investment to make the system more reliable.

Nearly three in five ranked climate change as a "critical threat" to Australia over the next decade.


Political violence against conservative broadcaster backfires when "protesters" get some of their own back

CONTROVERSIAL columnist and TV personality Andrew Bolt has “clobbered” a group of masked protesters who set upon him in Melbourne yesterday.

On his TV program last night, Bolt explained how he was about to launch a book on US President Donald Trump at a restaurant in Carlton, in the city’s inner north, when a woman asked to take a selfie with him.

Before they could take the photo, two masked protesters set upon Bolt, spraying his face and suit with what he described as “sticky liquid with glitter and dye”.

The protesters may have got more than they bargained for because Bolt quickly retaliated, punching one of the attackers repeatedly.

“Bad luck for them, of course; I don’t do running and hiding,” he told his viewers on his Sky News program The Bolt Report on Tuesday night.

The conservative columnist screened security camera footage of the altercation on his show, freezing on the faces of each of his attackers as well as a third man who filmed the ambush.

“Police are now looking for this young man, who will have a big bruise on the left side of his face and another bruise between his legs, for which I apologise, I guess, but I don’t really fight nice if I’m pushed too far.”

On his popular blog, Bolt described the protesters as members of the “fascist Left”.

“Watch the fascist Left attack me and get clobbered. Luckily the cameras do not capture me kicking one between the legs. I cannot have my children see me acting like a thug,” he wrote.

Bolt was at Il Gambero restaurant in Lygon St to launch the book The Art of the Impossible: A Blog History of the Election of Donald J Trump by economics academic Steve Kates.

Bolt encouraged anyone who recognised the attackers to phone North Melbourne police on 03 8379 0800.


BOOK LAUNCH of The Tyranny of Tolerance, by Peter Kurti

From the Centre for Independent Studies, Greg Lindsay writes:

It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of Connor Court Publishing, to invite you to the release of The Tyranny of Tolerance by Peter Kurti. I am delighted to announce that we are holding launch events in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne over the coming weeks.

Kurti exposes a grand deception: the tolerance and diversity brigade cannot tolerate diversity of thought. — Nick Cater

It was a confident expectation for more than a century that religion — its beliefs, doctrines and institutions — would atrophy in the face of growing secularisation. But not only has traditional Christianity survived in liberal western societies; other faiths, most conspicuously Islam, have increasingly become a perceptible presence. This evolution gives rise to many questions about the place of religion in liberal democratic society.

Register Free; Sydney, 22 June with remarks by The Hon. J Dyson Heydon AC

Register Free; Brisbane, 28 June with remarks by Professor James Allan

Register Soon; Melbourne, July with remarks by Dr Jennifer Oriel

Please register via or via email to or by calling Sydney 9438 4377.

The Reverend Peter Kurti is a Research Fellow co-ordinating the Religion and Civil Society program at The Centre for Independent Studies. The program examines the implications of a liberal approach to religion in civil society and investigates the capacity of that society to maintain freedom for expression of religious values.

In defence of grammar pedantry: 'Grammonds' should be celebrated, not vilified

By Roslyn Petelin, University of Queensland

This week, the financial press reported the downfall of a high-profile grammar pedant, Professor Paul Romer, the World Bank's chief economist, who was hoist(ed) on his own pedantic petard.

He is being replaced as head of the bank's research arm after he demanded that his colleagues write succinct, clear, direct emails, presentations and reports in the active voice with a low proportion of "and's".

Professor Romer will remain the bank's chief economist.

In fact, he had threatened not to publish the bank's central publication, World Development Report, "if the frequency of 'and' exceeded 2.6 per cent".

He had also cancelled a regular publication that he believed had no clear purpose.

Why, you may ask, did the economists who work in the World Bank's research department take exception to these strictures? Who wouldn't want the corporate report that was a flagship publication of the bank to be narrow and "penetrate deeply like a knife"?

Professor Romer's 600 colleagues, that's who. But why? It seems that, while he was encouraging his staff to avoid their customary convoluted "bankspeak" and consider their readers, he failed to follow his own advice. He was apparently curt, abrasive and combative. The troops refused to fall into line and he was ousted.

Such a shame, Professor Romer, because we need more pruning of the muddy prose that is endemic in so many institutions, particularly banks.

We can only imagine how Australia's four big banks are readying themselves to obfuscate their documents in response to the recent budget measures.

The various shades of pedantry

There are two kinds of people in this world: pedants and everybody else.

Pedantry isn't confined to grammar, of course. Pedantry can be found in architecture, cooking (for example, Julian Barnes's lovely little book The Pedant in the Kitchen), geometry, music, philosophy, politics and science.

Think Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory, the most popular show on American television.

It depends on what kind of pedant you are.

Do you practise your pedantry privately by just "thinking" corrections at other people when they write "bunker" instead of "hunker" down?

Or do you practise your pedantry publicly and thereby subject yourself to taunts of "peevish prescriptivist", "nit-picking, hair-splitting pedant", or the more arcane and colourful "pettifogging pedant"?

This sort of abuse rained on Bryan Henderson, the American software engineer who had removed 47,000 instances of "comprised of" from Wikipedia by the end of 2015.

BBC journalist Jeremy Paxman was quoted in The Guardian in 2014 as saying:

"People who care about grammar are regularly characterised as pedants. I say those who don't care about it shouldn't be surprised if we pay no attention to anything they say — if indeed they are aware of what they're trying to say."
Pedants anonymous

I am a fervent believer that grammar provides writers with analytical tools to choose and combine words felicitously into English sentences to a set of professional standards that serve utilitarian needs and provide intellectual pleasure.

However, aware from long experience that it's rare to be thanked for pointing out a solecism that has made me wince, I attempt to shield the newly minted graduates of my grammar course at The University of Queensland from the potential consequences of sharing their knowledge with those less grammatically alert.

To this end, I lead a discussion about their stance on grammar in the final class of the semester.

Things you were taught at school that are wrong

What if you were told there are lots of so-called grammar rules that we've probably been getting wrong in our English classrooms for years?

Anne Curzan, a grammar maven who contributes to the Lingua Franca blog on The Chronicle of Higher Education, favours "grammando"; but I prefer the much less warlike "grammond" (modelled on gourmand, "one who has a refined palate for grammar and savours it at its best).

That "linguifier" Stephen Fry begs us to abandon our pedantry, but he confines his admonition to non-professional contexts and admits that "it's hard not to wince when someone aspirates the word 'aitch' and uses the genteelism of yourself and myself instead of you and me."

He says that "context, convention, and circumstance are all".

And this is what Professor Romer forgot. What we need to abandon is not pedantry. After all, its etymological origins are in teaching. It is peevish, condescending, and competitive pedantry that is the culprit.

We could take a lesson from the Bristol engineer who has for 13 years used his specially designed long-handled apostrophiser and step-ladder to remove aberrant apostrophes and plant missing ones on buildings in Bristol and managed to remain anonymous.

The wonderful parodist Craig Brown's solution may be an even better choice:

"It's always pleasant to go carol-singing, or carols-singing, with the Pedants' Association, formerly the Pedants Association, originally the Pedant's Association," he said.

"I first joined 10 years ago with the long-term aim of attracting the requisite number of votes in order to change its title to The Association of Pedants, thus rendering the apostrophe redundant."

I'll leave the uses and abuses of "and" aside for another day.


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

7 June, 2017


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG rejects the view that we have to accept Muslim terrorism

Black madman gets off lightly

Looks like an African

A MAN who went on a violent rampage through a suburban shopping centre while affected by an undiagnosed mental illness will spend the next 32 months under close supervision.

On Wednesday, the Adelaide Magistrates Court imposed a mental health limiting term upon Baryea Billy, warning he would be taken into custody if he disobeyed its conditions.

Magistrate Maria Panagiotidis told Billy his unprovoked assault on six shoppers was “very serious offending” borne not of criminality, but illness.

“It’s clear that you behaved violently, but it’s also clear that was due to your mental condition,” she said.

“Now that your condition has been diagnosed and you are getting the treatment you need, I’m releasing you under licence.
CCTV footage from Baryea Billy’s attacks at the Regency Plaza shopping centre.

“You are being allowed to stay at home with your mother and family, and live your life, but you need to take your medication.

“If you don’t, the licence will be revoked and you will find yourself not at liberty and back in custody.”

Billy, 20, was found not guilty of multiple assault and violence offences over incidents in January and May last year.

The second of those incidents was the most serious — Billy assaulted six people at the Regency Plaza shopping centre.

He was recorded on CCTV dragging one man along the floor before inflicting a series of kicks, and assaulting a woman, before pizza bar owner Adam Lobb intervened.
Pizza shop owner Adam Lobb went to the aid of people attacked, in the Sefton Plaza Shopping Centre, by Baryea Billy. Picture: Bianca De Marchi.

Mr Lobb used his walking stick to fend Billy off, resulting in the younger man’s arrest.

In August, the court accepted a specialist’s “clear diagnosis of schizophrenia” and ruled Billy not guilty of the offences.

That left him subject to the imposition of a limiting term — a period under community mental health supervision equal to the jail term an unafflicted person would receive.

On Wednesday, the court heard Billy had spent four months in custody at Mount Gambier Prison and a further three months at the secure James Nash House mental health facility.
CCTV footage from Baryea Billy’s attacks at the Regency Plaza shopping centre.

He had been on home detention bail since his release from James Nash House, following diagnosis and stabilisation of his illness.

Prosecutors asked Billy receive the maximum 36-month limiting term, due to the seriousness of his conduct, and defence counsel agreed that was appropriate.

Ms Panagiotidis told Billy his actions had “particularly affected” those he had attacked.

