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?


29 June, 2018

Australian libertarian senator advises Green senator to 'stop shagging men' during women's safety debate

A classic case of the Green/Left distorting what their opponents say. Donald Trump gets it daily

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young has accused senator David Leyonhjelm of telling her to “stop shagging men” during a debate about women and violence, and then swearing at her when she confronted him.

Senator Hanson-Young told parliament the Liberal Democrats senator made the remark on the floor of the upper house during a division on a motion about arming women with tasers to combat violence.

She said Leyonhjelm refused to apologise for the comments, which she says are offensive and sexist.

Later Leyonhjelm confirmed his words but denied he shouting them out.  He said he was responding to Senator Hanson-Young’s interjection in the debate, which he claimed was “along the lines of all men being rapists”.

“I responded by suggesting that if this was the case she should stop shagging men. I did not yell at her,” Leyonhjelm said.

“Following the division, Senator Hanson-Young approached me and called me a creep. I told her to f*** off.”

He said if the Greens senator took offence, it was an issue for her.

“I am prepared to rephrase my comments. I strongly urge Senator Hanson-Young to continue shagging men as she pleases,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.


'Sick of the man-hating PC brigade': Customers vow to stop shopping at Peter Alexander after the sleepwear company pulls 'boys will be boys' jumper from its shelves - because ONE mum claimed it was sexist

Peter Alexander's decision to stop selling a jumper after one customer complained has prompted a widespread backlash by customers of the iconic Australian brand.

The sleepwear company removed the controversial 'boys will be boys' jumper from its catalogue on Wednesday, one week after a mother said its message was 'sexist' and promoted 'toxic masculinity'.

Customers have since expressed their anger and disappointment at the decision to stop selling the top on the company's Facebook page - with some vowing to stop buying the brand completely.

'My family have over the years purchased many pyjamas from your business. Unfortunately, with your company bowing to the PC brigade and removing the 'boys will be boys' jumper, we will no longer be purchasing from your company. We are so sick of the Man hating PC brigade, but even more feed (sic) up with businesses that placate these groups. Thank you,' one man wrote.

'This is disappointing. If people want to be offended by everything fine, just don't buy it. I don't understand the offence or the response. Instead of removing it, why not introduce a top 'girls will be girls,' another customer suggested.

The top was removed after Melbourne woman Bridie Harris complained the top was sexist.

'Boy won't be boys. Boys will be held accountable for their actions. I hate to see an Australian store, who makes such great pjs, put such a sexist statement on a t-shirt intended for young boys. Excusing boys of their behaviour is not a step in the right direction. It's 2018,' she wrote on the business' Facebook page.

The jumper had been marketed online with the tag line: 'Boys will be boys, so leave them to it in this warm and cosy quilted sweater. Perfect for winter adventures'.

Known as the 'Pyjama King', Peter Alexander is famous for the unique themes he uses to design his pyjamas. His inspiration comes from his travels around the world such as Paris, New York, and African Safaris.

A Peter Alexander Sleepwear employee initially responded to the complaint, saying the feedback would be passed onto the design and production team. Within a week it was pulled from their catalogue.

'I just wanted to update you and again thank you for taking the time to get in touch with us and bringing this to our attention. We do not tolerate the behaviour that is being associated with this slogan,' a Peter Alexander Sleepwear employee wrote.

'In the light of your feedback, we have decided to withdraw this item from sale.' 

Ms Harris, who has a two-year-old daughter, told The Sydney Morning Herald she was glad the jumper was no longer being sold, as she did not want her little girl 'to think if someone pushes her on the playground it's just 'boys will be boys'.' 

'I want her to stand up and tell someone and be able to feel safe, playing in playground or walking home at night as an adult,' Ms Harris said.

Ms Harris' concerns were followed up by another complaint on the day the jumper was withdrawn from sale. 

A domestic violence victim, Jenny, told 3AW the decision to axe the jumper was 'ridiculous'.  'It has to stop. This has gone too far. There's so many rules that nobody can be themselves any more,' Jenny said.


Labor claims ‘secret deal’

In Parliamentary excerpt on afternon of 28th.

They kept hammering it but Turnbull showed himself to be a very good parliamentary performer -- being well-briefed (as one would hope of a barrister) -- and getting in a pretty powerful last word every time.  He never answers the question, of course

Labor’s Chris Bowen asks Malcolm Turnbull if he will reveal the “secret deal” with One Nation before the July 28 by-elections.

The Prime Minister dodges it and goes into counter-attack.

“Talking about personal discussions and conversations, I just noted in the shadow minister for Small Business’s interview with Alan Jones today. He was slipping and sliding, failing to defend his leader’s captain’s call,” Turnbull says.

After being fobbed off on his last question, opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen tries the same one again.

“Has the government reached any agreements with One Nation within the last 48 hours?”

Malcolm Turnbull says he will not reveal negotiations with the crossbench, an answer that led to lots of noise from Labor MPs.

“We never discuss negotiations with the crossbench, we don’t,” the Prime Minister says.

“And we have found that the most important thing to do when negotiating with other members of parliament is to treat them with respect and that’s what we do.”

Labor MP Rob Mitchell yells out “Pauline’s puppet”, which earns him a rebuke from Speaker Tony Smith.

Opposition treasury Chris Bowen asks Malcolm Turnbull if the government has done any deals with One Nation in the past 48 hours.

The Prime Minister congratulates Bowen for adding the portfolio of small business to his responsibilities.

“There are many ways to create a small business. Most people start off with no business at all and build it up,” Turnbull says. “Others, and I think the shadow minister would fall into this category, would start with a large business and turn it into a small one. That’s exactly what he will do to Australia’s economy.”

Bill Shorten asks Malcolm Turnbull if he will bring back the big business tax cuts and strike a “secret deal” with One Nation after the by-elections.

The Prime Minister says the only secret deal around was the Opposition Leader’s announcement to increase taxes for businesses with a revenue of more than $10 million.

“The honourable member kept his assault on small business a secret from his shadow cabinet, from his caucus, from his mystified colleagues, including the Deputy Leader,” Turnbull says.

“Kept a secret from them until he dropped that bombshell and announced he was going to put at risk five million jobs.”


Shorten on the ropes? Second Labor MP refuses to endorse his "captain’s call" on tax

Some can see that being anti-business is also being anti-jobs

Labor MP Gai Brodtmann has repeatedly refused to endorse Bill Shorten’s captain’s call to raise taxes for businesses earning more than $10 million.

Ms Brodtmann, a former small business owner, refused to rule out crossing the floor if a future Labor government went further with repealing already legislated tax cuts on business — despite Labor MPs being barred from voting against the party position.

The Labor leadership group met this morning amid growing anger in the caucus and shadow cabinet at not being consulted about the policy.

Ms Brodtmann dodged several questions from Radio 2CC presenter Tim Shaw on whether she agreed with the Opposition Leader’s impromptu announcement this week.

“We are continuing to consider businesses up to $10m turnover but we have always been crystal clear that we put schools and hospitals ahead of tax cuts for big business and the banks,” Ms Brodtmann said.

She also refused to reject suggestions Mr Shorten made the wrong call in vowing to increase tax on business.

“Well there has been internal discussions on this issue, those discussions continue, and we will continue to consider whether those businesses on up to $10m turnover should be addressed,” she said.

When asked if she would cross the floor if a future Labor government also tried to raise taxes on businesses with a turnover of up to $10 million, Ms Brodtmann said: “I’m not going to speculate on any of that, the conversations are still being had within the leadership group.”

It came after Labor MP Ross Hart refused to endorse Mr Shorten’s position 13 times in an interview yesterday.

Shaw: Do you agree and do you support your leader in the winding back of tax cuts for medium business that he announced this week?

Brodtmann: We are continuing to consider businesses up to $10m turnover but we have always been crystal clear that we put schools and hospitals ahead of tax cuts for big business and the banks.

Shaw: Gai, I asked you specifically, do you support Bill Shorten’s position when he said ‘yes’ to the winding back tax cuts for medium businesses? And I remind you that you are a former small business person yourself.

Brodtmann: Yes I am and a proud former small business person and, as I said, we are continuing to consider up to ($10 million) turnover.

Shaw: So the leader was wrong to announce to the media that, yes, the policy of the Australian Labor Party was to repeal already L.A.W. law tax cuts for small business?

Brodtmann: Well there has been internal discussions on this issue, those discussions continue, and we will continue to consider whether those businesses on up to $10m turnover should be addressed.

Shaw: If Bill Shorten as Prime Minister and the front bench in government decided to repeal those small business taxes that have been applied by the Coalition government, would you be prepared to cross the floor to support those Canberra businesses with lower taxes?

Brodtmann: I’m not going to speculate on any of that, the conversations are still being had within the leadership group. We are going to take our time to consider this issue and making an announcement once those considerations have been made.


Share bikes a failure in Australia

A Greenie dream dies.  Many people who hire them are too lazy to return them

Bike-sharing service oBike is staying in Sydney despite piles of the disused bicycles ending up dumped in streets and waterways across the city.

OBike is no longer in service in Melbourne after the city council started issuing fines for illegal dumping.

The company has also announced it would stop operating in its home base of Singapore.

An oBike spokesperson told the ABC it was 'not leaving Australia'. 'Our service is as usual. Meanwhile we are also working closely with local authorities in Melbourne for a detailed discussion on how we can better provide our service.'

The company's decision to withdraw from Melbourne comes after the  Environment Protection Authority announced steep new fines of $3,000 per dumped bike, payable by the business.

There are at least four bike-sharing companies in Melbourne and Sydney including oBike and ReddyGo which were launched last year after being popularly used overseas.

The heavily criticised share bike industry, which also operates in other major cities across the country, often leaves pedestrians frustrated as the bikes are left strewn across footpaths or thrown into trees.

Port Phillip Mayor Bernadene Voss told radio station 3AW she had been informed the bikes were on their way out of Melbourne.

'We've been told they are going,' she said. 'We do understand though that there is a new operator coming in.'

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp asked people to stop using the rental scheme after the company confirmed it was pulling out of Melbourne, following controversy and hefty fines over bikes dumped on streets, up trees and in waterways.

'oBikes have decided to withdraw from our market here in Melbourne and we are working very closely with them to remove oBikes from the city streets,' she told reporters.


Real reason teachers walk away

Unending, deadening, bureaucratic interference with their work

HALF of our teachers are quitting within five years of graduating. We’re at crisis point, and as one teacher explains, it’s not changing.

THOUSANDS of Australian teachers are abandoning their careers every year, leaving our students much worse off. Something is seriously wrong in our education system.

Gabbie Stroud had high hopes walking into her career as a teacher. She was dedicated, and loved working with kids. But over a decade, she was worn down by the system. Below is an extract of her new book, Teacher, showing why it’s more than the daily grind that’s pushing our educators to the brink:

I HAD arrived at school earlier than usual, signing a form at daycare agreeing to pay the extra fifteen bucks for an early drop-off. I needed to prepare an activity for my class. We had been reading Where Is The Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek, and today we were going to search the school for a lost green sheep. It would be a chance for students to get familiar with the layout of the school as well as engaging them in a rich literacy task. Boxes ticked. One day closer to maternity leave.

On coloured paper I had drawn and laminated sheep — a blue sheep, a red sheep, a yellow sheep, an orange sheep — and I was dotting them around the school. One had been taped to the underside of the slippery dip. Another had been pinned to the tuckshop menu board. I would deliver a couple to classrooms as well. The green sheep himself, a plush soft toy, would be waiting for us in the Principal’s office. The Principal seemed bemused by the entire activity, but had agreed to play along.

I hustled into Gretel’s class and explained the activity while she started up the bank of computers against the back wall of her classroom. “Sounds great,” she said, never looking up. “Sit it on my desk and when you bring your class down to find it. I’ll do the whole shocked and surprised routine.”

“Thanks.” I dropped off the orange sheep and lumbered out the door. I glanced at my watch. Twenty minutes until show time. One sheep left to deposit.

“Hey, Lana.” I knocked on her door, but didn’t wait for her welcome. “Can I please leave this sheep in here with you? And then later this morning I’ll come down with the Kindies?”

“I can’t do this,” Lana said, and for a moment I thought she was talking about my activity.

“Okay.” I took a step backwards. “I can ask someone else.” There was something about her face I didn’t recognise, even though I’d been teaching with her for years. But then it clicked and I did recognise it and I was terrified. It was stress. And defeat. And possibly desperation. All brought to life on the pale, frowning face of my long-time colleague and friend.

“No,” she said and slumped forward in her seat. “I can’t do this. I can’t do this anymore.” She shoved at the paperwork in front of her. “None of it!” She shook her head.

I moved towards her, abandoning the red sheep and putting my arm around her shoulders. Outside a child shouted, Too bad, so sad! and there was the tattoo of school shoes across the concrete.

“I know, it’s so exhausting,” I said, rubbing my hand across her back. “Let’s just take a minute and have a cry and then we’ll get our s**t together, hey?”

“No,” she said. Her stare was defiant. “I can’t do it anymore.” Tears started streaming and I felt panic grip me. I glanced at my watch. Fifteen minutes.

I’ve got to get her together. I need another teacher in here, but I don’t want to leave her. S**t! She’s got car keys in her hands. She is really sobbing. This isn’t a brief breakdown, this is something else.

“Here’s what we’re going to do,” I said with a voice that was warm and confident and reassuring. It was my teacher voice — Lana had one too — but she looked at me in the same way a little one does when they’ve spilled an entire tub of yoghurt down their front. “I’m going to call Pip because her class goes to the library this morning and she’ll come and take your class. So we can stop worrying about that.”

Lana looked at me, nodded, and asked for some tissues. I found the box and passed them to her.

“Then I’m going to ring the Principal. I’m going to tell him to get a relief teacher for your class for the rest of the day.”

She nodded again. “Thanks,” she whispered. “You’re probably just really tired,” I said and squeezed her arm.

“No!” Her voice was loud. Wild. “This isn’t tired! This is something else. This is … This is … I can’t do this anymore.” New tears came and she leaned over her desk, over the books and the papers and the laptop and the awards and the stickers, and sobbed.

I made the phone calls and our teaching community rallied. Madge offered to take my class for a bit and I sat with Lana until she had stopped sobbing and shaking. “I’m so sorry,” she was saying. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

The Principal came to her room, sat beside her and found his teacher voice, too. He talked about stress leave and mental health and going home right now and not to worry — we would sort out the details later.

“I’m sorry,” Lana said again. “It’s okay,” he said. “And don’t apologise. Happens to the best of us.”

I found her bag and phone and I watched her go, bent over and frail like someone sick, very sick, about to die.

That’s me, I thought. That’s going to happen to me. And the baby rolled inside, uncomfortable under my skin.


“I can’t believe it,” I said. We were in the library after school, waiting for the staff meeting to begin, debriefing about Lana and wondering how she was feeling now.

“I mean, Lana’s so steady and calm and bombproof. She never seems stressed or frazzled. You never see her busting someone’s arse at the photocopier because she’s left things to the last minute and needs to jump the queue.”

“Appearances can be deceiving,” Jule said. “We all wear stress in different ways,” added Madge. “She’ll come good,” the Principal said. “Eventually.”

“You reckon?” I could still see her face — that was the face of a teacher having a breakdown.  “I’ve seen it before,” he said. “Plenty of times.”

Something about the way he said it, that nonchalant, casual manner, made me feel like exploding all over the room. I wanted to see my body fly against the walls in wet, red, meaty splatters. I closed my eyes for a moment, wondered at this anger that kept flaring inside me. Then, I took a breath and asked, “So what are we doing about it?”

He shrugged, opened his diary. “Nothing we can do. Okay — let’s start this meeting. First up, funding cuts.”


“Are you okay?” I was lurching out of my car, willing my body to move faster to get to my friend, to hold her and hug her.

Lana nodded and watched me, framed in her doorway. She was in trackies and uggies, and her face was bare. “I’ve never seen you in trackies,” I said.

“Or without make-up, probably,” she said. She tried to force a laugh, but it turned to a sob, and I stood there and hugged her as close as I could with the buffer of a baby between us. “Thanks for coming around,” she said, ushering me inside.

“I’m worried about you,” I said. About me, I thought.

“It’s stress,” she said simply, flicking on the kettle and pulling mugs from the cupboard. “I’ve seen the doctor; even saw a psychologist today. I just can’t seem to find a way to make my work and my life manageable.”

I nodded, watching as she moved about her kitchen. There was a weariness to her, like she was just out of hospital and recovering from surgery.

“Let me,” I said and took her place in the kitchen, making tea and finding biscuits.

“I mean, I’ve got some hormonal stuff that needs sorting out,” she said. “At my age, that’s pretty normal. But I just can’t see how I’m meant to go on being a teacher for another 20 years. I think about those professional teaching standards coming in and I just think, When am I going to get those done?”

“I try not to think about them,” I said. “Or the national curriculum.”

“Oh, my God,” Lana said. “That as well. I’m a teacher with over 25 years of experience, but these past few years none of that seems good enough. I’ve got to learn this new teaching technique and integrate new technology and promote the school at this thing on the weekend and help that student manage his emotions …” She sniffed. “I just wonder where it’s all going to end?”

“Me too,” I agreed.

“I bet you’re getting excited about the baby.”

“Yeah,” I said, touching my belly. “Probably for all the wrong reasons though.”

“Maternity leave?”

“Yep,” I admitted.

“I get it,” she said. “I get it.”

I stayed until Lana’s husband came home from work, watched as they embraced and she found fresh tears. Driving home, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d just had a glimpse of my future. This baby would buy me time away from the classroom, but then what? I would have to return and continue the battle, slogging it out day after day with big dark shadows of standardisation lurking over my head.

Part of me felt like sobbing, just like Lana.


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, 2018

Australia's first Indigenous ophthalmologist enjoys intricate nature of 'elegant' eye surgery

Indigenous my foot!  There's nothing to distinguish him from a Caucasian. Any Aboriginal ancestry is obviously remote and tells us nothing about full-blood Aborigines

There are few areas of medicine more specialised than eye surgery, but it is in that field — which is also highly competitive — that Kristopher Rallah-Baker has made history.

Dr Rallah-Baker has become Australia's first Aboriginal ophthalmologist after completing his training with a stint in outback Western Australia.

Every year, barely more than 15 Australian doctors complete the five-year vocational training program to become an ophthalmologist.

"I think there's a lot of humility that comes with being the first in the field," he said.

"I guess some people would suggest that I'm a trailblazer.

"I see myself as doing a job and being a role model for other people to follow a similar path both Indigenous and non-Indigenous."

Dr Rallah-Baker completed his last six months with Outback Vision, an outreach service of the Lions Eye Institute.

He said he found he seemed to have a deeper connection with Indigenous patients.

"There is a slight difference in the level of interaction. I think a big part of that is an instant understanding that there's a common history and there's a common story there," Dr Rallah-Baker said.

"And that's not to say non-Indigenous people don't have that understanding, there's some fantastic, fantastic non-Indigenous ophthalmologists out there who just understand it.


Fatty loses her exorbitant payout

The original judge bent all the rules to give her such a big payout

Actress Rebel Wilson has been ordered to repay $4.1 million she received from Bauer Media in a defamation payout that was later reduced on appeal to $600,000.

The Court of Appeal on Wednesday ordered Wilson pay Bauer Media $4,183,071.45 – including $60,316.45 in interest – after the original judgment awarding her $4.7 million was set aside on appeal earlier in June.

Wilson was awarded the landmark payout in September 2017 following a defamation trial over a series of articles that made her out to be a liar, but an appeal later found she was not entitled to $3.9 million in economic damages relating to a loss of income.


Oxfam investigates allegation fundraisers threatened to rape a woman

Charity collectors have become very aggressive now that they are paid by results

Oxfam says it is investigating allegations that fundraisers knocking doors on its behalf have been accused of threatening to rape a woman after she turned them away from her home.

Police in a suburb of Perth, Western Australia, say they have received reports about the conduct of “legitimate representatives” fundraising on behalf of Oxfam in Byford on Monday.

CCTV footage from the group’s visit to the woman’s home – as well as commentary about their actions – has been circulating on social media.

In a statement, Oxfam said the two fundraisers had denied the specific allegations, but that the organisation was taking the allegations very seriously.

Police in Western Australia have confirmed they have received complaints over the behaviour of door-knockers employed by Global Interactive and collecting for Oxfam, who have visited a number of properties around Byford and Mundijong.

Residents have reported the door-knockers have became aggressive when they’ve been refused donations and, in one instance, have allegedly threatened to rape a female homeowner who declined to give money.

Residents, concerned over the behaviour, have posted accounts of their experiences and CCTV footage from their homes on social media, warning others.

Oxfam confirmed that while the door-knockers were not directly linked to Oxfam, the group was employed by Global Interactive to fundraise on the charity’s behalf.

Global Interactive is an “outsourced sales solution” company contracted by Oxfam to assist in its fundraising campaign.

Both Oxfam and Global Interactive are assisting WA police in their investigations. The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, of which Oxfam and Global Interactive are both members, has also been notified.

“The people in the footage published on social media are engaged by Global Interactive to fundraise for Oxfam. The two fundraisers have denied any inappropriate behaviour, but in accordance with standard practice have been stood down pending inquiries into the matter,” Oxfam’s statement said.

“Global Interactive has removed all of their fundraisers from the Byford area, given community concerns about this matter.

“Oxfam expects people fundraising on our behalf to adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards to ensure our donors, supporters and members of the public are treated respectfully.”

The Mundijong police have confirmed they are investigating the allegations.

“We have a number of legitimate representatives in our area conducting charity work on behalf of Oxfam. A video has emerged on social media regarding conduct of some of the individuals involved and the company responsible have addressed the issues identified.”

Oxfam has weathered scandals already this year, when it emerged that in 2011, several Oxfam staff were accused of sexual exploitation and abuse in Haiti during the organisation’s response to an earthquake there. As well, allegations emerged from 2006 of Oxfam staff using sex workers in Chad.

In February, the deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence resigned over what she described as the British charity’s failure to adequately respond to the allegations of sexual misconduct by some staff.


'He's the one with the silver spoon in his mouth': One Nation's Pauline Hanson claims Bill Shorten has 'no connection with grassroots Australians'

Senator Pauline Hanson has accused Labor leader Bill Shorten of having a 'silver spoon in his mouth'.

The outspoken One Nation Senator, who revealed this week that she does not trust the Opposition leader, has accused Mr Shorten of having no connection to grassroots Australia and advised people to 'keep away' from him, according to The Courier Mail.

The rift between Ms Hanson and the Labor Party escalated last week when she supported Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's personal income tax cuts in the Senate.

Ms Hanson has taken aim at Mr Shorten's private school education, according to the publication.

'I don't trust him,' she said. 'It's women's intuition. I don't feel warm to him. I don't feel like I connect with him. 

'He's the one with the silver spoon in his mouth. Everything he calls Malcolm Turnbull, he needs to look at himself in the mirror.'

Mr Shorten attended the prestigious Xavier College and St Mary's Catholic Primary School, both located in Melbourne.

Ms Hanson was public-school educated at Buranda Girl's School and Coorparoo State School in Queensland. She left school at 15, and worked at her parents Fish and Chip Shop with her siblings from a young age.  

 Her comments come after Shorten's colleague Anthony Albanese was accused by the Coalition of firing the starter gun on the Labor Party leadership.

Mr Albanese set out his agenda for the Labor Party in his Whitlam Oration speech at Shellharbour, on the New South Wales Coast, on Friday night. But Labor denied any rift between the pair.

Ms Hanson told 2SM Mr Albanese would make a better Opposition leader, describing him as a 'lovely guy'.  'I think he would be better leader than what Bill Shorten is,' she told the radio network on Tuesday. 


'It's less efficient than regular unleaded': Motorists are being forced to use E10 fuel despite growing doubts about cost savings and environmental benefits

Motorists are being forced to use ethanol petrol despite industry doubts about its environmental benefits and cost savings.

Service stations in New South Wales and Queensland are being required to stock E10 petrol, which contains up to 10 per cent ethanol, and are hit with hefty fines if they fail to convert their tanks.

This lower octane unleaded blend, containing fermented sugarcane or grain, typically sells for $1.50 a litre in Sydney, compared with $1.75 a litre for premium unleaded.

Over a year, this equates to an extra $663 a year to fill up a small Mazda3 hatchback if motorists want to buy the superior premium unleaded petrol as lower octane, regular unleaded is replaced with E10 at service stations.

E10 is also three per cent less efficient per kilometre than regular unleaded petrol, with industry experts questioning its touted environmental benefits.

Independent petrol monitoring group Fueltrac said lobbying from ethanol producer Manildra and Queensland's sugarcane growers was forcing motorists in two states to pay significantly more for petrol if they didn't want to fill up with E10.

'There would be zero benefit in terms of environmental benefit and you've got the higher cost of the fuel,' the group's manager director Geoff Trotter told Daily Mail Australia today.

'The stuff only has 70 per cent thermal efficiency of a standard unleaded so you've got to use three per cent more to go the same distance.'

Mr Trotter, a former Shell executive, said the NSW government was threatening service stations with $500,000 fines if they didn't stock E10.

'When the motorists didn't respond to the mandate in the first tranche, they then threatened retailers with these huge fines,' he said.

'Unfortunately, what that's done is it's forced people to have to buy premium unleaded fuel which is between 15 and 20 cents a litre more than the previous standard unleaded. 'They haven't delivered any savings benefits for the poor old motorist.'


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, 2018

Senate must not pass large company tax cuts: Oxfam

Oxfam started out as a chain of charity shops in England.  They have now however transmogrified into a carping Leftist pressure group.  They still seem however to understand secondhand clothes better than economics.  They complain below that many large companies pay no tax in Australia while at the same time opposing tax cuts.  Anyone see a problem there?  Surely the companies who pay no tax will not be affected by tax cuts!

Multinational companies are often in a position to take their profits in a jurisdiction where tax rates are low -- as in Singapore or Ireland -- so it is sensible for companies to do that.  So the companies that pay no tax in Australia will pay tax in (say) Singapore. 

Australian government revenues lose from that but the solution is to get Australian company tax down to the Singapore rate -- 17%.  Despite being so lacking in natural resources that it even imports water, Singapore is a very prosperous place -- so if Singapore can do it so can we.

It won't happen soon.  The Left would mount a Jihad to stop it -- while the Singapore government enjoys tax money that could have gone to the Australian government.

The unfortunate Mr Turnbull is trying to get our company tax down -- our rates are about twice Singapore's -- but the ignoramuses of the Left would rather have our money go to Singapore

Commenting on the push to have large company tax cuts pass through the Senate this week, Oxfam Australia’s economic policy advisor Joy Kyriacou said:

“The proposed $65 billion hand-out for big business would make Australia the latest country to join the global race to the bottom on corporate tax rates.

“Slashing the corporate tax rate would undermine attempts to tackle inequality and poverty, both in Australia and around the world. When governments enter a race to the bottom on corporate tax rates, everyday people lose.

“It is utterly inconceivable that the Federal Government wants to push ahead with slashing the corporate tax rate when Australian Taxation Office data shows that more than one in three large Australian companies paid no tax at all in Australia for the past three years of reporting.

“Passing the corporate tax cut for large companies would be a further step in unravelling the fairness of our tax system.

“Right now, the use of tax havens and other loopholes by Australian multinationals is ripping billions of dollars from public coffers in developing countries, as well as in Australia.

“Oxfam estimates around $5-6 billion is lost to Australia’s public purse through the tax avoidance practices of multinationals – and global estimates are that the poorest countries loose well over $100 billion annually.

“This is money that should be spent on the things everyday people need: schools, hospitals, roads and public infrastructure.

“It would also be completely nonsensical to promise a crackdown on multinationals that are avoiding paying their fair share of tax in exchange for rewarding big business with these tax cuts.

“And the stubborn push for these tax cuts comes with little evidence of benefits to the economy and community – and in exchange for no more than a ‘pinky promise’ that big business will invest more in jobs and wage growth.

“What Australia should be doing is cracking down further on tax avoidance, including by introducing public country-by-country reporting that requires large companies to declare details of income, taxes paid and profits around the world.

“Oxfam calls on Senators to support the Australian people this week, not further profits for large companies. The corporate tax cuts for large businesses should be rejected.”

Via email.

Cattle the next target in climate war

Storm clouds have gathered over the long paddock as beef production becomes the target of a building global campaign that threatens to make cows the next coal in ­climate change action.

Australia’s biggest integrated cattle and beef producer, Australian Agricultural Co (AAC), has been thrown on to the defensive after it was named and shamed as a global laggard.

AAC, the oldest continuously operating company in the nation, claims a “high risk” rating by a group representing investors worth $5.9 trillion was more due to poor communication than bad management.

But a war of competing scientific views has been ramping up over the impact of cattle on ­climate, with Oxford University research rejecting the benefits of grazing and claiming diets with less meat of any kind were needed to save the planet.

Land emissions were due to surface as the next challenge for the federal government, which ­remains bogged down in energy policy and strongly resistant to plans to tighten regulations for new cars and the transport sector.

Some commentators claim Australian cattle, sheep and pig herds will need to be cut by millions of animals to meet agriculture’s share of the 26 to 28 per cent cut to carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2030.

The fear is that climate policies would do to meat prices what had been done to electricity.

The Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation has responded to pressure with a public ­“ambition” to make the livestock sector carbon-neutral by 2030.

Rather than cut animal numbers, the industry says better land management, improved stock ­selection and handling can offset the impact of methane and carbon dioxide emissions from cows.

About 13 per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions come from agriculture compared with 35 per cent from electricity generation and 17 per cent from transportation.

The livestock sector represents about 70 per cent of emissions from agriculture, with beef cattle production mostly responsible.

Beef cattle produce high levels of the potent greenhouse gas methane when they graze and when they pass wind.

A spokesman for the federal Environment Department told The Australian the $2.5 billion emissions reduction fund allowed at least six methods the livestock industry could use to generate ­additional income while providing productivity benefits.

A government paper said to ­reduce the emissions intensity of beef, growers could reduce the ­average number of days from birth to slaughter, reduce the ­average age of the herd or reduce the number of animals in the herd.

CSIRO is exploring ways the industry can be carbon neutral while the national herd can ­remain stable at 28 million cattle and 70 million sheep.

MLA managing director Richard Norton said paths to becoming carbon neutral “don’t require the heavy hand of regulation”.

“What they do require is the commitment of industry, the right policy settings from federal and state governments and continued investment in research and development,” he said.

Mr Norton said the red meat industry had already reduced its share of Australia’s total emissions from 20 per cent of Australia’s 600 million tonnes total emissions in 2005 to just 13 per cent in 2015.

AAC said it was committed to working to further reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

“To do this, we recognise the importance of better understanding agricultural greenhouse gas flows at pasture and production level,’’ the company said. “Better data and industry benchmarking will help us drive further, long-term improvement.’’

Australia currently ranks as the world’s third largest beef ­exporter behind Brazil and India.


Bill Shorten’s frontbench team rich in assets

Bill Shorten’s asset-rich frontbenchers, who have led attacks on the personal wealth of Malcolm Turnbull, will continue to have ­access to the benefits of negative gearing on dozens of investment properties under Labor’s plans to axe the ­lucrative tax break for new investors.

As the opposition ramps up its class-war attack on “millionaires”, The Australian can reveal many of Labor’s frontbenchers are multi-millionaires, courtesy of bulging property portfolios. Parliamentary records show Labor’s 45 frontbenchers own or have an interest in a total of 105 properties, including 57 classified as residences, and up to 48 classified as investments, holiday houses or blocks of land.

The Opposition Leader has pledged to axe negative gearing, while “grandfathering” arrangements for those already in the market, in a move that would benefit senior members of his leadership team.

An analysis of parliament’s register of pecuniary interests reveals some Labor MPs also make use of family trusts, control self-­managed superannuation funds, and declare share portfolios. Labor’s wealthy frontbenchers ­include deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, who lists four properties in the register of pecuniary interests, owned by her or her spouse, including one in the Slovenian capital of ­Ljubljana.

Mr Shorten’s leadership rival, Anthony Albanese, lists four properties in the register with his wife, former NSW Labor deputy premier Carmel Tebbutt, including residences in inner-Sydney Marrickville and Canberra, and two investment properties in Sydney. Legal affairs spokesman Mark Dreyfus has a primary residence in the leafy Melbourne suburb of Malvern — a long way from his seat of Isaacs — and declares investment properties in South Yarra, Camberwell and Airey’s Inlet, owned by him or his wife.

Labor agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon has an interest in five properties, including a residence and commercial property in Cessnock, NSW, a block of land, and two properties in Canberra.

Labor’s biggest property ­moguls include communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland, who owns six properties with her husband, including several owned through a family trust; and mental health spokeswoman Deb O’Neill, who lists six properties owned jointly with her husband.

Labor Medicare spokesman Tony Zappia also lists an interest in six properties.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar last night branded the Labor frontbench “typical ­socialists who enjoy the fruits of capitalism”.

“Unlike the Labor Party, we don’t begrudge anybody for ­aspiring to get ahead,” Mr Sukkar said. “But it looks like these Labor property investors are happy to enjoy the benefits for themselves but want to lock the gate behind them, with their massive housing taxes.”

Labor has pledged to axe negative gearing of property for new entrants in the market, except for those investing in new housing stock. It would also wind back the 50 per cent capital gains discount on the sale assets held for longer than 12 months from 50 to 25 per cent, in a package of changes that would raise an estimated $32 billion from taxpayers over 10 years.

Opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen said Labor had been careful not to penalise everyday Australians who were already benefiting from negative gearing, or those who wanted to invest in new housing stock. “Labor’s policy is well-targeted and designed to get negative gearing working for the economy and housing supply by maintaining it for new properties only,” Mr Bowen said. ­“Importantly, any Australian who is currently negative gearing an apartment or house will be able to continue to do so.”

The Prime Minister told parliament yesterday that Labor’s property tax changes would have a devastating affect on the property market. “It will smash into the value of the largest single asset class,” he said. “The Labor Party is a massive threat to the savings, to the futures and to the prosperity of all Australians.”

Opposition finance spokesman Jim Chalmers yesterday said Mr Turnbull was a former banker who “always sides with the millionaires and the multinationals over Middle Australia”. Mr Turnbull ­donates more than the equivalent of his $500,000 salary to charity through the Turnbull Foundation each year, The Sunday Telegraph revealed in 2015.


How unis can beat the cheats by finding 'fingerprints' in their essays

The telltale signs of a cheat could be lurking in a comma or a seemingly innocuous double space after a full stop.

As universities grapple with a rise in contract cheating – which involves students outsourcing their assessments – technology is clamping down on the unethical practice by monitoring students' unique writing styles.

The software, which has been created by US-based company Turnitin and will be launched later this year, is being developed and tested at Australian institutions including Deakin University, the University of New South Wales, the University of Wollongong and the University of Queensland.

Forensic linguists – the experts who scrutinise ransom notes and suspicious wills – helped identify 70 different factors that feed into a person’s unique writing style.

These include the use of commas, parentheses and dashes, how they list examples and whether they double space after a full stop.

Turnitin vice-president of product management Bill Loller is reluctant to go into more detail, because he’s concerned it could lead to contract cheating websites modifying their essays to escape scrutiny.

“There are unique fingerprints around writing,” Mr Loller said.  “It's very unique in that it doesn't vary across your writing, whatever you do, you always do.”

The cheating detection software also calculates a student’s readability score and compares this with previous essays they have submitted.

Machine-learning algorithms determine whether students are writing at an undergraduate or postgraduate level. Their writing style, content, vocabulary variety and sentence complexity is assessed, and if there is a significant difference between two essays submitted by the same student, alarm bells start ringing.

“These give away whether the document has been written by the same person,” Mr Loller explained.

The software also helps university staff scrutinise the metadata of essays to pick up anomalies.

Mr Loller said his company decided to tackle contract cheating after receiving a visit from Australian university representatives in the wake of the MyMaster scandal uncovered by Fairfax Media in 2014.

That investigation revealed that thousands of students had paid up to $1000 for a Sydney company to write their university essays and assignments and sit online tests.

Mr Loller said contract cheating was a lot more nuanced and difficult to prove than plagiarism, which his company had previously focused on.

“Teachers and tutors have this gut instinct that something isn’t right when they see a paper but they don’t know what to do. They might talk to a student and a student might wave their hands and say, 'I did it, or I was a little off and had a drink the night before.' But it is really hard to prove and it is time consuming.”

In some cases, it has taken university staff up to 40 hours to prove one case of contract cheating.

While the new technology doesn’t conclusively say whether a student has engaged in contract cheating, it provides university staff with a detailed report on the likelihood of cheating and may recommend further investigation.

University of South Australia plagiarism expert Tracey Bretag tested the technology with essays her university had already deemed to be examples of contract cheating. The technology was useful in identifying them.

Dr Bretag's research found that 6 per cent of Australian students had engaged in cheating. This included obtaining an assignment to submit as their own, giving or receiving exam assistance and engaging in exam impersonation.

She said the new tool was “potentially very useful” but some students would always find a way around it. She said cheating students were inserting white Hebrew characters, invisible to the naked eye, into essays in an attempt to dupe plagiarism software.

“People who want to cheat are always going to find a way to cheat. We can't stamp it out 100 per cent,” she sad. “If we keep putting in place a lot of things to show we do care about this, we will reduce their ability, they will think 'this is getting hard'.”


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, 2018

Federal Court imposes personal fine on CFMMEU organiser

Construction union organiser Joe Myles has been ordered to personally pay a $19,500 penalty for unlawful conduct, under a significant Federal Court ruling designed to undercut the union’s strategy of paying penalties of behalf of law-breaking officials.

The decision follows a landmark High Court ruling in February that union officials can be hit with orders stopping unions paying fines on their behalf.

In a setback for the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union, a Federal Court full court said today the personal payment order against Mr Myles was designed to show officials they could not break the law knowing the union would always bale them out.

“The union acts through its officials, of whom Mr Myles was, and is, one,’’ the court said.

“The penalty against the individual must be a burden or have a sting to be a deterrent. The history of contravening by the union, all undertaken through its officials, reflects a willingness to contravene the Act and to pay the penalties as a cost of its approach to industrial relations.”

As well as the penalty order against Mr Myles, the union was penalised $111,000 for the unlawful conduct at the Regional Rail Link project in Victoria in 2013.

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner Stephen McBurney said the decision “makes clear to all union officials that when you break the law, you can no longer rely upon union members to pick up the tab”.

“This landmark decision is directed at preventing CFMMEU funds undercutting the sting or burden of the personal penalty,’’ he said. “The decision of the High Court and Full Court in this case now clears the way for personal payment orders to be sought in appropriate cases currently before the Courts.”

Mr Myles and 20 people parked vehicles across the entrance to the project, blocking Boral concrete trucks.

The 24.4 cubic metres of concrete in the trucks and 24.4cu m already poured were wasted. Mr Myles threatened a superintendent with “war” if his demands to put a CFMEU delegate on site were not met.

In today’s judgment, the court said the blockade was “extremely serious”.

“It involved the loss of a large quantity of concrete; it caused loss and damage of a significant amount to those conducting the works; it was a form of coercion on a building site of the utmost weight and force; it was deliberate and continued over a period of time; it was known to be a serious contravention of the Act; and, it was done with an apparent sense of impunity by Mr Myles as a union official directing it,” the judges said.

Under the order against Mr Myles, the court said he must not seek or encourage the union the pay the penalty, or accept or receive any money from the union for the penalty.

The Australian Building and Construction Commission sought an order requiring Mr Myles go to its office with a personal cheque or bank cheque to pay the penalties.

But the court refused, saying the ABCC application “smacks of an overly officious attitude”

“We are of the view that deterrence (specific and general) justifies the order that we are prepared to make,’’ the judges said. “It is directed at preventing union funds undercutting the sting or burden of the personal penalty.”

They said Mr Myles had a “history of significant contravention”.

“A personal payment order of the kind to which we will come will bring home to him, and others in his position, that he, and they, cannot act in contravention of the Act knowing that union funds will always bale him, or them, out,’’ they said


Liberals call Labor ad "grubby"

Malcolm Turnbull has hit back at new Labor attack ads over his wealth, as the government scrambles to win over the Senate crossbench to pass the last stage of company tax cuts.

Labor has rolled out a television ad, saying Malcolm Turnbull will personally benefit from the corporate tax cuts because of his massive shareholdings in big business.

Mr Turnbull said it was an example of "how the Labor Party is abandoning everything that it used to stand for."

And he defended his right to make money. "They want to attack me for having a quid," the multimillionaire said. "They want to attack me and Lucy for working hard and having a go. Luce and I have done that all our lives. "Making money. Paying tax. That's apparently not the Labor way any more. "You're not allowed to have a go. Make money. Work hard. "The old Labor leaders would be horrified by Bill Shorten's politics of envy."