“One of them was so frightened, her life has basically been put on hold now ... I will make it a condition of your licence that you are not to go back to that shopping centre,” she said.

“There are going to be very strict conditions — you will have to report to the Department of Community Corrections, take your medication and make appointments as required.”

She deducted four months from the maximum term to reflect his time in custody.


Big new coal mine starting up, despite Greenie threats

ADANI has given the green light for work to start on the $21 billion Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin but critics are already slamming the decision as a “stunt”.

After almost seven years of legal battles and delays, Adani’s chairman announced in a statement Tuesday he had signed off on the project.

“I am proud to announce the project has Final Investment Decision (FID) approval which marks the official start of one of the largest single infrastructure — and job-creating — developments in Australia’s recent history,” Gautam Adani said.

Pre-construction work on the project is expected to begin in the September quarter.

However, the Federal Government will still need to pass changes to the Native Title Act, and to make a decision on whether to provide a $1 billion concessional loan to the project.

It’s also unclear whether Adani has secured finance to build the mine.

Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters said the announcement was a “PR stunt to squeeze a $1 billion handout from Australian taxpayers”.

Adani is still waiting for a decision from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility on whether it will be granted a $1 billion concessional loan funded by taxpayers. The loan would help pay for a new 189 kilometre rail line to link the mine to the coal terminal at Abbot Point.

“This so-called final investment decision is meaningless, Adani is still broke, and 19 banks have refused to fund their deadly mega-coal mine,” Ms Waters said.

“Today’s announcement does not mean the mine will go ahead, it’s a grab for a $1 billion handout of public funds from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.

“This is desperate PR stunt from a desperate company trying to squeeze even more freebies from their mates in Labor and the Liberal Nationals.”

The fight over the Adani mine has been described as “the environmental issue of our time” by former Greens leader Bob Brown, amid concerns the mine will contribute to climate change and hurt the Great Barrier Reef.

But Mr Adani hit out at environmental activists who have long challenged the project.

“We have been challenged by activists in the courts, in inner city streets, and even outside banks that have not even been approached to finance the project,” he said.

“We are still facing activists. But we are committed to this project.”

The company says the project will create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, though opponents have challenged that claim.

If it goes ahead, the $21.7 billion Carmichael mine near Rockhampton will be one of the biggest in the world.

It will include six open-cut pits and five underground mines across an area five times the size of Sydney Harbour. Coal mined at the site will be sent to India via the waterfront coal terminal at Abbot Point.

The giant mine will generate so much extra coal, the terminal south of Townsville will need to be expanded to accommodate it.

But there are concerns the extra coal exports may damage the Great Barrier Reef as the terminal is located on the coastline of the heritage area. Emissions from the burning of the coal will also contribute to climate change, which is the biggest threat to the reef.


Minimum wage increases to $18.29 an hour, cuts to Sunday penalty rates to still go ahead

$A18.29 = 13.50 USD

MINIMUM wages are set to rise by $22.20 a week starting next month. The Fair Work Commission this morning ruled the country’s lowest paid workers should have their wages increased 3.3 per cent to $18.29 an hour.

That is compared to price rises of 2.1 per cent for everyday goods and services for the year ending March, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures. The new minimum weekly wage is $694.90, the commission said.

In its ruling, the commission said that “modest and regular wage increases” didn’t have a significant impact in slowing growth in jobs.

The minimum wage increased by $15 per week last year, while the Australian Council of Trade Unions had been pushing for a weekly $45 rise this year.

It comes a day after the commission ruled cuts to Sunday penalty rates should be phased in over three to four years.

Sunday pay for retail workers will be lowered from 200 per cent to 195 per cent of their regular pay beginning next month. That will fall to 150 per cent by July 2020.

But retailers have already expressed unhappiness at what they say is an “excessive” phase-in time, while unions have vowed a campaign against the Turnbull government.

“Penalty rates will allow retailers to extend staff working hours and increase employment across the board, therefore these sluggish arrangements will unnecessarily delay the creation of new retail jobs,” Australian Retailers Association boss Russell Zimmerman said.

Hospitality workers will have their Sunday penalties cut from 175 per cent to 170 per cent next month, falling to 150 per cent by July 2019.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus said the cuts were “simply cruel”.

“We need a government that stands up for working people. Instead we are being told lie after lie about how these pay cuts are going to boost the economy,” she said.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash sought to head off a backlash about the changes, which are expected to affect about four per cent of the workforce.

“It is a direct consequence of the review process put in place by Bill Shorten as workplace relations minister in the previous Labor government in 2013,” Senator Cash said.


Peta Credlin believes Australian police would fail to handle London-style attack and shoot terrorists dead in eight minutes

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott's chief of staff Peta Credlin has slammed Australian counter-terrorism forces and said there should be a review into giving the military more power.

Speaking to right-wing commentator Andrew Bolt, Ms Credlin said she does not have confidence in the ability of Australian police to handle a situation similar to Saturday night's terrorist attack on London Bridge.

'The Prime Minister said today he has all confidence in the police,' she said during her segment on Sky News.

'I don't.'

She continued on to say she had no confidence that Australian officers could have contained Saturday's attack on London Bridge and Borough Market as efficiently as UK forces were able to do.

'I do not think the Australian police counter terrorism units in each of the states could have attended an incident and shot dead the perpetrators within eight minutes. I honestly don't Andrew,' she said.

Police were first called to reports of a vehicle hitting pedestrians on London Bridge a 10.08pm.

Three terrorists got out of the car and ran through Borough Market stabbing people.

At 10.16pm - only eight minutes later - the men had been shot dead by police.

Britain's 'Blue Thunder' squad -  an elite Special Forces unit which can be scrambled at a moment's notice - was dispatched to join in the hunt for the attackers on Saturday night.

Soldiers in the Blue Thunder unit - which is nicknamed after its unmarked helicopter - were supported by an Apache helicopter gunship which uses powerful cameras to relay live pictures to commanders on the ground.

Ms Credlin also used her time on air to call for stronger military powers so Australia could be more prepared for a similar attack on our own shores.

'There is a discussion about whether or not we should have a review or at least stronger call out powers for the military and the engagement of commandos and the SAS should we have a similar attack in Australia,' she told Mr Bolt. 'I think that is sensible and it should happen.'

On Monday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australian counter-terrorism forces were 'absolutely the best in the world'. He said procedures were in place to enable the SAS to be bought in during a siege situation at the request of the government.

However it may soon be easier for commandos - Mr Turnbull said current procedures and protocols were under 'active consideration' - but police already have a lot of power.

'There is a view being put around that police do not have an ability to shoot-to-kill,' he said. 'That is quite untrue. The practice of cordon and contain, which had been used for many years, is not applied by police in situations where there is an active armed offender, an active shooter or someone with a knife, such as you saw in London.

'And the Australian police, presented with a situation as you saw in London, would respond quickly to disable, to shoot in other words, the assailants, just as the police officers in London did.'


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 June, 2017

Women speaking up for men’s rights

As a fresh-faced 18-year-old Daisy Cousens left school firmly on board the feminism bandwagon. Like many millennial women she’d been seduced by what she now sees as an “entrenched victim mentality”, convinced the scales were tipped against her because of her sex. “I assumed I’d have to work twice as hard as men for half the recognition and that violent predators lurk around every street corner,” she says.

It took her years to discover she’d been duped. “I realised the feminist view did not reflect my life experiences. I grew suspicious. I couldn’t believe that somehow in Western society women were paid less than men or had fewer rights than men. And given my experience of men, I refused to believe there was an undercurrent of misogyny among all the wonderful men in my life,” says the 28-year-old, who is part of a growing global band of female activists speaking out about the demonisation of men. Some of the leading lights in this group will hit our shores next month to speak at an international men’s issues conference.

Cousens’s turnaround happened when she was working as a research assistant at the Menzies Research Centre, which led her to start asking questions. She found, for instance, that the much heralded “wage gap” largely could be explained by differences in men and women’s work and lifestyle ­choices. That was the beginning.

Cousens discovered a thriving online world questioning the feminist narrative and revealing the silencing of critical issues affecting men and boys. She’s now writing — mainly in The Spectator Australia and Quadrant — about what she sees as a “silent war on men”.

She is one of many women hosting screenings of Cassie Jaye’s controversial documentary The Red Pill, in which the young feminist filmmaker looks seriously at men’s issues and decides they warrant proper attention. Jaye renounced her feminism in protest against the way extremists were silencing discussion of such matters. Ironically Australia is the only country to ban a series of screenings in response to protests from small groups of feminists.

Cousens is confident of a full house for her screening, given the media coverage planned for Jaye’s appearance at the International Conference on Men’s Issues on the Gold Coast from Friday to June 12. The conference promises to be an interesting time for Cousens because, as a wannabe Honey Badger, she’ll also be meeting Karen Straughan and that’s as good as it gets.

Straughan, another speaker at ICMI, is one of the founders of the Honey Badger Brigade, a band of brash, witty female activists who’ve taken up the fight for a better deal for men and boys. Six years ago Straughan was a Canadian waitress and divorced mother of three who started blogging about how easy it would have been to use the family law system to destroy her ex-husband. She was astonished at how law and social institutions were stacked against men.

Straughan posted a blog (girlwriteswhat) that included this pithy summary of marriage today: “For women, marriage is all benefit and zero risk, and that’s why women are whining about men’s reluctance to tie the knot. But for men, it’s the other way around — no guaranteed benefit, and the kind of risk an adrenaline junkie would eschew.” Next came a YouTube video, Feminism and the Disposable Male, that has raked up more than 1.5 million views.

Through her social media activities, Straughan got to know other women interested in men’s issues, such as Alison Tieman who, with Straughan, started a Honey Badger radio show. Then there’s blogger Janet Bloomfield, whose take-no-prisoners writing style soon attracted a big audience for her JudgyBitch blog promoting “the radical notion that women are adults”.

When protesters threatened to shut down a men’s rights conference in Detroit in 2011, the Honey Badger Brigade flew in to act as “human shields”. It helps to have women involved because female activists can’t be dismissed as sad losers, suggests Straughan. “Men run the risk of being perceived as dangerous or threatening when speaking up,” she says, adding that male activists tend to be “mocked as whiny man-babies or dismissed as dangerous extremist reactionaries who want to make it legal to beat your wife”.

And the name Honey Badgers? That came from a funny YouTube video — The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger — that shows the vicious animal sticking its nose into bee-filled holes, gnawing on mice, tearing the heads off snakes and shaking off venomous cobra bites. It’s pretty silly, admits Straughan, but watch her shrug off the constant abuse she receives from feminists or reducing Naomi Wolf into a quivering heap on a television panel and you’ll see there’s something in it.

During Straughan’s visit to Sydney next month she will be appearing on Sky News’s Outsiders program, giving a talk at the Sydney Institute and doing a Q&A with viewers of Mark Latham’s Facebook page.

Then she’ll head up to the Gold Coast where she’ll join impressive speakers presenting at the men’s conference, including a striking number of women — such as Jaye, who is presenting a special screening of her movie.

Then there’s Erin Pizzey, world-renowned as the founder of Britain’s first women’s refuge, who back in the 1970s attracted the wrath of feminists by speaking out about women’s violence. Her determination to promote the truth about domestic violence — that it isn’t a gender issue — led to death threats, forcing her for a time to leave the country. She has been campaigning for more than 40 years about this vital social issue. Unfortunately ill-health has prevented Pizzey travelling and she’ll give her lecture via Skype.

Another Canadian speaker, Janice Fiamengo, is a professor of English literature whose hugely popular weekly YouTube program, The Fiamengo File, highlights the damaging impact of feminism in academe. She is scathing about women’s studies, which she believes has devolved into an intellectually incoherent and dishonest discipline replacing a callow set of slogans for real thought.

Local female men’s rights activists are excited about the chance to discuss with these luminaries how to get men’s issues on to the public agenda. Women such as Melbourne mental health advocate Rae Bonney, whose work with male-dominated workplaces reveals many of the contributors to the high male suicide rate, such as facing a biased family law system.

She says: “It’s both alarming and heartbreaking that so many of our social systems prevent men from getting the help and support they so desperately need. Every day I hear another story of a man who’s lost absolutely everything, often facing unproven accusations of violence and abuse.”

Bonney is on a high after hosting a recent Melbourne screening of The Red Pill, one of many I’ve organised through Fan-Force, a system that allows people to host local screenings of movies of their choice.

“We had nearly 200 people, including young women, couples and of course many men. There were a few tears and much applause before and after it ended. There’s a real sense that at last men’s issues are getting the attention they deserve,” says the delighted Bonney.


Regions may push Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk out at next Qld. election, says poll

REGIONAL Queensland is in revolt – and it’s poised to push Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk out of her plush Brisbane office

A ReachTEL poll of more than 3600 Queenslanders, conducted exclusively for The Sunday Mail, has given the first insight since the 2015 election into the voting intention of distinct areas of the state.

The poll has revealed that the minority Labor Government’s vote has nose-dived in north Queensland and the rest of the regions, opening the door for LNP Leader Tim Nicholls to take up office in 1 William St.

However, supporters of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party will decide a plethora of regional seats, and could return to the Queensland Parliament for the first time since 2009.

Job creation has surged to become the most important issue in north and regional Queensland, underscoring the need for the Palaszczuk Government’s final Budget this month to kick-start employment.

In north Queensland, Labor’s primary vote has sunk by 13 per cent to 27.6 per cent, imperilling the party’s seats throughout Townsville and Cairns. The LNP’s support in the north has dropped by 4.3 per cent. One Nation has consumed all the disenfranchised major party voters and is polling 18.6 per cent.

Throughout Queensland’s remaining regions, including western LNP strongholds like Southern Downs, Nanango and Warrego and coastal Labor areas like Gladstone and Bundaberg, the trend is similar.

The Labor vote has dropped about 9 per cent, reducing the party’s support to 26.7 per cent, compared to a 7 per cent fall for the LNP, which was left with 30.5 per cent.

One Nation polled a staggering 20.9 per cent throughout these areas, putting the party in the mix to win marginal electorates like Labor’s Keppel and the LNP’s Callide.

In southeast Queensland, the renaissance of the far-Right outfit has been less severe with the Labor vote down 5.5 per cent, the LNP down 6.6 per cent and One Nation polling 13.5 per cent.

On a statewide two-party preferred basis, the LNP led Labor 51 per cent to 49 per cent. The result could hand government to Mr Nicholls but the LNP may be forced to rely on crossbench support from One Nation and other parties.

However, the low primary vote of both major parties, the volatility of the electorate and the unpredictable preferencing patterns of One Nation supporters makes it difficult for Labor and the LNP to identify their weakest spots and forecast the outcome.

Despite Labor’s fall, Ms Palaszczuk remains popular and will be the party’s key asset at the next election, expected within six months.

Voters across Queensland seemed ambivalent about Mr Nicholls with almost 10 per cent indicating they had “never heard of him”.


Genitally mutilated African girls sent back to parents by Queensland’s Child Safety Dept.

Queensland’s embattled child safety department returned two young girls to their parents ­despite a doctor finding they had likely been subjected to female genital mutilation.

The Weekend Australian can reveal the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability only “temporarily” removed the girls — both preteens in April 2015 — from their parents for medical testing, after they were flown to Africa, allegedly to undergo the procedure.

Despite a Queensland paediatric specialist examining the girls and finding it was likely they had part of their clitorises removed, the department quickly returned them to the parents.

An investigation by Queensland detectives into the allegations led to police charging the girls’ parents — a man in his 50s and a woman in her 40s, at the time — in December 2015, with two counts of removing a child from the state for female genital mutilation.

The couple are the first people charged with the criminal offence in Queensland and are awaiting trial in the District Court.

A civil case in February established that “once the tests were completed and the outcome discussed with the examining doctor, the children were returned to their parents and the department’s intervention ended”.

The revelation is the latest in a series of scandals for the child safety department, including the deaths of 12-year-old Tiahleigh Palmer and toddler Mason Lee.

Mason, who died in 2016 under the care of his mother and her then-partner, was allowed to return home despite medical staff’s warnings to the department about abuse.

Queensland Minister for Communities, Women and Youth Shannon Fentiman told The Weekend Australian yesterday: “I believe we have to do everything we can to stop this barbaric practice. I am pleased the matter has been brought before the courts.”

A department spokeswoman said that, for legal reasons, it could not confirm the girls were still with their parents. “The department works closely with the Queensland Police Service to investigate, assess and respond to child safety concerns, especially when concerns involve possible criminal activity,” she said.

Police allege that in April 2015, the two daughters and two other siblings flew with their mother to the parents’ east African homeland to visit the children’s ­grandmother.

The sisters were then flown about 2000km north to another African country, where genital mutilation procedures remain culturally ­acceptable, and where it is alleged the procedure was conducted on the two girls.

The Weekend Australian can reveal that a report by the pediatric specialist who examined the children indicated they “most likely” had a “Type 1 female genital mutilation”, which involves partial removal of the clitoral prepuce — and/or part of the clitoris. The doctor also reported discussions with the girls that were consistent with them undergoing a genital procedure.

The offence of removing a child from the state for genital mutilation was introduced in 2000 and carries a maximum penalty of 14 years’ jail.

The parents, long-time Australian residents, have been ­estranged since 2007, though they continued to share a house.

In the civil matter, the father denied involvement in arranging surgery on his daughters, claiming he understood the reason for the trip was for the children to visit their grandmother.

A January report by the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit at Sydney’s Westmead children’s hospital revealed 59 genitally mutilated girls had been seen by Australian pediatricians and children’s health specialists since 2010. The study showed almost 90 per cent those victims were born in Africa.


Sir Lunchalot gets 10 years!

Former NSW Labor minister Ian Macdonald has been sentenced to 10 years' jail over the decision to grant a mining licence to a company run by former union boss John Maitland, who will spend at least four years behind bars.

In March, Macdonald was found guilty of misconduct in a public office.

Maitland, once the head of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), was found guilty of being an accessory.

The decision to grant the licence was made in 2008, when Macdonald was the NSW minister for Primary Industries and Mineral Resources in the Iemma Labor government.

Macdonald was given a non-parole period of seven years, while Maitland was sentenced to six years in prison, and will not be eligible for parole until 2021.

Macdonald clasped his hands and folded his arms at times during the three-hour sentencing hearing in Sydney, and appeared composed when Justice Christine Adamson eventually announced the punishment.

In sentencing, Justice Adamson described Macdonald as "devious" and said he had betrayed the people of NSW. "The coal resources of New South Wales, which should have been used for the benefit of the whole society, were squandered by the criminal conduct of the very person who was trusted to safeguard them," 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

5 June 2017

Australia isn’t the only country caught in a housing bubble

The writer below cannot find a common factor in housing price rises worldwide.  I can.  In China it's internal migration from peasant farms to the cities but in all the other countries mentioned there have been big inflows of "refugees".  Refugees have to be accommodated and that puts pressure on the housing supply, driving up prices. 