Coalition colleagues said the ad was "grubby" and "appalling" and point out most Australians, including Labor MPs would benefit from the corporate tax cuts through superannuation funds.


Hateful Labor inflates Hanson

Labor likes to paint Pauline Hanson as a polarising figure who poses a threat to the social fabric of the Australian nation.

Through a blind hatred of the woman, the opposition has now ensured the One Nation leader has become a threat to the economy. This is not an indictment of Hanson. It is the consequence of Labor’s political decision to abandon common sense when it comes to business tax cuts — cuts it once supported.

The refusal to negotiate an outcome on an issue that once had bipartisan support has forced the government to deal with crossbenchers who never had a commonsense view of the economy to begin with.

With One Nation’s two votes in the Senate being critical for passage of legislation, Bill Shorten has effectively put Hanson in charge of economic policy. Labor’s Senate negotiator Penny Wong was apoplectic at the deal done last week between Hanson and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann to get personal income tax cuts done.

Wong was blindsided and the opposition was caught out. Its only option was to double down and launch an unhinged attack on Hanson — a tactic that some in shadow cabinet believe is a dangerous folly.

This week it is all about company tax and the opposition’s pressure campaign has succeed in spooking Hanson. She has folded on the flimsy argument that the government isn’t doing enough to crack down on multinational tax avoidance. This, of course, is nonsense. The government has passed the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law and a Diverted Profits Tax to stamp out profit shifting overseas.

This is Hanson looking for a short-term rescue plan before the Longman by-election.

The problem for Labor and Hanson is that they have approached the issue as if it’s all about them. Corporate tax cuts are hardly populist policy. The government isn’t doing it because it makes people love them.


Australia needs more private universities

More private universities would introduce diversity into higher education

Pressure is building to allow more private universities into the higher education sector, as the industry begins to rationalise.

Private providers and industry experts say it's time to open up the university sector which has 39 publicly funded universities but only four that are private.

Government data shows three of the four private universities ranked highest on a survey of overall student experience last year. The Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching survey showed the top three also scored above 90 per cent on a ranking of overall educational experience, where the industry average was 78.4 per cent.

Professor of economics and dean of business at Alphacrucis? College – a private higher education provider in Sydney – Paul Oslington, says the biggest barrier to new private universities is a hostile public policy environment.

And writing in today's Australian Financial Review, Professor Oslington says the public universities are strongly averse to competition from entrants.

"Public universities have campaigned against government funding for students choosing private higher education, even when degrees are accredited by the same body and according to the same standards as degrees offered by the public universities."

Ground shifting

The comments come as the ground shifts under public universities, with Adelaide University and the University of South Australia beginning merger talks, and after the debacle when a public university turned down a multimillion-dollar philanthropic donation from the Ramsay Centre on grounds of autonomy.

National sector leader, education, at consultants KPMG and a former university vice-chancellor, Stephen Parker, says there are restrictions on new entrants to the uni business that protect quality. But they are also prohibiting diversity.

Professor Parker said the sector had reached a size where it warranted reform. "We can't do anything to prejudice our global reputation. But the time has come to carefully free up the system."

He said in the face of disruption the time had come for the uni sector to focus on diversity. New higher education providers, with different business models could offer courses in specialised fields.

Apart from the four private universities (Bond, Notre Dame, University of Divinity and Torrens University) there are more than 140 non-university higher education providers, including religious, business and performing arts colleges.

National education leader at consultants PwC, David Sacks, said the public/private divide was a distraction. Public unis are required to do research, have comprehensive offerings and operate on a big scale.

Private providers are smaller and have the freedom to follow a particular mission and specialise. If government changed the settings the result would be more diversity in higher education.

He said the choice was whether Australia wanted more sustainability by keeping the uni system as it is or whether the settings could be changed to drive growth.

Mr Sacks said anything that made the sector more student-outcome focused was welcome. He noted the government's performance-based funding due to start in 2020 was about outcomes not inputs and that was well intended.

Bond University on the Queensland Gold Coast is a non-profit, private uni and offers degrees in four subjects: design, law, business and health sciences. A typical business degree costs $100,000. The academic year begins in the third week of January, runs over three semesters and ends in mid-December. Most public unis offer two 13-week semesters; start in February and end in early November.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said higher education was a diverse market and any new entrants should meet the "high standard we've set".

"It's one of the reasons there are now three times as many non-university higher education providers as there are universities in Australia and they continue to attract strong enrolment growth," he said.


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

25 June, 2018

Australia's dangerous obsession with the Anglosphere

Dennis Altman, author of the article partly reproduced below, has been queer since before it was fashionable and was also born a Jew. Both those backgrounds probably have a role in making him alienated from the Australian society in which he lives. So much so that he clearly does not understand mainstream Australians -- which could also be due to his many distinguished academic appointments.

Academe is a very different world of its own. I saw it close up in my own academic career. In that career I did a lot of social surveys using general population samples and it was amusing how different the results I got were when compared with the conventional literature of social and political science. "The people" are not as academics conceive them. Most academics live in a complacent Leftist bubble from which all dissident thought is rigorously excluded.  And if a disturbing thought is forced into their consciousness, they foam with rage -- as Donald Trump has shown.

So, for various reasons, Dennis just cannot understand why our news media and cutural outlets do not focus on Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and New Delhi. Geographical considerations would suggest that our focus should be there but it is not. We hear ten thousand times more about Donald Trump than we do about Narendra Modi (Who's Narendra Modi?). The fact that Dennis finds that wrong is a very interesting commentary on his thinking. He elevates geography over the social sciences. Once again we see that people are a puzzle to him.

I reproduce below only the opening blast from his very long and repetitious article but I think that that suffices to give you a very fair indication of his drift.

It's what he doesn't say that is more enlightening, however. He fails to get to grips with the ancient truth that we get on better with people like ourselves and find people like ourselves more interesting. That simple truth explains the "perversity" that Dennis sees in the world about him. Both genetically and culturally the UK and the USA are very similar to us and that is the end of it. We will always be more interested in them than in the doings at Ulaanbaatar, historically important though Mongolia has been. Dennis's claim that we should be less preoccupied by ethnic and cultural similarity is pissing into the wind. He certainly does not explain why something so normal is a "dangerous obsession"

Over the past three weeks the ABC program Four Corners has presented special reports on American politics, which involved one of our best journalists, Sarah Ferguson, travelling to the US on special assignment. I watched these programs and I enjoyed them. But in part I enjoyed them because they covered ground that is already familiar.

If the same effort had gone into bringing us in-depth special reports from, say, Jakarta or Mumbai they would have been less familiar, but perhaps more interesting. Most important they would not be stories already covered by major English language media to which we have extraordinary access.

As we struggle to make sense of a changing world order, in which the role of the US seems less defined and dependable, our fascination with things American continues to grow. It is one of the ironies of current Australian life that preoccupation with "the Anglosphere", a favourite phrase of former prime minister Tony Abbott's, is in practice shared by many who regard themselves as progressive.

What is the Anglosphere? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as "the countries of the world in which the English language and cultural values predominate", clearly referring to Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. A surprisingly recent term, it was coined by the science-fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his 1995 novel The Diamond Age, and then picked up by a number of conservative commentators.

The Churchillian notion of near-mythical bonds created by the English language and British heritage has always attracted Australian conservatives. Chris Berg from the Institute of Public Affairs wrote in 2012:

"Our heritage is not something to be ashamed of. It is not a coincidence the oldest surviving democracies are in the Anglosphere. Or that a tradition of liberty, stretching back to the Magna Carta, has given English-speaking nations a greater protection of human rights and private property. We ought to be proud, not bashful. Sure, it's more fashionable to talk of the `Asian century'. But the Anglosphere will shape Australia's cultural and political views for a century. It's a shame only conservatives feel comfortable talking about it"

Both former foreign affairs minister Bob Carr and former prime minister Kevin Rudd attacked Abbott's enthusiasm for the Anglosphere. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is far less likely to invoke the term, and the election of Donald Trump means the idea has gone out of fashion on the right, who are struggling how to respond to a US president who is both their worst fears and their greatest hopes made flesh.

Yet despite 50 years of governments talking about Australia as part of Asia, now somewhat rebadged in the concept of the Indo-Pacific, our cultural guardians continue to behave as if nothing has changed. We may be wary of Trump's America, and a little bemused by the reappearance of Little Britain, but we still look unreflectively to the US and Britain for intellectual guidance.


Eurydice Dixon: ‘Rape culture’ facts just don’t fit

CLAIRE LEHMANN comprehensively demolishes feminist theory in just one article

It has been little more than a week since a young Melbourne woman, Eurydice Dixon, had her life cut short by young man who allegedly raped and murdered her, leaving her body in an empty oval in the early hours of the morning. The young man has since turned himself in to police. [He was a mental case]

In the aftermath of this brutal crime we have seen calls to action from Malcolm Turnbull to “change the hearts of men”, from Bill Shorten to “change the attitudes of men”, and from Adam Bandt that “we (men) must change the way we act”, as if there were some kind of unspoken bond between the person who committed this crime and the politicians who govern the nation.

Such utterances, while potentially comforting to those who are acutely distressed, are overly broad in their attribution of blame. Whether such broadness is intentional or not, it betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of evil, and betrays the liberal principle that no person should be held accountable for a crime they did not commit.

In my brief time as a graduate student of forensic psychology, I learned about children who had “callous and unemotional” traits. These traits are the childhood version of what we call psychopathy in adults. Children who exhibit these traits are cruel to their pets and siblings in ways the ordinary person would struggle to comprehend. I read about one child who stuck pins into the eyes of the family dog, and another child who poured paint stripper over his disabled sister’s legs. The traumatised parents of these children live out lives of devastation and outrage, and suffer the fate of being blamed for their children’s disturbance (when most often it is not their fault). Fortunately, there are a handful of clinics around the world that try to train such children out of such behaviour. But in the long run many of them do grow up to be antisocial, some become criminals, others do not.

When Victoria Police Superintendent David Clayton said people “should be aware of (their) surroundings” and take precautions to protect their own safety following the discovery of Dixon’s body, he uttered a statement so commonsensical as to be banal. Yet, from the vicious reaction to his words, one might have momentarily thought that he was the murderer. Premier Daniel ­Andrews seemed to implicitly rebuke the senior police officer when he officiously declared: “Women don’t need to change their behaviour. Men do.”

Yet anyone who has had any real-life experience knows what Clayton was referring to: psychopaths exist in our midst, and these predators opportunistically engage in acts of malevolence. These criminals are rare but the damage they can do can be devastating. All the high-minded efforts to get men to “change” aren’t going to rid the world of psychopaths, unless one believes psychopaths don’t exist in the first place.

As a senior police officer, Clayton presumably knows a bit about crime. He is familiar with depravity and recognises its signs. Yet this simple fact of life, that evil exists, seems beyond the realm of the progressive imagination. Limited by an emaciated vocabulary, such crimes are now explained via the newspeak of “oppression”, “power” and “problematic attitudes” that have been “socialised”.

The fashionable explanation today is the idea that crimes against women are a cultural phenomenon. Prominent feminist Clementine Ford writes in The Age: “Sexual violence and homicide might be the extreme end point of it, but the spectrum they sit on stretches right back to ‘harmless’ casual sexism, the rape ‘jokes’ and threats that proliferate online and the attitude expressed towards women on a daily basis by groups of men who’ve been socialised to view themselves as superior. These toxic behaviours don’t manifest one day out of nowhere. They are cultivated.”

White Ribbon ambassador Andrew Swan joined the crime-is-cultural chorus, stating: “It is crucial to consider sexual assault and family violence as part of the same spectrum — a dark rainbow that begins with something as simple as a sexist joke, and our reaction to it.” The solution? “Try not laughing,” he said.

The focus on sexist jokes and “everyday sexism” seems disproportionate when weighed against the evidence. You wouldn’t know it from the amount of times the myth is repeated by media commentators, but there is no evidence that links the telling of jokes to sexual assault or murder. On the contrary, in the psychiatric literature, losing one’s ability to laugh (anhedonia) is a recognised sign of psychopathology, and a general sense of humour is considered healthy.

The fashionable idea that all men are somehow responsible for a culture of rape and violence is not supported by the evidence either. Crimes in general, including crimes against women, are committed overwhelmingly by a minority subset of the general population. In Sweden, for example, a population-based study that looked at more than two million people from 1975 to 2004 found that only 1 per cent of the population were responsible for 63.2 per cent of all crimes recorded — nearly twice as many as the other 99 per cent combined. That’s a tiny percentage of the population responsible for the vast majority of offending.

The same holds true for sexual assault. Offenders who commit sexual assaults are much likelier to be “life-course persistent offenders”; that is, individuals who have the greatest propensity to criminality. Again, a minority is responsible for the majority of offending. Even when it comes to sexual harassment, it is likely that repeat offenders cause most of the trouble. The fact is that recidivist offenders are responsible for the vast bulk of all crimes, and unfortunately these individuals are the least likely to be persuaded by rehabilitation campaigns or public education efforts.

“But what about domestic violence?” one may ask. Isn’t the high rate of intimate-partner ­violence evidence that we live in a culture that belittles and devalues women?

It is true that women experience the most serious forms of domestic violence, which can involve stalking and end in murder. In Australia, about 70 per cent of all intimate-partner homicides are female. And about one in four women (or about 25 per cent to 30 per cent) report having been the victim of intimate-partner ­violence at some time. Yet intimate-partner violence is not a male-only domain. In an Australian study, lesbians were likelier to report having been in an abusive relationship than gay men (41 per cent and 28 per cent respectively). And in the US, the lifetime prevalence of having been the victim of intimate-­partner violence is found to be much higher among lesbians and bisexual women when compared with heterosexual women and gay men. The feminist theory that claims violence is a tool used by men systematically to oppress women as a collective fails to account for such data. It also fails to account for the Nordic paradox.

A study published in 2016 coined the term Nordic paradox to refer to the puzzling finding that in countries with the highest level of gender equality — ­Sweden, Norway and Finland — rates of reported intimate-partner violence are substantially higher than in the rest of the world. (The global prevalence of IPV is estimated to be about 30 per cent but in Sweden it is 38 per cent.) Researchers do not know if this is because there is a backlash effect in which men are responding to shifts towards gender egalitarianism by lashing out, or if it is simply the result of increased awareness and reporting. But whatever the explanation is determined to be, the feminist prediction that violence declines as gender equality increases simply is not supported by the data.

The idea that our culture condones violence against women is farcical. There are no sympathetic portrayals of rapists or wife-­abusers in films, TV shows or in most of the Western canon. On the contrary, films often revolve around a plot of revenge where a morally depraved figure who has harmed a woman receives his just deserts. There are no cultural artefacts that glorify rape and, contrary to the accusations of some feminists, men who abuse or exploit women generally are held in contempt by other men.

Crimes against women are stigmatised and punished harshly. Sexual offenders generally are given lengthy prison sentences and are secluded from other prisoners precisely because the crime is so reviled — even in ­prison.

While ABC journalists ask why violence against women is an “accepted part” of Western civilisation we must remember that a long view of the trends in violent crime all point to violence decreasing substantially across time. In Australia, the homicide rate and sexual assault rate peaked in the 1970s and has been declining steadily since.

As documented by Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature, all Western nations have seen dramatic and persistent declines in interpersonal violence dur­ing the past 500 years. While there may be variations from year to year, rates of violent crime are much lower now than at any point in our recorded history.

Yet in public conversations about crime, data is overlooked in favour of appeals to emotion. And to compound the naivety, the political narratives that surround crime today — especially crimes against women — are becoming increasingly toxic and divisive. While “equality” for the left once meant the removal of artificial barriers that impeded people’s ability to partake in social and economic life, today it means something different.

The contemporary left sees the world through the lens of groups warring over scarce resources. This perspective perceives res­ources as static: there is a pie that never grows, and the role of politics is to cut the pie up in a more fair and equitable manner. In this world view, if more men are in positions of power within a society, then this happens at the expense of women. Interactions between groups are zero-sum.

In this world of identity politics, individuality is subsumed into the collective. When one man holds power, he doesn’t do so on behalf of himself, he does so on behalf of the male collective. Likewise, when one man commits a murder, collectivists will portray it as being done in the service of all men. This regressive world view has no qualms about ascribing collective guilt to entire groups of people. But ascribing collective guilt strikes at the very heart of our understanding of justice and liberty.

One reason violence has declined in the West is because at some point along the way we decided that individual sovereignty matters, and that it was unjust to hold people accountable for crimes they did not commit. Let’s not reverse the trend.


'The boats haven't gone away': Australia is approaching a 'danger phase' with illegal immigrant arrivals, says Peter Dutton

Peter Dutton thinks five years hard work 'stopping the boats' could be undone if Australia acts compassionately and allows entry for offshore detainees.  

The Immigration Minister warned his Coalition colleagues the country could be in 'danger phase' amid growing pressure to bring people in detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru to Australia.

'We are in a danger phase because only a month ago we stopped a steel-hulled vessel with 131 people coming out of Sri Lanka,' Mr Dutton told The Weekend Australian.

'There are 14,000 people still in Indonesia and there is excited chatter among people-smuggling syndicates about the prospect of Australia being available again.'

He argued success from the past few years of struggle could be 'undone overnight' if Australia bought 20 people from Manus out of compassion.

'The boats are there, we are scuttling boats, we are returning people and we are turning around boats where it is safe to do so. The boats haven't gone away and if there is a success defined by an arrival of a boat in Australia then the word will spread like wildfire.'

There are nearly 700 men currently in detention on Papua New Guinea, and more than 900 men, women and children on Nauru.

New figures come as 292 asylum-seekers were sent to the US in recent weeks under an agreement with Donald Trump.

Mr Dutton's firm view on detainees was backed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who said Australia's 'compassionate, secure and well-managed immigration system' was based on strong border protection.   

'Here in Australia we have one of the most generous refugee and humanitarian programs in the world,' Mr Turnbull told Nine News.

'The reason we can do that is because we decide, the Australian government decides, representing the Australian people, who comes to Australia; not people-smugglers.'

Their comments came after Refugee Week, during which many accused Mr Dutton of having blood on his hands' regarding deaths in detention centres

Chris Breen from Refugee Action Collective said he agreed with Trump's words to Mr Turnbull 'you are worse than I am' because Trump reversed his decision to separate families, while Mr Turnbull continued 'cruelty to refugees asylum-seekers'.

Despite amounting pressure, Mr Dutton continued to deny entry to asylum-seekers who sought refuge in Australia by boat out of fear it would 'put Australia back on the table'. 

A Newspoll survey this week revealed 50 per cent of voters thought a Labor Government would either 'improve' or 'make no difference' to asylum-seeker policies.


NO WONDER our cities are struggling with congestion and housing unaffordability - Australia is growing faster than ever before

AUSTRALIA'S population is growing faster than ever before and is now set to hit a milestone it wasn't expected to reach until 2051.

Less than 20 years ago, in 1999, Australia's population was 19 million and it wasn't expected to top 25 million until 2051. But figures released this week from the Australian Bureau of Statistics now predicts this milestone will be reached in early August this year - that's 33 years earlier than scheduled.

Social researcher and demographer Mark McCrindle, of McCrindle Research, said it took just two and a half years to add the last million people. "That's a record, the previous million took two years and nine months," Mr McCrindle told

When Australia's population jumped from 23 to 24 million on the 23 April, 2013, it was the first time that a million people had been added in less than three years.

"The speed we are adding each million now has never been shorter," Mr McCrindle said. "The population increase has never been greater."

Back in 1999, a press releases from then-financial services minister Joe Hockey, suggested population growth would actually slow down as natural increase - births minus deaths - fell and migration levels remained steady. The reality has been very different.

"Natural increase has grown and net migration has increased even more," Mr McCrindle said.

Previously natural increase was the biggest factor, contributing 53 per cent of the population growth, while migration only made up 47 per cent.

The latest data from 2017 found natural increase made up just 38 per cent of the growth, while migration was responsible for 62 per cent of the increase.

"So back then, net migration was contributing less than half of the growth, now it's almost two-thirds."

This is in line with the most recent Census results that showed Australia was more multicultural than ever, with 26 per cent born overseas, compared to 1966 when only 18 per cent of the population had been born overseas.

The accelerated population growth has brought some positive impacts including driving economic growth, domestic demand and the growth in the property sector, but it's also created challenges.

"It seems city planning and general infrastructure provision was based on population growth that was a lot less than we are actually experiencing," Mr McCrindle said.

"If you are wondering why we have infrastructure bottlenecks, traffic congestion and housing unaffordability, it's because the growth was red hot and the planning was based on the wrong numbers."

However, in recent years there has been massive infrastructure investment and changes to housing development and land release strategies to accommodate demand.

"We are back on track with our planning but particularly in our cities, we are still playing a bit of catch-up and that's why residents in our largest capitals are experiencing `growing pains' as the population increases," Mr McCrindle said.

The population figure includes anyone who intends to stay in Australia for more than one year and that includes overseas students, long-term holiday makers and those who have skilled visas.

"They are all contributing to the economy and have been a key economic driver so that's why you're not going to see the migration number being pulled back that much," Mr McCrindle said. "The economy is relying on it."

He said the big question was where would Australia end up.

"Based on the current growth tracker, we will exceed 40 million by 2051," Mr McCrindle said. "Sydney will exceed eight million in that year and Melbourne will similarly exceed eight million.

"We are really going to have those megacities and indeed, global cities."

To put this in perspective, the current population of London based on 2011 figures, is just over eight million.

While some may be worried about such huge growth, Mr McCrindle said Australia had the land mass to handle it.

"We've got a population of 25 million living on a land mass similar in size to the US which has 325 million," he said.

"Certainly if we can get regional growth right and rebalance our population to areas outside of Sydney and Melbourne, our land mass can accommodate it if we have the right infrastructure.

"Canada also has a similar land mass and they're at 36 million currently - that's the scale of where we're headed."

Australia's population grew by 388,000 people in 2017 and reached 24.8 million by the end of the year.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is now predicting Australia will reach a population of 25 million in early August 2018.


Trump 'welcome' in Australia: politicians

US President Donald Trump would be welcomed by both Liberal and Labor if he decides to visit Australia during a tour around the APEC meeting in Papua New Guinea in November.

Mr Trump, along with other world leaders, is expected to make stops in Australia as part of a tour that will take him to the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation leaders' summit in Papua New Guinea on November 17 and 18.

One option being considered is Mr Trump visiting Sydney, Canberra and Cairns, but nothing had been "locked in" yet, a US government source told The Australian newspaper.

Federal cabinet minister Christopher Pyne said any president of the United States is welcome in Australia, despite a high chance of protests.

"We have 100 years of mateship with the United States this year, of course we would welcome him here," Mr Pyne told reporters in Adelaide on Saturday.

"There's almost always protests when an American president visits Australia."

Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek said Australia's relationship with the US was very valued and important for national security.

"That doesn't mean that we should be unquestioning allies," she told reporters in Sydney. "We will always make foreign policy decisions based on our own national interests."

Mr Trump could also fly into Brisbane, an expected entry point for leaders on their way to PNG.

It would be Mr Trump's first Australian visit as president.


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

24 June, 2018

Feedspot has listed this blog among the top ten of Australian blogs

Supermarket plastic bag ban ‘like religion’

Although the small extra inconvenience of the new system does not bother me, it is clear that the ban on convenience bags takes us back 50 years for no provable beneft. I remember in my youth that all women took with them a wicker basket or a string bag to go shopping

The ban is a craze driven by false reporting, nothing else. It is third world countries that are responsible for the suffering of some marine creatures.  We dispose of ours properly.  In most of Africa and Asia they do not

The author of a landmark study into plastic bags has likened to “religion” their impending removal from supermarkets, suggesting ­arguments against them are “complete furphies you can demolish in a few minutes of analysis”.

Phillip Weickhardt, lead ­author of a 2006 Productivity Commission inquiry into waste management, said raising fines for littering made more sense.

“This is largely religion, deeply felt,” he told The Weekend Australian. “Plastic bags are useful: ­hygienic, water proof. They have multiple uses and functions,” he added.

Coles will join Woolworths in removing “single use” plastic bags from its stores next month, extending nationwide bans on the ubiquitous bags already in place across all states and territories ­except NSW and Victoria.

“The evidence plastic bags hurt marine life is very unpersuasive. When we looked at this we found that a lot of studies just cite each other; in fact we sourced it all back to some guy in Canada in the 1970s who’d done a study on the effect of fishing ropes on marine life,” he said.

Woolworths surveyed 12,500 of its customers last month, finding more than three-quarters wanted plastic bags scrapped. The retail giant, which gave out 3.2 billion plastic bags last year, points to a CSIRO study that found up to a third of the world’s turtles and 43 per cent of seabirds had eaten plastics.

The Productivity Commission in 2006 concluded: “Plastic bags take up little landfill space, and their inert characteristics can ­actually help to reduce a landfill’s potential for adverse environmental impacts”. “The true extent to which plastic-bag litter injures populations of marine wildlife, as opposed to individual animals, is likely to remain very uncertain ­because it is extremely difficult to measure,” it added.

Mr Weickhardt said: “Our conclusion generated the most angry vocal response from people who, with religious fervour, believe this is critical.”

The retail giants will instead offer a range of reusable bags, ­including 15c recycled bags.

A recent study in Britain, where plastic bags are taxed, found re­usable bags needed to be reused up to 173 times before they had a lower environmental impact than ordinary plastic bags.

“The environmental impact of all types of carrier bag is domin­ated by resource use and production,” it found.

“Whatever type of bag is used, the key to reducing the impacts is to reuse it as many times as possible and where reuse for shopping is not practicable, other reuse, eg store-place bin-liners, is beneficial,” it said.

A 2012 University of Pennsylvania study found San Francisco’s 2007 plastic bag ban killed people because reusable bags increased shoppers’ exposure to harmful bacteria that can infest them. “The San Francisco ban led to, conservatively, 5.4 annual additional deaths,” the authors concluded.

RMIT economist Sinclair ­Davidson said he was surprised Coles and Woolworths would ­“deliberately pursue a policy that they know will reduce the consumer satisfaction”.

“How consumers react remains to be seen — I suspect we’ll see less impulse purchasing,” Professor Davidson said.

“All-up, this is a virtue-signalling policy being adopted by Coles and Woolies; I suspect they have done their market research and are pretty confident they can impose their world view on consumers with little consequence.’’


This energy hex we place on ourselves, it’s madness

If our worst enemies abroad were given one evil wish to destroy our economy they probably would look to curse perhaps our greatest natural advantage: access to almost unlimited cheap energy.

Yet, as if to prove that fact is stranger than even this madcap fiction, this is a hex we are visiting upon ourselves.

If a prosperous nation decided to burden its people with expensive and unreliable power, imposing hardships including job losses, costs on struggling families, reduced profits and missed investment opportunities, to create a more benign environment for all the people of the world, it would be truly altruistic. But if it were inflicting pain on its citizens and handicapping future generations for no discernible benefit, then it would be an act of sheer madness.

Yet here we are. We are in a self-imposed energy crisis. No one disputes the urgency — Coalition and Labor politicians, state and federal, agree prices are too high; they are spending on diesel generators, large-scale batteries and stored hydro to find a way through; companies are having power cut or being paid to reduce demand; consumers and industries fear dire consequences; regulators sound alarms about lack of supply; and policymakers float a raft of possible solutions.

Yet it is all our doing. By mandating renewable energy targets, committing to global carbon dioxide emissions-reduction goals, subsidising wind and solar generation including by domestic consumers, toying with emissions trading schemes and imposing (for a time) a carbon tax, we have up-ended our electricity market, forced out some of the cheapest and most reliable generation and made our power more expensive and less reliable. The lion’s share of investment across a decade — upwards of $30 billion — has gone into the sure bet of subsidised renewable energy that has a guaranteed market but that cannot be relied on to meet peak energy output at any given time. Billions more have been spent on government payments and grants. All this money is recouped in the end from consumers, who are paying enormous sums to go backwards.

Since 1999, average spot prices per megawatt hour have leapt from $50 to $110 in South Australia and from less than $25 in NSW and Victoria to $80 and $95 respectively. Electricity costs for manufacturers have increased 79 per cent since 2010 and in that period there have been net job losses of about 140,000 in the sector. Price rises have squeezed family budgets, created hardship for pensioners and forced companies to cut jobs or shut down.

South Australia was plunged into darkness for hours and the Australian Energy Market Operator has warned that without remedial action, even in NSW where cheap and reliable coal-fired power has been abundant, there will be supply vulnerability in the coming years that could lead to 200,000 homes going without power during peak summer demand. The closure of NSW’s Liddell coal-fired power station in a few years will make the situation worse.

This month AEMO warned again that the “unprecedented transformation” of our electricity system means Australia “does not have the energy reserves it once had to lean on” when we need it. This is deplorable.

We are the world’s largest coal exporter. We will soon be the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. We are the third largest exporter of uranium.

Australia powers the economic and manufacturing powerhouses of northeast Asia, and other parts of the world, with cost-effective and reliable energy supplies. But we decline to do the same for ­ourselves.

We may as well feed the people of the world with our wheat and sheep exports while our own people go hungry. Why are we doing this to ourselves? Politicians from both major parties and the Greens pretend — surely they are feigning because they must know the facts — that this is our contribution to global efforts to combat global warming. This is fraudulent.

We need to do what the climate activists constantly implore of us: back the science. All the facts tell us that, scientifically, Australia’s climate action is doing nothing to improve the global environment. We are putting ourselves through extended economic pain, with deep social consequences, for nothing more than climate gestures. This is the hard edge of gesture politics: national virtue-signalling, with the poorest citizens and jobless paying the highest price.

Don’t take my word for it; listen to Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, who the government tasked with revising policy. He confirmed before a Senate estimates committee hearing a year ago that Australia’s carbon emissions amounted to 1.3 per cent of the global total (that proportion is shrinking as world emissions grow). Finkel was asked what difference it would make to climate change if all of our nation’s emissions were cut — pretend 25 million of us left Australia idle — so that world emissions dropped by 1.3 per cent. “Virtually nothing,” was his reply.

But wait. Our contribution is much less significant even than “virtually nothing” because we will not eliminate all our emissions. We aim to reduce them by 26 per cent — so our best impact may be a quarter of virtually nothing. Wait again; we become even more irrelevant. Global emissions are on the rise. Led by China (growing by up to 4 per cent so far this year) world CO2 emissions are increasing at close to 2 per cent. So, more science, more facts. China’s annual emissions are about 30 times higher than ours and in any given year the increase alone in China’s emissions can be more than double what we plan to cut by 2030. While global emissions rise our piddling cuts do zip. We are emitting into the wind. Our price rises, blackouts, job losses, investment droughts, subsidies and energy system dilemmas are all for nothing.

Anyone with a pulse must understand this. Why they persist with proposing or backing costly climate policies is the question. They want to display their commitment to the cause. They want to associate themselves with protecting the planet. It is earth motherhood, dictated by political fashion and a reluctance to go against the zeitgeist. What a sad indictment on our political/media class — indulging its progressive credentials for social and diplomatic acceptance at the expense of struggling families, jobless blue-collar workers and our economic competitiveness.

The Coalition is starting to tear itself apart again; led by Tony Abbott, those who understand mainstream concerns are rising up against those stuck in commercial, media and political orthodoxy. Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg’s national energy guarantee is a retrofit mechanism to encourage some investment in dispatchable electricity.

As they negotiate for a bipartisan position they could be left with a stark choice: satisfy Labor and its premiers or placate the Coalition partyroom. It may be impossible to do both — the partyroom may at least demand a plan to extend the life of Liddell — and another political short-circuit may be in the offing.

The national energy system is so badly distorted by a decade of renewable subsidies and the threat of future carbon prices that there is no easy solution. All sides of the debate propose expensive government interventions. Investors in anything but renewables are wary.

If we had done nothing on climate action we might have had plentiful and cheap coal and gas power on the back of private investment. But we killed that goose. There is bound to be a reckoning; eventually we will reclaim the energy advantage we export to other nations. And if we ever need a zero-emissions future, we will embrace the silver bullet of nuclear energy. The only question is whether it takes us three years or three decades to come to our senses — and how many political careers will be hoist with this petard in the interim.


Don’t let absurd theatre of identity politics divide us

The controversial University of Melbourne dance performance, Where We Stand, is an insight into kind of divided society we will become if identity politics is allowed to split the nation up into competing racial tribes.

By seeking to remind us that non-whites have been excluded from society and history, the political message being sent is that Australia remains a racist country in which racial privilege and prejudice determine outcomes in life.

What this really shows is how the kind of identity politics our politically-correct schools and universities incessantly preach to young Australians, creates fabrications that belie the diverse and tolerant society Australia is today.

There has never been less racism, despite the grievance-mongering claims made by Where We Stand — which epitomises the way identity politics misrepresents our history of successfully eradicating the racism that once blighted Australian society. 

A century ago, Australia was certainly a country in which race determined destiny.  Racial prejudices were so ingrained that the makers of the White Australia Policy felt that excluding non-whites was the only way to create an egalitarian nation.

The success of our non-discriminatory immigration program, and the transformation of Australia into one of the most harmonious multi-racial nations in the world, has only been possible because the old prejudices have been overcome and replaced by the willingness of the vast majority of Australians to extend the ‘fair go’ to all comers; regardless of racial background.

Absurd as it is, we should not downplay the threat identity politics poses to social harmony. The claim that the persistence of white privilege justifies special rights and status for certain racial groups, is a recipe for generating a backlash from those accused of holding privileges and prejudices they do not.

The best way to ensure that new age racism does not divide us is to simply tell the truth about our history and about the great changes that have occurred in Australian attitudes to race.


Proposed Australian education reforms are naive

Gonski had no professional knowledge of education. He's a lawyer and a businessman. He got his job because he was a good networker --  so his recommendations were just an idealistic fantasy

The sequel is generally worse than the original movie. The same could be said of the ‘Gonski 2’ review into Australian schools.

Despite a one-year process, hundreds of submissions, and a cost to the taxpayer of at least $700,000 (not including the eight-person government secretariat), the review came up with wide-sweeping, general recommendations that don’t offer useful guidance for the school system.

As we outline in a policy paper released this week, the review also failed to fulfill its terms of reference to examine the evidence regarding the most effective teaching and learning strategies, and to provide advice on how the extra $24.5 billion of taxpayer money for schools over the next 10 years should be used. There is practically no discussion of the cost-effectiveness of the recommendations.

And the review’s most significant recommendations face substantial implementation challenges and aren’t supported by rigorous evidence.

A key focus of the review is growth in learning — recommending a new online continuous assessment tool — as opposed to an age-based or year-based curriculum. This seems impractical, and many teachers have expressed concerns about the teacher time involved in frequent individual student assessment.

In addition, there is no evidence that such an assessment tool would have a positive impact on student achievement. The idea of creating ‘learning progressions’ for the entire curriculum has no support in academic literature. And there is no evidence supporting the implementation of such a broad-ranging assessment tool — the report offers no examples to show that such an expensive and time-intensive reform would be effective. If implemented nationally, it would be a lengthy and costly experiment, with Australian teachers and students as the guinea pigs.

If this recommendation is to be adopted, it should proceed only after a careful trial of the online assessment system in a sample of schools, to determine the efficacy of the approach and lessons for implementation.

Almost as problematic is the report’s recommendation to establish a national education evidence institute (which now has bi-partisan support at the federal level). In theory, a new body like this has merit. But there are obvious risks — like becoming politicised and being too focussed on pleasing stakeholders — that aren’t adequately addressed by the review.

If such a body is to be established, then it should have high standards of evidence and commission outside experts to conduct evidence reviews on important topics in their fields, similar to medical research institutes.

The Gonski 2 recommendations should be approached with great caution. They are potentially expensive and disruptive to the work of teachers and the lives of students, and have little or no evidence basis — a recipe for educational disaster.


Bill Shorten would be our worst PM, says Pauline Hanson

Pauline Hanson has vowed to do everything she can to keep Bill Shorten out of The Lodge after Labor yesterday accelerated its “Get Pauline” strategy, questioning her understanding of the tax system and launching robo-calls targeting her in the Queensland seat of Longman.

The One Nation leader launched a blistering attack on the Opposition Leader yesterday, declaring, “I think he’d be the worst bloody prime minister we’ve ever had”, and warning him he would have to go through her if he wanted to push legislation through the Senate.

Senator Hanson yesterday fell victim to a robo-call assault ­orchestrated by the opposition in Longman, a key battleground for Mr Shorten in the five Super Saturday by-elections on July 28.

The robo-calls, received by voters across southeast Queensland, blasted Senator Hanson for siding with the government “to give another tax cut to the top end of town”, as she prepared to vote for Malcolm Turnbull’s $144 billion income tax cuts.

“She’s even giving herself a massive tax cut,” the Labor call said. “But it’s not too late to stop her. Pauline is in Canberra right now, the final vote could happen at any minute. Press 1 to be connected directly to Pauline’s office to tell her yourself: stop selling Queenslanders out.”

Senator Hanson hit back, voicing her own robo-call attacking Labor. “The Labor Party is at it again telling lies,” she said. “In the Senate today I voted for battlers — low and middle-income earners — to receive a tax cut.”

Speaking to The Australian, Senator Hanson accused Queensland Labor senators Murray Watt and Anthony Chisholm of “spearheading the campaign to destroy One Nation”.

Senator Hanson — whose party’s preferences helped Labor’s Susan Lamb win Longman at the 2016 federal election, ousting unpopular Liberal National Party MP Wyatt Roy — said she would put Labor second last on One ­Nation’s how-to-vote cards, followed by the Greens.

“The Greens will always be the last, and as far as I am concerned. Labor will be just above the Greens,” Senator Hanson told The Australian.

Earlier, opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen attacked Senator Hanson for her claim on Wednesday that she would not get a tax cut under the government’s plan.

In fact, she would get $135-a-year for the first four years and — if she retained her seat in the Senate — $2025 a year in 2022-23 and 2023-24, and $7225 a year from 2024-25.

“Maybe she does not understand how the marginal tax system works in Australia,” Mr Bowen said.

Senator Watt said Labor would target traditional Labor voters who had shifted their support to One Nation, by “highlighting the difference between what she says and what she does”.

“It’s about keeping her ­accountable for how she actually votes when she comes to Canberra,” Senator Watt said.

He noted One Nation had sided with the government on 100 per cent of Senate votes this year.

Senator Hanson claimed the Labor campaign was based on misrepresenting One Nation ­policies.

“They are spreading lies,” Senator Hanson said. “This is really a compliment. It shows they are ­really in fear of me and One ­Nation, because we are having an impact on their vote.”

After helping deliver the ­government’s income tax cuts, Senator Hanson declared it was “a great day for every worker in ­Australia”.

Mr Shorten branded her a “puppet” of the government, saying she and the government had “shafted 10 million working Australians” who would get a better tax cut under Labor.

“Today the Prime Minister and his government have demonstrated their complete contempt for working and middle-class Australians, and Senator Hanson and her One Nation party, such as it ­remains, have sold out 1.9 million working people in Queensland simply to do the bidding of the LNP,” the Labor leader said.

“And today the government and their puppets have locked in tax rates costing over $140bn.”

Senator Hanson said Labor “just don’t get it”.

“They have no heart for the people of Australia,” she said. “They don’t understand how tough they are doing 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

22 June, 2018

Largest income tax cuts in Australian history pass the Senate

I have often noted how any innovation that crops up in one country of the Anglosphere tends to be followed quite quickly by similar innovations in other Anglospheric countries.  This is an example of it.  An acknowledged part of the inspiration for this was the recent big Trump tax cuts in the USA

The Turnbull government has secured a major political victory after pushing its landmark  $144-billion income tax package through the Senate.

Less than a fortnight before the first round of cuts were due to come into effect, the Coalition's negotiator-in-chief Mathias Cormann locked in the votes of crossbench senators One Nation and Centre Alliance to see the cuts through the upper house by 37 votes to 33.

The tax cuts are the broadest income tax reform package ever passed by the Parliament and will affect all taxpayers earning more than $19,000.

The government is celebrating after the Senate approved the budget promise to progressively cut income tax over the next seven years.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the changes were "the most comprehensive reform of personal income tax in a generation. It rewards and encourages enterprise, it encourages and enables aspiration," he said. 

Notices will now be issued by the Australian Tax Office to thousands of businesses advising them to increases the upper threshold for the 32.5 per cent marginal tax rate from $87,000 to $90,000 from July 1.

The step is the first in a sweeping overhaul of the income tax system - voted on with less than 20 minutes of debate given to Labor and the Greens in the final session - that will see seven major changes to Australia's taxation system over the next decade.

Under the changes the 37 per cent tax rate will be eliminated altogether by 2028, putting 90 per cent of all taxpayers on the flat tax rate of 32.5 per cent for every dollar they earn between $40,000 and $200,000.

"As workers earn more and get more opportunities, or do extra shifts, they will not be penalised for that," said Treasurer Scott Morrison.