In a free market the housing supply would expand to meet the demand but we don't have anything like a free market.  There are many rigidities to overcome, principally land-use restrictions supported most notably by Greenies but also by farmers and Nimbys.  Slowing down the migrant intake is the only way to rein in the housing price rises

Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane should get some temporary relief from the extraordinary boom in Chinese-financed apartment-block  building but that is coming to an end so is no long-term solution


It’s only natural for Australians to be obsessed with our own property market woes, but there is a whole world of bubbles out there waiting to be popped.

We chatter endlessly about prices in Sydney and Melbourne, which is unfair to the other capital cities. But it’s understandable, as 57 per cent of the nation lives in Victoria and New South Wales, according to Australia’s statistics bureau.

And we’re right to be concerned. Only this week, Citigroup chief economist Willem Buiter said Australia is in the midst of a “spectacular housing bubble”. He joined a great host of experts worried that our two main property markets have been running way too hot.

The numbers back him up. CoreLogic, one of our most widely cited property pricers, says Australian houses now cost 7.2 times the yearly income of a household, up from 4.2 times income 15 years ago.

Between the global financial crisis and February 2017, median dwelling prices almost doubled (+99.4 per cent) in Sydney, bringing them to $850,000, and in Melbourne (+85 per cent to $640,000), according to CoreLogic.

But we should not delude ourselves that a housing crisis is a uniquely Australian phenomenon. Cries of “Bubble!” are ringing out across the globe.

Sweden’s central bank boss Stefan Ingves this week issued a warning about sky-rocketing household debt and soaring property prices. Sound familiar?

In Switzerland, the cities of Zurich, Zug, Lucerne, Basel, Lausanne and Lugano face similar risks.

Then there’s Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto in Canada – an economy comparable in size and composition to our own. As it has for Australia, the International Monetary Fund has told the Canadian government to intervene or risk an economic crash.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has issued similar warnings for Denmark, which is battling soaring prices in the capital of Copenhagen.

Most important of all is China. Prices rose 22.1 per cent in Beijing, 21.1 per cent in Shanghai and 13.5 per cent in Shenzen between March 2016 and March 2017, CNBC reported.

The warnings are familiar. “If young people lose hope, the economy will suffer, as housing is a necessity,” Renmin University president Wu Xiaoqiu said recently.

The difference is, if the Chinese economy crashes because of a housing market correction, it will echo throughout the world.

Hong Kong is fighting bubbles, too. Reports on its property market are full of “handsome gains” and an impending “burst“.

Closer to home is Auckland in New Zealand, where prices have also doubled since the GFC.

Despite Brexit, the mother country is hurting, too. There are periodic predictions that London will “finally burst” after years of rampant price growth.

So what’s going on? The consensus is that these bubbles have been created by a combination of ultra-low interest rates, easy lending, rapid population growth, and an openness to foreign investment.

Saul Eslake, a renowned Australian economist, told The New Daily there are “common factors” across these affected nations, including immigration. But he cautioned against shutting the borders.

“It’s wrong, it’s factually incorrect to deny that immigration has contributed to rising house prices. It has contributed to it. But I would argue that to respond to it by, as Tony Abbott among others has advocated, cutting immigration would be the wrong approach.”

Dr Ashton De Silva, a property market expert at RMIT University, also blamed demographic change across the globe.

However, Dr De Silva said each country’s unique factors should not be ignored. “The fact that it’s happening the world over is important to note because there are many countries going through a very similar cycle, such as China,” he said.

“However, whilst we can take this overarching view, we need to be mindful that there is a very important local story going on. And that story is not always consistent.”

If Australia wants to beat its bubble, perhaps it should look to Singapore. It was fighting rampant prices too until the government intervened and did two things: boosted supply by building a whole bunch of new apartment buildings, and dampened demand by hiking stamp duty and cracking down on foreign buyers.


Now its koalas that are "threatened" by climate change

This is all just imagination.  Not a single Koala has been inconvenienced by CO2 yet

Australia's koalas populations and their coastal gum tree habitats could be devastated by rising sea levels, which would trigger toxic die-back disease, a scientific conference has been told.

Koalas feed only on the leaves of gum trees, and spend most of their lives protected in their tall branches. The iconic marsupial is listed nationally as a vulnerable species, and its numbers are falling.

Dr Rebecca Montague-Drake, an ecologist with the Port Macquarie Council in New South Wales, has published modelling that shows 14 per cent of the area's koala habitats will experience saltwater inundation over the next 50 years, climbing to 22 per cent next century.

She said rising salinity from bigger tides and floods would increase toxins in gum trees and "reduce the koala's food availability".

    "Koalas walk a really tight tightrope between the leaf that they eat, the high levels of toxins that eucalypts leaves contain, and the amount of toxin they can extract from those leaves," she said.

"When we start playing with the salinity balance in the soil, that fine balance in the leaf, between the toxins and the nutrient, values get way out of kilter."

Data suggests fewer than 40,000 koalas survive in the wild.

Dr Montague-Drake expects further destruction of coastal gum trees along a 1,000-kilometre strip between Jervis Bay and Moreton Bay, which could eliminate a third of the region's koala habitats.

She also said her modelling reflected a best-case, not worst-case, sea-rise scenario.

"We are only using a conservative estimate, because we know the trees characterised in these areas, the swamp mahoganies the forest red gum, are a little bit more resilient to salinity than some other species of eucalypts," she said.
Rising seas not the only problem

The sea level warnings add to a growing list of existing habitat threats for koalas, like forestry and unlawful land clearing.


Pauline Hanson mimics London Police advice in anti-Islam tweet

PAULINE Hanson has co-opted London police advice to people caught up in terrorist incidents to push her message of banning Muslims from immigrating to Australia.

As the latest terrorist attack in London was still unfolding on Sunday morning (AEST), the One Nation leader tweeted: “Stop Islamic immigration before it is too late.”

Her message was accompanied by a graphic that mimicked a “Run Hide Tell” message the Metropolitan Police tweeted earlier to advise people what to do if they found themselves caught up in the attacks.

The police message urges people to run to a place of safety, hide and turn their phones to silent, and tell the police by calling emergency services when safe to do so.

Senator Hanson’s version says: “Australia is tired of Labor, the Greens and the Liberals RUNNING their campaign that Islam is good for Australia.”

Senator Hanson has spent the past week in a dispute with Australia’s spy chief over whether there are links between Middle Eastern refugees and terrorism.

ASIO boss Duncan Lewis told Senator Hanson during a parliamentary hearing he had “absolutely no evidence to suggest there is a connection between refugees and terrorism”.

He later said the refugee program was not the source of terrorism in Australia, rather attacks were inspired by an extremist, radicalising strain of Islam. Senator Hanson campaigned last year in a Muslim immigration ban and no new mosques.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said commentary like Senator Hanson’s played into terrorists’ hands by dividing the community.

“I just say to Pauline and everyone else - hold your horses.You’re in politics. Whatever point you want to make, make you may get an opportunity, but today it’s crass, idiotic and disgusting,” he said.


A simple request but Australia Post keeps getting it wrong

The speed of deliveries has slowed way down too.  In many cases a letter can take two weeks to be delivered

IMAGINE paying for a service, not getting it and having no recourse. Welcome to my world and one of my current pathetic problems.

I used to like Australia Post. I used to trust Australia Post. I like my postie and I like the folk at the Norwood Post Office – but Australia Post is just not delivering or, in my case, is wrongly delivering.

When I’m lucky enough to travel I always have my mail held. In December 2015, I filled in the “Hold mail” form.

I always arrange to have this done in advance to check that it is place. It wasn’t.

Mail was delivered instead of being held. I spent a tense afternoon ringing Australia Post operatives on 13 numbers at my expense, being kept on hold and being constantly told how important my call is to Australia Post.

I eventually learned that the paperwork to hold my mail had not gone from the Norwood Post Office to the Kent Town Mail Delivery Centre.

Even though I cited customer reference and receipt numbers, I had to photograph my copy of the form and receipt and send it to someone somewhere nowhere near me.

Eventually, my case was subject to inquiry and I was eventually told my “Hold mail” fee would be refunded in six weeks.
A postie delivering mail.

Then it happened again. Despite a “Hold mail” in place while I was in China to watch the wonderful Power, mail was delivered. I paid $32.70 for a service which I didn’t get.

Same palaver. Long waits on the phone. Cue inquiry. Cue apology. Cue “We don’t know how this could have happened”.

Then: “Don’t worry, we have a new computerised system which guarantees this will never happen again.”

Oh, yeah? To screw something up you need only one human, to really screw something up you really need a computer.

Australia Post has now twice violated a contract with me. A mail delivery service did not deliver what it was contracted not to do by delivering mail.

I’m really peed off so I rang a lawyer and said: “This is your chance to be Erin Brockovich.” There is a vast amount of tiny print on the back of the form and, if you can find a magnifying glass, you will learn that, in legalese, under Limitations, Liability, Release and Indemnity that Australia Post is not responsible to deliver or not deliver mail or anything at all under the Australia Post Corporations Act of 1989.

It promises not to promise to deliver or not deliver the mail. This would be funny on Yes, Minister but it’s annoying. The form also says I’ve also signed to “release Australia Post against any loss or damages whatsoever”.
Ahmed Fahour and postie Ron Trevillian with a new delivery vehicle, in Sydney. Picture: David Smith

How is this fair? Do what you like and face no consequences? Imagine buying a washing machine and then being told that not only are you not getting what you paid for, you may or may not get a refund and have no legal recourse.

Meanwhile, former Australia Post tsar Ahmed Fahour was not denied a $4.8 million yearly salary package.

So, I decided to show the terms and conditions to a barrister who said Australia Post would be laughed out of the High Court – but you need fortitude and very deep pockets to get there.

We are being screwed daily by corporations which rely on us not wanting to wait on the phone while being told our call is important, knowing that we’ll fold and go away, lick our wounds, do nothing and let them get away with violating the once-sacred rights of the customer.