Over four years,  taxpayers earning up to $125,333 a year will get a $530 bonus after filing their tax return. This offset will indefinitely increase to $645 a year from 2022, but only for taxpayers earning up to $67,000 a year.

The final stage is targeted at high income earners, raising the threshold for the 45 per cent marginal tax rate from $180,001 to $200,001 from July 1 2024.

Labor and the Greens argued against the package, warning it would lock future governments into unprecedented tax cuts that would not come into force until another two elections had taken place.

"This is one of the most shameful, disgraceful days that I have seen in my time in this Senate," said Greens leader Richard Di Natale. "One hundred and forty billion dollars ripped out of public revenue, taken out of our public hospitals, public schools and infrastructure because you want to ram this bill through without any scrutiny."

Labor has pledged to repeal the cuts if it wins the next election, putting it on a collision path with workers earning more than $120,000. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has promised to strip benefits from high-income earners to deliver more generous cuts to workers on low and middle incomes.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Labor believed in responsible budgeting. “We do not believe in locking in unaffordable promises, six and seven years in advance.”

One Nation and the Centre Alliance had voiced repeated concerns about the package. Just days before the package passed they joined Labor in arguing it should be split into three stages before backflipping to deliver the government the votes it needed.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson confirmed she did not ask the government for anything in return for her support for the cuts, but said she would continue to push for the government to fund 1000 apprenticeship places.

"I'm going to take credit for this as well because I was one of the senators that actually has supported this," she said.

Once all components of the signature budget measure are in place, the total cost will dwarf former treasurer's Peter Costello's final tax cuts. Based on the 2007-08 budget papers, those would be worth $10.4 billion in 2018 dollars.

A Parliamentary Budget Office costing of the policy revealed the cuts would surge from $360 million next year to cost more than $24 billon a year by 2028.

Government senators were muted in their celebration of the landmark bill passing, filing out quietly after  Senator Cormann shook hands with crossbenchers.


Labor's lack of aspiration hurts the poorest

Sacrifices the good of the nation on an altar of class war

It's official. The Labor Party has now forgotten – or is simply apathetic towards – the aspirational class of Australians that Labor treasurer Paul Keating created in the 1980s by modernising the Australian economy and creating opportunity for working class people.

A generation later, modern Labor dismisses this as trickle-down neo-liberal economics that just benefits Malcolm Turnbull's rich banker mates. Bill Shorten doesn't actually believe it: as a political opportunist he simply senses that there are more votes in economic populism, class envy and abstract grievances than in actually improving people's real lives.

This new attitude was summed up by Labor's Tanya Plibersek – whose career has relied on well-paid taxpayer-funded jobs in universities, the bureaucracy and politics – saying that "honestly, this aspiration term, it mystifies me".

The deputy leader of the Labor Party – herself an aspirational daughter of Slovenian immigrants who has worked hard, became dux at her school in Sydney's Sutherland Shire and became a minister of the Commonwealth – argues for the notion that the government should impose punitive taxes on people who pull themselves up by their bootstraps and modestly improve their lot in life.

It is this attitude that sums up the rotten core of modern Labor: its complete dissociation from the people it is meant to represent. Instead most of its MPs are humanities graduates from universities where the world is taught through a prism of abstractions: inequality, neo-liberalism, power relations, capitalist superstructures, socialism and gender constructs.

Labor parties of the past, with representatives actually drawn from the people the party purports to represent, were concerned with practically improving the lot of people they represented.

 This disconnect reflects the findings in a new Centre for Independent Studies report that nearly 60 per cent of Millennials reckon capitalism has failed and government should expand. Almost two-thirds think ordinary workers are worse off than 40 years ago.

Try telling that to Bob Hawke and Paul Keating whose economic liberalisation laid the foundation for Australian household per capita incomes to grow, in real terms, by two-thirds since the 1990s, while barely increasing income inequality.

To advance its absurd new class war, Mr Shorten and Labor have resorted to the outrageous political lie that a doctor on $200,000, earning five times the amount as a cleaner on $40,000, will get 16 times the tax cut. How unfair! In fact, the doctor who earns five times as much as the cleaner actually pays 13 times more tax than the cleaner.

Labor resorts to fake news by repeating and repeating that they would pay the same tax rate under the Turnbull government's tax scales to apply from 2024. Those scales would include a flat 32.5 per cent tax rate to apply every extra dollar earned between $40,000 and $200,000. But the $18,200 tax-free threshold means that the doctor would end up paying 30 per cent of total income in tax, while the cleaner would pay 11 per cent of total income in tax.

In Parliament yesterday, Labor kept hammering example after example of workers earning around $45,000 who would get a tax cut of $10 per week, while a millionaire would get $7000 a year extra from an "arrogant and out of touch" government led by Mr Turnbull. In the world of modern Labor it isn't good enough that poor people do better, but the wealthy should be taxed more and more through bracket creep in order to bend the world to fit its Green-left undergraduate-level preconceptions about equality and social cohesion.

The outrageous lie here is that the Labor-Green snake oil of greater redistribution would end up hurting the less advantaged. Lower marginal tax rates, coupled with a removal of Australia's penalty tax on company profits, would drive incentive, business investment, productivity, the tax base, jobs and wages.

But Labor doesn't believe in aspiration and doesn't want Australians to keep more of their money. Instead, a Shorten Labor government would simply slow the whole place down, leaving less money for Labor monuments, lower incomes, and hurting the poorest that it claims to represent the most. Fairness will turn out to be least fair on those Labor claims need it the most.


Baby products maker fined by ACCC for misleading 'organic' claims

A lot of organic claims are shonky.  Think:  If an organic farmer sees his crops being devoured by a swarm of insects, is he just going to stand and watch or is he going to reach for the spray?

The company behind popular baby shampoos and body washes, Gaia Skin Naturals, has been fined for making misleading claims that its products are organic.

Gaia has been fined for describing some baby products including a Natural Baby bath and body was as organic.

Gaia described its Natural Baby bath and body wash, baby shampoo and baby moisturiser as pure, natural and organic, but the products contain two synthetic chemical preservatives.

The company paid a $37,800 fine after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission issued the company three infringement notices over the alleged false or misleading claim.

While companies do not legally need organic certification to label their products ‘organic’, ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said businesses must make sure they are not misleading or deceiving customers with that description.

“Businesses making organic claims must be able to substantiate those claims,” she said.

The commissioner said the ACCC was concerned about what a consumer would understand when they looked at the label of a product.

"Organic is a premium claim, designed to tell consumers ‘this is organic’, and often attracts a premium price," Ms Court said.

"We were concerned that the use of the word organic says to a consumer, at a minimum, this is an organic product and this doesn't contain any chemicals.

"In these products, there were a couple of synthetic chemicals, and that is sufficient to say this representation is misleading."

The company’s Natural Baby products are stocked throughout Australian supermarkets and chemists, including Coles supermarkets, Chemist Warehouse, Priceline, Terry White Chemists, and are also sold at Toys R Us.

The products contain the preservatives sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate and phenoxyethanol, which are considered safe and commonly used in cosmetics and skin care products.

Ms Court said the infringement notices issued to Gaia over the baby products did not mean the products were not safe to use.

"This is not about saying this product dangerous at all," she said.

"Companies that want to use descriptors like organic or free-range need to make sure their products generally conform to what consumers understand that to mean.

"We think to consumers that means it doesn’t contain synthetic chemicals."


The US withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council leaves ally Australia in an awkward, lonely position

It was close to midnight in Geneva when Nikki Haley got to her feet in Washington and announced that the United States was pulling out of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

If there were any Australian diplomats still up at that hour at the council's headquarters in Switzerland, they would have been watching with dismay. Their lives are about to become more difficult.

The announcement from the US ambassador to the UN surprised no-one. Donald Trump's lieutenants have made it clear they hold the council in contempt, accusing it of "chronic bias" against Israel.

Ms Haley declared that the council's "disproportionate focus and unending hostility toward Israel" was "clear proof that [it] is motivated by political bias, not by human rights".

She also pointed out that many countries with appalling human rights records — including Venezuela, China and Democratic Republic of Congo — are comfortably ensconced in the council.

Australia actually has plenty of sympathy for both of these arguments. But the Federal Government maintains that whatever the council's flaws, quitting the field achieves nothing.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop issued a terse statement this morning, making it clear she'd urged her US counterparts to stay, but to no avail.

"It was our strong preference for the US to remain a member of the UNHRC and I had made this known to senior members of the Trump administration" she said.

The Foreign Minister's frustration is understandable.

The Trump administration's decision to pull up stumps could put our officials in Geneva in an excruciating position. Particularly when it comes to Israel.

Last month Australia and the US were the only two countries on the council to vote against an independent investigation into the killing of Palestinians in Gaza. Both argued that the inquiry's terms ignored the role Hamas played in inciting the violence.

And like the US, Australia believes that the council's preoccupation with Israel is steeped in anti-Semitism.

But the debate over Gaza will inevitably flare up again as the council forges ahead with the investigation. There will be more resolutions on Israel, and more votes.  But this time, the United States won't be there.

If Australian diplomats hold the line, we could be the only country on the council voting against further investigations into Israel, or opposing resolutions condemning their conduct.

That leaves us terribly exposed, in the heart of a bitter and emotionally charged debate about one of the world's most intractable conflicts.

Israel's opponents normally focus their fire on the US and Israel itself, but if they're out of the room then the anger coursing through the debate will inevitably be redirected towards us.

The consequences of that are difficult to predict. But we'd rather not find out.

Our best hope will be to convince some of the 14 countries that abstained on the last vote to join us in the trenches, but that's an uncertain bet at best.


No witches, no death and no religion: Author says children's books are being dumbed down because politically correct parents are REFUSING to read their kids traditional fairy tales

Children's book publishers are losing the plot with the growing presence of political correctness, an Australian award winning author has warned.

Former Children's Book Council of Australia award winner Elizabeth Fensham is the second author this week to raise concerns about children's books being sanitised and dumbed down.

The Sydney-born author told The Daily Telegraph she believes language in children's books is being oversimplified, which could impact on young readers. 'If it was going to be absolutely terrifying, I can see editors saying 'no, don't do that,' Ms Fensham told the publication.

'We need beautifully written books for kids and we shouldn't be frightened to use complex words.'

Internationally best-selling British author Geraldine McCaughrean sparked the debate earlier this week when she criticised publishers for vetoing complex language in children's books in her acceptance speech after winning the Carnegie Medal, the UK's oldest children's book award.

'We master words by meeting them, not by avoiding them,' Ms McCaughrean said after receiving the children's literature award.  

'With a book that's going to be sold into schools you get a list of things that are unacceptable – no witches, no demons, no alcohol, no death, no religion. It really does cut down what you can write about.'

Ms McCaughrean, who has written more than 160 books, said there was now a range of topics that are no longer considered acceptable for young readers.

'It's extraordinary because in pre-school you can read fairytales in their original form and some of them are really scary and dark. 'But you go to junior school and all of a sudden the fairy tales that you read in school have been sanitised and cleaned up.'

Ms Fensham believes there are truths for children to learn from in more traditional dark fairytales.

'Stories like Hansel and Gretel resonate with you for your entire lifetime,' she told The Daily Telegraph.

'I often think of it and wonder if that story emerged from the grimness of the real-life famine that would have besotted Europe, where children would have been sent out because there wasn't enough food in the house and people would have eaten children


Tony Abbott steps up attack on Malcolm Turnbull's climate plan

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has told Liberal and Nationals MPs that Australia must do its part to cut greenhouse gas emissions, as his predecessor Tony Abbott led another attack on the issue in the Coalition party room.

Mr Turnbull held the line on the government’s pledge to cut emissions by 26 per cent by 2030 under the National Energy Guarantee, against vocal concerns from six Liberal MPs, including Mr Abbott.

At one point Mr Abbott claimed he was “misled by bureaucrats” over the cost of the emissions cut he helped decide as Prime Minister in 2015, which was taken to the United Nations climate talks in Paris that year.

The skirmish is another stage in the federal government’s painful internal debate on energy and climate change, in the face of objections from conservative MPs including Mr Abbott, backbencher Craig Kelly and former ministers Eric Abetz and Ian Macdonald.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg defended the National Energy Guarantee against the criticisms and cited support from industry executives to assure backbenchers the plan would succeed.

Labor is attacking the guarantee for cementing cuts that it regards as too weak while Mr Abbott and his colleagues argue the targets are too ambitious, adding to the obstacles to an agreement in Federal Parliament.

Mr Abbott challenged Mr Frydenberg to address concerns aired by Tomago Aluminium chief Matt Howell about the unreliability of renewable energy sources and the fact that its battery system would only last minutes when the smelter in NSW needed power for hours.

Mr Frydenberg replied by telling the meeting he had spoken to Mr Howell before the Coalition party room meeting and could assure MPs the Tomago chief supported the guarantee.

Mr Frydenberg also cited support for the guarantee from steelmaker BlueScope and mining giant BHP Billiton, according to government MPs in the room.

In a revival of earlier disputes within the Coalition, Mr Abbott expressed concern about the 26 per cent target despite the fact his government signed off on the commitment in 2015 in a decision cleared with the Coalition party room at the time.

Mr Abbott argued in the meeting that the target was “aspirational” but Mr Frydenberg said this was not the case, quoting the former prime minister’s own words from three years ago.

In September 2015, Mr Abbott said: “Unlike some other countries which make these pledges and don’t deliver, Australia does deliver when we make a pledge.”

Fairfax Media was told that Mr Abbott warned about the cost of meeting the target and said he may have been “misled by the bureaucracy” about the full implications of the Paris commitment.

When Senator Macdonald questioned why Australia had to reduce any emissions, Mr Turnbull responded by emphasising the need to ensure the guarantee delivered on the targets agreed in 2015.

Mr Turnbull told the meeting that Australia had to “do our bit” to reach the target.


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, 2018

Plastic bag ban at Woolworths' starts today in Queensland

I was there yesterday on the first day of the new regime so I was given a free re-usable plastic bag -- made in Germany, curiously.

It was a bit thicker than the condemned bags but not by a lot. But I suppose that if you keep re-using it, it would cut down on waste. 

I will probably keep it in my car and dutifully re-use it as intended.  If I forget it on some days I will simply leave my goods in my shopping trolley and wheel it out to my car and load my stuff into the boot. I do that most days already and I keep bags in my boot anyway.

Supermarket giant Woolworths will ban single-use plastic bags at all stores across the country from today, as Queensland prepares for a state-wide ban to take effect next month.

From July 1, 2018, retailers will no longer be able to supply single-use lightweight plastic shopping bags less than 35 microns in thickness.

The bags will be banned at all Woolworths stores from today, while Coles will follow on July 1.

Over 3.9 billion plastic shopping bags are used in Australia every year and the majority go to landfill.

They take years to break down, and many end up in the environment polluting oceans, rivers and beaches.

Similar laws already exist in other parts of the country including South Australia, the ACT, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

Western Australia and Victoria will also ban plastic bags this year, leaving New South Wales the only state where lightweight plastic bags will be allowed.

Which bags will be banned?

Single-use plastic bags
Degradable and biodegradable lightweight plastic shopping bags
Which bags will not be banned?
Garbage bags
Bin liners
Bags for food such as fruit and vegetables
Nappy bags
Dog poo bags
Department store plastic bags

What happens if I forget to bring my own bags? You can purchase thicker plastic bags at the big supermarket chains, including Coles and Woolworths for 15 cents. Other foldable bags and freezer-type bags will also be available for purchase.

But to avoid a fee, the best thing to do is keep your reusable bags in the car or in your hand bag. You can also bring your own plastic bags to all shops.

What happens if someone breaks the rules? Retailers found to be supplying the banned bags face a $6,300 fine.

National Retailers Association chief executive officer Dominique Lamb said retailers had taken to the bag ban with "gusto".

"We're seeing new recyclable bags with new branding … we are seeing all different types of bags appearing in the market and so far we've had quite a positive response to the change."

She said some small businesses were concerned about the change but generally they were embracing it. "They're really keen to get this right and to make sure they don't find themselves captured in the sense of being fined," she said.

What should I do with my plastic bags at home?
You can take the plastic bags you have stored in the cupboard or under the sink to the shops with you and use them to carry your groceries home. Or you can recycle them at the bins situated in some stores.

But if you use them for other things like bin liners, over time you will have to change that habit too.

Not everyone is happy with the move to go plastic free. Logan resident Rodney Black said he was annoyed by the ban and was not convinced it would do much. He has been hoarding the bags in his shed to use as bin liners.

"We use plastic bags well, we use them more than once usually," Mr Black said. "Eventually we'll be forced to buy plastic bags for certain kitchen rubbish bins."


Solar farm to integrate pumped hydro storage facility in Australian first with $500m loan

Pumped storage is a good idea in theory but when you realize that it involves building TWO dams you get an inkling of the fact that it is a hugely expensive way to provide electricity.  But the good ol' taxpayer is generous

Australia's first renewable energy project to combine solar energy and pumped hydro storage will receive half a billion dollars in funding.

The Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) is planning to provide $516 million for the Kidston solar project near Georgetown in far north Queensland. It will be one of the largest loans made by the NAIF.

Once built, the project will be the first in Australia to combine solar energy and pumped hydro storage.

Genex Power executive director Simon Kidston said the loan was a significant step for the company as it develops the project's second phase — a 250 megawatt pumped storage hydro project that's fully integrated with an expanded solar farm.

"So what we're seeking to do is use the hydro as a giant water battery," Mr Kidston said. "All of the energy from the solar farm is used to pump the water from a lower reservoir to a higher reservoir, then we can release that water and generate power at peak demand."

Mr Kidston said it took the NAIF just six months to assess the company's application for a loan. "They did take their time to understand the risks, understand the opportunities," he said.

"I think they worked through in a very methodical and professional way, so full credit to NAIF for that."

The funding is subject to several conditions, including due diligence and a cost benefit analysis.

State-owned energy corporation Powerlink is planning a 125-kilometre transmission line to run from the Kidston Solar power project, 200 kilometres west of Townsville, to connect with the national grid at Mt Fox.

Landholders have previously raised concerns about potential biosecurity issues during construction, as well as the impact on cattle station management.

Genex Power is also in discussions with banks about providing the rest of the funding needed for the project.

Mr Kidston said once complete, the project will provide reliable energy to the country. "Pumped storage hydro is the most efficient mature technology to store energy, and integrating this with solar and potentially wind over time, we can deliver the holy grail of renewable which is dispatchable reliable energy," he said.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad welcomed the announcement but criticised the Federal Government for the time it has taken to deliver NAIF projects for Queensland.

"Five billion dollars was announced in 2014 under NAIF and this would represent less than 20 per cent of that money out the door," Ms Trad said.

NAIF chief executive Laurie Walker said the project would provide substantial benefits to Northern Australia.

"NAIF sees the project as important for the transition of the market to lower emission renewable energy sources," she said. The NAIF would provide a long-term debt facility for more than twenty years, at concessional interest rates.


A new/old route to university enrolment

The ATAR is nationally-based evaluation of High School achievement.  It is a percentile score given between "less than 30" up to 99.95 (in a minimum increment of 0.05) which denotes a student's ranking relative to their peers upon completion of their secondary education. For example, an ATAR score of 99.0 means that the student performed better than 99% of their peers. 

The True Reward program admits students to Western Sydney University, a "new" university.  It considers students based on their HSC score, not their ATAR. It appears to be a less scientific evaluation of High School Performance, much like old-time reliance on unweighted exam results

Knowing he was doing his best, Shawcross felt confident he would perform well in his exams, particularly those for the subjects he was most passionate about – legal studies and history – but not entirely sure he would attain the ATAR score needed for the degree he really wanted: the Bachelor of Policing (Leadership Program) at Western Sydney University (WSU). WSU is the only university in metropolitan Sydney to offer the degree.

To give himself the best chance of fulfilling his ambitions, Shawcross applied for a place under WSU’s True Reward initiative, an early offer program that considers students on the basis of their HSC score rather than their ATAR. The program is unique in NSW and generated more than 1900 student enrolments in 2018, its inaugural year.

“The ATAR scaling process can be confusing and not always a true reflection of students’ performance in individual HSC subjects,” says Angelo Kourtis, vice president (people and advancement) at WSU.

“As a result, we believe talented and capable students are missing out on receiving an offer to the degree of their choice. At Western Sydney University we believe in the unlimited potential of every student and the importance of rewarding hard work. In our opinion, the current ATAR scaling system does not support this broadly enough.”

Kourtis says the True Reward program has been in development for a number of years. The university looked closely at its current students to determine the link between their performance at university and the related subjects in the HSC. It conducted a comprehensive analysis of students who maintain a grade point average necessary to successfully complete their degree, correlating this with subject band performance in the HSC.

“Our early offer program not only gives HSC students the chance to plan their futures early, but also considers the results that truly matter. We believe this is the first step towards a more transparent entry system that will set more young people on the path to success, and the future they have worked hard for and deserve,” Kourtis says.

Shawcross won the place he wanted on the basis of his HSC achievements: Band 6s for his strongest subjects: legal studies, ancient history, modern history and studies of religion, and Band 5s “for all the rest”.

Shawcross is now at the end of his first semester and looking forward to exploring his future career options. “I have always wanted to do something that involved the legal system,” he says. “And in policing, there are a lot of different avenues you can go down.

“I’m not exactly sure which area of policing I want to go into yet, riot squad or bomb squad or tactical response or even prosecution. The paths are all very interesting.”


Fifteen more Aboriginal children removed from families in Tennant Creek area following rape of toddler

Note the silence below about where the kids were sent.  They  were almost certainly sent to WHITE foster families.  And some fool will call that racist.  The Left just cannot digest the fact that Aborigines are NOT equal in important ways

Since the rape of a two-year-old girl in Tennant Creek in February, 15 other children have been removed from their families by child protection workers, the Department of Territory Families has revealed.

During parliamentary estimates hearings in Darwin on Wednesday, the minister and department CEO outlined the state of child protection and what efforts were being made to improve what they said were antiquated systems that had been underfunded by successive governments.

The Northern Territory Children's Commissioner found in her report released last month that the child had been at foreseeable risk of harm which could have been managed or mitigated.

Colleen Gwynne's report found there had been 35 domestic violence incidents recorded against the parents, including eight aggravated assault convictions for one of them, and more than 150 recorded interactions with police.

The toddler and her four siblings had been the subject of 16 years of investigations into physical and sexual abuse and neglect in the lead-up to the rape.

The two-year-old girl and one of her siblings were removed from their mother's care by the Department of Child Protection South Australia on April 5.

Territory Families has learned from the incident and was working to review cumulative notifications against whole families dating back years in an effort to prevent another such incident occurring, CEO Ken Davies said.

"We have responded in terms of the cumulative harm and doing some deeper analysis of some of the case histories we've been looking at, and we have responded," he told the hearing.

"We have taken additional children into care since that incident as a consequence of the lessons learnt, 15 in fact [in the Barkly region].

"We've taken the lessons learnt very, very carefully, we're working very closely in terms of our relationship with the Aboriginal health service there … to get advice and support around early intervention and support for families."

He said that removing a child was the last resort, but the safety of the child was the priority.

In Tennant Creek in the nine months to March 31 this year, he said there had been 1,515 notifications to the Department, 578 child protection investigations, and 181 substantiations, which was an increase of 10 per cent.

Seven additional staff have been added to the town's office.

Independent Member for Araluen Robyn Lambley — a former Country Liberals Party minister overseeing child protection — asked the leadership of Territory Families why no-one had been disciplined or sacked over the failure to remove the two-year-old girl after years of notifications of abuse.

"It's about passing the pub test, isn't it, it's about perception," she said.

"Although you might not think it's necessary — a symbolic gesture, someone being suspended or in some way experiencing some sort of retribution as a result of this child's life being damaged forever — the wider public might think that."

The community wanted to see a penalty paid by paid poor judgement and a failure in the system, Ms Lambley said. "You're the ones responsible for the system, unfortunately it has occurred under your watch.

"When I was child protection minister I was lucky this didn't happen to me."

The problem was a systemic one rather than the fault of any individual case worker, Territory Families Minister Dale Wakefield said. "The decisions were made over long periods of time by multiple workers, therefore it really is a systems response we need to focus on," she said.

Mr Davies said the staff at the Tennant Creek office were also traumatised by the alleged rape.

"There haven't been specific consequences to an individual child protection worker because it was a very, very difficult context that team was operating in," he said. "There were huge community challenges, problems with alcohol, problems with service delivery.

"It was a community in crisis and it wasn't my place, in my opinion, to go and find an individual child protection worker and sack them."

But Ms Lambley rejected that, saying the buck stopped at the top.

"This is being played out on a national stage, you've got the Prime Minister who's being held to account this week for not turning up to Tennant Creek and not taking responsibility, [but] here we have the departmental executive of the Department of Territory Families saying no-one's to be held accountable, it's a systems failure. "Well, you guys are accountable, each and every one of you."


Commentary seldom gives Trump an even break

By CHRIS MITCHELL, a recently retired editor of "The Australian", well-known for his mockery of global warming

In 1989 when Frank Devine, former editor of the New York Post, was a newish editor-in-chief of this paper he asked me to arrange something we had never done in our daily editorials: he wanted to include a picture of the Berlin Wall and endorse president Ronald Reagan’s 1987 Berlin speech, “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

It was an important lesson: presidents can change history and editors need to be alive to the power of political outsiders to drive that change. Many people have compared Reagan to US President Donald Trump. Bret Stephens, formerly of The Wall Street Journal but now at The New York Times, wrote a piece published here in The Australian Financial Review last Thursday saying Trump was no Reagan.

Sure, Trump is from another, brasher era. Where Reagan was a B-grade movie star, Trump is a reality TV icon. Yet both were Washington outsiders and both used force of personality and personal relationships to try to tear down what previous administrations had seen as facts of life. As Stephens wrote, “The Cold War didn’t need to last forever. The sec­urity paradigms that defined it weren’t immutable laws of history.”

People with long memories will recall how vicious the progressive media was about Reagan, who they treated initially as a buffoon. They mocked his challenge to Mikhail Gorbachev and ridiculed his plans to build a “star wars” missile defence shield that would have forced a financially strapped Soviet Union to respond.

The liberal media was wrong. Reagan and his ally, Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, proved strong individuals could change history. The Soviet Union disintegrated. This was not a small rogue state like North Korea. It was a giant of 390 million people that included the Baltic states, the Caucasian states of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, the east European countries of Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, and Soviet Central Asia.

So here’s the thing. When Trump faced down “Little Rocket Man” last year he was threatening “fire and fury” against a state with nuclear weapons, but only a fraction the size of the colossus Reagan and John F. Kennedy before him had faced down. Trump’s threats worked, and Korean peninsula denuclearisation is now possible. What to make, then, of media reaction to last week’s summit in Singapore between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un?

This paper’s foreign editor Greg Sheridan, no US-style left-liberal media type, was rightly cautious about what Trump might be giving away, especially in pledging to abandon joint military exercises with South Korea. It is in Australia’s interests that the US-led alliance system remain strong in the Pacific and South Korea is a key part of it. But Sheridan made another point: “Part of the problem with much analysis is that people approach it as pro or anti Trump.”

Just as they did with Reagan and Thatcher. The Pacific alliance has not solved the North Korean problem. Neither Kim nor his father, Kim Jong-il, or grandfather Kim Il-sung has ever been brought to heel by sanctions. Presidents since Bill Clinton have expended enormous effort and money to try, unsuccessfully, to prevent the hermit kingdom from acquiring nuclear weapons. Barack Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, at least partly for his efforts to settle the North Korean issue. Yet he warned in 2016 that North Korea remained the world’s most intractable problem.

The North conducted its first successful nuclear test under Kim Jong-il in 2006 (after withdrawing from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in 2003) and now probably has 20 warheads and missiles capable of travelling 13,000km. It is unclear whether they would be capable of carrying a nuclear payload that far.

No serious editor will want to be proved wrong in declaring Trump a failure or a success before either becomes clear. Yet as people gravitate to news they agree with, newspapers reap rewards for commentary that really is no better than last week’s puerile attack by actor Robert De Niro, who received a standing ovation for saying two words: “F..k Trump”.

This paper’s associate editor Chris Kenny, who visited North Korea when a staffer for former foreign minister Alexander Downer, wrote about Trump’s strategy last Thursday, arguing Trump could not receive a fair appraisal from most media. Trump was a dangerous warmonger last year when he threatened Kim Jong-un but is soft on dictators this year for giving Kim a place at the negotiating table. Surely decades of failure of talks and refusal to meet Korean leaders should suggest to a normal person (not of the foreign policy establishment) that a different course might be worth exploring.

Some commentators were even silly enough to point out the North Korean media had trumpeted the summit as a win for Kim. They would, wouldn’t they, given they are state controlled. And the US needs a partner to deal with so a positive reaction in Pyongyang is crucial to preserve Kim’s leadership. The media’s Trump derangement is just as bad in discussion of Trump’s business dealings with Russia and special counsel Robert Mueller’s examination of potential involvement by parts of the Trump campaign in Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Which brings us to Sarah Ferguson’s three-part series for Four Corners. The first two episodes have been entertaining even if they have revealed nothing new.

The program has left itself wriggle room by airing background material on key players that runs counter to the prevailing narrative on the Russia story. Except so far for one person, and it is the one Ferguson has used as an honest broker, former Obama national intelligence director James Clapper. Whether discussing Trump’s attempted property dev­elopments in Moscow in episode one or the role of low-ranking Trump staff George Papadopoulos and Carter Page in episode two, Four Corners really should have pointed out some facts about Clapper’s role in the affair. He is accused of leaking the discredited Christopher Steele dossier about Trump to CNN, then lying to congress about it. Ferguson admitted her main source in part one, Trump property development associate Felix Sater, has been a 20-year informer for the FBI and intelligence source for other agencies. Part two also admitted Papadopoulos and Page were junior staff with almost no influence.

While Twitter took all this to be incriminating, I thought it raised an obvious question: how is some big-noting and financial cadging by staff on the periphery of the campaign the “story of the century”, as the series has been branded?


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, 2018

Fine unis for caving on free speech: Senator Paterson

An online comment on the story below is as under:

"I’d be happy to see Western Studies that examined the pros and cons of our culture. But it’s up to the unis, especially if the funding is privately sourced and comes with strings attached"

It's a very unbalanced comment: Why should it be up to the unis?  The unis are heavily Leftist so can not be assumed to make a balanced judgment.  Censorship is the way of the Left -- as we have seen.

And what is wrong with privately funded courses?  The premier American universities are all privately funded.

And what in life does not come with strings attached?  They are usually called "conditions" and there are conditions on all sorts of funding both in academe and elsewhere.  There were in fact very few "conditions" on the Ramsay offer and none of them were ideological

The comment is just bigotry.  It certainly does not pass as serious debate. Very lightweight stuff

Liberal senator James Paterson has called for universities to face fines for failing to uphold free speech, claiming that financial penalties would go some way to preventing the “administrative cowardice” behind the Australian National University’s decision to scrap plans for a course in Western civilisation.

As debate continues around the university’s contentious withdrawal from negotiations with the Ramsay Centre, Senator Paterson said ANU was not alone in ­caving to pressure from “ideological interest groups” and it was up to the federal government to ensure that universities’ financial interests were aligned with “upholding values of intellectual freedom, free speech and viewpoint diversity”.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham, who oversees the university sector, which will receive $17 billion in government funding this year, did not rule out the proposal.

“With funding for higher education at record levels, taxpayers and the broader community rightly expect that our universities uphold the values and standards of free speech and academic freedom,” Senator Birmingham said.

“I welcome debate and ideas on how our universities can be further held to account for upholding the expectations placed upon them by taxpayers and students.”

In an opinion article in The Australian today, Senator Paterson also takes issue with ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt’s claim that his decision to withdraw from negotiations with the Ramsay ­Centre resulted from concerns over academic autonomy, pointing out that the university does not have a stand-alone policy dedicated to upholding free intellectual inquiry.

This was despite amendments to the Higher Education Support Act in 2011 requiring universities to have a policy around upholding free intellectual inquiry.

Senator Paterson refers to an audit of university campuses conducted by the Institute of Public Affairs last year that found only eight of Australia’s 42 universities have such a policy.

“ For all its talk of academic freedom, the ANU is not among them,’’ he says. “Clearly, the existence of this ­requirement isn’t enough to counteract the pressure that university administrators face from the angry minority hell-bent on ­enforcing their ideological hegemony.

“Only imposing real, financial consequences will bring an end to the kind of administrative cowardice that was epitomised in the ANU’s decision to cancel their proposed course on Western civilisation.”

Senator Paterson is the latest politician to criticise ANU, which has previously accepted donations from the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Iran, to fund its Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies.

Institute of Public Affairs ­research fellow Matthew Lesh, who conducted the latest free-speech-on-campus audit, said the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency had failed to enforce the legal requirement that universities have a policy that upholds free ­intellectual inquiry.

“It is time that TEQSA put Australia’s universities on notice that their social licence and billions in public funding depends on upholding free intellectual inquiry,” Mr Lesh said.


Gender-specific words like mankind and tradesman are BANNED at Australian universities

Western Australia has now caught the virus already well-known in the Eastern States

Using gender-specific language could see some university students failing assessments under an increased push to stamp-out stereotyping on the basis of sex.

Universities around Perth have developed 'inclusive language' policies for students and staff to follow where words such as mankind are ditched in favour of terms like humankind.

Curtin University students face being penalised if they use words deemed to contain bias or discriminatory language, Perth Now reported. 

'While it is possible that a student may fail an assessment or be subject to actions under the student charter or misconduct provisions, our preference would be to work with students to educate them on the use of inclusive language,' Jill Downie, the university's Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, said.

Curtin University's Inclusive Language Procedures policy says students and staff must take reasonable steps to 'avoid stereotyping on the basis of sex; age; race; colour; national or ethnic origin; marital or relationship status'.

At the University of Western Australia, the Equal Opportunity Advisory Committee has developed non-discriminatory language guidelines for students and staff to use.

It provides a list of descriptions that should instead be used, such as tradesperson instead of tradesman, humankind as an alternative for mankind, quality of work or work skill for workmanship and artisan or craftsperson rather then craftsman.

Murdoch University has its own 'Non-discriminatory language guidelines' which students are advised to refer to when piecing together their assignments.

Examples of gender inclusive language include flight attendant instead of air hostess and chairperson instead of chairman.


Frydenberg caves in — renewables have beaten common sense

This may sound strange but the renewable energy industry — I prefer to call it the unreliable energy industry — is overjoyed by the public discussion about the need for new coal-fired electricity plants to be built here.

The rent-seekers — the owners of wind farms and solar installations — know there will be no investment in coal-fired electricity, certainly not in terms of new plants. Even investment in maintaining or extending the lives of existing coal-fired plants is rationed.

New coal-fired plants are unbankable, given the policy settings. They cost a lot, their economic lives are too long and the risks are too high.

The only scenario in which a new high-efficiency, low-emissions plant can be built — and plenty are overseas — is government ownership. Even then, the delay before commissioning would be three to five years. There are no circumstances under which the Coalition under Malcolm Turnbull will agree to the government building, owning and operating a HELE plant.

As for Labor, it doesn’t even know what a HELE plant is; its intention is to head in the nonsensical direction of 50 per cent renewables (globally, wind and solar account for 8 per cent of electricity generation) and a higher emissions reduction target.

So why are the renewables players so excited about the ongoing discussion of investment in new coal-fired plants that will never happen? It diverts attention from the main game, which is the definition of reliability that will apply in the new policy framework, the national energy ­guarantee.

They also are seeking to have other features of the final design favour renewable energy, including the restrictions on the use of carbon offsets, both local and international, to meet the emissions reduction target. There is even a possibility that there will be no allowance for offsets in the final version.

While Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg feels pleased with himself that he has secured reasonably broad support for the national energy guarantee — there are a few exceptions — everyone knows that it will come down to the detail. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the latest iteration of the guarantee was released last Friday at 5pm.

Let me outline three key weaknesses in it. They are: the lack of a defensible definition of reliability; the way the emissions reduction target is put into effect; and the use of offsets. (I apologise for the technical nature of some of this discussion — it’s unavoidable.)

The most appropriate way of defining reliability — supply meeting demand when and where it is required — is to map out scenarios in which renewable energy sources plus other sources will not be able to meet the needs of the market and to identify the back-up arrangements that can be relied on. It can’t be an averaging process; extremes must be considered.

Note, for example, that extended wind droughts can occur; witness Germany and Britain recently. It also can be cloudy for extended periods. These back-up options include battery, pumped hydro, gas peaking or even diesel generators.

They may be uncommon events, but because Australia’s electricity grid is self-contained (we can’t import electricity from other countries, as is the case in Europe) we must plan for them.

One of the papers released last Friday simply states that “a reliable system is one with enough energy (generation and demand side participation) and network capacity to supply consumers — this implies that there should be enough energy to meet demand, with a buffer known as reserves”. A key carve-out is “demand side participation”.

The game that the renewable energy sector is playing is to define the scenario for which back-up is required on terms that suit it. Instead of meeting demand when and where it is required, its preferred alternative is to assume that demand is managed down (all big industrial users are expected to reduce their use of power as well as some households) before there is any need to provide back-up.

In this way, the renewable energy industry will be able to point to a motley collection of diesel generators and a few batteries (which provide power for a few hours at most), which will allow the retailers to meet the reliability requirement under the terms of the national energy guarantee. It’s a neat trick because it avoids the expensive exercise of providing or contracting for true back-up

This sort of demand management is Third World stuff and the clear danger is that these big users will just power down forever, particularly as they are also being told they have to provide back-up themselves. They have made it very clear that they cannot rely on renewable energy. So when contracts expire, they will simply shut up shop and relocate overseas.

When it comes to how the national energy guarantee will work, demand forecasts will be made out to 2030. The renewable energy industry will seek to have these forecasts low-balled because this will accelerate the exit of older baseload coal-fired plants as well as reduce the need for back-up.

These demand forecasts will then translate into an abatement number by 2030 (the reduction in tonnes of CO2) and from this an emissions intensity target will be calculated. It will be of the order of 0.4 per megawatt hour, which knocks out all coal, and gas will be used only as a peaker. The national energy guarantee is effectively an emissions intensity scheme.

An abatement trajectory will have to be set for the decade, but the minister already has ruled out back-ending the emissions reduction task even though it would be very sensible to wait to see what the rest of the world does. Note that last year global emissions rose by 1.6 per cent. There may be some scope for small overs and unders from year to year, but this doesn’t really address the problem.

Having made our commitment to the Paris climate agreement and fallen into the trap of not subtracting the emissions of energy-intensive exporters as other nations have — the target would be 21 per cent to 23 per cent, rather than 26 per cent to 28 per cent, if we had done this — the best way forward is to allow retailers to acquit their emissions reduction requirements by buying carbon offsets.

These can be local — Australian carbon credit units (think local carbon farming) — and international. Either way, it is a far cheaper way of making our contribution to emissions reduction than through the labyrinthine national energy guarantee. (We will have to stop calling it the National Electricity Market; it simply won’t meet any definition of a market given the heavy-handed regulation, excessive direction and high penalties.)

The bottom line is the renewable energy industry has won. And this includes the big three vertically integrated players since they are heavily invested in renewables but will be able to milk their baseload assets in the ­interim.

Prices may be plateauing at the moment, but they will continue their upward path soon. Liddell will close in 2022, but it is in such a shocking state of disrepair its output will be unreliable in the meantime. The grid is regularly close to breaking point now. Large-scale, energy-intensive plants will close across time, leaving an economy dominated by the service sector and government. We will have thrown away one of our greatest sources of comparative advantage: cheap, reliable electricity.


Identity politics hijacks tragic tale of woman’s death

The all-pervading fashions and virtue-signalling of identity politics can dangerously warp our public discussions.

They can distract from the particular and propagate blame and guilt where it does more harm than good. We dare not speak about the Islamist extremist motivation of some murderous crimes because of fears this will slur all Muslims. Yet when a man rapes and murders a woman we shame all men. This is not only a useless intervention; it is deleterious and divisive.

When a brutal, random and sickening murder happens, there are only two identities that matter: first, the unfulfilled life of the victim who has been visited upon by unspeakable horror and robbed of everything — every relationship, success, failure, joy and memory they were going to experience. And we seek the identity of the perpetrator, who must be apprehended for the sake of our safety and justice.

The rape and murder of 22-year-old Eurydice Dixon in Melbourne last week shocked the nation. So it should. Spare me the day that such an atrocity would not spark community outrage and shared responses. But some have overlaid identity politics on an emotional response in an unhealthy way. Prominent people have argued women should walk the streets unconcerned about their safety; that Western civilisation accepts violence against women; and that male culture is somehow to blame. Greens MP Adam Bandt told parliament we must “change men’s behaviour” and Malcolm Turnbull agreed, saying we need to “ensure that we change the hearts of men to respect women”.