We rail against people not taking responsibility for their actions but allow the corporate world to evade responsibility and ride roughshod over our rights.

Service should be a responsibility. An honour. A contract. A duty. We are all made lesser by the lack of service and responsibility.

As the great Anton Chekhov wrote: “Any fool can survive a crisis, it’s the day-to-day living that wears you out.” Australia Post-modern is a mess. Lick it and see.


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 June, 2017

Note to Margaret Court: the Bible isn't meant to be read that literally

Robyn J Whitaker, a female lecturer at a "modern" theology college, attempts below to rebut the points about homosexuality made by Australian tennis great, Margaret Court. Much of what she says below is "ad hominem", attacking Ms Court personally, and she endeavours to make points about homosexuality by generalizing from heterosexual marriage. 

But the point about homosexuality is that it is NOT heterosexual marriage and the Bible consistently distinguishes between the two.  Homosexuality is a separate issue in the Bible and there is no indication that it should be seen as part of the "patriarchy" as Ms Whitaker extravagantly claims.

She claims that the Bible condones homosexuality but cannot produce a single text to that effect.  The OT is unrelentingly and savagely hostile to homosexuality and the Apostle Paul continues that hostility in Romans chapter 1 of the NT.  The big break in the NT is not any form of condoning homosexuality but rather a lifting of the duty to stone homosexuals to death.  Paul says it can be left to God to condemn and punish them.

For anyone who takes the Bible seriously as the word of God, there can be no doubt that homosexuals are in the outer darkness and not among those who will be saved. 1 Corinthians 6:9 says as much.  The Bible does NOT teach universal salvation.  It teaches that those wishing salvation must heed God's commands.

Ms Whitaker seems to think it important that Jesus did not explicitly condemn homosexuality.  He did not need to.  For him, as a devout Jew in a Jewish society, that was understood. So we see in Matthew 19 that, for him, marriage was clearly between a man and a woman and it was only they who could become "one flesh". And the authority he gave for that was what was found in the Jewish scriptures.  So there is no doubt whatever about his view of sexual relationships. Only male/female marriage was on his horizons.

But Ms Whitaker says that the Bible is just a very old book from which we can pick and choose what we like.  She is not a Christian.  At best she is a post-Christian, not unlike the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus' day -- whom Jesus condemned in Mathew 23:3.  And note the three things that Jesus there said the Pharisees neglected: "justice and mercy and faithfulness".  Ms Whitaker likes the mercy teaching but seems to have no interest in justice and faithfulness.  Jesus said you need all three

Margaret Court is wrong to claim marriage is "a union between a man and a woman as stated in the Bible", as she did in her open letter to Qantas, or that a "biblical view" of marriage is between one man and one woman, as she did on Channel Ten's The Project last week.

She is even more wrong to suggest she is being persecuted for her views. Here is why.

Reading the Bible to determine the shape of contemporary marriage is not an easy task. It is an ancient collection of 66 books, written in three different languages (Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic), and spanning over 1,000 years of human history.

Much of the Bible was written 2,500 years ago, when family life was very different.

In the Hebrew scriptures, Abraham fathered children with his concubine as well as his wife, and Moses likely had two wives (one of whom is presented as problematic because she was a foreigner).

Famous biblical kings, like David and Solomon, had entire palaces full of often dubiously acquired wives and concubines that served as symbols of their power and status.

    The reality is families in the Bible reflect the patriarchal structures of their period. Women were considered commodities to be married off for political alliances, economic reasons, or to keep families connected. They had no autonomy to choose their partners.

Polygamy was common, as was the use of slaves as sexual concubines.

I don't hear anyone advocating a "biblical view" of marriage suggesting we return to those particular scenarios.

In the New Testament, Jesus said nothing about homosexual relationships or marriage, except that people should not divorce. This teaching is widely ignored by many Christian denominations today.

Most likely, Jesus's concern in speaking against divorce was for the vulnerable place in which it left women, given they could not usually earn their own money or inherit.

Marriage was allowed in the New Testament, but the most prolific writer, Paul, thinks celibacy is preferable for a Christian.

When Paul writes "there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28), he presents an ideology profoundly disruptive of patriarchal family structures, gender roles and hierarchy.

This kind of Christian teaching led, if anything, to a breakdown of traditional marriage structures (in ancient terms).

For example, the option to remain celibate and live in community (such as a nunnery or monastery) was a radical, attractive and liberating alternative to arranged marriage for women in earliest Christianity.

Jesus' own mother, who is an example of faith in the church's tradition, appears to have left her husband and other children at home to follow her itinerant son.

The nuclear family and the Bible

Not all opinions are of equal weight. While Margaret Court remains one of the most phenomenal sportswomen in Australian history, this does not qualify her as a spokesperson for Christianity on marriage equality.

Nor does being a self-appointed leader of a church she created.

Indeed, if Ms Court applied the literalism with which she reads Genesis to the whole of the Bible, she'd find herself in hot water, since 1 Timothy 2:12 explicitly forbids women teaching or having any authority over men.

This kind of culturally bound ideology is precisely why biblical scholars and mainstream Christian churches do not adhere to a literal interpretation of this ancient and diverse text.

To criticise and expect a higher level of discourse from a public figure is not bullying nor persecution.

Ms Court willingly put herself into the public space by writing an open letter to Qantas. She could have lodged her complaint privately with the company if she wished to remain free of public comment.

    There is nothing inherently Christian about the so-called traditional arrangement of the nuclear family.

You can find that model in the Bible if you look for it, but it is not the dominant view. Nor does the Bible condemn what we understand to be loving, mutual LGBTQI relationships today.

There is nothing like the contemporary concept of sexual orientation in the biblical text.

Where the Bible does appear to condemn homosexual acts it condemns same-sex acts that are rape, adulterous or represent imbalanced power dynamics, such as an elite male with a youth.

[Rubbish!  In 1 Timothy 1: 8-10 and elsewhere homosexuality is simply listed among all the foul sins that are contrary to the law of God]

Interestingly, these same power dynamics are not critiqued when an elite male takes a young woman as a sexual concubine; a sobering reminder of the patriarchal worldview that lies behind the text and ancient fears about penetration and masculinity.

Concepts of family and marriage have evolved and changed throughout human history, including within the church.

Modern Christian families can be made up of gay couples, straight couples, single people in community, childless adults, foster parents, step-parents, grandparents and biological parents.  It is their faith that makes them Christian, not their family structure nor sexuality.

Many Christians are not represented by the views we've recently heard from Margaret Court, nor those espoused by the so-called Australian Christian Lobby.

In fact, quite the opposite. Christian values of love, justice and inclusion found throughout the Bible are why so many Christians support marriage equality.


This could be Australia’s angriest Telstra customer

I once had to threaten to cut the Telstra cable to get some life out of them -- JR

IT’S a story of mistaken identity, phantom iPhones, pissed off police, and a ruined honeymoon.

Many of us have gone through frustrating ordeals with telco companies, but Angela McCarthy’s Telstra nightmare probably takes the cake.

It started in November when a Telstra customer with the same name ordered two new iPhones. While the phones were sent to that customer’s address on the Gold Coast, Ms McCarthy, who lives in Townsville, got a $2093 bill for the two accounts.

It seemed a Telstra employee hadn’t performed the proper identity checks and somehow the billing got sent to the wrong Angela McCarthy.

When she called Telstra to fix the problem, it was determined to be a case of identity theft. She was passed on to the fraud team, and then the Queensland police got involved.

“They had a warrant, ready to take action against this other customer,” but the police thought it was strange that the fraudster (who they believe turned out to be an older woman) had used their home address for the apparent scam, she told

Ms McCarthy says she was on the phone with Telstra and the police who were about to execute the warrant when Telstra admitted it was an error on their end.

“The police officer was quite pissed off, to say the least, that they’d been working on the case for the past two weeks only to find that Telstra’s like, ‘yeah sorry, our bad’”.

To make it all worse, this was happening while Ms McCarthy, 27, was on her honeymoon in Japan. That meant she has to go through the process of setting up global roaming in order to communicate with Telstra — which later turned into another fight when the telco was initially unwilling to reimburse her for the costs incurred.

In December another bill arrived for $2413. Then again in January for $2366.

When she finally succeeded in getting the services removed from her file, the victory was short-lived when she was hit with early termination fees. So back to the ombudsman she went.

For the sake of brevity, we’ll stop here. But it goes on and on including being hit with a credit blacklist barring her from getting any more Telstra services which caused further frustrations.

In total it’s been seven months, thousands of dollars in wrongful bills, three (and now maybe a fourth) Telstra case managers, complaints filed with the ombudsman, countless hours spent on the phone and plenty of stress.

Despite some lingering uncertainty, the ordeal is almost resolved. But this week after having issues trying to organise a new phone she turned to strangers on the internet to vent her frustration.

“Let me tell you a story of an angry Telstra Customer!” she wrote before detailing her story in a fist-clenching 1300 word post.

“I’m not a fan of making things public but the first two times I complained to Telstra they piss farted around,” she lamented to

“I feel like as a customer we shouldn’t have to go on social media and complain in order to get things sorted.”

But these days, that’s what many angry customers are doing. The social media pages of Australia’s major telcos seem to be to most effective way to be heard and, in Ms McCarthy’s case, resulted in the quickest response time. Visit the Facebook pages of Telstra or Optus and you’ll reliably see a torrent of customer complaints in the comments section under sleek PR videos.

At the moment, all the wrongful charges have been removed from her account and the ordeal is nearing a final resolution.