These are trying times. Friends and family are mourning; a city is reeling. But we must always be capable of dealing with the reality around us. And even though there is no suggestion the victim was doing anything at all that would have increased her risk, we must maintain the ability to remind our women and men to avoid risks. Monsters live among us; disturbingly they always will.

Not all men shoulder these obscenities, just as not all women carry the shame of a murderous mother. We already teach our boys respect for women as they watch it lived around them. The way we show and share our love is not to spit blame and guilt widely. Like families, communities look out for others and remind each other to take care.


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, 2018


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG is overjoyed at the thought of the ABC being abolished

Budget bonanza: Free hampers gifted to new parents to ease cost of living

Baby boxes originated in Finland and were widely used by the Finnish government to help impoverished mothers amid the difficult economic circumstances immediately after WWII. Finland is now of course a prosperous country but Finnish mothers still look forwad to getting their box.

The practice has been much imitated in other places in the UK and the USA but usually seems to be discontinued after a time on cost grounds.  It is argued that the mothers could be better assisted in other ways.  But while it lasts it should be popular and the package described below does seem well thought-out

EVERY baby born in NSW will receive a free “lifesaving” hamper containing a sleeping bag, wrap, nappies, change mat and children’s book to help ease the burden on new parents.

Valued at around $150, the “baby bundle” is part of a $157 million parenting package to be unveiled on Tuesday when Treasurer Dominic Perrottet hands down the last state budget ­before the election in March.

With polling showing cost of living dominating voter concerns, relief for families is set to be a key theme of the budget, which will also focus on funding key infrastructure projects.

The hampers, which also include washable breastpads, a thermometer, sanitiser, toothbrush and nappy rash cream, are meant to encourage parents to read key health messages contained within the package, covering topics such as dental care, breastfeeding, child-proofing a home and a child’s key developmental stages.

The sleeveless sleeping bag is ­designed to help reduce the risk of bedclothes covering a baby’s face, a contributor to sudden infant death syndrome, while the children’s book is aimed at encouraging parents to start reading to their babies from the very beginning of their lives.

The items will be in addition to the child health and development “blue book” that has been handed out to new parents since 1988.

Around 90,000 babies are born in NSW each year.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the baby bundle was designed to encourage parents to consume important health messages.

“It will not only help reduce some of the initial costs faced by new ­parents, but it will also support positive health and development outcomes for babies and their families,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Other measures in the parenting package will include funds to expand the Newborn Bloodspot Screening program, with NSW becoming the first state to test for the life-threatening disease Congenital Adrenal ­Hyperplasia.

The government will also allocate $9.3 million for 100 new midwives, $4.3 million to pay for more nurse home visits, $5 million towards childhood cancer research and $2 million to improve play spaces for children in, mostly regional, paediatric wards.

Pregnant women and mothers with severe mental illness will also benefit from $1.1 million funding towards increased specialist peri-natal and infant mental health services.

The package will include $2.2 million for the Tresillian parent advice organisation to establish five Family Care Centre Hubs across regional NSW and the government will fund an update of its booklet Thinking Of Having A Baby. There will also be a $1.5 million boost to improve transport for pregnant women who need higher levels of care.

Mr Perrottet said cost of living is a key theme of the budget, which had shifted its focus to invest in people.

“Smaller investments can sometimes make a real difference in ­people’s lives, such as this baby-care bundle,” he said. “We want to make sure parents get the help they need in a heartbeat, which is why we are ramping up mental health services, midwife numbers and home visits.

“As we know, those first few days, while joyous, can also be tough.”


Treasury finds $10bn hole in Shorten’s retirees plan

Bill Shorten is facing a $10 billion black hole in his key savings plans to axe franking credit refunds for retirees, with a Treasury study confirming Labor had failed to calculate the expected changes in investment strategies among ­people hit by the tax changes.

The Treasury modelling, based on a two-month external review of the policy, revealed investors and retirees were likely to change their behaviour, resulting in $1bn less revenue being collected over the budget forward estimates than the opposition had banked on.

This immediate shortfall rises to a $9.9bn black hole over the 10-year period with Treasury calculating the policy would raise $45.8bn rather than the $55.7bn Labor claimed.

The modelling suggested ­people with larger refunds and self-managed super funds were likely to shift their investments into other income streams, ­including foreign equities.

The discovery of the funding shortfall in one of Labor’s key tax measures comes as the opposition this week will be forced to decide whether to back the government’s full $140bn 10-year income tax plan or face accusations of denying low-income earners a tax break from July 1.

As parliament resumes today for the final sitting fortnight ­before the July 28 by-elections, the government is expected to force a vote on both its income tax cut and company tax cut plans as well as passing key national security legislation.

The government will refuse to buckle to Labor’s demands that it separate the tax component for high-income earners, leaving the crossbench to break the impasse when a Senate committee on the tax plan reports back today, with debate due to begin immediately.

The opposition’s own tax and spending measures will be ­exploited by the government following the release of the Treasury costings of Labor’s franking credit policy. The modelling that would form the basis of Treasury’s ­advice to Labor if it won government was conducted externally by Treasury with independent ­advisers. It found that Labor’s budget projections had not taken into account significant behavioural changes.

It puts Treasury at odds with the Parliamentary Budget Office, which also provided costings for Labor’s policy, which the opposition has refused to release.

The behavioural modelling found self-managed super funds would rebalance portfolios away from franked dividend-paying shares to “other forms of income to compensate for the fall in after-tax returns on shares in the ­absence of refundability”. These were expected to include fixed-­income assets, property trusts, managed funds or offshore equities.

“The main mechanism by which individuals are expected to respond is through rebalancing their portfolios away from franked dividend paying shares,” the report said.

The report said it assumed the behavioural response increased with SMSF wealth to reflect ­factors such as the quality of ­financial advice. “This response increases over time to reflect ­investors’ shift away from investments previously attracting refunds in favour of alternative investment strategies,” it said.

Labor had originally claimed that its policy to abolish franking credit refunds would amount to $59bn in savings over 10 years, which the government claimed was a tax grab on retirees.

Mr Shorten was forced to ­rewrite the policy within weeks of its release by exempting pensions and welfare recipients after it was discovered many would be caught in the tax net. This reduced the number to $55.7bn over the decade and from $11.4bn to $10.7bn over the forward estimates.

The Treasury modelling has shaved a further $1.1 billion off the costings over the forward estimates, reducing Labor’s real take to $9.6bn and potentially undermining its spending commitments. It also revised the longer-term numbers down to $45.8bn, leaving Labor’s policy with a $9.9bn black hole.

Scott Morrison accused the ­opposition of building its entire spending program on a “house of cards” and compared it with the previous Labor’s government’s mining tax, which failed to recoup a fraction of the revenue it was ­designed to.

“This just highlights the vagaries and uncertainty of Labor’s revenues,” the Treasurer said.

“Treasury’s costing of Labor’s retiree tax proposal confirms concerns raised at the time Labor ­announced their proposal that they had overestimated the revenue they expected to collect. Labor’s retiree tax is far and away Labor’s biggest revenue measure over the forward estimates.”

Mr Morrison said Treasury’s advice confirmed that Labor’s revenue estimates for the retiree tax over the medium term were “particularly unreliable”.

“Yet Labor will seek to bank these unrealistic estimates and will bake into the budget long-term spending commitments,” he said.

“The government requested the costing and is releasing it in the interest of the public debate because yet again Labor chose not to release the detailed costing of their proposal by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office.”

Labor Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen has admitted that the opposition always expected a “tough debate” over the policy.

Labor has stood by the numbers despite having to revise them down less than two weeks after the policy was first released in March.


PC brigade in a hate speech class of their own

The politically correct class in Australia has always been particularly zealous in its defence of provisions such as section 18C of the federal Racial Discrimination Act and similar provisions in the anti-discrimination laws of the states and territories.

These statutes make it unlawful to publish material that, in many cases, does no more than offend the sensibilities of various groups in the community. What these laws do is place a higher value on hurt feelings than on the rigorous public debate of political, social and economic questions.

It is under one of those laws that the Nine Network and Sonia Kruger face legal proceedings, starting ­tomorrow, alleging racial vilification. In a morning TV show, Kruger attempted to discuss the question of whether there was any correlation between Muslim immigration and terrorist incidents in various countries.

When it comes to its own participation in public debate, however, the politically correct class often has few limits on offensive and insulting statements.

When two members of the Senate proposed the amendment of section 18C in 2016, they were described by the chief political correspondent of The Sydney Morning Herald as “hate-speech apologists”. In addition one was said to be “a boorish, supercilious know-all with the empathy of a Besser block” and the other “an absurdist fringe-dweller”. Both were “self-promoting misanthropes”.

About the same time, in a ­Herald cartoon of Malcolm Turnbull speaking at the UN about refugees, he was shown as wearing three badges inscribed with: “Hate makes the world go around”, “Hate will find a way”, and “All you need is hate”.

One of the most flamboyant examples of this sort of rhetoric occurred last March when Julian Burnside posted on Twitter an image of the federal Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, in a Nazi uniform. This was a particularly striking example because Burnside is not from the fringes of Australian society. He is the product of Melbourne’s most prestigious private school, a Queen’s Counsel at the Victorian Bar and a member of the Order of Australia.

It would have been unthinkable in the fairly recent past that such an establishment figure would be involved in these kinds of guttersnipe exchanges, but the tenor of public debate in Australia has certainly changed in a relatively short space of time.

More recently there were the comments of a history professor at Sydney University who asked whether The Australian’s Greg Sheridan and Chris Kenny “think that Western countries are succumbing to a poisonous cocktail of multiculturalism, Muslim immigration, political correctness and cultural Marxism”, and added: “It seems that, much like Anders Breivik and Steve Bannon, they do.”

Putting aside this categorisation of former Trump staffer Bannon, Breivik was the person who murdered 77 people on one day in Norway in July 2011. This material was published in, of all places, the ABC’s religion and ethics website, but the reference to Breivik was later removed by the ABC. The professor said: “I think some people have overreached themselves with their incendiary rhetoric.” Quite so.

Sydney University staff have no monopoly on inflammatory statements. An edition of the student newspaper in May carried a photo on the cover of a female ­suicide bomber who had killed many Israelis, describing her as a “martyr” in the struggle against “Israeli colonisation”.

When the Australian Union of Jewish Students complained, the student representative council passed a motion condemning them and congratulating those who had worked on the newspaper “for their brave and highly defensible cover depicting a pro-Palestine freedom fighter”.

The domination of universities in Australia by the politically correct class is, of course, not a recent phenomenon. But their influence is just as pervasive in most public institutions and many private ones, including the boards of many public companies, often seemingly more concerned with taking a political stance than making a profit for their shareholders.

What is interesting, however, is the contrast between this group’s view of themselves as the moral guardians of society and their ferocious intolerance for anyone who expresses a view contrary to their own. It is as if those contrary views represent a threat to their role as moral guardians, whereas they occupy most of the commanding heights of Australian ­society and are, unfortunately, not at all threatened.

One thing they have done, however, is to lower the tone of public debate with virulent attacks on their opponents that reflect the deep intensity of their sanctimonious opinions.


Cash is no longer king in Australia

More consumers are dumping cash and cheques when it comes to paying up, and are using cards and their smartphones instead.
Updated Updated 1 hour ago

Australian consumers are accelerating their shift towards digital payments and away from cash and cheques, with new figures showing paying by card has surged while people make fewer trips to the ATM for cash.

Consumers made more than 8.3 billion card payments in 2017 - equal to a rate of almost 23 million transactions a day, according to a report from electronic payments industry group AusPayNet.

The bulk of those card payments - 5.6 billion - were made on debit cards, AusPayNet said, with credits tending to be used on more expensive purchases but still showing an increase in volume and value.

At the same time the number of cheques used fell almost 20 per cent to 89.7 million for the year, and the number of ATM withdrawals made fell 5.9 per cent to 610.1 million.

AusPayNet CEO Leila Fourie said the high uptake of technology and internet use in Australia, where almost 90 per cent of the population own a smartphone, was behind the increase in new ways of conducting transactions.

"This is driving uptake in digital payments and laying down a powerful base for the next wave of payments innovation," she said.

AusPayNet said more 60 per cent of consumers with a smartphone used their device to make payments.

Among the technological shifts aiding the uptake of digital payments is the New Payments Platform launched in February - a digital and near-real-time payments system allowing instant peer-to-peer payments.

AusPayNet also found Australia has a relatively high number of EFTPOS terminals and low number of ATMs compared to other countries.

Australia has 39,337 EFTPOS terminals per million inhabitants and 1,355 ATMs, while Canada has 38,892 EFTPOS terminals and 1,888 ATMS, the report said.

Australia ranked above Canada, Italy, Singapore and the UK on EFTPOS point concentration, while it lagged Korea, Canada, Belgium and Russia on the ATM count.


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, 2018

Professor ‘bragged about burying bad science’ on 3M chemicals

I am a bit reluctant to enter this old controversy again but I was amused that the Left-leaning Fairfax press is critical of "burying bad science".  I guess it is because you can be reasonably sure that any science the Left likes -- from Lysenko to global warming -- is in fact bad science. So they don't like it being buried.  As the replicability crisis has revealed, bad science is rife and in great need of exposure.

But I suppose that is just a quibble.  At issue is the basic toxicological dictum that the toxicity is in the dose.  There is no doubt that PFOS chemicals can be bad for you but at what dosage? Even water can kill you if you drink enough of it.

But there is a lot of "science" papers and publicity seeking authors that ignore that.  They excitedly announce some finding of bad effects in rats and then go on to utter large warnings about the threat to human health -- without considering the dose involved or even using very large doses.  Those are the bad papers that Prof. Giesy would have tried to stop.

That the chemical concerned gets into people and animals one way or another has been known for decades.  But the concentrations found are extremely minute -- measured in a few parts per billion. So how toxic is it?  It certainly seems to be seriously toxic to a range of animals but evidence of toxicity to people is slight.  And don't forget that this has been under investigation for a long time.

Additionally, it has been estimated that there is by now some PFOS in every American, so bad effects should be pretty evident by now.  But they are not.

Note that the controversy is about PFOS in general use -- as part of domestic items.  People who are for one reason or another exposed to exceptionally high levels of it could well have problems. And there do appear to have been some instances of that.

But the scare has been sufficient for the American manufacturers to stop production of the stuff and the levels in people have gone into steady decline.  So if it is a problem, it has been dealt with. 

The ethics of Prof. Giesy taking money from a chemical company is another matter.  It is the sort of thing that is widely challenged by the Left as showing bad faith or corruption but it is very widely done and evidence of the practice being corrupt is rarely offered.  The participants argue that the academics provide useful advice so should be paid for it

A reputation for integrity is essential to a scientist and scientists are very careful about doing anything that could risk that reputation.  So they make sure that what they do follows ethical guidelines.  So you will note at the very end of the article below that Prof. Giesy has been cleared of unethical behaviour by his university.  Compared to that clearance the insinuations below should be treated as dubious assertions designed to sell papers

As a leading international authority on toxic chemicals, Professor John P. Giesy is in the top percentile of active authors in the world.

His resume is littered with accolades, from being named in the Who’s Who of the World to receiving the Einstein Professor Award from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Professor Giesy was credited with being the first scientist to discover toxic per- and poly-fluoroalkyl [PFAS] chemicals in the environment, and with helping to persuade chemical giant 3M Company to abandon their manufacture.

But Fairfax Media can now reveal that Professor Giesy was accused of covertly doing 3M’s bidding in a widespread international campaign to suppress academic research on the dangers of PFAS.

A trove of internal company documents has been made public for the first time following a $US850 million ($1.15 billion) legal settlement between the company and Minnesota Attorney-General Lori Swanson. They suggest that Professor Giesy was one weapon in an arsenal of tactics used by the company to - in a phrase coined by 3M - “command the science” on the chemicals.

The documents have allowed the state to chronicle how 3M, over decades, allegedly misled the scientific community about the presence of its chemicals in the public’s blood, undermined studies linking the chemicals with cancer and scrambled to selectively fund research to be used as a “defensive barrier to litigation”.

Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, John Linc Stine, says there is a sense of violation in the community after 3M disposed of chemicals that have now seeped into the groundwater.

Experts have branded the strategies nearly identical to those used historically by the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries.

At least 90 communities across Australia are being investigated for elevated levels of the contaminants, including 10 in Sydney.

The Australian government is aggressively defending a growing number of class actions from towns where the chemicals were used for decades in fire retardants on military bases, the runoff tainting the soil and water of surrounding homes.

The Department of Health maintains there is “no consistent evidence” that the chemicals can cause “important” health effects such as cancer. In arguing this, its experts have made reference to the work of 3M scientists, who insist the chemicals are not harmful at the levels found in the blood of humans.

On Saturday, Fairfax Media exposed cancer cluster fears centring on a high school in Oakdale, Minnesota, in America’s upper mid-west, a few blocks from 3M’s global headquarters and where the water was contaminated with PFAS.

3M has vigorously denied the allegations. It did not accept liability in February, when it reached a settlement on the courthouse steps over alleged damage to Minnesota’s natural resources and drinking water.

A spokesperson said: “The vast body of scientific evidence, which consists of decades of research conducted by independent third parties and 3M, does not show that these chemistries negatively impact human health at current exposure levels”.

But several leading public health agencies in the United States have sounded warnings to the contrary.

In 2016, the United States Environmental Protection Agency found the “weight of evidence” supported the conclusion that the chemicals were a human health hazard, warning that exposure over certain levels could result in immune and developmental effects and cancer.

The US National Toxicology Program found they were “presumed to be an immune hazard” based on high levels of evidence from animal studies and a moderate level from humans.

Immune suppression - usually as a result of conditions such as organ transplant or HIV - is known to increase the risk of several types of cancer by making the immune system less able to detect and destroy cancer cells or fight cancer-causing infections.

DuPont, which used PFAS chemicals in the manufacture of Teflon, reached a $US670 million settlement with residents living near its manufacturing plant in Ohio, West Virginia, last year, after an expert health panel conducted a large-scale epidemiological investigation. It concluded that residents’ drinking water, tainted with one of the chemicals called PFOA, had a “probable link” to six health conditions, including kidney and testicular cancer.

One of 3M’s own material data safety sheets for a PFAS chemical included a warning that it could cause cancer in 1997 - that was subsequently removed - according to the Minnesota case.

The chemical of greatest concern in Australia is perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, arguably the most toxic of the chemicals studied. This was widely used in Scotchgard and fire-fighting foams.

Last month, there was a storm of controversy amid claims that the US EPA and the White House blocked the publication of a health study on PFAS carried out by the country’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

In emails leaked to Politico, a Trump administration aide warned that the report would be a “public relations nightmare” because it would show that the chemicals endangered human health at far lower levels than what the EPA had previously deemed safe.

Health warnings were echoed by Harvard Professor Philippe Grandjean and Professor Jamie DeWitt of North Carolina State University in their expert testimonies for the State of Minnesota.

Professor Grandjean argued that PFAS chemicals pose a “substantial present and potential hazard” to human health, including to immune, thyroid, liver, endocrine, cardiovascular and reproductive functions, and by “causing or increasing the risk of cancer”.

“Both PFOA and PFOS show convincing associations with these outcomes,” he said, adding that risks to human health had been identified at very low exposure levels.

Watching 'bad papers'

To the outside world, Professor Giesy was a renowned and independent university academic.

“But privately, he characterised himself as part of the 3M team,” alleged the State of Minnesota.

“Despite spending most of his career as a professor at public universities, Professor Giesy has a net worth of approximately $20 million. This massive wealth results at least in part from his long-term involvement with 3M for the purpose of suppressing independent scientific research on PFAS.”

Professor Giesy’s consulting company appears to have received payments from 3M between at least 1998 and 2009. One document indicated his going rate was about $US275 an hour.

In an email to a 3M laboratory manager, Professor Giesy described his role as trying to keep “bad papers out of the literature”, because in “litigation situations they can be a large obstacle to refute”.

Professor Giesy was an editor of several academic journals and, in any given year, about half of the papers submitted on PFAS came to him for review.

“Some journals … for conflict-of-interest issues will not allow an industry to review a paper about one of their products. That is where I came in,” he wrote in another email.

“In time sheets, I always listed these reviews as literature searches so that there was no paper trail to 3M.”

Professor Giesy is alleged to have passed confidential manuscripts on to 3M, as well as an email from an EPA scientist detailing its latest PFAS investigations in Athens, Georgia. He allegedly bragged about rejecting the publication of at least one paper containing negative information about PFAS.

In another email chain, a 3M manager was concerned that a study Professor Giesy had drafted was “suggestive” of possible PFAS health hazards and should be cushioned with an accompanying document on the health effects.

“This paper … could set off a chain reaction of speculation that could reopen the issue with the media and move it back to a health story; something up to now we have avoided,” he wrote.

Professor Giesy is based at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, but he also holds positions with the University of Michigan and several Chinese universities.

An internal 3M document referred to him needing to “buy favours” when developing joint projects with Chinese colleagues “over whom he can exert some influence”.

A spokesperson for the University of Saskatchewan said it had conducted two reviews of Dr Giesy’s conduct.

“We found nothing out of the ordinary or evidence of conflict of interest,” she said.


If you say untrue things about government, is the government free to publish true things about you?

One would think it only fair but apparently government should be muzzled, according to some.  Lies are not protected free speech

Australia’s national privacy office has ruled that individuals should “reasonably expect” the government will release sensitive personal data publicly to refute its critics, sparking concerns of a “chilling effect” on free speech.

Late on Monday evening, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner released the findings of an inquiry it launched in March last year following the Department of Human Services’ release of a blogger’s personal Centrelink history to a media organisation.

The Department did so to refute details contained in an opinion piece by the blogger for Fairfax Media in which she claimed that she had been “terrorised” by Centrelink as part of the controversial robodebt scheme.

After the opinion piece was published in February 2017, a briefing was provided to another journalist that detailed the blogger’s welfare history. This lead to a follow-up article claiming Centrelink may have been “unfairly castigated”.

The blogger in question complained to the OAIC, and former information and privacy commissioner Timothy Pilgrim opened an investigation into the matter in March.

Fourteen months later, the office has decided that the government was allowed to release the personal data under the Australian Privacy Principles, as individuals should “reasonably expect” the government to release private information under those circumstances.

The decision has sparked huge backlash against the OAIC and the country’s privacy laws more broadly.

The Australian Privacy Principles, which apply to all Australian government departments and agencies, include a range of exceptions where the personal information of an individual can be disclosed for another purpose.

These include when the individual would “reasonably expect the secondary use or disclosure” and this is related to the primary purpose of collection of the information.

It is under this exception that the department was allowed to release the blogger’s personal information to the media, the OAIC ruled.

“Having carefully considered the specific public statements made by the Centrelink customer, and the specific information disclosed in response, the acting Australian Information Commissioner and acting Privacy Commissioner reached the conclusion that, in this instance, the disclosure was permitted by APP 6.2(a)(ii),” the OAIC said in its decision.

The decision was made more than a year after the investigation was launched, and after the retirement of former privacy commissioner Timothy Pilgrim.

Angelene Falk has been serving as acting privacy commissioner since Mr Pilgrim’s retirement in March, with the agency close to announcing his replacement.

The OAIC’s decision pointed to a case note from 2010 as providing precedent, in which the Commissioner’s Plain English Guidelines to Information Privacy Principles gives examples of when an individual may be considered to be “reasonably likely” to think their information may be disseminated.

“A person who complains publicly about an agency in relation to their circumstances (for example, to the media) is considered to be reasonably likely to be aware that the agency may respond publicly – and in a way that reveals personal information relevant to the issues they have raised,” the guidelines say.

A number of Australian civil and digital rights advocates have been left outraged by the decision, with Electronic Frontiers Australia board member Peter Tonoli saying it “flies in the face of trust in government”.

Electronic Frontiers Australia policy team member Drew Mayo said she is concerned the recent ruling could have a chilling effect on criticisms of the government, with individuals concerned that their sensitive data will then be released publicly.

“EFA is extremely concerned about the implications of the recent ruling. The chilling effect posed by this decision is a direct risk to democracy and an attack on the strongest free speech protection Australians have, the implied right of political communication,” Mr Mayo told

“We call on the government to enshrine in law the right of Australians to comment robustly on government policy without the risk of private data being released in retribution.”

The department has claimed that the release of the sensitive data was “proportionate” given the claims made in the blogger’s opinion piece.

“The recipient had made a number of claims that were unfounded and it is the opinion of officers that this was likely to concern other individuals,” Department secretary Kathryn Campbell said.

“That’s why we felt that it was appropriate to release the information, so that people knew it was important to file their tax returns and tell us about changes in their circumstances. In this case, our data said that had not occurred and that is why we had been chasing the debt,” she said.


Thales Sonar Upgrades to Extend Australia's Collins Class Submarine Capability

Australia’s Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has announced major upgrades of the Thales sonars on Australia’s fleet of six Collins Class submarines.

The sonar upgrades are essential to extend the life of the Collins class submarines and maintain their regional superiority.

The A$230million contract with Thales for the sonar upgrades will employ 50 people at Thales Australia’s Rydalmere facility, in Western Sydney, where world-leading sonar technology is manufactured and integrated.

Australia’s strategic priority on enhancing its submarine capability will be supported by Thales through major upgrades of the sonar systems on all six Collins class submarines. The A$230million contract with Thales is part of a A$542million project  approved by the Australian Government for the upgrade of the Collins class sensor capabilities, the key to extending the life and the regional superiority of the Collins fleet.

Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins said the Collins sonar upgrades continued a 30 year history of support for the Collins program since the original transfer of sonar technology from France in the 1980’s that formed the basis of the underwater systems business in Australia.

“It is critical that Australia maintain the highest levels of submarine capability from the Collins fleet until the Future Submarine enters service. The sonar systems are the ‘eyes and ears’ of the submarines, and Thales will bring together the best underwater sensing technology from around the world to ensure the Collins remains a potent force” Mr Jenkins said.

Manufacturing and integration work will be carried out at Thales’s underwater systems centre of excellence in Rydalmere, Western Sydney, supporting more than 140 jobs, including 50 people directly employed on the project.

In an internationally collaborative program, the Collins’ legacy cylindrical array will be replaced with a Modular Cylindrical Array (MCA) based on Sonar 2076 submarine technology developed by Thales teams in the UK. The existing flank array will be replaced by the latest generation flank array from Thales teams in France.

Thales will work with local industry including Raytheon Australia as the Combat System Integrator to deliver the upgrades for the six submarines integrating products from other Australian providers including Sonartech Atlas, and L3 Oceania.

Thales is a key strategic partner of the Australian Defence Force and the Royal Australian Navy, and is Australia’s market leader in underwater systems, having supplied advanced sonar and minesweeping systems to naval and civil customers in Australia and overseas for more than three decades.

“France and Australia have collaborated closely on sonar systems for the Collins submarines since the start of the program more than 30 years ago. Thales teams based in France, UK and Australia have worked together as one team to master the sonar technology in Australia and to share know-how with one ambition: assure long term regional superiority for the Royal Australian Navy.” Alexis Morel, Vice-President, Underwater Systems at Thales.

Via email

Indigenous child welfare double standards will perpetuate gap                                                 

Bill Shorten has been rightly criticised for his comments suggesting ‘culture’ take priority over the welfare of Indigenous children — and for suggesting that only ‘whitefellas’ say otherwise.

But it’s really Indigenous politics that Shorten is talking about taking precedence over children’s best interests.

The Indigenous industry is pushing hard to stop child removals. If removals continue at present rates, the future of the rural and remote ‘homelands’ will be jeopardised and so will  the taxpayer funding received by the plethora of Indigenous organisations that provide services to these communities.

The industry says that the way to stop child removals and fix the underlying social problems and dysfunction is to ‘empower’ Indigenous-controlled organisations and communities to implement the solutions they claim to know work on the ground.

This approach was not successful during the era of ATISC (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission) which was abolished after presiding over corruption, failure, and an ever-widening gap in social outcomes between the most disadvantaged Indigenous people and all other Australians.

We are now being told that it will be different this time because Indigenous-controlled services will be properly evaluated for their effectiveness and held accountable for the outcomes they do — or do not — achieve.

This is not before time because Indigenous child protection poses the most complex and intractable social problem in the nation.

To ensure children can remain safely at home and close (allegedly) to culture, the array of social problems (from welfare dependence to drug and alcohol abuse to family violence) that plague and are entrenched in Indigenous families and communities — and which are intergenerational in nature and decades in the making — have to resolved within a short, child-centred timeframe to ensure that children are properly cared for and parented.

What this means is that child protection – that is, welfare-based decisions about whether children need to be removed from their own safety and well-being — is the ultimate accountability, and the ultimate measure, of whether services are actually effective at promoting the welfare of the most vulnerable members of Indigenous community.

Creating the kind of double-standard and different treatment of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children proposed by the Opposition Leader, at the behest of the indigenous industry, would therefore clearly be a retrograde step in indigenous affairs.

This is not the way to ‘close the gap’. It is nothing short of a recipe for perpetuating and exacerbating ‘gaps’ by leaving Indigenous children in harm’s way.


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

17 June, 2018

Communist Party member prostituted her daughters

Communists reject "bourgeois morality"

A prominent writer has revealed that playwright and feminist Dorothy Hewett asked him at a 1970s conference: “Aren’t you going to f..k my daughters?’’

This extraordinary conversation reportedly occurred when Hewett’s elder daughter, Kate ­Lilley, was 15, and her younger daughter, Rozanna Lilley, was 13.

Then aged in his 30s, the writer told Hewett: “I’m not interested in f..king children.’’ To which Hewett replied: “You’re the only one around here who isn’t.’’

The writer describes this unsettling exchange in a letter he sent to Kate Lilley this week, following allegations unveiled by The Weekend Australian that Hewett “encouraged” and “facilitated” her daughters’ early sexualisation in the predatory 1970s arts scene.

Kate, a poet and an associate professor of English at Sydney University, said last week that during the 70s, her family’s home in Sydney’s east was “unbearable’’ and “as an acquaintance says — like a brothel without payment … There were constantly men staying in the house and hardly any man came to the house who didn’t try to have sex with one or more of us.”

Yesterday she said the exchange between her mother and the writer would have taken place at the 1976 National Playwrights Conference in Canberra, where her mother’s play, The Golden ­Oldies, was being workshopped.

The writer said in his letter: “I wasn’t shocked (by Hewett’s question). I just thought that Dorothy was simply encouraging you (Kate) to rebel against the mores of the time.

“Merv (Lilley, Kate’s father) was at the conference, so he must have been complicit. Two old lefties, I thought, still trying to liberate society, starting with their daughters.’’

Kate confirmed she did not sleep with this writer, but had ­underage sex with a director at the playwriting conference, who was also in his 30s.

She said she found the letter “brutal”, as the writer “thought nothing of it (her mother’s question). That is exactly the kind of salacious conversation that went on,’’ she said.

Although the letter writer was “saddened” to read about the negative effects of the abuse Kate and Rozanna suffered, Kate said that ultimately “I didn’t take the letter as a gesture of support … it was just another person saying don’t damage your mother’s reputation’’.

The writer, now in his 70s, went on to say that “as a result of (The Weekend Australian’s) ­article, Dorothy’s reputation as a writer may be harmed” and “this would be our loss’’.

The letter has come to light as divisions within Hewett’s ­family widen over the abuse allegations. Kate and Rozanna’s half-brother, Joe Flood, and his ex-wife, Adele Flood, said they were distressed and angry about the claims, and remember Hewett as being “kind” and “supportive” ­towards all her children.

In contrast, Kate has alleged that a visiting poet who raped her at her family’s home when she was 15, went on to have relationships with her mother and sister.

She and Rozanna also alleged that well-known artists Bob Ellis, Martin Sharp and David Hamilton assaulted, exploited or had underage sex with them.


Muslim ghettoes forming in Australia as white residents flee

Demographic shifts driven by Australia’s immigration program threaten to lock Sydney’s western suburbs and parts of Melbourne into a bleak future, as low-income ethnic clusters struggle to cope with congestion and social dislocation, experts warn.

Large numbers of new arrivals who have difficulty finding work have poured into Sydney’s west, according to census-based research commissioned by The Weekend Australian.

“Uncompromisingly direct” evidence from the research confirms an exodus of affluent locals from western Sydney is occurring at an equally significant rate.

Over five years to 2016, according to the research conducted by The Weekend Australian’s columnist and demographer Bernard Salt, up to two-thirds of the 266,000 new arrivals in Sydney’s western suburbs were not Australian-born and had a “non-Anglo heritage”.

Of those who departed over the same period, 63 per cent of the 183,000 total were Australian-born and a further 5 per cent were born in Britain or New Zealand.

Melbourne is experiencing a similar pattern, though not as intense, reflecting cheaper housing as more land is opened up in outlying suburbs.

Debate over migrant enclaves was reignited last month when NSW Labor leader Luke Foley spoke out about “white flight” from a middle-ring of Sydney suburbs “where many Anglo families have moved out”.

While pressured to apologise for using the term “white flight” — first coined in the US to describe white residents leaving in ­response to inflows of African-Americans — Mr Foley said he was empathising with migrants in the west who were denied jobs and other opportunities that were taken for granted elsewhere.

He named Fairfield, Guildford, Granville, Yennora, Sefton and Regents Park — some of which fall in his electorate of Auburn — as suburbs with a high concentration of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alan Tudge raised concerns about the social integration of “parallel” Asian and Middle Eastern migrant communities this week when he flagged government plans for a mandatory basic English requirement for all new permanent ­residents.

Mr Tudge said research showed a lack of English language skills among migrants had contributed to social fragmentation. He cited suburbs where one in three could not speak English well, or at all.

Bob Birrell, head of the Australian Population Research Institute, said evidence proved Mr Foley was right about population movements in the western suburbs, even if his choice of phrase was politically unfortunate. “It’s a real phenomenon,” Dr Birrell said.

He said cheaper housing was forcing migrants west, and prompting an outflow of residents who no longer recognised their suburb and could afford to move. The only immediate solution to “take the heat” out of ­population stress, he said, was to cut back on overseas migration.

Mayor of Fairfield Frank Carbone said migration to his area was so rapid that services were falling behind.

Mr Carbone said Fairfield took 7000 Syrian refugees in a short time, over and above the general intake of 1000, following former prime minister Tony Abbott’s decision to accept Syrian Christians dislocated by civil war.

As a consequence, he said, Fairfield had the highest household occupancy rate and highest unemployment jump in the nation. Migrants who could not find work were forced to stay with family or others they knew, compounding the population concentration.

“The government may have stopped the boats — but they put them on buses to Fairfield,” Mr Carbone said.

“All I’m saying is that the federal government has a responsibility — I’m not critical of refugees coming here but we have to make sure our existing resources are not strained beyond what we can cope with. Fairfield has done the heavy lifting for the nation.”

While Mr Carbone said he disagreed with Mr Foley’s use of language, the NSW Opposition Leader had raised valid issues. “What’s pushing people out is the strain on resources,” he said.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s state budget, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the state government did not control immigration, because it was a federal matter. He said the state’s challenge was to deliver the right infrastructure to meet the needs of a growing population. “There is no doubt some pressure is being felt by this growth,” he said.

Mr Foley argues that more planning is needed in the west for transport, education and employment opportunities.

Writing in The Weekend Australian today, Salt says Australian cities do not have the racial mix of US cities, but do have large concentrations of Anglo and non-Anglo popula­tions that cluster. Across urban Sydney, 39 per cent of the population was born outside Australia — compared with 29 per cent in greater New York, Paris (22 per cent), Berlin (13 per cent) Tokyo (2 per cent) and Shanghai (1 per cent).

“No other nation, and few other developed-world cities … ­accommodate the scale of immigration that is right now being ­injected into Australia’s biggest city,” Salt writes.

The influx of migrants to Sydney’s west — in Fairfield, Liverpool, Canterbury-Bankstown and Parramatta — has placed enormous strain on services that have not kept pace with population growth. But these areas face other problems. While the in-shifting cohort is more likely than locals to have a tertiary qualification, a lack of jobs awaits them, fuelling overall economic decline with low incomes and poverty encouraging some ethnic groups to shut themselves off further from the wider community. At the same time, better-off ­locals — mainly Australian-born but also financially successful migrants — have moved out to areas including the Hills Shire (16,100), Campbelltown (11,000), Camden (9800) and the central coast (9000).

Dr Birrell said that, just as ­arriving migrants found their living circumstances difficult, “Anglo” locals experienced strains because sudden high concentrations of newcomers with non-English-speaking backgrounds and different cultures led to noticeable changes in the composition of schools, clubs, civic associations and shopping areas. Residents often no longer recognised their suburb, and felt uncomfortable.

Schools figured as a “big” issue motivating departures, Dr Birrell said. A 60 to 70 per cent influx of migrants could greatly alter cultural concentration in the classroom. “Anglo” parents sought schools outside the area with more familiar settings. Dr Birrell said recently arrived migrants with non-English-speaking backgrounds settled in the western suburbs primarily because housing was cheaper — but jobs were scarce.

Apart from migration cutbacks, Dr Birrell said the remedy was to address accommodation shortages that had pushed up house prices and rental costs by opening more residential space, and making housing less attractive to investors. Mr Carbone said Fairfield needed more accommodation and services to cope with congestion. The other challenge was unemployment, he said. ­Migrants would get jobs if they had better language skills.

Ernest Healy, a Monash University researcher on migrant settlement and social cohesion, has attributed many of the problems faced by immigrants to housing shortages. According to research conducted with Dr Birrell, Dr Healy found income levels were critical to flows in and out. Low-income people with non-­English-speaking backgrounds were “locked into these areas”.


'Absolutely I've been discriminated against': Man claims Officeworks refused to let him print posters criticising Islam because it's 'the holy month of Ramadan'

An activist who was refused service at Officeworks for attempting to print out anti-Islamic posters has hit out at the chain store, claiming his right to freedom of speech has been violated.

Avi Yemini and Ralf Schumann of the Australian Liberty Alliance are both regular customers at the Officeworks branch in South Melbourne: printing and laminating any materials there that are too large to print in their own office. Like, for example, an armful of flyers for an upcoming rally they've organised in support of free speech and defense of Sonia Kruger.

'We went there this afternoon like we have for 3 or 4 years,' Mr Schumann told Daily Mail Australia. 'The chap on the counter puts the USB stick in like he always does, gets the first screen up like he always does - and calls his young manager over.

'[The manager] then gives me a lecture on their shop policy and tells me that they will not print anything that is offensive to Muslims and especially not in the holy month of Ramadan.'

One of the posters declares that: 'Criticising perverse ideologies is not racial discrimination. Islam does not equal race'.

The second features the face of Sonia Kruger - who is due to face the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal over blasphemy and vilification charges - alongside the text: 'Mass blasphemy! Half of Australia agrees with Sonia #LetsTalkAboutIslam.'

Mr Schumann went on to explain how the store manager told him 'we [Officeworks] can't print these racist things.'

'So I wrote a brief email to the manager to tell him that his store policy does not override federal or state anti-discrimination laws,' said Mr Schumann.

'These laws happen both ways: you can't discriminate on religious grounds OR political grounds.'

Mr Schumann insists that, in this case, he's the one who is the victim of discrimination. 'Absolutely I've been discriminated against,' he declared.

'You go into a shop and they tell you 'I don't serve you because of your political opinion.' Well, we're happy to cry foul over political discrimination.'

Officeworks refused to comment when approached by Daily Mail Australia.

The company has, however, since posted a comment on a Facebook video that Mr Yemini uploaded on Friday. In the video, Mr Yemini trumpets to his 168,000 followers how the chain store has disrespected his right to freedom of speech.

'At Officeworks, we respect our customers' right to free speech,' the company's comment reads. 'However our policy prohibits customers from printing any materials which may be threatening, abusive or incite hatred on any person.

'In relation to your recent visit to our South Melbourne store, our team member has misinterpreted the policy. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.'

Mr Schumann asserts that: 'Nothing on those two placards was in any way inciting violence or being nasty to any person or group of persons.'

Mr Yemini further claims that the office supplies chain's refusal to print the posters is in violation of consumer law.

'If they have a complaint under racial discrimination they can refuse it, but this wasn't racial discrimination,' he said.

'We criticised Islam, and that in [the store clerk's] eyes during the holy month of Ramadan is unacceptable. Unfortunately Officeworks took his side, protecting Islam before Australian values.'


Liberal Party members vote to privatise ABC and move Australia's Israel embassy to Jerusalem

Liberal Party members have endorsed a bid to move Australia's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and to privatise the ABC, highlighting a gulf between the rank-and-file and the MPs who represent them.

More than 100 MPs and members are in Sydney for the Liberal Party of Australia's annual federal council which is expected to be the last before the next federal election.

The council has this morning endorsed a motion moved by the Victorian division calling on the Turnbull Government to follow the US and move Australia's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the conference she could understand the sentiment but declared Australia would not be moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

"Jerusalem is a final status issue and we have maintained that position for decades," Ms Bishop said.