But Ms McCarthy says she’s expecting a call from the CEO’s office today because Telstra has told her it’s conducting a full investigation into the ordeal on her behalf. has repeatedly contacted Telstra to ask about the internal investigation but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

“A lot of ways they’ve gone through to handle this has been absolutely abysmal,” she said.

“As a consumer you rely on the telco to do their job and to do proper ID checks ... I need some sort of assurance that this won’t happen again but Telstra won’t give me that.”

In the latest report from the telecommunications ombudsman, Telstra reclaimed the mantle of most complained about telco, alongside Optus.

In the January-March 2017 quarter, Optus and Telstra both registered 9.3 complaints per 10,000 services — a higher than usual number due to issues arising from the complicated NBN rollout.


Journalists’ union calls for Leftist activist to quit Press Council

The head of the journalists’ union has called for the resignation of the Australian Press Council’s latest member, deputy chair of left-wing activ­ist group GetUp! Carla McGrath, as Communications Minister Mitch Fifield labelled the appointment “bizarre”.

Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance union chief executive Paul Murphy yesterday ­described Ms McGrath’s concurrent positions on the Press Council and GetUp! as “incompatible”, saying her appointment represented a conflict of interest that could not be ignored.

“It’s important for the Press Council to be held in great confidence, not only in the industry, but within the broader community. But there is clear perception of conflict of interest here considering the appointment is of someone who holds a position in an organisation as active and political as GetUp! is,” Mr Murphy told The Weekend Australian.

“While we have absolutely no problem with Carla McGrath, we don’t believe it is appropriate for someone to sit on the Press Council who also holds a senior position in such a politically active organisation. She should give up one ­position or the other because, from our perspective, she can’t be on both.”

The union’s Press Council representative, Matthew Ricketson, co-author of the Finkelstein media inquiry report, voted in favour of Ms McGrath becoming a member. But after learning of the appointment, the MEAA decided it was untenable.

Senator Fifield denounced the appointment, saying senior GetUp! representatives should not have any role adjudicating complaints against media organisations.

“GetUp! are a political extension of Labor and the Greens,” Senator Fifield told The Weekend Australian. “As partisan participants GetUp! activists have no place sitting in judgment on publishers and journalists.

“A free and independent press is an essential underpinning of our democracy. Press review bodies need to maintain industry and community confidence.”

The Australian this week decided to boycott testimony and not accept adjudications of complaints by the Press Council in which Ms McGrath took part.

The Daily Telegraph’s editor, Chris Dore, has also decided to not co-operate with Press Council ­inquiries involving Ms McGrath. The newspaper will also refuse to adhere to rulings in which she plays a part.

Ms McGrath’s role at GetUp! — an organisation that has raised funds to publicly campaig­n against News Corp Australia publications and mocked election coverage by some of the nation’s largest newspapers — has stirred serious concerns among editors, who fear they will not get a fair hearing when complaints are raised about coverage of important public-­interest issues that do not with gel with GetUp’s politics.

The Australian’s editor-in-chief, Paul Whittaker, said even if Ms McGrath relinquished her executive role at GetUp!, there would remain a perception that she lacked independence, which made her appointment untenable.

“Even if she stands aside from certain complaints, her position will undermine the credibility of Press Council submissions to governments and its work in determining what it considers to be good standards for journalism,” Mr Whittaker said.

In a letter to Press Council chairman David Weisbrot, Mr Whittaker wrote yesterday that Ms McGrath’s appointment “has destroyed our confidence in the council’s decisions”.

Because she is deputy chair of an activist organisation “she is not an appropriate person to sit on the council and judge the independence, accuracy and objectivity of journalists”, Mr Whittaker’s letter said. “To ask journalists to submit to judgment from such a person is deeply insulting and her appointment makes a mockery of the council’s task of independently adjudicating complaints against member news organisations.”

Senior journalists across the nation’s wide spectrum of media outlets also criticised Ms McGrath’s appointment and the perceived conflict of interest it raised.

Ben Cubby, editor of The Sydney Morning Herald’s Monday-to-Friday print edition, tweeted that it seemed “weird that political ­activists would be appointed to oversee and potentially police the press. Not good.”

Chief political correspondent of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age James Massola tweeted: “How can the deputy chair of GetUp!, which actively campaigns against one side of politics, be on the Press Council?”

Ben Eltham, national affairs correspondent of the left-leaning media outlet New Matilda also ­objected. “Disastrous decision. A GetUp! campaigner should not be on the Press Council, any more than someone from the IPA,” he said on Twitter.

The Press Council yesterday continued to defend Ms McGrath’s appointment, saying it was aware of its duties to disclose potential conflicts of interest and had a long history of successfully — and conservatively — managing conflicts to avoid any suggestion of bias.

“In the case of Carla McGrath, Australian Press Council chair Professor David Weisbrot specifically flagged the issue of perceived or actual conflicts of interest as a result of her multiple board and leadership roles and her long history of community engagement and advocacy on a range of issues, including indigenous and youth affairs,” a spokeswoman said.

“The issue was canvassed at length at the May meeting of council. Following that discussion, the overwhelming majority of the council members was satisfied that any potential conflicts of interest could be successfully ­managed, and Ms McGrath’s appointment was made.”

The spokeswoman said that as a new public member of the council, Ms McGrath would not sit on an adjudication panel for six to 12 months. “It is not anticipated that Ms McGrath will be assigned to adjudicate complaints until early to mid-2018, and all such assignments take into account potential conflict of interest issues.”

A spokesman for Fairfax Media confirmed the publisher voted in favour of Ms McGrath’s appointment. News Corp, publisher of The Australian, voted against. “Fairfax sees the Press Council as a broad church inclusive of many diverse voices. We voted in favour of Ms McGrath’s appointment. We expect anyone involved in adjudicating Press Council matters to perform their duties with professionalism and impartiality,” the Fairfax spokesman said. “The Press Council has indicated that it would not allow anyone with a conflict of interest to adjudicate stories.”


Don’t get hysterical over Trump’s Paris pullout

By business columnist Terry McCrann

Good. Or great. Either will do.

That’s the first and most basic thing to be said about President Trump’s decision to take the US out of the so-called Paris Climate Accord — more accurately titled, the Fake Paris Climate Accord.

Why “fake”? Because it’s got absolutely nothing to do with doing anything to the climate, if indeed that was even possible.

It was at best an exercise in pretending to do something — for those who’ve been listening to the madness over the years, a desperate attempt to recover from and to avoid another Copenhagen debacle.

Remember (very chilly) Copenhagen? Back in 2009 when a former prime minister named Kevin joined thousands of true believers spewing carbon dioxide flying into “Hopenhagen” only to slink away, spewing yet more CO2, from “Copenfloppen”?

Even one of the original promoters and most fervent believers in the whole global warming/climate change claim — indeed arguably the promoter/believer — James Hansen, has called the Paris Accord a “fraud”.

So fake or fraud, and indeed both, it was also an exercise in transferring hundreds of billions of dollars from the developed world to the developing world, and then back into Swiss bank accounts.

It was also designed to keep the great climate change boondoggle gravy train rolling on through wind and solar farms and Tesla-inspired batteries (and pumped hydro?) to the next CO2-belching climate conference.

So at its most basic and its most valuable, President Trump was making a statement in favour of sanity. He was also making a statement against fraudulence, hypocrisy, dishonesty and waste, stupidity and pointless US (and indeed global) economic impoverishment.

To my mind that’s a pretty good statement to be made.

So what does that say about our Prime Minister’s response, his “Singapore Sling”, that for him and Australia, we at least would always have Paris?

You could not have asked for a more straightforward announcement of total unfitness for the office: a PM making a statement in favour of insanity; in favour of fraudulence, hypocrisy, dishonesty and waste, stupidity and pointless Australian impoverishment.

It was also a proud, if utterly clueless, restatement of Turnbull’s “Trump Denialism”, that we have a PM who refuses to accept the reality of a Trump presidency. That in the bizarre cognitive dissonance that appears to be Turnbull’s brain we will live in a world of a Clinton presidency.

Another of those — a lengthening queue — who can no longer ever be PM, Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, actually made Turnbull’s Trump Denialism official with his emphasis yesterday that we had gone out of our way to publicly sign on to Paris the day after Trump won the election.

Yes, Josh, we did, in stunning unnecessary stupidity. Forget the climate change argument, denying the more basic reality of a Trump presidency and a Trump administration is not a very sensible policy foundation for a PM, government and individual ministers to adopt.

It should be instructive to the (quivering) vegetables (reference: the late Maggie Thatcher) around PM and E & E minister on the front bench and behind them on the backbench. What more evidence do they need of the total hopelessness of Turnbull? That he has to go and go quickly?

That if they won’t re-embrace Tony Abbott, on the basis of abandoning either Paris or Australia’s punitive pointless CO2 emission cuts — yes, signed up to, but not formally committed to, by Abbott as PM — that they must go back to a Peter Costello future?

The reality — not the opinion, not the hope, not the real denialism that sees China’s coal-fired power stations being turned into wind and solar farms and batteries by some 21st century version of turning water into wine — is that we have the two biggest CO2 emitters now effectively out of Paris.

The US emits around 20 per cent of global emissions. China, which emits closer to 30 per cent, is allowed to keep increasing its emissions on a totally uncapped basis through 2030 inside Paris.

But surely, China says, hand on collective heart: trust us, we might even start cutting them. Indeed, we are making huge, huge investments in wind turbines and solar panels.

Yes, China is; in an impressive inversion of Lenin’s observation that the Western democracies would sell the Soviet Union the rope with which it would hang them, China is more than happy to enrich itself by selling us the turbines and solar panels to impoverish ourselves.