However, Ms Bishop's intervention failed to convince the majority of the members and the motion passed 43 votes to 37.

None of the motions at the federal council is binding, meaning they are unlikely to have any impact on the Government's policies, but they provide an insight into the internal machinations of the party.

The council backed a West Australian motion to "abstain from military intervention in Syria" and voted overwhelmingly in favour of a Young Liberal bid calling for the, "full privatisation of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, except for services into regional areas".

Like the Foreign Minister before him, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield made it clear that would not be happening.

One Liberal source highlighted the fact party members were sending a clear signal they wanted a change in direction and said it was a sign of the, "ascendancy of the conservatives".

The party's right wing used its numbers yesterday to dump one of the four Liberal vice-presidents, Trish Worth, who is aligned with the moderates, and replace her with NSW conservative Tina McQueen.

A new religious-right, conservative force has recently taken over the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party and — along with elements of the ACT and West Australian division — is using the federal conference to flex its muscle.

While this internal power play between the moderates and conservative simmers beneath the surface, Liberal heavyweights have used their addresses to call for unity.

Liberal president Nick Greiner told the party to put its "lazy and self-indulgent" internal fights aside and start fighting for the "soul of the nation".

With an election due in less than 12 months time, former prime minister John Howard told members he thinks Malcolm Turnbull can win. "I am greatly encouraged about the future of the Liberal Party," Mr Howard said. "I think Malcolm Turnbull can win. I think things are going better now than they have been for the last six months."

Mr Howard — who is lauded and greatly respected by Liberal members — also backed the embattled Member for Hughes, Craig Kelly, who is facing a preselection challenge. Mr Kelly is an outspoken conservative backbencher but could be dumped in favour of Kent Johns, who is aligned with party moderates.

If that happens, there are concerns tensions between the two factions could flare up and spill over into other preselection contests.


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, 2018

Citizenship Minister warns of ghettos unless Australia forces migrants to learn English

This is closing the gate after the horse has bolted. Learning a new language in adulthood is very difficult -- and just about impossible for poorly educated people. The migrants concerned should not have been admitted in the first place.  Proficiency in English should be a uniform requirement for any grant of residency

Australia's Citizenship Minister has warned European-style ghettos will form unless migrants are forced to learn English.

Parts of Paris, Berlin and Brussels have become no-go zones for police as poorer suburbs in major European cities become a haven for Muslim terrorists and violent extremism.

Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge said Australia needed to act to stop ethnic ghettos forming by making migrants sit English language tests.

'What we don’t want is what you see in some European countries where you start to get parallel communities emerge,' he told Sky News today.

The minister from Melbourne, which has been a hive of Sudanese gang activity, said English language tests were an essential part of ensuring migrants integrated into the Australian community.

'In Australia, the secret to our success is we've largely had integrated communities where people have blended together regardless of where they've come from,' he said. 'We want to make sure that continues and central to that is a common language.'

The number of people living in Australia who speak little or no English is rising rapidly, and forecast to reach one million within just three years.

Alan Tudge is expected to announce the new conversation test plans in a speech to the Sydney Institute on Thursday. Mr Tudge will say the government is concerned with the growing number of people who cannot communicate in English, The Australian reported.

'As we ­approach a million without English capability, we will begin to get more social fragmentation,' Mr Tudge's speech reads.  'There are suburbs where up to one in three cannot speak the national language well or at all.

'Further, because of the concentration in particular areas, there is less demand on the individuals to have to interact with other ­Australians.'

Mr Tudge will cite large cities like Sydney and Melbourne, which together are home to 67 suburbs where more than 50 per cent of people were born overseas.

Of those, 28 suburbs have populations with over 60 per cent of people overseas-born, many of whom do not speak English.

In one such suburb, Greater Dandenong in Melbourne's south-east, 61.7 per cent of the 152,000 residents were born overseas, and 17 per cent do not speak English well.

The number of permanent residents who speak little or no English rose from 300,000 in 1981 to 820,000 in 2016. Census data shows that number will hit one million by 2021, 2026 if children are not included.

A conversational English test would replace the International English Language Testing System used to assess skilled migrants.

Mr Tudge will argue a language test is standard in many countries with high immigration, and is not a new idea.

The new mandatory requirement could affect up to 130,000 new arrivals to Australia every year.

This is not the first time Mr Tudge has flagged the importance of English for migrants. In March he suggested migrants must demonstrate they've made an effort to integrate before becoming citizens, steps which could include joining a Rotary Club or a soccer team.

The government has been in talks with crossbench MPs to garner support for changes to citizenship laws that were shot down in the Senate last year.


Woman begs Christian picketers to leave her alone as they urge her not to enter an abortion clinic

It should be noted that when picketers do succeed in dissuading an abortion, the mothers are usually grateful afterwards that their child was saved

Footage has been posted to Facebook of a woman harassing patients as they enter an abortion clinic. Two videos were posted to advocacy group Young Queenslanders for the Right To Choose last Saturday.

In the first video the protester is seen approaching the doors of Options Clinic in Spring Hill waving a foetus sized doll and exclaiming 'Medical facts say they have a heartbeat from 18 days, please don't terminate your baby.'

The second video shows the religious picketer preaching to a patient. 'God hates the hands that shed his blood,' she tells the woman before she is interrupted.

'Just shut up that is so traumatic. That is so f*cking traumatic.'

The woman tries assuring the patient that she wants to help her, before the patient interjects and tells her she doesn't want her help.

'That baby's got a heartbeat love, please turn away, we can help you,' she says, raising her voice.

The patient goes inside and the woman returns to her place on the sidewalk.

Before the video ends, she turns to the pro-choice volunteers and addresses them. 'That baby's got a heartbeat and what that is is murder, and you guys are standing, you will stand before God as murderers by supporting this horrific act.' 

This incident comes just days after New South Wales passed a legislation to enact safe-access zones around abortion clinics.  This legislation, introduced by Labor MP Penny Sharpe, was passed a week ago and protects patients from harassment and intimidation by protesters with 150 metre zones around the clinics.

The pro-choice young advocacy group Young Queenslanders for the Right To Choose posted the video to Facebook in hopes to spread how traumatic the experience can be

Following New South Wales, Queensland is set to become the next state to legislate safe access zones. Queenland's Law Reform Commission is set to hand down a report into legislation within the next month.

Kate Marchesi, the volunteer who posted the video told Buzzfeed News that she wanted to show how traumatic the protesters could be.

'The protesters outside the clinics regularly say that they are sidewalk counsellors who offer support, help and another option to women accessing abortion clinics, and in my experience attending these clinics as an escort this couldn't be further from the truth.'


Australian soldiers fly a Nazi swastika flag over their military vehicle in Afghanistan

Military men in all of the services tend to adorn their vehicles and equipment with aggressive iconography and this would have been simply that: minatory but not political

Australian soldiers have been photographed flying a Nazi flag over a military vehicle in Afghanistan.

The disturbing images show a swastika symbol - synonymous with racial hatred, fascism and genocide - hoisted above Australian Defence personnel in 2007.

An army source told the ABC a solider took the flag to the warzone as a 'twisted joke' - not as an expression of Nazism.

They claimed the flag was flown for a 'prolonged period', though the Department of Defence refuted that claim.

'Defence and the ADF reject as abhorrent everything this flag represents. Neither the flag nor its use are in line with Defence values,' a spokesman told Daily Mail Australia.

'The flag was briefly raised above an Australian Army vehicle in Afghanistan in 2007. The commander took immediate action to have the offensive flag taken down.

'It is totally inappropriate for any ADF vehicle or company to have a flag of this nature... The flag was destroyed once the unit returned from that operation.'

The spokesman said the soldiers involved were cautioned and received further counselling.

Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, described the photos as 'deeply troubling and distressing'.

'The flying of the Nazi flag, the most evil symbol in the history of mankind by our soldiers is a slap in the face to the diggers who fought valiantly and died to defeat Hitler,' Dr Abramovich told Daily Mail Australia.

'The swastika represents pure hatred and the crimes of a regime responsible for the most destructive conflict the world has ever known, including the murder of six million Jews and millions of others.

'At a time of escalating anti-Semitism and intolerance, this vile display of bigotry is a reminder of the ever-present need for people of good to speak out against such abhorrence, and that racism is still rampant in parts of our society.'

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull slammed the flag as 'completely and utterly unacceptable'. 'It was absolutely wrong and their commanders took action at the time,' Mr Turnbull said in Hobart on Thursday.


The option to pick your parents: Children could be allowed to choose whether to live with their mother or father under new custody reforms

It would be a disgrace if the kids are not heard on this

Children would have the power to tell judges who they want to live with under drastic new reforms being proposed in one Australian state.      

Queensland Family and Child Commissioner (QFCC) Cheryl Vardon has called for children to be given more say on which parents they live with, the Courier Mail reported.    

She believes judges should consult children in custody disputes to ensure their voices and opinions are heard. 'We need a better way of listening to the voices and opinions of children,' she told the publication. 'With safeguards, we certainly believe children should be heard in court proceedings.

'It's all very well to aim for shared care but that's simply not appropriate if that means the child is going to be damaged further.'

The news comes amid a Federal Government review into the Family Law system. The  inquiry highlights 'protecting the needs of the children of separating families' in its terms of reference.

In its submission to the review, the QFCC said the primary consideration for determining what is in the child's best interests should be the 'need to protect the child from harm'. 

'The legislation should be drafted in such a way to make this explicitly clear,' the commission's submission states.

'While there is a benefit to the child having a meaningful relationship with both parents, this should not be placed above a child's protection.'  

Parents were divided on the reforms on social media on Thursday. One parent said he was concerned the child would pick the 'parent who spoils them'.

Another person said: 'Children don't have the experience to make good judgement and decisions'. 

A more supportive parent described the concept fair. 'The kid's wishes should be considered,' she said.

The Queensland Family and Child Commission, in a statement provided to Daily Mail Australia, said it is important for children to be meaningfully engaged. 

'The QFCC believes it is important for children to be given the opportunity to meaningfully engage throughout proceedings, in ways that are trauma-informed, culturally safe and age appropriate,' the commission stated.

'The opportunity to be heard would of course need to be considered along with other expert inputs to inform a decision.

'The QFCC does not suggest that engaging with a child would lead to, or suggest ‘picking a parent’ as an outcome, rather providing a more inclusive engagement process where children can express their views and have their voices heard.'


The NBN debacle again

A couple have been quoted over a million dollars to have NBN installed at their house just kilometres from Melbourne's CBD.

Alistair Stewart revealed he was quoted between $800,000 and $1.2 million to have the NBN connected to his house south-east of the Victorian capital.

The Australian Government owned company is currently rolling out the fibre connections to replace current broadband which will provide faster internet services.

While NBN is compulsory, Mr Stewart said the company quoted him the extensive figure because his Jam Jerrup house is seven kilometres away from the nearest connection point

While NBN is compulsory, Mr Stewart said the company quoted him the extensive figure because his Jam Jerrup house is seven kilometres away from the nearest connection point, ABC News reported.

'The best way to put this is that NBN want you to shut up and live with what you've got. "Anything but fibre" is the motto. That's how I feel,' he told ABC Radio Melbourne. 'Outrageous, absolutely outrageous.'

Mr Stewart, who is an IT consultant and often works at home, said NBN was rolled out in his area 18 months ago but he was given the 'terrible' and 'inconsistent' fixed wireless connection - not the better optic fibre connection.

An NBN spokesperson told the publication it was unrealistic to run a fibre seven kilometres for one property and the furthest they had run a wire was two kilometres.

The company said it costs about $30,000 to run a wire just a few hundred metres.

Despite claiming to offer better services, NBN was recently slammed for blaming online gamers for congestion and slow connections.


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, 2018


In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG rightly predicts that the media won't like the Trump/Kim detente

Is Australia’s current drought caused by climate change? It’s complicated

Rubbish!  They are just obfuscating below. It's not complicated at all.  Rainfall in Australia regularly oscillates between the North and South of the continent. If there is drought in Victoria, there will be extra rain in Queensland, and vice versa. 

And the present pattern is a confirmation of that.  While there is reduced rainfall down South we in Brisbane are getting a lot of rain.  Autumn and winter here are normally dry but this month  there seems to be rain a couple of times a week.  And in March it rained nearly every day, with some big falls among that.  Statewide it was much the same.   Hence the headline in March: "Queensland's wet weather breaks dozens of records as rain still falls" and "Far North Queensland residents urged to be vigilant in floodwaters across the region" 

Cairns in March

And the trees and plants are showing the effects of all the rain.  This year, my cumquat tree has really leapt for the sky. It's put on at least a foot of growth recently.  It seems to know more than the meteorologists do.

We do have some of those splendid fine clear days at the moment that Brisbane winters are known for but we have just as many cloudy days.

How come a humble social scientist like me knows all that while there is no hint of that knowledge from the climate mavens below? They know bupkis but as long as they can drag in some mention of climate change they are in clover

Much of southern Australia is experiencing severe drought after a very dry and warm autumn across the southern half of the continent. Australia is no stranger to drought, but this recent dry spell, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to drought-stricken parts of the country, has prompted discussion of the role of climate change in this event.

Turnbull said that farmers need to “build resilience” as rainfall “appears to be getting more variable”. This prompted former Nationals leader John Anderson to warn against “politicising” the drought by invoking climate change. This in turn was followed by speculation from numerous commentators about the links between climate change and drought.

So are droughts getting worse, and can they be attributed to climate change? Drought is a complex beast and can be measured in a variety of ways. Some aspects of drought are linked with climate change; others are not.

In Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology uses rainfall deficiencies to identify regions that are under drought conditions.

Droughts are also exacerbated by low humidity, higher wind speeds, warmer temperatures, and greater amounts of sunshine. All of these factors increase water loss from soils and plants. This means that other metrics are often used to describe drought which go beyond rainfall deficiencies alone. These include the Palmer Drought Severity Index and the Standardised Precipitation Evaporation Index, for example.

This means that there are hundreds of metrics which together can provide a more detailed representation of a drought. But this also means that droughts are less well understood and described than simpler phenomena such as temperature and rainfall.

So is climate change affecting Australian droughts?

As we have so many ways of looking at droughts, this is a more complex question than it might first sound. Climate change may affect these drought metrics and types of drought differently, so it is hard to make general statements about the links between human-induced climate change and drought.

We know that over southern Australia, and in particular the southwest, there has been a rapid decline in winter rainfall, and that this has been linked to climate change. In the southeast there has also been a decline but the trend is harder to distinguish from the year-to-year variability.

For recent short-term droughts in southern Australia, analyses have found an increased likelihood of rainfall deficits related to human-caused climate change. Also, it has been suggested that the character of droughts is changing as a result of the human-induced warming trend.

There is some evidence to suggest that widespread and prolonged droughts, like the Millennium Drought, are worse than other droughts in recent centuries, and may have been exacerbated by climate change. But the role of climate change in extended drought periods is difficult to discern from background climate variability. This is particularly true in Australia, which has a much more variable climate than many other parts of the world.


Jewish students take aim at ‘distressing’ university paper

A female suicide bomber who killed dozens of Israeli soldiers has graced the front cover of a University of Sydney student newspaper, and Jewish students who complained about the cover have been “condemned” for ­censorship.

Hamida al-Taher killed more than 50 people, mainly Israeli military personnel, when she blew herself up in Southern Lebanon in 1985. The special edition of the University of Sydney’s student newspaper Honi Soit, produced by the student women’s collective a fortnight ago, put her on the cover and called her a “martyr” in an issue dedicated to the struggle against “Israeli colonisation”.

The student queer collective’s edition of Honi Soit on April 16 was criticised for having a picture of a petrol bomb on the cover and supporting a boycott of Israel.

The Australasian Union of Jewish Students has called for an apology over the covers. “They are particularly disturbing to Jewish students as they display a blatant disdain for Israeli victims of violence,” AUJS national political ­director Noa Bloch said. “By disseminating publications that sacrifice respectful dialogue … it inevitably causes distress among Jewish and other students who support Israel.”

The University of Sydney’s ­Student Representative Council passed a motion, 11 to 10, against AUJS on Wednesday night for complaining about the publication.

“This SRC condemns AUJS for suggesting the university should intervene to censor a student-run publication,” the motion reads.  “This SRC congratulates those who put together the women’s ­edition of Honi for their brave and highly defensible cover depicting a pro-Palestine freedom fighter (opposing) the ­illegal Israeli occupation of Lebanon and Palestine.”

Taher was a member of Syria’s Arab Socialist Ba’ath party, which is accused of killing thousands.

SRC women’s officers Madeline Ward and Jessica Syed said they did not intend to upset anyone with their cover but stood by their anti-Israeli position. “We are saddened some were upset by the picture — this was not our intention. The policy of the University of Sydney SRC and our collective is pro-Palestine. ”

The latest Israeli-related stoush at the university comes months after multiple staff members pledged to boycott Israeli universities over the situation in Gaza.

AUJS’s Sydney University president, Ben Ezzes, 21, said he had felt unsafe on campus as anti-Israeli rhetoric had increased. “I identify openly as Jewish through what I wear,” he said. “I feel a lot more eyes on me whenever I’m there. I try not to meet people on campus anymore.”

Fellow student Dana Segall said Israel had become a key target for student political groups. “I feel utterly unsafe and unwelcome … It has become increasingly popular for student groups to adopt a blanket anti-Israel, anti-Zionist position,” she said.

Executive Council for Australian Jewry chief executive Peter Wertheim said the student publication “glorifying terrorism … with positive portrayals of violent symbols, including a terrorist in military fatigues pointing a rifle … is despicable”.

The University of Sydney said it did not condone the cover but would not intervene.


Labor wants to scrap Queen's Birthday public holiday in favour of honouring Aboriginals and 60,000 years of indigenous history

60,000 years of no history, more like it.  A few oral tales from old men is all there is.  And why should I honour Aborigines?  What have they done for me or for the community at large?  Soak up welfare payments is all I can think of.  Britain, on the other hand, founded Australia.  So it is properly grateful to honour the Queen, who represents Britain

Labor has stated its intention to scrap the Queen's Birthday public holiday in favour of a day dedicated to Aboriginal history.

New South Wales Labor leader Luke Foley told the Sydney Morning Herald he plans to make the second Monday in June a public holiday to honour indigenous people, as 'another step in the process of reconciliation'.

He said the day would be dedicated to '60,000 years of indigenous history' if his party is elected.

Mr Foley said the Aboriginal flag would also fly on the Sydney Harbour Bridge every day if his party was elected as a sign of respect.

'We must acknowledge the special place the First Peoples occupy in the story of our state and nation,' he said.

'The second Tuesday of June isn't Her Majesty's real birthday - the day would be better used as one to acknowledge the First Peoples.'

Mr Foley said he would consult with the community about the proposed change and would most likely not introduce it until Queen Elizabeth's reign had ended

He is also committed to negotiating a treaty between Aboriginal people and NSW.

The Victorian lower house recently voted for negotiating Australia's first Aboriginal treaty, similar to existing ones in New Zealand and Canada.

Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs David Harris said changing the meaning of the public holiday would have a significant impact.

'Creating an Indigenous public holiday in NSW is a small step we can take to acknowledge the past but more importantly create a meaningful way forward,' he said.


Footy Stadium sign divides Australia

AUSTRALIA was completely split by a sign at a Melbourne footy Stadium in groundbreaking new territory for Aussie sport.

ETIHAD Stadium has introduced gender-fluid toilets for all spectators during the annual Pride Game between St Kilda and Sydney.

Social commentators and footy fans have been divided by the move to designate three toilet blocks throughout the Docklands venue for all-gender use.

Signs posted throughout the stadium and then flashed on the giant screens inside the stadium advertised one toilet block on each level of seating have been converted into bathrooms that allowed spectators to use whichever gender bathroom they identified with.

The stadium signs read: “Gender diversity is welcome here. “Please use the restroom that best fits your gender identity or expression.”

The move follows the AFL’s staging of its annual Pride Game at Etihad Stadium, celebrated by St Kilda and the Swans before and during the round 12 game.

Both clubs have been widely applauded for their public support for inclusion of LGBTI communities in football and everywhere else in Australia.

However, many other commentators believe Etihad Stadium’s decision to scrap traditional mens’ and womens’ gendered toilets was a dangerous development.

Other commentators applauded the symbolism of the toilet re-allocation.

The drama did not entirely overshadow the commitment of both clubs to promote inclusivity on the night.

The Swans wore rainbow coloured socks in support of the cause, while the Saints wore rainbow coloured numbers on the back of their jumpers.

Both clubs also posted messages in support of the LGBTI community on the banners they ran through at the start of the game.

Host broadcaster Channel 7 also pledged its support of the AFL’s Pride Round.

LGBTI activist Paul Kidd tweeted on Saturday night in support of the AFL’s public support of LGBTI inclusion initiatives.


Teaching quality is the biggest challenge facing Australian country areas

It will surprise few people that students from rural areas tend to perform worse on average than those in cities. In fact — as shown by the results of NAPLAN and two different international standardised tests — the more remote the area, the lower the average student test score.

Decades of research show the most significant in-school factor that affects student achievement is the quality of teacher instruction. But in country areas, it is a particular challenge for schools to attract and retain experienced and expert teachers.

This was the most pressing issue discussed by the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education, authored by Emeritus Profession John Halsey and commissioned by the Turnbull government. The review received hundreds of submissions, and the vast majority rated the area of teachers and teaching as the most important.

But this is not just an Australian problem. According to an OECD report, the city-country gap in achievement exists in most countries; and internationally it is much harder on average for rural schools to attract experienced and more qualified teachers. Realistically, this is a problem we can only mitigate, rather than solve entirely.

So how can the size of the problem be reduced? The Halsey review proposes few specific actions, but unfortunately doesn’t give any analysis of the costs and benefits of each approach. It suggests: university teacher education degrees include a subject specifically covering rural education, more teacher professional experience placements in rural schools, and using targeted salary and conditions packages to attract experienced teachers to rural schools for fixed term appointments.

In theory, these ideas are sensible, but are potentially expensive — and it is unclear if they are cost-effective uses of taxpayer money to increase teaching quality in rural schools.

Unfortunately, it seems the trend for Australian government-commissioned education reviews these days is to be overly general and not address the pros and cons of their ideas. The Gonski 2.0 review into schools was the epitome of the genre — full of clichés and jargon at the expense of practicality and evidence.

To be fair, the Halsey review doesn’t quite reach the Gonski 2.0 level of platitude litanies. But the fact that the Turnbull government’s response to Halsey’s review was simply to accept all 11 (very broad) recommendations and then note that the more specific 53 suggested actions were just “examples of what could be done to implement these recommendations” and “are very specific and may cut across existing initiatives” shows the practical policy utility of the Halsey review is limited. Prepare the mothballs.

The Halsey review also focuses arguably too much on curriculum and technology.

One recommendation is about “ensuring the relevance of the Australian Curriculum” for students in rural areas. It seems absurd that, when faced with a gap in achievement in the curriculum, a response is to blame the curriculum. Why is the gap a problem if what is being measured is supposedly irrelevant for country kids? And no evidence is presented to suggest that the reason students in rural schools are underperforming is because the content being taught isn’t relevant enough for them.

Another focus of the review is technology for rural schools. Of course, access to fast and reliable internet is often a challenge in country areas, and technology has the potential to open up many mobile learning opportunities for students.

But there is too much faith in the possible productivity gains from technology in schools. There is no clear relationship between use of education technology and student achievement. In fact, some studies suggest there is a negative relationship. Australian schools already use technology much more than most other OECD countries — including the top-performers like Singapore — according to the international education datasets. So more technology is no silver bullet for rural education.

Nevertheless, Halsey’s review is an important contribution, expresses aspirations we all support, and is at least “a starting point for many conversations” — to quote the federal government’s response.

But state and territory governments are going to have to do much more detailed analysis if they are to come up with a blueprint to improve teaching in rural areas; and minimise the educational disadvantage faced by country students.


Australian coal prices hit 6-year high as Asia demand spikes

What happened to all those "renewables"

Australian thermal coal prices have risen to their highest level since 2012 as hot weather across North Asia spurs buying ahead of the peak summer demand season.

Spot prices for thermal coal cargoes for export from Australia’s Newcastle terminal last closed at $115.25 per tonne, the highest level since February 2012.

Thermal coal, the world’s most used fuel for electricity generation, has surged by 130 percent since its record lows below $50 per tonne in 2016 following a years-long decline.

Prices have been driven up by economic growth, especially in Asia, along with constraints on supply due to earlier mine closures and high hurdles to developing new mines amid concerns about pollution and global warming.

In recent weeks, a heat-wave in North Asia and restocking ahead of the hottest summer months in July and August have led to soaring demand for both residential and industrial cooling, traders 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

13 June, 2018

Gutless ANU

Bettina Arndt

My latest concern is the decision by the ANU to buckle to pressure from students and the union and pull out of negotiations with the Ramsay Centre over the proposed course on Western Civilisation. I’m sure you will have read about what’s going on there.

I have a long history with what was once a great university. My brilliant father, the economist Heinz Arndt, was one of the founding professors and worked there for over 50 years. I was on the ANU Council for over 17 years and watched many of the university’s leaders establish a formidable institution. 

I have just written to the current Vice-Chancellor, Brian Schmidt, telling him my father would be turning in his grave about the Ramsay decision. 

As the university’s own website makes clear the Ramsay negotiators were not desiring an undue level of influence over delivery of the programs, staff appointments, what was to be taught and by whom. Indeed, I was surprised to hear that Ramsay had agreed to allow the ANU to have ultimate control over all these matters – a very brave decision given the fact that many academics currently working in the humanities at the university are so clearly antagonistic to the values inherent in the Western Civilisation course.

You may not be aware that these issues had been fully discussed and agreed upon by the two parties to the negotiation, as the University’s CASS website demonstrates. Here is the link:

Here are some extracts from that website:

7. What are the risks to the ANU? ….The University’s legal framework requires ANU to retain control of the delivery of its programs. Our strong University academic structures govern academic curriculum, delivery and standards and any new degree would need to be approved by the usual ANU processes and subject to the usual quality reviews. The proposed Ramsay Scholarships would be ANU Scholarships, and, as such, also fall under University policies and procedures. Students in the proposed program would be subject to ANU legislation, policies and procedures regarding academic progress, misconduct and discipline. Similarly, staff appointed under any funding arrangements would be appointed by an ANU selection committee and would be ANU employees, subject to the University’s HR processes and procedures.

15. Who will decide the curriculum? Curriculum recommendations will be made by the Partnership Management Committee (consisting of two academic staff from the Ramsay Centre and two academics from the ANU, one of whom is the Dean of CASS) and considered through the normal ANU academic processes.

Also clause 25 regarding selection of staff for the Centre spells out that hiring decisions will be made in accordance with the normal hiring procedures and that the staff will be all ANU employees. “Ramsay would have a limited number of nominees on the selection committee but the committee would be chaired by the Dean of CASS and have a majority of ANU nominees.”

As this website states,  this is all normal practice at the university. It is clear from the wording of the website that the two parties had reached agreement on all these key issues, prior to intervention from the union and the decision by the ANU to back away from the long negotiations. I believe you are being misled by one or more key players who have sought to scuttle the deal.

I am already aware of many eminent people connected to the university who are very alarmed by what is happening and I can assure you that the public concern will only increase. I know there are many current academics staff who are shocked by this turn of events but too nervous to speak out – which demonstrates the impact the current corrosive climate is having on academic autonomy and intellectual freedom.

Please help me spread the word about what’s going on behind the scenes in the Ramsay/ANU scandal – many people are working really hard to misrepresent the facts. 

Via email from

Mundine says Shorten ‘hasn’t a clue’ about indigenous life

Indigenous leader Warren Mundine has dismissed Bill Shorten’s claim that too many Aboriginal children are being removed from their families as “a load of garbage”, saying the Opposition Leader “doesn’t have a friggin’ clue” what is going on in remote communities.

At the weekend, Mr Shorten highlighted his promise to hold a summit within the first 100 days of a Labor government to tackle the issue of indigenous child protection, hitting out at “know-it-all whitefellas” who “come in ­paternalistic” in their ­approach to indigenous affairs.

Mr Shorten made the comments during a visit to the Northern Territory community of Barunga, east of Katherine.

Mr Mundine, a former federal ALP president, said Mr Shorten was a “living example” of the kind of “whitefella” he was criticising.

“The man is a complete fool and it’s a disgrace that this guy is actually running for prime minister of this country when he’s just talking of more reviews,” Mr Mundine said. “I’m quite happy to sit down and have a conversation about it and save him the trouble of another talkfest.”

In February, a toddler was raped in Tennant Creek, having remained with relatives despite the family being the subject of 52 notifications to child protection services over 16 years.

“In the last few weeks we’ve seen the violent abuse of Aboriginal children that is happening out there, and we know that is only the tip of the iceberg because we’ve had about 40 reviews ­nationally on these areas since about 2004,” Mr Mundine said. “I’ve sat on several of those and, quite frankly I’m very, very angry in regard to Bill Shorten’s response. I found it a load of garbage and he needs to get his facts right.”

Indigenous Labor MP Linda Burney defended Mr Shorten, saying an opinion piece by former ALP powerbroker Graham Richardson, published in The Australian yesterday, was “disgracefully inaccurate” in claiming Mr Shorten had suggested leaving indigenous children in vulnerable circumstances.

“In Australia today, more First Nations children are in out-of-home care than ever before,” Ms Burney said. “The rate of removal of these children is the highest it has even been and, as we know, too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are ending up in juvenile justice institutions. This issue is complex and few would claim to have the ­answers.”

Ms Burney cited her previous role as a minister with responsibility for child protection in the NSW government.

“I understand as well as anyone this wicked policy challenge,” she said. “It means looking at the reasons underpinning child ­removal rates, and identifying why there has been such a significant ­increase since the apology (to the Stolen Generations in 2008).

“It doesn’t mean — as suggested by yesterday’s article — turning a blind eye to the social problems, simply to drive down child removal rates. On the contrary, it means tackling these things head-on and having an honest conversation about how this situation changes.”


Leftist racism never stops

The University of Melbourne faces calls to cancel a “divisive” dance performance that separates white audience members from people of colour, makes white patrons sign a declaration before entering the theatre, and then stops the dance when they take their seats.

Where We Stand, a performance created by third-year Victorian College of the Arts student Isa­bella Mason, aims to highlight how indigenous people and people of colour have been excluded from society and history.

The performance is the first of four scheduled in the Dance ON 2018 showcase, which is meant to celebrate 40 years of the Victorian College of the Arts dance course, run by the University of Melbourne.

The show has been labelled divisive by some commentators and audience members, while the show’s creator admits it has confronted some ­attendees with the way it segregates them based on the colour of their skin. White audience members miss out completely on a dance routine in the theatre.

“Realistically, there are simply two different shows for two different audiences,” said Mason, 20. “The (white) audience in the foyer are invited to go through a process of accepting/transitioning/cleansing similar to a right of passage.

“I do not consider the ritual in the foyer to be any ‘lesser’ a part of the performance however many audience members feel as though they ‘missed out’ on the ‘real show’ in the theatre.”

People of colour are invited to enter the show first, while white people must wait outside where four dancers, who introduce themselves by their preferred pronouns, talk to them about white privilege.

White patrons are then asked to sign a big brown piece of paper on the wall that states: “I ­acknowledge where I stand.” If they do not, they are not allowed to enter the theatre. Once there are more white audience members in the theatre than people of colour, the show stops and the audience is left to sit and think.

“Of the five shows thus far, we have not had equal representation on any night,” Mason said.

The student of mixed Maori and European heritage said audience members had reacted in different ways to her show and admitted some had walked out.

“I have had a number of people contact me to tell me their own experiences and thank me … Many have cried … Some have been angry, some have walked out,” she said.

Institute of Public Affairs ­director Bella D’Abrera said the University of Melbourne should cancel the performance.

“It’s reverse segregation and if people are paying for tickets, and taxpayers are funding the VCA, then they should be let in … or they should stop the performance,” she said. “I’m not surprised the university hasn’t criticised this, I’d be more surprised if they did. This is more taxpayer-funded identity politics.”

The University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Music acting dean Jon Cattapan said Mason’s dance piece was “provocative” and “exciting”.

“Exciting, contemporary and, on occasion, challenging student work is something we encourage across all of the art forms taught and developed at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music,” he said.

Mason said staff at the VCA did raise concerns that the performance could be controversial with audiences but said it was her decision and they supported her.

One concerned patron said he and his partner refused to sign the paper, adding that several other patrons were ­distressed by the performance. “We were both fascinated and appalled to be living in our own episode of the Chinese Cultural Revolution experience,” he said.

“Each girl would then take it in turns to declare her racial pedigree … and then her preferred pronouns before declaring her attempts to overcome her white privilege and what these teenagers thought we should be doing to overcome our privilege.”

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, said one elderly woman was shaken by the performance and said the university should be held responsible for allowing race-based practices.

“I don’t blame the girls involved in the piece, they are young and self-righteous,” he said. “I do blame the University of Melbourne for allowing racial selection on campus in any shape or form. I am gobsmacked that any university would preside over an event where entry is based on skin colour. I naively thought this was a line that even the regressive left wouldn’t cross.”

Centre of Independent Studies senior research fellow Jeremy Sammut said the segregated performance was the “antithesis of an arts performance”.

“This work divides us … people shouldn’t be lumbered with the guilt of the past,” he said.

“You are supposed to enter a performance with an open mind … not sign up to a particular set of views. This piece also lies to us about the current reality of ­racism today … there is much less racism or prejudice in our society than there has ever been.”



ABC’s problem with political diversity goes a long way back

During the past 50 years the ABC has been criticised by Coalition and Australian Labor Party leaders alike. The unexpected bipartisanship turns on the fact ABC journalists and producers tend to attack both major parties from a left-wing — and increasingly green-left — perspective.

In recent times, Malcolm Turnbull and/or his Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield, have complained to ABC managing director and editor-in-chief Michelle Guthrie on a range of matters.

These include the reporting on tax and innovation by ABC ­economics correspondent Emma Alberici along with statements by ABC political editor Andrew Probyn and ABC 7.30’s chief political correspondent Laura Tingle.

Fifield has accused Probyn and Tingle of repeating “a Labor lie” about the timing of the forthcoming by-elections in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.

When former prime minister Tony Abbott clashed with the ABC concerning Q&A — even to the extent of preventing his ministers from appearing on the program for a couple of weeks — Turnbull, who was communications minister, did not embrace Abbott’s criticism. It is understood his attitude at the time was that most journalists were on the left and it was to be expected that this would be reflected in the public broadcaster. Turnbull appears to have had a change of attitude since moving into the Lodge.

From his early days as prime minister, John Howard called for the ABC to appoint a “right-wing Phillip Adams”. This was another way of saying the ABC was a ­conservative-free zone without a conservative presenter, producer or editor for any of its prominent television, radio or online outlets. Two decades later, nothing has changed.

Labor leaders at the commonwealth level are invariably from the party’s right-wing, or social democratic, faction. Kevin Rudd recently received a grovelling apology from the ABC for its inaccurate reporting in recent times of his government’s home insulation program. And Julia Gillard’s supporters were correct in objecting to the demeaning way in which she was presented in the comedy series At Home with Julia during her time in the Lodge.

However, the most serious conflict between the government and the taxpayer-funded public broadcaster took place when, as prime minister in 1991, Bob Hawke effectively accused the ABC of bias in its coverage of the first Gulf war.

Hawke, a member of the ALP’s right-wing faction, clashed with then ABC managing director David Hill, who also happened to be a member of the Labor right. In his semi-official history of the ABC, Whose ABC?, KS Inglis described the resultant controversy as a “public and domestic conflict as troubling as any in the ABC’s history”.

Hawke’s stoush with Hill led to the public broadcaster bringing greater balance to its commentary on the first Gulf war and, on one occasion, providing an ABC critic a right to be heard.

Hawke well understood that he was being attacked on the ABC from the left since many of its journalists and producers opposed Australia’s involvement in the campaign by the UN-approved operation — led by the US — to drive Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait.

The problem in 1991 turned on the fact there was an absence of political diversity within the public broadcaster. It’s much the same today. In any organisation without a plurality of views within it, a certain groupthink will form.

This is accentuated by the unwillingness of Guthrie and her predecessors, including Mark Scott, to run the organisation on a daily basis. Instead, power over programming, appointments and promotions is handed to several cliques that prevail over certain programs. 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales denies the ABC is bereft of conservatives on prominent programs, but she has been unable to name one within the organisation.

Writing in Fairfax Media newspapers last week, ABC chairman Justin Milne stepped forward to defend the public broadcaster. His article was another example of the ABC in denial. He declared that “Australians should not be fooled by the current battle being waged against public broadcasting” and asserted that “fringe political interests, populists and commercial media all have a shared interest in weakening the ABC”.

Well, maybe they do. And maybe they don’t. But the ABC’s immediate problem turns on the decision announced in the 2018 budget that its expected indexed increase in funding across the next three years will be frozen. Fringe political interests, populists and the like do not determine budget decisions.

Also, Milne neglected to address the lack of political diversity in the ABC. On Guthrie’s watch, action has been taken to ensure that the public broadcaster reflects a greater range of views from indigenous, ethnic and religious (primarily Islamic) groups.

However, Guthrie has done nothing to put some political diversity into the organisation. She appears to hold the view that journalism is a left-wing profession and there’s nothing the ABC can do to change this.

Milne ran the familiar ABC line that 80 per cent of Australians regard the public broadcaster as “the most trusted media organisation in the country”. If this is the case, it’s not clear why the Seven and Nine networks’ news services consistently outrate the ABC.

Funding for the ABC has never been an issue in Australian elections and this is unlikely to change in the immediate future. Consequently, it makes no sense for the ABC to be consistently off-side with so many political and social conservatives. It needs bipartisan support.

In the short term, the ABC would be well advised to split the roles of managing director and editor-in-chief and appoint someone to the latter post who is prepared to ensure political diversity at the level of programming and appointments.

Also, the ABC’s editor-in-chief should be equipped to handle criticisms by the likes of Turnbull and Fifield without referring them to middle-level bureaucrats in the first instance. An active editor-in-chief could ensure that the public broadcaster develops a culture of correcting its own errors in real time. It’s not a difficult task.


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, 2018

Activists push for COFFEE CUPS to be plastered with grotesque cigarette-packaging warnings to highlight environmental damage

There's a lot of nonsense in this.  It is mainly takeaway cups that are disposable-- usually for people who want good coffee in their workplace.  So it's an important convenience that would be pesky to replace. And it's hard to imagine any cups in Western countries not going to the tip.  Waste in the oceans comes from backward people using their rivers as a dump.  It's not our fault

Activists are calling for cigarette packet-style labels on disposable coffee cups to remind people they are harming the environment when they buy them.

Anna Warren, a communications officer for North Sydney Council, has started a petition to make coffee cups 'uncool.' She wants drinkers to keep a plastic cup on them at all times and re-use it to save the environment.

The paper cups are not recyclable due to their waterproof plastic lining and are the second biggest filler of landfill space after plastic bags with 2.6billion thrown away every year.

Ms Warren is encouraging the big coffee brands to introduce labels reminding drinkers that the cups go to landfill, similar to the 'smoking kills' reminders on cigarettes. She also wants more cafes to have a bin where the cups can be sent to a specialist recycling centre. Convenience store 7/11 already does this.

Ms Warren's petition to the environment minister, which has more than 23,000 signatures, reads: 'Coffee cups are the second largest source of landfill in Australia and most of the cups that don’t make it into landfill, end up in our environment.

'Landfill’s greenhouse gases are one of the major factors for climate change and global warming.

'Coffee cups which don’t make it to landfill end up in our oceans, killing fragile marine life like turtles, dolphins and even whales - washing up on shore dead with stomachs full of plastic waste.

'Our waste situation is in crisis and if we don’t do anything about it, it’s only going to get worse.

'The trouble is that most coffee cups are not recyclable due to a plastic waterproof lining and no one knows what to do with them.

'The first option is to avoid this altogether by bringing our own keep cups. Many cafes have signed up to offering a discount if you bring your own cup but takeaway coffee cups still persist everywhere.

'We need clear warnings on these disposable cups. Warning of the danger to the environment, like you see on cigarette packets about cigarettes endangering our health.

'Warnings on cigarette packaging have worked very well in reducing the rate of smoking which is not considered cool any more. We need the same for takeaway coffee cups.

'Please, let's have appropriate labelling on takeaway coffee cups now, to inform our behaviour before it’s too late!'


The first in a series of planned free speech rallies draws dozens of activists in support of TV host Sonia Kruger and jailed UK activist Tommy Robinson

Dozens of protesters have rallied in support of Australian television host Sonia Kruger and incarcerated far-right British activist Tommy Robinson.