And this, of course, is before mentioning that none of the Paris commitments or non-commitments are binding anyway. After Copenfloppen, which tried to make them binding, this was the only way anyone would have Paris.

But I have to say I am at a loss to understand why anyone needs Paris? We are told, most immediately by Alan Kohler in this paper, that: “solar and wind power costs are at the point of becoming cheaper than coal and gas, without the RET, and in some places already are, and battery prices are collapsing”.

So why won’t the CO2 emissions, for purposes of discussion, “problem” solve itself?

If wind and solar are going to be cheaper than coal, why won’t the good old profit motive ensure that all new power generation, again for purposes of discussion, is wind and solar?

If we are all going to be driving electric cars, plugged into wind turbines and solar panels, demand for oil, coal and even gas will evaporate.

So why this insistence we must have mandatory targets for wind and solar? Why does anyone need to commit to CO2 emission reductions; they are going to plunge anyway?

Why the frenzy of hysteria in the wake of Trump’s announcement, that as a consequence it won’t just be Watts LA that burns, baby, burns, but the entire planet?

Somehow I am unconvinced that in fact, if the future is South Australia, we are going back to a 19th century future.

President Trump wants to keep the US in the 21st century. Do we want to stay there too?


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 June, 2017

Tony Abbott on Muslims: ‘Stop treating them with kid gloves’

Tony Abbott believes Muslims should conform to Australian rules

AUSTRALIANS should stop treating Muslims with kid gloves and those living in our country must conform to our rules, according to Tony Abbott. The former Prime Minister said Australians “pussyfoot around the fact many passages of the Muslim holy book command things that are completely incompatible with modern Western life”.

He also said it was also time we stopped making excuses for other people and there should be one set of rules for all Australians in the piece published in today’s the Daily Telegraph.

“The only safe Jihadi is one who’s been lawfully killed, lawfully imprisoned or thoroughly converted from Islamism,” Mr Abbott said.

The MP also said Australians tended to tolerate behaviour from hard line Muslims that we wouldn’t from other groups.

Speaking on Sunrise this morning Melbourne Radio 3AW’s Tom Elliott agreed the same rules should apply to everyone.

“The issue is not if there are enough rules, it’s that are we prepared to apply the rules we have and apply them equally to everyone and on that, Tony Abbott is correct,” he told Sunrise host Sam Armytage.

However advertising guru Jane Caro said Muslims should confirm to Australian laws and the reality was most already did. But she also said it was important the laws were applied to people equally.

“What we don’t want to do is have different rules for different people nor do we want to go off half-cocked,” she said.


Global cooling hits Australia!

IF you were feeling a little chilly this morning it’s no surprise — it was our coldest start to winter since 1943, with the mercury plummeting to a frosty 2.9C in Adelaide.

Elsewhere in the state it was even colder, with Yunta -4.7C, Renmark -3.2C and Loxton, Snowtown and Murray Bridge -1.9C, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

“We had a cold front move across the state Monday night, Tuesday morning, and that’s brought up a lot of very cold, very dry air from over the Southern Ocean,” a Bureau of Meteorology spokesman told ABC Radio Adelaide.

“Then we had a very strong high pressure system come over the top of the state that gave us light winds and clear skies overnight, allowing the temperature to cool down.”

Fortunately, as soon as the sun came out the temperature quickly climbed.

We can expect a sunny, cloud-free day with a top of 16C today in Adelaide, with similar dry forecasts for the rest of the week.

We probably won’t see any rain until Monday, when a possible shower and 17C is expected.

SOURCE.  My heading above is of course satirical

Social Services Minister Christian Porter defends drug tests for dole recipients

SOCIAL Services Minister Christian Porter has defended a plan to drug test welfare recipients while talking up jobs as “a sacred form of giving”.

In a speech to business groups at Parliament House today, the Minister rejected claims similar programs in the United States and New Zealand proved drug testing welfare recipients was costly and ultimately ineffective.

“In America, one thing that’s clear among the trials of drug testing is that the cohorts of individuals in the welfare systems where testing is applied have lower rates of drug use based on the testings in the wider population,” Mr Porter said.

“Critics of drug testing say that is evidence of failure, supporters say it’s evidence of success,” he said.

In making the case for the government’s welfare reforms, Mr Porter highlighted the massive increase in welfare recipients using drug and alcohol issues as an excuse not to turn up for job interviews and other appointments.

More than 5500 people on welfare now applied for exemptions from appointments for drug and alcohol issues, he said.

That was nearly double the number applying for the exemption five years ago.

There was also a 131 per cent increase in the number of times welfare recipients used that excuse in the last year alone to 4325 instances.

Mr Porter said the trial was “nothing to do with being punitive”.

“There is a lot of ancillary data out there that suggests both that there’s a problem and that there is a clear way in which drug testing can help that problem.

“A person who is unemployed is, based on good data, 2.4 times more likely to have addictive issues with drugs and alcohol — obviously there’s both cause and effect in there.”

“We know absolutely for certain that large numbers of people in the welfare system have barriers to employment which are caused by a drug and alcohol problems.

“I also know as a matter of fact that at the moment we are not doing anywhere near enough to first identify them and secondly assist them.”

Under the government’s proposal for a drug screening trial, welfare recipients who tested positive for drugs once would be placed on a cashless welfare card which could not be used to pay for alcohol.

A second positive test would trigger a health check by a medical professional, who would then design a plan for them to recover from their addiction.

Another measure being implemented is mandatory assessments of whether welfare recipients who applied for exemptions from appointments for drug and alcohol issues were attending or seeking treatment.

During the speech, Mr Porter outlined the government’s plan to overhaul the welfare system to ensure it was growing faster than taxpayers’ ability to pay for it.

He also rejected the notion that some low-income earners may sometimes be worse off working because they could receive a similar amount in welfare payments.

Work gave “dignity, pride and purpose” and was “a sacred form of giving” through an individual’s contribution to the greater good, he said.

“Work is more than money — it is self-worth from self-reliance, it’s friendships, it’s purpose and a meaning in life,” he said.

“All our welfare reforms are about one thing; giving more people more opportunity to grow with the benefits of work.”


Fake asylum seekers still coming

People-smugglers are out of business in Australia. Boats laden with asylum-seekers have stopped ­arriving. Yet Australia’s immigration system is under challenge from within.

Polls late last year point to large numbers of Australians wanting an end to Muslim migration, anywhere from a third to half those surveyed depending on the poll. The irony is that mislabelled “progressives” — Labor, the Greens, refugee activists, immigration lawyers, judges and other decision-makers doling out their own deluded, short-term version of compassion — are responsible for undermining support for ­migration to this country.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal is made up of judges, lawyers and others with “expert” knowledge. Some of these AAT members are front and centre in the emasculation of support for Australia’s immigration system. Not even the AAT’s judicial-inspired prolix prose can hide the fact the tribunal has agreed that many asylum-seekers have deliberately lied on visa applications. In simple language, that makes them fake refugees. Yet, over and over again, the AAT has decided to reinstate a visa that has been cancelled by the Immigration Min­ister’s delegate.

Consider these recent cases (specific details cannot be revealed for legal reasons).

The first has already been reported. Asylum-seeker “A” arrived by boat in 2011 and was granted a protection visa the following year claiming it was not safe for him to return to Iran. Once granted a visa, A returned to Iran three times, including to marry under Islamic law. The AAT decided that, even though A kept returning to the country in relation to which he claimed fear of persecution, he was entitled to a protection visa.

The second case, not reported until now, causes more than a raised eyebrow of disbelief. Asylum-seeker “B” claimed to be a stateless Faili Kurd, not an Iranian citizen, in fear for his life in Iran. B travelled to Indonesia by plane on what he claimed to be a false Iranian passport. B’s lie came to light when, after he received a protection visa, he applied for a new Iranian passport in Australia and travelled home for a visit. B admitted to the AAT that he told lies on his visa application. He admitted he was an Iranian citizen and that he had a valid Iranian passport, which he destroyed on the advice of people-smugglers in Indonesia.

Despite the lies, B claimed his wife’s conversion to Christianity gave rise to a non-refoulement ­ob­ligation not to return him to Iran. B’s wife claimed a long interest in the Christian faith. The AAT said her religious conversion was not genuine: her conversion to Christianity happened only after the couple were notified that their protection visas were being cancelled for false information. The AAT concluded B had provided incorrect information and had failed to comply with the ­Mig­ration Act. Then the AAT decided, because the couple had children while in Australia, it was in the children’s best interests for the AAT to reinstate B’s protection visa.

In the year to April, the AAT overturned 4389 — or 39 per cent — of visa decisions made by the minister’s delegate. Cold numbers tell only part of the story. Consider this case, which has a certain familiar flavour: asylum-seeker “C” claimed in his protection visa application that he was stateless, was not an Iranian citizen, that he had travelled to Indonesia on a false passport and that a people-smuggler had taken that passport.

C arrived in Australia by boat with no identity documents. Except that C later applied for and received an Iranian passport, which he used to enter and leave Iran once he had a protection visa. The AAT found the inaccurate information C provided undermined the integrity of Australia’s migration program — yet, once again, the AAT reinstated C’s protection visa.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is right to shake his head at these decisions. Consider another case. Asylum-seeker D claimed to be a stateless Faili Kurd, not an Iranian citizen, used a false passport to travel to Indonesia and claimed he feared for his safety if returned to Iran. Once D received a protection visa, D obtained a valid Iranian passport, suggesting Iranian citizenship, and travelled to Iran for a visit. The AAT found that D had lied on the visa application, that a protection visa would not have been granted if accurate information had been provided. Yet, the AAT reinstated D’s visa, overturning the cancellation.