The Melbourne 'free speech' rally was the first of four to be held nationwide over the weekend by the Australian Liberty Alliance, with Kruger currently under fire after calling for an Australian Muslim ban.

Former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson was arrested a week ago for using social media to broadcast details of a trial which is subject to blanket reporting restrictions.

Robinson, who was listed by his real name Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon on court documents, was sentenced to 13 months in jail on the same day as his arrest.

'Tommy resonates with a lot of people. He's a working class man, he's like a typical Aussie. They (Australian supporters) feel like what he says is our future here too,' organiser Avi Yemini told AAP on Saturday.

He told the crowd that 'I, you, we all are Tommy Robinson'.

'If that can happen to a man who stands up to defend our rights, it can happen to anyone.' 

The crowd sang the Australian anthem followed by chants for Robinson, with hecklers yelling at the crowd nearby.

'By God we are going to stand up and fight to ensure that freedom continues,' Mr Yemini told the crowd.

'Freedom of speech is the fundamental right of every Australian and it is supposed to be the right of every single British citizen too.

'We have our very own Sonia Kruger who dared, who dared to have an opinion on our immigration policy, who dared to stand up for Donald Trump's Muslim ban... now she's being dragged through the courts.'

Australian Liberty Alliance's Debbie Robinson said 'most people in Australia would agree with Sonia Kruger'.

Dozens activists braved the dreary weather to rally outside the British Consulate-General in Sydney on Saturday afternoon.

'Thank you Avi and ALA for organizing a peaceful protest for free speech and #freetommy ! A shout out too, to the police who surrounded us and did a great job of protecting our right to free speech, one woman commentedon Facebook afterwards.'

Another added: 'Go Melbourne we need to keep pushing for free speech.'

Similar rallies will be held in Brisbane and Perth on Sunday.

Earlier in the week, federal Senator Pauline Hanson announced she was hoping to meet Robinson while she's on a five-day parliamentary trip to the UK and Europe.

'I support you and I hope I can get to see you and bring the messages from the Australian people to you, because I can tell you, you're not alone,' Senator Hanson said in a video posted to social media.

SOURCE  Good on Pauline!

Comedian under fire as ABC management slams his show for being 'too white' and recommends he 'make fun of how racist Australians are'

The executive producer of Tom Ballard's ABC comedy show Tonightly suggested it make fun of how 'racist' Australians are to win over Chinese viewers.

Dan Ilic, a former host of axed ABC comedy show Hungry Beast, sent around internal leaked documents outlining what he believed to be weaknesses of the weeknight program.

Tonightly's 36-year-old executive producer compiled a memo describing how its 'white writers' and 'white performers' were weaknesses of the taxpayer-funded show, documents obtained by The Australian revealed.

Ilic, a former stand-up comedian who grew up in Sydney's affluent northern suburbs, suggested the show could have a 'Chinese play' about how 'we're hugely racist'.



Lewis McLeod’s legal battle over Duke University sexual assault accusations is finally over

The terms of the settlement between the former student Lewis McLeod and the university are confidential, according to both parties

AN AUSTRALIAN student’s long battle to clear his name in a sexual assault case is finally over. But it came at a heavy toll.

Lewis Meyer McLeod has reached a settlement with an American university after a sexual misconduct claim against him spanning almost five years was dropped in February.

But the 27-year-old has revealed just how intense the lengthy struggle affected his emotional wellbeing and job prospects.

“I’ve received many job offers, and they’ve either been taken away from me upon hearing about (the case), or I’ve told them about it, and it was taken away from me,” he told The Australian. “I had built my life around building a reputation, I worked hard to build this reputation and overnight it gets completely destroyed. People who you once thought were friends are no longer friends.”

Four years ago, everything was going well for Mr McLeod. The then-23-year-old had gone from Sydney Grammar School to the elite Duke University in North Carolina, where he completed a $250,000 psychology degree.

The student was offered a lucrative position as an analyst in the New York financial district. Then — with one allegation — it all came crashing down.

Duke University banned Mr McLeod from graduating after he was accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old female student.

At the time, police didn’t press charges against him, but Duke conducted an internal investigation and decided it was “more likely than not” that sex between the pair had been non-consensual due to the girl’s alcohol intake.

The girl told campus investigators she didn’t want to have sex with him.

Days before his graduation, Duke was told he was “not entitled to that honour”.

Mr McLeod sued Duke in 2014, arguing the university had breached its contract with him by failing to follow rules of impartial treatment.

He claimed the pair had consensual sex after meeting at a popular university bar, Shooters, and heading back to his Sigma Nu fraternity house.

His lawyers said he didn’t buy her drinks and saw “no signs” that she was drunk.

What followed was over four years of legal bills, lost employment opportunities and smears.

He said every aspect of the legal battle was a long drawn-out, tough experience, noting that the reputation he’d spent a lifetime building had been shattered in the course of one night.

“I think having studied law, the whole notion of innocent until proven guilty is still one of the most important principles in society,” he told The Australian. “I think in this day and age, people are too quick to rush to judgment. As soon as they see a headline, they jump on it. They don’t read into the facts.”

He said he fully supports the #MeToo movement, but added that both the accuser and accused should be given equal opportunity to present their accounts — something he felt was lacking in the Duke case.

“Duke was no easy litigant, they made everything difficult. Every document, every motion, every legal battle was a long drawn-out, tough experience. And very expensive,” he said.

Mr McLeod is now back in Sydney and is ready to move on, with plans to pursue a career in either law or financial services.


Victorian Parliament votes on law to negotiate Australia's first Aboriginal treaty

Surely this is a Federal issue only.  But anything it achieves would be ephemeral anyway

Thirty years since former prime minister Bob Hawke promised a treaty, Aboriginal leaders have urged the Federal Government to reignite the idea.

The Lower House of Victoria's Parliament voted in favour of negotiating Australia's first Aboriginal treaty on Thursday, after the state's Labor Government won crucial support from the Greens.

The treaty bill is opposed by the Victorian Opposition, which favours a national approach.

The bill will now proceed to the Upper House, where Labor will need the support of the Greens and a crossbencher.

While the three Lower House Greens MPs voted for the bill on Thursday, Greens MP Lydia Thorpe, Victoria's only Indigenous parliamentarian, wants the word sovereignty included in the legislation to acknowledge that Aboriginal people still own the land of Victoria.

"It is disappointing we're still fighting for this Government to acknowledge Aboriginal sovereignty … a treaty is between two sovereigns," she said.

The legislation will facilitate the establishment of an Elders Council, and a statewide meeting involving traditional owner groups, clans and organisations will be held to progress negotiations on a treaty.

Victoria's Aboriginal Affairs Minister Natalie Hutchins said her state, and others, were going it alone because Canberra had turned its back on the issue.

"We know the Federal Government are not doing anything in this space," she said.

"Other states are in the very preliminary stages of these sort of talks as well, and I know this will encourage them, because we are leading a new path on how to do this."

Janine Coombs, a Wotjobaluk woman and chair of the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations, said a treaty would be "for future generations".

"Elders never thought they would see this happen."

Treaty dominates discussion

At the Barunga Festival near Katherine in the Northern Territory this weekend, treaty will dominate discussions at one of Australia's most important cultural festivals.

What will Indigenous treaties mean?

Australia is the only Commonwealth country that does not have a treaty with its Indigenous peoples, but states are leading the charge for change.

The Northern Territory's Aboriginal land councils have asked the Chief Minister to sign a memorandum of understanding on a treaty.

Kimberley leader Peter Yu, chief executive of Nyamba Buru Yawuru, said treaties could help establish "a dignified relationship in relation to our coexistence in this country".

Australia is the only Commonwealth nation that has not negotiated a treaty with its Indigenous population.

Mr Yu said an agreement with the Commonwealth was still the key priority for First Nations people.

"It has to happen at a national level," he said.

"It's the political leadership is missing in this country for many, many years — it is what continues to feed and bring the flies to the festering sores we grapple with on a daily basis."

This month, a joint parliamentary committee will begin a fresh round of consultations with Indigenous communities over potential changes to the constitution.

Hundreds of delegates at Uluru last May called for a permanent Indigenous advisory body to be enshrined in the constitution.

The summit, which followed six months of consultations, also recommended a commission be established to oversee new treaties with First Nations groups.


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, 2018

Cairns’s Trinity Ang­lican School fought bullied-girl case — and lost

In the Bible, King Solomon advises: "Be not righteous over much" (Ecclesiastes 7:16).  The school board would have done well to follow that. It would seem that they were full of themselves.  But their conspicuous efforts to defend themseves may have paid off as demonstrating their innocence of what they were accused of.  They lost their case on a technicality, not on the facts

When Anthony Woolley and Janet Kencian were unhappy with how a top Queensland school had responded to allegations that their daughter was being bullied and ­racially abused, they wrote to the state’s top education bureaucrat.

What they had hoped for was an investigation into alleged bullying at Cairns’s Trinity Ang­lican School. They also wanted an apology for their adopted daughter Gowri, who had survived on the streets of India’s Bangalore and moved to Cairns for a better life. Instead, they were hit with a claim for defamation that has taken 5½ years to resolve and cost them about $850,000 in legal fees.

In April, a jury threw out the defamation claim launched by then principal Christopher Daunt Watney, now deputy principal of private girls’ school Queenwood, on Sydney’s north shore. The jury found Mr Daunt Watney was unlikely to sustain harm because of the circumstances in which the letter was sent.

Back in 2011, the couple, who have four adopted children, had been horrified to hear Gowri had been called a “black bitch” by other students. They allege that her sister was called a “black ­retard” at the school, which bills ­itself as the “leading independent school in far north Queensland”.

It was not part of the childhood they had imagined for Gowri, who had dazzled them with her huge smile when they met her at age nine in a crowded orphanage.

Mr Woolley and Dr Kencian, a pathologist, raised their bullying and racial-vilification concerns with the school in 2011, including at a meeting with Mr Daunt Watney. Dissatisfied with the ­response, which included an external investigation of the allegations, they wrote to the then director-general of education, Julie Grantham, the following year.

The letter, according to a 2017 appeal judgment, was five pages long and headed “Repeated and Systemic Failures of Duty of Care in response to bullying at Trinity Anglican School White Rock”. It alleged the investigator’s reports were deliberately biased and “in effect a whitewash”, and asked the ­director-general to “conduct a comprehensive and transparent investigation into what is going on at TAS”.

The letter was marked confidential and sent to one person: the director-general, who then “republished” it to one other person, the chair of the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board.

In December 2012, the couple received letters of demand from the school and the principal for $75,000 each, citing their letter of complaint. Mr Daunt Watney then filed the defamation action claiming $389,000 in ordinary and aggravated damages.

A jury first rejected the defamation claim in 2016 on the grounds the letter to the ­director-general was not defamatory. But Mr Daunt Watney — backed by the school, which funded his legal expenses — appealed against that decision.

The Queensland Court of Appeal found there had been a “perverse” result from the jury and substituted its own finding that the letter was defamatory, ordering a fresh jury trial on whether any defences applied. The period for lodging an appeal from the second jury decision has now expired but a decision has yet to be made on costs.

Mr Woolley said that although their legal ordeal was over, his daughter — now 19 and working as a pathology laboratory assistant — was yet to receive an apology from the school. “The financial and emotional distress we have endured from 5½ years of litigation against us has been extreme but our resolve to follow through on the issues we raised is undiminished,” he said.

Dr Kencian said that when the couple brought Gowri to Australia, their hope for her was simple: “to achieve her potential and to have a happy childhood.”

She said bullying was insidious. “Gowri came into our family a resilient and outgoing child who had overcome her adverse start in India and enthusiastically embraced life in our family and Australia,” she said. “But the bullying and the school’s terrible response has impacted on her and our whole family.”

Mr Daunt Watney said the legal action was launched in his name, but it was funded “entirely” by the school, and was a decision of the board. “I was the head of the school at the time,” he said. “The decision to proceed with any kind of action is not the decision of the head of the school; it’s the decision of the school board.”

He said he could not comment on whether he agreed with the decision, or argued against it.

Asked if he regretted putting the parents through the trauma of litigation, he said: “I regret the fact that the whole thing got to where it got to in the first place.”

Trinity Anglican School chairman Jason Fowler said the school was “committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for all school children” and had a strict anti-bullying policy. “The school board has at all times been supportive of our former principal, Christopher Daunt Watney, and we were disappointed to learn of the ultimate outcome,” he said. “It was our belief that his good name and reputation, as a top academic leader, had been damaged.”


'Hypocritical flog!' Kyle Sandilands slams 'snowflake lefty' Waleed Aly over his anti-Kim Kardashian rant on The Project

It's about time that the media's favourite Muslim got some pushback

Kyle Sandilands has publicly berated Waleed Aly for dismissive comments he made about Kim Kardashian on Thursday night's episode of The Project.

Aly, 39, had controversially claimed the American reality TV star 'achieved nothing' by helping persuade President Donald Trump to pardon a drug-offending grandmother serving a life sentence without parole in Alabama.

On Friday's The Kyle and Jackie O Show, Sandilands unleashed on the university lecturer and Fairfax columnist for his remarks, calling him a 'hypocritical flog', a 'whinging toad', and a 'snowflake lefty'.

Kardashian met with Trump last week to ask him to give Alice Marie Johnson, 63, a presidential pardon - which he granted.

Sandilands dedicated more than two minutes of his popular breakfast show to criticising Aly, with his co-host Jackie Henderson also weighing in on the topic.

He raged: 'Kim does something good and Donald Trump pardons someone that probably really shouldn't be in jail for life... and Waleed Aly has a problem with it!'

'Because he's such a snowflake lefty, that he can't bring himself to ever say Trump did something good or Kim Kardashian did something good,' Sandilands added.

'Not everyone has to be a university graduate, up-themselves flog to be a decent person - so lay off, people!'

Sandilands continued: 'He thinks he's right with everything, this bloke. I don't mind the guy normally, but he gets on this soapbox and it p**ses me off!'

The Sydney shock jock also claimed Aly is only on TV 'flogging his own s**t' and should 'give credit where credit is due, rather than just being a whinging toad, whinging, whining, b***hing and being snowflakey.'

Henderson agreed with Kyle for most of the discussion, but insisted: 'They [The Project hosts] can have opinions, that's fair enough.' Sandilands responded sharply: 'He can have an opinion, but his opinion is stupid!'

On Thursday's The Project, Aly said that Kardashian had 'achieved nothing' by campaigning for Johnson's freedom, claiming that her actions only made the President believe he can 'do things by pardons'.

'She's actually achieved nothing. She's achieved something for one person in one case. I reckon this is awful,' Aly said. 'You now have a president who effectively thinks he can do things by pardons. That's the way he operates. 'Everything goes through him. I'll just make a decision, "You're saved, you're not. You're free, you go to hell".

'That's the way it works [but] that's the opposite of the way it's supposed to work.'

Aly's co-host Carrie Bickmore was equally unimpressed with Kim's involvement, claiming it showed the President's 'attachment to celebrity'. Bickmore said: 'I feel for all the people who have been advocating on behalf of people for years… Kim just walks in [and they decide], "OK, let her out".'

Johnson was jailed for life in 1996 for her involvement in a cocaine ring, despite having an otherwise clean record and violence not featuring in the case.

Johnson had applied for clemency during Obama's 2014 push to free non-violent drug offenders from jail, but her application was denied.

Trump met with Kardashian last week to discuss Johnson's case in the Oval Office. The White House publicly shared a picture of Kardashian and Trump, who was grinning from ear-to-ear, following the meeting.

After Trump granted Johnson freedom, Kim posted a story about her release to social media alongside the caption: 'BEST NEWS EVER!!!!'

'So grateful to [Donald Trump], Jared Kushner and to everyone who has showed compassion and contributed countless hours to this important moment for Ms. Alice Marie Johnson,' she added. 'Her commutation is inspirational and gives hope to so many others who are also deserving of a second chance.

'I hope to continue this important work by working together with organisations who have been fighting this fight for much longer than I have and deserve the recognition.'


NSW Government passes new laws making it illegal to protest outside of abortion clinics - with 150m exclusion zones to lock out 'pro-life' groups

Free speech ignored

New laws making it illegal to communicate, film or intimidate a woman near a NSW abortion clinic have been passed by the state's parliament.

The legislation, which was supported by premier Gladys Berejiklian, passed the parliament's lower house late on Thursday night after a marathon debate.

The laws, which passed the state's upper house in May, will provide a 150-metre exclusion zone around clinics and make it an offence to film staff and patients without their consent.

Ms Berejiklian was supported by Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro and a host of other government MPs in a debate that transcended partisan politics.

Mr Barilaro told parliament he had visited an abortion clinic with a young woman 27 years ago, and spoke of the fear and anxiety the experience provoked. 'When you actually attend you're scared, the fear is already inside you,' Mr Barilaro said. 'By the time we arrived at the clinic, it was too late to change our mind.'

He said he did not want his daughters to ever have to be accosted by protesters if they needed to go through the same experience.

A notable opponent of the bill was Minister for Women Tanya Davies, who said the laws didn't distinguish between sharing information and harassment.

'I believe that the bill will be counterproductive to the object of women having choice by denying support and informed choice to vulnerable women when they need it the most,' Ms Davies said.

'I believe the penalties imposed by the bill are excessive, disproportionate and out of step with comparative legislation in NSW.'

Minister for Prevention of Domestic Violence Pru Goward, a former sex discrimination commissioner, also voted against the bill. She said it was an attack on freedom of speech.

'My position I know will please no one, but it is the position of my conscience,' Ms Goward told a near-empty lower house chamber on Thursday evening.

Others argued giving women the freedom to access medical clinics without being harassed was not curtailing free speech.

'We are simply setting boundaries around places where women are undergoing some of the most difficult experiences of their lives,' Labor MP Jenny Aitchison told parliament.

Labor MP and architect of the bill Penny Sharpe said the parliament had taken a 'small but important step' to give women in NSW safe access to medical treatment.

'I'm pleased and relieved that MPs across the political divide have supported the bill. A terrific day for women in NSW,' Ms Sharpe told AAP in a statement.

Outside parliament earlier in the day, reproductive rights activists and health professionals joined anti-abortion protesters to voice their opinions.

Marie Stopes Clinic nurse unit manager Kitty Grozdich supports the bill and said she, her staff and patients were often subject to harassment on their way into the clinic.

'There is a woman who is standing about 20 metres from me right now, and last week she told me that I'm going to hell,' Ms Grozdich told reporters.

'She says that she prays for me. I don't need her prayers, I just need her to go away.'


$8bn road charging plan could backfire

A PLAN to radically change the way motorists pay for using the road, which could cost drivers more than $8bn a year, has failed in other countries and could fail in Australia, experts have warned.

There are also fears road charging, essentially ditching fuel excise and rego in favour of tolls you can’t avoid, may hurt the hip pockets of those who can afford it least.

This week, Julieanne Alroe, the Chair of Infrastructure Australia (IA), the government body that advises on major infrastructure projects, said road charging was now “essential” because taxes levied on car drivers could soon dry up.
Road charging would see motorists charged depending on when and where they used the roads.

Road charging would see motorists charged depending on when and where they used the roads.Source:istock

“The current regime is through fuel excise and registration but if you are an electric vehicle you’re effectively not charged for the use of the road,” she said on Monday at the AFR National Infrastructure Summit, held in Sydney.

Every time a motorist fills up, a proportion of the cost goes to the government in the form of fuel excise. The proportion of revenue generated by fuel excise has been falling as cars become more fuel efficient. The take up of electric vehicles, that don’t fill up but charge up, could kill off the revenue stream entirely.


“As an electric vehicle driver I have not been near a petrol station for 12 months and have saved a lot of money,” said Ms Alroe.

In its Making Reform Happen report, IA said that drivers should be directly charged for their road usage: “A reformed charging framework for roads would see all existing taxes and fees removed and replaced with direct charging that reflects each users own consumption of the network including the location, time and distance of travel.”

By 2047, road charging could cost motorists as much as $8.5bn and add $36.5bn to GDP. But all the money raised should be ring fenced for road projects, said IA.

Infrastructure Australia said the new tax method was needed because electric cars won’t pay fuel excise given they don’t use petrol.

Philip Davies, IA’s Chief Executive, said push-back from motorists was inevitable.

“It’s a hard conversation with the community (to have) but there will be a crisis down the track. Our income in terms of paying for road infrastructure is declining so we need a new model and now is a good time to start before the crisis comes.”

However, tolls aside, road charging has been only rolled out in a very few cities and the results have been mixed.

London is the most well-known example. There a daily congestion charge of A$20 is levied on every car that enters a 21km² zone in the CBD during the day on weekdays.

Introduced 15 years ago, it initially reduced traffic in Central London, reducing air pollution and making more room for cyclists and buses, as well as bringing in hundreds of millions of pounds in revenue for the city’s government. But some of the gains are now being eroded.


David Franks, the CEO of Australian-French transport company Keolis-Downer, was in London when the congestion charge was introduced.

“The plan was to take cars off the road, and it did that initially, but over the longer-term people have got used to it and have come back so vehicles are now at a level not much different to before the charge. What it did do is generate a lot of additional revenue,” he said.

Writing on The Conversation, Nicole Badstuber, a researcher in urban transport governance at University College London, said vehicle levels in London were around 25 per cent less than a decade ago.

“But while car numbers are down, the number of private for hire vehicles — your cabs and Ubers — is up,” she said.

“Trips by taxi and private for hire vehicle as the main mode of the journey have increased by 29.2 per cent since 2000. Today, more than 18,000 different private hire vehicles enter the congestion charging zone each day, with peaks on Friday and Saturday nights.”

These vehicles are exempt from the congestion charge so are contributing nothing to London’s transport budget, and revenue from the levy has flatlined.

The influx of Ubers has had other effects. Clogging up streets, they were slowing buses down which, in turn, had led to fewer passengers opting for public transport.

Asked at the conference if there was anywhere road charging had been proven to work, Liesbet Spanjaard, a partner at Deloitte, said “Not really (and) there haven’t been too many cities where it’s been in for a long time.”

Ms Spanjaard said Australia needed to have a clear idea what it wanted to achieve before introducing the charge.

“What are the key outcomes you’re trying to address through road charging? One is around revenue stream but others are emissions and safety (or) to change demand or change the profile of vehicle.”


Any future road charging plan in Australia could look to Stockholm, that has changed from a flat rate fee to progressive charges, she said.

It was an example also raised by Ms Badstuber: “Inspired by cities such as Stockholm, the (London citywide government) has recommended … replacing the daily flat rate with a charging structure which would reflect when and where drivers enter the zone and how much time they spend there.

“In Stockholm, the zone covers 35km², capturing two-thirds of the city’s residents in a scheme with varying charge levels depending on the time of the day.”

There was also a fairness issue with road charging. Right now, motorists can avoid tolls. In the future, a driver could be charged the second their tyre hit the tarmac. And those charges might be the same regardless of income level.

“The problem with the tolling system is that the last beneficiary, who has often had the most impact of congestion, has to pay — and that’s a fairness issue that we’re not willing to talk about,” Business Council of Australia head Jennifer Westacott said on Monday.

Whatever form it takes, road charging is on the agenda. Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, said: “We need to look at new way of doing things. We are looking at pricing at the moment”.


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

10 June, 2018

Julian Burnside QC shows the usual Leftist myopia to Australia's refugee problem

I am almost certainly wasting my time in putting up any reply to anything a Leftist says and Burnside's track record makes that particularly so in his case. But I have 15 minutes to spare so I will proceed:

Burnside criticizes the way Australia treats "boat people", people who thought that they could crash their way into Australian residence by exploiting the reluctance of Australians to treat anyone in poor circumstances harshly. And Labour party governments under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard did treat boat people considerately.

But that treatment simply meant more and more rickety boats ending up on Australian shores. And Australians didn't like that. Polls showed that a big majority wanted the flow to stop and even for existing arrivals to be sent back. Australia accepts vetted refugees and others in huge numbers every year at great stress to our infrastructure so it is hardly unreasonable to reject another big inflow of unvetted arrivals.

And Tony Abbott got a big electoral endorsement to stop the boats coming and proceeded to do so. But he achieved that in the only way that would work: By being tough on boat peole. He was assisted in that by a declaration from Leftist leader Kevin Rudd in the dying days of his regime that no boat people ever would be given Australian residence.

But what to do with the boat people already coming under Australian jurisdiction? To give them Australian residence or any comfortable life would simply restart the flow. So a residue of boat people is deliberately treated restrictively as a warning to others. It is that harshness which Burnside criticizes. And Burnside omits that Australia has an open offer to all of them to fly them back to their home country. Very few have taken that option. So they are in a limbo of their own making. They have food and accommodation at the Australian taxpayer's expense so it is not surprising that they do not want to go back

At this point Burnside will righteously explode that they risk their lives if they go back. They do not. They all had refuge the minute they crossed their country's borders -- mostly into Pakistan. And many are still in Pakistan. But a minority of rich ones decided that life in Pakistan was too harsh for them so boarded airliners to take them thousands of miles to places in Indonesia where they could hop onto the pity boats. They are simply economic migrants, not refugees. They could go back to Pakistan if they really wanted to but they prefer the "harsh" treatment that Australia offers.

So Burnside is just virtue signalling. He does not address the situation that the Australian government has been forced into.

The irony is that, being affluent citizens of their home countries, many of the boat people could probably have qualified in time to come to Australia as legitimate immigrants. They were just arrogant and impatient. We are better off without them

The top politicians in this country are guilty of major criminal offences, but they are unlikely ever to be tried for them, says lawyer Julian Burnside.

“I think it’s pretty clear that Australian prime ministers and immigration ministers are guilty of criminal offences against our own law,” says the Melbourne-based QC. “The problem is that no one can bring a prosecution for those offences without the approval of the Attorney General. Take a lucky guess what the Attorney General would say.”

In a new documentary, Australian human rights barrister Julian Burnside examines the harsh treatment of refugees around the world by western democracies.

The offences he has in mind involve the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers – deliberate and unnecessary cruelty that amounts, he argues in the documentary Border Politics, to torture.

Since 2002, Australia has been a signature member of the International Criminal Court, and as a result, he explains, “there is a series of offences [in Australian law] that mirror the offences over which the ICC has jurisdiction.”

It was compulsory for Australia to introduce those laws, and some were well overdue. “Until then, believe it or not, genocide was not an offence under Australian criminal law,” he says. “But it is now.”

In Border Politics, which is getting a limited release nationally, Burnside – who says he does not enjoy travel – roams the world to see how our treatment of asylum seekers stacks up. The short answer: terribly.

“The way we are seen overseas is really worrying,” he says. “It’s vaguely embarrassing to be in another country and disclose that you’re Australian. It’s like, I guess, being in another country and disclosing you’re American, because of Trump.”

He traces the root of this systematic abuse of people we are obliged take in (under a raft of international conventions but most crucially the UN Convention on Human Rights) to 9/11.

Genuine tragedy though it was, it has been ruthlessly exploited ever since by politicians on both sides of the divide to whip up anti-refugee hysteria, and to depict those seeking asylum as somehow inherently criminal.

Under the laws to which Australia is a signatory, they are not. But, arguably, our political leaders are.

But surely the politicians would say they are only reflecting the will of the people they serve?

“That’s right,” he says. “That’s the Jim Hacker approach to leading the country, when he said in Yes, Prime Minister, ‘I’m their leader, I must follow them’. And that is exactly what we’ve seen in recent years in Australia.

“Since the Tampa episode the Coalition has repeatedly called boat people ‘illegal’ even though they don’t commit an offence [in coming here as refugees by boat], and they call the exercise of pushing them away ‘border protection’. So I think the majority of the public think that we are being protected from criminals, which, if it was true, would make sense. But it’s false. The public has been persuaded to go along with dreadful mistreatment of people who are innocent and who are, almost all of them, genuine refugees.

“I think that’s terrible. Deceiving the country into doing very bad things to innocent people is something this country shouldn’t do. And it’s absolutely meaningless to try and find out what the public think about it because the ‘it’ is something about which they have been misled for so long.”

Border Politics debuted at last month's Human Rights and Arts Film Festival, where it preached to the converted. But, Burnside readily admits, the ideal audience as it plays more broadly is something else entirely.

“People who disagree with me,” he says. “I’ll be doing some Q&A sessions after screenings and I reckon people who disagree with me should come along and challenge my views. If they’re so confident that it’s right to mistreat innocent people, let them come along and explain why and challenge me.

“Unless you’re someone who thinks mistreatment of innocent people is OK, I think the case for proper treatment of boat people is overwhelmingly strong,” he adds. “And I’m perfectly happy to be challenged on that.”


Political correctness gone mad: Outrage as students are marked down for using 'mankind' and 'workmanship' in essays – and some universities have even banned the word 'she'

After being put under the spotlight, some university representatives are denying that this is their official policy. That may well be so but it is clearly an unofficial polcy and is no less authoritarian for that

Top universities across Australia have taken to slashing students grades for using banned 'gendered language'.

Terms such as 'man', 'she', 'wife', 'mother' and any other terminology that angers the PC brigade have been blacklisted.

Students claimed they have lost marks for referring to 'mankind' or 'workmanship' in assignments, as they are not deemed 'inclusive language.'

'People are losing marks for using everyday speech because it's not gender-neutral,' a politics student told The Courier Mail.

The student said the university can't just ban every word with 'man' in it, as more blacklisted words are uncovered, including 'sportsmanship' and man-made.'

The acting executive dean of The University of Queensland's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor Julie Duck, thinks the penalties are justified. 'Students are advised to avoid gender-biased language in the same way they are advised to avoid racist language, cliches, contractions, colloquialisms, and slang in their essays.'

She said these issues should only marginally impact marks, depending on the severity of the infringement.

Queensland University of Technology students are also being impacted by the university's political correct crusade. Students are being penalised for failing to use 'inclusive language', and warned against describing women in a secondary position to something or somebody else. This includes, but is not limited to 'wife of', 'mother of' or 'daughter of'.

The suffix 'man' is deemed sexist, due to the implication that the comment is referential of a male.

Griffith University tells staff and students to 'look for non-binary pronouns so that misgendering doesn't occur'.

Universities are going so far as to reject notions of correct grammar in favour of excluding gendered language.

The University of Sydney prefers students to create sentences that are grammatically incorrect but politically correct, rather than use the words 'he' or 'she'. The example their style guide provides to exemplify this is: 'If a student wants their results early, they should go to the student centre.'

The University of Newcastle is yet another institution joining the fold, with an inclusive language guide that bans gendered language, telling students to use words such as humanity, human race or humankind instead.  

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham openly disagrees with the policies, claiming that they were enforcing 'nanny state stuff' on students. 'Our universities should be better than this rubbish,' he said.


Bill Shorten hits out at ‘whitefellas’ as he promises summit on indigenous child removal

This is just the usual Leftist reality denial.  Many Aboriginal communities are so dyfunctional that the only way to keep the child safe is to remove it from the community entirely -- and that usually means putting them with white foster families

Bill Shorten says too many indigenous children are being taken away from their families, vowing to hold a summit to tackle the issue in his first 100 days as prime minister.

Visiting Barunga, east of Katherine, on a three-day trip to the Northern Territory, the Labor leader hit out at “whitefellas” who “come in paternalistic”, saying he wanted to hold a gathering of indigenous leaders, healthcare workers and families to tackle the problem.

“Too many indigenous kids are being taken away from their families. In the last 10 years the number has doubled to about 17,000 or 18,000,” Mr Shorten said. “When you take kids away from their connection to culture and country, to language and to family, you make the chances of their success steeper and steeper. The climb is steeper and steeper.

“So we need to bring together the frontline healthcare professionals, the people who are working in communities.

“That doesn’t mean that you ignore challenges or problems in keeping families together. Raising kids is hard enough anyone.

“It takes more than parents to do it these days, but it seems to me that we’ve got to be smarter than starting a new round of taking children away from their parents.

“Personally as a parent I would be horrified at the prospect that because … that I could have my kids taken away from me, yet for too many aboriginal mums that’s the very real prospect they wake up with even now, and we can do better. “That’s why we’re going to tackle it in our first 100 days.”

Sky News Northern Australia correspondent Matt Cunningham challenged Mr Shorten over the wisdom of opposing child removals, citing the horrific rape of a Tennant Creek toddler in February who had remained with her family despite 52 notifications to child protection services.

Mr Shorten said it wasn’t an “either/or” issue. “I did say that the solution doesn’t mean you ignore the problems,” he said.

“That of course is just shocking, what you described. There’s no excuse, and the fact that the system failed to pick up the problems is a disaster, but I’m also saying to you surely the solution isn’t just the wholesale moving of kids away from their extended families and the land on which they should have a connection with.

“Surely we are smarter than: either leave a kid in vulnerable and dangerous circumstances, or totally excise their relationships from region and country.

“The status quo is not acceptable as you quite rightly say, but the solution is too blunt as well, and in too many cases it creates further problems which you were trying to solve in the first place.”

Asked what his government would do to address the problem, Mr Shorten said he would get the “smartest people in the nation together” and get indigenous Australians in the room.

“The last thing they need is some know-it-all whitefella to come in paternalistic, as has been happening for 200 years, and say, ‘listen you’re just children and we’ll just fix it all for you’,” Mr Shorten said.

“Unless you have the people about whom you’re making the decisions in a position to be part of the decision-making, I guarantee you, failure.”


Leftist hate again: Outrage as the ABC compares two respected journalists to Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik

The accuser: Professor of Modern History, A. Dirk Moses.  To me he looks like something recently extruded from a farm animal's rear end.  Am I being extreme in saying that?  It's no more extreme than what he said.  It's about time Leftist haters got some of their own back

The ABC has been forced to back down after publishing an article which likened two journalists to Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik.

The 'Western Civilization and Conservative Hysteria' article which appeared on the public broadcaster's religion and ethics website on Thursday was critical of The Australian's Greg Sheridan and Chris Kenny.   

The contributor piece, written by University of Sydney Professor of Modern History A. Dirk Moses, named the two News Corp employees after the paper published articles criticising a proposed undergraduate program.  

Those articles concerned a decision between the Australian National University and the Ramsay Centre to call off talks about a Western civilisation degree. 

'Do members of the right-wing commentariat think that Western countries are succumbing to a poisonous cocktail of multiculturalism, Muslim immigration, political correctness and cultural Marxism that dilutes the white population and brainwashes young people at school and university? It seems that, much like ­Anders Breivik and Steve Bannon, they do,' Professor Moses had initially written, The Australian reported.

Professor Moses had taken particular issue with Mr Sheridan's 'extraordinary statement that the ANU's decision "is a pivotal moment in modern Australian history"?'

The article was later amended to remove Anders Breivik's name. The reference to Mr Bannon, the former strategist to US President Donald Trump, is still listed.

The ABC was forced to make the amendment after it found the article was not in line with its own editorial guidelines. 'The ­reference was removed because it was not consistent with the ABC's editorial standards,' an ABC spokeswoman said.

Mr Moses told The Australian he 'did not intend to imply anyone was a mass murderer'. 

Breivik murdered 77 people in Norway on July 22, 2011, first setting-off a car bomb outside the government headquarters in Oslo, before opening fire on an annual summer camp on the island of Utoya.


Energy policy as shameful as the Soviet’s

“I told myself it was beneath my dignity to arrest a man for pilfering firewood. But nothing ordered by the party is beneath the dignity of any man, and the party was right: One man desperate for a bit of fuel is pathetic. Five million people desperate for fuel will destroy a city.’’

Communist General Yevgraf Zhivago, Dr Zhivago, (film), 1965

One of my favourite movies of all time is the classic Dr Zhivago set against the backdrop of the turmoil of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia.

And I’ve always been haunted by the scene where Yuri – played by Omar Sharif – returns home from work early and admonishes his wife for not keeping the heating on. His wife then breaks down in tears telling Yuri they have no fuel to keep it alight.

Later that evening Yuri sneaks out into the night scavenging for wood to take home and burn to heat his home and keep his family warm. In the darkness of night, Yuri rips off a few wooden planks from a fence which he hides under his heavy overcoat, while his half-brother, Communist General Yevgraf Zhivago watches from the shadows.

However, not being able to heat one’s home in winter, and scavenging the streets looking for a few pieces of wood to burn for a little warmth is not something restricted to chaos and confusion of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia.

Here in modern-day Australia, one of most energy-rich nations in the world, last financial year a total of 109,000 households had their electricity disconnected, unable to afford their electricity bills inflated by over $3 billion in subsidies for Chinese made solar panels and wind turbines.

And add to those 109,000 homes where the electricity was cut-off, a further 100,000 plus more homes are on electricity hardship programs, plus the millions of Australians that this winter won’t turn their heaters on for fear of being unable to afford what is now almost the most expensive electricity in the world — and we to have many people scavenging the streets looking for pieces of wood to burn to try and keep their homes warm.

Recently, I’ve heard stories of people stealing wooden pallets from industrial areas to take home to burn for a little warmth. I also constantly hear stories people going in bushland to fill the boot of their car with firewood because they can’t afford electricity. And we’ve even had examples of people resorting to burning barbecue heat beads indoors to try and heat their homes – only to be poisoned by noxious gasses emitted.

But to the climate change zealots, having hundreds of thousands of their fellow Australians unable to heat their homes in winter is simply a necessary sacrifice in their virtue-signalling against “global warming’’.

As Yuri Zhivago says to Bolshevik commander upon finding an old Russian peasant suffering from starvation and lack of warmth; “It would give me satisfaction for to hear them admit 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

8 June, 2018

The hypocrisy and bigotry of the academic Left

"Academia’s deep ­antipathy towards its own civilisation”

A course in Western civilisation has proved too provocative for the Australian National University to take on, yet its Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies has been at the forefront of contentious discussions around Middle Eastern politics and society with minimal backlash from its ­academics.

The centre, which has benefited from sizeable donations from the United Arab Emirates and the governments of Iran and Turkey, frequently publishes ­articles supportive of a Palestine state and Iran, hosts lectures on “deconstructing the extremist narrative” and “Islamophobia in post-communist Europe”, and has featured guest speakers who are critical of US policy.

It has also spruiked the success of a delegation to Iran late last year — led by ANU chancellor Gareth Evans — as the “first round of the Australia-Iran dialogue” after a 10-year suspension.

ANU vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt has been forced to ­defend the centre in the wake of criticism of the university’s decision to withdraw from negoti­ations with the Sydney-based Ramsay Centre over a proposed degree in Western civilisation and scholarship program.

Professor Schmidt announced the decision last Friday, citing concerns for academic autonomy. However, it also followed threats of a backlash from the National Tertiary Education Union, which had claimed that the Ramsay Centre — chaired by former prime minister John Howard and with Liberal politician Tony Abbott on the board — sought to pursue a “narrow, radically conservative program to demonstrate and promulgate the alleged superiority of Western culture and civilisation”.

“Any association, real or perceived, with this divisive cultural and political agenda could potentially damage the intellectual reputation of the humanities at ANU and the ANU more broadly,” the union wrote in its letter to the vice-chancellor.

Politicians and conservative academics have since questioned how ANU had been able to successfully negotiate donations with foreign entities but had been unable to resolve any issues preventing the Ramsay Centre ­alliance from going ahead.

Mr Abbott this week pointed out the “hypocrisy” of the union opposing the course when the university had accepted funds from Dubai, Iran and Turkey in the past. A member of one of the donors, Dubai’s Al-Maktoum Foundation, is listed as a member of the centre’s advisory board.

Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly has also accused the university of double standards. “They are accepting money from Iran. That’s a despotic government … that does everything to suppress academic freedoms, the freedoms of women,” Mr Kelly told Sky News.

“When it comes to a course on Western civilisation, absolutely, any course of Western civilisation is going to be pro-Western civilisation, simply because of the facts, because Western civilisation is why we have the great society that we have today.”

Bella d’Abrera, the program ­director of Western civilisation at the Institute of Public Affairs, said she struggled to understand how a course that was “for” Western civil­isation should be viewed any more contentiously than that of the Arab studies centre’s promotion of Middle Eastern and Central Asian politics and culture and the role of Islam in the broader world.

She pointed to an upcoming symposium sponsored by the centre on “alternative traditions of law, norms and rules” that will seek to examine “new ways of seeing the relationship between ­interpretation, law and justice”.

“The fact that ANU is prepared to accept funds to promote the study of other civilisations but has rejected Ramsay Centre’s generosity reveals academia’s deep ­antipathy towards its own civilisation,” Dr d’Abrera said.

Arab studies centre director Amin Saikal did not return calls or emails yesterday. The highly distinguished academic has written extensively on Middle Eastern politics.

In an article last June published in the centre’s Bulletin, titled “Fifty Years of Israel’s occupation”, he wrote about Israel’s unwillingness to implement any deal that could require it to relinquish its occupation of the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.

He was critical of Benjamin Netanyahu and referred to Hamas, “which Israel, as well as many of its Western supporters, especially the US, have denounced as a ‘terrorist organisation’.”

An article by his deputy director, James Piscatori, also published in the Bulletin, critiques Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, which prompted Iran to issue a fatwa against the author, as ­“gratuitously offensive”.

“One wonders: would he have been able to achieve the same ­effect of questioning the ­sacred with less confrontational language?” Professor Piscatori writes.

“For when the intended audience finds the metaphors crudely constructed and the political instrument of language blunt, ­offence is bound to be taken.

“What may have been intended as literary licence, even a philosophical challenge, is destined to be greeted by those within the ­tradition as ‘literary terrorism’.”

Professor Schmidt has declined repeated interview requests, but in a letter on ANU’s website on Tuesday he said he was “disappointed” that the Arab studies centre had been singled out.


Australia remains preferred destination for millionaire migrants

About 10,000 mega rich make Australia home in 2017, lured by proximity to Asia and no inheritance taxes

Australia is the millionaires’ migration destination of choice for the third year running, according to a new report, with wealthy individuals lured by the country’s proximity to Asia, relative safety and no inheritance taxes.

About 10,000 high-net-worth individuals, with a personal wealth of US$1m or more, migrated to Australia in 2017 – mostly from China, India and the UK.

Melbourne and Sydney were among the top 10 cities around the world to have a net immigration of millionaires, as was Auckland in New Zealand. Sydney is one of the wealthiest cities worldwide.

It is part of a growing global movement of millionaires who, according to the 2018 Global Wealth Migration Review published by the AfrAsia Bank this month, are the canaries in the coalmine of economic collapse.

The number of millionaires swapping countries increased by 15% in 2017, to 95,000.

Countries that recorded a net deficit of millionaires – including the UK, which suffered a net loss of 4,000 millionaires in 2017 – should view it as a bad sign, according to the authors.

“If one looks at any major country collapse in history, it is normally preceded by a migration of wealthy people away from that country,” the report said.

Australia is a popular destination because it is safe, politically stable and, importantly, does not have any inheritance taxes. The proximity to Asia also makes Australia a good base for doing business in China and Japan.

It was ranked as the safest country in the world for women by the review in 2018 – a metric, the report says, historically has a 92% correlation to growth in wealth.

The report does note, in parentheses, that some of the super wealthy view Australia as “a nanny state with too many rules”.

It says arguments against immigration do not apply to the very rich, who are “unlikely to take low-paying jobs … unlikely to claim benefits ... [and likely to] send their children to private schools”.

The “only possible negative”, the report says, are increased property prices.

It commends Australian laws preventing foreign investors from buying second-hand homes as a safeguard against property price hikes, although house prices in Sydney and Melbourne nonetheless increased in 2017.

The report said the cost per square metre of property in Sydney rose by 19% in 2017 to US$25,000 ($32,600) per square metre, making it more expensive than traditional playgrounds for the mega rich like Lake Como in Italy. The Sydney housing market has cooled slightly in 2018.

Australia is ranked the ninth-wealthiest country in the world, with a private wealth of US$6.142tn, but is forecast to overtake Canada and France to be the seventh-wealthiest country by 2027.

It is the fifth-wealthiest country per capita, with an average personal wealth of US$279,200, overtaking the US, where the average wealth is US$193,400. Both figures are skewed by supremely wealthy individuals at the top of the scale, but the report says Australia is one of the “most equal” countries in the world, with 28% of the total personal wealth in the country held by individuals with a personal wealth of US$1m or more.

The ratio should be less than 30%, the report argues. Anything above 40% leaves “very little space for a meaningful middle class”.


Airbnb's head of policy says Sydney's new rules to deal with wild parties and other problems could be a model for cities around the world

Airbnb says tough new restrictions in Australia’s largest state on how properties are shared on its platform — including a maximum limit of 180 days of occupation — could be a model for the rest of the world, and even pave the way for a type of “tourist tax” that would spread the benefits of the sharing economy more evenly across the population.

The company says regulations proposed this week in New South Wales that will affect tens of thousands of properties listed on its platform in the Sydney area could be used in other markets, especially when it comes to the use of Airbnb-listed apartments as “party houses” that disrupt other tenants — a problem Airbnb is struggling with in cities worldwide.

Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s head of global policy, told Business Insider: “We have 500-plus partnerships that we have put in place with governments… and I look at this one as a potential model, or new paradigm, not just for Australia, but for potentially markets in Asia, and potentially markets beyond.”

The rules limit the amount of short-term stays in properties in the Greater Sydney area to 180 days a year, and allow governing bodies of apartment buildings — known in Australia as strata corporations — to ban short-term letting by a vote of 75% or more of the property owners in the development.

Hosts who breach a new code of conduct twice will be banned from letting their properties on platforms like Airbnb for five years.

Lehane, previously a special advisor to Bill Clinton and press secretary to Al Gore, said the new regulations were a “balancing of interests”.

“At a thematic level, and maybe as a function of taking this much time, they’ve [been able] to look at the data, consider who’s using these platforms in NSW, and ultimately design an approach that reflected both how people are actually using it, but also how they want to balance the different stakeholders here.

“I think this is a policy that looks to the future,” Lehane said.

“One thing I am particularly excited about… is the peace dealing with the ‘party house,’ or what I would call the bad actor. 0.005% of folks don’t conduct themselves appropriately on the platform,” he said.

That number is based on insurance claims made of $1,000 or more.

“The vast majority of people use the platform the right way,” he said.

“Our brand is impacted, our community is impacted, when someone doesn’t conduct themselves the right way. Even one thing impacts everyone’s reputation, and all these other hosts who do a great job.”

He said the reforms answered a problem the company has been facing in terms of addressing those “bad actors”.

“One of our challenges has always been that we need to work with these local places to be able to identify when that actually happens, and then be able to do something,” he said.

“That almost by definition requires the platform and the relevant government to work together on that.

“We don’t have the legal authority to know when someone may have violated the nuisance laws.

“We have the ability, once the government has identified that, to remove the people from the platform, so [the reforms] are something that we are really encouraged by.”

In Sydney, the typical host makes about $3,700 a year. While in NSW overall, that increases to about $5,400 a year.

“[The reforms] reflect a policy where the government was looking to optimise for those folks who are using there homes for extra money, making sure neighbourhoods are being protected, which we strongly support, and on the strata issue… if it’s for a commercial use then for other people get to say, that’s a fair and good balance.”

While South Australia and Tasmania have implemented their own rules over the last couple of years, the NSW rules are seen as the toughest in the country.

But Lehane thinks it simply reflects the NSW market.

“I tend not to use… tough versus not tough because I think everything ultimately is bespoke to the particular needs of a particular place,” he said.

“But.. is this going to allow our business to grow? Absolutely”.


New book by educator Kevin Donnelly launched

The book was Donnelly’s new work, "How Political Correctness is Destroying Australia, Enemies Within and Without".

Alan Jones, who might have been Donnelly’s twin were it not for the startling mauve sports coat he wore in a room heavily disposed towards blue suits, kicked off the proceedings with a rapid fire monologue.

As evidence of the deadening weight of political correctness Jones lamented that primary school children today know more about the “fictitious” welcome-to-country ceremony than they do about Burke and Wills; that they believe that climate change will soon see Bathurst on the coast, but can’t explain how Macquarie Street came to be named.

The left’s hijacking of Australian institutions and schools, and broad deference to multiculturalism and Islam are the key themes of Donnelly’s book, which boasts 62 chapters in just 204 pages.

Jones, who wrote the foreword, rattles through the chapter titles with significant enthusiasm, highlighting those that stand out to him.

“Foolish to deny what makes us powerful … Muslims must learn Western values …. Barnaby Joyce right that Australian values based on Judeo-Christian principles.”

Introducing Abbott, Jones suggests that had he remained in office these societal ills might not have come about. Abbott demurs, noting that one of Jones’s faults is his generosity to his friends.

In formally launching Donnelly’s book Abbott is as blunt and direct as he was as a candidate for PM.

In public life, he says, “the one absolute essential is to know your own mind … and you can never be cowed into silence by a fear of the outrage industry.”

Australia, he says, is imperfect but superior to most other nations and societies, but some Australians have become obsessed with its imperfections. A “suffocating politeness” has retarded public debate.

“So let’s be clear, a culture that doesn’t expect women to cover-up from head to toe is better than one that does, a conception of religion that doesn’t justify killing gay people is vastly preferable to one that that does, a country that bends over backwards to protect the rights of minorities is morally superior to one that doesn’t.”

This unabashed advocacy of Australian and Western cultural superiority, he says, is at the heart of Donnelly’s book.

By the time Donnelly himself takes the dais there seems little to add but emphasis, which Donnelly duly provides. The left has indeed taken over Australia’s institutions. “Universities are now dead and have been for years,” he asserts, excepting his own employer, the Australian Catholic University.

Taking questions, the three men concede that they might not yet have been silenced by the left, though Abbott notes reasonably enough that they have thicker skin than most


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, 2018

ANU ‘gutless’ to reject study of West, says uni boss Greg Craven

The Australian National University’s reluctance to host a ­pro­posed Western civilisation course is “the greatest act of gutlessness since Trevor Chappell bowled under­arm to New Zealand”, says Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor Greg Craven.

“This whole exercise is not a protection of academic freedom,” Professor Craven added, referring to ANU’s rejection last week of the Western civilisation program proposed by the Ramsay Centre, chaired by former prime minister John Howard.

“It’s one of the greatest failures of academic freedom in Australian university history … What’s happening here is not an attempt to protect a diverse range of studies and views around civilisation, but to make sure one particular view, as far as possible, is kept ruthlessly out of the university.”

The ANU was in negotiation with the centre until last week when discussions regarding academic freedoms broke down.

Yesterday, federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham let fly at unions and activist students for using “fear and negativity” to shut down debate on the plan, saying he hoped another university would take up the offer. “I hope they (the universities) stare down the fear and negativity that the likes of the (National Tertiary Education Union) or various student unions engage in from time to time and recognise that academic freedom and free academic inquiry should extend across all disciplines,” he said.

It has emerged the Ramsay Centre approached other universities about the Western civilisation program, but none agreed to take it on. “Melbourne is one among many Australian universities approached by the Ramsey Centre,” said University of Melbourne acting vice-chancellor Mark Considine. He said it appre­ciated the opportunity but had not submitted an expression of interest.

The University of Sydney confirmed an approach by the Ramsay Centre. “However, the University of Sydney needs to make its own assessment of the opportunities and risks independent of the current noise,” it said.

Macquarie University said it met the Ramsay Centre last year “for initial talks on potential collaborations”. None was pursued.

Professor Craven declined to say whether the Ramsay Centre had approached the ACU: “Of course we’d look at a program like Ramsay, and I would have a lot more confidence in the ­robustness of our own academic processes than ANU apparently has in theirs.”

He said the ANU’s rejection of the Ramsay proposal should not be seen as a protection of university processes and independence.

“It is a complete misconception that universities do not continually have discussions with partners outside the university about everything from research to teaching to courses, for the purpose of designing something that meets needs and intellectual imperatives,” he said.

“I hate to break the news to people, but take for example linkage research projects with industry … Does anyone seriously believe that the two partners do not discuss what the research looks like and what its outcomes are going to be and where it’s going to go, so that it is literally acceptable and beneficial?

“I think what’s happened is a group of people wish to preclude particular academic perspectives and have tried to do so under the false flag of academic freedom and due academic process.”

Professor Craven said it was “astonishing” that while a centre for Western civilisation had been deemed inconsistent with academic freedom, six universities host Confucius centres, which some observers say are under Chinese government control and used to disseminate pro-China propaganda .

“I think this is really a bit of a defining moment for Australian universities,” he said.

Ramsay Centre director professor Simon Haines condemned the tenor of the debate. “Some of the recent media comment, from both ends of the political spectrum, has been deplorable,” he said, labelling the treatment of some academics “unacceptable”.


The surge in LNG exports helping to boost Australian GDP

Australia’s latest GDP report will be released today, and it’s expected to be pretty good.

Year-ended growth is expected to lift to the high 2% region, maybe more. Macquarie Bank estimates as much as 0.4ppts of this growth is entirely due to stronger LNG exports.

A quarterly increase of around 0.9% is expected, leaving growth over the past year at 2.8%, maybe more.

While much of the year-on-year increase will reflect growth in household spending, the largest part of the economy at around 60%, there’s been another tailwind for the economy that has helped to boost growth.

Already one of the largest LNG exporters globally, Australia could become the largest in the not too distant future. It’s set to surpass Qatar for that title next year, according to Australia’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Depending on price movements, it could soon displace metallurgical coal as Australia’s second-largest export by dollar value behind iron ore.

As LNG exports ramp up as facilities are completed, this looks set to add further to year-ended GDP in the period ahead, partially explaining why the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is forecasting that Australian economic growth will sit above 3% per annum over the next couple of years.

Japan is the largest end destination for Australian LNG exports, followed by China.


Meshel Laurie is seriously annoyed by the fact her son was bullied over a single choc-chip cookie

MESHEL LAURIE has written about her son being bullied over a single choc chip cookie in his school lunch box.

The Melbourne-based media personality took to Twitter to express her dismay over her eight-year-old son Louie’s experience:

“I wish that “bully” could go back in time to my primary school in Toowoomba in the early ’80s for just one little lunch,” she continued on Twitter.

“Cookies were biscuits, shoes were optional, and bullies were not known for their health food programs.”

The issue obviously deeply angered Laurie, 42.

“I really, really want to advise my son to tell that kid to f**k off. Just nice and simple. Right in his smug little face. Old school” she continues.

“Ugh. I know I can’t though. That kid is hiding behind the niceness of the school. It’s hard being a bogan parent sometimes.”

A number of Twitter users sympathised with Laurie.

“Oh, [school has definitely changed],” wrote Twitter user @tracywodonga.

“My children think cigarettes are akin to heroin. I used to use cigarettes to barter for Mars Bars in year 8!”


Inclusive of anything other than ourselves at universities

The vice-chancellor called the meeting to order.

“In deference to Ramadan,” she started, “there are no pastries, juice or coffee. Also, I acknowledge we meet on indigenous land. We respect elders past and present and their spiritual connection with the land. Out of respect for Mother Earth and the spirit of Gaia we are carbon-neutral today with no ­artificial light. Please ensure your computers and phones are switched off. Let’s proceed.”

“Perhaps we should also start with a prayer,” suggested Simon, the science department head. Heads swivelled in his direction. He smirked.

“Oh, for a moment I thought you were serious,” gasped the vice-chancellor. “Now, the first item is the proposal from the Thatcher Centre for Western Civilisation to establish a unit here.”

“I’ve been looking forward to this discussion,” enthused Helen from sociology. “Me too,” said Simon.

“Sorry, Simon, the #metoo public awareness campaign is next on the agenda. Let’s stick with Western civilisation for now.”

“I know, I was just agreeing with Helen,” winced Simon.

“Now, there is a case to be made that we don’t even need to consider this unit because we have space issues. The new building is almost full; we’ve got the ­Indigenous Culture Pavilion,­ ­Sharia Legal Studies Centre and the Institute for Environmentally Effective Energy Economics,” explained the vice-chancellor. “But the architect has a revised plan to cut back on the suite of safe spaces to make some room.”

“Hang on, that is supposed to be for the Feminist Democracy Unit,” interjected Rhiannon from women’s studies. “As soon as the university senate votes, it is ready to roll.”

The vice-chancellor consulted her assistant. “Apparently we are waiting for a ruling on whether all senate fellows get a vote or only the females.”

“Actually, just to clarify, vice-chancellor,” interrupted Damien from admin, “the proposal is not a female-only vote but, more specifically, to allow senate fellows of all gender groups to vote with the sole exception of cis-­gendered males.”

“OK,” she nodded. “But presuming it goes ahead, it still means we would have no room for a Western civilisation unit so this debate is redundant.”

“Er, sorry to break in,” said Regina, the professor of philosophy they tried to forcibly retire from the executive but who had successfully protested to the commissioner for the ageing.

“The rules for assessment clearly state we must consider the intellectual merits of the proposal, leaving ­accommodation for the management subcommittee.”

They reluctantly accepted Regina’s point and Helen started the debate. “What is the case for this centre? Look at the diversity on campus; we can see the growing influence of Asian, European, Arabic and Jewish cultures. What would some centre for Western civilisation add to any of this?”

The vice-chancellor knew the room but went through the motions. “The way the Thatcher people tell it, Western civilisation has been crucial for democracy and education. They say this university, in a way, represents the epitome of Western civilisation.”

“How bloody paternalistic,” snapped Helen. “This is cultural imperialism — these old, white, xenophobic dinosaurs are trying to claim credit for our diverse, tolerant and multicultural institution. Besides, if we really are the pinnacle of Western civilisation already, why on earth do we need their unit?”

“Spot on,” cheered David from psychology. “Man, that was great,” chimed in Simon. “Er, I mean, woman that was great. Oh you know what I mean, jeez, well said Helen.”

Regina cleared her throat. David, Simon and Helen groaned.

“The point about history,” the philosophy professor philosophised, “is that if you know what has transpired, you have a better appreciation of your achievements and you might avoid some of the pitfalls of the past.

“I don’t want to get into a nasty argument,” continued Regina, “but there is a case that without the wisdom and experience of Western civilisation we couldn’t even countenance a sharia law centre, a gallery dedicated to indigenous culture or even funding for universities to teach a diverse range of subjects.”

The vice-chancellor sensed rising tensions and intervened. “Look, it might be best if I just read from their submission,” she said. “Then we will know the Thatcher centre’s case and we can make up our minds.” She pulled out a document. “Western civilisation represents the pinnacle of human achievement thus far. It has led to the triumph of individual freedom and liberty, and has allowed free religious expression, while also ensuring we value reason and scientific fact over superstition and faith,” she read.

“It has delivered the separation of church and state, evolution of democracy, rise of free markets and unions, and fostered technological advancement unimagined in the past and unrivalled by other civilisations.”

“The arrogance,” scoffed Simon. “This mob has got a blatant superiority complex.”

“They probably start their meetings with the national anthem,” quipped David. They all laughed. Except Regina. “Read on, vice-chancellor, this is valuable,” she said.

“The planet now supports more than seven billion people yet fewer live in absolute poverty than ever before and living standards, literacy, healthcare, nutrition and life expectancy have risen to unprecedented levels. Western nations are rich beyond compare and their aid and investment help hundreds of millions in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America rise out of poverty.

“Western civilisation has launched rockets, taken men and women into space and to the moon and back; the Voyager 1 spacecraft now is more than 21 billion kilometres and 40 years into its space probe, still transmitting data back to Earth.”

The vice-chancellor’s eyebrow was cocked as she read on.

“They also say that art, literature and music of beauty and sophistication have emerged through Western civilisation engaging and interacting with cultures around the world. And that the pace of scientific, cultural and economic development promises infinite achievement and advancement in the future.

“They claim Western civilisation’s societies have generated this bounty while reaching out to those left behind. They say we must nurture Western civilisation to improve our prospects.”

There was a crash at the door and they turned to see Samantha elbow her way in with a pile of papers under one arm.

“Sorry I’m late,” she huffed. “Just been down at the Adani protest. Can you believe the pro-Palestine mob saw the TV cameras and came down chanting about Netanyahu and war crimes — who the hell do they think they are, invading our protest? Anyway, I haven’t missed the Western imperialist thing, have I?”

“Civilisation, Samantha, civilisation; and no, you haven’t missed it,” said the vice-chancellor.

“Good,” Samantha thumped her papers on to the table. “I vehemently oppose this chauvinistic proposal. Just look at what Western civilisation has done to us. We’ve got a global patriarchy; white men in suits hold all the power. Indigenous cultures have been swamped, wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, we generate so much energy we never stop inventing new machines to use it all, we’re cooking the planet, Donald Trump is grabbing pussies and firing rockets, McDonald’s is making people fat, Starbucks are flat-white ­supremacists and we invite Islamist terrorists to kill us by trying to export democracy and consumerism. Why host a centre that celebrates this story of exploitation and shame?”

Spontaneous applause broke out. “Sing it, sister,” Simon shouted. “Me too,” beamed Rhiannon.

Regina sighed and headed for the door. “Why bother?” she muttered in resignation.

“What was that?” queried the vice-chancellor. “You were the only one enthusiastic about this deal, Regina. Do you now agree to reject it?”

“That’s right, vice-chancellor,” said Regina. “Why bother? It seems Western civilisation might be doomed anyway.”

(The characters and institutions in this piece are fictitious)


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, 2018

Shame on Mission Australia

Bettina Arndt comments below on feminist bias.  She leaves out an important consideration, though: She does not confront who Mission Australia are.  They are an amalgam of a number of Christian charities.  As such we are then entitled to ask whom they serve these days?  If it is a gospel of Feminism, are they serving the Devil's gospel? Christ pointed out how deceptive the Devil can be so might not Mission Australia have become deluded by the Devil?  Or has Christ become to them just some old-fashioned fuddy-duddy who obstructs their virtue signalling?

Christ's gospel on the matter is clear.  He left no room for differential treatment of persons. "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." 

Equal treatment in fact goes right back to Mosaic law: "do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit."  In other words favouritism is wrong even if for kindly motives.  Mission Australia should stop to consider prayerfully the commands of their Lord.  If they are above that they are apostles of the Devil.

We were really excited to see people finally standing up against organisations pandering to the feminists. Recently Australia spoke out against Lifeline’s decision to include the anti-male feminist crusader Clementine Ford in a domestic violence forum. Nearly 15,000 signed a protest petition and the event was cancelled.

That’s inspired me to take on Mission Australia for their ghastly new homeless campaign which features a frightened woman and her child escaping a violent man. Mission Australia knows all too well that domestic violence involves violent women as well as men – as acknowledged on their website.

Last week Ross Cameron, one of the popular co-hosts of Sky News’ The Outsiders programme suggested that the Mission Australia campaign is motivated by a desire to benefit from “the tsunamis of cash heading their way from the Commonwealth government” – that’s the money paid out to organisations choosing to virtue-signal by conforming to the feminist script pretending that only men perpetrate domestic violence.

As Ross Cameron pointed out, there’s no evidence that any of this money actually reduces domestic violence. He urged Australia not to support this misguided campaign: “I say, if you’ve got a spare $10 in your pocket don’t waste it on Mission Australia.”

I’m now launching a petition asking Mission Australia to cancel this anti-male campaign and tell the truth about family violence. Here’s my new video, telling you all about it:

And here’s the actual petition:

I’ve summarised evidence showing that that children in violent families are just as likely to be cowering from their mothers as their fathers – see the petition for the links.  Most family violence is two-way violence, involving women as well as men.

Help our campaign by signing our petition censoring Mission Australia for failing to protect children by denying the truth of what is happening in violent homes.

Here’s a link to my Facebook page where we have just posted all this information. You might find this easier to circulate:

Please help circulate the video and the petition. We need big numbers to come on board to show most people are fed up with this type of anti-male campaign. I hope you will really make an effort with this one. We need to capitalise on the success of the Clementine Ford petition!

Write protest letters

It’s also important to tell the people who run Mission Australia that we object to this blatant manipulation of an important social issue. Please write to MA Board members and executives voicing your objections – see email addresses below. The petition provides many of the key arguments, with evidence as to how they are misrepresenting domestic violence research.


James Toomey;

Mark Newton;

Sally Ascroft;

Chris Bratchford;

David Pigott;

Iain Keddie ;

Marion Bennett;

Paul Molyneux;

Ben Carblis;


Kenneth Dean;

Grant Dempsey;

Jennifer Lambert;

Ian Hammond;

Simon Miller;

Hon Dean Brown;

Evelyn Horton     Attn: E Horton;

Debra Stirling;

These large organisations receiving substantial government funding need to be told that ordinary Australians have had enough of blatant pandering to the feminist vote, at the expense of tackling the real issues.

Via email from Tina

A conservative hounded out of the public service

But Leftists are ubiquitous

John Lloyd, the public service commissioner, has announced his resignation just days after a Senate estimates grilling that questioned his independence.

Lloyd told the governor general of his intention to stand down on Monday. His final day in the job will be 8 August.

The Labor party had questioned whether Lloyd, a longtime member and former director of the Institute of Public Affairs before his appointment by the Abbott government in 2014, could be independent in his role as head of the agency charged with ensuring the public service works properly.

The IPA is a longstanding critic of the public service and has called for thousands of jobs to be cut.

As one of Australia’s most senior public servants, Lloyd came under scrutiny over his contact with the IPA, including an email in which he attached the public service enterprise agreements, which he described as “generous” .

That email was the subject of estimates hearings in October. Lloyd later wrote to the head of the IPA, John Roskam, about that hearing, which he referred to as “more publicity for the IPA including page 1 of the Canberra Times thanks to ALP questioning”.

Labor senator Penny Wong accused Lloyd of acting in a biased manner.

“I think you are unfit to hold this office because you are partisan,” she told him during last month’s hearing.

“I reject that,” Lloyd responded.

Lloyd spent almost two hours of last month’s hearing refusing to answer whether he was under investigation for his contact with the IPA, at one stage attempting to see if he could claim public interest immunity over the queries.

He later took the question on notice and said he was not the subject of any current inquiries.

The department of the prime minister and cabinet had rejected freedom-of-information requests asking for emails between Lloyd and the IPA, on the grounds that releasing the emails “could reasonably be expected to prejudice the conduct of an investigation of a breach, or possible breach, of the law”.

The ABC reported the prime minister’s department referred allegations Lloyd had breached the public service code of conduct to the merit protection commissioner for consideration.

A delay in the appointment of a permanent merit protection commissioner reportedly delayed a decision over whether an investigation was necessary.



Petrol station chain condemned after banning reusable coffee cups over food safety concerns

ADELAIDE petrol station chain On the Run has come under fire on World Environment Day for banning environmentally friendly reusable coffee cups due to the “food safety risk”.

In an internal memo, On the Run told staff that if a customer brought a reusable cup they should “politely explain that we are required to use our disposable cups and disposable packaging for food safety reasons”.

“We cannot control contaminants (bacteria, mould, viruses, foreign objects, etc.) which might be present,” the memo said. “Foreign containers present a high risk of cross-contamination when they come into contact with food preparation areas and equipment.”

Environmental campaigner Jon Dee from the DoSomething Foundation said the Adelaide service station, which has more than 100 locations, was the first chain in the country to ban environmentally friendly coffee cups.

“Australians use an estimated 1.2 billion disposable coffee cups every year,” he said. “Most of those end up as litter or landfill. Reducing that problem is the key reason why On the Run should reverse their ban on refillable cups.”

He said the move was “surprising” as many service stations and cafes were moving away from disposable coffee cups. “They’re going strongly against the tide of what the rest of the industry is doing,” he said.

Many cafes now offer discounts of up to 50 cents to customers who bring their own cup, and Mr Dee said one coffee chain had reduced its use of disposable cups by 46 per cent as a result.

“SA Health has confirmed that it has no policy or regulation that impacts on reusable cups,” he said. “Plus there are no health authorities anywhere in Australia that have a policy or regulation that tells companies not to use reusable cups. OTR’s claim that they are doing this for food safety reasons does not stack up.”

Mr Dee said what made the decision “even more bizarre” was that OTR had been selling reusable cups until recently. “The question has to be asked whether the people who bought those refillable cups will be getting a refund from OTR,” he said.

“South Australia is the state that’s known for doing the right thing by the environment. With this ban, OTR are not just doing the wrong thing by the environment. They’re doing the wrong thing by South Australia as well.”

A spokesman for OTR said the company had been researched reusable cups “for many years”. “We’ve had entire projects searching for the best reusable coffee flasks, and have sold them in store,” he said. “As we — along with many of our customers — have become aware of the problem of disposable coffee cups on the environment.

“We care about this problem, so it was not easy to decide that our food-grade (but disposable) coffee cups were the only ones we feel sure about serving our coffee and tea in.

“We have had many incidents of customers bringing in dirty, unhygienic, contaminated cups, more recently we had an incident where a customer brought a cup in that was contaminated with a heavy metal.

“We realised that there are other more common potential health risks in us serving coffee into cups that we can’t guarantee are clean and ready to use.

“Some people are particularly sensitive to this kind of risk, and they are our customers too. It is difficult for us to accommodate washing cups. There are bound to be solutions to this, but for now we have decided to serve coffee in our cups only.

“It’s heartening that so many people feel strongly about this. We will continue investigating better solutions to a sustainable, high-quality offer.”


If all plastic were banned from supermarket offerings, food waste would skyrocket

IT SOUNDS great in theory, but getting rid of plastic bags comes with a “trade-off” — and Woolworths’ boss says he didn’t realise “what a headache” it would be

SHOPPERS must be willing to sacrifice convenience for the environment in giving up harmful single-use plastic items such as plastic bags, but they should also be careful not to “demonise” plastic.

That was the message delivered by industry leaders and experts during sustainability event at the Woolworths Bella Vista headquarters on Monday, which came as the supermarket giant announced it would phase out the sale of plastic straws by the end of the year.

Woolworths group chief executive Brad Banducci said the four main issues customers cared about were food waste, reducing plastic, a sustainable supply chain and energy efficiency.

“Very important for us is the journey of taking plastic out of fruit and veg,” he said. “We know our customers don’t like it; we do however know that there’s a complex trade-off between keeping the product fresh and [reducing] plastic.

“If we end up throwing things away because we’ve taken plastic out, that is a very false economy given only 10 per cent of the energy to grow a fruit and veg product on average is plastic.

“It’s quite a complex balance but we are working on it, and we have taken plastic out of a number of products already. We’re working through it product by product.”

With supermarkets around the country preparing to phase out single-use plastic bags later this month, Mr Banducci said he didn’t know if he “would have been quite as brave” in making the decision last July had he known “what a headache” it was to take 3.4 billion plastic bags out of the business.

“One of the things that actually upset me a little bit at the time was there was sort of an innuendo that we will profiteer, because we will be charging for a 15c or 99c bag,” he said.

“Actually [with] the incremental amount of time in store to actually service the customer, certainly it is not a profit driver and we never did it as a profit driver. We did it to do the right thing.”

Harris Farm Markets CEO Angus Harris said now that most states and major retailers had banned plastic bags, it was time for the federal government to follow up with legislation.

“We went to paper bags, our consumers all really got behind it — sorry, most of our consumers got behind it,” he said.

“A lot of people now take boxes rather than bags. We’ve gone from using two-and-a-half plastic bags per customer to half a paper bag per customer.

“I still think paper bags is a bad idea. It’s one of those things you just don’t need. You can bring your own recycled bags. Consumers, they’re funny — they like convenience and we’re trying to tell them you’ve got to do something that’s less convenient.”

Peter Skelton from not-for-profit sustainability organisation Wrap UK said there was a complex dynamic between food waste and packaging.

In the UK, 50 per cent more food waste is thrown away than packaging, but 67 per cent of packaging is recycled or recovered, compared with less than 20 per cent of food waste.

“The environmental impact of food waste is far, far higher than the average carbon impact of a tonne of packaging,” Mr Skelton said.

“We need to get the balance right. We need less plastic. We need to make sure the plastic doesn’t go into the oceans, but actually what we mustn’t do is cause more food waste by the unintended consequences of maybe a knee-jerk reaction on plastic.”

Mr Skelton said the UK Plastics Pact, a pledge last month by businesses to ban single-use plastics, was “about saying, we need to tackle plastic but in a way that we don’t demonise it”.

“We need to prevent those unnecessary single-use items such as straws,” he said. “What are those items we actually don’t need? Let’s get rid of them, let’s find those alternatives.

“We want a world where plastic is valued, but doesn’t pollute the environment. Valued from a consumer’s point of view so they see why we use plastics, valued from an economic point of view so they’re seen as a resource, not just as a waste.”

Mr Skelton said for every two tonnes of food consumed, another tonne of food was wasted. In the UK, 53 per cent of all food waste occurs in households, compared with 19 per cent in the supply chain and 17 per cent in-store.

“This is actually more complex than the packaging challenge because the packaging issue is less about the consumer,” he said. “It’s down to millions and millions of small actions — planning your shopping trip, knowing how to store food properly.”

To that end, Woolworths has done a bit of in-house recycling of its own, repurposing Jamie Oliver — whose Created with Jamie range has shown signs of struggling — to be its food waste ambassador, offering tips on cooking up leftovers.

“We’re working a lot with our marketing team on food savers, teaching customers how to use leftovers,” Mr Banducci said. “In fact, you’ll see the repositioning we’ve done with Jamie Oliver on the topic of leftovers and it really does resonate with our customers.”

Meanwhile, billionaire Anthony Pratt, executive chairman of cardboard box giant Visy, said China’s so-called “Green Sword” ban on foreign waste could actually benefit Australia in the long run.

“We recently made a $2 billion pledge to invest in recycling infrastructure in Australia,” he said. “The China situation, whilst it’s very surprising and sudden, the short-term pain is probably a blessing in disguise. It will force people to use more of the recycled materials here. It’s not really recycling until you turn it back into something.”

Mr Pratt also called for landfill fees to increase. “The NSW government receives $700 million a year from landfill fees and they only spend about $200 million of it back into recycling infrastructure,” he said.


NSW hate speech laws to be toughened to stop violent threats online or in the street

Threats or advocacy of violence are normally acknowledged as outside free speech protections

After years of widespread community campaigning, the New South Wales Government will move to strengthen the state's "ineffective" hate speech laws.

Under the proposed legislation introduced to Parliament today, individuals who incite violence against a community or person based on their race could face up to three years in prison and an $11,000 fine.

The bill, if passed, will create a new offence in the Crimes Act of "publicly threatening or inciting violence" on the grounds of race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex or HIV/AIDS status.

Attorney-General Mark Speakman said current provisions in the Anti-Discrimination Act have been ineffective in prosecuting people accused of encouraging violence and have not led to a successful prosecution in 30 years.  "We are very serious with these laws and we will throw the book at anyone who breaches them," he said.

Mr Speakman said there had been a reluctance to use the existing laws because of "procedural hurdles" and the "convoluted wording" of the legislation.

He said the new laws would apply to speech on social media and "anything that is available to the public whether it is transmitted electronically or physically in the street".

"Free speech does not include the right to incite or threaten violence based on peoples' characteristics," he said.

"This has nothing to do with saying things that are controversial, with robust debate, with intense criticism of other groups, this is about stopping violence.

The legislation will abolish offences in the Anti-Discrimination Act that currently carry a maximum sentence of six months in jail.
'It makes us all a whole lot safer'

Opposition Leader Luke Foley, who introduced a similar bill to Parliament earlier this year, welcomed the announcement.  "For too long some in the Liberal Party have confused freedom of speech with race hate," he said.

"Tough new laws will send a signal to the likes to the extremist fringe that their brand of racism is no longer tolerated under the law."


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, 2018

Labor party grassroots want to bring back the refugee boats

It could stymie Shorten.  It's a minority view in Australia

Labor is facing a grassroots revolt over refugee policy, with city and country branches calling for sweeping changes to the largely ­bipartisan border protection and offshore processing regime ahead of the NSW Labor annual conference.

The Australian has obtained more than a dozen motions submitted by Labor Party branches to the annual conference on June 30 and July 1 at the Sydney Town Hall. Not one motion supports the party’s current policy in full.

The motions show the party leadership is out of step with the views of members, who want a clear statement of support for the principles advocated by the Labor for Refugees internal lobby group and the restoration of “a fair and humane policy on refugees and people seeking asylum”.

These motions show the party’s rank and file are uncomfortable with the suite of tough policies that provide for offshore detention and processing of refugees, and boat turnbacks that are designed to deny landfall to refugees seeking asylum as a deterrent to taking the hazardous journey in the first place.

There is also concern over the “demonisation” of refugees by the government and their treatment in detention. Labor branches want a future Labor government to redouble efforts to establish a more effective regional framework for dealing with asylum seekers in partnership with the UN.

A policy document prepared by Labor for Refugees has the support of many party branches.

It calls for, among other things, a royal commission into “the abuses of men, women and children” in detention; the right for protection claims to be assessed in Australia and the abandonment of offshore detention; and a clear 12-month timetable for determining claims for protection with judicial appeal rights under Australian law.

While motions support “maintaining essential maritime activity to prevent people-smuggling”, party members want Labor to commit to “immediately” closing “all offshore detention facilities” and relocating all remaining refugees to Australia, New Zealand or the US.

One party branch calls for a future Labor government “to revisit its policy of never allowing asylum seekers arriving by boat to settle in Australia” because they argue it breaches international human-rights obligations and causes unremitting “suffering and misery”.

Labor branches believe there is evidence of widespread “medical negligence” in the Nauru and Manus Island centres and want a future Labor government to review the provision of medical care to refugees and a new contract awarded for such services.

The party’s social-justice and legal-affairs policy committee has not recommended a detailed position on the party’s asylum-seeker policy ahead of the state conference later this month, but has supported several motions “in principle”.

Labor is keen to avoid a public showdown on refugees at the state conference — where the right faction will have a large majority of delegates — wanting to leave it to be determined by the rescheduled national conference on December 16-18 at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

However, The Australian has been told Labor for Refugees will liaise with faction leaders about presenting an “urgency motion” to the state conference that will seek to shift the party’s policy towards a more “humane” stance.

It is seen as an important signal ahead of the national conference.


Sexual deviants have poor health

And it's worse in areas where they are disliked

Research in Australia and internationally has documented poor health and wellbeing among LGBTQI people compared to heterosexual people. What’s less understood are the reasons why.

A dominant theory, the minority stress model, suggests that the discrimination and stigmatisation experienced by LGBTQI people in their everyday lives are to blame.

Our study is partially based on the results of the 2017 same-sex marriage postal survey, made publicly available by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

We examined the health and wellbeing of the people who responded to the survey using three standard measures:

a general health scale,

a mental health scale, and

an indicator of life satisfaction.

For comparability, we scored all of these measures on a range from 0 (worst health or wellbeing) to 100 (best health or wellbeing).

Consistent with previous research, LGB people in our study reported worse overall health, mental health and life satisfaction than straight people.

The key question is: to what extent do these health and wellbeing scores vary according to where people live and the levels of stigmatisation in their communities? To answer this, we factored in our proxy measure of stigma – the percentage of “no” voters in each electorate in the same-sex marriage postal survey.

Our findings portrayed a strong link between the two. LGB people living in electorates with smaller shares of “no” voters reported significantly better general health, mental health and life satisfaction than LGB people living in electorates with larger shares of “no” voters.


Around half of Australia's working-age Muslims are not in the workforce

Immigrants can be a good thing economically -- but not this lot

Fact Check analysed data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which economics professor John Quiggin, of the University of Queensland, then verified.

The analysis showed 43 per cent of working-age Muslims were not in the labour force. It also revealed that the high Muslim non-participation rate — which compares to a national working-age non-participation rate of 24 per cent — is almost entirely due to the large number of Muslim women who are not working.

Getting the definitions straight

The ABS defines the labour force as the sum total of people aged 15 and over who are employed either full-time or part-time, as well as unemployed people who are actively looking for work.

People not in the labour force are considered to be those aged 15 and over and who undertake unpaid household duties or other voluntary work only, as well as people who are retired, those permanently unable to work and those who do not want to work.

It's worth noting that the ABS labour force definition comprises people aged 15 and over (that is, with no upper age limit). But it defines the working-age population as only those people between the ages of 15 and 64.

Mr Ergas argued that Middle Eastern Muslim refugees found it difficult to integrate harmoniously into Australia's economy and society because they brought with them religious hatreds.
In this context, he stated that "56 per cent of Australia's working-age Muslims [are] either unemployed or not in the labour force".

In doing so, he refers to two groups of Muslims: those who are unemployed (that is, in the labour force but seeking work) and those who are not in the labour force (that is, not in paid work and not seeking work).

Crunching the numbers

At the time of the last census, the population of Australia was 23.4 million, including more than 604,000 Muslims (2.6 per cent of the total).

There were 12.7 million Australians in the labour force, representing a participation rate of 65 per cent (that is, the percentage of all Australians 15 and over who were either in work or actively looking for work).

However, when focusing on the ABS's more narrowly-defined 'working age' population (that is, people aged 15-64), the participation rate for the general population is considerably higher — 76 per cent.

Fact Check used data collected in the 2016 census to calculate the workforce status of Muslims compared to the rest of the population.

The data indicated that working-age Muslims, compared to people claiming other religious affiliations, had the lowest workforce participation rate at 57 per cent, followed by Buddhists (70 per cent).


'Egregious' $18,000 Sydney surgeon bill

A Sydney surgeon charging $18,000 for prostate cancer surgery has name-dropped the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and a peak specialist body to justify the eye-watering fee.

The five-figure sum bold-typed and highlighted on the paperwork handed to a prostate cancer patient typifies the damning practice of exorbitant specialist fees and the fraught process of informed financial consent for patients with life-threatening conditions.

The $18,000 quote for robotic radical prostatectomy was given to the 64-year-old patient in the private rooms of a Sydney urological surgeon in July 2017.