Notice the pattern of lies from asylum-seekers? Notice the pattern of decisions from the AAT? It’s a bit rich for the AAT to say asylum-seekers providing false information in visa applications undermine the integrity of Australia’s migration program, only to then reinstate liars’ visas.

The combination of fake refugees and misguided AAT members is a double whammy that undermines the integrity of our migration system.

It’s boringly predictable for the Law Council to slap down the Immigration Minister for being critical of some AAT decisions. No judge, lawyer or other person with apparent special expertise on the AAT is above criticism in a democracy. Outgoing AAT president Duncan Kerr says AAT members are simply applying the law. But which law? Explicit provisions in the Migration Act about providing inaccurate information in a visa application are given short shrift. The unfortunate ­directive to asylum-seekers emerging from AAT decisions is fake it ’til you make it.

The shy members of the AAT can expect increased curiosity about their decisions. Last week in Senate estimates, Immigration Department boss Mike Pezzullo released dynamite information: 335 visa holders are being considered for cancellation. He also set out the scale of previous rorts: since 2014, 278 protection visas have been cancelled. Two-thirds of the cancellations arose from evidence of people travelling back to countries in relation to which persecution was claimed. Another third related to people providing incorrect or false information.

Bleeding-heart faux compassionistas, be they in Labor, the Greens or on the AAT, should try to better understand our history. As a migrant nation, Australia has shown strong support for high rates of immigration and a generous humanitarian intake of refugees per capita.

Support for immigration from Australians is most stable and secure when the Australian government, not repugnant people-smugglers piling people into unsafe boats, determines our ­migration policy.

Profiling Dutton in Fairfax Media newspapers last weekend, Jane Cadzow wrote that “he can sometimes sound like an anti-immigration minister”. Except that it’s not anti-immigration to point out that Australia faces unprecedented security threats from terrorists, extremists and criminals who seek to exploit migration pathways to citizenship for their own ends.

It’s not anti-IMMIGRATION to deport criminals. It’s not anti-immigrant to point out that some asylum-seekers are quick to complete welfare forms but rather slow making visa applications. And it’s not anti-immigration to shake your head at decisions by the AAT that undermine the integrity of our migration system.

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 June, 2017

Big coal mine opposed by Greenies gets a go-ahead from a Leftist State government

Royalties are a tax and seeking a taxbreak while an enterprise gets going is normal and may even be offered by a government

The $16 billion Adani coal mining project is back on track after the Indian resources giant agreed to a royalties deal with the Queensland government.

It comes a week after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk reportedly backflipped on a deal because of divisions inside her government, which lead to a snap cabinet meeting on Friday.
Ministers unanimously agreed the company would not be given a royalties holiday on its proposed operation, and on Tuesday evening Adani announced it had agreed to the deal.

A week of warring among Labor factions was sparked when details of Ms Palaszczuk's original agreement with the company surfaced.
Under that deal, Adani would have had pay only $2 million a year over the first seven years of the mine's operation, which could have cost Queensland taxpayers up to $320 million.

No details of the new deal were available due to commercial reasons, an Adani spokesman told AAP on Tuesday evening. "The royalties arrangement means the project is back on track to generate 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in regional Queensland," the company said in a statement. "This shows a strong commitment by the state government to the project and is a benchmark decision to take this project forward."

The board of Adani's parent company will consider the deal at its next meeting, the statement said.

On Saturday, Ms Palaszczuk said her government had worked "night and day" to finalise the new framework, but denied she had backflipped on a previous deal she had struck with the firm.


Deported: Sex creep taxi driver to be kicked out of Australia

SEX creep taxi driver Jagdeep Singh is finally being kicked out of Australia.  Several Australian Border Force officers grabbed him at his Lalor home and put him in detention prior to his deportation back to India.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal foiled Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s first attempt to get rid of Singh after he pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a female passenger in December 2015.

Singh appealed against the visa cancellation decision made by a delegate for Mr Dutton.  AAT senior member Miriam Holmes then overturned the delegate’s deportation decision in November last year and reinstated Singh’s visa.

She did so despite making a formal finding that Singh committed “a significant sexual offence involving a vulnerable member of the public while the applicant was engaged as a taxi driver”.

Mr Dutton last night exercised his power to overrule the AAT and ordered that Singh be detained by Australian Border Force officers and deported. A spokesman for Mr Dutton confirmed to the Herald Sun that Singh’s visa had been cancelled again.

Ms Holmes gave Singh, 34, his visa back in November last year, despite finding “it was apparent to the Tribunal that the applicant showed no remorse in relation to the criminal offence”.

In her written decision outlining why she overturned the deportation decision of Mr Dutton’s delegate, Ms Holmes said the cancellation of the visa had adversely affected Singh’s ability to manage his psychological condition with his treating psychologist.

She also said Singh’s wife had demonstrated depressive symptoms require anti-depression medication and would suffer emotional hardship if her husband’s visa was cancelled.

The decision noted that if Singh’s visa were cancelled he would become an “unlawful noncitizen” and might be liable for detention and possible removal from Australia.

Singh arrived in Australia from India in 2008 on a student visa as a dependent of his wife and started work as a taxi driver in Melbourne in 2011.

Singh’s victim hailed his cab outside Crown casino and asked Singh to driver her home to Clayton. She asked him to start the cab meter, but Singh replied for her not to worry and that something could be worked out later.

While Singh was driving he used his left hand to reach behind him to grab her leg and touch her hand. She repeatedly said “no” to Singh before eventually succeeding in pushing his hand away.

When Singh drove into the driveway of her home she put money on the centre console and got out of the taxi.

Singh jumped out of the cab and put his arms around the woman and hugged her close to his body. He told her he didn’t want her money and said “please, let’s work something out”.

She told him “no” and that he should take the money, at which point he kissed her on the neck.

The woman twisted her body to get away from Singh, but as she got to the gate he grabbed her from behind and pressed himself up against her.

She managed to get away for him again, told him to get back in the cab and leave her alone.

As she opened her front door he pushed her inside against a staircase and tried to kiss her neck and face.

Singh ran off after her screams alerted her housemate to the sexual attack.

He was caught and pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting the woman and was given an 18-month community corrections order in December 2015 requiring him to do 150 hours of unpaid community service.


Australia plans to deny passports to convicted paedophiles

Convicted paedophiles would be denied passports in Australia under a "world-first" plan proposed by the government.

The proposal, to be introduced to parliament, would prohibit registered sex offenders from travelling overseas.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said it would affect about 20,000 offenders who had completed punishments but remained under monitoring by authorities. Sex offenders would be able to apply for passports if they were no longer on the register, the government said.

"No country has ever taken such decisive and strong action to stop its citizens from going overseas, often to vulnerable countries, to abuse kids," Mr Keenan said.

About 800 registered sex offenders travelled overseas from Australia in 2016, according to the government. The government said about 3,200 sex offenders would never be eligible for passports because they were being monitored for life.

Mr Keenan described child sex tourism as an "absolutely abhorrent crime".

The proposal was reached with independent Senator Derryn Hinch, long time campaigner for tougher laws to deal with sex offenders. Mr Hinch said the proposal would protect children.

"You go to Bali, you go to Phnom Penh, you go to Siem Reap, and you see these middle-aged Australian men there, Caucasian men, with a young local kid - they are not there to get a suntan," he told reporters on Tuesday.

Last year, Australian man Robert Andrew Fiddes Ellis was convicted of sexually abusing 11 girls in Indonesia and jailed for 15 years.


Apple-picking robot targets labour-hungry fruit sector in Australia

Goodbye to immigrant workers?

Many fruit growers across Australia were left scrambling to find pickers this season and were forced to leave fruit on the trees to rot. Would harvest be less stressful if they had a robot to do the work instead?

A team of engineers from California are close to commercialising a machine that strips a canopy of apples using a vacuum arm.

For the past five years they have been working on the prototype in orchards in Washington State and, more recently, at Warragul in south-east Victoria.

Abundant Robotics chief executive Dan Steere said the invention may just be the solution to a global labour problem. "The industry struggles to attract a large enough labour force, even when they're paying pretty high wages," he said. "This has been a growing problem for several decades in the US as well as Australia and other places.

"I think automation offers the promise of being able to relax that constraint from an industry that without it, would struggle to remain viable."

The robot the company has developed can drive itself down an orchard row of apples and look for fruit on a trellis up to 3 metres tall.

It is programmed to select fruit for colour, then using its arm, sucks in a piece of fruit off a branch.

Mr Steere said the goal was to have the robot matching the quality of fruit picked by people. "When people are picking apples today, there's a certain amount of damage that happens as you pick them or empty them from the bag into the bin," he said.

"In Victoria this past year, we were comparing the rate of damage which we saw with our machine. "It was actually measured by the packing house at 1.8 per cent to the human crews' picking.

"So that level is actually a little bit less than the amount of damage that they normally see from people picking fruit."

Tasmanian orchardist Scott Price thought he would never see an apple-picking robot in his lifetime. He reckons it will not be long before they will be driving up and down orchards on the Apple Isle. "A lot of new orchards would lend themselves very well to picking," Mr Price said.

"The biggest fear we have in the orchard game is people injuring themselves. "If the machine injures itself we'll just take it back to the workshop and try to fix it, so that would be a bonus."

Mr Price said not every farm would have the robots in the next five to 10 years, but bigger properties may. "And there may be a machine shared amongst growers," he said. "Technology will change very rapidly, I'm sure."

Abundant Robotics' commercial release of its robotic apple picker is planned for next year.


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


Alternative (Monthly) archives for this blog


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral Reef Compendium
IQ Compendium
Queensland Police
Australian Police News
Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Bank of Queensland blues

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Selected reading



Rightism defined
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Hitler a socialist
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Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism

Van Hiel
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