“approx [sic] $16,000 out of pocket” was scrawled alongside the figure in pen by the surgeon’s administration staff, the patient said.

The sum did not cover the assistant surgeon fees, the anaesthetist, the operating theatre, hospital stay or pathology tests. The total out-of-pocket cost to the patient would have been at least $22,000.

Leading doctors groups including the AMA have denounced doctors who charge patients egregious out-of-pocket fees. The Urological Society Australia and New Zealand has also condemned specialist "price gouging".

But the $18,000 quote invokes the AMA and the representative body for urological surgeons to justify the eye-watering price.

“This fee is derived from the Australian and New Zealand Association of Urological Surgeons and the AMA and the particular difficulty or expertise required for the operation,” the document reads.

USANZ president Adjunct Professor Peter Heathcote was “not happy” to see the ANZAUS appear on the “excessive” bill.

“Let me make it very, very clear: the ANZAUS and USANZ have no role whatsoever in setting fees,” Dr Heathcote said. “This is entirely unsatisfactory."

He said the USANZ board was investigating the matter and would discuss what action to take. The USANZ can cancel a specialist's membership if they have brought the organisation into disrepute, Dr Heathcote said.

Exorbitant specialist fees have come under immense scrutiny in recent days. ABC Four Corners exposed the extent of the practices and galvanised unanimous condemnation from other peak specialist groups.

President of the AMA Dr Tony Bartone said $18,000 was “several orders of magnitude about what we recommend for that procedure”.

“We would label this as egregious and we would not be pleased to see this level of misrepresentation [or] the suggestion that the fee is in line with the AMA,” Dr Bartone said.

Public hospital alternative

The prostate cancer patient agreed to speak to Fairfax Media on the condition that he and the surgeon not be identified.

The 64-year-old did not accept the $18,000 quote. He opted to undergo a robotic prostatectomy at a public hospital at no charge.

“I went from being out of pocket something like $25,000 to paying next to nothing,” he said.

His biggest fear using the public system was that he would be shunted to the back of a long wait list.

But within five weeks of his initial consultation he underwent the surgery at the Peter MacCallum Centre, Melbourne.

“I would have paid the price premium … it’s my life we’re talking about,” he said. “But after meeting with [the treating team], I was confident in their skills and capabilities, and comfortable to go down that pathway."

Several Sydney public hospitals (RPA, Nepean and Liverpool) also have robotic surgery programs.

Cancer Council CEO Professor Sanchia Aranda said there was a tendency among some surgeons to suggest that private patients would be treated faster, Professor Aranda said.

“A sense of urgency is created and patients get seduced into that system and told that public hospital treatment isn’t available in a timely way.”

But was a myth that cancer care is better in private hospital, or that the public system had lengthy wait times once a patient was diagnosed.

“Once you have a cancer diagnosis, you would be the urgent category in almost all instances, which would take you to the front of the queue [of the public wait lists].

“In most cases you wouldn’t wait longer than a couple of weeks, which won’t make a difference to your outcome.”

Prostate cancer in many cases can be treated with radiation instead of surgery but most patients are only referred to a surgeon, and robotic surgery does not offer better outcomes over traditional prostatectomy performed by an experience surgeon, professor Aranda said.

“You might spend one day less in hospital and have a little less post-operative pain. "In my view $18,000 is wasted money compared to no gap or small gap prostatectomy."

She recommended cancer patients in NSW search for cancer specialists, services and multidisciplinary teams on the Canrefer website.


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, 2018

Cocos Malays are fighting to be classified as indigenous Australians – and an Aboriginal senator agrees with them

'Australian Muslims want to be recognised as indigenous. Malay Muslims arrived and settled on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands during the 1820s.'  So, by that logic, descendants of the first fleet are indigenous, too. This'll be interesting.

Malay Muslims arrived and settled on the lush, tropical Cocos (Keeling) Islands during the 1820s when the British brought them over as coconut plantation slaves.

The residents of the small Indian Ocean islands, 2,500km from the Australian mainland, are fighting for the Australian government to recognise them as indigenous people so they can hunt and eat booby seabirds.

The issue is controversial, considering their historic connection with the islands is less than 200 years old, compared with 60,000 years for Aboriginal people in Australia.

However Northern Territory Labor senator Malarndirri McCarthy, an Aboriginal woman with Yanyuwa heritage, said she agreed with their call to be recognised as indigenous.

'Are they indigenous to the Cocos? And I think probably, you know, an obvious answer would be, "Well, yes",' the former ABC newsreader told the SBS documentary Australia's Forgotten Islands.

'It really does come down to perhaps the definition of indigenous and that's a question I think that will be debated for some time.'

Former Cocos shire president Balmut Pirus said the island locals were frustrated at how bureaucrats in Canberra had banned them from hunting booby birds so they could cook traditional meals.

'The locals think they should have access to some of the seabirds but that's not happening at the moment,' he said.

The Cocos islanders are receiving help, in their push to be recognised as indigenous, from John Clunies-Ross, whose ancestors ruled the previously uninhabited islands as a fiefdom from 1827 to 1978.

'I'm still here. I'm still fully integrated with the community,' he said. 'I love them, they love me.'

The 27 coral islands of the Cocos became part of Australia in 1955 after being part of the British empire.

British sea captain William Keeling discovered the Cocos Islands in 1609 however they were not settled until the early 19th century. 

Scottish merchant John Clunies-Ross was an early settler who brought Malay workers to work on the coconut plantations, with his family ruling over the locals for 150 years.


Free speech -- temporaily

A popular YouTube star has caused a stir within the gay community after saying that 'gays are an abomination' in a vile rant to his 700,000 followers.

West Australian Nick Bertke, 29, also known as DJ Pogo on YouTube, posted the video to his channel and it has been viewed 250,000 times.

Under anti-vilification laws Mr Bertke would be prosecuted for hate speech however those laws do not exist in Western Australia.

In the video Mr Bertke said he has a dislike for homosexuals. 'I've always had a very thorough dislike of homosexuals,' he said in the clip, broadcast by 9 News. 'Gays are just an abomination.'

He also joked about tolerance for Muslims which he said is a culture that 'wants gays dead'.

However after the video went viral Mr Bertke was quick to try and back track on his comments via an official statement.

'The video was a satirical piece made in very bad taste,' the statement read.

'I have Asperger's and Bipolar disorder so my sense of humour and empathy for people is often very muddled.'

He finished off by saying he was 'very sorry' to anyone he may have defended, despite his apology the video still had not been taken down at the time.

Gay rights activist Graeme Watson told 9 News it was disgusting to see and hear.

'There's no way you can brush this off as a joke, if you say those words and they come out of your mouth that's just unforgivable,' he said.

Mr Bertke went so far as to praise the actions of the Orlando night club shooter who killed 49 people.

Mr Bertke will not be charged for his hateful rant because of the lack of anti-vilification laws in WA, which exist in Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT and Tasmania. 


Federal minister defends NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley's use of the term 'White flight' - claiming 'the increasing concentration of foreigners is creating problems for social integration'

A Liberal Party MP has defended Luke Foley's use of the term 'white flight' when referencing Anglo families relocating from suburbs with high rates of immigration.

Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security, Angus Taylor, told Miranda Devine on her radio program, that the overseas born population is creating problems with social integration. 

'What matters is the increasing concentration of overseas born population in some suburbs, the problem it's creating for our traditional social integration which is now being challenged,' he said.

'The people don't want to debate immigrant cohesion, they want us to debate the words and the words don't matter.'

Mr Taylor, who grew up in Cooma alongside Snowy Mountains immigrants, said integration is not being seen and that's what Australia is famous for.

'These suburbs see English language skills failing which means people are less likely to have contact with people who have been here longer.  'We don't see the integration that Australia is famous for.' 

Luke Foley, the NSW opposition leader and parliamentary leader for the NSW branch of the Labor party, was savagely reprimanded by fellow Labor MPs for 'injecting race' into the debate over immigration on Friday.

Members went so far as to label Mr Foley a racist for his comments referring to the decline of Anglo families in Western Sydney.

Mr Foley apologised for his comment and The Daily Telegraph understands Mr Foley was deeply apologetic and distressed that his comments caused offence when it was not his intention, admitting it was a poor choice of words.


Inside Australia's most exclusive women's club: Alexandra Club marred by 'ferocious fights' between country's most well-to-do ladies, reveals former secretary who was 'unfairly dismissed'

Not much "sisterhood" there

An exclusive club tenanted by some of Australia's most elite women has been marred by controversy and infighting, as philosophical differences threaten to tear the organisation apart.

Located in the heart of Melbourne, the ladies-only Alexandra Club purports to be a noble and private institution; a place where women gather to drink tea, play bridge and socialise.

But the past twelve months has seen the pseudo-respectable ladies at each other's throats, The Australian reports.

In documents lodged to the industrial relations umpire last week, former club secretary Helen Fanning - who was allegedly unfairly dismissed from her role two months ago - revealed a series of bitter disputes between members.

The conflict stems from proposals to give the club, and the heritage building in which it is based, a much-needed overhaul.

More than half of the 1,000-plus members are aged 70 and older; use of mobile phones within the club is prohibited; and as it stands there seems to be minimal incentive for younger women to join.  

This was part of the reason why proposals were put forward for a redevelopment - known within the club as Scheme Y - that would see an extensive renovation of the existing floors, the addition of a rooftop bar and the option to add four more floors.

Scheme Y was on the table since 2013, and nearly $900,000 of club funds had been spent on consulting architects, soliciting advice and drawing up plans when the project was abruptly axed last year.

A group of members against the redevelopment formed an anonymous group, calling themselves the Alexandra Club Members Action Group, or ACMAG.

ACMAG undermined support for Scheme Y by convincing members that they would be held financially liable, collecting signatures opposing the upgrade and eventually forcing a general meeting in June 2017.

The bare majority of members - 90 per cent in total - supported a constitutional change within the club that ultimately stopped the development dead in its tracks. 'It came as a bolt from the blue,' said one club member. 'This was a well organised, ferocious campaign.'

Within two weeks, club president Lady (Susannah) Clarke stood down from her position, club lawyer Margaret Kearney quit, and their vacancies were filled by women associated with ACMAG.

Then, in another twist six months down the track, the women of the Alexandra Club received a letter signed by both Robyn Whitehouse - new president of the Club - and ex-president Clarke.

The letter implored members of Alexandra to put the conflicts of the past year behind them, and debunked the prior rumours that club members would have been held financially responsible for the upgrade.

It was these same rumours that had pushed ACMAG into power in the first place - and retribution came down hard and fast on the perpetrators.

Whitehouse was allegedly summoned to a meeting of her own committee and told to stand down as club president the very next morning; Fanning was quietly fired five weeks later, allegedly; and a new president was instated.

After a turbulent year of disputes and discord, members of Alexandra were told that the committee would seek to keep things as they should be.

Some members have expressed frustration, however, that so much time, thought and money put toward an overhaul of the club ultimately came to nothing.

As one of the oldest women's clubs in Australia, Alexandra has boasted quite the prestigious membership in times past, with Dame Elisabeth Murdoch and Una Fraser, mother to Malcolm Fraser, having been counted among the ranks.

The Club was founded in 1903, moving between several different locations along Collins Street before landing on its current address at number 81.

Although it suffered a decline in numbers during the Depression of the 1930s the club grew rapidly in the postwar years, expanding to more than a thousand members.

An official statement on its website declares that 'the Club's purpose is to be exclusively for social and non-political purposes'.


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

3 June, 2018

What crisis? Citizenship doom turning to boon for Coalition
Initial high court ruling on section 44 looked bad for the government but eight months later it’s a different story

When Malcolm Turnbull made a bold prediction of what the high court “will so hold” in relation to the citizenship crisis, the Coalition was furiously arguing for a more lenient interpretation of the constitution to save the then deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce.

When the high court bucked the prediction, its black-letter approach to section 44 of the constitution looked like a disaster for the government.

But eight months later, the Coalition has seen Joyce and John Alexander re-elected at byelections, the citizenship wrecking ball swinging back in Labor’s direction and, on Monday, it gained a new senator in Tasmania’s Steve Martin [replacing Jacquie Lambie].

With byelections in Rebekha Sharkie’s seat of Mayo in South Australia and Labor marginals Braddon (Tasmania) and Longman (Queensland), the Coalition has a good chance of taking at least one seat.

Although the Senate maths is still daunting for the Coalition, Martin’s defection means it now needs eight out of 10 crossbench senators to vote with it to pass legislation, as opposed to nine out of 11.

When you add in Bob Day’s successor, section 44 hasn’t worked out too badly for the Coalition.

The toll of the citizenship crisis can’t be precisely defined by seat movements, though. There were intangible harms: reduced faith in politicians, chaos in parliament, the government’s agenda being derailed for months by surprise landmines and costly byelections. Nobody would want to get back on this ride.


Hatred of high income earners holds us back

It is difficult to find anyone in politics willing to make a case for income tax cuts for anyone considered a ‘high’ income earner. That would be understandable if no such case existed, but there is a strong case on both economic and moral grounds.

The reality is that in a climate of debate dominated by warped views of inequality and fairness, even those who recognise the case for higher income tax cuts — with a few notable exceptions — run a mile from it and would rather join in the slanging match about distribution.

Thus, we have government spokesmen insisting the budget tax cut plan is one for low and middle income earners, based on improbable claims as to what a middle income will be in six or 10 years’ time. At the same time, the opposition paints it as a gift to the better off. The truth, as usual, is somewhere in between.

The latter stages of the tax cuts — if they ever occur — will deliver benefits at high incomes as well as low and middle incomes. However, the package as a whole does not benefit high earners disproportionately. Whether this group is defined as the top bracket or the top 20% of taxpayers, their gains will be no greater than the (very high) share of total income tax revenue they currently account for.

In fact, the share of income tax paid by the top bracket will go up under the government’s plan, as will the proportion of taxpayers in that bracket. It is a matter of arithmetic that as long as the top marginal rate stays at 47% (as the government proposes) the dollar benefit flowing on to top bracket taxpayers from cuts further down the scale will be capped and decline in percentage terms as income rises.

More to the point, why does the debate have to be fixated on distribution and why don’t we hear more about the economic benefits from easing the crushing burden of income tax on those who pay most of it?

Will we ever again see a treasurer get to his feet on budget night, make the case for an income tax cut for high earners and lower the top rate from 47%? A single rate of 34.5% from $41,000 to $200,000 is good as far as it goes, but not as good as a single rate of 34.5% from $41,000, period.


Teaching kids to read still based on failed methods

L3 is used in hundreds of schools across NSW and is a core component of the NSW Department of Education’s Early Action for Success strategy. L3 is supposed to provide early literacy intervention for all students including the most disadvantaged groups in order to reduce the number of students needing intervention in later years of schooling.

A primary concern with L3 — as outlined in our Research Brief —  is that it is based on the same constructivist pedagogy as the Reading Recovery program.  A recent longitudinal analysis of Reading Recovery found the long term impact to be limited for the vast majority of students — and even negative for some — so from 2018 the NSW DoE no longer provides system support for Reading Recovery.

One would think that the L3 program would have been evaluated carefully to make sure it is achieving better results, unfortunately, this is not the case. An evaluation of L3 was promised for 2017, but to date this has not been carried out. With $340 million invested in EAfS in 2017-2020 alone, we should expect improvement in student outcomes, but an evaluation of the literacy and numeracy strategy, of which L3 is a key component, has not improved NAPLAN results.

This is not surprising given L3 content does not reflect the evidence base for effective reading instruction in the early years of school, as identified by the NSW Government’s own research unit. A critique of the L3 program by Dr Roslyn Neilson and Dr Sally Howell found that it does not teach the five key components of early literacy systematically or explicitly.

If the NSW DoE is committed to “rigorous evaluation to focus investment and effort on what works” as stated in the 2017-2020 Literacy and Numeracy Strategy then they must carry out a comprehensive evaluation of L3. The DoE should halt any expansion of the program until effectiveness has been established, and assist schools to transition into an evidence based literacy instruction program that reflects the scientific evidence for effective teaching of reading.


Aussie restaurant slammed as racist after launching 'Ching Chong' burger - but the owner says the name was inspired by his Malaysian roots

A burger joint has come under fire for being racist after naming one of its patties with a defamatory term given to Asians.

The 'Ching Chong burger' at Johnny's Burgers in Perth has caused controversy for it's racially insensitive name.

In a Facebook post the owner, Johnny Wong, said the burger had been on the menu for three years and is inspired by his Malaysian roots.

But local Lisa Chappell has stated an online petition to see the name removed, labelling it as offensive. 'Johnny's Burger joint serves up an extra side dish that is frowned upon by many. Racism!' she said. 'The offensively named Ching Chong Burger has sat proudly on Johnny's menu for many years, however enough is enough!' 'Help us stand up to racism and force Johnny's Burger Joint to remove this burger from their laminated menus.' 

Ms Chappell visited the restaurant in April and was disgusted to find 'The Ching Chong' burger on the menu. The mother-of two says she had wanted to leave after she saw it but her children had already opened their drinks.

She spoke to a girl at the counter who apparently apologised for the offensive burger name.

Ms Chappell then got in contact with Mr Wong who refused to rename the burger.

The petition, which was started several weeks ago, has over 80 signatures.

Fans of the burger name have pushed back online claiming that because Mr Wong is of Asian decent he has the right to call his burger 'Ching Chong.'

Some have also made personal attacks at Ms Chappell calling her a 'half wit.'

In a Facebook post the restaurant thanked those who have offered their support during the controversy.

'We've recently received an overwhelming response of awesome messages that has inspired us to keep on doing what we’re doing,' they said.


Sonia versus the Thought Police

According to the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board, saying something that someone may find offensive about Islam can land you in hot water.

A lot of it. As Sonia Kruger is now discovering.

And this is so, even though there are no religious vilification laws in New South Wales. There are, however, racial vilification laws.

For those of you whose brow is now busy furrowing, let me try and explain what is going on.

When we don’t have religious vilification laws (as we mostly don’t in Australian states), Islam is protected because it is a race.

And when we do have religious vilification laws (which will soon be another unwanted consequence of the legalisation of homosexual marriage) Islam will be protected because it is a religion.

And pretty much everyone else can go to hell (I say this with an ironic caveat that will be addressed later in this article).

If you think the anti-discrimination industry will use racial or religious vilification laws to protect a middle-aged white man who expresses a conservative Christian view from being sacked, or vilified, or having his bank account shut down or being told he can’t apply for a uni course then you clearly don’t understand what the purpose of this industry is.

The whole reason it exists is to legalise discrimination against those who express views that support our Western Christian society. It champions the opposite of Christianity, which is man-centred morality enforced by the High Priests of the State.

To make my point a little clearer, answer this: what type of person would derive job satisfaction from sitting in some bureaucratic office all day and processing complaints from activists about people like Sonia Kruger.

Or this: who in their right mind would go home to their boyfriend feeling chuffed that they’ve achieved something useful after rubber stamping the 100th complaint of a serial homosexual activist?

It takes a special person to do this job. One who not only feels that they are the new moral enforcer of Australian society but that they were born for this role.

I can absolutely guarantee you that the Anti-Discrimination Board and every other taxpayer leeching organisation like it is not filled with people like me. Or you. Or Sonia Kruger. Or the plumber who likes to have a beer at the pub on a Friday night.

Normal people would rather gouge their eyes out than burden themselves with determining whether a gay man who called a transgender man ugly has crossed some line (and that, my friends, is exactly what the anti-discrimination industry does).

There never has been and there never will be an institution of state that believes it has the power to make morality that does not also believe it needs more power.

And what may start out with the best of intentions is always perverted. Originally power is required to enforce anti-discrimination laws. But, inevitably, anti-discrimination laws are required to enforce more power.

The real purpose of this industry is not about making sure that gay people don’t call transgender people fat. It’s about making sure that all of us are under its control.

I might have been caught in the crosshairs of this industry. But, in the long run, it is just as likely to wind up executing Penny Wong as me. We’ve seen the Thought Police in action before. That’s where they always end up and that’s what they do, whether it be in Russia in 1917 or France in 1789.

Both Trotsky and Robespierre, the High Priests of their respective nations’ anti-discrimination industries succumbed to the blade. Or the ice axe. Or whatever happened to be handy at the time.

That might not yet be the fate awaiting Sonia Kruger. She’s one of the early runners who will just be harassed and told to shut up. She’s there to become an example of what not to say.

And what, exactly, did she say. Well, this:

By the way, I do note that only a few days ago an Islamic convert peacefully killed a number of people in Belgium, two of whom happened to be armed female police officers. I could go there today but I won’t – so just read this (later).

However, I will make this point: it’s unlikely someone will convert to Islam unless there are other Muslims around.

So Sonia may be onto something here.

But wait, there’s more. Islam is based around the life of Mohammad. If he did it, Muslims should do it too.

Mohammad was both peaceful and aggressive. He was peaceful when Islam was in the minority. And he was aggressive when it was not.

He also taught that all Muslims should strive to see Islam rule the world. This includes taking all measures that are lawful according to Sharia law to overthrow and replace governments that are not Islamic. And it is lawful to do this by violence because Mohammad did just that when he went to war and defeated the Meccans.

True, in Islamic law there are some qualifications about when violence is justified. One of them, interestingly, is that the violence has to be permitted by a lawful authority.

This is the primary reason many in the Islamic world condemned the Islamic State. The problem was not that that it used violence, but that it did so while there was dispute over its legitimate authority.

Another caveat is that the violence must not cause greater discord than the injustice it seeks to destroy. This is a very subjective matter, which is why some get a rush of blood to the head and others don’t.

And it is also true that of the others who don’t, most of them won’t.

They don’t Islam seriously enough. That is good for us but it is not an argument supporting Islamic immigration.

Out of all of this, one thing is clear. The more Muslims there are in a community, the closer the conditions are to being met justifying violence.

So Sonia may be onto something here as well. Perhaps Islamic immigration is not such a brilliant idea after all.

Unfortunately, the Thought Police don’t care about any of this. All they care about is their power and making sure people live their lives in accordance with its maniacal decrees. Even if it means promoting gay marriage and a religion which condemns homosexuality to death at the same time.

Which is why, as I said earlier, when it comes to religion it will protect Islam and tell the rest of us to go to hell.

Well, almost the rest of us.

The Australian Capital Territory’s anti-discrimination mob have made an exception for Satanists, as reported recently by the Canberra Times:

A NSW-based blogger has been ordered to take down material from his site that described a small and mysterious religious order as a “satanic paedophile cult”. A Canberra tribunal found that the material was archetypal hate speech…

… At the hearing, Mr Bottrill said the Ordo Templi Orientis was about 100 years old and that it had been created out of a collection of Masonic rights in Europe.

“Since about 1912 it’s been the main vehicle for promoting the religion of Thelema … It’s a religion based on revelations given to and then published by Aleister Crowley.”

The UK Guardian also ran an article in 2011 mentioning followers of Mr Crowley. It read somewhat differently:

A former security guard who led a cult from a cul-de-sac in a Welsh seaside town was told he might spend life in jail for committing a series of sex attacks on boys and girls…

… The cult is said to have been inspired by Aleister Crowley, the late mystic and magician nicknamed the Great Beast who in 1904 published a text called the Book of the Law extolling permissive sex.

During the five-week trial the prosecution claimed “the book” formed the basis for Batley’s organisation and he would read from a laminated copy of it while dressed in hooded robes at the start of orgies.

And now, after homosexual marriage has been legalised, it is likely that the Commonwealth will create a federal religious vilification body similar to the one in operation in the nation’s capital. Heaven help us all. Literally. And soon.

Sonia Kruger should not be the focus of the state. Instead, there should be a detailed investigation into the anti-discrimination industry before things get any worse.

It should be put under the spotlight. And then it should be bulldozed into the ground.


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, 2018

Ayers rock closed to climbers

Just a disgusting Leftist stunt. Done in the name of the Aborigines, not by them.  A great tourist activity closed down

Why the closure of the Uluru climb is reason to celebrate

Expect one heck of a celebration on October 26, 2019. On that date, the Uluru climb will close for good. It will be a joyous day for the Anangu people, who have long asked visitors not to climb this sacred site, but that is not the only reason to celebrate.

The closure of the Uluru climb tells us a lot about how tourism in the Red Centre has changed. A visit to Uluru is about more than sightseeing; it is now considered one of Australia’s most significant cultural destinations, a fact recognised by UNESCO way back in 1994. That was the year that the park received a World Heritage listing for its cultural landscape, having already been inscribed for its natural values back in 1987.

These days, visitors can enjoy a whole host of experiences from sunrise to sunset and Indigenous-focused activities allowing for a deeper connection with the ancient culture and landscape. (recommended read: How to experience Indigenous culture in Uluru). As the range of activities has grown, interest in climbing the rock has fallen. Around 300,000 people visit Uluru annually; in 2015, only 16 per cent of them climbed Uluru. That is a big change from the 1990s, when 75 per cent of visitors tackled the climb.

There have long been plenty of reasons not to climb Uluru. There is the erosion caused by the passage of thousands of feet, which has left permanent scars. Climbers leave behind other impacts, too. With no toilet facilities on top of Uluru and no soil to dig a hole, tourists caught short while climbing have only one option. When it rains, the evaporated waste is washed off the rock and pollutes surrounding waterholes, which the area’s birds and native animals depend upon for survival.

Climbers also endanger one of the area’s rarest species, shield or tadpole shrimp which – incredibly – live on Uluru itself. Their eggs are adapted to survive long periods of drought and are hatched by rainfall. The fast-growing shrimp quickly lay more eggs; when the water dries up, these lie dormant until the next rain. However, with climbers unwittingly crushing the tiny eggs underfoot, the shrimp are now on the verge of extinction.

The most important reason not to climb Uluru, however, is that it is a sacred site for the Anangu, its significance dating back to the creation time. Anangu believe that during the time when the world was being formed, the Uluru climb was the traditional route taken by Mala men when they arrived at Uluru.

Climbing the rock is also dangerous – which is why the chain was installed in 1966, after two deaths two years earlier. Even with additional safety measures – in recent years, authorities closed the climb when conditions were particularly hot, windy, wet or cloudy – deaths and injuries have continued.

Thirty six people have died climbing Uluru since 1950, the last as recently as April 2010. Between 2002 and 2009, no fewer than 74 rescues involved medical attention. The most common issues included heart attacks, head injuries from falls, panic attacks or fainting.

Back in 2010, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Plan of Management confirmed that the Board would look at closing the climb when one of three goals was met: that fewer than 20 per cent of visitors were climbing the rock; that an adequate number of new visitor experiences was established; and that cultural and natural experiences were the key reason why travellers were visiting the park. With all three conditions now being fulfilled – visitors can now choose from more than 101 different tours and experiences, for instance – the time to close the climb has come.

The fate of the chain itself has not yet been decided. Investigations are underway to decide how it might be removed, and whether the process might damage the rock. One thing, however will not change. A number of memorial plaques on Uluru itself commemorate climbers who died there; these will stay, out of respect for the families of the deceased.

The dramatic decrease in the number of visitors climbing Uluru shows that Indigenous Australians are not the only ones who see Uluru and its surrounds as a special place. There have always been those, Australian and International visitors alike, who felt the power of this landscape. As far back as 1942, author and art dealer Frank Clune suggested, “As Fujiyama is to Japan, so should Ayers Rock be to Australia, a sacred mountain and place of pilgrimage in the heart of our continent.”

The closure of the climb suggests we are closer than ever before to fulfilling that vision. The date chosen for the event, October 26, is a significant one for the Anangu: it is the anniversary of the day in in 1985 when, during a ceremony at the base of Uluru, the Governor-General, Sir Ninian Stephen, handed the title deeds to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park to the Traditional Owners. Truly a day worth celebrating.


Smoking: The government nannies lose one

It's a very strong addiction so that outcome is no surprise.  The only reasonable role for the govermnment is to ban smoking in public places -- to protect non-smokers from having the foul habit imposed on them

Australians are smoking just as much today as they were three years ago – even with plain packaging, e-cigarettes and the world's highest priced packets.

Australia's falling behind the rest of the world, according to the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (ATHRA), despite numerous tax raising and deterrence initiatives.

Data shows that between 2013-2016 Australia's annual smoking decline rate has stalled at 0.2 per cent in comparison to a 3 per cent decline in New Zealand, 4 per cent in Canada, 5 per cent in England and a huge 12 per cent in Iceland.

These nations have one thing in common – the legalisation of smoking alternatives such as vaping and heat-not-burn products.

Smoking nicotine is hard to quit and many people enjoy the motion so often seek alternatives such as vaporisers.

The Australian National Drug Strategy Household Survey indicated around 70 per cent said they wanted to quit but despite repeat attempts, are not able to.

ATHRA director Dr Joe Kosterich told 'If we look at other jurisdictions, they've pretty much done similar things to what we've done; similar increase in taxation, banning smoking in public places, smoking health education.

'All of these things are really important moves but you then reach a point where you're not going any further.'

Only last month the New South Wales Parliament passed the Smoke-free Environment Amendment Bill 2018 to join forces with Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT to ban vaping in the same places that cigarettes are banned such as parks, sports grounds and outdoor dining areas.

The amendment came into motion despite international evidence that e-cigarettes save lives.

Nicotine liquid once heated and vaporised into in an e-cigarette delivers inhalable nicotine vapor whilst failing to produce carbon monoxide, tar and most cancer-causing chemicals found in combustible cigarettes.

This liquid is illegal in Australia and its ban is upheld by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

ATHRA Chairman and professor, Colin Mendelsohn said: 'Most of the harm from combustible tobacco is caused by the 7000 chemicals produced by the burning process and these are mostly absent from vapor,' 'It is unethical and unscientific to ban a much safer product that could help many thousands of smokers to quit a deadly addiction.'

Australian Medical Association (AMA) President Dr Tony Bartone disagrees with the compelling research telling 3AW that there was 'still a lot of work to be done on whether they [e-cigarettes] really do help people getting off smoking,'

'A lot of the evidence coming through now is showing that actually all it does it defer or delay the decision to actually come off cigarettes, and a lot of people go back to cigarettes while coming down to it.'

Professor Mendelsohn said: 'Banning wider access to e-cigarettes on the basis of unproven, potential risks to adolescents would prevent access to life saving quitting aid for millions of smokers,'

'A better solution would be to employ strategies to minimise youth access and make vaping available for adult smokers who are otherwise unable to quit smoking with conventional therapies.'

New Zealand Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner has suggested 'there's a general consensus that vaping is much less harmful than smoking.'


Vile trolling, disgusting brutality and now 258,000 fake breath tests: As Victoria's cops are busted in ANOTHER scandal people ask, who polices the police?

After allegations of brutality and the sacking of a top officer earlier this year, Victoria Police has been rocked by revelations more than 258,000 breath tests were faked.

An external investigator will be brought in to examine the falsified tests, in which officers blew into RBT straws themselves or placed fingers over the holes.

The fake tests were discovered just weeks after the force was hit with allegations of excessive violence, with the beating of a disability pensioner caught on camera.

The incident involving six officers allegedly beating the mental health patient with batons, verbally abusing and pepper spraying him was caught on camera. Police were referred to oversight body Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) over the incident.

The arrest of a Sudanese-born Melbourne man who allegedly robbed and trashed a chemist in 2016 was also reported to the IBAC.

Footage showed the man being punched 11 times and hit with a baton before one of the officers stomped on his back in a two-and-a-half minute ordeal.

That incident followed a complaint by Jia Meeks, who was seen on CCTV been thrown into a cell door at Bendigo Police Station.

Mr Meeks, who was arrested for allegedly swearing at police and acting aggressively, was left bleeding from facial injuries and suffering a bruised wrist after the alleged incident.

The allegations of brutality followed the resignation of Assistant Commissioner Brett Guerin over a series of offensive online posts made under a pseudonym.

Mr Guerin, was was the head of Victoria Police's ethical standards body, quit the force in February after being referred to the anti-corruption commission.

Using the alias 'Vernon Demerest', Mr Guerin made a series of racist comments on Youtube.

'The jigaboo runs riot and out of control. The 'boo needs the lash,' read one of the vile comments.

'Wonderful to see greasy, diving, cheating dagoes get their just reward. Bitter, lingering defeat,' said another posted on a soccer video.

The comments were exposed a week after he publicly apologised last week for making graphic references to former police commissioner Christine Nixon.

In March the IBAC delivered a damning report accusing the force of failing to investigate dangerous incidents.

The IBAC itself has been criticised for its handling of complaints about Victoria Police.

Lawyers told a parliamentary inquiry in February they do not recommend complaining to IBAC, as more than 90 per cent end up handed back to police to investigate.

Victoria Police is now in discussions with IBAC about the roadside breath test revelations, which occurred over five years.

'The investigation, which analysed over five years of data, 1500 preliminary breath test devices and more than 17.7 million tests, disappointingly found 258,463 PBTs or 1.5 per cent of all tests had been falsified,' Assistant Commissioner Russell Barrett said on Wednesday.

'I had not heard of our members engaging in such a practice, we let ourselves down, we've let the community down. It stops now.'

'There could be a number of reasons but the main rationale I believe is to hide or highlight productivity. Whatever reason our workforce may come up with, it isn't acceptable.'


Being critical of inconsiderate cyclists is "hate speech"?

A cycling boss has been publicly ridiculed after claiming some of the 100,000 furious Australians calling for a single-lane bike road law were fake 'bots'.

Anne Savage, CEO of Bicycle Queensland, claimed some of the 101,700 campaigners demanding cyclists are made to ride single file on Australian roads are not real people.

Drivers For Registration of Cyclists launched the petition to protest the current law which allows cyclists to ride two abreast while on the roads, as long as they are no further than 1.5m apart.

The petition, titled 'Compulsory Single File for Cyclists', says cyclists are presenting safety hazards by riding two or more abreast and flowing into the traffic lanes.

Ms Savage said she had evidence that 'the majority of names on that petition are false names',The Courier Mail reported.  Many of the names - now exceeding 101,000 - were created by electronic 'bots', she said.

'We don't expect the government or anyone else to take this petition seriously. It's disappointing to see hate speech on social media taken this far,' she said.

'We would like to see this person pursued for hate speech and vilification on social media with content that is graphic and deeply hurtful to all in the community.'

Ms Savage has so far not provided any evidence relating to her assertion that many of the names were created by electronic 'bots'.

A spokesman for said all of the signatures were real.  'Our team puts significant effort into ensuring the legitimacy of signatures on,' he said.  'Our spam systems automatically detect patterns, such as multiple signatures coming in from the same IP address and any signatures that prove to be fake are removed between 28-48 hours.'

At 9.30am on Thursday the petition had 101,700 signatures and said it was aiming to reach 150,000. 


Crucial progress on adoption

When I started researching the nation’s child protection crisis a decade ago, there were approximately 35,000 children living in out of home care in Australia, and only 35 of these children where adopted from care in that year.

In 2016, with over 46,000 children in care nationally, only 70 children were adopted — with all but 3 of these adoptions occurring in NSW.

This means — as my book showed — that tens-of-thousands of children are continuing to spend the majority of their childhoods in highly  unstable care without finding the permanent homes that all children need to thrive.

However, the good news is that in 2017, adoptions from care in NSW more than doubled to 127.

This is slow but significant progress. The credit is due to the nation-leading child protection reforms implemented in NSW since the election of the O’Farrell government in 2011. And those reforms reached a milestone this week.

Adopt Change has been appointed to deliver a new program  — ‘My Forever Family’ —  designed to halve the time children spend in care before finding a permanent home through either successful restoration with parents, or through guardianship and adoption.

Predictably, critics have again zeroed in on the taboo subject of adoption — and falsely claimed it is being used as a quick fix to solve the problem of rising numbers in care in NSW.

But as my recent research report explained, the NSW reforms are investing heavily in targeted early intervention and restoration services designed to ensure as many children as possible can stay home safely and be reunited safely with their parents.

This means adoptions will only occur in NSW as the last resort to achieve permanency for children after the best efforts to assist struggling parents have failed.

By implementing a two year deadline (a long time in child’s life) within which permanency must be achieved, the NSW reforms have struck the right balance between attempting to keep families together and protecting children’s vital need for safe and stable homes.

However, what NSW has also done is something I and advocates of the greater use of adoption have long argued for.

This is to swing the pendulum of the child protection system back from the ideologically-driven pursuit of family preservation at almost all costs — regardless of how long, unstable, and ultimately damaging a child’s time in care ends up being — and instead ensure more children find permanent homes via adoption.

It’s gratifying that the NSW Government has heeded this message. The next step is to ensure the ‘NSW model’ is emulated in all states and territories in children’s best interests.


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


Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

Most academics are lockstep Leftists so readers do sometimes doubt that I have the qualifications mentioned above. Photocopies of my academic and military certificates are however all viewable here

For overseas readers: The "ALP" is the Australian Labor Party -- Australia's major Leftist party. The "Liberal" party is Australia's major conservative political party.

In most Australian States there are two conservative political parties, the city-based Liberal party and the rural-based National party. But in Queensland those two parties are amalgamated as the LNP.

Again for overseas readers: Like the USA, Germany and India, Australia has State governments as well as the Federal government. So it may be useful to know the usual abbreviations for the Australian States: QLD (Queensland), NSW (New South Wales), WA (Western Australia), VIC (Victoria), TAS (Tasmania), SA (South Australia).

For American readers: A "pensioner" is a retired person living on Social Security

"Digger" is an honorific term for an Australian soldier

Another lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Another bit of Australian: Any bad writing or messy anything was once often described as being "like a pakapoo ticket". In origin this phrase refers to a ticket written with Chinese characters - and thus inscrutably confusing to Western eyes. These tickets were part of a Chinese gambling game called "pakapoo".

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

My son Joe

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

I am an army man. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies or mining companies

Although I have been an atheist for all my adult life, I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak.

The Rt. Rev. Phil Case (Moderator of the Presbyterian church in Queensland) is a Pharisee, a hypocrite, an abomination and a "whited sepulchre".

English-born Australian novellist, Patrick White was a great favourite in literary circles. He even won a Nobel prize. But I and many others I have spoken to find his novels very turgid and boring. Despite my interest in history, I could only get through about a third of his historical novel Voss before I gave up. So why has he been so popular in literary circles? Easy. He was a miserable old Leftist coot, and, incidentally, a homosexual. And literary people are mostly Leftists with similar levels of anger and alienation from mainstream society. They enjoy his jaundiced outlook, his dissatisfaction, rage and anger.

A delightful story about a great Australian conservative

Would you believe that there once was a politician whose nickname was "Honest"?

"Honest" Frank Nicklin M.M. was a war hero, a banana farmer and later the conservative Premier of my home State of Queensland in the '60s. He was even popular with the bureaucracy and gave the State a remarkably tranquil 10 years during his time in office. Sad that there are so few like him.

A great Australian wit exemplified

An Australian Mona Lisa (Nikki Gogan)

Bureaucracy: "One of the constant laments of doctors and nurses working with NSW Health is the incredible and increasing bureaucracy," she said. "It is completely obstructive to providing a service."

Revered Labour Party leader Gough Whitlam was a very erudite man so he cannot have been unaware of the similarities of his famous phrase “the Party, the platform, the people” with an earlier slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer". It's basically the same slogan in reverse order.

Australia's original inhabitants were a race of pygmies, some of whom survived into modern times in the mountainous regions of the Atherton tableland in far North Queensland. See also here. Below is a picture of one of them taken in 2007, when she was 105 years old and 3'7" tall

Julia Gillard, a failed feminist flop. She was given the job of Prime Minister of Australia but her feminist preaching was so unpopular that she was booted out of the job by her own Leftist party. Her signature "achievements" were the carbon tax and the mining tax, both of which were repealed by the next government.

The "White Australia Policy: "The Immigration Restriction Act was not about white supremacy, racism, or the belief that whites were higher up the evolutionary tree than the coloured races. Rather, it was designed to STOP the racist exploitation of non-whites (all of whom would have been illiterate peasants practicing religions and cultures anathema to progressive democracy) being conscripted into a life of semi-slavery in a coolie-worked plantation economy for the benefit of the absolute monarchs, hereditary aristocracy and the super-wealthy companies and share-holders of the northern hemisphere.

A great little kid

In November 2007, a four-year-old boy was found playing in a croc-infested Territory creek after sneaking off pig hunting alone with four dogs and a puppy. The toddler was found five-and-a-half hours after he set off from his parents' house playing in a creek with the puppy. Amazingly, Daniel Woditj also swam two creeks known to be inhabited by crocs during his adventurous romp. Mr Knight said that after walking for several kilometres, Daniel came to a creek and swam across it. Four of his dogs "bailed up" at the creek but the youngster continued on undaunted with his puppy to a second creek. Mr Knight said Daniel swam the second croc-infested creek and walked on for several more kilometres. "Captain is a hard bushman and Daniel is following in his footsteps. They breed them tough out bush."

A great Australian: His eminence George Pell. Pictured in devout company before his elevation to Rome


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